Newsletter : 8fax1106.txt
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Eldad: Israel Now Alone Against Iran's Nuke Threat
Aryeh Eldad, a current Knesset member in the National Union-National Religious Party,
said Wednesday that Barack Hussein Obama's win of the U.S. presidency leaves Israel alone
against Iran's developing nuclear threat.
Eldad said that Obama is likely to pay for deals in the region with the currency of
Israeli concessions, and that "Obama wants to talk to Iran and has already accepted a
Palestinians Welcome Obama Election, Israelis Skeptical
By Luis Ramirez (VOA-Jerusalem) & WorldNetDaily.com
Many Palestinians in the West Bank are praising Barack Obama's election as the next
U.S. president, saying he brings new hope for the stalled peace process. Israelis, on the
other hand, received the news with disappointment, expressing concerns that Obama may
pressure Israel to concede too much in the peace negotiations.
A Palestinian woman said she woke up to the news that Obama had been elected, and she
said it was news she welcomed. She said that as a Palestinian woman, she sends her
congratulations to Obama. All of the past U.S. presidents, she said, have been the same
and not one has supported the Palestinians. But she said she hopes Obama would be better,
and would be a leader who takes the Palestinian people's lives into account.
At a hotel in Ramallah, Maha Ibrahim, a 20-year-old university student, watches the
election returns on a television screen at an election party hosted by the U.S. Consulate.
She said she hopes that Obama, as a black minority in a predominantly white country and as
the son of a Muslim father, will be more sympathetic to the Palestinians. But, she said,
his spoken commitment to peace, and his calls for a pullout from Iraq, are what give her
the most hope.
Reaction to the news of Obama's victory was not so positive in Jewish West Jerusalem,
where many Israelis saw John McCain as a stronger supporter of Israel. This 67-year-old
Israeli woman said she was born in Israel and has lived through several wars with Arabs.
She said Obama's willingness to engage Iran and his outreach to Palestinians made her feel
unsafe. She said Obama's election presents a danger for Israel and a danger for America.
A statement from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel expects that close
cooperation with the new U.S. administration would continue, along with the strengthening
of what she described as the special and unshakable relationship that exists between the
The Hamas terrorist group believes the election of Obama is an "historic victory" for
the world and an opportunity to change U.S. foreign policy toward engagement with
America's foes, Ahmed Yousef, Hamas' chief political adviser in the Gaza Strip, told WND
in an exclusive interview Wednesday.
Yousef, speaking by cell phone from Gaza, said Hamas is drafting a letter of
congratulation to be sent Thursday directly to Obama. He said the current draft of the
letter praises the president-elect as "another John F. Kennedy, or great Roosevelt. We
want to be one of the first to congratulate him," Yousef said.
Yousef told WND he believes an Obama administration would be more willing to engage in
dialogue with Hamas. He said Obama's job would be to "restore America's dignity in the
world and put an end to the wars in the region."
Yousef seemed aware his comments and Hamas' expected letter to Obama may generate some
negative publicity for Obama, but he said he feels it important to "reach out and to
express our thoughts and engage. I praised him six months ago, some people tried to use
that against him. But I knew he would win. Like everyone else, we expected this important
victory," he said.
Yousef was referring to an interview he gave to WND and WABC Radio in April in which he
praised Obama and then found his comments had fueled a firestorm of accusations in the
presidential campaign. In April, Yousef stated he hoped Obama would become president and
compared the Illinois senator to President John F. Kennedy. We like Mr. Obama, and we hope
that he will win the election."
Sen. John McCain repeatedly used Yousef's remarks to criticize Obama's foreign policy.
Obama has condemned Hamas as a terrorist group that should be isolated until it recognizes
Israel. He claimed McCain was using the Hamas comments as a "smear."
Hamas is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, rocket attacks, shootings and
cross-border raids. Its official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of
Israel. And just Wednesday, Hamas members took responsibility for launching dozens of
rockets from Gaza aimed at Jewish civilian population centers.
Iran Warns U.S. Military After U.S. Election
Iran warned U.S. forces in Iraq on Wednesday that it would respond to any violation of
Iranian airspace, message analysts said seemed directed at the new U.S. president-elect
more than neighboring American troops.
The Iranian army statement, reported by state radio, came after a cross-border raid
last month by U.S. forces into Syria, a move that was condemned by Damascus and
But an Iranian politician said the timing suggested it was directed at Barack Obama,
who won Tuesday's U.S. vote, more than the U.S. military, and might reflect concern by
hardliners in Iran who thrived on confrontation with Washington. Obama has said he would
toughen sanctions on Iran but has also held out the possibility of direct talks to resolve
rows, which include a dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"Recently it has been seen that American army helicopters were flying a small distance
from Iraq's border with Iran and, because of the closeness to the border, the danger of
them violating Iran's border is possible," state radio reported. Iran's armed forces will
respond to any violation," radio said, citing a statement from Iran's army
The two countries are also at loggerheads over Iran's disputed nuclear work. Washington
says Tehran is seeking an atomic bomb. Tehran says it wants the technology to make
electricity so that it can export more of its oil and gas.
Iranian government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said he hoped Obama would make
"fundamental changes in the approach of the United States towards global issues" and end
"aggression towards other countries," state broadcaster IRIB reported.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, according to IRNA news agency: "The election
of Barack Obama ... is a clear sign of the American people's wish and desire for
fundamental changes in America's domestic and foreign policies."
Obama, like Bush, has not ruled out military action although he has criticized the
outgoing administration for not pushing for more diplomacy and engagement with Iran.
"Change of political figures is not important by itself. What is more important is a
change of American policy," Ali Aghamohammadi, a close aide to Iran's most powerful
figure, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Reuters.
Iran has warned it would respond to any attack on its territory by targeting U.S.
interests and America's ally Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway
at the mouth of the Gulf and vital route for world oil supplies.
Nationalist Jewish Party Courts Arab Voters in Jerusalem
The National Union-National Religious Party faction in Jerusalem is courting Arab
voters under the slogan, "Only we really want your neighborhood to stay within the
boundaries of Jerusalem and inside the barrier." The initiative has been greeted with
enthusiasm, activists said.
Activists took to the streets on Wednesday to meet with Arabs living in Jerusalem
neighborhoods to the east of the separation barrier being built in the city. The group was
led by united Jerusalem activist Aryeh King. Arab residents of Anata, near Mount Scopus,
greeted the group warmly.
Residents of the neighborhood complained that the standard of living in their community
had dropped sharply due to fears that the area would not be included within the municipal
boundary of Jerusalem in a future peace deal, but rather would be left to Palestinian
Authority control. Arab residents of Jerusalem are eligible for benefits from Israel and
receive services from the city, and in addition have permits allowing them to work for
One resident told activists that the value of his home had dropped sharply due to
threats that Anata would be cut off from the rest of the city. He said was planning to
vote for the NU-NRP because only they could be trusted to move the separation barrier
further east. Another resident thanked King, saying, "You're our only chance to stay in
King has encountered similar reactions in the past due to his efforts to build and
strengthen Jewish neighborhoods in areas of Jerusalem with an Arab majority. While such
efforts have often been met with hostility in the past, King said many Arabs have recently
thanked him and expressed hope that the presence of Jewish-owned buildings in their
neighborhoods will add to the chances that the areas will remain within the Jerusalem city
The activists handed out fliers in Arabic explaining the party's platform. "Only the
'Tov' party list has candidates who have proved their willingness to fight to keep the
neighborhoods of Anata, HaShalom, Ras Hamis, and Shuafat within the Jerusalem city
limits," the flier said. The NU-NRP party will act to improve infrastructure in Arab
neighborhoods, it continued, "We'll work to make the standard of living in your
neighborhoods equal to that elsewhere in the city."
The flier went on to explain the difference between NU-NRP and other parties, "For us,
'Jerusalem' isn't a political matter, it is a part of us, so we won't let any mayor or
government cut your neighborhoods off from the rest of Jerusalem... We will oppose the
completion of the separation barrier and work to move it eastward."
Getting Ready for Obama
By IsraelNationalNews.com (Editorial)
A powerful chorus in this country will now call for Livni to be elected, because her
commitment to compromise will suit Obama's initial agenda. The election of Barack Obama,
an epochal event in America's history, nevertheless fills many people with
At a time when America and its allies face their greatest international challenge since
the passing of the Cold War, Obama comes to his office with limited experience of
international affairs. His perception of the field, insofar as he is known to have
expressed it, seems informed partly by naïve and ideologically motivated
preconceptions: to solve a conflict, sit down with an adversary, decide on a bargain,
implement it, and then go home. This seems to be his approach to adversaries like Iran.
With respect to the Middle East, his strategy appears to be to form a coalition against
Iran by forcing Israel to "solve" its problems with Syria and the Palestinians through
territorial withdrawals, after which a pro-Western Syria and a democratic and independent
Palestine will no doubt emerge.
Nothing could be more important than to disabuse the new American president of these
naive perceptions, if indeed they are his, as fast as possible. In recent years most
Israelis, if not their current leaders now in the twilight of their term, have learned
that in this region, one's adversary's ambitions are not determined by any particular
goal, but by perceptions of one's own morale and vulnerability.
One who surrenders and retreats in hopes of gaining a little peace places his own
survival in jeopardy. Such has been Israel's experience at least since the year 2000, and
such will be the experience of the United States if it sacrifices the interests of its
allies in the pursuit of facile and elusive "solutions."
The fact is that Israel's power is the keystone of any regional coalition against Iran;
even if Israel's more moderate Arab neighbors would prefer not to admit that fact in
public. Anything that weakens Israel will weaken, not strengthen, America's ability to
form a regional coalition against Iran, and will tempt Arab leaders to succumb to popular
pressure to concentrate on further dissecting Israel rather than on containing Iran.
Obama's election is said by certain Israeli pundits to be "good for" Tzipi Livni. Obama
will pressure Israel into retreating, and Livni is more than ready to retreat, even though
last night's rockets on the city of Ashkelon indicate how likely it is that territorial
concessions will incline our enemies to peace. A powerful chorus in this country will now
call for Livni to be elected, because her commitment to searching for compromise, even
when none exists, will suit Obama's initial agenda.
What Israel needs is not an easy time in Washington, but a leader who rationally and
consistently will educate the American administration that compromise on vital interests
is a sure path to more violence.
Yet, the interests of the United States, of Israel, and indeed of America's other
allies in the region do not depend on whether smiles or frowns initially characterize
relations between the White House and Israel's next prime minister. What Israel needs is
not an easy time in Washington, but a leader who fearlessly, rationally and consistently,
without needless friction, but without flinching from friction when necessary, will
educate the American administration to the fact that compromise on vital interests is a
sure path to more violence and a more intractable conflict and in any case is no longer on
Any Israeli prime minister who undertakes this role will have to be brave and
determined, for he will face not only foreign pressure, but vicious attempts to undermine
him at home. He will need a solid and unflinching political base on which to stand.
The American elections are over, but Israel's are yet in the balance. There is much we
can yet do to elect that prime ministerand to provide him with a solid political
base. The most important arena in this regard are the primary elections in the Likud.
The people whom Netanyahu takes with him into the Knesset will, to a decisive degree,
determine how well he can stand up for what he knows are Israel's vital interests.
There are excellent, unflinching candidates for the Likud list, less well known than
Dr. Binyamin Begin, but no less dedicated. They need votes, and they need other forms of
material help in getting out the vote that concerned individuals here and abroad can
provide. Now is the time to act, because the Likud primaries are but one month away.
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