Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ralph Peters on New Glory.

After Words with Ralph Peters. Video. Ralph Peters interviewed by Anatol Lieven. C-Span, August 18, 2005.

Middle East Genocide. By Ralph Peters. NJBR, June 3, 2013.

Increased Attacks on Christians in Egypt.

Increased Attacks on Christians in Egypt. Video. Shannon Bream with Ralph Peters, Lisa Daftari, and Joe Trippi. America Live. Fox News, August 20, 2013. Right Sightings. YouTube.

Egypt’s Christians Are Facing a Jihad. By Nina Shea. National Review Online, August 19, 2013.

Burning Churches in Egypt. By Rich Lowry. New York Post, August 19, 2013.

Islamists Step Up Attacks on Christians for Supporting Morsi’s Ouster. By Kareem Fahim and Mayy El Sheikh. New York Times, August 20, 2013.

2,700-Year-Old Hebrew Inscription Found in Jerusalem. By Gavriel Fiske.

2,700-year-old pottery fragment discovered in the City of David site in Jerusalem (photo credit: courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority).

2,700-year-old Hebrew inscription found in Jerusalem. By Gavriel Fiske. The Times of Israel, August 18, 2013.

Ancient Hebrew Inscription Dating to 7th Century BC Unearthed in Jerusalem. By Enrico de Lazaro. Sci-News.com, August 19, 2013.


Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have discovered what they say is a 2,700 year-old pottery fragment with an ancient Hebrew inscription possibly containing the name of a Biblical figure.
The fragment, discovered just outside the capital’s Old City at the City of David site, in what is now the Arab village of Silwan, was likely part of a large ceramic bowl dating from between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said Sunday.
The text fragment on the shard, roughly transliterated without vowels into English characters as “ryhu bn bnh,” is similar to the name of Zechariah son of Benaiah, the father of the prophet Jahaziel, whose name appears in 2 Chronicles 20:14 when Jahaziel spoke prophecy to King Jehoshaphat before the king went off to war.
“While not complete, the inscription presents us with the name of a seventh century BCE figure, which resembles other names known to us from both the Biblical and archaeological record… and provides us with a connection to the people living in Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period,” the statement said.
The City of David, while today located outside the southern walls of the Old City, is understood by archaeologists to be the site of the ancient city of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible.
The bowl fragment, along with a number of other small artifacts dating from the same period, was discovered by archaeologists Joe Uziel and Nahshon Zanton during an investigation of remains associated with the destruction of the First Temple, which occurred in 587 BCE at the hand of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
Uziel and Zanton said that the letters inscribed on the bowl shard likely date from “sometime between the reign of Hezekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah.” Based on their analysis, they noted, the inscription “was engraved on the bowl prior to firing, indicating that the inscription originally adorned the rim of the bowl in its entirety, and was not written on a shard after the vessel was broken.”
The bowl possibly contained an offering, given by the person whose name was inscribed on the vessel, they said.

Why the Peace Talks Are Private. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Why the Peace Talks Are Private. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, August 19, 2013.

Palestinians Accuse Peace Negotiators of Treason. By Khaled Abu Toameh. NJBR, August 20, 2013.


The resumption of the Middle East peace talks is a major victory for Secretary of State John Kerry, even if no one other than him thinks they have a chance of succeeding. But you may have noticed one curious element of this much-ballyhooed diplomatic event: it’s being conducted almost entirely in private. This might be explained by the need to keep the talks from being blown up by leaks from either the Israelis or the Palestinians that might be designed to embarrass the other side. But rather than the blackout being imposed by a State Department determined to push the uphill slog to peace without interruption from the press, the request for privacy came only from the Palestinians. The purpose of that desire for secrecy tells us a lot more about why the talks are fated not to succeed than they do about either side’s will to negotiate.
As Khaled Abu Toameh points out in an article written for the Gatestone Institute, the point of keeping the press away from the talks is not so that they can be conducted without interference so much as it is to save the negotiators–and the Palestinian Authority that sent them–from the outrage of a Palestinian public that wants no part of any measure that smacks of coexistence with the Jewish state. Whether or not PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his lead negotiator Saeb Erekat are sincere about wanting an agreement that will end the conflict, after two decades of efforts to demonize the Israelis and make cooperation impossible, they fear that any publicity about the talks will create a devastating backlash. Far from anti-peace sentiment being the work solely of their Hamas rivals, the PLO council dominated by Abbas’s Fatah Party is making it clear it will oppose any agreement.
The reason for the widespread Palestinian opposition to any accord is rooted in a definition of Palestinian nationalism that is incompatible with compromise with Zionism. Since the Palestinian movement grew up primarily by opposing the return of the Jews to the country, the notion of a state of Palestine alongside a state of Israel is anathema under almost any conditions. Even if Israel’s maximum concessions increased to the point where they matched the Palestinians’ minimum terms for peace, that would still entail giving up the “right of return” for the descendants of the 1948 refugees and grant legitimacy to a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. And that is something most Palestinians are still unwilling to do.
But more than that is the nature of the Palestinian political culture that has grown up in the wake of the 1993 Oslo Accords. As Abu Toameh rightly notes, most Palestinians are intolerant of any sort of cooperation with Israelis to the point where they oppose even competitions between youth soccer teams. Thus, the debate about the talks is not so much about the terms of peace as it is about the “crime” of talking with Israelis.
Unfortunately, even if the talks were to bring the two sides closer, this means that any tentative agreement is bound to be abandoned by the PA before it is brought before the people for the same reason that Yasir Arafat said no to a Palestinian state in 2000 and 2001 and Abbas fled the negotiations in 2008 when he was offered an even sweeter deal. Since not even a powerful leader like Arafat felt he could survive peace, there is no reason to think Abbas thinks differently and everything he has done in office confirms that supposition. Having not only failed to prepare the Palestinian people for peace but fomented more hatred for Jews and Israel, it is inconceivable that anything offered by the Netanyahu government would be enough to make Abbas think he could dare to sign on the dotted line.
Seen in this context the lack of cameras at the opening of the talks is not a sign of seriousness. It is an indication that the Palestinians are still not ready to make peace.

Israel’s Need for Defensible Borders. By Uzi Dayan.

The negotiator’s handbook. By Uzi Dayan. Israel Hayom, August 16, 2013.


So far, we have seen negotiations about negotiations. Negotiations about the very existence of negotiations. Only now do the real peace talks seem poised to begin.
After many years of dealing with Israeli issues, and armed with the experience – not to mention quite a few scars – as an official who served as the head of the security committee during talks with the Jordanians, the Syrians and the Palestinians, I’m ready to offer my services and recommend seven core principles for this round of new-old negotiations.
1) A speedy, decisive return to negotiations, without any preconditions:
We must stop acquiescing to preconditions such as the release of terrorists. Freeing these prisoners is problematic both from an ethical and tactical perspective. The U.S. set that precondition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has decisively and wisely pushed peace talks forward, accepted it, to the best of my understanding, to neutralize prospects of either a settlement freeze or an early discussion on the 1967 borders. Negotiators must now return to a position of “no preconditions” in all other matters.
2) Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as its undivided capital:
We do not need the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish nation’s historic right to a state in Israel. But failing to recognize the existence of a Jewish state draws a huge question mark over how ready the Palestinians truly are to agree to two states for two peoples.
3) Defensible borders:
Israel’s need for defensible borders is written in blood. But how will such borders look? The answer is that they will be drawn in a way that fulfills our three basic security needs:
The need for strategic depth: The average width of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is 64 kilometers (40 miles). The strategic depth here is of little importance. But the need increases in light of growing threats stemming from the age of nuclearization, ballistic missiles, and long-range rockets that mostly threaten population centers.
The need for defensive depth: The era of “slim chances for war” is over. The Middle East has become a realm of uncertainty. Civil wars and the lethal combination of terrorism and movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood make it necessary for us to remain vigilant over the possibility of an attack from the east.
The need to be able to combat terror: The only factor that will guarantee the demilitarization of the Palestinian entity is a permanent Israeli presence along the West Bank's eastern border. The disarmament of the Palestinian state is not only a condition that was guaranteed to Israel's when it signed the “two states for two nations” principle. It is also a condition that ensures the security and fulfillment of any agreement. The situation in Sinai is a testament to that. The Jordan Valley “envelopes the state of Israel.”
Holding onto the Jordan Valley is the only way to fulfill these three national security needs. Only through full Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley can the Jewish state manage its own arrangements for security – us, the IDF and Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley. Not foreign armies.
4) Zero compromise on the “right” of return:
Only Israel can be allowed to permit any individual who wants to immigrate to do so, and that is, of course, if the country wants to absorb the immigrant. Plain and simple.
5) Security arrangements:
Israel requires several security arrangements to provide protection to its citizens whose lives, and not the Palestinians’, are in constant danger, and whose existence is wrapped up in the dangerous and delicate fabric of the region. Control and prevention, hot pursuit, the authority to arrest, and so on. The fifth principle has one critical aspect, and that is the control over airspace. The territory between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea is, on average, just 40 miles wide. A fighter jet covers that distance in a few minutes. If we factor in our concern over safe civilian air traffic, then we reach one inevitable conclusion: Israel must maintain exclusive control over the territory’s airspace.
6) A solution to Hamastan in Gaza:
Whom does Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas represent? He can’t enter Gaza, and he couldn’t include Gaza in the Palestinian state which he represents. There won’t be a “three-state solution.”
7) Bilateral negotiations:
How many times have we heard the (true) cliche that “it takes two to tango?” Have you ever tried to tango with a third partner?
The Americans did not participate whatsoever in peace negotiations with the Jordanians. During negotiations with the Palestinians, the Americans did not so much as enter the room. On the other hand, the Americans sat down to negotiations with the Syrians and the results were as expected: The parties stopped speaking altogether, communicating instead with the Americans alone. A modern variation on the famous non-dialogue skit by legendary actor Shaike Ophir.
The Palestinians need to reach agreements with Israel, not with the U.S., not with the United Nations, not with the Quartet. The U.S. must understand that its role is limited to bringing the two sides to the table and implementing agreements. Other pretensions won’t succeed and will only cause harm.
A few words on the U.N.’s strategy
While both parties chose to pursue peace talks for a permanent solution, they also knew such negotiations had scant chances for success. It was a choice they made based on the assessment that the political cost of various concessions on the road to an interim agreement would be intolerable. The two sides also understood that even if they could not reach a permanent arrangement, an interim agreement would always be a possible alternative.
Israel controls most of the territory in Judea and Samaria, and it does not lay claim to territories under the Palestinian Authority’s rule. Therefore, Israel must insist that territorial issues will only be settled at the end of negotiations. And if not, so be it. Deliberations over Jerusalem, the refugees and other core issues will end up depleting Israeli munitions.
These are the seven core principles. There is no need to introduce red lines or road maps to solutions. Experience has taught us that such proclamations only produce one-sided obligations. The Palestinians, with the help of the “useful Israeli idiots,” view them as Israeli points of no return and continue to gnaw away at them, bargaining for the next concession.
Can you recall how the “Beilin-Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] agreement,” the “Geneva initiative,” the “Clinton parameters,” or the “Olmert concessions” wound up? We cannot afford to walk into the same trap.
And the most important thing to remember? We have got a Jewish state to build.

Millions of Millennials Live at Home and Support the Policies that Keep Them There. By Maura Pennington.

Millions of Millennials Live at Home and Support the Policies that Keep Them There. By Maura Pennington. Forbes, August 19, 2013.

Millennials Are Losing Faith in the Country, Not Obama. By Rush Limbaugh. RushLimbaugh.com, August 20, 2013.

In the Face of Obama’s Malaise Economy, Seek Success – and When You Find It, Be Proud of It. By Rush Limbaugh. RushLimbaugh.com, August 20, 2013.


In Man’s Search For Meaning, Austrian psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and founder of logotherapy, Viktor Frankl discusses the “existential vacuum.”  It is an internal emptiness and lack of purpose.  In a life with logos or meaning, anything can be endured.  Without it, a person is lost.  Frankl watched men in the German camps succumb who might otherwise have survived simply because they had nothing to hold onto.
When the greatest excitement today for twenty-somethings are hybrid baked goods, a list of 37 random tokens of nostalgia, or going on an endless string of meaningless Internet-facilitated dates, I have found myself surrounded by nihilists.
Those who are married or finished medical school already may exempt themselves.  Anyone with a legal partner or a life in service of others may wait until middle-age to experience the solitary struggle of a crisis of meaning.  The lost ones instead are those approaching thirty with no savings, no interest in anything but the near-term future, and no profitable outlet for creativity besides solipsistic online forums.
The lost ones are smart.  They pay attention to what goes on in the world.  They read the news along with the lists of 37 GIFs.  Yet what can they do?  They have minimal discretionary income and their free time is spent unwinding from occupations that force them to look at backlit words for eight hours or deal with whining strangers.  They are fully adults and can’t boast of anything their parents had at this age besides better means of communication, which many are horrible at maintaining.
I hear my peers say, “I’m lost.”  I say, “Yes, of course.”  Almost 22 million twenty-somethings live with their parents, myself for the second time currently included, though economists tell us that this is technically a “recovery” from a “recession” and not just one long, dragging depression of next-to-no growth for our country and for the development of individuals who thought for sure they could have had an apartment by now.  I went to a party recently where someone was bashful to admit that he bought his own place.  A room full of renters were ready to give him grief for having the means to pay a mortgage or the certitude and resolve to put down roots in one place.
The lost ones went to college. They know about Sisyphus.  They could draw the connection between checking and rechecking social media feeds and pushing a rock endlessly up a hill.   Yet, perhaps they will not self-identify as lost.  That abyss they feel inside is maybe just “growing up.”  It’s not.  It’s a vacuum.  If you are scoffing at the achievements of others, if you neurotically mutter, “Meh, like it makes a difference”—you have a internal vacuum.   If you have picked up a random hobby recently in a last ditch effort to entertain yourself, you have an internal vacuum.  Allow yourself the excuse that it’s only because there was a coupon for that evening of wine and a painting lesson, but know that you are filling a void.
It’s not that this lost segment of a generation made themselves willfully nihilists.  Life is crowded and getting stricter.  Whereas other generations might have persevered, they enjoyed less traffic and fewer regulations. They could visit Disneyland without timed tickets for rides or climb Yosemite’s Half-Dome without a permit. They could smoke cigarettes on their college campuses without nanny classmates and university bureaucrats shaming them into special areas.  They lived in an era where vaccinations for lethal diseases weren’t up for debate and no one was allergic to bread.  We, on the other hand, exist in an age in which the state explains booster seats at www.safercar.gov and female bullying at www.girlshealth.gov.  In the face of so many noodges, who wouldn’t be a nihilist?
The question for the lost ones is what to do about the vacuum.  They could fall in love, if they still believe in love.  The countries with higher divorce rates than the United States are former Soviet Republics and Belgium, the seat of the sinking EU.  They could get a cat or a dog, if they feel ready to take on that kind of responsibility.  The average age of a first-time mother in America is about 26.  It was 21 in 1970.  The lost ones are skewing that statistic as much as the women who are mindfully waiting.
Perhaps people could find purpose on the day they stop buying multiple bicycles and instead own a car.  The problem then becomes parking, guilt about the environment, and deeper existential angst.  People could start an affinity group of some kind, since one in four Millenials has no religious affiliation, but that would mean managing to get people to respond to messages, which requires a refusal to accept “My inbox is a mess right now” as anything approaching an apology.
Aside from these personal fixes, there is a solution to put the country (including any wayward stragglers or stunted post-adolescents) back on the path of prosperity.  Americans could stop supporting anti-growth politicians pushing agendas that strangle the economy, weaken the dollar, and surreptitiously erode civil liberties, but let’s be serious.  60% of those ages 18-29 reelected President Obama.  So, what’s left?  Keep checking feeds, going on pointless dates, and buying more gadgets?  Frankl would tell the lost ones to find a will to meaning in this world, but finding purpose can be put off, even if the abyss persists and they pester the rest of the world as impotently self-involved non-starters, for lack of ever finding a self or a start.
You can say the deck is stacked against this generation and that I am making an audacious assessment of my peers who were hit by an unexpected external blow. To that I say: Be someone who solves the harder puzzle we’ve been given.  Consider that this isn’t the first time young people have faced a sluggish economy and then investigate what made growth possible in the past.  (I’ll give you a hint: There is something about the 1980s and 90s that makes us all look back to our magical childhoods.)  Instead of complaining about arbitrarily arranged wages, wonder how and why our talents are being wasted and who, with sweeping executive authority, has been setting the policies that make it so.  Question the persistence of this so-called “recovery.”  At least work on the puzzle and you won’t be lost.

Palestinians Accuse Peace Negotiators of Treason. By Khaled Abu Toameh.

Palestinians Accuse Peace Negotiators of Treason. By Khaled Abu Toameh. Gatestone Institute, August 19, 2013.

Activists inspired by ouster of Morsi launch campaign to overthrow Hamas in Gaza. By Khaled Abu Toameh. Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2013.

Our Egyptian Unrealpolitik. By Ross Douthat.

Our Egyptian Unrealpolitik. By Ross Douthat. New York Times, August 19, 2013.

A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi. By Bret Stephens.

A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi. By Bret Stephens. Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2013. Also here.

It’s Time to Hold Our Nose and Back Egypt’s Military. By Leslie H. Gelb. The Daily Beast, August 17, 2013.

Days of Rage in Egypt. By David Remnick.

Days of Rage. By David Remnick. The New Yorker, August 26, 2013.

Egypt’s war of attrition. By Ron Ben-Yishai. Ynet News, August 18, 2013.

Israel’s message on Egypt: Keep Cairo from falling, then worry about democracy. By Herb Keinon. Jerusalem Post, August 18, 2013.

The Islamic Insurgency That Could Soon Hit Egypt. By Eric Trager. The New Republic, August 19, 2013.

The Truth About Egypt. Interview with Eric Trager by Michael J. Totten. World Affairs, August 15, 2013.

Egypt’s Christians Are Facing a Jihad. By Nina Shea. National Review Online, August 19, 2013.

The Revenge of the Police State. By Wael Eskandar. Jadaliyya, August 17, 2013.

Obama’s Egypt Policy Makes Perfect Sense. By Aaron David Miller. Foreign Policy, August 19, 2013. Also here.

Thank God For Egypt’s Army. Video by Dick Morris. DickMorris.com, August 20, 2013. YouTube.

The Modern European Anti-Semitism. By Riccardo Dugulin.

The modern European anti-Semitism. By Riccardo Dugulin. Ynet News, August 19, 2013.