Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cowboys and Indians In The Middle East

There will be a straw that breaks the [Yishmael's] camel's back. This thing is getting more and more tense by the moment; Iron Dome is now in Tzfat.

Israel launched a rare airstrike inside Syria, U.S. officials said Wednesday, targeting a convoy believed to contain anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The attack adds a potentially flammable new element to tensions already heightened by Syria's civil war.

It was the latest salvo in Israel's long-running effort to disrupt the Shiite militia's quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel's air force and spreading destruction inside the Jewish state.

Regional security officials said the strike, which occurred overnight Tuesday, targeted a site near the Lebanese border, while a Syrian army statement said it destroyed a military research center northwest of the capital, Damascus. They appeared to be referring to the same incident.

U.S. officials said the target was a truck convoy that Israel believed was carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the operation.

Regional officials said the shipment included sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which if acquired by Hezbollah would be "game-changing," enabling the militants to shoot down Israeli jets, helicopters and surveillance drones. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

In a statement, the Syrian military denied the existence of any such shipment and said a scientific research facility outside Damascus was hit by the Israeli warplanes.

The Israeli military declined to comment. However, many in Israel worry that as Syrian President Bashar Assad loses power, he could strike back by transferring chemical or advanced weapons to Hezbollah, which is neighboring Lebanon's most powerful military force and is committed to Israel's destruction.

The airstrike follows decades of enmity between Israel and allies Syria and Hezbollah, which consider the Jewish state their mortal enemy. The situation has been further complicated by the civil war raging in Syria between the Assad regime and rebel brigades seeking his ouster.

The war has sapped Assad's power and threatens to deprive Hezbollah of a key supporter, in addition to its land corridor to Iran. The two countries provide Hezbollah with the bulk of its funding and arms.

A Syrian military statement read aloud on state TV Wednesday said low-flying Israeli jets crossed into Syria over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and bombed a military research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of Damascus.

The strike destroyed the center and damaged a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others, the statement said.

The military denied the existence of any convoy bound for Lebanon, saying the center was responsible for "raising the level of resistance and self-defense" of Syria's military.

"This proves that Israel is the instigator, beneficiary and sometimes executor of the terrorist acts targeting Syria and its people," the statement said.

Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive 34-day war in 2006 that left 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead.

While the border has been largely quiet since, the struggle has taken other forms. Hezbollah has accused Israel of assassinating a top commander, and Israel blamed Hezbollah and Iran for a July 2012 attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. In October, Hezbollah launched an Iranian-made reconnaissance drone over Israel, using the incident to brag about its expanding capabilities.

Israeli officials believe that Hezbollah's arsenal has markedly improved since 2006, now boasting tens of thousands of rockets and missiles and the ability to strike almost anywhere inside Israel.

Israel suspects that Damascus obtained a battery of SA-17s from Russia after an alleged Israeli airstrike in 2007 that destroyed an unfinished Syrian nuclear reactor.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of the dangers of Syria's "deadly weapons," saying the country is "increasingly coming apart."

The same day, Israel moved a battery of its new "Iron Dome" rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa, which was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire in the 2006 war. The Israeli army called that move "routine."

Syria, however, cast the airstrike in a different light, linked to the country's civil war, which it blames on terrorists carrying out an international conspiracy.

Despite its icy relations with Assad, Israel has remained on the sidelines of efforts to topple him, while keeping up defenses against possible attacks.

Israeli defense officials have carefully monitored Syria's chemical weapons, fearing Assad could deploy them or lose control of them to extremist fighters among the rebels.

President Barack Obama has called the use of chemical weapons a "red line" that if crossed could prompt direct U.S. intervention, though U.S. officials have said Syria's stockpiles still appear to be under government control.

The strike was Israel's first inside Syria since September 2007, when warplanes destroyed a site that the U.N. nuclear watchdog deemed likely to be a nuclear reactor. Syria denied the claim, saying the building was a non-nuclear military site.

Syria allowed international inspectors to visit the bombed site in 2008, but it has refused to allow nuclear inspectors new access. This has heightened suspicions that Syria has something to hide, along with its decision to level the destroyed structure and build on its site.

In 2006, Israeli warplanes flew over Assad's palace in a show of force after Syrian-backed militants captured an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

And in 2003, Israeli warplanes attacked a suspected militant training camp just north of the Syrian capital, in response to an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in the city of Haifa that killed 21 Israelis.

Syria vowed to retaliate for both attacks but never did.

In Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria, the military and the U.N. agency tasked with monitoring the border with Israel said Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity in the past week.

Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace are not uncommon, and it was unclear if the recent activity was related to the strike in Syria.

Syria's primary conflict with Israel is over the Golan Heights, which Israeli occupied in the 1967 war. Syria demands the area back as part of any peace deal. Despite the hostility, Syria has kept the border quiet since the 1973 Mideast war and has never retaliated for Israeli attacks.

In May 2011, only two months after the uprising against Assad started, hundreds of Palestinians overran the tightly controlled Syria-Israeli frontier in a move widely thought to have been facilitated by the Assad regime to divert the world's gaze from his growing troubles at home.

 This exercise is one shot from going Global.


Russia said on Thursday it was very concerned about reports of an Israeli attack in Syria and that any such action, if confirmed, would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country.

The remarks were issued as Hezbollah called on the international community to condemn the alleged strike.

"If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes had bombed a convoy near Syria's border with Lebanon, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah in what some called a warning to Damascus not to arm Israel's Lebanese enemy.

Syrian state television accused Israel of bombing a military research center at Jamraya, between Damascus and the nearby border. Syrian rebels disputed that, saying their forces had attacked the site.

Russia has been trying to shield Syrian President Bashar Assad from international pressure to end the civil war against opposition forces that has ravaged the country over 22 months and killed an estimated 60,000 people. Moscow has repeatedly spoken against any foreign interference in Syria, especially military action.

'Attack typical of Israel's criminal ways' Meanwhile, the Hezbollah terror organization released a statement condemning the "Israeli attacks on the scientific research center in Syria." The statement said that "the attack is in line with Israel's aggressive and criminal ways and was made in accordance to a policy which attempts to prevent any Arab or Muslim force to develop its military and technological capabilities."

In its statement the Shiite terror organization claimed that "the attack exposes the background to what has been going on in Syria for years, and the criminal intention to destroy Syria and its army, and undermine its central role on the resistance front."

It also said: "The attack requires wide-scale condemnation from the international community and the Arab and Muslim states."

Nevertheless, it also claimed that "we are accustomed to the international community swallowing its tongue and remaining silent, not condemning or taking a stand when Israel is the aggressor."

Hassan Nasrallah's organization also expressed solidarity with the Syrian people, the Syrian leadership and the Syrian army.

They said, in an implied message to the rebel forces, that "some elements should be aware of the severity of the attack against Syria."

"This aggression should lead to a re-examination of their stance and to adopt political dialogue as the only basis to a solution meant to end the shedding of Syrian blood, in order to keep Syria and protect its role in the fight against the enemies."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ethics of The Fathers - Is Damascus Domestic?

This eruption in Syria could literally be at any time. All kinds of questions are being raised: ethics, contingency plans, "whats next", Iran, Jordan, etc. etc.

All in all, it seems there is no way out of this for anyone - Bibi's bomb is lit, no matter how abstract his red lines can be drawn - this is was and will always be about the showdown in the Middle East between Israel and her neighbors; the clock ticks towards inevitability.

As news reports are rampant with the possibility of an Israeli or US strike on Syria’s chemical weapons, it is important to recall the law of armed conflict principles which come into play.

There is a range of views on preemptive strikes.

Some hold that preemptive strikes are never permitted, as the UN Charter requires an existing “armed attack” for one to use force and carry out self-defense measures.

In the post-September 2011 world, a growing group of nations take the view that if an attack is “imminent,” a preemptive strike can be justified.

One paradigm case is with nuclear weapons, where even a small “dirty bomb” can cause unimaginable carnage, and many would justify attacking a state’s nuclear weapons capability prior to an attack, which Israel has done in the past.

But Syria’s chemical weapons pose unusual issues.

According to former ambassador to Canada and former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker, there would be a basis for a preemptive strike if “Syria was uncovering the wraps on its chemical weapons and getting ready to use them, with indications they would be used against Israel.”

But what if Syria only meant to use chemical weapons against its own people, such as the Syrian rebels? “If they were using them against their own people, then maybe Israel can’t use the self-defense argument” to initiate a preemptive strike, said Baker.

“There would be no case for anticipatory self-defense according to customary international law if the threat is not against us,” he said.

Baker elaborated on a “Canadian philosophy” of there being a “right to protect” others, namely that if a nation is “of the view that a people are under threat, it could be the interest and right of any state to protect that people.”

The US and its allies invoked such a “humanitarian approach” in the former Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s and most recently in Libya in 2011.

In both those cases, however, especially in Libya, the intervention was based on a widespread and multinational collective intervention with some degree of UN support.

Regardless, Israel has never undertaken such a mission nor claimed such a right.

Baker said that Israel has “never been in a position with its neighbors where it was necessary,” while citing some accounts of Black September in Jordan 1970 which state that Israel had threatened to intervene if Jordan’s regime allowed itself to be taken over by Palestinian nationalists.

All of this creates a difficult dilemma: What if it is clear that chemical weapons are about to be used or transferred, but unclear whether the intent is to use them against other Syrians or to use or transfer them to terror groups for use against Israel? In a situation of “ambiguous intelligence,” Baker said, there might be a justification for “our intervention. The tendency and percentage of likelihood” of an attack on Israel “would need to be pretty high in terms of intelligence indications” to justify a preemptive strike in such a situation.

Do the calculations change if Bashar Assad is toppled, and the Syrian rebels, who some have said have associations with al-Qaida, take over? If the rebels took over, the “question would be the degree to which the threat is realistic. If Israel’s military people, on the basis of their own intelligence and considerations, come to the conclusion that there is a danger” the weapons could “fall into the hands of terrorists,” and that this will lead to their “use against Israel, then a preemptive strike would be justified,” said Baker.

In other words, what is poorly understood by partisans in the debate over preemptive strikes who have not had to deal with anything beyond theoretical considerations, is that much of the legal conclusion will derive from the indications of intelligence about the threat.

Those who say preemptive strikes can never be justified appear to ignore scenarios where intelligence is certain of an imminent and disastrous attack.

And those who invoke preemptive strikes the second there is any change in status of the chemical weapons appear to ignore the possibility that intelligence may show that the threat is not against Israel.

The other dimension that differentiates chemical weapons from nuclear weapons is that not all chemical weapons use, in any quantity, is necessarily an immediate, massive disaster.

In 1988, Saddam Hussein killed 5,000 people in an instant when 20 aircraft dropped mustard and sarin gas on the Kurdish-Iraqi city of Halabja. In 1995, 13 Japanese were killed when sarin gas was released into the Tokyo Metro.

Both incidents were terrible tragedies, but the gulf in the number of fatalities shows that different amounts and capabilities of delivery for chemical weapons can impact how disastrous its use can be.

Baker said that while Israel could strike preemptively to stop an “immediate, overwhelming and overpowering” threat, there might be scenarios where a limited chemical weapons transfer or use might not be significant enough to justify a preemptive strike, or might require limiting the nature of the preemptive strike.

For example, a massive threat may justify a massive use of airpower, whereas a more limited threat might only justify a narrow and targeted air strike or a limited strike by a small group of covert operatives on the ground.

Again, intelligence would be crucial in evaluating the threat and the legality of various responses.

As the world gets more complex with more complicated actors, and smaller states’ acquisition of non-conventional weapons becomes viewed as a greater threat, the interplay of intelligence and law on the issue of preemptive strikes will only become more important.

Notice the Canadian quote; Canada in the Talmud is called Magog. It does seem each day more and more clear that we are witnessing the foundations of Gog Magog. Would it be fitting for this war to ignite on Canadian philosophy? As long as Israel doesn't think for itself, it remains vulnerable to all of its "friends."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Israel In Prophecy: Facing Jordan

Authentic [even a tad radical] Zionism that leans Right claims Israel extends beyond the Jordan. The Left counters with its views as a perfect negative [and opposite extreme]. And nowadays people speak as moderates, while claims of selling out Israel are often heard in the background.

But did anyone notice Arab Spring - and happen to take in the last 100+ years of Zionism to form a long view perspective? We may be looking at the closing of one long tekufa in the making that will bring us to Zionism 1.0 as a conclusion, and into 2.0: the Messiah version [and vision of Eretz Yisrael].

When Zionism first became the vehicle of choice to govern in the Land [and to the Land] while lending itself as a viable method of vision, its extreme blend had a purpose, one that has lasted all the way until today and led to the very threshold that we find ourselves sitting upon today. In 2013 you will hear Zionism speaking of becoming moderate, yet make no mistake, this is not a change of winds; this is the echo of a mission nearly complete.

In 1948, the Jews return to their Land, disheveled from 2000 years of Trauma, and suddenly take to Israel with 6,000,000 questions as to where to go from here. An immediate redemption although poetic to the ear, would be a cause of sure destruction, so a plan would be needed to bring this thing up to speed. Let the  War of Independence begin!

Israel will eventually [seem] to win this war, and the struggle will continue over 60+ years of the same themes and characters, over and over again. The same questions will remain - are we being sold out and when will Israel finally fall victim to her neighbors?

However after much deliberation and commitment to extreme Zionism, something  changed [in the time of the Zohar's predicted times even!]: Arab Spring - in its season.

With perfect deception in perspective, people look to see where it began, however it is the end game that matters in any round of chess - on any level.

The end game here is Jordan.

Jordan possesses the three prophesied gifts to Eretz Yisrael: Edom, Moav, and Ammon, al to be given once The Land - Proper is secured, something that even King David did not do, before his Syrian conquest.

Speaking of Syria: they are about to fall, causing   black hole eruption that will indeed pull in the kingdom of Yishamel - Iran. When that happens, the Middle East is in total collapse [except Israel no less] with refugees seeking to pour into an already [mysteriously] weakened Jordan. If Jordan is the last player in this, Israel is last man standing - but in face of international isolation as the price to pay for victory.

This paves the way for Gog Magog onto Israel. But now there is a catch: Even if America lands on Holy soil to negotiate the final [solution] two state submission, Israel now speaks as moderates?

With Jordan down and last - now Israel can create a Palestinian State from the former Jordan which happens to be the original Palestinian State [if even that existed].

At this point Authentic Zionism served her purpose, paved the path to a redemption scenario, and allows the prophesied lands to be delivered  as if giftwrapped and served on a platter.

So if indeed Zionism caused Arab Spring, and Jordan is the main course [while the Right with Left opposition worked like a charm] we may be looking the frail beginning of redemption, a vision shining through after over 100 years in the making.  No longer is the modern moderate seen as a sellout, but rather as a captain steering the ship into port.

If Bibi signs the draft of a future treifa state, it is my belief that this is no less than divine engineering of a promise delivered thousands of years ago.

Much like the Para Adumah - from the impure comes forth the pure, and as we saw in Parashas Beshalach - from the bitter comes the sweet. Nothing is more bitter than this Palestinian State - and for this we are told, with Hope to Hashem, we will witness those waters become something sweet for the whole World to drink.

May we soon taste the sweet waters of the World through the sweet channel of the Beis Hamikdash, that will be built on The Holy Land, and through its expansion of Promised Territory TransJordan. For Your Salvation [Hashem] - We Hope To You [God]!

 While not ready to sign a comprehensive peace deal, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is willing to establish an interim Palestinian state without a final agreement, former deputy foreign minister Yossi Beilin said on Monday.

Speaking during a debate with outgoing settlement council head Danny Dayan, Beilin stated that he had heard from Netanyahu that he would be ready for establishing a “provisional border with the Palestinians.”

“This is something that I heard from him that he would be ready to do it,” he stated.

The debate, held at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, was organized by the American Jewish Committee.

“Both sides prefer a permanent agreement but are not ready for it under either’s current leadership,” Beilin continued.

Beilin, who was one of the primary architects of both the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiative, a framework for peace negotiated outside of official government channels, noted that “what can be done is an interim agreement which establishes a Palestinian state in provisional borders so that Netanyahu will not have to negotiate now about Jerusalem.”

“Netanyahu, far from being a warmonger, is a very cautious person and therefore not the one [to sign] a permanent agreement. This is not because he doesn’t want it but because he is not ready to pay the price.”

Beilin negated the possibility of an accord such as his Geneva Initiative being workable in the current political climate or with the “current government.”

He also asserted that instead of the prime minister being forced to deal with the issue of forcibly evacuating settlements, any settlers who would wish to remain in their homes under Palestinian sovereignty would be allowed to do so. Those not wishing to live within a Palestinian state would be resettled, Beilin said, possibly even in other areas over the green line that Israel would retain.

“Knowing Bibi,” he said, using Netanyahu’s nickname, “I believe an interim solution could be realistic.”

However, the Prime Minister’s Office denied Beilin’s statements. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post in response to Beilin’s comments, PMO officials noted that Netanyahu “believes in direct negotiations with the Palestinians with no preconditions that would lead to, as described in the Bar-Ilan speech, a two-state solution based on a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel.”

Settlement council head Dayan also had an alternative peace plan on hand.

Currently, he said, Israel and the Palestinians “are devising a modus vivendi that is moderately satisfying for everyone. It’s not idyllic or what we or Palestinians want, but it’s moderately satisfying, and in this region it’s a hell of an achievement.”

There is currently no long-term solution, he said, but should Jordan experience regime change, it may be possible to push the idea of Jordan as a Palestinian state.

“There is a significant chance for two states, Israel west of the Jordan River and Palestine to the east, with joint functional control over Judea and Samaria, although not shared sovereignty,” he speculated. “That will be the beginning of serious negotiations, in which Israel [eventually] rules the Jewish population there and Palestine rules the territory in which their people live there.”

The debate was held during a dinner for the Board of Governors Institute of the AJC, which is currently in Israel as part of a regional tour.

AJC director David Harris, whose staff organized the debate, noted that members of the board were granted an audience with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman on Sunday and had met with both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday.

“This evening is sort of quintessential AJC,” Harris noted. “We always have a major debate as part of our programming. We invite people who are thoughtful and reasoned but have certain perspectives on key issues. We listen to them respectfully and we process the information. Tonight’s debate was very much in that spirit.”

"Jordan has not avoided Arab awakening or Arab Spring completely but there were actually some protests. And a number of protests that took place in the country over the last two years is actually incomparable with the number of protests that used to take place earlier," Ibrahim Saif, resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, in Beirut, told the Voice of Russia.

Jordan has not avoided Arab awakening or Arab Spring completely but there were actually some protests. And a number of protests that took place in the country over the last two years is actually incomparable with the number of protests that used to take place earlier. Also the ceiling of the demands by protesters was increasing over time since the Arab awakening. Over the last two years they were demanding the reform of the regime and then they wanted to introduce new issues like constitutional monarchy and to limit the king’s power.

So, there was a kind of movement at the streets level and within the elites level and the need to introduce new changes. So, Jordan is one of the countries that are actually going through I would say a transitional moment now. But we can also argue that it is a smooth and managed transition in a way, that so far the opposition parties, including the Islamist and other parties, are not having the critical mass as yet to have something like a popular uprising similar to other countries, like Tunisia or Yemen, or like Egypt in that regard.

And for that there are several reasons that we can consider in understanding why the protests have been minimal, why that so far has not been going up to a way out revolution. There are reasons behind this regarding the nature of the regime, regarding the nature of the social contacts between the state and the society, and the due politics that has been unfolding in the region for that matter.

Sir, but you said that Islamists have not reached the critical mass in power structures and you said – as yet. Does that imply that you do not rule out the scenario of more turbulent development?

Actually if we think about scenarios for Jordan and what would happen, I wouldn’t rule out any of the scenarios. The most likely scenario is that we will continue in this managed transition. But if there is a sort of severe economic deterioration and there is a severely high rate of unemployment, as we witnessed around the end of the last year, and increasing number of poor people, and also the rising sentiment against corruption and lack of action in that regard – that would drive increasing numbers to the streets and could witness a serious trouble in the country. This is one of the scenarios.

But the second scenario which as I argue is the most likely is that the Government is trying to respond to demands at both levels by fighting corruption and having a more participatory policy making. The latest parliamentarian election which by far at least can be characterized as fair election in the sense that there was no forgery, there was no intervention as happened before in the previous elections, though it was boycotted by the Islamists and some opposition groups. But at least the outcome was uncontroversial compared with other previous elections.

So, now we at least have a legitimate legislative body that can take some more fierce measures regarding the political reform in Jordan and introducing a new election law or a new set of rules for governing the new affairs in Jordan.

Several times I’ve run into an assumption that Arab Spring poses a certain challenge for monarchy regimes. So, does that mean that Jordan might be one of the models to argument that position? Or is Jordan's case absolutely special?

Actually I think there are some certain challenges and there are some certain threats. It depends on how you response to this new political landscape in the region and the new political landscape in Jordan. And this challenge could be turned into a threat if you do not act, if you do not react, also if you are sometimes too active and take serious steps towards changing the way that the state-society relations are shaped and how you gain the public support.

But so far actually, since the revolution or the Arab Spring has started, Jordan has amended its constitution, which is for the first time in 50 years when they introduced some constitutional amendments which reduce the absolute power granted to the king and gave it to the Parliament, also reduce the executive body’s power and empower more the elected legislative body in that regard. So, actually there is a new dynamics that is taking place.

Sometimes you would argue that maybe they are slower than they should be and they are quite hesitant but I think this is quite natural in a country where there is an entrenched interested groups that have benefiting from the existing arrangement for a long time and you would expect them to resist the shift to a new dynamics whereby new elites and new interests would emerge and take positions in the new political and economic landscape.

Of course, if you wait, if you don’t react, if you think that all policies would apply today and would reach a conclusive agreement with your own society – then you are definitely mistaken. And a challenge is how really to predict and draft a new social contract and a new political arrangement whereby you increase the level of participation and you don’t take responsibility as a monarchy on your own part or as an individual institution, or a singular institution in the country.

But Sir, definitely there are other factors which are out of control of the Government, like the situation around the country. So, in what ways does the situation in the neighbouring countries affect Jordan? And can the Government efficiently counter those dangerous effects?

There are actually two aspects to what is happening in the region, and particularly in Syria. One thing is that this refugee crisis, which is a kind of humanitarian crisis which puts more pressure on the Government and its own resources and how they are responding to this. And this event unfolding in Syria, so far we don’t know how this would end and what kind of new political regime would prevail in Syria. That fight and that geopolitical threat is out of the Government’s hands, and I agree that that is something we have to include when we talk about the regional aspect of this Arab Spring in that regard.

The second aspect is actually people at the street when they are watching what is happening in Syria, that devastation, that destruction of their infrastructure, the divide in the society, the casualties, the way that the Government and the Army is dealing with its own people has actually put a kind of break to the protest in the street and the public support in the sense that although we are demanding for reforming the polity and reforming the regime in Jordan but nobody wants Jordan to get into the chaotic state that we are witnessing in Syria in that regard. And therefore they are really backing off from supporting any uncalculated movement.

So, I would say that what is happening in Syria to great extent has weakened the more drastic political demand in Jordan and you would find a lot of people actually leaning towards a managed transition. And probably the outcome of this election is actually the reflection of that, I mean the level of participation and the quality of the parliamentarians who reached the Parliament would reflect that flavor of the opposition but also the flavor of how can we improve the status quo and how can we move forward with the light at the end of the tunnel instead of jumping into the unknown. I think this is where the support and Syria has played a significant role in really creating a group of hesitant people because they are unsure about how this would unfold in Syria and what role could the international community play in the crisis similar to the ones in Syria.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Torah's Last Stand

Keep The Torah You Must Do

The Talmud "Chullin" says that a portion of the "Righteous of the Nations of the World" [not to be confused with the "pious" or the Noahides proper - as they are other categories altogether] have taken upon themselves a three - pronged code of conduct into the World that has been given the Blessing of maintaining God's Physical Creation and Dynamic.

These three "laws" are the following:
  • No Homosexual "Ketubah" between men
  • Not to sell human flesh in the market
  • To always Honour the Torah
As many Drashas / interpretations can be offered to these three to show depth and character, I find it interesting that we may very well be living in the latest incarnation where this is to be taken quite literally; Divine Retribution may not be far off given the severity and nature of these three laws and their function towards maintaining existence.

As many are probably aware of, America is heavily flirting with the first law, and their crusade towards gay liberation and conquest into unprecedented immorality; Obama is being hailed as a baby killer in his abortion policies and his general philosophy concerning human life. "Free Relations" is largely connected to this first law, and America leading the World to see beyond this detail of prevention.

Also making head waves [again] is North Korea in this matter. Not only do they want to point a Nuke at America, but now there are cannibal reports coming out of their camp. It is long documented that North Korea is seen as Hell on Earth, both Biblically and Politically.

If Korea wants to make their move[s] - then one must assume an attack on Torah is near [or already in progress] - one that may be the most significant in Jewish History. We all sense that it is generally going on, but perhaps there is an all out war right in our midst against Hashem and His Torah.


News out of North Korean in notorious unreliable, but food shortages in the country have gotten so bad and people so desperate that there are now reports of men murdering their own children for food. These startling reports were compiled by independent reporters commissioned by Asia Press, a independent press agency focusing on Asia, and were published by the Sunday Times. And here's one of the most disturbing thing you'll read this morning:

The source said: "While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: 'We have meat.' "But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children's bodies under the eaves." And another from Gu Gwang-ho, one of the Asia Press's citizen journalists said: "There was an incident when a man was arrested for digging up the grave of his grandchild and eating the remains."

The big question here is whether this is all true or new urban legends. Considering this is North Korea and taking into account the country's propensity to keep secrets and publish propaganda pieces—we'll likely never get real confirmation from their end. But Asia Press has worked with citizen reporters in the famine-struck regions of North and South Hwanghae for the past year, and The Independent considers their reports credible. 

 Sadly, this isn't the first time we've heard reports of cannibalism from North Korea. Back in 2003, during another food shortage there were refugee accounts that people in the country began killing and eating their children and then selling their children's corpses. The Telegraph's Mark Nicol reported at the time:

Aid agencies are alarmed by refugees' reports that children have been killed and corpses cut up by people desperate for food. Requests by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to be allowed access to "farmers' markets", where human meat is said to be traded, have been turned down by Pyongyang, citing "security reasons". And then there's the fact that we know North Korea was devastated by storms and flooding in the summer of 2012. You can't hide a tropical cyclone. Thing have grown so desperate, that they almost took South Korean aid this September, which is a big deal considering the rocky relationship between the two countries and the North's fierce pride of independence. 

Reports of previous famines have been well documented and Asia Press claims that as many as 10,000 people may have died because of the "Hidden Famine" this year. 

Bring On Damascus

Like a game of domino's: Syria, Iran, Egypt, Americana-goga-bama-Putinism [in the north], Damascus...Beis HaMikdash?


Israel could launch a pre-emptive strike to stop Syria's chemical weapons from reaching Lebanon's Hezbollah or al-Qaida inspired groups, officials said Sunday. The warning came as the military moved a rocket defense system to a main northern city, and Israel's premier warned of dangers from both Syria and Iran. Israel has long expressed concerns that Syrian President Bashar Assad, clinging to power during a 22-month civil war, could lose control over his chemical weapons. 

Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Sunday that Israel's top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. The fact of the meeting, held the morning after a national election, had not been made public before.

Shalom told the Army Radio station that the transfer of weapons to violent groups, particularly the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, would be a game changer. "It would be crossing a line that would demand a different approach, including even action," he said. Asked whether this might mean a pre-emptive attack, he said: "We will have to make the decisions."

Israel has kept out of the civil war that has engulfed Syria and killed more than 60,000 people, but it is concerned that violence could spill over from its northern border into Israel.

Israel deployed its Iron Dome rocket defense system in the northern city of Haifa on Sunday. The city was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire during a war in the summer of 2006. The military called the deployment "routine."

Iron Dome, an Israel-developed system that shoots down incoming short-range rockets, was used to defend Israeli cities during a round of hostilities with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, on Israel's southern flank, last November. Yisrael Hasson, a lawmaker and former deputy head of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency, said Israel was closely following developments in Syria to make sure chemical weapons don't "fall into the wrong hands."

"Syria has a massive amount of chemical weapons, and if they fall into hands even more extreme than Syria like Hezbollah or global jihad groups it would completely transform the map of threats," Hasson told Army Radio. "Global jihad" is the term Israel uses for forces influenced by al-Qaida. Syria's rebels include al-Qaida-allied groups.

Syria has rarely acknowledged possessing chemical weapons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to threats from Syria and Iran at a Cabinet meeting Sunday. Iran is Syria's main regional ally. "We must look around us, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies and at what is happening in other areas, with the deadly weapons in Syria, which is increasingly coming apart," he said.

Israel views Iran as an existential threat because of its nuclear and missile programs and support for violent anti-Israeli groups in Lebanon and Gaza, as well as repeated references by Iranian leaders to Israel's destruction. Iran denies it is seeking to build atomic weapons, insisting its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

On Friday, Israeli Channel 2 TV broadcast an interview with a former Iranian diplomat who defected to the West in 2010. He warned that if Tehran gets nuclear weapons, it would use them against Israel. He did not provide evidence. Part of Mohammad Reza Heydari's job was to draft foreign scientists to work on Tehran's nuclear program and he brought many from North Korea into Iran, the report said. Heydari spoke from Oslo, where he has received political asylum.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Good 'Ole Bara[c]k Boys!

An American surgical strike on Iran. True? False? Those Bara[c]k's at it again.

The United States has prepared plans for a "surgical" military operation to delay Iran's nuclear program in the event that diplomatic efforts to thwart Tehran's drive for nuclear weapons capability fail, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Friday.

Speaking from Switzerland, where he is attending the Davos World Economic Forum, Barak challenged the notion that a military operation against Iran would develop into a "full fledged war the size of the Iraqi war or even the war in Afghanistan."

“What we basically say is that if worse comes to worst, there should be a readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them,” Barak told The Daily Beast.

The defense minister stated that, while the US was once heavy-handed in its attempts to carry out pinpointed military actions, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, the United States has "prepared quite sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels. So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation."

Barak said that even a small-scale series of surgical strikes was a last resort, and that Israel's preference would be to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat diplomatically.

Barak called for harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but noted that he did not believe the diplomatic path was likely to succeed in halting Iran's nuclear drive given Russia and China's tendency to thwart harsher measures in the United Nations.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gangnam Style Of The North?

North Korea wants to aim its nukes at America. It always seems that the North Koreans are desperate for an End of days scenario.

North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy".

The announcement by the country's top military body came a day after the U.N. Security Council agreed to a U.S.-backed resolution to censure and sanction North Korea for a rocket launch in December that breached U.N. rules.

"We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States," North Korea's National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.

North Korea is believed by South Korea and other observers to be "technically ready" for a third nuclear test, and the decision to go ahead rests with leader Kim Jong-un who pressed ahead with the December rocket launch in defiance of the U.N. sanctions. China, the one major diplomatic ally of the isolated and impoverished North, agreed to the U.S.-backed resolution and it also supported resolutions in 2006 and 2009 after Pyongyang's two earlier nuclear tests.

Thursday's statement by North Korea represents a huge challenge to Beijing as it undergoes a leadership transition with Xi Jinping due to take office in March. China's Foreign Ministry called for calm and restraint and a return to six-party talks, but effectively singled out North Korea, urging the "relevant party" not to take any steps that would raise tensions.

"We hope the relevant party can remain calm and act and speak in a cautious and prudent way and not take any steps which may further worsen the situation," ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular press briefing. North Korea has rejected proposals to restart the talks aimed at reining in its nuclear capacity. The United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas are the six parties involved.

"After all these years and numerous rounds of six-party talks we can see that China's influence over North Korea is actually very limited. All China can do is try to persuade them not to carry out their threats," said Cai Jian, an expert on Korea at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Analysts said the North could test as early as February as South Korea prepares to install a new, untested president or that it could choose to stage a nuclear explosion to coincide with former ruler Kim Jong-il's Feb 16 birthday. "North Korea will have felt betrayed by China for agreeing to the latest U.N. resolution and they might be targeting (China) as well (with this statement)," said Lee Seung-yeol, senior research fellow at Ewha Institute of Unification Studies in Seoul.


Washington urged North Korea not to proceed with a third test just as the North's statement was published on Thursday. "Whether North Korea tests or not is up to North Korea," Glyn Davies, the top U.S. envoy for North Korean diplomacy, said in the South Korean capital of Seoul. "We hope they don't do it. We call on them not to do it," Davies said after a meeting with South Korean officials. "This is not a moment to increase tensions on the Korean peninsula."

The North was banned from developing missile and nuclear technology under sanctions dating from its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests. A South Korean military official said the concern now is that Pyongyang could undertake a third nuclear test using highly enriched uranium for the first time, opening a second path to a bomb.

North Korea's 2006 nuclear test using plutonium produced a puny yield equivalent to one kiloton of TNT - compared with 13-18 kilotons for the Hiroshima bomb - and U.S. intelligence estimates put the 2009 test's yield at roughly two kilotons North Korea is estimated to have enough fissile material for about a dozen plutonium warheads, although estimates vary, and intelligence reports suggest that it has been enriching uranium to supplement that stock and give it a second path to the bomb. According to estimates from the Institute for Science and International Security from late 2012, North Korea could have enough weapons grade uranium for 21-32 nuclear weapons by 2016 if it used one centrifuge at its Yongbyon nuclear plant to enrich uranium to weapons grade.

North Korea gave no time-frame for the coming test and often employs harsh rhetoric in response to U.N. and U.S. actions that it sees as hostile. Its long-range rockets are not seen as capable of reaching the United States mainland and it is not believed to have the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

The bellicose statement on Thursday appeared to dent any remaining hopes that Kim Jong-un, believed to be 30 years old, would pursue a different path from his father Kim Jong-il, who oversaw the country's military and nuclear programs. The older Kim died in December 2011. "The UNSC (Security Council) resolution masterminded by the U.S. has brought its hostile policy towards the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) to its most dangerous stage," the commission was quoted as saying.

 I hope Zecharia's prophecy was just a Mushel.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Putin: On Gog Like Productions

I'm thinking the following mishigus: [as it has always seemed Putin in a Gog type]

Israel wants to hit Iran, and Obama plays funny about it.

Is Putin running the whole show behind the curtains? Working with Peres and Obama while essentially handcuffing Bibi.

The Gog Magog War seems to be mutating along Putin's lines.
[That would explain the strange politics]

Russia warned Israel and the West on Wednesday against any military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities but suggested Tehran should be quicker to cooperate over inspections of its nuclear sites.

Speaking at his annual news conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mixed words of caution over isolating Iran or attacking it with a gentle nudge to Tehran over the inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"Attempts to prepare and implement strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities and on its infrastructure as a whole are a very, very dangerous idea. We hope these ideas will not come to fruition," Lavrov said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has hinted strongly at possible military action to stop Iran from developing an atomic bomb. In an election victory speech on Wednesday, he said preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons would be the main challenge for a new government.

Referring to talks in which the IAEA has been trying to negotiate an agreement for inspectors to gain access to sites, officials and documents, Lavrov said: "The Iranians have said they want this document to be agreed in full. We think our Iranian colleagues could do this a little bit faster."

Speaking of separate negotiations between Iran and six world powers that are trying to ensure it does not pursue a nuclear weapons program, Lavrov said he was confident a new round of talks would be held but said a venue had not yet been agreed.

Iran denies it is trying to develop a nuclear arsenal and says its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes.

Tehran has suggested Cairo as the venue for the next round of talks with P5+1, ISNA reported.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rav Ovadiah Speaketh HaEmeth?!

Ovadiah comes out against Bayit Yehudi - and I could not agree more! I find Benet and his cronies to be a bit funny, and I don't think Israel needs to be more moderate. It certainly doesn't need to be more Brooklyn either; Where is the creative influx into Zionism - something throwback-ish to Vilna Gaon Zionism. Something actually Emes?
 [as opposed to a new layer of moderate Sheker?]

Also, Vilna Gaon/Shir HaShirim 101 - do not touch the Temple Mount [- as opposed to "blowing it up" as Bayit Yehudi wants to say.]

The Klal "lo lidchok et haketz" [don't force the end] basically applies to any abrupt force towards the Temple. The Third Temple is a Temple of Peace, Rest, and Prayer. If anything/one abuses the locale of the temple, Hashem has promised immense suffering upon Israel. [Shir HaShirim chp. 2]

May the election go well, may Jews find Emes in israel, may rabbis find the Torah is a command while politics hold back the geulah [see Mordechai and his ill advised politics in Purim as darshened by Chazal], and may moderation [in face of sofer-ism] go the way of the wind.
In short, another election, another rabbi, another useless spattle over quasi Judaism to pass the time.

Where is Moshiach?


The right-wing Orthodox Jewish Home is no home for Jews, and Israelis should not vote for the party, Shas party spiritual leader and former Sephardic chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef said during his weekly sermon on Saturday.

“They call them the ‘Jewish Home’ but this is not a home for Jews; it is a home of goyim [gentiles],” Yosef said. “They want to uproot the Torah, to institute civil marriage. It’s forbidden to vote for them. These are religious people? Anyone who votes for them denies the Torah.”

Yosef’s comments came after Ayelet Shaked, who’s fifth on the Jewish Home party’s list, alluded last week to the need to institute some form of civil marriage in Israel. The Jewish Home has also been outspoken in supporting easier conversion to Judaism, stating that it would seek to wrest control of the process from the ultra-Orthodox after the elections.

“They are all wicked, haters of Torah and mitzvot. They want to institute public transportation on Shabbat,” Yosef charged. “A Jew who wants to marry won’t have to go to the rabbinate — have you heard? How can they call themselves religious? How can we be complicit in this?”

In response, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett called Yosef an “important spiritual leader” whom “we revere and respect,” and said that the Jewish Home, whose purpose is to be “a bridge between sectors of society,” has been attacked from all sides, so “we’re probably on the right path.”

Yosef’s comments came after a scrap late last week between Bennett and Shas’s leader, Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

On Wednesday, Bennett wrote on his Facebook page that, after the elections, his party would “demand control over conversions.”

There are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who want and need conversions, but the system that is supposed to help them has become corrupt, he added.

“It turns out the Jewish Home doesn’t really want to safeguard Judaism,” Yishai said in response.

If the conversion process is supervised by the Jewish Home party there will be “mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews,” he warned, adding that traditional and observant Jewish voters should therefore avoid the party.

While acknowledging that there might be some problems with the current conversion system, Yishai pointed out that over the past decade, it was headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman, a former MK for the Jewish Home’s earlier incarnation, the National Religious Party.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the Chief Rabbinate have been vehemently fighting Druckman-led initiatives whose purpose is to ease the conversion process. Some rabbis have even advocated the annulment of Orthodox conversions that to their mind aren’t sufficiently stringent.

In addition to conversion, religious authorities control a number of key life-cycle events in Israel, including marriage and burial ceremonies, which must be conducted according to Jewish, Christian or Muslim tradition.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

[Reality] Check Please!

Are we finally coming into reality?  New Year = New Matzav?

This week started with President Obama Monday demanding lawmakers raise the U.S.’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, warning Republicans not to insist on spending cuts in return. The same day, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke advocated getting rid of the debt limit altogether. The Washington Post reports in a conversation at the University of Michigan Bernanke said the debt ceiling has only “symbolic value.” And the week ends with lawmakers still careening towards a deadline somewhere between mid-February and late March, when the U.S. will run out of funding for most government programs and risk default. They have no plan to raise the ceiling or abolish it. Even so, perhaps playing chicken with the debt limit, a charade we already witnessed once before in 2011, is not the real story.

“Bernanke is quite correct, it is theatrics,” Doug Casey, chairman of Casey Research, professional investor, and author of Totally Incorrect: Conversations with Doug Casey tells The Daily Ticker. “The problem is the amount of debt itself. The problem is so big at this point, I think it’s very questionable whether this can be solved at all.” Related: Debt Ceiling Theatrics Could Spark 10% Sell-Off

Casey points to the money America owes above and beyond the official $16 trillion in national debt, as the real issue. This includes the so-called unfunded liabilities from entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.

Two former U.S. government officials put the federal government’s actual liabilities in excess of $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP, in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. Casey argues we’re talking of upwards of $100 trillion when you also factor in the liability of promises such as FDIC deposit insurance. “This is far more than can conceivably be repaid, so the debt is going to be defaulted on, it’s simply a question of how,” he says.

There is the specter of outright default like we’ve seen in the case of Argentina, where Casey himself spends much of his time. There’s also the scenario of “destroying the dollar,” devaluing it so the debt burden isn’t as heavy. Related: Bill Gross: Fed’s “Hot Air” Will Keep Bond Bubble Aloft in 2013 Casey takes it one step further.

“I think the U.S. government should default on the national debt,” he says, pre-empting his statement with the admission that it may sound outrageous and too radical. “I say that for several reasons. The most important of them is if they don’t default on it, it’s going to make the next several generations of Americans into effect indentured servants, serfs, to pay off the debt that their parents and grandparents have incurred.”


On another note - Israeli Elections are Tuesday. Most are well aware of the "powers that be" that ran the dynamic [in-sync] duo of Obam-ney; In Israel it seems the political pull/poll is among those who back Bibi and those who back Peres [who seems to be dead set to undermine Bibi in the face of the American standoff between Bibi and Obama].

If Bibi does win, it will be interesting to see how he holds it together against the Obamney, Peres, Olmert lifeline. The latest to back Bibi is Obama adversary the Donald [Trump]. I'm guessing the rest of '73 is about to get very interesting.

...and for ya'll who were into '72 - Rosh Chodesh Nissan is officially '73 in the counting of Kings, and 1 of the 5 valid Rosh Hashana's.
 [Tu' b' Shvat is another one of the 5; the others being Rosh Hashana proper, Rosh Chodesh Elul and Shevuot]

Thus the +/- of "2 years" ratio moves on, as we dwindle out of the lingering '72. Perhaps the end of '72 will provide serious fireworks; Elections finally over, Iran, etc. coming into high focus.

Tu B' Shvat: '73

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Resonance Of Commander Gog

The latest from Obama is hard core sounding like, his mate Bibi and all of the cronies are building up for the revelation of a staged Gog v' Magog setting. Are we in for a political showdown that is due to be pretty near?

Likud stalwarts and their colleagues in the Israeli media are up in arms on Tuesday in the wake of Jeffrey Goldberg’s report on U.S. President Barack Obama’s critical remarks about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “He’s intervening in our elections,” Bibi champions protest, a complaint which, no pun intended, is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Obama is the second president who stands accused of meddling in the Israeli vote. The first was Shimon Peres. Ironically, the remarks of both presidents were made a while ago – Obama’s last month, when Netanyahu announced the construction at E-1 near Ma'ale Adumim and Peres’ in an interview to the New York Times conducted a full six months ago. In both cases, therefore, it’s the timing of the publication, rather than their original intent, that gives rise to the accusations of interference.

In their essence, the messages of both presidents are identical: there is only one solution, and it is the two-state solution; the government’s settlement policies are undermining any chance of achieving it; Israel risks alienating world public opinion and facing “near total isolation”, as Obama reportedly said, if it continues on its current path; and Netanyahu has disappointed those who believed (probably just Peres) that he had the courage and the wisdom to change the destructive direction in which Israel is headed.

Astute political players that they are, Netanyahu’s defenders are happy to “kill the messengers” as a means of obscuring their message. Peres and Obama, admittedly, are convenient punching bags on the Israeli right. Both are considered to be ridiculously na├»ve about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both have been previously humiliated by Netanyahu and both supposedly have the Israeli right wing’s worst interests at heart. For hardcore right-wingers, the very fact that Obama and Peres are warning against a certain political path is reason enough to follow it blindly.

But it is not the legions of die-hard right-wingers that Bibi’s people are worried about, but the soft core supporters: those who are not too enthusiastic about Netanyahu but far less so about any of the alternatives; those who may actually support a two-state solution in theory but have no doubt that it is not achievable in practice; those who don’t support the construction of settlements outside the so-called “blocs” but have come to believe that Israel has been building to its settlers’ content while enjoying four years of security, prosperity and, relatively speaking, international popularity as well.

These voters may not love Obama and perhaps not even trust him, but they would prefer to believe that Israel’s prime minister can get along with him or, at the very least, contain him, as Netanyahu appears to have done during the president’s first term in office.

Netanyahu’s campaign depends on convincing such moderate Likud-Beiteinu voters that the prime minister can maintain his careful balancing act during his next tenure as well. Likud’s elections propaganda include photos of Netanyahu hobnobbing with Obama, shaking hands with Angela Merkel and bringing both houses of Congress to their feet, while continuing to build, build, build and then build some more.

The message from Peres and Obama, intended or not, is just the opposite: Israel is burying its head in the sand, its policies are growing increasingly unpopular, the world’s patience is running out and the country is heading for a fall, even it doesn’t seem that way at this very moment. Israel, Obama and Peres are warning, has been living off its overdraft for far too long, and its credit line is about to expire.

The cumulative effect of Obama’s words and Peres’ warnings won’t be too dramatic in absolute numbers, given that the center left has tragically failed to offer any plausible alternative to Netanyahu and is busy squandering the public’s goodwill on embarrassing internal squabbles. On the other hand, although Netanyahu and the right-wing bloc have practically been declared the winners in these elections well before the voting starts, it doesn’t really take a truly profound shift to the center-left to change the equation and to render all present prognostications worthless.

The right-wing religious bloc currently receives about 65-67 seats compared to 53-55 for the center right. A last minute move to the left by wavering centrist Likud voters and a break in its direction among the 20 percent of undecided could upset the apple cart and create a virtual tie between the two blocs that would utterly change the dynamics of post-election maneuvers.

Five days before voters head to the polls, the last thing Netanyahu needs is to contend with Obama’s attempt, intentional or otherwise, to inject a dose of reality into Israel’s LaLaLand election campaign. In the 1996 elections, when he was first elected as prime minister, no less than 8 Knesset seats moved from Peres to Netanyahu over the last weekend before election day. A worrier by nature, Netanyahu is well aware that it ain’t really over until it’s really over, and now he has to fret that perhaps it ain’t really over yet. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Messianic Bibi vs. 12th Imam Bazza

Is this for real - or is there a feuding hierarchy behind the puppets? I would like to know who these views are actually representing regarding "true Zionism."

US President Barack Obama has stated repeatedly in private conversations that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are,” in reaction to Jerusalem's advancement of new settlement plans, influential American columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported on Tuesday.

Following the November 29 UN vote to upgrade the Palestinians to non-member observer state status, Israel announced that 3,000 housing units would be built in areas beyond the Green Line, and zoning and planning for thousands of other units throughout Judea and Samaria would be authorized, including in the controversial project between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim called E1.

In his weekly Bloomberg column published on Tuesday, Goldberg wrote: "When informed about the Israeli decision, Obama, who has a famously contentious relationship with the prime minister, didn’t even bother getting angry. He told several people that this sort of behavior on [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s part is what he has come to expect, and he suggested that he has become inured to what he sees as self-defeating policies of his Israeli counterpart."

Building in E-1, which would create contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim to the northeast beyond the Green Line, is something various Israeli governments have long wanted to do, but which US opposition has prevented. The Palestinian Authority has contended that construction in E1 could split the West Bank and damage the prospects of the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The White House publicly criticized the E1 building plans immediately after they were announced in late November, stating that "these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution."

According to Goldberg, Obama said privately that Netanyahu was leading Israel down a path toward near-total isolation by advancing settlement plans.

"On matters related to the Palestinians, the president seems to view the prime minister as a political coward, an essentially unchallenged leader who nevertheless is unwilling to lead or spend political capital to advance the cause of compromise," Goldberg wrote.

If, as widely expected, Netanyahu forms the next government following the January 22 elections, the first meeting of his second term with Obama is expected to take place in Washington in early March.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has invited Netanyahu to address its annual policy conference in Washington, which will be held on March 3-5. Once there, it is widely expected that Netanyahu will meet with Obama, who will also just be embarking on his second term.

Even though the possible meeting is some two months off and as yet unconfirmed, messages have been passing between Jerusalem and Washington in recent weeks regarding the likely meeting and ways to set a more positive tone in the relationship at the outset of both leaders’ new terms.

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