Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders new fence to keep out African migrants

Critics accuse Netanyahu of exaggerating the dangers posed by refugees

israel-orders-new-fence-to-keep-out-african-migrants
A Sudanese refugee family are surrounded by Israeli army soldiers after crossing illegally from Egypt into Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the construction of two massive fences along his country’s southern border with Egypt in a bid to keep out African asylum seekers he claims are threatening the country’s Jewish character.

The barrier will also thwart terrorists from infiltrating the porous border, according to Mr. Netanyahu. “We are talking about a strategic decision to guarantee the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

The prime minister insisted that the step will not stop refugees in dire need from reaching Israel, saying that the country would “remain open” to those with a genuine claim.

But critics dispute this. “This nationalist and racist rhetoric is divorced from reality,” said Dov Khenin, a left-wing member of the Knesset. He added that it was “intended to frighten the Israelis that ‘the Africans are coming’. Sudanese and Eritreans make up many of the about 20,000 asylum seekers to reach Israel via Egypt since 2005.

The project is expected to cost $270m, and will cover two parts of the border, near the city of Eilat and on the edge of the Gaza strip. Although the army began planning the fence in 2005, Mr. Netanyahu’s backing for it now is part of a wider crackdown against the influx, which refugee-rights activists say has dropped somewhat recently because of Israel’s policy of immediate returns of refugees to Egypt and shootings of refugees along the border by Egyptian troops.

Read moreIsrael: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders new fence to keep out African migrants

Philip Giraldi: The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D. is the Francis Walsingham Fellow at The American Conservative Defense Alliance (www.ACDAlliance.org) and a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer.

Philip Giraldi was the foreign policy advisor to Ron Paul during his last presidential run.

giraldi
Philip Giraldi


Many Americans who thought that the health care debate was important must have wondered where their congressmen were in early August during the first two weeks of the House of Representatives recess.  It turns out they were not hosting town hall meetings or listening to constituents because many of them were in Israel together with their spouses on a trip paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  Fully 13% of the entire US House of Representatives, 56 members, traveled to Israel in the largest AIPAC-sponsored fact-finding visit by American politicians ever conducted.  And the leaders of the two congressional groups, 25 Republicans for a week starting on August 2nd followed by 31 Democrats beginning on August 13th, were drawn from the top ranks of their respective parties.  House Minority whip Eric Cantor headed the Republican group and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer led the Democrats.

Cantor and Hoyer are longtime enthusiasts for Israel and all its works.  In January, when Israel was pounding Gaza to rubble and killing over a thousand civilians, Hoyer and Cantor wrote an op-ed entitled “A Defensive War,” which began with “During this difficult war in the Gaza Strip, we stand with Israel.”  Why?  Because “Instead of building roads, bridges, schools and industry, Hamas and other terrorists wasted millions turning Gaza into an armory.” Hoyer and Cantor, clearly noticing a militarization of the Gaza Strip that no else quite picked up on, also affirmed that Israel occupied the moral high ground in the conflict, “While Israel targets military combatants, Hamas aims to kill as many civilians as possible.”  That Hoyer and Cantor were completely wrong on this vital point as well as others, in fact reversing the truth, has never resulted in an apology or a correction of the record from either lawmaker.

And there’s more.  In May 2009, Cantor and Hoyer teamed up again in a congressional letter sent to their colleagues in congress.  The message described how Washington must be “both a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel” because “Israel will be taking the greatest risks in any peace agreement.”  AIPAC couldn’t have put it better.  In fact, AIPAC wrote the missive since Cantor and Hoyer apparently needed a little help to get the message just right. The actual source of the letter was revealed when the document was circulated with the file name “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf,” which the intrepid congressional duo had failed to change before sending out.

Read morePhilip Giraldi: The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy

Philip Giraldi: Wag The Dog, Again

A must read article by former CIA field officer Philip Giraldi.

Philip Giraldi was the foreign policy advisor to Ron Paul during his last presidential run.

giraldi
Philip Giraldi


aipac_rules_america

Israeli media reports that visiting National Security Adviser General Jim Jones and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have told the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop complaining about Iran because the US is preparing to take action “in eight weeks” demonstrate that even when everything changes in Washington, nothing changes. President Barack Obama has claimed that a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a high priority but the Israelis and their allies in congress and the media have been able to stonewall the issue. Israel has made no concessions on its settlement policy, which is rightly seen as the single biggest obstacle to eventual creation of a Palestinian state, and has instead pushed ahead with new building and confiscations of Arab homes. Obama has protested both Israeli actions but done nothing else, meaning that Israel has determined that the new US president’s policies are toothless, giving it a free hand to deal with the Arabs. Vice President Joe Biden’s comments that Israel is free to attack Iran if it sees fit was a warning that worse might be coming. If the Israeli reports are true, it would appear that the Obama Administration has now bought completely into the Israeli view of Iran and is indicating to Tel Aviv that it will fall into line to bring the Mullahs to their knees. In short, Israel gets what it wants and Washington yet again surrenders.

President Obama’s ultimatum that Iran must start talks and quickly “or else” may be based on the belief that pressuring the government in Tehran will produce a positive result. If that is the judgment, it is wrong. Sanctions did not force Italy to change its policies in 1935, nor those of Japan five years later. Saddam Hussein survived them in the 1990s, and they have most certainly not brought the Cuban government down after fifty years of trying. The Iranian government will only respond by closing ranks against foreign pressure. Quite possibly, the only result an enhanced sanctions regime backed by a military threat will produce is a war, which would be catastrophic both for the United States and for Iran. Nor would it be particularly good for Israel in spite of what the current crackpot regime in Tel Aviv might think.

Read morePhilip Giraldi: Wag The Dog, Again

Obama: Israel’s security is paramount

Obama, Netanyahu stress Iran urgency

aipac_rules_america
AIPAC rules America

Meeting in the Oval Office with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama said Monday that he wants to see progress on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program after the country’s June elections but by the end of the year.

Related: Don’t misunderestimate the power of “change”

The Iranian issue adds to already thorny Middle East peace efforts, but Obama said he did not want to stick to any “artificial deadlines.”

“I have said from the outset that when it comes to my policies toward Israel and the Middle East, that Israel’s security is paramount, and I repeated that to Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Obama said.

Read moreObama: Israel’s security is paramount

Interview With Former Knesset Leader: ‘We Are Such an Angry People’

In a SPIEGEL interview, former Knesset president Avraham Burg discusses the right-wing surge in elections, the “monopoly of the Holocaust” on Israelis’ everyday lives and opportunities missed by the Palestinians and Israel.

Avraham Burg on the election of the right-wing parties and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu's imminent return as prime minister: "The Israeli society has been kidnapped by the settler movement."
Avraham Burg on the election of the right-wing parties and Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s imminent return as prime minister: “The Israeli society has been kidnapped by the settler movement.” (AP)

SPIEGEL: Mr. Burg, a majority of Israelis voted for right-wing parties, and now Benjamin Netanyahu is prime-minister designate. As someone who supports the Israeli left, are you feeling a bit lonely these days?

Burg: I feel I am losing my political, ideological and spiritual home. My political home today, the Meretz party, shrank to only three seats in the Knesset. As an Israeli I feel lost because so many of my fellow countrymen are in love with war — as the solution for everything. But the most existential loss is spiritual: For me, being a Jew is being a universalist, a humanist. I can’t understand any Jew who votes right-wing. I can’t understand how a Jew can speak a language of xenophobia. And yet so many of them just did.

SPIEGEL: You’re referring primarily to the ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, whose Israel Beytenu Party became the third-strongest in Israel’s parliament.

Burg: If you had told me 20 years ago that a day would come when this racist ideology would be represented with 15 seats in the Knesset, I would have said that was impossible. Now it’s as if the crossing of this red line were natural. Lieberman doesn’t talk about the West Bank and the borders of 1967. He brings us back to 1948, when tens of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes. Now Lieberman wants the remaining Israeli-Arabs to leave the Jewish state.

SPIEGEL: How could an election result like this have happened?

Read moreInterview With Former Knesset Leader: ‘We Are Such an Angry People’