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Saturday, March 31, 2007

If the Passover story were reported by CNN or the New York Times

For those of you who need a break....

Hat Tip: Nathan in Teaneck, New Jersey
Saeb Erekat, an Egyptian spokesperson, complains that slavery is justifiable given the Jews' superior weaponry supplied to them by the superpower G-d. The Europeans are particularly enraged by the latest Jewish offensive. "The Jewish aggression must cease if there is to be peace in the region. The Jews should go back to slavery for the good of the rest of the world," stated an angry French President Jacques Chirac.

Even several Jews agree. Adam Shapiro, a Jew, has barricaded himself within Pharaoh's chambers to protect Pharaoh from what is feared will be the next plague, the death of the firstborn. Mr. Shapiro claims that while slavery is not necessarily a good thing, it is the product of the plagues and when the plagues end, so will the slavery. "The Jews have gone too far with plagues such as locusts and epidemic which have virtually destroyed the Egyptian economy," Mr. Shapiro laments. "The Egyptians are really a very nice people and Pharaoh is kind of huggable once you get to know him," gushes Shapiro.
Read the whole thing.

Ban Ki-Moon tells Lebanese government Israel provided evidence of Hezbullah arms smuggling

On a visit to Lebanon, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told Lebanese security chiefs that Israel provided "evidence and pictures" of trucks crossing from Syria to Lebanon and unloading weapons. The evidence comes from those reconnaissance missions that Lebanon and the UN classify as violating UN Resolution 1701. You may recall that French UNIFIL troops even threatened to shoot them down. But the Lebanese government insists that no weapons are crossing the border.
Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who is opposed to Hizbullah and Syrian influence, said at a news conference with Ban in Beirut on Friday that the Lebanese government was trying to improve its monitoring capabilities but stressed that "not one single case of arms smuggling across the border" with Syria has been recorded.

His defense minister, Elias Murr, recently said that not a "single mosquito" is getting across the border, adding that Hizbullah did not need to resupply. On Friday, the defense minister again dismissed reports of arms smuggling through Syria as "not true."

But Hizbullah has boasted that it replenished its stockpile of rockets after the war.

Israeli warplanes have continued to fly reconnaissance missions over Lebanon though Beirut and the United Nations consider them a violation of the cease-fire and have demanded Israel stop the overflights. Israel has refused, saying they are vital intelligence-gathering missions. But an internal Israeli military document has said the flights are intended in part to pressure the international community to stop arms smuggling to Hizbullah guerrillas and release the two abducted Israeli soldiers.
I've said before that if Fouad Siniora wanted to survive in power, he would be a lot better off acting in concert with Israel. Too bad he can't or won't see it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hebron Arabs face death penalty for selling building to Jews

A building on the "path of blood" between Hebron and Kiryat Arba that Jews moved into last week was apparently sold to the Jews by two Arabs who now face the death penalty.
The Beit HaShalom, Peace House, located amongst Arab buildings between the Jewish enclave in Hebron and the neighboring large Jewish neighborhood of Kiryat Arba, was purchased two weeks for the sum of $700,000.

Immediately following the announcement of the transaction, Israeli police launched an investigation into the legality of the sale, and the Defense Ministry under the auspices of left-leaning Labor Chairman Amir Peretz began searching for grounds to expel the new Jewish residents of the building.

The resulting police investigation could not find any evidence of wrongdoing in the sale, and many within the police and defense establishment are acknowledging the sale was legal, albeit off-the-record.

Jewish Community Spokesman David Wilder claimed he does not see the arrests as proof of the legitimate nature of the sale. “We don’t need any proof that this was done legally, we know that the transaction was completely legal and the resulting police investigation confirmed this.”

The Jewish community in Hebron used numerous available channels to arrange the purchase. Much of the exchange took place in Jordan.

According to Wilder, at least one of the men involved in the sale did not know he was selling the building to a Jew.

“It is a disgrace that selling houses is considered a capital offense,” said Wilder. “This is a regular transaction that takes place everyday throughout the free world. That someone would be arrested for selling their home if they choose is preposterous.

I wonder where all the Human Rights organizations that station themselves in Hebron contending to look after the rights of Arabs in the city are now.

“The government of Israel should help these individuals to show that this type of law cannot continue in a free society,” Wilder added.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) has urged the Israeli government to work for the release of the Arabs involved in the sale.
I know. Give them a state reichlet.

Teddy Kollek = Judenrat

For all of you who grew up thinking that Teddy Kollek was a lovely little man who was Mayor of Jerusalem forever (1969-93), you're about to have your delusions shattered. And for that, I apologize. But you deserve to know the truth. Israeli politics is probably the most nasty back-stabbing politics in the world regardless of whose help has to be enlisted, and Teddy Kollek played with the nastiest of them. So, apparently, did the Israeli foreign ministry, which saw to it that the story did not come out until after Kollek's death in January.

Yediot Aharonot, the Hebrew parent of YNet is reporting that Kollek, the 'legendary Mayor of Jerusalem' was a British informer in the 1940's, who made sure that the Hagana would control the IDF once the State was established, and therefore that the Labor party would control the country and run it like its private bank account from 1948-77. Kollek did this by using his position in the Jewish Agency to inform on members of the Irgun (Menachem Begin's militia) and the Stern gang.
Kollek, who died three months ago, supplied the British intelligence agency with information about the activities of the Irgun and Stern Gang.

Beyond intelligence about the clandestine activities of the two groups, Kollek tried to help the British capture one of their most wanted men: Irgun leader Menachem Begin.

Begin commanded the Irgun from 1944 to 1948.

According to the newly released files, Kollek was instrumental in leading to the arrests of dozens of Irgun and Stern Gang members, the confiscation of arms, and the thwarting of numerous attacks against British interests.

Kollek's collaboration with the British came in the framework of a campaign waged by the Jewish Agency against the Irgun and Stern Gang, whose violent activities it deemed harmful to its political plans.


During a meeting with an MI5 officer on August 10, 1945, Kollek disclosed the location of a secret Irgun training camp in an abandoned building near Binyamina.

British forces raided the training camp soon after, arresting 27 Irgun members, including three women and a handful of commanders who topped Britain's list of most wanted underworld figures.

"It will be a great idea to raid the place," Kollek is quoted as telling his British contact during one of their meetings.

The British contact wrote in one of his briefings that success against "Zionist terror" depended on Kollek and his men.

Last year the British government opened its extensive intelligence library on MI5 activities in the '40s to the public.

The Israeli Embassy in London was particularly interested in file number 66968, which documented Kollek's collaboration with MI5.

The Foreign Ministry however asked that Britain freeze the release of Kollek's file so long he was alive.

Although many of Kollek's testimonies were omitted, his name appeared on the file in which he is referred to as "the source." His codename was Scorpion.

Kollek never admitted to having collaborated with the British against Zionist underground groups but in his autobiography he said that he was against the violence exhibited by the Irgun and Stern Gang, referring to their attacks as "anarchy."
The Jerusalem Post adds:
"Now the truth is finally crumbling out, it took years, but the truth is finally seeing the light," said Mordehai Tzipori, a one time Irgun (IZL) commander.

Tzipori was banished from then Palestine by the British, along with hundreds of other Jewish activists in 1944, as a result of his underground activity, and spent four years in Africa, only allowed to return after the establishment of the State of Israel.

He note that until the rise of the Likud Party to power in 1967 [should be 1977. CiJ], he and his comrades were virtually boycotted in the country.

"For years I waited to see when these documents would come out and now the truth is finally out," Tzipori said.

"Kollek's senior position in the Jewish Agency at the time, gave him access to sensitive information that the British wanted," said Yossi Kistir, the director of the IZL museum in Tel Aviv.

"The position of the Hagana at the time, eager to gain the confidence and support of the British, was not to allow any activity by splinter groups and they actively collaborated with the British, giving them lists of names of the Jewish organizations," said Yizhak Avinoam, a former Irgun commander in Jerusalem. "The British document are historic confirmations for the actions that the Hagana, in general, and Mr. Kollek in particular took against the Jewish underground," he said.

Avinoam was exiled to Kenya in 1947 and was incarcerated there for the next year and a half.

Prof. Yehuda Lapidot, a former Irgun member, who has written a book about the Hagana's cooperation with the British, said that even though Kollek admitted to assisting the British government - boasting about his cooperation in a historical letter to a British paper - successive Israeli governments tried to keep the issue away from the public.

"Until Begin's election victory in 1977, they tried to erase this chapter from the history of the Jewish people," Lapidot said, noting that in the first decade of the Jewish state this episode did not appear in Israeli history books.

"The fact is that a whole new generation of Israelis does not know about this history at all," he added. [For the record, 'they' is the Labor party and the Histadrut, which controlled the country until Begin's shocking 1977 electoral victory. CiJ]
Disgraceful and disgusting. But really not at all surprising.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Israel's nuclear plant

The JPost is reporting that Greenpeace held a press conference today to campaign against the 'dangers' of Israel's nuclear plant in Dimona.
A heavy water plant producing plutonium or tritium, facilities for reprocessing plutonium and uranium for the production of nuclear fuel, and facilities both for enriching uranium and for storing uranium waste, were all found at the campus for nuclear research in Dimona, according to a report released by the organization.


The Greenpeace report revealed existing faculties in Turkey, Israel and Iran and exposed a number of possible scenarios of a disaster at the Dimona plant.

According to the report, the most realistic causes of a disaster would be an accident at the heavy water plant and a leak of nuclear waste from the facility.

Similarly the report outlined radiological and chemical risks and maintained that the long life of the plant raised concerns.
From a later version of the same article:
An earthquake or an attack at the Nahal Sorek research reactor, located 30 km. from Tel Aviv, could have disastrous consequences, according to the report.

And a meltdown at the Dimona facility could increase cancer rates in an area up to 400 kilometers in radius, reaching Cyprus, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, it says.

"A reactor accident or leakage of nuclear waste from the facilities appears the most likely scenario," the report reads. "The consequences of an incident involving an explosion large enough to disperse plutonium from either the reactor or the reprocessing facility would be the most serious type of accident that could occur."

Nearby Yavne and the entire Tel Aviv area could face dire consequence from a release of radioisotopes being produced in the Nahal Sorek reactor, which has been in operation since 1960.
"People would be required to shelter within their homes, and possibly even be evacuated from an area several kilometers from the plant. Large-scale provision of potassium iodate (potassium-iodine) tablets to limit some of the long term impacts would also be required," the report says.

Finally, the report says Haifa's residents are at risk from an Israel Navy base whose submarines are capable of firing cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads. "The main hazard, apart from the actual use of a nuclear weapons, would be from maintenance or from an accident while the submarine was on patrol, if it were to be carrying nuclear-tipped cruise missiles," the report says.

"Plutonium burns easily and could create a toxic radioactive plume of plutonium particles contaminating a wide area downwind, a long-term environmental risk which can ultimately affect human populations."
Of course, an Iranian nuke shot at us would likely have worse consequences. And given that the Iranian nuke is likely a greater possibility, I would not want our government to give up our nukes. Assuming we have them of course. :-)

As far as I am concerned, the fact that Israel has (probably) had nukes for more than forty years and has never used them is the best guarantee that they will not be used rashly. Besides, this country is a democracy and democracies don't go around threatening the world.

The 'guided tour' of Israel's nuclear plant appeared on Channel 10 last year. It was based on pictures taken by Mordechai Vanunu and it's pretty interesting to watch. I had not seen it before I found a link to the video below, and I trust many of you have not seen it either. Enjoy!

'Moderate' threats

Is there any difference between when Israel is threatened by 'militant' 'Palestinians' and when it is threatened by 'moderate' 'Palestinians'? Not as far as I can tell.

Yesterday, 'our friends the Saudis' threatened Israel with war if we do not commit national suicide by accepting the 'Saudi plan' as is. Today, it was the 'Palestinians' turn. 'Moderate' 'Palestinian president' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen threatened violence if Israel rejects the 'hand of peace' offered by the 'Palestinians.' Here are some quotes from Abu Mazen at the closing ceremony of the Arab League summit in Riyadh today as reported by al-AP:
Demanding that amendments be introduced to the Arab peace initiative, is seeking to avoid the realization of peace.

I reiterate the sincerity of the Palestinian will in extending the hand of peace to the Israeli people ... we should not waste more chances in the history of this long and painful cause.

The entire region will be under renewed threats of war, explosions, as well as regional and international confrontations, as a result of the absence of a solution or the impossibility of implementing one.

We hope our summit would result in the formation of an Arab committee headed by the Saudi Arabian monarchy, the head of the summit, to follow up implementation of the Arab initiative.
Abu Mazen also called for a "negotiated settlement that will be sponsored by the international community and within the framework of an international peace conference in the region."

In the meantime, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the 'military wing' of 'moderate' Abu Mazen's 'moderate' Fatah movement has bragged that it shot two of the seven Kassam rockets that were shot at Israel from northern Gaza yesterday. And they promised that the $59 million (reduced from $86 million) that the Bush administration is sending to Abu Mazen, to strengthen his 'security forces,' will be used to attack Israel:
"Even if the American money and weapons reach only members of Fatah who are not involved in the resistance, it will find its way to the Palestinian resistance and be utilized for attacks against the Zionists," said Abu Ahmed, the northern Gaza commander of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group.


"This money is an attempt to generate civil war between Hamas and Fatah and to buy off Fatah. But we will never leave the political line of Yasser Arafat, who would not give up even one inch of Palestine," charged Abu Ahmed.

The terror leader said the infighting between Fatah and Hamas "was over." "Now there are only a few dozens who want it to continue, so maybe there will be localized infighting but we will not fall into this Zionist-American conspiracy of civil war," he said.


Earlier [yesterday], seven rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip aimed at nearby Jewish communities.

Abu Ahmed told WND his group fired two of the projectiles while the other five were launched by Islamic Jihad. He said the two rockets fired today were "dedicated to Yasser Arafat."

Abu Ahmed claimed his group launched the rockets in response to "Israeli threats to the Al Aqsa Mosque and criminal Israeli operations in the West Bank against our fighters."


Abu Ahmed's threats come as the Bush administration announced plans to ask Congress to approve $59 million for Fatah forces. The U.S. said the bulk of the new aid package – $43.4 million – will be used to strengthen Abbas' Force 17 presidential guard units.

According to the announcement, the sum includes $14.5 million for "basic and advanced training," $23 million for equipment, $2.9 million to upgrade the guard's facilities and $3 million to provide "capacity building and technical assistance" to the office of Mahmoud Dahlan, Fatah's strongman in Gaza.

The Bush administration in January pledged $86.4 million to strengthen the Fatah forces, including Force 17, Abbas' security detail, which also serves as de facto police units in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

At the time, Abu Yousuf, a Fatah militant from Abba's Force 17 security forces, told WND U.S. funds and weapons being transferred to his group would be utilized to "hit the Zionists."

Many Fatah security members from Force 17 are also openly members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. All Brigades leaders are members of Fatah.
Someone please remind me what the difference is supposed to be between Abu Mazen and Haniyeh and between Hamas and Fatah. I don't see any.

Arab non-commissioned officer suspected of arms dealing

A 29-year old 'Israeli-Arab' serving in the IDF as a non-commissioned officer has been arrested and charged with massive arms dealing.
The man, a mechanic by profession from a village near Nazareth, was apprehended three weeks ago along with four other suspects: another resident from his village, a man from Kfar Kanna, an Israeli Arab and a Tulkarm resident.

The suspect allegedly solicited other soldiers and NCO's into stealing weapons from caches and bases and sold them to dealers; The transactions surmounted to over hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Indictments will be brought against the suspects within the next few days.
If you are wondering where the arms 'dealers' sold them, here's a hint: Tulkarm is currently in the 'Palestinian Authority.'

The blind arrogance of Comrade Peretz

On Tuesday night, one of my kids came into my office giggling and announced that 'defense' minister Amir Comrade Peretz announced that if (God forbid) he wins the Labor primary next month, he would demand to be made Finance Minister instead of Defense Minister. I told my son not to worry - there is no way Peretz will be Finance Minister. And for all the same reasons he was not made Finance Minister a year ago.

But the fact that Peretz feels no shame in demanding that he be made Finance Minister says something very sad about the state of politics in this country. I'm not sure whether Peretz is blind to reality or he is just so arrogant that it doesn't matter to him. It's probably a combination of both.

This morning, the JPost's editorial dismembers Peretz limb by limb (there's a cruder way of saying it, and yes, they did that too). Deservedly:
To call it "comic" would certainly capture one aspect; "pathetic" another. But neither of these words encompasses the blind arrogance that Peretz's desperate act projects, or the sense of helplessness and anger citizens feel when confronted with politicians who so brazenly cling to power despite the near total loss of the public's confidence.


The best that can be said about Peretz's announcement is that he at least has indirectly admitted that he should not be defense minister. But if this is so he should resign. Whether he is given a different job is immaterial to his fitness for a critical security post at a time when our nation faces such serious threats.

If Peretz recognizes that he must step down, but will only leave if given a particular position, he is engaging in a form of political blackmail. This is not only unacceptable in its own right, but disqualifies him for any other senior government position.

These days, the ideal of public servants who will always put the public's interest ahead of their own seems somewhat quaint and, all too often at the highest levels, honored more in the breach than in practice. But even in our current cynical climate there should be limits to the degree this principle can be so blatantly flouted.

Given the public's view of Amir Peretz, and given the possibility that the current finance minister will have to resign under suspicion or in disgrace, can anyone argue that Peretz is the right man to revitalize the Finance Ministry?

We need leaders in the top echelons of government of whom the public can plausibly feel, at a minimum, that they are competent to do their jobs and will put the national interest above their own. Peretz has demonstrated a profound failure to do the latter, so there is no reason to think he would do so in a different ministry.

As it happens, Peretz would make a terrible finance minister on policy grounds alone, given his long career defending the most powerful public workers in the land. Our economy needs more, not less, of the reforms that raised growth and lowered unemployment, and that Peretz would fight tooth and nail.
For those who have forgotten, I called for Peretz's resignation on June 27, 2006 - just two days after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped:
At the Israeli ministry of defense, the buck stops with Defense Minister Comrade Peretz. When Peretz, whose highest rank in the army was Captain, was appointed Defense Minister there were fears that he would not be able to handle the position. There was talk about adding another Labor party MK who had been a general (Ephraim Sneh or Fuad Ben Eliezer) as his 'assistant' to actually run the Defense Ministry. But politics won out and no 'assistant' was appointed. And because Ehud Olmert wanted Labor in the cabinet and could not give Peretz the Finance Ministry (which Peretz really wanted, but which would have destroyed the economy), Peretz became defense minister. Regardless, that means the defense buck stops with Peretz. And if what the media are reporting is true, it is time for Peretz to resign.

Both HaAretz and the JPost are reporting that Ro'i Amitai, a solider who was wounded in the Kerem Shalom attack on Sunday, revealed today that troops had received a specific warning on Saturday about a tunnel that Palestinians had dug in the area and of plans to attack soldiers. The warning was ignored.

Amitai's statement appears to strengthen a similar claim made by the Shin Bet (General Security Service) that a specific warning had been passed on to the IDF. The IDF claimed that there was only a general warning of an attack in the area.

DF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today that there was a warning over the past 10 days on the general location between Sufa and the Kerem Shalom crossings, but no specific warnings.

As a result of the warning, both crossings were closed down.

Senior Shin Bet sources confirmed late Sunday that they had passed specific intelligence regarding the attack to relevant officials inside the IDF.

The information had included the precise location of the attack and the fact that a tunnel would be involved, but did not specify a time frame.

Defense Minister Comrade Amir Peretz, however, told reporters that the IDF had only received a general warning.

He said that the IDF had received a warning about a large-scale terror attack that was the background to a number of IDF operations over the last two weeks, including the targeted killing of Popular Resistance Committees leader Jamal Abu Samhadana (who planned Sunday's attack) and the recent incursion into the Gaza Strip on Saturday in which two Palestinian terrorists were arrested.

But IDF soldier Ro'i Amitai, the sole surviving member of the tank crew hit in the attack, said that his unit had received an intelligence warning just a day earlier, indicating Palestinians were digging a tunnel in order to carry out an attack.

The former head of the Knesset committee, MK Yuval Steinitz, said, "one of the failures was that the Shin Bet intelligence was not taken seriously."

MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) pointed out that Amitai had said that the soldiers had received a specific warning, and that there apparently had been a failure. "I can't understand why the heads of the [defense] establishment are trying to gloss over it," he said. Vilan was referring to both Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, both of whom claimed that the IDF had prepared adequately for the attack. I understand why they are trying to gloss over it: they would like to keep their jobs.

Unfortunately, what happened at Kerem Shalom is not even a subject of the Winograd Commission investigation. They are only looking into the events in Lebanon. Nevertheless, it is long past the time for Comrade Peretz to resign and return home to Sderot. It's the only thing he can do now that would benefit the country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Queers in Palestine Israel

How is this for a piece of sweet irony?
Arab lesbians gathered Wednesday in Haifa at a rare public event, quietly defying protests from Islamists and a taboo in their own society.

So strong is the antipathy toward homosexuality in their communities that only few of the Arab women in the crowd of about 250 were gay - a sign of how much Arab women feared being identified as lesbians, said Samira, 31, a conference organizer, who came with her Jewish Israeli girlfriend.

"We'd like all women to come out of the closet - that's our role. We work for them," said Samira, who battled her own family when they found out she was a lesbian.


Driven deep underground for the most part, only 10 to 20 Arab lesbians attended the conference, organizers said, and most blended in with their Israeli counterparts and Arab backers without making their presence known.


Many of the attendees said they were sad that the only place safe enough to hold a conference for gay Arab women was in a Jewish area of Haifa, which has a mixed Arab-Jewish population.

"This conference is being held, somehow, in exile, even though it's our country ... but it's not being held in Nazareth or Umm el-Fahm (two large Israeli Arab towns)," said Yussef Abu Warda, a playwright.

Outside the conference hall, 20 women protesters in headscarves and long, loose robes held up signs reading, "God, we ask you to guide these lesbians to the true path." Khadijeh Daher, 35, described lesbianism as a "sickness."

Security was tight. Attendance was by invitation only, and reporters were not allowed to take photographs, use tape recorders or identify people.

Even rapper Nahwa Abdul Aal, who performed for the gathering, didn't support the gays. "Being at this conference hasn't changed my mind," she said. "I still think it's wrong."
Can someone please explain why the queers are for 'Palestine'?

The Saudis threaten war and try to cut off Jewish immigration

There has been lots of activity over the 'Saudi plan' over the past three days.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice canceled a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert because he wasn't docile enough yet. Instead, she held a second round of talks with Olmert to 'overcome his objections.' (Hat Tip: Menachem in the Ramat Shlomo section of Jerusalem). As a result, Rice announced yesterday that Olmert and 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen would meet once every two weeks, which Rice termed a 'positive development.' But what will the 'meetings' discuss?
"The meetings between the Israelis and Palestinians will focus on two sets of issues. First, they will discuss immediate concerns like movement and access, management of the passages and preventing arms smuggling and rocket fire by terrorists in Gaza. On issues like these, the United States is already deeply involved in helping them. On this trip, however, it became clear to all of us that establishing clear benchmarks to measure progress will help us move forward. So this is one immediate task that the parties will undertake with the assistance of General Keith Dayton.

"In their discussions together, the parties will also begin to discuss the development of a political horizon consistent with the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with the road map. As I've noted before, we're not yet at final status negotiations. These are initial discussions to build confidence between the parties.

"Palestinians must know that their state will be viable. Israelis must know that a future state of Palestine will be a source of security, not a threat to it. Both sides must have confidence that economic and trade relations between them will promote the welfare of their populations.

"The efforts in which they engage will help to build confidence and therefore ease the path to negotiations to establish two states living side by side in peace and security.
It would be interesting to hear what Rice calls 'viable.' I'm not quite sure how a state that is split into two completely separate parts will ever be 'viable.' Especially when one part is land-locked.

The intrigue behind Rice's announcement is more interesting than the announcement itself:
Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni, whom Rice met earlier in the day, spent hours hammering the phrasing for presenting their concession to the US secretary, without being seen to have abandoned the Middle East roadmap, which is the central plank of this Israeli government’s foreign and peace policy.

They agreed that this was not the time for final-status talks, and that Rice would term the Israel-Arab diplomatic track a preface to the roadmap’s implementation. The US secretary argued that Israel has nothing to lose by engaging Arab representatives and would only improve its image. Olmert asked for the encounters to take place at the senior level of foreign ministers, in order to convince the public that his government had not been browbeaten into a concession contrary to national interests. But Rice could not make this promise. US-Israeli discussion on the framework for Israeli and Arab delegates to meet will continue.

But in Riyadh, meanwhile, the preliminary conference of Arab foreign ministers has already determined the mechanism and forum for the talks with Israel. They have opted for the UN Security Council and Middle East Quartet as sponsors, convinced that both bodies are powerful enough to impose a settlement on Israel. The US Secretary informed Olmert that she does not support this demand.
In the meantime, the Arab League summit has opened in Riyadh, and the Saudis had a very ominous statement regarding their plan - which the Arab League plans to adopt without ANY of the changes demanded by Israel and the United States (Hat Tip: J O S H U A P U N D I T):
"If Israel refuses {the Saudi/Arab League plan}, that means it doesn't want peace and it places everything back into the hands of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but in the hands of the lords of war," he said.

Prince Saud also dismissed any further diplomatic overtures towards Israel. "It has never been proven that reaching out to Israel achieves anything," he said.

In other words, Jews, take what we're offering or face jihad.

Contrary to the noises Condi Rice was making, the Arab league unanimously accepted the Saudi plan in its entirety, without the slightest modification or room for compromise.
But wait, it gets even worse:
Our Arab sources reveal that the two conditions will be incorporated in the final resolutions approved by the Arab League summit in Riyadh on Thursday.

1. Israel must halt Jewish immigration so that the Israelis leaving the country or revoking their citizenship are not replaced by newcomers.

2. The international community must condemn Israel’s High Court of Justice for authorizing targeted assassination of Palestinians in cases of security threats. Arab justice ministers will lobby international judicial bodies to elicit this condemnation.
And don't hold your breath waiting for the Israeli government to respond to this latest threat either.

Update 10:55 PM

As expected, the Arab League has unanimously adopted the 'Saudi Plan' without any of the changes demanded by Israel or the United States.

Egypt abandons flees Gaza

Middle East Newsline is reporting that Egypt has quietly 'withdrawn' its forces from Gaza in recognition of its lack of influence over the Hamas 'government.' It sounds to me that it is more out of fear for their lives. The Egyptians had sent a 100-member delegation to Gaza in mid-2006 to 'advise' the Hamas government. But that is no more:
Israeli sources said the 100-member Egyptian military advisory delegation that arrived in the Gaza Strip in mid-2006 has been recalled. They said two generals have remained, but spend most of their time in Israel to ensure their safety from Palestinian attacks.

"The Egyptians have lost influence with the Hamas government and found that they were under constant threat," an Israeli source said. "Under such conditions, it was better to pull out the advisers."
But just give the 'Palestinians' a state reichlet.

The cesspool in Gaza

From my friends at Cox and Forkum.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


A bunch of blithering idiots run Ehud K. Olmert's security detail.

It's not clear from the article when this took place, but a senior British diplomat was recently strip-searched before being allowed into a meeting with Olmert staffers. The government has formally apologized for the incident.
Janet Rogan is one of the top diplomats in Israel, but that apparently did not factor into the considerations of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's security detail.

Rogan, the deputy head of Britain's diplomatic mission to Israel, was accompanying a delegation of British Treasury officials who were holding several high-profile meetings with Israeli officials.

The delegation, en route to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's chief of staff Yoram Turbowicz and top foreign policy advisor Shalom Turgeman, had submitted the names of its members to Olmert's office in advance. However, when the group reached the office gate the group was not allowed in immediately.

The security guards demanded Rogan go through a physical security check, to which she refused, presenting her diplomatic credentials. An exchange of harsh words developed and Rogan was ultimately taken behind a screen and physically searched, having to lift up her shirt.

Rogan stated in her complaint that the other members of the delegation were shocked at what had transpired and that by the end of the process Rogan was upset and had begun crying.
Somehow, I am willing to bet, these things don't happen when 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen comes to Jerusalem. Maybe they should happen then.

The basics of runnning a state: roads and sewers

The 'Palestinians' showed today why they're not worthy of a 'state' and why giving them a 'state' will endanger their own population nearly as much as it will endanger the rest of the world. In the Gaza village of Umm Naser, at least ten people were killed when the wall of a large cesspool collapsed. At least thirty people are missing. Two hundred and fifty houses were affected by the sudden flood of sewage water, and the rest of the village has fled. Umm Naser is about 800 meters from Gaza's border with Israel. It could happen anywhere, right? Well, yes, except that the 'Palestinians' have to add their own unique touch:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz instructed the Gaza Liasion Administration to offer any assistance necessary to the Palestinians.

Sources at the administration said that they had been in touch with their Palestinian counterparts and offered medical aid, as well as the raw materials needed to fix the wastewater wall that caved in.

The Palestinians expressed their appreciation, but said that, for now, they were able to deal with the flooding on their own. [Wouldn't want to admit that the Jews could actually help, would they? CiJ]

Sources at the Gaza Liasion Administration said their offer stood, and they would help if requested to do so.

Angry residents drove reporters out of the area and mobbed government officials who arrived at the scene.

"We lost everything. Everything was covered by the flood. It's a disaster," said Amina Afif, 65, whose small shack was destroyed.
Even Indonesia accepted aid from Israel after the Tsunami a few years ago (not that they appreciated it - they didn't - but they took it anyway). And now, here's the effort to blame their problems on the rest of the world:
The Water Authority's Kawash said Gaza's poor infrastructure was to blame for the accident.

Several major sewage treatment projects funded by foreign donors, including one in Umm Naser, were frozen after Hamas won elections last year.

"We had a project to treat sewage in north Gaza, it was worked on for two years," Kawash said. "We built a pressure pipe line and pumping station," he added. "But it was stopped after ... troubles began."
But give them a state reichlet, and they will suddenly be more interested in running their sewer system than in destroying Israel. Yadda, yadda, yadda!

Another image that Hillary can't erase

Michelle Malkin has a post entitled "An image that Hillary can't erase." It's a picture of Hillary with a US serviceman, and if you aren't sure what's special about it, click on the picture and you will find out.

I, on the other hand, have a different image of Hillary that she cannot erase (and because of which I could never vote for her):

For those who cannot recognize whom Hillary is kissing, here's another view:

Amona Homesh

Three battalions of IDF troops and a detail of border police are currently awaiting orders to 'evacuate' 'several' hundred revenants who remain on the former site of the Jewish town of Homesh, whose Jews were expelled by the Sharon-Peres government - the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government's predecessor - in 2005. The revenants are the remainder of a group of some 2500 or more who made the march to Homesh yesterday on foot from Shavei Shomron, some six kilometers away.

All is not well, and what we are witnessing now may be the calm before the storm. IDF troops have prevented food from reaching the revenants although they claim to be allowing water supplies through. There is no electricity and it was quite cold last night - the revenants slept in sleeping bags and tents on the exposed hilltop. It is widely expected that the troops will attempt to forcibly remove the revenants, and visions of Amona (where a couple who met in last year's bloody expulsion married yesterday) are flashing through people's minds. A 'senior officer' in the IDF claims that the army has "no interest in violence," but some of the revenants at Homesh say that they will not leave voluntarily. The Jerusalem Post reports that the IDF will expel the revenants this morning, while YNet reports that if things 'stay calm' and their presence in the area 'appears to be temporary,' then they will be allowed to stay until tomorrow morning.

The left reacted with fury to the IDF's decision to allow the revenants to proceed to Homesh. They'd rather see heads bashed in as happened last year in Amona. One of the apparent differences is that this time the IDF seems to be taking the lead rather than the border police. It was the border police who perpetrated most of the violence at Amona. Having not heard of anyone 'refusing orders,' I have to believe that the IDF is not using religious units for this 'operation' - they would be too likely to include troops who are revenants themselves.

West Bank Mama reports that a brit mila (circumcision) of the son of a former Homesh resident took place there yesterday.

For those who have forgotten, the boy whose picture appears at the top of this post with a black eye is my son's former classmate Yaakov Tessler. He was beaten last year at Amona. The police who perpetrated the violence at Amona received disciplinary hearings rather than criminal charges.

Yesterday, the IDF announced that Roi Klein HY"D of Eli has been nominated for the medal of valor, which has been awarded just forty-one times in Israel's history (and which has not been awarded since the Yom Kippur War). Klein covered a grenade during the battle of Bint Jbeil last summer, killing himself but saving most of his troops. (One of the other soldiers killed in the same battle was Amihai Merhavia. Some of you may recall that afterwards pictures of Merhavia being beaten by police circulated on the internet and were published on this blog). The proposed posthumous award to Klein was viewed as a way for the IDF to try to make amends with the revenant community, which provides a disproportionate number of the IDF's officers and elite unit members, and which has had a lot of ambivalence towards the IDF since the expulsion. If there is violence today in Homesh, all bets are off.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Definitely an obstacle

This morning's Washington Post continues a longstanding tradition of giving exaggerated voice to 'Palestinian' apologists who continue to preach 'peace' out of one side of their mouths, while the other side - and the 'Palestinian people' - continue to make war. Today's 'Palestinian' apologist is Daoud Kuttab, who is trying to convince us all that the adoption of Hamas' platform by Fatah is actually an 'opportunity' to make peace piece by piece of Israel.
For the first time in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a majority of Palestinians, including the Islamists, are willing to accept a Palestinian state within the internationally acceptable borders of 1967. The implicit recognition of Israel in this is supported by clauses in agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel that included mutual recognition as well as respect for Arab and international resolutions and treaties. By demanding explicit recognition before negotiations can begin, Israel and others are being unreasonable. No other people without sovereignty has been forced to recognize an occupier whose borders are vague. By accepting an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza alongside Israel, the Palestinians have declared the borders of their own state and offer the possibility of mutual recognition through negotiation.
If the 'Palestinians' are willing to recognize the State of Israel's 'existence' (as if facts can be denied), whether explicitly or implicitly, they know exactly how to do so. Hamas, which is the dominant party in the 'unity government,' both in terms of votes and ideology, has said repeatedly that it does not and never will recognize Israel's 'right to exist.' It's high time that the world stopped trying to read what it wants into the 'Palestinians' words and listen to what they are actually saying. Especially to what they are saying in Arabic. Until the 'Palestinians' accept Israel's 'right to exist,' they have not accepted that what they are negotiating for is a state alongside Israel. And given that Hamas has repeatedly told the world that it will never accept a state alongside Israel, even as an 'interim solution,' the request is not at all unreasonable.

And speaking of things that "no other people" has been asked to do, I wonder if Mr. Kuttab can name another nation that has been forced to forfeit territory that it won in a defensive war in return for a piece of paper. I thought so....
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the supreme military commander, has called for an end to occupation through negotiations and has rejected outright the use of violence. While insisting on the people's right to resist occupation through any method, the unity government prioritizes nonviolent resistance. Furthermore, by seeking to extend the cease-fire in Gaza to the West Bank, the new government is offering an olive branch to the Israelis even before negotiations begin.
Insisting on "the people's right to resist occupation through any method" is a contradiction to rejecting "outright the use of violence." Even if the rejection were sincere (which it is not - the 'moderate' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen called for violence against Israel quite recently), it would be vitiated by the reservation of the right to "resist occupation through any method." Even the Post's own Jackson Diehl - who is far from a pro-Israel columnist - got this part right one week ago today:
As Israelis, especially, know all too well, conditions are anything but ripe. Both Abbas and Olmert are terribly weak; Olmert's popularity rating is in the single digits. Abbas has just been pressured by Hamas into accepting a "unity" government whose platform endorses continuing "resistance" -- i.e., violence -- against Israel.
There's lots more that can be said about this column, but most of it is repeating arguments I have made in the past. The key points are above.

If the 'Palestinians' 'return'

The New York Times attempts to convince us all that it's okay to give the 'Palestinians' a 'right of return' because they won't use it anyway:
Even having such a debate — rethinking a sacred principle — was once impossible. Now the discussion is centering on how to define the right of return in a new way. Some have come to see the issue as two separate demands: the acceptance, by Israel, that its creation caused the displacement and plight of the Palestinians; and the ability to move back to the lands they or their families left.

Almost no Palestinian questions the demand for Israel’s recognition of the right to return; many, however, now say returning is becoming less and less feasible.
Why should Israel accept that it was 'responsible' for creating the 'Palestinians' plight? Israel begged the 'Palestinians' to stay(!) while their Arab brethren urged them to leave so that they could murder all the Jews by throwing them into the sea. Then, during all the years when Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria and Egypt controlled Gaza, no 'Palestinian state' was created, and the 'Palestinians' were left to languish in 'refugee camps' at international (UNRWA) expense in the vain hope of one day finishing off what their Arab brethren could not do in 1948. In 1967, the Arab nations tried again, producing even more 'refugees,' and when Israel would have been willing to reach any deal with them, the Arab states instead produced the "three no's of Khartoum": No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel. Forty years later, only one of those no's (negotiations) has been violated.

For those Israelis who think we are going to make peace with the 'Palestinians' and that they will agree to drop this issue, which cannot be resolved with Israel remaining a Jewish state, think again:
But the prevailing Palestinian view is that the right of return is at the core of the dispute.

The issue of the refugees is the Palestinian problem,” said Talat Abu Othman, chairman of the Jordanian chapter of the Committee to Protect the Right of Return, an independent Palestinian organization. “The rest, Jerusalem, the settlements and the Palestinian Authority are details. It is not about getting a few inches here or there, it is about the return itself. And even by demanding our return, we are walking away from some of our rights.”
The Times tries to reassure us that in the end they won't want to come back. All they want is a little apology and a lot of money:
Most Palestinians who fled to Jordan were granted citizenship and today account for well over half of the country’s population. Palestinian refugees living elsewhere, however, have survived with few rights and no citizenship.

A few Palestinians in Jordan now propose a more negotiable stance that seeks recognition from the Israelis, but also offers terms for restitution.

The right of return “is my right, which I have inherited from my parents and grandparents,” said Maha Bseis, 39, a Palestinian whose family comes from Jerusalem. “But if I have the right, I will not return because I was born and grew up here.”

In 2003, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in one of the most comprehensive surveys conducted on the subject, found that most Palestinians would be unlikely to move if they were granted the right of return.

“Once the Palestinian narrative is assured, then the tactical issue of where they will go becomes easy to approach,” said Khalil Shikaki, who directs the center. “Everybody wants the emotional question addressed; everybody is happy with the likely modalities.”

He added, “The novel aspect of the survey is, once we gave assurances about the right of return, the other issues became very resolvable,” meaning that many said they would take compensation and would not move.

For Abdallah Zalatimo, 41, the decision on where he will go was made long ago. Born in the United States while his father, a physician from a prominent Jerusalem family, was doing his specialization, Mr. Zalatimo returned to Amman in 1976, before attending college in the United States.

In the late 1980s he opened a business making Arabic sweets that has grown to include shops in several Arab countries with several million dollars in revenues.

“What right do I have to ask for awda when I am here and content?” Mr. Zalatimo said, using an Arabic word for return. “We’ve been accepting less and less every year. What are we holding out for?”

Mr. Zalatimo said the nearly singular focus of many Palestinian refugees on returning detracted from the daily hardships of Palestinian refugees living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, people who had far fewer options and whose conditions were far worse.

“I think the Palestinian cause today is about helping the Palestinians in the occupied territories to live a better life,” Mr. Zalatimo said. “My pressing issue is to solve the problems of the Palestinians that are living there.”
Alas, focusing on the 'Palestinians' in Jordan clouds the issue. Jordan is the only country in the Arab world that has granted some of its 'Palestinians' citizenship. If the 'Palestinians' are allowed to 'return,' does anyone really think that all the stateless 'refugees' who are being held prisoner in camps in Lebanon and Syria and Egypt and Iraq will not return? And if they choose not to return, does anyone really believe that the likes of Bashar al-Assad or Hassan Nasrallah or Hosni Mubarak will not forcibly expel them from their homes and force them to return?

If Israel concedes this issue even slightly, it will be opening the floodgates. If Israel concedes this issue even slightly, there will no longer be a Jewish state.

And this is without even considering that the numbers of 'refugees' are grossly inflated anyway. UNRWA counts anyone who wants to be counted as a 'refugee.' We cannot and should not.

Orly Azoulay on Ban Ki-moon Ban Dhimmi-moon

Perhaps, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's refusal to stand up to the Saudis when they denied a visa to Israeli journalist Orly Azoulay is typical for the UN Secretary General. That certainly seems to be the case from reading Azoulay's description of him on YNet:
The problem is that Ban's biography does not include a single detail that qualifies him for the assignment at hand in the Middle East. He comes from a different background and culture, and before taking up the secretary general's office he was primarily involved in East Asian politics. The vicissitudes of our region are unfamiliar to him.

Against this backdrop we can perhaps understand Ban and his delegation's astonishment when organizing their tour. They quickly discovered that in the Mideast a word is not a word, a meeting is not a meeting, and all plans are susceptible to change.


It appears that after just two days in the Mideast a little of the optimism that accompanied Ban and his delegation when they first set out on their voyage has already dissipated. The UN secretary general has many creative ideas, but it seems as though he is beginning to understand that it is more complicated than he had estimated.

He brings with him smiles, he is soft spoken and has a pleasant demeanor, but his refined manners are perceived as a weakness here. The history of the region proves that what is needed here are elbows and fists. Ban Ki-moon doesn't use that, and therefore his mission of peace is destined to end with naught.
Unlike Kofi Annan, the current Secretary General means well. Too bad he's apparently too weak to be effective. Azoulay is right - you have to have elbows and fists in this region. Otherwise, the Arab League will walk all over you.

Deja vu all over again in the northern Shomron

A group of Jews has vowed to return to and re-settle Homesh in northern Samaria. Homesh is one of the towns whose Jews were expelled by the Sharon government in August 2005. This is from an anonymous email I got:
On Monday -- back to the Northern Shomron!!

"When the black-uniformed Deportation Forces dumped us in busses and as we saw the houses of our yishuv getting further and further away , even then, we saw the most horrible sight imaginable: hundreds of Arabs dancing near our yishuv, with PLO and Hizbullah flags in their hands. We swore at that time, that we would not rest until we return to our homes ."
-- Yossi Dagan, one of the Jews deported from Northern Shomron

This coming Monday, 26 March (7 Nisan), 30 families will be returning to Chomesh in the Northern Shomron. In order to ensure their success in actually getting there and in overcoming negative media, it is VERY VERY IMPORTANT for many ordinary people to come along with them. So -- it's offical. You are hereby cordially invited to Chomesh on Monday!

Busses cost 20 NIS and are leaving from the following locations (but you MUST register - otherwise you may find a full bus when you get there)

Petah Tikva: 12 noon from the Iriya. Register with Yonatan, gormezan@zahav.net.il or 0523527313.

Rehovot: 11:30 AM from Herzl corner of Yaakov. Register with Yedidia, 0526302222.

Raanana: 12 noon from Yad laBanim. Register with Yedidia, 0526302222.

Jerusalem: 12 noon from Binyanei haUma, register with Yedidia, 0526302222.

Haifa, Zichron, Hadera: 11 AM from Checkpost junction and Kiryat Shmuel. Register with Shlomo, 0522366555.

Kiryat Shmona, Golan, Rosh Pina, Safad: Register with Shaul, 0526070117.

Tsomet Golani, Tiberias & Afula: Register with Miriam 0524370629.

Nahariya, Acco, Krayot: Register with Yehiam, 0548035448

Other locations: For 10 people and over, call 0526302222 by SUNDAY MORNING and we will arrange a ride for your group!

Missed your bus? It's easy to use public transport. Get to Netanya, then take Bus 73 to Shavei Shomron from which you will walk to Chomesh with everyone else. For details -- Egged *2800 or 03-6948888 or www.egged.co.il.

Coming by car? Drive to Shavei Shomron or Einav. Can't get there? Park at the main parking lot of Karnei Shomron and try and get a "tremp" from someone (ask at the gate).

Staying for several days? Bring warm clothes and preferably night gear. Bring food and water for at least a day or two.

Working on Tuesday -- or need to get home same day for any other reason? Use public transport to get home. Return from Homesh to Shavei Shomron or Kdumim first: simply ask the sadranim or other marchers where you might find a group or car going back. Then, take an Egged or Dan bus to wherever you want to go. From Shavei Shomron to Netanya at 3:15 PM or 5:35 PM or 7:15 PM or 8:05 PM (Egged, 03-6948888). Or, take Egged from Kdumim to Jerusalem -- at 3:45 PM ONLY. Or, go from Kdumim to Tsomet Raanana at 3:55 PM, 5:15 PM, 7:05 PM, 8:15 PM or 9:10 PM using a Dan bus 03-6394444). Or, go to the gate of Shavei Shomron and try your luck at getting a "tremp" to somewhere close to home!

*Special note: If you have 30 people who are coming with you and want to return home the same day, call Yedidia by SATURDAY NIGHT and he will arrange a special vehicle just for your group, there and back.

Little kids? They are welcome. Bring stuff for them to do including tape, colored pens and paper to decorate Shavei Shomron with appropriate signs -- or little candies or flowers for them to give out to the 30 families and other marchers. Also, bring plastic bags so they can collect nature specimens in this beautiful part of the country. That way, they can stay busy and happy in Shavei Shomron (which has playgrounds...) if they're tired or very young. Or, if they feel up to it when you get to Shavei, they can go to Chomesh together with everybody else. Remember that you go to Chomesh ONLY in organized groups with the appropriate security measures, not all by yourself.

Security problem? Legal problem? Call the Security Hotline at 050-9152277 or 050-9162277 or the Legal Aid Hotline at 1599-504020.

See you on Monday, have a great time everybody! from MATTOT ARIM

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Now as you might imagine, the government is not taking this lying down. In fact, they are threatening Amona-like violence, two year jail terms and imposing costs of their operation on the people they catch.
The Israel Defense Forces and police will invest only limited effort in preventing right-wing activists from marching Monday on the ruins of the former West Bank settlement Homesh, but warned that protesters would be evacuated by force if they tried to resettle the area.

Security forces estimate that they will be outnumbered by about three times the number of protesters expected to participate in the march on the former northern West Bank settlement, which was evacuated as part of the disengagement in 2005.

The IDF believes that at least 5,000 people will participate in the march, but only 1,000 policemen and Border Policemen and 500 IDF soldiers will try to block access to the site. With this ratio, the IDF knows the chances of completely blocking all the participants from reaching Homesh are slim.


Settlers planning to march said Sunday that they had reached a "security understanding" with officers during the meeting.

According to the organizers, the understanding with the security forces follows IDF warnings that if the roads to Homesh is blocked, the settlers would be forced to make detours through Arab villages, some of which are hostile. Fearing this scenario, said the organizers, the IDF decided to allow the protest march.

However, the IDF on Saturday warned settlers not to execute their plan, and notified them that the penalty for resettling an area evacuated in the disengagement is two years incarceration. The police also sent a warning letter to the organizers of the operation.

The IDF asked the organizers of the operation, called 'Homesh First' to promise not to stay in the former settlement permanently. Organizers have refused to make this commitment.

Military sources deny having reached an agreement with the organizers. The IDF said its primary goal is to avoid the resettlement of Homesh, and said an effort would be made to block the marchers' way before they reach the site. Nevertheless, the army is taking into account the possibility that a few activists will infiltrate the area.


IDF sources have stated that the army and the police will do everything possible to prevent the founding of an outpost on the ruins of Homesh, but have expressed doubt if it will possible to do so, as the ruins of Homesh are not fenced-off or closed.

The army on Saturday warned settlers intending to return to the Homesh area to abandon their plans to try to rebuild the settlement saying that the punishment under law for anyone who enters territories evacuated under the Gaza Disengagement and attempts to resettle the area is two years imprisonment.

"In view of media reports that Israeli citizens intend to enter the area of the evacuated settlement Homesh during the Passover holiday in order to reestablish the community," the warning said, "the IDF and the Israel Police wish to emphasize that the law enabling the disengagement bans Israeli citizens from entering and staying in the area without permission."

The army warned that "all means necessary to preserve law and order in the area" would be employed and that anyone violating the law is subject to consequences.

The police have also released a warning to organizers of the Homesh event saying that in addition to criminal charges, event organizers and participators could be subject to paying punitive damages to the state for costs accrued by security services as a result of the event.
The Jerusalem Post adds that the IDF is apparently taking this personally:
Security sources said they hoped the event would not turn violent but that they were prepared to use force to uphold the law. In February 2006, close to 300 people were injured in clashes between police and right-wing activists at the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona.

"We will do everything possible to prevent the events of Amona from recurring," a police source said. "But the organizers should know that violence against security forces will not be tolerated."

According to the current plan, the IDF will encircle the hilltop to try to prevent the marchers from reaching the area, and police will be responsible for evacuating activists who succeed in reaching the settlement ruins. A number of roadblocks will be set up in the area to prevent access to Homesh.

IDF sources slammed event organizers, saying that the military and police would have to divert "precious resources" from training and anti-terror operations to deal with the illegal march.

"Soldiers who need to be in training are going to have to instead deal with these right-wing activists who are breaking the law," an officer said. "Especially following the Lebanon war, we would have expected the organizers to understand that our time and resources are precious."
YNet reports that "several hundred right-wing activists have already arrived at nearby settlements, where they plan to spend the night and then head for Homesh in the morning." Sounds like tomorrow is going to be a big day.

Update 12:41 AM

I just got the following anonymous email:
The IDF gave their OK this evening -- see you in Northern Shomron tomorrow!!

VERY GOOD NEWS!! The army has OKed the event at Chomesh tomorrow -- this was publicized via Kol Yisrael this evening. This is a very important step that the army has taken toward us. Remember only a day or two ago all the media had been told that the army was so opposed that they were even threatening to sue all the participants!! However -- the army's important decision MUST be reciprocated by excellent participation at our end. While we are pleased to report busses filling up at all locations we ask that you please take heart from the army's positive decision and simply come. To do so please register IMMEDIATELY by phone (see below) if you have not yet done so. If you are told the bus is full simply ask to be put on stand-by. See you all tomorrow, here are the particulars again. Good luck to all and nesia tova from MATTOT ARIM.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pays homage to Arafat

Well, at least he refused to meet with Hamas. But in addition to his doing nothing about the Saudis' refusal to admit an Israeli journalist to their country, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also perpetuated the myth that there is a difference between Hamas on the one hand and 'moderate' 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, Fatah, and the thankfully dead Yasser Arafat on the other hand. Ban went to visit Arafat's Ramallah grave today.

Hat Tip: NY Nana

And lest you have any doubts about how the 'Palestinians' are playing this:
PA Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti told an Arabic radio station that Ban’s meeting with Abbas was an official recognition of the Hamas-led PA government. "This government is a single team," Barghouti said. "Whoever meets with one member is meeting with the entire government."
But wait, it gets 'better':
Earlier Sunday, Ban visited Bethlehem and the Gush Etzion region south of Jerusalem. He said there that the wall being built by Israel does not “serve the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority” and called for its removal.

Ban later met with the parents of PA Arabs serving time in Israeli prisons for involvement in terrorist activity.

The secretary-general also visited the grave of Yassir Arafat in Ramallah Sunday. He laid a wreath of white flowers on the site before closing his eyes in meditation. Ban will meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday and be taken on a tour of the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum’s Holocaust Art section Monday by government officials.
Sounds like the guy can't decide which side he's on....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saudis bar Israeli journalist in UN Secretary General's entourage

J O S H U A P U N D I T is reporting that Saudi Arabia has refused to admit an Israeli journalist who is traveling on a French passport as part of UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon's entourage. The journalist, Orly Azoulay, is the Washington bureau chief of Yediot Ahronot, known to Anglos as YNet. Curiously, YNet does not appear to be covering this story. Freedom Fighter notes:
When the Saudi consulate in New York returned the passports of the 11 news reporters and broadcasters to United Nations headquarters on Friday afternoon, only Ms. Azoulay’s bore no Saudi visa. Ms. Montas said this occurred despite repeated appeals to the Saudis during the week from Vijay Nambiar, Mr. Ban’s chief of staff.

According to her, the Saudi mission is not returning calls from United Nations officials, and it's fairly obvious that Ms. Azoulay will be not be allowed to accompany the UN to Riyadh.

In contrast, the `racist, apartheid' nation of Israel granted visas to all 11 news people, including at least 3 who are Arab- or Iranian-born and traveling on European passports.


Of course, the UN delegation and the other press personnel could react to this blatant racism by simply not going to Saudi Arabia, and issuing a statement as to why. That would be the moral and decent thing to do, to show that they have no tolerance or sympathy for it.

The UN's reaction?

Ban Ki-Moon, the UN delegation and the remaining press are expected to be in Riyadh on Monday, the 26th as planned.

And the Israelis are supposed to try and seek `normal relations' based on a plan developed by the Saudis, who won't even allow an Israeli in their country!
Even the Syrians weren't this bad. In 1995, US Secretary of State Warren Christopher traveled from Jerusalem to Damascus. One of the reporters who accompanied him was David Makovsky, then of the Jerusalem Post, traveling on an American passport. Or perhaps, the Syrians were just as bad but Warren Christopher was more willing to stand up for an (American) Jew than was Ban-Ki Moon.

If there's a press conference after Monday's meeting, let's hope one of the journalists has the guts to ask why Azoulay was barred.

Who will take on Iran?

At Right Wing Nuthouse, Rick Moran presents evidence that a US attack against Iran is imminent, but then finishes off by saying that given the current mood in Congress, President Bush would be writing his own articles of impeachment if he attacked without congressional approval. While we're getting far enough into Bush's second term that it seems less likely that there would be time to impeach President Bush, Rick neglects another interpretation of all the US troop movements he cites: could the US be preparing to provide logistical cover for an Israeli strike? Let's consider the pros and the cons:

Pros (for an Israeli attack):

1. Ehud K. Olmert is desperately in need of a distraction from his domestic troubles.

2. It is widely accepted in Israel that if no one else takes care of Iran before it goes nuclear, we will have to.

3. If the US plays along and allows Israel to overfly Iraq on the way, the mission becomes much easier to accomplish. It would still require a flight over Jordan on the way there, but if the US can open bases in Turkey and Bulgaria, an Israeli escape from Iran becomes much easier. But that's still much simpler than going around the Persian Gulf as has been discussed in the past.

Cons (against an Israeli attack):

1. If the IDF does not take out all the nukes, the Iranian response could be nuclear. It would also almost certainly precipitate a war with Hezbullah and Syria on our northern border (a war I have already predicted for later this spring).

2. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned this week that the IDF will not be ready to handle another war for months. (But could he be bluffing?).

3. The mission to take out the Iranian nukes is still a long and risky flight, and if the IDF tries and God forbid fails we will still draw retaliation.

Which will it be? As Rick sums up:
Wild speculation to be sure. As is this entire article. But when enough people are whispering that something is about to happen, you can either ignore it as gossip or take it as a sign that things are going on behind the scenes that we, the public, may not be privy to.
And that is the one thing about which we can be sure here: We don't know everything that is going on.

Anti-Mubarak demonstration in Washington tomorrow

Rantings of a Sandmonkey gives notice of a demonstration against Egyptian President strongman Hosni Mubarak. Let's just say that I would feel a lot more comfortable telling you all to go if I was convinced that the alternative was something other than the Muslim brotherhood.

Carnival of the Insanities

The weekly Carnival of the Insanities has been posted, and yours truly has been linked once again (the hits from this carnival seem to come instantly so I can only believe it's quite popular - never checked her site meter). Make sure you go check out the most insane carnival on the web.

Haveil Havalim # 111 is up

Haveil Havalim # 111 is up at a new blog for this carnival - Daf Notes. As a long time Daf Yomi learner, I suggest that you all check out this week's carnival as well as the other posts on Daf Notes. Lots of good stuff there (already added to my links).

Cuba leading effort to dismantle the UN Human Rights Council

This is rather amusing. Cuba, a leading human rights violator, is leading an effort to dismantle the UN 'Human Rights Council.' And you (and I) thought that the council only 'investigates' Israel....

Hat Tip: Toasted Bread

Deutsche Welle, a German online magazine is reporting that in light of the well-received report of the 'Human Rights Council' regarding human rights violations by the Sudanese government in Darfur, Cuba and other human rights violators on the council are seeking to strip it of its "special procedures," which enable it to investigate human rights violations:
The 47 member states of the new UN watchdog, which was set up last year to replace its discredited predecessor, are quietly negotiating a package of measures which will define its role.

At stake is the fate of "special procedures" -- independent investigators appointed to report on countries where abuses are suspected. The former Secretary General Kofi Annan described these rapporteurs as the "crown jewels" of the UN human rights machinery.


Its 13 special rapporteurs on countries, retained for now from the former UN Commission on Human Rights, include experts probing suspected abuses in Belarus, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea.

One such investigator, Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, issued a much-anticipated report on Darfur March 12 which blamed Sudan for orchestrating war crimes across Darfur.

Still, some countries singled out for this attention, and their allies such as China, say such finger-pointing is selective and politically motivated. They want to abolish the investigators. [I wonder if China would agree that the finger-pointing at Israel - which takes up nearly all of the council's time - is politically motivated. CiJ]

Cuba -- which has never allowed a visit by the special rapporteur on Cuba, Christine Chanet -- is leading the charge to dismantle country investigators.

Those opposed want that countries should submit their own reports on their domestic records [sic - probably a poor translation from German but you all get the idea. CiJ]. They add there intrusive investigators are unnecessary.

"The perpetuation of country-specific mandates, imposed by force and blackmail, would maintain the spiraling confrontation that did away with the authority and credibility of the defunct Commission on Human Rights," Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said in a speech last week.
The article goes on to note that the EU wishes to retain the special procedures.

Hmm.... If they do away with the 'Human Rights Council' who will investigate all the 'human rights violations' in Israel?


And note that Israel is not even MENTIONED in the article.

Fatah al-Islam

There have been several reports out of Lebanon over the past few weeks about a Syrian-backed terror group called Fatah al-Islam. The organization was responsible for attacks against two buses in the Christian village of Ain-Alaq in which three people were killed in February. This is from al-Jazeera quoting Lebanon's interior minister:
Hassan al-Sabaa said on Tuesday that the men being held by the Lebanese authorities were members of Fatah al-Islam, a small Palestinian group which he linked to Syrian intelligence.

"It is no secret that Fatah al-Islam is Fatah al-Intifada, and Fatah al-Intifada is part of the Syrian intelligence-security apparatus," al-Sabaa told reporters.
Fatah al-Islam broke off from Fatah al-Intifada last year. Unlike Hezbullah, Fatah al-Islam is a 'Palestinian' group:
The breakaway group accused the Lebanese government of trying to pave the way for an offensive against the dozen or so camps in Lebanon, which house more than half of the country's estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees.

It first emerged in the Palestinian refugee camp of Bedawi in north Lebanon.

"If a man had been killed in the Amazon forest, Fatah al-Islam would have been accused of his murder," the group said in a statement.
Like all 'Palestinians,' Fatah al-Islam has marked Israel as one of its targets. "Our main objective is to combat the Jews in Palestine. We want to plant the banner of Islam in Palestine," one Abu Salim told Agence France Presse. Naharnet, a Lebanese news agency, is reporting this morning about Fatah al-Islam's training activities in Lebanon:
The training generally takes place at night to maintain secrecy. The recruits learn how to handle the arms near one of the group's offices in the camp under the watchful eye of black-clad guards.

In a hangar, the militants are introduced to medium and heavy weaponry, including anti-tank rocket launchers and cannons.

The Palestinian group counts about 150 militants among its ranks, some of whom have fought against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. The group also has the largest arsenal among the various armed factions in Nahr al-Bared [the 'Palestinian refugee camp' in which the 'training' takes place. CiJ].
And although they deny it, Fatah al-Islam is apparently linked to al-Qaeda. So when former UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini of Italy told a press conference in Paris last Thursday that "The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is facing threats from radical Islamic groups with ties to al-Qaeda network" and then goes on to refer to "small Sunni groups," it's not Hezbullah (which is Shiite) but Fatah al-Islam that he had in mind. Keep an eye on them.