Tuesday, July 28, 2015


By Natan Sharansky 24-7-2015

Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, is chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

These days, like many Israelis and American Jews, I find myself in a precarious and painful situation. Those of us who believe that the nuclear agreement just signed between world powers and Iran is dangerously misguided are now compelled to criticize Israel’s best friend and ally, the government of the United States. In standing up for what we think is right, for both our people and the world, we find ourselves at odds with the power best able to protect us and promote stability. And instead of joining the hopeful chorus of those who believe peace is on the horizon, we must risk giving the impression that we somehow prefer war.
As difficult as this situation is, however, it is not unprecedented. Jews have been here before, 40 years ago, at a historic juncture no less frightening or fateful than today’s.
In the early 1970s, Republican President Richard Nixon inaugurated his policy of detente with the Soviet Union with an extremely ambitious aim: to end the Cold War by normalizing relations between the two superpowers.
Among the obstacles Nixon faced was the USSR’s refusal to allow on-site inspections of its weapons facilities. Moscow did not want to give up its main advantage, a closed political system that prevented information and people from escaping and prevented prying eyes from looking in.
Yet the Soviet Union, with its very rigid and atrophied economy, badly needed cooperation with the free world, which Nixon was prepared to offer. The problem was that he was not prepared to demand nearly enough from Moscow in return. And so as Nixon moved to grant the Soviet Union most-favored-nation status, and with it the same trade benefits as U.S. allies, Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington proposed what became ahistoric amendment, conditioning the removal of sanctions on the Soviet Union’s allowing free emigration for its citizens.
By that time, tens of thousands of Soviet Jews had asked permission to leave for Israel. Jackson’s amendment sought not only to help these people but also and more fundamentally to change the character of detente, linking improved economic relations to behavioral change by the USSR. Without the free movement of people, the senator insisted, there should be no free movement of goods.
The Republican administration in the White House objected furiously. It also claimed that by improving relations with Moscow it would be better able to protect us personally and to ensure that some Jews could emigrate each year. This put Jewish activists inside the USSR in a difficult position. We feared opposing our greatest benefactor, yet we wanted freedom for all Soviet Jews, and we believed that would result only from unrelenting pressure to bring down the Iron Curtain. This is why, despite the clear risks and KGB threats, we chose to publicly support the amendment.
American Jewish organizations also faced a difficult choice. They were reluctant to speak out against the U.S. government and appear to put the “narrow” Jewish interest above the cause of peace. Yet they also realized that the freedom of all Soviet Jews was at stake, and they actively supported the policy of linkage.
Now all that was needed for the amendment to become law was enough principled congressional Republicans willing to take a stand against their own party in the White House. It was a Republican senator from New York, Jacob Javits, who, spurred by a sense of responsibility for the Jewish future, helped put together the bipartisan group that ensured passage.
Later, when Javits traveled to Moscow as part of a delegation of U.S. senators, he met with a group of Jewish refuseniks and asked us whether the policy of linkage truly helped our cause. Although we knew that we were speaking directly into KGB listening devices, all 14 of us confirmed that Jackson’s amendment was our only hope.

The Soviet authorities were infuriated by the law and did everything in their power to prove that the Americans had made a mistake. Jewish emigration was virtually halted, and the repression of Jewish activists increased. In 1977, I was arrested and accused of high treason, allegedly as a spy for the CIA; in the indictment, Jackson was listed as my main accomplice. Yet far from discouraging me or discrediting the senator, the many mentions of his name in my sentence gave me hope — hope that the free world would not permit Soviet dictators to continue denying their citizens basic rights and that in the end our cause would be victorious.
Video of the week “ISRAEL” http://tinyurl.com/pfkgabx

Thursday, July 23, 2015


By MEMRI 16-7-2015: http://tinyurl.com/nrotc59

On July 14, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech detailing the accomplishments of the new nuclear deal. President Rouhani declared that prayers of the Iranian nation had been answered and described the deal as a "win-win," adding that Iran was not seeking a nuclear bomb.

Following are excerpts:

Rouhani: "I hereby declare to the great Iranian people that their prayers have been answered. Today, we are at an important stage in the history of our state and of our [Islamic] Revolution, and in the history of conditions in the region – conditions that, I must say, have continued for the past 12 years, and which were accompanied by illusions on the part of the superpowers, which spread them throughout society and throughout public opinion. The page has been turned over, and a new page has begun.

"In order to resolve the nuclear issue, we had to take necessary steps in various areas. With regard to politics, we had to prepare the necessary preliminary political steps. With regard to [Iranian] public opinion, [we had to make] them realize that the negotiations were not a recitation of statements, but a give and take. Negotiations mean paying money and buying the desired house. We did not seek charity or to get something for free. We sought negotiations, and sought to advance a fair and just give and take, based on national interests. We have always stressed the point that these negotiations would not be a 'win-lose' situation, because such talks are not viable. If negotiations are 'win-lose,' they will not be lasting. Negotiations and agreements will be durable and lasting when they are win-win situations for both parties. We explained this to our society, and our negotiation team began the talks on this basis 23 months ago.

"From the day that I was sworn in [as president], I said that the West would be able to engage in talks with us if it abandons the path of threats and humiliation and embarks upon a path of respect. What was achieved today under the title of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is rooted in dialogue on the part of Iran and respect on the part of the P5+1. Without these two components, we would not have achieved a thing.

"In the negotiations we sought to achieve four goals. The first goal was to continue the nuclear capabilities, the nuclear technology, and even the nuclear activity within Iran. The second goal was to lift the mistaken, oppressive, and inhumane sanctions. The third goal was to remove all the UN Security Council Resolutions that we view as illegal. The fourth goal was to remove the Iranian nuclear dossier from Chapter VII of the UN Charter and from the Security Council in general. In today's agreement, in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all four goals have been achieved.

"At the beginning of negotiations, the other side used to tell us that during the period of restrictions – which today is set at eight years – Iran would be able to have only 100 centrifuges. After many deliberations, they have reached the figure of 1,000 centrifuges. Following much opposition on our part, they said: '4,000 centrifuges, and that's final.' Today, the agreement specifies that Iran will retain over 6,000 centrifuges, of which 5,000 will be at Natanz and over 1,000 at Fordo. All the centrifuges at Natanz will continue to enrich [uranium].

"They said: 'The period of your restrictions will be 20 years, in addition to 25 years.' Later they said: '20 years and 10 years.' Then they said: 'Our last word is 20 years, and we will not capitulate any further.' In the final days of the negotiations, these 20 years shrank to eight years.

"On the issue of research and development, they used to say that Iran would be allowed only [first-generation] IR-1 [centrifuges]. This was ridiculous and unrealistic. Research and development under such conditions is meaningless. Then they said: 'IR-2 at most.' Eventually they said: 'IR-8 is impossible.' What Iran sought was IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges. We wanted an agreement in which we would begin, on the very day of its implementations, to inject UF-6 gas into [advanced] IR-8 centrifuges. That is exactly the agreement that we achieved today.

"On the issue of Arak, they used to say: 'The reactor can remain, but not as a heavy water facility. This is an absolute red line for us.' Today, according to the terms agreed upon, the joint agreement explicitly mentions the Arak heavy water reactor. This reactor will be completed with the same heavy water nature, and with the characteristics specified in the agreement.

"On the issue of Fordo, they used to say: 'It is hard to pronounce the name Fordo, even harder to hear it, so you will not say it and we will not hear it.' Then they said: 'At Fordo there should not be a single centrifuge, and it will be a center for isotope research.' After months of bargaining they said: 'Only one cascade of 164 centrifuges will remain at Fordo.' Let me say, in a nutshell, that today, over 1,000 centrifuges will be installed at Fordo, and that part of Fordo will be used for research and development of stable isotopes.

"On the issue of sanctions they used to say: 'The lifting of all the sanctions all at once – never. As for the gradual lifting of the sanctions, first you need to gain our trust over the course of months, and even then, the sanctions will be gradually frozen, not lifted. Do not use the term "lift the sanctions." We will freeze them.'
[They further said]: 'In the years to come, if the IAEA issues a positive report and you gain our trust, the sanctions will be gradually lifted.' Today I declare before the honorable Iranian nation that according to the agreement, on the day of its implementation, all the sanctions – even the embargo on weapons, missiles, and [dual-use technology] proliferation – will be lifted, as is stated in a [Security Council] resolution. All the financial sanctions, all the banking sanctions, and all the sanctions pertaining to insurance, transportation, petrochemical [industries], and precious metals, and all the economic sanctions will be completely lifted, and not frozen. Even the arms embargo will be stopped. There will be a kind of restriction [on arms] for five years, after which it will be lifted. With regard to proliferation [of dual-use technology], a committee will examine goods with a dual use. With regard to the revocation of the UN [Security Council] resolutions, they used to say: 'You have not implemented any resolution, so how can we revoke the resolution? At the very least implement it for six months.'

"According to today's agreement, which will be approved in the coming days by the UN Security Council, all six previous resolutions [against Iran] will be revoked. With regard to the permanent removal of the Iranian nuclear dossier from the Security Council, they used to say: 'The IAEA must report for 20 years,' then 'for 15 years.' In today's [agreement], regardless of the IAEA, after 10 years of implementation of the agreement, the nuclear dossier will be completely removed from the Security Council.

"This agreement is, of course, reciprocal.

"Today, [we are talking about] the implementation of a reciprocal agreement. If they adhere to this agreement, we will too. Throughout history, the Iranian nation has always stood behind the treaties to which it committed itself. We will stand firmly behind the current treaty, provided the other side also strictly adheres to it.

"This is the most important day in the past 12 years. Historically, this is the day on which all the large countries and the superpowers in the world have officially recognized Iran's nuclear activities.

"If some of the P5+1 countries want to declare today, 'We have prevented Iran from producing a nuclear bomb,' the whole world knows full well that according to the fatwa of [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, producing a nuclear bomb is a mistaken, inhuman, and forbidden endeavor. In the view of our scientists, Iran has never and will never aspire to produce a nuclear bomb, whether or not there is an agreement and whether or not it is implemented. Therefore, if they want to talk about an achievement, they should talk about the real achievement – the new atmosphere that has been created today in the region, which will lead to expansion of regional and global cooperation."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


By David Horovitz 14-7-2015

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday unsurprisingly hailed the nuclear agreement struck with US-led world powers, and derided the “failed” efforts of the “warmongering Zionists.” His delight, Iran’s delight, is readily understandable.

The agreement legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, allows it to retain core nuclear facilities, permits it to continue research in areas that will dramatically speed its breakout to the bomb should it choose to flout the deal, but also enables it to wait out those restrictions and proceed to become a nuclear threshold state with full international legitimacy. Here’s how.
1. Was the Iranian regime required, as a condition for this deal, to disclose the previous military dimensions of its nuclear program — to come clean on its violations — in order both to ensure effective inspections of all relevant facilities and to shatter the Iranian-dispelled myth that it has never breached its non-proliferation obligations? No. (This failure, arguably the original sin of the Western negotiating approach, is expertly detailed here by Emily B. Landau.) Rather than exposing Iran’s violations, the new deal solemnly asserts that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has failed to honor “remains the cornerstone” of ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The deal provides for a mechanism “to address past and present issues of concern relating to its nuclear programme,” but Iran has managed to dodge such efforts for years, and the deal inspires little hope of change in that area, blithely anticipating “closing the issue” in the next few months.

2. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt all uranium enrichment, including thousands of centrifuges spinning at its main Natanz enrichment facility? No. The deal specifically legitimizes enrichment under certain eroding limitations.
3. Has the Iranian regime been required to shut down and dismantle its Arak heavy water reactor and plutonium production plant? No. It will convert, not dismantle the facility, under a highly complex process. Even if it honors this clause, its commitment to “no additional heavy water reactors or accumulation of heavy water in Iran” will expire after 15 years.
4. Has the Iranian regime been required to shut down and dismantle the underground uranium enrichment facility it built secretly at Fordo? No. (Convert, not dismantle.)
5. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt its ongoing missile development? No.
6. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt research and development of the faster centrifuges that will enable it to break out to the bomb far more rapidly than is currently the case? No. The deal specifically legitimizes ongoing R&D under certain eroding limitations. It specifically provides, for instance, that Iran will commence testing of the fast “IR-8 on single centrifuge machines and its intermediate cascades” as soon as the deal goes into effect, and will “commence testing of up to 30 IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges after eight and a half years.”
7. Has the Iranian regime been required to submit to “anywhere, anytime” inspections of any and all facilities suspected of engaging in rogue nuclear-related activity? No. Instead, the deal describes at considerable length a very protracted process of advance warning and “consultation” to resolve concerns.
8. Has the international community established procedures setting out how it will respond to different classes of Iranian violations, to ensure that the international community can act with sufficient speed and efficiency to thwart a breakout to the bomb? No.
9. Has the Iranian regime been required to halt its arming, financing and training of the Hezbollah terrorist army in south Lebanon? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
10. Has the Iranian regime been required to surrender for trial the members of its leadership placed on an Interpol watch list for their alleged involvement in the bombing, by a Hezbollah suicide bomber, of the AMIA Jewish community center offices in Buenos Aires in 1994 that resulted in the deaths of 85 people? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
11. Has the Iranian regime undertaken to close its 80 estimated “cultural centers” in South America from which it allegedly fosters terrorist networks? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
12. Has the Iranian leadership agreed to stop inciting hatred among its people against Israel and the United States and to stop its relentless calls for the annihilation of Israel? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
13. Has the Iranian regime agreed to halt executions, currently running at an average of some three a day, the highest rate for 20 years? No. (This kind of non-nuclear issue was not discussed at the negotiations.)
14. Does the nuclear deal shatter the painstakingly constructed sanctions regime that forced Iran to the negotiating table? Yes.
15. Will the deal usher in a new era of global commercial interaction with Iran, reviving the Iranian economy and releasing financial resources that Iran will use to bolster its military forces and terrorist networks? Yes.
16. Does the nuclear deal further cement Iran’s repressive and ideologically rapacious regime in power? Yes.
No wonder Iran and its allies are celebrating. Nobody else should be.
Video of the week: ALEH: working with the severely handicapped, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEJSK3-kCTU


Thursday, July 9, 2015


(Published by BICOM 6-7-2015)
Key Points

·       - Israel agreed to the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism with the UN and Palestinian Authority (PA) in September 2014 and has been implementing it despite the PA not establishing its rule in the Gaza Strip.
·       - The Hamas authorities are openly reconstructing their military capabilities in the Gaza Strip, including attack tunnels, diverting cement needed for civilian reconstruction.
·       - Donor shortfalls and infighting between the PA and Hamas are holding up reconstruction.
·       - Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said in June: “We welcome the recent steps that Israel has taken in Gaza, increasing exports, electricity and water. This is the right approach and we hope it will be possible for Israel to go much further.”
What steps has Israel taken to aid reconstruction in the Gaza Strip?

·       - In September 2014 Israel agreed the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) with the UN and the PA to import construction materials, including dual use materials, into the Gaza Strip and assure they were not diverted for Hamas’s military purposes. An electronic database, run by the PA’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, controls and matches the supply and demand for construction goods.
·       - In recent months between 1000 and 1500 trucks have entered Gaza each week from Israel, including hundreds of trucks of construction materials, despite the PA not being present to check directly the use of the materials, due to disagreements between the PA and Hamas. Israel has been working to expand the capacity of the crossings.
·       At a meeting in May, international donors, “took note of Israeli efforts to increase the volume of materials into Gaza,” and “welcomed the readiness expressed [by Israel] for further increasing the volumes even if this involves raised security risks.”
·       - According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: “As of 17 June, 95,143 individuals requiring materials for shelter repairs had been cleared to purchase materials under the GRM. Of these, over 90 per cent have so far procured full or partial quantities of their allocated construction material.” Totally destroyed homes have not yet been rebuilt, but in June the PA approved the entry of material for 16,000 new homes and initial works are expected in the second half of 2015. According to an April 2014 UN report repairs had been completed on 160 government schools, 74 kindergartens and 25 Ministry of Health clinics.
·       - In addition to UN projects, Israel is also facilitating Qatari-funded infrastructure projects, with Israel allowing Qatari officials to enter Gaza from Israel when Egypt refused.
·       - Israel has also significantly increased the numbers of Gazans entering Israel, with 12,600 entering on average each month in 2015. Israel has also allowed some exports to the West Bank and Israel.
·       - By contrast, Egypt has kept the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip closed most of the time following terror attacks carried out by ISIL affiliates against Egyptian targets in the Sinai on 24 October 2014. Egypt accuses Hamas of aiding armed groups in the Sinai.
What is the cause of delays in reconstruction?

·       - Whilst Israeli and Egyptian restrictions on access to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip pose constraints, Palestinian infighting, donor shortfalls, and shortage of materials are major factors holding back construction.
·       - Arab League Sec. General Nabil Elaraby told Al-Hayat in February, “internal differences and the absence of cooperation between the PA and Hamas are behind the delay in reconstructing the Gaza Strip.”
·       - UN official Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Security Council in March: “Despite the GRM’s continued expansion, four months after the Cairo conference donors have yet to fulfil the vast majority of their pledges. This is frankly unacceptable.”
·       - A May 2015 Quartet report stated: “As long as the deadlock continues and the PA is not on the ground in Gaza, there will not be any significant improvement in the situation. An effective and tangible PA presence in Gaza is also a prerequisite for many of the donors who pledged funds.”
·       - Hamas is openly rebuilding its network of attack tunnels, and Israeli security officials accuse them of diverting cement imported for civilian reconstruction for this purpose.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


UN Watch counters biased inquiry with battery of plenary speeches, press conference, side event for diplomats & rights activists 
Hillel Neuer UN Watch July 1, 2015   
GENEVA, July 1 - UN Watch and its partners organized a battery of high-profile events at the United Nations on Monday, covered by Reuters and other major media, allowing senior international military, legal and political figures to expose the gross distortions of the Schabas-Davis report, presented that day by the Commission of Inquiry into last summer's Gaza conflict.

The thrust of the Schabas-Davis report, named after the PLO's legal consultant who initiated and headed the probe for six months and the judge who completed it, is that Israel's political and military leaders (together with Hamas terrorists) should be investigated and prosecuted for "possible war crimes" in international tribunals, as well as in domestic courts worldwide.

At their side event, UN Watch and NGO Monitor released a major alternative report to the UN's Gaza inquiry, entitled Filling in the Blanks, and invited the contributors to present. 

Below are remarks from the day-long UN debate -- followed by the interventions that were facilitated by UN Watch together with NGO Monitor, and with the cooperation of JINSA.

Mary McGowan Davis, Chair of Commission of Inquiry:
Let me now turn to our key findings. First, the attacks by the IDF on homes and families…"
"The strikes may have constituted military tactics reflective of a broader policy, approved at least tacitly by decision-makers at the highest levels of the Government of Israel... Current accountability mechanisms may not be adequate to address this issue... The parties should cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened.”

Saudi Arabia: "Israel is the worst racist regime in the world. Israel is the biggest violator of human rights in the world. The case must be referred to the ICC for crimes against humanity."

State of Palestine: "We examined the report, and we can now say it is balanced to a great extent... Israeli leadership… deliberately planned this barbaric aggression."

Algeria for the African Group: "We urge the government of Israel to take all necessary measures to put an end to the impunity that prevails currently."

Tunisia on Behalf of the Arab Group: "We condemn the barbaric aggression against the besieged and occupied Palestinians... The report shows the need to establish accountability to investigate violations during this Israeli aggression."

Pakistan for the Islamic Group: "These attacks were result of a broader policy conceived by higher echelons of the Israeli government…"

Iceland: "No one cannot stay immune to the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza."

Ireland: "We commend the Commission of Inquiry's work despite serious onstacles put in their way. Ireland regrets Israel’s decision not to cooperate. The right to self defense does not give confer Israel carte blanche to act with disproportionate force. This is a serious and conscientious document, balanced, sober, and reasoned."

Venezuela: "The inquiry demonstrated that Israeli armed forces once again acted as a terrorist organisation, by deliberately attacking civilians with the intention of murdering them… Criminal responsibility for those who perpetrated this genocidal attack." 

Response to the U.N. Gaza Report: Panel of Experts
Side event at United Nations Human Rights Council
co-sponsored by UN Watch & NGO Monitor

 The main response was delivered on live webcast in a packed hall inside the UNHRC building in front of diplomats, major media and human rights activists. Reuters and Yahoo News published photos of the speakers and a description of the event. Full video of the 2-hour panel is here.

Moderator: Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, UN Watch

Dr. Uzi Rubin, Founder, Israel Missile Defense Organization - Click for video

Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor, NGO Monitor - Click for video

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies - Click for video

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor - Click for video

Major-General Mike Jones, Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command - Click for video

Lt. Col. Geoffrey S. Corn, Former law of war expert, U.S. army - Click for video

Col. Richard Kemp, Former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan  Click for video