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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Illegal Settlements

Israel's Arab Settlements

Posted: 05 Jan 2010 07:40 PM PST BY SULTAN
While the media and politicians wail over Israeli settlements and revisionist historians pen narratives in which Israel's entire history comes down to a plot to seize Arab land (following in the footsteps of how their American counterparts have reinterpreted US history)... very little is said of Israel's Arab settlements.

But Arab settlements in Israel far outweigh Jewish ones and have far less legitimate roots. Consider East Jerusalem, which Obama and the EU are insisting should be reserved for Arab residency alone. East Jerusalem does indeed have a solid Arab majority because in 1948 the armies of seven Arab nations invaded Israel and occupied half of Jerusalem, dividing it as their Soviet allies divided Berlin, and ethnically cleansed its Jewish population. Jewish places of worship in East Jerusalem were bombed or turned into mosques and toilets, even the dead were not allowed to rest in peace as their tombstones were used to pave roads. Jewish homes were seized by Arabs and East Jerusalem became wholly Arab.

This is the situation that Obama and the EU are fighting to perpetuate by banning any Jewish housing in the eastern half of the now united Jerusalem. This is what every government that refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is legitimizing by rewarding the ethnic cleansing practiced by the Jordanian Legion and the Holy War Army (Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas) of the nephew of Nazi collaborating Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad al-Husayni.

And then there are the so-called Israeli settlements of Gaza, Judea and Samaria-- which indeed were built on territory that Israel captured from Egypt and Jordan in 1967, after Egypt and Jordan had captured the territory in 1948, destroying Jewish villages on the territory in the process. Some Jewish villages like Kfar Darom suffered the fate of being destroyed twice over, once by the Arab occupation armies in 1948, to be reestablished and again destroyed by Fatah's terrorist militias after Israel agreed to ethnically cleanse its own population from Gaza to appease Arab terrorism.

That is the truth behind the so-called Israeli Settlements issue, but it is not by any means the whole truth. Because the UN, the EU and the State Department have only applied the term "settlements" to Jewish towns and villages, never Arab ones, regardless of their legality. This double standard that is defined purely by ethnicity and religion, and by no other factor whatsoever, represents the real international Apartheid that targets Jews for ethnic cleansing to the benefit of Arab Muslims.

That means that the Arab Muslim seizure of land for the creation of settlements has been mostly unregulated and is widespread. Not only that it's often aided and abetted by foreign activists who regularly come to "help" Arab villagers harvest olives. In reality this is often a charade in which those same villagers have marked the territory by planting on the land of Jewish villages nearby, resulting in calculated clashes that are broken up by soldiers and police, and filmed by the same activists resulting in international condemnations. To avoid those condemnations, Israel eventually seizes the land from the Jewish farmers and turns it over to the Arab villagers. This only sets the stage for the next stage of the clashes, recreating in a microcosm the entire "peace process", in which terrorism results in concessions, which results in more terrorism and more concessions, creating the cycle of appeasement and terrorism that has bedeviled Israel and most of the First World when dealing with Islam.

Those same left wing activists, most notably groups such as Peace Now and Rabbis for Human Rights, go on to destroy and damage the land of Jewish farmers. When the farmers attempt to defend their land, the activists videotape the resulting encounter and the farmers are arrested. At which point the land can be easily seized while its owners are tied up by the legal system. Attempting to reestablish ownership then becomes next to impossible in a political system constantly afraid of international condemnation and in a legal system controlled by the Anti-Israel left all the way up to the Supreme Court, which actually refused to seat a Justice for being too conservative.

And in the process Arab settlements continue to expand on land that they casually appropriate, whether from public domain lands under the authority of the Israel Land Administration or from that of farmers and villages who own the land. Arab villages and towns routinely expand into public lands, fouling water sources and seizing property they do not own, and then defying the government to do anything about it. And while the government occasionally issues a demolition order, then braces itself for the rioting and the international condemnations, these orders constitute only a fraction of the illegal Arab construction.

While Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states fund Arab land purchases, similar Jewish ventures, such as Irving Moskowitz's developments in Jerusalem meet with aggressive opposition from the EU and the State Department. Once again the double standard is all too clear and it promotes the growth of Arab towns and houses, at the expense of Jewish ones.

The media, whether the international media, or the Israeli media, which is just as left wing as its American and European counterparts, naturally report the Arab side of the story. The culture of demonization they have created toward Jewish farmers and residents helps justify the terrorist attacks aimed at them. Every time the media reports on the victims of a Muslim terrorist attack as "settlers", the labeling of Jewish residents as subhuman continues.

Israel's left wing parties have sold much of the secular public on the idea that the "settlers" are the problem. This conveniently allows them to ignore the fact that on Arabs maps and in the Islamic lexicon, all Israeli Jews are settlers, regardless of which side of the demarcation line they happen to be living on. Since non-Muslims cannot live in a Muslim land except by agreeing to become Dhimmis and paying Jizya, under Islamic law no Jews, aside from a handful of collaborators who recognize the area as an Islamic ruled state like the Neturei Karta have any right to live anywhere in Israel.

When Zionist activists opposed to the Oslo Peace Process shouted that Hevron is Jerusalem in the early 90's, they were laughed at. Today Jerusalem is indeed Hevron, the new slogan should be that Tel Aviv is Hevron, because any dividing lines of legitimacy exist only as a diplomatic fiction. The idea that Muslims are any more reconciled to 1948 than they are to 1967, and that returning to 1948 will somehow win their friendship is the worst form of political and diplomatic delusion. But it is the dominant policy of the EU and successive American and Israeli governments.

As a result Israel is shrinking and Arab settlement is expanding. The settlement freeze enacted under pressure from Obama has frozen the ability of Jewish residents to build and expand homes, even those already mortgaged and under construction. But Barak has gone even further by barring Jewish residents from planting trees. Jewish residents pay 28 shekels for a cubic meter of water. Arab residents pay less than 50 agorot (cents). The result is that Jewish residents are being charged up to 50 times more for water. And water is the lifeblood of farming in a generally arid part of the world.

Since Oslo elements within the Israeli political system, aided and abetted by foreign funding from the likes of Soros, have been on a crusade to wipe out Jewish towns and villages in order to destroy the conservative and Zionist parts of the country. The resulting quiet civil war in which hundreds of thousands of Jewish villagers have been pitted against the machinery of government bureaucracy, the judicial system and various left wing activist groups, has only further increased Arab settlements, at the expense of Jewish ones.

Every institution that was once intended to promote Jewish residency, has instead been transformed into a hostile force that aids and abets Arab settlement, and works against Jewish settlement. Case in point, the Jewish National Fund which normally refuses to plant trees outside the Green Line around areas of Jewish residency, is donating 3,000 trees for Rawabi, a new Palestinian Authority Fatah city set in a strategic location.

While inspectors march around every Jewish town looking for signs that anyone has lifted up a hammer to bang in a nail on a door, Arab construction is continuing non-stop, including on places like Rawabi, an Arab settlement meant to house 40,000. And while Tony Blair repeatedly warned Israel against building Jewish settlements, he himself visited the headquarters of the Bayti Real Estate Investment Company that is constructing Rawabi. Bayti is co-owned by the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, which is itself owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, which is an arm of the Government of Qatar.

Qatar is an oil rich gulf dictatorship that is one of the biggest funders of Hamas and Al Queda. It is likely that Hamas and Al Queda would have serious trouble continuing their operations without money from Qatar. It is an Islamist Sharia paradise much like the rest of its gulf neighbors and it funds Jihad around the world.

Rawabi is another expression of the international Islamic Jihad, which in this case takes the form of demographic warfare through Arab settlement. Gulf State construction companies such as the Bin Laden group are tools for promoting Islamic expansionism. And JNF's gestire of appeasement is another example of how Israel's institutions continue to collaborate with Arab settlement, even as they restrict Jewish settlement.

The global double standard treats Israel's Jewish residents as foreign invaders who must be expelled, despite the fact that the Jewish presence in the land is a matter of record in virtually every major world religion, while treating the Arabs, many of whom came to the area from Egypt after the British conquest and Jewish immigration created jobs, as indigenous natives who have every right to be there.

This form of political ethnic cleansing has become the de facto narrative, rooted in double talk about settlements and terrorism. But to treat Jewish towns and villages as illegitimate and working to destroy them, while encouraging the construction of Arab towns and villages means that talk of "settlements" and "settlement freezes" is nothing more than an international apartheid and the Islamist agenda dressed up in seemingly reasonable talk. Until Israel's Arab settlements are on the table, as much as Israel's are, the only thing that Israel can do is reject this international mandate for ethnic cleansing.


Energy Issues

January 19, 2010

One popular solution to global warming is to turn trees and grass into transport fuel, thus reducing our reliance on fossil fuels such as gasoline. But a study published in the October issue of Science finds that advanced "cellulosic" biofuels could emit more greenhouse gas during the next few decades than burning gasoline will, says Reason.

* Running a computer model that links global economic and huge biogeochemistry data, Marine Biological Laboratory Researcher Jerry Melillo and his colleagues projected that growing energy crops will require cutting down a lot of forest, which releases extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
* In addition, energy crops will need to be doused with nitrogen fertilizer; which gives off an even more potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.
* By the end of the 21st century, the amount of land devoted to biofuels may be greater than the total area currently used to grow food crops.

"In the near term, I think, irrespective of how you go about the cellulosic biofuels program, you are going to have greenhouse gas emissions exacerbating the climate change problem," says Melillo.

Source: Ronald Bailey, "Biofuel Bust," Reason Magazine, February 2010 Issue.

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from aipac


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 1/19/10 said he refuses to negotiate with Israel without preconditions, the Associated Press reported. "No negotiations," Abbas said. "We won't agree to resume negotiations without a full settlement freeze, especially in Jerusalem, for a certain period." Abbas' rejection of the Obama administration's effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations comes as U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the unprecedented steps that he has taken to indicate his desire for peace. "The moratorium announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu on settlements is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move Israelis and Palestinians toward an agreement on the outstanding territorial issues," Mitchell said. The Palestinian Authority rejected Netanyahu's announcement, saying "Netanyahu's plan shows that Israel is not serious about peace."


Useful idiots

David Harris
AJC Executive Director
January 19, 2010

In 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler became the German chancellor, the Oxford Union famously adopted a resolution which said "That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country." The measure was passed by a vote of 275 to 153.

Winston Churchill reacted by saying that "one could almost feel the curl of contempt upon the lips of the manhood of Germany, Italy, and France when they read the message sent out by Oxford University in the name of Young England."

Shortly afterward, his son, Randolph, tried to have the resolution stricken from the books, but the motion was resoundingly defeated by the Oxford Union.

In other words, otherwise bright students at a distinguished British university are capable of foolish things. At least in this case, it must be said, "Young England" rose to the occasion six years later, when the Second World War began, and revealed its true colors of patriotism, courage and grit.

Recently, another British student union was presented with a controversial proposal. The London School of Economics (LSE) debated whether to seek the twinning of this world-renowned institution with the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG).

After a spirited discussion, the motion was carried by a vote of 161 to 133. The university administration distanced itself from the decision.

As an alumnus of LSE, I am ashamed of the student action. Sure, LSE has a reputation for feisty politics, but this is taking it a bit far.

IUG was established in 1978 by none other than Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Yassin, it will be recalled, was the founder of Hamas. In 2007, a New York Times reporter described IUG as "one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause." Indeed, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, IUG "has emerged as a training ground for the political and spiritual leadership of Hamas. Many Hamas leaders who are also academics have taught at the university...."

Yassin was hardly cast in the mold of a Western liberal educator. Among his many public utterances, he declared that "reconciliation with the Jews is a crime" and that "Israel must disappear from the map." He claimed that Israel is, in fact, Muslim land and is to be reserved for those of the faith "until Judgment Day."

And Yassin didn't just limit himself to rhetorical flourishes, either. He pursued "armed struggle" against Israel, targeting civilians and blessing suicide bombers.

Moreover, in 2007, during the civil war in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah forces, the latter entered the university and found rocket-propelled grenade launchers, rockets, assault rifles and ammunition, all of which was subsequently shown on Palestinian television.

Two years later, Israel struck two IUG buildings which, according to military spokesmen, were used as "a research and development center for Hamas weapons, including Kassam rockets." Those rockets were used to attack indiscriminately Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza border, with the aim of killing and terrorizing residents.

When I first heard the news that the LSE Student Union voted to twin with IUG, I was speechless.

How could students at a world-class university that celebrates the open and respectful exchange of ideas find common cause with the academic standard-bearer of Hamas, a Sharia-based, obscurantist, violent group?

How could they claim solidarity with an institution that is actively involved in a long-term campaign to destroy a neighboring nation - and a democratic one at that?

How could they, living in a world of pluralism, gender equality and sexual freedom, join themselves at the hip to such a regressive, repressive social environment as IUG?

How could they, students of a university which was one of the stepping stones in British society for Jews to gain equality, identify with a school that preaches hatred of Jews and celebrates their murder?

The answer, I fear, is the bizarre alliance that has emerged in the UK between the keffiyeh-worshiping far left and Islamic extremists.

When neo-fascists come along spouting reactionary slogans about women and gays, the far left unhesitatingly denounces them. But when misogyny and homophobia emanate from the lips of Islamists, they're likely to get a deferential pass from the suddenly culturally-sensitive.

Ken Livingstone, former London mayor, and George Galloway, Member of Parliament, are two prime examples of what the communists referred to as "useful idiots" - those who, in their ultimate naiveté, would help the extremists ascend to power, only to be the first in line for destruction once the goal was attained. In the case of Livingstone and Galloway, they've rarely met a Middle Eastern radical with whom they couldn't agree. And, of course, they have their counterparts at LSE and on other university campuses, in trade unions and in the media.

The LSE Student Union vote was a sad day for the British academy. It betrays all the values that have made Britain a beacon of liberty and enlightenment.

One can only hope that this decision will follow the path of the 1933 Oxford Union resolution - and make its way to the dustbin of history as rapidly as possible.

To rate and comment on this article, go to the Jerusalem Post


Daily Policy Digest

January 14, 2010

The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) new effort to cut down on errors and fraud by clamping down on tax preparation services is commendable. However, with so many other underlying problems, wouldn't it be easier just to simplify the tax code instead, asks Steven Malanga, an editor for Real Clear Markets and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute?

There's little question that our tax code is now far too complex, says Malanga:

* Some 80 percent of households now use tax preparers or tax software to figure out their returns, and collectively we spend 7.6 billion hours on tax compliance, according to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate, at a cost of nearly $200 billion annually.
* From 2001 through April of last year, Washington initiated 3,125 changes to the tax code, or more than one a day.

None of this is par for the course, says Malanga:

* Around the rest of the world, countries have been simplifying their tax code by flattening out rates, eliminating deductions and ending tax credits.
* One recent study ranked the U.S. tax code 122nd in complexity among 175 nations worldwide.

Our politicians have created this mess because rather than use our tax code for what it was designed, that is, to raise revenues, they now wield it as an instrument of social policy, says Malanga. Every politician whose campaign platform includes goals like increasing home ownership or lessening the financial burden of college tuition or encouraging more energy efficiency wants to do it through the tax code. Tax credits are also a way to reward donors and lobbyists for friendly causes.

But ultimately the complexity of this approach befuddles not only taxpayers and preparers, but even the IRS, says Malanga.

Unfortunately, there is not much of an 'tax simplification" constituency out there, so that even when the winds of political change blow again, it's likely we'll just get a whole new set of politicians looking to use the code to advance their causes, says Malanga.

Source: Steven Malanga, "The IRS Should Fix Itself First," Real Clear Markets, January 13, 2010.

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The Palestinians' Unilateral "Kosovo Strategy": Implications for the PA and Israel
Dan Diker

Mahmoud Abbas' new precondition that the international community recognize the 1967 lines in the West Bank as the new Palestinian border bolsters the assessment that the Palestinians have largely abandoned a negotiated settlement and instead are actively pursuing a unilateral approach to statehood.

Senior Palestinian officials note that Palestinian unilateralism is modeled after Kosovo's February 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. European and U.S. support for Kosovo's unilateral declaration has led the Palestinian leadership to determine that geopolitical conditions are ripe to seek international endorsement of its unilateral statehood bid, despite that fact that leading international jurists have suggested that the cases of Kosovo and the Palestinian Authority are historically and legally different.

The Palestinians are legally bound to negotiate a bilateral solution with Israel. Unilateral Palestinian threats to declare statehood have been rebuffed thus far by the European powers and the United States.

The Palestinian "Kosovo strategy" includes a campaign of delegitimization of Israel, seeking to isolate Israel as a pariah state, while driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The unilateral Palestinian bid for sovereignty will also likely turn the Palestinians into the leading petitioner against the State of Israel at the International Criminal Court. Although the PA is not a state and therefore should have no legal standing before the court, the petition it submitted to the court after the Gaza war was not rejected by the ICC.

* Finally, a unilateral Palestinian quest for the 1947 lines may well continue even if the 1967 lines are endorsed by the United Nations. The PLO's 1988 declaration of independence was based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which recognizes the 1947 partition plan for Palestine, not the 1967 lines, as the basis for the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state.



Last decade it was the first year of a new millennium, and now it's the first year of a new decade. It is a decade that begins in the shadow of terrorism, in the shadow of Islam. Nidal Malik Hasan's killing spree and Umar's attempted attack on Northwest 253 mark an uptick in domestic terrorism, even as the suicide bombing struck CIA agents in Afghanistan to showcase one of the worst attacks on the US in Afghanistan.

That they all took place within a short time of each other, under Obama, is likely no coincidence at all. Obama had his window to show whether he would be a capable leader or not. The terrorists took his measure. Now the real testing has begun, first with "lone wolves" and the testing phase is likely to be followed by a large scale organized attack.

And naturally the government's weakness toward terrorism has only helped the terrorists. Former Gitmo detainees are helping Al Queda run their civil war in Yemen. Despite this Obama's Attorney General insists on trying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court, and Obama insists on exporting and importing Gitmo terrorists. Most Americans however want to see strong measures used against terrorists.

58 percent of Americans want to waterboard Umar. The surveys also show that a third of Americans think Al Queda is winning and that most support US control over security measures at foreign airports. 65 percent believe torture works. 58 percent think that Obama's release of the CIA memos endangered national security. 63 percent blame political correctness for allowing Hasan to carry out his massacre at Fort Hood.

Essentially the numbers suggest that a loose majority of Americans is to the right of Obama and the media on such basic issues. Barely a third rank the government's response to the Airplane bombing positively. Those numbers mean that Obama has lost on national security. The question is how key will national security be in 2012.

That puts the US into an Israel type scenario in which terrorists can help dictate the course of a US election, and in which the Obama administration might be tempted to cut behind the scenes deals with Al Queda to avoid an attack during the election season.

Meanwhile in another setback for Washington D.C.'s crusade against soldiers and contractors, the charges against the Blackwater security guards have been tossed out.

A federal judge threw out all charges on Thursday against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007, saying the U.S. government had recklessly violated the defendants' constitutional rights.

Naturally the same people who celebrated when 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was scheduled for a civilian trial and Osama's bodyguard Salim Hamdan was set free, are outraged over this.

The bottom line is that the Blackwater guards responded to an attack and defended themselves. In the aftermath of which evidence was covered up, and the State Department chose to use them as a sacrificial goat.

Continuing the roundup, Elder of Ziyon handily discredits the now commonly circulated claim that Israeli weapons caused birth defects in Gaza. The claim has been repeated on Al Jazeera and a lot of left wing blogs.

Palestinian Arabs keep trying to claim that Israeli weapons in Operation Cast Lead caused all sorts of genetic mutations in Gaza.

Dr. Muawiya Hassanein, director of the Emergency Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, tells Palestine Today that there have been over 75 cases of babies born with heart defects in Gaza since Operation Cast Lead.

A quick calculation shows that, in the US, about 0.9% of all babies are born with congenital heart defects (36,000 a year.) In Gaza, this would translate to over 500 babies born with such a condition every year. Perhaps those evil Israeli chemical and radiological weapons had a positive effect on Gaza children!

But more insidiously, Hassanein claims that these weapons have caused Gaza men to have abnormal sperm, low sperm counts and, tragically, infertility. To many Arabs, this could be worse than birth defects, as it attacks the very source of their manliness, and nothing is more important than that.

But indeed there are mutants in Gaza. They just weren't caused by Cast Lead or Israeli weapons. They're caused by MARRYING YOUR COUSINS.

There are an unusually high number of male pseudohermaphrodite births in the Gaza neighborhood of Jabalya, where Nadir and Ahmed live.

Dr. Jehad Abudaia, a Canadian-Palestinian pediatrician and urologist practicing in Gaza, says he has diagnosed nearly 80 cases like Nadir's and Ahmed's in the last seven years.

"It is astonishing that we have [so] many cases with this defect, which is very rare all over the world," Abudaia says. He attributes the high frequency of this birth defect to "consanguinity," or in-breeding.

"If you want to go to the root of the problem, this problem runs in families in the genes." Abudaia says. "They want to get married to cousins... they don't go to another family. This is a problem."

No doubt the "experts" will find a way to blame Israel for Palestinian Muslims marrying their cousins. But I don't think Israel has developed or deployed a "cousin bomb" yet, along the lines of the supposed "gay bomb", so this one is really not our fault.

Meanwhile reports say that the kidnapping of Peter Moore was the work of an Iranian backed terrorist group

The five men, who were kidnapped from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007, were reportedly taken to Iran just a day after their abduction where they were held by the al-Quds brigade of the Guard.

An unnamed former Revolutionary Guard told The Guardian: "It was an Iranian kidnap, led by the Revolutionary Guard, carried out by the al-Quds brigade.

"My contact works for al-Quds. He took part in the planning of the kidnap and he watched the kidnapping as it was taking place. He told me that they spent two days at the Qasser Shiereen camp. They then took them deep inside Iran."

A serving Iraqi government minister with links to Iran also told the paper: "This was an IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) operation. You don't think for a moment that those militia groups from Sadr City could have carried out a high-level kidnapping like this one."

As late as last month Foreign Office officials privately harboured suspicions Mr Moore was being held in Iran. The hostages were employed on a project to install software that would track money movements within the ministry. Intelligence officials investigated allegations that new equipment would expose a practice through which coalition funds were routinely diverted by Shia officials to Iranian security forces in return for arming and training militias.

“That they were held in Iran is a possibility given the lack of leads about their whereabouts in Iraq even after the security forces became more effective,” one British diplomat said.

The US's former commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, had said he was "90 per cent certain" that the Britons were held in Iran for part of their period in captivity.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner put the question directly to Gen Petraeus - who was commander of multi-national forces in Iraq at the time of the kidnap and now heads US Central Command - at a conference in Bahrain on December 13.

"He didn't hesitate. He said 'I'm absolutely certain. I'm 90% certain'," Mr Gardner told Radio 4's Today programme.

"I said is this a personal view or have you seen hard intelligence, and he thought for a minute and he said 'I am pretty sure I've seen hard intelligence on it' ... that they were held in Iran for some of the period of their captivity."

This means that Iran has now on several occasions, attacked, kidnapped, and held Britons hostage. For the Britain of old or even the not so old, that fought Argentina, this would be an act of war. For New Britain, terrorism seems to be only another missed business opportunity.

But we are disarming ourselves equally well. In the wake of the Northwest 253 attack, it is instructive to note that Obama had already made planes safer for terrorists, by rescinding the armed pilot carry program.

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots. The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.

Fewer than one percent of the officers have any administrative actions brought against them and, we are told, virtually all of those cases “are trumped up.”

And while the Obama Administration goes after the CIA, contractors and anyone and everyone but the terrorists, it naturally throws those cases in the courts.

A federal judge is slamming the Obama administration for refusing to take a position in a lawsuit brought against the Palestinian Authority in connection with an alleged terrorist attack in 2000 that claimed the life of a 25-year-old American, Esh Gilmore.

In an opinion filed Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler complained that the Obama administration was "particularly unhelpful" and the State Department "mealy-mouthed" in refusing to provide official guidance on the complex foreign policy issues involved in the case. Kessler was attempting to decide whether the Palestinian Authority should be granted a trial it recently sought or forced to pay a default judgment because of past decisions not to defend itself against the lawsuit. Gilmore's family claims the Palestine Liberation Organization's Tanzim branch was responsible for his death in the shooting outside an Israeli government office in East Jerusalem.

"The Executive Branch of the United States has been particularly unhelpful in resolving this difficult Motion," Kessler wrote. "The Court requested that the State Department file a Statement of Interest in order to understand the international ramifications of any order it might enter, and to be apprised of our Government’s position about such ramifications. In this case, as in Knox v. The Palestinian Liberation Organization... the State Department declined to do so. Instead it filed the identical mealy-mouthed Notice there as it did in this case. That Notice, for all practical purposes, said nothing and certainly provided no substantive guidance whatsoever to the Court regarding the Government’s position or concerns about any impact a decision might have on the delicate situation in the Middle East."

The U.S. government's two-page filing last month in the Gilmore case is, indeed, vague. After explicitly declining to take a formal position, the government lawyers said this: "The United States supports just compensation for victims of terrorism from those responsible for their losses and has encouraged all parties to resolve these cases to their mutual benefit. At the same time, the United States remains concerned about the potentially significant impact that these default cases may have on the defendants’ financial and political viability."

Kessler seemed to be arguing that it was unfair for the executive branch, which under Obama and his predecessors so often urges judges not to interfere in matters of national security and foreign relations, to cast the court adrift in this case.

Naturally the Obama Administration is unwilling to take a position, after all Obama's first phone call after his election was to the head of Fatah, the same organization that carried out the murder of Esh.

But of course they're not "terrorists", they're activists, according to the AP and the New York Times, and many others.

The trend began with calling terrorists, militants. And now the left wing media has defined it down to activists. Just like Mother Theresa but with AK47's.

And today with the recent murder of Rabbi Chai, the entire PA leadership attended the funeral of his killers.

Back in the US, Ron Paul crawled out of his hole in the ground, to defend Al Queda. Anyone living in Paul's district, or for that matter outside, might consider backing Tim Graney. a tea party activist who's running against Ron Paul.

Genuine GOP Mom asks whether his son Rand Paul, also running for office, is any better than the father, or do the Al Queda sympathies run in the family (just like the employment Paul provided to his family members at public expense).

Rand Paul has not answered the question regarding whether or not he believes 9/11 was our fault, but he has stated to the Wall Street Journal that there are only "minor areas" where he disagrees with his father overall. Is there a bigger issue than 9/11 and the terrorism that caused it?

Rand Paul has a big problem if he answers that question. If he agrees publicly with his father that Islamic terrorism is America's fault, it will be the nail in the coffin of his campaign here in Kentucky. If he denies his father's claim with any clarity, he will lose his base, and that would also be the nail in his campaign's coffin. It's as simple as that.

Rand Paul needs to be asked the question repeatedly if he believes America is to blame for the acts of terror perpetrated against her, particularly 9/11 and the latest attack in Detroit. It's the most important question of our time. He needs to have the guts to be as clear about his position on this as his father is, no matter the political fallout. Kentuckians should accept nothing less than a clear answer on this question.

It's not too difficult to find anti-military sentiment coming from Rand Paul, despite his unwillingness to answer the question on 9/11. In this video, starting at about the 11:00 mark, he compares the turning over of high school students' names to military recruiters to the actions of Napolean and Hitler. The Pauls
see the American military as aggressors.

Ugly. Ugly as hell.

World Net Daily has a fun fact about Judge Goldstone, the Apartheid judge.

Our own Dov Hikind made news by once again proposing profiling terrorists.

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has revived his proposal for racial profiling by security personnel, in light of the attempted bombing of a passenger jet landing in Detroit.

"I think this is a unique situation," said Hikind, who introduced a similar bill in 2005 after the London subways were attacked and NYPD officers began randomly searching the bags of some passengers.

Hikind told me by phone that if there is a "compelling governmental interest" to consider race in college admissions, as the Supreme Court affirmed in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, the same is true in a climate of heightened security risk.

"If this isn't a compelling government interest to do this, the war on terror, then what is? Why is there a difference?" Hikind said. "No one is saying we shouldn't check Norwegians--blonde, blue-eyed people--but we're saying let's be realistic about it. Their profile happens to be young, Muslim men of Middle-eastern and South Asian background. Is that the only thing you look at? Of course not."

The Daily Mail looks at the student visa loophole that's importing terrorists like Umar into the UK.

Israpundit's Ted Belman has an interesting debate on the right vs the left, that's worth reading.

Avid Editor links to Emanuel Winston's profile of Khameni

Urban Adder asks whether we can trust Obama to serve and protect

Asleep at the switch--once again. Obama diddling on the golf course, enjoying the privileges of his exalted postion gained honestly or not, once again, while the jihad makes inroads. The "failure" of the Nigerian intent on killing Americans should not fool us. His handlers have learned a bunch.

That they certainly have. Now it's time for us to begin learning.



Last update - 14:35 14/01/2010

Turkey's Jews urge calm after row with Israel
By The Associated Press
Tags: Jewish World, Israel news

Turkey's main Jewish group on Thursday said the row between their country and Israel must be solved courteously, and warned that continued tensions could inflame anti-Semitism.

Silvyo Ovadya, the president of the group Musevi Cemaati, or Jewish Community, said the 23,000-member community has no immediate fear, but further tensions could turn into anti-Semitism.

Israel on Wednesday bowed to demands from Turkey and apologized over an insult to its ambassador that had led Turkey to threaten to recall its ambassador.

The crisis erupted Monday when Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned the Turkish ambassador to complain about a Turkish television drama that has been perceived as anti-Semitic.

Ayalon forced Ambassador Oguz Celikkol to sit on a low sofa without a handshake and explained to cameramen that the humiliation was intentional.

The show, The Valley of the Wolves, depicts Israeli security forces kidnapping children and shooting old men.

"There might be ups and downs in relations between the two countries, there may be mutual anger, but all these have to be settled in a diplomatic way and in line with rules of courtesy," Ovadya said by telephone. "We are sorry to see that relations between the two countries are not going well."

Over the past decade, Turkey and Israel had built up a strong relationship, including military cooperation and tourism, making Turkey Israel's closest ally in the Muslim world.

Lately, however, Israel has been troubled by harsh statements from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was outraged by the high Palestinian civilian death toll during Israel's Gaza offensive a year ago.

The Anti-Defamation League, meanwhile, raised concerns about rising anti-Semitism in Turkey, pointing at Turkish government officials' harsh statements and the hateful depiction of Jews and Israel in the mass media.

"We continue to be concerned about a new environment in Turkey which permits and even encourages extreme expressions regarding Jews and Israel," Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement released Wednesday.

"While we have celebrated Turkey's history of coexistence with Jews and the protection Turkish society provides for its Jewish community, we cannot ignore this new atmosphere and its potential consequences."

Related articles :

* Deputy FM Ayalon apologizes to Turkish ambassador
* Emanuel: U.S. is fed up with Israel, Palestinians
* Turkey: Diplomatic spat with Israel won't scupper $190 million drone deal
* Foreign Ministry: Israel did not mean to humiliate Turkey envoy


UCI Article - Defining the Problem to Reach a Viable Solution

Warren Manison - Jan 14, 2010
UCI Press Release

It is time to recognize that all this thrashing around to "negotiate" a peaceful resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can never succeed without resolution of the underlying cause - namely, the refusal of Palestinians and the Arab world to recognize and accept a Jewish state in what they believe to be a total Muslim region. There are 22 Arab states and only 1 Jewish state. Yet this one Jewish state is being denied an opportunity to exist despite more than 3,000 years of history in its own land and despite clear verses in the Koran that "Jews should dwell securely in the land of promise" (Surah 17:104); and again in Surah 7:137 that "We made a people, considered weak (i.e. the children of Israel), inheritors of the lands in both east and west, lands whereon We sent down Our blessings. The fair promise of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel..."

The fallout from this refusal has been an Arab sense of shame and jealousy that they have not been able to eliminate an Israel that has achieved the highest standard of living and shown the greatest economic progress of any nation in the entire Middle East. Tragically, the Arab nations have been the losers, unable to benefit from an Israel willing to share its technology and economic know-how with their Arab neighbors.

Many, including in the American government, seem to think that if only there was a settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, there would be peace in the Middle East. Nothing could be further from the truth. The history of the continuing refusal is replete with failed opportunities on the part of the Palestinians to achieve peace. Like the famous Abba Eban said - "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity". The list of missed opportunities includes:

1) Refusal to accept the League of Nations's British Mandate that created a Jewish area and an Arab area carved out of the old Ottoman Empire

2) Rejection of the United Nations partition plan of 1948.

3) Rejection of the Oslo Peace Initiative in the 1990s.

4) Refusal to abide by the Road Map in 2002 to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and cease incitement to violence

5) Refusal to reciprocate Israel's abandonment of the Security Zone in Lebanon.

6) Refusal to demonstrate peace with Israel is possible following the Israeli evacuation of Gaza.

How can peace be achieved in the face of these missed opportunities, the failure to change both the PLO Charter (adopted by the PA) and the Hamas Charter calling for the elimination of the state of Israel, and continuing incitement to violence in mosques, schools, TVs, newspapers and radio stations? More recently, demands have been made on Israel to cease construction of homes in its capital, Jerusalem, because, as the Palestinians keep saying "We demand East Jerusalem as our Capitol". It is as if they have a legitimate right to this city, no different from their false claims for areas of the West Bank. In fact, Jerusalem has never been the Capital of any Muslim entity, even during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran while the Jewish connection dates back 3,000 years. In fact, there has never been a Palestinian Arab state. The vast majority of Palestinians are offspring of huge waves of Arab immigrants into the area from neighboring Arab states during the 1920s and the 1930s.

What does all this mean? Clearly, no concessions, no agreements, no treaties, nothing will satisfy the aspirations of the Palestinians save the elimination of the state of Israel as codified in their Charters. Adoption of the so-called Saudi Peace plan is now being touted as a solution to the conflict, implying recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. This plan requires that Israel accept Palestinian "refugees", retreat to the indefensible 1967 border, and surrender East Jerusalem to Palestinians to be their capital. It is obvious that implementation of this plan would place Israel in jeopardy demographically, leave Israel with no defensible borders and the nightmare of a divided Capitol. A close examination of the plan raises the specter whether Arabs are practicing an Arab technique known as "Taqiyya", which permits deception of perceived enemies of Islam in order to further Muslim goals.

It is obvious from history alone that peace will remain elusive under the circumstances elaborated previously. Perhaps it is time to examine another alternative that might bring an end to the continuous confrontation - a total separation of the two people. As difficult as this appears to be, the only resolution has to be resettlement of Palestinians to the homelands from whence their forebears came in the 1920s and 1930s. This has to coincide with acceptance and recognition of a Jewish State of Israel in the region followed by perhaps years of verification through action, not words. Palestinians and their Arab brothers must cease their incessant world wide political attacks on Israel, their incitement to violence and hate, and their constant efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Obama to meddle with your retirement account?
Administration considers forcing investors into Treasury debt
By Jerome R. Corsi

President Obama

The Obama administration appears to have come up with a novel way of financing trillion-dollar budget deficits – demanding IRA and 401(k) holders buy trillions of dollars in Treasury bonds.

With the Treasury needing this year to see another $1 trillion in debt to finance the anticipated federal budget deficit, and the Federal Reserve about to discontinue its 2009 program of buying Treasury bonds for the Fed's asset portfolio, the Obama administration is scrambling to find ways to sell government debt without having to raise interest rates.

Bloomberg reported Friday that Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Mark Iwry are planning to stage a public comment period before implementing regulations that would require private investors to structure IRA and 401(k) accounts into what could amount to a U.S. Treasury debt-backed government annuity.

CNBC's Rick Santelli broadcast the rumor the same day from the trading floor during CNBC's "Power Lunch" show.

Spokesmen from both the U.S. Treasury and Department of Labor confirmed to WND that the federal agencies about to enter a pre-regulation public comment phase on the proposed rule change.

But the agencies are getting serious pushback from the mutual fund industry, objecting to what some financial planners see as a government attempt to divert hundreds of billions of dollars of private retirement accounts into federal government debt, regardless whether the investment in Treasury bonds is in the best interest of the retirement-oriented investor.

On the Department of Labor website, the transcript of a Dec. 9 webchat with Borzi confirms the Employee Benefits Security Administration is about to issue a Request for Information on how annuity lifetime options should be structured into a wide range of defined contribution retirement plans, including 401(k)s.

Under ERISA, the Department of Labor regulates approximately 700,000 private pension plans, with approximately $4.7 trillion in assets.

"Lifetime Income Options," code words for annuities, are also listed in the Department of Labor's regulatory agenda for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, issued Dec. 7 and filed in the Federal Register.

The government's argument is that IRA and 401(k) investors lost principle in the stock market when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted from a closing of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007, to 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009.

For instance, Fidelity Investments reported the average fund balance on the approximately 11 million accounts Fidelity manages dropped 31 percent to $47,500 at the end of March, from $69,200 at the end of 2007.

With the stock market rally since March, Fidelity further reports 401(k) account balances increased 128 percent by the end of the third quarter 2009, to an average of $60,700, from the low at the end of the first quarter 2009 of $47,500.

While U.S. Treasury bonds have had historically lower yields than equity returns, government proponents of the idea argue Treasury bonds are safer, guaranteed by the federal government to pay principal and interest regardless of market conditions.

Furthermore, annuities as life insurance contracts have a unique investment advantage of being able to pay a specified lifetime income, regardless how long the annuitant lives.

The Investment Company Institute, a national trade organization representing the mutual fund industry, argues that the distinction of the Obama administration proposal would be to require annuities funded with Treasuries to be embedded within IRAs and 401(k) programs, using the fear of loss as a reason to demand retirement investors own Treasuries.

Right now, IRA holders and investors in 401(k) plans are free to invest in Treasury bonds, if they choose.

Also, annuities are a popular settlement option for IRAs and 401(k) plans that transition from the accumulation phase to the payout phase.

Annuities are an attractive payout instrument, because annuities offer the part of lifetime income and only a portion of each payout installment is considered taxable as return of investment principle.

Interest or investment earnings in annuities accumulate income tax-deferred until the annuitant takes out money, either in an unscheduled withdrawal, or in a payout option extending over a specified number of years in retirement, or for the lifetime of the annuitant.

The unusual nature of the Obama administration's proposal would be to place as an investment a tax-deferred instrument like an annuity within a tax-deferred retirement program. Investment advisers typically use annuities as an investment option for after-tax dollars, not as a required investment option within a retirement program like an IRA or 401(k) that is already income-tax deferred.

A survey conducted by the Investment Company Institute showed more than 70 percent of all households disagreed with the idea of requiring retirees to buy annuities with a portion of their assets, whether the annuity is offered by an insurance company or by the government.

Moreover, 96 percent of households in the survey responded that retirees rejected the idea that the government should mandate turning IRA or 401(k) assets into annuities, asserting instead that retirees should make their own decisions about managing retirement assets and income.

The Investment Company Institute member companies manage some $11.62 trillion in mutual fund assets for some 90 million mutual fund shareholders, including retirement-oriented investors participating in defined contribution plans such as employer-sponsored 401(k) accounts.


Economic Issues

January 14, 2010

Earlier in the week, the Obama Administration said it would be "unrelenting" in putting Americans back to work. Indeed, Congress has named this its "top priority." However our elected representatives don't understand that there are, in fact, countless jobs in an economy. The amount of jobs are endless, what's up for discussion is how much someone is willing to pay for that job and how much someone else is willing to do it for. This is known as "supply and demand," says the Mackinac Center.

The best thing Congress could do if it really cared about job creation would be to lower or eliminate the minimum wage, says Mackinac:

* A high minimum wage prices low-income and low-skilled workers out of the job market.
* When an employer is forced to pay more, and doesn't believe an employee is worth that amount, the job is eliminated.
* Frankly, this often hits minority workers (particularly in Detroit) at a much higher rate and is often the cause of the disproportionate amount of unemployed blacks.

In 1970, economist Paul Samuelson was asked about a proposal to raise the minimum wage from its then existing level of $1.45 an hour to $2.00 an hour. He answered: What good does it do a black youth to know that an employer must pay him $2.00 an hour if the fact that he must be paid that amount is what keeps him from getting a job?

Economists are in near-universal agreement: Raising the minimum wage, as Congress has done repeatedly the past few years, almost always causes higher unemployment and more harm than good, says the Mackinac Center.

Source: Jarrett Skorup, "There Is an Endless Number of Jobs," Mackinac, January 13, 2010.

For text:

For more on Economic Issues:


German View of Islam …

This is by far the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have ever read. His references to past history are accurate and clear. Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read. The author of this email is said to be Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist.

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates.. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.

The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery.. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts--the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world-wide, read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late.


Posted Jan 13 2010
Michael Freund

Last year at this time, a majority of American Jews were waiting breathlessly for the day when Barack Obama, the man for whom they voted overwhelmingly, would take the oath of office and become president of the United States.

The excitement and sense of anticipation were palpable, as many Jews innocently looked forward to the dawn of a new era, and the onset of significant change to the way Washington dealt with the world.

Well, change has most certainly come about, though it is hardly the kind that Jews can have reason to cheer.

Just consider the American response to the events of recent days.

Last week, the wailing of sirens and the blast of explosions could be heard in southern Israel, as residents of the Negev once again found themselves under attack.

In a series of unprovoked assaults, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli towns and villages, sparking fears that yet another flare-up may be under way.

Meanwhile, in Judea and Samaria, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad took time out of his schedule to visit the families of three terrorists slain by the IDF after they had murdered a rabbi last month.

Needless to say, Fayyad did not go to berate the families for their loved ones' participation in terror. Instead, he sought to comfort his hosts, assuring them their kin had died as holy martyrs for the Palestinian cause.

And just how, you might be wondering, did the Obama administration react to all of this?

By threatening Israel, of course.

In a remarkably revealing January 7 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who now serves as Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, openly suggested that Israel would be punished if it did not agree to make still more concessions to the Palestinians.

When Rose said, "You sit there and you say to Israel, look, if you don't do this, what?" Mitchell replied: "Under American law, the United States can withhold support on loan guarantees to Israel . There are others [options], and you have to keep open whatever options. But our view is that we think the way to approach this is to try to persuade the parties what is in their self-interest."

So even as the Palestinian Authority adamantly refuses to return to the negotiating table, the Obama administration prefers to point the finger at Israel, unabashedly threatening the Jewish state with economic sanctions.

Just who does Mitchell think he is? Indeed, his stated desire to "persuade the parties what is in their self-interest" is more suitable to a parent trying to enlighten an impudent child than a foreign diplomat addressing a sovereign state. How dare he deem to know better than Israel its own best interests?

Not content with this outburst of conceit, Obama's point man for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute went a step further, seeking to impose an outlandish timetable for solving the century-old conflict.

"We think that the negotiation should last no more than two years," he said, adding, that, "once begun we think it can be done within that period of time."

It didn't seem to occur to Mitchell that every previous attempt to force a time limit on talks ended in calamitous failure, or that artificial deadlines are, as their name suggests, contrived and ultimately detrimental.

And yet, when speaking of the Palestinians, Mitchell's tenor changed perceptibly as he went out of his way to heap praise on Fayyad, twice calling him an "impressive leader" and asserting that he represented "strong and effective leadership for the Palestinian people."

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the snickering and laughter in Ramallah and Gaza as the Palestinians rejoice at the free pass they are getting from the White House.

They continue to laud terrorists and plan to carry out attacks against Israel, all the while enjoying political and diplomatic impunity in the eyes of Washington.

Meanwhile, it is the Jewish state that the Obama administration chooses to bully and cajole.

And so, as America prepares to mark the first anniversary of Obama's ascension to power, it is time for each and every Jew who voted for him to own up to the error he or she made.

Not since the days of George Bush (the father), nearly twenty years ago, has Israel been the target of such unrelenting demands and intimidation.

In the past 12 months, the president has repeatedly twisted Israel's arm both publicly and privately, treating America's closest ally in the Middle East more like a pest than a pal.

His policy is giving encouragement to our foes, hardening their hostility and seeking to push Jerusalem into a corner.

That is the kind of change we can all most assuredly do without.

Michael Freund, whose Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month, served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. He is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (, which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people.


December 29, 2009 5:00 AM
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Why Abbas Does Not Want To Resume Peace Talks

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority have reached the conclusion that, under the current circumstances, it would be a waste of time to return to the negotiating table with Israel. They are convinced that the only way to get anything is by rallying pressure from the international community against Israel.

It is for this reason that representatives of the Palestinians have been negotiating with the Europeans and Americans about the peace process -- not with Israel.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is negotiating about the peace process, but with the foreign ministers of France, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK and not with Israel. Almost every step this leadership takes is fully coordinated in advance with Western diplomats and their governments.

They believe that at present Israel is more isolated than ever in the international arena, particularly in light of the UN’s Gaza War report, the “Goldstone Report.”

The Palestinian leadership has chosen to confront Israel in the international arena, and not at the negotiating table. Abbas’s strategy is to further isolate Israel in the world through boycotts and anti-Israel resolutions at the UN and other international forums.

They see growing support for Palestinians in many European capitals, and are convinced that this will eventually be translated into heavy pressure on Israel.

This is why he is prepared to wait and wait. He believes that the longer he waits, the more Israel will come under pressure.

Palestinian leaders see that the UN and almost all European governments have entirely endorsed the Palestinian narrative in the Israeli-Arab conflict Palestinian, namely that Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, including half of Jerusalem, and allow the establishment of a Fatah-controlled state in these territories.

They see increased anti-Israel sentiments in the West and are encouraged that Israel will not be able to tolerate hostility, isolation and boycott for a long time.

Abbas believes that the international community is negotiating with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. He is fully convinced that only increased pressure on Israel, and not negotiations, will bring about a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders.

And since the whole world, with the possible exception of the US Administration, “is on our side,” why bother return to the negotiating table with Israel?

The belief among the Palestinian leadership is that it is only a matter of time before Israel succumbs to the growing international pressure.

By negotiating with Abbas and his government, the Western governments are, in fact, keeping the Palestinians from resuming peace talks with Israel. Instead of negotiating with Abbas, these governments should be urging him to return to the negotiations with Israel as soon as possible and before it is too late.

But for now Abbas does not seem to be in a rush; this is why those who believe that real peace talks could be “revived” in the near future are living under an illusion. Abbas has set out his demands and conditions in a clear and straight manner and he is waiting for the international community to help him achieve all his goals.

If Abbas wants to prove his claim that Israel “does not want peace,” then he should return to the negotiating table tomorrow morning and show the world which party is to blame for the stalemate.




Pelosi: Health care reform bill will be posted online for 72 hours before vote for review
(too bad she doesn't say WHEN she will put this on line. )
By: Susan Ferrechio
Chief Congressional Correspondent
01/14/10 3:54 PM EST
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the final health care bill will be posted online for the public to view for 72 hours before the chamber votes on it.

The move comes after Senate and House Democratic leaders have been criticized for not allowing the media and television to view their intense negotiations to produce a final bill.

Democrats have been huddled for days behind closed doors both in Congress and at the White House, with sporadic press conferences and press releases intended to make the talks appear more open, although no real details have been disclosed.

"The House Democratic Leadership is committed to having the final health insurance reform legislation online for 72 hours before the House votes, for all Members and the American people to review," Pelosi said in a statement released jointly with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "We will continue the transparent process this landmark legislation has had for months."

No word yet from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on whether he plans to follow the House on the 72-house public viewing.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:


Amnesia International: Forgetting the Real Culprits in Gaza

Amnesia International: Forgetting the Real Culprits in Gaza

Justus Reid Weiner and Dimitri Teresh | Collective Punishment

Amnesia International: Forgetting the Real Culprits in Gaza

Justus Reid Weiner and Dimitri Teresh

Amnesty International (AI) in its briefing paper titled “Suffocating: The Gaza Strip Under Israeli Blockade”1 asserts that Gazans are suffering enormously under the so-called blockade. These assertions obscure the true nature of the relationship between Israel and Gaza. First and foremost, thousands of Hamas rocket, missile and mortar attacks predated and prompted any economic sanctions put into effect by Israel.2 Despite this fact, as a recent Ministry of Defense report indicates, the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza increased by almost 900 percent in 2009 as compared to 2008.3 Despite that, Israel’s perennial critics, such as AI, have become increasingly vocal. As will be demonstrated below, flogging the purportedly dire humanitarian situation distorts the overall picture of Gaza and forgets the actual cause for the clearly less-than-optimal circumstances in which Gazans live.

Predictions of an “imminent humanitarian crisis” in Gaza have been made at least as far back as 1996. In the year 2000, various NGOs including AI turned up the heat on Israel by claiming the Jewish state was responsible for the “imminent humanitarian crisis/disaster” in the Gaza Strip. Such terminology was mobilized anew in 2001, and since then annually in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. How has the Gaza Strip been “on the verge” of a humanitarian crisis for in excess of ten years? Chicken Little, the sky is falling.

Two relatively unknown features of the situation in Gaza are worthy of mention in relation to the alleged perpetual “humanitarian crisis” that is always about to erupt. First, Gaza’s offshore gas deposits (confirmed with British Gas) are worth an estimated $2 billion4 (even prior to the upsurge in the price of fossil fuels during the past years). If the Hamas government can stabilize the political situation long enough to install platforms to bring the gas to the surface, the Gazans can reap the benefits of these offshore gas deposits. The residents of Gaza might even become middle class. Second, the population of Gaza is comparatively healthy and well educated. In fact, classic indicators of the standard of living place Gaza in a reasonably strong position. Life expectancy in the Gaza Strip is 72.34 years,5 higher than Russia (65.94 years),6 the Bahamas, (65.72 years),7 India (69.25 years),8 Ukraine (68.06 years)9 and Glasgow East (in Scotland), where male life expectancy is 69.3 years.1011 than Angola (182.31 deaths/1,000 live births),12 Iran (36.93 deaths/1,000 live births),13 India (32.31 deaths/1,000 live births),14 Egypt (28.36 deaths/ 1,000 live births)15 and Brazil (26.67 deaths/1,000 live births).16 Perhaps the most astonishing fact, in light of the sensationalist media coverage damning Gaza’s chances for a better future, is that literacy in Gaza stands at a staggering 92.4 percent.17This is far higher than India (47.8 percent),18 Egypt (59.4 percent)19 and even wealthy Saudi Arabia (70.8 percent).20 Similarly, Gaza has a much lower infant mortality rate (21.35 deaths/1,000 live births)

In blaming Israel for all of Gaza’s problems AI makes no mention of Hamas’s electoral success. Even prior to the coup that overthrew Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, Hamas succeeded in being chosen by a clear plurality of the Palestinian electorate.21 Hamas did not conceal its religious fanaticism or the methods it intended to use if elected. The Hamas Charter is explicit about its intent to use violent means to destroy Israel and place all of its citizens under Islamic Palestinian rule.22 They clearly state that there can be no compromise; “peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”23 Gaza’s voters well understood the ramifications on living conditions of Hamastan fundamentalist governance.

It has been documented that when Israel furnishes and allows transit of donated goods intended for the civilians of Gaza, “there is ‘foolproof’ evidence that Hamas diverts supplies for ‘terrorist use.’”24 Thus, for example, AI’s repeated complaints that the import of building materials is barred by Israel neglect to acknowledge that the same cement intended to be used to rebuild schools can also be used to reinforce smuggling tunnels and military bunkers.

AI’s briefing paper is replete with references to international law, without once pointing to any specific provision being violated. Moreover, it is unclear why AI is using the term “collective punishment” since none is intended and, more importantly, as will be discussed below, none is effectuated by Israel.

Contrary to AI’s criticism, no country is obliged to open its borders. Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade of fuel or anything else with the Gaza Strip, or to maintain open borders with the Gaza Strip, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion, even if intended as “punishment” for Hamas’ terrorism. Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip, such as withholding fuel supplies and electricity, does not involve the use of military force and is therefore a perfectly legal means of responding to Gazan attacks, despite the unfortunate effects on some Palestinian civilians.

The use of economic and other non-military sanctions as a means of disciplining other international actors for their misbehavior is a practice known in international law as “retorsion.”25 It is generally acknowledged that any country may engage in retorsion.26 Indeed, it is acknowledged that states may even go beyond retorsion to carry out non-belligerent reprisals, non-military acts that would otherwise be illegal (such as suspending flight agreements) as counter-measures.27

While international law bars “collective punishment,”28 contrary to AI’s assertions, none of Israel’s combat actions and retorsions may be considered collective punishment. The bar on collective punishment forbids the imposition of criminal-type penalties on individuals or groups on the basis of another’s guilt, or the commission of acts that would otherwise violate the rules of distinction and/or proportionality.29 None of Israel’s actions involve the imposition of criminal-type penalties or the violation of the rules of distinction and proportionality. Apparently, AI forgets that there has never been a prosecution for collective punishment on the basis of economic sanctions. AI apparently feels justified in inventing customary international law.

AI often repeats that they desire fruitful peace efforts in the Middle East. Yet the entire briefing paper discusses the result of an inadequately addressed problem – the continual missile, rocket and mortar attacks by Hamas. The actual attacks are merely given lip service, and AI never once suggests how they will be addressed; rather, AI insists that lifting the sanctions that may be limiting Hamas will improve the situation. In fact, undermining peaceful attempts to ensure security will only decrease the chances for peace while increasing the likelihood of violence and confrontation. For those who don’t suffer from amnesia, the real culprit in this tragedy is the Hamas terrorist organization.

Contrary to the implications of AI’s reporting, Israel has gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent the emergence of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israel established the “Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), where representatives of the IDF and government ministries work day and night to respond to humanitarian issues in Gaza.”30 Former CLA commander Col. Nir Press spoke candidly of Hamas’ “well-oiled media and propaganda machine which has succeeded in creating humanitarian ‘crises’ out of thin air.”31 He gave as an example Israel’s decision to suspend fuel supplies in early 2008 after a Palestinian attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot.32 Before restricting the supply, Israel filled all of the gas tanks in Gaza to their maximum. Yet, “taking advantage of this as a PR opportunity,” Hamas refused to draw on the fuel and “sent hundreds of people to gas stations in Gaza to stand with buckets in a long line, giving the impression that there was a fuel shortage in the Strip.”33 The stunt was only called off after journalists “contacted Palestinian newspapers and Gaza-based industrialists to explain that the tankers were, in fact, full, but that Hamas was purposely not drawing the fuel. As a result, internal Palestinian pressure mounted, and Hamas had no choice but to distribute the fuel.”34 Once again, Hamas hoodwinked the well-meaning NGOs and media.

Finally, AI might be better advised to redirect its efforts to entities that are genuinely in need of humanitarian assistance and that are not terrorizing their neighbors. In fact, Gazans receive the greatest amount of international aid per capita of any entity in the world.35 Perhaps, nine hundred million dollars, the sum pledged to rebuild Gaza by Secretary of State Clinton,36 would go a long way towards alleviating the suffering of the millions who live in desperate circumstances in Haiti. The Haitians would not divert the foreign aid to launch missiles, rockets, and mortars toward the neighboring Dominican Republic.


1. “Suffocating: The Gaza Strip Under Israeli Blockade,” Index: MDE 15/002/2010, Jan. 2010,

2. “The Hamas Terror War Against Israel,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of January 14, 2010,; “Israel to Impose Hamas sanctions,” BBC News, February 19, 2006,

3. “Increased Humanitarian Aid to Gaza after IDF Operation,” Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, Israeli Ministry of Defense, January 9, 2010,

4. Tim Butcher, “Gaza Doesn’t Need Aid: It Has a £2bn Gas Field,” Daily Telegraph, November 7, 2007,

5. The World Factbook – Gaza Strip, CIA, 15 July 2008,

6. “Life Expectancy at Birth - Country Comparison,” as of January 1, 2008,
7. Id.

8. “India Life Expectancy at Birth,” as of May 16, 2008, .

9. “Ukraine Life Expectancy at Birth,” as of May 16, 2008,

10. “FactCheck: Glasgow Worse than Gaza?,” Channel 4 News, 7 July, 2008,

11. The World Factbook – Gaza Strip, CIA, 15 July 2008,

12. “Infant Mortality Rate – Country Comparison,” as of January 1, 2008,

13. Id.

14. Id.
15. Id.

16. Id.

17. The World Factbook – Gaza Strip, CIA, 15 July 2008,

18. “Literacy – Country Comparison,” as of January 1, 2008,
19. Id.

20. Id.

21. “The Final Results of the Second PLC Elections,” Central Elections Commission – Palestine, January 29, 2006,
22. Hamas Charter, Article 6,

23. Hamas Charter, Article 13

24. “Rights Groups: Humanitarian ‘Implosion’ Grips Gaza,” CNN, March 6, 2008,

25. Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 335 (1986); Oppenheim’s International Law, 134 (H. Lauterpacht ed., 7th ed. 1952).

26. Elisabeth Zoller, Peacetime Unilateral Remedies: An Analysis of Countermeasures 7 (1984).

27. Examples of retorsions are legion in international affairs. The U.S., for example, froze trade with Uganda in 1978 following accusations of genocide, and with Iran after the 1979 Revolution. In 2000, fourteen European states suspended various diplomatic relations with Austria in protest of the participation of Jorg Haider in the government. Numerous states suspended trade and diplomatic relations with South Africa as punishment for apartheid practices. In none of these cases was the charge of “collective punishment” even raised. “Punishing” an entity with restrictions on international trade is not identical to carrying out “collective punishment.”

28. Article 75(4)(b) of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Victims of International Armed Conflict, June 8, 1977, 1125 UNT.S. 3-608. While Israel is not a party to the Protocol, the prohibition on collective punishment is considered to reflect customary international law. See Dinstein, supra note 17, at 21.

29. Id. 30. Yaakov Katz, “Security and Defense: A Colonel of Hope,” Jerusalem Post, July 31, 2008,

31. Id.
32. Id.
33. Id.
34. Id.

35. Carol Migdalovitz, “Israel-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S.,” CRS Report RL33530, Dec. 22, 2006,

36. Reuters, “U.S. plans to pledge $900 million for Gaza,” Feb. 23, 2009,



Many countries and world leaders have accused Israel of responding disproportionately to aggression from Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

However, it is time that the world press and media speak of another disproportionate response from Israel.

The terrible disastrous earthquake in Haiti has generated responses from many nations. The US has sent supplies and personnel, Britain sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers, France sent troops for Search and Rescue. Many large and wealthy nations of the world sent money. The Arab and Moslem world, nothing.

Israel, a nation of 7.5 million people has sent a team of 220 people that include Medical personnel and will establish the largest field hospital in Haiti, treating up to 5000 people a day, an experienced Search and Rescue team and medical supplies. As in previous earthquake disasters, such as in Gujarat India in 2001 and in Turkey, in the bombings in Kenya, Israel has been one of the most generous givers of aid and assistance. Turkey seems to have forgotten this help as its extreme Moslem Government is cozying up to Iran.

Judge Goldstone, where are you now? Eating your heart out and hanging your head down in shame I hope.

The favorite occupation in the UN is Israel bashing. More resolutions have been passed condemning Israel than all the so called democratic nations such as Sudan, China, Russia and others for their crimes against their minorities.

I think it is time that the world should know about Israel's disproportionate response.
The Israelis are again engaged in a "disproportionate response", only this time the world, including the USA and Obama, is silent.


Israel's Disproportionate Response

Peggy Shapiro
In the midst of the tragedy and chaos in the Haitian capital, Israeli doctors, part of IsraAID -F.I.R.S.T. (the Israel Forum for International Aid), delivered a healthy baby boy in an IDF field hospital. When the baby's grateful mother, Gubilande Jean Michel saw her newborn son, alive and well, she named him Israel in gratitude to the people and nation who brought her this blessing.

Little Israel is one of the hundreds who have been saved by Israeli doctors or rescue teams. A search and rescue team from the ZAKA Israel's International Rescue Unit pulled eight Haitian college students from a collapsed eight-story university building. Despite its small size, Israel sent a large contingent of highly-trained aid workers to quake-stricken Haiti. Two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, civil engineers, and other Israeli army personnel, including a rescue team and field hospital, were among the first rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. In fact, they were the first foreign backup team to set up medical treatment at the partially collapsed main hospital in Port-au-Prince. Yigal Palmor, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "It's a large delegation and we're prepared to send more."

The international agencies that condemn Israel for its "disproportionate response" when it is attacked are not mentioning Israel's disproportionate response to human suffering. The U.S. has pledged 100 million and sent supplies and personnel. The U.K. pledged $10 million and sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers.China, a country with a population of 1,325,639,982 compared to Israel's 7.5 million sent 50 rescuers and seven journalists. The 25 Arab League nations sent nothing.

Israel's "disproportionate" response stems from Jewish memory and tradition. Mati Goldstein, head of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation managed described the scene, "Everywhere, the acrid smell of bodies hangs in the air. It's just like the stories we are told of the Holocaust - thousands of bodies everywhere. You have to understand that the situation is true madness, and the more time passes, there are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped. It is beyond comprehension." At the start of Sunday's regular Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israeli team had already treated hundreds of patients. "I think that this is in the best tradition of the Jewish People; this is the true covenant of the State of Israel and the Jewish People," he said. "This follows operations we have carried out in Kenya and Turkey; despite being a small country, we have responded with a big heart. The fact is, I know, tha t this was an expression of our Jewish heritage and the Jewish ethic of helping one's fellow. "

In the rubble and suffering of Haiti, Israelis are relentlessly searching for and saving lives. It is this "disproportionate response" that rankles their enemies the most, for it shines a light on their failings.

See below for videos


Haiti earthquake aid pledged by country

Haiti's quake has apparently galvanised the world. Find out how much different countries and organisations have pledged to the aid effort
• Get the data

Comments (74)
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Haiti quake aid: boy receiving treatment at a UN clinic

Haiti earthquake aid: A young Haitian boy receiving treatment at an ad hoc medical clinic at the UN MINUSTAH logistics base in Port au Prince. Photograph: LOGAN ABASSI/AFP/Getty Images

Tracking the ever-increasing pledges of financial aid and other assistance for quake-stricken Haiti is a difficult business, but the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is attempting to do just that. The OCHA has the tricky task of trying to orchestrate the efforts of the dozens of aid agencies either in Haiti or on their way there.

Its list of donors tracks both monetary sums and donations in the form of assistance and equipment, both from governments and corporations. However, it does not cover the millions of pounds of private donations pouring into appeals such as that launched in the UK by the Disasters Emergency Committee - where you can also make a donation.

Relief Web is probably the best source - it publishes daily totals.

As some of you have pointed out - the top level figures don't take account of individual country contributions, ie ships or aid trucks. So, take a look at the Google spreadsheet - that will give you exactly what each organisation or country has donated - look at the 'details' worksheet.

Data summary
Haiti aid pledged by country


Funding, committed and uncommitted, $

$ per person

% of total
Private (individuals & organisations) 212839080 25.53
Others 210064336 25.2
United States 114632301 0.364 13.75
World Bank (emergency grant) 100000000 12
United Kingdom 29371581 0.477 3.52
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 25781609 3.09
Sweden 18657792 2.017 2.24
Brazil 15530000 0.080 1.86
France 14398778 0.231 1.73
Germany 10822512 0.132 1.3
China 10405286 0.008 1.25
UN & agencies 10000000 1.2
Australia 8992806 0.422 1.08
Denmark 7376543 1.349 0.88
Canada 5491330 0.164 0.66
Japan 5327154 0.042 0.64
Norway 4939341 1.026 0.59
Spain 4329004 0.096 0.52
European Commission 4329000 0.52
Netherlands 2886003 0.174 0.35
Italy 2675568 0.045 0.32
Donors not specified 2111391
Switzerland 1941748 0.257 0.23
Finland 1803752 0.339 0.22
Poland 1089466 0.029 0.13
New Zealand 1000000 0.234 0.12
Morocco 1000000 0.031 0.12
Indonesia 1000000 0.004 0.12
Guyana 1000000 1.312 0.12
Estonia 1000000 0.746 0.12
Luxembourg 722900 1.487 0.09
Russian Federation 700000 0.005 0.08
Belgium 651876 0.061 0.08
Greece 290000 0.026 0.03
Czech Republic 288600 0.028 0.03
Inter-American Development Bank 200000 0.02
South Africa 134904 0.003 0.02
WORLD TOTAL 833649757 0.122 100

* //////////////////////

Wake Up America

> This sounds so true the way this guy says it.
> Another input for "Wake Up America" !


Tariq Ramadan permitted to enter the U.S.

by Daniel Pipes
January 20, 2010
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The Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan was about to take up a position at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2004 when the U.S. government prevented him from entering the country on the grounds that he had funded two Hamas-related groups. For five years, his exclusion has been debated and tried. Finally, it was reversed today. The Associated Press explains:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has signed orders enabling the re-entry of professors Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in England and Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa once they obtain required admittance documents, department spokesman Darby Holladay said.

Clinton "has chosen to exercise her exemption authority for the benefit of Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib," Holladay said. "We'll let that action speak for itself." In a prepared statement, Holladay noted the change in U.S. posture since both professors, who are frequently invited to the United States to lecture, were denied admittance after making statements counter to U.S. foreign policy. Both the president and the secretary of state have made it clear that the U.S. government is pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect.".

Comments: (1) I always expected this outcome, that Ramadan would be allowed in, because so many forces were aligned in his favor. That the exclusion lasted over five years was impressive.

(2) Note that this change was ordered from the very top, specifically invoking Obama.

(3) Note also the sleaziness of the State Department spokesman, ascribing Ramadan's exclusion to his "making statements counter to U.S. foreign policy." No, the reason was explicitly his having provided funds to a terrorist-related organization. Why the gratuitous lie, State Department?

(4) The Obama administration puts this case into the context of "pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect." But it's always been a terrorism case, with no connection to issues of Islam. What amateurs.

(5) Note the term "mutual respect," the hackneyed phrase repeatedly applied to the U.S. government and Muslims – so much so that I have devoted a whole blog to Obama's use of these words.

(6) So, fellow Americans, how many of you feel safer with the prospect of Tariq Ramadan present in person to talk to our Islamists?