Video: IDF preparing for war on Israel's northern border?
In preparation for a possible conflict erupting on Israel's northern border, troops from the army's Golani Brigade conducted a large military exercise in the Golan Heights on Wednesday - the very area Syria insists that Israel return in exchange for 'peace' with Israel in the future. Accompanied by deputy Chief of Staff Maj.Gen. Dan Harel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak watched the troops close at hand as they conducted firing exercises and practiced attacking "enemy positions."
On Tuesday, a senior Syrian analyst with close ties to President Bashar Assad declared that Damascus will never sever its ties with Tehran or Hezbullah even in the framework of a peace agreement with Israel.
Video: Surviving the Holocaust: Zanne Farbstein's story
Zanne Farbstein was 16 years old when she was deported with her two younger sisters to Auschwitz. While working as a slave laborer, Zanne found her father's prayer shawl while sorting through the clothing of the prisoners who had been murdered in the camp. Zanne survived Auschwitz, and moved to Israel with her few surviving family members, where she began a new life (Hat Tip: NY Nana).
Canada's National Post reports that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has no plans to block mail between Canada and Israel - yet (Hat Tip: Rightcanuck via Little Green Footballs).
This just in: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers "has no plans to block mail to and from Israel as of yet." That's a direct quote (with my emphasis added) from the union's national president. The line appears in a letter sent to the National Post today in response to my column about CUPW's loopy foreign-policy pronouncements. The letter, which will appear in tomorrow's print edition of the National Post appears in whole below.
Re: Jonathan Kay asks: Now that CUPW is boycotting Israel, will Canada Post deliver mail to the Israeli embassy? April 28. If Jonathan Kay admits “I’m no labour expert”, why does he direct questions about the internal workings of CUPW to everyone except the union itself? If he had bothered to ask us, we would have supplied a pretty simple answer: Unlike the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinian mail, CUPW has no plans to block mail to and from Israel as of yet. Our concern is that the policies of the Government of Israel are unjust and violate international law; therefore we will be encouraging our members to boycott Israeli made products. We are taking this position because over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations have called for a global campaign similar to the one applied to South Africa in their apartheid era. These measures will continue until the Israeli government recognizes the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, puts an end to military assaults, hydrocide and other acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, and until Israel fully complies with international law, including a raft of UN resolutions. It’s time to push for a fair and just settlement so that both Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace. Sincerely,
Denis Lemelin National President, CUPW
Is CUPW involved in any other political conflicts outside of Canada? Do they worry about Christians in Iraq, Zorastrians in Iran, Copts in Egypt or non-Muslims in the Sudan? Anyone want to bet that the answers to those questions are "none" and series of no's? So why are they suddenly so concerned about 'Palestine' and the fake 'Palestinian people?'
At Atlas Shrugs, Pamela reports on the City of Cambridge's 'peace commission' which apparently has the unanimous support of the uber-liberal Cambridge (Massachusetts) city council.
“It’s best not to practice your Hebrew with Palestinians even if someone uses it with you.”
·“It is better not to wear a kippah or yarmulke in Palestinian communities. Again, while hosts are glad to meet Israelis and Jews, there are many eyes and ears watching for collaborators.”
·“Israeli settlers and soldiers disguise themselves (as tourists or Palestinians) and also enter Palestinian areas boldly without disguise.”
·“If a host gives you a kuffiya (traditional Palestinian headdress for men) or other clothes to wear, it is a good idea to put them on. It will help you blend in with the community, which may be important for local security. It communicates that you belong.”
The above “travel tips” were used in orientation sessions for The City of Cambridge Peace Commission as part of their official mission to Bethlehem last winter. Working closely with the Cambridge to Bethlehem People to People Committee, The Peace Commission’s solidarity mission was given a rousing sendoff by every member of the Cambridge City Council last November.
Not every municipality in this country is fortunate enough to have a Peace Commission, but, thanks to the foresight of the ever-Progressive archons of correctness, Cambridge crafted their agency more than 25 years ago to defend its citizens from the ravages of nuclear war. And so, while the rest of us wrong-thinking retrogrades are becoming toast on Massachusetts Avenue after the Big One drops, the enlightened citizens of Cambridge will survive to bond with revolutionaries from Nicaragua to Gaza.
Read it all. Only in Massachusetts does every city and town get to conduct its own foreign policy. I know. I grew up there.
Was it a coincidence that a Muslim strolling down Golders Green Road in the heavily Jewish Golders Green section of northwest London just happened to pick two Orthodox Jews to be his stabbing victims? Was it random that the stabber happened to stab two people who looked very obviously Jewish? This is from Jihad Watch:
"Man charged over Golders Green stabbings," by Kevin Bradford for the Hendon Times (thanks to Jerusalem Posts):
A man has been charged following a double knife attack on two Orthodox Jews in Golders Green.
Mohamed Jama Ahmed, 37, of North Circular Road, Cricklewood, was arrested after two stabbings which happened just meters apart in roads off Golders Green Road on Friday.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said the attacks, which happened at around 6pm, appear to have been random and unprovoked, but were not being treated as faith hate crimes....
Good. Wouldn't want to give the appearance of "Islamophobia."
This hit really close to home, because I have several friends who live on those "roads off Golders Green Road" and I have stayed in a small bed and breakfast located in Golders Green - not far from Golders Green Road - three times in the last five years.
Read the whole thing. Robert recognized immediately what the Metropolitan Police don't want to know: These crimes were far from random.
Hamas' newest blood libel: Israel planned the Holocaust to kill handicapped Jews
On April 18, Hamas' al-Aqsa TV televised this show which claimed that Israel planned the Holocaust to kill handicapped Jews. Sickness!
Jewish leaders planned the Holocaust to kill "disabled and handicapped" Jews to avoid having to care for them, according to a Hamas TV educational program. As much of the world prepared to commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hamas TV presented its latest sinister twist on Holocaust denial.
The Hamas TV educational program, broadcast last week, taught that the murder of Jews in the Holocaust was a Zionist plot with two goals:
1- To eliminate "disabled and handicapped" Jews by sending them to death camps, so they would not be a burden on the future state of Israel.
2- At the same time, the Holocaust served to make "the Jews seem persecuted" so they could "benefit from international sympathy."
Amin Dabur, head of the Palestinian "Center for Strategic Research" explained that "the Israeli Holocaust - the whole thing was a joke, and part of the perfect show that [Zionist leader and future Israeli prime minister] Ben Gurion put on." The "young energetic and able" were sent to Israel, while the handicapped were sent "so there would be a Holocaust."
The following is the transcript,
Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) April 18 2008
"The disabled and handicapped are a heavy burden on the state," said the terrorist leader, Ben Gurion. [Zionist leader - Israel's first PM]
The Satanic Jews thought up an evil plot [the Holocaust] to be rid of the burden of the disabled and handicapped, in twisted criminal ways.
[Picture: Holocaust death camp, dead bodies]
While they accuse the Nazis or others so the Jews would seem persecuted, and try to benefit from international sympathy. They were the first to invent the methods of evil and oppression."
Amin Dabur, head of the Palestinian "Center for Strategic Research":
"About the Israeli Holocaust, the whole thing was a joke and part of the perfect show that Ben Gurion put on, who focused on strong and energetic youth [for Israel], while the rest- the disabled, the handicapped, and people with special needs, they were sent to [to die]- if it can be proven historically. They were sent [to die] so there would be a holocaust, so Israel could "play" it for world sympathy."
Narrator: "The alleged numbers of Jews [killed in the Holocaust] were merely for propaganda."
Let's go to the videotape.
The video was translated by Palestinian Media Watch and you can support their work by clicking on the link under their name.
UPDATE 6:20 PM
I just realized that April 18 - the day this was shown on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV - was the same day that former US President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mesha'al. I guess he really got through to Hamas, didn't he?
Video: Surviving the Holocaust: Yaakov Hollander's story
For more information on the timing of this series, please go here.
Ya'akov Hollander was a ten-year-old boy living in Krakow, Poland, when WWII broke out. Deported from his home and eventually crammed into the Krakow ghetto, Ya'akov passed through twelve different concentration camps during the Holocaust. A walking skeleton when he was finally liberated, Yaakov had lost both his parents and most of his family in the Holocaust. With his world completely destroyed, Yaakov turned to music in an attempt to cope with his loss. Joining a children's choir in a camp for child survivors, Yaakov forged a lifelong bond with music, becoming a composer, musical arranger and choir conductor. Despite all of the horror he faced as a child, through the help of music, Yaakov has managed to remain an optimistic person.
Indian cleric: 'Every Muslim should be a terrorist'
In this video from India's ironically named 'Peace TV' on April 22, Indian Muslim cleric Ashraf Mohamedy tells the faithful that every Muslim should be a terrorist against the anti-social elements in society.
Arab 'justice': Jordanian man gets 6 months for 'honor killing' of 16-year old married daughter
That'll teach him to go killing his children.
A Jordanian man received a six-month jail sentence on Wednesday for the 'honor killing' of his 16-year old daughter.
The court ruled Wednesday that the man killed his married daughter because she had an affair out of the wedlock. The enraged father severely beat her with a baton and ultimately electrocuted her in November 2006. [Can someone explain to me why a 16-year old is married? I have a 16-year old daughter and I wouldn't dream of marrying her off right now even if she wanted to get married. Something tells me that this man's daughter did not want to get married. And at what age did he marry her off? 12? 14? CiJ]
Neither the father nor daughter were identified.
Like other tribal-oriented societies, many Jordanians consider sex out of the wedlock an indelible stain on the family's honor that can only be cleansed by blood.
Really? Can anyone name a non-Muslim 'tribal-oriented society' where families routinely murder their own daughters and sisters for having sex out of wedlock?
Note that all six of them were re-settled in Israel, do not claim to be 'refugees' sixty years later and are not the beneficiaries of international largesse through UNRWA or anything like it. There is no UNRWA for Jews.
Concentration camp doctor tops Nazi most-wanted list
Los Angeles' Simon Wiesenthal Center has released a list of the ten most-wanted Nazis in connection with Thursday's observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. Topping the list is Aribert Heim, who was a doctor at the Mathausen concentration camp. If he is alive, Heim is now 93 years old.
Heim would be 93 today, but "we have good reason to believe he is still alive," said Efraim Zuroff by telephone from Jerusalem. Zuroff is the top Nazi hunter for Simon Wiesenthal Center, which published the list.
Still, despite a $485,000 reward for Heim's arrest posted by the center along with Germany and Austria, he has managed to avoid capture for decades.
He is only one of hundreds of suspected Nazi war criminals that the center estimates are still at large.
After Heim on the center's most wanted list are: John Demjanjuk, fighting deportation from the U.S., which says he was a guard at several death and forced labor camps; Sandor Kepiro, a Hungarian accused of involvement in the wartime killings of than 1,000 civilians in Serbia; Milivoj Asner, a wartime Croatian police chief now living in Austria and suspected of an active role in deporting hundreds of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies to their death; and Soeren Kam, a former member of the SS wanted by Denmark for the assassination of a journalist in 1943. His extradition from Germany was blocked in 2007 by a Bavarian court that found insufficient evidence for murder charges.
But the nature of Heim's alleged crimes are what catapulted him to the top of the list.
Karl Lotter, a prisoner who worked in the hospital at Mauthausen concentration camp, had no trouble remembering the first time he watched Heim kill a man.
It was 1941, and an 18-year-old Jew had been sent to the clinic with a foot inflammation. Heim asked him about himself and why he was so fit. The young man said he had been a soccer player and swimmer.
Then, instead of treating the prisoner's foot, Heim anesthetized him, cut him open, castrated him, took apart one kidney and removed the second, Lotter said. The victim's head was removed and the flesh boiled off so that Heim could keep it on display.
"He needed the head because of its perfect teeth," Lotter, a non-Jewish political prisoner, recalled in testimony eight years later that was included in a 1950 Austrian warrant for Heim's arrest uncovered by The Associated Press. "Of all the camp doctors in Mauthausen, Dr. Heim was the most horrible."
But Heim managed to avoid prosecution, his American-held file in Germany mysteriously omitting his time at Mauthausen.
Born June 28, 1914 in Radkersburg, Austria, Heim joined the local Nazi party in 1935, three years before Austria was bloodlessly annexed by Germany.
He later joined the Waffen SS and was assigned to Mauthausen, a concentration camp near Linz, Austria, as a camp doctor in October and November 1941.
While there, witnesses told investigators, he worked closely with SS pharmacist Erich Wasicky on such gruesome experiments as injecting various solutions into Jewish prisoners' hearts to see which killed them the fastest.
But while Wasicky was brought to trial by an American Military Tribunal in 1946 and sentenced to death, along with other camp medical personnel and commanders, Heim, who was a POW in American custody, was not among them.
Heim's file in the Berlin Document Center, the then-U.S.-run depot for Nazi-era papers, was apparently altered to obliterate any mention of Mauthausen, according to his 1979 German indictment, obtained by the AP. Instead, for the period he was known to be at the concentration camp, he was listed as having a different SS assignment.
This "cannot be correct," the indictment says. "It is possible that through data manipulation the short assignment at the same time to the (concentration camp) was concealed."
There is no indication who might have been responsible.
Austrian authorities sent the 1950 arrest warrant to American authorities in Germany who initially agreed to turn him over, then told the Austrians, in a Dec. 21, 1950, letter obtained by the AP, that they couldn't trace him.
What happened next is unclear, but in 1958 Heim apparently felt comfortable enough to buy a 42-unit apartment block in Berlin, listing it in his own name with a home address in Mannheim, according to purchase documents obtained by the AP. He then moved to the nearby resort town of Baden-Baden and opened a gynecological clinic — also under his own name, Heister said.
In 1961 German authorities were alerted and began an investigation, but when they finally went to arrest him in September 1962, they just missed him — he apparently had been tipped off.
Heim continued to live off the rents collected from the Berlin apartments until 1979 when the building was confiscated by German authorities.
Proof that he is alive may lie in the fact that no one has claimed his estate. Heim has two sons in Germany and a daughter who lived in Chile but whose current whereabouts are unknown.
Ruediger Heim, one of the sons, would not comment when telephoned at his Baden-Baden villa.
"All I can say is that it has been implied that I am in contact with my father, and that is absolutely false," he said. "The rest is speculation, and I can't enter into that."
You can find more details about the other members of the top 10 list here. The picture at the top of this post is a 1950 photograph of Heim.
Video: Surviving the Holocaust: Mordechai Eldar's story
Wednesday night and Thursday are Holocaust Remembrance Day here in Israel. The biggest problem we face regarding the Holocaust today is Holocaust denial. With the survivors dying out year by year, more and more Holocaust deniers are being confronted with less and less human evidence. One of the things that has been done to combat Holocaust denial is the creation of videotaped testimony by survivors, which will outlive them. During the course of Wednesday and Thursday, I am going to embed some of that testimony on this blog so that you can all get an idea of what it looks like and so that you can all learn something. The testimony is accompanied by original pictures and films from the Holocaust period. The first such testimony I am posting is that of Mordechai Eldar.
Mordechai Eldar was born in 1929 in Campulung la Tissa, Transylvania. In April 1944 his family's possessions were confiscated and they were deported to the Saltina ghetto. Deported in May from the ghetto to Auschwitz, Mordechai survived Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen and Gunskirchen. After the war he tried to immigrate to Palestine with his surviving sisters aboard the Exodus ship but the vessel was immediately forced by the British authorities to return to Hamburg upon arrival in Haifa. Emerging from the Holocaust a Zionist, Mordechai decided to devote his life to ensuring the national security of the State of Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces for 30 years, achieving the rank of lieutenant general.
On Tuesday night, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told the American Jewish Committee that 'Palestinians' are losing hope in the 'two-state solution' and called on Israel to make 'difficult decisions.'
"Increasingly, the Palestinians who talk about a two-state solution are my age," Rice, 53, said in a somber speech to The American Jewish Committee at its 102nd annual meeting.
Insisting that the Bush administration will never yield to dealing with Hamas militants, Rice said, "What you don't want is that the hopelessness and the vision of the extremists have no counter."
Set to leave early Thursday for more meetings with various Arab and Israeli leaders, after talks in London designed to raise more economic support for the Palestinians, Rice called on Israel to make "difficult decisions" to provide the Palestinians with the dignity of statehood.
In fact, she said, "we have a chance to reach the basic contours of a settlement by the end of the year" - a scaling back of President George W. Bush's initial hope for a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians before he leaves office.
But in this morning's JPost, Michael Freund is singing a much different and more realistic tune: There are no 'Palestinian moderates' with whom to negotiate. In fact, I would argue that the term 'Palestinian moderate' is an oxymoron. Here's Freund:
Even for a president prone to misusing the English language, George W. Bush outdid himself last week.
Sitting next to Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, Bush gushed and swooned over the visiting Palestinian leader, describing him in terms usually reserved for heroes and saints.
"The president is a man of peace," Bush assured the gaggle of reporters who were present. "He's a man of vision. He rejects the idea of using violence to achieve objectives, which distinguishes him from other people in the region." [Video here. CiJ].
While Bush's grammar may have been uncommonly accurate that day, his description of Abbas was anything but. For even a cursory glance at some of the Palestinian president's outbursts in recent months reveal a man wholly undeserving of such praise.
On March 1, [the Holocaust denying. CiJ] Abbas had the gall to insult the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis when he declared that Israel's counter-terror operations in Gaza were "worse than the Holocaust" (Jerusalem Post, March 2).
And in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur on February 28, Abbas boasted that he had been the first Palestinian to fire a bullet at Israel after the birth of the PLO in 1965.
This ostensible "man of peace" then took pride in the fact that his Fatah movement had trained Hizbullah terrorists, and he did not rule out a return to the "armed struggle" against Israel in the future. And just two weeks ago, Abbas was planning to confer the Al-Quds Mark of Honor, the PLO's highest award, to two female Palestinian terrorists who took part in the killing of Israelis (Israel Radio, April 16). The event was cancelled only after it was publicized widely in the media. Need we also mention the Palestinian president's refusal late last year to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state"?
THIS OF course puts the lie to Bush's stubborn embrace of Abbas as a reasonable and judicious leader that can be counted on to forge a peace deal. If anything, the Palestinian president has repeatedly shown himself to be an intemperate hot-head. Nonetheless, that doesn't seem to stop Washington and much of the media from bestowing upon him the coveted title of a "moderate" leader that Israel can do business with.
All of this shameful fawning on the Palestinian thug-in-chief raises a simple, yet rarely-asked, question: why is there such a widespread insistence on deluding the public into thinking that Abbas is a "moderate" leader who epitomizes the majority of Palestinians?
The issue is more than academic. In fact, it goes directly to the core of current US and Israeli government policy.
After all, the entire intellectual basis for the notion of granting the Palestinians a state rests on the dubious assumption that a majority of them are actually reasonable, peace-loving people. Too bad that all the available evidence appears to indicate otherwise.
Who will tell the truth to President Bush and Condi? Certainly no one in the current Israeli government.
A few days before Passover, I attended the haramat kosit (toast) of the Jerusalem branch of the Likud. One of the speakers that night was a young MK named Gilad Erdan. Erdan said something that I have not heard from anyone in power in the Likud, including leader Binyamin Netanyahu. Erdan said that it's time to tell the people of Israel the truth, because Israelis are ready to hear the truth: There is no one on the 'Palestinian' side with whom we can negotiate. Hopefully, Freund's column will be the first step at getting that message across in the mainstream media, to Israelis and to diaspora Jews.
This is a Fox News report on how cigarettes are purchased tax free from Indian reservations in upstate New York, are sold downstate (New York City) at a discount to retail but at a tremendous (and illegal - they're not supposed to be sold outside the reservations but it's not enforced) profit, and then the profits are funneled to groups like Hamas, Hezbullah and Al-Qaeda in the Middle East. Think about that if you smoke.
I have been critical - on more occasions than I care to link - of the company kept by Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama. I have argued that Obama's association with the likes of Susan Power, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Malley, the late Edward Said, Ali Abunimah and Reverend Jeremiah Wright ought to make it impossible for supporters of Israel to support Obama's candidacy. On the other hand, I have spoken very little of Hillary Clinton's associations other than the infamous kiss with Suha Arafat (pictured above).
There's an interesting piece in today's New York Daily News (among other places) that claims that yesterday's speech by Obama's 'spiritual mentor,' the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to the National Press Club, which exposed the true Reverend Wright for all Americans to see, was actually arranged by a Clinton supporter who is a close friend of Wright's.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright couldn't have done more damage to Barack Obama's campaign if he had tried. And you have to wonder if that's just what one friend of Wright wanted.
Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.
A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).
It also turns out that Reynolds - introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club "who organized" the event - is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.
"Mandela leaves as a principled man, with all but the dullards understanding why he would embrace the Palestinians, whose children are being killed and family homes bulldozed in Israel just as black families' are in Soweto. ... Moreover, if Mandela is a terrorist — as conservatives have called him — he would fit right in with U.S. patriots such as George Washington, Patrick Henry, Nat Turner, and Harriet Tubman. If it had not been for those terrorists, what would we have to wave our flags about on the Fourth of July?"
— USA Today Inquiry Editor Barbara Reynolds, June 29, 1990.
Comparing the 'Palestinians' and their supporters to patriots of the American revolution? Where have I heard that before? Comparing the 'Palestinians' to the victims of South African apartheid? That sounds awfully familiar too....
What other company does Hillary keep? Is it any better than the company Obama keeps? Inquiring minds ought to know.
The results of an internal party poll to this effect were published on the Kadima party website. The site emphasizes that the results are "fluid," as they are dependent on the precise nature of an agreement that might be signed with Syria.
Prime Minister Olmert has not denied reports of last week that he transmitted a message to Syria stating he would be willing to give up the entire Golan in exchange for peace with the North Korean ally.
The party's 29 MKs were asked whether they would support a "significant withdrawal" from the Golan Heights. This term was defined as either the uprooting of all or most of the 33 Jewish towns there, or their transfer to Syrian sovereignty with a measure of Israeli autonomy.
Fifteen of the 29 MKs said they are totally against a "significant withdrawal." These included ten members of the Knesset Golan lobby - Ruchama Avraham Belila, Eli Aflalo, Tzachi HaNegbi, Yoel Hasson, David Tal, Marina Solodkin, Ze'ev Elkin, Ronit Tirosh, Michael Nudelman, and Shai Hermesh - as well as Yaakov Edry, Sha'ul Mofaz, Avraham Hirschson, Ze'ev Boim, and Otniel Shneller. This number includes four Cabinet ministers (Mofaz, Boim, Edry and Belila).
Transportation Minister Mofaz told reporters in Washington on Monday that surrendering the Golan to the Iranian ally would mean giving Iran control of the high ground overlooking much of northern Israel. The former Defense Minister, who met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, is visiting Washington as part of the American-Israeli strategic dialogue that takes place every six months.
The position of two Kadima MKs - Minister Gideon Ezra and Amira Dotan - is not clear. Ezra has gone on record as saying that there is no point in talking with Syria at present.
Twelve Kadima MKs say they favor a "significant withdrawal" from the Golan in exchange for peace with the country the US terms a "terrorism sponsor." They are Olmert, Ministers Livni, Dichter, Sheetrit, Ramon, and Bar-On, and Shlomo Mula, Dalia Itzik, Menachem Ben-Sasson, Yitzchak Ben-Yisrael, Yochanan Plesner, and Majli Whbee.
While that sounds like good news, don't think it's the end of the story.
It is noteworthy that when Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert first floated the idea of a Disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Shomron, many of their Likud party members opposed it. As time passed and political circumstances changed, however, their opinions did as well.
Sort of. A majority of the Likud's membership (the party, not the MK's) voted against the Gush Katif expulsion in a referendum by which Sharon promised to abide. Sharon lied and Jews died instead.
This is a video of the widely reported interview with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mesha'al that took place on Friday on al-Jazeera. The big story was that Mesha'al said that Hamas' search for a 'cease fire' is 'only tactical.' But that's not the real story here because it leaves a question unanswered: If Hamas' search for a 'cease fire' is 'only tactical,' why would Israel be stupid enough to give it to them? Let's go to the videotape to see Mesha'al's answer and then I will have a couple more comments.
The lesson of this interview is how foolish it is for Israel to make 'unilateral concessions' as we did in southern Lebanon and Gaza. When we do that, the terrorists just expect more.
What Mesha'al didn't mention is that earlier in the week there were stories about the Bush administration pressuring Olmert for a 'cease fire' before President Bush's arrival here next week. I don't expect that to happen. Not only does the IDF oppose such a 'cease fire' - so does his own Defense Minister. If anything, the IDF has stepped up operations this week.
In the absence of a significant number of 'Palestinian' civilians killed (which Hamas will be all too happy to arrange when they are desperate enough), don't expect a 'cease fire' anytime soon.
One of the highlights of Israel's Independence Day each year is the finals of the International Bible Contest. Throughout the year, local and national contests are held in cities around the world and on Israel Independence Day the world finals are held here in Jerusalem. Almost everyone in the religious community here knows someone who has made it (I was in the US national finals myself in 7th, 8th and 9th grades a generation ago; after that my school stopped holding the contest). Most of the Israeli kids who are in the contest are religious and the winner is usually Israeli (although I have heard accusations of bias against the kids from abroad on occasion). The foreign kids run the gamut with those from certain countries (US, Canada) being mostly religious, but kids from other countries are sometimes less religious. But what would happen if the religious kids didn't show up? We may find out next week.
In the Muqata, Jameel reports that Yad l'Achim - the largest anti-missionary organization in the country - is threatening to organize a boycott of the religious kids in the contest. The reason is that one of the Israeli contestants - 11th grade Israeli teenager Bat-El Levy from Jerusalem...is a follower of the "Jewish Messianic" sect of Christianity. The contest's mission statement specifically states that it is for "Jewish youth."
Yad L'Achim is currently in touch with Israel's Ministry of Education and leading rabbis around Israel -- calling for Bat-El to be disqualified from participating...or for all religious participants to boycott the contest.
**Israel's Ministry of Justice has determined that according to Israeli law, Bat-El is in fact Jewish (although she and her family are part of the Jewish Messianic sect) [Note that Israeli law and Jewish law may not coincide on this issue. CiJ], and she can therefore participate. I guess they are of the opinion that once a Jew, always a Jew, despite conversion or acceptance of another faith.
Some say, let her participate and lose -- which will show that Jews in fact, do excel in Bible studies. Other are worried what might happen if she wins.
Here's my take on this. First, the odds of Israel's Minister of Re-Education disqualifying someone who is not Jewish from participating in the Bible Contest are somewhere between slim and none. Second, the odds of Yad l'Achim getting kids coming from overseas to boycott the contest are - with some exceptions - not great. If the Israeli kids other than the missionary boycott but the foreign kids don't, it would likely throw the contest to the missionary kid. Third, the odds of Yad l'Achim getting Israeli kids to boycott are good if they get the right Rabbis to sign on. Most of the Israeli kids in the contest are from the National Religious community, and while the current chief Rabbis would likely come under legal attack if they urged a boycott, if former chief Rabbis (like Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu) and other prominent Rabbis signed on, I can see the boycott of the Israeli religious kids being total. Proselytizing for other religions is an issue with respect to which - at least in the religious Jewish community here - there is a wall-to-wall consensus of opposition, which extends to much of the secular community as well.
Like Jameel, I am not sure what will happen, but I am sure we have not heard the last of this.
Video: IDF parachutists try to form the number 60 in mid-air
This is a real treat. This video is practice for Israel's 60th Independence Day next week. In it, a group of IDF parachutists jumps over Tel Aviv and practices forming the number 60. You couldn't pay me enough to do this. My palms get sweaty just watching!
Syrian minister 'optimistic' Israel will come to an end within ten years
In this April 19 interview on London's Hiwar TV, Syrian Minister Riyad Na'san Al-Agha declares: "I am optimistic that Israel will come to an end within 10 years."
Note - When I viewed this, the sound went dead around the 3:20 mark but the video continued to play. The person who posted this on LiveLeak assures me that the sound worked for him. I figure that most of my readers don't know Arabic anyway, and you will be able to see the English translation.
The message being sent to Iran and the 'Palestinians'
The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial this morning that makes it clear why Israel needs to be concerned with the Bush administration's obsession with making a deal - any deal - with North Korea on nuclear disarmament.
The prospect of nuclear technology in the hands of another terrorism-sponsoring state is scary enough. Worse is the notion that Syria's reactor is no big deal. That's the interpretation being shopped in Washington by anonymous Administration officials, presumably at State, who have been quoted as saying the CIA has "little confidence" that the goal was to build a bomb.
The no-big-deal thesis expounded by the President's men directly contradicts their boss. After briefing Congress behind closed doors, the White House put out a statement expressing "confidence" that "this reactor was not intended for peaceful activities." CIA Director Michael Hayden said yesterday an operational reactor could have produced enough plutonium to make one or two nuclear bombs.
No one disputes that the Syrians were cooperating with the North Koreans on a nuclear facility like the one currently being shut down at Yongbyon as part of the six-party denuclearization process. The previously classified intelligence shows striking similarities between the Syrian facility, going up at a desert site called Al Kibar, and Yongbyon. Other evidence includes photos of a man identified as a North Korean nuclear expert in Syria.
Nor does anyone – other than the Syrians – deny that Damascus was disguising Al Kibar from the world. The secret reactor is also a violation of Syria's obligation as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Given this background, it would be folly for anyone concerned about the national security of the U.S. to conclude that Syria's intention wasn't some sort of nuclear program, or capacity.
It is also disturbing that the Administration first tried to persuade the Israelis that Syria's outlaw actions could be settled with diplomacy, and then sat on its conclusions for seven months after Israel bombed the site.
This kind of behavior is typical of the "arms control process" that Mr. Bush has embarked on with North Korea, where violations get explained away or ignored if the violator merely promises not to do it again. Pyongyang's nuclear aid to Syria was still going on after its February 2007 pledge to give up all its nuclear programs and stop proliferating.
Meanwhile in Tehran, it's easy to imagine what the mullahs are making of all this. Washington may be talking tough again about Iran, but its leadership can see what North Korea is getting away with. If Pyongyang can pursue a nuclear program with impunity – and in violation of its promises – why not Tehran?
Why not indeed? This should concern Israelis for two reasons. First, for the obvious reason stated: Tehran looks at what Pyongyang gets away with and figures that it can do the same.
Second, there is a lesson here for the 'Palestinian' theater. The same Bush administration obsession with making a deal - any deal - with North Korea has been observed in 'negotiations' with the 'Palestinians.' And it's not only George Bush and Condi Rice who have that obsession: It's Ehud K. Olmert and TzipiFeigele Livni. It's what gave rise to the concept of a 'shelf agreement' that can come back and hit us in the face long after these four are all gone.
These are very dangerous times for Israel and Israelis. While new elections could help, we may not have time for them before the next war. That could happen this summer.
OUTRAGE! Jewish Gaza refugees still paying debts on their old farms
A group of Jewish refugees from Gush Katif in Gaza - most of whom are still homeless and jobless nearly three years after the Sharon-Olmert government expelled them from their homes and businesses - has gone to court to force the Olmert-Barak-Livni government to live up to an agreement to cancel the debts they incurred to finance their farming infrastructure (like the picture of the hothouses at the top of this post) when their communities were set up thirty years ago.
The decision to erase debts incurred by Gush Katif pioneers when they established their communities was made by the Knesset Finance Committee in 2004. As with other areas around the country, Gaza communities benefited from long-term loans from the Jewish Agency in order establish farming infrastructure, but when the Sharon Administration decided to pull out of Gaza, it became clear that local residents would be unable to repay the debts.
Because the Finance Committee had supposedly "taken care" of canceling Gush Katif debts to the World Zionist Organization, the Knesset Laws Committee did not enshrine the debt erasure in the 2005 Evacuation – Compensation Law [In Israel, this is know as "yihye b'seder" - it will be okay. It's a lousy philosophy and too much of the country runs on it. We saw the results in the summer of 2006. CiJ]. As a result, Gaza residents were left with little legal protection and saddled with debt for farming equipment and farm land they can no longer access.
According to Anita Tucker, formerly of Netzer Hazani, the debt repayment is an especially sore point for pioneers who built up Jewish Gaza soon after the area was liberated from Egypt during the Six Day War.
"When we came to Gush Katif over 30 years ago, the World Zionist Organization gave a package of benefits to encourage agriculture in development areas. We received various essentials to start a farm. I was a farmer in Gush Katif for 29 years. We were in the process of paying back those initial benefits, when the government threw us out of the land, that it had originally encouraged us to develop."
Three years after the government forcibly removed Gaza's Jewish residents from their homes, expellees continue to be scattered in a variety of temporary housing arrangements, and most remain without suitable employment options. Most refugees survive on compensation payouts they received at the time of the eviction.
To raise funds to build a new dairy infrastructure in order to create a post-disengagement source of economic stability, some former Gush Katif communities sold shares in Tnuva, Israel's largest dairy product manufacturer. There is now a foreclosure order for approximately 3 million shekels on that money in order to cover the debts the refugees owe to the Zionist organization.
The lawsuit names as defendants the government, World Zionist Organization, the Finance Ministry, the accountant general, the agriculture minister and the Sela Disengagement Authority, and asks the court to force the above-mentioned bodies to enforce the government's decision. They say the plaintiffs' real ability to restore and rebuild their lives has suffered, and due to the huge sums involved (which is more than the sum total of the payout they have received to date), it has impaired their abilities to repair their lives in the future.
Three years ago, the Sharon-Olmert government took 10,000 vibrant and thriving Jews, destroyed their communities and made them homeless and unemployed by treating them like trailer trash. Now that Sharon is (all but) gone, the Olmert-Barak-Livni government is trying to ensure that these people remain economic (and in many other ways) basket cases for life by letting the 'Jewish Agency' (controlled by a Sharon appointee) take the pittance of compensation they received for having their lives destroyed. And if Olmert and Livni and Condi Rice get their way, there will soon - God forbid - be 400,000 other Jews like them. This is disgusting beyond belief!
Video: CIA presentation to Congress on Syrian nuclear reactor
During the night, Allah posted the video presentation that the CIA made to Congress last week about the Syrian nuclear reactor (is there anything that's not on YouTube these days?). The video is in two parts. I'm going to post the first part only, which is the part that shows how Israeli intelligence (which is not mentioned) knew that it was a nuclear reactor. To watch the second part, which shows how the reactor looked after it was destroyed and how the Syrians attempted to cover up its existence, you will have to go to Allah's post. Babylon and Beyond - an LA Times blog - has made charges of fauxtography regarding the images included in these videos. In the same post linked above, Allah debunks some of B and B's claims. Having never used Photoshop, I am not familiar enough with its functionality to comment on it. I'm hoping that some of the photo experts will weigh in later today.
Charles reports that CIA Director Michael Hayden said Monday that the plant could have produced one or two weapons within a year of becoming operational. Hayden said that the site was within a few weeks or months of becoming operational. Charles says - and I agree - that the world ought to thank Israel. I don't suggest holding your breath waiting for that to happen.
When I was a college student thirty years ago, I used a book by historian Walter Laqueur called The Israel - Arab Reader. Now, Midwest Jim reports at Gateway Pundit that the book is out in its seventh edition, this one being co-authored with Laqueur by Barry Rubin.
The book provides almost 300 primary texts covering more than a century of history. It documents the British mandate and early attempts to handle the conflict; Israel's independence and the outbreak of wars; international diplomatic efforts to make peace including the 1990s’ peace process and its breakdown. Materials are presented reflecting the positions of Arab leaders and states, Europeans, Israel, Palestinians, the USSR, and the United States. The texts of international resolutions and agreements, as well as accords made during the peace process, are also provided.
Captain Ed at Hot Air has a video of Monday morning's appearance by former President Jimmy Carter on the Today Show in which Carter rewrites history by claiming that the US and Israeli boycott of Hamas started after the January 2006 election.
In fact, the policy of non-engagement with terrorists that so surprised Carter in 2005 dates back to before his own presidency in 1976. Perhaps Carter spent too much time kissing the cheek of Leonid Brezhnev to notice, but the US has always insisted that it would not negotiate with terrorist groups, which has included Hamas since the group’s inception. The election gave Hamas an opportunity to repudiate terrorism and to recognize the right of Israel to exist within borders later to be determined. It has done neither. Hamas conducted a coup d’etat in overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and uses Gaza as a launching pad for rocket attacks on civilians in Ashkelon and Sderot, which they continued while Carter was in Israel and Syria.
Carter also claims again that Condoleeza Rice never told him not to meet with Hamas although he admits that even if she had told him (which she did), he would have defied her and met with them anyway.
Will Israel join the International Criminal Court?
In 2002, the Bush administration unsigned the Clinton administration's signature on the 1998 Rome Treaty that created the International Criminal Court.
Shortly before the court opened in 2002, the Bush administration "unsigned" the Rome Statute, which President Clinton had approved before leaving office. President Bush subsequently signed legislation authorizing military action, should the court arrest an American, and limiting U.S. dealings with the tribunal.
Clinton had nearly convinced Ehud Barak to sign it. After the US 'unsigned' the treaty, Israel under Ariel Sharon decided not to sign it. Now, the article linked above reports that the US may sign the treaty after all (Hat Tip: Debbie Schlussel).
A senior Bush administration official said Friday that the U.S. now accepts the "reality" of the International Criminal Court, and that Washington would consider aiding the Hague tribunal in its investigation of atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region.
"The U.S. must acknowledge that the ICC enjoys a large body of international support, and that many countries will look to the ICC as the preferred mechanism" for punishing war crimes that individual countries can't or won't address, John Bellinger, the State Department's chief lawyer, told a conference in Chicago marking the 10th anniversary of the tribunal's founding treaty, the Rome Statute. More than 100 countries have ratified the treaty.
Although it reiterated longstanding U.S. concerns about the court, Mr. Bellinger's speech represented a rhetorical turnabout for an administration that came to power determined to hobble the movement for a permanent war crimes tribunal.
"This is a meaty piece of work," said Richard Dicker, international justice director for Human Rights Watch. "It's impossible to imagine such a statement four years ago."
If the US signs the Rome treaty and submits itself to the court's jurisdiction, will Israel follow? I certainly hope not. Here's one reason why:
The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court can be read to make it a war crime to deprive civilians of "objects indispensable to their survival" (art. 8 (2) (b) (xxv)).
Do we really want to go to court over that issue with respect to Gaza?
Make sure to read Debbie's whole post on the US and the court and to read this article from the American Thinker (from several months ago) to consider some of the potential problems Israel may encounter with its treatment of Hamas in Gaza if we join the court. Even if we're right, if we sign the treaty, we can be dragged in anyway and be told we're wrong. Remember the fence case?
Let's hope that regardless of what the US does, Israel stays out of this.
Video: Reverend Wrong on Farrakhan, Jews and Israel
This is a video of the first ten minutes of the question and answer session with Barack Hussein Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club today. At the 3:42 mark, he is asked about his relationship with Louis Farrakhan and his answer runs until about 5:50. Wright says that Farrakhan called Zionism - not Judaism - a 'gutter religion,' and in that respect Farrakhan was no different than the United Nations which equated Zionism with racism. (I actually agree that the United Nations is no different than Farrakhan). He then goes on to refuse to disavow Farrakhan although he claims that he doesn't always agree with him.
Let's go to the videotape and then I'll have a couple more comments.
Wright refuses to disavow Farrakhan and Obama refuses to disavow Wright. Draw your own conclusions.
For the record, here's a post I did three months ago about Martin Luther King's thoughts about the State of Israel. While the letter was not actually written by King, it did correctly reflect his views on Israel - and particularly on attempts by non-Jews to separate Zionism from Judaism. It's a shame that King isn't around today to be the first black candidate for President.
Al-AP lies: 'No Palestinian collaborator executions since 2001'
Will President Bush's 'man of vision' confirm a death sentence for 25-year old Emad Saad? Saad was convicted this morning of the only 'crime' that's on a par with sullying the 'family honor': 'collaborating' with Israel. The death sentence will be carried out only if President Bush's 'man of vision' - that would be 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud AbbasAbu Mazen confirms it. Or unless 'vigilante justice' gets to him first like they got to this man pictured above (that's his mother who's about to stamp on his dead body by the way). But to read al-AP, you would think that there hasn't been an execution of a collaborator in the 'Palestinian Authority since 2001. Maybe that's why President Bush still thinks that Abu Mazen is a 'man of vision.'
A Palestinian military court on Monday imposed the death penalty on a man convicted of collaborating with Israeli security, raising the possibility of the first such execution in seven years.
Military judges ruled that 25-year-old Emad Saad, who worked for Palestinian security, provided information to Israel that helped forces kill four Palestinian militants.
A video recording shows the judges declaring the death sentence Monday. Then Saad calmly asks for leniency, explaining he is the main breadwinner for his family. He does not deny the charges.
After the hearing, Samih Steidi, Hebron's Palestinian security commander, was pleased with the death sentence. "Let it be an example to those who sell their homeland and their people," he said.
He said Saad would be executed by a firing squad because of his military status.
However, death sentences imposed by Palestinian courts have often been commuted.
The last time a convicted collaborator was executed was in 2001. Palestinian judges last sentenced an accused collaborator to death in 2004, but the decree has not been carried out. [Really? Go look at the links above. If the courts don't execute 'collaborators,' the 'Palestinian security forces' trained by the United States will stand aside so that the 'Palestinian people' can do it instead. CiJ]
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must approved Monday's death sentence. Abbas' aide Nimr Hamad did not say what the president would do, but he said an execution would serve as deterrence. [Now there's a 'man of vision.' /sarc. CiJ]
He also complained about Israel's use of collaborators. "I don't think that peace with Israel should mean having to accept spies for Israel. Peace is one thing and spying is another," he said. "There is enough reason for such a penalty - that he caused the death of Palestinian citizens."
A leading Palestinian rights group, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, called on Abbas "not to sign this cruel and inhumane sentence."
If Abu Mazen doesn't confirm the execution, the 'Palestinian people' will. Al-AP is lying. So what else is new?
Video: Searching cyberspace for the next terror attack
Armed with fluent Arabic and fake identities, employees of Terrogence Ltd., scour the Internet for signs of the next Islamist attack. Staff members are are all former Israeli army intelligence analysts that decided to put their army skills to work.
Let's go to the videotape.
For those interested in more details, the company's web site is here.
60 Minutes visits the IAF, the IAF visits Gaza - UPDATED
CBS News' 60 Minutes had a great segment on Sunday night in which they visited the Israeli Air Force (Hat Tip: Democast via Little Green Footballs). I'm going to embed the segment below - it's a bit long (12:15).
The comments (there are 39 pages of them) have included a lot of Muslim and leftist seething. But on a day when a mother and four children were among seven victims of an IDF attack on a home in Beit Hanoun that was being used for rocket fire (please see an important update at the bottom of this post), I'd like to point out something that one of the IAF pilots said on the program:
For the last two years, Capt. Omri has been hunting down militants in Gaza from his Apache attack helicopter.
"But you still can't take out all the people who are firing rockets at you?" Simon asked.
"They are working from very crowded, populated places and they shoot the missiles from there. And they're shooting near children. And when you are taking your weapon system and looking at the launcher, you see children running near it. It's unbelievable," Capt. Omri said.
"And you retaliate," Simon remarked. "They fire rockets. You hit back. They fire more rockets, and you hit back in a bigger way. And it just gets worse and worse."
"Yeah, I agree," Omri said.
It's a classic guerilla war - $50 rockets made in the back alleys of Gaza against Israel's $50,000 missiles. The Israelis will tell you that kind of expense buys precise weapons which limit collateral damage, but it also gives the air force the capability of assassinating their enemy’s leadership. The Israelis call this "targeted killings;" the Palestinians call it "murder."
Go back and watch that segment of the video and you will see children fleeing right after a Kassam rocket is shot.
[A]s a matter of international law it is most certainly not correct to say that "any killings of civilians is an act [sic] of terrorism." Recall that the Geneva Convention provides quite explicitly that "The presence of a protected person [i.e. a civilian. CiJ] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." Thus if a civilian is killed because terrorists are hiding behind him - something that the IDF sees every day in Gaza and which has been repeatedly documented in photographs and videos - that is completely legal and is not "an act of terrorism" or a violation of international law. It doesn't permit targeting civilians, but Israel's not the party that targets civilians anyway.
Additionally, we have all seen the evidence that Hamas tries to put civilians in the line of fire so that they will have civilian casualties to exploit in the media. Given all that, I thought Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the right thing this morning:
"We see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens in the area around Gaza, all of the strikes, and the IDF is acting and will continue to act against Hamas, within the Gaza Strip," the defense minister said.
"Hamas is also responsible, through its operations within the civilian population, like the laying of explosives, for wounding some civilians who are not involved in the operations," Barak stated.
Maybe he got the right answer to the question he asked six weeks ago. In this morning's 'operation,'
... seven Palestinians were killed and six wounded in an IDF attack on a home in Beit Hanun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Israel Radio quoted Palestinian sources as saying.
Palestinians said that among the dead were a mother and her four children, all of whom ranged in age from 6 down to 15 months. In addition, two Palestinian gunmen were killed.
Medics on the scene identified the dead children as sisters Rudina and Hana Abu Meatik, ages 6 and 3; and their brothers, Saleh, 4 and Mousab, 15 months.
Islamic Jihad said one of its gunmen, and another unidentified man were killed about 400 meters from the family's home.
According to the IDF, an aircraft was used to attack a group of armed Palestinian gunmen. There was no confirmation about the success of the attack.
IDF Spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said militants fired at troops from within a residential area. "It's another example of the use of civilians as a human shield," Leibovich said.
There's no choice. Israel has to stop worrying about the 'Palestinians' civilians and start worrying about its own.
Finally, here are some samples from the comments section:
Not a day passes when these scum Zionists do not drop bombs on innocents and then claim they killed 3 or 4 "militants." I look forward to the day when my brother, Ahmadinejad, has complete his mission to manufacture a cure for what the Zionists have at Dimona. I only hope I live to see the day. These Zionists slime have no right to live and breath. Their so-called god is a piece of cow dung.
Posted by shaheed8 at 01:41 AM : Apr 28, 2008
One religious extremism gives rise to another religious extremism.
If Europeans were not brought into Palestine to occupy the land of those Palestinians by force who had nothing to do with the actions of Hitler, because bible said so; Alqaeda would not get enough recruits to fly planes into buildings since koran says so.
The mother of all the evils is bible and christianity!
Posted by patriotic9 at 12:21 AM : Apr 28, 2008
The aggression of the Zionists against the Palestinian people is without precedent. One would think they were the Nazis who perpetuated the so-called holocaust the Zionists parade before the world at every opportunity. These people love to play the victims; in truth and fact, they are the victimizers. What a pity that I am not in the middle of J''lem with a few bombs under my waist. How I would love to visit a cafe full of Zionists talking about how their airforce killed Palestinians. I would smile as I pulled the pin.
Posted by rufisgufis at 12:21 AM : Apr 28, 2008
I only hope that I live to see the complete destruction of the fiction called the State of Israel. I would love to see all Zionists on the face of the earth dead. Then I could die and rest in peace. I could easily give my own life to reach that goal. Maybe, inshallah, I can be a part of this event. My god did not "choose" these people.
Posted by rufisgufis at 12:14 AM : Apr 28, 2008
How dismaying to see 60 Minutes put aside investigative reporting in favor of cheerleading for the Israeli air force. If 60 Minutes were interested in educating and informing, it might have asked the following:
What evidence is there that Iran''s nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons?
Which country, Iran or Israel, has refused to allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities?
Which country has refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty?
Which country is known to currently possess nuclear weapons?
Why is it okay for Israel to have nuclear weapons, but not Iran?
Assuming that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, what effort has Israel devoted to mutual disarmament, instead of plans to bomb Iran?
Given that Iran has not attacked or threated to attack Israel , would a preemptive Israeli attack be permitted under international law?
Would it be in the US interest for Israel to stage a preemptive attack with US weapons purchased with US tax dollars? Would that make a terrorist attack on the US more or less likely?
Do any corporate sponsors of 60 Minutes manufacture weapons sold to Israel? Does its corporate sponsorship explain why 60 Minutes deals with a complex issue in such simplistic pro-Israel terms?
Posted by Seascape5 at 10:43 PM : Apr 27, 2008
That's through the middle of page 9, but it's enough to give you a flavor. There were also some pro-Israel people who objected to the segment where Simon told the pilot that he didn't "look like a killer." I suspect that was a bad editing job and with background might have come out a lot better than it did.
Anyway, I'm shocked that CBS aired a segment that was so fair to Israel. I doubt that would have happened in Dan Rather's day.
UPDATE 4:16 PM
If you watch the video below, you will see that it implies that the home in which the human shields were killed this morning may have been hit by a tank shell and not from the air.
The 10 people, whose remains were cremated and returned to North Korea in October, had been helping with the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria, Japan's public broadcaster said. Some North Koreans probably survived the air attack, NHK said.
The Goracle and grain rationing arrive in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv University announced on Sunday that former US Vice President Al Gore, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on 'global warming,' arrives in Tel Aviv next month to attend a conference on renewable energy.
Al Gore, Nobel laureate, former vice president of the United States and author of the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, will deliver the opening address at a conference on "Renewable Energy and Beyond," scheduled to be held at Tel Aviv University May 20-21, the university said Sunday.
Gore will be arriving on a special visit to Israel as guest of the Dan David Prize. The 2008 Dan David Prize will be awarded to Gore on May 19 for social commitment to environmental protection and the prevention of a global ecological disaster, a statement from the university read.
Tel Aviv University is organizing the international conference with the intent of addressing all issues - technological, economic, political - pertaining to moving towards using renewable energies as a substitute for oil and coal.
President Shimon Peres, National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, and Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra will also attend the conference.
Ironically, also on Sunday, Israel's largest supermarket chain announced that it was limiting purchases of rice by consumers who are attempting to stock up in the face of an anticipated 60-70% price rise. The limit was lifted Monday morning as prices rose by 65% (in a country with a single-digit inflation rate since the mid-90's). Many people believe that the two events are connected.
The current rise in food prices is the most serious in the last century and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, according to agricultural economist Prof. Yakir Plessner of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot. A colleague, Professor Ayal Kimhi, foresees the crisis causing political shock waves in sensitive areas of the world. These will in turn lead to higher oil prices and further increases in food prices.
"We see the first signs of political instability throughout the world," Kimhi says. "Poor populations are the most vulnerable. We are talking about more than a billion people who live on less than a dollar a day. The political instability can lead to unpredictable results. Nigeria, for example, is an important oil producer sitting on a political powder keg. A blowup there could adversely affect the price of oil and make the food price crisis worse," Kimchi says.
Plessner says food prices will moderate only if "farmers in the United States plant huge areas of land with grain. But that will take a few years. There is no short-term solution." To get farmers to cooperate, Plessner says, the U.S. must stop subsidizing corn grown for the production of fuel ethanol.
One factor being blamed for the price hikes is the use of government subsidies to promote the use of corn for ethanol production. An estimated 30% of America’s corn crop now goes to fuel, not food.
“I don’t think anybody knows precisely how much ethanol contributes to the run-up in food prices, but the contribution is clearly substantial,” a professor of applied economics and law at the University of Minnesota, C. Ford Runge, said. A study by a Washington think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, indicated that between a quarter and a third of the recent hike in commodities prices is attributable to biofuels.
Last year, Mr. Runge and a colleague, Benjamin Senauer, wrote an article in Foreign Affairs, “How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.”
“We were criticized for being alarmist at the time,” Mr. Runge said. “I think our views, looking back a year, were probably too conservative.”
Ethanol was initially promoted as a vehicle for America to cut back on foreign oil. In recent years, biofuels have also been touted as a way to fight climate change, but the food crisis does not augur well for ethanol’s prospects.
“It takes around 400 pounds of corn to make 25 gallons of ethanol,” Mr. Senauer, also an applied economics professor at Minnesota, said. “It’s not going to be a very good diet but that’s roughly enough to keep an adult person alive for a year.”
Mr. Senauer said climate change advocates, such as Vice President Gore, need to distance themselves from ethanol to avoid tarnishing the effort against global warming. “Crop-based biofuels are not part of the solution. They, in fact, add to the problem. Whether Al Gore has caught up with that, somebody ought to ask him,” the professor said. “There are lots of solutions, real solutions to climate change. We need to get to those.”
Mr. Gore was not available for an interview yesterday on the food crisis, according to his spokeswoman. A spokesman for Mr. Gore’s public campaign to address climate change, the Alliance for Climate Protection, declined to comment for this article.
However, the scientist who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Gore, Rajendra Pachauri of the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, has warned that climate campaigners are unwise to promote biofuels in a way that risks food supplies. “We should be very, very careful about coming up with biofuel solutions that have major impact on production of food grains and may have an implication for overall food security,” Mr. Pachauri told reporters last month, according to Reuters. “Questions do arise about what is being done in North America, for instance, to convert corn into sugar then into biofuels, into ethanol.”
In an interview last year, Mr. Gore expressed his support for corn-based ethanol, but endorsed moving to what he called a “third generation” of so-called cellulosic ethanol production, which is still in laboratory research. “It doesn’t compete with food crops, so it doesn’t put pressure on food prices,” the former vice president told Popular Mechanics magazine.
Others would assign less blame to the use of corn to produce fuel ethanol but would blame 'environmentalists' generally for the worldwide failure to properly exploit alternative fuel sources for the past thirty years:
Collectively the intermeshed muddle of environmental movements have ensured that the dirtiest source of power (coal) is still the most heavily used for the past thirty years. They’ve done this by opposition to new oil and gas exploration, drilling, and refineries. They’ve done this through tax and regulation of fuel standards. They’ve done it through intense opposition and regulation of new nuclear plants, and NIMBY opposition to large scale wind and solar farms. They’ve opposed hydro-power wherever it’s been attempted. It seems that the only power that’s good or green is that used specifically for their house, and none other.
They’ve opposed all forms of new energy but it isn’t a vast plot - instead it fits with their general blurry vision and strategy. As stated above they just muddle their way towards a low-energy world, often working at cross-purpose without understanding the ultimate evil effect. That vision and strategy is to make energy scare and expensive, in hopes of stopping environmental degradation. Instead they insure not only environmental degradation, but also hunger and poverty in third world nations, and the eventual destruction of wealth in the US.
Is it a mistake that the high-guru of Global Warming comes from a coal mining state where the coal boomis once again on and the attempts to stop it are being fought in the state Legislature? Is it a mistake that a supposedly “environmental” Senator, Ted Kennedy, opposes windmill farms in his neighborhood?
There’s no doubt that mankind contributes some to global warming, you can prove that to yourself on any windless day by driving well outside a metro area, measuring temperature, and then driving back inside and measuring temperature. Typically you will see a 1-4 degree higher temperature inside the “heat bubble” of the metro area. (Note that both readings should be approximately the same elevation or the experiment is pointless, elevations do vary in temperature, and moderate winds will also mask urban heat bubbles.)
The policy question isn’t whether we contribute to global warming, instead it is “do we contribute enough to crush economies with carbon caps, to stifle new energy development through environmental regulation, and starve people through misguided energy policy?” Does being clean warrant people still dying in coal mines or from the pollution burning coal creates — because regardless of what the environmentalists do, the reality is that people still need energy and will get it from one source if blocked from another?
This is one reason why you hear the oxymorons “clean coal” and “carbon sequestration” so much lately. Coal is dirty no matter what you do, and the money spent cleaning it or sequestering carbon would be better spent on nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, oil, and natural gas.
So how does all this affect Israel? Let's go back to Haaretz for the gruesome details:
The global rice crisis is hitting Israeli consumers in the pocket, with prices rising between 33 percent and 65 percent Sunday in the Super Sol supermarket chain, the largest in the country, in accordance with the price update of local sugar and rice company Sugat.
The second-largest supermarket chain, Blue Square, has not yet updated its prices but is expected to raise them soon.
Sugat said demand for rice increased by hundreds of percent over the weekend, "because everyone heard about the global shortage and the expectation of a price increase and ran to the stores," said Sugat CEO David Franklin. A senior source in the retail field confirmed that rice sales late last week were three times higher than on peak sale days.
However, concern over a rice shortage in Israel has dissipated. Super-Sol has lifted its brief two-package per customer restriction, saying that "in light of the rise in prices in the world and in Israel, the Super-Sol chain wanted to prevent merchants from buying at the chain's stores in order to accumulate stock and make a fortune at the expense of the customer."
"There is no rice shortage in the world, and there is no food shortage," said Gideon Ben Nun, CEO of Shekel-AGIO Risk Management & Financial Decisions. "There is only an atmosphere of panic."
Meanwhile, the prices of products based on wheat and corn, as well as cooking oils, are expected to rise shortly by up to 10 percent, sources in the food industry said.
Price-controlled bread will be more expensive by between 10 percent and 15 percent within three months. In addition, coffee prices are expected to rise by between 5.5 percent and 8.5 percent and candy prices are due for a 5-percent hike, on average.
The expected price hikes come on top of an average rise of about 13 percent in hundreds of products over the past year.
Restaurants say they will have to raise their prices by about 10 percent in order to compensate for the increased cost of ingredients.
What to do about the problem? The government minister in charge of the issue, Yitzhak Herzog, proposes to adjust (for inflation) the minimum income guarantee allowances (havtachat hachnasa) received by low income Israelis more often than the current once per year.
Pnina Ben-Ami, senior adviser to Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, told The Jerusalem Post that with the price of rice and other staple foods soaring this week, compounding recent hikes in electricity and gasoline, the minister is to lead an initiative to raise National Insurance Institute allowances for the poor more often - twice rather than the current once-a-year update - to stop them from eroding.
"The erosion of allowances makes it very hard for needy people to cope in their day-to-day lives," Ben-Ami said.
The problems with this solution are that to date inflation has been generally lower than the increase in food prices, and that someone has to pay for the cost of the more frequent adjustments if they happen. Arguably, Israelis are already the most highly taxed people in the world. Can we really afford to raise our taxes further? Raising taxes further is likely to mean more working poor, more people leaving the country so that they can keep more of what they earn and will - in the long run - stifle economic growth.
"There are crazy rises all over the world, and nothing we can do will stop it," Tzvia Dori, who is in charge of internal trade and price supervision in the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry told the Post. "Only direct assistance to the poor people in Israel can help," she said, rejecting the idea that other commodities in addition to bread be put under governmental supervision.
That may well be true. But does that assistance have to come from the government?
There are other things that can be done. First, while there are many charities in Israel, getting Section 47 approval (the equivalent of 501(c)(3) status in the US that makes donations deductible) is almost impossible here without having a direct connection to someone on the Knesset Finance Committee. And once a charity gets approval, the tax deductions are meaningless for most Israelis because they cannot be used unless you file a tax return and most Israelis aren't required to and don't file tax returns.
Instead of concentrating on 'narrowing gaps' between high and low earners (something that caused Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer to quip "If we want to get rid of poverty in this country we should close the hi-tech sector." Why? Because poverty in Israel is a measure of inequality; it's people who are below half the median income. You can reduce the top incomes by getting rid of the parts that are prospering, and quite likely you'll reduce the relative poverty rate)," we need to concentrate on giving economic incentives (read: tax deductions) to the wealthy in return for helping out the poor.
Eran Weintraub, director of Latet, the largest charitable foundation in Israel supplying food to the poor, warned of crippling consequences for his organization and those who need its help. "Latet will have to stop buying and distributing rice very soon [because of the rising cost], and will in general buy smaller amounts of food," he told the Post. "The poor will get less from us, and will be forced to buy less in the stores, so they are being hit from all directions. People who, until now, barely kept their heads above water will now also become truly poor."
I'm sure that if you donate money to Latet, you can get a tax deduction. But only if you file a tax return. Most people in this country do not file tax returns unless they are self-employed. Would a universal filing requirement accompanied by deductibility for charitable donations encourage people to voluntarily transfer some of their wealth directly to the poor without the government acting as a go-between? After seeing how miserably socialism has failed around the world, I think it's worth a try. I wonder if Mr. Gore would agree.
The food situation also has security implications for Israel. One of the things that has driven up food prices is increased energy costs. In other words, the collapse of the dollar (something that can really only be appreciated outside the US - most of my earnings are in dollars and I am getting creamed right now financially as a result) and the accompanying price rise in oil which is purchased on dollar terms is resulting in lining the pockets of our enemies such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
That raises another way the government could help all Israelis: cut gas taxes. As of last night, a liter of 95-octane unleaded gas (petrol for you Brits) costs NIS 6.41 ($1.86). That means a gallon of gas here costs $7.04 (and you thought you were paying a lot)! And it will likely go up at midnight Wednesday night (as it does almost every month). A big chunk of that is taxes; the standard estimate here is that at least 50% of the costs of running a car consists of taxes. The government could cut the gas tax and stave off inflation (people drive anyway) that would necessitate increasing subsidies to the poor and would make more of us into working poor.
Those are some of my ideas this morning. In the meantime, Mrs. Carl bought about fifteen kilos of rice on Sunday (obviously not from Super-Sol), so we are set for a few weeks.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 32 years and seven grandchildren. Three of our children are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com