Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ignore Israeli Intelligence at Your Peril, Part 2

Back on October 11, 2004 I wrote a piece in my blog titled Ignore Israeli Intelligence at Your Peril. Here is an excerpt from that post:
Israeli intelligence is among the best in the world, and is probably the best when it comes to what is happening in the Middle East and with radical Islamic terror groups...

I am reminded of another pronouncement from Israeli intelligence sources way back in September, 2002, six months before the U.S. invaded Iraq. It said, in a nutshell, that Saddam Hussein had been successfully contained and the real danger in the region was Iran. President Bush ignored this assessment. He also ignored a CIA report which predicted the Iraqi insurgency before the war, a report which turned out to be prescient. Over 1,000 American service men and women have paid the price for President Bush's decision to ignore both Israeli and CIA reports which simply did not support his decision to invade Iraq.
Once again the United States is foolishly ignoring Israeli intelligence, this time vis a vis Iran. Considering the poor track record of American intelligence in the Middle East you would think that the Bush administration would trust what Israeli agencies and officials have to say just a bit more. Sadly that is not the case.

Both Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former Deputy Defense Minister, MK Ephraim Sneh, have made the case that Iran did halt it's nuclear program in 2003 but then promptly restarted it. Israeli intelligence clearly believes that Iran is still aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. From the Jerusalem Post:
The Mossad claims that the Iranians will be able to develop a nuclear bomb by the end of 2009; Military Intelligence warns that Teheran will cross the technological threshold within six months; and now the Americans are putting the timeline toward the middle of the next decade, or 2013 at the earliest.

Defense officials in Tel Aviv admitted Tuesday that the report would probably embolden Iran, even though the differences between Israel and the US were not so great as a superficial reading of the report might indicate.

In other words, not only is the NIE wrong but it actually makes things more dangerous. The The IDF is sharing it's data with the U.S. military but it is not at all clear that anyone in the Bush administration is willing to reconsider the issue.

Iran is not only a threat to Israel. They will happily share nuclear weapons technology with Islamist groups. When will America wake up and realize that Iran still would like to harm the U.S. or, in Iranian terms, "the Great Satan"? I fear it may only be after an American city is wiped off the map.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Abbas: "No Concessions"

I read in the Jerusalem Post that the Palestinian Legislative Council is in the process of passing a law making it illegal to make any concessions on Jerusalem and defining such concessions as "high treason." From the article:
However, many Fatah legislators have made it known that they too support the law, which states that Jerusalem is a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic city and that it is totally forbidden to give up or conduct negotiations about any part of the city.


Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a top aide to Abbas, said in response that, as far as the PA was concerned, Jerusalem was a "red line" that cannot be crossed.

Abbas told supporters in Ramallah Thursday that he did not go to Annapolis to make concessions. "There are some people who are trying to distort the truth," he said. "They are saying that we went to Annapolis to sell our cause, negotiate and sign agreements. But we went there to convey our principle and fixed positions."

That's it then. Negotiation over since the Palestinians, both Hamas and Fatah, including President Mahmoud Abbas, say they will make no concessions whatsoever.

Jerusalem, the Old City in particular, is the holiest place in the world to the Jewish people. My father fought to lift the siege of Jerusalem durig the 1948-49 War of Independence. Some things ARE worth fighting and even dying for. If the only way to achieve "peace" is to surrender our holiest sites in Jerusalem then I am opposed to this so-called "peace". Surrendering our history, our culture, our religious heritage, the very heart of the Jewish people is not worth it.

I expect to be called an intransigent right winger for this post. That's fine. I've always voted for liberal candidates, always supported the Oslo peace process prior to 2000 when the Palestinians abandoned it in favor of war, and always thought that accommodation was possible. No more. The Palestinians, through their actions and words, have convinced me. They have a "red line". So do I. I can only hope that the majority of Israelis see the same red line I do.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Hanukkah. Hag Sameach!

Oh, and for your own sake, go easy on the latkes and the sufganiyot. :)

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

No Basis For Negotiation

This week, in the wake of the "peace conference" at Annapolis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. 60 years ago last week the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 ending the British mandate and specifically creating a Jewish state. Israel's purpose, it's raison d'être, was and is to provide a safe haven for the Jewish people. This, plus the fact that the Jewish people originally come from Israel, was the reason the international community created Israel in the first place. This took place in the wake of the Holocaust and growing persecution in the Arab world.

It's simple: if Abbas doesn't recognize Israel as a Jewish state that means he doesn't recognize Israel as defined and created by the U.N. It means he does not accept U.N. resolutions that are inconvenient for him. It means that he, like Hamas' leadership, wants Israel destroyed. Only his methods are different.

Why don't the U.S.,. the U.N., and the E.U. deal with Hamas? Why won't Israel negotiate with Hamas? Once again, it's simple: Hamas won't recognize Israel. Now it turns out Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas don't either, at least in any meaningful way. It seems to me there is no basis for negotiation. What applies to Hamas applies equally to Fatah. Look, I understand the hasbara (PR) value of Annapolis and going through the motions of a peace process. Having said that there are some principles that can't be bargained away. A nation's right to exist as constituted by it's people is one of them. Prime Minister Olmert should call off the next round of negotiations in Moscow until President Abbas recognizes Israel properly. Nothing less will do.

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