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Netanyahu, in Speech to Rome's Jews, Insists He `Won't Be Silent' on Iran
By The Times of Israel
Israel will not stand silent as its security is compromised and will take action to
dispel any threat leveled against the state, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said
Sunday. Speaking at the Great Synagogue in Rome, Netanyahu shot back at critics of his
policies, and said that he was concerned more with Israel's safety than with his public
"In contrast to others, when I see that interests vital to the security of Israel's
citizens are in danger, I will not be silent," the prime minister said. "I am committed to
the future of my state and in contrast to periods in the past, we have a loud and clear
voice among the nations and we will sound it in time in order to warn of the danger."
These remarks were apparently directed at his predecessor Ehud Olmert, who earlier
Sunday slammed Netanyahu's public feuding with the US over the best way to thwart Iran's
nuclear weapons drive.
Netanyahu went on to directly address Iran's nuclear program, and said that weapons of
mass destruction in the hands of the Islamic Republic would not only endanger Israel, but
the entire Middle East. "I would like to dispel any illusions. Iran aspires to attain an
atomic bomb," he said, adding that Tehran was also spreading violence across the region.
"Today there is a regime in Iran that supports terrorism, facilitates the massacre of
civilians in Syria and unceasingly arms its proxies Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic
Jihad with deadly missiles."
Netanyahu concluded his remarks by stressing that the lifting of sanctions on Tehran
would pave the way for the Islamist regime in Tehran to produce nuclear weapons. "As we
have warned, and I say this with regret, the sanctions have started to weaken and very
quickly," the prime minister said. "If tangible steps are not taken soon, [the sanctions
pressure] is liable to collapse and the efforts of years will vanish without anything in
Netanyahu left Israel Sunday morning for a working trip to Rome, where he is also
expected to meet with Pope Francis.
Netanyahu has publicly savaged the Geneva interim accord with Iran, signed early last
week, as a "historic mistake." Officials in Jerusalem have repeatedly castigated President
Barack Obama for overseeing a failed negotiating process with Iran under which, they
claim, Iran's nuclear weapons drive is not being thwarted while the sanctions pressure
against Iran is collapsing.
Earlier Sunday, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert launched a bitter attack against his
successor, Netanyahu, for his "utterly misguided" and "dangerous" policy of publicly
confronting the United States over its Iran policy. "We've declared war on the American
government. You can't deny this," Olmert said at panel discussion at the Institute for
National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
Olmert also accused Netanyahu of "wasting" 10 billion shekels some $2.8 billion
preparing "something we didn't need to prepare." This was an apparent reference to
a potential Israeli strike on Iran. "There is one country in the world that regularly
votes in favor of the State of Israel at the United Nations over all those years, in cases
in which we were 100% correct and in cases when we perhaps weren't 100% correct," Olmert
Netanyahu Orders Mossad to Expose Iranian Breaches of Interim Deal
By The Times of Israel
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has instructed the heads of Israel's intelligence
community to look for proof that Iran is violating an interim deal signed with the
international community last week over its nuclear program, a British newspaper reported
on Sunday. The Israeli spying effort to expose Iranian duplicity represents a direct
challenge to President Barack Obama's efforts, it said.
Mossad, as well as the IDF's Military Intelligence Directorate, have been told to dig
up evidence of Iranian duplicity ahead of Obama's push to win support for the deal in
Congress and thus head off legislators' demands for further sanctions against Iran, the
Sunday Times reported, citing Israeli defense sources. "Everyone has his own view
regarding the Geneva agreement," an Israeli intelligence source was quoted as saying. "But
it is clear that if a smoking gun is produced, it will tumble like a house of cards."
If Israel does produce evidence that Iran is flouting its deal with the world powers,
the agreement could prove a tough sell for Obama in Congress.
The Israeli search for evidence of Iranian subterfuge will focus on three aspects of
the Islamic Republic's nuclear program secret enrichment sites such as Fordo, which
the Iranians hid under a mountain in the holy city of Qom; ballistic missile production;
and attempts to design and construct a bomb the Sunday Times report said, citing
unnamed Israeli defense sources. "If Israel gets its way, what Netanyahu described as a
`historic mistake' will soon be exposed as a sham, the report said.
Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 nations are to meet in Geneva this week to discuss
unresolved aspects of the agreement, which was sealed early last Sunday in the Swiss city
after a weekend of intensive negotiations. A solid majority of Americans supports the
deal, according to a recent Reuters poll.
Israeli officials at the weekend denounced Obama for presiding over the negotiations,
which they said granted the Islamic Republic the right to enrich uranium and was rapidly
eroding the sanctions regime against Tehran. That elaborate wall of sanctions,
painstakingly constructed over years, is already crumbling and "will collapse within
months," the unidentified officials were quoted as saying by Israel's Channel 2.
Publicly, Netanyahu has slammed the Geneva deal as a "historic mistake," said Israel is
not bound by it, and vowed to thwart Iran's nuclear weapons drive alone if necessary. In a
phone conversation with Obama last Sunday, Netanyahu agreed to send a team led by his
national security adviser to Washington to try to impact world powers' upcoming efforts to
reach a permanent accord to thwart Iran's alleged nuclear weapons drive.
Privately, the unidentified officials were quoted as indicating, Jerusalem is feeling a
bitter, dismayed and helpless sense of "we told you so." Claiming that officials and
businesspeople from around the world notably including China, Turkey, France,
Russia and India are already converging on Iran, ready to resume large-scale oil,
banking and all manner of other business dealings as sanctions are eased in the wake the
Geneva deal, the officials reportedly said that Israel knew the sanctions pressure would
collapse, "but even we didn't imagine it would happen this fast."
The State Department has acknowledged that Iran is currently enjoying a "window" of
time before the six-month interim deal takes effect, during which it is not bound to take
any credible steps toward disabling its ability to produce a nuclear weapon. The terms of
the deal, which are still being worked out, will only kick in come January.
According to a source in the Obama administration quoted by The New York Times
Saturday, "If there's any evidence of some secret nuclear site the Iranians forgot to
[mention], this is over."
International Relations 101: Reading the Message. Looking at Facts.
By Ira Sharkansky (Commentary)
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2014 as the year of solidarity with
the Palestinian people.
Is this just another bit of UN blather, one of 21 resolutions passed so far against
Israel this year, while only four resolutions condemned activities in all the other
countries of the world? Or does it portend 12 months of festivities on campuses, in union
halls, liberal churches and other places susceptible to the nonsense that Palestine
deserves more help than anything else? It would be easier to ignore if Barack Obama and
John Kerry were not part of the chorus.
The US was one of four western states along with Israel, Canada, and Australia voting
against the resolution, but there remain all those flaws in the agreement with Iran, and
the America's own obsession with Palestine. Perhaps it would not be too offensive to
provide a lesson, suitable to an introductory course in international relations.
Point one: Some of the messages conveyed say more than the words. Subtlety is part of
the craft. Point two: It is helpful to gather facts, trying to be independent of
prevailing sentiments. Much of that sentiment may be nothing more than lip service to what
is fashionable, having little to do with what is actually happening.
Now some details. Binyamin Netanyahu may have said that he favors a two-state solution,
but that is not all that he has said. He has spoken at least as often about the need for
Palestinians to emerge from their isolation and recognize what is alongside of them. They
must accept Israel, its Jewish character, what it provides to its non-Jewish and Jewish
citizens (i.e., far more than provided by any other Middle Eastern country), and that it
has expanded--legitimately--over the course of five decades marked by Palestinian
rejection and violence.
A recent article in The Guardian considers Netanyahu's standing in Israel and abroad.
The writer agrees with other observers that he has made something of a nuisance of himself
with other government heads desperate to do business with Iran, but that he has
considerable support within Israel.
Some of those claiming to look after Israel's best interest compare the country to Nazi
Germany and use the term lebensraum to describe its policy in Jerusalem and elsewhere in
the West Bank. They will not be part of the conversation.
Likewise those who worship at the altar of Obama and Kerry, and swear that they could
not be so materialistic as to allow a desire for business to influence US posture toward
Iran. Such simpletons should be noting the media of recent days, describing the efforts of
Indian, Russian, and western companies doing what they can to reach the front of the line
to talk deals with Iranian counterparts.
Those who cannot read or listen will pay for their limitations. John Kerry says he's
coming here (to Israel) next week. We won't know what he says, if indeed, he actually
makes this trip. However, the betting is that ignoring Israel on Iran will hurt his
aspirations about Palestine. As reported in The Guardian, " 'The Palestinian issue is the
big casualty of this deal,' Bruce Riedel, of the Brookings Institution in Washington, told
the New York Times. 'Now that they have an Iran deal, over the strong objections of
Israel, it's going to be very hard to persuade Netanyahu to do something on the
Palestinian front.' "
Israelis are ratcheting up their antipathy toward Obama, Kerry, and the advisers close
to them. It is clear that they do not sympathize with Israeli positions on Iran or
Palestine, and may not understand them. They appear to be innocent of the Middle East, and
the many features of Islam, extended families, and political movements that are not like
anything in Chicago or Boston.
The Jews of Israel may be better than the goyim, or the Jews of America, at reading
what others say and do. They have more than two millennia of dependence on others, without
having the skills washed out of them by several generations in a friendly place. Calling
us racist, paranoid, or fearful to give peace a chance does not bring Netanyahu and his
constituency any closer to what Obama or Kerry wants to hear.
Subtlety is more a part of Netanyahu's skill than that shown by the Americans he has to
deal with. He is working to keep us apart, getting some things from the US but not
everything, letting the US get some things from him, but not all that it wants. Along with
his Foreign Minister, he will express his fatigue with American aspirations by shopping
around for support elsewhere where they can find it, but not risk disaster by overtly
rejecting American leadership.
His constituency never has to wait more than a day or two for yet another reminder that
its neighbors are not anxious to live in peace. The label "collateral damage" does not fit
the casualties of Palestinian violence. Civilian casualties are not unwanted by-products
of what the Palestinians do. They almost always aim at civilians, like the two-year old
who suffered head injuries last week as a result of stones thrown at her family's car in a
neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The same day there was a riot outside a Haifa courthouse, when the judges gave a light
sentence of several months to two years for several Israeli Arabs who murdered an Israeli
soldier, then postponed the implementation of the sentence to give attorneys for the men
several months to prepare an appeal.
The soldier was himself a terrorist who had turned his gun on the Arab passengers in
the bus he was riding. He was presumably intent on killing Arabs in response to something
that had set him off. When he was killed, he had already been subdued and handcuffed by
the police, who were overwhelmed by a wild mob intent on instant and complete revenge. The
light sentences reflected the complexity of the crime, but any sentence was too much for
the Arabs who rioted against what they described as the distortions of Israeli justice.
Those wanting more confirmation of the nastiness we live with should take another look
at the awards given by the leaders of Palestine to the prisoners who had been convicted
for murdering civilians, but released for the sake of getting the Palestinians to
participate in the negotiations wanted so much by Barack Obama and John Kerry. It should
be no surprise that those negotiations aren't going anywhere.
Israelis appear to be in a small minority who are not convinced that the Palestinians
deserve special treatment. It has long been clear that the majority of UN members act
otherwise. It is disappointing, but not all that surprising how much it takes to convince
the leadership of the EU and the US to share the Israeli view of its neighbors.
The majority of Israelis, along with the Prime Minister, say that they support a
Palestinian state. However, they also say that it depends on some obvious accommodations
from the Palestinians. It may take a long time for them to be ready, seemingly beyond the
time likely to be allotted to any of those currently engaged in the process or watching
from the sidelines.
Those who are firmly in the Palestinian narrative, yet wonder why the Israelis are not
also there, should consider playing in a different sandbox.
(Ira Sharkansky, Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Al-Qaeda-Linked Group: We've Entered 'West Bank'
Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen Aknaf Bayt Al-Makdas, or Holy Warriors' Assembly in the
Jerusalem Region, which is identified with Al Qaeda, has announced that it has infiltrated
Judea and Samaria as part of its war against "the Jews," Christians, infidels and the
The group said in a published statement that the three men eliminated last Tuesday by
the IDF near Hebron Muhammad Nayruh, Mahmoud Al-Najar and Muhammad Pansha, had
belonged to the organization and were killed "in an ambush by the Jewish infidels who
received information from the agents of the Palestinian Authority."
The organization further explained: "We are not fighting for a piece of land, or for
borders determined by the cross (the western nations), on which it placed the dogs (the
Jews) as guards; we are fighting so that the word of Allah shall be supreme and the word
of tyranny be brought down to the lowest level.
"The jihad is in force until the Judgment Day...the jihad against the tyrants of the
Palestinian Authority is legitimate, because they agreed with the infidels of the world,
including the Jews, the Christians and others, to make war on the jihad and turn in the
mujahedeen to the enemies.
"The path of the salafist jihad has reached the [West] Bank... the path of the global
jihad has made its home on the [West] Bank... We stand before an open war against the
Muslims of the [West] Bank... killing, imprisonment, land expropriation, demolition of
homes, defiling of the holy places and more... Onward, sons of Islam, on the land of the
[West] Bank... rise up and fight the enemies of religion, including the infidel Jews, the
hypocritical agents and those who are loyal to them...
"They must learn, that the salafist jihad brings with it people who love death as you
love life and power and control, and they seek to die a death of sacrifice in the path of
Allah, just as you seek the passions and the salaries and the ranks..."
The Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen has branches in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, and the
terror attacks it has launched against Israel were carried out from those areas. These
included rocket attacks and sending trained terror cells to carry out terror attacks
inside Israel. Citizens of Arab countries took part in some of these attacks.
Former Intelligence Agent Discovers Jews in Mass `Christian' Graves
By The Times of Israel
MIEDZNA, Poland In a small cemetery in the Polish village of Kszonzenice in
2004, fledgling guide and former secret service agent Yaki Gantz's two worlds collided
when he found a mass grave with 45 anonymous numbers written on a gravestone.
After a short investigation he discovered that following a nearby mass murder in 1945,
the local priest had gathered the 45 unidentified bodies and copied the numbers he found
on their arms, which were carved on the gravestone.
Gantz turned to Yad Vashem and in a joint effort they were able to identity 19 of the
Jewish victims buried in the mass grave. Since then, Gantz has taken on the mission of
uncovering more mass graves of Jews, mostly those who did not survive the death marches in
the final days of the Holocaust, and were buried by local citizens in Christian
After more than a hundred trips to Poland, Gantz admits each journey becomes more
difficult for him. "In every journey you discover more and more new details and the
question of how it all happened only intensifies," he says.
Gantz, 64, was born in Rehovot, Israel. Most of his adult life was spent working for
the Israeli secret service, but shortly after his retirement, he decided to become a
certified travel guide. Gantz specializes in groups travelling to Poland, initially youth
groups, but currently retirees. Pensioners from the IDF and the Mossad, employees of
several banks and other companies were part of recent groups Gantz has guided.
Most of these groups are aiding Gantz on his mission to recognize these unidentified
Jews and properly memorialize their final resting places. And beginning with his initial
2004 discovery, the cooperation of the local Polish authorities has eased the bureaucratic
hurdles he would otherwise face.
"After short negotiations with the local authorities I convinced them to let me put a
new gravestone with the names of the Jewish victims. I told my friends from the Shabak
[Shin Bet domestic Israeli intelligence service] about it and they agreed to help me to
fund the project," says Gantz. "In May 2008, during one of the trips I guided, a group of
Shabak agents stood in the middle of the Catholic cemetery and unveiled a monument with a
Star of David and the names of the Jewish victims which I discovered with the help of
Naama Galil from the Yad Vashem Institute," says Gantz.
Not long after, Gantz found a new mass grave in the cemetery of the small town of
Swierklany Dolne, where he found a gravestone with 10 numbers and a big cross. When he
started to explore with Yad Vashem who the victims behind those numbers were, he was
stunned. One of the victims was a Catholic Pole while the nine others were Jews.
Gantz says that he managed to locate some of the victims' relatives, and when he
informed them of the grave, many of them were shocked: For 70 years they had believed
their family members were murdered and burned in the death camps. "One of the victims in
the grave was Helena Pachifichi, who came from a very famous Italian-Jewish family who are
currently leaders of the Jewish community in Rome. She was captured in Florence during
World War II and transferred to Auschwitz. In 1945 she was forced to go on a death march,
which she did not survive. Another victim was Roza Koblinski, who has relatives in Israel
who were also shocked to hear that she was not murdered at Auschwitz," says Gantz.
For over 60 years a cross stood on the grave, and no one suspected nine Jewish women
were buried there. A group from the Israeli airports authority agreed to sponsor a new
The next ceremony took place in June 2011 in the city of Mszana. Gantz, with a
delegation of Mossad retirees, placed a new gravestone on a mass grave of Jews who had
died near the city during a death march. The mayor of the city was very supportive and
published a brochure in three languages Polish, Hebrew and English telling
the story of the mass grave and the new gravestone.
"We didn't have numbers, but we had a letter sent by a German officer to Auschwitz with
names of the victims who were buried in a mass grave in the small city Brzeszcze. Together
with a colleague, Gil Faran, we started to research. We gathered all the information on
the victims and, with the sponsorship of Bezeq, we erected a monument with all the details
of the victims which are buried there," says Gantz.
This past July, another ceremony was sponsored by the Bezeq phone company in the
village of Miedzna. Gantz and Faran had found documents written by German officers in the
Auschwitz archives detailing the 42 victims who were buried in the Catholic cemetery there
29 women, the rest children.
Gantz, the local mayor, rabbi and priest, local citizens, and Eran Guron, executive
vice president of Bezeq, attended the ceremony and unveiled the monument, depicting a Star
of David and a cross side-by-side.
Gantz promises he will not cease his search for mass graves. It is his way of thanking
the Polish citizens who buried the victims of the death marches regardless of their
religion, he says. "It is amazing to see how many people helped the Jews then, and how
many people want to help me now," says Gantz.
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