Arlene from Israel: Destructive Obsession.

The Harpy NG (Photo: IAI)
Credit: IAI

What you see above is the Harpy NG, displayed by Israel Aircraft Industries after over two years of development.  Although it looks like a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), it is in fact a missile that is highly maneuverable and can stay in the air for nine hours, loitering until it zooms in on its target and collides with it to destroy it.  Representing a new generation of “loitering attack systems,” it has a superior ability to identify enemy radar prior to the arrival of planes.,7340,L-4767278,00.html

Our enhanced ability to protect ourselves is always good news.


Another development (emphasis added):

“An Israeli company from Hod Hasharon has recently developed a device that will allow drones to identify moving objects through fog, thus allowing the IDF to prevent early morning terrorist attacks.

“Over the years, the IDF reinforced its positions in sensitive areas in the early morning hours, for fear that terrorist cells would take advantage of the fog. That is what happened in hundreds of attacks, from the security zone in Lebanon and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit on the Gaza border. But now the IDF can benefit from a solution that will help troops dramatically.”,7340,L-4764597,00.html


And last innovation for today, this medical advancement (emphasis added):

“Ultrasound imaging is one of the world’s most common medical tests. It is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive, it doesn’t involve exposure to ionizing radiation, and is considered risk-free.

“But an ultrasound scan is typically done at the doctor’s office. So, what about patients in rural areas or disaster zones who can’t get to a clinic?

Credit: nocamels

Israeli researchers are now developing a portable ultrasound system that transmits scans directly to physicians – immediately, from anywhere in the world. With such a system, ultrasound scans can be performed in developing countries with limited medical infrastructure, and the team at the site can be given medical instructions based on the findings.

This innovative ultrasound kit, which can also be used at the scenes of car accidents, was developed by Professor Yonina Eldar’s lab at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The small, advanced probe eliminates the need for the large ultrasound devices that are used by clinics and hospitals.”



The destructive obsession that I refer to above?  The notion that a “two state solution” is somehow a moral imperative that is going to solve a host of problems and make the Middle East a happier and more peaceful place.

Of course, there’s more than a dollop of antisemitism inherent in this position, which is why it never goes away.  How many times over the years have I thought (naively), Ah, finally they’re going to see how impossible and wrong this all is, and leave us alone.  But always, that obsession rears its ugly head again, carrying with it implicit finger-pointing at Israel for not doing enough for “peace” and pressure on us to “make gestures.”


Today some do qualify their enthusiasm for “two states.”

They may declare that – while it would have been the desired solution – it’s over because Israel has been terribly destructive to the process, killing all possibility; this is how NYTimes columnist Tom Friedman reads it.

Or they might think in terms of a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (which suggestion is a nightmare) in order to “separate” Israel from the Palestinian Arabs without negotiations.  This is what Israeli opposition leader Buji Herzog (Zionist Union) maddeningly and unthinkingly suggests now, even when he is beyond Israel’s borders.

Isaac Herzog leading a Labor Party meeting in the Knesset, December 1, 2014. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Credit: Miriam Aster/Flash 90

But the IDEA of “two states” lingers in the atmosphere, always.  We don’t find world leaders conceding that the Palestinian Arabs have blown it by demonstrating a total lack of sincerity and capacity to establish a constructive state.  They never seem to feel the need to justify why the PA is entitled to a state; that is simply a given.  And most certainly there are no international leaders who concede that the land, indeed, belongs to Israel.

For most, “now” is the key word.  Thus the best we get is the position of German Chancellor Andrea Merkel, who said on Tuesday, during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, that it was not the time for serious progress towards a Palestinian state.

Credit: AFP/Odd Andersen

But this does not mean – perish the thought! – that she has given up on the notion of such a state.  She explained (emphasis added):

“…Germany…is very concerned about seeing things realistically. We know the threat of terrorism that Israel has to endure. We believe, on the other hand, that we have to advance a process of peaceful coexistence, and this, according to our opinion, is ultimately built on a two-state solution.”

Sigh. And Netanyahu welcomes this as good news.


Just a little over a week ago, he told the Knesset, during a debate on the issue, that “he was in favor of the idea, but in practice did not see it being possible unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and agree to a demilitarized state.”

Fervently do I wish it were different. I, and many others along with me, long to hear him say, I’m finished with this nonsense and ready to claim our rights to the land.  There are MKS saying this today. But I do understand why he welcomes Merkel’s position:

For starters, we’ve got France.

According to Dr. Guy Milliere,

France today is one of the main enemies of Israel — maybe its main enemy — in the Western world. France’s disregard of the threats faced by Israel is more than simple willful blindness. It is complicity.” (emphasis added)

As I wrote recently, France is pushing, perversely, for a “peace” conference this summer, with a unilateral recognition of a “Palestinian state” to follow if there is no meaningful progress in negotiations.

Netanyahu calls this proposal “bizarre”:

Credit: atlasinfo

“It says: We will hold an international conference but if you do not succeed we are already predetermining the result – we will recognize a Palestinian state…Of course this ensures that this conference will fail because if the Palestinians know that their demand will be met a priori, and they do not need to do anything, then there is certainly an internal contradiction.”

French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnaive met in Jerusalem with Foreign Ministry political director Alon Ushpiz on Tuesday to present his country’s plan.


And we’ve got the EU chief of foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini.

Credit: The Guardian

On Saturday, she wrote on her blog that she had discussed a plan that contained suggestions for “jump-starting the peace process” with Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas,

“who assured to me of their willingness to engage in this new process.”

Netanyahu says she did not contact him about this.  But he did have a conversation with her recently about other matters – primarily the new EU labeling rules – and he reports having said the following to her (emphasis added):

“The State of Israel has to be treated fairly. We are not the root cause of the problems of the Middle East. We are an important part of the solution. If Israel weren’t there, the Middle East’s entire western part would be flooded by the forces of Islamist fanaticism. Together with this flood, many millions more [refugees] would come to Europe. Israel is Western civilization’s iron wall in the heart of the Middle East.”

Great statement. But will the EU hear him? No way.


Oh, and then there is US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power – definitely no friend of Israel.

Credit: abcnews

She arrived on Saturday, and left on Tuesday. Her goal: to advance the “two-state solution.”  She came, she said in a tweet,

“to discuss US commitment to two states side by side in security and peace.”

Does anyone REALLY believe this is possible?

She visited with both Israeli mothers from communities near the Gaza border and Palestinian Arab mothers from Gaza, listening to their stories of pain.  Very nice. Makes great press. The US believes, she told the Israeli mothers, that security for them is linked to peace and it is linked to negotiations.

But she skirts right over the fact that Hamas does not want peace and cares not a bit about the suffering of innocent Arabs in Gaza.  That Hamas is digging tunnels and preparing for the next war.

The US, she said,

“will always stand with Israel.  We will always stand for security and for your legitimacy in the UN.”

Yea, sure.  How cheap words are.


With all of this, we see the actions – both by the EU and the US – in terms of labeling of goods from Judea and Samaria, which smack of attempts to squeeze Israel, no matter the disclaimers to the contrary.


Is Binyamin Netanyahu truly committed to a “two state solution,” as he claims to be?

Debate about this is endless.  (Please, do not write and tell me what you think!) My own sense of it is that in his gut he is not, but that he is lacking steel in his spine. It is his MO – to go with the flow, in a qualified fashion. He is, for example, on record – as I wrote above – for a Palestinian state, but a demilitarized one that recognizes Israel as the Jewish state; this sets the bar for negotiation success very high.  The problem is that the world remembers his stated commitment but forgets the qualifiers.

He claims he is ready to negotiate.  The impulse is to respond, You have to be kidding!

But he’s engaged in a balancing act right now, taking into consideration all that is arrayed against us.

He is, it would seem, determined not to be identified as the “obstacle to peace,” but, rather, to let Abbas play that role.  The point here is that he knows Abbas will fulfill his expectations.  Better (smoother?) that he should be able to say to France, You would give them a state when they wouldn’t even attempt to negotiate??

Netanyahu says the only way forward to peace is via direct negotiations between the parties.  He is definitely trying to forestall the meddling of others. Direct negotiations are called for in Resolution 242 (although not specifically with Palestinian Arabs), and in the Oslo Accords.

On Monday PA Secretary of State Riyad al-Malki declared that “We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

A French recognition of a Palestinian state would not be the end of the world. There are vast legal questions as to how a state is formulated. But if multiple European nations jumped on the bandwagon?  Or if there were a Security Council resolution demanding that we pull back?  Of if BDS increased?  Better, he surely believes, to forestall this.


I make one last comment here: As everyone reading this surely knows, Israel’s hasbara (PR) has been abysmal. There are those positioned against us simply because.  But there are those who might take different positions if the fact of Israel’s rights were part of the international, diplomatic dialogue.

This must start with Israel, and it is what the Legal Grounds Initiative is addressing: . The paradigm of thinking must change, and we are working to make it happen, one step at a time.

If you wish to know more, please contact me privately.  I welcome queries.


I began this post with good news and end the same way (emphasis added):

A history textbook to be used in Egyptian schools will discuss the country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel for the first time, Israel’s Army Radio reports.

The Camp David agreement, and the treaty that resulted from it, will have a dedicated chapter in the book. The chapter, according to the report, is written in a simple, factual manner with phrases such as Egypt and Israel are “ending the state of war” and “each side respecting the sovereignty and independence of the other side.”

Changes do not occur over night, but no one can tell me there are not real and positive changes taking place, in the midst of the chaos and garbage:


This is a heartening story – rich in lessons for us, in spite of its negative aspect (emphasis added):


credit: The Tower

“Hany Baransi has been serving authentic hummus and falafel in his central Ohio eatery for 27 years, proudly giving diners a taste of his Israeli Christian Arab heritage between bites of rich Mediterranean fare.

“A sign bearing an Arabic greeting—’Ahlan Wa Sahalan’ — hangs prominently near the glass doors of his Nazareth Restaurant & Deli in Columbus, through which passersby can also spot an Israeli flag. Baransi says he has always been outspoken about his Israeli identity, and so when his restaurant was attacked on Thursday evening by a machete-wielding man, he believed it was no coincidence.

“The assailant, identified by police as 30-year-old Mohamed Barry, ‘came in and asked where I was from,’ Baransi told The Tower. While Baransi was at home nursing a headache at the time, one of his employees– a young waitress– told Barry that the owner is from Israel. The man left after he determined that Baransi wasn’t at the restaurant, only to return around 30 minutes later with a machete and start hacking people…

“[Restaurant] employees and patrons fought back and threw chairs at Barry, who fled the eatery after injuring four diners. He led cops on a five-mile chase before his vehicle spun off the road and, armed with his machete and another knife, he lunged at the officers.

“’He yelled “Allahu Akbar” and then he attacked them with the machete and that’s when they shot him and killed him,’ Baransi said…

’I am a very outspoken Israeli, and I have an Israeli flag in my restaurant,’ added Baransi, who moved to the United States from Haifa in 1983 and said he tries to visit Israel as often as he can. ‘When people [from the Arab community] ask me where I am from, I tell them I am Israeli, I am an Israeli Christian Arab, it’s not like I am Palestinian, and then they start arguing and fighting with me.’

“When asked whether he would consider removing the Israeli flag seen from his restaurant’s entryway as a precaution, Baransi swiftly rejected the idea.

Credit: The Tower

‘Actually I have another flag, and I am going to get a bigger flag, and I am going to get a Star of David necklace and put it on my chest, and I am going to get a tattoo,’ he declared. ‘Honest to God, I am not kidding. They don’t scare me. We are Israelis. We are Israelis. We are resilient, we fight back.

“’We are used to these bastards…We are used to these kinds of attacks, that they hate us just for what we are. They don’t know us, they don’t know anything about us, and they do that. You know, I don’t care if I was an Arab or not, because I am an Israeli, and if you don’t like Israelis you don’t like me.’”

Right on, Hany!


And an unusual musical video:

“Mark Eliyahu combines the unique sounds of musical instruments like the Kamanche and Baglama with biblical themes like King Solomon’s Song of Songs.

“Many Israelis are attuned to culture and appreciate music; Israel has a high number of musicians per-capita.”

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.


If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


“We Have Legal Grounds” –




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