Israel- Gaza Strip/Hamas: Prime Minister Netanyahu warned today that if Arab rocket attacks did not stop, a very hard Israeli response would come very soon. Netanyahu made the remarks during a visit by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Israeli Army figures show eight rockets have struck Israeli territory since 1 January and another five were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Two of the most recent attacks came from Sinai, Egypt, and were fired at Eilat in southern Israel.
Comment: Israel will hold Hamas responsible for the attacks from the Gaza Strip and will retaliate. It will expect the Egyptians to take responsibility for controlling the Sinai militants. The recent slight increase in rocket attacks against targets in Israel appears intended to remind Arabs that Israel is the enemy of Islam, in contrast to the intra-Muslim fighting in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. - NightWatch
One of the things that attracted me to the political left, as a young man, was a belief that leftists were for “the people.” Fortunately, I was also very interested in the history of ideas...and years of research in that field repeatedly brought out the inescapable fact that many leading thinkers on the left had only contempt for “the people.” That has been true from the 18th century to the present moment. Even more surprising, I discovered over the years that leading thinkers on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum had more respect for ordinary people than people on the left who spoke in their name. http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/thomas-sowell/leftists-for-the-people/?utm_source=FrontPage+Magazine&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=c332b8850d-Mailchimp_FrontPageMag&utm_term=0_57e32c1dad-c332b8850d-156509103
3. S&P testifies admin threatened payback after downgrade
A financial giant has filed shocking court pleadings claiming the nObama administration brought a sham lawsuit against it in retaliation for a credit downgrade it had made against the government two years ago...The government brought a lawsuit against Standard & Poors, seeking $5 billion in fines for the credit rating it had attached to bonds supported by subprime mortgages in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to CNN. “Only S&P Ratings downgraded the United States and only S&P Ratings has been sued by the United States, even though the S&P ratings challenged by the United States were no different than those of at least one other rating agency,” court filing states. It also said that the firms ratings are protected by First Amendment freedom of speech, making the government’s lawsuit unconstitutional. http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/01/22/s-calls-lawsuit-retaliation-95876
4. Benghazi guards refused to protect fleeing Americans
The Senate’s 88-page report on the Benghazi assault provides a new detail about the role of an al-Qaida-linked organization that provided external security to the fated U.S. special mission...According to the report, the Libyan 17th of February Brigade militia refused to “provide cover” for the U.S. security team that was trapped inside the compound. The 17th of February Brigade, which was hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. facility in Benghazi, operates under the Ansar-Al-Sharia banner.Ansar al-Sharia, tied to al-Qaida, has been implicated in carrying out the attack. http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/benghazi-guards-refused-to-protect-fleeing-americans/
5. Bob McDonnell: If I'm Guilty, So Is nObama
After he and his wife were indicted on fourteen felony counts Tuesday, former Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said that he was being charged based on a "misguided legal theory"...that would implicate President Barack nObama and nearly every other elected official were it applied as the law of the land. Appearing with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law to address the media hours after the indictment, McDonnell, who is the first Virginia governor to face criminal charges and will be arraigned in Richmond Friday, said he was "falsely accused," that his public service has been "wrongly attacked," and that he would use all resources available to him to fight what he said was an "unjust" federal overreach. According to the Justice Department, if convicted on all the counts, both McDonnells would face maximum prison sentences of 80 years and fines of over $1.25 million. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/21/Bob-McDonnell-If-I-m-Guilty-So-Is-Obama?utm_source=e_breitbart_com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+January+22%2C+2014&utm_campaign=20140122_m118852894_Breitbart+News+Roundup%2C+January+22%2C+2014&utm_term=More
6. Michelle nObama: Hanoi Jane Is My Role Model
First Lady Michelle nObama says Jane Fonda is one of her role models, and that she admires her political savviness...During an interview with People Magazine, nObama listed "Hanoi Jane" as one of the people she would like to look and live like when she's "70 or 80" years old. The comment is likely to enrage Vietnam War veterans who still remember how Fonda, now 76, went to North Vietnam in 1972 and was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft battery. Fonda denounced U.S. military leaders as "war criminals" and later called tortured American POWs "hypocrites and liars," telling them to "get a life." nObama also listed Cicely Tyson as another role model during the interview to mark her 50th birthday. Should it be a surprise that she admires someone who should have been shot for treason? http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/michelle-fonda-role-model/2014/01/22/id/548315
7. ACA cost $200 million without any successful signups
There still isn’t much in the way of good news for nObamaCare proponents coming out of Oregon...a state that was once so eagerly confident in their collective ability to deliver an exchange that was supposed to be a model of ease and efficiency for insurance-seeking Oregonians. Their exchange’s price tag upon the October launch date was sitting somewhere around $160 million, but the website has yet to successfully process a single customer, and the administration has since burned through another $40 million of their allotted $305 million from the federal government scrambling to fix it, according to one local news report. Last week, the program’s interim chief Bruce Goldberg even admitted that eventually scrapping the whole thing isn’t out of the question if things don’t start to drastically improve: http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/21/video-coveroregon-has-cost-200-million-so-far-and-still-doesnt-work/
8. nObama May Let Iran Off the Hook by Decree
Keeping Iran — the root of much of the world’s terrorism and many of the globe-conquering schemes of Muslim radicals — from getting a nuclear weapon has been a priority among many countries, particularly Israel...which on Iranian maps has been renamed Ayatollah Gardens. It had been thought to be a priority for the United States, but a funny thing happened on the way to secret negotiations between the nObama Administration and Iran. The United States had a relapse of Jimmy Carter fever. http://politicaloutcast.com/2014/01/king-obama-may-let-iran-hook/
9. White House Seeks to Bypass Congress on Iran Deal
The White House has been exploring ways to circumvent Congress and unilaterally lift sanctions on Iran once a final nuclear agreement is reached...according to sources with knowledge of White House conversations and congressional insiders familiar with its strategy. The issue of sanctions relief has become one of the key sticking points in the Iran debate, with lawmakers pushing for increased economic penalties and the White House fighting to roll back regulations. If he goes by circumventing congress and against the people he will be hung out to dry. http://freebeacon.com/white-house-seeks-to-bypass-congress-on-iran-deal/
10. EO to ‘Cut Red Tape’ Added $10.2 Bil in Costs to Economy
An executive order issued by President Barack nObama that was designed to “cut red tape” has added $10.2 billion in regulatory costs to the economy, according to a new report...The order was hailed as “unprecedented” by the president and former Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) administrator Cass Sunstein. However, Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at American Action Forum, found that the action was hardly unique and has had the opposite effect of its intended purpose.“Has Washington actually cut red tape? On net, final rules from Order 13563 have added more than $10.2 billion in costs, mostly from new regulations labeled as ‘retrospective,’” Batkins said. “Final rules have cut 7.9 million hours of paperwork, but Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act have easily outpaced those deregulatory gains.” http://freebeacon.com/obama-executive-order-to-cut-red-tape-has-added-10-2-billion-in-costs-to-economy/
The so-called Arab spring unleashed forces that have been dormant for a century. Like their counterparts throughout the region, Israel's Arabic speaking minorities are changing in profound ways. But our leaders fail to grasp the implications of what is happening.
Consider the Christian community.
Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth has become the symbol of this new period. Nadaf is the spiritual leader of an Israeli Christian movement calling for Israeli Christian youth to serve in the IDF. He is responsible for the 300 percent rise in Christian Arab enlistment in the IDF in the past year.
Nadaf does not hide his goal or his motivation.
He seeks the full integration of Israel's 130,000 Christians into Israeli society. He views military service as the key to that integration.
Nadaf is motivated to act by the massive persecution of Christians throughout the Arab world since the onset of the Arab revolutionary wave in December 2010.
As he explained in a recent interview with Channel 1, it is, "in light of what we see happening to Christians in Arab countries, how they are slaughtered and persecuted on a daily basis, killed and raped just because they are Christians. Does this happen in the State of Israel? No, it doesn't."
Shahdi Halul, a reserve captain in the Paratroopers who works with Nadaf declared, "Every Christian in the State of Israel should join the army and defend this country so it will exist forever. Because if, God forbid, the government is overthrown here, like it was in other places, we will be the first to suffer."
These men, and their supporters are the natural result of the most significant revolutionary development of the so-called Arab spring: the demise of Arab nationalism.
As Ofir Haivry, the vice president of the Herzl Institute explained in an important article in Mosaic online magazine, Arab nationalism was born in pan-Arabism-an invention of European powers during World War I which sought to endow the post-Ottoman Middle East with a new identity.
The core of the new identity was the Arabic language. The religious, tribal, ethnic and nationalist aspirations of the peoples of the Arabic speaking region were to be smothered and replaced by a new pan-Arab identity.
For the Christians of the former Ottoman Empire, pan-Arabism was a welcome means of getting out from under the jackboot of the Islamic Laws of Omar, which reduce non-Muslims living under Muslim rule to the status of powerless dhimmis, who survive at the pleasure of their Islamic rulers.
But now pan-Arabism lies in ruins from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. The people of the region have gone back to identifying themselves by tribe, religion, ethnicity, and in the case of the Kurds and the Berbers, non-Arab national identity. In this new era, Christians find themselves imperiled, with few if any protectors or allies to be found.
As Haivry notes, Israel's central strategic challenge has always been contending with pan-Arabism, which was invented at the same time that the nations of the world embraced modern Zionism.
Since its inception, pan-Arab leaders always saw Israel as the scapegoat on which to pin their failure to deliver on pan-Arabism's promise of global Arab power and influence.
For its part, Israel changed its position on pan-Arabism drastically over the years. Once, Israel could see the dangers in pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism. But since 1993, says Haivri, Israel's national strategy has been based on appeasing the secular authoritarian pan-Arab leaders by offering land for peace to Syria and the PLO.
Haivry notes that Shimon Peres is the political godfather of Israel's accommodationist strategy, which is rooted in a mix of perceived powerlessness on the one hand, and utopianism on the other.
The sense of powerlessness owes to the conviction that Israel cannot influence its environment. That the Arabs will never change. Israel's neighbors will always see themselves primarily as Arabs, and they will always want, more than anything else, Arab states.
At the same time, the accommodationists hold the utopian belief that Israeli appeasement of Palestinian Arab nationalism will break through the wall of pan-Arab rejection, end hatred for the Jewish state, and even lead the Arabs to invite Israel to join the Arab League.
The so-called Arab spring has put paid every one of the accommodationists' beliefs. From Egypt to Tunisia to Iraq to Syria, Israel's neighbors are fighting each other as Sunnis, Shiites and Salafists, or as members of clans and tribes, without a thought for the alleged primacy of their Arab identity. What Israel's Palestinian state-obsessed Left has failed to realize is that many of Israel's neighbors do not share the pan-Arab scapegoating of the Jewish state. So bribing the now largely irrelevant Arabs nationalists with another Arab state may do little more than create the newest victim of the Arab revolutions.
It is because they see what is happening to their co-religionists in the post-pan-Arab Middle East that more and more Israeli Christians realize they will lead safer, more prosperous and more fulfilling lives as Christian citizens in the Middles East's only democracy than as pan-Arabs battling the Zionist menace.
But old habits die hard. Most of Israel's elected Arab leaders owe their positions to their embrace of pan-Arabism. This embrace has brought them the support of the PLO and Europe, and since 1993, of the Israeli Left.
And so, since he first appeared on the scene, Father Nadaf's life has been constantly threatened. Everyone from Arab members of Knesset, to the Communist head of the Greek Orthodox Council has incited against him, calling him and his followers traitors to the Palestinian Arab nation.
He also threatens the Israeli Left. For its view of Israel's strategic powerlessness and consequent need to appease its neighbors to remain relevant, the pan-Arab forces in the Arab world must be perceived as still dominant, even invincible. And so, the Israeli Left refuses to consider the larger strategic implications of the regional upheaval from which Nadaf's initiative emerged.
Even worse, , the official policy of the Netanyahu government appears based on this irrelevant Leftist view of the region. This is the implication of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's defeatist speech at the Foreign Ministry's annual conference of ambassadors on Sunday.
Liberman's speech has been rightly viewed as the supposedly right-wing politician's formal break with his ideological camp and his embrace of the Left. In his remarks Liberman let it be known, that like the Left, he now bases his positions on a complete denial or avoidance of reality. For this, he was congratulated for his "maturity" by Peres who was sitting on the stage with him.
In his speech, Liberman acknowledged that the nObama administration's peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians is horrible for Israel. But, he said, it is better than the European Union's peace plan.
Never considering the possibility of saying no to both, Liberman said he thinks we should accept the bad American deal. His only condition is that he insists that the PLO accept towns in the Galilee and their 300,000 Israeli Arab residents.
Liberman's surrender of the Galilee is a key component to his population swap plan. Under his plan, Israel would retain control over the fraction of Judea and Samaria in which large numbers of Israeli Jews live in exchange for the area of the Galilee that is home to 300,000 Israeli Arabs. This plan has reportedly been presented to US Secretary of State dunce John Kerry as an official Israeli position.
In other words, the Netanyahu government has failed to recognize the implications of the death of pan-Arabism. In maintaining their slavish devotion to the two-state formula, and viewing the Arabs in the Galilee, Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and surrounding states as an impenetrable bloc, they are placing Israel's future in the hands of actors who have already disappeared or will soon disappear. Instead of building alliances with non-Jewish citizens of Israel, like Druze and Christians, who are more than happy to defend Israel against Islamists and other regional fanatics, the Netanyahu government insists on placing the state's future in the hands of pan-Arabs whose grip on power is slipping and would never willingly co-exist with Israel anyway.
Nadaf and his followers respond to the allegation — uttered by MKs like Hanin Zuabi and Basel Ghattas, among others — that they are traitors to the Palestinian Arab nation, with contempt. "When someone tells me 'We're all Arabs, I tell him, 'No, we're not all Arabs. You're an Arab. I'm not," Halul told Channel 1.
Samer Jozin, whose daughter Jennifer decided to opt for IDF service instead of medical school agrees. "Telling me I'm a Palestinian is a curse. Thanking God, an Israeli Christian and proud of it. And I thank GOD I was born in the land of Israel," he said.
The message couldn't be clearer. We are basing our national strategy on a world that no longer exists.
Today our longtime allies, the Kurds have carved out virtually independent states for themselves in Iraq and Syria.
Christians throughout the region are on the run. The Druze of Syria and Lebanon are exposed, without protection, and looking for help.
As for the Muslims, as Haivry notes, they are fragmented along sectarian and political lines, and at war with one another in battlefields throughout the region. While so engaged, they have little time to devote to blaming Israel for their failures.
This state of affairs has implications for Israel's Arab Mulsim minority. None of the regional warring Muslim camps are natural homes for Israel's Muslim community. A community which has lived in an open, free society for 65 years does not naturally turn to Salafism. Israel is a much easier fit for most Israeli Muslims.
At a minimum, no one is better off if Israel forces them to cast their lots with any of the warring factions in Syria or Lebanon, or the increasingly irrelevant forces in the Palestinian Authority. There may very well be missing hundreds of Muslim versions of Father Nadaf just waiting for a signal from our government that we want them to lead their community into our society.
The post-pan-Arab Middle East exposes the truth that has been obscured for a century. The Jews and their Jewish state are a natural component of our diverse neighborhood, just like the Kurds, the Christians, the Druze, the various Muslim sects, and the Arabs. The demise of pan-Arabism is our great opportunity, at home and regionally to build the alliances we need to survive and prosper. But so long as our leaders insist on clinging to the now irrelevant dream of appeasing the defunct pan-Arabists, we will lose these opportunities and convince our allies that we are treacherous, disloyal and temporary.