Saturday, January 10, 2009

War Crimes

Ben Dror Yemini

So what exactly is our story with the bombs and civilians injuries? Are we the most evil element in the world, as the Evil and Stupidity Front claims, from Professor Noam Chomsky and Jose Saramago, through Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah, and up to some of the moviemakers and authors, among us too, that agree that Israel commits crimes against humanity?

A short historical reminder. This time we won't say a word about Muslims
that butcher Muslims. We got used to it. The Muslims, especially in the
eyes of the Left, are the retarded kids of the world. From them there is
no need to demand responsibility, morale, international law. They are

This time we will deal with the West. We won't head as far as the bombing
of Dresden.
We'll go to recent history. It happened in 1999. Just 7 years
ago. Milosevic irritated the Free World when he tried to take control of
Kosovo. NATO started bombing. Following is an incomplete list of the
injuries. Just of civilian ones.

On April 12th . 12 killed in a bombing of a civilian train; on April 14th
. 70 refugees are killed in a .hunt after warriors.. NATO forces admit
that they find it hard to estimate the number of casualties; Apri 27th .
16 civilians are killed. Two missiles diverted from their course; April
28th . A stray missile reaches a peaceful neighborhood in Sophia, capital
of Bulgaria. May 1st . 27 killed in a bombing of a bus on a bridge in
Belgrade. According to other claims 47 were killed. All of them civilians;
May 6th . 15 civilians are killed in the town of Nis in Yugoslavia; on May 7th
. the Chinese embassy in Belgrade is erroneously bombed. 3 civilians were
killed; May 13th . at least 100 civilians are killed in the village of
Korisa. Burnt bodies of kids are presented in the world media. NATO.s
spokesman announces that the bombings were against .legitimate military
targets.. May 19th . NATO airplanes are bombing the Belgrade hospital. At
least 3 patients end their lives; May 30th . 11 civilians are killed in
the bombing of a bridge. They were on their way to the local market. On
the same day the NATO bombers manage to bomb an old age home, causing the
death of 20 of its residents; on May 31st another 11 civilians are killed
in a bombing.

NATO, by the way, spread leaflets telling the civilians that bridges are
about to be bombed. Obviously that didn't help. Does this reminds
something to somebody? There was a general sorrow for hurting innocents,
but nobody dreamt of a cease fire. The bombings continued. It took months.
Not days or weeks. The determination proved itself. Milosovic was forced
to accept the international terms.

We've been in this situation before

Let's continue to November 2004. The Ivory Coast Air Force
attacked rebel concentrations. Since when does anybody count black people
at all? That's it, to the bombers. bad luck 9 French were killed by
accident. Soldiers. Not civilians. The French were angry. So angry that
they wiped out the entire Ivory Coat Air Force and took control of the
country.s airport. And that was only the beginning. When it was the
natives. turn to get angry, the French were sure to enforce order in a
very aggressive way, which included killing 27 protesters.

Now let's go back and discuss the proportions. Milosovic didn't announce
that he intends to destroy all of Europe. The Ivory Coast didn't announce
that its intention is to destroy France. And yet, the reactions of NATO
and French were harsh and hard. The Security Council did not call for a
cease fire. Au contraire. It was obvious that it's necessary to get rid of
the bad guy in the story. It took a lot of time. In the end he had to

We should be sorry for every innocent that gets hurt. The question is
whether somebody has invented a formula in which it.s possible to battle
evil without hurting the innocents. In NATO they didn.t find that formula.
In France neither. When we get to Israel the rules are being changed.
Israel is required to restrain itself. Why? After all Nasrallah is much
more dangerous than Milosovic. The Hezbollah is not a guerilla
organization. It.s an organization that possesses long-range missiles. In
normal countries the state has an army. In the case of Lebanon, Hezbollah
has a state. The Hezbollah controls Lebanon and Iran controls the
Hezbollah. And also develops nuclear weapons, and also announces that it
wants to wipe Israel off the map.

These are just declarations, the members of the Evil Front will tell us,
the stupidity and reconciliation, those signed on various petitions. If we
will just turn over the second cheek, Ahmandinejad and Nasrallah will send
us flowers.

We've been in this situation before. We have the right to prevent it from

Written by Ben-Dror Yamini
Translated to English by Oren Douek

Friday, January 09, 2009

There you go again MR. Carter-displaying your bias


Jimmy Carter is the David Irving of Middle East revisionism. Whatever reputation Irving had as a military history writer he destroyed with Holocaust revisionism and denial. Carter, whose anti-Israel tantrums reveal him as much an authority on Arab-Israeli matters as Irving on the Holocaust, still finds an audience -- recurrently through The Washington Post's Op-Ed pages. His latest, "An Unnecessary War" (January 8), amounts to a Hamas' public relations release. Apparently, being a former president means never having to check your facts or logic.

* The ex-president claims the "fundamental difference between the two sides," Israel and Hamas, is that the former "wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza." The fundamental difference is that Israel seeks peace with the Arabs and Hamas seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and establishment of an Islamic theocracy in its place. It uses cease-fires to gain strength and to subvert the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. * Carter relies on an anti-Israel U.N. source to claim "we knew that the 1.5 million inhabitants of [the] Gaza [Strip] were being starved." A libel, not a fact. There was no food shortage, let alone starvation, prior to Hamas' termination of a six-month cease-fire on December 19.

* The former president labels a Hamas tunnel dug as part of a scheme to kidnap Israelis as "defensive." As if such a tunnel wasn't used to facilitate the killing of two soldiers in Israel and capture of a third, Cpt. Gilad Shalit, in 2006. Carter decries Israel's November 4 tunnel destruction as a "partial" breaking of the truce, though Hamas and its allies had resumed rocket and mortar fire at Israel.

* He describes the fence helping to control terrorist infiltration as "the wall that encloses Gaza." What "enclosed" Gaza - there are a half-dozen crossing points between Israel and the Strip and one major one between it and Egypt - was the Palestinians' 2006 election of a terrorist organization, Hamas, to lead them and Hamas' bloody ouster of its former Fatah partners in the PA the following year.

Carter's pro-Hamas column seems to stem from unbridled narcissism. His lead sentence reads: "I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided." The piece contains 11 more personal references (my, we, us) in its 11 paragraphs. The text may be Gaza, but the subtext is how important Jimmy Carter is.

According to Carter, he played a key role in securing the Egyptian-mediated six-month Israeli-Hamas truce last spring. This singular delusion lets him misrepresent Arab-Israeli realities.

* He portrays positively Hamas' leaders consideration of a Gaza-only cease-fire, "provided Israel would not attack Gaza and would permit normal humanitarian supplies to be delivered ...." This imputes good-faith to Hamas and implies Israel was attacking Gaza, not conducting limited counter-terrorism operations, and that it was not permitting humanitarian deliveries when it was.

* Carter claims Hamas agreed to accept any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas "approved by a majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity government." Coming from Hamas, these are vitiating conditions: it could undermine or invalidate a referendum outcome it opposed, and do the same in a unity government.

* The ex-president writes of "military activity by both sides ...." Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, European Union, Canada and other countries in large part because its "military activity" consists primarily of attacking non-combatants, a basic violation of military law.

* Carter faults Israel for allegedly not restoring delivery of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip to the level before Israeli withdrawal in 2005. He doesn't mention that Israel withdrew in the expectation of peace, not the firing of thousands of rockets and mortars by Hamas, et. al., and that even though it continued to supply the Strip with much of its electricity, water, and other basic goods and services, was under no obligation to do so for a "hostile entity."

* The ex-president puts the word in quotation marks when writing of Israeli "combat" in Gaza and implies targeting certain mosques, a school, some private homes is not legitimate. Nothing from Carter on Hamas' use of such places as firing positions, weapons storage, terrorist shelters, and so on.

* He implies Israel intentionally destroys water, sanitation and other infrastructure and refers to "heavy civilian casualties." Infrastructure damage as has occurred is inevitable, given Hamas operating among the civilian population. Though tragic, civilian fatality rates of 25 - 30 percent - as reported by U.N. and Palestinian medical sources, which may not be reliable - indicate Israeli attempts to limit such casualties.

Joshua Muravchik's February, 2007 Commentary essay about Jimmy Carter was headlined, "Our Worst Ex-President." Some might argue when it comes to Arab-Israeli pontificating, certainly The Washington Post's most frequent revisionist.

"Games and Risks"

Today is Friday, and Shabbat still comes early. Thus, this posting must be brief, offering only basics; more will follow after Shabbat.


Late yesterday, the Security Council passed a resolution with regard to a cease-fire in Gaza. This is Resolution 9567. and was sponsored by the United Kingdom (Britain). The vote was 14-0 with the US abstaining -- choosing this time not to veto.

Please understand this is NOT a binding resolution, but only a recommendation. It is a question of what chapter of the UN charter the resolution falls under, and I hope to have more details on this soon from my legal advisor on these matters.Rice made a statement about how this will lead to a "durable" cease-fire. Don't believe her.

The resolution was without teeth, and depends upon the details to be worked out via the Egyptian proposal.

After all of the statements regarding grave concern about the humanitarian situation and escalating violence, the need for "sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings" (a nod to Hamas), and condemnation of all acts of violence against civilians, what it calls for, in brief, is:
"... an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza."

It calls on UN member states "to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable cease-fire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms" and ensure the "sustained reopening" of border crossings. (Note the balanced response to demands here.)

It urges international efforts to provide humanitarian aid and rebuild Gaza's economy.

And it welcomes the Egyptian initiative to arrange and implement a cease-fire as well as other regional and international efforts that are underway.


So, what is this?

It is simply words without substance: Cut out the fighting, guys, and figure out how to make peace work. Everything theoretically depends upon the strength of the Egyptian initiative, the details of which have not been revealed and very likely have not even been structured yet.

Israel should stop fighting but doesn't have to withdraw until the details are in place and the cease-fire is seen to be "sustainable." But this is not a tenable place for us. At some point we must either move ahead with attack or move out. We cannot keep troops in Gaza in static positions, waiting.


This what Gerald Steinberg, Chair of the Political Studies Dept. of Bar Ilan University, has to say about what's happening:

"Every political leader and diplomat wants to be seen as the key actor, or at least a major player, in the cease-fire game. The appearance of peacemaking suggests international power and prestige, and is accompanied by meetings in exotic settings, providing excellent photo-opportunities and constant press coverage.

"Politicians thrive on the process, and politically correct talk about ending the 'humanitarian suffering of Palestinians' gains them a major boost.

"As a result, the field has become more crowded...

"But most of these mediators have little to offer in terms of substance. Indeed, the gap between the public relations and the detailed negotiations towards a sustainable end to conflict is huge. In many cases, beyond the photos and press statements, these virtual mediators do not have the knowledge or resources required for this complex process.

"This is the case for the cease-fire initiatives of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, both of whom gain primarily from the media attention. Israel is playing along with the facade in part to enhance the prestige of these leaders, and in part because the appearance of a readiness to negotiate a cease-fire softens the hostile media image, particularly in Europe.

"In reality, a stable cease-fire requires an external actor that has the depth, power and political will to insure that the terms are implemented - otherwise, the violence will resume and escalate."


The Israeli delegation to Egypt, sent to discuss the plan, has returned and reported to the government leaders. Olmert, Livni and Barak have met in preliminary consultation, prior to a Security Cabinet meeting scheduled for later today.

The statement Livni made this morning was this:

"Israel's past, present and future actions are based solely on its considerations, the security of Israel's residents and its right to self-defense."

In other words, we'll do what we decide, not what the UN thinks we should do. Please G-d, she should mean it.


The decision of the Security Cabinet will be released too late for me to include it in this posting. But as things stand now, I believe there can be no question of our ceasing fire in Gaza now.

Hamas has already said it would not accept a cease-fire as proposed by Egypt. Its response to the UN resolution has been to launch a major attack on our south: There have been today, as I write, 25 rockets launched in a short period of time. Grads hit areas around Beersheba and Ashkelon, Kassams hit Sderot region, mortar shells struck in Eshkol.

Fighting inside of Gaza has also been heavy.


Other issues to be looked at after Shabbat: the UN (and particularly UNRWA) as a PR voice for Hamas, and the fact that PA President Mahmoud Abbas's term has now expired, at least according to Hamas.


see my website

Spain’s ‘Jewish Problem’

Soeren Kern

Many Spaniards thought Spain had solved its “Jewish problem” in 1492, when by the stroke of a pen, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of an estimated 800,000 Jews from the country, and thus put an end to the largest and most distinguished Jewish community in Europe. . But now, more than 500 years later, Spanish anti-Semitism is on the rise once again. According to a [1] recent study published by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of all Spaniards have negative views of Jews, a statistic that marks Spain as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe. According to Pew, 46 percent of Spaniards hold negative opinions of Jews, up more than double from the 21 percent of Spaniards with such views in 2005.

Spain is also the only country in Europe where negative views of Jews outweigh positive views; only 37 percent of Spaniards think favorably about Jews. By comparison, 36 percent of Poles have negative views of Jews while 50 percent have positive views; in Germany, 25 percent negative versus 64 percent positive; in France, 20 percent negative versus 79 percent positive; and in Britain, 9 percent positive versus 73 percent favorable. (According to Pew, 77 percent of Americans have favorable views toward Jews, compared with 7 percent unfavorable.)

Pew’s latest research about Spanish anti-Semitism corroborates the findings of other, similar surveys. For example, [2] a report about European anti-Semitism published by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League says that 54 percent of Spaniards believe that “Jews have too much power in international markets.” And 51 percent of Spaniards believe that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country.”

The survey data on Spanish judeophobia raises many questions, including one that seems never to have been asked: How many contemporary Spaniards have actually ever met a Jew? Not very many, it would appear. In fact, Spain today has one of the [3] smallest Jewish communities in Europe; the country has only 12,000 Jews out of a total Spanish population of 42 million, which works out to less than 0.05 percent.

By contrast, in France, which with 500,000 Jews has the third largest Jewish population in the world (after Israel and the United States), attitudes towards Jews are relatively positive when compared with those in Spain. (Of course, it is entirely possible that Spaniards are just being more honest than other Europeans about their genuine feelings towards Jews, thereby skewing the statistics and masking the true extent of the problem on other parts of the continent. After all, there are good reasons why more than one quarter of [4] French Jews want to leave France.)

So what explains the dramatic increase in Spanish anti-Semitism since 2005, especially considering that the only exposure most Spaniards have ever had to Jews is through television?

Pew, in a politically correct sleight-of-hand, says the blame lies with “those who place themselves near the right end of the political spectrum.” But most professional observers of contemporary Spanish politics lay the blame squarely with Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who took office in 2004, and since then has managed to drive Spanish-Israeli relations to their worst point since bilateral diplomatic ties were established in 1986.

Zapatero, who makes no secret of his postmodern dislike of Zionism, is well known in Spain for his anti-Israel and anti-Jewish outbursts. At a dinner party in the Moncloa Palace (the Spanish White House) in 2005, for example, Zapatero addressed his guests by launching into [5] a tirade of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric that ended with the phrase: “It is understandable that someone might justify the Holocaust.”

Zapatero has also sought to restore Spain’s traditionally strong ties with the Arab world by ingratiating himself with Israel’s enemies. During the Second Lebanon War, for example, Zapatero participated in an anti-Israel rally where he wrapped himself in a [6] Palestinian kaffiyeh (scarf) and gratuitously accused Israel of using “abusive force that does not protect innocent human beings.” Just for good measure, Zapatero then dispatched his foreign minister to Syria, a move the Israeli foreign ministry said proved that the Spanish government was “[7] closer to Hezbollah terrorists than to the Israeli government.”

Zapatero, who refuses to visit Israel (even as the two countries commemorated 20 years of diplomatic ties in 2006), also refers to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a “cancer” that is metastasizing into all the other conflicts in the region. As a disciple of postmodern moral equivalency, Zapatero naturally believes the “cancer” is Israel, not Islamic terrorism.

As if that were not enough, Spanish anti-Semitism is also being stoked by the non-stop anti-Israel rhetoric of Spain’s leftwing intellectual and media elites, most of whom are enthusiastic sycophants of Zapatero and his pro-Arab, pro-Islam worldview. Indeed, Spanish radio, television and print media, much of which is directly or indirectly controlled by the Socialist government, is notoriously biased against Israel. As most Spaniards do not speak foreign languages, they have little or no access to alternative sources of information, which goes a long way toward explaining Spanish attitudes towards Jews, especially of the Israeli variety.

Add to this the Spanish media’s bizarre obsession with neo-conservatism, which in Spain has become a pejorative term denoting a conspiracy to promote Jewish domination of the world. Many ordinary Spaniards, who otherwise show little interest in foreign affairs, seem to have deep-seated opinions about those Jews Frum, Kristol, Pearle, Podhertz and Wolfowitz, et al.

Zapatero and his cabinet ministers are now playing the neocon card to explain to the Spanish public why the Spanish economy is in a freefall. Although analysts had warned for many years that the Spanish housing bubble was unsustainable, Zapatero said those fears were overblown. But now the bubble has burst and Spain’s unemployment rate is skyrocketing to the highest levels in Europe. Nearly three million Spaniards are now without work and some analysts expect that number to double by 2010 to reach [8] a staggering 18 percent jobless rate. Spanish voters are looking for someone to blame.

Zapatero, in a classic display of hands-on economic crisis management, says the [9] blame for Spain’s problems lies with “the neo-conservative model based on capitalism without borders nor limits nor ethics.” Translated into regular English, that’s postmodern Zapatero-speak for “the Jews are to blame.”

But just as Spaniards get smug about their perceived racial superiority, [10] along comes a new study which implies that many Spanish anti-Semites actually have Jewish blood. An examination of the genetic signatures of the Spanish population shows that 20 percent of contemporary Spaniards have Jewish origins. As it turns out, far more Jews than previously thought did not comply with the order to leave Spain back in 1492 and simply converted to Catholicism instead.

Many of those conversos tried to blend in by adopting surnames that indicated trades or professions. One such [11] Sephardic name is Zapatero, which means shoemaker.

Article printed from Pajamas Media:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:
[1] recent study:
[2] a report about European anti-Semitism:
[3] smallest Jewish communities in Europe:
[4] French Jews want to leave France:
[5] a tirade of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric:
[6] Palestinian kaffiyeh:
[7] closer to Hezbollah terrorists than to the Israeli government:
[8] a staggering 18 percent jobless rate:
[9] blame for Spain’s problems:
[10] along comes a new study:
[11] Sephardic name is Zapatero:


Taking Sides In The Middle East

Burt Prelutsky

Just for the record, I am a non-observant Jew. That means that my mother’s father, Max Lashevsky, who kept kosher and attended an orthodox synagogue every day of his life, would probably have considered me a heathen, while Adolph Hitler would have exterminated me in a gas oven.

I want that to be perfectly clear so that when I declare my concern for Israel, nobody will simply assume it’s because I’m Jewish. I am on the side of Israel because it’s a western democracy, an ally of America, and because I regard her enemies as the scum of the world. Israel’s foes believe in targeting women and children just so long as they’re Jewish or Christian. They are not only intolerant of the freedoms we take for granted -- speech and religion -- but they are polygamous, treat their women as chattel and encourage their children to achieve martyrdom as suicide bombers. Moreover, so-called honor killings are part of what passes for their culture.

In order to realize what a paternalistic society they have, you need only look at a photo of an Arab mob carting a corpse through the streets of Gaza; even when it’s the corpse of a child, I challenge you to find a woman anywhere in sight. So far as the Arabs are concerned, the mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters, are of absolutely no consequence.

Yet here in America and even more so in Europe, you will find millions of theoretically civilized people who find a moral equivalence between Israel and her sworn enemies -- and even more millions who favor the Arabs.

In a recent Rasmussen Poll, 62% of Republicans in America sided with Israel, while a mere 31% of Democrats favored Israel in the current conflict.

As you may have noticed, the world’s media rarely if ever remarked about the thousands of missiles Hamas fired into Israel over the past few years. However, once Israel finally got around to announcing that enough was enough, and went on the offensive, Condoleezza Rice and the European Union didn’t waste a second before crying “Foul!” and throwing a penalty flag.

This same pattern is followed each and every time that Israel responds to unprovoked attacks. You can invariably count on the nations of the world agreeing that Israel is out of line. While it’s nice they can agree on something, it’s a shame that “something” never seems to be Islamic terrorism, Arab barbarism or slavery in modern- day Africa.

Can you imagine anyone in his right mind 67 years ago claiming that America was over-reacting to Pearl Harbor? Would anybody but an idiot have suggested that once America had sunk an equal number of Japanese battleships or killed an equal number of Japanese soldiers and sailors that we should have ceased hostilities and turned things over to European diplomats, especially after seeing how well those fellows had kept Hitler and Mussolini in check?

The fact is, only Arabs would continue to call the human refuse of Gaza refugees. The only reason that there were any Arab refugees back in 1948 was because Egypt, Jordan and Syria, promised to exterminate the Jews and divide the spoils, not because the Israelites had exiled its Arab population. Once Israel fought off the invaders, no Arab nation would open its doors to the refugees, and to this day no Arab nation ever has.

But that was 61 years ago! Who ever heard of people being refugees for six decades? How can people who have never lived in Israel, whose fathers and mothers never lived in Israel, continue to lay claim to a place where they’ve never set foot -- and which, according to Arab textbooks, doesn’t even exist? They might as well insist they have a claim to Oz, Atlantis or Brigadoon.

Frankly, I marvel at Israel’s spiritual fortitude, at her reluctance to seek Biblical retribution. Even one missile would be enough to get me riled up. To absorb 10,000 missile attacks strikes me as verging on the masochistic. I honestly think Israel continues to be far too concerned with world opinion. After 61 years of hearing one’s enemies repeating Hitler’s plans for the final solution, collateral damage would be the least of my concerns.

I understand that civilized societies are supposed to worry about the deaths of women and children. But in civilized societies, parents don’t raise their youngsters to be suicide bombers and they certainly wouldn’t dance in the street when 3,000 innocent Americans were incinerated on 9/11.

There are still people who regret the A-Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I am not one of those people. That’s because it’s estimated that if the bombs had not been dropped, if, instead, America had been forced to invade Japan, as many as a million lives -- Japanese as well as American -- would have been lost. Coincidentally, like the Arabs and the Muslims, the Japanese had their own version of youthful suicide bombers -- the Kamikaze pilots who sacrificed their lives by crashing their planes into American ships.

One of the young sailors who was in the South Pacific at the time, on his way to the planned invasion, was later to become a dear friend of mine. Last week, he died at the age of 81. Perhaps the reason that Joe X Price got to live those additional 63 years was because when it really counted, America didn’t overly concern itself with collateral damage.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Israel mishandling Gush Katif evacuees

Etgar Lefkovits , THE JERUSALEM POST

An aerial view of the Nitzan 'caravilla' site.

Three-and-a-half years after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, two-thirds of the 8,500 evacuees are still living in temporary housing sites, and the move-in date for their permanent housing is still far off, according to a report filed Wednesday by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

In response, the Knesset's State Control Committee decided to form an official committee of inquiry to investigate shortcomings and failures in the treatment and resettlement of the evacuees.
Lindenstrauss's report found serious deficiencies and delays in dealing with permanent housing solutions. A total of 95 percent of the Jewish former Gaza residents who had requested to join "communal housing" similar to the makeup of their settlement communities remain without permanent housing, the report found.
In all, two-thirds of the Gaza evacuees have asked to be resettled in such communities.

"The evicted families paid a heavy price following the disengagement, and continue to pay it even today," the report states. "The process of relocating them could still take years."
In contrast, most of the families who chose to be resettled individually after receiving a lump sum in government compensation for their homes have found housing, the report found.

The report placed most of the blame on the government body charged with dealing with the evacuation of the Gaza settlers - known by its Hebrew acronym, SELA - castigating the groundwork it did ahead of the pullout as both "partial" and "lacking depth."
"The lack of proper preparatory work is a significant flaw [that] caused great misery and harm to the evacuees, and cost the state financially," the report said.

"Sela did not properly check in advance the residents' preferences in terms of where they wanted and were suited to live, the status of the land at the designated sites, and the costs of the various projects," the report stated.
In the report, the state comptroller also cited unnecessary bureaucratic delays in dealing with relocating the evacuees to permanent housing, due to wrangling between the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Defense Ministry over who was responsible for the issue.

He said that many of the evacuees in the temporary housing solutions known as "caravillas" or pre-fab homes were living "in a state of despair" due to poor infrastructure conditions.
"The structures are characterized by severe infrastructure faults, including wet walls, broken floor tiles, and frequent power outages," the report stated.
The report suggested that responsibility for the upkeep of the temporary housing sites be transferred to the Construction and Housing Ministry.
The report also cited government delays in paying compensation for businesses that were evacuated, noting that three years was "a long time" to pay out such compensation.

The government paid out NIS 735 million in such funds by the end of 2007.
On the positive side, Lindenstrauss noted that the authorities responsible for welfare services had carried out their job professionally, hired high-quality workers and invested significantly in helping the expelled citizens.
"The test of the real end of the evacuation project is the proper rehabilitation of the evacuees in their new communities, so that they do not become a needy, dependent and weak part of the population," the comptroller concluded.

A spokeswoman for SELA said the government body could not comment on the report, as it had not received an advance copy and had gotten it only after journalists and lawmakers.
She added that "there were solutions" for all 1,100 families who sought to be resettled together.

MK Zevulun Orlev, who initiated the inquiry committee's establishment following the report's publication, said that "the state comptroller's report proves what we all know: The disengagement was not just a security disaster, but a moral injustice.

"In contrast to the fallacious slogans of the government, almost none of the [Gaza] settlers have a [housing] solution, and now all the residents of southern Israel are living under the 'Color Red' [rocket siren]," he said.
The decision to establish the inquiry committee passed by a vote of 7-1.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167296989&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Why would the French president want to save Hamas?

NIDRA POLLER | From today's Wall Street Journal Europe

Israeli authorities insist they have learned the lessons of the botched 2006 Lebanon war. How about France?
No sooner had Israel hit Hamas command and control centers last week than Nicolas Sarkozy scolded Jerusalem for using "disproportionate force" and called for an immediate 48-hour humanitarian cease-fire. Does this echo of Jacques Chirac's rhetoric indicate a simple reversion to -- some would say continuation of -- France's politique arabe? The French in 2006 succeeded in presenting an overdue Israeli riposte against unprovoked Hezbollah attacks as a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. The cease-fire deal hammered out at the United Nations by then French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Condoleezza Rice effectively saved Hezbollah and undermined democratic forces in Lebanon. Does Mr. Sarkozy now want to save Hamas?
Reluctantly yielding the presidency of the European Union to the Czechs on Jan. 1, Mr. Sarkozy held on to his prerogatives and tried for a solo diplomatic exploit with Gaza. The emergency meeting of his EU counterparts convoked by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner yielded a shaky consensus on a vague cease-fire demand. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni flew in and out of Paris on New Year's Day to reiterate, politely but firmly, her government's intention to pursue the military operation to its necessary conclusion.
Mr. Sarkozy -- upstaging an official EU delegation -- left Monday for his own two-day mission to Cairo, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Damascus and Beirut, ending with a visit to French U.N. peacekeeping troops in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah rearmed under the "watchful eyes" of those U.N. troops. Hezbollah, Hamas and their patron, Iran, are seeking to destroy Israel; Messrs. Sarkozy and Kouchner are seeking "the path to peace" -- paved with the kind of peacekeepers that have failed so miserably in Lebanon.
It doesn't make sense. While Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit blames Hamas for provoking the Israeli intervention, and moderate Arab governments stand by with folded hands as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood gets its comeuppance, why would the French president, who has consistently displayed his affection for Israel, want to save Hamas's neck?
Mr. Sarkozy's detractors are not at a loss for explanations: vainglorious ambition; erratic, overexcited haste making waste; cynical concern for France's Arab-Muslim markets, combined with cowardly surrender to its restless immigrant communities; low-down betrayal of Israel and the Jews. Without dismissing any or all of these motivations, it might be helpful to explore the conjunction of a Nicolas-to-the-rescue self-image and a power-to-the-peacemakers European strategy.
In 1993, as mayor of the chic Parisian suburb of Neuilly, Nicolas Sarkozy helped rescue kindergartners from a self-described "human bomb" who had wired their classroom with explosives. Mr. Sarkozy's enemies accuse him of grandstanding, but the image of the young mayor carrying a liberated child corresponds to his conception of political action. Hand-wringers denounced the use of excessive force when commandos ended the two-day siege by shooting the hostage taker in the head.
A rescue exploit also marked the beginning of Mr. Sarkozy's presidency. With the help of his soon-to-be ex-wife Cecilia, he pried five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor out of the Libyan prison where they had been held since 1999, accused of injecting children with HIV. As a reward for releasing the health workers, Moammar Gadhafi was invited five months later to pitch his tents in the center of Paris, parade around town in his flowing robes and, reportedly, sign on for a nuclear power plant and other goodies.
Lebanon was rescued à la française last spring when a Hezbollah show of force threatened to destroy the last shreds of legitimate government power. An accommodating Michel Suleiman was ushered into the presidential slot, Hezbollah's might-makes-right power was tacitly accepted, and President Sarkozy led a French delegation to congratulate the Lebanese on their "peaceful" conflict resolution.
Russia's August invasion of Georgia inspired another high-profile rescue/rehabilitation operation. Messrs. Sarkozy and Kouchner zipped back and forth between Tbilisi to Moscow and negotiated a cease-fire deal that left Georgia dismembered of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and encouraged similar threats to the sovereignty of Ukraine.
* * *
And now Mr. Sarkozy has turned his diplomatic skills to Gaza. Unlike Mr. Chirac, who was viscerally anti-Zionist, Mr. Sarkozy's sympathies for Israel don't appear feigned. As a sincere friend of the Jewish state, Nicolas Sarkozy believes he can speak frankly, criticize freely and act wisely. (He takes the same position vis-à-vis the U.S. and the war in Iraq.) Determined to forge the same forthright relations with the Arab world, he has been trying, in vain, to include Israel in a new, improved Mediterranean Union.
But what does he have in mind for this stage of the conflict? There have been hints of a plan to persuade Syria, Egypt and Lebanon to persuade Hamas to promise to eventually stop shooting rockets into Israel, in exchange, one might guess, for maximal concessions from Israel.
How can an intelligent man like Nicolas Sarkozy carry his penchant for negotiation to the absurdity of protecting Hamas, which figures on the EU list of terrorist organizations? If Israel is not allowed to defend itself against terrorists who have fired some 6,500 rockets at Israeli civilians since 2005, it follows that anyone can do anything to Israel without fear of retribution. Is this the assumption behind the notion of "disproportionate force"?
Mr. Sarkozy's condemnation of Hamas for "irresponsible . . . inexcusable" action, repeated at every step of the peace junket, is meaningless when combined with his demand that Israel silence its guns. Syrian President Bashir al Assad, reintegrated into the international community by the grace of Mr. Sarkozy, lent a deaf ear to his requests for a calming influence on Hamas. The Syrian dictator only condemned Israel's "war crimes."
Israeli President Shimon Peres urged his French counterpart to refrain from bringing a cease-fire resolution before the U.N. Security Council -- but to no avail. Bernard Kouchner went straight to New York to convince the Americans to facilitate said resolution. This too is expected to fail. Stumped by an American administration that has not said its last word, rebuffed by an Israeli government determined to handle the situation on its own terms and timetable, rejected by an ingrate Syrian dictator, the French president has little to show for his end run around the EU delegation. Unless his last minute decision to fly back to Egypt last night indicates a re-alignment?
As long as Washington stands with its Israeli ally, the French president's influence will be limited. But the days of moral clarity in the White House might soon be over. George W. Bush -- who declared: "Another one-way cease-fire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable" -- is on his way out. The world is waiting for Barack Obama to set things right.
What lurks behind the president-elect's cautious silence on this major conflict? Nicolas Sarkozy's troubling peacemaking is eerily similar to Mr. Obama's winning campaign arguments. Declaring a firm commitment to Israel's security, the candidate promised to improve America's relations with its European allies and the Arab-Muslim world, and resolve conflicts by dialogue and astute diplomacy.
As virulent anti-Israeli demonstrations flare across the U.S., the dangers of the French president's illusions may soon be multiplied by a real world power.
Ms. Poller is an American writer living in Paris since 1972.

The Hamas Conflict:Can Civilian Casualties be Avoided?

Any decent human being would be appalled by the civilian casualties that too often accompany armed conflicts around the world, and the current crisis in Gaza is no exception. The questions that immediately arise are: Can civilian casualties be avoided? How? If they cannot, who must be held accountable? International law has sought to advance the protection of civilians by laying down rules to shelter them from the fighting, to the extent possible. These rules were encoded in the Laws of Armed Conflict, as codified in international treaties and customary international law, and apply to and impose obligations on all parties to a conflict, including those armed groups such as Hamas and other terrorist organizations operating from within the Gaza Strip

The most heinous war crimes committed by Hamas involve endangering the civilian populations on both sides of the conflict: They deliberately target Israelis and launch missiles with the goal of causing maximum harm to civilians. International law clearly prohibits such tactics which stand in marked contrast to the most fundamental rule of the laws of armed conflict – the principle of distinction. Article 51(2) of the Additional Protocol provides: “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited”.

Hamas also uses its own population as human shields, utilizing their presence to make certain areas immune from military operations. We have witnessed Hamas' systematic launching rockets from within densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip, including protected civilian areas such as schools and mosques, abusing distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions and ambulances to transport weapons and terrorists, and shooting out of private homes while the resident family is held hostage and barred from leaving. These are all serious war crimes, committed against Palestinian civilians, in contravention of the Laws of Armed Conflict. Over the last few days of fighting in Gaza, there have even been reports of Hamas gunmen grabbing Palestinian children off the street and carrying them as human shields.

Hamas' unlawful behavior, characterized by its launching of attacks from behind Palestinian civilian "human shields", creates a no-win situation for the Israeli Defense Forces: they can either do nothing, leaving Hamas to target Israelis with impunity, or they can fire back at Hamas and run the risk of harming civilians on the Palestinian side.

Hamas, on the other hand, is faced with no such moral quandary – if the Israelis do not respond militarily, Hamas gains a clear tactical advantage. If the Israelis do respond and civilians are harmed, Hamas has no remorse about such casualties, as it sees itself as fighting a jihad (holy war), with all casualties on its side, however avoidable, considered shaheeds (religious martyrs). Furthermore, Hamas cynically takes advantage of the media with its reprehensible acts, giving rise to gruesome media images and anti-Israeli headlines, as we have witnessed in recent days. In this vein, Hamas' deliberate obstruction of aid to Palestinian civilians in order to create artificial suffering should also be noted.

The battle lines in Gaza have been drawn between a terrorist organization that glorifies death, as represented by Hamas, and a legitimate State that seeks to preserve life and obey international law, as represented by Israel.

The question that arises is what is Israel supposed to do in the face of these criminal tactics? Again, international law provides some answers.

Article 51 of the Additional Protocol clearly states that “The presence of civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks” (emphasis added ). Therefore, if a rocket launcher is placed in a civilian home, it remains, nonetheless, a legitimate, military target. The presence of civilians, while extremely unfortunate, cannot provide immunity to the terrorist who launches such rockets. In this way, the Geneva Conventions recognize that if one side(in this case, Hamas) commits the war crime of hiding behind civilians, then, unfortunately, civilians may, inevitably, get hurt in the course of a lawful response to such act (in this case, as undertaken by Israel).

So, if Israel has the law on its side, why is it coming under so much criticism? The answer is threefold.

Firstly, there is a knee-jerk reaction to the terrible images featured in the media and the desire to blame the usual suspect, Israel. This is a natural, albeit superficial, human reaction. Only a person willing to investigate the matter more deeply, and inquire as to what the target of an Israel Defense Force operation was (e.g. a missile launcher) and why civilians were in the area (due to Hamas’ war-crime tactics), would be equipped to place the blame where it belongs.

Secondly, if Israel did not react, but simply absorbed the missiles, infiltrations and terrorist attacks, there would be a semblance of stability. This artificial stability is not unattractive for many people around the world, as crises in the Middle East tend to have an impact well beyond the parties immediately involved. Thus, calls have already been made for Israel to cease fire immediately and negotiate, and even for Israel to meet some of the terrorists' demands. Here, we must ask ourselves about the long-term effects of capitulating to terrorism.

Israel showed extreme restraint over the past eight years in the face of over 8,000 Hamas rocket and missile attacks on its civilian population. In the days preceding the current operation, Israel did not react to Hamas’ daily barrage on its southern towns, but, rather, peacefully warned Hamas that such restraint cannot last forever in the face of unceasing attacks. Did such warnings dissuade Hamas from undertaking further terrorist action, or did they merely embolden the terrorist organization? The answer, unfortunately, lies before us.

In its military campaign against Hamas targets, Israel is doing everything in its power in order to minimize harm to the civilian population. Israeli forces use the most sophisticated weaponry currently available in order to target legitimate military objectives only. Care is taken to reduce to a minimum the risk to which the civilian population is exposed, often at a cost to Israel's operational advantage. For example, Israeli forces place telephone calls to Palestinian civilians in Gaza prior to launching operations, and provide them with advance notice that a Hamas stronghold in their vicinity is about to be targeted, giving them time to evacuate. Indeed, Israel’s efforts to protect the civilian population in Gaza goes well beyond the requirements of international law and often exceed the practices that have been employed by other States confronting similar, or even less gave threats to the lives of their civilians. Regrettably, even the most sophisticated weaponry available today simply cannot target terrorists alone and leave their immediate surroundings unscathed.

Unfortunately, so long as Hamas continues to violate international law in a flagrant and egregious manner by using Palestinian civilians as human shields on the one hand, and, at the same time, targeting Israeli civilians, it is highly probable that ordinary people will continue to get hurt in the crossfire. That is the nature of Hamas’ dirty war. It will stop only when the international community raises its voice against these criminals, rather than in opposition to Israel's lawful response to their attacks.

עד כאן
מח' מידע ואינטרנט – אגף תקשורת

Hamas' Palestinian victims

The Washington Times

One of the most shameful aspects of the war Hamas is waging against Israel is the terror group's effort to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties - and the way this story is often ignored or buried in Western media accounts. CNN and other outlets provide powerful images of Palestinian civilian deaths and U.N. officials' statements denouncing Israel. On Tuesday, John Ging, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), told The Washington Post in an interview that both Israeli and Hamas leaders were to blame for civilian deaths in Gaza. This moral equivalence is slanderous. There is a mountain of evidence from Israeli and Palestinian sources suggesting that Hamas deserves overwhelming blame for the mounting civilian death toll. . On Tuesday, medical officials in Gaza were quoted as stating that scores of Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid on the Asma school in Gaza. Israel countered that the school was being used as a launching pad for Hamas attacks. The Israeli Army told the Associated Press that two Hamas gunmen named Imad Abu Askar and Hasan Abu Askar were among the dead. Then, "Two neighborhood residents confirmed Israeli accounts, saying a group of militants fired mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets," the Associated Press reported. Israeli soldiers then opened fire, killing the pair. "The residents, who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety, said the Abu Askar brothers were low-level Hamas officials."

Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza need to be understood in the context of Hamas' ideology, which celebrates the use of noncombatants to shield its fighters from Israeli retaliation. In February, a Hamas representative in the Palestinian Authority Legislative Council expressed pride in the fact that women and children are used as human shields in fighting Israel. He explained that the Palestinians "desire death" with the same intensity that Israelis "desire life," according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.

Last week Hamas Television announced that most of the Palestinians dying were members of its armed forces. The Israeli YNet news service quoted Palestinian civilians saying that Hamas members prevent them from fleeing their homes and hide out in UNRWA ambulances, mosques and civilian homes and stairwells.

Increasingly, Gaza Palestinians are denouncing Hamas' efforts to use them as human shields. Case in point: A Palestinian girl whose family members were killed in a Dec. 28 Israeli air attack in Gaza was interviewed the following day on Palestinian Authority Television, operated by Hamas' Palestinian rival Fatah. Who did she blame for the tragedy that befell her family? "I say Hamas is the cause, in the first place, of all wars," she said.

Hamas Pulling Back Into Crowded Cities, Beckoning Israelis

Griff Witte
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 8, 2009; A10

JERUSALEM, Jan. 7 -- When thousands of heavily armed Israeli soldiers poured into the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, Hamas pulled back.

Rather than stand and fight against the Middle East's strongest army, the Islamist movement opted for a tactical withdrawal, with its fighters melting away into the strip's sprawling cities and refugee camps, according to Gaza residents and Israeli military analysts and officers. Now, Hamas appears to be daring the Israeli troops to follow.

"They're hitting here and there with antitank missiles and mortars. Overall, though, they're not confronting the Israeli presence in Gaza," said retired Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. "They're challenging the Israeli military to enter the built-up areas."

For Israel, the temptation to move in is great: After 12 days of air-, sea- and land-based attacks that have weakened the Islamist movement's capabilities, Israeli leaders are weighing whether now is the time to try to deal a death blow to Hamas. That, analysts say, would require an expanded ground operation in the twisting alleys of Gaza's main population centers.

But the risks of broadening the campaign are high. Until now, Israeli casualties have been lighter than the military had expected. Six Israeli soldiers have died in five days of ground operations, although only two were killed by Palestinians. The four others died as a result of "friendly fire" incidents.

Analysts say that unleashing ground forces in Gazan cities and refugee camps would almost certainly allow Hamas to launch a campaign of urban warfare featuring sniper fire, suicide attacks and car bombs. The death toll would rise on both sides when Israel is already under international pressure to end its offensive. Palestinian health officials say more than 680 people have been killed in Gaza since the operation began, about a third of them women and children, according to the United Nations.

For the time being at least, Israel has resisted. Instead, military commanders have ordered ground troops to tighten their grip on less-populated parts of the strip that had long been used for launching rockets, while Israeli warplanes and helicopters continue to pound suspected hideouts from the air. Hamas fighters, meanwhile, are lying low in homes, bunkers and tunnels, military experts say, awaiting the chance to spring their traps.

The divergent tactics reflect the asymmetrical nature of the war in Gaza and the vastly different goals of each side.

For Hamas -- an Iranian-backed movement that has no formal army but has committed itself to attacking Israel with whatever weapons it can muster -- the objective is to survive and to show the world that it continues to engage. Even though Hamas fighters largely have avoided battling Israeli soldiers, they keep firing rockets into southern Israel. More than 20 were launched Wednesday. Rockets from Gaza have killed three Israeli civilians and one soldier since Israel launched its offensive Dec. 27, but no one since the ground campaign began. Hamas has also fired mortar shells at soldiers, but Israeli hospital officials say they have seen relatively few gunshot wounds.

"Their objective is to show that their resistance can't be broken," said Martin van Creveld, professor emeritus of military history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Whatever the outcome, they're going to say, 'We won.' They're going to say, 'We were attacked by a vastly superior force, and the rockets kept coming.' " More than before, however, the rockets are now coming from the cities and the refugee camps, where most of Gaza's 1.5 million people live.

In the first hours of Israel's ground offensive, troops seized open areas east and north of Gaza City that had long been favored by rocket-launching fighters because of the unobstructed views of southern Israel.

Mahmoud, a resident of the northern Gazan town of Beit Lahiya, said that the Israelis have commandeered his neighborhood and that there is no sign of Hamas.

"I used to see Hamas launching rockets," said Mahmoud, who spoke by telephone and would not give his last name. "Now I only see Israelis. There is no resistance in my area."

But there is elsewhere in Gaza. Teams of rocket launchers have moved to the vast urban centers, residents say, creating a dilemma for Israel over how to respond.

On Tuesday, troops reported rocket fire from a U.N.-operated school that was being used as a shelter in the center of the Jabalya refugee camp. They returned fire, and killed 40 people. Israel has said Hamas operatives were among the dead; Palestinian medical officials say the majority were women, children and male civilians.

John Ging, the top U.N. Relief and Works Agency official in Gaza, on Wednesday challenged Israeli reports that fire came from the school. He said the U.N. staff at the facility assured him that "there were no militants in the school. . . . I'm very confident that there was no militant activity in the school, and if anybody has evidence to the contrary, we would be very anxious to have it."

Israel accuses Hamas of deliberately attacking from populated areas to drive up civilian casualty figures and stoke anger toward Israel in the Muslim world. But Hamas says it has little choice. There are no military bases in Gaza from which to fight, and the movement's members do not live apart from the rest of the population.

"They don't see themselves as being separate from the Palestinian people. They say, 'We're fighting among our people for our people's freedom,' " said Nassar Ibrahim, a Palestinian journalist based in Bethlehem who does not belong to Hamas.

Israel has said that the goal of its operation is to destroy either Hamas's capacity or its will to fight. So far, Israeli war planners say they have dealt the group a heavy blow, destroying much of its infrastructure and killing large numbers of its members with strikes from F-16 fighters, Apache helicopters, aerial drones, warships and tanks.

But the movement's leadership, which has been in hiding since before the offensive began, remains.

Israel's objective now is to raise the pressure on top Hamas officials and to destroy as much of the group's arsenal as it can before international pressure forces the military to stop. "Time is the name of the game. We need time to put more pressure on them," said a former senior military official who was authorized to speak on behalf of the Israel Defense Forces, but not by name.

The official said ground forces had surrounded Gaza's main population centers and were methodically tightening the noose. Going in is a definite possibility, he said, but so is a prolonged siege.

"When we were in Beirut in 1982, it took three months to force Fatah to give up," said the official, referring to the first Lebanon war, when the Palestine Liberation Organization refused to give in despite being pummeled by Israeli attacks.

Israel has said it intends to force Hamas to stop firing rockets or at least significantly reduce the number. But pressure is also building within Israel for the military to use this opportunity to carry out regime change in Gaza.

Hamas has been in charge there since June 2007, when its fighters routed gunmen loyal to the rival Fatah party. Israel, which pulled its troops and settlements out of Gaza in 2005, has enforced a strict economic embargo on the territory for the past 19 months. Lipkin-Shahak, who was Israel's military chief in the late 1990s, said he hopes Hamas halts its rocket fire before Israel decides to escalate.

"The best thing for both sides will be the end of fighting as soon as possible," he said. "The longer it goes on, the more casualties there will be on both sides, and the end result will be the same -- unless the IDF is forced to occupy the whole Gaza Strip. We don't want to do that. But it's not impossible."

Staff writer Colum Lynch at the United Nations and special correspondents Reyham Abdel Kareem in Gaza City and Samuel Sockol in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Callous disregard for civilian lives shown by Zionists -- no, wait...

Actually the perpetrators here are the "Palestinians." Of course, Hamas wants to hit civilians, as much as it wants Palestinian civilians to be hit. Yet somehow I doubt that the international entities that have condemned Israel for the civilian casualties it has tried so hard to avoid will be any more upset about Hamas's delight in the deaths of innocent Israelis than they ever have been. "Rockets Launched from Gaza," from Israel National News, January 7 (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

( Rockets were launched from Gaza around 1:00 p.m. Wednesday. Two rockets landed in Ashkelon, two near Ashkelon, and two in the Sha'ar Hanegev region.

In addition, two mortars fell only an hour before in the Sha'ar Hanegev region. Over 20 rockets and mortar shells have been launched at Israel Wednesday.

"Rocket Strikes Apartment Building in Ashkelon," by Hana Levi Julian for Israel National News, January 7 (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

( An apartment building in Ashkelon sustained a direct hit in a Grad rocket attack from Gaza at around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. Two rockets were launched in the attack; the second missile landed in an open area elsewhere in the city. Two women suffered minor shrapnel wounds and seven other people were treated for severe emotional trauma before being evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center.

A mortar shell also struck the Sdot Negev Kibbutz at about the same time, igniting a fire. No one was injured, and firefighters raced to the scene to contain the blaze.

Gaza terrorists resumed firing the rockets after a 12-hour period of quiet while Israel was considering a United Nations ceasefire proposal A few minutes before 9:00 a.m. terrorists fired a barrage of two long-range Grad rockets at the port city of Ashdod. Both exploded in open areas around the city. One man was lightly injured, according to local reports.

Four short-range Kassam rockets were also fired at the Eshkol and Sha'ar HaNegev regions. No one was hurt and no damage was reported in any of the attacks.

Soldier Killed
St.-Sgt. Alexander Mishbitzki, 21, from Be'er Sheva, was killed, and four soldiers were lightly wounded, in a clash Tuesday morning with terrorists in northern Gaza City. He was the seventh military casualty of the war in Gaza; three civilians have also been killed.

Government Meeting
The Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss the progress of Operation Cast Lead and the current developments in the region and abroad. A decision will be reached later in the day as to whether and how to move ahead with military activities in Gaza, said government officials.

Disproportionate Israeli Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

Andy McCarthy

Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry has put out the following:

Israeli humanitarian aid to Gaza

12 Palestinians from Gaza transferred to Israeli hospitals for assistance and 2500 tons of humanitarian aid transferred to Gaza

(Communicated by the Ministry of Defense - Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories)

Today (Wednesday, December 31 2008), 12 Palestinians entered Israel for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. Two of those evacuated were children injured during the military activates, the remaining are chronically sick people, and their escorts, that entered Israel for treatment that is not available within the Gaza Strip. Further more, despite ongoing rocket fire, Israel continues with the extensive humanitarian effort in coordination with the international organizations, Palestinian Authority and various donors. Ninety three trucks, with approximately 2500 tons of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and medication were conveyed through Kerem Shalom cargo terminal. The World Food Programme has informed Israel that they will not be resuming shipment of food commodities in to Gaza due to the fact that their warehouses are at full capacity and will last for approximately two weeks.

Since the beginning of operation "Cast Lead" some 6500 tons of aid have been transferred at the request of the international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments. Preparations are underway to facilitate further shipments expected to arrive in the coming days.

ME: No indication yet that any aid packages have been strapped onto the 6300 (and counting) missiles those humanitarians from Hamas have fired into Israel since 2005. It seems to me this Israeli aid is very disproportionate. We'll be back to let you know if the New York Times thinks it should stop until Hamas catches up.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

CAIR's Silence on Hamas

The free world was shocked when terrorists caused trains and a bus to explode in London, attacked train stations in Madrid, and turned skyscrapers into piles of rubble in New York. Everyone agreed that there should be strong international cooperation in a joint effort aimed at terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamist fanatics.Israel's operation in Gaza is part of the global fight against terror. Israelis have the same basic right as the citizens of London, Madrid and New York, to live in safety in our cities and homes, without being exposed to the danger of rockets and bombs that might rain upon them at any given moment.

Fifteen seconds – that's all the time that hundreds of thousands of Israelis have from the moment the alarm sounds, signaling that a rocket has been launched at them by Hamas. Wherever they are – at home, in the car, in the street or in the shower – they have a mere 15 seconds in which to run with their wives and children to the nearest bomb shelter and save their lives. For eight long years the town of Sderot, located only four kilometers (2.5 miles) from Gaza, has been living this way. A quarter of the town's population has already deserted it. Would you be willing to live under such conditions, day and night, for eight years, veritable human sitting-ducks in the crosshairs of a Hamas projectile.

The Palestinians as a people are not our enemy. The Palestinians are our neighbors. We truly want to build bridges with them, bridges of dialog and hope for a better future.

The Hamas is our enemy. Hamas is a violent Islamic terror organization, a member of the radical Tehran-Hezbollah axis. With its hard-line adherence to a particularly extremist religious doctrine, the Hamas is unwilling to compromise and respects no agreements. Its declared aim is to eliminate the State of Israel and murder all its citizens. Hamas has blown up buses with all their passengers in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. Hamas sent suicide bombers to murder Israeli teenagers in discotheques. Hamas has perpetrated horrendous massacres in restaurants and cafes, killing hundreds of Israelis. How would you act if a brutal, armed-to-the-teeth terrorist organization were to send its murderers to kill men, women and children in your restaurants, supermarkets, and trains?

Moreover, Hamas is not the enemy of Israel alone, but the enemy of all moderate Palestinians. Only a short while ago, when Hamas took over Gaza by force, its men thought nothing of throwing their political opponents, supporters of Palestinian Authority Presidents Abbas, off tall buildings. Scores of Palestinians were killed by Hamas gunfire, as Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the hands of President Abbas. Moderate Palestinians know the bitter truth about Hamas. The European Union also knows the true face of Hamas, and has included it in its list of terror organizations. I would like you to know the truth, too.

Hamas is the incarnation of the Middle East's worst nightmare. It does not represent the Palestinian national desire for independence, because it objects to the two-state solution, that is, Israel and a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security. Rather, it espouses the idea of one fanatical Islamist state that would be established on top of the ruins of the Jewish state. The aim of Hamas is not to establish a Palestinian state; it never was. Instead, Hamas aims to destroy the state of Israel, plain and simple. This is the most important message which the media fails time and again to impart. If a terrorist organization were to demand the destruction of your country as a condition for terminating its violent aggression, would you nod your head and say Amen?

Three and a half years ago, in the summer of 2005, Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip completely. Anyone speaking today of the "Israeli occupation of Gaza" simply does not know what he's talking about. Or perhaps he does, but prefers to tell a tall tale. With courage and decisiveness, Israel uprooted all its military bases and civilian settlements, pulled out all of its people, to the very last one. The Palestinians were given a historical opportunity change their fate, and turn Gaza into an economic, national and cultural miracle. With massive international aid, they could have converted Gaza into a paradise of agriculture and hi-tech industry.

Instead, the Hamas seized control and made Gaza into a den of terrorism and oppression. It methodically violated all cease-fire agreements with Israel, smuggled Iranian-made weapons and rockets through tunnels dug under the border, and consistently ignored the basic human needs of Gaza's civilian population. Israel's disengagement from Gaza three years ago was a crucial historical test, one which the Hamas resoundingly failed.

There are some in the world who automatically blame Israel for anything bad that happens on Earth. Their world-view is black-and-white, with Israel always painted black. This is a serious distortion of morality, affecting the political and media spheres, that is probably fed by the same-old poisonous wells that nourish certain elements of the antisemitic psyche. This in turn finds expression in some caricatures and articles in daily papers, especially in western Europe, that cause shock and shame; shame that such modes of expression still exist in Europe in 2009.

In Israel's just struggle against terrorism we are not asking for your help. We ask only for your understanding, and expect you first and foremost to be fair. Before you criticize us, take a close look at yourselves in the mirror, and ask yourselves what you would do if your country was attacked by 8000 rockets fired for the express purpose of killing civilians. Would you sit around idly, doing nothing? How many of you would go out and protest, demanding that your government and army put an end to the unbearable situation?

People who have never felt what it's like to be bombed, who have never gone through the awful experience of running with their kids within 15 seconds to the bomb shelter, accuse us of a "disproportionate" response. What is the right formula for the appropriate response to rocket fire aimed at homes with the intent to kill? Would it be right to respond with 8000 rockets aimed at their homes? What is the correct moral arithmetic?

The Hamas deliberately fires at our civilians from their hideouts among their own civilian population. They deliberately hole up among women and children, in mosques and hospitals, while hoping that Israel will respond so that they can portray themselves as victims in the world press. This is a tremendous moral dilemma, which Israel handles far better than other armies in the world, who have found themselves in less difficult circumstances. There are those among the world media who fall easily into the traps of deceptive photos. I ask of you not to be taken in.

Despite the ongoing fighting, Israel endeavors to enable the transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza. On most days, some eighty trucks bring and unload tons of goods, food and medication to the border crossings for transport to Gaza. The Israel Air Force invests huge efforts to avoid hitting civilians who are not involved in terror. According to IDF publications, at Air Force meetings and briefings eighty per cent of the time is dedicated to discussing ways of hitting known terrorist targets without injury to surrounding civilians. Israeli aircraft distribute leaflets calling on residents to leave areas that are about to be bombed. Do you know of any other air force in the world that takes such measures, in the midst of war? Our people actually make telephone calls to homes in Gaza, warning innocent civilians of what may happen to a building that houses a Hamas HQ office or a stockpile of rockets.

Despite all our efforts, we are not always successful. Civilian casualties are deeply regretted. Mistakes happen even in times of peace, let alone in the turmoil of war. Only this week we lost some of our own troops, shot by their brothers in arms following an unfortunate mistake.

Our war against Hamas is aimed at protecting the lives of citizens of Israel's south, but it is far more than that. It also can protect the political process and the chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a chance that is persistently, obstinately, ferociously torpedoed by Hamas. It comes also to rescue this region from slipping into an abyss of fanaticism and from Iranian hegemony. It is part of the world's legitimate struggle against terrorism and murderous extremism.

When talking about the southern Israeli towns and cities, such as Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod, I ask you to engage in a mental exercise. Just for a moment, imagine your lovely city under a sudden barrage of Grad or Kassam rockets. Only if you put yourself for a moment in our place and realize the hardships that Israel's residents cope with, will you be able to see the picture in true color.

מח' מידע – אגף תקשורת

6 ינואר 2007

UNRWA: UN Schools Ban Terrorists

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu UNRWA: UN Schools Ban Terrorists

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness said terrorists are not allowed in its schools, and he demanded an "impartial" probe into IDF reports that Hamas shot mortars next to a school. He said he did not know off hand what constitutes an impartial body. "If there have been violations on either side, we want those responsible brought to justice," he told Israel National News. He added that he cannot comment on the IDF report that it shelled a UNRWA school after terrorists attacked soldiers with mortars from within the building.

At least 30 people, including children, died in the shelling, and the IDF reported that several Hamas terrorists also were killed.

"Allegations that UNRWA facilities are used by militants are always investigated and we will cooperate so our name can be cleared," Gunness stated. He also said he wants proof of the IDF claim that terrorists were killed in the shelling.

When questioned about an IDF video showing terrorists firing rockets from within the UNRWA schoolyard in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza October 2007, Gunness admitted that the school had been used for such purposes but without knowledge of UNRWA and only after it was deserted.

Gunness explained that the terrorists entered after the UN had evacuated children and teachers because of an Israel military operation. "We did not open the doors" for them, he added.

Gunness also claimed that the UNRWA teacher who was discovered to be a rocket manufacturer in his off hours was sacked and that his family did not receive pensions that usually are granted to workers.

IDF: Hamas Fired from UN School

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu IDF: Hamas Fired from UN School

Hamas fired mortar shells from a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school in Jabalya before the IDF retaliated with aerial bombing that killed Hamas terrorists as well as children, according to an initial IDF investigation. "Amongst the dead at the Jabalya school were Hamas terror operatives and a mortar battery cell who were firing on IDF forces in the area," the IDF said. "We face a very delicate situation where the Hamas is using the citizens of Gaza as a protective vest," according to IDF spokesman Brig. General Avi Benayahu.

The military said that it appeared "a number of mortar shells were fired at IDF forces from within the Jabalya school. In response to the incoming enemy fire, the forces returned mortar fire to the source." The IDF added that most probably a secondary explosion from explosives within the building added to the destruction.

"This is not the first time that Hamas has fired mortars and rockets from schools, in such a way deliberately using civilians as human shields in their acts of terror against Israel," according to the military. "This was already proven several months ago by footage from an unmanned plane depicting rockets and mortars being fired from the yard of an UNRWA school."

Israel faces a new flood of protests over the bombing. The IDF's initial conclusions were released four hours after international media blamed Israel and showed the bodies of children buried under rubble.

The U.N. used the school to shelter children, and before the IDF was able to report its initial report, Hamas used the incident to appeal to the U.N. for a ceasefire.

CNN quoted UNRWA director John Ging, as saying that "everybody here is terrorized by the situation [a "there is no place that you can be safe if you're a civilian here."

Despite the IDF clarification, foreign media played down the Hamas' use of the school and emphasized the IDF shelling. Reuters reported, "The Israeli military said its forces fired mortar rounds on a school in the Gaza Strip where about 40 Palestinians were reported killed on Tuesday, but said troops were responding to mortar fire from the U.N. premises." .

"Pain and Progress"

Our boys are in the toughest of fights now, since the beginning of this war.

Over night, we suffered three losses in the Golani Brigade. At this writing I know that one was the Commander, Col. Avi Peled, and another was Yousef Moadi, who will be buried in his Druse village of Yirka today. In addition, 24 were wounded. This happened in Saja'iya, when a contingent of our troops hid in an empty house and the house was hit by one of our own shells. This happens, but it's tough, tough stuff. In the course of the day, yesterday, another 12 soldiers had been wounded in other action; I understand most of these injuries were light to moderate.

For our part, in intense gun battles, we killed 100 Palestinian terrorists and captured 80, who will be interrogated. That interrogation should be greatly helpful in securing intelligence for our operations.

All and all, we are moving as had been planned and are said to be making good progress.


According to the Post's Khaled Abu Toameh, a very reliable source, Hamas desperately needs the fighting to stop, but is searching for some way to turn this into a "victory." At this point, what Abu Toameh describes is a rather schizoid situation, with some leaders wanting to call it quits and others wanting to keep fighting in order to "score some kind of 'military victory.'" Hamas is on the verge of collapse.

Hamas's leaders in Gaza have thrown away their cell phones and gone into hiding. They cannot be reached, and are no longer in direct communication with Hamas leaders in Damascus, or with their patrons in Damascus and Teheran. The leadership in Gaza knew nothing about the decision, made in Damascus, to send a mission to Cairo to discuss a cease-fire.

All in all, the military wing of Hamas, Izza al-Din al-Qassam -- which is what we are now fighting, is in control of Gaza, as the political elements in Gaza have abdicated. The fighters have been charged with doing everything possible to prevent the collapse of the Hamas regime. But because they have no guidance from local leadership, the result is chaos and anarchy: except for some long-distance communication from Syria, the gunmen are in charge on the street. Hamas as a local governing body has collapsed.

This has implications not only for our ultimate victory, but for what lies in store for Gaza after the war.


Reports are surfacing that if matters continue to go as intended, we might be finished in 78 hours. It is not clear if this is what was intended, if we're progressing faster than had been expected (which seems to be the case), or if this is all the time it is estimated we will have before the international community intervenes.


About that international community:

The Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, which chairs the EU at the moment, said in a press conference:

"We didn't have a specific plan for the cease-fire because the cease-fire must be concluded by the parties. We can help it, mediate, assist a solution, but it not up to us to propose the conditions of the cease-fire."

And so there is speculation by some analysts and diplomats that the visit of the EU delegation, and the separate visit of Sarkozy, were meant in part for domestic consumption.

Certainly, "we think you should stop, but you have to work it out, we can't tell you what to do," does not seem to be a major threat to our military progress.


Sarkozy, without a doubt, has been a thorn in our side, however. Where did he go as soon as he came to this area? To Ramallah, to meet with President Abbas. And standing next to Abbas (talk about playing to the Arabs), he declared that the fighting must stop "as soon as possible." He said he would be delivering the message that the violence must stop when he came here.

But it seems to me that Olmert handled him as well as he might have. Yesterday he appealed to him to block a Security Council resolution for a ceasefire. France currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council.

Said Olmert:

"We defined from the very beginning a limited goal - to change the security situation in the South and to free thousands of citizens from the threat of terror.

"In view of the diplomatic developments, it would be unwise to pass a resolution on the matter, since past experience has proven that Israel cannot afford restricting its freedom to act against terrorism...

"Sometimes the need to find a compromise in the UN comes at Israel's expense..."

I do not know what Sarkozy said to Olmert, other than offering a vague promise to keep working on the issue with him, but I would not hold my breath with regard to his cooperation in the matter. It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised here.


The Security Council is scheduled to meet and discuss the situation in Gaza later today (well after this will have gone out). French Foreign Minister Bernard Koucher (who is no friend to Israel) will be presiding over this meeting. The goal enunciated by some parties is to promote an immediate ceasefire. But it's not going to happen so fast.

Said Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to the UN, there should not be "false expectations": "Practical arrangements have to be put in place in which everyone has confidence that it will be maintained, it will be respected, it will be observed," and these will take more than "a day or two."

In any event, Israel has no expectations with regard to what the UN might do, and intends to proceed as necessary. "We're fed up with empty gestures," Olmert has said.


President George Bush has been a sterling friend during this process. He said:

"I understand Israel's desire to protect itself and that the situation now taking place, in Gaza, was caused by Hamas...I know people are saying, let's have a cease-fire. And those are noble ambitions. But any cease-fire must have the conditions in it so that Hamas does not use Gaza as a place from which to launch rockets."


The US is currently working on international channels outside the UN for establishing a "meaningful" ceasefire. The goal is said to be to end rocket fire by Hamas, secure opening of crossings, and insure that no further smuggling of arms is done. In some contexts I have read that Bush wants Hamas held responsible.

Olmert has spoken about disarming Hamas, but I see no mention of this. And, while Shalit is not being mentioned here (and should be!), I have read that Israel will not agree to normalization -- which refers to crossings being opened -- until Gilad Shalit is returned.


I would like to examine in some more detail the entire notion of observers or monitors at the Philadelphi Corridor to prevent smuggling of weapons. We have destroyed perhaps the better part of 100 tunnels running under that Corridor, but it is perfectly possible for many to be dug again, and for Hamas to bring in even more weaponry, if not prevented from doing so.

In general, the notion of international monitors is a joke. UNIFIL "supervised" in Lebanon while Hezbollah re-armed under the noses of these troops. Actually, the situation has been so ludicrous that UNIFIL does patrols that deliberately avoid Hezbollah strongholds. Egypt was supposed to be monitoring on its side of the Corridor, but, pleased to allow Hamas to harass Israel, has pretty much turned a blind eye to weapons smuggling.

When we pulled out of Gaza for the "disengagement" in late August 2005, we were supposed to remain at the Philadelphi Corridor (which, technically, is a sort of no-man's land between Gaza and the Sinai). But then along came Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and pressured us to leave the Corridor. We should have said no -- our security people knew it was a bad deal. This was about giving the PA more control, you see.

A deal was worked out in which the PA supervised on its side of the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza. (The Corridor is the entire length of the Gaza-Sinai border, Rafah is an actual crossing facility.) European observers were stationed there and theoretically information was supposed to be transmitted to us by computer informing us of who was crossing -- there was a desire by Israel to keep out terrorists and the suitcases full of money they sometimes carry. This, too, was a huge joke. All the Europeans did was "observe." And not only did we not reliably receive information in a timely fashion, we had no way to stop someone we objected to from getting through. Then Hamas took over, and it all fell apart.


So why should we have the remotest confidence now that any international forces will be effective there? And what will Israel ultimately agree to?

The Reuters report that Olmert was demanding monitors with real enforcement responsibility was encouraging -- forces that were armed and trained and able to take out new tunnels.

Best of all would be our returning to the Corridor.


Lastly here now, I want to look at Livni's comments yesterday on the arrival of the European mission. She said some very good things. For example:

"...a necessary war on terror does not end with an agreement. We don't sign agreements with terror; we fight terror."

But she also said, "The region is divided between moderates and extremists. Each person in the region must pick a side to work with. Hamas works with Iran." And she concluded that signing an agreement with a terror organization would prevent Israel from advancing the "peace deal."

The corollary: Allow us to take down Hamas properly, because you all want peace here, and then we'll be able to achieve it.

A very dangerous and erroneous conclusion. But this is the way Livni is headed. She envisions a situation in which Hamas is destroyed, and Gaza is turned over to the PA -- after which she is elected prime minister and manages to negotiate "peace."

No, the Fatah is not Hamas. But it's goals are not so different. It too wants us gone and seeks all of the land. We are not about to have "peace" with the PA. This approach is something that must be monitored, and protested, vigorously, once the war is done.

The catch here is that, Livni's goals not withstanding, there is solid reason to believe that radical forces in Gaza would never accept the PA. That is certainly the opinion of some very savvy analysts.

The question, then, is who will be in power in Gaza at the end of the day. The mistake that fueled this situation was our leaving in 2005. What is certain is that the struggle will not end on the day the fighting stops.

After I posted yesterday, I received this information from Minka Goldstein and put it out now for all those in the Washington DC area who want to attend a rally for Israel:

Today, Tuesday, January 6, at 12:30 PM at the Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Dr. NW, DC
Take the Red Metro Line -- Van Ness Stop.

Wednesday, January 7, at 12:00 PM at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
Take the Red, Green or Yellow Metro Line -- Gallery Place Stop, Chinatown Exit.

For more information, call 301-770-0881.

see my website

Demonized Israeli Settlers

Their fate is ours too.

By Barbara Lerner, NRO

Israeli settlers have a unique status in the world — a special infamy. It’s not just that governments everywhere condemn them; it’s that mainstream media throughout the world join in. That’s reality today, not just in Muslim lands and Islamist-embracing European Union states, but here in America, too. Compare our media’s treatment of Israeli settlers with that accorded Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamist group that held Bombay hostage in November. LeT is not an easy group to defend. In their recruiting pitch, they don’t just promise to kill Hindus and take back Kashmir; they promise to restore Muslim supremacy to the world by conquering America and Britain and wiping out Israel. That’s why they took special pains to kill every American they could identify in Bombay hotels, and why they made an extra stop at a tiny Bombay home-away-from-home for visiting Jews, to torture and kill everyone caught there. Still, even while the slaughter was fresh, PBS star Deepak Chopra got mainstream media microphones to urge us to consider the legitimacy of at least some LeT grievances against India and against us, and to think about winning potential Islamist recruits to our side by making some concessions to them, for the sake of peace and justice.

No comparable urgings have been heard about the possible legitimacy of any settler grievances in our mainstream media for 15 years; no one argues for any concessions to them in the interest of peace, justice, or anything else — not any more. The celebrated 1993 Oslo peace process with the Palestinians brought no peace, but it did give Israeli settlers a new public identity. Under Menachem Begin — the right-wing Israeli prime minister who made a peace with Egypt that has minimized violence on that front for 30 years — settlers were national heroes, Israel’s bravest and best. Under Prime Minister Rabin and his left-wing successors — the men who brought us a 15-year peace process marked by 15 years of increasing Arab violence — Israeli settlers were re-branded as “obstacles to peace,” and the process of demonizing them began. Here in America, we were all but unanimous in embracing Oslo. A decade and a half later, our mainstream politicians and foreign-policy mavens still are — although today they call it the Annapolis process, in honor of the latest failed Oslo-style peace process. They are just as consistent and unanimous in dismissing the settlers as so far beyond the pale that no respectable person would think about arguing their case in public. Many go farther, insisting that defeating Israeli settlers is not just an obvious necessity for peace, but a righteous cause in itself. In their increasingly heated rhetoric, Israeli settlers are a senselessly violent bunch of “extremists” and “thugs” we must all join together to crush.

Over time, many Americans on both the Right and the Left have come to more or less accept this view of Israeli settlers, and American Jews are even more committed to it than American Christians. Some 40 percent of America’s Christians are Bible-believing Evangelicals, and most of them strongly support the settlers, for secular as well as religious reasons, even though they never get to express that support in mainstream media outlets. The proportion of American Jews who support the settlers is much smaller: perhaps 15 to 20 percent, and they don’t get a mainstream microphone either.

That suits our Israeli peace partners — Israel’s deeply corrupt, incompetent, and anti-democratic leftist elite — because they hate the settlers with a passion few Americans can grasp, let alone match. For this entrenched elite, settlers are the arch-enemy — a greater threat than Palestinian terrorists and their increasingly aggressive Arab and Persian jihadi brothers in places like Lebanon, where this elite presided over Israel’s first lost war; and in exploding Gaza, where the settlers that this elite forced out have been replaced by a Hamas army that keeps a growing number of Israeli cities under rocket attack. Against all these hyperactive Islamist enemies, Israel’s far-left rulers have been extremely reluctant warriors, preferring almost any concession to battle, typically refusing to make even the barest attempt to enforce the law against ongoing Arab land-grabs, and turning an increasingly blind eye to growing Arab violence against Jews.

With Israeli settlers, Israel’s current leftist rulers go to the opposite extreme, routinely taking a hyperaggressive, hyperpunitive stance, then responding to nonviolent settler protests with the kind of brutality that would outrage most Americans if the victims were members of any other group anywhere. But, because our mainstream media is closed to the voices of the settlers and their Israeli friends, as well as those of the American Christians, Jews, and (yes) Muslims who still defend them, most Americans have heard a host of wild exaggerations and outright lies about settler violence, and nothing at all about government violence against them.

Readers can begin to break through this news blackout by clicking on this video. What you will see is the ugly reality of the soothingly benign-sounding peace process in Israel: black-clad, mounted Israeli police deliberately trampling settlers under the hooves of their horses and bringing their clubs down on the heads of determined but peaceful protestors — unarmed men and women, young and old — with enough force to open bloody cranial and facial wounds on hundreds of people. This particular video records what happened to the settlers of Amona in 2006, but to fully grasp the reality behind it, you need two additional facts.

First, the Israeli police who carried out these savage attacks on unarmed Jewish civilians are not rogue elements like the American soldiers who abused Arab prisoners at Abu Ghraib without the knowledge or consent of their superiors. These men were following orders from the highest levels of Israel’s left-wing “peace” government. Second, the events at Amona were not unique. Israel’s leftist government has had the police attack settlers in other places too. More often, they allow anti-settler vigilante groups, Jewish and Arab, to attack the settlers unmolested. Then, with the aid of the corrupt justice and court system they dominate, they jail and imprison the settlers, sometimes for long periods. Desperate, now, because polls predict they will lose big in the looming Israeli election on February 10, the current Israeli government may make a major, last-ditch effort against the settlers before it. Odds are, we won’t notice. Our eyes will be focused elsewhere, because the rocketeers of Gaza chose to mount a major escalation before the election too, making it impossible for even a “peace” government like this one to avoid a military response.

Care to move beyond caricature and calumny and take an unblinkered look at who Israeli settlers actually are, and when and why they were transformed from a widely admired little band of brave and selfless patriots into a synonym for evil and a scapegoat for the world? Read on, please. Settlers are Israeli Jews who reject the basic demand of the Palestinians: the demand that large parts of Biblical Israel be Judenrein — cleansed of any Jewish presence for all eternity. Settlers claim a right to buy land and live and work on it, anywhere in the Biblical triangle between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, and between the Red Sea and the Golan Heights, and they act on that right by building and living in communities in places like Hebron, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Amona. They claim, just as fiercely, the right to preserve, defend, and keep open to Jews, Christians, and appropriately respectful others, the physical sites and structures where the founders and key followers of the two great religions of the West lived, worked, and died: places like Abraham’s tomb and Joseph’s, and the Church of the Nativity, built over the place where Jesus was born — places that Palestinian attackers have desecrated and tried to destroy in the years after Oslo. Most settlers are deeply religious people who revere these places as sacred sites, but you don’t have to be a believer to think their obliteration would be an irreparable loss to civilized people of all religions everywhere — any more than you have to be a Buddhist to mourn the destruction of the colossal, 1,500-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas by the same kind of Islamist jihadis in Afghanistan in 2001.

Most Americans who sympathize with Palestinians do so because they see them as natives, and see Israelis as newly arrived Westerners. In fact, most Israeli settlers are Mizrahi: Jews who were dispersed to a host of Middle Eastern lands after the Roman conquest of Israel 2,000 years ago, but, unlike the Ashkenazi (the Jews most Americans know), never left the Middle East. They have lived in the region for 5,000 continuous years and have long been the majority in Israel — roughly, 3 to 4 million of Israel’s 5 to 6 million Jews. Tourist brochures to the contrary notwithstanding, relatively few Mizrahi really speak English, but most are still as fluent in Arabic or Persian as they are in Hebrew, and most believe what all Israeli settlers and most American evangelicals believe about Jewish rights in Biblical Israel.

In the post-Oslo peace-seeking world we now inhabit, at least in polite society, we disapprove of all these settlers for the same essential reason we disapprove — albeit with less unanimity and ferocity — of other groups fighting for land in the region: LeT, the Taliban, the PKK, Hamas, and Hezbollah, among others. All these groups look more or less alike to us, because we see them all as obstacles to the illusory kind of peace we are pursuing. From this perspective, the stark differences that set Israeli settlers apart from the other groups are irrelevant distractions, and we ignore or deny them.

Let’s break the rules and look at two of them. First, all the other groups are terrorist groups. Israeli settlers are not a terrorist group. They are not a race of saints, and they definitely believe in self-defense, at least against Arab attackers, but they don’t condone terrorism, practice it, or lionize those who do. The record proves that very clearly. If anything, they have shown remarkable restraint. Those who say otherwise — a virtual industry on the Israeli Left — are guilty of gross bias and grosser cover-ups.

Second, the other groups have wildly expansionist territorial aims. The basic, animating idea of their various ideologies is that they and their fellows — Sunnis or Shia, Wahabi or Taliban, Arabs or Persians, Afghan or Pakistani tribesmen — are the rightful rulers of the world. That makes them a threat, not just to their immediate neighbors, but to all of us, and to any hope of stability in the world, much less anything like actual peace in the Middle East. Israeli settlers have never had any territorial ambitions beyond the small, historic homeland of the Jews, Israel’s ancient Biblical home, the Jewish state the Romans called “Palestine” — the Jordan-to-the-Mediterranean triangle that the League of Nations approved as a homeland for the Jewish people in 1922, long before our current, thoroughly hostile and corrupt U.N. existed.

With or without the blessing of the League, the U.N., or any outside body, Israeli settlers have always shown a steadfast willingness to face any danger and endure any hardship to defend their right to live, work, preserve, and build in Biblical Israel. When allowed to do so in the past, they often turned local Arab enmity into something like friendship, however temporary, creating prosperity and peace for their immediate Arab neighbors as well as themselves, as the settlers did in the gardens they created in Gaza, before Israel’s leftists forcibly evicted them in 2005, turning Gaza into the impoverished, Hamas-ruled hellhole and missile launch-pad it is now.

Settlers have demonstrated their devotion to the land of Israel in other ways too: They are overrepresented in every special unit of the Israeli military that requires uncommon skill and courage, and in all of them, they have repeatedly demonstrated both. For all these reasons and more, settlers were generally seen as heroes in much of the West — until 1993. That’s when the Israeli Left, under Rabin, decided to bring Yasser Arafat — a defeated but unrepentant Arab terrorist leader in exile in Tunisia — back to Israel to negotiate a peace deal. This deal was never anything but a taqqiya — a deception to win by undeclared war what all the Arab states failed to win in the long series of declared wars that began with U.N. recognition of a pitifully truncated Jewish state in 1948.

Oslo was a breakthrough victory for the Arabs’ undeclared war, and Israel has been losing ever since, because the plain truth — obvious to anyone who reads what Arabs say to one another, as opposed to the propaganda our media broadcast — is that neither Arafat nor any of his successors ever had any intention of making any sort of genuine peace with Israel, no matter what concessions Israel offered. Neither do any of the Arab and Persian rulers who supply the Palestinians with a steady flow of weapons with which to massacre Jews (and, also, to use against each other in Tweedledee-and-Tweedledum wars between the “good” Palestinian terrorists of Fatah and the “bad” Palestinian terrorists of Hamas). We take it for granted now that the only just and viable solution to the problem of Palestinian terrorism — in Israel, and in the many other places all over the globe where Palestinian terrorists are on the attack — is to reward them with a state of their own, a 23rd Arab state that usurps the old Roman name for Israel. But what most Palestinians really want is to drive the Jews out. Beyond that, their attachment to the land is so slight that, in a recent poll, 70 percent said that if paid to do so, they would voluntarily go elsewhere.

We forget that America never promised to give these Arabs a state of their own until 2002, when George W. Bush promised them one, if — and only if — they completely rejected terrorism, once and for all. Then we forgot the if, and decided that giving them a state without even a diminution, let alone a cessation, of terrorism was the only road to “peace in the Middle East.” That’s not peacemaking; it’s rank appeasement, and it’s what the latest, most damaging peace process of all, the Annapolis process, is all about. It’s what the current U.S. administration is trying to force down the unwilling throats of the Israeli people before it leaves office on January 20, and what the thoroughly disgraced Israeli rulers whom Israelis will vote out of office on February 10 are desperately eager to foist on them. If they succeed, and Israel’s new government allows itself to be bound by Annapolis — or anything like it — it won’t just be the end for Israel; it will be the beginning of the end for us, and for what is left of our rapidly retreating Western civilization.

Peace is a wonderful thing; all good people yearn for it. But appeasement and denial do not bring peace; they bring defeat. To win the war Islamists are waging against us, we must pursue victory, not “peace.” Our Islamist enemies everywhere understand that very well, and they see the coming victory of their Palestinian vanguard as a climactic, world-changing defeat, not just for Israel, but for us. To begin to grasp the symbolic power of that defeat, and the enormity of the boost it will give to Islamist morale and recruitment everywhere, imagine the Islamist reaction to a Western takeover of the Muslim equivalent of Israel — Mecca and Medina and the sacred sands around them. To the last man, they would fight to the death to prevent that, and they see our failure to wage an effective war as proof that we are cowards they can and will defeat completely, and soon. If we do not take off our politically correct blinders and fight back, strongly and soon, history may yet prove them right.

— Barbara Lerner is a frequent NRO contributor.

Ted Belman