Thursday, April 24, 2014

Work accident - at sea!

No, no. It's one of by land, TWO if by sea.
On Sunday, Hamas announced the martyrdom of one of its heroic jihadist fighters in the playground of death, Ashraf Nassar, who was killed in an unspecified training accident while preparing to wage war against the evil Zionist usurping enemy.

Today, they found his bloated corpse floating in the Mediterranean:

Fishermen in the Gaza Strip on Thursday found the body of a Palestinian fighter affiliated with Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades, Gaza security services said.

Fishermen spotted the body off the coast of Rafah and Hamas naval units immediately rushed to recover it from the sea.

It is believed to be the body of Ashraf Nassar, 22, who was killed last week during a military drill.
What sort of accident happened at sea where he was declared dead days before they had a body? Did he just fall overboard, or was there an explosion?

Hamas appears to be trying to smuggle weapons by sea from Egyptians masquerading as fishermen, which is probably the major job of Hamas "naval forces."

Hamas and other terror groups continue to kill their fellows at higher rates than the IDF has this year.

Hamas accepting Israel? Oh, please

Haaretz reports:

The reconciliation agreement between the two major Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, which was signed in Gaza on Wednesday, is based on a two-state solution and recognizes the State of Israel, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said on Thursday.

"The reconciliation that we achieved will be implemented according to the program of Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmuod Abbas] which recognizes the state of Israel," Rajoub said, in an interview with Army Radio's Good Morning Israel program.

He added that the two-state solution envisages "a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and the state of Israel with its capital in West Jerusalem." Hamas leader Ismail Haniya "is obliged to uphold Abu Mazen's policy," Rajoub stressed.

He stressed that "when the government is established with Abu Mazen at its head, he will express clearly and unequivocally that he accepts the terms of the Quartet and that his government accepts the two-state solution."
So why isn't Haniyeh saying this?

Not one Hamas media outlet says that it accepts Israel's existence.

When a Hamas official steps forward and says that, sure, Hamas accepts the terms given by the Quartet, and lives past that evening, then maybe there is something to talk about.

Until then, why is a Fatah official telling the world Hamas' supposed position?

We know Fatah is playing games. Fatah knows it is playing games.

Haaretz is a bit too dim to realize it.

Only two months ago this same Jibril Rajoub was in Iran saying that Fatah never abandoned terror.  Too bad Haaretz (and Army Radio) didn't think of mentioning that when relaying his wonderful, optimistic words.

04/24 Links Pt1: The Palestinians' Real Enemies; J Street: Negotiating with Hamas is Pro-Israel

From Ian:

Efraim Karsh:The Palestinians' Real Enemies
For most of the twentieth century, inter-Arab politics were dominated by the doctrine of pan-Arabism, postulating the existence of "a single nation bound by the common ties of language, religion and history. … behind the facade of a multiplicity of sovereign states"; and no single issue dominated this doctrine more than the "Palestine question" with anti-Zionism forming the main common denominator of pan-Arab solidarity and its most effective rallying cry. But the actual policies of the Arab states have shown far less concern for pan-Arab ideals, let alone for the well-being of the Palestinians, than for their own self-serving interests. Indeed, nothing has done more to expose the hollowness of pan-Arabism than its most celebrated cause.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Analysis: Abbas’s message - My demands, or else...
Wednesday’s “historic” agreement between Hamas and Fatah should be seen in the context of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to send a message to Israel and the US concerning the crisis in the peace talks.
Abbas’s message: Look what I’m capable of doing if you don’t comply with my demands.
The timing of the Fatah-Hamas accord is not coincidental. One week before the expiration of the April 29 deadline for the peace talks with Israel, Abbas has clearly decided to try every available maneuver to exert pressure on Israel and the US.
His first move came two weeks ago in the form of a televised ceremony in which he signed applications to join 15 international treaties.
Then came threats to resign, dismantle the PA and “hand the keys back to Israel.”
J Street: Negotiating with Hamas is Pro-Israel
The Middle East advocacy group J Street is urging the United States to negotiate with the terror group Hamas, which announced that it has formed a unity government with the opposing Fatah Palestinian political party.
J Street is now advocating that the United States include Hamas in its efforts to form a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
J Street’s announcement was issued after a top Hamas official made it clear that the new Palestinian unity government would not recognize Israel or renounce terrorism.
J Street wants to ‘test’ Jewish state out of existence
The PLO is not now and never was committed to a “two-state solution” (TSS) in the sense of a Jewish and Arab state living peacefully side by side. The TSS, to the PLO, has always meant an Arab-only apartheid state next to an “Israel” which implements the Arab ‘right of return’, and therefore ceases to be a Jewish state. This ambiguity has been consistently maintained throughout the ‘peace process’, which is one of the reasons it has consistently failed.
The ‘test’ proposed by the deliberately ‘naive’ leaders of J Street is for the US to force the implementation of some form of TSS. At very least it will include Israeli withdrawal from the territories. If the PLO fails to meet its commitments, what will happen? Will Israel send the IDF back into the territories, which will at that point be a sovereign ‘Palestine’? Will it un-bulldoze the settlements that it will have destroyed? Will it put its society back together after the upheaval caused by the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of its own people?
EU hails Fatah-Hamas deal, says peace talks priority
The European Union welcomed Thursday the unity accord between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas but said the priority remains peace talks with Israel.
“The EU’s top priority is that the current talks continue beyond April 29,” said a spokesman for EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton, referring to the deadline for a US-led effort to broker a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.
“The EU has consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, spokesman Michael Mann said in a statement.
Such an understanding was “an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution [with Israel],” Mann added.

"Zionist pigs" travel from official Arab media to Mondoweiss

"Even I laugh at these idiots"
From Palestinian Media agency Al Ray:
Palestinian farmers in Salfit district appealed all Palestinian and international bodies to stop the continued destruction of their crops caused by the Israeli pigs in the district.

Farmers said '' We have encountered heavy losses in our wheat and barley crops, where the pigs destroyed them completely''.

Framers added '' We tried to get rid of the pigs with all available ways but we have failed'', pointing out the only way is to shoot them; which is difficult due to the IOF monitoring towers and checkpoints in the area.

Palestinian researcher Khaled Maali explained that the settlers found launching wild pigs toward the Palestinian farmlands was the best effective way to fight the Palestinian farmers without significant cost.

Maali pointed out that the occupation prevents the Palestinians from shooting the pigs, whereas it permits settlers to kill the pigs when they reach their colonial settlements.
Yes, Israelis raise wild pigs to attack Palestinian farmers, and the IDF defends the pigs against being shot by Arabs, but the Jews who spent all that effort raising them can shoot them dead if they stray from their lessons of only attacking Arab farms.

It is an interesting economic model.

Here's my favorite part:
These Israeli settler assaults are in direct violation of international humanitarian law, and of Israel's obligations under international law as an occupying power.
You know, the famous Zionist Pig Clause in the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Anyway, this story naturally traveled from Al Ray to the absurd IMEMC "news" site.

From IMEMC the story went to that paragon of honesty, Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades.

And also from the IMEMC, the story was reported by the equally accurate news source relied upon by thousands of Israel-hating morons, none other than Mondoweiss,

Will Mondoweiss "reporter" Max Blumenthal put the story in his next book? It certainly meets his standards of accuracy!

(h/t Israellycool via NormanF)

Book review: The Israeli Solution by Caroline Glick

One thing that Jews and Americans have in common is the desire to find solutions to problems. It is almost a pathology - if problems exist, we are hopelessly optimistic that solutions also exist.

Usually the solutions offered to the Arab-Israeli conflict come from the Left - Israeli offering more concessions in exchange for presumed goodwill that never materializes, but is still assumed. Some solutions come from the Right as well and they are usually dismissed without a consideration.

There has been some attention given to Caroline Glick's "one state solution" plan that she unveiled with the release of her book, The Israeli Solution. The plan, if I may oversimplify it for this review, is this:
  • Israel annexes Judea and Samaria, but not Gaza. 
  • Arab citizens are given full rights across the board.
  • The demographic problems will not materialize because the population figures we have been given from Palestinian Arabs have been grossly exaggerated.
  • At most, Arabs would take up one third of the population.
  • Palestinians wouldn't have any viable options to counter this.
  • Arab states won't care enough to do anything about it. 
  • Europe might offer some severe economic and diplomatic responses, but Israel could survive them.
  • Americans and Israelis should embrace this plan since it solves almost all the problems.

The book is divided into three sections.

The first is a good overview of the history of the region and of the peace process. There is a lot of good research here and, if expanded, it could make a fine book on its own.

Glick is also at least as critical of George W. Bush's Middle East policy as she is of Bill Clinton's and Barack Obama's. After all, Bush was the first president to declare openly that the US goal was to create a Palestinian Arab state.

The second section details the plan itself, while the third discusses potential fallout.

This is an important book because it breaks out of the "two-state" straitjacket that Israel - and the world- finds itself in. It does not cower at the supposed demographic time bomb that seems to cause Israeli politicians to panic and make unilateral offers. It is crucial to have a smart, fearless voice on the right that tackles the sacred cows of the "peace process" and that expands the discussion beyond the boundaries that are considered acceptable by the conventional wisdom.

Unfortunately, the book is also flawed. Some might not find the flaws to be that bad, and I agree that the importance of having the arguments out there may outweigh the problems, but they bother me a great deal.

Glick brings a wealth of facts to support her position. Many are new to me and I hope to turn some of them into standalone posts. But sometimes she plays fast and loose with those facts, sacrificing honesty for her arguments.

For example, on page 184 she says something astounding. In 2012 there was a poll of both Israelis and Palestinians on how they would view an Israeli plan "to unilaterally withdraw from Judea and Samaria, in a bid to advance a two state solution." 44% of Israelis supported it with 49% opposed, but she says 35% of Palestinians supported it and 59% opposed it. "That is, the Palestinians were much more opposed to an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria than were the Israelis."

This seemed fishy to me, so I looked up the poll. The suggestion was not a unilateral plan to withdraw from all of Judea and Samaria, but only from the parts east of the fence (give or take.) In other words, the Palestinians weren't opposed to the pullout - they were opposed to any remaining land of the territories being in Israeli hands. The result is quite different from how Glick represented it, and this is most disappointing.

On page 212, Glick says without qualification that "ethnic Palestinians constitute 80 percent of the population" in Jordan. She gets this figure from Mudar Zahran, a writer I respect but one who has an agenda. The truth is that there have been no censuses in Jordan to determine how many Palestinians live there; most experts assume between 50% and 70%. 80% seems very high, and it really has no support except by Zahran's assertion, and he has an interest in inflating the figures.

Less important but still problematic are things like Glick's assertion (p. 145) that Palestinian law supports older Jordanian laws that forbid selling land to Jews on penalty of death. In reality, that is almost accurate, but the law as written is really aimed at Israeli Jews, not all Jews (there was another Jordanian law to make it very difficult to sell land to non-Arabs, making it effectively but not officially impossible to sell land to Jews. Still, accuracy is paramount.)

There is also an apparent typo on page 76 saying that European Court of Auditors determined that $27 billion in EU aid to the PA was unaccounted for between 2008 and 2012. The real number is $2.7 billion.

Some of these are minor quibbles but I expect a book of this caliber, making important and novel arguments, to be very careful in its wording and arguments. Unfortunately Glick is not as careful as she should be, forcing one to double check every fact.

Even in her main thesis Glick skates over facts a little too much for my taste. I am no demographic expert, but I know that there are some demographers who disagree with the rightist demographers Glick relies on for the bulk of her argument. Those criticisms are ignored and the demographers Glick relies upon are not given a chance to defend their position on a deeper level, which is what I would like to see. Betting the future of Israel on biased statistics is a bad idea no matter which way the statistics may be biased. I, for one, would love to see a decent academic debate on this topic, and this book missed an opportunity by not going the extra mile to dig deeper instead of uncritically only reporting one side.

This is a pattern throughout the book. Obviously, Caroline Glick has a viewpoint and no one can begrudge her the opportunity to showcase it in her book , but when she ignores evidence that contradicts her theses it weakens her points significantly. This is a real shame, because even small errors will be magnified by the Israel haters to delegitimize the good points she makes.

Finally, I have a problem with Glick's key argument. Even if we allow that her demographics are correct and 67% of Israelis would be Jewish under her plan, that is not as healthy a majority as it may appear.

Since Israel is a parliamentary democracy, one only needs a bloc of 51% of the seats in Knesset to rule. In theory, if all Arabs (33%) vote as a bloc, then they could form a coalition with a mere 18% representing Jewish far left parties - meaning that Arabs could be a significant majority of a ruling coalition!

Is it that far fetched that far -Left parties would jump at the chance to be in the ruling coalition - and would agree to, say, limit aliyah or replace Yom Haatzmaut with Nakba Day to appease the Arab majority?

Even with these criticisms (and I have many others - I especially don't think that she considers all possible reactions to her plan), I want to emphasize that this is an important book and one that is worth reading. You will definitely learn things you didn't know before.

More importantly, it is critical that the discussion of potential solutions are not limited to the artificial framework that the Western world has imposed on Israel.

Another decisive defeat for BDS, this time at SDSU: 16-3-3

San Diego State University has become the latest battleground for the Israel haters, and yet again they have been soundly defeated.

It didn't look that way at first.  San Diego Jewish World reported on a visit by two IDF soldiers to campus a couple of weeks ago:
Yishai and Ilana are students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but they weren’t visiting San Diego County in that capacity earlier this week. They came as two former active-duty 1st lieutenants of the Israel Defense Forces...

In their estimate of these two Army reservists, a visit to San Diego State University provided both low and high points of their trip, the low point coming when the student legislature took “testimony” on a proposal to divest student funds from companies doing business with Israel, and the high point coming later that afternoon when Ilana and Yishai walked and talked with pro-Palestinian students from Gaza and the United States and later had the opportunity to fully answer their charges during a presentation in San Diego’s new Hillel House.

The BDS resolution, which will be voted upon by the student Senate following the Spring break, was the subject of a hearing at which, as Ilana described it, was controlled by one student senator who already had made up her mind to demonize Israel by describing its soldiers as an occupation force who were violating human rights. There were only a few Israelis and pro-Israel speakers at the hearing, who were given two minutes each at the beginning of the meeting, and when they finished speaking, a well organized phalanx of pro-Palestinian speaker leveled emotional charge after emotional charge against Israel, charges that according to Ilana had no basis in fact nor which could be responded to under the carefully controlled format of the meeting.

But while the haters might have been noisier, and while they again tried to hijack the student council's procedures, they failed - spectacularly.

From J.J. Surbeck of Project TEAM:

The whole event started at 3:30 pm and ended around 9:00 pm, which overall was a record in speed compared to the almost all-nighters that had happened before at UCSD and other campuses.

Most of the afternoon was filled with a long string of statements made by proponents and opponents of the resolution. We had been informed that the time allotted was to be 2 minutes, only to learn upon entering into the meeting hall that it had been cut down to 1 minute! That was ridiculous. Try to make a cogent statement in 1 minute, let alone one meant to sway the opinion of on-the-fence senators! There was one way around this absurd rule, however, and that was when someone who had signed up to speak yielded his or her time to another speaker, allowing the latter to accumulate precious minutes. So some speakers ended up with 4 or 5 minutes, which is a lot better than just 1.

Be that as it may, the voices for both sides were roughly equal, and the pro-Israel students made excellent statements that balanced out the other, more emotional tones of the pro-Palestinians. Two professors spoke against. So did yours truly. On the other side, local anti-Zionist Miko Peled spoke and stayed until the end. The result must have been a bitter pill for him to swallow, not that I feel in any way sorry for him given the usual lies he presented (he enjoyed a 4 minute period). Oh, I almost forgot, Graubart spoke, too, and even if he didn’t make an impression, he of course declared himself in support of the resolution. I might add also that the pro-israel students had the backing of StandWithUs, Hillel, ADL and T.E.A.M., all represented in the room, together with several members of the community (who are to be thanked for having made the trek to SDSU for the occasion). Even though by and large they did a great job on their own without needing assistance, they knew they could count on our support and that they were not left to fight this battle alone.

Then came the crucial part. One of the council member who didn’t seem amused by this blatant attempt by SJP to hijack the SDSU AS for their narrow purposes pointed out that he had examined the resolution carefully and in particular checked every one of the links they had provided as “evidence” in support of their statements. And he had thus discovered that most were either faulty or inaccurate, or came from web sites with questionable reliability or reputation. One of the pro-Palestinian council members then dragged the council in a long, drawn-out procedural battle to “find” more reliable links. This went on until one of the pro-Israel students pointed out that maybe it wasn’t the council’s job to improve poorly drafted resolutions submitted for its approval! The council didn’t act on this fundamental remark immediately, but eventually it decided to vote against several more attempts to “improve” the content of the resolution, and finally decided to vote on the resolution itself.

While a few senators voted by simply saying “no”, most took their time to explain their votes. A clear majority defined itself quickly as opposed, most based on the fact that they found the text of the resolution offensive, crude and one-sided. In other words, the SJP shot themselves in the foot with their usual extremism. In the end, the verdict was without appeal: 16 against, 3 in favor and 3 abstentions. To call this therefore a crushing defeat for the BDS is an accurate depiction of what happened. Let’s note that while the pro-Palestinian side was loud, clapping when it was not supposed to, and would have undoudbtedly erupted in screams of joy if they had won, there was none of that on the part of the pro-Israel participants. It was very dignified. The satisfaction of having seen reason prevail among the AS members was its own, highly satisfactory reward.
There is a 4.5 hour long, often unintelligible Google Hangouts video of the entire proceedings here.

Looks like there is a clear pattern here of major BDSFails on college campuses this year. No doubt part of it is because of better organizing by pro-Israel groups to match the enthusiasm and underhanded methods of the Israel haters.

But a lot has to do with the pushback on the part of student unions when they realize that they are being manipulated by petty, hateful liars whose intolerance dwarfs anything they can say about Israel.

Not that the haters are discouraged. Their cult-like tweets after the vote try to make this sound like a victory as they promise to bring the topic up again and again and again.

The haters still do occasionally win. Last night the haters celebrated a victory at University of California Riverside by the narrowest of margins, 8-7.

And they are even organizing a "summer institute":

So while the tide has turned, it still requires hard work and perseverance to defeat the haters. Congratulations to those who did such an outstanding job at SDSU!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

04/23 Links Pt2: Daily Kos is Spreading Hatred of Jews; Huge Sodastream giveaway on 'Ellen'

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: Who are the Victims and Who Are the Victimizers?
One year after the bombs went off at the Boston marathon, Brandeis authorities were so intent on avoiding the issues those bombs had raised, that they would rather point the finger at a critic of the radical ideology than do anything to criticize the ideology.
Is not the Palestinian leadership a viable negotiating partner with whom peace is just about to be achieved? How do you protest if the protesters are Muslims? Who are the victims and who are the victimizers? After all, "victims" cannot victimize, can they?
When we see a global bigotry and hatred such as this, we should identify it as such and demand, in the name of all that is decent, that it stop.
Mike Lumish: Spreading Hatred Toward Jews on Daily Kos
Progressive-left disdain for the Jewish people takes the form of disdain for the Jewish State. Disdain for the Jewish State takes the form of perpetually condemning it as a racist, imperialist, colonialist, militarist, apartheid, racist state. It’s the Big Lie and if you say it over and over and over again eventually people will come to believe it.
Let’s take a gander at an example from the hard-left Daily Kos website, shall we?
One of the more vile individuals that posts in that venue goes under the moniker Eternal Hope… although I know of one wag who likes to refer to her as Eternal Dope.
Kansas Hate Crime Didn’t Emerge From a Vacuum
Now that the Kansas atrocity underlines that Jews do, in fact, face serious risks, Blumenthal has shifted tack, writing on the anti-Semitic website Mondoweiss on the alleged similarities between Frazier Cross’s Nazi ideology and Zionism. Elsewhere on the same website, which receives part of its funding from conservative businessman Ron Unz, another contributor, Annie Robbins, wondered aloud whether Kansas was an Israeli conspiracy.
Why does any of this matter? Left-wing anti-Zionists are increasingly regarded as acceptable company in the intellectual mainstream. Blumenthal has, for example, recently addressed the New America Foundation, a leading liberal think-tank in Washington, DC, which was apparently unperturbed by his flock of Nazi admirers, or by the fact that he was the subject of a flattering profile on Press TV, the official mouthpiece of the Iranian regime.

Muslims terrorize Jewish children on Temple Mount (video)

From Yisrael Medad's JPost blog:

Some two dozen or so Jewish children ascended with their fathers to the Temple Mount.

Children, not even teenagers.


They were surrounded by adult Muslim men and women who chanted, screamed, yelled, pushed, threatened and otherwise acted with verbal and even some physical violence. And surely psychological violence.
There is a simple reason why the Muslims became so unhinged.

Because proud Jewish children threaten them more than the police or the IDF.

Muslims know that this is a long-term conflict. They see the IDF the way they think about Crusaders - outsiders who came for a while but who were eventually and inevitably going to be pushed out. All that is needed is patience.

But religious Jewish children show clearly that there is a people whose claim to the Land is older and far more authentic than theirs.

Secular Israeli Jews they can handle. They think that human rights groups and Western governments and terrorism can wear them down and force many of them to make concessions, and then more concessions, until the Muslims win. They look at Gaza and Lebanon and see nothing but Jewish weakness.

But children who are identifiable as Jews are a force that they cannot counter. The children represent a world where Jews are tenacious and dedicated, filled with love for the land and the inner strength to hold onto it. These children and their descendants are not about to give up their holy sites for mere promises and more lies.

The children represent the future, and Muslims don't like what they see there.

Just watch the video and decide - who respects their holy sites and who desecrates them?

Abbas' Holocaust doubletalk

There's a sucker born every minute, and today's is Rabbi Marc Schneier:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the Holocaust the “single greatest tragedy in modern-day history” during a meeting with a visiting American rabbi in Ramallah on Sunday.

According to Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a Jewish-Muslim interfaith group, Abbas agreed to make a public declaration on behalf of Holocaust-remembrance efforts around the world, as well as to speak out against attempts to ban circumcision and ritual slaughter in several European countries.

Abbas told Schneier that “remembrance should be an issue of increased concern to both Jews and Muslims,” the rabbi said after the meeting.

Abbas has been a subject of criticism in some Israeli circles over accusations of Holocaust denial because of his graduate thesis, written while studying in the former Soviet Union, which asserted that “a partnership was established between Hitler’s Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement” and that the Zionist movement “gave permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine.”

Last year Abbas defended his thesis, saying that he “challenges anyone who can deny that the Zionist movement had ties with the Nazis before World War II,” according to a report in the Palestinian news service Ma’an.
Schneier, being a well-meaning peaceful type of guy, cannot fathom that he is being played by an expert in lies and doubletalk.

Abbas wrote a thesis that Zionists cooperated with Nazis in murdering hundreds of thousands of Jews (Abbas doesn't admit six million.) That is obviously a major loss of life. So when Abbas says that the Holocaust is a tragedy, he means it is a crime done by Zionist Jews against European Jewry not that it was a Nazi genocide!

Abbas isn't taking out any lessons from the Holocaust except that Zionists are mass murderers, and they continue to be so.

And Schneier smiles and thinks that he moderated a Holocaust denying terror supporter.

Of course, getting Abbas to act as a catalyst to help turn back European laws against Jewish and Muslim rituals like circumcision and ritual slaughter is a good thing, if Abbas follows through. But Abbas remains what he has always been.

If Schneier knew who he was talking to, he could have asked Abbas a simple question: will he remove his Holocaust denying essay from his own official website?

Because, today, his Holocaust denial is available in Arabic on Abbas' official  "president.ps" website - and it was most recently reprinted in 2011!

Now, is it even remotely believable that Abbas has changed his mind about the Holocaust when he is hawking his own book, reprinted recently, on his own site?

Abbas knows quite well that he can manipulate Western "peaceniks" - in another of those books on his site - and they are a critical part of his strategy to delegitimize Israel. Schneier is being played for a fool.

04/23 Links Pt1: Bibi: Abbas must choose between Israel and Hamas; Bolton: The Three State Solution

From Ian:

Netanyahu: Abbas must choose between Israel and Hamas
The Palestinian Authority can either make peace with Hamas or with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, warning PA President Mahmoud Abbas that a reported reconciliation deal with the terrorist organization ruling Gaza would mean the end of the current, US-mediated effort to negotiate a peace deal.
“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “He has to choose: Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far he hasn’t done so.”
Bennett Derides Abbas for Seventh 'Suicide Threat' to Disband PA
Bennett remarked that Abbas's "threats" constitute a demand for Israel to "divide Jerusalem, release murderers" and divide the country along the 1949 Armistice lines, and if Israel doesn't "then he's going to commit suicide. Well, he's got to improve the incentive, something's wrong there."
The economics minister added "the state of Israel is stronger than the threats of Abbas, we heard about terror threats in the past, we heard threats about a national tsunami (of boycotts); the new threat they're selling is the disbandment of the PA."
"I've got news" for Abbas, said Bennett, referring to the threats to hand over the keys. "There's always someone who will take the keys and we certainly don't intend to adopt a policy of national suicide from such a great fear as Abbas retiring."
John Bolton: Opinion: A Three State Solution for Middle East Peace: Israel, Jordan, and Egypt
The contentious issue of Jerusalem’s status as the purported capital of “Palestine” would disappear, since Amman would obviously be the seat of government for an enlarged Jordan. Palestinians could be rapidly integrated into the Jordanian economy, and participate in its ongoing political development. Such a solution would enormously benefit the Palestinian people by providing political stability and the prospect of enhanced economic security. The existing Israel-Jordanian peace agreement would help ensure that Israel and an expanded Jordan could continue to live together peacefully.
Gaza is a harder problem, but incorporating it into Egypt is clearly a better solution than allowing it to remain the headquarters for Hamas and other terrorist groups. Merging Gaza with Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood was not an acceptable option, since Hamas, a Brotherhood subsidiary, would simply have acquired even greater capabilities for terrorist attacks against Israel, Arab states friendly to America, and beyond.
Cairo’s current (and likely future) military government may not be made up of Jeffersonian democrats, but it is a sterling alternative to Hamas, and will presumably not tolerate terrorism emanating from behind new Egyptian borders. Gaza’s economic integration with Egypt will be more difficult than the West Bank into Jordan, but no other alternative is feasible.
For many, ending the quest for the “two-state solution” will be like renouncing the search for the Golden Fleece. Moreover, Egypt and Jordan will be understandably reluctant to take control of the troubled territories, which therefore warrants significant international assistance for their efforts. Nonetheless, our experience over the past several decades proves conclusively that neither Palestinians nor Israel, nor (most importantly for us) the United States, can benefit from continuing to pursue an illusion.

"Growing numbers of Jewish tourists provokes Jordanians' anger"

Jordan's Erem News reports that Jordanians in the southern part of the country are increasingly upset that Jews are visiting the country, claiming that they are planting fake archaeological treasures to be dug up to help Israel claim that Jordan is really part of Israel.

Jordanian citizens in the city of Tafilah noticed "alarming movements" by eight Jewish tourists camping for a few days, they claim, in order to carry out digs. This provoked "anger and resentment" from them. Abu Ali Al-Majali shot a few shots in the air, (he claims that he didn't know that the Jewish tourists were there, claiming he was testing his gun.) Afterwards the Jews escaped in three vehicles carrying Jordanian license plates, The Jews left amid "angry shouting" by the citizens of the city, which included the throwing of shoes towards the Jews (considered a very severe form of degradation in the Arab world). Abu Ali Al-Majali was arrested by the police.

The article notes in its last paragraph that the Jewish tourists' "exploratory excursions" in the last 15 years frighten the people in the cities in the southern part of Jordan, especially in the regions between Madaba and Karak and Tafilah. The reason is that "according to the 'Jewish historians', these regions were a part of historic Israel, and so the Jews are not ashamed to consider a part of these regions as belonging to their "alleged state", as the "Jewish Lands Agency" said that "Jordan, from its north to its south and from the Dead Sea" is part of the lands of the Jewish people, and that Petra and the Nebo Mountain in Madaba are holier than many Jewish cities which were conquered by Israel ever since its establishment.

According to the article, despite the peace treaty with Jordan, the website of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's website has maps of the Promised Land showing Jewish cities both on the western bank and the eastern bank of the River (Jordan).

The MFA does have some historic maps of the Jewish kingdoms of David,  the Hashmoneans and Herod which of course did include parts of modern-day Jordan, so these seem to be what is upsetting them. Of course, there is no such thing as "ancient Jordan."

In what may be a reaction to this growing Jew-hatred, Jordan has been enforcing a rule that Israeli Jews cannot tour Jordan without a Jordan-approved tour guide.

Israeli Arabs have no such limitations.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

Archaeologist claims to have found chisel that helped build the Kotel

From Haaretz:

Archaeologists have found a stonemason's chisel that they believe may have been used by the builders of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Actually Eli Shukron, an archaeologist working for the Israel Antiquities Authority, found the chisel last summer while digging at the lower base of the Western Wall, south of the Western Wall courtyard. However, the IAA has preferred to remain silent on the discovery, based on the need to study the tool and other evidence further before issuing any statements, it explained.

Shukron has been digging in the area of the City of David and the Western Wall together with Prof. Ronny Reich for the past 19 years, until a few months ago. In recent years Shukron had been excavating inside a tunnel found to lead from the City of David into the Old City, passing beneath its massive stone wall and ending at the Western Wall.

In effect the tunnel is part of a drainage system built beneath the main road during the Second Temple period. At its end within the city, the tunnel is right by Temple Mount and the lower area of the Western Wall, which had been a wall of the Second Temple.

The chisel is just one of many archaeological treasures that Shukron and Reich reported from the area. Other finds include a Roman sword, cooking vessels from the period of the Great Rebellion, a gold bell that they think may have adorned the robe of the High Priest, and a ceramic seal apparently used to confirm the suitability of sacrifices brought to the Temple.
The chisel is 15 centimeters long. Its head had become flattened, almost mushroom-shaped, from being repeatedly banged on rock.

Shukron suspects a builder working at one of the higher levels of the Western Wall, from a scaffolding structure, dropped the thing and couldn't be bothered to climb down and retrieve it. Thus the metal artifact became covered by rubble and stayed that way for 2,000 years. Or maybe he did climb down but couldn't find it.

"I have no doubt that it belongs to the time the Wall was built," Shukron says. "We found it at the base of the Western Wall, about six meters below the main street of Jerusalem in the era of the Second Temple. The coins we found in the area, and ceramics too, indicate that it was at the time the Western Wall was built. The chisel itself was found inside rubble of stone chips that fell from the stonemasons working on the rocks comprising the Western Wall."

It is true that the rocks comprising the Western Wall had been transported there from far away. But the final work on the giant stones, and the job of fitting them with incredible precision, were done on site.

In contrast to the stones at the lower layer of the Wall, which remain quite natural in shape, the stones nearer the top were beautifully worked.

"People pray and kiss these holy stones every day, but somebody carved them, somebody chiseled them, somebody positioned them," Shukron says. "They were workers, human beings, who had tools. Today for the first time we can touch a chisel that belonged to one of them."

The IAA commented that the chisel had been found more than a year ago, and it is awaiting results of tests on the implement, and on other findings at the site. When solid results come in, it will comment, the IAA stated.

(h/t Yoel)