Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Specifics of the allegations "Hillary Clinton Servers”: Mrs. Clinton by making this information available to her staff who did not have a need to know and in many cases did not have the required level of clearance for the information is much more guilty of a serious transgression than was General Petraeus .
Date: June 28, 2016 

I received this email as guidance from the office of net assessment (my former assignment).It may provide you  with a breakthrough.  I believe this is a story that could make real national headlines for some journalist.

Some of the  materials on Hillary Clinton’s  server are indisputably classified. Hillary made them available to her staff. Some of her staff did not have the clearances necessary for the information. Others did not have the need to know necessary for the information. Staff members  must have both... or it is a crime. See the last paragraph of this email describing why General  Petraeus committed a violation and exactly what his  violation was.

You requested our assessment of the Hillary Clinton E-mail server/classified information situation. Our official policy is a firm:” NO COMMENT”

However, I will comment on the Hillary Clinton campaign statements and attach the New York daily news article which describes the Clinton staff interview with NBC.

The Hillary Clinton campaign staff is undertaking a massive campaign to shape the media perception of the alleged Hillary Clinton security violations.

The most current example is Brian Fallon, Clinton’s national press secretary, interview with NBC News. In that interview he stated the following points:

1.“We have received no indication from any government agency to support these claims, 

2. nor are they reflected in the range of charges that Guccifer already faces and that prompted his extradition in the first place,” 

Fallon said. 3. “And it has been reported that security logs from Secretary Clinton’s email server do not show any evidence of foreign hacking.”

The Fallon statements are an example of "Clinton speak". This means that while the statement is "technically correct" it is misleading. The following points apply:

1. No government agency would communicate to Hillary Clinton and/or to her campaign and/or personal staff any information at all concerning these claims and/or the investigation of these claims. Thus, Fallon is stating an obvious truth: the campaign has received no indication from any government agency… Of anything supporting and/or denying this allegation by a hacker who successfully hacked into Hillary Clinton's secret emails.

2. additional charges might be levied against Marcel Lehel Lazar As
Brian Fallon fully understands at this stage of the investigation of Hillary Clinton and her staff any charges against Lazar would jeopardize the investigation.

3. Current evidence shows that sources in Russia and China have hacked into the servers. It is also believed that the Iranians did also hack into the servers. In addition to the classified information and the disclosure of sources and methods, the unclassified materials gave a clear picture of actions and intentions. So that damage is not only the classified material but also giving adversaries advanced tips as to US positions and  US fallback positions.

General David Petraeus made some of his classified notebooks  available to his biographer,Paula Broadwell. Ms.Broadwell held the required security clearances for this information… However she did not have the need to know. She did not utilize any of this information in her writings nor did she transmit this information to any third party either directly or indirectly.

Thus, Mrs. Clinton by making this information available to her staff who did not have a need to know and in many cases did not have the required level of clearance for the information is much more guilty of a serious transgression than was General Petraeus .

Attachment: Michael Morell: "Foreign governments have Hillary's email”  POLITICO Magazine. 

Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said that he believes some foreign intelligence agencies possess the contents of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. 
“I think that foreign intelligence services, the good ones, have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses,” Morell said Friday in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show. 

“I don’t think that was a very good judgment,” he added of Clinton’s decision to use the private server for official State Department business. “I don’t know who gave her that advice, but it was not good advice.”  

Monday, June 27, 2016

Boeing’s Man Pushed for the Iran Nuclear Deal—and Now the Company Is Selling $25 Billion Worth of Planes to Tehran
Boeing is grabbing headlines for its first-of-its-kind, $25 billion deal with Iran Air, Tehran’s state-owned airline.
But the American aerospace giant isn’t exactly publicizing the fact that it paid a lobbying firm to “monitor” the nuclear agreement that made its $25 billion sale to Tehran possible. Or that Boeing has on its payroll a former top Clinton administration official who used his clout to garner support in the corridors of powers for the Iran deal.
Thomas Pickering, one of the country’s most respected diplomats and a and former ambassador to Israel and the United Nations, has been quietly taking money from Boeing while vocally supporting the Iran nuclear deal—testifying before Congress, writing letters to high-level officials, and penning op-eds for outlets like The Washington Post.
Pickering confirmed via email—from his Boeing corporate email address—that he was on staff at the company from 2001 to 2006 and has been a paid consultant for them ever since.
“I was a Boeing employee from 1/2001 to 6/2006,” he emailed. “I was a direct consultant to Boeing from 7/2006 until 12/2015 when‎ contract for consulting was moved to Hills for my work.”
“Hills” refers to Hills & Company International Consultants, where Pickering is a principal. In a previous email, Pickering referred to his “contract arrangement with Boeing” in the present tense.
He didn’t respond to a follow-up email asking if he disclosed his relationship with Boeing when discussing Iran with members of Congress and with the press. The Daily Beast found no evidence that he made a habit of making such a disclosure, and will update this piece if we do.
News of the impending sale highlights just how much Boeing and Iran’s state-owned airline both stand to benefit from the nuclear agreement for which Pickering advocated. The fact that Pickering did not regularly disclose his relationship with Boeing—which, as is now obvious, had a massive financial interest in the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement—has drawn criticism from government transparency advocates, who consider it to be a violation of ethical standards.
Neil Gordon—an investigator for the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington watchdog organization—said Pickering should have been upfront about his work for Boeing when testifying before Congress on the deal and making the case for it in op-eds for major publications.
“In Pickering’s case, he has a direct connection to Boeing, which I think should be disclosed,” he said.
“I think it’s necessary for the public debate,” Gordon added. “It’s necessary for the public to fully realize the participants’ financial interests. Some of them might have a direct financial stake in a particular outcome.”
Boeing, he added, clearly had a financial interest in the Iran nuclear agreement. The deal reopened the door to American business dealings with Tehran, which time and again had looked to restock its aging fleet of planes with newer, Western models.
Gordon compared it to a controversy in 2013, when many think tank scholars and military experts arguing for a U.S. military presence in Syria didn’t disclose that they had financial ties to defense companies that stood to benefit from the intervention. Media outlets presented these commentators as independent, Gordon noted, when they weren’t. And, he added, Pickering’s situation is similar.
Over the past few years, Pickering has been one of the most vocal and visible advocates for the nuclear agreement with Iran. On June 19, 2014, he testified before the House Armed Services Committee about his views on the need for a comprehensive agreement with Iran. He did not mention Boeing in the disclosure form he provided to the committee prior to his testimony. Boeing also isn’t mentioned in his bio that the House kept on file.
Besides testifying before Congress, Pickering also signed a letter on July 7, 2015, to congressional leadership, along with other former diplomats, urging them to support the nuclear agreement. That letter didn’t disclose his connection to Boeing, and it drew broad media coverage, including from the Huffington Post, Politico, and the AP. None of those reports noted his work for Boeing. The White House also cited the letter in its publication “The Iran Nuclear Deal: What You Need to Know About the JCPOA.” Boeing is not mentioned anywhere in that document.
Rep. Mark Takai cited “hours discussing the matter with Amb. Thomas Pickering” in a press release announcing his support for the Iran deal, and Sen. Dick Durbin name-checked him in a Senate speech arguing for the deal.
Additionally, Pickering co-authored a Washington Post op-ed arguing that the deal “could help save Iraq”—and, of course, without disclosing his ties to Boeing. And he wrote an op-ed for Tablet on July 27, 2015, called “A Guide for the Perplexed: The Iran Nuclear Agreement” arguing for the deal. Again, no mention of Boeing. Tablet described him as a former diplomat—and not as a current consultant to a company that stood to make billions off the agreement.
His bio at the National Iranian American Council, which generally backs a cooling of tensions between Washington and Tehran and where he serves as an advisory board member, notes that he worked at Boeing until 2006 but does not note that he still consults for the company. Same for his bio at the anti-nuclear weapon group Global Zero. His bio at The Iran Project doesn’t mention Boeing at all.
Pickering wasn’t the only person on Boeing’s payroll who closely followed the Iran nuclear agreement. A lobbying report filed with the government on Oct. 19, 2015, shows the company paid Monument Policy Group LLC between $5,000 and $50,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2015, to do lobbying work on the agreement, as well as other issues. A separate report—accessible, like the first one, through a public database—shows Boeing spent between $5,000 and $4,956,000 lobbying from Oct. 10, 2015, through the end of that year. It lists “U.S.-Iran Relations” as an issue it worked on. The Washington Free Beacon noted these reports in a story published Jan. 29 of this year.
Tim Neale, a spokesman for Boeing, said the company did not take a position on or lobby for the Iran nuclear deal and the negotiations that preceded it.
“Monument Policy Group passively monitored congressional debate on the nuclear agreement for Boeing, but did not engage congressional offices on the agreement,” he added. “Our own lobbying activity in Q4 was in response to questions we were getting about the potential for airplane sales to Iran, plus misconceptions about the potential for Ex-Im Bank financing of such sales, which we felt were important to correct.”
Boeing’s decision to sell planes to Iran Air has already generated some controversy in Congress. Rep. Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican, wrote an editorial for USA Today promising to do everything he can to stop the deal from going through.
“Boeing says it must go wherever Airbus goes,” he wrote, citing the fact that the company’s European competitor recently signed a deal to sell planes to Iran Air. “But history is a merciless disciplinarian to those who make themselves complicit in evil because ‘someone else was doing it.’”
State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday that it “welcomes” Boeing’s plan to sell planes to Iran. And backers of the Iran deal say the sales are an integral part of realizing the promise of sanctions relief.
Trita Parsi—the president of the National Iranian American Council—said Boeing’s deep interest in the agreement didn’t surprise him. Nor did the company’s desire to keep a low profile on this issue.
“Obviously Boeing wants this deal with Iran, but it’s a tricky one,” he said. “It has a lot of political dimensions. That is something Boeing would probably prefer not to deal with.”
“Once the deal was approved, I’m not surprised that Boeing would step things up a little bit,” he said of the company’s additional lobbying in the months after the U.S. signed on to the Iran nuclear agreement.
Parsi also said Boeing could have drawn unwelcome criticism from the public and from Congress if it publicized its support for the nuclear agreement.
“I think more than anything else, they were trying to make sure they would put up some sort of buffer against too many members of Congress jumping on the train of condemning Boeing for doing something that it is now legal for them to do,” he said.
Parsi added that Boeing’s tentative agreement to sell planes to Iran Air will be critical to the success of the Iran nuclear agreement. If Boeing and Iran Air can finalize and successfully implement the multibillion-dollar sale, it will be easier for other American companies to do business with Iran, he said. On the other hand, if criticism from political leaders and the public makes completing the deal too politically costly for Boeing, then other companies will be unlikely to follow its lead. And if that happens, then Iran’s sanctions relief will be in word only—the country won’t benefit from the U.S. decision to lift some sanctions, and that could disincentivize its leaders from holding up their end of the agreement.

“If the Iranians end up de facto not getting sanctions relief, the deal will collapse,” he said. “That’s right now the biggest threat to the sustainability of the deal.”
Secret Order Allows Immigrants to Opt Out of Defending America
Ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo is blasting a "radical" Obama administration order allowing immigrants to opt out of a promise to defend America when they take an Oath of Allegiance to become naturalized citizens.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the changes July 21, 2015 – and Congress did nothing to stop it, the former Colorado lawmaker charges in a column for 

The USCIS website outlined the changes, declaring that: "Reciting the Oath is part of the naturalization process. Candidates for citizenship normally declare that they will 'bear arms on behalf of the United States' and 'perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States' when required by the law."

"A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection," it instructs.

Tancredo was livid about the change.

"The pledge to help defend America was good enough for the 6.6 million immigrants naturalized since 2005, and good enough for the over 15 million naturalized since 1980," he writes for Breitbart, citing figures from the USCIS.

"But Obama’s appointees at the USCIS think that is too much to ask of the 18.7 million estimated legal immigrants eligible today for eventual naturalization or the 750,000 who will be naturalized in the coming year."

He also charged Congress sat idly by while the change went into effect.

"This radical change was implemented while Congress slept," he writes. "Like other Obama actions to undermine our immigration laws, the Republican-controlled Congress has not used its constitutional powers to reverse the administrative action."

"Most Americans will think it extremely odd that the USCIS action with regard to the Oath of Allegiance is not illegal," he adds. 

"But the fact is, unelected bureaucrats at the USCIS can change the wording of the Oath without approval of the people’s representatives in Congress. Strange as it sounds, the law as it stands today allows USCIS bureaucrats great leeway in managing the Naturalization process, so Obama’s actions will not be challenged in federal court."

Tancredo decried that "so far, there is no indication that the Republican leadership" will do anything to change the situation.

"If they won’t even bar Islamic terrorists from the refugee program, why should we expect them to protect the Oath of Allegiance?" he writes. 

Obama Invites 18.7 Million Immigrants to Avoid Oath of Allegiance, Pledge to Defend America

It’s not only illegal aliens who are escaping enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.
Under the Obama administration’s expansive interpretation of executive authority,  legal immigrants seeking citizenship through the nation’s Naturalization process are now exempt from a key part of the Oath of Allegiance.
Immigrants seeking to become citizens no longer have to pledge to “bear arms on behalf of the United States.” They can opt out of that part of the Oath. Nor do they have to cite any specific religious belief that forbids them to perform military service.  
According to the Naturalization Fact Sheet on the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website, In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the nation welcomed 729,995 Legal Permanent Residents into full citizenship.
  • Over the past decade 6.6 million have been naturalized through a process that ends with the Oath of Allegiance.
  • In the decade 1980-1990, the average number completing Naturalization was only 220,000 annually, but from 1990 to 2000 that number jumped to over 500,000  annually.
  • 1,050,399  new citizens were welcomed in the year 2008.
  • 18.7 million immigrants are eligible to eventually become citizens, and 8.8 million already meet the 5-year residency requirement.
The pledge to help defend America was good enough for the 6.6 million immigrants naturalized since 2005 and good enough for the over 15 million naturalized since 1980, but Obama’s appointees at the USCIS think that is too much to ask of the 18.7 million estimated legal immigrants eligible today for eventual naturalization or the 750,000 who will be naturalized in the coming year.
This radical change was announced a year ago, in July of 2015. Congress did not enact the change in new legislation. There was no congressional debate, no filibuster in the US Senate, and no sit-in in the House to demand that a bill to repeal the USCIS action be brought to a vote.
No, this radical change was implemented while Congress slept. Like other Obama actions to undermine our immigration laws, the Republican-controlled Congress has not used its constitutional powers to reverse the administrative action. Thank God many states are stepping up to fill that void.
This week, the US Supreme Court let stand a federal district court ruling invalidating Obama’s unconstitutional “DAPA” amnesty.
By a 4-4 tie vote, the Supreme Court declined to review the Circuit Court’s ruling upholding the Houston district court decision. Therefore, it is now the law and Obama’s DAPA amnesty is voided. If Justice Scalia were still alive and participating in the case, it would have been a 5-4 ruling because the “swing vote,” Associate Justice Kennedy, voted with Justices Alito, Roberts and Thomas.
Where was Congress? Why did it take a lawsuit by the Governors and Attorneys General of 26 states to overturn Obama’s unconstitutional actions?
It’s true that other Presidents have made changes in the Naturalization process by administrative decree and without congressional approval. In 2002, in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attack, President George Bush by executive order expedited the naturalization process for 89,000 immigrants serving in the armed forces. While many will agree with Bush’s action and even applaud, that change should have been done by act of Congress, not a presidential executive order.
In fact, most Americans will think it extremely odd that the USCIS action with regard to the Oath of Allegiance is not illegal. But the fact is, unelected bureaucrats at the USCIS can change the wording of the Oath without approval of the people’s representatives in Congress. Strange as it sounds, the law as it stands today allows USCIS bureaucrats great leeway in managing the Naturalization process, so Obama’s actions will not be challenged in federal court.
Yet, in view of Obama’s actions, why doesn’t Congress change the law and take control of the Oath of Allegiance? So far, there is no indication that the Republican leadership will do so. If they won’t even bar Islamic terrorists from the refugee program, why should we expect them to protect the Oath of Allegiance? Some members of Congress will grumble, make speeches and issue press releases, but the Republican leadership will do nothing.

Such is the state of the nation as we approach this 240th anniversary of the  Declaration of Independence. Some Americans see great irony in the British declaring their independence from the tyranny of Brussels while Americans quietly accept the new tyranny of Washington, DC.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Discussion of the plan entitled “Security First”, proposed by “Commanders for Israel’s Security”, which claims to “Improve Israel’s Security and International Standing”….

 Imbecility squared – Part 2
By Martin Sherman 

With changing patterns of Arab enmity, the major challenge to Israel’s existence as the Jewish nation-state is no longer repulsing invasion, but resisting attrition

A comprehensive Israeli policy declaration [a]ccepting, in principle, the Arab Peace Initiative (API), with requisite adjustments to accommodate Israel’s security and demographic needs, as a basis for negotiation.

Key political measure in plan entitled “Security First”, proposed by “Commanders for Israel’s Security”, which claims to “Improve Israel’s Security and International Standing”.

The Arab Peace Initiative does not need changing or adjusting, it is on the table as is…Why should we change the Arab Peace Initiative? I believe that the argument the Arab Peace Initiative needs to be watered down in order to accommodate the Israelis is not the right approach. – Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Paris, June 3, 2016.

Last week I began a critical analysis of a plan put forward by a group calling itself “Commanders for Israel’s Security” (CIS) comprised of over 200 former senior officers/officials from the IDF and other security services. Part I

To recap briefly:

I argued that the plan, which purports to offer a formula “to extricate Israel from the current dead end and to improve its security situation and international standing”, is a deeply flawed policy prescription, both in terms of the political principles on which it is based and the practical details which it presents.  As such, it is highly unlikely to achieve the objectives it sets itself. Indeed, it is far more likely to precipitate precisely the opposite outcomes, exacerbating the very dangers it claims it will attenuate.

To recap briefly, the major political components which comprise the plan call for Israel to:

(a)  Proclaim, unilaterally, that it forgoes any claim to sovereignty beyond the yet-to-be completed security barrier, which, in large measure, coincides with the pre-1967 “Green Line”, adjusted to include several major settlement blocks adjacent to those lines; but,

(b)   Leave the IDF deployed there—until some “acceptable alternative security arrangement” is found – presumably the emergence of a yet-to-be located pliant Palestinian-Arab, who will pledge to recognize Israel as the Jewish nation-state; and

(c)    Embrace the Saudi Peace Plan–a.k.a. Arab Peace Initiative (API), subject to certain—but significantly, unspecified—changes which the Arabs/Saudis recently resolutely refused to consider.

Learning lesson of Gaza; ignoring lesson of South Lebanon

CIS claims (pp.28-29) that it has learnt the lesson of the unilateral Gaza disengagement, when the IDF evacuated the territory, allowing the Islamist Hamas to take over. Accordingly, their plan “calls for the IDF to remain in the West Bank and retain complete security control until a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians ushers in alternative concrete, sustainable security arrangements.”

So while CIS may indeed have learnt the lesson of Gaza 2005, it seems to have forgotten the lesson of Lebanon 2000.

Indeed, as I underscored last week, the combination of the first two elements—the forswearing of claims to sovereignty over Judea-Samaria, on the one hand; and the continued deployment of the IDF in that territory, on the other—replicate precisely the same conditions that prevailed in South Lebanon until the hasty retreat by the IDF in 2000.  This unbecoming flight was orchestrated by then-PM, former IDF chief of staff and Israel’s most decorated soldier, Ehud Barak, under intense pressure from Left-leaning civil society groups such as “Four Mothers”, to extricate the IDF from the “Lebanese mud” and “bring our boys back home”.  Thus abandoned to the control of Hezbollah, the area was swiftly converted into a formidable arsenal, bristling with weaponry capable of hitting almost all major Israeli cities.

Unsustainable political configuration

Today, after the poorly conducted military campaign by the mighty IDF against a lightly armed militia, left defiantly undefeated after five weeks of fighting, this arsenal has reportedly swelled almost ten-fold in quantity and improved immensely in terms of quality/precision.  Indeed, were not Hezbollah mercifully distracted by the need to support its erstwhile benefactor, the beleaguered Bashar Assad, it is far from implausible that this terrible stockpile would have already been unleashed against Israel.

For anyone with a modicum of foresight, it should be clear that CIS’s prescription of deploying the IDF for an indeterminate period in territory over which it lays no sovereign claim—and hence, by implication, acknowledges that others have such claims to it—creates an unsustainable political configuration, which sooner or later will generate irresistible pressure on Israel to evacuate it—leaving the country exposed to the very dangers the IDF deployment was intended to obviate.

Indeed, as pointed out last week, if implemented, CIS’s proposal would, in a stroke, convert Judea-Samaria from “disputed territory” to “occupied territory” and IDF from a “defense force” to an “occupying force”. Worse, it would do so by explicit admission from Israel itself.

Formula for open-ended occupation

Moreover, by conditioning the end of IDF deployment on the emergence of “a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians [which] ushers in alternative concrete, sustainable security arrangements”, what CIS is in fact promoting is a formula for open-ended occupation, whose duration is totally dependent on the Palestinian-Arabs.

After all, according to CIS’s plan “the IDF [is] to remain in the West Bank and retain complete security control”, until some suitable Palestinian  interlocutor appears, sufficiently pliant to satisfy Israel’s demands for said “permanent status agreement and concrete sustainable security arrangements”, but sufficiently robust to resist more radical domestic rivals, who oppose any such agreement/arrangements.

And what if such an interlocutor fails to emerge? Clearly, CIS’s plan prescribes persisting with the Israeli military presence in the territory because, as CIS itself concedes: “The situation on the West Bank require …continued deployment of the IDF until satisfactory security arrangements are put into place within the framework of a permanent status agreement”. 

Therefore all the Palestinian-Arabs need to do to ensnare the IDF in what will inevitably become the “West Bank mud”, an easy target for guerilla attacks by a recalcitrant population backed by armed Palestinian internal security services, is…well, nothing.  All they need to do is wait until mounting IDF casualties in a “foreign land” create increasing domestic pressure to “bring our boys back home”, and mounting international  impatience with open-ended “occupation” create growing external pressure, which make continued IDF deployment no longer tenable—and withdrawal becomes inevitable, without any “permanent settlement” or “concrete sustainable security arrangements”.

Renege or replace?

But even in the unlikely event that some Palestinian partner could be located, who agrees, in good faith, to conclude a permanent status agreement and implement acceptable security arrangements that allows the IDF to evacuate Judea-Samaria, how could Israel ensure this agreement will be honored and these arrangements maintained over time? Clearly it could not!

Once the IDF withdraws, Israel has no way of preventing its Palestinian co-signatories to any accord from reneging on their commitments—whether of their own volition, due to a change of heart, or under duress from extremist adversaries. Even more to the point, barring intimate involvement in intra-Palestinian politics, Israel has no way to ensure that their pliant peace-partner will not be replaced—whether by bullet or ballot—by far more inimical successors, probably  generously supported by foreign regimes, who repudiate their predecessors pledges. Indeed, it is more than likely that it would be precisely the “perfidious” deal struck with the “nefarious Zionist entity” that would be invoked as justification for the regime-change.

But whichever of these outcomes emerges in practice, Israel is likely to be confronted with a situation where it no longer has security control in Judea-Samaria and a hostile regime perched on the hills overlooking the runways of Ben-Gurion airport, adjacent to the trans-Israel highway, and within mortar range of the nation’s capital.

It would be intriguing, indeed, to learn how CIS members, given their cumulative 6,000 years of experience in Israel’s various security agencies, see this situation as one that would  achieve their plan’s principle goal: “to enhance personal and national security.”

Resisting attrition; not repulsing invasion 

To be fair, CIS do assure us that: The IDF [as] by far the most potent military force in the region… can provide effective security and address all challenges within … any future borderline as agreed-to by our government and endorsed by our people…”

But of course, the question is not only whether the IDF can secure the borders, but at what cost in terms of both resources and casualties (both military and civilian).

It is of course true that, for over four decades, Israel has not faced a tangible threat of large-scale invasion by conventional Arab forces. However, today, with the changing pattern of Arab enmity, the major challenge to Israel’s existence as the Jewish nation-state is no longer repulsing invasion, but resisting attrition.

The Arab stratagem is no longer the cataclysmic annihilation of the Jewish state, but the ongoing erosion of Jewish will to maintain the Jewish state, by making Jewish life in it unbearable – both physically and psychologically.

Attrition vs Invasion (cont.)

Of course, the looming specter of a nuclear Iran may, on the one hand, reinstate the cataclysmic approach; on the other, it may “merely” provide a protective umbrella under which attrition can continue with greater intensity – and impunity.

Indeed, one of the most explicit expressions of this attrition-oriented intent came from Yasser Arafat in Stockholm, in an address to Arab diplomats, barely a year after being awarded the Noble Peace Prize: “The PLO will now concentrate on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps…We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare… I have no use for Jews. They are and remain Jews…”  This overt admission of malice, echoed repeatedly elsewhere by other Palestinian-Arab spokespersons, should have removed any doubt as to what lay ahead.

Now, imagine if after forgoing sovereignty beyond the security barrier as per  CIS’s prescription, the IDF pulled out of Judea-Samaria –whether pursuant to some accord or a combination of domestic pressure and international chagrin. Imagine, if in the absence of any agreement or despite prior agreements, this territory falls—as it almost inevitably will—to the control of some radical regime with no commitment to any understandings—implicit or explicit—with the “Zionist entity” Imagine how much more ominous and onerous that attrition would be along the almost 800 km frontier, abutting Israel’s heavily populated coastal plain  and from the heights commanding its urban and commercial centers.

Capitulation masquerading as “initiative”

No less disturbing is CIS’s embrace of what is perversely called the “Arab Peace Initiative” (API), which prescribes: (a) Complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines including the Golan Heights (b) a “just solution” to the problem of Palestinian refugees, a clear allusion to the “Right of Return”; (c) the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state on “the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital”.

Alarmingly, on its website, CIS declares: “We believe that the government of Israel can and should formulate a regional initiative based on an appropriate response to the positive potential encapsulated in the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Sadly, the growing acceptance of the API does not, as CIS would have it, reflect faith in military strength but rather psychological weakness. It is not a sign of confidence but a symptom of resignation, even desperation. Indeed, its acceptance is driven by the fact that the API is the only thing that the Arabs do not reject. Thus, to reject the API is to admit the unpalatable truth that there exists no path to a mutually agreed resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Indeed, for all intents and purposes, the API is a document of capitulation. It reflects acquiescence to virtually all Arab demands that successive governments, over a decade and a half, have rejected as unacceptably hazardous. It forgoes virtually all the gains of the 1967 Six Day War, and imperils some of those of the 1948 War of Independence. Willingness to agree to it, even as a basis for negotiations, is a clear signal that every Israeli “No,” however emphatic initially, is in effect a “Maybe” and a potential “Yes” in the future.

Reservations rejected.

Apparently aware that, as currently formulated, the API is too pernicious to be approved by the Israeli public, CIS tries to preempt criticisms of its acceptance of the so called “peace initiative” by adding a proviso that it should be adjusted “to accommodate Israel’s security and demographic needs, as a basis for negotiation”.

But suggestions that “adjustments” might be made were rapidly and resolutely rejected by both the Saudis, who authored the initiative and the Arab League, who endorsed it. And why wouldn’t they? For as CIS’s proposal clearly shows, continued Arab intransigence is sure to engender further Israeli compliance …

To be continued.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tel Aviv Terror Attack Shatters Five Myths  Stephen M. Flatow   June 13th, 2016

The June 8 terrorist massacre in Tel Aviv exposed all five of the major myths that cloud discussions of Israel and the Palestinians.

Myth #1: “The problem is the settlements”
This was not a massacre of “settlers.” The attack did not take place in some disputed territory. Nobody can claim that the victims “provoked” the violence by living in some predominantly Arab area. These were people drinking coffee in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Myth #2: “It was a reaction to the occupation”
The attackers are residents of the village of Yatta. The Israeli occupation of Yatta ended when Israeli troops withdrew from the territories where 98 percent of the Palestinians reside in late 1995. Yatta has been under the rule of the Palestinian Authority for nearly 21 years.
Although Israel’s critics continue to falsely claim that the Palestinians live under “Israeli occupation,” the Israeli public knows better. The Israel Democracy Institute/Tel Aviv University monthly Peace Index survey for May 2016 found 71.7 percent of Israeli Jews say it is wrong to categorize Israel’s status in the territories (it rules the areas where Jews reside) as “occupation.”

Myth #3: “The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) never calls such attacks “terrorism,” and always brackets the attacks on Israelis together with Israeli actions against terrorists, thereby justifying the attacks on Israelis. Its response to the Tel Aviv massacre was no different. It declared: “We condemn violence and attacks against civilians on both sides, whatever the justification.” The PA “not only condemned the attack in south Tel Aviv early on Monday morning, but also the recent Israel Defense Forces strikes on Gaza, and attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank and in Jerusalem,” according to Israel’s Channel 10 television network.

Fatah, which is chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, explicitly defended the massacre. According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Fatah issued a statement calling the attack “a natural response” to Israeli actions.
Fatah media committee head Munir al-Jaghoub explained, “Israel must realize the consequences of its persistence to push violence, house demolition policies, forced displacement of Palestinians, raids by Israeli settlers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and the cold-blooded killing of Palestinians at checkpoints.”
That’s the equivalent of the Democratic Party defending the San Bernardino massacre of 2015. Imagine U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), head of the Democratic National Committee, saying the killings in southern California were the “consequences” of President Barack Obama sending drones to carry out the “cold-blooded killing” of al-Qaeda members.

Myth #4: “Ordinary Palestinians are against terrorism”
Israel Hayom reports that, “In Ramallah, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Jenin, and other cities, people danced in the streets, set off fireworks, and handed out treats while praising the attacks.” When the PA’s schools, newspapers, television stations constantly praise terrorists as “heroes” and “martyrs,” it is no wonder ordinary Palestinians have come to feel the same way.

The cities where the celebrations took place would be the heart of a future Palestinian state. They are just a few miles down the road from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Can those who celebrate massacres be trusted with a sovereign, independent state next door to Israel?

Myth #5: “The major American news outlets are staffed by objective, professionally trained journalists; if their coverage of Israel is unflattering, that’s because of Israel’s own policies, not because of media bias”
CNN’s Twitter announcement of the attack put the word “terrorists” in quotation marks, stating, “Two ‘terrorists’ captured after Tel Aviv attack, Israeli police spokesman tweets.” The Washington Post’s correspondents in Israel, William Booth and Ruth Eglash, exhibited the same bias. They described the terrorists as “gunmen,” “assailants,” and “attackers”—but never as terrorists, and only indirectly as Palestinians. And the headline-writers at Washington Post headquarters came up with this gem: “4 Killed in Tel Aviv Market Shooting that Officials Labeled Terrorist Attack.”

Perhaps copies of the Washington Post should bear labels of their own: “Warning: The reporting in this newspaper may be hazardous to the truth. It is often slanted for the purpose of protecting the Palestinian cause against criticism.”

About the Author: Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

Friday, June 10, 2016

In the aftermath of yesterday’s terrorist atrocity at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market that left four Jews dead, some Israelis, as well as some of their foreign friends and critics, sought to try to make sense of the crime. Why do Palestinians seek to murder random Israelis sitting in cafes? And, as is often the case with such ruminations, the impulse to blame the victims—the people of Israel who are targeted by terrorists—was irresistible. Ron Huldai, the city’s leftist mayor and a former general, claimed the real culprit was the “occupation.” For him, the Israeli presence in the West Bank creates terrorism because Israel is the only country in the world that rules territory where others live and no one has taken a step toward peace. Both of those statements were risible falsehoods, but the real answer for the crime came from the Palestinians.

Rather than being horrified by the cold-blooded murders of innocents carried out in their names, spontaneous Arab demonstrations of joy about the killings broke out in various places in the West Bank and even in Jerusalem. On social media, the slaughter was celebrated with hashtags like #RamadanOperation. A Palestinian anchor on Al Jazeera television crowed that the terrorist attack was “the best answer to stories about the peace process.”

Palestinian leadership also responded according to form. Hamas openly celebrated the attacks, prompting a comical reaction from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed shock that a terrorist group would think that terrorism was a good thing. The Palestinian Authority issued a cryptic statement that said it “rejected” attacks against civilians, a stance consistent with their policy of posing as an opponent of terror when speaking to the West while signaling Palestinians that they approve it. The ruling Fatah Party’s Twitter account said Israel “was reaping the repercussions” of its policies toward the Palestinians. Moreover, we know the two terrorists who are now in custody will be paid pensions by the PA; the same as they do for all others who commit acts of terrorism. Sooner or later, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will also demand their release, the same as he does for other terrorists. The pair will doubtlessly be lauded as “heroes” by the official PA media and eventually some public place will be named for them to honor their bloody deed.

On its face, this is counterintuitive. The two killers did the Palestinian cause no good. Such acts don’t make the international community more willing to waste time promoting Palestinian statehood. By striking at Jews in Tel Aviv rather than at soldiers or West Bank settlers—a group that many critics of Israel think deserve to be targeted for terror—the pair reminded the world that the goal of the Palestinians isn’t two states or merely getting Israel out of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Both Hamas and the supposedly moderate Abbas are open about their belief that all of Israel, including cosmopolitan and liberal Tel Aviv, where many people would be only too happy to celebrate the creation of a Palestinian state, is “occupied” territory. But Palestinians don’t lament this blot on their cause and national honor. To the contrary, they think this crime, like others committed against Jews, is a laudable act.

Israelis like Huldai and many others look at this awful situation and think that there must be some logical explanation or rational way out of the mess. They believe Israel must be able to do something to solve the problem. The “status quo” cannot continue, they say, but the awful truth is that it can because the alternative is the creation of another Gaza-like Palestinian state in the West Bank that would make terrorist murders like yesterday’s atrocity even more commonplace.

Let’s backtrack for a moment and note for the record that the idea that Israel’s position in the West Bank is unique is absurd. There are up to 200 territorial disputes in the world in which nations argue about sovereignty over land. What’s different about this one is that the international media treats the Palestinians as if they are the only ones in the world with a valid complaint about their situation because their opponents are Jews. But the really unique element in the conflict is the fact that Israel is the only country in the world that is marked for complete elimination by its adversaries. No other people in the world are considered to be unworthy of a national home or the right of self-defense in the way that the Jewish state is singled out for such treatment.

Moreover, the idea that Israel hasn’t tried “to take a step toward some kind of agreement,” as Huldai foolishly said, is equally ludicrous. In 2000, 2001, and 2008, the Palestinians were offered a state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem and their answer was “no” each time. Since then, they have refused to negotiate seriously with Israel and failed to take advantage of the fact that even the supposedly right-wing Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted a two-state solution and offered withdrawals from the West Bank.

It must also be pointed out that, in 2005, Israel withdrew every soldier, settler, and settlement from Gaza. Instead of progress toward peace, that led to the establishment of a Hamas-run independent Palestinian state in all but name that operates as one large launching pad for terrorism. The prospect that a similar withdrawal from the larger and more strategic West Bank would repeat that experiment is why a majority of Israelis continue to re-elect Netanyahu rather than members of Huldai’s party and regard advocacy for more retreats as not so much mistaken as insane.

The status quo has continued not because more houses or apartments are being built in existing Jewish communities in the West Bank or Jerusalem (almost all of which are in places that peace processers conceded would remain in Israeli hands even if there were an agreement with the Palestinians). Nor does it continue because hard-hearted men who don’t want peace lead Israel. If Palestinians wanted a two-state solution, they could have had one many years ago. They refuse because the price of Israeli acceptance of a Palestinian state is Palestinian acceptance of the legitimacy of a Jewish state alongside it no matter where its borders might be drawn. And that price remains too high for any Palestinian leader or the Palestinian public to accept.

Terrorism against Jews didn’t begin in June 1967. The Palestinians have been waging a century-long war on Zionism and that struggle has become inextricably linked with their sense of national identity. That’s why they cheer people who commit indiscriminate murder against Jews and call them heroes. They were doing that long before the Six Day War, let alone the two intifadas, and it is not illogical to suppose they would continue to do so even if Israel were so foolish as to withdraw its forces from the West Bank as it did in Gaza.

While some Israelis search their souls in vain for enough guilt about winning wars launched against them that would have ended the “occupation” of Tel Aviv, this is a futile quest. The status quo will change when the Palestinians stop thinking of people who kill random Jews as heroes and when they are ready to accept peace with the Jewish state.

That is why it is important that the world react to crimes such as yesterday’s murders by avoiding statements calling on both sides to show restraint or use it as an excuse for more pressure on Israel to make concessions. For too long, Palestinians have been led to believe that they could prevail against Israel if they had enough patience or were willing to shed more blood. When a sea change in the political culture of the Palestinians makes a change in their thinking possible, they will find Israelis willing to accept a deal. Until then, they will continue cheering terrorists and doom themselves to pursuing a hopeless effort to eliminate Israel that keeps a status quo neither side wants in place.