A Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab soldiers and civilians at a hitchhiking station in Gush Etzion on Tuesday afternoon.
Soldiers and a civilian at the site opened fire on the terrorist, who according to police was taken to hospital in critical condition.
According to MDA, a foreign worker aged 25 was in serious condition and a 17-year-old girl was lightly injured in the attack.
Both were also being evacuated to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
A quick read through the Hamas charter revealed deep hatred for Israel, Jews and Zionism from an Islamic religious point of view that made the PLO’s political hatred look like the mere barking of a junkyard dog.
The charter starts with a quote from the Quran about the Jews: “They have incurred anger from their Lord, and wretchedness is laid upon them. That is because they disbelieve the revelations of Allah, and slew the Prophets wrongfully. That is because they were rebellious and transgress.”
Hamas’ charter goes downhill from there, stooping even to mentioning the notorious 1905 anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” and blaming Jews for all that is wrong with the world in the classic mold of centuries of Jew-haters.
“They (the Jews) also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations,” the charter said. “There was no war that broke out anywhere without their fingerprints on it.”
And there I was in a small room in a Hamas stronghold with two of the group’s main movers. Did they know that besides being an American radio reporter, I was an Israeli and a Jew?
Probably. Through the years, as I walked down streets or open-air markets in the West Bank and Gaza, microphone in hand, a tape recorder hanging prominently across my belly, someone would yell out in Hebrew, “Hey, Moses, what’s happening?” to see if I would react.
But it didn’t matter. To Adwan and Zahar, anti-Semitism was institutional, not personal. I was in no danger.
The charter is not an old, dusty document written by an idealistic founding generation to be memorized in classrooms but forgotten in practice, like the Declaration of Independence. Most of the people who wrote it are still around (some have been assassinated by Israel). The charter guides them because it sums up their core beliefs.
But they are patient. They acknowledge that there is a powerful state of Israel, and they are relatively weak. They offer Israel a long-term cease-fire if it will just get out of all of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians would establish a state there and bide their time until the inevitable victory of their brand of Islam:
“The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
The deepest-held beliefs of Hamas dictate Israel’s destruction. It’s just a matter of timing.
Will they try to send waves of suicide bombers into Israel when they take office, while they’re cleaning up the corruption-plagued Palestinian government or society? Or will they tackle removal of Israel only when they’re firmly in control in a few months or years?
When. Not if.
IRONY NO. 2: Muslim authorities themselves removed graves from, and built upon, this very same cemetery!
In the early 1920s the grand mufti of Jerusalem issued a fatwa or religious decree declaring that the Mamilla Cemetery was no longer sacred ground, and was therefore available for building. Accordingly, in 1929 Arabs removed graves and built the Palace Hotel atop the cemetery's southern part.
Shortly afterwards the Muslim Supreme Council began developing plans to build a pan-Islamic university on a site that included the entire Mamilla Cemetery grounds. The plan was eventually scrapped due to lack of funds, but the architectural drawings were displayed and articles, including names of donors to the university, appeared in Arabic newspapers.
A few referenced the existence of the Palace Hotel, but no Western media mentioned that the Muslim authority itself was planning to build a huge structure atop the entire Mamilla Cemetery.
Very few stories, moreover, cited the Islamic ruling that the cemetery had been officially abandoned and was therefore no longer sacred. However, stories which did mention the ruling went on to quote Muslim leaders denying there had ever been such a decision, or saying that if there had been one, it was either illegitimate or no longer applicable.
IRONY NO. 3: Not mentioned in any media source, this one struck me first and hardest.
The history of Arab desecration of Jewish (and Christian) holy sites in the Middle East is long and grotesque. From the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948 on, Arabs have plundered Jewish graveyards. When the Arab League attacked the reborn state, the Jordanian army pillaged the 2,500-year-old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. The uprooting of 38,000 gravestones to build houses, roads and even latrines is well documented. [The walkway to the Intercontinental Hotel, which sits atop the Mount of Olives, was paved with Jewish gravestones. CiJ] The holiest of all Jewish burial sites, the Machpela Cave, is described in the Bible as the place where six of the seven Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried. The Book of Genesis gives a detailed description of the site and of the price Abraham paid for it so he could bury his wife, Sarah, there.
Since fall 2000 Palestinian gunmen have initiated gun battles around this holy site. Jews must be accompanied by armed soldiers if they wish to pray there today.
Rachel is the lone Matriarch whose remains are not interred in Hebron. Rachel's Tomb has also been the site of Arab violence. During riots in 1996 Palestinian mobs assaulted the site, hurling rocks and firebombs at it.
The most heinous act involving an ancient Jewish tomb was the October 2000 attack on the Tomb of Joseph, son of the Patriarch Jacob. A mob of Palestinian Arabs attacked and then entered the tomb, set fire to it and burned prayer books, Bibles and other sacred objects. And now Muslims are criticizing Jews for not respecting burial sites?
PERHAPS THE supreme irony: According to the Koran, both Abraham and Joseph are revered as prophets of Islam. The disrespect shown to Abraham's burial site and the destruction of Joseph's means Arabs have debased some of the holiest Muslim cemeteries in their own canon, as well as in that of Christians and Jews.
The long-abandoned Mamilla Cemetery and the remains therein, built upon by Arabs, and legally required to be respectfully removed and returned to Muslims, hardly justifies the current hysteria. Yet it has been unquestioningly fanned by the world media.
Have we not yet learned that when Muslims cry "offensive" it may have little to do with religious principle but instead be a tool in their arsenal for geographical or psychological dominion?
Already some Jewish groups are rallying behind the faux controversy, calling, in the name of tolerance, for a halt to the building of this museum. Last week the High Court issued an interim injunction halting construction for 30 days pending mediation.
A final irony, in question form: Can anyone imagine a Museum of Tolerance in Syria? In Saudi Arabia? In Ramallah?
Israelis love slogans. Come up with the right slogan, even if it makes no sense, if it’s a total lie, and they will support anyone, and any cause. Sell them “Peace Now” wrapped up in little white doves, and they’ll vote for that. And if instead they get exploding buses and pizza parlors, dead babies on the streets, they won’t stop believing. They won’t look back and say: “Gee, those politicians were incompetent liars, let’s kick them out of office and keep them there. “ Not at all. Come up with another slogan and the exact same politicians will get their vote again.
Take Shimon Peres, architect of Oslo; author of the “The New Middle East” which has to go down in history with “Peace in Our Time” as the political blooper of the century. Peres has a new slogan: Kadima! Peres is now “in the center.
Olmert was the worst mayor Jerusalem ever had
Kadima is a great slogan. It’s the cry of a general leading men on a battlefield. Follow me; don’t look around at the fallen and dying all around you! Keep going. Don’t look back! Never mind that it was founded by a controversial general known for his impulsiveness and determination – qualities sometimes helpful on the battlefield, but quite disastrous in matters of state.
Never mind that his greatest accomplishment in office, carried out with bulldozer determination, has in record time already proven an unmitigated disaster: The disengagement was the Hamas’ successful campaign slogan:” Ten years of negotiation, five years of intifada.”
Never mind that daily rockets now land in the Negev and Ashkelon and Ashdod and Sderot. Never mind that for the first time in our history the national consensus towards Tzahal has begun to unravel. Never mind that. Kadima!
So the head of the party and its moving force is now incapacitated? Replace him! Never mind that Ehud Olmert was the worst mayor Jerusalem ever had. A man whose coalition with the haredim turned the city into a filthy, poor backwater full of ugly high-rises. In between his own police investigations, Mr. Olmert has had a chance to totally change his political slogans with the times. He is a man who stands for nothing and has accomplished even less. But never mind that. Kadima!
We have made so many mistakes
Never mind that the party has collected such Israeli political luminaries as Dalia Itzik, Haim Ramon, Ruhama Avraham, and Omri Sharon. Never mind that Tzachi Hanegbi now sits with them, and that Avi Dichter, a former head of intelligence, who said: "The numbers speak for themselves. . . it is clear that disengagement has decreased terror" is number five on their list. Never mind. Give them your vote. Kadima!
Read the whole thing.
Kadima threatened on Tuesday to petition the High Court against the composition of the committee charged with investigating the violence during the evacuation of the illegal outpost in Amona four weeks ago.
Last week the Knesset decided, in a specially convened session, to assign the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee with studying the Amona incident. Three members of the committee were MKs Uri Ariel, Aryeh Eldad, and Effi Eitam, who were all present at the outpost and were engaged in active confrontations with security forces. The latter two were even injured.
Just what is
Meanwhile, in another article, the Post reports that the committee wants to summon none other than unelected 'acting Prime Minister' Ehud Olmert:
Monday's first meeting of the Knesset's investigative committee into the violence at Amona was intended to be procedural, but political jockeying quickly came into play when the committee announced that it would call Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to testify 10 days before the national elections next month.
The move was seen as an effort to undermine the Kadima leader, whose victory in the elections has been widely anticipated by polls.
According to its mandate, the investigative committee will meet as a subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee until the next Knesset is formed. MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) will head the panel, with Matan Vilna'i (Labor), Uri Ariel (National Union) and Ilan Shalgi (Arrow) also serving.
"This committee is not political, we are launching an investigation because we need to know what happened in Amona," said Steinitz, who has criticized Olmert in the past. "We will ensure that we function as a politically balanced team."
In its first meeting, the committee decided to call Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz, chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, Chief of Police Moshe Karadi, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, and the leaders of the Yesha Council in addition to Olmert.
When the Knesset voted to launch the committee last week, Olmert promised to dismantle it if he were elected prime minister in the upcoming elections.
But of course....
Meanwhile, YNet reports that the cover-up attempt has already begun. 'Internal security' minister Gideon Ezra (
Kadima Achora) is going to represent the police at the 'Amona' inquiry and will not allow any police to testify.
The firm, Dubai Ports World, is seeking control over six major US ports, including those in New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.
"Yes, of course the boycott is still in place and is still enforced," Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office for the Boycott of Israel, told the Post in a telephone interview.
"If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel, and you wanted to import it to Dubai, it would be a problem," he said.
A-Din noted that while the head office for the anti-Israel boycott sits in Damascus, he and his fellow staff members are paid employees of the Dubai Customs Department, which is a division of the PCZC, the same Dubai government-owned entity that runs Dubai Ports World.
Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott.
In a section entitled "Frequently Asked Questions", the site lists six documents that are required in order to clear an item through the Dubai Customs Department. One of them, called a "Certificate of Origin," "is used by customs to confirm the country of origin and needs to be seen by the office which ensures any trade boycotts are enforced," according to the website.
A-Din of the Israel boycott office confirmed that his office examines certificates of origin as a means of verifying whether a product originated in the Jewish state.
On at least three separate occasions last year, the Post has learned, companies were fined by the US government's Office of Anti-boycott Compliance, an arm of the Commerce Department, on charges connected to boycott-related requests they had received from the Government of Dubai.
I tried to access the Dubai Ports Authority web site, but was unable to do so. It is possible that access from Israel is (now) blocked.
The Post also reports this morning that the Arab boycott isn't what it used to be.
UPDATE 7:20 PM
...while some Arab ports will not accept goods marked "Made in Israel," if you take off the sticker and send it through another country, the deal is done.
"Besides Syria, the Arab boycott is now just lip service," said Doron Peskin, head of research at InfoProd, a consulting firm for foreign and Israeli companies specializing in trade to Arab states.
In its heyday, the Damascus headquarters of the Office of the Arab Boycott (OAB) blacklisted 8,500 foreign companies for buying products from Israeli companies, stopping in Haifa port, having a branch in Israel, or any other number of moves which Israel could benefit from economically.
The OAB went even further: the secondary boycott prohibited foreign firms from operating in Arab States if they had trade or commercial dealings with Israel, and the tertiary boycott prohibited foreign firms from acquiring technology from, and establishing partnerships or joint ventures with blacklisted foreign companies.
Today, however, even the most hardline Arab countries are officially dropping the official primary level of the boycott to join trade organizations and agreements.
The most significant "fall" was of Saudi Arabia, which agreed last September to drop the primary boycott of Israel to join the WTO. On Sunday December 11, the world's biggest oil exporter will become the 149th WTO member. Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also WTO members.
"Today the Arab boycott is all bark and no bite," said Danny Halperin, who founded and headed the Israeli Authority Against Economic Warfare (IAAEW). "We succeeded."
Hat tip: Little Green Footballs
LGF'er Ploome Hineni directed me to a cached page from DP World.
That led me here. If you scroll down to
How easy is it to clear goods through customs
you come to
Certificate of Origin - Produced by the original exporter and legalised by a recognised authority in the country of export. This is used by customs to confirm the country of origin and equally needs to be seen by the office which ensures any trade boycotts are enforced.
Monday, February 27, 2006
With the January 25 landslide victory of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority legislative elections, the PA has been set back by decades with regard to enlightenment, liberties and democracy. This, in spite of Bush’s enthusiastic endorsement of the free electoral process and words designed to encourage moderation.
In many quarters there has been bewilderment, that this policy had backfired so totally.But in point of fact, it was all fairly predictable. Certain western predilections have played a part: On the one hand, there has been a tendency toward self-delusion, a failure to grapple with painful and unpalatable realities. A certain amount of optimism is good, this is most decidedly not.
When Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) was elected President of the PA, just over a year ago, Bush declared that while he would not have worked with Arafat, he was pleased to work now with Abbas, who represented the hope of a new era of moderation.
Why should Bush (and with him a good part of the western world) have assumed this? What – other than facile words in English – did Abbas offer that promised moderation? Abbas did not represent a new era; he was a protégé of Arafat, there from the beginning – helping to found Fatah and promoting terrorism. But in the flush of new hope, who bothered to recall that at the time the terror war known as the Al Aksa Intifada started, when some Arafat advisors had pressed for a settlement with Israel, it was Abbas who had advised a continuation of the armed uprising? Who thought seriously about his Holocaust denial or his refusal to acknowledge the historical presence of Jewish Temples in Jerusalem?
Abbas wore a nice suit and tie. He had a surface polish that Arafat totally lacked. He spoke softly and said the right things. And so hope was vested in him.
From the beginning of his administration, Abbas made it clear that he had no intention of taking on the terrorists. This would start a civil war, he declared; his way of approaching the situation was to co-opt them – making them part of the Palestinian Authority. This shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. Ten years before, the PA had forged a formal agreement with Hamas, in which the PA was called upon to cease all “preventative security” against Hamas. This just carried the process one step further; putting a PA security apparatus uniform on a terrorist, however, renders him no less a terrorist.
This was the time for the western world to have uttered vociferous protest. To have called a halt before it was too late. But instead the word went out that Abbas really wanted to do more, but just did not have the power. And here we see another relevant western predilection: where the relationship with the leaders of the PA is concerned, there is the impulse to cut them slack rather than holding their feet to the fire. If we bolster Abbas, support him with funds and public statements, went the logic, eventually he’ll come through. (The unspoken subtext: Besides, we have no one else.)
Natan Sharansky wasn’t fooled. He watched as Abbas signed the death warrants for Palestinians convicted of “collaboration.” These “collaborators,” guilty only of assisting
Sharansky’s insistence that the PA be called to task with regard to this action reflected his most deeply held beliefs with regard to bringing down tyrannies. He explained this in his MEQ interview:
“We saw the
“Calling a spade a spade,” is precisely what the western world has never been able to do with regard to the Palestinian Authority.
Read it all.
Israel’s Supreme Court struck a blow to government plans to develop the Negev and Galilee, ruling on Monday that the state may not define Jewish towns as “priority areas” any more than Arab ones.
The court heard a petition brought by the Adalah Arab-rights advocacy group. Adala claimed a double standard in a state plan to finance educational institutions in areas given the status of “national priority” by the government – most of which were Jewish towns.
According to the court, 500 Jewish communities have received such status, while only four Arab ones have. “This gave rise to suspicions that the distinctions were based on race and nationality,” Chief Justice Aharon Barak said.
The Supreme Court declared that all definitions of “national priority areas” made by the government would be annulled. "The government's decisions were flawed, clearly discriminated against Arabs and damaged equal rights," said Barak.
The court decision also opened the door for future petitions by Arab municipalities demanding equal assistance from the government in the Galilee and Negev, where Israel has planned to invest in Jewish settlement to balance out the Arab demographic rule in those areas. "All government plans will be checked for equality between the various sectors," read the verdict.
"Equality is the common denominator and the basis of all human rights and other democratic values,” said Israeli-Arab Justice Salim Jubran. The verdict demanded that the government set clear criteria defining “national priority areas” which are to receive government assistance.
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am-Ta'al) applauded the ruling and called for its immediate implementation.
The ruling strikes yet another blow at government efforts to settle the Galilee and the Negev. Recruiting young idealists willing to move to outlying communities in those regions has proven to be difficult, following the perceived betrayal of those who settled in Gaza less than a generation ago who were forcibly removed from their homes and are currently residing in temporary pre-fab housing and hotels.
Graphic Pictures of AmonaYou can find graphic pictures of the 'Amona' bloodbath here, here, here, and here. Not for the faint of heart (and no, I have not been through them all).
In spite of PA pledges not to incite, an interview broadcast last week featured the mother of Wafa Al-Bas, the 21-year-old Arab woman from Gaza who was arrested at the Erez Crossing in June 2005 wearing a 20-pound (9 kg) bomb under her clothes.
The PA TV interview with Al-Bas' parents, which aired on February 20th, features her mother saying the event was hard for her - not because her daughter was on a suicide mission, but because she was arrested on her way to carry it out.
Al-Bas intended to bomb Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital outpatient clinic, where she had been receiving regular treatments for serious burns on 45 percent of her body resulting from a gas stove explosion in her home.
The failed bomber later told Israeli television that her greatest wish was to kill 30 to 50 Israelis, including children. The hospital attack would likely have killed or maimed the very Israeli doctor who had saved her life.
Al-Bas' mother said in the PA TV interview that she knew that her daughter had wanted to be a martyr since she was a little girl, but had not encouraged her - not because she opposed the idea of suicide bombing, but because Wafa was female. "If it was a boy, I would have supported, but since she is a girl I discouraged," she said.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) recorded and translated the interview:
Click here to view the clip
Click here to read the rest of the article.
This reminds me of the failed "Rogers Plan" of the first Nixon Administration, in which US Secretary of State Rogers proposed to have the four powers impose a solution on Israel to get around the Arabs' unwillingness to speak with or recognize the Jewish State. The more things change, the more they stay the same....
Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Monday that his organization was prepared to enter negotiations without preconditions with any international body including the United States, but not with the "Zionist enemy."
Speaking to the London based daily paper Al-Hayat Mashaal added that international authorities had, over the past few days, sent messages to Hamas saying that they would support projects carried out buy the Palestinian Authority, even with a Hamas-controlled PA [The sad thing is that this is probably true. CiJ]
In related news, top Hamas figures Mahmoud Zahar and Saed Siyam rejected on Sunday any possible peace negotiations with Israel.
Speaking in Amman, Jordan before parliament members from all over the Arab world, Zahar said that Israel was an enemy, and thus not a partner for negotiations, Israel Radio reported.
He added that Hamas did not plan to renew the failed diplomatic talks with Israel.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch Sunday that there cannot be two Palestinian authorities, a "good one" that is represented by Abbas with which the international community wants to continue doing business, and a "bad one" represented by Hamas.
Hamas represents the PA, officials in Olmert's office quoted Olmert as telling Welch. He said that Hamas has a majority in the Palestinian parliament, the prime minister is from Hamas, and the government will be formed by Hamas.
The Jerusalem Post is citing a report from an Egyptian magazine that Fatah strongman Muhammed Dahlan is denying involvement in an alleged plot to kill Hamas strongman Khaled Mashaal. Yes, the same Khaled Mashaal whose assassination the Mossad botched in the late 90's.
According to the report, in the Egyptian magazine al-Iz'ahwa al-Telfisyon (Radio and Television), Dahlan met with CIA and Israeli security officials in an Arab capital just before last month's Palestinian parliamentary election. The three-day meeting, the report said, was also attended by security officials from the host country.
The participants agreed on the need to assassinate Mashaal so as to weaken Hamas on the eve of the election, the magazine said. It added that Dahlan and all those who participated in the meeting pointed out that Mashaal had become a central figure in Hamas because he enjoyed the support of both the local and outside leadership of the movement.
The report claimed that the participants also agreed to step up pressure on Iran and Syria to cut off their relations with Hamas and to stop providing the movement with money.
The magazine said its source was one of the Palestinian security officers who participated in the alleged meeting. The officer, whose identity was not revealed, informed the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip of the secret meeting shortly after he returned home.
The magazine said that Hamas decided to beef up security arrangements around its leaders after learning from the officer about the alleged plot to assassinate Mashaal.
Although the magazine did not mention the venue of the alleged meeting, sources close to Hamas named Jordan as the host.
The report in the Egyptian magazine, which is normally described as reliable, has increased tensions between Hamas and Dahlan's Fatah party.
Copies of the report were distributed on Monday in some parts of the Gaza Strip by Hamas members in an attempt to discredit Dahlan.
In a Feb. 25 letter addressed to senior diplomats from Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, Wolfensohn said Israel's decision to withhold the sales tax and customs fees it collects for the Palestinian Authority has pushed the caretaker government to the brink of insolvency.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah movement currently runs the government. But that will change in a few weeks when Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, forms the next cabinet following its victory in parliamentary elections.
Wolfensohn, a former World Bank president, said the Palestinian Authority needs $60 million to $80 million by the first week of March to pay 150,000 civil service employees and trainees, nearly half of them in the security forces. The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, agreed Monday to provide $144 million to the Palestinian Authority, designating most of it for social programs and energy bills. About $20 million could be used for salaries. [I'm a bit confused here. Israel withheld about $50 million from the PA. Suddenly the shortfall is $60-80 million. That means that the PA would not have enough money even if Israel had given them that $50 million. Moreover, the Europeans gave them $144 million but actually directed that the money go elsewhere than paying 'salaries' to the 'security forces.' Maybe it's time for the 'Palestinians' to have fewer 'security forces.' Maybe that would solve their financial crisis. Maybe they would even have to start spending responsibly. But no, Wolfensohn has to come around with a tin cup for them.... CiJ]
"If we do not want to see rising tension leading to violence and chaos -- particularly just before the Israeli election -- we will have to develop urgently a convincing strategy addressing the PA's financial and developmental needs, not only in the short-term of the next few weeks but also in a longer time frame," Wolfensohn wrote. [There are words to describe Wolfensohn. But this is a family-oriented blog. CiJ]
In the letter, Wolfensohn proposes a donor meeting in mid-March to find ways of financing the Palestinian government without violating anti-terrorism laws that prohibit funds from going to Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel.
"If we don't get this right, I am afraid past investment in the Palestinian development will be lost, a Palestinian economy will not be sustainable, the Palestinian people will live off humanitarian handouts, and security for both Palestinians and Israelis will be in greater jeopardy than it has been for years," he wrote.
The Quartet agreed Jan. 30 to continue financing the caretaker government to strengthen Abbas, who has called on Hamas to pursue a negotiated peace with Israel based on a two-state solution to the conflict. But Wolfensohn, the Quartet's special envoy here, warned that Israel and the United States are pursuing policies at odds with that position by restricting vital funding before Hamas installs its cabinet. That is due to happen within the next month. [So does that mean that if Hamas is 'installed' and does what they say they will do, Wolfensohn will be agreeable to denying them funds? I doubt it. CiJ]
With national elections scheduled for March 28, the Israeli government decided after the Hamas majority was sworn into parliament earlier this month to freeze a $55 million monthly tax and customs transfer to the Palestinian Authority.
That payment, which covers about half of the Palestinian Authority's monthly payroll and unemployment benefits, would have been due in the next few days. President Bush, meanwhile, has demanded the return of $50 million in direct U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. [Has the PA already returned the money? If it has, why is the shortfall not greater? If it has not, why is the shortfall not smaller? And what about all the money Arafat stashed in Swiss bank accounts? Why can't anyone find that? CiJ]
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union's external relations commissioner and a recipient of Wolfensohn's letter, said the funds approved Monday would "reduce the pressure on the caretaker government so that President Abbas can continue his important task of building the next government." [With whom is Abu Mazen forming the next government other than Hamas? Why should Abu Mazen be used to make a Hamas-led government Kosher? CiJ]
In recent public comments, U.S. diplomats have indicated that Abbas could serve as a conduit for future funding, even though that policy would contradict past U.S. efforts to weaken the Palestinian presidency when it was held by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. U.S. development aid to the Palestinian territories last year exceeded $400 million, all of it channeled through non-governmental organizations.
The Israeli government, however, has sought to discourage that strategy. Israel's acting foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, characterized Abbas, commonly known as Abu Mazen, as "no longer relevant" on the eve of traveling to Europe where she hopes to convince governments to isolate the Palestinian Authority.
Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said, "If there is a difference of opinion, it is only over when one should consider Hamas as having taken over the Palestinian Authority."
"We've agreed to disagree on this, but soon it will be immaterial when Hamas becomes the actual government," Regev said. "It appears that the real political power will be held by Hamas, and Israel does not believe it would be in anyone's best interest to ignore that. To put it in Jewish terms, we would be very worried that Abu Mazen could be used as a way of making the Palestinian Authority kosher."
The JPost adds:
Voices have been raised in the Quartet (the US, EU, Russia and the UN) arguing that the cutoff date by which Hamas must accept certain preconditions or face international isolation is "malleable" and not necessarily the day a Hamas government is formed, The Jerusalem Post learned. [If they drag it out long enough, maybe they can keep financing the terrorists until Hamas decides that there won't be any more elections. Then what? And what will happen the first time there's a suicide bombing R"L? The Europeans will increase funding? CiJ]
One Western diplomatic official said that among the questions the Quartet principals were dealing with now was what would happen if Hamas were to make some move toward recognizing Israel and continue to abide by a cease-fire, but would not go all the way toward full-throated recognition of Israel or committing itself to nonviolence. [The answer to that question should be very simple. No. The fact that they are 'dealing' with that question shows that they're following Ehud Olmert's wishy-washy lead. CiJ]
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday denied that Hamas was prepared to make peace with Israel, saying he had been misquoted by The Washington Post.
Haniyeh said his comments had been misunderstood.
He said he was not referring to a peace agreement, only a "political truce." [That's positively a Clintonian distinction. CiJ]
"I didn't talk about recognizing Israel during the interview with the newspaper," Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza City.
I have said it before and I will say it again. The 'Palestinians' voted knowing exactly what Hamas was, what they stood for and what they wanted to do. It's time to stop treating them like children and to make them pay for the consequences of their actions.
I don't know how one defends oneself against a nuclear attack except by wiping out the Iranians' facilities or by a first-strike. If you use a first-strike and don't wipe them out completely, you have to have the capability of absorbing a response. Do we have that? I doubt it. I cannot believe the "sealed rooms" that have become de rigeur in every building built here since Gulf War I are at all capable of withstanding a nuclear attack. The government has not replaced the gas masks we were told to open during Gulf War II, let alone provided us with something that will be useful in case of nuclear attack. If there is no way to wipe out the Iranians' facilities (something that Mofaz wisely refused to discuss in the same article), I'm not sure what he has in mind.
Mofaz implied that while Israel was ready to let diplomacy run its course for now, it would not stand by indefinitely.
"In addition to joining the nations of the world who think that the right course at this moment, at this hour, in these days and in this year is to try and stop this threat by diplomatic efforts at the Security Council, we also owe it, primarily to ourselves, to deal with everything that ensures the existence of the state of Israel for all eternity, and we are doing so," he said.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Ettinger argues that US foreign aid is calculated on a per capita basis. Annual
Ettinger then reviews the highlights given in my previous post on this subject and then concludes:
In conclusion, Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, a leading US demographer (January 23, 2006): “The conclusions of this [American-Israeli] report are not only plausible but quite persuasive…They caught the demographic profession asleep at the switch…There are some fairly significant discrepancies in the PA’s own internal population estimates…There are also fairly important discrepancies between the estimates of the US Census Bureau and the UN Population Division…”
Read the whole thing.
Haveil Havalim # 59, the Jewish bloggers' carnival, is now up. This week's host is Daled Amos, and yours truly has three posts in the carnival. Lots of blogs that are worth checking out are participating in the carnival. Enjoy!
You've all heard of the Qurayza tribe of Jews and how Muhammed massacred them shortly after making a 'hudna' with them. This article tells the story of that massacre in a relatively simple manner (it's confusing but there are good summaries at the end and it's worth reading the whole thing to get the flavor).
Hat Tip: LittleGreen Footballs
A brief excerpt:
First, Allah helps the Muslims in warfare or battle (three-letter Arabic root is q-t-l in v. 25) against a much-larger foe, so Allah endorses Islam in battle. Also, verse 25 confirms that Muhammad had nothing substantial to fear from the Jews. “Allah turned back the unbelievers . . . and Allah spared the believers battle.” In down-to-earth terms, Muhammad still had at his disposal a large, weather-beaten army. The Prophet had expelled two other tribes (Qaynuqa and Nadir), so he could have done the same to the Qurayza—as indeed they requested. But the Prophet for humanity declined this merciful and humane option.
Second, Allah permits the enslavement and beheading of Jews, so any Muslim familiar with the background of this verse knows that beheading as such has been assimilated into the Quran. The word q-t-l in verse 26 means slaughter. What is so troubling about the verse is that it seems to celebrate the “terror” that Allah threw into the Jews’ hearts. Indeed, when Abu Lubaba the mediator approached the Jews during negotiations, the women and children were crying. Allah gladly terrorized them.
Finally, Allah permits Muhammad to take the Jewish clan’s property on the basis of conquest and his possession of all things. This is a dubious revelation and reasoning. Allah speaks, and this benefits Muhammad materially. This happens often in Muhammad’s life.
If anyone is looking for a down-to-earth reason for Muhammad’s attack on the Qurayza Jews (instead of “Gabriel’s leadership”), then he does not need to look any further than verse 27. The Prophet confiscated wealth. After all, the Meccans and their allies withdrew without allowing Muslims to take their wealth. So how was Muhammad going to reward his jihadists?
Muslim polemical and outreach websites often assert that Islam promotes human rights. It is impossible to see how they can say this honestly and at the same time appeal to the origins of their religion.
This whitewash is deceitful at best and dangerous at worst, if or when Islam gets a foothold in a region on the pretence of “peace and love.” Maybe sleepy Westerners and others will accept this benign version of Islam—in fact too many do, right now. But what happens later when hard-line Muslims (not to mention nonviolent and violent fanatics) cite the numerous brutal verses in the Quran and passages in the hadith to inflict barbarity on people, especially on Jews?
The evidence in this article alone demonstrates that violence is embedded in original Islam. Even a reliable hadith shows Allah reprimanding Muhammad for another of his cruelties (see this article). Sadly, though, Allah did not reprimand his favorite prophet for this clear atrocity against the Jews, but celebrates it (Sura 33:25-27).
It is time for Muslim leaders to renounce violence clearly and specifically, not vaguely: “Yes, we denounce all forms of violence” They must go deeper than this. They must stop denying the dark past, found in the Quran itself and in the example of their Prophet. They must, instead, be clear. “We denounce these specific verses and passages in the Quran and hadith that are violent. These specific acts and words happened in the seventh century (and later centuries), and we have moved beyond all of them. We now want peace.”
A peaceful presentation of Islam is not full disclosure. It is time to be honest. Only then can interfaith dialogue even begin.
Hat Tip: Yisrael in Shilo
A new study, 'Population Forecast for Israel and the West Bank 2025' challenges the notion that Israeli Jews are facing an Arab demographic time bomb. But some experts dispute its validity.
Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael Wise presented their thesis at a meeting at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, on Thursday. They had previously introduced it at the Sixth Herzliya Secuyrity Conference in Israel on Jan. 23. 2006. Their report builds on a study entitled 'Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza: The Million Person Gap', published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Israel's Bar-Illan University.
The concept of an inevitable Arab demographic threat has been influential in Israeli politics. According to Zimmerman, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "defined demography as the key issue behind the Gaza disengagement".
Based on a 1997 census, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics projected a 2004 population of 3.8 million for the West Bank and Gaza. This combined with the 1.3 million Israeli Arabs, raised fears that the Arab population would soon reach parity with the 5.4million Jews in Israel, relegating Jews to a minority position.
However, these projections were challenged by the Zimmerman team's initial report, which investigated the 1997 PCBS data on a factor-by-factor basis.
The PCBS projected 907,000 births from 1997 to 2003. However, the figure recorded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and confirmed by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, fell far short of this total, standing at 669,000.
Similarly, 'The Million Person Gap' study found large discrepancies in the PCBS migration projections. The PCBS assumed mass immigration into the West Bank and Gaza, and in-migration was forecast to exceed 50,000 by 2001.
However, actual border data used by the Zimmerman team indicated net emigration, dating back to 1997, of between 10-20,000 per year. Thus, the PCBS projections had included 60-70,000 persons per year who were not actually present.
These errors, combined with other PCBS inaccuracies concerning migration to Israel, Jerusalem Arabs and residents living abroad, led the team to a 2004 population count for the West Bank and Gaza of 2.49 million. This represented a 1.34 million drop from the PCBS projection of 3.83 million.
The new 'Population Forecast for Gaza and the West Bank 2025' extends these findings. By analyzing the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics projections for the Jewish and Israeli-Arab population, the report indicates the Jewish population is more demographically stable than previously thought.
"There has been a rigid way of looking at the region. What we have done is to open it up by looking at the data to show there are no for-gone conclusions", Zimmerman said.
The Zimmerman team found that since 2000, the Jewish fertility rate has exceeded the highest scenarios considered by the ICBS. Whereas the ICBS predicted Jewish fertility rates would remain at 2.6 births per woman in the high case scenario, the actual fertility rate for 2004 was 2.71.
In terms of Israeli-Arab fertility, the ICBS high case scenario assumed fertility rates would remain higher at 4.7. However, in actuality, the Israeli-Arab fertility rates decreased to the lowest level considered by ICBS, registering at 4.36 in 2004.
In view of these results, the new forecast adjusted the ICBS Jewish and Israeli Arab fertility ranges. Low, medium and high growth assumptions were also made for each community.
In the most likely mid-case scenario for Israel and the West Bank, the proportion of Israel Jews will decline from 67 percent of the population in 2004, to 63% in 2025. In the best case scenario, the Jewish proportion of the population will increase to 71 percent.
Read it all.
Iran's nuclear chief said Sunday that Moscow and Tehran had agreed in principle to set up a joint uranium enrichment venture, Russian news reports said.Am I the only one who smells something very fishy here?
Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who heads Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said the two nations had agreed in principle on Moscow's proposal to enrich Iranian uranium in Russia, the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies reported.
Previous talks on the Moscow offer, backed by the United States and the European Union, brought no visible breakthrough.
Russian nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko, who met with Aghazadeh in Iran on Sunday, said Moscow would insist on resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute within the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Kiriyenko said Russia would stress its position at a March 6 meeting of the IAEA. The meeting could start a process leading to punishment by the U.N. Security Council. The council has the authority to impose sanctions on Iran.
Channel Ten "spies" who went to work for some of the polling companies found that in some cases, for fear of being fined for not meeting the quota, the surveyors fill out the forms themselves.
In the Dachaf Institute, Israel's largest polling firm, Channel Ten found that supervision over the question-askers was very weak. In one instance, when a major foul-up was detected in a poll, the supervisor merely said, "Our entire poll is messed up, but we of course have a way to overcome it..."
At the Shvakim Panorama polling institute, Channel Ten found that it is "easy to get work there," the workers do not always actually make phone calls to find out the public's opinions, and that supervision is lax. "The worker next to me said it's OK to do what I want," one planted Channel Ten staffer said, "and even to fill out the forms myself. The supervisor passes through once an hour to collect the forms."
In response, Dachaf said that the claims raised have no basis in evidence and are groundless.
A recent Arutz-7 interview with Dr. Aharon Fein, head of the Tatzpit polling firm, revealed other types of critical deficiencies with public surveys. Fein said that the polls reflect only the opinion of those who are willing to cooperate with the pollsters, and that these sometimes number only 25% of the populace. "We feel that most of those who do not respond lean towards the right-wing," he said. "The polls are distorted, and we will see this in the elections."
You bet we do!
PA police recruits watching kids play with a 'rifle mock-up' in Gaza City on Saturday (AP).
A plan for the "Return of the Khalifate" was published secretly in 2002 by a group called "The Guiding Helper Foundation." The group explained that it wished to "give direction to the educated Muslim populace in its increasing interest in the establishment of Islam as a practical system of rule."
This past Friday, Feb. 24, however, the plan went public. Sheikh Nawahda called publicly for the renewal of the Islamic Khalifate, which would "unite all the Moslems in the world against the infidels."
The Khalifate system features a leader, known as a Khalif, who heads worldwide Islam. Assisted by a ten-man council, his decisions are totally binding on all Moslems.
According to the Foundation's vision of the Khalifate, significant punishment [I wonder how they define 'signficant punishment' CiJ] can only be meted out for 14 crimes, including "accusing a chaste person of fornication," "not performing the formal prayer," and "not fasting during Ramadan."
The Foundation recommends working to restore the Moslem dictatorship using a system of small groups around the world. The purpose is so that the "enemies of Islam" who "will definitely try to stop us" will have a "much harder task, if not impossible, if they are faced with a myriad of small groups of differing locations, ethnicities," etc. This method also "ensures that if one group... is found and cut off, other similar groups will remain undetected."
Read it all.
Palestinian President Abu Mazen and the international community have put forward conditions for dealing with Hamas: 1) recognize Israel; 2) recognize existing agreements with Israel made by the Palestinian Liberation Organization; 3) renounce violence. Will you agree to these conditions?
We are surprised that such conditions are imposed on us. Why don't they direct such conditions and questions to Israel? Has Israel respected agreements? Israel has bypassed practically all agreements. We say: Let Israel recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinians first and then we will have a position regarding this. Which Israel should we recognize? The Israel of 1917; the Israel of 1936; the Israel of 1948; the Israel of 1956; or the Israel of 1967? Which borders and which Israel? Israel has to recognize first the Palestinian state and its borders and then we will know what we are talking about. [In other words, no. CiJ]
Israel has agreed to a two-state solution, signed agreements with the PLO and withdrawn from Gaza. So will Hamas accept any of the agreements that the PLO -- starting with [Yasser] Arafat and continuing with Abu Mazen -- made with Israel?
Number one, the withdrawal from Gaza was based on a unilateral decision and a unilateral plan. It was not [done] out of the generosity of Israel. Has Israel committed itself to all these agreements? We are not war seekers nor are we war initiators.
We are not lovers of blood. We are not interested in a vicious cycle of violence. We are oppressed people with rights. If peace brings us our rights, then this is good. [I would suggest comparing this statement with Haniyeh's statements here. CiJ]Do you accept the Oslo agreement signed by Yasser Arafat?
Israel has stopped completely committing itself to Oslo.
I am not asking about Israel. Are you, as the new Palestinian prime minister, committed to Oslo?
How do you want me not to pay attention or care about what Israel says? Oslo stated that a Palestinian state would be established by 1999. Where is this Palestinian state? [It would have been there if Arafat had sought peace and not war. CiJ] Has Oslo given the right to Israel to reoccupy the West Bank, to build the wall and expand the settlements, and to Judaize Jerusalem and make it totally Jewish? [Unfortunately, Jerusalem is far from being 'totally Jewish.' CiJ]
Has Israel been given the right to disrupt the work on the port and airport in Gaza? Has Oslo given them the right to besiege Gaza and to stop all tax refunds from the Palestinian Authority? [Who gave those 'tax refunds' to the 'Palestinian Authority' until now? CiJ]
So you will not abide by past agreements made by the Palestinians and Israel?
I have not said that. I have said that Israel . . .
But you are not the prime minister of Israel. Will you abide by past agreements made by the Palestinian governments and Israel?
We will review all agreements and abide by those that are in the interest of the Palestinian people. [Let that sink in folks. He's going to pick and choose which agreements to honor. And when to honor them. But both he and the international community will expect Israel to abide by all agreements and will try to punish us if we don't 'honor' them. CiJ].
What agreements will you honor?
The ones that will guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital with 1967 borders -- as well as agreements that would release prisoners.
Would Hamas recognize Israel if it were to withdraw to the '67 borders?
If Israel withdraws to the '67 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages.
What does that mean?
Number one: We will establish a situation of stability and calm which will bring safety for our people -- what Sheikh [Ahmed] Yassin [a Hamas founder] called a long-term hudna . [We all know what a hudna means. "According to Umdat as-Salik, a medieval summary of Shafi'i jurisprudence, hudnas with a non-Muslim enemy should be limited to 10 years: "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud" ('Umdat as-Salik, o9.16)." Thanks but no thanks. CiJ]
Does a peace in stages means the ultimate obliteration of the Jewish people?
We do not have any feelings of animosity toward Jews. We do not wish to throw them into the sea. All we seek is to be given our land back, not to harm anybody. [So we can live here so long as we live as dhimmis. Maybe. Thanks but no thanks. CiJ]
Do you recognize Israel's right to exist?
The answer is to let Israel say it will recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognize the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs. [In other words, no. CiJ]
So will you extend the present ceasefire?
I will not say yes or no. The problem is with Israel. If Israel gives us a quiet period and stops its incursions and the assassinations, then we will be able to convince our people to continue with a state of quiet. [In other words, when it is convenient they will extend the 'quiet' period, and when it is not convenient, or they can no longer build up weapons by extending it, they will end it. CiJ]
Will you recognize Israel?
If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights, then we are ready to recognize them.
Israel does not have a charter calling for the destruction of the Palestinian state.
Our only position will be declared once Israel recognizes our right to exist.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accepted a two-state solution as did President Bush. What do you say about the two-state solution?
It all starts with Israel.
I have to say that Weymouth was much more direct in questioning Haniyeh than is typically the case in the Western media. And the answers are evasive - as expected. I have already given you all my take on Haniyeh here. Last night, Israeli media were trying to find reasons for optimism in Haniyeh's statements. But today, with the entire interview released, even the unelected, soft government realizes that this is no way to do business. The problem is that
Kadima Achora has tilted so far left, that not doing business with Hamas likely means more unilateral withdrawals expulsions of Jews from their homes, which will only move Palestinian weapons closer and closer to Israel's heartland.
With fear of government-supported religious coercion on the rise since Hamas's unexpected win in January's Palestinian elections, Christians across the West Bank and Gaza Strip are keeping a low profile, with eyes wide open.
Though no changes on the ground have affected their rights as of yet, they are watching carefully and anxiously to see if an already precarious "church and state" separation in Palestinian government is about to disintegrate.
They have reason for concern: If Hamas follows on its founders' path to fight Israel and install strict Islamic religious rule, Palestinian Christians stand to become a legally subjugated minority inside Palestinian society, while suffering further conflict with neighboring Israel.
A small minority, estimated to be between one to two percent of the total Palestinian population, Christians have long been in an awkward position, managing a balancing act of simultaneously being insiders and outsiders.
Local Christians see themselves as part of a single Palestinian people with Muslims - with a shared destiny, language and culture, a shared political goal to keeping their land in a safe, sovereign Palestinian state and shared suffering and anger.
On the other hand, they are an ever-shrinking minority, with separate religious beliefs and rituals, trying to fight for religious equality and oppose violence as a means of legitimate struggle, without isolating or alienating themselves from the larger Palestinian population. Intermarriage between Palestinian Christians and Muslims is a rare, sensitive and sometimes risky issue.
Further exaggerating the balancing act in recent years is an insecure relationship with western Evangelical Christians, who fervently support Israel, leaving indigenous Palestinian Christians on the other side of the security fence sometimes feeling neglected or like the enemy, despite a shared reverence for the Christian Gospels.
Amidst this already tenuous situation, Palestinian Christians are holding their breath, as a new Palestinian leadership determines their future.
While locals and analysts doubt Hamas will enforce a strict Shari'a religious law, the Christian community is proceeding with a "just in case" caution.
"The situation is complex, very delicate, very sensitive. Tensions between Christians and Muslims revolve around social and criminal issues, but there are also religious issues, strong and sometimes harsh issues," he said. "Fear of revenge, isolation and misunderstanding keeps them from speaking up. There are many prejudices, and it can be dangerous. For this reason, and sometimes to protect the family's honor, sometimes things are not reported."
One issue that is underreported is what the bishop calls "property abuse," instances when a Muslim steals the property of a Christian, he says. "It's important to add that on occasion this happens with the help of other Christians, who get paid off to report when a family is on vacation."
Attorney Justus Reid Weiner recently published a report via the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that says Palestinian Christians also frequently underreport violence and harassment, including sexual harassment and rape.
The plight of Christians is not known to Palestinian human rights organizations, says Bassam Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. "I'm quite sure there are some troubles or clashes but they do not represent a trend," he says. "Our organization has never received information about discrimination; we have only heard rumors, which seem exagerated. If there is persecution or discrimination, the Christian community must raise it at once to Christian Palestinian Legislative Council members and to rights organizations."
Sami Abdel Akilan, 26, a member of the Palestinian national security forces who planned to launch attacks in Israel in the near future, was arrested by security forces in Jericho on Saturday. Jericho is the only Palestinian city in which the Palestinian Authority has full security control, after the power was transferred by Israel in March of last year.
Security officials complained that constant requests by Israel to the PA to arrest Akilan have been repeatedly ignored, and in several instances when briefly detained by PA security officials in the city, he was immediately released.
A year since the Palestinians received full control of the city, Jericho continues to serve as a safe haven for terrorists, security officials told The Jerusalem Post, adding that at least 25 fugitives are estimated to be hiding out in the city, despite PA assurances to disarm them.
Under the agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority last year, the PA agreed to disarm fugitives known to be residing in the city. Israelis are barred from entering the city or casino. Security control of Route 90, which leads to the Jordan Valley communities and the country's northeast, remains under Israeli security control. Two IDF checkpoints north and south of the city also remain intact, but the PA is responsible for law and order in Oudja, a village north of Jericho and is permitted to train a police force.
Israel also permitted the PA to train a police force in the city.
Although appalling, the absence of an official Israeli outcry against Halimi's murder is not the least surprising. Today, the unelected Kadima interim government, like the Israeli media, is doing everything in its power to lull the Israeli people into complacency towards the storm of war raging around us. Against the daily barrages of Kassam rockets on southern Israel; nervous reports of al-Qaida setting up shop in Judea, Samaria and Gaza; the ascension of Hamas to power in the Palestinian Authority; and Iran's threats of nuclear annihilation, Israel's citizenry, under the spell of Kadima and the media, appears intent on ignoring the dangers and pretending that what happens to Jews in France has nothing to do with us.
Israel's societal meekness accords well with Kadima's ideology. Its creed was best expressed by Foreign Minister, Justice Minister and Immigration Minister Tzipi Livni last month at the Herzliya Conference and is best characterized as "conditional Zionism." In her speech, Livni explained that Israel's international legitimacy is conditional. Unless a Palestinian state is established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, she warned, Israel will lose its legitimacy as a Jewish state.
So for Livni, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres and the rest of the Kadima gang, unlike every other people in the world, the Jewish people does not have an inherent, natural right to exist as a free, sovereign and independent people in its homeland. For Kadima, the Jewish people's right to self-determination in our land years is conditional on our enemies' acceptance of our right to be here.
Kadima's conditional Zionism finds expression in its policies in Judea and Samaria. There, the gist of the government's actions is that the only people with inherent human rights in Judea and Samaria are the Arabs.
Throughout the areas, the government, backed by the post-Zionist courts, prohibits Jews from building on land that Jews own. Today, as Moshe Rosenbaum, the mayor of Beit El explains, even receiving a permit to build an extension on a standing house or additional classrooms in a school is all but impossible.
While Olmert and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra have repeatedly condemned Jews for allegedly cutting down trees owned by Arabs in Judea and Samaria, the government has said nothing and done nothing to stop the wholesale destruction of Jewish orchards and national forests in the areas by Palestinians. Over the past several months, in the vicinity of Gush Etzion alone, thousands of Jewish-owned trees have been chopped down by Arab vandals. Two national forests have been laid to waste. Busy directing their energies and attentions at delegitimizing the Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, the government has ignored Israel's enemies.
And so, as Kassam attacks against Israel multiply by the day and Hamas leaders hold Jew-hating love-fests with Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenaei in Teheran, Olmert assured us Wednesday that Hamas is not a strategic threat to Israel.
When the Israeli government itself is claiming Jewish rights are not inherent but rather defined and granted by others, it can surprise no one the government has ignored Halimi's murder.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Fofana was arrested late Wednesday night in Abidjan's northern suburb of Abobo, police in Abidjan and Paris said. He had flown to Ivory Coast on a commercial flight days after the discovery of Halimi's body.
At first three, and then seven members of the gang were taken into custody for questioning. Fofana, 25, their leader, managed to escape investigators. He simply bought a ticket to Abidjan and flew to the Ivory Coast under his own name.
According to the police, Fofana - who likes to call himself "Brain of Barbarians" - is a Muslim of African origin, like some members of his group. Others are second generation immigrants - Arabs from North Africa and others from the French Antilles and Portugal, and some are from families that have long lived in France....
Sources in Abidjan said that Fofana admitted his participation to the kidnapping of Ilan, but denied any anti-Semitic intention.
Police said that during the investigation, some of the suspects said they had indeed chosen Halimi as their victim "because Jews are rich, and if they are not, their community will pay for their release." One of the youngest members of the gang, aged 16, reportedly admitted having tortured Ilan with a burning cigarette because the young man was Jewish. He also reportedly admitted having extinguished a cigarette on Halimi's forehead "because he was bothering me."
The investigating judge, having heard the testimony of the first suspects, issued an arrest order for kidnapping and murder, including the aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism.
Also yesterday, a memorial service took place in a Parisian synagogue to mark the conclusion of Halimi's shiva period.
The ceremony was attended by France's Chief Rabbi, Joseph Sitruk, who called on all Frenchmen, Jews and non-Jews alike, to participate in ceremonies held in memory of Halimi throughout France. President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin were also at the ceremony at the Victoire Synagogue.This is the most curious part of this case....
The Paris prosecutor revealed Halimi's case to the media on February 14, the day after he died. He said then that "no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action." The Jewish community did not believe him, and was already buzzing with rumors that other Jews had been abducted after dating blonde women.
If anyone believes that Halimi's murder was 'not linked to anti-Semitism,' I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them.
Avi Dichter, the former head of the Shin Bet internal security service and a possible future defense minister, also told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that Haniyeh would be arrested if he ever fell into the hands of the Israeli army.
Haniyeh brushed aside the comments as not worthy of a response. "We do not fear threats," he said.
Dichter told the Israeli daily that he does not "see a situation where Haniyeh will have immunity just because he is prime minister."
"If there will be a terror attack in which Israel decides to respond with a preventive step, then Haniyeh would be a legitimate target because Hamas could not carry out a terror attack without Haniyeh's authorization," he said.
Dichter, the architect of Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian militants, no longer holds a policy-making position but he wields clout within the centrist Kadima party which is expected to win a March 28 general election.
"(Haniyeh) was and remains a man of terror," Dichter said. "If Haniyeh turns up at a military checkpoint I believe that he would be arrested, interrogated and put on trial for being involved in terror attacks."
I'm not sure Dichter gets it. Given that the 'Palestinian Authority' is a quasi-State (particularly in Gaza) and that Hamas is its governing party, a Hamas suicide bombing would be an act of war that should be responded to accordingly. That would mean a lot more than just targeting Haniyeh.
The five convicts, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Secretary-General Ahmad Sa'dat, were being held under Palestinian supervision, along with American and British jailers.
Asked about Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's warnings against any moves to release the murderers, Mashaal said, "Israel always threatens and makes assurances, but it does not scare us. We will do what our people need whether it angers Israel or not."
Rehavam Ze'evi was assassinated at Jerusalem's Hyatt Hotel by the Palestinian assailants on October 17, 2001. It was the first Arab assassination of an Israeli minister. The PFLP said the assassination was carried out in retaliation for the killing of its leader, Abu Ali Mustafa, by missiles fired from an IAF helicopter in August 2001.
The assassins had found sanctuary in Yasser Arafat's Mukata compound in Ramallah, but were transferred to Jericho after the IDF besieged the area.
I wonder if the Americans or the British will try to prevent this. Nah, how silly of me to even ask.
What I've just described to you is the situation of a typical Gush Katif 'evacuee.' Maybe all the things I noted don't apply to each family but at least some of them do apply. Try to envision yourself in their situation and think what you would do. They've had it.
The Jews who were
Fed up with what they call "betrayal" by the government, thousands of Gush Katif evacuees have broken off talks with the government on a variety of issues and are planning a mass struggle beginning next week to force the state to dramatically improve its efforts in caring for their well-being.
Organizers of the Forum for those Injured in the Disengagement, as they are calling it, are making plans to jam roads across the country, hold mass demonstrations in front of prominent politicians' homes, seal off caravan communities in Nitzan and other towns, pull their children out of school, and generally "create total chaos," according to Forum leader Yoram Musavi.
"Until today we were good children. That's over now. We're not going to be good kids anymore," Musavi said. "It wasn't God who evacuated Gush Katif, it was the State of Israel. And like it took them out, it needs to take care of them and until then we are going to make total chaos."
In response, Government Spokesman Ra'anan Gissin called the timing of the protests political. "It's election time, what do you want?" Gissin said. [What does he expect them to do? Wait until after the elections so that Arrogant Ehud Olmert can be 'elected'? CiJ]
The Forum is demanding that Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appoint a committee of people from outside of the government to deal with the Gush Katif evacuees from now on, saying government representatives have been unresponsive to their needs and have instituted numerous bureaucratic hurdles which have impeded their efforts to rebuild their lives. They are also demanding the government amend the Disengagement Law to provide greater compensation for lost businesses.
"We're going to demonstrate until the government understands that we are serious and they stop playing with us like they played with us until today," Musavi said. "If it takes force, we'll use force because doing it nicely hasn't worked."
Around 30 percent of Gush Katif evacuees still do not have temporary housing solutions, and only a handful have settled on land to build permanent homes, according to figures provided by the Gush Katif committee and the Disengagement Authority.
Additionally, only 18 of 220 farmers had received land to plant new crops and around 1,500 of 2,100 people who lost their jobs as a result of the disengagement were still unemployed, the Gush Katif committee said.
Moreover, an analysis released by the Gush Katif Committee to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday showed that if the housing and employment situation remains as it is, the average Gush Katif family will have only around NIS 250,000 remaining from their compensation with which to build new homes when the time comes. [NIS 4.70 = $1 CiJ]
In interviews in Nitzan on Thursday, evacuees described their financial and psychological condition as deteriorating. Compensation money they had received which was to be used to build houses was going towards paying rent and utilities and feeding their families, many said.
"Making ends meet is getting harder every day," said Yichiam Sharabi, 60, a father of five who grew hot peppers on 14 dunam of greenhouses in Gadid. "By the time we get the land to build our homes, there won't be any money left."
Sharabi, who left Gadid with his family on time and never protested before in his life, said he would join the struggle starting next week despite his distaste for politics. "Why not? We have to do something," Sharabi said.
According to Guy Natanel, 33, from Nissanit, the people of Gush Katif were pushed to act out of desperation. "We have no money, no air, and nothing to start with, and even what was promised to us hasn't come or is coming very late," Natanel said. "We're broken, and that's why we're going to struggle."