Managing the status quo in our favour

I have been blogging for 10 years and throughout that time I have argued against the two-state solution and have asked for a paradigm shift. Since Egypt and Jordan are far from assuming their assigned roles by the two plans cited here, the one remaining option is conflict management. But conflict management does mean maintaining the status quo. It involves changing the paradigm over time in a way that strengthens us. The first order of business is to extend Israeli law to the settlements or annexing Area “C” which is essentially the same thing. Ted Belman

New times call for new thinking

By David M. Weinberg

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that Israel needs to rethink its overall security needs in the wake of the (clearly mislabeled) “Arab Spring.” He noted that Islamists were on the march, and hinted that Israel would have to increase defense spending.

Indeed, the times call for new strategic thinking. Consistently ahead of the curve has been the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (where I direct public affairs). Its experts have conducted over-the-horizon and out-of-the-box research that has not always been politically correct or appreciated at the time by mainstream pundits and journalists. But Netanyahu has definitely noticed. He had good reason to choose the center as the venue for his major foreign policy speech back in June 2009.

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November 30, 2011 | 2 Comments » | 191 views

Loose Syrian Weapons Could Pose a Serious Threat

AIPAC sounds the alarm. Remember all the weapons that came into the hands of terrorists in Libya. Don’t let the same thing happen in Syria. Ted Belman


In a sign that Syria may be on the brink of civil war, defectors from the military were reportedly responsible for recent attacks on an intelligence base near Damascus and a ruling Baath party office in the northwest of the country. There is a growing boldness among deserters in confronting President Bashar Assad’s regime, which the U.N. estimates has killed more than 3,500 people in a brutal crackdown.

The United States, European Union and Turkey all agree that Assad has lost the legitimacy to lead. But what will happen to Syrian weapons stockpiles if and when Assad’s rule collapses?

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November 30, 2011 | 1 Comments » | 154 views

War appears imminent and unavoidable

Katyusha fire on Israel was Syrian warning. Turkey ready for any scenario

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 29, 2011,

[..] IDF sources read the rocket attack as the Assad regime’s last warning to the US, fellow NATO members and Gulf nations that Israel would be first to pay the price for their planned intervention in Syria. It would trigger a Lebanese-Israel border clash followed by a massive rocket assault on Israel. More Katyusha incidents are therefore to be expected to emphasize the message.

In Istanbul meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government hopes that a military intervention in Syria will never be necessary “but is ready for any scenario.”

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November 30, 2011 | 3 Comments » | 155 views

Protecting Israel’s energy interests

Jerry Gordon asks in the New English Review Will Israel Win the Energy Prize in the Levant Basin?

Gordon used to blog with me on Israpundit. We are sympatico. He has a military background, a high finance background and a Zionist background. And he is a terrific journalist.

He writes,

    This is one of the more important pieces I have written concerning Israel. It will have broader implications for the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.

    Very simply it is about Israel as the emerging energy giant in the Middle East surpassing Saudi Arabia as a vital and secure source of the world’s natural gas and oil supply both offshore and onshore.

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November 30, 2011 | 4 Comments » | 171 views

The Arab Spring is a con job


by Steve Kramer (

I recently attended this season’s first lecture sponsored by the English Speaking Friends of Tel Aviv University. The subject was the Arab Spring and its impact on the Middle East. The lecturer was Professor Asher Susser of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He was the Director of the Center for twelve years and has taught for some thirty years in TAU’s Department of Middle Eastern History. Susser has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Brandeis University, and the University of Arizona. His most recent book is “Israel, Jordan and Palestine – The Two-State Imperative.”

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November 30, 2011 | 4 Comments » | 127 views

Will a Democratic administration attack Iran?

The author makes the point that the Republicans are so blindly pro-Israel that it would make it difficult for them to muster a coalition to attack Iran. Only the anti-Israel Democrats would be able to do so.

When the US attacked Iraq in 2003, many accused her of doing so because of the efforts of Jewish Lobby to defend Israel. PM Sharon was at pains to say that this war had nothing to do with Israel’s interests and he made clear that he didn’t ask the US to do it and that in fact he was against it. Currently Bibi is at pains to make the case for Attacking Iran an issue for the West and that it should be decided by them as in their best interests. He has never said that he wants the US to take out Iran in order to defend and protect Israel.

Yes, only Nixon could go to China, only Begin could give up the Sinai and, after the disastrous Republican war against Iraq, only the Democrats can wage war on Iran, BUT WILL THEY? Ted Belman

Republicans and Israel: Too much love can kill you
Republicans are saying they’ll attack Iran for Israel’s sake – this might not only prove to be ‘bad for the Jews’ in the long run, but could also come back to haunt the Republicans themselves.

By Chemi Shalev, HAARETZ

In the first Gulf War in 1991 and once again in the war against Iraq in 2003, Israel was asked by the U.S. administration to maintain a “low profile,” in order to avoid the perception that America was fighting with Israel, or on its behalf. Both George Bushes, senior and junior, considered it prudent to relegate Israel to the sidelines – even when it was under direct attack, as was the case in 1991 – in order to help establish international coalitions and to maintain public support for the war, especially in the Muslim world. In both cases, Israel complied.

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November 30, 2011 | 17 Comments » | 134 views

Who will take over in Syria?

By Ted Belman

The best outcome for the conflict in Syria is for the Sunnis and the Kurds to be victorious in Syria. But they must do so aligned with Saudi Arabia and Israel. My recent article The Kurds and the Sunnis must be united to stop Iran from taking over in Iraq and al Qaeda in Syria spells it out and my argument was buttressed here.

Herb London reported a few days ago, U.S. Betrays Syria’s Opposition

    In an effort to understand and placate Syrian opposition groups, Secretary Clinton invited them to a meeting in Washington. Most of those invited, however, have links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Missing from the invitations are Kurdish leaders, Sunni liberals, Assyrians and Christian spokesmen. According to various reports the State Department made a deal with Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood representatives either to share power with Assad to stabilize the government, or replace him if this effort fails.One organization, the Syrian Democracy Council (SDC), an opposition group composed of diverse ethnic and religious organizations, including Alawis, Aramaic Christians, Druze and Assyrians was conspicuously — and no coincidentally — omitted from the invitation list.

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November 29, 2011 | 4 Comments » | 145 views

Eye witnesses claim ‘unusual’ movement of Israeli missiles

Aaron Klein is a careful journalist. If these reports are true, one must ask, why would Israel place missiles near Jerusalem? Is it because of the elevation or because Jerusalem is the most eastern part of Israel proper? Ted Belman

By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM — Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing Israeli military trucks in recent days transport and station large missiles at the periphery of Jerusalem and in locations inside the West Bank.

The descriptions of the projectiles are consistent with the Jewish state’s mid-to-long range Jericho ballistic missiles.

The missile movement, if confirmed, would be considered unusual.

One of the eyewitnesses was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services. He claimed to me that a large missile was stationed five days ago near Neve Yaacov, a Jewish neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. That neighborhood is adjacent to several Palestinian-inhabited towns.

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November 29, 2011 | 12 Comments » | 476 views

Netanyahu could lose control of Likud

The Sunday meeting has now taken place. Netanyahu wants to Dilute power of Likudniks in settlements.

    Sources close to Netanyahu said the numbers of committee members from the West Bank rose artificially due to an outdated rule passed in 1992. The rule sets the number of committee members from Judea and Samaria based on how many people in the region voted Likud in the last election.

    In other regions, the committee member totals are based on the region’s voter registration drive.

    Apparently, The prime minister is apparently concerned Judea and Samaria residents will use the committee to put obstacles before his future diplomatic moves. In the first three months after the new committee is elected, its members will be permitted to change the party’s constitution with a simple majority, rather than the two-thirds majority required most of the time.

PM scrambling to stop hawks from over-taking Likud

11/24/2011 21:17

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will convene top Likud officials and advisers on Sunday to strategize how to prevent residents of Judea and Samaria and other hawks from obtaining too much power in the party.

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November 29, 2011 | 23 Comments » | 174 views

EU’s democratic deficit

Euro crisis widens gap between EU institutions and member states

By John R. Bolton, The Washington Times

The crisis of the euro, the common currency of 17 European Union members, continues unabated. Because of massive, sustained budget deficits by several eurozone countries, some could default on their sovereign debt obligations, or the euro itself might disintegrate, profoundly affecting the EU’s political and economic future.

Very little media attention, however, is focused on a very different, but even more important, EU problem, namely its “democratic deficit.” This large, growing gap between remote EU institutions in Brussels and citizens of its member states dramatically highlights the rising frustration and impotence felt by individual voters. To combat the euro crisis, EU elites are ignoring or overriding popular opposition to harsh austerity measures and imposing on fellow democracies the policies demanded by leaders of other, more powerful EU countries.

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November 28, 2011 | 7 Comments » | 474 views

Moving towards a military coup in Syria?

This article reflects the view I set out in The Kurds and the Sunnis must be united to stop Iran from taking over in Iraq and alQaeda in Syria. Namely, the Kurds and Sunnies will bring Assad down and maybe even annex part of Syria. Ted Belman

By Brian M Downing, ASIA TIMES

The uprising in Syria turned much more violent in the past week and the Bashar al-Assad government is tottering. Civilians have obtained weapons and begun an armed resistance. Syrian soldiers are deserting and forming a Free Syrian Army. While the Arab League on Sunday voted to impose punitive economic and political sanctions on Damascus, fighting is breaking out nationwide between the Sunni majority and Shi’ite minority.

A faltering regime and rising violence often leads to a military coup. They were commonplaces in much of the developing world back in the 1950s and 1960s and a convoluted and incomplete one began in Egypt last fall. Syria is ripe for one now. The Arab

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November 28, 2011 | 2 Comments » | 128 views

Palestinians prefer the status quo

Palestinian poll: 56% oppose armed struggle against Israel

Hamas may have won support for their involvement in Shalit deal, but new poll finds that PA President Abbas still has majority vote. JMCC survey reveals West Bank, Gaza attitudes to Israel,US and international community

Elior Levy, YNET

A new poll carried out by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC) reveals that support for Fatah among residents of the Palestinian Authority has not been hurt by the Shalit deal , which was completed between Hamas and Israel last month.

And yet, the Hamas-led Shalit deal still receives wall to wall support – 86% of those questioned expressed their satisfaction with the results of the deal – the satisfaction rate is close to that of the Israeli satisfaction rate with the deal.

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November 28, 2011 | 2 Comments » | 182 views

Israel’s energy in an Islamist sea

The Threats in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

by Prof. Efraim Inbar

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 156, November 24, 2011


    The turmoil in the Arab world is changing the strategic landscape around Israel. However, one area that has received little attention is the eastern Mediterranean basin, where elements of radical Islam could gain control. In this region, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey display Islamist tendencies, leaving Israel and Greece as the only Western allies.

A review of the political dynamics in the states on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean generates great concern about the ability of the West to continue enjoying unrestricted access to this area.

Evolving political events in Libya indicate that radical Islamic elements will definitely play a greater role in the future of the country. If the transition to a new regime descends into civil war, the ensuing chaos may allow greater freedom of action for Muslim extremists from the shores of this Mediterranean country.

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November 28, 2011 | 5 Comments » | 193 views

Austerity for Europe – Increased EU Aid for the Palestinians

by Emanuele Ottolenghi and Jonathan Schanzer
The Commentator

Amidst Europe’s worst economic crisis in recent memory, the European Parliament (EP) has just decided to raise Europe’s aid to the Palestinians by €100 million – 30 percent more than previous years.

At the end of tough negotiations among the European Union’s institutions over the 2012 budget, the EP somehow made room for an additional €18 billion over the €129 billion cap imposed by expenditures-wary EU member states. Among the additional line items is that extra €100 million for the Palestinians.

An extra €100 million may not seem like that much compared to an overall budget of €147 billion for 2012, but it cannot be ignored that this is money the EU does not have. Moreover, the EU is pledging taxpayer money at a time when the only guarantee it will be spent responsibly has just disappeared.

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November 27, 2011 | 14 Comments » | 358 views

UNESCO elects Syria to human rights committees

UN Watch calls on UNESCO to reverse the decision

Vote slammed by UNESCO director herself & Canada’s Foreign Minister

GENEVA, Nov. 23 – UN Watch today called on UNESCO’s executive board, which includes the US, France, the UK and other Western democracies, to reverse its unanimous election of Syria to a pair of committees – one dealing directly with human rights issues – even as the Bashar al-Assad regime maintains its campaign of violence against its own citizens.

The Arab group at UNESCO nominated Syria for the spots, and though the 58-member board approved the pick by consensus on Nov. 11, the agency has not yet posted the results on its website.

Syria’s election came just a day before the League of Arab States moved to suspend Syrian membership of that body.

“The Arab League’s suspension of Syria is stripped of any meaning when its member states elevate Syria to UN human rights committes,” says Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch.

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November 27, 2011 | 2 Comments » | 167 views

Arab Spring will just bring upon Islamist dictatorships

A wave of Islamic rule, with all it entails, is sweeping across the Arab world. It will replace secular dictatorships with Islamic ones.

By Moshe Arens, ISRAEL HAYOM

The United Nations Development Programme’s 2002 Arab Human Development Report stated that “deeply rooted shortcomings” existed in Arab countries. In other other words, Arab societies were sick. According to the report, this sickness was reflected in the lack of “respect for human rights and freedoms,” the status of Arab women, and the poor state of “knowledge acquisition and its effective utilization.”

The follow-up report in 2003 stated: “True democracy is absent and desperately needed. The educational system is severely retarded; schools produce ignorant young men and women. Most of the [Arab] intellectuals] realize, even if they deny it, that most of what was said in the most recent Arab Human Development Report is true.”

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November 27, 2011 | 2 Comments » | 142 views

Where’s UNIFIL?


The international community cannot credibly feign ignorance of the incontestable evidence of turbulence brewing in Lebanon.

The latest flip-flops concern the reported explosion in a Hezbollah munitions depot at one of its South Lebanon strongholds. The incident is now being denied outrightly by the terrorist organization. This despite reliable independent reports of a massive blast.

No sooner did the booms rock the cache’s vicinity than accusations were hurled blaming Israel for the explosion. Tall tales were spun about an Israeli drone that Hezbollah claimed it downed two weeks earlier and which allegedly tipped IDF intelligence to the rocket-supply base’s location.

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November 27, 2011 | 2 Comments » | 114 views