IsraPundit

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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 09, 2002

Opinion poll says Sharon set for second term

I am a bit dubious about polls but this might be of interest

Ariel Sharon is set for a second term as Israeli prime minister at the head of a strengthened Likud party, according to the first opinion poll taken since his announcement this week of early elections.


With about three months to go until election day, Wednesday's poll in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth showed him six percentage points ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu, his rival for the Likud nomination, with the support of 44 per cent of party members.

The poll indicated Likud would increase its representation in the 120-seat Knesset to 33 from 19 to replace Labour as the single biggest party. Labour was predicted to drop from 26 seats to 19.

The snap poll of 550 people brought little comfort for the leader of the Labour party, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who sparked the crisis by withdrawing from Mr Sharon's broad-based coalition a week ago.

The poll showed him trailing Amram Mitzna, the mayor of Haifa and a newcomer to national politics, by 12 percentage points. Another challenger, Haim Ramon, was a poor third.

Political analysts believe that the Labour party will split if Mr Ben-Eliezer, former defence minister, recovers to win the party's primaries on November 19. They predict the left wing will split off to join other leftwing parties in forming a new social democratic party that may then replace Labour as the second largest grouping in the Knesset.

What promises to be a tough campaign, even by the abrasive standards of Israeli politics, has begun with Mr Netanyahu taking an uncompromising stand towards the Palestinians.

"I promise you one thing," he told Israeli television. "By the end of 2003 there will not be a PLO [Palestine Liberation Organisation] terror state created here."

Mr Netanyahu was sworn in on Wednesday as foreign minister in the caretaker
[....]
The return of the Auschwitz nightmare

No,this article is not about the Middle East conflict, nor is it even about the ME. But it is a sharp reminder of what Israel has meant to Jews and why the Jews needed a land of their own. So central to Jewish thinking is the notion Always Remember. But this gives another perspective on that mandate.

[....] "We're often perceived as the Jewish old-age home on Bathurst," said Mark Gryfe, president of the Baycrest foundation.

"But what's important is sharing what we know about Alzheimer's and dementia and aging with the world. The work we're doing is universal."

As a country of immigrants, Canada needs such research. Many newcomers have survived political oppression, extreme poverty, war and ethnic cleansing. Many could end up reverting to their mother tongues and reliving their traumas.

"It's not just an issue for Jewish Holocaust survivors," said Dr. Gordon, the gerontologist, whose first wife's family died in Germany and whose second wife's family are survivors. "Our experience can be used for others who have comparable genocidal experiences, people who have watched their brothers murdered or their sisters raped."

Researchers estimate that 40 per cent of people will develop some form of dementia by age 80. As the population ages, the numbers of Canadians with serious brain-related disorders will triple over the next 30 years. Even baby boomers with happy-go-lucky childhoods will need help.

Whenever Chaya Vilenski would spy a half-eaten bun on the sidewalk in Toronto, she always picked it up. Food, or the lack of it, indelibly marked her life.

After the Germans invaded Lithuania in 1941, her one-year-old daughter, Miriam, starved to death in the Kaunas ghetto. Her husband died there, too. But Mrs. Vilenski was too healthy, so the Nazis forced her into slave labour.

"She was chosen to stay alive because she was healthy. She said they were always looking at her legs. They looked healthy," said Batia Schaffer, 52, the daughter she had after the war, after she married the widower of a cousin who was also killed in the war.

Where once Mrs. Vilenski dug runways at the Kaunas airport, now her legs are weak. A few months ago, she fell and broke her hip. On this day, she is sitting in a wheelchair at Baycrest, elegantly dressed in a blue straw hat and white sweater. Her nails are manicured. She's wearing pink lipstick.

At 88, she suffers from dementia. After all the losses she has suffered, the burning question for her is one of life and death. And so she asks, over and over again, if her brothers and sisters and cousins are alive.

With one exception, every member of her family perished in the Holocaust, not just her husband and their daughter, but her parents, all her cousins and four of her five siblings. One brother was sent to Auschwitz, but managed to escape. He died in California a few years ago. Like him, Mrs. Vilenski was sent to a Polish concentration camp from 1943 to 1945. She nearly died of starvation.

She speaks Russian, Lithuanian, Yiddish and Hebrew, but not English. Through Ms. Schaffer, a retired chemist, who translated, Mrs. Vilenski was asked what the death camp was like for her. She stared at the pastel carpet, and then described the food. "They gave us soup from grass."

Her second husband died of leukemia when Ms. Schaffer, her only living child, was a toddler. After Lithuania became a Soviet republic, Mrs. Vilenski worked in a cigarette factory. Ms. Schaffer said her mother was once caught exchanging stolen cigarettes for food. "I was very scared because they could send you to Siberia."

Mrs. Vilenski stopped stealing for a month. "And then she started again, because we couldn't survive," Ms. Schaffer said. "Food was very important in my mother's life. My mom was always shovelling food into me."

After waiting years for an exit visa, mother and daughter emigrated to Israel. In the late 1970s, they came to Canada. Even after Ms. Schaffer married and had a daughter of her own, they always lived together until Mrs. Vilenski moved into Baycrest a year ago.

At lunch time, Ms. Schaffer wheeled her mother into a dining room bright with natural light. The daughter hovered, but her mother didn't appear to need help. Although Ms. Schaffer said Mrs. Vilenski's appetite was a bit off after she broke her hip, she ate steadily, wordlessly. First she polished off a green salad, then a bowl of potato soup, then a plate of gefilte fish. She left nothing on her plate. Dessert was a dish of peaches, washed down with a container of apple juice and a cup of hot tea.

"You can ask her what she ate five minutes ago, and she can't remember," Ms. Schaffer said. "But she likes to eat."

During the Second World War, Hitler killed off the very young and very old, saving the fittest, such as Mrs. Vilenski, for slave labour. Now, 60 years after the first Jews were shipped to concentration camps, the survivors are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. Baycrest has 13 centenarians, all female.

These Holocaust survivors, who lost immediate and extended families, never lived with aging parents themselves. Their adult children, who grew up without grandparents, are also experiencing aging for the first time. Like Batia Schaffer, these children are often especially devoted and protective. "But their kids can't protect them from old age," said Paula David, the Holocaust Research Project co-ordinator.
[....]
Palestinians Eager, Israel Reserved on U.S. Mission

Deconstructing the media. Note the headline. A quick read would suggest Israel not as interested in the peace plan as are the Palestinians. And yet when you read the article you learn that there is an reluctance on the part ofr Israel for a quick response because of internal political matters. Unlike the Palestinians, the Israel democracy must first resolve internal matters rather than have all issues decided by a central authority (Arafat) who has yet to make any significant reforms. As for the peace plan, how different from that which Barak had accepted and Arafat refused?
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian officials said on Friday they would formally respond to a U.S.-sponsored peace plan within days, but Israelis indicated their response would be delayed by the collapse of their coalition government.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield is due in the Middle East on Monday to renew Washington's efforts to calm a Palestinian independence uprising ahead of a possible U.S. war on Iraq.

Israeli government sources said there would be "very little movement" on the internationally backed "roadmap" to peace until the rightist Likud party of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had decided who would lead the party in coming elections.

"We are almost done with formulating our response," Palestinian Planning and International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath told Reuters. "We might send it earlier so he (Satterfield) can come with an idea of our position."

During his week-long mission, Satterfield will travel to the Jordanian capital Amman for international talks on Palestinian reforms, a key element of the roadmap, U.S. officials said.

Other elements of the peace plan include an end to armed attacks, Israeli army withdrawals from occupied Palestinian cities, mutual efforts toward a final peace settlement, and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by 2005.

Israel and the Palestinians have both expressed misgivings about the roadmap -- the former concerned that its security will not be sufficiently safeguarded, the latter irked at the lack of a strict timetable for implementation.

The "Quartet" of Middle East mediators -- the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia -- hopes to adopt a final version of the roadmap once Israel and the Palestinians give their official response.

LIKUD PRIMARY TAKES PRIORITY

A source in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office said Israel was still formulating its response to the roadmap but that it would not be ready for submission to Satterfield
[....]
Fatah, Hamas to discuss halting attacks


Seems to be a showdown between Hamas and Fatah to resolve conflicts between them. But Hizbollah?
RAMALLAH, West Bank: Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction and exiled leaders of the Islamic militant group Hamas meet in Cairo today to try to end tensions and discuss halting attacks in Israel, officials said.

The meeting will be the first between the exiled leadership of Hamas and Fatah since 1995 and coincides with a rise in tension between the rivals after the killing of a Palestinian Authority police commander by a Hamas militant.

Fatah officials said yesterday the Cairo meeting followed mediation by European states and Egypt, who want Hamas to agree to end bombings and gun ambushes, viewed by many Palestinians as harmful to the cause for statehood. Hamas officials said they expect the talks to ease tensions with Fatah and to reach an understanding on how to strengthen a two-year-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.
[....]
Syria's Surprise Vote Could Be an Eye-Opener for Iraqi Leader


That Syria too supported the Security Council resolution against Iraq comes as a surpirse. What is behind this vote?
DAMASCUS, Syria -- Everyone was expecting a tough U.N. resolution on Iraqi weapons inspections to pass Friday, but the shock for Baghdad must have come when Syria, the only Arab country on the Security Council, signed on at the last minute to make the vote unanimous.

The surprise "yes" from Fayssal Mekdad, the Syrian envoy at the United Nations, sent a clear signal to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that few--if any--Arab states will rally to his side if Iraq evades or defies the U.N. arms inspectors who plan to travel soon to Baghdad, observers said.

A long and intense decision-making process by Damascus, coupled with the high-level lobbying of Syrian President Bashar Assad by world leaders such as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and French President Jacques Chirac, persuaded Syria to back the resolution rather than abstain, as had been widely expected.

In the end, analysts and government officials here in the Syrian capital said, Syria decided that the resolution was balanced and that voting for it would help preserve the credibility of the Security Council. And, they said, Assad and his advisors realized that a symbolic abstention by their country wouldn't help Iraq much but would leave Syria seeming dangerously out of step with the world community.
[....]
Top Palestinian militant killed

Line up the virgins! Another killer terrorist sent on his way by Israel. For some 40 links to media reports of this event, see: top terrorist killed
Israeli Defense Forces were trying to arrest Iyad Swalaha, 27, when he opened fire from inside a house and threw a hand grenade, injuring two Israeli soldiers, according to Israeli military sources. The forces returned fire, killing him, according to the sources.

Palestinian security sources confirmed that Swalaha was killed by the IDF, and said he was the head of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Jenin. Israel blames Swalaha for several suicide bombings.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a militant group dedicated to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel.

It was formed in the early 1980s by Fathi Shikaki, who was deported to Lebanon in 1988. Shikaki was assassinated in Malta in 1995.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad operates out of Gaza and carries out attacks in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

The group has carried out military operations against Israeli soldiers and Israeli civilians.

November 08, 2002

Red Cross Spending Money to Harbor Terrorists

An article concerning the status of the terrorists deported after taking over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem provides information as to who is housing them:
In September the Spanish government agreed to facilitate the family regrouping of the Palestinians. Ibrahim Abayat, who is single, and Aziz Abayat, who is married, were placed in separate Red Cross flats in Zaragoza, a place the three had thought of living because there is a sizable Palestinian community.
I bet there are some starving people in Africa who think that Arafat should use some of his billions to provide housing for terrorists instead of the Red Cross and that the Red Cross should use its money to help people truly in need. Remember this next time you donate.

Imagine if a concerned citizen went to Spain and popped these guys.
Suicide attacks are war crimes, targeted killings aren't
Since suicide bombings against Israeli civilians became emblematic of the current Palestinian offensive, many have attempted to equate the victims of these attacks with Palestinian civilians killed during Israeli military operations. Although this equation has been a mainstay of international criticism of Israel's tactics, it is utterly without foundation in international law.

The death of innocents is always to be regretted, but the law makes a clear distinction between attacks that deliberately target civilians (which are emphatically illegal) and civilian casualties that result from otherwise lawful attacks on proper military targets.
Israel's Leverage

It seems that everyone is confident that Israel will be attacked if the US attacks Iraq. Iraq's immediate threat to the US is less than Iraq's threat to Israel if Iraq is attacked. Therefore, it would seem that Israel should have a key say in whether or not the US attacks Iraq. If Israel began to express official doubts, the Europeans and NYT-like press would eat it up. Basically, Israel could use the potential opposition to blackmail the US. For all we do for Israel, we do pretty much the same or more for Egypt or Arabia when you take into account what these latter to countries have done to the US. Notice Israel does not use this tool.n Is Israel a better ally of the US than the US is of Israel?
"Detention camp," Mr. Ambassador?

A scathing rejoinder to the British ambassador's outrageous accusation about Israeli detention camps (concentration camps) in occupied territories
To the Honorable British Ambassador to Israel, Sherard Cowper-Coles:

Last week you said that the West Bank and Gaza were in danger of becoming "the largest detention camp in the world." The characterization was made in your private meeting with Major-General Amos Gilad, Israeli coordinator of activities in the territories. In remarks leaked to the Israeli press, you were quoted as telling the Israeli official: "You have reduced the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to two vast detention camps, you are imposing collective house arrest on hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and you are hunting down innocent people in the streets."

I understand that now you deny making the last statement, and I accept you at your word, as I do your contention that the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot mistranslated "concentration camps" when you said "detention camps." (I understand that the Wiesenthal Center is demanding your recall pending clarification of that semantic difference, although I am not impressed by the distinction.)

Yet asked the next day whether your remarks were quoted correctly, you told Ha'aretz that they were "broadly true" and that you were "proud" to have made them.

You accused the IDF of committing war crimes, being rude at checkpoints, and uprooting trees unnecessarily. You expressed anger at the source of the leak, although some pundits speculated that the indirect revelation of your "tough" stand would stand you in good stead in London, which has been seeking to pressure Israel and look "even-handed" to the Arab world.
[....]
Palestinians represented at festival

I checked out the pro-Palestinian documentaries to be viewed. Pity none about training suicide bombers to slaugher civilians.
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

As a fitting gesture toward current circumstances, the Arab Film Festival, which continues today at Berkeley's Fine Arts Cinema, highlights films from and about the people of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and those Palestinians living elsewhere.

"This year we felt it important to show films from Palestine," says Dina Saba, the festival's founder and director. "Making a film is difficult. Making a film under occupation is that much more difficult. It's great that they continue to do so. So we focused on that."
[....]
International Biased Radio?

Syndicated writer Mona Charen argues about Leftist bias against Israel on NPR
[....] But let's not dwell on memories. NPR continues to serve as a reliable voice of the left, and in no area is this more glaring than in coverage of the Middle East. How so many American Jews can fail to notice that liberal equals anti-Israel these days remains a mystery.
A watchdog group called Camera (www.camera.org) has kept tabs on NPR. Here are some examples from the recent past:
On July 27, 2001, two stories from the Middle East bid for attention. The first concerned the funeral of Saleh Darwazeh, a Hamas leader responsible for the deaths of numerous innocent Israeli civilians. He had been killed by the Israelis. The second was the death of a 17-year-old Ronen Landau, an Israeli who was shot to death by Palestinian gunmen in front of his father and brother. A few minutes before the murder of Landau, the Palestinians had shot up an Israeli playground full of children.
In a 1,141-word story, NPR devoted just 26 words to Landau, and here is how reporter Linda Gradstein put it: "Israeli tanks shelled Palestinian security posts in the West Bank early today after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli teen-ager at the entrance to a Jewish settlement." The rest of the story, 1,115 words, were devoted to Darwazeh.
Miss Grandstein quoted Hassan Ayoub, a "Palestinian activist" from Nablus, who described the killing of Darwazeh as an "act of aggression that produces more anger and more demands to take revenge for the people who have been killed by Israeli forces." Miss Gradstein also interviewed Mahmoud Aloul, the governor of Nablus, who told NPR's audience, "They are killing our children every day, so we have no choice but to resist and to struggle."
Ironic. Darwazeh was not a child. But Ronen Landau, whose death NPR did not even deign to dignify by mentioning his name, was.. . . .
'Bibi' Israel's New Foreign Minister and Wants More

Summary and links to today's political news from Israel.


Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called early elections after failing to rebuild his crippled coalition government. Netanyahu, ousted as prime minister in May 1999, joined Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government but vowed to challenge him for the leadership of their right - wing Likud party and lead it into an early general election. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party is favored to emerge as Israel's strongest faction in an abbreviated election campaign, and Sharon holds a slim edge over his main rival for party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, according to polls published Wednesday. Israel's former leader Benjamin Netanyahu became foreign minister on Wednesday, ending more than three years in the political wilderness with a pledge to be tough on the Palestinians and an eye on the top job.

Source Articles:
Mid-East concerns over Israel elections (BBC News 11/05/2002)
The poll Sharon didn't want (BBC News 11/05/2002)
Israel to hold crisis elections (BBC News 11/05/2002)
Israel gears up for elections (BBC News 11/06/2002)
Q&A: Israel's early elections (BBC News 11/05/2002)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stunned his rivals yesterday by dissolving... (NY Post 11/06/2002)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party is favored to emerge as Isra... (FOX News 11/06/2002)
Israel's ex-premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced Tuesday that he acc... (FOX News 11/05/2002)
Netanyahu Is Israeli Foreign Minister, Eyes Top Job (Reuters 11/06/2002)
'Bibi' Israel's New Foreign Minister and Wants More (Reuters 11/06/2002)
Israeli Foreign Minister Netanyahu Eyes Top Job (Reuters 11/06/2002)
May 17, 1999: Ariel Sharon takes over leadership of Likud Party as Ben... (FOX News 11/05/2002)
Analysis: Sharon government's collapse (BBC News 11/05/2002)
Profile: Binyamin Netanyahu (BBC News 11/05/2002)

November 07, 2002

Israel and Turkey relationship good and reliable

An excerpt from clubbeaux.blogspot.com/, in which he recounts his having lived in Turkey and gives some solid and useful information about Turkey and Israel
[...]The Turks – and Iranians – are not Arabic. Turks are Mongolian in origin and speak am Indo-European language, Turkish, linguistically related to Finnish, Hungarian and Korean. They’ve been “Islamic” only recently in world historical terms, and the vast – vast – majority do not consider Islam anything more than an official designation. They see religion as interchangeable with culture, and identify themselves as “Muslim” even though few have ever seen the inside of a mosque except to show Western tourists around. They’re genuinely baffled that Westerners consider them as having anything whatsoever to do with hard-core Islamic terrorist countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

Turkey does not consider itself a Middle Eastern country. It is aware it gets grouped in the Middle East by ignorant Western journalists and pundits, however. It considers itself a European country. It does not approve of, repudiates and does not support Islamic terrorism. Turkey wept at 9/11. Their closest friend in the Middle East, judging from the number of military alliances, cultural exchanges and the like is Israel.

So don’t worry.

All to say friends, do not worry about Turkey’s staunch reliability as an ally. Will they still maintain their ties with America in the wake of the nominally Islamic party’s triumph in the latest elections? Friends, the AKP, the new party in power, has announced that they’re maintaining their current ties with Israel. From The Jerusalem Post, November 6:

There will be no change in Turkish-Israeli ties, a senior member of Turkey's pro-Islamic AKP party, which swept into power this week, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday, while harshly criticizing the policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“I can easily say that Turkish-Israeli relations will not be affected by a Justice and Development Party AKP government,” said H. Murat Mercan, a founding member and one of its chief spokesmen.

And this isn’t just to curry favor with the West, I can tell you. I knew an American serviceman who was walking through Istanbul in uniform one day, and a Turkish hausfrau called to him from a basement window and beckoned him to come in her humble home. He did, and she served him tea and wonderful pasty, and chattered away in Turkish the whole time. He said he left and couldn’t figure out why she’d done it other than for the American uniform he wore. I can relate; being American has cut me more breaks in Turkey than God should ever have allowed.

This is the truth. From personal experience I can report that in the Turkish resorts of Bodrum, Antalya, et al the signs on tourist traps are written in four languages: Turkish, English, German and Hebrew.

Bottom line: If an American goes overseas he won’t find a more reliable, faithful friend in Europe than the Turk.
Israel shows off anti-missile system in attempt to discourage any Iraqi attack

Public showing as warning to Iraq. Make sure to view the slide show at this link
PALMACHIM AIR FORCE BASE, Israel - Israel's defense against a potential Iraqi missile attack was on full display Thursday: Arrow anti-missile batteries were pointed skyward amid the sand and scrub brush, confidently displayed to reporters as part of a public relations blitz aimed at discouraging Saddam Hussein from firing his Scuds.

Israel's Arrow system is the most advanced in the world currently deployed, and the air force expresses full faith that it has closed a window of vulnerability that allowed Iraq to rain 39 missiles on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites).

"I'm sure we are better prepared today," said Brig. Gen. Yair Dori, head of the military's Air Defense Forces. "In 1991, we had almost nothing. Now we have a very active, robust defense."

Israel and the United States have spent upward of US$2 billion to develop the Arrow, first deployed two years ago at the Palmachim Air Force Base to protect nearby Tel Aviv and surrounding areas. [...]
German Red Cross official abducted by armed Palestinians in Gaza

Good, serves the Red Cross right for recognizing the Palestinians but not Israel.

Netanyahu Interviewed in Jerusalem Post
Speaking of bad PR, why do you think that the Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza are such an explosive issue?

I don't think they are. They are presented as such. But it is a fact that when Barak was prime minister, when he offered practically the entire territory of Judea and Samaria, including the uprooting of dozens of settlements, Arafat merely pocketed the offer and proceeded to the real aim of the conflict, which is the eradication of the rest of pre-1967 Israel. The settlements are a smokescreen under which Palestinian and Arab propaganda tries to reverse causality. What they typically do is present the results of Arab aggression as the cause of the problem.

Now they are saying that the settlements or our being in the territories is the cause of the problem. But of course, when we were attacked from these very territories in 1967, there wasn't a single Israeli soldier or settlement there. That came about as a result of Arab aggression, not the cause of it. They did the same thing about 1948 in 1967. Then they said the cause of the conflict was the refugees, but there wasn't one refugee in the Middle East when five Arab armies attacked us. What they consistently do is turn the results of this aggression against us.
May I Have My Bomb Back?

Ian Rimell, a 52-year-old Brit, is an explosive-ordnance-disposal expert working with a Scandinavian-funded de-mining team that has cleared thousands of "improvised terrorist devices" from Jenin. "We found 4668 items, of which 804 were live," Ian says. Ian's team gets called all the time by "people who are not happy about things...like two-meter-long pipe bombs planted in the road near their houses." "And there were instances when guys with guns would show up and demand their bombs back," says Ian.

Maybe Amnesty International should read this article. Link from JCPA.

End this Terrible Paper

The crappy left wing, self-destructive rag Ha'aretz printed an editorial today which really show you the self hating nature of many Israelis. It is entitled The end of a terrible government.
The policy of force that Sharon applied in the occupied territories did not put an end to terrorism against Israeli citizens. The war he declared against the Palestinian Authority exacted the largest blood price that Israel has paid since the Lebanon War. Israel's relations with its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, hit a new nadir. His evasion of every initiative for resuming diplomatic activity and the continued expansion of the settlements eroded Israel's status in Europe. The security deterioration and the diplomatic standstill raised the unemployment rate, reduced economic activity, impaired growth and also recently affected the country's international credit rating.

Despite the heavy price that a political crisis will exact and the problematic timing of the election, the collapse of the outgoing government can only be welcomed. It will be remembered as one of the worst governments in Israel's history. It must now be hoped that the upcoming election will produce a coalition wise enough to repair the damage and restore the country to the right path.

So the current situation is Sharon's fault - no mention of who was in office when all of this began or who led Israel down this Oh so SLOw road to destruction.

Israel's inability to take decisive action to secure it future is as a result of an over abundance of people like the writers of Ha'aretz who so easily see the evil of their country men but have such a hard time seeing any evil in people who openly state that they want to destroy Israel.

Lets hope there are no more suicide attacks but if there is one lets hope it is directed against the offices of Ha'aretz instead of against innocent civilians.
Suicide Bomber Stopped

Jpost reports: Elite troops from the Heruv unit killed a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt near the settlement of Kedumim in northern Samaria on Thursday night, Israel Radio reported.

Three Palestinians got out of a taxi at the Gaat junction , the troops called on them to stop and lift their shirts. One of them, wearing an explosive belt began to run towards the soldiers shouting Allah Wakbar (Allah is great). The troops then shot at the man who fell to the ground and exploded before exploding. . . .
Arafat Molds Tanzim, al Aqsa Brigades into Private Army of Suicides

Sure. The US is working with Egypt to have Hamas stop suicide bombings. And when not chatting the Egyptians show Hamas folks Protocols of Zion on Egyptian TV>

Egypt, with quiet American encouragement, is engaged in a complicated diplomatic maneuver to persuade the Hamas to halt its suicide-murder attacks on Israelis by setting up meetings in Cairo between PLO representatives and the Damascus-based leaders of the Hamas: Khaled Mash’al and Abu Marzuk. This initiative comes from officials in the US State Department and European Union, led by Colin Powell and Javier Solana.

DEBKAfile’s political analysts note that both these officials cling against all odds to their dream of persuading Yasser Arafat to one day give up terror. Their latest ploy addresses the Islamic extremes of the Palestinian movement, the Hamas and the Jihad Islami, the idea being that if they are induced to stop their suicidal terror practices, the Tanzim and al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades run by Arafat’s Fatah will follow suit.

The Damascus officials of the two Islamic groups, who collaborate closely with the Hizballah and the al Qaeda contingent in Lebanon, see no reason to forego the rare honor of a red carpet welcome in Cairo, engineered by no less than the mighty United States and Europe. They also know that any promise to their hosts to desist from suicide massacres will be worthless, given Yasser Arafat’s latest pursuit in the privacy of his Ramallah headquarters.

According to DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources, while the Palestinian leader misses no opportunity of pointing to his “reforms”, he is in fact deeply engaged in welding the two deadliest arms of his Fatah, along with the remnants of numerous disbanded security services, into a single force. On the face of it, he is meeting Washington’s demand for a single security force.

But this force is not exactly what the Americans had in mind. Its backbone is composed, in fact, of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, declared a terrorist organization last month by President George W. Bush, and the Tanzim militia. The purpose of the merger is to improve the efficiency of Arafat’s mass-murder machine and tighten its links with the Iraqi military intelligence undercover base in Amman, as well as with Iraqi and Palestinian terror groups in Baghdad,
Israel weighs expanding navy to protect its nukes

One if by land; two if by sea.
TEL AVIV — Israel is reviewing proposals to deploy strategic military assets at sea to protect them against an Arab or Iranian missile strike or a Palestinian insurgency attack.

Officials have argued that the Israeli use of the Mediterranean Sea is vital because of the nation's limited territory, the emergence of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the vulnerability of Israeli military bases from Hizbullah rockets along the Lebanese border.

Officials said the Israeli assets being considered include everything from missile defense units to strategic weapons, Middle East Newsline reported. Israel is said to possess up to 200 nuclear weapons.

The discussions include whether Israel's military should focus on building a more powerful navy at the expense of the air force after the procurement of 102 F-16 Block 52 multi-role fighters. Proponents argue that Israel has exploited its air potential given its small air space and the improving capability of Arab and Iranian surface-to-surface missiles.

Yuval Steinetz, chairman of the parliament's subcommittee on military doctrine, has been discussing the issue with senior defense officials.

The parliamentary chairman has long called for the bolstering of Israel's navy as a strategic force. Steinetz said Israeli military and strategic facilities, particularly airports, are increasingly vulnerable to Palestinian insurgents, armed with short-range rockets.

"There is also a need to deploy in the sea," Steinetz said. "Then, these assets could not be silenced by primitive means."

Officials said at least one leading Defense Ministry official, Yisrael Tal, supports this concept. Tal is a senior adviser at the ministry and the designer of the Merkava main battle tank.

Steinetz said Israel would require a powerful navy with strategic assets to ensure superiority in the Mediterranean amid the emerging rivalries from Egypt. He said Israel's military would also require the drafting of a new concept for the use of naval platforms with cruise missiles and long-range artillery. Such artillery would have a range of up to 200 kilometers.

The naval platforms would contain helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, and air defense missiles.

"There is a need to establish an alternative to that of airports and ground facilities," Steinetz said. "In case they are under attack, Israel has another source of firepower."

Steinetz would not say how many naval platforms are required. But he stressed the expansion of the naval capability to deploy strategic assets would be expensive.

"It's not cheap," Steinetz said. "But it's much more expensive to keep buying squadrons of planes in the tiny expanse in Israel."

The discussion over the use of the sea as a strategic arena began in early 2000, officials said. They said the discussion now includes the use of the Mediterranean for deployment of Arrow-2 missile defense systems.

"At a certain point, Israel will not have enough space for additional Arrow batteries," a senior defense source said. "And it is clear that Israel needs at triple the number of batteries now deployed." Officials said that so far no decisions have been taken.
New Links

You you look at the column to the left closely, you will notioce we have added new links for Jpost Radio and for a new Israeli blog from Brian Blum, whose cousin was killed in the Hebrew U attack.

Update to Election Notes

I've amended and expanded some of the notes below on the political parties and upcoming election to be more precise.

The Amnesty Report Does Not Take Into Account The Israeli Side

Amesty report condemned Israel on the Defensive Shield incursion. Here the IDF response that indicates inaccuracy of numbers.
"The Amnesty report on IDF activities during operation "Defensive Shield", completely twists the facts in the field. This is due to the fact, that the compilers of this report did not wait for a proper response by the IDF and refers in it's report to fictional numbers and figures." This is what Colonel Daniel Raisner said in an interview this morning (November,4,2002) to the Voice of Israel Radio. The Colonel is assistant to the Military Advocate General on International Law.
On the subject of the Amnesty report, Colonel Daniel Reisner, assistant to the Military Advocate General on International Law said:

"In the report there is complete disregard from the fact that these houses were used as firing posts, from some of them explosive charges were planted, and the tanks had to reach some of them in order to harm the terrorists."

"This report converns April, I am trying to understand why 7 months later, a report comes out after the whole affair has pretty much finished itself on the international level as well as on other levels. When you begin to read the report itself you begin to think that it [the operation] is not the agenda. I have nothing against specific things that have already been pointed out by other organizations and we have been investigating them now for a couple of months, but they are essentially attacking the IDFs' method of operation. What do they say? That we inserted too large a force and we fought inside a city, and most of their complaints are about the destruction of houses and property.

[. . . ]
Nov. 7, 2002 IDF demolishes home of alleged Hamas terror mastermind

Daily deconstruction.
Soldiers on Thursday wrecked the home of a Hamas terrorist accused of masterminding two suicide bomb attacks in which 22 Israelis were killed.

The demolition came the morning after a Palestinian man linked to Hamas shot and killed two Israelis in the Gaza Strip, including the son of a former employer.

The house in the West Bank city of Nablus belonged to Firas Fidi, the alleged organizer of a mid-June bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 19 people and wounded 50. He is also blamed for an attack in late October in which three Israelis died outside the Jewish settlement of Ariel, near Nablus.

Wednesday's victims at the Gaza Strip settlement of Pe'at Sadeh were Assaf Tsfira, 18 and Amos Sa'adah, 52.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the morning attack and identified the assailant, once employed by Tsfira's family, as Ismail Muhammad Ashour, 25, of Khan Yunis.

[. . .]

Vatican, urging Christians to stay in Holy Land, donates $400K

Let my people stay.
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is giving $400,000 to Roman Catholic causes in Israel and the West Bank to try to improve life for Christians there and persuade them not to flee the ongoing fighting.

Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, head of Cor Unum, the Vatican's charity arm, will deliver the money and an appeal for Christians to remain in the region during a November 7-10 visit, the Vatican said Wednesday.

A statement from Cor Unum noted that religious tourism to the region had fallen precipitously in the past two years of fighting, particularly after a standoff earlier this year between IDF troops and Palestinian militants holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

"It's understandable why there is a desire among many to leave the country," the statement said. "The safekeeping of holy sites, however, would be seriously put in danger if Christians abandoned them."

Cordes will deliver the $400,000, as well as an appeal from Pope John Paul II to "encourage Christians to remain in these tortured places, like so many missionaries already are doing in heroic fashion," the statement said.

[. . .]
Netanyahu Goes on Offensive in Bid Against Sharon

Back to the drawing board.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - New Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the offensive in his bid to become prime minister, said in an interview published Thursday that Ariel Sharon's leadership had left Israel in "dire straits."

Netanyahu, a hawkish former prime minister, became Sharon's subordinate Wednesday when he took up the foreign ministry post, ending three years in the political wilderness.

But his plans to challenge Sharon for the leadership of their right-wing Likud party and reclaim the prime minister's office in Israel's coming election heralded weeks of sniping between the two men and paralysis in Middle East peacemaking.

"I am running (for the Likud leadership) because the country is in dire straits and we have to get it out," Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post.

[. . .]
U.S. May Punish Colleges Boycotting Israel, Jerusalem Post Says

You boycott Israel we boycott you.
Jerusalem, Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. may punish universities that sell holdings in Israel-linked securities, using a law against complying with the Arab boycott of Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing a U.S. official.

The government is monitoring protest movements on U.S. campuses to determine whether they are supported by Arab states and violate amendments to the 1977 Export Administration Act, Kenneth Juster, the undersecretary of commerce for industry and security, told the Post in an interview.

Students at Harvard, Princeton and other universities are demanding that holdings in companies that do business with Israel be sold off to protest Israeli military operations against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Among the companies are International Business Machines Corp., Lehman Brothers Inc. and McDonald's Corp.

The U.S. government is seeking to increase penalties for observing the anti-Israel boycott, which include fines of as much as $50,000 and 10 years in prison, Juster told the Post.

Egypt TV Series Sets Off Dispute Over Its Origins


The Protocols of Zion: The Egyptian government stll doesn't get it!
The holy month of Ramadan brings with it not only prayer and abstinence but the largest television audiences of the year as families break the daily fast with bountiful evening meals that last for hours and are eaten in front of TV sets.

Egypt's eight channels boost their advertising rates during Ramadan and vie for viewers by broadcasting soap operas and often-controversial series.

This year, the controversy has gone international, with censors allowing the broadcast of "Horseman Without a Horse," about an Egyptian journalist struggling against British imperialism and Zionism. The series, set in the Middle East of the 19th and 20th centuries and billed as a historical drama, premiered Wednesday.

"The series presents historical facts commenting on the beginning of Zionism," director Ahmed Badr Eddin said.

[. . .]
Sharon's Kitchen
By Uri Dan

Throughout his career Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has always taken on impossible assignments. He therefore succeeded in a task that also seemed impossible heading the national unity government of both the Right and the Left for 20 months, during the longest, most bitter war Israel has known, within its own borders.

The day will come when it will be possible to open up and reveal the secret documents related to this period, and the public will then be totally amazed. On the one hand Israeli citizens will learn about the terrible danger they were led into by Labor Party governments. On the other, they will learn how Sharon, by including the Labor Party in his government, succeeded in reducing as far as possible the terrible damage caused by this party to the nation through the Oslo agreements.
Sharon frequently could not explain his moves, which appeared contradictory. He also remained silent when people from the Right, either because of stupidity or simple malice, attacked him for "selling his soul to Shimon Peres" at the expense of his national principles.

Only by cooperation in the government with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shimon Peres could Sharon cause the delegitimization of that other Nobel winner, Yasser Arafat. The White House is now closed to Arafat, after Peres himself, in a terrible, historic mistake, opened its gates to Arafat, on September 13, 1993, during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Only together with Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Shimon Peres could Sharon restore freedom of action to the IDF and enable it to pursue the terrorists, arrest or kill them, leave the West Bank cities and return to them, raid the Gaza Strip in other words, wage a round-the-clock anti-terror campaign.

In the complex political-military situation in which Israel finds itself, Sharon could not, as prime minister, begin the rescue of his people without backing from those leaders of the Labor Party precisely because they were the ones who had brought the catastrophe on the Jewish state.
Ben-Eliezer, who will never again be defense minister and, of course, will never be prime minister, was right when he said this week in Sharon's kitchen cabinet: "I was the cook, Shimon was the waiter, and Sharon ate." It seems they enjoyed their roles in Sharon's kitchen, although Sharon threw their Oslo menu into the garbage can.

All Ben-Eliezer's boasts about preventing "irresponsible" moves by Sharon and when he impudently added that it was now necessary "to halt both Sharon and Shaul Mofaz" are simple nonsense. Sharon, with clenched teeth, minimized the damage that could have been caused by Ben-Eliezer, also by his chattering and conceit.

PERES, BY contrast, is intellectually far superior to Ben-Eliezer. He played a much more sophisticated game. He believed he could maneuver Sharon into the Oslo trap and handcuff him. The director-general of his ministry, Avi Gil, ceaselessly tried to sabotage Sharon's moves and aid his former patron, Yossi Beilin.

The opposite occurred. Sharon completely distanced Peres and his group from the direct channel he established with the White House. While Peres tried in vain to save Arafat, Sharon convinced the US president that Arafat was no longer relevant to real negotiations with the Palestinians.

When such negotiations do come to pass, they will be held without him.
In other words, Sharon, in the 20-month campaign he waged as the head of the national unity government, turned the Labor Party into a duster he used to erase the Oslo tragedy from the blackboard. I don't know of anyone else in the top ranks of Israeli government capable of managing this campaign with the tolerance, patience, and ability displayed by Sharon, both against the Palestinians and on the local and international scenes.

I have no doubt that the time will come when the subject of the 20 months in which Sharon waged the campaign will be taught in schools of political science but not by the new historians. Even if errors were made, they were few in number, and there were no cardinal mistakes.
Now once again Ariel Sharon faces what is for him another normal challenge, described by others as an impossible assignment: to be re-elected premier.

I have known him for 48 years, and I know he'll succeed once again.
Those who didn't want Sharon the first time will elect him prime minister second time around.

November 06, 2002

Massacres

Jenin is not the first massacre of Arabs by Israelis or Jews that never occured. There is a long history of this type of media event as In Context shows (via LGF). In Context also blogs about the non massacre of Der Yassin. The most in depth report on Der Yassin was done by the Zionist Organization of America and demonstrates that although there were casualties as is usual in a battle, there was no massacre.

The Der Yassin legend is so great, many Israelis even buy it. Since the attack was carried out by the Israeli Right (Irgun, Lehi although with the cooperation of the Left), allegations of a massacre were used by the Left to discredit the Right. The Left in Israel has a long history of attacks on the Right, including giving information on the Right to the British in order to help the British arrest members of right wing groups.

People like to speak of the added tragedy in the assassination of Rabin because he was killed by a Jew. These people though do not realize that Rabin led the attack on the Irgun weapons ship, the Altalena, killing about 15 Jews.

REAL MASSACRES
While, the Muslims, especially the pals, love to cry like babies that they are the most oppressed people in the world, etc., etc., etc., they in fact love oppressing others. While they scream continually about Sabra and Shatila, they forget to mention that they love to massacre people.

One such massacre took place in the Christian town of Damour in 1976:
In all, 582 people were killed in the storming of Damour. Father Labaky went back with the Red Cross to bury them. Many of the bodies had been dismembered, so they had to count the heads to number the dead. Three of the men they found had had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths.

The horror did not end there, the old Christian cemetery was also destroyed, coffins were dug up, the dead robbed, vaults opened, and bodies and skeletons thrown across the grave yard. Damour was then transformed into a stronghold of Fatah and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). The ruined town became one of the main PLO centres for the promotion of international terrorism. The Church of St Elias was used as a repair garage for PLO vehicles and also as a range for shooting-practice with targets painted on the eastern wall of the nave.

Here is a description and here are pictures. Here is another description with photos.

Latest Polls on Election

Number of seats, out of 120, each party predicted to win, with explanatory notes:

RIGHT:

33 Likud (right; leadership contest between Sharon and Netanyahu)
8 National Union/Israel Beiteinu (often labelled "far right"; led by Avigdor Leiberman; includes Moledet, party of Rehavim Ze'evi, assassinated last year, now led by Benny Elon)
11 Shas (Sephardi and Orthodox, led by Eli Yishai, spiritual guidance from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Sephardi chief rabbi)
5 National Religious Party ("dati leumi"--similar to American Modern Orthodox; led by war hero Effi Eitam, who participated in the raid on Entebbe)
5 Yisrael B'Aliyah (the Russian party, led by Natan Sharansky, former Soviet political prisoner, released and emigrated to Israel in 1986)
5 United Torah Judaism (Haredi, i.e.,"ultra-orthodox," altho' use of that term is strongly discouraged)

67 TOTAL

LEFT:

19 Labor (left; leadership contest among Ben-Elizer, Mitnza, and Ramon)
11 Arab parties--Hadash (Communist), United Arab List, National Arab Party, Ta-al (represented by Ahmed Tibi, advisor to Arafat); also Balad, formerly represented by Azmi Bishara, stripped of parliamentary immunity and soon to be on trial for inciting treason.
11 Shinui (bitterly anti-religous, led by Tommy Lapid)
9 Meretz (leftist, led by Yossi Sarid)
3 One Nation (party of the Histadrut, the labor union)

53 TOTAL

Several parties that are offshoots of others or revolve around individual personalities will likely not be represented b/c the member will not get reelected: Herut, Michael Kleiner's "far right" party; Gesher, the party of former foreign minister David Levy, a Sephardic offshoot of Likud; and the Democratic Change Movement, ultra-leftist offshoot from Yisrael B'Aliyah, led by Roman Bronfman. The Center Party's member, Nehama Ronen, will join Likud.
Thanks to my friend Avidog for advice on these notes.

The political landscape in Israel is pretty complicated, with many parties splitting, merging, resplitting, etc. over particular issues and personalities. Each party also has various factions revolving around personalities. A complete listing, with historical info is here
.
BBC's Panorama on SABRA AND SHATILA

A while back, but within the last year or so, these guys dredged up SS again trying to pin it on Sharon as usual. Christian Arabs kill Muslim Arabs after Muslim Arabs kill the Christian President -elect of Lebanon and who gets blamed - da Jews. I just came across Panorama's defense and there is a great line in it:
Another man with a lot of knowledge on the subject told us he wouldn't help because we weren't investigating the PLO as well. For the record Yasser Arafat has been the subject of a hard-hitting BBC investigation, which accused him of allowing corruption, abuse of free speech and torture.

Is it just me or does "allowing corruption, abuse of free speech and torture" seem like it is stopping a wee bit short?

“And there was light”

Benjamin Netanyahu has just began his tenure as foreign minister and already one hears a voice that is quite unequivocal as far as the ruinous “roadmap” is concerned. Ha’Aretz reports today as follows:
In his first statement as foreign minister, Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that the U.S.-sponsored roadmap for Middle East peace was "not on the agenda."

Netanyahu told Army Radio that a likely strike on Iraq has taken the roadmap, which includes steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005, "off the agenda."

Contrast that with Sharon’s acceptance of the “roadmap”!

UPI even added a glimmer of hope that Arafat may be expelled:

Israel's new Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marked his own return to government by asserting the Bush administration's latest "roadmap for peace" was "not on the agenda." Netanyahu also told Israeli TV Wednesday he thought the attack on Saddam would be a good time to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, despite earlier promises from Israeli premier Ariel Sharon to President Bush that Arafat "would not be harmed."

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard music as sweet as this.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.

Palestinian Hospital Endorses Palestinian Terrorists

One picture speaks a thousand words. See link for photos of terrorists' photos mounted on Jenin Hospital wall.
The official PA newspaper - Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published in it's October 26, 2002 edition, pictures taken in a Jenin hospital ward showing a Palestinian man identified as Ahmed Zayden who, according to the newspaper, was hurt during an IDF operation in Jenin. Another picture shows a man praying in the hospital ward's waiting room.

The newspaper chooses to ignore the fact that hanging on the walls of the ward are posters depicting Palestinian terrorists. These posters iconize dispatchers of suicide terrorists among other terror operatives involved in shooting and bombing attacks.

One of the pictures shows a poster of a terror operative identified as Alam Mohammed Qenieri, member of the Al -Aqsa Brigades, the Fatah military wing, which was recognized by Israel, the US and the EU as a terrorist organization.

Another poster depicts a man identified as Mahmud Twalbeh, the head of Palestine Islamic Jihad, a terror organization responsible for the death of numerous Israelis and a large number of terror attacks.
Sharon's Choice

This Slate article rounds up various perspectives on the political turmoil in Israel. There is this to be said, however, a democracy is often in political termoil but it sure beats an imposed governmental view and position.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dissolved the Israeli parliament Tuesday and called an early election, which is expected to take place Jan. 28, 2003. The Jerusalem Post observed, "The dramatic developments throw Israel into a turbulent election campaign at a time when the nation is facing severe problems—the 2-year-old conflict with the Palestinians, a deepening economic crisis and the possibility of an Iraqi attack on Israel in the event of US strike against Saddam Hussein." Ha'aretz welcomed "the end of a terrible government," declaring, "Despite the heavy price that a political crisis will exact and the problematic timing of the election, the collapse of the outgoing government can only be welcomed. It will be remembered as one of the worst governments in Israel's history."

Last Wednesday, the Labor Party withdrew from the government of national unity in part, according to commentators, to boost former Foreign Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's chances in the party's leadership election, scheduled for Nov. 19. Sharon spent a week trying to form a narrow coalition with nationalist parties but in the end declared that he could not submit to the right-wingers' "blackmail." According to the Financial Times, the National Union-Yisrael Beitenu Party "had demanded that he ditch Washington's 'road map' towards Middle East peace and reject support for a Palestinian state." Sharon told a press conference Tuesday, "Elections are the last thing this country needs right now."

Ma'ariv praised Sharon for standing up to the right: "The prime minister will benefit on two counts: He will be remembered as someone who chose not to be dragged into a period of instability and repeated surrender to political blackmail; and as a result, it is very possible that he will enjoy renewed trust from Likud members in his ability to secure another term as Prime Minister." Still, the Israeli business daily Globes said that by calling a snap election, "Sharon set Israel's political agenda in accordance with his political needs." The op-ed claimed the election's timing presented "substantial political advantages" to the prime minister. If, as expected, one of Ben-Eliezer's dovish rivals becomes Labor Party leader, they will only have 90 days to reorganize the party and present a "worthy alternative program to the one Sharon has ready."


Palestinian students visit a re-enactment of the Aug. 19 Sbarro pizza restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem, replete with body parts and pizza slices strewn around the room, during the opening of an exhibition at Al Najah University in the West Bank town of Nablus, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001. The exhibit on the suicide bombing, which killed 15 Israelis and the bomber, is part of an exhibition to mark the passing of a year since renewed violence broke out between Israelis and the Palestinians.
(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh) - Sep 23 1:55 PM ET

The Palestinian Museum - at Al-Najah University in Shechem

For the Jews, there are museums to Remember the atrocities done to them. Imagine museums built by Nazis to recall the mass murders they had committed. No: they preferred to keep such things secret or at least as secret as was possible. But not so the Palestinians. Here, proud of killing innocent civilians, and a reminder to their youth and the average Palestinian, a museum to glorify brutality!
"So - what do "regular" Palestinians think?" - this is a usual question asked Israelis who try to explain the terror in our country. The question is already expecting a certain answer: something like, 'Well, not all Palestinains support suicide bombers' or 'The simple people want peace', or 'Religious leaders don't agree'...

We here at GAMLA, like the rest of Israel, saw these pictures in our newspapers this morning. We feel that they answer for themselves.

In order to give you the story "straight from the horses mouth" - we are publishing these pictures along with the original captions from AP - written by their Palestinian journalist, of course.
A distinction without a difference

Yesterday, I posted a short piece about the “alleged” US targeted killing of a terrorist in Yemen (see IsraPundit or DawsonSpeaks) . “MadMan”, who runs the site, The Wrath of Kahn, posted a comment which provided links to the official text of the State Department reaction, as given by Richard Boucher in a press conference, Nov 5, 2002. I am quoting the text below primarily for the record, but also as a fine example of how “the best and the brightest” can twist words and ideas into such a convoluted pretzel that one begins to doubt the integrity of the government that stands behind such twisting.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, let the State Department contortions begin:

MR. BOUCHER: Our policy on targeted killings in the Israeli-Palestinian context has not changed --

QUESTION: In other contexts?

MR. BOUCHER: -- and we've discussed that and explained that many times.

QUESTION: And in other contexts?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to speculate.

QUESTION: Well, so you have one rule for one conflict and another rule for another conflict?

MR. BOUCHER: I would say that -- if you look back at what we have said about targeted killings in the Israeli-Palestinian context, you will find that the reasons we have given do not necessarily apply in other circumstances.

QUESTION: If I remember, your opposition, stated opposition at the targeted killings, has not been confined to instances where civilians were victims. I think, basically, it was a flat disapproval of targeted killings.

MR. BOUCHER: We have explained our opposition for a number of reasons. Sometimes all apply and sometimes some apply, but they are particular to those circumstances and I don't want to talk about any speculation about other events. But I think we all understand that the situation with regard to Israeli-Palestinian issues and the prospects of peace and the prospects of negotiation and the prospects of the need to create an atmosphere for progress -- a lot of different things come into play there.

QUESTION: And what's special about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that make targeted killings inadvisable?

MR. BOUCHER: All the things I just cited to your colleague.

QUESTION: I didn't hear those.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, you can look at the transcript.


QUESTION: When you draw a distinction between the Israeli-Palestinian context and other contexts, are you saying that targeted killing might be a legitimate practice in other contexts?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not drawing a distinction between anything and anything else; I'm just saying that if you look carefully, if you look at what we have said about targeted killings in the question of the Israeli-Palestinian disputes, you will see, first of all, as I said today, that our position has not changed, and, second of all, that the factors that we cited for our opposition to targeted killings were particular to that set of circumstances.
...
QUESTION: So, in other circumstances, it might be legitimate? That's a natural corollary of what you're saying.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm not comparing and contrasting; I'm just saying that we've made our position clear and we stick by it.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland.

State's Burns Says U.S. Working to Finalize Action Plan for Mideast

If at first you don't succeed...
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns says the Bush administration is pressing to finalize an international plan of action during the first half of December to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians within three years.
"The President wants us to get from the very difficult situation that the Palestinians and Israelis find themselves in right now, to the realization of the permanent two-state solution over the next three years, a goal that he laid down in his speech on June 24," Burns said in Bahrain October 29. "[W]e feel a strong sense of urgency about this."

During a recent trip to Europe, Burns conferred with representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, Russia in Paris, then visited numerous countries in the Middle East to develop what he called a "practical pathway" to peace.

"Both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, deserve security and we are committed to doing everything we can to help achieve that," Burns said.

Burns said the plan involves establishing trust between Israelis and Palestinians to stabilize the situation, creating a Palestinian state "with many of the attributes of sovereignty, but whose final borders are not yet determined," then moving to "permanent status" negotiations.

Burns praised Bahrain for holding its first national elections in 30 years and said the Bush administration is strongly committed to its "partnership" with Bahrain, "a major non-NATO ally" of the United States.

Burns said the United States supports Bahrain's political and economic reforms, saying the country sets "a very important standard for the rest of the region."
Lebanon's democracy under threat with annulment of poll result: opposition

I belive that there is a growing anti-Syrian movement that is growing in Lebanon, especially among the Christians in that country, and that, given time, there will be increasing militancy within Syria's client client state. How this will play out with Iranian support for Hizbollah, remains to be seen.

BEIRUT (AFP) - Lebanon's anti-Syrian Christian opposition condemned the annulment of a by-election victory by one its candidates as a step toward the scrapping of parliamentary democracy in the country.

The decision by Lebanon's top court showed that "the authorities fear public opinion and are trying to taint the democratic face of Lebanon," said the Qornet Shehwan gathering of Christian political and religious figures.

"It is the penultimate step before the annulment of parliamentary democracy in Lebanon and the establishment of a state of emergency like in dictatorships," the opposition said in a statement.

On Monday, the Constitutional Council annulled Gabriel Murr's victory on a petition by his defeated niece Myrna Murr, the government candidate, in the June 2 poll and handed victory to Ghassan Mkheiber, who was placed third.

Mkheiber met late Tuesday with Maronite Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir and told reporters he was leaving it up to the patriarch to decide whether he should resign.

Beirut newspapers denounced the court's annulment as a "masquerade" which discredited Lebanon's judicial system.

The by-election renewed tensions between supporters and opponents of Syria's dominant role in Lebanon and was followed by a government crackdown on anti-Syrian broadcast media owned by Gabriel Murr.
Why one should oppose a second Palestinian-Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - Part 12 of 23

This piece continues a series of which the first eleven parts were posted on September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23, and October 7, 24, 28, and 29, 2002. The object of the series is to provide a database that is not only reliable and well-documented but also one for which documents are easily accessible, preferably from web resources. The term "second Palestinian-Arab state" is used in order to underscore that one Palestinian-Arab state already exists: it's called Jordan, and it is located in that part of Eastern Palestine that was originally to have been part of the Jewish National Home.


12. Creation of a second Palestinian-Arab state will obviate Israel's ability to defend herself in time of war. In fact, weakening Israel by creating the second Palestinian Arab state may precipitate another war against Israel.

If ever it was true that one picture is worth a thousand words, then surely the map of Israel speaks volumes. Any map showing the distance between Judea, Samaria and Gaza (“Yesha”) border, on the one hand, and major Israeli cities, on the other hand, is testimony to Israel’s special security problems. An exmaple may be seen in the map posted by IRIS. (IRIS, or Information Regarding Israel’s Seurity is “an independent organization dedicated to informing the public about the security needs of the State of Israel, especially vis-a-vis the current peace process”.) The map shows, for example, that Tel Aviv, Israel’s major urban center, is merely 18 km (11 Miles, for our US brethren) from the border of Yesha, while Netanya, the site of so many homicide bombings, is merely 15 km (9 miles). Haifa, a major port is 35 km (21 miles) and Jerusalem, the capital, is on the border itself.

I am no military expert and I cannot provide an original, detail analysis of the implications of these non-distances, beyond what common sense would indicate, but people like General Wheeler, formerly of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Benjamin Netanyahu, who served as an IDF officer, are fully qualified to enlighten us. This article, therefore, relies heavily on their testimony.

First, let us review what Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, U.S. Army, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1964–1970, advised the US Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara concerning Israel’s security. The document is dated 29 June, 1967, and was declassified in 1984; it is available on the JINSA site (JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs is a “non-profit, non-partisan educational organization committed to explaining the need for a prudent national security policy for the United States, addressing the security requirements of both the United States and the State of Israel, and strengthening the strategic cooperation relationship between these two great democracies”).

1. Reference is made to your memorandum, dated 19 June 1967, subject as above, which requested the reviews of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, without regard to political factors, on the minimum territory, in addition to that held 4 June 1967, Israel might be justified in retaining in order to permit a more effective defense against possible conventional Arab attack and terrorist raids.

2. From a strictly military point of view, Israel would require the retention of some captured territory in order to provide militarily defensible borders. Determination of territory to be retained should be based on accepted tactical principles such as control of commanding terrain, use of natural obstacles, elimination of enemy-held salients, and provisions of defense in-depth for important facilities and installations. More detailed discussions of the key border areas mentioned in the reference are contained in the Appendix hereto. In summary, the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding these areas are as follows.

a. The Jordanian West Bank. Control of the prominent high ground running north-south through the middle of West Jordan generally east of the main north-south highway along the axis Jenin-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem and the southeast to a junction with the Dead Sea at the Wadi el Daraja would provide Israel with a militarily defensible border. The envisioned defensive line would run just east of Jerusalem; however, provision could be made for internationalization of the city without significant detriment to Israel's defensive posture.

b. Syrian Territory Contiguous to Israel. Israel is particularly sensitive to the prevalence of terrorist raids and border incidents in this area. The presently occupied territory, the high ground running north-south on a line with Qnaitra about 15 miles inside the Syrian border, would give Israel control of the terrain which Syria has used effectively in harassing the border area.

c. The Jerusalem Latrun Area. See subparagraph 2a above.

d. The Gaza Strip. By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage.

[Here and subsequently, bold font is added.]

When these requirements are drawn on a map, they take up practically all of Yesha.

Behind these consideration stands one basic tenet of Israeli security, as elucidated in an article posted by the Canada-Israel Committee:
Israel cannot afford to lose [even] one war to surrounding Arab/Moslem states that vastly outnumber Israelis in population, territory and quantitative weaponry. Even Israel's traditional qualitative military advantage is shrinking as Arab states acquire advanced military systems, including long range ballistic missiles capable of delivering non-conventional weapons.
With this in mind, let us now examine Benjamin Netanyahu’s analysis, as given in his book,

Netanyahu, Benjamin. Durable Peace. New York: Warner Books, 2000.

In the following paragraphs, the page number will be noted, as in BN 200, meaning, Benjamin Netanyahu’s book, p. 200.

Netanyahu’s analysis begins with the thesis that (BN 283)

Israel’s ability to deter aggression depends on three central factors: its military strength, relative to that of the Arabs; the warning time it has to mobilize its forces; and the minimum space that its army requires to deploy in the face of potential threats.
With regard to military strength, Israel simply cannot compete with the size of the Arab armies and their equipment. Worse still, for economic reasons Israel can only keep a small army on standby, depending on mobilization of reserves if attacked. Recall that the six million Israelis stand against 284 million Arabs (in 21 arab countries plus Yesha - 2000 data, according to the UN Arab Human Development Report, 2002).

Being dependent on reserves, Israel requires adequate warning time in order for Israel to survive; this is deemed to be a minimum of 48-72 hours. Also, the flight time from Arab air bases to Israel is so short, that without adequate warning time, the Israeli air force could be wiped out before it takes to the air.

At present, Israel has surveillance stations high on the mountains of Yesha, but without these early warning stations, Israel’s security is compromised. If Israel vacates these stations, she loses a key defence factor. Worse still, if these heights fall into hostile hands, a foreign power could conduct surveillance on Israel’s coastal plain, where most of the Israeli population is concentrated. Airborne surveillance is no substitute for ground-based early warning stations, because airborne surveillance is vulnerable to bad weather conditions and to enemy fire.

The third component in Israel’s security system is adequate space in which to deploy hardware and troops, or strategic depth. If Israel loses the depth she enjoys in Yesha, the narrow strip left for deployment is sure to come under disruptive enemy fire, obviating the planned deployment.

Yesha’s mountain range also ensures that an enemy attacking from the East (Iraq, for example) will have to scale this mountain range and travel for some time before reaching the Israeli population centers. Without this assurance, Israel is just too vulnerable.

In the age of missiles, Israeli control of Yesha is particularly significant, opines Netanyahu (BN 302). If Israel can be hit with missiles, short range or long range, then deployment in the narrow strip of the pre-1967 borders is all the more vulnerable to enemy fire, and the Israeli army’s ability to respond could be jeopardised even before Israel calls up her reserves. If Yesha’s mountain range is controlled by the Palestinian Arabs, then a missile barrage could well be initiated from these heights.

The idea of a demilitarized Palestinian-Arab state, which ostensibly would obviate the last danger mentioned, is unworkable. Who will prevent smuggling dismantled rockets into such a state, if Israel doesn’t control the borders? And who will enforce a creeping militarization? Prior to the 1967 War, the “international community” failed even to enforce Israel’s right to navigation in the international waters of the Straits of Tiran. The current situation with regard to Iraq’s treatment of the UN inspectors is yet further proof of the impotence of the “international community”. Should Israel retaliates for militarization by invading the new state, then one is assured of the UN invoking Chapter VII sanctions. With the Arab and Palestinian-Arab record of breaching agreements (recall, for example, Iraq with regard to the inspectors and the Palestinian Arabs with regard to the arms ship, Karine A), relying on their commitments is worse than building on a sand dune.

Another consideration raised by Netanyahu (BN 307) concerns the economic burden resulting from the new borders to be patrolled by the IDF, should a second Palestinian-Arab state come to pass. Because of the convoluted shape of Yesha, the border lines would be more than “3.5 times the length of the present straight border along the Jordan River”. It is doubtful that the fence could reduce this burden substantially.

In his book, Netanyahu also quotes from a 1988 petition by one hundred retired US generals and admirals to the US administration, in which they said (BN 298):

[Without the territories, a] dwarfed Israel would then be an irresistible target for Arab adventurism and terrorism, and ultimately for an all-out military assault which could end Israel's existence ....

If Israel were to relinquish the West Bank... it would have virtually no warning of attack... Virtually all the population would be subject to artillery bombardment. The Sharon Plain north of Tel Aviv could be riven by an armored salient within hours. The quick mobilization of its civilian army... would be disrupted easily and perhaps irreversibly.
Netanyahu proceeds to quote Lieutenant-General Thomas Kelly, who had served as the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War and who visited Israel in 1991:
It is impossible to defend Jerusalem unless you hold that high ground... [I] look onto the West Bank and say to myself, "If I'm chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, I cannot defend this land without that terrain."... I don't know about politics, but if you want me to defend this country, and you want me to defend Jerusalem, I’ve got to hold that ground”.
This statement is in line with a Jerusalem Post article by Bernard Smith, dated 7 April 1998, and entitled The buried memo . The author quotes Thomas Kelly as saying,
[T]he West Bank mountains, and especially their approaches, are the critical terrain. If an enemy secures these passes, Jerusalem and all of Israel becomes uncovered. Without the West Bank, Israel is only eight miles wide at its narrowest point. That makes it indefensible.
In his book, Netanyahu also refers to the water issue, yet another aspect pertaining to the question of a second Palestinian-Arab state; this principal issue will, however, be dealt with in a separate article.

When he was prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu presented his views in an unequivocal speech to the UN General Assembly (24 Sept 1998), as the folowing excerpt indicates:
I envision a permanent settlement based on a clear principle:

For such a peace to succeed, the Palestinians should have all the powers to govern their lives and none of the powers to threaten our lives.

They will have control of all aspects of their society, such as law, religion and education; industry, commerce and agriculture; tourism, health and welfare.

They can prosper and flourish.

What they cannot do is endanger our existence.

We have the right to ensure that the Palestinian entity does not become the base for hostile forces.

The territories we cede must not become a terrorist haven nor a base for foreign forces.

Nor can we accept the mortal threat of weapons such as anti aircraft missiles on the hills above our cities and airfields.

This is the great challenge of the permanent status negotiations:

To achieve a durable peace that will strike a balance between Palestinian self-rule and Israel's security. I repeat: This balance can only be achieved, not by unilateral declarations but by negotiations and negotiations alone.
Earlier this year, Netanyahu repeated his objection to a second Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha, citing security considerations. An AP piece that ran in the Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2002, and was entitled Netanyahu: Palestinian state would be terrorist state, informs as follows:

Netanyahu said if the Palestinians achieve independence, Israel will be unable to prevent them from bringing in arms, even if they sign an agreement prohibiting this.

He said the problem was highlighted by Israel's recent seizure of a ship with contraband weapons which Israel says were destined for the Palestinians.

"With its own independent port, such a state would receive shiploads of arms, day and night, and we would find ourselves facing a terrorist state, armed to the teeth," he told Israel Radio.

The only way to stop the current Palestinian attacks on Israelis is to bring down the PA and its leader, Netanyahu said. Expelling Arafat "would make clear to any future Palestinian leadership that if you resort to terrorism, your fate will be like that of the Taliban and Arafat," he said.
To review more of Netanyahu’s pronouncements on the topic, see interview dated May 15, 1998 (when Netanyahu acted as prime minister) with Elizabeth Farnsworth of PBS.

Four years ago, while Sharon acted as Israeli foreign minister, he declared in Paris (15 January, 1999), according to a document posted at the official site of the Israeli Government:

The concept I used to describe the future Palestinian entity is limited sovereignty. This entity, which will be more than what they have today but less than a full state, can only be reached through negotiations and an agreement with Israel, and never by a unilateral act or declaration.

This entity will be limited in terms of types and amounts of weapons it will be allowed to possess; Israel will maintain control of the borders and ports of entry and epartures; military agreements and defense treaties that threaten Israel will not be allowed; free flying zones for Israeli aircraft over that entity will have to be maintained as well as other specific measures - all of which are intended to limit and curb the danger and threats such an entity may pose in the future for the State of Israel. Even if relations are
normalized in the future Israel will have to monitor the development of such an entity and ensure that its security interests in the long-run are not hampered or compromised in any way.
In other words, Sharon too held the view that a sovereign Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha would pose a security threat to Israel.

But why do we in the West have to worry about Israel’s defence needs? The answer comes, inter alia, in a 1999 document entitled Palestinian State: Implications for Security & American Policy . Endoresed by JINSA, and focussing on the intrinsic self-interest of the the West, the document sates:
The United States should oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian State owing to:

• The ability of the PA to provide safe haven to terrorists, as has already been demonstrated;
• The ability of the PA to import offensive weapons through an independent seaport and airport. Offensive weapons could make Israel’s international airport vulnerable to missile attack and could endanger the U.S. Sixth Fleet when it is anchored in Haifa;
• The ability of the PA to join with countries such as Iraq and Iran in military alliances which could include the acceptance of Iraqi or Iranian troops west of the Jordan River. Such agreements – and such troop movements – would have major implications for US policy regarding Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia;
• The fundamentally undemocratic, anti-Western thrust of Palestinian policies thus far and the likelihood that a newly independent state will continue those policies; and
• The threat posed by such a state to America’s democratic ally, Israel, and to other friendly states in the region.
The ability of a sovereign Palestinian state to serve as an anti-Western terrorist haven has also been emphasized in a Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) News Release, dated May 3, 2002. The ZOA document warns that a Palestinian-Arab state,
* Undermine the fight against terrorism by giving the Palestinian Arab terrorists a reward for their violence.

* Boost Bin Laden's allies --Osama Bin Laden's terrorists are closely allied with the terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Fatah, who are attacking Israel and who would control a future Palestinian Arab state.
In the cynical world in which we live, this is a pivotal point. In September 1938, in Munich, Britain and France threw Czechoslovakia to the Nazi wolves and paid a hefty price for this madness. Let no one think that by installing a second Palestinian-Arab state in Yesha to Israel detriment, the only victim will be Israel. In fact, any of the Western democracies might be hit from Palestine-based terrorists, of the very same variety that has already claimed the WTC, the US Navy ship Cole, and the French tanker Limburg. Further elaboration is deferred to a separate, forthcoming article in this series.

The final word goes to Major General Dayan (Moshe Dayan’s nephew) who said in a 1999 interview with Ha’aretz correspondent:
[Question:] The necessity to be strong is very deeply ingrained in you.

[Gen. Dayan] Let me tell you a story. I have the sad honor of having two fathers, Zurik [Dayan] and [his brother, future IDF Chief of Staff] Moshe [Dayan]. Zurik was killed when I was exactly 100 days old, so I didn’t know him. He was killed at Ramat Yochanan at the start of the War of Independence, in a battle with the Druze. The deputy commander of the Druze forces in the battle was a guy named Ismail Kablan. A few days after my father fell, his brother Moshe made an alliance with the Druze, an alliance which eventually brought them into the Border Police. That very same Ismail Kablan was among the founders of the Border Police, and his son Jihad was one of our officers in Abraham’s tomb in Hebron when I was commander of Central Command. That gave me the feeling of victory. Not victory over someone else, but a feeling of joint victory, of victory over the reality of bloodshed. For me the lesson was that if you are sufficiently strong and you know what is essential, you can find a formula like Moshe Dayan found, one that preserves your interests but allows you to be generous at the same time.
The battle in which Zurik Dayan was slain was the only battle in which the Druze took up arms against Israel, and the battle ended with the defeat of the Druze forces. This episode represents the Middle East reality that Israel faces: if she is strong and if she prevails, alliances and peace are possible; if she is weakend, the predators will circle for the kill, and if she loses even one war, she will be annihilated. In view of the security considerations which were spelled out above, I fear that those who preach a "two state solution" may well be bringing upon Israel a Final Solution.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland

November 05, 2002

Saudi Hand Behind Egypt’s Anti-Jewish TV Serial

Behind all forms of terror, hatred, anti-semitism and anti-Israel hapenings, there is, it seems, always Saudi Arabia.
This week, two Egyptian TV channels begin running an extravagantly-produced serial based on the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Jewish document fabricated by the Tsar’s secret police in the early 20th century and decisively judged a forgery by historians. It will be aired nightly during the peak viewing period of the Muslim Ramadan, by two Egyptian channels - Dream TV, a private satellite channel, and the state-run Channel 2.

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report “The Horse without Horseman” was produced by Arab Radio and Television of Saudi Arabia as an epic that was written, directed and played by Egyptians. It portrays the fictional Elders, the purported blueprint for Jewish global domination, as historical fact and, in a mishmash of periods, makes it also the guiding principle of Israeli policy. A director of the program says the series “is based on the history of Zionism”.

Calls to cancel the Horse without Horseman, especially from the US government - on the grounds that it stokes hatred, bigotry and racism in a region that already suffers a surfeit of destructive emotions - were rebuffed by Cairo. So too were appeals to Arab leaders to condemn the anti-Semitism rife in the Egyptian media. A protest demonstration has been organized by Jewish organizations to take place outside the Egyptian embassy in Washington Monday, November 4.

But on Monday, too, an Arab League spokesman rejected Israeli charges that the series is a violation of the commitment Cairo undertook under the Egyptian-Israel peace accord to shun anti-Israel incitement. Egyptian information minister Safwat el-Sherif declared earlier he could not see what the fuss was about. He denied that “Horseman” had any anti-Semitic content at all. “Our media policy,” he says, “is to respect all monotheistic religions.”

This righteous assertion might be taken at face value were it not for the light shed by chance on the Egyptian minister’s language in a publication that accompanied last month’s seizure of 800 hostages at a Moscow theater by Chechen terrorists. The appalling loss of life – 118 hostages – during the Russian commando rescue operation overshadowed the aims and the ideology actuating the hostage-takers. Revealing their ideological rationale also tells us that the Egyptian minister was offer of respect for “monotheistic religions” was nothing but lip service aimed at a Western audience .