Archive for January, 2011

THE PALESTINE PAPERS: Leaked memos expose treachery of Palestinian Authority, futility of US-brokered ‘peace process’

Posted in Must Read on January 26, 2011 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Secret papers reveal slow death of Middle East peace process’The Guardian (UK); January 23, 2011

The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel’s annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US has been obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian. The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process, which is now regarded as all but dead.

The documents — many of which will be published by the Guardian over the coming days — also reveal:

• The scale of confidential concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, including on the highly sensitive issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

• How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state.

• The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority.

• The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

• How Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders were privately tipped off about Israel’s 2008-9 war in Gaza.

As well as the annexation of all East Jerusalem settlements except Har Homa, the Palestine papers show PLO leaders privately suggested swapping part of the flashpoint East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah for land elsewhere.

Most controversially, they also proposed a joint committee to take over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City — the neuralgic issue that helped sink the Camp David talks in 2000 after Yasser Arafat refused to concede sovereignty around the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

The offers were made in 2008-9, in the wake of George Bush’s Annapolis conference, and were privately hailed by the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, as giving Israel “the biggest Yerushalayim [the Hebrew name for Jerusalem] in history” in order to resolve the world’s most intractable conflict. Israeli leaders, backed by the US government, said the offers were inadequate.

Intensive efforts to revive talks by the Obama administration foundered last year over Israel‘s refusal to extend a 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction. Prospects are now uncertain amid increasing speculation that a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict is no longer attainable — and fears of a new war.

Many of the 1,600 leaked documents — drawn up by PA officials and lawyers working for the British-funded PLO negotiations support unit and include extensive verbatim transcripts of private meetings — have been independently authenticated by the Guardian and corroborated by former participants in the talks and intelligence and diplomatic sources. The Guardian’s coverage is supplemented by WikiLeaks cables, emanating from the US consulate in Jerusalem and embassy in Tel Aviv. Israeli officials also kept their own records of the talks, which may differ from the confidential Palestinian accounts.

The concession in May 2008 by Palestinian leaders to allow Israel to annex the settlements in East Jerusalem — including Gilo, a focus of controversy after Israel gave the go-ahead for 1,400 new homes — has never been made public.

All settlements built on territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war are illegal under international law, but the Jerusalem homes are routinely described, and perceived, by Israel as municipal “neighborhoods”. Israeli governments have consistently sought to annex the largest settlements as part of a peace deal — and came close to doing so at Camp David.

Erekat told Israeli leaders in 2008: “This is the first time in Palestinian-Israeli history in which such a suggestion is officially made.” No such concession had been made at Camp David.

But the offer was rejected out of hand by Israel because it did not include a big settlement near the city Ma’ale Adumim as well as Har Homa and several others deeper in the West Bank, including Ariel. “We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands,” Israel’s then foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, told the Palestinians, “and probably it was not easy for you to think about it, but I really appreciate it”.

The overall impression that emerges from the documents, which stretch from 1999 to 2010, is of the weakness and growing desperation of PA leaders as failure to reach agreement or even halt all settlement temporarily undermines their credibility in relation to their Hamas rivals; the papers also reveal the unyielding confidence of Israeli negotiators and the often dismissive attitude of US politicians towards Palestinian representatives.

Last night Erekat said the minutes of the meetings were “a bunch of lies and half truths”. Qureia told AP that “many parts of the documents were fabricated, as part of the incitement against the … Palestinian leadership”.

However Palestinian former negotiator, Diana Buttu, called on Erekat to resign following the revelations. “Saeb must step down and if he doesn’t it will only serve to show just how out of touch and unrepresentative the negotiators are,” she said.

Palestinian and Israeli officials both point out that any position in negotiations is subject to the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and therefore is invalid without an overarching deal.

The above article can be found here:

‘Papers reveal how Palestinian leaders gave up fight over refugees’The Guardian (UK); January 24, 2011

Palestinian negotiators privately agreed that only 10,000 refugees and their families, out of a total refugee population exceeding 5 million, could return to Israel as part of a peace settlement, leaked confidential documents reveal. PLO leaders also accepted Israel’s demand to define itself as an explicitly Jewish state, in sharp contrast to their public position.

The latest disclosures from thousands of pages of secret Palestinian records of more than a decade of failed peace talks, obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian, follow a day of shock and protests in the West Bank, where Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders angrily denounced the leaks as a “propaganda game”. The documents have already become the focus of controversy among Israelis and Palestinians, revealing the scale of official Palestinian concessions rejected by Israel, but also throwing light on the huge imbalance of power in a peace process widely seen to have run into the sand.

The latest documents to be released reveal:

• The then Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, repeatedly pressed in 2007-08 for the “transfer” of some of Israel’s own Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal that would exchange Palestinian villages now in Israel for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

• The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and other American officials refused to accept any Palestinian leadership other than that of Mahmoud Abbas and the prime minister, Salam Fayyad. The US “expects to see the same Palestinian faces”, one senior official explained, if it was to continue funding the PA.

• Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under George Bush, suggested in 2008 Palestinian refugees could be resettled in South America. “Maybe we will be able to find countries that can contribute in kind,” she said. “Chile, Argentina, etc.”

• Livni told Palestinian negotiators in 2007 that she was against international law and insisted that it could not be included in terms of reference for the talks: “I was the minister of justice”, she said. “But I am against law — international law in particular.”

The scale of the compromise secretly agreed on refugees will be controversial among Palestinians who see the flight or expulsion of refugees when Israel was created in 1948 as their catastrophe (nakba) — while most Israelis regard the Palestinian right of return as incompatible with a democratic Jewish state.

The PLO’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, is recorded telling the US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, in February 2009: “On refugees, the deal is there.” In June 2009, he confirmed what the deal was to his own staff: “Olmert accepted 1,000 refugees annually for the next 10 years.”

Abbas, who is himself a refugee, is also recorded arguing privately: “On numbers of refugees, it is illogical to ask Israel to take 5 million, or indeed 1 million. That would mean the end of Israel.”

On the issue of accepting Israel as an explicitly Jewish state, Erekat privately told Israeli negotiators: “If you want to call your state the Jewish state of Israel you can call it what you want.” He told his staff privately that it was a “non-issue”.

But publicly PA leaders reject any ethnic or religious definition of Israel, and it is fiercely opposed by many of Israel’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, who see it as a threat to their own civil and national rights, particularly since there have been moves in Israel to introduce a loyalty oath along the same lines.

In several areas, Livni pressed for Arab citizens of Israel to be included in a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal, raising the controversial specter of “transfer”. In other words, shifting Palestinians to another state without their consent, a demand backed in its wholesale form by rightwing nationalists.

Livni explained privately that there are “some Palestinian villages located on both sides of the 1967 line about which we need to have an answer, such as Beit Safafa, Barta’a, Baqa al-Sharqiya and Baqa al-Gharbiya”. Earlier, she had made clear that such swaps also meant “the swap of the inhabitants”. But Palestinian negotiators rejected the proposal.

Tonight Livni’s spokesman said she had not discussed population transfers and insisted she had not criticized international law. In Ramallah on the West Bank today, al-Jazeera’s offices were taken over by a crowd of 250 security forces and protesters in response to the disclosures. Abbas said they were an intentional “mix-up”, while Erekat claimed they had been “taken out of context and contain lies”.

But senior PLO sources accepted privately that the documents were genuine.

The above article can be found here:



Also see ‘Bearing out the betrayal’ here:

Also see ‘Sacking proves Fatah-Israel collusion’ here:

Also see ‘Israeli stooge Abbas gives away the farm’ here:

Also see ‘Zionist-run PA (along with Arab League and OIC) keeps UN Goldstone Report, flotilla probe in bureaucratic limbo’ here:

Also see ‘Why Hamas took Gaza (Dayton, Dahlan and the plot against the resistance), Pt. 1’ here:

Also see ‘World’s only superpower admits failure to stop Israel’s illegal settlement drive’ here: see ‘Obama offers Israel free stealth fighters, UNSC vetoes, Jordan Valley for 90-day settlement freeze” here:

Also see ‘Zionist state comes out of Wikileaks debacle smelling like roses’ here:


Posted in Media Watch on January 16, 2011 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Veterans Today

January 16, 2011

Analysts Revisit Israeli Spy Chief’s Boasts By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

CAIRO, Jan. 14, 2011 (Veterans Today) — The New Year’s Eve church bombing in Alexandria, in which 23 Coptic Christians were killed, has reignited fears of sectarian conflict in majority-Muslim Egypt. But while mainstream news media has been quick to pin the crime on “Al-Qaeda,” some Egyptian observers point the finger at Israel, citing recent statements by an outgoing Israeli military-intelligence chief in which he explicitly boasts of Israeli prowess in sowing sectarian discord in Egypt.

“Recent statements by high-ranking Israeli intelligence officials confirm that Israel has a role in promoting sectarian unrest in Egypt,” Tarek Fahmi, political science professor at Cairo University and head of the Israel desk at the Cairo-based National Center for Middle East Studies, told Veterans Today.

Half past midnight on New Year’s Day, a powerful explosion ripped through Two Saints’ Church in Alexandria’s Sidi Bishr district. More than 20 people were killed instantly and several more have since succumbed to their injuries. Scores more were wounded, many critically.

Initial accounts attributed the blast to a car bomb. On January 1, an eyewitness told Egyptian satellite channel ON TV that he saw a car park outside the church shortly after midnight and two men get out. The explosion, he added, occurred almost immediately afterwards.

Authorities, however, quickly ruled out this theory. “The bomb was most likely carried by a suicide bomber who died among the crowd,” the Egyptian Interior Ministry declared in an initial statement.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility. But both the English- and Arabic-language news media have hastened to cast blame on the ever-elusive “Al-Qaeda” — alleged 9/11 perpetrator and convenient bête noir of the western world. Without further elaboration, Egyptian government officials have cryptically described the attack as the “work of foreign hands.”

The bombing comes only two months after the “Islamic State of Iraq” — a purported “Al-Qaeda affiliate” — was said to have claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a Baghdad church that killed dozens of worshipers. The shadowy group also reportedly vowed to target Christians in Egypt, in ostensible retaliation for the alleged detention by Coptic Church authorities of two Coptic women said to have converted to Islam.

But many local observers have come to question Al-Qaeda’s very existence, with some even suggesting that the 9/11 attacks in 2001 were the work not of Al-Qaeda but of US and Israeli intelligence agencies.

“Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, Al-Qaeda has had no organizational existence whatsoever, with the exception perhaps of a few small self-directed groups that might sympathize with Al-Qaeda’s purported ideology,” Gamal Mazloum, retired Egyptian Army brigadier-general and expert on geo-strategy and defense issues, told Veterans Today.

.”[Israeli spy agency] Mossad, by contrast — widely known to have carried out major operations in Syria, Dubai and Iran — has vast operational capabilities and resources at its disposal and is heavily supported by western intelligence agencies,” he added.

The Alexandria attack was immediately followed by contradictory statements from the relevant authorities, suggesting that initial investigations of the crime scene had yielded few solid leads. “Nobody had a clue about how the explosion had happened or the person behind it,” read a January 6 statement from the Alexandria prosecutor’s office.

“Up until this point, there has been nothing but speculation; details of the bombing remain unclear,” said Mazloum. “What we can be sure of is that the operation was extremely well planned and carried out without leaving a trace of the perpetrators.”

Mounting Tension

The church bombing was followed by five days of Coptic demonstrations, in which angry protestors — blaming the government for failing to protect the nation’s Christians — frequently clashed with security forces. Security measures in and around churches, meanwhile, have been stepped up countrywide.

While there have been moving displays of national unity, with Egyptian Muslims turning out en masse to show solidarity with their Christian compatriots, there have also been less pleasant scenes. On January 2, a crowd of Copts vented their anger by surrounding and pounding on a car carrying Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb, a prominent Muslim official, as he left a Cairo Cathedral.

Only days later in Alexandria, a Salafi Muslim man who had been arrested in the wake of the church attack died abruptly while in police custody, leading to charges by his family — and several human rights groups — that he had been tortured to death while under interrogation. The incident served to anger large swathes of the Muslim population, further enflaming the already charged sectarian atmosphere.

“The situation’s getting really serious now,” said Fahmi. “Mounting sectarian animosity has reached the point where it now threatens the country’s very stability.”

The largest concentration of Christians in the Middle East, Egypt’s Coptic community is thought to account for some ten percent of the country’s 80-million-strong population. While Egypt’s Christian minority has traditionally coexisted peacefully amid the Muslim majority, the frequency — and intensity — of sectarian confrontation has picked up markedly in recent years.

“Over the last decade, Egypt’s sectarian situation has worsened,” Khaled Fouad, vice-president of the opposition Democratic People’s Party and organizer of a January 6 conference at the Egyptian Lawyers Syndicate devoted to the Alexandria bombing, told Veterans Today. “Before 2000, there might have been one or two serious sectarian incidents every decade; since 2000, hardly a year goes by without a major — and often bloody — sectarian incident.”

On January 6 of last year, the eve of Coptic Christmas, six Coptic Christians and a Muslim security guard were killed in a drive-by shooting outside a church in the Upper Egyptian city of Naga Hammadi, prompting a wave of Coptic outrage nationwide. Three Muslim men, all of whom deny the charges, are currently on trial for the crime.

And in late November, authorities halted renovation work on a church in Cairo’s Omraniya district, triggering violent clashes between Coptic demonstrators and security forces that left one Coptic protestor dead. Along with under-representation in the top echelons of government, Egypt’s Copts have long complained of stringent government restrictions on church building.

Most recently, on January 11, one Coptic Christian was killed and five others injured when an off-duty Muslim policeman opened fire on passengers on board a train in Upper Egypt. While initial news reports portrayed the incident as one more example of sectarian bloodletting, subsequent reports suggest that the shooting may not have been religiously motivated.

A Spymaster Boasts

Those who suspect an Israeli hand in the deteriorating sectarian atmosphere — and in the Alexandria church attack in particular — point to recent statements by Major-General Amos Yadlin, former head of Israel’s military-intelligence directorate, or AMAN. In Arabic-language press reports in early November, Yadlin openly bragged about Israel’s successes in “infiltrating” and “promoting sectarian tension” in Egypt.

“We have infiltrated Egypt in many areas, including the political, security, economic and military spheres,” Yadlin was quoted as saying in independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm on November 2. He went on to note that this activity had progressed “according to plan since 1979,” the year in which Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David peace accord.

Yadlin, whose statements were attributed to a report in Israeli-Palestinian Arabic-language weekly Kul al-Arab, was reportedly speaking on the occasion of his official handover to his appointed successor, General Aviv Kochavi.

Notably, Yadlin goes on to brag about Israeli success in sowing sectarian strife — fitna in Arabic — in Egypt. “We have succeeded in promoting sectarian and social tension there so as to create a permanent atmosphere of turmoil,” he is quoted as saying.

According to Fahmi, Yadlin’s was not the first such admission by a high-ranking Israeli intelligence officer. “One year ago, Avi Dichter [former head of Israeli domestic spy service Shin Bet] stated explicitly that Israel stood behind sectarian unrest in Egypt,” he said.

Yadlin’s frank assertions have inevitably led some local observers to raise the possibility of an Israeli role in the New Year’s Eve church bombing.

Speaking on state television in the immediate wake of the attack, Nabil Luqa Babawi, a prominent member of the ruling National Democratic Party, referred explicitly to recent statements by Yadlin. “Israel devotes millions of dollars to instigating Christian-Muslim conflict,” said Babawi, himself a Coptic Christian.

Shortly afterward, also on state television, Gamal Asaad, a Coptic member of parliament, warned of a “Zionist plot aimed at destabilizing the country and wrecking national cohesion.” He went on to refer to “Israeli attempts to exploit the tense sectarian atmosphere in certain parts of the Middle East.”

“Whoever committed the Alexandria crime wants to instigate fitna between Egypt’s Christians and Muslims in hopes of destabilizing the country and, perhaps, damaging its vital tourism industry,” said Mazloum. “And Israel stands at the top of the list of those who would benefit from such a scenario.”

Fahmi agreed, asserting that Israel “has more to gain from the Alexandria attack than anyone.”

Additional Infiltrations

According to Yadlin, Egypt isn’t the only country to be subject to Israeli intrigue. In his statements in early November, he spoke of additional “infiltrations” in a handful of other states in the region — including Lebanon, Sudan and Iran — during his five-year term as military-intelligence chief.

“We have reformulated a number of espionage networks in Lebanon and formed dozens of new ones,” he is quoted as saying. “The result is that we now have complete control over the country’s telecommunications sector.”

Within the last two years, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has uncovered more than 100 suspected Israeli spies operating in Lebanon (one of whom, remarkably, is a first cousin of alleged 9/11 hijacker Ziad al-Jarrah). Hezbollah also claims Israel was behind the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri — which brought the country perilously close to civil war between Sunni and Shiite — and, last August, presented credible evidence in support of its assertions.

Notably, in late October, Yadlin was quoted as saying by Iranian Press TV that Israel had benefited from Hariri’s death, after which it had managed to launch “more than one operation” inside Lebanon.

On Israeli intelligence activity in Sudan, Yadlin, in his November statements, also confessed to having played a major role in assisting south Sudanese “separatist movements” in an effort to foment civil strife in that country.

“We provided the southern separatists with weapons, trained many of them, and assisted them with logistics,” he is quoted as saying. “We have built networks in southern Sudan and in Darfur capable of continuing this work indefinitely.”

Early this month, Sudanese Ambassador to Iran Suleiman Abdel Towab accused both the US and Israel of fueling unrest in southern Sudan, where a weeklong referendum on secession from the northern Khartoum government is now wrapping up. “The Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, is likely to be escalating the conflict,” Abdel Towab was quoted as saying on January 2.

Southern Sudan’s referendum, which ends on Saturday (January 15), has been accompanied by considerable violence, with scores killed in clashes between rival tribes in the country’s disputed Abyei region.

“Israel is known to have provided southern Sudan with weapons and military training to help in its conflict with the north,” said Mazloum. “The unfolding breakup of Sudan, which will pose an immediate challenge to Egypt’s national security, is being planned and directed by the US and Israel.”

South Sudanese leaders, for their part, have already hinted at a willingness to establish diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv — still a taboo in much of the Arab world — in the event of secession.

“There is a longstanding Zionist strategy, referred to in the writings of many Zionist pioneers, aimed at ensuring Israel’s regional hegemony by breaking major Arab countries into small and ineffective, ethnically-distinct statelets,” said Fahmi. “Just as Sudan will be divided between the Muslim north and Christian south, so Iraq will likely be broken up into three distinct Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions.”

Interestingly, deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, while on trial for war crimes in 2006, stated, “The Zionists are the only ones who will benefit from the differences among Iraqis,” in reference to the rapidly deteriorating sectarian situation at the time between the country’s Sunnis and Shiites.,7340,L-3316173,00.html

Yadlin also reportedly admitted that Israeli intelligence activity extended into Iran. “We have assassinated several Iranian nuclear scientists and political leaders,” he is quoted as having said in November.

On January 10, Iran announced the arrest of several suspected Israeli spies who they said were responsible for the assassination last year of a top Iranian nuclear scientist. “The main elements behind this terrorist crime were arrested and a network of spies and terrorists linked to the Zionist regime was dismantled,” according to an Iranian Intelligence Ministry statement cited by Agence France-Presse.

Payback for Spy Bust?

Notably, on December 19, less than two weeks before the church bombing, Egyptian authorities announced the discovery and arrest of an alleged Israeli spy network said to have included an Egyptian and two Israeli nationals. The Egyptian, 37-year-old Tarek Abdel Razzek, is expected to stand trial on espionage charges, while the two Israelis have been charged in absentia.

Confessions by Abdel Razzek have reportedly led to the discovery of additional Israeli spy networks in both Syria and Lebanon.

In light of the close timing, some observers posit that the Alexandria church attack may have come as payback for Egypt’s successful discovery/disruption of Israeli intelligence activity.

“Revelations gleaned from the spy’s confession allowed Egyptian counter-intelligence to expose additional Israeli spy networks in Syria and Lebanon, as well as further intelligence activity in a handful of Asian countries,” said Fahmi. “It was an enormous intelligence blow to Israel. It’s not out of the question that the Alexandria bombing constituted some kind of retaliation for this.”

“The church attack could have been an Israeli reply to Egypt’s detection of Israeli spy rings operating in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon,” agreed Mazloum.

Regardless of the possible motivations, said Fouad, many Egyptians remain convinced that Israel had a hand in the bombing. “Mainly because no Muslim, or Muslim organization, in Egypt could possibly benefit — in any way — from what happened,” he said.

Fouad bolstered the assertion by citing the following factors: “Yadlin’s frank admissions about fomenting sectarian strife in Egypt; that Israel has a major interest in keeping Egypt’s attention focused on internal problems while major Arab states of the region are broken up; and that the church attack immediately followed Egypt’s exposure of Mossad activity in several countries.”

Theories to this effect are hardly confined to political analysts.

“We all know Israel committed the massacre at the church,” said 27-year-old Cairo taxi driver Ezzedine Ahmed. “No believing Muslim would ever slaughter innocent Christians because, according to Islam, the murder of innocent people — of whatever faith — is absolutely haram (forbidden).’”


The above article can be found here: EGYPT: IN SHADOW OF FITNA

Study: More Jews in US than previously believed; Spanish ‘Crypto-Jews’ boost Israel’s image abroad (2009)

Posted in Media Watch on January 4, 2011 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘New study finds more Jews in the United States than previously thought’

The Jewish Daily Forward; December 22, 2010

There are more Jews in the United States than widely thought — 20 percent more.

That’s the major finding in a new study conducted by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University, which says that there are now 6.5 million Jews in America, 1 million more than the last time a major count was attempted.

The findings are a rebuke to the most recent National Jewish Population Survey, conducted in 2000-2001, which indicated a negative trend line for the Jewish population, with a loss of nearly 300,000 Jews during the previous decade.

Leonard Saxe, the Klutznick professor of contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis and the lead researcher of the recent study, had criticized the 2000-2001 survey, saying it failed to capture a true picture of Jewish demography due to a variety of methodological errors and that it served as what Saxe called a “self-fulfilling prophecy” for a community primed to believe that its numbers were in decline.

Saxe set out to offer what he believes is a more accurate picture. Because the Jewish Federations of North America had decided not to fund another large-scale National Jewish Population Survey for 2010, Saxe searched for cheaper alternatives that would not involve mounting a multi-million-dollar Jewish head count.

Saxe and his Brandeis researchers gathered more than 150 nationwide surveys conducted by government agencies and national polling organizations over the past decade that asked about religious identity, and then synthesized the data. After reconciling the various surveys so their findings could be grouped together, Saxe’s team drew on the responses of 400,000 people to arrive at his estimate for the Jewish population.

Saxe presented the findings at this year’s Association for Jewish Studies conference in Boston in mid-December.

“This is really a brilliant step forward,” said Bethamie Horowitz, a socio-psychologist and researcher at New York University. “No one study is the perfect measure but if you have many studies, you can get an increasingly accurate range in which the estimate falls.”

Horowitz also said that the study met with the approval of demographers outside the field of those studying Jewish population and was seen to be “scientifically on very solid ground.”

Another part of Saxe’s study tried to deal with the question of what constitutes Jewish identity. The shifting definition of what being Jewish means makes counting Jews difficult. While some see Jewishness as a religious identity, others see it as a cultural or ethnic designation and might, for example, not answer “Jewish” to a researcher inquiring about their religion.

Saxe hired a polling firm, Knowledge Network, which questioned a sample of 1,400 Jews. Using this data, researchers concluded that of their estimated 6.5 million Jews, 5.5 million see themselves as Jews “by religion,” while 1 million more call themselves Jews for other reasons.

Saxe’s results present a paradox. While the findings show a higher number of Jews than previously thought, Saxe found that engagement in Jewish life has decreased. Even among those who identify as Jewish “by religion,” he found a majority do not belong to synagogues, do not participate in Jewish life cycle events or have not visited Israel — all indicators, according to Saxe, of engagement in the Jewish community.

“It’s as if there are more people willing to call themselves Red Sox fans, but fewer people actually attending the games,” Saxe said.

Saxe believes the Jewish community can draw a lesson from the new research.

“We have to stop worrying about whether the community will exist,” Saxe said. “Instead we should worry about the content, about how we make communal life meaningful for the many Jews who are out there.”

The above article can be found here:

‘Crypto-Jews help boost Israel’s image abroad’

The Jewish Daily Forward; May 27, 2009

BARCELONA — On the top floor of this city’s Jewish community center, a group whose ancestors were cut off from the Jewish people more than 500 years ago are receiving tips and training to become pro-Israel advocates in the 21st century.

“We can use cyberspace to circumvent the traditional media,” Raanan Gissin, a former Israeli government spokesman, tells them.

His voice rises with excitement as he outlines the potential for coordinated pro-Israel messaging through blogs and Web sites.

Listening intently, scribbling notes and asking questions is a gathering of what might appear to be an unlikely band of foot soldiers for Israel advocacy: the descendants of Jews who converted in Spain and Portugal in the Middle Ages, during the Inquisition.

They have traveled from small towns and cities across the Iberian Peninsula to Barcelona for a three-day conference to learn more about their Jewish roots. Amid talks on Jewish history, theology and identity these people — known as Marranos or Anusim, Hebrew for “the forced” — also learned how they could be voices for Israel in their communities.

Anti-Israel sentiment runs particularly high in Spain, where the mass media tend toward highly critical reporting of Israel and public opinion surveys suggest hostile attitudes toward Jews and Israel. Several top Israeli military commanders are being charged by Spain’s high court for possible war crimes for their authorization of the bombing of a Gaza apartment bloc in 2002 that killed a top Hamas commander and 14 civilians.

Spain is one of the most difficult countries in terms of Israel’s image, and the Anusim see and feel it on a daily basis,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, which organized the seminar.

Shavei Yisrael reaches out to so-called “lost Jews” around the world who seek to know more about their heritage.

“Many of them have expressed a desire to do something about it, to speak out about it, to speak on Israel’s behalf,” Freund said.

“I think the potential is vast for Israel and the Jewish people because the Anusim — because of their personal background and historical connection with the Jewish people — feel an affinity towards Israel, and they are perfectly positioned as citizens of Spain and Portugal to serve as unofficial ambassadors,” he said. “I think it’s time for the State of Israel to realize that and to make use of the goodwill that exists here.”

Several of the 60 people attending the conference already have become involved. Some recounted fear facing anti-Israeli sentiment in their hometowns.

A middle-aged doctor from Barcelona who preferred not to have his name used said he was threatened by a local Muslim in response to articles he wrote under a pseudonym defending Israel.

Israel is considered a criminal state, and people are always looking to see how they can further frame Israel,” he said. “I fear officials in Israel do not view Europe importantly enough and that’s a mistake. We have to change the mentality here.”

In recent years, Spain’s centuries-old anti-Semitism based on religious dogma has taken a new form in anti-Israeli sentiment, he said.

Einat Kranz-Nieger, the deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Madrid, outlined some of the major themes Israel is trying to transmit internationally: Its commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace effort, improving Palestinians’ security and standard of living, and the global and regional threat posed by Iran.

[For the record, Israel has consistently derailed peace efforts with the Palestinians; deliberately destroyed Palestinian security and living standards; and assiduously lied about Iran’s nuclear energy program — 800]

In a tense moment in the discussion, several participants raised the potential risks they face in speaking out for Israel and asked whether Israel would assist them if needed. They did not receive a clear answer.

Seminar organizers said their comments underscore the sensitivity of those seeking some sort of return to Judaism, whether through official conversion or a connection with local Jews.

“People feel they live in a gray zone; they are not officially Jews,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum of Shavei Yisrael. “But some are identifying themselves as Jews in very non-Jewish communities.”

Estimates for the number of people with Jewish roots in this region vary. Many Spanish and Portuguese have family names that indicate a Jewish past. Some at the conference spoke of families observing unexplained traditions such as lighting candles followed by a grandmother’s mumbling of unintelligible incantations and the washing and salting of meat.

According to a recent genetic study, about 20 percent of Portuguese and Spanish citizens have Jewish backgrounds.

Rafael Peretz, 47, is from the town of Saragossa, about 150 miles west of Barcelona, where only three Jewish families live. He recently started a Web site about Anusim, , which features a section on Israeli advocacy. There are links to several Spanish-language pro-Israel bloggers, and Peretz sends messages on online social networking sites and posts videos on the video-sharing site YouTube to help get out what he calls more balanced information on Israel.

“In Spain there is not much information about the reality of life in Israel,” said Peretz, who started investigating his Jewish roots several years ago.

As a child, his father had brought him to a synagogue and startled him with the announcement “We come from the Jewish people.”

At the seminar, Gissin said that one must think creatively in order to advocate for Israel successfully.

“You have to learn how to fight, how to speak: short sentences, use stories,” he said.

Gazing around the room, Gissin said, “You are a living testament to what we are talking about. Each of your stories is a living document to the eternity of the Jewish people.”

The above article can be found here:

Kurdistan riddled with ‘Zionist spy agencies,’ says cleric; Saddam in ’06: ‘Iraqi division only benefits Zionists’

Posted in Israel on January 1, 2011 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Al-Dhari: Israeli firms operate in Iraq’

Press TV (Iran); December 25, 2010

The head of an Iraqi clerical association, Harith al-Dhari, says companies affiliated with the Israeli spy agency Mossad are freely operating all over Iraq. Al-Dhari, the head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, says Israeli companies are particularly concentrated in the northern Kurdistan region.

“The companies are directly working with Zionist spy agencies,” said al-Dhari, Iraq’s most influential Sunni cleric and a prominent anti-American figure. “Israeli companies infiltrating Iraq work under Arabic, English and Turkish names,” he further explained.

Reports say at least 70 Israeli firms operate in war-ravaged Iraq, using proxy Arab or European companies.

Earlier this year, Syrian customs officials seized several trucks loaded with Israeli goods heading to Iraq.

In 2008, Iraq’s Yaqen News Agency unveiled that more than 55 Israeli companies were working in the country under assumed names.

The agency also added that the Zionist firms operate in a variety of fields, including infrastructure and marketing.

It also said that Israel exports more than $300 million in goods to Iraq annually.

The companies, the report said, won contracts for construction projects in Iraq, thanks to help from “the US Agency for International Development that oversees the allocation of building contracts in Iraq.”

The above article can be found here:

Press TV interviews Israel Lobby critic James Morris:

December 25, 2010

Press TV: It was reported as early as 2003, that Mossad had a presence in northern Iraq. Could there be a link then made to the fact that that is the one region that has seen a lot less violence?

James Morris: Well, first of all, thank you for having me back on Press TV, and I’d like to wish all your Christian viewers around the world a very Merry Christmas or a happy Christmas as they say in England.

Yes, we know that the Mossad has actually been working with the Kurds or at least Israelis–and we can assume that those Israelis are Mossad operatives–in Kurdistan going back to Seymour Hersh’s article, titled ‘Plan B’ for the New Yorker.

[NOTE: Seymour Hersh is a professional liar for the Zionist establishment, whose bestselling books and widely-read articles contain copious lies. While he is touted as a hardnosed investigative reporter, a close reading of his work will reveal his complicity in the whitewash of both the JFK assassination and 9/11. For evidence of these assertions, see ‘Seymour Hersh: Professional liar’ here: — 800]

And we’ve seen the BBC story that aired [see below], as well, where you had Israeli Mossad operatives training the Kurds and developing an air strip according to the BBC report for potential attack on Iran in terms of any Israeli jets that attack Iran — to enable them to refuel on their way back.

What I really think is going on here — and you can go to my blog — the former (head of) Israeli Mossad, Danny Yatom, had actually met with Mustafa Barzani of the Kurdish Democratic Party, and this is all about destabilizing Iran.

This Mossad chief, Danny Yatom, had actually said that our plan is to cause ethnic strife in Iran and bring down the regime. And of course if you read my friend’s, Doctor Stephen Sniegoski’s, ‘The Transparent Cabal’ book — that fits with Israeli Likudnik (ideology) — Yotom’s plan of destabilizing Israel’s enemies in the Middle East. And that’s what the Iraq war is based on — possibly another Israeli invasion in Lebanon and Iran along with Syria

It’s very, very concerning and we really have to address this and stop another war from Israel before it gets more Americans killed, more Brits and Iranians, Syrians and Lebanese, too.

Press TV: In 2003, it was reported a Mossad office in Kirkuk was attacked, but that US troops sealed off the area and implemented a news blackout. Did the US attack Iraq solely for Israel?

James Morris: Well of course, like I said, you can read James Bamford’s ‘Pretext for War’ book based on the clean break agenda.

You can go to — you have these neoconservatives with the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the Project for the New American Century, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wermser, who used to work in Dick Cheney’s office.

Dick Cheney was associated with the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). You had Colin Powell that had said that the JINSA crowd was in control of the Pentagon.

Even David Wurmser had wanted Israel to attack Iran to draw Iranian retaliation against American troops in Iraq so we would go to war with Iran.

[For more information on how this den of neoconservative (i.e., Jewish-Zionist) vipers led the US into an immoral, illegal war on Iraq, see ‘BBC reveals Zionist War Party behind Iraq invasion’ here: –800]

Fortunately, my friend Steve Clemons at The Washington Note found out about that and wrote about it and David Wurmser was removed from Cheney’s office. But he was the co-author of this Clean Break document.

So what I’m trying to say also is the war in Iraq, any war with Syria that can bring in Iran as Syria’s ally, it’s all for Israel. You’ve got these Likudnik neoconservatives in America who follow this Israeli Likudnik (ideology)…

Fortunately Israel Shahak is translated from Hebrew and lets us know about this, but the problem is the pro-Israel biased media in America is not reporting this and we have to get this as far as possible.

[For more on writer/historian Israel Shahak, see ‘Israel Shahak: blowing the lid off the Talmud and Jewish Fundamentalism’ here: — 800]

I really appreciate Press TV doing that before the Middle East blows up as a result of another war for Israel. Again, go to and, as well.

Press TV: It was hypothesized once that Israeli agents were killing US soldiers in Iraq in order to enrage US troops enough that the occupation persists. Is that theory sounding more like reality now?

James Morris: Well, we know from my experience with the head of prisons in Iraq, General Janis Karpinski — she had initially told me that she had met an Israeli working with US Delta Force interrogators near the Baghdad airport.

So we know that Israelis have been working with our US interrogators so that’s obvious, that’s why we see the Israeli torture tactics, such as hooding and the sexual humiliation like we saw in Abu Ghraib — those are tactics that came down right from Israel through the neoconservatives who have friends in Israel that incorporate these kind of tactics via former Shin-Bet operatives. And we never saw a mention of this in the American media.

[For more on the presence of Israeli torturers/interrogators in Iraq, see ‘Israeli soldier gets thrills posing with bound captives; BBC: Israeli interrogators in Iraq (2004)’ here: — 800]

I tried to get CBS news to cover it. They refused; I tried to get BBC to cover it.

Google it! We know Mossad are really interrogators in Iraq. Israelis are operating there, we know, that are trying to use Kurdistan as a beachhead against Iran to carry out attacks by Kurdish separatists in Iran as well as MEK [Mujahideen-e-khalq,] perhaps.

It’s part of the plan that the former Mossad head had talked about, this Danny Yatom. He said we want to use ethnic strife and violence to bring down the Iranian regime and the main reason is in Stephen Sniegoski’s ‘Transparent Cabal’ book, because the Iranian regime provides resistance to Israel with Hezbollah and Hamas, and Israel wants to take down the Iranian regime because of it, bottom line.

The above transcript can be found here:


‘Israel Wants Iraq for Greater Israel’PakAlert (Pakistan); January 31, 2009

By Wayne Madsen

Israeli expansionists, their intentions to take full control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and permanently keep the Golan Heights of Syria and expand into southern Lebanon already well known, also have their eyes on parts of Iraq considered part of a biblical “Greater Israel.”

Israel reportedly has plans to relocate thousands of Kurdish Jews from Israel, including expatriates from Kurdish Iran, to the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Nineveh under the guise of religious pilgrimages to ancient Jewish religious shrines. According to Kurdish sources, the Israelis are secretly working with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to carry out the integration of Kurdish and other Jews into areas of Iraq under control of the KRG.

Kurdish, Iraqi Sunni Muslims, and Turkmen have noted that Kurdish Israelis began to buy land in Iraqi Kurdistan after the US invasion in 2003, which is considered historical Jewish “property.”

The Israelis are particularly interested in the shrine of the Jewish prophet Nahum in al Qush, the prophet Jonah in Mosul, and the tomb of the prophet Daniel in Kirkuk. Israelis are also trying to claim Jewish “properties” outside of the Kurdish region, including the shrine of Ezekiel in the village of al-Kifl in Babel Province near Najaf and the tomb of Ezra in al-Uzayr in Misan Province, near Basra, both in southern Iraq’s Shi’a-dominated territory. Israeli expansionists consider these shrines and tombs as much a part of “Greater Israel” as Jerusalem and the West Bank, which they call “Judea and Samaria.”

Kurdish and Iraqi sources report that Israel’s Mossad is working hand-in-hand with Israeli companies and “tourists” to stake a claim to the Jewish “properties” of Israel in Iraq. The Mossad has already been heavily involved in training the Kurdish Peshamerga military forces.

Reportedly assisting the Israelis are foreign mercenaries paid for by US Christian evangelical circles that support the concept of “Christian Zionism.”

Iraqi nationalists charge that the Israeli expansion into Iraq is supported by both major Kurdish factions, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headed by Iraq’s nominal President Jalal Talabani. Talabani’s son, Qubad Talabani, serves as the KRG’s representative in Washington, where he lives with his wife Sherri Kraham, who is Jewish.

Also supporting the Israeli land acquisition activities is the Kurdistan Democratic Party, headed by Massoud Barzani, the president of the KRG. One of Barzani’s five sons, Binjirfan Barzani, is reportedly heavily involved with the Israelis.

The Israelis and their Christian Zionist supporters enter Iraq not through Baghdad but through Turkey. In order to depopulate residents of lands the Israelis claim, Mossad operatives and Christian Zionist mercenaries are staging terrorist attacks against Chaldean Christians, particularly in Nineveh, Irbil, al-Hamdaniya, Bartalah, Talasqaf, Batnayah, Bashiqah, Elkosheven, Uqrah, and Mosul.

These attacks by the Israelis and their allies are usually reported as being the responsibility of “Al Qaeda” and other Islamic “jihadists.”

The ultimate aim of the Israelis is to depopulate the Christian population in and around Mosul and claim the land as biblical Jewish land that is part of “Greater Israel.” The Israeli/Christian Zionist operation is a replay of the depopulation of the Palestinians in the British mandate of Palestine after World War II.

In June 2003, a delegation of Israelis visited Mosul and said that it was Israel’s intention, with the assistance of Barzani, to establish Israeli control of the shrine of Jonah in Mosul and the shrine of Nahum in the Mosul plains. The Israelis said Israeli and Iranian Jewish pilgrims would travel via Turkey to the area of Mosul and take over lands where Iraqi Christians lived.

The above article can be found here:



‘Saddam: Kurds dividing Iraq for Israeli benefit’The Associated Press; October 17, 2006

Saddam Hussein on Tuesday attacked prosecution witnesses in his trial for genocide against the Kurds, accusing them of sowing division among Iraqis for the benefit of Israel.

The deposed leader addressed the court after two Kurds testified that during a military offensive in northern Iraq in 1988, they were detained in a camp where conditions were so bad that hundreds of prisoners died of malnutrition.

“This will only serve the separation,” Saddam said, referring to the deepening division among Iraqis as shown by the rising death toll in the insurgency and sectarian fighting.

“The Zionists are the only ones who will benefit from the differences among Iraqis,” Saddam added.

Earlier, another defendant testified that his lawyer wanted to break ranks with the three-week legal boycott of the trial, but when the judge summoned the attorney, he failed to appear.

And the chief defense lawyer for Saddam denied in an interview that any of the defense attorneys would end their boycott.

The back-and-forth was a continuation of the procedural difficulties that have plagued the trial in which Saddam and six members of his regime are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity during a military offensive against Iraq’s Kurdish population in 1987-88. Saddam and one other defendant are also charged with genocide.

The above article can be found here:,7340,L-3316173,00.html



‘Kurdish soldiers trained by Israelis’

BBC Newsnight; September 20, 2006

Newsnight has obtained the first pictures of Kurdish soldiers being trained by Israelis in Northern Iraq, as well as an interview with one of the former commandos who carried out the work.

When the former Israeli Special Forces soldiers were sent to Iraq in 2004 they were told they would be disowned if they were discovered.

Their role there was to train two groups of Kurdish troops.

One would act as a security force for the new Hawler International Airport (near Erbil) and the other, of more than 100 peshmerga or Kurdish fighters, would be trained for “special assignments”, according to one of Newsnight’s interviewees.


An Israeli security consulting form called Interop acted as the main contractor for the Hawler airport project and set up two subsidiaries (Kudo and Colosium) to carry out work in Iraq.

Kudo and Colosium described themselves as Swiss-registered companies.

In addition to the training, Kudo provided quad bikes, communications equipment and security fencing.

One of the founders of Interop, and its Chairman until 2003, was Danny Yatom, a former Head of Mossad — the Israeli foreign intelligence service and now an MP.

He told Newsnight today: “I was not aware of what was done in 2004 and 2005 because I cut all contacts with the company when I entered the Israeli parliament in 2003.”

During 2004-5, Interop and Kudo were run by Shlomi Michaels, a former head of Israel’s counter-terrorist unit. Contacted by Newsnight, Mr. Michaels declined to comment.

Special assignments

Newsnight was told by the Israeli interviewee involved in the training that senior Kurdish officials were aware of their nationality, but not the troops being trained.

The sensitivities for the Kurdish authorities are serious, since their political enemies have long accused them of being in cahoots with Israel.

The Kurdish authorities have previously denied allowing any Israelis into northern Iraq.

The Israeli trainer says: “You know, day by day it’s a bit tense because you know where you are and you know who you are. And there’s always a chance that you’ll get revealed.

“My part of the contract was to train the Kurdish security people for a big airport project and for training, as well as the Peshmerga, and the actual soldiers, the army.

“We were training them in all kinds of anti-terror lessons, anti-terror, security airport, training them with long rifles, pistols; telling them, teaching them tactics like shooting behind doors, behind barricades, shooting from the left, shooting from the right, shooting from windows, how to shoot first, how to identify a terrorist in a crowd.

“That’s clearly special assignments. That’s only training that special units get for special assignments.

We crossed the border from Turkey and one of the intelligence officers passed us by, through the border, without stamping our passports.

“So you reckon that if two guys from the intelligence service knew we were Israelis and they saw our passports as well, the leadership knew as well — I mean their bosses, that’s natural.”

‘The second Israel’

Khaled Salih, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, says: “These are not new allegations for us. Back in the sixties and seventies we were called ‘the second Israel’ in the region and we were supposed to be eliminated by Islamist nationalist and now Islamist groups.

“They look for internal enemies and we are the easiest to target. These kinds of speculations have been around in the region for more than 30 years.”

The Kurdistan region sits at a strategic crossroads. To the east is Iran, to the north-west Turkey. Both countries have significant Kurd minorities and are worried about a Kurdish state emerging in northern Iraq.

The authorities there have accepted that for now and that they must remain part of a federal Iraq.

As they develop their region, the Kurds have opened an international airport at Irbil (Hawler in Kurdish).

It now boasts dozens of international flights each week and it is at Hawler International that the Israelis began their work.

Strategic options

With Iran becoming Israel’s principal enemy, there have been reports of Israelis using Kurdish areas of Iraq to increase its strategic options.

One constraint facing the Israelis, should they ever want to hit Iran, is distance. Most Israeli jets are short range and they have few in-flight tankers. Some studies have suggested that Israel could make refueling stops at a modern airfield in Kurdistan.

If the Israelis ever planned to use Hawler airport as an emergency refueling stop, it has now been compromised by Israeli press reports.

After finishing their training, Kurds sang their national anthem while marching behind one of the Israelis.

Israeli Government spokesman, Mark Regev, told Newsnight that the Investigations Division of the Israeli Ministry of Defense had passed the details of this case to the Israeli police to see if there had been any violation of export laws.

He added: “We have not authorized anyone to do any defense work in Iraq… If information is brought and there’s clear evidence that people broke our law, of course I expect them to be prosecuted.”

The above article can be found here:



‘Israel helping train US forces to combat Iraqi insurgents’

Israel Insider; December 10, 2003

Israeli advisers are helping train US Special Forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, The Guardian reported yesterday [see below]. A former US intelligence agent told the paper that the IDF sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina to help set up “assassination teams” that would target guerrilla leaders.

Officials at Fort Bragg, however, denied that Israeli advisers had come to the base to train Special Forces soldiers in counter-insurgency tactics including assassination, the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported today. “This command is not conducting any combined US or Israeli training at Fort Bragg,” said Lt. Col. Hans Bush, a spokesman for US Army Special Operations.

But according to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at Fort Bragg and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq, the New Yorker and other media sources reported.

“The Americans now realize their forces are in Iraq for the long haul, and are reorganizing accordingly,” a senior Israeli security source told Reuters. “Israel has been providing advice on how to shift from a reliance on heavy, armored occupation troops to mobile forces that are more effective in quelling urban resistance and cause less friction with the general populace,” he said.

US forces already have adopted IDF tactics

According to media reports, American forces in Iraq have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the Palestinian territories, including the sealing off centers of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.

Reuters reported that the American forces plan to adopt the IDF’s tactic of a “swarm assault,” such as was used by the Israeli army during its operations in Nablus in April 2002. The “swarm assault,” according to Reuters, constituted the “unleashing” of “roving covert infantry squads whose movements were coordinated using air surveillance.”

“The Americans are used to fighting either in force or with isolated commando teams, while the swarm tactic is a combination of both,” an Israeli military source said, quoted by Reuters. “It is ideal for hitting terrorists concentrated in civilian populations.”

US officials noted the similarity of their tactics in Iraq with those employed by the IDF, but denied that they are modeled on them, Reuters reported.

Israelis go to Iraq, US officers come to Israel

The Guardian reported that Israeli security officials went to Iraq to advise American troops there. “Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations,” an American intelligence source told the newspaper.

Brigadier-General Michael Vane, deputy chief of staff at the US Army’s training and doctrine command, mentioned the cooperation with Israel in a letter to Army magazine in July. “We recently traveled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counter-terrorist operations in urban areas,” he wrote.

Yediot Aharonot reported that the American military officials were in Israel for a few days and visited the IDF command center, focusing on ways to deal with Iraqi insurgency.

“They were interested in things in which we have a lot of experience,” a senior Israeli security official told Yediot Aharonot. “They learned about explosive charges, and how to neutralize them, … intelligence gathering, the use of dogs to locate charges. They were completely unfamiliar with the use of dogs, and this greatly interested them,” the official said.

According to Reuters, the US Special Forces have so far been slow in adopting one IDF tactic — having commandos dressed as civilians swoop in to capture or kill fugitive insurgents. “In consultations, the Americans have made it clear that they see the need for undercover work to flush out wanted terrorists. But they lack personnel qualified in Arabic and the basic cultural knowledge needed to blend in,” an Israeli military source said.

The Guardian reported that Israeli “consultants” were helping train US Special Forces in ways to “neutralize” guerrilla leaders. “This is basically an assassination program. That is what is being conceptualized here. This is a hunter-killer team,” a former senior US intelligence official told the newspaper.

The above article does not appear to exist in its original location, but can still be found here:

‘Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq’The Guardian (UK); December 9, 2003

Israeli advisers are helping train US Special Forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US Special Forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military “consultants” have also visited Iraq.

US forces in Iraq’s Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centers of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.

But the secret war in Iraq is about to get much tougher, in the hope of suppressing the Ba’athist-led insurgency ahead of next November’s presidential elections.

US Special Forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the “neutralization” of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.

“This is basically an assassination program. That is what is being conceptualized here. This is a hunter-killer team,” said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.

It is bonkers, insane. Here we are — we’re already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we’ve just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams.”

“They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg,” a well-informed intelligence source in Washington said.

“Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations.”

The consultants’ visit to Iraq was confirmed by another US source who was in contact with American officials there.

The Pentagon did not return calls seeking comment, but a military planner, Brigadier General Michael Vane, mentioned the cooperation with Israel in a letter to Army magazine in July about the Iraq counter-insurgency campaign.

“We recently traveled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counterterrorist operations in urban areas,” wrote General Vane, deputy chief of staff at the army’s training and doctrine command.

An Israeli official said the IDF regularly shared its experience in the West Bank and Gaza with the US armed forces, but said he could not comment about cooperation in Iraq.

“When we do activities, the US military attaches in Tel Aviv are interested. I assume it’s the same as the British. That’s the way allies work. The special forces come to our people and say, do debrief on an operation we have done,” the official said.

“Does it affect Iraq? It’s not in our interest or the American interest or in anyone’s interest to go into that. It would just fit in with jihadist prejudices.”

Colonel Ralph Peters, a former army intelligence officer and a critic of Pentagon policy in Iraq, said yesterday there was nothing wrong with learning lessons wherever possible.

“When we turn to anyone for insights, it doesn’t mean we blindly accept it,” Col Peters said. “But I think what you’re seeing is a new realism. The American tendency is to try to win all the hearts and minds. In Iraq, there are just some hearts and minds you can’t win. Within the bounds of human rights, if you do make an example of certain villages it gets the attention of the others, and attacks have gone down in the area.”

The new counter-insurgency unit made up of elite troops being put together in the Pentagon is called Task Force 121, New Yorker magazine reported in yesterday’s edition.

One of the planners behind the offensive is a highly controversial figure, whose role is likely to inflame Muslim opinion: Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin.

In October, there were calls for his resignation after he told a church congregation in Oregon that the US was at war with Satan, who “wants to destroy us as a Christian army”.

“He’s been promoted a rank above his abilities,” he said. “Some generals are pretty good on battlefield but are disastrous nearer the source of power.”

The above article can be found here:



Also see ‘The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK): A Zionist proxy?’ here:

Also see ‘Arabic-language press: Former Zionist intel chief boasts of Israeli infiltration of Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran’ here:

Also see ‘Israel benefited from 2005 Hariri assassination, ex-intel chief admits; Saad Hariri absolves Syria of blame for father’s murder’ here: see ‘Israel takes control of Lebanon’ here:

Also see ‘Yemen Islamists linked to Israeli intelligence’ here:

Also see ‘Is Israel running the Taliban?’ here:

And for an even more exhaustive list of articles on Israel’s covert activities inside Iraq, see: