Archive for November, 2010
Monday, November 29th, 2010
Abbas to UN: Continued settlement constitutes a time bomb
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Israeli envoy to UN responds, "it takes two to tango"; Ban Ki-moon calls settlement building "serious blow to credibility of political process."
In a message read at the UN's headquarters in New York Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called West Bank settlements a "time bomb," AFP reported.
As the world body commemorated International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a message from Abbas said that the deterioration in the peace process "requires bringing a decisive and final end to the vicious Israeli settlement campaign."
Capital gives green light to Gilo housing project
Israeli officials: Abbas making excuses not to negotiate
The PA president continued, saying that continued settlement "constitutes a time bomb that could destroy everything we have accomplished on the road to peace, at any moment," AFP reported.
Responding to what he called "destructive rhetoric," Israeli UN envoy Meron Reuben retorted, "It takes two to tango, Israel cannot reach peace on its own," according to AFP.
Reuben added, "We can only achieve peace with the Palestinians through compromise and direct and bilateral negotiations," according to the report. "We can only move forward through bilateral negotiations that address the concerns of both sides," he said.
For his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke candidly on the issue, saying that there was "little optimism" on either side, AFP reported. Addressing the issue of settlements, the secretary-general said that continued building constitutes "a serious blow to the credibility of the political process."
Ban Ki-moon, however, did not only direct his statements at Israel. He made it clear that the Palestinians "must continue to roll out the institutions of statehood, combat terrorist attacks and curb incitement," according to the report.
Gilboa: WikiLeaks Exposures Demand Policy Change
by Elad Benari
Professor Eytan Gilboa, professor of communication and government at Bar-Ilan University, addressed on Monday the exposure of sensitive documents by WikiLeaks.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva’s daily journal, Gilboa, who is an expert on U.S. matters and former advisor in the offices of the Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister, said: “The publications weaken the United States and a weak United States is not a good thing for Israel.”
He added that he is concerned by an image of the U.S. as a country under attack led by a weak president. Such an image, according to Gilboa, might very well lead to continued attacks on the Americans.
Gilboa said that the very exposure of the documents is a “serious failure” on the part of the U.S. government, a failure which he believes that the U.S. is already paying for in the international arena, since it is now assumed by any diplomat or informant that should they contact their American counterparts, there is a legitimate concern that what they say would ultimately be made public. “There are known rules to the game,” said Gilboa. “Things that are said and sent confidentially should remain that way.”
He added that he does not believe that so far, any particularly severe information has been leaked, but warned that such information could be made available later in the week.
“So far there is nothing new,” said Gilboa. “Most of it was already known, but still, when things show up written in black and white it's embarrassing. We all knew that Saudi Arabia and other countries fear Iran, but when it is written that there was pressure on their part to attack Iran it's embarrassing.”
According to Gilboa, the U.S. administration must find the person who leaked the documents, punish them severely, and work to repair foreign relations. As for Obama's dealing with the information that has been leaked, Gilboa believes that he should focus on changing his treatment of hostile countries.
“Obama so far has been relatively soft on the enemy, and he should examine his strategy and support more allies,” said Gilboa. “The reconciliation with the Arab world failed. Now Obama needs to change his policy and present an action plan so that he can deal with two problems for which a solution has still not been found: the fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, and the proliferation of nuclear countries such as Iran and North Korea.
Israel pleased with WikiLeaks revelations
There was much apprehension and concern on Sunday evening as whistleblower website WikiLeaks began publishing nearly a quarter of a million classified US diplomatic cables. Washington had already phoned Israeli leaders to prepare them for any embarrassing information that would be revealed.
But by Monday morning, Israel appeared to be the one nation that had benefited from the stunt.
“If anything, the leaks were positive and did not damage Israel’s image at all,” former National Security Adviser Giora Eiland told Voice of Israel radio. “There was no contradiction between what Israel has said in public and in private.”
In fact, the documents reveal that Israeli officials, especially Meir Dagan, head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, are regularly sought after by officials from all parts of the American government for their expertise and insight on various Middle East situations. In short, Israel is an enormously valuable resource for America and its interests in the region.
The documents further aid Israel by revealing that it is far from being the only nation in the region calling for military action against Iran’s defiant nuclear program, or at least greater efforts to effect regime change in Tehran.
The authors of several of the cables accuse Israel of overestimating Iran’s nuclear program and how quickly Iran would be able to field a nuclear weapon. They insist that Israeli assessments of the situation must be “taken with a grain of salt.” Former US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer was especially critical of Israel’s assessment of the situation with Iran.
But another document has Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin stressing to two US congressional leaders that “Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the US was on September 11, 2001.”
A slew of other documents reveal that the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan all share the Israeli sense of urgency regarding Iran, and also want the US and/or Israel to stop Iran’s nuclear program at any cost.
“That program must be stopped,” King Hamad of Bahrain is quoted as saying in one of the documents. “The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.”
In other documents, Israeli accusations that certain UN bodies have ties to Muslim terrorist groups are justified by the revelation that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered ongoing investigations of UN personnel working in Lebanon and Palestinian-controlled areas.
“Washington wanted intelligence on the contentious issue of the ‘relationship or funding between UN personnel and/or missions and terrorist organizations’ and links between the UN Relief and Works Agency in the Middle East, and Hamas and Hizballah,” the British newspaper Guardian reported, citing several of the documents.
Clinton even ordered a probe of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a revelation that is certain to ratchet up tensions between Washington and the world body.
The only other Israel-related issue in those documents that have been released concerns the 2008-2009 Gaza war. It was revealed that prior to invading Gaza in response to escalating Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak tried to convince either Egypt or Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority to step in and assume control of the territory after Hamas was defeated.
It seems neither Egypt nor the PA were interested in bringing an end to the destructive rule of Hamas and the atmosphere of conflict the group continues to foster.
Nuclear scientist killed in Tehran was Iran's top Stuxnet expert
Targeted nuclear scientist's car
World Exclusive from debkafile's intelligence sources:
Prof. Majid Shahriari, who died when his car was attacked in North Tehran Monday, Nov. 29, headed the team Iran established for combating the Stuxnet virus rampaging through its nuclear and military networks. His wife was injured. The scientist's death deals a major blow to Iran's herculean efforts to purge its nuclear and military control systems of the destructive worm since it went on the offensive six months ago. Only this month, Stuxnet shut down nuclear enrichment at Natanz for six days from Nov. 16-22 and curtailed an important air defense exercise.
Prof. Shahriari was the Iranian nuclear program's top expert on computer codes and cyber war. .
Another Iranian nuclear scientist, Prof. Feredoun Abbassi-Davani, and his wife survived a second coordinated attack with serious injuries. He is Dean of Students, a key political post at the university ..
Ali Salehi, Director of Iran's Nuclear Energy Commission, reacted bitterly that there is a limit to Iran's patience and whoever committed the murder is playing with fire. Tehran held US intelligence and the Israeli Mossad for responsible for the scientist's death.
Tehran's official account of the attacks is only half-correct, are sources report. There were indeed two motorcycle teams of two riders each who shadowed the scientists' vehicles on their way to their laboratories and offices at Beheshti Basij Forces University in North Teheran early Monday. It was initially reported that the motorcyclists sped past them, attached explosives to the targeted Peugeots and were gone before they exploded.
However, the first photos of the scientists' vehicles showed them to be riddled with bullet holes rather than explosive damage, meaning they were hit by drive-by shooters.
It is important to note that the attacks took place in the most secure district of Tehran, where the top-secret labs serving Iran's nuclear facilities are located. They must therefore have been set up after exhaustive and detailed surveillance.
debkafile reported earlier: The attacks occurred at 7.45 a.m. Iranian time, less than 12 hours after the WikiLeaks organization uncovered US diplomatic cables attesting to a proposal by Mossad director Meir Dagan to overthrow the Islamic regime as one of the ways of terminating its nuclear program. He proposed enlisting oppressed Iranian minority groups for the task, like the Baluchis and their liberation movement, Jundallah.
Our intelligence sources note that this was the fifth attack in two years on Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran. None of the perpetrators were ever apprehended. Some sources suggest that the latest double hit may have been the work of Jundallah, which recently began targeting nuclear scientists serving the hated regime and which two months ago reported abducting a scientist employed at the Isfahan nuclear facility.
Tehran played down that incident claiming the kidnapped man was a driver. But last week he appeared on the Saudi TV station Al Arabiya and described his nuclear work.
Leak: Peres admitted Oslo was a ‘mistake’
By GIL HOFFMAN
In conversation with US Congressman Ackerman, Netanyahu attacked Peres, called Kadima a "fake party," said 2nd Lebanon War was "stupid."
President Shimon Peres admitted to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the Oslo peace process he helped initiate was based on a mistaken premise, according to an April 2007 cable of a conversation Netanyahu had with US Congressman Gary Ackerman, the Wikileaks website revealed Monday.
Netanyahu was opposition leader at the time and Peres was vice premier.
'Wikileaks exposure is attack on international community'
Obama administration reviews handling of US secrets
PM: Wikileaks to make it harder for diplomats, journalists
"Netanyahu commented that Shimon Peres had admitted to him that the Oslo process had been based on a mistaken economic premise, and as a result European and US assistance to the Palestinians had gone to create a bloated bureaucracy, with PA employees looking to the international community to meet their payroll," Ackerman reported in a document first revealed by Channel 10 reporter Nadav Eyal.
In the same conversation with Ackerman, Netanyahu called Kadima a "fake party" and former prime minister Ehud Olmert's approach in the Second Lebanon War a year earlier "stupid." Kadima blasted Netanyahu, who took pride in being a statesmanlike opposition leader, for airing the government's dirty laundry to leaders overseas.
"Netanyahu put his political interests above those of the nation," Kadima MK Yoel Hason said. "Wikileaks exposed the tip of the iceberg of Netanyahu's empty leadership."
WikiLeaks:Documents Show Livni Doubted Fatah as Peace Partner
by Maayana Miskin
Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni has often criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for failing to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Now, leaked documents published on WikiLeaks have revealed that Livni herself expressed doubts over the PA's ability to make peace.
Livni told Senators Kerry and Dodd that she doubted that a final status agreement could be reached with Abu Mazen , and therefore the emphasis should be on reforming Fatah so that it could beat Hamas at the polls,” according to a cable sent by former U.S. envoy Richard Jones.
Despite her doubts Livni took part in talks with the PA one year later, and since Netanyahu took office, has repeatedly criticized him for not convincing the PA to resume negotiations. PA Chairman Abbas has refused to talk to Netanyahu without a complete construction ban for Jews living east of the 1949 armistice line; no similar ultimatum was issued to Livni and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Livni said Monday that the leaked documents “don't say anything that I didn't already say in public.” Her doubts were expressed in 2007, at a point when Hamas had recently become stronger, “and therefore chances of an agreement were slim,” she said.
“In 2008 we began the peace process in order to change the situation, and in 2010 I say again – a peace agreement is possible,” Livni said.
It was unclear from her statement what had led to her change of mind between 2007 and 2010. Hamas remains in control of Gaza as it was in 2007 and Fatah, the faction leading the PA, has yet to beat Hamas in elections.
Polls conducted among PA Arabs show that neither Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas nor Gaza-based Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh is the most popular candidate for PA Chairman. In the lead was Marwan Barghouti, a senior Fatah terrorist who is serving five life sentences in Israel for his role in multiple murders.
Fatah Declares: No to Israel as Jewish State, No to Land Swaps
by Chana Ya'ar
The faction that is led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and which leads the PA has officially declared its formal refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Its announcement recalled the three no's of the Khartoum Arab League Conference of September 1967, following the Six Day War, which squelched all efforts to reach a peace agreement by declaring "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it".
The Fatah Revolutionary Council over this weekend voted to “affirm its rejection of the so-called Jewish state or any other formula that could achieve this goal” at its fifth convention in Ramallah.
“The Council also renews its refusal for the establishment of any racist state based on religion in accordance with international law and human rights conventions,” the council said in a statement issued at the end of the convention.
In addition, the statement said Fatah was opposed to the concept of swapping land for peace, because “illegal settler gangs cannot be placed on an equal footing with the owners of the lands and rights.” Israel has long considered land swaps to be part of a final solution.
The latest efforts by the United States to bring Israel and the PA back to the negotiating table did not help the cause of peace, opined the Council, because it could “harm Palestinian rights and prolong the occupation… and such gifts to the occupier will only make the occupier more stubborn and radical.”
The Council also condemned the new Israeli law that mandates a full nationwide Israeli referendum prior to ceding land from within Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, saying it violated international law. Fatah Council members urged the PA leadership to fight the measure in the United Nations plenum and in U.N. Security Council.
PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas received the Council’s sole praise, with Fatah leaders expressing support for “adhering to the basic rights, first and foremost the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Also… for standing up against pressure aimed at resuming the peace talks without achieving the demands of the Palestinians.”
Abbas also vowed not to return to the negotiating table unless Israel completely froze Jewish construction throughout Judea, Samaria, and all areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority for its hoped-for new country.
Last Sunday thousands protested in Jerusalem against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s agreement to a 90-day extension of the freeze.
U.S. President Barack Obama had threatened to back a unilateral PA declaration of statehood if Israel did not agree to the freeze. Obama also said, however, that there would be no demands for any further freeze extensions if Israel were to agree to the current “request.” He had no demands for the PA. Israel has repeatedly asked the PA to resume negotiations without pre-conditions.
Sunday, November 28th, 2010
Wikileaks: 'Saudis on Iran: Cut off the head of the snake'
By HERB KEINON AND YAAKOV KATZ
US State Dept. documents show Mossad head says US needs to encourage regime change inside Iran; Barak tried to coordinate Operation Cast Lead with PA, Egypt.
Key Arab states, foremost among them Saudi Arabia, that have publicly been sitting on their hands regarding Iran’s nuclear march have privately been exhorting the US to military action, US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks showed on Sunday night.
According to a report of the more than 250,000 cables, that appeared on The Guardian’s website, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah asked the US repeatedly to attack Iran and destroy its nuclear program, and in 2008 the monarchy’s envoy to Washington told US Gen. David Petraeus to “cut off the head of the snake.”
Leak: Iran used Red Crescent to smuggle weapons
Analysis: Wikileaks - Not damaging, vindicating
The Guardian noted that the Saudi king was recorded as having “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program,” one cable stated.
And Saudi Arabia was not alone. According to the Guardian report, “officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran’s nuclear program to be stopped by any means, including military.”
Likewise, leaders in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran as “evil,” an “existential threat” and a power that “is going to take us to war,” the paper reported.
The cache of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, many of them characterized as “secret,” was made available in advance to five newspapers – London’s The Guardian, The New York Times, Germany’s Der Spiegel, France’s Le Monde and Spain’s El País – which began excerpting from them on Sunday night.
Before publication of the documents began, one Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that there was concern in neighboring countries that their public declarations would be shown to have been greatly at odds with what was said in private conversations.
Israeli officials have said for years that the way Arab leaders talk in private is significantly different than what they say in public, a dissonance that became evident with the first revelations of what was in the documents.
Netanyahu: US did not brief us on documents specifically
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cryptically alluded to this during a press conference on Sunday while observing work on a security barrier along the Egyptian border.
“We did not get any specific briefing regarding these things,” Netanyahu said of the WikiLeaks documents. “It is accepted in these reports that there is a gap between what people say privately, and what is said publicly. The difference is that in Israel, the gaps are not that great, but in a number of states in the region, the gaps are very, very big.”
Israel had no official reaction to the leaks on Sunday night.
While Israel was not, as Netanyahu rightly predicted, the center of attention, there were a number of cables that related to Israel and Israel-related issues.
• Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, who stepped down as head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence last week, said in a meeting in 2009 with US Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Florida) that Israel was not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the United States was on 9/11.
• Mossad director Meir Dagan told Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns in 2007 that Israel and the United States need to do more to create regime change in Iran.
• Dagan also told Frances Fragos Townsend, assistant to the US president for homeland security and counterterrorism, in the summer of 2007 that IDF operations against Hamas in the West Bank were preventing the terrorist group from taking over the Fatahcontrolled territory, according to a cable from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department.
• According to another cable sent from the embassy in Tel Aviv, Barak revealed to a congressional delegation in 2009 that Israel tried to coordinate Operation Cast Lead with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
• Iran used the cover of the Iranian Red Crescent to smuggle intelligence agents and missiles into Lebanon during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, according to a cable from 2008 that originated in Dubai and was based on a meeting between a US diplomat and an unnamed source.
Washington: Leaks can deeply impact foreign policy interests
The White House, meanwhile, issued a statement saying that “field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions.”
Nevertheless, the statement said, “these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”
The statement added that “President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights, but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”
Among the other disclosures that were reported on The New York Times website:
• A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device.
In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “If the local media got word of the fuel removal, they certainly would portray it as ‘the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.’”
• Gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul.
She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would “help salve” China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a “benign alliance” with the United States.
• Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of Let’s Make a Deal.
Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Barack Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees, cables from diplomats recounted.
The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”
• Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the US Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash.
With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)
• A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported.
The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.
• Mixed records against terrorism: Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni terrorist groups like al-Qaida, and the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the American military for years, was the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December.
Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the US and provoking reprisals,” the cable said.
• An intriguing alliance: American diplomats in Rome reported in 2009 on what their Italian contacts described as an extraordinarily close relationship between Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian prime minister, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister and business magnate, including “lavish gifts,” lucrative energy contracts and a “shadowy” Russian-speaking Italian go-between. They wrote that Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe.
The diplomats also noted that while Putin enjoys supremacy over all other public figures in Russia, he is undermined by an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignores his edicts.
Among the leaked documents were dispatches that disclosed US nicknames for a number of world leaders.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was referred to as “Hitler,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy as a “naked emperor,” the German chancellor was called Angela “Teflon” Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai as “driven by paranoia.”
Putin was referred to as “Alpha Male,” while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is “afraid, hesitant.”
The documents also say that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suffers from epilepsy, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s full-time nurse is a “hot blond,” and Berlusconi loves “wild parties.”
The article also quotes the State Department as saying that Obama “prefers to look East rather than West,” and “has no feelings for Europe.”
“The US sees the world as a conflict between two superpowers,” the diplomatic cables say. “The European Union plays a secondary role.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
Netanyahu: Flood of migrants must be stemmed
By HERB KEINON
PM views work on barrier on Egyptian border after cabinet approves construction of detention center for infiltrators.
The cabinet on Sunday approved plans to build a detention center for illegal migrants near Ketziot, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took journalists to the Egyptian border to see the work on a new barrier there and to illustrate the scope of the illegal migration.
According to figures presented to Netanyahu at a point overlooking the work along the border, about 60 kilometers north of Eilat, around 1,000 illegal immigrants a month – or more than 12,000 a year – are currently crossing from Egypt into Israel.
Cabinet approves detention center for illegal infiltrators
'Prisons service can't cope with African migrant center'
Work begins on Egypt-Israel border barrier
One IDF official noted that this number was nearly equal to the number of immigrants entering the country, a number that stood at some 16,200 in 2009.
Of the illegal migrants, some 70 percent are from Eritrea, 20% from Sudan and 10% from a number of other African countries such as Ivory Coast and Chad, or other countries such as China, Turkey or Ukraine, Netanyahu was told.
On a similar tour in January to announce the construction of the barrier along the border, Netanyahu was told that in 2009 some 5,000 migrants had infiltrated the country. After protracted bureaucratic infighting, work on the barrier began a few weeks ago.
The prime minister, during a brief press conference at the site on Sunday, said that more than 99% of these migrants were “economic refuges” looking for a better standard of living, and less than 1% were “political refugees,” whom Israel would absorb.
He said it might be necessary to replicate the construction of the barrier being build on the 240-kilometer border with Egypt at the eastern border with Jordan as well, since once the Egyptian border was closed, the migrants would look for other “holes in the fence.”
Netanyahu said the battle against the migrants, which he characterized as a “flood” that needed to be stemmed, was something that needed to be waged on a number of levels.
“We are not talking only about a barrier, but rather an integrated system that deals with deployment of forces, intelligence, stopping them before they get to the border, pressure and fines on employers, activity in the international arena, and dealing with the infiltrators when we find them,” he said.
Netanyahu said the IDF’s assessments were that it would be possible to cut the number of migrants by half in 2011, and even further in 2012.
Dodging a question about whether his government failed by not building the barrier sooner, Netanyahu said that while for the past five years previous governments only talked about the problem, his government began tackling it. Saying that significant changes would be evident soon, he added, “I am very determined to build this barrier.”
Netanyahu warned that as word of Israel’s actions to stem the tide of the migrants got back to Eritrea and Sudan, there might be a surge of migrants making a move toward Israel, before the barrier was completed.
Asked about some signs of racism in the country toward the migrants, Netanyahu said the migrants were trying to enter Israel not only because of economic opportunities, but also because they realized they would be treated humanely.
“There are signs of extremism,” he said. “These signs of extremism will increase if instead of 1,000 people a month, 12,000 a year, we would see 40,000 or 50,000 a year, and that is possible.”
But, he said, regarding the country’s humanity, “we are unique in the region, and possibly in the world.
“We are a humane country, but also a sane one,” he said. “And as a sane country, we must defend ourselves, defend the national character of Israel, and we are obligated to close the border, and that is what we will do.”
Just before Netanyahu’s trip south, the cabinet gave the green light to the construction of a detention center expected to be able to hold up to 10,000 infiltrators.
The rationale for the decision, according to a statement issued after the meeting, was to “reduce the economic incentive for the migrants to arrive in Israel,” since if potential migrants know that rather than being allowed to look for work after crossing the border, they will be placed in a detention facility, they might have second thoughts about making the grueling trip.
Since Israeli law does not currently allow for infiltrators to be “locked up,” they will be held in an open facility where their basic needs will be provided for. In the meantime, the Knesset will draw up laws that would allow for facilities such as this one to be closed lock-ups.
Netanyahu was joined on his trip south by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
Arab Who Maimed Woman with Rock Gets 9 Years
The Military Appeals Court has granted an appeal by the Prosecution and stiffened the sentence of an Arab youth who maimed a Jewish woman in 2007. The attacker, Muhammad Alwahsh, threw a rock at the car the woman was driving in, hitting her face and seriously injuring her. She suffered damage to her vision and hearing, loss of sensation in half of her face and a loss of the senses of taste and smell.
According to the charge sheet Alwahsh, who lives in El Hader south of Jerusalem, and several other youths decided to hurt Israeli citizens. In one incident, they threw fire bombs and rocks at Israeli-registered cars but caused no damage or injury. In the 2007 incident, they threw rocks at cars near the northern entrance to the nearby community of Efrat.
The Judea Military Court originally sentenced Alwahsh to six years' jail as well as 18,000 shekels damages to the injured woman. Both the prosecution and the defense appealed the verdict. The defense asked to lessen the sentence, arguing that at the time of the attack, Alwahsh was five days shy of his 18th birthday and thus technically a minor. It also asked for a more lenient sentence on the grounds that the sum of monetary compensation Alwahsh must pay the victim is a large one.
The prosecution asked the court to make the punishment more severe, in view of the injuries caused.
The Military Appeals Court decided to lengthen the sentence to nine years and did not change any other components of the lower court's ruling. The court also noted that while the defendant was technically a minor at the time of the attack, he was very close to becoming a legal adult and must have been aware of the severity of his deeds and the danger involved.
The court noted that the pain and suffering that the victim suffered should be reflected in the sentence, as should the pain inflicted on the victim's family. “They suffer alongside her, day by day and hour by hour,” the court added.
Erdogan Blasts Israel in Mideast Tour, Plans Gaza Visit
by Maayana Miskin
Senior Hamas member Said Shaat has told international media that Hamas-run Gaza is expecting visits in 2011 from several international leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan has been harshly critical of Israel since taking office, and Israel-Turkey ties, once warm, are now virtually non-existent.
During a visit to Lebanon last week Erdogan blasted Israel and accused the IDF of a “massacre” of children in Gaza. He also accused Israel of “piracy” and “state terror” over the deaths of nine pro-terror Turkish activists killed in a clash with IDF soldiers.
The activists, members of the IHH, were attempting to break the IDF's naval blockade on Hamas. They were not bearing aid. When IDF commandos attempted to turn their ship aside, they attacked the soldiers with knives and guns, seriously wounding them. Soldiers opened fire in defense and killed nine.
“You bloodthirstily slaughter my nine innocent citizens who were taking food to babies and then you expect us to keep silent. We will not keep silent,” Erdogan said in Lebanon, addressing Israel. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was present for his speech.
Erdogan's new, hostile approach to Israel has won him fans throughout the Arab world. During his trip to Lebanon, he was given a leadership award from the Union of Arab Banks. He will soon travel to Libya, where Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi plans to give him the Distinguished Statesman award.
Erdogan is currently leading an international online poll to choose Time Magazine's Person of the Year. The magazine noted that Erdogan has accused Israel of “inhumane state terrorism” and stated that under Erdogan “Turkey displayed a newfound willingness to flex its diplomatic muscle.”
180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals
According to Israel’s detractors, it is a cruel and racist nation determined to oppress the Palestinian Arabs as much as possible. But medical officials last week published another piece of evidence that Israel is anything but what its detractors say.
Over the past year, 180,000 Arabs from the Palestinian-controlled territories were treated at Israeli hospitals.
Speaking during a conference on humanitarian medicine at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, said that during the first years of the recent Palestinian terrorist uprising, so few Palestinians were able to get to Israeli hospitals that a true humanitarian crisis loomed.
Prior to the so-called “intifada,” Palestinians had been able to easily drive themselves to Israeli hospitals. But as the terrorist attacks escalated, Israel had no choice but to clamp firm restrictions on travel between Israel-proper and the Palestinian-controlled areas.
“We could not practice medicine beyond the minimum,” said Gen. Alon. “In those days, we were on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.”
But with medical cooperation improving and the IDF successfully heading off most remaining terrorist threats, Israel has been able to significantly increase the number of Palestinians it helps.
Midday Presidential Hypocrisy Alert
from the Times-Picayune - Todah to Sheina B.
PeacePartner Huffs, Puffs, Blows PeaceProcess to Smithereens
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 28 (UPI)
The Fatah Revolutionary Council said it
refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish State
and has called on Palestinians to
"actively resist" Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the council he would not resume peace negotiations with Israel until settlement building on "Palestinian land" is halted.
Meanwhile... Christian Berger, European Union 'Representative to Palestine,' says Gaza Arabs will need to "... make known they can deliver with predictability."
Friday, November 26th, 2010
Gaza Exports via Israel despite Terror, Shalit Captivity
by Maayana Miskin
IDF Major-General Eitan Dangot, coordinator of government activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, has informed a visiting Italian minister that Israel will soon allow Hamas-run Gaza to export goods through Israeli crossings. The move would be likely to significantly boost exports, bringing new money to Hamas coffers.
Dangot told Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini that Israel will begin to allow exports through Israeli crossings by mid-2011.
His revelation came as IDF soldier Gilad Shalit remains captive, held by Hamas. Shalit was kidnapped during a terrorist attack in Israeli territory in 2006. Hamas demands the release of 1,000 terrorists, including mass murderers, in exchange for his freedom.
In addition, terrorism from Gaza continues. Terrorists have recently stepped up their attacks, firing on the city of Ofakim for the first time since the Cast Lead counterterror operation in early 2009, and using white phosphorus in rockets launched at Israeli civilians.
Israel has already begun to prepare for resumed exports from Gaza, Dangot said. Work is being done at the Kerem Shalom crossing to increase its capacity.
Some exports have already begun. Israel is already allowing flowers and strawberries to be exported via Israel.
Dangot reported that Israel has significantly relaxed its policy on imports to Gaza as well. While Israel initially allowed only humanitarian aid to enter the region from Israel following the Hamas takeover, today approximately 250 trucks enter the region every day bearing a wide variety of goods, and everything but weapons and dual-purpose goods is allowed through.
As the work at Kerem Shalom progresses, imports are expected to rise further, and by early 2011 an estimated 400 trucks will deliver goods to Gaza daily, he said.
Frattini was shown a live video feed of activity at Kerem Shalom, where workers were busy checking goods entering Gaza. He and Dangot also discussed projects taking place in Gaza in the fields of housing and education.
While the world has focused primarily on Israel's Gaza policy, the region also shares a border with Egypt. Egyptian authorities have also relaxed their policy regarding Hamas-run Gaza recently, allowing Gaza residents to exit via Egypt's Rafiah crossing and allowing foreign activists bringing goods to enter.
US-Israel building freeze deal falling apart
As Israel continues to wait for an official letter outlining the Obama Administration’s commitments to Israel in return for a 90-day Jewish building freeze in areas claimed by the Palestinians, Israeli media reports that the deal appears to be falling apart.
Originally, it was reported that in return for the building freeze and restarting direct talks with the Palestinians, the US would take Israeli security demands more seriously, provide greater backing at the UN, and give Israel 20 F-35 fighter jets. The freeze would not include eastern Jerusalem, and would be the last time the US asked for or supporting a Jewish building freeze.
That is how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the deal to his cabinet, because that is how US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented it to him.
But Israeli cabinet ministers were wise to insist on a written letter from the Obama White House before agreeing to the freeze, because it now seems the American leadership was trying to pull a fast one on Israel.
The first crack began to show early last week when American officials reneged on Clinton’s original wording by saying that a Jewish building freeze in Jerusalem was part of the deal. Israelis had at first been told Jerusalem would not be part of the freeze, in line with Israel’s position that Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem are not “settlements.”
Around the same time, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau clarified that even Clinton’s wording was being misrepresented, as her offer of jets and diplomatic support would only be realized if the building freeze resulted in a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, a near-impossible feat considering Palestinian positions.
Israeli ministers later learned that the F-35 fighter jets, which were touted as the best reason for taking a risk on the freeze, were to be part of a separate package, and that Israel would pay for them in full.
Israel National News (INN) is now reporting that Clinton and Obama tried to pull a “bait and switch” on Israel, with Clinton offering a deal the White House hoped Israel would accept without confirmation, only to later have Obama renege on the deal because he had never approved it in the first place.
According to a senior unnamed diplomat cited by INN, State Department officials were surprised when Netanyahu called them wondering why no formal letter or proposal had yet been sent. They insisted that Netanyhau had to have known that anything Clinton promised was only a suggestion, and that Obama has the final say.
Without a US letter guaranteeing that no additional freezes will be demanded and that the requested freeze will expire in 90 days, Netanyahu will not have the support of his cabinet in this matter. As the situation now stands, if Netanyahu goes ahead with the freeze under US pressure, it is highly likely that his government will be brought down by the right-wing parties.
Syrian FM warns of war with 'peace evading' Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Moallem tells Russian newspaper "there is no doubt that closing horizons to peace may lead to a possible war; option always exists in region."
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on Friday warned of the consequences that a war with Israel could entail.
In an interview with Russian newspaper Moscow News, Moallem said "there is no doubt that closing the horizons to peace may lead to a possible war. This option always exists in our region, as Israel usually outrageously evades the commitment to peace."
Syria: Referendum legislation makes mockery of int'l law
Analysis: Despite US effort, Syria's role on the rise
"I want to stress that a new war will not result in a winner and loser," the Syrian foreign minister added. "Everyone will lose because the existing advanced military technology can cause great damage, even for the side with huge military power."
Moallem told the paper that "the negotiations on the Syrian channel are possible as far as we are concerned if there is a partner which seeks peace, however this does not exist at the moment."
"The negotiations must take into account a full return to the Golan up to the June 4 1967 border. This matter is not negotiable, and is the basis for a dialogue on the other issues stemming from it," the Syrian foreign minister added.
Israel slams Erdogan’s ‘lame diatribe’ from Beirut
By HERB KEINON
Turkish PM launches new war crimes salvo; Lebanese Armenians protest his visit over WWI genocide.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lambasted Israel in Beirut on Thursday for a variety of alleged war crimes, on a day when he faced angry demonstrations by hundreds of Lebanese Armenians highlighting Turkey’s slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians during World War I.
“Does think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” Erdogan asked on the final day of his two-day visit to Lebanon.
J’lem fears Lebanon is fast becoming Iranian satellite
Opinion: Why Turkey will emerge as leader of the Muslim world
“Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? We will not be silent, and we will support justice by all means available to us,” he declared.
One Israeli official said Erdogan’s latest anti-Israel diatribe “was a particularly lame diversion from the issue that was brought to his door in Lebanon by Armenian demonstrators.”
The official also said Israel took note that Erdogan, in his speech, “found not one single word to at least distance himself from killing of Israeli women and children .”
The website of the Istanbul-based daily Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as having said on Wednesday during a speech at a Turkmen village near Beirut that “we will go on to raise our voice against those massacring innocent people and children. We will call a killer a killer when needed.”
The Turkish prime minister met during his visit with officials in the north and south of the country, including Turkish troops stationed with UNIFIL in the South.
In Beirut on Thursday, hundreds of Lebanese of Armenian descent clashed with army troops in the capital’s Martyr’s Square during a protest against Erdogan’s visit.
When demonstrators tore up a large poster of Erdogan and pelted troops with rocks, security forces responded by beating up a number of them.
There were no reports of serious injuries. At the time, Erdogan was inaugurating a hospital in the southern port city of Sidon.
Lebanon has around 150,000 Armenians – nearly 4 percent of its population – who, because of the Armenian genocide, harbor deep animosity toward Turkey.
AP contributed to this report.
Canada to Boycott Durban Conference, Says it ‘Scapegoats’ Israel
by Elad Benari
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Thursday that his country will not be taking part in the Durban III conference next year.
Speaking at a press conference and quoted in AFP, Kenney said: “Our government has lost faith in the Durban process. We will not be part of this event, which commemorates an agenda that promotes racism rather than combats it.”
Kenney called the conference a “charade” and a “hatefest”, and said that it is essentially all about criticizing Israel. “The government of Canada will not lend Canada's good name to the organized exercise in scapegoating (Israel) that is the Durban process.”
While Canada will not participate in the conference nor will it provide funding to any NGOs that are planning to participate, Kenney was quoted by Canadian newspaper The National Post as saying: “We obviously continue to believe in the United Nations as an important multilateral forum. But we are able to make basic distinctions between good and bad.”
The UN resolution on Durban III passed by a 121-19 vote, with 35 abstentions. The conference will commemorate the 9th anniversary of the first such conference, held in Durban, South Africa just 10 days before the 9/11 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. That conference was described by the ICEJ as a “concerted effort by nearly all the Muslims of the world to denounce and de-legitimize the Jewish state of Israel; an awful verbal forerunner much as the one the Nazis sent before launching the Holocaust of the expunging of Israel as sovereign Jewish state from their Arab Muslim midst.”
The upcoming conference is to be held in New York City just ten days after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in September 2011.
The Canadian Jewish Congress praised the decision by the Canadian government on Thursday. CJC President Mark Freiman was quoted in The National Post as saying: “Both Durban I and II, ostensibly aimed at fighting racism, turned out to be little more than concerted anti-Semitic charades that set back the real fight against racism and discrimination by decades. This UN process is fundamentally flawed and by now beyond repair.”
The Canadian delegation walked out of the first Durban conference to protest a “festival hate” directed at Israel, as then federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler called it.
Canada was also one of nine governments (along with countries such as the United States, Australia, Israel, Germany, and Britain) to boycott last year’s Durban II due to fears of anti-Semitism, which Kenney said came true when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the conference as a means to launch an attack on Israel. He expressed his hope that other countries will follow Canada and recognize that Durban is nothing but a “dangerous” platform for racism and anti-Semitism.
WikiLeaks: Turkey Allowed Weapons Flow to Al-Qaeda
by Gil Ronen
Turkey allowed weapons to be smuggled to Al Qaeda forces in Iraq, according to documents that are about to be exposed in the WikiLeaks website. This – according to a report Thursday in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat.
The newspaper reports that WikiLeaks – which specializes in publication of classified documents – has gotten hold of classified official documents that prove that the the Turkish authorities allowed money and weapons to pass across Turkey's border with Iraq, en route to Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq.
In addition, the documents allegedly show that Turkey was involved both directly and indirectly in carrying out terror acts in Iraq, including the blowing up of a bridge in Baghdad.
One of the reports mentioned by Al Hayat is an intelligence cable that appears to have been sent by an American intelligence agency. The cable says: “Large amounts of water have arrived from Turkey, large waves will hit Baghdad in a few hours. Some people are widening the irrigation canals.”
This message is believed to refer to the arrival of weapons from Turkey, that were intended for terror and warfare in Baghdad. Al Hayat also says that the WikiLeaks documents show that ammunition seized in a terrorist's apartment in Iraq in 2009 bore the markings “made in Turkey.”
The US is mounting a diplomatic damage control campaign as it prepares for the release of the documents. State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley said Wednesday: "These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests. They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world."
Crowley said the release of secret communications about foreign governments will likely the cause the US embarrassment and damage relations with other countries. "When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television or radio, it has an impact," he said.
Brits declare war on Stuxnet. Americans say: Use it on North Korea
DEBKAfile Special Report November 25, 2010, 1:36 PM (GMT+02:00)
Stuxnet is back - only in Iran
The Stuxnet virus which has crippled Iran's nuclear program has suddenly become the object of a British MI6 Secret Service campaign to convince the British and American public that it is the enemy of the West and sold on the black market to terrorists, debkafile's intelligence sources report. Thursday morning, Nov. 25, Sky TV news led with a story claiming Stuxnet could attack any physical target dependent on computers. An unnamed Information Technology expert was quoted as saying enigmatically: "We have hard evidence that the virus is in the hands of bad guys – we can't say any more than that but these people are highly motivated and highly skilled with a lot of money behind them."
No one in the broadcast identified the "bad guys," disclosed where they operated or when they sold the virus to terrorists. Neither were their targets specified, even by a row of computer and cyber-terrorism experts who appeared later on British television, all emphasizing how dangerous the virus was.
Our intelligence sources note that none of the British reporters and experts found it necessary to mention that wherever Stuxnet was discovered outside Iran, such as India, China and Indonesia, it was dormant. Computer experts in those countries recommended leaving it in place as it was harmless for computer programs and did not interfere with their operations. The fact is that the only place Stuxnet is alive and harmful is Iran – a fact ignored in the British reports.
Indeed, for the first time in the six months since Stuxnet partially disabled Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr, Iran has found its first Western sympathizer, one who is willing to help defeat the malignant virus.
debkafile's sources note that the British campaign against Stuxnet was launched two days after Yukiya Amano, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, reported that Iran had briefly shut down its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, apparently because of a Stuxnet assault on thousands of centrifuges. According to our Iranian sources, the plant had to be closed for six days, from November 16-22.
Our sources also reported that the virus raided Iranian military computer systems, forcing the cancellation of parts of its large-scale air defense drill in the second week of November. Some of the systems used in the exercise started emitting wildly inaccurate data.
The Hate Stuxnet campaign London launched Thursday carried three messages to Tehran:
1. We were not complicit in the malworm's invasion of your systems.
2. We share your view that Stuxnet is very dangerous and must be fought and are prepared to cooperate in a joint program to destroy it.
3. Britain will not line up behind the United States' position in the nuclear talks to be resumed on Dec. 5 between Iran and the Six Powers (the five Permanent UN Security Council members + Germany). It will take a different position.
In the United States, meanwhile, debkafile's Washington sources report that Stuxnet's reappearance against Iran's nuclear program is hailed. A number of American IT experts and journals specializing in cyber war have maintained of late that if the malworm is so successful against Iran, why not use it to disable North Korea's nuclear program, especially the 2,000 centrifuges revealed on Nov. 20 to be operating at a new enrichment facility?
The popular American publication WIRED carried a headline on Monday, November 22, asking, "Could Stuxnet Mess With North Korea's New Uranium Plant?" The article noted that some of the equipment North Korea was using for uranium enrichment was identical to Iranian apparatus and therefore perfect targets for the use of Stuxnet by American cyber experts.