Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Which is Worse?

This:-

Several hundred Haredim rioted Tuesday in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood over the planned autopsy of a religious woman in northern Israel, police said.

The rioters pelted police with stones and set fire to numerous dumpsters along the central thoroughfare in the area, closing the street off to traffic and choking the surroundings with smoke.

There were no injuries immediately reported.

Police forces were on the scene.


or this:

Around 300 right-wing activists clashed with soldiers on Tuesday morning at an IDF post in Ofra, near Amona, which is scheduled to be evacuated on Wednesday. The group broke through the fence and climbed on the heavy machinery and equipment located on the scene.

Some of the equipment was sabotaged in the attack.

The unit that was attacked is not scheduled to take part in the Amona evacuation on Wednesday, rather, it is in charge of protecting the Ofra residents and ensuring security in the area. The machinery, however, is slated for removing the stone structures from the West Bank oupost.

Police were alerted to the scene.


Or are they both bad?

Or...?

Shortened

This is what appeared in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, January 29:-

Yisrael Medad: Kowtowing, foremost, to American pressure, Israeli leaders created - first in Oslo, then with disengagement and now with these elections - a monster which claims democracy as self-justification. Further territorial concessions and a spineless diplomatic posturing will only worsen the situation. Yielding our rights is no solution.


If you go here, you'll read my original text.

I usually don't mind being edited. I've edited others myself.

But I was told five (5!) sentences and if you look around there and there you will find others who were permitted, it would seem, much more than five sentences.

Conclusions anyone?

The Law Professor and I

Seems Professor Alan Dershowitz is visiting and he had this to say in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday:-


"Though the residents of Hebron clearly have the right to live there, the government of Israel also has the right to compromise its citizens in pursuit of peace."

Dershowitz also maintained that since Amona is an illegal outpost it "sounded perfectly right that the courts should order it to be dismantled."


A.. The Jews clearly have a right to live there.

And that right preceded the state of Israel.

In fact, because of that right, Israel, the Jewish state, the reconstituted Jewish national Home, obtained the recognition of the world.

In other words, in my opinion, Dershowitz doesn't know his law. An element that justifies a new situation should not be allowed to be abrogated by that new entity. That's the wrong way around.

Israel cannot deny the right of a Jew, if he wants to live there in Hebron if he purchases his home or whatever in a legal fashion without being discriminated against by state agencies (see B), to indeed take up residency there, even if it is outside what Israel considers its borders, because the prinicple of the right of a Jew to live in the Land of Israel, at the very least between the sea and the river, is one that is enconsed in international law besides, as I pointed out but which needs emphasizing, is the element that permits Israel to be.

B) There is no such thing as "illegal". Even Olmert has learned to use "unlicensed", "unarranged' or even "not yet registered."

True, there are zoning restrictions and other qualifications to be taken into account. But "illegal" without having done anything illegal?

Dershowitz, I would presume, need a little bit more insight into the issues.

The Dannish Newspaper Did Apologize

Honourable Fellow Citizens of the Muslim World

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten is a strong proponent of democracy and freedom of religion. The newspaper respects the right of any human being to practise his or her religion. Serious misunderstandings in respect of some drawings of the Prophet Mohammed have led to much anger and, lately, also boycott of Danish goods in Muslim countries.

Please allow me to correct these misunderstandings.

On 30 September last year, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten published 12 different cartoonists' idea of what the Prophet Mohammed might have looked like. The initiative was taken as part of an ongoing public debate on freedom of expression, a freedom much cherished in Denmark.

In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologize.

Since then a number of offensive drawings have circulated in The Middle East which have never been published in Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten and which we would never have published, had they been offered to us. We would have refused to publish them on the grounds that they violated our ethical code.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten attaches importance to upholding the highest ethical standards based upon the respect of our fundamental values. It is so much more deplorable, therefore, that these drawings were presented as if they had anything to do with Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Maybe because of culturally based misunderstandings, the initiative to publish the 12 drawings has been interpreted as a campaign against Muslims in Denmark and the rest of the world.

I must categorically dismiss such an interpretation. Because of the very fact that we are strong proponents of the freedom of religion and because we respect the right of any human being to practise his or her religion, offending anybody on the grounds of their religious beliefs is unthinkable to us.

That this happened was, consequently, unintentional.

As a result of the debate that has been going on about the drawings, we have met with representatives of Danish Muslims, and these meetings were held in a positive and constructive spirit. We have also sought in other ways to initiate a fruitful dialogue with Danish Muslims.

It is the wish of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten that various ethnic groups should live in peace and harmony with each other and that the debates and disagreements which will always exist in a dynamic society should do so in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

For that reason, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has published many articles describing the positive aspects of integration, for example in a special supplement entitled The Contributors. It portrayed a number of Muslims who have had success in Denmark. The supplement was rewarded by the EU Commission.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten takes exception to symbolic acts suited to demonise specific nationalities, religions and ethnic groups.

Sincerely yours

Carsten Juste
Editor-in-Chief

Being Crystal Clear

A Hamas leader said his group will not abandon its goal of destroying Israel.

"When I speak about a long cease-fire and a temporary agreement, it means that we do not recognize the right of the state of the occupation on our lands, but we will accept its existence temporarily," said the leader.

The leader insisted the policies are based on the formulation Hamas will not be able to defeat Israel in the near future, but he said his group is confident it ultimately will be "victorious."

"I do not see the Palestinian people and Islamic nation succeeding to liberate this blessed land of Palestine in the very near future," he said. "This is an Islamic land and the Jews are invited to live in Palestine and the Muslims will guaranty their safety and honor. ... But we will never give up our right for the whole of Palestine. We should be realistic to admit that the mission for the liberation of Palestine will pass on to the coming generations."



Another leader, Mahmoud el-Zahar demanded:-

Israel "remove the two blue stripes from its national flag. The stripes on the flag are symbols of occupation. They signify Israel's borders stretching from the River Euphrates to the River Nile."

Israel's national flag, adopted from a previously used Zionist movement flag, features a star of David within two blue stripes. The stripes signify the Talit, or Jewish prayer shawl, which is traditionally striped.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Another, I Guess, Unpublished Letter

This I sent to the NYTimes after reading this.


Steve Erlanger quotes a Birzeit University political scientist who affirms that the most fundamental of Hamas' beliefs is that "the entire land of Palestine belongs to Allah and is Muslim holy land" and it cannot be renounced nor abandoned ("Hamas Leader Vows to Pursue Stance on Israel", Jan. 28).

In 1922, the Zionist Movement agreed to yield its claims to portions of its historic homeland east of the Jordan River, previously recognized in international forums, to facilitate the decision to grant Great Britain a Mandate over what became known as Palestine. In 1937, it again willingly agreed to a partition plan that would whittle away portions west of the river. In 1947, the UN Partition Resolution was accepted.

At the end of all Israel's wars, it withdrew from territory to achieve peace as it did even with Jordan in 1994 and with the Oslo Accords.

Israel, and its pre-state institutions, has always been the one to compromise on territory but never did it achieve or receive peace. Never were these withdrawals backed up by firm longstanding international commitments in the face of an eighty-year long Arab campaign of terror, from the pre-state riots in Jerusalem, Jaffa and
Hebron until today's Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas suicide bombers.

We are now at the point when we have to admit the failure of these policies. Peace can be exchanged only for peace, never for territory.

Rice in a Wet & Soggy Paddy

If this is the true representative thinking of an academic and a chief diplomat, we are really in shtupp.

Hamas Victory Reflects Palestinians' Desire for Change, Rice Says
Secretary of state says Palestinian people's aspiration for peace unchanged

by Phillip Kurata
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian legislative elections was "somewhat unexpected" but does not change the deep aspiration for peace of the Palestinian people.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency January 26, Rice said the Hamas victory was an expression of the Palestinian people's desire for change from the "corruption and non-accountability and lack of transparency" that characterized the rule of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.


and here is an example of more "thinking":-

Bush, Rice Say Palestinian Elections Show "Power of Democracy"
Say HAMAS platform and armed wing prevent its being a peace partner

By Stephen Kaufman
Washington File White House Correspondent

Washington -- President Bush said the results of the January 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections present a "wake-up call" to the incumbent Fatah party leadership, reflecting voter dissatisfaction and a desire for change. However, he said HAMAS, which appears set to assume a clear majority in the 132-seat legislature, cannot be a "partner in peace" if its platform calls for the destruction of Israel.

The parliamentary elections mark the first time HAMAS has participated in national elections. Previously, the party has only fielded candidates in municipal elections. If preliminary indications are confirmed, HAMAS is set to end Fatah’s domination of the legislature, which it has enjoyed since the previous parliamentary elections in 1996.

Speaking January 26 at a White House press conference, President Bush noted the high voter turnout and said the results "remind me about the power of democracy."

"Obviously, people, were not happy with the status quo. The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education, and they can find health care. And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories," he said.

The president said he welcomes the competition of ideas as signs of a healthy democratic system, but he expressed doubts that HAMAS can be a "partner in peace" if it adheres to its political platform calling for the destruction of Israel and maintains its armed wing.


When faced with a threat, democracies back away and away until the moment when their response proves to be, at first, inadequate and usually, the victory is achieved at the expense of the most innocent victims of the threat.

Radical Media Bias

SP sent me this (some people are too lazy to use the "comments" tool):-

"Resistance is a legitimate right that we will practice and protect."
KHALED MESHAL, the exiled political head of the radical Islamic group Hamas.
(NYTimes, Jan. 29, 2006)



So, now the terrorist is a "political head" and exiled (he lives in Damascus, under the protection of another terrorist regime) at that and the terror group is only "radical"!

Who Is a Palestinian?

The Palestinian Authority Law defines a Palestinian citizen as:-

a.) A Palestinian is a person who: a. Was born in Palestine, as defined by the territory covered by the British Mandate, or had the right to the Palestinian citizenship according to the laws in force during that period. b. Was born in the Gaza Strip or in the West Bank, including Jerusalem. c. Irrespective of place of birth, has one or more direct ancestors that meet the requirements of paragraph a) above, d. Is the spouse of a Palestinian who meet the mentioned requirements. e. Has not the Israeli citizenship. e.) The voter need to be entered in the electoral register of the polling district where he or she is to exercise the right to vote. He/she also need to be entered in the final electoral register.


Hmmm.

Is (a) and (b) mutually exlusive or inclusive or what?

So, what exactly were those borders of Palestine "covered by the British Mandate"?

What is now Judea, Samaria and Gaza (YESHA or, [phoo] the "West Bank & Gaza)?

Or does this include Israel too?

Are 4 of my 5 children Palestinians?

Just So That This is Clear

Here's Dr Mahmoud al-Zahar's interview (well excerpts) with The London Times on the eve of the elections:


On giving up Hamas's weapons:

"Why, why do we have to give up our weapons? If Israel comes back to occupy our land, will your country come to defend our people?

"Why do we have to put up our guns while every country everywhere has in additional to a political system a strong military system in order to protect their homeland, their interests and their people.

So why do you consider us a unique phenomenon that we have to keep the Israeli border, to keep the Israeli aggression against our people, to keep our people inside Israeli jails without resistance?"

On negotiations with Israel:

"Negotiation is not a goal in itself. It is a method. It is not an objective.

"If Israel has anything to offer on the issues of halting attacks, withdrawal, releasing prisoners...then one thousand means can be found."


On Europe:

"Believe me the European people came to me in the last month and they said within six months we are going to do our best in order to change the attitudes of our administration because we do not accept Hamas is a terrorist organisation, we differentiate between a liberation movement and a terrorist organisation. And believe me sooner or later the European countries in particular are going to change their mind concerning their attitude with Hamas.

"We are not using guns to choose our representatives. We are not using guns in the primaries. We use knives. (Joking.)

Have you moved from being the IRA to being Sinn Fein?

(Laughs. No answer.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Even He Admits It

It's always so nice to read of an ideological rival of yours who has to, er, grovel.

"This the first time that the Muslim Brotherhood or any Islamic group has been elected to run an Arab polity, and there are no real precedents. Are we looking at a hardcore movement that may make some tactical gestures but remains totally committed to destroying Israel and transforming Palestinian society, or are they pragmatists and will change these beliefs?"

Unfortunately, he said, "I think we have to take Hamas at its words and assume that as Islamicists, they have some core beliefs that won't change."


Yossi Alpher of Bitter Lemons (how sweet they are)

Have a Laugh

From BangItOut:-

Top Ten Good Things to Come Out of the Hamas Election Victory:

10. 95% of winning candidates will probably blow themselves up by end of first term

9. Government officials now easily recognizable from their FBI Most Wanted Terrorist mugshots

8. Finally a government to compete with Iran for prize of Most Psychotic Government

7. Allows AP to title pics of kids dressed in Suicide-Bomber costumes with the line "Kids dress up as favorite Government officials"

6. Palestinian C-Span channel will probably have parental advisory for graphic violence

5. May encourage Al-Quaeda sleeper cell members to abandon terrorist plots in favor of seeking cushy government desk jobs

4. Any political filibuster in the new Pal. government would now probably be deemed as "fighting the war on terror"

3. Now calling the Palestinian government a "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" is just wrong

2. Finally allows for Hammas version of the TV show "West Wing", which promises to be just like the show "24", except from the terrorists' perspective

1. Makes answering the question "Do the Palestinian people support terrorism?" a no brainer


For more of their type of humor, click here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Madonna's Lyrics

A major lyrics site has these words as the lyrics for Madonna's new Jewish song about Isaac with Hebrew:

Imminilalo Imminilalo

Staring up into the heavens
In this hell that binds your hands
Will you sacrifice your comfort
Make your way in a foreign land

Wrestle with your darkness
Angels call your name
Can you hear what they are saying
Will you ever be the same

[Chorus]
Mmmm mmm mmm
Imminilalo Imminilalo
Mmmm mmm mmm
Imminilalo Imminilalo

Remember, remember
Never forget
All of your life has all been a test
You will find the gate that's open
Ever though your spirit's broken

Open up my heart
Cause my lips to speak
Bring the heavens and the stars
Down to earth for me

[Chorus X2]

Wrestle with your darkness
Angels call your name
Can you hear what they are saying
Will you ever be the same

[Chorus X2]


However, as most know, - and after all, the opening words are part of a famous Yeminite piyut that was composed by Rav Shalom Shabazi is sung quite often, - the Hebrew is wrongly transcribed/transliterated.

The English translation of the Hebrew is "If the Doors Be Locked" (If the doors of the Rich Be Locked, the Doors of Heaven Are Not Locked) which should be written, I suggest, as:

Im Nin'alu


I sent a correction to the site.

I mean if Madonna is singing in Hebrew, even if she can't get her Zohar straight, at least her Hebrew should be proper.

--------------

P.S. If you go here , and click on selection 10, you can hear a short clip although I experienced problems after 15 seconds. I went to another site and it's unavailable. Seems someone maybe put a cherem on here as she used, as some mistakenly think, Isaac Luria's name in vain when I think she was referring to Isaac son of Avraham.

If anyone out there finds a better listening site, let me know please.

This I Find Hysterical

France is in an uproar.

A clause was inserted in a new law that refers to the "positive role" of French colonialism and President Jacques Chirac asked for the controversial clause to be struck off the statute books.

Why?

Article Four of law 2005-158 states that "scholastic programmes recognise in particular the positive role of the French overseas presence, especially in north Africa, and accord to history and to the sacrifices of army soldiers from these territories the eminent place that they deserve."

The president accepted advice from a parliamentary committee to resort to a rarely-used constitutional procedure in order to remove the offending article -- which appears in a government bill passed a year ago providing financial compensation to repatriated colonials.

The clause is to be referred to the country's constitutional council on the grounds that it is outside the competence of the legislature.


Now, besides trying to imagine how something like that would go over in Israel regarding, say, Gush Katif and Israel's positive contribution to special agricultural methods, as an example, what really got me giggling was this statement:-

Academics said the article was a flagrant intrusion by politicians into the realm of historical debate,

I mean, how can politicians, who, by the way, actually make the history that supplies these academcis with their salaries so they can research and teach about the events, intefere like this.

The politicians can send the troops abroad and provide state authority and support for such deeds, and I am talking about anything a governemnt does, colonialism or whatever, good or bad or neutral, but the academics will refuse them entry into the realm of historical debate. What, no more appearances by politicians at conferences and colloquia?

Hysterical?

This is ridiculous.

He Wriggled and Squiggled

An excerpt from President George W. Bush's press conference yesterday.

No comments at this time (if you saw him while saying this, and there's a video link there, you will know why I say he wriggled and squiggled).


So the Palestinians had an election yesterday, and the results of which remind me about the power of democracy. You see, when you give people the vote, you give people a chance to express themselves at the polls -- and if they're unhappy with the status quo, they'll let you know. That's the great thing about democracy, it provides a look into society.

And yesterday the turnout was significant, as I understand it. And there was a peaceful process as people went to the polls, and that's positive. But what was also positive is, is that it's a wake-up call to the leadership. Obviously, people were not happy with the status quo. The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find health care.

And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories. I like the competition of ideas. I like people who have to go out and say, vote for me, and here's what I'm going to do. There's something healthy about a system that does that. And so the elections yesterday were very interesting.

On the other hand, I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform. And I know you can't be a partner in peace if you have a -- if your party has got an armed wing. The elections just took place. We will watch very carefully about the formation of the government. But I will continue to remind people about what I just said, that if your platform is the destruction of Israel, it means you're not a partner in peace. And we're interested in peace.

I talked to Condi twice this morning. She called President Abbas. She also is going to have a conference call today about the Quartet -- with the Quartet, about how to keep the process on the road to peace.

Steve.

Q If I can follow up, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q Are you cautioning Prime Minister Abbas not to resign? And --

THE PRESIDENT: We'd like him to stay in power. I mean, we'd like to stay in office. He is in power, we'd like him to stay in office. Sorry to interrupt. I knew this was a two-part question, so I tried to head it off.

Q Will this affect aid to the Palestinians? Will you be able to work with Hamas if they're -- assuming they take on a large share of the government?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I made it very clear that the United States does not support political parties that want to destroy our ally, Israel, and that people must renounce that part of their platform. But the government hasn't formed yet. They're beginning to talk about how to form the government. And your question on Abbas was a good one. And our message to him was, we would hope he would stay in office and work to move the process forward.

Again, I remind people, the elections -- democracy is -- can open up the world's eyes to reality by listening to people. And the elections -- the election process is healthy for society, in my judgment. In other words, it's -- one way to figure out how to address the needs of the people is to let them express themselves at the ballot box. And that's exactly what happened yesterday. And you'll hear a lot of people saying, well, aren't we surprised at the outcome, or this, that, or the other.

If there is corruption, I'm not surprised that people say, let's get rid of corruption. If government hadn't been responsive, I'm not the least bit surprised that people said, I want government to be responsive.

And so that was an interesting day yesterday in the -- as we're watching liberty begin to spread across the Middle East.

Let's see here. Yes, David.

Q Mr. President, good morning. I have a different question, but I'd like to pin you down on this point about Hamas because I don't think you've completely answered it. Are you ruling out dealing with a Palestinian government comprised, in part, of Hamas?

THE PRESIDENT: Dave, they don't have a government yet, so you're asking me to speculate on what the government will look like. I have made it very clear, however, that a political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of its platform is a party with which we will not deal.

Exactly Who Is Evasive?

Two people I hadn't heard of before (*) had their op-ed published in the New York Times Firday (today already in Israel).

Here's one excerpt:-

And although the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the liberation of Palestine "from the river to the sea," the party's campaign manifesto made no mention of these goals.

Instead, when asked about making peace with Israel, Hamas representatives offered nuanced, if evasive, answers. As Ziad Daiah, a Hamas representative in Ramallah, told us: "We are not interested in the Oslo-type peace process that went on for 10 years and wasted time. But if Israel will start new negotiations, with direct benefits for Palestinians in a useful time frame, we will accept that."


Ah, yes, that evasive character trait.

Of course, you can't realy call an Arab, or a Palestinian or a Hamasnik "evasive" as that would be racial profiling and just not politically correct. Like calling him "sneaky", "duplicitous" or even "mendacious". And that would place you outside the boundaries of polite, civilized and cultured conversation.

So, you say/write that their answers are evasive. Okay, I can play the game too.

These two persons, and the Op-ed editor, are playing at fooling their readers. Their facts are not all the facts, their opinions are biased, their references are limited, their approach one-sided and they select what they like and ignore what is not likable.

Here's another example:-

A radio reporter recently asked Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister, about negotiating with Hamas. "We are not fighting against a name," he said. "We are fighting against a situation. If the situation changes, then what difference does a name make?"


Besides the fact that Peres has been wrong about everything for the past 15 years (see AFSI's wonderful collection of his bon mots), his above quote is ludicrous. Both a prostitute and a wedded wife engage in the same physical conjugal activity. The situation is the same and in most cases, money changes hands. The principal is the same. Does the name matter? It sure does!

Hamas is not democratic even though Israel and its "allies" allowed it to exploit the political process to take over the Palestinian Authority. It will remain a terror organization because that is its charter no matter they call themselves or we call them.

President Bush's press conference yesterday was an excercise in ridiculousness (see next posting).

And so, evasiveness is the key to peace? Okay, Israel can be evasive, too.

Right?


===============================================
(*)
One works for the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard (and her e-mail address is here) and the other works for the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy in Ramallah, which is actually the Miftah organization which has a very powerful anti-Israel agenda.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

O Fools That Ye Be

Here's an excerpt from a wire report and I've interspersed it with my comments:-


Right-wing lawmaker Yuval Steinitz of the hardline Likud Party said that's where Israel went wrong. "This is a tragic failure in the war against Hamas," Steinitz told Israel Radio. "We alone let elections take place with the participation of a terror group that calls for our destruction."

World leaders, uneasy at the prospect of a Hamas-led Palestinian government, immediately exerted pressure on the Islamic militants to recognize Israel and renounce violence as a precondition for ties. But Israeli politicians were skeptical of the world's resolve.

"After Hamas is elected, can the world not talk to them?" former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio. "The world will speak to them saying that they were elected in a democratic process ... I think if we had prevented them from participating in the elections this wouldn't have happened."


And when they have a state? Things wil be different?

Lawmaker Ephraim Sneh of the dovish Labor Party said Israel was in part to blame for Hamas' victory by not making concessions to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that would have boosted his standing in the Palestinian public.


Ah, so the son of the Communist Party leader during the 1950s and 1960s blames Israel for not making more concessions that would and will make Hamas' task even easier? Abbas, the Holocaust revisionist, the terror chieftan in a suit, never denounced Hamas' terror out of moral values but always whether or not in benefitted the Palestinian cause.

Commentators have interpreted the Hamas victory as a protest against Fatah's corruption and inability to restore law and order to chaotic Palestinian streets.


Perhaps. To a certain degree. But that doesn't make a difference when it comes to terror in which the Hamas, the Fatah and the Islamic Jihad all cooperated together.

While Hamas didn't pose an existential threat to Israel, "it's a threat to the normal life of Israel if at our doorstep we have a terrorism state," Sneh told CNN.

The upheaval in the Palestinian Authority could sway Israeli elections by fanning hardline sentiments.


Most definitely. Perhaps our only sane hope.

Political analyst Hanan Crystal said Hamas' election win would be the main issue in Israel's March elections, predicting it could hurt center-left parties and benefit the hawkish Likud, which opposed Israel's summer withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Likeliest to suffer is Kadima, the centrist party Ariel Sharon formed in November, after breaking away from Likud, to seek more leeway in setting Israel's final borders. Kadima maintained a strong lead in pre-election polls, even after Sharon was incapacitated by a stroke.


If our Likud and National Union and Yisrael Beiteinu leaders can utilize this development, we may yet save the state from its politicians, commentators, weak military commanders and defeatist intellectuals.

Likud's leader, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that Hamas' dramatic election victory would turn the Palestinian Authority into a radical, Islamic regime.

"It doesn't matter how much makeup they put on Hamas, it will remain the same Hamas," Netanyahu said. "We can't reach understandings with Hamas because their goal is to destroy Israel."


Yes but shouldn't he be doing more in this regard and not promise further withdrawals that have no effect on Hamas?

Most Israelis remained skeptical of Hamas' changing its ways, despite its adherence to a year-old truce, but some said the group's electoral victory could lead to a further drop in violence.

"I believe Hamas would like to be part of the political process and will be willing to make some concessions, at least on the declarative level," said Joseph Nevo, a professor of Middle East History at Haifa University.


This is hogwash (you'll excuse the unkosher reference.

Left-wing lawmaker Ran Cohen told Army Radio that victory could make Hamas more pragmatic. "If the Hamas wants to talk about a solution of two states for two peoples, the significance is essentially recognizing the state of Israel, and that means we need to talk, first and foremost about stopping the terror," he said.


This is (censored expletives).

Israel Hasson, a former top Shin Bet official, agreed.

"As soon as Hamas talks to us, it's not Hamas any longer," he said.


No, it still is. The Islamic tradition allows lying and deceit in overcoming your enemy.
===========================================
And then you have this AP report:

Analysis: Hamas' Showing May Improve Peace
By STEVEN GUTKIN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 25, 6:27 PM ET

Hamas' strong showing in Palestinian parliamentary elections will encourage Israel's go-it-alone approach to Mideast peacemaking if Israeli officials feel they have no one to talk to on the other side.

But if the elections pull the Islamic militants off the streets and into the corridors of power — shifting their focus from terror to governance — prospects for peace could be improved.

"If this sharing of power will satisfy Hamas, then they will have less of a need to use military means to be heard and that could possibly be good for the peace process," said Daoud Kuttab of the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.

Hamas has shown little willingness to renounce its charter calling for Israel's destruction or to give up its weapons, despite its decision to uphold a cease-fire declared a year ago.


Did you notice that big IF?

But the point is that if the Hamas knows (and it surely knows) that their violence and terror have brought them this far and that both Israeli and foreign "experts" keep explaining them away as some social welfare group that has an occasional rumble now and then, why not keep going? After all, as everybody seems to acknowledge, its goal is to destroy Israel just like Iran's president makes clear.

Asked for My Reaction

I was asked for my reaction to the Hamas victory.

Read on:

Israeli political leaders consistently have deluded themselves and mislead the public as to the reality of the principled denial of Jewish nationalism that is
promoted not only by Hamas but by Fatah as well.

Kowtowing, foremost, to American pressure, they created, first in Oslo, then with disengagement and now with these elections, a monster which claims democracy as self-justification. Further territorial concessions and a spineless diplomatic posturing will only worsen the situation until we will face existential danger.

Yielding our rights is no solution. The warning is clear.

Militants, Still?

Under this headline:

Anticipating Hamas Victory, Palestinian Premier Resigns

the New York Times carries this in an AP report:-

A Hamas-only government, without Fatah as a moderating force, is sure to throw Mideast peacemaking into turmoil. The Islamic militants, who carried out dozens of suicide bombings and seek Israel's destruction, have said they oppose peace talks and will not disarm.


Suicide bombings, opposition to peace talks, refusal to disarm and the seeking of the destruction of a state are all elements of a terror group.

Is it not reasonable that the newspaper employ the proper and correct term of nomenclature?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Liberals?

You've read of Palestinian terrorists.

You've read of Palestinian fundamentalists.

You've read of Palestinian activists.

You've read of Palestinian militants.

You've read of Palestinian peace workers.

Have you ever heard of Palestinian "liberals"?

Well, Toronto's Globe & Mails thinks you should.

They published today this story with this headline:-

Liberal Palestinians fear Hamas win

Walking at the front of the parade is a boy, perhaps in his early teens, carrying the banner of the Hamas movement -- the Islamic militia-cum-political party that opinion polls suggest is poised for a breakthrough in today's Palestinian parliamentary election.Then come the drummers, dozens of them, pounding a martial beat. Some of the drummers look to be no more than five or six years old.

That Hamas was able to hold such a large march in the centre of Ramallah, long considered the most liberal Palestinian city and a stronghold of the secular Fatah movement, in the final hours of the election campaign speaks to the momentum the Islamists have heading into today's vote.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Caroline Glick Shrifts Demographics

Here's an excerpt from Caroline's column today:

ISRAEL'S REFUSAL to contend politically with the fact that both Fatah and Hamas are dedicated to its destruction stems mainly from domestic considerations. The most remarked of these is the Israeli fear that in just a matter of years there will be an equal number of Arabs and Jews living in Judea and Samaria and sovereign Israel. The argument that demographic realities will force Israel in a number of years to choose between remaining a Jewish state or remaining a democracy has been the main rationale proffered for Israel's refusal to defeat Palestinian terrorism.

Whether there was ever any logic to the argument may well be doubted. After all, territorial concessions to the Palestinian Authority have not altered the number of Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, or the number of Jews and Arabs living west of the Jordan River.

In any event, the demographic argument was rent asunder last January, when a group of Israeli and American researchers conducted a detailed examination of the data upon which the dire forecasts were based. In a study they presented both in Washington and the Knesset and published on the Internet at www.pademographics.com, the team found that Israel had been basing its policies regarding the Palestinians on faked numbers concocted in 1997 by the PA Bureau of Statistics. The Palestinians had managed, by double-counting Arab residents of Jerusalem, counting Palestinians who moved out of the areas, inflating immigration statistics and birth rates and deflating death rates, to artificially add more than one million people to their count.

AT THE Herzliya Conference on Tuesday morning, the team's chief researcher, Bennett Zimmerman, presented its newest findings. Over the past several months, the team has analyzed Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics population forecasts for Israel and Judea and Samaria for 2025. In its new report, the team found that the ICBS ignored the fact that over the past several years, fertility rates among Israeli Jews have been rising and that fertility rates among Arabs in Israel, Judea and Samaria have been decreasing. That is, the ICSB's data do not reflect current population trends.

The team reconfigured the projections for growth among Israeli Jews and Arabs in Israel, Judea and Samaria, based on current rates, and found that most likely, in 2025, inside Israel, Jews will comprise 77 percent of the population (as opposed to 81 percent today); and taken together with Judea and Samaria, Jews will comprise 63 percent of the population as opposed to 67 percent today.

That is, while demography may well be an issue of concern, it will be more than a generation before it produces significant change, if ever. It is questionable whether a set of circumstances will ever exist where Israel would be advised to transfer territory to its terrorist enemies; certainly there is no reason to rush and do so in the face of a demographic "time bomb" whose fuse is so long-burning.

What the actual population data show clearly is that Israel's Jewish majority is secure for at least another generation, and probably well beyond that.


And to think the concessionists have been counting on demographics to roll us back to the borders that couldn't provide us with security in 1967 and surely cannot today after all the improvements in low-level Arab tactical weaponery.

The Judge Is, I Suggest, In Error

I sent the following comment to Ha'Aretz in response to this report on a decision made by one Judge Boaz Okun.

First, the report's main points and then my comment.

a)

The Tel Aviv District Court issued on Monday a groundbreaking ruling stating that the Absentee Property Law could not be applied to West Bank lands abandoned by Palestinians during the 1967 Six Day War.

Monday's ruling, handed by judge Boaz Okun, holds that the state could not declare Palestinian land which was abandoned following the 1967 war as "land under Israel's effective sovereignty." The ruling states that declaring lands owned by West Bank Palestinians as "absentee property" was illegal and no longer in effect.

"This law was passed in a certain reality," Okun wrote in his ruling, "but following the Six day War the entire West Bank population passed under effective Israeli control. Applying this law under these conditions could create a limbo, in which land outside the rule of Israeli law can be annexed by Israel, while its owners are not defined as residents of an enemy state."

"This is a type of judicial stunt which does not reflect any reality," Okun said.



b)

I am not a lawyer but Prof. Yehuda Blum's approach (see: Yehuda Blum, The Juridical Status of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Papers on Peace Problem, 2, The Hebrew University, Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, Jerusalem, Israel, February 1974, pp. 22-23 and also: Galchinsky, Michael "The Jewish Settlements in the West Bank: International Law and Israeli Jurisprudence" Israel Studies - Volume 9, Number 3, Fall 2004, pp. 115-136) would run counter to Judge Okun.

Since the Arabs never signed a peace treaty and by invading Israel in 1948 and not accepting the 1947 UN partition resolution, they have no legal leg to stand on. And since the 1922 League of Nations decision assigned all of the land west of the Jordan River as the Jewish National home to be recontituted, the judge, I would suggest, is in error.


Talia Einhorn's opinion is also important as is that of Howard Grief.

He Didn't Serve Us Well; They Didn't Serve Him Well

Either HaAretz is gunning for Hadassah Hospital or they are really hurting that their idol, Ariel Sharon, seemed to have been doomed to his fate by poor medical service.

As they write:

One of Israel's leading cardiologists said yesterday that the latest discoveries about the medical condition of Sharon only strengthen the suspicion that his treatment, especially after his first stroke, was affected by nonmedical considerations.

He was referring to Sharon's hasty resumption of his work routine, designed to create the impression of "business as usual" and make the prime minister appear to be healthy.

It was wrong of Sharon to resume his work and to stay at Sycamore Ranch, far from Hadassah, he said.

"Sharon should have been resting, close to the hospital where the doctors treated him and knew his medical history. He should have been in a protected, comfortable environment. That's exactly the `medical bulletproof vest' he should have been given," the cardiologist said.

A senior internal medicine expert at the Maccabi health maintenance organization said the latest reports of Sharon's condition "create a fuller, more realistic picture of a prime minister who is an elderly 78, who is not healthy and is considerably overweight, and has suffered a stroke, a cardiac aneurysm and a hole in his heart that created risks of another cerebral embolism. In addition, the CAA increased the risk of cerebral bleeding.

"In contrast, the briefings given by Sharon's doctors gave the public the impression that Sharon was not suffering from significant risk factors or dangerous diseases," the expert said

I've Been There, Too

Well, since I've borrowed two stories already today, here's one I thought cute/cool from a new blog I discovered and yes, it has a Jewish angle.

Anyway, I'm again digging into old experiences for this post. Alas, the following story has to do with peeing. Sorry, no pictures.

Sometime last winter I picked up these two orthodox Jewish women on Park Ave. When they told me they wanted to go to Midwood, Brooklyn, I was a little concerned. I already had to pee and this was going to be no short trip. I set out down the FDR, figuring I'd be able to hold it at least until I dropped them off, but, of course, there was traffic. By the time we got into Brooklyn, I was starting to sweat.

Driving became difficult. I was afraid I would have an accident in my jeans, and to prevent this, I began fantasizing about dropping the ladies off, pulling up to the closest parked cars I could find, and squatting in between them. The situation was so desperate, I no longer cared about things like privacy and safety and toilet paper. After directing me around the neighborhood for a while, the women finally told me to stop. But only one got out. The remaining woman told me I had to make another stop! Emergency! My bladder was threatening to spill over with exclamation points!

I pulled myself together while the second woman directed me to her house. But I began panicking again when she said things like, "Turn at the light." I was trying not to breathe, but was forced to unseal my lips to ask, "Turn to the left or the right?" "Oh, left." She kept doing that, telling me to just "turn," until we finally made it to her house. She paid me, tipped nicely, and said, "Do you want directions back?" I said, "No, actually, could you please tell me where I can find the closest public bathroom?" She paused for a second, I think realizing my state of emergency, and replied, "Do you want to come in?" Me: "Could I, really?" Her: "Yes, it's fine. I've been there. I know how it feels."

I parked and locked the cab, and followed her into the house. She pointed me toward the bathroom and, while I was passing the kitchen, I saw a man with a yarmulke sitting there. I didn't stop to say hi. When I entered the bathroom, it felt like the most glorious moment of my entire life. I nearly cried.

And when I left, I couldn't thank the woman enough. This was certainly the most generous tip anyone could have given me at the time. The whole way back to the city, I was filled with gratitude, mainly for the fact that I didn't pee in my pants, but also for the reminder that sometimes humanity can, indeed, be humane.

Judy's Got Them Pin-Pointed

Judy Balint points out that today's Jerusalem Post reports that "vandals defaced the newly erected entry sign to the Kalandia terminal north of Jerusalem, daubing on it the infamous Auschwitz inscription, "Arbeit Macht Frei."

The article goes on at length to attribute the graffiti to the far-left Machsom Watch women's group.

And Judy then reveals how idiotic some of our "intelligence community" people are.

Read on:

I'm no friend of Machsom Watch, but anyone monitoring the rantings of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) will have noticed that on January 19, the day of the daubing, "Katie" from ISM proudly describes how she and an "American Jewish activist friend" did the deed with a home-made stencil. She even notes how they handed out flyers describing why they were doing it.

Here's her description
:

The Occupation Will Not Be Sugar-Coated
January 19th, 2006
by Katie

At the entrance to Qalandia checkpoint there is a sign with a big flower on it that says “the hope of us all.” The insanity of this cheerful phrase in front of an illegal checkpoint was not lost to an Israeli Jewish activist friend of mine. It reminded her of the Nazi slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei,” meaning “work will set you free” which was posted at the entrace to concentration camps in Poland. She thought it would be a great action if we spray painted “Arbeit Macht Frei” on the Qalandia sign; so I made a stencil of it and bought a can of spray paint as soon as I could. I met her at Qalandia today and by chance ran into another American Jewish activist friend of mine.

We were a little bit afraid we would get arrested but there were no soldiers in sight and I was feeling a little bit giddy like a kid who knows she’s about to do something bad like eating a whole tub of ice cream before breakfast. We quickly painted it and handed out flyers in Arabic and English to onlookers explaining what we were doing. Then we left without so much as a single IOF gun pointed in our faces.


Now wouldn't you think someone from the Israeli Police or the Interior Ministry would be monitoring ISM postings and go after these morons to deport them?

Judy, you and I think but the other persons you mention obviously don't.

Now They Write About It?

Craig Smith of the NYTimes writes about gun-smuggling and tunnel digging in Gaza.

One comment:

Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli Parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, said 12,000 guns, several hundred antitank-rocket launchers, thousands of antitank rockets, tons of explosives and possibly even some shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles have entered the Gaza Strip over the last year, primarily through the tunnels.

"We're not talking about weapons for terrorism but about weapons for an army," he said by telephone from Jerusalem.

"Some of the tunnels were financed by the Palestinian Authority itself, and some of the weapons smuggled through them were bought by the P.A., although most of them went to Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terrorist organizations," Mr. Steinitz added.

He complained that Egypt, too, bore responsibility. "The smuggling doesn't begin in the tunnels," he said. "Egypt is doing to Israel exactly what Syria is doing to the Americans in Iraq, putting troops on the border and then succeeding not to succeed."

He said that Israel asked both Egypt and Jordan to stop weapons smuggling into the Palestinian areas five years ago and that Jordan, with a longer border and larger domestic Palestinian population, had managed to do so. "But Egypt did almost nothing, and today 90 percent of the Palestinians' weapons and arms are coming from Egypt," Mr. Steinitz said.


And two other excerpts:-

His cousin said there were many telltale signs that tip people off, including the smell of clay, traces of sand indoors or dirt under fingernails.


Remember my point about "collective punishment"?


In May 2004, they finally opened the "eye" and brought four shipments into the Gaza Strip, totaling 900 Kalashnikovs, 400 handguns and 200,000 rounds of ammunition.


P.S. My good friend CK sent me this which has wisdom beyond his years and mine, too: "Yeah, 'cause before, the tunnels only threatened Jews. Now they threaten 'peace'."

More Tzipi

Tzipi Livni, Israel's Foreign Minister has received some more press coverage that is proving to be quite revealing. Here are excerpts from her interview in the Washington Post


I entered Israel's political life and joined Likud because I thought it should lead Israel in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict . . . But in the last two years, most of Likud leaders couldn't decide. There was the disengagement plan. Some of them voted against it. At the beginning, I thought that the day after the disengagement plan, we could all be united and lead the country again. Then I understood that there is no chance to get the Likud to be a united party because most Likud leaders couldn't make clear statements about the need for Israel to support a process for a two-state solution. Mostly they were arguing about the past, not the future. Until now, every Likud platform starts with the word "no" to a Palestinian state, "no" to the disengagement plan, "no" to this and "no" to that. I believe it's important that a party that wants to lead Israel should have a platform that is about values or ideas and accept the understanding that, at the end of the day, there's going to be two states.

You need a party that puts forward values?

My need as an Israeli and a Jew is to keep a Jewish homeland for the Jewish people, a sovereign, Jewish and democratic state with a Jewish majority. So how do we [do that]? The idea is to divide the land, to give up some of our rights on the land of Israel and to establish a two-state solution.

It is important to understand the real meaning of a two-state solution. Israel was established as a homeland for the Jewish people and embraced all the Jews who had to leave Arab states. This should be also the true meaning of the future Palestinian state. It should be the answer for the Palestinians wherever they are -- those who live in the territories and those who are being kept as political cards in refugee camps. This is the hard core of the conflict. In other words, the establishment of a Palestinian state takes [care of] what the Palestinians call "the right of return."

How are you going to get there? Are you going to evacuate West Bank settlements?

This government adopted the road map to give the Palestinians a political horizon . . . to define from the beginning that at the end of the process, Israel will negotiate with the Palestinians all the final status issues. The road map to get two states was cut into phases. In the first phase there are also some Israeli obligations but mostly it is the Palestinians' obligation to dismantle terrorist organizations, to reform, to democratize. The idea is that Israel will not accept a Palestinian state that hosts terrorist organizations or is a base for terror against Israeli civilians.

Can you go ahead with your unilateral plans to disengage if Hamas is in the government?
As I said before, Israel adopted the road map.

The idea of the disengagement plan was to open a new window of opportunity. Before, we were on the first phase of the road map. But the Palestinians didn't implement their part. There was no partner on the Palestinian side. Israel could wait on the first phase of the road map and do nothing. But we decided that we could take some risky steps and send a message to the world and to the Palestinians that we mean business -- that when needed, we are dismantling settlements. The message is that Israel is no longer the Palestinian excuse for not fighting terrorism.

We took our forces out of the Gaza Strip; we dismantled the settlements and now Israel is no longer the excuse. And now we are back on the track of the road map; we are not talking now about more unilateral steps. . . . Our expectation now is that the Palestinians will implement their word.

You grew up in a hard-line Likud household?

Today was the memorial for my father. I just came from the graveyard. On his gravestone is written, "Here lies the Head of Operations of the Irgun -- the underground that fought for the establishment of the State of Israel." And on his tombstone he left us the map of Greater Israel -- with both sides of the Jordan Valley being part of Israel.

Many ask if territorial compromise is against my father's ideology, and I say he taught me to believe in a democratic Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people where all people enjoy equal rights. I came to the conclusion that I cannot implement all of my ideology. I have to choose and my choice was to implement the ideology of a homeland for the Jewish people with equal rights to all the minorities in the land of Israel, but [the homeland will be ] only in part of the land of Israel.

You decided you can't rule over another people?

It's against my values.

Allow Me To Host The Sapersteins

Jerusalem Diaries 's Judy Balint sent this around and I think it should be posted here.

The Sapersteins were my neighbors at Bayit VeGan in Jerusalem many years ago.

================================================

THE GREAT GAME GOES ON

By Rachel and Moshe Saperstein. Neve Dekalim / Jerusalem Gold Hotel

A little over a week ago Moshe received a call from the lady who tripped over the protruding water pipe at our new "home" in Nitzan.

"It's all done" she said brightly. "Come and get your keys."

"All?" asked Moshe with the skepticism of bitter experience.

"Almost all, inside the apartment" she replied.

"And what about outside the apartment?" he asked, already knowing the answer: a neighbor had informed us that nothing had been done.

"Well.. You'll move in first. Then maybe it will get done. And maybe it won't get done."

"Let me remind you" Moshe said, "that you tripped over the pipe, and you said `they must be crazy' to put a sprinkler next to the air-conditioner. We can't move in until these things are fixed."

"I'll call you in a few days" she said.

Three days later Moshe called her and was told "Everything is going to be fixed.
Just wait for my call."

The call came today, only it wasn't from her. Our lawyer called and told me that the Expulsion Authority called him and said that though they had already agreed we were entitled to compensation, and were even preparing an advance, they had changed their minds.

Their new position is that we are not entitled to any compensation - zero, nada, zilch - and certainly no advance. This means we are likely to be expelled from the hotel at any time. But the Expulsion Authority, merciful as they are, may take pity on our age and condition and allow us a shanty in old Nitzan shantytown.

An American friend visiting us was apoplectic with outrage. "This couldn't happen in a country ruled by laws, like the United States."

Moshe answered that the US is less ruled by laws than by lawyers, and in any case Israel is a country ruled by brute force and they are the brutes who have the force.

Serious as this all is we aren't going to let it get us down. After being ejected from our homes and seeing them turned to rubble, this is relatively small potatoes.

A court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. We'll let you know if we have joined the Wandering Jews.

#####################################

OPERATION DIGNITY, now an amuta [a non-profit organization], is the umbrella organization to which "The Band Aid Fund" belongs. We are continuing to give money to each family from Neve Dekalim. "The Simcha Fund" helps families with brits, bar- and bat-mitzvahs and weddings. "The Seed Fund" helps families settle into Nitzan and other communities. Send a contribution to:

Central Fund for Israel
Marcus Textiles Inc.
980 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Attn: Operation Band Aid

Monday, January 23, 2006

Not Quite, Tzipi

This report from Arutz 7:-

Justice Minister (Kadima) Tzipi Livni told a Herzliya Conference audience that “the establishment of a Palestinian state will deliver the solution regarding right of return claims” by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“If the issue is left open, the eyes of the international community will focus on the problem. We must not lose sight of our objectives – mainly, the existence of the State of Israel as the national homeland.”


I disagree.

The state will only whet their appetite. It will provide them with the means to continue their military (terror) campaign. A state you can't make go away. The right of return, most importantly, is the raison d'etre of Palestinianism.

Tzipi is becoming, now that's she's the minister for foreign affairs, much too foregin to Zionism and to understanding our enemies.

Dawn follows the Night

Oprah has chosen Elie Weisel's "Night" as a book selection.

Too bad.

"Dawn" is another very good book that could have benefited, especially as it deals with a theme of the Jewish underground resistance aginst the British Mandatory regime in then Palestine.

Here's an excerpt from a summary I found:

Takes place in Palestine. The narrator knows that he has to kill a man tomorrow. He doesn't know who it is but he knows what he has to do. The man that was going to die was an Englishman. The reason that he had to kill was because there is a war.

Night has a face and day does not. The face that appears is of a dead person. The night before the narrator does what he has to do, he looks into the night and sees his own face. There is going to be an execution at dawn. All of the executions happened at dawn. The Movement always kept their word.

A month earlier there was one of their fighters that had been on a terrorist operation. He was hauled in by the police and they found weapons on him. They hung the man. By law this is what they were supposed to do. This was the tenth death sentence by the mandatory power in Palestine. The Old Man decided that things had gone far enough and now he was not going to allow the English to rule any longer. The Old Man ordered that a military officer be kidnapped. They kidnapped Captain John Dawson who walked alone at night.

The High Commissioner of Palestine said that the whole country would be held responsible for the murder of the Captain, if he was in fact murdered. A few people got in touch with the Old Man and told him not to go too far. They wanted the man that was supposed to die, to live. If he died than the Captain would die. The mother of the Captain demanded that the English give up the young Jew so that she could have her son back. The men told her that "The Jews will never do it".

The narrator, Elisha, aged 18, asked Gad who was going to kill the Captain who was going to kill the Captain. He replied "You are." It was an order from the Old Man. To Gad it was not a big deal.

Ever So 'Innocent'

Dublin's IRISH TIMES carries a story in its Saturday edition entitled "Massacre in Munich" that tells this story:

Three decades after the Munich Olympics hostage crisis, Abou Daoud, who planned the kidnapping of the Israeli athletes, tells LARA MARLOWE his version of the events portrayed in Steven Spielberg's controversial new film.

This, I think, is the best part of it:-

Abu Daoud claims the Israeli athletes were military reservists and hence "legitimate targets", while Palestinians killed in revenge by Mossad were innocent. The first two hit squad victims, Wael Zwaiter and Mahmoud Hamshari, were the representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Rome and Paris.


Ah, the legitimacy of it all. Morality at its finest.


And how did they come to plan the operation:

THE CARNAGE ON the tarmac at Munich's Furstenfeldbrück airport at dawn on September 6th, 1972, was in total contrast to the sunny afternoon some six weeks earlier when Abu Daoud, Abu Iyad and his assistant Fakri al-Omari (who would later die with him) sat at an outdoor café on the Piazza della Rotonda in central Rome. They were enraged by a newspaper article saying the International Olympic Committee had refused a Palestinian request to send a delegation to the Munich Olympics.

"So, since they won't let the Palestinians participate in the Games, why don't we enter the Olympics in our own way?" Fakri asked.

"What would we do there?" Abu Iyad asked.

"We'd seize Israeli athletes," Fakri replied.

From Rome, Abu Daoud flew to Munich on the first of several reconnaissance missions. Claiming to be Brazilian, he and the two lead Palestinian gunmen approached an Israeli woman outside the athletes' quarters, six days before the attack.

"I dream of visiting Israel," Abu Daoud told her. "My friends also dream of a vacation in Israel. We'd like some brochures about your country. Perhaps you could give us some little Israeli flags, for our children?"

The athletes were out training or in competition, so the young woman gave the three Palestinians a guided tour of their quarters. "She tried to make me look at her as a woman; at the time, I was rather handsome," Abu Daoud laughs.

One of the Mossad agents in Spielberg's film is lured to his death by an attractive Dutch prostitute. In real life, an Israeli woman unwittingly assisted in the killing of her colleagues because she fell for Abu Daoud's "Brazilian" charm and good looks.

I Couldn't Have Said It Better (Actually, I Could Have)

E. Robert Goodkind, President of the American Jewish Committee, had a letter of his published in today's NYTimes.

It is a really good letter, especially in attacking Steve Erlanger who wrote the sob-piece on the suicide bomber's family. I probably would have made it sharper but it's more than okay.

Here, read it:-

Those who are in real shock, reeling from the terror attack in Tel Aviv, are the 20 Israeli victims and their families, who inexplicably are absent from your Jan. 20 news article "Into the West Bank Abyss: From Student to Suicide Bomber," which singularly focuses on the terrorist's family.

This is a bewildering attempt to "explain" a premeditated, cold-blooded bombing.

While the terrorist himself is not available to describe what motivated him to go to Tel Aviv to kill Israelis, his family considers him a "martyr."

When his brother declares, "This is an honor, not just to the family of Antar, but to the whole neighborhood," it is clear that this Palestinian family proudly supports what he did.

Indeed, suicide bombers are glorified in Palestinian society, and their families receive remuneration for the murderous deeds.

Meanwhile, all Israelis are left to wonder, five months after Israel took the courageous step of transferring the entire Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority, when the Palestinian leadership will finally confront the terrorist organizations and put them out of business so that Israelis and Palestinians together can chart a path to peace and security.

The Story Behind the Map

Remember the UN's map that somehow "lost" Israel?

Anyway, it's all here thanks to Touro College's monitoring group.

Very good job.

Now, This is A Demonstration

On Saturday night, Israeli police chief Moshe Karadi said that he would not rule out using weapons during the planned expulsion of Hebron families from the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood.

In reaction, over 50 Jewish Hebron schoolchildren traveled to Jerusalem this morning and protested outside the police headquarters wearing bull's-eye targets saying, "Karadi Shoot Me."

Hebron leader Noam Arnon told journalists, "Karadi said he would shoot us, so we decided to make his life easier for him – we brought the children here – why should he have to trouble himself to come to Hebron to shoot them!?"

When the children arrived and lined up on the street outside the headquarters, a security agent appeared opposite them, carrying two weapons: an Uzi-gun, slung over his shoulder, and a drawn Gluck 9mm pistol in his hand.

A bystander standing at a bus stop told one of the Hebron participants: "I am here every day. Arab buses and Arab pedestrians use this road all the time, yet I've never seen a policeman here before. And this, an agent with his gun drawn…?"

You have got to see it. Click here

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ah, Prophecy

How long do you think this prophecy will hold up?

IDF: Hamas will maintain halt on attacks after PA elections
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Hamas is expected to continue its halt on attacks after the Palestinian parliamentary elections, senior Israel Defense Forces officers told Haaretz recently. The officers said that assuming Hamas does well at the polls, it is likely to maintain the calm it agreed to about a year ago.

The officers also said the next milestone for Hamas to weigh its alternatives would be in June after elections in Israel and the formation of a new government

Spouting Spielberg

Steven Spielberg speaks his mind, so to say.

Excerpts:-

Disagree with me – that’s what I want

The eternal wunderkind of American cinema is tired.

Spielberg clearly felt that as Hollywood’s most prominent and powerful Jew he would be immune from some of the more venomous attacks on him. He has always been a strong supporter of the state of Israel and Jewish causes. He used the profits from Schindler’s List, his Oscar-winning Holocaust drama, to fund the Shoah Foundation, which is compiling an unprecedented and vast audio-visual library of the personal stories of Holocaust survivors.

Deciding not to take the attacks silently any more, Spielberg spoke to The Sunday Times last week, accusing the critics of “political censorship disguised as criticism”.

He was particularly upset by David Brooks, the conservative New York Times columnist, who wrote that “Spielberg allows himself to ignore the core poison that permeates the Middle East, Islamic radicalism. In Spielberg’s Middle East, there is no Hamas or Islamic Jihad. There are no passionate anti-semites, no Holocaust deniers like the current president of Iran, no zealots who want to exterminate Israelis”.

Spielberg retorted that his film “forces the audience to look directly into the face of unmitigated evil again and again, to remind the audience of why Israel had to respond to Munich in the first place”.

“I developed the script based on a number of sources,” says Spielberg, “but it wasn’t until I met the living source, who the character Avner in my film portrays, did I really decide that this was a story that was worth telling.”

“The man we met, on whom Avner is based, expressed that to Tony Kushner and myself quite eloquently and passionately. It’s not uncharacteristic for soldiers in any conflict to be conflicted about what they are doing, although they would do it over again if they had the opportunity.”

“I personally believe that Golda Meir (who was the Israeli prime minister) needed to respond in the way that she did because Israel would have been perceived as weak had it done nothing to attempt to dismantle the Black September network in western Europe. The film doesn’t criticise Israel, it doesn’t even criticise Israeli policy, but it says that there are unintended consequences in everything that has to do with violence.

Spielberg: “It is fascinating to watch people who really only want their assumptions confirmed by what they are taking into the theatre. They go into the film and they shave off everything and anything that challenges their assumptions. They sculpt this movie to be what they want it to be. They are really looking for a simple-minded thesis.

“I think the film is effective because it does what history books really can’t do, which is to ask questions that may not have an immediate answer, and I think this frustrates people.

He said that he and his family “love Israel, we support Israel, we have unqualified support for Israel, which has struggled, surrounded by enemies, ever since its statehood was declared . . . I feel very proud to stand right alongside all of my friends in Israel; and yet I can ask questions about these very, very sensitive issues between Israelis and Palestinians and the whole quest for a homeland”.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Why Write a Book?

The UK The Times has an article about why did a 34-year old Irishman write a book about the Holocaust, a "children's" book incidentally.

His own answer?


I’ve been asked several times whether The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a suitable book for children to read and my answer is that while there will be some elements that they will not understand as much as others, I hope that they will be sufficiently moved by the narrative, while identifying with both Bruno and Shmuel (the young German and Jewish protagonists) that they will be left asking questions, wanting to know more, keeping the subject alive.

For me, a 34-year-old Irish writer, it seemed that the only respectful way to deal with such a subject was through innocence, using the point of view of a rather naive child who couldn’t possibly understand the horrors of what he was caught up in. After all, that naiveté is as close as someone of my generation can get to the dreadfulness of that time and place. Why am I here? Bruno wonders. What happens in this place? Why are there so many people on the other side of the fence? Simple questions, perhaps, but at a basic level, aren’t these the questions we still ask? A simple “Why?”

And perhaps that’s the job for any writer or artist, to keep looking for answers, to make sure those questions continue so that no one ever forgets why they needed to be raised in the first place.

Friday, January 20, 2006

PM Sharon Could Have Impaired Israel's Security

When I first started reading this report, I thought they were another kook conspiracy group. Here, try the first few paragraphs:-

Social justice group calls for probe of Sharon's medical treatment
By Ran Reznick and Tamara Traubman, Haaretz Correspondents

The Ometz group of citizens for judicial and social justice called on Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Thursday to establish an investigative committee to review the medical treatment given to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Ometz's request that "the medical, public and political conduct in the affair of Sharon's illness be investigated" comes in the wake of Haaretz articles questioning the treatment Sharon received. Several senior doctors, including two hospital directors and doctors working at Hadassah have expressed doubts about Sharon's medical treatment.


But then, the story twisted and began to point to a bigger conspiracy and one more logical: that PM Sharon was in no condition to run for head of state as leader of the largest party in the Knesset and that Israel might have been thrown into a bigger disaray than we are now undergoing.

Read on:

"The urgent need to establish an investigative committee stems from concerns voiced by authorized medical sources who said the prime minister suffered from symptoms of an illness that may have hampered his ordinary function in the next term in office and that some of his associates acted to hide them from the public," Ometz director Aryeh Avineri wrote to Mazuz.

"The committee must find the answers to a series of harsh questions, including whether Sharon's doctors concealed his hematological illness from the public eye at the prime minister's request or whether they gave in to pressure from his office and advisers, and whether Sharon's family members were involved in this."

Clown Clooney Clubbed

The father of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist in trouble with the law, didn't like George Clooney's clowning at the Golden Globes ceremony.

So, he sent him a letter.

This letter below:

Oh how far Hollywood has fallen. When you rose to accept the Golden Globes best actor award earlier this week, you decided to take a gratuitous slap at my son, my family and even my dear departed father. Is this the tradition of Gable, Bogart, Pacino and Burton? Are you the heir to the dignity and greatness of Hollywood’s past, or more likely a portent to a depressing and horrific future?

Your glib and ridiculous attack on my son, Jack, coupled with your obscene query as to the choice his mother and I made in naming him brought shame and dishonor on you and your profession. What drove you to this lapse in lucidity, I can never know, but you need to know that your words were deeply hurtful to many innocent and decent people — who love my son and who cherish our family.

We have had to endure two years of unmitigated, outrageous falsehood directed at my son and his record of achievement on behalf of his clients and friends. The blood thirsty media, guilty of untold character assassinations during contemporary times, have even outdone themselves in their lust to create a cartoon which does not come close to resembling this fine man, my son.

The fact that you would spend those few moments accorded to you, as an honor for your work as an actor, bashing his name and his family, is astonishing. How do you sleep at night, other than, perhaps with the drink which you lamented not having at that early hour. Funny, it was very hard for us little people in television land to tell whether you had indulged in the bottle or not.

My son was named after my beloved departed father. His name, too, was Jack Abramoff. And, were he alive today, would be standing firmly behind his namesake, as his entire family and many more true friends than you will ever know.

Not that it matters to you, I am sure, but the worst part of your tirade is that it played out in front of many young people, including my sweet 12-year-old granddaughter, one of Jack’s five children. Jack did not waste his time watching the garbage spewing from your mouth, but his daughter did. You drove her to a fit of tears. Are you proud of that?

For four generations, our family has worked hard to serve this country we love. I enlisted as a young man of seventeen into the United States Navy, so I could serve my nation in WWII. My brother did the same, and we both served in South Pacific. My son dedicated his life to patriotic and religious causes, which have made this nation great. He gave unsparingly of his time and resources to help those in need.

You spend your days ridiculing our nation and our traditions. You mock those who serve our nation and its flag. You revile my son and publicly try to humiliate him in front of a national audience. I have news for you George Clooney — one day the truth about my son will come out and there will be a lot of people in your industry and others lined up to apologize for their efforts to destroy him and our family. You won’t be in that line, though, be cause the plague of arrogance and falsehood will surely continue to blind your eyes and cause your tongue to disgrace the parents who brought you onto the earth.

One wonders how your father would respond, were the roles reversed. One wonders whether your children would delight in someone lampooning your name and besmirching your reputation. You have brought yourself to a low unparalleled by the greats of your profession. Shame on you.

FRANK ABRAMOFF
Rancho Mirage, CA

And they give them awards

Here's an UPI account of yet another suicide bomber:-

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The bomb that exploded near a central Tel Aviv fast-food stand Thursday wounded 15, but shattered hopes of a peaceful transition of power and expectations of smooth elections.

The explosion ended the relative truce that existed as Palestinians and Israelis prepare to head to the polls -- the Palestinians next week and the Israelis in March.

The bomb caused by a suicide bomber puts into question if a new wave of terror is about to be unleashed as the land prepares for what is seen as a landmark election for both sides.


And UPI also noted in another story that at the Golden Globes ceremony:

The winner of the best foreign language film was the Palestinian film "Paradise Now."


And what is the plot of "Paradise Now"?

PARADISE NOW, like THE WAR WITHIN, educates an American audience on the tragedy of the complex battle of "Arab vs. Jew" and does so in a film that brings this struggle home to the West Bank and gives us a picture of two friends selected to carry out revenge for the death of fellow Palestinians. Well constructed, realistic, informative and yes, even humanistic in presenting us with characters that we would immediately disregard with hatred and contempt.

The journey taken by the friends is painful, personal and disturbing, in that the killing of Jews will only extend the bombings and killings of more Palestinians within the West Bank. PARADISE NOW shows us that the historical roots of hatred between Arab and Jew is one that will never go away, and the film points out this factor visually in building to the final scene on the bus in Tel Aviv. When the camera narrows down to the eyes of the bomber, surrounded by healthy, happy Israeli soldiers, the intense moment of self destruction is inevitable.

So, while the critics applaud, the Pals. continue to make other types of loud noises.

Is Collective Punishment Permitted?

Collective punishment is seen as a crime if done purposefully.

Collateral damage is usually glossed over.

What is Israel to do in this case:

Sami Antar, 21, in his second year of physical education studies at An Najah University here, left the apartment at 8 a.m. Thursday. In the afternoon, he blew himself up on behalf of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Tel Aviv, in a zone of shops and restaurants, but killed only himself. About 20 Israelis, ordinary people going about their daily business, were wounded, one of them seriously.

Sami's brother Samer came out, his eyes red, to tell journalists that the family would not speak of what had happened, and said, "This is an honor, not just to the family of Antar, but to the whole neighborhood. Israel, the West and the Palestinian Authority will condemn Sami Antar's act as terrorism, the effort to kill innocent civilians. His neighbors and family call it a tragedy, but also resistance, struggle and martyrdom."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

No Ben-Gurionist He

Former Shin Bet director, Labor Party candidate Ami Ayalon praised statements made by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert regarding plans to remove Jews from unauthorized homes in Hevron.

Ayalon stated, “We must explain to people that Hevron is not Jerusalem and Hevron is not Tel Aviv.”

Funny, David Ben-Gurion thought the exact opposite.

However, don't forget: the beginnings of Israel's greatest king were in Hebron, the city to which came the first Hebrew about eight hundred years before King David, and we will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish settlement, constantly growing and expanding, very soon. This will also be a blessing to the Arab neighbors. Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem's sister.


David Ben Gurion
Sdeh Boker
18 Shvat 5730

25 Jan. 1970

Good for Laura

Democrats seem to be incapable of carrying on a cultured conversation on political issues.

Laura Bush criticized Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday for suggesting that the Republican-controlled House is run like a plantation where dissenting voices are ignored.

"It think it's ridiculous _ it's a ridiculous comment," Mrs. Bush told reporters when asked about the remark during a return flight to Washington following her four-day swing through West Africa.

Clinton made the comment in Harlem at an event honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She said the GOP was running the House "like a plantation" because ideas from the minority Democrats were not respected. The White House on Tuesday called the senator's comments "way out of line."

Mrs. Bush, who said her next trip likely will be to New Orleans to visit schools damaged in the hurricane, also reacted to a comment by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that stirred controversy. Nagin had said: "This city will be chocolate at the end of the day." He later apologized.

Nagin also said the hurricane that devastated New Orleans was God's way of showing displeasure about U.S. involvement in Iraq. "Surely God is mad at America," Nagin said in a speech Monday. "Surely He's not approving of us being in Iraq under false pretense. But surely He's upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."

Asked about the comment, Mrs. Bush joked that she didn't really think she could speak for God. Then she added that she believes Nagin wants New Orleans to be rebuilt.

Picayune

Eli Weisel's "Night" has been republished with a new translation.

So...

So some people are being picayune.

In the New York Times, this story appeared: The Translation of Wiesel's 'Night' Is New, but Old Questions Are Raised By EDWARD WYATT

and here are the relevant sections:

Some scholars who have studied Holocaust memoirs have also raised questions about how much of the book can be verified.

Yesterday, Marion Wiesel, Mr. Wiesel's wife and the translator of the new edition of "Night," said in an interview that among the changes were a reference to the age of the book's narrator - that is, Mr. Wiesel - when he arrives in 1944 at Birkenau, the entry point for Auschwitz.

In the previous translation, published in 1960, the narrator tells a fellow prisoner that he is "not quite 15." But the scene takes place in 1944. Mr. Wiesel, born on Sept. 30, 1928, would have already been 15, going on 16. In the new edition, when asked his age, he replies, "15."

Other alterations in the new edition, Ms. Wiesel said, include a change to a description of furtive sexual activity by some of the young prisoners as they traveled to Auschwitz in a cattle car. Ms. Wiesel said the original English translation used the word "copulate," a reference that was changed in later printings to "flirt." In the new translation, the youths "caressed one another."


That's all, folks.

On this someone wants to claim that Weisel had fictionalized his reminisces?

You gotta be kidding.

Oh, Really Rice?

That's Ms. Rice.

Condoleezza Rice.

United States Secretary of State Rice.

I don't know about you but when I read what follows through (quickly, I'll admit), I thought I perceived something very, very wrong with Ms. Rice's thinking.

But, first, here's the excerpt from a question-and-answer session after a speech she gave at Georgetown University in Washington on January 18:-

In Iraq, she said, "It's difficult for people who have solved their differences, their entire existence by fighting and by coercion and by repression and by violence, it's really hard for them to find a way to resolve their differences by politics instead, and by compromise. It's really hard in Afghanistan, where you still have terrorists who will blow up innocent children at a moment's notice. It's really hard to go to a place like Jordan and see this hotel where this wedding party, of all things, was blown up by a suicide bomber. It's hard to see the difficulties that the Palestinian people live with every day. It's really hard. But it's been hard before for countries that made it."


a. Granted, it's hard. But what seems to be hard for her is distinguishing between
cause and effect.

b. In Palestine it's hard????
Like in Iraq? Like in Afghanistan? Like in Jordan?
To what is she comparing us?
We are doing to them what they are doing to us? (see next point)

c. Now, just wait. Who is doing the suicide bombing here? The Israelis or the Pals.? We are not terrorizing an innocent, uninvolved civilian population. We are causing hardship to a population which is fighting us, which rejects our existence, which has been doing so for over 80 years now no matter what borders we possess.

Someone needs to instruct Ms. Rice in how not to make theings stick.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Munich Protest?

Could this photograph be showing Drew Barrymore protesting to Steven Spielberg at this week's Golden Globes awards over the moral lapse he showed in his film, Munich, in which Pal. terrorists and Israeli intelligence agents are equivalized?

Probably not.

Too bad, though.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This is Funny

There are a lot of Sharon jokes going around but people feel bad about telling them.

They don't remember, for example, how Ezer Weizmann used to refer to Menachem Begin just before and after he was booted out of the government in 1980, as "hamanoach" which means, in Hebrew, "the lately departed".

Anyway, tonight, on the main Channel One TV news broadcast, Yaakov Achimeir was describing Sharon's condition and noted that he was still sedated due to an operation - and here I have to explain the humor:

He said that the operation was intended to "l'shaper et nishmato" (to improve his soul) instead of "l'shaper et neshimato" (to imporve his breathing), the phrase he qucikly added with apologies to the listening audience.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pollard Loses High Court of Justice (sic) Appeal

Israel's High Court of Justice just published its decision on Jonathna Pollard's appeal to gain recognition as a Prisoner of Zion.

For Hebrew readers, you can find the text here.

Here's a news summary:

The Supreme Court rejected this morning Pollard's plea to have the State of Israel recognize him as a Prisoner of Zion. The Court accepted the State's position that Pollard did not meet the required criteria, such as teaching Hebrew or encouraging immigration to Israel.

A former Prisoner of Zion, Prof. Ezriel Kochubievski of Rehovot, ridiculed this approach. Prior to the Court hearing last September, he said, "The government stipulates that Prisoners of Zion must have engaged in Zionism. When I was in the Soviet Union, I did not think of myself as engaging in Zionism; I just wanted to go to Israel. Pollard, however, was sent by Israel to carry out a specific mission. If that's not a Zionist activity that qualifies for Prisoner of Zion status, then I also do not qualify."

Pollard's wife Esther said sadly this morning that granting her husband Prisoner of Zion status would have had two concrete results: "It would have stopped the torturous conditions that he has been undergoing for 20 years, and it would have led to much better chances for his release. The prison authorities in the U.S. would not dare to harass someone who has been recognized in this way by the Israeli government... It also would have helped smooth the way for diplomatic pressures in both Israel and the U.S., which would have helped secure his release."

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who represented Jonathan Pollard in his Supreme Court petition, told the Court that Pollard's life sentence -- for passing information to Israel, classified by the US as a friendly nation -- is unprecedented in U.S. legal history. Persons convicted of actions similar to this, or even more serious than it, generally serve only 4-7 years in prison, while Pollard is now in his 21st year of a life sentence.

Darshan-Leitner said, "The lawsuit also seeks a judicial review of the Israeli government's calculated mishandling of Pollard's case for the last two decades; and its consistent refusal to mount an effective campaign to secure his freedom, as it has done for agents captured in other countries, including Cyprus, Switzerland, Jordan, and New Zealand."


A quick review of the decision shows that Barak & Co. chose a narrow economic line and ignored the 102 Knesset Mks who recommended the adoption of such a status.

In other words, Pollard's human rights were denied.