Saturday, June 28, 2008

“All Iraqi Christians paid”

This surprisingly honest account from the New York Times shows the jizya -- the tax on the People of the Book (primarily Jews and Christians) by Qur'an 9:29 -- for what it is: protection money. Pay up, or get killed. In a hadith, Muhammad says:. Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. [...] When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. [...] If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them.... (Sahih Muslim 4294)

In other words, bid them to convert to Islam, pay the tax and submit, or die.

This mandate comes from Qur'an 9:29. Ibn Juzayy says that this verse is “a command to fight the People of the Book” and, in a reference to v. 30, “denying their belief in Allah because of the words of the Jews, ‘Uzayr [Ezra] is the son of Allah’ and the words of the Christians, ‘The Messiah is the son of Allah.’” Muslims must also fight them because “they do not enter Islam.” He says that “scholars agree about accepting jizya [a religious-based poll tax] from the Jews and Christians,” and that it signifies “submission and obedience.”

According to the pioneering historian of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or:

The poll tax was extorted by torture. The tax inspectors demanded gifts for themselves; widows and orphans were pillaged and despoiled. In theory, women, paupers, the sick, and the infirm were exempt from the poll tax; nevertheless, Armenian, Syriac, and Jewish sources provide abundant proof that the jizya was exacted from children, widows, orphans, and even the dead. A considerable number of extant documents, preserved over the centuries, testify to the persistence and endurance of these measures. In Aleppo in 1683, French Consul Chevalier Laurent d’Arvieux noted that ten-year-old Christian children paid the jizya. Here again, one finds the disparity and contradiction between the ideal in the theory and the reality of the facts. (The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, pp. 78-9).

As-Sawi specifies that the payment of the jizya signifies that the non-Muslims are “humble and obedient to the judgements of Islam.” As-Suyuti notes that the jizya is “not taken from someone in a state of hardship,” although that was a stipulation at times honored in the breach. For example, a contemporary account of the Muslims’ conquest of Nikiou, an Egyptian town, in the 640’s, says that “it is impossible to describe the lamentable position of the inhabitants of this town, who came to the point of offering their children in exchange for the enormous sums that they had to pay each month…”

This was a manifestation of the “state of abasement” specified by this verse and spelled out by the Bedouin commander al-Mughira bin Sa’d when he met the Persian Rustam. Said al-Mughira: “I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement.”

Rustam replied, “I know what jizya means, but what does ‘a state of abasement’ mean?”

Al-Mughira explained: “You pay it while you are standing and I am sitting and the whip hanging is over your head.”

Similarly, Ibn Kathir says that the dhimmis must be “disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated.” The seventh-century jurist Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab stated: “I prefer that the people of the dhimma become tired by paying the jizya since He says, ‘until they pay the jizya with their own hands in a state of complete abasement.’” As-Suyuti elaborates that this verse “is used as a proof by those who say that it is taken in a humiliating way, and so the taker sits and the dhimmi stands with his head bowed and his back bent. The jizya is placed in the balance and the taker seizes his beard and hits his chin.” He adds, however, that “this is rejected according to an-Nawawi who said, ‘This manner is invalid.’” Zamakhshari, however, agreed that the jizya should be collected “with belittlement and humiliation.”

Asad, Daryabadi and other Western-oriented commentators maintain that the jizya was merely a tax for exemption for military service. Asad explains: “every able-bodied Muslim is obliged to take up arms in jihad (i.e., in a just war in God’s cause) whenever the freedom of his faith or the political safety of his community is imperiled…Since this is, primarily, a religious obligation, non-Muslim citizens, who do not subscribe to the ideology of Islam, cannot in fairness be expected to assume a similar burden.” But they pass in silence over the latter part of v. 29, which mandates the humiliation of non-Muslims.

In explaining how the Jews and Christians must “feel themselves subdued,” Ibn Kathir quotes a saying of Muhammad: “Do not initiate the Salam [greeting of peace] to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, force them to its narrowest alley.” He then goes on to outline the notorious Pact of Umar, an agreement made, according to Islamic tradition, between the caliph Umar, who ruled the Muslims from 634 to 644, and a Christian community.

This Pact is worth close examination, because it became the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis. With remarkably little variation, throughout Islamic history whenever Islamic law was strictly enforced, this is generally how non-Muslims were treated. Working from the full text as Ibn Kathir has it, these are the conditions the Christians accept in return for “safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion” – conditions that, according to Ibn Kathir, “ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace.” The Christians will not:

1. Build “a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk”;
2. “Restore any place of worship that needs restoration”;
3. Use such places “for the purpose of enmity against Muslims”;
4. “Allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims”;
5. Imitate the Muslims’ “clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names”;
6. “Ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons”;
7. “Encrypt our stamps in Arabic”
8. “Sell liquor” – Christians in Iraq in the last few years ran afoul of Muslims reasserting this rule;
9. “Teach our children the Qur’an”;
10. “Publicize practices of Shirk” – that is, associating partners with Allah, such as regarding Jesus as Son of God. In other words, Christian and other non-Muslim religious practice will be private, if not downright furtive;
11. Build “crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets” – again, Christian worship must not be public, where Muslims can see it and become annoyed;
12. “Sound the bells in our churches, except discreetly, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets”;
13. “Bury our dead next to Muslim dead”;
14. “Buy servants who were captured by Muslims”;
15. “Invite anyone to Shirk” – that is, proselytize, although the Christians also agree not to:
16. “Prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so.” Thus the Christians can be the objects of proselytizing, but must not engage in it themselves;
17. “Beat any Muslim.”

Meanwhile, the Christians will:

1. Allow Muslims to rest “in our churches whether they come by day or night”;
2. “Open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby”;
3. Provide board and food for “those Muslims who come as guests” for three days;
4. “Respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them” – shades of Jim Crow;
5. “Have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist” – these are so that a Muslim recognizes a non-Muslim as such and doesn’t make the mistake of greeting him with As-salaamu aleikum, “Peace be upon you,” which is the Muslim greeting for a fellow Muslim;
6. “Be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.”

The Christians swore: “If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.”

Of course, the Pact of Umar, if authentic at all, was a seventh-century document. But the imperative to subjugate non-Muslims as mandated by Qur’an 9:29 and elaborated by this Pact became and remained part of Islamic law. In the nineteenth century the Western powers began to pressure the last Islamic empire, the Ottoman Empire, to abolish the dhimma. In Baghdad in the early nineteenth century, Sheikh Syed Mahmud Allusi (1802-1853), author of the noted commentary on the Qur’an Ruhul Ma’ani, complains that the Muslims have grown so weak that the dhimmis pay the jizya through agents, rather than delivering it themselves on foot. In his Tafsir Anwar al-Bayan, the twentieth-century Indian Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri laments that “in today’s times, the system of Atonement (Jizya) is not practised at all by the Muslims. It is indeed unfortunate that not only are the Muslim States afraid to impose Atonement (Jizya) on the disbelievers (kuffar) living in their countries, but they grant them more rights than they grant the Muslims and respect them more. They fail to understand that Allah desires that the Muslims show no respect to any disbeliever (kafir) and that they should not accord any special rights to them.”

The influential twentieth century jihadist theorist Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) emphasizes that these rules should be revived, for “these verses are given as a general statement, and the order to fight the people of the earlier revelations until they pay the submission tax with a willing hand and are subdued is also of general import” (In the Shade of the Qur’an, Vol. VIII, p. 126).

Likewise the Pakistani jihadist writer and activist Syed Abul A’la Maududi (1903-1979) states that “the simple fact is that according to Islam, non-Muslims have been granted the freedom to stay outside the Islamic fold and to cling to their false, man-made, ways if they so wish.” That heads off any potential contradiction between his understanding of v. 29 and 2:256, “There is no compulsion in religion.” Maududi continues by declaring that the unbelievers “have, however, absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines. For if they are given such an opportunity, corruption and mischief will ensue. In such a situation the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life” (Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. III, p. 202).

"For Iraqi Christians, Money Bought Survival," by Andrew E. Kramer in the New York Times, June 26 (thanks to all who sent this in):

MOSUL, Iraq — As priests do everywhere, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, the leader of the Chaldean Catholics in this ancient city, gathered alms at Sunday Mass. But for years the money, a crumpled pile of multicolored Iraqi dinars, went into an envelope and then into the hand of a man who had threatened to kill him and his entire congregation.

“What else could he do?” asked Ghazi Rahho, a cousin of the archbishop. “He tried to protect the Christian people.”

But American military officials now say that as security began to improve around Iraq last year, Archbishop Rahho, 65, stopped paying the protection money, one sliver of the frightening larger shadow of violence and persecution that has forced hundreds of thousands of Christians from Iraq. That decision, the officials say, may be why he was kidnapped in February.

Two weeks later, his body was found in a shallow grave outside Mosul, the biblical city of Nineveh.

Archbishop Rahho was among the highest-profile Iraqi Christians to die in the war. He was mourned by President Bush and Pope Benedict XVI before his role as a conduit for protection money paid by the Chaldean Christians to insurgents became known outside Iraq.

These payments, American military officials and Iraqi Christians say, peaked from 2005 to 2007 and grew into a source of financing for the insurgency. They thus became a secret, shameful and extraordinary complication in the lives of Iraq’s Christians and their leaders — one that Christians are only now talking about more openly, with violence much lower than in the first years of the war.

“People deny it, people say it’s too complex, and nobody in the international community does anything about it,” said Canon Andrew White, the Anglican vicar of Baghdad. Complicating the issue further, he said, some of the protection money came from funds donated by Christians abroad to help their fellow Christians in Iraq.

Yonadam Kanna, a Christian lawmaker in Iraq’s Parliament, said, “All Iraqi Christians paid.” [...]

Since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, Muslims in the Middle East permitted that diversity in part through a special tax on Jews and Christians. The tax was called a jizya — and that is the name with which the insurgents chose to cloak extortion, Mafia-style, from Christians.

Officials say the demands could be hundreds of dollars a month per male member of a household. In many cases, Christian families drained their life savings and went into debt to make the payments. Insurgents also raised money by kidnapping priests. The ransoms, often paid by the congregations, typically ran as high as $150,000, several priests and lay Christians said. [...]

What was called the jizya was collected and paid by Jewish and Christian leaders to the insurgents operating on the west bank of the Tigris River. Archbishop Rahho, according to Mr. Kanna, the Christian lawmaker, made the payments on behalf of the Christians living in eastern neighborhoods of Mosul. He would have been an obvious choice: he had spent nearly his entire life in Mosul and was well known.

“He was the link,” Mr. Kanna said.

The archbishop’s cousin, Mr. Rahho, characterized the role as less central and emphasized the life-and-death nature of the choice to pay to save the lives of the parishioners. And the archbishop was certainly not the only person paying.

“We all paid,” said one Assyrian Orthodox Christian priest here who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from insurgents. “We were afraid.”

By several accounts by Christians who paid, the money changed hands quietly, according to a simple mechanism.

A man who introduced himself as Abu Huraitha, and who sometimes said he represented Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, made the menacing phone calls, the Assyrian priest said.

“He said: ‘I need money, I need money. If you do not give us money, I will kill you,’ ” the priest said. The bagman, however, was a fellow Christian, an elderly blue-eyed man who made the rounds of churches for the insurgents, the priest said. “If you do not give to him, they kill you.”

He said he paid 10 million Iraqi dinars, or about $8,000, over three years, until last winter, when the United States Army reinforced its garrison in Mosul with the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. Military operations increased in the city. The American units built neighborhood forts and traffic control points that disrupted the insurgents’ movements. The racket started to fall apart.

During the fighting last winter, the Assyrian priest said, word trickled out that the Americans had killed Abu Huraitha. Many church leaders used the death of this contact to halt payments. Among them, perhaps most prominently, was Archbishop Rahho. He gave a speech on television in January denouncing the payments and saying that they should no longer be made.

A month later, on Feb. 29, he was kidnapped by gunmen after praying at the Holy Spirit Cathedral. They shot and killed his driver and two guards and bundled him into the trunk of a car. In the darkness, he managed to reach his cellphone and call his church. He implored them not to pay a ransom that would finance violence, church officials said. [...]

Prior Rulings Could Crimp Al-Arian Defense

IPT News
June 27, 2008

Unlike his first indictment in 2003, Sami Al-Arian won't be waiting years for his day in court. Charged with criminal contempt in a two-count indictment issued Thursday, Al-Arian will stand trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, famous for a "rocket docket" that could have him standing trial as early as late summer.

He refused to testify when called before a federal grand jury Oct. 16, 2007 and March 20, 2008 despite a grant of immunity from prosecution, the indictment charges. The grand jury is believed to be investigating terror financing by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a Herndon, Va.-based think tank.The IIIT provided at least $50,000 to Al-Arian's own think-tank, the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE) during the early 1990s. Al-Arian was a University of South Florida professor of computer science and created the WISE think tank, which he helped establish a working relationship with USF faculty.

The question now is what his defense will be. It would appear unwise to continue his past argument that a grand jury subpoena is a form of "cooperation" and not compulsory testimony, and that the 2006 plea agreement Al-Arian signed ruled out any cooperation with the government. The 4th District Court of Appeals already rejected that argument when Al-Arian was found in civil contempt. The 11th Circuit issued a similar opinion in January.

In the 11th Circuit ruling, the judges considered the cooperation argument "especially dubious" because "the plea agreement contains an integration clause stating that there are no other promises, agreements, or representations except those set forth in the agreement, and Al-Arian denied at his plea hearing that he pled guilty in reliance on any promises or inducements except for those found in the agreement."

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on the same argument brought forth a year ago.

According to a Department of Justice Criminal Resource Manual, civil contempt is meant to be coercive, an attempt to force compliance with the court's order. Contempt is criminal when "when punishment by way of fine or imprisonment is deemed imperative to vindicate the authority of the court. In contrast, civil contempt is remedial rather than punitive, serves only the purpose of the party litigant."

To prove the charge "requires proof of a volitional act done by one who knows or should reasonably be aware the conduct was wrongful," the manual said.

.Al-Arian was charged in 2003 with conspiring to provide material support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) a designated terrorist group. It took two years to bring the case before a jury, and Al-Arian was held without bond during that time. Evidence presented at the trial showed Al-Arian served on the PIJ governing board and lobbied the group's leadership on a reform package in 1994 after its Iranian patrons cut off funding in a dispute over accountability.

Jurors acquitted Al-Arian on eight of the 17 counts against him and could not reach unanimous verdicts on the others, including racketeering conspiracy. In April 2006, Al-Arian agreed to plead guilty to one of those hung counts – conspiracy to provide goods and services to a terrorist group. U.S. District Judge James Moody sentenced Al-Arian to 57 months in prison - the maximum allowed under the plea deal – railing against Al-Arian as "master manipulator," adding "[y]ou looked your neighbors in the eyes and said you had nothing to do with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This trial exposed that as a lie."

Now, Al-Arian's attorney seems to be laying the groundwork to argue Al-Arian is a bit player with little information to provide the grand jury. In a blog posting Thursday, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said "prosecutors admitted that he [Al-Arian] is a minor witness in the IIIT investigation."

It is unclear where or when that statement would have been made. Turley did not make the claim during a March post on Al-Arian's third grand jury subpoena.

In Thursday's post, Turley argued Al-Arian is being unfairly targeted because he won acquittals at his trial.

"Dr. Al-Arian has addressed every document cited by the government as the reason for his being called before the grand jury. He has shown that he has no incriminating information to offer against either IIIT or its officers. This indictment proves that the government was never interested in any information that Dr. Al-Arian has on the IIIT matter. This was a classic perjury trap used repeatedly by the government to punish those individuals who could not be convicted before an American jury.

This is only the latest case where the government has manufactured a charge against someone who was acquitted before a jury. We have seen the same tactics used in the cases of Abdelhaleem Ashqar, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, and Sabri Benkahla."

Ashqar had been accused of racketeering for his alleged support for Hamas. As we reported previously, Ashqar's contempt charge was part of his original indictment. He was acquitted of racketeering in support of Hamas in February 2007, but it was the same jury which found him not guilty that convicted him of obstruction of justice and criminal contempt. Unlike Al-Arian and Benkahla, Ashqar was not brought before a grand jury after his acquittal.

At his sentencing, Ashqar gave a statement in which he made it clear his defiance was designed to protect the targets of the grand jury probe:

"He said he would rather go to prison than betray his people as they strived to free themselves from Israeli domination," the Associated Press reported. ‘"The only option was to become a traitor or a collaborator,"' Dr. Ashqar said, "'and this is something that I can't do and will never do as long as I live."

Sabri Benkahla was among 11 people accused of participating in a Virginia-based jihad network that plotted to fight with the Taliban against the United States. He was acquitted of supplying services to the Taliban but later convicted on the perjury and obstruction charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison. That sentence included a "terrorism enhancement" after the trial court found his false statements impeded a terrorism investigation.

The 4th Circuit, in upholding the Benkahla conviction and sentence on June 23, rejected the argument that the grand jury subpoena was somehow of questionable value:

"[I]t is worth observing that the investigations in which Benkahla was interviewed and the questions he was asked show no sign of having been manufactured for the sake of a second prosecution. Given the character of the first court's acquittal, the government had every right to think Benkahla had attended a jihadist training camp somewhere.

It was legitimate to ask Benkahla, even post-acquittal, about his jihadist training in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and it was legitimate to prosecute him when he spoke falsely about it."

In addition, the judges rejected Benkahla's argument that the terrorism enhancement should not have applied after he was acquitted on the terror-related counts:

"All the evidence indicates that Benkahla attended a jihadist training camp abroad, was acquainted with a network of people involved in violent jihad and terrorism, and lied about both."

And that could be relevant should Al-Arian be convicted of contempt in the same circuit. A terrorism enhancement would add years to any potential sentence.

For Al-Arian, it is clear from the evidence that he supported the PIJ. He was shown on video tape accepting an introduction as the head of the Islamic Jihad movement in 1991. His own counsel acknowledged that he was a PIJ member and that Al-Arian lied about his knowledge of former WISE director Ramadan Shallah's PIJ membership when, in 1995, Shallah assumed command of the group. Earlier that year, Al-Arian wrote to a Kuwaiti legislator praising a PIJ double suicide bombing and requesting "true support of the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue…"

On page 10 of the agreement, under the heading "Facts," Al-Arian admits being associated with the PIJ and that he "performed services for the PIJ in 1995 and thereafter." That includes "hiding the identities of individuals associated with the PIJ." In addition, "Defendant Al-Arian was aware that the PIJ achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence."

And the IIIT deemed Al-Arian's think tank "an extension" of itself in a 1992 letter from IIIT President Taha Jaber Al-Awani. "When we make a commitment to you or try to offer," Al-Awani wrote, "we do it for you as a group, regardless of the party or the façade you use the donation for."

Despite these documented connections between Al-Arian, PIJ, and IIIT, his defense counsel still maintains both his overall innocence and irrelevance to the investigation into IIIT, just as his counsel's arguments continue to contradict the rulings handed down both in the 4th and 11th Circuits. Unless he testifies or cuts another deal with the government, Al-Arian will seemingly have one more opportunity to make those failed arguments.

Al-Arian is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Alexandria, Va. Monday morning.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Another Israel-Hezbollah Prisoner Swap?

P. David Hornik

A lot happened in Israel this week: the Olmert government again scraping through, at least till September, with an eleventh-hour deal between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak; the government’s ceasefire with Hamas already blasted by mortar and rocket firings from Gaza. At the center of public attention, though, were three hostages of terrorist organizations and their fate.

It was two years ago on Wednesday—June 25, 2006—that Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted into Gaza by Hamas. On Thursday Israeli negotiator Ofer Dekel was again in Cairo for talks on a deal for Shalit that still appears elusive. And it was on July 12, 2006, that Israeli reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were abducted into Lebanon by Hezbollah. In this case a deal is said to be within reach and the Israeli cabinet is supposed to vote Sunday on a framework agreement for a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah.

Reports vary as to the terms of the agreement. But according to what could be called the dominant version, Israel is supposed to hand over the notorious Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, four terrorists captured during the 2006 war, and the remains of eight others who were buried in Israel. Hezbollah is supposed to hand over Regev and Goldwasser, whose kidnapping prompted Israel to go to war in a failed attempt to retrieve them.

Hezbollah is also supposed to provide information on Ron Arad, the Israeli air force navigator who was shot down in Lebanon in 1986 and whose fate has been unknown since 1988, though it’s believed he was transferred to Iran and is most likely dead.

If it sounds surprisingly close to a fair exchange after Israel’s past lopsided deals with Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, the hitch is that Regev and Goldwasser, according to Israeli intelligence, are definitely dead. Reportedly all three branches—the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and Military Intelligence—reached that conclusion in separate investigations and conveyed it to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last June 3.

So the imbalance is there after all—especially considering that Samir Kuntar is supposed to be part of the deal.

In 1979, in the course of a terrorist attack in the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya, Kuntar and others took 28-year-old Israeli civilian Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter Einat down to the beach as hostages. There Kuntar shot Danny Haran dead and killed Einat Haran by smashing her head on rocks and with the butt of his rifle.

Since then Kuntar has been jailed in Israel with a life sentence. Last February the assassination of terrorist leader Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus prompted him to send a letter—reprinted in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida—to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in which he wrote: “Peace be unto…Imad Mughniyeh…. My oath and pledge is that my place will be at the battlefront…and that I shall continue down the path, until complete victory.”

For Nasrallah, eager to shore up his newly enhanced standing in the Lebanese political scene, freeing the child-killer is high-priority. Kuntar’s inclusion in the prospective deal, though, has led Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin to raise objections to it. Dagan and Diskin are particularly concerned that, after paying such a price, Hezbollah could “reciprocate” with information on Ron Arad that’s of little worth and sheds little light.

Dagan and Diskin’s objections are reportedly what has caused Olmert to have second thoughts and order the army’s chaplaincy corps to declare Regev and Goldwasser KIA—killed in action—which some have interpreted as Olmert's attempt to dampen support for the deal.

Some observations:

1. Israel has itself to blame for making the kidnapping of Israelis a key objective of terrorist organizations. Israel’s previous severely asymmetrical deals are infamous, not least in Israel itself; the most egregious case is the 1985 Jibril Deal in which—sparking public outrage—Israel traded 1150 terrorists for three soldiers held by Ahmed Jibril’s PFLP. Now, reportedly, teams have been formed to draft a new policy for such situations. Earlier the Winograd Committee, set up to investigate the failures in the 2006 war in Lebanon, called for an end to what it called “crazy deals.” Clearly, continuing to make such exchanges means inviting further kidnapping attempts since Israel’s enemies have so much to gain from them.

2. The value of retrieving the bodies of dead soldiers is very real; Israel is dealing with ghoulish enemies who won’t hesitate to exploit families’ natural desire for the closure afforded by a funeral and a gravesite. Trading live terrorist prisoners for corpses, however, gives terrorists a message that they have nothing to lose: they can kidnap the Israelis and, even if they kill them, still reap a high price for them. Israel’s January 2004 deal with Hezbollah, when it freed 435 terrorists in return for the shady businessman Elhanan Tanenbaum and three corpses of soldiers, may possibly have been a death warrant for Eldad and Goldwasser since Hezbollah had little incentive to keep them alive.

3. The terrorist organizations’ behavior in these situations is a display of human evil at its coldest and most sadistic. Hezbollah has kept conveying shifting versions of the terms it will accept while refusing to disclose if Eldad and Goldwasser are dead or alive. The terrorists use the pain of the soldiers’ families, and the pressure they inevitably exert on the Israeli government, as part of their arsenal. Although Shalit has been allowed to send his parents three letters, neither he nor Eldad and Goldwasser have been seen by a third party, visited by the Red Cross, let alone visited by a relative. Both Hezbollah and Hamas have exploited the case of Ron Arad—vanished for twenty years—by threatening that the current hostages’ fate will be similar if Israel doesn’t pay the demanded prices.

For Israel it’s a disconcerting experience of staring evil in the face, but an experience from which Israel has to learn. If it ends up paying an exorbitant price for Shalit, or for the remains of Goldwasser and Regev plus inadequate information on Arad, it has to make clear that this is the last time. Expecting such clarity and resolve from Israel’s current government, however, is excessively optimistic.
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at He can be reached at

Lawyer for JFK Airport jihadist says charges "exaggerated"

Grossly exaggerated. See, they really only intended to blow up half of the airport.

"Three deny JFK terror plot claims," from the BBC, June 26 (thanks to Charles Martel):

Three men from the Caribbean have appeared in court in the United States, accused of plotting an attack on New York's John F Kennedy airport. Kareem Ibrahim, 62, Abdel Nur, 57, and Abdul Kadir, 59, who all pleaded not guilty, were extradited from Trinidad on Wednesday.

A fourth man, Russell De Freitas, is awaiting trial. He denies conspiracy.

Prosecutors say the four men plotted to blow up buildings, fuel tanks and pipelines at the airport last year.

'Exaggerated claims'

Abdul Nur's lawyer, Daniel Nobel, said the charges were completely unsubstantiated and a trial would prove his client's innocence.

"I'm confident that we'll be able to demonstrate that this is one more in a significant chain of cases in which charges of this nature have been grossly exaggerated," he said.

Abdul Kadir's lawyer, Kafahni Nkrumah, said that the men were victims of post-9/11 hysteria.

"I think that if you see what has occurred since 9/11 and what's happening to the detainees in Cuba and the like, I would characterise this in that vein," he said....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Breaking news: Muslim women must not marry non-Muslim men!

Surprise, surprise.

"Women must not marry non-Muslim European men, says imam," from AKI, June 25:

Rabat, 25 June (AKI) - An imam in Morocco's eastern city of Fez has said that marriages between Moroccan women and European men who are not Muslims are forbidden under Islam. . What a shock!

Each summer in Morocco, a growing number of local women are reportedly marrying young European men.

"This kind of marriage, between Moroccan women and European men, is forbidden by the Koran (the Muslim holy book) and the Sunna (the way or deeds of the Prophet Mohammed)," Sheikh Mohammed al-Tawil said in a TV interview.

"A Muslim woman may not marry an unbeliever while a Muslim man may marry Christian and Jewish women," he told Arabic satellite TV network al-Arabiya.

Since the man is in charge—of the household, children, but especially the woman—the wife’s religious identity (much like the rest of her identity), is a moot point anyway. Hence, Islam’s “tolerance” of the woman’s faith.

Moroccan women may however marry European men who convert to Islam shortly before the wedding, according to al-Tawil.

"Islam only required two witnesses for someone to be able to convert and such a marriage is valid," he said.

Easy enough for no doubt many a godless but “romantic” European man: get two Muslims, utter, “La illah ila Allah” and wham: onto the honey-moon (or honey-hilal).

"If a European then decides to abandon Islam, Mohammed's words apply to him: those who renounce their own religion must be killed, as they are an apostate."

Sounds much more poetic in Arabic: men irtad min deenu—fa-iqtallhu!

Each summer in Morocco, a growing number of local women are marrying young European men. Al-Tawil's position however contravenes the 2005 reforms of Moroccan family law (known as the Mudawana).

These reforms gave women greater freedom to choose their husbands and made it easier for a foreigner to marry a Moroccan woman.

Notice how these last two paragraphs suggest that the Mudawana allowed for Muslim women to marry “young European men” and that it gives them “greater freedom to choose their husbands,” but nowhere in this article does it clearly state that the Mudawana allowed Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. Odd that.
Thanks Dhimmi Watch

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

'Barak Has Spit in the Face of the Israeli Public'

Avi Tuchmayer

Senior members of the Labor and Kadima parties reached a last-minute agreement early Wednesday morning to scuttle a Knesset vote to dissolve the parliament and hold early elections.

The agreement, which came at the conclusion of a marathon negotiation between secretary-general of the Labor Party Eitan Cabel and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima), calls for the Kadima Party to begin a process to hold primaries to replace party chief Ehud Olmert by September 25. In return, Labor agreed to oppose the no-confidence motion scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and any other bill to disband the Knesset in the immediate future. The Labor-Kadima agreement does not specify when Olmert will actually step down from office, under the assumption that the primaries will produce another paty leader.

Politicians from the right and the left were quick to slam the deal. MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) criticized the Labor Party for allowing a prime minister under investigation of corruption charges to remain in power several additional months instead of replacing him with a "suitable" government immediately. One Likud Party spokesman said Labor chairman Ehud Barak "once again failed to take responsibility," a reference to the Defense Minister's broken promise to resign upon publication of the Winograd Report in January, 2008.

MK Zevulun Orlev (NRP- NU), a co-author of the no-confidence motion that would have brought about general elections, said Barak has "spit in the face of the Israeli public."

Governmental Responsibility

The agreement states, "We have a responsibility for governmental responsibility, for the sake of Israel. Both parties believe they have a responsibility to maintain governmental stability and to strengthen the coalition partnership between them."

Tzachi Hanegbi told the Hebrew-language website Ynet, "Both sides understood that (cross-party) squabbling does not serve their interests, nor those of the country. This agreement allows both sides to maintain their dignity – Labor got the prime minister to agree on a date for Kadima Party primaries. It's clear that no one is stalling for time here."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Barak's target audiences


What on earth could have prompted the Israeli government to negotiate the current "cease-fire" with Hamas? What could have brought the government to negotiate with this Iranian proxy group which makes no bones about its intention to use the lull in fighting to expand its arsenal and army ahead of the next round of fighting? What could have motivated Jerusalem to pave the way for Hamas's acceptance as a legitimate regime in the international arena?

The most vocal advocate of embracing Hamas has been Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And on the heels of the "truce," Barak and his associates are now pushing for the government to approve Hamas's demand that Israel release of up to a thousand terrorists from its prisons in exchange for Gilad Schalit, who was illegally kidnapped to Gaza two years ago. In an attempt to explain his actions, Barak spoke last week to sympathetic Ha'aretz columnist Ari Shavit. In a supportive column, Shavit explained that Barak himself is under no illusion about the nature of Hamas or the chances of reaching a long-term accommodation with the Iranian-controlled jihadist movement that seeks Israel's destruction. The rationale for the move, he explains is Barak's assertion that the only way to justify a military operation - which will involve military and civilian casualties - is to first demonstrate that Israel had no other recourse but to act in its own defense.

As Shavit put it, "Since the repercussions of an operation could be grave, it is necessary first to try the other alternative - so that every mother liable to lose her son in the Gaza alleyways will know. So that every civilian in the Gaza envelope liable to get hit during the fighting with Hamas will know. So that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will know that Israel did not choose a military move, which the Egyptians fear, before giving a chance to the diplomatic move they initiated."

SINCE THIS is the line being offered by the government today to justify its actions, it is worth considering it. The first question that arises is whether Barak's expressed concern about mothers of soldiers and Israelis who live within Hamas's rocket and missile range is genuine.

At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin gave the government his first post-cease-fire intelligence briefing. Diskin told the cabinet ministers that since Thursday, Hamas has stepped up its arms smuggling and military training. The significance of his statement is clear. The Hamas that Israel will confront in the aftermath of Barak's cease-fire will be a more formidable foe that it was before the cease-fire. And consequently, more soldiers will need to sacrifice their lives in the postponed confrontation. And since Hamas is using this lull to expand its arsenals, it will no doubt expand the range of its missiles. Consequently, more Israeli civilians will be attacked by Hamas rockets and missiles in the inevitable, delayed showdown than would have been under fire if it had been launched this week.

In other words, far from being informed by his concern for Israeli civilians and the families of soldiers, Barak's embrace of Hamas as a negotiating partner has ensured that more Israelis will be burying their loved ones when the cease-fire leads inevitably to war. Indeed, it is because of this that residents of Sderot have been the loudest proponents of military action and the angriest opponents of the government's cease-fire agreement with Hamas.

So if Barak is unconcerned with the lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians, who is he playing to in negotiating the cease-fire?

LIKE MANY Israeli leaders in recent years, Barak is concerned with how the Israeli appeasement lobby will react to a confrontation. He hopes that by appeasing Hamas now, these people - many of whom are Labor Party members and voters - will forgive him when the inevitable occurs.

Israel's appeasement lobby is comprised of Israeli Arabs, the Meretz party to which post-Zionist Labor voters and politicians can always defect, university professors, and small but well-funded pressure groups like Uri Avineri's Gush Shalom organization and Peace Now. Here it bears mention that the Labor party's membership drives in Arab villages in recent years have given its Arab members - who vote as a bloc - a controlling influence over the results of Labor party primaries that determine the identity of the party leader and Labor's Knesset faction. Many Labor leaders - like former party chief Binyamin Ben Eliezer who was unseated by Arab Labor party members - have bemoaned this fact and noted that Arab members of Labor don't even vote for the party in general elections.

What is most disturbing about Barak's pandering to Israel's appeasement lobby is that past experience has shown clearly that Israel's appeasement lobby is itself unappeaseable. That is, there nothing that Israel's enemies can do that will cause members of Israel's appeasement lobby to support IDF operations.

ON JUNE 1, 2001, a Palestinian bomber exploded himself at the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv and murdered 21 Israeli teenagers. The public outcry was deafening. Popular support for a counter terror offensive aimed at destroying the Palestinian Authority and killing or expelling arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat was at an all-time high as the dimensions of the massacre, and the identity of the victims became clear.

Yet then-prime minister Ariel Sharon ignored the public and refused to act. As his spokesmen made clear, Sharon was concerned that the Israeli appeasement lobby would join forces with Europe to condemn such an IDF operation. And so, in an attempt to appease his far-Left antagonists, Sharon waited ten months to act. During that time, he engaged in fruitless US and European sponsored talks with the Palestinians. He bowed to their pressure and began referring to Judea and Samaria as "occupied," and so demoralized his own constituents. And as he took these steps, another 250 Israelis were murdered by the Palestinians.

Sharon approved Operation Defensive Shield in the aftermath of the Palestinian massacre of 30 Israelis celebrating the Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya. While his supporters often laud Sharon for his courage in acting, the fact is that had Sharon not acted after the Passover massacre, the public and his party would likely have booted him out of office.

Sharon's long refusal to defend his citizens from murder by the Palestinian massacre machine did not win him any sympathy with the appeasers. During Defensive Shield Uri Avineri from Gush Shalom and Israeli professors like Niv Gordon rushed to Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah to act as "human shields," physically opposing IDF operations. Israeli professors signed petitions calling for foreign divestment from Israel and urged their students to refuse to serve in reserve duty. Arab Israeli leaders like MKs Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara similarly joined forces with Arafat. And of course, Europe experienced its worst wave of anti-Semitic attacks since the Holocaust as European leaders, joined by then UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and their media organs and international human right organizations lined up behind Arafat and accused Israel of committing war crimes.

IN THE end, the only ones who actively supported the IDF's 2002 counter-offensive were the Israeli public, the US public, and world Jewry. And ironically, these were the same forces that would have supported an IDF offensive after the Dolphinarium massacre ten months earlier. The US government - which did not stridently object to Operation Defensive Shield - acted no differently than it would have if Israel had taken action at that earlier juncture. So Sharon's decision to avert confrontation for ten long months - during which 250 Israelis were murdered and thousands were wounded - accomplished nothing.

But what about Barak's argument about Egypt? Will Egypt support a future IDF operation in Gaza when the cease-fire it has mediated falls apart? The answer here is similarly obvious: Of course not. Since 2000, when Egypt began hosting "cease-fire" talks among various terror masters in Cairo, the Mubarak regime has done more than any other government to legitimize Hamas.

Moreover, in diplomatic forums, Israel has no greater enemy than Egypt. Cairo uses every international and regional stage to attack the Jewish state.

Then too, Egypt has permitted Hamas to use its territory as its logistical base for arming Gaza and sending hundreds of terror operatives to Iran and Lebanon for training.

Egypt has done all of this because it believes that its national interests are advanced by weakening Israel. Were Egypt to support an Israeli offensive against Gaza, it would be strengthening Israel. And so under no circumstances will Cairo ever support an IDF operation against Hamas. Pretending it will is to engage in reckless fantasizing.

SO THEN, why has Barak led the government to embrace Hamas as a negotiating partner and a legitimate regime in Gaza?

We are left with two possible explanations. Either Barak is risking the lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians to pander to the most radical elements of Israeli society while seeking to win sympathy points from Cairo in a general election campaign, or he is gullible enough to believe that Israel's radical left and the Egyptian regime are moved by facts rather than interests.

It is hard to know which explanation is more distressing.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1214132663777&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts

Toby Harnden in Washington

John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in.

The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

"It [the reaction] will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action," he said.

Mr Bolton, an unflinching hawk who proposes military action to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, bemoaned what he sees as a lack of will by the Bush administration to itself contemplate military strikes. "It's clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility," he said. "I don't think it's serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards."

Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The "optimal window" for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009.

"The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defences by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations .

"They're also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgement is they would not want to do anything before our election because there's no telling what impact it could have on the election."

But waiting for either Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, or his Republican opponent John McCain to be installed in the White House could preclude military action happening for the next four years or at least delay it.

"An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," said Mr Bolton, who was Mr Bush's ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006.

"With McCain they might still be looking at a delay. Given that time is on Iran's side, I think the argument for military action is sooner rather than later absent some other development."

The Iran policy of Mr McCain, whom Mr Bolton supports, was "much more realistic than the Bush administration's stance".

Mr Obama has said he will open high-level talks with Iran "without preconditions" while Mr McCain views attacking Iran as a lesser evil than allowing Iran to become a nuclear power.

William Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative, told Fox News on Sunday that an Obama victory could prompt Mr Bush to launch attacks against Iran. "If the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out," he said.

Last week, Israeli jets carried out a long-range exercise over the Mediterranean that American intelligence officials concluded was practice for air strikes against Iran. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said this was an act of "psychological warfare" that would be futile.

"They do not have the capacity to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran. They [Israel] have a number of domestic crises and they want to extrapolate it to cover others. Sometimes they come up with these empty slogans."

He added that Tehran would deliver a "devastating" response to any attack.

On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said military action against Iran would turn the Middle East into a "fireball" and accelerate Iran's nuclear programme.

Mr Bolton, however, dismissed such sentiments as scaremongering. "The key point would be for the Israelis to break Iran's control over the nuclear fuel cycle and that could be accomplished for example by destroying the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan or the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

"That doesn't end the problem but it buys time during which a more permanent solution might be found.... How long? That would be hard to say. Depends on the extent of the destruction."

Story from Telegraph News:

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Cairo Talks on Gilad Shalit to Begin, Hizbullah Proposal Updated

Hana Levi Julian

Indirect negotiations for the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit - between Israeli and Hamas negotiators, via Egyptian mediators - have begun at a hotel in Cairo. Both the Israeli delegation, as well as the representatives from the Hamas terrorist organization, will be staying at the same hotel during the talks, according to Arab sources.The Hamas delegation has once again changed its demands, upping the ante from last week's agreed-upon list of 450 Palestinian Authority terrorists, many of whom had "blood on their hands," to a new list of 1,000 terrorists whose release it demands.

The new demand calls for Israel to initially release 350 terrorists, including those responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians and soldiers, in return for transferring Shalit to the custody of Egyptian mediators.

In the second step of the proposed prisoner swap, the Olmert government would free another 100 terrorists, and Shalit would be returned to Israel.

In the final step, an additional 550 terrorists would be released two months after Shalit's release, according to the Hamas proposal described by Arab sources.

Israel Updates its Proposal to Hizbullah, Demands Information on Ron Arad
A similar scenario has developed with Hizbullah. Following a disputed change in demands by the Hizbullah terrorist organization in negotiations for the return of kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Israel is adding its own demand for information about the fate of missing IAF navigator Ron Arad.

In a four-hour meeting in the Prime Minster's Office Sunday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the Prime Minister's special envoy for MIA Affairs, Ofer Dekel, and other officials discussed various aspects of the deal.

Hizbullah reportedly has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian Authority terrorists last week, in a sharp turnabout from its prior agreement to a prisoner exchange in which arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar would be freed. Four other live operatives, as well as eight dead terrorists captured during the Second Lebanon War, would also be included in the swap.

"Everyone understands that this deal has to be closed as soon as possible because it has a major impact on the matter of Gilad Shalit," said a government source quoted by Haaretz on Sunday.

Official Denials Hizbullah Changed Demands
Despite media reports to the contrary, government officials denied late Sunday night that Hizbullah had changed their demands.

Miki Goldwasser, mother of kidnapped reservist Ehud Goldwasser, also strenuously denied the report earlier in the day. She said the family was "checking it, and for sure it didn't come from Hizbullah."

Both the Goldwasser and Regev families oppose any move to declare the captives dead - a possibility raised Sunday at a meeting between Dekel, the Prime Minister, former negotiator Ilan Biran, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other security officials.

Prime Minister Olmert reportedly was considering declaring the two soldiers "killed in action," a move that would have sent a signal to Hizbullah that negotiations for the pair were no longer an urgent priority.

Minister Eli Yishai: Issue May Have Become 'A Life for A Life'
Meanwhile the Goldwasser and Regev families began the day on Sunday with a visit to former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, from whom they received a blessing and a sympathetic ear. However, the spiritual leader of the Shas party made no promises and no commitment to tell his ministers how to vote on a prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah, with or without the inclusion of arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar.

The two families spent the rest of the day visiting the offices of one politician after another in a desperate attempt to convince them to vote in favor of a proposal to trade Kuntar in return for their loved ones.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (Kadima), Public Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima), Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) and Minister-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon (Labor) were sympathetic, but made no promises either.

Eli Yishai noted, however, that Goldwasser's wife Karnit is now considered an aguna under Jewish law; meaning, unless her husband either returns alive or is proven dead, she will never be permitted to remarry. This, he said, merits serious consideration in any agreement that is negotiated for the two captives.

Yishai was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying, "If it should be concluded that the soldiers are dead, this is not a a deal of live Lebanese prisoners in exchange for dead Israeli soldiers, but rather Lebanese prisoners in exchange for the life of Karnit Goldwasser."

Dekel to Present Modified Israeli Proposal to German Mediator
The Lebanese Druze terrorist around whom the deal is revolving, Samir Kuntar, is currently serving four consecutive sentences of life in prison for the brutal murders of four Israelis – two of them toddlers – during a terror attack on Nahariya which he led in 1979.

Until this point, he has been held as a final bargaining chip for the return of Ron Arad, whose aircraft was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. Arad's wife joined the petition filed by Gilad Shalit's parents over the weekend against the government's implementation of the ceasefire deal with Hamas.

Ron Arad was captured by Amal terrorists (led by Nabil Berri, currently the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament), who transferred him to a Hizbullah unit that eventually transferred him to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. With the exception of a couple of handwritten letters written within the first year of his capture, Arad has never been heard from since.

The Israeli proposal will reportedly demand clear information about the current condition of both Goldwasser and Regev, as well as information about the fate of Ron Arad, before a swap is approved.

Sarkozy: "Move Jews Out of Judea and Samaria"

Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel

French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the Knesset on Monday to recognize that "France will always be Israel's friend" - and promptly called for the division of Jerusalem and for the expulsion of the Jews from Judea and Samaria.

Speaking in French from the Knesset podium at a special session held in his honor, Sarkozy said, "Israel will always be every Jewish person's sanctuary. It is the only place where Jews will always be safe." He also called on the Palestinians to stop terrorism against Israel.Having received a red-carpet welcome from the Israeli government, Sarkozy vowed, "France will always be Israel's friend and will always stand in the way of those calling to destroy it."

Stop Construction, Deport Jews, Divide Jerusalem
He emphasized, however, that there will never be peace in the Middle East until Israel stops building in Judea and Samaria, and said that the Knesset should pass a law to compensate and deport all the Jews currently living there.

Sarkozy further said that Jerusalem must be divided into two capitals, including one for a future Palestinian state.

The speech was the first by a French president in the Knesset since Francois Mitterrand addressed the plenum in 1982.

In response, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik warned that terror has no boundaries, and that both Iranian nuclear power and Islamist terrorism "will reach Paris after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in his greetings to the French president, said, "We thank you for your courage, for your principles and for your friendship. On behalf of the Israeli people and the State of Israel, I salute you… Israel is now hoping for just one more miracle – the miracle of peace. We believe it will come."

Opposition leader and Likud party chairman MK Binyamin Netanyahu said, in his address at the session, that "Israel will never cede the Golan Heights and will never agree to divide Jerusalem."

Arab MKs jeered the Likud lawmaker as he addressed the Knesset, forcing the Speaker to threaten the hecklers that she would expel them from the legislative chamber if they continued to interrupt the speech. "This is very unpleasant," she rebuked them.

Orlev: French President Needs Lessons in History, Geography
MK Zevulun Orlev, Chairman of the National Religious Party, said afterwards, "Sarkozy should stay here a bit longer in order to learn some history, namely, that Jerusalem never beloned to Islam, but only to the Jews. He should also take a geography lesson, and visit Sderot and the transient camps of the Gush Katif expellees before he proposes another [Jewish] expulsion and retreat to the 1967 borders."

"His friendship with Israel must be based on those two lessons," Orlev said.

MK Benny Elon (National Union) said he agrees that there should be two states, but with slight differences than Sarkozy's proposal: "One state should be Jordan, on the east bank of the Jordan River, and Israel on the west side. No other state should be established between them. If Sarkozy agrees with me about these borders, we'll be able to come to an agreement on the rest."

MK Ruby Rivlin (Likud) said, "Dividing Jerusalem into two entities will not bring peace, but will rather eternalize the conflict - and the settlements are not an obstacle to peace, but rather that which helped give the Jewish People a permanent presence in its land."

Sarkozy's Schedule
President Sarkozy visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum Monday morning, accompanied by President Shimon Peres. The distinguished visitor is also scheduled to meet with the parents of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who are French citizens, and with MK Netanyahu. Sarkozy will also meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas before wrapping up his three-day visit on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said that diplomatic talks between France and Israel will focus on Iran's nuclear program and on the newly-revived Israeli-Syrian peace talks. Olmert initiated resumption of indirect talks with Syria through Turkish mediators in Ankara several weeks ago. Arab media report that he allowed the issue of ceding the Golan Heights to be placed on the negotiating table.

On July 13, Sarkozy will host a conference in Paris where he hopes to bring together Prime Minister Olmert and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

UNICEF Cuts Ties With Leviev, Joins With Moslem Terror Group

Hillel Fendel

Independent Media Review Analysis reports: UNICEF cuts ties with philanthropist Lev Leviev because of his support for Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, but is working with the Saudi Arabian terrorism-allied International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO).

The United Nations children's charity fund UNICEF has severed its ties with billionaire Lev Leviev of Israel, because of Arab allegations that he funds Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. The Arab organization Adalah-NY (The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East) boasts on its website that the decision "followed meetings with Adalah-NY, letters from organizations and Palestinian communities advocating a boycott of Leviev’s companies, and a visit by UNICEF officials to Jayyous, one of the Palestinian communities where a Leviev company is building Israeli settlements." The reference is to the town of Matityahu East, on the Green Line separating Judea and Samaria from the rest of Israel.At the same time, however, Foxnews reports that UNICEF has linked up with a Saudi Arabian charity organization with branches that the US Treasury has designated "terrorist entities." The organization, IIRO, has offices in the Philippines and Indonesia which fund and support terrorist groups that have killed hundreds in East Asia. The Philippine branch was founded by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, Muhammad Jamal Khalifah, and has long had ties to Al Qaeda.

In addition, the UN itself has singled out the above two branches for an asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban on members of the groups. The UN says that the Indonesian and Philippine branches of IIRO are tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

UNICEF: We Seek to be Non-Controversial
Explaining the decision to refuse contributions from Leviev, top UNICEF official Chris de Bono told Reuters that it was UNICEF's policy to have partners who were "as non-controversial as possible."

Regarding IIRO, de Bono said, "UNICEF does not and will not engage with" the two East Asian branches of IIRO, Foxnews reported. But according to Anne Bayefsky, senior editor of watchdog group Eye on the U.N., it is far from clear that "an organization that's headquartered in one country is really disconnected from operations which bear the same name in other countries and are referred to as branches."

In fact, the U.S. Treasury Department says that Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil, who heads the IIRO's Eastern Province branch, has been directly funding the two terror-tied branches - as well as Al-Qaeda - straight from his office in Saudi Arabia.