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Father Roy writes:   The letter that Christian Leaders wrote to Congress recently (see below) is being “criticized” by Jewish Groups.  This is a serious matter.  Spread the word.  Christians need to be alerted.  The Jewish Council for Public Affairs “rejected” what the Christian Leaders called for in the letter.  The American Jewish Committee was OUTRAGED.  But that’s not the worst of it.  The Rabbinical Assembly called for a “re-evaluation” of the interfaith partnerships, between the assembly and the denominations represented in the letter.  Is that a threat?  Or a promise?  Whichever, this incident needs publicity.  We cannot let it fester.  The highlights in JTA’s report are mine.   Peace, Roy  

Religious leaders call on Congress to reevaulate military aid to Israel

(JTA) — Fifteen leaders of U.S. churches and other faith-based organizations have asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel.

The religious leaders sent a letter to Congress members on Monday, calling for an investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which would make Israel ineligible for U.S. military aid.

“As Christian leaders in the United States, it is our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel. Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel — offered without conditions or accountability — will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories,” the letter, signed by leaders of the Lutheran, Methodist, UCC churches, and the National Council of Churches, said.

“We request, therefore, that Congress hold Israel accountable to these standards by making the disbursement of U.S. military assistance to Israel contingent on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.”

“We write to you as Christian leaders representing U.S. churches and religious organizations committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” the letter said, adding that the organizations have “worked alongside our Palestinian Christian sisters and brothers to help build a peaceful and resilient Palestinian civil society.” The signatories said they were writing to Congress “to express our grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

“Unfortunately, unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to this deterioration, sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians,” the letter said, citing the 2011 State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices covering Israel and the Occupied Territories.

The letter called on Congress to hold hearings “to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance.”

The letter also decried what it called “a troubling and consistent pattern of disregard by the government of Israel for U.S. policies that support a just and lasting peace,” citing Israel’s failure to halt settlement activity despite repeated U.S. government requests.

The letter was criticized by Jewish groups.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs rejected the call to reevaluate foreign aid to Israel. “U.S. aid to Israel is not ‘unconditional,’ as the letter claims. It reflects the shared values of America and Israel and furthers our shared goals for peace and security and is vital to advance the security of both peoples,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization of Conservative rabbis, called for a reevaluation of the interfaith partnerships between the assembly and the denominations represented in the letter.

“The letter calling for hearings and reassessment was issued without outreach to longtime partners in public advocacy within the Jewish community. It was released on the eve of Shabbat, just before a long weekend of Jewish and American holidays. And it was distributed at a time when Congress is out of session, in the midst of the general election campaign,” the Rabbinical Assembly said in a statement. “We find these tactics to be disrespectful of channels of communication that have been constructed over decades, and an essential declaration of separation from the endeavor of interfaith consultation on matters of deep concern to the Jewish community. Indeed, we find this breach of trust to be so egregious that we wonder if it may not warrant an examination on the part of the Jewish community at large of these partnerships and relationships that we understood ourselves to be working diligently to preserve and protect.”

The American Jewish Committee said it was outraged by the Christian leaders’ call. “When the world currently is focused on the Iranian nuclear threat to the entire Middle East and the world, Christian leaders have chosen to mount another political attack on Israel,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations. “When religious liberty and safety of Christians across the Middle East are threatened by the repercussions of the Arab Spring, these Christian leaders have chosen to initiate a polemic against Israel, a country that protects religious freedom and expression for Christians, Muslims and others.”


Father Roy writes:

Talk, talk, talk.  Talk can cause mass hysteria.  The article pasted below was published today in an Israeli newspaper.  Glance at the headline.  Let us ask:  “Who is David Rothkopf?” (highlighted).  Let us wonder why claims like his (being an “expert”) are made so readily … and believed so quickly … in a culture like Israel’s … which thrives on fear. Is it not obvious?  Benjamin Netanyahu (and those who share his mindset) are determined to divert the world’s attention away from the crisis in the Holy Land … which is the central problem facing the world today … by directing everybody’s attention onto Iran. 

Here’s a worrisome development:  On Sunday Israel launched air strikes on Gaza.  Let us ask whether Rothkopf is telling the truth about the US “considering” a “surgical strike” on Iran which is a country entitled to a nuclear program (but not to nuclear weapons).  There’s a Fatwa in Iran prohibiting nuclear weapons.  Also, Iran is a signatory to the NPT.  Let us ask who is the unnamed “source” that Rothkopf quotes as being close to the US-Israeli discussions. 

Let us carefully (full of care) re-consider the warning America received from Wes Clark (08:13) in October of 2007.  (This short video is once again making the rounds on the Internet.)  Notice what General Clark has to say about the project for a new american century – AOL Search Results.  Listen to PNAC’s “experts” on FOX News.  Notice how seductive and sophisticated warmongering can be.   Peace, Roy

U.S., Israel considering joint ‘surgical strike’ on Iran’s nuclear facilities

Former Clinton administration official David Rothkopf writes in Foreign Policy that attack, which he says could not be carried out by Israel alone, would only take a few hours and would neutralize Republican criticism.

The United States and Israel are considering the possibility of a joint “surgical strike” against Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a Foreign Policy report by David Rothkopf published Monday.

While Israel and the U.S. still don’t entirely agree on the “red line” which would trigger a military response, the report said that the Israelis are now suggesting a more limited attack than was previously debated.

Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and international relations expert, quoted a source said to be close to the discussions, which claimed that a small-scale attack is currently viewed as the most likely military option. Such strike, the source said, is likely to only take a few hours and would be conducted by air, using bombers and supported by drones.

In order to send the Iranian nuclear program back many years, such an attack could be carried out in a joint U.S.-Israeli operation, or by the U.S. alone. The report claims Israel would not be able to carry out this kind of attack on its own.

Rothkopf argues that the threat of a limited strike would seem more credible than a full-scale attack, and so it has “a real chance of deterring the mullahs.” This threat, the report said, may also increase the chances that diplomacy would work.

The source said the possibility is also aimed at having a regional effect: “Saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.”

According to the report, another consideration for a limited strike is a political one. Bringing up the possibility of a limited, aerial assault, could defuse Romney’s criticism, since the likelihood of such an attack of being carried out is higher


Father Roy writes:Paul R. Pillar worked for 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency and rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts.  He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies.  I’ve highlighted one sentence in his essay pasted below and his concluding paragraph.  

Peace, Roy


Paul Pilar

source: www.middle-east-online.com…

Has Netanyahu Gone Too Far?

The National Interest | September 14, 2012

By Paul Pilar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that President Obama set a precise “red line” regarding Iran’s nuclear program, meaning a commitment to go to war even if Iran is not actually building a nuclear weapon. Ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar sees a possible turning point in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. 

Maybe this time the Israeli prime minister has gone too far in his bullying and arrogance in dealing with the United States of America — so far as to undermine the habits and attitudes in the United States that have made such swagger possible in the first place.

“This time” can refer to Benjamin Netanyahu’s attention-getting outburst this week in which he criticized the Obama administration’s posture regarding Iran’s nuclear program, demanding that the United States impose a clear “red line” and declaring that those who do not impose such lines “don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

The harshness of Netanyahu’s blast took aback even some American politicians accustomed to falling in line in the customary way on matters related to Israel. Sen.  Barbara Boxer of California said in a letter to Netanyahu, as “one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress,” that she was “stunned” by Netanyahu’s remarks.

Boxer is a Democrat who no doubt was also trying to soften any political impact of this latest indication of ill will between the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president. But her response was still one indication of how far Netanyahu had gone beyond the bounds of what supposedly is a relationship between friends and allies.

“This time” also could refer more generally to the whole warpath-blazing campaign of agitation about the Iranian nuclear program. That campaign clearly is mainly an Israeli thing, and especially a project of Netanyahu and his rightist government.

Historians decades from now will be trying to explain how the superpower of the day allowed itself to get so preoccupied with a still-nonexistent weapon in the hands of a second-rate power that, even if the weapon came into existence, could not pose a threat to U.S. interests anywhere near what the preoccupation implies.

Israel, with its longstanding and sizable nuclear arsenal of its own as well as its conventional regional military superiority, also does not face a threat that warrants all the agitation and warmongering.

Maybe preventing the mere possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon would mean Israeli leaders would think only once and not twice before the next time they throw their weight and armed might around in Gaza or Lebanon or someplace else. And the drum-beating about Iran does divert attention away from that pesky matter involving political rights and self-determination for Palestinians.

Perhaps there is seeping into the consciousness of more and more informed Americans the realization that Netanyahu — with his drum-beating, his complete rejection (in defiance of the policies of the United States and other Western powers) of the very idea of negotiations with the Iranians, and his demand for red lines — is trying to lead America by the nose into a war that would be profoundly against U.S. interests.

And it would be a war fought primarily to maintain Israel’s regional nuclear weapons monopoly and — also not in U.S. interests — untrammeled ability to throw its weight around. Even for those attuned less to specific calculations about U.S. interests and more to general concepts of right and wrong, Netanyahu has provided much to offend.

A military attack launched to damage or destroy somebody else’s nuclear program — launched, no less, by a state that long has had nuclear weapons completely outside any international monitoring or control regime — would be an act of aggression clearly in violation of international law.

The infliction of casualties involved, inflicted to maintain the aggressor’s nuclear weapons monopoly, would be an immoral act. And yet Netanyahu says those who may object to any of this “don’t have a moral right” to do so. Incredible.

The prime minister’s behavior can be interpreted in multiple ways. His latest tantrum may be part of his effort to sink the re-election chances of the incumbent U.S. president, in favor of an alternative who would be beholden to interests whose primary affinity is to the Israeli right, by accentuating Barack Obama’s supposed inability to get along with Israel. This is probably at least part of the explanation for the behavior.

Some have questioned Netanyahu’s stability and temperament, in ways that go beyond merely having a short temper. Some Israeli commentators have spoken most recently in terms of Netanyahu “going berserk” or being a “mythomaniac” guided by a sense of heroic mission.

Given all we have heard, in connection with Iran’s nuclear program, about the hazards of irrational or fanatic people with their fingers on the button, perhaps we should ask about Netanyahu: is this a man who can be trusted with nuclear weapons?

Even assuming rationality on the prime minister’s part, there probably is an emotional element involved in his recent outburst in the sense of someone used to getting his way being flummoxed by even the slightest push-back. Netanyahu probably has been conditioned, through such experiences as speaking to Congress with a gallery stacked with AIPAC supporters, to believe that the bullying will always work.

Even sensible and mild push-back, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that the United States is not going to set deadlines on the Iranian nuclear issue, then becomes disturbing to him.

Netanyahu also may have been reacting to increased acceptance in mainstream discourse in the United States of the concept that an Iranian nuclear weapon would not be the calamity he insistently portrays it as and that trying to preclude one would certainly would not be worth starting a new war.

Going beyond the Iranian nuclear issue, perhaps we are seeing some fear that the whole political edifice that has enabled Netanyahu and other Israeli prime ministers to get their way in the United States is showing some cracks. It ought to crack. After all, the overall nature of the relationship, in which the superpower that lavishes billions of aid and dozens of United Nations vetoes on the smaller state gets pushed around by the latter, rather than the other way around, is crazy and illogical.

Ultimately the power of the edifice depends on fear of confronting that power. Theoretically to break down that edifice it would take one courageous American political leader, in a bold FDR-like move, to point out that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

That is not about to happen, and the lobby in question will fight hard to make sure it does not happen. But over the last few years some cracks have become visible. Some people thought they saw a crack at the Democratic National Convention when repeated voice votes were required to override the “noes” that opposed the platform plank about declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.

Maybe Netanyahu’s arrogance, greater than the norm even for Israeli prime ministers dealing with the United States, may be a force that eventually reshapes the relationship. It can do so by making it painfully clear to Americans what they are dealing with.

M. J. Rosenberg evidently is talking about this when he goes so far as to say that Netanyahu “poses an existential threat to the Jewish state.” He is referring to the damage being done to the relations with the superpower patron — that “all Netanyahu is accomplishing with his ugly saber-rattling is threatening the survival of the US-Israel relationship.”

That may well be the effect of Netanyahu’s behavior on the relationship, but perhaps we should not speak of this in terms of threats. Replacing the current pathological relationship with a more normal one certainly would be good for U.S. interests.

Ultimately, however, it also would be good for the interests of Israel, which, in order to get off its current path of endless conflict and isolation, desperately needs the sort of tough love that it is not getting now.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies. (This article first appeared as a blog post  at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission at consortiumnews.com….)


Father Roy writes: Does the proposal in the report sound reasonable to you?  I’ve done some highlighting.

I have a secret suspicion that Hamas and Fatah have already reconciled.  They’re waiting for the appropriate time to make the announcement.  Of course I could be mistaken.  I’ve been mistaken in the past. One wonders how long Fatah and Hamas will find it necessary to keep us waiting.  Please read on for a possible clue. 


A Surprising Proposal from Israel

C. Hart 

As Jerusalem leaders watch developments in the Middle East and on Palestinian streets, one high ranking Israeli Knesset member has signaled to Egypt that Cairo leaders could renew their mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas. This comes as a surprise because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would rather downplay any contacts that Israel might have with Hamas.

During a briefing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, MK Ronni Bar-On, Chairman of the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and a member of the Kadima opposition party, spoke to journalists and diplomats. He reflected on Egypt’s previous mediation role in freeing Israeli POW Gilad Shalit. For five years, a Hamas-affiliated clan was holding Shalit in an unknown location in the Gaza Strip until he was freed on October 18, 2011, as part of a prisoner exchange. Many in Israel were concerned that terrorists with blood on their hands, who were released from Israeli jails during the exchange, would eventually conduct suicide bombings against the Jewish State; but, to-date, that has not happened.

What has happened is that terrorists operating from the Gaza Strip have continued to launch rocket attacks on Israeli southern communities. Israel’s defense forces (the IDF) have retaliated in order to maintain deterrence, claiming they will not tolerate such attacks. They put the responsibility on the Hamas government regardless of which terrorist organizations are operating. Yet, at the same time, some Israeli leaders are showing a renewed interest in Egypt becoming a future diplomatic moderator between Israel and Hamas.

Egypt’s current President Mohammed Morsi has ties to the Moslem Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood is the mother organization of Hamas. Israel wants to preserve the peace treaty with Egypt, and hopes to maintain a quiet border with Egypt and Gaza. The recent terror attacks emanating from the Sinai, conducted by Bedouin terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda and other unidentified radical groups, have disrupted the calm along Israel’s border with Egypt. This has resulted in an IDF troop build-up in the south and the near completion of a fence along the Philadelphi Corridor. For now, Morsi has shown his ability to crackdown on the Sinai terrorists, while keeping peace with Israel.

Bar-On sees the latest outbreak of Sinai violence as an attempt to escalate hostilities between Egypt and Israel. He believes Morsi should not only continue to exert authority over the Sinai Peninsula, but also return Egypt to its role as a leading political powerbroker in the Middle East.

“We have the precedent of the influence that Egypt had on the Hamas organization during the tenure of President Mubarak, even on the Gilad Shalit process exactly a year ago.”

Bar-On explained that when that process was taking place, leading Hamas figures were operating out of Syria. They have now fled Syria’s civil war and are strengthening their position in Egypt.

“This may, by all means, influence the attitude of Hamas to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Reflecting on the recent attacks on the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, Bar-On was quick to tell his diplomatic colleagues at the Jerusalem briefing that Egypt is not an enemy of the U.S. or Israel. He admitted that it has been a cold peace between Israel and Egypt over the past 35 years, and the Egyptian elite are still not ready to recognize the good relations between both states. But, he acknowledged that Israel would like to continue observing a peaceful frontier with Egypt, indicating that Morsi could see the benefit of Israel being a friendly neighbor.

“We hope the new leadership will realize the importance of a moderate Egypt in the region.”

To clarify his position, Bar-On was quick to state the three pre-conditions set by the Quartet in order for Israel to accept any direct relationship with Hamas:

(1) Recognizing the state of Israel; (2) renouncing all violence; (3) and, accepting all previous agreements signed by all parties involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bar-On also emphasized that Israel will strive to maintain the peace agreement with Egypt while making sure the Jewish State is ready for any negative developments.

“It is clear that Egypt must fight terror within its border. Mind you, this war on terror must not compromise the security of the people of Israel and therefore must be coordinated.”

Bar-On was referring to reports that Egypt did not obtain permission from Israel, as required by the peace treaty, to recently move tanks and heavy equipment into the Sinai in order to conduct a military campaign against Islamic terrorists. He also sees the Sinai problem as far from being solved. At the same time, Bar-On signaled to Egyptian diplomats that should Morsi’s new regime continue to uphold the peace accord, it will open a window of opportunity.

“It could shift the way Hamas is used to negotiate. Such thoughts remain as hopes and not something we see when we look at the intelligence reports.”

Critics of Morsi fear that he will use his power base to turn Egypt into a country that expresses Islamic fundamentalism through an emphasis on Sharia Law. While Bar-On does not yet see signs of a pan-Islamic bond among countries in the region, Middle East analysts point to a new surge in Sunni power with the Moslem Brotherhood leading the way.

Bar-On acknowledges that a vacuum in politics will always be filled. Since there is no democracy in the Middle East (except for Israel), extremists are taking advantage of instability in the region. Nationalistic and religious parties are reaping the fruits of the current revolutions. The region could still collapse into anarchy, and Bar-On sees opportunities for Israeli-Palestinian peace fading away. During the briefing in Jerusalem, he called on Palestinian leaders to let go of all agendas and really try to make a difference.

“If negotiations do not get back on track we will be closing what could be possibly the last possibility for peace.”

During the Israeli New Year, government leaders are in the process of making crucial decisions, looking to solve long-term threats, not only for the benefit of the Jewish State, but for the stability of the Middle East. Foreign Ministry diplomats along with Israeli politicians continue to remind the international community that Israel is their strong ally and the only government truly open to the Western world. They want to make sure that the current Arab Spring does not turn in to a fundamentalist and jihadist winter threatening global peace.

Knowing that the current Hamas leadership will benefit from an upsurge in regional Islamic extremism, some of Israel’s leaders seem to be banking on false hope that the Jewish State could do future business with Hamas. The thought that Hamas could be reigned-in by Egypt is a far cry from current realities. Furthermore, the deadlocked peace process with the Palestinians, and continued violence on the streets, is not exactly a hopeful path towards a sweet and happy New Year; but, some Israelis remain eternal optimists.

C. Hart is a news analyst reporting on political, diplomatic, and military issues as they relate to Israel, the Middle East, and the international community.

Read more: www.americanthinker.com…


Father Roy writes: According to the article pasted below, an anonymous Palestinian faction fired two rockets into Israel last evening “despite” Israel’s earlier warning that Israel might re-occupy Gaza.  One might say that the rockets were fired “because” of Israel’s neverending threats.  Notice in the article that the faction has claimed responsibility for the two rockets.  Have you noticed?  Arab Freedom Fighters generally do claim responsibility for their violent resistance.  Which is not the case with the CIA or the Mossad or other groups who involve themselves in false flag operations.  Israel could stop the bombings altogether if Israel would quit the Siege of Gaza.  And end the occupation of Palestinian territories.  And stop all the thunderous threats and boasting.  And comply with International Law.  And learn to share Jerusalem, for starters.

One wonders whether Israel can be convinced that peace would be beneficial for Israel’s economy.  What better incentive can there be?  Here’s a possible peace dividend:  Valley of Peace (03:41).  We’ve got the technology to make it happen.  Cooperative efforts would be required, of course.

I’ve done a bit of highlighting in the article pasted below.  You’ll notice that Hamas still does not trust Israel’s government.  I added a postscript at the very, very bottom.


source: Rockets fired into southern Israel despite Israeli threat to re-occupy Gaza

Damaged buildings in Gaza after operation Cast-Lead

Rockets fired into southern Israel despite Israeli threat to re-occupy Gaza

On the night of Sept. 9, an anonymous Palestinian faction from Gaza Strip fired two Grad rockets into Israel, damaging two buildings in city of Netivot and causing light injuries to thirteen Israelis, including four people who suffered from shock.

According to Jerusalem Post, one of the Grad rockets hit a home in the city of Netivot while the second struck the city of Beersheba, exploded in an open area of the city.

The attack came despite the latest Israeli threats, such as most recent Israeli defense minister’s statement of readiness to re-occupy Gaza. Indeed, it seems that there are factions actually aiming at dragging Israel to a military operation or a war in Gaza, regardless of the consequences it would have on Gaza residents, who are already suffering due to the conflict and are often being forced to leave their homeland and immigrate.

The new attack came hours after Salafist militants named ” the Mujahedeen Shura Council” claimed rockets fired into Israel is in response to the killing of six people in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza last week. In addition, the rocket fire is said to be in repsonse to Israeli policies towards Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the Beersheba mosque, where Israel held a wine festival this week.

We claim responsibility for firing two rockets, on Saturday morning, against the region of Sdot Negev,” said the statement signed by the hardline Islamist splinter group, called the Mujahedeen Shura Council.

The group also said that, the Hamas government is cracking down on its members in an attempt to halt rocket fire into Israel.

“Security forces confiscated homemade projectiles and light weapons belonging to Salafi militants, and detained 20 fighters,” the group added.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said, a rocket hit Israel’s Eshkol region early Saturday, without causing injuries or damage, and another missile alert had sounded.

Another red color alert, the official warning of a rocket, was issued in the area this morning, but it was not immediately clear if the rocket had hit Israel, she added.

It is worth mentioning that, Salafist groups accuse the Hamas government in Gaza of showing weakness against Israel and its failure to impose Islamic law.

However, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians, in separate attacks, on Wednesday and Thursday, claiming they targeted militants firing rockets into the Negev and planting bombs near the border. According to Palestinian media, all of the dead were civilians.

Moreover, according to Alresalah news, Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said in an interview with Al-Aqsa TV of Hamas that his government has been honest and maintained its political positions as it will never recognize Israel and will not give up a single inch of Palestinian land.

Haniyeh stressed that the resistance in Gaza has all elements of force and can protect Gaza Strip from any attack or aggression by the Israeli occupation army.

“We emphasized resistance option in order to liberate the land. We now live in a stage that gathers reconstruction and liberation and resistance,” Haniyeh added.  

(Peers…. Please review this article which comes from HamasPause for Peace – New York Times It’s not the least bit out-of-date.  R)