Saturday, September 22, 2007


Phyllis Chesler

Let me state what is painfully obvious. Despite our most hopeful illusions, people are not really "good" nor do they really practice "peace". While power corrupts, absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely and there is no safe place, neither high nor low, for the most vulnerable of our citizens.

The world is always at war. People fight, it's what we do. We quarrel, often in deadly ways with other family members and we fight bitter, brutal battles with anyone who is "different" in terms of gender, class, race, ethnicity, tribe, religion, and ideology. The planet is perpetually plagued by civil and national wars. Not to be outdone, persecuted peoples internalize the prejudice and hatred leveled against them and unleash it against others like themselves.

Despite what has been learned about the European Holocaust, genocide has since become commonplace; it advances with arrogant impunity and is neither stopped nor punished by the "international community." (Think Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan). Rape and repeated, public gang-rape have become calculated weapons of war. It is no longer (merely) a spoil of war to which drunken, woman-hating soldiers feel entitled. An era of gender-cleansing has begun.

Even so: World wars, especially those which may involve nuclear weapons, outclass (so to speak) this chronic buzz of destruction.

We are poised on the precipice of just such a moment. Yeats's “rough beast" is Islamic fundamentalism and it, literally, "slouches toward Bethlehem," intent on destroying Judeo-Christian civilization.

Whether we conceive of this moment as World War Three or Four matters little. I happen to think that the Cold War never really ended since a Palestinianized Marxist-Leninism utterly hijacked the western campuses and media where it now functions as a fifth column arguing the barbarian's case. On the other hand, Norman Podhoretz is right: This is a new enemy, one who combines elements of fascism and totalitarianism but in fundamentalist religious form.

The Middle East and the Muslim world has, by and large, been judenrein for quite some time. It has also become increasingly Islamified. My friend, the Egyptian dissident, Tarek Heggy, recently wrote me about his recent visit to his hometown of Port Said. Now, he said, "women are everywhere sheeted and hate blares from every mosque around the clock." Gone are the Jews and the Christians and the non-religious Muslims; gone is the cosmopolitan splendor of the colonial-era Islamic East.

The Taliban (and Taliban-like ways) continue to plague the girls and women of Afghanistan, where I once lived. (By the way: My colleague, Rosanne Klass, has just re-issued her wonderful and beautifully written Memoir of her time in Afghanistan in the 1950s. It is titled "Land of the High Flags. Afghanistan When the Going Was Good" and I strongly recommend it. While Klass does not focus on Afghan women, she nevertheless paints a charming portrait of a Muslim country in a softer, gentler, and more hopeful time.)

Al-Qaeda continues to morph and everywhere remains at large--although the battle is joined in Iraq. Bin Laden continues his career in global video-production from some cave or rat-hole in No Man's Land along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Iran continues to call for the extermination of the Jewish state--and its President is about to be welcomed by the United Nations in New York City.

The Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks, against whom Al Qaeda has issued a death warrant, has just been informed by his government that he is no longer safe in his home or his country. Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to flee Holland; the late, great Oriana Fallaci fled her native Italy; I have dear friends who are either trying to leave England, France, and Germany or who are documenting the mounting tide of Jew- and America-hatred among European and immigrant Muslims. (At the same time, I know many Muslim dissidents who have found safer refuge in Europe and many Muslim feminists who are trying to rescue women from being battered, mutilated, and murdered on European soil).

Still, both America and Israel remain the world's last best hope. American forces continue to engage the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq. On September 6, 2007 Israel apparently bombed nuclear weapons in Syria that were acquired from North Korea or Iran. For once, the Israelis are neither denying nor admitting anything--nor are the Syrians.

More: As former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger pointed out in a lecture at my synagogue, Orach Chayim, during this last, awful period of permanent Intifada against Israel, Israel's economy surged forward, Warren Buffett did not cancel his enormous investments in Israel just before the Lebanon war last summer--when he could have done so. Also, the demographic statistics have been greatly misunderstood. Based on Ettinger's research, "the Jewish-Arab fertility gap has been reduced to one child (down from a 6 children gap in the 1960s)!"

Like Nobel Laureate, Professor Aumann, (about whom I have written before), Ambassador Ettinger is also urging that we look at the larger picture, examine the infra-structure, be prepared for the long haul.

Still, I remain distressed, uneasy, not only because the lives of both soldiers and civilians are being lost but because so many educated Americans continue to deny that we are really at war and that fundamentalist Islam (not merely terrorism) remains our Number One clear and present danger. Too many Americans are clinging to their illusions for dear life.

Fall has come in early this year and it is a soft and beautiful one here in New York City. Construction is booming, huge, new skyscrapers appear almost overnight, the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line is being dug out of the concrete. New Yorkers seem to be enjoying the weather, lingering at outdoor cafes, walking down streets and through parks, enjoying all the rich cultural offerings that characterize this great city which is also the capital of the world.

We can lose this in a second. And, we can also lose it slowly, in many seconds, if we do not fight back and fight to win. Indeed, we must win or we are doomed. As Edmund Burke has pointed out, evil inevitably triumphs when good people do nothing. We must all do something--actually, everything--if we are to save our way of life and our very lives.

Confronting the Saudi lobby

The Walt and Mearsheimer book accusing Israel and its allies of dominating American foreign policy is out. Three developments so far:

First, the reviews aren’t good. The New York Times, for example, derided the book as a “prosecutorial brief.” On the other hand, academics who like the book will assign it for their courses, doing long-term damage to the minds of American students.

Second, thanks to a slip of banana peel proportions, which was caught by CAMERA’s brilliant analyst, Alex Safian, it’s clear the dynamic duo doesn’t believe a major part of their own thesis. While the book says Israel pressured the U.S. into war with Iraq, Mearsheimer instead curiously told an interviewer the truth: When it learned the Bush administration was determined to attack Iraq, Israel argued that the Iranian situation was more dangerous and should be addressed first. So Mearsheimer knows his book is wrong. Israel did not push for, much less author, the Iraq war.

Third, and probably most important, Walt and Mearsheimer’s obsessive focus on Israel is causing critics from the right and the left to look carefully at the 800 pound gorilla of American Middle East policy, Saudi Arabia. With billions to burn, Saudi’s impact on the rest of the planet is well understood. Madrassas, Islamic “universities,” preachers and imams by the score have, among other things, moved Islam profoundly toward xenophobic and violent Wahhabi ideology. Yet most of the U.S. government carefully averts its eyes. Why?

Because Saudi Arabia buys influence and former American officials peddle it. These include former ambassadors to Saudi and Gulf states like James Akins, Edward Walker and John West, former CIA station chiefs and analysts like Raymond Close, and former congressmen like Paul Findley. They’re all on the Saudi payroll – either directly through business deals or indirectly through Saudi support for their think tanks and foundations.

In a masterful Wall Street Journal piece, Jeff Robbins, Mintz Levin lawyer and – full disclosure – attorney for the David Project, recounts how after Sept. 11, 2001, as president of the Boston chapter of the World Affairs Council, he was persuaded by a defense contractor to arrange a forum for Boston influentials to hear the Saudis expound on their enlightened, tolerant country. Multiply this by every major city and media market, factor in the PR firms and lobbyists, the defense contractors, the public officials and academics – Saudi recently gave Georgetown and Harvard $20 million each – and you begin to get the sense of the scale and dollars behind the Saudi lobby. We’re looking at tens if not hundreds of millions in the U.S. alone. But, Robbins noted, to Israel’s critics, there is “nothing wrong” in any of this.

Walt and Mearsheimer deny being anti-Semites.
Yet, Robbins went on, since they are “content with foreign oil money being used to advance a pro-Arab position on the Middle East, but devote themselves to criticizing American Jews for lobbying their public officials in support of the Jewish state, one may legitimately wonder what phrase would apply.”

Why are we a nation obsessed with the headscarf?

To most outside observers the scene must be looking pretty bizarre: Thousands of otherwise reasonable men and women in this country, who make up much of the social elite, are having panic attacks in the face of the possibility that Turkish universities might tolerate their students wearing the Islamic headscarf. Virtually everyday, bureaucrats, pundits and even university rectors lash out against the proposed article in the proposed constitution to set the headscarf free. "This will be the end of the secular republic," they passionately claim, without realizing that a secular republic that doesn't respect the rights and liberties of its citizens is called a secular tyranny.

I have repeatedly said what I think about this prohibition on the headscarf: It is a violation of human rights, and it is a shame on our democracy. I also have made a suggestion to make things more fair if this ban is going to last: The citizens who wear the headscarf should pay less taxes. They obviously don't get anything from Turkey's education system, and they should not be required to take a share in its finance. If they are second-class citizens, why should they pay the same rates with the folks in the first class?
Anyway, tyrannies are tyrannies and they don't bother about such details. And the story of our homegrown one is too broad a topic to discuss in a single column. That's why I rather want to focus on the origins of the obsession with the headscarf. While other Islamic practices such as the Ramadan fast is not a problem in Turkey, why is this one a huge bone of contention? Remembering the hat revolution: To find an answer, we have to go back to the Ottoman Empire, which underlies much of modern Turkey. In this multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, headgear was an important symbol because it specified a person's religious and thus legal identity. For a long time, the three “nations” of the empire — the Muslims, the Jews and the Christians — had their own distinct turbans. What you put on your head also said who you are. The person who changed that was Sultan Mahmud II, who, during his reign (1808-1839), brought in many modern concepts such as the rule of law, the limits of the state's powers and the idea of equal citizenship. Under Mahmud, Jews and Christians were granted equal rights with Muslims, and all of them were introduced to a new headgear called the “fez.” This red cylindrical cap was a novelty, which some conservatives did not like, but soon all Ottoman citizens, regardless of their creed, accepted it. Yet the real revolution would come about a century after Mahmud II, and this time the goal was not “Ottomanization” as he had aimed, but rather de-Ottomanization. Mustafa Kemal, Turkey's Westernist founder, took that bold step as early as 1925 with this famous “hat revolution.” For him, the fez symbolized everything that he wanted to save the Turks from, and the bowler hat represented everything that he wanted to turn them into. He showed up in the conservative city of Kastamonu in August 1925 with a bowler on this head. “This is called a hat gentlemen,” he said, “from now on, we will wear this.” Soon came the hat law, which outlawed all religious turbans and made it compulsory for civil servants to wear the “headgear of the civilized peoples.” Atatürk did not touch women's veils, but he systematically promoted the ideal “modern Turkish woman,” who was supposed to wear all the trendy clothes including those vintage swimsuits of the ‘30s. Atatürk and his followers were very enthusiastic about the bowler hats, and, at a time when much of the war-stricken Turkish society was in total destitute, they did not refrain from spending great sums of money to import them from various European countries. Yet not everybody was a great fan of this compulsory fashion. For many devout Muslims, the hat represented the Christian West and they perceived its imposition onto Muslim society as an act of forced self-denial. They saw in the bowlers even an implicit message of disobedience to God. It was impossible to wear this rimmed hat during the daily Muslim prayer, in which the believers put their foreheads to the ground as a sign of submission to the Almighty. So putting on the hat, for them, looked like abandoning worship. The victims of the bowler hat: Hence came the reactions to the hat revolution. In the northeastern coastal town of Rize the whole populace rejected the idea, sparking a rebellion that led Ankara to send the giant warship Hamidiye to the shores of the city in order to be persuasive. In Erzurum a group of 30 protestors were fired upon by the gendarmerie and several of them, including a woman, were shot. The most notorious episode would be the case of İskilipli Atıf, a “hodja,” i.e., a religious scholar, who wrote a treatise titled “The Hat and the Imitation of the Franks,” in which he objected to the idea by arguing that it would amount to the abandonment of Muslim culture.

Although he had written that 32-page tract before the revolution, at a time when the word was around but the law was not in practice, he was arrested by the authorities charged with treason. Soon he was tried by one of the “Independence Courts,” which were arbitrary revolutionary tribunals similar to the ones established by the French revolutionaries and later the Bolsheviks in order to eliminate the “enemies of the people.” In his defense, İskilipli Atıf said that he stood behind his views, and the court cold-bloodedly sentenced him to death. The old man was executed by hanging on Feb. 4, 1925. “Don't cry my child,” he said in his last hours to his daughter who was in tears. “Just recite the Koran for my soul.” İskilipli Atıf was only one of the many victims of the hat revolution.

Eight others were executed in Rize, seven in Maraş and four in Erzurum. According to the Turkish version of Encyclopedie Larousse, the number of people killed by the regime was as high as 78. Moreover, many others were sentenced to 10 to 15 years of imprisonment. Permanent revolution: More than 80 years have passed since the hat revolution and its victims. Yet the mindset of the revolutionaries has changed very little, if at all. Nobody wears hats anymore, and the male headgear is a non-issue. But now the focus is on the female headdress. The revolutionaries still want to do the same thing: They want to eradicate all traditional Islamic clothes. They would love to do it by employing revolutionary guards on the streets to rip the veils off, but that is not feasible. So they rather prefer to contain the veiled women by pushing them out of the “public square” and denying them the right to education. The ultimate aim is to make all of them “modern” by using coercive powers of the state.

What these revolutionaries fail to understand is that in the modern world, states have no right to interfere with the dress codes of their citizens, and that individuals have the right to live in whatever manner they choose. Actually if there is any version of “modernity” that they resemble, that is the way of Chairman Mao, whose Cultural Revolution traumatized a whole nation during the late ‘60s. Turkey's cultural revolution has been much less radical, thank God, but unlike Mao's now defunct tyranny, it still goes on.* Published in THE TURKISH DAILY NEWS on September 20, 2007.

Losing Traction against Syria

The September 6 Israeli bombing of a presumed North Korean-supplied nuclear weapons facility in Syria highlights the ongoing policy challenge posed by Damascus. . More than three years after President Bush signed the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act (SAA), Syria continues to support terrorism, destabilize Iraq, meddle in Lebanon, and develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile systems. This week's headlines tell the story: on September 19, yet another anti-Syrian parliamentarian was assassinated in Lebanon; the same day, Jane's Defence Weekly reported that a July 2007 chemical weapons accident in Syria -- involving mustard gas and VX and sarin nerve agents -- killed fifteen Syrian officers and dozens of Iranian engineers.
To date, Syria has proven largely impervious to U.S. sanctions, and Washington's efforts to forge international consensus on isolating Damascus have not gained traction. Although the regime seemed isolated after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, the trend has recently shifted toward diplomatic and economic engagement. If such engagement continues, Syria may avoid accountability for both the Hariri assassination and Western demands to alter its behavior.
Diplomatic Engagement
Over the past year, a stream of foreign officials has flocked to Damascus for meetings with President Bashar al-Asad. The most recent -- and significant -- visit was by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who spent three days in the Syrian capital in August. The trip was a stunning development: in May, al-Maliki's own national security advisor complained to ABC News that Syria continued to harbor and support insurgents responsible for killing Americans and Iraqis. And just months before that, U.S. Central Command revealed that Iraqi insurgents had established a terrorist training camp on Syrian soil.
Given Syria's demonstrated commitment to destabilizing Iraq, it is not surprising that al-Maliki's meetings were unproductive. Nevertheless, the visit held symbolic importance. The trip -- the first by an Iraqi prime minister to Syria in thirty years -- was the capstone in a series of recent diplomatic engagements: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip in April, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's May interlude with the Syrian foreign minister in Sharm al-Sheikh, and French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran's July talks.
Unsuccessful U.S. Financial Measures
Washington has had little success using financial sanctions to pressure Syria. This is partly due to the unsubstantial trade between the two countries. As a charter member of the State Department's terrorism sponsors list, Syria has been subject to bilateral trade constraints since 1979. In 2004, pursuant to the SAA, Washington implemented additional economic measures. These steps were largely symbolic, however, as they did not affect food and telecommunications equipment, the primary U.S. commodities purchased by Syria.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce indicate that from October 2006 through March 2007, bilateral trade between the countries actually increased threefold from the same period a year earlier ($116 million to $361 million). While total bilateral trade fell from $478 million in 2005 to $438 million in 2006 due to a decrease in Syrian oil exports to the United States, American exports to Syria actually increased by $69 million during the same period.
From the U.S. perspective, the implementation of Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act in March 2006, which imposed sanctions on the Commercial Bank of Syria, was a more effective measure. This action forced U.S. financial institutions to sever accounts with the Syrian bank. Although these sanctions were an irritant, Damascus anticipated them and cushioned the blow: one month earlier, it switched all state foreign currency transactions from dollars to euros.
Heavy Middle Eastern Investment
Efforts to change Syrian policies have been stymied by burgeoning foreign investment in Syria, a development that has been a life raft for the regime. The leading investor is Tehran, whose investment agreements are said to be worth approximately $3 billion (it remains to be seen how much of this will actually materialize).
Persian Gulf states have made large investments as well. For example, Noor Financial Investment, a Kuwaiti firm, has entered into an oil refinery deal in Syria worth $1.5 billion. Another Kuwaiti firm, the Aref Group, is funding a $2 billion project to develop a new business district in Damascus. Several companies from Dubai are also bullish on Syria, including the al-Futtaim Group, which is slated to develop a $1 billion resort complex west of the capital. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will soon open banks in Damascus. Perhaps the only U.S. Gulf ally largely absent from this investment surge is Saudi Arabia, whose relationship with Syria deteriorated following the assassination of Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi national.
Europe and China Jump In
Europe is an important part of the failed policy to financially pressure Syria. The European Union (EU) continues to deal economically with Syria despite objections from France stemming from the Hariri incident. Although these objections stalled Syrian membership in the EU Economic Association, the union nevertheless provides significant economic and development assistance to the Asad regime through fourteen separate projects. In April 2007, Germany pledged $95 million in development aid to Syria over two years. Berlin dispatched Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul to Damascus in August to disburse $46 million.
The EU traditionally has been Syria's leading trade partner and accounted for 60 percent of all Syrian exports in 2003. Recognizing the vulnerability of this relationship, Damascus has worked hard to diversify and reduce its reliance on Europe by forging economic agreements with new partners such as China. Between 2005 and 2006, Syrian bilateral trade with China increased 55 percent to $1.4 billion. And by 2006, the percentage of Syrian exports to the EU had declined to 42 percent, reducing the West's ability to use economics as a lever.
The Syrian economy is growing -- despite a 6.5 percent decline in oil production, its overall growth rate this past year was a respectable 5 percent. "Barring policy missteps or a deterioration in the regional environment," a recent International Monetary Fund report predicted, "the near-term outlook . . . looks favorable." Based on this assessment, Syria is not under economic duress. The picture is not all rosy, however: Syrian oil revenues are in serious decline, Damascus still has not attained membership in the EU Economic Association, and the $1.3 billion boon to the economy brought by the estimated one million Iraqi refugees will likely evaporate as these unemployed visitors burn through their savings.
As information begins to emerge about the extent of North Korean-Syrian ties, Washington will have another opportunity to focus the international community on the continuing dangers posed by the Asad regime. The UN's Hariri tribunal will add to the pressure on the regime, but that alone will not suffice. To stem Syria's reacceptance into the international community, Washington needs to convince its European and Arab -- particularly Gulf -- allies to freeze their engagement with Damascus. It should also exclude Syria from the Arab-Israeli peace conference scheduled to take place this November.
With Israeli-Syrian tensions rising and the pro-Western Lebanese government on a precipice, renewed political and economic pressure on Damascus is vital. In the absence of effective measures, the Asad regime will continue to undermine Washington's hopes for the region.
David Schenker is a senior fellow in Arab politics at The Washington Institute. From 2002 to 2006, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as country director for Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mahmoud Update

A once good university shames itself:. The Monday afternoon speech is on - and has been cleverly scheduled to correspond with the main anti-Ahmadinejad demonstration at UN Plaza in New York organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations However, we have come to expect the following from the Times: Newt Gingrich revealed on FoxNews this morning that the New York Times editorial board will host Ahmadinejad for lunch at the Four Seasons hotel on Monday. "That is like hosting Adolf Hitler to lunch in 1940," said Dave Bossie of Citizens United.

Nadia Matar Released From Jail

Matar was released late Thursday. The following are excerpts of Matar's account of what happened: At the end of our Women in Green vigil, when most people had already gone home, I stayed with some 15 friends and activists who were going to help put back the placards and the flags into my car. Starting to walk to my car, friends saw policemen coming closer and closer to me. They immediately realized the police was trying to get me but were waiting for the supporters to leave. I am still moved to tears thinking about those wonderful friends who immediately surrounded me to protect me and said: we are not leaving before we make sure you are OK. A heavyset policeman told me: "Nadia, i demand you join me to the police station." I asked him why: "What did I do wrong?" He answered: "That we will discuss later. I order you to come with me to the police, otherwise we will take you by force. I told him I wanted to call a lawyer to discuss what my rights are.
I heard him shout: "Nadia, come with me right now otherwise you will be responsible for the violence that will happen here!"
walked back to Paris square, surrounded by my friends, sat down on the stone bench and started calling Honenu - all the time surrounded by wonderful friends and supporters. There I was, sitting on the stone bench, discussing the issue with the lawyer, surrounded by friends - but the police obviously had no patience to wait till I finish my phone call. I heard him shout: "Nadia, come with me right now otherwise you will be responsible for the violence that will happen here!"
Immediately after saying that policemen started violently beating the women who were surrounding me to push their way through to get me. It was unbearable to see how they had no qualms beating and hitting older women and men. When they reached me they grabbed my arms and my legs, lifted me up like a sack of potatoes, shlepped me to the van in the most immodest way and threw me in the van. Being a religious woman I cover my head with a cap. in this violent commotion, my cap fell off so when I was in the van I raised myself, stuck my head out of the van and demanded to get my cap back. The policeman who was the driver barked at me saying: "Sit down right now." Another policewoman shouted: "Sit down right now or i will close the door on your head." I told them: "I will not sit down till you give me my hat," to no avail.
The driver policeman, whose name I found out later is Avi Nissan (ID #1114214) then grabbed my right wrist and twisted it in the most painful and violent way. The pain shot through my body. I was unable to stand and was thrown down on the seat-the door of the van shut. Then Michal Shofet, longtime Women in Green activist was pushed into the van too. I asked her why they arrested her. She told me that she was outside and witnessed the most brutal police behavior. When she saw that one woman had been pushed to the floor and looked as if she was fainting, she started shouting at the policeman demanding he stop hitting. That is when he grabbed her and pushed her into the van. She said that her arm was really hurting. When I told her how upset was that I had no head-covering, she gave me her orange scarf.

Matar, handcuffed at the Jerusalem court house
(Photo: Gemma Blech)
We arrived at the Moriah Police Station around 9:30pm. We were put in a large room with a table and asked to wait. The policemen who had all been involved in our arrest sat down and started writing their version of what
happened. It was unbelievable to see how they were talking to each other-obviously coordinating what they were going to write. It took them close to an hour and a half to write. Meanwhile some 10 supporters had arrived at the police station and were giving us support from outside. Once again I want to thank them. At some point a lawyer sent by Honenu arrived. It was Ephraim Katzir. Boy were we happy to see him! He was allowed to speak to us only for a few minutes. He told us that the police had decided we had to spend the night in jail and go to court the following day.
At around midnight Michal was taking in for questioning. My turn came around 1 in the morning. The officer called Avi Sutto, told me I was accused of:
1) "going wild after the order of dispersion" was given
2) participation in an illegal gathering
3) attacking policemen
4) disturbing policemen in duty
5) incitement to violence
6) blocking roads and blocking traffic
I asked him how come the list of lies and fabrications was so short. Maybe he wanted to add to the list: "accused of the murder of Jesus and Yitzhak Rabin? if you are already lying, make it a bit more interesting..." I told him. He did not like the fact that I was not fazed nor scared by his ridiculous questions, most of which I refused to answer saying that this was a political arrest and I wasn't going to lend a hand to this circus - I was accusing them of harassment, persecution, stifling dissent, police violence etc. When he asked what I had said and that I was accused of "incitement to violence' I decided to give this man a bit of Jewish history. I took out of my bag and started reading the entire quote of Ben Gurion. He did not like the fact that he had to write so much but I told him "You asked me what I said. This is what I said. Are you trying to tell me that Ben Gurion's words are incitement?"
Then, a little before 2:00 in the morning he said: "OK, now we will finish the interrogation by taking your fingerprints and a DNA sample." I told him that there was no way I was going to accept that. He told me that it is the law and that if I refused he would do it by force. I told him I demanded to call Honenu. I called Honenu (who have a advisor on call 24 hours a day - what a wonderful organization!). The advisor on call told me that if it was important for me to refuse to this demand, I should say that if the next day the judge would obligate me to do so - I would, but at this moment I refuse to give my fingerprints and the DNA. When i told that to the policeman he went wild. He started shouting that I was hutzpadik (impertinent), that I was receiving bad counseling and that he was going to
grab my hand by force and get my fingerprints. I put my hands behind my back and told him that I did not care how much he was shouting, I was not going to give him my fingerprints.
At this point he called another policeman who took over the interrogation. This was a higher ranking officer by the name of Tommy Zaken. He was more of a mentsh and was more bothered by the fact that some prisoners had escaped. He was constantly on the walkie-talkie giving instructions to his guys what to do to catch the fugitives. He decided to let go of the fingerprints and told me that now they were going to bring Michal and me to the Russian Compound to spend the night. In the morning we would be brought in front of a judge who would decide whether to release us or whether to keep us in jail.
Having spent the night in jail at the Russian Compound many years ago, during the Rabin-Peres regime, I must say that the place has not changed much unfortunately. The only difference is that they seem to have painted the walls since then and the traces of feces on the wall that were there years ago, have more or less been taken away. Now the walls are full of graffiti mostly in Arabic. There are also slogans in Hebrew to remind us many activists against the expulsion of Gush Katif have paid a visit to that jail.
Each prisoner gets a tooth brush, toothpaste, a bar of soap. Then we had to give our valuable personal belongings (money, Visa Card, cellphone etc..) to be put in the safe. After we were frisked to make sure we did not hide a cellphone or weapon somewhere in our body! we were brought to a doctor who asked if we had anything to complain about. I told them my hand had been twisted and Michal, who was in terrible pain and her arm was fire red, asked to receive pain killers. Then we were brought to our cell. I asked if we could get a room with a view but somehow we did not get that...:) There are no windows in the cell.
The cell is tiny. Two stone bunk beds are the only "furniture". There is no place to really stand. One must stay in his bed. Behind a door is a toilet, sink and a shower. The officer had told us that cameras were filming the cell but not the toilet .The main problem with the cell was that there was no air. It was just suffocating. We each got a mattress and two blankets. A Jewish woman in her fifties was in the cell. She did not talk much. The strong light stayed on the entire night making it impossible to sleep. Luckily they allowed me to take my siddur (prayer book) into the cell.
Trying to fall asleep, all I was thinking about was Jonathan Pollard. Here I had been in jail just for a few hours and I was already getting restless and bored and felt like walking the could Jonathan bear it? Twenty two years in jail. Twenty two years. Day and night. Day and night. And whatever conditions we were in, were probably luxury conditions compared to what Jonathan has. And despite all that Jonathan stays upbeat, full of optimism and love of Eretz Israel - giving us strength. I promised myself that the moment I would get out I would remind everyone to act on behalf of Jonathan's release, to pray for his health, and to do whatever we can to bring Jonathan home.
In the morning we received three slices of bread, a hard boiled egg, a spoonful of white cheese and half a yellow pepper. Michal and I could not eat for we simply had no air. We asked if they would let us have some air in the courtyard. Luckily they agreed and we spent from 8 in the morning till 12;30 noon in the courtyard, enjoying the fresh air. Never have I spent time thinking about the fact that we have to appreciate every day we can enjoy the fresh air of freedom. [...]
At 12:45 they opened the door and told us we were going to Court. They put handcuffs on us. I asked them, "If you already treat us like criminals - why not put us in leg irons?" The policeman lowered his eyes in embarrassment and said that this is what he was told to do.
Arriving at the courthouse we were welcomed warmly by many of our dear and loyal family members, friends and supporters who had been waiting in court since 10:30 in the morning because they were told by the police that we had to appear at 10:30. No doubt in our mind that they kept postponing the hearing hoping our supporters would leave, but no, our Women in Green friends are like family and they stayed till we arrived.
Appearing before judge Amnon Cohen, the police asked to release us on condition that we would not be allowed to approach Paris Square, the PM's residence or any government ministry in the country for the next six months. In addition they demanded I give a DNA sample and fingerprints. [...]
Our lawyer Ephraim Katzir gave a moving and powerful talk explaining that this was a case of political persecution and that the judge could not give a hand to this crushing of dissent. No doubt that Katzir's talk influenced the judge who gave his ruling: "I rule to free Nadia and Michal without any condition. I do obligate them to give their fingerprints, and Nadia has to, in addition, give a DNA sample."
They also took Michal's and my fingerprints. We both wrote on the page that we were doing this only because the Judge had obligated us to do so, but we still wanted to make clear that this was being done against our will.
We all felt very uplifted. Our lawyer had succeeded in convincing the judge no to agree to the bolchevik demand by the police to stop our right to demonstrate in front of government ministries. [...]
To sum up the 24 hours that had passed; it is clear to us that the police received instructions from above to scare us and silence us. The Olmert government is very upset that we are raising our heads and are already now screaming gevalt against the secret agreement being concocted between Olmert and Abbas. [...]
The Olmert Government has no mandate to give away the Land of Israel. The creation of a PLO state in Judea and Samaria and the division of Jerusalem, with the handing over of the Temple Mount to the PLO will endanger the very existence of the State of Israel. At our demonstration we made it clear that we will do everything in our power to prevent this from happening. [...]
May Hashem give us strength to fight our internal and external enemies and protect the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the Torah of Israel.[...] One thing is for sure. If the Olmert government thinks they scared us with their violent bolshevik behavior, the exact opposite is the truth. We realize that we have touched a sensitive nerve. No arrests nor beatings will stop us. We will continue to fight for the Land , the People and the Torah of Israel. And if it is a crime to love the Land of Israel, then it is our honor to be arrested for such a "crime"!!

How not to spend an evening; Nadia did nothing wrong

Nadia did nothing wrong-from an eye witness who participated in the demonstration Wed. Sept. 19, 2007

This evening I went to a demonstration to protest Olmert and Rice's meeting and the pressure being put on Israel for more and more concessions - not that our Prime Minister is himself not ready to yield. The rally was called for 7:00 PM at French Square which is opposite the Kings Hotel at the corner of Ramban and King George, Jerusalem. People had come from all over the country at a moment's notice in order to participate. It was a varied group of religious, secular, including passersby who were anxious to join and asked for signs to hold. Most, like I, were not members of the Women in Green (WIG).

Nadia Matar of WIG -the organizers - spoke as did former MK Elyakim Haetzni, an attorney, and Shifra Hoffman, organizer of Victims of Terror. Peace Now also had a small demonstration closer to Olmert's house . We finished our rally and wanted to sing "Hatikva" and "Shir HaMa'lot" in front of the Prime Minister's residence before dispersing. As the group - in orderly fashion - crossed the small street behind the square, helmeted policed refused to let us proceed and we returned to the center of the square without a fuss. We later heard that one of the charges was 'stepping off the sidewalk'! At that point, the police decided to take Nadia into custody.

A heavyset policeman was standing next to me and seemed to be running the show. I asked him why he had ordered the action and he said that it was because she 'had a history'. There were about 20 people standing around and we all were shocked. Nadia had done nothing wrong; we were all witness to this. If they thought that she had why did they wait until everything was quiet and the main part of the crowd had left (there were probably 200-300 people there at the height of the rally and signs were distributed that said "Israel is not Olmert's Real Estate"/ "Condoleezza Rice Go Home",and the like. It was obvious that the police knew that had more people been present there would have been stiff opposition to their even approaching Nadia who was just sitting and not doing anything.

There were about a dozen police there and suddenly the heavyset one charged into the group and directed others to take Nadia. She was dragged by 4 of them -one holding each of her legs and arms - and another woman who tried to protect her was also taken into custody. Both were practically thrown into a van with others following and trying to prevent this - to no avail. There was no effort to protect their modesty; Nadia's cap also fell off. While trying to take hold of her, the police had pushed other people around without a care. Another woman had been knocked down I was told.

I had never seen this kind of police violence - although it provided me with a visual of what I had heard about. A man in the group had a van and a bunch of us piled into it and went to the police station in Talpiot. We had all been witness to this and wanted to be sure that Nadia and friend were ok. The police did not let us see them and we finally went to a waiting room. Originally, we had been told that they would be kept only for an hour - to be investigated - but it was much longer. The police tried to force us to leave but we remained, quietly, as a group. Finally, Nadia's lawyer, Ephraim Katsir, arrived, and we had a chance to speak with him, too. He talked to some of the police and kept us apprised of what was happening.

A bit later, Ephraim told us that the women were going to be held overnight. While we were waiting a letter had been composed - complaining about the police violence. Several people signed but the police refused to accept the letter, saying that it had to go to another location. We were also told that stepping off the sidewalk was a reason for the arrest. We left after Ephraim told us that there would be a court hearing tomorrow - Thursday. Someone undertook to let us know if it will take place for sure. Meanwhile, a short distance from our rally, Ehud Olmert and Condoleezza Rice were meeting; Peace Now was permitted to stand just outside the barriers of the PM's home - no doubt Rice could see those who support Olmert. Interesting to me is the fact that Hezbollah can have open rallies in the US and make all kinds of threats - but freedom of speech is curtailed in Israel.

Justice, justice shall you pursue. Nonsense!! This arrest was nothing less than a political obscenity.

Chana in beloved Jerusalem

Followup: Thurs. I was unable to attend the court appearance because of a prior appointment but was called by one of the women who had been with us throughout the evening and I was informed that Nadia and friend had been freed. I was told that charges had been dropped but that Nadia had to leave DNA , and both had fingerprints, and mug shots. I also heard that there was an effort to restrict their appearances in demonstrations near official premises for the next several months - a demand that they refused

While I can only rely on what I had seen myself other facts were told me by people whom I trust. This episode made me realize more and more that not only must the government be completely changed there is another layer that requires repair - the way the police relate to citizens on the issue of civil rights. Politically we are so concerned with the individual rights of an enemy that threatens to destroy us yet less with our own. We who have detailed laws of morality and behavior to our fellow man/woman need also to revise the educational system in this country, teach our young how to relate to each other - V'ahavta l'rayacha kamocha- and to love this country as it deserves to be loved. For two thousand years others prevented us from living in our Homeland and now that we have a country our own government is dismantling it - piece by piece. Were our young people to have been given the proper education we would not need demonstrations like this! Tikkun Olam ( betterment of the world) should start here and now.

A Look Back: Is Fatah Really Moderate?

Following Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza, Western leaders have exerted pressure on Israel to bolster what they believe are Palestinian moderates– the Fatah movement and its leaders–as a bulwark against the Hamas extremists. They are aided by Western media reports fostering an image of Palestinian moderation while frequently glossing over evidence to the contrary.
Israel has released more than 250 Fatah prisoners, as well as $360 million in tax and custom revenues that had been frozen since the Hamas government was elected in January 2006. In addition, Israel has authorized the shipment of 1,000 rifles to Fatah loyalists in the West Bank.
Whether such measures will, in fact, engender moderation is far from clear. Certainly, recent experience would suggest otherwise. Palestinian governing charters are still predicated on the central goal of eradicating the Jewish state through armed struggle. Yet the media ignores this, choosing instead to play up the periodic claims by Palestinian leaders they have changed their stance toward Israel—claims that have either proven to be duplicitous, like those of Yasir Arafat, or unsupported by the leaders’ constituents, like those of current Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas openly and consistently states its goal is to destroy the Jewish state and replace it with an Islamic one. Its charter calls for Jihad against "the Jewish occupation of Palestine" and dismisses any political solution. "Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it," reads an introductory quote on the document.
But the constitution of the Fatah movement—now being cast by many in the media as the hope for peace—is no less belligerent than that of Hamas. It also calls for the "complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence" through violence, and similarly dismisses political solutions. And while many journalists have reported on Hamas’ openly stated goals, most continue to ignore those of Fatah.
Until the Abbas government announced on July 27 that it was dropping the phrase "armed resistance" from its government’s platform, the media had not reported such a clause existed. In any case, it is a moot point as Fatah members—such as those belonging to the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade—continue to adhere to the movement’s charter, rejecting efforts by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas to moderate their stance toward Israel.
As long as Fatah’s charter is not rescinded and remains posted on the Fatah Web site calling for Israel’s destruction, it is clear it still serves as the movement’s governing document—no matter what the media chooses to ignore.
How Moderate is Fatah?
According to the Web site description, the "pedestal of the [Fatah] Movement"—like that of Hamas—is the principle of armed struggle.
And like Hamas’s much criticized charter, Fatah’s governing document opposes any political solution and calls for the eradication of the Jewish State through armed revolution. For example:
Article 7 defines Israel— "the Zionist entity"—as "racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organisation and method."
Article 12 calls for the "complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence" through violence.
Article 19 states that "the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."
Article 22 puts forth Fatah’s opposition to "any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine, as well as any project intended to liquidate the Palestinian case or impose any international mandate on its people."
Fatah’s armed units such as the Tanzim, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and Force 17 have organized, coordinated and carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks against civilians.
During the second intifada, Fatah Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for over 300 attacks in which civilians were killed, and according to Israeli authorities, Fatah-linked groups have attempted or carried out more than 1,500 attacks. (International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT))
The Tanzim faction of Fatah, under the leadership of Marwan Barghouti, rose to prominence at the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada by intensifying the Palestinian fight through ambushes and drive-by shooting attacks against Israelis.
The Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade was established by Fatah in 2000 as a militia to further escalate the intifada with suicide bombings. It shared many of the same leaders as the Tanzim. Marwan Barghouti has been accused of helping establish and direct this unit. The brigade carried out more suicide attacks in 2002 than did Hamas and was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S., Canada and the European Union.
Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade continues to try to carry out attacks against Israel. A day after the announcement that the Palestinian government was dropping the phrase "armed resistance" from its platform, members of the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade attempted to launch an attack from the Gaza Strip. (It was thwarted by Israeli soldiers.)
Force 17 was the personal security force of Yasir Arafat and was equipped with light weapons and armored vehicles. Members of this force, together with members of terrorist organizations, perpetrated shooting attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Among such assaults by members of Force 17 was the Dec. 31, 2000 slaying of a young couple, the Kahanes, and the wounding of 5 of their 6 children.
Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is accused of personally orchestrating terrorist attacks and of playing an instrumental role in setting up and directing the Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade. He was sentenced to five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison for his role in the murders of a Greek monk in 2001 and four Israelis in 2002, and an additional 40 years for attempted bombings and membership in a terrorist organization. During the intifada, Barghouti also established a coordinating body with representatives from various terrorist groups including Fatah Tanzim, Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad (called the "Nationalist and Islamic Forces") to carry out joint attacks against Israelis. Marwan Barghouti was implicated by Tanzim operatives who had been detained and questioned by Israel as having been directly involved in shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians by ordering the attacks, funding them, and providing weapons to the terrorists. For more specifics, click here.
In the Western press and to Israelis, Barghouti has tried to portray himself as a moderate opposed to civilian killings within Israel. Yet over the past few years, Barghouti has repeatedly refused to condemn terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, instead blaming Israel for provoking them and applauding and encouraging the attacks.
For example, a Washington Post Op-Ed ("Want Security? End the Occupation," January 15, 2002) by Barghouti contended that he and the Fatah movement to which he belongs "strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel." Two days later, on January 17, Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claimed responsibility for an attack on a Bat Mitzvah celebration in the Israeli city of Hadera in which civilians were targeted with an assault rifle. Six died and 35 were wounded.
According to Israeli security sources, the attack was perpetrated with Barghouti’s knowledge. The Fatah leader never made any pretense of condemning the attack–even in interviews with the Western media. In a telephone interview with the Washington Times, Barghouti insisted the violence was a legitimate response to Israeli "provocations." He was similarly quoted in the Washington Post on Jan. 23, 2002 asserting that "The ones who have pushed Fatah to this new policy are the murderous rulers of Tel Aviv who are continuing their aggression against the Palestinian people."
After the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claimed responsibility for two deadly attacks on March 2 and 3, 2002—the first, a suicide bombing outside a bar mitzvah celebration in central Jerusalem wounding 50 civilians and killing 8 children and 3 adults, and the second, a shooting attack on soldiers and civilians near the Israeli settlement of Ofra killing 10, Barghouti congratulated "the Palestinian people and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades for their operations against soldiers and settlers" on Al Jazeera television. And according to London’s Independent, Barghouti blessed the terrorists, saying:
Blessed be the fighting hands of the heroes who dealt these blows to the army of occupation.
After a brutal suicide bombing on March 21, 2002 inside Israel that killed three civilians—including a pregnant woman and her husband—and wounded 86 others, Barghouti told al-Jazeera that the suicide bombing was in retaliation for an Israeli operation to arrest terrorists in the West Bank and pledged to continue the armed struggle against Israel.
On March 26, 2002, after months of escalating shooting attacks and suicide bombings killing and maiming Israeli civilians, Barghouti was quoted in the Washington Post asserting that "more killing of Israelis is the shortest road to end the occupation."
And while Barghouti claims he merely wants an end to the Israeli "occupation" of lands beyond the 1967 line, he has indicated that this would be just the beginning. In answer to a question by New Yorker journalist Jeffrey Goldberg about whether Israel ceding all of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem would end the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, Barghouti admitted:
Then we could talk about bigger things....I've always thought that a good idea would be one state for all the peoples. (New Yorker, July 9, 2001)
Barghouti has thus never really departed from his Fatah movement’s declared goal of "liberating Palestine" by "eradicating the Zionist existence.."
(Notably, a June 26, 2007 Ha’aretz editorial calls for releasing Barghouti from prison, to "prove the sincerity of Israel's statements regarding its intention to turn over a new leaf and bolster the moderate forces." This is the same newspaper that has displayed striking indifference to factual accuracy in numerous "news" reports about Israeli-Arab issues.)
April 1996
With much hoopla, the media announces that the Palestinians have revoked the clauses in the PLO Charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
"PLO Ends Call for Destruction of Jewish State" trumpeted the New York Times headline. "Closing the Era of Enmity" the lead editorial headline declared.
"The Palestine National Council wrote history last night, striking brief but virulent clauses from the PLO's 32-year-old charter calling for an armed struggle aimed at destroying Israel," proclaimed the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Decision to Revise Charter Clears Way for Final Talks,"announced a Washington Post headline. "Mr. Arafat Delivers" read the headline on its editorial.
But as it turned out, the charter was not revised. The much ballyhooed vote was merely a declaration of intent to do something at some future date. Indeed, a month later, PNC Chairman Selim Zaanoun asserted that no specific articles of the charter were cancelled, and on January 22, 1998—almost two years later—the head of the PNC's legal committee, Faisal Hamdi Husseini, stated that no changes had yet taken place. Not surprisingly, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Philadelphia Inquirer did not feature banner headlines on this development.
December 1998
Five deadly suicide bombings later, upon U.S. President Clinton’s historic visit to the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Legislative Council meets in the U.S. leader’s presence to "revoke the Charter." The media once again announces the making of history, and Israel is called upon to offer more concessions.
"Palestinians delete threat to Israel; Offending clauses dropped from charter" ran the headline in the Baltimore Sun.
"A historic vote for peace; Palestinians accept Israel's right to exist" declared the Chicago Sun Times.
"Arafat’s Concession Deserves Like Response" lectured a Columbus Dispatch editorial.
"Now Israel must help Mr Arafat to deliver peace" read the headline on an editorial from London’s Independent.
Notwithstanding the media’s cheering, the Palestinians remained committed to their goal of armed struggle against the Jewish state. Fatah put forth its true position four days later on the pages of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, explaining the PLO covenant change was staged to "save face":
There is no way but to [wage] a fight that will match [Israel's] aggression and embolden the people's will to rise up forcibly against all forms of aggression…
… Brother Abu 'Ammar [Arafat] agreed to stage this event in such a way that would save our face, ignoring [the problematic] minimum [number of PNC member for legal quorum] and staving off any statement or action from the [PNC] speaker. This was realized by a round of applause and a [collective] raising of the hands as a salute to the United States President... (Al Hayat Al Jadida, Dec. 18, 1998, translated by MEMRI).
Within two years, in September 2000, an unprecedented wave of Palestinian violence was unleashed by Yasir Arafat.
Eagerness by many members of the media to present the story they prefer—one pointing to an imminent peaceful outcome of the Arab-Israeli conflict—too often overrides their professional responsibility to report what is actually happening. But oversimplification of the issues does not advance the cause of peace. The facts about Fatah should be covered honestly and fully.

Resources to help you debate the so-called Jewish lobby

Roundup of the Walt/Mearsheimer Israel Lobby Controversy Reviews of the Book
1. The Israel Lobby and the Second Holocaust Debate: An emblematic error in a controversial book (Ron Rosenbaum, Slate, Sept. 19, 2007)
2. Israel’s Lobby as Scapegoat (Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 12, 2007)
3. Anti-Semitism and the Anti-Israel Lobby (Jeff Robbins, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2007)
4. Unfair Charge vs. Israel lobby (Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 7, 2007)
5. A Prosecutorial Brief Against Israel and its Supporters (William Grimes, New York Times, Sept. 6, 2007)
6. Inside Track: Missing the Point (Ben Fishman, The National Interest online, August 27, 2007)
Links to CAMERA's Critiques and Analysis
1. Mearsheimer’s Blunder – Contradicts Book’s Central Charge in an Interview Sept. 5, 2007
2. Study Decrying “Israel Lobby” Marred by Numerous Errors March 20, 2006
3. Harvard Backs Away from “Israel Lobby” Professors; Removes Logo from Controversial Paper March 22, 2006
4. Will the real John Mearsheimer please stand up? March 30, 2006
5. Tony Judt, The New York Times, and the anti-Israel bandwagon April 19, 2006

Links to research papers and blogs
1. And Now For Some Facts (Prof. Benny Morris, New Republic, May 8, 2006)
2. Was the Recognition of Israel Contrary to U.S. National Interests? (Dr. Judith Apter Klinghoffer, Rutgers University, History News Network, May 1, 2006)
3. Debunking the Newest – and Oldest – Jewish Conspiracy Theory: A Reply to the Mearsheimer-Walt “Working Paper” (Prof. Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School, April 2006)
4. Israel and the Iraq War (Prof. Martin Kramer, Sandstorm, April 12, 2006)
5. The British Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Prof. Barry Rubin, reprinted in Judith Apter Klinghoffer's History News Network Blog, March 24, 2006)
6. Stephen Walt’s War with Israel (The American Thinker, March 20, 2006)
7. The Basis of the U.S.-Israel Alliance (Dore Gold, Jerusalem Issue Brief, JCPA, March 24, 2006)
8. Stephen Walt’s World (Prof. Martin Kramer, Sandstorm, March 17, 2006)
9. Stephen Walt’s War with Israel (Little Green Footballs, March 20, 2006 – with links to other blogs)
10. Walt, Mearsheimer and Academic Malpractice (Jewish Current Issues, March 22, 2006)

Links to some of the media coverage and columns
1. Ferment Over 'The Israel Lobby' (Philip Weiss, The Nation, May 15, 2006)
2. Yes, It's Anti-Semitic (Prof. Eliot Cohen, Washington Post, April 5, 2006)
3. Harvard posts rebuttal to paper (Charles Radin, Boston Globe, April 6, 2006)
4. 'Israel lobby' critique roils academe (Charles Radin, Boston Globe, March 29, 2006)
5. America takes side of Israel (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, March 26, 2006)
6. A nation like ours (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, March 29, 2006)
7. An Unfair Attack (David Gergen [Kennedy School faculty member], US News and World Report, April 3, 2006)
8. Policy analysis -- paranoid style (Max Boot, Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2006)
9. David Duke Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean, (Meghan Clyne, New York Sun, March 20, 2006)
10. Kalb Upbraids Harvard Dean Over Israel, (Meghan Clyne, New York Sun, March 21, 2006)
11. Harvard's Paper on Israel Called 'Trash' By Solon, (Meghan Clyne, New York Sun, March 22, 2006)
12. A Harvard School Distances Itself from Dean's Paper, (Meghan Clyne, New York Sun, March 23, 2006)
13. The Belfer Declaration, (New York Sun, March 23, 2006)
14. Harvard's Paper on Israel Drew From Neo-Nazi Sites, (Meghan Clyne, New York Sun, March 24, 2006)
15. Duke 1, Harvard 0, (James Taranto, Best of the Web, OpinionJournal, March 20, 2006)
16. Harvard attack on ‘Israel lobby’ is actually a targeting of American public, (Prof. Ruth Wisse, Wall Street Journal and Jewish World Review, March 23, 2006

Israel to pardon dozens of gunmen

Palestinian sources tell Ynet Israeli military has agreed to pardon dozens of Fatah gunmen from Nablus, as well as dozens more across West Bank Israel has agreed to pardon dozens of wanted terror suspects affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, Palestinian sources said Thursday.

The sources said that the IDF approved a list of 41 gunmen from Nablus as well as dozens of wanted terror suspects in the West Bank affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military wing.

Israel has yet to confirm the decision.

About 300 wanted suspects were granted amnesty by Israel in late August in a goodwill gesture to Abbas.

A Palestinian security official told Ynet that IDF commanders said that these would not be chased by the military if they surrender to Palestinian security forces.

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians on Thursday who were planning to carry out a terror attack in Israel. The arrests were part of an anti-terror operation in Nablus that was launched three days ago.

On Tuesday, an IDF soldier was killed in exchanges of fire with Hamas and PFLP gunmen in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp in the city.

About 36 Palestinian terror suspects have so far been arrested in the operation.

A Monster With Chutzpah

GIVE Iranian President Mah moud Ahmadinejad credit for chutzpah: He has asked for permission to visit Ground Zero while he's in New York for a U.N. session. In other words, a request to visit the site of the worst terrorist attack in history - from a guy who's involved in terrorism up to his neck.

Iran's government has actively and proudly supported terrorism for decades. It created and directs Hezbollah while funding Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Iran coordinates its terrorist sponsorship largely through its Ministry of Intelligence and Security and via the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Guard is also Ahmadinejad's chief power base - he's an IRGC veteran.

At the time of the Iranian Revolution, Ahmadinejad was a member of the executive committee of the student group that initially seized the U.S. embassy and took dozens of U.S. diplomats hostage. During his later time in the Guard, he was a member of the assassination team that killed several exiled Iranian Kurd dissidents in Vienna in 1989.

One of the Guard's five branches, the Quds (Jerusalem) Force, bears primary responsibility for coordinating with terrorist groups and sleeper networks around the globe - as well as insurgent groups and militias in Iraq now targeting American forces.

* On Feb. 11, the United States reported that Iran was the source of highly lethal explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) being provided to Iraqi Shiite insurgent groups. This Iranian ordinance had already killed 170 U.S. soldiers. Two months later, the United States stated that Iran was providing EFPs to Sunni insurgent groups as well.

Iran also has a warm relationship with al Qaeda - aiding it in the run-up to 9/11, and ever since:

* The al Qaeda-Iran relationship began in late 1991 or early 1992 when Iranian agents met with al Qaeda leaders in Sudan and informally agreed to provide mutual support for attacks against Israel and the United States.

* Not long after this initial meeting, al Qaeda operatives and trainers went to Iran, where they received training in explosives.

* After al Qaeda was forced to relocate from Sudan to Afghanistan, Iranian agents continued to meet with al Qaeda leadership figures. Iranian officials often accommodated al Qaeda operatives by not stamping their passports -facilitating covert travel through Iran.

* The 9/11 Commission Report notes that eight to 10 of the 9/11 hijackers traveled through Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.

* After the liberation of Afghanistan, several top al Qaeda figures took refuge in Iran.

Iran's various terror puppets have also taken many other American lives:

* Hezbollah was founded in 1982 in the Bekaa Valley by Lebanese Shiite clerics educated in Iran. The IRGC established training camps in Lebanon where Hezbollah recruits trained alongside members of other national and transnational terrorist organizations. Hezbollah members train in Iran on IRGC bases and facilities.

* Before 9/11, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist group, having carried out the deadly 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 200 American servicemen.

* Saudi Hezbollah, which also receives Iranian support, executed a truck bombing at the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans in 1996.

Allowing the president of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to visit Ground Zero would be an obscene slap at the victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. The request itself is an insult of the worst kind.

Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (, the nation's largest archival intelligence center on Islamic terrorist activities.

Rice says international peace conference must be 'substantive'

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday an upcoming US-sponsored Middle East conference must be "substantive," and that Israel and the Palestinians must draft a document before the meeting that lays "foundations for serious negotiations." The Palestinians want the conference, tentatively set for November, to yield an outline for a peace deal, complete with timetable, while Israel wants a more vague declaration of intent. Key Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, have said they would only attend if concrete results were achieved.
Palestinian leaders pressed Rice about the goal of the conference.
The gathering "has to be substantive and advance the cause of a Palestinian state," Rice told a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Participants must not "simply meet for the sake of meeting," she said.
Before the meeting, Abbas aides said he would urge Rice to invite all relevant Arab states to the conference, including Syria and Lebanon, and not to set a date for the gathering unless a successful outcome is assured.
The US has not set a date or agenda for the conference, and it has not announced who it will invite.
Abbas told the news conference that he believes some Arab countries are hesitant to confirm attendance because the objectives are not clear.
"I think many issues need to be clarified and I think it's the duty of the hosts of the conference," he said, referring to the US "When things are clarified, I think the Arab countries, and I'm not... speaking on their behalf, will attend that conference," he said.
Abbas said he expects the conference to launch serious negotiations with Israel.
"We believe the time is right for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with east Jerusalem as its capital, and for living side by side in peace and security with the state of Israel," Abbas said.
Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have held periodic talks in recent months, and agreed to set up negotiating teams that would try to reach the general outline of a peace deal ahead of the conference.
Abbas said he informed Rice of the composition of the Palestinian negotiating team. He didn't announce the names publicly, but his aides said it will be headed by former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, who led interim peace talks with Israel in the 1990s.
The Hamas government in Gaza, meanwhile, said Thursday it wouldn't be bound by any possible agreements that might be reached at the upcoming conference.
"Any agreement that might result from the US-designed peace conference this fall will not be binding for the Palestinian people," Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu told the Al Quds station in Gaza.
Rice has not said if the conference would address the hardest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the borders of a Palestinian state, a solution for Palestinian refugees and the status of disputed Jerusalem.
In preparatory talks with Israel, the Palestinians have been pushing for a detailed document addressing these core issues ahead of the conference. Israel has said it prefers a more vague declaration, saying it is premature to discuss the thorniest issues at the core of the Middle East conflict.
Rice said that whatever the final nature of the document, it must lay "foundations for serious negotiations."
Abbas, meanwhile, said he is to meet next week with US President George W. Bush during the UN General Assembly in New York. The two leaders last met a year ago, also during the General Assembly.
Thursday's meetings were overshadowed by Israel's decision Wednesday to designate Hamas-ruled Gaza as "hostile territory," accompanied by a threat to cut back vital supplies of fuel and electricity.
Abbas has denounced the decision as "oppressive" and said it would increase the suffering of Gaza's residents. However, Abbas didn't call off peace efforts with Israel in response to the move. And Olmert's office said the decision still required a legal review, suggesting it could be a means to pressure Gaza terrorists to halt rocket fire.
Asked to comment on the decision Wednesday, Rice said, "We will not abandon the innocent Palestinians in Gaza, and indeed will make every effort to deal with their humanitarian needs."
But she did not criticize the Israeli move, saying, "Hamas is a hostile entity to the United States as well."
Rice is due to speak with Olmert again after her meeting with Abbas.


Jerusalem is considered a holy city by three major faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—and figures prominently in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Since 1004 BCE, when King David established Jerusalem as the capital of his kingdom, there has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem, the holiest city in Judaism. Following the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the designation of other holy sites by Constantine the Great in 333 CE, Jerusalem became a destination of Christian pilgrimages. During Umayyad rule from 661 to 750 CE, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque were built on the site where the Jewish Temples had once stood, and Jerusalem became the third holiest city in Islam.
Jews have constituted the largest ethnic group in Jerusalem since 1820. According to Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, "In the second half of the nineteenth century and at the end of that century, Jews comprised the majority of the population of the Old City ..." (Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century).

Martin Gilbert reports that 6,000 Jews resided in Jerusalem in 1838, compared to 5,000 Muslims and 3,000 Christians (Jerusalem: Rebirth of a City). Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1853 "assessed the Jewish population of Jerusalem in 1844 at 7,120, making them the biggest single religious group in the city." (Terence Prittie, Whose Jerusalem?). And others estimated the number of Jewish residents of Jerusalem at the time as even higher. Until about 1860, Jerusalem residents lived almost exclusively within the walls of the Old City, in east Jerusalem. Between 1860 and 1948, Jews lived in both eastern and western Jerusalem.

During the 19 years when Jordan occupied eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites (1948-1967), Jerusalem was divided. Jews were expelled from eastern Jerusalem and barred from visiting their holy places.

As a result of the Six Day War, the entire city of Jerusalem and its holy sites came under Jewish control. Israel reunified the city, extending Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration to the parts previously occupied by Jordan. The Israeli Knesset passed laws to protect holy sites and ensure freedom of worship to all, and offered Israeli citizenship to Jerusalem’s Arab residents, most of whom declined.
Since 1967, Jerusalem has become a focal point of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In 1980, Israel passed the Basic Law: Jerusalem Capital of Israel, reaffirming the unified Jerusalem as its eternal, undivided capital. Palestinians insist Jerusalem must be the capital of their intended state.

Jerusalem in Jewish Tradition
Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest city, is mentioned hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible. It was the capital city of ancient Jewish kingdoms and home to Judaism’s holiest Temple (Beit HaMikdash). Jews from all over the ancient world would make pilgrimages to the Beit HaMikdash three times a year to participate in worship and festivities, as commanded in the Torah. Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash have remained the focus of Jewish longing, aspiration, and prayers. Daily prayers (said while facing Jerusalem and the Temple Mount) and grace after meals include multiple supplications for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash. Jews still maintain the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, the date on which both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, as a day of mourning. The Jewish wedding ceremony concludes with the chanting of the biblical phrase, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,” and the breaking of a glass by the groom to commemorate the destruction of the Temples. And Yom Kippur services and the Passover Seder conclude each year with the phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Model of the Second Jewish Temple

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. The Temple was built, according to Jewish tradition, on the Even Hashtiya, the foundation stone upon which the world was created. This is considered the epicenter of Judaism, where the Divine Presence (Shechina) rests, where the biblical Isaac was brought for sacrifice, where the Holy of Holies and Ark of the Covenant housing the Ten Commandments once stood, and where the Temple was again rebuilt in 515 BCE before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The Temple Mount is also known as Mount Moriah (Har HaMoriah), mentioned frequently in the Bible.

The Western Wall (Kotel Hama’aravi, known simply as the Wall or Kotel) is the remnant of the outer retaining wall built by Herod to level the ground and expand the area housing the Second Jewish Temple. Its holiness derives from its proximity to the Temple site and specifically its proximity to the Western Wall of the Temple’s Holy of Holies (Kodesh Hakodashim---the inner sanctuary that housed the Ark of the Covenant–the Aron HaBrit–and where the High Priest–Kohen Gadol--alone was permitted to enter on Yom Kippur). According to Midrashic sources, the Divine Presence never departed from the Western wall of the Temple’s Holy of Holies. For the last several hundred years, Jews have prayed at Herod’s Western Wall because it was the closest accessible place to Judaism’s holiest site.

Jerusalem in Muslim Tradition
Jerusalem assumed significance as an Islamic holy site during the rule of the Umayyads (661-750 CE). Facing challenge to his power from Ibn al-Zubayr, a rebel who controlled Mecca, the Syrian-based Caliph Abd al Malik sought to consolidate his leadership by establishing a place of worship for his followers in Jerusalem in place of Mecca. He built the Dome of the Rock (Masjid Qubbat As Sakhrah) in 688-691 CE on the spot where the Jewish Temples had stood.

Dome of the Rock

Two decades later, in 715 CE, the Umayyads built another mosque on the Temple Mount which they named the Furthest Mosque (Masjid al Aqsa ) to connote the “furthest mosque” alluded to in the Quran (17:1). This was the metaphorical spot from which Mohammed was said to have ascended to heaven in a vision (referred to in Arabic as the Mi’raj) after a night journey from Mecca (the Isra) on a winged steed named Al Buraq.

Although the Quran does not mention Jerusalem or the Temple Mount, the designation of a concrete site to what had been until then just a figurative name provided Muslims with a new religious focus. Several Qur'anic verses were subsequently construed to be obliquely referring to Jerusalem. The Temple Mount was renamed by Muslims the Noble Sanctuary (al Haram al Sharif).

Over the years, Jerusalem’s stature as an Islamic holy city has waxed and waned. During the period between 1948 and 1967 when under Jordanian control, Jerusalem and its holy sites were largely neglected by the Muslim world. Since Israel gained control of East Jerusalem and reunified the city, however, there has been a growing attempt by Palestinians to marshal the religious fervor of the Arab and Muslim world in order to wrest Jerusalem from Israel.

Jerusalem in Christian Tradition

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
According to Christian tradition, many of the events in Jesus's life and ministry took place in the Holy City. The Last Supper, referring to the final meal shared by Jesus with his disciples before his death, is believed to have taken place in the “Upper Room”or Coenaculum, on the second floor of a building over King David’s tomb on Mount Zion. The Garden of Gethsemane — according to the New Testament, the place where Jesus suffered for the sins of the world the night before he was crucified — is located at the bottom of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. On the Mount of Olives is the Shrine of the Ascension, where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven. (It is now run by Muslims and a dome covers the structure.) The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built by Constantine the Great to mark the site of the Resurrection, stands within the walls of the Old City. The remains of Golgotha, the hill upon which Jesus was crucified, is believed to lie inside the church. The church houses priests from the Roman Catholic Church and from numerous Eastern Orthodox traditions. The Via Dolorosa, or “Way of Sorrows,” leading to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is the traditional path taken by Christians pilgrims to symbolically relive the events of Jesus’ passion. Because of Jesus's historical connection to these and other locations, Jerusalem is venerated by Christians throughout the world.

Partition Plan: Corpus Separatum
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended Palestine be partitioned into two states–Arab and Jewish. The plan called for Jerusalem to become a corpus separatum, an international city administered by the UN, for an interval of 10 years, after which the city’s status was to be redetermined in a referendum. While Jewish leaders reluctantly accepted this, Arab leaders rejected the entire plan, including Jerusalem’s internationalization. Arab delegates to the UN declared the partition invalid. Deadly Arab attacks on Jewish residents of Palestine increased, and Arab forces blockaded the road to Jerusalem. When Israel declared Independence in May 1948, five neighboring Arab countries invaded the new state.

1948 Arab-Israeli War

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Transjordan’s Arab Legion attempted to capture the entire city of Jerusalem, shelling it and cutting off its Jewish residents from the coastal plain. Western portions of Jerusalem came under Israel’s control only after Israeli forces broke the Arab siege of the city. In the first four weeks of Arab attacks, 200 Jewish civilians were killed and over 1,000 were wounded in Jerusalem. But, defending themselves, Israeli forces managed to capture some suburbs and villages from the Arabs.

The Israeli defenders were not as successful in protecting the Jewish community of eastern Jerusalem. On May 28, 1948, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City fell to the Arab Legion. After 10 months of fighting, an armistice agreement was signed on April 3, 1949, dividing Jerusalem along the November 1948 ceasefire lines of Israeli and Transjordanian forces, with several areas of no-man’s land. The armistice line served as a temporary border between what had formerly been two mixed communities. Western Jerusalem became Israel’s capital city, while eastern Jerusalem, including the holy sites, was occupied by Transjordan, which in 1949 became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The city was essentially divided between two armed camps separated by barbed wire, concrete walls, minefields and bunkers.

1948-1967: Jordanian Occupation of Eastern Jerusalem

Destruction and Desecration of Religious Sites

Expulsion of Jews from Old City, 1948

Upon its capture by the Arab Legion, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was destroyed and its residents expelled. Fifty-eight synagogues—some hundreds of years old—were destroyed, their contents looted and desecrated. Some Jewish religious sites were turned into chicken coops or animal stalls. The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews had been burying their dead for over 2500 years, was ransacked; graves were desecrated; thousands of tombstones were smashed and used as building material, paving stones or for latrines in Arab Legion army camps. The Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the cemetery and graves were demolished to make way for a highway to the hotel. The Western Wall became a slum area.

Hurva synagogue before and after Jordanian occupation. The Jordanians destroyed 58 synagogues—some hundreds of years old—when they illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem.

Jordan’s Illegal Annexation
In 1950, Jordan annexed the territories it had captured in the 1948 war—eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. The April 24th resolution declared “its support for complete unity between the two sides of the Jordan and their union into one State, which is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, at whose head reigns King Abdullah Ibn al Husain...”

While Great Britain and Pakistan were the only countries that recognized Jordan’s annexation – all other nations, including the Arab states, rejected it – Great Britain recognized only the annexation of the West Bank. It never recognized either Jordan or Israel’s sovereignty over any sector of Jerusalem, viewing both Jordan’s 1950 annexation and Israel’s annexation of west Jerusalem as illegal.

Religious Restrictions and Denial of Access to Holy Sites

In direct contravention of the 1949 armistice agreements, Jordan did not permit Jews access to their holy sites or to the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
Article VIII of the Israel Jordan Armistice Agreement (April 3, 1949) established a special committee which would “direct its attention to the formulation of agreed plans and arrangements” including “free access to the Holy Places and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives.” Nevertheless, and despite numerous requests by Israeli officials and Jewish groups to the UN, the U.S., and others to attempt to enforce the armistice agreement, Jews were denied access to the Western Wall, the Jewish cemetery and all religious sites in eastern Jerusalem. The armistice lines were sealed as Jordanian snipers would perch on the walls of the Old City and shoot at Israelis across the lines.

Israeli Arabs, too, were denied access to the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, but their Muslim sites in eastern Jerusalem were respected.
While Christians, unlike Jews, were allowed access to their holy sites, they too were subject to restrictions under Jordanian law. There were limits on the numbers of Christian pilgrims permitted into the Old City and Bethlehem during Christmas and Easter. Christian charities and religious institutions were prohibited from buying real estate in Jerusalem. And Christian schools were subject to strict controls. They were required to teach in Arabic, close on Friday, the Muslim holy day, and teach all students the Koran. At the same time, they were not allowed to teach Christian religious material to non-Christians.

1967: Reunification of Jerusalem
During the 1967 war, Israel appealed to Jordan to stay out of the war, but despite this appeal, Jordanian forces fired artillery barrages from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although Israeli forces did not respond initially, not wanting to open up a Jordanian front in the war, Jordan continued to attack and occupied UN headquarters in Jerusalem. Israeli forces fought back and within two days managed to repulse the Jordanian forces and retake eastern Jerusalem. (For more details, see Six Day War: Jordanian Front)

l-r: Generals Uzi Narkiss, Moshe Dayan, Yitzchak Rabin entering Old CityJune 1967
On June 7, 1967, IDF paratroopers advanced through the Old City toward the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, bringing Jerusalem’s holiest site under Jewish control for the first time in 2000 years. There are sound recordings of the scene, as the commander of the brigade,Lt. General Mordechai (Motta) Gur, approaches the Old City and announces to his company commanders, “We’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City...” and shortly afterwards, “The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!” General Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of the IDF, sounded the Shofar at the Western Wall to signify its liberation. To Israelis and Jews all over the world, this was a joyous and momentous occasion. Many considered it a gift from God.

Israeli Reaction to the Recapture of the Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem“For some two thousand years the Temple Mount was forbidden to the Jews. Until you came — you, the paratroopers — and returned it to the bosom of the nation. The Western Wall, for which every heart beats, is ours once again. Many Jews have taken their lives into their hands throughout our long history, in order to reach Jerusalem and live here. Endless words of longing have expressed the deep yearning for Jerusalem that beats within the Jewish heart..You have been given the great privilege of completing the circle, of returning to the nation its capital and its holy center...Jerusalem is yours forever.” –Commander Motta Gur to his brigade upon their recapture of Jerusalem’s Old City and holy sites“We have returned to all that is holy in our land. We have returned never to be parted from it again.” –Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, upon reaching the Western Wall“The Wall was before us. I trembled. There it was as I had known it—immense, mighty, in all its splendor...overcome, I bowed my head in silence.”–General Uzi Narkiss, Head of Central Command during the Six Day War“I felt truly shaken and stood there murmuring a prayer for peace. Motta Gur’s paratroopers were struggling to reach the Wall and touch it. We stood among a tangle of rugged, battle-weary men who were unable to believe their eyes or restrain their emotions. Their eyes were moist with tears, their speech incoherent. The overwhelming desire was to cling to the Wall, to hold on to that great moment as long as possible.” –Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day. This year in Jerusalem – rebuilt! “ –General Shlomo Goren, Chaplain of the Israeli Defense

Forces, at the Western Wall
In a statement at the Western Wall, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan indicated Israel’s peaceful intent and pledged to preserve religious freedom for all faiths in Jerusalem:

To our Arab neighbors we extend, especially at this hour, the hand of peace. To members of the other religions, Christians and Muslims, I hereby promise faithfully that their full freedom and all their religious rights will be preserved. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others.

Before visiting the Western Wall, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol met with the spiritual leaders of different faiths in his office and issued a declaration of peace, assuring that all holy sites would be protected and that all faiths would be free to worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem. He declared his intention to give the spiritual leaders of the various religions internal management of their own Holy Sites. Defense Minister Dayan immediately ceded internal administrative control of the Temple Mount compound to the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) while overall security control of the area was maintained by Israel. Dayan announced that Jews would be allowed to visit the Temple Mount, but not to hold religious services there.

Dayan also gave immediate orders to demolish the anti-sniping walls, clear the minefields and removed the barbed-wire barriers which marked the partition of Jerusalem. Within weeks, free movement through Jerusalem became possible and hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews flocked to the Old City to glimpse the Western Wall and touch its stones. Israeli Muslims were permitted to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock for the first time since 1948. And Israeli Christians came to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

On June 27, 1967, the Israeli Knesset extended Israel’s legal and administrative jurisdiction to all of Jerusalem, and expanded the city’s municipal borders. Eshkol again assured the spiritual leaders of all faiths that Israel was determined to protect the Holy Places. The Knesset passed the Protection of Holy Places Law granting special legal status to the Holy Sites and making it a criminal offence to desecrate or violate them, or to impede freedom of access to them. Jerusalem became a reunified city that ensured freedom of religion and access to holy sites for all.
The religious freedoms enjoyed by Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the reunified Jerusalem had been unheard of during Jordanian occupation of the city, prompting even a former Jordanian ambassador to the United Nations, Adnan Abu Odeh, to acknowledge that "the situation in Jerusalem prior to 1967 [under Jordanian rule] was one of ... religious exclusion" whereas post-1967, Israel seeks "to reach a point of religious inclusion ..." (The Catholic University of America Law Review, Spring 1996).

1980: Basic Law: Jerusalem Capital of Israel

Since 1958, 14 basic laws were passed by the Israeli Knesset. These laws, pertaining to the government, president, army, economy, judiciary, land, human rights, and more are intended to form the essence of the constitution of the State of Israel. In 1980, the Israeli Knesset passed a basic law declaring reunified Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel. The law provides for protection of and freedom of access to each religion's holy sites. Below is the text of the law, which can be accessed on the Israeli Knesset Web site.

Jerusalem, Capital of Israel
1. Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
Seat of the President, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court

2. Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.

Protection of Holy Places
3. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings towards those places.
Development of Jerusalem

4. (a) The Government shall provide for the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants by allocating special funds, including a special annual grant to the Municipality of Jerusalem (Capital City Grant) with the approval of the Finance Committee of the Knesset.

(b) Jerusalem shall be given special priority in the activities of the authorities of the State so as to further its development in economic and other matters.

(c) The Government shall set up a special body or special bodies for the implementation of this section.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Russian Nonsense yet no one stands up to them

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitali Churkin, has said that his country would oppose the imposition of new sanctions against Iran on account of its nuclear program, as such a decision would only increase tension between the western world and Iran.

Comment: This means that you allow those who are misbehaving to continue to do so because if you held them accountable they would not like it. Hey, they may even get upset, say angry and even threatening things. The tension would rise; so, do not hold them to behavior standards you impose upon yourself and your fellow citizens, allow them to be totally irresponsible for their actions. They learn that they can do anything, anytime. They interpret this as weakness and that their tactics and thus their strategies are winning. It is only matter of time. They carry the big stick (psychological threats and the bomb) and threaten to use the bomb; however, they hope that our own cowardly character shall enable them to beat us. They do have a point!

US sponsored autumn conference will fail without guarantees, Abbas aides say

Bethlehem - Ma'an – Two of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' advisors on Wednesday said they doubted the US-sponsored autumn conference will achieve anything.
(Ma'an Images)
Bethlehem - Ma'an – Two of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' advisors on Wednesday said they doubted the US-sponsored autumn conference will achieve anything.Nabil Amr told Ma'an that the conference will not succeed unless decisions are taken to reactivate the final status' issues, along with meetings between both sides aiming to implement the already signed agreements.Abbas will ask the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who is currently visiting the region, to impress upon the Israelis the necessity of beginning the final status negotiations, according to Amr."Abbas will also state to Rice the necessity of all concerned Arab countries taking part in the conference," he added.Amr denied that Abbas will ask Rice not to set the date for the conference until the Israelis and the Palestinians reach a joint formula. "We have not yet reached that choice as it is bound by what Rice will tell us tomorrow," he said.Nimir Hammad told Ma'an that the sponsor of the conference must secure its success. The conference must be based on the Arab peace initiative, and the Bush vision of an independent Palestinian state, he said.

Comment: Preceding was a report from the Arab press-note how they are using guilt to influence US to put pressure on Olmert to put deal together BEFORE the conference-a long standing tactic-unfortunately it has worked time and again-this is not the way to change a group's behavior-you are simply rewarding it!