Weekly column by Bret Stephens in WSJ

"Israel needs to look after its own immediate interests without the incessant interventions of an overbearing partner."

Bret Stephens: Bibi and Barack on the Rocks - WSJ 

http://online.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-bibi-and-barack-on-the-rocks-1414451799

Bibi and Barack on the Rocks: The White House’s resort to petty insults risks a strategic relationship.

The relationship between the Obama administration and the government of Israel is beginning to look like one of those longtime marriages you encounter all the time. Maybe you’re in one yourself. He feels, Rodney Dangerfield-like, that he gets no respect. She’d be happy to offer some—if only she could find something to respect.

The solution is a trial separation. Give this couple time apart to figure out what, if anything, still draws them together.

The latest eruption of pettiness—when marriages are in trouble, it’s always the petty things that tell—was the very public refusal of John Kerry and Joe Biden to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon during his visit to Washington last week. Mr. Yaalon was quoted earlier this year saying some impolitic things about the U.S. secretary of state, including that he was “obsessive and messianic” and that “the only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us alone.”

The comments were made privately but were leaked to the press. Mr. Yaalon apologized for them. His meeting with Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon last week was all smiles. Asked by the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about the Kerry kerfuffle, he replied, “We overcame that.” 

Or not. 

“Despite the fact that Yaalon’s requests to meet with the senior members of the Obama administration were declined over a week ago, Washington waited until the visit ended before making the story public in order to humiliate the Israeli defense minister,” Ha’aretz reported. Mr. Yaalon is now said to be under an Obama administration “quarantine” until he performs additional penance, perhaps by recanting his hard-line views about the advisability of a nuclear deal with Iran or a peace deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

The good news here is that at least there’s one kind of quarantine this administration believes in. The bad news is that it seems to give more thought to pursuing personal vendettas against allies like Israel than it does to waging effective military campaigns against enemies like ISIS.

The administration also seems to have forgotten that two can play the game. Two days after the Yaalon snub, the Israeli government announced the construction of 1,000 new housing units in so-called East Jerusalem, including 600 new units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood that was the subject of a 2010 row with Joe Biden. Happy now, Mr. Vice President?

The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack Obama’s good side. Since coming to office in 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the objections of his political base, to (1) recognize a Palestinian state; (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze; (3) release scores of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges; (4) embark on an ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians; (5) refrain from taking overt military steps against Iran; and (6) agree to every possible cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas.

In exchange, Mr. Kerry publicly blamed Israel for the failure of the peace effort, the White House held up the delivery of munitions at the height of the Gaza war, and Mr. Obama is hellbent on striking whatever deal the Iranians can plausibly offer him.

Oh, and Mr. Kerry also attributes the rise of Islamic State to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Maybe if the Israelis grovel a bit more, Mr. Obama will oblige them by recognizing a Palestinian state as his parting act as president. Don’t discount the possibility.

Which brings me to the concept of a trial separation.

Last year, Mustafa Alani, a Saudi foreign policy analyst, observed of Riyadh’s evolving attitude toward Washington: “We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States.” Sure enough it wasn’t long after the Saudis turned down a seat on the Security Council and threatened a fundamental re-evaluation of their ties to the U.S. that Messrs. Kerry and Obama went bowing and scraping to King Abdullah when they needed the kingdom’s help against ISIS. 

At least the Saudis understand the value of showing they’re prepared to be, as someone once wrote, co-dependent no more. The administration likes to make much of the $3 billion a year it provides Israel (or, at least, U.S. defense contractors) in military aid, but that’s now less than 1% of Israeli GDP. Like some boorish husband of yore fond of boasting that he brings home the bacon, the administration thinks it’s the senior partner in the marriage.

Except this wife can now pay her own bills. And she never ate bacon to begin with.

It’s time for some time away. Israel needs to look after its own immediate interests without the incessant interventions of an overbearing partner. The administration needs to learn that it had better act like a friend if it wants to keep a friend. It isn’t as if it has many friends left.

Dermer: It’s a Disgrace to Call Abbas "a Man of Peace"

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/10/27/israels-ambassador-dermer-its-a-disgrace-to-call-abbas-a-man-of-peace-video/

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, on Sunday launched an unprecedented attack on Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, calling him “an enemy of Israel, who educates children to hate Jews and wants to establish a Judenrein” Palestine, Israel’s NRG News reported Monday.

“President Abbas, who wrote a research paper that denies the Holocaust, is the second greatest threat to Israel,” he said, and added that “it is a disgrace to call him a man of peace,” said Dermer, speaking before some 5,000 participants at “A Night to Honor Israel,” held in Washington under the auspices of pro-Israel evangelist pastor, John Hagee.

The ambassador, referring to Abbas’ recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly, in which the Palestinian leader claimed that Israel is inflicting a “genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza, said, “Since 1967, the Palestinian population has doubled four times to three or four million people, and President Abbas dare stand up to the world stage of the United Nations and blames Israel for the Holocaust?! What a shame, what a shame that someone in this world calls Abbas a ‘man of peace,’” Dermer charged.

Standing before a largely evangelical Christian audience, Dermer spoke at length about the threat posed by radical Islam, and noted that “Sunni and Shiite extremists are slaughtering each other and even among themselves, which reminds us again that the greatest sufferers from radical Islam are Muslims themselves.”

But, Dermer added, “the dark clouds of Islam are threatening not only the Middle East. There are beheadings not only in Iraq but also in Oklahoma (a month ago, a Muslim employee who was fired from a food factory decapitated a co-worker). Brutal murders are done not only in Benghazi and in Sinai, but also in Ottawa and Fort Hood [TX].”

Dermer devoted a large part of his speech to the agreement emerging between Iran and western powers.

“It’s one thing when fanatics are armed with axes, but it’s quite another when they are armed with a nuclear bomb, and this danger is approaching as the world approaches the agreement with Iran. I do not know if there is an agreement, but Israel is very concerned,” he said.

“We’re concerned because a year ago some hoped that the tough sanctions regime on Iran would be dismantled only if Iran’s nuclear weapons program were dismantled. Today, the international community is prepared to make a deal that would suspend and ultimately lift the sanctions.

“But no one is talking about dismantling Iran’s nuclear weapons program anymore.

“You don’t have to be a nuclear expert to understand that reducing pressure on the world’s most dangerous regime and leaving it on the threshold of developing the world’s most dangerous weapons is not a good deal. The international community is prepared to leave Iran with thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium – when Iran doesn’t even need a single centrifuge to have peaceful nuclear energy.

“We’re told not to worry, that UN inspectors will prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to build the bomb. Well, I’m sure you all feel as safe as I do knowing that a few Inspector Clouseau’s at the UN is all that stands between fanatic Ayatollahs and nuclear bombs,” Dermer said.

Christian evangelicals believe in the validity of Biblical prophesies about Israel, and are considered the largest organized religious group in the United States. For the most part they support Israel religiously.

Dermer talked about the traditional Jewish belief of the biblical connection to the Land of Israel and said, “The establishment of the State of Israel gives meaning to history. The claim that Israel is the occupier is a false statement. When the nation of Israel is in the land of Israel it is in its home.”

“The battle for Jerusalem has begun,” Hagee, the founder and national chairman of Christians United For Israel (CUFI), told a worldwide audience on Oct. 14, according to Charisma News.

“Americans need to recognize the historical fact that the Palestinians have absolutely no historical claim to the land of Israel. There has never been, historically, an autonomous group of Palestinians who ever existed,” Hagee said at the event.

In August, during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Hagee led a group of 51 pastors – one from every state, and the District of Columbia – on a solidarity mission to the Jewish State.

Shurat HaDin: The Woman Fighting ISIS in Court

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3e7e2c5a9ce7856f4b1195a01&id=4f13007a3a&e=5e39243e17

In 1995, while a law student at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and fellow law students were incensed that Muhammad Abbas, one of the Palestinians who took part in the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, was to be allowed to return to Israel. The students decided to take their own case to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Unable to afford a lawyer, the group chose Darshan-Leitner to represent them and argue their case. “The reason they chose me was simple,” she explains. “Because I am a woman. If I lost, they figured the court would be nice and I would not be slapped with court fees.”

Darshan-Leitner had never argued a case before. “I was scared out of my mind,” she said. But her rhetoric was fiery, evoking the miserable plight of Leon Klinghoffer, the elderly disabled Jewish-American in a wheelchair who was shot and pushed overboard by the terrorists when their demand for the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails was not met. “I said Klinghoffer’s voice could be heard from the bottom of the ocean,” she says. “It was very dramatic.”

Darshan-Leitner lost the case, but the jury was so impressed by her delivery and passion, it quoted her summation while reading its verdict. “I didn’t have to pay court fees, either,” she says. But the case gave the young lawyer the appetite to go after other seemingly impossible causes—in particular, suing terrorists for compensation.

Earlier this month, Darshan-Leitner and her team at Shurat HaDin, Israel Law Center—some of whom are the original law students from Bar-Ilan—began a major investigation and lawsuit against the terrorist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. They say that if they can trace the money ISIS is receiving from oil sales, they can halt their operation. The route to this, Darshan-Leitner says, is by following the banks that still deal with ISIS.

“The question is, How does ISIS get the money?” Darshan-Leitner, who is in her 40s, says from her Tel Aviv office. “We can’t technically go after ISIS. But we can go after the Arab banks that finance them. The money source. We are not talking peanuts—we are talking about several millions of dollars a day ISIS gets from oil fields. There must be banks that help ISIS receive that money. This is what we need to put our fingers into.”

Another Palestinian Mistake at the UN, by Daniel Gordis

Abba Eban, Israel’s legendary representative to the United Nations, once famously remarked that “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proved Eban’s point Friday, in an incendiary speech to the UN General Assembly in which he accused Israel of “a new war of genocide” against the Palestinian people.

Another opportunity squandered. During the Gaza War this summer, Abbas had positioned himself as a picture of moderation. When Hamas was accused of having kidnapped the three teenagers whose abduction set off this summer’s violence, Abbas condemned the kidnapping in no uncertain terms. As the war with Hamas dragged on, the Palestinian Authority was party to the cease-fire negotiations. When Israel and Egypt hammered out the details of who would monitor border crossings and the use of construction material in Gaza to prevent the construction of new tunnels, even Hamas accepted the notion of Palestinian Authority monitors.

Israelis are not terribly inclined to make grand gestures for peace right now -- the region is in too much turmoil for anyone to know what a smart move would be. Yet many Israelis also know that international pressure for some accommodation of Palestinian national aspirations will only grow. Prominent Israeli public intellectuals continue to worry about the corrosive effect of keeping millions of Palestinians under our military thumb on our national moral well-being. So suddenly, Israelis had begun to wonder whether Abbas might be the guy with whom to make the deal.

Why, therefore, would Abbas do something as seemingly stupid, alienating almost every Israeli, and even evoking a highly critical reaction from the Barack Obama administration? While the move was, in fact, a mistake, it was a calculated one. Abbas decided that for now, he needed to play to his street. Sadly, the Palestinian Authority has never prepared its citizens for the compromises a deal will require. Abbas knows that Israel is here to stay, but his accusation that Israel was engaging in “genocidal warfare against the Palestinian people” reeked of utter delegitimization. Abbas knows that Israel will never agree to the return of anything more than a token number of Palestinian refugees to Israel, for that would undermine Israel’s Jewish demographic majority, forcing Israel to choose between being democratic or Jewish, neither of which is negotiable. But he continues to promise that the refugees will return.

The Arab street is more radical than its government in many places. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, but Egyptian TV continues to broadcast highly inflammatory anti-Semitic programming, creating a sense among Egyptians -- which continues to this day -- that the agreement is an oddity or an anomaly, at best. Jordan’s King Abdullah II may be modern in his appearance and moderate in his lexicon, but his street is no less radicalized. And the same is true of the Palestinian street, which just honored the murderers of the three Israelis teenagers.

Pandering to his street’s basest instincts, Abbas proved that he cannot lead. Whatever the opposite of leadership is, is precisely what Abbas did at the UN.

In so doing, he reminded even left-wing Israelis why the center and the right want nothing to do with him. In so doing, he reminded Israelis who might have been willing to overlook it that he was an avid promoter of the unity government with Hamas. In so doing, he pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suggest, in his response at the UN, that Israel would seek alliances with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In so doing, therefore, Abbas slammed the door on the possibility of any negotiated deal with Israel in the near future.

Israelis are nervous about the shifting sands all around them, but most understand that just as Israel is going nowhere, so too the Palestinians are here to stay. Just as Israelis had national aspirations some 70 years ago and would not relent until they were realized, so too with the Palestinians. The difference is that Israelis have often been led by people who were willing to change their positions. Menachem Begin, sought by the British as Terrorist No. 1, made peace with Egypt and returned the Sinai Peninsula -- even though he had to battle his own cabinet to get the deal approved. Ariel Sharon, the controversial military leader of Unit 101, pulled Israel out of Gaza, despite the move’s unpopularity. Netanyahu, who used to reject the mere idea of a Palestinian state, has now openly accepted it -- much to the chagrin of some of his party’s leadership.

But as Abbas reminded us on Friday, there has been no similar movement on the Palestinian side. There are many reasons the Palestinians do not have a state, but chief among them is that the Palestinians have never had a genuine leader. They have figureheads, fearful of leading and unwilling to goad their citizens into thinking differently about Israel, refugees and their own future. So, they watch and wait, as those who call themselves leaders make mistake after mistake, consigning Palestinians to a life that sadly, once again, seems unlikely to change.

By Jonathan S. Tobin: Jew free neighborhoods will not bring peace

At first it seemed as if Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu escaped his meeting in the White House with President Obama yesterday without a renewal of their long running feud. But before the day was over, it was clear that the administration’s predilection for picking pointless fights with the Israelis hasn’t faded away even as the president appears to be more interested in fighting ISIS than on brokering Middle East peace. By focusing once again on Jewish building in Jerusalem and representing Israel’s actions as an obstacle, the U.S. was not only allowing itself to be distracted from the real problems in the Middle East. By reaffirming its opposition to Jews living in part of their capital, the Americans are also adopting a standard that will make real peace impossible.

As Eugene Kontorovich wrote earlier today, the willingness of the Obama administration to use the essentially deceptive terminology of marginal Israeli left-wing groups about settlements distorts the discussion. If you count every apartment built as a “new settlement” you get the impression that Israel is building hundreds, if not thousands of new neighborhoods and towns every year. In fact all they are doing is building homes in existing Jewish communities, the vast majority of which are located in areas that would, even under the parameters that have been suggested by the Obama administration would remain inside Israel even in the event of a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

But the arguments raised yesterday by the administration about new Jewish homes in Jerusalem — which echoed widespread condemnation of these projects by most of the international community — is troubling for more than just the usual reasons. If President Obama and his State Department truly believe that the presence of Jews in some neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem is an obstacle to peace that must be removed in order for an accord to be reached, then what they are doing is tacitly endorsing an Arab demand for Jew-free zones in the ancient capital as well as a Judenrein Palestine.

As Netanyahu pointed out, the notion that it is immoral for Jews to buy property or build homes in parts of the city but that there is nothing wrong with Arabs doing the same in neighborhoods that are predominantly Jewish is inherently prejudicial. The double standard here is appalling. Arabs build (often illegally) throughout the Arab majority neighborhoods of the city and no one thinks twice about it even though, if we were to use the same standard by which Israel is judged, that, too, could be construed as an obstacle to peace.

But the real problem is that treating Jewish building in the territories and especially in Jerusalem as offensive almost by definition confirms the Arab belief that there is something inherently illegitimate about the Jewish presence in the country. It is that concept and not Israeli actions that still constitutes the primary obstacle to peace.

After all, if the Palestinians main priority was in establishing an independent state alongside Israel they could accepted peace offers from Israel that would have given them almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a large share of Jerusalem. But they turned those offers down in 2000, 2001 and 2008 and refused to negotiate seriously with Israel again this year even though Netanyahu had already signaled a willingness to compromise on territory. It wasn’t settlements that stopped them from grabbing independence but the fact that recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish no matter where its borders are drawn was still anathema in their political culture. Indeed, when Hamas, which commands the support of the majority of Palestinians and far more than the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas, speaks of the “occupation,” they are not referring to the West Bank but to all of pre-1967 Israel.

While the majority of Israelis have drawn the appropriate conclusions from Palestinian rejectionism and understand that peace is nowhere in sight, most still hope that someday this will change. But there is no chance that the political culture of the Palestinians will one day make it possible for compromise over the land until the West stops giving moral support to demands for Jew-free zones.

Netanyahu does well to ignore these latest complaints just as he has done in the past, to the applause of the vast majority of Israelis, when the U.S. attacked the right of Jews to live in Jerusalem. If the Palestinians someday make peace and Jerusalem is split, does President Obama really think it can be done on the basis that both Jews and Arabs would populate the Israeli parts but that the Palestinian areas will be ethnically cleansed of all Jews? If so, then their bitter criticism of Jews moving into Silwan or the mixed neighborhood of Givat Hamatos makes sense. But if the goal is to have an open city in which coexistence prevails, then these arguments are counter-productive.

There are reasons why Israelis are wary about the idea of leaving behind Jews in areas that will, at least in theory become a Palestinian state. Most revolve around the fact that such holdouts will become immediate targets for terrorist murderers. But if the Palestinians are told by the United States that it is perfectly okay for them to demand that no Jew is allowed to live in areas that they might control, including in Jerusalem, then there is no incentive for them to peace on any terms.

Dear Fellow Liberals: I'm Done Apologizing for Israel

http://time.com/3399557/deaths-middle-east/ 

As a species, we don't seem to cotton to facts - especially when it comes to Jews. 

As a liberal American Jew, I’m tired of apologizing for Israel’s actions regarding its own security, and as of last month, I’m done with it.     Israel, despite its highly imperfect record (unlike that of, say, America or France or England or Pakistan or Kenya or Argentina or … ) is the world’s sole guarantee against another frenzy of murderous hatred against my people, a hatred that is once again raising its voice, and fists.

In other words, recent anti-Semitic violence in Europe is the fault of Jewish moral failings.  In other words: Jews deserve it. And what, after all, did (the Jewish State) Israel do?  It went after the terror tunnels.  It said no to the bombing of its civilians.  It said that they meant it when they said "never again."

Don’t Count on Abbas to Save Gaza

Commentary magazine, by Jonathan Tobin

http://goo.gl/MOfWZX

No matter how you slice it, there simply is no scenario in which the PA really can wrench control of Gaza away from Hamas while the latter is still fully armed and in control of the strip’s government. Building a port in Gaza or anything else intended to make it easier to import materials and arms into the strip without first eliminating Hamas is asking for trouble. Nor is it reasonable to expect Abbas to recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state and begin the process of ending the conflict while he is put in such an untenable situation.

Much as many in Israel and the United States would like to imagine that Abbas can somehow supplant Hamas, that just isn’t in the cards short of an all-out Israeli invasion of Gaza. More sensible Israelis know that the results of their nation’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 makes it obvious that any further territorial surrenders in the West Bank won’t enhance the chances of peace but will, instead, create new terror strongholds that will be even more dangerous and harder to wipe out. Though the Cairo talks have raised his profile from the near-anonymity that was forced upon him during the fighting, Abbas is just as irrelevant to the solution to the problem of Gaza as he ever was.

Middle East News Gaza Tunnel Network Fuels Recriminations in Israel; New Three-Day Cease-Fire Is Agreed On

The Wall Street Journal: By Asa Fitch in Gaza

"Israel's early failure to detect the vast Hamas tunnel network that its forces destroyed in Gaza is triggering a wave of recriminations within the country's security and political establishment.

As Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a fresh cease-fire in Gaza that started at midnight there, efforts already were under way in Israel to address the latest challenge to the country's security. Just as Israel built a separation wall to stem a wave of suicide bombings and developed the Iron Dome air-defense system to blunt rocket attacks, it is already casting for deterrents to address the newest Palestinian threat."

http://online.wsj.com/articles/gaza-tunnel-network-fuels-recriminations-in-israel-1407714903

American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/world/middleeast/american-forces-said-to-bomb-isis-targets-in-iraq.html?emc=edit_na_20140807

American military forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night to rout Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas, Kurdish officials said.

Word of the bombings, reported on Kurdish television from the city of Erbil, came as President Obama was preparing to make a statement in Washington

Israel Praised by Hamas Co-founder’s Son

By Bob Fredericks

July 30, 2014 | 12:00pm

Israel is getting accolades for its war against Hamas from a very unlikely quarter — the son of the terror group’s co-founder.

“Israel in the Middle East is fighting on behalf of the free world,” declared Mosab Hassan Yousef, the outspoken son of Hamas leader Hassan Yousef.

The younger Yousef long ago abandoned his father’s twisted ideology — and even worked for a decade as a spy for the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet.

Echoing the warnings of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yousef said Hamas can’t be trusted and doesn’t care about how many lives are lost in pursuit of its goal to build a radical Islamic state.

“Hamas does not care about the lives of Palestinians, or the lives of Israelis, or Americans; they don’t care about their own lives,” Yousef told CNN in a recent interview. “They consider dying for their ideology a way of worship.”

He rejected Hamas and converted to Christianity despite being raised to become a violent militant. He wrote a book, “Son of Hamas,” about his unusual experience.

“Their goal is to conquer the globe and build an Islamic state on every inch of the globe,” he told the website The Right Scoop. “[Hamas] is willing to sacrifice as many Palestinian lives as it takes.”

In the CNN interview, he blasted the militants battling Israel in Gaza for their stated goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate — a goal shared by the Sunni extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq.

“Hamas is not seeking co-existence and compromise. Hamas is seeking conquest and taking over. And by the way, the destruction of the State of Israel is not Hamas’s final destination,” he said. “Hamas’s final destination is building the Islamic caliphate, which means an Islamic state under rubble of every other civilization.”

Yousef, who won asylum to live in the US in 2010, said he had been brainwashed as a child to give up everything for the terrorists’ cause.

“In the mosques, Hamas taught us that without shedding innocent blood for the sake of the ideology, we wouldn’t be able to build an Islamic state. They were preparing us from the age as young as 5 years old. This is the ideology that Hamas was feeding us. And honestly, it’s impossible almost for anybody to break through and see the truth and real face of Hamas and be able to leave at some point,” he said.

“As you see in my case, I had to lose everything just to say no to Hamas. And today when I look at the children of Gaza and I know what they’re fed, I know that they have no choice.”

Col Kemp: The Jewish People Should be Proud of the State of Israel

Interview of Col. Kemp 

Col. Kemp on Shalom TV

RK: I would say that the Jewish people should be extremely proud of the state of Israel, they should try their best to disregard the terrible anti-Israeli propaganda that is designed solely to contribute to the conspiracy to exterminate the state of Israel – I myself, am personally outraged by the shocking anti-Semitic violence and verbal attacks that have been triggered by this conflict against Jews, especially in Paris and Germany, but also in Britain and other countries – it’s absolutely despicable and should be fought by authorities as vigorously as possible.

Israel is the one country in the western world today that is standing up for its morality and for its values against the onslaught of international jihad.

Caroline Glick in J Post - America Has Switched Sides

http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=369338

Americans are the ones who need to be most alarmed by what Obama’s actions on behalf of Hamas reveal about the general direction of American Middle East policy under his leadership.

For the past five years, Americans from all quarters have concluded that the manifold failures of Obama’s Middle East policies – from Iraq to Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and beyond – owe to a combination of Obama’s personal disinterest in foreign affairs and his presumed preference for withdrawal and isolationism over engagement.

Obama himself has often encouraged this perception with his endless golf games and his talk about fighting “the war at home.”

Obama’s open, public engagement in Hamas’s war against Israel shows that the popular assessment is wrong.

Obama is as involved in the Middle East as all of his immediate predecessors were. He is personally leading US policy on every front. Kerry is not an independent actor.

The problem is that in every war, in every conflict and in every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since Obama took office, he has sided with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against America’s allies.

Under Obama, America has switched sides.

Dershowitz: Qatar, and Other US "Allies", are Villains in Gaza

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4561/qatar-gaza

Qatar, and other American "allies", are among the villains in Gaza:

Yet it was Qatar and Turkey to which Secretary of State John Kerry turned in his efforts to get Israel and Hamas to agree to a cease fire. This not only infuriated Israel, which considers these two countries as accessories to Hamas' war crimes, but also Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, which also see Qatar and Turkey as allies of Hamas and enemies of moderate Arab states.

The time has come for the United States and the international community to reassess the status of Qatar and Turkey. These two countries have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. A nation that hosts Hamas leaders and finances their terrorism should not also host the World Cup. Nor should American universities send their faculty and students to a nation complicit in terrorism that has taken the lives of many Americans as well as Israelis.

Turkey's role in NATO must also be reevaluated. Membership in this organization entails certain responsibilities, and Turkey has failed in these responsibilities. They have become untrustworthy partners in the quest for peace.

It is a truism that we, as a nation, must deal with devils, because men and women are not angels. I do not fault Secretary of State Kerry for trying to use Qatar and Turkey to pressure Hamas into accepting a deal, although the deal they ultimately came up with was a bad one. My point is that Qatar's wealth and Turkey's size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy. Nor should we reward such villains, and such complicit in war crimes, by international gifts, such as the World Cup. Both Qatar and Turkey should be treated as pariahs unless and until they stop becoming state sponsors, supporters and facilitators of terrorism.

 

Information on Terror Tunnels from Mercaz

Rather than use concrete and iron to build housing, schools, hospitals and a better future for the people of Gaza, Hamas used them to build a subterranean terror fortress underneath Gaza and to manufacture thousands of rockets to fire into the skies above Israel. The demilitarization of Gaza is critical if any ceasefire is to prove durable. Hamas must not be allowed to rebuild its war machine. Effective mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that cement is not used to build terror tunnels, iron is not used to manufacture rockets, and chemicals are not used to fuel explosives. Israel is determined to root out the elaborate tunnel system established by Hamas, which serve one purpose: carrying out terror attacks on Israel. Hamas used a similar tunnel in 2006 in order to infiltrate Israel, kill two IDF soldiers, and kidnap Corporal Gilad Shalit. Hamas has repeatedly said that it wants to kidnap more Israelis in similar attacks.

Despite the fact that Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel, the border crossings through which goods travel from Israel to Gaza remain open and hundreds of tons of food, medicine, and goods are still being delivered to Gazan residents. The IDF opened a field hospital near Erez crossing to treat wounded Gazans and we are working with the Red Crescent in order to treat wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

Senate Passes Resolution Supporting Israel; Thank You, AIPAC

The Senate passed a resolution Tuesday that states the Senate’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks and condemns a “bias” United Nation’s report.

S.Res. 526 was passed through a unanimous consent agreement. The resolution also condemns a United Nation’s Human Right Council report that stated Israel had committed human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that U.N. report was “disgusting” and failed to recognize that Israel is defending itself from attacks started by Hamas, a terrorist organization.

“I’ve always been a supporter of the U.N. but what I saw last week disgusted me,” Reid said of the report. “It was so one-sided.”

Reid said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was a cosponsor of the resolution.

Earlier Tuesday, McConnell led Senate Republicans in condemning Hamas’ recent attacks against Israel.

“Republicans are united in our support of Israel’s defense, and this morning my colleagues will explain our opposition to any effort to force a ceasefire on Israel that does not further its security objectives,” McConnell said. “Israel’s right to defend itself should be affirmed.”

Israel has come under heavy fire from Hamas rockets and has launched a ground offensive in Gaza to destroy tunnels used by Hamas. 

"I condemn Hamas terrorism," Reid said. "We stand with Israel and its right to defend itself."