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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Video: Interrogation of Mumbai terrorist confirms use of Google Maps

This is an IBN (CNN affiliate) report on the interrogation of the only terrorist who was captured alive in Mumbai. This report confirms the use of Google Earth, which I discussed here (Hat Tip: Puneet). Let's go to the videotape.

As you saw, the report also confirms stories of Pakistani involvement in the attacks. That's no great surprise either.

Meshaal wants to meet Obama

Will this be the latest indicator of 'hope and change'? According to unconfirmed sources, Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshaal has sent a message to US President elect Barack Hussein Obama asking to meet with him.
Mashaal reportedly asked Obama to recognize Hamas and its "great influence in the Palestinian arena" in order to end the conflict with Israel. Hamas's leader wrote that he would agree to a cease fire with Israel "for 30 years or longer" if it agrees to withdraw from the territory it gained in 1967.

Mashaal also called upon the President-elect to arrange a meeting between senior American and Hamas officials "at any time and any place" the U.S. chooses, in order to discuss a solution of the Hamas-Fatah dispute as well as the conflict with Israel.
Don't hold your breaths waiting for Hamas to become peaceful.

During the campaign, Obama said he would meet with Ahmadinejad because Iran is a state, but he refused to meet with Hamas. Much as I view Obama as a naive fool, I don't believe that even he will meet with Hamas right now. Certainly not with Hillary Clinton in charge at State.


Recall that I reported that several of the female hostages at Chabad House were found tied up. It will probably surprise none of my readers that there is strong evidence that the Israeli hostages who were murdered in Mumbai were tortured before their deaths (Hat Tip: Anand via Little Green Footballs).
Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.

Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.

The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.

Corroborating the doctors' claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. "During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis," an IB source said.

It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. "They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House," he reasoned.
In a column in the Spectator, Melanie Philips pointed out the extent to which the terrorists went out of their way to target Jews.
The atrocities demonstrated with crystal clarity what the Islamist war is all about – and the western commentariat didn’t understand because it simply refuses to acknowledge, even now, what that war actually is. It does not arise from particular grievances. It is not rooted in ‘despair’ over Palestine. It is not a reaction to the war in Iraq. It is a war waged in the name of Islam against America, Britain, Hindus, Jews and all who refuse to submit to Islamic conquest. The Mumbai atrocities told us very clearly a number of things.
  • The Islamists want to murder as many Americans, Brits, Hindus and Jews as possible. That is because they are waging all-out war against civilisation.
  • ...
  • They went to some lengths in addition to single out a centre for observant Jews. Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered not because of Palestine but simply because they were Jews. That is because hatred of Jews as Jews is fundamental to the Islamists’ hatred of the west – and of Israel.
With over a billion people living in India, the terrorists sought out the most visible of its 5,000 Jews. That's because there is no hatred in the world like Jew-hatred, and today's Islamists are as expert practitioners as their European forebears. Jew-hatred has nothing to do with the State of Israel or any rational grievance against the Jewish people. It is the oldest hatred in the books. And it's not going to go away even if the Jews were to leave Israel for other parts of the world.

It's time to face reality.

Obama historic victory plate

I strongly advise you not to have any food anywhere in your digestive system when you watch this video. Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).

Does anyone remember any 'history' like this after previous elections? I don't.

Why can't the British media use the "t" word?

At the end of a lengthy editorial about this week's events in India, the JPost poses a question that deserves an answer:
3. And finally, even though this was clearly an assault against innocent civilians and exclusively against civilian targets - hospitals, hotels and a train station - why does much of the British media, including the BBC and SkyNews, label the killers "militants" instead of terrorists? Why does the The Guardian join Al-Jazeera in calling them "gunmen"?

This may sound like a marginal concern, but nomenclature matters: The primary, often only, target of terrorists are civilians. Anti-civilian warfare is a key tool of Muslim extremists. Terrorism is a cruelty that has become the scourge of modern civilization and changed the way we live. It has debased humanity.

The international community, together with responsible elements in the media, should show zero tolerance for the kind of depravity manifested in Mumbai.

And a vital step to confronting it effectively is to recognize terrorism and call it by its name.
The Post is spot-on with the question. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be that the spineless British chattering classes are too busy bowing to the Muslims in their midst to even notice the problem.

How the Arabs treat their own

The descendants of 'Palestinians' who purportedly fled from the Haifa area during Israel's 1948 War of Independence will be 'resettled' in Canada and Sweden next week after being trapped on the Iraqi-Syrian border since Saddam Hussein's downfall. Note how the media ignore why these people are 'refugees' in the first place and does not even consider the possibility that the Arabs ought to be responsible for them.
Informed sources in AL-Tanaf camp in the buffer strip between Iraq and Syria,that Sweden will receive 11 Palestinian refugees trapped since the two years in the camp which includes 725 Palestinians in its territory on 6/12/2008. [Count 'em: 11 refugees who have been trapped for two years. Out of 725 in this camp alone. CiJ].

added the sources who declined to give her name,that Canada will receive 14 Palestinian families also from AL-Hull camp,which includes 345 Palestinians in the Hasakah Syrian desert on the triangle Syria-Iraq-Turkey in its territory after ending the formal proceedings. [The way these people have children, 14 families could be close to 345 people. Or maybe it isn't. CiJ]

It should be noted,that Swedish delegation and a delegation of the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations (Department of resettlement) visited the Tanaf camp last week,the two delegations met with 96 palestinians trapped in the camp to study the resettlement in the Kingdom of Sweden.

The Palestine Refugees in Iraq were targeted by the militias backed from Iran led to the death of more than 280 Palestinians and wounded and the expulsion of thousands of them at the AL-Waleed camp in the desert of Anbar,and the camp Tanaf in the buffer strip between Iraq and Syria,and the AL-Hull camp in the Hasakah Syrian desert and more than 33 foreign country after the Arab countries refused to receive them with the rejection (Israel) returned them to their lands in accordance with resolution 194 issued by the United Nations in 1948.
Note how it's blamed on Israel. No one has any expectation that Syria will take in its own Arab brethren. Let alone Iraq. But it wasn't Iran (a non-Arab country) that was after those 'Palestinians.' It was anti-Saddam Iraqis who hated the 'Palestinians' because they were Saddam's favorites.
The Palestinian community in Iraq dates from 1948, when a group of 5,000 people accompanied an Iraqi army unit operating in Palestine back to Baghdad after they were forced to flee from their homes, mainly from villages near Haifa, during the conflict that erupted from Israel's founding. [Let's just say that they were 'forced to flee from their homes' by their Arab brethren who told them they would come back after the 'victorious Arab armies' slaughtered all the Jews and leave it at that. CiJ] Additional Palestinians went to Baghdad after being expelled from Kuwait in the aftermath of the first Gulf War in 1991 [They were expelled from Kuwait because Yasser Arafat backed Saddam when he invaded Kuwait in August 1990. CiJ]. At the time of the American invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the total number of Palestinians in Baghdad was approximately 34,000.

The consequences of the American intervention proved disastrous for the Palestinians. As the communal violence and the insurgency grew, armed militias and even the government's own Ministry of Interior considered the Palestinians to be a community that lacked allegiance to Iraq and was perceived to have been protected by Saddam Hussein. They were no longer considered to be refugees but foreigners and their residency papers were not renewed. Palestinians who largely congregated in the neighborhood of Baladiyat in Baghdad were increasingly targets of violence, kidnapping, and death threats.
And in more than 60 years, no Arab Muslim country has seen fit to resettle these people (as Israel did for Jews expelled from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and other Arab countries). Instead, they are held hostage to the desire of the Arab dictators to maintain themselves in power and destroy the Jewish state.

Is it any wonder that these people are unwilling to reach any compromise? Unless they get an unfettered 'right of return' to Israel (which would be suicidal for Israel to give them), they believe (with good reason) that they will be stuck in 'refugee camps' in Arab countries immigrating to countries like Canada and Sweden in drips and drabs that will take centuries to resolve the issue.

Maybe the place to start to resolve the 'Palestinian' question is with the Arab countries that have held them hostage for more than 60 years?

Bush to Olmert: 'Why are you giving Assad the Golan for nothing?'

US President George W. Bush asked Israeli Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert why he is giving Syrian President Assad the Golan for nothing. Olmert had no answer.
U.S. President George Bush believes that Israel is offering Syria the Golan Heights without getting anything in exchange, according to sources briefed on his White House meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week.

After Olmert updated Bush on Israel's indirect talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, the U.S. president demanded, "Why do you want to give Assad the Golan for nothing?" the sources said.

"It's not for nothing," Olmert insisted. "It's in exchange for a change in the region's strategic alignment."

Bush persisted: "Why should you believe him?" And to that, Olmert did not reply.
Some of you may be wondering why Olmert is still Prime Minister in light of the announcement this past week that he is going to be indicted for taking double and triple payments for airfares for overseas speaking engagements (and not reporting them to the income tax authorities). While politicians across the spectrum have called on Olmert to resign, Olmert refuses to go. And so long as he remains Prime Minister, the 'Supreme Court' has ruled that he and the 'transition government' that he heads have the right to continue negotiations with the 'Palestinians' and the Syrians. And to release 250 more 'Palestinian' terrorists, which Olmert plans to bring to the cabinet on Sunday.

Olmert's own Kadima party has condemned the Likud for not calling for Olmert to resign. After keeping him in power for the last two and half years, now they want him to quit?

Video: Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg HY"D speaks about Chabad of Mumbai

In this brief video clip, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg HY"D (may God avenge his blood), who was murdered by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai, India this week, speaks about his work at Chabad of Mumbai:

JPost editor David Horovitz adds:
Man's capacity to do the unthinkable to his fellow man continues to astonish and horrify afresh. Reconciling such brutality with the notion of an abiding divine presence remains unfathomable.

But what must be fathomed and internalized - amid the mourning for Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, their murdered guests in a house of elevated purpose, and the hundreds more people slaughtered in the terrorist onslaught of the past few days - is the gravity of the threat to our most basic values, and the imperative to confront that threat effectively.

The premeditated assault on Chabad House and Mumbai's other soft targets is only the latest bloody declaration of war by the death-cult Islamists, seeking now to destabilize India, but ultimately threatening all of our freedoms.

To its abiding moral and practical detriment, much of the international community nonetheless shies from this reality, clinging to the self-evidently risible notion that there are specific, legitimate grievances motivating the murder, and that these grievances can be sated and normal service resumed.

In truth, of course, it's us or them. And the appalling "success" of this most recent, sophisticated assault on another free society, this latest benighted exercise in a campaign of global destabilization, exposes the incompetence of our defense.

The free world must first acknowledge the scale of the challenge, and then set in place the cooperative security, intelligence and legal frameworks to meet it.

For only then will all the other Gavriel and Rivka Holtzbergs, and all those among us who revel in the fragile, precious miracle of life, be free to enjoy it.
Us or them indeed. Do we have the courage to fight and win this war?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Guess who's imprisoning 'Palestinians' in Gaza

'Palestinians' who hoped to travel to Mecca for pilgrimage are still in Gaza this evening - because Hamas won't let them out.
On Friday, the Palestinian Authority announced that pilgrims should report to the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt the following day.

The Gaza pilgrims were to cross into Egypt and travel from there to Mecca. But after the Palestinian Authority announcement, Hamas police set up 16 checkpoints on roads leading to the passage.

Witnesses said police sent back cars that appeared to carry pilgrims.

"They called us traitor pilgrims," said a man who identified himself as a pilgrim to a Gaza television station.

Some pilgrims managed to dodge checkpoints by taking back roads to the Rafah crossing with Egypt. There, Hamas police beat up those who refused to leave, said pilgrims speaking on a call-in show on the pro-Fatah Palestine Television.

"They were beating us with sticks and their rifle butts," said one man who identified himself as a pilgrim. "There was tear gas. It looked like an action movie," he said.

A woman called in, saying her mother, a pilgrim, was beaten on her hand and needed treatment.

Witnesses would not give their names, for fear of retribution by Hamas police.
But give them a state reichlet and all of these problems will be solved.

Mumbai terrorists used Google Earth to find targets?

Some of the terrorists who were involved in the massacre this week in Mumbai had actually stayed in Chabad (Nariman) House by posing as Malaysian students according to the only terrorist captured alive.
Azam Amir Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist nabbed alive, has revealed names and addresses of at least five people from the city who helped the terror operation.

Sources said that help like, providing shelter, taking them around and showing places, passing information on police stations and nakabandhis were given by these locals. Joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said,"We suspect there could be local assistants but it is subject to verification. It will be very premature to comment on this at this stage as our investigations is going on.''

Kasab has told police that they were sent with a specific mission of targeting Israelis to avenge atrocities on Palestinians. This was why they targetted Nariman House, a complex meant for Israelis. Sources said Kasab's colleagues killed in the operation had stayed in Nariman House earlier.

"They have stayed in Nariman house on rental basis identifying themselves as Malaysian students.'' said a source. Police are trying to find out how Nariman House rooms were given to non-Jews. Police has taken all the records books of for verification. The second target was the CST railway station because casualties would be high.
But another Times of India story claims that the terrorists used Google Earth to find their targets (Hat Tip: Powerline).
According to a Mumbai crime branch official, the ten terrorists had not come to Mumbai before this to conduct any 'recce' and they had learnt about the locations with the help of Google Earth.
If so, this is not the first time that terrorists used Google Earth to find targets. Does anyone really think that Google will take their little toy down now that it's been used for terror somewhere outside the Middle East? Don't bet on it.

Some hostages in Chabad House were bound; Rabbi covered wife's body with prayer shawl

The bodies of at least two female victims from the Chabad House were bound with telephone cords and Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg had managed to cover his wife's body with a talith (prayer shawl) before he was murdered himself.
The bodies of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and kashrus inspector Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, were found in the Mumbai Chabad House library, with holy books in front of them. According to ZAKA emergency service, the body of the Rabbi's wife Rivka was found covered with a tallit, which her husband had managed to cover her with.

The bodies of the two other women who were killed along with Rivka Holtzberg were found tied with telephone cables. The women had apparently been bound before they were killed.


"After security forces completed the takeover of the Chabad House, ZAKA volunteers undertook the task of locating and extricating the bodies of the missing," ZAKA announced. "Six bodies were located and extricated during the course of the Sabbath. The operation was undertaken among the ruins despite risk of life, and the danger from exposed grenades," the hareidi-run group said.

ZAKA emissaries reportedly struggled through the Sabbath to prevent the bodies of the Jewish victims from being taken by local authorities for autopsies.

The sole terrorist who survived the Mumbai attacks told police that the attack on Chabad House was part of the squads' original plan. The terrorists planned to take hostages from the hotels and Chabad House and then use them to bargain for safe passage out of Mumbai, according to the Times of India.
I can only imagine what they would have done with the hostages once they were out of India. Of course, this is why they wanted to 'negotiate.' But the Indian authorities refused. Does anyone not named Obama think there would have been a better outcome if the authorities had negotiated? I doubt it.


Rivka Holtzberg HY"D was also tied up.
Israeli officials said Saturday night that it appeared that Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg and his wife Rivka were killed during the first minutes of the takeover of Beit Chabad by terrorists. Rivka Holzberg was found tied up in the building, as were the other murdered Israelis and Jews.

On Thursday, Indian media said that the Beit Chabad was not a primary target of the terrorists, and that the terror gang had taken refuge in the building after a gun battle with Indian soldiers. But Israeli officials told Channel 2 Saturday that such a scenario was every unlikely – because the Chabad House was on a side street. "It's not on a main street, and they wouldn't have gone out of their way if they hadn't been targeting it," a security official was quoted on Channel 2 as saying.
No one should be surprised that they were targeting Jews. No one.

Eight Israelis confirmed dead in Mumbai - UPDATED

Israel's foreign ministry has confirmed the deaths of eight Israelis in Mumbai. Among them are Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg HY"D (may God avenge their blood), the director of the Chabad House in Mumbai and his wife (pictured at the top of this post). More here and here and more from me later.


Watch closely as there may be as many as ten dead Israelis. Here's more from Arutz Sheva:
After more than 40 hours and a day-long siege by Indian commandos against Islamist terrorists holed up in the Mumbai Chabad House, the operation ended with the discovery that eight of the Jewish hostages had been murdered by their captors, including Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka.

Foreign Ministry sources told Israel National News just minutes before the start of the Sabbath in Israel that the victims also included two women who had been trapped on the top floor with the Holtzbergs. On Saturday night, the names of Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum of Jerusalem, son of the Volover Rebbe of Boro Park and son-in-law of the head of the Toldos Avraham Yitzhak Chassidic sect, and his co-worker Ben Tzion Korman of Bat Yam, were added to the list of victims.

One of the two women who was killed, a Mexican national, had not yet been identified for publication, pending notification of next-of-kin. The other victim was identified as Yocheved Or-Paz, an Israeli woman in her sixties. The identities of two other Israeli victims were also being withheld pending notification to their families, which had been impossible due to the Sabbath.

The Chabad House was one of 10 sites that were struck by some 25 terrorists who apparently infiltrated into Mumbai by sea and then fanned out through the city. By Saturday, nine of out 10 of the targets were finally free of terrorists, hostages and most of the victims; however, some 60 hours after the mass-casualty attack began, the city's largest and most luxurious hotel, the Taj Mahal, was still not clear, and operations by Indian National Security Guards (NSG) continued into the night.


The Foreign Ministry confirmed minutes before Sabbath began in Israel that two Israeli hostages had been freed, after spending more than 30 hours holed up in the Oberoi-Trident Hotel. The two businessmen, who were identified only by their last names, Weingarten and Zamir, were rescued Friday morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. Israel time.

According to Ministry spokesman Andy David, neither was injured and both were in good condition following their harrowing ordeal. "I can confirm that they're out, they're free... they made contact with our Consulate, our people saw them and they're okay," he told Israel National News, adding that both planned to return to Israel but that a timeline had not been set.


By 6:00 p.m Saturday night, it was still not clear whether all missing Israelis in Mumbai had been accounted for.

Indian army sources claimed that the terrorists had received commando training from the Pakistan Army and had been provided with boats and logistical support by the Mumbai underworld, according to India's IBN Live television news.
JPost adds that there may be more dead Israelis:
An unspecified number of Israelis in Mumbai remain unaccounted for, an official from the Israeli Consulate in the terror-stricken Indian city told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

Speaking by phone from the Consulate just after the end of Shabbat in Mumbai, Haim Hoshen, the Foreign Ministry's Head of the Asia and South Asia Department, said he preferred not to discuss the exact number of missing Israelis.

"We have a list from Israel of names of people who still haven't made contact with their families. I'd prefer not to discuss the exact number at this stage," Hoshen said. "What is certain is that the whereabouts of some of these people remain unknown."

Hoshen spoke hours after the Foreign Ministry confirmed that eight bodies were recovered from Mumbai's Chabad House, following an Indian helicopter rooftop commando raid which lasted for several hours.

Authorities announced the name of a fourth Israeli victim, 60-year-old Yohevet Orpaz, after her family identified her body on Saturday afternoon, Israel Radio reported.

Orpaz was killed along with another eight people at the Chabad House. The Foreign Ministry said that seven of the nine bodies found in the building have been identified as Israelis. According to Israel's ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, three Israelis had yet to be identified.

According to the report, local police were preventing people from entering the Chabad building, citing fears that the structure could collapse after the immense damage it sustained while under siege over the last three days.

The deceased included Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who ran the Chabad House. They ran the movement's local headquarters, which was one of 10 sites attacked.

A Chabad-Lubavitch spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Schmotkin, identified two other victims as Bentzion Chroman, an Israeli with dual US citizenship, and Rabbi Leibish Teitlebaum, an American from Brooklyn. At least one of the remaining two victims in the Chabad House is a woman and both are Israelis.

Indian commandos were still combing the floors of Nariman House for other casualties.

Hoshen said six members of Israel's Burial Society (ZAKA) had arrived to help identify the bodies. "We are continuing to deal with all of the sorrowful events here," he said. "We will soon go and meet a victim's family in order to officially inform them of the death of their loved ones." Hoshen refrained from indicating how many bodies had been identified by Saturday evening.

The Consulate was also working closely with Indian authorities to ensure a swift transfer of the bodies to Israel for burial, Hoshen said.
Orthodox Jews who travel know that there are two things we can count on in nearly any city in the world: Chabad and Coca Cola. While I have never been to Mumbai or to India, I have been the guest of the Chabad shaliach (literally messenger, but de facto a director) in other cities. The events that took place this week in Mumbai may affect how Chabad operates in India and in other countries around the world: Apparently, the Chabad center was a target and not just a place where the terrorists happened to show up.
Hoshen said there was no doubt that the Chabad House was the target of a premeditated and planned assault, adding that security had been stepped up around the Consulate. "We are very aware [of the heightened danger]. As you can imagine, all of the necessary preparations have been made," he said.

Chabad activists who had arrived in Mumbai and who held a Shabbat meal for the remaining Jews in the city, including the parents of Rivka Holtzberg, Rabbi Shimon Rozenberg and his wife Yehudit, have been advised by Indian police not to disclose their movements.

In an interview for the Chabad Website held minutes before the entrance of Shabbat in Mumbai, Chabad Rabbi Dov-Be'er Goldberg said he was hosting the Rozenbergs and two Israeli nationals who had survived a hostage ordeal at the Oberoi Trident hotel.

"We have received instructions from the Indian police and Embassy staff not to discuss our location, since the Chabad House is now a terror target," Goldberg said.
I don't believe there are Chabad houses in most Arab countries, but the very nature of Chabad in other countries is to make their location known so that Jews can find them.

Here's part of what Chabad had to say about the Holtzberg's HY"D.
"Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch. "As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists. Their Chabad House was popular among the local community, as well as with visiting businesspeople.

"For five years, they ran a synagogue and Torah classes, and helped people dealing with drug addiction and poverty," continued the statement. "Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched. We will continue the work they started."

The Holtzbergs arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the small local Jewish community, visiting businesspeople and the throngs of tourists, many of them Israeli, who annually travel to the seaside city.

Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, was born in Israel and moved to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y., with his parents, when he was nine. A prodigious student, Holtzberg was a two-time champion in a competition of memorizing the Mishnah, a compendium of rabbinical laws and enactments redacted in the second century C.E.

He studied at yeshivas in New York and Argentina, and as a rabbinical student served communities in Thailand and China under the Summer Rabbinical Visitation Program run by Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.

His 28-year-old wife, born Rivka Rosenberg, is a native of Afula, Israel. Chayki Rosenberg described her sister as dedicated to helping Jews.

She “gives lots of classes for women at the Chabad House,” Rosenberg told The Jerusalem Post.

Friends described her as always having a positive outlook and a kind word for everyone.

Two years ago, the Holtzbergs raised funds to purchase the current location of the Chabad House, a five-story building in Mumbai’s Colaba market area known as Narimon House. A trained ritual circumciser and slaughterer, the rabbi also conducted weddings for local Jewish couples in addition to teaching Torah classes and visiting with tourists.

His last known phone call was to the Israeli Consulate to report that gunmen were in his house. In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead.
India - as well as Thailand and other countries in the Far East - is full of Israelis who go there on post-army trips to get lost in the decadence. India is a country whose politics have a lot in common with Israel. And now they have something else in common with us too.

In the last week I heard two stories of American and Israeli jobs being transferred to India. Last Saturday night, we visited with friends who told us that the wife had to lay off more than 20 people from a large American insurance company in New York because the company had decided to transfer their work to India. And this week in synagogue, a friend told me that his brother had lost his programming job, because the company had been bought by Americans and it was cheaper to base it in India rather than in Israel. I wonder if anyone will have second thoughts.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Last pre-Sabbath update from Chabad House in Mumbai - VIDEO ADDED

These are the last couple entries from Yeshiva World News' liveblog of events at the Chabad House (Nariman House) in Mumbai:

UPDATE Fri 7:58 AM EST / 2:58 PM IL: Mumbai officials reporting all four terrorists in the Chabad House have been killed. There is a large crowd outside the building that appears to be attempting to rush police barricades. There is total chaos at that location after 45 hours of fighting at numerous venues in Mumbai.

At present, NSG commandos have left the structure with their arms raised in a show of victory but still no word on Chabad Shaliach Rav Gavriel Holtzberg and the other hostages.

UPDATE Fri 8:04 AM EST / 3:04 PM IL: As has been the case for the past 45 hours, reports are conflicting and there is much disinformation. NSG officials according to IBN Live are now reporting there is one more floor to secure in the Chabad House.

A group of locals estimated to be about 600 have broken through the police barricade after NSG commandos emerged from the Chabad House with their arms raised in a sign of victory.

Unfortunately, despite what may be premature celebrations at the Chabad House, there is no word regarding the Rav, his rebbitzin and the other hostages being held.

Police are now busying themselves with crowd control outside Chabad House.

UPDATE Fri 8:09 AM EST / 3:09 PM IL: Mumbai official Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor stated moments ago that the situation at the Chabad House that the situation has not been neutralized and fighting continues. There is NO information regarding hostages inside the structure. He did express optimism however that the situation will come to an end in the near future, but did not give a timetable.

Regarding the Oberoi Hotel, he adds that on Thursday and Friday, they recovered 30 bodies, including locals and foreign nationals.

At the Taj Hotel he reports one terrorist still at large, firing at security forces and hurling hand grenades.

UPDATE Fri 8:27 AM EST / 3:27 PM IL: Mumbai security officials operating at the scene of the Chabad House report NSG commando forces are now working to secure the last floor of the structure. They are stressing the operation is NOT over despite earlier reports to the contrary.

UPDATE Fri 8:32 AM EST / 3:32 PM IL: Mumbai officials are reporting “some hostages” have been taken out of the Chabad House and are on their way to hospital. This is NOT confirmed by officials sources. ZAKA volunteers operating in Mumbai are now on their way to the hospital in the hope of learning more.

UPDATE Fri 8:39AM EST / 3:39PM IL: IBNLive.com & CNN both report: Five jostages have been killed in the Chabad House.

UPDATE Fri 8:43 AM EST / 3:43 PM IL: IBNLive.com: Commandos were trying to attack the second floor from the ground while other forces were operating from the rooftop. It appears the terrorists relocated. At present, IBNLive.com is reporting NSG forces are confirming they have seen the bodies of five hostages in the Chabad House.

It appears the operation in the Chabad House is not over as reported earlier. Unfortunately, there may be no survivors. We urge Am Yisrael to continue tefillos at this time as Erez Yisrael prepares to usher in the Shabbos.

UPDATE Fri 8:47AM EST / 3:47PM IL: Ironically, the euphoria at the Chabad House was short lived and now, the situation appears to have taken a turn for the worse. All reports from various agencies point to the fact that the hostages in the Chabad House have been murdered by the terrorists.

We hope that this report will be incorrect, as have been many during the past 45 hours and we continue tefillos on behalf of the hostages. There are NO reports from official Israel Foreign Ministry sources or ZAKA in India at this time, and we use this to provide additional hope towards a good end to the situation.

This will be the last update provided from the YWN Israel Bureau, and the reports that follow will continue in real-time from the NYC office.

YWN continues to monitor the situation, and will bring you the latest as soon as we have confirmed information from our highly credible sources.

I hope and pray that the Holtzbergs and the other hostages at Chabad House in Mumbai are okay, but I have feared the worst since Thursday afternoon. Keep praying for them.

Here's a CBS news video in which one of the now-freed hostages describes how 'lucky' he is to be alive. Let's go to the videotape.

Shabbat Shalom.

Pre-Sabbath link dump

I'm doing it a little bit early today, because it's a very short Friday and I have work to do. Here are some of the stories I'm not going to get to this week.

Twisted political group offers Jew-bashing Christmas concert (Hark the Heralds angels sing?)

An anti-Semite's Christmas (And it's still nearly a month away!)

The miller's tale (again) (It would be nice to see Aaron Miller admit that there is no 'peace partner' on the Arab side of any front).

Here are a couple of people who need some help:

Know anyone high-up in Maccabi? (Who can approve Herceptin for a great blogger who is desperately ill).

Life-saving help for our friend's child! (Can you put up a $125,000 'deposit' so that Sloan Kettering will treat a young child with a Neuroblastoma? Warning - heart-breaking photo of the child at the link. Maybe you all SHOULD see that one).

And in case I don't get back on later, Shabbat Shalom everyone.

Video: 'Good' terrorist from Fatah blows up in a 'work accident'

This is a video from an Arab website that was uploaded to YouTube by Israelis. Let's go to the videotape and then I'll tell you what you're watching (you'll have to click through that you can watch 'mature' videos, but there's nothing gory or sexy about this one).

Here's the explanation for what you just saw:
The Blue Eye website, which brings this information, calls the video "very rare."

It shows Fatah terrorist Khalid Hamid of Khan Younis trying to fire an RPG at a vehicle marked with an Israeli flag. The rocket goes off prematurely and the other terrorists on the scene begin shouting 'Allahu Akbar' and crying after realizing Hamid is hurt.

Hamid is evacuated by fellow terrorists, who place him inside a vehicle which takes him away. No medical personnel or equipment are to be seen. Hamid was later pronounced dead.
I wonder whether he got any virgins.


'Final assaults' underway at Chabad House, hotels in Mumbai

The 'final assaults' are underway at Chabad House and at the hotels in Mumbai. You can watch streaming video (in English) here (Hat Tip: Charles). IBN just announced that six hostages have been murdered at the Oberoi Hotel where many Israelis were staying. Israel's foreign ministry said this morning that there may be as many as twenty Israelis in Chabad House and some 32 Israelis have not made contact with the foreign ministry (this was in an earlier edition of a JPost article that has now been taken down).

Reports indicate that Indian commandos rappelled onto the roof of Chabad House (also known as Nariman House) from a helicopter - you can watch video of that here. Here's a picture of commandos on the roof of the building:

You can also see images of what may be a Jewish prayer shawl being waved out the window of Chabad House here.

Here's a map of the area where the terror attacks took place.

And finally, here's video of the initial assault on Chabad (Nariman) House. Let's go to the videotape.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving open thread!

'Jews and Hindus attacked Mumbai'

And you just knew that this had to be coming too (Hat Tip: Jihad Watch).
For the first time no one is blaming Muslim organizations.

The Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare and other officers of the ATS have been killed. These were the same people who were investigating the Malegaon Blasts--in which Praggya Singh, an army officer and several other noted personalities of the BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-VHP were arrested. Karkare was the man to arrest them. Karkare was receiving threats from several quarters. LK Advani, the BJP chief and several other prominent leaders of the so-called Hindu terrorism squad were gunning for his head. And the first casualty in the terrorist attack was Karkare! He is dead--gone--the firing by terrorists began from Nariman House--which is the only building in Mumbai inhabited by Jews. Some Hindu Gujaratis of the Nariman area spoke live on several TV channels--they openly said that the firing by terrorists began from Nariman house. And that for two years suspicious activities were going on in this house. But no one took notice.

Our worst fears have come true. It is clear that Mossad is involved in the whole affair. An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries. It is not possible for one single organization to plan and execute such a sophisticated operation. It is clear that this operation was backed by communal forces from within the Indian State. The Home Minister Shivraj Patil should resign. The RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal should be banned. Advani and others ought to be arrested. Today is a day of shame for all Indians and all Hindus. Muslims and secular Hindus have been proven right. RSS type forces and Israel are all involved in not only destabilizing but finishing India. India should immediately snap all relations with Israel. We owe this much to Karkare and the brave ATS men who had shown the courage to arrest Praggya Singh, Raj Kumar Purohit, the army officer and several others.

A photograph published in Urdu Times, Mumbai, clearly shows that Mossad and ex-Mossad men came to India and met Sadhus and other pro-Hindutva elements recently. A conspiracy was clearly hatched.

This is a moment of reckoning especially for Hindus of India. The killers of Gandhi have struck again. If we are true Sanatanis and true Hindus and true nationalists and true patriots we have to see this act as a clear attack by anti-national deshdrohi forces. Praggya Singh, Advani and the entire brand is anti-national. They ought to be shot. Any Hindu siding with them is hereafter warned of serious consequences.

This is a question of nationalism. If no one else, the Indian army will not take this lying down. Communal, anti-national forces have attacked the very foundation of the Indian constitution and the nation. We will fight a civil war if need be against the pro-Hindutva, communal forces and their Israeli backers.
At Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer notes that this website belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood.

But if we give the 'Palestinians' a state reichlet, these Muslim demands will come to an end. Yeah, sure....

Terrorists urge India to 'return stolen Muslim lands'

You just knew this was coming.
The terrorists barricaded in several locations in Mumbai holding travelers and locals as hostages issued a first statement since they carried out a coordinated attack on Wednesday evening that killed at least 110 people, Sky News reported.

"We urge the Indian government to return stolen Muslim lands," the terrorists said in their statement.
'Stolen Muslim lands?' By whom and from which Muslims?

Does anyone still think this is going to stop if we create a 'Palestinian' state reichlet? Is there anyone left who doesn't understand that this is about Islam and not about land?

Breaking: 3-7 Israelis murdered in Mumbai?

I have been forwarded an email from a source in Mumbai who intimates that seven Israelis have been murdered at Chabad House. I am reproducing the email below:
you dont really know the real scene its bad...in Nariman house these son of thousand fathers(his respect for Mohammedians) asked a family about their residence country and when they came to know israel they just shot them all three.....7 foriegners dies and I think they were all israelis


Nariman house(building hosting governmental office looking after construction stuff in town) is the residential/governmental area that host Chabad house as well the Leopold Cafe, named after big governmental office.....
Israel Radio reported on its 6:00 news that 5-6 Israelis are being held hostage at Chabad House and 9 are being held in the Oberoi Hotel. Hostages are also being held at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Those are the only three places in Mumbai where hostages are still being held.

A subsequent email from my source confirms that three Israelis were killed. Yeshiva World News is also reporting based on 'American media sources' that three Israelis have been murdered. There is no confirmation from any Israeli source.

There have been conflicting reports all day regarding the Rabbi of the Chabad House and his wife. I have seen or heard reports that claim that they escaped and I have seen and heard reports claiming that the wife escaped with their one-year old son. The picture below of one-year old Moshe Holtzberg being held by his nanny outside Chabad House seems to indicate that it is only the child who has escaped - and not his parents. Other reports here claim that the parents are "unconscious but alive."

That's clearly not the Rabbi's wife.

It is also clear from the reports that the Chabad House was a purposely chosen target - not a coincidence.

Israel Radio also reported that the terrorists came from Pakistan. This report from Al-Guardian would confirm that (Hat Tip: Hot Air).
At least some of the terrorists, said to be in their early twenties and armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, landed on the coast of Mumbai’s commercial and entertainment neighbourhood in light and fast Gemini boats, powered by small outboard motors.

These inflatable dinghies, according to Indian navy sources quoted by the Headlines Today TV news channel, were launched from a larger vessel, the MV Alfa, which arrived near Mumbai sometime yesterday and anchored offshore a distance from India’s financial capital…

By this time the vessel had left the vicinity of Mumbai. When first reported by the news channel today, the MV Alfa was said to be off the Gujarat coast and heading towards Pakistan.
So why isn't anyone going after the MV Alfa? Well, apparently, someone is. This report (in Hindi, which I don't speak) says that the Mumbai(?) police have caught the boat. Let's go to the videotape.

A situation assessment is taking place at the Israeli foreign ministry at 6:15 PM Israel time. More to follow when I have it. I have to say that I admire how the Indians have handled this crisis - especially given that their number one counter-terror officer was murdered in the initial attack.


Well here's a story I missed on Friday when I was madly trying to get work done before the Sabbath. It seems that Kadima's candidate for Prime Minister Tzipora Livni flew from Tel Aviv to Newark on El Al last week and threw a temper tantrum when they only sat her in business class and not in first class (Hat Tip: Jameel).
ISRAELI foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who could become prime minister after February's general elections, threw a tempter tantrum aboard a recent El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Newark after she was seated in business class instead of first. "She really went berserk over the fact that there were kids near her," says a fellow passenger. "She kept grumbling about how she wanted to get off the plane, but couldn't because she absolutely had to be in New York for a meeting the next day. It was appalling." Israeli consulate rep David Saranga said, "We deny the story completely. The event never happened."
It's tough flying business class with the peons, isn't it? Especially on El Al where anyone who pays full-fare coach is seated in business class. I guess Livni never learned to be smooth like her mentor, Ehud K. Olmert, who keeps his cool even as he is about to be indicted.

By the way, Jameel has some great advice to Livni for future trips. Check it out.

Abu Mazen's office and the 'two-state solution'

Here's a picture from 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's office in Ramallah that appeared on the front page of Monday's al-Ayyam, a 'Palestinian' newspaper (Hat Tip: Palestinian Media Watch).

Look at the map behind Abu Mazen on the wall. Note the picture of 'Palestine.' Note what's missing: The State of Israel.

'Two-state solution' anyone?

IAEA takes action: Helps Syria go nuclear

'Egyptian brother' Mohamed ElBaradei pushed a measure through his feckless International Atomic Energy Agency on Wednesday to allow the UN agency to assist Syria in developing a nuclear capability. The Western nations that opposed the measure - the United States, Canada, Australia, France and Britain - didn't even bring it to a vote in the end out of fear that they would lose.
In the end, Washington and its allies agreed to the deal, which provides IAEA expertise and equipment to help Syria build a power-producing reactor.

But they did so only after three days of deadlock at a closed meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The dispute pitted Western nations against backers of Syria, which included Iran, Russia and China.

Agreeing to approval appeared to have been a painful concession for the US, Canada, Australia, France and Britain - the nations that at the start of the meeting spearheaded the effort to deny Syria the aid.


Reluctant Western acceptance of the aid project came only after a spirited endorsement by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei earlier in the week that appeared strengthen pro-Syria sentiment.

The US and its allies could have forced a vote.

But the outcome would have been uncertain. And it would have further charged the tense atmosphere of a meeting that normally decides by consensus and without controversy on projects to IAEA members meant to help them master civilian nuclear projects.

Nations opposed instead settled for language allowing to express their concerns in the text approving the deal.

That text, made available to The Associated Press, noted that "a number of states expressed strong reservations" and committed the IAEA to "monitor the project closely ... and ensure that any equipment provided is used only for the purposes intended."
How closely can they monitor it if the Syrians won't even allow the IAEA on site to inspect?

Given that the IAEA missed nuclear weapons programs in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Algeria and North Korea, what are the odds of it actually preventing the development of nuclear weapons in Syria?

The IAEA ought to be renamed the ANPA (Arab Nuclear Proliferation Agency). Shame, shame, shame!

The myth called 'Islamophobia'

Isi Liebler rips the mask off the fraud known as 'Islamophobia,' which is going to be one of the themes of the upcoming Durban II conference.
The OIC bitterly complains that Islamophobia in Western countries is rampant and escalating. Yet taking into account that global terrorism today emanates overwhelmingly from Islamic fundamentalists - including those born and bred in the societies hosting them - it is surely a tribute to Western communities that they continue to peacefully co-exist with their Moslem minorities.

Without detracting from the obligation to combat hatred against Moslems and all minorities, the reality is that despite protestations to the contrary from liberals, Moslems residing in Europe face far less institutionalized discrimination than what other migrant groups, including Jews, underwent in the past. Moreover, they are not targeted by terrorists - in contrast to European Jews, their mosques and schools do not require round the clock security guards.

It is also astonishing that some Moslem organizations have the impudence to demand an end to security profiling, though over 95 percent of global terrorist acts originate from radical jihadists. Profiling is undertaken exclusively as a pragmatic means to maximize security and is not related to racist bias. If red-headed individuals committed the bulk of terrorist acts it would surely not be unreasonable to profile redheads for security screening. It is even more bizarre that demands to ban profiling are frequently supported by liberals, including paradoxically, Jews who themselves represent the prime targets for acts of terror.

The OIC campaign has made considerable inroads, with the UN Secretary General recently boasting that "in confronting the Danish cartoons [caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad] and the Dutch film FITNA, we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be breached." In other words, violence, murder and blackmail have succeeded in forcing impotent Western governments to appease radical Islamist forces, even at the price of compromising hitherto sacrosanct commitments to freedom of expression.

Resolutions calling for criminal prosecution of anyone criticizing Islam or Islamic practices have already been formally adopted by the inappropriately named UN Human Rights Council and subsequently by the UN General Assembly. The discredited UN Human Rights Council, which concentrates the bulk of its efforts on delegitimizing Israel, has now formally endorsed a resolution prohibiting any discussion during its proceedings that could be deemed to be critical of Islam, Moslem practice or Shar'ia law. Yet this same body has shamelessly avoided condemning human rights violations including the genocidal killings by the barbaric Islamic Sudanese government at Darfur.
Will the Obama administration participate in Durban II? Given Obama's penchant for talking to terrorists, I won't be surprised if they do.

Hostage situation at Chabad House - UPDATED

The Jerusalem Post reports Thursday morning that one of the buildings that was attacked by terrorists on Wednesday night in Mumbai (Bombay) is the local Chabad House.
On Thursday morning, the kidnappers apparently released the couple's young boy and his nanny, who said that the rabbi and his wife were alive but unconscious. Indian television showed footage of the young boy leaving the building with the nanny. The rabbi's mother confirmed to Army Radio that her one-year-old grandson had been released.

"Pray that we should hear good news," urged a Chabad spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem Post from New York in the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel time.

Joshua Runyan, the news editor of the Chabad.org/news website, told the Post that there had been "several reports that shots were fired in the vicinity of the Chabad House, and unconfirmed reports on CNN of casualties in the Nariman House." Nariman House, Runyan said, was the original name of the Chabad House, which was purchased two years ago.

Runyan, who is in Jerusalem, said that a friend of the rabbi's had received an email from Holtzberg, unrelated to the attacks, at around the time of the attacks or shortly before they began, but that there had been no contact with Holtzberg since. "Since then, we've been trying all the numbers," he said.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed the possibility that hostages had been taken in the Chabad House area, Israel Radio reported. By 6 a.m., the ministry had yet to make contact with 20 Israelis in India.

Indian news agencies reported that three people were killed in or close to the Chabad House. The dead were unlikely to be Jewish, said reports.

Phone calls by the Post to the Chabad House and to the Holtzbergs went unanswered late Wednesday night and in the small hours of Thursday morning.

Friends of the Holtzbergs placed messages on various internet sites appealing for information about them.

The Foreign Ministry repeated at 2 am that it had no reports of Israeli casualties in the attacks. Runyan said that the Israeli consulate in Mumbai also had no reports of Israeli casualties.

Israel Radio reported that staff from the Consulate were visiting local hospitals. Runyan said the Chabad House was a popular tourist destination and that "Israelis regularly come by and visit."
Yeshiva World News has been live-blogging the situation. Here are their latest updates.
UPDATE 2:38AM EST / 9:38AM IL: The following report is from Israel Foreign Ministry official Yossi Levy, who is monitoring events in Mumbai from the situation room. Levy explains they remain in contact with consular officials in India via satellite technology.

At present, no names of Israelis ar among the wounded in hospitals. There are still an unspecified number of Israelis listed as missing. Efforts to establish communications with them have failed but efforts are ongoing.

Regarding the Chabad House, the situation remains unclear despite reports, some of which are conflicting. As such, the Foreign Ministry is unable to give confirmed information but states it appears the wife and a child have escaped and the rabbi is still alive. This report however is not being confirmed by official sources but it is being stressed that both Rav Holtzberg and his rebbitzin appear to be alive Baruch Hashem.

Binyamin Avraham, the rav of El Al, is currently in the Bombay Airport. He told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) a few moments ago the airport is open and he hopes that a flight with many Israeli nationals will be able to depart on schedule.

Mumbai media reports the NSG is operating in the Chabad House, apparently to neutralize the situation there where a number of terrorists are believed to still be at large. In addition, the marine commando chief reports 40-45 hostages remain in the Taj Hotel.

UPDATE 2:47AM EST / 9:47AM IL: There are reports from the scene that there are exchanges of gunfire at the Chabad (Nariman) House. There are no reports of what is taking place but a short time ago; authorities have begun evacuating residents living in nearby homes. Mumbai media reports NSG forces are moving floor-by-floor, searching each room in the Taj Hotel, calling it a “somewhat complicated situation”. CNN quoted NSG officials reports “everything is under control”. About 25 hostages are believed to still be in the Oberoi Hotel.In the meantime, Gaza-based terrorists seem to feel the tension in Israel surrounding the hostages in the Chabad House and missing Israelis in Mumbai is a good background to step-up attacks. In the past hour, there have been at least three waves of Kassam rockets in the western Negev and Sderot areas. Baruch Hashem, there are no reports of injuries.

UPDATE 3:00AM EST / 10:00AM IL: Commando forces are working to secure the situation at the Chabad House in Mumbai, with Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) stating it appears there are still 5-6 people inside.

Sharoni, an Israeli who lives near the Chabad House, reports the police got the rebbitzin and a toddler out of the area safely.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy reports from the situation room, that currently, there are no reports of Israelis among the wounded.

The El Al plane in Bombay Airport is scheduled to return home this evening. A flight from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport to India has been canceled.

British High Commissioner Sir Richard Stagg reports a center has been established, checking for British citizens in hospitals, reporting seven injured. He reports that the head of the British counter-terrorism office will be coming to Delhi on Monday as the two countries maintain a “close relationship”.

Security forces are still operating in the Taj Hotel, moving from room to room in an effort to secure the area. There are still reports of some 25 hostages in the Oberoi Hotel. Officials report “it is going to be a very very long day, adding the police operation may take a while”. As the report comes in, there are new reports of renewed gunfire at the Oberoi. Reporters at the scene state the situation “is a very complicated matter and extra paramilitary troops are being brought in towards executing the ongoing strategy.”

Officials are confirming there are hundreds of residents inside the Oberoi along with a small number of foreigners, plus the hostages.

Keep checking back for more details.


JPost is reporting that eight Israelis - including Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife - are being held hostage at Chabad house and several other Israelis are being held hostage elsewhere in Mumbai.
Chabad spokesman in Israel, Moni Ender, said there were eight Israelis inside the house, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg.

Several other Israelis were reportedly being held at the Oberoi Hotel, Israel Radio reported.

Newscasters were calling it the "final assault" on the Nariman House, where Chabad headquarters are located, adjacent to the Leopold Cafe, a major tourist center in Mumbai's Colaba area, which was also attacked Wednesday night.

According to a report by Reuters, the terrorists have expressed their desire to negotiate with the Indian government for the release of the hostages. The government, however, has repeatedly stated that it will not negotiate.


On Thursday morning, Moshe Holtzberg, the toddler son of the Chabad emissaries, was rushed from the house in the arms of one of the Chabad House's employees, Sandra Samuel.

"I took the child, I just grabbed the baby and ran out," said Samuel, 44, who has worked as a cook for the center for the last five years.

She said that the rabbi and his wife, along with two other unidentified guests, were alive but unconscious.

"Pray that we should hear good news," urged a Chabad spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem Post from New York in the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel time.

Shmotkin also said that the had gunmen seized a police vehicle, which allowed them access to the area around the Chabad House.


"People are urged to say Psalms for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis [the Rabbi and his wife. CiJ], and anyone affected by the tragedy."
Two quick comments. First, it's not surprising that Israelis are being held hostage. India is full of Israelis including traveling students and business people. Mrs. Carl's biggest client - who shall remain nameless - regularly sends employees to India on business.

Second, note that the Indians are refusing to negotiate. There's a lesson there for the Israeli government. This will be over much more quickly and at much less cost in human lives than the Gilad Shalit or the Goldwasser-Regev situations.

Cheapening apartheid

The UN selected one NGO to speak at their session on the 'inalienable rights' of the 'Palestinian people' and it was a doozer. And of course, the speaker accused Israel of 'apartheid.' Let's go to the videotape.

'Apartheid'? That's funny, I don't recall seeing any signs like this one from South Africa in Israel.

Do any other Israelis recall seeing a sign like this in Israel?

Of course not. But this type of hyperbole lowers the level of debate to one where intelligent discourse cannot take place. What was apartheid really?Recall that I linked to a post from a South African blog here. Here's some of what Steve - who grew up with it - had to say about apartheid:
There were two components to Apartheid – grand apartheid with its goal of political separation, and petty apartheid which sought to segregate whites from non whites. Both components were equally important and intertwined for one could not succeed without the other.

Grand apartheid was to be achieved by creating separate political realities for whites and non whites. This was done by revoking the citizenship from non-white South Africans reducing the ‘legal’ population of South Africa so that the whites would be the demographic majority. Homelands called Bantustans were created and these were eventually to become separate independent states. Blacks were to either be physically moved into these homelands, or nationally tied to them (i.e. they would become a citizen of the homeland that they might have never set foot in; and not a citizen of South Africa). Naturally, even blacks that were not yet assigned a Bantustan, were denied suffrage (i.e. they were denied the right to vote).

Legislation was passed to legally separate blacks from whites in all aspects of daily life. The separate public amenities act ruled that blacks and whites would receive separate public services. Blacks and whites were to have separate education, medical care, transport and beaches. The legislation even pervaded to the use of parks – blacks could not sit on the same benches as whites and they could not even use the same water fountains used by whites.

Laws were also passed prohibiting blacks and whites from having sexual relations. This was policed to the extent that a white could be incarcerated for allowing a black of the opposite sex to sit on the front seat in their car.

Apartheid ensured the domination by a white minority over a black majority in every apsect of their daily lives. Blacks could not participate in the political process, they were forced to study in languages selected by the government and their education was geared towards making them useful labourers for their white ‘bosses’.

It is thus easy to see that Israel is not an apartheid state. All citizens of Israel (whether Muslim or Jewish, Arab or European) have equality before the law. There is nothing close to resembling the separate provision of amenities – Muslims and Jews use the same hospitals, Muslims and Jews use the same public transport, Muslims and Jews all vote in Israeli elections, Muslims and Jews can run for election etc etc. Muslims in Israel can choose to study in the language of their preference and Arabic is even one of the national languages of Israel. In apartheid South Africa, although blacks made up over 80% of the population, not a single African language was recognised by the state.
What went on this week in the UN cheapens the reality of apartheid, just like referring to every corrupt politician as a Nazi or as Hitler cheapens the reality of what Nazism really was. Seeing a black South African cheapen apartheid grates on the nerves just like seeing an Orthodox Jew cheapen the Holocaust does.

How soon we forget.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Make that 5000 centrifuges

Speaking at an exhibition of his country's 'nuclear achievements' at Tehran University on Wednesday, Iranian nuclear chief Gholam Reza Aghazadeh announced that Iran has more than 5000 centrifuges up and running at its Natanz nuclear plant, a significant increase from 4000 last summer.
At the exhibition, Iran for the first time put on public display one of its P-1 centrifuges and officials at the exhibition explained various parts of machine to visitors.

The P-1 centrifuge is the workhorse of Iran's enrichment program. It's run in cascades of 164 machines.

In February, Iranian officials confirmed that they have started using the IR-2 centrifuge, which can churn out enriched uranium at more than double the rate of P-1.

Iran has said it plans to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment that will ultimately involve 54,000 centrifuges.
All for 'peaceful purposes' of course. We can't pre-judge the 'Iranian brothers' until they actually deploy a nuclear weapon. Eh Mohamed?

Hope and change anyone?

Obama won

I missed this one while I was away. Hat Tip: Yogi.

Solving the Iranian nuclear dilemma by targeting Israel?

David Albright and Andrea Scheel of the Institute for Science and International Security propose to rein in the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East by having nuclear suppliers insist on greater transparency (pdf link) in countries' nuclear programs. According to Mark T. Clark at Harvard's Middle East Strategy at Harvard:
The authors believe that the next administration must take the lead in getting all the other Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) countries to condition the sale of nuclear reactors on the requirement that recipient states agree to greater transparency of their nuclear power programs. The NSG countries should “insist on adequate international inspections of these countries, including the adoption of the Additional Protocol, and develop mechanisms to remove spent fuel from the region.” The Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement, monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is designed to provide more intrusive inspections of a country’s nuclear program.
But Albright and Scheel's recognition of the problems is followed up by targeting the wrong country for enforcement. Instead of going after Iran, which is causing nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, Albright and Scheel suggest going after Israel.
Yet while the authors seem to recognize some of the underlying problems, their solution(s) simply ignore them. In this technically competent but politically naïve piece, the authors acknowledge the following: Iran’s nuclear program is the impetus for the other states in the Middle East to pursue nuclear weapons, yet no new effort to enforce existing sanctions or regimes is proposed. Iran suspended its compliance with the Protocol in 1996, and the authors have no answer to Iran’s actions. To top it off, Russia—a principal NSG country—continues to construct the Bushehr reactor despite Iran’s actions. Egypt announced in 2007 that it will not sign the Protocol, but Russia has not attempted to prevent its firms from bidding on a nuclear reactor at El Dabaa. In each case, the political will to build nuclear weapons or support the building of the infrastructure necessary for these weapons is simply ignored. A new “norm” that ignores the failure of more fundamental norms of nonproliferation seems unlikely to work any better.

But the authors go further. The authors exhort the incoming Obama administration to make it a key priority to persuade Israel to join in negotiating a universal treaty that bans the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium. In the interim, they argue, the Obama administration should press Israel to suspend any production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

If it strikes the reader as odd that the authors do not recommend any actions against the recalcitrant state, Iran, but do against a state, Israel, that is not a member of the Nonproliferation Treaty, there may be a reason. As Stephen Walt argued years ago in his book, The Origins of Alliances (before he flip-flopped on all his work about how states behave under the influence of domestic actors), of all the states in the world, only the United States had some measure of control over Israel’s behavior, some means to influence the course of their actions. The United States had no comparable influence with other states, and neither did the Soviet Union over its erstwhile allies in the Middle East. The authors want success only where it can be had, with Israel, but not where the thornier problem of political will resides, with Iran.

Solutions that push for universal norms, while ignoring political realities, will produce illogical prescriptions. The central problem of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons remains unaddressed by the authors’ proposals, and ignores the more troubling concern with Russia’s irresponsible actions as a principal NSG country.
Do you understand that 'logic'? Don't bother with Iran because none of the nuclear suppliers has any influence over them (other than refusing to sell to them, which isn't even mentioned as a possibility), but go after Israel, which has allegedly had nuclear weapons for 45 years and never used them? Albright and Scheel are way off base with that one.

And by the way, the US never supplied Israel with any uranium. France did many years ago. Israel figured all the rest out by itself. So there.