This week, President Obama’s Egyptian Revolution bore its first fruit: the election of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi. Mursi, of course, is the same fellow who stated last month, “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal. Today we can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia. The Muslim Brothers and the Freedom and Justice Party will be the conductors of these goals.” Rallies for Mursi have included calls to make Jerusalem the capital of Egypt, and songs and chants about how his supporters are all affiliated with Hamas.
Yet upon his election, the Obama administration quickly congratulated Mursi. His election, said the Obama administration, was a “milestone in [Egypt’s] transition to democracy.” Iran apparently felt the same way, celebrating this “revolutionary movement of the Egyptian people… in its final stages of the Islamic Awakening and a new era of change in the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, up north, Syria and Turkey have engaged in a shooting war. Neither side is a paragon. But after letting Assad have his way for the past several months, the Obama administration is getting ready to slip into that conflict too. Yesterday, the White House announced that it would work with Turkey and NATO to hold Syria “accountable” for shooting down a Turkish jet. Surely, this will end well. Just as well as Libya, where Islamists, having their way cleared by Western jets, are poised to take over.
The entire Middle East is now an Islamist tinderbox. And it’s not as though Barack Obama didn’t see it coming. When he spoke in Cairo in 2009, he reportedly insisted that official invitations be distributed to the Muslim Brotherhood – one of the only acts in Egyptian history in which the Muslim Brotherhood was specifically included in the political conversation. Tunisia has gone Islamic. So has Libya.
And then there’s Iran. While the United States pretends to play hard-line with the mullahs, Vladimir Putin is making his presence felt in the region, visiting both American allies like Israel and enemies like Tehran. Russia and China are actively opposing the US’s Iran policy – and we don’t even have any coherent Iran policy to speak of. And, of course, the Iranian people remain under the thumb of religious fanatics who threaten Israel’s existence....
Church of the Nativity (Photo: Tovah Lazaroff)
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Friday became the first World Heritage Site to be listed under the name of Palestine.
It’s approval, by a 13 to 6 vote with two abstentions, marks the second victory in less than a year for the Palestinian Authority’s pursuit of unilateral statehood at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The vote, which was held by a secret ballot, gives an emotion boost to the Palestinian drive to eventually be recognized unilaterally as a member state of the United Nations....
Soldiers in Gaza
The IDF is preparing for a “new era” on Israel's southern border, which actually is a rewind of history back to the days before the Camp David Accords. With the rise of what appears to be a hostile regime in Egypt, the IDF will be beefing up forces all along the Sinai border, and is asking the government for NIS 15 billion ($3.8 billion) for the construction of bases, installation of security equipment, and establishment of new training areas.
Analysts said that the new situation in Egypt necessitates the opening of a “fourth front” for the IDF. For decades, security along the southern border has been more relaxed, because of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, and the IDF was able to concentrate on trouble spots like Gaza and the northern border, as well as “distance missions.” Egypt's new President, Mohammed Morsi, who is identified with the Muslim Brotherhood, has said several times that he wishes to “reexamine” the Camp David Accords. Given his party's open hostility to Israel and its strong support for Hamas, Israel has decided that it can no longer regard the Egyptian border as a “normal” one....
Rockets are still raining down on Israeli cities and towns. From Gaza the attacks have been sporadic and at other times accelerated, presenting a continuous and looming threat. Over 290 projectiles have been fired at the Jewish state since the beginning of 2012, including eight which were launched in a one hour period on Tuesday. The range of the more advanced missiles is up to thirty miles, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Many have documented the debilitating effect that this state of affairs has on day to day living, commerce and the building of communities, families and workplaces. Not to mention the trauma suffered by those individuals whose lives, homes or loved ones have been caught in the crosshairs of one or more attacks.
The highly acclaimed ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system seems to have blunted the impact of the attacks, this combined with what the IDF refers to as other components of defense, namely, “active targeting of rocket launching squads and passive defenses, such as bomb shelters.”
However, when it comes to charting a path for Israel to secure the safety of its citizens, it is crucial to consider the wider regional context of this threat and its capacity to develop significantly.
Firstly, it is well known that Hizbullah in the North, essentially in control of Lebanon, has an immense arsenal trained on Israel. According to a U.S. Embassy cable released by Wikileaks in November, Israeli officials noted that “rockets from Lebanon can now cover the entire territory of Israel.” A UPI report from March 2009 quoted Israeli Government Officials who estimated that over 50,000 missiles are targeted at Israel between Hamas and Hizbullah.
On Friday night, two rockets were fired into Israel’s south by a terrorist cell operating in Egypt’s Sinai desert. A terror assault following on Monday morning that left one civilian dead, prompted IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to tour the southern border where he said that a “significant issue is what goes on in Sinai, where terror bases continue to form.”...
If Israel does not surrender all the lands liberated in the Six Day War of 1967, set up an Arab state with Jerusalem as its capital, and make significant concessions in accepting as citizens descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948, a third intifada should, and must, be conducted. The call for a new “uprising of the people” against Israel was part of a the summation statement issued at the end of the two day Palestinian Revolutionary Council (PRC) general meeting held this week. The meeting was led by Palestinian Authority chief and Fatah party head Mahmoud Abbas.
The statement declares its support for Abbas' ongoing refusal to back down from positions that have proven unacceptable to Israel in the past, including demands that Israel agree in principle to accept as citizens descendants of Arabs who fled their homes in 1948. Abbas has also declared that he will refuse to discuss anything with Israel until all settlement activity is ended. That precondition has also been unacceptable to Israel, but in its statement, the PRC said that it supported Abbas on that as well.
The PA will also make another attempt to be recognized as a state by the United Nations this year. Last year, the PA statehood bid was thwarted after many months of intense diplomatic activity by Israel, but analysts said that the PA was less likely to back down this time, and would insist that the matter be brought before the Security Council.