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Saturday, January 31, 2009

How much longer will Jews stay in Venezuela? UPDATED: Back to the 1930's in Venezuela

A Caracas synagogue was vandalized on Friday night with Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls) damaged and slogans calling for Jews to leave painted on the synagogue's walls. The slogans were not against Israel, but against Jews.

Earlier this week, Israel expelled all Venezuelan diplomats from the country in response to Venezuela expelling all Israeli diplomats last week.


This is from a Simon Wiesenthal Center release from Thursday, less than 24 hours before the synagogue was vandalized (Hat Tip: Gudrun E.).
“There is a well-orchestrated campaign on TV, radio, print and Internet media owned by the government, openly questioning Israelis right to exist, even including publication of such anti-Semitic materials as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A group of pro-government journalists is urging the population to boycott of businesses owned by Jews in Venezuela,” they added.

Most frightening was a 'plan of action' published in a pro-government digital newspaper, Aporrea.org, giving direction against Venezuela’s Jewish community which included:
- publicly denouncing by name, the members of powerful Jewish groups in Venezuela, names of their companies and businesses in order to boycott them

- avoiding products, stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and where Kosher food is sold which either belongs or has links with 'Zionist Jews'

- questioning the existence of Jewish educational institutions

- shouting pro-Palestine and anti-Israel slogans at Jews on the street

- inviting anti-Zionist Jews living in Venezuela to publicly express their disassociation from 'Zionist war crimes' and the imposition of artificial State of Israel on Palestine

- nationalization of companies, confiscation of properties of those Jews who support the Zionist atrocities of the Nazi-State of Israel, and donate this property to the Palestinian victims of today’s Holocaust

- sending all type of aid to Palestinians including weapons

- hacking pro-Zionist websites including governments or institutions that have relations with Israel

- organizing an international conference about the creation of the theocratic - Nazi state of Israel as a genocidal European colony, and about the myths and facts of the alleged Jewish Holocaust or Holohoax (a blackmailing industry)

- support the dissolution of the artificial State of Israel
Lovely, just lovely. Sounds more like Nazi Germany than like Iran.


Here's more from Al-AP.
An armed group vandalized Caracas' oldest synagogue, shattering religious objects and spray-painting walls in what Jewish leaders called the worst attack ever on their community in Venezuela.

Two security guards were overpowered by about 15 people who ransacked the synagogue's sanctuary and offices late Friday, leaving graffiti such as: We don't want murderers, and Jews, get out.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro condemned the attack and promised it would be investigated, while reiterating his government's opposition to what he called Israel's criminal government.

"We respect the Jewish people, but we ask respect for the people of Palestine and their right to life," Maduro said in a ceremony called to welcome home two Venezuelan diplomats expelled from Israel this week.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry ordered the envoys to leave after Venezuela expelled all Israeli diplomats on January 6th, to protest Israel's offensive in the Gaza strip. President Hugo Chavez labeled Israeli leaders as genocidal.
At least those Jews have a place to go. Imagine if Chavez got his way and there was no Israel....

Israel's non-response

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

It's ten days to the elections and this morning a Kassam rocket hit an open area outside of Ashkelon proving once again that Israel did not restore its deterrence by pounding Gaza three weeks ago. It will be interesting to see whether the 'Palestinians' try to goad the government into a response between now and the elections.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians have decided that the best way to prevent weapons smuggling at the Rafah crossing point from Egypt to Gaza is with cameras and sensors. You didn't really expect them to commit troops, did you?
The sources said Egyptian authorities had begun installing the equipment two days ago with joint US, French and German expertise, and added that they hoped the sensors and cameras would help detect any tunnel construction in the border area.

"Cables that are part of a tunnel detection device are being installed along the Gaza-Egypt border," a security source said, adding the cables were being installed from south of Rafah to the Mediterranean coast.

The source said some cameras and sensors had already been installed, and the cameras would be connected by the cables.
Meanwhile, Israel's government remains silent as if we have no stake in what's going on.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Second Pre-Sabbath link dump

Here's that late pre-Sabbath link dump I promised you.

Security expert: Don't rush to ban Google Earth just because it's used by terrorists (Hat Tip: David K.).

Thousands welcome Erdogan on his return to Turkey from Davos. Sickening. Video here.

Europe urged to consider Arab feelings and not help prevent smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

'Whosoever shall go out of the doors of your house outside, his blood shall be upon his head'

On Thursday night, I showed you an interview with the former commander of Israel's southern district, Zvika Fogel, in which Fogel questioned how 45 people could have been killed by one mortar shell that hit a schoolyard. Fogel's question about the number of casualties remains valid, but as it turns out, no shells hit the schoolyard and no one was killed in the schoolyard (Hat Tip: Hot Air).
Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.

Stories of one or more shells landing inside the schoolyard were inaccurate.

While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers.

The teacher who was in the compound at the time of the shelling says he heard three loud blasts, one after the other, then a lot of screaming. "I ran in the direction of the screaming [inside the compound]," he said. "I could see some of the people had been injured, cut. I picked up one girl who was bleeding by her eye, and ran out on the street to get help."But when I got outside, it was crazy hell. There were bodies everywhere, people dead, injured, flesh everywhere."

The teacher, who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: "Inside [the compound] there were 12 injured, but there were no dead." [Note: Not Hamas but UNRWA. CiJ]

"Three of my students were killed," he said. "But they were all outside."
UNRWA director John Ging thinks Israel ought to be liable anyway:
John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school."

"I told the Israelis that none of the shells landed in the school," he said.

Why would he do that?

"Because they had told everyone they had returned fire from gunmen in the school. That wasn't true."

Mr. Ging blames the Israelis for the confusion over where the victims were killed. "They even came out with a video that purported to show gunmen in the schoolyard. But we had seen it before," he said, "in 2007."

The Israelis are the ones, he said, who got everyone thinking the deaths occurred inside the school.

"Look at my statements," he said. "I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation."

Speaking from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as the bodies were being brought in that night, an emotional Mr. Ging did say: "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. ... There's nowhere safe in Gaza."

And in its daily bulletin, the World Health Organization reported: "On 6 January, 42 people were killed following an attack on a UNRWA school ..."

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs got the location right, for a short while. Its daily bulletin cited "early reports" that "three artillery shells landed outside the UNRWA Jabalia Prep. C Girls School ..." However, its more comprehensive weekly report, published three days later, stated that "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools ..." including the one at issue.

Such official wording helps explain the widespread news reports of the deaths in the school, but not why the UN agencies allowed the misconception to linger.

"I know no one was killed in the school," Mr. Ging said. "But 41 innocent people were killed in the street outside the school. Many of those people had taken refuge in the school and wandered out onto the street.

"The state of Israel still has to answer for that. What did they know and what care did they take?"
Sorry John, but no. What kind of fool leaves his shelter to go into the street when he's been told that his shelter is safe but everything else around him is dangerous? That rule goes back to biblical times. This is from Joshua, Chapter 2:
18. Behold when we come into the land, you shall bind this line of scarlet thread in the window by which you let us down; and you shall bring your father and your mother, and your brothers and all your father's household home to you.

19. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of your house outside, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be blameless, and that whosoever shall be with you in the house, his blood shall be upon our head if any hand be upon him.

20. And if you tell this our discussion, then we will be blameless of your oath which you have made us swear.

21. And she said, According to your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed; and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
Sorry John, but the IDF can't be responsible for people who went out to wander around. There was a war out there.

Pre-Sabbath link dump

I'm doing a link dump a bit early today because I have about 30 windows open right now. There may be a second link dump before the Sabbath starts in two and a half hours.

The Chicago White Sox are planning to put President Obama's Hopenchange logo on White Sox caps this season. Fortunately, all of my Chicago-bred family members (Mrs. Carl is from Chicago as is son-in-law number 1) are Cubs fans....

Sticking with the baseball theme, author John Updike passed away this week. This is a link to his famous Hub fans bid Kid adieu - an essay about Red Sox star Ted Williams' last game in 1960 (no, I was not there). Hat Tip: Powerline.

On to something a bit more within this blog's normal fare, an Ohio 'charity' is threatening Pajamas Media with a lawsuit over its publishing a story documenting the 'charity's ties with Hamas. I hope truth is a defense to a libel suit in Ohio. At least they're not in England.

Is a Hindu state in the offing? (Hat Tip: Puneet).

Mrs. Carl sent me this link to Inaugural words: 1789 to the present.
A look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses. The most-used words in each address appear in the interactive chart below, sized by number of uses. Words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in this inaugural address than average.

Gazans: 'Hamas is all hot air'

With apologies to Allah, Ed and Michelle for the headline....

Hamas is handing out checks to homeless Gaza residents after first forcing them to listen to speeches about how the 'mighty warriors' of Hamas defeated the Israeli military machine. But Gazans are not fools and are not buying it. They understand that Hamas is full of hot air.
"There's a lot of talk," resident Zayed Khader, 45, said after the speech, as he waited for his name to be called so he could pick up relief checks worth a total of $6,000 for his family of nine. "When I see them actually building my house, I'll say these are good words."

Khader watched Thursday's bustle, of cabinet ministers, bodyguards and aid deliveries, with disdain. He said he has told visiting Hamas politicians that the civilians are the losers and that they oppose continued rocket fire on Israel - the attacks that triggered the war.

"It's all hot air," he said of the officials' promises. "What do they care if my house is bombed?"

Jumma Dardona, whose nearby three-story family house has been rendered uninhabitable, fears he'll live in a tent for a long time. "No one knows the accurate period," said Dardona, 34, as he cut firewood behind the last row of tents, his 6-year-old son Mohammed by his side.

Dardona and several others in Salam said they want Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement to put aside their rivalries. They say the infighting is one of the main reasons for the misery of Gaza civilians. "As long as they fight, I feel I am lost," said Dardona, who served as a policeman before the Hamas takeover.
Don't hold your breath waiting for that infighting to be put aside. Hamas is doing all it can to make sure that it controls the distribution of aid money - and not Fatah. And al-AP reports that Fatah - the 'good terrorists' who are the darlings of the 'international community' - is invisible.
However, the Fatah government, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has not been visible among the aid groups, sidelining him even further in the eyes of many Gazans.

Abbas still pumps huge sums into Gaza every month, paying the salaries of tens of thousands of civil servants and police, like Dardona. But his promised $3.5 million for the families of the dead - according to Gaza health officials nearly 1,300 - has not been disbursed, in part because Gaza banks suffer from a shortage of bank notes, another fallout from the closure.

Hamas, which smuggles cash through border tunnels instead of using bank transfers, has no problems with distribution.
And you thought Ed and Allah were Hot Air. Hmmm.

Letter from IDF reservist to a Gaza citizen: 'I am the soldier who slept in your home'

I kept meaning to post this letter....
An Open Letter to a citizen Of Gaza:

I Am the Soldier Who Slept In Your Home:

By: Yishai G (reserve soldier)

[Email address deleted].

[Originally published in Hebrew in Maariv]


While the world watches the ruins in Gaza, you return to your home which remains standing. However, I am sure that it is clear to you that someone was in your home while you were away.

I am that someone.

I spent long hours imagining how you would react when you walked into your home. How you would feel when you understood that IDF soldiers had slept on your mattresses and used your blankets to keep warm.

I knew that it would make you angry and sad and that you would feel this violation of the most intimate areas of your life by those defined as your enemies, with stinging humiliation. I am convinced that you hate me with unbridled hatred, and you do not have even the tiniest desire to hear what I have to say. At the same time, it is important for me to say the following in the hope that there is even the minutest chance that you will hear me.

I spent many days in your home. You and your family's presence was felt in every corner. I saw your family portraits on the wall, and I thought of my family. I saw your wife's perfume bottles on the bureau, and I thought of my wife. I saw your children's toys and their English language schoolbooks. I saw your personal computer and how you set up the modem and wireless phone next to the screen, just as I do.

I wanted you to know that despite the immense disorder you found in your house that was created during a search for explosives and tunnels (which were indeed found in other homes), we did our best to treat your possessions with respect. When I moved the computer table, I disconnected the cables and lay them down neatly on the floor, as I would do with my own computer. I even covered the computer from dust with a piece of cloth. I tried to put back the clothes that fell when we moved the closet although not the same as you would have done, but at least in such a way that nothing would get lost.

I know that the devastation, the bullet holes in your walls and the destruction of those homes near you place my descriptions in a ridiculous light. Still, I need you to understand me, us, and hope that you will channel your anger and criticism to the right places.

I decided to write you this letter specifically because I stayed in your home.

I can surmise that you are intelligent and educated and there are those in your household that are university students. Your children learn English, and you are connected to the Internet. You are not ignorant; you know what is going on around you.

Therefore, I am sure you know that Qassam rockets were launched from your neighborhood into Israeli towns and cities.

How could you see these weekly launches and not think that one day we would say "enough"?! Did you ever consider that it is perhaps wrong to launch rockets at innocent civilians trying to lead a normal life, much like you? How long did you think we would sit back without reacting?

I can hear you saying "it's not me, it's Hamas". My intuition tells me you are not their most avid supporter. If you look closely at the sad reality in which your people live, and you do not try to deceive yourself or make excuses about "occupation", you must certainly reach the conclusion that the Hamas is your real enemy.

The reality is so simple, even a seven year old can understand: Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, removing military bases and its citizens from Gush Katif. Nonetheless, we continued to provide you with electricity, water, and goods (and this I know very well as during my reserve duty I guarded the border crossings more than once, and witnessed hundreds of trucks full of goods entering a blockade-free Gaza every day).

Despite all this, for reasons that cannot be understood and with a lack of any rational logic, Hamas launched missiles on Israeli towns. For three years we clenched our teeth and restrained ourselves. In the end, we could not take it anymore and entered the Gaza strip, into your neighborhood, in order to remove those who want to kill us. A reality that is painful but very easy to explain.

As soon as you agree with me that Hamas is your enemy and because of them, your people are miserable, you will also understand that the change must come from within. I am acutely aware of the fact that what I say is easier to write than to do, but I do not see any other way. You, who are connected to the world and concerned about your children's education, must lead, together with your friends, a civil uprising against Hamas.

I swear to you, that if the citizens of Gaza were busy paving roads, building schools, opening factories and cultural institutions instead of dwelling in self pity, arms smuggling and nurturing a hatred to your Israeli neighbors, your homes would not be in ruins right now. If your leaders were not corrupt and motivated by hatred, your home would not have been harmed. If someone would have stood up and shouted that there is no point in launching missiles on innocent civilians, I would not have to stand in your kitchen as a soldier.

You don't have money, you tell me? You have more than you can imagine.

Even before Hamas took control of Gaza, during the time of Yasser Arafat, millions if not billions of dollars donated by the world community to the Palestinians was used for purchasing arms or taken directly to your leaders bank accounts. Gulf States, the emirates - your brothers, your flesh and blood, are some of the richest nations in the world. If there was even a small feeling of solidarity between Arab nations, if these nations had but the smallest interest in reconstructing the Palestinian people - your situation would be very different.

You must be familiar with Singapore. The land mass there is not much larger than the Gaza strip and it is considered to be the second most populated country in the world. Yet, Singapore is a successful, prospering, and well managed country. Why not the same for you?

My friend, I would like to call you by name, but I will not do so publicly. I want you to know that I am 100% at peace with what my country did, what my army did, and what I did. However, I feel your pain. I am sorry for the destruction you are finding in your neighborhood at this moment. On a personal level, I did what I could to minimize the damage to your home as much as possible.

In my opinion, we have a lot more in common than you might imagine. I am a civilian, not a soldier, and in my private life I have nothing to do with the military. However, I have an obligation to leave my home, put on a uniform, and protect my family every time we are attacked. I have no desire to be in your home wearing a uniform again and I would be more than happy to sit with you as a guest on your beautiful balcony, drinking sweet tea seasoned with the sage growing in your garden.

The only person who could make that dream a reality is you. Take responsibility for yourself, your family, your people, and start to take control of your destiny. How? I do not know. Maybe there is something to be learned from the Jewish people who rose up from the most destructive human tragedy of the 20th century, and instead of sinking into self-pity, built a flourishing and prospering country. It is possible, and it is in your hands. I am ready to be there to provide a shoulder of support and help to you.

But only you can move the wheels of history."

Yishai, (Reserve Soldier)
(Picture for illustration only).

Hopenchange at the United Nations

On Thursday, the new American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice (pictured), made her first appearance in the Security Council, and promised a new sense of American 'responsibility' for what goes on throughout the world.
Rice also emphasized that the U.S. would work to strengthen protections for civilians in conflict zones and support international prosecutions of war crimes [Like this one? CiJ].

"It is in this spirit of cooperation and determination that we will seek to use this body of international law to minimize human suffering and protect vulnerable populations," Rice said.

She said the International Criminal Court "looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda, and Darfur."

The U.S. opposed the court's creation and for the past decade refused to join it. Nevertheless, it has been a key supporter of bringing Sudan's president before the court on charges of orchestrating atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region.

Rice also defended Israel while pressuring it to account for its military actions.

"Violations of international humanitarian law have been perpetrated by Hamas through its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in southern Israel and the use of civilian facilities to provide protection for its terrorist attacks. There have also been numerous allegations made against Israel some of which are deliberately designed to inflame," Rice said.

"We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate," she said.
What's missing from this article is her final sentence. Israel Radio reported this morning that Rice said that the United States would no longer assume an inherent bias against Israel in the United Nations.

Hopenchange anyone?

Spanish judge opens 'war crimes' 'investigation' against 7 Israelis

A Spanish judge has opened an 'investigation' into possible 'war crimes' committed by seven senior IDF officers arising out of the targeted assassination of Salah Shehadeh - the head of Hamas' Izzadein el-Kassam military brigades - in 2002 (pictured at top left). Israeli is 'furious.'
The investigation has been ordered against National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who was defense minister at the time; Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Ya'alon, who was chief of General Staff; Dan Halutz, then commander of the air force; Doron Almog, who was OC Southern Command; then-National Security Council head Giora Eiland; the defense minister's military secretary, Mike Herzog; and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, who was head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

The Justice Ministry rejected allegations that it had failed to take seriously a request from Spanish authorities to turn over key documents connected to the targeted killing of Shehadeh.

It issued a statement on Thursday night saying that "the Spanish authorities asked to receive materials in the course of January, and because of the large quantity of the material in question, the preparation of the documents has continued until now."

According to Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen, "In consultation with all of the relevant people in different government ministries, it was decided - in an exceptional decision - to comply with the Spanish judge's request to acquire documents concerning legal proceedings in Israel regarding the Shehadeh affair.

"To our regret, the Spanish authorities did not wait to receive the materials from Israel, and have already published their decision," he wrote. "There is no doubt that the very issuance of this suit constitutes a cynical and political attempt by private anti-Israel interests to take advantage of the Spanish judicial system to butt heads with Israel."

Should the Spanish judge, Fernando Andreu, choose to issue an international arrest warrant for any of the Israelis in question, they could be arrested upon arrival in any European Union member state.
It should be added that arrest warrants for the seven have already been issued in Spain.

Legally, Israel could take the position that the Spanish court has no jurisdiction over the seven and tell them to stay out of Spain, but that is problematic for three reasons. First, the issuance of a warrant that would allow them to be arrested in the European Union would add considerably to the number of countries in which they could be arrested. Second, as you can probably tell from the names, at least six of the seven hold high positions in the Israeli government (I'm not sure about Mike Herzog). The Israeli government cannot afford for these people not to be able to travel. And third, if these seven are successfully prosecuted, other IDF officers will also likely be prosecuted, and the terrorists will try to deter the IDF from carrying out its missions by using human shields, knowing that if they are killed they will take the entire IDF chain of command with them. In that regard, recall the case of Nizar Riyyan in Operation Cast Lead, who invited his wives and children to die with him.

For those who have forgotten the Shehadeh story, I posted it all here.

Writing in Friday's Jerusalem Post, Bar Ilan University Professor Gerald Steinberg explains who is behind this 'investigation.'
While designed to bring heinous dictators to justice, "lawfare" - as this tactic has been dubbed - is exploited by non-governmental organizations that use the façade of universal human rights to promote their political goals.

The pattern emerged in 2001 when Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Badil (which focuses on refugee claims) and other NGOs used Belgium as the venue for allegations of war crimes against then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. The case was eventually dismissed and the law changed after Belgian officials linked to African dictators realized that they, too, were vulnerable to prosecution.

In 2005, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, who had retired from the IDF and was traveling to London to raise funds for the treatment of autism, stayed on an El Al plane at Heathrow Airport after NGOs targeted him with legal proceedings. This case, too, was later dropped, but the damage had been done.

The Spanish example of "lawfare" was initiated by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). With a large budget provided by the European Commission, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and other European governments, PCHR is among the leaders of the anti-Israel demonization strategy.

The strategy was developed in the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, the goal being to use boycotts and legal processes to brand Israel an "apartheid" state, while legitimizing terrorism. During the recent Gaza operation, PCHR issued over 50 statements, most of which included allegations of "war crimes."
Steinberg suggests that Israel has been slow to recognize the threat posed by 'lawfare' and has some cogent suggestions for actions that might be taken in response.
Somewhat more concretely, the Foreign Ministry has pressed European governments to amend their legal codes to prevent NGOs from bringing such cases to court, but scant attention has been paid in Israel to EU and government funding for PCHR. There has been no cost to European officials, such as the Spanish prime minister, who are still welcomed by Israel as peace mediators.
Unfortunately, it's not just European NGO's that have been funding and bringing these kinds of cases. Israeli groups have also been actively involved. In fact, it was an Israeli group that brought about the attempt to arrest Maj-Gen (Res.) Doron Almog that is referred to above.

The leftist group Yesh Gvul has been pursuing IDF officers who were in the chain of command of the Shehadeh assassination since 2002, mainly in Europe. For example, in September 2005 (a month after the Gaza expulsion), retired general Doron Almog did not disembark from an El Al flight at London's Heathrow Airport to avoid arrest for the 'war crime' of being involved in Shehadeh's assassination. That same month, a lawsuit was filed in a British court against then IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe ("Boogie") Yaalon for involvement in the Shehadeh bombing. And in 2007, Israel's state attorney, in a proceeding in Israel's own 'Supreme Court,' agreed to 'investigate' whether any 'crime' was committed in ordering Shehadeh's liquidation:
Today, Israel's state prosecution threw much of the IDF's senior brass to the wolves. It agreed to a 'committee' that will determine who was 'guilty' of the Shehadeh assassination. No, it wasn't ordered to set up a 'committee' - it agreed to set one up:
The government agreed Monday to establish a committee to study the 2002 assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Sheikh Salah Shahadah in Gaza. The committee will determine whether or not IDF officials are guilty of criminal behavior in the case.

The announcement was made in response to a plea filed by the leftist group “Yesh Gvul” and several leftist authors and poets, represented by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sefard. In the past, the government has opposed efforts to establish an investigative committee, saying “There’s no need to conduct a criminal investigation every time innocent civilians are hurt during fighting.”
The 'lawfare' suits have already had an effect on the way war is fought. During Operation Cast Lead, the IDF had several soldiers filming events, often at risk to their own safety, so that Israel will be prepared to answer the - inevitable - 'war crimes' charges. That's why you saw all those videos of booby-trapped houses and zoos. Those films were not made for your entertainment, and using them as part of a public relations effort was far less important to the IDF than protecting soldiers from future prosecutions. In fact, Haaretz reports on Friday that Israeli leftists are already making up 'blacklists' of IDF officers who fought in Gaza.
So far, the local blacklist contains the names of nine battalion commanders from the Golani and Paratroops brigades and the armored corps. However, defense officials fear that overseas leftist organizations will use the same technique to compile far more comprehensive lists, including junior officers and pilots.

As far as is known, there has been no cooperation in this effort between local and international activists.
And you thought armies kept their movements secret as a military tactic....

In law, you generally need jurisdiction over a person's body or property in order to bring him into court. One way to get jurisdiction over someone is to arrest him. But you would need a basis to arrest someone in another country. Haaretz's Ze'ev Segal explains the basis on which the Spanish court is asserting jurisdiction:
Several countries (Britain is another) have assumed the right of universal jurisdiction. The general rule is that a country's laws apply only to that country, but international law does not forbid a country to assert its authority over acts committed outside its borders. And this includes cases of people who, in the view of the country doing the judging, have committed serious crimes, albeit with no connection to that country.

Dr. Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, published a book in which he wrote that "there is apparently an obligation" to first give the countries involved a chance to try the suspects. Hence the argument is now being made that the Spanish writ was issued because the suspects were not tried in Israel, and the High Court of Justice declined to order a criminal investigation into the incident. Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that any investigative committee, and perhaps even not an indictment, would have prevented the writ from being issued.

Incidentally, Israel's penal code also permits it to try people for crimes committed outside its borders, but only in the case of crimes "against the state" or "against the Jewish people."
And once your domestic laws permit 'universal jurisdiction,' you issue a warrant under your domestic law and ask other countries to enforce it. European Union countries are required to enforce each other's warrants.

For those of you sitting in the US wondering how this could affect you, I thought you would never ask. In early 2001, the Clinton administration signed something called the Rome Protocol, which set up an 'International Criminal Court' with universal jurisdiction to investigate 'war crimes.' At the time, Clinton tried to convince Israel's then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak to sign the treaty. Barak, in the middle of an election campaign, postponed a decision, and fortunately his successor, Ariel Sharon (who was nearly arrested in Belgium himself) refused to sign the treaty. In 2002, the Bush administration withdrew from the Rome Protocol shortly before it went into effect and shortly before the International Criminal Court opened. In April 2008, the Bush administration reconsidered that decision but did not sign the Rome Protocol. Here's betting that the Hopenchange administration will join the court.
As of January 2009, 108 states are members of the Court; A further 40 countries have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. However, a number of states, including China, Russia, India and the United States, are critical of the Court and have not joined.

The Court can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused is a national of a state party, the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party, or a situation is referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council. The Court is designed to complement existing national judicial systems: it can exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes. Primary responsibility to investigate and punish crimes is therefore left to individual states.
So Americans and Israelis can be 'investigated' by the court if their cases are referred by the United Nations Security Council. This presumably means that Americans are safe so long as the US has a Security Council veto, but Israelis may be a different story.


For those of you who are having trouble rationalizing what you read, here's a question from this post's 'spinoff link' at Little Green Footballs and my response:
re: #1 Outrider
Looking at it from another perspective, does this mean any organization in any country is now free to file "war crimes" charges in their country against another country they have no involvement with? This impacts everyone to a larger scale. Can Spain or Norway file "war crime" charges against American military performing their duties in Iraq or Afghanistan? Or file them against American political figures whose presence would frequently be required in Europe, thus denying them the ability to perform their duties.

This at the moment is warfare on another front against Israel in an attempt to paralyze their operations not only on a military front, but on the political and personal fronts also.

It has potentially serious repercussions for everyone to INCLUDE Europeans. Will Spain in the near future decide to indite some British politicians for actions British soldiers performed in Iraq? German politicians for actions their soldiers performed in Afghanistan?

And just how does Spain get involved in this to start with? I understand why Israel is cooperating with this court case, I just can't see Spains justification for involvement.

I'm not sure about Norway, but Spain can do all of the above. Spain has what's called a 'universal jurisdiction' statute, which allows them to prosecute anyone for a 'war crime' regardless of the lack of any nexus to Spain. Yes, that would include US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Britain has a similar statute. Belgium had one, and actually tried arresting Ariel Sharon while he was Prime Minister under that statute, but then they realized that it could be used against their own troops in the Congo, so they amended it.

Were the statute the only issue, we could just tell senior IDF officers to stay out of Spain (and to avoid being kidnapped to Spain). But Spain is a member of the EU and under the EU treaties, each country is required to enforce the other member states' arrest warrants. If the Spanish court issues an 'international warrant,' any country in the EU would be required to arrest any of these seven officers if it were able to do so.

Thus far, these kinds of statutes have only been used against IDF officers. But Israel is the canary in the coal mine and you know that if it's being used against us, the US and others will follow. And that makes the Obama administration's line of 'cooperating' with international agencies even more troublesome than it was already.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Erdogan's temper tantrum (with video)

It wasn't just that he called for a new definition of terrorism that would make Hamas and Hezbullah into charitable organizations. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also had a temper tantrum at the World Economic Conference in Davos on Thursday.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stalked off the stage at the World Economic Forum red-faced after verbally sparring with President Shimon Peres over the fighting in Gaza.

Erdogan was flustered after he tried to speak as the scheduled session was ending at the forum in Davos, Switzerland, asking the moderator, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, to let him speak once more.

"Only a minute," Ignatius replied.

Erdogan said that "I remember two former prime ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks," he said in Turkish.

"I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian," he said.

Ignatius said "We can't start the debate again. We just don't have time."

Erdogan said "Please let me finish." Ignatius responded "We really do need to get people to dinner."

The Turkish premier then said, "Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I don't think I will come back to Davos after this."

The confrontation saw Peres and Ergodan raise their voice shouting - highly unusual at the elite gathering of corporate and world leaders, which is usually marked by learned consensus seeking and polite dialogue.

The packed audience at the Ergodan and Peres session, which included US President Barack Obama's close adviser Valerie Jarrett, appeared stunned.
You won't see Peres shouting in this video (you will see him, but not shouting back at Erdogan - keep checking back and I will try to get that too), but you will see Erdogan storming off the stage. Let's go to the videotape.


Here's a press conference where Erdogan tried to explain himself. Starting at about the 2:10 mark there's a translator.

Let's go to the videotape.

The earlier parts of the event can be found here.


More on this story from Memeorandum here.


Here's Shimon Peres' speech that preceded Erodgan's tantrum. Let's go to the videotape.

Shimon continues to delude himself that Hamas has a different goal than Fatah, but otherwise he's spot on.

Ban Ki-Moon's numbers game

At the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland today, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appealed for $613 million in 'emergency economic aid' for the 'Palestinians' in Gaza, over and above the billions of dollars in 'economic aid' they have already been promised this year.
The money we are asking for will provide basic lifesaving aid: food, water, sanitation, health care and shelter, Mr Ban said in Davos, Switzerland, according to a transcript of his remarks.

It will help to remove the debris of war, including unexploded ordnance. It will finance emergency repairs for basic infrastructure and provide psychological help for the victims.

The appeal is based on the report by a UN assessment team Mr Ban sent to Gaza after his own visit on January 20th. The money is intended to meet the immediate needs of the Palestinians for up to nine months, the UN said.
Of course, that's not enough money for the 'Palestinians.' Never is and never will be.
The Palestinian delegation at the Arab League summit on January 19th asked for as much as $2 billion, including $500 million in emergency medical aid and equipment.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pledged $1 billion at the conference while Qatar offered $250 million at a separate Arab meeting in Doha.
But Ki-Moon is much smarter than the 'Palestinians.' You see the number 613 is a very special number in Judaism.


Hat Tip: NY Nana

How Israel could still lose the Gaza war

I know that most of you justifiably think that Israel won the Gaza war that it undertook through Operation Cast Lead. And for now, at least, you are correct. Yes, Israel should have gone all the way and destroyed the Hamas terror organization altogether, but the war was definitely not a draw. Hamas was soundly defeated.

That does not mean that there are no moves Israel could make that would turn Hamas defeat into victory and Israel's victory into defeat. In fact, one such move is being contemplated right now in the dying days of the Olmert-Livni-Barak government. That move is trading 1,000 terrorists (and reopening the crossing points between Gaza and Israel) for one kidnapped IDF soldier: Gilad Shalit. Making that trade would allow Hamas to claim victory. Evelyn Gordon explains.
First, on a purely tactical level, it would instantly restore Hamas's fighting ranks to full strength. Nobody knows exactly how many Hamas operatives were killed in Gaza, but even the highest estimates do not exceed several hundred. Hence the mooted prisoner release would completely replace them.

Worse, it would replace them with far more skilled and experienced terrorists. Though the IDF killed a few high-level operatives in Gaza, most of the casualties were rank and file. In contrast, the prisoners Hamas is demanding by name are high-level planners, organizers, bomb-makers and operations experts. Hence in terms of operative capabilities, Hamas would actually emerge stronger than it was before the Gaza operation.


The Gaza operation's impact on Palestinian attitudes toward Hamas remains unclear. Initial reports indicate that while there may have been some disenchantment in Gaza, the organization actually gained support in the West Bank, where its wildly inflated claims of its own heroism and Israel's casualties, reported as fact by Al Jazeera, have apparently been widely believed. But that could change once the truth emerges.

The proposed Schalit deal, in contrast, would give Hamas an undeniably genuine achievement that no other terrorist group has ever come close to matching.

Even the infamous Jibril exchange, one of the most lopsided deals in the country's history, traded 1,150 terrorists for three soldiers, or a ratio of 383:1. The Tannenbaum swap exchanged 435 terrorists for one drug dealer and three dead bodies. The Schalit deal's proposed ratio is over 1,000:1 - almost three times the highest ratio ever previously accepted.

No rational person looking at that figure could fail to conclude that Hamas brought the IDF to its knees. And certainly, no Palestinian will.

The Gaza operation's impact on Palestinian attitudes toward Hamas remains unclear. Initial reports indicate that while there may have been some disenchantment in Gaza, the organization actually gained support in the West Bank, where its wildly inflated claims of its own heroism and Israel's casualties, reported as fact by Al Jazeera, have apparently been widely believed. But that could change once the truth emerges.

The proposed Schalit deal, in contrast, would give Hamas an undeniably genuine achievement that no other terrorist group has ever come close to matching.

Even the infamous Jibril exchange, one of the most lopsided deals in the country's history, traded 1,150 terrorists for three soldiers, or a ratio of 383:1. The Tannenbaum swap exchanged 435 terrorists for one drug dealer and three dead bodies. The Schalit deal's proposed ratio is over 1,000:1 - almost three times the highest ratio ever previously accepted.

No rational person looking at that figure could fail to conclude that Hamas brought the IDF to its knees. And certainly, no Palestinian will.
Read the whole thing.

It's become so politically incorrect to say that we cannot trade prisoners for Shalit that even Gordon - who is generally a very right-wing columnist - proposes an awkward sort of trade for Shalit.
THERE ARE various creative proposals for pressuring Hamas over Schalit that the country has yet to try, and should. Here is one (which might require legislation): Select a large number of prisoners who would in any case be released in a few years, once they finish serving their terms. Announce that if Schalit is returned, they will be freed immediately - but otherwise, they will never go home again. Inform their families, publish their names in the Palestinian press, drop leaflets explaining the new policy. Warn that as time passes, more prisoners will join the list of those who will not go home until Schalit is freed. And then let their families and friends pressure Hamas. They can probably do it much better than we can. And there is certainly no injustice in it: Anyone who joins a terrorist organization knowingly risks imprisonment or even death; this is the price of his own choices.
Sorry, but no, that won't work. First of all, the 'Palestinians' will never believe that Israel will 'never' release a prisoner. There have already been far too many instances in which Israel has released the most heinous of prisoners that should never have seen the light of day. Think Samir al-Kuntar. When it comes to prisoner releases, Israel has absolutely no deterrent power whatsoever. No one believes us. If we tried to do what Gordon suggests, the 'Palestinians' would laugh in our faces.

What we should have done was insisted on Shalit's release as a condition for stopping Operation Cast Lead. Hopefully, the next government will be smart enough to demand that condition the next time. Because unfortunately there will be a next time.

Is Olmert's 'peace plan' the final nail in Livni's coffin?

The Likud has called for an emergency session of the Knesset next week to discuss the 'peace plan' proposed on Thursday by Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert to special United States Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
According to Olmert’s plan, Israel would retreat from most territory within Judea and Samaria and maintain large settlement blocks. Israel would evacuate [forcibly expel. CiJ] 60,000 residents from their homes as part of the plan.

In addition, Olmert agreed to transfer Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. Holy sites in Jerusalem would be placed under an international authority. In addition, a highway and a series of tunnels would connect Gaza to Judea and Samaria. As part of the plan, Olmert did refuse to allow the return to Israel of Arabs who left when the modern Jewish state was formed and their descendants.
Unsurprisingly, the Likud has disavowed the plan and has said that it will not bind the State of Israel or the Likud should the Likud win the February 10 election.
Likud Knesset Member Gidon Sa’ar said, “This plan is dangerous and abandons the security of Israel. It will bring Hamas’ missiles to Tel-Aviv and the center of the country.” The Likud party stated that “this plan does not obligate Israel nor the Likud headed by Binyamin Netanyahu.”
But Olmert didn't introduce his 'plan' today to hurt the Likud or Netanyahu. Yes, these things tend to have a life of their own, and it's possible that this 'plan' will come up in the future, but realistically there's nothing in it that hasn't been said before.

Believe it or not, Olmert introduced this plan to help Netanyahu. You may recall that it was Livni and Barak who orchestrated forcing Olmert out of office. Olmert is furious with them, and because of that he actually wants the Likud to win the election. Bringing up his little 'plan' today was a reminder that Olmert's plan is quite similar to what Livni has quietly agreed with 'Palestinian' negotiator Ahmad Qrei Abu Allah, which she is desperately trying to hide until after the election:
In the statement, the Likud said that Kadima chairman Tzipi Livni, “who is a full participant in the negotiations with the Palestinians, already has announced immediately after her election in Kadima that she will continue in the way of Olmert regarding Palestinian and Syrian ties. Now the choice is clear to Israeli citizens – it’s either the continuation of Kadima’s way of concessions and withdrawals which endanger security, or the Likud’s way of advancing a responsible process in a position of strength and to safeguard Israel’s security interests.”


Livni told students at the College of Tel Aviv-Yafo on Thursday that the plan "does not represent me or what I'm promoting." Livni said she would only promote an agreement that represents Israel's best interests, which she said included "Keeping the maximum number of settlers, keeping places that are important to us - at the head of the list, Jerusalem. No refugee would enter."
Except that every Livni campaign ad says that we have to reach a 'territorial compromise' with the 'Palestinians,' without which we will not be able to remain a 'Jewish and democratic state.' She even castigates her own father in her campaign ads for his having abstained in the vote on the Camp David accords with Egypt 30 years ago (and he apparently wanted to vote against them but she talked him out of it).

So Olmert's tactic should work like a charm. By raising fears of what Livni might do, he drives more voters to the Likud and ensures that Livni - and Barak - will never be Prime Minister.

And by the way, Olmert's 'plan' isn't enough for the 'Palestinians' anyway. They will never agree to any 'plan' that doesn't allow them to flood the remainder of the Jewish state with 'refugees.'


This one gets even worse for Livni.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni suffered a blow from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday when Yediot Aharonot revealed concessions that he and Livni allegedly made to the Palestinians.

According to the report, Olmert told US envoy George Mitchell that he and Livni agreed to divide Jerusalem, maintain only settlement blocs in the West Bank and uproot 60,000 Jews from their homes.

The revelations of the concessions less than two weeks before the February 10 election reportedly upset Livni, who told confidants that she believed Olmert, her predecessor as Kadima leader, was purposely harming her.


Olmert's associates denied any intention of harming Livni and said they were not behind the leak to the newspaper.

"Any attempt to accuse the prime minister of purposely harming [Livni's campaign] is baseless and wicked," a source close to Olmert said. "The prime minister met with Kadima leaders on Sunday and said that he was ready to help with anything they wanted. I don't know of any request received from them since then."

Livni's opponent in the election, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, said he would not feel obligated by any of Olmert's commitments if he won the race for prime minister. He accused Livni of secretly making dangerous concessions to the Palestinians.

"She said she was a partner to all the decisions made by the Kadima government," Netanyahu told Army Radio. "Now we see what she decided and what she conceded."

Netanyahu vowed to not uproot any Jews from their homes if elected.

Interview: Questioning the 'Palestinian' casualty figures

This is a fascinating interview with Brigadier General (Res.) Zvika Fogel, a former commander of the IDF's southern district. Note what he says about that school in which 45 kids were supposedly killed and how one mortar shell could not have done that much damage - unless the school was being used as a munitions storage facility.

Let's go to the videotape.

Anyone else wondering why the IDF took 'credit' for 1300 killed in Operation Cast Lead? Just because the media reports that number as fact doesn't mean that the IDF and Israel have to accept it.

Video: Hopenchange, Iranian style

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells the Obama administration to just withdraw the troops from Iraq and apologize. And by the way, he's a 9/11 troofer and he claims, there was no Holocaust.

Let's go to the videotape.

What it's like to be a human shield

Palestinian Media Watch provides a translation from the 'official' 'Palestinian' daily al-Hayat al-Jadida in which a Gaza family whose farm was taken over by Hamas for shooting rockets at Israel describes their experience.
The following are excerpts from the article from the official Palestinian Authority daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
"The Abd Rabbo family kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress. Right now they are waiting for the aid promised by the [Hamas] movement after Israel bombed the farm and turned it into ruins...

The hill on which the Abd Rabbo family lives overlooks the Israeli town Sderot, a fact that turned it into an ideal military position for the Palestinian fighters, from which they have launched hundreds of rockets into southern Israel during the last few years. Several of the Abd Rabbo family members described how the fighters dug tunnels under their houses, stored arms in the fields and launched rockets from the yard of their farm during the nights.

The Abd Rabbo family members emphasize that they are not [Hamas] activists and that they are still loyal to the Fatah movement, but that they were unable to prevent the armed squads from entering their neighborhood at night. One family member, Hadi (age 22) said: "You can't say anything to the resistance [fighters], or they will accuse you of collaborating [with Israel] and shoot you in the legs."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 27, 2009]
But note that they still refer to Hamas as the 'resistance' and not as terrorists.

Today at the World Economic Conference in Davos, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan asked the Hopenchange administration to reclassify Hamas and Hezbullah as the 'resistance' and not as terrorists.
"President Obama must redefine terror and terrorist organizations in the Middle East, and based on this new definition, a new American policy must be deployed in the Middle East," Erdogan told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Turkish leader appeared to be referring to the US position toward Hamas and Hizbullah, which the United States considers terrorist organizations.


Before the beginning of Operation Cast Lead on December 27 attack, Erdogan said Turkey had been deeply involved in mediating between Israel and Syria and was awaiting a response from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when the bombs started falling in the Palestinian territory.

"I saw this as a lack of respect for us and also a shadow cast over peace," Erdogan said.
Is Erdogan terrified of Hamas and Hezbullah like that 'Palestinian' family in Gaza? Does he genuinely believe that they are not terrorists, at least until they hit his country? Or is he not the honest broker he purports to be? And will Obama take the bait from Erdogan? I sure hope not.

Please note also that Erdogan is playing the same games of 'honor' and 'respect' that are played throughout the Arab world, even though he purports to be a bridge to the West.

Maybe a more self-deprecating bridge is needed.

And you thought he would never dare open his mouth again....

Well Comrade, you were wrong.

The 'Palestinian' addiction

At Contentions, Bill Siegel has an excellent analysis in which he compares the 'Palestinians' to alcoholics or drug addicts.
The entire concept of a “peace process” is, perhaps, the enabler’s most seductive tool. Peace does not require a process. When peace or the cessation of violence is traded for some asset or benefit, it is everywhere else called extortion. Responsible parties necessarily presume peace as a backdrop (and by definition recognize each other’s existence) and negotiate for other terms. Nor does peace need to take any time. If the Palestinians truly wanted peace, as is so often claimed, they could have it instantly. Act peacefully and then enter a “process” to negotiate whatever else is desired. Rather, what Palestinian leaders have engaged in is a decades-long "extortion process" that has directly caused the misery of the Palestinian people. One of the addict’s twelve steps should include the elimination of peace process from his lexicon.

Like so many addicts who often waste an array of talents and gifts, the Palestinians have much to offer in terms of a trainable and price-competitive work force. Many opportunities exist to carve out an economics-based transaction that could be valuable to both parties. There is no external reason why the Palestinians could not rapidly develop a well functioning economy and society. However, when violence (or its cessation) is the currency, no room is possible for constructive exchange. It is precisely that guarantee of failure that holds the addiction in place.

The start and stop of the peace process is consistent with an addict’s typical behavior. Addicts often move back and forth between attempts to go clean and dramatic benders. The Palestinians have moved between periods of extreme violence and intifadas to those of intermittent co-existence (coupled with the language of peacemaking), only to wind up with terror as the norm once again. The Islamic notion of accepting only temporary cease-fires, along with the world’s constant blaming of Israel for all Palestinian behavior, helps to keep this back-and-forth structure in place. And despite the apparent desire of the world to see peace in the region, this back and forth is fundamental to the disease as it both keeps the enablers invested through false hope while insuring that the addiction is never forfeited. That extremely alluring notion that “Now is the time to move forward to peace” is no different from the utterances of addicts that “this time” they will quit or from enablers that “this time the addict is serious.” The appearance of a potential solution craftily masks the intention to remain the same.


This cycle of violence to “peace process” to failure and renewed violence is precisely what holds the addictive structure together. When Israel attempts to solve the problem with military force, it is ultimately stopped short of full military victory. Media outcries, coupled with world political statements against Israel, matched with a flood of “skilled” diplomats pressing for a ceasefire as a matter of humanitarian principle, together lead to a termination of violence. This cessation then leaves in place all the conditions for the Palestinians to obtain a show of western guilt in the form of continued large sums of aid, sympathy, and various other new demands. All is granted in exchange for nothing other than the promise to cease violence- hence the “extortion process.”

This is the same cycle that occurs between enabling parents and addicted children whereby after the addict “acts out,” the parents flood the child with liberties in various forms in exchange for the child’s forfeiting of his troublesome behavior. Everybody feels good for awhile as the parents convince themselves this may mark the end of the errant behavior while the addict has re-acquired the comfortable environment in which no change is demanded of him. It feels good, that is, until the next cycle begins and the parents realize once again they have been manipulated.


It is often said that an addict can not really change until he hits rock bottom; a state so uncomfortable that he becomes aware that he has no better choice than to truly change. As difficult as it is, it becomes necessary for those who love the addict to counter-instinctually allow the addict to crash. Acceptance of this reality is, perhaps, the most difficult aspect of the recovery of the enablers as it seems to violate every ethical value held. Yet, ultimately, the fortunate enablers are those able to realize that continuing what they considered their “loving” behavior was truly anything but as it helped the addict to habituate himself to his destructive behavior.


Sympathy is itself a major tool of the addict and the Palestinians have invested decades in promoting it throughout the rest of the world. Yet, sympathy never leads to recovery. Instead, it serves only to strengthen the addict’s behavior. Israel is often attacked as having created the conditions that lead to Palestinian hopelessness. Therefore, the argument suggests, it is incumbent upon Israel to create first the proper conditions to lead to hope such that the Palestinians can then be able to act differently. This is the language of addicts and alcoholics. It is the Palestinians, contrary to Israel as suggested by Aaron David Miller, that require a strong dose of “tough love.”

And this is precisely the critical issue. Responsibility for their condition and actions must be fully allocated back to the Palestinians by everyone in order to help teach them how to live more successfully as a free people. Their genuine freedom requires cessation of all excuses, all demonizing of Israel, all suggestions that more is required before they can begin to act “sober” and so forth. Similarly, the enablers must accept their responsibility to eliminate all contributory behavior. Aid and benefits must be earned rather than spoon fed for real change to occur.


It is often uttered that if only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be resolved, then the parties could start to reduce and eliminate the hatred that exists between the two. This is simply another enabling theme, backwards as it is, that hides the simple fact that the conflict is generated by that very Palestinian-promoted hatred. The conflict for the past decades has not been an unstable peace with intermittent periods of war. It has always been for the Palestinian leaders a war to eliminate Israel with intermittent peace in order to re-arm. If one side engages in war, the other is necessarily at war. And wars and their associated hatreds, as traumatic, distasteful, and even immoral as they may be, are ended only when one side is beaten or surrenders. It is no more complicated or “nuanced” than that.

The Palestinians must be held fully responsible for the behavior of their leaders. That is one of the costs of greater freedom. Once started, the path to any form of democracy must be embraced with all its hardships. As with any addiction, the road to recovery is exceedingly arduous. But what is the alternative? The current lesson for the Palestinians is a necessary one and one which the world must help them toward, rather than shelter them from, learning. The many rationales, excuses, denials, and other distortions by Hamas and its enablers only delay the necessary adjustment and ultimately raise the cost of their freedom. If we truly want a world family, we must learn the critical family lessons.
Read the whole thing.

As I was reading it, the thought crossed my mind that just as the 'Palestinians' have an addiction to violence, the 'international community' has an addiction to a 'peace process' that is intended to mollify the 'Palestinians' and - more importantly - their Arab backers in wealthy, oil producing nations. And the 'Palestinians' Arab backers are addicted to having the 'Palestinians' as an excuse and a problem that they can foist onto the 'international community.'

Perhaps like in many addicted families, what's required here is group or family therapy. No, not a 'peace process' but therapy to hold the 'Palestinians' and their Arab supporters, respectively, responsible for their own actions.

Haniyeh emerges from his cave again

Hamas' 'Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh emerged from his cave today for an interview with Hamas' television network. The most curious thing about the interview is that Haniyeh referred to Abu Mazen as the rais (President). It's not clear yet whether this means he recognizes Abu Mazen or whether he was not aware of the date.

Meanwhile, Israel Radio reports, Salah al-Bardawi, Hamas' negotiator with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, said in a televised speech today that 'Allah's army' fought alongside Hamas during Operation Cast Lead.

Et tu Avigdor?

Former Clinton and Bush negotiator Martin Indyk has written a book on our region called "The End of the Peace Process." Arutz Sheva reports that the book claims that Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman met with a senior aide to the then Fatah leader Yasser Arafat and said that the Right could live with Ehud Barak's Camp David offer to the terrorists: turning over 95% of Judea and Samaria to the 'Palestinians.'

Here's the page from Indyk's book:
Lieberman's campaign is disputing the account in the book.
Irene Etinger, Avigdor Lieberman's spokeswoman, commented on Indyk's claim, "The facts quoted in the book are not true."
But Arutz Sheva reports that this is not a new story:
As Israel National News reported previously, in October 2007 Lieberman came under fire for suggesting at a cabinet meeting that Israel should divide Jerusalem and transfer various neighborhoods within the city to PA control. In The Jerusalem Post's coverage of Lieberman's willingness to divide Jerusalem, a senior Likud official said, "He crossed a line that cannot be crossed and we are shocked by the way he has zigzagged between Right and Left."

At that time, the Yisrael Beitenu platform, publicized on its website, stated "Unless there is a partition between the Arab residents of metropolitan Jerusalem and its Jewish residents, Israel will find itself with an additional 200,000 Arab Israelis who will turn Jerusalem into a city with an Arab majority. Of course, the addition of such a large number of Arabs to Israel has general demographic importance."

The platform further said, "Neighborhoods like Jebel Mukaber, a-Ram and others can go to 'Palestinian sovereignty."

Those of you outside Israel, aren't you amazed that candidates for the Knesset are willing and often able to fool people regarding where they stand on the most basic issues that affect our existence here? That's yet another consequence of the absurd system where you vote for a party and not for an individual. No one is directly accountable.

Breaking: IAF attacks Khan Yunis, 7-8 'Palestinians' wounded

Israel Radio is reporting that 7-8 'Palestinians were wounded a few moments ago in an IAF attack on Khan Yunis. The attack was apparently in response to the firing of a Kassam rocket at Israel's western Negev last night.

More to follow.


Israel Radio is reporting based on 'Palestinian' sources that ten people have been wounded, 'including students.' The targets of the IAF strike were apparently two 'Palestinian' terrorists who were leaving a nearby school on a motorcycle.


Two of those wounded were the terrorists.


The target was Mahmad Abu Medan Sapir (I will fix the spelling when I see it in print) and he was apparently the person who planned the IED attack at the Kisufim crossing on Tuesday.

'Please take a letter to the Ayatollah'

President Barack Hussein Obama (also known as President Hopenchange) has demanded asked begged pleaded with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give up his nuclear weapons program. On Wednesday night, Ahmadinejad gave Obama his answer: He gave him the finger.

But Obama isn't going to give up on Hopenchange so easily. And so, he is going to send a letter to Ayatollah Khameni (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). By the way, Khameni is no more 'moderate' than Ahmadinejad.
The US state department has been working on drafts of the letter since Obama was elected on 4 November last year. It is in reply to a lengthy letter of congratulations sent by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on 6 November.

Diplomats said Obama's letter would be a symbolic gesture to mark a change in tone from the hostile one adopted by the Bush administration, which portrayed Iran as part of an "axis of evil".

It would be intended to allay the ­suspicions of Iran's leaders and pave the way for Obama to engage them directly, a break with past policy.

State department officials have composed at least three drafts of the letter, which gives assurances that Washington does not want to overthrow the Islamic regime, but merely seeks a change in its behaviour. The letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter.

One draft proposal suggests that Iran should compare its relatively low standard of living with that of some of its more prosperous neighbours, and contemplate the benefits of losing its pariah status in the west. Although the tone is conciliatory, it also calls on Iran to end what the US calls state sponsorship of terrorism.

The letter is being considered by the new secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, as part of a sweeping review of US policy on Iran. A decision on sending it is not expected until the review is complete.
In Tehran, which has denounced Obama's special envoy to the country, Dennis Ross, as a 'Zionist lobbyist,' I'm sure this is what's going on outside the Presidential palace:

Yes, they're singing "Deliver the letter, the sooner the better," so that Amhadinejad and Khameni can continue to toy with America's neophyte President while Iran continues to build its nuclear weapons program. In fact, a Tehran analyst is quoted by al-Guardian as saying what the letter will 'have' to include in order to get Ahmadinejad's attention:
Saeed Leylaz, a Tehran-based analyst, said a US letter would have to be accompanied by security guarantees and an agreement to drop economic sanctions. "If they send such a letter it will be a very significant step towards better ties, but they should be careful in not thinking Tehran will respond immediately," he said.

"There will be disputes inside the system about such a letter. There are lot of radicals who don't want to see ordinary relations between Tehran and Washington. To convince Iran, they should send a very clear message that they are not going to try to destroy the regime."
Got that President Hopenchange?

At Hot Air, Allahpundit wonders whether Obama will tack an 'apology' for American behavior over the past sixty years (as Ahmadinejad has demanded) onto the letter. At Powerline, John takes this plan as a reminder of how dangerously naive Obama is about foreign policy.

Jules Crittenden has a hysterical post in which he imagines Obama and that special lady (not Michelle you fools - Hillary) working on the letter. Read the whole thing.

But to borrow an idea from Jim Hoft, maybe we should just ask Brian Williams to draft the letter. He'll tell Ahmadinejad that all the American Presidents before Obama were evil.

Don't bet on this letter bringing any change in Iranian policy either.

Israel to be excluded from weapons smuggling prevention meeting?

There's a meeting planned for next Wednesday in Denmark to agree on procedures to prevent weapons from being smuggled into Gaza from Iran and other sympathetic countries (presumably Syria).

The meeting follows the 11th hour agreement between English-impaired Tzipora Livni and then-US Secretary of State Condi Clueless, pursuant to which Livni agreed to place Israel's security in the hands of the American government by employing the US Navy to search for weapons smuggling ships on Israel's behalf. Pursuant to that agreement, the United States intercepted a weapons smuggling ship heading from Iran to Gaza in the Red Sea last week. The Americans were afraid to impound the cargo - apparently weapons in closed containers - because the legalities of doing so under maritime law are unclear. But they did not allow the ship to land on the Sinai coast.

Because the ship could not dump its cargo in Sinai, it decided to head up through the Suez Canal and leave it for 'fishermen' off the Gaza Coast. The Egyptians first did not want to allow the ship through the canal, hoping it would go back and dump its cargo in Sinai, but eventually they allowed it through, accompanied by the USS San Antonio. The San Antonio prevented the ship from dumping its cargo off Gaza, with the Israelis standing close by to make sure of that. The ship is now headed for the Syrian port of Latakia where the Syrians will try to figure out how to get the weapons to Hamas. (These are my conclusions based on several reports in the mainstream media and at DEBKA, but my scenario seems likely).

The meeting that is to take place in Denmark next week was supposed to bring together Israel, Egypt, the US and the Europeans to coordinate weapons smuggling prevention. But now Egypt has decided that the meeting is 'unnecessary' and as a result, Israel may not be invited.
Israel wants to participate in the meeting, initiated by the US and Denmark, but Egypt thinks it is unnecessary, one official said, adding that if Egypt didn't attend, Israel would likely not be invited.

Egyptian spokesman have said repeatedly that Cairo would not allow an international representation on its soil to help combat arms smuggling, but would accept technical assistance.

Egypt has also denied that the weapons were coming into Gaza via the tunnels running under its border with the Strip, saying that they were being smuggled in by sea.
And if you believe that the weapons are coming in only by sea, I have a bridge to sell you....

But of course, now that they want to bar Israel from the meeting, the Euroweenies and the Hopenchange administration are downplaying its importance.
Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, characterized the Copenhagen conference as a "meeting of low-level officials. It is not a political meeting, it is a technical meeting."


While both EU and US officials seemed to be downplaying the conference Wednesday, some sources in Jerusalem were playing up the importance of the event, with senior Foreign Ministry officials traveling to numerous European capitals to prepare for it.
There's a silver lining in this cloud. Foreign minister Tzipora Livni had hoped for a high level meeting to enhance her status just a week before Israel's elections. Instead, we will have yet another piece of proof of her incompetence.
One government official said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had an interest in the meeting, because just a week before the elections, the conference would put "meat" on the memorandum of understanding she signed two weeks ago with the US, and the discussions she has had with the Europeans since Operation Cast Lead relating to the arms-smuggling issue.
Meat? Sounds more like roughage to me.