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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not now. Not in a decade. Not ever.




Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Not now. Not in a decade. Not ever.

transcript:


Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, what I’m about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN.

Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic state of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet.

Israel – 20; rest of the world – three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined? As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel, where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as speaker of the Knesset and prime minister.

And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe, but UNESCO just denied the 4,000-year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well, think again. You see, everything will change, and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that’s going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That’s nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel’s ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel’s ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there’s no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That’s an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity. I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help.

Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel, because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives.

This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I’ll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We’ll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries.

In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel’s small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I’m going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It’s taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East. But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly

So Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship, is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth. Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America’s consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama’s commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations.

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Today’s automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn’t happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended. For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo’s former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished delegates from so many lands, I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day, in the not-too-distant future, you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended. Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.

But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead, the revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN. But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel? Perhaps because some of you don’t appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country; it’s a problem for your countries, too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria. Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I’m proud to say in my own Likud party. Are the starving children in North Korea’s brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural knowhow is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world?

The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen: If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He’s preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That’s almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past. The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago? You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?

President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary.

You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again. And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn’t get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza.

This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they’re after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final-status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Israel is ready — I am ready — to negotiate all final-status issues. But one thing I will never negotiate: our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the prime minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought.

Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.

Now here’s the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past; their leaders are poisoning the future.

I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. I’ll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school; he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he’d detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here’s a quote, “to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them.” Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas’s Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a “heroic act.” On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Direct quote.

Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison. Here’s what she tells him. She tells him he’d be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority.

Ladies and Gentlemen: All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour.

This is child abuse.

Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?

We in Israel don’t do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace.

Of course, like all societies, Israel has fringe elements. But it’s our response to those fringe elements, it’s our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference.

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I’ll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him.

No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside, I told his uncle, “This is not our people. This is not our way.” I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed’s assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial.

Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict.

But what Ahmed’s story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them.

So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today, or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace.

I commend President el-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region. Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it. I’m ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today.

President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.

Ladies and Gentlemen: While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here. It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others.

Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope.

But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear.

We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS; we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon; we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria — the West Bank — and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

That’s the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly, refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today. They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son, Hadar, in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn’t care less.

I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that’s decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The greatest threat to my country, to our region and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel’s annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide.

This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents.

So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us; it’s before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran’s aggression and Iran’s terror. With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I stand before you today at a time when Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel’s founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah shlemah, Shimon, a speedy recovery.

I’ve always admired Shimon’s boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope, because Israel is capable of defending itself by itself against any threat. I am filled with hope, because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope, because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope, because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope, because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope, because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I’ve seen what Israel has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel’s independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now.

Israel’s population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world’s computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The future belongs to those who innovate, and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations.


Thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bret Stephens: Life During Wartime

As terrorist attacks become more common, public tolerance for liberal pieties will wane.



By BRET STEPHENS


Long after I returned to the U.S. after living in Jerusalem I kept thinking about soft targets. The peak-hour commuter train that took me from Westchester to Grand Central. The snaking queue outside the security checkpoint at La Guardia Airport. The theater crowds near Times Square.

All of these places were vulnerable and most of them undefended. Why, I wondered, weren’t they being attacked?

This was in late 2004, when Jack Bauer was an American hero and memories of 9/11 were vivid. Yet friends who were nervous about boarding a flight seemed nonchalant about much more plausible threats. Maybe they expected the next attack would be on the same grand scale of 9/11. Maybe they thought the perpetrators would be supervillains in the mold of Osama bin Laden, not fried-chicken vendors like Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the suspected 23rd Street bomber.

Life in Israel had taught me differently. Between January 2002, when I moved to the country, and October 2004, when I left, there were 85 suicide bombings, which took the lives of 543 Israelis. Palestinian gun attacks claimed hundreds of additional victims. In a small country it meant that most everyone knew one of those victims, or knew someone who knew someone.

To this day the bombings are landmarks in my life. March 2002: Cafe Moment, just down the street from my apartment, where my future wife had arranged to meet a friend who canceled at the last minute. Eleven dead. September 2003: Cafe Hillel, another neighborhood hangout, where seven people were murdered, including 20-year-oldNava Applebaum and her father, David, on the eve of her wedding. January 2004: Bus No. 19 on Gaza Street, which I witnessed close-up before the ambulances arrived. Another 11 dead and 13 seriously injured, including Jerusalem Post reporter Erik Schechter.

Living in those circumstances had a strange dichotomous quality. Things were absolutely fine until they absolutely weren’t. Memories of bombings mix with other memories: jogs around the walls of the old city, weekend outings to the beach, the daily grind of editing a newspaper. The sense of normality was achieved through an effort of will and a touch of fatalism. Past a certain point, fearing for your own safety becomes exhausting. You give it up.

But it wasn’t just psychological adjustment that made life livable. Israelis recoiled after each bombing, mourned every victim, then picked themselves up. Cafe Moment reopened weeks after it was destroyed. The army and police could not provide constant security, so every restaurant and supermarket hired an armed guard, every mall and hotel set up metal detectors, and people went out. More than a few attacks were stopped by lone Israeli civilians who prevented massacres through the expedient of a handgun.

As for the Israeli government, after much hesitation it did what governments are supposed to do: It fought. In April 2002 then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent Israeli tanks into Jenin, Bethlehem and every other nest of Palestinian terror. He trapped Yasser Arafat in his little palace in Ramallah. He ordered the killing of Hamas’s leaders in Gaza.

All this was done in the teeth of overwhelming international condemnation and the tut-tutting of experts who insisted only a “political solution” could break the “cycle of violence.” Instead, the Israeli military broke that cycle by building a wall and crippling the Palestinians’ capacity to perpetrate violence. In 2002 there were 47 bombings. In 2007 the number had come down to one.

What’s the lesson here for Americans? This past weekend’s terrorist attacks hold at least two. One is that there is a benefit for a society that allows competent and responsible adults to carry guns, like the off-duty police officer who shot the knife-wielding jihadist in St. Cloud, Minn. Another is that there is an equal benefit in the surveillance methods that allowed police in New York and New Jersey to swiftly identify and arrest Mr. Rahimi before his bombing spree took any lives.

These are lessons the political left in this country doesn’t want to hear, lest they unsettle established convictions that weapons can only cause violence, not stop it, and that security is the antithesis of, not a precondition to, civil liberty.

But hear them they will. The eclipse of al Qaeda by Islamic State means the terrorist threat is evolving from elaborately planned spectaculars such as 9/11 or the 2004 Madrid train bombings to hastily improvised and executed blood orgies of the sort we saw this year in Nice and Orlando. As attacks become more frequent and closer to everyday life, public tolerance for liberal pieties will wane. Not least among the casualties of the Palestinian intifada was the Israeli left.

Living in Israel in those crowded years taught me that free people aren’t so easily cowed by terror, and that jihadists are no match for a determined democracy. But it also taught me that democracies rarely muster their full reserves of determination until they’ve been bloodied one time too many.





Saturday, September 10, 2016

Netanyahu condemns Palestinian demand for a state without Jews





I'm sure many of you have heard the claim that Jewish communities in Judea Samaria, the West Bank, are an obstacle to peace.
I've always been perplexed by this notion.
Because no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel – that they're an obstacle to peace. That's because they aren't. On the contrary.
Israel's diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace. Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.
There's a phrase for that: It's called ethnic cleansing.
And this demand is outrageous.
It's even more outrageous that the world doesn't find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.
Ask yourself this: Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks?
Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?
At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends.
Does their presence make peace impossible?
I don’t think so.
I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don't pursue peace.
I envision a Middle East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace.
Our region needs more tolerance, not less.
So the next time you hear someone say Jews can't live somewhere, let alone in their ancestral homeland, take a moment to think of the implications.
Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd.
It's about time somebody said it.
I just did.
  
****

Excellent! Bibi is finally doing what he should have done years ago – state the obvious. The State Department has absolutely no real arguments to counter Bibi’s message, except to say that Muslims should for some reason be excluded from the norms applied to everyone else.   

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Greek lesson



Jerusalem Post



Greek lesson 

With regard to “The reluctant warrior” (Frontlines, August 26), why would the Israeli security establishment fondly remember Barack Obama, the US president who supports the Muslim Brotherhood and capitulated to Iran? Why would Americans, for that matter, remember him any better when he, along with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, turned the US into a kakistocracy? Kakistocracy comes from the ancient Greek (kákistos – worst, superlative of kakós – bad; and kratia – power, rule, government).

This is government under the control of a nation’s worst or least-qualified citizens.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC 
Beersheba 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Caroline Glick: Obama’s greatest achievement


On August 4, during the course of a press conference, Obama gave his interim assessment of his nuclear agreement with Iran. “It worked,” he insisted.





The time for complaining about President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has passed. The time has come to overcome the damage enormous damage his signature foreign policy accomplishment has caused.

To understand why this is the case, it is important to understand the breadth and depth of Obama’s failure.

On August 4, during the course of a press conference, Obama gave his interim assessment of his nuclear agreement with Iran.


“It worked,” he insisted.

A year after the deal was signed, Obama argued, events have proven that he was right and the deal’s critics were wrong.

“You’ll recall that there were all these horror stories about how Iran was going to cheat and this wasn’t going to work and Iran was going to get $150 billion to finance terrorism and all these kinds of scenarios, and none of them have come to pass,” he proclaimed.

Obama then snidely swiped at the deal’s opponents saying that it would be “impressive” if the people who criticized the deal would own up to their mistakes and admit that it worked.

As it works out, everything that Obama said about the deal with Iran during his press conference was a lie.

Some of his lies became apparent within hours.

For instance, Obama falsely claimed that Israel now “acknowledges this has been a game changer and Iran has abided by the deal and they no longer have the sort of short-term breakout capacity that would allow them to develop nuclear weapons.”

Hours later, the Defense Ministry issued a stinging rebuke of Obama’s claim, parroted more diplomatically by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Obama’s press conference took place the day after The Wall Street Journal reported that in January 2016, the US sent an unmarked plane to the Tehran airport filled with $400 million in cash, on the same day Iran released four US hostages.

Obama angrily rejected allegations that the cash payment was a ransom payment for the hostages’ release. He insisted that the US had made the payment as the first installment of a $1.7b. payment the administration made to settle an Iranian government lawsuit against America.

Obama claimed that the administration agreed to the settlement at the urging of the Justice Department.

He said his administration was able to settle the dispute only due to the nuclear deal which placed US officials in direct contact with their Iranian counterparts for the first time in decades.

Within a day, Obama’s claims were exposed as lies. It turns out that Justice Department lawyers opposed the cash payout to Iran.

One of the hostages released in January told the media that the Iranians refused to allow the hostages to leave Iran until the airplane with the cash landed in the airport.

The Iranians, for their part, contemptuously mocked Obama, and stated openly that the $400m. was a ransom payment for the hostages.

Two weeks later, Obama’s State Department admitted that the $400m. was a payment for the hostages.

Obama’s principle claim is that due to his deal, Iran no longer has a short-term nuclear breakout capacity. He also says that in accordance with the deal, Iran has shipped its nuclear materials out of the country. These claims are both untrue and misleading.

On Thursday Reuters reported that Iran did not ship the quantities of low-enriched uranium out of the country in the quantities the deal required.

Last January, when the deadline arrived for Iran to comply with the deal’s clauses calling for it to move its uranium enriched to 3.5 percent and 20 percent out of the country and so enable the US and its European colleagues to cancel UN sanctions against it, it worked out that Iran had failed to comply.

Rather than acknowledge Iran’s failure and maintain the sanctions in accordance with their deal, the Americans and Europeans decided to move the goalpost closer to Iran.

They secretly decreased the amount of uranium the Iranians were required to part with. They then announced triumphantly that they were canceling UN sanctions because Iran had complied with the agreement.

Reuters reported that much of the low-enriched uranium Iran did remove from its territory wasn’t actually removed from its possession. Instead it was transferred to neighboring Oman, where it is held under Iranian guard and control.

Obama of course knows all of this. So his claims that the agreement “worked” are nothing more than a card trick meant to trick the American public.

Obama’s assertion that Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear arsenal has been slowed as a result of his deal is similarly a stretch of the imagination. The Iranians have suspended much of their prior centrifuge spinning. But that is only because they are now directing their efforts to developing and deploying more advanced centrifuges that will be able to enrich uranium to bomb grade material far more rapidly than the centrifuges they were required to retire.

Experts have already placed Iran’s post-deal nuclear breakout time at a mere six months. And Iran can leave the agreement – which it never actually signed or officially agreed to – anytime it wants.

While developing their next generation centrifuges, the Iranians are expanding the range and precision of their ballistic missiles, deploying them and increasing the size of their arsenals. Despite the fact that these actions are prohibited under US law and breach what was initially claimed about the ever-changing nuclear deal, the Obama administration has refused to impose sanctions against Iran, insisting that its actions merely breach the spirit, rather than substance, of the deal.

The administration has had a similar response to Iran’s recent deployment of Russia’s S-300 missile defense battery around its military nuclear site at Fordo. On Sunday Iranian television showed footage of the missiles being set up around the formerly secret site.

As Omri Ceren of the Israel Project noted this week, Iran’s deployment of the S-300 system places it in breach of three US sanctions laws. Despite this, the White House announced on Wednesday that it has no intention of enforcing US law and applying sanctions on Iran. The S-300 missiles can be used both as a defensive system and as an offensive one.

On Tuesday, Tehran announced that it will be launching three satellites in the coming months.

Satellite launches are widely viewed as a means through which Iran is covertly developing a longrange ballistic missile capability. Rather than censure Iran for its actions, the Obama administration insists that such actions, as well as Iran’s recent longrange rocket tests, do not violate the nuclear deal or warrant US action.

Taken separately and together, Iran’s actions since the nuclear deal was officially concluded make clear that it continues to pursue its nuclear program, and indeed, has become more brazen in its nuclear operations than it was before the agreement was announced last year.

In other words, not only has the deal not worked, contrary to Obama’s claims, it has been a colossal failure on every level. The deal’s opponents were entirely right about the dangers it posed and Obama was entirely wrong.

This is true as well in relation to the administration’s qualified promises that the deal would lead to better relations between the US and Iran. As Shoshana and Stephen Bryen noted last week following the Iranian naval assault on the USS Nitze in the Strait of Hormuz, with its repeated harassment of US naval ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz, Iran is clearly practicing its tactic of swarming US naval craft as a preparation for a real strike against them.

The main reason that Iran’s nuclear program is such a grave concern for Israel and for other Middle Eastern states is that the Iranian regime has hegemonic ambitions. It seeks to destroy Israel and dominate the entire region.

Since it concluded the deal with Washington, Iran has surged its forces and massively expanded its power projection throughout the region.

On Thursday the Daily Mail reported that the commonly held belief that Iran commands 16,000 troops in Syria is wrong. According to the National Council of Resistance in Iran, the regime actually commands 60,000 forces in Syria, deployed throughout the country. The entire Syrian army today numbers a mere 50,000 men.

On August 4, Obama mocked claims that Iran would spend its windfall profits of $100b.-$150b. from the sanctions relief the nuclear deal offered to fund terrorism. Yet, according to the Daily Mail report, to date Iran has spent $100b. on the war in Syria.

The implications of the report are blood curdling.

They mean that despite Obama’s denials, the funds Iran has received as a result of the sanctions relief he brought about through his nuclear deal have paid for Iran’s war in Syria. That war has caused the death of nearly half a million people and forced more than 11 million people to flee their homes.

Obviously, it is important for Americans to know the truth about the Iran deal and its consequences as they consider their votes for Obama’s replacement.

One of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s top candidates for secretary of state is Wendy Sherman.

Sherman was the chief negotiator of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

For Israel, the question of what to do about Iran now is far more urgent than it is for Americans.

Today more and more commentators are voicing concern over the prospect that Obama will support an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council as a parting shot at Israel.

But any such resolution will be small potatoes in comparison to the strategic devastation his nuclear deal, which is his main foreign policy legacy, has caused.

The rapidity of Iran’s advance makes clear that there is no justification for waiting to act until Obama has left office. If it doesn’t act soon, Israel is on the fast track to waking up one morning and discovering it has no means of thwarting the threat.

Indeed, with each passing month, its options for action become more and more limited.

After Israel’s security leadership undermined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to attack Iran’s nuclear installations in 2010 and 2012, Netanyahu settled on a strategy of blocking Obama’s moves to appease Tehran.

That strategy of course failed last summer. Since then, Netanyahu has worked to build an anti-Iranian alliance with the Sunni Arab states. His efforts in this area have clearly met with some measure of success, as witnessed by public statements from prominent Saudis and others.

Whatever that success may be, and whatever the status of that burgeoning alliance of spurned US allies, the fact is that it’s time Israel and its new allies do something more than send signals. Time is a-wasting.

Last spring Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said, “Today the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are more present than ever before.”

Thanks to Obama, he may be right.

It is time for Israel to make him eat his words.




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"The rapidity of Iran’s advance makes clear that there is no justification for waiting to act until Obama has left office. If it doesn’t act soon, Israel is on the fast track to waking up one morning and discovering it has no means of thwarting the threat."

"It is time for Israel to make him eat his words"


Netanyahu tried in 2010 when according to Caroline Glick  Dagan and Ashkenazi blocked the attack. So now that Iran  has deployed S-300 at the Fordo nuclear site this will be even more risky. 


With Obama now and the prospect of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the next four years, Israel will, as I predicted in 2008, be facing Iran alone.


Here is where you can see the Time left until Obama leaves office    . At the moment it is in 139 days 1 hour  26 minutes

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Krauthammer: The price of powerlessness





This photo, grabbed from Russian Defense Ministry video footage issued Aug. 16, is said to show a Tu-22M3 long-range bomber releasing its payload above Syria after it took off from an air base in Iran. (Russian Defense Ministry 



This week Russian bombers flew out of Iranian air bases to attack rebel positions in Syria. The State Department pretended not to be surprised. It should be. It should be alarmed. Iran’s intensely nationalistic revolutionary regime had never permitted foreign forces to operate from its soil. Until now.

The reordering of the Middle East is proceeding apace. Where for 40 years the U.S.-Egypt alliance anchored the region, a Russia-Iran condominium is now dictating events. That’s what you get after eight years of U.S. retrenchment and withdrawal. That’s what results from the nuclear deal with Iran, the evacuation of Iraq and utter U.S. immobility on Syria. Consider:

 Iran

The nuclear deal was supposed to begin a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. Instead, it has solidified a strategic-military alliance between Moscow and Tehran. With the lifting of sanctions and the normalizing of Iran’s international relations, Russia rushed in with major deals, including theshipment of S-300 ground-to-air missiles. Russian use of Iranian bases now marks a new level of cooperation and joint power projection.

 Iraq

These bombing runs cross Iraqi airspace. Before President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq, that could not have happened. The resulting vacuum has not only created a corridor for Russian bombing, it has gradually allowed a hard-won post-Saddam Iraq to slip into Iran’s orbit. According to a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, there are 100,000 Shiite militia fightersoperating inside Iraq, 80 percent of them Iranian-backed.

 Syria

When Russia dramatically intervened last year, establishing air bases and launching a savage bombing campaign, Obama did nothing. Indeed, he smuglypredicted that Vladimir Putin had entered a quagmire. Some quagmire. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not only saved. It encircled Aleppo and has seized the upper hand in the civil war. Meanwhile, our hapless secretary of state is running around trying to sue for peace, offering to share intelligence and legitimize Russian intervention if only Putin will promise to conquer gently.

Consider what Putin has achieved. Dealt a very weak hand — a rump Russian state, shorn of empire and saddled with a backward economy and a rusting military — he has restored Russia to great-power status. Reduced to irrelevance in the 1990s, it is now a force to be reckoned with.

In Europe, Putin has unilaterally redrawn the map. His annexation of Crimea will not be reversed. The Europeans are eager to throw off the few sanctions they grudgingly imposed on Russia. And the rape of eastern Ukraine continues.

Ten thousand have already died and now Putin is threatening even more open warfare. Under the absurd pretext of Ukrainian terrorism in Crimea (reminiscent of Hitler’s claim that he invaded Poland in response to a Polish border incursion), Putin has threatened retaliation, massed troops in eight locations on the Ukrainian border, ordered Black Sea naval exercises and moved advanced anti-aircraft batteries into Crimea, giving Moscow control over much of Ukrainian airspace.

And why shouldn’t he? He’s pushing on an open door. Obama still refuses to send Ukraine even defensive weapons. The administration’s response to these provocations? Urging “both sides” to exercise restraint. Both sides, mind you.

And in a gratuitous flaunting of its newly expanded reach, Russia will be conducting joint naval exercises with China in the South China Sea, in obvious support of Beijing’s territorial claims and illegal military bases.

Yet the president shows little concern. He is too smart not to understand geopolitics; he simply doesn’t care. In part because his priorities are domestic. In part because he thinks we lack clean hands and thus the moral standing to continue to play international arbiter.

And in part because he’s convinced that in the long run it doesn’t matter. Fluctuations in great power relations are inherently ephemeral. For a man who sees a moral arc in the universe bending inexorably toward justice, calculations of raw realpolitik are 20th-century thinking — primitive, obsolete, the obsession of small minds.

Obama made all this perfectly clear in speeches at the U.N., in Cairo and here at home in his very first year in office. Two terms later, we see the result. Ukraine dismembered. Eastern Europe on edge. Syria a charnel house. Iran subsuming Iraq. Russia and Iran on the march across the entire northern Middle East.

At the heart of this disorder is a simple asymmetry. It is in worldview. The major revisionist powers — China, Russia and Iran — know what they want: power, territory, tribute. And they’re going after it. Barack Obama takes Ecclesiastes’ view that these are vanities, nothing but vanities.


In the kingdom of heaven, no doubt. Here on earth, however — Aleppo to Donetsk, Estonia to the Spratly Islands — it matters greatly.


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My only comment is that there is now 153 days 6 hours and 14 minutes left until Obama leaves office