DAILY JOURNAL 2014
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31-03-2014

EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS PLACE THEIR FAITH IN AL-SISI. The army chief-turned-presidential candidate, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, is the miracle that Egypt's 8 million Christians have been waiting for after weathering an Islamist leadership. When Sisi announced on July 3, 2013, that he had just overthrown President Mohamed Morsi, he was flanked by Egypt's two most important religious leaders, the Grand Sheikh of al Azhar Mosque and Pope Tawadros, head of Egypt's Christian church, united on one stage. Now that Sisi is planning a presidential run, he can count on solid support from a Christian population traumatized by fears of continued communal attacks (DAILY ALERT - TIME)


29-03-2014

EXPERTS PESSIMISTIC ON CHANCES FOR PEACE AGREEMENT WITH PALESTINIANS. Israeli experts and former government officials voiced pessimism regarding the chances for any agreement with the Palestinians at a conference Thursday at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA). BESA director Efraim Inbar noted that Asian Muslim countries want relations with Israel, but are not too concerned about the Palestinian issue. The Palestinian economy is better than in much of the Arab world, he added. "The economy of Gaza is better than Egypt." Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, former IDF deputy chief of staff and Israeli national security adviser, said the Palestinians will not sign an agreement that says it is the end of the conflict. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaacov Amidror, also a former national security adviser, said that while the Israeli government accepted a Palestinian state, the Palestinians "did not move an inch." Prof. Uzi Arad, another national security adviser, said, "I can't name a single concession of the Palestinians since 1994." "It is now patently clear that no agreement on final status issues is likely," he added. It is not in Israel's interest to take security risks for a deal if it is not in the context of an end of the conflict, he concluded (Jerusalem Post).


24-03-2014

HAS OBAMA UNMASKED ABBAS? The tireless efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry to broker a framework for further peace talks have revealed Palestinian red lines. They have also exposed fault lines within the ruling Fatah party that render Palestinian acceptance of the U.S. deal impossible. Abbas is exposed on three issues in the American paper: long-term IDF active presence in the Jordan Valley, an undivided Jerusalem and recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The irony in the Palestinian rejection of the American proposal on the Jordan Valley is that it was King Abdullah of Jordan who had insisted that the IDF, and not Palestinian security forces, defend the Jordan Valley up to the Judea and Samaria hill ridge facing Jordan. Jordan's insistence on Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley influenced the American position in recent months. Abbas faces a mountain of Fatah and Palestinian public opposition to any compromise on the U.S. framework deal. The "pro-Abbas" demonstrations in Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin that took place on March 17 were protests led by Fatah against any Palestinian concessions. The U.S. has unmasked the real Palestinian positions. Palestinian political and popular rejection of compromise and acceptance of the U.S. paper begs a larger question. Who will enforce any agreement on the Palestinian side? Abbas, nearly 79 years old, is in his 10th year of a four-year elected term and has no clear successor. The writer served as Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress. (Jerusalem Post)


22-03-2014

ISRAELI OFFICIAL: PALESTINIANS CELEBRATING FAILURE OF PEACE TALKS. PA President Mahmoud Abbas returned from Washington on Thursday to a hero's welcome in Ramallah, where he told thousands of Palestinians at a rally that in his meeting on Monday with President Obama, "I have honored my pledge and kept my promise" not to give up Palestinian rights. One Israeli government source said it was reminiscent of Yasser Arafat's return from Camp David in 2000, when it appeared that the Palestinians were celebrating the failure of peace talks. The second intifada broke out shortly thereafter. "If the Palestinians celebrate rejectionism, they're closing the door to Palestinian statehood, because the only way to achieve a Palestinian state is through negotiations and agreement with Israel," the official said. "A rejectionist position makes Palestinian statehood impossible, and in maintaining such a position, ultimately the Palestinians are only hurting themselves." (Jerusalem Post)


26-02-2014

AFTER BRIEFING BY U.S. IRAN NEGOTIATOR: ISRAEL RESERVES RIGHT TO ACT INDEPENDANTLY. Israel reserves the right to assess the Iranian situation and make the necessary decisions independently, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday after five hours of talks with Wendy Sherman, Washington's top Iran negotiator. "Israel reiterated and made clear its position that an agreement with Iran must include dismantling its ability to progress toward a nuclear weapon," Steinitz said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday that he was concerned Iran believed it could "realize its plan to be a nuclear threshold state, with an enrichment capability that it thinks cannot be touched, and with the ability to develop both nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles.... This combination of enrichment, weapons, and launch capabilities means that Iran is, in effect, receiving everything and giving almost nothing." Any long-term agreement must "dismantle the Iranian ability to either produce or launch nuclear weapons, and this has yet to be achieved, and without the insistence of the major powers, it will not be achieved," Netanyahu said. (Jerusalem Post)


24-02-2014

AFTER BRIEFING BY U.S. IRAN NEGOTIATOR: ISRAEL RESERVES RIGHT TO ACT INDEPENDANTLY. Israel reserves the right to assess the Iranian situation and make the necessary decisions independently, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday after five hours of talks with Wendy Sherman, Washington's top Iran negotiator. "Israel reiterated and made clear its position that an agreement with Iran must include dismantling its ability to progress toward a nuclear weapon," Steinitz said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday that he was concerned Iran believed it could "realize its plan to be a nuclear threshold state, with an enrichment capability that it thinks cannot be touched, and with the ability to develop both nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles.... This combination of enrichment, weapons, and launch capabilities means that Iran is, in effect, receiving everything and giving almost nothing." Any long-term agreement must "dismantle the Iranian ability to either produce or launch nuclear weapons, and this has yet to be achieved, and without the insistence of the major powers, it will not be achieved," Netanyahu said. (Jerusalem Post)


22-02-2014

NEWFOUND JEWISH ROOTS GAVE KERRY A ‘DEEP’ BOND WITH ISRAEL. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says his feelings toward Israel changed 10 years ago, after he found out that he had Jewish grandparents. "It's a connection that's deep. I lost a great-uncle in the Holocaust and a great-aunt. I never knew that until then. To learn that, after years of being passionate about 'never again,' with respect to the Holocaust, and then to understand that you are biologically and personally connected to that, is very moving," he said in an interview aired Thursday by Israel's Channel 2. Kerry found out in 2004, when he was running for president against George W. Bush, that both his father's parents were born Jews and converted to Christianity because of anti-Semitism, and they changed their name from Cohen to Kerry when they immigrated to the U.S. Kerry added in the interview, "I have no argument with anyone in Israel who says that no deal is better than a bad deal. I say that myself....I'm not in the business of trying to put together a bad deal" (Times of Israel).


19-02-2014

EU FUNDS PROMOTION OF THE PALESTINIAN POLITICAL NARRATIVE. One of the EU's major financial assistance programs is the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), whose program objectives are to provide "support for the promotion of democracy and human rights." For the years 2007-2010, projects that address Israel and the Palestinians received €11,472,593 in EIDHR grants. The majority of these grants support NGOs that adopt and promote the Palestinian political narrative and engage in political warfare campaigns against Israel. Many of the NGOs chosen to promote EIDHR principles are highly political organizations with a strong bias against Israel. These EU-funded organizations regularly employ "apartheid" and other demonizing rhetoric, campaign for anti-Israel boycott efforts (BDS), actively lobby international frameworks, and engage in lawfare activities (NGO Monitor).


17-02-2014

HAMAS REJECTS UN TEXTBOOKS FOR TEACHING NON-VIOLENCE. The Hamas government in Gaza accused UNRWA on Tuesday of unlawfully printing and disseminating school textbooks dealing with human rights in a way that offends Palestinian cultural sensitivities. Education Ministry spokesman Mu'tasim Al-Minawi said, "The vast majority of examples [in the books] refer to [Mahatma] Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Helen Suzman, the Soweto Uprising, the Magna Carta and Apartheid," and focused on "peaceful resistance as the only way of achieving freedom and independence." Al-Minawi charged that the entire curriculum is dedicated "to domesticate the psyche of the Palestinian pupil, fostering negative feelings toward armed resistance." The ministry called on UNRWA to stop teaching its current human rights curriculum and called on all teachers to refuse to teach the material, which "contaminates the minds of our dear students." (Times of Israel)


28-01-2014

Due to our present situation, there will not be posted any 'Daily Journal' until the 15th of March 2014.


25-01-2014

WHY ISRAEL IS AN INNOVATION NATION. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday: 1.The concentration of exceptionally gifted hi-tech start-up companies in Israel is a function of five things: 1.A curse has been turned into a blessing: our defense needs. We have had to have a very robust defense, so we take the best and the brightest of our young people in the military, and we put them in our various operations. This produces knowledge workers and knowledge entrepreneurs who are very gifted. 2.Research. We have excellent research institutions and universities that produce an inordinate share of Nobel Prize winners for Israel. We also spend 5% of our GDP on R&D, the highest number of any country. 3.A special culture. The Jewish people have always treasured education and knowledge. In ancient times we were effectively the only literate people and that brought us through the Middle Ages and into modern time with literacy. In addition, the Jewish people were always asking questions, truth was never finite. That questioning mind is something that is in our culture and adds very much to our capacities. 4.Size: we're very small, the size of New Jersey or Wales. So everything is close by and everyone is close to everyone else. Everybody competes with each other and collaborates with each other. There is an ongoing, vibrant cross-fertilization. 5.We have no choice, we had to innovate. We didn't have abundant natural resources. We were outnumbered; we were facing constant threats. Our neighbors even imposed upon us an economic boycott. Some world powers imposed upon us a weapons boycott. We had to innovate to survive. •The birth of modern Israel was an innovation. The rebirth of the Hebrew language was an innovation. The rebirth of agriculture in our land was an innovation. •These five factors have created a unique situation where we produce more conceptual products per-capita than any other country on Earth (DAILY ALERT - Prime Minister's Office)


23-01-2014

REFUGEES WHO INSIST ON THE IMPOSSIBLE. •The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have a budget problem, and as a result its workers are on strike in the West Bank. •While the refugees demand that the corrupt Palestinian government take care of them while UNRWA is on strike, they are resolutely against being governed by it. Doing so would mean giving up their special status and taking up the more prosaic identity of Palestinian Arabs living on the territory of the putative Palestinian state. •Leaving the camps would mean a better life. But it would also entail giving up their precious fiction that the descendants of the Arabs who fled the land of what is now Israel will someday return to it and thus erase the Jewish state. •Since 1945, wars have created tens of millions of refugees around the world. Almost all have been resettled in new homes. But only the Palestinians, for whom UNRWA was specifically created, were not given the aid they needed to develop skills and get on with their lives. •The answer is not more money for UNRWA and its employees nor for a Palestinian Authority that has no interest in helping them. The only answer is the abolition of UNRWA and its replacement by an agency dedicated to giving Palestinians the same resettlement help other refugees have received. •Until that happens, the refugees - still the driving force of Palestinian politics - will ensure peace with Israel can never be achieved (DAILY ALERT - Commentary)


21-01-2014

KERRY’S PEACE PROCESS DOUBLE STANDARDS. It is interesting how one comment from an Israeli minister has managed to strain relations between the U.S. Administration and Israel, while fiery rhetoric and street demonstrations against Kerry and Obama in the Palestinian territories and Arab capitals are completely ignored by Washington. Officials representing the Palestinian Authority have been denouncing Kerry almost on a daily basis over the past few weeks. But these condemnations do not seem to bother the State Department. Just last month, Yasser Abed Rabbo, the PLO's Secretary-General and one of Abbas' closest advisors, said, "Kerry's framework agreement is very dangerous." Why, then, is Kerry not just as offended by the Arab condemnations? If Kerry really cares about the peace process, he also needs to ask the PA and Arab governments to lower the tone and stop inciting against him and the U.S. (DAILY ALERT - Gatestone Institute)


19-01-2014

MISSILE DEFENSE EXPERT WARNS OF GROWING STRATEGIC THREAT. Israel's enemies are arming themselves with precision-guided heavy rockets and will inevitably come to possess GPS-guided ballistic missiles, Dr. Uzi Rubin, an architect of the Israeli missile defense program, warned the Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday. "Iran possesses over 400 ballistic missiles that can reach Israel, with warheads of 750 kilograms. Syria possesses 200 to 300" such missiles, having used up part of its arsenal in its civil war. Syria and Hizbullah have thousands of heavy rockets, and tens of thousands of light rockets. "These rockets are being turned into smart rockets. The Iranians took the Zilzal 2 and turned it into a guided rocket. The third generation of it contains a homing sensor and a GPS." "The Syrians can have this capability too, to create a fully guided M-600 rocket with GPS. Hizbullah probably has these." In the next five to 10 years, Israel's enemies will inevitably arm themselves with GPS-guided ballistic missiles, he said (Jerusalem Post).


17-01-2014

MISSILE DEFENSE EXPERT WARNS OF GROWING STRATEGIC THREAT. Israel's enemies are arming themselves with precision-guided heavy rockets and will inevitably come to possess GPS-guided ballistic missiles, Dr. Uzi Rubin, an architect of the Israeli missile defense program, warned the Institute for National Security Studies on Wednesday. "Iran possesses over 400 ballistic missiles that can reach Israel, with warheads of 750 kilograms. Syria possesses 200 to 300" such missiles, having used up part of its arsenal in its civil war. Syria and Hizbullah have thousands of heavy rockets, and tens of thousands of light rockets. "These rockets are being turned into smart rockets. The Iranians took the Zilzal 2 and turned it into a guided rocket. The third generation of it contains a homing sensor and a GPS." "The Syrians can have this capability too, to create a fully guided M-600 rocket with GPS. Hizbullah probably has these." In the next five to 10 years, Israel's enemies will inevitably arm themselves with GPS-guided ballistic missiles, he said (Jerusalem Post).


15-01-2014

HEIGHTS AS STAGING GROUND FOR ATTACKS ON ISRAEL. According to a new comprehensive study on al-Qaeda by Yoram Schweitzer and Aviv Oreg, published through the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, al-Qaeda did not suffer an irreversible blow after bin Laden's death in May 2011 and is nowhere near defeat. Al-Qaeda has recovered from the U.S. assassinations of its senior leaders, including Osama bin Laden, and begun to reestablish itself, while concentrating most of its power and efforts in the Syrian civil war. Its leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, considers the Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights a staging ground for Jihadist activity against Israeli targets - activity that is expected to increase if al-Qaeda and groups affiliated with it win in Syria. In a video released last May, Zawahri claimed that Jihad against Israel is a commandment that every Muslim must fulfill. In order to free Palestine, Zawahri stated, Muslims must go to Syria and use it as a staging ground for Jihad activity against Israel. As soon as Assad falls, Syria will have the optimal conditions for founding an Islamic state, which will attract lots of Muslims looking to practice Jihad against Israel. (Ha'aretz)


13-01-2014

FOUR STATES FOR TWO PEOPLES – THREE WITHOUT JEWS. If John Kerry's suggested agreement is implemented, there will be three Palestinian states without a single Jew in them: East Palestine (Jordan), West Palestine (Judea and Samaria), and South Palestine (Gaza). It's "four states for two peoples" - three without Jews and one whose population is 20% Arab. Kerry may not be aware that the territory of all three Palestinian states, together with that of today's Israel, was intended to constitute the territory of the Jewish state, in accordance with the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. It was Winston Churchill, as Britain's colonial secretary, who arbitrarily decided to turn over the area east of the Jordan River to King Abdullah and to close it to Jewish immigration and settlement. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)


10-01-2014

ISRAEL, BE READY FOR JOHN KERRY (by Jan Willem van der Hooven). As US Secretary of State John Kerry boards his plane for yet another flight to the Middle East, here are a few requests the Israel's government could have ready to make to its American guest. 1. Please convey to President Barack Obama, with all due respect, that unless Jonathan Pollard - who has not murdered even one American - is set free after his 26 years in prison, Israel will renege on its readiness to release Palestinian prisoners - most of who are cold-blooded killers, and have spent far less time in jail. 2. Please convey to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has stated his intention not to let one Israeli Jew live in his sought-after Palestine, that he needs to prepare to open the gates of his new state to all the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. For if the United States has nothing to say about Abbas' desire to have a judenrein Palestine, it will surely have nothing to say about Israel becoming a araberrein Jewish state. 3. Please make clear to the PA leadership - and the rest of the Arab world - that the Palestinian Muslim-inspired lie denying any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its Temple Mount (where twice in history God's holy House stood for Israel, His people) - a falsehood whose purpose is to sever this city from Israel and the Jewish people - that this denial will deal a death blow to the present negotiations. 4. Kindly remind your president of how Israel's enemies have misused Israel's past withdrawals - from South Lebanon and Gaza - and allowed tens of thousands of rockets to be fired from these areas into peace-loving Israeli neighborhoods. In the light of this, please make it clear to Abbas and his gang that no Israeli government can be expected to agree to withdraw from areas even nearer to its main populated areas, without keeping a firm military presence in the Jordan Valley to prevent such a repeated misuse of its willingness for peace! And please note how essential this is, all the more so given the abysmal betrayal Israel has experienced after entrusting its basic security needs to the international community! 5. Please make it unmistakably clear to Mr Abbas right now - and not after the present talks break down - that if the international community really wants to see a positive outcome resulting from these talks, it will not be pressuring Israel into making ever more concessions - let alone lure her with financial and other international guarantees. Rather, these nations will be encouraged to bring the pressure to bear where it belongs, telling the Palestinian leaders, in no uncertain terms, that unless they fully commit to respecting this bare minimum of Israel's demands - including the reality that they are making peace with a Jewish democratic state in their region, THEY, and not Israel, will be held responsible for the breakdown of the current negotiations.


09-01-2014

WHY PALESTINIAN RECOGNITION OF A JEWISH STATE REALLY MATTERS. The Palestinians raise three objections to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. First, such recognition would be perceived as discrimination against Israel's Arab citizens. However, Israel defines itself as a Jewish state in any case and Israeli Arabs are officially not affected by this. Second, Israel did not make this demand of Egypt or Jordan, and it is not the Palestinians' place to define Israel's identity. This is disingenuous since the conflict with both those countries was mainly territorial and political. In contrast to Egypt and Jordan, as long as the Palestinian national movement does not recognize the right of Jews over at least part of the Land of Israel, the conflict will continue to simmer even after the signing of an agreement. Third, defining Israel as Jewish compels the Palestinians to contradict their historical narrative. This demonstrates that even in the eyes of moderate Palestinians, Jews are not perceived as a nation but as a religious community. Thus, they have no authentic claim for sovereignty over any part of the land. Israelis who claim they have no need for Palestinian recognition of Israel's Jewish character and essence are right. What they don't understand is that Netanyahu needs such recognition as proof that the Palestinians are serious about ending the conflict. (DAILY ALERT - Ha'aretz)


07-01-2014

RECOGNIZE ‘JEWISH’ ISRAEL. "The Americans have made it very clear that [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] is their position," a Palestinian official told the Daily Telegraph. "They talk about it in meetings with our side and make an issue out of it. We have made it very clear that we are not going to sign any agreement that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state." Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, told Sunday's cabinet meeting: "The Palestinians are continuing their campaign of inciting hatred, as we have seen in the last few days with their refusal to recognize Israel as a state for the Jewish people....This is the main issue that we're discussing with [Kerry]. We are not foreigners in Jerusalem, Beit El or Hebron. I reiterate that, in my view, this is the root of both the conflict and the incitement - the non-recognition of this basic fact." (Telegraph-UK)


05-01-2014

THE WEST MISUNDERSTANDS THE NATURE OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD. The Muslim Brotherhood's avowed goal since the creation of the movement in 1928 has been to impose Islamic law, first on Egypt, then the rest of the world, turning it into a Muslim-ruled caliphate. The fall of Hosni Mubarak paved the way for the dream to come true; the Brotherhood won both parliamentary and presidential elections. But instead of dealing with Egypt's pressing economic and social problems, the Brotherhood made an all-out effort to turn the country into a religious dictatorship. Barely a year later, President Mohamed Morsi was arrested and the government toppled by the people, aided and abetted by the army. The Brotherhood refused to accept their defeat and launched a series of violent protests, followed by terror operations that have already caused the death of 350 members of the police and military forces. The interim regime first banned their activities and then declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The U.S. and EU, representing the so-called enlightened world, are turning their back on Egypt, though it is fighting their common enemy, radical Islam. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden (Jerusalem Post).


03-01-2014

EHUD BARAK STRESSED NEED FOR IDF TROOPS IN JORDAN VALLEY. The fate of the Jordan Valley, and the wider issue of security arrangements, are emerging as a major obstacle in the path of the indefatigable Secretary of State John Kerry's peace efforts. Gen. John Allen's painstakingly drafted security proposals have not produced a breakthrough. Both sides are insisting on keeping the Jordan Valley. In 2007, the IDF's Planning Directorate drew up Israel's security overview ahead of a peace treaty with the Palestinians that specified the need for an ongoing IDF presence in the Jordan Valley for a lengthy but undefined period. On the basis of that overview, then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak drew up a document, which became known as the "Eight Points," which he discussed with President Bush when he visited in January 2008. Barak stressed to Bush the imperative for IDF troops to remain in the Jordan Valley for the long term - a generation, according to some Israeli sources - to ensure no influx of terrorists or weaponry. In taking this position, Barak was merely reiterating the stance that had prevailed since the Yitzhak Rabin era in the early 1990s. And it holds today: A senior Israeli official said this week that if there is no Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, "there will be rivers of blood." (DAILY ALERT - Times of Israel)


01-01-2014

WE WISH ALL OUR READERS A HAPPY NEW YEAR: MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU RICHLY! For the next few week the Daily Journal will only be posted every second day.


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Updated: 31. december 2014 12:31:45.