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Friday, June 30, 2006

Palestinian female prisoners have 'blood on their hands'

As many of you know already, Hamas has demanded the release of all female prisoners and prisoners under the age of 18 who are held in Israeli jails in return for 'information' regarding kidnapped Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit. Who are these prisoners? One such prisoner is Ahlam Tamimi.

Ahlam Tamimi, a female journalist of Jordanian descent residing in Ramallah, transported the suicide terrorist, a Hamas operative, who carried out the suicide bombing attack at Sbarro restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem on August 9, 2001. Tamimi was also involved in gathering intelligence for the planned suicide bombing attack. Ahlam Tamimi was also responsible for setting an explosive charge camouflaged in a beer can at a supermarket in Jerusalem on July 30, 2001.

According to an article in today's Toronto Globe & Mail, of the 91 women and 313 minors in Israeli jails, 64 of the women and 91 of the minors have blood on their hands.

Some of the other women in Israeli jails include:

Amani Mona, a female journalist and Fatah operative from Ramallah, who assisted in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum, whom she lured to Ramallah through an internet correspondence.

Nablus resident Iman Asha, whom Hamas attempted to use to set an explosive charge in the Tel Aviv Central Bus station on August 3, 2001.

Palestinian children in Israeli jails are boys between the ages of 13 and 18. Most of them were jailed for carrying knives at Israeli military checkpoints or throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli military jeeps in the West Bank.

Recently it was revealed that some 'Palestinian' boys are deliberately trying to get arrested by Israeli forces by carrying knives or simple bombs. The youths are poor and living under great duress, some in cities such as Nablus that have been under siege for extended periods.

Egypt warns Israel not to take peace treaty for granted

Egypt is the third largest recipient of US foreign aid, which aid it receives as a direct result of its having signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Under that treaty, Israel gave Egypt every last grain of sand in the Sinai which Israel had captured from the Egyptians twice, once in 1956 and once again in 1967.

Today, the head of the Egyptian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Mustafa al-Fekki, a senior member of President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party, said Israel should not think the "peace reached with an Arab country can be guaranteed while it continues to perpetrate its 'crimes and aggressions'."

Fekki also voiced fears the violence could spill over into Egypt and threaten the country's security.

"The Egyptian Parliament has expressed its concern for Egypt's borders and its peace deal. We respect it but the threats are coming from Israel," said Fekki.

Mufid Shehab, secretary of state for parliamentary affairs, openly accused Israel on Wednesday of threatening Egypt's stability.

According to the Beirut Daily Star, following an emergency meeting, Arab League ambassadors roundly condemned the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip as "state terrorism," but failed to come up with an immediate diplomatic solution for the conflict.

Hoping to prevent the crisis from spinning out of control, Egyptian officials have been talking directly with Hamas' political leader, Khaled Meshaal, who is based in Damascus, to push him to facilitate the soldier's release.

An aide to 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen said both Abbas and Egyptian officials called Assad to ask him to persuade Meshaal to release the soldier, with no results so far. Mubarak also spoke with Abu Mazen and Assad on Thursday, the Egyptian state news agency said.

Just think how much more strongly they would react if we had actually killed someone in Gaza. /sarcasm.

Mubarak demands that Syria expel Meshaal

We finally have some progress.

The terms of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's compromise for obtaining Gilad Shalit's release have been leaked to the press and one of them is quite interesting: Mubarak has demanded that Syrian President Bashar Assad expel Hamas kingpin Khaled Meshaal and the rest of the Hamas leadership from Syria unless they agree to release kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, Palestinian sources said on Friday.

Israel Radio is also reporting that
Mubarak warned Mashaal that his position demanding that thousands of Palestinian detainees, held in Israeli prisons, be released was leading the Palestinians to disaster.

According to the Palestinians, the Egyptian compromise calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, as well as the release of prisoners who were already scheduled to be released within the next year. The sources claimed that the initiative was not rejected by Israel.

In Jerusalem, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, Gideon Meir, said Israel did not know of such an offer.

Reached just after midnight on Friday morning, Meir told The Associated Press that Israel would have no comment until daybreak.

"In general Israel's stance is, as the prime minister said earlier, that the soldier will only be released unconditionally and there will be no negotiations with a gang of terrorists and criminals who abducted a soldier from Israeli territory," Meir said.

Meanwhile, according to YNet, Israel denies the claim made in the name of the Egyptian president in the al-Aharam newspaper, according to which it did not answer conditions set by Hamas for the release of the kidnapped soldier. The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem also rejected the claim that Mubarak asked Israel to delay Operation Summer Rains. But HaAretz implies that the invasion of Northern Gaza was postponed at Egypt's request.

A friend of the Shalit family expressed hope following the involvement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in efforts to free the Israeli captive.

“The knowledge that President Mubarak has gotten into the thick of things has instilled driving force and given us a tangible feeling that Gilad is a live and well,” Ilana Levi-Zarihan, a neighbor and friend of the Shalit family told Ynet Friday morning.

HaAretz is also reporting that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected a plan presented to him by Comrade Peretz and 'the IDF' for a ground operation in Gaza, saying that Olmert has asked them to revise the plan to be "prolonged and exhausting."

Making noise but nothing decisive

All three of the mainstream English language newspaper web sites scream with headlines about how Israel is 'escalating its operations' and bombed the 'Palestinian Interior Ministry.' Forgive me if I am a bit more blunt: Israel bombed a bunch of empty buildings from the air early this morning. The ground troops that are necessary to take out the mobile Kassam batteries and to find Gilad Shalit (if he is still alive) are nowhere in site. Remember the US invasion of Iraq in 1991? Six weeks of aerial bombing that changed nothing and then a ground invasion that overran the country in about five days. Let's just hope the real ground invasion of Gaza is still coming.

The IDF reported that its planes had hit the 'Palestinian Interior Ministry' just after midnight last night. There were no reports of casualties. Two 'Palestinian security officers' were lightly wounded by shrapnel when IDF shells hit two transformers in Northern Gaza. Big deal. The IDF also hit a 'Hamas training camp' (translation: empty field) in Southern Gaza. No casualties there either.

The JPost has a bit more detailed description:
According to the IDF, 16 air strikes targeted access routes and open areas in southern Gaza. Seven additional strikes hit a weapons storage facility, an Aksa Martyrs Brigades office, the Interior Ministry building in Gaza City, a Hamas office and three training camps belonging to the Aksa Brigades and Hamas.
Translation: "We bombed empty roads, empty fields and empty buildings."

I've had a lot of new readers on this blog this week, and some of you may be wondering why I seem so bloodthirsty. Why do I want 'Palestinian casualties'? To understand that, I'd like to go back to an article from The American Thinker that I ran about six weeks ago:
Israel has a stated policy of doing everything possible to limit Palestinian civilian casualties. But the trouble with that policy is that it provides no incentive to non-terrorist Palestinians to stop tolerating Hamas or other terrorist groups. The non-terrorist Palestinians, the Israeli Arabs who are pro-Palestinian the Arabs in the wider Middle East, the Iranians and the other non-Arab Muslims, those Americans and Europeans who hide their anti-Semitism behind anti-Israelism do not hate the Jewish state less because it has allowed its fear of causing Palestinian casualties to cloud both its military judgment and the proven principles of psychological warfare.

If it is true that in war there is no substitute for victory, it is truer that victory comes only when the victor breaks the will of the vanquished. One vanquishes an enemy not by winning his heart and mind, but by crushing him militarily.

In the months prior to the end of the Second World War, the United States and Britain launched massive aerial bombings — sometimes they sent a thousand bombers at a time — over German cities, and America dropped atomic bombs over two Japanese cities. Neither President Delano Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, nor the American and British people fretted over enemy civilian casualties. On the contrary, they were absolutely convinced that such casualties would make the Germans and the Japanese surrender more quickly.
Things will only change if the 'Palestinians' get so disgusted with our bombing that instead of railing against the Jews and the Zionists all the time, they get up and throw the terrorists out of their midst. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen when the only things being bombed are empty roads, empty fields and empty government buildings. Think Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. I'm advocating the same idea that was used then. Military strategists have no doubt that the carpet bombing of Dresden and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved thousands of allied soldiers' lives through enemy civilian casualties. That's why I'm looking for 'Palestinian casualties' in Gaza: because I am tried of seeing Israeli soldiers and civilians die. I'm tired of seeing terrorists target Israeli children.

Egypt: Israel rejected terms for soldier's release

YNet is reporting this morning that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram that Hamas agreed to terms of release for IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit but that Israel rejected the terms. YNet does not cite the terms that Israel rejected, but notes that Mubarak described talks with Hamas as "positive" but said he warned leaders of the group against holding on to their "extreme positions," urging them to pursue a responsible policy. That implies that the terms were not reasonable.

YNet also notes that Egypt had demanded that Israel postpone its planned incursion into Northern Gaza last night. Al-Ahram reported that in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Mubarak urged that Israel act with restraint, and warned that military action in Gaza is likely to claim the lives of innocent civilians, which in turn will fuel Palestinian groups to seek revenge. As if the 'Palestinian groups' need any excuses for terrorism.

I believe that Egypt is trying to negotiate Shalit's release. I don't believe Shalit is still alive. I also believe that Egypt didn't demand that Israel 'postpone' its planned incursion into Northern Gaza last night (actually the term YNet used was "froze"), but that Israel cancel the incursion altogether for reasons that had nothing to do with negotiations with Hamas. In other words, I stand by what I wrote six hours ago about Comrade Peretz being behind the 'postponement.' It fits in with too many other things that have happened over the past several weeks.

Peretz is preventing the IDF from entering Northern Gaza

This evening, the IDF was supposed to enter Northern Gaza to deal with the Kassam shooters. Instead, it is sitting outside lobbing in shells. While they did get lucky and shells hit two power transformers, knocking out power which had been partially restored since Tuesday night, the 'Palestinians' have gotten off six more Kassams. Two of the Kassams landed south of Ashkelon near a 'sensitive installation' (probably our power plant); two landed in Sderot, one of which landed next to or in the municipal cemetery, and two more landed in Kibbutz Mevakiim. No one was hurt beyond people treated for shock.

The reason that tonight's entry was called off - ostensibly by Ehud Olmert after a meeting with Defense Minister Comrade Peretz - was to 'give diplomacy a chance.' Comrade Peretz claimed this afternoon - four days after wounded IDF Corporal Gidon Shalit was kidnapped - that we are on the verge of a major diplomatic breakthrough. Tonight, Debkafile is claiming that there is no diplomatic breakthrough and there never was one on the verge or otherwise.

Not only that, but the armored forces and tanks which rolled into southern Gaza Tuesday night have been stationary for 24 hours, only directing 'desultory artillery fire' at empty ground in the north.

According to Debka, Comrade Peretz is blocking a swift and expeditious offensive that has been urged by the IDF commanders (and even by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert!) to rescue Gilad Shalit and to take out the Kassam batteries in northern Gaza.

But the prime minister is hesitating to pull rank and give orders to the army over the defense minister’s head. Ariel Sharon would not have hesitated. I give him that much credit.

Peretz is clinging to a policy of “restraint and diplomacy,” despite what Debka calls, "the complete breakdown of mediated negotiations in the early hours of the abduction. " According to Debka, the prime minister’s office and general command report that no serious diplomatic bid to negotiate the soldier’s release has been floated for 48 hours. None of the intermediaries report progress, even the live wire, Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman.

Debka claims that officials in the Prime Minister's office and top IDF commanders are furious with Comrade Peretz, and take strong exception to his assertion Thursday: “We stand at one of the most significant moments for setting new game rules between us and terrorist elements in the Palestinian Authority.” Terrorism is not a game, they say. Frustration with the defense minister was sensed in the speech delivered by the army chief Lt. Gen Dan Halutz at the passing out ceremony of fighter pilots. “Israeli citizens must never be hostages to rockets and the kidnappings of civilians and soldiers,” he said. “We dare not wait for casualties to justify a defensive operation. When someone wants to kill you, you must kill him first.” I could have written that last sentence!

So what gives? Why is Peretz doing this? Remember now that Comrade Peretz is not Shimon Peres. Peretz may be a thug but unlike Peres, he's not a pacifist, and I don't even think he buys into Peres' New Middle East fantasy. In fact, Peretz's home town is none other than Sderot, and we all know that Sderot has been the capital of the Kassam for the last ten months. So what is going on?

I think the answer may lie in a conversation I had two nights ago with another blogger that he reported on his blog but I had not reported until now on mine. Since I don't know how many of you read his blog, here's the link to the post, and here's what he said. As you read this, keep in mind that I called for Peretz to resign on Tuesday (that post is linked below):

I had a terrifying moment of deja vu this evening over events that took place on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War, while watching Channel 10's 17:00 news show on Tuesday.

Folks, the grave concern on the face of Channel 10's chief military affairs reporter, Alon Ben-David, was clear to see, as he aired several clips of Defense Minister Amir Peretz during recent press conferences on the fast-unfolding events in Gaza, repeatedly stumbling, stuttering, and pausing, glassy-eyed in mid-sentence, as he tried to address the gathered reporters.

Dismayed, I had to get up from the desk, walk away from the tv screen, as the hairs on my arms stood up, and I had this awful, bottom-dropping-out-of-the-elevator-car sense of, “oh no, we've been in this movie before...”

I hurriedly called Carl over at Israel Matzav, to get his take on it, (thanks, Carl) and then, checked two other reputable historial sources to make sure that I wasn't exaggerating to myself about the startling parallels:

Two (of many) pivotal scenes traumatically engraved in Israel's collective memory are of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol stumbling and stuttering on-camera during a press conference on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War, and of IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak [Rabin CiJ] suffering a brief, but incapacitating nervous breakdown during the same period.

As noted author Michael B. Oren writes in his highly regarded "Six Days of War June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East:"

"Israel's military command was alarmed. Waiting while Egypt's strike force was become stronger and stronger and letting Egypt strike first was militarily unsound. It was the Israeli government, under Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, that had the power to decide when to strike, and Eshkol, who was also defense minister, held back, hoping war could be avoided by talking to the Russians and to the Johnson administration in Washington. The pressure was unbearable for Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli army's chief of staff, who had not been able to sleep. And, around the 25th [of May 1967 CiJ], Rabin had a nervous breakdown - not unlike Moshe Dayan in the approach of war in 1973. Responsibility for Israel's survival was a heavy weight to bear."

(There's more to David's post by the way, but this is the part I wanted to point out to you. For the record, David and I were both kids living in America in 1967, and I think Michael Oren was as well).

Quite simply, I think Peretz is scared. He wasn't a career army officer. He has no idea how the IDF works. He's afraid of people demonstrating outside his house calling him a war criminal. And because he's afraid, he's preventing the IDF from making the types of decisive moves that need to be made to win this battle and he's putting Gilad Shalit's life (if he's still alive) and a whole bunch of other soldiers' lives (who are now sitting ducks in stationary tanks in Gaza at risk. It's real simple: Peretz must go.

One thing David doesn't mention above is that just before the Six Day War broke out, a new Defense Minister was appointed: Moshe Dayan. Surely in the current situation, we need a real military man in the Defense Ministry. Olmert has to find the guts to tell Peretz that Peretz needs to resign and we need a real defense minister. Quickly. Even if it costs him his current coalition.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Ongoing War against Reality - Has it Reached Europe?

What's surprising about this well-written article is not that it was written. If it had appeared in an American right-wing publication or blog, or in an Israeli one, no one would bat an eyelash. But what's surprising about this article is that it's in the German daily Der Spiegel.

Hat Tip: Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Many are treating the apparent recognition of Israel by Hamas as a sign of hope. It's not. Indeed, the Palestinians have no such intention -- and have left Israel with only military options.

Once again the Palestinians are in the process of shattering the Israeli dream of peace. The building of a tunnel under the border, the attack on an army post and the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier haven't just served to stir things up in the stagnating Middle East war. The attack also served to bring the Israelis face to face with the limits of their power. And to provide the Palestinians with a short-lived though uplifting feeling of superiority. It's difficult, after all, to categorize an assault on an army unit as an act of terrorism.


Now, however, the conflict has reached a new level. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza last summer has more than anything motivated militant Palestinians to demonstrate to Israel that the conflict is not primarily about territory, the end of the occupation and the return to the 1967 borders. Rather, it's about all or nothing. It's about the control, not the division, of the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Were the Palestinians to invest only a tiny percentage of the energy they consume in internal conflict and resistance against Israelis into the reconstruction of the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and Gaza would be much better off.

And the Israelis? Those who believed that unilateral action and the construction of a fence would result in the security that negotiations have been unable to provide are now being confronted with the bitter reality. Fences and walls cannot provide absolute security -- and no matter how high such barriers are, they can still be dug under. The question they are asking themselves is this: "What is cheaper: ending or continuing the occupation?" What's the point of military withdrawal when those Palestinians who want a peaceful resolution are unable to assert themselves -- and those Palestinians who want to continue fighting merely feel vindicated and encouraged?


Indeed, if there is a clear message provided by the paper, it is this: The Palestinians do indeed want a two-state solution. One in those regions -- the Gaza Strip and the West Bank -- occupied in 1967. And one in that region that is today known as Israel. One shouldn't forget that the PLO was founded in 1964 with the goal of freeing Palestine from the Zionists -- three years prior to the Six Day War when Gaza was still under Egyptian control and the West Bank was a part of Jordan.


Israel has no other choice but to stand tough because every climb down and withdrawal is interpreted as weakness. Furthermore the word "compromise" is a foreign word in the Arab world. You either prevail or go down in a blaze of glory.

Read the whole thing.

Marvin's Word: Smackdown by Tony Snow

Marvin's Word: Smackdown by Tony Snow

Marvin's Word has the portion of White House press secretary Tony Snow's briefing that dealt with Israel this morning. It's worth reading. Somehow, I don't think there's much Israel can do in Gaza short of slaughtering civilians (which we know it won't do) that is going to get the White House upset. Now, if only Condi would get with the program....

IDF delays entry into Northern Gaza

YNet is now reporting that the IDF has delayed its entry into Northern Gaza, in what the web site is calling giving a last chance to diplomacy. The IDF was to enter Northern Gaza - from which Kassams have been raining down for months - tonight.

The web site also reports that "any security escalation, such as the firing of Qassam rockets, or any other incident in which Israelis are hurt, may lead to a change in plans." I wonder when they plan to start measuring that. A Kassam landed in Sderot this morning.

Here's the real reason for the 'delay:'
The decision to postpone plans for a ground incursion into northern Gaza comes as the foreign ministers from the group of eight industrialized nations called on Israel to show restraint and expressed concerned over the latest escalations during a meeting in Moscow.

"We confirmed our support for the Quartet ... and called on the parties to take all the necessary steps to calm the situation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, referring to the group of Middle East peace mediators — Russia, the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union.

"With restraint, perhaps we can get back to a place where there can be hope for a peaceful resolution," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said during a news conference attended by the eight top diplomats.
In other words, the real reason for the 'delay' is that we have a government run by dhimmis. It doesn't know how to stand up for itself or for us.

Kidnapping was 'easy'

While Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri HY"D was buried in Jerusalem this afternoon, the IDF and the media continued to try to sort out how the kidnapping happened and when Asheri was murdered. According to the Jerusalem Post, the IDF believes that Asheri was murdered on Sunday night, shortly after he was kidnapped:

OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh revealed on Thursday morning that the youth had been shot in the head immediately after the kidnapping on Sunday.

On Wednesday, elite police and IDF forces arrested Popular Resistance Committees operative Osam Abu Rajil, who was suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping. Abu Rajil led the forces to a mountainside north of Ramallah, where Asheri's body was found buried, Army Radio reported.

Naveh confirmed Thursday that Abu Rajil was personally involved in the kidnapping.

Naveh told Army Radio that the cell that abducted Asheri was instructed and paid by sources in Gaza for the kidnapping.

What I find more frightening though is this interview with the terrorists that appeared on YNet's web page:
According to claims made by a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee, Israeli teen Eliyahu Asheri, who was murdered by Palestinian militants this week, was not killed on Sunday as assessed by the IDF but was kept alive until Tuesday and executed when Israel launched a large-scale attack on Gaza.

“We decided to kill him only after we saw that the IDF, (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and (Defense Minister Amir) Peretz didn’t care about the Israeli soldier’s life and continued to attack Gaza, despite our calls to stop,” Abed Aal, also known as Abu Abir, told Ynet Thursday. “When the attack didn’t stop, we understand that Asheri’s life held no value for the Israelis and we executed him.”

Abu Abir said that “Eliyahu Asheri’s abduction and execution proves that from our point of view, Israel’s security is a paper tiger, it is more fiction than truth, and we proved that in the kidnapping which was carried out easily and with no difficulties.”


“We promise that this will not be our last attempt,” Abu Abir declared. “Operation ‘Cavaliers’ Wrath’ is continuing and there will be more kidnappings. I promise Olmert and Peretz that when they spill Palestinian blood, our only response is through our operation: We will kidnap and kill you and burn the earth beneath you. We promise to drown you in fear and terror.”

How did the kidnapping take place?

“In order not to interfere with the operational activities of our mujahadeen cells, who are even now setting up ambushes for the next kidnapping, all I can say is that it was carried out between two main IDF checkpoints in the West Bank, and during the abduction the mujahadeen went through a number of checkpoints with the hostage. This proves that we have exposed to everyone the lie of the power and attitude of the Israeli security system.” [This proves that every car carrying Arabs should be searched at every checkpoint. Someone had better let Machsom Watch know. CiJ.]

“The abduction was easy to carry out, and the hostage was alive for two days. Before we issued the announcement of his kidnap and after, the Israeli security system couldn’t decide who the kidnapped person was. Of course this only encourages us to continue the blessed Jihad and we promise more abductions in the near future.”

“Operation ‘Cavaliers’ Wrath’ will turn Israelis’ lives into hell. Soldiers and settlers will find us everywhere; we will come out at them from under the ground and above it. We will to attack from every direction. The Salah a-Din Brigades are completing preparations for the next big operation. We will kidnap and murder more Zionists,” he said.

It gets worse. And we are arresting these people rather than killing them. Read the whole thing.

Why arresting terrorists is a bad idea

Those of you who read my posts from this morning already know that I think that arresting eighty-seven Hamas terrorists this morning was a lousy idea. They're not criminals; they're terrorists. And we shouldn't be aiming to punish and rehabilitate them but to kill them.

The idea that you can deal with terrorism by arresting terrorists is one that the US got over after 9/11. We all remember how the US ran all over the world to arrest the terrorists responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and how (in)effective that was in dealing with the overall problem. For those of you who want to read more about what I think should be done, you'll find it here. For those of you who want to read why Israel won't do what I think should be done - even though my suggestion is the Jewish thing to do - go here.

Now I'm going to show you why arresting terrorists is a bad idea. This afternoon, Fwance, one of whose 19-year old citizens is being held hostage by terrorists (hopefully) in the Gaza Strip, 'blasted' Israel's arrest of the Hamas terrorists this morning, saying that diplomacy was the only solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and that political figures should not be arrested. In other words, Fwance wants us to 'negotiate' with Hamas.

If we had killed these guys, Fwance would have said, that
diplomacy was the only solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and that political figures should not be killed. But at least we wouldn't have anyone from Hamas with whom to negotiate.

And it isn't just Fwance. The Group of Eight industrialized countries said Thursday that the Hamas arrests raised "particular concerns." Like what?

But wait - it gets worse. Look at what the dhimmified Olmert administration said in response:

Israel stated that the arrests were made as part of a criminal investigation into the Hamas officials' involvement in a terrorist organization. Israeli officials insisted that the detainees would be entitled to legal representation, and would be released if it were to be found that the suspicions against them were unfounded.

Anyone who thinks that Israel is going to set up Guantanamo East to hold these guys is going to be sorely disappointed. (And after this morning's Supreme Court ruling, it sounds like Guantanamo West isn't going to last much longer either). And what will Israel do with them if they are convicted? Give them housing next to Marwan the Murdering Moron so that they can draft more 'Prisoners' Documents' that call for Israel's destruction? Release them the next time an Elhanan Tannenbaum comes along who has sensitive information and cannot be left to rot forever?

This is a lousy idea folks. The helicopters are quicker and more effective and don't bring any more protest from the world than we've gotten already.

'Surprising Diplomatic Breakthrough,' 'Next Stages,' Escape and Targets

Defense Minister Comrade Peretz says there may be a 'surprising diplomatic breakthrough' regarding kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Personally, the only breakthrough I want to hear is that the boy has been released alive and well. And that we didn't give them any terrorists in return.

Masked Palestinian gunmen blew a 4-meter wide hole in the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt today while Israel approved the next stages of its military campaign in Gaza. While the media will tell you that the next stages are designed to free Gilad Shalit, they have nothing to do with him. They're designed to free the people of Sderot from the raining down of Kassams (yes, there were more today). Comrade Peretz admitted today that is a second aim of the current action. But Israel being Israel, we aren't going to make Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun look like Dresden in 1945 (which is what we ought to do): IAF planes dropped thousands of flyers over Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanun Wednesday night, warning residents that they would be endangering their lives if they remained in their homes.

'Palestinian security sources' reported that the men who detonated the explosives were Hamas operatives who succeeded in crossing the border into Sinai.

Two Palestinian security personnel were wounded in the border explosion, and security forces were ordered to the area to prevent people from going through the hole. Can't let the 'Palestinian refugees hostages' escape into an Arab country now, can we?

The IDF also targeted a car in Gaza City that was carrying an Islamic Jihad terrorist. He survived the missile - I've seen reports claiming he was lightly wounded and reports that he walked away.

Why does Israel always act with restraint against the terrorists?

This question was asked on Little Green Footballs, and I'm sure it's a question that many of you are thinking about:
I know many here don't put much weight in polls, but for the last ten years, poll after poll has shown that the American public is overwhelmingly in support of Israel. Do the Israelis know this? Because if they do learn this, maybe it would help strengthen them to do what they have to do, and ignore our disgusting politicians and their "calls" for "restraint". I could vomit.
Yes, we know that the American people are with us. In fact, believe it or not, so are most of the American politicians outside the executive branch (i.e. the State Department). The problem is that much of this country has replaced Judaism with Liberalism as the national religion. As a result, we as a country are not thinking straight.

This is not unprecedented in Jewish history. Many Jews around the world study a folio of the Babylonian Talmud every day, finishing once every 7 years and 5 months or so. As it happens, today's folio, Yoma 22, discusses King Saul and his failure to fulfill God's command to wipe out Amalek (1 Samuel 15). King Saul thought for a brief moment that he was smarter than God. God said wipe out Amalek and the liberal King Saul said, "God makes us repent because a person is found dead between two cities and we don't know who the murderer was. If God says we have to repent for one person like that (and the repentance takes the form of a rather ugly sacrifice - a young calf's head is chopped off in a barren place), then how can I kill all of Amalek? And if the people sinned, what did the animals do? And if the adults sinned, what did the children do?"

King Saul replaced Judaism with Liberalism just for that moment (the Talmud says elsewhere that he was a righteous man) and it cost him his Kingdom. Judaism says - listen to God. God said - wipe out Amalek. Do what God tells you to do. Liberalism says - do the humanitarian thing. King Saul did the humanitarian thing. He couldn't ignore God's command altogether. So he started rationalizing. He killed off all the men, but he spared the women, the children, the flocks (read - property, money) and the King, Agag, who managed to impregnate a woman from whom Haman (our nemesis in the Purim story) was descended. And a voice came out of Heaven and told Saul, "don't be so righteous." Because Saul thought he was so smart, he lost the throne. God took it away and gave it to King David.

Some of you might try to answer me: "But God didn't say to kill Hamas' leadership." Did God say sxplicitly to kill the Hamas leadership? No. But the Talmud hints that answer as well. When the voice from Heaven tells Saul not to be so righteous, it does so by quoting a verse in Ecclesiastes (Koheleth) 7. The Medrash - the Rabbinic commentary dating back hundreds of years that was handed down orally at Mount Sinai - on that verse says the following (my translation): "Don't be so righteous. One who is 'righteous' in a place where he should be cruel ends up being cruel in a place where he should be merciful." That reference is also to King Saul.

The same piece of Talmud goes on to say that when King Saul ordered Doeg to slaughter the entire city of Nov, which was a city of Priests (1 Samuel 22), a voice came out from Heaven and said the next verse in Ecclesiastes 7, "Don't be too evil." (After the future King David had to flee from Saul, he came to the city of Nov and the Priests gave him food to eat and Goliath's sword. David then continued on his journey. When Saul came looking for David to kill him, no one said that David had been there, except for Doeg - one of the King's servants - who told Saul that David had come to Nov, and that the Priests had given him food and the sword. For this, Doeg is known throughout Jewish history as a slanderer. King Saul ordered Doeg to kill the Priests, and the verse says "Don't be too evil." You're not going to get yourself off the hook by ordering someone else to do it).

Israel's leaders today are a lot like Saul in the story of Amalek. It's not that they're not killing off Hamas because they're afraid of the American reaction. George Bush - on the whole - has been the most pro-Israel President the US has ever had (even more so than Reagan, who was also very pro-Israel). But the Israeli leadership is so blinded by its 'liberalism' that it can't do the right thing - the Jewish thing - for its own sake and for the country's sake. So instead of killing off the Hamas leadership, we're taking them prisoner and letting them live to fight another day (as Haman did on Amalek's behalf). As to the second half of the equation, being cruel when one should be merciful, that's a fair description of the government's behavior both in expelling the Jews from Gush Katif last summer, and of its subsequent treatment of those who were expelled.

P.S. For those who don't know the end of the story, Samuel, the Prophet who had annointed Saul and later annointed David, killed Agag, the King of Amalek. But it was too late to prevent him from having offspring - he had already impregnated someone.

Indyk: No solution to Jerusalem sovereignty dispute

Former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk has apparently had an epiphany. Well, a little one anyway. Speaking yesterday to the Jerusalem Conference, a city-sponsored event aimed at boosting Jerusalem's economy, Indyk said: "In the Middle East and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular some problems do not have solutions. You should leave well enough alone."

If that quote could be attributed to our entire current situation, it would be correct. But Indyk was referring to the problem of sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Six years ago next month
at Camp David, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak attempted to give Yasser Arafat sovereignty over the 'Temple Mount's surface' along with 95% of Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza, and Arafat turned him down.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Indyk said it was a mistake to try to solve the question of sovereignty over Jerusalem's holy sites, noting that it opened a Pandora's box which could not be bridged:

"Israel cannot accept Muslim sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and the Muslims cannot accept Jewish sovereignty over Haram el Sharif, and they just happen to be the same place."

Indyk recounted how Arafat even refused to recognize that the Temple Mount was the site of the two Biblical Jewish temples, infuriating the US administration. But he noted that it was a myth that Jerusalem was the "undivided eternal capital of the Jewish people," pointing out that in reality Jerusalem has been a shared city on a religious level since Israel gained control over east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. In other words, because we didn't destroy every church and mosque in the city like the Jordanians destroyed every synagogue in the city in 1948, we don't deserve to control the entire city? And if the 'Palestinians' were to gain control of the city (R"L - God forbid) and destroy every Jewish site in the city (as the 'Jordanians' did), they would then deserve to control the entire city? How absurd!

Indyk also said that no US president would ever move the US embassy to Jerusalem except as part of a final peace agreement with the 'Palestinians', and, repeat pre-election pledges notwithstanding, it was unrealistic to expect such a move. He may be right on that score. Unfortunately. He suggested that the US embassy could be moved to Jerusalem in the future if the 'Palestinians' declare a provisional capital in the east Jerusalem areas that Israel cedes. In other words, this will never happen. The 'Palestinians' will never accept any solution with which Israel can live (because their real and unchanging aim is to drive the Jews into the sea, as it has been since the Arabs started arriving in Israel) and since separating from them unilaterally is an unmitigated disaster (see "Gaza"), for the time being at least, we would be best off acknowledging that, "In the Middle East and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular some problems do not have solutions. You should leave well enough alone." Now if only we could convince the Israeli government of that, and if only we could convince Martin Indyk that it's true of much more than the Temple Mount.

IDF 'arrests' sixty top Hamas members: Is this a police action or a war?

Either the operation going on in Gaza has been very secretive or there have been no casualties. Quite frankly, if there are no casualties on the 'Palestinian' side, that's a problem. This is supposed to be a war. But I'll get to that....

The Israeli government has apparently decided not to treat this as a war. They are treating it as a police action. And so we have reports this morning in all the Israeli media that the IDF has 'arrested' sixty top Hamas members in Judea and Samaria. Some of those arrested include Finance Minister Omar Abdel Azek, Labor Minister Mohammed Barghouti, Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser al-Shaer, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arfa, Minister for Wakf Affairs Nayef Rajoub, and parliament members Mohammed Abu Teir, Wael al-Husseini and Ahmed a-Tun were arrested, along with many other top officials. You may recall that the latter three had their Jerusalem residency rights revoked last month. The Hamas-appointed mayor of Qalqilya, who was released from an Israeli prison last month, was also apprehended along with his deputy. Most of the Palestinian Legislative Council members on Hamas’ behalf were also detained in various cities in Judea and Samaria.

By the way, the Al-AP headline on this is a doozer: Hamas leaders arrested; Israeli executed. You can't make this stuff up.

PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh convened an emergency meeting of government members in Gaza early Thursday morning (apparently in hiding, since reports say they have gone underground). An unofficial response said that, "Israel is targeting Hamas' political wing, which wasn't involved in the kidnapping [of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit]." As if there's a difference between Hamas' 'political wing' and its 'military wing.'

And remember all those reports about buildings being surrounded in Ramallah yesterday? This is from YNet:
Palestinian sources said IDF forces surrounded a Ramallah building in which all Hamas parliament members, including Parliament Speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik, were convening and called on the lawmakers to give themselves up. Forces also encircled the Ramallah homes of senior Hamas council members, including that of Parliament Secretary Mahmoud Al-Ramahi.
So what's my problem? My problem is that this isn't supposed to be a police action. These people are murderers and they openly admit it. What are you going to do with them? Trade them in a prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit's body? Return them as 'heroes' so the 'Palestinian people' can elect them again? This is exactly what the US got itself into when it 'arrested' Saddam Hussein. They 'arrested' a mass murdering terrorist, a genocidist. They had to give him a show trial. And now what? If he's not executed, he'll spend the rest of his life in jail at US expense. We didn't need a trial to tell us that Saddam was guilty - there were hundreds of witnesses. We don't need a trial to tell us that any of the Hamas murderers are guilty either. It's time to bring out the helicopters and prepare the car swarms.

IDF confirms PRC report of Eliyahu Asheri's death

Within the last hour or so, the IDF confirmed that the 'Palestinians' executed 18-year old Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri HY"D of Itamar in the Shomron (Samaria). The 'Popular Resistance Committees' have taken responsibility for Asheri's murder.

But it's not just the 'Popular Resistance Committees' that are responsible. This comment isn't mine. It's Charles Johnson's over at Little Green Footballs:

By the way, I’d like to make something clear. When I title a post, “Palestinians Claim Hostage Murdered,” I mean it exactly that way. It’s not a “group” of “militants,” “loosely linked” to Hamas. It’s the Palestinian people. If they want to be a state, that means taking responsibility for their elected government.

And the Palestinian populace voted overwhelmingly (as CAIR is fond of telling us) for the Hamas government, knowing full well its radical nature and genocidal intent. What’s happening today is a direct result of that election.

I’m sick to my soul of this politically correct attitude of coddling savagery.

If 18-year old Eliahu Asheri really has been murdered by his kidnappers, every single Palestinian who voted for a Hamas candidate bears some of the blame.

Charles wrote that about three hours ago, before Asheri's had been confirmed.

IDF combat engineers and Shin Bet agents, acting on intelligence, found Asheri's body Wednesday night in an abandoned car in an open field outside of Ramallah. He appeared to have been shot to death, and initial findings indicated that he may have been killed as early as Sunday. And you all wonder why I said that I didn't think Asheri - and don't think that Gilad Shalit - are alive and I would not even talk to the 'Palestinians' without proof that they are still among the living?

After a PRC spokesman in the Gaza Strip revealed an authentic copy of missing teenager Asheri's identity card to the press, confirming claims that he had been kidnapped, the police's elite counterterrorist squad raided a home in Ramallah and arrested a fugitive, who may have provided the information on the location of Asheri's body. I don't understand this. They didn't know where this 'fugitive' (and that's what the JPost called him - not me. They're probably translating the Hebrew 'm'vukash') was before that? They couldn't have arrested him on Monday or Tuesday?

The JPost is also reporting that Asheri is the grandson of Rabbi Haim Druckman. Previously, I had only seen reported that Asheri's father Yitro, an Australian convert, had studied in Rabbi Druckman's Yeshiva (see the same link I posted above). Rabbi Druckman is a well-known figure in Judea and Samaria and
Rabbi Haim Druckman is currently the Israeli prime minister’s special adviser for issues relating to conversion.

Druckman described Asheri as "a great kid, very responsible, very serious and sensitive... He was at his greatest, blossoming and very happy."

Asheri was the oldest child of either five or six children (I have seen two different reports). Hashem Yinkom Damo (may God avenge his blood).

Stop Terror at Its Source

At OpinionJournal.com, historian Michael Oren suggests that Israel should go back to targeted killings of Palestinian terrorist leaders.

Hat Tip: Gershon in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York
Yet even those Israelis most in favor of the Gaza pullout understood that many Palestinians would interpret the move as a strategic retreat and a victory for Hamas and al-Aqsa terror. "We shot at the Jews and they fled Gaza," they would say, "so let's keep shooting and they'll abandon Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem." Israel could have refuted that claim by responding immediately and massively to every infiltration and to every rocket fired, irrespective of whether the attacks caused Israeli casualties. Gaza is now a de facto independent state, Israel should have declared, and like any other state it must bear the consequences of its aggression.

But Israel did none of this. On the contrary, infiltrations and rocket strikes began almost the day after the Gaza disengagement. The primary target was Sderot, a working-class town in the western Negev populated mostly by long-settled immigrants from North Africa and more recent arrivals from Russia. Israel responded with missile attacks aimed at eliminating the Palestinian rocket crews and destroying the Qassam factories. But the crews were too elusive and the factories too readily rebuilt.

The attacks against Sderot and other border towns intensified--several Qassams struck Askhelon, Israel's major industrial city in the south--and the Palestinians elected a Hamas government sworn to escalate the violence. Israel retaliated by blasting the Qassam launching areas with artillery fire, but the barrages did little but churn up dirt and accidentally hit civilians. The Jewish state, from a Palestinian perspective, seemed helpless.

Israel's impotence was the product of several factors, firstly Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's reluctance to reoccupy Gaza so soon after evacuating it. Then came Mr. Sharon's stroke and the Israeli elections, during which, traditionally, Israel refrains from staging large-scale operations. Finally, Ehud Olmert succeeded in cobbling together a left-of-center coalition that pledged to proceed with the unilateral disengagement from the territories (or, as it is now called, convergence), but largely abandoned Mr. Sharon's hard-hitting antiterror tactics.
Read it all.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Meretz to vote against convergence consolidation realignment surrender and expulsion of Jews

The MK who used to be known as Shimon Peres' poodle - Yossi Beilin - announced tonight that he and his LLL Meretz party will vote against Ehud Olmert's convergence consolidation realignment surrender and expulsion plan. No, Beilin hasn't had an epiphany as a result of the week's events. Instead, he is bothered that the plan doesn't expel Jews far enough away. In a closed meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Beilin told Olmert that Beilin the reason Meretz would oppose 'realignment' after supporting the Gaza Strip disengagement was that while most Gaza evacuees moved to the Negev, 'realignment' calls for West Bank settlers to be moved to the other side of the security fence, still inside the West Bank. Beilin will apparently only support a plan that makes Judea and Samaria Judenrein.

Beilin told Olmert:
"If your plan involves unilaterally moving settlers from one side of the fence to the other, we won't vote for it and neither would the Arab parties. There will be at most 55 MKs (from Kadima, Labor and the Pensioners Party) in favor and at least 65 against, so it has no chance of passing."For those of you who might be wondering where Shas, which is part of the coalition, fits into this, Shas' coalition deal specifically says that they do not have to vote with the government on this issue.

For those of you who are not familiar with Peres-Beilin think, here it is in action. The JPost reports:

Asked how Abbas could be a partner when he has been ineffective in stopping terror and bringing home Corporal Gilad Shalit, Beilin said that Israel should sign a deal with him regardless. He said such an agreement would be recognized by the world as the will of the Palestinian people and he believed it would guarantee international recognition of Israel's new borders and Jerusalem as its capital.

"I hope Abu Mazen will play an important role in bringing the soldier home, but even if he does not, he will still be chairman of the Palestinian Authority," Beilin said. "What he loses [by not succeeding] is respect as a world leader who can get things done, and it will strengthen the notion that he is weak. But my philosophy is that he may not be a partner for implementing an agreement but he is a partner for signing it, and the prime minister should realize the importance of a signed document with a Palestinian leader."

Got that?

Syrian leader was at the site during sonic booms

The JPost has more details of this morning's flyover of Syrian leader Bashar Assad's Presidential palace that I reported on earlier.

The Post reports that the IDF said that the flyover was carried out by four planes flying in a low-altitude pattern, and was a part of an operation aimed at pressuring the Syrian leadership to expel Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal from Damascus. I don't understand why the IDF cannot go get Meshaal in Damascus, as I suggested yesterday.

According to Israel, Meshaal orchestrated the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and has been calling the shots for the kidnappers.

State-run Syrian television said two Israeli planes flew near Syria's Mediterranean coast early Wednesday but did not mention Israel's announcement that the planes swooped low over the summer residence of Assad.

"The overflight by two Israeli planes near the Syrian shores is an aggressive act and a provocation," the television news said, quoting an unindentified Information Ministry official.

It said "national air defenses opened fire in the direction of the planes, and they dispersed."

"If the goal of this (overflight) is to blame the political leadership of Hamas for the abduction of the Israeli soldier, then Israel is making a big mistake that is goes beyond logic," the ministry official said, according to the TV report.

Israel tried to kill Meshaal in a botched assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997. Two Mossad agents injected Meshaal with poison, but were caught. As Meshaal lay dying in a Jordanian hospital, King Hussein of Jordan forced Israel to provide the antidote in return for the release of the Mossad agents.

Binyamin Netanyahu, who was prime minister at the time, was also forced to release Hamas's spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin from an Israeli prison as part of the price for getting the Mossad agents back. Yassin was killed in an Israeli targeted assassination in Gaza in March 2004.

After the attempted assassination of Meshaal, Jordan's relationship with Hamas deteriorated and Meshaal was expelled to Qatar, where he lived before moving to Damascus. Hussein is probably rolling over in his grave over this.

First report: Israeli jets buzz Syrian presidential palace

Dave at Israel At Level Ground is quoting a Channel 10 (cable) news report that four Israeli F-16 jets overflew Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's palace near Latakiya while he was in the building.

Syrian television did not report the event, although al-Jazeerra did run a scroller shortly after the Israeli announcement, according to reporter Shai Yeheskeli.

An official Syrian response close to 20:30 denied that the flyover took place, and said the Syrians would "continue their current policies."

It's not clear to me when the flyover took place. Read the whole thing (sorry - I could not link to the specific post, only to the home page).

Al Aksa Brigades: Another kidnapping of Israeli

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades claims to have kidnapped an Israeli in his 60's from Rishon leTzion. The claim is being investigated.

Note: Rishon leTzion is a suburb of Tel Aviv and is definitely NOT over the green line. NotInMyBackYard. If this is true (and if the kidnapping took place within the green line - the pre-1967 borders), it's the beginning of the end of the 'Palestinian Authority.'

Update 8:05 PM

According to my friend Harvey in Efrat, the 'alleged' kidnap victim is 62-year old Noam Moskovitz.

Fence of deception

I've warned many times over the years that the 'security fence' is not a panacea for all of Israel's problems with its neighbors, and I've highlighted articles that make the same warning. In April, I blogged an article from the Jerusalem Post that included the following statement by Nadav Morag:
The barrier that Israel is building is not a panacea that will enable Israel to withdraw behind it and forget the Palestinians. Israeli voters may want this to be the case, but wishful thinking does not substitute for realism. The barrier may be effective to a large degree in preventing infiltration, but it cannot prevent the firing of rockets and missiles over it. Moreover, if Palestinian terrorist organizations are afforded free reign in the West Bank, as they now enjoy in Gaza, they will find ways to dig under or fly over the barrier or otherwise compromise it. In order for the barrier to be truly effective, it must be defended from both sides, yet Olmert's plan, if implemented, would ignore this important truth.
In a blog post in March, I wrote:
Israel's 'security fence' (and in most places it is a fence with sophisticated monitoring equipment and not a wall like you see in the western media) started out as the left's answer to suicide bombings in the center of the country (including both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as part of the center for these purposes). It was anathema to the right - including to Ariel Sharon - out of fear that it would set a border that was based on defensive considerations and not on what Israel really needs to survive long term. With the increase in suicide bombings in the early part of this decade, the fence gained widespread popularity. While it is not a panacea, it has reduced suicide bombings. However, it remains an answer only to the suicide bombers and not to sophisticated and unsophisticated weaponry that can be delivered from a distance. The problem with building the fence and then saying "we're over here and they're over there" (as then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak put it) is that unless we're also over there, they can lob rockets over the fence and reek havoc. This is what is going on in Gaza today (where the fence has been pretty much a hermetic seal for years), but the targets that are reachable from Judea and Samaria are much more attractive and dangerous, including Ben Gurion Airport, Israel's only true international airport.
In light of Sunday's daring attack on an IDF post at Kerem Shalom, many Israelis are having an epiphany about the fence, realizing for the first time that it is not the answer by itself. Writing on YNet, Brig. General Yaakov Hisdai, who is both an attorney and a historian, is trying to use Sunday's attack to waken the masses to reality.

But the fence was an illusion, and the country bought it happily. The "Council for Peace and Security" of IDF officers, distinguished more for their military ranks and past achievements than for their analytical prowess, came up with the moronic phrase "saying goodbye," and the country celebrated this fantastic solution.

The fences' success around Gaza was one of the most important proofs for the fences effectiveness. Now, this proof has blown up in our faces.

The failure at Kerem Shalom revealed one of the results of this addiction to magic solutions. Building the fence was accompanied by the phrase "Us here, them there.'" That is to say: let's set a border, we will no longer concerned about them, and they will no longer be concerned about u.

Turns out that this sweet deception influenced more than the IDF. The Security Fence became a flash point for military operations, and pushed off basic professional principles. They are indeed there – and therefore, there is no need to look back or plan for their attacks.


The fence project was but one part of wide operation, which included the idea of "two states for two peoples," as well as the Road Map Peace Plan. There are too many signs, however, that all the hopes and expectations of the fence have collapsed.

Read it all.

No surprise: Hamas 'government' calls for 'prisoner swap'

Calling it 'natural logic,' Hamas is calling for a prisoner swap between the Israeli government and the terrorists holding Gilad Shalit.

According to HaAretz, the Palestinian Information Ministry said it is "natural logic" to carry out an exchange. "This has been exercised by previous Israeli governments with Hezbollah and the PLO, and this is what other countries do in conflict situations," the statement said.

Unfortunately, the Israeli government has carried out prisoner exchanges with Hezbullah and the PLO in the past. If they had not, we might not be in this situation today. Most recently, the government traded 436 terrorists to Hezbullah for drug-dealing philanderer Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers who were kidnapped in Lebanon in 2000. While I would not have made that trade, I believe that the government did it because Tannenbaum was a high ranking officer whom the government believed had sensitive security information and they were afraid he would disclose it. That is not the case with Gilad Shalit, and it is certainly not the case with Eliyahu Asheri, who has not even been drafted yet.

The analogy to 'countries in a conflict situation' is an even poorer one. Countries exchange prisoners of war - uniformed combatants - generally as part of a peace agreement or of the prelude to a peace agreement. But Hamas has told us countless times that they have no interest in a peace agreement and no intention of recognizing Israel's right to exist, as if that were a 'right' that is open to question. And there is a difference between uniformed soldiers who fall into the hand of an enemy in conflict, in the first instance, soldiers or civilians who are kidnapped as 'bargaining chips' in the second instance, and terrorists who target civilians in the third instance. Exchanging the first group for members of the first group is legitimate. Exchanges involving either of the latter two groups only encourage more kidnappings and more terror.

The 'Palestinian Information Ministry' statement continues: "The Israeli military escalation can't be the appropriate mechanism for releasing the Israeli prisoner," the government statement said. "The Israeli leadership is going down the wrong path, and is trying to use the Israeli prisoner issue for political goals and to confuse the Palestinian internal situation."

In other words, the Hamas government doubts that gaining Shalit's release is the only goal of the Israeli military action. We can only hope that they are correct. It is certainly legitimate for Israel to use this opportunity to destroy or damage the terrorists' ability to fire Kassam rockets into Israel. But for that damage to be permanent, the IDF would have to remain in Gaza, and Ehud Olmert has been swearing up and down to anyone who will listen that he has no intention of allowing that. After all, if the IDF has to remain in Gaza, Ehud Olmert has to admit that his policy of unilaterally surrendering territory to terrorists is a failure. Ultimately, for Ehud Olmert, staying in power is the only political goal.

PRC definitely holding Eliyahu Asheri

The IDF may be in Gaza, but that's not even the lead story in the news here. The lead story is the kidnapping of 18-year old Eliyahu Asheri of Itamar by Palestinian terrorists.

I was convinced this morning; apparently a lot of other people weren't. But this afternoon, the 'Popular Resistance Committees' showed an Israeli identification card that has the date of birth, ID card number and the parents' name of Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri. The organization's spokesman, one 'Abu Abir,' even gave the youth's middle name, Pinchas, which as I noted this morning had not been published in the Israeli media. The group is threatening that the boy will be "butchered in front of TV cameras" if the IDF does not stop its invasion of Gaza. There is no doubt now that they are holding him.

Here's my take on this:

1. I hope that the IDF and the General Security Services are devoting resources to finding this boy, as busy as they are in Gaza. They certainly have a lot more intelligence resources in Judea and Samaria, where the IDF is still present, than in Gaza, which was surrendered to the 'Palestinians' last summer.

2. I have no doubt that the PRC will kill him if they want to kill him. They may have killed him already. The IDF should be demanding proof that he is still alive. If there is any, they should redouble their efforts to save him. But the only time I can recall the 'Palestinians' (or Hezbullah for that matter) giving proof that an Israeli kidnap victim was alive was when they released a video of IDF Corporal Nachshon Waxman in 1994. The IDF found Waxman, but he and one of his rescuers were killed in the rescue. I also doubt that the PRC will do an al-Qaeda type execution of Asheri in front of the TV cameras. He is still young enough that it would hurt their own cause.

3. The body that was found in Ramallah last night/this morning was not Asheri's. It was a 'Palestinian's.'

YNet adds:

Eliyahu Asheri is the son of Yitro Asheri, originally from Adelaide, who was converted by St Kilda’s Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn about 20 years ago. Rabbi Heilbrunn told the AJN that at the time of his conversion, Asheri was an electrician from Adelaide known by the name Cliff Harris.


Following news of the kidnapping, Rabbi Heilbrunn issued a statement in which he asked members of the community to pray for Eliyahu.

“A young boy, Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri, son of Yitro Asheri, is the child of a wonderful ger tzedek (convert) whom I converted over 20 years ago. Please ask everyone to say tehillim for him as well. His father is a most remarkable person who is a real tzaddik [righteous person. CiJ]," the statement said.

Rabbi Heilbrunn said Asheri had moved from the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg to the Jewish centre of North Adelaide at the time of his conversion. Asheri moved to Israel about six months after his conversion. He first settled in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu where he learned some Hebrew and later moved to a yeshiva headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman, currently the Israeli prime minister’s special adviser for issues relating to conversion, near Ashkelon.

The Asheri family, one of the founding members of Itamar, has lived there for the last 15 years. “Every time something happened around Itamar we always feared for them, but this time its them themselves,” Rabbi Heilbrunn said.
All we can do is pray for this boy.

Zionist Conspiracy: Cinemateque Sedition

At Zionist Conspiracy, Steven decries the state-funded seditiousness of Israel's post-Zionist 'cinematiques.'

We have had occasion in past to comment on the anti-Israel seditious activities of the Cinemateques in Israel. These are far-leftist "alternative" movie theaters that are funded partly by the municipality taxpayers, and screen things like the Goebbels-style blood libel film
"Jenin Jenin," and similar works of "art".

This week, the Tel Aviv Cinemateque is screening a film about Leila Khaled, the notorious woman plane hijacker who was part of the early plague of plane hijackings in the 1970s, organized by the communist PFLP terror group. Take a look at this:


It is the film poster from the Enemateque-er-I-mean-Cinemateque. Note how it sings the praises of the hijacker who "put the Palestinian nation on the map" and calls her a heroine.

It is probably a waste of time, but the director of the Enemateque is Alon Garbouz at aloncin@cinema.co.il

IRIS: PA Leaders Advocated Kidnapping Policy

IRIS points out that advocating kidnapping Israeli soldiers and civilians isn't just a Hamas tactic - it's also a tactic of 'moderate Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's Fatah movement:
While the mainstream news media portray the abduction of Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit as an act of independent "militants," there is ample documentation of the plans of PA leaders to abduct soldiers to win the release of Palestinian prisoners. Here is more, from the "moderate" Abbas' Fatah. Of course, it was Fatah who recently abducted a Jewish student, but then released him when it became clear that he was an American. This occured the day after George Bush invented the "Zarqawi effect."

Of course, it doesn't take a right-winger to recognize the enormous incentive that was created when the Israeli government traded 436 terrorists for one drug dealer.

Of course, with the public outcry against the now successful attacks that are now regularly emanating from Gaza (precisely as IRIS warned they would happen), Israel's leadership is very likely to repriese the hackneyed "speak loudly and carry a small stick" policy which I described last year:


Currently there is news of a ground assault/incursion into Gaza, but note that so far it appears to be largely symbolic, with only a small number of structures destroyed. There have been no casualties reported, but there is word of the familiar Israeli tactic of creating annoyingly loud sounds. This is not war on the terrorist enemy; this is an attempt at a law enforcement operation. Israel has destroyed infrastructure elements that it and the international community has financed and will pay for in the future. Of course, it is theoretically possible that Israel will finally hit back "really, really hard," but all signs point to a continuation of Groundhog Days courtesy of Israel's left-wing regime. Is this an exaggeration? Despite Palestinian written renunciations of terror in every signed agreement since Oslo, we have the following request yet again...Israel to EU: Palestinians Should Renounce Terrorism Before Receiving Aid.
Read it all.

Hand wringing and soul searching

It should be clear to anyone who is even the slightest bit objective that last night's IDF invasion of Gaza just ten months after Israel expelled all its Jews and removed the IDF shows the complete and utter failure of the Sharon-Olmert 'unilateralism.' It should be clear now to those to whom it was not clear before that the revenants who were in Gaza were there to provide a buffer against 'Palestinian' attacks and that the IDF was there not only to protect the revenants but also to protect the State of Israel's southern flank. It should be clear that the only thing that Israel succeeded in doing by withdrawing from Gaza was to move the front line forward so that the 'Palestinians' can attack deeper into Israel than before. While the operation is being phrased in terms of being "designed to gain 'bargaining chips' by taking control of open areas, such as the area near Rafah and later the northern Gaza Strip," to be traded for Gilad Shalit, it should be clear that its effect is to push the front lines back so that the 'Palestinians' will find Kassam fire a bit harder. In other words, it's intended to give Israel a buffer zone. And since unfortunately, Shalit is likely dead by now, I doubt that the IDF will forfeit those buffer zones in return for his body.

Caroline Glick warned us yesterday that Olmert did not want the IDF to invade Gaza, because it would be an admission that his policy is a failure. This is a part of her article that I did not quote yesterday (I did tell you all to read the whole thing):

The bombardment of the Western Negev that holds the population and the economy of southern Israel hostage to the whims of jihadist cells with rocket launchers has shown up another major myth that forms the basis of Olmert's world view. Olmert and his associates claim that the IDF deployment in Gaza was wasteful because all those forces were being used just to defend those annoying, fanatical settlers in Gush Katif and northern Gaza. But as the bombardment and the IDF's inability to stop the bombardment from outside Gaza shows, the IDF was not in Gaza to protect the Israelis who lived there. The IDF was in Gaza to protect Israel.

Any major IDF offensive in Gaza would constitute an admission of this truth. Yet since the government's only policy is to reenact last summer's retreat in Judea and Samaria, it cannot acknowledge this truth. It needs the public to believe that the safety of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem can be guaranteed by having IDF forces sitting in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It needs the public to believe that settlers are the cause of their misfortunes and not the jihadists who are waging war against our country.

That is, they need the public to believe that empowering terrorists doesn't empower terrorists.

This morning, we are hearing two sets of reactions from those who brought the disaster of disengagement on us. The true believers of the left are wringing their hands in frustration at the 'Palestinians' insistence on never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They realize that once again, it is going to become more difficult to give the country away. Those who followed Ariel Sharon because they believed in his brilliance are angry and disillusioned. I've called that soul searching. But it's a tactical soul searching. They haven't faced reality yet either.

In the "hand wringing" category, we have Haim Ramon. I have to be honest up front: Haim Ramon is one of my least favorite Israeli politicians. This goes back to an infamous Nightline appearance in November 1995 (in the aftermath of the Rabin assassination), in which he said the following regarding those who opposed the Oslo Accords:

"Maybe we can reach a consensus on some issues. But at the end of the dialogue, if we will not reach an agreement, we must agree on the one most important principle -- that the majority will decide, a democratic majority, and everybody, everybody, will respect it. And that those that are not going to respect it, from now on, will be crushed."
I don't know whether Ramon's understanding of minority rights in a democracy has improved since 1995. Somehow, I doubt it has. But since then, I have regarded Ramon as a fascist.

This morning's JPost reports that last night, as the IDF was gearing up to invade Gaza, Ramon said the following:

Justice Minister Haim Ramon said on Tuesday night that he doesn't see any chance of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority leading anywhere and therefore the government's Realignment Plan is a foregone conclusion.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in his round of diplomatic meetings in the US, Egypt, Britain and France, promised leaders that he would seriously pursue negotiations with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) before embarking upon realignment.

Ramon's speech at Tel Aviv University was the first open admission by a senior government minister that these negotiations are basically pointless and that Israel would only be undertaking them to placate the international community.

Can you hear the hand wringing? Can you hear the frustration? No, no, no! We're going to give Judea and Samaria to the 'Palestinians' no matter what!

The 'soul-searching' (and I'm qualifying the term because you can't search your soul to see why you did something wrong until you face the reality that you did something wrong) is coming from President Moshe Katzav. Yes, the same Moshe Katzav who was criticized last week by a JPost columnist for never having anything to say in 29 years as politician ("Can you believe this? After 29 years as a national political figure, Moshe Katsav has said something that not only caught people's attention, it made some of them mad!). This morning, Katzav gave the Post a piece of his mind. It's worth reading it all, but here's some of it:

Failure to first agree on a blueprint for Israel's vital interests, and then to carry out orderly staffwork, said the president, had led to "three big mistakes" in the past 13 years.
"We didn't get anything in return for the Oslo accords," he said, stressing that he was not saying he opposed the accords per se. Similarly, with the Road Map, "the Knesset and government declared that we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. That is a major, historic concession and we didn't get anything for it. And I'm not opposed to the road map."

Finally, as regards last summer's disengagement, which again he stressed he did not oppose in principle, "here too, there was a big mistake. We took the army out of Gaza, we evacuated 25 Jewish settlements and we got nothing in return."

"If there had been orderly staff work, if we'd had this map of vital interests, those three moves - Oslo, support for a Palestinian state and the pullout from Gaza - could have given us much closer relations with the Palestinians, with less hostility, less enmity, more empathy, more understanding, and perhaps even brought us nearer to a peace agreement."

Asked what specifically Israel might have obtained, Katsav replied: "We might have reached agreements on settlement blocs, we might have reached understanding on the 'right of return,' perhaps understanding on Jerusalem, although I'm less sure of this possibility... And these three issues are the ones today preventing progress."

Soul searching? Maybe. But Katzav is still living with a delusion: the delusion that one day the 'Palestinians' and the other Arabs will willingly accept the permanent existence of a Jewish state in their midst. It's not going to happen. Moshe, wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe some other Israelis will follow you.

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

I've been nominated again!

One of my posts been nominated again by the Watcher's Council for the most linkworthy post of the week. For the record, the last time this happened I came in third.

Palestinian Resistance Committees holding Eliyahu Asheri

The 'Palestinian Resistance Committees' issued a statement this morning that makes it almost certain that they are holding 18-year old Itamar resident Eliyahu Asheri - if they have not murdered him already.

A spokesman for the group, known only as Abu Abir, told the Al-Jazeera satellite TV early Wednesday that the settler would be "butchered in front of TV cameras" if the IDF operation in Gaza did not stop.

"We are holding the Israeli Zionist, aged 18-and-a-half... who is a soldier in a pre-military academy," said the terrorist group. The claim was being taken very seriously by security forces because Asheri's middle name, Pinchas, had not been revealed to the public.

The PRC also said that no more information about Asheri would be given without a price.

Syrians move to protect Khaled Meshaal; Iranians, Syrians and possibly Egyptians helped in attack

Yesterday, I suggested that Israel target Hamas military leader Khaled Meshaal, who is hiding out in Damascus, and who controls the terrorists who are holding Gilad Shalit. Last night, I was pleased to see that former IDF Chief of Staff and Labor party minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben Eliezer agrees with me. I don't know whether the Syrians read my blog (I have not seen any readers from Syria although I have seen readers from other Arab countries), but they have now moved to protect Meshaal from a potential targeted assassination.

Hat Tip: Innocent Bystander

The Syrian government has deployed security forces to protect overall Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and has advised him to restrict all public activities for the time being.

Diplomatic mediators involved in efforts to free 19 year old Gilad Shalit told reporters it is Meshaal's refusal that has been the key obstacle to freeing the soldier. They said they were told Meshaal was behind the directive to carry out the abduction, and that they were hopeful that his position against freeing Shalit would change. It should be noted that 82% of 'Palestinians' are also against freeing Gilad Shalit except in a prisoner exchange.

According to Israeli security sources, Syria and Iran have been pressuring Meshaal against releasing Shalit.

WorldNetDaily continues:
"Iran and Syria both want an escalation in the region to distract from the troubles surrounding their regimes," said a diplomatic source. "They want Israel to launch a ground operation. Violence helps them."

Israeli security officials earlier this week told WorldNetDaily they have information the terrorists who carried out the Hamas raid and Shalit kidnapping were trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard units and Hezbollah guerillas. The information comes in part from a Hamas terrorist allegedly involved in the plot who was arrested by Israeli forces in Gaza the day before the kidnapping.

Senior Palestinian security officials linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party told WND Hamas and other Gaza-based groups have been receiving advanced military training by Iran and Hezbollah in recent months.

The officials said the training included carrying out guerilla attacks such as the one perpetuated this week, methods of intelligence collection and instructions for the use of advanced missiles. The training, they said, took place in the Egyptian Sinai desert and at special camps set up in Sudan. [You want to tell me that the Egyptians didn't know this was going on? CiJ]

During Sunday's raid in which Shalit was captured, eight Palestinian terrorists used a half-mile tunnel they dug to infiltrate Israel's Kerem Shalom military station on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border.

Soldiers at the border usually monitor the Gaza Strip and not the Israeli side, where the tunnel exit was located.

Upon exiting the tunnel, the Palestinian terrorists split into three cells, one lobbing more than 20 anti-tank missiles at an army tank; another attacking the tank with grenades, killing the two Israeli soldiers and kidnapping Shalit. The final cell attacked an army lookout post.

Two terrorists were killed during the raid, while the others escaped into Gaza with the kidnapped soldier. The army was not aware one of its troops had been kidnapped until several minutes after the operation.

Defense officials here called the raid "stunning." It was the first kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian terrorists since 1994. The operation went well beyond the scope of sophistication evidenced in recent Palestinian terror attacks.