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Mitchell meets Abbas in Ramallah

(Erekat: No direct talks until progress made on borders, Gaza blockade)

July 2….(JPOST) US Middle East envoy George Mitchell met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday. Chief PA Negotiator Saeb Erakat said after the meeting that moving from proximity talks to direct talks as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has suggested is impossible as long as their is no progress made on the issue of borders and Israel continues the blockades and arrests. Abbas told reporters from the Hebrew media on Tuesday he is willing to enter direct negotiations with the Netanyahu government, as soon as he hears from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu regarding Israel’s position on borders and security issues. Abbas, in the briefing with Israeli journalists in Ramallah, said that originally he wanted to hear from Netanyahu whether he was willing to accept the understandings agreed upon by his predecessor, Ehud Olmert. When no answer from Netanyahu was forthcoming regarding the Olmert offer, Abbas said at Tuesday’s briefing, he sent a message through US envoy George Mitchell saying that he would suffice with an answer on only two of the issues: borders and security. Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Mitchell in Jerusalem on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of moving to direct talks with the Palestinian Authority. Barak said the move to direct talks would require a Palestinian willingness to do so without preconditions. The defense minister is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the coming days. Barak said the two would discuss the move to direct talks as well as cooperation between Israel and the PA on security issues.



Abbas Indicates Will Not Negotiate with Netanyahu

(Ahead of Netanyahu-Obama meeting, PA leader warns Israeli journalists that growing number of Palestinians want to abandon two-state solution)

July 2….(Ha Aretz) The Palestinian leader launched his "popular peace campaign" to explain the PA's positions to Israelis. His aim is to win Israelis' trust and enlist their support for a peace settlement based on the 1967 borders (with minor changes and land swaps.) Abbas said his family was pressing him to retire from politics due to his age (75) and reiterated his pledge not to run in the next presidential election. He warned that in view of the difficulties in the peace process, growing numbers of Palestinians are calling for abandoning the two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution. Abbas said that former Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban was right when he said the Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. "To this day, I regret our rejection of the Partition Plan in 1947," he said. "Now I tell you Israelis, don't miss the opportunity the Arab League has offered you with its peace initiative." Though that plan requires Israel to withdraw from all the territories it conquered in 1967, Abbas said he was confident Syria would not sabotage a deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even if it does not advance the negotiations with Syria (which insists on a complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights). Abbas said he would not sign a reconciliation agreement with Hamas unless it adopts the Arab peace initiative and the principles incorporated in the road map peace plan. Abbas said that despite the absence of direct negotiations with Israel, he has repeatedly offered to resume the work of the joint committee to prevent incitement, which was established 12 years ago after Netanyahu consented to it at the Wye summit. But even to this, Abbas said, Israel has not responded. He said Netanyahu recently received a Palestinian proposal to deploy an international force in the territories, under NATO or UN auspices, as part of a final-status deal establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The proposal was given to Netanyahu by American envoy George Mitchell in the context of the PLO's positions on borders and security arrangements. Abbas said the plan he proposed was examined by the US National Security Advisor, James Jones, in his previous role as special envoy to the region, and has also been accepted by the Arab states. He was responding to Netanyahu's statement that it is impossible to discuss borders before reaching an understanding about security arrangements. Abbas said the positions on borders that he gave to Netanyahu were based on the agreements he reached in talks with former prime minister Ehud Olmert. These agreements, he said, were as follows: The border would be based on the June 4, 1967 lines in both Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the northern part of the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley and the no-man's land near Latrun, but would include border adjustments and land swaps on a 1:1 scale. Abbas said he and Olmert had "exchanged maps" on the basis of these principles, with the Americans' knowledge and approval.



Dubai: Iran Smuggles Nuclear Equipment via UAE Ports

July 2….(YNET) United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Hamad al-Kaabi has confirmed reports that Iran is using Dubai ports to smuggle equipment needed for its nuclear program, but noted the steps his country had taken to clamp down on blacklisted companies. This is the first official acknowledgement from the state that it is a popular transit point for smuggling. The UK newspaper Telegraph last month revealed the existence of a deal made by an Iranian company with links to the nuclear program. The company bought control systems from a German electronics manufacturer via trading firms from Dubai. The UK paper reported Thursday that al-Kaabi had confirmed the previous reports. Computers and control systems are among the forbidden goods reaching Iran, as well as cables and communication equipment. The goods were sold to Iran without the German producer's knowledge using fake purchasing certificates. The Iranian company receiving the goods is the Kalaye Electric Company which is subject to the international sanctions regime because of its links with Iran's nuclear program. The firm is responsible for purchasing and developing the centrifuges required for enriching uranium. Al-Kaabi noted that after the UN Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions against Iran last month, Dubai authorities held a series of raids on firms with contacts in Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Dubai also froze the bank accounts of 41 Iranian companies and organizations who were on the sanctions blacklist.

      On the sanction front, Iran’s state TV quotes the country's central bank governor as saying Tehran has gained the equivalent of $9 billion dollars by shifting its foreign currency reserves to Euros and selling gold. Mahmoud Bahmani on Monday described Iran's foreign currency reserves as very "suitable," but did not provide a figure or qualify over what period of time the currency transactions took place. The Euro has been losing ground against the dollar amid concerns that Greece's debt crisis could spill over to other Euro zone countries. Gold, meanwhile, has been steadily increasing. Iran said last year it would shift its currency reserves from the dollar to the Euro, as the US pushed to boost sanctions against the country over its controversial nuclear program.



Obama aims pro-illegal lawsuit at Arizona

(Bankrupt government will use more tax dollars to intimidate states)

July 2….(Washington Times) The Obama Administration has announced that it intends to sue Arizona over its new law that will allow the state to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The stated goal of the lawsuit is to block implementation of the popular Arizona law before it takes effect on July 29. The unstated, but perhaps more important objective of Obama is to intimidate other states where similar legislation is being considered. Obama’s position on immigration policy is clear. Obama's goal is a sweeping amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and the virtual dismantling of all meaningful immigration-related enforcement. Not only is immigration enforcement not a priority for Obama President , but it is a threat to their overall political strategy that must be attacked aggressively. A lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice is no idle threat. This administration is working in concert with amnesty advocates such as the ACLU to try to make Arizona's defense as burdensome and costly as possible. Even if Arizona ultimately prevails, as many legal scholars believe the state will, victory is unlikely to come swiftly or cheaply. For Arizona, which is saddled with an estimated $2.6 billion a year fiscal burden as a result of the federal government's refusal to enforce immigration laws, the cost of mounting a legal defense may be worth it. The problem of illegal immigration has become so acute in Arizona that residents seem ready to stand behind state leaders even as the costs of a legal defense mount. In filing suit against Arizona, the administration is delivering an only slightly veiled and deeply troubling message to other states: Enforcing immigration laws locally may be right for your state; it may be popular with the voters; you even may prevail in the end. But we would rather fight you, American citizens, than fight illegal immigration. Upping the ante appears to be the latest strategy not only of the President Obama, but also of others who want to prevent enforcement of immigration laws. In the case of the illegal-alien advocacy network, the threat is explicit, not implicit. "Local legislation is going to end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars," warned Ali Noorani, who runs the National Immigration Forum, an amnesty advocacy group. Those threats are playing out in Fremont, Neb., where local voters approved an immigration-enforcement ordinance by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin on June 21 over the objections of the mayor and many on the City Council. Many local officials were not against the ballot measure per se but were concerned about the cost of defending the will of the people against the deep pockets of foundation-supported groups that oppose immigration enforcement. "I do caution everyone that voted for this that there will be a cost to pay," said one opponent on the Fremont City Council after the vote. "It's going to be very costly for the city while this is litigated," warned another council member. Their concerns are not unfounded. No sooner had the votes been counted than the ACLU announced its intent to sue the city. "Our intention is to make sure the law does not go into effect for even one day," said a spokeswoman for the Nebraska ACLU. Whether in Arizona or Fremont, whether instigated by the Obama Administration or advocacy groups, lawsuits over local immigration-enforcement policies appear to have less to do with the pursuit of justice than with raw intimidation for partisan gain. In the process, justice and protection for ordinary citizens harmed by unenforced immigration laws become collateral damage as political interests are pursued through the courts. In the end, many local governments will have little choice but to endure the expense of a court battle as the costs of providing basic services to illegal aliens escalate. The decision of the Obama Administration to bleed the taxpayers of Arizona signals that before Americans can protect themselves against the harmful effects of mass illegal immigration, they will have to fight a very costly battle with their own government.



Socialism: Building A Welfare World

July 2….(Frontpage) The United Nations is pressuring the world’s most developed countries to pony up more money to fund the world’s all-time biggest give-away wealth redistribution aid program to the developing countries, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals, scheduled to be achieved by 2015, are eight internationally-agreed targets which aim to reduce poverty, hunger, maternal and child deaths, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality and environmental degradation. At the just recently concluded summit of the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) industrialized and developing economies in Canada, for example, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of stepping up efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through increased development aid and investments. “Under any circumstances we must not balance budgets on the backs of the world’s poorest people,” the Secretary General told leaders of the G20. In advance of a high-level summit at the UN Headquarters that Ban Ki-moon will convene in New York in September, 2010 to press countries to accelerate their efforts to achieve the MDGs, he has established a high-profile “MDG Advocacy Group” co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. Its purpose, according to the announcement of its launching, is to “support the Secretary-General in building political will and mobilizing global action to make the MDG Summit a turning point in our collective effort to achieve the Goals by the 2015 target date.” A look at the two co-chairmen raises serious concerns. Zapatero, Spain’s Prime Minister, is a committed socialist. Indeed, he has served as the Secretary General of the Socialist Party. Kagame, Rwanda’s President, has blamed the West for Africa’s troubles, has praised China and, according to the Economist, “allows less political space and press freedom at home than Robert Mugabe does in Zimbabwe.” That’s quite a distinction. Other prominent non-US members of the 18-member MDG Advocacy Group include the former socialist president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, and Jan Eliasson, former Swedish social democratic Minister of Foreign Affairs who participated in a demonstration during which Hezbollah flags waved in the air and an Israeli flag was set to flames. US members include the progressive economist Jeffrey Sachs, Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, and Ted Turner, a self-described “socialist at heart.” Not all members of the MDG Advocacy Group are leftists. Hopefully, Bill Gates, at least, will provide some balance, for example. But the mission and progressive-leaning tilt of this group ensures that the emphasis of the UN-led Millennium Development Goals agenda will continue to be reflective of the UN’s redistributionist philosophy. This is confirmed by a report issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on June 17, 2010 entitled What Will It Take To Achieve The Millennium Development Goals? An International Assessment. Buried amongst all of the rhetoric was a suggestion for an international finance tax and “imposing levies on international maritime transport and on air travel, and developing a uniform global tax on carbon dioxide emissions (with a per capita exemption for low-income countries).” The European Union is right in sync with such proposals for global taxes. With labor unions, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bevy of liberal and left-wing economists reportedly pushing for a global financial tax, it won’t take much persuasion for our progressive president to go along Although foreign aid programs in the past have turned out to be a colossal waste due to such problems as corruption, the United Nations wants us to pour much more money down the same sinkhole. It is pushing each developed country to give away 0.7 percent of its gross national income (GNI) to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Looking ahead to 2015, the year when the Millennium Development Goals are supposed to be achieved, the United States alone would have to pay more than $100 billion for development assistance under the 0.7 percent assessment regime (as applied against the gross domestic product of the United States projected by the Congressional Budget Office for 2015). Consider that by the end of that same year,  2015, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the total debt held by the public as a percentage of the GDP will be a whopping 65.4 percent. Barack Obama demonstrated back in 2008, when he sponsored legislation in the Senate, that he was prepared to have the United States contribute hundreds of billions of dollars in additional aid from American taxpayers to this cause over a span of thirteen years or so. As a presidential candidate, Obama said that “I’ll double our foreign assistance to $50 billion by 2012, and use it to support a stable future in failing states, and sustainable growth in Africa; to halve global poverty and to roll back disease.” There is no indication that, despite record deficits and the skyrocketing federal debt attributable to Obama’s runaway spending programs, Obama has backed off of this commitment.

   Focusing on money alone as the prime solution to the problems besetting poor countries, particularly Africa, overlooks the tribal, racial, religious and ethnic divisions that have spawned killing fields there. Real progress in meeting the basic needs of the peoples of these lands cannot happen until the slaughter stops. In addition to the direct casualties of war, the violence breaks up the social networks necessary to feed, clothe, shelter and provide health care to the people, right down to the family unit itself. Building more hospitals, for example, will do no good if their staffs and patients are forced to flee from the violence surrounding them and the vital hospital supplies are looted. Development aid and technology to protect the environment will be wasted when the ravages of war continue to destroy croplands, forests, ecosystems and other natural resources. True human development needs the nutrients of sustainable freedoms to grow and prosper, no matter how much financial help from the developed countries is forthcoming to help eradicate poverty and disease in the poorer regions of the world. Ironically, in the UN’s own Millennium Development Goals Report, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released with great fanfare at a press conference at UN headquarters on June 23, 2010, the authors recognized the limitations of foreign aid in solving all development problems. For example, they stated in the section dealing with the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education that “In many countries, educating girls is widely perceived as being of less value than educating boys.” I asked the Secretary General what the United Nations and he personally were trying to do to change such perceptions that interfere with the achievement of this Millennium Development Goal, and with a separate goal to “promote gender equality and empower women.” He ducked the question, as did the report’s lead author, by citing statistics about improved educational opportunities for girls. Tell that to the girls denied an equal education in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and other majority Muslim countries. Cultural norms, not lack of money, are the main problem in many cases. Simply throwing good money after bad does not solve complex social and political problems that are deeply rooted in a country’s history and demographics. So-called “Robin Hood” taxes and other redistributionist schemes will end up having the same detrimental result as we are witnessing now in left-leaning countries like Greece and Spain.



'Syria Receives New Advanced Radar From Iran'

image (FOJ) Iran is continuing to use regional players and proxies to wage a perimeter war against Israel. As evidenced by the recent backdown of sending Iranian ships to break the Gaza blockade, Iran chose instead to use other entities at its disposal to harass Israel. The purpose was thereby to avoid engaging Israel directly, by using expendable pawns for their dirty work.

July 2….(JPOST) Iran has provided Syria with an advanced radar system that could give it early warning of an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, quoting Israeli and US officials. According to the report, information gathered by the radar could also be used by Hizbullah to increase its defenses and improve missile accuracy. Iran is engaged in developing Syrian intelligence and aerial detection capabilities, and Iranian representatives are present in Syria for that express purpose,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office told the paper. “Radar assistance is only one expression of that cooperation.” Placing advanced radar in Syria is strongly in Iran’s interest, the officials said, as it would provide Iran with better visibility of Israeli airspace and could serve as an early warning of a developing Israeli air strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Syria’s interest in advanced radar was probably enhanced by the IAF raid on an alleged nuclear reactor being built in Syria in September 2007, when Syria’s air defenses failed to repel the attack.



Why Islam Will Never Accept the State of Israel

July 1….(American Thinker) It is a common belief that the "Arab-Israeli conflict" is a conflict of two peoples fighting over the same piece of land and is therefore one of nationalism. Rarely, if ever, do we hear or read of the religious component to this conflict. However, if anything, the conflict is more of a "Muslim-Jewish" one than an "Arab-Israeli" one. In other words, the conflict is based on religion, Islam vs. Judaism, cloaked in Arab nationalism vs. Zionism. The fact of the matter is that in every Arab-Israeli war, from 1948 to the present, cries of "jihad," "Allahu Akbar," and the bloodcurdling scream of "Idbah al- Yahud" (slaughter the Jews) have resonated amongst even the most secular of Arab leaders, be it Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s or the supposedly "secular" PLO of the 1960s to the present. Indeed, the question must be asked: If this is really a conflict of different nationalisms and not Islamic supremacism, then why is it that virtually no non-Arab Muslim states have full relations with Israel? There is a common Arabic slogan that is chanted in the Middle East: "Khaybar, Khaybar! Oh Jews, remember. The armies of Muhammad are returning!" It would be most interesting to know how many people have ever heard what, or more precisely, where, Khaybar is, and what the Arabs mean by such a slogan. A short history of the Jews of Arabia is needed in order to explain this, and why Islam remains so inflexible in its hostile attitude towards Jews and Israel. Until the founder of Islam, Muhammad ibn Abdallah, proclaimed himself "Messenger of Allah" in the 7th century, Jews and Arabs lived together peacefully in the Arabian Peninsula. At the time of Muhammad's "calling," three important Jewish tribes existed in Arabia: Banu Qurayza, Banu Nadir, and Banu Qaynuqa. Muhammad was very keen on having the Jews accept him as a prophet to the extent that he charged his followers not to eat pig and to pray in the direction of Jerusalem. However, the Jews apparently were not very keen on Muhammad, his proclamation of himself as a prophet, or his poor knowledge of the Torah (Hebrew Bible). Numerous verbal altercations are recorded in the Qur'an and various Hadiths about these conflicts between the Jewish tribes and Muhammad. When the Jews rejected Muhammad as the "final seal of the prophets," he turned on them with a vengeance. The atrocities that were committed against these tribes are too numerous to cite in a single article, but two tribes, the Qaynuqa and Nadir, were expelled from their villages by Muhammad. It appears that the Qaynuqa left Arabia around 624 AD. The refugees of the Nadir settled in the village of Khaybar. In 628 AD, Muhammad turned on the last Jewish tribe, the Qurayza, claiming that they were in league with Muhammad's Arab pagan enemies and had "betrayed" him. Muhammad and his army besieged the Qurayza, and after a siege of over three weeks, the Qurayza surrendered. While many Arabs pleaded with Muhammad to let the Qurayza leave unmolested, Muhammad had other plans. Muhammad exterminated the Qurayza, with an estimated 600 to 900 Jewish men being beheaded in one day. The women and children were sold into slavery, and Muhammad took one of the widows, Rayhana, as a "concubine." In 629 AD, Muhammad led a campaign against the surviving Jews of Nadir, now living in Khaybar. The battle was again bloody and barbaric, and the survivors of the massacre were either expelled or allowed to remain as "second-class citizens." Eventually, upon the ascension of Omar as caliph, most Jews were expelled from Arabia around the year 640 AD. This brings us, then, to the question of why modern-day Muslims still boast of the slaughter of the Jewish tribes and the Battle of Khaybar. The answer lies in what the Qur'an, and later on, the various Hadiths, says about the Jews. The Qur'an is replete with verses that can be described only as virulently anti-Semitic. And of course, there is the genocidal Hadith from Sahih Bukhari, 4:52:177, which would make Adolph Hitler proud. "The Day of Judgment will not have come until you fight with the Jews, and the stones and the trees behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: 'O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!"' Thus, the Arab Muslims had their own "final solution" in store for the Jews already in the 7th century. The fact that Muslims still point to these hateful verses in the Qur'an and Hadith should give Jews, not just Israelis, pause to consider if there can ever be true peace between Muslims and Jews, let alone between Muslims and Israel. When the armies of Islam occupied the area of Byzantine "Palestine" in the 7th century, the land became part of "Dar al-Islam" (House of Islam). Until that area is returned to Islam, (i.e., Israel's extermination), she remains part of "Dar al harb" (House of War). It now becomes clear that this is a conflict of religious ideology and not a conflict over a piece of "real estate." Finally, one must ask the question: Aside from non-Arab Turkey, whose relations with Israel are presently teetering on the verge of collapse, why is it that no other non-Arab Muslim country in the Middle East has ever had full relations with Israel, such as faraway countries like Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? Indeed, why would Persian Iran, conquered by the Arabs, have such a deep hatred for Jews and Israel, whereas a non-Muslim country such as India does not feel such enmity? The answer is painfully clear: The contempt in which the Qur'an and other Islamic writings hold Jews does not exist in the scriptures of the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and other Eastern religions. Therefore, people that come from non-Muslim states do not have this inherent hatred towards Jews, and by extension, towards Israel. But when a people, or peoples, is raised with a scripture that regards another people and religion as immoral and less than human, then it is axiomatic why such hatred and disdain exists on the part of Muslims for Jews and Israel. Islam, as currently interpreted and practiced, cannot accept a Jewish state of any size in its midst. Unless Muslims come to terms with their holy writings vis-à-vis Jews, Judaism, and Israel and go through some sort of "reformation," it will be unlikely that true peace will ever come to the Middle East. In the meantime, unless Islam reforms, Israel should accept the fact that the Muslims will never accept Israel as a permanent fact in the Middle East.



Obama, Saudi King Discuss 2-State Mideast Solution

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June 30….(YNET) US President Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah discussed the Middle East peace process and the importance of securing a Palestinian homeland alongside a strong Israeli state, Obama said on Tuesday. Obama said their meeting at the White House ranged over a number of strategic issues, including Iran’s nuclear program, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as "the importance of moving forward in a swift and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state." The US president added, "As representatives of two G-20 countries, we also continued the conversation that took place this weekend about how the Saudi -- how the Saudi government and the United States government can work with our other partners around the world to keep the economic recovery going and to help bring about the strong economic growth that's necessary to put people back to work. King Abdullah only spoke briefly after their meeting, thanking Obama for his hospitality and praising the friendship between their two countries. "I would like to say to the friendly American people that the American people are friends of Saudi Arabia and its people, and they are friends of the Arab and Muslim people, and they are also friends of humanity," he said. The White House said after the meeting and lunch that King Abdullah assured Obama of his support for the Arab Middle East peace initiative. The leaders also discussed building a Saudi army that would be capable of facing the Iranian threat. The possible purchase of 72 F-16 jets by the Saudi was also discussed.


Arab leaders are disappointed that Obama has not made more progress in pressuring Israel to give ground in US-mediated peace talks. Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6. Obama said his lunch with King Abdullah ranged over various strategic issues, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as "the importance of moving forward in a significant and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state." Netanyahu began indirect talks with the Palestinians in May but has imposed strict conditions for accepting their demand for statehood. In addition, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said earlier on Tuesday that problems with the talks, and divisions among the Palestinians, meant no Palestinian state would be founded by 2012. This was an apparent reference to a call by the Quartet, the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, for an accord by that time. Obama and King Abdullah "expressed their hope that proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians will lead to the resumption of direct talks with the aim of two states living side-by-side in peace," the White House said. King Abdullah only spoke briefly after their meeting, thanking Obama for his hospitality and praising the friendship between their two countries. "We appreciate all that you personally have done to further broaden and deepen and strengthen this relationship," he said, speaking through in interpreter in the Oval Office. Analysts say the Saudis want Obama to lean on Netanyahu over stalled peace talks with the Palestinians and on freezing Jewish settlements on occupied Arab land. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the King had assured Obama of his continued support for the Arab Middle East peace initiative. This is the 2002 plan originated by King Abdullah offering Israel recognition in exchange for returning occupied territories and allowing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Last year Obama revived a long-standing US request for Saudi Arabia to make gestures toward normalizing relations with Israel as an incentive to the Jewish state to take up serious negotiations over establishing a Palestinian state.



US in 'Third Great Depression'

June 30….(Bloomberg) The US economy is in the “early stages” of a depression, one which will be much more severe than the Great Depression, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman warns. “We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression,” Krugman writes in the New York Times. “But the cost to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs, will nonetheless be immense,” he wrote in the Times. This third depression will emerge as a result of the failure of government economic policy. “Around the world governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending,” writes Krugman. “Unlike governments of the past, which tried to balance budgets in the face of a plunging economy, today’s governments allowed deficits to rise. And better policies helped the world avoid complete collapse: the recession brought on by the financial crisis arguably ended last summer.” But, Krugman notes, future historians will say that this wasn’t the end of the third depression. “After all, unemployment, especially long-term unemployment, remains at levels that would have been considered catastrophic not long ago, and shows no sign of coming down,” writes Krugman. Other elite opinion-makers seem to concur with this tragic hypothesis. The Washington Post is reporting that this past weekend’s G-20 Summit was a “prelude to a depression.” If not another Great Depression, many experts are warning that the United States could slide back into a recession. Yale economist Robert Shiller, who predicted the housing bust, has warned that the economy still hasn’t escaped the possibility of a double-dip recession. “We just went through a Great Depression scare,” he told Bloomberg. “The Fed and the government took on extraordinary measures to prevent that," he said. "But I think our confidence is still vulnerable.” And confidence is the major driver of the economy, Shiller says. He defines a double-dip recession as another downturn before the economy gets completely back to normal. “I think there’s a significant possibility of that,” Shiller said. President Barack Obama warned his counterparts from the Group of 20 nations to not reel in measures to stimulate their economies too quickly. The United States fears doing so could endanger the global recovery. Some nations in Europe and elsewhere are shifting their focus on cutting deficits, especially in the wake of Greece's debt crisis, which rattled world markets. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during the weekend that world leaders must work together to make sure the global recovery stays on track, the Associated Press reported. Asked if the global economy could slip back into another "double dip" recession, Geithner said the answer to that question hinges on decisions made by world leaders. "It is within the capacity of the people who are going to be in those rooms together in the next few days to avoid that outcome," he said. One of the mistakes made in the 1930s was that countries pulled back their recovery efforts too soon, prolonging the Great Depression, he said. Geithner said the United States doesn't want to see that happen again.  "What we want to do is continue to emphasize that we are going to avoid that mistake," he said. "It's only been a year since the world economy stopped collapsing, it will take some time to heal." Although the world economy has recovered from the worst financial and economic crisis since the 1930s, many challenges remain, Geithner said. "The scars of this crisis are still with us," Geithner told reporters. "If the world economy is to expand at its potential, if growth is going to be sustainable in the future, then we need to act together to strengthen the recovery and finish the job of repairing the damage of the crisis."



Congresswoman Fears Hizbullah ‘Israel-Like Bombings’ in US

June 29….(Arutz) A US Congresswoman has warned that Hizbullah terrorists, hooked up with Mexican drug cartels, may be planning ”Israel-like bombings” against customs officials or National Guard units on the US border. North Carolina legislator Sue Myrick wrote Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, urging a task force "to engage US and Mexican law enforcement and border patrol officials about Hizbullah's presence, activities, and connections to gangs and drug cartels." Echoing previous reports of Hizbullah’s activity in the profitable drug trade, Myrick wrote, "The connection between Hizbullah and the drug cartels has seemed to grow over the past few years. This may be especially true on the US southern border. “Across states in the Southwest, well trained officials are beginning to notice the tattoos of gang members in prisons are being written in Farsi. We have typically seen tattoos in Arabic, but Farsi implies a Persian influence that can likely be traced back to Iran and its proxy army, Hizbullah. These tattoos in Farsi are almost always seen in combination with gang or drug cartel tattoos.” Myrick also warned that the United States may face terror tunnels, similar to those Hizbullah used in the Second Lebanon War against Israel in 2006. Noting that the terrain along the American-Mexican border is similar to Israel’s, she wrote, “Hizbullah is extremely skilled in the construction of tunnels. Israel has time and again found Hizbullah tunnels leading into Israel, some of which are large enough to accommodate trucks. Likewise, intelligence officials say that the drug cartels, in an effort to dig larger and more effective tunnels, are employing the expertise of Hizbullah. Federal government documents have shown that that the United States apprehended two Syrians and 17 Iranians over a 12-month period ending this past April. Also nabbed at the border were dozens of others from other Muslim countries, including Sudan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Texas border agents have discovered illegal immigrants with an Arabic clothing patch that reads “martyr” according to the current National Review.



'Obama Harder on Israel Than Arab States'

(Mideast officials warn president 'naive,' 'playing with fire')

June 29….(WND) The Obama administration is set to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ease the blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip during the premier's visit to Washington next week, according to Israeli diplomatic sources. Separately, a senior Palestinian Authority negotiator said the US has placed the most pressure on Israel to ease the Gaza blockade. The negotiator said the Obama administration has taken a harder line against Israel on the issue than even the European Union or Arab states. "This attitude is emboldening Hamas," said the PA negotiator. The PA has been at odds with Hamas since the Islamist group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. An Egyptian security official, meanwhile, said the Obama administration pressured his country to open the Egypt-Gaza border last month without first implementing a security agreement previously brokered by the Bush administration that calls for PA guards to be stationed alongside Hamas on the Gaza side of the border. The Egyptian security official said that in discussions with the Obama administration, US officials have been claiming they want to scale back the blockade of Gaza to generate popular opposition to Hamas. The official said that according to this line of thinking, the White House said it believes Hamas uses the blockade as an excuse to rule from a position of a government under siege. The official said the White House surmises that once the blockage of Gaza is lifted and Hamas needs to take more responsibility in Gaza, the territory's population will revolt against Hamas. The official, however, called the White House position "naive." "The Obama administration is playing with fire," said the Egyptian official. Netanyahu, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with Obama next Thursday. A trip to Washington was canceled last month amid the fallout of Israel's raid on a violent activist flotilla headed to Gaza to break Israel's naval blockade of the territory. According to Israeli diplomatic sources, the Obama administration has been pressing hard on Israel to scale back its land blockade, demanding that dual-use materials such as metal and cement be allowed into Gaza. Israel had blocked those materials, fearing they could be used to aid Hamas' terrorist infrastructure. In the past few days, metal and cement have been allowed into Gaza. Israel maintains a naval blockade on Gaza, fearing if it allows ships to reach the territory, Hamas will be able to transport weaponry for use against Israelis. Israel and the international community numerous times have stopped ships loaded with weapons destined for Gaza. Despite claims made by activists, Israel does not block humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israel allows a large number of trucks daily to enter Gaza with food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. Israel transfers monthly into Gaza tens of millions of dollars worth of Israeli shekels to ensure the flow of cash in the territory.




Iran Testing West on Israel’s Atomic Arms Prior to Nuclear Talks

June 28….(Teheran Times) President Ahmadinejad on Monday set five conditions for resuming nuclear talks with the West including the great powers’ stance toward Israel’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, inclusion of other countries in nuclear talks, and an acceptance of the changes to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by the 5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany).Talking in a press conference, the president also said Iran will delay negotiation with the 5+1 group until late August as a punishment to the great powers which introduced new sanctions resolution against Iran at the UN Security Council just immediately after Iran signed a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil. “Those who want to negotiate with Iran must unequivocally announce their position about the Zionist regime’s nuclear bombs, and say whether they agree with it or not,” the president noted. The president also said the makeup of the negotiating team should undergo changes. “Who has said that only 5+1 must negotiate? There are others who must be present in (nuclear) talks.” The great powers should also say that they “are ready to obey changes to the NPT or not,” he said of preconditions for talks



Palin: Obama Sold Out Netanyahu

June 28….(Jerusalem Post) Sarah Palin on Sunday painted US President Barack Obama's administration as a cowering giant intent on surrendering the nation's mantle as a superpower and willing to sell out its allies. The former John McCain running mate addressed a paying audience of several hundred people in Norfolk and accused Obama of selling out Israel in over its naval blockade of Gaza and treating Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu shabbily. She also said Obama lacked the resolve to stand up to Russia and China. "Do they think, really, that we're getting anything in return for all this bowing and kowtowing and apologizing? No, we don't get anything positive in return for this," Palin said at the event spearheaded by a Norfolk talk radio station. "So while President Obama is getting pushed around by the likes of Russia and China, our allies are left to wonder about the value of an alliance with our country any more. They're asking what is it worth," she said. Palin, former Virginia Sen. George Allen and Iran-Contra figure Oliver North, who ran for a Virginia Senate seat and lost, each took turns decrying what they said was the deterioration of US military might and will under Obama's watch. Palin said that Obama and an allied Democratic Congress had cut military spending while showing no such restraint on other expenditures, running up trillions in new deficits.



Israeli Official: Christians and Jews 'in the Same Boat'

June 28….(Israel Today) Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday declared that Evangelical Christians and Israeli Jews are "in the same boat" and need to work more closely together to overcome their shared obstacles and enemies.  Ya'alon was speaking at the 2010 Epicenter conference in Philadelphia. Epicenter is an annual Evangelical gathering focusing on Israel, the Middle East and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. It is hosted on by best-selling author Joel Rosenberg. CBN reported that Ya'alon was by far the most anticipated speaker at the conference, which was attended by 1,500, and watched via satellite by another 20,000. Ya'alon is one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's most trusted ministers, and has, like Netanyahu, long been an advocate of strengthening Israel's relations with its Bible-believing Christian allies around the world. Ya'alon previously served as the chief of staff of Israel's army. He was prematurely ousted in 2005 when he used his position to publicly oppose the uprooting of 10,000 Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip.



Iran Will Hide Behind Hizbullah in Lebanon Sail to Gaza

June 28….(Arutz) Iran apparently is trying to save face by hitching a ride to Gaza with Hizbullah-Lebanese ships, after having backed down three times from its bravado that it would launch its own ships to risk challenging the Israeli navy on the way to Gaza. "A Lebanese ship is heading to Gaza in a few days and Iranian lawmakers are trying to reach Gaza via this ship which is threatened by the Zionist regime," Iranian legislator Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash said Saturday. He blamed Egypt for Iran’s backing down from its announcement that its Red Crescent organization would set sail for Hamas-controlled Gaza, saying Egypt had refused to allow Iranian Members of Parliament to reach Gaza by land. “Egypt wants to misuse Iranian parliamentarians' plan to visit Gaza to improve its reputation ruined during the 22-day war between Hamas and the Zionist regime", said Bighash, referring to last year’s Operation Cast Lead. "The Zionist regime wants to spread pressures across land borders of Gaza, due to presence of aid flotillas in Gaza coast." Iran announced Thursday it is scrapping its plan to sail, two weeks after it first ditched the launching of a ship to try to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the Gaza coastal waters. The United States and the European Union have backed the Israeli embargo to prevent the open delivery of advanced weapons from Iran, Hizbullah and Syria to the Hamas terrorist organization. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad originally said that Iranian Revolutionary Guards would escort a ship, but Iranian officials later denied the boast. One of the boats from Lebanon apparently has finally received clearance to sail after several political obstacles kept it and another vessel in port. Cyprus reportedly has reversed its previous refusal to allow the ships to dock at its ports on the way to Gaza, the AP reported Saturday. "We have been granted permission to go to Cyprus and we are now in the process of making final preparations," said Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian millionaire who is sponsoring one ship. He did not disclose a departure day, but one news site has reported it will sail this Wednesday. One explanation for Kashlak's claim of Cyprus’ reversal is that the boat actually will sail via a breakaway Turkish Cypriot island. A second boat, named the Maryam and scheduled to carry a group of women, still is docked in Tripoli, and it is not yet known if it will receive clearance to leave port. Using Cyprus as a port in transit would circumvent Israel’s claim that a ship from Lebanon, a declared enemy, cannot be allowed to reach Israel. Israel has said it will stop all ships from reaching Gaza, as it did May 31 when Turkish terrorist activists attacked Navy commandos before the Navy overpowered the Mavi Mamara ship. An inspection of its cargo proved that it was not carrying any humanitarian aid, contrary to its organizers' claims.



US-Israeli Relations Suffer 'Tectonic Rift'

(A senior Israeli diplomat has warned that the Jewish state's relationship with the United States has suffered a "tectonic rift)

June 28….(Telegraph) The sobering assessment comes a week before Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, meets President Barack Obama at the White House. There had been hope the two could lay to rest a row that erupted between the two allies in March but the new comments have raised fears of long-term damage. Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to Washington, told foreign ministry colleagues at a private briefing in Jerusalem that they were facing a long and potentially irrevocable estrangement. Sources said Oren told the meeting: "There is no crisis in Israel-US relations because in a crisis there are ups and downs. Instead relations are in a state of tectonic rift in which continents are drifting apart." Oren's privately-voiced pessimism stands in stark contrast to public declarations in both Jerusalem and Washington that differences between the two states amount to nothing more than "disagreements" between allies. The ambassador told the Jerusalem Post newspaper last week that US-Israel ties were stronger than many observers believed. Unlike his previous encounter with Obama in March, when he was given a stern dressing-down and denied permission to hold a joint press conference, Netanyahu's visit to the White House next week is likely to be cloaked in civility. The Israeli prime minister is being promised photo opportunities with his host in the White House Rose Garden and perhaps even an invitation to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. But the show of unity is being seen as a sop to members of Obama's party who are afraid of angering Jewish American voters ahead of November's midterm elections than as a sign of genuine rapprochement. Israeli officials have been quoted as saying that they expect a sterner private reception for their prime minister, who is yet to be fully forgiven for the perceived humiliation of Joe Biden, the US vice president, during a visit to Israel in March. According to Oren, attempts to gain leverage over President Obama through some of his "pro-Israel" aides, believed to be a reference to Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief-of-staff, and Dennis Ross, a senior State Department official, had failed. Instead Obama had shown determination to take personal charge of the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process and is understood to hold Netanyahu at least partly responsible for the lack of progress. "It's a one man show," Oren reportedly told his colleagues.



Iran is Surrounded by US Troops in 10 Countries

June 28….(Arutz) Iran literally is surrounded by American troops, notes an oil market analyst, Energy and Capital editor Christian A. DeHaemer. There is no evidence of an imminent attack, but he connects a number of recent events and the presence of American soldiers to warn that oil prices might soar, with or without a pre-emptive strike aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear power ambitions. Iran is bordered on the east by Pakistan and Afghanistan, where US troops have been waging a costly war, in terms of money and lives, against Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other terrorists. The Persian Gulf is on Iran’s southern border, and last week’s report, confirmed by the Pentagon, that 11 warships had sailed through the Suez Canal, raised alarm bells that the US is ready to fight to keep the Persian Gulf open. Iran has threatened it could close the waterway, where 40 percent of the world’s oil flows in tankers, if the United Nations or the United States by itself carry out harsh energy sanctions against the Islamic Republic. An Israeli ship has also reportedly joined the US armada. Kuwait, which is heavily armed by the US and is home to American bases, is located on the southwestern border of Iran. The country’s western neighbors are Turkey and Iraq, also home to American bases, and Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan are the Islamic Republic’s northern neighbors. The US army last year advanced military cooperation with Turkmenistan. An independent Caspian news agency has confirmed unusually heavy activity of American troops along the border with Iran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Brigadier General Mehdi Moini said last week that his forces increased patrols, including tanks and anti-aircraft units, along the border with Azerbaijan because they noticed increased American activity. Iran charged that Israeli forces were also present, sparking a virtual war alert among the Iranian Guards. In addition, the Times of London reported earlier this month that Saudi Arabia has agreed to open its air space for Israel Air Force jets, a claim that the Saudi monarchy denied. It similar denied Iranian news agency claims that Israeli helicopters unloaded military equipment at a northwestern Saudi Arabian air base, from where Israeli planes theoretically could reach Iran in the shorts possible time. There has been no confirmation of Israel-Saudi cooperation from any other source, but one IDF reserve officer, who has been involved in secret military projects for private companies, told Israel National News that the it could be true if both countries found it in their common interests. Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and has treated the Jewish State with disdain. However, the possibility of Iran's dominating the Arab world with nuclear power has changed all political scenarios. Several defense websites have reported that Israel is deploying one to three German-made nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf as a defensive measure against the possibility of a missile attacks from Lebanon and Syria, as well as Iran.  “The submarines of Flotilla 7, Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan, have visited the Gulf before,” DeHaemer wrote, “but the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.” Amid the buzz of increased military activity around Iran looms the specter of higher oil prices, which is DeHaemer's field of expertise. “The last oil price shock in the Middle East was in 1990 when the United States invaded Iraq for invading Kuwait. The price per barrel of oil went from $21 to $28 on August $46 by mid-October. The looming Iran War is not priced in,” he warned in his news letter. Iran has the third-highest oil reserves in the world and is second only to Saudi Arabia in production. If any action prevents the flow of Iranian oil, the price of “black gold” would soar, he added.



CIA: Iran Can Build 2 Nukes within Two Years, Sanctions Unavailing

June 28….(DEBKA) CIA director Leon Panetta has admitted that Iran has enough low-enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs that would likely take two years to build. In an interview with ABC's This Week Sunday, June 27, the spy chief virtually admitted that every effort to halt Iran's drive for a nuclear bomb had failed. Asked if the latest round of UN sanctions would put an end to Iran's nuclear ambitions, he said: "Probably not." According to Debkafile's military sources, Panetta was the most realistic of any US official of late about the epic turn of events confronting the US, Israel, the Middle East and the Gulf nations, namely Iran's transformation into the region's second nuclear power after Israel. His evaluation translates into the following prognosis: If today Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to build its first two nuclear warheads two years hence, it means that by then, by sustaining its present rate of progress, Tehran will have acquired enough fissile fuel to build another five to six bombs and another 10-12 by 2015. A nuclear arsenal was Iran's goal from the year 2000 and it is steadily advancing on this goal unhindered by any outside security interference, as Debkafile's military and Iranian sources have reported for the last six months. At the beginning of June, Israeli Mossad director Meir Dagan estimated that Iran was lagging behind its enriched uranium target due to a number of technical malfunctions. But he never said or even implied that the program was stalled. That it was not, Panetta has now confirmed. In so doing, he refuted the latest firm-sounding assertions by US president Barack Obama and defense secretary Robert Gates that Iran will not be allowed to acquire nuclear arms. Although he did not spell this out, the CIA director's words mean that since diplomacy and sanctions have reached a dead end, the only realistic option left for bring Iran's nuclear progress to a halt is a military strike. But in the same interview, asked about a potential Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Panetta said he thinks "Israel is giving the US room on the diplomatic and political fronts." What he said, in effect, was that the Netanyahu-Barak government, which rarely moves in any direction without President Obama's okay, is still not considering military action against Iran, even at this eleventh hour before disaster, and willing to go along with the Obama administration's pretense that the diplomatic option can still work. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak are sidestepping the toughest security threats Israel ha faced, a nuclear-armed Iran and the evolving extremist, anti-West "Northern Islamic alliance" in the process of formation by Iran, Turkey, Syria, Hamas and Hizballah. They are immersed instead in such side issues as calibrating the sustainability of the Gaza siege, the fictitious indirect talks with the Palestinians and a possible handover to Lebanon of the tiny divided village of Ghajar, which no one wants other than the UN peacekeeping force. Israel's leaders continue to hide from the public the fundamental differences between Israel and the Obama administration not just about Iran, but about its own nuclear capabilities in the face of the US president's determination to de-nuclearize the Middle East, starting with international restrictions and inspections for Israel's reputed arsenal. All these visits and talks are extremely important. But what use are they when their only purpose is to hold Israel back from using its military superiority to defend itself against Iran, a vital need which should be obvious to anyone seeing the Middle East through Israeli eyes? The brakes Washington applies to Israel's freedom of action in its own defense have allowed Iran to reach the advanced stage in its nuclear objectives








ME War Tensions Mount over Gaza-Bound "Enemy Ships

June 25….(DEBKA) Ominous clouds gathered over the Mediterranean Thursday, June 24 after Israel announced that ships bound for Gaza would be deemed "enemy vessels" and halted by its navy by whatever means were necessary. Hizballah shot back with a threat of violent retaliation, while Israel's northern commander warned that the IDF was prepared to deal with threats from Lebanon by "appropriate means." With two ships, one Lebanese and one Iranian, already at sea, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was reported by debkafile's intelligence sources as coupling his public support for the sea campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza with a quiet bid to stall it. He privately asked Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to deny Lebanese ships bound for Gaza permission to drop anchor, refuel or load provisions at their ports, in order to prevent them from proceeding to Gaza. Hariri explained that he feared the flotilla campaign to break the Israeli blockade would precipitate a new Middle East war. Last week, the freighter "Julia," docked at the North Lebanese port of Tripoli was denied permission to head to Gaza Port. Refusing to be put off, the activists decided to sail first to Cyprus and then head for Gaza. Permission was granted by the Lebanese Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi Wednesday, June 23.  On Thursday, June 24, Israel repeated its warning that ships trying to breach its blockade against the Gaza Strip would be deemed "enemy vessels." The Israeli Navy has been instructed to employ every available means to bar their access to Gaza's shore. Israel OC Northern Command Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said: "The Lebanese side is issuing threats against Israel and we are confident that the Israeli army is preparing to confront these threats in an appropriate manner." He was referring to Hizballah's announcement: "We will not stand by idly if Israel attacks ships bound for Gaza. Detainees taken into Israeli custody (aboard those vessels) will be deemed prisoners of war who must be released. As the climate over the Mediterranean heats up, two ships are either at sea or hours away from embarkation, the Julia from Lebanon and an Iranian ship, which is said to be making for the Suez Canal from the Persian Gulf port of Khorramshahr. In his calls to the Greek, Turkish, Cypriot and Maltese leaders, the Lebanese prime minister admitted that the embarkation of the pro-Palestinian vessels from his ports violates US Resolution 1701 enforcing the Israel-Lebanon ceasefire which ended the 2006 war, but he was helpless to stop them because they were backed by powerful elements. Hariri did not say who they were, but they were understood to be Syria and Hizballah. He stressed that more urgent issues confronted Beirut than the Gaza blockade, such as the Shaaba Farms on the Hermon slopes, which he said, "Hizballah only talks about liberating but has not fired a single shell." Hariri made it clear that by sponsoring the ships for Gaza, Hizballah is bringing Lebanon dangerously close to a clash with Israel. Unlike the May 31 episode, when the activists who resisted Israel's raid of a Turkish ship to prevent if from reaching Gaza were unknown quantities, this time, on Thursday, Israeli intelligence sources released the identities of the ships' owners and the organizations mounting the expeditions. The Lebanese "Julia" belongs to a Syrian shipping firm headed by a cousin of President Bashar Assad, who made it available to Hizballah for the challenge to Israel. The Lebanese flotilla effort is funded by a Palestinian by the name of Yasser Kashlak who, posing as a wealthy businessman, serves as Tehran's secret channel for remitting funds to Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Hamas. Therefore, Israel's designation of these ships and those of Iran as enemy vessels meets the case. From Washington, debkafile reports that when Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on June 22, he voiced extreme concern about the Lebanese Prime Minister's inability to rein in Hizballah. Because of this, the situation in the region could rapidly deteriorate, said Barak. Right after the meeting, the US issued a statement about the "aid" flotillas saying, "Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances. There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and we, along with our partners in the Quartet, call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza."



The US Will Have to Confront Iran or Give Up the Middle East

June 24….(Ha Aretz) Amitai Etzioni, professor of International Relations at George Washington University in Washington, DC, believes the only option available to contain Iran's atomic ambitions is a series of assaults on its non-nuclear facilities. He maintains that President Obama's attempts at dialogue have failed, and drastic steps must be taken to prevent the US losing its Middle East dominance to Tehran. Writing in the US Army's Military Review Journal, Etzioni lists four possible responses to Iran's nuclear program, engagement, sanctions, military strikes and deterrence. He concludes that engagement has failed, sanctions are not likely to work, military strikes on Iran's suspected nuclear sites are unlikely to be effective either and might only delay the program (Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes this would probably be by one to three years), and deterrence works with rational actors, but it’s a gamble to rely on it with non-rational actors. This, he hypothesizes, leaves strikes on Iranian infrastructure that is not necessarily related to its nuclear program. Speaking to Haaretz on Wednesday, Etzioni concedes that such a move could be interpreted by Iran as a declaration of full-scale war. “That’s a fair point," he says, "but what’s the alternative? The best way will be to sit at the table and solve all our problems peacefully. I was in war, I was in the Palmach [the pre-state Jewish fighting units that became the basis for the Israel Defense Forces], and I don’t like shooting anybody. It comes to the declaration that there are no other alternatives. Sanctions are not going to work, everybody knows that. Assuming that if they have nuclear weapons we are going to contain them, it’s a very risky assumption.” This option is not mentioned in the mainstream discourse. “But it was published in the official US army publication as a cover story. It says something, no? It’s not simply what a professor says. I agree that the White House is far from it, but somebody considered it worth discussing. You must assume that the military option covers several options”. One of the strategic assets of Israel today vis-à-vis Iran is the fact that the Arab countries are on its side. Wouldn't that vanish in the event of such an attack? “We do not want Iran to have a nuclear weapon and there is no way you can damage nuclear sites sufficiently by attacking them. There is only one alternative left. I should hasten to add – it’s not a policy Israel has to follow, it’s a policy the US can follow because there are too many missions involved. Some people say Israel should do it and then the US can enter under the excuse that it’s its ally, and some people think coalition is better. Coalition is always better, but in this case it’s very unlikely that many other nations would like to join the Administration. What’s happening in the Middle East is that the countries are assuming that the US is going to fold and retreat. It’s obviously going to get out of Iraq. The Pakistanis are very suspicious of the US commitments. Syria is moving toward Iran, Turkey is moving toward Iran. So the underlying text in the Middle East is that the next superpower in the Middle East is Iran. So even if you for a moment put aside the nuclear issue – to keep the US credibility to protects its resources and oil, the issue will not be settled in Afghanistan and Iraq, it will finally come down to the confrontation between the US and Iran. So maybe the US should get out of Afghanistan, because it’s not the real war anymore. But if the US is going to let Iran to become a nuclear power, all the other countries, including the Sunni ones, will run to it. The US will have to confront Iran or give up the Middle East”.
So the hope that the Iranian opposition might still bring an inner change is lost? “I think by now the tyrannical regime succeeded in suppressing the opposition. And another point, I was their guest in Iran in 2002, of the Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations. And I met many leaders in this movement. They were the first to start the nuclear program. They are against religious domination, but there is not a slightest hint that they will stop the nuclear program if they come back to power. Democracy might be wonderful, but even though they are anti-clerical, they are very nationalistic.” We have the cliché that the clock is ticking. What kind of timetable did you assume while writing this article? “I don’t have any other information than everybody else has. But there is a rule in decision making, it’s extremely simplistic but very true, it’s better be safe than sorry. So if the option is to hit them one month too early or 10 days after they have a nuclear weapon, I’d rather take the first option. And obviously there is not much time left”. President Obama offered to the world dialogue as a new paradigm, wouldn’t it shatter this premise? “The time for engagement has run out. Obama tried it, offered to meet them any time, any place, with no conditions, and they spit in his face. So it’s not going anyplace, it’s not working. The Arab world is moving away from him, Turkey is moving away from him. The notion of engagement and turning another cheek is a wonderful idea, it’s just not working.” But the damage of throwing it away after a year and a half might cause more damage and erase any credibility left. Then going back to torture sounds fine as well. “It’s a good point. They should never torture and of course they shouldn’t go back to business as usual. But you cannot conduct international relations on goodwill only. And Iran is a very good test of that. Maybe 50 years from now this strategy will win, but in the short term it’s giving up on the Middle East. The US army is exhausted and overstretched, that’s why I think they should get out of Afghanistan. And second, I think it’s an air force job and not an army job. There should be no boots on the ground”. That’s what the Israeli high command thought at the beginning of the second war in Lebanon - that they could bomb some strategic sites and Hezbollah would fold. It didn’t happen.“True, there are many studies showing that the air attacks are not as effective as people think they are. But we always come back to the question, if we might try and fail, should we not try? We are talking about the US credibility as an international power. People might think: Iran is not going to attack the US, so let them create the bomb and if they get nasty we will drop a nuclear bomb on them. That is a logical position. But you cannot remain in the Middle East as a superpower unless you deal with Iran one way or another.”



Report: IAF Aircraft Land at NW Saudi Base

(Islam Times says Israeli jets unloaded military equipment in Islamic country ahead of possible Iran strike)

June 23….(YNET) Israeli Air force aircraft landed during the past weekend at a military base in Saudi Arabia and unloaded large quantities of military gear, according to a report published Wednesday by Islamic website Islam Times. The report, which has questionable credibility, claimed the equipment was unloaded at a base in the city of Tabuk, in the north western part of the country, ahead of a possible strike on Iran. The controversial report was also published by the Iranian news agency Fars, under the title "Suspicious military activity of the Zionist regime in Saudi Arabia." According to the report, the IDF built a military base approximately 9 km (5.5 miles) from Tabuk, and while Israeli planes landed there on June 18 and 19, all civilian flights were cancelled at the local airport. One of the passengers in Tabuk noted that civilians at the airport were not given an explanation for the flight cancellations, but were compensated by the Saudi authorities and accommodated in nearby hotels. The report further claimed that "the secret relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia became the main topic of conversation among the city's residents." Another report published two weeks ago claimed Saudi Arabia tested its defense missile systems In order to allow IAF airplanes to pass through its airspace en route to bombarding nuclear facilities in Iran. Security elements in the Persian Gulf told the London-based Times magazine that Riyadh gave Israel the green light to fly through a narrow airspace in the north of the country, in order to shorten the flight time to the Islamic Republic. According to the Times, in order to ensure that IAF aircraft are not intercepted by Saudi defense missiles, Riyadh conducted tests to make sure the system does not activate if Israeli planes are detected. After the aircraft clear the area, the system will resume to normal activity.

FOJ Note: FOJ has followed numerous reports of Saudi Arabia having possible allowed Israeli air force personnel to either fly-over or make pass-throughs in the Northwestern Saudi desert region. The purpose of these unclassified maneuvers is to allow for potential attacks on Iranian nuke facilities. While these reports some preposterous, they can no longer be ignored. Perhaps this facilitation by the House of Saud is part of the reason that Sheba and Dedan are portrayed in Ezekiel 38 as “very troubled” when Russia leads a coalition of nations (including Iran) down against Israel. (Ezekiel 38:12-13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?)



Obama Declares War On Arizona

June 23….(Washington Examiner) The Obama administration has a lot of fights on its hands. Putting aside real wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there's the battle against leaking oil in the Gulf, the struggle against 9.7 percent unemployment across the country, and clashes over the president's agenda on Capitol Hill. Despite all that, the White House has found time to issue a new declaration of war, this time against an unlikely enemy: the state of Arizona. The Justice Department is preparing to sue Arizona over its new immigration law. The president has stiffed Gov. Jan Brewer's call for meaningful assistance in efforts to secure the border. And the White House has accused Arizona's junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, of lying about an Oval Office discussion with the president over comprehensive immigration reform. Put them all together, and you have an ugly state of affairs that's getting uglier by the day. First, the lawsuit. Last week, Brewer was appalled to learn the Justice Department's intentions not from the Justice Department but from an interview done by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with an Ecuadorian TV outlet. "It would seem to me that if they were going to file suit against us," Brewer told Fox News' Greta van Susteren last week, "they definitely would have contacted us first and informed us before they informed citizens of another nation." But they didn't. "There certainly seems to be an underlying disrespect for the state of Arizona," says Kris Kobach, the law professor and former Bush administration Justice Department official who helped draft the Arizona law. Kobach points out that during the Bush years, several states openly flouted federal immigration law on issues like sanctuary cities and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Respecting the doctrines of comity and federalism, the Bush administration didn't sue. Now, when Arizona passes a measure that is fully consistent with federal law, the Obama administration, says Kobach, "goes sprinting to the courthouse door." Then there is the matter of the White House's assistance, or nonassistance, in Arizona's border-security efforts. On June 3, the president, under criticism for refusing to meet or even talk to Brewer, reluctantly granted her an audience in the Oval Office. After the meeting, Brewer told reporters Obama pledged that administration officials would come to Arizona within two weeks with details of plans to secure the border. June 17 marked two weeks, and there were no administration officials and no plans. There still aren't. "What a disappointment," Brewer told van Susteren. "You know, when you hear from the president of the United States and he gives you a commitment, you would think that they would stand up and stand by their word. It is totally disappointing." And now, there's the Kyl controversy. On June 18, Kyl told a town meeting in North Phoenix that Obama personally told him the administration will not secure the US-Mexico border because doing so would make it politically difficult to pass comprehensive immigration reform. "I met with the president in the Oval Office, just the two of us," Kyl said. "Here's what the president said. The problem is, he said, if we secure the border, then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform." "In other words," Kyl continued, "they're holding it hostage. They don't want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform." After Kyl's statement went viral on the Internet, the White House issued a sharp denial. "The president didn't say that and Senator Kyl knows it," communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog. "There are more resources dedicated toward border security today than ever before, but, as the president has made clear, truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system." Kyl is not backing down. "What I said occurred, did occur," he told an Arizona radio station. "Some spokesman down at the White House said no, that isn't what happened at all, and then proceeded to say we need comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border. That is their position, and all I was doing was explaining why, from a conversation with the president, why it appears that that's their position." Even if it didn't have so many other fights on its hands, it would be unusual for an administration to align itself against an American state. But that's precisely what has happened. Soon it will be up to the courts and voters to decide whether Obama's campaign against Arizona will succeed or fail.


Lebanon: We’ll Hold Israel Responsible for any Attack

(In response to Israel's warning that it would stop aid boats to Gaza, Lebanon says will go ahead with planned flotilla, hold Israel accountable for any attack on ships)

June 23….(YNET) Lebanon said on Tuesday it would hold Israel responsible for any attack, in response to Israeli warnings that it would use "all necessary force" to stop aid boats planning to sail to blockaded Gaza. "Israel will be held fully responsible for any attack on Lebanon," the foreign ministry said in a letter to the United Nations. Lebanon "cannot prohibit a ship from leaving its ports if its cargo, passengers and destination all comply with Lebanese law," it said in the letter. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations warned the world body last week that the Jewish state was entitled to use "all necessary force" to stop the Lebanese activists' boats. On Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak also reiterated a warning that Lebanon would be responsible for any "violent and dangerous confrontation" with vessels sailing to Gaza from its shores. In defiance of the Israeli warnings, Lebanese civilian groups are still planning to transport aid, including medical supplies, by sea to the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian territory via Cyprus. One of two boats, the "Naji al-Ali," on Monday received Lebanon's green light to depart for Cyprus on the first leg of the trip to Gaza, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas. It is currently docked in the northern port of Tripoli. The vessel would need Cypriot authorization to depart for Gaza from its shores, but officials in Cyprus said on Tuesday that the island was keeping in place a ban on ships departing for Gaza. Organizers in Lebanon have said they may change course before reaching the island and head straight towards the Palestinian territory. A second ship, the "Mariam", also plans to carry aid to Gaza in another attempt to break the four-year siege of Gaza with some 50 women activists on board, including 30 Lebanese.



Iran Changes Course on Ship; Israel Trains for the Worst

June 23….(Arutz) Iran has changed course again and announced Tuesday afternoon it will send a ship to try to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the waters off of Hamas-controlled Gaza, as was agreed in the Oslo Accords. One day earlier, Iran backed down, saying that the sailing was being put off indefinitely. No reason was given for either announcement, but the resumption of the plan to risk a confrontation with the Israeli Navy came the same day that efforts were intensified in Lebanon for two ships to set out for Gaza. Analysts have pointed out that despite its verbal bravado, the Islamic Republic’s navy is the weakest part of its armed forces. However, Israel is preparing for the worst, and commandos are training for the prospect of meeting up with Iranian suicide bombers on the high seas. "No one in their right mind can believe that a ship sent by the ayatollahs and their Revolutionary Guards has anything to do with humanitarian aid," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. "I don't think there is one single country in this region and beyond that would let such an ayatollah ship come near its coasts." The prospect of US warships being involved was played down by Newsweek magazine, which reported Tuesday that Saturday’s movement through the Suez Canal of the American warships, led by the giant aircraft carrier USS Truman, was unconnected with an Iranian attempt to reach Gaza. The movement of the warships was exceptional because of the number of vessels involved, the largest in years, but the Pentagon stated that the USS Truman simply was on its way to relieve the USS Eisenhower carrier in “a routine rotation of forces during a scheduled deployment.” If Iran goes through with its vow to send a ship, any confrontation with Israel is less likely to result in the international sympathy for the Turkish flotilla that clashed with Israeli commandos May 31, when nine Turkish terror activists were killed. Israel has won support from the United States and the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair for its announcement that the partial land blockade in Gaza will be significantly eased, thereby undermining complaints that Gaza citizens cannot receive day-to-day goods and merchandise. Most of the Western world has supported Israel’s restrictions on allowing the unsupervised transfer of goods to Gaza, which would allow Hamas to freely import weapons and explosives that it has been trying to smuggle, often successfully.



Obama’s War Against Israel

(If President Obama had been trying to undermine Israel’s security, and ours, he could hardly have done a better job.

June 22….(excerpt from National Review) No other country in the world faces an array of existential threats such as the nation of Israel confronts daily. The world’s only Jewish state is also its most precarious. Geographically tiny, Israel is surrounded by theocracies that reject its very existence as al “nakba,” a catastrophe, and call for its destruction. To carry out this malignant ambition, anti-Israel Islamists have mobilized three rocket-wielding armies, sworn to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. First and most aggressive among them is the Gaza-based Hamas, a fanatical religious party committed in its official charter to obliterating Israel and killing its Jews. Hamas is the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, the inspirer of al-Qaeda and the global Islamic jihad, whose official motto declares: “Death in the service of Allah is our highest aspiration.” In Gaza, Hamas has created a terrorist state and a national death cult whose path is martyrdom and whose goal is openly proclaimed: “O, our children: The Jews, brothers of the apes, assassins of the prophets, bloodsuckers, warmongers, are murdering you, depriving you of life after having plundered your homeland and your homes. Only Islam can break the Jews and destroy their dream.” Given that hatred for Jews is the animating passion of the Hamas militants, their response to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was not surprising. Far from greeting this as a gesture of peace, Hamas regarded the Israeli withdrawal as a surrender to its terrorist attacks and an opportunity to escalate them. In the days and months following the withdrawal, Hamas launched 6,500 unprovoked rocket strikes on towns and schoolyards in Israel before the Israelis decided to strike back. On Israel’s eastern border is the West Bank, home to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and other terrorist groups, armed and protected by the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority. Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority officially rejects Israel’s existence and the right of its Jews to self-determination. Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority provides a curriculum for its schoolchildren that teaches them to hate Jews and hope to kill them, seeking martyrdom in the process. In pursuit of these genocidal goals, all Palestinian schoolchildren study maps of the region from which Israel has been erased. On Israel’s northern border, in Lebanon, is Hezbollah, the “Party of God,” which is stockpiling tens of thousands of Iranian rockets in anticipation of the war of annihilation it has promised to wage against the Jewish state. Created by Iran’s Republican Guard and supplied by Syria’s (officially) “fascist” dictatorship, Hezbollah is the largest terrorist army in the world. Like Hamas, it makes explicit its hatred for the Jews and its agenda in regard to them, to “finish the job that Hitler started.” Its fanatical leader, Hasan Nasrallah, leads thousands of believers in chants of “Death to Israel! Death to America!” He has said, “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” Under the complicit eye of UN “peacekeepers,” Hezbollah continues to amass rockets whose sole purpose is the obliteration of Israel. In May 2006, Nasrallah boasted: “Today all of Israel is in our range!” But it is Hezbollah’s sponsor, the totalitarian, and soon to be nuclear, state of Iran, that presents the most disturbing threat to Israel’s existence. Its blood-soaked dictators have been targeting Israel for destruction since 1979, when Iran became an Islamic republic and its theocratic ruler, the Ayatollah Khomeini, identified Israel and America as “the Little Satan” and “the Great Satan.” Its former president Rafsanjani has publicly announced his support for nuclear war against the Jewish state, reasoning that since Iran is more than 70 times the size of Israel, it could survive a nuclear exchange while Israel could not. In these sinister developments, the world is witnessing a reprise of the 1930s, when the Nazis devised a “final solution” to the “Jewish problem,” and the civilized world did nothing to halt its implementation. This time, the solution is being proposed openly in front of the entire international community, which appears unruffled by the prospect. It has turned its collective back on the Jews, and refuses to recognize the gravity of the threat. Moreover, by enforcing the fiction that there is a “peace process” that needs to be brokered between the sides, and ignoring the overt preparation for Israel’s destruction by the Palestinian side, the “peacemakers” lend their support to its deadly agenda. For decades now, Israel has been isolated and alone in the community of nations, with one crucial exception. That exception has been the United States, a country on which it has relied for its survival throughout its 60-year history. Every would-be aggressor has understood that the world’s most powerful nation was behind Israel and would not let her be destroyed. Every government harboring ill will toward the Jewish state has had to reckon with the fact that the United States was in Israel’s corner. Every vote of condemnation in the United Nations had to confront a veto by the nation that provides its chief financial support. Until now. Under President Barack Obama, the United States no longer provides Israel with automatic support at the United Nations. The sudden fracture in the US-Israel relationship in March caught the Israeli government off guard. But close observers of the Obama administration would have recognized it as the logical endpoint of a series of markers that had been laid down since Obama emerged as a leading presidential contender in 2008. With these markers Obama was signaling a major shift in US policy, moving toward the Muslim world and America’s traditional enemies, and away from allies like Israel. On entering the White House, Obama quickly moved to set a new tone toward the Arab and Muslim worlds. Obama began an extensive apology tour to Muslim lands to apologize for America’s sins around the world. Obama’s pandering to Arab and Muslim sensibilities had already been embarrassingly on display a few days earlier, when he took the step, unprecedented for an American president, of making a deep bow to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the ruler of a nation in which it is illegal to carry a Bible or build a church. The Obama administration’s pressure on Israel to give up its settlements and to concede that its capital is disputed terrain feeds the inherent racism of the Arab cause and undermines Israel’s ability to resist the genocidal campaign against it. Such pressure cannot promote peace negotiations when the other party is openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has already shown that it will reject even the most generous offers of peace.


While Criticizing Israel, Turkey Kills Kurds

June 22….(Israel Today) Many in the international community, including mainstream media outlets, have labeled Turkey's reaction to Israel's interception of a so-called "aid" flotilla to the Gaza Strip a few weeks ago as exaggerated. The latest news out of Turkey reveals that the criticism against Israel is also highly hypocritical. Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted Israel over the deaths of nine activists aboard one of the flotilla ships after they attacked the Israeli boarding party. He accused Israel of crimes against humanity, and has led the international charge for an investigation and sanctions against the Jewish state. Erdogan's government has decided to downgrade relations with Israel over the incident. Since the flotilla raid, Turkey has engaged in its own "war on terror" with little or no attention from the international community, and certainly no calls for independent commissions of inquiry. On the same day as the flotilla raid, Kurdish rebels attacked a Turkish naval base, killing 12 soldiers. Last week, Erdogan's government responded with air strikes on Kurdish positions in northern Iraq that killed 120 people, including a 7-year-old girl. There were no condemnations of Turkey for using "disproportionate" force, and no UN Security Council meetings regarding the latest flare-up of a 26-year conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people. Some 30 million Kurds live in adjoining portions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Together, these areas make up Kurdistan, the ancient homeland of the Kurdish people, a distinct ethnic group without a country of their own.



Arab to Jews: You Cannot Make Peace With Us

June 21…(ISRAEL TODAY) A top Syrian businessman at the weekend insisted that the Middle East peace process is a farce, and that there will never be peace or coexistence between average Arabs and the Jews of Israel. "Don't let the moderate Arab leaders delude you," Yasser Kashlak, who is of Palestinian descent, said on Hizballah's al-Manar television, "you cannot make peace with us." "Our children will return to Palestine, you have no reason for coexistence," he continued. "Even if our leaders will sign a peace agreement, we will not sign." Kashlak is financing a flotilla of ships departing from Lebanon with the intent of breaking the Israeli maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He said the Jews of Israel should seriously consider getting on those ships and returning to Europe, as they will never find peace in the Middle East. During his tirade, Kashlak referred to the Jews as "Europe's refuse," suggesting that Jews are foreign to the Middle East, a concept those supportive of the "Palestinian cause" have long advocated. It ignores the fact that there has been an unbroken Jewish presence in the region for at least 3,000 years. That presence has been documented by successive ancient empires from the Assyrians to the Babylonians to the Persians to the Greeks and, most thoroughly, by the Romans. Kashlak's remarks also ignored the general consensus that relations between average Palestinians and Jews on the ground in Israel were far better before the introduction of Yasser Arafat's PLO as the representative of the Palestinians. In the absence of the Arab leaders Kashlak derides, and the extremist Muslim figures they opened the door to, most Jews and Arabs tend to get along.



Hamas Urges Rocket Attacks on Israel From Judea and Samaria

(Perhaps Israel should forego the blockade so Hamas could accomplish this goal…)


June 21….(Israel National News) Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al Zahar called on the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria to allow terrorists to launch rockets at all of Israel. Short-range Kassam rocket fired from Arab villages in western Samaria could easily reach and explode in Netanya and metropolitan Tel Aviv. Speaking with the Arabic Al Quds newspaper published in Jerusalem, Zahar criticized the Fatah-led PA for searching for Hamas terrorists instead of encouraging the “resistance,” the Arabs' code word for terrorist attacks on Israelis. PA security forces and the IDF occasionally have discovered rockets or explosives for rockets in communities in Judea and Samaria. However, rock throwing and firebomb attacks in PA-controlled areas have continued unabated. One Israeli vehicle sustained damage in a rock attack near Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, Sunday morning. Zahar, in an unusually aggressive tone against Fatah, accused party leader PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of taking power away from Hamas in Judea and Samaria by virtue of its allegedly helping Israel maintain the “occupation.”  Hamas overthrew Fatah control in Gaza three years ago in a bloody militia war, in which dozens of Fatah terrorists were killed or wounded. The interview was conducted as Hamas and Fatah dig in their heels on an Egyptian-sponsored effort for the two parties to return to a unity government. Zahar maintained that countries, including several Arab states, have cut off ties with Hamas to gain favor with the American government. He said Hamas is not interested in “forfeiting rights” in order to gain meetings with officials in the Obama administration.



Lebanese Army Joins Hizballah War Alert

June 21….(DEBKA) Officers of Hizballah's Iranian-trained marine arm and surface rocket units were sighted Saturday, June 19, going in an out of the small Lebanese Navy's bases in Beirut and Juniya. Debkafile's intelligence sources report the Lebanese army and Hizballah are pooling their military resources to be ready for any Israeli action against Lebanese ships heading for Gaza. The tiny Lebanese Navy, no more than a handful of fast coastal guard boats, has been placed on alert, as have Hizballah's coastal rocket positions. The Shiite terrorist group has also deployed marines in Beirut harbor against a possible Israeli naval commando raid. Lebanese ship or ships bound for Gaza are potentially a more dangerous spark for a regional conflagration than even the convoys Ankara and Tehran, although all of them are pledged to the same mission of busting the Israeli blockade of Gaza and may mount a concerted assault. All three are clearly coordinated: The two-ship Lebanese convoy planning to sail 70 women from different countries to Gaza is funded by Yasser Qaslaq, a Palestinian who in the guise of a Lebanese businessman acts as money courier between Tehran, Hizballah and extremist Palestinian organizations. Israel's UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev warned Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Israel reserves the right to use "all necessary means" to stop the Lebanese boats. Attempts to sail from Lebanon, which maintains a state of war with Israel, she said, would raise regional tensions.
But instead of dealing with the mounting crisis, Ban again demanded that Israel accept an international investigation of its raid of a Turkish ship on May 31 and the nine deaths aboard. Anxious to keep its head down, Hizballah claimed Saturday that it was not involved in the Lebanese flotilla, thereby trying to pass the buck to Beirut and Jerusalem. But its spokesmen pointedly avoided a guarantee to stay out of it if the Israel navy boarded Lebanese ships. The Iranian-backed terrorists, who in the name of "resistance" maintain a separate armed force armed with advanced weapons in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, could not stand aside if Beirut accused Israel of an act of war. The first Lebanese boat heading out for Gaza waters therefore holds the potential of scuppering the Lebanese-Israel truce under the UN Security Council Resolution which cut short the 2006 war, required the Hizballah militia to disarm, and posted UN-flagged German, Spanish and Italian naval units opposite Lebanon's Mediterranean coast. Their mission was, and is to prevent Hizballah receiving weapons smuggled by sea or taking up an active presence in Lebanese ports and anchorages. However, the peacekeepers have never proved able to stop Hizballah building up one of the biggest rocket and missile arsenal in the Middle East - by sea and by land. Today, the Lebanese army is reverting to its 2006 collaboration with Lebanon that permitted Hizballah missile teams to use its coastal radar stations to fire the Silkworm C-802 missiles which crippled the Israeli Hanit missile boat. Beset by international censure, the Israeli government does not appear to have a clear policy for contesting the expanding pressure by hostile nations and entities for smashing its blockade against a Hamas regime which, like Hizballah, is dedicated to total war on Israel. They have hit on a winning ruse: Civilian vessels are used for apparent "humanitarian aid" missions. Easing the goods embargo has not done Israel any good at all. Egypt has folded under the pressure and rejected Israel's request to close the Suez Canal to Iranian ships heading for Gaza by invoking the Istanbul Treaty which authorizes Cairo to deny access only to ships of nations at war with Egypt. At the same time, Cairo could if it wished stop ships for inspection and keep them hanging about for a long period. Not only is Egypt avoiding this, but its government and Tehran are in talks for Iranian flights bearing equipment for Gaza to land at Cairo and El Arish airports. One will carry a large Iranian parliamentary delegation lead by Speaker Ali Larijani, who is determined to pose on the Gaza-Israeli border and make a speech opposite Israeli border positions. This incident highlights Israel's error in abandoning the key southern Gaza Philadelphia route in 2005 after disengaging from the Gaza Strip. Iranian ships can accordingly touch land by sailing along the seam line between the waters of Egypt and the Gaza Strip, exactly opposite the Mediterranean end of the Philadelphia route. They can unload their cargo and send it into the Gaza Strip through the Philadelphi corridor without hindrance, unless Israel is prepared to venture into Egyptian territory to stop them.






Reports Say Obama Admitted he's a Muslim

June 18….(Culture) Two media reports are serving to fuel speculation about Barack Obama's religious beliefs. Since before he was elected, controversy has stirred over the extent of President Obama's ties to Islam. During the campaign, he spoke openly of both his Muslim upbringing and his adult conversion to Christianity. But now two major Middle East media outlets, Nile TV International and Israel Today magazine are reporting that the president has admitted in recent months that he is a Muslim. Those outlets say that Obama, in a one-on-one meeting earlier this year with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told Gheit that he was still a Muslim, the son of a Muslim father, and the step-son of a Muslim step-father; that his half brothers in Kenya are Muslims; and that he was sympathetic towards the Muslim agenda. Pamela Geller, author of the new book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America, says this most recent comment by Obama has been ignored by the mainstream media and should be of great concern to US citizens. "In this latest report, Foreign Prime Minister Gheit on Nile Television said that, in confidence, Obama told him that he was a Muslim," says Geller, "and that after he straightened out domestic issues would show the Muslim world how to handle Israel." Geller also says that while this topic is nothing new, it is further evidence of Obama's sympathetic tendencies towards those who mean harm to the US and his intent to reshape America's religious foundation. "If you look at the man's record, it's shocking," she laments. "Especially when you review how he declared an end to the, quote, unquote, 'war on terror,' how he floated the idea that he would talk to the violent, genocidal Hamas, that he insisted and recruited for Muslims in his administration and created an actual new department that reported to Hillary Clinton for the Muslim 'ummah' [the whole Arab world]." Geller goes on to say that Obama's embrace of Islam shows his hatred toward Israel and effectively abandons the Holy Land, surrounded by its enemies, to fight its own battles.



Earthquakes in the Bible

(earthquakes indeed seem to be increasing in quantity and intensity)

June 17….(John McTernan) Earthquakes are mentioned in the Bible and what is interesting is the timing of the event. God times the earthquake, so it then becomes a warning or a weapon. An earthquake occurred at the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross that gained everyone's attention: Matthew 27:54 "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." The Bible warns that as the Day of Lord approaches which will usher in the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, there will be an increase in great earthquakes. The Greek word used for great is mega. We now use the term mega-earthquake to describe one that is awesome. The gospel writers warn that world-wide mega-earthquakes will be a major sign of the approaching Day of The Lord and God's judgment on the world: Matthew 24:7 "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." Mark 13:8 "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows." Luke 21:11 "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." The Bible gives very specific details about the timing and magnitude of earthquakes that occur regarding the rebirth of the nation of Israel. The Jewish people would be driven from Israel into all nations for a specific time period. They would return to Jerusalem which would be trodden down until "The Times of the Gentiles" (non-Jews) were fulfilled. As "The Times of the Gentiles" draws to a close and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ approaches, awesome natural events are going to happen. Luke 21:11 describes great earthquakes, but then Luke adds distress of nations with the sea and waves roaring. The seas roaring fits the description of massive tsunamis. The great earthquakes are going to trigger volcanic eruptions and massive tsunamis through the earth. These earthquakes and related events are so dramatic that they are going to cause people's hearts to fail with fear! Luke 21:24 "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (25) And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (26) Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." The Bible gives very specific details about what happens when the nations of the world confederate in an attempt to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. As these massive armies invade Israel with all their weapons of war, the Holy God of Israel responds with His weapons. One weapon are mighty earthquakes. With perfect timing, massive earthquakes are unleashed on the invaders. Earthquakes seem to be the first line of defense in defending the nation of Israel. After the Jews return to Israel, the prophet Ezekiel describes a massive invasion led by Russia with confederated Islamic nations. He describes their army like a cloud that covers the land. When this army reaches the Mountains of Israel, the first weapon that God unleashes is a mega-earthquake. At this time, Israel does not defend itself, but the God of Israel is their defense. The earthquake is so powerful, that it affects the entire earth and mountains fall. Ezekiel 38:19,20 "For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. "When all the armies of the world surround Jerusalem and are in the process of destroying, this event triggers the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. At His Second Coming, He returns to defend Jerusalem and the Jewish people from a 200,000,000 man army that has gathered around Jerusalem. When the feet of Jesus Christ stand on the top of the Mount of Olives, it shall split in two causing a massive valley miles wide! The Mount of Olives is huge which means a mega-earthquake will cause this massive valley. This will be the opening salvo against this army, as the Lord Jesus destroys it. This event takes place during what the Bible calls "The Day of the Lord." There will be massive earthquakes leading up to this one. When the Lord Jesus stands upon the Mount of Olives, this will be the final earthquake. Zechariah 14:4 "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (5) And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee."



Israel: A National Home of Only One People

June 16….(Eli E. Hertz) The following is an excerpt from the US Congressional Record of 1922 that demonstrates the powerful sense of the members of Congress in favor of reestablishing of a Jewish national home in Palestine: "Palestine of to-day, the land we now know as Palestine, was peopled by the Jews from the dawn of history until the Roman era. It is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. They were driven from it by force by the relentless Roman military machine and for centuries prevented from returning. "At different periods various alien people succeeded them, but the Jewish race had left an indelible impress upon the land. To-day it is a Jewish country. Every name, every landmark, every monument, and every trace of whatever civilization remaining there is still Jewish. And it has ever since remained a hope, a longing, as expressed in their prayers for these nearly 2,000 years. No other people has ever claimed Palestine as their national home. No other people has ever shown an aptitude or indicated a genuine desire to make it their homeland. The land has been ruled by foreigners. Only since the beginning of the modern Zionist effort may it be said that a creative, cultural, and economic force has entered Palestine. The Jewish Nation was forced from its natural home. It did not go because it wanted to. A perusal of Jewish history, a reading of Josephus, will convince the most skeptical that the grandest fight that was ever put up against an enemy was put up by the Jew. He never thought of leaving Palestine. "But he was driven out. But did he, when driven out, give up his hope of getting back? Jewish history and Jewish literature give the answer to that question. The Jew even has a fast day devoted to the day of destruction of the Jewish homeland. Never throughout history did they give up hope of returning there. I am told that 90 per cent of the Jews to-day are praying for the return of the Jewish people to its own home. The best minds among them believe in the necessity of reestablishing the Jewish land. To my mind there is something prophetic in the fact that during the ages no other nation has taken over Palestine and held it in the sense of a homeland; and there is something providential in the fact that for 1,800 years it has remained in desolation as if waiting for the return of its people."




Israel’s Right to Blockade

June 15….(JWR) Does Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and its enforcement of the blockade comply with international law? The evidence suggests that the answer is an overwhelming yes: The 1909 Declaration Concerning the Laws of Naval War (the London Declaration), the first international instrument to acknowledge the legality of blockades, specifically recognized the right of nations to blockade their enemy. So does the San Remo Manual, which is a compilation by international law experts of agreed upon international law on blockades and related subjects. The blockade must be declared against a belligerent, and notified to all belligerents and neutral states Article 93. The declaration must specify the commencement, duration, location, and extent of the blockade and the period within which vessels of neutral States may leave the blockaded coastline (Article 94). The blockade may be enforced and maintained by a combination of legitimate methods and means of warfare provided this combination does not result in acts inconsistent with the rules set out in the San Remo Manual (Article 97). A blockade is prohibited, according to the San Remo Manual, if (a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or (b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade (Article 102). Hamas is the self-declared enemy of Israel, sworn to its destruction, as set forth in Hamas’ Charter. Hamas has backed up its belligerency toward the Jewish state by suicide bombings and thousands of rocket attacks launched from Gaza against civilians in Israel. Hamas’s armed terrorist militia is funded, trained and armed by Israel’s enemy countries, including most notably Iran which has managed to smuggle some arms to Hamas via land routes, and has attempted to do so by sea. If Iran were as successful in arming Hamas with sophisticated rockets and other weaponry as it has been in arming Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, Israel would face an imminent existential threat on both its northern and southern borders. Thus, the predicate for a blockade, a state of belligerency with the blockaded belligerent, is clearly established.

    When Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, it had made arrangements with the Palestinian Authority for freedom of movement across the Israeli-Gaza border on the understanding that the Palestinian Authority would implement certain specified security arrangements. Those arrangements were never implemented. Nevertheless, even after Hamas’ victory in parliamentary elections and its stated refusal to abide by any agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel did not immediately institute a blockade. Only after Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier from the Israeli side of the border, took forcible control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority and began launching rockets from Gaza into southern Israel did Israel restrict the flow of most goods entering into and leaving Gaza. Hamas’ supporters, including the Free Gaza Movement which helped organize the flotilla in which the fatalities occurred after Israeli commandos met armed resistance when they boarded one of the ships, argue that the blockade is nevertheless illegal under international law. Under Article 102 of the San Remo Manual, they argue, the blockade is illegal because Israel’s purpose is to starve the Gazan population and deprive them of other necessities for survival, and the damage to Gaza’s civilian population is disproportionately excessive in relation to any legitimate military need. However, this argument ignores two basic facts (not “biased opinions” as some might allege):

    First, food and medical supplies have been permitted continuously into Gaza during the blockade, including even during Operation Cast Lead, showing that Israel’s purpose was certainly not to starve the Gazan civilian population or to deny them other necessities for their survival. Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, the amount and variety of supplies permitted into Gaza have increased, despite the fact that there is still no agreement on effective security arrangements in accordance with Israel’s understanding with the Palestinian Authority and that Israeli’s kidnapped soldier is still in Hamas custody without access by the International Red Cross. Second, Israel tried to work out a compromise with the flotilla organizers which would permit its humanitarian cargo to be delivered to the Gazan civilian population. Israel proposed on several occasions that once it had the opportunity to inspect the ships for arms and supplies that could be used for military purposes and to remove them, all other cargo on the ships would be delivered to the civilians in Gaza through international agencies. Israel’s offer was an attempt to balance its military security requirements with mitigation of damage to Gaza’s civilian population by allowing the bulk of the cargo to reach them through reliable means. Both Hamas and the Free Gaza Movement leaders rejected the offer. Aside from the fact that Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamic jihadists were participating in the flotilla, raising questions about the true humanitarian nature of the mission, the organizers of the flotilla admitted that their main purpose was to break the blockade: “This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege on 1.5 million Palestinians.” The Free Gaza blockade runners’ willingness to deny the Gaza civilian population the humanitarian aid they claimed to be carrying if they could not succeed in breaking the blockade shows that Hamas’ supporters, not Israel were the ones willing to put Hamas’ military objective of breaking the blockade over the needs of Gaza’s civilian population. Israel’s enforcement of the blockade, including its boarding of the ships in the flotilla which refused inspection at an Israeli port, was fully in compliance with the following provisions of the San Remo Manual. Merchant vessels (defined as a vessel, other than a warship, an auxiliary vessel, or a State vessel such as a customs or police vessel, that is engaged in commercial or private service) believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked. If the civilian population of the blockaded territory is inadequately provided with food and other objects essential for its survival, the blockading party must provide for free passage of such foodstuffs and other essential supplies, subject to:

(a) the right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted;


(b) the condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a Protecting Power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The blockading belligerent shall allow the passage of medical supplies for the civilian population or for the wounded and sick members of armed forces, subject to the right to prescribe technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted. The ships on which there was no violent resistance to an inspection encountered non-violence from the Israeli side. But on the one ship carrying Turkish activists, who had declared their jihadist intentions, Israeli soldiers descended with only paintballs in hand (pistols not drawn) and encountered violent resistance. They had the right to protect themselves and their colleagues with lethal force once they were attacked by packs of assailants using knives, metal rods, clubs, etc. who had also begun to take the soldiers’ pistols away from them. Hamas’ supporters turn a blind eye to the terrorist group’s violence against innocent Israeli civilians and to its crimes against its own people. Here is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on February 29, 2008: Fathi Hammad: [The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: “We desire death like you desire life.” There can be no real peace so long as the Hamas terrorists and their state sponsors such as Iran want more innocent Jews to die for death’s sake and will settle for nothing short of Israel’s extermination, even at the expense of innocent Palestinian civilians. The Free Gaza Movement and their supporters should spend their time seeking to free Gaza from the grip of Hamas, not trying to end Israel’s lawful blockade.



Iranian Aid Ships Head for Gaza

June 14 (Reuters) Iran is sending aid ships to blockaded Gaza, state radio said on Monday, a move likely to be considered provocative by Israel which accuses Tehran of arming the Palestinian enclave's Islamist rulers, Hamas. One ship left port on Sunday and another will depart by Friday, loaded with food, construction material and toys, the report said. The boats would be part of international efforts to break Israel's isolation of the Gaza Strip. "Until the end of the Gaza blockade, Iran will continue to ship aid," said an official at Iran's Society for the Defense of the Palestinian Nation. While Israel has long suspected Iran, which rejects the Jewish state's right to exist, of supplying weapons to Hamas, Tehran says it only provides moral support to the group. Israeli troops two weeks ago boarded a flotilla of Turkish aid ships heading to Gaza on May 31 and killed nine pro-Palestinian activists, most of them Turks. Public opinion in Muslim countries was outraged by the killings. An official of the Iranian Red Crescent Society's youth organization said some 100,000 Iranians had volunteered as potential crew for aid ships, Iran daily reported. A senior Iranian official said earlier Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were ready to provide a military escort to aid ships heading to Gaza if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei so commands. But the Guards' deputy head, Hossein Salami, said there were no plans to do so. "Such a thing is not on our agenda," he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency on Monday. Any such military mobilization would risk a major confrontation with Israel, which fears Iran's nuclear enrichment program is aimed at developing atomic bombs. The Jewish state regards Iran's nuclear ambitions as a mortal threat. Iran says its nuclear program is meant solely to yield electricity or isotopes for medicine and agriculture.








Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as Leading Oil Producer

June 11….(Novosti) Russia produced more oil and less gas than Saudi Arabia in 2009 and is now the world's biggest oil producer, a Russian business daily said on Thursday. Kommersant daily quoted BP's 2009 annual fuel and energy report as saying that global oil consumption saw its strongest decline since 1982 (down 1.7 percent year-on-year.) BP CEO Tony Hayward said the report reflected long-term changes in the world's energy patterns and a trend towards more eco-friendly energy sources. The report showed that while the oil extraction in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) saw a 7.3 percent decrease, Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan increased their oil output. Russia increased its output to 1.5 percent against the 10.6- percent-decline of Saudi Arabia and is the new leader in the sector. The United States occupy the third position in the world oil output with a 7 percent increase to 7,196 million barrels per day. However, Russia fell from the top spot in gas production, which saw a 12.1 percent decrease in 2009. Experts say it is unlikely that Russia will retrieve its status as the top gas producer as Europe will hardly increase its demand for Russian gas.



America’s Predicament

June 11….(American Thinker) America's public debt recently exceeded 13 trillion. This is more than 90 percent of the country's GDP. Public debts of more than 60 percent of GDP are considered unhealthy. Public debts above 90 percent of GDP cause severe disruptions in the country's financial framework and the economy at large. According to the Obama administration, America's public debt will exceed 100 percent of GDP in the next fiscal year. History shows that most countries whose debt exceeds this mark are rarely able to control it. This level of indebtedness usually leads to currency debasement. There are a few historical examples whereby countries were able to contain debts of more than 100 percent of GDP. But in those instances, the debts were almost always contracted as a result of extraordinary one-time expenditures, usually war.  America's debt, on the other hand, is a result of decades of structural deficits. This means that we have grown accustomed to spending more than we can afford. If we want to solve our debt problem, we must slash spending and start running surpluses. The problem is that it may prove impossible to break the spending habit. Our government is like a drug addict who cannot quit because the dope is too easy to get. Bonds are the dope of the American government. But the price of the dope will eventually rise, since low bond yields will not persist forever. When this happens, the addict will go into seizures. But he will not lie down and sweat it out. He will go on a rampage to get his fix. He will loot people's retirement accounts; he will confiscate their gold. Things will turn ugly. It has long been impossible to cut anything in Washington. Every proposal for a reduction is met with hysteria from some special interest. The hysteria is then amplified by the media. There is wailing, there are tears. The final appeal is always made for the children. It always works. They will suffer, goes the refrain. What can politicians do? They back out while the rent-seekers lick their chops. In the meantime, the debt just keeps growing. Many people thought Barack Obama would save America from its troubles. Unfortunately, they were wrong. When it comes to America's finances, the president is doing exactly the wrong thing. We are headed toward an abyss, and instead of braking, he has slammed down the accelerator. He is behaving like a perfect madman. And like Emperor Nero, Barack fiddles while the Treasury burns. The president does not seem to realize that one cannot borrow his way out of debt. Not even the American federal government can do that. The American government has more leeway than the rest, because the dollar is the world's reserve currency. But no one can defy the laws of finance forever. When the day of reckoning finally arrives, the dollar will collapse. It would be wrong to think that America's debt problem has been caused Obama. Obama is not the root cause. He is merely a symptom. He could not do what he is doing if the ground had not been prepared beforehand. This was done by the decades of fiscal recklessness. Both parties are responsible. Do you still remember who started us down the never-ending road to bailoutville? That president even called himself a conservative. He was a good man, but he left a mess behind. He went about his saving work in the wrong way. He should never have tried to save capitalism from itself. Instead, he should have tried to save capitalism from government. They thought Barack was a great leader, and they said he would lead us toward better days. Those prophets were wrong. Barack is leading us toward disaster. John McCain, however, would not have done much better; he would also be bailing out right and left. We have a problem in this country: Neither of the two major parties is any good. The founders' America had no Department of Education or Department of Commerce or Department of Labor or Department of Housing and Urban Development. It had almost none of today's countless federal departments, agencies, and boards that waste money and make our lives miserable. The founders' America had no income tax or corporate tax. The founders' America had no central bank. In the founders' America, the dollar was backed by precious metals. That is what limited government looks like. The idea that we should go back to this kind of government would scandalize many present-day conservatives. They say things have moved on, and we need more government now. This is a lie straight from statism's darkest pit. Too bad so many of us have fallen for it. Today we are reaping the fruit of that error: an oppressive government, debts that cannot be paid, a rapacious political class, a disintegrating currency, and a smug president who makes bad things worse.



Happy Birthday to my Dad

June 10….(FOJ) Happy 80th birthday Dad. (Stay off the roof)



Obama Calls Israeli Blockade Unsuitable

Palestinian officials said they were satisfied with US President Barack Obama's statements following his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The sources noted that Obama again expressed his support for the need to establish a Palestinian state. The officials said that Abbas told Obama that for the time being, proximity talks with Israel are not moving along as hoped. The Palestinians complained that the Israeli side is not serious about the negotiations and aims to stay away from the significant issues.

June 10….(USA Today) President Obama said today that progress in the Middle East is possible despite the furor over last week's Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, but only if the Israelis and Palestinians start talking again. "In the long run, the only real way to solve this problem is to make sure that we've got a Palestinian state side-by-side with an Israel that is secure," Obama said after an Oval Office meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama also announced an additional $400 million in help for housing, school construction and business development on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. "We think it is important to reaffirm our commitment to improving the day-to-day lives of ordinary Palestinians," the president said. Abbas described the new grant "a positive signal," and called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Their conversation came a week after the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine people dead. Obama did not take a position on the blockade, but did say a better approach is needed for what he called "an inherently unstable" situation in the Palestinian territory. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep weapons away from the Hamas rulers in Gaza; critics say it cuts off the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza, helping keep many mired in poverty. Obama said there must be a balance between the need for economic development in Gaza and Israel's "legitimate security concerns." He also repeated his call for a full and through investigation into the flotilla incident, saying "it is in Israel's interest to make sure that everybody knows exactly how this happened so that we don't see these kinds of events occurring again." In the wake of the raid last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his own planned visit to the White House.



Turkey Calling for a Jihad Against Israel


June 10….(Guardian) Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called the Israeli raid on the Mava Marmaris "murder conducted by a state.” Support for Turkey is at an all-time high in the Arab world. The last time Turkish flags were carried through the streets of Middle Eastern capitals was during the first world war, as people took to the streets in continued support for the Ottoman sultan-caliph against the western entente powers. The sultan-caliph had proclaimed a jihad. Thanks to Turkish government support of a blockade-running mission led by a group of Hamas sympathizers, they are flying once again. No ruling Arab leader is as popular as the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose discourse amounts to calls for a jihad against Israel. Israel's relations with Ankara, military, economic, and tourist (Israelis once flocked to Turkey) have been sacrificed on the altar of Turkey's retrograde aspiration to lead the Islamic world and establish itself along with Iran as an alternative to American power. Turkey is once again turning eastwards. The Erdogan government's outrageous provocation of Israel could have been prevented. Israel begged the Turkish government not to let the Mava Marmaris depart with its meagre cargo of humanitarian aid and Islamist extremists armed to the teeth with clubs, wrist rockets that fire deadly projectiles, switchblades and military-style night vision equipment. The provocation is all the more shameful since the Turkish government has proclaimed that all passengers were checked thoroughly. Is this the behavior of a friendly country? Of the six ships, only the Turkish ship resisted violently; all the others were boarded without incident. Erdogan's bellicose exhortations were beyond belief. "The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history," he cried. "Bloody massacre," "spilling the blood of innocent humans," "in the history of humanity this has been recorded as a major shame," "a despicably cowardly and vicious act." Turkey, unlike Israel, bellowed Erdogan, is not an "adolescent, rootless state". "As precious as Turkey's partnership is, so harsh will be her hostility." He concluded, no less: "Today is at a turning point in history, nothing will ever be the same again." While Erdogan was engaged in war-mongering, Davutoglu was urging the west to drop sanctions against Iran. He next expressed his "disappointment" that the US had not condemned the Israeli raid, which he termed "murder conducted by a state". It is difficult to imagine that Turkey would be engaging in this kind of behavior were the US demonstrating world leadership and not abandoning the field to the likes of Erdogan. While the administration works to assure Israel's security with co-operation on missile defense, it has yet emboldened Israel's enemies by publicly pressuring Jerusalem at every turn, not taking decisive action against Iran, and caving to Egypt by singling out Israel, to the exclusion of Iran, at the nuclear non-proliferation conference last month. Post-conference palliatives offered up by US officials did little to ameliorate the impression in the region that the US was hanging Israel out to dry. Turkey was simply band-wagoning. Israel will now be closely examining its relationship with Turkey. Turkish Jews are afraid to leave their homes. Israel has withdrawn the families of its diplomats out of fear for their safety. Turkey's over-the-top behavior has Israelis scratching their heads. How would Ankara react, for instance, if Israeli "humanitarian organizations" decided to run aid missions to the terrorist PKK, the Kurdish separatist group in Turkey? Do the Turks really want an Iranian port on the Mediterranean in Gaza? Spurned by the EU, where it has applied for membership and ruled by an Islamist party with delusions of grandeur, Turkey is determined to lead the Muslim world once more and is promoting a clash of civilizations in order to compete strategically with the US.



US Twists Israel's Arm to Placate Erdogan, Destabilize Netanyahu

June 10….(DEBKA) After eight months of back-breaking work, the American military engineers helping Egypt build a steel anti-smuggling wall along the strategic Philadelphi Route dividing Gaza from Sinai were suddenly recalled, debkafile's military sources report - signaling the collapse of Egypt's blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Washington thus abandoned its half-a-billion dollar investment in the joint Egyptian-Israeli siege project. Also Wednesday, June 9, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu again dispersed his inner cabinet without a decision after three days of chewing over various formats for an impartial probe of Israel's commando raid of the Turkish-led blockade-busting flotilla of May 31. Washington's insistence on attaching international "teeth" - and not just American observers - to the probe has stalled Israel's acceptance. debkafile's political sources report that for Netanyahu as well as the defense minister Ehud Barak who ordered and scripted the raid, acceptance of a broad international inquiry as demanded by the UN secretary general and Turkey would be suicidal in domestic political terms.  Even full status for American panel members would for the first time give Washington a say in determining the political fate of the witnesses called, i.e. Netanyahu and Barak, first and foremost. What US president Barack Obama did this week was to go back to his confrontational posture against the Israeli prime minister, at the very moment that Israeli leaders had their backs to the wall against a worldwide onslaught over the flotilla incident orchestrated from Ankara and Tehran.
Washington has now set its face on a new track: salvaging its ties with Turkey by burning the Netanyahu government. Gone is the well-publicized conciliatory rhetoric from the president, the vice president, secretary of state and chief of staff (who brought to his son to Jerusalem for his bar mitzvah) of the past few weeks.
In the absence of an Israeli demand to focus the inquiry on Ankara's "aid" flotilla project, it will not be hard to single out the culprits for taking the rap - Netanyahu as prime minister and therefore ultimately responsible, and his Defense Minister Barak, the solo performer. Barak asked no one before ordering chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi and the generals to go ahead with the raid of the six-vessel flotilla, after no more than a cursory word with the prime minister who was then visiting Canada. He did not put members of the security-political cabinet in the picture, or even Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon who was standing in for Netanyahu. All the same, none of the ministers are in a hurry to endorse a probe that might fatally destabilize the government they serve. debkafile's Washington sources report that Obama administration is also delaying a decision in order to punish Netanyahu and please Erdogan. He also hopes to use the controversy over the inquiry as a lever to free Hamas (which is incidentally listed by the US as a terror group) of the Israeli blockade. Washington has already made its first move to that end by recalling the US army engineers building Egypt's siege wall during Vice President Joe Biden's talks with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at Sharm el Sheikh and meetings with officials in Cairo Tuesday and Wednesday, June 8-9.  Reporting to the Vice President, the American engineers' commanders and their Egyptian military colleagues painted a bleak picture of the troubles dogging their efforts to building a steel wall for blocking the arms-smuggling tunnels into Gaza. They reported they had thwarted at every turn by amas engineers, actively assisted by Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah experts, who had managed to infiltrate the Gaza Strip through the contraband tunnels. Hamas buried giant burners 18 meters below the surface of the sand to melt the steel wall's foundations; its operatives then made off with the steel plates and used them to build their own fortifications. During his talks in Cairo, Biden decided to give up on that project as well as another in the planning stage: A huge pump and pipeline for flooding the tunnels with Mediterranean water. The Vice president and Egyptian officials ended up discussing re-opening the Gaza crossings for people and goods and using European and Egyptian monitors to filter out weapons and terrorists from shore stations. Debkafile's military sources report this plan harks back to the failed arrangements brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and which never worked. The European monitors fled their posts after Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups started shooting at them. The situation now is even more dangerous, because foreign monitors would have to contend additionally with the new al Qaeda cells which have since sprung up in the southern Gaza Strip. What Biden is proposing now is to virtually abandon US and Egyptian attempts to block the arms smuggling tunnels altogether - a proposal, debkafile's military sources predict, will bring to an end the Israel-Egyptian blockade of Gaza and allow Hamas to resume its unfettered arms imports through those tunnels.



Iran's Gaza-Bound Ships Ready for Clash With Israel

June 9….(DEBKA) An Iranian sea convoy will back up the Turkish campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured Turkish leaders whom he met in Istanbul Tuesday, Jan. 8 that the vessels due to enter the disputed waters within days will not shrink from a head-on clash with Israel's Navy and Air Force exclusion forces. "We'll breach the Gaza blockade," the Iranian president vowed. The Iranian Red Crescent vessels will carry "volunteer marines" of the Revolutionary Guards "who will teach the Israelis a lesson." Tehran's "humanitarian convoy" for Gaza will consist of three Iranian vessels flying Red Crescent flags. Debkafile's intelligence sources report that he promised Turkish leaders to attach Iranian warships and submarines to the Red Crescent ships for their voyage through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. For some months, one or two Iranian submarines have been deployed in the Mediterranean using Syrian naval port facilities. The showdown between Turkey and Israel, said Ahmadinejad, "will change many issues in the world and mark the final countdown for Israel's existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it." British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Iran’s plan to send aid boats to Gaza, warning that the move would deliberately aggravate an already tense situation. “It is not helpful, and probably it is not designed to be helpful, he said. Russian Prime Pinister Vladimir Putin, for his part, promised to join Ankara in bringing the Israeli attack on the Turkish flotilla before the United Nations.



The Iranian and Turkish leaders meeting in Istanbul Monday and Tuesday finalized a plan to synchronize the flotilla's approach to Gaza's shores with the UN Security Council vote on sanctions against Iran, whereupon Turkey, Brazil and Lebanon, who are SC members, will halt the procedure and turn the session around to the unfolding sea battle between Iran and Israel. The sanctions vote will be buried by the sounds of war. Monday, June 7, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton predicted "Iran would pull some stunt in the next couple of days" to divert attention from the unity within the Security Council. According to our sources, the Iranian convoy will consist of a cargo ship loaded with food and other essentials, medicines and building materials; the second will carry the "volunteer" marines; and the third will be a floating hospital to be anchored permanently in Egyptian Mediterranean territorial waters opposite the divided Gaza-Egyptian town of Rafah. Small boats will ferry patients between Gaza and the hospital ship. Tehran calculates that the Israeli navy will not attack boats carrying sick people and will be constrained from venturing into Egyptian territorial waters to hit the floating hospital. By this means, Tehran will dismantle Israel's sea blockade while also gaining a military presence off the shores of Gaza. AS details of this scheme are drawn up in Istanbul, Israeli leaders are spending hour of hour, day after day, quibbling over the format of an inquiry commission for studying the legal aspects of the hapless commando raid they ordered against the Mavi Marmara on May 31.  Have they formed any plans for countering the Iranian-Turkish scheme to drive Tehran's flotilla through the Gaza blockade? And if so, where will the interception take place? On the Red Sea, where the Iranian Navy has a large presence, at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez or close to Gaza? An Israel operation against Iranian vessels on any of these sea lanes would pose formidable difficulties.



UN Rebukes of Israel Permitted in US Policy Shift

June 9….(Reuters) Under President Barack Obama, the United States no longer provides Israel with automatic support at the United Nations where the Jewish state faces a constant barrage of criticism and condemnation. The subtle but noticeable shift in the US approach to its Middle East ally comes amid what some analysts describe as one of the most serious crises in US-Israeli relations in years. Under Obama, the United States seeks to reclaim its role as an impartial Middle East peace broker which critics say it lost during the previous administration of George W. Bush. "Israel became used to unconditional support of the United States during eight years of the Bush administration," said Marina Ottaway, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. She said Bush's "extreme position" makes even mild criticism appear dramatic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet. However, Washington continues to block what it sees as efforts to use the United Nations as a forum for bashing Israel, which one US official told Reuters was "nine out of 10 initiatives regarding Israel in New York." Obama has also pushed hard to get a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program, which Israel sees as its top security threats. A vote on new Iran sanctions is expected this week. "There have been slight changes (in US-Israeli ties), but they've caused a disproportionate reaction on the part of Israel," said Ottaway. "We haven't seen any drastic changes." Last week the United States backed a Security Council statement on Israel's commando raid on an aid flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine people on one of the ships were killed in the action. The statement regretted the loss of life and demanded a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards. Washington, UN diplomats and US officials said, worked hard to dilute the text so the 15-nation council did not call for an independent investigation and to ensure it did not explicitly criticize Israel.

    Israel was still unhappy with the statement and its supporters accused Obama of abandoning the Jewish state. In an article called "Joining the jackals," Elliott Abrams, who advised two Republican administrations and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations, accused Obama of exposing Israel to a virtual UN "lynch mob." "The White House did not wish to stand with Israel against this mob because it does not have a policy of solidarity with Israel," Abrams said. "Rather, its policy is one of distancing and pressure." Abrams also criticized the White House over the recent five-year review conference of signatories to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that Israel, like nuclear-armed Pakistan and India, has never signed. Washington backed a call for a 2012 meeting of all countries in the Middle East to discuss making the region a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, a plan originally proposed by Egypt with Arab backing to add pressure on Israel to give up its nuclear weapons. After allowing it to pass, the US delegation criticized the NPT final declaration for "singling out" Israel, which neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons. This statement did not satisfy commentators like Abrams, who said Obama had "abandoned Israel in the UN and in the NPT conference in the course of one week." Some analysts say Washington wants to improve ties with Arab nations and regain lost status as a neutral peace arbiter while being careful not to alienate pro-Israel voters. "During the George W. Bush years, Washington's automatic siding with Israel on any issue seriously eroded what had been America's long-standing posture as an honest broker in the Middle East," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. "Obama has been trying to reclaim that status, while keeping in mind the domestic political need of not being seen as anti-Israel," he said. Outside the United Nations, analysts say Obama tried to ease strains with Netanyahu after tensions spiked earlier this year over Jewish settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land. He coaxed Israel into indirect talks with the Palestinians, his biggest tangible achievement in Middle East diplomacy. But an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the jury is still out on the Obama administration's approach to the Jewish state. "It's still difficult to decipher the intentions behind the changing US policy at the United Nations, and not just in regard to the Middle East," the official said. "If the Americans are convinced that, through adopting a softer approach, they will achieve support from countries that heretofore opposed their policy, they will discover that they are wrong," the official added.



US Debt Will Top 20 Trillion by 2015

The US debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress.

June 9….(Newsmax) The report that was sent to lawmakers Friday night with no fanfare said the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product would rise to 102 percent by 2015 from 93 percent this year. “The president’s economic experts say a 1 percent increase in GDP can create almost 1 million jobs, and that 1 percent is what experts think we are losing because of the debt’s massive drag on our economy,” said Republican Representative Dave Camp, who publicized the report. He was referring to recent testimony by University of Maryland Professor Carmen Reinhart to the bipartisan fiscal commission, which was created by President Barack Obama to recommend ways to reduce the deficit, which said debt topping 90 percent of GDP could slow economic growth. The US debt has grown rapidly with the economic downturn and government spending for the Wall Street bailout, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic stimulus. The rising debt is contributing to voter unrest ahead of the November congressional elections in which Republicans hope to regain control of Congress. The total US debt includes obligations to the Social Security retirement program and other government trust funds. The amount of debt held by investors, which include China and other countries as well as individuals and pension funds, will rise to an estimated $9.1 trillion this year from $7.5 trillion last year. By 2015 the net public debt will rise to an estimated $14 trillion, with a ratio to GDP of 73 percent, the Treasury report said.



Israel, Turkey, Gaza Engaged in Covert Sea War

June 7….(DEBKA) The Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ferry heading to break the Gaza blockade, in which 9 activists were killed, is turning out a week later to have kicked off a semi-clandestine sea war between Israel, Turkey and the Gaza-based Hamas, debkafile's military sources report. Monday, June 7, Hamas frogmen were on their way to a large-scale attack on an Israeli target when their boat was intercepted by Israeli commandos and four or five armed Palestinians killed. Turkey is investigating suspicions of Israel's hand behind a deadly Kurdish terrorist attack on its Iskenderun base on May 31. Our military sources disclose Iskenderun's quietly growing role in the last two months as a military hub in potential confrontations by Syria and Hizballah with Israel. In mid-May, Turkey moved anti-air missile batteries into the port to defend targets in Syria and Lebanon against potential Israeli air strikes from the eastern Mediterranean. This is the first time Ankara has provided Syria and Hizballah with an air defense umbrella and come down on their side in their conflict with Israel. Some hours after Israeli commandos clashed with armed men aboard the Mavi Marmara, Kurdish PKK rebel fighters attacked the Turkish naval base at Iskenderun on the Syrian border, killing seven Turkish seamen and injuring another six. If Ankara can prove its suspicions, it will be able to claim that Israel is involved by proxy in terrorist attacks on Turkish soil. Diplomatic relations still in force despite the frictions between the two countries will then be severed, one step before a declaration of war. Following the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's fiery abuse of Israel, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said Sunday, June 6: "We have been working hard, especially to ascertain what happened in the Iskenderun incident." Local media have suggested he is looking for Israeli covert invovlement in the planning and execution of the deadly attack on the Turkish naval base in revenge for the violence on the Marmara against the Israeli naval boarding party. Early Monday, June 7, an Israeli Navy Commando force intercepted a large group of armed Palestinian frogmen, members of the Hamas sea commando, on their way from the Gaza Strip to the Israeli shore to the north early Monday, June 7. Palestinian sources confirmed at least four wet-suited terrorists were killed, and another four were missing in the wake of a shootout in the Nahal Aza area of the Gaza Strip near Nuseirat between their boat and Israeli troops. The IDF spokesman reported there were no Israeli casualties. debkafile's military sources report the Hamas seaborne unit aimed to prove itself capable by striking an Israeli target of retaliating for the thwarting of the Turkish-led campaign to break the Gaza blockade. Shortly afterwards, a Palestinian Qassam missile squad was spotted on land near Jebalya preparing to fire into Israel. It was knocked out by the Israeli Air force. debkafile: Cross-fire from Gaza on Israeli border patrols is frequent, almost daily and Hamas still launches several Qassam missiles and mortar bombs into Israel every week, but attempts attacks by Hamas or related groups from the sea are a new development.



Osama Bin Laden, Top Aides Hiding in Sabzevar, Iran

June 7….(DEBKA) Osama bin Laden's hiding place was pinned down for the first time Monday, June 7, by the Kuwaiti Al-Siyassa Monday, June 7, as the mountainous town of Savzevar in the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan, 220 km west of Mashhad. He is said to have lived there under Tehran's protection for the last five years, along with Ayman Al-Zawahiri and five other high-ranking al Qaeda leaders. Debkafile's intelligence sources disclosed Monday night that Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan and his intelligence chiefs are well aware that Bin Laden and Zawahiri are hiding in Iran. The leak to the Kuwait paper was intended to show the Obama administration that the Turkish leader's ties with Iran had grown intense enough for him to be fully in the picture of Iran's secret sanctuary for the authors of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Savzevar, a small town of about a quarter of a million inhabitants, is connected by road to Tehran and Mashhad and has a small airport. A center for producing grapes and raisins, its location is remote and difficult to access because it is enclosed by lofty mountains and a salt desert 50,000 square kilometers in area. On May 13, American intelligence sources reported in detail that senior al Qaeda operatives living in Iran had been allowed to leave the country through Syria to orchestrate terrorist attacks on American targets. Among them was Saif al-Adel, who is believed to have been assigned with planning an attack on the world soccer games opening in South Africa on June 12.  Those sources noted that Saif al-Adel had received his instructions directly from Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri but did not reveal knowledge of their presence in Iran. debkafile's counter-terror sources disclose that the purpose of airing their precise whereabouts at this time, aside from implicating the Turkish leader, was first, to warn al Qaeda's leaders that their hideout was blown and they had better move on - which would make them easier to catch; and, second, to nudge US president Barak Obama into a decision to go after them. A rare opportunity may now be building up to capture the world's most wanted terrorist, debkafile's counter-terror sources report. Last December, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged the United States has not had any good intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts in years. Until recently, the elusive master-terrorist was generally thought to have gone to ground in the wilder parts of Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.



Saddam General: WMDs in Syria

(As FOJ reported years ago,
now another former confidant of ex-dictator makes claim, also links Iraq to al-Qaida

June 7….(WND) A former general and friend of Saddam Hussein who defected but maintains close contact with Iraq claims the regime supported al-Qaida with intelligence, finances and munitions and believes weapons of mass destruction are hidden in Syria. Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, southern regional commander for Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen militia in the late 1980s, spoke with Ryan Mauro of Known as the "Butcher of Basra," al-Tikriti commanded units that dealt with chemical and biological weapons. He defected shortly before the Gulf War in 1991. Last month, Saddam Hussein's No. 2 Air Force officer, Georges Sada, told the New York Sun Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were moved to Syria six weeks before the war started. Sada claimed two Iraqi Airways Boeing jets converted to cargo planes moved the weapons in a total of 56 flights. They attracted little attention, he said, because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in 2002. Discussing Saddam's support of terrorism, al-Tikriti said the dictator's regime sponsored Palestinian groups with logistical and material support. For a time, support for al-Qaida was limited, the former general said, mainly because al-Qaida's aim was to create an Islamic empire while Saddam wanted a secular Arab nationalist empire. "They only really came to terms in the mid '90s due to the fact that both knew they shared the same short-term enemy," the general said. "Once they came to terms on this, Saddam provided al-Qaida with intelligence support and whatever money or munitions they could provide." Al-Tikriti said Saddam "had very long-standing contacts in the black market as well as with Moscow and would provide whatever munitions he could through these contacts." The secular Baathists and radical Islamists certainly are able to put aside their differences to cooperate against the US, he insisted. "If you look in Iraq today, you are witnessing Arab nationalist terrorist organizations and Islamist terrorist organizations working together to fight the United States." Al-Tikriti dismissed the commonly heard claim that the US helped bring Saddam to power, calling it "absolutely ludicrous." The Baathist revolution, he said, was backed by the Soviet Union because of the shared socialist ideology. "I was there helping with the revolution and worked on two occasions with Soviet KGB officials to help train us, much like the United States did with the Taliban during the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan," he said. "The United States never directly gave us any WMDs but rather ingredients. They were not mixed and these 'ingredients' could have been easily used for commercial use but were rather used to build low life chemical weapons." Al-Tikriti says he knows Saddam's weapons are in Syria because of contingency plans established as far back as the late 1980s, in the event either Damascus or Baghdad were taken over. "Not to mention, I have discussed this in-depth with various contacts of mine who have confirmed what I already knew," he said. Saddam, after lying for so many years, knew the US eventually would come for the weapons, he said, and wanted to maintain legitimacy with pan-Arab nationalists. Also, he had "wanted since he took power to embarrass the West, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so," al-Tikriti said. "After Saddam denied he had such weapons, why would he use them or leave them readily available to be found?" he said. "That would only legitimize President Bush, who he has a personal grudge against." What we are witnessing now, he said, "is many who opposed the war to begin with are rallying around Saddam saying we overthrew a sovereign leader based on a lie about WMD. This is exactly what Saddam wanted and predicted." Al-Tikriti said he turned against the Baath Party after his wife stood up to him and questioned his brutal tactics. "This really made me think, because no one has ever even considered to question the tactics of myself or any others and lived to tell about it," he said. "This courageous move made me think deep and hard." Al-Tikriti said he still maintains good sources inside and outside of Iraq. "Some of Saddam's key scientists are personal friends of mine, as well as other key leaders in the former Iraqi military," he said. "I have helped draw information since my defecting to the United States government voluntarily and with the permission of these contacts. The only difference between many of them and I, is that I had the opportunity to defect and they didn't."



'Turkey, Under Erdogan Has Embraced Iran, Hamas'

June 6….(Jerusalem Post) A top Israel envoy criticized Turkey’s outreach to terror groups Friday, hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Hamas is not a terrorist organization. “Turkey has embraced the leaders of Iran and Hamas, all of whom called for Israel’s destruction,” declared Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren. “Our policy has not changed but Turkey’s policy has changed, very much, over the last few years,” he said. “Under a different government with an Islamic orientation, Turkey has turned away from the West.” But Oren, speaking on a conference call organized by The Israel Project, held out hope for reconciliation. “We certainly do not have any desire in any further deterioration in our relations with the Turks,” he noted. “It’s an important Middle Eastern power. It has been a friend in the past.” Earlier Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared at a rally in the Turkish province of Konya that Hamas was not a resistance movement. Erdogan said Hamas, the legitimate winner of the Palestinian elections, was fighting for its land. "You are always talking about democracy. You’ll never let Hamas rule. What kind of democracy is this?” he was quoted as saying by Turkish daily Hurriyet, apparently addressing the Israeli leadership.


Turkey Threatens to Break Relations With Israel

June 5….((DEBKA) Turkish ambassador to Washington Namik Tan threatened his government would break relations with Israel unless it apologizes for the commando raid on its flotilla for Gaza. Israel must also accept an indepdent probe and end its Gaza blockade. In Turkey, prime minster Recep Erdogan said Friday, June 4: "I do not think Hamas is a terrorist organization. They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land," whereas Israelis were no better than Somali pirates. This was Turkey's response to the Netanyahu government's newfound willingness to soften its determination to maintain Israel's sea and land blockade against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, even though the great majority of Israelis believe the blockade is vital to national security and acclaim the naval commandos' raid on the Turkish-led flotilla as heroic. Debkafile's military and political sources report that in public, the prime minister and defense and foreign ministers avow their resolve to keep Gaza sealed under tight Israeli control to prevent Iranian arms ships from docking there, for as long as Hamas is at war with the Jewish state. In practice, however, Israel has opened the door for international, even pro-Palestinian Hamas elements, to monitor foreign freights bound for the Gaza Strip. This was revealed Friday morning, June 4, in a statement by Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossie Gal about the message he relayed to the Rachel Corrie, the last remaining vessel of the Turkish-led flotilla vessel now on its way to Gaza. He said: "I would like to transfer a message once more that has already been conveyed through public and private channels to the ship: We have no interest in boarding the ship. If it sails directly to Ashdod port, we will secure its crew and refrain from boarding it. Israel is prepared to receive the ship and unload its cargo. After it is checked to makes sure it contains no weapons, we will be prepared to transfer all of the goods to Gaza." But then the Israeli official invited the activists on board the Rachel Corrie to accompany the shipment to the Gaza border. "We will cooperate with the UN and international organizations in order to ensure that all of the cargo is put to the use of Gaza's citizens," he said. He refrained from mentioning that the activists he had invited to accompany the shipment include members of the violently anti-Israel Free Gaza Organization, partners of the Turkish IHH terrorist group, known for its ties with Hamas and al Qaeda. The Rachel Corrie responded by denying any message or warning had come from Israel. They were determined to reach Gaza, not Ashkelon. If the ship is diverted to Ashdod, they said, they would not resist Israeli soldiers but sit on the decks and refuse to cooperate. Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman declared firmly Friday night: No ships will reach Gaza. "There is nothing simpler than getting us to open the Gaza crossings: Let the Red Cross visit Gilead Shalit," he said. Counter-terror sources report: The Turkish government and radical Palestinian and non-Palestinian organizations are working closely together on their next moves, using the first flotilla boarded by Israeli commandos this week as the vanguard of a broader challenge to Israel. They see its Gaza blockade as the outer rampart to be knocked over first. Erdogan has earmarked millions of dollars for the IHH to purchase eight or ten ships bigger than the Mavi Marmara for their next assault, packed with the same "peace activists" as before. Any sign of Israeli weakness in response to international censure on encourages them to redouble their efforts on behalf of Hamas. In his latest brickbat for Israel, Erdogan saw no contradiction between quoting the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not kill," while solidly backing the murderous Palestinian organization dedicated to Israel's destruction. The "peace activists" aboard the Mavi Marmara were recorded on video as telling each other: "Remember September 11th." Their pockets were found stuffed with thousands of dollars. In Jerusalem, police were out in force to quell Palestinian riots in support of Turkey. Hurling rocks at passing Israeli cars on the streets of East Jerusalem, the demonstrators shouted: "Erdogan, come and destroy Tel Aviv!" Turkish flags were seen on city streets for the first time since the Ottoman Empire was defeated.



Obama Administration Sabotaging Israel’s Defense

June 6….(WND) A top adviser to President Obama is the contact person within the White House for communications with the Free Gaza Movement over plans to challenge Israel's blockade of the terrorist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to a reputable source close to the Netanyahu government. The source, a career official whose reliability was established through his tips for the book, “Why Israel Can’t wait,” identified John O. Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, as the contact. The allegation raises the bizarre possibility that the Free Gaza Movement's flotilla action in the Mediterranean was being coordinated with the White House, something that would align with a shift in US policy toward Israel being debated within the Obama administration. Mike Hammer, a National Security Council spokesman, told WND flatly the report "is not true." However, Brennan's activities in his "counterterrorism" work have involved him in situations with domestic groups known to have ties to Middle East terrorism. The New York Times reported this week that the Obama administration's policy toward Israel was changing in a re-evaluation that now considers Israel's blockade of Gaza to be untenable. WND has reported that Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of the radical activist organization Code Pink, were top supporters of the Free Gaza Movement, a coalition of leftist US activists and pro-Palestinian groups that organized the six-ship flotilla that attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Obama began his political career in Chicago at a 1995 fundraiser held in the Chicago apartment of Ayers and Dohrn, held to introduce Obama as the candidate hand-picked to run for the Illinois Senate seat held by admitted communist Alice Palmer when she decided to step aside to run that year for the US House of Representatives. WND reported in January  that Ayers, Dohrn and Evans were involved in provoking chaos on the streets of Egypt in an attempt to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement to join in solidarity with Gaza's population and leadership.



Vatican says World Ignores Christians in Mideast

June 6….(Yahoo) The Vatican said Sunday that the international community is ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and political instability in Lebanon have forced thousands to flee the region. A working paper released during Pope Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome in October also cites the "extremist current" unleashed by the rise of "political Islam" as a threat to Christians. In his final Mass in Cyprus on Sunday, Benedict said he was praying that the October meeting will focus the attention of the international community "on the plight of those Christians in the Middle East who suffer for their beliefs." He appealed for an "urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed."



Turkish PM Vows to Personally Break Israeli Blockade

June 6….(Israel Today) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led the international campaign to discredit Israel in the aftermath of its seizing of a flotilla of terrorist-backed aid ships to Gaza. Now Erdogan has vowed to personally sail to Gaza and break Israel's maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal cited Turkish sources "in the know" who said Erdogan is seriously considering joining the next flotilla of ships to Gaza. He may also order a squad of Turkish Navy gunships to accompany the next flotilla and give the Israelis a real showdown at sea. Erdogan and other Turkish officials have used the flotilla incident as an excuse to downgrade relations with Israel and express hostility toward the Jewish state, but Israeli officials note that Turkey has been moving in that direction for some time. Turkey "has been a friend in the past," aid Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren. But under its current leadership, Oren noted that "Turkey has embraced the leaders of Iran and Hamas, all of whom called for Israel’s destruction." In fact, just hours before Oren spoke to reporters, Erdogan told an Istanbul news agency that he does not view Hamas as a terrorist organization. Erdogan, Turkey's most Islamist prime minister in decades, has been working hard in recent years to reestablish his nation as a regional Islamic superpower. Leaders in this region know that the best way to do that is to antagonize Israel. Those efforts were boosted during the January 2009 Israeli incursion into Gaza to bring a halt to incessant Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel. Erdogan led international condemnation of Israel, and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland two weeks after the Gaza war, Erdogan stormed out of a joint panel when Israeli President Shimon Peres tried to defend his nation's actions. Israel is not alone in seeing Erdogan's behavior as exaggerated and dangerous. In it's Friday editorial, the New York Times insisted, "Turkish officials have let their anger and rhetoric go way too far." The newspaper urged Turkey to calm down, stop the overly hostile rhetoric toward Israel, and to especially stop comparing the flotilla incident to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. The Washington Post also chimed in, using its Saturday editorial to call for Erdogan to be investigated for his ties to the terrorist organizations that sponsored the Gaza flotilla. In particular, the Turkish IHH played a major roll in financing and organizing the flotilla, and its members were the ones who violently confronted the Israeli boarding party aboard the Mavi Marmara, resulting in the deaths of nine so-called "activists." The Post noted that the IHH, in addition to supporting Hamas, has a long history of backing anti-Western terror groups, including Al Qaeda. IHH offiicials have also actively campaigned on behalf of Erdogan, and their presence aboard the ships apparently won his blessing. The paper wrote that with such terrorist ties and his outlandish rhetoric following the flotilla incident, Erdogan has become a competitor with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizballah leader Shiekh Hassan Nasrallah for the title of Israel's most hot-headed enemy in the region.



Financier of Gaza Flotilla Behind Plan to Build Mosque at Ground Zero

June 6….(Israel Today) Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, one of the key financiers behind last week's violent "aid" flotilla to Gaza, is also the Muslim cleric proposing the construction of an enormous mosque where New York's World Trade Center once stood. The deep indentation where the towers fell, now known as Ground Zero, is almost holy ground for Americans determined to not let their enemies prevail. The proposal to build a mosque at the site after Muslim terrorists were responsible for the attacks is seen as a deep insult. It is unclear why certain elements in the New York municipality have given tacit approval to the mosque project, but it has stirred up a national controversy that is likely to only further enflame the current war of civilizations. Of course, that may be precisely what the Muslims want.



Iran Offers Escort to Next Gaza Blockade Convoy

(Move could be considered an act of war)
(Turkey is now taking up the role prophesied for it by Ezekiel 38)

June 6….(Guardian) Iran has warned that it could send Revolutionary Guard naval units to escort humanitarian aid convoys seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a move that would certainly be challenged by Israel. Any such Iranian involvement, raised today by an aide to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, would constitute a serious escalation of already high tensions with Israel, which accuses Tehran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon and of backing Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza. "Iran's Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenceless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength," pledged Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's personal representative to the guards corps. The threat came as the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, dismissed a UN proposal for an international commission to investigate last week's commando assault on aid ships, in which nine people died. Another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, carrying Irish and other peace activists, was boarded peacefully by Israeli forces on Saturday, escorted to the port of Ashdod, and its passengers deported. Netanyahu has defended Israel's right to maintain the blockade by arguing that without it Gaza would become an "Iranian port" and Hamas missiles would strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel's undeclared aim is to weaken or bring down the Hamas government. Iran continued to exploit the "freedom flotilla" affair to lambast Israel. Its foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, told the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah on Sunday that Israel's crime was "another instance of the Zionist regime's brazen and merciless treatment of Muslims, especially the oppressed Palestinian people." Mottaki also called for a UN resolution condemning Israel. The security council is discussing imposing new sanctions on Iran because of its failure to meet international demands over its nuclear program. Iran and Israel have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 revolution and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly predicts the disappearance of the Jewish state as well as denying the Holocaust. Shirazi said Iran should encourage international efforts to break the blockade. "We should expose our enemies to spontaneous global action and not let them achieve their heinous goals," he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency. Iran's Revolutionary Guards, which have a command structure separate from the regular armed forces, are fiercely loyal to the supreme leader. Khamenei has attacked the raid as a "mistake" that "showed how barbaric the Zionists are". Israel's determination to strike at links between Iran and Hamas was dramatically demonstrated in January when presumed Mossad agents in Dubai assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was described as the Hamas official in charge of smuggling Iranian weapons into Gaza. Israel's no-compromise attitude to aid convoys could be tested again after two Lebanese organisations pledged to send boats to Gaza in the next few days. Reporters Without Borders is attempting to assemble 25 European activists and 50 journalists for a boat leaving Beirut. The Free Palestine Movement is planning a similar attempt. George Galloway, the founder of Viva Palestina, announced in London that two simultaneous convoys "one by land via Egypt and the other by sea" would set out in September to break the Gaza blockade. The sea convoy of up to 60 ships will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo and volunteers.






Congress Passes Hamas Immigration Bill

June 3….(In The Days) Whether you are an Obama fan, or not, everyone in the US needs to know that something monstrous has just happened. HB 1388 was passed, behind our backs. You may want to read about it. It wasn’t mentioned on the news, it just went by on the ticker tape at the bottom of the CNN screen. Obama allocated funds $20M in tax payer dollars to immigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA. This is the news that didn’t make the headlines. By executive order, President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in “migration assistance” to the Palestinian refugees and “conflict victims” in Gaza. The “presidential determination”, which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States, was signed and appears in the Federal Register. Few on Capitol Hill, or in the media, took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their overwhelming support to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the parliamentary election of January 2006. Now we learn that he is allowing thousands of Palestinian refuges to move to, and live in, the US at American taxpayer expense. These important, and insightful, issues are being “lost” in the blinding bail-outs and “stimulation” packages



Turkey Flotilla Intended to Open Sea Lanes to Hamas

June 3….(In The Days) A key strategic interest that motivated a Turkish Islamist organization to launch the Gaza flotilla effort was to provide Hamas with access to a sea route, ultimately enabling it to import long-range missiles to target Israel, a senior security analyst said on Tuesday. Ely Karmon of the Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, said that “the real force behind” the flotilla was “several Hamas front organizations and especially the Turkish IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi, IHH, ‘humanitarian relief fund’), a radical Islamic organization close to the Muslim Brotherhood. IHH supports Hamas materially and its strategy of armed struggle, and outlawed by Israel in 2008.” The flotilla’s aim was to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza, thereby allowing Hamas free access to the Gaza harbor and enabling it to import long-range projectiles, as Hizbullah has been doing in recent years in Lebanon, Karmon said. “Since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah has rearmed itself with more than 40,000 missiles and rockets, which cover all of Israel. Israel cannot permit itself to have a Hizbullah-like entity in its southern border, 60 km. from its heavily populated central region,” Karmon added. Hamas also requires access to the port “to provide the Palestinian population the necessary economic benefits it promised when it took control of the Strip in June 2007 by a bloody military coup. It also needs construction materials for rebuilding the houses and infrastructure destroyed during the Israeli Cast Lead operation triggered by the Hamas rocket attacks against Israel,” he added. Karmon said an alliance of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations had worked together to create the flotilla and received vital backing from the pro-Hamas government of Turkey. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “are the new important players in this drama,” Karmon added. “In its second term in power, the AKP, the Islamist self-styled ‘conservative’ party, has retreated significantly from its ‘moderate image and democratic ideals,’ has turned into an increasingly semi-authoritarian force and has accelerated its internal anti-secularism agenda on all fronts,” he said. “The AKP and its leaders feel very close to Hamas, a fellow Muslim Brotherhood movement, at the expense of the Palestinian Authority,” Karmon added.



Is Israel's Maritime Blockade of Gaza Legal?
June 2….(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Maritime blockades are imposed regularly during times of armed conflict, or even perceived threat. For instance, the US maritime blockade of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. The US could not be certain that Soviet missiles in Cuba would actually be used against the US, but was justified nevertheless in stopping all maritime traffic to and from Cuba. The maritime blockade of Gaza is even more legitimate, as the terrorists based there have fired thousands of rockets into southern Israel over the past several years, and did receive a large portion of those weapons via maritime transport.

1. A maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza. Such blockade has been imposed, as Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza, which has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza via the sea.

2. Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law that may be implemented as part of an armed conflict at sea.

3. A blockade may be imposed at sea, including in international waters, so long as it does not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral states.

4. The naval manuals of several western countries, including the US and England recognize the maritime blockade as an effective naval measure and set forth the various criteria that make a blockade valid, including the requirement of give due notice of the existence of the blockade.

5. In this vein, it should be noted that Israel publicized the existence of the blockade and the precise coordinates of such by means of the accepted international professional maritime channels. Israel also provided appropriate notification to the affected governments and to the organizers of the Gaza protest flotilla. Moreover, in real time, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned repeatedly that a maritime blockade is in effect.

6. Here, it should be noted that under customary law, knowledge of the blockade may be presumed once a blockade has been declared and appropriate notification has been granted, as above.

7. Under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no boats can enter the blockaded area. That includes both civilian and enemy vessels.

8. A state may take action to enforce a blockade. Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate a maritime blockade may be captured or even attacked under international law. The US Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations sets forth that a vessel is considered to be in attempt to breach a blockade from the time the vessel leaves its port with the intention of evading the blockade.

9. Here we should note that the protesters indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade by means of written and oral statements. Moreover, the route of these vessels indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade in violation of international law.

10. Given the protesters explicit intention to violate the naval blockade, Israel exercised its right under international law to enforce the blockade. It should be noted that prior to undertaking enforcement measures, explicit warnings were relayed directly to the captains of the vessels, expressing Israel's intent to exercise its right to enforce the blockade.

11. Israel had attempted to take control of the vessels participating in the flotilla by peaceful means and in an orderly fashion in order to enforce the blockade. Given the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, an operational decision was made to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade.

12. Israeli personnel attempting to enforce the blockade were met with violence by the protesters and acted in self defense to fend off such attacks.



UN Condemns Israeli Flotilla Raid

June 2….(Israel Today) The UN Security Council on Tuesday concluded its emergency session regarding Israel's raid on a so-called "aid" flotilla headed toward Gaza by condemning the Israeli action and passing a resolution calling for a full commission of inquiry into the incident. Nine people were killed and many more wounded, including Israeli troops, after activists affiliated with a Turkish terrorist organization violently attacked the Israeli boarding team on the flotilla's largest ship. The Security Council called the Israeli defense of its Gaza maritime blockade unacceptable, and insisted that Israel immediately free the 600 flotilla activists it is now holding and release the six ships they were traveling on. The UN also said the incident highlighted the need for Israel to end its limited embargo against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Israel had already announced that it would deport the detained activists, and even transfer the humanitarian goods they were carrying to Gaza. Turkey had spearheaded an effort to produce a far harsher UN Security Council response, but was partially thwarted by US diplomats and video evidence circulated by Israel that clearly showed the "peace" activists aboard the Miva Marmara ship were bent on violence. One video showed the activists lynching each individual Israeli soldier as he slid down onto the deck from a hovering helicopter. But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called even the watered down Security Council statement an act of hypocrisy. In a telephone call with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Lieberman noted that more than 500 people had been killed in violent incident around the world last month, but that only Israel had warranted Security Council attention, and that for legitimate defensive action.



Vatican: Israeli Occupation Unjust

June 2….(YNET) A Vatican document leaked Monday night calls the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories a "political injustice". The occupation is a "political injustice imposed on the Palestinians," the Vatican says, according to extracts quoted by Italy's ANSA news agency. "The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories makes daily life difficult for freedom of movement, the economy and social and religious life," the text says. The Instrumentum Laboris, a working document on an upcoming synod of bishops on the Middle East, was embargoed for release until Monday, when Pope Benedict XVI was to present it during a visit to Cyprus. "Some fundamentalist Christian groups cite the Holy Scriptures to defend the political injustice imposed on the Palestinians, making even more delicate the position of Arab Christians," the 40-page document says.



Is Turkey Preparing for War Against Israel?

June 2….(Security Matters) A statement from the Turkish government promises “unprecedented and incalculable reprisals” against Israel for the Israeli Navy’s seizure of the Marmora, a Turkish vessel, which was leading a fleet of ships through the Gaza blockade over the weekend. The statement has received the support of Hezbollah, an arm of the Iranian government, and Hamas, the Palestinian network. Such measures will not be confined to diplomatic censure. Reports from Ankara, the capital of Turkey, state that the government, which remains under the control of the Justice and Democratic Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma, AKP), is planning to continue pounding the Israeli blockade with more flotillas that will be escorted by Turkish warships and fighter jets. Israel merchant vessels moored outside Ashdodport have been instructed to sail into port and take shelter in case of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip against Ashdod and Ashkelon. In expectation of an outbreak of war, the Turkish chief of staff Gen. Ilker Basbug has been recalled to Ankara from a visit to Egypt. Greece has since halted its joint exercise with Israel in protest against the naval action. Israeli warplanes have headed west over the Mediterranean on Monday morning in support of the still ongoing Israeli commando operation aboard the Turkish Marmora, the scene of violent clashes between Israeli troops and the 600 “peace activists,” some of them armed. The Turkish government, under Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, reported 15 dead aboard the vessel. Israeli army spokesman, Col. Avi Beneyahu, called the incident “an act of terror on the high seas.” Far from being a humanitarian mission, according to Col. Beneyahu, the flotilla was sponsored personally by the Turkish government to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and permit arms supplies and terrorist to reach the Gaza Strip in an unrestricted manner. The Israeli army spokesman said that the Turks aimed at provoking a widely publicized international incident with fatalities in order to show Israel using strong-arm tactics against unarmed peaceniks. He further maintained that the Turkish government refused to heed warnings that the vessels would be prevented from entering Gaza Port and rejected Israeli offers to ferry their aid cargo overland to the Gaza Strip. An estimated 19 activists were killed battling with Israeli troops, and dozens more were injured. Ten Israeli soldiers were wounded, two critically. According to the Israelis, passengers, armed with knives and iron bars, mobbed the Israeli commandos as soon as they landed on the deck of the Marmara. One passenger allegedly snatched from a sidearm from an Israeli soldier and proceeded to fire at the commandos. In the midst of mounting tensions, the Arab League Council has called for an emergency meeting today to demand Egypt to end its joint embargo with Israel on Gaza. Egypt will face pressure to end its joint embargo on Gaza with Israel at the Arab League Council meeting urgently Tuesday, June 1st. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded the session.



Insider Facts on Gaza Flotilla

June 1….(Insider Facts) Every year, Israel allows over 100,000 tons of humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza through Israel. Anyone wishing to donate aid to Gaza may do so by receiving proper permission (essentially filling out customs papers). However, when a group claiming to want to give aid to the Palestinians, but refusing the Israeli offer to dock in Ashdod and have their shipment cleared for delivery, trouble was sure to ensue. As the flotilla approached, the Israeli navy called for the boat to dock in Ashdod. These calls were ignored. Once on board, the Israeli commandos discovered that the passengers on the biggest ship had awaited their arrival with knives, bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The Israelis were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly. Only after an Israeli soldier sustained serious wounds, did the commandos get the order to use additional force.





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