IsraPundit

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

May 31, 2003

Except where Israel is concerned...

The war against terrorism continues, and the US will take no half-measures. So says the vice president of the US, as reported today [May 31] in a Reuters dispatch entitled, "No Deterrents in U.S. War on Terror - Cheney":

WEST POINT (Reuters) - The United States will not pursue deterrence or containment policies in its so-called war on terrorism but would instead seek to utterly destroy its enemies, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Saturday.

In a speech to the 2003 graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy, Cheney also warned that the United States remained willing to use its military might against any nation supporting terrorists.
Ah, brave words indeed! But Cheney forgot to mention the exception: "Israelis need not apply". When it comes to Israel's security, half-measures, quarter-measures, smoke and mirrors, words in lieu of deeds - any of those will suffice. Here is one proof, one of all too many, as cited from today's AP report, "Palestinians, U.S. Discuss Declarations":
JERUSALEM (AP) - The United States accepts a Palestinian plan to persuade militant groups to halt anti-Israeli attacks rather than launch an immediate crackdown, the Palestinians said Saturday ahead of a three-way summit with President Bush.
...
Israel has said that for now it would accept a cease-fire from the militants, though it wants Palestinian officials to act to disarm and disband the groups as soon as possible.
If you are a US citizen, then the next time Bush/Cheney solicit your vote, ask yourself: in the face of such blatant discrimination against Israel, do they merit your vote?

On a personal note, I should add that the consistent, systematic unfairness with which Israel has been treated by her supposed friends - including the US and Canada - was one of the top 36 reasons why I found myself compelled to actively support Israel.

Such Good Friends

Syria signs oil deal with U.S. firms

Hat tip to Instapundit Is memory failing? Isn't Syria one member of the Axis of Nogoodnicks? I guess Syria needs the income to help fund their occupation of Lebanon (30 thousand troops) and Hizbullah.
DAMASCUS, Syria, May 31 (UPI) -- Syria signed an accord Saturday with two U.S. petroleum companies to explore for oil in an area close to the border with Iraq, a move that analysts said suggested improved ties between the two countries after strained relations over the war on Iraq.

Syrian Oil Minister Ibrahim Haddad and representatives from Golf Sandz Petroleum and Devon Energy Corp signed the agreement. According to the agreement, the Syrian government grants both U.S. companies the exclusive right to explore, develop and produce oil in a region of 11,000 square kilometers, or 4,300 square miles, in northeast Syria on its border with Iraq.

The preliminary exploration phase extends for four years at a cost of $20 million and allows for an increase to hundreds of million of U.S. dollars should oil be discovered. At that point, a joint Syrian-U.S. oil firm would be established.

Based in Oklahoma City, Okla., Devon Energy indicated that the contract could be extended to 25 years from the date oil production starts and will be also allow for another 10-year extension.

"This partnership enhances Devon's presence in the Middle East," said James T. Hackett, Devon's president and chief operating officer, in a statement. "The Syrian partnership focuses on exploration around areas with proven reserves."

Hackett said such a joint project would lead to a better understanding between Syria and the United States. He added the Bush administration had not told the U.S. companies they couldn't invest in Syria.

On the contrary, said Hackett, elements within the Bush administration, especially the State Department, was encouraging the U.S. firms to invest and operate in Syria. He noted that the Syria Accountability Act does not reflect Washington's policy towards Syria but rather "democracy within the Congress." The act calls for Syria to withdraw its influence from Lebanon and for imposing punitive measures if it does not.[more]
Ah, yes. The State Department is all for this to create wonderful relationships. And recognizing Israel's right to exist?
Lawsuit Exposes Federal Cover-Up of Saudi-funded Terrorist Net in Florida

John Loftus writes

The Saudi relationship is so sensitive that, for more than a decade, federal prosecutors and counter-terrorist agents have been ordered to shut down their investigations for reasons of foreign policy.

[..] The Saudi purpose was twofold: the destruction of the State of Israel and the prevention of the formation of an independent Palestinian State.

Two particular terrorist groups, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, were specifically chosen and funded by the Saudis for their willingness to undermine Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. The secret Saudi goal was to create such animosity between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that it would wreck any chance for the creation of an independent Palestinian State. Their tactics specifically called for the intimidation or murder of those Palestinians who were willing to work with Israel for peace.

[..] Whatever harm the Israelis may have done, they did build an excellent public education system, including several universities, for the benefit of their Palestinian neighbors. That was the problem.

While literacy in the Arab world is below 50%, in Israel it is 97%.Israel is the only place in the Middle East where an Arab woman can vote. After 50 years, Israel has created the first Arab class exposed to democracy, literacy and western values.

To the Saudis, a democratic Palestinian nation would be a cancer in the Arab world, a destabilizing example of freedom that would threaten Arab dictators everywhere. As King Fahd said, “next to the Jews, we hate the Palestinians the most.” The harder the Israelis and Palestinians worked for peace, the more money King Fahd poured into his murder for hire program.

[..] The reason for this deafening silence is simple, most Mosques in the world are impoverished and depend upon Saudi subsidies for their operation. In return, however, the Saudis have gained a foothold for proselytizing and radicalizing the Muslim youth through religious education in the form of militant Wahabbism. Children learn to hate because they are being taught that way.

Year after year, members of the intelligence community warned that a rising wave of terror was coming. Oliver North wrote in his autobiography that every time he tried to do something about terrorism, he was told to stop because it would embarrass the Saudi Government. John O’Neill quit his job as head of FBI counter-terrorism for the same reason. Jonathan Pollard went to jail.

Federal agents in Tampa, who had known about the Saudi-Sami Al Arian connection since 1990, were ordered to drop the investigation in 1995. The Saudi influence buying machine had effectively shut down any threat of criminal prosecution. Those Americans, including a former President, who lobbied for the Saudis have a lot to answer for. So do the Saudis.

My clients are betting that the American influence peddlers hired by the Saudis will succeed once again in derailing a federal investigation. They came to me for help in exposing the cover-up. That is why I am filing this lawsuit.

[..] The orders were not to embarrass the Saudi Government. Year after years, the cover-up orders came from the State Department and the White House. The CIA, the FBI, and the Justice Department just did what they were told.

We are not alone in our grief and anger. Saudi money sabotaged every Israeli initiative to make peace. The bewildered Palestinians may finally realize that they have been stabbed in the back by an Arab brother. The rules have changed after September 11, but the bottom line remains the same: if we want to stop terrorism, we have to tell the Saudis to stop funding it. MORE

Bush vows to reach peace deal

Haaretz reports that Bush determined on a two-state solution and follow-up to regional meetings he attends
U.S. President George W. Bush vowed Saturday to make every effort to push ahead the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, declaring that, he would "do all that I can to help the parties reach an agreement and then to see that that agreement is enforced."

Speaking in Krakow, following a visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau, Bush welcomed the "the emergence of a new Palestinian leadership, which has condemned terror" as "a hopeful sign that the parties can agree to two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security." [...]Bush said he would tell Middle East leaders that the United States needs help to achieve peace. "And we need countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Jordan and others to work together to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to prevent the killers from moving around, to help provide security."

As a Palestinian state emerges, Arab nations will have to support Abbas with development aid as well as advice, the president said. "I am going to hold people accountable for their commitments," Bush said.

What can be done?

In her column yesterday [May 30, 2003], Gabrielle Goldwater asked,
Is there nothing that can be done when the President of the United State's team threatens the sovereign State of Israel that they will cut off the supply of arms and aid to Israel if Sharon doesn't march to Bush's drum?
For suggestions on what can and should be done, especially if you are a citizen of either Israel or the US, read GG's article.

Separation Wall goes unreported

How Come?

The building of the wall could be a very explosive issue both in Israel and the territories. The story can't seem to get traction and not for lack of some groups trying.

In Israel, B'Tselem and Gush Shalom keep monitoring progress and reports every deviation of the Wall from the green line. Their reports focus on the effects on the "Palestinians". The Guardian has written extensively as has the Palestine Monitor. All complain about the confiscation of land. Even an international group have issued a report on the impact on the ground. Israel stands widely condemned.

But I bet you are hardly aware of what's going on. It is almost a non story. Many think that the President determines what is news. If he refers to the settlements, everyone reports on it. If he doesn't refer to the separation wall, no one reports on it.

Although the wall was to stay very close to the green line and was to be temporary and was needed for security, something else seems to be happening. It is carving out a path to include as much land and Israelis living in the territories as possible or practicable. The land on the west side of it is being taken over in one way or another by Israel. And the State Department and Bush are silent. At a time when they are demanding that Israel make gestures, dismantle settlements and institute a freeze even on natural growth, they have nothing to say about the wall. I don't know about you, but it strikes me as surprising to say the least.

We also hear that Sharon is thinking about a Palestinian state on only 50% of the territories. This has always astounded me. With all the pressure he is under, how does he think such a state would be acceptable.

Perhaps the wall is the answer. Has the US tacitly approved?

Rewarding terrorists

You don't have to believe me that Israel is rewarding terrorists - read it at the official site of the PM of Israel. Digesting the distilled and skewed version of journalists just doesn't cut it; it's only the complete, official version that lays out the stark reality.

Below, extracted from the official statement, are three paragraphs concerning the concessions that the Israeli government has made, is making and offers to make.
The Prime Minister repeated his offer from the previous meeting, and suggested that he would direct the security forces to redeploy immediately in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria in such a way that would make it easier for the Palestinians to take responsibility for security in these areas, and act in a genuine and real manner to stop terror. The significance of this step would be a different deployment of our troops, and in the framework of this change pulling out of city centers in Judea and Samaria, and the reduction of the Israeli military presence there would be included.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced a comprehensive review of Palestinian prisoner lists, in order to assess if there are any who could be released. The Prime Minister also announced a long list of steps, the purpose of which is to ease the living conditions of the Palestinians, foster trade and encourage the Palestinian economy.

Some of the steps the Prime Minister detailed include:
- Removing the closure of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
- Granting permanent transit permits to senior Palestinian officials according to the lists which were submitted.
- Israel would undertake a comprehensive review of prisoner lists, and would examine which prisoners could be released. Israel would release 100 administrative detainees.
Furthermore, in response to a Palestinian request, it was decided to release the prisoners Tiysar Chaled and Abu Sukar. Every prisoner would be required to sign a document, which obliges him or her from engaging in terror.
- It was decided to increase the transfers of Israeli-held Palestinian tax funds to the amount of NIS 150 million per month.
- A quota of 25 thousand workers will be allocated to work in Israel, 15,000 from Gaza and 10,000 from Judea and Samaria.
- Overnight stays will be approved for 2,000 Palestinian workers in Israel.
- The travel permits for Palestinian businesspeople travelling within Palestinian Authority areas and into Israel was increased to 8,000.
- The series of measures easing operation of humanitarian organizations operating in the territories was expanded.
I searched in vain for any concession offered by Abu Mazen - the only PM on this planet with a nom de guerre - but I was able to find not one item.

This has placed me on the horns of a dilemma.

On the one hand, Israel is a democratic country, and the concession are made by a democratically-elected government. Who am I to second guess the Israeli moves or challenge them? It would be the height of hubris if I did so, when I am neither a citizen nor a resident of Israel, nor likely to ever be either of these. To add to this "on the one hand" facet of the dilemma, a poll reported today [30 May 2003] by JPost revealed the following:
59 percent of Israelis support a freeze on settlement building in the territories, while 57 percent support establishing a temporary Palestinian state - key measures in the first and second phases, respectively, of the internationally backed "road map" to peace.

The poll also showed that 62 percent of Israelis support an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza while 32 percent opposed it.

On the other hand, I am utterly convinced that Israel is falling into a trap out of which it may never emerge. Torrents of articles alluded to in this blog and elsewhere agree with this view, and confirmation of the validity of this view is available daily. For example, today [30 May 2003], one day after the foregoing concessions were offered, one reads about a new string of terrorist acts perpetrated by the Arabs in Yesha; see, Ha'Aretz story that includes the following, among the numerous incidents listed:
Also Friday night, Palestinians fired an anti-tank rocket at an IDF position next to Rafah Yam in the southern Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported. They also fired light weapons. There were no injuries.

Palestinians also opened fire on IDF troops next to the Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim. Again, there were no injuries.

Overnight Friday, IDF troops killed an armed Palestinian overnight [sic] trying to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip, south of the Katif crossing.
In the past, this was Sharon's article of faith: there would be no negotiations unless the terrorist acts ceased; and here he is, negotiating and offering concessions even as terrorism proceeds unhindered!

I feel like one who observes that his sibling is about to take a very, very imprudent step, but is unable to stop him. I do fear for your safety, Israel.

Action: Another anti-Roadmap petition to Bush

JAT has sent around an e-mail urging US citizens to sign a petition, the text of which is given below. Note that the petition sates expressly, "The undersigned Americans", so it would be inappropriate for non-US citizens to sign.

The petition URL is http://www.petitiononline.com/amcha503 (click to sign).

Petition text

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President George W. Bush,

We support and commend your courageous leadership in the Middle East and are sincerely grateful for your further deepening of the strong ties between America and Israel.

Mr. President, on June 24, 2002 you presented your vision for achieving peace in the region. You concluded by saying,
this moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East – an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace, a test to show who's serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, "I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life." The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace and hope and life.

The undersigned Americans, representing the entire religious and political spectrum of the country, are united in the belief that to fulfill your vision, the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) must be governed by the following principles:

1) The PA must renounce the notion of a Palestinian "Right of Return" to the Jewish State. This ostensible "right" is a ploy to destroy the State of Israel. Were the millions of Palestinians currently living throughout the world actually resettled in Israel, the Jewish State would cease to exist.

2) The PA must dismantle the existing terrorist infrastructure and end its anti-Semitic incitement to violence before the Road Map is implemented. Additional obligations on the parties must be introduced sequentially, not simultaneously.

3) Road Map advancement must be based on performance, not on arbitrary timetables that encourage noncompliance.

Adherence to these principles offers the best prospect of "peace and hope and life" that we all pray for daily.

Sincerely,
I urge readers who are US citizens to sign this petition.

Roadmap to nowhere revisited

This is part II (see link within for part I) from Khilafah.com and is an indication of an anti-road map position that Muslim relious leaders preach (“Indeed, the Imam is a shield, behind whom you fight, and are protected”.). However, the opposition to the road map is based on the fact that Israel exists! I excerpt and cut to what I believe is central in this rant
[...]As Muslims we must reject all of these various proposals and initiatives that are marked ‘Made in the US/UK/EU’. The same nations that are advocating these proposals were responsible for handing the keys to Palestine in 1948. It was the British who supported the establishment of a ‘Jewish national home’ in Palestine in the shape of the Balfour declaration. It was US President Harry S. Truman who recognised its existence in 1948. Should we beg these same vultures for redress? Surely it is only the sick or insane who would turn to the accomplice for help against the perpetrator. The US/UK/EU and Russia use the political situation in the Islamic lands as political footballs to kick around when they see fit. The rulers of our countries allow them to do this. We must be the ones to stand firm against this treachery.

The intervention of kaafir states; America, Britain and the rest of the European nations in our affairs will give the Kuffar authority over the Muslims. This is Haram due to the saying of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

“And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way over the believers” [TMQ 4: 141].

Therefore, it is obligatory on every Muslim to work to put a stop to these intrusions. The Muslim is obliged to restrain the hand of the hypocrites and agents, through whom the kaafir enters our lands. It is obligatory to confront the rulers who bring new solutions from the kaafir states to solve the problems of our Ummah. He (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliya (friends, protectors, helpers)” [TMQ 5: 51].[more]
Poll finds Israeli support for peace moves


If a majority accepts a "temorary Palestinian state," why not a temporary removal of settlements?
A majority of Israelis support a temporary Palestinian state, a freeze on settlement construction and an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, according to a poll published Friday, a day after Palestinian and Israeli leaders met to discuss a new peace plan for the Mideast.

The Ma'ariv-Gal Hehadash poll in the Ma'ariv daily newspaper showed that 59 percent of Israelis support a freeze on settlement building in the territories, while 57 percent support establishing a temporary Palestinian state.

These are key measures in the first and second phases, respectively, of the internationally backed ''road map'' to peace.

The poll also showed that 62 percent of Israelis support an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza while 32 percent opposed it.

The poll was published a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas held their second meeting in two weeks to discuss the peace plan.

The first phase of the plan requires declarations by each side recognizing the rights of the other to statehood and security. The plan also begins with a halt to the violence; it leads to a full-fledged Palestinian state in 2005.

Last week, Sharon shocked members of his right-wing Likud party when he declared that Israel needs to end its ''occupation'' of Palestinians, a word that angers Israeli hawks who believe Israel has a legitimate claim -- whether through biblical roots or strategic need -- to the West Bank and Gaza.

According to the poll, most Israelis don't believe Sharon has had a change of heart.

When asked if Sharon's statement about ending the ''occupation'' reflects his true position, only 25 percent of those polled said yes, while 67 percent said he made the statement for public-relations reasons.
Auschwitz visit opens Bush trip

[...]As he and his wife walked through the camps, Bush periodically wiped tears from his eyes, exhaling deeply at one point as if to compose himself and later pulling out a handkerchief.

During the tour, Bush was shown tiny shoes that had belonged to babies, hair taken from Jewish women, suitcases of some of those brought to the camps to die and the cell once occupied by Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel.

"So sad," he remarked, spokesman Ari Fleischer told The Associated Press.

"Thank you sincerely for the deeply moving tour," Bush wrote in the guestbook, AP reported.

"In dedicating your lives to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and the martyrdom of Poles, you honor all who are victims here. May your work inspire future generations to stand ever vigilant against the return of such unspeakable evil to our world. Never forget."

Bush is only the second U.S. president to visit Auschwitz. President Gerald Ford toured the camp in 1975 while Poland was under communist rule.

Later Saturday Bush made a speech to the Polish people and met with President Aleksander Kwasniewski to thank the Polish leader for his strong support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

This is Bush's second trip to Poland since becoming president, and his first stop of a week-long tour of Europe and the Middle East.[more]
Israel Says Hamas Cease-Fire Is Not Enough

Disarming viewed as merely a pause in terror

Israeli officials Friday rejected an offer by the Palestinian leadership to reach a cease-fire deal with the militant group Hamas, saying only a "permanent cessation of terrorism" would satisfy them.

"The Palestinians must take concrete action to eradicate terrorism," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told foreign ambassadors. "A cease-fire is not enough. Israel wants a permanent cessation of terrorism, not a cease-fire." [more]

News from and about Israel:

Some 25 news articles available through links.
Likud makes a historic U-turn

Likud, argues this piece in the Miami Herald, has been pragmatic and knows that a Palestinian state is the only way to prevent a demographic swamping of the Israeli state. Therefore it accepts Sharon's acceptance of the road map (Bush plan), but it is also incumbent upon the arabs to alter their past positions.
[...]
But -- whatever the reasons motivating the government's adoption of the peace plan, its endorsement of a Palestinian state and the premier's controversial statements -- the consequences of these developments cannot be underestimated. For they may have damaged, perhaps irreparably, Israel's case -- historically, legally and morally -- and will have a profound impact on the country's future[...]
Sharon's problematic wording likely intended to imply that the Israeli army cannot stay indefinitely in Ramallah and did not try to sever the Jewish tie to the Land (''We are not occupiers. This is the homeland of the Jewish people,'' Sharon would later clarify). Yet Israel's historic right to the land has been called into question, its legal standing has been tarnished and the moral ground has been ceded to the Palestinians. All in one stroke by none other than Sharon. Unbelievable.

As to Palestinian statehood, some see it as the solution to Israel's demographic predicament, which is real and calls for sober answers. The Sharon administration understands this and seems to have grudgingly acquiesced to Palestinian independence. Naturally, it conditioned it on a complete and final rejection by the Palestinians of their so-called right of return.

The logic is simple. If the rationale to withdraw from the disputed areas is to prevent a demographic nightmare, then it would be evidently useless (not to say suicidal) for Israel, which is smaller than New Jersey, to grant Palestinian statehood and then accept millions of Palestinian refugees within its shrunken borders. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' insistence on realizing this ''right'' of return, as he told the Israeli daily Ha'aretz this week after the cabinet approval of the road map, is not auspicious, to say the least.

With its historic decision, the Likud-led Israeli government has shown impressive ideological flexibility. Now it is up to the Palestinian leadership to respond in kind.[more]



Let's hear talk of peace in Arabic, too

Charles Krauthammer suggests that the arabs must do more than merely talk about peace. Hate in their press must stop; actions should replace rhetoric.
[...]Moreover, the road map for peace, which the Palestinians say they have accepted, explicitly demands of the Palestinian leadership "sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

Abbas is talking very differently. His objective, he says, is to persuade the suicide bombing specialists -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- to accept a temporary cease-fire. This would be a disaster for any prospect of peace. It means that the terrorists who have been hunted down by Israel ever since it finally decided to strike back after the Passover Massacre of 2002 would receive immediate sanctuary -- time to rebuild, regroup, rearm and prepare for the next, more deadly orgy of violence.

If what Abbas means by peace is that the terrorists just lay low for a while, then it is not a peace of the brave but a peace of the knave. If that is what President Bush accepts as "peace," he not only will have betrayed Israel, he will have doomed American policy because he will have ratified a prescription for continued and much more bloody violence.

The requirements of a successful summit are clear. Abbas has to take real steps to curb terror. Let him begin in just one city. Israel will withdraw, but only if Abbas asserts authority and actually goes after the terrorists in that town. No revolving-door arrests. No temporary cease-fire. Nothing less than "sustained ... operations aimed at ... dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

And Abbas has to do something even simpler. Stop official Palestinian media from extolling suicide bombers. Stop official Palestinian media from referring to Israel as occupied territory. Talk about peace -- in Arabic, not just in English -- the way Anwar Sadat did 25 years ago. Israel reciprocated then; it will reciprocate now. Without such elemental steps by Abbas, however, no peace is possible -- and the new Bush peace initiative will amount to nothing more than Oslo redux.[more]

More Muslim hate crime myths


Writer out to expose the cries of "anti-Muslim hate crimes" as often fraudulent. Fairly anecdotal and there is clearly a bias against Muslims here.
[...]Five months after Maad was "victimized," a jury convicted him of federal fraud charges. During the hate crime investigation, agents discovered that Maad had lied on bank loan applications and federal forms about his business finances and prior criminal convictions. Nevertheless, Maad received a reduced sentence of six months' prison time.

The FBI dropped its hate crime investigation; Maad and his wife remain the prime suspects in the languishing property damage case.

In Nashville, Tenn., Iraqi-American Aqil Yassom Al-Timimi claimed someone set his Chevy truck on fire after the Sept. 11 attacks because he was of Arab descent. Although local TV stations ate up the hate crime angle, one keen reporter remained skeptical and raised the strong possibility of an insurance fraud scheme. Writing in the Nashville Scene, Matt Pulle reported that no notes or graffiti were left at the crime scene. Emergency personnel were immediately suspicious of Al-Timimi, who reportedly pressed them to alert the media as soon as they arrived at Al-Timimi's home.

Sources said they suspected Al-Timimi was the perpetrator all along, but more than a year and a half after the fire, the case has languished. Al-Timimi, the supposed victim of hateful wrongdoing, hasn't been heard from since. "If he was playing us," Pulle told me, "he did a perfect job."

The FBI and Justice Department have vociferously condemned and aggressively prosecuted a string of anthrax hoaxes that followed the Sept. 11 attacks. But when it comes to cracking down on hate crime hoaxes by Arabs and Muslims, the feds -- too busy conducting politically correct "outreach" with Muslim leaders who pooh-pooh hate crime fraud -- have been appallingly negligent. There is no way of knowing whether fake hate crimes outnumber real anti-Muslim crimes because no law enforcement agency keeps track. (Note to frustrated cops: Send me your suspected hoax cases and let's get started.)

Hoax crimes waste precious investigative resources, exacerbate racial tension, create terror and corrode goodwill. It's a shame so many in the media are more concerned with protecting the twisted cult of victimhood than with exposing hard truths.[more]
[br]
India, Israel, US Alliance

Asia Times reports
[...] WASHINGTON - Immediately after the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal featured an article arguing that Israel, India and Turkey were Washington's only "allies for the long haul" in the coming war against terrorism.
After mentioning the recently announce Phalcon deal between Israel and India, it suggested that an even bigger deal involving the Arrow was in the works.
Both moves highlight the burgeoning alliance between the two most potent non-Islamic militaries in the Middle East and South Asia, a trend that has the enthusiastic support of Bush administration hawks, particularly in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office. That alliance will again be spotlighted with next month's scheduled visit to India by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

While Israel sees India as a comrade in the fight against Islamic militants, the US has a somewhat broader agenda to pursue with New Delhi, particularly its possible role as a counter-balance to China, which US hawks see as Washington's strategic competitor in Asia. "India is the most overlooked of our potential allies in a strategy to contain China," according to Lloyd Richardson of the Hudson Institute, a think tank very close to the administration

[...] India is already the biggest customer for Israel's sophisticated military industry, which last year ranked fifth in the world among all arms exporters, after the US, the European Union, Russia and Japan. The Phalcon and Arrow deals are likely to propel Israel even higher in the rankings over the next two years, arms experts say. Almost one half of Israel's total military sales last year of $4.2 billion went to India.

But the deal also moves the relationship between Israel and India closer to the vision set out by the Journal back in September, 2001, of an alliance of three non-Muslim states (now, perhaps, minus Turkey) and the US in an existential battle against "Islamic terrorism" and the governments (including, presumably, Pakistan's) that support it.

America's Vital Interests.

Iraq war waged due to economic not military threat.
Asia Times reports on the lifting of sanctions
[...] Further threatening to this "US vital interest" were Saddam's ongoing promises to grant foreign oil contracts to Russian and French corporations, which would edge out US companies. This is to say, if Saddam Hussein posed any sort of threat to the United States, it was economic, not military.

[...] Such a contradiction (Iraq represented economic benefits to France and Russia and a threat to US oil interests and security interests) across the Atlantic had hung over the United States for some time, but two major external events coincided to prompt the administration of President George W Bush to transform a sanctions/containment policy into a policy of forcible, unilateral regime replacement: 1) France and Russia threatened to make the sanctions irrelevant by closing oil deals with Iraq outside the Oil for Food Program; 2) Iraq's production capacity was approaching pre-Gulf War levels, and cash from oil smuggling to Turkey, Syria and Jordan constituted a perceived threat to regional balance of power - economically, politically and eventually militarily.

May 30, 2003

Missing Mideast Momentum

Wall Street Journal editorialized, The Bush administration needs an assertive policy.
In the wake of the U.S. victory in Iraq, the Bush Administration's transformation agenda for the Middle East gained new credibility. The "momentum of freedom is growing," President Bush said in a speech in South Carolina this month outlining his vision of a free Mideast. The U.S. "will seize the moment."

So what's stopping us? The announcement last month that the U.S. would withdraw its combat troops from Saudi Arabia and the tough talk on Syria and Iran were good starts. The region's dictators were put on notice that their behavior had to change, and that the U.S. is determined to support the aspirations of more Muslims to live in freedom.

But now the momentum seems to be faltering, if not yet slipping away. Seven weeks after the fall of Baghdad, a State Department that largely opposed the war is beginning to set the agenda again--and the new Mideast is in danger of becoming the old Mideast. The last thing the region needs is a reversion to the pre-Bush status quo, with the U.S. pursuing the French agenda of supporting the region's dictators and assuming the road to stability goes through Palestine.

The deja vu begins with the President's decision to invest his personal prestige in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. If the President thinks he can accomplish the hitherto impossible, he's certainly earned the right to try. And unlike the cynics in Europe and on the American left, we think Mr. Bush is genuinely committed to the effort.

But we also hope he won't fall for the State Department-Saudi line that peace will occur once Israel makes enough concessions. Palestinians have to recognize Israel's right to exist, and at a minimum that means abandoning the "right of return," which is really the right to drive the Jewish state into the sea.

Our other main concern is the continued presence of Yasser Arafat as a major player behind the scenes. Mr. Bush once promised he'd never again do business with the old terrorist, and it's true that Arafat has been partly marginalized in favor new leader Abu Mazen. But it isn't clear he's totally out of the picture, and he may yet succeed in scuttling talks next week among Mr. Bush, Abu Mazen and Israeli leader Ariel Sharon.

Syria policy is another case of deja vu all over again. "We haven't changed their behavior much," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Journal editorial board this week. It's still harboring fugitive Iraqi officials. It's still helping Iran with Hezbollah. It's still sending arms to terrorists in Israel. It's still occupying Lebanon. Just what, we wonder, was the purpose of Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent visit to Damascus if there's little or no progress on any of these scores?

Iran poses a similar threat. "They are clearly attempting to influence what's taking place [in Iraq], especially among the Shia population," Mr. Rumsfeld told us, and "we don't intend to let them do it." The country is also harboring al Qaeda members.

Mr. Bush clearly needs to line up all of his advisers behind a single Iran policy. That means dropping the illusion that "engagement" with Tehran's mullahs, or with some illusory "moderates," will cause Iran to drop its nuclear program. That is going to require consistent U.S. and world pressure on the regime, including vocal Presidential support for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. As of now, the State Department and Pentagon have been sending mixed messages that the mullahs understandably think they can ignore.

We're not suggesting the U.S. has to go to war in any of these places. The demonstration effect of Iraq ought to help U.S. diplomacy achieve its goals without resorting to force. But that means a consistent U.S. policy that makes clear that the old Mideast habits of supporting terrorism won't be tolerated. Maybe someone at the White House should tell Foggy Bottom to read Mr. Bush's speeches.


US reportedly offering deal to neutralize Hizbullah '$500m on table’ if Beirut complies


Article at Lebanon Wire, with hat tip to The Agonist, who says: remain suspicious till this verified.
The United States is reportedly making a fresh attempt to strike a behind-the-scenes deal to neutralize Hizbullah, offering the government half a billion dollars if the resistance is dismantled and Syria pulls its troops out of Lebanon.

The offer is reportedly being conveyed by Darryl Issa, a Republican congressman for California, and Democrat Robert Wexler during a visit to Beirut Friday, the daily As-Safir said Thursday. The two congressmen will also travel to Damascus to discuss the offer with Syrian officials, the paper said. The daily quoted sources in the US Congress as saying the deal is being sold as a counterweight to the Syria Accountability Act which seeks to impose political and economic sanctions against Damascus. As-Safir said the $500 million would be delivered in phases as Lebanon fulfilled a number of demands. An initial $100 million would be disbursed if Lebanon agreed to settle its water disputes with Israel, namely the allocation of water from the Hasbani River.

A further $250 million would be handed over for development projects in the border district if Hizbullah’s military wing is dismantled and the army deployed along the UN-delineated Blue Line. The remaining $150 million would be allocated to water and agricultural projects in the South. There was no immediate official comment on the offer, but few believe that Lebanon and Syria will accept the alleged deal.

If the report is true, it would not be the first time that the US attempted to cut a deal to curb Hizbullah’s military activities. After Sept. 11, 2001, Issa reportedly delivered a message to Hizbullah’s leadership on behalf of the US administration, asking the party to withdraw from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, publicly distinguish between Islam and terrorism and share information it has on groups the US considers terrorist organizations. In return, the US administration would forgive Hizbullah’s alleged past involvement in anti-Western attacks. The deal was rejected by Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who described it as a “political hand grenade hurled to finish us off.”

Nasrallah also said that the US attempted to buy off Hizbullah in early 2000, offering millions of dollars, a guaranteed political role in Lebanon and international recognition if it abandoned the struggle against Israel after the Israeli Army withdrew from the South.

Meanwhile, the daily Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday that Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been removing weapons from the border district around Marjayoun. The newspaper also said that Iran has stopped training Hizbullah pilots, apparently hang-glider pilots trained to carry out suicide operations inside Israel. Timur Goksel, UNIFIL’s spokesman and senior adviser, said that Indian peacekeeping troops deployed in the Marjayoun area had seen no unusual movement. He also said no hang-gliders had been seen in south Lebanon. “The only things flying around here bigger than a bird are Israeli jets,” Goksel said. The only known incident of a hang-glider being used in an attack on Israel happened in November 1987.

ACTION IN SUPPORT ISRAEL

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Why I find it difficult to shed a tear

Commentary on three of today's news stories.

1. AP reports:

3 Killed in Bus Station Blast in Chechnya

A radio-controlled land mine exploded at a bus station Friday in the Chechen capital Grozny, killing at least three people, officials said.
...
Earlier this month, two separate suicide attacks in Chechnya killed at least 78 people.
...
For much of its 3 1/2-year duration, the latest Chechen war has been marked by near-daily reports of rebels killing Russian soldiers and the army hammering rebel positions with bombs and heavy guns, with neither side appearing to gain strategic advantage.
If Russia believed that her persistent anti-Israeli position would reduce the terrorist campaing against her, then Russia must be sorely disappointed. But Russia is part of the Quartet, the Roadmap Experts [TM]. I'm sure that Russia can marshal the Quartet expertise to draft a Roadmap out of Chechnya. And I'm sure that Russia will accept Powell's advice to "show restraint" in Russia's actions against Chechen "militants". And who knows, perhaps the chechns are engaged in an Intifadah to achieve self-determination. So perhaps I should save my tears for the next stroy.

2. A second AP story informs:
Car Bomb Kills Two in Northern Spain
A car bomb allegedly placed by Basque separatists exploded in northern Spain on Friday, killing two police officers and prompting the prime minister to cancel plans to attend a summit in Russia.
...
The explosion came five days after Basque local elections that excluded hundreds of pro-independence candidates allegedly linked to ETA's outlawed political wing.
Now, be fair: The Spaniards exclude Basque candidates from the democratic process because of the Basques' political views, and then the Spaniards complain about militant Basques resorting to violence to achieve self-determination? And are not the Spaniards the driving force of the EU against Israel, second only to the Brits? And didn't Solana visit Arafat just the other day? No, Can't find tears for Spain. Besides, the State Department, the author of "show restraint" when it comes to Israel, has already shed all the requisite tears for Spain, as reported in the following excerpt from the foregoing link:
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker issued a statement condemning the attacks.
...
"We deplore ETA s long-running, senseless campaign to terrorize and kill innocent people," Reeker said. "We continue to support Spain in its vigorous efforts to combat terrorism and bring the perpetrators of this despicable attack to justice."
So, perhaps I should reserve my tears for the next story.

3. A third story from AP reports:
Americans in Gaza Warned of Kidnap Threats
The U.S. Embassy has received "credible reports" of plans to kidnap U.S. citizens in Gaza, the Embassy announced on its Web site Friday.
Americans in Gaza? Like Rachel Corrie's friends? No, this story, too, merits no tears.

"Who are you going to believe, your eyes or what I tell you?"

Bush used to demand "deeds not words" from the Palestinians. Its time for Israel to demand favourable "deeds not words" from the US.

We must not take comfort in the notion that surely the US won't create another terrorist state, or that the US is our friend and wouldn't hurt us, or Sharon would never have agreed without a secret deal.

The facts will have to stand for the truth and so they should.

The facts are that since the high water mark of Bush's June 24th speech, the US descended rapidly with concession after concession. Even after insisting that Mazen had to have real power and Dahlan total control of security and that they must wage a war on terror, we find that all these red lines have been abandoned by the US. What is left is its determination to create a Palestinian state. Bush is committed.

Even after I was emboldened by Israel's non-acceptance of the Roadmap, I find that this nuance and Israel's 14 red lines are being ignored.

Rather than the Palestinians having to fight terror, for Israel to give concessions, we see a different process, Israel giving concessions for the Pals to fight terror.

I am convinced that a Palestinian state will be based on Israeli concessions rather than Palestinian concessions. And I take no comfort in the words of the Roadmap that "final issues are to be freely negotiated between the parties." I have no doubt that Bush's determination will not permit Israel to refuse a final deal on Palestinian terms.

There is a lot of rhetoric about changes in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, but until I see real and permanent changes, I will not take heart.

I see no facts that would give me hope. I believe what I see and not what I hear or hope.

Protesting Israel in New York City, Again and Again

For those of the readers who live in the tristate area or New York City, prepare for a big week of anti-Israel protests. The anti-Zionists are seizing the moment to organize two major anti-Israel protests, the first during the annual Salute to Israel parade, called Peace Begins with Justice, calls for people to "Come tell Israel's supporter that peace begins where oppression, racism, theft and discrimination end. Come tell the U.S. government to stop funding Israel's state violence. Come tell the U.S. government to support real peace with justice in the Middle East." What, exactly would be real peace in their eyes? They don't say, but I would assume it has something to do with the absence of Israel.

The second anti-Israel carnival marks "the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza," and, as the email states "United for Peace and Justice call for linked actions by Palestinian, international, and Israeli peace groups to protest the escalating violence against the Palestinian community and international human rights workers in the occupied territories. We demand protection for Palestinian civilians and for internationals, a moratorium on construction of the apartheid wall and its associated land confiscations and home demolitions, and an end to the occupation." It will be marked with city-wide protests, beginning with an Edward Said speech at the UN, and ending with a concert at night. More information: http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/palestine.php.

For the full text of the emails circulating the anti-Zionist corners of the internet, and emails and phone numbers to call and express your feelings, see my weblog. Maybe, if enough people are willing, we could protest the protestors at the UN.
How did we get here?

What happened to June 24 by Saul Singer

Misreading the map by Herb keinon

Washington's Betrayal by Caroline Glick


The above from JPOST are a triple must-read, in conjunction. Togather, they deal with the question: What caused the terrible collapse in moral uprightness since June 24? That such a collapse did occcur is demonstrated by Singer. Glick and keinon answer quite differently the question of how this happened . For Glick it is a clear-cut (and not the first) case of betrayal. For keinon it is in great part caused by the ineptitude of Israel's diplomacy on the approach of the calamity. Read this trilogy if you are trying to clarify for yourself your own answer to this to-be-or-not-to-be question .

Is Bush betraying Israel?

Read Caroline Glick's essay, "Washington's Betrayal" and you will have little doubt that the answer to that question is in the affirmative. Not nearly as bleak, but still disappointing (in its assessment of the President) is Charles Krauthammer's "No Phony 'Cease-Fires' With Terrorism." Krauthammer allows that the president can still extricate himself. I don't believe President Bush to be as frivolous as his predecessor. Still, it's disturbing that he's had nothing to say as the PA flouts his basic premises.

The problem of course is that President Bush has made a Palestinian state the centerpiece of his Middle East policy. Thus all actions must be evaluated by how they work toward that end. Peace should have been the centerpiece, with statehood for the Palestinians the reward for peace. (Not that I think that Palestinian statehood is in any way a good thing. But I'm arguing from Bush's perspective.

Oh and in case anyone tells you that Peace Now is pro-Israel. Tell them that they are lying.

Cross posted on Israpundit and David's Israel Blog.
Washington's Betrayal

Caroline B. Glick let's loose with all guns blazing

After listing all the terrorism that Israel has been subjected to in the last few months and all the rationales offered for Israel';s acceptence of the Roadmap she notes,
[...] Top administration officials are now here busily working to ensure that Sharon will be forthcoming with concrete concessions at the Akaba summit to ensure the meeting's "success." So if Sharon thought accepting the road map would decrease US pressure, he was dead wrong. Far from lessening the pressure, Sharon's decision to accept the road map has only increased US pressure on him tenfold.

Since assuming office, Bush has been viewed by many Israelis, including by this writer, as the best friend Israel has ever had in the White House.

In his June 24 speech last year about the Palestinian war against the Jewish state, he made quite clear that the Palestinians are the aggressor.

And yet, in light of the recent actions by the administration, actions that are quite simply hostile to the State of Israel, the president's credibility as a friend and an ally of the state is necessarily placed in doubt.

Parallel to his calls for democratization of the PA and demands for PA action against terrorism, Bush has distinguished himself as the most outspoken champion of Palestinian statehood to have ever occupied the Oval Office. Bush is the first US president to have ever adopted the establishment of a Palestinian state as an aim of US foreign policy.

Bush first made this statement in a letter to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah on August 29, 2001. The announcement came 36 hours after Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar delivered a breathtakingly hostile message from Abdullah to the White House that amounted to little less than a declaration of war against the US. According to press accounts, Bandar informed National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that because of the administration's support for Israel, "the crown prince feels that he cannot continue dealing with the United States."

Subsequently, the Bush administration sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 1397 that for the first time gave Security Council support for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Bush, while acknowledging Israel's right to self-defense, has never allowed Israel to take decisive action against the Palestinian war machine.

And now, today, all that remains of the contents of Bush's historic address last June, all that has survived the events of the past year, is an unwavering demand from Israel to accept Palestinian statehood immediately. however, the largest problem with this policy is the one with which we never imagined having to contend.

This problem is that when judged solely on its actions, the Bush administration has shown that while in the past it could be relied on for at least a modicum of support, today it no longer views such support as concordant with its interests. Therefore we can no longer blindly trust its intentions.

Whether the current, openly hostile US policy toward Israel is the result of the president's own preferences or of bad advice he has received from his advisers is impossible to know. But whatever the case, this crushing and heartbreaking reality cannot be swept under the rug. The threats arrayed against us are too foreboding.

We must accept the truth. As presently constituted, the Bush administration's Middle East policy is hostile to the national security interests of the State of Israel.

PM Sharon on Jerusalem

(From Arutz-7/Israel National News)--Last night PM Sharon gave a Yom Yerushalaim (Jerusalem Day) speech atop Ammunition Hill, where he stated that: "Jerusalem would never be compromised and the capital would remain undivided and under Israeli control, forever"

Yom Yerushalaim commemorates the re-unification of Jersualem by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.

The translation of the PM's speech is as follows:


"It has been thirty-six years since there were barbed-wire fences in Jerusalem. The city is no longer strewn with minefields. No longer does the enemy watch us and spew fire from behind the city's walls and towers. Rather than a threatened and divided city, Jerusalem is a united, splendidly built, lively and vibrant metropolis, which has regained its glory. The State of Israel owes this all to its heroic warriors. The price was heavy and extremely painful. However, the Jewish people can marvel at the wondrous fulfillment of the prophetic vision - dream and prayer - yearned for, for generations.

"This fortified hill on which we stand is soaked with blood. In the late hours of that terrible night, the ditches and crevices of this battlefield were engraved into the glorious history of Israel. Ever since then, and forevermore, shall this place be a blossoming garden, an oasis of memory. Never again shall it know fire. Never again shall the enemy set foot in it.

"The State of Israel had no desire for war. The Government of Israel spared no effort in attempting to resolve the crisis by political means. The Arabs' fervor, arrogance and inflamed passions prevented any such resolution. Israel's destruction was their heart's desire. Israel was forced into an inescapable war - a war of salvation.

"The liberation and unification of Jerusalem was the historic, crowning achievement of the entire campaign. On that day, the signal was given. The paratroopers and soldiers of the Jerusalem Brigade stormed the Old City, scaled the Temple Mount and placed their hands on the stones of the Kotel. It was a time of release and elation, almost unparalleled in the history of Israel, and resonated in every Jewish heart. It was a time which will never be forgotten. [more]
Bigotry and the Mideast road map

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe, takes some shots at the Roadmap in his latest editorial: "Bigotry and the ME Roadmap"
Salute to Israel Parade/ Protest against the anti Israel protestors.

Sunday June 1 in NYC is the annual Israel Day Parade. It is up fifth avenue from 59th or so up till 80 or so from around noon to 3 or 4 (boy some exact info.

Last year there was an anti Israel protest of a few hundred people (the NYTimes gave this protest more coverage than the parade which had about 3000 times more people (NYT later retracted). The protestors were directly on the parade route at Grand Army Plaza (SW corner 59th and Fifth). The bulk of the parade marchers are elementary children. I have been told by a couple of their teachers that they were shocked by these protestors screaming at them. If you were in the crowd of the parade though you could get no where near the protestors to yell at them.

A friend of mine has spoken to the police to express concern about the placement of the protestors (they only have to be within sight and sound, not touch) and has filed a permit to protest against the protestors. He will invite all members of the audience to come and help out. He has not heard from the police about where this will take place but you can assume that it will be at the SW corner of 59th and fifth during the parade. I will be there, come and help out.
Action: Pro-Israel demonstrations in Montreal - Weekly

I received the following e-mail from Edmond Silber:

Please attend B’nai Brith’s weekly demonstrations every friday from noon to 1:00 pm, on Peel and corner Lévesque.

Let us not get used to terror.

FRIDAY DEMONSTRATIONS, from 12 to 1pm - come to show your support for Israel.
You can subscrite to Edmond Silber's e-mail list by contacting him at:

esilber@sympatico.ca

E-mail should note, "Subscribe".

Israeli peace gesture delayed

There is no reason given for the change of plans, according to this BBC report, on releasing arab 100 prisoners, but the folliowing excerpt is an interesting comment from Hamas
[...]A top Hamas official downplayed the significance of the meeting between Abu Mazen and Mr Sharon when he spoke to French news agency AFP on Friday.

Palestinians "have not made all these sacrifices to obtain the liberation of one or two prisoners and the right for some workers to be allowed" to go back to Israel, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, said.

He said Hamas would only stop its suicide attacks if Israel halted all "aggression".

In an interview published on Thursday, Abu Mazen said he expected to reach an agreement with Hamas, to halt attacks on Israelis.

But earlier Mr Rantissi was quoted saying he was not aware any such agreement was planned.

Despite the postponement of the prisoner release, measures to ease the blockade on the West Bank and Gaza Strip should go ahead as planned on Saturday night.

If so, Palestinians over the age of 28 will be able to move out of their towns, says BBC correspondent Richard Galpin.

It is also expected that thousands more Palestinians will be able to return to their jobs in Israel, our correspondent adds.

What Palestinians Can Learn From a Turning Point in Zionist History


This op-ed piece in the New York Times (reg req'd) points to an ending of terrorism in the early days of Israel as an example for the Palestinian. Not sure if there really is this sort of parallel but it is an interesting notion

he Palestinians have often been called the Jews of the Arab world: a stateless people dispersed in a diaspora, living by their wits, pining for a return to their historic homeland. This is not a comparison either side likes. It implies an equivalency that both reject.

Yet the comparison remains common, even among Israelis and Palestinians themselves. Palestinians study the milestones of the Zionist movement for guidance and often speak about the Israeli political system, with its freewheeling debate, as a model for their own.

There is one milestone in particular that bears study today — David Ben-Gurion's fateful decision in 1948 to end Jewish terrorist activities and bring armed splinter groups under government control. When Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, met last night and prepared to see President Bush next week, one of the biggest issues they discussed was ending the terrorism of renegade Palestinian groups. Mr. Abbas said that by next week he hoped to have a pact with Hamas, the main Palestinian Islamic party, to halt violence against Israelis.

Mr. Sharon and his aides say a cease-fire pact is not enough, however, that what is needed is to arrest and disarm the militants. What Israelis increasingly say is that the Palestinians need "their own Altalena." Little known to the outside world, the Altalena episode is frequently invoked because without some equivalent, the Palestinian state may never come to be. [more]


Israel's Republicans warn Bush of election fallout over roadmap

In an unprecedented move, the official Israeli branch of Republicans Abroad has sent a letter to US President George W. Bush warning that his support for the road map threatens to drive potential voters away from the party, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the 'Post, was sent to the White House on Wednesday, and cautioned that "pressing ahead with this plan will only serve to alienate American Jews and the Christian right."

"We are aware of increasing numbers of American citizens, both here in Israel and in the United States, who are now considering abandoning the Republican party as a result of your Administration's pursuit of the 'Road Map'," the letter said.

In unusually strong language, the letter's signatories, which included the president of Republicans Abroad Israel, Eliyahu Weinstein, and the group's Co-Chair Bob Lang, further stated that, "pressuring Israel to negotiate with terrorists at the same time that America is waging war on terror is both morally untenable and intellectually inconsistent."

"It blurs the clarity of vision which you have repeatedly enunciated since the September 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, and sends the wrong message to terrorists around the world, namely, that violence can and does pay," Weinstein and Lang wrote to Bush.

According to the Republicans Abroad website, the group "is the international arm of the Republican Party" and "helps the Republican Party develop policy and campaign strategy at the highest levels."

New York Times Refuses to Report the Straight Facts

CAMERA got in touch with the Times to register a complaint. The NY Times stood by its coverage. But CAMERA here explains why they believe the Times is incorrect and hence presenting a biased story.
Despite dramatic public exposure of the New York Times' questionable policies in handling repeated deceptions by one of its reporters, the newspaper has again misled its readers, this time about the terms of the "Road Map." Instead of reporting the actual terms of the peace plan drawn up by the "Quartet" (United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia), the Times has injected its own language.

In his May 12, 2003 article about Colin Powell's meetings with Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas ("Powell Consults 2 Premiers on Mideast Peace"), correspondent Steven Weisman misrepresented the terms of the road map proposed by the "Quartet." Weisman wrote:

Among the other issues discussed today was the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The peace plan calls for their dismantling, a point reiterated in recent days by Mr. Powell.

The road map does not call for the "dismantling" of the settlements (developed towns, villages and communities.) It calls only for the dismantling of outposts established since March 2001, and a freeze on new building. According to the text of the roadmap released by the U.S. State Department on April 30, 2003, the requirements of the Government of Israel vis-a-vis settlements are as follows:

-GOI (Government of Israel) immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

-Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

The premise of Weisman’s article — that the Israeli prime minister would not comply — was based on the erroneous assumption that complete settlement dismantlement is required by the road map.[more]

Yourish on anti-semitism

Yourish.com has this (excepted from her blog) on anti-semitism See text for links
Judith Weiss posted links to the anti-Semitism conference she attended, and on one of them I found this:

This [anti-Zionism] is, I think, the most dangerous anti-Semitism of them all. It is not the case, of course, that every criticism of the Jewish state is an instance of anti-Semitism; but it is certainly the case that every instance of anti-Semitism is a criticism of the Jewish state, a fundamental criticism, since it denies the legitimacy of the ideal of a normal life for Jews, who are consigned by anti-Semites of one kind or another to an endless abnormality of one kind or another. If Israel cannot be above criticism, neither can Israel’s critics be above criticism; and the anxiety that many critics of Israeli policy are at bottom critics of Israeli reality, that the opposition to Israeli actions in Jenin or Gaza is sometimes motivated by a prior historical or religious dogma, is not an outlandish anxiety. A prejudice is not a criticism. Those of us who are not reluctant to criticize Israeli policies must be particularly careful not to be fooled. . . .

Anti-Semitism should be the occasion for an international conference at a center for non-Jewish history. Let me explain. The hatred of the Jews is a matter of urgent concern to Jews because of the injury that they may suffer as a result of it. The Jewish investigation of anti-Semitism is plainly a requirement of self-interest, and also a requirement of dignity, because defending oneself against one’s enemy is an ethical duty of the most elementary sort. The search for security has a foundation in morality. Still, the solution to the problem of anti-Semitism is not to be sought in the Jewish struggle against it. It is indecent to ask the victims to make themselves responsible for an end to their victimization. After all, they are not doing this to themselves. This is being done to them. If anti-Semitism will ever vanish from the earth, it will be the consequence of a transformation not in the mentality of Jews, but in the mentality of non-Jews.

In this sense, anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem at all. I have two reasons for insisting upon such a paradoxical formulation. The first reason has to do with the nature of prejudice. The second reason has to do with the course of modern Jewish history.

Perhaps the most significant fact for the proper comprehension of prejudice is that its object is not its cause. If you wish to understand racism, study whites, not blacks. If you wish to understand misogyny, study men, not women. If you wish to understand anti-Semitism, study non-Jews, not Jews. Indeed, the view that the explanation of prejudice is to be sought in its object is itself an expression of prejudice. It justifies prejudice, insofar as it attributes to it a basis in reality.

For it is the distinguishing mark of prejudice that it leaves the actual behind, so as to arrive at a generalization about a group that cannot be affected by anything that a member of the group might say or do. There is no evidence against such a generalization, because the evidence for it seems to be everywhere; and where evidence is everywhere, evidence is nowhere. Prejudice is not a mistake; it is a fiction. Mistakes can be corrected, but prejudice can only be fought. Anti-Semitic beliefs about the Jews are not merely false; they are also, for those who believe them, unfalsifiable. For the anti-Semite, everything that a Jew thinks or does is regarded as a Jewish thought or a Jewish deed. Such a generalization is most accurately described as a fantasy. Anti-Semitism is a tradition of fantasy that non-Jews have of Jews. . .
. Though I've had my differences with Leon Wieseltier, this speech is magnificent. You know the cliché; read the whole piece.

Hamas ceasefire (maybe)

Martin Kimel has two items worth a reading
First, as this story reports, people within Hamas have different ideas of what it is they might agree to -- conditionally ceasing attacks only within Israel proper, within both Israel and the territories, trying to avoid targeting civilians (meaning they would still kill Israelis soldiers), etc. Second, given Hamas and Islamic Jiahd's goals of erecting an Islamic state over Israel's grave, nothing less than the disarmament and disbandment of these groups should be considered an appropriate basis for the creation of a Palestinian state. It's interesting to hear Sheik Yassin suggest that Hamas might disarm upon the creation of a Palestinian state, but there's little reason to believe that Hamas has suddenly given up its rasion d'etre.


And this quote by Abbas demonstrates a complete lack of will to confront the terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade:


Asked whether the Palestinian Authority would resort to using force against Hamas, as it did in 1996, should the understandings be violated, Mr. Abbas, said: "We are not going backward. A civil war never."
* * *
JTA has a fascinating piece on anti-Semitism in Holland. The reaction of the Jewish mayor of Amsterdam cited in the article is shameful. [note: see link in article for this second piece]

News from a wide variety of papers on Israel/arab negotiations

Cherry pick from over 30 articles in papers from around the world on issues relating to the talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel pledges a Palestinian state after crackdown on terror

Crunch time. My guess is that the Palestinian PM will not be able to disarm the terror groups, or, at best, they will for s brief period cease terrorism as a tool to see what might be gained for them before starting up again. An additonal prospect is of course an all-out war between the would-be peace makers and the terror groups to decide who is going to run the arab cause. And Arafat? Doubless he will be pulling strings behind the scenes and playing a double game.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his Palestinian counterpart he would negotiate the creation of a state for the Palestinians if they fight terrorism, setting a guarded but optimistic tone for next week's three-way summit with President Bush.
Though statements from both sides early Friday, following Sharon's meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, were couched in positive terms, in the end, they maintained their basic positions.

The Palestinians demanded implementation of the U.S.-backed "road map" plan leading to a Palestinian state, and the Israelis conditioned all additional steps on a crackdown against violent groups responsible for attacks against Israelis.

Abbas prefers stopping violence through dialogue and told an Israeli newspaper that an agreement with the largest militant group, Hamas, could be completed next week. Hamas has been responsible for most of the suicide bombing attacks that have killed more than 300 Israelis in 32 months of violence.

The three-hour meeting Thursday night between Sharon and Abbas, their second in two weeks, came ahead of a summit between the two leaders and Bush planned for the Jordanian resort of Aqaba next Wednesday.[more]

The right of return - of property

Gabirelle Goldwater posts this interesting piece. The loss to those Jews who fled or were forced from arab lands is immense, yet this is seldom if ever discussed when there is talk of The Right of Return and compensation.
Israel should raise the issue of property belonging to Jews from Arab countries in its negotiations with the Palestinians.

The settlements, East Jerusalem, water, the war on terrorism are all vital subjects in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, there is another crucial subject that will make or break any future settlement between the sides: the right of return. And financial and economic matters will play a key role on this subject.

For the Palestinians, at least at the declarative level, it is their cassus belli since 1948: the right of the refugees, whether voluntary or forced, from Israel1s War of Independence to return to their homes.

For Israel, both at the declaratory and practical levels, it is a matter of existence: the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to Israeli territory would undermine the country1s demographic balance to the point of threatening its Jewish majority within a generation or two.

Is there a way to bridge such a chasm?

On the face of it, the only solution would be Israeli financial compensation for the Palestinians1 conceding the physical right of return.

On this point, Israel must stand up and state categorically: We too have claims for compensation in exchange for conceding the right of return - those of the Jews from Arab countries.

But Israel does almost nothing to prepare for this critical point in the negotiations.

There is what to talk about. 3Globes2 investigations have found that private Jewish property in four Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon - amounts to $10 billion. [more]




Israel Steps Up “Settlement Roadmap”: Israeli Paper

The source for this piece is Turks.USA, not, I think, a pro-Western or pro-Israeli organization. But they cite Yediot Aharonot, the Israeli daily, for the story. Read with caution
JERUSALEM, May 29 – Only hours after adopting the “roadmap” which calls for freezing the settlement activity on occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli Housing Minister prepared a project to build new 12,000 units in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an Israeli paper reported Thursday, May 29.

The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot said that the Israeli Housing Ministry “justified the project as a natural growth of the already existing settlements”. The paper called the move “the settlement roadmap,” in a clear mocking of the U.S.-backed roadmap for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli Housing Ministry announced Friday, May 23, it has invited bidders to construct a new residential district in the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The plan to build 502 apartments in Maale Adumim settlement, near (occupied) Jerusalem, is Israel's largest expansion project for a single settlement announced so far this year.

Under the roadmap for peace handed to the Israelis and Palestinians on April 30, Israel is required in the first phase to freeze all settlement building activities on occupied Palestinian lands.

The Israeli paper, for its part, considered the Israeli government’s clear “contradiction” as an evidence to the effect that “it (the Israeli government) applies double standards in dealing with the future of Palestinian territories”. [more]

May 29, 2003

Just your typical day

May 29,2003

21:18 An Um El-Phahem resident who assisted a suicide bomber was arrested
It is allowed to publish the the security forces arrested an Israeli Arab who was a resident of Um-El-Phahem. He was mobilized to the Hamas and planned to drive a suicide bomber to a mall in Hadera. The Israeli Arab was arrested due to an invesigation of the suicide bomber who was arrested a day before the suicide attack.

13:55 Bush will receive 20 thousands of postcards: Free Polard. In the coming days, the mail box in the White House would be floated by postcards, this time without any connection to the Road Map. Thousands of Israeli pupils participated in this year`s campaign, "There is hope in the heart". As a part of the operation, pupils dealt with prisoners of war and missing soldiers and with the prisoner Jonathan Polard, who is imprisoned in the US for espionage.

13:49 Summary of terrorists arrested tonight
3 terrorists were arrested in Dura, west to Hebron.

3 terrorists were arrested in Bethlehem, Tul-Karem and Qalqilya.

A wanted terrorist was arrested in the Atil village, north to Tul-Karem.

13:48 During an IDF opeartion in Jenin a Tanzim terrorist was killed
The IDF forces operated tonight in Jenin. During the operation, an armed Tanzim terrorist was killed. A soldier was lightly injured.

Next Year in Al-Quds
by Yashiko Sagamori
May 28, 2003
(You would never want to miss Yashiko Sagamori again):

Having said yes, do not cry rape.

The Israeli cabinet has agreed to follow the “roadmap”. In practical terms, it means that the “Palestinian” state has already been created, even if there are still some formalities to be taken care of.

Of course, Ariel Sharon’s consent to the rape is conditional on the Arab terrorist Abbas’ fight against Arab terrorism. However, the terms “fight” and “terrorism” remain to be defined and, therefore, are open to interpretation. The interpretation, most likely, will come from the US State Department. The US State Department, most likely, will heed to the Arab rhetoric, as it has always done, and take the side of Arab terrorists saying they are fighting Arab terrorism. Or would have fought it had Israel not been an obstacle, or will fight it as soon as Israel meets some very important conditions. This is perfectly consistent: Arabs have been saying all along that their terrorism against Israel is Israel’s own fault. Besides, nobody expects them to go for an A plus; C minus is still a passing grade, and, considering that even after they become a full-fledged member of the United Nations they will still remain a terrorist organization, any excuse, no matter how flimsy, will be enough for them to avoid an F. Of course, a few Jews will be blown to bits now and then by an Arab who hates Jews so much that he’ll gladly blow himself to bits in order to kill them, but if such is the price of peace in the Middle East, then Israel, no questions about it, will have to pay it.

Don’t forget that had Israel shown the proper restraint and abstained from resisting the Arab fight against the Israeli occupation of Israel’s land, the Middle East would’ve been perfectly peaceful now — as peaceful as it had been before 1948, when Israel returned to a tiny portion of its not-too-vast land.

According to every commentary I have read, the main stumbling block on the road to peace, except for the very existence of Israel of course, is the so-called “right of return” of Arabs to the Jewish land. Simple, but elegant: If Israel agrees, it will cease being a Jewish state; if it doesn’t, the Arabs, with the support of the peace-loving international community, will have a perfectly legitimate reason to continue fighting Israel.

Today, the material support of the “Palestinians” by countries of the still free world remains mostly humanitarian. Humanitarian support is a great invention. For example, if I only have enough money to buy either bread or ammunition, and your humanitarian assistance provides me with bread, then I will be able to afford the ammo as well. As a result, you, with perfectly clear conscience, will be rightfully proud of your good deeds, while I, no longer hungry, can continue killing Jews. Therefore, the only difference between you and Saddam Hussein, when it comes to the support of Arab terrorism against Israel, is that Saddam Hussein no longer supports anything. When “Palestine” - which has never existed in any shape or form - will be commonly recognized as a country, then the necessity to restrict the support of Arab terrorism to humanitarian assistance will disappear, and the peace-loving international community will acquire new, efficient methods of pressuring Israel as long as it ruthlessly refuses to accept a few million Arabs suffering from their homesickness for the Jewish home.

I heard that criminals often have an irresistible urge to return to the scene of the crime. Such urge is the only actual basis for the “Palestinian” “right of return”. However, the very fact that this problem is deemed to become central at the upcoming talks means that the Israeli government is prepared to surrender the formerly indivisible Jerusalem to the enemy. It makes perfect sense. While Israel is building a fence, as if it were possible to hide behind it from terror, the terror receives a mandate to live in the very heart of Israel. It’s not just that the Western Wall might one day get painted green, like Joseph’s Tomb, it’s the fact that, under such arrangement, the Temple Mount will inevitably become the source of future bloody conflicts. Thus, the “roadmap” is rapidly becoming a milestone on the road to Israel’s destruction and new Holocaust.

Where is Bar Kochba, when he is so badly needed?

A Roadtrap for America too

Frank Gaffny writes:

(...) Americans should be under no illusion: What might more accurately be called the "road trap" will probably have dire consequences for this country's vital interests, as well. Specifically, if a new, sovereign safe-haven for terrorism called "Palestine" emerges, the road map will prove to be at cross-purposes with practically everything the Bush Administration has been trying to do since September 11, 2001 to destroy terrorist organizations and the rogue- state regimes that sponsor them.

Such a Palestinian state would have at least three adverse repercussions for us in the United States:

1) It would be the most tangible refutation to date of the Bush Administration's claim to have terrorists on the run around the world. In fact, Yasser Arafat and his chief lieutenant and hand- picked Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, would be rewarded for the intifada they unleashed against Israel after abandoning the last phase of what is euphemistically called the Israeli- Palestinian "peace process." The message would be clear: Terrorism pays.

One of the Administration's most knowledgeable Mideast hands, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, has observed that -- contrary to conventional wisdom -- terrorism is not born of despair, but of hope; hope that murder, mayhem and "martyrdom" will produce desired political and strategic results. While the Palestinian terrorists seek, first and foremost, the destruction of the State of Israel, make no mistake: They and their comrades-in- terror around the globe will be emboldened by even piecemeal progress toward that end and encouraged to seek to take on (if not take down) others who share Israel's civilization, democratic form of government and values. That would inevitably include us.

Far from securing the favor of active or passive (for the moment, at least) enemies of Israel, our willingness to urge an ally to make possibly fatal concessions -- in the face of nothing more than diplomatic pressure and negative public attitudes in the Arab world -- will breed contempt for America's power and our will to use it. We thus risk squandering the opportunity afforded by the recent demonstration of both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

2) It would weaken one of this country's most important allies in the war on terror. In 1967, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff determined that Israel needed the West Bank and Golan Heights to assure its security from conventional threats. The effect of compelling Israel to relinquish such territory risks transforming Israel from a strong, self-reliant and independent actor into one whose strategic posture is seriously degraded -- possibly to such a degree that it will find itself increasingly preoccupied with existential threats, and more and more dependent (foolishly so) on U.S. security guarantees and assistance. The end result could be a net-drain on our defense resources at a time when we are overstretched and need all the help we can get.

3) It would undermine the moral imperative behind this war: Nations that are the targets of terror are not morally equivalent to the terrorists. President Bush clearly understands that free people and their governments are entitled to use force to protect themselves. When they do so, it is not part of a "cycle of violence"; it is a legitimate defensive action -- even when used preemptively -- to counter and defeat murderous enemies bent on destruction. To accept that this is untrue for Israel will ultimately make it untenable for the United States, as well.

On June 24, 2002, President Bush enunciated his "vision" for Mideast peace. One of its central tenets was the unequivocal statement that "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." This was the correct principle then, and it remains so today.
(All emphases added)

Bleg: Who wrote the Roadmap?

Can anyone shed some light on the above question? I don't mean "The US, EU, UN, and Russia, but actually who?
Was it Boucher at the state department? Who from the EU and UN?
Anyone know anything about this - like who insisted and succeeded on the ridiculous timetable?

Road Map Torn by Ambiguity

There is something intellectually dishonest about a "peace process" that tacitly promises mutually exclusive demands to the Israelis and Palestinians by papering over their differences until they inevitably collide. In the parlance of diplomacy, this is called "creative ambiguity." It formed the basis of the failed Oslo accords in the 1990s, and it will surely spell the demise of the current "road map" for peace.

The Oslo accords, agreed upon by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, was an exercise in creative ambiguity. At the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called Jerusalem the "ancient and eternal capital of the Jewish people" and said it "must remain united and be our capital forever." Conversely, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat interpreted Oslo to mean "the Palestinian flag will soon fly over Jerusalem."

Rabin would later show signs he was willing to trade parts of East Jerusalem for peace, but contrary to common opinion, Arafat never pledged to crack down on the rejectionist Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Why were these issues not explicitly addressed in the Oslo accords? "The reason for this silence is not hard to understand," one Oxford professor noted at the time. "If these issues had been addressed, there would have been no accord."

The seeds of conflict were there from the start, but the so-called "interim period" belied this fact. It addressed the easy questions while putting off the thorny "final status" issues. The theory was that the two sides would begin with confidence-building measures, and by the time compromises were needed, both sides would be ready. Israel would begin withdrawing from Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho. Simultaneously, elsewhere in the Palestinian-dominated West Bank, Israel would transfer authority over education, health, social welfare, direct taxation and tourism. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank would then hold elections to create their own government, the Palestinian Authority.

Unfortunately, it was a honeymoon built on false pretenses. What were the issues on which the 1993 agreement was mute? None other than the core components of the conflict itself — not just the future status of Jerusalem and Arafat's strategy to clamp down on terrorists but also the borders of any Palestinian state, limitations on Israeli settlements and the so-called Palestinian right of return. On the crux of the conflict, Oslo said nothing at all. Both the Israelis and Palestinians believed that the empty vessel of Oslo would ultimately be filled with their dueling visions of Palestine.[more]