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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Israeli embassy in Washington tweeted this today:

I agree there is a disconnect between the tweet, which emphasizes Iran's attempts at hegemony in the Arab world, and the graphic which also includes many terror attacks worldwide that can be traced to Iran.

However, some journalists felt that the point being made is ridiculous:

The embassy responded to Fallows:

That last tweet answers why the Argentina bombing from 1982 is not included - this is a list of aggressive Iranian actions in only the past five years.

All of the sources for the headlines in the graphic are given.

None of the journalists have yet explained exactly what is inaccurate about the original tweet. They just know, deep in their hearts, that it is wrong. Somehow.

That is apparently a skill set that is a prerequisite for being a member of a profession that pompously pretends to value facts.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 10:00:00 PM
JPost reports:
Amid fierce opposition from right-wing leaders, preliminary plans for the construction of 2,200 new Arab housing units in east Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood were approved by the Interior Ministry’s District Planning and Building Committee on Monday.

The committee also retroactively approved 300 illegally-built Arab homes in the area.

On Tuesday, Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at the pro-Palestinian NGO Ir Amim, who attended the meeting, described the plan as unprecedented.

Indeed, according to Tatasky the approval serves as a major victory for Arab residents of Jabel Mukaber who have long sought building permits, or feared imminent home demolitions for illegal construction.

“I think this is a very unusual and very good development,” he said. “The housing shortage in east Jerusalem is enormous, and this is the first time that a plan of this extent has been approved for a Palestinian neighborhood.”
But the Secretary General of the Islamic-Christian Committee to Support Occupied Jerusalem and holy sites, Dr. Hanna Issa, condemned the move, saying that the move was illegal, violating the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions.

The anti-Israel IMEMC also says that the new Arab homes are illegal:
The Israeli “Planning and Construction Committee” in occupied Jerusalem has approved, Tuesday, the construction of 2200 illegal settlement units in ‘Arab as-Sawahra neighborhood, in the Sawahra area, between Jabal al-Mokabber and Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.

The Israeli Radio said the new plans aims at “legalizing” homes that were built without permits, and to construct what it called “public facilities.”
Just remember, boys and girls: it isn't about loving Arabs. It's about hating Jews.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 08:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Daniel Mael: The notorious anti-Israel writer is using a lie to drag Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s name through the mud.
The notorious anti-Israel writer is using a lie to drag Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s name through the mud. In a recent article that has been widely circulated online by an unholy alliance of Islamists and extreme Leftists, the notorious anti-Israel propagandist Max Blumenthal has accused women’s-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali of “deception.” Unfortunately for Blumenthal, it is his own latest deception that has now come to light.
Blumenthal claimed that a statement by Hirsi Ali — that “at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims” — was “suspect.” His evidence was an email from a spokesperson for the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, whose Armed Conflict Database is the basis for Hirsi Ali’s calculation. Triumphantly, Blumenthal tweeted that the IISS had “totally disowned her abuse of its data.”
However, it turns out that the IISS did nothing of the kind. Reached for comment on Friday, Nicholas Redman, the IISS’s director of editorial, said:
At no point did Max Blumenthal request an official quotation or statement from the IISS. Therefore, none was provided. Some of the remarks made were then reported out of context. Any information was provided on the understanding on our part that it was a research request. We have asked him to remove it from the article.
The IISS does not subdivide its conflict data according to the religions of combatants. It is, however, unambiguously clear from the Armed Conflict Database that fatalities from armed conflict last year were disproportionately caused by wars involving Muslims. If anything, Hirsi Ali’s 70% figure is too low.
Past tweets of 'Daily Show' successor on Israel, Jews cause social media uproar
What a difference a day makes. Just 24 hours after being named the new host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian from South Africa, has found himself in hot water for tweets he posted over five years ago.
The Internet was abuzz with criticism on Tuesday after tweets about Jews and the Jewish State, dating as far back as 2010, surfaced online, sparking a maelstrom of angry comments.
“South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful,” read a 2010 tweet dug up by social media users.
The online backlash follows Comedy Central’s announcement that Noah, who made his Daily Show debut late last year, would take over the satirical talk show after longtime host Jon Stewart hangs up his hat.
In 2009, the up-and-coming star shared this tweet on his account: “Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road.
He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!” Just last May, Noah played on a quintessential Jewish stereotype, posting, “Behind every successful Rap billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man” – a reference to Apple buying American rapper-turned-producer Dr. Dre’s Beats company for $3 billion.
Buzzfeed: People Are Mad About Trevor Noah’s Old Tweets About Women And Jews
On Monday, Comedy Central confirmed Trevor Noah will succeed Jon Stewart as The Daily Show host.
But after some digging, Twitter users grew more acquainted with Noah…and found some of his old tweets about Israel and Jews.
And some other tweets about women…
As his old tweets made the rounds, some were no longer impressed with Stewart’s replacement.
People immediately started tweeting at Comedy Central about their new hire.
Even Roseanne chimed in.
26 Americans to sue Hamas for rocket fire at Ben Gurion Airport
Twenty-six American citizens who were present at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport when it was targeted by Hamas missile fire during last summer’s war will file a lawsuit against the terror group in a US court, it was announced Tuesday.
The litigation, which was inspired and organized by Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin, seeks to have various top Hamas commanders tried on war crimes charges.
Under US law, targeting or committing acts of violence against American citizens in an international airport can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
War crimes suits will be filed against Hamas leaders and rocket fire cells, specifically, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, senior spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, and officials Hamdan Awad, Hudeiffe Samir, Abdullah Al’halut, Ahmed Jandoor, Ra’ad Sa’ad, Marwan Abed-el, Karim Issa and Salah Amer Daloul. (h/t Yenta Press)

Analysis: Sweden vs Saudi Arabia or the triumph of realpolitik
Margot Wallström, Sweden’s energetic minister for foreign affairs, tried to tackle Saudi Arabia on human rights and is learning the hard way a few basic facts about the Middle East. In fact she might have to resign to defuse the situation.
Fueled by righteous indignation, she condemned the harsh sentence imposed on Raef Badawi, a Saudi blogger found guilty of insulting Islam: life imprisonment and 1,000 lashes.
The sentence is shocking indeed; however it reflects the true state of human rights – or more accurately the lack of them – not only in Saudi Arabia but in nearly all Islamic countries. A state of affairs which should be roundly condemned by all so-called enlightened nations. Unfortunately, geopolitics and national interests trump moral indignation.
Members of the European Union, Sweden included, tend to be lenient toward their Muslim minorities refusing to obey the law of the land and doing their best to live their lives according to the Shari’a. US President Barack Obama, who chose not take part in the mass demonstration of solidarity in France to protest a series of deadly terrorist attacks, and went instead to congratulate the new Saudi king while expressing his condolences on the death of his predecessor, did not see fit to mention the fate of the blogger.
Outraged at Swedish condemnation, Saudi Arabia blocked Wallström’s scheduled appearance at a meeting of the Arab League, where she was to harangue Arab countries on human rights. Arab League members were probably not too keen on hearing her speech, but this was a way of rewarding Sweden for its anti-Israel positions and for its recognition of a yet unborn Palestinian state.
Swedish Foreign Minister Apologizes to Saudis for Insulting Islam
Sweden and Saudi Arabia have reportedly restored diplomatic ties when the two nations inked a new arms agreement over the weekend. Estimates state that canceling the arms deal would have had a negative impact of $1.3 billion dollars.
Stockholm and Riyadh had fallen out of favor earlier in March when both ambassadors left their respective host countries. Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Sweden will be arriving in Stockholm soon, just two weeks after he left the country following the diplomatic issues.
The diplomatic crisis started when Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom described the Saudi kingdom as a “dictatorship” that abuses women’s rights and carries out harsh punishments towards bloggers, according to reports.
Saudi officials saw the critique as an insult to Islam, largely because the Wahhabi kingdom follows the Koranic Sharia law system, and demanded an apology.
Lynch’s Supporters Dig Him Into a Deeper Hole.
Nick Riemer’s apologia for the conduct of his colleague, Jake Lynch, during the disruption by protesters of a lecture by Colonel Richard Kemp at the University of Sydney on March 11 (Why Jake Lynch was waving money around at an anti-Israel protest, March 25) only digs Lynch into a deeper hole.
Riemer begins by accusing Lynch’s critics of attempting to silence him by a variety of devious means, including the legal action brought against Lynch in 2013 under the Racial Discrimination Act. The case was ultimately withdrawn. At the time, Lynch himself characterised the case as “an attempt to stifle debate”. Now Lynch and Riemer defend the actions of the protesters on March 11 – actions that were intended not merely to stifle debate, but to shut it down altogether.
Colonel Kemp had been invited to speak on Ethical Dilemmas of Military Tactics in Relation to Recent Conflicts in the Middle East: Dealing with non-state armed groups. The topic has obvious relevance to Australian military operations overseas and is the kind of topic that is often written about and debated in centres of higher learning in Australia and many other parts of the world.
A few minutes before the lecture started, a small group of protesters were photographed by JWire outside the lecture theatre handing out leaflets. Three of them held a large sign bearing the words Cut ties with Israeli Apartheid and Sydney Uni Staff for BDS. One of the people holding the sign was Lynch.
Slap on the wrist for Berkeley SJP
In direct violation of campus policy, UC Berkeley's Students for Justice in Palestine distributed several hundred fake eviction notices under the doors in Unit 2 during "Israel Apartheid Week". Its the same tired old tactic we've seen for years by a group desperate to be noticed.
Via the Daily Cal
“We do not allow any solicitations out of respect for the students residing there,” said Adam Ratliff, spokesperson for the campus’ Division of Student Affairs, in an email. He said he is not aware of any planned response to SJP for breaching dormitory policy.
No, there was no consequence to this breach of the Code of Student Conduct. Yet again, the spoiled children of SJP have been allowed to flagrantly violate campus rules with impunity by campus administrators too spineless to endorse their own guidelines.
More dreck from Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine
Uncle Sam is chained to a big stone that is dragging him beneath the waves. The stone is Israel.
See the article for yourself if you want. It includes this rubbish:
September 11, 2001-
…Five dancing Israelis were actually caught filming the world trade center attacks and dancing in celebration afterwards. When the Israelis were caught in a van that had contained explosives, they said we are all on the same side now against the Palestinians. The dancing Israelis later admitted on an Israeli talk show that they were there to document the event. Before the US government classified all information on Israel’s involvement in 9-11, the FBI officially concluded that Israel had to have known of the attack before 9-11-2001 and didn’t warn the US. After the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We are benefitting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.” He also said, “these events have swung American public opinion in our favor.”At best, Israel knew of the attacks before hand and did not warn America because of the strategic support against the Palestinians that it would bring. At worst, Israel had a hand in planning the attacks.
It takes seconds to figure out that the website is a far right antisemitic swamp.
From the home page one sees links to pieces titled “Why Do So Many Jews Hate Black People?”, “How Much Money Do The Rothschilds Have?”, and “Is It Fair To Compare Israelis to Nazis?”.
Exclusive: Virginia State Bar case against Israel trip falling apart
So the key defense, that the Israeli Embassy not only could give no assurances that members would be able to attend, and but even suggested that some VSB members would be barred entry to Israel, has no substance to it.
At worst, by Weiner’s own account, an Embassy employee said that he couldn’t comment on who would or would not be allowed to enter Israel without knowing the identities of the people.
That not only makes perfect sense, it actually contradicts the VSB claim that discriminatory policies would bar whole classes of people.
Catholic university officials caught on secret video approving student club devoted to raising money for ISIS, saying: 'We're here to get that done.'
Honors student set to receive communications award at Barry University in Miami told college officials she wanted to start a club to support ISIS
Student organizations chief told her she could get funding for group called 'Sympathetic Students in Support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria'
'They are terrorists,' she told him, 'but we're trying to help them, we're trying to educate them and give them funding'
'We're not here to limit people,' the university administrator replied, and agreed with her request to 'pass out Islamic State flags' at a school event
The VP for student affairs told Daily Mail Online, 'Barry University would not approve any group supporting a terrorist organization'
Project Veritas, a conservative group run by guerilla filmmaker James O'Keefe, made the startling video
Group previously filmed a Cornell University dean saying an ISIS 'freedom fighter' could host a training camp at the Ivy League school
CBC Interview Exposes Gideon Levy as an Anti-Israel Gadfly
The feature-length 28-minute interview saw Enright refer to Levy as having been “described as a propagandist for Hamas, and the most hated man in Israel…” Enright said Levy is a “polarizing” figure who has “won the enmity of the settler movement and the (Israeli) right wing” and has been called a “traitor” and a “demagogue”.
People familiar with Levy’s antics were probably not surprised to hear him allege that Israel is becoming “racist”. Levy also charged that Benjamin Netanyahu, nor any Israeli Prime Minister before him, ever did anything to implement the two-state solution despite the Oslo process, and subsequent peace negotiations, unilateral Israeli withdrawals, educating for peace, moratoriums on settlement building, prisoner releases, checkpoint removals, economic peace initiatives, institution building, security cooperation, etc.
On Israel’s security concerns, Michael Enright noted that once Israel left the Gaza Strip by evacuating its settlements and removing its soldiers, it led to an increase in rocket fire on Israeli communities. Levy’s retort was a disgraceful justification of Palestinian terror when he stated: “Why do they launch rockets? Palestinians live in the biggest jail on earth and they use one of the most primitive weapons on earth.” Levy later excused Palestinian terror when saying “The only way to struggle for their liberty for their rights is through what we call terror organizations, what other option did we leave them?”
On the issue of Israel’s settlements, Michael Enright said it’s essentially a “misnomer” to refer to places like Ariel as a settlement. Enright said “It’s a small city, and some Arabs live around it peacefully, that’s not going to go away, these places aren’t going to be torn down.” (h/t L. King)
Times of London misleads on Israel’s plan for Bedouin in the Negev
Later in the article, Carlstrom attempts to give some background on the plight of Israeli Bedouin.
In 2013, Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, advanced a bill, which would have demolished all unrecognised villages. It was shelved after protests.
Carlstrom’s characterization of the bill is extremely misleading.
The Prawer-Begin Plan (the development plan for Bedouin in the Negev, shelved by the government, that Carlstrom is alluding to) represented an effort to settle the problem of 70-90,000 Israeli-Bedouin living in unrecognized villages in the Israeli Negev, and the resulting land claims. The bill would have legalized most of the unrecognized land, but called for roughly one-third of this population to relocate (with full compensation in money and land) to recognized, planned and developed towns within a few kilometers of their current homes.
Alternatively, as these Israeli-Bedouin are Israeli citizens with full civil rights protected under the law, they could of course choose to live elsewhere – indeed anywhere in the country.
BBC Honcho Says ‘Tough’ to Present Balanced Coverage of Israel-Hamas War
BBC Director-General Lord Hall said on Tuesday that though his publication strives to achieve balance in its coverage of Israel, reporting on the country’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip last summer was “tough,” the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported.
“It is hard… tough. We do aim to give as impartial coverage as we can across the period,” he said, while addressing 200 people at a business breakfast in London hosted by ORT UK. “I do not want you to doubt for one second our commitment to the coverage of Israel and Palestine – but also the wider Middle East.”
The BBC head made the comments after Laura Marks, senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, asked him to respond to sentiments among Israel’s supporters that the BBC’s coverage of the summer conflict was unbalanced against the Jewish state. Marks told Hall that the network’s coverage of the conflict “dented my trust in the BBC.”
Elections 2015: was the BBC’s coverage impartial?
In this case it is not difficult to see that the BBC came nowhere near to achieving “due impartiality over time” – primarily because its journalists chose to cover the Israeli election almost exclusively from an angle which, whilst of only minor relevance to the issue itself, coalesced more with their own pre-existing views and agenda. And whilst audiences were fed reams of material on “the Palestinian view”, their understanding of what should have been the story’s actual subject matter – the factors influencing the election’s result – was hampered by selective omission of information and a distinct lack of interest in anything which got in the way of the story’s chosen framing.
Lord Hall might care to ponder the fact that it would be much less “hard” and “tough” to cover Israel-related news accurately and impartially were the journalists working for his organisation to stick to reporting the stories that exist rather than instead promoting the stories they want to tell.
“And whilst I fully appreciate the enormity of the problem and the disaster facing civilians in Gaza, I think that Jews in the country felt that you did not put the case for both sides,” she told the BBC chief. “How would you respond to a feeling in this room that the BBC did not cover the problem facing Israel clearly because it had the humanitarian problem facing the people of Gaza – which overrode all of your coverage?”
UKIP election candidate quits after claiming Israel should 'kidnap Obama'
Jeremy Zeid stepped down as Ukip’s parliamentary candidate for Hendon one day after he called for Barack Obama to be extradited to Israel, the JC understands.
Mr Zeid, a member of Kenton United Synagogue, stepped down last Thursday after he wrote on his Facebook page: “Once Obama is out of office, the Israelis should move to extradite the bastard or ‘do an Eichmann’ on him and lock him up for leaking state secrets.”
His decision to quit was revealed today. (h/t Yenta Press)
Seven Of The Craziest Conspiracy Theories From The Arab World
The United States and Israel are behind pretty much every tragedy in the Middle East these days. When Saudi jets bombed rebel position in Yemen last week? America did it. When the Islamic State group rampages through the Middle East? America and Israel did it.
So in the spirit of smart theories, here are seven of the most outlandish allegations.
1) Shark attack? Could be Israel’s fault: Egyptian officials said Israeli intelligence service Mossad might have planted a shark in the Red Sea to destroy Egypt’s tourism industry after a German tourist was fatally attacked off the coast of Egyptian resort city Sharm el-Sheikh.
US sees 21% increase in anti-Semitic incidents for 2014
Anti-Semitism was on the rise in the United States in 2014, the Anti-Defamation League reported in it's annual audit.
It was one of the largest increases in anti-Semitism in almost a decade, the ADL said, adding that new anti-Semitic trends included the hacking of Jewish community and synagogue websites, committed by hackers overseas.
According to the report released Monday, there were 912 anti-Semitic incidents for 2014, while 751 incidents were reported in 2013. Despite the increase, the ADL pointed out that the number of incidents in 2014 was still one of the lowest since the group began keeping records in 1979.
“While the overall number of anti-Semitic incidents remains lower than we have seen historically, the fact remains that 2014 was a particularly violent year for Jews both overseas and in the United States,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman.
Kansas City JCC shooter pleads not guilty
A white supremacist has pleaded not guilty to charges that he gunned down three people last year at Jewish sites in the Kansas City area.
Seventy-four-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller entered the pleas Friday during a court appearance.
He was ordered earlier this month to stand trial on charges of capital murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count each of aggravated assault and criminal discharge of a weapon at a structure.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if Miller is convicted.
Wanted Nazi criminal Soren Kam dies at 93
Soren Kam, No. 5 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted war criminals, has died.
Kam, 93, a volunteer in the SS Viking Division and Denmark’s highest-ranking Nazi, died last week in Germany, where he fled in 1956 and obtained citizenship. Germany on several occasions refused to extradite him to Denmark, Reuters reported.
“The fact that Soren Kam, a totally unrepentant Nazi murderer, died a free man in Kempten (Germany) is a terrible failure of the Bavarian judicial authorities,” the Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, said in a statement.
“Kam should have finished his miserable life in jail, whether in Denmark or Germany. The failure to hold him accountable will only inspire the contemporary heirs of the Nazis to consider following in his footsteps.”
After graves desecrated, Tunisia leader vows to defend Jews
In the wake of the desecration of a Jewish sage’s grave, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi promised a European rabbinical body he would protect his country’s Jews.
Essebsi, who won the country’s presidential election last year, made the pledge this week during a meeting with Rabbi Moche Lewin, who was in the country as a delegate of the European Conference of Rabbis.
“I will not return Tunisia to the days of dictatorial rule, but will firmly protect all citizens and the Jewish community and its institutions,” Essebsi told Lewin, who was part of a delegation of foreign faith leaders and dignitaries attending a rally commemorating the death last week of 22 people, many of them tourists, in an attack by Islamists in Tunisia.
Essebsi was quoted in a statement released Thursday by the Conference of European Rabbis.
Dutch royals to return Nazi-confiscated art
The Dutch royal family will return a painting in its collection after discovering that the Nazis confiscated it from Jewish owners, the palace said on Tuesday.
The discovery was made by independent research commissioned by the palace in 2012 into art objects acquired since the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933.
“A Jewish collector was forced in 1942 to hand over the painting ‘Haagse Bos with view over Huis Ten Bosch Palace’ by Joris van der Haagen to the (Nazi) bank Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co in Amsterdam,” the report said.
After the war and the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands “the painting ended up with a Dutch art dealer where Queen Juliana bought it in 1960 without knowing about its history,” it said.
Anne Frank died earlier than believed, study finds
New research by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam shows that the teenage diarist died earlier than previously believed.
The exact date of Anne Frank’s death from typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is unknown.
At the end of World War II the Red Cross officially concluded that she died sometime during March 1945.
But new research conducted into the last months of sisters Anne and Margot Frank by researchers at the Anne Frank House has concluded that they died in February 1945.
Warsaw zoo to open new Holocaust museum for children
Tirosh is one of 300 Jews whose lives were saved thanks to the little-known heroism of the menagerie’s director, Jan Zabinski, and his wife, Antonina. A lieutenant in the Polish resistance, Zabinski sheltered the Jews in underground pathways connecting the animal cages. He also used the zoo to store arms for the resistance.
A meticulous scientist whose curt style could sometimes come across as uncourteous, Zabinski also cut an intimidating figure.
“When Zabinski gave an order, people did what he said,” said Jan-Maciej Rembiszewski, the zoo’s director from 1982 to 2006, who began volunteering there after the war. “I’m sure even the Nazis respected his authoritarian style, which allowed him to run the place as his own fiefdom.”
Next month Tirosh, who now lives in Israel, will return to the zoo for the opening of a museum celebrating the Zabinskis’ heroism. In an interview at his home in Karmiel, Tirosh, a retired career officer in the Israel Defense Forces, recalls having a much different reaction to Antonina, a cheerful teacher who enjoyed painting and playing the piano.
Akron Ohio in partnership with Israel
All -American city Akron has joined in a $5 million partnership with 5 Israeli companies as part of an “Advanced Waste Water Treatment Demonstration Project.” MemTech, WaTech-Mekorot, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; and the Israel Export Institute will be involved with this project, that is poised to put Akron at the forefront of water recycling.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said. “This is really a significant announcement to be identified as the single place in North America for these high-tech companies, ”adding “The technology eventually could help Akron deal with its ongoing combined sewage overflow issues with the federal government as well as help with the high-tech needs of wastewater facilities”
Congress seeks funding for US-Israel energy and water development
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers requested $2 million in funding for a US-Israel energy and water development program.
Led by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California), 106 members of Congress joined in the request last week for the United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Program, which began in 2006. The funds would be added to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.
The program, which deals with energy security and independence, leverages small grants for private sector innovation. Ongoing projects include funding for research and development in energy technologies and efficiency in the American and Israeli private sectors.
Envoy shares Israel’s experience amid water shortages in Taiwan
The seminar brought together representatives of seven Israeli water technology companies and Taiwanese officials and businesspeople from the semiconductor, chemical and agriculture sectors, among others.
This has led to discussions between Israeli and Taiwanese companies, and Halperin expressed the hope that the talks will develop into actual projects in the future.
She also hoped Taiwan's government will see Israeli technologies and experience as a relevant model when devising plans to fight water shortages.
Amid the worst drought in Taiwan in over a decade, strict water rationing measures will be implemented in parts of New Taipei and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan beginning April 1.
Under the measure, water supplies to these regions will be suspended for two days a week on a rotating basis.
Water rationing measures continue in southern Taiwan as well. In Kaohsiung, the most populous municipality in the south, the water supply to commercial consumers such as car-washes and spa operators has been cut by 20 percent.
Turning air to water: How Israel staved off a potential water crisis through innovation
Having struggled for decades to have enough drinking water, Israel has become one of the world's leaders in the development of water technology.
Faced with severe drought and a full-blown water crisis in the 2000s, Israel invested US$4 billion between 2002 and 2010 to develop water technology to keep its population and industries alive.
The country's Water Authority and national water company Mekorot teamed up with several private companies to develop innovative technologies that have since solved the crisis and made the country self-reliant.
“I think we can say that the water crisis in Israel is solved due to lots of desalination plants - brackish and seawater - that have been established for the last few years,” said Galit Sason, a process engineer with Mekorot. “Now you can say that desalinated water consists of 80 per cent of domestic usage here in Israel.”
Israel Active
IsraelActive is launched. I have great pleasure in launching - my brand new on-line database of positive news stories from Israel. Now you easily search 7000 news articles about the beneficial work that Israel is doing on every subject and in every part of the world. Thanks to Jake Binstein who built IsraelActive.

Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 06:00:00 PM
What's wrong with this picture?

According to Haaretz' clown Rogel Alpher, it is the tiny Israeli flag in the bottom left.

Channel 20 is the only television station in Israel which proudly waves a political flag. It is blatantly right wing. Sharon Gal was one of its presenters, until he joined Avigdor Lieberman's party and started to issue blood-chilling warnings to Arab Knesset members; the stomach churns just to hear the language that Gal used. Ar'el Segal, Zvi Yehezkeli, Kalman Liebskind and Avri Gilad – card-carrying members of right-leaning stream of the mainstream media – are the channel's stars. The channel itself is part of the inevitable trend of increasingly rightist content in Israeli news broadcasts.

In the corner of the screen Channel 20 has a strategically placed Israeli flag. It has been designed to look as if it's blowing gently in the breeze. The same flag that we salute and we drape over the coffins of fallen soldiers. What on earth is it doing in the corner of Channel 20's screen?

Even Israel Hayom does not print the Israeli flag on all of its pages. Army radio does not begin each day's broadcasts with a rendition of the national anthem. Is it considered unpatriotic to watch a television station that does not have the national flag on the screen every minute of every day? Is there some law that obligates Israeli TV channels to display the flag? Every time I see that flag on my screen, I want to cover it up or tear it down. Ironically, it reminds me of state-run television channels in some dictatorial Arab country.

This is just another fascistic symbol that is permeating our lives.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 04:00:00 PM
From Ma'an:
Former Tunisian President Muncef al-Marzouki will take part in the third "Freedom Flotilla" attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said in a statement Monday.

Marzouki reportedly gave the movement his full support at a World Social Forum in Tunis last week, and confirmed that he would be on board of one of the "Freedom Flotilla III" ships.

FFC hopes the flotilla will sail "within the first half of 2015, with at least three ships.
One of the people behind this is Dror Feiler, a Swedish musician who renounced his Israeli citizenship in 1973.

This should be fun.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 02:00:00 PM
From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas Wants Arabs to Bomb Gaza Strip
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is calling on Arab countries to launch a military strike against the Gaza Strip -- even as the PA plans to bring "war crimes" charges against Israel for doing exactly the same thing in the summer of 2014.
The Arabs are allowed to attack the Gaza strip to remove Hamas from power, while Israel is not even allowed to launch airstrikes at those who are firing rockets at its cities.
The PA's call should be brought to the attention of the International Criminal Court if and when Abbas proceeds with his plan to file "war crimes" charges against Israel for its war against Hamas.
This call should also be brought to the attention of Western governments and international human rights organizations that condemned Israel during Operation Protective Edge.
They also need to ask Abbas whether he also plans to file "war crimes" charges against his Arab brethren once they start bombing the Gaza Strip.
John Bolton: Obama Toys With Cutting Israel Adrift in the Security Council
Immediately after Israel’s March 17 election, Obama administration officials threatened to allow (or even encourage) the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state and confine Israel to its pre-1967 borders. Within days, the president himself joined in, publicly criticizing not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had notoriously bad relations, but sectors of Israeli opinion and even Israel itself.
The administration leaks suggesting that Israel be cut adrift in the Security Council in effect threatened “collective punishment” as a weapon in U.S.-Israel relations. This is especially ironic coming from “progressives” who have repeatedly accused Israel of “collective punishment” by forcefully retaliating against terrorist attacks. But more important, exposing Israel to the tender mercies of its Security Council opponents harms not only Israel’s interests, but America’s in equal measure. Roughly half of Washington’s Security Council vetoes have been cast against draft resolutions contrary to our Middle East interests.
America’s consistent view since Council Resolution 242 concluded the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is that only the parties themselves can structure a lasting peace. Deviating from that formula would be a radical departure by Obama from a bipartisan Middle East policy nearly half a century old.
In fact, Israel’s “1967 borders” are basically only the 1949 cease-fire lines, but its critics shrink from admitting this tedious reality. The indeterminate status of Israel’s borders from its 1948 creation is in fact a powerful argument why only negotiation with relevant Arab parties can ultimately fix the lines with certainty.
Iran militia chief: Destroying Israel is ‘nonnegotiable’
The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday.
Militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi also threatened Saudi Arabia, saying that the offensive it is leading in Yemen “will have a fate like the fate of Saddam Hussein.”
Naqdi’s comments were made public as Iran and six world powers prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue nuclear negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June.
In 2014, Naqdi said Iran was stepping up efforts to arm West Bank Palestinians for battle against Israel, adding the move would lead to Israel’s annihilation, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.
“Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Naqdi said.

JPost Editorial: Real differences
Obama has faith in the ability of diplomacy, negotiations and “engagement” with the Iranians as the best strategy for dealing with the threat presented by an Iran with nuclear weapons.
In contrast, Netanyahu, many Israelis and quite a few American critics of Obama (not just Republicans) are rightly concerned that after being in office for six years, the Obama administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East has very little to show for its efforts. Anarchy seems to be spreading, from Syria and Iraq to Yemen.
Israel and its borders, in contrast, are a relative oasis of stability.
This hardly seems the time to be taking chances by creating a Palestinian state that will inevitably be corrupt and autocratic and vulnerable to takeover by Hamas, as in the case of the Gaza Strip. And the Obama administration is hardly in a position to be lecturing to Israel about how best to solve its conflict with the Palestinians.
Further hurting relations between the Obama administration and Israel is the perception – not just among Israelis but also among the heads of Gulf states, Obama’s many American critics (not just Republicans) and even the French – that a tougher stand needs to be taken against the Iranians to prevent them from achieving nuclear weapons capability.
Obama is right. The differences between the Obama administration and Israel’s chosen government “can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya.’” They are much more substantive. They might be brushed over, but no amount of Democratic pushback will make them go away.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Someone in the White House is confused
Two days after the Israeli elections, the Islamic State carried out suicide attacks at two mosques in Sana'a, murdering some 150 individuals. The day before, an Islamic State offshoot perpetrated a terror attack in Tunisia that killed 23 people, mostly tourists.
In February, 1,977 people were murdered in Jihadist terrorism. In recent days, reports are emerging of massacres by Iraqi-Iranian forces in the Iraqi city of Tikrit: Shia Muslims are massacring Sunnis, after Sunnis, led by Islamic State, massacred Shias in June 2014. The commander of the attacking forces is General Qassem Soleimani, a mega-terrorist and commander of the al-Quds brigade of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani oversees Hezbollah and Hamas, as part of the project to destroy Israel.
Throughout the Muslim world, more and more countries have ceased to exist. Syria fell apart a long time ago. Libya is fragmented, with part of the country under the control of an Islamic front, and the city of Derna in the hands of Islamic State. Parts of Nigeria have been abandoned to Boko Haram, another Jihad offshoot.
The situation in Afghanistan and certain Pakistani provinces is similar. Somalia went to pieces years ago. In recent weeks, Yemen, too, has joined the list. Jihadists are in control of parts of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Four countries and/or parts of countries are already under Iranian patronage – Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
The Muslim world is undergoing massive upheaval. Arab identity is disappearing. The identity on the rise is Islamic, tribal and sectarian. Death and destruction have reached monumental proportions.
None of the bloody conflicts have anything to do with Israel or the Palestinians.
Iran deal would be worst U.S. betrayal of Israel yet
The thing to remember about any deal that the P5+1 — Obama administration, Britain, France, Communist China, Russia and Germany — seeks with the Iranians is that it will be a separate peace. Whatever U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and their camarilla think of it, their pact, if any emerges, will have been reached at the exclusion — and over the protestations — of the Jewish state that is the declared target of the Iranian regime.
This would be by far the worst breach in America’s solidarity with Israel, but it would not be the first time. I was reminded of this by the speech James Baker delivered the other day to J Street’s annual policy conference. Our 61st secretary of state, who served under President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, spoke of America’s refusal to let Israel fly in its own defense against the Scud missiles Saddam Hussein was launching at Jerusalem.
No doubt there are many who don’t remember how galling that dispute was, if they remember it at all. It was bad enough that Israel was excluded from the coalition that went up against Saddam’s army in Kuwait. It included not only America, Britain, France and Canada, but also, to name but a few, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. All of those local Arab regimes were desperate with alarm over Saddam’s advance.
No to a UN-imposed settlement
You can’t point to very much that’s positive the UN has done – over decades – to advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Indeed, it has often exacerbated the Arab-Israeli conflict, rather than promoting reconciliation by the parties.
From the infamous Zionism equals racism resolution adopted in 1975 (and only repealed 17 years later), to the creation of the special UN in-house committees promoting the Palestinian narrative, to the constant browbeating by the UN Human Rights Council – which also perpetuates the Palestinian narrative – and to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which has also perpetuated the narrative of Palestinian victimization, the list is long.
The UN is inhospitable territory for Israel, and attempts to impose any kind of arrangement will find few willing partners in Israel – even beyond the new government.
Knowing a UN Security Council resolution might not require it to make real concessions, would the Palestinian Authority demand a “right of return” of Palestinians to Israel? Attempt to wriggle out of endof- conflict assurances? Agree to be demilitarized? Stop incitement and terrorism? If a framework is imposed through the UN, it will send a message to the European Union and the rest of the world that Israel can be coerced through third parties, and the EU, as well as Israel’s enemies in the Islamic and Arab world will see this as an opportunity to pile on.
Ultimately, a UN-imposed settlement would place Israel in a three-sided vise, facing the prospects of rockets and other terrorist attacks from north (Hezbollah), south (Hamas) and east (Iran and its proxies).
Jennifer Rubin: Bipartisan letter to Obama: Stop threatening Israel
Right Turn has obtained a copy of a letter from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to President Obama imploring him to recall that “Democratic and Republican administrations have stood by Israel in opposing anti-Israel or one-sided resolutions at the UN Security Council and other UN agencies.” They quote back to him his own words from 2011 declaring, “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations.” In relatively strong language, the senators say he must remain firm against resolutions that circumvent direct negotiations and “must make clear our willingness to use our veto power to block such efforts at the UN Security Council and our continuing defense of Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council and other agencies where Israel is under constant assault.”
It is extraordinary that such a letter is even necessary, but this president has gone into a realm of threats and recriminations no other president has ever attempted. This is no longer a conservative or Republican backlash. Liberal stalwarts in Congress and in the foreign policy community, many of whom harbor no affection for the current Israeli prime minister, are dumbstruck. David Rothkopf, publisher of the center-left Foreign Policy and a former Clinton official, writes: “Just because the Middle East’s descent into chaos is hardly the fault of the Obama administration, that doesn’t mean its policies in the region are not an egregious failure. . . . Now, as noted above, Benjamin Netanyahu is no walk in the park as a partner. But it is also undeniable that the White House has poured gasoline on the flames that have all but incinerated the traditional foundations of the relationship. Whatever the next 21 months may bring — and a further deterioration of the relationship is likely — it’s no exaggeration to say that the relationship between the leaders of the United States and Israel is at a historic low. In fact, you can say what you want about the origins of the current mess in the Middle East, but the fact that America’s relations with every important country in the region are worse with the exception of Iran is telling.”
Sources: US may push renewed discussion of the Saudi peace initiative
According to the sources, the US would not initiate the move itself, but would "make sure" that another western state would introduce the move.
Sources who work closely with the US delegation to the United Nations say that, parallel to the blatant declarations directed against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the White House recently, senior officials in the administration are initiating steps to be taken immediately after the swearing in of the new Israeli government aimed at renewing Israeli and Palestinian dialogue.
A senior European envoy in New York said that, amid the current chaos in the Middle East and the involvement of Arab states in the war in Yemen, he believes the US will push the Saudi initiative through a discussion at an international forum or by turning directly to the Israelis and Palestinian Authority.
The purported US plans do not signal that Washington supports all of the clauses of the Saudi initiative or agrees to its diplomatic goals. However, the move would serve Washington in two ways: first, it will placate the Saudis and strengthen the standing of Riyadh and the moderate Gulf states, who are afraid of the emerging nuclear deal with Iran and of Tehran's ambitions to take control of the area. Second, such a step would send a message to the new government in Israel: that it does not have a lot of time to ponder a renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians.
As Palestinians join ICC Wednesday, will war crimes complaints quickly follow?
So what is actually changing on April 1? For one, Palestine will become a voting member of the Assembly of State Parties, which decides on many aspects of the court. But as one of 124 member states, its influence will be marginal.
More importantly, Palestine will be able to file so-called state referrals, which carry more weight than referrals by nonmember entities. In practice, that means that when Palestine the member state complains about crimes committed on its soil, the court will have to take the referral more seriously than it previously did.
And yet, the actual difference between pre- and post-membership complaints is not dramatic, several Israeli officials said, all speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
“It changes the procedure down the line, but it’s a pretty minor procedural step that has little impact,” one official said.
PLO member accuses Israel of war crimes over Har Homa
PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi accused Israel of war crimes after the Jerusalem Municipality issued a construction permit for 143 apartment units in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa located over the pre-1967 lines on Monday.
“This latest development is an additional war crime as stipulated by the Rome Statute, and the occupation authorities will be held accountable by the International Criminal Court and other venues for its continued aggression on the lands and resources of the state of Palestine,” Ashrawi said.
According to Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, the construction permit was a technicality for a project that was marketed by the city years ago. She explained that a private contractor needed the permit for work that had already been authorized. The municipality made no comment.
Located on the city’s southern end, the Har Homa neighborhood of some 20,000 residents creates a wedge between Israeli-Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem from the nearby Palestinian city of Bethlehem. (h/t NormanF)
Planning body okays Arab construction push in E. Jerusalem
An Interior Ministry planning body on Monday approved continued progress for a plan to construct 2,200 housing units in East Jerusalem and to validate hundreds of others that were built illegally.
The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved for publication a master plan for the housing units, enabling the public to get a first look at — and protest — a scheme to build thousands of homes for the population in the Arab al-Sawahira neighborhood of East Jerusalem. By recognizing additional buildings that were constructed illegally, the plan will enable hundreds more homes to be included in municipal services.
Right-wing city council member Arieh King, a proponent of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, strongly opposed the plan. King wrote on his Facebook page before the planning panel’s meeting that “the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, will try and stick another nail in the coffin of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli control.”
Release of PA taxes said held up over electric bill dispute
Four days after Israel announced it would stop withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid tax funds to the Palestinian Authority, the payment remained held up over a dispute regarding the size of the PA’s unpaid electric bill.
A Palestinian source said that the Israeli demand for electricity costs is far too high for the PA, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday. Multiple sources said the two sides are still NIS 400 million ($100 million) apart on their demands over the amount to be transferred.
PA and Israeli officials met Monday to discuss the details of the transfer, but were unable to come to an agreement.
The PA is scheduled to pay the salaries of 170,000 government employees next week, according to Israel Radio.
While Violence Rages Across Arab Middle East, UN Secretary General Calls Israel a Threat to International Peace
The Arab League met in Egypt on March 28, 2015 in the midst of a bloody coup in Yemen, the Saudi air force bombing parts of Yemen, Iraq and Syria experiencing catastrophic intra-Muslim violence, and Islamist terrorists attacking across Arab countries. In this context, the United Nations' contribution was to help push Israel to the top of the agenda as a central threat to peace in the Middle East. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told participants: "Today, war and violence in the region, reprehensible acts of terrorism, and the seemingly endless Israeli occupation of Palestine are causing enormous suffering. The impact of all these threats transcends the Arab world. They pose a direct challenge to international peace and security..."
In addition, instead of calling for the rejection of the terrorist organization Hamas, the Secretary General urged Palestinians to unite with it. In his words: "I urge the Palestinians to overcome their divisions."
Poll: Clear majority supports nuclear deal with Iran
By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.
But the survey — released hours before Tuesday’s negotiating deadline — also finds few Americans are hopeful that such an agreement will be effective. Nearly six in 10 say they are not confident that a deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, unchanged from 15 months ago, when the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia reached an interim agreement with Iran aimed at sealing a long-term deal.
Overall, the poll finds 59 percent support an agreement in which the United States and its negotiating partners lift major economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Thirty-one percent oppose a deal.
Be ‘very worried’ about Iran deal, says ex-Shin Bet head
A former head of the Shin Bet security agency said Tuesday that Israel has “good reasons to be worried, even very worried” about a potential nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers known as the P5+1.
Avi Dichter, who has also served as public security minister and who is re-entering Knesset Tuesday as a member of the Likud party, told the Walla news site that the agreement would effectively make Iran a nuclear threshold state. He also said Israel would launch a military strike if necessary.
Dichter made his comments before news came out Tuesday that Tehran and the P5+1 were preparing to issue a general statement agreeing to continue negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June, according to AP.
The Likud MK emphasized that Iran’s regional standing in the Middle East is also troubling. Iran has “moved from a position of isolation, of losing its northern axis — Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,” he said, and “suddenly becomes the favorite son of the West in general, and the US in particular.”
Obama’s Pax Persarum
Which brings me back to the Obama Administration’s mysterious policy. Trying to get closer to Iran and Syria is the heart of the Baker-Hamilton diplomatic offensive. And this is exactly what the administration is doing. It believes that Iran and its proxies will mop up the Sunni radicals in Iraq and Syria, so that the administration’s pullout from Iraq won’t be blamed for the chaos.
But it isn’t dumb enough to think that Iran wants to help stabilize Iraq and Syria, after which it will go back to minding its own business. The administration understands that the Iranians want the whole enchilada. And they are OK with that. After all, who is to say that a Shiite caliphate is worse than the Islamic State, or the Wahhabi regime of the Saudis? All those Arabs are crap, they think, so who cares what kind of dictatorship they have. We can work with Iran, they think. One address for the whole Middle East. Pax Persarum.
Unfortunately, Israel stands in the way of the Iranian dream. And it might be small, but it’s still a nuclear power. It’s a much bigger threat to the Shiite caliphate than the Saudis or anyone else. So Israel has to go, and the best way to bring that about without a nuclear war is to weaken it, until the conventional forces of Hizballah, Hamas and the PLO combined with boycotts and isolation from the Western world can make it so unpleasant to live here that it will collapse.
For me that would be a big problem. For Obama, not so much.
As nuclear talks near deadline, Khamenei aide warns of West's 'deceptive tactics'
An adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at world powers amid negotiations to reach a preliminary nuclear accord in Switzerland Monday.
"Our negotiating team are trustworthy and compassionate officials that are working hard, but they should be careful with the enemies' deceptive and skillful tactics," the adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, told Fars news agency.
For days Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have been trying to break an impasse in negotiations aimed at stopping Tehran from having the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb, in exchange for an easing of United Nations sanctions that are crippling its economy.
But officials at the talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne said attempts to reach a framework accord, which is intended as a prelude to a comprehensive agreement by the end of June, could yet fall apart.
Negotiators from all parties appeared increasingly pessimistic. "If we don't have some type of framework agreement now, it will be difficult to explain why we would be able to have one by June 30," said a Western diplomat.
Former IAEA Deputy Director: Current Deal’s Breakout Time Would Be Seven or Eight Months
In an analysis published Saturday, Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general for safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and now at Harvard University, argued that a one-year breakout window is not enough to prevent the Iranians from dashing across the nuclear finish line—even assuming that the rumored terms could achieve such a one-year period, which Heinonen calculated is not at all certain. Instead, it appears that the deal shaping up would put Iran perhaps only seven to eight months from breakout. Assuming that Iran will be able to operate 6,500 centrifuges, Heinonen estimated that using first-generation centrifuges, the breakout time would be nine months; however, given the stockpile of low-enriched uranium the Iranians have on hand, he writes that “a breakout time of between seven and eight months would…be possible.”
Real world constraints on detection mean that even with a one year breakout time, the U.S. might not have sufficient time to prevent the Iranians from constructing a nuclear bomb should the Islamic Republic go down that path. If Iran attempted to conceal its nuclear activities from the IAEA, it would take the organization at least two months to sift through samples and conduct the proper analysis. Further samples would likely be needed, expanding the detection time to three months. Then the IAEA would need time to report to the United Nations Security Council, which would need more time to respond.
Heinonen, along with Michael Hayden, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Ray Takeyh, a former State Department advisor on Iranian affairs in the Obama administration, wrote last week in The Washington Post about additional real-world constraints that make one year an inadequate time to catch Iran cheating and act:
IAEA Wants 'Snap Inspections' as Part of Iran Nuclear Deal
A piece on the Iran nuclear deal published at the Huffington Post cites the IAEA inspection regime that is already in place as a sign of the forthcoming deal’s success, but what the IAEA really wants is the implementation of the so-called “additional protocol,” which amounts to snap inspections.
Joe Cirincione is the president of the Ploughshares Fund, an organization that seeks to reduce nuclear arms stockpiles and prevent nuclear proliferation. In his piece published today at the Huffington Post he cites three necessary elements which will allow readers to judge whether the deal being negotiated with Iran is a good one. The second of the three points is the need for tough inspections. Cirincione writes, “the deal must give us eyes on the program. It must create an inspection regime so intrusive that if Iran tries to break out, sneak out or creep out, we can detect it quickly.”
That seems reasonable. After all, what good is a deal if there is no way to verify it? Cirincione writes, “If the inspection procedures are as good as reported, we can detect cheating very quickly. I was with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano last week. He told an international gathering of non-proliferation experts that with the new inspection procedures, ‘If there is any abnormality, we can detect the change on the following day, on the very same day or in one week’s time.'”
Report Says Iran May Be Keeping Elements of Nuclear Program in Syria, North Korea
As world powers race to close a nuclear deal with Iran, recent reports have indicated that not all elements of Iran’s nuclear program may be domestic, but that some of it may be located in Syria and as far away as North Korea. In light of the secrecy surrounding the talks going on in Lausanne, Switzerland these reports are receiving some attention, according to The Israel Project, a Washington DC-based advocacy group.
If true, the implications of the reports are far reaching. The Israel Project said that the debate in these reports “involves how Iran has dispersed its nuclear assets to Syria and North Korea, which means that any envisioned deal would only slow a part of the Iranian nuclear program, while flooding the Iranians with cash to bolster what’s left over.”
Last November, as an earlier deadline for the talks approached, the issue came up regarding Iran moving its nuclear program’s assets to Syria, but now the debate is including North Korea. And according to the Israel project, “Even if everything goes right in slowing Iran’s nuclear work on Iranian soil…the deal wouldn’t touch all of the places and ways the Iranians are going nuclear.”
Expert: “Mistake” To Believe That Only Alternative to Nuke Deal with Iran is War
In an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Monday, David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, disputed the idea that the only alternative of the deal being negotiated with Iran was a war. The relevant segment of the interview is embedded below. When Mitchell asked if “we’re better not to have a deal at all,” Albright responded:
Well I think a bad deal is worse than no deal. I think I’ll repeat what the U.S. government has said many times. And I’ll also repeat what other U.S. [government] officials have said to me privately and publicly. There are alternatives to not having a deal and one of them as stated by very senior treasury official recently is that they would work with Congress to increase pressure on Iran. I think one of the mistakes is to think that somehow if there’s no deal it’s war. I think that’s good in a kind of the rhetorical war that takes place within the Washington Beltway but in real life … those are not the only two choices by any means.
Iran Tests Obama’s Desperation Again
As the last weekend before the deadline for its nuclear talks with Iran wound down, administration sources were talking as if a deal was a foregone conclusion. But as they have throughout this process, Tehran’s agents decided to test President Obama’s desperation one more time. On Sunday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi let slip that, contrary to the West’s expectations, the Islamist regime had no intention of agreeing to anything that would commit them to shipping their growing stockpile of enriched uranium out of the country. Reneging at the last minute on something they have previously committed to doing is a standard Iranian negotiating tactic. Though American officials are insisting that negotiations about this crucial point are continuing, the last-second switch was yet another telling moment in a dispiriting display of weak American diplomacy. Along with Iran’s ongoing refusal to reveal its military research program and reports about nuclear work in Syria and North Korea that may be conducted on behalf of the regime once sanctions are lifted, this news raises the question of just how much more will the U.S. have to concede to get Iran to sign on to anything?
The official U.S. response to the New York Times report about Iran reneging on exporting its nuclear fuel was hardly encouraging. Virtually all observers were under the impression that the West had secured Iran’s agreement on this point. Though there would still be plenty of room to cheat on a deal with such a provision in place, without it, the entire shaky edifice of the negotiations would collapse. Thus, when a “senior State Department official” said that, “Contrary to the report in The New York Times, the issue of how Iran’s stockpile would be disposed of had not yet been decided in the negotiating room, even tentatively,” that is hardly a sign that the situation is in hand. If Iran is still holding onto that crucial card with only hours before a deadline is supposed to expire, that’s a sign of enormous confidence on the part of Tehran’s negotiators that they have President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry just where they want them.
What If There’s No Iran Deal?
Taking a tough line on Iranian nukes is bad, according to Obama, because it could help Republicans. It’s a rather amazing bit of myopia and partisan mania from the president.
And yet all this damage Obama is doing is for an Iran deal that might, in the end, not happen. And what if that’s the case? We can’t stitch Yemen, Syria, and Iraq back together. The failure of the negotiations won’t make the Saudis or the Israelis or the French trust Obama any more.
Obama’s clout on the Hill will plummet. And his legacy will be in ruins. After all, though he has been on pace to sign a bad Iran deal, it would at least buy him time for his devotees to spin the deal before its worst consequences happen (which would be after Obama leaves office, as designed). In other words, signing a bad deal for Obama allows him to say that at least from a narrow antiwar standpoint, all the costs we and our allies have incurred were for a purpose.
Of course, the grand realignment Obama has been seeking with Iran can’t and won’t be undone. That’s happening whether a deal is signed or not. And while Obama will have spent much of his own political capital, the president’s wasted time will pale in comparison to the smoldering ruins of American influence he leaves behind.
Krauthammer On Iran Deal: 'Surrender At Every Level'
KRAUTHAMMER: It’s more than chaotic. It’s a surrender at every level. The latest news — the most shocking news is another bait and switch. We were assured that the Iranians would ship all their enriched uranium out of the country so they wouldn’t have access to it. They would have to re-enrich the stuff they had which would take them time, which would give us and the west the opportunity to do something about it if they were cheating or a breakout.
Now, we are learning — we heard from the deputy foreign minister of Iran, that it is a principle of theirs that they will not ship out right enriched uranium. Are we going to cave on this? We already caved on four other supposedly nonnegotiable principles. This is a total collapse on our side and this administration is so desperate that the Iranians have the audacity on the day before to do a final bait and switch on highly enriched uranium.
Former CIA Director: Iran the New Nazi Germany
Iran is using the same tactics as Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany to expand their empire, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director James Woolsey stated Monday - by reviving imperialism through ideology.
"They are doing it on a highly ideological basis," Woolsey said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "They are an imperial power and trying to become more of an imperial power."
As such, he added, "given Iran's aggressiveness and the fanaticism of its leaders, I don't think we can do a reasonable deal with them.They'll cheat."
Despite the evidence, Woolsey theorized that US President Barack Obama will continue the negotiations process - if anything, for personal reasons.
"I think the president wants a good relationship with Iran and an agreement so he can claim a diplomatic victory," he said.
'Iran is placing guided warheads on Hezbollah rockets'
Iran is placing guided warheads on its rockets and smuggling them to Hezbollah in Lebanon, a senior Defense Ministry official involved in preparing Israeli air defenses said Tuesday.
Speaking at the Israel Air and Missile Defense Conference in Herzliya, organized by the iHLS defense website and the Israel Missile Defense Association, Col. Aviram Hasson said Iran is converting Zilzal unguided rockets into accurate, guided M-600 projectiles by upgrading their warheads.
Hasson, who is in charge of upper tier missile defenses in the Defense Ministry's HOMA, which is a part of the Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, described Iran as a "train engine that is not stopping for a moment. It is manufacturing new and advanced ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. It is turning unguided rockets that had an accuracy range of kilometers into weapons that are accurate to within meters."
Hezbollah, he continued, "is getting a lot of accurate weapons from Iran. It is in a very different place compared to the Second Lebanon War in 2006."
PA Asks FIFA to Suspend Israel
The Palestinian Football Association on Monday officially asked the international soccer organization FIFA to suspend Israel.
The move is being led by Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement who currently serves as president of the Palestinian Football Association. Rajoub has been trying for months to convince FIFA to suspend Israel because of his claims that it discriminates against Palestinian Arab players.
Until recently, FIFA heads tried to convince Rajoub not to submit his request, but Rajoub chose to ignore pleas on the issue from FIFA president Sepp Blatter and went ahead with the request, which will be discussed by the FIFA congress in two months.
It is believed that there is little chance the request will be approved, however, as it takes a majority of 66% of the members to pass such a resolution. (h/t Bob Knot)
Jerusalem Land Day event low on turnout, high on rage
The Land Day demonstration, an annual protest against state confiscation of privately owned Arab land, all but ended 15 minutes after it began.
A few dozen protesters, mostly teenagers, stood on the stone steps across from the grand gate erected by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538, waving Palestinian flags and chanting nationalistic songs. Local politicians, including Fatah’s former Jerusalem affairs minister Hatem Abdul Qader and Legislative Council member Jihad Abu Zneid, sat in the front row, cheering, as the youth behind them chanted: “Hand in hand, we shall protect Jerusalem from Judaization,” “Tomorrow Hamas will arrive and with it suicide attacks,” and “How great are the kidnappers of soldiers and border police.”
When the demonstrates began moving toward Sultan Suleiman Street, a major thoroughfare, they were stopped by Israeli border police, and physical altercations erupted. One man was arrested, a couple of mounted policemen arrived at the scene, and within moments the road was back to normal, with only a handful of journalists looking for people to interview and three Irish solidarity activists carrying a banner that read “Celts against Apartheid” left behind.
IDF Clashes with 40 Rioters at Gaza Border
Israeli soldiers shot and wounded at least one Arab when approximately 40 Gazans rioted near the security fence at Khan Yunis in central Gaza Monday.
An IDF spokeswoman told The Jewish Press, “Soldier shot warnings in the air and when the protesters did not retreat, shots were fired at their lower extremities, injuring one person.”
The Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an News Agency reported that three Arabs were wounded.
The riot coincided with “Land Day” marches and riots in Judea and Samaria, which generally did not result in unusual violence.
Palestinian official in charge of rebuilding Gaza resigns
Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa was not available for comment Tuesday on why he stepped down. It was not clear if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would accept the resignation of Mustafa, an experienced economist.
Mustafa had been put in charge of Gaza reconstruction, following a 50-day war last summer between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group and a bitter rival of Abbas.
The fighting destroyed or damaged thousands of homes. Reconstruction has sputtered, in large part because of continued political wrangling between Abbas and Hamas over who controls Gaza.
Ehab Bseiso, a spokesman for Abbas’ West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, says Mustafa resigned for personal reasons.
Abbas Slammed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad for Urging Arab Intervention in Gaza
Leaders from the Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad slammed Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for purportedly suggesting that Arab states intervene in Gaza with military force resembling their action in Yemen.
Abbas made the suggestion during his remarks at the Arab League summit in Egypt, where he praised the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen as “acceptable and advisable” and said that “there are other cases, there are other countries suffering from division and discord.”
“We suffer from division. We were the first to suffer from division,” Abbas said, in reference to the split between the PA-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza.
“Abbas had previously described Gaza as a rebellious region and seeks to pit the world against his own people, not to mention that he works with the Israelis against his Palestinians,” Hamas member Mushir al-Masri said at a rally against Abbas in northern Gaza on Sunday evening, the Turkish state-runAnadolu Agency reported.
Hezbollah ‘operating in Yemen’ with Houthis
Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shiite militia, is operating in Yemen on the side of the Houthis with the aid of Iran, a senior Saudi diplomat claimed on Friday.
Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir made the claim in an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. “We have reports that the Iranians are providing weapons, training and advisers to the Houthis. We have reports of Hezbollah operatives being in Yemen.”
According to Al-Jubeir, when the Houthis captured Sanaa one of the first things they did was to release captured members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.
“This is really a war to defend the legitimate government of Yemen and to protect the Yemeni people from being taken over by a radical militant group that is aligned with Iran and Hezbollah.”
Al-Jubeir said the coalition would do “whatever it takes to achieve that objective.”
Iran Tells Its Citizens Israel IDF Joined Saudis to Bomb Yemen
One of the Iranian regime’s mouthpieces reported has reported that the Israeli Air Force joined Saudi warplanes to bomb Yemen this week.
The article by the Fars [read: Farce”] News Agency was so ridiculous that even the less responsible news sites did not repeat the propaganda.
On the other hand, considering Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement earlier this week that “we see eye to eye with many of our Arab neighbors regarding the danger posed by Iran and we also view positively the benefit that this new partnership could have for the region,” perhaps the Fars report is a harbinger of the future.
Yemen Conflict Could be Good for Israel, Says Expert
Developments in Yemen are further proof of the US and the Arab world's inability to assert themselves, Dr. Dan Schueftan, a Middle East expert at the University of Haifa, stated Tuesday morning.
"Yemen is disintegrating," Schueftan stated, in an interview with Arutz Sheva. "This phenomenon has taken place in Iraq, Syria and Libya. This is a phenomenon that emphasizes the weakness of the region's societies." He added that Egypt may be the only Middle Eastern country which has been stable enough, over time, to be seen as a state with a permanent presence.
Schueftan also related to Iranian and Saudi Arabian involvement in Yemen.
"In Yemen, senior officials, aided by the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, are trying to take over a strategic position that has great importance to the whole world," he explained.
"Yemen sits at the mouth of the Mandeb strait, through which passes a significant portion of the world's oil, from the Persian Gulf through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea and on the way to Europe."
Israel rooting for the Saudis
When Shi’ite Houthi rebels took Yemen’s capital in September, it sent shock waves to countries on the Red Sea, scared of Yemen becoming an Iranian hub. Besides Israel, these countries are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.
The new Saudi leadership role in the region, demonstrated by King Salman and his ability to put aside Sunni differences such as Qatar’s and Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, could provide a counter-force to Iran absent a US force doing so.
Analysts and a former deputy national security adviser told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that Israel’s interest lies in the victory of the Saudi alliance over the Houthis.
“Israel’s clear interest is to see a rollback of Iranian influence in Yemen. This is true also in Syria, where the fall of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad will be a blow to the Shi’ite corridor,” Prof.
Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told the Post.
At Least 40 Casualties Reported In Yemen Refugee Camp Bombing
Reuters reports at least 40 people were killed and 200 more wounded in an errant attack against a camp for “displaced people” in northern Yemen on Monday. Houthi insurgents claim this was collateral damage from an air attack on their positions by the Saudi-led international coalition seeking to restore the government of deposed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The Saudi military said they were investigating the incident. “It could have been that the fighter jets replied to fire, and we cannot confirm that it was a refugee camp,” said a Saudi general. Hadi’s government, meanwhile, blamed Houthi artillery fire for casualties at the camp.
At least one witness at the camp said that the target of the strike appeared to be a truck full of Houthi militia parked at the gates. A Yemeni journalist quoted by the L.A. Times said he thought Saudi forces mistook the refugee camp for a Houthi military installation. Other sources believe the target of the airstrike was a Houthi base located uncomfortably close to the refugee camp.

Posted By Ian to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 12:00:00 PM
As usual, the 26th Arab League Summit ended with a flurry of declarations.

Yet while Palestinian issues usually dominate the discussions and declarations, this time there was very little that was stated beyond the boilerplate condemnations of Israel.

The real story was the idea of a joint Arab rapid strike force, but there were plenty of others listed before they even mentioned Palestinian Arabs in the territories.

The only declaration concerning them that was slightly concrete was a new pledge of $100 million in monthly financial aid to the PA and to increase the capital of the Al-Aqsa Fund and Jerusalem Fund by 50 percent, or $500 million.

Both those pledges will almost certainly be ignored, as nearly all Arab pledges of financial help to the PA are.

Yes, there was a declaration, as there is every time, that Israel should give the Golan to Syria. (There was no condemnation of Syria for killing tens of thousands of Arab civilians, of course.) There was a declaration that the Shebaa Farms belongs to Lebanon, not Israel. They said "the continued Israeli occupation of the region poses a serious threat to peace and security in the Middle East and the world."

But everyone knows that those declarations are just for show. Even Arab media widely ignored the condemnations of Israel and concentrated on the real issues, Iran and Yemen and Libya. A 14-paragraph summary of the declarations at Al Riyadh doesn't mention Palestinians once.

The difference between this summit and earlier ones is quite instructive. Here's what happened in the 1969 summit:

If there is one thing that Palestinian leadership hates, it is being ignored. After this summit, they must be seething.

Posted By Elder of Ziyon to Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News at 3/31/2015 10:00:00 AM

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