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

November 30, 2002

The New Road Map

As you have read, Israel is not expected to respond to it until after the elections but the work on redefining it goes on. Sharon has given a qualified yes with reservations. For Israel to participate in such a road map would rival in stupidity its entering the Oslo Accords.

The actual text is set out below with my comments in bold, interspersed.
Communiqué issued by the Quartet

New York, 17 September 2002

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten met today in New York.

Reaffirming their previous statements, the Quartet members reviewed developments since their last meeting, on July 16, 2002. They deplored and condemned the morally repugnant violence and terror, which must end. They agreed to intensify their efforts in support of their shared goal of achieving a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement based on their common vision, as inter alia expressed by President Bush, of two states, Israel and an independent, viable and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Resolution 242 sanctioned Israel remaining in occupation until there was agreement as to secure and recognized borders. Oslo endorsed this resolution and created a political entity Palestinian Authority with whom to negotiate, but still no mention of a Palestinian State. After two years of Arab induced violence in breach of their commitments at Oslo, the New Road Map purports to grant them not only a state but an "independent, viable and democratic" state. "independent" means no limits to their sovereignty including no restrictions on their militarization or defense pacts with other Arab countries. "viable" means that their land must be contiguous and they must have water rights and full access to the Israeli economy. "Democratic" means whatever you want it to mean. We can't tell them how to govern themselves. It seems to me that the outcome has been predetermined by this innocuous preamble. Who says terrorism doesn't pay.

The Quartet will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities to seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict based on UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1397, the Madrid terms of reference, the principle of land for peace, and implementation of all existing agreements between the parties. The Quartet reaffirms the continuing importance of the initiative of Saudi Arabia, endorsed at the Arab League Beirut Summit, which is a vital part of the foundation of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

The Quartet is working closely with the parties and consulting key regional actors on a concrete, three-phase implementation roadmap that could achieve a final settlement within three years. This will only happen if Israel is forced to capitulate and give the Arabs the '67 borders at a minimum and probably allow a token right of return. Comprehensive security performance is essential. The plan will not succeed unless it addresses political, economic, humanitarian, and institutional dimensions and should spell out reciprocal steps to be taken by the parties in each of its phases. In this approach, progress between the three phases would be strictly based on the parties' compliance with specific performance benchmarks to be monitored and assessed by the Quartet.

If it is performance based how can you have a meaningful timetable. Besides we can't trust the State Department to stand in judgement much less the Quartet.

The Quartet also supports, in preparation for establishment of a Palestinian state, efforts by the Palestinians to develop a constitution which ensures separation of power, transparency, accountability, and the vibrant political system which Palestinians deserve.

They may support it but what are they going to do about it.

The plan will contain in its initial phase (2002-first half of 2003) performance-based criteria for comprehensive security reform, Israeli withdrawals to their positions of September 28, 2000 as the security situation improves, and support for the Palestinians' holding of free, fair, and credible elections early in 2003, based on recommendations established by the Quartet's International Task Force on Palestinian Reform. The first phase should include a ministerial-level meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHL) to review the humanitarian situation and prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza and identify priority areas for donor assistance, including to the reform process, before the end of the year. The Quartet Principals will meet alongside the AHLC ministerial.

This is ass backwards. Until such time as the Arabs actually suppress the terror even if it takes a civil war Israel shouldn't be asked to make concessions. This plan requires Israel concessions if there is a temporary reduction of terror. It does not provide for consequences if there is a breach. Essentially it tolerates terror and lawlessness because nobody can end it. All this in six months.

In the plan's second phase (2003), our efforts should focus on the option of creating a Palestinian state with provisional borders based upon a new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement.

What the hell is a provisional state.

In its final phase (2004-5), the plan envisages Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status solution in 2005.

How can you mandate when an agreement will be reached?

Consistent with the vision expressed by President Bush, this means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties and based on U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognized borders.

This is good but it has to compete with all the principles stated above. That's a huge reduction in their value.

The Quartet welcomes the Task Force's report on the progress of the seven Reform Support Groups, and notes that a number of significant achievements, especially in the area of financial reform, have been realized in a short period of time under very difficult circumstances. Under the aegis of the Quartet, the Task Force will continue its work of supporting the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority as they establish and prioritize reform benchmarks, particularly on the issues of elections, judicial reform, and the role of civil society.

Isn't that nice. They are going to work with them.

Both the reform effort and the political process must include Israeli measures, consistent with Israel's legitimate security concerns, to improve the lives of Palestinians, including allowing the resumption of normal economic activity, facilitating the movement of goods, people, and essential services and to lift curfew and closures.

Israel's "legitimate" security concerns are incompatible with "improving the lives of Palestinians." It should have put the onus on the Palestinians to address Israel's security needs before progress on the Palestinian improvement.

Consistent with transparent and accountable Palestinian budget arrangements, the Quartet welcomes Israel's decision to transfer part of the Palestinian VAT and customs revenue that has been withheld since September 2000, and calls on Israel to continue this process and re-establish regular monthly revenue transfers to the Palestinian Ministry of Finance. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.

The Quartet welcomes the report of UN Secretary-General's Personal Humanitarian Envoy Catherine Bertini as well as the latest UNSCO report on the impact of closures. It calls on Israel and the Palestinians to recognize and act upon their respective responsibilities and to move quickly to ameliorate the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza. In particular, Israel must ensure full, safe and unfettered access for international and humanitarian personnel.

Reiterating the critical importance of restoring lasting calm through comprehensive performance on security, the Quartet calls on the Palestinians to work with the U.S. and regional partners to reform the Palestinian security services, strengthen policing and law and order for the civilian population, and fight the terror that has severely undermined the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians should re-establish security cooperation and reciprocal steps should be taken by Israel as the Palestinians work to combat terrorism in all its forms.


The methodologies used in this document are to have separate paragraphs that address what Israel needs and what the Palestinians want. Both of these things are incompatible and must be fought over. This document brings us no closer to a settlement but what it does do is enshrine additional principles in favour of the Arabs and at the expense of the Israelis. Mitchell gave more rights to the Palestinians then Oslo did. Now the road map is going much further still. It offers nothing to Israel. It just reiterates what Israel has long been entitled to, but it gives the Palestinians all kinds of new rights. It should be resisted in totality.

The Quartet will continue to discuss the timing and modalities of an international conference.

The Quartet also met and discussed these issues with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, as representatives of the Arab League Follow-up Committee, and with representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Quartet looks forward to continuing consultations.


Pursuant to this road map which has yet to be agreed upon Israel is being asked or forced to turn over PA money and to concern itself with the poor Palestinians rather than their own security

Contributed by Ted Belman tedbel@rogers.com

From ABC news: "Australia said it received information more than two weeks ago about terrorist threats in Mombasa. American officials said there were indications that American, British and Israeli citizens traveling abroad were facing greater danger.
In Washington, initial suspicion centered on two groups: al-Qaida and al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, a Somali Islamic group suspected of having links to bin Laden's network, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Friday. It also was possible the two groups were working together, the official said." IBA radio says Israel was not warned.

(Crossposted here).


Terrorism might boost Israeli cause

Palestinians would like to distance themselves from world-wide Islamist terrorists! Gosh: our killing and maiming are different! Advice: all terrorism is both murder and political, and your terror groups are united by the same "religious beliefs, " including expectations of many many virgins in Paradise
JERUSALEM - Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Israel has been trying to link its battles against Palestinians to the Bush administration's global war against terrorism. But despite enduring attacks that have claimed hundreds of lives, including nine Thursday in Kenya and at home, Israel has been unable to convince the world that it is fighting the same war as the United States.

Making that link could enable Israel's military to take harsher action against Palestinian militant groups and the Palestinian Authority, which Israel accuses of being complicit in the guerrilla war now in its third year.

On Thursday, Israeli citizens came under attack three times on two continents, and Israel's leaders again pressed for public support.

A car bomb at a seaside resort in Kenya claimed three Israelis. Also in Kenya, two shoulder-launched missiles barely missed an Israeli passenger jet. At home, Palestinian gunmen shot to death six people at a polling booth in northern Israel.

The groups that carried out the attacks in Kenya and Israel were different. But Israelis detect few differences in the motives of militant groups.

"They all have the same objective, to target Israelis for just being Israelis," said Jonathan Peled, deputy spokesman for Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The terrorists, whether they be Palestinians or others, are not willing to accept our existence."

A previously unknown group calling itself the Army of Palestine claimed responsibility for the Kenya bombing. Kenyan and Israeli authorities blamed Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida group, which is targeting Western, particularly U.S., institutions worldwide.

While the differences might be lost on Israelis, who say they are being targeted regardless of who is behind the attacks, the distinctions are crucial to Palestinians. They believe their fight for a state is legitimate and to some extent justifies the use of violence.

"The war here is to end the occupation," Khalil Shikaki, a Palestinian pollster, said in Ramallah. "The war conducted by al-Qaida is not a war that the Palestinians can identify with. The Palestinians are not waging a religious war. The Palestinians have no conflict with the West."

Shikaki said that the attack in Kenya "plays into Israel's hands. There is no doubt that this will make it easier for Israel to consolidate its occupation rather then end it. They can do it now with international acquiescence."
'No al-Qaeda link' to Kenya detainees

Update on terror attack against Israel at Kenya.
No connection has yet been established between 12 people detained over attacks on Israeli targets in the Kenyan city of Mombasa and the al-Qaeda network, Kenyan authorities say.

A couple from Florida, who were among those held, have been released after the authorities accepted they had no involvement in the bombing of the Paradise Hotel which killed 16 people, including three suicide attackers, on Thursday.

United States officials have said they believe a Somali-based Islamic group may have carried out the bombing, which was immediately preceded by a failed missile attack on a nearby Israeli plane.

The officials say the group, Al-Ittihad al-Islamiya (AIAI), also known as the Islamic Union, is a prominent militant organisation in the Horn of Africa with links to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

International investigation

Kenyan authorities investigating the attacks detained six Pakistanis, four Somalis, an American and a Spaniard.

The US and Spanish nationals - a couple from Florida - were released on Saturday.

They were held as they checked out of their hotel shortly after the blast occurred on a tip-off from hotel staff, after police asked to be told of any departures.

The couple said they were fine as they emerged from Kenyan police custody.
[more]

Related, headlines from Debka for today:
HEADLINES

PM Sharon: There is a connection between Palestinians and al Qaeda. We know it exists in Lebanon and most probably in Gaza too

DEBKAfile’s military, intelligence, counter-terrorist sources:

Joint Kenyan-US-Israeli investigation of Thursday’s twin attacks on Israeli targets in Mombasa focus on link with 1998 East African US embassy bombings by al Qaeda.

Wanted are 2 Egyptian al Qaeda senior operatives, Abdullah Mohammed Fazul and lieutenant Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah

Fazul orchestrated 1996 Ethiopian Airways 961 hijack, killing CIA agents and 5 heads of Israeli Aircraft Industries, Abdullah was behind embassy bombings.

Both believed hiding in Somalia. Also sought there are three pilots of light aircraft that bombed Mombasa Paradise Hotel concurrently with ground blast that killed 13, including 3 Israelis.

Thousands join Mideast protest


And for 4 July, thousands in Great Britain plan to protest the founding of The United States of America and vow to take back their country
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Friday across the Middle East in a day of solidarity with Palestinians, with some calling for trying Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel as a war criminal and for punishment for the United States for supporting Israel.

President Mohammad Khatami of Iran joined the estimated 10,000 people who converged on Tehran's Enqelab Square in the annual protest for Jerusalem Day, known as al-Quds in Arabia.

Similar protests took place in Bahrain, Egypt, Syria and southern Lebanon. The demonstrations occurred on the anniversary of the 1947 decision by the United Nations to partition Palestine and allow creation of a Jewish state.

In Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, thousands of Hezbollah supporters turned out to hear Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah vow ongoing support for the Palestinians.

''On al-Quds Day, we affirm that our choice is clear: Resistance which will regain [Arab] rights and holy sites [in Jerusalem],'' Nasrallah said.
Wave of terror continues: 4 wounded in attack on Israeli village

IDF update
Two terrorists this morning infiltrated the hothouses between the Israeli villages of Bdolah and Atzmona in the area of Gush Katif. The terrorists opened fire on the village's security patrol. IDF forces have begun to chase the terrorists which have already shot an Israeli civilian, an Israeli soldier and two foreign workers. These were lightly wounded and were evacuated to hospitals.

The chase after the terrorists is taking place in the vicinity of the Israeli village of Atzmona and the IDF forces are surrounding one of the terrorists. Helicopters are in the area and ground forces are conducting searches.

Shooting on an IDF stronghold - 2 wounded soldiers

In shooting early this morning on an IDF stronghold near the Israeli village of Neve Dekalim in the Gaza strip two soldiers were slightly wounded. They were evacuated in order to receive medical treatment.
Israeli Elections Could Delay Peace Plan

I fonly there were not the inconvenience of elections--darn democracy--there could have been peace in the Middle East a very long time ago, right? We have yet to hear from the terror groups who are also anxious to get to the peace table. But in passing the article notes other voices being raised as the ineffectiveness of the Intifada for Palestinians
Posted on Sat, Nov. 30, 2002

Israeli Elections Could Delay Peace Plan
NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press

JERUSALEM - A U.S.-backed plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won't be ready by its Dec. 20 target date and may be delayed until after the Israeli elections a month later, a Palestinian official said Friday.

Separately, another influential Palestinian joined Friday in criticizing the Palestinian uprising that has left 1,954 Palestinians and 683 Israelis dead in 26 months of fighting.

The delayed release of the so-called "road map" to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most likely until after the Jan. 28 elections, would mean a further delay in reaching a truce in the uprising, which has come under increasing criticism by Palestinian officials and citizens.

The United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations have jointly been trying to finalize a plan for a negotiated settlement.

The plan, which was to be presented on Dec. 20, calls for a three-phase, three-year program that would result in a Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel.

But Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath, after a meeting with U.S. officials in Washington, said the Americans told him release of the plan would likely be delayed.
[more]
Israel Faces New Row with U.N., Arrests Militant

Isreali forces inadvertently shoot UN worker and Anannon demands those IDF involved be punished. What if it were Palestinians who shot the UN worker, how swift would be Arab punishment, let alone an admission of a mistake having been made?
JERUSALEM - Israel faced a new row with the United Nations over its demand for Israeli troops to be punished for killing a U.N. employee, while the country picked up the pieces after attacks on Israelis at home and abroad.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the killing, saying he "expected Israel to carry out a rigorous investigation of the incident, share its results with the United Nations and hold accountable those responsible," a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on Saturday, but they have said an inquiry was under way into last week's killing of British aid worker Iain Hook during a clash with Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Israel has said a preliminary inquiry showed that Hook was killed by mistake, when troops took aim at gunmen shooting from inside the compound of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). U.N. officials said there were no gunmen inside the building.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested a commander of a militant offshoot of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction which claimed a shooting attack in northern Israel which killed six people this week.

The attack by two gunmen in the town of Beit Shean on Thursday struck a country already reeling from a suicide car bombing which killed 12 people, including three Israelis, at a hotel and a failed attempt to down an Israeli passenger plane, both in Kenya on the same day. Three suicide bombers also died.
[more]


Prof Amr Sabry - Rejoinder

On November 28 I posted an article (also posted here), in which I responded to Prof Sabry’s frivolous, specious comparison between Israel and Iraq. Prof Sabry then responded on his site, saying:
Joseph Alexander Norland wrote an answer to this note. A few comments on his answer:
  • UN resolutions: I rest my case.
  • WMD: I rest my case.
  • On attacking neighbors: Prominently missing from the list are Israel's invasion of Lebanon in which 20,000 civilians were killed, and Israel's bombing of Tunisia. Of course both attacks just like everything else Israel does were in self-defense!
  • War criminals: The legacy of Israeli prime ministers is nothing to be proud of. From Deir Yassin to Sabra and Shatilla, it is a consistent pattern of crimes.
  • Internal oppression: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel provides a starting point for discrimination against Israeli Arabs (those 1.1 million living inside the green line). For those more than 3 million living outside the green line (that's the occupied territories), there are zero rights, which brings us to the ridiculous statement that Israel is a democracy! What kind of democracy is that in which 3 million people (something like 40% of the population living in Israel and the occupied territories) cannot vote because they are of the wrong religion?
The Prof adopted the “I rest my case” approach to the first two items, and I have to wonder why he failed to continue in the same vein for the other three points. But since The Prof chose to cite Tunisia and Lebanon, 1982, as examples of “Israeli aggression”, and since he then proceeded to wave the stale canards of Deir Yassin and Sabra/Shatila, I will respond in separate articles in the near future. (Note, however, that I did address Sabra/Sahtila in my previous article, even though the question should be addressed to his Lebanese friends who actually did the killing.)

This leaves the issue of internal repression. I am reminded of the Cold War years, when supporters of the former USSR and its system went out of their way to convince simple folks like myself that no workers paradise can surpass the workers paradise of the USSR. But in the face of the sophisticated propaganda, we still kept asking this straightforward question: if the Soviet workers paradise is so wonderful, how come the workers escape at the first opportunity that opens up (Hungary, 1956, Czechoslovakia, 1968, over and under the Berlin Wall, etc.), and how come nobody in the West tries to move to the workers paradise of the USSR?

The situation with regard to the “repressed Israeli Arabs” is similar - and documented. For example, on May 2, 2002, MEMRI ran an article that concerned Israeli Arabs in an area labelled “the Triangle”. The suggestion was made to hand this area over to a future Palestinian-Arab state and journalists from the leftist paper Ha’Aretz investigated how the “repressed Israeli Arabs” in the Triangle felt about their territory being transferred to the homeland of their people. Here are excerpts from the MEMRI report, based on Ha’Aretz:

Upon hearing a question about the possibility that in the future they [Israeli-Arabs] would find themselves on the east side of the border between Israel and Palestine, they laughed out loud. A young man from Musmus, who asked that his name not be revealed, said: '…I'll never move to the state of Palestine. After all, my job is in Israel; my friends are all Jews; I was born an Israeli and grew up as an Israeli, and no one can come and tell me: Live in a different place.'

Ha'aretz reporter Ori Nir: If an agreement is somehow reached between the two states to adjust the border and move Musmus to the Palestinian state, the young villager says he will relocate to Israel. 'Fortunately,' the young Israeli-Arab said 'I can choose. I have Jewish girlfriends in Tel Aviv, Acre and Ashkelon. I can decide which one I want to move in with…'

Public opinion surveys of the Arab sector indicate that there is a large Arab majority opposed to the idea. A survey of a broad sampling released by Prof. Sami Smooha and Dr. Assad Ghanem a year ago shows that only 30 percent or so of the respondents support annexing Arab settlements in the Triangle and Wadi 'Ara to the state of Palestine. One-quarter of the residents of the Triangle supported such a move. In the cities of Taybeh and Umm al-Fahm, approximately a third of the respondents were in favor of it. In a survey conducted by Prof. Efraim Ya'ar of Tel Aviv University's Steinmetz Center for Peace Studies in October 2000, 23 percent supported the idea. A survey recently released by the Arab-Israeli weekly, Panorama, which is published in Taybeh, noted only 9 percent of a cross-section of Umm al-Fahm residents supported the idea.
The Prof has now to explain how it comes to pass that when asked, the “repressed Israeli Arabs” are willing to go through hoops to remain in the Jewish state rather than join their Palestinian-Arab brethren. Otherwise we shall have to conclude that the “repressed Israeli Arabs”, like the citizens of the Soviet workers paradise, know something The Prof refuses to admit.

Finally, I’d like to underscore that The Prof failed to answer even a single counter-point that I made (see list below): this is an old tactic of ignoring your interlocutor and carrying on with your agenda of attacking. I will discuss this tactic in a subsequent article too.

Partial list of items I mentioned in my previous article, to which The Prof turned a blind eye, a deaf ear and a mute tongue: Arab aggression against Israel, 1947-8, 1956, 1967, 1973; Arabs ignoring UN resolutions on partition, and on Israeli navigation in international waters; Arab countries in breach of UN Charter requiring peaceful resolution of disputes; Iraq using poisonous gas on Iranians and Kurds; Syrian war crimes in Hama; Jordanian war crimes in Black September; Israeli service to the free world by bombing Osiraq.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This article is cross-posted at IsraPundit and at DawsonSpeaks.

A must-read website

The proliferation of web sites (including bloggers) is becoming a major problem for those who wish to use the web for information and research. Pro-Israel advocacy is not immune to this problem, as anyone who searches the web can attest.

With this in mind, I hesitate to recommend links, unless I deem them to be of special significance. One such link has just come to my attention: the website of postings by Gabrielle Goldwater. In turn, this site is part of a larger pro-Israel site, namely, The Middle East Realities. Equally as important are the e-mail updates that Ms Goldwater sends out on a regular basis; you can receive these updates by writing to her at iii44@aol.com.

I referred previously to the issue of information overload, which is the result of the excessive proliferation of websites. I have attempted to contribute towards consolidation, co-operation and co-ordination among the pro-Israel sites, but I have seen very little in the way of results. If you share my view that there are, indeed, too many sites supporting essentially the same line , I’d like to hear from you, in order to discuss ideas for promoting consolidation. You can post comments or e-mail me at dt804@yahoo.ca.

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

November 29, 2002

Arafat as Sharon's best campaign manager?

Sounds ludicrous, I know.

But, according to strategic consultant Kalman Gayer (as reported in Ha'aretz), Yasser Arafat wanted a Likud Prime Minister to win in 2001, and wants one to win again in 2002:
On the eve of the 2001 elections, strategic consultant Kalman Gayer reached the conclusion that "Arafat prefers a leader from the Likud and not from Labor to head the Israeli government." His analysis was based on three strategically important events that occurred in swift succession:
In May 2000 the Barak government decided on a unilateral pullout from southern Lebanon; two months later, the Camp David summit was held, and failed; and two months after that, on September 29, the intifada began.

Arafat reached the conclusion that he would achieve his political goals by means of terrorism, Gayer wrote. The escalation in terrorism and the suicide bombing attacks worked in Sharon's favor.
When you think about it, it makes a strange kind of sense. Arafat was getting too close to the point where he would have to either accept a peace deal, or turn down something eminently reasonable. The next step at Camp David in 2000 with Ehud Barak was going to necessitate a willingness on Arafat's part to make some concessions and to accept the premise of statehood in exchange for peace. But he couldn't do it. He was too much of a coward, and he realized that his people were not ready to accept it. Things were moving too fast, and Arafat saw them spinning out of control - if he signed a peace treaty he'd be an international hero but a traitor in the Muslim world, and that wasn't the legacy he wanted. Hence the strategic decision to put a grinding halt to the peace process and start a wave of terror and violence that has cost far too many hundreds of lives so far.

But Arafat also knew that, faced with an Israeli leadership willing to make major concessions for peace, the Palestinian side would look bad for turning down these concessions. He needed a scapegoat. He needed an Israeli leader he could villanize. Someone who he could blame for all of the violence, and who the international community would readily see as a hard-line extremist. He needed a Likud Prime Minister. Preferably one with as hard-line a reputation as possible.

Ariel Sharon has been Arafat's dream come true.

So why, then, is he still so popular amongst Israelis? Why did they just vote him back in as leader of the Likud party (effectively giving him another mandate as Prime Minister)? Why, when everything in Israel is a disaster is Sharon enjoying unprecedented popularity?

This is what the Ha'aretz article attempts to explain. It's an interesting read. Check it out.

(Cross-posted at segacs's world i know).

Contributed by Sari S.

Israel faces rampant discrimination at the United Nations

The latest contagious strain of the disease of moral equivalence is the comparison of the dictatorship of Iraq to the democracy of Israel. Joseph Alexander Norland and Zion Blogster have each recently discussed an example of this nonsense. Currently, the proponents of the equivalence between Israel and Iraq are testing Mr. Norland’s claim that “A lie is not transformed into truth by Arabs repeating it ad nauseam” in their attempt to advance the ridiculous notion that the UN is biased in favor of Israel. Julian Schvindlerman refutes this absurdity.
All it takes for a baseless statement to be accepted at face value at the United Nations is for an Arab diplomat to utter it. Just observe the evolution of the newest diplomatic charge by Arab leaders: the United Nations, it turns out, is biased in favor of Israel.
Those making this claim must ignore two realities: the UN itself makes a distinction between the types of resolutions Iraq has violated and those Israel is accused of breaking; and, the UN has a history (and present) of discriminating against Israel.
The main distinction is between U.N. General Assembly resolutions and U.N. Security Council resolutions. The former have political (and in the eyes of public opinion, even moral) authority, but are not legally binding. The latter do create legal obligations for the states they refer to, but -- as United Nations Watch, a Swiss NGO, reported -- the implementation of these obligations vary depending upon the chapter of the United Nations Charter under which they are adopted.

Thus, resolutions adopted under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter, entitled ''Pacific Settlements of Disputes,'' require negotiation. Such is the case, for instance, of U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, adopted in 1967 and 1973 respectively, which call for an Israeli withdrawal from disputed territories in the framework of a negotiated comprehensive peace settlement.

In opposition to this, resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, entitled ''Action With Respect to Threats to Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression,'' can be enforced by third parties. Moreover, as noted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the United Nations can authorize under Article 42 of its Charter the use of military force if a Chapter VII resolution is violated.

Here comes the trick. All U.N. Security Council resolutions that involve Israel were promulgated under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter. All but two U.N. Security Council resolutions related to Iraq's invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait were adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.

This crucial legal distinction means that there is no legitimate basis for the trendy comparison between Iraqi and Israeli compliance, or lack of thereof, with U.N. resolutions.

Now, if the charge that the United Nations is biased against Iraq is unfounded, the implication that the international body is biased in favor of Israel is just bizarre.

Discrimination against Israel in the U.N. system is rampant.

In a constellation of 190 member-states, Israel is the sole nation prevented from winning a seat at the New York-based U.N. Security Council. The Geneva-based U.N. Commission of Human Rights devotes disproportionate attention to real or putative Israeli violations of human rights under a special item of its agenda during its annual meeting; the remaining 189 states are collectively examined under another agenda item.

Furthermore, Israel is the only country ever to have been branded a ''non-peace loving state'' by the U.N. General Assembly, which is driven by the Arab-Muslim bloc.

As a matter of fact, in more than 50 years, the United Nations voted in favor of Israel just two times: in November 1947 (partition of Palestine) and in May 1949 (admission of the Jewish state to the United Nations). It would be hard to find a single pro-Israel resolution since, with the notable exception of the 1991 resolution that revoked one from 1975 that compared Zionism to racism.

The unfortunate reality is that the UN is seen by a number of its members as nothing more than a forum from which to punish Israel for doing nothing more than existing. To claim that this organization is pro-Israel is an insult to the intelligence of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of its workings.

Bomb suspects 'had US passports'


A number of alleged terrorists in the hotel bombing now in custody and it is becoming clear that though Israelis may have been a target the terrorism is everyone's nightmare and no longer confined to the Middle East

Two of 12 suspects being held in connection with the terrorist attack which killed 15 at a Kenyan hotel were using US passports, it was claimed today.

The manager of a hotel where the man and woman were staying when the suicide bombers devastated the Mombasa Paradise today revealed the pair were from Florida. Ben Wafula, general manager of Le Soleil Beach Club, said: "They had American passports and they said they were from Florida."

It came as the bodies of the Israeli victims were flown home today. The dead were identified as brothers Noy and Dvir Anter, aged 12 and 14, from the West Bank settlement of Ariel, and Albert Dehaville, a 60-year-old tour guide from Raanana.

Mr Wafula said the suspects were a mixed-race man and a white woman, both in their early twenties. They arrived on Monday and were trying to check out yesterday morning, two hours after the bombing of the Paradise Hotel, about three miles away. Staff alerted police
US embassy spokesman Peter Claussen, when asked about the US passport holders, said it had "indications from its own information that this may be correct".

The latest development increases suspicion that the attack on the Paradise Hotel and the simultaneous firing of two missiles at an Israeli jet leaving Mombasa airport was the work of al Qaeda.

The flight school used by a number of the 11 September hijackers was in Florida. But if the pair are linked to the attack it will also embarrass the US authorities that they were able to travel freely. Police commissioner Philemon Abong'o said: "I feel they could give us useful information."

US and Israeli agents have joined the search for the terror gang and are searching the wreckage of the hotel for clues
[more]. [note: for an addition report, see CNN


Israeli Troops Blow Up 2 Gunmen's Homes

Shame there was not a family gathering going on while this took place. Note that tucked inside this link a poll indicating that a lot of Palestinians are getting tired of the Intifada and feel it is a deadend tactic.
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Israeli troops on Friday blew up the homes of two Palestinian gunmen who attacked an office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party during a primary vote, killing six Israelis and wounding more than 20.

The gunmen, cousins from a West Bank village, were members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.

In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, two more gunmen dispatched by the militant Islamic Hamas movement opened fire Friday in the Jewish settlement of Dolah, wounding two Thai workers and an Israeli. One of the gunmen was killed.

The Palestinian Authority condemned Thursday's shooting rampage at the Likud branch office in the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean, and said Fatah was not involved in any way in the attack.

"Such operations do not serve the Palestinian people's cause," it said in a statement. "On the contrary, they harm our cause."

A poll published Thursday found that a majority of Palestinians want their security forces to crack down on militants attacking Israel -- a shift that coincides with unprecedented criticism from Arafat's deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, of two years of violence against Israel.

The two developments indicate that Palestinians are souring on their uprising, called "intefadeh" in Arabic, after the death of almost 2,000 Palestinians and 700 Israelis in clashes, military operations and terror attacks.

The poll, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, indicated that Palestinians still strongly favor attacks against Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza -- lands claimed by the Palestinians for their own state -- but 56 percent favor steps by the Palestinian Authority to stop attacks in Israel.

As recently as May, a similar poll showed that 86 percent of Palestinians opposed arresting Palestinian militants involved in suicide bombings inside Israel.

The poll questioned 1,319 people in personal interviews from Nov. 14-22 and quoted a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

In Friday's house demolitions, Israeli troops entered the West Bank village of Jalboun before dawn and blew up the homes of the Beit Shean gunmen Omar and Yousef Abu Rub, both in their 20s, who were killed in Thursday's attack. Eighteen people were left homeless by the demolitions.
[more]
Hueneme Seabees sent to Mideast

American continues silently to buildup of forces in Middle East.
About 100 Seabees from Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme have been deployed to the Middle East as the United States prepares for possible war with Iraq.

The battalion of construction engineers is working at two undisclosed air bases in the region, "pushing a lot of dirt and placing a lot of concrete," said battalion Cmdr. David Fleisch in a news release cited in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

Seabees are making airfield improvements and have begun adding barriers made up of dirt, sand and gravel to improve security, according to the release. During the deployment, crews will also have to move about 30,000 cubic meters of dirt.

Seabee spokeswoman Linda Wadley had not seen the news release but did confirm that an air detachment from Battalion Five was ordered to the Middle East last month "in support of Operation Enduring Freedom." The military newspaper stated that additional Seabees will be joining those units in the next few days.

The location of the Middle East air bases was not disclosed because of security concerns. The Seabees were in Rota, Spain, on a routine training deployment when the order came through, Wadley said.

The deployment is the latest in a string of missions for the Port Hueneme-based Seabees in the war against terrorism around the globe. In February, nearly 60 Seabees were sent to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to construct prison cells for an estimated 300 suspects linked to terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.

Another battalion from the Ventura County base was recently sent to the Philippines in support of allied forces fighting violent Muslim extremist groups there.

In the past few months, the United States has built up forces close to Iraq in anticipation of a military showdown over purported stockpiles of biological and nuclear weapon ingredients. More than 12,000 U.S. forces are in Kuwait training in desert warfare. At least another 14,000 are in other Persian Gulf nations, and the Navy has an aircraft carrier, the USS Lincoln, in the northern Persian Gulf with more than 5,500 sailors and dozens of warplanes aboard.

Earlier this month, Seabees in Rota moved about 140 pieces of construction equipment to the Middle East air bases within 48 hours, according to the battalion news release cited by Stars and Stripes.

About 40 pieces went by ship contracted by the Navy.

In addition to Battalion Five, another group of Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, based in Gulfport, Miss., will go to the region sometime this month, the release stated.

Port Hueneme is home to roughly 3,000 Seabees.
Israel: Only Arafat Off Limits To IDF

It is time to lift this one restriction!
TEL AVIV — Israel’s government is said to have removed all but one restriction on military operations.

The restriction is the destruction of the Palestinian Authority and the expulsion or arrest of chairman Yasir Arafat.

“Today there are no limits on the nature of operations or their length of intensity,” Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said. “The IDF is operating everywhere in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.”

The defense minister issued the assertion on Friday hours after Israel’s military recaptured the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Officials said Bethlehem has turned into a launching pad for suicide missions against Israel, including the bombing of an Israeli passenger bus in which 11 people were killed on Thursday.

But Mofaz ruled out the destruction of the Arafat regime. He said the decision to replace Arafat must be made by the Palestinians themselves.

“In our circumstances, we have to be very considerate in our response,” Mofaz said.

The minister, a former chief of staff, said Israel will not agree to negotiate with the Palestinians until they end their more than two-year war against the Jewish state. Another condition he cited was the replacement of Arafat.

“Over the next year, there will be the beginning of global changes that will affect the Middle East,” Mofaz said. “Will these changes be final? The answer is no.”

In Bethlehem, Israel’s military demolished five homes of Palestinian militants. They included those from the ruling Fatah movement and Islamic opposition groups. In addition, more than 30 suspected insurgents have been captured by the military. (See story below.)

In Washington, the U.S. urged Israel to complete its military operation in Bethlehem. “We are also urging the Israelis, in the course of their operations, to keep in mind the consequences of their actions, to complete these operations as quickly as possible and to take steps to avoid further civilian casualties,” State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said on Friday. (MENL)
November 29, 1947 - November 29, 2002





Today is the 55th anniversary of the UN vote on resolution 181, which approved the partition of the western part Palestine into a predominately Jewish state and a predominately Arab state. (It is vital to recall that the UN partition plan referred to western Palestine, to underscore that in 1921 the eastern part was ripped off the Jewish National Home by the British Government and handed over to the then Emir Abdullah.)

The partition plan was approved by 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions.

The 33 countries that cast the “Yes” vote were: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Union of South Africa, USSR, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela. (Among other countries, the list includes the US, the three British Dominions, all the European countries except for Greece and the UK, but including all the Soviet-block countries.)

The 13 countries that chose the Hall of Shame and voted “No” were: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen. (Ten of these are Moslem countries; Greece has the special distinction of being the only European country to have joined the Hall of Shame.)

The ten countries that abstained are: Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

On November 30, 1947, the day following the vote, the Palestinian Arabs murdered six Jews in a bus making its way to Jerusalem, and proceeded to murder another Jew in the Tel-Aviv - Jaffa area. This was a prelude to a war that claimed the lives of 6,000 Jews, or 1% of the total Jewish population in 1948. This toll is the per capita equivalent of today’s Canada losing 300,000 lives, or the US losing 3,000,000. In addition, immediately after the UN vote, Arabs attacks their Jewish neighbours in a number of Arab countries, the murders in Syria’s Aleppo being the best known.

Bruised and bleeding, Israel prevailed nonetheless. May our sister-democracy thrive and flourish.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland

Israelis Enter The Broader War On Terror

The latest violence may or may not be related to al Qaeda but it's clear that Israels enemies are multiplying and U.S. call for restraint are inappropriate. For political reasons we can't have Israel as a direct partner -- it would alienate Arab countries that are supporting our overthrow of Saddam -- but we can cut them loose.

In the past I've considered Israel's obsessive focus on Arafat to be misplaced, and still think that way. If a member of Islamic Jihad commits an act of terror the Israeli's should pursue Islamic Jihad relentlessly and make their destruction a priority. Same goes for Hamas and the al Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, which are affiliated with Arafat's fatah movement. My point is, keeping Arafat trapped in his headquarters when Hamas commits an act of terror makes no sense. In this case, go after Hamas and capture or kill all of its members. That's what we are doing with al Qaeda and Israel should be allowed to do no less.
Within hours of Thursday's terrorist bomb attack on the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Kenya, Hercules C-130 transporters were trundling down the runway at Mombasa airport, bringing in Israeli medical teams, and military and intelligence personnel.

Israel had been thrust into the heart of the U.S.-led war on terrorism -- something the Bush administration has been trying to prevent.

There was still no confirmation Friday as to who was responsible for the suicide bombing of the beachfront hotel. At least 15 were killed, including three young Israeli tourists, and some 80 were injured.

Also unknown is the hand behind the simultaneous surface-to-air rockets fired at an Israeli charter plane as it took off from Mombasa airport. But the immediate reaction of some terrorism experts was that the hotel attack bore the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation by Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist organization.

They compared it to the devastating nightclub bombing in Bali last month in which 180 tourists perished, mostly Australians, and which the Indonesian authorities have linked to the tentacular terrorist organization.

If the Paradise bombing is the work of al Qaida, it will be the first time the terrorist organization has carried out an attack against Israelis.

It will also bear out recent declarations purporting to come from Saudi-born renegade bin Laden and other senior al Qaida figures that Israelis would be targeted because of their government's treatment of the Palestinians.

But even if the attack is not conclusively linked to al Qaida, it will still have drawn the Israelis into a wider war on terrorism -- George Bush's war, as distinct from the endless bloodletting at home in Israel against Palestinian militant groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

We need to cut the Israelis loose and instruct them to stay focused on the organizations that perpetrate acts of terror. Pursue them relentlessly and by all means destroy them. But keep your eye on the ball.

"And if you believe this, then there is a bridge in Brooklyn...”

In a rational world, fantasies such as the Protocols of the Elder of Zion, 9-11 being the work of Jews, and the standard Blood Libels would be too absurd to warrant rebuttal. But the world we live in is not rational, and if these libels are left unanswered they may gain credibility, at least with some people.

For this reason, I deem Jared Israel’s articles on the Protocols to be very important (the link given is for Part 1, which, in turn, provides the link to the subsequent parts). Mr Israel has done a commendable rebuttal job, putting the Protocols in the broad context of anti-Semitic, fascist propaganda. An example:

"The Protocols" states that progressive movements - as far back as the 18th century movement for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity - are all secretly the work of Jews. By spreading the ideas of "The Protocols", fascist operatives, often covertly employed by seemingly respectable Establishments, can accuse those who demand change or who expose abuses of being agents of 'The Jews'. Since anti-Jewish prejudice (anti-Semitism) is common anyway, presenting the struggle for social reform as being controlled by 'The Jews' is an attempt to convince people that social reform is bad for them. Thus, the ideas in "The Protocols" are used to poison the very terms of political discourse and to destroy movements for reform, isolating honest reformers, or even transforming such movements into tools of the Establishment.
Mr Israel also undertook the task of scanning and posting on the web a 1921 London Times article that refuted the Protocols libel 80 years ago (which illustrates just how backward the Arab countries are).

Mr Israel’s posts join a large array of articles on the topic; a Google search under “Protocols of the elders of Zion” yields well over 8,000 links. But all this material is hardly enough to convince the Egyptian government or the Egyptian “street”. Characteristic of their intransigence in the matter, and of their pathological denial, is a letter sent by the Egyptian embassy in Ottawa, as published in the Ottawa Citizen on November 27, 2002. The letter reads as follows:
Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Re: A lesson in hate, Nov. 11.

Egyptian media policy ensures equal respect for all religions and beliefs. It also does not allow for any dramatic work or program to contain innuendos aimed at religious institutions.

The drama series Knight without a Horse does not contain, in its dramatization nor its discourse, what could be taken as a "call for anti-Semitism."

Egyptian media policy respects the right to freedom of expression, as that is a human right. Denying individuals this right would not be synonymous with the democracy that Egyptian society has proved to follow, and that allows this society to respect the cultural practices of others, as well as their religious and sacred beliefs.

Stirring up an allegation of anti-Semitism at this time of crisis is an old tactic, and since the allegations have not been proved truthful, I think there is a hidden agenda.

In regards to the allegations that "anti-Semitism" is growing within Egyptian society, there is a big difference between anger toward Israeli politics and "anti-Semitism."

This drama series, like all the rest in Egypt, has passed a rigorous government censorship committee prior to receiving approval for broadcasting. This committee ensures that any material that might be doubted, in terms of religious innuendos, be removed.

It is our position that certain Zionist circles have created this propaganda to divert attention away from the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and its daily consequences on the Palestinian people's freedom and right to practice their religious rituals and to earn a living.

Fatma Abdalla,

Ottawa

Director of the press office,

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Our Fatma forgot the punch line: “And if you believe this letter, then there is a bridge in Brooklyn...”

Now, we all realize that Our Fatma’s letter does not even pass the Straight Face Test, but IsraPundit goes to great length to document even the best established facts, so let’s examine some evidence. (The snippets quoted below represent a random collection, rather than a systematic research job, but even the random array is sufficient to document my point.)

Consider the case of Saad Eddin Ibrahim. On September 5, 2001, just one year ago, AP reported:
A court convicted a prominent Egyptian-American human rights campaigner and 27 others Monday on charges of tarnishing Egypt's image, accepting foreign money without government approval and embezzling funds.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, 61, was sentenced to seven years in prison. The others received sentences ranging from one to seven years. The harsh ruling was immediately condemned by activists and Ibrahim, who all along has said the charges were prompted by his political activities and the decision to set up an independent committee to monitor last year's parliamentary elections.
At this point, James Taranto would probably have added, “Egypt receives from the US $2 billion annually.” But let us continue with the evidence.

Ibrahim is a Christian Copt, a member of one of Egypt’s persecuted minorities. The Copt’s web site is replete with examples of discrimination and harassment of Copts by the Egyptian authorities (to confirm, use the site’s search engine for “egypt”). For example, following an attack on a Copt church, AFP reported on February 5, 2001:
Muslims are now "encouraged to kill Christians" in Egypt after a court on Monday acquitted most of those accused of massacring Christians in January last year, a leading Coptic cleric charged.

"All the murderers were acquitted. That means Muslims are encouraged to kill Christians. They are being told 'Go ahead. Kill Coptic Christians'," Bishop Wissa of Balyana, which includes the town of Kosheh, told AFP.
On September 6, 2002, MEMRI reported:
The editor of the largest Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, Ibrahim Nafi', who is also chairman of the Association of Arab Journalists, was subpoenaed by French legal authorities in Paris for incitement to antisemitism and racist violence. The subpoena came nearly two years after Al-Ahram published an article on October 10, 2000, titled "Jewish Matzah is Made of Arab Blood," by journalist 'Adel Hamooda. The article was based on the 1840 Damascus blood libel in which the Damascus Jewish community was accused of murdering a priest and his assistant to obtain their blood for making
Passover matzos.
On June 18, 2002, IMRA reported:
Cairo Egyptian Satellite Channel 1 Television in Arabic at 1005 GMT on 14 June carries a live relay of the Friday prayer sermons from the al-Rifa'i mosque in Cairo. The sermon is delivered by Dr. Ahmad Umar Hashim, the head of al-Azhar University, supreme head of the world Muslim youth, and member of the Egyptian higher Sufi council. Reception is good.
...
Concluding his sermon, Dr. Hashim prays to God: "... O Lord, make us victorious over your enemies, the enemies of religion. O Lord, defeat the Jews your enemies, the enemies of religion.
On May 3, 2002, MEMRI provided a translation from an article by Fatma Abdallah Mahmoud titled "Accursed Forever and Ever," which appeared in the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar, April 29, 2002:
"With regard to the fraud of the Holocaust… Many French studies have proven that this is no more than a fabrication, a lie, and a fraud!! That is, it is a 'scenario' the plot of which was carefully tailored, using several faked photos completely unconnected to the truth. Yes, it is a film, no more and no less. Hitler himself, whom they accuse of Nazism, is in my eyes no more than a modest 'pupil' in the world of murder and bloodshed. He is completely innocent of the charge of frying them in the hell of his false Holocaust!!"

"The entire matter, as many French and British scientists and researchers have proven, is nothing more than a huge Israeli plot aimed at extorting the German government in particular and the European countries in general. But I, personally and in light of this imaginary tale, complain to Hitler, even saying to him from the bottom of my heart, 'If only you had done it, brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief [without] their evil and sin.'"

"Since their birth, the Jews [have amassed] hatred and hostility towards Islam and the Muslims. They have always laid traps for the Muslims, woven conspiracies and crimes against them, and been biased in favor of their enemies and occupiers…"
Do any of these facts jive with the fantasy land portrayed by Our Fatmah? Do they really think we are entirely stupid?

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland

Netanyahu: Missile attack 'dangerous escalation of terror'

This URL contains 12 articles on most terror attacks.
Summary:
Kenya The twin attacks on an Israeli-owned beach resort and an Israeli charter jetliner have left Kenyans shocked and wondering why their country should be the target of two deadly terrorist attacks in four years. (12) The attacks in Kenya on a hotel and an aircraft have demonstrated the difficulty of ensuring security for foreign tourists in holiday destinations that are soft targets for would be attackers. (11) Netanyahu said Israel had no information on who was responsible for Thursday's double attack -- the firing of missiles toward an Arkia airlines passenger plane after takeoff from Mombasa, Kenya, and a simultaneous explosion at a Mombasa hotel. (8) Americans in Kenya should exercise "extra caution" at hotels, tourist locations and urban areas, the State Department said Thursday after simultaneous attacks in the east African nation on an Israeli-owned hotel and an Israeli airliner. (10) Fifteen people were killed when three suicide bombers attacked an Israeli-owned hotel, and a short time later at least two missiles were fired at? but missed? an Israeli airliner departing Mombasa for Tel Aviv. (3) The two Palestinians were killed after an exchange of gunfire with Israeli police and soldiers who were at the bus station, Israeli officials said. (9)
Sharon wins leadership battle on 'difficult day'

This url has 16 articles on elections
Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon defeated Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for control of the Likud party Thursday in a primary election that was scarred by a Palestinian gun attack on a polling station and twin terror attacks against Israelis in Kenya. (6) Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire Thursday at a bus station and adjacent Likud party polling station in Beit Shean, Israel, killing five Israelis, according to police. (11) Members of Israel's right-wing Likud Party is voting for a new leader, in preparation for a general election early next year. (8) Security is a leading issue in the vote - which is being overshadowed by the suicide attack against an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya. (8) "Israel is standing now in the face of a murderous terrorist attack aimed at murdering and killing Jews," Sharon said during a press conference in Israel. (10) There are conflicting reports about what caused the explosion that killed the two men late on Tuesday in a building in the Jenin refugee camp. (13) Israeli soldiers engaged in a "massive exchange of fire" early Wednesday with Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza refugee camp of Khan Yunis, the Israel Defense Forces said. (14)
Analysis:Israel now pulled into terror war

Israel claims this piece now drawn into the larger war on terrorism. But this may in fact be a recognition that it is in fact Us versus Them, and the sidelining of Israel by the Bush administation may be coming to and end.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Within hours of Thursday's terrorist bomb attack on the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Kenya, Hercules C-130 transporters were trundling down the runway at Mombasa airport, bringing in Israeli medical teams, and military and intelligence personnel.

Israel had been thrust into the heart of the U.S.-led war on terrorism -- something the Bush administration has been trying to prevent.

There was still no confirmation Friday as to who was responsible for the suicide bombing of the beachfront hotel. At least 15 were killed, including three young Israeli tourists, and some 80 were injured.

Also unknown is the hand behind the simultaneous surface-to-air rockets fired at an Israeli charter plane as it took off from Mombasa airport. But the immediate reaction of some terrorism experts was that the hotel attack bore the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation by Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist organization.

They compared it to the devastating nightclub bombing in Bali last month in which 180 tourists perished, mostly Australians, and which the Indonesian authorities have linked to the tentacular terrorist organization.

If the Paradise bombing is the work of al Qaida, it will be the first time the terrorist organization has carried out an attack against Israelis.

It will also bear out recent declarations purporting to come from Saudi-born renegade bin Laden and other senior al Qaida figures that Israelis would be targeted because of their government's treatment of the Palestinians.

But even if the attack is not conclusively linked to al Qaida, it will still have drawn the Israelis into a wider war on terrorism -- George Bush's war, as distinct from the endless bloodletting at home in Israel against Palestinian militant groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
[more]
In coordinated assaults on Israelis in the Kenyan city of Mombasa today, terrorists fired shoulder-launched missiles at a crowded Israeli passenger jet, missing their target, minutes before three suicide bombers drove up to the doors of an Israeli-owned hotel and detonated their explosives. [link]

Hold on a minute....

In coordinated assaults on Israelis in the Kenyan city of Mombasa today, terrorists fired...

Terrorists????

I thought only militants killed Israelis, not terrorists.

I guess even the NY Times finds it hard to argue that Jews on vacation in Kenya deserve to be murdered because they constitute an oppressive colonial presence in Mombasa.

November 28, 2002

I am often inclined to think that, to a certain extent, nations get the leaders they deserve. Also, in more than few instances, the leader is really an embodiment of the “national character”, i.e. of that nation’s culture, it’s “collective psyche”. Naturally, this mostly applies to nations where the people have at least some say in choosing their leaders.

The Palestinians chose their leader themselves. No, I did not take Jimmy Carter seriously, when he wrote in the NYT some time ago that those elections were clean and fair. And I realize that there may have not been any serious competition. Yes, Clinton, Rabin and the EU are at fault, too. But the bottom line is that the Palestinians were given a chance at democracy, and they blew it by overwhelmingly electing Arafat. And this is a classic case of a people who deserve their leader, because he is the embodiment of what they are at their worst.

Now, if Arafat were kicked out, it would be very satisfying on an emotional level, to very many people. It would be even more satisfying if he was killed. But as a practical matter it is not going to do much good, and can even do some harm. (If he is kicked out, he will start touring the world again, regain legitimacy, raise money, and we will see him in the media much more often than I can bear. If he is killed, he will become a martyr, and we will not be able to kick him out, not to mention kill him again, and he will be all over our TV’s for a long time.)

Steve DB says that if Arafat were gone, “that would be one of the best things that could ever happen to the Palestinians”. It is true, but only if Palestinians themselves do it. They don’t need to kill him, just kick him out. Of course, I don’t see this happening any time soon. It would take for them to change their “national character”, their culture, their “collective psyche”. Absent some major traumatic event, it is not very likely to happen.

Now this might not make any sense, but I have the feeling that the Palestinians are running out of time. As long as Arafat is alive, they can kick him out – both literally (out of the country) and metaphorically (by changing their entire outlook on themselves, the world around them, on life, and on death). Once he is dead, even a natural death (and it will happen – he is not getting any younger) it will be so much more difficult, if not impossible for them to do. Steve says that they are digging their own grave, and I think that they are likely to share it with their chosen leader.

(Crossposted here).

A TIME FOR ACTION

Two car bombs in attack on Israeli hotel in Kenya. Two surface to air missiles shot at Israeli plain in Kenya. Six killed in shooting in Israel.

It is time for Israel to act like a sovereign state and protect its citizens or to shutter the doors and move out of the Middle East.
Whether or not the US tells Israel that it can do this, it is Israel's responsibility to do this.

If the US does not untie Israel's hands, then the US is complicit in the murder of Israeli's.

Kenya attack slide show

Please click link for photos of Kenya terror attack at Israeli-owned hotel.

Livingstone sues Muslim group

One of the many benefits of living in a democracy is that you can when need be go to the courts to keep some semblence of law and order
London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone is to take legal action against an extremist Islamic group that defied his ban on its rally in Trafalgar Square last summer.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mr Livingstone said that after receiving legal advice, he had been advised that the Greater London Authority had a good legal case against Al-Muhajiroun, the organisers of the demonstration.

Lawyers were “preparing papers” to be served on the group, which the mayor described as being virulently anti-Semitic.

Despite Mr Livingstone’s rejecting Al-Muhajiroun’s application to hold a demonstration at Trafalgar Square in August, it went ahead. The rally attracted about 600 protesters, and several scuffles broke out.

Criticising the organisation, Mr Livingstone said: “This group poses as an Islamic organisation, but its views are rejected by the vast majority of Muslims in Britain, who are repelled by their aggressive actions and vicious anti-Semitism.

“I gave a commitment that if they went ahead with the rally, I would seek to prosecute, and I have instructed our lawyers that summonses should be served.”

The decision brought rare praise for the mayor from GLA Conservative members. Brian Coleman, member for Barnet and Camden, said: “It is imperative that a clear message is sent out to anti-Semitic organisations such as Al Muhajiroun that their activities will not be sanctioned by the London government.”
[more]
A STUDY IN COMPARATIVE JOURNALISM

Today's WaPo:

Israeli and Kenyan officials were quick to blame today's attacks on the al Qaeda network, which is also blamed for the bloody 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

How about this instead:
Israeli and Kenyan officials were quick to blame attribute today's attacks on to the al Qaeda network, which is also blamed responsible for the bloody 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Is that too much to ask for?

Arafat Funds Arms Deal

This had been reported earlier but here is proof from documents
A top secret document approved on December 15, 2001 was confiscated from the PPS compound in Gaza. The document reveals an approved acquisition of 250 Kalachnikov rifles bought on behalf of the PPS. The deal was signed for in Arafat's main office on December 15, 2001, the night Arafat declared a cease-fire. It was the same night that the infamous Karine "A" made it's way to Gaza from Iran. (A ship laden with explosives, discovered by IDF Forces).

The document confirms Arafat's involvement in the purchasing and trafficking of weaponry for Palestinian militias. Arafat and his associates' involvement extends from 'minor' arms deals such as the purchase of 250 Kalachnikov's to a shipload (Karine "A") of strategic warfare equipment.

Following is the document found in the PPS compound in Gaza: Document [note: document is in English; above it (see link) in Arabic]
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are committed to the decisions of the Fatah leadership

Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Question: what should be done about it?
Note: this just in from DEBKA: Four Israelis killed, more than 30 injured - 3 critically, 10 seriously - in Palestinian shooting-grenade rampage at Beit Shean central bus station, post office and crowded Likud voting booth, Thursday afternoon. Soldiers shoot two dead. Suspected booby-trapped car found nearby.

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, arm of Arafat’s Fatah, claims Beit Shean killings.

Following is a quotation from habash's interview:
"The brigades (Al-Aqsa Martyrs) were founded by the initiative of (the operatives) on the ground by the leadership in the different regions. Their establishment was intended to bring the Fatah to fulfill it's (worthy) role in the struggle and in the Intifida. They were not founded by a decision of the central committee (the supreme leadership of the Fatah) but they are committed to the positions of the movement reached by the central committee and the decisions of the national and Islamic forces (the supreme coordinator body of the Palestinian political and semi-military forces responsible for coordinating the Intifada activities. Note: The words of Sahar Habash, a senior leader of the Fatah movement and very close to Arafat, point to the direct ties between the military wing (active as a terrorist wing) of the Fatahto the political leadership of the movement headed by Yasser Arafat. It is worth remembering that the U.S and the European Union declared in mid 2002 that the military wing of the Fatah was a "terrorist organization".
Source, in Arabic
Sharon set to vanquish Netanyahu in primary

Bibi's camp worries that his political life will be finished if Israeli Prime Minister wins convincingly in leadership race.
TEL AVIV -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is set to win a remarkable victory over his Likud party archrival Benjamin Netanyahu today, capping a primary campaign in which he provocatively argued that Palestinians will eventually get a sovereign state.

The concession was a stunning turnaround for the man who was once regarded as the most extreme right-winger of stature in Israeli politics, and who many thought would run a poor second to Mr. Netanyahu in the affections of the Likud faithful.

Polls published in Israeli newspapers yesterday showed Mr. Sharon running more than 20 percentage points ahead of Mr. Netanyahu, a smooth-talking former prime minister who recently joined Mr. Sharon's cabinet as Foreign Minister after a three-year absence from public office.

In an interview in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper yesterday, Mr. Sharon dismissed what he called the "hard-line slogans" of Mr. Netanyahu, who has opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state under any circumstances.

"Will we stay in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem forever?" Mr. Sharon asked, referring to West Bank cities that have been occupied by Israeli troops. "Will we stay in Hebron forever? Inside Gaza?"

Although Mr. Netanyahu, nicknamed Bibi, was badly beaten in a 1999 general election after three years as prime minister, he remained the darling of the Israeli right because of his conservative views on economics and security.

He began his campaign to win back the party's leadership with a critique of Mr. Sharon's handling of Israel's shaky economy. However, when that didn't seem to help his standing in the polls, he shifted to a shrill attack on Mr. Sharon's approach to the conflict with the Palestinians.

Even after joining the cabinet, Mr. Netanyahu continued to advocate the expulsion of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a step Mr. Sharon has resisted under U.S. pressure.

More significantly, Mr. Netanyahu said that after the coming elections he could not remain in a government that advocated Palestinian statehood.

"After 10 years of terrible terror with the Palestinian Authority, is there anyone left who does not understand that the PA intends to destroy [Israel]?" Mr. Netanyahu asked.

The differences between the two men may be more stylistic and rhetorical than real. But instead of reacting defensively, Mr. Sharon used Mr. Netanyahu's criticisms as leverage to reposition himself closer to the middle ground of Israeli politics.
[more]
Oregon Guard passes time, keeps peace on lonely Sinai

Keepers of the peace at a spot where there seems no need for peace to be kept. Will such forces someday be asked to serve in much more volatile area between the Israelis and Arabs?
SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt - The clouds hung gray and thin off the Red Sea, looking more like shadows of curtains cast above the water than distant thunderheads. Spc. Hans Christenson, a National Guardsman from Roseburg, watched foot and boat traffic in the 80-degree weather.

Christenson is a member of B Company, 186th Infantry, First Battalion of the Oregon Army National Guard. The company is out of Klamath Falls, where he's a student at the Oregon Institute of Technology.

He's been on the giant sun-baked rock that is the Sinai Peninsula since the beginning of July, involved in one of the United States' most important foreign policy assignments.

Christenson, at his outpost north of Sharm El Sheikh, watched the graying sky.

``It's not that bad,'' he said of the mission. ``I'm single, getting a chance to see another part of the world.''

Christenson is among 529 members of the Oregon National Guard deployed to the Sinai to monitor the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords, which brought an end to war between Israel and Egypt and formed the Multinational Force and Observers mission.

Forces from 11 countries serve on the Sinai Peninsula to ensure the treaty is enforced and peace between the two nations remains.

Regularly referred to as the MFO, the mission began in 1982 and has involved, for America's part, solely regular U.S. Army troops. However, last winter the National Guard was called in to free up the regular Army for the current war on terrorism.

Oregon is the second National Guard unit to perform the MFO mission. The Arkansas Army National Guard took the post in January and left in July once the Oregon Guardsmen showed up.

The Oregon Guardsmen are serving in the Sinai until the end of January. The chief function of the MFO is watching the environment around nine outposts, keeping track of area traffic.

In three-hour shifts, Oregon Army National Guard soldiers sit, watch and report movement they see along roads, sea lanes and in the sky. The outposts were built at strategic points across the Sinai to facilitate the observation of traffic across the land mass.

Bedouin tribes still wander across the open land, often bringing in mines they've come across and giving them to soldiers.
[more]
11 Killed in Simultaneous Attacks on Israelis in Kenya

Terrorism now going beyond Israel to strike at Israelis
MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Three suicide car bombers killed at least eight people on Thursday at a Kenyan hotel used by Israelis, and missiles were fired at an Israeli airliner nearby in attacks both countries blamed on the al Qaeda network.

``I can see eight bodies in the lobby. Most appear to be adult men,'' a witness said outside the wreckage of the Mombasa Paradise hotel.

Police said a total of 11 were confirmed killed, including three bombers, six Kenyans and two Israelis.

Witnesses spoke of survivors staggering from the resort hotel to the nearby beach and screaming for water.

``Around 7:30, we heard a massive explosion. The entire building shook. From what I can gather, a car crashed through the gates of the hotel and into the lobby. Bombs were then thrown from the car,'' witness Kelly Hartog wrote on the Web site of The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

Eighty people were wounded in the hotel blast, Kenya's ambassador to Israel said. There was no claim of responsibility. Most of the tourists at the hotel were believed to be Israelis.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli Army Radio: ``To my regret there are two dead, two children.'' Israeli television separately reported that there were three Israeli dead, two of them children.

Within minutes of the hotel blast, missiles were fired at an Israeli Arkia airliner carrying 261 passengers as it took off from Mombasa's airport.

``About two kilometers (1.5 miles) from the airport, two missiles were fired at the aircraft from a white Pajero by some people who are suspected to be of Arab origin. Both missiles missed the aircraft,'' police spokesman Kimgori Mwangi said.

The hotel attackers were also described as of Arab appearance and also driving a white four-wheeled drive Pajero they had turned into a suicide bomb.
[more]
PALESTINIAN SURPRISE

A top Palestinian offical says that the Intifada "a mistake."
JERUSALEM - Yasser Arafat's top deputy said the violent uprising against Israel has been a disaster for the Palestinians and must be stopped.

"What happened in these two years, as we see it now, is a complete destruction of everything we built," Abu Mazen told members of Arafat's Fatah faction.

The comments from Mazen - a possible successor to Arafat - are the strongest denunciation by a senior Palestinian official of the uprising that has resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis since it began in September 2000.

But the release of his remarks - which were made Oct. 24 but leaked Tuesday - raised suspicions that they were designed to undermine Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who faces a key political challenge today.

Mazen, also known as Mahmoud Abbas, is No. 2 in the Palestine Liberation Organization and has been frequently mentioned as a leading candidate to succeed the 73-year-old Arafat.

In his speech, to a meeting of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip, Mazen said Palestinian activists had blundered their way into violence.
[more]

Whether or not you bomb Iraq, support Israel

On November 13, Zion Blogster posted on IsraPundit an article concerning Amr Sabry, an associate professor of computer science at Indiana University, Bloomington, who suggested "Don't Bomb Iraq. Bomb Israel."

In attempting to retrieve the "Don't Bomb Iraq” wisdom, as dispensed by Prof Sabry, I discovered that the relevant page had been removed, but thanks to Google I was able to retrieve a cached copy nonetheless.

(Prof Sabry, as a computer science professor, may not know this, but hiding in the Google era is not easy, and if you goof, you’re stuck with your foot in your mouth.)

I am reproducing Prof Sabry’s text below because it provides an excellent example of the level to which anti-Israel propaganda can descend. My comments follow the quotation.

Don't Bomb Iraq. Bomb Israel.
  • Iraq has violated a few UN resolutions. Israel has violated ten times more UN resolutions.
  • Iraq is threatening to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. Israel has already manufactured weapons of mass desctruction. [sic]
  • Iraq attacked two of its neighbors. Israel attacked four of its neighbors and bombed two other neighboring countries a few thousand miles away for good measure.
  • Iraq is ruled by a dictator. Israel is ruled by a war criminal.
  • In Iraq, the Kurds are second-class citizens. In Israel, the Arabs are third-class citizens and the Palestinians are nothing.

It is far too easy to refute these ludicrous comparisons between Israel and Iraq, and therefore the effort is hardly satisfying intellectually. Still, for the record, suffice it to note that:
  • Violation of UN resolutions: In 1947-48, Iraq, together with Lebanon, Transjordan, Egypt, and Syria, rejected UN resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine; these countries then proceeded to violate several Security Council resolutions that called for a cease fire. (On July 11 to 14, I posted on
    CitCUN a series of four articles providing full details.) Leading into the 1956 and 1967 wars, Egypt violated several UN calls for unhindered Israeli navigation in international waters concerning the 1956 war (see CitCUN article dated June 3, 2002). Since the Gulf War, Iraq has repeatedly ignored the Security Council resolutions concerning the inspectors; the number 16 is repeated on CNN time and again. To describe these as “Iraq has violated a few UN resolutions” is patently absurd. Furthermore, Iraq and her Arab allies are in breach of the the UN Charter, which requires resolution of international conflicts by peaceful means, but since 1947-48, Iraq has chosen the path of war against Israel (see CitCUN). Beyond these details, however, there is little doubt about the big picture: the UN is indeed a cesspool of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and anti-US propaganda; but whereas the US has the protection afforded to a “permanent Security Council member”, aka as veto power, Israel stands defenceless, as illustrated by the infamous UN Resolution equating Zionism with racism (see CitCUN article). Israel would do well do ignore the UN as best she can.
  • WMD. One has to be a barefaced liar to claim that “Iraq is threatening to manufacture weapons of mass destruction”, when in fact Iraq has actually used WMD, such as the poisonous gas Iraq used in the Iran-Iraq War as well as on the Kurdish population is Halabja.
  • Aggression against neighbors. In the 1980's, Iraq attacked two of its neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, in an unprovoked war of aggression. Israel attacked nobody, but rather was attacked by Iraq and four other Arab countries in 1948. In 1956 Israel had to resort to arms after Egypt turned the Gaza strip into a terrorist base that menaced Israel ceaselessly (as noted above, see CitCUN article). In 1967 Israel had to resort to arms after Egypt produced one casus belli after another, from closing international waterways to Israeli navigation, to ejecting a UN buffer force in the Sinai, to mobilizing aggressive armies in the Sinai. In 1973 Israel was attacked again, and this time the Arabs could not even cover themselves with the figleaf of Israel’s pre-emptive strike. Israel did bomb Osiraq in June, 1981, for which the Gulf War Coalition has yet to thank Israel: imagine having to wage the Gulf War with an operable nuclear weapons outfit in Osiraq! (See CitCUN article.) To present Israel as an aggressor on par with Iraq is utterly absurd. It also characterizes the principal principle of Arab propaganda: confuse the world by inversion of the truth.
  • War Criminals. Anyone who has followed the Sabra/Shatila affair and the subsequent failed attempts to sue Sharon as a “war criminal”, can only laugh at this accusation. War criminals may be those who ordered the slaughter of 20,000 Syrians in Hama, 1982, or those who slaughtered 10,000 Palestinians in Jordan’s Black September, but definitely not Sharon, regardless of how insistent the Arab propaganda is. A lie is not transformed into truth by Arabs repeating it ad nauseam. .
  • Internal oppression. The Arabs in both Israel and Yesha have easy access to Israeli courts, including the Israeli Supreme Court; without the US-UK aerial umbrella, Iraq’s Kurds have access to nothing but poisonous gas. Israeli Arabs vote like any other Israeli, and their representation in the Israeli Parliament is quite visible to all but blind professors.
Of course, one can continue refuting Prof Sabry’s arguments to the end of time, citing facts, dates and figures. But to my mind, it is important to appreciate the strategy employed by the Arab propaganda, rather than to focus on a detailed rebuttal.

The global picture is quite clear: Iraq is a brutal dictatorship that engaged in aggression against her Arab neighbors and in oppression of all her citizens. Israel is our sister-democracy and it is our sacred duty to support her. She is trying to survive under the harshest conditions imaginable, and the fact that she is still successful in maintaining a civilized, democratic society is nothing short of a miracle. (During WW II, with the Japanese enemy many miles away from North America, both the US and Canada herded their Japanese citizens into concentration camps; Israel, during her 54 years of constant war, and with the enemy on her doorstep, has never resorted to actions even remotely similar.)

And yet Prof Sabry has the temerity to compare Israel to Iraq, and to imply that in this comparison, Israel comes up short. Using quarter-truths, inversions of truth, cheap slogans, and outright lies, the Arab propaganda machine has been trying to confuse and obfuscate, and Prof Sabry’s text is a good example of this methodology.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland

Arik, The King Of The Jews!

Today the Likud will pick its leader and the person that is likely to be the next Prime Minister. While many of my friends on the right have written in support of Bibi Netanyahu, I believe that they are being shortsighted. While I am painfully aware of the often incomprehensible restraint Sharon has shown in reaction to Palestinian atrocities and the free reign he provided to Ben-Eliezer to sacrifice security for his own political ends, I believe that Sharon has done the best that could be hoped for under difficult diplomatic and political circumstances. It is easy for Netanyahu to make statements about how aggressive he would be as PM against the PLO, but as I recall, it was Netanyahu who signed the Wye River accords which started the transfer of Area A to the terrorists and it was also Netanyahu who surrendered the holy city of Hebron to the murderers despite his promise never to do so. Sharon has certainly never agreed to give up a single inch to Arafat and has actually consistently increased settlement activity as Housing Minister and PM. I believe my fellow right-wingers who have lost faith in him are overestimating Netanyahu's ability to deliver on his promise of immediately ending Arafat's terror regime. With the economy in shambles, and Israel desperately needing to keep its only major ally, it would be the wrong time to aggressively distance themselves from American policy. I am surprised how quickly people have forgotten Sharon's impeccable record of over 50 years. While much of the right condemns Sharon for what he has not yet achieved, I prefer to look at his impeccable record of over 50 years from Qibya, to Umm Qatef, to Deversoir. Let us remember that as Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement Affairs from 1977 to 1981 and as Minister of Housing & Construction from 1990 to 1992, Sharon initiated and carried out the extensive settlement of Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan. While it is easy to sit back and criticize what he has not yet been able to accomplish, I think it would be difficult for anyone to find someone who had done more for Israel’s security and for the Jewish presence in Yesha. My friends in the National Camp seem to forget what he has accomplished so far in his short time as PM. He has effectively nullified the Oslo Accords without incurring the wrath of the US and has completely destroyed the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority to the point that Arafat is no longer a major military force. Furthermore he has wiped out the majority of the leadership of Hamas and the PFLP in the West Bank. While his public statements in favor of a PA terrorist state are troubling, it is important to look at his actions and realize that his words are primarily meant for the hypocrites in the White House and the UN. There is obviously much more to be done, but Sharon is the person who can best negotiate the diplomatic, political and military minefields on the way to a terrorist free Eretz Israel.

I believe that Arik Sharon's goals cannot be questioned even as we are impatient with his methodology. His devotion to the State of Israel and the security of the Jewish people is legendary. Both as a soldier and a politician he has never failed to put the security of Israel first despite the constant treachery of his enemies on the left. As the traitors in the Labor Party scheme to surrender Israel to the terrorists, the EU collaborators fund their latest final solution and the mobs howl for Jewish blood from Paris to Kiev, there has never been a more important time for Israel and the Jewish people to be led by a man with the strength and courage of Arik Sharon. Let us not forget the cry of the soldiers after Sharon’s heroism in the Yom Kippur War, “Arik, the King of the Jews!”
(Jerusalem Post) Likud members go to the ballot box Thursday to select their party's leader who, according to all the polls, is expected to easily win the general election on January 28.

Surveys published 24 hours before the opening of the polls gave Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a commanding lead varying between 20 and 27 percent over his rival, Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Yet Netanyahu spent the last day before the primary putting on a brave face, visiting party activists in Afula, Hadera, and Migdal Ha'emek and encouraging them to bring out the vote.

Sharon spent the day working the phones, warning activists against being complacent.

The polls open at 10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., with projections based on exit polls expected immediately after the polls close. The actual vote tallies are expected after midnight. [Read More]