Saturday, January 19, 2008


Moshe Sharon

Everybody says that his donkey is a horse.
There is no tax on words.
--(Two Arab proverbs)

On December 24th 1977, at the very beginning of the negotiations between Israel and Egypt in Ismailia, I had the opportunity to have a short discussion with Muhammad Anwar Sadat the president of Egypt. "Tell your Prime Minister," he said, "that this is a bazaar; the merchandise is expensive." I told my Prime Minister but he failed to abide by the rules of the bazaar. The failure was not unique to him alone. It is the failure of all the Israeli governments and the media.

On March 4, 1994, I published an article in the Jerusalem Post called "Novices in Negotiations" The occasion was the conclusion of the "Cairo Agreement." A short time later, Yasser Arafat, proved yet again that his signature was not worth the ink of his pen let alone the paper to which it was affixed, and his word was worth even less. Then, as in every subsequent agreement Israel was taken aback when her concessions had become the basis for fresh Arab demands.

In Middle Eastern bazaar diplomacy, agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed. Besides, in the bazaar of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the two sides are not discussing the same merchandise. The Israelis wish to acquire peace based on the Arab-Muslim acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The objective of the Arabs is to annihilate the Jewish state, replace it with an Arab state, and get rid of the Jews.

To achieve their goal, the Arabs took to the battlefield and to the bazaar diplomacy. The most important rule in the bazaar is that if the vendor knows that you desire to purchase a certain piece of merchandise, he will raise its price. The merchandise in question is "peace" and the Arabs give the impression that they actually have this merchandise and inflate its price, when in truth they do not have it at all.

This is the wisdom of the bazaar, if you are clever enough you can sell nothing at a price. The Arabs sell words, they sign agreements, and they trade with vague promises, but are sure to receive generous down payments from eager buyers. In the bazaar only a foolish buyer pays for something he has never seen.

There is another rule in the market as well as across the negotiating table: the side that first presents his terms is bound to lose; the other side builds his next move using the open cards of his opponent as the starting point.

In all its negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, Israel has always rushed to offer its plans, and was surprised to discover that after an agreement had been "concluded" it had become the basis for further demands.

Most amazing is the reaction in such cases. Israeli politicians, "experts" and the media eagerly provide "explanations" for the Arabs' behaviour. One of the most popular explanations is that these or other Arab pronouncements are "for internal use," as if "internal use" does not count. Other explanations invoke "the Arab sensitivity to symbols," "honour," "matters of emotion" and other more patronising sayings of this nature. Does Israel possess no "sensitivities" or does it have no honour? What does all this have to do with political encounters?

It is therefore essential, as the late President Sadat advised, to learn the rules of the oriental bazaar before venturing into the arena of bazaar diplomacy. The most important of all the rules is the Roman saying: "If you want peace -- prepare for war." Never come to the negotiating table from a position of weakness. Your adversary should always know that you are strong and ready for war even more than you are ready for peace.

In the present situation in the Middle East and in the foreseeable future "peace" is nothing more than an empty word. Israel should stop speaking about "peace" and delete the word "peace" from its vocabulary together with such phrases as "the price of peace" or "territory for peace." For a hundred years the Jews have been begging the Arabs to sell them peace, ready to pay any price. They have received nothing, because the Arabs have no peace to sell, but they have still paid dearly. It must be said in all fairness that the Arabs have not made a secret of the fact that what they meant by the word "peace" was nothing more than a limited ceasefire for a limited period.

Since this is the situation, Israel should openly declare that peace does not exist as an option in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that it has decided to create a new state of affairs in the Middle East, compelling the Arab side to ask for peace; and pay for it. Unlike the Arabs, Israel has this merchandise for sale.

From now on Israel should be the side demanding payment for peace. If the Arabs want peace, Israel should fix its price in real terms. The Arabs will pay if they reach the conclusion that Israel is so strong that they cannot destroy it. Because of this, Israel's deterrent power is essential.

Therefore, if anyone asks Israel for plans, the answer should be: no "plans," no "suggestions," no "constructive ideas," in fact no negotiations at all. If the Arab side wants to negotiate, let it present its plans and its "ideas." If and when it does, the first Israeli reaction should always be "unacceptable! Come with better ones." If and when the time comes for serious negotiations, once the Arabs have lost all hope of annihilating the Jewish state, here are ten rules for bargaining in the Middle Eastern bazaar:

1). Never be the first to suggest anything to the other side. Never show any eagerness "to conclude a deal." Let the opponent present his suggestions first.

2). Always reject; disagree. Use the phrase: "Not meeting the minimum demands," and walk away, even a hundred times. A tough customer gets good prices.

3). Don't rush to come up with counter-offers. There will always be time for that. Let the other side make amendments under the pressure of your total "disappointment." Patience is the name of the game: "haste is from Satan!"

4). Have your own plan ready in full, as detailed as possible, with the red lines completely defined. However, never show this or any other plan to a third party. It will reach your opponent quicker than you think. Weigh the other side's suggestions against this plan.

5). Never change your detailed plan to meet the other side "half way." Remember, there is no "half way." The other side also has a master plan. Be ready to quit negotiations when you encounter stubbornness on the other side.

6). Never leave things unclear. Always avoid "creative phrasing" and "creative ideas" which are exactly what your Arab opponent wants. Remember the Arabs are masters of language. Playing with words is the Arab national sport. As in the market, so also at the negotiating table, always talk dollars and cents.

7). Always bear in mind that the other side will try to outsmart you by presenting major issues as unimportant details. Regard every detail as a vitally important issue. Never postpone any problem "for a later occasion." If you do so you will lose; remember that your opponent is always looking for a reason to avoid honouring agreements.

8). Emotion belongs neither in the marketplace nor at the negotiating table. Friendly words as well as outbursts of anger, holding hands, kissing, touching cheeks, and embracing should not be interpreted as representing policy.

9). Beware of popular beliefs about the Arabs and the Middle East -- "Arab honour" for example. Remember, you have honour too, but this has nothing to do with the issues under negotiation. Never do or say anything because somebody has told you that it is "the custom." If the Arab side finds out that you are playing the anthropologist he will take advantage of it.

10). Always remember that the goal of all negotiations is to make a profit. You should aim at making the highest profit in real terms. Remember that every gain is an asset for the future, because there is always going to be "another round."

The Arabs have been practicing negotiation tactics for more than 2000 years. They are the masters of words, and a mine of endless patience. In contrast, Israelis (and Westerners in general) want quick "results." In this part of the world there are no quick results, the hasty one always loses.

Moshe Sharon is Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University.

A Day in the Life of a Gaza-Belt Israeli Community

P. David Hornik | 1/18/2008
Early this week Netiv Ha’asara was in the news again—just barely, a passing mention—when a mortar shell fired from Gaza lightly damaged a house there. Netiv Ha’asara, a moshav (cooperative farming community) of 550 people, is the closest Israeli community to Gaza, a scant 100 meters from the northern border of the Strip. It was formerly one of the Sinai settlements and was reestablished at its current location in 1982 after those were torn down at the behest of Israel’s then peace partner, Egypt. Netiv Ha’asara also flickered briefly into the news on January 4 when it was hit by eight mortars from Gaza that caused no injuries or damage. If any of the Israeli Gaza-belt communities has a substantial news presence it’s the much larger Sderot, the battered town of twenty thousand to Netiv Ha’asara’s south and west.

Netiv Ha’asara, though, is a microcosm of a nightmarish reality and an almost incomprehensible story of perseverance.

Before Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in August and September 2005, Netiv Ha’asara was subjected to a lower frequency of fire from the Strip, though on June 19, 2003, at 1:30 a.m., a Qassam rocket hit and extensively damaged a house there. It was reported that "Residents of the moshav ran outside, thinking that the missile had struck nearby, and then saw smoke coming from [the] home, where the missile had landed near a bedroom.”

July 2005, the month before the disengagement, was marked by the Gaza terrorists with massive barrages, and in one of them Netiv Ha’asara suffered its only fatality so far. On the evening of July 14 Dana Gelkowitz, a 22-year-old woman from a nearby kibbutz who was visiting her boyfriend in Netiv Ha’asara, was killed in a direct hit by a Qassam as she and the boyfriend, Amir Rogolsky, who took a shrapnel wound, sat on the porch of his home.

On October 2, 2005, Haaretz reported on “complaints voiced this week by the residents of Netiv Ha’asara…that they have been ‘abandoned’ to Gaza Strip terrorism”—complaints that weren’t heard and still haven’t been. On October 26 a Qassam hit the community’s soccer field without causing injuries.

This may already seem like a lot for a community of 550, but it was still only the beginning. Just a few days later on November 2, Qassams hitting Netiv Ha’asara knocked out the community’s power and injured five people. Or as Human Rights Watch reported on one of the houses that were hit:

Eshel Margalit said that the Red Dawn warning [system] sounded at 6:45 p.m., indicating a rocket launching. His daughter was upstairs in the family study working on the computer. “I yelled to her but she was not eager to leave the computer, she was 18, you know,” Margalit said. “She came down and we were running to the secure room when the Qassam hit the house.” The rocket penetrated the roof and exploded in the study. “We went up, opened the door, and saw the room was destroyed. When my daughter realized what could have happened she burst into tears and it took a week to get over the trauma,” Margalit said. The strike damaged the roof and walls and destroyed the solar water heater.

On March 7, 2006, Julie Stahl of reported from Netiv Ha’asara that

Rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities have become so regular since Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip last summer that Glen Eilon’s wife doesn’t need to set her alarm clock anymore. The community’s warning sirens wake her up.

Eilon is a hothouse farmer who lives in Moshav Netiv Ha’asara, whose outer edge forms the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip….

Standing on a sand dune—within easy range of snipers—it is possible to look over the security wall and see what remains of the former Jewish community of Nissanit in northern Gaza Strip.

An early warning system sounds an alarm every time radar detects projectiles launched from the Gaza Strip.… Residents have just 12 seconds from launch to landing to head to the concrete security bunkers that were attached to many homes in the area several months ago.

Psychologically speaking, the warning sirens are more frightening than the rockets themselves, said Eilon, because often, there’s not enough time to take shelter.

Eilon, who has lived in Netiv Ha’asara for more than two decades, said the only alternative to ducking rockets is for residents to leave the community—and they refuse to do that….

Signs of siege are easily visible in this farming community. A house with geraniums growing outside has a hole in the roof from a direct Qassam hit; the house where a young woman was killed in a mortar strike last summer—just before the disengagement—is vacant now; and room-sized concrete bunkers are attached to the backs and sides of many homes.

A couple of months later, on May 16, it was a Katyusha rocket fired by Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza that hit a chicken coop in Netiv Ha’asara, killing 30 chickens.

On June 8 it was two more Qassams hitting Netiv Ha’asara, and Human Rights Watch reported that “after the early-warning siren sounded, two dogs dashed into a shelter, showing how conditioned they had become to the rocket attacks.”

A little over a year later, on August 25, 2007, the terrorists tried a different approach. As the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s website describes it:

IDF forces foiled an attempted terrorist attack on the settlement Netiv Ha’asara, north of the Gaza Strip. Two terrorists dressed in IDF uniforms and exploiting the early morning fog, managed to climb over the security fence using a rope ladder. They then shot at a soldier in a guard post of the Liaison and Coordination Administration near the Erez Crossing. While advancing towards Netiv Ha’asara, the terrorists were killed by an IDF force. Light arms, hand grenades and two explosive devices were found in their possession. Two IDF soldiers were slightly wounded in the incident.

If the infiltration had succeeded, terrible carnage may have ensued. Netiv Ha’asara may have at last become famous.

The next attempt came last November 19:

IDF forces and security officers from Netiv Ha’asara foiled on Monday an attempt by terrorists to infiltrate the community.…

At around 11:30 pm, soldiers spotted three Palestinians climbing on the security fence and opened fire, killing the three would-be attackers….

IDF officials estimated that the three planned to climb the wall using a ladder or a different device in order to carry out a terror attack in Israel. They were carrying weapons, including rifles and grenades….

Earlier on Monday, Israeli communities surrounding the Strip were hit with a heavy barrage of some 20 mortar shells. No injuries were reported in the attacks. Also, a Qassam rocket fired by Palestinians in north Gaza landed in a western Negev kibbutz, but no injuries were reported in that attack either. …

On November 22, as the Foreign Ministry website records, “Six mortar bombs landed in the farming community of Netiv Ha’asara, just north of the Gaza Strip and rockets and mortar bombs (at least 20 that day) fell on other Negev communities….”

As already mentioned, 2008 began in Netiv Ha’asara with another mortar attack on January 4 and another one just this Sunday.

Multiply Netiv Ha’asara’s (pop. 550) story by about 40 (Sderot, pop. 20,000) and add many other small, similarly besieged Gaza-belt communities like Kibbutz Nirim, Kibbutz Nahal Oz, and others (as well as hits on the city of Ashkelon), and you begin to grasp what Gaza terrorism has meant for Israelis in the vicinity in recent years.

Apart from tactical strikes that have been increasing lately, among the reasons given for the lack of an Israeli strategic response is the relatively low total number of fatalities from the rockets and mortars so far (about a dozen) and the possibly much higher number of military fatalities that would be entailed. But, apart from the fact that the number of civilians injured, traumatized, and living in constant terror is of course much larger, basic morality (along with other considerations) dictates that if the house is burning, you send in the firemen no matter what.

The consolation in this bleak picture is the incredible courage and Zionist-Jewish spirit shown by the residents of communities like Netiv Ha’asara.

Postscript: Things happen fast: just this Tuesday, Palestinian sniper fire killed a 20-year-old Ecuadorian volunteer working in the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha near Gaza. Also on Tuesday the IDF carried out a major raid against terrorists in Gaza City; terrorists reacted with rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon that wounded several. Would Israel at last get militarily serious? Hope never dies.
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

Lieberman the foolish wise man

Caroline Glick

At the end of the Second Lebanon War, Israel rumbled at the edge of a political volcano. Demobilized reservists marched to Jerusalem demanding that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resign in the wake of his incompetent handling of the war. Just as the reservists' protests were gathering momentum, in walked Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the rightist Israel Beiteinu party, and saved the government. Without so much as haggling over the price Olmert would pay for his surprising support, Lieberman joined the government in the ill-defined and powerless role of strategic affairs minister.

Lieberman defended his move on patriotic grounds. The threats facing Israel - particularly from Iran - are so great, he argued, that the country can ill afford the political instability that new elections would cause. In the present dangerous circumstances, he claimed that all patriots must set aside differences to defend the country - under Olmert's leadership.

Unfortunately, even if his motives for supporting Olmert were as pure as he claimed, his decision was ill-advised. The same government that led Israel to defeat against Hizbullah maintained its incompetence after the war to the point where Israel's strategic rationality has been tattered beyond recognition.

The question now is what will happen politically in the wake of Lieberman's departure from the Olmert government. Will his exit be as insignificant as his tenure in office, or will it spark the disintegration of the government just as his entrance into the government saved it?

All eyes today are turned toward Shas. Ahead of Lieberman's decision to pull out of the coalition, Shas leader Deputy Premier Eli Yishai told Lieberman that if the government conducts negotiations on the status of Jerusalem, his party will bolt the coalition. His promise was an odd one given that the day before he made it, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni began negotiations with the Palestinians on Jerusalem.

With Lieberman now in the opposition, it is hard to imagine Shas remaining in the government for much longer. Although Olmert is trying to convince the ultra-Orthodox party to stay on board by reinstating the Religious Affairs Ministry, as opposition leader and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu noted recently, Shas voters will not be impressed if their party trades Jerusalem away for control of ritual baths and religious councils.

If Shas withdraws, Olmert would be left with a minority government of 55 members of Knesset - six shy of a majority. But with the support of the radical Left, Olmert would be able to survive no-confidence votes. On Wednesday Yossi Beilin announced that Meretz with its five seats will block no-confidence votes. The Arab parties, with their 10 seats, will similarly protect Olmert from new elections. So Shas's leaving would still not bring down the government. Others must go as well. And there are two groups that may step up to the plate. First, the Labor Party could bolt the coalition after the Winograd Committee publishes its final report on the war in Lebanon at the end of the month.

Labor Party leader and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is under enormous and growing pressure from the reservists to fulfill the pledge he made last year to take Labor out of the government if the report determines that Olmert failed in his leadership of the war. Unfortunately, Barak today is doing everything he can to back out of that promise.

Barak knows that if Labor leaves the government the Likud, not Labor, will be elected to form the next government. And so at present, he would rather stay with Olmert than allow the people to elect Netanyahu.

But like Yishai and Lieberman, Barak also knows that at the end of the day he has to consider the demands of his voters. The backbone of the Labor party is the kibbutz movement. And the kibbutz movement still sends its sons to serve in combat units. The sons of the kibbutz movement served in the Second Lebanon War. They expect Barak to abide by his pledge. If he doesn't they will make him pay for his dishonesty. And he knows it.

If Barak goes into the next election - now scheduled for 2010 - as the man who lied to his voters and kept Olmert in power, his political foes will discredit him. On the other hand, if he keeps his word, it is possible that even if he loses the general elections to Netanyahu, he could either join a Likud-led coalition or, with his credibility intact, he could set himself up to replace Netanyahu in a future election.

Second, there is the possibility that 11 members of Kadima's 29-person Knesset faction will bolt the party and form a new, independent party. With Israel Beiteinu and Shas out, if 11 Kadima faction members left the government, the opposition would have the requisite 61 votes to pass a no-confidence measure and move to early elections.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz has already distinguished himself as a potential leader of such a faction. In a speech this week, Mofaz placed the blame for Israel's defeat in Lebanon squarely on Olmert's shoulders.

And Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, for his part, has been outspoken in his criticism of Olmert's mishandling of the situation in Gaza and Iran's nuclear program. Given that the polls show Kadima shrinking to 10 mandates in the next election, a number of Kadima backbenchers interested in a political future would be happy to join a breakaway party. Disgruntled Labor voters, angered at Barak's refusal to resign the government, but unwilling to vote for Likud, would likely find a new electoral home with the Kadima breakaways.

THE ABOVE analysis is no mere gossip. Today, the most pressing question facing Israel is how long our politicians will allow Olmert and Kadima to remain in power.

In every sphere of government, the Olmert government is capsizing the country. Domestically, Olmert is overseeing the demise of Israel's education system. This is due largely to his political weakness. That weakness made him unable for two months to force Israel's high school teachers to end their strike. Olmert sat on the sidelines and did nothing as the nation's children walked the streets and cruised the malls while being denied an education.

Then there are the public universities, which due to the prolonged strike by senior lecturers are about to cancel their fall semester. Rather than scaring the lecturers - whose salary demands are unjustifiable - by threatening to move government funding away from public universities to private universities and to approve the opening of more private colleges and universities, Olmert has sat back and watched the university system collapse.

And then there are the security threats, which grow by the day due to the actions and inactions of the Olmert government. Although Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is unwilling to recognize Israel's existence as a Jewish state, and despite the fact that Abbas's security forces are actively involved in terrorism and collaborating with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in their missile offensive against Israel, Olmert and Livni are negotiating an agreement that would render Israel indefensible in the interest of "strengthening" Abbas, the moderate.

Also in the interest of "strengthening" Abbas, Olmert is refusing the pleas of the IDF to take control of Gaza and defeat and disarm Hamas's Iranian-trained, Iranian- and Saudi-funded, and Egyptian-supported army. Not only are the IDF's limited incursions into Gaza incapable of ending the rocket and missile assault on southern Israel, they serve to teach Hamas the IDF's tactics. Presently, due to Olmert's incompetence, Hamas holds all the advantages.

But Olmert and his government don't care. As his spokesman explained after Olmert accepted Lieberman's resignation on Wednesday, from Olmert's perspective, "There is no alternative to serious diplomatic negotiations in an effort to achieve peace... The prime minister is determined to continue diplomatic talks because he recognizes that this is the only real chance to guarantee peace and security for the citizens of Israel." So there can be no serious campaign against Hamas - only talks with Hamas's chief defender, Abbas.

Then there is Lebanon. Olmert and Livni continue to uphold UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the war with Hizbullah as a great diplomatic and strategic achievement. But this is a lie. Under 1701, Hizbullah has rebuilt and expanded its arsenal of missiles to beyond pre-war levels. Under 1701, Hizbullah has reasserted its control over south Lebanon and renewed its pre-war intimidation of UN forces to the point where they have become a strategic liability to Israel. Under 1701, and in collaboration with Syria and Iran, Hizbullah has successfully paralyzed the Lebanese government by blocking presidential elections. Its co-option of the Lebanese army - already apparent during the war - has reached new highs.

As for Iran, since entering office, the Olmert government has stood on the sidelines as the US-led international community has done nothing to prevent Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Today, in the wake of the US National Intelligence Estimate that foreclosed the option of a US assault against Iran's nuclear installations, Olmert remains on the sidelines. He does nothing as the Islamic Republic openly demonstrates its ability to attack Israel with missile-borne nuclear warheads. He does nothing as Iran openly expands its uranium enrichment and speaks of the day that Israel is no more.

Last week Olmert praised US President George W. Bush's friendship with Israel effusively. And yet, throughout his trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, both Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it clear that the Bush administration is no longer Israel's friend. Bush no longer insists that the Palestinians end their terror war against Israel before they can get a state. Bush insists that the Palestinian state must be "territorially contiguous." This means that he supports cutting Israel into two equally indefensible parts.

Although Olmert insists the US will take care of Iran's nuclear program for Israel, Bush took pains to make clear that Olmert is wrong to believe in him. The US president said that if Iran attacks Israel, the US will come to Israel's aid. That means that the US would only act against Iran after hundreds of thousands of Israelis were killed by a nuclear attack. That is, the US will only act when it is too late to do anything except prevent Israel from retaliating. In short, far from enhancing Israel's relationship with the US, in its infinite ineptitude, the Olmert government has come close to destroying it.

AN OLD Jewish proverb explains the difference between a wise man and a smart man. A wise man, it says, is someone who knows how to get out of a mess that a smart man would never have gotten into.

Lieberman acted wisely this week when he resigned from the government. The greatest challenge facing the Israeli people today is to convince Shas and either Labor or 11 Kadima MKs, or both, to quickly follow in his footsteps.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1200572482242&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Friday, January 18, 2008

U.S. peace partner's group shoots at Jew

Aaron Klein
© 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House in November (Courtesy Carrie Devorah)
JERUSALEM – While peace talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization continued this week, Fatah's declared military wing called WND today to take credit for shooting at an Israeli motorist.
"We are proud to declare that we shot at this Israeli and that we are back to leading the Palestinian armed struggle," said Abu Oudai, a chief of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group.

"We no more respect the talks of our leadership for a ceasefire and for stopping attacks. ...We declare the Al Aqsa Brigades has returned and that Israel will learn in the coming days what we are capable of," Abu Oudai said.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military wing, is listed by the State Department as a terror group. It took responsibility, along with the Islamic Jihad terror organization, for every suicide bombing in Israel in 2005 and 2006 and for thousands of shootings and rocket attacks.

(Story continues below)

In the attack today, an Israeli man was lightly to moderately wounded while driving on a main highway near the West Bank city of Ramallah in the vicinity of the Jewish city of Modiin.

The man reportedly sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on his vehicle from a passing car. He made it to an Israeli military checkpoint, where he was evacuated to a nearby hospital and troops were immediately dispersed to search for the perpetuators.

Today's attack by Abbas' group follows a visit to the region last week by President Bush in which the U.S. leader termed Abbas a "negotiating partner" and urged Israel to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year.

Bush aimed to inject momentum into negotiations started at this past November's Annapolis summit in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to commence talks leading to a Palestinian state. Israel is widely expected to withdraw from most of the West Bank and key eastern sections of Jerusalem.

Senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met the past few days. According to top diplomatic sources in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Abbas and Olmert held a secret personal meeting in Jerusalem yesterday to advance talks.

Even with negotiations at full pace, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has been quite active the past few weeks.

WND reported that days before Abbas' departed to the Annapolis meeting, the Brigades took credit for a West Bank shooting attack that killed Israeli civilian Ido Zoldan.

The Israel Defense Forces waited for two weeks – until after the Annapolis summit – before releasing for publication an announcement that Israeli security agents caught the culprits of the Zoldan murder immediately following the attack. The culprits were a cell of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades whose members double as paid police officers for Abbas' Fatah organization.

Then two weeks ago, four armed Palestinians driving a jeep killed off-duty Israeli soldiers Ahikam Amihai and David Rubin as they were hiking with a woman just outside Hebron. Amihai and Rubin, both in their early 20s, managed to return fire before they died, reportedly killing one of the terrorists and injuring another. Their female companion was uninjured.

Immediately following the attack, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility during a news conference from the Gaza Strip and in a WND interview. Nevertheless, most major Israeli daily newspapers and television networks reported Hamas carried out the killings. Later, Israel's Shin Bet Security Services announced the two main culprits in the attack were members of Fatah's security forces and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

Europe’s Philosophy of Failure

Stefan Theil
Foreign Policy

In France and Germany, students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination. Taught that economic principles such as capitalism, free markets, and entrepreneurship are savage, unhealthy, and immoral, these children are raised on a diet of prejudice and bias. Rooting it out may determine whether Europe’s economies prosper or continue to be left behind.
Millions of children are being raised on prejudice and disinformation. Educated in schools that teach a skewed ideology, they are exposed to a dogma that runs counter to core beliefs shared by many other Western countries. They study from textbooks filled with a doctrine of dissent, which they learn to recite as they prepare to attend many of the better universities in the world. Extracting these children from the jaws of bias could mean the difference between world prosperity and menacing global rifts. And doing so will not be easy. But not because these children are found in the madrasas of Pakistan or the state-controlled schools of Saudi Arabia. They are not. Rather, they live in two of the world’s great democracies—France and Germany.

What a country teaches its young people reflects its bedrock national beliefs. Schools hand down a society’s historical narrative to the next generation. There has been a great deal of debate over the ways in which this historical ideology is passed on—over Japanese textbooks that downplay the Nanjing Massacre, Palestinian textbooks that feature maps without Israel, and new Russian guidelines that require teachers to portray Stalinism more favorably. Yet there has been almost no analysis of how countries teach economics, even though the subject is equally crucial in shaping the collective identity that drives foreign and domestic policies.

Just as schools teach a historical narrative, they also pass on “truths” about capitalism, the welfare state, and other economic principles that a society considers self-evident. In both France and Germany, for instance, schools have helped ingrain a serious aversion to capitalism. In one 2005 poll, just 36 percent of French citizens said they supported the free-enterprise system, the only one of 22 countries polled that showed minority support for this cornerstone of global commerce. In Germany, meanwhile, support for socialist ideals is running at all-time highs—47 percent in 2007 versus 36 percent in 1991.

It’s tempting to dismiss these attitudes as being little more than punch lines to cocktail party jokes. But their impact is sadly and seriously self-destructive. In Germany, unemployment is finally falling after years at Depression-era levels, thanks in no small part to welfare reforms that in 2005 pressured Germans on the public dole to take up jobs. Yet there is near consensus among Germans that, despite this happy outcome, tinkering with the welfare state went far beyond what is permissible. Chancellor Angela Merkel, once heralded as Germany’s own Margaret Thatcher, has all but abandoned her plans to continue free-market reforms. She has instead imposed a new “rich people tax,” has tightened labor-market rules, and has promised renewed efforts to “regulate” globalization. Meanwhile, two in three Germans say they support at least some of the voodoo-economic, roll-back-the-reforms platform of a noisy new antiglobalization political party called Die Linke (The Left), founded by former East German communists and Western left-wing populists.

Many of these popular attitudes can be traced to state-mandated curricula in schools. It is there that economic lessons are taught that diverge substantially from the market-based principles on which the Western model is based. The phenomenon may hardly be unique to Europe, but in few places is it more obvious than in France and Germany. A biased view of economics feeds into many of the world’s most vexing problems, from the growth of populism to the global rise of anti-American, anti-capitalist attitudes.

economics à la carte


“Economic growth imposes a hectic form of life, producing overwork, stress, nervous depression, cardiovascular disease and, according to some, even the development of cancer,” asserts the three-volume Histoire du XXe siècle, a set of texts memorized by countless French high school students as they prepare for entrance exams to Sciences Po and other prestigious French universities. The past 20 years have “doubled wealth, doubled unemployment, poverty, and exclusion, whose ill effects constitute the background for a profound social malaise,” the text continues. Because the 21st century begins with “an awareness of the limits to growth and the risks posed to humanity [by economic growth],” any future prosperity “depends on the regulation of capitalism on a planetary scale.” Capitalism itself is described at various points in the text as “brutal,” “savage,” “neoliberal,” and “American.” This agitprop was published in 2005, not in 1972.

When French students are not getting this kind of wildly biased commentary on the destruction wreaked by capitalism, they are learning that economic progress is also the root cause of social ills. For example, a one-year high school course on the inner workings of an economy developed by the French Education Ministry called Sciences Economiques et Sociales, spends two thirds of its time discussing the sociopolitical fallout of economic activity. Chapter and section headings include “Social Cleavages and Inequality,” “Social Mobilization and Conflict,” “Poverty and Exclusion,” and “Globalization and Regulation.” The ministry mandates that students learn “worldwide regulation as a response” to globalization. Only one third of the course is about companies and markets, and even those bits include extensive sections on unions, government economic policy, the limits of markets, and the dangers of growth. The overall message is that economic activity has countless undesirable effects from which citizens must be protected.

No wonder, then, that the French default attitude is to be suspicious of market forces and private entrepreneurship, not to mention any policies that would strengthen them. Start-ups, Histoire du XXe siècle tells its students, are “audacious enterprises” with “ill-defined prospects.” Then it links entrepreneurs with the tech bubble, the Nasdaq crash, and mass layoffs across the economy. (Think “creative destruction” without the “creative.”) In one widely used text, a section on technology and innovation does not mention a single entrepreneur or company. Instead, students read a lengthy treatise on whether technological progress destroys jobs. In another textbook, students actually meet a French entrepreneur who invented a new tool to open oysters. But the quirky anecdote is followed by a long-winded debate over the degree to which the modern workplace is organized along the lines imagined by Frederick Taylor, the father of modern scientific management theory. And just in case they missed it in history class, students are reminded that “cultural globalization” leads to violence and armed resistance, ultimately necessitating a new system of global governance.

This is a world apart from what American high school students learn. In the United States, where fewer than half of high school students take an economics course, most classes are based on straightforward, classical economics. In Texas, the state-prescribed curriculum requires that the positive contribution of entrepreneurs to the local economy be taught. The state of New York, meanwhile, has coordinated its curriculum with entrepreneurship-promoting youth groups such as Junior Achievement, as well as with economists at the Federal Reserve. Do American schools encourage students to follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates or become ardent fans of globalization? Not really. But they certainly aren’t filling students with negative preconceptions and suspicions about businesses and the people who run them. Nor do they obsess about the negative side effects and dangers of economic activity the way French textbooks do.

French students, on the other hand, do not learn economics so much as a very specific, highly biased discourse about economics. When they graduate, they may not know much about supply and demand, or about the workings of a corporation. Instead, they will likely know inside-out the evils of “la McDonaldisation du monde” and the benefits of a “Tobin tax” on the movement of global capital. This kind of anticapitalist, antiglobalization discourse isn’t just the product of a few aging 1968ers writing for Le Monde Diplomatique; it is required learning in today’s French schools.

learning to love the dole

Germans teach their young people a similar economic narrative, with a slightly different emphasis. The focus is on instilling the corporatist and collectivist traditions of the German system. Although each of Germany’s 16 states sets its own education requirements, nearly all teach through the lens of workplace conflict between employer and employee, the central battle being over wages and work rules. If there’s one unifying characteristic of German textbooks, it’s the tremendous emphasis on group interests, the traditional social-democratic division of the universe into capital and labor, employer and employee, boss and worker. Textbooks teach the minutiae of employer-employee relations, workplace conflict, collective bargaining, unions, strikes, and worker protection. Even a cursory look at the country’s textbooks shows that many are written from the perspective of a future employee with a union contract. Bosses and company owners show up in caricatures and illustrations as idle, cigar-smoking plutocrats, sometimes linked to child labor, Internet fraud, cell-phone addiction, alcoholism, and, of course, undeserved layoffs. The successful, modern entrepreneur is virtually nowhere to be found.

German students will be well-versed in many subjects upon graduation; one topic they will know particularly well is their rights as welfare recipients. One 10th-grade social studies text titled FAKT has a chapter on “What to do against unemployment.” Instead of describing how companies might create jobs, the section explains how those without jobs can organize into self-help groups and join weekly anti-reform protests “in the tradition of the East German Monday demonstrations” (which in 1989 helped topple the communist dictatorship). The not-so-subtle subtext? Jobs are a right to be demanded from the government. The same chapter also details various welfare programs, explains how employers use the threat of layoffs as a tactic to cut pay, and concludes with a long excerpt from the platform of the German Union Federation, including the 30-hour work week, retirement at age 60, and redistribution of the work pie by splitting full-time into part-time jobs. No market alternative is taught. When fakt presents the reasons for unemployment, it blames computers and robots. In fact, this is a recurring theme in German textbooks—the Internet will turn workers into “anonymous code” and kill off interpersonal communication.

Equally popular in Germany today are student workbooks on globalization. One such workbook includes sections headed “The Revival of Manchester Capitalism,” “The Brazilianization of Europe,” and “The Return of the Dark Ages.” India and China are successful, the book explains, because they have large, state-owned sectors and practice protectionism, while the societies with the freest markets lie in impoverished sub-Saharan Africa. Like many French and German books, this text suggests students learn more by contacting the antiglobalization group Attac, best known for organizing messy protests at the annual G-8 summits.

One might expect Europeans to view the world through a slightly left-of-center, social-democratic lens. The surprise is the intensity and depth of the anti-market bias being taught in Europe’s schools. Students learn that private companies destroy jobs while government policy creates them. Employers exploit while the state protects. Free markets offer chaos while government regulation brings order. Globalization is destructive, if not catastrophic. Business is a zero-sum game, the source of a litany of modern social problems. Some enterprising teachers and parents may try to teach an alternative view, and some books are less ideological than others. But given the biases inherent in the curricula, this background is unavoidable. It is the context within which most students develop intellectually. And it’s a belief system that must eventually appear to be the truth.

can old europe do new tricks?

This bias has tremendous implications that reach far beyond the domestic political debate in these two countries. These beliefs inform students’ choices in life. Taught that the free market is a dangerous wilderness, twice as many Germans as Americans tell pollsters that you should not start a business if you think it might fail. According to the European Union’s internal polling, just two in five Germans and French would like to be their own boss, compared to three in five Americans. Whereas 8 percent of Americans say they are currently involved in starting a business, that’s true of only 2 percent of Germans and 1 percent of the French. Another 28 percent of Americans are considering starting a business, compared to just 11 percent of the French and 18 percent of Germans. The loss to Europe’s two largest economies in terms of jobs, innovation, and economic dynamism is severe.

Attitudes and mind-sets, it is increasingly being shown, are closely related to a country’s economic performance. Edmund Phelps, a Columbia University economist and Nobel laureate, contends that attitudes toward markets, work, and risk-taking are significantly more powerful in explaining the variation in countries’ actual economic performance than the traditional factors upon which economists focus, including social spending, tax rates, and labor-market regulation. The connection between capitalism and culture, once famously described by Max Weber, also helps explain continental Europe’s poor record in entrepreneurship and innovation. A study by the Massachusetts-based Monitor Group, the Entrepreneurship Benchmarking Index, looks at nine countries and finds a powerful correlation between attitudes about economics and actual corporate performance. The researchers find that attitudes explain 40 percent of the variation in start-up and company growth rates—by far the strongest correlation of any of the 31 indicators they tested. If countries such as France and Germany hope to boost entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic dynamism—as their leaders claim they do—the most effective way to make that happen may be to use education to boost the cultural legitimacy of going into business.

The deep anti-market bias that French and Germans continue to teach challenges the conventional wisdom that it’s just a matter of time, thanks to the pressures of globalization, before much of the world agrees upon a supposedly “Western” model of free-market capitalism. Politicians in democracies cannot long fight the preferences of the majority of their constituents. So this bias will likely continue to circumscribe both European elections and policy outcomes. A likely alternative scenario may be that the changes wrought by globalization will awaken deeply held resentment against capitalism and, in many countries from Europe to Latin America, provide a fertile ground for populists and demagogues, a trend that is already manifesting itself in the sudden rise of many leftist movements today.

Minimal reforms to the welfare state cost former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder his job in 2005. They have also paralyzed modern German politics. Former communists and disaffected Social Democrats, together with left-wing Greens, have flocked to Germany’s new leftist party, whose politics is a distasteful mix of anticapitalist demagoguery and right-wing xenophobia. Its platform, polls show, is finding support even among mainstream Germans. A left-leaning majority, within both the parliament and the public at large, makes the world’s third-largest economy vulnerable to destructive policies driven by anticapitalist resentment and fear of globalization. Similar situations are easily conceivable elsewhere and have already helped bring populists to power in Latin America. Then there is France, where President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to “rupture” with the failed economic policies of the past. He has taken on the country’s public servants and their famously lavish benefits, but many of his policies appear to be driven by what he calls “economic patriotism,” which smacks of old-fashioned industrial protectionism. That’s exactly what French schoolchildren have long learned is the way the world should work.

Both the French and German cases show the limits of trying to run against the grain of deeply held economic ideology. Yet, training the next generation of citizens to be prejudiced against being enterprising and productive is equally foolhardy. Fortunately, such widespread attitudes and the political outcomes they foster aren’t only determined by tradition and history. They are, to a great extent, the product of education. If countries like France and Germany hope to get their nations on a new economic track, they might start paying more attention to what their kids are learning in the classroom.
Stefan Theil is Newsweek’s European economics editor. He completed his research of American, French, and German textbooks and curricula while a trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Fatah and Hamas Chiefs Meet, Agree to Split Int'l Funds

Ezra HaLevi

The heavily-funded Fatah-headed Palestinian Authority seems to be preparing to reunite with the Islamist Hamas, effectively channeling international aid to a united terrorist front. Several Fatah leaders, led by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, visited Hamas leader Mahmoud a-Zahar Thursday in Gaza City, the first time the parties have held direct talks since the Hamas military takeover in Gaza last summer. A-Zahar is one of the founder of Hamas. The Islamist group decided to place him in the position of Foreign Minister rather than Prime Minister due to his known support for the killing of Jewish civilians. The visit followed a phone call from Abbas to a-Zahar, whose son, a terrorist leader, was killed in an IDF strike.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he will not continue negotiations with Abbas if Fatah renews attempts to forge an alliance with Hamas. Billions of dollars in aid money, as well as arms and training, have been supplied to Fatah on the condition that it act against Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups.

However, Abbas’s regime intends to spend 40 percent of the recently-pledged international aid in Hamas-controlled Gaza, according to a senior PA official.

Fatah PA Labor and Planning Minister Samir Abdullah, said that of the $7.7 billion pledged by donor countries, 40 percent would be channeled to Gaza.

Funding has already begun to flow into PA accounts from the European Union, Saudi Arabia and France.
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

British Muslim computer geek, son of diplomat, revealed as Al Qaeda's top cyber terrorist

Poverty and Ignorance Cause Terrorism Update. This time it's a diplomat's son, a computer expert. From the Daily Mail (thanks to Frank the Great): A computer nerd from Shepherd's Bush, West London, became al Qaeda's top internet agent, it can be revealed today.

Younes Tsouli, 23, an IT student at a London college, used his top-floor flat in W12 to help Islamist extremists wage a propaganda war against the West.

Under the name Irhabi 007 — combining the James Bond reference with the Arabic for terrorist — he worked with al Qaeda leaders in Iraq and came up with a way to convert often gruesome videos into a form that could be put onto the Web.

Videos he posted included messages from Osama bin Laden and images of the kidnapping and murder of hostages in Iraq such as American Nick Berg.

His capture led to the arrest of several Islamic terrorists around the world, including 17 men in Canada and two in the US.

Associates linked to Tsouli in the UK have also now been detained. His 10-year jail sentence was increased to 16 years last month.

At first intelligence operatives who came across his activities dismissed him as a joke. It was only when anti-terrorist detectives began trawling through files on his computer after his arrest that they realised his true significance.

The Tripartite Threat of Radical Islam to Europe

Lorenzo Vidino
The Jewish Policy Center | 1/16/2008

After the 2004 Madrid bombings, the 2005 London attacks, and the myriad terrorist plots thwarted over the last few years, commentators and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have come to the realization that Europe faces an enormous challenge from terrorism of Islamist inspiration. Yet terrorism is only the tip of the iceberg, the most visible manifestation of a larger problem. Europe faces today a tripartite threat from radical Islam, of which the terrorist is only the most immediate and evident, but not necessarily the most dangerous one.
The European Islamist Pyramid

This tripartite threat can be visualized as a pyramid. At the top of it are the violent jihadists, a few thousand individuals scattered throughout the continent who openly challenge the societies they live in, and are willing to spill blood to achieve their goals. Below them are what can be defined "peaceful revolutionaries," groups and networks that openly express their opposition to any system of government that does not strictly conform to shari'a (Islamic law), yet do not, at least openly, directly resort to violent means to further their agenda. Finally, the base, the largest section of the pyramid, is occupied by groups that publicly purport to support democracy and the integration of Muslim communities within the European mainstream, but quietly work to radicalize Europe's Muslim population.

Each of these aspects of radical Islam has a different presence, structure and modus operandi. Each, consequently, presents a different kind of challenge to European policymakers and intelligence agencies. And while Europeans are finally paying attention to the jihadist threat and have devised solutions to contain it, there is only a limited understanding of the other two threats.
The Jihadists

Individuals that espouse the most militant interpretation of Islam began to establish a presence in Europe in the mid-1980s. Their numbers were reinforced at the end of the decade and during the first years of the 1990s, as small groups of so-called Afghan Arabs and other committed jihadists who escaped prosecution (or worse) in the Middle East and North Africa settled in Europe. Exploiting the freedoms of the West, these violent Islamists continued to support their groups' activities in their countries of origin through propaganda, fundraising, and recruitment. Europe constituted the ideal logistical base for groups such as the Egyptian Gamaa Islamiya or the Algerian GIA (and then the GSPC), which established extensive networks throughout the continent.

By the second half of the 1990s these groups and networks began to gravitate toward the orbit of al-Qaeda, embracing its message of global jihad. It was in places such as Bosnia, Chechnya, and, of course, Afghanistan, that jihadist groups from various countries made contact and decided to join forces, fighting not only against their traditional enemies (regimes in the Muslim world), but also against "the far enemy," i.e. the West.

A key role in this cross-pollination of ideas and methods among jihadist groups was played by some of Europe's most radical mosques, such as London's Finsbury Park, Milan's Islamic Cultural Institute, Vienna's Sahaba, or Hamburg's al-Quds, which became popular meeting points for radicals from all countries. These networks that had long operated independently in Europe soon became franchises for al-Qaeda on the continent, significantly contributing men, funds, and logistics to the group's growth.

Over the last few years, there has been a generational change in jihadist networks. Most of today's jihadists, particularly in northern European countries, are second-generation Muslim immigrants in Europe (with a small but significant number of converts).

Today we can visualize the reality of jihadist networks in Europe as a continuum. At one extreme, we find homegrown groups: small clusters of mostly European-born radicals with no ties to external groups that act in absolute operational independence. At the opposite side of the spectrum, we see compartmentalized cells contained in a well-structured network and subjected to a hierarchical structure, as was the model of jihadist groups operating in Europe in the 1990s.

In between these two extremes there is a whole spectrum of realities, positioned according to the level of autonomy of the group. The most recurring model seems to be that of the July 7, 2005, London bombers: a small group of young men, most of whom were born and raised in Europe, who know each other either from the mosque or from the neighborhood, and who become radicalized in Europe. Only a few of these locally groomed jihadists travel abroad to gain from various al-Qaeda affiliate groups the necessary bomb-making expertise that will make the group jump from an amateurish cluster of friends to a full-fledged terrorist cell.

The challenge posed by jihadist networks, wherever they sit on the continuum, is daunting. While in the past these networks were largely focused on supporting activities taking place outside of the continent, today they consider Europe a primary target. Since 9/11, European intelligence agencies, often assisted by their American counterparts, have dismantled scores of networks and prevented dozens of terrorist attacks. Most European countries have also made significant changes to their legislation to deal more effectively with terrorism, though in some cases improvements are still needed.

Looking ahead, the task faced by European authorities is overwhelming. In Britain alone, MI5 believes that there are around 4,000 terror suspects and 200 jihadist networks spread throughout the country. Intelligence officials believe that smaller but comparable numbers of jihadists operate in other European countries, even in traditionally "quiet" areas such as Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
The Peaceful Revolutionaries

A complete rejection of Western values and proclaimed desire to establish an Islamic state (Caliphate) worldwide are the characteristics not only of jihadist groups, but also of several seemingly non-violent organizations operating in Europe. The most organized among these "peaceful revolutionary" movements is Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT, or Party of Liberation), which has established a presence in most European countries. HT's worldview is simple: all the solutions to man's political, economic, cultural, and social problems are to be found in Islam, and the only way for humanity to achieve justice is to abandon any man-made system (including democracy) and establish a Caliphate encompassing not simply today's Muslim world, but every non-Muslim state, too.

HT's message is spread through an unrelenting propaganda effort. This includes websites and publications in various European languages, leaflets in Muslim neighborhoods and in front of mainstream mosques, and even videos on YouTube. HT conferences, attended by thousands of sympathizers, are regularly held in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria, and Germany. HT is so strong in Europe that, in what is a seemingly counterintuitive but telling move, several of its members have traveled to the Middle East to spread the organization's message and re-Islamize Middle Eastern masses.

HT does not simply appeal to the disaffected masses of unassimilated European Muslims. Members of HT tend to be highly educated young professionals who are second-generation Muslim immigrants in Europe. Their ranks are buttressed further by a small cadre of converts.

HT's rhetoric is sophisticated and skillfully tailored to the ears of Western Muslims. Moreover, it generally stops short of expressly advocating violence, in order to avoid scrutiny by authorities. HT states that Islam is under attack, that Muslims have a duty to defend their fellow Muslims worldwide, and that they must establish the Caliphate in order to mount this defense. However, HT stops short of specifying how Muslims should do so.

While HT does not openly endorse violence it provides powerful ideological tools to radicalize Muslims. The jump from embracing HT's worldview to committing violent acts in order to further its goals is a short one. For this reason, HT is often identified as a "conveyor belt" to terrorism. Moreover, while the organization itself has never been directly linked to terrorism, some European HT members have.

HT continues to frustrate many European governments. Germany banned HT in 2002 for being anti-Semitic, but the group continues to operate under different names. Similarly, after the London bombings, the British government attempted to ban HT, but desisted after realizing that the lack of direct links to terrorism would pose legal challenges. Other European countries debate whether HT's activities should be banned or whether they should be safeguarded by freedom of speech.

In recent months there have been indications that HT preaches violence in small gatherings, or where it believes the media or intelligence agencies are not monitoring its activities. Shiraz Maher, a former HT regional director in England, who has left the group and produced a documentary for BBC about it, is clear in his belief that HT does not eschew violence. "Hizb ut-Tahrir despises democracy and believes shari'a law must be imposed over the whole world," says Maher, "by force if necessary."

Maajid Nawaz, another former senior HT member, asserts that "they [HT] are prepared to, once they've established the [Islamic] state, to fight other countries and to kill people in the pursuit of unifying this state into one state." Nawaz also acknowledges the disruptive impact that his former group's teachings have had on society at large: "I think that what I taught has not only damaged British society and British Muslim relations and damaged the position of Muslims in this society as British citizens, I think it's damaged the world."
Islamization by Penetrating the System

At the bottom of the pyramid is the numerically most significant component of political Islam in Europe: the Muslim Brotherhood and other revivalist movements such as the Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami or the Turkish Milli G?r?. Over the last half-century, these movements have established offshoots in numerous European countries, thanks to their activism and foreign funding. Revivalist organizations such the Muslim Council of Britain, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, or the Islamic Society of Germany have become the de facto representatives of the Muslim communities of their countries. They control a large number of mosques and interact with government institutions as preferential partners.

When dealing with the media and governments, these organizations present a moderate fa?ade, publicly supporting integration and democracy. Yet in their mosques, revivalist organizations espouse a diametrically different rhetoric, still embracing the zealous ideology of the organizations of their origins. Their aim is the radicalization of European Muslim communities and the creation of Muslim separatists who seek separate social spaces (from schools to swimming pools) and separate jurisdiction.

While they do not officially advocate the use of violence in the West (although they do so in Iraq and the Palestinian territories), it can be argued that these revivalist groups pose a challenge more insidious than that of other Islamists who openly challenge Western governments and values. Thanks to their public words of moderation, they often manage to establish preferential relationships with European elites. In some cases, they are even seen as partners in European governments' fight against radicalization. The legitimization and power they acquire through these government endorsements allow them to augment their status within the Muslim community and, hence, their ability to radicalize it.

Revivalist organizations concentrate their efforts in radicalizing European Muslim populations, while appeasing and penetrating the official governing system. Operating within the legal framework, and often with the support of European governments, their activities create the foundations on which other, more radical groups build. They represent the base of the pyramid and a problem that Europeans have been unable to address.
Europe's Challenge

Each section of the Islamist pyramid poses a different kind of challenge to Europe's security and way of life. Europeans must recognize each as such and find the appropriate legal and political tools to address them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A nation that is in search of leadership

Isi Leibler

With the impending release of the Winograd Report, most Israelis will be mulling over the future of their current leadership. Those old enough will recollect with nostalgia the extraordinary quality of the Israelis who led the country from its inception to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Some will be asking themselves why, in recent years, Israel has been afflicted with such a disastrous crop of unsuccessful and failed politicians who to this day remain unwilling to accept accountability for their failures. Indeed, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has brazenly announced that he has no intention of resigning regardless of what Winograd says. n the past, outstanding leaders who affected the course of history - for better or for worse - were usually men consumed by a vision or a cause. They held views that were often initially unacceptable to the public and obliged to undergo periods as lonely outsiders. Often enough, prior to obtaining popular support, they were marginalized, dismissed as wild visionaries and sometimes even condemned as dangerous extremists.

Take, for example, Winston Churchill. It was only well after Munich, when Neville Chamberlain's policies of appeasement had become utterly discredited, that Britons ceased branding Churchill an irresponsible warmonger.

THE SAME applied to the early Zionist leaders and the founding fathers of Israel.

Theodor Herzl was regarded by most Western and educated Jews as an eccentric, promoting utterly unfeasible utopian ideas. Even within the Zionist movement itself, David Ben-Gurion faced enormous opposition as he battled unflinchingly for Jewish independence, emerging as the dominant leader only in the wake of the Holocaust.

That also applied to those who succeeded him. The most extreme example was Menachem Begin. Seven times he lost elections and for almost 30 years was all but ostracized, shamefully vilified, and even condemned as a fascist until his extraordinary electoral victory in 1977. Today he is recognized as one of our greatest national leaders.

What did these people of varying political persuasions share? They all had visions and strategies in which they genuinely believed and were convinced would best serve the interests of the nation. They stood their ground and refused to be dissuaded even when public opinion was opposed to their ideas. Rarely did they allow a personal agenda to intrude or influence the formulation of policy.

In many cases, when they recognized that they had reached an impasse and could no longer pursue their objectives, or concluded that they had failed, they voluntarily resigned. That applied to Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Begin.

IN OTHER words, until recently, the underlying motivation of most Israeli leaders of all hues was an unhesitating willingness to prioritize the interests of the nation above any personal agenda. Of course, they made mistakes and were at times utterly misguided. But neither public opinion nor a lust to cling to power could conceivably have led them to subordinating what they perceived to be the best interests of the people.

That was as true of Rabin as it was of others. In the course of time, even after Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin had dragged him against his will into endorsing the Oslo debacle, he convinced himself that in order to forestall the impending nuclearization of Iraq and Iran, the national interest required that he make peace with Israel's immediate neighbors even if it entailed a gamble. That the gamble subsequently proved to be a disaster does not detract from the sincerity of his objective. Despite his failures, nobody could conclude that Rabin's failures stemmed from a crass desire to gain popular support or retain power.

IT WAS DURING the leadership of Ehud Barak that the strategic long-term interests of the nation became relegated to a secondary position and were subordinated to a personal agenda. Barak's policy zig-zags reached their climax toward the end of his term, by which time he was already making statements in the afternoon which contradicted those he had expressed in the morning. His policies were increasingly determined not by what he perceived to be in the public interest, but by public opinion. From that point, polls, not principles, determined the national interest.

Ariel Sharon refined this approach into an art form, utilizing the services of pollsters and PR spin doctors as never before. All this has now reached its most cynical climax under Olmert, whose entire agenda gives the appearance of being dominated by his all-too-transparent overriding obsession to remain in office. To promote this, he has been tailoring his policies to blend in with vox populi as reflected in opinion polls. Yet even this has failed to enhance his ratings.

Olmert has also used the Prime Minister's Office and encouraged associates such as Haim Ramon to test the waters on every major issue in order to gauge public opinion before introducing new policies. When there was a strong negative response from the public (as when Ramon suggested handing over jurisdiction of the Temple Mount to the Palestinians), Olmert simply backed down.

Needless to say, it is entirely legitimate and even obligatory for politicians to utilize opinion polls to ascertain the mood of the nation.

But over the past few years this has gotten out of control. Today Israel has become a haven for pollsters and spin merchants. In fact, it is fair to state that today most potentially contentious policies are not being determined on what is considered to be the national interest. They are resolved only after being superficially approved by the fickle public via the medium of telephone opinion polls.

The same also applies to most political parties, with the possible exception of the ideologically motivated religious, hard-Left and ultra-Right.

THUS, TODAY, a large proportion of the political establishment also formulates its policy primarily on the basis of the number of votes it estimates will be gained: National mood as manipulated by spin doctors and not national interest has become the order of the day. We have become like a ship without a rudder.

Today, Olmert's failure as a leader has become transparent. But there is a danger that without renewed recognition of the role that responsible leaders must assume, the underlying problems of leadership could become institutionalized even after he retires.

What is needed? First and foremost, genuine leaders as opposed to self-gratifying politicians. Leaders who will determine policies and respond to challenges on the basis of only one criterion - and it isn't how many votes such policies will generate, or whether "the street" approves of them. Long-term strategies must be based exclusively on national interests, even if that requires campaigning to persuade the nation to consider its collective destiny rather than personal or sectional aggrandizement.

The writer is a veteran international Jewish leader.

No Jews for Oil

Ben Shapiro
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On January 11, President Bush ended his visit to Israel by visiting Yad Vashem, the country's monumental Holocaust memorial. "I wish as many people as possible would come to this place," Bush said. "It is a sobering reminder that evil exists and a call that when evil exists we must resist it."

That was the day after Bush called for "painful political concessions" from Israel with regard to the Palestinian Arabs, explaining, "There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people."

Bush is no fool. He recognizes better than any president in recent memory that the Palestinian Arabs do not desire peace -- that they are, in fact, the world's most ardent supporters of anti-Western terrorism. And Bush recognizes that the establishment of a fully operational terrorist state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would have catastrophic consequences for both Israel and the United States.

So why did Bush abandon his principles and pressure Israel to appease its Islamist enemies? Because four days after Bush's Israel visit, he visited Saudi Arabia and asked OPEC nations to boost their oil output.

The extreme anti-Bush crowd thinks the war in Iraq is about oil. It isn't. But the consistent focus on the Israeli-Palestinian situation is about oil. It has always been about oil. Israel knows it. Bush knows it. And most of all, the Saudis and their Islamist allies know it.

The Saudis have the upper hand with regard to oil. America needs Arab oil more than the Arabs need to sell their oil -- or at least that is what the Arabs would have us believe. And so the Arabs have leverage to push America to force Israel's piecemeal surrender.

And so the Saudis spent a major chunk of time talking to President Bush about how he could put the screws to Israel. "They definitely want [a settlement] to happen," Bush told reporters. "And they questioned the seriousness of the United States to remain in what has been a long and frustrating process. They want to see a deal done. The issue frustrates them."

The Israeli-Palestinian issue frustrates the Saudis in the same way the Jewish issue frustrated the Nazis. The Saudi Arabian government does not even recognize the existence of the State of Israel. Including the Saudis in negotiations regarding Israel is like including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in negotiations regarding the rights of homosexuals in Iran.

And yet President Bush avers that past peace processes have failed because "there wasn't participation by the neighbors." This is the equivalent of stating that the post-marital Simpson relationship was poor because O.J. was too passive.

The destruction of Israel is only one item on the Saudi shopping list. They also desire looser visa restrictions for their citizens -- a return to the sort of laxity that made September 11 possible. And they want smart bomb technology, which would elevate their military capabilities dramatically.

The Saudis remain one of the world's three foremost sponsors of Islamic terrorism, along with Pakistan and Iran. They demand Israel as ransom for their energy resources. And because of America's failure to secure domestic oil production and/or create alternative energy resources, America must kowtow to radicals in robes.

Ben Shapiro is a regular guest on dozens of radio shows around the United States and Canada and author of Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Misplaced Faith

Cal Thomas
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

During his recent trip to Israel, President Bush visited several places that re-affirmed his faith, including Bethlehem and the Sea of Galilee. Then exhibiting far greater faith than believing Jesus could walk on water, he asserted that "peace" could be had between Israel, the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors. One exhibition of faith has some historic roots and witnesses; the other is rooted in fantasy. Since 1937, there have been 18 formal attempts by commissions, conferences, resolutions, summits and other gatherings to persuade the Jewish lamb to lie down with the Arab lion. All have failed. This latest attempt by President Bush, like those of presidents before him, will also fail, no matter the level of rhetoric or pressure on Israel to "do more." As Hillel Halkin writes in the January issue of Commentary magazine, "When time after time a problem cannot be resolved, it is reasonable to suspect that it may be unresolvable, at least in the manner in which it is conceived."

That manner of false conception is that the Palestinian side, in conjunction with Arab and Muslim states, will stop trying to destroy Israel if a new state is created in the region. From such a state, enhanced by a "right of return" that would flood Israel with enemies of Zionism and encourage those committed to Israel's destruction that the end of the Jewish state is at hand would come the final days of Israel's modern existence.

As the president's visit neared, one might have expected the Palestinians, were they interested in peace, to at least tone down anti-Israel rants. According to Palestinian Media Watch, the government-controlled television station instead "intensified its rhetoric calling for the destruction of Israel by advocating the "liberation" of Haifa, Tiberias, Acre and Tel Aviv," cities that do not figure in the debate over Israeli "occupation" of Palestinian land.

Amidst all of this, President Bush suggested more Israeli concessions to the Palestinians might have to be part of a peace agreement (such as dismantling homes on land claimed by Palestinians), while promising a monitoring process that supposedly would police any agreement. The monitors would not be given enforcement powers. The fallacy of such a monitoring process can be seen in previous agreements, which required the Palestinian side to cease terror, stop using television to insight violence against Jews, reform textbooks that teach hatred of Jews and Christians and respect a ceiling in the number of Palestinian police allowed to carry weapons.

The Palestinian government has failed to comply with a single agreement. Rather than acknowledge they are waist deep in the "Big Muddy," the big fools in the Bush administration say to "push on."

There is not a credible statement, action, sermon or policy utterance by anyone in the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian world that gives any hope for a repeal of their expressed goal to destroy Israel and "liberate" Arab land. Honest enemies will say that includes land "occupied," beginning in 1948, when Israel became a state at the behest of the United Nations.

Instead of a credible plan for countering global jihadists and Palestinian "liberationists" committed to Israel's (and America's) destruction, the Bush administration continues to practice a faith rooted in self-deception. If, after all of Israel's concessions, her enemies have failed to take a single step toward peace, what makes anyone think that more concessions will turn a one-way street into a two-lane thoroughfare?

Even if a deal is concluded, the best that can be expected from the Palestinian side is a temporary lull in the violence followed by the creation of a pretext for more violence and demands for new concessions.

President Bush repeated a familiar line in Israel that he believes God's gift of freedom is to every person, not just Americans. If that is so, why don't those in oppressed Arab and Muslim states overthrow their dictatorial leaders? Why don't these "un-free" people support the freedom in those countries to which some flee instead of seeking to undermine them and separate themselves from culture and national life? Their idea of freedom is to be free of our freedom and impose Sharia law on all.

Instead of stepping into this unresolvable (by America) breach, it may be time to step back, let the parties fight it out and - as in Northern Ireland - reach a peace agreement on their own, after both sides are exhausted and sick of fighting.

This latest Bush push for peace can only bring more war and less stability for America's "friend."


If there is one nation that has known slavery, degradation, dhimmitude and racism it is the Jewish people. Their epic is based on being liberated by God from slavery in Egypt and in modern times from the raw and cruel anti-Semitism and unbelievable degradation by the Nazis in Europe. It is therefore evil to accuse the Jewish people - now back in their own promised homeland - of apartheid and racism, as Israel's enemies maliciously try repeatedly to do. Our great Rabbi once said: "With the measure you measure you will be measured and with the judgment you judge you will be judged." The hypocrisy of the Muslim Arabs and their cohorts in leveling these false charges against the people of Israel is horrendous.

If there is one nation (or 'umah' as the Islamic nation is called), which to this day considers itself superior to all other religions and people, it is the nation of ISLAM. In the countries comprising this umah, women are enslaved as the property of their husbands and, in some of them, even slavery is practiced and allowed. When this is documented by courageous politicians, filmmakers or journalists, they can end up brutally killed, as was the Dutch filmmaker Van Gogh who sought to expose the plight of many Muslim women. He was simply murdered, stabbed with Koran verses on his chest in front of his house.

Neither Christians nor Jews can freely worship in Saudi Arabia; they cannot bring their Bibles or prayer books with them when they enter that country. While Muslims may freely build their mosques all over the world, Christians cannot build their churches in this land where Islam was born. Christians cannot visit Mecca or Medina, whereas Muslims can and do visit St Paul's Cathedral in London, St Peter's church in Rome and other Christian and Jewish places.

This master race - the Muslims - believe they can wage jihad and terror, and impose boycotts, whenever and wherever it suits them: When the Pope makes a remark about the inherent violent character of ISLAM, or when Danish journalists publish cartoons about Mohammed, Muslims erupt in violence the world over, proving this very point.

They are the Umah, the Master Race, ready and prepared to force the whole world into submission, literally by hook or by crook - by persuasion first and, if necessary, by violence, jihad and terror.

And now they tell the world that it is little Israel which is the racist, dangerous apartheid state, and their shallow-minded Western friends parrot this with them! Israel, which was born out of racism and slavery; Israel, where black, brown, yellow and white are equally accepted and can live together in equality; Israel, which gives citizenship to its often disloyal Arabs, allowing them to speak and demonstrate in favor for Israel's sworn enemies, and despite this giving them permission to organize themselves in political parties that are often hostile to Israel, so obtaining seats in Israel's Parliament and even Cabinet? Who has heard of such magnanimity among the nations?

And so, the Umah of ISLAM goes on conquering in the name of ISLAM, first and foremost the hated and despised Israel, and then eventually the whole world, where those who refuse to become Muslims, can live as dhimmies under the masters of ISLAM!

Recently a White House correspondent explained that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice basically sees the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as comparable to the historic struggle of Blacks against the dominion of Whites. Should Barak Obama be made president of the United States, he may in essence bring this same misunderstanding from the State Department to the White House, given the close connection that already exists between his mentor and the pastor of his Trinity Church of Christ, and louis Farrakhan. It is therefore essential that the above mentioned facts are understood and widely publicized.

Added to this are the amazingly true words which Simon Deng writes in The Jewish Advocate:

Disappearance of Bishop Tutu

By Simon Deng
Friday November 16, 2007

Late last month, I went to hear Bishop Desmond Tutu speak at Boston's Old South Church at a conference on "Israel Apartheid." Tutu is a well respected man of God. He brought reconciliation between blacks and whites in South Africa. That he would lead a conference that damns the Jewish state is very disturbing to me.

The State of Israel is not an apartheid state. I know because I write this from Jerusalem where I have seen Arab mothers peacefully strolling with their families even though I also drove on Israeli roads protected by walls and fences from Arab bullets and stones. I know Arabs go to Israeli schools, and get the best medical care in the world. I know they vote and have elected representatives to the Israeli Parliament. I see street signs in Arabic, an official language here. None of this was true for blacks under Apartheid in Tutu's South Africa.

I also know countries that do deserve the apartheid label: My country, Sudan, is on the top of the list, but so are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. What has happened to my people in Sudan is a thousand times worse than Apartheid in South Africa. And no matter how the Palestinians suffer, they suffer nothing compared to my people. Nothing. And most of the suffering is the fault of their leaders. Bishop Tutu, I see black Jews walking down the street here in Jerusalem. Black like us, free and proud.

Tutu said Israeli checkpoints are a nightmare. But checkpoints are there because Palestinians are sent into Israel to blow up and kill innocent women and children. Tutu wants checkpoints removed. Do you not have doors in your home, Bishop? Does that make your house an apartheid house? If someone, Heaven forbid, tried to enter with a bomb, we would want you to have security people "humiliating" your guests with searches, and we would not call you racist for doing so. We all go through checkpoints at every airport. Are the airlines being racist? No.

Yes, the Palestinians are inconvenienced at checkpoints. But why, Bishop Tutu, do you care more about that inconvenience than about Jewish lives?

Bishop, when you used to dance for Mandela's freedom, we Africans all over Africa joined in. Our support was key in your freedom. But when children in Burundi and Kinshasa, all the way to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and in particular in Sudan, cried and called for rescue, you heard but chose to be silent.

Today, black children are enslaved in Sudan, the last place in the continent of Africa where humans are owned by other humans. I was part of the movement to stop slavery in Mauritania, which just now abolished the practice. But you were not with us, Bishop Tutu.

So where is Desmond Tutu when my people call out for freedom? Slaughter and genocide and slavery are lashing Africans right now. Where are you for Sudan, Bishop Tutu? You are busy attacking the Jewish state. Why?

Simon Deng, a native of the Shiluk Kingdom in southern Sudan, is an escaped jihad slave and a leading human rights activist.

Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director

International Christian Zionist Center


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized statements made by President George W. Bush in his speech in Jerusalem late last week during his tour of the Middle East in which he called for Israel to end the occupation that began in 1967 rather than the conditions of Arab rejection and violence which produced it; reiterated his praise for the 2002 so-called Arab League Peace Initiative which seeks massive concessions from Israel in return only for ambiguous Arab statements that it will then accept Israel ; and lauds the PA leadership of Mahmoud Abbas as peace-loving and moderate when it is in fact neither.President Bush also urges huge Israeli concessions to Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority (PA) despite the continuing non-fulfillment of Palestinian Arab commitments under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, including the failure to jail terrorists, confiscate their illegal weapons, and to end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terror ( President Bush Discusses Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, King David Hotel , Jerusalem, January 10, 2008). The ZOA is also troubled by additional statements made by President Bush the same day in his joint press conference in Ramallah with Abbas ( President Bush and Palestinian Authority President Abbas Participate in Joint Press Availability , Muqata, Ramallah, January 10, 2008).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Center for Middle East Policy Director Dr. Daniel Mandel and Daniel Pollak and Josh London of the ZOA Department of Government Relations have provided the following in-depth analysis of Bush's remarks (all from his Jerusalem statement, unless otherwise indicated):

· "There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967" : This statement ignores the fact that the territory in question is unallocated territory under international law and did not belong to the unlawful occupiers, Jordan and Egypt, from whom Israel captured Judea /Samaria and Gaza respectively in a war of self-defense. Only two Jordanian allies, Britain and Pakistan, recognized Jordan's unlawful annexation of Judea and Samaria and even Jordan officially rescinded its claim to the territory in 1988. Moreover, religiously, legally and historically, Israel has a better claim to the territory in question on the basis of past Jewish history and connection to the land and the League of Nations mandate which designated this territory for the development of a Jewish National Home. Therefore, no unlawful Israel occupation has ever existed. Consequently, this statement by President Bush (which echoes earlier ones by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) points to one of the major shortcomings in the policy of this Administration towards the Arab war on Israel: it has accepted the false and misleading Arab claim that the issue is Israeli occupation of Palestinians. Consequently, the Bush Administration's emphasis is on ending Israeli control, whereas the emphasis should be on ending the conditions that gave rise to Israeli conquest in the first place and which remain operative – Arab refusal to accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state; Arab support for terrorism against Israeli civilians; Arab demonization of Jews, Judaism and Israel. It is these which created and fuel the conflict and which led to major wars in 1948, 1956 and 1967 – not Israeli control of these territories, which were then firmly under Arab control. Moreover, there is presently virtually no Israeli control of these territories, as all of Gaza and half of Judea and Samaria, along with 95% of the Palestinian Arab inhabitants of these territories, have been transferred to the control of the PA.

· "I reiterate my appreciation for the Arab League peace initiative" : By once again welcoming the 2002 so-called Arab League Peace Initiative, President Bush is continuing to depart from long-standing American support for 1967 United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 242 as the framework for peace-making. UNSC 242 calls only for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" not "full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories " as demanded by the Arab Initiative, including from non-existent "remaining occupied territories" in Lebanon. Embracing the Arab initiative thus represents a serious erosion of American support for Israel's legitimate interests as expressed in UNSC 242, which was previously upheld by every administration, whether Republican or Democrat. This initiative also demands the so-called 'right of return' which would inundate Israel with tens of thousands of Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendents, thereby putting an end to Israel's continued existence as Jewish state, which President Bush has pledged on this occasion and on others to uphold. Furthermore, this Plan demands irreversible Israeli concessions before the Arab states will even consider taking steps to end hostilities with Israel.

· "I share with these two leaders [Olmert and Abbas] the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Both of these leaders believe that the outcome is in the interest of their peoples and are determined to arrive at a negotiated solution to achieve it" : As the ZOA has noted on numerous occasions, the Bush Administration has persistently and wrongly credited Mahmoud Abbas, his Fatah-controlled PA and the majority of the Palestinian Arab population with a simply non-existent moderation , interest in peace-making and a detestation of terrorism. Abbas has told Arab audiences in Arabic that "it is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel" (Al-Arabiya [Dubai] and PA TV, October 3, 2006); that Palestinian Arabs have a "legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation ... Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation" ( Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007; Independent Media & Review Analysis, January 12, 2007); that " The sons of Israel are corrupting humanity on earth" ( World Net Daily, January 11, 2007); that Israel is "the Zionist enemy" (Associated Press, January 4, 2005; , January 7, 2005); that wanted Palestinian terrorists are "heroes fighting for freedom" ( Age [Melbourne], January 3, 2005); that jailed Palestinian terrorists as "our heroes." ( Israel National News, May 26, 2006), and that "Israel calls them murderers, we call them strugglers" ( Jerusalem Post, December 25, 2004). Additionally, he has described Palestinian terrorist leaders Yasser Arafat, Hamas' Ahmad Yasin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi and Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Fathi Shikaki as "martyrs" ( Palestinian Media Center , September 9, 2005); declared that " We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada. We want a political partnership with Hamas" ( Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2007), insisted that "It is our duty to implement the principles of Yasser Arafat" ( Haaretz, January 3, 2005) and that "The Palestinian leadership won't stray from Arafat's path" ( Yediot Ahronot, November 11, 2006). He has also refused to disarm Palestinian terrorists, calling that a "red line" that must not be crossed ( Washington Times, January 3, 2005). He has also declared of the legally and morally baseless so-called Palestinian 'right of return' that "The issue of the refugees is non-negotiable" ( Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007). In addition to having written a PhD thesis and published a book denying the Holocaust, co-founding with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat the terrorist group Fatah, whose Constitution to this day calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism against Israelis as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19), he has refused to implement the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan which requires him to fight, arrest, extradite and jail terrorists and confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terror. In May 2006, he endorsed the so-called 'Prisoners' Plan', a document produced by jailed Palestinian terrorists, that endorses continued terrorism against Israel, legitimizes the murder of Jews, does not accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state, abrogates Palestinian obligations under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, and insists on the 'right of return.' In December 2005, he approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of killed Palestinian terrorists while in March 2007, he formed a unity government with Hamas under the Mecca Agreement that called for more violence, not peace and reconciliation with Israel. Only in the last week, in celebration of Fatah's 43 rd anniversary, Fatah produced a new map of the region which showed Israel in Fatah colors labeled 'Palestine' alongside a photo of Yasser Arafat. This record gives, much of it from the period of Abbas seeking election as PA president, totally undermines the President's claim in his Ramallah press conference that, " President Abbas was elected on a platform of peace. In other words, he just wasn't somebody who starts talking about it lately, he campaigned on it."

· "Both sides need to fulfill their commitments under the road map." This statement asserts a false equivalence in the efforts of the two parties to comply with their road map commitments whereas, in fact, Israel has regularly complied with its Oslo and Roadmap obligations while the PA has shown no interest in fulfilling any of its commitments under any of the previously signed peace agreements, including those commitments that are under the PA's complete control to fulfill, such as ending the incitement of hatred and murder in official PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps, arresting terrorists, confiscating illegal weapons and outlawing terrorist groups.

· "The Palestinians need to build their economy and their political and security institutions. And to do that, they need the help of Israel, the region, and the international community" : By trying to induce moderation from the PA by rewarding it, instead of demanding the implementation of agreements and reforms before offering any rewards and concessions, the Bush Administration is only reinforcing the PA's resistance to moderation and peace-making. Why would Abbas and Fatah fulfill any agreements or make any genuine moves towards peace if they have had it proved to them, time and again over 14 years, that they will receive praise, support and funds from America without fulfilling a single one of their obligations under signed agreements ? This effort to promote further international handouts to subsidize continued PA mismanagement and corruption shows that President Bush is failing to learn from past mistakes. The Palestinian Arabs are already the largest per capita recipients of international aid and have been the recipients of more financial assistance from the international community than virtually any other single political entity in recorded history, yet such largess has not produced healthy civil society or good governance institutions. A 2005 Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report noted, for example, that " U.S. economic aid to the Palestinians has averaged about $85 million per year since 1993," while a 2006 CRS Report indicates that the PA received a record $1.5 billion in total foreign assistance in 2006. By promising additional and ongoing support independent of verified compliance, President Bush is repeating the terrible mistake made by both Israel and the U.S. when they falsely stated that Yasser Arafat was a moderate peacemaker, and on that false premise made concessions to his Fatah regime which resulted in a surge of terrorism, the loss of thousands of innocent lives, and placed Israel in greater danger. Much of these funds have been stolen by PA leaders and much has also been used to purchase weapons.

· "These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized, and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent. It is vital that each side understands that satisfying the other's fundamental objectives is key to a successful agreement. Security for Israel and viability for the Palestinian state are in the mutual interests of both parties" : Even if the Fatah/PA was truly a peace-loving moderate regime, which it is not, no discussion of a Palestinian state is warranted given that Gaza, with over a million Palestinian Arabs is under Hamas control, while Judea and Samaria is only tenuously under Fatah's control . A Palestinian state on Israel's border is not in Israel's best interest. Under current conditions, a new Palestinian state would be a threat to Israel's survival from the day it is established. It would be inherently unstable, inherently Jihadist, and inherently hostile to American interests in the region. Even if its founders agree for tactical reasons to keep it demilitarized, that limitation on sovereignty will be problematic, especially since the PA possesses an army in all but name, including tens of thousands of men under arms. Iranian and fundamentalist domination of that state will always be a threat as long as Hamas exists. The extension of Iranian influence to a client state Palestinian state could well serve as a spark to ignite war in the entire region. President Bush has clearly failed to understand, or at any rate to acknowledge, that the fundamental objective of the PA is to destroy Israel, not live peaceably alongside it. This is why the PA cannot even bring itself to end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. Fatah recently distributed a poster of a map that depicts all of Israel as Muslim Arab Palestine, with no recognition whatsoever of the Jewish State. While the Palestinian Authority announces in English its demand for a two-state solution, to its own people in Arabic it continues to define all of Israel as "Palestine," and to promise Israel's destruction. The Arab war on Israel is not about borders or the creation or promotion of a Palestinian state, which Palestinians have been repeatedly offered yet explicitly rejected every time one was proposed – by the Peel Royal Commission in 1937, by the UN General Assembly in 1947, or by President Clinton in 2000 . The Palestinian choice has consistently been to prefer Israel's destruction over any solution encompassing Palestinian statehood that includes the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Following the Annapolis meeting, for example, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad said: "Israel can define itself as it likes, but the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state."

· "I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous" : By insisting that any and all border adjustments must be "mutually agreed upon" during negotiations, President Bush is nullifying his April 2004 written commitment to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Israel should retain at least all the areas with major Jewish populations in Judea and Samaria. As President Bush wrote in that letter, "The United States appreciates the risks leaving Gaza represents. I therefore want to reassure you … In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…" Moreover, creating a contiguous Palestinian state would require, among other things, cutting Israel in two in order to create a passage between Gaza and Judea/Samaria.

· "I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue" : It is only the descendants of Palestinian refugees who are considered refugees, something that has not occurred in respect of any other refugee population in the world. While President Bush provided an indication of his preferred method of dealing with the issue of Palestinian refugees, he failed to make it clear that the U.S. rejects the 'right of return.' In any event, the flight of Palestinians in 1948-49 was the direct result of the Palestinians own decision to wage war on Israel . There would have been no refugees from the region if Arab countries had refrained from invasion and chosen peace. As Abba Eban said at the time, "Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem." Moreover, the 'right of return' is incompatible with Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state. Also, President Bush again failed to even mention the corresponding flood of Jewish refugees created at the same time by Arab violence against Jews in Arab lands . This failure can only lead to a lack of balance in the negotiations over compensation for the non-Arab refugees.

· "Neither party should undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudices the final status negotiations. On the Israeli side that includes ending settlement expansion and removing unauthorized outposts. On the Palestinian side that includes confronting terrorists and dismantling terrorist infrastructure" : President Bush's ominously vague call for the PA to "confront" terrorists is a marked deviation from and weakening of the Palestinian obligation to disarm, arrest and jail terrorists and outlaw terrorist groups, as required in the Oslo agreements. While President Bush at least referred to Palestinian road map obligations to deal with terrorists, he neglected to mention Palestinian obligations to end incitement to murder, hatred and violence in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. Palestinian clerics continue to condemn Jews as "the sons of monkeys and pigs" or as being akin to the AIDS virus; Palestinian TV continues to glorify suicide attacks on Israelis; in April 2007 the acting parliamentary speaker called for the murder of Americans and Jews; streets, schools and colleges have been named in honor of suicide bombers; armed terrorists operate openly in public and wanted terrorists have been shielded in the PA presidential compound. The PA has not even attempted any demonstrable, sustained, or meaningful effort to end such incitement or retard this terrorism saturated, blood-stained culture. Moreover, it is deeply concerning that President Bush implies that Israeli construction of homes in Jewish communities beyond the green line, something Israel never pledged to desist from doing in any of the Oslo agreements, is in some way comparable to Palestinian terrorism and incitement or an obstacle to peace.

· "I know Jerusalem is a tough issue. Both sides have deeply felt political and religious concerns" : Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the heart of Jewish state and of the Jewish people. Further, it was established as such more than three thousand years ago and remains the focus of Jewish prayer, unity and aspirations for millennia. It has never served as the capital of any other nation, Arab or otherwise. Only once Jerusalem was liberated, unified, and brought under Israeli sovereignty and security, have people of all faiths been allowed freely and securely to visit and worship at their holy sites. Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times in the Bible, but not even once in the Quran. During the period 1948-67, when the eastern half of the city, with its religious shrines, was under Jordanian control, no Arab ruler other than Jordanian King Hussein visited it. Also, under Jordanian rule, thousands of Jewish gravestones were desecrated and used to make Jordanian army latrines while all the synagogues in the city were deliberately destroyed. Jerusalem became a backwater under Jordanian rule, which maintained its capital in Amman. President Bush's elevation of Palestinian claims to the city to a level of parity with Jewish claims shows little understanding of history or present conditions.

· "The establishment of the state of Palestine is long overdue. The Palestinian people deserve it. And it will enhance the stability of the region, and it will contribute to the security of the people of Israel" : In fact, the Palestinian people's repeated and ongoing rejection of peace and support for terrorism is the primary cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and is scarcely confined to an extremist fringe in Palestinian society as Bush has often contended. An October 2006 poll showed that two-thirds of Palestinians supported Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel. According to recent polling data compiled by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), over 70% believe armed attacks against Israel will continue while the "negotiations" following Annapolis are in progress. And less than half of the respondents, (49%), stated they would be willing to recognize the Jewish state following negotiations that resulted in a Palestinian state. This means that even with a capital in Jerusalem and a "right of return," most Palestinians would still have a problem with the existence of Israel. This record strongly repudiates President Bush's comment in Ramallah that "He [ Abbas] knows that a handful of people want to dash the aspirations of the Palestinian people by creating chaos and violence." A people that has rejected statehood in favor of continued war, voted into power a genocidally-inclined movement like Hamas, insisted on mechanisms to subvert Jewish statehood like the 'right of return', glorified terrorism and suicide murder and embraced nationalist and religious extremism does not deserve statehood until it abandons the hatred and violence that Germans and Japanese had to repudiate before they again enjoyed statehood and independence. Under current conditions, a Palestinian state would be just another hateful terrorist state. Statehood does not induce moderation – Syria, Iran and North Korea are all states, yet none of these countries are peaceful and moderate. To the contrary, statehood enhances the capacity of such societies to further their irredentist and violent agendas.

· "Bush also stated in his Ramallah press conference that "my message to the Israelis is that they ought to help, not hinder, the modernization of the Palestinian security force. It's in their interests that a government dedicated to peace and understanding the need for two states to live side by side in peace have a modern force … And to the extent that Israeli actions have undermined the effectiveness of the Palestinian force, or the authority of the state relative to the average citizen, is something that we don't agree with and have made our position clear" : Quite apart from the fatuity of speaking of moderate Palestinian leadership, President Bush suggests that Israel share his own heedless confidence in the integrity and reliability of Palestinian security forces, all of which have actually been complicit in terrorism against Israel. Worse, he criticized Israel for failing to empower these security services, all of which detracts from other statements he made at the same press conference about the legitimate need for Israeli security measures, including the roadblocks that inconvenience Palestinians.