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

May 17, 2003

Confirmed: Iraqis tried to attack Israel's embassy in Romania

The Romanian spy service said on Thursday that it averted terrorist attacks on Israeli and Western targets in Romania planned by Iraqi operatives before the war in Iraq.

The United States on Saturday confirmed a report that its facilities in Romania had been the target of Iraqi-planned terrorist attacks before the war, the embassy said Saturday.

It did not detail the targets, but other Romanian officials said the US and the Israeli embassies were among them.

Israeli Ambassador Sandu Mazor said he had been informed by the Romanian spy service about attacks on his embassy that were planned to take place during the Iraq war.

"We can confirm that there was indeed a threat to US government facilities during the period leading up to the hostilities in Iraq," the US Embassy said in a statement.

According to the Romanian intelligence service, an Iraqi spy working under diplomatic cover was supposed to procure the weapons - AG-7 grenade launchers - to be used in the attacks. The attacks were to be carried out in the event of military action against Iraq.

When the plans were uncovered in March, Iraqi agents were allegedly planning their plot, but the decision to attack was to be made at the Baghdad headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence services, the Romanian intelligence service said.

Romanian authorities reacted at the time by declaring 10 Iraqi diplomats and 31 other people persona non grata, expelling some and barring others from entering the country.

The government also tightened security at nuclear facilities, foreign embassies and other possible targets.

The intelligence service said it cooperated with other foreign espionage services, and that documents found in Iraq's espionage headquarters after the war "fully confirmed the information obtained by the Romanian intelligence service."

Romania, a close ally of the United States during the war on Iraq, allowed the US military to use Romanian airspace and an air base to deploy troops to Iraq.

Rafael's Britening protection system was tested on the ground in Ovda Air Force Base in the Negev earlier this year. The aircraft ran its engines to create the strongest IR signature, and the system successfully diverted all the missile seekers
Israel plans missile protection for civilian aircraft

extract for non-subscribers of Janes.com
Following the attempt to shoot down an Arkia Airline Boeing 757 in Mombasa, Kenya, on 28 November 2002, the Israeli government has decided to equip all of the country's commercial aircraft with protection systems.

The Israeli Ministry of Defence is considering several protection systems including Elisra's Passive Airborne Warning System, Rafael's Britening system and a new joint venture by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) subsidiary Elta Systems and Israel Military Industries (IMI) called Flight Guard. IAI intends to install it on a Boeing 737 for the Paris Air Show in June.

Flight Guard comprises two main components: Elta's autonomous radar system, which detects the launch of surface-to-air missiles, and IMI's countermeasures dispensing system, which jams and diverts heat-seeking missiles. The Elta radar is based on similar systems that protect military aircraft. "The system is designed for the maximum safety required for operation in a civilian environment," said Israel Livnat, general manager of Elta Systems. "The flares are intended to burn for a very short time to avoid any damage even if discharged in low altitude."

However, he added, there is a "psychological barrier in certifying a system that releases burning objects around civil airfields. We started a dialogue with the US Federal Aviation Administration and hope to conclude certification by the end of the year." IAI estimates the system's unit cost to be less than US$1 million.

Rafael's Britening, a derivation of the company's Aerogem system, concluded a successful ground test in March. It comprises UV sensors that detect a missile's launch and a new Directed Infra-red Countermeasure, which disrupts the approaching missile's seeker. Rafael chairman Jacob Tore said: "Since the Britening does not involve the use of flares and chaff, which is problematic in commercial aviation, we believe it stands a good chance to be approved by FAA." 298 of 371 words
Mutating Virus: Hatred of Jews

From The New York Times, a write up (free reg req'd) of a forum discussing the resurgence of anti-semitism
At a conference on anti-Semitism at the Center for Jewish History earlier this week one panelist told a classic Jewish joke:

After a Jewish man is rejected for a job as a radio announcer, the story goes, an acquaintance asks him why he was passed over. "Simple," the man replies with an agonized stutter, "Anti-S-S-S-S-Semitism."

That joke, of course, mocks the very idea of anti-Semitism, just as it mocks excessive Jewish sensitivity toward its slights. But the joke is also a declaration of assimilationist confidence. There are bigger problems than one's identity, and there are plentiful opportunities despite it.

Yet far from mocking the idea of anti-Semitism, the conference, organized by Leon Wieseltier and Martin Peretz of the New Republic and Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, found the old virus freshly seeping through Western culture, taking new pathways, seeking new hosts and posing new threats.

The four-day conference, which was sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, included an impressive international roster of historians and social scientists, scholars of anti-Semitism, journalists and leaders of Jewish organizations. The theme of resurgent anti-Semitism also inspired another conference this week, in Paris, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Unesco. And last month a one-day symposium on the same subject was held at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This confluence of rising concerns is also evident in such recent histories as "The Anti-Semitic Moment: A Tour of France in 1898" by Pierre Birnbaum (Hill & Wang) and in the forthcoming "The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It" (Jossey-Bass) by Phyllis Chesler.

The anxieties are not groundless. In France during the last two years, hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents have included synagogue burnings and physical assaults. At the YIVO conference, the Polish writer Konstanty Gebert, who wears a skullcap, said he had just endured more insults during a few months in Paris than he had during years of living in Poland. The historian Simon Schama told of his family's graves being desecrated along with hundreds of others in a Jewish cemetery in England two weeks ago. The most egregious examples still come from the Arab world, where Der Stürmer-style cartoons are commonplace and the medieval blood libel flourishes.

Many of the incidents in Western Europe can be traced to young men in growing Muslim communities who have made targets of Jews. But these attacks and the responses to them have influenced the broader evolution of anti-Semitism. For some time the French government, at least, resisted treating them as anti-Semitic acts. In some cases they have also been justified or explained as reactions against Ariel Sharon's policies in Israel or President Bush's war on terror. Since such condemnations are also made on the European left, a sympathy developed.

This helped aggravate a form of intellectual anti-Semitism associated with harsh criticism of Israel. Of course, criticism of Israel need not be anti-Semitic, and accusations of anti-Semitism become devalued when they are used to describe all criticisms of Israel. But criticism is anti-Semitic when it demonizes Zionism, equates it with Nazism or justifies organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that have pledged themselves to the destruction of Israel. And the Nazi analogy is so avidly applied to Israel that it seems to offer a form of relief and absolution to the accuser while condemning the state to the lowest rung of hell. Soon enough, the indictment expands to encompass other Jews.

In this transformation of anti-Semitism old myths and notions of the pariah people often reappear in new guises. Thus the idea that Jews devour the blood of Gentiles for ritual purposes was reincarnated in a political cartoon in The Independent of London this January, which spurred a protest from the Israeli government. It showed a Goya-esque ethnic monstrosity of an Ariel Sharon, gobbling the head of a Palestinian child as Israeli helicopters dropped bombs in the background. "What's wrong?" Sharon growls. "You never seen a politician kissing babies before?"

But why have newer forms of intellectual anti-Semitism become so familiar in Europe? Why have they thrived even when traditional anti-Semitism is forthrightly condemned? [more]
Settlements Top the Agenda As Bush, Sharon Meet in D.C

So says this article in Forward
The issue of Jewish settlements in the territories is the main obstacle awaiting Prime Minister Sharon when he meets with President Bush at the White House next Tuesday, according to informed sources here.

Israel views Sharon's White House visit, his first since October, as "crucial" to continued progress toward peace with the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom told the Forward in an interview in his office this week. Bush and Sharon are expected to discuss a range of topics, including the overall situation in the post-Iraq Middle East as well as steps toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, and officials here were emphasizing broad areas of agreement between the two leaders as Sharon prepared to depart.

Officials said the two leaders' shared outlook on the war against terrorism was likely to play a significant role in their talks in the wake of this week's deadly terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, Sharon is expected to face close questioning from the president on outstanding differences between them over Bush's "road map" to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Topping the list are Washington's insistence on an Israeli settlement freeze and Israel's demand that the Palestinians renounce their so-called "right of return" at the outset of the process.

Shalom told the Forward that Washington has already reached an understanding about "most" of Israel's other reservations over the road map. These include Israel's objection to the European Union, Russia and the United Nations playing a role in monitoring Palestinian security compliance. America has also accepted Israel's view that progress in the peace process must be based on performance, not timetables.

In order to minimize friction over the settlements, officials here said, Sharon is expected to present Bush with an Israeli decision to remove some of the so-called "illegal outposts" built in the West Bank during the past two years. But the officials expressed fears that this might not be enough to ward off pressure from the president.

According to reports reaching Jerusalem, State Department officials have identified the settlement issue as Sharon's Achilles' heel in the otherwise solid support he enjoys in the administration, Congress and American public opinion. "This is clearly the only possible wedge issue between the two leaders," one official said.[more]
Red Cross Caught Red-Handed

The link in this article is broken but the text suffices for the point being made
Red Cross Caught Red-Handed: The International Red Cross won't admit the Israeli aid organization, Magen David Adom, into its ranks. The Red Cross claims that the reason for its refusal of full membership is the Star of David which the group uses as its symbol; no religious imagery is allowed, according to the organization (the cross is not meant to be a religious image). This claim however is belied by the fact that the Red Cross allows Arab organizations to use the Crescent--a Muslim religious symbol--as their logo.


This is rank hypocrisy. The real reason behind the Red Cross's decision is not squimishness about religious icons, but anti-Israeli sentiment, pure and simple. The Red Cross claims to be both universal and neutral, and yet, it has allowed politics to bias its decision against Israel, bowing to its Arab members' wishes and attempting to punish Israel for its actions against Palestinian terrorists. Note that the Red Cross has 178 member nations--none of which have been singled out for their political actions or human rights abuses, despite including such countries as Egypt and Jordan. (I should note though that the American Red Cross supports Magen David Adom and has been pushing for their acceptance by the Red Cross.) It makes the Red Cross no better than the Arab countries, which as Gary Kenzer, director of a Skokie charity that raises funds for Magen David Adom says, won't accept Israeli aid for fear that "if you say 'yes' to the star of Magen David Adom, you are also saying 'yes' to Israel's right to statehood."
Bush peace plan includes U.S.-Mideast trade zone

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Asserting that prosperity is the key to peace in the Middle East, President Bush proposed a free-trade zone yesterday to spur the Arab world toward freedom and Israelis and Palestinians toward two independent states.

"Across the globe, free markets and trade have helped defeat poverty and taught men and women the habits of liberty," the president told 1,200 graduating seniors at the University of South Carolina. "So I propose the establishment of a U.S.-Middle East free-trade area within a decade to bring the Middle East into an expanding circle of opportunity, to provide hope for the people who live in that region."

Bush's initiative marks a shift in policy for the administration — bringing U.S. economic strength to bear alongside its military and diplomatic influence to push for an end to violence and terrorism in the region. The initiative is also a tacit acknowledgment that the poverty and autocracy of many friendly Arab countries create breeding grounds for terrorism.

"The way forward depends on serving the interests of the living instead of settling the accounts of the past," Bush said.

The president used his strongest words yet to describe his vision of an independent Palestinian state.

"If the Palestinian people take concrete steps to crack down on terror, continue on a path of peace, reform and democracy, they and all the world will see the flag of Palestine raised over a free and independent nation," he said.

Last week, the administration released a series of steps it says Israelis and Palestinians should take to end their conflict, establish a Palestinian state and learn to live in peace.

The plan has been received coolly on both sides, and observers say it is unlikely to make progress unless the president is personally and deeply committed to it.

Bush expressed such a commitment yesterday.

"America will work without tiring to achieve two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in security and prosperity and in peace," he said.

Israeli officials have said their side will not make concessions until all Palestinian terror ceases. But Bush made clear that he expects immediate action.

Israel "must take tangible steps now to ease the suffering of Palestinians and to show respect for their dignity," he said. "And as progress is made toward peace, Israel must stop settlement activity in the occupied territories."

Bush said he was accelerating diplomacy by dispatching Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Middle East last night. The White House also announced Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will visit Bush in Washington, D.C., on May 20.

Bush's call for a Mideast free-trade zone — in which tariffs and other trade barriers would be eliminated — is an extension of his argument that the best way to combat terrorism is to promote democracy across the Muslim world.

"Free governments do not build weapons of mass destruction for the purpose of mass terror," the president said. "Over time, the expansion of liberty throughout the world is the best guarantee of security throughout the world. Freedom is the way to peace."

Bush also took aim at people who believe democracy is not possible in Muslim countries, comparing such convictions to those in earlier eras when Germans, Japanese and Russians were deemed incapable of democracy.

"Every milestone of liberty over the last 60 years was declared impossible until the very moment it happened," the president said. "The history of the modern world offers a lesson for the skeptics: Do not bet against the success of freedom."

The United States has free-trade agreements with Israel and Jordan. Under Bush's plan, similar bilateral pacts would be sought with Arab countries willing to take the necessary steps toward openness and accountability. When enough countries made such agreements, the United States would move to put them under a single free-trade pact.

Such negotiations are painstaking. Although the United States has made some progress persuading several Middle Eastern countries to pursue trade liberalization, Bush administration officials have acknowledged that forging a regional free-trade area would be extremely difficult.

"You have countries that are vastly different. You'd basically be going as fast as the slowest person," said one administration official. "You have countries that range from wealthy Gulf states, that don't do anything except make oil, and very poor countries like Egypt and others."

Petroleum wealth can be a disincentive to trade liberalization, the official said. With a steady stream of revenue, oil-rich countries feel less pressure to open up other sectors of their economies to outside participants.

But Edward Gresser, trade-policy director at the Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, said large benefits can come in short order. He said that since Jordan opened up its economy to the United States in the late 1990s, its exports have grown from $500,000 a month to $40 million a month — an 80-fold increase — and created more than 40,000 new jobs.
Syrian President Undecided on Militants

CAIRO, Egypt - Syria has made no final decision about restricting Palestinian militant groups operating on its soil, President Bashar Assad said in an interview.

Assad's remarks, made in an interview with Newsweek magazine posted on its Web site Saturday, indicated that Syria had not closed the militants' offices in Damascus. Assad suggested that any crackdown on the groups was linked to progress on resuming peace talks with Israel.

After meeting Assad on May 3, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Syria told him it had closed the offices of several Palestinian groups. U.S. officials accompanying him named the groups as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, considered by the United States and Israel as terrorist organizations.

In the Newsweek interview, Assad said he discussed with Powell stopping the activities of Palestinian groups, "not closures."

"These are not offices really. They are houses where these groups do media activities," Assad was quoted as saying. "But restricting them is related to the Golan - to resuming the peace talks on the Syrian track."

The president was asked if he gave Powell an assurance there would be some restrictions on these groups.

"We talked about all these issues, but no final decision was made. We are still talking," Assad replied.

Assad said he could not stop the flow of funds to the Palestinian groups. "All the Arabs support the Palestinians and send them money. You cannot stop that. No one in our area calls it terrorism. They are talking about freedom."

Assad confirmed that Powell had raised the issue of Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese group that battled Israeli troops occupying southern Lebanon.

"They do not get arms via Syria. We give them political support because they want to get back their lands," Assad said, referring to a tiny parcel of border territory still occupied by Israel after it pulled most of its troops from the country.

Asked if he would consider stopping political support for Hezbollah, Assad replied: "As long as they don't do any terrorist acts, we are supporting them."

Assad sounded pessimistic about the chances of peace under the current Israeli leadership.

"We don't trust (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon because he definitely doesn't want to make peace," he said.

Assad also said Syria barred entry to members of Saddam Hussein's government who tried to flee Iraq during the war. Pressed on this, he said: "Somebody came before (the war)."

He acknowledged that Iraqi oil had flowed into Syria, but denied any Iraqi weapons or mass destruction or conventional weapons were allowed across the border.

Some "arms were smuggled into Iraq by individuals; the government had nothing to do with it."
Israel Must Not Miss Yet Another Opportunity

Simon Peres has his say in The Los Angeles Times. Agree or disagree, a perspective worth noting
For the "road map" to avoid becoming moribund even before it has had a chance of turning into a green light for the peace process, issues that have little chance of being resolved — such as the Palestinian "right of return" — must be removed from the road map agenda.

Israel's position on this issue is unequivocal and backed by the whole of the Israeli political spectrum. If millions of Palestinian refugees are allowed to return to Israel, it will endanger the very foundations of a Jewish state. A Jewish state means a Jewish majority. And Israel will not commit political suicide.

The Palestinian right of return will need to be realized within the borders of a Palestinian state. I am aware that the Palestinians will not express public acceptance of this position. On this subject, we must therefore agree to not agree, without allowing this absence of agreement to interfere with the road map.

The Palestinian government must without delay put into effect a plan to dismantle and disarm the various armed militias operating on the ground and consolidate matters of security under its sole authority. Unless this course of action is enforced, Hamas and Islamic Jihad will dictate the Palestinian agenda and foil its attempts to advance peace. A government can be democratic or not democratic, but a country disjointed by splintered authority cannot survive.

Israel's government must implement the assurances it gave not only upon its recent election but also during its previous term, that new settlement activities will cease. This resolution was debated at the Knesset and approved, making it legally binding. The same commitment was made to the United States and must be fulfilled.

Since this commitment was made, several hundred settlements and outposts were created, and they must be dismantled. The so-called "painful concessions" pledge (by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon) cannot replace the real test of deeds.

All of the sides — the "quartet" with the United States in the lead (along with Russia, the European Union and the United Nations), Israel and the Palestinians — must agree on a two-way track at the start: to fight terror as though there were no negotiations and engage in negotiations as though there was no fight against terror. If one is dependent on the other, it is doubtful that the process will ever leave the station.

Fighting terror is not a gift that the Palestinians are offering Israel.

A terrorist — or even semi-terrorist — Palestinian state has no chance of seeing the light of day. But Israel must also fight the motives for terror. The Palestinian people will commit themselves fully to fighting terror only when it becomes clear to them that an end to terror will yield greater dividends than allowing it to continue.

Therefore, it is manifestly in Israel's self-interest to create a political horizon that will encompass an end to the occupation, its agreement to borders on the basis of U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 and the establishment of a demilitarized yet sustainable and independent Palestinian state.

We must not miss yet again the rare opportunity we are now given. It has always been hard to untangle ourselves from the complexities of the situation, and this time too will not be easy. But as opposed to the past, the potential peace today seems to overshadow the fear of war.
Suicide attack in Morocco

Well now, it seems that since the members of the terrorist religion are having difficulty getting their inhuman beasts to carry out these atrocities in Israel, they are targeting Arab countries. This may be a good thing in the long run as an inter - Muslim war like that between Iraq and Iran kept the peace in Israel for a protracted period. The actual targets seem a bit blurred in this one, but Morocco has been the "friendliest" of the Arab states. No doubt, like the threat to the Saudi monarchy, this will spur the government to launch a war on the insurgents, not because either government loves the West, but because their own regimes are threatened, not to mention tourist dollars. Ha'Aretz article.

May 16, 2003

Looking a bit down the road(map)
(Eizehu haham? Aroeh et anolad)

It was in the year 2006.The Israelis at long last gave up their attempts to resist the pressures of the world. They elected a new government headed by Prime Minister Yossi Beilin, the original promoter of the Oslo Peace Process, in coalition with the Jewish and Arab parties of the Left. They announced that Israel was willing to implement the newest Road Map in full, to accept the unanimous proposal for peace supported by every single country in the world, and would return to its pre-1967 borders, remove all Jewish settlements from the territories of the new state of Palestine, recognize Palestine, and grant Palestine all of East Jerusalem, that is, all of the city located east of a line running north-south through Zion Square, renamed Jihad Square.

The world had not seen celebration like it since the fall of the Berlin Wall or the transferal of power in South Africa to the black majority. All-night celebrations were held in every city on the planet, but none so enthusiastic as the party held in Tel Aviv in Rabin Square. Speaker after speaker appeared under a banner "Liberation at Last" and praised the decision to agree to the terms of the accord as the ultimate completion of the work and dreams of Yitzhak Rabin.

The settlers were marched out of the lands of Palestine at bayonet point, with crowds of jeering Israeli leftists pelting them with garbage as they moved into their temporary transit camps inside Green Line Israel. Liberal Jews in the United States organized a million man march in Washington together with Arabs and the Nation of Islam to celebrate the breaking out of peace and final settlement of the conflict. “Peace at Last” was the number one pop single. The State Department sent out a message urging Israel and Palestine to conduct good-faith negotiations and round-the-clock talks on all outstanding issues of disagreement still separating the two sovereign states. At long last, there were two states for two peoples. Land had been exchanged for peace. Peace had at long last broken out in the world´s most troubled region.

The morning after the Palestine Independence celebrations, the message arrived in the Israeli parliament, brought in by special messenger. The newly formed government of Palestine had only a small number of issues it would like to discuss with Israel. It proposed that peaceful relations be officially consummated as soon as Israel turned over to Palestine the Galilee and the Negev regions.

Israeli cabinet ministers were nonplused. “We thought we had settled all outstanding territorial issues by giving the Palestinians everything,” they protested. The spokesman for the Palestine War Ministry explained. The Galilee was obviously part of the Arab homeland. It was filled with many Arabs, and in many areas had an Arab population in the majority. Israel was holding 100% of the Galilee territory, and Palestine none at all, and surely that was unfair. As for the Negev, it too has large areas with Arab majorities, but is in fact needed so that Palestine can settle the many Palestinian refugees from around the world in lands and new homes.

Israel´s government preferred not to give offense and sour the new relations, and so offered to take the proposal under consideration. Within weeks, endorsements of the Palestinian proposal were coming from a variety of sources. The Arab League endorsed it. The European Union approved a French proposal that the Galilee and Negev be transferred to Palestine in stages over three years. The US State Department proposed agreement to a new Road Map.

Within Israel, many voices were heard in favor of the proposal. Large rallies were held on university campuses. The Israeli press endorsed the idea almost in full unison, with only some regional weeklies from the north and south dissenting. Israeli film producers began turning out documentaries on the sufferings of Galilee and Negev Arabs under Israeli rule. Sociologists from around the world produced studies showing that these Arabs were victims of horrible discrimination and that Israel is characterized by institutional racism. Israeli poets and novelists wrote passionate appeals for support of the Galilee and Negev “Others”.

When Israel´s cabinet rejected the proposal, the pressures mounted. A Galilee and Negev Liberation Organization was founded and immediately granted recognition by the United Nations General Assembly. It established consulate facilities in 143 countries.

Weeks later, the infiltrations began. Squads of terrorists infiltrated the borders between Palestine and Israel, and suicide bombers produced a carnage of 75 murdered Jews a day. The border fences were reinforced, but to no avail. The US State Department proposed that Israel defuse the situation by considering compromise on the matters of the Galilee and Negev.

Six months later, the Galilee and Negev victims of Jewish discrimination decided to escalate their protests. Gangs of Arabs lynched Jews throughout the disputed territories. Roadblocks were set up, and entire families of Jews were dragged from their cars by the activists and beaten to death or doused with flames. The EU sent in observers, but warned Israel that there is no military solution to the problems of terrorism and violence. When Israel arrested gang leaders from the riots, the General Assembly denounced Israeli state terrorism against Galilee and Negev Arabs. French universities gave the pogrom leaders, Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara, honorary doctorates.

Meanwhile, boycotts of Israel arose throughout Europe. Professors at American Ivy League colleges demanded a total embargo of and divestment from Israel until it ended its racist, apartheid regime. The leaders of the Reform synagogue movement supported the State Department and demanded that Israel end its obstinacy.

Israel´s own leftists launched a Movement Against Apartheid, and the foreign press reported that 400,000 attended a rally by the Movement in Rabin Square. Cars around Israel had bumper stickers that read "My Son Will Not Die for Nazareth", and "Peace Now". The Israeli Labor party proposed erecting a series of separating barriers throughout the Galilee under the slogan "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors".

But Palestine could not sit idly by. Barrages of rockets and mortars drenched Israeli cities. The death toll rose to 7,000 Israelis per month. The White House and State Department threatened to cut off all supplies from Israel if it dared to launch reprisal raids against independent Palestine. Large cargo ships from Egypt laden with advanced arms entered the port of Gaza. Thousands of volunteers streamed into Palestine to assist in the campaign to rescue the Galilee and Negev Arabs from Israeli oppression.

On the afternoon of Yom Kippur, tank columns cut Israel in two just north of Tul Karem. Palestine offered to withdraw in exchange for transferring the Negev and Galilee to its control. An Israeli newspaper and the Israeli Peace Movement proposed transferring the disputed areas to EU control until things could be settled.

Synagogues in Belgium and France were torched. Teach-ins for Palestine were held on US campuses. A new conference was called in Durban to denounce Israeli apartheid. The White House insisted that Israel not expel the invading Palestine troops who had divided the country, as it was a matter for negotiations and dialogue. The US president invited both sides to Camp David, with observers from the Negev and Galilee militias present. Increasing numbers of Israeli politicians urged that Israel respond to the situation by granting limited autonomy to the Negev and the Galilee. The Americans offered to send in ground troops to protect the remaining Israeli territories if Israel decided to accept the proposal to give up the Negev and Galilee. “Let´s at long last have peace in the hills that Jesus roamed,” suggested the President.

Jews living in the Galilee and Negev were under siege everywhere, and the roads were unsafe. The road through the Negev to Eilat was cut by militia gangs in four places. Leftist Israeli professors officially joined the Arab militias fighting for liberation. Two of them blew themselves up on a Jewish school bus to show their solidarity with the oppressed Arabs. Ahmed Tibi, head of the largest militia, insisted he was doing everything possible to stop the suicide attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa from the Galilee, but the Americans demanded that he do more. The United Kingdom demanded 100% effort to stop the violence. The PLO proposed, as a compromise, that instead of being annexed by Palestine, the Negev and Galilee be allowed to form a separate state. The Arab League endorsed the idea.

CNN broadcast a series of specials on the plight of the Negev and Galilee Arabs, and the BBC started referring to Tel Aviv as “illegally occupied Arab Jaffa”. Netanya and Beer Sheba were described by them as “illegal colonial settlements”. When the carnage exceeded 10,000 a month, the New York Times, for the first time, expressed regret in having promoted the peace process and ran as its lead headline "Oops". The Washington Post, however, urged more Israeli flexibility and concessions. The publishers of Tikkun magazine and the Reconstructionist movement announced they would be merging with the American Buddhist Society. The Economist demanded a new Road Map.

The Negev and Galilee Liberation Organizations raised their flags over their towns and proposed that the Jews living in their territories be resettled elsewhere. The Palestine War Ministry was shipping the organizations guns and explosives. The first word came of a detention camp north of Nazareth, in which Jews expelled from their Galilee homes were being concentrated, with a second camp opened in the Negev near Rahat. Strange black smoke rose from the chimneys.
Profile: Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat, who is reported to have resigned from the Palestinian cabinet, has been at the centre of negotiations with Israel for the better part of a decade.

He was involved in crafting the Oslo accords in 1995, and since 1996 he has been the Palestinians' chief negotiator.

The Jerusalem Report's diplomatic correspondent, Leslie Susser, described Mr Erekat as "intelligent and an effective spokesman".

But, he added, Mr Erekat was "very much someone who does Yasser Arafat's bidding".

His position has been uncertain since Palestinian leader Arafat yielded to international pressure to appoint a prime minister with the power to name his own cabinet.

He may have become a pawn in a struggle for control between Mr Arafat and the man he appointed, Mahmoud Abbas - also known as Abu Mazen.

Mr Erekat is an Arafat loyalist and was left out of some draft versions of the cabinet put together by Abu Mazen.

When the cabinet was finally approved in April, it did include a position for Mr Erekat as minister for negotiations.

But Mr Erekat was not scheduled to be part of the Palestinian delegation - headed by Abu Mazen - which is to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday.

The meeting will be the highest-level public contact between the Israelis and Palestinians in years.

Abu Mazen - who controlled the Palestinian side of the Oslo process - may be signalling that he is in charge, the Jerusalem Report's Mr Susser told BBC News Online.

University work

Mr Erekat was born in Jerusalem in 1955, and went on to earn degrees from the University of San Francisco in the US and the University of Bradford in the UK.

After gaining his doctorate in peace studies at Bradford, he became a lecturer in political science at An-Najan University in the West Bank town of Nablus.

He served on the editorial board of the Palestinian daily newspaper al-Quds for 12 years.

There has been talk of his quitting or being fired before, including in 1998, but he has always been persuaded to stay on.

Abu Mazen has reportedly asked for a week to consider Mr Erekat's resignation, so there may be a change of heart this time as well.
Another Palestinian ploy

The media are playing this story up as though it were some sort of big deal, but in reality it's just another tactic of the Palestinian Authority. Saeb Erekat has "resigned" his post as the senior Palestinian negotiator, supposedly due to his anger at being left out of negotations between Ariel Sharon and Palestinian terrorist/prime minister Abu Mazen. Yeah, right. Here's the truth of the matter: Erekat probably quit in order to show the world that there is true democracy and difference of opinion within the new Palestinian cabinet. Erekat will be back before long, and the media will pretend as though some breach has been fixed. Remember, Abu Mazen himself pursued this tactic when Arafat "refused" to grant him power. This makes it seem as though Arafat is not in control, or that there are severe disagreements within Palestinian public opinion as to whether or not to pursue destruction of Israel. There isn't. This is an act.

On Erekat's Resignation

It's been rather ammusing to watch the media coverage of Erekat's "resignation". They are doing their best to find some dasterdly Israeli scheme, but just can't seem to find one. Hmmm....let's see, The US (and I guess the troika of delusional relavancy as well) demands a "new Palestinian leadership not compromised by terror" - admittedly a tough find amongst Palestinian leadership.

So, after releasing a bunch of terrorist prisoners, letting 25,000 Palestinians in to Israel to work -and correspondingly and knowingly risking many Israeli lives by these gestures -Erekat gets shut out of the Sharon/Abbas meeting.

Note to the media: Could it be because Erekat is THE MOST COMPROMISED BY TERROR?
Jenin "Massacre" anyone?

I'm sure he'll selfishly manage to weasel himself back in there, of course doing his part to contribute to the death of any possibility for an agreement. It's still funny to watch the media try to make this guy out to be some sort of hero or sympathetic figure. Give those "journalists" credit though. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta...wait a second, no they don't!


The Pact of Umar, and the status of non-Muslims in Muslim lands


The next time someone tells you that Islam has a long tradition of being tolerant of non-Muslims, ask them to explain this.
From domini.org, here is the text of the Pact of Umar, which spelled out exactly the "tolerance" granted (note the term "granted") to Christians (and Jews) in Muslim lands, and was the guideline for dhimmitude, the "pact of protection" Jews and Christians were bound to live under, or face death. It is commonly attributed to the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab (reigned 634-644), but for a number of reasons that seems too early; it is more likely to be a product of the reign of Umar II (717-720), who was considered to be a pious and good caliph (unlike those other corrupt, impious Umayyad caliphs, the later Abbasid histories sniffed). Needless to say, he was not known for his tolerance and lassiez-faire attitudes! For that matter, his predecessor Umar I was infamous for his fanatical zeal for Islam and desire to destroy the unbelievers.click for the document
Genealogy of Palestinism
David D. Perlmutter writes in FrontPageMagazine.com | May 16, 2003 :


The birth of "Palestinianism" can be dated to November of 1941 when German Chancellor Adolf Hitler met with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti or supreme religious and secular leader of Muslim Arabs, on the west bank of the Jordan River. The idea of a Palestinian nation--something that had never existed in thought or actuality in history--was, thus, gestated over tea and cakes in the Fuhrer's salon. In addition, in the Mufti's own words his people would be forever agents and instigators of the Holocaust: "Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world."

The Mufti then met with other Muslim leaders and secretly formulated a plan of action. The contents were kept from the Germans, because, though they aped Hitler's dream of world power, the Fascist Muslims saw themselves, not Aryan Europeans, as its future masters.

What follows is a synopsis of what has come to be known as the "Protocols of the Elders of Palestine."

(Another must read)

The Road Map to Munich
(By Steven Plaut, Middle East Quarterly | May 16, 2003)

In August 1998, according to press reports, official Israeli analysts met with Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet ministers to discuss what was termed the "potential strategic threat" stemming from the Arab population resident in Israel. Among other things, the report discussed a "worst case scenario" whereby these Israeli Arabs would launch a separatist campaign. The report went on to draw explicit comparisons between this threat and the role of Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.

The report caused a minor uproar, forcing the government to apologize later and back down from this characterization of Israel's Arab citizens as a potential fifth column. Yet the comparison is an intriguing one, for Israeli Arabs and Sudeten Germans do have much in common, as recent research has established. The historic analogy with the Sudetens arises with respect to debate over the real motivations behind demands for Palestinian self-determination, demands sometimes extended to include Israeli Arabs. Does the Sudeten story of six decades back in fact have lessons for today?( the rest must be read).

Speaking of alternate realities

Nice piece via Incontext
Today, May 15th, is the day the palestinians observe as "Catastrophe Day," the catastrophe (Al Naqba) being, of course, the declaration of the State of Israel. Every year, the historical accounts that accompany this commemeration get more and more bizarre. Here are some excerpts from one of this year's versions.


For 55 years, Palestinians at home and in exile have been marking the anniversary of Al-Nakba, meaning catastrophe, on May 15 when thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes by Zionist paramilitaries.

On that land and on that day, the State of Israel proclaimed itself a state, and with it over 400 Palestinian villages were wiped off the map and nearly one million Palestinians were rendered homeless.


You know, the funny thing is, May 15th isn't the day that Israel declared its Independence. That was on May 14th, although it didn't take effect until midnight (when the British Mandate expired). Small point. May 15th, however, is the day that four Arab armies invaded Israel in an attempt to remove it from the map permanently. But what's truly amazing is the instantaneous physical effect that this declaration of statehood allegedly had. In that instant, 400 villages disappeared and one million (!) people became homeless. It's quite a story. Hardly a believable one, of course. But perhaps they're indulging in just a bit of poetic license here.

For decades, Israel’s ruthless perpetrations of bloodshed, disposition of Palestinians, confiscation of land, illegal settlement and destruction of homes remain unabated.

Even during the peak of peacetime between Palestinians and Israelis, the Jewish state continued to pepper the occupied territory with illegal Israeli settlements to make it virtually impossible for a contiguous future Palestinian state to be created.

Not so long ago, on this day, Palestinian parents and grandparents were forced to flee the ruthless Zionist paramilitary militias to the nearby Arab states of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria to name a few.


Okay. Keep in mind, we're talking about the "catastrophe" of May 15, 1948, here, not the "catastrophe" of June, 1967. Or are we? It's hard to tell. Frankly, I don't think they quite know the difference. Because here's what comes next.


Some have returned when the Palestine National Authority—under the Oslo Peace Accords—took over control of some areas in 1993.

"Returned" to what? To the land they were supposedly chased off of by Zionist paramilitaries on May 15, 1948? Not exactly. The only land to which palestinians "returned" under Oslo was land lost by Jordan and Egypt to Israel in the Six-Day-War.

Am I picking nits here? Well, I think not, and this is why. It's exactly this sort of compression and confusion of history that makes up so much of the basis for the various "claims" that are being made by the palestinians against Israel today. Read further, and you'll hear again about the mythical keys to homes, "now inhabited by Israelis," that no longer exist. And then we return to this.


Most Palestinians remain living in exile in crammed, poverty-stricken refugee camps, which lack the most basic of humanitarian services. For those, the right of returning to the homes they were forced to leave behind is as scared [sic] as the ancestral land itself.

This description is, of course, true for most palestinian refugees of the Six-Day-War. Not so, however, for the 1948 refugees, with the possible exception of those in Lebanon. It's a distinction with a difference, but the blurring of the lines is intentional -- intended to blur the line betwen their aspirations for Ramallah and Bethlehem and their aspirations for Tel Aviv and Haifa. That's why it's important to keep an eye on this particular ball.
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It is Shalom's first meeting with an Arab FM since his appointment
Qatar ready to boost ties with Israel


With much of the Arab world still under the shock of war in Iraq, the Gulf state of Qatar has sprung a surprise initiative, offering to broaden relations with Israel in a bid to boost propects for Middle East peace.
"Relations between Qatar and Israel are currently limited to a trade mission," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told Al-Jazeera satellite television Thursday after his Israeli counterpart, Silvan Shalom, in Paris a day earlier.

"If progress is made in the peace process, Qatar will not be against seriously considering the possibility of raising (the level of) relations," Sheikh Hamad said from the French capital.

It was Shalom's first meeting with an Arab foreign minister since he was appointed on February 27 and follows a US push to kickstart the peace process with the Palestinians.

Shalom said Qatar's strong relationship with the recently appointed Palestinian prime minister, Mahmud Abbas, could be a boost for peace.

"We discussed the Middle East peace process. Over an hour of talks, we asserted the will of both parties (Israel and the Arab world) to do everything to return to the negotiating table," he said.

Hamad, who met Shalom's predecessor, Shimon Peres, last July in Paris, saud the Israeli trade mission that opened in Doha in 1996 had been closed down just before a summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference took place in Qatar in 2000.

However, Doha has discreetly maintained links with Israel despite Arab calls to freeze political ties with the Jewish state.

Shortly before the US-led coalition launched war on Iraq in March, the Israeli foreign ministry recalled its three Qatar-posted diplomats and their families.

"Bringing back those diplomats heading up the commercial office in Doha does not imply the mission is to be closed," a ministry spokesman said at the time.

Sheikh Hamad told Al-Jazeera: "We are committed for a certain time to long talks with the Israelis because we must adopt practical steps to put an end to the killing between Israelis and Palestinians.

"There are daily massacres of Palestinian brothers, and there is no Arab action. That's why we've started to talk with the Israelis to find a solution.

"And the only solution is the start by Israel of serious talks with the Palestinians," Sheikh Hamad said, hailing the meeting scheduled for Saturday between Mahmud Abbas and Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon.

Abbas was briefed by Sheikh Hamad after the latter's talks with Shalom, according to a source close to the delegation currently traveling with Qatar's emir, who is in London after visits to Washington and Paris.

Qatar has established itself as a firm US ally in the Middle East.

It hosted the US military's command and control centre in the war on Iraq and is now preparing to welcome Washington's state-of-the art combined air command centre (CAOC) from Saudi Arabia to the huge Al-Udeid air base, 35 kilometres (20 miles) outside Doha.
My latest pressure piece to the Australian government.-sent to both sides of politics

Dear Mr Downer, (our foreign minister)

How many 9/11's, Bali's, Riyadh's, Chechnya's, Kashmir's, Mombassa's do we in the non-Muslim world need to teach us the obvious? Despite all assurances that it is only fanatics who are the perpetrators of these attacks, there is no doubt of the widespread support amongst ordinary Muslims for these attacks. Terrorism supporters are equally guilty as the actual perpetrators, and that includes "human shields".

If not, I ask WHY HAS A FATWA OR RELIGIOUS DECREE NEVER BEEN ISSUED AGAINST MUSLIM TERROR PERPETRATORS? It was good enough to issue a death penalty against an entirely peaceful person, Salman Rushdie. One would have thought that the killing of people in quantity in the name of Islam would be a thousand times more blasphemous!

Why is it that we are all told that we need to be aware of, and pander to, Muslim sensitivities? How about Muslims being aware of and pandering to OUR sensitivities?

The Non-Muslim world in general is now feeling the effects of the acts of precisely the same group of (dare I say it?) "people" that Israel has been forced to endure for 55 years, and before. Jews have always been the "canary in the mine" - witness the second world war. This time round, however, it has taken just a wee bit longer to infect the rest of the world than it did last time.

The ONLY answer to that is exactly the same as the one meted out during WW2, and since then, in Afghanistan and very correctly, in Iraq. The ONLY thing these inhuman beasts understand is annihilation - sad and tragic as it may seem.

To now insist that the 24th Arab Muslim state be packed in to a tiny strip of land in Israel is ridiculous, especially since the origins of those Arabs is from established States in the Middle East, starting with arch terrorist Arafat who is Egyptian born! That would be rewarding terror - why the double standard? Terrorism is OK in Israel because it is only Jews who are being killed? The same tactics were used against coalition forces in Iraq. That was somehow different to what is happening daily in Israel? (fortunately now many of these inhuman attacks are being foiled daily BECAUSE of Israel's robust response). ((However, NOT ROBUST ENOUGH! obviously as attacks continue))

The "Roguemap" for "peace" is a pipedream (were the authors really under the influence of opium at the time?) I believe it's true intent is the destruction of the Jewish State by stealth. This opinion is reinforced when one looks at who the authors are. Europe, Russia, and the UN - all proven anti-Semites and genocide perpetrators!! The US State department is more concerned about oil than survival of a staunch democratic civilised ally, many of whose citizens are ex Americans!! (and Australians).

Suicide (murder) bombing was at the heart of Riyadh, which killed an Australian. British ex-Pakistanis perpetrated the last murder bombing in Israel. Is there now ANY DOUBT that the non Muslim world is at war with Islam? I think not. This will be a total war, no different in concept from WW1 or WW2, and the sooner we recognise that fact, and prepare for it, the better.

I yet again urge you to take my anti-suicide bombing motion, which was the subject of a petition tabled in parliament by Peter King MP (Wentworth) last year 26/8/02 Hansard page 5390, to the United Nations. If for no other reason than to assess the reaction of the Islamic states and to see whether that morally bankrupt organisation is worth saving!

Yours sincerely,

May 15, 2003

Israel's unshakable allies

A piece by Jeff Jacoby in today's Boston Globe discussing how the christian-right has become one of Israel's strongest allies.
What is the President thinking about?
(Saul Singer in today's JPOST)

It is next to impossible, to my mind, that President George W. Bush believes that the Arafat-Abbas combo will result in a real Palestinian crackdown against terror or to in serious Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Bush knows what Ehud Barak wrote in this newspaper: "there is no way to make peace as long as Arafat has power" and Arafat retains substantial control over security services and within prime minister Mahmoud Abbas's cabinet.

But if Bush knows this, why go through the motions of embracing Abbas and pushing the road map?

The simple answer is that Abbas and the road map protect Bush from accusations that he is not pursuing peace, until he is able to construct a more serious policy. But the deeper question is, why is Bush satisfied with a placeholder policy, rather than using the opportunity of the victory in Iraq to pursue peace effectively?

There are three explanations: cynical, bureaucratic, and diplomatic.

According to the cynics, Bush has calculated that he does not want to be bogged down in Arab-Israeli peacemaking a year from now when the US election season heats up. Real progress would be a nice feather in his cap, but the downside risks are probably greater.It is hard to argue with this logic, except that Bush does best when he is bold, and trying to muddle along for the next two years is not exactly an electoral asset either.

Theory two is that the US has shown a distinct pattern since 9/11 of taking on one major project at a time, and trying to put the rest on hold until that project is completed. When the US was focussing on toppling the Taliban, Israel was told to be restrained, so as not to interfere. Same during the run up to the war in Iraq.Now America's main project is ensuring that a viable, pro-American government emerges in Iraq. So choosing the next target, such as Iran or Syria, is put on hold, as is pushing Arab-Israeli peace.

Here too, the logic is understandable, if flawed. The terror network knows how to multitask, America must do so as well.

Inability to multitask is immediately sensed and taken advantage of. Bashar Assad, for example, feels that he can lie to Colin Powell about shutting down terror headquarters in Damascus, because by coming there for a meeting in the first place the US showed it wasn't ready to put real pressure on Syria. The same Powell wouldn't dream of going to Teheran, or meeting Arafat, so why go to Damascus?

That said, building a new government in Iraq, taking on Teheran and Damascus, and pressing full bore for Arab-Israeli peace may seem to be too much even for the most talented superpower.But the choice between multitasking and picking one's fights is largely a false one. It is more a question of making policies consistent across the board, not for consistency's sake, but so they are mutually reinforcing.

Tightening sanctions and backing dissidents in Syria and Iran can be seen as biting off more than the US can chew, or the best defense against the meddling of those nations in Iraq. The Arab-Israeli peace process should be viewed in the same way: how can it best be brought into sync with the wider war against the terror network? The first step should be to make sure it is not wildly inconsistent with the wider war.

The Palestinian Authority is more implicated in terrorism than was the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which could argue that it did not support what al-Qaida was doing from Afghan territory. Arafat, by contrast, is personally harboring wanted terrorists in his compound, and the IDF Chief of General Staff just said they have evidence of particular terrorists who were paid jointly by Arafat and Iran.

So long as Bush is plugging the Arafat-Abbas combo, rather than holding out for his own June 24 standard of a "new and different [Palestinian] leadership ... not compromised by terror," he is lowering the standard of the war on terror as a whole. The harm done by this lowered standard for the Palestinians is made worse by the still marked tendency to lump Israel, a democracy under attack, with the PA, a tyranny doing the attacking. The White House continues to intone, in response to practically any question, that "both sides have responsibilities" as if the US does not have a dog in this fight. And that is how the road map is built, taking care to maintain the appearance of exactly equal demands of Israel and the Palestinians.

Which brings us to the third explanation for Bush embarking on a process he has almost no confidence in: diplomatic. Bush understandably feels he owes Britain's Tony Blair for risking all to stand by America's side in Iraq. He also may be grateful for some area of agreement with Europe following the bruising battle over the Iraq war.

But this explanation is more worrisome than it is satisfying. Doesn't it worry Bush that the same Europeans who assailed him on Iraq were the architects of the road map and the Arafat-Abbas gambit? Couldn't it be that Europeans are as off-base now as they were then?It could and they are.

Moreover, being loyal to Blair should not require swallowing the European approach to such a degree. Bush should tell Blair that he completely agrees that Mideast peace should be high on the agenda, but there is no point in resurrecting the failed approach of not demanding enough of the Arab side, and pretending that Israel is equally to blame. Bush, in his meeting with Sharon this week, has the opportunity of correcting all this. He could back Israel's requirement that the Palestinians renounce the demand of "return" to Israel in parallel with Israel's commitment to a Palestinian state. He could say that the Palestinians started this unjustifiable war and it is their job to end it.

He could detail what he expects from the Arab states, rather than speaking vaguely about their responsibilities. In short, he could update a policy that seems to have learned nothing from the failures of Oslo, and bring it in to the post-9/11, post-Saddam era. (all emphases added)

Minister Katz Against Road Map

Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz of the Likud, expressing what appears to be the majority view among the government ministers, says that he is convinced that the Sharon government will not dismantle any Jewish communities in Yesha. "I joined the government not to dismantle Jewish towns," he told Arutz-7 today, "but to strengthen them."

Katz further said that he does not support the establishment of a Palestinian state, "nor anything that could lead to the establishment of such a state." He said that it is not clear whether the Road Map will be even brought to the Cabinet for approval. "It is now known that all the hopes that some people placed on Abu Mazen were in vain, and in fact I proposed at the Cabinet meeting that we make it clear to the Americans and to Abu Mazen that if terrorism increases under his term, we will expel him just as the Americans did to other terrorist leaders... We should enter Gaza just as we entered the cities in Judea and Samaria, and take care of the terrorism there once and for all." (all emphases added)

E-mail from HonestReporting

Dear HonestReporting Member,


The New York Times today launched a special section entitled "Threats and Responses: Targeting Terror." The Times' homepage promotes it as "Complete Coverage."

This new section collects Times articles from the past ten days that address terrorist attacks worldwide and official responses to quell them. The deadly car bombing in Saudi Arabia and the two Chechnya attacks figure prominently, but Times editors take this opportunity to include U.S. anti-terror combat in Afghanistan, a recent bombing in the Philippines, anti-terror trials in Bosnia and Bali, and the ongoing hunt for Al Qaeda.

Conspicuously absent from The Times' "complete coverage" are reports on terror and counter-terror in Israel from the past ten days — most of which appeared on the Times' own pages:

— May 5: Israeli Gideon Lichterman is killed by terrorists near Shvut Rachel.

— May 6: Scotland Yard issues a ruling on British citizens accused in the Tel Aviv bar bombing.

— May 8: The Times runs an investigative report: "What Drove 2 Britons to Bomb a Club in Tel Aviv?"


— May 8: Israel eliminates a senior Hamas terrorist.

— May 11: Israeli Zion David is gunned down by terrorists outside of Ofra.

— May 13: Israel arrests fifteen members of the Islamic Movement for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.

— May 14: Israel conducts Gaza anti-terror raids in response to mortar fire on Israeli cities.

Why do none of these articles make their way onto The Times' anthology of recent terror reports? Why do Times editors believe that terror against Israelis and IDF responses "don't count" for a special section on world terror??

At this sensitive early stage in the renewed Israel-Palestinian talks, such omissions undermine Israel's critical insistence upon the uprooting of Palestinian terror. The Times, after all, would have its ten million readers believe that anti-Israeli terror simply doesn't exist.

Comments to: letters@nytimes.com
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.
HonestReporting.com

Jews Last - Get Off my Land

The caption from Agence France Presse for the below picture is obviously incorrect and demonstrates the hatred of this news agency for Jews and Israel. The woman referred to as a Palestinian is obviously not ethnically a Palestinian. She is obviously black. To be more specific she is most likely one or two generations in the Land, the product of British importation of laborers from the Sudan in the 20s and 30s. So why is this woman who is obviously not a Palestinian referred to as a Palestinian. Why have I seen at least a few pictures of blacks labelled Palestinians. These obviously non Palestinians are labelled Palestinians in order to make the argument that anybody and everybody has a right - and really more of a right- to live in the Land than the Jews. Was this person displaced by the imperialist Jews, did her foremothers live in the area from time immemorial. Obviously not. So get the hell off my land.

Lets reverse it. What this picture really demonstrates that there is no such thing as "Palestinians' they are just a mishmash of people from various regions who moved to the area for various reasons. Now this melange has banned together as a people for political purposes - in order to screw the Jews. There is no such thing as "Palestinians". These migrants should be shipped out.

Caption "A Palestinian woman holds up leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)'s portrait and chants anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration held in front of the legislative council in Gaza City. Some 1000 Palestinian protesters gathered to mark the 55th anniversary of al-Nakba or 'catastrophe', the 1948 forced exile of Palestinians from their homes when the state of Israel was created following the WWII.(AFP/Awad Awad) "

Where is the Picture?


The photographer Awad Awad is obviously a wad.

The NYT: Why Do They Hate Us?

An e-mail from a leftist friend today suggested we (the US) are hated because of our foreign policies and imperialism. I wrote back to say we were hated for the same reason Iago hated Othello: because we exist. Martin Kimel here points out the reasons for this hatred (I do no longer distinguish between radical Islam and some other part of it--I have yet to hear much from "the other part.")
The NYT: Why Do They Hate Us? The Times still doesn't get it. Yesterday, I thought the paper's quiet retreat from the idiotic implication that Al Qaeda had struck, in part, because it was upset that the U.S. hadn't pushed the Mideast peace process at a quicker pace meant that someone at 43rd Street had recognized how ridiculous their print edition story was. Silly me. Of course, the Times editorial board is still writing in fantasy land. Here's an excerpt from today's lead editorial, "Death in Riyadh":

Many in the Western world will always view the tragedy of Sept. 11 as being about America, but to the people who carried it out, the terrorist attack was as much about Saudi Arabia. The United States is a supporting player in the terrorists' own internal political drama, which centers on fundamentalist religion, a grandiose vision of their own role in world affairs and an anger at the Saudi government's alliance with non-Muslim Western nations.

The Bush administration hopes to replace that story with a new one, involving democracy, economic opportunity and liberty. It would begin with a new era in Iraq, the road to peace in Israel and increasing democratization in other Arab nations. Right now, with chaos in Baghdad and foot-dragging by Israel, that path looks treacherous. But it is the best current chance for a way out, toward a future in which suicide attacks on innocent civilians will be understood by Muslims around the world not as a form of political protest, but as utter insanity.

By contrast, WaPo columnist Jim Hoagland is dead on:

We know this much about the holy warriors of al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups:

They kill Americans and others when Israel makes serious efforts to reach a just peace with the Palestinians, and when Israel makes no such efforts. They kill Americans and others when Washington stations troops in Saudi Arabia, and when it begins to withdraw them. They kill Americans and others when Bill Clinton leans over backward to avoid confronting Saddam Hussein, and when George W. Bush deposes the Iraqi dictator.

They kill Americans and others whenever they can.

That makes no sense in the rational, secular political universe that Western nations and much of the developing world have jointly constructed out of centuries of nation-building, decolonization and free global trade. So we reach out for explanations that would bring the killers and their motives back into our comprehension.

Road maps for Middle East peace are drawn up on the implicit assumption that rewarding Palestinian nationalism with a state will quell the holy bombers and their allies. The Bush administration will now face accusations that its campaign in Iraq triggered the horrendous carnage in Saudi Arabia on Monday night, which it will be claimed might have been otherwise avoided.

But such judgments defy logic and miss the bombers' point. Their target is the entire rational, secular political universe that we instinctively -- and mistakenly -- turn to for explanations of their behavior and our response. They attack not to create another Arab state but to turn the existing ones into a single fanatical theocracy that will eventually extend its control over other civilizations. However mad, their intention is clear.

Apparently, it's not clear to the New York Times. And Hoagland is right: this judgment simply defies logic.
Goldwater defends her Anti- CAIR position

Gabrielle Goldwater defends her stance support of the anti-CAIR blog. This blog (web log) seeks to show that CAIR is a front group passing itself off as a parallel to ADL.
Geneva 8th. May, 2003

Dear Mr. Rahman;

I have seen your comments to ACAIR (a group that has no racism in their midst's but concerned about their heritage of freedom concerned about CAIR and it's cause against such freedom).

I found it more than important to give my opinion on the subject, sorry to be rather lengthy about this, but I cannot ignore such, despite being no member from ACAIR, but a very well versed Internet Correspondent and Commentator.

Truth cannot, must NOT be hidden ... as some may like to want to achieve to mislead the world's attention ....like CAIR has in mind.
To first of all make a Statement:

I am as a Swiss citizen;
For the freedom of religious belief, but I am not for any religion that promotes fanatics, as for instance the fanatic Wahhabi Cult, and face it, if you like it or not, CAIR participates in such promotion, it is actual a very active part of this Cult, which wants to rule through the sword and morbid suppression the world, and that's not any more ANY FREEDOM AT ALL ....

CAIR doesn't inspire FREEDOM but submission to their rules only.
Where is the Freedom in that ?

CAIR condones terrorism no matter how you try to excuse it or turn it, and they hide it.
CAIR has a long standing vile history being connected to terrorism.

People linked to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, founded the group CAIR in the early 1990s.

Despite officials, that insist they don't support terrorism, CAIR officials have defended Hamas and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

What does that tell you ?
(Unless you then agree to Hamas and Hezbollah and the whole nine yards being peaceful, loving people)

How come Muslims have not yet come standing tall .. have not yet come out, even most being American citizens, to address reality issues, to voice their concern about terrorism committed by their brothers ?

I therefore question if next you'll agree in theory that Yassir Arafat and Saddam Hussein plus Osama should be considered then just simply fighting racism and discrimination ... no difference here just different names.

Al Haaj Ghazi Khankan, head of CAIR's New York chapter, was quoted as making fine distinctions between Hamas's killing of Israelis above and below the military age of 18.

"Those who are below 18 should not be attacked," he said.

So in other words attack any Israeli who is above 18..

Can you possibly call this a distinction of Human Rights Values, fighting discrimination or racism, it isn't ... it's condoning openly terrorism.

The group has also circulated a petition calling on the federal government to unfreeze the finances of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which has been accused of funneling money to Hamas.

Do you find this acceptable, if yes, we have to start to wonder if you were around when 9/11 happened, and do you then find 9/11 acceptable in order to call such people just fighting racism.... ?

I fully support Mr. Steven Emerson's (you should look him up on the net) view - quote: "That's like calling that the New York chapter of the KKK is not as controversial as the national chapter," he said.

The New York chapter's (CAIR) Web site displays an unusual response to the September 11 attacks, a letter to the editor of the New York Times written last October 5. <<<< link
which has been fast taken off by CAIR .. wonder why ... I have an idea, public sudden image may just learn the truth behind CAIR's real face ?

The letter, in which CAIR suggested to its members send the paper, questions whether Mohammed Atta and other Muslims were responsible for the attacks and speculates on who really benefited - echoing theories that the Bush administration or the Israelis orchestrated the attacks.

CAIR was also the co-sponsor of a forum at Brooklyn College in 1998 where a crowd chanted "No to the Jews, descendants of the apes."

Tell me is that in your opinion fighting Racism and discrimination ?..Or as I see it rather inciting people to Racism rather.Being Racists indeed against anyone who is not participating in Islam ...

Coming to talk about Freedom... Is it Freedom that.. .....CAIR, asked the Guilford County Republican Party to remove a link to a Web site that it says misrepresents the Islamic faith. Which actually was simply showing facts.
The site in question was called Islamexposed.com. <<<< a site actually copied from http://main.faithfreedom.org/ <<< from Dr. Ali Sina.

But really, is radical Islam different from Islam?

Where can we find the real, the "unradical", the uncontaminated, the pure, the peaceful Islam? Show me please .. I have not yet found it after a serious long term search, surely not in CAIR.

Isn't the real Islam the one taught in the Quran?

Such as for example in the Surahs: By which the perpetrators that committed and still commit terrorism live by .. line by line:

This book reveals that the Quran is filled with hateful verses towards the "unbelievers, the pagans, the Jews and the Christians".

This book, not only exhorts Muslims not to take the non-Muslims as friends nor accept them as rulers; it also instructs them to fight the non-believers and murder them.

And CAIR isn't telling any one that this isn't their cause, since it is their final cause, and not as you claim "fighting discrimination and racism" the opposite is the very case.[more]
Baker's Mouthpiece and worse

It should be of little surprise that Thomas Friedman considers George H. W. Bush to be the most pro-Israel president ever:
Reading today's news, I think there should be little doubt that President Bush will go down in history as the most pro-Israel president of all time.

No, no — not this President Bush. I'm talking about his father, George Herbert Walker Bush.

This President Bush — Dubya — if he keeps going in the direction he's been going, will be remembered as the president who got so wrapped around the finger of Ariel Sharon that he indulged Israel into thinking it really could have it all — settlements, prosperity, peace and democracy — and in doing so helped contribute to the slow erosion of the Jewish state.

The first President Bush, by contrast, was ready to tell Israel and the Jewish lobby some very hard truths after the first Gulf war: that expanding settlements would harm Israel's long-term interests, would shrink the prospects for peace and would help undermine America's standing in the Arab world. And it was also the elder Mr. Bush who backed his secretary of state, James Baker, enough for Mr. Baker to twist Arabs' arms to get them to sit down, en masse, for the first time with Israel at the Madrid peace conference.
The reference to James Baker cannot go unmentioned. Friedman didn't just like Baker because Baker "forced" the Arabs to go to the Madrid conference. He liked Baker because Baker shared his contempt for Israel.

In Moshe Arens's "Broken Covenant," Dr. Arens tells of an incident where he had come to the United States to plead Israel's case with the Secretary of State. After the meeting Baker told Friedman - then the State Department correspondent for the NY Times - that he resented Israel's request for additional money. Friedman duly reported Baker's complaint the next day.

Arens asserts that Israel had never discussed financial aid and that Baker's falsehood was designed to make Israel look bad. Arens does not make clear if he thinks that Friedman knew that he was reporting a lie, but I'm sure that Friedman much enjoyed his role in increasing friction between the Bush administration and the Shamir government.

According to Baker's autobiography (second item on the left), his infamous "... when Israel's leaders are serious about peace, they can call me" came from Friedman.

The latter incident should raise questions about Friedman's journalistic ethics in that he blurred the line between reporting and being a source. But don't expect the Times to be bothered with that sort of thing even now when it's worried about its credibility. Together both incidents show that Friedman shared Baker's contempt for Israel's democratically elected government.

On to the substance of the column:

Friedman's nasty "...president who got so wrapped around the finger of Ariel Sharon that he indulged Israel into thinking it really could have it all — settlements, prosperity, peace and democracy — and in doing so helped contribute to the slow erosion of the Jewish state" once again suggests that PM Sharon is unduly influencing American policy. Is it possible that Bush drew his own conclusions about who the good guys and who the bad guys are?

Worse, is Friedman's underlying assumption that the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is an unmitigated bad thing. This is typical in the media. The premise of most reporting on the Middle East is that Israel must get rid of the disputed territories for its own good. The security cost is never considered. Nor is the enormity of the sacrifice fully appreciated. Yossi Klein Halevi though, provides an excellent remedy for this sort of ignorance.
Still, as we approach our moment of decision, the language of euphemism with which we speak about withdrawal feels increasingly untenable. As a people, we need to courageously confront the consequences of uprooting - what Sharon calls, with rare understatement, "painful concessions." We need an advance account of the enormity of that pain, not in order to dissuade ourselves from accepting the brutal decree of history, but to do so without illusions. The failure of the Oslo process hasn't released us from the necessity of withdrawal, but it does demand an end to self-deception. And a key element of that self-deception has been our unwillingness to concede the human, social, and historical consequences of withdrawal.

The deception begins with the sterile phrase, "land for peace." "Land" implies a pristine landscape, devoid of human presence. In fact, the formulation means a destruction of worlds - neighborhoods and homes, schools and synagogues, hangouts and hitchhiking stations. It isn't "land" and it probably won't be "peace" - at least not a peace that means recognition of our right to exist and respect for the inviolability of our borders.

The human toll that will result from the destruction of organic communities is incalculable. After the Sinai town of Yamit was destroyed in 1982, many never recovered; for some, the result was depression and divorce. At its peak, Yamit contained perhaps 5,000 residents. Increase Yamit by tens of thousands and you can begin to imagine the implications for Israeli society that will result from a similar uprooting - the real word is "transfer" - in Judea and Samaria.
Friedman, of course, would argue that the trauma is self inflicted. Jews never belonged in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. But there's more:
One of the great mistakes of the Israeli Left has been to minimize Israel's claim to Judea and Samaria. The impulse was understandable: The Left downplayed the historic and emotional attachments to the land to resist the annexationist appeal. Yet it confused the need for physical withdrawal with an unnecessary emotional withdrawal.

The Left's denial of our historic claim - and its downplaying of the price we will pay for uprooting - has allowed the international community to see an Israeli withdrawal not as a concession at all but as the self-evident restoration of occupied land, the thief returning his booty.
Friedman, is first and foremost a leftist. He denies or minimizes the historical Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria. In that sense his worldview is closer to that of Yasser Arafat than it is to that of Ariel Sharon.

Take, for example, his statement that "[t]he first President Bush, by contrast, was ready to tell Israel and the Jewish lobby some very hard truths after the first Gulf war: that expanding settlements would harm Israel's long-term interests, would shrink the prospects for peace and would help undermine America's standing in the Arab world."

I know that the first President Bush is remembered fondly by Israel's critics for telling AIPAC in 1989 that Israel had to give up its dream of a greater Israel. But that isn't the problem and never was. I know that many of us cringe at the idea of giving up parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but we also are more or less resigned to its happening. No one - not even Mr. Friedman - has told the Arab world generally and the PA in particular that it must give up on its dream of greater Palestine or no Israel. Even now there's no one, telling them that they have no reason to expect Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders. No one saying that Maale Adumin, French Hill and the Etzion bloc are part of Israel and there's no compensation. That's the consequence of turning down peace repeatedly; you pay a price.

President Bush made a start in the right direction with his June 24 speech last year. But he has to follow through on it. I know that there's a fashinonable refrain that Bush must bring pressure on Israel to bolster or restore his credibility in the Arab world. The result of Operation Iraqi Freedma is any indication its resolve that impresses the Arab world not sacrificing Israel. For all of the pressure Clinton applied to Netanyahu, it didn't make the Arab world support his peace summit in July 2000. It merely convinced the Arab nations that if they couldn't get what they wanted directly, America would bring the necessary pressure to bear on Israel to make even more concessions. (Such is the result of the Hebron Accords. The US promised that Israel would determine the amount of land it could safely withdraw from. When Arafat wasn't happy with the amount Netanyahu decided upon, Clinton and Albright pressed until Netanyahu brought the figure up to 13% at Wye.)
This is a critical moment. For the first time, the Palestinians have produced a prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas; a finance minister, Salam Fayyad; and a security chief, Muhammad Dahlan, who understand how badly the Palestinian Authority lacked proper institutions and how disastrous for the Palestinian people was the Arafat strategy of suicide terrorism and double talk with Israel.

When U.S. officials speak about the importance of reform in the Arab world, this new Palestinian team — even with its warts, and it has plenty — is the kind we should want to see empowered. But Mr. Abbas's success is not assured. Yasir Arafat and his cronies are still in charge and they want Mr. Abbas, Mr. Arafat's former underling, to fail. Mr. Abbas must deliver Israel security, but Mr. Sharon also needs to deliver for him, by improving Palestinian daily life and rolling up some of the renegade outposts that Mr. Sharon just let Jewish settlers erect in the West Bank, without a peep from the Bush team.
Those warts are quite significant too. What is most important now is to make sure that Abbas and Dahlan act. When Sharon had to dismantle Jewish communities in the Sinai, he did it. It's time for the PA to show that it can deliver secuirty to Israel. Sharon won't interfere. But if intelligence tells Sharon that there's a need to act he's not going to sacrifice his citizens just to test the PA's good intentions. Let's see a change of focus in the political and academic spheres of the PA. If the PA is no longer making antisemitism and grievance the language it uses to relate to Israel, then maybe its time to show a little understanding. Until then the PA must be assumed hostile and Israel must act.
Giving Israel that latitude is what makes the current President the most pro-Israel I have seen.
Cross Posted on IsraPundit and David's Israel Blog.
Joseph Alexander Norland gets personal

Dear Dr Baskin,

Your correspondence with Mr Farkas has come to my attention. The arguments on both sides are so well known, that I will not bother discussing them further, other than to state that I reject your views and take exception with the fact you have even gone as far as to adopt the Arab terminology wholesale.

The object of this letter is merely to explain to you very briefly how I came to support the cause of Israel.

Up until July 2000, I was a mere observer of the Middle East scene, wishing both sides peace and prosperity; I am a non-Jewish Canadian, and this approach is probably characteristic of most of my fellow-countrymen. In July 2000, when Aratrash rejected the extremely generous offer made by Barak, I began a persoanl research project on the matter, focussing initially on writings of non-Jews, such as Col. Richard Meinertzhagen and David Dolan. I had every reason to adopt an anti-Israel stance, since I am an atheist, but in fact, the reverse happened. To my own amazement, the more I researched the issue, the more supportive I became of Israel's cause. In the end I gave up a tranquil retirement to spend most of my day on this cause. Why?

There are scores of reasons, in fact, but I will highlight a handful. In the first place, I found Israel's arguments to be the convincing ones. Specifically, the evidence that Aratrash and his gang had (and still have) no interest in peace, is overwhelming. This, and similar arguments, did the job for my head, but there was the heart, or the conscience, too.

I came to realize that since 1920, if not earlier, the Arabs have pulled the wool over our eyes, manipulating the West and turning it against our sister-democracy, Israel. This angered me.

I came to realize that the injustice inflicted on the Jewish people by the nations of the world -- the US and Canada included -- is enough to make a stone weep. Furthermore, the world has never lacked Jews who joined in the trashing of their own brethren, from Montagu through Bruno Kreisky to Casper Weinberger. To me, you are part of this collection, and I cannot start describing how loathsome it appears to me. In his autobiography, Chaim Weizmann discussed this very issue, asking with great pain, why people like you don't just keep quiet if they refuse to help.

I came to realize that on the issue of the Jewish communities in Yesha, in particular, the demand for ethnic cleansing -- the removal of 200,000 Jews from one part of their ancestral land -- is so outrageous, that no rational person could support this demand (other than the hired pen, Thomas Friedman, of course). Since forever, Jews in the Land of Israel have taken barren hilltops, swamps, and sand dunes, and turned them into a flourishing, democratic paradise. This is the true spirit of Western progress, except that Jews practised this spirit without the extermination of indigenous populations, the latter having been practised extensively by Westerners in the US, Canada, Australia and Latin America. Naturally, my full support is for my brothers and sisters in Israel, especially for the brave souls in the Yesha communities.

In summary, I thought you may benefit from the perspective of a non-Jew, who, like Charles Orde Wingate, Jeane Kirkpatrick and many others, feel privileged to be able to support Israel.

Joseph Alexander Norland

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The strike and protest against NPR

A good summary and links for photos provided by Instapundit
I LOOKED LAST NIGHT for some postings or reports on how (or even whether) the NPR protests went yesterday, but I didn't find anything. Now there's this report, with pictures, from Boston. And here's a story from Cleveland, one from Fresno, and another from Nashville. Sounds like there were quite a few.

I suspect that the alienation of the Jewish community by its mideast and war coverage poses a real problem for NPR. I know that NPR thinks it does.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Shmikler sends this link to photos of the Chicago protest, and adds:

The local NPR affiliate, WBEZ, interviewed me at length but so far I haven't heard any report on the air.

One message I tried to emphasize with the WBEZ reporter, and other media who interviewed me, was that the people protesting and upset with NPR's Middle East coverage are historically hard-core NPR listeners and supporters. As I told them, I have a cabinet full of NPR mugs that I won't drink from anymore. I would think that they should be concerned that they are alienating a significant part of their core audience.

It's only a matter of time before the rest of the country follows the lead of Boston activists, and starts going to the corporate sponsors of NPR to ask them to stop their support. WBUR lost over $1 million due to this approach.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if that happened. I know that NPR is trying to reach out to these people, but I don't think that's enough. The demonstrable bias of the coverage -- and NPR's seeming smugness about it -- its the problem, and outreach won't help that. NPR needs to freshen up its coverage, and quit regarding the notoriously biased and antisemitic BBC as a role model.

Rice: Israel’s Security Is Key To Security Of Rest Of World

In an exclusive interview with Israel’s daily Yediot Aharonot recently, National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice said that the “security of Israel is the key to security of the world.” Rice added that she feels “a deep bond to Israel.

In reading her amplification of this statement I was satisfied that she means it and feels it. I was less satisfied with her answers to policy questions
Rice was asked why the U.S. is not determined to get rid of Yasir Arafat as it was with Saddam Hussein.

“There are several difference between the situation in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she said. “As President Bush made it clear, there is a potential to resolve the conflict via the solution based on two states, one Israel and the other Palestine. We feel that a two-state formula is for the benefit of both nations. [Is she kidding? "A potential to solve the problem" is wishful thinking. She must ignore the Palestinian desire to destroy Israel. Does she believe there is such a thing as a Palestinian nation? Absurd.]

“In the case of Saddam Hussein, he was a dictator for over 30 years, had violated UN resolutions, he attacked his neighboring countries twice, and developed weapons of mass destruction. The solution to Saddam Hussein had to be military.” [And wasn't Arafat a terrorist for 40 years and hasn't he broken all his agreements? Why does he deserve to survive. He is the problem just as Hussein was the problem.]

Rice was also asked why the U.S., which is opposed to having the European countries that were against the war in Iraq take part in the creation of a new Iraqi government, accepts those same countries as partners in drawing up an Israel-Arab settlement. [I don't think she answered the question but decide for yourself.]

“I don’t think that we can gain anything by drawing a parallel between the situation in Iraq and the situation with the Palestinians. [Why not?] We never said that whoever was not our partner in the Iraqi war cannot participate in helping form a new government there. Our approach is that all member-states in the UN can participate. We owe this to the Iraqi people. At the same time it must be clear that the coalition who fought Saddam will have a leadership role in this endeavor.

“As for the Israel-Palestinian case, the president feels that anyone in the international community can make a concrete contribution. Israel has a responsibility. The Palestinians have a responsibility. Most certainly the neighboring Arab countries have a responsibility to create a region where Israel will not live under the threat of terror and incitement.” [She might have added that since the EU and the UN were obstructionist in US attemps to solve the Iraqi question and that it would be better to keep them out of the Israeli Palestinian solution]

On the issue of settlements, Dr. Rice said, “We always said that settlements were an obstacle to peace.” [There is no logic to this. Israel's existence is an obstacle to peace. Every demand either side makes is an obstacle to peace. So, saying so, is to state the obvious. It doesn't necessarily follow that settlements must be removed to achieve peace. It can also be said that the Arab opposition to the settlements is an obstacle to peace. The only question is, who if anyone, gets their way.]
It bothers me that the US keeps holding to this position. It shows clearly that they want to appease the Arabs even to the point of requiring Jews to be forcibly transferred out of Yesha. Time to stop referring to the residents of these communities as "settlements" and the residents as "settlers". They are Israelis, plain and simple. No different than Israelis generally although they certainly will fight harder to keep their homes and to have them incorporated into Israel.