One way to go

Arab citizens of Israel amount to about 20% of the population, but are largely disconnected from mainstream politics. There are several reasons. For example, traditionally their turnout at the polls has been low. And to add insult to injury, those who could be bothered to vote were faced with many parties to choose from, even if they focused exclusively on those from their own sector.

The scenario has changed with the raising of the threshold – the minimum percentage of the vote required to guarantee a seat in the Knesset – from 2 to 3.25%. For me, the raise was a good move towards the general (higher) European standards. (Note that in Turkey, the threshold is 10%.)

The response of the smaller parties has been to band together in one list. As the Times of Israel puts it:

Israel’s Arab political parties are banding together under one ticket for the first time ever ahead of national elections in March, hoping to boost turnout and help unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The result is an awkward political marriage of communists, Palestinian nationalists, religious Muslims, feminists and even one Jew. But Arab politicians say it will improve chronically low Arab voter turnout and help block Netanyahu from forming the next government.

First, although there’s an opinion poll that suggests the combined list will improve voter turnout, the reported improvement is both woeful and only theoretical. Let’s see whether people actually bother to vote. After all, when you vote you have to get up and go to the polling station. It’s not like taking part in an opinion poll, when the pollsters come to you!

Second, look how different the parts of the list are. What does that tell us? There is no single Arab perspective? That’s good. But only if they can find a party that represents them. (It may explain why Shas, traditionally, went out of their way to curry favor with Arab towns, and was successful in attracting their votes.)  I wonder what efforts the mainstream parties are making, and should be making, to get these votes and get the Arab population involved in the democracy.

Third, it’s notable that the aim is to block Netanyahu from getting in. Wouldn’t it be a better goal to achieve something positive? To campaign for and promote changes in the law that they see as necessary and important fro their potential constituents? Or is this AP’s spin?

Whatever the outcome, it will be interesting to see how this unified list does.

The need to grow up

Given the abuse Israel and its leaders take from the Turkish establishment – especially in recent years – the following comes as a surprise:

From Globes:

turkish

The article says:

“As countries, there will always be a love-hate relationship between us and Israel. What’s important, however, is that business connects people, and we don’t let the bad people around interfere with our mission: to be always the preferred option for Israeli passengers. We’re very proud of our route, and we want to continue giving good service and a successful product that will make Israelis choose us,” said Turkish Airlines VP Ziya Taskent in response to a “Globes” question about his personal opinion on the prolonged diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey.

Bad people? Whoever could he mean?

Meantime, this type of commercial activity reflects the disconnect between the shrieks of BDS from the madding crowd, compared with the continual investment that foreign businesses make in Israel. People want to do business with Israel. They want our custom. They want our technology. They want our entrepreneurial skills. They want to create something positive, and investing in Israel offers that, and more.

What Israel has achieved in the short time since its modern reestablishment is a miracle. The surrounding Arab world should hang its respective heads in shame. Whatever the issues, the handicaps, or the challenges, with the right application they could all have been overcome. (No, not overnight,. And there is this wee requirement for hard work.) Instead their apparent focus is on maintaining dictatorial regimes by channeling hate and intolerance, rather than spreading life, liberty, and freedom, dooms them to be the failed states they are.

The religious extremists of ISIS (or whatever the current label is) behave as if they are acting out a nightmare best described as murderous lunatics having taken over the asylum.

[Aside: are ISIS nothing to do with Islam? They sure seem to say otherwise.]

If there is ever going to be peace in this part of the world, our neighbors will first collectively have to took a good, long, hard look at themselves and realize where they are, and how far they are from progress unless they change their whole approach.

To put it more simply, they need to grow up.

Nasrallah is up a tree

Following Sunday’s attack by Israeli forces in the Golan heights (see here), leading analyst Avi Issacharoff has this to say in the Times of Israel:

At the end of the day, the key to what happens on the northern border in the wake of the Israeli attack in Syria on Sunday lies in Iran’s hands.

If Ali Khamenei and the Iranian leadership want an escalation, then an escalation there will be. If Tehran isn’t looking for one, then it simply won’t happen.

And further on:

Iran’s dilemma right now is whether or not to allow Hezbollah to respond with force, which could well lead to a general escalation. A Hezbollah response is not necessarily what Iran wants, especially when the White House is pressuring Congress not to enact new sanctions on Iran. Tehran does not want to be seen as responsible for a regional deterioration, which could bring about new sanctions. In addition, it doesn’t want to get Hezbollah stuck in another active front while the drop in oil prices has left Iran with less and less money to fund its operations in Syria. What’s more, Hezbollah continues to lose men fighting the Islamic State and other jihadist organizations.

On the other hand, ignoring the incident will be taken as weakness, even cowardice.

There look to be several unexpected benefits of the drop in oil price!

It’s noteworthy that the sanctions on Iran have had a real effect. Without them, there would be less reason for that nest of vipers to temper its thuggish behavior.

What about the tree?

Here comes the tree:

Hezbollah itself will want to respond, of course, even though it has an even more difficult dilemma. It may be that the decision would be easier were it not for the stupid, arrogant interview Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah gave on Friday to the friendly Al-Madayeen channel. As he usually does, Nasrallah explained how strong Hezbollah is, and how its ability to strike Israel is limitless. He described his advanced Fateh-110 rockets as outdated, and claimed that his organization already had those weapons in 2006, and that today it has much more advanced weapons.

What’s more, Nasrallah promised that any Israel attack on Syria would lead to an attack by Hezbollah, in a time and place of its choosing.

And now, only two days after the interview was aired, Israel has made it clear how high the tree is that Nasrallah climbed. Israel assassinated one of his senior commanders, and a major symbol no less: Jihad Mughniyeh’s father founded Hezbollah’s military wing, and was considered for more than two decades one of the Middle East’s biggest terrorists.

Now, Nasrallah is seemingly bound to respond, at least to show he stands behind his word.

I share the writer’s hope that the Israeli military leaders who approved the strike knew what they were doing. They knew what was going on in the Golan Heights, and the strike doesn’t appear to have directly prevented any immediate attack by Hezbollah or other forces. So why attack Hezbollah now?

We poor citizens are not in possession of all the facts, and can only guess the reasons for the undoubted ratcheting up of the tensions there. Perhaps Hezbollah is in a worse state than is thought? Perhaps Nasrallah’s speech was a bluff, and Israel decided to call the bluff?

I guess we will know soon enough.

We had nothing to do with it

From the Times of Israel report about a court action by terrorist victims against the PLO and PA, now ongoing in Manhattan:

PLO lawyer in US: Suicide bombers acted for own ‘crazy reasons’

Trial kicks off in New York over $1 billion terrorism lawsuit against Palestinian organizations

Now, it’s a while since I was a lawyer, but my antennae stood to attention when I read the headlines. It’s seriously being suggested that the suicide bombers acted on their own?

Here’s some more from the report:

A lawyer for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority told a jury at the start of a civil trial Tuesday that the groups are not to blame for terror attacks in Israel.

Attorney Mark Rochon said in his opening statement that seven attacks from 2001 to 2004 were carried out by suicide bombers and gunmen “acting on their own angry, crazy reasons.”

He said the organizations are victims of guilt by association with terrorists who are not defendants in a lawsuit brought on behalf of victims. The $1 billion lawsuit was filed in 2004 to hold the organizations responsible for seven shooting and bombings in or near Jerusalem that killed 33 people and wounded hundreds more, including scores of US citizens.

Do you find that a persuasive argument? It seems illogical to me, and to fly in the (wounded) face of common sense. I imagine most of us can accept that some acts of terrorism could be the acts of loners. They might be incited by a terror organization – for example, to stab a passing Israeli, or drive a car at pedestrians. However, a suicide bomber needs one thing 99.9% of people do not have access to, nor the ability to manufacture: a bomb. The suggestion that these suicide bombers were all chemistry superstars working in glorious – angry – isolation, is laughable. It’s offensive. (But, hey, that’s some courtroom lawyers for you.)

It appears from the report, that the people making the claim anticipated this line of argument:

…attorney Kent Yalowitz urged jurors in a packed courtroom to hold the Palestinian organizations liable for the killings.

He brought an 11-year-old lawsuit to life with victims of the terror attacks looking on, introducing some of them to jurors and saying they were they were victimized by suicide bombings sanctioned by the PLO.

“The evidence will show that killing civilians was standard operating procedure for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Payroll records show that the Palestinian Authority “embraced these crimes” by continuing to pay security officials who organized the attacks, even after they were convicted of murder, he said.

I don’t think planning, directing, and lauding terror acts is guilt by association. And then there’s the wages of death paid to convicted murderers.

In one sense, this situation mirrors the behavior of the PA (and Abbas, and Hamas) in dealings with the outside world: say one thing in Arabic which is pro terror and incitement, then say something completely different in English.

The PA might just be getting a foretaste of what being a member of the ICC will bring them, and that taste may be bitter indeed.

The full report is here.

The Hamas Three Step Program

Source: Michel Chaton/Wikimedia

Source: Michel Chaton/Wikimedia

Follow along, and see how the darling terrorists of the liberal world responded to last week’s atrocities in Paris.

Step 1

Praised the attacks.

Step 2

Condemned the attacks. (After removing all praise from Hamas websites.)

Step 3

Blamed Israel for the attacks. (No, you couldn’t make it up.)

And:

Threatened to kill all Jews who move from France to Israel.

The Hamas Three Step Program. Recommended if you feel there just isn’t enough antisemitism in the world.

Notes

  1. Check out the details at the Elder of Ziyon. As the Elder says: “So in the course of three days, Hamas went from pretending that they were against killing innocent civilians to threatening to murder every single French man, woman or child who immigrates to Israel.
  2. Let me know if you see any coverage of this in the Western media. Apparently, it’s not newsworthy.

And now, the end is near

This is a follow up post to An Israeli in Paris, being a recommendation to read the wonderful David Horovitz‘s opinion piece at the Times of Israel, entitled:

The death-cult ideology that France prefers not to name

With a follow on snippet like this:

Op-ed: Of course Hollande didn’t want Netanyahu in Paris. The Israeli PM annoyingly insists on speaking about the dangers of Islamist jihad — the murderous ideology that many of those 3.5 million marchers desperately didn’t want to talk about

He does not mince his words:

The obsession with Netanyahu’s words and deeds in Paris, and with what Hollande did or didn’t want, might seem trivial in the context of the day’s great exhibition of determined resistance to terrorism. The question of whether France would have mobilized in the way it did solely for Jewish victims might seem jaundiced and small-minded after a day of such grand display.

But now that the 3.5 million marchers have all gone home, we are left with the question: What are the French actually going to do about the mounting challenge of Islamist terrorism? More security? Evidently so. More vigilance? Doubtless, at least for a while. More substantive action, truly designed to eliminate the danger? Don’t bet on that.

In other words, it was a fine show of solidarity and empathy, but that is all it was, and all it ever will be: a show.

Read it all, here.

Pay particular attention to the following:

Do the last few days of Islamist murder in France constitute a watershed moment for one of the Diaspora’s largest communities? The beginning of the end? I rather think so.

A watershed moment in the Western battle against Islamic extremism? I fear not.

An Israeli in Paris

You have got to hand it to Bibi. He sure knows how to represent the Israeli people. For example, from the Times of Israel report on today’s Paris march (Sunday):

Netanyahu was initially situated in a second row of leaders, but shimmied his way into the front row, alongside Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU Council President Donald Tusk and Abbas.

That shimmy? I can assure you; it’s a well practiced move in Israel…

Read the rest of the report here, then ask: if this is true, what the hell are the French playing at?

CNN and Jim Clancy setting an example…

…of how not to be professional:

From the Elder of Ziyon

From the Elder of Ziyon

“Clancy exhibited shockingly unprofessional behavior that was borderline antisemitic and blatantly anti-Israel. This by itself disqualifies him from reporting on any Middle East topic. CNN is clearly aware of the criticism, and for every hour that it remains silent, it gives the impression of supporting an old-boys network rather than caring one whit about professionalism and objectivity.”

Read the Elder‘s skewering of CNN and Jim Clancy here. Try not to shake your head while reading it…

Storm brewing

No, not the weather type of storm such as we have had in Israel for the last couple of days.

No, not the political type of storm such as we have had in Israel for the last couple of, er, decades.

The storm I am referring to is the one brewing in Gaza.

Hamas fought (in my opinion) a badly judged war. Their propaganda efforts got them some sympathy, a modest extension of their fishing zone, much publicity, and nothing more apart from promises. Many of the promises featured rebuilding Gaza. Many of those making the promises overlooked – deliberately or otherwise – the challenge of rebuilding Gaza without rebuilding terror tunnels.

Fats forward several months, and progress has been almost non-existent. If you are a resident of Gaza, what do you think Hamas got for you with the blood of your people? And the immediate prospects for improvement are not good. There’s now better recognition of the challenges of rebuilding only civilian infrastructure. There’s now an awareness – or, perhaps, more awareness now being openly stated – that Hamas is a corrupt, kleptocracy of a regime. And there are two elephants in the room.

Elephant number one is the Israeli election. Hamas know that any terrorist act by them may cause a voting swing to the right. If that’s what they want, there will be such an act or acts.

Elephant number two is the illusion of unity, and the actual stance of Fatah. According to this report, the Palestinian Authority has said there will be no reconstruction until the PA get control of Gaza… In response, Hamas claims – in a less than peaceful manner – that Palestinian unity (ahem) is being ruined by the PA. Further, they warn Abbas they ‘will not await your mercy.’

My interpretation (aka ‘guess’) is that trouble is brewing in Gaza. Militarily I hope we are prepared. Politically, we are stuck till after the election. And if Bibi gets in again, I fear we will still be stuck.

I have no sympathy for Hamas, but the people of Gaza are paying a terrible price for the real crimes of their leaders. The even more terrible aspect is that Hamas want Israel to pay a price as well.

We know who really slaughtered Charlie Hebdo

It was obvious…

gretab

I sometimes think social media like Twitter would do well to advertise psychiatric services. They would do really well with the likes of these conspiracy theorists. And while they are tendering treatment, they might want to inquire as to what type of four year olds Greta Berlin is associating with. If its her kids, there’s a surefire call to be made to the appropriate social work department.

More on this from Honest Reporting, here.