Two people injured as Sderot house suffers direct hit from Kassam
Two people were injured this evening as a house in Sderot suffered a direct hit from a Kassam rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip. One of them was a 76-year old woman.
On Friday, the IAF bombed a home in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis which the IDF said was used as a weapons warehouse. The IDF said that the Palestinian owner of the home, a senior member of Hamas' military wing, received a call 15 minutes before the missile strike telling him to evacuate the building. No one was reported wounded.
Peretz told The Jerusalem Post last week that if the current IDF operations in the Gaza Strip did not curb the Kassam attacks, he would consider ordering a large-scale and deep offensive
"We intend to stop the Kassams at any price," Peretz said. "Hamas knows that they will pay a heavy price with every Kassam fired at Israel and if they don't stop them they know we will consider harsher and deeper operations into Gaza."
Hamas either doesn't know it or doesn't care.
Shin Bet Chief Diskin meets with Arab leaders interested in keeping Hamas out of 'Palestinian' government
The London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi
reported this morning that Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin met this week in Aqaba with 'moderate Palestinian President'
Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen
, and representatives of Egypt, Jordan and an 'unnamed' Gulf country, who are interested in forming a new 'Palestinian' government without Hamas
. According to the Jerusalem Post:
Arab officials do not want Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh - whom they consider moderate - to continue serving as PA prime minister, because they see him as ultimately subordinate to Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashal. The Arab officials would prefer to see an independent candidate - like Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri - for the premiership.
The fact that they consider Haniyeh 'moderate'
speaks volumes about what 'moderation' means in the Arab world. If you haven't figured out yet that this is nothing other than a power grab, listen to the rest of the report:
The report said Abbas accused Israel of trying to delay a resolution to the Gilad Shalit hostage crisis by making use of non-Egyptian mediators, including Turkey, Norway, and Spain.
The PA chairman also said Syria and Iran wanted to see the negotiations fail, and requested that talks be coordinated through him personally, because Hamas would try to take credit for any successful resolution.
And how does Abu Mazen think he is going to get Shalit released without Hamas' participation? Hamas has Shalit, and no one controls the Palestinian Authority without Hamas' approval (note that I did NOT say that Hamas controls the 'Palestinian Authority'). Abu Mazen is nothing more than another mediator.
Anti-Semitism on the rise in Venezuela
Blogger Daniel at Venezuela News and Views provides a translation of a viciously anti-Semitic article
from the Caracas daily El Diario
Zionists, the destructive sect of radical Jews, are again impregnating the Jewish community with its animosity towards humanity. The genocide they executed in Palestine and Lebanon is similar to the Holocaust which the Nazis executed against them, and they will undergo another Read the whole thing
Holocaust because of the global hatred they are accumulating. If the Jews have charged the Nazis for their victims, they will have to pay Lebanon for their killings. The Jewish race is condemned to disappear, because if they continue marrying among themselves they will continue to degenerate; if they open their marriages they will racially dilute themselves, so they only recourse is to stay united, to provoke wars, and auto-genocides.
Israelis are lying when they say they are the favored people of God; on the contrary, because they are always at war and without their own land, it seems that they are marked for having destroyed Jesus Christ. We should reform the Bible which falsely refers to them as the chosen race by God, and we will act to stop them from manipulating the Jewish community. The United States is trapped by Zionists who control their economy and many critical positions in their government; and we must
avoid that this critical situation takes place in Venezuela before they also ruin us, because they can possess any nationality, but first they act as Jews in whatever land they plant themselves. Israel couldn't resist that despite possessing Jerusalem as the capital of the Christian world, Lebanon continued to have more international
tourism, and now, due to international repulsion, Israel will have even less [tourism].
.The American Thinker
says that anti-Semitism in Venezuela is being orchestrated by none other than Hugo Chavez:
Anti-Semitic graffiti is appearing much more frequently in Caracas. Some Venezuelans believe Chavez was imbued with anti-Semitism by his mentor, Norbeto Ceresole, an Argentine known for his extreme neo-Nazi views. A local columnist, Sammy Eppel, bravely states, “the government has adopted an anti-Semitic policy”. This problem will probably worsen, and Chavez intends to set up his version of Al Jazeera throughout the Spanish-speaking world, providing another outlet for his anti-Semitism.
According to the American Thinker, several US Congressman need to be asked about their support for Chavez, including two from my home state of Massachusetts: William Delahunt and Ed Markey.
A Homemade Genocide
There is genocide in the Arab world. But it's not being committed by Jews or by Israel. It's being committed by Arabs
. So says Dror Ben Yemini in Ma'ariv, and he brings lots of examples. Here are some:
Algeria: A few years after the establishment of the State of Israel, there began another war of independence. This time it was Algeria against France, between the years 1954-1962. The number of victims on the Muslim side is a subject for controversy. According to official sources in Algeria it is over a million. There are research institutes in the west that tend to accept that number. French sources have tried in the past to claim that it is only a quarter of a million Muslims, with an additional 100,000 Muslim collaborators with the French. But these estimates are regarded as tendentious and low. Today there is no question that the French killed nearly 600,000 Muslims. And these are the French, who do not stop preaching to Israel, the Israel that in the whole history of its conflict with the Arabs failed to reach even one tenth of that number, and even then, according to the more severe assessments.
The massacre in Algeria continues. In the 1991 elections the Islamic Salvation Front was voted in. The results of the elections were cancelled by the army. Since then a civil war has been raging, between the central government, supported by the army, and Islamic movements. According to various estimates, there have been about 100,000 victims so far. Most of them have been innocent civilians. In most cases it has been horrific massacres of whole villages, women, children and old people. A massacre in the name of Islam.
Algeria summary: 500,000 to 1 million in the war of independence; 100,000 in the civil war in the 90’s.
Sudan: A country torn by campaigns of destruction, almost all of them between the Arab-Muslim north, that is control of the country, and the south, populated by blacks. Two civil wars have taken place in this country, and a massacre, under government patronage, has been taking place in recent years in the district of Darfur. The first civil war spanned the years of 1955-1972. Moderate estimates talk of 500,000 victims. In 1983 the second civil war began. But it wasn’t a civil war but a systematic massacre suitably defined as ‘genocide’. The goals were Islamization, Arabization and mass deportation, that occasionally becomes slaughter, also for the need to gain control over giant oil fields. We are talking about an estimated 1.9 million victims.
The division between Muslim and other victims is unclear. The large district of Noba, populated by many black Muslims, was served its portion of horrors. The Muslims, should they be black, are not granted any favors. Since the rise to power of radical Islam, under the spiritual guidance of Dr. Hassan Thorabi, the situation has worsened. This is probably the worst series of crimes against humanity since WWII. We’re talking about ethnic cleansing, deportations, mass murder, slave trade, forcible enforcement of the laws of Islam, taking children from their parents and more. Millions have become refugees. As far as is known, there are not millions of publications about the Sudanese ‘Right of Return’ and there are no petitions by intellectuals negating Sudan’s right to exist.
Recent years have been all about Darfur. Again Muslims (Arabs) are murdering (black) Muslims and heathens, and the numbers are unclear. Moderate estimates are talking about 200,000 victims, higher estimates say 600,000. No one knows for sure. And the slaughter continues.
Throughout the atrocities of Sudan, the slaughter has been perpetrated mainly by the Arab Muslim regime, and the great majority of victims, if not all, are black, of all religions, including Muslims.
Sudan summary: 2.6 million to 3 million.
Iraq: Most of the of the last two decades was the doing of Saddam Hussein. This is another case of a regime that caused the deaths of millions. Nonstop death. One of the highpoints was during the Iran-Iraq war, in the conflict over the Shat El Arab River, the river that is created by the convergence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. This was a conflict that led to nothing but large scale destruction and mass killing. Estimates are between 450,000 and 650,000 Iraqis, and between 450,000 and 970,000 Iranians. Jews, Israelis, and Zionists were not around, as far as is known.
Waves of purges, some politically motivated (opposition), some ethnic ( the Kurdish minority) and some religiously motivated (the ruling Suni minority against the Shiite majority), yielded an astounding number of victims. Estimates vary from one million, according to local sources, to a quarter million, according to Human Rights Watch. Other international organizations quote an estimate of about half a million.
In the years 1991 - 1992 there was a Shiite uprising in Iraq. There are contradictory estimates about the number of victims. The numbers vary from 40,000 to 200,000. In addition to the Iraqis that were slaughtered one must add the Kurds. During Saddam Hussein’s reign, between 200,000 to 300,000 of them were killed in a genocide that continued all through the 1980’s and the 1990’s.
Over half a million more Iraqis died from diseases because of the shortage of medicine, which was the result of sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War. Today it is clear that this was a continuation of the genocide perpetrated by Saddam on his own people. He could have purchased medicine, he had enough money to buy food and to build hospitals for all the children of Iraq, but Saddam preferred to build palaces and to distribute franchises to many in the west and in Arab states. This issue is being exposed in the corruption of the UN’s ‘Oil for Food’ project.
The Iraqis continue to suffer. The civil war that is raging there now - even if some would rather not give that name to the mutual massacre of Sunis and Shiites – is costing tens of thousands of lives. It is estimated that about 100,000 people have been killed since the coalition forces took control in Iraq.
Iraq Summary: 1.54 million to 2 million victims.
Iran Summary: 450,000 to 970,000 victims.
Towards the end, he throws in this curious fact:
Another fact: Since WWII, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the national conflict with the lowest number of victims, but with the world’s highest number of publications hostile to Israel in the media and in the Academia. Read it all
Palestinian Jewish girl taken from Tulkarm
There are signs from Yad l'Achim all over my neighborhood that say "there are many Achmed ben Sara's" (Ahmed - an Arab name - the son of Sara - a Jewish name). In other words, there are too many Jewish women who are married to Arab men. Many of these women - probably most of them - don't realize that once they marry an Arab man, they are virtual prisoners. If they manage to escape, it is almost inevitably without their children. But under Jewish law, those children are Jewish.
For those of you who recall the Sally Field movie of the early 90's "Not Without My Daughter
" or a series of stories that appeared in the Wall Street Journal
about 3-4 years ago about American women married to Saudi men
who were refused help by the American embassy, those stories are real - and typical. As far as I am concerned, if Yad l'Achim actually did this
, they deserve a medal. For the record, under Jewish law, the girl is Jewish.
Judea-Samaria Police were investigating Friday morning whether a Palestinian girl abducted from Tulkarm and taken to Ashdod Thursday night was, in fact, Jewish.
The girl's Palestinian father claimed Israelis disguised as police officers had come to his house Thursday night and taken both him and his daughter. Afterwards, the father was released, and the girl vanished.
Police suspected the haredi anti-missionary organization Yad Le'achim, which works to retrieve Jews - particularly Jewish women - from Palestinian homes, was behind the incident.
According to Ma'ariv's web site, the girl's Israeli mother approached the organization last week with a plea to extract her daughter from her Palestinian husband's home.
The mother claimed she had married the man some seven years ago, believing him to be Israeli, but later discovered she had been deceived. The woman said her husband would often beat both her and her daughter, who was raised as a Muslim.
As of Friday morning, Ashdod police were attempting to locate the girl in the city.
Congressmen: UNRWA violating regulations by helping terrorists
Two US Congressmen - Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Steven Rothman (D-NJ) - sent a letter to Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice yesterday accusing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) of violating its own regulations
by not checking agency beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists identified by the police or Israeli government.
In the letter, Kirk and Rothman cited a recently released United Nations Board of Auditors report that included a harsh assessment of UNRWA's management, efficiency and security.
Additionally, Kirk and Rothman called on Rice to do more to ensure UNRWA is complying with federal anti-terrorism laws.
UNRWA is charged with the mission of providing some services to Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. US taxpayers are the most generous donors to UNRWA, contributing more than $100 million annually.
The Kirk-Rothman letter reports that UNRWA fails to comply with federal anti-terrorism laws. Repeatedly, UNRWA has refused to give names of Palestinian staff who left their agency positions to run for the PA parliament as Hamas candidates. While pledging to the State Department that they deny humanitarian assistance to terrorists, UNRWA does not check beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists provided by the police or Israeli government.
"In the increasingly hostile environment of the Middle East, with the Palestinian Authority now controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, we must upgrade our oversight of the more than $100 million US taxpayers contribute to UNRWA," said Kirk. "After an exhaustive review of the UN's own audit, it is clear UNRWA is wrought by mismanagement, ineffective policies, and failure to secure its finances. We must upgrade UNRWA's financial controls, management and enforcement of US law that bars any taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists."
"US anti-terror law explicitly prohibits taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists. However, we know that a number of UNRWA staff ran for parliament in the Palestinian territory as official Hamas candidates earlier this year. We know that Hamas supports the indiscriminate killing of civilians. We know that UNRWA cannot account for large amounts of money it has spent.
And we know that UNRWA does not check Palestinian beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists," said Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ). "With all of this information known, the United States must find out what is unknown: Are US tax dollars funding terrorists through UNRWA?"
The United Nations Board of Auditors' newly released report shows that UNRWA fails to implement a number of recommendations from previous audits and fully disclose financial statements to the auditors; employs poorly qualified and inexperienced staff; lacks a human resources plan; fails to make results-based management decisions; and fails to compare relevant financial records.
The audit states that UNRWA does not track those responsible for recording, deleting, or in any way manipulating financial information, and thus has no way of detecting foul play.
No one should be surprised by this....
IDF denies confrontation with UN troops
At Little Green Footballs, Charles is reporting on a confrontation between IDF tanks and UN 'peacekeepers'
United Nations “peacekeepers” in Lebanon have had their first tense confrontation. No, not with Hizballah terrorists, silly.
MARWAHEEN, Lebanon (AFP) - UN and Israeli tanks have been involved in a brief face-off on a road in southern Lebanon where the Israeli army has been setting up checkpoints.
Four French Leclerc tanks with UN peacekeepers moved up the hill to stand 500 meters (yards) from the entrance to the border village of Marwaheen, as two Israeli Merkava tanks operated nearby on Lebanese soil.
Standing some 50 meters from each other, the tanks were locked in a 20-minute face-off, the first between the Israeli army and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has been boosted to oversee the current truce.
The French tanks then withdrew from the area [Heh. —ed.], as observers of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation deployed in the area.
Israeli soldiers confiscated the identity cards of photographers at the scene, claiming they may give pictures of the Israeli military to militants of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
There's one big problem with the AFP report: The IDF denies it
The IDF spokesman said "our forces did not prevent them from doing anything and they did not prevent us from doing anything."
He added that "no conflict arose" between the Israeli force and the French peacekeeping force.
The French force is part of UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has been sent to boost the force and supervise the fragile truce between Israel and Hezbollah.
Have a look at this picture from the 'confrontation.' Do they look like they're 'confronting' each other?
Government press office pressures foreign media on fauxtography
Israel's government press office issued a warning to the foreign media
regarding what is called "fauxtography" in the blogosphere: doctored photographs, staged photographs and otherwise fraudulent reports. Thank you Charles Johnson
The director of the Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, told the Post Israel reserved the right to act against any media outlets working out of Israel if they "fail to conduct themselves in a professional manner."
The foreign journalists' coverage of the Lebanon war was discussed, with the meeting focused on doctored photographs used by news agencies, Seaman said.
"This was something new to the world, but we've seen it before," he said. "We expect them to take precautions in the future. If they are not taking the necessary measures to maintain professional standards then we reserve the right to take action against their offices in Israel."
The GPO cannot act directly against foreign press services, but it can make recommendations to the Communications, Foreign and Defense ministries, Seaman said.
Seaman said he had met with the bureau chiefs of Reuters, The Associated Press and the Foreign Press Association in his Jerusalem office to discuss actions that he described as "fueling anti-Israel sentiment."
All the bureau chiefs were barred from commenting on the meeting by their organizations.
Speaking on behalf of AP, international editor John Daniszewski said if one of their photographers was caught doctoring photographs, he would be fired immediately.
"I heard about it in regard to the Reuters stringer," he said in a phone interview from New York. I think they're trying to tar everyone with the same brush.
He said both Israelis and Palestinians often criticized the way they were covered, but that the agency had its own "gold standards" of accuracy and fairness to meet.
"It's such a contentious part of the world and other organizations and parties are going to want to pull coverage into one area or another," said Daniszewski. "We try to go straight down the middle. If anyone wants to raise issues, we are always willing to talk about it."
These terrible events
Melanie Phillips deservedly takes British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett
to task for a speech she made at the British Labour party convention:
It was the speech of someone who seemed to have nothing original or even half-way thoughtful to say about anything. But one paragraph in particular caught my eye. Referring to the Middle East, she said, amongst other vapidities, this:
No doubt there will be yet again those whose goal is to obstruct the prospect of peace. Because let’s not forget in the welter of accusation and counter-accusation it was the desire to obstruct such progress that led directly to the terrible events of the summer in Palestine and the Lebanon.
Excuse me? ‘Terrible events of the summer in Palestine and the Lebanon’? What about the terrible events of the summer in Israel, the country that was actually attacked from Lebanon and from Gaza — which is presumably what Ms Beckett means by ‘Palestine’? What about the terrible 4000 rockets that rained down during August on Israel’s northern towns in order to kill as many innocent Israelis as possible, the terrible deaths and injuries that did take place among the Israelis, the terrible flight of hundreds of thousands from the north of Israel, the terrible hardship of those trapped in shelters for a month? No acknowledgement of any of this issued from the lips of Britain’s Foreign Secretary. No acknowledgement that Israel only attacked Lebanon and Gaza because it had been attacked. No, the only ‘terrible events’ were those caused by Israel in self-defence. More remarkably still, Ms Beckett made no mention of Israel at all in respect of this war. There was no indication that Israel had been defending itself at all, let alone doing so ‘disproportionately’, because it wasn’t even mentioned in connection with these ‘terrible events’. It was simply absent from the picture — except, of course, for those ‘terrible events’ in Lebanon and Gaza, whose unstated authorship hovered like a baleful spectre over Ms Beckett’s typescript.
We know that the British intelligentsia, the British left and an alarming proportion of the British public either propagate or have uncritically swallowed the Big Lie about Israel’s aggression in general and the false view of the Lebanon war in particular (see earlier posts). But Ms Beckett is the Foreign Secretary in the government of Tony Blair, supposedly the best friend Israel has in Europe.
It seems to me that Ms. Beckett thinks that Prime Minister Blair has resigned already and is trying to set up her own future in the British Labour party. If so, and if in fact Ms. Beckett reflects the party's direction in the post-Blair era, that's a sad comment on the direction that party is taking.Read it all
New York lawsuit by Israeli terror victims against National Westminster allowed to proceed
A Federal court judge in Brooklyn, New York yesterday denied motions to dismiss
two counts of a civil complaint filed by Israeli terror victims against National Westminster Bank, now a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland. A third count in the complaint was dismissed with leave to amend the complaint within thirty days.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Brooklyn last year on behalf of individuals injured or killed in 10 terrorist attacks in Israel in 2002 and 2003 or their surviving family members.
"There is still a long way to go, but it is now abundantly clear that the victims will get their day in court, and we very much look forward to presenting the evidence at trial," a lawyer for the defendants, Robert Swift, said in a statement.
Yesterday, Judge Sifton threw out a claim that NatWest aided and abetted the murder or serious bodily injury of American nationals by its provision of services to Interpal, a London-based charity that allegedly acts as a fundraising arm for Hamas. The judge gave the plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint on that claim within 30 days.
The judge allowed to go forward claims that NatWest knowingly provided material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization by providing financial services to Interpal and several other charities believed to financially support Hamas.
He also allowed to proceed claims that NatWest unlawfully and willfully provided or collected funds with the intention that such funds be used or with the knowledge that such funds would be used for terrorist purposes through its financial dealings with Interpal and other charities.
According to a blog entry dated June 1, 2006
Tzvi Weiss, a 20-year-old trainee rabbi, said in a lawsuit filed in September at a U.S. District Court in New York that he suffered torn eardrums and a cut hand when a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem in August 2003, killing 13 people and injuring more than 130. Another 14 families who suffered death or injury in 10 separate bombings and shootings in Israel between March 2002 and August 2003 have joined the suit, according to an amended complaint filed yesterday. Hamas claimed responsibility for all of the attacks. [It sounds like Mr.? Rabbi? Weiss was a passenger on the number 2 bus in Jerusalem that was blown up on Shmuel HaNavi Street on its way back from the Western Wall. My insurance agent's granddaughter was killed in that attack, and her son and daughter-in-law were both wounded. CiJ]
A similar lawsuit is pending in New Jersey against LCL, a unit of Credit Agricole.
That lawsuit was filed by Moses (Moshe?) Strauss, 23, who was injured in the same attack as Weiss. Strauss says in his lawsuit that LCL, which used to be known as Credit Lyonnais, provided financial services to Le Comite de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestinians, even though the French charity was alleged to have links with Hamas.
You can find more on Interpal here
One of my favorite signs, redone
Forgive me for an off-topic post, but one of my favorite signs in the world is being re-done:Hat Tip: The People's Cube
P.S. If you don't get it, read my profile. If you still don't get it, you're not a baseball fan.
Pigs can fly: Peres supports 'settlement' construction
Yes, Virginia, pigs can fly! And Shimon Peres of all people has come out in favor of 'settlement' construction!
At a press conference at the Ritz Hotel in London, Peres actually said that Israel cannot be punished twice, referring to the ongoing Kassam threat to the country on the one hand, and the restrictions imposed on revenants on the other.
The revenants' children cannot be stopped from building their homes, Peres added, saying that this issue is one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's major problems.
Palestinian Sheikh: All religions must convert to Islam
YNet reports from WorldNetDaily
(where I have been unable to find it) that a 'Palestinian' Sheikh has accused Pope Benedict XVI of being a "puppet for that Crusader George Bush." The Sheikh, Abu Saqer, leader of Gaza's Jihadia Salafiya Islamic outreach movement, which seeks to make secular Muslims more religious also said that meetings between the Pope and Muslim leaders are "Crusader conspiracies" to subjugate the Islamic faith and force "Christian-Zionist" worldviews upon Muslims, and that the only Christian-Muslim dialogue that is acceptable is one in which "all religions agree to convert to Islam
"The call for so-called dialogue by this little racist pope is a Trojan horse with the main goal of reaching a new system in which the ideals (of Christianity) are a new ideology that will rule relations between nations and people. The dialogue he wants is dangerous," said Abu Saqer, speaking to WND from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.
"The pope is the spiritual and religious wing of the Crusader ideology," Abu Saqer said. "He is totally coordinated with Bush. Through this dialogue he hopes to break the lines of unity between Muslims and polarize the Muslim world, which has some partisans who will accept this new dialogue. But true believers know Islam must rule all relations. The only dialogue we will accept is when all other religions agree to convert to Islam."
Yesterday, an organization of 56 Islamic nations yesterday pressed Benedict once again to apologize for his original comments. Foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference approved a statement urging the Vatican to "retract or redress" the pope's citation of Paleologus.
In all his responses to the controversy, the pope has not directly apologized for his original statements quoting a scholar linking Muslims to violence.Read the whole thing
The real reason that the IDF was unprepared
This article - which appeared in yesterday's JPost, although I could not find it online yesterday - hits the nail on the head
. The author, Shmuel Katz, is one of the last remaining lions of the founding generation of the Herut party - one of the parties that merged to form the Likud. Katz co-founded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset. Katz has Begin's kind of moral clarity.
Please allow me to digress for a moment to explain what I mean by "Begin's kind of moral clarity." In 1982, the Sabra and Shatilla massacre was disclosed to the world on Rosh HaShanna. Begin (then Prime Minister) went to services at the Great Synagogue on King George Street in Jerusalem that morning - just as he did every year. By the time the services ended, a group of 'demonstrators' had gathered outside the synagogue, and Begin's security detail wanted to whisk him out the back to spare him the confrontation. Begin said "Christians kill Muslims and the Jews are to blame? I have nothing of which to be ashamed" and insisted on going out the front entrance. Unfortunately, politicians with Begin's integrity have been missing from Israeli politics since his son Benny resigned from the Knesset several years ago.
Anyway, back to Shmuel Katz and hitting nails on the head
But perhaps the worst blow to Israel's security was the notion that giving the Arabs chunks of territory - and that unilaterally - would be a large step forward on the way to peace. That notion was exemplified by the abandonment of the Gaza Strip. This prospect was at once embraced by our media, which preached the defeatists' slogan of "Land for Peace." Read the whole thing
As if to prove the provenance of peace, Ariel Sharon invited Egypt - in a careless breach of its peace treaty with Israel - to send troops into Sinai and thence to the border with Gaza, the so-called Philadelphi corridor.
The reliance on Egypt to look after us has resulted in the swift transfer of large quantities of arms into Gaza. Tunnels into the Negev will also soon be available. How Israeli leaders could have perpetrated such a monstrous life-and-death blunder needs a psychological enquiry. [I don't think it needs a psychological enquiry. It needs a criminal one - the one Sharon was trying to avoid by surrendering Gaza. CiJ]
YET ISRAELIS are not the only people who could be manipulated into believing in some cranky fantasy. A weird similarity exists today between Israel's state of mind, to that of Britain after Munich.
Though the British knew enough about the monster named Hitler, a large segment of the population was overjoyed when prime minister Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich with a paper in which that promised "peace in our time." (I arrived in London, as it happens, the day Chamberlain came back and experienced the noisy acclamations in the streets.)
Just 15 months ago, Olmert gave his own "peace in our time" speech to a left-wing audience in New York. After telling them of the wonderful future in store as a result of abandoning Gaza etc., he went on: "We all desperately need it. We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies… We want [the Palestinians] to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors." It was in that spirit that Olmert thought the war would facilitate his withdrawal plan and sent our soldiers into battle.
WHATEVER committee is appointed to investigate the war, it will not have fulfilled the vital obligation to examine the pre-war laxity and self-satisfaction in the behavior of its public servants - and the dangerous delusions the leaders, egged on by the media, disseminated among the people.
That, however, is as far an inquiry committee can go. For taking the obviously tough decisions about the nation's future, the people must gird its political loins.
Mediocre weapons smuggling blockers
On a day when Egypt claims to have destroyed a weapons smuggling tunnel
near Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin accuses Egypt
of allowing Palestinian militants to smuggle tons of weapons into the Gaza Strip since Israel withdrew from the coastal area last year. Both Egypt and Diskin seem to be correct.
Police discovered the tunnel Wednesday near Karm Salem, less than 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Rafah crossing point, Capt. Mohammed Amin said. No arrests were made in the operation and police later detonated explosives in the tunnel to block it up.
On Tuesday, Palestinian security forces discovered two underground tunnels along the Gaza Strip border with Egypt. Only one reached Egypt and officials sealed it later in the day.
But this is apparently the proverbial drop in the bucket:
"The Egyptians know who the smugglers are and don't deal with them," Diskin told a Cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting. "They received intelligence on this from us and didn't use it."
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza a year ago, militants have smuggled 19 tons of weapons and explosives into the strip from Egypt, Diskin said. Egypt and the Palestinians have controlled the border since Israel withdrew.
"We're talking about an escalation that is endangering us," Diskin told the ministers, according to the participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss security matters with the press.
You can add that to the list of reasons why surrendering Gaza was a stupid idea. For the record, the Egyptians insist that they are doing the best they can:
But the representative to Egyptian parliament for Rafah, Fayez Abu Harb, took issue with the intelligence chief's comments, calling them "lies propagated by Shin Bet." "Egypt respects its commitments and international agreements with its neighbors, and protects its borders as a matter of national security," he said, mentioning that Egypt has discovered several tunnels and seized many caches of contraband from them in recent years.
I guess the Egyptians are too busy trying to acquire nuclear weapons
to deal with finding and destroying conventional ones.
Warning: Stone throwers will be shot on sight
The Israeli cabinet today dealt with the phenomenon of pro-Hezbullah demonstrators on the Lebanese side of the Israel - Lebanon border throwing stones at troops and others on the Israeli side. Kind of like Edward Said
It has always amazed me how lightly Israel takes rock throwers.
On June 11, 2001, 5-month old Yehuda Chaim Shoham HY"D
died after being hit by a stone thrown at his parents' car near Shilo in Samaria. In Israel, the authorities say it's "only stones." In the rest of the world, throwing stones at a moving car is treated as it should be treated: attempted murder.
That's about to change on the Lebanese border, and maybe some day in Judea and Samaria too if we are really lucky. IDF Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz told the cabinet today that IDF troops currently stationed in Lebanon have permission to open fire
on stone-throwing Hizbullah supporters.
The chief of staff told cabinet ministers that according to the IDF directive, troops were permitted to fire in the air and then at the legs of those hurling rocks in their direction. In addition, in the event that the troops sensed that they were in real danger they were granted permission to shoot to kill.
What brought the IDF to its senses
Cabinet ministers at Wednesday's weekly meeting were outraged over a protest Friday in which several dozen yellow-clad Hezbollah supporters on the Lebanese side of the border threw stones at soldiers on the Israeli side of the border. Some of the ministers criticized the army for not responding to the violent protest.
Minister Gideon Ezra said Wednesday that the situation in Lebanon escalated because Israel failed to respond to Hezbollah's deployment along the border following Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000. Israel should not make the same mistake after it pulls out from southern Lebanon this time, he said.
"We can't accept any Hezbollah deployment to the [border] fence, not with stones, not with flags, and not with anything else," Ezra told Israel Radio. "We won't go back to the same situation that we had before. It's forbidden that we agree to such a trend, even if it means we have to take action."
But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brushed off the threat of stone-throwing Hezbollah supporters, saying none of the guerrilla group's fighters are wandering around south Lebanon armed.
The IDF and the cabinet apparently understand that "sticks and stones may break my bones," but the Prime Minister is still clueless. Let's hope this is extended into a general directive that allows Israelis who come under a hail of stones in Judea and Samaria to open fire. Believe it or not, today you risk arrest, prosecution and jail time for even firing into the air! But if the stone throwers knew that the drivers can open fire on them, they might think twice about throwing stones in the first place.
Was 2004 prisoner release the motivation for 2006 kidnappings?
Palestinian Media Watch asks
, "Was 2004 prisoner release the motivation for 2006 kidnappings?" It seems obvious to me that the answer is yes....
The recent kidnappings by Hamas and Hezbollah of Israeli soldiers as barter for jailed terrorists were not the first. In 2004, Israel released more than 1,000 jailed terrorists in exchange for Israelis kidnapped by Hezbollah. [The reference here is to the exchange of more than 400 terrorists for drug dealing philanderer Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers who were kidnapped and murdered by Hezbullah in October 2000. CiJ]
In 2004 the Palestinians expressed support for the Hezbollah and saw the kidnapping as a positive precedent. They responded with statements that kidnappings leading to release of prisoners would be their modus operandi for the release of more prisoners in the future. [See statements below.]
Given these statements and their effect on the Palestinian population,it is certainly plausible that the recent kidnappings that led to the war were a direct result of Israel's actions in 2004, which led Palestinians to conclude that Israel would continue to free terrorists to gain the release of kidnapped hostages.
The overwhelming Palestinian support for the current kidnappings indicates how deeply entrenched among Palestinians is the assumption that Israel will acquiesce to the prisoner exchange demands. [In that light, please consider the results of the survey that I posted yesterday. CiJ]
The following quotes from the PMW archives are Palestinian responses immediately after the exchange of terrorists for kidnapped Israelis in January 2004, and subsequent responses throughout the year:
“Fatah’s military branch organized a civilian and military procession yesterday through the streets of Rafah. This event was held in appreciation and gratitude for the efforts Hizbullah made for the release of Arab and Palestinian prisoners from Israel jails as part of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel. In a public statement by the Abu Al-Rish Brigades, Fatah’s military wing emphasized the need to follow Hezbollah’s example in order to achieve the release of all prisoners and detainees."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 29, 2004]
“PM Ahmad Qurei: The detainees issue is at the top of the [Palestinian] government’s list of priorities. Their release is a condition to any possible deal. Protests in all areas. “The Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades” called on its members to kidnap Israelis in order to pressure Israel on the prisoners’ issue….”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 16, 2004]
“The Islamic Jihad movement pointed out – in a public statement that was published on its behalf and was distributed during the procession – that it has the right to do any action for the prisoners’ release…Mushir Al-Masri, Hamas spokesman, said that ‘Hamas’ threats to kidnap soldiers still exist, and the movement will do everything in its power for the sake of the prisoners’ release…’”
[Al-Ayyam, August 17, 2004]
“The Hamas movement organized a mass rally yesterday in the refugee camp in Jabaliya…in a sign of solidarity with the prisoners and the detainees…Many of the family members of the prisoners and the Shahids [Martyrs] participated in the rally…A senior member in the Hamas movement, Dr. Nizar Rayan…called on all resistance factions to act for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them with our brave prisoners….”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 21, 2004]
“The Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades, which belong to the Fatah movement, threatened to kidnap Israeli settlers and soldiers for the release of the prisoners in Israeli detention centers...The Al Quds Brigades and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades said during a joint press conference in the tent of a sit-down strike in the square of the unknown soldier: ‘…we have decided to increase our efforts to kidnap Zionist soldiers and settlers…we will not back down and we will not change our minds about that purpose, in no way, and we will do everything in our power in order to achieve it.’ They mentioned several previous kidnapping attempts within the last three months, which have failed…They added… that directions were given… to all military chains to begin operations for kidnapping Israeli settlers and soldiers to save the prisoners.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 27, 2004]
And the government is trying to trade more terrorists for Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev?
Jaw dropping comment of the day: Ahmadinejad, Bush: more similar than different?
A simply appalling hatchet job on US President George W. Bush appears at the Moonbat web site Common Ground News
. What's more appalling is that Israel's YNet News site has chosen to reproduce the article
. I, on the other hand, feel sorry for those of you who have recently eaten. So I will give you only a small teaser of the article, and then you can choose whether you want to sicken yourselves.
Both are highly controversial in their home countries and abroad, and would at first glance seem to be polar opposites. Yet, some common threads seem to link the two men – both in terms of their rise to power and their views on religion and the state.Read it all
Both men are leaders with shadowy pasts and a strong spiritual bent. To understand both Ahmadinejad’s and Bush's similarities, it is vital to analyze their rise to power. Both were outsiders on their respective national stages, and used this status to gain entrance into politics.
Election results from the US in 2004 revealed a country divided to the core and put the political divisions between rural and urban areas into focus. The Bush campaign was effective in appealing to red (rural) state voters who emphasized “moral values” deemed higher than their blue state counterparts’ when picking a candidate.
Interestingly, Ahmadinejad appealed to a similar rural population of Iran just as Bush had to rural America through a mix of social conservatism and promises to improve the lot of Iran’s underclass.
In both the US’s 2004 and Iran’s 2005 elections, religion’s role in politics was greatly increased. Both Bush and Ahmadinejad were able to tap into feelings of marginalization among conservative religious groups that were frustrated by liberal political forces in their countries.
Even more interestingly, the percentages of both countries’ populations who would classify themselves as religiously conservative are roughly the same.
Once in office, these two leaders have also taken similar roads, particularly with regard to foreign policy.
if you can stand it
Egypt pressures Meshaal
Egypt is turning up the pressure on Hamas chieftain Khaled Meshaal, ordering him to cause the release of kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit
and to cause Hamas to join a 'national unity government'
with 'moderate Palestinian President'
Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen
's Fatah. No word yet that Meshaal is budging from his Damascus hideout....
The Egyptian demand came in a "strongly worded letter" from Egypt's powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to Meshal, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the letter.
Suleiman's letter also demanded Hamas cooperate fully with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in forming a national unity government, a step that has been stalled by the militant group's refusal to form an administration that recognizes Israel.
The message reflected increasing impatience with Hamas by Egypt, which has been mediating for months, trying to reach a deal on a prisoner swap for the release of Shalit.
"The leadership has received the Egyptian letter today and is studying it" a Hamas official close to Meshal told the Associated Press from Damascus.
But can or will the Egyptians do anything? I doubt it.
Redefining Zionism for political expediency
The Knesset returns to work on October 16, and according to a report on Israel Radio this morning, the coming session will be dominated by two themes:
1. Whether 10-12 MK's will break off from Ehud Olmert's
party and return to the Likud so that Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu
can form a government to replace Olmert's without having to face a primary against Silvan Shalom followed by general elections.
2. Avishai Braverman
and Ami Ayalon
will fight it out for the right to meet (and probably defeat) Defense Minister
Peretz as Labor party leader in the party's primaries in February.
As you might imagine, that leaves Prime Minister Ehud Olmert no place good. Olmert - with his 7% approval rating - is trying to broaden his government. He is trying to 'reach out' to the religious Zionist community by 'redefining' Zionism
. If the religious Zionists are smart, they will respond to him with a good hard slap across his arrogant face.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reached out to the right-wing religious Zionist community Tuesday, saying, “We must understand the troubles of the religious Zionist public and find a path for honest and deep discourse with them.”
“We need to create a new atmosphere of discussion, and even strive towards a new definition of Zionism,” Olmert said at an Israel Democracy Institute summit addressing the Jewish nature of the State of Israel.
During the conference, Olmert turned to the right-wing “Orange” camp, which bears a grudge against him since the days of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
“The religious Zionist community is in deep distress due to the public conflict which raised basic questions as to the State’s character and outlook on life. They dealt with the difficult experience of having to reconcile themselves with the concession of the territories and settlements. We must understand their distress and find a path for honest and deep dialogue with them,” he said.
“We must remember that in the State of Israel there live hundreds of thousands of people that for over 35 years served in the territories and participated in enforcing Israel’s policies there, despite their wholehearted belief that the State’s actions were erroneous and severely harmed our social tapestry.”
“Israeli society is composed of many sectors,” Olmert continued. “Religious Zionism, the population that lives on the periphery and has felt neglected for years; another sector opposes with all their might Israel’s holding onto the territories, and sees them as the source of all evil and would like to refuse to serve there.”
As for future plans, the prime minister said: “We must create a new atmosphere of dialogue and maybe strive towards a new definition of Zionism. It cannot be that Zionism is defined on the basis of supporting or opposing withdrawals. Anyone who believes in the people of Israel’s right to have a sovereign Jewish state on some part of the Land of Israel is a Zionist. Agreeing on a new, broader definition of Zionism is pivotal to safeguarding the internal unity of Israeli society.”
His chutzpa knows no bounds.
Cronyism at the Supreme Court
As many of you know, Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who dominated Israel's Supreme Court for the last ten years, retired last week, and his hand-picked successor Dorit Beinish took over. If the right and the country's religious population chafed under Barak, it's only going to get worse
under Beinish. One of the things this article does not mention is that Beinish prosecuted the 'Jewish underground' in 1984. But the article does plenty to point out how problematic Beinish's tenure could be. One other tidbit - a recent survey said that only 32% of respondents thought she was qualified to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Hmm...
Beinisch is now an august figure, and so nobody mentions her role in fielding Avishai Raviv as a Shin Bet agent provocateur, which required her approval as then state-attorney (from early 1989 through to the very end of 1995). Read it all
Raviv's covert shenanigans weren't exposed until after the Rabin assassination. He was the one who handed TV newsmen a small homemade photomontage of Rabin in SS uniform, to this day exploited to besmirch Rabin's legitimate political opponents. The assassin himself was Raviv's sidekick, goaded by him to do the deed.
Exactly 11 years ago, on September 22, 1995 - only weeks before the assassination - Israel state television titillated its viewers with particularly eerie footage shot in the wee hours in a deserted graveyard. A group of adolescents clustered around a tombstone, apparently taking part in a creepy clandestine initiation. The fact that their supposedly secret ceremony was conducted obligingly before TV crews astoundingly didn't undermine the credibility accorded the sensational videos. The camera, as we're often told, never lies.
That rite caused an undercover Jewish "terror ring," dubbed Eyal, to burst irresistibly into the public awareness. The post-assassination Shamgar Inquiry Commission would reveal it as stage-managed, a fake, a set-up.
Raviv was the chieftain who swore-in "recruits" to the bogus underground. To garnish this libelous exploit with "moral authority" he chose as his theatrical-setting the last resting place of Lehi leader Avraham "Yair" Stern, who was cold-bloodedly murdered by the British in February 1942. Raviv even had his eccentric entourage sing out Yair's anthem "Hayalim almonim" (Anonymous soldiers). The hauntingly evocative lyrics were meant to lend damning authenticity to sinister slander.
AS IT LATER emerged, this was all part of a scheme to tarnish the ideological so-called Right, to paint its adherents as wild-eyed hooligans and hothead nutcases who instigate mayhem and violence, and relish nothing more than tossing flaming matches into our regional tinderbox.
WE'LL NEVER know if different tactics were sanctioned for communities, as distinct from individuals, if the prosecution merely approved defaming an entire segment of public opinion. The case against Raviv for libel and his macabre midnight pageant was closed - for "lack of public interest"- by Beinisch's best friend and successor as state attorney Edna Arbel.
During Arbel's state attorney tenure, a case against Beinisch's husband, Yehezkel, for defrauding the income tax authorities was also closed. Beinisch blamed Yehezkel's legal travails on "political antagonists" who'd stop at nothing to get at her. Again we may never know, because the tax charges were dropped.
TO BE SURE Yehezkel is still the subject of financial and felony investigations, which the prosecution is incredibly loath to pursue and apparently very eager to forget about. Nonetheless, formally at least, some allegations still hang over Yehezkel's head, a circumstance which would have made his wife's promotion to head the highest court in the land unlikely elsewhere - in Washington, for instance.
But here, as we noted, a friend brings a friend. And so, Beinisch made sure Arbel joined her on the Supreme Court. No feminist zeal was involved. Beinisch stopped at nothing to thwart the candidacies of two of the country's most esteemed law professors: Ruth Gavison and Nili Cohen.
In true oligarchies nothing is left to chance.
If a liberal who is mugged becomes a conservative, what happens to a peacenik who becomes Defense Minister?
Last night, Defense Minister
Peretz met with an audience, which represented about half of the 100 organizations that compose the 'Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum.' Peretz, who was one of the 'peace camp's' early leaders disappointed them greatly. He told them what they did not want to hear: that there is no 'Palestinian' partner for peace
, but only one for piece by piece.
Peretz told the activists that, "I feel like I am a man of peace no less than anyone else here." He added that he believes it is important to wake up every morning and search anew for a peace partner, even if at present it is hard to find one.
He spoke of his frustration upon taking office that all factions within the Palestinian Authority refused to take responsibility for the increase in the number of rockets that barraged his home city of Sderot last spring and summer.
He noted that additional rockets had fallen on Tuesday morning and injured a female soldier.
"I asked who was responsible," recalled Peretz in reference to his first weeks in office when he advocated restraint.
Each Palestinian group he turned to - Fatah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad - all stated that it was not their responsibility.
He learned the hard way, he told the audience, that one failure in the pursuit of peace is that "we have differentiated between authority and responsibility. Even a government you do not recognize is responsible for what happens in its territory. This is true not just in the South but in the North." In Lebanon, the government reigned in the cafes but left Hizbullah to rule over the rockets, said Peretz.
One of the central issues that has thrown the peace process into a quandary is that the attacks this summer were executed along two internationally recognized borders, said Peretz.
"It's a central question because it puts our path in question," he said.
He also defended the army's decision to close the passages between Gaza and Israel.
One activist, Sari Bashi, complained that in the past year, the Karni passage was closed for 160 days and the Rafah passage was closed for 127 days, so that for a third of the year, Gaza was closed off from the world.
Peretz responded by stating: "I personally check daily the reasons why the Karni crossing is closed." Given the impact that closing the Gaza crossing has on the Palestinians living in Gaza, he questioned why Palestinian terrorists would engage in acts that force the IDF to shut the passages for security reasons.
"Then I answer my own question - the terror organizations are interested in creating a humanitarian crisis. This is not in their interest and it is not in the interest of Israel's security," he said.
The day Peretz throws in the towel altogether will be a flying pigs moment.
The police paid a visit this morning to Mazkeret Batya resident Moshe Muscal, the bereaved father of IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Rafenael Muscal HY"D. The police 'wanted to know' whether Muscal planned to heckle IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and Defense Minister
Peretz at Wednesday's ceremony to honor paratroopers killed in action. St.-Sgt. Rafenael Muscal, 21, was killed in action during the war in Lebanon this summer.
Muscal was prominent last week among a group of hecklers who taunted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a toast for
'activists' in advance of the new year. Muscal, who called upon Olmert to resign, is a member of the Likud Central Committee.
According to the Jerusalem Post:
A senior officer in the Shfela Subdistrict said the visit to the bereaved family was carried out with the "maximum amount of sensitivity" to the family's pain. The officer added that the visit was mainly out of concern for the family's safety following the tumult of last week's incident, and said the police wanted to be able to plan security for the event accordingly. [If the police are so concerned for the 'family's safety,' why is there no protection outside Muscal's house now? And what would happen if Mr. Muscal decided to show up and heckle Halutz and Peretz outside the ceremony? CiJ]
Police added that they hoped Muscal would take into consideration that not all of the bereaved families at the ceremony would share his political views. Muscal said Tuesday in response to the police visit that he differentiated between a memorial ceremony held for bereaved families and a joyous event for the Kadima Party.
I wonder whether the police see that distinction and why it is therefore legitimate to demonstrate at occasions like last week's
social gathering. To answer my own (rhetorical) question, I doubt that they do and I doubt that they ever will.
Identifying friends and enemies
In today's Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick goes after the Bush administration for its lack of moral clarity in going after terrorists. If there were a new story, it might be possible to attribute it to new members of the Bush administration. But the story raises important issues that have been present since 9/11 - recall, for example, Ariel Sharon's Czechoslovakia speech
. The Bush administration's lack of clarity
is undercutting the War on Terror:
In order to conduct information operations effectively you have to be willing to identify your enemies and your allies, and to point fingers at those who refuse to take sides and embarrass them for sitting on the fence. That is, you need moral courage and clarity. You need to be willing to make people angry at you if you wish to earn their respect and support. Read it all
For the past five years the Bush administration has shirked this unpleasant task. It has categorized Saudi Arabia, the prime financier and propagator of jihad, as its ally. It has labeled Egypt, the epicenter of jihadist propaganda and incitement, a paragon of moderation and a stalwart ally.
Then there is Pakistan, which created the Taliban and has served as a refuge for Osama bin Laden since November 2001. Pakistan, too, is labeled a great ally, as are the Europeans and the Russians.
Israel, on the other hand, is a problem. Israel is the excuse that all of America's "great allies" give for refusing to act like America's allies. In the interests of pleasing its great allies, America holds Israel at arm's length.
Unfortunately, this policy sends exactly the wrong message. It teaches America's "allies" that they have nothing to lose by double-crossing the US. And it teaches truly liberal forces in the Muslim world and in the non-Islamic world that the US will not keep faith with them, and that they are, essentially on their own if they wish to take on the forces of jihad in their own societies and throughout the world.
THE BUSH administration's refusal to acknowledge the difference between its enemies and its allies was most pronounced last week in the president's meetings with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
U.S. Federal Court Rules that Hamas is a Political Party
The New York Sun is reporting today that a U.S. Federal Judge in Chicago issued a ruling on Friday that recognizes the fiction
that Hamas has a 'political wing' and a 'military wing.'Hat Tip: NY Nana
Under the ruling, defense attorneys for two men accused of handling Hamas's financial affairs in the United States, Abdelhaleem Ashqar and Muhammad Salah, may tell jurors about the vote in January that gave the group a majority in the 'Palestinian parliament'.
Judge Amy St. Eve said she agreed with lawyers for Mr. Ashqar that the electoral victory "is relevant because it demonstrates that Hamas engages in legitimate political and social measures." The judge also said Hamas's role in the Palestinian Arab government could support Mr. Ashqar's contention "that the money he donated went to the legitimate purpose of consensus building and campaigning, rather than terrorist activities."
"This gives Hamas a little bit more legitimacy in front of the jury," a lawyer for Mr. Ashqar, William Moffitt, said in an interview yesterday. "Obviously, part of our defense is that you can be a member of Hamas, as long as you're not supporting the violent side."
Prosecutors argued that the vote was irrelevant because the charges against both men relate to alleged acts that took place long before this year's Palestinian Arab elections.
In a separate and unexpected development Friday, the government dismissed one of the key counts in the case, which is set to go to trial on October 12.
At a hearing where defense lawyers were demanding information on payments to an informant, a prosecutor, Joseph Ferguson, quietly indicated that the government planned to drop a charge of material support of terrorism against Mr. Salah, according to the Associated Press.
"We said, ‘What?' and the judge said, ‘What?'" a lawyer for Mr. Salah, Michael Deutsch, told The New York Sun. The move left racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges pending against Mr. Salah and his co-defendant, Mr. Ashqar, who was not charged in the dismissed count.
"It really is a change in the nature of the whole case," Mr. Deutsch said.
The prosecution action essentially dropped all the claims in the indictment that in 1999 Mr. Salah dispatched an agent to the West Bank and Jerusalem to provide funds to the family of an imprisoned Hamas leader and to scout out locations for possible bombings and kidnappings.
Mr. Salah's lawyers called the alleged agent, Jack Mustafa, a "liar" who provided false information on several occasions while serving as an FBI informant. Before Friday's development, the defense team had asked the judge to bar Mr. Mustafa's testimony as inherently unreliable.
The dismissal leaves prosecutors with what could be regarded as a stale case against Mr. Salah, who spent between 1993 and 1997 in Israeli jails and admitted to carrying money for Hamas. He contends that his admissions were the product of torture, but Israeli officials deny that any mistreatment took place.
Prosecutors contend that between 1989 and 1993, Mr. Salah traveled the globe, meeting and giving funds to high-level Hamas officials, including a so-called military planner for the group. However, the American government did not place Hamas on an official list of terrorist organizations until 1995.
Mr. Deutsch said there is now no charge that Mr. Salah did "anything of substance" for Hamas after it was designated as a terrorist group. He is still charged with obstructing justice in 2001 for allegedly submitting false answers in connection with a lawsuit brought by the family of an American teenager, David Boim, killed in a Hamas attack on a West Bank bus stop in 1997.
One additional headache prosecutors are facing is a decision by President Bush and other top officials to use the phrase "the militant wing of Hamas" to describe those responsible for recent attacks on Israeli soldiers.
Mr. Bush used that or similar phrasing on at least five occasions in July. The American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, also used the phrase as part of what seemed to be a concerted attempt to split Hamas and to encourage more moderate members of the group to soften their line toward Israel.
However, the rhetoric may also bolster defense attorneys' claims that their clients' actions for Hamas were strictly for the group's charitable and political efforts, and not for terrorism.
I find it astounding that there are still apparently people in high positions in the United States who are willfully fooling themselves that Hamas is anything other than a terrorist group.
63% of 'Palestinians' want to rocket Israeli cities
This is a story that is being covered now by all three of Israel's major English-language newspaper web sites. In case any of you don't know which newspaper is known as "Israel's Hebrew Palestinian Daily
," I am reproducing their headlines for you, so that you can consider yourselves forewarned and forearmed:Hizbullah inspires 63% of PalestiniansPoll: Most Palestinians back HizbullahPoll: 67% of Israelis want talks with Palestinians
The poll was an Israeli and 'Palestinian' public opinion poll conducted by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.
In the poll, which was conducted last week, 63% of the 'Palestinians' agreed that 'Palestinians' should copy Hezbullah's methods by launching rockets at Israeli cities, compared to 35% who disagreed.
Similar levels of support for copying Hizbullah's methods were obtained in July 2000, following Israel's flight from Southern Lebanon (65% of the 'Palestinians' supported it then, and 27% opposed). It should be noted that the Oslo War (sometimes known as the (second) intifadeh) was started by the 'Palestinians' two months after Ehud Barak pulled the IDF out of Lebanon, although at the time, the reference to "Hezbullah tactics" referred to guerilla attacks and suicide bombings against IDF troops, and not to firing rockets at Israeli cities.
The latest poll also showed that 57% of 'Palestinians' support armed attacks against Israeli civilians within the green line that marks the pre-1967 border (i.e. not just in Judea and Samaria).
75% of the 'Palestinians' support kidnapping Israeli soldiers as bargaining chips for the release of 'Palestinian'
held in Israel.
However, 77% of Palestinians support the call for a ceasefire between 'Palestinians' and Israelis and 74% believe that 'Palestinians' cannot depend on armed action only and must reach a political settlement with Israel. The question that both of those results pose is, "under what conditions?"
On the other hand, only 59 percent of 'Palestinians' support negotiations between Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian government with 38 percent opposed, as compared with a June survey in which 70 percent of Palestinian respondents said they support Hamas negotiations with Israel.
On the Israeli side, 67% supported negotiations with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas. Even under conditions of a Hamas-led government, increased moderation can be seen among Israelis, with 56% supporting and 43% opposing talks with a Hamas government. One has to wonder why. On the other hand, supporting negotiations is a long way from saying that we should give them anything.
The poll also revealed that 56 percent of Israeli respondents oppose withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for a
peace piece by piece
agreement with Syria.
Seventy-seven percent of Israeli Jews said they believed Israeli Arabs have an affinity toward the Hezbollah guerilla group, and 68 percent of Israeli Arabs who admitted this was true.
70 percent of Israeli Arabs said they believed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took their fate into consideration, compared to 24 percent of Israeli Jews who answered the same question.
Twenty-four percent of Israeli Arabs, compared to one percent of Israeli Jews, said they believed the war in Lebanon had been launched primarily over control of the Shaba Farms region.
Eighty-four percent of Israeli Arabs said Israel should not have gone to war in Lebanon, while 21 percent of Israeli Jews believed it had been a mistake to go to war.
This post is a compendium of all three articles. For those who are interested in seeing how the Israeli media works, I recommend comparing the three articles to see what details each of them gives and what details each of them leaves out.
Israel to stay in Lebanon indefinitely?
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that as a result of UNIFIL's failure "to take its job seriously," Israel may stay in Lebanon indefinitely
. That's the upshot of a meeting that took place today among IDF officers, representatives of the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL commander. The IDF had planned to pull the last several hundred troops that remain in Lebanon out by the end of this week.
A source in the Northern Command said that the meeting, which took place Tuesday at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura - north of Rosh Hanikra - was a "failure" and that the IDF threatened to keep its soldiers inside Lebanon for as long as it took for UNIFIL to take its job seriously.
"We told UNIFIL that we plan to pull our troops out of Lebanon by Yom Kippur," a high-ranking officer said, referring to the Jewish festival this Sunday. "Although we haven't committed to a year."
The meeting exploded after the IDF demanded that UNIFIL adopt more combative rules of engagement. What particularly angered the IDF was an interview UNIFIL's commander Maj.-General Alain Pellegrini gave to The Jerusalem Post last week and in which he said the peacekeeping force would not actively engage Hizbullah guerrillas even if they were on their way or in the midst of an attack against Israel. [If they won't engage Hezbullah under those circumstances, what the heck is their job? CiJ]
"We demand more effective rules of engagement," the officer said. "If they don't adopt them, we are prepared to stay in Lebanon for as long as necessary."
In an official statement to the press Pellegrini said that the meeting was constructive. "It is my belief that with the necessary cooperation by both parties we should see the IDF leave South Lebanon by the end of this month," he said. [That's Saturday. I think he's dreaming. CiJ]
The following is a quote from Olmert's interview with the Post, which was published in this morning's print editions:
"I think it is a slow process, and sometimes some of the UNIFIL people - Pellegrini and others - because of all kinds of complex political considerations don't want to announce publicly that which might irritate some, but at the same time when you look at the ground and see what is going on you see the reality is that you don't see Hizbullah any place," Olmert said.
Olmert sounds positively Clintonesque.
The Washington Post's Lethal Harvest
Today's Washington Post has a 31-paragraph story entitled 'Lebanon's Lethal Harvest,' which enumerates Israel's alleged sins in dropping cluster bombs over Lebanon. Without offering a shred of evidence, the Post parrots an 'estimate' of "U.N. officials"
that 90% of the munitions were fired during the last 72 hours of the conflict. And we all know how unbiased "U.N. officials" are
when it comes to Israel....
But even if one accepts the assertion that the cluster bombs were dropped during the last 72 hours of the conflict, what's more appalling about this story is the complete lack of context. For it is only in the 26th paragraph of the 31-paragraph story that we are given even the smallest hint of why Israel might have dropped cluster munitions in southern Lebanon. And even then, the hint is just a hint and it lasts for one sentence - less than the entire paragraph:
Ali and some of his neighbors acknowledged that there were Hezbollah fighters in the town.
And just what were the Hezbullah 'fighters' doing hiding among civilians
of the 4th Geneva Convention
? The Post apparently feels that question can be ignored.
Chinless ophthalmologist favors another war, plans to bring human shields to Golan Heights
According to a report in Middle East Newsline, Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, buoyed by what he sees as Hezbullah's success in this summer's war against Israel, has ordered his military to prepare for a regional war
Israeli intelligence sources said Syrian President Bashar Assad has ordered a series of measures meant to bolster the preparedness of his military. The sources cited increased training, exercises, procurement as well as an examination of Israeli ground and air battles in Lebanon in July and August.
"We see signs of a new strategy in the Syrian military based on the lessons from the Hizbullah war," an intelligence source said. "It could take months until the picture becomes clearer."
The sources said the Intelligence Corps has detected Syrian activities in the Golan Heights that could mark preparations for another war. They said Syria appeared to be planning to bring people to the Golan to serve as a human shield during any conflict with Israel.
There's that Arab love of death coming out again. Especially when it's other people's deaths and not the leadership's deaths.
Official 'Palestinian' media calls Pope 'criminal and arrogant,' 'ignorant and stupid'
The cartoon on the left
appeared in the official Hamas weekly al-Risala.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Media Watch reports that on Fatah-controlled PA TV, a Hamas religious leader called the Pope "criminal and arrogant," "ignorant and stupid," and then warned the Pope to await his punishment.
The following came from the Friday sermon by Hamas religious leader, Dr. Osama Al-Mazini:
"The second message is for the criminal Benedict the 16th, the Vatican Pope. For this ignorant and stupid Pope, who has no one to attack besides Islam and the Prophet [Muhammad], may the Creator have mercy on him and protect him. He [the Pope] characterized Islam as a cruel religion, and characterized Muhammad, may the Creator have mercy on him and protect him, as a cruel man, spilling blood, who strove to kill. This hostile Pope refuses to apologize to Muslims; and, instead of apologizing he blames the Muslims for not understanding, thereby adding crime upon crime. This arrogant Pope sees the Muslims as too inferior that he should apologize to them. To this arrogant Pope - criminal and arrogant - this message is from Allah the Elevated and the Exalted, as it was said: 'Think not that Allah is unaware of what the wicked do. He but gives them a respite until a day when eyes will stare (in terror).' [Sura14:42]"
[Palestinian Authority TV, September 22, 2006]
Nice people. Why don't we solve all the world's problems by giving them a
Hezbollah moving rockets
near away from Israeli border
You just knew this would happen eventually given the weakness of the UN 'troops' in Lebanon. The only reason it took this long is that there were still (and are still - although very few of them) Israeli troops in Lebanon.
WorldNetDaily is reporting that Hezbullah has moved rockets
close to Lebanon's border with Israel again. As we will see, however, it seems like the opposite is true - that Hezbullah is moving its rockets away
from the border area to 'Palestinian refugee camps.' The report is based on 'Lebanese officials' - not Israelis - and it describes the movement of rockets into 'Palestinian refugee camps' that are located south of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. "South of Beirut" (and YNet has it as "just south of Beirut
") likely means north of the Litani River, which means that they are not moving into an area close to the border and long-range rockets - supposedly destroyed during the recent war
- would be required to do significant damage, R"L (God forbid). The Bekaa Valley is true Hezbullah country, but it is also nowhere near the border with Israel; if anything it is probably further away than "south of Beirut," being located in the Northeast part of Lebanon.
But this is apparently part of a larger pattern in which Hezbullah has been building bunkers - to replace the ones Israel destroyed in southern Lebanon - in the 'Palestinian refugee camps' where - according to WorldNetDaily - "the Lebanese army doesn't have the authority to patrol." Now there's an interesting statement. Consider the following:
1. How does a sovereign state have areas that are off limits to its army (and presumably police) without an agreement with another sovereign that has such authority?
2. Given that the Lebanese army is infested
(or Shiites who support
Hezbullah) anyway, would it really help if they were allowed to enter the camps?
The real question here is whether the UN force's mandate includes entering the 'Palestinian refugee campes' and if not, why not. (WorldNetDaily says that the UN forces are not authorized to enter the 'Palestinian refugee camps,' but there is nothing that says that anywhere in UN Security Council Resolution 1701
It should be noted that during Friday's 'victory speech,' Hassan Nasrallah claimed that Hezbullah still has 20,000 rockets - a claim that Israel has not denied. Of course, that has to make you wonder why we went into Lebanon in the first place since we apparently left most of his rockets in place.
Finally, there is this little tidbit from the WorldNetDaily article:
A senior Lebanese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND Hezbollah started building a new set of bunker systems, this time in Palestinian refugee camps.
"The Lebanese Army doesn't have the authority to patrol inside the camps," said the official. "Hezbollah knows it is safe there to rebuild their war bunkers, and they began doing so with Iranian help."
A second Lebanese official confirmed the information, which came one day after Israel's Army Radio reported Hezbollah was seen by the Israeli army dismantling 14 outposts near the border with Israel, removing rockets and equipment for transport.
According to Army Radio, Hezbollah members blocked entry to their outposts using bulldozers. Trucks then removed weapons and other munitions from the area. Vehicles also reportedly cleared furniture and equipment from the outposts.
From all of this, I would conclude that - contrary to the title of WorldNetDaily's article - Hezbullah is not
moving rockets towards
Lebanon's border with Israel, but into the 'Palestinian refugee camps,' that are located further away
from Lebanon's border with Israel than its former bases in southern Lebanon. The unanswered question is whether and how much of its earlier long-range rocket capability Hezbullah maintains, and whether how quickly it can or will be replenished by Iran and Syria. My gut feeling is that Hezbullah will lay low for a while until Iran can re-arm it with long-range rockets, and then Hezbullah may come after Israel again. When that happens (and at some point it will likely happen), we Israelis must hope that we will have a different government in place that will have less compunctions about going all out to defeat Hezbullah. The fact that the UN force has no mandate to go into the 'Palestinian refugee camps' can act in our
favor as well, since that should mean that the UN forces will not be in the IDF's way.
Second Temple treasures in Israel?
An article in the Times of London claims that the treasures of the Second Temple
, long believed to still be in Rome where they were taken after the Temple's destruction, are actually in Judea.
Sean Kingsley, a specialist in the Holy Land, claims to have discovered what became of the collection, which is widely regarded as the greatest of biblical treasures and includes silver trumpets that would have heralded the Coming of the Messiah.
The trumpets, gold candelabra and the bejewelled Table of the Divine Presence were among pieces shipped to Rome after the looting in AD70 of the Temple, the most sacred building in the ancient Jewish faith.
After a decade of research into previously untapped ancient texts and archaeological sources, Dr Kingsley has reconstructed the treasure’s route for the first time in 2,000 years to provide evidence that it left Rome in the 5th century.
He has discovered that it was taken to Carthage, Constantinople and Algeria before being hidden in the Judaean wilderness, beneath the Monastery of Theodosius.
Dr Kingsley said: “The treasure resonates fiercely across modern politics. Since the mid-1990s, a heated political wrangle has been simmering between the Vatican and Israel, which has accused the papacy of imprisoning the treasure.
“The Temple treasure remains a deadly political tool in the volatile Arab-Israeli conflict centred on the Temple Mount [the site of the Jewish Temple and the Muslim Dome of the Rock].
“The treasure’s final hiding place – in the modern West Bank . . . deep in Hamas territory – will rock world religions.” [The monastery is not exactly located "deep in Hamas territory." While I have never been there, here is a description of its location, which sounds like it's awfully close to the Green Line: "From Bethlehem a good (though narrow) asphalted road runs east to Bet Sahur and then northeast to the monastery of St Theodosius (12km/7.5mi). Founded in 476 by St Theodosius, a native of Cappadocia in Asia Minor, the monastery had a population of 400 monks in its heyday. It was destroyed by the Persians in 614, along with Mar Saba and St George's Monastery in the Wadi Qilt. Around 1900 it was reoccupied and rebuilt by Greek Orthodox monks." Beit Sahur is right next to Gilo and northeast of there sounds like somewhere near Beitar if I have my bearings correctly. CiJ]
Emperor Vespasian ordered the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem after a Jewish revolt and Roman forces took about 50 tons of gold, silver and precious art to Rome.
The Arch of Titus, built a decade later, depicts Roman soldiers bearing the sacred spoils on their shoulders. The Jews were expelled from Jerusalem and dispersed throughout the world.
Between AD75 and the early 5th century, the treasure was on public display in the Temple of Peace in the Forum, in Rome.
The Vatican has told Dr Kingsley that there is no evidence in its archives that the treasure resided in Rome from the medieval period onwards.
He said: “One thing is for sure – it is not imprisoned deep in Vatican City. I am the first person to prove that the Temple treasures no longer languish in Rome.”
Dr Kingsley’s sources include Josephus, a 1st-century Jewish historian who sometimes exaggerated but is an authority on Roman and Jewish history. Dr Kingsley also found evidence in, among others, the works of Procopius, a court historian of the Emperor Justinian, who died in AD562, and from Theophanes Confessor (c760-817), a Christian monk from Constantinople.
In Chronographia, which spanned AD284 to 813, Theophanes recorded that Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, loaded the treasures that “Titus had brought to Rome after the capture of Jerusalem” on a boat to Carthage in Tunisia in AD455.
In the first holy crusade in AD533, the Byzantine Belisarius seized the treasure from a royal ship fleeing the Algerian harbour of Hippo Regius. It was then shipped to Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium.In the 7th century, Persians sacked Jerusalem, killing thousands of Christians, and dragging the Patriarch, Zacharias, to Persia. Dr Kingsley believes that his replacement, Modestus, spirited away the treasures to their final hiding place in AD614.
Dr Kingsley will reveal his findings in God’s Gold: The Quest for the Lost Temple Treasure of Jerusalem, to be published by John Murray on October 5.
If it's really located where Kingsley claims it us, I wonder if the 'Palestinians' will even be interested in finding it. After all, they have destroyed many tons
of First and Second Temple ruins on the Temple Mount itself. Also, if the treasure were to be found, it would constitute yet another proof that the Temple existed, and Yasser Arafat, the 'Palestinian leader,' always claimed that the Temple never existed
. But I'm sure that the 'Palestinians' would be pleased to find the treasure and give it to Christie's or Sotheby's for auction - with the proceeds to go to the 'leaders.'Update 2:20 PM
I have been going back and forth about this with Stemir all morning long and it turns out I had my bearings wrong. Beitar would be west of Beit Sahur and the Monastery is to the East. I found another site which places it near the village of Ubaidyya
, which seems to be somewhere between Bethlehem and Ma'aleh Adumim. That's a desert area that is largely unsettled (not surprisingly) and I certainly would not classify it as "deep in Hamas territory."