Gaza 'closer than ever' to splitting from 'Palestinian Authority'
In a Tuesday speech, PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed-Rabbo whined that Gaza is 'closer than ever' to splitting from the 'Palestinian Authority' and of course he blamed Israel
Referring to the ongoing dispute between Fatah and Hamas, PLO
Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the “danger of the split
between the Gaza Strip and West Bank has increased in light of failure
to end the dispute.”
Speaking at a seminar in Ramallah organized
by the Palestinian Peace Coalition group, Abed Rabbo claimed that
Israel has for many years been seeking to separate the West Bank from
the Gaza Strip “by sowing seeds of division” among Palestinians.
“Israel is today close to achieving its goal,” Abed Rabbo said.
And I thought they split in 2007 when Hamas kicked Fatah and the 'Palestinian Authority' out of Gaza.... Silly me....
Labels: Gaza, Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Yasser Abed Rabbo
It may have been a rocket - will the IDF respond?
It is now being reported that what was fired from Gaza on Israel around 6:30 this evening was a rocket and not a mortar
There have been mixed reports on the precise nature of the projectile fired, with Channel 10 saying
the attack was a mortar shell as opposed to a rocket; likewise, IDF
spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner labeled it a mortar shell on the
IDF's official Twitter feed. However, nearly all other major Israeli media sources have identified it as a rocket attack.
As is usually the case outside of an official operation, Hamas is claiming that it did not do it.
The Hamas terrorist organization claimed Tuesday night that it had
nothing to do with the rocket attack, saying it remains committed to the
ceasefire. Hamas breached numerous ceasefires during Operation
Protective Edge, as well as over the course of recent years.
"The Palestinian factions are committed to the truce," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "We want it to continue."
He questioned whether the attack as reported by Israel had in fact
taken place. "There is no evidence that there was mortar fire from the
Gaza Strip," he said.
Politicians on the right say Israel must respond in order to avoid a deterioration in the situation.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) spoke out after the attack, saying "we must
not compromise with terror, we should have subdued Hamas during
Operation Protective Edge because terror doesn't change its face."
"Now we must respond with strength in response to the fire for the
sake of deterrence and for the sake of the faith residents of the south
gave to the leadership which said there will be quiet for a long time,"
The former deputy defense minister, who has been critical of
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his management of the operation,
added "only 21 days have past and we're returning to the trickle of
terror from the Gaza Belt. Self-restraint now signals acceptance of the
The attack came hours after Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon predicted that Hamas would not renew its terror attacks on Israel on September 25 if an agreement - which appears unlikely - is not in place. Hmmm.
In the meantime, Yaalon is being slammed by MK's from the Jewish Home party for dismissing an IDF officer - alleged to be former IDF chief rabbi Avichai Ronsky
- for leaking information to Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett
"Hamas fired a multi-rocket salvo in honor of the agreement to reconstruct Gaza.
But the defense minister is busy hazing (former IDF Chief) Rabbi
(Avichai) Ronski and slandering Minister Bennett," wrote [Jewish Home party MK Orit] Struk, noting a
dispute over information Bennett reportedly used to attack top IDF
brass in Security Cabinet meetings.
While Ronski was identified in reports as being the suspected source of the leaks who was later dismissed, he told Arutz Sheva on
Tuesday that he did not pass any materials to Bennett, has not heard
anything of the dismissal - and indeed still is scheduled to perform
reserve duty next month.
Not responding to this rocket fire from Gaza would be a terrible mistake and would invite a creeping escalation of the rocket fire from Gaza - as has happened after the end of every other operation. Will the government authorize the IDF to respond? I would guess that we will know the answer to that question before the sun is up in Israel on Wednesday morning - about seven hours from now.
Labels: cease fire, Gaza, Hamas, Hamas rockets, IDF, Jewish Home party, mortar shells, Moshe Yaalon, Naftali Bennett, Operation Protective Edge
It's come to this: Hamas may have no choice but to negotiate with the 'occupation'
Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk tells Hamas' al-Aqsa television that Hamas may have no choice but to negotiate with the 'occupation'... because the people of Gaza insist on it.
Let's go to the videotape.
If we'd taken Hamas out altogether, maybe the people of Gaza would actually approve. Who says there's no military solution to terrorism?
Labels: Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Mousa Abu Marzouk, Operation Protective Edge, Palestinian terrorism
Breaking: Mortar round shot from Gaza UPDATED
Just received an email from someone in Israel telling me that Channel 1 television has confirmed that terrorists have shot a mortar round from Gaza at Israel. That's the first breach of the cease fire since it went into effect a few weeks ago.
UPDATE 1:48 PM BOSTON TIME
JPost has more details
A Palestinian shell fired from Gaza landed in Israeli territory, near
the southern border on Tuesday evening. There were no injuries or
damages in the attack, which occurred in the region between Eshkol and
It was the first mortar or rocket attack from the
Gaza Strip since August 26, when a truce went into effect between Hamas
and Israel after 50 days of conflict.
Here's hoping we retaliate harshly. Otherwise, we will creep back to the situation we were in before Operation Protective Edge.
Labels: cease fire, Gaza, Hamas, mortar shells, Palestinian terrorism
Report: Israel and 'Palestinians' reach deal over Gaza construction materials
United Nations envoy Robert Serry says that Israel and the 'Palestinians' have reached a deal over the passage of construction materials
into Gaza (Hat Tip: Gershon D
Serry told the U.N. Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal "to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through U.N. monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose."
Defense Minister Yaalon has warned that if the materials are used for building terror tunnels, the transfers will stop immediately
"Building materials and reconstruction equipment will enter the Gaza
Strip through a mechanism that Coordinator of the
Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav
Mordechai is building, together the with UN envoy Robert Serry and the
Palestinian Authority," Ya'alon added.
But the defense minister warned that "if those materials are
transferred to building tunnels - the transfer will stop immediately."
Of course, the terror tunnels were built from materials that Israel allowed in after the last two Gaza operations (Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense) in 2006 and 2008-09, respectively, and either the IDF didn't pick up on it or decided that they could not stop the materials from being diverted. Why will this time be different? What could go wrong?
Labels: Gaza, Gaza construction, Hamas, Moshe Yaalon, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, Operation Protective Edge, Robert Serry, terror tunnels
Bill Clinton bashes Netanyahu on camera, says he has to be forced to make peace
Good morning from Boston.
Something tells me that Bill Clinton isn't too crazy about the idea of his wife Hillary becoming President. On Sunday, he based Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on camera, straying from his wife's false pro-Israel line.
It came at the end of a three-hour fifteen-minute C-Span coverage of Clinton's attendance at Sunday's Iowa steak fry with Senator Tom Harkin (D).
If we don’t force him to have peace, we won’t have peace … Netanyahu is not the guy,” a pro-'Palestinian' activist told the ex-president. I agree with that,” Clinton clearly replied, apparently unaware his remarks were being recorded. Then he bragged about getting Ehud Barak to give Arafat everything he wanted, including Jerusalem.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jack W
Much more from Yid with Lid (including a transcript if you, like me could not get the sound to work) here
I have reported in the past that Hillary Clinton is an anti-Semite
. I guess she has now won Bill over.
Labels: Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, Hillary Clinton, US presidential campaign 2016, Yasser Arafat
And yes, I am on my way to Boston again....
Should be there by mid-afternoon Boston time.
Labels: Boston, personal stuff
'Palestinians' seethe: The world is ignoring them because of Islamic State
The 'Palestinians' are seething
because the world is ignoring them in favor of the Islamic State terror organization.
The Palestinian Authority has expressed concern that the international coalition against Islamic State would divert attention from the Palestinian issue.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah over the weekend to discuss the US efforts to form a coalition to fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Following the meeting, the Palestinian leaders said the “international campaign against terrorism was currently lacking a political dimension that would address the issues of the region.”
They also warned that the campaign did not deal with the “core and central issue, which is the Palestinian cause, so that it would be able to dry up the sources that feed terrorism and extremism.”
The Palestinian leaders called on Arab, regional and international parties to insist on linking their anti-terrorism campaign to a political dimension and not to focus solely on military and security aspects.
I know that much of the 'international community' mouths the platitude that the 'Palestinian problem' is central to anything and everything that goes on in the world. But does anyone actually believe it? Does anyone really think that if there were a 'Palestinian state,' Islamic State would go away?
Labels: Islamic State, Palestinian Authority
Reid breaks with Obama, says Hamas and Islamic State are the same
Greetings from Madrid Barajas Airport.
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has broken with President Hussein Obama, calling out the 'stunning hypocrisy
' of condemning Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and not Hamas.
Reid’s speech to the Senate was made last Thursday but excerpts were published Sunday by JNS.
According to the report, Reid affirmed U.S. support for Israel,
calling the failure to condemn Hamas as one would condemn the Islamic
State group "stunning hypocrisy."
"Hamas and IS are both vicious, corrupt, hateful, evil groups. And
both are extreme. Yet, for some reason, Hamas' brutality doesn’t elicit
the same horror from the international community as ISIS. How can that
be?" Reid wondered as he addressed the Senate.
He added that one of the few differences between Islamic State and
Hamas is the latter's narrow focus on one single objective -- the
destruction of Israel.
"Consider its actions over the past several months: Hamas raided its
own limited supplies for housing and general infrastructure, intended to
repair the destruction that occurred during the last conflict they
initiated. But Hamas instead used the stolen materials to build tunnels
to hide and infiltrate Israel -- infiltrating to kill, maim, kidnap and
murder the innocent. These depraved agitators launched thousands of
rockets into Israel, hoping to inflict death and destruction. Their
rockets had no aiming capabilities -- they fired indiscriminately, not
caring whether they hit a child, a family or anyone," he said.
During Operation Protective Edge, Reid's party's leaders - President Hussein Obama and Secretary of State Kerry - sought to replace Egypt with Qatar and Turkey as 'mediators' with Israel because the latter two are closely connected to Hamas.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Hamas, Harry Reid, ISIS, Islamic State, Islamic terrorism, John Kerry, United States Senate
Today is a travel day....
Today is a travel day - my flight boards in a few minutes. The airport is much more crowded than the picture above.
More when and if I am able to access the internet.
Labels: personal stuff, travel
Join the Get Well Mandy thunderclap!
Labels: Legal Insurrection
The most amazing TEDTalk you have ever heard
If you’re raised on dogma and hate, can you choose a different path? Zak
Ebrahim was just seven years old when his father helped plan the 1993
World Trade Center bombing. His story is shocking, powerful, and
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the
best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's
leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes
(or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design --
plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate
Let's go to the videotape.
Labels: Islamic terrorism, Rabbi Meir Kahane
When the shoe was on William Schabas' other foot
William Schabas has been asked to recuse himself from chairing the United Nations 'human rights council's 'commission of inquiry' into Operation Protective Edge because of comments that show he has prejudged the outcome
Schabas has mocked attempts to unseat him as commission chair, telling
an Arab newspaper that “even if Spider-Man were appointed to head the commission they would attack him.
UN Watch reports that when Schabas was in the dock himself - as the President of the militant Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) back in 1974 at the University of Toronto, he had a far different viewpoint
What is particularly ironic, however, is that, according to a decision of the Ontario Divisional Court (Re Schabas et al. and Caput of the University of Toronto et al.), Schabas tried to disqualify the entire panel hearing his case by arguing that they were biased.
The court rejected Schabas’ claims, finding “no evidence whatsoever to support a reasonable apprehension” of bias.
Yes, of course, Schabas was only a doctoral student, and no one
should be held to account for all their university indiscretions.
But there is simply no justification for Schabas to continue to
refuse to give a legal response to the very genuine allegations of bias,
or the reasonable apprehension thereof, on his part.
I'm shocked at his hypocrisy. Just totally shocked..... (NOT!).
Labels: Operation Protective Edge, United Nations Human Rights Council, William Schabas
PA finance minister paid thousands to designated terrorist while working at Arab Bank
Under cross-examination in the Arab Bank terror financing trial in New York, 'Palestinian Authority Finance Minister' Shukri Bishara, the former chief executive officer of the Arab Bank, has admitted that he knowingly paid thousands of dollars to designated Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan while employed by the bank
Under cross examination by counsel for the plaintiffs Mark Werbner, Bishara’s tone changed from gregarious to acrimonious. A heated exchange took place when Werbner asserted that Bishara had released funds from a bank account belonging to senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan.
“You gave this terrorist $8,000, the man who moves weapons and explosives,” Werbner stated. “You had no other choice than to give this terrorist $8,000?” “My concern was to get rid of the account,” Bishara explained, having admitted he knew Hamdan was on the US terrorist blacklist at the time. “There was simply no way” to close the account without a court order or Hamdan being designated a terrorist by Lebanon, he said.
Defense lawyers say the so-called “Beirut account” was first brought to the bank’s attention in 2004 by this lawsuit. After waiting five or six months to find another solution, Bishara said, the Arab Bank ultimately cut a check to Hamdan and closed the account.
This fund transfer has burdened the bank’s main defense, which was that most transfers were made to those who were not on any US watch list at the time.
Of course there was 'another solution.' They could have gotten the court order. Or they could have held the money.
Here's hoping that Arab Bank is barred from using the US banking system. Other countries' banks have been threatened for far less harmful actions.
Labels: Arab Bank, designated terror organization, Hamas, Osama Hamdan, terror funding
Israel to US: 'If ISIS reaches Jordan, we will act'
President Hussein Obama may not know what to do with ISIS, but Channel 2 reports that Israel has told him in no uncertain terms that if ISIS reaches Jordan, Israel will act
The TV report did not specify what actions
Israel might take if Islamic State started impacting upon Jordan, but
Israel is wary of its eastern neighbor being challenged by the brutal
terror group, and would seek to guard against further inroads that would
directly threaten Israel.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, ISIS, Jordan
What a surprise! ISIS outflanks Obama
Jennifer Dyer has an important and lengthy post on how President Obama's 'strategy' for stopping ISIS crumbled
between his White House speech on Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. Some excerpts....
ISIS is busy neutralizing the Syrian factions that might make common
cause with the United States. On Thursday, Breitbart London reported
that several dozen leaders of Syrian rebel factions opposed to ISIS,
who were gathered at a meeting in northwestern Syria, were killed in a
massive explosion on Wednesday.
Huffington Post on Friday evening summarized reports
that ISIS has signed a non-aggression deal with a separate group of
rebel factions in Syria, nominally so that all of the factions can
continue to fight the Assad regime.
According to the Dubai-based Arabic news site Orient News, one of the signatories to the agreement is the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), a group that has received U.S. support and has been touted as a likely partner for a U.S. strategy to oppose ISIS in Syria.
The SRF has been losing ground in recent weeks, suffering a major blow when one of its top commanders was killed
at the end of August. At the same time, the SRF was reported to be
fighting alongside al-Qaeda-affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in southern Syria,
including the battle for the crossing point with Israel in the Golan over which the rebel factions claimed control on 27 August.
Now it appears that the non-aggression pact with ISIS was brokered by
Jabhat al-Nusra. None of this comes as a surprise to those who’ve been
following along with Patrick Poole at PJ Media. On 3 September, Poole
outlined the continuing cooperation of factions in the Free Syrian Army
with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra – cooperation that has resulted in a flow
of U.S.-supplied weaponry to the latter two armies. On 9 September, he
expounded on a report from the Los Angeles Times that one of the “vetted moderate” groups, Harakat Hazm, is quite open about fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra.
The U.S. has already given this group anti-tank missiles. Appended
to Poole’s analysis is the tweeted text of an alliance agreement
concluded by “vetted moderate” faction Harakat Hazm and other similar
groups with Jabhat al-Nusra. The text was tweeted on 8 July.
It’s not just credible, it’s highly bloody likely that some of the
rebel factions – including U.S. client SRF – have indeed made a pact
with ISIS. The fact that it won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit ought
to serve not as an encouragement to U.S. delusions of a meaningful
alliance in Syria, but as a warning.
In fact, ISIS hasn’t sat still. Once Obama made his speech
on Wednesday, the option of mounting coordinated attacks on ISIS’s
strategic rear in Syria immediately became a major threat posed by the
U.S. If we could do it effectively, we could force ISIS to defend its
rear: shift resources away from the campaign in Iraq, and perhaps even
rework its overall strategy.
So ISIS promptly took out nearly 50 opposition rebel leaders and
signed its non-aggression agreement with America’s potential partners in
Remember that ISIS doesn’t have to show good faith over time with any
of those Syrian factions. It just has to preempt their cooperation
with the United States. The mechanism for that is straightforward.
We’re an easy read – ponderous making decisions, easily spooked,
committed to at least perfunctory public transparency – and our
president is a slow learner.
If ISIS can prevent anyone in Syria from cooperating with the U.S.,
ISIS can concentrate its effort in Iraq, where our forces on the ground
will be: small, scattered, un-concentrated, embedded with local
groups which may not all be fighting for the same objectives. Remember
this also: Obama is determined not to overlay an obtrusively coherent
U.S. framework on this operation. Kurds fighting in northern Iraq and
Sunnis fighting along the Euphrates in Anbar – each with a separate
ill-defined connection to the struggling Shia-majority government in
Baghdad – will have the lead.
Even in Vietnam and Somalia, I don’t think we’ve ever backed into
anything with our hindquarters flapping quite so egregiously in the
breeze. Military success doesn’t just happen. It’s as much a matter of
political will, and a coherent strategy and operational plan, as it is
of training, expertise, and weapons superiority at the tactical level.
Assuming we do go ahead with the plan-deficient, few-boots non-war the
Obama administration has been proclaiming for the last 72 hours, I am very concerned that American troops could find themselves vulnerable under fire and fighting for their lives within weeks.
I would actually feel better at this point if we weren’t enlarging
our footprint in Irbil at all, but instead planned to just keeping
flying strike-fighters from Kuwait and Qatar. There are sound
operational reasons to be gravely concerned about Obama’s decision to dismiss the advice of his military leaders and go with a toxic brew of half-measure objectives and exposed deployment situations.
The rapid, cynical, homicidal initiative shown by ISIS in seeking to
neutralize Obama’s Syria option is a pretty good indicator of what we’ll
be up against. Pundits and officials who are vocally criticizing the
president are not just showing partisan sour grapes. This is real, and
Read the whole thing
That last link is particularly important. Obama is playing electoral politics again
In his war speech last night, President Obama was at strikingly adamant about what the US mission to "degrade and destroy" ISIS would not entail:
American ground troops in a combat role. The 475 additional personnel
being deployed to the region are only authorized assist with "training,
intelligence and equipment." Direct American intervention will be
limited to a protracted campaign of airstrikes, in Iraq and -- for the
first time -- Syria. The Washington Post reports today
that when the president tasked military leaders with devising the best
strategy to defeat ISIS, the Pentagon presented a plan that involved a
limited number of combat "boots on the ground." They were rebuffed, in
favor of a more politically-palatable light footprint approach:
Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option.
Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic
State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the
Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a
modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations
forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants,
according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed
to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not
involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly
opposed by the White House...Recommitting ground combat forces
to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have
been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s
predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission. “The
American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be
making progress,” Mattis said. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative
for a longer period.”
This turn of events was inevitable, given the instincts and priorities of the Oval Office's current occupant. According to the New York Times' bureau chief in Baghdad, the Obama administration has serially misled
the American people about on-the-ground realities in Iraq in order to
protect a politicized "receding tide of war" illusion. The president
shrunk from his own red line in Syria last year due, at least in part,
to heavy domestic pressures, ultimately resorting to a fake "solution" that has since collapsed.
Having ignored and dismissed ISIS for years, the president has finally been pressed to play catch-up with events. Public opinion has turned sharply
in favor of intervention, likely spurred by grisly images of beheaded
American journalists broadcast around the world, but most are still wary
of ground troops. Obama -- once again leading from behind with no discernible strategy
beyond 'win the current news cycle' -- is giving the public what it
wants at the moment. Nothing more, nothing less. Following that "best
military advice" would have required the president to forcefully make
the case that a limited American ground force was vital to victory. He
clearly had no appetite to do so, as it would have entailed further
eroding his anti-war cred and infuriating his core base ahead of an
Read it all
I've seen a lot of commentary on this, but the bottom line is that the military is horrified at Obama's 'strategy,' and the guy who is supposed to advocate for the military in the White House - Chuck Hagel - has been predictably silent.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Erbil, Iraq, Iraqi Kurds, ISIS, Jordan, Nusra Front, Syria, Syrian Kurds
The average American's reaction to President Obama's ISIS speech
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, humor, ISIS
How to anger just about everyone in Israel
43 IDF reservists from 'Unit 8200,' Israel's showcase intelligence unit from which much of the country's high tech has been spawned, have sent a 'letter of insubordination' to the IDF and the media. The letter says that they refuse to 'harm innocents
' as part of their IDF service.
The soldiers, who include extremist leftist activists, complained that their service to Israel's security "harms innocents."
"There is an idea that serving in the intelligence corps does not
include moral dilemmas, and only contributes to the lessening of
violence and harm to innocents," wrote the insubordinate soldiers in
their letter. "But during our military service we learned that the
intelligence corps is an inseparable part of the military control of the
territories (Judea and Samaria - ed.)."
According to the soldiers, the Arab residents of the region are
"completely exposed" to Israeli spying and surveillance, adding "as
opposed to Israeli citizens of citizens of other countries, there's no
oversight on methods of (intel) gathering, surveillance and use of
information in regards to Palestinians, whether they're involved in
violence or not."
"The intelligence (corps) allows continued control over millions of
people, a deep and penetrating supervision and invasion of (privacy in)
most aspects of life. All of this does not allow a normal life, fuels
more violence, and distances the end of the conflict," claimed the
The IDF responded before the Sabbath started. Most of the other responses have come this evening.
In response to the letter, the IDF Spokesperson Unit noted "Unit 8200
has worked from the day of its formation to gather intel, which allows
the IDF and security sources to fulfill their missions, and on a daily
basis aids in the protection of citizens of the state of Israel."
"The Unit acts through a variety of means and on many fronts, while
using methods and rules aimed solely at the necessities of
intelligence," added the statement, responding to the claims of invading
privacy in numerous aspects of daily life.
The statement added "those serving in the Unit are certified after a
strict identification process, in training that has no equal in the
intelligence community in Israel and abroad, during which contents
learned with a special emphasis on ethics, values and work regulations
"These are implemented effectively through the military service of
the soldiers and captains in the Unit, and are overseen through constant
inspection by commanders of different rankings," said the statement.
In a particularly low blow, the letter was sent to the media before it was sent to the soldiers' IDF commanders.
After the Sabbath started, Walla reported that a counter letter
from current and past members of 8200 was published.
"We are veterans of Unit 8200, soldiers and reserve soldiers, past
and present, who wish to express shock, disgust and total renouncement
of the letter written by our fellow soldiers, who chose political
refusal over our unit," the opposing text said.
"This political refusal has no place in the army in general and
in Unit 8200 in particular," it continued. "In the hour that reserve
soldiers are called to serve their country, we put aside our preferences
and political opinions and go to serve our country."
"We regret that our friends make cynical use of politics in
their legal and moral duty to serve in the reserve unit, which in our
eyes constitutes the highest honor, and seek [instead] to undermine the
activities and achievements in the unit's defense of the country and its
The veterans also rejected the initial letter's outrageous claims
that the IDF was using information on Palestinian Arabs to "stalk" them
and "harass innocent people" instead of defending Israeli civilians.
"As those familiar with the unit for many years, we cannot accept the
allegations of lack of ethical and moral principles of intelligence
work in the unit," it said. "From our first days in the unit, we learned
the importance of monitoring and collecting data in accordance with
high professional standards and regulations."
"Both in regular and reserve services, we have witnessed many cases
where the operation of the unit's intelligence capabilities resulted in
the preservation of human life on both sides," it continued. "Even when
ethical dilemmas arise on the job, and during the war, witnesses [of
crimes] were and still dealt with in a mature and responsible manner, in
line with the principles of international law and the code of ethics
and morals of the army."
Over 150 people have expressed support for the counter-letter so far,
and the initiators are attempting to collect as many signatures as
possible before mailing a physical copy of the document to the leftist
opponents in the next several days.
Tonight, opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog - a Major in 8200 - came out against the letter
"Proper disclosure, I am a major in Unit 8200 and have accompanied it for decades,” wrote Herzog on Facebook.
"I love the unit, its soldiers and commanders. Its contribution to the
security of Israel and its citizens, and even beyond that, is immense.
Thousands upon thousands of Israeli citizens owe it their lives.
Fighting terror is meticulous and complex work that requires the best
"I oppose refusal to serve and am wholly disgusted by it,” he added.
“This unit and its operations are vital not only for wartime but
especially and mostly for peace.”
"When one speaks of a diplomatic arrangement and the setting of
borders, one is speaking about advance warning stations and intelligence
abilities, in order to locate and block the extremist forces that will
do everything to sabotage peace.”
"I am not saying that there are no mistakes. Certainly, these are
possible, and Israel's military history is full of them, but there are
ways to complain and bring the complaints to an inquiry and discussion. I
also think that there are ways of effecting change, certainly when
there is a feeling that injustice was done somewhere. But not by
encouraging and calling for refusal to serve, or through damaging global
publicity whose price we – the citizens of Israel – will pay.”
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon also slammed the reservists
"I have been familiar with Unit 8200 and is activities for decades,
and certainly since I was appointed head of the Intelligence Corps and
became aware of the enormous contribution of the men of this unit to the
security of the citizens of Israel," Ya'alon said.
Praising he soldiers of the unit for performing "amazingly well"
under difficult circumstances, he added that "Unit 8200 preserves the
existence of the State of Israel."
"The attempt to harm the unit and its operations via a call for
insubordination, based on allegations which do not represent the actions
of the unit or the values of its personnel is a foolish and obscene
attempt to support the international false delegitimization campaign
against the State of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF."
"The soldiers of Unit 8200 are moral and ethical" he insisted, and
called on people to support "them and their actions which are so
important to the security of the State of Israel and the security of its
This ought to do wonders for morale - which was of course the goal of the letter writers. But the bigger problem is that it plays into the hands of Israel haters everywhere. The soldiers will likely be dishonorably discharged
- and that cannot happen a moment too soon.
Labels: IDF, intelligence
BDS vote at CUNY postponed
On Friday, I reported that a vote on boycotting Israel was scheduled for 6:00 pm Friday night
at the City University of New York. After a lengthy debate, that vote was postponed
After a lengthy heated debate on Friday evening, that included
additional time for both sides to present the arguments, a motion was
eventually passed to table the resolution for a future date.
the vote's difficult timing for observant Jews, a number of pro-Israel
groups also turned out to support CUNY students and faculty who opposed
“It is a routine tactic of the BDS movement to
hold votes on or around Jewish holidays in order to shut out pro-Israel
voices,” Jacob Baime, Executive Director of the Israel on Campus
Coalition – who attended the Friday evening vote – told JNS.org. “When the facts are known, BDS fails.”
proposed resolution, which is titled “The Endorsement of Boycott of
Israeli Academic Institutions”, called on the CUNY system to endorse a
“boycott of Israeli academic institutions and the divestment from
Israeli companies” as well as ending academic partnerships with Israeli
institutions such as the one between Baruch College and Israel’s College
of Management and Academic Studies.
The resolution also expresses
support for “Palestinian students and academics in their struggle
against the Zionist policies of the Israeli state and its restrictions.”
Baime added that he is proud of the CUNY students and faculty for their strong showing despite having little time to prepare.
We're not out of the woods on this one yet. But it's promising.
Labels: BDS, City University of New York, New York City
Not a US ally anymore?
Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.
Turkey - led by President Hussein Obama's best friend forever - is refusing to collaborate with the United States
against the Islamic State terror organization (Hat Tip: Joshua I
). But Obama is loyal to Recep Tayyip Erdogan - unlike his attitude toward the United States' real allies. Instead of punishing Turkey for its obstinence, within 24 hours of Turkey's refusal to join, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Ankara meeting with Erdogan
After a two-and-a-half hour meeting, the pair emerged to announce
that they had decided to cooperate “against all terrorist movements in
the region,” rather than just against IS.
The announcement, which was brief and contained almost no details,
was a signal that Turkey and America will not permit an open rift over
Turkey’s reluctance to join the US-led coalition. Instead, Turkey and
the US will continue to help the Syrian opposition and to share
intelligence. Neither of these developments should come as a surprise.
The compromise is considerably less than the US had hoped for at the
beginning of the week.
Thursday’s conference of Arab nations and the
United States in Jeddah marked the point when it became clear that
Turkey - even though it is the only NATO member in the region - would
not be a full member of the coalition. For some observers the
realization brought home claims made earlier this week by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that Turkey and Qatar were neither definite friends nor enemies, but ‘frenemies’.
The Turkish delegation seems to have had the package of US military
measures unveiled to them in Jeddah. But when Turkey’s foreign minister,
Mevlut Cavusoglu, phoned home for further instructions, he was told not
Sabah, a newspaper close to the Erdogan government outlined what it
says is the “partial support” that Turkey will give the US-led
coalition; humanitarian assistance, intelligence, and border security.
On the face of it, this package adds little or nothing particularly
new. Work is already well underway in all three areas. Turkey is a
refuge for around one million Syrian refugees and it now recognises that
it needs to prepare its borders against possible incursions from
IS-occupied areas. Turkish forces are also doing what they can to make
the highly porous frontier between Syria and Turkey and between Turkey
and Iraq more secure, although with a border stretching more than 820 km
with Syria and 350-km border with Iraq this is an extremely difficult
Quite apart from a sense of comradery with Sunni activists in Syria
and Iraq, Turkey’s hands are also tied by another issue that hung over
As long as 49 Turkish hostages, diplomats, family and staff from the
consulate-general, are being held in Mosul by IS, Turkey cannot take
strong moves against the militants without endangering the lives of the
While this consideration was not been openly stated, it was brought
up immediately by Turkish officials, who began discussing the problem
immediately after their country failed to sign the Jeddah communiqué on
It is possible that Turkey is clandestinely providing more support to
the anti-IS alliance than it openly admits. Indeed, there are claims
that US drones from Incirlik air-base are taking part in strikes on
Iraq, but there has so far been no confirmation of this and if Kerry has
extracted assistance of this sort, there was no hint of it today.
Instead, for the time being, the US and Turkey seem mainly to have
agreed to paper over the cracks in a difficult relationship.
In a Saturday editorial, the Wall Street Journal said that Turkey is not a US ally and that the US ought to move its airbase out of Incirlik
. Incirlik is less than 100 miles from Turkey's border with Syria.
US daily The Wall Street Journal has claimed in its editorial
on Saturday that it is the "unavoidable conclusion" that the US needs
to find a better regional ally to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic
State (ISIL) than Turkey, suggesting that the air base Turkey is
currently hosting should be moved somewhere else.
Recalling Turkey's reluctance in joining the anti-ISIL coalition, the
editorial said not only will Ankara take no military action, it will
also forbid the US from using the US air base in İncirlik—located fewer
than 100 miles from the Syrian border—to conduct air strikes against the
"That will complicate the Pentagon's logistical and reconnaissance
challenges, especially for a campaign that's supposed to take years," it
The newspaper said the US military will no doubt find work-arounds
for its air campaign, just as it did in 2003 when Turkey also refused
requests to let the US launch attacks on Iraq from its soil in order to
depose Saddam Hussein. It said Turkey shares a 910-km border with Syria
and Iraq, meaning it could have made a more-than-symbolic contribution
to a campaign against ISIL.
The daily described it as a "reality" that the Turkish government, a
member of NATO, long ago stopped acting like an ally of the US or a
friend of the West. The editorial quoted former US Ambassador to Turkey,
Francis Ricciardone, who said this week that the Turkish government
"frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front—the al Qaeda affiliate in
Syria—along with other terrorist groups. It claimed that Ankara also
looked the other way as foreign radical groups used Turkey as a transit
point on their way to Syria and Iraq.
The WSJ noted that İncirlik air base has been a home for US forces
for nearly 60 years, but perhaps it's time to consider replacing it with
a new US air base in Kurdish territory in northern Iraq.
Don't expect Obama to listen to that advice. What could go wrong?
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Francis Ricciardone, ISIS, John Kerry, Kurdistan, NATO, Nusra Front, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Syria, Turkey, Wall Street Journal