Israel’s Security and Unintended Consequences

Would General Allen — or any other general today — recommend contracting out his country’s defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.

The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.

There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.

Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.

If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.


Obama and Netanyahu: A fractured alliance becomes open conflic

Very publicly, very nastily, and very worryingly, we are witnessing the collapse of an alliance.


Not between the United States and Israel — the ties run too deep, and the common interests (if not necessarily the common values) are abiding. But between their current leaderships, the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government.


Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning. Crises are like buses this morning: you wait a little and four turn up at once. The Conservatives’ attempt to enshrine the 2017 referendum in law has foundered amid a Coalition row. Nick Clegg has pulled his support after the PM refused to accept curbs on the bedroom tax as the price for Liberal votes.

The Public Accounts Committee has revealed that over 10,000 asylum seekers have been living in Britain for more than seven years, while Natalie Bouchart, the Mayor of Calais, told MPs that asylum seekers are “prepared to die” thanks to the £36 on offer for asylum seekers a week. It’s “a huge amount for people who have nothing in their lives,” she explains. Meanwhile, in an interview with Total Politics, Nick Boles admits that there is a “big chunk” of immigration that the UK “can’t control” and “we may never be able to control it entirely, because it’s a fundamental principle of the EU”.

“Calais goes to war over ‘soft touch’ UK benefits” is the Times’ splash. “Home Office in ‘mess’ over asylum” says the i. “Immigration system in chaos” is the Guardian’s headline. “Immigration: What A Mess!” roars the Mail. “Immigration Is Out of Control” is the Sun’s take.

It’s bad news for Tory hopes in Rochester & Strood, and worse for the general election.Yes, as is well documented, immigration is rather lower in Ukip’s target seats than elsewhere. But as Mr Boles put it in his interview: “Politics isn’t just about economics.” As Tim Montgomerie put it last night: “No successful conservative leader anywhere in the world can win without what was called Essex Man by Maggie. Reagan Democrats in the USA, [and] Timothy Horton voters by Canada’s Stephen Harper.” That group, whatever you call it, is deeply concerned about immigration and is, at the least, flirting with Ukip. (It’s not just them either. Labour’s internal surveys of the young voters they help could be decisive next year find that immigration has soared to third in the list of 18-25 year olds’ worries)

But I just wonder. Yes, the public are angry over immigration. Does it necessarily follow that the party that can most effectively restrict immigration is destined to win the day in 2015? Imagine you were a newly-arrived immigrant, eager to set up your own business, arriving in Britain in 1979. It would be fairly obvious that your interests would be best served by a vote for Margaret Thatcher. Imagine the same immigrant arrives in 1997. Again, pretty easy choice: Tony Blair.

Ask the question now. The answer is probably: “I don’t know, neither of them.” And who, at present, looks best-placed to win a majority in 2015? The answer again: “I don’t know, neither of them.” It may be that pledges to control immigration and close down markets are not as popular or as politically lucrative as the polls might suggest.


Sarah Boyack, who has been an MSP since the foundation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, serving as a minister in the Lib-Lab administration from 1999 to 2001, became the first candidate to declare her candidacy for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party. Her bid is being characterised in some quarters as as “spoiler”, away from the real fight between Jim Murphy (expected to declare, ooh, any time now) and Neil Findlay MSP. I’m told that the real purpose of her run is to catapult herself back to the top table, just as Andy Burnham leveraged his bid for the Labour leadership to greater prominence within the Westminster party. In any case, the election is decided by the Alternative Vote so Ms Boyack cannot “steal” votes from anyone.Her candidacy can expect to draw support from those eager to see a woman at the top and the party’s soft left.


Speaking of, where is Jim Murphy, anyway? When I was north of the border during the referendum campaign, allies of Mr Murphy were already quietly building support for their man in preparation for a leadership bid. I’m told that once the last pieces of the campaign team are in place an announcement should be forthcoming. One of the tricky questions is the fate of Anas Sarwar, the current deputy leader and, like Mr Murphy, a Westminster MP. It would be unsustainable for him to carry on in his post. What now looks likely is that Margaret Curran, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, will replace Mr Murphy at Dfid, while Mr Sarwar will switch the deputy post for the Shadow Scottish brief, freeing up his role for an MSP, very probably a woman drawn a little to the left of Mr Murphy.


Over 40,00 Kenyans are attempting to sue the British government in a second Mau Mau group action, Katie Engelhart reports in the Guardian. The government paid out £19.9m to 5,228 Kenyans last year as a result of the first group action. Since then, seven British law firms have been searching out new claimants, sending lawyers to Kenya and advertising for clients in the Kenyan media. A tentative trial date has been set for January 2016, lawyers or the claimants say.


A new report by Dame Julie Mellor, the Health Service ombudsman, says she is concerned by a “lack of care and compassion” and basic mistakes in the Health Service, after her latest report into 126 investigations of NHS complaints, Laura Donnelly reports.


Nicola Sturgeon wants an In-Out referendum to require majorities for European exit in every constituent country of the United Kingdom. It’s because we are “a family of nations, not a unitary state”, she told the Today programme.


The government is failing to honour the Armed Forces Covenant – which states that veterans should be “sustained and rewarded” after their service – leading professors in psychology and orthopaedics say, due to poor care for the mentally unwell and those requiring reconstructive surgery.


Hammersmith and Fulham might still be David Cameron’s favourite council after all. The newly-elected Labour administration has voted to oppose Ed Miliband’s plans for a mansion tax, Michael Savage and Matt Dathan report in the Times. The council believes that it will lead to local people “being forced out of the borough”. Elseswhere, Emma Dent Coad, leader of the Labour group on Kensington and Chelsea council, says the proposal is “not logical”. “We’re rebelling, because it’s bonkers,” Ms Dent Coad said.


The Conservatives are quietly exploring a deal with the DUP, Elizabeth Rigby and George Parker report in the FT. “People in the tea rooms are talking about it, but there is nothing yet at leadership level,” one figure says. The Unionists currently have eight MPs but think they could have 10 after the next election. 2010-era Ken Clarke has already provided his unhelpful quote: “In the end, you can always do a deal with an Ulsterman, but it’s not the way to run a modern, sophisticated society.”


Former marine Stephen Gough or “the Naked Rambler”, has lost his appeal to the European Court of the Human Rights that his repeated arrests have violated his human right to be naked in public. The Court ruled unanimously that his arrests are not a violation of Article Eight (privacy) or 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention.