IAF developing new flight guidelines, defense systems to counter expanding threat; new "White Paper" analyzes Syrian, Lebanese and Gazan fronts, different SAM systems in each theater.
FP: I keep warning that Israel’s circumstances are worsening strategically and that defensive tactical actions will prove ineffective at some point.
Just days before presidential balloting is set to begin, a clear front-runner has yet to emerge.
Egyptians prepare to cast votes in this week's presidential election • Former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa is expected to win a run-off battle against former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and Islamist activist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.
Bill Katz: VOTE COUNT
Some voting is underway in Egypt's presidential election, where we're confronted by a group of bad choices. So far votes have come from Egyptians living abroad, 587,000 of whom registered to participate. Leading right now is the Islamist candidate, followed by a leftist candidate. Isn't that exciting? I wonder which one Obama is rooting for. Neither of the leading candidates is pro-American, as was Hosni Mubarak, whom we helped usher out of power. There are also serious concerns that democracy in Egypt may turn into "one man, one vote, one time."
FP: No option is a good option and whoever wins will have to appease the Islamists, the easiest tactic being hostility to Israel. The most serious danger is the gradual Islamization of Egyptian political institutions a la Turkey.
Prime minister says Israel must act to stem the tide of illegal African immigration, which is "a threat to the fabric of Israeli society, its national security and its national identity" • Interior minister rejects idea of granting temporary employment.
FP: Israel must act? Isn’t he supposed to do that? Who allowed this:
There is growing concern in Israel about an influx of tens of thousands of migrants from Africa.The flood of illegal African migrants entering Israel topped the agenda at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the migrants are "threatening the fabric of Israeli society, its national security and its national identity."
The issue has become the center of a heated national debate, after a series of violent crimes and rapes against Israelis, allegedly committed by the migrants. Residents of South Tel Aviv and other areas with a large population of impoverished Africans have demanded action from the government. "It is terribly frightening," a young woman told Israeli television. "I am afraid to go out at night and my parents are hysterical."
About 60,000 Africans have poured into Israel since 2005, entering illegally from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. While some are refugees from war-torn Sudan and Eritrea, the Israeli government says the vast majority are economic migrants seeking jobs and a higher standard of living.
Who needs the right of return if there is this? The Arabs can just relax and wait.
Hiddush organization head condemns reported comments by United Torah Judaism spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon Shteinman • Shteinman also calls on ultra-Orthodox to fast over attempts to force them to do military service.
FP: Uhuh. I warned about this.
The New York Times reports that Western countries will offer to reduce sanctions if Iran agrees to end its uranium enrichment program • International Atomic Energy Agency chief heads to Iran to sign agreement on scope of inspections.
FP: I predicted this. The West does not have a chance in hell in negotiations with Iran.
Bill to tax pet owners stuns Italians but turns out to be all bark and no bite after public outrage prompts its withdrawal • "The only thing that's left to tax are wives and children," says one Italian parliamentarian.
Soccer Dad: "Maturing" (via Israel Matzav)
Last week I noted that AP reported:
The late Yasser Arafat's powerful moneyman is the target of the highest-profile Palestinian corruption probe to date, facing allegations he syphoned off millions of dollars in public funds, the chief investigator said Wednesday.
Anti-corruption campaigners lauded the case against the shadowy former aide, Mohammed Rashid, as a sign of the maturing of the Palestinian political system, although the probe also appeared to be tinged with political intrigue.
At the time I thought that the "political intrigue" was likely more true than the "maturing of the Palestinian political system."
Khaled Abu Toameh confirmed my suspicion. In two recent articles, How much is Mahmoud Abbas worth?
The Palestinian Authority's decision to issue an arrest warrant against him does not seem to worry Rashid, who this week demanded a probe into Abbas's personal fortune, which he estimated at more than $100 million.
So Abbas is saying that Rashid stole hundreds of millions of dollars, while Rashid is accusing the president of embezzling "only" $100 million. This is happening at a time when international donors are continuing to channel more funds every month to the Palestinian Authority, often without holding its leaders accountable or demanding to know how the money is being spent.
What is needed is an independent commission of inquiry to restore the public funds belonging to the Palestinian people. The Palestinians have many Mohammed Rashids who turned into wealthy businessmen during the peace process with Israel -- thanks to the naivety of Americans and Europeans.
Khreishah says that the Palestinian government is in fact lying when it talks about a financial crisis; its main goal is to get Western and Arab donors to channel more funds to Ramallah: "Corruption in the Palestinian Authority is more widespread than in the past," he said. "We hear about the suffering and hunger of the poor and the difficulties facing the unemployed, farmers, villagers and civil servants," Khreishah said. "At the same time, we hear about the luxurious life of senior and influential officials and the involvement of some in money laundering."
What Khreishah is saying is that Western donors, specifically the US and EU, are continuing to pour billions of dollars on the Palestinian Authority without holding its leaders fully accountable.
Abu Toameh makes the case that the Palestinian government remains as corrupt as it's every been.
FP: I already argued that this will continue indefinitely even after a Palestinian state is recognized. Aside from the security nightmare that such a state would pose, the corrupt kleptocracy ruling the new state will suck most of the foreign funds, channeling the frustration from with the circumstances of the public to Israel and induce a gullible West to continue to blame Israel for what is dysfunctional Arab society.
Israel Matzav: Israeli flags anger German anti-Semites
If you go here, you'll see the reaction on Twitter to the presence of Israeli flags in a German stadium (Hat Tip: David H). It's not pretty. Of course, most of the tweeters have Muslim-sounding names, but I guess now that Germany's being overrun by Muslims, they qualify as German. Make sure you click the second page, because the comments there are a lot better.
And probably the best comment by the author:
"Oh my Allah! Why are they waving Israeli flags and not burning them?! I always burn the Israeli flags I buy! It's such a nice program to do with the family... My 5 wives and 17 kids love it!"
FP: And Germany is supposed to be the European hegemon. But once the Muslims reach a critical mass, they will guarantee its destruction.
Don't worry about hackers illegally accessing government systems. It turns out government workers and civil servants who are trusted with private citizen data are more likely to access your data illegally.
The U.K. government is haemorrhaging data -- private and confidential citizen data -- from medical records to social security details, and even criminal records, according to figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests.
Just shy of 1,000 civil servants working at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), were disciplined for accessing personal social security records. The Department for Health (DoH), which operates the U.K.'s National Health Service and more importantly all U.K. medical records, saw more than 150 breaches occur over a 13-month period.
And all this comes to light no more than a fortnight after the Queen formally announced the U.K. government will monitor all Web and email traffic, and log all landline, mobile phone, and Skype calls.
FP: Proliferation of data does not improve security and services affect the criminal element, just the opposite. And instead of protecting privacy, it increases corporate and government violations of it.
During the election campaign, French President François Hollande threatened to slap an income tax rate of 75 percent on high earners. Since then, wealthy French have been looking for ways to get themselves and their money out of the country. And nowhere looks more attractive than millionaire-friendly London.
It began in 2010, when wealthy Greeks started coming to London and buying up expensive townhouses in upmarket neighborhoods. Amid fears that Greece might leave the euro zone, they believed their money would be safe in Britain in its splendid isolation from the euro and the Continent's sovereign debt crisis.
Then rich Spaniards started arriving. They were following by well off Italians, who at the start of the year overtook Russians as the biggest group of foreign buyers snapping up property in London, according to a survey.
Whenever the euro crisis heats up somewhere in Europe, the demand for expensive homes increases in Western Europe's largest city particularly among well-heeled foreigners beset by asset angst.
London real estate agents are like the canary in the coalmine for the debt crisis. They can sense early on the next country to get sucked into the vortex. So who's up next? Apparently it's the French.
FP: As per my prediction of what would happen first when the ship sinks: the rich leave with their money, something which most of the public can’t do.
Barry Rubin: The Middle East: Brave New World or Scary New Master? (MUST READ)
Steven Hayward: World to Germany: Drop Dead
Clarice Feldman: How to Write Democrat Autobiographies (or Naked Came the Kenyan Cherokee) (MUST READ, ENJOY)
Elder of Ziyon: Two lessons from the barn owls
Israel Matzav: The Truth About Ehud Olmert
Daniel Greenfield: Liberating Our Jerusalem