Friday, August 10, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 8/10/2012: Israel Lives In A Tough Neighborhood

From DG:
1) Embattled democracy  
"Next week, Mahmoud Abbas will enter the 92nd month of his 48-month term, and now has Yasser Arafat’s record in sight. Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996, running essentially unopposed (his opponent was a 72-year old woman with no political party). In 2004, in the ninth year of his four-year term, he left office on account of death. His second-in-command was elected president less than two months later, running essentially unopposed (Hamas boycotted the election). Abbas is now midway through the eighth year of his own four-year term, almost certain to break Arafat’s record if he can just stay healthy."
Palestinian “President” Nears Record by Rick Richman
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"My analysis is the following: If Iran becomes a nuclear state, the entire equation in the Middle East will change. In such a case, Syria would have to be steadfast – even if a war of attrition is waged against it – in order to accomplish this goal, because this [nuclear] weapon is meant for Syria too, not just for Iran. 
The viewers should not interpret this as if Syria is serving an Iranian agenda. This nuclear weapon is meant to create a balance of terror with Israel, to finish off the Zionist enterprise, and to end all Israeli aggression against the Arab nation."
Hizbullah MP General (ret.) Walid Sakariya: Iranian Nuclear Weapon to "Finish Off the Zionist Enterprise" - MEMRI TV
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"Six people have been arrested and one sentenced to a month in prison for eating in public during the month of Ramadan, according to the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper. 
Under Islamic law, eating is prohibited from sunrise until sunset during the entire month. 
In addition, the Chairman of the PA Supreme Court for Shari'ah Law said PA law should prohibit even non-Muslims and those who cannot fast for health reasons from eating in public during the month. Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is explained: "Our streets are Islamic," and formal legislation should be enacted to "severely punish" anyone who eats publicly during Ramadan. Sheikh Ida'is was appointed Chairman of the Shari'ah court by presidential order of Mahmoud Abbas in January 2012."
Six Palestinians arrested,one sentenced to a month in prison, for eating in public during Ramadan - Palestinian Media Watch
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On July 27, 2012, Ziad Al-Bandak, an advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas on Christian affairs, visited the Auschwitz concentration camp, laying a wreath at the Death Wall and lighting a candle in memory of the Holocaust victims.[1] The visit was at the invitation of a private Polish foundation promoting tolerance. Several days prior to the visit, he met with Polish Undersecretary of State Boguslaw Winid. 
Al-Bandak's act sparked furious responses from Hamas and Hamas supporters. The movement's spokesman, as well as columnists on websites affiliated with it, stated that the visit served the interests of Israel, which presents itself as a victim by spreading the "lie" of the Holocaust.
Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum: "The Visit Helped Israel To Spread The Lie Of The Holocaust" - MEMRI
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The Shin Bet prevented a series of planned Hezbollah terrorist attacks recently, after a group of Israeli Arabs helped smuggle 20 kg. of high-grade explosives into the country. 
On Wednesday, eight residents of Nazareth and the town of Ghajar – half of which is in Israel and the other half in Lebanon – were charged in the Nazareth District Court with helping to smuggle the explosives. Most of them are believed to be drug dealers.
Shin Bet nabs explosive-smuggling Israeli Arabs - Jerusalem Post

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Over the years, the IDF sent 15 aid delegations to over 14 countries struck by natural disasters, where IDF doctors set up field hospitals and immediately began their rescue efforts. Overall, medical care was given to more than 2,300 people in afflicted areas, and 220 were saved from certain death.
 20 Years of Saving Lives Abroad - IDF Blog
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Four months ago the husband of Suhila Abd el-Salam Ahmed Haniyeh – the sister of Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh – suffered a serious cardiac episode which could not be treated at any hospital in Gaza. He and his wife were taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva where he received urgent treatment. After being hospitalized in Israel for a week, his condition stabilized and the couple returned to Gaza. 
Ismail Haniyeh attacks Israel at every opportunity, and the terror group he heads does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Haniyeh's brother-in-law was treated at Israeli hospital – Ynet News (via Daily Alert)

2) Ben Zion's Legacy

Shortly after Ben Zion Netanyahu passed away Jeffrey Goldberg wrote A peace legacy for Netanyahu's hard line dad? Goldberg concluded about the Prime Minister
He is a man very much shaped by his father, and his father’s worldview has helped shape the Israel of today. 
But there is an opportunity: Benjamin Netanyahu, precisely because he is the son of a man like Benzion, is the only Israeli politician today who could deliver the majority of Israel’s Jewish population to a painful compromise with the Palestinians. He is also one of the few whose endorsement of a deal between Tehran and Washington over the Iranian nuclear program -- a deal that would allow the Iranians to have a supervised civilian program, for instance -- would allay the concerns of even more hawkish Israelis. The average Israeli trusts that Netanyahu would not sell out their interests for a Nobel Peace Prize. 
Israel’s security depends in part on Benzion Netanyahu- style vigilance and militancy. But it also depends on recognizing that the Jews of today are not the Jews of 1938, and that Jewish history is not preordained to repeat itself forever.
Goldberg achieved the result he sought. He wanted to show that Netanyahu could make peace with the Palestinians and endorse some sort of containment deal to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons without attacking. So Goldberg did. He argues that now that Binyamin Netanyahu's father is now dead, the Prime Minister need not be bound by his father's paranoia. (Early in the article, Goldberg wrote that Netanyahu had dismissed his arguments as "psychoanalysis." I think that Netanyahu had a point.)

But Goldberg ignores that it is the Palestinians that refuse to make a deal or that a nuclear Iran is a real danger and that if sanctions don't work Israeli will be forced to act. Netanyahu doesn't operate in a vacuum. Whether or not there will be peace in the Middle East, is not a function of Netanyahu's actions or reactions, but the actions of other actors in the region.

Read Bibi - son of Benzion by Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik for a straightforward reading of the father's influence on the son, untainted by wishful thinking.
For Benzion Netanayahu, Spanish Jewry’s complacency, and their embrace of a convenient narrative, reveals “man’s natural reluctance to draw radical conclusions which imply uprooting oneself from a comfortable spot.” Just as German Jews “failed to foresee Hitler’s rise to power at any time during the period preceding that rise, so the Jews of Spain failed to notice, even a few years before the expulsion, the mountainous wave which was approaching to overwhelm them.” The failure by one of the greatest communities in Jewish Diaspora history to sense this threat was “nothing short of proverbial.”  
Now, the son of this scholar leads the Jewish state and must decide how seriously to take the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic rhetoric of Iranian leaders, as they seek the ability to build a weapon of which the ancient and medieval enemies of Jerusalem and of the Jews could only have dreamed.  
As it happens, Benjamin Netanyahu has written with reverence of his father’s scholarship, and of its underlying lesson. The Tisha B’av expulsion from Spain, as he sees it, is an eternal warning to Jews that one of the great threats to their wellbeing is their own complacency.

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