http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2013/11/how-american-woman-escaped-her-gaza.html?fb_action_ids=582318835137657&fb_From USA Today: Gunfire cracked all around Sara Rogers as she climbed to the roof of her high-rise home in Gaza. The year was 2005, and Israeli soldiers were fighting Palestinian gunmen to stop rocket attacks and destroy smuggling tunnels. Rogers closed her eyes. “Just let one hit me in the head,” she begged. “And make […]
History-altering events don’t always burst dramatically onto our scene. Sometimes they sneak in surreptitiously and we barely detect that something significant has been kick-started.
Thus most of us hardly noticed the renewed buzz about convening a conference on creating a Middle East Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (MENWFZ). Yet again – the bloodshed of the misnamed Arab Spring notwithstanding – Arab regimes, with Egypt at the lead, are pushing hard for an international focus on Israel’s purported nuclear power.
This was amplified by reports that that representatives of several Arab states met with Israeli officials last month in Glion, Switzerland, to set the groundwork for a conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Official Israel hadn’t confirmed that the Glion get-together indeed took place but, more notably, it hasn’t denied it either. If true, this overlooked event is a milestone one – the first time that Israeli and Arab delegates have consented to discuss WMDs. Is this a positive development?
It might be just a minor Israeli goodwill gesture or a new small step in a big glitch – the first Israeli retreat from decades of refusal to accede to Arab demands that the Jewish State, rather than its would-be annihilators, be denied nonconventional munitions.
The Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” have reportedly hit a rough patch. The talks on Tuesday were said to have “ended in a row, with raised voices and the exchange of verbal insults.”
It started last week when Israel released the second batch of Palestinian security prisoners, all of whom were serving time for murder or attempted murder. They were welcomed as heroes in Ramallah. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas shook each freed prisoner’s hand, and they were awarded generous cash grants on top of the stipends they already receive.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to allay outrage particularly on the more right-leaning side of his coalition, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the building of 3500 housing units for Israelis—all of them either in East Jerusalem or West Bank (Judea and Samaria) settlement blocs. Several Israeli officials claimed the Palestinian side had already consented to such construction as a quid pro quo for the prisoner releases.
Tuesday’s dustup in the talks was said to have erupted over that issue. The Palestinian negotiators claimed their side had never agreed to such a quid pro quo and slammed the construction itself. Many reports said the talks on the whole were on the verge of collapse.
A few hours later, on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry arrived in Israel in an effort to salvage the situation.
He lost no time taking the Palestinian side.
For one thing, he claimed that “at no time” had the Palestinians consented to any Israeli building beyond the 1949 armistice lines—even, it was implied, as a concession in return for Israel’s wholesale freeing of terrorists.
Kerry also stated, immediately after discussions with Abbas: “Let me emphasize at this point the position of the United States of America on the settlements is that we consider them…to be illegitimate.”
he continuing attention devoted to the blunders, incompetence, and lies surrounding the Obamacare rollout is much deserved. But we shouldn’t forget that the President’s health-care monstrosity is merely the latest and biggest of scores of government entitlement programs suffering from the same flawed progressive assumption––that government “experts” armed with coercive power alone can solve problems better left to the states, civil society, and the free market. In reality, such programs relentlessly metastasize, increasing as well fraud, waste, abuse, and costs.
One such program is SNAP, the kinder and gentler name for what we used to call food stamps. Apparently the old coupons were too hurtful, so they have been replaced by the Electronic Benefits Transfer card that looks like a debit or credit card. Over the last decade, SNAP recipients have increased from 21 million to 47 million, 1 in 7 Americans. But benefits paid out have nearly quadrupled from $21 billion to $75 billion. This total, by the way, doesn’t count the $7.2 billion spent on the Women Infants and Children program that also provides taxpayer-funded food. And don’t forget the other costs of the program, which tack on another nearly $4 billion. Part of this expansion reflects Obama’s relaxation of work and income requirements, and the increase of benefits by 13.6% as part of the 2009 stimulus bill (that increase expired on November 1). Worse yet, some speculate that Obamacare, by expanding the number of people eligible for Medicaid, might further increase the number of SNAP recipients by 3%-5%.
President Obama hasn’t just been hollowing out the military since taking office, he’s been gutting it, purging it of ideologically hostile personnel, and fundamentally transforming it into something other than a war-fighting force, military experts say.
Although few with military ties are willing to say it openly, it seems the administration is leading an orchestrated effort to seriously undermine the readiness of the military. Some reports indicate that Obama has purged 197 senior military officers since moving into the White House and that many of the retired officers have been harassed at their new civilian jobs for criticizing the president’s policies. The effects of these purges will be felt long after Obama leaves office.
This is, of course, the same through-the-looking-glass administration that goes out of its way not to label actual Islamic terrorists as terrorists, that calls terrorist attacks “man-caused disasters,” and refers to the Global War on Terror as the “Overseas Contingency Operation.”
A retired senior military officer and combat veteran who remains involved in national security affairs, told FrontPage in an interview that President Obama is involved in social engineering of the United States military.
“Having women in combat is bad,” he said. “It is changing the social complexion of the infantry and we now have this epidemic of sexual assaults.”
Soldiers are told not to be mean to gays, he said. “Do you really think the individuals who are joining the all-volunteer force will be joining to pull triggers or to get sensitivity training?”
The former officer said that President Obama is getting rid of experienced war fighters for no apparent reason.
There is a fundamental difference between economists and lawyers (or legal scholars) when it comes to resolving complex social and economic problems. Economists believe that human behavior and the functioning of institutions are based upon incentives. Lawyers and legal types believe that one can resolve complex problems by passing laws and imposing regulations. The latter think one can legislate away the problem.
I like to describe the approach by lawyer-types to such problems as “rain laws.” They are like trying to resolve the problem of flooding from heavy rainfall by means of a law making it illegal for it to rain. Or solving droughts by passing a mandate that it must rain. Making global warming illegal is a pretty close runner-up idea. An example of a rain law in the area of health care would be to solve shortages, health care inflation, and inadequate coverage by passing a law making it illegal for people to get sick. A second example would be Obamacare.The entire matter of Obamacare is so complex that most people have lost sight of the fundamental problems within it and especially its rain law aspects. Instead, the media and much of the public are concentrating on tangential matters, like whether or not the software on the Obamacare web sites is functioning properly.
Via The Hill:
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday pledged another $75 million to help Palestinians build roads and schools as an incentive to pursue peace talks with Israel.
Kerry announced the aid during a stop in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Wednesday’s announcement brings the total U.S. contribution to the Palestinian Authority’s High Impact Micro-Infrastructure Initiative program to $100 million.
“HIMII projects will create jobs and fund infrastructure projects throughout the West Bank including the construction and repair of health clinics, roads, water systems, community centers, and schools,” the State Department said in a press statement. “The HIMII is designed to show tangible benefits to the lives of Palestinians as negotiations advance and lay the groundwork for further economic growth.”
Kerry’s visit comes as peace talks that he helped kickstart three months ago are already faltering amid Palestinian complaints that Israel is still pushing forward with settlement construction in the occupied territories. President Obama has given Kerry nine months to try to strike a deal.
Infamously, as is well-known, the pro-BDS Methodist Church in Britain (a dying church hijacked by leftists) posted some weeks ago a survey regarding BDS that has caused considerable controversy. (See a summary and the link on our old pro-Boycott pal Richard Hall’s blog here.)
Among those who took the opportunity to respond was pro-Israel Nick Gray of the UK-based Christian Middle East Watch (see here).
Now, in an absolute corker of an “open letter” to the Methodist Church’s Peter Tidey, American Christian scholar and pro-Israel advocate Dexter Van Zile characterises the survey’s fourteen questions as the products of a “kangaroo court” since
‘A quick perusal of the questions indicates that the church has already concluded that Israel is solely responsible for the continued existence of the Mideast conflict, and that the Palestinians (and their Arab supporters) bear no responsibility.’
Van Zile goes on:
“Despite my misgivings, I decided to respond to your survey.
…. I am responding as a Christian who has grown disgusted with the monomaniacal focus of so-called peace and human rights activists in the West, who have hijacked church bureaucracies in their campaign to demonize Israel.
Below are my responses to your church’s interrogatories.
Question One: What do you understand to be the motivation/inspiration behind the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in relation to Israel?
The BDS campaign has, as intended by its organizers, proven to be a powerful vehicle in the effort to enlist people to the demonization and de-legitimization of the Jewish State, which represents the gold standard for human rights in the Middle East.
Israel treats its enemies, dissidents, minorities, and its own citizens with far greater humanity and respect than any other country, regime, or political movement in the region and yet it is the country that is being targeted by BDS activists both inside and outside the Methodist Church in England. Anti-semitism is clearly part of the equation in the BDS movement.
In Britain, Lobbyists Demonise “The” Lobby
The graphic below, boasting of the growing economic clout of Muslims in Britain, comes from this recent press release by the Muslim Council of Britain.
But it is not only in the economic field that Islamic influence is gaining ground.
Far outnumbering the Jewish community, and accordingly wielding a much greater number of votes at election time, Muslims in Britain also have a growing political influence that inevitably threatens to have a deleterious impact upon UK government policy towards Israel.
We glimpse this growing political clout in the publication of a new report, to be launched at the House of Commons this evening by a Lib Dem MP, Sir Bob Russell, who, as glimpsed here, has a history of denigrating Israel.
To quote from the website of its sponsors, the report in question (entitled “Giving Peace A Chance”)
“looks at how BICOM [the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre]has worked within the Zionist community in the UK to support Israel’s interests. The report looks at how the organisation has worked to ferment support for Israel within British political and media circles, from providing briefings to taking delegations to the region. The report explores how serious the pro-Israel lobby is about seeking peace in the region, particularly in the post-Oslo context.”
The report was funded by Middle East Monitor (MEMO), whose director, Caribbean-born Dr Daud Abdullah, is a longtime senior researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre in London and editor of its journal. From 2003-6 he was assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
http://www.nationalreview.com/node/363328/print With a rueful eye on the local mayoral election, my colleague Charles C. W. Cooke noted: “I’m moving out of New York City in three weeks. Good timing.” I had had similar thoughts myself, remembering my time commuting in to Buckley Towers in Manhattan from nearby Connecticut. (You know who most misses the much-lamented […]