Thursday, 23 September 2010


ISRAEL is developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners.

You step into a heavy Kevlar steel booth. It will not X-ray, you but will detonate any explosive device you have on you.

This as a win for everyone. No need to remove shoes. No unnecessary profiling. It also eliminates the costs of long & expensive trials for captured terror suspects.

It's so simple. It's brilliant.
In the airport terminal you will hear a muffled explosion. Shortly after, an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention passengers - we now have a seat available on flight number _".

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Organised by the ICT at the IDC Herzlia, Israel. September 2010.

'The difference in US policy between Bush and Obama in fighting terror is motivation. Bush did not address the terrorists motivation. He went out to get them. Obama addresses motivation but denies the source and real motivation. He throws out the baby with the bath water. While appeasing the moderates he encourages the extremist'.  BOAZ GANOR.

Radical Islam is problem. Modern Israel is the solution.  DANIEL PIPES.

'If the West is defeated, or does not win, in Afghanistan, this will encourage terrorism'. COLONEL RICHARD KEMP.

'President Obama took as long to decide on the surge campaign in Afghanistan as it did for the Allies to invade Normandy and reach Germany in the Second World War.  We need a much stronger leadership from Obama'. COLONEL RICHARD KEMP.

'Having a different narrative between immigrants and indigenous populations leads to a rise in nationalism'.  JONATHAN PARIS.

'We are always fighting to last war. Five years after Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, we are still taking off our shoes at airports'. MICHAEL BALBONI.

'We threw ten billion dollars from the Homeland Security budget to local authorities without a strategic plan. In the States, we have failed to improve security despite the huge budget'. MICHAEL BALBONI.

'Despite Obama's stated intentions when entering office he has not followed up on his commitments. He has not closed Guantanamo. He has not stopped extraordinary rendition. Targeted assassinations have increased in Afghanistan and other places'.  PROFESSOR BILL BANKS.

'American lawyers have not kept pace with the dynamics of the war on terror. The judicial system is still fraught with dispute and contentious issues'. PROFESSOR BILL BANKS.

'Terrorism is based on four pillars. The West, Jews, economy, and intra-Muslim disputes'.  HAGAI SEGAL.

'Ayman al-Zawahiri (Al Qaida) said 'Victory in Iraq will allow us to infiltrate into Jordan and then on to Palestine''.  COLONEL YONI FIGHAL.

'Anthrax should be put into America's drinking water'. Hamas Weekly, 11 July 2010.

'Europe has a law against incitement to terror. The US does not in the name of free speech, but words lead to violent action'. DR.DAVID SHARAH.

'Laws are being employed against those who speak out about radical Islam. This punishes free speech. It impedes the free flow of public information. This prevents democracies from protecting and defending themselves'.  BROOKE GOLDSTEIN.

'In Europe, new hate speech laws have been used to punish anyone who speaks against radical Islam. It is also forbidden to include quotes from the Koran (Geert Wilder) and mention the references of radical imams'. BROOKE GOLDSTEIN.

'Yale University refused to publish a book 'The Cartoons That Shook the World' because it featured a cartoon that shook the world (referring to the Danish cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban).'

Referring to petitions to the court just hours into Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Cast Lead by human rights organisations, lawyer DVORA CHEN

'How do you deal with a petition in the Supreme Court while the war is raging. In Israel we have had incidents when the commander is still on the battlefield, leading his men in battle, while the court is considering a petition into his actions. We have spoken to commanders from the court by phone while he is running from house to house fighting terrorists'.

'The Palestinians are not prepared to accept our independent existence. They talk of occupation as if we took something away from someone. We built Ariel because it's ours. Arafat's policy was taking what he could get, and then starting the next war. It's one concession after another. And what do we get? More terrorism. Terrorism goes up. Our legitimacy goes down'. UZI LANDAU.

'We have been making concessions for decades, and getting terror in return.
If you get the same sickness after twenty years of taking the same medicine, you had better check your medicine'. UZI LANDAU.

'Winston Churchill was a backbencher in Britain's Parliament in May, 1940. when he was asked what was his plan against Nazi Germany. He said, Victory!'
Without victory there is no existence. This applies to the war on terror'. UZI LANDAU.

'I visited the Nahal Prison and met a leading Hamas terrorist. This guest from Gaza was serving seven life sentences for murdering innocent Israelis in terror attacks. I asked him how he saw the area twenty five years from now. He said there would be one state, Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. I told him there is the State of Israel, what would be do with all its citizens. He answered that he would send them back to where they came from. I told him that my family had immigrated many years ago from Yemen, and there is no diplomatic relations between Yemen and Israel. He told me that I had a problem. The message is, they are patient. Very patient. And they will not give up on their ambition to remove Israel'. AVIGDOR KAHALANI.

'A man went to his doctor and the doctor prescribed a pill for his illness. The patient asked if the pill will cure the illness. The doctor replied that it wouldn't, but it would suppress it.  Our pill is fighting terror. Just like crime, you can only suppress it. It is not going away'.   AVIGDOR KAHALANI.

'We Jews do not have another country. They have to recognise us and our Jewish state. We built our own America here. We live in an outstanding country. We want peace, but they want our land. We will continue to defend our country. We are ready to fight and die to defend it. We are here. We are not going away. We fought for our country and when it's our sons turn they will continue to defend us against terror'.  AVIGDOR KAHALANI.

'A CIA head told me 'Terror? That's your local issue. Don't drag us into it!' That was a few years before 9/11..'   DANNY YATOM.

Monday, 20 September 2010


I am absolutely hopping mad at the Israel Foreign Ministry for, once again, missing a valuable opportunity of getting in the first blow in hasbara against a gathering flotilla to Gaza.

Almost one month ago I sent them information that I had a large group of demonstrators keen to support Israel by challenging the convoy before they left London. They/I needed basic intelligence information on the assembly point of the convoy prior to departure.

I asked the Foreign Ministry, way in advance of their departure, for cooperation on this. None was forthcoming.

A valuable early hasbara victory was denied us.

Then I received word that the convoy would include agricultural equipment and agricultural fertiliser. This is cause for grave security concerns. Fertiliser is an ingredient in bomb making.

I passed this information over to them with the request that it be acted upon via security channels before the convoy left London.

Many of us expected to see some police action in London but, again, nothing happened.

More than a hasbara disaster, this could have major security concerns for many in Israel, yet no action was, apparently, taken.

This convoy is now progressing through Europe gathering much anti-Israel propaganda as it goes.

When will any official hasbara be forthcoming? Perhaps a day after a major incident?

Why is it that the IFO Hasbara Department cannot take action, and nor can it support external activists?

It seems too pre-occupied in informing the world that Israelis do not ride on camels.

Barry Shaw.

The View from Israel.


In this, the third report from the ICT World Counter-Terror Conference at the IDC Herzlia I report on the views of leading experts on terror, strategy, and the world today.

DAN MERIDOR is Israel's Deputy Prime Minister. He is also Minister of Intelligence.

'If the war of tomorrow is the same as the war of today it's OK. We know what weapons we have and we know the capabilities of our enemies. History, however, teach us that wars, like everything else in life, moves on. In the Second World War, Polish officers charged German tanks on horseback.
Today's enemy is terror.
Building submarines may not help you catch Osama Bin Laden.
In the age of rockets, missiles do not respect borders.

Our experience has been that when conventional enemies found that they could not beat us by war they made peace. This applies to Egypt and Jordan.

Terror is another matter.  One man shot Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo and brought about the First World War.

We know what we know about terror today but the future is different. Cyber terror and nuclear terror are just two issues that we have not yet faced to any effect.

How to invest money, people, resources to best effect in tomorrow's battles?
The days are past when nation fought nation. Today, we have loose organisations that fight states.
Decades ago, we had the fiction of organisations like Spektor being fought by James Bond. Today, it is no longer fiction.  Today this reality is Al Qaida, Hamas, Hizbollah.  Today we have organisations ruling states. Look at Lebanon where Hizbollah, taking instructions from Iran and Syria, control the country.

Another paradigm is the trend to identify people not by nation but by religion. A Lebanese, Hasrallah, takes orders from a Persian, Khamani. Both are Muslim Shia. It has less to do with nation, more by religious affiliation.
Religion rules certain peoples lives and sends them to the battlefield in the name of their god.
This not only applies to other religions. Yigal Amir says he killed Yizhak Rabin as God's work.

If you use religion you remove compromise. It is against Islam to have a non-Islamic nation in the region.

How do you fight this enemy? What is the hierarchy in this chain of command?
You fight it with the values you possess. Liberty, freedom, democracy. You impose it on the other side by showing them that a better life can be obtained with these values rather than the value of death.
You prove to them that you cannot submit women to servitude or worse. You cannot torture people. These values are an attack on their way of life.

The world of technology makes the individual more powerful. In the wrong hands this is dangerous.

Terrorist have seen that the use of rockets work for them. They are improving their capability, lengthening their range and improving their accuracy.
They fire them from within their civilian population including schools, mosques, and rooftops.  They store them in private houses and cellars.
When a war breaks out you don't see soldiers. You see people, like you and me, running around firing missiles. It is civilians hitting civilians (Sderot and Ashkelon). There is no army involved at that stage of the one-sided fighting.

We need an operational way to deal with this. Who do you defend with your limited resources? How much money does it take for a full civil defense? Are you going to respond and attack? Where? Who? How? What intelligence do you have?

There is also the moral question. A launcher fires a rocket every ten minutes or half an hour. The only way to answer is to fire a rocket at the perpetrators.
How many children can you kill to stop them killing my children?
I did not read anything in the Goldstone Report that addresses this dilemma. Is it not proportional? Don't the laws of war apply when you strike back in self defense?

I can assure you that, whatever American or Russian soldiers do, none of their soldiers will end up in The Hague.

The paradigm of conflict changes when it come to the war on terror'.

SHIRAZ MAHER is a Senior Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College, London.

'How should liberal societies contend with non-violent but extremist views?
These are angry, disenfranchised people.
The standard response is to bring them into the political system, and stop them finding other forms to express their anger (such as terror).
There are two problems with this approach.
What is the price?  What are you giving away?
You are engaging them, but on whose terms? It has been found that the values of the state are being traded off by appeasing them in an effort not to radicalise them further.
If you bring them on board you deny the link between non-violent and violent radicals. You create the moral imperative for their movement. It is important to understand that link. You have taken their radicalism on board.
The state needs to acknowledge this and tackle it.

Quoting one example, two Britons came to Tel Aviv as suicide bombers. They blew up Mike's Place in Tel Aviv.
They met in the UK with non-violent radicals that set them on their path to jihad. 
How many people get involved without becoming terrorists? How many people become terrorists without being in non-violent radical groups?  There are no statistics.

Is prevention better than cure?
The Holy Land Foundation in America was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood funding of Hamas. When homes were raided, documents of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership were found that had established seemingly innocuous local groups. Their idea was to further their agenda, thereby extending their radical aims.

Policy makers are not Muslim are do not truly comprehend the risks of courting non-violent radicals.

Britain pumped millions into Muslim concentrated areas such as Leeds and Bradford. The problem  was that it is not only Muslims who suffer from deprivation. This caused a polarisation between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Non-Muslims saw that radical Muslim groups attracted funding from London while they didn't.
The most important element to gaining attention and money was Muslim identity. Rather than absorb and assimilate into the general population, the Muslim identity was strengthened and this have driven a rift between them and the general community.

The current British Government, due to the poor economy, is reducing the budget to this project. This should give them the chance to reassess their policy. The answer is to address the problems of deprived areas generally reaching out to all citizens, and not address Muslims only. 

The British Government funded the Islam Expo in Britain, which attracted 50,000 people. Among the notable participants were former Hamas members who had been granted asylum in Britain.

Promote non-exclusive, neutral, platforms and treat everybody as citizens of the state.
Adopt a value-based initiative. If you disagree with British values that;s fine. Just don't expect funds from the Government.  Anyone who supports terror anywhere should not get support or recognition or receive public funding.

The big question to Governments is what are you giving away in the name of security? This needs careful examination.
How do you trade your values, and on whose terms?'

(This question applies vividly today in America over issues such as the Ground Zero mosque -author).

NITZAN NURIEL, the Director of Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau, played devil's advocate.
He put himself in the shoes of the imagined Head of Global Terror.

'As head of Global Jihad I can say that we are doing well. If we want to blow things up and kill people anywhere, and any time, we are free to do it.
The media is on our side. We cause destruction and the press jump on it. This gives us worldwide publicity.
When one of our leaders make a simple videotape it gets played all around the world.
If we need to buy something there is always someone willing to sell it to us. We have no lack of money.

There are areas in which we intend to improve our capability. They include cyber attacks and non-conventional weapons, including chemical and biological. We have lots of friends that have these. All we need to do is persuade them to let us have them. 

Our internal discussions include the question of if we need another 9/11, or should we continue with lots of smaller, localised, attacks around the globe.

We have lots of volunteers. If we want we could execute a hundred people suicide attack at one time. We have no problem recruiting the bombers or making the bombs'.

(We have been joined by 'useful idiots' who call themselves 'human rights activists' and Western liberals who attack their Governments for fighting against us. They are ready to protest their Governments actions against us, create boycotts and flotillas, which all help our cause -author).

Nuriel told us that the world has not yet adopted a common definition of what us terrorism. He is constantly arguing with overseas colleagues over this.
Government Intelligence agencies do not share their database. They are concern about exposing their sources of human intelligence. We need to create an international database on terrorism without the fear of burning sources.

'The level of commitment and cooperation is less than we are willing to admit.
When the world decided that pedophilia was not acceptable the international police produced an international database of these criminals. 

Between human rights and the right to live preference must be given to the right to live.

It is not enough to understand the threat. We must analyse how the terrorist will implement the threat. It is vital to make the enemy pay a high price before he attacks, not after.

It is important to understand global jihad, especially for Israel. Hamas and Hizbollah are fed by the same phenomenon. It is important to investigate the money and the weapons flow.

The terror we deal with today has national capability. Nations feed them. The Saar Institute in Syria is well known for its missile development program. The international community must tell them that they support terror and warn them of the consequences.

Terror will exist forever. We have to push it to a level of criminality that we can live with.

The next challenge we face is non-conventional terror'.

COLONEL RICHARD KEMP was Commander of British force in Afghanistan. He has become an Israeli hero for his outspoken response to the Goldstone Report in which he claimed that the IDF made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza than any other army in the history of warfare.

He said that jihadi groups need success to promote their ideology. As long as young Muslims sign up the terror threat will persist.
It is a mistake to assume that poverty encourages young Muslims to join groups like Al Qaida. We have seen middle class, educated, young British and American men join jihadi elements.
Radicalism does not come from poverty.
As homegrown terrorism grows so policies become more pragmatic. This sends out the wrong message.

Civilian deaths in the war on terror is inevitable. British forces killed seventeen in Ireland on what became known as Bloody Sunday.

JONATHAN PARIS is an Associate Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College, London.

He talked about what he referred to as 'Londonistan - Homegrown Terrorism'.

The UK is a bell weather for Europe for homegrown terrorism. The 7/7 London bombings was a wake up call.
Since then there has been the Heathrow Airport plot, the attack on Glasgow Airport and the foiled car bomb explosion in Haymarket in Central London.
There have been dozens of other foiled plots throughout Britain.

Counter terrorism, he said, can be categorised by the four 'P's.
PREVENTION, which is gaining traction.
PURSUIT, to track down terrorists.
PROTECT, to protect the public and property.
PREPARE, to enable national security, counter terror organisations, and the public to be aware of the danger.

Already radicalised citizens get their Masters degrees in terrorism at the Al Qaida colleges in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The United Kingdom has now recognised the complexities of fighting and averting terror.
It is important to create an alliance against extremists. We need to mobilise moderate Muslims in our communities to act against extremists. The Muslim community should be looked on as a partner not an adversary.
The United Kingdom is in two minds how to fight back. Human rights and civil rights clash with the need to keep the public safe.

We see leading Muslim intellectuals, like Tariq Ramadan, seizing the opportunity to politicise the Muslim communities in Britain and America that have, until recently, considered themselves British and American first, rather than Muslim.

In Britain, the Muslim Council has been headed by extremists. and past Governments have reached out to them instead of bypassing them and reaching the regular street Muslims. This has been a mistake.

The teaching if Islam dilutes identity with the state in favour of religion.
Rank and file Muslims in Britain see themselves as Muslim first.
Under their new identity they wage ideological attacks on British values and raise them as a social problem.

In Britain there is an increasing concentration of Muslims in certain key areas. In these locations the inhabitants can go for weeks without even seeing a non Muslim.

British prisons are experiencing a rise in the population of the jails. Extremist and jihadi ideology is being taught within the prison system.

There is little to no integration.

Multi-culturalism has been based on 'live and let live'.  Values are not imposed. This leaves a vacuum.
Archbishop Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Church, once said that British values are not worth articulating.
Muslims are then encouraged, by their leaders, to demand that their own values are respected and imposed on the community.

The French, on the other hands, impose state derived identity and loyalty to the Republic. The French language must be learned. The French provide something to integrate into.  The French have adopted a strict and specialised judiciary for terrorism. Anyone aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation can be arrested.
(This is not so in Britain. In Britain, you have to prove that your involvement with a terror organisation directly involves violence or acts of terror. I will be writing about this in more detail in a future article - author).

The French problem is with their immigrants and their social and economic difficulties which has caused disenfranchisement.

There is a major problem between foreign policy (even policy of other states) and radicalism at home.
As an example, Operation Cast Lead in Gaza led to a lot of noise in London which got louder with issues such as the Goldstone Report. An event like this causes radicalisation in Britain.

There are a lot of Muslims sitting on the fence. They are watching the battle against extremism. If the US loses to the Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan, or if Iran got the bomb, they may perceive that God is on their side and come down off the fence to the side of the radicals.

BOAZ GANOR, Head of the Institute for Counter Terror at IDC Herzlia addressed the issue of Future Trends & Challenges.

'Five years ago I was asked by a journalist about political tensions in Iran. Today we face a nuclear challenge from this nation seeking world supremacy.
There are rival forces at work in Turkey. We have to see if Turkey takes pragmatic or negative steps.
The future of our region will be influenced by which direction these nations are allowed to take.
Unfortunately, the track of radical forces in Turkey is going faster than the secular and moderate ones.
Contrarily, the biggest enemy of Al Qaida could be a state like Turkey (not the United States or Israel).  Although Turkey is on the slope to radicalism, after the recent referendum, they oppose the religious ideology of Al Qaida.

So, future trends will be governed by three main issues:
1. Nuclear Iran.
2. The US withdrawal from Iraq and the aftermath.
3. The Islamisation process in Turkey.

These are happening during the renewal of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Things are not being helped by the confused international leadership of America.  There is an illusion that free democratic processes reduce terror. In fact, we saw with the Palestinian elections that elections can legitimize terror.

The issue is not helped when people like John Brennan, the White House Counter Terrorism Chief says that 'terrorism is not an enemy of the United States', and 'Islam and jihad are not enemies of the United States'.
If they are not, who is the enemy of the United States?

Boaz Ganor conducted a survey among one hundred security and counter terror experts who were visiting Israel for the four day conference.  This, he explaiend, did not expose any new scientific proof, more a calculated risk based on experts opinion.

To the question 'Will the nature of the terror threat increase or decrease with a nuclear Iran?' 63% said that terror would increase.

'How effective are the sanctions against Iran?'  85% said they were not effective.

'How many years before terrorists have a nuclear weapon?' 54% said within ten years.

'How long will it be before there is a large scale non-conventional terror attack?' 66% said within five years.

'How long will it be before there will be a large scale cyber attack?' 75% said within five years.

'Who is better at counter terror policy and action, Bush or Obama?' 64% said Bush.

About the Middle East conflict, the question posed was 'Will there be peace in the next five years?'  88% said it was unlikely.

Regarding the American withdrawal from Iraq, the question was asked 'Will the US military withdrawal increase or decrease stability in Iraq?'  55% said security would decrease.

Thus ended a fascinating insight into opinions and predictions of counter terror experts from Israel and around the world.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Terrorism's Global Impact.
ICT's 10th International Conference at the IDC Herzlia.

Day one continued with a Talking Heads panel of former Ministers of Defense and IDF Chiefs of Staff.

AMOS GILAD, as Head of the Political, Military, and Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Defense, said that Israel is in a reasonable situation regarding terror. 

'Arafat decided to strike at Israel and not the territories when he led his terror attacks against us.

The Palestinian Authority have stopped terror against Israel and are targeting Hamas because they are an enemy of the Palestinian Authority. It's a case of 'to be or not to be' within Palestinian society.

Since 2006 not many rockets have fallen from the Gaza Strip. Operation Cast Lead was a deterrent. Hamas thinks it a good idea not to fire rockets at us.

The Sinai is a danger with Al Qaida cells opening up there. It is also a smuggling route for weapons and people involving the local Bedouin. Egypt and Jordan share Israel's concern. So far Eilat and Aqaba are quiet'

As for future threats, Gilad referred to the Shihad/Kassam coalition. These are the two main rockets owned by Hizbollah over Israel's northern border and by Hamas over Israel's southern border.
Hizbollah now possesses 45,000 rockets compared to 14,000 in 2006.

'Lebanon has a Constitution but not a state', said Gilad. 'The Lebanese Prime Minister has not idea what is going on in the south of his country. It is no-go territory for Hizbollah'.

Referring to the Gaza Strip, Gilad said  'Hamastan now has missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. Hamas received massive aid from Iran. The Palestinian Authority is unable to take responsibility for what is going on in the Gaza area. Israel cannot go soft on mortar or rocket attacks'.

'Hizbollah and Hamas are independent entities. Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood can accept temporary defeats. They have a lot of patience. They have not changed their ambitions to eradicate the Zionist state'.

Regarding an Iranian nuclear capacity Gilad said, 'It would be humiliating for the Arabs if the Persians have the bomb that they don't have'.

'There are heavy clouds on the horizon. Unlike the weather, we can take steps to make sure we don't get wet'.

Regarding America he said, 'the security relationship with the US has become stronger in recent months. I can tell you personally that cooperation on the war on terror is increasing. We cannot get complacent'.

BOAZ GANOR, the Founder and Executive Director if Israel's Institute of Counter terror asked what should be done about the Iranian threat.
If,and when, Iran will be nuclear how will it impact on Hamas and world terror?

'A nuclear Iran is unthinkable', he said.  'It is a strategic threat. Israel is perceived as being strong. Hizbollah and Hamas are deterred, but they will never give up their ambition to destroy Israel. From tiny kids to their top leadership, they all say it.
You don't have to be a prophet to know what Iran will do. Just listen to Ahmadiajad and the Ayatollahs. Ahmadinajad goes to the United Nations and talks about the destruction of Israel, and nothing happens!'

On the subject of the new American Administration's approach to the war on terror, Ganor said that Obama's policy is different to Bush. Without wishing to give an evaluation of America, Ganor did say that Obama relied on dialogue 'to do it nicely'.
'This doesn't work. The US is in a war on terror. It is difficult to be optimistic about the abilities of the Iraqi and Afghani Governments abilities to cope with terror. You have to liquidate the threat. In Afghanistan, you can't deter them so you must eradicate them.

With US forces leaving Iraq and later Afghanistan you cannot be optimistic for the future'.

On delegitimization of Israel.

'There is a delegitimization campaign on legitimate acts of Israel in its self defense.

We are the David in this world, not our enemies'.

MOSHE ARENS was a former Minister of Defense and Foreign Minister. He spoke about the effect of terror on a civilian population.

'Terror deliberately targets civilians. The suicide bomber is one of the most accurate forms of terror. They choose the target and the timing of the attack.
Serial suicide bombings have the ability to break the spirit of the population. Israel successfully removed the threat of suicide bombings with Operation Defensive Shield, and the construction of the separation fence'.

Regarding rockets, Arens reminded us that the German V2s were launched against England to break their will. They were effective in that they caused immense damage, but the British were resilient. Eventually, the British reached the launching sites and stopped the German terror attacks.

'We were targets from the north and from the south. We have now invested efforts and huge amounts of money for interception. We have the capability of hitting a bullet with a bullet. We will continue to develop these defensive rocket shields until our enemies realise that their rockets are ineffective'.

Regarding deterring terror, Arens gave examples of how Israel had deterred terror attacks.

'If we talk of a terror group without a state or institution there is no way to deter them if they are determined. The only way to eradicate it is shown by Operation Defensive Shield.
We went town to town, house to house, and emptied their terror infrastructure. We build a separation fence that made it very difficult for them to reach us. Now we are tackling the rockets and missiles'.

Regarding terror with an infrastructure, Moshe Arens gave two examples.
Hezbollah is connected to the Lebanese Government. They have to consider an attack against us against the political and social environment in which they live.
They kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and fired rockets at us. We fought the Second Lebanon War. Despite the criticism about the way it was fought it did have a deterrence and implication for future Hizbollah action.
The head of Hizbollah, Sheikh Nasrallah, said he would not have fired rockets  had he known that Israel would respond so heavily.

This is similar to Hamas. We couldn't deter Hamas rockets attacks until we launched Operation Cast Lead. Today they have more and larger rockets but they don't seem too keen to use them.  After Cast Lead they take into account our reaction to their terror attacks and they are concerned about their survival.

'Deterence is not a stable commodity. It can change with political shifts and perceptions'.

SHAUL MOFAZ was, for 36 years, in various command positions in the IDF. He was also both a Former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense. He is currently deputy head of the Kadema Party.

He told us that Amos Gilad's opinions and assessments add weight to Israel's political decision makers.

'Nine years since the events in America shocked the world, the collaboration in counter terror intelligence has increased. Israel's experience against terror is extensive. The most difficult part was the war against suicide bombers and the general onslaught of terror against our population.

The lead is held by the desire for domination of an extremist ideology.  Today, the greatest threat is Iran. Iran leads the extremist axis. Iran is building huge arsenals aimed at Israel both directly, and through their proxies Hamas and Hizbollah.

We don't have the privilege to allow Iran to achieve nuclear capability. Iran means what it says.

Yes, continue the dialogue. Yes, increase the sanctions on Iran. There must also be a military option. I hope the international community will take the necessary steps.

To those who say it is possible to contain a nuclear Iran I say this is not possible.

About the missile threat, this is not against Israel only. Entities must be deterred from developing and using more sophisticated rockets and missiles. The world must create and deploy other options to prevent rocket attacks from reaching countries as far away as America'.

On a peace agreement Mofaz said, 'Without touching on the diplomatic track, there is an opportunity at this time. If a two state solution is accepted how do we turn it in practical terms.
The Palestinian political system is split. I do not see any possibility this will be solved. Do we have the privilege of waiting for them to sort out their problems, or do we move ahead with whatever can be achieved, taking out security needs into consideration?
We can make border and security arrangements. We retain the large settlement blocks and they can have a state on part of the territories. The border should be the equivalent of the 1967 borders, though not exactly on those lines'.

'Benjamin Netanyahu made a big mistake in granting a freeze on settlement building ten months ago. This had never been proposed under previous Israeli administrations, and the Palestinians had never made building freezes as one of their preconditions.
It is clear to everyone that we did not have a plan'.

'If we don't reach a realistic peace agreement with the Palestinians someone else will impose terms of reference on us.
We cannot give up on the hope of peace. Peace will free us to concentrate on education, social problems, and the future of Israel'.

'Any peace agreement will include Israel's defense and security needs to avoid a future Eastern Front against a possible invasion from Iraq and a flow of missiles and weapons from the east'.

PROFESSOR URIEL REICHMAN, the Founder and President of IDC Herzlia opened the evening proceedings.

He outlined the First Millennium during which Christian radicalism swept the world with Crusades and the Catholic conquests.
In the Second Millennium we see radical Islam.
People found other reasons to launch wars but religion played its part.

'Islam', he said, 'is trying to put the clock back a thousand years.  The main weapon today is terrorism, but that is only a beginning.'.

'Iran wants to annihilate a United Nations member state. It wants to control over 60% of the world's oil resources. Resistance is the only course. This must include all humane societies. That includes moderate Islamic societies. Israel's negotiations are threatened by terrorism'.

'International cooperation is not only sharing intelligence. There has to be an international agreement to fight terrorism. The world community has to come to an accord on how to combat terror coming out of heavily populated areas.

The IDC Herzlia established the Center of Counter-Terrorism under Boaz Ganor. They give graduate courses in counter terrorism. Students from Stanford, Oxford, and other centers of learning come to ICT for an MA in Counter Terrorism'.

'On 9/11 an act of terror was directed at a country that had opened its arms to people of all nations and religions to come and live in freedom. It is a country with one of the greatest constitutions of any. It symbolises what jihad wants to destroy and replace.
This was the target. It is still the target.
We mourn the people who suffered the tragedy of 9/11.  We know, in Israel, how the loss feels.
We salute the United States and cherish the values of that country. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fight on terror'.

SHABTAI SHAVIT Former head of the Mossad.

'When we came up with the Institute for Counter Terrorism in 1996 we were the laughing stock. We are now the dominant force that is copied around the world.

'Today we raise the question whether fighting terror is a military or a police action?'

In Israel, with most terror attacks deliberately targeting the civilian population the first responders are, usually, the police.

'Don't envy the army field commander who has to think of the legal, humanitarian, and public relations considerations of his soldiers actions in real time close combat fighting'.

Professor Alex Mintz, Dean of the Lauder School of Government at the IDC Herzlia, said that nine years after 9/11 the world is no safer.
Iran is short of a bomb, but what will happen if they get the bomb?
Ahmadinajad has already said he would share nuclear science with his allies.

There has been twenty five reported cases of lost or stolen nuclear materials.

'The first nuclear missile will be used against Israel, unfortunately. I hope this conference will take this issue seriously. It is important for academic, political, and national security to formulate a plan that addresses this issue'.

BOAZ GANOR asked 'What is the secret of our success with this conference? It is not just a conference. It's a meeting place where experts talk among themselves of the challenges we face. This is not a theoretical issue. We are trying to find solutions for the atrocities of terror.
The academic world can, and should be, relevant to this subject - the war on terror'.

'We see the Iranian effort to achieve nuclear capability.
We see the United States step out of Iraq. What will be the result?
We see the radicalization of Turkey and the romance of the Turkish leadership with Iran, Hamas, Syria.
The peace process. If Hamas sees this leading somewhere we can expect their reaction'.

Ganor referred to the results of a recent survey on international experts undertaken by his Institute.

54% believe that within ten years a terror organisation will have nuclear capability.
66% believe that a non-conventional war will occur withing five years.
The majority feel that there is no sufficient counter terror measures in place  to offset these dangers.

'This conference has to be fruitful. We cannot afford it not to be'.

MOSHE YAALON, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs assessed Israel's strategic situation at the Jewish New Year.

"Last year was a reasonable year for Israel. Good economic growth. We convinced our Palestinian neighbours to begin direct peace talks, suppressed terror, reduced rocket attacks.
Israel still faces challenges.
There is an ongoing assault on the legitimacy of Israel, and on our right to defend ourselves.  We continue to build and fortify our country'.

'Our war on terror is reactive. We are forced to take preventive measures against those who fight us'.

'We commemorate the dreadful attack against the free world. We send our condolences to America and to the victims families. Right after 9/11 the understanding was clear. With time, this clarity is eroding. Radical Islamic groups want to change the world order. This is the time to say that terror is terror is terror. Fight it by all means'.

'Israel has been the victim of terror since before its establishment.
As far back as the 1920's Jews were massacred in Hebron. Since 1973 terror has become the major way.
Since they found that they could not beat us in conventional warfare they turned to terror.
The moderate Arab states signed peace with us. The radicals chose another path.
The aim of terror is to break the will of its victim. It is the result of wrong
political decisions and changes on the ground. We withdraw from Lebanon and from the Gaza Strip and terror replaced the vacuum.
Capitulation to terror only brings more terror'.

'Hamas and Hizbollah are becoming institutionalised in Gaza and Lebanon. There is daily friction among their own factions.
Due to Israeli actions the terrorists are deterred from launching attacks against us. They are, however, acquiring more weapons, taking advantage of the organisations supporting them. They have rockets instead of suicide bombers'.

'In making peace we must insist that the other side gives up all terror activities from the bottom up. No incitement, preserve law and order, an uncorrupted economy. The peace agreement must not be a 'hudna', a pause for regrouping.
We can encourage those that fight terror, but not be fooled by superficial efforts.
An effort must be made to prevent terror groups from obtaining better weapons'.

'Public support is as important as military effort. We must maintain the moral high ground and fight for our legitimacy. We must not be affected by baseless, biased, things like Goldstone, or delegitimacy campaigns like flotillas and boycotts.
In spite of these attempts to restrict us, Israel will do whatever is required.
We don't have any other choice'.

'We must maximise cooperation with allies, including the Palestinian Authority, through dialogue.
If we stick to these principles we can win this war'.

Monday, 13 September 2010


The IDC Herzlia outdoes all other campuses and organisations when it comes to putting together a powerful conference on critical issues.

I attended the 10th World Summit on Counter Terrorism organised by Boaz Ganor, Executive Director of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism, at the IDC Herzlia.

The opening sessions were called 'Talking Heads'. The first panel included former heads of both the Mossad and the Shabak (General Security Services of Israel).

The moderator, Major-General Danny Rothschild, said that the conference was being held shortly after Rosh HaShana and just before Yom Kippur, a very significant time in the Jewish calendar.
Addressing Israel's security position in the world he said,
"This is the year that may be a turning point politically, militarily, and in security and intelligence. There is the American withdrawal from Iraq and the consequences for that country, the changes in the region, Israel's internal political process in the peace negotiations, and Iran'.

Turning to the panel he said, ' These are the type of people who daily cope with serious and sensitive security issues for Israel, but they are subject to the Government who make the fateful decisions'.

SHABTAI SHAVIT (Former head of the Mossad).
In intelligence you deal with your enemies not with your own forces. Regarding issues facing the security apparatus in Israel in 2010 he included fringe groups that do not obey the law, major strategic allies (USA) and regional allies.

Addressing the current American Administration he said that the current American President was the first that did not display solidarity with Israel, that he outreaches to the Islamic world, and sees Israel as an obstacle quoting someone who said that 'Israel was a pebble in the President's shoe'.

Shavit sees a shift in the once Christian-Jewish solidarity. He recognises an emerging Christian-Muslim solidarity.

Other highlight comments by Shabtai Shavit included:

'We have known alliances with Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia fall apart due to internal changes in those countries'.

'Europe has lost it's will to live. China and India are becoming the center of gravity for the world's economy.  Russia is doing everything it can to stay on the playing field'.

'Anti-Semitism is expressed under the guise of Anti-Israel.  Judaism in America is undergoing a Jewish Holocaust by removing itself from Israel'.

'In order to retain our good name in the international community we have to be careful not to be too successful. If we would have had more casualties maybe we would not have had the Goldstone Report,' he said cynically.

'When the world is against you, stop being right and start being smart. Adopt different methods to fight our enemies'.

Turning to Israel's internal political situation in light of the peace negotiations he said:

'Given a majority in Israel in favour of a two state solution we need to change the coalition. Shas out. Kadema in. Israel Beitenu is a pragmatic party. A new coalition will strengthen the center block in Israel. It will restore the rule of law, draw a distinction between fringe elements and the majority. It will appeal to moderate Arab states.'

Addressing internal security matters he advised that issues involving the local population should move from the IDF responsibility to the border police. The Government finds it easy to send in IDF soldiers to cope with internal security matters but this erodes the ethic of the IDF. The entire chain of command is involved in domestic issues.

'Today, we have the situation where military units come into contact with civilian issues such as land use, licences, demonstrations. These issues should be managed by the police, not the army'.

'There is confusion about hasbara in the military. There must be a clear code who can communicate with the media'.

On the moral issues of the military hierarchy Shavit said,
'It is unthinkable that officers dismissed for offenses can return to the army'.

Attacking Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, he said of the impending appointment of a major-general who lost the bid to replace the current Chief of Staff as the next head of the Mossad,
'For the Defense Minister, this is another ploy to build coalitions and garner support for his policies by appointing people who will be in his debt'.

CARMI GILLON was head of Shabak from 1994-1996. (Rabin was murdered on his watch).
He concentrated on education as an integral part of Israel's security.

'Israel's strength is based on scholarship, especially in R & D, technology'.
Referring to Elon Lindenstrauss of the Hebrew University who won what is considered the 'Nobel' Prize for Mathematics in 2010, he said that Elon had gone from the IDF to Talpiot and then he went abroad. He returned to Israel two years ago and, in the incubator of science, he won this prestigious prize'.

'Roger Kronberg comes to Israel every year for three months from Stanford University. When I asked him why he comes so regularly he told me 'I come for ideas. I go back to execute them''.

'We cannot compete with American salaries but we must compete with the standards in the laboratories and the faculties. It is a question of priorities from the Government. They have the money, they need to allocate it properly'.

'There is added value to IDF service. The IDF contributes enormously to the education of our young men and women in research to technology and systems'.

'Israel is becoming a selfish society. People consider themselves and not society. We no longer have politicians with the vision of Ben Gurion, Begin, and Rabin. Today's politicians are bureaucrats'.

'Do not condemn the Time's article criticising Israel. Treat it like the goy who tells us the truth about ourselves'.

AMI AYALON, head of Shabak for four and a half years, gave us a powerful view of the difficulties thrown in the path of security heads and personnel acting in real time in defense of its citizens.  He called his report
'Democracy against terror - an Israel case study'.

In December 1999, at the height of a wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians he High Court in Israel passed a ruling banning the use of torture in interrogations of terrorists.  Human dignity clashed with security against a background of the 'ticking bomb'.
The Shabak had to defend basic human rights, namely the murder of the population, yet according to section 39, they no longer had the right to use physical force during interrogations in order to save lives.
As Supreme Court judge, Aharon Barack, said. 'This is a state of democracy. Democracies sometimes have to fight with one hand tied behind its back'.

In December 2006, the Supreme Court in Israel ruled on targeted assassinations. This was the last ruling by Judge Barack. It occured during a period where a thousand Israelis died and 350 Palestinian terrorists were killed in targeted assasinations. Unfortunately, 190 Palestinian civilians also died.
The ruling permitted the targeting of political and religious leaders if they were involved and responsible to terrorist actions.

'President Bush introduced an erroneous vision that there can be no democracy without open and fair elections. The Palestinians held elections. So what? Hamas won.  Democracy has other values'.

Talking of his personal experiences when negotiating with the Palestinians he explained that it was almost impossible to second guess the Palestinian red lines when sitting with them in peace talks. They, on the other hand, knew all our red lines. All they had to do was read our newspapers. That is part of an open democratic society with a free press. It is an integral part of democracy'.

Former Mossad chief, DANNY YATOM, told us of his personal experiences in security and terror.

'The world woke up in shock on 9/11 at the attacks that took 3000 lives. 9/11 had a dramatic effect on the war on terror against democracies. This was something we had been fighting for years.

I remember being in a meeting, before 9/11, with the heads of CIA in Washington DC.  I shared with them the dangers of a nuclear Iran based in real intelligence we had at that time. The response I got was 'You can't be serious. You're exaggerating'.  When I discussed global terror they told me 'Terror. That's your local issue. Don't drag us into it.'

We tried to persuade the world that terror will hit America and Europe. Terrorists respect no borders. They don't distinguish between English and Spanish, between London and Mumbai'.

9/11 caused them to completely change their strategy, though they had their eyes opened with a previous truck attack at the World Trade Center in New York.
The terror war continues, and will continue, for many more years.

Taking a tough line on Iran Yatom said:

'Only military force can stop Iran. Since the sanctions are not enough I am hopeful that the world will come to its senses and reach the conclusion that, to stop the Iranian nuclear arms race, we will have to attack some of their nuclear facilities.
If modern air forces, led by the United States, mobilize their capabilities it is possible, if not to completely remove the threat, at least to delay it for years to come.
If the world failed to meet that challenge Israel retains the right to self defense.
I don't want to live in a situation that I will be sitting in Israel and my fate will be in the hands of others, especially when you are talking about a lunatic regime.
I don't want to be the subject of an Iranian experiment.

Some people say that we should pray that Iran does not go nuclear. Praying is good, but we can also take action'.

YAAKOV PERI, Ex Shabak head, turned to the threat of cyber terror.

'The future of international terror will include cyber terror attacks. Terrorists will adopt more sophisticated methods. The question is not if, but when and how it will happen.

Conventional terror causes the terrorists to train people, make weapons, travel, cross borders, to execute attacks. Cyber terrorists does not need to leave the house.

There have already been examples of cyber terror.During the fighting in Kosovo, hackers flooded NATO computers with viruses. There have been two thousand mini attacks. Israel has participated when one hacker damaged a Hizbollah website. Hizbollah responded by attacking the Knesset website.
Al-Qaida has already opened schools to teach terror students how to perform terror attacks against state networks.

The dangers are international as systems are global.

The main problem in trying to counter this future threat is that states are not happy to cooperate on cyber terrorism. They want to protect their own technological secrets and advantages.

Turning briefly to other issues, Peri told us that Israel faces real dangers with boycotts and delegitimization campaigns.

'It is time for security and intelligence to change gears to public diplomacy in a more efficient may to fight this threat to Israel's legitimacy'.

AVI DICHTER was Shabak head from 2000-2005. He was then made Minister of Internal Security.

'We have to change the reality that makes the homefront the front line in the terror war. Suicide bombers and rockets expose our citizens to brutal attack.

We have to realise that the barrel of terror has a bottom. That doesn't mean you have to kill every last terrorist, but critical mass can deter terror. Terror is an ocean you can't dry out but you can reduce it to manageable proportions.
We have seen waves of terror in the 60s and 70s that also travelled abroad with a hijacking in Vienna and 60 hostages, plane hijackings, attacks at airports such as Ben Gurion and Rome.

In Israel, between 2000-2003, we lost 900 citizens and over 5000 injured in terror attacks. This wave was awful. After we lost 450 people in the Second Intifada we changed strategy.

Operation Defensive Shield attacked all the terror bases in the West Bank. We spent ten billion shekels building the separation fence. People said we were throwing money down the drain. Others objected to it, but this fence prevented the terrorists capability of reaching us. There was a dramatic fall in the number of Israeli casualties.

The separation fence also defines a political border between Israel and the Palestinians. The green line is on a map but you see a fence. A good fence makes good neighbours. Without this fence the Palestinians would not control the West Bank. It would be a porous border.

It is a fact that Israel has not engaged in a conventional war for more than thirty five years.  Instead, we have had 35 years of terror. We are waging wars against terror as a reaction.

Again, we have to change strategy. We cannot allow a terror group to dictate how a democracy behaves. How do we do that? With deterrent? Warnings? Offensive action?  There is a fourth element of active defense.

From 1968, ever since an El Al plane was hijacked, we put bodyguards on our planes. America, through financial considerations, refused to do it. It was too inconvenient for them. That was until things blew up in their face nine years ago.
I was a guard on a plane early in my security career. I can tell you that four guards on four American planes would have got medals on 9/11.
Consider the financial significance of 9/11. Beyond the personal tragedies and individual costs, how do you value the loss of the Twin Towers, the damage to the Pentagon, the added security costs at airports. What about the war on terror as a result of 9/11? It costs one billion dollars a day to fight the terror wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. Some put the cost at three trillion dollars. You could have put bodyguards on every plane in the world for far less than that'.

Terrorists dragged America into Afghanistan. We were dragged into Lebanon and Gaza. The cost, for us, is enormous.  We need a massive budget for active defense. Terrorists win when they inflict huge financial damage to nations. They also know when it is not worth trying to attack us. We stopped the wave of suicide bombers with our separation fence. We can stop rockets with an effective missile defense'.

In closing this session the moderator, Major-General Danny Rothschild,
reminded us of the growing danger of the soft war of delegitimization against Israel.  He saw this as a serious threat to our nation that needs to be challenged.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

WHAT MAKES A FRIEND OF ISRAEL. Notes from a Conference.

Israel must be the only country that feels the need to hold a full day conference on the question of who is a friend.
Such is the feeling of isolation and mistrust in Israel of friends and allies.

The IDC Herzlia hosted a conference sponsored by Germany's Heinrich Boll Foundation.

The subject is important for Israel that perceives a bias in politics and media that not only displays not a lack of understanding, but a refusal to understand Israel's right to self defense.

Jorn Bohme, Director of the Israel office of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, asked what characterised a friend of Israel? He wondered would this question be asked of any other country.
The Jewish state has the right to ask are you with us, or against us, in the war on terror.
Bohme admitted that Israel has turned every stone for peace and the Palestinians have rejected each of them.
Israel, he said, is a country with many fault lines in a region with even deeper fault lines.

Cern Ozdemir is the Co-Chairperson of Germany's Green Party. Although born in Germany, he is of Turkish extraction.
He told us that people assumed he was an expert of everything Turkish but admitted that, growing up, he knew nothing of Turkey, and even less about Islam.
Only when he went into politics was he forced, by repeated questioning, to study the subject.
Turkey and Israel, he told us, have more in common than is exhibited by both peoples.
Both nations think that the rest of the world is biased against them and don't like them.
The expression 'The Turk is the Turks only friend' is taught at childhood in Turkey.
He advised Israel, 'Just because your paranoid doesn't mean your neighbours are not out to kill you.'
He warned those with an agenda against Israel, 'If you call Israel a terror state, and support terror attacks against Israel, don't expect people to listen to you'.
He clarified that members of German Left parties participated in the Gaza flotilla, but not Germany's Green Party who consider themselves friends of Israel.
What is important to realise within Germany is the changing demographic in which 32.5% are of non-German origin and do not share the German-Israel relationship which is not only based on mutual interest, but of history.
'What do Turkish immigrants in Germany know of the Holocaust?' he asked.
75% of German-Turks never visited a museum or Holocaust site. They need educating on the subject.
The majority have no memory of the Holocaust and care more about the politics of Israel.
Again, said Ozdemir, education is the key. 

I am sensitive to Israelis using poor language when explaining Israel's position to overseas experts.
When Dan Margalit, a leading Maariv journalist and political TV pundit, said that Israel is ready to give back land, I winced.
He did not fully understand the implication of that statement but, to a listener, it seemed like an admission that the land belonged to the Palestinians. 
The majority of Israelis know that the land is ours but we are ready to offer land to Palestinians in return for a permanent secure peace.

Haaretz journalist, Aluf Benn, said the one good thing that came out of the Gaza withdrawal was that there is now one recognised border between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 
'Hamas knows where the line is, and so do we. This is something we don;t have with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Only when we have borders can we begin to dream about a world without borders'.

Dore Gold spoke of his experiences at the United Nations.

'It is easy to see who is a friend and who is not by who votes for you, and who brings resolutions and votes against you'.

One organisation that is definitely not a friend of Israel is the United Nations Human Rights Council that focuses exclusively on Israel and ignores the crimes of Sudan, Iran, and other such nations.

'This criticism', said Gold, ' came from the ex-Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Anan'.

'One criteria of a friend of Israel would be equality before the law. You can't have one set of international laws that apply to Israel, and another that applies to all other nations, then call yourself a friend'.

'The evolution of the Goldstone Report began in the UNHRC, a bastion of human rights represented by countries such as Cuba, Pakistan, and Egypt.
Th conclusion of Goldstone's 575 page report was that Israel intentionally and deliberately killed Palestinian civilians'.

And Goldstone still considers himself a friend of Israel.

Turning to flotilla and the blockade on Gaza, Gold said that a blockade is a legal instrument of self defense.
After years and thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilian centers can anyone doubt that Israel has the legitimate right of self defense?

'Why is it OK for NATO to blockade Yugoslavia, yet not OK for Israel to blockage Gaza?', asked Dore Gold.

Firming his case, he reminded us that, after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the United Nations imposed a blockade on Iraq.

Dore Gold finds the delegitimization of Israel ironic.
'No other country has as much international legitimacy as Israel. Which other country can boast that their rights have been approved both in the League of Nations, in the origins of the United nations, and reconfirmed in the 1947 UN Resolution 181'.

Closing on a pessimistic note, he said 'the fundamental rights of Israel will be denied where ever the final borders may occur'.

Professor Dan Diner (Department of History at the Hebrew University) and Rafi Fuchs (President of the Heinrich Boll Foundation) agreed that the acceptance and establishment of the Jewish state occurred during a 'window of historic opportunity' that accepted the creation of Israel on principles of self determination. 

The timing of accepting the national rights of the Jewish people had to do with the historic memory of supporters, said Professor Diner, quoting examples.

Rafi Fuchs refuted that Israel was exclusively founded on historic memories or conscience of the Holocaust.
It played a role, he said, but Zionism was active before World War 2.

Mr. Fuchs outlined the changes in European political thinking post World War 2. 
The notion of nation states began to fade following the Second World War in favour of multi-national union. 
Europeans looked at nation states as contributing to conflicts and wars. He felt it important that Israel be incorporated into the European Union and into NATO. It would, he said, reduce tensions in the area and add to Israel's security.

He explained that Europeans insist that an essential part of democracy is separation of state and religion. Reflecting on Israel as the state of the Jews is, at the same time, understandable, yet an ethnic state is a strange concept for Europeans.

A problem for progressives and liberals, said Fuchs, is they prefer to see Israel
as they want it to be, not as it actually is.
The political and social fabric of Israel is not perceived so well in Europe. Friendship, though, means you can disagree but stay together.

If it is unsafe to rely on historical sources to link Germany and Israel, we must build institutions to strengthen the ties. These should include the European Union and NATO.

'We need mutual obligations to protect each other. A two state solution and mutual obligations in the needs of security'.

Rabbi Andrew Baker gave an over view of gathering anti-Semitism from the United Nations resolution that 'Zionism is Racism' to the anti-Semitic United Nations Durban Conference.
He outlined steps that had been taken to institutionalise the campaign against Anti-Semitism.
He reminded us that Anti-Semitism disguises itself by attacks against Israel.

He quoted an incident in June 2010 when the mayor of Malmo told his Jewish population that they would feel more comfortable in his town if they spoke out against Israel.

We then came to, for me, a strange section of the conference.
Moshe Arens has always represented a right wing position, and Yossi Beilin has always been perceived as belonging to the left of the Labour Party.

Yet we found ourselves hearing from Moshe Arens that he favours a bi-national state.

'Israel is already a bi-national state,' he said. 'It is a multi-cultural state made up of Jews, Muslims, Arabs, Christians, and others'.

'If a two states for two people - or even three or four states for two people - does not work, why not one state with a Jewish majority?'

'What percentage of a minority can be part of a state without destabilising it?' Arens asked. 
'Today, 20% are non-Jewish', he claimed.

Arens foresees a state encompassing all of the territory that will still have a sizable Jewish majority.  He did not express what he would do with Gaza.

He spoke of President Obama's Cairo speech in which Obama said that Israel emerged out of the Holocaust.  He challenged that assumption.
The Zionist plan was active in Europe prior to the Second World War.
'What would Israel be like today had seven million Jews made Aliyah in advance of Nazi Germany?'

Following to Holocaust, and the establishment of the Jewish state, a population of only 600,000 faced the whole Arab world.
Linking Israel to the Holocaust is a complex issue.

Turning to the wavering support of American Jews, he disputed the claim that it was Israeli policies that were turning them away.

'I am not a sociologist. I am an engineer' he said, 'but I think that any weakening of support for Israel is linked to the increasing intermarriage in America. I think it is a factor that, as they lose their connection to Judaism, they also lose their connection to Israel.
Not that American commitment to Israel was all that strong from the beginning. In the United States, out of five million Jews only between 2000-3000 volunteers came to help Israel is our early wars.  Only a small fraction stood up and said 'I came to help''.

Arens addressed the title of the conference with a wry smile.
'How does one devote an entire day to such a simple question of who is a friend of Israel?'
The answer is simple,  a friend in need is a friend in deed'.

To prove his point he mentioned the Gaza flotilla. 'It is clear who is involved. They cannot be considered friends of Israel.' The post flotilla reaction also showed who was with us, and who was against us.

'Those who question our legitimacy cannot be friends. Do we have a legitimate right to live here, to our own state? I do not negate others their rights to their states but, at such an hour of a large existential threat to Israel, we, indeed, have the right to know who is a true friend of Israel'.

Then Yossi Beilin took the microphone.
He answered Moshe Arens directly.

'You said that a friend in need is a friend in deed. I don't want to be that friend in need'.

'Is it OK to rely on our friends? I wouldn't like to put them to the test!
History has show us that.  During the Holocaust the world closed their gates to the Jews. Even countries that were not hostile to Jews closed their gates. The good people closed their gates'.

My Zionism is here in Israel, in the land that I was born. It is in my bible, in my history. It is in the need of the Jewish people to own their own gate.

I don't want a bi-national state. I don't want to be like Belgium, a country falling apart, divided by two peoples.

If Israel is not a Jewish state I don't want to live here. I like it here. The climate is good. I enjoy the Jewish culture'.

Referring to history, 'the greatest failure of Zionism was that is became effective only after the Second World War. The Arabs did not agree to the Peel Commission. That was their mistake. 
If someone has a conference in Colombia that Israel doesn't have the right to exist it doesn't interest me.
We must do everything possible to solve the Middle East conflict.
This does not mean that they will stop hating us, but it is easier for them to hate us if we seem to the world as not doing the right things.

I would like to do everything so that I will not be the one in need'.

I met a diplomat from the Irish Embassy. We enjoyed a rolling discussion over coffees and lunch throughout the day.
As we were leaving the conference hall together he said to me, '
What sort of friend do you prefer, the barman who pours you drinks without end, or the policeman who pulls you over before you have a driving accident?'
I wasn't sure which parties fill the various roles in his conundrum. To be honest, he hadn't thought it through himself.
Since the conference I have solved his enigmatic puzzle.

It's the international community that is pouring drinks unceasingly, and unconditionally, at the Palestinian Authority.
The barman is telling me that the bottles of booze are intended to make the drunk calmer, less violent, and more persuasive to settle his dispute with me.
Instead, the drunk continues to threaten me and my family if I do not agree to give him my house.
With every gulp of free alcohol he becomes less conducive to settle his grievances with me.
He kills my family members, maims others, damages my property, and when I strike out at him the barman calls in the international police to have me arrested.

So, the next time I meet my Irish acquaintance I shall tell him that neither the barman, nor the policeman, are my friends.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


So you support Palestinian rights.
So do I, but we have to define what those rights are.

Would you consider Jews, descendents of those who lived here during the Ottoman Empire or the British Mandate, as Palestinians, or Israelis?
Do you call an Arab, born in Israel post 1948, Palestinian or Israeli?

You tell me you are a human rights supporter.
So am I.

You live there. I live in Israel. Let's understand each other - clearly, fairly, honestly.

At the outset, I have to ask you why your activism for human rights is confined to the Palestinian cause?
Why have you not expressed your outrage for other, far more critical, human rights disasters? More of this later.

I understand you like political adventurism. Why have you not joined a flotilla to feed and care for the thousands of dying children in Africa? Why have you not turned your attention to the horrendous human rights crimes of the Iranian regime against their own people? Beatings, tortures, killings, stoning and lashing women to death, executions of homosexuals, do not seem to move you.

In fact, why aren't there flotillas and convoys to save lives in Africa?
Why is it that all the flotillas I hear about want to head for middle class Gaza?
Ever thought about that? Don't you stop to consider that there are millions who  urgently need your activism far more desparately than people in Gaza?

What is it about the Palestinians that get you going over all other humanitarian tragedies?
Could it be that you cannot incriminate Israel in human rights crimes perpetrated in Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, Russia, China, Pakistan, China, Turkey, Cuba, so these abusive regimes do not get you emotionally involved?

You say you support the Palestinians and are upset by human rights abuses against them.

I tell you that your support is limited, and tainted.
I tell you that my support is far broader, and more international, than yours.

You are ready to take action in support of the human rights abuses of the Palestinians in Gaza.
You are ready to demonstrate, march, participate in flotillas, really get involved on behalf of the Palestinians, when you feel it is the Israelis that are doing the abusing.

For me, I question the abusing by Israelis. I also suggest that you consider that the Israelis have a really good case when it comes to being abused by Palestinians, especially from Gaza. Recent killings of Israelis by Palestinians, however, took place in the West Bank (what we call Judea and Samaria).

I can also send you a very long list of terrible crimes commited against innocent Israelis by Palestinians for decades, but let's put that aside for now.

Let me concentrate on the issue of your limited support for Palestinians.
It seems to be confined the Gaza these days. Why?

Why is it that, with the rapid improvement in the living conditions of Palestinians, you have to increasingly exaggerate a false picture of Gaza to make your point to the world?

You shout, in emotional terms, about the condition of Palestinians in Gaza.
Give me your email address and let me send you the numerous photographs I have on Gaza today.
In fact, go to Google Earth and find them yourself.

You will see Palestinian kids having fun among the slides in the Water Park, and the rides in the Lunar Park.

I also have photos and videos of Palestinian terrorists grabbing kids and using them as human shields in their fight against IDF soldiers.
I didn't hear your outrage at these abuses of human rights against Palestinian children by Hamas terrorists. Why not?

Maybe it's because you don't consider Hamas as a terrorist organisation? If not, where do you draw the line between freedom fighter and terrorist?
Do you not consider suicide bombers, deliberately targeting innocent Israelis, as terrorists? Are they not terrorists under any definition of the word? Are they not committing the most heinous human rights crimes when they target buses and shopping malls?

You scream blue murder when Israel fires at terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, but stay silent when Hamas fires tens of thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian areas.
How come? 

If your are truly a human rights activist, where is your humanity?
Or is it a one-sided morality?

But let me return to my pictures of Gaza. 
You see the mansions and luxury apartments, the fine restaurants, the five star hotels, the new Gaza Shopping Mall, and the crowded and well stocked stores and markets.

They clearly have the funds and the materials to build and equip these wonderful buildings.
They also prove a source of income and employment for the Palestinian population.
That's how it should be.  But this raises in me two questions.

Your protest that Gaza is the biggest humanitarian crisis on earth is somewhat in conflict with the facts on the ground.

The Palestinians are enjoying an increasingly good lifestyle, certainly in the West Bank and evidently in Gaza.
How have they managed this if Israel's 'brutal occupation is preventing basic needs from getting through to the Palestinians'?
Clearly someone has not been telling the truth here.

You can't build without supplies of building material and equipment.
They are not living in tents. They are living in nice apartments and beautiful houses. They do not walk. They drive.
Clearly the statements about Palestinians being deprived of building materials, equipment, furniture, appliances, was a lie.
Did you help spread that lie?

They drive modern cars and trucks. I thought you told the world that they are barely surviving? How are they able to buy, drive, and maintain these vehicles? Off charity?

You can't complain about Palestinians not having the most basic needs when the markets and shops are brimming with the widest variety of produce and products.  They are not starving. They are eating well.

International statistics show that Palestinians live longer than Turks. Their infant mortality rates are better than most other Arab countries.
Things aren't at all bad for Palestinians living in Gaza or the West Bank.

Things will be even better when they turn away from supporting the Islamic terror regime of Hamas, ably supported by Islamic Jihad and other unsavoury gangs sponsored and equiped by Hamas in Gaza.

Nowhere do you mention peace. Do you think there will be peace if Hamas, God forbid, takes over the West Bank from the Palestinian Authority?
Will you continue to champion the Palestinian cause if that happens?

It is here that I will prove to you that I care more for the Palestinians than you do.

You are completely silent on the condition of Palestinians outside of the Palestinian territories.
I, on the other hand, have written and spoken out about the inhuman conditions in which they are forced to live in places like Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

After decades living in these and other countries they are denied citizenship. They are prevented from entering into the national work force. They are not allowed proper education that would allow them to study and become useful professionals in many fields.
Isn't this ethnic discrimination? Forced to live separately from the indiginous population is, surely, apartheid?  Where is your protest in support of the people you claim to love?
If you really care about the Palestinian condition you should be demonstrating about the continuing saga of confining them in refugee camps in these so-called 'friendly' Arab states.

So who is more international about human rights for Palestinians? You, or me?

BackHave a look at the children of Gaza swimming in the Olympic-sized pool in Gaza City. That's great.

I live in Netanya. We have been hit by repeated Palestinian terror attacks that include shootings, car bombings, and numerous suicide bombers that have killed about fifty of our citizens and maimed over three hundred.
We don't have a municipal Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Neither does Sderot, the target of thousands of rockets and mortars fired on them by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Aren't they worthy of your sympathy? Don't they deserve to enjoy facilities such as Olympic swimming pools?

Sderot does not warrant the massive amounts of aid and funding that is pumped into Palestinian society by the international community.
True, diplomats make a sympathy pilgrimage to Sderot but they limit their huge budgets exclusively to the Palestinian cause.
That is why I can show you the evidence of Gazans enjoying a middle class lifestyle, while the kids of Sderot barely receive trauma treatment.

Palestinian society is radically split. The internal violence is shocking. Palestinians hate Palestinians to the point of brutality, including torture and murder.
I share your concern for innocent civilians. But, where was your voice when Hamas activists were throwing Palestinians off rooftops, shooting political rivals, torturing them, killing Palestinians who champion the cause of peace, firing rockets from schoolyards and from heavily populated areas?
I spoke out. I did not hear you.

If you really stand up for human rights abuses why have you remained silent over the abuse of women's rights in Palestinian society?
I have written and spoken about the repression of women under Arab and Palestinian control. Why haven't you? 

Why do you condone, by your silence, honour killings as respectable behaviour in Palestinians households, not to mention genital mutilation of girls?
If you truly stand for Palestinian human rights you should be demanding the major human rights organisations to investigate this serious tradition of abuse against women and girls.

Why don't you join me in protesting these abuses? Or is you advocacy for Palestinians confined only on issues that allow you to attack Israel?
Are you simply echoing the 'Palestinian narrative' as it applies to Israel while ignoring the gross abuses they suffer from their own leadership and other Arab regimes?

As an Israeli, I can tell you that the Palestinians could have achieved their own state decades ago.  They could have it today if having their own state alongside the Jewish States of Israel was a priority for them.
But it's not.

Just read the Hamas Charter and you will learn what is really at the heart of the conflict here. In fact, have a look at the Palestinian National Covenant as well.
They share the same aims.

Have a glance at Article 7 of the Hamas Charter.  If the Palestinians want their state to be an Islamic Republic that's fine with me, as long as they respect my rights to my Jewish democratic state, but Article 7 reads:
"The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

As a human rights activist, don't you find that racist?
Doesn't that national charter sound to you like incitement to genocide against my people?

And, as for peace, go to Article 13. Here it is written:

"Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences: [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad."

I ask you. Do you share these resolutions?
Is this an integral part of your support for Palestinian rights?
Because, if you share these points, you also support Articles 14 and 15.

"Article Fourteen: The Three Circles:The problem of the liberation of Palestine relates to three circles: the Palestinian, the Arab and the Islamic. Each one of these circles has a role to play in the struggle against Zionism and it has duties to fulfill. It would be an enormous mistake and an abysmal act of ignorance to disregard anyone of these circles. For Palestine is an Islamic land where the First Qibla and the third holiest site are located".


"Article Fifteen: The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Obligation. When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad".

I ask you. In your support of Palestinian rights are you supporting Islamic Jihad against me?

There is no way of avoiding this question. I do not expect you to be a Zionist, but if you are not a Zionist, are you a Jihadist?

The 'moderate' arm of Palestinian society is headed by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, ably supported by Prime Minister, Salim Fayad.
I heard Fayad speak at the annual IDC Conference on Herzlia where he was invited as a keynote speaker.
He was given a warm reception by the Israeli audience who yearn for a permanent peaceful solution to the painful conflict.

But, let me read you some sections of the Palestinian National Covenant, which is their national constitution.

Article 2 states that any Palestinian state will be 'with the boundaries it had (sic!!) during the British Mandate, as an indivisible territorial unit'.

Really? I thought we were negotiating a Two State Solution? Where is Israel in this equation?

This is confirmed in Article 19 of their National Covenant which defies UN Resolution 181. It reads:

"Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination".

Again, Israel has disappeared.
Is this part of your support for Palestinian rights?

The Palestinian National Covenant also denies the Jews biblical, historic, political, cultural rights to Israel.

"Article 20: ...Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood".

While wanting to create an Islamic state of their own, they deny me any national rights:

"Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong".

Am I going to allow Palestinians to define who I am?  Am I going to allow them to deny me my history?

Whatever happened to the nation of Judah, to Zion, to Jewish national aspirations, throughout centuries of diaspora dispersion?

You probably share the Palestinian outrage when people rightly say that Palestinians never had a nation of their own and neither do they have any national rights enshrined in international law as do the Jewish people.
From my perspective, the Palestinian narrative is based on a lie. It is based on a deconstruction of history. It is based on rights they never had as a people.

I can go on about the calls for violence to establish this Palestinian state but I want to return to our core problem.

This is our problem. The problem between you and me.
If you approve of the advancement of Palestinian rights alongside the Jewish State of Israel then we have what to discuss and agree on.

Israel has, and will, make painful concessions for peace.  If the issue is land, it is ours to give. It is not theirs to take.

If, on the other hand, you promote Palestinian rights over my rights to exist this letter will, doubtless, be our last communication.