Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Remembering the Fallen Soldiers

So different from the celebrations we read about when Palestinian terrorists are hailed as heroes, Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers in Israel is a sombre day as the country since everyone has either lost someone or knows of a family that has lost a member.

A friend who writes her own blog has put it in words of meaning, see below. 

I have been dreading this Yom Hazikaron. The pain of what we have lost over the past years is too much to bear and there is no end to the tears. Tears for the victims of terror in Israel, Belgium and France. Tears for our most precious 67 brave warriors, who paid the ultimate price for our safety and freedom. Tears for the bereaved families, the parents who have lost their sons, cut down in their prime in defense of their country. Tears for the babies who will never meet their fathers. Tears for the lovers who will never hold each other again. Tears, endless tears.

There will never be enough words to express our gratitude for their service to all of us. May their memories forever be blessed.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Khamenei Redefines Iran's Red Lines

Since the Iranians now see that the USA wants an agreement almost at any cost the Iranians view this as a weakness to be exploited. As Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael (Mickey) Segall notes, Khomeni has not lost any time in redefining the Iranian red lines. 

Following my own career involving wage negotiations with militant Trade Unions in the UK, it is clear that any negotiating advantage the P5+1 had at the start of the framework negotiations has been given up without receiving anything positive in return.  
  • On April 9, 2015, Iran's top leaders, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, took firm positions on new red lines for the ongoing nuclear negotiations: immediate removal of the sanctions as soon as the agreement takes effect; opposition to special monitoring and inspections of Iran’s military sites and missile program; and non-intervention in Iran's ongoing assistance to "resistance" organizations around the world.
  • Khamenei's remarks were intended to counter the public-relations campaign of President Obama who portrayed the West's achievements both to Middle Eastern public opinion and in the United States itself. Whereas Iran's opening positions are rigid, the West, in the latest talks, has already shown how far it is willing to go for a signature on an agreement.
  • Khamenei has already stated that Iran's involvement in the region, including its assistance to "resistance" elements, is not part of the negotiations, and Iran is not required to put them on the agenda. Such words reflect Iran's growing confidence as its regional and international status improves, and its defiant conduct will likely put it on a collision course with the countries in the region.
  • The IRGC commander's support for the agreement on the one hand, and on the other, the opposition of some conservative Majlis members who are associated with Ahmadinejad, may indicate disagreement within the conservative camp and possibly within the IRGC.

Click here to read the full article.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Agritech Israel 2015

 The 19th International Agricultural Technology Exhibition, one of the world's most important exhibitions in the field of agricultural technologies will be held in Israel during April 28–30, 2015.

The Agritech Exhibition, one of the world's most important exhibitions in the field of agricultural technologies, is held in Israel once every three years.

With the world’s population expected to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050, the need for improved agricultural productivity has never been greater. One of the ways to enhance productivity is through the stimulation of innovation in agricultural and food technologies ­ from breeding new crop varieties, to sustainable crop protection and post­harvest technologies, livestock health, feed solutions, aquaculture, soil­less agriculture, and on to irrigation technologies and precision agriculture.

The Agritech 2015 Exhibition will be held at the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center in Tel Aviv, and will present ground­breaking technologies and insight into post­harvest methods and processes, to tackle the challenge of post­harvest food losses.


The last exhibition organized in 2012 had 8,100 foreign visitors, 196 Israeli exhibitors and 57 foreign exhibitors. It is hoped that this years show will exceed these figures. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Iranian "Deal" is a Sell Out

The Lausanne agreement is evidence of just how hard - and successfully - the Iranians fought to preserve the essential components for creating nuclear weapons.
Alex Fishman    Ynet.co.il  5th April
"Just guard me from my friends; from my enemies, I'll guard myself". We are forced to learn this age-old lesson each time anew.


The document agreed upon and signed in Lausanne on Thursday by the best of our friends from around the world makes no mention of nuclear development for peaceful purposes. Nothing in the clauses outlined in the declaration of principles indicates that Iran's nuclear program for military purposes will be converted into a program designed to further civilian-scientific objectives.

On the contrary; the document is evidence of just how hard, and successfully too, the Iranians fought to preserve the essential components for creating nuclear weapons. And this is an indication of the strategic importance Iran attributes to its military nuclear program, and the price it is willing to pay to protect it.


The bottom line:

1.     Iran has agreed to restrict its number of uranium-enrichment facilities – or, in other words, not to build new ones.
2.     The existing facilities will continue to operate at a slower pace, under supervision: 5,100 centrifuges will be in operation in Natanz, and an additional 1,000 will turn at a facility in Fordow that will be classified as a research institute (Yeah, right!).
3.     The stockpiling of enriched material will also be restricted. But nowhere in the agreement is there anything about ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads or military R&D.

In return, the sanctions on Iran will be lifted gradually. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be responsible for dictating the pace of the lifting of the sanctions. The Iranians haven't manufactured a bomb until now; so they'll hold back a little longer, for as long as it is worth their while.

The second conclusion coming from the agreement achieved in Lausanne is supposed to offer some comfort. If the Iranian nuclear program does indeed remain under tight supervision throughout the term of the agreement, it's safe to assume that Iran will not be able to turn its nuclear capabilities into a nuclear weapon overnight.

All this is under the assumption that the Iranians play fairly and don't cheat; and that if they do decide to break the rules, we will have at least a one-year warning before they can produce a bomb. Anyone who believes that we can sleep soundly at night with this conclusion in mind must the simple of the Four Sons mentioned in the Passover Haggadah., the one who has no capacity to ask questions.

Further:-
4.     Iran has agreed to reduce its stockpile of 3.67-percent low-enriched uranium to just 300 kilograms;
5.     has agreed to allow inspectors access to the supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, from the mining of the uranium and through to the completion of the enrichment process;
6.     has agreed to dilute its surplus quantities of uranium – a lot of declarations that could give the impression that the Iranians really were squeezed.

But these declarations have to be backed up by particulars, which don't exist now and probably never will. There's a clause, for example, that restricts the use of new centrifuges over the next 10 years, but it says nothing about restricting the development and production of new and improved centrifuges that can be put into motion the moment the time comes.

Still unclear too is the nature of the IAEA's mechanism for that tight supervision that US President Barack Obama defined as "unprecedented," or if the UN Security Council can automatically reinstate the sanctions if Iran violates the agreement. One thing is clear: Once Iran returns to the family of nations, it will be very difficult to again enlist the world to impose sanctions on Tehran.

There is nothing surprising in the Lausanne agreement. The talks over the last few days were for show only. The Americans knew, just as Israel did, that the Iranians had been willing to sign the current version of the agreement, and an even-worse one from their perspective, already two months ago. And yes, the agreement restricts Iran's nuclear capabilities for a certain period of time. But it is a vague document that lacks numerous essential details, just like the Iranians wanted – a document they can hold up in triumph to their people.

The Iranian representatives conducted the negotiations like true professionals and ran rings around the American secretary of state. In his speech on Thursday, Obama gave Kerry a grade of "Excellent" for his persistence and patience. But anyone who was there knows he deserves a grade of "Unsatisfactory" in negotiation management. And this holds true not only with respect to Iran, but also vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Our friends in Washington appear to have sold Israel out, along with their other allies in the Middle East, for a pittance. No prizes for guessing now about a nuclear race by other countries in the region who
a)     distrust the terms of the agreement
b)     distrust the intentions of the Iranians, and

c)     distrust the US claims to have our backs covered

Monday, March 30, 2015

Guess What? Tehran is not backing down

From a MEMRI report http://tinyurl.com/o3reht4 it seems clear that the U.S. is disregarding the speeches out of Tehran, and is attempting, without success, to force Iran into the two-stage process. Iran is refusing to sign any interim document, and for this reason Western foreign ministers involved in the negotiations, such as U.K. Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond, are saying that understandings which might be reached at this stage will only be oral ones.
It should be emphasized that Iran has not backed down in any way, at any stage, from the positions with which it began the talks:
1.  Tehran rejects the removal of its enriched uranium from Iran.
2.  Tehran rejects a gradual lifting of the sanctions.
3.  Tehran rejects restriction of the number of its centrifuges.
4.  Tehran rejects intrusive inspections and snap inspections.
5.  Tehran rejects any halt to its research and development activity.
6.  Tehran rejects any change to the nature of its heavy water reactor at Arak.
7.  Tehran rejects any closure of its secret enrichment site at Fordow.
8.  Tehran rejects all restrictions to its nuclear activity following the agreement's expiration.
9.  Tehran rejects the inclusion of its long-range missile program in the negotiations.
10.  Tehran rejects reporting on its previous clandestine military nuclear activity.
11.  Tehran rejects allowing inspections of military sites suspected of conducting nuclear activity.

Why should this be a surprise? This is the Middle East, have the #P5+1 not learnt anything? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Muslim Civilization in Civil War

The author of the article below, Vladimir Dorta, was a Colonel (R) of the Venezuelan Air Force, and for thirty years or more US citizen. Israel's place in this region is fraught with danger, this is why it cannot afford to give up territory at this time to a "peace" partner who is not prepared to prepare his people for peace. 
=============================
Iran? Shiite militias? After months of focusing on our new and exclusive enemy ISIS, the Western leadership and media are shocked, yes “shocked”! to discover that the conflict in Iraq and Syria has allowed an Iranian advance almost to the borders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

The front lines of the Muslim religious and civil war have dramatically changed, but our surprise is entirely self inflicted.

Robert W. Merry, a “longtime Washington political reporter and publishing executive” writes:

Back in October 2006, the National Security Editor at Congressional Quarterly, Jeff Stein, took to asking national security officials and members of Congress if they knew the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the Middle East. He wasn’t looking for arcane doctrinal disquisitions, merely if they could say who was on which side and what each wanted. He discovered a sump of ignorance in Washington officialdom on the subject, hardly one of only limited significance to the country at the time.

Our “expert” Merry goes on to clobber Senator Marco Rubio for his supposed ignorance regarding the Middle East; he then talks about “the Shiite nations of Iran, Iraq and Syria” (notwithstanding the fact that the latter is about 60% Sunni and 13% Shia), and ends up saying that we should help Iran against ISIS. This is what passes for knowledge of the Middle East in America and the West, where we project our ideas on the Middle East and see conflict there either as lack of democracy (nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan), or dictator versus people (Saddam Hussein vs the Iraqi people, Bashar Assad vs the Syrian people), or we only see one enemy, a “terrorist,” jihadist or radical group (then Al-Qaeda, now ISIS).

It is funnily absurd that when religion has practically disappeared in the West, our atheist leaders have suddenly become theologians and purport to know what Islam is, who are real Muslims, and who have hijacked what they call “the religion of peace.” These self-anointed Islamic experts have the gall to define as “not Islamic” someone like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s Caliph, who apparently has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Talk about hijacking, or about Disney cartoons.

Topping off this wholesale stupidity, some of our pundits believe they have discovered a correct definition: radical Islam, the reason being that if Obama and Kerry don’t want to mention it, then it should be the correct name. But this discovery is nearly worthless as a basis for strategy. What should be clear is that there is Sunni Islamism and there is Shia Islamism, that they are fighting each other to the death in the entire Middle East, and that both of them see the West as their enemy.

Talking about a foggy “radical Islam” and focusing on ISIS and forgetting Iran is not only erroneous but dangerous. Besides the extreme complexity of the Middle East, its cast of medieval culture and characters, of Islam as a political religion that has no limiting principle, and the constantly changing alliances and enmities, one more factor complicates the explosive mix: our postmodern reluctance to confront reality. Therefore our desperation for a semantic escape: “war on terror,” “contingency overseas operations,” “violent extremism,” “radical Islam.”

The underlying reality is: the Muslim civilization is in a state of religious and civil war that we in the West haven’t seen for almost four hundred years, a war similar to the Thirty Years’ War, between two religious sects and two groups of countries led by Saudi Arabia and Iran. The only difference is, the main forces on both sides are waging war against the West in a way that will increasingly include Muslims who live in the West.

If we don’t recognize this, we can’t understand why Muslims are killing each other from Egypt to Pakistan, or the rise of Iran together with its Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist proxies, or Iran’s quest for domination of Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, or Saudi Arabia’s historical support of the most extreme forms of Sunni Islam such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, or the confluence of thousands of young American and European Sunni Muslims in Syria to fight for ISIS or, especially, the reluctance of the Sunni monarchies and Turkey to confront ISIS because in doing so they would be helping Iran, their main Shia enemy, when it already has its eyes on Jordan!

At this very moment, the battle for the territorial division of the artificial states of Iraq and Syria is entering its final phases:

In Iraq, on one side is the Sunni Islamic State (ISIS) and on the other are the Iraqi Shia army, the Iraqi Shia militia, and the Iranian Shia military contingent, all led by the Iranian hero General Qasem Soleimani.

In Syria, hundreds of thousands of fanatical Iranian Shia Revolutionary Guards and Shia-Alawite fighters led by Bashar Al-Assad face equally fanatical Sunnis of the Islamic State. If Iran wins the battle for Iraq and Syria, it will not only have a common border with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel,

it will also be the hegemonic power in the Middle East. This unprecedented fact can only get much worse: Obama is making a deal with Iran so that this new Middle-Eastern hegemon, the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism, will also be a nuclear power.

Obama is telling Israel and the Sunni monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Qatar, and Kuwait: you are on your own. ISIS is not a terrorist entity, and neither are the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iraqi Shia militias or the Yemeni Houthi Shia militias. Or, if you prefer, they are all terrorists because in a civil war every fighter is a terrorist. ISIS is just the most radical expression of Sunni warmaking, and the same applies to Shia warriors on the other side. They all see themselves as jihadis or holy warriors.

But what if radicals are a tiny minority within Islam? What if Islam is really a “religion of peace”? That is not the case either. The Muslim world is in social and political disintegration. There have been more than 25,000 Islamic attacks in the world since 9/11. Just in the month of January 2015, there were 266 Muslim attacks in 28 countries, from Afghanistan to Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Dagestan, France, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, and Yemen. There are now more than 18 million Muslim refugees in the Middle East, and there could be up to 10,000 European Muslims fighting in Syria and Iraq by the end of the year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm a Palestinian Girl

The author of the article below is a Palestinian woman living in the West Bank. I am sure her sentiments are shared by many on both sides of the conflict.

I'm a Palestinian girl and that got fed up of everything around me. I’m sick of hearing the bad news, the bloodshed and the spreading of hatred all over.

I’m always sitting on my own thinking, when is this going to come to an end? When are we going to have the life we want? When are we going to have the peaceful life that we’ve heard of but never seen? Whenever I think about simple things like people loving each other and working together to have peace among them it makes me smile and gives me a little hope. Sometimes I think to myself, “Would I ever get the chance to meet with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and talk to him on person”? This idea has been in my mind for a long time and I’m so serious about wanting to meet him and talk.

Some people would think I’m stupid for having this idea or thinking that meeting him would change anything about the conflict. Why do I want to meet him? Because he only hears from the politicians and people who work in the government; he never talked to an ordinary Palestinian person.

What I would want to tell him that we Palestinians are ready to recognize the State of Israel, and it’s not only us, but also most of the Arab countries. We never want you to get out of this land. If you read history you will know that Jews have the right to exist here just like us. We Palestinians and myself personally, want peace. When I look to the other countries around the world and see most of them living a peaceful life it makes me sad and puts tears into my eyes and makes me think, “Why can’t we have such a life?”

I have been living under the occupation for 22 years and really I’m not willing for more. All I want is to have a normal life, have fun and enjoy my life while I’m still young. Is it really hard for the Palestinian and the Israeli governments to solve it and get two states, one for each? I bet they are not happy seeing their people in pain and suffering all the time. Let’s make this dream come true and seek peace, for it’s the best solution for all. Let’s at least love each other and live this life we were given in the right way, because life is way too short – if you don’t look around once you might lose it. We all know that life is too short to live it hating each other.

We really can love each other and live in harmony together, just like we used to do.

HOWEVER !!!!

In a joint IDF and ISA operation, in cooperation with Israeli police, a terror cell affiliated with the Hamas terror organization, was arrested in Qalqilya, in the West Bank. The perpetrators, confessed to plotting a series of terror attacks against Israelis, as well as revealing dozens of kilograms of chemical substances used to manufacture explosive devices.

During the investigation, members of the terror cell conveyed detailed information on a weaponry lab, located in an apartment in central Nablus, in which the perpetrators manufactured the explosive devices indented to be detonated against Israeli civilians. The Hamas operatives admitted to be recruited to the military branch of the terror organization while residing in Jordan. They were then trained by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and transferred to Judea and Samaria for further terrorist and recruitment activities. In addition, the terror squad was instructed by Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip to carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria during Operation Protective Edge.

Now who is stopping the Palestinian girl from leading a normal life???