Saturday, January 17, 2009

Former Extremist Sees Hypocrisy in Gaza Debate

IPT News

A former Egyptian radical offers some strong words for those in the "Arab street" and westerners who have come out so strongly against Israel's attempt to neuter Hamas militarily. Tawfik Hamid challenges Israel's critics to be consistent:

"If it truly cared for Muslims' lives, it should have demonstrated in the same numbers and with equal vehemence against the Islamists who murder hundreds of thousands of their fellow Muslims, not to mention the Hamas slaughter of rival Fatah members - women and children included."
Hamid, author of Inside Jihad, an autobiographical account of his life in radical Islamist movements and his transition into a reformist, now lives in America and lectures on the extremist threat.

He might agree with some of the demonstrators that the conflict in Gaza is unnecessary. However, Hamid pins the blame on Hamas as the aggressor:

"If the Palestinians focused on building their society rather than destroying those of others, the whole region would enjoy peace and flourish. Should Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist, end terrorism against Jews and nurture a sincere desire to live in peace, they would end their suffering."

His column ran in the Jerusalem Post. Here's hoping U.S. outlets pick it up, too.

By IPT News | Fri, 16 Jan 2009 at 3:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Situational Outrage?

Amid all the shrill condemnation over its incursion into Gaza, Jerusalem Post Editor David Horovitz notices a surprising acceptance of the fact that Israel has bombed a number of mosques in Gaza in its campaign to defang Hamas.

The bombings have not been the target of a new wave of protests over the destruction of Muslim houses of worship. Horovitz guesses this is because it is accepted that Hamas desecrated them first by storing explosives in them and because "Islamists know they've been found out."

One bombed mosque was named for Ibrahim al-Maqadma, a Hamas founder and military chief killed by the Israeli military in 2003 in retaliation for a series of Hamas suicide bombings. "There has been no frenzied rush" to deny Israeli claims that the mosques are being used to store weapons and as Hamas command centers, Horovitz writes.

If people aren't going to blame Israel, he wonders why they aren't blaming Hamas for creating the situation:

"Imagine the intra-Jewish storm were a synagogue's sanctity to be compromised in any remotely comparable manner. So where are the Islamic leaders, in Gaza and beyond, bitterly castigating Hamas for its unholy disrespect? And where are the horrified rank and file worshipers?"

It's not the only violation of the rules of warfare by Hamas, he notes:

"Civilians are supposed to be off limits. So too, by extension, homes, schools and places of worship. Yet Hamas stores its ammunition and manufacturers its weaponry in precisely such places."

Hamas fighters are wearing street clothes to blend in with civilians and keeping children nearby as they launch missiles toward Israel, in hopes it will dissuade an Israeli response.

By IPT News | Tue, 13 Jan 2009 at 3:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Seeking to Explain the "Tidal Wave of Indignation"

A terrorist group targets Israeli civilians with suicide bombings and rockets aimed at civilian centers and the world offers a collective yawn. But when Israel responds forcefully, seeking to neuter Hamas' ability to kill, "a tidal wave of indignation" results.

King's College professor Efraim Karsh wonders why this happens in this article for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Answering his own question, Karsh blames anti-Semitism.

It can't be simply a concern over civilian deaths, he argues. Conflicts in Darfur, Congo and Chechnya have led to exponentially greater civilian casualties, yet:

"None of these tragedies saw protesters flock into the streets of London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Oslo, Dublin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Washington, and Fort Lauderdale (to give a brief list), as has been the case during the Gaza crisis."

He notes that no movement toward Palestinian statehood occurred in the 19 years Egypt and Jordan controlled the West Bank and Gaza and that some Arab regimes have treated Palestinians far worse than this. But Israeli action invariably sparks a reflexive outcry including "despicable comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa" that Karsh argues are rooted in anti-Jewish sentiment:

"Put differently, the Palestinians are but the latest lightning rod unleashed against the Jews, their supposed victimization reaffirming the millenarian demonization of the Jews in general, and the medieval blood libel - that Jews delight in the blood of others - in particular."

It's a provocative essay. Clearly it does not speak to all critics of the Israeli response, including those who express concern that the move could backfire and create more harm than good. But Karsh does have a point in his basic equation – terrorist actions draw light rebukes and a global shrug. Efforts to impede the terrorists' ability to act are treated as unforgivable forms of aggression.

By IPT News | Mon, 12 Jan 2009 at 5:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
British Brotherhood Company

The battle between Israel and Hamas in Gaza certainly is an emotional one for all sides. People are dying and, regardless of your view, that is a tragedy. But deference to such dire events is no excuse for letting advocates make outrageous claims without challenge.

The BBC should have figured this out by now, but it is drawing criticism for an appearance on an Arabic language program last week by Kamal El-Helbawy, a Muslim Brotherhood figure and founder of the Muslim Association of Britain. As the Telegraph reported, Helbawy said Israeli children were fair targets for attack because they are "future soldiers."

He also repeated a meme that Israeli children are taught math through examples involving the killing of Arabs:

"In elementary school they pose the following math problem - 'In your village, there are 100 Arabs. If you killed 40, how many Arabs would be left for you to kill?' This is taught in the Israeli curriculum."

Critics say Helbawy's words could incite attacks. "That goes in people's ears and spreads like wildfire and the listeners think it's OK to go and murder Israelis," Palestine Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus told the newspaper.

Helbawy calls himself a moderate. But he has a history of slurring Jews and Christians and advocating conflict. Officials barred him from coming to the U.S. in 2006.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Here is another powerful letter from Israel

Someone responding in anger to a cousin who was being sympathetic to Gaza

Go to Hell David. Come and live in Sderot and ask this question. All Hamas rockets are meant to kill Israeli civilians. They have no political objectives. They are aimed at cities, not army bases. The Israeli army can't ask for ID cards when attacking. We got out, and got DAILY rockets in return ever since. We did not react for 3 years. The so-called cease-fire was entirely one sided, while Hamas and Jihad shot qassams and mortars every day. This was probably not reported much because it was not news. But when Israel reacted, that became news. You know damned well that if the shoe were on the other foot, the civilian Israeli casualties would be much higher. More Israelis died by suicide bombers than Hamas have. Egyptian, Palestinian and other Arab leaders have openly blamed Hamas for provoking Israel's natural reaction. Where were you while their rockets were landing? Did you decry their ignoring civilians? Or aiming at them? Did you join marchers against Palestinian actions? Have you any feelings for the many Palestinians who don't want Hamas, but some peace? All attacks have been aimed at Hamas operatives and soldiers. They are going to move around civilian areas on purpose in order for there to be casualties, and you swallow it. What about our humanitarian rights? Is it right or fair for us to remain target practice forever because these scum refuse any accommodation? Are we to keep letting them prevent our kids from going to school or play outside while they lob lethal weapons at us everyday, AFTER we left Gaza as they have cried for so long? You are not good natured.

You are willing for Jews to die but cry for people who want to wipe us out so they can keep doing so, just so you can have a clear conscience. Well David, again go to Hell. I've had enough of phony liberals like you. Canada fired live ammo at a Spanish ship over fishing rights, but for an Israeli to fight back to stay alive is an outrage, despite all the measures designed to minimize civilian casualties. Each time a border crossing was opened to allow food and supplies into Gaza, it was attacked by Hamas, who then insisted that they be reopened for humanitarian reasons. And you pay for it. Our Palestinian gardener and I have solved the mid-east problems many times while he eats lunch at our house. He understands and is disgusted more than you are. The Palestinians could have had a country and peace many times but have rejected it every time. The Arab world is sick of them. I really have nothing more to say to you.

Jonathan Sacks speaks-to Palestinian supporters

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Trafalgar Square

We are gathered today, not in triumph but in tears.

Nothing that has happened in Gaza needed to happen.

All it took to avoid all the suffering was for Hamas to end firing rockets on innocent Israeli civilians. That's all.

And let a voice go out today from here in Trafalgar Square, and from other gatherings today in Manchester, Paris and Washington - as it has gone out from Israel since the day it was born, 60 years ago:. We want peace.
Israel wants peace.
We who love Israel want peace.
No to terror -- yes to peace.
Let there be an end to bloodshed and hate.
Let there be peace.

We say to those who criticise Israel:
You want Palestinian children to grow up with hope.
So do we.
You want Palestinians to be able to live in dignity.
So do we.
You want Palestinian parents to have work, income, and a life for their families.
So do we.

When a great British Zionist, the late Dr David Baum, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics,
a man who lived in Bristol but asked to be buried, as he was, in Israel, in Rosh Pinah, sought to give expression to his hopes for Israel, he created a state-of-the-art child care facility. Where?

In Gaza.

He died on a sponsored cycle ride raising money for paediatric facilities in Gaza.

When one of the finest young men of our community, Yoni Jesner, was killed in a suicide attack on Tel Aviv bus, his family donated his organs to save life, one of whom was a seven-year-old Palestinian girl Yasmin Abu Ramila who had been waiting two years for a transplant.

We care about the Palestinian future.
We care for Palestinian children.
We care about life.

And that is why we say to Hamas, who for years, day after day, have been endangering the lives of innocent people:

Stop killing the Palestinian future.

In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza.

It said to the people of Gaza: the land is yours. The factories, the farms, the buildings our people built are yours. The aid you seek in building an economy is yours. That is when terror should have stopped.

Instead that is when the current wave of terror began.

The living nightmare for the people of Sderot and Ashdod and Ashkelon. A ceaseless rain of rockets injuring and killing young and old, the vulnerable, the innocent, who wanted nothing except peace.
There are young children in Sderot who have only known a life of living in bomb shelters.

Who can live like that?

When Jews built the land and state of Israel the land where our ancestors lived for 4000 years, they didn't want to fight with their neighbours.
They didn't want to spend a lifetime fighting war and fearing terror.
All they wanted to do was live.

And so we ask Hamas, and Hizbollah, and the countries that give them aid and arms,
Why do you want Israel to die?
Stop wanting Israel to die.
Start wanting your children to live.

There is one question that cries out for an answer.

Why, Hamas, do you hold in such contempt not just Israeli lives but Palestinian lives?

Why do you fire rockets from schools, store arms in hospitals, surround yourself with human shields?

Why have you consistently acted so as to maximise the death of innocent Palestinians?

In the words of Colonel Richard Kemp, (reported in today's Sunday Times), Senior military adviser to the British cabinet:
'Hamas deploys suicide attackers including women and children,
And rigs up schools and houses with booby trap explosives.
Virtually every aspect of its operations is illegal under international humanitarian law.'

The Palestinian future will begin the minute Hamas stops firing rockets on innocent Israelis; the minute they try to stop killing the people whom they see as enemies but who want to live as friends; the minute they stop endangering the Palestinian people by pursuing a policy that is blighting the Palestinian future.

Just say three words:
Yes to peace.

And a day will come when Israelis and Palestinians
Jews Muslims and Christians
the people of Sderot and the people of Gaza
will live together in peace
no longer fighting one another
but helping one another to live in freedom and dignity.
that day will come.

It could be a hundred years away
Or it could be today.

It's up to Hamas and the countries that give it arms.
And for the sake of Palestinian children, and Israeli children,
Let it be today.

But in the meanwhile we say,
Beloved G-d
The G-d we worship
The G-d of life who told us to sanctify life
Al Rahman, the G-d of compassion
The G-d of Avraham, Ibrahim, father of our several faiths
Show us the way to live your way.
The way of Salaam,
The way of Shalom.
The way of Peace.

U.N. Agency That Runs School Hit in Gaza Employed Hamas and Islamic Jihad Members

Joel Mowbray

The United Nations agency that administers a school in Gaza where dozens of civilians were killed by Israeli mortar fire last week has admitted to employing terrorists to work at its Palestinian schools in the past, has no system in place to keep members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad off its payroll, and provides textbooks to children that contain hate speech and other incendiary information.A growing chorus of critics has taken aim at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in recent years, although momentum on Capitol Hill has been slow. But last week's incident, which Israel maintains was prompted by Hamas operatives firing mortars at Israelis from a location near the school, has prompted some lawmakers to scrutinize the U.N. agency.

Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., introduced a resolution in the fall calling for greater transparency and accountability at UNRWA. The bill called on the agency to make its textbooks available on the Internet for public inspection and to implement "terrorist name recognition software and other screening procedures that would help to ensure that UNRWA staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries are neither terrorists themselves, nor affiliated with known terrorist organizations."

Rothman said he plans to re-introduce his UNRWA resolution in the coming weeks because, "as timely as this bill was before, it is even more timely now. It is urgent that Congress can be assured that U.S. taxpayer money is not being spent to support Hamas and its murderous activities."

A spokesman for UNRWA adamantly said that the agency is now free of terrorist connections. "We're composed of social workers and teachers," the official explained. "We take every step possible to have only civilians inside UNRWA facilities."

But the U.N. Personal History form for UNRWA employees does not ask whether someone is a member of, or affiliated with, a terrorist organization such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad. And there is no formal screening to ensure that employees are not affiliated with terrorist entities.

Asked about this, the UNRWA spokesman replied, "Palestinian staff sign an undertaking confirming that they have no political affiliations whatsoever, and have not and will not participate in any activities that would violate the neutrality of the U.N."

There is no formal enforcement, however, to monitor possible terrorist activities by employees after they sign the pledge at the time of hiring.

UNRWA official Chris Guinness told the Jerusalem Post this week that the agency screens names of new employees against the relatively small U.N. database of Taliban and Al Qaeda figures. Extremist Palestinians, however, are far more likely to belong to organizations, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, that are not on that watch list.

In 2004, former UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told the Canadian Broadcasting Company, "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as a crime." He added, "We do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another."

There have been several high-profile examples of terrorists being employed by UNRWA. Former top Islamic Jihad rocket maker Awad Al-Qiq, who was killed in an Israeli air strike last May, was the headmaster and science instructor at an UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza. Said Siyam, Hamas' interior minister and head of the Executive Force, was a teacher for over two decades in UNRWA schools.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say they are also concerned that terrorist propaganda is being taught in UNRWA schools. A notebook captured by Israeli officials at the UNRWA school in the Kalandia refugee camp several years ago glorified homicide bombers and other terrorists. Called "The Star Team," it profiled so-called "martyrs," Palestinians who had died either in homicide bombings or during armed struggle with Israel. On the book's back cover was printed the UNRWA emblem, as well as a photo of a masked gunman taking aim while on one knee.

There is evidence that students educated in UNRWA schools are much more likely to become homicide bombers, said Jonathan Halevi, a former Israeli Defense Forces intelligence officer who specializes in Palestinian terrorist organizations. Halevi has spent several years building an extensive database for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs of terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Islamic extremist groups.

Though he cautioned that estimates are tricky because the identity of an attacker is not always made public, Halevi estimated that over 60 percent of homicide bombers were educated in UNRWA schools. By comparison, roughly 25-30 percent of Palestinian students in the West Bank, the origin of almost all homicide bombers since the start of the intifada in 2000, attend UNRWA schools, according to the agency's figures.

A UNRWA spokesman strongly disputed any connection between the agency's schools and a greater likelihood of terrorist activity later in life. As proof, he pointed to UNRWA's "special efforts in our schools to teach tolerance, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution."

UNRWA sent an eight-page brochure to that speaks about the group's tolerance, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution curriculum. But it makes no mention of tolerance toward Jews or Christians or of peaceful coexistence with Israel. Rather, it is geared toward student interaction, the rights students should expect in society, and learning to express emotions through acting, painting, and storytelling.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Israeli Arabs to protest against...Israel

Jihad is thicker than citizenship. "Arab village in Negev to host latest major protest against IDF strikes," by Yoav Stern for Haaretz, January 15 (thanks to James):

A protest against the offensive in Gaza will be held tomorrow in the Negev village of Arara. The protest, organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, will be the third to be held since the start of Operation Cast Lead. Last week's demonstration was held in Baka al-Garbiyeh, where the local council is led by former Kfar Sava mayor Yitzhak Wald, appointed by the Interior Ministry after the previous municipal head was deemed unable to function. Tomorrow's event will be held in the Negev village of Arara (also known as Aroer), where the council is headed by Yitzhak Shalom, another Interior Ministry appointee.

Local council heads have abstained from hosting these protests. This may be attributed to the unrest across the country after remarks from Sakhnin mayor Mazen Genaim, who at the first protest two weeks ago referred to Gazans killed by Israeli fire as "martyrs," causing widespread condemnation among Jewish Israelis.

Genaim also drew fierce criticism from the Arabic-language press, which said he backtracked from his remarks. Yesterday Genaim declined to discuss the matter with Haaretz.

Many local authority heads also reportedly objected to hosting the protest because they feared that protesters would clash with the police. A demonstration in Umm al-Fahm on the first day of the Gaza operation has kept Jewish shoppers from entering the city since, despite the quiet there....

Venezuela Cuts Diplomatic Ties

Hana Levi Julian Venezuela Cuts Diplomatic Ties

International media are reporting that Venezuela has cut its diplomatic ties with Israel to protest the Jewish State's counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, but Israel's Foreign Ministry said early Thursday morning that the statement was not quite accurate.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat told Israel National News in an exclusive interview that the embassy in Caracas had not been closed and that the Venezuelan government has not recalled its Charges D'Affairs from the Jewish State. By 11:30 a.m., that situation had changed, however, with the Foreign Ministry apparently having receiving official notification from the Venezuelan government that it had indeed decided to cut ties.
Haiat declined to comment on Israel's response to the move.

One week ago the government of President Hugo Chavez expelled Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Cohen and his entire staff of seven from Caracas to protest Israel's military operation in Gaza. Venezuelan Jewish community leader Abraham Levy pointed out following the expulsion that the government was "taking the side of a terrorist group" while ignoring the fact that Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians.

Bolivia, which has informal relations but no formal diplomatic ties with Israel, joined Venezuela in making threatening statements to charge the Jewish State with war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Both countries have become increasingly close allies of Iran, which supports terrorism against Israel and which generously funds the Hamas terror regime which controls Gaza. Iran also is a patron of the Lebanese Hizbullah terrorist organization which attacked Israel in 2006, igniting the Second Lebanon War.

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in its announcement that it had "decided to break off diplomatic relations with the State of Israel given the inhumane persecution of the Palestinian people." The statement added that the South American government of President Hugo Chavez "will not rest until it sees [Israeli leader punished," and indicated it would file charges against the State of Israel in The Hague.

Chavez, who has a close relationship with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has long been deeply critical of both Israel and the United States. Ahmadinejad is a virulent enemy of the Jewish State, which he refers to in his speeches as a "cancerous growth" and has often vowed to "wipe Israel off the map."

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who claimed the counterterrorist operation "seriously threatened world peace," also said he would ask the Court in The Hague to charge Israeli leaders with genocide.

News services said they were unable to reach Jewish community leaders in Venezuela for comment.

'You Can Hear Iran Talking Through His Mouth'

Haiat dismissed Morales's remarks, saying "We have not had very deep relations in the past few years, since our embassy closed in Bolivia, and theirs closed here in 2003." The closures, due to financial reasons and carried out during the tenure of a friendly administration, preceded Morales's regime, he noted.

As for Morales's threats to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court, Haiat said, "Those are just declarations.. You can see the influence of Iran there." He added that the current Bolivian leader "does not really know what is going on in the Middle East," and said, "You can hear Iran talking through his mouth."

More to the point, Haiat said that the Venezuelan government had indicated earlier that it expected Israel to send another diplomat, albeit one with a lower rank than that of an ambassador. The Chavez government has not recalled its Charges D'Affairs in Israel despite the charged statements to the media.

"We think it is very sad," said Haiat. "We see the growing influence of Iran in Latin America, especially on the government of Venezuela and its president, by the extremist Islamic regime of Iran. It has affected the warm and historical relationship that Israel has had with all the countries in Latin America, which played an important role in the creation of the State of Israel, when the United Nations voted for creation of the state in November 1947.

"We are sure that serious countries in Latin America will have nothing to do with this," he said.

The No-State Solution

Hamas cares more about Shariah than 'Palestine.'


Of all the errors in the West's understanding of Hamas, none is more fundamental than the routine characterization of the group as a Palestinian movement. It is nothing of the sort.This isn't to say that the Islamic Resistance Movement -- to use Hamas's proper name -- isn't led by Palestinians, or that it's unpopular among them. On the contrary: Even before the current fighting, Hamas was almost certainly more popular than its secular rival Fatah throughout the Palestinian Authority, including the West Bank. The only difference with Gaza is that Israel remains a presence on the West Bank, able to prevent Hamas from gaining sufficient strength to rout Fatah in an armed contest.

Hamas's claim on Palestinian hearts has only gained force in the last three weeks, though whether the feeling lasts will depend largely on how it emerges from the war. But the test of Hamas's Palestinian-ness, as it were, has nothing to do with its popularity. The test is whether it actually believes in something called Palestine. There is scant evidence that it does.
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Bear in mind that there has never previously been an independent state by that name; politically, it remains a notional place. The idea of a Palestinian people, referring to the Arab inhabitants of the land, is also of relatively recent vintage. (The late, great Israeli pianist David Bar-Ilan, my predecessor as editor of the Jerusalem Post, was known, as a Jewish child during the British Mandate, as the "Palestinian piano prodigy.")

This isn't to deny, as Golda Meir famously did, the existence of a Palestinian people. But it is to say that a Palestinian people -- as opposed to merely an Arab one -- exists only as a kind of counterpart, perhaps a twin, to the Israeli people. Put simply: No Israel, no Palestine.

That's why the creation of the Palestinian Authority, on the basis of the 1993 Oslo Accords, could only happen once Yasser Arafat's PLO had recognized Israel's right to exist. Israel later learned, at great cost, that Arafat's "recognition" had been a lie. Yet the principle remains valid regardless of the lie.

Hamas, to its perverse credit, does not lie, at least not on fundamental issues. It has never accepted the Oslo Accords. It is sworn to Israel's destruction. Its charter is nakedly and aggressively anti-Semitic; no fig leaf of "anti-Zionism" there. The closest it has ever come to terms with the Jewish state is the offer of a long-term hudna, on the model of the Prophet's 10-year truce with the tribes of seventh century Arabia. "Anyone who thinks Hamas will change is wrong," said supreme leader Khaled Mashal in 2006. Could he be any clearer?

Of course, Hamas enjoys "democratic legitimacy" by virtue of its parliamentary victory in January 2006. And with the quiet expiration last week of Mahmoud Abbas's presidential term, it is the only Palestinian party that enjoys such legitimacy. But this turns out to be no legitimacy at all, since Hamas refuses to recognize the legal basis of the Authority it purports to represent. And this is to say nothing of the putsch through which Hamas came to power in Gaza.

Still, it isn't merely Israel's right to exist, or the Palestinian Authority's, that Hamas denies. It denies Palestine's as well.
In Today's Opinion Journal


* The Clinton Business
* Estates of Pain
* Three Medals of Freedom


* Main Street: What Obama Could Learn From Cheney
– William McGurn


* We're All Keynesians Again
– George Melloan
* Freedom Is Still the Winning Formula
– Terry Miller
* Let's Spend on Broadband and the Power Grid
– Samuel J. Palmisano

The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is merely an affiliate, has never been keen on the concept of the nation-state. Hamas's charter describes the land of Palestine as an "Islamic Waqf," or trust, "consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day." Hamas's charming slogan -- "God is [Hamas's] target, the Prophet is its model, the Quran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of God is the loftiest of its wishes" -- is tellingly silent on the subject of Palestine.

This isn't so different from the old Soviet model, which disdained nationalism in theory even if it made use of it in practice (and sometimes vice versa). It is nearly identical in its totalitarian aspirations. Above all, Hamas is a revolutionary movement, similar in spirit, if not theology, to Khomeini's revolution in Iran, or Lenin's in Russia.

It's easy to understand why so many Palestinians would be keen to join the movement: What comparable form of moral and political transcendence can a little Palestinian state offer? But in choosing Hamas and the fantasy of pan-Islamism over secular Palestinian alternatives, they are also choosing to abandon Palestine itself. Good luck to them with their corner of the caliphate.

Western pundits and policy experts are now in full-throat about the threat that Israel's war in Gaza poses to the possibility of a two-state solution. It's a shopworn lament. That solution always depended on the willingness of Israelis and Palestinians to treat their conflict as a territorial one, amenable to the drawing of borders, rather than a religious one. Israel made its preferences clear with its Gaza withdrawal. As for the Palestinians, the people who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity have missed one, again.

Write to

An Opportunity Lost?

15 days of constant attention have focused on Gaza. Reality notwithstanding, Israel is perceived as the aggressor instead of the liberator of its residents from eight years of constant bombardment of rockets. Hamas has been elevated to new heights, its usage of its own people as human shields and its targeting innocent human beings on the enemy's side blatantly ignored.Hamas simply does not care about human life. Life in Hamas's Culture of Death is a disposable commodity, the more gruesome the death, the more it serves Hamas's purposes. The death of its own people is paraded for hours on satellite TV. The death of its enemy is a cause for celebration. Hamas wins either way (although rarely would its leaders be willing to give up their own lives – they are holed like rats in tunnels not daring to show their faces in the light of day or today's full moon).

Hamas operates from mosques, kindergartens and hospitals. None of this is new – imams often call for a holy war against the Jews and other non-believers from the loud speakers in mosques, not only in Gaza but also in Jerusalem. Kids are indoctrinated in hatred from early age, taught their highest achievement in life is to become shaids. Textbooks and cartoons, songs and videos are some means of dissemination of this indoctrination. In hospitals, Hamas operatives are dressed as doctors, using ambulances as safe means of transportation, "doctors" in a cult of death.

Last week I visited Soroka Hospital, 60 seconds from launch in Gaza to hit in Beer Sheva. The hospital is the embodiment of Israel – Bedouin, Arab and Jewish doctors, nurses and general staff working side by side. Jewish, Arab and Bedouin patients treated equally. All are in the same range of rockets, all likely to get hit, an equal opportunity target. In Israel Jews are dressed as doctors trying to save lives. In Israel one hospital after another shows the same: we are all part of one extended family.

The world is only interested in what is happening here insofar it has heightened the general consensus Israel is the evil regime. The world is determined that Jews need to be taken to the ovens, that an ages-old mission still awaits completion. This feeling has spread like fire the world over, ignited by Israel's fight for its survival and fed by every passing day during which Israel has not yet given up.

The global forces are aligning their interests. Turkey on the side of Hamas, escalating its rhetoric. Egypt and Jordan are playing a dual role, fulfilling their traditional role as a member of the Arab world but leaning toward Israel's resolve to fight Hamas. It is a mutual interest of all countries. Europe, not surprisingly, is facing an enemy from within – the spread of radical Islam – but even it has awoken.

Is Israel engaging in psyops, diverting the world's attention toward Hamas and Gaza, willing to pay a very dear price – the sudden explosion of Anti-Semitism the world over – for altogether a different reason? If so, this would be the biggest deceit of all. The world has conveniently turned its attention away from the Iranian ticking nuclear clock. Some even admitted months ago the world has decided to accept a nuclear Iran as a fait accompli.

Can it be that Israel has launched Operation Cast Lead after eight years of turning the other cheek to divert the world's attention from Iran? Is it possible that the next ten days will show the most brilliant, most daring operation ever attempted in recent or distant history?

Israel must deal with the Iranian threat. Iran is more advanced, both scientifically and technologically, more sophisticated and more driven in its quest to become the dominant global ruler. Some may dismiss this assessment. Let us be warned. Iran is already spreading westward toward the end of the Mediterranean and possibly over the Atlantic pond. Its advance must be stopped – before it is too late.

If it ever comes to it, Gaza can be obliterated in a millisecond. It does not pose the threat that Iran posses to Israel – stating (and is likely to carry out the threat) that Israel can be obliterated into nonbeing in less than a second.

The past two weeks are unique in recent memory. The leadership seems to have internalized a much greater threat than Hamas in Gaza. Redlines of the past were crossed and erased: Without any hesitation mosques and schools were hit in direct retaliation to launches and terrorist activities from within these same structures. A different course of events may be indicative that silent forces are acting in the background.

If Israel decides to embark on the one and only attempt to pay a visit to Iran, may the Force be with those chosen to carry out this mission. May they be focused on their mission, undeterred and unwavering in their commitment, swift as eagles and courageous as lions, may G-d the Almighty bestow His grace over them and return them safely to Israel.

May G-d bless Israel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pentagon: 61 ex-Gitmo inmates have returned to jihad

Haim Harari
January 2009

These words are written a short distance away from the most northern hit, so far, of the Hamas missiles, which are methodically aimed only at civilian population in Israel. You may refer to this message as "A View from the Target Zone".

For eight years, approximately 5000 rockets have been sent deliberately into Israeli population centers, by the Hamas terrorists. The rockets are extremely inaccurate. The good news is that they often hit an empty field. The bad news is that, when they do hit buildings and people, they kill, maim and destroy. It is a very ugly game of Iranian Roulette. But the most significant fact is that the undisputed purpose of the rockets is to kill civilians in a random manner. Since they miss entire towns, they could not possibly be aimed at military or strategic targets. No claim is made by the Hamas of anything other than a deliberate attempt to kill civilians within Israel. The world knows about the rockets but rarely mentions that they are aimed only at the civilian population and at nothing else.

The Hamas consistently refers to Israel itself as "the occupied territory". It refers to any town in Israel as an "illegal settlement". Its declared aim is to destroy Israel. It has proudly endorsed, initiated and sent numerous suicide murderers into Israeli buses, supermarkets, shopping malls, weddings and other crowded places. It explicitly states that it will continue to do so. Since Israel succeeded in preventing the suicide murders by a combination of the protective wall, other defensive measures and good intelligence penetration, the missiles became the preferred way of killing Israeli civilians.

Hamas is declared to be a terrorist organization, not only by Israel, not only by the US, but also by the European Union, who is not suspected of being pro-Israeli. This is the same European Union that refuses to label the Hizbullah as a terror organization, but repeatedly and officially declares the Hamas as such. Hamas is fully funded and largely controlled by Iran, a country openly and totally committed to the destruction of Israel, while continuing to enjoy trade with much of the western world.

The Hamas media, and especially its independent TV station, carry daily children programs (including programs for kindergarten age) depicting the Jews (and not only the Israelis) as pigs, dogs, scum of the earth and creatures that must be killed. One of these program features a rabbit which eats Jews. There is plenty of documentation of these programs, including animations and programs with child presenters. Major western news media never report on this phenomenon, while some of them publish op-ed pieces by declared Hamas leaders.

The favorite hour of launching the daily Hamas rockets during the last eight years was 7:45 in the morning, but only on weekdays. Why? Because this is the time in which the streets are full of Israeli children, on their way to school. No one wants to waste rockets when no children are in the streets, during the weekend.

Eight year old children in the Israeli town of Sderot, a few miles from the Gaza border, live, since they were born, with these rockets. They know no other life. When the alarm sounds, they have exactly 15 seconds to reach an improvised cover. Eighth grade children, age 13, have never gone to school, since kindergarten, without the real threat of having a rocket hit them on the way. Their parents have never felt safe about sending their child to school. It is very difficult for anyone living in a normal safe place, to imagine what it means to send your child to school, every single day, for eight years, with the fear that he or she may never reach school because of a missile attack, aimed at killing the children. The world seems to accept this.

Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip in 2005. Not one Israeli soldier or civilian remained there. Everything was ready for the people of Gaza to start a new life and economic development. There was no blockade, border crossings were open. Instead came increased shooting of rockets into Israel, a Hamas coup, throwing Fatah Palestinians from roofs of buildings to their death and torturing their own people in their prisons. It is regrettable that Israel did not react with full force to the very first rockets after its withdrawal from Gaza, but there was always the naïve illusion that perhaps talks, discussions, verbal threats and temporary closings of the border crossings, might do the job. What Israel did not take into account was that Iran, directly or through Hizbullah, was paying the Hamas operatives, per rocket launch.

Through the elaborate system of tunnels dug by the Hamas under the Gaza-Egypt border, thousands of tons of explosives and larger and better Iranian missiles have been continuously smuggled into Gaza. The Israeli Government stupidly agreed in mid 2008, to a six-month cease fire. During the "mock cease fire", many rockets were launched into Israel by a variety of real and fictitious Palestinian organizations, with a clear Hamas sub-license, pretending that the Hamas itself is observing the cease fire.

In the meantime, the Hamas could successfully prepare for the next round. It acquired Iranian rockets that were equally inaccurate, but carried larger warheads, had a longer range and contained numerous tiny still balls, in order to increase the civilian casualties over a larger radius. Again, the inaccuracy of the rockets guaranteed that they could only be sent into random civilian targets. But now the rocket range covered a population of close to one million Israelis and the damage is much more significant.

Larger and better rockets were now stored in mosques, schools, hospitals and normal apartment buildings. Mortars were added to the menu of shooting at Israeli civilians. Schools financed by the UN were used in order to launch mortar shells and missiles. The greenhouses left intact by the withdrawing Israelis were destroyed, their metal parts were converted to primitive rockets and their locations became favorite launching areas. Launching rockets at the Israeli population brings a much better income than growing strawberries and flowers in greenhouses.

Whenever Israel opened the border crossings to supply Gaza with basic food and fuel, the Hamas was attempting to blow up the crossing points. Providing too much food and fuel would disturb the flourishing black market totally controlled by the Hamas chiefs and their allies. It would also spoil their propaganda machine. Most supplies were transported through the tunnels from Egypt, under Hamas auspices, creating a lucrative business for the Hamas "families".

The absurd notion that Israel must supply fuel, electricity, food and medication to an outlaw region controlled by a terror organization, became a permanent mantra in the western media. Israel was supposed to provide the Hamas with raw materials for the rockets launched at its citizens, with electricity for the machinery used to produce these rockets, with food for its designers and manufacturers, and with building materials in order to construct safe bunkers for the Hamas leadership under schools and hospitals. On one hand the Hamas was claimed to have been the legitimate democratically elected government of the majority of the population and on the other hand the population, that allegedly elected these thugs, was declared innocent and suffering. The inconsistency was never pointed out.

Once the border crossing was closed, as a result of the repeated Hamas attacks, the international game of a "humanitarian crisis" was successfully played, with full cooperation of the western media. Famous incidents included photographs of poor Gaza residents with candles and (allegedly) no electricity, staged behind black curtains in full outside daylight (visible through cracks between the curtains). Most western media happily used these fake pictures and, when the lie was exposed, never mentioned it. Hamas leaders were never lacking food, fuel, electricity, luxurious private vehicles and all amenities of well to do black market profiteers.

Very few western journalists remained in Gaza, after several were kidnapped by the Hamas. Almost all reports to western media come from Palestinians, who are either sympathetic to Hamas, or afraid of it, or openly active in its ranks, or all of the above. The reader of the New York Times, or the viewer of a European TV network, never notices who provides him or her with the news. All photographs, both stills and videos, are provided by Palestinian operatives, who would stop at nothing in order to support the propaganda machine. On western TV, Hamas rockets are launched only from empty fields, never from a school or a crowded neighborhood, as it is in real life.

United Nation sources in Gaza are often quoted, condemning Israel for the "Humanitarian Crisis". But these sources are normally employees of UNRWA, the UN agency that, since 1948, makes every effort to perpetuate the "refugee" status of the great-grandchildren of the 1948 refugees. The grandparents of these "refugees" were displaced 60 years ago by a distance of a 20 minute drive and were never resettled because they were receiving free food from the UN. The UN objected vehemently to any attempt at settling the refugees, their children and grandchildren. The few real refugees, who remain alive today, and are 80 year old, were 18 year old when they were displaced. All the terrorists are third or fourth generation "refugees" held as such, courtesy of UNRWA.

These UN organizations employ, by their own admission, numerous active Hamas members. When the latter make statements on behalf of "UN sources in Gaza", the Palestinian journalists never mention to us who these "UN sources" are. The public gets the impression that these are truthful objective sources, while being fed with standard Hamas lies. Western media never disclose to us that the jobs of these people depend on perpetuating the misery of the so-called "refugees".

A Headmaster and science teacher of one of the UNRWA schools in Gaza was a leader in the rocket industry of the Islamic Jihad, a satellite terror organization in Gaza, collaborating with Hamas. The UN strongly denied the Israeli accusations that they are employing such a person, until the man was killed by Israel and was eulogized by his friends as a leader of the Islamic Jihad and a designer of rockets.

When Israeli truck drivers were bringing the humanitarian supplies to Gaza, during the period of Hamas rocket fire, they were frequently attacked by Hamas. At least one Israeli truck driver, supplying the Palestinians, was deliberately murdered. No protest was launched by the UN. But, when during the current fighting, an Arab truck driver, employed by the UN, was accidentally killed, the UN became indignant and stopped all its "humanitarian" activity in protest, to the tune of loud denunciations from all "UN sources".

The Israeli defense forces monitor every detail of this fantasyland by using airborne drones and by a very successful intelligence penetration of the Hamas ranks. They know which apartment building serves as a missile storage place, the addresses and phone numbers of Hamas leaders, which school serves as an ammunition depot, etc.

When the six-month "ceasefire" ended, in mid December, Hamas refused to continue it, launching 90 rockets into Israeli towns and villages in one day. In retrospect, this has prevented a much more dangerous future situation. Had there been an additional "ceasefire", Hamas would have acquired rockets covering all of Israel and possibly much more accurate Iranian missiles. The Iranian supply line of explosives and weapons, together with the flourishing business of smuggled goods, went through the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border with efficiency and regularity. Had such efficiency been attempted in improving the lives of the Palestinians in Gaza, the entire Middle East would have been an entirely different place. But, coupled with the weapon smuggling, it was essential to create the charade of the "Humanitarian Crisis".

During the current operation, when the Israeli Air Force wants to blow up a house which serves as a missile storage, Israel phones every family in the house and gives them 15 minutes to evacuate. The Hamas is then sending the women and children to the roof of the building in order to prevent the Israeli aircraft from making the kill. Israel has now developed a tiny arrow-like missile which can be sent to the corner of the roof, making a loud noise and harming no one, in order to scare away the women and children on the roof, before the real bomb destroys the missile collection or the explosive storage place. Often, the women and children used by the Hamas as a human shield, escape and the house is then blown up, with a spectacular secondary explosion of the stored missiles or other war materials. On other occasions, a Hamas person gets to the roof and prevents the women and children from leaving. In those cases, the operation is not completed by the Israeli Air Force, in order to spare civilian lives, at the risk of having the rockets launched into Israel on the following day.

Never in history, has any country made such an enormous effort to avoid civilian casualties, in fighting against murderers who target only civilians and never anything else. No one in Kosovo, Serbia, Georgia or Iraq, was offered such a courtesy by the bombing and attacking powers. This fact is never mentioned by the western media.

Many of the heroic commanders of the Hamas are hiding in the central hospital of Gaza, in an elaborate network of bunkers, trusting that Israel will not attack the hospital. Hamas spokesmen issue proclamations from the maternity ward of the same hospital, knowing that Israel will not hit them there. Ironically, of all non-Israelis, the Hamas leaders are the only ones who know for sure that Israel never deliberately hurts civilians. They exploit this fact. The rest of the world buys the Hamas lies and blames Israel for hurting civilians.

Repeated claims of "humanitarian crisis" are made from the same hospital. The doctors in charge never tell us that the hiding leaders of the Hamas are using them and the patients as human shields. Whether the doctors are only scared or are deliberate accomplices, we do not know. Probably some are active Hamas members and others are justifiably scared to speak up. We never hear a word from the International Red Cross regarding the use of the hospitals as the headquarters of terror leaders.

One of the most horrible "impartial" testimonies on the humanitarian situation, in the hospital, is delivered repeatedly to the western media by a "Norwegian Doctor" serving there. The man is well known from his 2001 interviews with Norwegian TV, in which he explicitly supported and justified the 9/11 attacks. Needless to say, none of the networks who bring us the righteous doctor, mention this. He is just "A Norwegian Doctor" attending to the wounded.

Palestinian ambulances are routinely used to move terrorists around. This has also been the Palestinian practice in the West Bank during the terror wave in 2001-2002. An ambulance is an ideal method of transporting a suicide murderer across check points. In the unlucky case that the criminal is caught, there is at least a good press photograph of the ugly Israelis attacking or stopping an ambulance. It is a win-win situation. If an ambulance full of healthy Hamas terrorists and explosives is hit from the air, the pictures are even better for the western media and for Al Jazeera.

Several Hamas leaders are moving around Gaza surrounded by children, and often holding a child on their arms. There are well documented cases in which Hamas terrorists were pulling reluctant children by their ears to accompany them when they move from one building to another. None of this is mentioned by the western media.

Several Mosques, which were used as ammunition dumps, were destroyed by Israel. In every one of these cases, the air photographs showed a primary explosion, from the air missile or bomb, and a much bigger secondary explosion, from the stored missiles or other explosives in the mosque. The secondary explosion is an absolute clear proof of what was hidden at the mosque. The normal beautiful carpets in a mosque would not create a secondary explosion. Western media have these videos, but rarely show them or mention their existence.

But the same western media repeatedly show the pictures of injured or dead children, some of whom were indeed accidentally injured or killed by the Israeli attacks on military and terror targets, and some are obviously fake pictures with red paint smeared on children faces. At least in one case, the same child, obviously painted and not injured, has been paraded in front of various TV cameras by several different men, each declared to be his father by a different network.

Children and innocent civilians are, indeed, killed and injured, in spite of all the enormous precautions and efforts of the Israeli forces. This is truly tragic. But the only alternative for Israel is to sit still, absorb the thousands of missiles on its civilian population and wait for bigger, deadlier and longer range missiles to start destroying everything in Israel. Israel is offered a choice between a complete national suicide, on one hand, and an attack on the terrorists, with extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties, but with the knowledge that such casualties must occur when the other side is using children as human shields, storing explosives in mosques, shooting mortars from schools and hiding the perpetrators in hospitals.

Most Hamas terrorists hide in safe bunkers, leaving their families in the war zone. They are happy to fight to the last Palestinian civilian, not to the last Hamas terrorist. Women and children are moving within the battlegrounds, with Hamas snipers shooting, using them as cover. The women and children are not allowed into the limited space of the Hamas bunkers. More than once, a woman is observed carrying a suicide belt. Israeli soldiers, who are trying to help these women to move safely away from the fighting area, are at a very serious risk of a suicide murder.

When the Hamas terrorists are killed, they are counted by the "UN Sources" as civilians. That is how the "UN sources" reach the huge numbers of dead civilians they are reporting. Interestingly, Al Jazeera almost never shows dead bodies of young males, and the western media, being fed by Palestinian stringers, follow suit.

The Hamas TV ("Al Aksa TV") and Al Jazeera show, 24 hours a day, repeated video clips with loud music, showing injured bloody children, including some body parts. Some injuries are real, some are not, but the videos are shown nonstop between every two news items. The news items themselves are often lies, but that really does not matter. What do matter are the video clips, edited like commercials, brainwashing a worldwide audience and a new generation of future terror sympathizers.

A video taken several years ago in Gaza, surfaced. The video documents an accidental explosion of a Hamas truck, carrying a large number of missiles, among celebrating Palestinians somewhere in Gaza. Many were killed and injured in this accident, and the pictures were devastating. There is no Israeli involvement whatsoever, and the event happened a few years ago. European networks, including France 2, are showing it now as evidence for the current "criminal" behavior of Israel. The French channel apologized later, but the number of people who heard the apology is significantly fewer than those who saw the horrible pictures and believed the lies. In this case, at least, the hoax was delivered by the Hamas and France 2 was apparently the victim, not the perpetrator, as it definitely was in well known previous cases.

Israel opens the border crossings daily, during the fighting, in order to provide basic food ingredients and medication to the civilian population. No one can remember such a gesture in any other war in history, certainly not toward the side that attacks only civilians and repeatedly announces that its only aim is to totally annihilate its opponent. Most of the supplies are captured by the Hamas terrorists and used for their own troops and their flourishing black market, never providing them in an organized way to the population. "UN sources" claim that not enough food is transmitted.

That the Hamas murderers use these tactics, lies and methods, is not at all surprising. That the international community, with all its investigative reporters, swallows these lies so eagerly, without exposing them, is something which demands an explanation.

Clinton Continues Rice's Views

zvi Ben Gedalyahu Clinton Continues Rice's Views

United States Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton said at Senate confirmation hearings Tuesday, "The president-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets."
Maintaining the long-standing State Department policy of "balance" in the Arab-Israeli struggle, she added, "The tragic humanitarian costs... must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel, normal and positive relations with its neighbors and independence, economic progress and security to the Palestinians in their own state."

She repeated the Bush policy that Hamas cannot be recognized if it does not acknowledge Israel's right to exist.

The former New York Senator said she envisions a "smart power" policy that will deal with all Middle East issues, most prominently the Iranian threat of developing a nuclear bomb.

She offered no hints of a new policy despite President-elect Barack Obama's election campaign for a "change government."

Recalling the efforts of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, whose Oslo Accord agreements blew up into the Oslo War, or Second Intifada, Hillary Clinton stated, "As intractable as the Middle East's problems may seem, we cannot give up on peace."

She maintained that the Middle East needs the U.S. to help solve reginal problems but that "America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own."

One of her first steps, if she is confirmed, will be to appoint a Middle East envoy. All four front-running candidates were involved as advisors to President Clinton during the Oslo negotiations, and two of them, Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer, served as ambassadors to Israel. The former envoys, as well as the other front-runners Aaron Miller and Dennis Ross, are Jewish.

Want to know there are civilian deaths?


Hamas using children in combat support roles

A child in Gaza describes how he and other children are being used in combat support roles for Hamas fighters. According to the Palestinian child, children are being used as scouts to follow Israeli movements, and as couriers to supply ammunition and deliver information to the Hamas fighters. The following is the description of the children's combat support roles, quoted in an Israeli Arab weekly:

"[The newspaper] Kul Al-Arab called many Gaza Strip residents, to comprehend the situation of the people who are suffering for two weeks from the wild Israeli aggression...

Khaled, from A-Rimal [in Gaza], said: 'We the children, in small groups and in civilian clothes, are fulfilling missions of support for the [Hamas] Resistance fighters, by transmitting messages about the movements of the enemy forces, or by bringing them ammunition and food. We ourselves are not aware of the movements of the Resistance fighters. We see them in one place, they suddenly disappear, and then reappear somewhere else. They are like ghosts, it is very hard to find them or hurt them.'"
[Kul-Al-Arab (Israeli Arab weekly), January 9, 2009]

Comment: This and much more is going on daily in Gaza. Children are not only used as human shields they have been used as messengers, carriers, spotters-is it any wonder when they are killed. They are recruits and thus enemy combatants. Be appraised, even with this knowledge, Israel does not target them-however, the abusive Hamas leaders do use them and anticipate "collateral" damage-the more the better they say.

It is beyond my comprehension why the Western media will not report these stories and/or actions of abuse. Human rights groups should be outraged yet they remain silent. By the way, international law does define these children as enemy combatants-be aware of this information when you read/hear the body count.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Arab Parties Disqualified

Maayana Miskin Two Arab Parties Disqualified

"Each vote for Kadima is a bullet in the chest of a Palestinian child in Gaza”--so said Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi as his party, Ra'am Ta'al, was disqualified on Monday. The Knesset's Central Elections Committee voted 26-3 to disqualify both Ra'am Ta'al and fellow Arab party Balad due to the parties' opposition to the Jewish State of Israel and incitement against the state. The Jewish Likud party responded to Tibi's criticism in kind, saying, “Each vote for Tibi is a vote for a Grad missile on Ashkelon and the south.”

Tibi accused the committee of racism, saying his party had been disqualified simply because it is an Arab party. “This tribunal's role is to incite and slander an entire collective due to its ethnicity. They don't want to see Arab representatives in the Knesset,” Tibi claimed. Seven of the 11 Israeli Arabs currently serving as Members of Knesset belong to either Balad or Ra'am Ta'al.

Even the Labor party's dovish Eitan Cabel voted to disqualify the Arab parties. He said that after he heard the extremist remarks of the Arab Knesset members in the committee session, he had no choice but to vote to disqualify them from running national elections.

The National Union and Israel Is Our Home parties initiated the move to disqualify the Arab parties claiming that they did not respect Israel's legally-mandated status as a Jewish state and that they supported terrorism. National Union Chairman Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz applauded the decision of the Central Elections Committee saying, "There is no room in the Knesset for collaborators with the enemy."

Tibi expressed confidence that the High Court of Appeals would overturn the election committee's decision. “It's obvious the court won't disqualify us,” he said. He also slammed the Jewish nationalist parties, calling Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) “the Israeli fascist party” and accusing them as a whole of persecuting Arab MKs.

Following the hearing in which the parties were banned, Knesset workers were forced to intervene to prevent Arab MKs from coming to blows with committee chairman MK David Tal of Kadima. Tal and MK Jamal Zahalka exchanged insults, with Zahalka calling Tal a “fascist” and Tal telling Zahalka, “Go back to Syria.”

Kadima aides responded to Tibi and Zahalka, saying, “Tibi and his colleagues support Hamas and terrorism and object to any defensive measure taken by Israel. Their babble is meaningless.” Kadima accepts opposing political views, but within limits, they said. “Kadima believes Israel's Knesset must represent those with different opinions regarding what is good for Israel, not what's good for Hamas,” they explained.

Prior to the 2003 elections, the Central Elections Committee banned the Balad party and Ahmad Tibi of the Ta'al party from running by a one-vote margin.

The bans were overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Appeals. Supreme Court Justice Misha'el Kheshin told the election committee that Bishara's past expressions of support for Hezbollah in Lebanon had angered him, although he voted to allow him to run in the elections because "Israel's democracy is strong and can tolerate irregular cases", and thought that there was insufficient evidence for the ban.

On April 22, 2007, MK Bishara fled the State of Israel and resigned from the Knesset following a police investigation into his alleged assistance of the enemy during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and various other criminal charges including money laundering.

"The world" begins to sour on Obama


Barack Obama takes the oath of office next week, having promised to win back the respect of "the world," which George W. Bush has alienated. So the big question is this: How long after Obama becomes president will it be before "the world" begins to sour on him--begins to suspect that he is one of us, not one of them?The answer is minus 16 days.

On Sunday, Jan. 4, the Web site of London's Guardian published an article by one Simon Tisdall faulting Obama for failing to side with Hamas in its genocidal war against Israel:

Obama has remained wholly silent during the Gaza crisis. His aides say he is following established protocol that the US has only one president at a time. . . .

But evidence is mounting that Obama is already losing ground among key Arab and Muslim audiences that cannot understand why, given his promise of change, he has not spoken out. Arab commentators and editorialists say there is growing disappointment at Obama's detachment--and that his failure to distance himself from George Bush's strongly pro-Israeli stance is encouraging the belief that he either shares Bush's bias or simply does not care.

The Al-Jazeera satellite television station recently broadcast footage of Obama on holiday in Hawaii, wearing shorts and playing golf, juxtaposed with scenes of bloodshed and mayhem in Gaza. Its report criticising "the deafening silence from the Obama team" suggested Obama is losing a battle of perceptions among Muslims that he may not realise has even begun.

The Associated Press reports on one prominent Muslim who agrees with Tisdall:

Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader lashed out at President-elect Barack Obama in a new audio message Tuesday, accusing him of not doing anything to stop Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to an intelligence monitoring center.

The recording purportedly by Ayman al-Zawahiri was al-Qaida's first comments on the Gaza crisis since Israel launched its offensive against the Islamic militants of Hamas on Dec. 27.

In the comments, which were posted on a militant Web site and obtained by the SITE Monitoring Service, al-Zawahiri described Israel's actions in Gaza as a "crusade against Islam and Muslims" and called it "Obama's gift to Israel" before he takes office later this month.

Meanwhile in the real world, the New York Times reports on the scene from a Gaza hospital:

A car arrived with more patients. One was a 21-year-old man with shrapnel in his left leg who demanded quick treatment. He turned out to be a militant with Islamic Jihad. He was smiling a big smile.

"Hurry, I must get back so I can keep fighting," he told the doctors.

He was told that there were more serious cases than his, that he needed to wait. But he insisted. "We are fighting the Israelis," he said. "When we fire we run, but they hit back so fast. We run into the houses to get away." He continued smiling.

"Why are you so happy?" this reporter asked. "Look around you."

A girl who looked about 18 screamed as a surgeon removed shrapnel from her leg. An elderly man was soaked in blood. A baby a few weeks old and slightly wounded looked around helplessly. A man lay with parts of his brain coming out. His family wailed at his side.

"Don't you see that these people are hurting?" the militant was asked.

"But I am from the people, too," he said, his smile incandescent. "They lost their loved ones as martyrs. They should be happy. I want to be a martyr, too."

If "the world" sides with an Islamist supremacist movement that cheers the deaths of Arab Muslims as a means to the end of exterminating the Jews, perhaps Obama is coming to realize that he--and America--can do without the respect of such a world.

Turkey: Antisemitism Gets Out of Control

Barry Rubin

This has been sent to me by a very reliable friend who has agreed to distribution as long as his name is not used. You are invited to post or send to your list. It is not unthinkable that the future of the Turkish Jewish community is in doubt.—Barry Rubin

The Prime Minister in Turkey has encouraged hatred against Israel in his speeches which has become obvious anti-Semitic propaganda among the general public. There are people around the clock besieging the Israeli consulate in Istanbul shouting their hatred against Israel and Jewish people. All around Istanbul billboards are full of propaganda posters against Israel like; “Moses, even this is not written in your book” and “Israel Stop this Crime.” On the streets the people are writing such graffiti as: “Kill Jews,” “Kill Israel,” “Israel should no longer exist in the Middle East,” and “Stop Israeli Massacre.”

The week-end before, some people wrote, “We will kill you” on the door of one of the biggest synagogues in Izmir resulted in the closing down of synagogues. Near Istanbul University, a group put a huge poster on the door of a shop owned by a Jew: “Do not buy from here, since this shop is owned by a Jew.” A group put posters on his wall saying that: “Jews and Armenians are not allowed but dogs are allowed.” Some young people are even threatening others with violence if they are seen as pro-Israel in social networking websites such as Facebook and Hi5.

The document attached is the official statement by the minister of education stating that tomorrow [January 14] at 11am in all the high schools and primary schools the students will pay homage to the women and children dead during the war and furthermore, the teachers of art will organize the session of painting and writing on the subject: “Humanity Drama in Palestine” and the winners will receive awards.

The Jewish community can do nothing in response to what has been going on for the last few weeks, except giving vague statements that the Turkish Jewish Community does not want the war to be continued any more.

We have previously faced some strong reaction regarding previous operations in Gaza and the West Bank but this time is really different from former ones. I feel open anti-Semitism and hatred from all these people. Nobody understood, Even some widely read columnists in Turkey are writing things that lead all these groups toward this hatred becoming much more dangerous day by day.

But I know one thing: that the world should know about the widespread and openly anti-Semitic propaganda which far exceeds anything happening in Europe.

Professor Barry Rubin

Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Watch on the Middle East
Editor Turkish Studies,

Jews are the enemies of Allah

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

"Jews are the enemies of Allah," and therefore by definition are the enemies of all Muslims. This opinion is expressed by Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi, head of the Department of Islamic Studies at Saud University in Saudi Arabia, in a speech broadcast last week on Hamas TV. The religious scholar also prays for the extermination of all Jews: "Kill them one by one and don't leave even one." Hamas leaders have expressed on numerous occasions the belief that all Jews should be exterminated. (Click to see PMW bulletin.)

The religious scholar likewise expresses rage at the Muslim countries who are allied with the West, calling them "traitors...
who believe in America," instead of in Allah.

Palestinians from both Hamas and Fatah, along with much of the Islamic world, present the Arab conflict with Israel as a conflict of Islam against Jews, completely rejecting the territorial aspect and calling it a religious conflict. Many also define the conflict in a broader perspective - as a global religious conflict between Muslims and non-Muslim countries - and condemn as traitors moderate Arab countries that ally with America.

The following are statements from Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi's speech:

"You don't treat the Jews as enemies only because they are human beings who eat and drink. No! We treat them as enemies because they are the enemies of Allah and the prophets, they murdered the prophets, distorted the prophecy, they are traitors and deceivers - therefore we treat them as enemies."

"We are a [Muslim] nation who believes in the Hidden, and you [Muslim] traitors don't believe. We believe in the Almighty Allah and you [Muslim traitors] believe in America and Israel. We believe that Allah, may He be Exalted, sent His soldiers against America in many places in the world."

"Oh Allah, inflict as many losses as possible on the Jews, kill them one by one and don't leave even one."

[Hamas TV, Jan. 8, 2009]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Criticism and choices
Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center

I find it imperative to take a moment from my self-inflicted enlistment into the electronic media war to finally write something of my own to my own.

After two weeks of combat, I am a little weary of firing on deaf ears. There seems to be a need to raise the morale amongst those in my own ranks and heal some of the battle wounds that the foreign (outside of Israel) media may have managed to inflict upon some of you.I have noticed and heard that there are some hairline cracks in folks' outlook and opinion of what Israel is doing, and so this is a short break to reinforce some of your foundations. My break is only a result of battle weariness, and not because of any lack of ammunition. Quite the opposite. The foreign media fuel my ammunition dumps exponentially each minute with their bias (at best) and outright lies (as second best). I have been shouting in silent type for two weeks, and despite apparently doing it again here and now, in yet another email, this time I would like to freely add some politically incorrect thoughts and let some emotion erupt.

It is disturbing enough to hear and see the world opinion and media, which include calls for our annihilation. It is even more disturbing to have to spend limited energies on arguing my case to those (of "us") who doubt the justification of this operation, its magnitude and time-span. I need to address our critics, those of "us" who are critical and condemn Israel's actions in the current operation in the Gaza area.

While I value opinion and discussion at all times, I will not tolerate any negative opinion or criticism right now. Many critics have been sitting in glass houses (with a sense of security due to Israel's existence) before the operation, and now seem ready to throw stones (at best). I am not only referring to Jews in the Diaspora, but also to those in Israel (some found it suitable to demonstrate in Tel Aviv against the operation in Gaza and to wave Palestinian flags). The only criticism I am open to is criticism of our own bad choices.

We make "bad choices" when it comes to dealing with the Arabs.

We "chose" to fight a number of wars against our Arab neighbors, one of them on our holiest days. We "chose" to fight against suicide bombers and shrewdly disguise our violence by erecting a fence (only 2% is wall) to keep them out. You see, we militant Israelis, we like choosing violence. It took the trigger-happy Zionist generals and politicians seven years of continuous rocket fire to choose to go to war.

Unfortunately, once again, we are at war.

Unfortunately, some require clarification and elaboration of the above. This war is not academic, nor a war of words or politics. Right now it is a war in which real blood is shed, in which people are maimed and killed. "People" means soldiers, terrorists, militants, families, elderly and children. "Maimed" means crippled and traumatized. Oh...on both sides, notice my choice of words. (Glad I cleared that one up for some.)

There is one thing that we perpetually choose too, if you really need me to point it out.

We chose life.

We'd like to choose to live our lives in our country without having to build bomb shelters in every building since our independence 60 years ago. We choose to warn innocent civilians of an impending bombardment with flyers, phone calls and stun grenades. We chose to offer almost all of the West Bank in peace talks at Camp David, Annapolis and other talks. We chose to warn the Hamas about officially ending the cease-fire "lull." We chose to try turning a blind-eye to the rockets that were launched during the "lull" and seven previous years. We chose this war option.

We "chose" war. We chose war despite knowing and living the ramifications of war. We chose to send our soldiers to war. "Our soldiers" is not an idiom. It means family, friends, colleagues, neighbors -- i.e., people we know firsthand. We chose to take the calculated risk that some will not return, and that others will return maimed for life.

During an ongoing war, I find the audacity of some of my own putrid. It sickens me to hear misinformed foreign-media-fed misguided individuals pass negative opinion and criticism. I find it uncanny not to leave the academic rhetoric aside, while blood is being shed. We are engaged in fighting enough enemies on enough fronts. We do not need an internal front, too. Some Diaspora Jews freely enjoy the sense of security that just the pure existence of Israel provides. Now, some spit into the well. Whether it be democratic, free, enlightened, correct or not, I'll hit anyone I catch p*ssing on a grave during a funeral. Furthermore, you'd probably find me refusing to even discuss my actions, and with a smirk on my face. Perhaps that might awaken a sense of duty to give a hand, an ear or a shoulder to the pains of war.

War is synonymous with pain, suffering and bloodshed. We, as war-mongering Israelis, have lots of experience. So much so, that (listen carefully to this): I may one day forgive our enemies for killing our people in pursuit of their ideology, but I will never forgive them for forcing me into a situation in which I have killed some of their innocents. I suggest reading the latter again. Only when the Arabs can honestly understand this will they be ready for true peace. Until then, we will remain in a cycle of violence and war that has war-ups and truce-downs. The truces, lulls, and whatever trashy names they may use, are only types of pseudo-surrenders that they agree to, in order to recuperate.

So, dear brethren, if you still harbor any doubt at all or need some ammo for those who do, one question remains: "What is your alternative to this war?"

I was going to end here, but feel that I need to elaborate for those whose vision has been obscured by the likes of Pallywood smoke screens and political rhetoric. Let me put it another way, "What do you propose we do to ensure that our kids go to school safely?" Hmmm....Let's look at the most common answer to the current situation:

"Stop the operation immediately and negotiate".

We have been there already - didn't work. There was a "cease-fire", a "lull", during which the Hamas terrorists militants lobbed rockets into Israel and armed themselves for their "final solution." Who publicly and proudly announced the end of the "lull"? Who sent 900,000 civilians into bomb shelters?

Negotiate? With whom exactly? A radical group that openly seeks our total annihilation at all costs (and they are crying now at the cost, poor things). A fanatic terrorist group that came into power after a violent coup, intent on "freeing all Palestine of Jews?" If you really need to ensure that my facts are correct, then look up the Hamas charter. I consider myself "a nice guy" and am open to discussion, but don't know how to go about it. Please set an example by negotiating with Al-Qaeda and then teach me how it works.

Let's take this little further. "Do you know what Hamas wants?" Hmmm... I suspect they don't either although it is in their charter. "Do you know what they expected to achieve by firing rockets into Israel?" Hmmm... I have no idea. So let's look at their charter again. I suspect it is a word that begins with a big "T" and has three "r"s. They once wanted us out of Gaza. We are out of Gaza. So? Now what? Any ideas?

Oh yeah... I almost forgot. So if the war now might seem justified, criticism turns to the use of "disproportionate" force. The British (oh I just love the Brits -- BBC, Sky, Tim Marshall, Tim Butcher and the other blatant liars who act as journalists instead of Pallywood), bombed Dresden disproportionately, citizens, hospitals, all of it! Before pointing a finger at Israel, please make sure that: you pointed a finger at Hamas for seven years; have made sure that civilian deaths are an integral part of Israeli policy; make sure that Israel is publicly proud of civilian deaths and distribute sweets with each; have lodged complaints against the Hamas for using human shields; and...and...and... Then, and only then, might I be prepared to hear gripes from "ours."

Well, Israel is here, a fact and a reality. I am here and not going anywhere. Right or wrong, I'm not going anywhere and neither are my people. I am going to choose violence when negotiations and warnings go nowhere and my children remain in danger. I'm going to be very violent to try to ensure a brighter future for my children and brethren, whether it includes war or not.

Some say that violence breeds violence. It sure does. It sure has, I am now violent. I reached a dead end after seven years of exhausting all peaceful options and turning a blind eye to over 4,000 rockets. History doesn't seem to be able to teach the other side anything. Perhaps someone has a way of getting it through to them. Please enlighten me. I'll type it slowly for you and whisper it for those that cannot easily read vulgarities:

Don't f*** with us! You have chosen to force us to remain mightier, we have and will, until you choose otherwise.

I am not going to wrap this in airy political, democratic, diplomatic or academic cellophane. That is the bottom line, the bare truth. I remain proud of my vulgarity that stems from our basic right to protect our citizens. I remain proud of our attempts to prevent civilian casualties, on both sides. I remain proud of our "disproportion" and the humanitarian aid we let pass into Gaza. I remain proud that there are wounded Palestinians in our hospitals. I remain proud of our humanness. I remain proud of our gutsy cabinet. I remain proud that after sixty-something years we still hunt Nazis and that we hunted the Munich games perpetrators, Abu-Jihad and the rest. I might need to feel ashamed at some isolated incidents, but will deal with those later because they are a tiny minority and do not reflect policy.

We will remain strong enough to fight to survive only if we are armed with: some history; an understanding of enemy mentality; unequivocally support Israel and spew out internal criticism from the good-for-academic pacifists during times of war.

Laurence Seeff

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Israel's Response Is Disproportionate

Jonathan Mark

I condemn Israel's disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted four days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for seven years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza.
Editorial from this week's SPECTATOR

Israel's Response Is Disproportionate
By Jonathan Mark

I condemn Israel's disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted four days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for seven years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza.

Perhaps a proportionate response would have Gaza 's leaders fearful of being killed every day for the next two years, as Gilad Shalit has been terrified of torture and death every day for the last two years in his solitary Gaza dungeon.

A proportionate response would have Hamas mothers and fathers as fearful for their children's lives as Shalit's mother and father have been fearful for Gilad's life.

A proportionate response would have Gaza 's children crying for their mommies and daddies, the way at a Hamas pageant earlier in December a Palestinian actor dressed as Shalit got down on his knees, mock-begging in Hebrew for his Ima and Abba while the Gaza crowds laughed.

A proportionate response would so intimidate Hamas that they will grovel and, as a "gesture," send cocoa and jam into Sderot, the way Israel has groveled in response to rockets from Hamas, sending cocoa and jam into Gaza . Imagine Churchill sending cocoa and jam into Berlin as a humanitarian gesture after - during - the bombing of London .

A proportionate response would be one that will convince Hamas there is no
military solution, no solution but surrender. They can then call surrender a
"peace process," if they like, just as the mostly unanswered attacks on Jews
have convinced some Jews that there is no military solution but surrender to
any and all demands.
They suggest a euthanasia by the euphemism of "peace process," that Israel
become what some are already planning to call "Canaan," a non-Jewish state
of all its citizens.

A proportionate response will convince
Palestinians that if they insist that the starting point to peace
negotiations is that no Jew be allowed to live on the West Bank, the
proportionate response will be that Israel 's starting point in negotiations
is that no Arab be allowed to live in Tel Aviv. Horrible to contemplate?
Fine, let there be a proportionate negotiation.

A proportionate response to Hamas, one might gather from the European
scolds, would be as if the United States , after Pearl Harbor , would bomb
just a few Japanese fishing boats and call it a day, believing the war would
have ended with that.

A proportionate response will begin to remind Jews that there is no peace
process like victory, just as Israel 's decade of disproportionate restraint
and self-doubt has convinced young Palestinians that their victory is
inevitable, like Aryan youth in 1933 singing "Tomorrow Belongs To Me."

Let it be said to Israelis and Jews everywhere, in the words of Churchill:
"You have enemies?
Good. It means you've stood up for something."
But remember: A war (and Hamas has repeatedly said this is war) is never won
if you are disproportionately kind to someone who wants to destroy you and,
failing in that, demands with indignation that you not destroy him.

When meeting that enemy, be proportionate.
JWR contributor Jonathan Mark is Associate Editor of the New York Jewish
© 2008, Jonathan Mark

"Time to Be Political?"

Arlene Kushner

As I indicated yesterday, I've been reticent because criticism of the government strikes me as unseemly in a time of war. Whatever the motivation of the various members of the "triumvirate," they have at long last been doing the right thing by going after Hamas and by making declarations about our right to defend ourselves no matter what the international community says. And for what they have been doing they deserve credit. But the unease that worked at me yesterday remains with me today: the sense that the government just might pull out under conditions that -- despite the enormous military blow we've delivered to Hamas -- are not to our long-term benefit.

It is impossible to be certain of the final outcome, as there is great confusion in the air now. Consider all that follows here:


Our current ground operation, stage two, is just about complete. Yet we're not pulling out and we're not bringing in all of the reserve units to move into stage three. Some reservists have been put into play and the operation late yesterday was referred to as stage 2-1/2, which may sound cute but strikes me as fairly meaningless.

We keep on hearing that we are "close" to achieving our goals, suggesting that we're almost done. But those goals still have not been spelled out. Hamas is severely weakened but not out of play -- still launching weapons, although many fewer than was the case a couple of weeks ago.


As yet, even if we are close to finished, there is no clear exit strategy; no final arrangements for the day after have yet been put into place.

A contingent from Hamas in Gaza went to Cairo at the end of last week, and Egypt is handling negotiations for a ceasefire with them. There are elements within Hamas that are desperate for a cease fire. Others remain defiant and want to persist. According to David Horovitz, the Damascus contingent of Hamas (Mashaal and company) was somewhat out of touch with how bad things had become in Gaza and was then set straight by the negotiating mission, which went to Damascus from Cairo.

But there's more to it than this: In Gaza, the people's lives are on the line, and there is a need for leaders to stay hidden. In Damascus, the leadership is not coping with the same degree of stress and personal deprivation. They are content to continue to push their associates in Gaza to keep fighting.

Additionally, it has been reported by Egyptian sources that Iran is pushing Hamas not to settle for a ceasefire. Two Iranian officials, Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian parliament, and Said Jalili of the Iranian intelligence service, met in Damascus with Hamas politburo head Khaled Mashaal and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shallah.

"As soon as the Iranians heard about the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, they dispatched the two officials to Damascus on an urgent mission to warn the Palestinians against accepting it," an Egyptian government official reported to the Post. "The Iranians threatened to stop weapons supplies and funding to the Palestinian factions if they agreed to a cease-fire with Israel."

Thus would the Hamas contingent from Damascus be most persistent in holding out.

In Al-Hayat (London) yesterday, there was a report that while Hamas is still talking with Cairo, it has rejected the notion of a long term truce. They are apparently looking for quick fix to save their necks now.

Ehud Olmert, according to Barak Ravid in Haaretz, is for continuing the operation. He says that we won't stop until Hamas stops launching missiles and an end is put to smuggling.

Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, says Ravid, would rather see us stop now.

This division of attitude seems reflected in the statement that we're in stage "2-1/2" of the operation -- neither here and neither there.

But from another source there is information that the "triumvirate" met last night and decided to push on.

Livni has indicated that she's for a unilateral pullout by us, as this means we are not tied into any agreement and can return as we wish. She maintains that the Gaza offensive has "restored Israel's deterrence" and "created a new equation...which says that when our citizens are attacked we respond with force." And, she says, we have nothing to negotiate with Hamas, which is a terrorist organization.

Cannot say I would argue with this, as long as it doesn't prompt premature departure. Agreements with Hamas officials are worthless, as they don't honor their word (don't really believe they have to, as we're not Muslims). What matters is what we can impose upon them.


There has been some suggestion that we might retain a presence in Gaza in a strip adjacent to our border, rather like the security zone we had for years in southern Lebanon. But there is nothing definitive with regard to this.

The idea of re-taking the Philadelphi Corridor does not seem to have gained traction.


THE issue, beyond the question of whether we keep hitting Hamas or call it quits, is the matter of the smuggling.

Thus, when all is said and done, the most significant player here is Egypt, which is supposed to be working on a mechanism for stopping that smuggling. Theoretically, at least, it must be in place before we pull out.

In the course of the day today I've read information that says Egypt's attitude has changed and we're further along now in achieving the desired result of blocking smuggling.

But then I also read that there are major problems in working things out with Egypt. What we know is that Amos Gilad, who was supposed to return to Egypt today for further negotiations, has not gone.


The report about a shift in Egypt's attitude is true, however: Egypt is enormously sensitive about being accused of not having done enough to stop smuggling in the past. According to my best sources, the Mubarak administration has until now resisted the idea of working with foreign troops because this implies they are not capable of doing the job on their own.

Mubarak sought equipment only, with no foreign forces on his soil. When he requested this of the US, he was refused. But now he has had a visit from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was also here. Steinmeier told Mubarak that Germany would supply the equipment and technical experts but make no demands regarding troops in the Sinai.

This message from Germany -- which essentially is an expression of confidence in Egypt -- has buoyed Mubarak's willingness to help solve the issue of stopping the smuggling. This doesn't mean he will now accept foreign troops on his soil, but that he's exploring other alternatives. One of these involves foreign troops on the other side of the border. Previously, I'm told, he objected even to this. There is also talk revived of a moat at the Philadelphi Corridor, which would theoretically block the possibility of tunnels being re-dug; but there are complications with regard to ecological issues, as the canal would be filled with water.

But this all seems rather moot. For Mubarak is still insisting that he will cooperate only with the PA at the border, and Hamas is insisting there will be no PA there. And no foreign troops either.


NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said yesterday that NATO has no plans to send troops to supervise a ceasefire in Gaza. Hoop Scheffer was here in Jerusalem and met with both Olmert and Livni. He indicated that NATO would be willing to play a peacekeeping role only if there existed a full-scale peace agreement, consent from both sides, and a UN mandate; and he wasn't expecting this to happen any time soon.

I suspect this will be more typical than not: we're not going to see foreign forces falling over themselves to come serve in Gaza -- even if the situation ultimately allows for it.


What is most unsettling with regard to this is a statement that was made by Amos Gilad on Israel radio yesterday. Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's political-security branch, said with regard to arrangements with Egypt to stop the smuggling, that results of talks with Egypt were not particularly relevant, and the Israeli public would know if Hamas had smuggled if rockets were fired from Gaza.

As Aaron Lerner of IMRA puts it:

"It would appear that as far as Gilad is concerned, should the Olmert-Livni-Barak team he represents strike an arrangement with Egypt, critics of the arrangement should have no ability to criticize it and the failure of the arrangement can only be determined when Hamas fires the rockets it smuggles in."

This suggests that the government team would consider pulling out before solid guarantees are in place, and bury the negotiating failure in secrecy.


Also greatly disconcerting is the news that Kadima held a secret poll on the second day of the war to assess how the fighting would affect the coming elections. This is not the way to fight a war -- and it provides one more piece of evidence that the people running the government are no leaders at all.

I would hate to end up concluding that while I refrained from political observations, Olmert and Livni (most specifically Livni, who wants to be the next prime minister, I would guess) were motivated, as has been charged, by political considerations first.


And yet one other mention of a political consideration here: This is from one source only, but a reliable one in the main. He is suggesting that the issue of getting Egypt to agree to foreign forces IN PRINCIPLE, whether they are ever put in place in Gaza or not, is important for Kadima, as Livni envisions doing this ultimately in Judea and Samaria.


My conclusion here: While the right thing to do is the right thing to do, and the "triumvirate" is entitled to credit for what they have done in standing up for Israel at long last...when it comes election time, that credit should not accrue to them in the ballot box. They must be judged across the board and with regard to their motivations as well.

Enough said, until this war is over and campaigning starts.


I was going to write more about the deviousness and viciousness of Hamas -- their theft of humanitarian supplies, which they then sell to Gazans, and the ways in which they booby=trap even schools. But I find I have scant tolerance for this now. Perhaps tomorrow.


A matter of importance in closing: President Bush's term ends in eight days. It is still within his power to pardon Jonathan Pollard.

It has been reported that the White House has been so overwhelmed by phone calls urging Bush to release Pollard, that 30 additional operators have been put on.

Please! Consider joining this campaign while there is still time. Pressure must be maintained.

In the States, call 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern time.

Phone calls can also be made in Israel, toll free: 077-566-4305, 4 PM to Midnight Israel time.


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