This article will give you some idea of the animals we are dealing with in the 'Palestinian Authority.' As I have reported several times in the past ten days, 16-year old Daniel Wultz of Florida
was critically injured in the Tel Aviv suicide bombing
two weeks ago. Today, the Jerusalem Post reported that some of his classmates have come to Israel
to pray for Daniel, who R"L had a leg amputated. And today, WorldNetDaily reports that the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, nominally controlled by
Abu Mazen, say that Daniel is "the best target we can dream of." Words aren't sufficient to describe the callous cruelty of these fiends....
Hat Tip: Gershon in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York
Daniel Wultz, a Florida teenager lying in a coma after being critically injured last week in a suicide bombing at an Israeli restaurant, is the "best target combination we can dream of – American and Zionist," Abu Nasser, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, one of the groups responsible for the deadly blast, told WorldNetDaily.Read it all
Abu Ayman, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, which also took responsibility for the April 17 bombing in which Wultz was injured, threatened all Americans and Jews worldwide and expressed regret Wultz is still alive.
Described as an avid basketball player, Wultz lost his spleen and a kidney in the attack. Last Friday, one of his legs was amputated, and doctors at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital have reportedly been fighting to save his other leg, which is suffering from severely reduced blood flow.
Wultz has been lying in a coma in the intensive care unit since the bombing, though he briefly was aroused earlier this week.
His story has generated extensive media coverage and has prompted a flurry of e-mails across the Internet asking people worldwide to pray for the young terror victim.
In a WND exclusive interview yesterday, Abu Nasser, a senior leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank, rejoiced in Wultz' injuries. Abu Nasser is part of the Brigades leadership in the Balata refugee camp suspected of plotting the attack.
"We are sorry there was not more of this stuff. American and Zionist – this is the best target combination we could dream of. This is the ideal target. He is a young American who came to encourage the enemy to continue his war against us," Abu Nasser said.
The terror leader went on to blast America's role in the Middle East, which he said was aimed at achieving Jewish world domination:
"I want to use this occasion of speaking to the American people to tell them that the unfair support of your people to Israel is the reason that you are targeted almost everywhere in the world. Second, I want to bring to your knowledge that the most cruel settlers are those who came from America. It is known that the Jews are sly and not honest, and they are leading into this trap of the Middle East in order to carry out their plan of controlling the world."
Also speaking to WND, Islamic Jihad senior member Abu Ayman warned Americans are now enemies of the Palestinian people.
"The Americans are now the typical enemy of the believers like it is mentioned in the holy Quran. They think that they are all mighty and invincible, and they seem to not have the right conclusions from what happened to them in the last few years. The Americans are now the best representatives of the devil on earth," Abu Ayman said.
Have the 'Palestinians' missed their chance?
Youssef Ibrahim wrote an op-ed in Friday's New York Sun
that I cannot access in full (I'm not a subscriber), but which is excerpted at The American Thinker's web site
A stark reality is coursing through Arab consciousness: No one cares about Palestine. It has been the case for at least a decade. What’s new is that even reasonable Palestinian Arabs now acknowledge the truth of their lost state.
Those 300 million Arabs face far more existential concerns. Bad governance, Iraq’s potentially infectious sectarian violence, and economic headaches – collapsing stock markets in rich countries and collapsing living standards in poor ones – threaten their survival.
Meanwhile, the image of a Palestinian Arab state fades like an old family photo, a yellowish tint deepening around its edges, a nostalgic snapshot rather than a call to arms.
The Palestinian Arab spin machine is alive and well, fed mostly by the oil-rich Gulf region’s press and broadcast outlets, including satellite networks Al-Jazeera, of Qatar, and Al-Arabiya, of Saudi Arabia. Yet reality creeps in.
In other words, the Arab world may have better things to do. It's about time.
Hamas Straddles the Fence
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israel's Shin Bet security service said today that Hamas funded last week's terror attack
that was 'foiled' by 'Palestinian Authority' police. Some of the terrorists were Hamas members.
Furthermore, the Shin Bet said that Hamas has not ceased its terror activities at any time since agreeing to a hudna (cease-fire) with Israel in 2005. Hamas gives money and training to those who perpetrate the attacks, such as the Popular Resistance Committees, who carried out last weeks attack.
Besides viewing Hamas as being directly involved in terror, the Shin Bet stressed the irony in Hamas being responsible for blowing up the Karni goods crossing, at the same time as its diplomatic wing was traversing the globe in search of funds due to an Israel-imposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the Karni closures.
This article from FrontPage Magazine.com was written by fellow blogger Steven Plaut
Just a few hours before Holocaust Remembrance Day commenced, Tel Aviv University (TAU) held the official initiation ceremony for its Center for Iranian Studies, a new research institute on campus. In response, a group of extremist professors and Arab and Jewish student radicals held a demonstration and sent an official letter of protest against opening the Center to campus authorities, as reported in Israeli dailies Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot.Read the whole thing
In their letter these extremists expressed fear that the new Center will be "misused" to paint Iran as a radical anti-Semitic and pro-terrorism state and grant legitimacy to Western demonization of Iran. Second, they expressed concern that the operations of the Center could be exploited by American imperialism in justifying American aggression against Iran.
The radicals were particularly upset because a speaker at the opening ceremony was the Iran-born Shaul Mofaz, who had been Commander in Chief of the IDF and then Minister of Defense of Israel. As such, Mofaz is guilty in the eyes of the protesters of illegitimately fighting against Islamofascist terrorism, rather than appeasing it and capitulating to the demands of the terrorists. "We cannot remain indifferent, let alone on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, to statements coming from Tehran by one of the most extreme leaders since Hitler, who denies the Holocaust and calls to destroy Israel. We must take it seriously," Mofaz said at the ceremony.
The protesting faculty members expressed fears that the new Iran Center would have a "defensive-military" character (as opposed to an appeasing one). The protesters noisily sat in the hall in which the ceremony took place, holding signs with the names of Palestinians allegedly killed in Israeli shelling when Israel fired back at Qassam missile launchers and otherwise took retaliatory action against Palestinian terrorists. No names of Israeli victims of Arab terrorism were on the signs.
(including faculty member names and contact information to file protests).
As I've said many times, Hezbullah isn't just after Israel - they're also after the United States. One of the ways they are trying to carry out terror attacks in the United States is by smuggling in operatives through Mexico - something that largely appears to be ignored in the debates over President Bush's immigration bill.
Because this article is very long, I'm only going to give you excerpts. But I would suggest that all of you read it in full
AUTHORS NOTE: This article was prepared and approved before the London Times report this past weekend which verified that longtime Hezbollah terror chief, Imad Mugniyah, has been tapped by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to initiate attacks against the West, especially the U.S., in the event that any preemptive strikes are made against Iran's nuclear facilities. In the following article we identify Mugniyah and his extensive role in a number of attacks on Americans since the 1980s and have assumed that any action taken by Hezbollah would be directed by Mugniyah, but this new supporting information was important enough and directly relevant to the discussion at hand to warrant us including this author’s note to call our reader's attention to it. This new report reinforces our argument made here that Hezbollah and its operations inside America and throughout Latin America pose an immediate national security risk that should be among the primary topics of consideration in the ongoing border security debate.Read it all
Most notably, last month FBI Director Robert Mueller testified to Congress that his agency had dismantled a Hezbollah smuggling operation bringing terror personnel across the border from Mexico.“[T]his was an occasion in which Hezbollah operatives were assisting others with some association with Hezbollah in coming to the United States,” Mueller said. “That was an organization that we dismantled and identified those persons who had been smuggled in. And they have been addressed as well.”
While the FBI believes that the national security threat from this particular Hezbollah operation has been neutralized, there are many questions that should be asked:
1. What is the level of threat Hezbollah presents to American interests at home and abroad?
2. What are the indicators that Hezbollah is preparing terrorist or military operations inside the U.S. Homeland?
3. What is the size, location, and capabilities of Hezbollah cells in the U.S.?
4. Who are the leaders of U.S. cells and subordinate cell members?
5. What are the personal and professional connections/relationships with Hezbollah leaders abroad?
6. What are their means of communications and what languages (Persian, Arabic, French, Spanish, English) are spoken?
7. What targets would Hezbollah consider or select? -- synagogues, churches, transportation hubs, schools, power plants, malls, financial centers, government facilities, military facilities, aircraft....
8. Are their indicators of reconnaissance, surveillance, plans, or patterns of activities?
9. Have any members or sympathizers penetrated local or state police, FBI, Customs/Border Patrol, national intelligence organizations?
10. Where are the training locations in the U.S.; in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the Middle East?
11. What are the types of training received; duration of training; levels of competence achieved?
12. What types of equipment, technology and weapons are acquired in the U.S.; acquired abroad and brought into the U.S.? Are their active sources of supply?
13. Where are the logistics and support cells; in the US or Latin America and the Caribbean?
14. Are they receiving third country assistance from Syria, Venezuela or Cuba?
15. What are the likely methods of attack: suicide bombings, car bombs, conventional assaults, aircraft hijacking, CBRN, nuclear weapon?
Hezbollah’s deadly network isn’t limited to the Middle East. In fact, in the past 20 years Hezbollah has created an extensive web of operations within the United States itself – a sophisticated terror network better established here than any other terrorist organization in the world. The network is organized and directed by Hezbollah’s Special Security Apparatus, the group’s international terror unit.
According to Tom Diaz and Barbara Newman, co-authors of the recently published book, Lightning Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil (Presidio Press, 2005), active Hezbollah cells have been identified in Boston, New York, Newark, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, Charlotte, Louisville, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. Diaz and Newman quote former FBI Hezbollah unit director, Bob Clifford, as saying, “they are the best light infantry in the world and can strike the United States anytime, anywhere.”
The recent revelation by FBI Director Robert Mueller about the Hezbollah smuggling ring out of Mexico just barely scratches the surface of the group’s activities inside the US. Hezbollah engages in a wide variety mid-level crime ranging from cigarette smuggling to credit card fraud to selling fake Viagra, intentionally keeping their operations from getting too large to prevent raising the attention of law enforcement authorities. Hezbollah operatives have also been observed working out of New York Indian reservations to avoid detection and arrest.
In the weeks ahead as Congress resumes the debate over border security, this admission from one of the government’s top law enforcement authorities should be noted. As one blogger put it sarcastically, “Hezbollah is coming to America to blow up things American’s won’t.” Mueller’s statements should make the point that illegal immigration is not just about poor Mexicans trying to find a decent living; it is also about America’s enemies entering our country with every intention of causing mayhem, destruction and death.
In the next few weeks and months, we may observe an escalating series of events that will lead to the next 9/11. As one U.S. intelligence official has stated:
If Iran becomes the focus of Phase Three [on the War on Terror], it could send a message to the U.S. that it is not like Iraq, that it has the means to strike us at home, with a network of cells that it placed here a long time ago. The Iranians wouldn’t take credit for blowing up a McDonald’s, but we would know, and they would know we know.
It is too early to predict how the current diplomatic crisis over Iran’s nuclear weapons program will play out, but Americans should assume that any potential military hostilities could result in Hezbollah striking American interests across the globe and here in the US Homeland. Possibly the Iranian ayatollahs may decide that preemptive Hezbollah suicide attacks against America might serve as a deterrent to U.S. military action against their nuclear facilities. A strategic wave of Hezbollah suicide bombings, and well coordinated military attacks in America could very well make the horror and tragedy of the last 9/11 look like a distant memory. Few realists doubt that we live in a dangerous world and most Americans understand that ‘freedom is not free,’ nonetheless, in the aftermath of another terrorist outrage on U.S. soil, new government commissions won’t impede Americans demanding accountability.
Hezbollah’s known domestic activities, to include the smuggling operation, not to mention unknown and yet unidentified ones, makes the question of America’s border security as an important national security consideration as any other. Yet ironically America’s border security is not even discussed in the newly published National Security Strategy. The security of other countries borders are more discussed in this and in the previous 2002 strategy than our own borders today.
America’s enemies have identified this vulnerability; according to a March 2005 Time Magazine report, al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi instructed jihadists to bribe their way into Honduras and cross the U.S. southern border to attack soft American targets. From an intelligence perspective the indicators and warnings of the threat cannot be clearer.
The U.S. is faced with the rising nuclear threat from Iran. The announcement just a few days ago that the Islamic Republic has successfully produced enriched uranium quickly leading them to producing weapons-grade material makes the present discussion more exigent. As President Bush told the graduates of West Point in 2002, “The gravest danger to freedom lies at the crossroads of radicalism and [nuclear] technology.”
If the U.S. is forced into preemptive military action against Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, it should be expected that the long-established Hezbollah network in the US will be activated and attempt retaliation by their primary state-sponsor. We will learn the extents and limits of Hezbollah’s military capabilities within the U.S., our own intelligence capabilities, and whether our immigration and border policies were adequate.
An al-Qaida 'offshoot' has threatened to assassinate the non-Hamas leadership of the Palestinian Authority
Abu Mazen) and the 'Palestinian Authority' is taking the threats very seriously
. Civil war coming?
The threats have prompted PA security forces to take strict measures to guarantee the safety of the leaders, including PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose villa in Ramallah has been completely cordoned off.
The latest measures were taken after a hitherto unknown group calling itself al-Tawhid and Jihad [Unification and Holy War] distributed leaflets in the Gaza Strip threatening to kill a number of senior officials belonging to Abbas's Fatah party.
This is the first time that the group, which is believed to be headed by Jordanian arch-terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi, has issued a leaflet in Gaza, indicating that al-Qaida elements had begun operating in the area.
The leaflet specifically mentioned the names of five Abbas loyalists who it said would soon be "slaughtered" as apostates: Muhammad Dahlan, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Samir Mashharawi, Nabil Amr and Abu Ali Shaheen.
"We hereby declare that we have begun operating in Palestine," the leaflet said, heaping praise on Zarqawi and al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. "We have deiced to revive the sunnah [one of the sources of Islamic jurisprudence] of slaughter against these people to avoid dissension."
"Hamas does not have any links with al-Qaida," said PA cabinet spokesman Ghazi Hamad. [Oh really? CiJ] Other Hamas leaders claimed that Fatah was planning to assassinate some of their members, pointing out that Fatah gunmen had issued threats against senior Hamas representatives in the past few weeks.
Read the whole thing
Palestine Media Watch tells us what the United States gets from the second largest recipient of foreign aid.
Egyptian TV promotes anti-American hatred
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
An Egyptian TV series promoting anti- American hate propaganda has just finished its second season on Palestinian Authority TV. The popular Egyptian series presents the US as the leader of the imperialist forces in the world and as such responsible for the serious problems of the Arab world. Israel likewise is presented negatively. Iraq, on the other hand is presented positively as the innocent victim of American imperialist occupation for the purpose of stealing Iraqi oil. This anti- American series was produced by the Egyptian government owned and controlled Egyptian Radio and Television Union.
This Egyptian series reflects a critical component of internal propaganda in the Arab world, which is to blame the failings of the Arab regimes on "imperialist America" and thereby deflect the anger of their own people away from the corrupt leaders and to the foreign enemy. This hate propaganda is presented throughout the Arab world by political leaders, in the Mosques, and is most effective in reaching the broad population through pop culture, TV and movies, like this Egyptian series.
You can watch a sample of the TV program here
Does Olmert Have a Coalition?
Ehud Olmert and his
Achora party may not have a coalition. That's the upshot of a number of reports in the Israeli press this morning.
Olmert thought he had reached an agreement with Shas, but the JPost reports
that Shas has three significant problems with that agreement:
1. The agreement states flat out that the government will withdraw from portions of Judea and Samaria; Shas' right-wing electorate will never accept that. While a 'softer' version of the provision
has now been written to appeal to Shas, it's not clear whether this will be sufficient to entice Shas into the coalition.
2. The agreement states that the coalition will "introduce, without delay, legislation to solve the problem of those unable to get married." That's a euphamism for permitting civil marriage, to which Shas cannot agree (and for which it was already attacked last week by the other Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) party - United Torah Judaism).
3. Olmert now wants to cut Shas from four ministers to three.
Add to this significant doubts as to whether Yisrael Beiteinu will join the coalition or support Olmert's
convergence surrender plan, and Olmert has a serious problem. Yisrael Beiteinu is opposed to the convergence surrender plan.
If Yisrael Beteinu is out, Shas is out (Shas cannot join the coalition if it cannot convince its voters that surrender would have passed without it - Shas has a right-wing electorate and during the campaign it promised not to join a government that made withdrawal from Judea and Samaria part of its guidelines) and United Torah Judaism is out (over the marriage issue, and probably also over the surrender issue although they are unlikely to admit it), this leaves Olmert with Kadima, Labor, the Pensioners and possibly the left-wing Meretz party. That's sixty seats and that's not a coalition. And even if they could govern, there is no way the surrender plan can go through if it needs the support of the Arab parties to pass.
Now, let's add another set of problems to the mix: Amir Peretz is facing an internal revolt in the Labor party over the way that ministries are being apportioned. Even if Labor joins the coalition (as still appears likely), if they are already facing intra-party opposition at this stage how long will it be until a real revolt develops?
At IsraelInsider.com, Edward Bernard Glick
argues that Israel cannot wait for Iran to go nuclear, and that as soon as it becomes clear that non-military options will not help, Israel must act and act decisively. Here's an excerpt; the end will be entertaining to those of you who already know that the Arabs speak in one language in public and in another language in private (recall the comments about Lebanon
in last night's post about that country).
Since world public opinion will blame the Israelis for whatever they do preemptively to save themselves, they might as well do what's needed and what works. As soon as it is clear that further nonmilitary pressures upon Iran are useless. Israel must, with or without American help, strike first and strike successfully. It must take out not only Iran's nuclear weaponry, but its delivery systems and command and control centers as well, because it is always better for Jews to be alive and condemned, than dead and eulogized.
An Israeli attack upon Iran will be condemned by the Arabs, the Muslims, the anti-Semites, the anti-Zionists, the anti-Americans, the appeasers. the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, the Pope, the Quakers, and the "war-can-never-be-an-option-in-the-twenty-first-century" postmodernists in academia and elsewhere.
Much of the criticism will be phony, however. In 1981, when Israel destroyed Saddam Hussein's French-built Osirak reactor, located 18 miles south of Baghdad, the Saudi students in my Middle East politics class at Temple University condemned Israel roundly. But the next day, they all came to my office and asked me to tell my secretary to leave. They then insisted that I close the door. Only when he was assured of complete privacy, did the leader of the group, whose English was impeccable, say to me: "Thank God that the Israelis bombed Iraq yesterday. For only God knows when that crazy Iraqi would have used a nuclear bomb against Saudi Arabia, with which he contests the leadership of the Arab world?"
When I asked him why he and his compatriots didn't say so in class, he answered: "We were afraid to. At the least, our fellowships from ARAMCO (the Arab-American Oil Company) would have been revoked. And at the most, we would have been ordered home to be imprisoned or killed."
Somehow, many Israelis (and most American Jews) still don't understand this. But the Arabs get it. But the Arabs do. For example, in this article from the Kuwait Times
Kuwaiti parliament speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi tried to play down the worries in the Gulf over Iran's nuclear facilities, including a reactor being built with Russian help in Bushehr across the Gulf, and its standoff with the West. "I am personally not worried because I believe it's for peaceful purposes," Khorafi told reporters after meeting Rafsanjani. "I see nothing that should make us afraid." Shiite cleric and lawmaker Hussein Al-Qallaf told reporters Gulf countries are seeking safety and don't want to be part of any struggle in the area. "If there is anything to fear, we should fear Israel," he said. "(Iran) is an Islamic state which we don't fear." [Note that the politician spouts the nonsense that Iran's program is 'peaceful.' He'd have to be blind to actually believe that. The 'Shiite cleric' blames it on Israel. CiJ]Read the whole thing
Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah said last week that Iran's nuclear activities must remain under the close watch of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [If they're really not worried, why would they want the IAEA involved? CiJ] US-ally Kuwait and other Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states are concerned about the possibility that the current standoff may develop into a full-scale military confrontation and fear a possible environmental catastrophe if the Bushehr plant is targeted. [That's the real truth. CiJ] The region has witnessed three major conflicts in the last quarter century - the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf war to end Iraq's occupation of Kuwait, and the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Hanan Ashrawi is in the United States to raise money for a 'charity' with the innocent-sounding name "Palestine Children's Relief Fund." But the Palestine Children's Relief Fund is not an innocent organization by any stretch. Jonathan S. Tobin writes in today's Jerusalem Post that according to the American Jewish Committee, "
the Holy Land Foundation
- which along with three other Islamic charities was found liable for the 1996 murder of 16-year-old American David Boim at the hands of Hamas gunmen in the West Bank - tried unsuccessfully in 2004 to divert some of its frozen assets to the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. The Holy Land Foundation has since been shut down by the United States government for funding terror.
Ironically, among the hospitals that the PCRF includes on its web site that have treated Palestinian children, is Wolfson Hospital in Holon, Israel
Nevertheless, Tobin argues that American Jews, who are being solicited by Ashrawi to support the PCRF should not support it. And with good reason. Because while providing medical care to a 'Palestinian' charity is one story, providing funds that are fungible and may be diverted to terrorism is a whole different ball of wax. Tobin says that with the rest of the world looking at the 'Palestinians' as a child who has murdered his parents who then asks for sympathy because he is an orphan, in the United States American Jews (and although Tobin doesn't say this outright I will - leftist American Jews) may still have sympathy for the 'Palestinians.' Tobin urges his fellow Jews to understand that their sympathy is misplaced:
SO TO whom do they turn? Why, to American Jews, of course. Who else would be an easier mark for Palestinian hustlers than those Jews whose idea of Jewish identity is to support any cause but that of their own people?
Ever since the beginning of the Oslo peace process a certain portion of American Jewry has been flinging some of its charitable donations down the sinkhole that is the Palestinian economy. Some were enticed to invest in Palestinian businesses with the laudable notion that by promoting a healthy Arab economy, they would not only build a constituency for peace but make some cash too. But almost all who did so saw their investments fall victim to the avarice of the Palestinian kleptocracy or the senseless violence of its terrorist apparatus.
Others invested in advanced training for Palestinians. This led to some PA bureaucrats getting a free ride at the Harvard Business School, courtesy of American Jews, where they may have honed their intellects but failed to apply the principles of sound finance to their own government's financial skullduggery.
Now in the wake of the latest Palestinian disaster comes a new set of American pilgrims who hope to feed hungry Palestinian kids in the name of peace and coexistence.
But while we should all be sympathetic to appeals to help children, some prudence about those Palestinian adults who ask for our money is called for. And when such requests come from a longtime Israel-basher and former spokeswoman for the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat like Hanan Ashrawi, skepticism ought to be the order of the day.
Skepticism indeed! The answer ought to be to just say no!
I am linked twice this week. Go ahead and check it out
Sunday's Washington Post includes a story about Israel's alleged possession of nuclear capabilities
. The article purports to recount some of the history behind Israel's development of a nuclear bomb. After recounting the history, the authors go on to say:
Over time, the tentative Nixon-Meir understanding became the foundation for a remarkable U.S.-Israeli deal, accompanied by a tacit but strict code of behavior to which both nations closely adhered. Even during its darkest hours in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel was cautious not to make any public display of its nuclear capability.
Yet set against contemporary values of transparency and accountability, the Nixon-Meir deal of 1969 now stands as a striking and burdensome anomaly. Israel's nuclear posture is inconsistent with the tenets of a modern liberal democracy. The deal is also burdensome for the United States, provoking claims about double standards in U.S. nuclear nonproliferation policy.
It is especially striking to compare the Nixon administration's stance toward Israel in 1969 with the way Washington is trying to accommodate India in 2006. As problematic as the proposed nuclear pact with New Delhi is, it at least represents an effort to deal openly with the issue.
Unlike the case of Iran today -- where a nation is publicly violating its NPT obligations and where the United States and the international community are acting in the open -- the White House in 1969 addressed the Israeli weapons program in a highly secretive fashion. That kind of deal-making would be impossible now.
Without open acknowledgment of Israel's nuclear status, such ideas as a nuclear-free Middle East, or even the inclusion of Israel in an updated NPT regime, cannot be discussed properly. It is time for a new deal to replace the Nixon-Meir understandings of 1969, with Israel telling the truth and finally normalizing its nuclear affairs.
But at The American Thinker, the editors put things in a different - and more correct - perspective:
This is the standard leftist line. By suppressing history, it conjures up a moral equivalence between attackers and defenders, between free societies and what Sharansky has aptly dubbed Fear Societies. Fear Societies do not represent their people, but brutalize them. They lack popular legitimacy and therefore moral authority. Today’s Iran is a Fear Society that has killed tens of thousands of its own people to give the Mullahs dictatorial control. Israel is both a free society and one that has its back against the wall, time after time.
Well, picture this: We live in a dangerous world in which two people each have a gun they could aim at us. Both guns are lethal. But one gun is held by a man named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been threatening to kill us with it, along with millions of civilians in Israel. His strategic aim is to control the Persian Gulf and the oil that keeps the industrialized world alive. When he gets nukes, he will become the hegemon of Middle Eastern oil.
The second person is Golda Meir. She has a gun, too, but she has different values and aims. She has no interest in killing Ahmadinejad. She harbors no design on neighboring countries. Her gun is for self-defense only. Nobody doubts that Israel would use its nuclear weapons only as a last resort, and only in self-defense.
The American Thinker got it right. Bombs don't kill people. People kill people.
You can't make this stuff up. Saudi Arabia has declared itself a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council:
The Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations presents its compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and has the honour to inform him that the Government of Saudi Arabia has decided to present its candidature to the Human Rights Council at its first election, which will take place in May 2006.
Saudi Arabia has a confirmed commitment to the defence, protection and promotion of human rights. This commitment has been manifested in its performance as a member of the Commission on Human Rights. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia pursues a policy of active cooperation with international organizations in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Saudi Arabia is a party to eight international human rights instruments. Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to the work of the Human Rights Council and intends to make every endeavour to contribute to its deliberations and activities for the protection and promotion of human rights.
You can't be a Jew or a Christian in Saudi Arabia. I guess that doesn't count as 'human rights.'
In 1996, two number 18 buses were blown up on Jaffa Road here in Jerusalem by suicide bombers on consecutive Sunday mornings. For those who know the city, the first bus was blown up near the main post office, while the second one was blown up near the corner of Sarei Yisrael Street, just short of the central bus station.
On the second bus (if I am recalling correctly) two American students who were engaged to be married - Matt Eisenfeld and Sara Duker - were murdered. The Post this weekend has a story about how Matt's parents have managed to take the Iranian government to court in the US for orchestrating Hamas' activity - and how the US State Department has helped to prevent them from collecting the judgment they received:
The extraordinary progress the Eisenfelds have made has its roots in the garrulousness of Hassan Salameh, the Hamas operative who organized the February 25, 1996, attack. Not long after the blast, Salameh was shot by an Israeli soldier and arrested as he attempted to flee from a West Bank roadblock. Now serving 46 life terms in a Negev jail, Salameh explained every aspect of the bombing and its planning - from the time he joined Hamas, through his terror training, to the logistics of the attack and the recruitment of the bomber.
Crucially for the purposes of the Eisenfelds' legal action, he conclusively described Iran's direct role, detailing how he was smuggled out of Gaza into Egypt, to Sudan, and, via an Iranian army plane, onto a terror training base outside Teheran and back again with instructions for his bombing campaign. In Iran, "We trained in weapons, setting explosives, ambush," Salameh is quoted as having said under questioning. "We had 10 instructors, all Iranian."
"Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing," says Leonard Eisenfeld. But through Salameh, "we were able to demonstrate that he was trained, armed and funded by Iran."
In what was by no means the only bitter irony of this whole tragic affair, it turned out the bomb that killed Matt, Sara and 24 other people on that bus was American-made - containing plastic explosive produced exclusively for the US Department of Defense. It was originally placed into a land mine designed to destroy Soviet T-54 tanks, given to Egypt as part of US military aid, deployed in a Sinai minefield, and stolen. "Evidently Iran doesn't only train suicide bombers," says the Eisenfelds' lawyer Steven Perles acidly. "It trains land-mine defusers. They got a mine out of the ground in Sinai and used it to kill a bus full of people in Jerusalem."
Along with the Dukers and the Flatow family - Alisa Flatow, a Brandeis student from New Jersey, was murdered in a bus bombing in the Gaza Strip in 1995 - the Eisenfelds received a relatively small proportion of the sums awarded, with those moneys raised against Iranian assets that have been frozen by the US government. They've used some of that payment for charitable contributions and to fund various scholarship programs. But the three families' efforts to obtain what may now total up to $900 million in outstanding damages has been hampered in the US, again ironically, by the State Department.
Speaking by phone from Washington, Perles recounts that the legal team identified a US real-estate development firm with considerable assets that turned out to be wholly owned by the Iranian government. But the bid to seize its funds was stymied by a State Department contention that the company in question could not be held liable "since it was not managed on a daily basis by the government in Teheran," says Perles exasperatedly.
(Somewhat incomprehensibly, this State Department intervention on behalf of Iran came less than 90 days after President Bush had memorably placed Iran on the "axis of evil.")
"It's absurd that we can't get to those surreptitious assets," says Perles, adding firmly, "There's legislation working its way through Congress now that'll rectify that."
Read it all.
At FrontPage Magazine.com, David Hornik argues that the time has come to dismantle the 'Palestinian Authority.' Personally, I think the time came a long time ago....
It is also clear by now that all of Israel’s attempts to square the circle—to maintain the Palestinian Authority while achieving its own security—have failed. Offers of statehood, limited military incursions, building a fence, and partial territorial withdrawals have all had the same result—continued terrorism. The one thing that has, so far, substantially reduced the success rate of the terrorism—the stepped-up Israeli military activity since 2002—has come nowhere near ending it.
The attempt to pressure the Hamas regime into collapsing, even were it to succeed, offers no solution since all other internal groups now wielding political-military power in the PA—Fatah and its offshoots, the Popular Front, the Popular Resistance Committees, Islamic Jihad, and so on—share the same terroristic nature and aim of attacking and eventually destroying Israel. Any Hamas replacement would also maintain the educational system that indoctrinates generations of Palestinians in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic hatred.
Some also believe the eventual completion of Israel’s security fence is the answer. But while the incomparably shorter and more manageable fence between Gaza and Israel has so far stopped infiltrations, attempts at infiltration, including by tunnel, occur constantly. Even if completed, the West Bank fence will be vastly more lengthy, convoluted, and difficult to defend, while offering no solution at all to missile attacks.
The real choice, then, is clear-cut: either to let the slaughter of Israelis continue, working to reduce it but not to end it, or to take the only military action that can end it. Anyone who believes Israelis have the same right to life as Danes, Dutch, Americans, or anyone else should favor the second alternative. The fact that tired, bewildered Israelis themselves have now elected a dovish government, and no longer insist on their own right to life as they still did in the early years of the Oslo era, does not mean others should applaud their suicide.
This was the featured article in the weekend JPost Magazine, and it's a doozy. It's a lengthy interview with former Mossad chief Ephraim HaLevy. This article is very long, and you're going to have to read it yourselves, but let me whet your appetite:
Your proposal for combating Islamic terrorism in some sort of concerted international way seemed to me obviously sensible but also…
Well, unlikely to happen. If after 9/11 there wasn't any such concerted action, if after the Madrid bombings the people threw out the government rather than asserting a need for greater international cooperation, it looks pretty bleak.
Yes, [concerted military action] is not going to come about unless there are more terrorist attacks. The world doesn't react to threats. It reacts to actions. The best example of this is what happened in World War II. The Nazi threat was there. The German threat was there… Even when Europe had been overrun by the Germans, the United States did not enter the war, despite the experience it had in World War I. It was only after the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor that suddenly American public opinion was galvanized. That is the sad part of it.
International cooperation will come about [only] after there are one or two [terrorist] events which affect more than one country. Suddenly public opinion will be attuned to action of a certain kind. It will last two or three months, not more. In order for these actions to be effective, you have to plan them in advance. And once something happens you have to sit down and say, "Okay, which of all this arsenal or variety of options do we [use]?"
Is any of that advance planning taking place?
I doubt it, and I think that's a tragedy. One would have expected that the governments of the world would be sitting almost around the clock, planning how to overcome these threats. This is not the case.
What potential do you see for worse terrorism than 9/11?
I don't want to give people ideas. I can imagine all kinds of things. Maybe I know one or two things, as well, from my past - possible really diabolical acts which were on the table of those who practice international terror.
Did you encounter plans for acts of terrorism more diabolical than 9/11?
I don't think these ideas reached the stage where it was necessary to counter them. Some of them were snuffed out at a very early stage and some didn't sort of pick up and become serious. But after 9/11 you have to think the unthinkable. Who would have thought in advance that somebody would take a civilian aircraft full of passengers and turn it into a weapon? You need a really warped mind, a diabolical mind, and look at the results. They changed the face of the earth. It's very unfortunate to say, but very often those who are committing acts which are unthinkable change the course of history.
The only chance that Hamas now has of saving the Palestinian movement is to change course. If Hamas does not temper its policies, if it doesn't come to terms with reality, it will end up as a failed movement - not because Israel makes conditions, but because the balance of forces in the region is such. Israel is not going to walk away and Hamas is not going to succeed in destroying Israel, just as I don't think Iran has any chance in the world of destroying Israel.
By setting that as a goal, as a realistic goal, this Iranian regime has more or less signed its fate. Not because Israel is going to attack or not attack, or the Americans will do this or do that, but [because] ultimately the international community will never be able to digest a policy in which one country denies the other country's right to exist, and then destroys it and then life will go on. No, this is not going to happen.
The whole structure of the international community is such that this [Iranian approach] will not be stomached. It is not possible. [Stopping] it may take more time. The Nazi threat took six years to overcome in a bloody war. But ultimately sanity prevailed. Righteousness prevailed in the very basic sense of the term. And that's why in this particular case it's a foregone conclusion that Israel, the United States, the Western World, even Russia, even China - they will prevail. This kind of approach of the Iranians or Hamas will not prevail. It cannot prevail.
You had one sentence in the book on unilateralism, in which you did not really pass judgment on it. You were talking about it in the context of Hamas choosing not to emphasize victory by firing on the departing army. What is your assessment of unilateralism - both last summer and the "convergence" plan?
The catchphrase, "unilateral disengagement," was misleading. We have not left Gaza to the Gazans. We're not allowing them to build a port, we're not allowing them to build an airport, we're restricting their access. We supply the water. We supply the electricity. We withdrew the settlers from there and we withdrew our forces from there. We did not disengage.
And it was not unilateral. We negotiated with the United States, with the Egyptians. We indirectly negotiated with the Hamas: The whole structure of Hamas not attacking us, the tahadiyah, we never accepted it, but we benefited from it, and we knew it was happening. The Egyptians were the masters of all this. We brought the Egyptians into the act. The Egyptians are deeply involved now in the Gaza situation, in the Philadelphi access and so forth. We changed some of the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement.
So it was not unilateral, it was not disengagement. That's why I don't think that convergence would mean that we would disengage [from the West Bank]. I'll give you one example: You cannot maintain a reasonable regime of water preservation in the area between the sea and the Jordan River without there being a semblance of cooperation and understanding. If the Palestinians do what they like on the aquifers there, it would be a disaster. So you say, "No, water is something else." Well then, air space. Are we going to leave the air space? Access. Are we going to leave the area, and let them enter and leave at will? Or are we going to have a system of international terminals which will give us control? If we have control of entries and exits, we did not disengage.
don't want even to go into the question of the legal, international implications, whether as a result of our doing this we have divested ourselves of the responsibility internationally and legally for the wellbeing and safety of the people there. I'm just talking about the practicalities.
So it sounds good. It sounds attractive. You know: "We will take our destiny into our hands. We'll have America. America will get up and say "bravo," applaud us. And then the rest of the world will probably half applaud, half not. It doesn't matter anymore. And the problem is over." It's not over.
Coming finally to the last sentence of your book, about the simple fact of living on this planet becoming ever more complicated: My sense from you is that the international community has not internalized the gravity of the terrorist threat, and has not made concerted plans for what would need to be an immediate response to further diabolical terrorist action or actions. And that in all likelihood therefore something awful will happen again, and then there will be lots of hand wringing. And the only realistic hope is that, after that, there will then be the beginning of an effort to respond more effectively to a second series of such attacks.
It is becoming more and more difficult for responsible leaders in the world to push through decisions and legislation to support the effort against international terrorism. The greatest example of this is what happened in Britain after what we call 7/7, after the Tube and bus attacks. [The bill that would have provided for a] 90-day period in which suspects can be held more or less without access, this was shot down in the British Parliament. This is indicative of what happens when, after two or three months in which nothing happens, people say that human rights and these things are more serious considerations than giving the police another 30 or 40 days.
A month ago the president had great difficulty in getting renewed approval of the Patriot Act in the United States. More and more people are placing emphasis on how detentions are done. If nothing happens in the next year or two, the world will gradually subside into a state of apathy. You cannot maintain a degree of public awareness and public concern by simply crying wolf all the time, saying, "We have to be careful about terrorist attacks, we have to be careful about terrorist attacks." Somebody will get up and say, "Well, we've had two years without terrorist attacks. Yes, there was 9/11. That happened five, six years ago. It appears it's been taken care of because nothing has happened. Let's stop this paranoiac craze about international terrorism."
Therefore if there are no serious terrorist attacks, no successful terrorist operations in the next year or two, the world will sort of… Now this sounds terrible, as though I'm almost wishing that there should be a terrorist attack. I'm not. I'm saying this is a problem. I don't think there is a solution. If the terrorists were clever, they would now sit back for a year or two and do nothing. Then you'd see that at the airports, this enormous [security] effort will probably be curtailed. People will say, "There is enormous cost and enormous inconvenience to millions of passengers. What are we afraid of? A bomb in a plane? It's gone. Let's come back to normal."
And then you also have what I mentioned in the book, the concern of the statesman-politicians for their constituency: If you have a prime minister who is saying all the time, "beware, beware, beware," crying wolf all the time, he may be voted out of office, because people are going to say "We don't want a guy like this. We want somebody who is more reasoned and less acerbic and less playful on our nerves."
There are serious problems. I can't solve all the problems of the world, but that's the way I look at it.
And therefore the fear is that it will get worse before it gets better?
(Heavy sigh.) Yes, unfortunately.
Read the whole thing.
When Israel surrendered Gaza to the 'Palestinians' we were promised by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert and their cronies that while Gaza may become a terrorist base, our border with it would be quiet and peaceful... like our border with Lebanon.... After all, the argument goes, since Ehud Barak had the IDF ignominously retreat from Lebanon, no Israeli soldier has been killed up there. That is true, but unfortunately, it has also allowed the terrorists to build their own state within a state.
Michael J. Totten is an American who used to live in Lebanon. He writes a blog called Middle East Journal
. Yesterday, he wrote the post to which I have linked above. Several weeks ago, Michael tried to go into Southern Lebanon, but was denied permission by the Lebanese army. So he went to Israel instead, and spoke to the IDF. What he found out is nothing you're going to find in the mainstream media here in Israel. Ehud Olmert doesn't want you to hear this. I'm only going to post an excerpt, but I suggest that you read the whole thing.
Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs
“You aren’t safe here right now,” he said.
“I know,” I said. “The Lebanese army wouldn’t let me anywhere near the border two weeks ago. What’s going on?”
“Hezbollah is planning an operation,” he said.
“How do you know?” I said.
“We know,” he said and nodded.
I knew he was right. The Lebanese intelligence officer more or less told me the same thing. He didn’t say the threat was from Hezbollah, but he didn’t have to.
“What do you think about all this?” I said.
“We really want the Lebanese army on this border,” he said.
Lebanon and Israel technically have been at war for many decades. But Israel and Lebanon have never actually fought any battles. Israel has been involved in plenty of fighting in Lebanon, but none of it ever involved the Lebanese army or government. Neither side has ever actually fired on the other. Neither side wants to. All Israel’s Lebanon battles were waged against the PLO and Hezbollah.
“Are you in contact with the Lebanese government?” I said.
“We pass messages to the Lebanese army through the UN,” he said.
“How well are they received?” I said.
“Oh, they’re received very well,” he said. “The only problem is the Lebanese army can’t act against Hezbollah.”
“Any minute now something huge could break out," he said. "I am afraid to go home and leave my soldiers. When Hezbollah decides to do something, they do it. And they’re pretty good at it.”
"What do you think they'll do next?" I said.
“I have no idea," he said. "They could do anything. Kidnapping. Sniper.”
"How do you feel about that?" I said.
“Well,” he said. “You get pretty cynical about it after a while.”
“Do you think they’re watching us?” Lisa said.
“They are watching you right at this second,” the lieutenant said. “You are definitely being photographed. It’s possible you’re being watched through a sniper rifle.”
To say I felt naked and exposed at that moment would be a real understatement. I felt like my skin was invisible, that psychopaths were boring holes with their eyes straight to the core of my being. At the same time, I knew they did not see me as a person. They saw me as a potential massacre target.
I know Hezbollah wouldn’t hurt me in Lebanon, even though they did call me on my cell phone and threaten me with physical violence. All bets are off while standing next to IDF soldiers in Israel, though. Whoever was watching me surely dehumanized me as a Jew (even though I'm a non-religious "Christian") who belonged to the little Satanic fit-for-destruction Zionist Entity.
I wouldn’t say I felt scared. But I certainly didn’t feel comfortable. The earth seemed slightly tilted. Lebanon feels unhinged and psychotic from the Israeli side of the line. At least it did on that day. I kept having to remind myself that the country I love and lived in is not at all represented by the nutcases with guns in the hills who like to pick off Jews on the border. ...
“What’s happening here is very unusual," Zvika, the Israeli Defense Forces Spokesman, said. But he wouldn't tell me what, exactly, was so unusual. Shortly after I left the country, a story broke in the Daily Telegraph that explained it.
Iran has moved into South Lebanon. Intelligence agents are helping Hezbollah construct watch towers fitted with one-way bullet-proof windows right next to Israeli army positions. Here's what one officer said:
This is now Iran's front line with Israel. The Iranians are using Hizbollah to spy on us so that they can collect information for future attacks. And there is very little we can do about it.
More powerful weapons, including missiles with a range of 30 miles, are also being brought in.
I asked Zvika about the last time Hezbollah and Israel got into a hot war.
“It was last November,” he said. “Hezbollah invaded the village of Ghajar in white jeeps that looked like they belonged to the UN. We bombed their positions with air strikes. After a while, the Lebanese army asked us to stop. So we stopped right away.”
"Why did you stop?" I said. "You stopped just because the Lebanese army asked you to stop?"
He looked surprised by my question.
“Of course we stopped because they asked," he said. "We have very good relations with them. We're working with them and trying to help make them relevant.”
Lebanon never admits anything like this in public.
Read the whole thing.
Fwance calls for renewing aid to Hamastan
Yesterday, I noted that there are cracks in the wall cutting off international aid to the 'Palestinians.' Today, one of those cracks has become a large breach, with Fwench President Jaques Chirac calling on the international community to renew aid to the 'Palestinians' and Hamas
. The call came during an official visit to Fwance by 'Palestinian Chairman'
France believes aid "must be maintained for humanitarian reasons, as well as for political reasons," Chirac said. "And it will push for this continuance (of aid) within the international community and notably within the European Union."
Syria poised to spend petrodollars on arms
One of the reasons that Israel's border with Syria has felt relatively secure over the past several years is that since the fall of the Soviet Union, Syria has not had an arms supplier, and its weapons systems have been outdated. In other words, Israel could be confident that it has technological superiority to the Syrians. And while stories have abounded in the press about Saddam Hussein hiding his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Syria in advance of the US invasion of Iraq, Syria has tgiven no indication that it has them or that it is ready to use them. Now, that may all be about to change.
Israel Military Intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin hinted at a lecture yesterday that Israel's
military intelligence now believes that Syria, which is making windfall profits from rising oil prices, is interested in going weapons shopping
. Yadlin also said that large oil producers like Iran and Saudi Arabia are also using oil profits to purchase weapons.
Syria is expected to spend money on refitting its air force, which stopped buying new planes in the 1980s. The Syrians are also continuing to focus their arms production on rockets and longer-range SCUDS. Production, he said, was continuing on 200 to 300 millimeter rockets with a range of dozens of kilometers. Some of these weapons are apparently being given to Hezbollah,which is deploying them along the border between Lebanon and Israel.
Syria is apparently playing on the US's domestic opposition to the Iraq war, and is urging Hezbollah not to give in to demands to disarm.
But Israel is not the only enemy at which Syrian arms may be aimed. Some of you may recall that in 1970, Syria tried to intervene in the civil war between Jordan and the PLO which became known as Black September. The Syrians recall it very well, and may now wish to take advantage of the current tensions between Jordan and Hamas for their own gains. (Hamas is a Syrian proxy and its leadership is in Damascus). Some of you may also recall that earlier this week I reported that a Hamas weapons cache that was discovered in Jordan apparently came from Syria.
Hamas and Syria have both denied those charges. Damascus-based Hamas leader Musa Abu-Marzuk said they reflected confusion in Jordan Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections.
HaAretz analyst Amos Harel says that it is unclear how reliable the Jordanian reports regarding the weapons and their source are. Israeli intelligence officials say Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas' political wing in Damascus, has "accounts to settle" with Jordan after he was expelled from the country at Israel's request, following a failed attempt on his life by the Mossad (Israel's intelligence agency).
Harel raises a number of other explanations for the arms and their source. He says that the Hamas cell may have been working under orders from the Syrian regime. It is also possible that Hamas is cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, a possibility that has Amman very worried. (Recall that Meshal met with an al-Qaida representative in Yemen two weeks ago. Both Hamas and al-Qaida are offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood).
Finally, Jordan's accusations against Hamas may also be a way of justifying the cold shoulder it has given the organization since its election victory in the PA.
Iran: No Israelis Here
On Sunday, I reported on the presence in Iran of three Israeli experts
who are helping in post-earthquake reconstruction. Tonight, there is an official denial
from the Iranian news agency IRNA and the Iranian embassy in Damascus:
Iranian Embassy in Syria in a statement issued on Thursday denied the claim made by the Zionist daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, about the visit of Israeli experts to Iran describing the report as baseless.
The document, a copy of which was faxed to IRNA representative office in Damascus, quoting an Iranian diplomat said that the report has been released while the degree of hostility of the Zionist regime with Iran, on account of Iran's will to seek justice, is clear to everyone and the Zionist politicians admit giving priority to measures against Iran. ...
The Sunday issue of Yedioth Ahronoth further claimed that during their recent 20-day visit to Iran, three Israeli geophysics experts examined ways to make Iran's infrastructural installations quake-resistant.
Note that the last paragraph is not denied. I'm wondering why they felt it necessary to answer this report at all if it's untrue. Surely no one in Iran saw it.
features an interesting article on the worsening situation of Christians in the Muslim world. The writer is Geroge Kattan, an Arab intellectual of 'Palestinian' origin. The original article is in Arabic
; MEMRI has translated excerpts. Some of those excerpts appear below:
"Are We Moving Towards Exclusively Muslim Societies?" Read the whole thing
"During its last years in power, Saddam's regime in Iraq gave the Salafi movements freedom of action, and after its fall [these movements] led the terrorist activity along with the remnants of the old regime... Among their most conspicuous actions was the bombing of six churches on a single Sunday, resulting in massive Christian emigration. Since the Gulf War, at least a third of Iraq's Christian population has emigrated [to other countries]...
"In the West Bank and Gaza, armed Islamic movements regard Palestine as a Muslim waqf [religious endowment], and call to defend the places holy to the Muslims while disregarding places holy to the Christians... The few Christian women living in Gaza have to wear a veil out of fear of the extremists. A few weeks ago, the last shop selling wines in Gaza was bombed, even though it belonged to international organizations...
"The Christians of Saudi Arabia were rooted out centuries ago. The hundreds of thousands of Christians who now work in Saudi Arabia, arriving from the neighboring countries or from far-away lands, are not allowed to build churches there. [Moreover], they risk beatings, imprisonment, and deportation, [even] if they hold their ceremonies in secret, in their own homes. At the same time, the Saudi regime uses its oil profits to build grandiose mosques all over 'heretical' Europe.
"The Christians in Lebanon have diminished from 50% before the civil war to 35% today. Christians comprise 3.5 million out of the 5 million Lebanese emigrants living in the West...
"While in ancient times, discrimination, marginalization, accusations of heresy, and persecution drove many [Christians] to convert to Islam, today they are driven to emigrate, as long as the gates remain open. This may cause Christianity to decline in its original home in the East...
"Are we moving towards exclusively Muslim societies? Will this deterioration stop here, or will it lead, after the Eastern countries are emptied of Christians, to [a state] of sectarian purity in each country? Are there solutions that will allow coexistence without the majority hating [the minorities] that differ in their religion and ethnicity? Will we progress towards integrated humanist and democratic societies that accept political, religious, and ethnic pluralism, or slide back into the darkness of old concepts out of religious, nationalist and pan-Arab narcissism?..."
"The Fundamentalists Have Defined Their Adversaries: Modern Society, Women, and Non-Muslims"
"The pan-Arab solution is no longer feasible now that the pan-Arab movements have embraced Islamism, and most of them agree that the term 'Arab' is synonymous with 'Muslim.' This excludes Christians almost completely from the dominant Islamic Arabism - to the point where, in some countries, Christian teachers have been banned from teaching Arabic, since it is the language of the Koran...
"The Christians have no political plan to [establish] a local or regional entity. The renewal of their cultural and humanist role depends on the completion of the [cultural] renaissance... which will ensure [people's] freedom to build places of worship, hold religious ceremonies, engage in peaceful religious preaching, change their religion without coercion, interpret their religious texts without accusing others of religious or sectarian heresy... [and will also allow us to] end the discrimination in the constitutions which turns the presidency into a Muslim monopoly... and the Islamic Shari'a into the basis for legislation...
"The [only] option left to the Christians is to stay put and promote [the development of] modern democratic states that guarantee human rights by [guaranteeing] full and equal citizenship to all sectors of society, and [by establishing] national unity which accepts social diversity and turns it into a factor that enriches the shared [social] fabric... In [this] interim stage, there may be liberal democratic Christian parties that will prevent religion from interfering with state affairs, and will protect freedom of worship and religious education [based on] tolerance for others... "The fundamentalists have defined their adversaries: modern society, women, and non-Muslims. Therefore, the coalition opposing them may include secular democratic political forces, women's empowerment organizations, minorities, and global human rights organizations which promote freedoms and fight discrimination against minorities."
There's a very interesting post today at a British blog called Harry's Place. The post, entitled "I'm not a racist but...
" fisks a column written by the inimitable Robert Fisk
in London's Daily Independent.
Fisk's column deals with the infamous Mearsheimer and Walt
paper, which claims that Jews control the world - or at least US foreign policy.
Fisk's response is a familiar one. Merely to raise the possibility of racism in this context is itself a form of insidious censorship. The media is, for this reason - he suggests - rarely critical of Israel. Anti-Israel voices are consistently silenced. "Noam Chomsky, America's foremost moral philosopher and linguistics academic - he claims [is]so critical of Israel that he does not even have a regular newspaper column". Fisk himself once got shouted at by Dershowitz during an Irish radio show. And so on.
What makes this one notable, however, is that the Independent has chosen to present Fisk's argument in an even more, erm, forthright manner than Fisk himself. What Fisk merely insinuates, the Independent makes crystal clear.
They've entitled their piece "A United States of Israel?", and illustrated it with a picture of the Stars and Stripes, in which the stars have been replaced by jewish stars of David.
There are a lot more pictures with the post, and there is a lot more analyses too. Go check it out
No humanitarian crisis in Gaza
The Israeli Supreme Court - once again interfering in an area in which they ought not to have jurisdiction
- at least reached the right conclusion today. Sort of....
The court concluded that there is no 'humanitarian crisis' in Gaza and that the state is making maximum efforts to keep the Karni crossing open and enable cargo trucks to cross over between the Gaza Strip and Israel. As a result, the petitioners, who included the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, represented by Gisha, the Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement, took the advice of Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and withdrew their petition.
But Gisha attorney Sari Bashi told The Jerusalem Post that the petitioners also accepted the court's invitation to petition again if they concluded that there was a humanitarian crisis and that they would closely monitor the situation in the Gaza Strip.
Under an agreement on movement and accessibility signed on November 15, 2005, Israel undertook to allow 400 trucks per day to use the Karni crossing by the end of 2006.
The inability of Palestinian farmers to export their produce could force the farmers to lay off their workers, and to either destroy or donate their produce. Personally, I think they ought to donate it to the 'Palestinian people' rather than endanger Israeli soldiers by forcing them to keep the crossing open.
The state's representative, attorney Aner Hellman, argued that there was no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and that the government is doing its best to keep Karni open, but that Palestinian terrorists target the facility for attacks and the Palestinian Authority does nothing to stop them.
Kofi Annan 'respects the decision of the Palestinian people'
Yesterday, the 'United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People' held a seminar in Cairo on 'Assistance to the Palestinian People.' Secretary General Kofi Annan did not attend, but he sent a message that was delivered by Ms. Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Here's an excerpt:
Last January, the world witnessed the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, which marked an important milestone in the Palestinian people's continued pursuit of democracy and self-determination. I respect the decision of the Palestinian people. I also hope that the new Palestinian Authority Cabinet will address their aspirations for peace and statehood as articulated by President Abbas.
He continued by equating Israel's and the 'Palestinians' 'violence' and living up to their respective commitments:
For this reason, I call upon the Palestinian Authority to reaffirm Palestinian commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel's right to exist and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Road Map. These principles and United Nations resolutions underlie the efforts to achieve a two State solution. That is why they have been emphasized by the Security Council and the Quartet, and why regional partners are working to ensure that the new government aligns itself with the Arab Peace Initiative. [I assume that by the 'Arab Peace Initiative' he means the 'Saudi Initiative,' which is suicidal for Israel for reasons I discussed in a post a couple of weeks ago. CiJ]
Israelis have also elected new leadership. I urge the new Israeli Government to live up to its commitments, including those contained in the Road Map. I call upon Israel to cease settlement activity and other actions that could prejudice final status issues, and encourage it to recognize that a peaceful solution to the conflict cannot be imposed unilaterally or outside the framework of a comprehensive regional peace.
I remain extremely worried about the intensification of violence, including Palestinian rocket attacks and suicide bombings, as well as Israeli air strikes, shelling and ground operations. Civilians on both sides have been killed and injured from this violence, igniting feelings of anger and revenge. I reiterate my call on both sides to abide by their obligations under international law, and refrain from further actions that might escalate the situation and put civilians at risk.
And the coup de grace:
At this crucial time, I wish to add a final word about the work of the United Nations, which carries out a wide range of activities throughout the occupied Palestinian territory. In light of current developments, it is likely that the scale of those activities will increase. UN entities will continue to discharge their responsibilities, in keeping with their respective mandates. But all concerned must understand that the Palestinian Authority provides the bulk of the irreplaceable basic services necessary to avert a humanitarian crisis. Increased UN and NGO activity cannot fill the void that would be created were the institutions of the Palestinian Authority to be unable to do so. These institutions, moreover, are the blocks on which we hope to build a Palestinian State. Bearing in mind all these considerations, the United Nations will continue to work with our partners and the parties to try to find ways to ensure that the needs of the Palestinians are met.
You can read the entire statement here
Anne Bayefsky at UN Watch comments
The global UN campaign to demonize Israel continues with another UN "seminar," this time in Egypt. The Secretary-General refuses to mention the word "Hamas," and has this to say about the election: It "marked an important milestone in the Palestinian people's continued pursuit of democracy and self-determination. I respect the decision of the Palestinian people." Moral equivalence between aggressor and victim, instead of leadership and moral clarity, is the essence of the Secretary-General's message: "I remain extremely worried about the intensification of violence, including Palestinian rocket attacks and suicide bombings, as well as Israeli air strikes, shelling and ground operations. Civilians on both sides have been killed and injured from this violence, igniting feelings of anger and revenge."
More Trouble Between Sweden and Israel
Yesterday, I reported that Sweden canceled its participation in an international air force exercise because Israel is also participating
Late last week Sweden quietly granted a visa for a senior member of Hamas to visit
Sweden on May 16.
Today, Swedish Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg was summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to explain his government's decision to give visas to Hamas members to enter Sweden and its decision to withdraw from the air force exercise.
Foreign Ministry Director-General Ron Prossor said that Stockholm's decision effectively legitimizes terrorism, and that one cannot make a distinction between a terrorist organization and its members. Prossor also said that whoever disqualifies Israel, disqualifies himself from any role in the middle eastern peace process.
The meeting was reported to be 'difficult.'
Update 8:30 PM
In response to yesterday's post on this subject, a blogger named Diasporavoice, who is a Swedish Jew, sent me a link to his blog.
Iran buys surface-to-surface missiles capable of hitting Europe
Will this wake up Eurabia? I doubt it....
According to the head of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Branch, Major General Amos Yadlin, Iran has purchased missiles from North Korea with sufficient range to hit targets in Europe
. Some of the missiles have already arrived in Iran.The missiles are known in the West as BM-25s, operate on liquid fuel and are single-stage. The BM-25 was originally manufactured in the Soviet Union, where the first generation, adapted for use by Soviet submarines and able to carry a nuclear warhead, was known as the SSN6. After the Russians retired the missiles from service, they sold them to the North Koreans, who developed them to carry a heavier payload. The missiles have a range of 2500 kilometers. It's not clear to me whether the BM-25 is capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
Previously, the Iranians had developed the Shihab-4 with a range of 2000 kilometers, and the Shihab-3 with a range of 1300 kilometers. All three missiles are capable of hitting targets in Israel, and as a result, Israel developed its Arrow anti-missile system.
The Iranians are known to be at the early stages of developing two more long-range missiles. However, American intelligence sources say Iran is at an advanced stage of developing a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead.
Nasrallah admits to funding terror
No real shock here. Hezbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has admitted for the first time that his organization funds and politically supports terrorism
, although he has not yet admitted that they provide arms. In an interview with the Lebanese daily as-Safir, Nasrallah did name the organization(s) his group funds, although most probably we are talking about Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
"They (the Palestinians) have fighters and expertise. They can produce a missile by logging on to the Internet," Nasrallah said.
"What they need is financial, political and media support. And we do not deny that we help them on those fronts," he said.
Nasrallah stopped providing weapons to Palestinian terrorists in December 2001 after Jordanian authorities arrested three Hezbullah members carrying Katyusha rockets from Syria, bound for the West Bank.
"After the Jordan incident and arrest of a number of our brothers, the Palestinians told us, 'This is costing you politically and is a burden for the fighters. Send us the money and we will take care of it ourselves,"' Nasrallah said, adding that the Palestinian militants got their weapons from "the mafia and Israeli officers."
Nasrallah has denied past Israeli accusations that Hezbullah was directing suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis, or that it was a key sponsor of Palestinian violence.
Car Swarm Watch - IAF strike critically wounds two Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza Strip
An IAF helicopter shot three missiles at an explosives-laden car in the Gaza Strip this morning, critically wounding two Islamic Jihad terrorists.
According to HaAretz
, the Israel Defense Forces said the airstrikes were aimed at a cell en route to carrying out an attack. Two vehicles were targeted, and one carrying rockets or explosives was hit.
It doesn't sound like either of these 'gentlemen' is ever likely to function as a terrorist again. Pillars of smoke rose from the destroyed vehicle as burned and dismembered bodies were removed.
'Palestinian officials' initially said the two terrorists were dead after they were taken to the morgue by an ambulance. But the doctor at the morgue found them to be alive and sent them to the operating room. They are both in critical condition.
One lost both legs and suffered severe wounds to his chest while the other lost a leg and part of his head.
Islamic Jihad identified the terrorists as Wael Akka, 27, and Ahmad Abu Najam, 23 - senior field operatives in its military wing.
' כן יאבדו כל אויבך ה
Update 5:35 PM
Wael Akka Nassar has died.
Slimy Shimon may have taken 'illegal contributions'
The Jerusalem Post confirms
its reports of several months ago that Shimon Peres is suspected of accepting illegal campaign contributions, as I first reported in January
According to the allegations, Peres received illegal contributions of some $320,000 from three overseas donors on the eve of his loss to Amir Peretz in the party leadership race.
The State Comptroller's Office reported that Peres received donations of $100,000 each, from businessmen Haim Saban and Bruce Rappaport, and $120,000 from Daniel Abrams. The figures were provided by Peres himself. It has been alleged that Abrams is the owner of a British Virgin Islands company that purchased Ehud Olmert's Jerusalem home in 2004 and leases it back to Olmert for less than market value.
The details of the report have already been brought to the attention of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and Peres has employed the services of attorney Ram Caspi.
The Pensioners Party was all about money and positions
A lot of Tel Avivians cast their vote for the Pensioners Party (Gil) thinking it was really concerned about 'social issues.' Many of those who did so thought that although the Pensioners Party did not define its goals
, it would at least be concerned with pensioners'
payments. But they were wrong.The Pensioners Party proved yesterday
that what they were really all about was getting a bunch of men in their 70's and 80's senior cabinet positions (read: MONEY) without having to work their way up through the major party system. In other words, they were out for themselves. The Pensioners Party merged yesterday with
Achora, which will make it easier for Ehud Olmert to push his
surrender plan through the Knesset with the help of seven old men who are unlikely to live to see the consequences.
The Pensioners Party was blasted yesterday by the head of an organization that is truly concerned about pensioners' rights - Kein la'Zakein (Yes to the Elderly). Natan Levon, chairman of Kein la'Zakein told The Jerusalem Post
that Gil MKs were "only worried about themselves and their positions in the government and did not care about the people they went to the Knesset to represent."
"We still have not received any sign that the incoming Knesset will deal with the wide-ranging issues facing the country's pensioners," Levon said earlier in the day, just prior to the organization's press conference in Tel Aviv. "Both the pensioners party and Labor promised that they would restore the cuts that have taken place in pensioners' benefits over the past nine years, but all we hear in the media is talk about portfolios. Nothing is clear, nothing is concrete."
Mind you, Levon said this after the coalition agreement between
Kadima Achora was announced and before the eventual merger of the two factions was announced.
According to statistics gathered by Kein la'Zakein, of the 700,000 elderly people in Israel, 25 percent live under the poverty line. This number is an increase of 4% from five years ago. Only 24% of elderly households enjoy a pension and more than 150,000 elderly are eligible for food relief. The statistics also indicate that 45,000 people visit soup kitchens daily.
There's a word in Hebrew for those who voted for the Pensioners Party. It's not a complimentary word. In fact, it's the one thing most Israelis strive not to be: "Friers" (A "frier" is someone that everyone uses for his advantage).
But then, what should anyone have expected from a party led by the guy who sold Jonathan Pollard down the creek?