Syrian-Hizballah’s capture of Qusayr opens direct weapons route to Lebanon
DEBKAfile, May 19 2013
Shortly after Netanyahu pledged to maintain Israeli operations in Syria against the passage of advanced Iranian weapons to Hizballah, Syrian troops and their Hizballah comrades stormed al-Qasayr, the northwestern town which commands the high road from Syrian Homs to Lebanon’s Hermel Mountains. This was a major victory. Iranian arms for Hizballah can now go through from Syria to destination unobstructed. In more than two years of battling the Assad regime, this was one of the rebels’ most devastating losses after three weeks of bitter fighting and the last of a whole row of recent setbacks. Assad in contrast has gained huge advantages from his al Qusayr victory:
- It cuts off the Syrian rebels’ main supply and communications route via Lebanon through which their Arab backers Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE to send them fighters, arms and funds.
- Rebel positions in the nearby town of Homs become increasingly vulnerable, as the Syrian army regains control of the main highway links between Damascus, Homs and Aleppo.
- After the rebels were pushed out of al-Qasayr, Turkey remains their only accessible source of supplies. However, Erdogan has made a sudden U-turn. He had promised publicly to lobby for no-fly zones in his meeting with Obama on May 17, to shield rebel forces in different parts of the country from Syrian air strikes. Instead, Erdogan threw his support between the international conference sponsored by Washington and Moscow for resolving the Syrian conflict. This told the rebels that the supportive Turkish channel was closing down. It is obvious to them that the conference can only succeed if Washington comes over to the Russian-Iranian-Hizballah side and agrees to the perpetuation of the Assad party’s role in any future government. As yet, neither of the contestants has agreed to attend the conference for which no date has been set. However, Turkish backing and arms supplies through its territory are expected to shrink progressively to squeeze the rebels into accepting a formula which would be tantamount to bowing to the defeat of their uprising.
- For Israel, the fall of al-Qusayr means that while rebel supply routes are shut down, supply routes open up for the free movement of Iranian weapons from Syria straight to HIzballah strongholds in Lebanon. This would be Hizballah’s reward for its military aid to Assad’s army.
If Netanyahu was serious about his promise Sunday to cut off Hizballah’s weapon routes from Syria, he has three primary options to choose from, none of them easy, to say the least:
- Military intervention in al-Qusayr before the Syrian army and Hizballah clinch their takeover of this strategic byway town. This would catapult Israel into full-blown war with Syria and Hizballah and is therefore a non-starter.
- Bombardment of the convoys carrying arms from Syria to Lebanon. This won’t do much good. Having learned its lesson from the three Israeli air strikes against arms convoys and depots this year, Syria has now transferred the hardware disassembled into component parts and passed them out among smuggling rings to move them under cover of dark into Lebanon.
- Attacks on the destination of those weapons, Hizballah depots in the Hermel, after their delivery. This would almost certainly trigger Hizballah war action against Israel.
what really does their heads in is the fact that we can use the expression “holocaust fraud” in headlines
Claims Conference looks to quell storm over cover-up allegations
JTA, May 19 2013
Amid calls that the Claims Conference bungled a warning in 2001 about fraud within the organization, conference leaders appointed a committee to “formulate an appropriate course of action.” The move, announced by board chairman Julius Berman in an email to board members on Sunday, followed an announcement by the World Jewish Congress that it was setting up its own task force to look into allegations of a cover-up by the Claims Conference. The allegations concern an anonymous letter sent to the Claims Conference’s Frankfurt office in 2001 that identified five cases in which restitution was approved for ineligible claimants. The letter reached the organization’s then-director in Germany, Karl Brozik, who queried Semen Domnitser, the official in New York who approved the cases and who was found guilty two weeks ago of spearheading the $57m fraud scheme that run unimpeded at the Claims Conference from 1993 to 2009. In his 2001 response to Brozik, Domnitser acknowledged that the cases had been wrongfully approved but led officials to believe that any errors were inadvertent. The fraud scheme continued to run for nearly a decade more. Among those who were CC’d on Domnitser’s response to Brozik was the former chief of the conference, Saul Kagan, its then-chief Gideon Taylor, and its current chief Greg Schneider, whose formal title is executive vice president. While a Claims Conference staffer who conducted an internal review for the organization in 2001 expressed serious concerns about Domnitser and other Claims Conference employees who reviewed and approved the fraudulent applications, the organization failed to take action against Domnitser. In recent days, critics have accused the Claims Conference of orchestrating a cover-up of the episode. But Schneider’s office denies the accusations, noting that it was the Claims Conference itself, by way of Schneider, that shared the letter with the FBI and called attention to it during Domnitser’s trial to demonstrate how Domnitser systematically lied to his superiors. Though Schneider was CC’d on Domnitser’s response to Brozik, a Claims Conference spokeswoman said Schneider did not see the original anonymous 2001 letter and at the time was not the person who would have handled the matter, because several people senior to him were involved. Ultimately, it was Brozik who elected not to inquire further into the irregularities, the Claims Conference said. Brozik is now deceased. Berman wrote in his email Sunday:
I have asked our Chairman of the Executive, Ambassador Reuven Merhav, to head a Select Leadership Committee of the board to formulate an appropriate course of action for the Conference with respect to the issues surrounding the 2001 letter. I look forward to its deliberations and recommendation.
The $57m fraud scheme discovered in 2009 involved falsifying applications to the Hardship Fund, an account established by the German government to provide one-time payments of approximately $3,360 to those who fled the Nazis as they moved east through Germany, and the Article 2 Fund, through which the German government gives pension payments of approximately $411 per month to needy Nazi victims who spent significant time in a concentration camp, in a Jewish ghetto in hiding or living under a false identity to avoid the Nazis. In all, 31 people were arrested in connection with the scheme. 28 pleaded guilty and the three who went to trial were found guilty this month in federal court in Manhattan.
use of the phrase “gospel according to” implies sand has become christian, which is of course a typical jewish smear
The Gospel according to Sand: We are not Jews
Ofer Aderet, Haaretz, May 19 2013
Professor Shlomo Sand opens his new book, “How and When I Stopped Being Jewish,” with a warning:
Many readers will see the main point presented in this book as illegitimate and even infuriating. Many of the secular people among them who insist on defining themselves as Jews will reject it out of hand. Others will see me as a vile, self-hating traitor.
Sand, a 66-year-old history professor at Tel Aviv University, does not seem to suffer from lack of self-confidence, nor does he have any difficulty expressing himself. On the contrary, the thousands of students packing the lecture halls to hear him speak over last three decades attest to his uncanny ability to distill controversial assertions into supremely fluent language. Why, then, would this well-known, veteran professor feel compelled to open his new book with such a warning? Perhaps he has learned from experience, having authored the two previous books in the series, “The Invention of the Jewish People” (published in English by Verso Books, 2009) and “The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland” (Verso Books, 2012). Both generated a great deal of controversy, some particularly harsh, within academia and among the general public as well. Sand says:
I suffer from people who don’t understand me, in class or in a press interview. But that’s very normal. I take into account that some people won’t understand me. It’s not always easy for me to write for every person. I can’t write like Yair Lapid, but I try to be accessible.
In the two preceding books, Sand claims that the notion of a unified Jewish people was invented, based on myths and fictional accounts, in order to further Zionist ideals. And it is this faulty logic, he says, that served as the excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel. Now, in “How and When I Stopped Being Jewish” (Kinneret Zmora-Bitan), Sand takes secular readers a step further, asserting that if there is no such thing as a Jewish people, then secular individuals cannot, by definition, be Jewish. Step by step, he undermines, weakens and deconstructs the identity of secular Jews. He says:
People tell me I belong to the nation of Albert Einstein, but I, Shlomo Sand, feel closer to the Israeli culture of Arik Sharon than to the German culture of Einstein.
In other words, Sand does not identify with a Jewish nation, but rather with an Israeli one. He says:
Ask me if I like it? Not particularly, but I accept it as reality.
In “How and When I Stopped Being Jewish,” Sand asks whether there exists a secular Jewish culture that unites non-observant Jews throughout the world. He attempts, uncomfortably, to clarify whether there is a “Jewish component” that connects the philosophies of famous secular Jews such as Marx, Freud and Einstein. He asks:
Did Das Kapital, the theory of the unconscious and the theory of relativity contribute in any way to the shaping and preservation of secular Jewish culture? The answer is no. Is Arthur Koestler, bold and provocative as he is, a Jewish writer? Did Serge Gainsbourg, of whom I’m a long-time admirer, write and sing Jewish songs rather than French ones, and no one ever knew it?
Sand even tries to take humor away from the Jews, asserting that figures such as Sholem Aleichem and Woody Allen, for example, drew on “Slavic-Yiddish humor,” a culture that, according to Sand, died out long ago. Though certain veins of humor mistakenly labeled as “Jewish” do indeed arouse strong feelings of nostalgia among many Diaspora Jews, Sand points out that these types of humor were never viewed as particularly funny by Jewish writers in Iraq, whose humor, he argues, is based on a different sort of logic. If this is true, then what forms the basis for secular Jews’ Judaism? What connects secular Jews from Tel Aviv with non-believing Jews from Paris or New York? In Sand’s opinion, there is no connection. He says:
Those who are called ‘secular Jews’ don’t have a way of life in common. They don’t experience day-to-day pain and joy that connect them to other secular Jews throughout the world. They speak, weep, make their living and create in their own languages and national cultures.
So what’s left? If secular Jews share no mutual religion, no culture, no way of life, what can explain their inclusion in an exclusive nation? A few Jewish holidays and ceremonies? Sand seeks to undermine even that much. He points out:
Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century, celebrated Hanukkah with a Christmas tree and did not circumcise his son. On the basis of those practices, can he be considered a Jew or a Christian?
Sand’s book is disturbing, challenging, annoying, yes, and thought-provoking. He tells Haaretz:
The deeper we delve into the subject, the more we have to admit that there is no unifying Jewish culture that is not religious. You and I have a day-to-day experience and existence that are very much Israeli. They may have Jewish and Yiddish sources, but they’re Israeli.
Today, this confusion in defining a “Jewish people” manifests as confusion in justifying a Jewish state, Sand asserts, presenting what he sees as the “cardinal claim” of the State of Israel:
It defines itself as a Jewish state, or as the state of the Jewish people across the world, but is not capable of defining who is a Jew. No linguistic or cultural criterion can contribute to the definition of who is a Jew, since the descendants of Jews never had a language or secular culture in common.
This explains why, in Sand’s view, Israeli legislators could fall back only on religious criteria in determining what constitutes Jewish identity: those born to Jewish mothers or who undergo an authorized conversion process. Yet one need not go to any great lengths to find the inherent contradictions in this definition, as Sand deftly points out:
The state of the Jews isn’t all that Jewish. Being a Jew in the State of Israel doesn’t mean you have to observe all the commandments and believe in the Jewish God. You can explore Buddhist beliefs, as Ben-Gurion did, or eat shrimp, as Arik Sharon did. You don’t have to cover your head. Most of Israel’s leaders and army generals don’t cover theirs.
One of the major problems that arises from this confused definition, according to Sand, is the inherent discrimination shown by the Jewish state to Arabs living within its borders. He writes:
Being a Jew in Israel means, first and foremost, not being an Arab. Maybe soon the status of the Jewish Israeli will also appear similar to the status of the Aryan in Germany of the 1930s.
Speaking to Haaretz, he adds:
I absolutely refuse to consider any sort of comparison to Germany in the 1940s. I hesitated when I wrote that, but I don’t want to be careful with the Israelis. I can’t treat Israelis with kid gloves in the early 21st century. I make a distinction between the 1930s and the 1940s. In the 1930s, they excluded the Jews, but they allowed them to leave. In the 1940s, they killed the Jews. There’s a significant difference. But the fact that the mayor of Upper Nazareth has kept his job even after stating, in 2013, that Arabs were not wanted there, this begins to remind me of the exclusion of the Jews. There is no historical comparison, however, between Zionism and Nazism. In no way whatsoever do I say that it will end in annihilation.
The Holocaust is not absent from Sand’s book, however. In fact, according to “How and When I Stopped Being Jewish,” the Holocaust has become an important aspect of secular Jewish identity. Sand writes:
The symbolic capital derived from the suffering of the past is supposed to be passed down in ink like any other capital. The Holocaust industry sought to maximize the suffering of the past and derive from it as much political and even financial capital as possible. Instead of the old religious identity of the ‘chosen people,’ what arose was an extremely beneficial modern secular ritual of not only ‘the chosen victim’ but also ‘the exclusive victim.’
That same “chosen victim” became an “exclusive” one when he methodically began to ignore the other victims of the Holocaust, Sand asserts, until eventually “the genocide received Jewish exclusivity.” He writes:
Since the last quarter of the 20th century, almost all other victims of the Holocaust whom the Nazis did not mark as ‘Semitic’ have vanished. From then on, all comparison with other acts of genocide was forbidden. Any crime of the past or the present necessarily paled next to the great massacre of the Jews during WW2. Although Hitler was defeated militarily and politically, only some years later the core of his perverted ideology seeped once more to the surface, and today it is alive, kicking and menacing.
Sand is not referring here to anti-Semitism but to the way he says many Jews use racist doctrine to their advantage. He writes:
The perception of the Jews as a nation and a race whose traditional characteristics are passed down through heredity in some invisible way is still very much alive. Yesterday it was simple physical characteristics such as blood or facial structure. Today it’s DNA. Hitler’s desire to remove the Jews from ‘normal’ humanity was fulfilled in a perverted way by the politics of memory adopted by Israel and its followers in the Western world.
ha ha, don’t let those motherfuckers tell you the church of scotland has backed down on its outrageous doubleplusungood crimethink that 2+2=4
Church of Scotland report challenging Jews’ ‘divine right’ to Palestinian homeland unchanged
Stuart Littlewood, My Catbird Seat, May 18 2013 19
The Church of Scotland’s revised report The Inheritance of Abraham? has now been released ahead of their Assembly. The Church felt obliged to change some of it after Jewish leaders sought to interfere, one complaining that it was “an outrage to everything that interfaith dialogue stands for and closes the door on meaningful dialogue.” Another said “it reads like an Inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism.” The Israeli ambassador moaned that it belittled the deeply held Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in a way which was “truly hurtful.” So do the changes amount to a caving in to Zionist meddlers? I soon gave up comparing the two versions word for word to spot the difference. The press release gives no clues either. In it, Convener Sally Foster-Fulton simply says:
We believe that this new version has paid attention to the concern some of the language of the previous version caused amongst the Jewish community whilst holding true to our concerns about the injustices being perpetrated because of policies of the Government of Israel against the Palestinian people that we wanted to highlight. The views of this report are consistent with the views held by the Church of Scotland over many years.
Cool under fire, this lady. The report’s key conclusion remains:
The Church of Scotland does not agree with a premise that scripture offers any peoples a divine right to territory.
At least they stand firm on that. They also recap on what they already believe, and here’s where disagreements might flare up. For example:
Israel is a recognised State and has the right to exist in peace and security.
Yet Israel’s right to exist seems somehow inconsistent with the Church’s statement that scripture does not bestow a divine right to someone else’s land. Even if the Church believes that the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan was morally and legally right, what does it say to the Jewish terror groups that were driving Palestinians from their homes before the ink was dry and before the state of Israel was declared? What about the hundreds of towns and villages not even allocated to the Jewish state in the UN Plan but erased by Israel in order to implant itself. What about the systematic ethnic cleansing and the criminal occupation of additional Arab territories in the 1967 war? Perhaps the Church should remain silent on the ‘right to exist’ question, at least until Israel declares its internationally recognised boundaries and halts its illegal expansion.
There should be a Palestinian State, recognised by the UN, that should have the right to exist in peace and security.
Israel doesn’t recognise the Palestinians’ right to a state.
We condemn racism and religious hatred.
The Jewish state is a racist entity.
We are especially concerned at the recent actions of the Government of Israel in its support for settlements, for the construction of the security barrier or ‘the Wall’ within Occupied Territory, for the blockade of Gaza and for the anti-Boycott law.
“Recent” actions? Israel has been building illegal settlements since 1967. Gaza has been blockaded since 2006. The West Bank has lived under permanent blockade for decades.
We assert our sincere belief that to be critical of the policies of the Israeli Government is a legitimate part of our witness and we strongly reject accusations of anti-Semitic bias. We regularly engage with and critique policies of all Governments, where we deem them to be contrary to our understanding of God’s wish for humanity.
Well said. Central to the Church’s discussion is this excellent passage:
To Christians in the 21st century, promises about the land of Israel shouldn’t be intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory. The ‘promised land’ in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This ‘promised land’ can be found or built anywhere.
The report’s key conclusions appear the same as before. Christians should not be supporting any claims by any people to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory. It is a misuse of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament to use it as a topographic guide to settle contemporary conflicts over land. And regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory the Church remains committed to the following principles (previously set out and agreed by the General Assembly:
- That the current situation is characterised by an inequality in power, therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended. The Church of Scotland condemns violence, terrorism and intimidation no matter the perpetrator;
- The Church of Scotland affirms the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live within secure and fixed boundaries in states of their own;
- The Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are illegal under international law;
- The Church of Scotland should do nothing to promote the viability of the illegal settlements on Palestinian land;
- That human rights of all peoples should be respected, and this should include the right of return and/or compensation for Palestinian refugees;
- That negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority about peace with justice must resume at the earliest opportunity and the Church of Scotland should continue to put political pressure on all parties to commence such negotiations, and asking all parties to recognise the inequality in power which characterises this situation;
- That there are safe rights of access to the sacred sites for the main religions in the area.
This stance seems pretty robust to me, and the Church’s support for refugees’ right of return is very welcome. However it also raises questions. Why, having already emphasised that the crisis in the Holy Land is characterised by “an inequality of power”, call for the two sides to be thrown together again in fruitless negotiations? Negotiate what? Freedom? Is that negotiable? The return of stolen lands and property? Is that negotiable? These matters are already decided by international and humanitarian law and numerous UN resolutions waiting to be enforced. How can the Church approve so-called ‘negotiations’ while one party is still under illegal occupation with a gun to his head? What justice is likely to come out of that? The Church does urge the UK Government and the European Union “to do all that is within their power to ensure that international law is upheld”, but that surely must come first, rather than relying on discredited talks. The report going in front of the Church’s Assembly appears unchanged in substance and has cleverly sidestepped objections. The only caving-in, so far, has been the senior clergy’s agreement to listen to the Zionists’ impertinent demands in the first place. I can only wish the Assembly an enjoyable week ahead and, on this issue, firm judgement.
i hope young ali isn’t trying to appeal to jazeera’s liberal conscience, cos it neither has, nor wants, nor needs one
Al-Jazeera management orders Joseph Massad article pulled in act of pro-Israel censorship
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, May 19 2013
In an unprecedented act of political censorship, al-Jazeera English has deleted an article by Columbia University’s Joseph Massad after coming under intense criticism from Zionists in recent days. Massad told the Electronic Intifada that he had “received confirmation” from his editor at al-Jazeera English that “management pulled the article.” The Electronic Intifada was able to independently confirm that the article was pulled. The piece, The Last of the Semites, published on May 14, was taken down from the main al-Jazeera English site this morning. The link now redirects to al-Jazeera’s main page. It has also disappeared from Massad’s personal page on the al-Jazeera website. The article had been one of the most viewed and emailed articles on the site and had been tweeted hundreds of times. Since its publication, the article generated intense criticism from Zionist extremists, including a columnist in the JPost, and condemnation on Twitter from Obama’s favorite Israel lobby gatekeeper and former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg:
John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, tweeted:
The backlash has been so intense precisely because Massad goes to the core of Israel’s claim to represent Jews and to cast its critics as anti-Semites by showing that indeed it is Israel and Zionism that partake of the same anti-Semitism that targeted European Jews. In doing so, Massad pulls the rug from under Zionists and Israel lobbyists by demonstrating that they are the anti-Semites and taking away the most formidable weapon they wield against critics of Israel: the accusation that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. By neutralizing this ideological weapon that Israel has used so effectively in the Western media to cover up its colonization of Palestine, Massad’s pro-Jewish position and strenuous attack on Zionist anti-Semitism is clearly understood by Israel lobby figures such as Goldberg as a complete obliteration of their ideological arsenal. Goldberg’s claim that Massad’s article is an “anti-Jewish screed” could not be further from the truth. Massad has long argued convincingly that Zionism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin. It is a theme he develops with great erudition in his 2006 book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, and one to which he returns in the article in question, which opens thus:
Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question.” What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.
Last December, in another piece for al-Jazeera, Massad explained how “Zionist leaders consciously recognized that state anti-Semitism was essential to their colonial project,” in Palestine, a recognition epitomized by the notorious Transfer Agreement Zionist leaders signed with the Nazi government of Germany in 1933. A theme that Massad develops in his latest piece is that European, and especially Germany’s, support for Israel after 1948, is no break with the anti-Semitic past:
West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WW2, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s.
The “The Last of the Semites” was based on a lecture Massad gave at a conference in Stuttgart to a largely German audience, just last week:
Although Jazeera receives much criticism, often deserved, for reflecting Qatar’s foreign policy, the censorship of Massad’s article for political reasons is unprecedented because the English-language website had, until now, enjoyed complete editorial independence. It is well understood that Jazeera’s red lines have always been criticism of Qatar or its Emir, and yet, Massad has even published several articles on Jazeera English that harshly criticized both Qatari foreign policy (See here, here and here) and the Emir himself without ever being censored. And Massad has written plenty of articles that have enraged Zionists. This indicates, without doubt, that the decision to remove Massad’s article today was taken at the highest level. But why would this happen now? One reasonable interpretation would be that the removal of Massad’s article reflects a tightening of the editorial line as the network launches its new channel, al-Jazeera USAia, which will rely for access to cable systems, and “mainstream” credibility on forging good relations with US elites. An illustration of what this process might look like was on display when Ehab al-Shihabi, executive director of Jazeera’s international operations and the official responsible for setting up Jazeera USAia, recently visited Chicago, which will be home to a major Jazeera bureau. While in the city, Shihabi struck up a cozy relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It is unknown whether Shihabi had anything directly to do with the removal of Massad’s article. That decision would almost certainly have been taken at an even higher level in Doha. But Shihabi’s dalliance with Emanuel is a good indicator of whom Jazeera is out to impress. As of now, Massad’s article can still be read in full on Jazeera’s mobile site. That’s obviously an oversight by those who ordered its removal. (heh heh, no longer – RB) Here again is ScribD’s copy of the censored article:
The Last of the Semites – Joseph Massad – Al Jazeera English
Israel is largest drone exporter in the world
Yaakov Lappin/Reuters, JPost, May 19 2013
Israel is the largest exporter of drones in the world, a leading industry consultancy firm announced Sunday. In the past eight years, sales of Israeli UAVs have totalled $4.62b, according to figures. The company said that in its calculations, it included products, services and licenses sold to other countries that enable them to produce their own drones. Those type of transactions made up almost 10% of Israel’s defense exports, it added. One of the main reasons for the growth in Israeli exports is the decrease in global importers that depend on the US Dept of Defense, the company estimated. Between 2005 and 2012, Israel’s defense exports reached about $6.1b/yr, of which drones made up some $578m/yr. Meanwhile, France is in talks with USrael to buy intelligence-gathering drones to build up a modern fleet, Defense Minister Drian said on Sunday. France’s existing hardware is outdated and its military intervention in Mali this year has exposed its shortage of surveillance drones suitable for modern warfare. The US provided French commanders with intelligence from its drones based in Niger. Le Drian said on TV channel iTele:
We need this capacity in the short term. The only two countries in the world that build drones are USrael. We are in discussions with each to buy some straightaway.
I called the Times story disinfo when it appeared two days ago. Note that on the same day, Channel 4 News had no difficulty in finding another anonymous, senior IDF officer to spout a whole plateload of crap about Assad’s psychotic plans to gas everyone – RB
Netanyahu: Not true that Israel prefers Assad to rebels
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, May 19 2013
A Friday report in the Times of London, according to which Israel prefers the regime of Bashar Assad than see a takeover of the country by rebel Islamist militants, is untrue, Netanyahu said during a meeting of Likud ministers on Sunday. “The statements attributed to an Israeli intelligence officer do not represent the Israeli government’s position,” Netanyahu said, according to a source present at the meeting. The prime minister stressed that Israel is not intervening in the Syrian civil war and is not taking a position concerning who should rule the country. “I don’t think there is anyone in Israel eager to take action” in Syria, Tzipi Livni, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet and a former foreign minister told Army Radio on Sunday, hinting at concerns that any strike could provoke a wider conflict. Livni also said that Israeli politicians ought to avoid taking sides. “Israel isn’t popular in Syria. Therefore any such statement could only be used as ammunition by one of the sides to try and divert the debate or the violence toward Israel and that’s the last thing we need,” she said.