Haifa Ammonia Tank Completely Emptied of Hazardous Material

September 20, 2017

Ammonia storage tank in Haifa

The Haifa bay ammonia tank was completely emptied of ammonia, Israeli media reported, adding that a deadline set by the Israeli Supreme Court was just made.

The Ministry for Environmental Protection determined the tank unacceptably endangers the surrounding population and forbid its further use.

Only nitrogen now remains in the tank, a material not considered to be dangerous, Ynet reported on Tuesday.

In March, Haifa District Court ordered the ammonia tank in the city to be emptied over concerns that it threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Earlier, Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah threatened that the resistance movement has the capability to strike the ammonia gas storage tanks which could result in the deaths of up to 800,000 Israelis.

Source: Israeli meida

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The Largest ’Israeli’ Maneuver: The Mission Has Failed!

Yehya Dbouk

20-09-2017 | 07:34

“Israel’s” claims that it is able to defeat Hezbollah in the next war received a slap from within following a leaked report released by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and [Defense] Committee. The report was described as “very dangerous,” revealing “gaps” in the readiness and preparedness of the “Israeli” army.

Israeli Drills


The “Israeli” public was shocked by the Committee’s leaks. Although the report is classified and should presumably remain under lock and key, the reason behind the leak was the result of a disagreement between the members of the committee. The disagreement was not about the gaps in the army’s preparations, but about who was responsible for these gaps. A member of the committee refused to sign the report because it holds the “Israeli” government – i.e. Benjamin Netanyahu – fully responsible for the deteriorating readiness and preparedness of the soldiers.

This brings us back to the subject of the great military exercise that “Israel” just concluded a few days ago, which was focused on defeating and crushing Hezbollah. The point of focus has been the subject of debate and widespread skepticism by military correspondents, experts and the public.Even though “Israel” and its enemies understand that the former is incapable of defeating the latter in the next war, “Israel” and its army use the following justifications to prove otherwise:

– There is no doubt that the legionary maneuver was an urgent necessity for “Israel” in raising the readiness of its army to confront Hezbollah’s growing military and weapons capabilities. It reveals the size of Hezbollah’s military threat and the magnitude of the challenge facing “Israel.” On the other hand and in light of the magnitude of the unprecedented maneuver – the first of its kind in 19 years – which consumed all of “Israel’s” military, security and political capabilities, the army couldn’t simply claim that the objective of the drills revolved around gaining the ability to expel Hezbollah from settlements it may occupy during the next war, preventing Hezbollah from reaching those settlements and successfully defending military sites. It is also difficult for the “Israeli” army, with such a large military exercise, to say that it has dealt a serious enough blow to the party, ensuring “Israel’s” deterrence for years. These results are seen as an unnecessary refraction, which entails claiming an overwhelming victory that is also accompanied by the lifting of white flags by Hezbollah.

– On the other hand, it appears that the political and military decision maker in “Israel” has realized that recognizing the limited military ability to defeat Hezbollah – which is the accepted truth in “Israel” – would harm the level of the activated deterrence against the party. “Israel’s” deterrent is measured by the actual result it can achieve in the event of a war, and by recognizing its inability to achieve victory and that it is only capable of inflicting limited harm on the enemy, means that Hezbollah possess an opposite deterrence to inflict harm on “Israel.” This mutual deterrence is currently prevailing in the equation and balance of power between the two sides.

From here, “Israel” had to, albeit belatedly, re-distort expectations and doubts regarding the fact that it could only inflict limited harm on Hezbollah and Lebanon, even though it has acknowledged this fact in word and action for years. If it succeeds in achieving change in the consciousness of the enemies that it is able to win the war, it will achieve a complete and non-reciprocal deterrence, while its enemies will recognize its capability to inflict harm – whether limited or extensive – and thus result in a mutual deterrence.

The mission failed. “Israel” has not been able to convince its enemies of its ability to win, nor has it been able, in parallel, to convince its public.

– The report by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and [Defense] Committee confirms a series of separate reports published in “Israel”, which questioned the outcome of the declared maneuver: the defeat of Hezbollah. The wide range of skepticism on the part of military correspondents and experts leaves little room for the report to add new information.

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team

Israel Launches New Attack on Syria

Wouldn’t you know it? Just as the Syrian Army has emerged victorious over ISIS in Deir Ezzor, Israel has launched a fresh attack upon Syria. ABC News and other mainstream outlets are reporting a Zionist airstrike upon a facility in Masyaf, a town in Hama Province near the Mediterranean Coast.

Apparently the pretext for the attack is that the target is linked to chemical weapons production…or else it is a “military facility” of some sort–nobody seems to quite have the story straight at this point. Conveniently this comes just as Israel is conducting large-scale military exercises along the Lebanon border and also one day after the UN released a report claiming Syrian responsibility for the alleged chemical weapons attack back in April which prompted Donald Trump to fire off 59 Tomahawk missiles.

Reportedly the latest airstrike by Israel has killed two Syrian soldiers.

From SANA:

Damascus, SANA –Syria demanded UN Security Council to condemn the Israeli repeated aggressions on the country and take an immediate and decisive measure to halt them in accordance with its resolutions related to combating terrorism, warning of the catastrophic consequences of such attacks which complement the ISIS crimes and practices to escalate the situation and fuel the region and the world.

” At 02:42 a.m. on Thursday September, 7th, 2017 , the Israeli warplanes targeted one of the Syrian military positions near Misyaf in Hama province with several missiles, killing two army personnel and causing material damage to the site, the Ministry said in two letters addressed to UN Secretary General the Chairman of the UN Security Council.

The Ministry added that the new Israeli attack aims at raising the morale of its agents represented by the terrorist groups which are carrying out its aggressive agenda and in response to the great achievements made by the Syrian Arab army and its allies in their war on terrorism, the last of which is breaking the 3-year ISIS siege of Deir Ezzor city.

The repeated Israeli attacks have become systematic behavior with the aim of protecting Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS terrorists, said the ministry, noting that it is unacceptable that the UNSC has not taken decisive measures to put an end to such flagrant attacks.

It concluded that any attack against the Syrian Arab army forms a direct support to terrorism, taking into account that the Syrian Arab army is fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world.

The Ministry called upon the UNSC and countries which have an impact on the Israeli entity to immediately condemn those attacks and halt them in order to defend security and stability and protect the lives of people all around the world from terrorism.

R.Raslan/Mazen

Apparently no response from Russia (as per usual).

It was a bit over a week ago that Syrian Girl commented–correctly as it turns out–on signs pointing to a possible new Israeli attack upon Syria. Here are a couple of her most recent tweets:

‘Israeli’ Defeat … Not Just a Failure هزيمة إسرائيلية… لا مجرد فشل

Ali Haider

06-09-2017 | 08:21

Benjamin Netanyahu did not stop with simply articulating the importance of Daesh in the context of the general ‘Israeli’ strategy to confront the axis of resistance, including Hezbollah (Al-Akhbar, 22 August 2017).

 

Israeli soldier


In an interview with the ‘Israeli’ Channel 20, he reiterated ‘Israel’s’ position opposing the elimination of the terrorist group, describing its demise as “bad” for ‘Israel’. He went on to describe the dangers surrounding the shrinking territory under Daesh control and the group’s ultimate elimination, pointing out that “Iran pursues regular infiltration into the areas left” by the terrorist organization.

Netanyahu implicitly admitted that “Daesh” was playing the role of a dam, which prevents the growing threat to ‘Israel’, warning of “an Iranian plan that threatens ‘Israel’ and the countries of the region” during the post “Daesh” era.

Netanyahu’s insistence on being distinguished from the American administration regarding the elimination of the barbaric organization stems from the recognition of the political and military institutions in Tel Aviv of the narrow ‘Israeli’ options in the post-Daesh phase, and that any other alternative option is unlikely to rise to the level of services the terrorist organizations provided to ‘Israel’ on Syrian soil.

It is true that the failure of ‘Israeli’ intelligence assessments to foresee the future of the political and field developments on the Syrian, Lebanese and regional arenas, was catastrophic – similar to the failures of Western and regional intelligence apparatuses. But ‘Israel’s’ problem lies not only in the fact that it was late in discovering the gravity of the outcome on the current regional battlefield and political scene. The crux of the problem also lies in the constraints that deter the ‘Israeli’ political and security decision makers from the operational initiative, which leads to a change in the course of developments and causes a shift in the balance of power, especially in the Syrian arena.

It may be said that ‘Israel’ stood by in the first months of the Syrian crisis. Estimates in Tel Aviv and regional and international capitals were reassuring that the fall of President Bashar al-Assad and the establishment of a Syrian regime in Damascus hostile to Hezbollah and the axis of resistance were only months away.

However, the intervention of Hezbollah and its regional allies in support of the Syrian army – which was not factored in by ‘Israel’ – knocked out ‘Israeli’ hopes and gambits. What ‘Israel’ considered, at the time, a preoccupation for Hezbollah in Syria that would pave the way for its depletion and an attack on it in Lebanon, later turned into a threat following the success of the party, the Syrian army and the allies in turning the field equations.

The ‘Israeli’ strategic dilemma is not limited to the failure of its bets on the armed groups in the Syrian and Lebanese arenas – in particular Daesh – to achieve Tel Aviv’s objectives. But it seems that this failure had strategic consequences and implications related to the growing capabilities of the axis of resistance, spilling over into its conflict with ‘Israel’, and paving the way for a regional scene quite different from the one prior to the Syrian war. From here, ‘Israel’ dealt with – and is still dealing with – this war as an ‘Israeli’ war that others are fighting.

From here, Tel Aviv found itself very concerned with the outcome of this battle. Therefore, Netanyahu, in order to reverse the reality in Lebanon and Syria, initiated a proactive political move through Washington and Moscow. He sent a high-level intelligence delegation to the former and he headed another delegation to the latter. He repeatedly mentioned military options and warned of Iranian positioning and of the growing capabilities of Hezbollah and the resistance axis in the Syrian and Lebanese arenas.

The harsh and successive criticism by ‘Israeli’ officials and experts in Tel Aviv of the Obama administration came over the latter’s reluctance to intervene directly to change the balance of power in Syria – specifically after the Russian intervention. This revealed ‘Israel’s’ assessment that altering the reality on the battlefield only happens through a direct military intervention that it cannot bear. This was in the hands of the Americans. However, the Trump administration distanced itself from this option to avoid falling into the same dilemma in the region as the previous administrations did after the invasion of Iraq.

In recent weeks, there have been many reports and interventions by ‘Israeli’ experts regarding the characterization of the victory of the Syrian state and its allies and the threat that has been formed and which could be formed in the wake of victory. One of the reports on the ‘Israeli’ Channel 2 pointed out that “‘Israel’ could have entered Syria to create a situation where the rebels, not Daesh nor Al Qaeda, could control the entire southern region to the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus. ‘Israel’ did not want to do that because we are deterred, both in the security establishment and, of course, in the political establishment.” The report stressed that ‘Israel’ was defeated because it “suffers from the complex of the first Lebanon war.” In this way, the report acknowledges the awareness that the resistance had engraved in ‘Israeli’ consciousness during the period leading up to the liberation in 2000, which deterred it from exploiting the Syrian scene.

But what the report failed to mention is the military intervention by proxy armed groups. This was the view circulated by the Jewish reports, imitating Russia’s choice and scenarios of its military intervention in Syria. However, ‘Israel’ did not adopt this option and did not demand it, because it simply understands that it was a 2006 war scenario, multiplied by a few times, despite its awareness of the dangers that stem form the liberation of Lebanon’s eastern border, the liberation of Iraq, and the withdrawal of the insurgents on the way to their final defeat in Syria. The ‘Israeli’ channel 2 displayed a clear reference to the ‘Israeli’ performance: “It completely violates the legacy of the Zionist movement before the establishment of the state, where the Arabic division of the Zionist agency was involved in the internal policy of each Arab capital.”

Thus, ‘Israel’s’ bets on “Daesh”, its brothers and those who preceded them have failed. It was defeated when it retreated from the operational initiative that compensated for this failure. It also failed to cut the road to Hezbollah’s increased capabilities and was defeated when it was deterred from exploiting its (Hezbollah’s) preoccupation with terrorist and takfiri groups to expand its range of attacks targeting the party’s capabilities in the Lebanese arena (the response to the Ghenta attack early 2014, as a model).

‘Israel’ failed in its intelligence assessments of the future of the Syrian and regional developments. It was defeated when it was unable to devise a parallel or alternative immediate option. It is an option present at the theoretical level, but its constraints are more present at the decision table. It also failed to convince the US administration to impose red lines to prevent the victory of the resistance axis. It was defeated when it did not take the initiative for this mission. Its bets to have Hezbollah preoccupied with the Takfiri threat on Lebanese territory failed along with efforts to consume Hezbollah with its rhetoric and the “policy of escalation” of an attack on Lebanon. But it was defeated before Hezbollah and the axis of resistance when Lebanon liberated its land, while at the same time maintaining a more effective deterrent equation than ever before.

Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team

هزيمة إسرائيلية… لا مجرد فشل

علي حيدر

لم يكتف بنيامين نتنياهو بسلسلة المواقف التي أكد فيها أهمية دور «داعش» في سياق الاستراتيجية الإسرائيلية العامة لمواجهة محور المقاومة وحزب الله، («الأخبار»، ٢٢ آب ٢٠١٧). بل كرر قبل أيام، في مقابلة مع قناة «20» العبرية، موقف إسرائيل المعارض للقضاء على هذا التنظيم، واصفاً ذلك بأنه «أمر سيئ» لإسرائيل. وأسهب في وصف المخاطر المترتبة على تراجع سيطرة «داعش» والقضاء عليه، لافتاً إلى أن «إيران تنتهج التسلل المنتظم الى المناطق التي يتركها» التنظيم الإرهابي.

وأقر نتنياهو، ضمناً، بأن «داعش» كان يضطلع بدور السد الذي يحول دون تعاظم التهديد المحدق بإسرائيل، محذراً من «مخطط إيراني يهدد إسرائيل ودول المنطقة» في المرحلة التي تلي «داعش».
إصرار نتنياهو على التمايز عن الإدارة الأميركية في الموقف من القضاء على التنظيم المتوحش، ينطلق من إدراك المؤسستين السياسية والعسكرية في تل أبيب ضيق الخيارات الإسرائيلية في مرحلة ما بعد «داعش»، ومن أن أي خيار بديل آخر مفترض لن يرتقي الى مستوى الخدمات التي وفّرتها لإسرائيل التنظيمات الإرهابية على الأرض السورية.

صحيح أن فشل التقديرات الاستخبارية الإسرائيلية في استشراف مستقبل المسارات الميدانية والسياسية في الساحات السورية واللبنانية والإقليمية كان ذريعاً، شأنها شأن بقية الأجهزة الغربية والإقليمية. لكن مشكلة إسرائيل لا تكمن فقط في أنها اكتشفت متأخرة خطورة نتائج المشهد الميداني والسياسي الإقليمي الحالي، وما ينطوي عليه من مسارات مستقبلية، بل إن جوهر المشكلة يكمن تحديداً في القيود التي تردع صانع القرار السياسي والأمني الإسرائيلي عن المبادرة العملانية بما يؤدي الى تغير مسار التطورات، ويحدث انقلاباً في موازين القوى، وتحديداً في الساحة السورية.

قد يكون مفهوماً أن تقف إسرائيل موقف المتفرج في الأشهر الأولى من بدء الأحداث السورية، إذ إن التقديرات في تل أبيب والعواصم الإقليمية والدولية كانت مطمئنة الى أن سقوط الرئيس بشار الأسد وإحلال نظام سوري في دمشق معاد لحزب الله ومحور المقاومة لم يكونا سوى مسألة وقت لا يتعدى الأشهر.

إلا أن تدخل حزب الله وحلفائه الإقليميين لدعم الجيش السوري، وهو أمر لم يكن محسوباً ومقدراً جيداً في إسرائيل، أطاح الآمال والرهانات الإسرائيلية. وما حسبته إسرائيل، في حينه، إشغالاً لحزب الله في سوريا يمهّد لاستنزافه والانقضاض عليه في لبنان، تحوّل لاحقاً الى تهديد، بعد نجاح الحزب والجيش السوري والحلفاء في قلب المعادلات الميدانية.

المعضلة الاستراتيجية الإسرائيلية لا تقتصر فقط على فشل الرهانات على الجماعات المسلحة في الساحتين السورية واللبنانية، وتحديداً «داعش»، في تحقيق ما كان يؤمل منها. بل بدا أن لهذا الفشل نتائج وتداعيات استراتيجية، تتصل بتعاظم قدرات محور المقاومة، وتطال مجمل معادلة الصراع مع إسرائيل، وتعبّد الطريق أمام مشهد إقليمي مغاير تماماً لما كان قائماً قبل الحرب السورية. من هنا، تعاملت إسرائيل ــــ ولا تزال ــــ مع هذه الحرب، باعتبارها حرباً إسرائيلية يخوضها الآخرون عنها.

من هنا، وجدت تل أبيب نفسها معنية جداً بنتائج هذه المعركة. لذلك بادر نتنياهو، لقطع الطريق على الواقع المتشكل في لبنان وسوريا، الى خطوة سياسية استباقية على خطّي واشنطن وموسكو. فأرسل وفداً استخبارياً رفيعاً الى الأولى، وترأس آخر الى الثانية. وكرر التلويح بخيارات عسكرية، والتحذير من التموضع الإيراني، ومن تعاظم قدرات حزب الله ومحور المقاومة، في الساحتين السورية واللبنانية.

الانتقادات القاسية والمتوالية التي يوجهها المسؤولون الرسميون الإسرائيليون والخبراء في تل أبيب لإدارة الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما، بسبب عزوفها عن التدخل المباشر بما يغير موازين القوى في الساحة السورية ــــ وتحديداً بعد التدخل الروسي ــــ لتحقيق قدر من التوازن، كشفت عن تقدير إسرائيل بأن قلب المعادلات الميدانية لا يتم إلا بتدخل عسكري مباشر لا تقوى هي عليه، بل هو في يد الجانب الأميركي، فيما تبعد إدارة ترامب نفسها عن هذا الخيار منعاً للوقوع في ما وقعت فيه الإدارات السابقة في المنطقة بعد غزو العراق.

في الأسابيع الماضية كثر صدور تقارير ومداخلات من الخبراء الإسرائيليين، حول توصيف واقع انتصار الدولة السورية وحلفائها، والتهديد المتشكل، وذاك الممكن أن يتشكل، في أعقاب الانتصار. ومن بينها تقرير في القناة الثانية العبرية أشار الى أنه «كان بإمكان إسرائيل الدخول الى سوريا لإيجاد وضع يسيطر فيه المتمردون، لا داعش والقاعدة، على كل المنطقة الجنوبية حتى الأطراف الجنوبية للعاصمة دمشق. إسرائيل لم ترغب بفعل ذلك لأننا مردوعون، سواء في المؤسسة الأمنية، وبالطبع في المؤسسة السياسية». وأكد التقرير أن إسرائيل منيت بالهزيمة لأنها «تعاني من عقدة حرب لبنان الأولى». وهو بذلك أقر بكيّ الوعي الذي حفرته المقاومة في المرحلة التي أعقبت تلك الحرب، وصولاً الى التحرير عام 2000، الأمر الذي ردعها عن استغلال المشهد السوري.

لكن ما لم يشر إليه التقرير هو التدخل العسكري عن بعد وترك الميدان للجماعات المسلحة. وهو رأي جرى تداوله في التقارير العبرية، في تقليد لخيار روسيا وسيناريوات تدخلها العسكري في سوريا. مع ذلك، لم تتبنّ إسرائيل هذا الخيار ولم تطالب به، لأنها تدرك، ببساطة، أنه سيناريو حرب عام 2006، مضروباً بأضعاف، رغم إدراكها المخاطر التي ستترتب عن تحرير الحدود الشرقية للبنان، وتحرير العراق، وتراجع المسلحين في الطريق الى الهزيمة النهائية في سوريا. وفي القناة الثانية العبرية إشارة واضحة الى الأداء الإسرائيلي: «يخالف كلياً إرث الحركة الصهيونية قبل قيام الدولة، حيث إن القسم العربي في الوكالة الصهيونية كان متورطاً في السياسة الداخلية لكل عاصمة عربية».
هكذا تكون إسرائيل قد فشلت في الرهان على «داعش» وإخوته ومن سبقهم. وهزمت عندما تراجعت عن المبادرة العملانية التي تعوض هذا الفشل. كما فشلت في قطع الطريق على تعاظم قدرات حزب الله، وهزمت عندما تم ردعها عن استغلال انشغاله في مواجهة الجماعات الإرهابية والتكفيرية لتوسيع نطاق اعتداءاتها التي تستهدف قدرات الحزب في الساحة اللبنانية. (الرد على اعتداء جنتا مطلع عام 2014، نموذجاً).

فشلت إسرائيل في تقديراتها الاستخبارية إزاء مستقبل التطورات السورية والإقليمية، وهزمت عندما لم تتمكن من بلورة خيار بديل فوري أو مواز. وهو خيار حاضر على المستوى النظري، إلا أن قيوده أكثر حضوراً على طاولة القرار. كذلك فشلت في إقناع الإدارة الأميركية بفرض خطوط حمر تمنع انتصار محور المقاومة، وهزمت عندما لم تبادر هي بنفسها لهذه المهمة. فشلت في الرهان على مفاعيل إشغال حزب الله بالتهديد التكفيري على الأراضي اللبنانية، وفشلت في إشغال حزب الله بمواجهة تهويلها و«سياسة التوثب» للاعتداء على لبنان، عن مواجهة التهديد التكفيري. لكنها هزمت أمام حزب الله، ومحور المقاومة، عندما حرر لبنان أرضه، وحافظ في الوقت نفسه على معادلة ردع، أكثر نجاعة وفعالية، من أي وقت مضى.

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Shamasne Family Evicted from its Home in East Jerusalem

[ Ed. note – Israeli authorities carried out an eviction order Tuesday, throwing an elderly Palestinian couple out of their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. I put up a post about the Shamasne family back in mid-August. Fahmiah Shamasne is 76. Her husband, Ayyub, is 84. Their eviction brings to a close a court battle that has gone on for several years. Fahmiah and Ayyub had lived in their home since 1964. Immediately after they and their children were tossed out into the street this morning, Jewish settlers moved in. The above video includes a few quick glimpses of them assuming occupation of the house.

In my previous post, I expressed the somewhat naive hope that Trump’s three-member peace delegation, which at that time was about to embark for Israel, might speak up on the family’s behalf. Whether they ever did or not is unknown. My own personal hunch is they probably didn’t bother. As I noted in a post just five days ago, one of the envoys, Jason Greenblatt, seemed too preoccupied spouting a bunch of airheaded nonsense about Hamas to notice the racist injustices taking place before his very eyes.

The Israeli court ruled that the Shamasne property had belonged to some Jews prior to 1948. There is an Israeli law on the books that allows Jews to reclaim property allegedly lost when Jordan solidified control over East Jerusalem in the war of 1948-49. No similar law exists for Palestinians who lost property in the very same war. ]

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Settlers Move into East Jerusalem Home after Israel Evicts Palestinian Family

Ma’an News

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian family was evicted from their home of 53 years in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah early Tuesday morning, culminating a protracted legal battle by which Israeli authorities claim the property belongs to Israeli settlers.

The displacement of the Shamasna family marked the first time since 2009 that a Palestinian family was evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, when a wave of Israeli settler ownership claims targeted the neighborhood based on a law that allows Jewish Israelis to take control of property believed to have been owned by Jews before 1948.

Members of the Shamasna family told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli police officers, special units, and intelligence officers stormed the house and forcibly evacuated the family before they started to move their furniture and belongings into a truck.

Continued here

IOF kidnap Mohammad Shamasneh & his son Dirar, assault protesters, forcefully took over house of 85 & 82yo in J’slm, giving it to Squatters

Lessons Learned From Hezbollah

04-09-2017 | 15:14

During the 1999 election campaign Ehud Barak, who challenged and defeated Benjamin Netanyahu, promised to withdraw the “Israel” Occupation Force from the south Lebanon security zone. As prime minister and defense minister, he made good on that promise and unilaterally withdrew IOF forces to the international occupied Palestine-Lebanon border.

Southern Lebanon

Betrayed and left behind was “Israel’s” ally, the “South Lebanon Army” that had for years fought shoulder to shoulder with the IOF against Hezbollah, sustaining more than its share of casualties.

A great sigh of relief was heard throughout the land – it was hoped that this would put an end to the casualties the IOF was sustaining, while protecting “Israeli” settlers in the north. The theory presented to the public was that after the IOF withdrawal, Hezbollah would have no further motivation to attack “Israel”. In any case, “Israel” would now be in a position to carry out drastic retaliation in the event of a Hezbollah attack, and that this would suffice to deter Hezbollah. Lebanese earth would tremble, Barak warned, if that should happen. But it did happen again and again, and Lebanese earth did not tremble. Hezbollah did not become what we wished it would be. It grew many-fold in size and strength, and continued to be an implacable enemy of “Israel”.

What had been a limited danger from Katyusha rockets to the towns on the “Israeli” entity’s northern border, grew in the intervening 17 years to a major danger to the entire settlers population and much of the country’s infrastructure, which are threatened by a Hezbollah arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets and missiles aimed at all of “Israel”. It is the primary threat facing the entity at this time.

The “Israeli” entity received a reminder of the growing threat six years after the withdrawal, during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, in which 121 soldiers and 44 settlers died and over 2,000 soldiers and settlers were injured. The threat has grown dramatically since then, magnified by the presence of Hezbollah and Iranian forces in parts of Syria.

What went wrong? How did successive “Israeli” regimes allow a minor danger to northern “Israel” to grow into a major threat to the entire country?

It started with the withdrawal from the south Lebanon security zone. It was an abandonment of David Ben-Gurion’s credo that it was the task of IOF soldiers to protect the entity’s settler population and that in performing this task it would inevitably suffer casualties.

This change in policy was never announced, but gradually, almost imperceptibly, it became part of the entity’s attitude toward the dangers it was facing. It reflected a feeling that it was more painful to suffer casualties among the “Israeli” entity’s soldiers than among its settler population.

The withdrawal, far from convincing Hezbollah to refrain from further aggression against “Israel”, created the impression that Hezbollah had scored a victory over “Israel” and eventually led to Hezbollah taking control of Lebanon.

It was the result of a misreading of the rationale motivating Hezbollah, which was and continues to be a revolutionary organization pledged to bringing about the destruction of “Israel”. An organization whose leaders believe that they are following the orders of Allah will not be dissuaded from pursuing its goal.

And relying on deterrence, a concept which in any case is ill-defined and nebulous, has little meaning when applied to a terrorist organization. While “Israeli” decision makers over the years felt that they were deterring Hezbollah from attacking “Israel”, that the increasing arsenal of Hezbollah rockets and missiles was destined to rust away on the scrap heap, Hezbollah succeeded in reaching a point where it was successfully deterring the entity from taking action to destroy its growing arsenal of weapons.

Now the Hezbollah missile threat constitutes the most immediate and major threat facing the “Israeli” entity. There are no easy answers in dealing with this threat, but it is important to be aware of the mistakes the entity has made over the years in dealing with Hezbollah. This awareness of past mistakes is part of the answer to dealing with this threat.

Source: Haaretz, Edited by website team

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The stuff on israel which Americans may not see

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The 1967 war was one of the watershed moments in the history of Israel and American Jewry. The jubilation and religious triumphalism that followed Israel’s military victory led to the founding of the Greater Israel movement, which became the theological inspiration for the settler enterprise (Wikipedia 2015, Movement for Greater Israel).

Later, after the 1973 war, it became institutionalized through the founding of Gush Emunim, which launched the first permanent Israeli settlement in the West Bank (Wikipedia 2015, Gush Emunim).

This mood of Israeli national celebration evoked a parallel response in the American Jewish community that, over the decades, has transformed Israel into a secular religion. Zionism has eventually become a litmus test of Jewish legitimacy; even, in some circles, a substitute for Judaism itself.

Nevertheless, in the intervening decades, Jews here have generally (with some exceptions) become more secular and gradually turned away from religious affiliation. Though some have distanced themselves from their Jewish identity entirely, many have only turned away from religious expression.

For many of these who retain a sense of Jewish identity, Israel has taken Judaism’s place. A 2014 Pew poll on Jewish identity showed that younger American Jews are increasingly choosing not to affiliate with the mainstream community— either Jewish federations or synagogues (Lugo & Cooperman 2013). Of all the religious denominations, the poll showed that the Conservative movement was declining fastest, while the Orthodox was growing fastest (though still a marked minority), followed by Reform. American Jews, especially the youth segment, are increasingly secular, and do not see Israel as the defining identity issue for the Jewish people.

But the older generation has not given up. Wealthy pro-Israel corporate titans like Sheldon Adelson and Michael Steinhardt have joined other donors in pouring one billion dollars into Birthright (Taglit) Israel (Mayer 2013). It has sent three hundred thousand American Jewish youth to Israel for two-week trips called a form of “Jewish penicillin,” which will ensure continuity into the next generation. 

Tour groups are accompanied by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who inject their security-oriented perspective into the discussions. The agenda of speakers and places visited focuses largely on a nationalist view of Israel and its role in Jewish identity. Israel is presented as an embattled enclave amidst a sea of Arab enemies. Trips visit Israeli settlements, but never view, visit, or meet with West Bank Palestinians, whose lives are deeply entwined with those of Israelis due to the ongoing occupation. These young Jews return to the United States with a mission to support Israel and promote its interests wherever possible.

Steinhardt has invested millions in supporting academic studies that“prove” the utility of Birthright in promoting Jewish continuity. This social science research, funded through a Brandeis University institute bearing his name, is conducted by Professor Len Saxe (Saxe 2015).

Such research, funded by a single individual or self-defined (pro-Israel) group, and meant to validate a project also funded by the donor, is a model of self-interest. In a broader sense, this critique applies to Israel studies as an academic enterprise on American campuses. 

L. Richard Silverstein
As someone who is a product of the pre-Birthright generation, which for 
me included decades of Jewish education, summer camps, and Jewish studies, there is no quick fix, no one-shot inoculation that can guarantee the future of the Jewish people. Anyone who believes that two weeks of intensive pro-Israel indoctrination, fraternal bonding, and sexual frolic will do this is fooling himself.

In the past, Jewish leaders saw the future as guaranteed by promoting a closer bond between young people and Jewish tradition. They promoted the institutions I mentioned above (schools, synagogues, camps, seminaries, universities, etc.). But increasingly in this generation, the menu is restricted to a single item: Israel. Though the community does continue to focus on education and the other programs I mentioned above, even these are increasingly refracted through a pro-Israel lens.

These largely secular pro-Israel philanthropists no longer feel that Judaism is the mortar that will hold the Jewish people together. Instead they see the only viable future for world Jewry is in Israel. That has turned the debate over Zionism and Israel’s future into a set of landmines. In past decades, American Jewry had respected leaders who held progressive and dissenting views on these issues like Rabbis Judah Magnes, Arthur Hertzberg, and Leonard Beerman, and secular leaders like Henry Siegman.

 
L, Henry Siegman, R. Rabbi Judah Magnes

These were the courageous leaders who first advocated a two-state solution in the 1970s (or in Magnes’ earlier case, a bi-national state), when such a concept was anathema in the Jewish mainstream. But increasingly, there are litmus tests for leadership and any dissent from a narrow communal consensus is no longer tolerated. Our current Jewish leadership is pro-Israel and lacking in political diversity.

ROLE OF LOBBY IN SUPPRESSING SPEECH

The Israel Lobby in the United States has two major agendas.

The most obvious is promoting Israel’s interests in the legislative and public policy arena. That’s the mission of groups like Aipac and the think-tank founded in collaboration with it, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Another arena is activism among young Jews and particularly on campus. The Lobby sees colleges as the place where it can have the greatest impact in shaping future generations. Academia is also an intellectual laboratory for ideas which later make their way into the body politic. For that reason, faculty, their ideas, courses, and publications are viewed as on society’s cutting edge. They are critical focuses in the battle for public opinion around Israel.

Hillel International, the umbrella body for Jewish student organizations on campus, several years ago announced a policy which restricted the events that campus Hillels may sponsor.

Henceforward, they must adhere to a pro-Israel agenda. This eliminated programming that explored any perspective other than Zionism and excluded discussions about Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS). Recently, an insurgent response to this has arisen called Open Hillel (Open Hillel 2015). As its name implies, it rejects constraints on Israel-related speech. Campuses at Swarthmore and Vassar have joined it and eschewed any ideological constraints. But Hillel chief executive officer Eric Fingerhut has put them on notice that if they sponsor forbidden programs  will lose their affiliation with Hillel (Kwait 2013).


Eric Fingerhut, CEO Hillel; he threatens dissenting Hillels with disaffiliation

Two Jewish museums in New York cancelled talks by University ofCalifornia, Berkeley, Professor Judith Butler and New Republic senior editor John Judis because pro-Israel groups and donors threatened to withhold funding (LeVine 2014). Several years ago, Anti-Defamation League Chief Abe Foxman pressured the Polish consulate in New York to cancel a talk by the late New York University Professor Tony Judt, another Israel dissenter. The Minneapolis Jewish Community Relations Council pressured the University of St. Thomas to cancel a talk by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Mprnews2007). The Jewish Community Relations Council included in its charges against Tutu statements he never uttered, which were manufactured by the Zionist Organization of America’s Morton Klein.

Under pressure, the college president cancelled the talk. But after a national uproar ensued, he backed off and reinstated the invitation. The faculty member who’d invited Tutu was dismissed from her position and Tutu refused to come unless she was reinstated. She wasn’t. Tutu didn’t speak. Some years ago, after the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival screened the documentary Rachel, about the life and death of Palestine activist, Rachel Corrie, the local Jewish federation introduced rules precluding grantees from hosting events deemed “anti-Israel” (Jweekly 2009). These guidelines resulted from pressure exerted by major local pro-Israel Jewish foundations like the Taube and Koret Foundations.

They are also major funders of what’s come to be known as the Islamophobia industry, portrayed in the Center for American Progress report, Fear Inc (Ali, et al. 2011).

In 2006, when the producers of a play about Corrie,
My Name is Rachel Corrie, attempted to bring it to New York for the first time, the New York Theater Workshop agreed to present it. But after theater subscribers and other New York pro-Israel forces conveyed their alarm at Corrie’s story, the Workshop backed out, leaving it with a black-eye, and the producers, Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, livid (Borger 2006). Though Corrie was produced at another theater venue, yet another major New York cultural institution had been cowed by fear and the Lobby.

The Metropolitan Opera recently revived the John Adams’ opera the Death of Klinghoffer. Adams is of one of America’s greatest living composers and his opera, first performed in 1991, is considered one of his finest works. The history of its production is marked by instructive lessons in the power of Israel when linked to terrorism and the power to silence artists and sabotage careers.

The Guardian called Klinghoffer “cursed.” Five opera companies commissioned the work originally. The premier was offered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Three of the other companies abandoned it after realizing the controversy involved. It was not performed again until twenty years later (2011), when a St. Louis company mounted a production. Adams didn’t write another opera for years afterward.

The librettist, Alice Goodman, was, in her words, “uncommissionable.” Instead, after converting from Judaism, she became a rector of the Church of England.In 2014, the opera world looked forward to hearing a production that hadn’t been performed in New York in over twenty-five years. Until Abe Foxman and the Klinghoffer survivors raised a furor, accusing the opera of expressing too much “sympathy” for the terrorist who murdered Leon Klinghoffer (Ross 2014). The surviving daughters of Leon Klinghoffer had earlier released a statement after seeing the 1991 premier:

“The juxtaposition of the plight of thePalestinian people with the cold-blooded murder of an innocent disabledAmerican Jew is both historically naive and appalling” (Jeffries 2012).

Other detractors accused Klinghoffer of supporting terrorism and the murder of Jews. Supporters of the opera, including Adams himself, clarified that dramatic tension and exposition of the views of all the major characters was necessary for the audience to understand the conflict at the heart of the opera. Foxman, the consummate inside-player, met with the Met’s director, Peter Gelb, ostensibly to work out a deal that would enable the production to go forward while assuaging critics. The deal amounted to a capitulation of sorts:instead of a live production viewed by thousands and pay-per-view production viewed by millions more, Gelb agreed to forego the screen showing. It would only be seen live. Adams too acquiesced and made no public comment except to express sorrow at the misunderstanding of his opera.

Each of these cultural and academic institutions were forced to make a calculation when threatened by the power of the Lobby. How financially secure are you? How much controversy are you willing to withstand? Hows strong are your principles? Are you prepared for your friends and donors to desert you? Are you willing to write off your career? Is it worth it?Very few are willing to withstand the full shock. Very few are willing to take a pure stand for principle. Most are prepared to compromise or relent. And when they do, the Lobby learns it can get its way by threats and intimidation. It learns that it has more discipline and stamina than the other side.Thus the bullying behavior is reinforced as a successful tactic.

DECLINE IN DIVERSITY AND LEADERSHIP

The communal retreat from intellectual and political diversity has resulted in the impoverishment of its leadership. Until a decade ago, there were respected liberal Jewish groups like the American Jewish Congress (once led by Siegman), which espoused a generally liberal Zionist perspective. The American Jewish Congress eventually lost membership and donors, and was taken over by real estate tycoon and acolyte of some of the world’s autocratic leaders, Jack Rosen (Rosenblatt 2013). It now espouses a pro-Israel agenda that reflects Rosen’s own hawkish views.

The sole remaining national Jewish group with a liberal approach to Israelis J Street. It is essentially a Jewish lobbying group on behalf of Obama administration policies, a “Jews for Obama” of sorts. Liberal financier George Soros has been a major funder of the group. But he does so in as low-key a manner as possible because right-wing groups and media have launched vicious attacks on him.

Separately, Alan Dershowitz and Glenn Beck have each accused him of surviving the Holocaust (as a child) by collaborating with the Nazis. Such smears are another tool by which pro-Israel forces control and manipulate the debate (Knickerbocker 2010).The only group that espouses a truly progressive agenda on Israel is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). It was one of the first national Jewish groups which espoused an explicitly non-Zionist position. It refused to take a position favoring either a two or one-state solution:

We support any solution that is consistent with the full rights of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews, whether one binational state, two states, or some other solution. It is up to Israelis and Palestinians to reach a mutually agreed upon solution. (JVP 2015)

It is also the first and only Jewish organization to endorse BDS. The organized Jewish community, steeped in the Zionist narrative going all the way back to World War II and the Holocaust, has been shocked by these heresies.Despite its tens of thousands of members, JVP is largely demonized in the mainstream community (Anti-Defamation League 2013). Not even J Street will permit JVP to co-sponsor its national conferences (though last year, for the first time, it invited JVP’s director to sit on a panel). JVP cannot host events at most Jewish federation–funded community venues. It is foreclosed from campus Hillels. Even J Street U campus groups have been excluded from many college Jewish communities.

As Israeli politics and occupation policies grow increasingly extremist, even mainstream figures like the nation’s most popular daily columnist, Nahum Barnea, and President Reuven Rivlin concede that a one-state solution is an almost certain outcome (Remnick 2014). They recognize that if Israel will not accept a return to 1967 borders and the sharing of Jerusalem by two states, then there’s not much left to talk about. Barnea told an Israeli TV audience: “Everybody knows how this will end.” When asked what he meant, he answered, “There will be a binational state west of the Jordan …the two-state solution is no longer possible”
(Silverstein, 2012).

In Barnea’s case, it is not because he supports this outcome personally, but he is a realist and recognizes that continued Israeli rejectionism can lead to only one possible outcome: a unitary state incorporating all Israeli Jews and Palestinians from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. There has been no parallel development within the American Jewish community. There are no leaders willing to see the unvarnished truth, the handwriting on the wall.

American Jews and the Israel Lobby continue to mouth support for a two-state solution as if it were a political mantra, though the Likudist governments in power for much of the past thirty-five years utterly reject it. The result has been a strange bifurcation of reality withAmerican Jews advocating a solution which has never been popular or achievable under Israel’s nationalist governments. The leadership’s refusal to exert any pressure on Israel to negotiate a two-state solution has made it a mockery as a policy option. The result here has been a stultifying effect on political discourse. What American Jewry needs is more of the spirit of Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Where are the Jewish multitudes? Instead of embracing contra-diction and contentious debate, instead of welcoming the multitude of opinions and ideas about Israel, American Jews are increasingly closing their minds. In the past, American Jewry entertained wider debate on these troubling issues. If we didn’t exactly “contain multitudes,” we hosted Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, I. F. Stone, Grace Paley, Adrienne Rich, Hertzberg, Rabbis Abraham Joshua Herschel and Marshall Meyer, and gave birth to Magnes, all of whom competed vigorously with more parochial-conservative ideas in the political-intellectual arena.

Now, who are our “dissidents”? Peter Beinart? He proudly calls himself a liberal Zionist. His politics on Israel are more conservative than those of a number of those past leaders mentioned above. Yet even he receives a hostile reception from much of the organized Jewish community, where a number of his appearances promoting his books criticizing Israeli policy have been cancelled by Jewish sponsors (Severson 2012). Is his the best, most outspoken voice we’ve produced in this generation as far as Israel is concerned?

Art Spiegelman, [above] the renowned graphic novelist who produced the Maus series about American Jewish identity and the Holocaust, holds progressive views about the Israel-Arab conflict. But he’s shied away from making any major statement on the subject until Operation Protective Edge, when he published a graphic attacking the Israeli massacre (Sucharov 2014). Jewish cultural and public intellectuals like Spiegelman have to weigh their career options when they take this subject on. Are they willing to confront the massive wall of hostility that will accompany them if they make this part of their oeuvre? Are they willing to lose the next book contract or an opportunity for tenure?

Max Blumenthal is another case in point. He’d made a reputation as a muckraking journalist who explored the seamy underbelly of pre–Tea Party Republican oddity in his Republican Gomorrah. After that book, Blumenthal became increasingly interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict. He made trips to Israel documenting the aberrant behavior of the radical Israeli right in a shocking video series called Feeling the Hate (Blumenthal 2010). He trans-formed the videos into a provocative book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

Like Mearsheimer and Walt’s “The Israel Lobby” “Goliath” was a lightning rod.

Pro-Israel advocates not only hated it, they found it antisemitic, because Blumenthal used rhetoric describing Israeli settler phenomena which, critics claimed, echoed Nazi-era phraseology. But no one was prepared for the vicious assault on the book mounted by fellow Nation contributor, Eric Alterman (Alterman 2013). Known as a progressive on domestic issues and liberal on Israel, Alterman not only detested the book, he became the spearhead for all the attacks on it. His rhetoric was intemperate and overheated, and his facts were sparse or downright false. Considering that “Goliath” was published by the Nation’s publishing imprint, Nation Books, the Alterman attack was inexplicable.But for the Lobby, Alterman’s intervention was a gold mine. It gave them a liberal fig-leaf behind which to launch their own attacks.

The Nation had little choice but to stand back and let their two contributors engage in mortal combat in the pages of the magazine, while the audience looked on in shock and horror. It was a nadir of liberal American discourse on Israel. The result of all this is that Blumenthal, one in a long line of Jewish intellectual dissenters, has been driven from mainstream Jewry. He finds instead a far more comfortable home among the Palestinian activist world,which includes more than its fair share of fellow dissident Jews

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