I’ve done this a few times lately, and each time the situation has been a crisis. But the urgency of this situation transcends every other situation I’ve written about.
There is a boy of nine here in Israel who has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer around his heart. It was discovered because he had a persistent cough that would not go away. Every major medical center — including top flight places in the US — that has had its doctors review the pictures (MRI, whatever), has said that it is inoperable. They will not touch it.
The prognosis is so grim that the mother has made a decision to decline chemotherapy, so that he should not be made totally miserable in his last weeks or months.
There is, then, nothing but prayer. And I ask it of each of you, and that you put out the word as extensively as possible. Miracles do happen, and we cannot turn our back to that possibility.
Pray for NOAM JAY BEN INBAR.
I know of his case because his father lives across the street from my daughter, in Beit Shemesh. I know that Jay is a lively, active little boy who just days ago was riding his bike. He is aware — as much as a nine-year-old can be aware — of his medical problem, but he is restless and bored in his hospital bed and wants to go back to riding that bike. He does not understand that he may never leave his bed. He has a seven year old brother who is deeply attached to him.
And then, on to the news…
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared during an interview with ABC News yesterday that the military option to hit Iran is available and ready if needed. This echoes a statement made recently by US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.
However, Panetta made clear, the preference is still to go with negotiations
Just a day before Panetta provided this throw-away statement, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, vice president of Iran and head of its Atomic Energy Organization, said that Iran has “no reason” to stop enriching uranium at 20%.
Abbasi-Davani also announced that “Iran will build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr next year,” near Iran’s sole existing nuclear power plant.
And as if this were not enough, Abbasi-Davani declared that the “reason and documents” provided by IAEA have not convinced Iran to give the agency permission to inspect the Parchin military complex (where it is believed that work towards development of nuclear weapons may be going on).
Last November, the IAEA had reported that Iran had built a large containment vessel at Parchin for tests that were “strong indicators of possible weapon development.” Now the suspicion is that work is being done at Parchin to cleanse the site of evidence of that testing.
A day before that, on Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report indicating that Iran’s average monthly enrichment of uranium has accelerated drastically since February — actually almost doubling the stockpile of 20% uranium in three months. What is more, the IAEA found traces of uranium that had been enriched to 27% at the Fordo facility.
The US Institute for Science and International Security says Iran’s total production, if additionally refined, would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons.
So we see that Panetta’s declared “preference” for negotiations is in the face of this evidence that neither negotiations nor sanctions is having the slightest effect on Iran’s behavior and nuclear intentions:
The US and its negotiating partners are prepared to wait a month and then go into another round of “negotiations.” (Which will apparently will be in Moscow and not Geneva as I had read.)
There is no conclusion on the part of American decision-makers that the military option is “needed.”
I might call the situation pathetic, or contemptible, but this would not begin to describe it.
I should add in passing that Iran has now confirmed that it has sent troops to aid Assad in his crackdown on his people in Syria. (More about Syria below.)
Spin is an amazing phenomenon. The Iranian take on this, from General Ismail Qa’ani, deputy-commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force:
“If the Islamic Republic was not present in Syria, the massacre of civilians would have been twice as bad. [Iran] physically and non-physically stopped the rebels from killing many more among the Syrian people.”
Beyond supporting Assad, Iran is also assiduously courting Lebanon in case Assad does fall:
“Iran’s ardent courtship of the Lebanese government indicates that Tehran is scrambling to find a replacement for its closest Arab ally. It is not only financing public projects, but also seeking to forge closer ties through cultural, military and economic agreements.
Again? Still? Fatah and Hamas are said to be renewing efforts to form that ever elusive unity government. Today officials from the Central Election Committee were to meet in Gaza with an eye towards setting up the situation for elections — which are now anticipated to take place in about six months.
In the interim, it is said that there will be a temporary government established. According to the Palestinian Arab news agency Maan, Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah reconciliation team, says Abbas and Maashal will be meeting soon. An organizational meeting in Cairo will establish the time for that meeting — Egypt is brokering these negotiations.
If you’re dubious about whether this deal will finally come together, you should know that, according to Khaled Abu Toameh, so are a great many Palestinian Arabs:
“…the Cairo agreement came as a surprise because it coincided with mounting tensions between Fatah and Hamas, particularly in wake of the PA’s ongoing security crackdown on supporters of the Islamist movement in the West Bank.”
And then there is the fact that Abbas has just sworn in a new cabinet for the West Bank, an act that Hamas said was a fatal blow to the unity agreement.
I should add here that in April, Hamas held the first round of secret leadership elections in Gaza — with elections in Judea and Samaria and external areas to follow. The outcome of these elections is seen as significant and may perhaps impact the unity arrangements.
According to Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the results so far indicate:
1) An increase in the power and independence of leadership in Gaza. This is at least in part because external leadership — currently headed by Maashal — left Damascus and has dispersed to various places.
2) A rise in power of Hamas’s military-terrorist wing. This indicates a desire of those heading this wing to be involved more broadly involved in the political sphere. This does not indicate that there will be a shift in policy at present, for there are restraining factors. But down the road this shift is likely to create more instability in Gaza that makes the situation more explosive. (Emphasis added)
But speaking of Palestinian Arabs…
A number of people have sent me the link below, from MEMRI, and I thank them. It provides a clear (undoubtedly inadvertent) statement, from the mouth of a Palestinian Arab, as to where his “people” are really from. English subtitles.
This should be bookmarked and shared broadly.
Elliott Abrams writes in today’s Israel Hayom about “Disgrace in Syria”:
“Headlines around the world this weekend tell of a massacre in Syria:
“…President Barack Obama’s announcement of a new ‘Atrocities Prevention Board’ a little over a month ago defies parody, when he is in fact watching atrocities occur.
“…how is it that Assad is still in power?”
“How indeed? In large part because Obama has provided no leadership, apparently preferring to watch these massacres rather than taking the risk of acting. He is, to use Clinton’s phrase, standing idly by, making speeches from time to time…” (Emphasis added)
Aaron David Miller, writing for CNN, weighs in on the subject of Obama’s relationship with Iran:
“The nuclear issue needs to be seen in the context of the broader dysfunction in the relationship between Washington and Tehran…
“There’s almost no issue on which Washington and Tehran agree. Given the level of suspicion and mistrust, the odds of finding a sustainable modus vivendi soon are slim to none.
“We wouldn’t have the tough sanctions we do if it weren’t for President Obama’s and the Europeans’ fear of an Israeli strike. The Iranian regime won’t stop, and will inch closer to a breakout capacity to produce a weapon. The Israelis will then have to decide whether to launch a military strike or bring enough pressure on the Obama administration to do so…” (Emphasis added)
It’s time we had a “good news” article:
From the JPost:
“Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has registered a patent for a new technique that improves tenfold the performance of any type of sophisticated microscope and imaging system without making hardware changes.
“The discovery, which has just been published in the Nature Materials journal, has aroused great interest in the scientific world and industry, being described as a ‘breakthrough with the potential to change’ these fields.
“Their innovative method substantially improves the resolution – the ability to distinguish between details – of images seen through microscopes.
For details: http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=271047
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.