a different side of Israel

Tag: Syria (page 4 of 7)

Shunned at Annapolis

Tzipi at AnnapolisForeign Minister Tzipi Livni didn’t have a good time at the just concluded Middle East Summit in Annapolis. In fact, she felt almost like the new kid in school who winds up eating lunch alone in the school cafeteria. Although she did get warm greetings from the Americans and most Western delegations, including American Secretary Condi Rice, she was either avoided or outright ignored by most of the Arab and Muslim delegates, especially those from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Algeria, and other Arab and Muslim countries.

I guess it’s understandable that the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Said al-Faisal, wouldn’t extend her the courtesy. After all, women are not exactly given equal treatment there, especially in light of the recent rape case where the female victim was herself sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in the can. And as for Syria, even though they did send their deputy F.M. there, his government must also not be ready to be “poochy moochy” with Israel’s F.M, female or otherwise.

Condi did try to make her Israeli guest feel better by comparing Tzipi’s experience with that of her own as a black child growing up in Selma Alabama, scene of some very nasty civil rights activities during the 1960’s. But Condi’s experiences, bad as they were, are not in the same light as the Israeli F.M, who found out to her chagrin that the A-rabs are not quite ready to be seen in friendly conversation with any senior Israeli official – let alone a woman.

When she asked, “why is everyone treating me like a pariah?” she should realize that it’s really nothing personal, especially in regards to whom she was referring to. In a way, it’s probably better that delegations from Iran and Lebanon didn’t show up, as they wouldn’t have greeted her either – especially Mahmud Ahmadinejad who’s still fretting over remarks made to him at the U.N. recently by Carnit Goldwasswer, wife of captured Israeli soldier Udi Goldwasser.

In all seriousness, Tzipi’s uncomfortable experience only reconfirms the reality of Israel’s position in the Middle East, especially in light of increased Muslim radicalism towards the West in general and Israel in particular. Had the Israeli F.M. been a man, he probably wouldn’t have fared much better; perhaps even worse. And with only half of the Palestinians represented at the conference, the other half being under the dominance of the ultra radical Hamas organization, the entire event appears to have ended with a hollow ring.

Even her boss, Prime Minister Olmert, didn’t win many friends there among the countries unfriendly to Israel. Be all this as it may, we can now get back to business as usual in this part of the world. And Tzipi might well do better at a UJA or similar gathering. At least they’ll shake her hand..

PA Gets Armored Personnel Carriers

PA Gets Armored Personnel CarriersIsrael P.M. Olmert is really trying to placate the Fatah branch of the Palestinian Authority by authorizing the delivery of 25 armored personnel carriers (formerly known a halftracks) for security use by the P.A. Though Israeli army sources, right-winged Knesset members, and even the Shin Bet security organization are against this deal, Olmert seems adamant in making Mahmud Abbas and Co, happy prior to the opening of the Annapolis summit on November 27. The APC’s are being supplied by Russia; and are part of an original 50 which Russia had agreed to supply to the P.A., but had not actually delivered them. The vehicles, probably either the BMD-1 or BMP-2 models from either the Afghanistan or Chechnya conflicts, are intended for use on the West Bank, particularly in Nablus.

There is good reason for objections to this deal as previous arms deliveries to the P.A. fell into the wrongs hands when Hamas acquired a great deal of small arms and ammunition when they ousted Fatah from Gaza. No mention has been given as to whether these vehicles will come equipped with heavy machine guns, as are usually installed on military APC’s, or if they will be similar to ones used by police units and intended only for protection against small arms fire. The prime minister’s spokesmen are trying to assure everyone that these vehicles are not going to be a start for even more sophisticated military hardware being allowed into the West Bank. “We are not helping them build a nuclear reactor, etc.” the spokesperson commented. The P.M.’s office is also making everyone aware that “these vehicles can be destroyed anytime we deem it necessary, as has been done in the past”. One might suppose that by this remark, the P.M. is referring to a couple of surplus helicopters that have been given to former P.A. Chairman Yasser Arafat, and which had been destroyed, along with Gaza’s only airport, at the beginning of the Second Intifada uprising in October, 2000.

The Russians are no doubt very happy to get rid of a lot of surplus military hardware that is taking up space on their army bases. Whether or not Abbas is paying for them with funds he is receiving from either Israel or other countries, including the E.U., is another matter, however.

With the Annapolis summit set to convene in less than a week’s time, we might all be interested in knowing what other friendly gestures Mr. Olmert has in store for his Palestinian friends. With all that Israel is willing to offer, including perhaps a large chunk of the West Bank, what are the Palestinians willing to give for their part? Now that Syria and even Saudi Arabia plan to have delegates attending the summit, it looks like the Americans, who are hosting this event, have great expectations as to what agreements will result from the meeting. As for the armored vehicles, they will only be delivered long after the summit is completed.

And by then, it may be a whole different ball game anyway.

Israel’s True Patriot

Shmuel Platto Sharon
Many people in Israel and elsewhere may not appreciate this man. But former Knesset member Shmuel (Sammy) Plato Sharon may be Israel’s true patriot. Sharon, whose family arrived in southern France after fleeing Nazi occupied Poland during WWII, has certainly a most colorful history, and also a very controversial one at that. He is mainly remembered for literally buying his way into the Knesset in 1977, and afterwards serving time in a French prison for a “misunderstanding” involving a fraudulent jewelry deal in France in which many people lost a lot of money. Sharon is now known as that gravelly-voiced old man who is frequently seen on television or heard on FM radio morning talk shows.

I chanced on one of these talk shows today in which Sharon was talking to some controversial people, including a representative of the Peace Now movement and an Arab Knesset parliamentarian (names withheld). Sharon really put both of these gentlemen in the hot box as he asked them why they supported people such as former Knesset member Azmi Bishara, who Sharon called a traitor and who should be imprisoned for spying against Israel. Sharon especially grilled his Arab List Knesset member guest by asking him why he, as a member of Israel’s parliament, is against Israel being a Jewish State. Sharon is known as a man who is not afraid to speak his mind, and he did so on this program in which he also accused his Peace Now guest as being in favor reaching a peace agreement with Syria, even if that “agreement” means giving up most or all of the Golan Heights.

“How can you be in favor of a country that is an enemy?” Sharon told his Peace Now guest. Sharon went on to remind his interviewee that Syria is suspected of supplying both the Hezbollah and numerous terror organizations with weapons, explosions and other material that is used against Israel. Though his guest reminded Sharon that Syria has been invited to send a delegation to the upcoming Annapolis conference, Sharon replied that this won’t make any difference as Syria “does pipi on Israel every chance it gets”.

Due to his experience as a child during WWII, and seeing the increase in anti-
Semitism against Jews in France, much of it by Islamic terror groups, Sharon has become very patriotic in his later years. He doesn’t miss a chance to appear before the general public to express his rather taut views on what is happening today regarding Israel’s future. Sharon has made many friends in his adopted country, which he now calls his “true homeland”. He believes that Israel’s “hasbara” PR campaign leaves much to be desired; and that as a result, Israel’s political leaders are being conceived as “a bunch of idiots”. “We have a lot to do to clean up our public relations image, and that’s why I am appearing so much on the media as somebody has to help do this” he was recently quoted as saying.

Whatever can be said about Sammy Plato-Sharon, it not that he keeps quiet about what the feels is wrong and needs to be corrected in Israel. This also goes for the still in progress teachers strike, which Sharon calls a “real pity” as it plays with the future of the country. “Prime Minister Olmert is not doing enough to end this crises, which has been going on for over a month now” Sharon commented on today’s program.

Maybe Sammy should get involved in finding a solution to the strike, as nothing else has appeared to work so far. If he can moderate and solve this crises he will really be a true Israeli patriot.

Hezbollah Fully Rearmed

Hezbollah Ready
A UN intelligence report has revealed that not only has the Lebanon based Hezbollah fully rearmed itself, but they also have long range rockets capable of striking anywhere in the central Dan Region. The report, which was turned over to Israeli military officials, disclosed that much of the arms have been smuggled over from Syria and that the rockets include ones capable of reaching more than 250 km – more than enough distance to reach any target in central Israel. The report said that by smuggling arms in from Syria, and by rearming their forces in areas south of the Litani River, Hezbollah’s actions were in violation of UN resolution 1701, which was approved by the Security Council following the 2006 war with Israel.

Another disturbing element was information by the Israeli military noted armaments acquired by Hezbollah include advanced surface to sea missiles for use against enemy naval vessels. This information disclosed Hezbollah now has at least three times as many land to sea missiles than it had at the outbreak of the war in July, 2006. Judging from the fact that an Israeli missile boat was sunk during this conflict, this revelation is not good news. Needless to say, this report was taken as being very serious by both Israeli military officials and UN officials, including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Even without this report, Hezbollah’s renewed presence along Lebanon’s border with Israel has been increasing with yellow Hezbollah flags once again in place in many areas. Hezbollah has even had the “Chutzpah” to display large posters with pictures of the captured Israeli solders, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser with captions in English relating to all the Hezbollah fighters and other men being held by Israel.

Does this mean that another round of fighting is due to break out along the now peaceful Israel Lebanese border? This is anybody’s guess, especially with the upcoming conference in Annapolis scheduled to take place next month. The recent attack by Israeli aircraft on a suspected nuclear facility in northeast Syria has also added fuel to the fire; and although Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad is not the same character as his father Hafiz was, he might still attempt some kind of conflict to raise his clout in the Arab world. All of this coincides with Turkey’s border conflict against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Turkey and Israel presently enjoy good diplomatic and military relations, which could become aggravated if a new regional war between Israel, Lebanon and Syria should break out.

The War That Almost Was – Syria Confirms Nuclear Hit

F151Well, this morning its official. The hit on Syria was a hit on a Nuclear facility, the Syrian Foreign Minister confirmed today. No great surprise there. Still for a country always on the brink of something it was a little closer then even we like it. The Ophthalmologist, unlike his father, seems intent on getting into it with us and he is definitely cruising for a bruising. Assuming that Syria manages to get a nuke, what then?

Someone sent me this (Hat Tip: Joe) and I think its worth a read, “So Close To War”:

A meticulously planned, brilliantly executed surgical strike by Israeli jets on a nuclear installation in Syria on 6 September may have saved the world from a devastating threat. The only problem is that no one outside a tight-lipped knot of top Israeli and American officials knows precisely what that threat involved.

This is apparently what went down:

According to American sources, Israeli intelligence tracked a North Korean vessel carrying a cargo of nuclear material labelled ‘cement’ as it travelled halfway across the world. On 3 September the ship docked at the Syrian port of Tartous and the Israelis continued following the cargo as it was transported to the small town of Dayr as Zawr, near the Turkish border in north-eastern Syria.

The destination was not a complete surprise. It had already been the subject of intense surveillance by an Israeli Ofek spy satellite, and within hours a band of elite Israeli commandos had secretly crossed into Syria and headed for the town. Soil samples and other material they collected there were returned to Israel. Sure enough, they indicated that the cargo was nuclear.

Three days after the North Korean consignment arrived, the final phase of Operation Orchard was launched. With prior approval from Washington, Israeli F151 jets were scrambled and, minutes later, the installation and its newly arrived contents were destroyed.

The “Good Ol’ Boys ” are Back

Knesset Dress Code Needed !Monday, October 8 was the opening session of the 2007/2008 winter Knesset assembly. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, had been in recess since August, giving its members the opportunity to enjoy a vacation period which included the religious holidays. This is not to say that these politicians were entirely on holiday, as many of them use these break periods to catch up on their private and often questionable business affairs. In fact, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who gave the opening speech of the winter session, seems to have been very busy lately trying to consolidate his legal defense against a number of allegations relating to his private business affairs.

Olmert, whose, real estate dealings in Jerusalem and connection with Bank Leumi, the country’s oldest and most well known bank, seems to be slipping further down the slimy slope of financial irregularities which puts an even bigger cloud over his head; much to the delight of his political enemies. Olmert tried to put on a strong face by saying that the Israeli government has made no agreements with the Palestinians prior to the scheduled international summit conference in Annapolis Maryland, now said to only be coming off in two months time. The conference was to have commenced in only a few weeks; but was post phoned due to a lack of progress by Israel in making any tentative deals with the Palestinian Authority, and further remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it would be useless to hold such a meeting without any concrete itinerary by both Israel and the Palestinians.

Concrete itinerary: that was something that was severely criticized by Knesset opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who expressed great doubts that any kind of agreement could be made with Mahmoud Abbas. The P.A. President only represents part of the Palestinians due to Gaza being under the control of Hamas party leader Ismail Hananyah. As both Israel and the United Stated refuse to have any dealings with Hamas, which is considered a ‘terrorist entity’, the scheduled summit in Maryland is virtually doomed from the outset.

From many points of view, including Mr. Netanyahu’s, that’s ok with them as they believe that this conference is a complete non-starter. With Palestinian rockets continuing to be launched against Israeli settlements and towns, including the launching of the longer range Grad missile, and Corporal Gilad Schalit still being held captive in Gaza, any kind of conference is almost doomed before it begins. As Secretary Rice remarked during her last visit to the region, “We are looking for something more than just a ‘photo session’ and a few handshakes”.

Both Prime Minister Olmert and Opposition leader Netanyahu did not speak kindly regarding the problem concerning Iran; especially in the aftermath of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent address before both Columbia University and the U.N. General Assembly. It might be said that at least the two Israeli leaders did agree on something!

Despite all the mixed feelings it was nice to see that Israel does have a very vibrant democracy, and not just a “puppet parliament “as in countries like Syria and Iran.

Bibi’s Latest “Freudian Slip”

Likud Party opposition leader Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu appears to have made a ‘slip of the tongue’ again with his latest comments concerning Israel’s alleged air raid into N.E. Syria. Speaking on the nightly Mabat news program, Netanyahu said that Israel did indeed conduct an air operation in Syria, and that the reasons for doing so have already been divulged all over the globe. Speaking during an interview with Chanel 1 news chief Haim Yavin, Netanyahu said “I was a party in this matter, and from the very first minute gave it my endorsement and my backing”. He went on to say that it is too early to actually divulge all the details of the operation; but when asked if he congratulated the Prime Minister, Netanyahu replied: “personally, I did”.

Needless to say, government officials, from the Prime Minister on down, are furious at Bibi’s “faux pass”, since from the moment the “air intrusion” was announced by Syrian officials, Jerusalem had been mum as far as admitting that such an operation actually taken place. This is not the first time that the former prime minister had made remarks that had gotten him into hot water. These slip-ups have occurred a number of times in the past, both when he was P.M., as well as on other occasions.

Many people, government officials included, are saying that Netanyahu is trying make political capital out of this event, and that Bibi wants to strengthen his party’s political position; a position which has already improved since the end of 34 day Lebanon II war in July/August 2006. Both Kadima and Labor party officials have lambasted Netanyahu for his remarks that “border on national irresponsibility, especially in light of this man’s previous political positions, including Head of State”.

Members of Netanyahu’s own political party, as well as those in more right-wing parties, came to his defense; and some even praised him. Likud parliamentarian Yuval Steinetz, a right-winged political strategist and close friend of Netanyahu, said that his statements “were most unfortunate, but are really nothing more than a storm in a teacup.” Former army general Effi Etam, leader of the National Religious Party, even went so far as to condemn Prime Minister Olmert himself, and said that the ruling government is finding ways to attack their political enemy. “Olmert should examine his own comments made concerning the outcome of the Lebanese war”, Etam said.

Netanyahu’s remarks, as controversial as they were, may not have been nearly as dangerous as ones made by the Prime Minister himself a couple of months back, when during a press conference, he as much as admitted that Israel has nuclear capability. Another Likud member, Gilad Erdan said that although Netanyahu’s remarks “could have been less controversial, they were still mush less dangerous than the prime minister’s in regard to Israel’s nuclear program.”

As the old saying goes, the “cat’s out of the bag”; and now government officials are trying to practice damage control, especially in light of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to both Israel and the West Bank. Bibi’s friend, Yuval Steinitz cautioned everyone to “exercise restraint as we arrive at the Jewish “Days of Awe”. But even Steinitz appears to admit that his friend’s remarks “could have been phrased a bit differently”.

Same old Bibi? It depends a lot on what political card one carries – if one is a party member at all.

Hold Me Back

Iran and Syria CelebrateThis is not the typical post I would have in mind for the New Year and in case I forget later SHANA TOVA folks… I just can’t help it, as I am sitting here waiting to get into the car and drive with the masses to my in laws I hear about the Syrians calling in their reserve army units and escalating their air defense troops. It reminds me of these guys that after they get pushed or shoved, tell their friends to hold them back or they will just go ballistic (pun ??) on their would be opponents. These are also usually the guys that after the smoke clears are the ones on their way to hospital.

Another school yard antic is this delayed response, and getting all riled up a week after the deed. When this alleged attack happened Wednesday night last week the Syrian papers and media said nothing. The Israeli side, in an uncommon act of control, didn’t even acknowledge anything happened (I am so proud of this quiet by the way). But then the local papers and the media started heating things up. The Turkish government wasn’t happy with the silence from Israel, then the North Koreans came out with a scathing statement about how shitty we are and how we deserve to get our ass kicked (back to that later).

Assad Bad BoyYesterday, CNN laid out the whole thing and Christian Amanpour started giving us all a play by play of what happened in the desert that night. By last night CNN said:

“One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea,” the paper wrote. “The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria”.

So today, a week after the attack, the Syrians are going on alert. Basically after the cow was taken out of the barn, screwed up the ass, milked and tattood, they are now locking down the barn….Interesting.

I am not sure about the details (and like it that way), but I like the connection with North Korea and it explains why they got all huffy. I mean they got all that cash to stop their nuclear program and they quickly turned around and gave whatever they had to the one group of idiots that is likely to use it (I want to suggest the North Koreans get the Noble Peace prize by the way). What I like even more is the fact that now the Hamas and Hezbollah are supporting Syria and encouraging it to take action. Assad is behaving like he is asking his friends to hold him back.

Last night our new president Shimon Peres spoke and you know what, he was great. I think he finally found his true calling. He was asked about the Syrians and he smiled and said, Assad doesn’t want peace. We wanted to talk and he refused. He is constantly trying to help Hezbollah turn Lebanon into another Iran and we won’t let that happen. For the first time I can remember Peres was clear, concise and down to earth.
And that’s the bottom line. Assad has been cruising for a bruising for a long time and last week he got it. He has been playing the field on behalf of the Iranians, killing off any chance for a stable Lebanon and lately making threats of war towards Israel. So last week, we allegedly, smacked his ass silly!

The 2 caricatures are from Moshik – One is Assad celebrating the Second Lebanon War and getting the blessing “May the next war be yours”, the second is Assad writing on the blackboard that he promises to be a bad boy. These were sent to me a while ago and I never used them. I think that now they are relevant reminders as to why Assad got smacked.

Shana Tova Everyone 🙂

Drop In Military Service Recruitment

A recent editorial in the Jerusalem Post stated that 25% of today’s youth in Israel do not want to be in military service, or have been disqualified from the military due to physical or emotional problems. No longer are the country’s youth considering careers in the military either, as even this opportunity is becoming less available due to budget tightening measures to help keep the country’s inflation index at a near 0 level.

Why is this happening when Israel’s enemies are becoming more militaristic, and are willing to become martyrs in order to kill or wound more and more Israelis? The answer may lie in the fact that modern Israeli youth have simply changed most of their values from doing everything for their country to simply doing everything for themselves.

That’s right; Israel has become a “No. 1” oriented society, where people are only interested in looking after their own concerns and not for the society as a whole. Beginning as a country with a “one for all and all for one” mentality in the country’s early years, Israel has become a nation in which social minded goals for its youth have been replaced with materialistic ones; including new cars, private homes, and frequent trips abroad. It’s actually cheaper to fly to Turkey or Greece on holiday than to spend the same time at an Israeli resort hotel – kosher food and all!

Instead of pursuing vocations involving physical work, such as driving a bus or truck (once very desired vocations), or as a tradesman or mechanic, today’s youth prefer to pursue careers in information technology where they also receive a late model car to drive to and from their posh, air conditioned jobs, enjoying a lifestyle that even their parents could only dream about.

Last summer’s Lebanese war did more than simply point out the problems that reserve soldiers faced by a government unable to provide for their basic needs while in the field. This war also indicated a society who simply wasn’t prepared to go to war, while the country’s enemies have been training and building up their military infrastructure. This ‘infrastructure’ now includes a virtual army or more then 15,000 trained soldiers in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, consisting of 4 field brigades, and an increasing array of munitions and explosives, most of them smuggled in under the obliging eyes of Egyptian soldiers and international “monitoring” forces.

When the country was fighting for its existence in the 1948 War of Independence, many of the men fighting in Israel’s military and paramilitary forces were either volunteers from abroad or Holocaust survivors who had only been freed from Nazi death camps a few years before. These men, and women, knew that it was either fight or die, and many did die during those first terrible months, especially in battles like the Battle of Latrun (in which more than 600 former Detention Camp inmates were slaughtered trying to take the Jordanian held Latrun Police Station) and the Battle of Burma Road, in which the American volunteer, Col. Mickey Marcus, lost his life.

Inspiration: what more inspiration is needed other than the obvious; in that the State of Israel is in perhaps more danger than it has been in since the Yom Kippur War and War of Independence. With Syria and Iran, two of Israel’s arch enemies, now forming a military alliance, and Hezbollah once again at full strength along Israel’s northern border; not to mention Hamas in the South and Israel’s “former” enemy, the PLO, entrenched in the West Bank, the people of Israel have no shortage of enemies to deal with.

The main concern these days for the Jewish State is whether the country’s youth are ready, and able, to accept the challenges needed to prevail.

War or Peace? Israel’s ‘new’ polices towards Syria

Syria’s President Bashar Assad claims that the Israeli government, especially Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, is sending out “mixed signals” in regards to possible peace negotiations with Syria. Olmert’s recent announcement that his government is ready to enter into serious negotiations with Syria involving the Golan Heights, is coming on the heels of both countries preparing for a future military conflict over the territory taken by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.

Assad, who recently declared that his country is ready to retake the “Heights”, sees Israel in a much weakened position following last summer’s Lebanon II war. Basking in his so-called “re-election” for another 7 year term as president, Assad seems more determined to reclaim his country’s ownership of the territory still being held by Israel. Olmert for his part is offering to return nearly the entire Golan Heights, except for small sections around the Sea of Galilee, including Hamat Gader, one of the important sources of the Jordan River and a major water supplier for Israel.

Giving back this territory to Syria, which would include the entire Mt. Hermon Ski area as well as most of the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, would mean that Syria will once again be sitting literally on Israel’s doorstep. It would also mean that Syria would have full access to Israel’s most important fresh water supply, and could literally pump out the same water now being used by Israel. Some of the region’s best fruit crops, especially apples, are grown on the Golan; and more recently world-class quality wines are produced there as well.

More than 30,000 Israelis live on the Golan Heights, as well as several thousand Druze who still claim Syrian nationality. Returning the Golan to Syria would necessitate relocating the Jewish inhabitants back to Israel – a feat much more difficult than the disengagement from Gaza in August, 2005.

The Golan Druze, however, still remain loyal to Syria despite receiving various services from Israel including medical care..

Many analysts agree that Prime Minister Olmert is offering up the Golan Heights out of a position of weakness; and that a stronger leader would not have considered this gesture to one of Israel’s worst enemies. Still, other political leaders including Yizhak Rabin and even Binyamin Netanyahu have made similar offers in the past.

Both Israeli and Syrian military forces have recently staged military exercises on each other’s respective side of the border; and intelligence reports indicate that the Syrians are repairing and cleaning bomb shelters and bunkers on their side of the cease fire line. Syria reportedly has hundreds of Scud-type long range missiles aimed at central Israel, including major population centers like Tel Aviv. And if Syria and Israel were to go to war, The Hezbollah in Lebanon would certainly “join the party”.

Present day realities show that returning the Golan Heights to Syria is not as simple as returning the Sinai to Egypt. If this is not believable, then all one has to do is to go to the Golan and see this reality ‘on the ground’ Still, peace – even a cold one like the current relations with Egypt and Jordan, is still better than no peace at all, many declare.

That may be true, but can the Syrians really be trusted to abide by a peace treaty? And who would gain most by a final agreement. Possibly both countries would, if they take it seriously.

War and Peace by Olmert

The papers say that Olmert offered the Syrians the Golan Heights in return for Peace that includes severing all ties with Iran and the Terror groups in Lebanon. And by the way, its also the Israeli Book Week these days and the good time to get a book. Moshik’s Take: “Do you have War and Peace? Right now we only have the first half..”

War and Peace

The Six Day War 40 Years After

The Six Day War
They’re now graying, and many have more than comfortable paunches on their midriffs. But those Israelis who fought in the war of June 5-11 1967, now historically referred to as the Six Day War, still remember its glory. The Six Day War: a miracle victory against the combined armies of three Arab countries, two of whom are now at peace with Israel.

Recently, a reunion was made of the veterans who fought in the battle to liberate Jerusalem, three of whom are shown here when they experienced being at the Kotel or Western Wall for the first time in their lives. In fact, Israelis had not been allowed into the Old City and especially to pray at Judaism’s most holy site since the siege of this part of Jerusalem during the War of Independence, in 1948. The unification of the city, together with the capture of the entire Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank of the Jordan, including the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria, not only changed the history of the Middle East, but of the entire world.

As a result of this war, Israel’s status changed from being a tiny country under siege from all its neighbors to an occupying power due to its new jurisdiction over all the inhabitants of the lands it conquered during one of the most miraculous military conflicts of modern times.

It hasn’t been an easy change for the State of Israel, as less than 7 years later an even more terrifying war broke out, the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel was ferociously
Attacked by the combined forces of Egypt and Syria; a war that in its first critical days seemed almost to be the end of the Jewish State. Though Israeli military forces managed to win this war, at a terrible cost of more than 3,000 young soldier’s lives, and despite an eventual peace treaty with Egypt and the return to that country of the Sinai Peninsula, the situation regarding the ‘territories’ has become even more complicated with two ‘Intifada’ uprisings, scores of suicidal terrorist attacks and, now the specter of civil war amongst the Palestinians, who were given autonomy in the 1994 Oslo Accords.

40 years later, still no peace has occurred between Israel and its neighbors, which now include Israel’s entire northern regions after last summer’s Lebanon II war. Israel still maintains diplomatic relations with both the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. But it’s a very chilly peace, with indications that Egypt may one day again be at war with Israel, since that country continues to build up and improve it’s military forces; this time with help of Israel’s mutual ally, the United States.

The situation with Syria, Israel’s most immediately dangerous adversary, is as tense as ever, with Syrian President Bashar Assad, basking in the glory of his recent “re-election” to another seven year term in office, calling for the ‘liberation of the Golan Heights from the hands of the Occupiers’ (Israel). And Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, head of the Lebanese based Hezbollah, is now stronger than ever following the end of last summers war in which more than 4,000 ketiusha rockets were launched into Israel, striking even Haifa, Israel’s third largest city.

And on top of all of this, what might be the most dangerous enemy of all for the Jewish State, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is bent on “uprooting the Zionist tree once and for all from this region”.

40 years after; and yet it seems almost like yesterday. As an ancient philosopher once said in Rome concerning events in this part of the world: “the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain”. And judging from events which have transpired in the past 40 years, these words are still true in regards to the prospects of peace between Israel and its neighbors.

Still, the glory and the pride of those six fateful days, four decades ago, still linger in the minds of many who fought that historical war; including the three men who gathered a few days ago in the same spot where they stood so long ago in awe of their faith’s, and country’s most hallowed historical, symbol – the Kotel.

Summer Time And The Living Is Easy

“One of these mornings
Youre bound to rise up singing
Then youll spread your wings
And take to the sky
But til that morning
Nothings going to harm you no
With daddy and mama standing by…”

Lemonade from www.bazekalim.comThe news is just filled with all sorts of good stuff today. For one thing we are expecting a heat wave 🙁 and then on top of that we have had just shitty news lately..
Last week an 86 year old man killed his wife (80) and 59 year old daughter. A good father and family man, father of 9 kids, all of whom were shocked to hear this. After the murder he called police and calmly gave himself up.

Then there is talk about an impending war. The newspapers are just full of that good stuff. All the military experts are planing out the next war and the fact that the Syrians are getting ready, the Hezbollah is getting stocked up and in the South the Qassam Rockets are dropping daily. To add to these good news, the cockroach, Ahmadinejad, who is BTW really neglecting his blog, announced that today the “countdown to Israel’s destruction has begun”, and that, “the arrogant superpowers and the Zionist regime invested all their efforts during the 33-day war, but after 60 years, their pride has been trampled and the countdown to the destruction of this regime has been started by Hezbollah fighters”.
Heart warming dip shit isn’t he?

Well in the middle of all this negativity I came across this great site Bazek Alim. A cooking blog that has some really sexy pictures of food and recipes on how to make them. The Lemonade shot is from there…thanks, I needed that.

Yom Hazikaron 2007: Remembering also the living

Yom Hazikaron 2007
Israel prepares to honor its war dead and those killed in acts of terror at Remembrance Day 2007, also known as Yom Hazikaron. Coming just months after last summer’s Lebanon II war, the people of Israel have those killed in this unfortunate episode to add to many others who have fallen in battle or were killed by acts of terror since the founding of the state. Also to be remembered are the three captured Israeli soldiers: Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser, and Gilad Shalit. Shalit was captured in late June when his patrol unit was attacked on the border with Gaza; Regev and Goldwasser were captured by the Hezbollah July 12 on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon – an act which sparked a war that ended more than a month later with more than 150 Israelis killed, including 38 civilians from 4,000 Katyusha rocket attacks.

Since the early 1980’s and the war known as Operation Peace for Galilee, or Lebanon I, a number of Israeli soldiers have been reported as either missing in action or captured. So far, none of these soldiers have returned alive, and many, including Air Force Flight Navigator Ron Arad, have been missing for years. It was only in the Yom Kippur War that some captured prisoners were returned alive, many after spending several months as prisoners in either Egyptian or Syrian jails or prison camps.

The reality of this past and recent scenario is that Israeli soldiers captured alive do not appear to have much likelihood of ever coming home again to their families; alive that is.

Recent optimism concerning a prisoner exchange with the Palestinians for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit seems to be constantly frustrated as demands made by the Hamas dominated Palestinian Authority for the inclusion of prisoners with “blood on their hands” are just not acceptable by Israel. In regards to the other two being held by the Hezbollah, their spiritual leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, knows how to play on the emotions of concerned relatives as they did several years back when the remains of three Israeli soldiers, and a reserve officer named Elhanan Tenenbaum, were exchanged for more than 1,000 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

On Sunday night, April 22, Yom Hazikaron will begin in Israel with a special memorial ceremony at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. While special remembrance flames will be lit there, and at numerous ceremonies around the country, we must all pause to say a prayer for the three captive soldiers and hope that they will soon be released and back with their loving families.

That’s what Yom Hazikaron is all about: not just to memorialize the dead, but to pray for the living as well.

Azmi Bashara – Bad Boy or True Arab Patriot?

Azmi Bashara
Picture Haaretz.

The furor over Balad Party leader Azmi Bashara’s political future makes many Israelis wonder if he may be the beginning of other Arab Israeli Knesset parliamentarians going over to “the other side”. And that ‘other side’ may be Israel’s enemies, including radical Islamic countries like
Syria and Iran.

Mr. Bashara’s radical political views in respect to being a member of the Israeli Knesset have often gotten him into trouble with the Israeli government, particularly among the more right wing political spectrum, including the Likud and other parties who take a dim view of such actions. Bashara’s frequent trips to neighboring Arab countries, resulting in his hob-knobbing with such people as exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mashal and Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad, has resulted in many Israelis calling for his ouster from his parliamentary seat as well as indictment for seditious anti-government activities. Other Arab Knesset political leaders, including Taal Party leader Dr. Ahmad Tibi seem moderate in comparison to Bashara, who has been advocating the disillusion of the Jewish character of the state in favor of a secular one.

Presently “languishing” in a posh Amman Jordan hotel suite, Bashara is now pondering both his political as well as personal future. Carefully weighing his options, he is considering returning to Israel and coming into the line of fire by an unfriendly, Jewish parliamentary majority; who seem bent on kicking him and possibly his political party of Israel for good. Or, to voluntarily give up his Knesset seat and show his true personal and political “spots” by officially emigrating to either Syria, Lebanon, or Jordan.

Syria, and possibly other countries unfriendly to Israel may want to use Bashara as a propaganda tool against the Jewish State by having him send a clear message to other Arabs holding Israeli nationality that the time has come for them to decide as with whom their loyalty really lies. For Bashara himself, it’s becoming more and more evident regarding where he wants to be; and that place is not within a Jewish dominated and governed republic. One might wonder if Bashara would consider becoming involved in Palestinian politics; but most likely, even he is not that stupid, judging from the current state of anarchy which is tearing the Palestinian Authority apart and which almost led to civil war.

Most Israelis would like to see Bashara exit Israeli politics and the country as well. His continued presence in both has been damaging to all, to say the very least. Other Israeli Arab politicians, many of whom live very comfortable lives in the Jewish Republic, must now decide who really butters their bread; for life in most neighboring Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, may not be nearly as pleasant as life within the ‘confines’ of the State of Israel.

At the end of the day, many Israeli politicians may decide that they have never had it so good, Bashara included.

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