zaterdag 11 april 2009

Hezbollah cel smokkelde wapens naar Gaza

Egypte kan moeilijk aan haar burgers verkopen dat het buurland Israel helpt met de strijd tegen terrorisme, dus presenteert ze de Hezbollah leden als een bedreiging voor haar interne veiligheid.

The Jerusalem Post
Apr 9, 2009 14:23 | Updated Apr 9, 2009 18:32
'Hizbullah cell smuggled arms to Gaza'

Forty-nine suspected Hizbullah agents arrested in Egypt Wednesday are also accused of smuggling weapons to Hamas in Gaza.

AFP quoted an Egyptian judicial source as saying that the suspects allegedly rented homes in Rafah, on the Gaza border, in order to carry out the smuggling.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian attorney-general accused the 49 of planning "hostile operations."

Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud said that the men were looking to "destabilize Egypt's general security" and had been assigned by Hizbullah to observe and collect intelligence from the villages along the Egypt-Gaza border, tourist sites in the Sinai, and the Suez Canal.

"They have been provided with quantities of explosives and the means to make bombs," said the statement, adding that they were tasked with "spreading Shi'ite ideology" inside Egypt.

Tensions have been high between Egypt and Hizbullah since the group criticized Egypt for not doing more to stop the IDF's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in December.

Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah criticized Egypt heavily during the Gaza offensive and called on Egyptians to rise up and force the Rafah crossing open so that aid could reach the embattled Palestinians.

A Hizbullah spokesman had no immediate comment on the allegations. But Hizbullah's satellite TV station said that Egypt was attempting to ease its regional isolation through these accusations.

Diaa Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on Islamist movements in Cairo called the attorney general's allegations "dangerous" and suggested they was motivated primarily by political considerations.

"Hizbullah doesn't have activities outside Lebanon, and if it has, it comes in support of group ... but it has no outside military activities," he said.

Egyptian lawyer Montassar el-Zayat told AFP that the detainees included Lebanese and Palestinians.

"The information that we have is that they are accused of weapons smuggling through tunnels and spreading Hizbullah ideology," Zayat added.

He claimed the arrests had been made for political reasons.

"My impression is that it is a fabricated case created by Egyptian security in the context of bad relations between Hizbullah and Egypt. It is a pressure card," he continued.

Als Abbas Fayyad vraagt voor een nieuwe overgangsregering is dialoog met Hamas over

Met de Palestijnse eenheid schiet het nog niet op....

Hamas: If Abbas asks Fayyad to form new transitional government, dialogue is over
Date: 09 / 04 / 2009  Time:  12:50
www.maannews .net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36999

Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' plan to ask Salam Fayyad to form a transitional government will "abort all conciliation and unity attempts," said Hamas spokesperson Ismail Radwan on Thursday.

The Jerusalem-based Al-Manar daily newspaper had quoted Palestinian sources as saying that Abbas intends to ask Salam Fayyad to form a new transitional government on 14 April.

But Yaser Abed Rabu, secretary general of the PLO's Executive Committee, denied reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to ask Fayyad to form a new transitional government.

Rabu told Ma'an that "these reports are baseless; the issue was not presented or discussed," adding that "the recent government will stay as long as the president does not accept its resignation."

Fayyad, according to Al-Manar, would have to set up his government within 48 hours. Rumors said the government would need 24 ministers including seven who had never been ministers before, and six of the current ministers would remain in office.

"If this news is true, Hamas will refuse any forestallment of Palestinian dialogue results, and considers the plan an attempt to thwart efforts to achieve unity," Radwan told Ma'an.

Secretary of the PLO executive committee Yasser Abd Rabbo, however, denied the rumor. He said the issue has not been brought up and that Fayyad is still the Prime Minister of the Caretaker government since Abbas did not accept his resignation.

Nonetheless, Radwan still warned that a transitional government formed by Fayyad would be illegitimate "because the PLC would not approve it." He reiterated that Palestinian unity will only come from the Palestinian people and not international opinion.

***Updated 18:44 Bethlehem time

J Street - Een Ander Amerikaans Joods Geluid?


Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Self-loathing on J Street
James Kirchick
There is something perverse and masochistic about a self-described "pro-Israel" group going out of its way to lend support to the airing of luridly anti-Semitic propaganda.
Yet that's what happened last month when J Street - the "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" lobby - endorsed the performance of "Seven Jewish Children," an outrageous new play by the British playwright Caryl Churchill. The 10-minute drama has been staged in major cities across the United States, including Washington, where Theater J, a production company affiliated with the city's Jewish Community Center, hosted readings last month.
"Seven Jewish Children" draws a direct line from Nazi Germany's mass murder of European Jewry to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. This theme is an old trope in the quiver of rabid Israel-haters.
Rushing through 60 years of history, the play depicts a group of adults speaking in hushed tones about how they ought to address a Jewish girl who remains offstage. "Don't tell her they'll kill her," one of the characters says, presumably sometime in the 1940s. Minutes later, transported to modern-day Israel, the adults discuss what they should teach the child about Palestinians: "Tell her they're filth," "Tell her they're animals living in rubble now," and so on.
The Jewish girl who begins as Anne Frank ends up as Baruch Goldstein-in-training. (Goldstein was an extreme right-wing Israeli who murdered 29 Muslims praying at a West Bank mosque in 1994.)
"The decision to feature 'Seven Jewish Children' at Theater J," read a statement issued by J Street in the defense of its production, "should be judged not on the basis of the play's content but, rather, on its value in sparking a difficult but necessary conversation within our community. To preclude even the possibility of such a discussion does a disservice not only to public discourse, but also to the very values of rigorous intellectual engagement and civil debate on which our community prides itself."
It is "Seven Jewish Children," in spreading the anti-Semitic blood libel, that "does a disservice to public discourse," not complaints over the propriety of its production (which should not be confused with a call to ban it). Would J Street similarly support production of a play depicting Palestinians as bloodthirsty murderers?
Contrast J Street's support for the production of "Seven Jewish Children" with its stance on the controversial Rev. John Hagee. Last year, the group launched a campaign criticizing the pastor and his affiliation with pro-Israel organizations. Mr. Hagee is indeed an incendiary man, and J Street spoke for many Jews (this one included) when it questioned his coziness with some Israel advocacy groups.
But it says something about J Street's motives when it trips over itself to attack a politically conservative ally of Israel but rushes to defend a play comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. The last several years have borne witness to a disturbing rise in global anti-Semitism along with a concerted effort by radical Muslims around the world, in league with leftist intellectuals in the West, to undermine the very legitimacy of Israel's existence and its right to defend itself from terrorism and the eventual Iranian bomb. "Seven Jewish Children" is but the latest volley of this shameful campaign.
J Street attempts to cover itself with a fig leaf of moral deniability by saying it "takes no position on the content" of "Seven Jewish Children" but insists that its performance is a good thing nonetheless because it will encourage "a difficult but necessary conversation."
If you don't understand this distinction between the play's anti-Semitic message and the desirability of putting it on, it's because there is no distinction. Just the opposite: To J Street, the inflammatory message of "Seven Jewish Children" is precisely what makes it worthy of production.
Instead of admitting this, J Street engages in a feeble and transparent attempt at having it both ways, distancing itself from the disgusting content of the play while encouraging the spectacle of pain that will follow in its wake.
J Street says "Seven Jewish Children" will contribute to debate about Israel. Which part of it contributes to what part of the debate? The part where the Jews celebrate the killing of Arab children? Or is it the part where they use the memory of the Holocaust to justify the wanton slaughter of Palestinians?
There is nothing wrong with voicing legitimate criticism of Israel. But in such perilous times for the Jewish state, it's appalling that an ostensibly "pro-Israel" organization like J Street would transmogrify the worthy Jewish tradition of self-criticism into a spectacle of self-loathing.
James Kirchick is an assistant editor of the New Republic and a contributing writer to the Advocate

Iran wijdt eerste plutoniumfabriek in

Wat hebben gesprekken en onderhandelingen met Iran voor nut als al vast staat dat het onder geen voorwaarde met zijn atoomprogramma wil stoppen? Als het doel is om een Iraanse atoombom tegen te houden dan moet dat vanaf het begin uitgangspunt van de gesprekken zijn en moet een duidelijk ultimatum worden gesteld wanneer het programma uiterlijk dient te worden stilgelegd, met internationale controle op naleving. Het lijkt uitgesloten dat Iran daarmee akkoord gaat, waarna dus andere middelen moeten worden aangewend. De tijd voor theekransjes en samen hoemoes eten is lang voorbij.

The important point is that the heavy water reactor is capable of producing plutonium. It is the route by which others have made bombs.
Last update - 18:33 09/04/2009       
Iran inaugurates first nuclear production plant
By News Agencies
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday inaugurated the country's first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant (FMP) located near the central Iranian city of Isfahan.
Ahmadinejad has announced the plant's opening during a ceremony in the central city of Isfahan on Iran's so-called Nuclear Day.
He also said that Tehran would be ready for talks with the West if they are based on respect and justice.
"The Iranian nation has from the beginning been after logic and negotiations, but negotiations based on justice and complete respect for rights and regulations," Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech.
The nuclear fuel manufacturing plant will produce pellets of uranium oxide to fuel the heavy-water research reactor, which is scheduled to be completed in 2009 or 2010.
The process is distinct from uranium enrichment, which produces fuel for a light-water reactor. Highly enriched uranium can be used to build a warhead as well. Iran's enrichment program presents more immediate concerns to the West than the hard-water reactor, because it is far more advanced.
Iran denies any intention to build a nuclear weapon. The U.S. and its allies have expressed concerns Iran could reprocess spent fuel from the heavy-water reactor into plutonium for building a warhead.
Iran earlier on Thursday said it will decide on an offer of nuclear talks made by the United States and five other world powers after reviewing the details, a senior adviser to Ahmadinejad said.
"We will review it and then decide about it," Ali Akbar Javanfekr told Reuters.
Javanfekr's comments came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that her country would be a "full participant" in talks by major powers with Iran over its nuclear program.
"Obviously we believe that pursuing very careful engagement on a range of issues that affect our interests and the interests of the world with Iran makes sense. There is nothing more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon," Clinton told reporters.
Clinton's announcement marked another significant shift from former U.S. President George W. Bush's policy toward a nation he labeled a member of the Axis of Evil.
On Wednesday, the State Department said the U.S. would be at the table from now on when senior diplomats from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany meet with Iranian officials to discuss the nuclear issue.
The Bush administration had generally shunned such meetings, although it attended one last year.
U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the decision to engage Iran was conveyed to representatives of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia by the third-ranking U.S. diplomat William Burns at a Wednesday meeting in London.
That group, known as the P5+1, announced earlier that it would invite Iran to attend a new session aimed at breaking a deadlock in the talks.
"The U.S. remains committed to the P5+1 process; what is different is that the U.S. will join P5+1 discussions with Iran from now on," Wood said, adding that Washington was hopeful Iran would attend.
"If Iran accepts, we hope this will be the occasion to seriously engage Iran on how to break the logjam of recent years and work in a cooperative manner to resolve the outstanding international concerns about its nuclear program," he said.
Any breakthrough will be the result of the collective efforts of all the parties, including Iran.
Wood said the administration wants a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear issue and believes that requires a willingness to engage directly with each other on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interests.
"We hope that the government of Iran chooses to reciprocate," he added.
The invitation is to be sent to the Iranians by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana. In a statement the group said it welcomed the new direction of U.S. policy toward Iran. No time frame was given for a date of the meeting.

Nieuwe regering Israel is centrum-rechts

Het is zeker waar dat de regering Netanjahoe een rechtser, assertiever geluid laat horen en dat dat de toch al zeer moeizame gesprekken en samenwerking met de Palestijnen niet zal vergemakkelijken, maar het is onjuist hem als de grote havik en vijand van vrede af te schilderen. Ook Lieberman is niet perse tegen een tweestatenoplossing, en eet ook geen Arabieren als ontbijt.

The war of words has always been one of the deadliest battlefields in the Middle East conflict, and Israel has been losing that war.
Israeli leaders mislabelled by foes
Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor | April 09, 2009
Article from: The Australian
OVER the next year or two, probably for as long as it stays in office, there will be a sustained effort to demonise the Israeli Government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The speech last week by Netanyahu's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in which he explicitly supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute but was reported as if he had said the opposite, is a case in point.
But even the way Netanyahu and Lieberman are typically described is entirely misleading. Netanyahu, not least in the Australian media, is almost always called "hardline right-wing". This would be the equivalent of calling the government of John Howard or Malcolm Fraser hardline right-wing, or calling the recently defeated government of Helen Clark in New Zealand hardline left-wing.
Netanyahu leads the Likud Party, which has been Israel's main centre-right party for decades. Under Menachem Begin in the 1970s, a Likud government gave up the whole of the Sinai desert in a land-for-peace deal with Egypt. Netanyahu, who has held many portoflios in previous governments, has as part of his coalition the left-of-centre Israeli Labour Party.
It would be much more honest to label Netanyahu's Government centre-right. This question of language is of the first order of importance. The ancient Chinese sage Confucius, when asked what would be the main political reform he would carry out if he achieved state power, replied: "It would certainly be to rectify the names." Israel's enemies, heirs to ancient anti-Semitism, are on a relentless quest to delegitimise and demonise it at every point. Mislabelling a democratic government of mainstream, democratic politicians as hardline right-wing is an important part of that quest.
What about Lieberman's speech? Lieberman is the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. Lieberman too has previously been a cabinet minister. His party is mainly supported by Russian immigrants. It is fair to say he is to the right of Netanyahu but not fair to say he is an extremist. His policies mix a hard line on national security with social liberalism.
Russian Israelis often have a somewhat attenuated connection to Orthodox Judaism and can therefore be disadvantaged in rulings concerning conversion, marriage and other family matters, where religious parties have considerable influence. There is nothing sinister about this. It is the sort of debate Ireland had in recent years about allowing divorce. Lieberman wants to secularise these matters.
On security issues his sharp language marks him out as a polarising figure. But there is no doubt he is a democrat and, by broader Middle East standards, an extremely mild politician. He is most famous for wanting all Israelis to take a loyalty oath. This is seen as insulting to Israel's Arab citizens. I think it is an unhelpful and unnecessarily polarising proposal, but it is not the black hand of fascism.
Similarly, Lieberman wants all Israelis to be forced to undertake military or other national service. This is also seen as hitting at Israeli Arabs, as they may not want to serve in the Israeli Defence Forces. But Lieberman also wants this provision enforced on Orthodox Jews, who do not do military service either.
Further, in Lieberman's vision of a two-state solution he is keen to transfer Israeli Arab towns into a Palestinian state. Some territorial swap is inevitable if a two-state solution is to work, but presumably no Israeli citizen would be forced to give up their citizenship, whatever happened to the land underneath them. So Lieberman's proposal cannot remotely be classed as ethnic cleansing or anything like it.
I think Lieberman's rhetoric is often unhelpful to Israel and exacerbates problems, but it is certainly not unreasonable for Lieberman to want to debate the civic identity of Israel's Arab citizens.
In his initial speech as Foreign Minister on March 30, Lieberman said the Annapolis peace process, which has been running for the past couple of years, is dead. But Lieberman fully committed himself to the road map negotiated and endorsed in 2002 by the US, the European Union, the UN and Russia, which also involves commitment to a two-state solution.
There is only one difference between the road map and Annapolis. Annapolis was based on the idea that the Israelis and Palestinians negotiate a final status agreement now on who would have what territory, and then one day the Palestinians will be able to form a government that can rule its own territories and provide proper security.
The road map, on the other hand, provided for reciprocity: that both the Palestinians and the Israelis had to undertake certain obligations along the way. Israel had to dismantle illegal Jewish settlements (that is, illegal under Israeli law) and prevent any territorial expansion in the existing settlements. (Lieberman is at times even critical of the previous government for not doing this.) The Palestinians had to form a functioning government and suppress terrorism.
When the Israelis withdrew unilaterally from Gaza, this was a kind of road test for Annapolis. But all they got, after a temporary ceasefire, was a constant barrage of rocket attacks. The Netanyahu Government is now inclined to stress reciprocity.
Indeed, in responding to Lieberman's remarks US spokesmen did all stress reciprocity.
Netanyahu, when in office previously, made a number of agreements that involved Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land and all of which had as their object a two-state solution. Like Lieberman, Netanyahu is committed to the road map, which has as its goal an independent Palestinian state. But this is dependent on the Palestinians forming an effective and sensible government and meaningfully renouncing terrorism.
This is completely out of the question at the moment because half the potential Palestinian state, Gaza, is ruled by the terrorist death cult Hamas. Despite the protestations of Hamas sympathisers in Australia, the Hamas leadership, the charter which it still upholds and all Hamas spokesmen say Hamas will never recognise Israel's right to exist or to occupy a single inch of territory. This is not the occupied territories we're talking about but Israel proper. Hamas has also said it will never give up terrorism. Hamas may one day change its mind on all this, but at the moment it is inconceivable that the Palestinians could meet their obligations under the road map. That rules out a Palestinian state for the moment.
It remains an ambition of the vast majority of Israelis that they can live in peace beside a peaceful neighbour, both behind agreed borders. In saying this is not available at the moment, neither Netanyahu nor Lieberman rules it out forever in the future. The international press might at least get this basic fact right.

Wie liet Annapolis mislukken?

In feite zei Lieberman niks nieuws en shockerends toen hij vorige week stelde dat het Annapolis vredesproces dood is en Israel er niet meer aan gebonden is, maar door zijn ondiplomatieke manier van uitdrukken gebruikten de media het om Lieberman als de nieuwe ultra-nationalist neer te zetten die alles zal doen om vrede tussen Israel en de Palestijnen te dwarsbomen. Het feit dat hij zich wel gebonden acht aan de Routekaart en de tweestatenoplossing werd gereduceerd tot een onbelangrijk detail.
Overigens citeert de schrijver hieronder de foutieve vertaling "Annapolis accord". Van een akkoord was geen sprake, slechts van een afspraak om vredesbesprekingen te hervatten.

Who killed Annapolis?

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has made a stormy entrance. The "ultra-nationalist" (BBC and al-Jazeera); is "blunt and belligerent" (The New York Times); "aggressive" (Haaretz) and a "racist" (Yasser Abed Rabbo). This new government will make "no concessions for peace" (Guardian) and "spurn the peace process" (CNN)

Why the uproar? Because Lieberman announced: "The Israeli government never ratified the Annapolis accord."

Ahem. Actually, the cabinet did endorse Annapolis, on December 2, 2007. Ehud Olmert sold it to his colleagues with the argument that the negotiations would not be constrained by any deadline, and with the promise that if an agreement was reached, it would be implemented only after the Palestinians halted all violence. Privately, prior to the cabinet's endorsement, Olmert briefed Lieberman; who then absented himself from the vote.

BUT THE thing is, Annapolis is dead - just as Lieberman so undiplomatically stated. And everyone knows it. It died when Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei rejected Olmert's and Tzipi Livni's offer last year of virtually the entire West Bank (the Palestinians already have Gaza), plus tracts of the Negev to make up for strategic settlement blocs retained beyond the Green Line.

Olmert and Livni proffered international stewardship for the holy places, and were prepared to turn over east Jerusalem. A tunnel or bridge would connect east and west "Palestine," providing contiguity between the West Bank and Gaza.

The Kadima government balked only at a total pullback to the 1949 Armistice Lines, and on granting millions of Palestinian "refugees" the right to "return" to a truncated Israel - something that would demographically smother our Jewish population.

In other words, had the Palestinians taken Olmert's and Livni's astonishingly magnanimous deal, "Palestine" would have become the 22nd Muslim Arab state in the Middle East.

Still, the petulant way Lieberman made his Annapolis announcement detracted from the substance of what Israel's argument should be. Had he handled himself more adroitly, the next day's headlines might have read: "New Government Embraces Road Map." For Lieberman did pledge a total commitment to what is officially known as a "Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israel-Palestinian Conflict."

The Annapolis process was a stab at leapfrogging over the road map because the Palestinians could not - or would not - fulfill their obligation to end the violence. And the international community preferred the illusion of momentum Annapolis provided. The alternative would have been to concede that even "moderate" Palestinians are not prepared follow through on the hard work necessary to achieve a two-state solution.

Lieberman is convinced that all the sweet talk from Olmert and Livni got Israel precisely nowhere. Yet, significantly, the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak government is committed to achieving a Palestinian state via the road map. What now needs to be worked out is whether the Palestinians remain committed, and whether the steps to implement the road map must be taken sequentially (the Israeli view), or in some other undefined fashion (the Palestinian view).

The road map stipulates that,"A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and are willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established…"

That would require Israel to freeze settlements and dismantle those established since February 2001.

This is what Lieberman supports. What could be clearer?

THE Lieberman flap comes as Israel buries another victim of Palestinian terror, 16-year-old Shlomo Nativ, who was hacked to death on Thursday in Bat Ayin, a settlement southwest of Jerusalem. It is this kind of Palestinian brutality - combined with diplomatic obduracy - that keeps the road map grounded.

By talking tough instead of talking smart, Lieberman claimed he won "respect." In fact, he handed an unnecessary win to those who misrepresent Israel's stance by arguing that it is blocking the creation of a Palestinian state.

This was an inept performance by our novice foreign minister, no question. Nevertheless, Annapolis has become just another footnote in the 100-year history of Palestinian rejectionism.

donderdag 9 april 2009

Moet Israël meewerken aan VN onderzoek oorlogsmisdaden Gaza Oorlog?

Velen menen dat, omdat de als evenwichtig bekendstaande en gerespecteerde Richard Goldstone het onderzoek gaat leiden, Israel geen legitieme reden heeft om er niet aan mee te werken. Wel, in de eerste plaats worden dit soort externe onderzoeken naar oorlogsmisdaden doorgaans alleen gedaan in landen die geen eigen fatsoenlijk rechtssysteem hebben ofwel schurkenstaten. Israel kan zulke zaken prima zelf onderzoeken en heeft dat in het verleden vaak genoeg gedaan. Ten tweede zijn de andere leden van de commissie een stuk minder evenwichtig, om niet te zeggen behoorlijk bevooroordeeld. In rechtszaken zouden rechters die zo duidelijk een mening over de betreffende partijen in een zaak hebben, er geen uitspraak over mogen doen.
ZioNation, 08.04. 2009
The UN Human Rights Council has named the respected South African jurist and war crimes investigator, Richard Goldstone, to head a panel investigating alleged war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The official mandate of the panel, as one may expect from the UNHRC, prejudges the outcome of the investigation, since the mandate is directed only at uncovering Israeli war crimes. Goldstone insists however, that the panel would examine the behavior of both sides. The appointment of Goldstone, presumed to be a Zionist, has led many to believe the the investigation would be fair. But it may be more relevant to focus on other panel investigators. In particular, we should consider the record of Christine Chinkin, who has already been involved in Gaza "war crimes" investigations.

The panel, in addition to Goldstone, consists of British Professor Christine Chinkin, Retired Irish army officer Desmond Travers, and Pakistani jurist Hina Jilani. Notwithstanding Goldstone's membership of the Board of Trustees of the Hebrew university, Goldstone, Jilani and Travers are signatories of a
recent letter to Amnesty International calling for an investigation of Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Jilani is a well known and courageous defender of women's rights in Pakistan. She has also appeared in hearings on behalf of Palestinians in Israel as a member of the board of the Frontline Defenders organization.

Under international law, all but rogue countries are generally trusted to do their own internal investigations of war crimes. Only rogue regimes, such as Nazi Germany, former Yugoslavia or Sudan are generally subject to external investigations and war crimes trials. Therefore, the calls for war crimes investigations of Israel are just another gimmick used in the war to delegitimize Israel.

Chinkin, along with the infamous Richard Falk, is among the signatories of a poisonous item in the
Sunday Times entitled "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it's a war crime." As she has already decided the matter, it would seem that from her point of view there is no need to have any investigation. In a fair judicial procedure, a judge like Chinkin would have to recuse herself, but the nature of this "judicial procedure" should already be evident.
The sort of justice that will be administered by this investigation is the sort where the court is charged "to ensure that the defendants are found guilty and executed in accordance with Soviet justice." Chinkin has already announced the verdict in the Sunday Times. In calling for a war crimes investigation, Goldstone, Jilani and Travers have already expressed no confidence in Israeli justice and military investigations. The only question left open is whether the fallout will be worse if Israel cooperates or does not cooperate with this investigation of its already "proven" guilt. Of course, the investigation may also find that the Hamas are violating human rights by firing rockets and mortars on civilians, not to mention kidnapping Gilad Shalit and holding him while denying him the rights guaranteed under the Geneva convention. But we already know all that, and Christine Chinkin has already blamed everything on the Israeli "occupation."

In any fair investigation, a defendant has the right to remain silent, which is not taken as proof of guilt, and a defendant has the right not to testify against themselves. Chinkin's approach is already evident from the Beit Hanoun investigation: the "occupation" is at fault for everything, Israelis are guilty until proven innocent, and Israelis can never be proven innocent. The Beit Hannoun approach will no doubt set a precedent for the Gaza mission, if a precedent is needed.

On the principle that non-cooperation indicates guilt to Professor Chinkin, we can expect that in this investigation IDF officers who refuse to testify will be convicted of war crimes. If they do testify, no matter how much they protest their innocence, they will necessarily be convicted by the evidence of Palestinian "witnesses." There is no way to ascertain whether these "witnesses" are testifying to the truth or under duress, as they and their families are under the control of the Hamas.


Iran houdt Amerikaanse journaliste vast en komt met nieuws nucleaire doorbraak

Dit is het antwoord van Iran op de toenadering door Obama. Helaas lijkt de voorspelling uit te komen dat toenadering naar een rogue state als Iran vooral als een teken van zwakte zal worden geinterpreteerd.
Zie ook artikel over Iraanse nucleaire doorbraak hieronder. Ook de aankondiging daarvan en de instelling van een 'nationale kernenergie dag' zijn provocaties aan het Westen, en bovendien een teken dat dit probleem steeds nijpender wordt.

Iran laat Amerikaanse journaliste voorlopig niet vrij

Van onze verslaggever Cor Speksnijder
gepubliceerd op 08 april 2009 20:57, bijgewerkt op 8 april 2009 21:09

AMSTERDAM - Het begon met de beschuldiging dat ze een fles wijn had gekocht. Toen volgde een zwaardere aanklacht: het werken met een verlopen perskaart. En nu heeft de openbare aanklager haar beschuldigd van een misdaad waarvoor de doodstraf kan worden uitgesproken: spionage.

De Iraans-Amerikaanse journaliste Roxana Saberi zit sinds eind januari vast in Iran; opgesloten in de Evin-gevangenis in Teheran. Volgende week moet ze voor het eerst voor een rechter verschijnen.

Saberi (31) heeft een dubbele nationaliteit. Ze is geboren in de VS, in New Jersey, en groeide op in Fargo, North Dakota. Als freelance journalist werkte ze voor onder meer de BBC, Fox News en de Wall Street Journal. Ze verbleef zes jaar in Teheran, waar ze ook studeerde en een boek schreef over Iran.

Na haar arrestatie bleef het contact met haar familie in Amerika wekenlang beperkt tot één kort telefoongesprek. Ze vroeg haar naasten te zwijgen over haar detentie, maar uit bezorgdheid over het uitblijven van verder contact heeft de familie uiteindelijk publiekelijk aandacht gevraagd voor het lot van Saberi.

Deze week hebben haar ouders haar voor het eerst bezocht in de gevangenis. Volgens haar advocaat, die niet bij het bezoek aanwezig mocht zijn, is ze er geestelijk en lichamelijk goed aan toe. Maar Saberi zou zich zorgen maken over het proces. Ze weet bijvoorbeeld nog steeds niet welke beschuldigingen precies tegen haar worden ingebracht. Haar raadsman heeft nog geen inzage gekregen in de aanklacht.


De zaak van Saberi zal worden behandeld door het Revolutionaire Hof. Dit college neemt gewoonlijk zaken in behandeling die te maken hebben met de staatsveiligheid. Bepaald geen gunstig voorteken.

Roxana Saberi is een van de drie Amerikanen die worden genoemd in de brief die de Amerikaanse delegatie bij de Afghanistanconferentie in Den Haag vorige week overhandigde aan Iraanse functionarissen. In de brief wordt hun vrijlating 'als humanitair gebaar' bepleit. Teheran ontkent echter een dergelijke brief te hebben ontvangen. Ook geen gunstig voorteken.

President Obama bood Iran onlangs een 'nieuw begin' aan in de onderlinge betrekkingen. Het Iraanse antwoord op de Amerikaanse geste zal mede blijken uit het verloop van het proces tegen Roxana Saberi.


Iran komt met nieuws nucleaire doorbraak

Reuters / AP
gepubliceerd op 08 april 2009 15:42, bijgewerkt op 8 april 2009 16:12


TEHERAN - De Iraanse president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heeft woensdag in een tv-toespraak aangekondigd met 'goed nieuws' te komen over het omstreden nucleaire programma.

President Ahmadinejad speecht dinsdag tijdens de 30ste verjaardag van de Islamitische Revolutie. Hij zei de dialoog met Amerika aan te willen gaan. 

Buitenlandse waarnemers gaan ervan uit dat Teheran bekend zal maken dat het in staat is op grote schaal verrijkt uranium te produceren.

Dit zou, als Iran werkelijk daartoe in staat is, een belangrijke doorbraak zijn. Iran viert donderdag Nationale Kernenergie Dag.

'Ik heb goed nucleair nieuws morgen voor de trotse Iraanse natie', aldus Ahmadinejad in zijn toespraak in de stad Isfahan.Het grootschalig, op industriële schaal verrijken van uranium is cruciaal voor Iran, mocht het plannen hebben voor een kernwapen.

Tegen zin in van het internationale atoomagentschap IAEA en het Westen, heeft Teheran de verrijkingsfaciliteiten in de ondergrondse fabriek in Natanz de afgelopen jaren flink uitgebreid. Waarnemers wijzen er echter op, mocht Ahmadinejad met dit nieuws naar buiten komen, dat het land zal moeten bewijzen dat het werkelijk deze technologische hobbel heeft genomen.

'Het is de laatste fase in een lang proces om verrijkt uranium te produceren', aldus een buitenlandse deskundige van het Iraanse nucleaire programma.

Bevriezen van bouw in Joodse nederzettingen Westoever

Eliott Abrams heeft gelijk dat de nederzettingen een vredesverdrag en Palestijnse staat niet onmogelijk maken, en dat Israel onlangs bijna de gehele Westoever aan de Palestijnen heeft aangeboden. Dat de nederzettingen de situatie wel compliceren is ook duidelijk. Abrams heeft een nuchtere en realistische kijk en dat is zeer welkom tegenover het steeds hysterischer wordende geschreeuw en geagiteer tegen alles wat Israel doet.
Ik denk echter wel dat het belangrijk is Israel erop te blijven wijzen dat de uitbreiding van nederzettingen het vredesproces en de onderlinge sfeer geen goed doet, en dat tegenover 'natuurlijke groei' in de grote blokken die Israel hoopt te houden, ook afbraak of bevriezing van de kleinere nederzettingen en de buitenposten moet staan.

The Settlement Freeze Fallacy
By Elliott Abrams
Wednesday, April 8, 2009; A17
Will Israel's new government face American demands for a settlement freeze? If so, we are headed for a needless confrontation with the Netanyahu cabinet.
There is wide consensus that the main obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is settlement activity -- new construction in the communities beyond the "Green Line," as the border of Israel from the 1949 armistice until the 1967 war is known. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called settlement activity "the greatest obstacle" to peace, former president George W. Bush called it an "impediment" to peace, and the international "quartet" -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- has criticized settlement activity in virtually all of its joint statements.
There is also wide agreement on the antidote: a "settlement freeze," imposed to make peace possible. Consider: In a speech in Washington last February, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that "what is most desperately required is a cessation of all settlement activity in order to preserve the very possibility of a negotiated two-state solution." The 2001 Mitchell Report said Israel should "freeze all settlement activity, including the 'natural growth' of existing settlements," a conclusion that gained more importance when George Mitchell, the former senator who wrote the report, was named President Obama's Middle East negotiator.
Certainly the establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank after 1967 (by Labor and Likud governments) created conditions that complicate negotiations. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis now live beyond the Green Line, and the intense debate in Israel over then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's removal of fewer than 9,000 settlers from Gaza suggests that removing settlements from the West Bank will be even more controversial and difficult.
But those settlements exist, and there is no point in debating whether it was right to build them. President Bush largely resolved the issue of the major settlement blocs in a 2004 letter to Sharon. He stated a truth that Palestinians have come to recognize: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."
So the real issue is not past settlement activity but the demand for a settlement freeze. Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state.
How is this possible? For one thing, most settlement activity is in those major blocs that it is widely understood Israel will keep. For another, those settlements are becoming more populated, not geographically larger. Most settlement expansion occurs in ways that do not much affect Palestinian life. While the physical expansion of settlements may take land that Palestinians own or use, and may interfere with Palestinian mobility or agricultural activity, population growth inside settlements does not have that effect. For the past five years, Israel's government has largely adhered to guidelines that were discussed with the United States but never formally adopted: that there would be no new settlements, no financial incentives for Israelis to move to settlements and no new construction except in already built-up areas. The clear purpose of the guidelines? To allow for settlement growth in ways that minimized the impact on Palestinians.
Israel has largely, but not fully, kept to those rules; there has been physical expansion in some places, and the Palestinian Authority is right to object to it. Israeli settlement expansion beyond the security fence, in areas Israel will ultimately evacuate, is a mistake: It wastes Israeli resources and needlessly antagonizes the Palestinians who live nearby. But the overall impact of such recent activity -- as Olmert's proposal to Abbas showed -- has not undermined Israel's ability to negotiate peace and offer a territorial compromise.
Settlement activity is not diminishing the territory of a future Palestinian entity. In fact, the emphasis on a "settlement freeze" draws attention from the progress that's needed to lay the foundation for full Palestinian self-rule -- building a thriving economy, fighting terrorism through reliable security forces and establishing the rule of law. A "settlement freeze" would not help Palestinians face today's problems or prepare for tomorrow's challenges. The demand for a freeze would have only one quick effect: to create immediate tension between the United States and Israel's new government. That may be precisely why some propose it, but it is also why the Obama administration should reject it.
The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was the deputy national security adviser overseeing Near East and North African affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

Palestijnen gewond bij gevechten met kolonisten

In veel ruzies is het niet meer te achterhalen wie begon; beide partijen zeggen op provocaties van de andere kant te reageren. De Palestijnen zouden de kolonisten hebben aangevallen die op weg waren van hun nederzetting Bat Ayin naar de begraafplaats in Kfar Etzion, maar de Palestijnen beweren dat de kolonisten hun dorp zijn binnengedrongen. Misschien is het allebei wel waar, en gebeurde het tegelijkertijd. Misschien riepen de kolonisten provocerende dingen naar de Palestijnen op weg naar de begraafplaats. Ze waren natuurlijk boos en verdrietig vanwege de dood van een lid uit hun gemeenschap, gedood met een bijl door een Palestijn. In dat opzicht zijn de Palestijnen natuurlijk begonnen.
Een groep is echter niet verantwoordelijk voor de daden van een individu, al zullen velen hem ongetwijfeld als een held beschouwen, zoals alle plegers van aanslagen in Israel. Zij vinden dat de Israeli's zijn begonnen, door op 'hun' land te gaan wonen, en op 'hun' grond nederzettingen te bouwen. Dat zij daar ook van profiteren (sinds de bezetting in 1967 is de Palestijnse economie en levensstandaard enorm gegroeid), dat er daarvoor geen Palesijnse staat was en men daar ook niet naar streefde, dat alle vredesvoorstellen door de Palestijnen zijn afgewezen, dat vergeet men voor het gemak.
Zoals de Israeli's graag vergeten dat de nederzettingen niet alleen op staatsgrond zijn gebouwd, en niet alleen Palestijnen met kwaad in de zin door het leger worden opgepakt of bij checkpoints vernederd.
Dit soort claches laten eigenlijk het conflict in een notedop zien.

The Jerusalem Post
Apr 8, 2009 9:46 | Updated Apr 8, 2009 12:20
At least 16 Palestinians hurt in clash with Bat Ayin settlers

A week after an ax-wielding terrorist infiltrated the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin killing a young boy and wounding another boy, at least sixteen Palestinians were wounded in a clash with Bat Ayin settlers. From the initial investigation into the incident it seems that the Palestinians began the violence when they attacked the settlers, who were walking from Bat Ayin to the cemetery at the nearby settlement of Kfar Etzion on Wednesday morning, Army Radio reported.
Earlier Wednesday, the settlers reported a group of Bat Ayin residents came under attack when they were celebrating the Birkat Hahama prayers at the "Mukhtar Hill" between their settlement and Hirbat Safa, near the Arab village of Beit Omar.
According to the settlers, a group of Palestinians arrived at the scene and started hurling stones at them.
The Palestinians, however, claimed that the settlers entered their village shooting in the air and damaging their property.
IDF soldiers arrived at the scene in order to break up the clash.
However, the Palestinians said that the soldiers did not prevent the settlers from firing their weapons.
The IDF said that due to massive stone hurling, the soldiers used riot gear to stop the clash, including rubber bullets. But when the vioelnce continued the troops were ordered to shoot at the legs of some of the stone hurlers.
There were conflicting reports regarding the number of people hurt in the clash.
According to the latest report by Army Radio, 18 Palestinians were hurt in the clash. One man was moderately-seriously wounded, seven were moderately wounded, and ten were lightly wounded.
The security forces are currently investigating whether the Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire.
One settler was lightly wounded in the incident.
Following the incident, Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel said that Bat Ayin residents have a right to defend themselves and respond to stone hurling.
Activist Itamar Ben-Gvir blamed Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the situation.
Tuesday was the last day of the Shiva for Shlomo Nativ, who was killed in the terror attack last week.
On Thursday, 13-year-old Nativ was killed and the skull of 7-year-old Yair Gamliel was fractured when a Palestinian terrorist carrying an ax infiltrated Bat Ayin.
The perpetrator of the attack has yet to have been apprehended.
Following the attack, security forces expressed fear that the settlers would try to avenge the death of Nativ.

woensdag 8 april 2009

Gaza Oorlog was gerechtvaardigde operatie tegen terreur

In een artikel in de Jerusalem Post beklaagt Danny Zamir, het hoofd van de militaire academie waar soldaten een paar weken geleden vertelden over mensenrechtenschendingen van Palestijnen tijdens de Gaza oorlog, zich over de selectieve manier waarop de media dat hebben opgepikt.
Operation Cast Lead was completely justified, isolated acts of vandalism do not make the IDF an army of war criminals, and religious graduates of the military preparatory programs add to the morality of the IDF, Danny Zamir, the head of the Rabin Pre-Military Academy in Kiryat Tivon, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"The whole story spun out of control," Zamir said. "From an internal discussion where soldiers talked about what was difficult and painful in the war, and which I took to the army because I expected them to deal with the issues raised, the international media turned the IDF into war criminals."
Helaas is de geest uit de fles en is het kwaad geschied. Niemand leest deze verklaringen in de Jerusalem Post, terwijl de artikelen van Amos Harel en Amira Hass uit de Haaretz overal door antizionisten werden en worden geciteerd. Zou Zamir dat echt niet hebben kunnen vermoeden toen hij de verhalen van de soldaten naar de Haaretz doorspeelde?

Israel's whistleblower "Operation Cast Lead was justified," recants "war crimes" atrocity stories

In an article in the Jerusalem Post by Herb Keinon, Dani Zamir, who "blew the whistle" on "Israeli war crimes" in Gaza, is quoted as recanting the stories of misdeeds of Israel soldiers. Too bad he did not understand the damage he was going to do before he did it. Amos Harel, the reporter who published the accusations, remained adamant that he was "improving" the morality of the IDF, despite complaints that he had launched a blood libel. Curiously, this story has not made many headlines around the world. Here is the story.

Operation Cast Lead was completely justified, isolated acts of vandalism do not make the IDF an army of war criminals, and religious graduates of the military preparatory programs add to the morality of the IDF, Danny Zamir, the head of the Rabin Pre-Military Academy in Kiryat Tivon, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Zamir's comments came after the Post obtained a copy of an article he wrote for circulation abroad, in which he tried to put into context the brouhaha that resulted from publication of a discussion among nine graduates of his program after Operation Cast Lead. The discussion included allegations of two instances in which soldiers deliberately shot and killed innocent Palestinians, and of wanton vandalism.

"The whole story spun out of control," Zamir said. "From an internal discussion where soldiers talked about what was difficult and painful in the war, and which I took to the army because I expected them to deal with the issues raised, the international media turned the IDF into war criminals."

The transcript of the soldiers' comments, which appeared in an internal newsletter that was posted on the Internet, led to a media sensation, with numerous articles using the soldiers' comments to substantiate allegations of Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Last week, Judge Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit exonerated the IDF and closed a Military Police investigation into the affair, saying it was based not on eyewitness accounts, but on hearsay.

Referring specifically to articles in The New York Times, Zamir wrote that "both explicitly and by insinuation, the articles claim a decline in the IDF's commitment to its moral code of conduct in combat, and moreover, that this decline stems from a specific increase in the prominence of religious soldiers and commanders in the IDF in general, and from the strengthening of the position of IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky in particular.

"It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment," he wrote.

"Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation," he said.

Zamir, an officer in the reserves whose children are in the IDF, said that if he believed the IDF was an army of war criminals, he would not be in it.

"It is important to put it in context, and very difficult to explain to the American public how complicated the situation is," Zamir told the Post.

Zamir said he had no way of knowing whether the alleged shooting incidents ever took place, though he felt isolated incidents of vandalism described by soldiers did occur.

"I think that some of the acts of vandalism inside homes were done, but you have to put it in context. That doesn't turn them into war criminals," he said. "When the American army conquered Fallujah three years ago, tens of thousands of people were killed. When the Russian army conquered Chechnya in 2000, it turned Grozny into dust.

"Operation Cast Lead was justified; the IDF worked in a surgical manner. Unfortunately, in these types of operations, civilians will be killed. The IDF operated in a way in which it tried to protect civilians in the most crowded place in the world," he said. "There were no orders to kill civilians or any summary executions or things like that. There were problems, but problems that the army can deal with."

Zamir said that what disturbed him the most was an article in The New York Times under the headline "A religious war in Israel's army," which left the impression that a veritable kulturkampf between religious and secular soldiers was under way. Zamir also said he felt the article left the feeling that he was at loggerheads with Ronsky, someone he considers a close friend.

"I respect the religious Zionists a great deal, even though we have gaps in our world view, regarding the settlements and other things," he said. "We are friends. To use a metaphor from the army, we are all carrying the stretcher. To make it as if we are enemies is ugly; to put all the problems on the religious soldiers is simply wrong."

In fact, he said, "the most amazing thing that happens during battle and in the army is the cooperation between the Left and the Right, the religious and the secular. We have great relations, with a great deal of respect and faith in one another."

Zamir said the more graduates of the religious preparatory academies, and the more rabbis being taught by Ronsky, the better.

"There will be a higher moral level in the army," he said. "The religious Zionists are leading the camp in many areas - in the army, in the communities in the periphery, in education - and an impression is wrongly created that they are ayatollahs who are ruling the world. It's not right, and I'm saying this as someone who is a leftist and secular."

In 1990, Zamir, then a paratrooper company commander in the reserves, was tried and sentenced to prison for refusing to guard a ceremony where Torah scrolls were brought to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. A 2004 book entitled Refusnik: Israel's Soldiers of Conscience, compiled and edited by Peretz Kidron, contains words Zamir wrote at the time explaining his decision.

Zamir said Monday that until the recent events, he did not even know that he had appeared in that book.

"They took something I wrote in 1990 and included it," he said. "They didn't ask me, and I didn't know about it."

He explained that "that was before Oslo, and I thought that Israel was using methods that were not in keeping with the Jewish and democratic nature of the state. Since 1992 I have made it clear that there is no rationale for refusing to serve, and I believe that to this day."

According to Zamir, anyone in his preparatory academy who says they do not want to serve are asked to leave.

"We have 100 percent enlistment," he said, "and 30% of our soldiers become officers."


Danny Zamir kwaad over beschuldigingen media van oorlogsmisdaden Gaza

Danny Zamir, die de verhalen van soldaten over het zonder reden doodschieten van Palestijnse burgers naar de Haaretz lekte, is nu boos op de media, vooral de New York Times, omdat zij het Israelische leger neerzetten als een stelletje oorlogscriminelen. Op zichzelf heeft hij daar natuurlijk gelijk in, want een paar verhalen van soldaten leiden alleen bij Israel tot dergelijke extreme aandacht en beschuldigingen, maar het is je moeilijk voor te stellen dat hij dit niet van tevoren had kunnen verzinnen.
It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment. Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation.
De kans dat dit aandacht krijgt in de media buiten Israel is zo ongeveer (bij benadering) 0,001%.

Apr. 7, 2009

A number of articles published recently in The New York Times quoted or were based on words spoken by myself and by graduates of the pre-army leadership development program which I head (the "Rabin Mechina") - graduates who participated as combat soldiers in Operation Cast Lead and who met recently to process personal experiences from the battlefield.

Both explicitly and by insinuation, the articles claim a decline in the IDF's commitment to its moral code of conduct in combat, and moreover, that this decline stems from a specific increase in the prominence of religious soldiers and commanders in the IDF in general, and from the strengthening of the position of IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky in particular.

It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment. Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation.

I chose as well to submit the soldiers' accounts to the highest levels of the IDF, directly to the chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, out of my deep faith in the solid moral foundations of IDF policy and in complete confidence that the accounts would receive serious and thorough attention, including both investigation and corrective measures, if and when necessary. This faith was and is based on my personal experience of more than two decades - as a combat soldier, a major in the IDF and as mentor for hundreds of the Rabin Mechina's graduates who are soldiers serving in combat units (active and reserve).

There are, to be sure, important political differences between myself as a social-democratic Zionist and Zionists of other political opinions. But there exists among us a very broad consensus regarding the moral character of combat - a moral character to which the IDF is committed and educates its soldiers, a character positively influenced by religious mechinot and by the special personal qualities of my colleague Rabbi Ronsky.

THE GUIDING principle that directs IDF combat soldiers, both in their planning and conduct in combat, encompasses a balance between two needs: to defend soldiers' lives and to minimize harm to the civilians behind whom terrorists try to hide. This is expressed in the tension between the necessity of opening fire when the soldiers' security and battle conditions require, even when there's a danger to civilians (providing advance warning to the extent possible), and the absolute obligation to hold fire and to act with due compassion toward civilians when it appears that they have no evil intent. In addition, basic respect toward civilians' belongings and their religious and spiritual property is part of this moral code.

These guidelines and the obligation to uphold them are an inseparable part of the Jewish-Zionist world of IDF soldiers, and deeply anchored in generations of Jewish heritage, particularly in the doctrine of military conduct renewed by the early socialist-Zionists a century ago. They called this principle by a name that's unlikely to have been given by any other nationalist movement fighting for its independence: "Purity of Arms" - that is, preventing harm to those not involved in or supporting the combat.

This moral commandment remains a central motto of the IDF; it is the complete opposite of the code of conduct of Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas, whose judgment on every Israeli and Jew is death. "Purity of arms" is not part of their world, not even in theory.

The outsider may not understand this, but we - the Jews of the State of Israel - live this every day, every hour.

In order to appreciate this moral code, one must note the context in which it operates. The State of Israel is under a prolonged attack by the Hamas movement - a fundamentalist Islamic terror movement, based on a racist and ultra-nationalist ideology that seeks the killing of Jews for being Jews and the actual elimination of the State of Israel as its declared aspiration, and formally part of its foundation platform. And bear in mind that Hamas is not a marginal extremist underground, but a movement freely chosen by the Palestinians to head their elected government.

Our war against an unrestrained terror organization that uses civilian populations as human shields in various ways, such as hospitals and masquerading as women and children, presents the IDF - an army obligated to an ethical code of combat based on humanism and international law - with almost impossible complexities. The nature of combat in complex conditions (such as in Gaza) brings with it difficulties and failures. The greatness of an army fighting under such conditions lies in its aspiring to "zero errors" and in its openness to examining its failures - finding them and fixing them.

IF IT'S possible to learn something from the real Israel - and not that which the media (including Israeli media) makes such efforts to portray - it would be from the uproar of emotions and the frank discussions that have taken place within Israeli society in the wake of the soldiers' accounts. It is out of their commitment to the moral code that the soldiers spoke and their accounts were submitted; purity of arms requires continuous examination of our actions and intentions.

"May our camp be pure." This is the watchword borne by my soldiers in the IDF, not only because this is how they've been educated by their commanders and their officers, but because this is the essence of their belief and their national heritage, a belief and heritage shared by and uniting us all: secular and religious, right and left, in the IDF and outside it. It is a source of pride and of confidence in our way, even in times of venomous attacks from every quarter - such as transforming a sensitive, personal discussion among combat soldiers back from the battlefield to mendacious claims of policies that involve so-called war crimes.

And so may it be.

Atty. Danny Zamir (Major, IDF reserves) Director, Yitzhak Rabin Pre-army Leadership Development Program.


dinsdag 7 april 2009

Obama in Turkije: leg niet alle schuld bij Israël

Wijze woorden van Obama, maar het grote verschil is natuurlijk dat veel Israeli's al lang begrip hebben getoond voor het Palestijnse perspectief en daar ook ruimschoots aandacht voor is in de Israelische media. Iedere Israeli weet inmiddels wel wat de Nakba is en dat voor de stichting van Israel Palestijnse dorpen zijn verwoest en honderdduizenden Palestijnen gevlucht, overigens in reactie op een oorlogsverklaring in woord en daad van de Arabisch-Palestijnse gemeenschap in Palestina. Ondertussen weten veel Palestijnen niet eens wat de Holocaust is, wat zionisme inhoudt, dat de Joden een volk en niet alleen een religie zijn, etc. etc. Vooral aan Arabische kant is er enorm veel onwetendheid en zijn mensen bovendien gehersenspoeld door media die Israel werkelijk van alles de schuld geven.


The Jerusalem Post
Apr 7, 2009 17:02 | Updated Apr 7, 2009 20:36
Obama: Don't blame it all on Israel

At the end of his two-day visit to Turkey on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama met with Muslim, Christian and Jewish students, and urged Muslims to look at the "two sides" to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"In the Muslim world, the notion that somehow everything is the fault of the Israelis lacks balance because there are two sides to every question," AFP quoted the US president as telling university students in Istanbul.

To the Jewish members of the group Obama said, "I say the same thing to my Jewish friends - you have to see the perspective of the Palestinians. Learning to stand in someone else's shoes, to see through their eyes... this is how peace begins."

"The world will be what you make of it," Obama told the students. "You can choose to make new bridges instead of new walls."

He left Turkey shortly after the meeting, flying into Iraq on a trip shrouded in secrecy, for a brief look at a war he opposed as a candidate and now vows to end as commander in chief.

Obama arrived in the country hours after a car bomb exploded in a Shi'ite neighborhood of the capital city, a deadly reminder of the violence that has claimed the lives at least 4,266 members of the US military since March 2003.

Shortly before leaving Turkey, the US president had held out Iraq as an example of the change he seeks in policies inherited from former president George W. Bush.

"Moving the ship of state takes time," he told a group of students in Istanbul. He noted his long-standing opposition to the war, yet said, "Now that we're there," the US troop withdrawal has to be done "in a careful enough way that we don't see a collapse into violence."

Hamas zal Israel echt niet erkennen

Voor het geval dat het nog niet duidelijk was......

Hamas: We will not recognize Israel-period
Published Date: 04/04/2009 - 12:01 PM
From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

The leadership of the Palestinian Islamic resistant movement, Hamas, has reasserted its principled refusal to recognize the Zionist entity ( Israel), saying that Israel is an illegitimate state based on ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Ismael Haniya, the legitimate Palestinian Prime Minister, told foreign dignitaries visiting Gaza last month that Hamas wouldn't abandon its principles under pressure.
"We will not cave in to pressure, we will not betray our people's trust, we will not recognize the illegitimate Zionist entity. This has always been our stance, and it will never change."
Haniya suggested that when it comes to recognizing the evil Zionist entity, the PLO represented only itself, not the entire Palestinian people.
He pointed out that acknowledging the legitimacy of the Zionist regime effectively meant a tacit recognition of all the hideous crimes committed by Israel, including the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinian refugees from their ancestral homeland.
No person under the sun, he said, has the right to compromise the right of the refugees to return to their homes and towns from which they were expelled at gunpoint.
"These people were expelled from their homes. This is the problem. And the solution is very clear. They must return to their homes."
The democratically-elected Palestinian Prime Minister said Israel wanted to destroy the Hamas movement in order to impose capitulation upon the Palestinian people.
Speaking during a reception in Gaza in honor of the Jordanian Medical Mission on Friday, 27 March, Haniya said the Palestinian people and its Arab and Muslim brothers thwarted Zionist efforts.
"We and you are facing the same enemy, it is the enemy of all Arabs and Muslims, we will not allow Israel to liquidate the paramount cause of the refugees. The refugees have only one destination, it is Palestine."
He said both Jordanians and Palestinians strongly rejected Zionist efforts and conspiracies to resettle Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries.
Meanwhile, Hamas leaders both at home and in the Diaspora have rejected pressures from the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) and some Arab regimes to give tacit or indirect recognition of Israel in order to facilitate the formation of a Palestinian national reconciliation government that would be acceptable to the United States and the Zionist regime.
PA ex-president Mahmoud Abbas has been saying that the success of the Egyptian-mediated national reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas won't reach a breakthrough unless Hamas accepts "all PLO commitments."
This obviously includes the recognition of the apartheid Israeli state, although Israel doesn't recognize a Palestinian state and has actually killed all prospects for the creation of a viable Palestinian state on the West Bank.
Hamas's refusal to accept "all" PLO commitments has been praised by the leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
In a statement leaked from his prison cell at the Askalan jail, PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat the PLO recognition of Israel and other unpopular agreements with the Zionist regime were the main cause of the present Palestinian rift.
He pointed out that the Zionist entity never really respected these agreements, saying that the opposite was true.
Meanwhile, Hamas leader Salah al Bardawil said the Islamic liberation movement would never ever even contemplate recognizing Israel.
In an interview published on 27 March, Bardawil argued strongly for national reconciliation, saying that Hamas wouldn't spare any efforts to reunite the Palestinian people.
"If we were to recognize Israel, then all problems would end, and the siege would end and the United States and Israel and Europe would embrace us. We would become the darling of the west and we wouldn't need reconciliation talks because we would be equal to the organizations that recognize Israel."
Bardawil, who is also head of the Hamas caucus in the Palestinian legislative council, said no prospective government of national unity would recognize Israel under any circumstances.
"Such a government would represent and reflect existing political forces."
Bardawil castigated as "cheap disinformation" claims by the Ramallah leadership that a government of national unity that doesn't recognize Israel will perpetuate the siege.
"This is nonsense and unrealistic because the platform of the national unity government was rejected first and foremost by those who are at America's beck and call, not by the world.
"If we press the world to recognize such a state, then the world will recognize it, but the problem is inside the Palestinian house, this is why we have to put our house in order but we should do so in a dignified manner."
Bardawil said a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas was dependent on real trust between the two sides.
"Our problem is that we don't have mutual trust for true partnership."
As to the election law, Bardawil said there was a likelihood that all contentious issues will be overcome, adding that Hamas was favoring a mixed system based on a combination of local circuits and proportional representation.
He argued that having the entire country as one electoral circuit would be unfair for independents.
"The proportional system would serve Fatah and Hamas, but there are many Palestinians who are not affiliated with either movements, and that won't be fair to them."
Some leaders within Hamas have demanded that solid international guarantees be provided in order to enable transparent and free elections to take place.
(Israel and the United States interfered heavily in favor of the Fatah organization during and after the 2006 elections, with the CIA giving Fatah millions of dollars to finance its elections campaign.)
Bardawil said disagreements regarding the PLO can be resolved democratically. He asserted that the PLO needed revival, reactivation, reform and reconstruction, adding that "we have agreed to organize elections for the Palestinian National Council which would facilitate the formation of a more representative Central Council."
Bardawil said the "real problem with the PLO of today is that it doesn't truly represent all the Palestinian people because there are popular Palestinian groups that are not represented in the PLO bodies."
No precise date has been designated for the resumption of reconciliation talks in Cairo. However, it is widely expected that the talks will be resumed after the Arab summit conference which would take place in Qatar in April.
Arab and Palestinian observers suggest that the success of the Arab summit will reflect positively on the Egyptian-mediated Palestinian reconciliation talks.