Melanie Phillips: Western spring or European winter?
People will only fight and die for nations to which they feel proudly attached. No one will willingly fight and die for the EU.
Current prospects, however, are alarming.
The erosion of national identity has created vicious group politics. These fights will probably escalate both verbally and physically. Here’s how this is likely to play out.
Muslim extremists will fight Jews and Israel in particular and Western society in general. The fascists will fight Muslims, Jews and liberals.
Liberals will support Muslim extremists because the fascists are fighting them, will continue to demonize Israel and Jews and will attack conservatives – who will thus vote in ever greater number for the far Right.
The more Islamist violence there is, the more the reaction against Muslims will increase; the more the Left will then support Muslims and demonize all who oppose them, thus encouraging more Muslim violence.
Jews will want to fight nobody at all but will get it in the neck from all sides.
Trump and Brexit offer some hope that this can be avoided. Restoring pride in Western national identity and the defense of the nation unifies rather than divides people. But if Trump or Brexit are seen to fail those who voted for them, all bets are off. The extremes of both Left and Right will be waiting, with their hobnailed boots on.
Caroline Glick: Israel’s first project with Trump
Israeli officials are thrilled with the national security team that US President-elect Donald Trump is assembling. And they are right to be.
The question now is how Israel should respond to the opportunity it presents us with.
The one issue that brings together all of the top officials Trump has named so far to his national security team is Iran.
Gen. (ret.) John Kelly, whom Trump appointed Wednesday to serve as his secretary of homeland security, warned about Iran’s infiltration of the US from Mexico and about Iran’s growing presence in Central and South America when he served as commander of the US’s Southern Command.
Gen. (ret.) James Mattis, Trump’s pick to serve as defense secretary, and Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, whom he has tapped to serve as his national security adviser, were both fired by outgoing President Barack Obama for their opposition to his nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
During his video address before the Saban Forum last weekend, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that he looks forward to discussing Obama’s nuclear Iran nuclear deal with Trump after his inauguration next month. Given that Netanyahu views the Iranian regime’s nuclear program – which the nuclear deal guaranteed would be operational in 14 years at most – as the most serious strategic threat facing Israel, it makes sense that he wishes to discuss the issue first.
But Netanyahu may be better advised to first address the conventional threat Iran poses to Israel, the US and the rest of the region in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.
Vic Rosenthal: The Third Lebanon War will be the Last Lebanon War
But today Hezbollah is entirely different from Hamas. Tehran has built it into an existential threat. If war breaks out we will have to unleash as quickly as possible the most powerful conventional weapons at our disposal against the rocket launchers. Look at the map! Perhaps such an attack would kill tens of thousands in Lebanon. But there’s no alternative. Israel is a tiny country with a concentrated population. We can’t absorb hundreds of missiles an hour, especially accurate ones with heavy payloads. We can’t afford to wait, not even a few minutes, once it starts.
Incidentally, if Hezbollah and Iran want to reap the benefit of the human shield strategy, then now is the time to do it. I suspect that Trump and his advisors would be less biased against Israel than the present administration, and therefore less likely to interfere with Israel’s response. Our enemies probably agree with me, and this means war is more likely in the next two months than at a later time. Maybe that’s why our officials have made the effort just now to ensure that Iran and Hezbollah understand the consequences of their possible actions.
It only makes sense to threaten Iran as well. The regime would be happy to sacrifice Lebanon and its people to destroy Israel, and the regime is pulling the strings, not Nasrallah. There need to be consequences for Iranian leaders too.
Evil is growing stronger and good is retreating. Deterrence may put off the reckoning for a time, but unless something completely unforeseen happens, the day will come when our PM will have to give the order to save one nation by destroying another. I’m glad I’m not the one to do it.
The leader of the UK’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn — long dogged by accusations of personal and party-wide antisemitism — met Tuesday evening with the founder of an internationally renowned anti-Israel student group, The Algemeiner has learned.
According to information gathered by covert campus watchdog group Canary Mission, Corbyn attended the London book signing of Dr. Hatem Bazian, senior lecturer at UC Berkeley and father of Students for Justice in Palestine.
Pictures from the evening — hosted by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) as part of a promotion tour for Bazian’s new book, Palestine…It Is Something Colonial — show the two men posing together.
“The fact that Britain’s opposition leader took the time to attend Bazian’s event and show solidarity with one of the most notorious fathers of anti-Israel agitation in academia indicates that Bazian’s influence is increasing,” Canary Mission said.
The meeting should “alarm” Britain’s Jewish community, Canary Mission said, as Corbyn is showing “open support for the demagogic founder of SJP, who once called for an intifada in the US and created the most influential student vehicle for the delegitimization of the Jewish people’s history and very identity.” (h/t Jewess)
Jeremy Corbyn attended an event hosted by a Khomeinist group on Wednesday night with Press TV and an infamous Israel hater. Guido can reveal Corbyn was at an Islamic Human Rights Commission event launching a book on Palestine by Hatem Bazian. It was chaired by Amina Taylor, who works for the Iranian regime’s television channel Press TV. The Islamic Human Rights Commission is a notorious Khomeinist group – it organises the Al-Quds Day protests in London, an annual anti-Israel demonstration initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini and attended every year by supporters of the terror group Hezbollah. Last year the IHRC gave their ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ award to the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo.
Bazian, the author pictured with a smiling Corbyn above, is a renowned hater of “Zionists“. Some examples of his tweets include: “Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery?” and “Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis”, not to mention rant after rant about “Jews” and the “Israel lobby“. Bazian has been involved in numerous anti-Semitism rows, he set up a group which has repeatedly been accused of harassing Jewish students. Corbyn said he was too busy to visit Israel’s Holocaust memorial, he found the time to hang out with Khomeinists, Press TV and Israel-hating extremists this week…
The Fifth Committee of the United Nations is set to decide next week whether to allocate funds to ensure that a motion by the body’s Human Rights Council to create a “blacklist” of companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights can be implemented.
The Human Rights Council motion had passed in March with no countries voting against. The resolution required UN human rights officials to produce a database of “all business enterprises” that have enabled or profited from the growth of Israeli settlements, Haaretz reported on Friday.
The proposal, put forward by the Palestinian Authority and Arab states, included a condemnation of settlements and called on companies not to do business with Israeli settlements.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon expressed concern about the upcoming Fifth Committee decision, and said the Jewish state had formulated a set of steps in order to fight the vote, Israel Hayom reported.
“We will not be silent in the face of this shameful step,” Dannon said, “The UN’s will to blacklist Jewish businesses and businesses connected with Israel and to boycott them, is reminiscent of dark periods in history,” he added.
“It is known that the Human Rights Council has become an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli body, but it can not be that the UN is continuing to assist in this surreal process.”
Palestinian destruction, not Israeli construction
Thus, when Kerry bewails the massive increase in the Jewish population in the “West Bank” as some sort of “mitigating factor” for Palestinian violence, he seems totally unmindful of the chronology of the events that took place.
After all, the gruesome wave of carnage instigated by the Palestinian Arabs began almost immediately after the commencement of the Oslo Process, before any significant “settlement activity” took place in its wake, clearly indicating that it was Israeli concessions, not Israeli intransigence, that ignited the violence.
It was not Israeli construction beyond the pre-1967 lines, but Palestinian destruction inside those lines that comprised the epicenter of the problem that confounded the ill- conceived Oslo Process.
Unless these inconvenient facts are confronted honestly, there is scant chance of contending with their ramifications — and for formulating policy that can contain the violence that flows from them.
Yet, rather than face the recalcitrant realities squarely, Kerry attempted, disingenuously, to sidestep or circumvent them. He thus tried to resurrect the disproved and discarded delusion of a “New Middle East,” with the promise of regional peace and prosperity being unlocked only once some agreement based on far-reaching and perilous territorial concessions by Israel is reached.
This is an absurd position to adopt. For it implies not only that the Arab world is unable avail itself of much of the benefits Israel could offer it from alternative sources, such as the US, EU, China and Korea, to name but a few, but that Arab countries would purposefully put their own development on hold for the sake of their Palestinian “kinfolk,” for whose fate they have demonstrated the most appalling indifference in the past.
Rather than cling to an “all or nothing” peace process, the international community should promote smaller advancements in areas such as water, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel said at seminar in Tel Aviv on Thursday. “We’ve spent too much time promoting an Israeli-Palestinian solution that is all or nothing,” he said.
“We have got to revise our approach to the peace process, which would allow us to address the issue of water and a number of other issues also,” he continued.
“What we need to do is build up basic confidence on the ground through an approach of small steps.” Faaborg-Andersen was speaking at a roundtable discussion titled, “Can Water Bring the Political Process to a Safer Shore?”
The discussion included Israeli water and security experts and politicians as well as European ambassadors, and was hosted by EcoPeace Middle East, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and the German government’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel.
In addition to expressing support for smaller collaborations in water and the environment, Faaborg-Andersen also discussed the potential for reviving the Joint Water Committee, the Israeli-Palestinian water management authority created after the Oslo Accords. While doing so would not necessarily be a game-changer, he said, it would be a positive step.
The Obama administration has asked Israel to take and prosecute a Kenyan captive held at Guantánamo since 2007, the Miami Herald has learned.
U.S. intelligence authorities have linked Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu, 43, to a 2002 terror attack on an Israeli hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. Israel is interested, according to U.S. officials aware of the offer, but is awaiting cooperation from the FBI, whose agents interviewed Abdul Malik sometime after he got to Guantánamo in March 2007.
A leaked May 2007 prison profile describes Abdul Malik as having “admitted that he participated in the planning and execution” of two terrorist attacks that targeted Israelis on the same day, Nov. 28, 2002 in Mombasa. A car-bombing of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel killed 13 people, mostly Kenyans, around the same time an unsuccessful surface-to-air missile attack targeted an Israeli Arkia airliner carrying 271 passengers near Mombasa airport.
Abdul Malik has never been charged with a crime at the war court, suggesting what is alleged is beyond the reach of military commissions. In June, the Obama administration’s parole-style board for uncharged captives declared him too dangerous to release, a “forever prisoner,” or indefinite detainee in the War on Terror.
The chances of President Obama rising to the occasion seem very remote.
Regrettably the conflict is set to escalate unless Trump and Putin can agree on joint action to defeat Islamic State.
Their first step should involve obtaining a Security Council Resolution under Articles 42 and 43 of the UN Charter authorising the use of military force and obliging all member States to contribute such forces and resources as are necessary to defeat Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
A Security Council Resolution is vital – if the mistakes of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq are not to be repeated.
Whilst Russia and America continue to fiddle, Syria and Iraq bleed and burn.
It is time to start getting serious.
A few months ago, an Arab state in the Persian Gulf received intelligence about an arms ship that was scheduled to leave Iran on its way to Yemen to arm rebel Houthi forces.
The Gulf state decided to pass the intelligence on to the Americans and give them everything they knew – the ship details, the weapons and the timetable.
As the days passed though, nothing seemed to be happening. The ship was still on schedule, set to leave soon for the short trip from Iran to Yemen.
So the Gulf state decided to go with an alternative plan and reportedly passed the information about the ship to the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted foreign intelligence service. Israel reportedly took the tip seriously and delivered a stern warning to Iran that if the ship set sail it would be stopped before reaching the shores of Yemen.
As a result, the ship never left Iran.
This story is making the rounds in Washington where I heard it this week from a former top US official who recently visited the Persian Gulf. I don’t know if it is true, and it doesn’t really matter since it accurately reflects the sentiment of frustration with the US throughout the Middle East, a feeling shared by Israel, Egypt, Jordan and most of the Arab countries in the Gulf.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that Saudi Arabia and Iran are stoking proxy wars across the Middle East while some politicians in the region are abusing Islam, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Britain has a long alliance with Saudi Arabia which is a major customer for British defense companies, though Britain’s ties with Iran have been tumultuous since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Johnson, who was appointed foreign minister by Prime Minister Theresa May in July, told an audience in Rome last week that the absence of real leadership in the Middle East had allowed people to twist religion and stoke proxy wars.
“You’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, and puppeteering and playing proxy wars. And it is a tragedy to watch it,” Johnson was shown saying in footage posted on the Guardian’s website.
It is unclear from the footage whether he specifically accused Saudi and Iran of twisting religion, though the Guardian newspaper reported that Johnson had accused Saudi Arabia of abusing Islam.
A map of southern Lebanon released this week by the Israeli military that ostensibly showed Hezbollah positions, infrastructure and armaments along a section of the Israeli border was a fabrication, the army admitted Thursday.
The map, tweeted by the army Tuesday, appeared to feature over 200 towns and villages, which the IDF said the organization had turned into its operations bases, along with over 10,000 potential targets for Israeli strikes in the event of a new war with the terror group.
“This is a war crime,” the army asserted in its tweet.
A caption on the photo claimed that it had been “declassified,” in what was construed as an IDF attempt to build a case for future military action, and a warning to the terror group itself, demonstrating Israel’s superior intelligence-gathering capabilities.
But on Thursday, based on an analysis by Twitter user JudgeDan48, it emerged that the map had in fact been prepared by the IDF spokesperson’s desk. The ostensible demarcations of Hezbollah positions were in fact patterns of dots, positioned on the map of southern Lebanon.
Cyber attacks by hackers earlier this year led to the theft of technical trade secrets from a German steel-making giant that sells submarines to Israel, Essen-based ThyssenKrupp AG said Thursday.
“ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyber attack,” the corporation said.
The cyber attacks were reportedly detected in April and traces of the breaches were traced back to February of this year.
The company stated that it has not identified hacks into its marine systems unit, which manufactures the likes of military submarines and warships sold to Israel.
ThyssenKrupp, one of the world’s largest steel makers, attributed the breaches to unnamed attackers located in southeast Asia engaged in what it said were “organized, highly professional hacker activities.”
The German company did not specify which documents had been stolen, nor the extent of their losses.
A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, Congress scrambled on Thursday to wrap-up unfinished business, voting decisively to send President Barack Obama a defense policy bill, including more than $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel.
The Senate passed the defense legislation by a wide margin, 92-7, a week after the House overwhelmingly approved the measure, 375-34.
The legislation includes the approval of some $600.7 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation for the 2017 fiscal year, with provisions specifically authorizing $268.7 million in research and development funding for US-Israel cooperative missile and rocket defense programs; $62 million for procurement of the Iron Dome rocket defense system; $150 million for procurement of the David’s Sling medium-range missile defense system; and $120 million for procurement of the Arrow-3 long-range missile defense system.
Some $10 million in additional funds are earmarked for US-Israel anti-tunnel cooperation.
The money is not part of the massive defense package agreement, also known as the memorandum of understanding, signed between the two countries earlier in the year. The new package will grant Israel $3.8 billion annually — up from the $3 billion pledged under the previous agreed-upon MOU — starting in 2018 and through 2028.
A Palestinian man from Gaza armed with a knife and a grenade was arrested Friday morning, shortly after crossing into Israel from the northern Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said.
He had already entered Israel by the time he was detained by IDF troops, but had been under surveillance throughout the infiltration.
The man was handed over to the Shin Bet domestic security service for questioning.
This is the second time in less than a week that a Palestinian has been detained entering Israel from Gaza.
On Saturday evening an unarmed man was reportedly detained just north of the border fence in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, and was taken in for questioning by the IDF.
After years of silence, the Obama administration has finally spoken out about an American citizen who was killed in Israel.
There’s just one catch: The focus of the administration’s sudden concern is not for an American who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. Its focus is a Palestinian-American terrorist who tried to murder Israelis.
On February 26, Mahmoud Shalan, a Palestinian with US citizenship, attempted to stab Israeli soldiers to death at a security checkpoint near Ramallah. The soldiers shot back in self-defense, wounding Shalan. IDF doctors and Magen David Adom emergency personnel administered first aid to the terrorist, but he died of his wounds.
The US Embassy in Israel demanded that the Israeli government launch a full-scale investigation of the Shalan incident. For some reason, the embassy did not demand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) investigate why Shalan, who was a resident of PA territory, was trying to murder Israelis. Nor do I recall the US Embassy ever urging the PA to investigate when its own policemen have murdered American citizens in Israel.
Well, the Israeli government did conduct an investigation. The conclusions were straightforward. The Israeli Military Advocate General reported to the Obama administration that Shalan tried to commit murder, and that the soldiers were justified in returning fire. Therefore, the soldiers were not prosecuted.
For the second time in a week, Lebanese and Syrian media have reported Israeli strikes deep inside Syria against military targets. The alleged attacks come after months of relative quiet from Israel. So what’s changed?
Last Wednesday, it was reported that Israeli planes attacked two targets, a weapons depot belonging to the 38th battalion of the fourth division (which is commanded by Bashar Assad’s brother, Maher) and a Hezbollah convoy as it was making its way along the Beirut-Damascus Highway.
And a week later, on Wednesday morning, Syrian state media alleged that Israel fired several surface-to-surface missiles from inside the Israeli Golan Heights at a military airbase near Damascus. The impact from the missiles caused a huge fire but no injuries, and the explosions could be heard from a great distance away. Both strikes were reported to have occurred in the early hours of the morning.
Several scenarios could explain the sudden uptick in strikes.
Perhaps the recent series of military successes and achievements by Bashar Assad’s army has re-whetted the Syrian president’s appetite: firstly, to restart manufacturing new weapons and rockets in factories located in the territories he has recently reconquered, and secondly, and most importantly, to renew the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah said on Friday that there is no truth to reports it assured Russia there would be no military response to the alleged Israeli strikes on its forces in Syria on Wednesday, according to a Hezbollah statement read out on its Al-Manar TV station.
The terror organization said the reports were an “invention.”
“These reports are a total lie and fabrication,” the statement read.
Despite the strong denials, Hezbollah did not explicitly promise an attack, leaving doubt as to whether one will be forthcoming.
The Syrian regime accused Israel of firing surface-to-surface missiles targeting the Mezzeh Air Base near Damascus on Wednesday, causing damage but no casualties.
Hezbollah’s Al-Maydeen television channel said the group “was almost certain” that the Israel Air Force carried out the strikes from Lebanese airspace.
If Hezbollah does strike at Israel, it would not be for the first time since the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
The recent conference of the ruling Fatah party sent a disheartening message to young Palestinians: Most of those elected to top positions were in their 60s and 70s, signaling that politics under octogenarian President Mahmoud Abbas is an old man’s game and that it is unlikely that fresh ideas on winning statehood will emerge from this group of veteran loyalists.
Apathy seems widespread among educated Palestinians in their 20s and 30s. Many have given up on trying to break into what they see a closed political system, especially at a time when there’s no realistic path to ending Israel’s half-century-old occupation.
Others are left to choose between potentially career-killing involvement in grassroots opposition movements that could even land them in jail or a years-long slog through the ranks of Fatah.
Abbas an unchallenged leader
The Fatah conference, which ended last weekend, crowned Abbas the unchallenged leader, boosting his ability to deal with the West and Arab states, said pollster Nader Said. For Palestinians, though, it meant prolonging a situation that “most people see as ineffective, unable to bring about a political solution, and corrupt to a large extent,” he said.
Abbas has led the Palestinians since 2005, but has little to show for his efforts.
An intense round of peace talks with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed to yield an agreement, and brief negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past eight years quickly fizzled due to deep disagreements.
The municipality of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, will dedicate a street to the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as a “gesture of gratitude.”
“Castro bravely faced the world, the Palestinian people admire and love him,” said a statement from the Palestinian Authority, according to the Latin American Jewish news service Iton Gadol. The decision was made by the city’s Central Council “in recognition of Castro’s support for the Palestinian people and former leader Yasser Arafat.”
Located six miles north of Jerusalem, Ramallah serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority, where Arafat established his headquarters, the Muqata. Historically an Arab-Christian town, Muslims now form the majority of the population.
Castro’s death at the age of 90 was announced on Nov. 25 by his brother, Raul, Cuba’s current president.
The Fatah party of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement of mourning, claiming Castro was a “world leader and great friend of the Palestinian people.”
In 1973, Castro suddenly announced the rupture of relations with Israel and declared its recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
An explosion on a main Cairo thoroughfare killed six police and wounded another three on Friday, in what appeared to be the deadliest attack on security forces in several months.
The state-run MENA news agency said the explosion took place near a mosque on Pyramids road, the main avenue leading from the city center out to the Giza pyramids, which is often used by tour buses. It says the blast targeted security forces, without elaborating on what caused the explosion.
Insurgents have carried out a number of attacks in Egypt since the 2013 military ouster of an elected Islamist president. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but there have also been several attacks on the mainland, including in the capital.
An AP reporter at the scene said the bombing appeared to have targeted two police SUVs parked along the road at a mobile checkpoint. The explosion completely destroyed one of the vehicles and severely damaged the other. Dozens of people gathered at the scene as police cordoned off the area.
Fethullah Gulen — the self-exiled Islamic preacher accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being behind the failed July 15 coup attempt against him — will “end up dying in the US and be buried in a Jewish cemetery,” a Turkish government minister said on Wednesday, according to a Hurriyet Daily News report.
“There is nothing left for FETO (the Turkish government’s acronym for Gulen’s movement),” Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu was quoted as telling the Turkish Parliament in Ankara. “The US is also saying farewell to it…they cannot rise again.”
In an ongoing post-coup crackdown, Erdogan’s government has had over 100,000 Turks arrested or dismissed from their public sector jobs.
In September, Turkey submitted a formal request for the US to extradite Gulen, a one-time close ally of Erdogan turned bitter enemy who now lives in Pennsylvania.
Turkey’s Jewish population — which at its peak in the 1920s totaled around 80,000 — currently stands at around 15,000.
According to the 2015 Anti-Defamation League Global 100 poll, 71% of Turkish adults hold antisemitic attitudes.
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