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The chief of Israeli Military Intelligence told the Knesset that sanctions are having no effect on the Iranian nuclear program, though they have greatly harmed the country’s economy.

It follows that the sanctions do not adhere to the double effect doctrine: they harm the population without really targeting the enemy’s military. International warfare law only allows civilians to be harmed as collateral damage resulting from a substantial military action.

Israel is continually criticized for applying collective punishment to Gazans. Major powers do a similar thing in Iran on much larger scale without reproach from the UNSC.

Najib MikatiSurprisingly, Hezbollah has amassed a majority bloc in the Lebanese parliament and is about to form a new government without Hariri. We expected this development in the 2009 elections, but not now. The difference is due to paralysis of Western players who failed to bribe as many MPs as did Hezbollah. It used to be that the Saudis took care of such jobs in the Lebanese parliament, but this time the Saudis scaled back their usual intervention, frustrated by America’s failure to squeeze Syria out of Lebanese politics and Iran out of the race for Middle East hegemony.

So the West lost Hariri Sr in the assassination, and Hariri Jr in the dissolution of the impotent government whose crisis the United States and France provoked with their unnecessary tribunal.

Curiously, the billionaire Hariri is being replaced as the PM by another billionaire, Mikati. Which shows a bigger problem for the West: Hezbollah got sufficient financial sources among local businessmen and cannot be moderated through Syria. The West has now a short window of opportunity to befriend Hezbollah while it can act with relative independence from Iran. Failing to do so may result in a much stronger Hezbollah, Iran’s independent partner.

Hezbollah’s government has also inherited a Lebanese army beefed up by the US aid.

Mahmud AbbasWikiLeaked Palestinian documents confirm that Fatah agreed to let Jewish settlers settle Palestine. That is, they would remain in their villages under Palestinian jurisdiction. As we expected, the Israeli government discussed this matter seriously because it is unable to evict so many Jews. So the government in Israel lacks the power to make peace.

And its counterpart in the West Bank lacks the will to make peace. According to the leaked cables, the Palestinians refused to let Israel keep Maaleh Adumim and Ariel, two relatively large towns in the West Bank. No Israeli party, even Meretz, is willing to accept losing them.

The documents show that the Fatah government collaborated with Israel mainly in assassinating its own terrorists, but did not go against Hamas. Israel acknowledged that situation and did not press Fatah to fight Hamas.

In publishing the PaliGate papers, Al Jazeera bet correctly that Palestinian Arabs would despise their government for cooperating with Israel on security matters and relinquishing the most radical Palestinian demands, including the right of return and the right to the Temple Mount. It follows that the vast majority of Palestinians do not support the peace process on terms acceptable to Jews.

Al Jazeera has finished killing the Palestinian government, which may or may not survive the series of damning revelations regarding its cooperation with Israel on security matters and refugees’ return. Not that the revelations are surprising, but coming from a respected TV channel they become more important than when they were trumpeted by rival Hamas.

The question is, if Israel so badly needs the Fatah government that our soldiers defend it from Hamas, why wasn’t the WikiLeaks editor liquidated to stop the publication of these revelations? Why is his life more important than the lives of Jewish soldiers and their Hamas targets?

Shabak arrested a Palestinian terrorist cell which had murdered a woman. The terrorists also had carried out other attacks, which the police had previously insisted were household or criminal affairs.

Among other attacks, the Palestinians stabbed a young Jewish couple near Beit Shemesh a year ago. At the time, police claimed the attack was motivated by a lover’s jealousy. The Arabs also carried out multiple rapes, which the police always classify as criminal acts despite the fact that Arabs only rape Jewish women and not their own, which shows that they mean the rapes as acts of terrorism.

Again, an ultra-left film on Israel has been shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. This time it is Strangers no More, a documentary about a school in the slums of South Tel Aviv which shows the happy coexistence of pauperized Sephardi Jews, some very dubious Jews from Ethiopia, and illegal African migrants. Instead of showing the great difficulty of the situation, the movie presents a fake solution: let them all integrate, and who cares about the Jewish state.

Protests in CairoAs protests rage through Egypt, Mubarak’s regime is saved by the absence of Muslim Brotherhood, which has so far discouraged their supporters from participating in the riots. There are a few possible reasons for their neutrality:

- the Brotherhood does not want to suffer major reprisals by Mubarak now, while it is gearing itself up for a confrontation with his successor, who will presumably be much weaker.
- Mubarak offered significant concessions to Iran in return for the ayatollahs’ taming the Muslim Brotherhood. Iranian influence over the Brotherhood is limited, though.
- the Brotherhood wants a clear victory, one it does not have to share with secular opposition groups.

It’s an interesting world where Egypt’s fate, and consequently the stability of the region, depends on the choice of one man, Hosni Mubarak, to crush the riots or give in to the demands for democratization.

The White House’s madness is mind-boggling. Instead of coming out squarely in support of Mubarak, America’s only heavyweight Muslim ally, Obama’s administration has urged him publicly to consider the will of his people and proceed with democratic reforms—exactly the type of reforms which, made on American urging, brought Hamas and Hezbollah to power. Curiously, Obama did not extend that much support to the Iranian protesters who defied Ahmadinejad’s elections last year. As usual, the United States government treats its enemies better than its friends.

After the court lifted the media ban on Kay Wilson’s story, it became more horrendous than before.

The Muslims did not attack the women suddenly, but approached with clear hostile intent. The women saw their danger and tried to walk back to their car, at which time the Muslims jumped them.

The murder took place only because the government tied the hands of its citizens. Kay Wilson had only a pocket knife. Even though everyone knows the dangers for tour guides, police often refuse them a permits to carry firearms. It is this pretense of safety which laid the ground for these murders.
And there are courts to consider, too. Kay Wilson did not attack the Muslims with her knife despite clear indications of their hostility because she knew she would be thrown in jail. The prosecution pretends that Arabs are not enemies who bear the burden of establishing their peaceful intentions, but common criminals who are presumed innocent.

According to the halachic standard of doing everything possible to prevent a murder of a fellow Jew, the Israeli government is guilty of shedding their blood.

Leading Ashkenazi rabbis openly denounced a decision by Sephardi Rabbis Ovadia Yosef and Shlomo Amar to approve the grotesque IDF conversions. The protest lays the ground for a schism in which thousands of converts deemed Jewish by Sephardi religious authorities are not considered Jewish at all by Ashkenazis.

The Palestinian papers, which have been published by Al Jazeera, confirm that Netanyahu promised the Obama administration that he would prevent construction in Maaleh Adumim’s E1 neighborhood. He did that in secret just months after promising in his election campaign to launch the construction immediately.

The E1 neighborhood is so important strategically that it was zoned for development by Rabin’s government. Since him, every prime minister has vowed to start the construction—and lied.

The Egyptian protests turned critically dangerous to Mubarak after the Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to pour into the streets Friday night. This makes sense of the Brotherhood’s earlier restraint: apparently, they were waiting for secular parties to weaken the security forces. Now the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to deal Mubarak’s regime the last, mortal blow.

Mubarak may not risk setting his army against the Brotherhood, which has thoroughly infiltrated the military. His better choice would be to buy time by calling new elections. The problem is that the United States will push him to make those elections transparent, and the Muslim Brotherhood will win transparent elections hands down.

Rally in CairoMubarak was too late in offering the rioting crowds a new government; at this point they will reject any offer he makes.

The crowds are getting out of control: they are looting shops in Cairo, and Bedouins have blown up government buildings in Rafah. The very limited military presence on the streets may be a sign that Mubarak is carefully calibrating his response, or that he is uncertain of the army’s loyalty to his regime. But most likely Mubarak is simply complying with Obama’s demand that he avoid doing violence to the protesters. The very high ratio of casualties among police compared to protesters—750 to 1,500—confirms that Mubarak has ordered his forces to keep violence to a minimum.

Mubarak’s appointment of his intelligence chief as vice-president shows that the president takes the riots very seriously.

In his speech, Obama chose to remain blind to the real nature of the Egyptian protests, treating them like a Western-style pro-democracy movement rather than a putsch to bring Islamists to power. White House officials continued to advise Mubarak to accept democratic reforms—as if there would be any democracy after the Muslim Brotherhood wins the next elections. The White House remains mute on demonstrations in Syria.

Israel would benefit from the failure of Mubarak’s regime. If the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power in Egypt, Israel will return to her role as America’s only viable ally in the Middle East. The political change would allow Israel to destroy the Egyptian nuclear program.

Hundreds of American rabbis have signed a letter published in the Wall Street Journal. The letter demands the resignation of Fox News anchor Glenn Beck, who accused George Soros of collaborating with Nazis and using his money to promote a leftist agenda. Both charges are true.

Beck is a rare reporter in that he is critical of Muslims, and his rhetoric against Soros also serves Israeli interests well.

The rabbis should be ashamed to have spent some $120,000 of charity money for that ad. They accused Beck of exploiting Holocaust symbolism in his charges against Soros, but acted similarly by publishing their letter on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Police disperse crowds with tear gas in CairoIt is now clear that the Egyptian riots won’t take Mubarak down. The lack of coordination between the opposition parties, the absence of long-term goals, and nearly nonexistent organizational structure of the protests has allowed the tumult to evolve into yet another Egyptian-style incident like a hunger riot.

Widespread lawlessness, including the escape of inmates from jails, has set the middle class against the protesters.

The appointment of Omar Suleiman as the VP mostly confirms that Mubarak is no longer toying with the idea of passing the reins to his son Gamal, but has pragmatically chosen the Egyptian anti-terrorist tsar as his successor. The problem is that the seventy-four-year-old Suleiman himself will need a successor.

Israeli Arab citizen Amir Makhoul has been sentenced to nine years in prison for espionage and for otherwise assisting Hezbollah.

After the verdict was announced, Makhoul promised to continue his struggle after his eventual release. Which, of course, he will.

According to halacha, the only punishment for assisting Israel’s enemies is execution.

Meanwhile, an illegal immigrant from Eritrea murdered a woman of similar origin.

Amir Makhoul

The Muslim Brotherhood has announced its support for El Baradei as the leader of Egyptian opposition. After many years as head of the IAEA, El Baradei is privy to many nuclear secrets, acquainted with scores of nuclear scientists, and can provide the Muslim Brotherhood with a shortcut to nuclear capability.

El Baradei

After scores of Latin American countries recognized Palestinian statehood, Cyprus became the first EU country to follow suit. So far, the recognition has come only in the form of a presidential letter.

The recognition itself is insignificant, and may actually benefit Israel because border negotiations between two states can drag on forever. There is a small chance of an explosive development: as more countries begin to recognize Palestine in its pre-1967 borders, Israel may be pressured to abandon most of Jerusalem and all of the West Bank.

Oddly, Cyprus is on very good terms with Israel. The island state routinely helps us to intercept or sabotage pro-Gazan flotillas, and it allowed IAF to train against its S-300 SAM battery. Considering Cyprus’ bad relations with Turkey, we would not expect a pro-Palestinian stance there. Perhaps due to their sour relations with Turkey, Cyprus feels the need to maintain good relations with other Muslims nations.

The Egyptian army has beefed up its presence in Cairo: tanks block the streets and soldiers have arrested scores of looters.

The army took firm control of Rafah and cracked down on Hamas.

Hundreds of inmates were allegedly killed in jails to prevent their escape.

The only threat to Mubarak’s regime comes now from the army itself, but so far it remains loyal to the president.

Curiously, just a week ago the chief of Israeli Military Intelligence called the Egyptian regime ‘very stable.’

Soldier outside Cairo museum

The Sudanese people held a referendum and overwhelmingly approved the country’s dissolution. This ends the conflict, which the Jewish state has become a part of.
Most African infiltrators claimed they came from Sudan or Eritrea seeking asylum. Now they must be deported back to their desert and jungles.

At Hadera desalination plantA Populist government deals with the most pressing problems at the expense of long-term interests. Thus, it has approved running desalination plants all day long. The plants were designed to run only at night, when electricity tariffs are lower and the power supply excessive.

Desalinated water produced at peak-hour tariffs will be extremely expensive, but the government hides the problem by averaging the price. Our Arab enemies will also receive subsidized water.

January 2011
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