Friday, April 11, 2014

Jerusalem is not up for Grabs

by Prof. Efraim Inbar

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared that Israel's plans to build additional apartment houses in Gilo, a southern Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the Green Line, are partly responsible for the current impasse in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
This indicates profound American misunderstanding of the situation, because Gilo, with more than 40,000 residents, is to be part of Israel under any agreement. Moreover, the peace negotiations have little chance of succeeding as long as the Palestinians demand to partition Jerusalem.
The Palestinians and most of the international community fail to understand that the past offer by Ehud Barak to divide Jerusalem at the Camp David summit in 2000, which was repeated by Ehud Olmert in 2007, was divorced from the strong attachment a majority of Israelis feel towards the eternal city. This incredible concession has continually lacked the necessary domestic political support. Strategic considerations also dictate holding on to a greater Jerusalem.
Israeli public opinion is committed to maintaining the status quo in Jerusalem. All polls show that over two-thirds of Israelis feel that Jerusalem should remain the united capital of Israel while only 20 percent favor its division and becoming the capital of both a Jewish state and a future Palestinian state. The group showing the most support (almost 80 percent) for Jerusalem remaining the undivided capital is the 18- to 24-year-old age cohort. Of this group, the strongest support was expressed by ultra-Orthodox and religious Israelis, the fastest-growing segments in the Jewish population. Asked whether Israel should relinquish its control over the Temple Mount, the holiest place for Jews, over 70 percent of Israelis disagree.
After Barak's offer in 2000, more than 250,000 people demonstrated against his violation of the Jerusalem taboo, in the largest rally ever held in Israel. The electrifying hold of Jerusalem on the Jewish psyche is not sufficiently appreciated. Moreover, the Orthodox injunction against visiting the Temple Mount has eroded, allowing a growing number of Israelis to have the mystical experience of meeting the metaphysical past and future. Such feelings are politically potent, foreclosing the possibility that Israelis will sit idly and watch a transfer of sovereignty in Jerusalem.
In 2000, the division of Jerusalem lacked the necessary majority in the Knesset, and Barak's coalition disintegrated (for other reasons as well). Similarly, in 2008, Olmert experienced coalition difficulties because he placed Jerusalem on the negotiators' agenda. No Israeli government is likely to survive concessions in Jerusalem under the current political constellation, which is unlikely to change. If elections are held in the near future, the strength of the opposition to any concessions in Jerusalem will only grow.
Jerusalem's importance to the Jews is not only historical and religious; the city also holds strategic importance in controlling the only highway from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River Valley, along which military forces can move with little interference from Arab population concentrations. Jerusalem is the linchpin for erecting a security zone along the Jordan Rift Valley.
If Israel wants to maintain a defensible border in the east, it needs to secure the east-west axis from the coast to the Jordan Valley, via an undivided Jerusalem. Keeping Greater Jerusalem, which includes the settlement blocs that President George W. Bush recognized as realities that must be accommodated in a future settlement, is a strategic imperative. Arguments that ignore the immense potential for political upheaval east of the Jordan River and the fluctuating nature of military technology in order to minimize the military importance of Jerusalem and its central role in the eastern line of defense for Israel are opportunistic. Designing stable defensible borders in accordance with current, but transient, technological state-of-the-art and political circumstances is strategically foolish. The turmoil in the past few years in the Arab world only indicates the need for great caution.
Finally, the partition of Jerusalem is simply a bad idea when the prevailing zeitgeist dictates uniting cities such as Berlin, Belfast or Nicosia. Why should Jerusalem be different? Jews have held a majority in the city for the past 150 years, while Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim political entity.
Moreover, the Arab minority in the city has shown its preference for living under Israeli rule, as many have moved to the Israeli side of the security barrier being built around Jerusalem. Polls show clearly that a large majority of Jerusalem Arabs oppose being subject to Palestinian rule. Their choice is reasonable, as Jerusalem offers the quality of life of a modern Western city, while only a few kilometers away, a Third World standard of living, chaos and religious intolerance are the norm. An undivided Jerusalem is the best guarantee for a better life for all Jerusalemites.
In sum, the unreasonable Palestinian demand for dividing Jerusalem is an obstacle for a better future.
Professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Do Unilateralists Own Israel’s Future?

by Tom Wilson

Israel’s economy minister and leader of the Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, has publicly written to Prime Minister Netanyahu advocating that Israel formerly annex key areas of the West Bank so as to bring the 440,000 Israelis who live there fully under Israeli sovereignty. Of course at the moment it is hardly conceivable that the Israeli government would implement these moves—Bennett himself has previously said that there would need to be elections to provide the necessary support in the Knesset—but with some members of Likud theoretically supportive of the plan, this may come to loom increasingly large on Israel’s political agenda.
The latest debacle that has been the U.S. attempt to bring about a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians has convinced many of the need to consider what the other options might be. Following the second intifada, when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon similarly judged there to be no partner for a negotiated peace, Israel began to implement a program of unilateral disengagement. That policy was stopped in its tracks, most immediately by the stroke suffered by Sharon, but also on account of the barrage of rockets that have spewed out of Gaza, the harrowing test case for unilateral disengagement. Since then that approach has been filed away, although it is still occasionally referenced as a last resort by some commentators. In its place, those on the right have begun instead to talk about full or partial unilateral annexation of the West Bank. The most far-reaching incarnation of this strategy is presented by Caroline Glick in her new book The Israeli Solution which not only advocates for fully incorporating all of the West Bank into the Jewish state, but also absorbing all the Palestinians living there.

In addition, there has been talk about various hybrids of current options. At the time of Sharon’s passing, one such option was suggested by former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren: that to avoid the ongoing headache of policing the Palestinians, Israel should still consider a unilateral withdrawal from much of the West Bank. However, Oren also recognized that under such an arrangement Israel would retain most settlements. Another hybrid proposal was recently offered by Hillel Halkin in Mosaic, in what he called his “Two-State-Minus” plan. This proposal advocates creating a Palestinian entity that wouldn’t quite function as an entirely independent state.

Then there have been the suggestions not to push for a final resolution of all disputes, but rather for a semi-negotiated semi-agreement. Nicholas Casey has recently written in the Wall Street Journal about the prospect of scaling back objectives and instead settling for a managing of the situation, as opposed to aiming for a definitive solution. Casey references a proposal by Shlomo Avineri who has suggested that the two sides reach an agreement on those matters that they can, with Israel transferring control of more territory to the Palestinians. Under this scenario the impossibly difficult final-status issues would be put aside and the two parties wouldn’t be obliged to recognize each other. Of course the problem here is that without the Palestinians having recognized either Israel or an end to their grievances, both the campaign of violence and the delegitimization of Israel internationally would likely continue.

There are two obvious problems with almost all of the unilateral proposals. One is security, the other is international opinion. Those plans that call for a near complete withdrawal from the West Bank risk recreating Gaza on a massive scale and on the strategically important high ground overlooking Israel’s population centers and vital infrastructure. Bennett’s plan of annexing Israeli controlled area C of the West Bank may seek to overcome this problem, but in reality it may simply lead to the creation of multiple mini-Gazas throughout the West Bank. And while this proposal might extend sovereignty to territory inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Israelis, it is doubtful the international community would recognize this, just as they refuse to recognize the Israeli annexation of eastern Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. Of course unilateral withdrawal doesn’t solve this problem either, with the international community still wedded to the preposterous position that Israel continues to be the occupying power in Gaza.

The proposal that seeks to address both of these problems is Caroline Glick’s one-state solution. Presumably if Israel was to not only annex the territory but also extend full citizenship to all the Palestinians living there, then depending on the Palestinian reaction, international protest might be more manageable. Many object to this plan on demographic grounds. It may in fact be true that there has been significant Palestinian falsification of census data. Yet even if Glick is correct in saying that Jews would maintain a two-thirds majority, there are still serious questions to be asked about how so many Arabs could be assimilated into a Jewish state, and in the event that they all exercised their right to vote would Zionist parties still be able to hold the Knesset? None of these proposals is by any means flawless.

It is probably unwise to make forecasts here, but assuming international pressure was to considerably intensify, and with a negotiated way out unlikely, it is conceivable that something would eventually give and either left or right might implement their version of a unilateral plan.

Tom Wilson


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UK: Jihadists as "Charity Workers"

by Samuel Westrop

The full truth is a bit more chilling, Sharif and his wife are supporters of ISIS, the leading Al-Qaeda-aligned group in Syria. Al Jazeera reports that in areas under ISIS control, "men [have]... been beheaded, their heads mounted on spikes. Children...slaughtered." Other posts found on the couple's Facebook pages include videos glorifying jihadi fighters; praise for late Al Qaeda leaders such as Abdullah Azzam and Anwar Al-Awlaki; and calls for an Islamic state.
The British media continues to label British Islamist volunteers who support jihadist movements in Syria as "charity workers."

In December, the BBC aired a documentary about aid convoys to Syria, but – as reported by Gatestone Institute – neglected to inform viewers of the convoy volunteers' support for jihadi "martyrs," Al Qaeda operatives and extremist preachers.

Although the UK Charity Commission subsequently started an investigation into these charities, the failure of the media to research their interviewees continues to impair efforts to tackle the abuse of British taxpayers' charitable initiatives.

On April 1, Britain's Channel 4 aired an interview with two "charity workers" in Syria – Tauqir Sharif and his wife, Racquell Hayden-Best. Sharif and his wife work with a number of different charities involved with "aid convoys" to Syria, including One Nation, which is also presently funding a Hamas-run charity in Gaza.

Channel 4 did provide a little bit of background, noting that Sharif has:
...a long history of activism – he was one of those aboard the Gaza aid flotilla which was raided by Israeli forces in 2010. He has campaigned to raise awareness about Syria and met the former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg when Mr Begg visited Syria last year. They were due to speak at a live online "webinar" event about the conflict, but it was cancelled after Mr Begg was arrested and charged with Syria-related offences.
The full truth is a bit more chilling: Sharif and his wife are supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the leading Al Qaeda-aligned group in Syria. ISIS evolved from a group called Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was known for "its butchery and oppression, which included killing Sunni and Shiite civilians with spectacular suicide attacks, bombing Shiite mosques, uploading videos of beheadings on jihadist forums, and forcing local Sunnis to abide by its interpretation of Islamic law."

ISIS is at least as violent as its predecessor. Al Jazeera reports that in areas under ISIS control, "men [have]...been beheaded, their heads mounted on spikes. Children...slaughtered."

Unlike its predecessor, however, ISIS has supplemented its violence with dawa'h programs – a system of social provision, or "soft-power outreach" – in areas under its control. A key component of this dawa'h, the Hudson Institute reports, is providing educational outreach initiatives "as part of its wider strategy to foster a new generation of Syrians in support of its ideological agenda. ... ISIS runs a number of schools in areas where it has consolidated its presence... [and] offers other services to complement their educational outreach, such as their school-bus services in the Aleppo town of al-Bab."

Sharif and his wife appear to be part of this dawa'h effort. As Channel 4 reported, the couple "work with a number of different charities, including a project to build an Islamic school for women and children." Channel 4 failed to report, however, that the logo of the school project, named the Akhwaat Ash Shaam [Sisters of Syria], is the flag of ISIS.

Other Facebook pages established and managed by the couple also prominently display ISIS flags.

Posts found on the couple's Facebook pages include: videos glorifying jihadi fighters; praise for late Al Qaeda leaders such as Abdullah Azzam and Anwar Al-Awlaki; a number of statements denouncing "Yahoodi" [Jewish] oppression of Muslims; openly anti-Semitic posters; and calls for an Islamic state.

Although Channel 4 broadcast the footage of Sharif and his wife, it was Bilal Abdul-Kareem, an "American Muslim activist living in Syria," who filmed the interview itself. In 2009, it was reported that Abdul-Kareem defended the killing spree carried out by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, at Fort Hood in Texas, as an act against an enemy in a state of war.

The British Charity Commission is already struggling to keep track of charities that are moving money and people into Syria. Tackling the possible misuse of charitable initiatives for anti-democratic ideological purposes is made harder if the media continues to portray extremists as champions fighting against all odds.

Samuel Westrop


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Who is Governor Chris Christie Really Pandering To?

by Sarah N. Stern

Pundits have written about Governor Chris Christie’s recent faux pas at the Republican Jewish Coalition conclave in Las Vegas. The Governor mistakenly called the territories that Israel was forced to conquer in its defensive wars of 1967 and 1973, "occupied." The fact is that the Palestinians have consistently refused to negotiate in good faith, refusing to even verbally acknowledge of the existence of a Jewish state.

The reason that the term "occupied territories" is offensive to some is that those facts seem to be glaringly omitted by that particular phraseology.

Certainly, Governor Christie should have been better briefed. It appears that Christie later apologized for the use of the term to Sheldon Adelson, the Jewish philanthropist, major humanitarian, and political benefactor, at whose Las Vegas hotel the event was held.

After the apology, the enlightened oracles of the media began alluding to the fact that the only reason that the governor apologized for the wording was to pander to Mr. Adelson because of his wealth and generosity to political campaigns.

The most odious comment came from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who compared Adelson to Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Khamenei saying they had, "…one thing in common -- they are both trying to destroy Israel. Adelson is doing it by loving Israel to death. Khomeini is doing it by hating it to death."

Not agreeing with a policy for making peace with those who daily demonstrate that they are clearly not ready for peace, by inciting children to blow themselves up in pizza restaurants by teaching them that one day all of Israel will someday be theirs, does not equate with "trying to destroy Israel."

If Mr. Friedman had spent time speaking to the parents of some of the Israeli children who have been killed by the terrorists lionized by Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, he would understand a bit more of just what the Jewish state is really up against, and how out of touch he is with the reality on the ground.

What the talking heads failed to report is a much more significant remark made in that same speech. This remark indicated whom the governor really panders to, and frankly is a more serious issue for America’s national security interests.

When asked about those who raised questions in their writings about Governor Christies support on issues related to Sharia law, he replied by focusing solely on Sohail Mohammed, an immigration attorney. He described Mohammed’s touching history as an immigrant and naturalized citizen before adding:
"Sohail Mohammed knows as much about jihad as I do, being an Irish-American kid from Newark, New Jersey," Christie said of the Indian-American judge who immigrated to America as a child. "It is ridiculous and insulting, that because I nominated Sohail Mohammed -- that people somehow think that means I’m for Sharia Law. It’s crap," he said to applause. "And I will not ever apologize for making him a judge -- in fact, I’m proud of it."
Almost every American can relate to that beautiful "American dream" and "rags to riches" saga. We are a nation of immigrants, and all of our ancestors came here to make a better life for their children. But Christie’s description conveniently omits certain facts.

Sohail Mohammad is on the board of the American Muslim Union (AMU), and serves as its attorney. The AMU was founded by a former executive of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sohail Mohammad’s practice has focused on defending suspected terrorists from deportation.

New Jersey is home to a very large mosque, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, (ICPC), which was founded by Mohammad El-Mezain, who in 2008, was convicted for fundraising for Hamas through the Holy Land Foundation. It is now led by Imam Mohammad Qatanani. The ICPC and the AMU share multiple directors and leaders.

Mr. Qatanani was arrested in Israel in 1993. The Israeli government said Qatanani confessed to being a member of Hamas, but was released following a plea bargain.

According to an FBI report, Mr. Qatanani moved to New Jersey in 1994, the year following his arrest in Israel, and worked together with El-Mezain to raise funds for Hamas. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began proceedings for the deportation of Mr. Qatanani because of his failure to disclose his conviction in Israel. The DHS also said he "engaged in terrorist activity" and is "guilty of material misrepresentation and "engaging in unauthorized employment… by allowing an out of status alien to reside with him." It further discusses a "highly dubious" transfer of thousands of dollars to the West Bank.

A court filing in 2008 by the DHS states, "It is certainly suspicious when a person who has been convicted of being a member of, and providing services to, Hamas, who has personal ties to a Hamas militant leader, and also sends undisclosed cash to the West Bank."

Imam Mohammad Qatanani used his pulpit to praise the Holy Land Foundation and to say that those conspirators who were found guilty should be immediately released from jail. Imam Qatanani also repeatedly uttered disturbing and defamatory statements about Jews, Israel, and Christians. He also asked expressed support for providing funding for the children of suicide bombers.

Governor Christie had repeatedly praised the Imam. In July of 2012, at an Iftar dinner at the governor’s mansion in New Jersey, Governor Christie praised referred to Qatanani as his "friend", and "My view is he’s always had a very good relationship with us, and he’s a man of great goodwill."

You might well ask who the attorney was who represented Mr. Christie’s "friend" Mr. Qatanani, and saved him from deportation by the DHS?

It was none other than Sohail Mohammad.

Is it possible Mr. Christie feels that Sohail Mohammad is such an American success story because he counts the votes in the Islamic Center of Passaic County? Just who is Governor Chris Christie really pandering to?

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of EMET, The Endowment for Middlle East Truth, an unabashedly pro-American and pro-Israel think tank in our nation’s capital.


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Kerry Seems to Be Aiming for Bad Iran Deal

by Tom Wilson

Listening to members of the administration talk about Iran’s nuclear program, it’s often difficult to tell quite what kind of timescale they think we’re on. At the beginning of his first term, President Obama gave the impression of having all the time in the world, and he has certainly used enough of it; during the course of which Iran has only lurched increasingly closer to having weapons capabilities. Understandably, countries in the region that are easily within range of a nuclear Iran—particularly Israel and the Sunni Gulf states—are a little more nervous. What is indeed concerning is the way that the administration’s estimates for when Iran could reach breakout capabilities keep on changing, and not for the better.

Secretary of State John Kerry is now saying that the U.S. believes Iran to be two months away from having breakout levels of enriched uranium. Yet, much less than a year ago the administration was claiming that we were at least a year or more away from that point. So either the administration’s estimates are inaccurate and unreliable or in the period since sanctions were partially lifted and negotiations began Iran has massively advanced in its program. Neither possibility will fill America’s allies–or anyone else for that matter–with any confidence about Obama and Kerry’s handling of the Iran threat, which may soon become the Iran crisis.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Secretary Kerry reported the time-period for what he described as “so-called breakout” is “about two months.” Yet, back in October, shortly before the announcement of November’s interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries, Obama claimed that that same breakout point was a year or more away. The interim agreement awards Iran partial relief from sanctions in return for Iran agreeing to reduce its enrichment activities and its cooperation with both inspections and negotiations that are supposed to move us towards a final agreement with Iran. So are we to assume that, as had been feared by many, the interim period has allowed Iran a window in which to speed ahead with enrichment? There are only two other alternatives. One is that the administration’s own ability to assess Iran’s progress is dangerously limited, the other is that for political reasons Obama was intentionally underestimating Iran’s progress; most likely to undermine public and Congressional support for tougher action against Iran.
If all of that wasn’t alarming enough, then Kerry’s apparent lack of clarity about his objectives with Iran are all the more so. Obama has already been dropping hints about being “realistic” as far as a final deal is concerned; the implication being that it will be some kind of trade off that won’t definitively end Iran’s nuclear capacities. Time and time again Kerry has claimed that he would prefer no deal to a bad deal, yet speaking before the Senate committee it sounded a lot like a bad deal is precisely what is in the making.

When asked whether a breakout window of up to a year was now the goal of negotiations, the Secretary faltered, as if he had let something slip that he shouldn’t have. “So six months to 12 months is – I’m not saying that’s what we’d settle for, but even that is significantly more,” Kerry responded to the question. It seems that the administration thinks we should be grateful if they manage to drag Iran back to the six month point, half what they claimed we were looking at back in the fall. Kerry makes no commitment as to whether they would settle for that or not, but simply assures us that this is much better than what we have right now. The problem is that with the administration’s margin for error apparently so wide when it comes to these predictions, and with the period of time in play being so narrow, it seems plausible that Iran could cross the threshold to full breakout capabilities before anyone has time to sound the alarm and figure out what to do.

Amidst this latest round of negotiations to end Iran’s illegal nuclear program, this time taking place back in Vienna, Iran celebrated a rather curious national holiday; National Day of Nuclear Technology. During the festivities Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that Iran’s “nuclear achievements are unstoppable.” We live in disconcerting times when the words of Iran’s grand ayatollah are more convincing than those of the secretary of state.

Tom Wilson


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European Dual-Use Exports to Iran Continue Apace

by Soeren Kern

The illegal transfer of dual-use equipment to Iran continues unabated, due to lax enforcement and the failure of European governments to keep pace with the growing number and sophistication of actors involved in security-related trade with Tehran.
"Iran continues to seek items for its prohibited activities from abroad by using multiple and increasingly complex procurement methods, including front companies, intermediaries, false documentation and new routes." — Confidential U.N. Panel of Experts
Spanish police have arrested four individuals suspected of attempting to export to Iran industrial machinery that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction.
The machinery involves so-called dual-use equipment—products and technologies that can be used for both civilian and military applications.
Although the European Union bans the export to Iran of certain dual-use machinery and technology that could be used to aid Iran's military program, loopholes abound and enforcement remains patchy.

More than a dozen EU countries have supplied Iran with dual-use technologies in one form or another in recent years, and much of that trade was lawful and in compliance with export control regulations, research shows.
But the illegal transfer of dual-use equipment to Iran continues unabated, due to lax enforcement and the failure of European governments to keep pace with the growing number and sophistication of actors involved in security-related trade with Tehran.
Where there have been arrests, those cases are believed to represent only the tip of the iceberg of the illegal trade in dual-use items, analysts believe.
In Spain, the four suspects—an Iranian and three Spaniards—were arrested on April 1 for secretly trying to export to Iran industrial equipment and technical blueprints that could be used for making missile parts or enriching uranium, according to a statement released by Spain's Civil Guard on April 7.
The Iranian, a 47-year-old male, was arrested in Palma de Mallorca on Spain's Balearic Islands and is being detained on preliminary charges of contraband in dual-use material, belonging to a criminal organization and money laundering.
The three Spaniards—all from the same family—are a father, in his 70s, and a son, in his 40s, who were arrested in Tarragona, in eastern Spain, and a daughter, in her 40s, who was arrested in nearby Barcelona. All four face the same charges, which carry potential prison terms of about 10 years.

The police investigation, also known as Operation Terracotta, began in 2013 when the Civil Guard discovered that two Leifeld dual-use metal-forming machines had been illegally imported into Spain from Britain. According to the Civil Guard, the three Spanish suspects were administrators of the offending import firm who attempted to hide the true destination of the equipment by waiting for an optimal time to secretly forward the shipment to Iran.
Dual-use industrial equipment, intended for illegal export to Iran, seized by Spanish police on April 1, 2014. (Image source: Civil Guard of Spain)

In addition to the two machines, police seized documentation about the sale and export of dual-use equipment, as well as a large amount of computer data that is still being analyzed, according to the Civil Guard. Police also confiscated the equivalent of 10,000 euros ($14,000) in euros and Iranian rials that were earned from contraband.
This is not the first time that Spanish police have arrested individuals for illegally exporting dual-use materials to Iran.
In January 2013, police arrested two individuals in the Basque Country and seized a truck carrying 44 nickel and chromium alloy valves that were intended to be used for Iran's nuclear program. A company—Fluval Spain—was also accused of using front companies in the United Arab Emirates for the triangulation of shipments and payments channeled through banks in third countries in order to disguise Iran as the final destination of the equipment, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry.

Spain continues to be an active exporter of dual-use equipment to Iran (as well as to countries like China, Cuba and Venezuela). Despite enhanced EU sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program, Spanish dual-use exports to Iran reached 31 million euros ($43 million) in 2012, up from 17 million euros in 2011, according to statistics published by the Spanish Defense Ministry.
Nor is Spain the only European country profiting from the legal and illegal dual-use trade with Iran.

In July 2013, an exposé published by the Reuters news agency reported that Iran was importing weapons grade alumina—used for making missile components and centrifuges for enriching uranium—from several European countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia.
In May 2013, it emerged that Switzerland-based commodities giants Glencore Xstrata and Trafigura were engaged in alumina-for-aluminum swap deals with Iran that skirted international sanctions. In March 2013, Reuters reported that Glencore had supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm linked to the country's nuclear program.
In neighboring Germany, the multi-billion euro bilateral trade relationship with Iran continues unabated, despite ongoing questions over Tehran's nuclear program.
In December 2013, the Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz reported that it had obtained a list from late 2012, showing the names of 136 German companies doing business with Iran. One company on the list, Bomafa Armaturen GmbH, is a maker of high-pressure valves and specialty valves for use in nuclear power stations. Another German company, Gemu GmbH & Co. KG, is a leading manufacturer of valves, instrumentation and measurement systems.
In July 2012, the Jerusalem Post reported that it had obtained an uncensored list from late 2011, showing hundreds of German and Iranian enterprises in a flourishing trade relationship. According to the Post, one company on the list, the Baden-Württemberg-based engineering giant Herrenknecht AG, was suspected of delivering to Iran heavy tunneling equipment—some of which has the capability of drilling down to depths of 6,000 meters (19,700 feet)—that could be used to build more underground nuclear facilities.
In February 2014, police in Bonn arrested a German-Iranian man suspected of supplying Iran with components for use in its missile program. Federal prosecutors accused Dr. Ali Reza B., 62, of providing Iran with dual-use equipment worth nearly 230,000 euros ($315,000) in 12 deliveries from 2011 to 2013. The items were manufactured in Germany and prosecutors allege the suspect delivered the items through a front company in an unidentified neighboring Arab country to avoid embargo restrictions.
In November 2013, a court in Hamburg found four men—one German and three German-Iranians—guilty of smuggling 92 German-produced specialized valves for use in Iran's Arak plutonium reactor and arranging the shipment of 856 nuclear-usable valves from India to Iran in 2010 and 2011. The case is believed to be the largest known breach of dual-use restrictions on Iran.

Other examples abound:
In Belgium, the Energy Ministry launched an investigation into two companies over allegations they illegally provided Iran with zirconium powder, a mineral used in the reactors of nuclear power plants and which can also be used in making nuclear bombs.
In Britain, a British businessman attempted to export 361 dual-use electrical switchgears to Iran via a company in Dubai. In Ireland, a father-son company smuggled more than 100 million euros ($137 million) in U.S.-made military equipment to the armed forces of Iran. In the Netherlands, four individuals were arrested for exporting dual-use goods to Iran without the necessary export permits.

In Finland and Norway, Iran has been accused of trying to obtain advanced missile technology for possible use in delivering nuclear weapons. In Sweden, an individual was found guilty of knowingly trying to export dual-use technology to Iran, where it could be used as part of nuclear arms production.
For every dual-use related arrest and prosecution, however, many more illegal transfers are believed to remain undetected. This is due to a mix of bureaucratic and legal snafus and lax enforcement, as well as to the failure of many European governments to adequately understand the deceptive methods used to conceal the illegal trade in security-related goods to Iran, according to a recent study on penalties and prosecutions of dual-use offenses in Europe.
A confidential U.N. Panel of Experts that was leaked to the media sums it up this way: "Iran continues to seek items for its prohibited activities from abroad by using multiple and increasingly complex procurement methods, including front companies, intermediaries, false documentation, and new routes. These require additional vigilance and expertise on the part of states in order to identify suspicious transactions."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.


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The Israeli Solution

by Jeff Ludwig


To order Caroline Glick’s new book, The Israeli Solution, click here.

Caroline Glick’s latest book, The Israeli Solution, carefully explains the political, legal, demographic, and military position of Israel in the modern world. She corrects many faulty notions that are prevalent about Israel. The reader learns from her that Israel was not created as an emotional reaction by a world horrified by the Holocaust. Its legitimacy and destiny as a state is grounded in historical and political realities that antedate the Holocaust and in the prayerful longings of the Jewish people to be restored to and to rule their own homeland after dispossession by the vengeful Romans 20 centuries ago.
Although Glick does not place much emphasis on the visionary and incredibly determined work of Theodore Herzl and Chaim Weizman, their vision is foundational and cannot be separated from the existence of present-day Israel. Rather, she derives Israel’s right to exist primarily from three sources: the continued presence of Jews in the territory now called Israel for 2000 years, the Palestine Mandate to the British, and from the British after World War I, and U.N. Resolution 181 which established the state of Israel (as a Jewish state).

With amazing logic and compelling detail, she depicts every phase and aspect of Israel’s struggle to come into existence and remain in existence from 1920 until the present. The reader can see plainly that the Arab world accepted France’s mandate to create an independent Syria and Lebanon and the legitimacy of the British prerogative to create Iraq and Jordan, but at the same time found the British mandate for a Jewish state to be illegal and untenable. Self-determination became a by-word, a new, significant idea in international affairs after WWI and especially after Wilson’s Fourteen Points, but self-determination for the Jews, who had remained as a continuous presence in Palestine for 2000 years – to this, the Arab world’s resounding answer was “no.” Israel has had to struggle all these decades against a pathological and almost fiendish opposition by the Arab world to her claims. The Israeli Solution is utterly and properly offended by the racism and religious bigotry of the Arab world with respect to the Jews living in their midst.

Glick depicts with seeming effortless, elegant writing the hatred of the PLO towards Israel and towards Jews. The book corrects many myths about the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab world. One myth in particular stands out, namely, that Yasser Arafat “failed” in his goals because the two-state reality of Israel and an Arab Palestine was never realized despite his engagement in the Oslo process. She debunks the idea of his failure, but in beautiful detail demonstrates the extent of his success. With the help of the USSR, Arafat managed to create a worldwide diplomatic climate of opinion hostile to Israel where many countries now believe, falsely, that Israel is a colonialist power in the Middle East and racist to the core. This portrayal fits the Marxist interpretation that the West needs to be “imperialistic” in order to perpetuate capitalism, but that, by historical necessity, the West is thereby sowing the seeds of its own destruction. In short, so-called imperialism is slated to self-destruct and will bring down the colonialists with it. By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, this narrative with respect to Israel’s role in the Middle East — in which Israelis are colonialist exploiters of the Palestinian Arab people — was firmly entrenched. It is a narrative that has been played thousands of times until, for many ears, it has the ring of truth. But Caroline Glick argues forcefully on every page for the falsity of this vision.

Further, Arafat was bailed out time and time again by the U.S., lionized by a sycophantic world press for his “flexibility” and “moderation,” and excused for his masterminding of massacres and murders. He was behind the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich, his Intifada killed hundreds of Israelis, and he repeatedly broke every signed agreement made under the Oslo Accords. Yet he remained the teflon terrorist throughout. After being kicked out of Jordan and Lebanon by his fellow Arabs, the U.S. found a place of sanctuary for him and his cohorts in Tunisia. Furthermore, the U.S. has financed the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, and thus increased significantly the dangers to Israeli life and limb, and the precariousness of Israel’s national existence. Ms. Glick documents Arafat’s criminal intentions and actions with overwhelming detail, and yet, as she sadly reports, he remained supported and encouraged by a long list of U.S. presidents. 
Negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, the book tells us, have stagnated into a failed prioritizing of the so-called “two-state solution.” Yet, Glick avers, the two-state solution is the cause of the twenty-year stalemate. It is not a viable solution. In fact, the Palestinian Arabs have rejected the establishment of their own state on four different occasions. The assumption that we have “just barely missed” working out a final solution is a wrong conclusion. Rather, she posits that the Palestinian leadership does not want a two-state solution, but wants the destruction of the State of Israel as a sovereign, Jewish entity in the Middle East.

Her solution to the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (often improperly called “the West Bank”) is to follow actions taken by Prime Minister Begin who placed the Golan Heights and Jerusalem under Israeli law in the 1980s. Although technically those areas were not annexed to Israel, placing them under Israeli law was a de facto annexation. They were no longer administered by the military. Palestinian Arabs and many Western journalists seem to think that Israeli military presence means territories are “occupied,” but it does not. The military is there to protect Israeli interests while the disputed territories are engaged in “dispute resolution” with interested parties. Once Israeli law is put into effect, Israel would be unilaterally affirming the end of “dispute” and settling the question of control.

With passion and care, the author reviews the pros and cons of taking such a step. She expresses a great deal of concern about the European reaction to such a move. Also, there would certainly be fallout from increasing the number of Arab permanent residents and/or citizens as part of Israeli demographics. Yet, this big step will give relief from the cul-de-sac Israel now finds itself in, where she endlessly negotiates for a two-state solution that the Palestinian Arabs do not want. The endgame for current Palestinian chief Mahmoud Abbas is the destruction of Israel.

The Israeli Solution projects an alternative to the dangerous gamesmanship and perpetual war we have witnessed in the quest for a so-called two-state solution. Yet, is it really wise to try to absorb a fiendish population – people mired in rage, mental instability, and rigid ideology – into one’s country? Before attempting to do so, a much more aggressive public relations campaign is needed to counteract Arab and Soviet-era propaganda about Israel. This campaign would put the moral onus where it belongs – on the attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of the Arab enemy.

Jeff Ludwig


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Peres: China is Key to Preventing a Nuclear Iran

by Yori Yalon, Israel Hayom Staff and Reuters

President Shimon Peres tells Chinese counterpart Xi Jinpeng that "Iran is the center of terror in the world, exporting terror across the entire Middle East and beyond" • China is Israel's largest export destination in Asia.
President Shimon Peres is welcomed upon arriving in China
Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Yori Yalon, Israel Hayom Staff and Reuters Source:

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

An Open Letter to Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence

by Jay Bergman


Frederick Lawrence
Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts

Dear President Lawrence:
The decision of Brandeis University not to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, after first announcing that it would do so, is disgraceful.
The cowardice it reflects contrasts sharply with the courage Ms. Ali has shown in condemning aspects of Islam that she rightly considers cruel, bigoted, and misogynistic, and for which she has suffered grievously.
It is yet another example of how arrogant, closed-minded faculty, and students who believe they can prohibit anything on campus that makes them uncomfortable, can intimidate administrators such as yourself to the point where one of the principles essential to higher education — a tolerance of opinions with which one disagrees — is dispensed with in the name of preserving “a welcoming environment.” But the very essence of education is being challenged intellectually, and if students cannot endure the discomfort that that often induces, they have no business attending a college or university.
You say that you are withdrawing the award because Ms. Hirsi Ali’s views violate what you call “the core values” of the university. But Brandeis saw nothing wrong in awarding an honorary degree to Tony Kushner, who has called the creation of the state of Israel a mistake and falsely accused it of ethnic cleansing; and to Desmond Tutu, an anti-semitic bigot who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany. From this one could reasonably conclude — since Tutu’s anti-semitism did not cause Brandeis to refrain from awarding him a degree — that anti-semitism is either one of the core values of your university or is not inconsistent with these values.
It is clear that at Brandeis University Israel can be smeared and those who do so are rewarded, but someone who properly criticizes Islam is unfairly attacked and dishonored.
In short, you have made the sorry record the university has compiled in awarding honorary degrees even worse.
And what makes your shameful capitulation especially regrettable to me is that I am an alumnus of Brandeis University, class of 1970. Your university is my university. And right now I am ashamed to call it my alma mater.
Jay Bergman
Professor of History
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, CT 06050

P.S. For your edification I include below the excellent article by Lori Lowenthal Marcus, an alumna of Brandeis, in today’s Jewish Press, and an article by Toby Young in today’s Telegraph, published in England and subtitled, appropriately: ”Cowardly Brandeis University Capitulates to Islamist Pressure.”
Brandeis Caves to Pressure. Withdraws Honor to Ayaan Hirsi Ali The Jewish Press (April 9, 2014)
by Lori Lowenthal Marcus
In a complete collapse of rectitude, Brandeis University’s president Fred Lawrence issued a statement on Tuesday evening, April 8, announcing the withdrawal of women’s and human rights champion Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a recipient of an honorary degree from the school at this year’s commencement.
For two days Muslim students and supporters raged against the decision to honor Ali because, they claimed, she is Islampohobic.
Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. In 1992 she escaped an impending arranged marriage to a relative, running to the Netherlands, where she learned the language and established a life. She rose to become a member of the Dutch parliament, where she worked to further the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society.
In 2004, Ali made a film with her friend, Theo Van Gogh. That film, “Submission,” is about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures.
After “Submission” was aired on Dutch television, an Islamic extremist murdered Van Gogh who was enraged by the portrayal of Islam. A letter pinned to his body contained a death threat to Ali. She eventually fled Holland and Ayaan Hirsi Ali now lives in the United States.
Ali evolved from being a devout Muslim to one who questioned her faith, to ultimately and resolutely rejecting it.
“I left the world of faith, of genital cutting and forced marriage for the world of reason and emancipation. After making this voyage I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values.” That is a quote from Ali’s book, “Infidel.”
Ali has been extremely and indeed harshly critical of the Islamic world in which she suffered, both as a child in Africa, and also as a hunted creature, in Holland, from the angry immigrants who brought with them to Europe a profound inability to accept criticism of Islam.
And now, here in America, Ali is still being hounded by those who refuse to live by the standards of the West, of tolerance, of robust confrontations, but ones not knife-edged with intimidation.
The Facebook Page denouncing Ali and the decision to honor her at Brandeis’s 2014 Commencement decried her for her “hate speech.” The Muslim Students Association claimed that honoring her “is a direct violation of Brandeis University’s own moral code as well as the rights of all Brandeis students.”
Most chillingly, while the students acknowledged Ali had experienced “terrible things in her life,” their bottom line was “we will not tolerate an attack at our faith.”
And so they issued a fatwa: the invitation to Ali had to be rescinded. The school newspaper, The Justice (yes, the irony!) ran both a “news article” and an editorial denouncing the decision to give Ali an honorary degree.
Brandeis University president Fred Lawrence echoed the students (and a large number of faculty members, including the Women’s Studies professors) in his statement:
Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.
Commencement is about celebrating and honoring our extraordinary students and their accomplishments, and we are committed to providing an atmosphere that allows our community’s focus to be squarely on our students. In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.
In other words, Ali’s decades of devotion to helping women enslaved by misogynistic practitioners of the Muslim faith – who dominate the governments of Muslim countries – was neutered by the pronunciamento by students that they “would not tolerate an attack on [their] faith.” And in still other words, on American campuses criticism of religion – which has been a fixture of campus life – is no longer permitted. What words, what thoughts will be deemed unacceptable next?
And this is a new trend. All manner of people have received honorary degrees from Brandeis, many of whom have been critical of other religions, particularly of Judaism and of the Jewish State.
Need one really trot out the many people who have received honorary degrees from Brandeis, a school founded by the Jewish community as a way to get around the strict quotas on the number of Jews who could attend high quality schools.
People such as Tony Kushner, who flatly stated that the creation of Israel as a Jewish State “was a mistake,” who regularly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and of savagery and who blames the existence of the state of Israel for the “terrible peril in the world.” Kushner received an honorary degree in 2006.
Then there is Desmond Tutu – a man widely revered for the work he did on behalf of South Africans, but who also is a rank anti-Semite. Tutu has compared Israel to Hitler, attacked the “Jewish lobby” as too “powerful” and “scary,” he has sanitized the gas chambers of the Holocaust which he said made for a “neater death” than one under Apartheid, and he complained of the “Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust.” He also insists that Jewish Holocaust victims should forgive the Nazis. Bishop Tutu received his honorary degree from Brandeis University in 2000.
The school administration buckled under to the Brandeis contingent of an increasingly entitled and belligerent faction on U.S. campuses who believe diversity, tolerance and justice only apply to positions and people whose views are consistent with their own. This goes not only for the students, as Bernadette Brooten, a Brandeis professof in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department explained on the Facebook page denouncing Ali, “a group of 86 faculty members has signed a letter to President Lawrence, asking him to rescind the invitation.”
The Case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Cowardly Brandeis University Capitulates to Islamist Pressure (April 9, 2014)
by Toby Young
I was shocked to learn that Brandeis University, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, has withdrawn its offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken critic of female genital mutilation and a campaigner on behalf of Muslim women.
“We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values,” the university said in a statement released yesterday, just eight days after announcing that Hirsi Ali would be awarded an honorary degree.
The change of heart was prompted by a well-organised campaign by various pro-Muslim groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations which sent a letter to Dr Frederick Lawrence, the President of Brandeis, referring to Hirsi Ali as a “notorious Islamophobe”.
“She is one of the worst of the worst of the Islam haters in America, not only in America but worldwide,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the group, said in an interview with the New York Times.
In addition, a Muslim student at Brandeis started a petition at accusing Hirsi Ali of “hate speech”. By way of evidence, the petition cited an interview she gave to the Evening Standard in 2007 in which she described Islam as “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death”. In the same interview, she also said that “violence is inherent in Islam” and that “Islam is the new fascism”.
This is an act of extraordinary cowardice on Brandeis’s part. To accuse Hirsi Ali of “hate speech”, which is defined as “any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which… may incite violence or prejudicial action against… a protected individual or group”, is almost comically ironic. She was raised as a Muslim in Somalia, underwent circumcision at the age of five and was later forced into an arranged marriage with her cousin. She only escaped this fate by running away to Holland where she subsequently became a member of the Dutch Parliament.
As an MP, she highlighted the hypocrisy of the European Left for aggressively defending the rights of Muslims while, at the same time, turning a blind eye to the disregard for women’s rights within Muslim communities. She started to receive death threats for her outspoken views from 2002, culminating in a note pinned to the corpse of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh saying she would be next. “Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you will break yourself to pieces on Islam,” the letter said. “You, oh America, will go down. You, oh Europe, will go down … You, oh Netherlands, will go down … You, oh Hirsi Ali, will go down.”
Defenders of Brandeis’s decision will say that Hirsi Ali is guilty of tarring all Muslims with the same brush and that there’s nothing inherently violent about Islam. Needless to say, she has often answered that charge. “People who ask me that question assume that geography is more important for Muslims than what is contained in the holy Quran,” she says.
Of course the circumstances in which people live in Turkey are different from those in Morocco or Somalia. But when it comes to the relationship between men and women, in all these countries there is a red line of the woman being subordinate to the male. And most Muslim men justify this subordinacy with the Quran. There are so many meanings Europeans miss. We Muslims are brought up with the idea that there is just one relationship possible with God – submission. That’s Islam: submission to the will of Allah.
Whether you agree with Hirsi Ali’s Manichean view of Islam, she’s entitled to express it without being bombarded with death threats or accused of “Islamophobia” which, in this context, amounts to “hate speech” since it’s precisely that charge that has led to threats on her life. You would think that an American university would be a staunch defender of Hirsi Ali’s right to free speech and wouldn’t capitulate to a mob of politically correct Muslims at the first sign of trouble. If the same institution had offered an honorary degree to Richard Dawkins, it’s simply inconceivable that it would change its mind after being attacked by Christians.
Everyone involved in this cowardly decision should be ashamed of themselves. As a liberal arts college, it should be a beacon of light. Instead, it has sent a clear message to everyone in the academic community that vigorous criticism of Islam won’t be tolerated.

Jay Bergman


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