Get the hell back to reality Panetta


In a burst of apparent frustration, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lashed out last week, ordering Israel – and one hopes, the Palestinian Authority as well – to “get back to the damn peace table.”

He also insisted that Israel take steps to reverse its growing isolation with more “gestures” (read: security concessions to the PA that will certainly endanger Israeli lives) designed to woo PLO/PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas back to the talks.

But Abbas has no interest in negotiations, nor has Hamas. Both have made it abundantly clear, repeatedly, that their real goal is to “recover all of Palestine” — and the PA map used by both reflects that neither recognizes the existence of the State of Israel anywhere.

A 10-month freeze on all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria to comply with conditions set by Abbas for talks two years ago, and demanded by Obama despite its impact on families living in 30-year-old communities there, was ineffective and gained Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nothing but rage by those who were forced to live in mammoth discomfort for nearly a year — to no purpose.

The dismantling of hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks installed to protect Jewish lives – “good will gestures to ease the lives of PA Arabs” – certainly eased the lives of the terrorists whose murderous rage they were meant to stymie, and facilitated their deadly dedication to the annihilation of their Jewish neighbors.

Dozens of terrorist attacks, more murders and and orphaned Jewish children — for what?

We have seen no peace from these “gestures.” If anything, we have seen far more belligerence, far less flexibility and sadly, more Arab-to-Arab cruelty in the PA than ever was seen in the days of the late former Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

We don’t need more helpful advice from a naive, isolationist American Defense Secretary who is trying to get his boss re-elected by throwing seven million Israeli citizens under the bus.

So get the hell out of the Middle East and get the hell back to reality, Leon Panetta. It’s on YOUR boss’s watch that the Arab Spring was ignited, and may have destroyed the economy of half the world in the process.

For what, exactly?

Put yourself in my shoes


Times have changed, and not for the better.

I am no longer the naive and trusting teenager I used to be. I’ve become cynical. I’ve been lied to and I’ve been hurt to many times. Trust is a commodity that is long gone.

It began, I suppose, when the lodger began to demand my house. Yes, that’s right. He claimed that my home belonged to him.

What nonsense! I refused, of course. You’d do the same. What right does he have to my home?

When the police came after a particularly brutal act of violence he said it had all been a big mistake, that he only wanted a place to sleep, that he didn’t mind me living there. It was all a lie, a deception, but I was persuaded, in my stupidity, to allow him a place to be. So I agreed.

Once inside my home he again became abusive and violent. My life was hell.

Somehow I managed to drive him out and I managed to evict him. He spent some time away from me. The restraining order kept him some distance away from me and I began to feel safe. I began to put some order and tranquility back into my life. I had a short period of quiet. He appealed to me to let him back in. I refused, of course. Wouldn’t you? Who would do such a thing having experienced what I had experienced with him? But he spoke to the neighbours, and he spoke to the authorities and he signed an agreement witnessed by others to say this time he was going to be a good boy. Just give him a couple of rooms and everything would work out fine. No violence, he promised.

Promised? That’s a laugh!

The witnesses said they would guarantee his good behaviour. They were respectable and influential people. How could one not have faith in their word? How much of a sucker do you have to be?

The moment he was installed back into my house he tore up the agreement and started beating me up again, swearing, cursing me, using violence, inflicting injury, worse than he had done in the past. He demanded the whole house. He demanded that I should leave.

I turned to the authorities for help. I pleaded with those dignified people who had promised to guarantee his good behaviour. They said we had to sort out our grievances between us. They did nothing. They never do.

I had a decent standard of living. I did well. Much better than the neighbours whose world has gone to pieces. My home was a good place to be. Economically, things were good thanks to my success. My neighbourhood went to hell.

By the way, his relatives, who live in the neighbourhood, surround my home and are threatening to come and help him get me evicted. Once or twice I thought I had reached an agreement with him, but he never signed the paper at the end of the day. I offered a compromise to him, I offered concessions, I even took my things out of one more room and made way for him to use it. He did. He used it to store the tools he used to try and wreck the rest of my home.

He rejected my offers, he rejected everything. The truth was he wanted it all.

The authorities were no good. One or two, very few of them, muttered some words of support but did little. That didn’t help. The majority were against me. It seems to me that the authorities are made up of his friends and relatives all ganging up on me. At least one of them actually publicly and repeatedly threatened to come and kill me. If I didn’t give my home to him he would come and blow up my home and kill me with it.

Now he’s trying to change the law to make out that I have no legal rights to my home, that I am the villain and he is the victim. In the mad world I am living in the authorities have set up committees to examine his claims and to challenge my right to live in my own home. One of them has even put him down as being the owner.

And so I appeal to you, dear reader, I ask you what am I to do? What would you do in my shoes? Leave home? No way! Kiss and make up? We’ve tried that so many time before. It ain’t going to happen.

I am still ready to give him a share of my home but to kiss and make up is really, for me, the kiss of death. So I ask you again. What would you do in my shoes? And while you are thinking about your answer allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Israel.

Barry Shaw blogs at

The rise of radical Islam in the Middle East

After the overthrow of Mubarak, Egyptian security forces and Muslims clashed with Christians


With Egypt, Tunisia and Libya having fallen into the hands of radical Islamists and with Yemen and Syria close on the way, the argument coming from the Obama administration is that this is a good thing. OK. Let’s analyze that.

It is now becoming obvious to anyone observing the various revolts occurring throughout the Middle East that radical Islamists will be taking over the various countries that had their despots overthrown.

There is some truth behind the hate filled venom of these Islamists that the West supported these despots. Perhaps not for the reasons they claim, namely, to destroy Islam and make the Middle East a garden of freedom and liberty. But rather to keep a lid on its roiling political and violent mayhem so that the oil will keep flowing.

George W. Bush was a wishful thinker when he proclaimed that all humanity desires freedom and liberty and attempted to provide the Iraqi and Afghani people the opportunity to grasp that golden bowel.

However depressing the reality of the Middle East which now confronts the West, in particular the United States, since it has paid so much in blood and treasure, there is possibly one good thing that may yet come out of this Islamist takeover. There is a military term called “fixing the enemy” which refers to preventing the enemy’s withdrawal thereby allowing the attacking force to be confident that it will not escape. In our war against the Islamists we have been chasing them from one mountain to the next from one corner of the world to another never quite able to gather them in one spot. Well now we know where they are. Don’t we?

You can be an expert on the Middle East before Abbas and Netanyahu address the UN

UN photo by Marco Castro

Senior Editor

Mahmoud Abbas has stated his intention to unilaterally request full statehood for Arab Palestinians. This has been said to be a violation of the Oslo Accords and the Wye River Agreement, which clearly outline a negotiating process for moving forward.

I realized that soundbites from the idiot media would not help me understand exactly why this move is a problem. Thanks to Internet search engines, I discovered some dandy websites.

If you have the stamina, you too can become an official peace process pundit too.

Have you ever heard of Yale University’s “Avalon Project?” I thought not.

This ambitious, delicious website is going to be the treasure trove of record for international diplomacy junkies. They are digitizing every document “relevant to the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government.”

No, really. In the World. Forever. From ancient, medieval and modern sources.

Not only that, but they are adding every “supporting document” mentioned in the text or of relevance to the published document.

So this is my gift to you. Here is a link to virtually every document relating to The Middle East from 1916 to the present day.

Is that cool, or what? A one-stop shop for your researching pleasure.

But there’s more! You didn’t think The Jewish Reporter would let you down, did you?

The Question of Palestine page of the United Nations website lists every General Assembly resolution pertaining to this issue from 1946 to the present day.

If you have a good appreciation of irony, a strong stomach, and the ability to decipher the specialized language of
diplomacy, then this site is for you.

I warn my pro-Israel, pro-Zionist friends in advance. You will roll your eyes right out of their sockets. But it may be the next big thing in naturopath treatment of insomnia without drug intervention, although you may want to smoke a few joints before reading just so that you and the General Assembly are on the same page. Nonetheless, a valuable resource.

Sometimes you just want to spend a couple of years just reading the original documents, to gain a deeper understanding of the actual standing of the most complicated, convoluted and difficult question that has occupied up to 75 percent of United Nations resolutions. I know I do.

Or, youcould just believe everything I write without question.

Frankly, instead of writing just another Op-Ed piece, I wanted to provide our readers with the underlying source material.

You won’t find that even in the New York Times or Washington Post. Not even on Fox News or in the Washington Times.
You’ll only find it here at The Jewish Reporter.

I know, I know, you could have Googled it for yourself; but did you? So bookmark us in your browser,
email a link to this page to your entire mailing list, and please, always feel free to comment.

IDF: Deadly, regional Middle East war possible

IDF soldiers on guard Arab Quarter, Jerusalem. Daniel Roy photo

The deteriorating relationship between Israel and Turkey is leading to a destabilization of the region which could lead to a horrific Middle East war with multiple casualties and the use of weapons of mass destruction.

That analysis comes today from IDF Major General Eyal Eisenberg.


American Jews must step up to Middle East peace plate


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognise that these are especially turbulent times in Israel. In the past few days, deadly terror attacks in Israel’s south have prompted retaliatory strikes into Gaza, a regrettable resurgence of cross-border violence with an uncertain end. Before this latest flare-up grabbed attention in the Middle East and abroad, from the United States we had been watching spellbound as hundreds of thousands of Israelis protested current government policies, demanding greater equity and “social justice” that they now find wanting.

Stasis in the “peace process” and the ramifications of 44 years of occupation of the West Bank haven’t been the focus of these weeks-long protests, but many quietly acknowledged the great sucking sound – financial and otherwise – attributable to the settlement enterprise.

Meanwhile, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to cement “facts on the ground”, having recently granted another 930 building permits in a disputed section of East Jerusalem and 277 in the Ariel settlement. In response, the Quartet – the United States, Russia, the EU and the United Nations – expressed “great concern”. At the same time, the Palestinian “street” is growing increasingly anxious for an end to the Occupation and establishment of a state of their own. The Palestinian Authority will seek a UN vote on statehood. Much of the world community – in the General Assembly and beyond – hears its cry and sympathises.

What is the American Jewish community to do?

This depends, of course, on what our objective is.

While with each passing day the window for a two-state solution – a safe, secure and democratic Israel living in peace with a viable Palestinian state – grows smaller, most American Jews would agree that’s the goal. If it is, then it’s fair to ask what actions the leading organisations of the American Jewish community should undertake to most effectively help the parties reach that goal.

In what is presumably its answer to that question, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the largest Jewish advocacy group in the United States, has decided to mount a major campaign to oppose the expected UN vote on Palestinian statehood. There are, indeed, good and sufficient reasons why that vote is problematic: for Israel, for the United States – which has vowed to use its veto in the Security Council – and for the Palestinians. But is pulling out all stops to stifle the Palestinian move the most effective means to help the parties reach that ever-elusive two-state goal? We can’t afford to spend time and resources on any campaign that serves anything other than our sole objective: how best to help the parties reach a negotiated resolution.

If American Jews are serious about getting to “yes”, there are likely more effective strategies than waging a losing battle in the General Assembly.

What about pressing our government to join with the other Quartet players in laying out the terms of a comprehensive resolution, along the well-known lines of the Clinton parameters and the Geneva Accord? Rather than treating the Palestinian Authority as an adversary that bears the blame for the ongoing impasse, shouldn’t our Jewish communal organisations be spearheading a campaign for the kinds of difficult mutual compromises that are most likely to lead to a sustainable end to the conflict?

It would also behove our communal leaders, when they speak with those holding the reins of power in Israel, to echo the words of Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN. Interviewed in the Los Angeles Times on 8 August, Shalev asserted that in order to move forward, “Israel could show by gestures that when Netanyahu talks about negotiations without preconditions, there really are no preconditions; that we are not only willing to speak about painful concessions, but show that we are willing to do it by not going on with building settlements; and by not putting new things on the table, like the requirement that Palestinians recognize Israel as the homeland of Jewish people….”

These are the kinds of views that leaders who, like Shalev, love Israel and whose goal is a two-state peace should be championing.

In a 7 August editorial on this topic, The New York Times concluded: “We see no sign that Washington or the Israelis are thinking beyond the incremental.” Likewise, it’s fair to ask whether the AJC’s anti-UN vote campaign is anything more than incremental. The current situation – the current crisis, really – cries out for needed compromises that will effectively deliver two states for two peoples. Blocking, finger-pointing and “incremental” simply won’t do. It’s time for the AJC and the broader American Jewish community to step up, boldly, and help make peace.

Michael Felsen is an attorney and President of Boston Workmen’s Circle, a 110-year old communal organisation dedicated to secular Jewish education, culture and social justice. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Egypt may permit e-voting

Aaron Gustafson photo

Talk about reforms!

Not only are they trying to arrange legitimate elections in Egypt, but there’s now a push underway to permit people to vote electronically.

While there is a certain ease associated with e-voting, and while it means that results are available more quicky after the polls close, the process isn’t without controversy.

In the United States there have been allegations of voter fraud because, it was claimed, e-voting allowed for manipulation of results.

Fresh clashes in Syria


Thousands of people have taken to the streets – once again – in Syria – to demand that the government loosen its group on the citizenry. And once again, the consequences have been deadly.

Three people are reported dead as the Army moved in to try to squelch the demonstrations.

But in a change in policy, the government, under its escort, allowed international reporters to see the demonstrations first hand.

The United States, meanwhile, is fast losing patience with the Syrian governments foot-dragging toward reform. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is running out of time.


New anti-Israel demos could be new doomsday scenario

Israeli soldier overlooks Golan Heights


With the Naksa Day encroachments by pro-Palestinians from the Golan Heights still fresh in all Israeli minds and the threat by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to send 600,000 paid demonstrators to Israel’s borders in the future to reclaim their alleged stolen towns and farmlands, concern is rising in the upper echelons of the Netanyahu government and Israeli security circles on how to deal effectively with this new form of terrorism and civil disobedience.

The Syrians, along with the modern day triumvirate of evil axis, Turkey, Iran and Hamas, believe they have developed the perfect weapon to use against Israel, an evolving weapon which they think will be more devastating than any violent version of terrorism, in which they can prosecute their malicious intent on the occupiers by reclaiming the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria and ultimately, holy Jerusalem itself.This disturbing and unnerving tactic by Israel’s enemies is viewed as a Shoah threat to the Land of Israel by the Israeli Cabinet according to sources in the military establishment.

The Doomsday scenario once uttered by Yasser Arafat that he would send one million Ghaza residents to march on Jerusalem is now being re-enacted in the minds of the Netanyahu governement and that of IDF commander Benny Gantz and his fellow generals. A frantic search for an authentic deterrent or deterrents,is being initiated at the highest levels of the Israeli government. A government ever mindful of its duty to protect the state of Israel. But also deeply worried about being dragged into a potentially explosive lose-lose situation. One which would oil the wheels of the delegitimization of Israel as a pariah and apartheid state, in the eyes of the Arabs, the hostile UN and the rest of the observing world.

Peter Paton is an international PR and strategic adviser.

Congressional opposition to Obama Middle East plan grows


WASHINGTON – Prominent U.S. senators are throwing another wrench in the Middle East peace plans of President Obama, proposing a new resolution opposing an Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders.

The draft resolution, presented by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) states that “it is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967.”

Echoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the senators insisted that the 1967 borders were indefensible, and invited Arab attacks on the narrow Jewish state. The resolution is supported by at least 30 other senators.

The resolution comes just weeks after a joint session of Congress made the extraordinary move of providing a foreign leader – Netanyahu – with a platform to oppose the policies of the U.S. president. Congress was unhappy that just days prior to Netanyahu’s address Obama had publically called for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders for the sake of peace.

Analysts noted that Obama’s statements had for the first time turned Arab demands that peace be based on a full and complete Israeli withdrawal the official policy of the White House.

Article courtesy Israel Today Magazine.