.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Chag Sameach!

The blog will not be updated during the next few days as I celebrate Sukkot. Have a great holiday!

Why are Palestinian refugees different?-(MMN)


The Palestinian refugees who abandoned their homes in 1948 were casualties of a war started by the Arab world with the objective of preventing the creation of a Jewish state.
Some of the refugees fled at their own initiative; others were, in modern parlance, ethnically cleansed. The nascent State of Israel was fighting a war of existential survival. It owes no apologies for its behavior in 1948.

UNGAR 194 was adopted in 1949 with the aim of ending the new refugee problem quickly by means of return and compensation. When you go back and read it, it invokes a degree of moderation: if refugees agree to 'live at peace with their [Israeli] neighbors', then they 'should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date'. There is plenty of qualifying language here that has enabled Israel, over the years, to insist that UNGAR 194 is not feasible because we are still effectively at war.

The Palestinian national movement, for its part, has turned 194 into a blatant demand that Israel accept the refugees' 'right of return'--a phrase neither mentioned nor implied in that resolution--as a condition for peace. Hardline Palestinians argue that Israel must allow millions of refugees to inundate the country, thereby in effect compromising its status as a Jewish state and negating UNGAR 181, which explicitly created 'Jewish and Arab states' in Mandatory Palestine. Moderate Palestinians insist that ways can be found to reassure Israel that only a small portion of the refugees would actually return. But they too are very insistent that Israel at least recognize the 'right' of all refugees to return.

In other words, for moderate Palestinians an acceptable final status peace agreement would involve a relatively symbolic return of, say, tens of thousands of refugees, coupled with agreed language regarding UNGAR 194 that could be understood by the Palestinian national movement as Israeli acknowledgement of guilt, or blame, or shame, for having created the refugee problem in the first place. Many Israelis understand this as a demand that Palestinians be awarded psychological compensation in the form of an Israeli admission that Israel was 'born in sin'--that Palestinians were 'right' and Israel 'wrong' in 1948. That is not what UNGAR 194 is all about. That is not what Israel is all about. This cannot and must not be the basis for peace.

This set of Palestinian demands relies on a remarkable Arab achievement regarding the Palestinian refugees over the past 50 years. Not only has UNGAR 194 been distorted beyond recognition in the Arab narrative, but Palestinian refugees have been awarded their own unique UN agency, UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency), while all the rest of the world's refugees make do with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Further, statutes have been promulgated by UNRWA to ensure that refugee status is passed on from generation to generation, to eternity. Thus the Palestinian refugee problem grows exponentially with every passing year. With a fifth generation of Palestinian refugees upon us, and factoring in intermarriage between refugee and non-refugee Palestinians, we are seemingly guaranteed that this problem will never be resolved because virtually all Palestinians will soon be able to claim refugee and 'return' status. Nowhere else in the world has a refugee problem been treated, or mistreated, this way.

There are a few Palestinians who recognize the absurdity of the Palestinian right of return demands. But in the Palestinian mainstream, generations of Palestinians have been educated on the concept that Israel will indeed eventually recognize the right of return and repatriate those refugees who so desire. Thus the refugee issue has become perhaps the single most difficult obstacle to peace.

I can conceive of one possible compromise position that might somehow, at some point, be useful in reaching agreement on the refugee issue. Israel would reiterate categorically that it rejects the right of return. But in the spirit of UNGAR 194, it would offer to repatriate those original refugees, i.e., Palestinians who themselves left the country in 1948, who wish to spend their last years in Israel and are prepared to do so in a spirit of peace. No extended families-only the original refugees themselves, all at least 56 years old, who would number between a few thousand and a few tens of thousands.

Palestinians could, and hopefully would, interpret this as a humanitarian gesture that goes to the core of their grievance. Israelis could claim to be faithful to the original intent of UNGAR 194, without in any way validating the Palestinian narrative regarding 1948 or the Palestinian interpretation of UNGAR 194, both of which are antithetical to the spirit of a genuine two state solution and to reconciliation between the two peoples.

If we cannot invoke a compromise of this nature regarding UNGAR 194 and the right of return, I fear we will remain far from an agreed end to this conflict.

"

Israel Divestiture Spurs Clash (Wash Post)


Jewish Leaders Condemn Move by Presbyterian Church


Jewish and Protestant leaders clashed over Israel yesterday as the heads of several major U.S. Jewish organizations condemned the Presbyterian Church's decision to begin selective divestiture in companies operating in Israel.

After a polite but tense meeting in New York, Presbyterian officials and leaders of the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism promised to continue their dialogue. But neither side gave any ground.
___Conflict in the Mideast ___
SPECIAL REPORT
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Latest News From the Mideast:


• Israel Divestiture Spurs Clash (Post, Sept. 29, 2004 )
• 7 Palestinians Killed in Spate Of Violence (Post, Sept. 28, 2004 )
• Israel Accuses Syria of 'Directing Terrorism' (Reuters, Sept. 27, 2004; 11:27 AM )
• Full Mideast Coverage
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Graphic:
• One Land, Two Peoples A look at the history of the conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Jews.

_____Religion News_____
• Displays of Perseverance (The Washington Post, Sep 25, 2004)
• A Mission To Salvage Holy Message (The Washington Post, Sep 24, 2004)
• An Array of Takes on Thomas (The Washington Post, Sep 18, 2004)
• U.S. Says Saudis Repress Religion (The Washington Post, Sep 16, 2004)
• Va. Episcopalians Enlist Ex-Archbishop's Services (The Washington Post, Sep 16, 2004)
• More Religion Stories
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"Holding something over the head of Israel to change its conduct, while holding nothing over the heads of the Palestinians to change their conduct . . . has caused utter dismay in the Jewish community," Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, told reporters. "It is unbalanced, it is unwieldy, it will not work."

Jewish-Presbyterian relations have been in turmoil since the 2.4 million-member Presbyterian Church's General Assembly voted 431 to 62 in July to "initiate a process of phased selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel" and also decided to continue funding messianic congregations that target Jews for proselytizing.

The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the stated clerk, or highest elected official, of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), said the church does not plan a "blanket divestment" of its $7 billion in investment funds from companies operating in Israel. Rather, he said, it will target businesses that it believes bear particular responsibility for the suffering of Palestinians and will give them a chance to change their behavior before selling their shares.

Presbyterian officials cited one possible example: Caterpillar Inc., which manufactures bulldozers used by Israel to demolish Palestinian homes that are built without permits or belong to families of suicide bombers.

Kirkpatrick said the church would also pull its money out of any companies that are complicit in supporting terrorism.

Rabbi Paul Menitoff, executive vice president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said the Presbyterian resolution was a "lopsided" action that blamed one side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"There is plenty of guilt and plenty of blame to go around," he said. "But . . . the expectation is that there will be a certain fairness in the critique."

Jewish leaders also expressed concern that other Protestant groups, such as the worldwide Anglican Communion, appear to be considering punitive measures toward Israel. Last week an Anglican delegation toured Palestinian areas and reportedly called for divestiture to end the "draconian conditions" of Israel's "continuing occupation."

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative advocacy group in Washington, issued a report this week saying that mainline Protestant denominations devoted 37 percent of their human rights declarations over the past four years to criticism of Israel, far more than any other foreign country.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Saudi Man on the Street Interview - Would You be Willing to Shake Hands with a Jew?

Interviewer: 'Would You, as a Human Being, be Willing to Shake Hands with a Jew?'
I like the phrase "as a human being," meaning that of course Jews aren't human. Nice touch, Akhmed! - EoZ


Respondent 1:

"Of course I wouldn't be willing to shake hands with a Jew, for religious reasons and because of what is happening now in Palestine, and for many reasons that don't allow me to shake a Jew's hand."


Respondent 2:

"No. Because the Jews are eternal enemies. The murderous Jews violate all agreements. I can't shake hands with someone who I know is full of hatred towards me."

Respondent 3:

"No, the Jew is an enemy. How can I shake my enemy's hand?"


Interviewer: "Would you refuse to shake hands with a Jew?"

Respondent 4:

"Of course, so I wouldn't have to consider amputating my hand afterwards."


Interviewer: 'If a Child Asks You Who 'Who are the Jews,' What Would You Answer?'


Respondent 5:

"The enemies of Allah and His Prophet."

Respondent 6:

"The Jew is the occupier of our lands."

Respondent 7:

"The murderers of prophets. Our eternal enemies, of course."

Respondent 2:

"The murderers of prophets, that's it."


Respondent 8:

"Allah's wrath is upon them, as the Koran says. Allah's wrath is upon them and they all stray from the path of righteousness. They are the filthiest people on the face of this earth because they care only about themselves - not the Christians, not the Muslims, nor any other religion.

"The solution is clear, not only to me but to everyone. If only [the Muslims] declared Jihad, we would see who stays home. We have a few countries… There is one country with a population of over 60-70 million people. If we let them only march, with no weapons even, they would completely trample the Jews, they would turn them into rotten carcasses under their feet. There is another country that donated money, saying, 'I am behind you, I'll support you with weapons, just wage [ Jihad ].'

"But the cowardice inside us, deep within our hearts, was instilled by the Arab leaders, may Allah forgive them. They breast-fed us with it from the day we were born to this very day it has grown with us."


The Heart of Darkness (NRO)



...A meeting of the International Moral Court was held in the French capital September 23-25 to expose the crimes of the theocracy in Tehran.
Having lived under religious fascism, I prepared myself psychologically for three days of horrific stories and images.

... Following the administrative procedures a film was shown; smuggled out of Iran, it pictured scenes of despicable horror. We all watched the unwatchable: a man lay on a stretcher while another, bearded and looking like an official, read what seemed to be a court sentence. Then a man dressed in white comes in — presumably a physician — bends over the lying man and applies the sentence.

There is only one word to describe the horror of what I saw: horror. There is other word for the act of tearing out a living man's eyes; there is no adjective to describe it. The whole assembly was plunged into a macabre silence. In the next scene, another man, lying alive and awake on a stretcher, watched his physician-torturer cut his fingers with a hand-mower. Next, a third man, or woman — there is no way of distinguishing the gender of someone wrapped up like a mummy — is buried, alive and awake, up to his chest, before being stoned to death. It barely takes a minute or two before the chest and head of the living mummy start circling around in a dance of death. What magnifies to near-infinite the evil of these scenes of barbarity is the unbearable accompanying cry, "Allah Akbar!" — "God is Great!"

"The situation becomes so explosive, every now and then, that they bring in their Lebanese commandos," Ali told me, turning his head away from that sickening screen. "Lebanese?" I asked. "Yah, Lebanese. They run out of local hands to repress, so they rely on their network. These guys are physically huge and mentally sick. Speaking not a word of Persian, they just beat. A friend of mine got caught the other day by one of these patrols. The guy was so colossal that he sucked my friend in through the car's window with just one hand. They laid him on the car's floor and started beating him. I never saw him again. Seventeen of us disappeared like this in our hood alone. Eleven never came back. Those who did return, including one of my own childhood friends, were so profoundly disrupted psychologically that no one would ever talk of his ordeal."

The projection is followed by testimonies of those who survived the heart of darkness. Coming back from death, a woman goes to the microphone, and, as she speaks, the room sinks into silence once again. A Kurdish sympathizer of an armed opposition group, she was arrested in her native Kurdistan in 1982. Hanged naked upside down — to "tear apart the self that is in every one of us," she says — she was then raped, over and over again. Gang rape, rape with a bottle...

"We will never forgive our parents for having done this to us with their revolution," says Ali, staring at nowhere. "My father said once that they did it because they thought they would get free oil at their door step. Can you believe that? Now, people won't take to the streets anymore. I mean, what for? Every one saw what they did to Zahra Kazemi [a Canadian journalist killed while in the custody of the government in Tehran]. Did the Canadians do anything in outrage? Did the Canadian government take any significant retaliatory step? Every one knows that the mullahs have huge personal savings and investments in Canada. So why should we sacrifice ourselves by defying Lebanese mercenaries in our own neighborhoods? Is the world going to recognize that we exist? Has anyone among the Iranian expatriates supported us? Has any Iranian even come to the refugee camps to see in what miserable conditions we live? We hate the mullahs so much that we could hang every single one of them on every single tree in Tehran, but, so long as we, the Iranians, are only "I" and never "Us" — so long as the West is behind the mullahs — no one will take the matters to the streets any more."

I leave the courtroom, sick of myself, sick of bearing my being. I retire to an adjacent room to write and forget. "Did Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times ever talk to Ali when he toured Iran a few months ago? He has never lived under fascism, has he? Mr. Kristoff doesn't have to face the Lebanese Hezbollah in the streets of New York, does he? So why does he advocate reforming the theocracy and flooding it with American dollars? The "reform" movement is dead, Mr. Kristoff. The aspiration for liberty and a life without fear, for a life with dignity, is not."

"We are 70 percent of the people," said Ali before I left him. They are the most redoubtable weapon of mass destruction against the mullahs, I keep telling myself. They are the end of the tunnel, if only we could recognize that there is tunnel out there and not a dead-end — if only we decided to lend them our voice.

If only...

— Ramin Parham, editor of Iran Institute for Democracy, is an independent commentator based in Paris.

Suicide bombers supported by Norwegian Muslim leader



A highly respected Muslim leader in Norway supports suicide bombers if the aim is to kill enemies.


Basim Ghozlan, the manager at Det Islamske Forbundet, one of the largest Muslim organizations in Norway, stated that suicide bombers are accepted if they kill enemies.

«If the goal in itself is accepted, than this should also be accepted,» Ghozlan said to the Norwegian radio channel Kanal 24.

In a Q&A section at the Muslim website islam.no, Ghozlan respond to a young boy who asked about suicide bombers. The Muslim leader answered the boy’s question by defending the use of suicide bombers.

«If you attack a cruel enemy, then it’s not a coward way, rather the opposite. The people who do this are actually very brave,» Ghozlan answered.

He stressed that for example Israel claims that all settlers are legitimate goals for suicide bombers.

Must not strike the innocent

«Suicide in order to hit the enemy: if the war is legal, seen from Islamic point of view, and if you do not have any other way of striking the enemy than by giving your own life, this is allowed.

The demand not to hit the innocent must not be forgotten. Unfortunately, we see in many cases that suicide bombers hit many more innocent than they wish to. In Iraq innocent people are killed almost daily because of such blind bombs. This is no jihad. The Prophet never urged anyone to do anything like that.

If it happens in occupied areas where the suicide bombers attack settlers and soldiers, it is another issue. The situations have to be discussed separately,» Ghozlan wrote in his answer to the boy.

Frightening
«I almost become a little scared when I hear this,» said Petter Eide at Amnesty International Norge.

He stated that Ghozlan’s statements are completely unacceptable.

«What he says is that he is actually legitimates murder,» Eide said to Kanal 24.

He urges Muslims in Norway to reject Ghozlan’s statements.

«I really hope the Muslim environment in Oslo address these statements because they are completely unacceptable,» Eide said.

Frida Nome, an expert in Middle Eastern issues, said that she did not think these statements were shared by most Muslims.

«I don’t think Muslims in general support this,» Nome said. «I think it’s odd that he dare say this in Norway.»

Note the willful blindness exhibited in the two latter quotes. - EoZ

1,017 Israelis killed, 5,600 injured during four years of intifada


Since the intifada erupted four years ago, 1,017 Israelis were killed, of them 70% were civilians and 30% members of Israeli security forces, data published by the ISA this (Monday) afternoon after four years of confrontation reveal.


According to the data, Palestinian militants perpetrated 13,730 shooting attacks and 138 suicide bombings. Nearly 5,600 Israelis were injured during the time period, of them 82% civilians and 18% security forces personnel.

The bloodiest year was 2002 during which 452 Israelis were killed and 2,309 sustained injuries. A significant drop has occurred since then, culminating in 2004 during which 97 Israelis were killed, another 441 injured.

However, the firings of Kassam rockets have risen steadily in the past year. In 2002, only 25 rockets landed within the Green Line, 15 in Gaza and two on the West Bank. In 2004, 118 landed in Israel and 41 in the Gaza Strip.

The ISA also outlined the growing involvement of Hezbollah in Palestinian terrorist activities. The Lebanese terror group mode of operation concentrates on assisting terrorists or foreign accomplices penetrate Israel, smuggling arms, financial backing and setting up a terrorist infrastructure in Palestinian territories or among Israeli-Arabs.

Terrorist was also PA security officer


Further evidence emerged Monday of the direct link between the armed wing of Fatah, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Palestinian Authority.


Obituary notices distributed in the West Bank town of Salfit by Fatah and the PA's General Intelligence Force revealed that the local commander of the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was killed on Sunday when his M-16 rifle exploded, had doubled as a security officer.

Jihad Hassan, who is also known as Abu Naaim, was the commander of the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Salfit and has been wanted by Israel for the past two years.

Residents said Hassan purchased two days ago from an arms dealer an M-16 rifle that had been apparently booby-trapped by Israel's Shin Bet. They said the rifle exploded on Sunday while Hassan was carrying it, amputating his right arm.

Iranina Nuke Capability by November? (AP)


JERUSALEM - Israel would not be able to destroy Iran's nuclear installations with a single air strike as it did in Iraq in 1981 because they are scattered or hidden and intelligence is weak, Israeli and foreign analysts say.


Israeli leaders have implied they might use force against Iran if international diplomatic efforts or the threat of sanctions fail to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said this month Israel is 'taking measures to defend itself' - a comment that raised concern Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike along the lines of its 1981 bombing of an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak near Baghdad.

Speculation has also been fueled by recent Israeli weapons acquisitions, including bunker-buster bombs and long-range fighter-bombers.

Israel's national security adviser, Giora Eiland, was quoted Monday by the Maariv daily as saying Iran will reach the 'point of no return' in its nuclear weapons program by November rather than next year as Israeli military officials said earlier.

Concern about Tehran's nuclear development intensified last week when Iran's Vice President Reza Aghazadeh said Iran has started converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, an important step in making a nuclear bomb.

The declaration came in defiance of a resolution passed three days earlier by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, demanding Iran freeze all uranium enrichment - including conversion. The group's 35-nation board of governors warned that Iran risked being taken before the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear development program is aimed at generating electricity. Israel and other countries, including the United States, doubt that.

Recent Israeli weapons purchases could be crucial in a possible strike.

In February, Israel received the first of 102 American-built F-16I warplanes, the largest weapons deal in its history. Military sources say the planes were specially designed with extra fuel tanks to allow them to reach Iran.

In June, it signed a $319 million deal to acquire nearly 5,000 U.S.-made smart bombs, including 500 'bunker busters' that can destroy six-foot concrete walls, such as those that might be found in Iranian nuclear facilities.

Military and strategic analysts in Israel and abroad say even with the new weaponry, Israel lacks the ability to carry out a successful strike against Iran's nuclear installations.

'You have to have solid intelligence, you have to know what to hit ... The intelligence on Iran is very weak,' said Alex Vatanka, an expert on Iranian security issues at Jane's Sentinel Security Assessments in London.

Israeli strategic analyst Reuven Pedatzur pointed to a claim last year by Iranian opposition figures that foreign intelligence services have been unaware of two of the Iranian nuclear facilities.

'There is no good intelligence on Iran, and this is the proof,' he said. 'Any Israeli attack on Iran would cause huge political damage, and in the end, the program would proceed.'

After Israel attacked the Osirak reactor, it came in for worldwide criticism. Arab opposition to an Israeli strike against Iran - particularly if it appeared to be unprovoked - would likely be widespread and intense. It could lead to attacks against Israeli and Jewish institutions abroad and condemnations from the United Nations.

Other difficulties in attacking Iran's nuclear facilities include their dispersal throughout the country, their sophisticated defense systems and the likelihood that some of the installations have been replicated, said Cliff Kupchan, vice president of the Nixon Center in Washington, a former Clinton administration Iranian expert who met with Iranian officials during a visit there last year.

The Debate about Leaving Gaza (JCPA)


The current focus in Israeli discussion on whether some Jews have to leave their homes makes consideration of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan unnecessarily and harmfully divisive and misses the real issue of whether the current proposal improves or worsens Israeli security now and for the future.

The widespread agreement among Israelis that ultimately Gaza should not be part of Israel is virtually irrelevant to the question of whether Gaza disengagement is good for Israel now. Opposition to the proposal is not based on a concern for keeping Gaza.
Gaza disengagement needs to be evaluated on the assumption that it will result immediately or shortly in the loss of Israel's ability to control Gaza's borders with the world. It is unlikely that even the Israeli leadership believes that Israel can control these borders if it 'gets out of Gaza' as he proposes.

Read the whole thing, it's pretty long - EoZ

Qurie: Reconsidering the Intifada



The Palestinian Authority prime minister called on his people to 'reconsider' their fight against Israel.
'This anniversary should make us all -- the people, factions, and Palestinian Authority -- reconsider the past four years, where we went wrong and where we went right,' Ahmed Qurie told reporters in Ramallah on Tuesday, referring to an armed revolt launched on September 28, 2000. Many Palestinian moderates have urged for an abandonment of terrorism and guerrilla tactics in favor of a non-violent quest for statehood alongside Israel. But Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two leading terrorist groups, vowed to continue seeking the Jewish state�s destruction.

From Jenin To Fallujah? (Washington Post op-ed)

By Jackson Diehl
Monday, September 27, 2004; Page A19


Two and a half years ago this week, the Israeli army launched an offensive against the Palestinian towns of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem -- which, it said, had become havens for extremist groups and suicide bombers who made daily life in Israel unbearable.
Images of flattened houses and civilian casualties soon filled the world's television screens: Palestinian spokesmen claimed, falsely, that thousands were being massacred. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan declared himself "appalled." President Bush publicly called on Israel to withdraw "without delay." Some editorial writers -- such as this one -- argued that the offensive would do more harm than good.

As Americans and Iraqis now debate what to do about insurgent-held Iraqi towns, it's worth revisiting that Israeli campaign -- because what followed offers a counter to some of the conventional wisdom. Yes, there are innumerable differences between the West Bank and Iraq. And yet the salient point is that through the robust use of military force, Israel has succeeded in reducing the level of violence it faces by more than 70 percent.

Despite occasional feints at diplomacy, the strategy pursued by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been unadulterated. Israeli forces have invaded and swept Palestinian towns and refugee camps repeatedly. They have carried out hundreds of "targeted killings" of suspected militants, often through air strikes. They have assassinated the Islamic clerics and political leaders who inspired the bombers. Not only has this relentless warfare not been leavened with reconstruction projects or a nation-building program, but Sharon has done his best to destroy existing Palestinian political and governmental institutions.

Yet it's now undeniable that the "military solution" that so many believed could not work has brought Israelis an interlude of relative peace. In 2002, 228 Israelis died in 42 suicide bombings; in March 2002, as Sharon launched his offensive, 85 died in nine attacks. This year there have been 10 suicide bombings and 53 Israeli deaths; last week's bombing in Jerusalem was only the second such bombing in more than six months. While the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement remain dismal, and no one expects the violence to end, life in Israel has returned to something approaching normal.

The cost in lives has been lower than commonly believed. For example, in the invasion of Jenin's refugee camp, Israel wiped out the leadership and infrastructure of terrorist organizations responsible for more than two dozen suicide bombings. But human rights groups later documented only 52 Palestinian deaths, of which 22 were civilians. Twenty-three Israeli soldiers died. Since 2002, Palestinian deaths have declined along with those of Israelis. The uproar over the offensive, and what has followed it, has seriously eroded Israel's standing in Europe and elsewhere. But the consequences of that loss are mostly intangible.

So should the U.S. Army stop worrying about the collateral damage of an invasion of Fallujah? Of course not: The United States, after all, is still primarily focused on political goals in Iraq and not merely an end to car bombings. Yet the Israeli experience does suggest that it's wrong to insist, as many in Washington do, that a military campaign against the terrorists' bases could not substantially improve security conditions for both Americans and Iraqis. The visuals would be awful and the outcry loud, on al-Jazeera and maybe at the United Nations. But if the reality were modest civilian casualties and heavy enemy losses, the result might be an opportunity to pursue the nation-building that now is stymied.

This raises another question: Could U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies duplicate the Israeli army's success? Here the outlook is debatable. Israeli officials I've spoken to are themselves doubtful. One major reason for their military success, they say, has been superior intelligence: Thanks to decades of investment in human sources as well as high technology, Israeli forces know who their enemies are and are very good at finding them. Moreover, by 2002 there was a strong political consensus in Israel that there was no choice but to take the offensive against the terrorists and bear the inevitable costs. As the U.S. presidential campaign is demonstrating, Americans are deeply divided over whether the war in Iraq is worth fighting.

One thoughtful Israeli I spoke to said that as he watches the U.S. mission he thinks not of Jenin but of Lebanon. There, Israel's 1982 invasion and subsequent attempt to fashion a new political order deeply divided its society and led to a losing situation from which retreat was all but impossible. It was 18 years before Israel finally exited from Lebanon and stopped the slow but excruciating accretion of its casualties. That history is not nearly as encouraging as the more recent tactical victory over terrorism -- but it's another possible forecast of the American future in Iraq.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Nadia Matar's "incitement" Letter (Israpundit)

Read the whole thing; it is long but a good encapsulation of how Israel's Left (which now apparently includes Sharon) responds to challenges from the Right. - EoZ

What Is Really Shocking, and Who Is Really Inciting?


by Nadia Matar

Last week I sent a letter to the head of the Deportation Administration, Mr. Yonatan Bassi, in which I wrote that the fact that he plans to send a personal letter to each of the inhabitants of Gush Katif designated for transfer, and that his letter contains a "personal appeal and initial explanation of the evacuation process," fills me with chilling associations from the Holocaust. I attached to my letter one that had been written by the Berlin Judenrat in 1942 to the Jewish community, with details and explanations of the approaching deportation. I wrote to Bassi that, in my opinion, the document from 1942 was chillingly similar to the letter that he was about to send. I further stated that I believe that "Yonatan Bassi is a much worse version of the Judenrat in the Holocaust, for then in the Holocaust, this was forced upon those Jewish leaders by the Nazis, and it is very difficult for us to judge them today. But today no one stands with a pistol to Ba! ssi's head and forces him to cooperate with the deportation of the Jews of Gush Katif and northern Samaria." I added that "whoever aids in the deportation of the Jews of Gush Katif and northern Samaria in actuality aids an anti-Semitic act, and will be so remembered to everlasting abhorrence." I concluded the letter with an emotional appeal to Bassi that "he still can resign from his contemptible position and enter Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment, clean and at peace with his conscience, without being part of the modern Judenrat - the Deportation Administration" (the entire letter in Hebrew and the letter from 1942, also in Hebrew, can be seen at the Hebrew language Women in Green web site: .

The letter received wide exposure, and I must admit - I am shocked. I am shocked by the responses of the establishment and the state media. All cry out to high heaven, because of the use of the strong epithet I applied to Bassi - while, on the other hand! , no one is disturbed by the criminal act that Ariel Sharon seeks to commit, with Bassi's help, against which I cry out in my letter: the brutal deportation of Jews from their inheritance and their homes - most of whom are already the third generation on the land - men, women, and children, against their will, solely because they are Jews. This will be accompanied by the razing of their homes, the elimination of their lives' undertaking, the destruction of scores of synagogues, ritual baths, kindergartens, libraries, and schools; the disinterment of dozens of bodies from the cemeteries - many of them, the victims of Arab terror. And the trauma of ethnic cleansing will be followed by the ultimate crime: the handing over of all the Judenrein territory to the Arab enemy, territory that is the inheritance of our forefathers, that they were given by G-d, and that no Jew is permitted to give away. This is a national crime that will (correctly) be interpreted by the Arab enemy as a victory! for terror, and will incite it to continue to murder Jews in Israel and throughout the world, knowing that these murders will result in additional "disengagement" plans - and this time from Netanyah, Haderah, Askhelon, Beersheva, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.

Instead of this terrifying scenario shaking every Jew to the very depths of his soul, instead of this scenario causing every public figure in Israel - the politicians, the Rabbis, civil rights activists, journalists, and others - from stopping their everyday routine to cry for help "Gevalt!", instead of this scenario resulting in a general strike by the entire country until the despicable plan is shelved, instead of all that, this is accepted naturally, with frightening tranquility. Yes, they "express sorrow and identification with those earmarked for uprooting and transfer, "but there is no shock, no outcry of "Gevalt," no proclamation that this is inconceivable, as if this were a heavenly decree! And about what is ever! yone alarmed? About the victim daring to call the hangman names!!

Just imagine the response in Israel and the world if the French government were to declare that "because of the great antagonism between Muslims and Jews in Paris, all the Jews must leave Paris by the end of 2005." All the houses of the Jews, the synagogues, the schools, and all other Jewish properties in Paris would be put at the disposal of the Muslim community. Jews who would oppose the evacuation would be forcibly placed in internment camps by the French security forces. Just imagine the response in Israel and the world if the Israeli Prime Minister were to declare that "by the end of 2005 there will no longer be any Arabs in Israel." Every Arab who would dare to resist the evacuation would be removed forcibly by the security forces and would be arrested. In each of the cases depicted above, a worldwide outcry would result. Everyone would compare the decree to the Holocaust period. Derogatory epit! hets would be hurled at those implementing the deportation, and the entire country would be disrupted by violent demonstrations, that would be organized spontaneously as soon as the plan became known.

And I ask: how is it that when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proclaims to the entire world that "by the end of 2005 there will no longer be any Jews in Gaza," and even adds that the operation to deport Jews, simply because they are Jews, is not limited to Gaza, but also that additional extensive portions of our land, our homeland, will be handed over to the Arab enemy and become Judenrein - this is accepted without an upheaval similar to the outcry that would arise in response to either of these two scenarios?

Analysis of Israel's kiilling Khalil in Damascus (JPost)


The tactical benefits of hitting Izz al-Din al-Sheikh Khalil are marginal. But the psychological and strategic benefits are great.


In keeping with tradition, Israel will never directly acknowledge that it had a hand in Sunday's assassination.

Nevertheless, the strike came after repeated finger-pointing and warnings by Israel that it would widen its war on terrorists and that no place was immune.

Perhaps Israel's Mossad was helped by a subcontractor? Perhaps they were even Syrian? The point is that Bashar Assad was caught red-handed. After declaring that the Hamas leadership had all cleared out of town, one of them found himself blown to bits right there in the capital.

Hamas was quick to blame Israel and that too further humiliated Assad by exposing that Israel or its agents could strike in the heart of his country with impunity. Leaders here know that Assad's options are limited. He would never seek a frontal conflict with a much mightier Israel. With the Americans breathing down his neck to remove his troops from Lebanon, retaliating at Israel through its proxy Hizbullah also seems remote.

Maariv International Al Hayat: Arab country assisting Israel against Hamas (Maariv)

This is a fascinating if somewhat implausible story. - EoZ
Maariv InternationalLondon based Arab daily claims Arab intelligence service providing the Mossad with vital information.

The respected London based Arabic daily Al Hayat reports that an Arab intelligence agency has been cooperating with the Mossad, providing it with significant and sensitive information about Hamas, especially its international activities.

According to the report, the Mossad requested the assistance, as it was unable to obtain the required information by itself, and has had little luck in penetrating Hams and other Islamic terror organizations, due to their effective counter-intelligence operational capabilities.

The information provided to the Mossad has given it detailed information on Hamas leaders, especially its leader Haled Mashal, who Israel attempted to assassinate in Jordan several years ago, and his deputy Mussa abu Marzouk. In addition the Arab intelligence agency has also furnished Mossad with detailed information on Hamas bureaus in Damascus, Beirut, Teheran and the Persian Gulf.

A western intelligence source hints that the Arab country in question may be Egypt. It claims that President Mubarak is gradually putting an audacious new strategy into place, which, if successful could provide credible foundations for a new Middle East power structure.

According to the intelligence source, the strategy is based on the assumption that Cairo can initially wean Damascus and the Palestinian terrorist organization from their alliance with Iran. The second stage is then to get Iran itself on board, after isolating it and leaving the Shiite Persians with no allies of any significance in the Sunni-Arab world.

Success of his endeavor would make the region a much friendlier place for the United States. Failure, he fears, would bring about the untimely withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and significantly weaken America’s status as a superpower.

Mubarak is using a sophisticated blend of sticks and carrots to get the Palestinians and Syria on board. The cooperation with the Mossad against Hams is to ensure that if it becomes necessary, the stick will be long, hard and sharp.

The strategy was devised by Mubarak and his veteran political adviser, confidante and alter ego Osama al-Baz. Its first step is achieving secret, far-reaching understandings between involving Syrian leader Bashar Assad and Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

Mubarak believes he has persuaded Syria to pull away from its key role in the regional terror machine by reining in the influx of al Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorists entering Iraq via Syria, halting the flow of weapons and funds from Damascus to the Iraqi Baath insurgency, and staunching the supply of arms and money from Syria and Lebanon to the Palestinian terrorists.

Assad also indicated a willingness to curb the Damascus-based headquarters of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and try and convince them to accept Egypt’s proposal of a 12-month ceasefire supervised by American, Egyptian, Jordanian and European observers.

On Thursday, September 23, Assad took a fist tentative step in this direction, throwing Hamas leader Haled Mashal and Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Salah out of Damascus. He also closed both groups' command and communications centers, cutting off phones and electricity. Mashal has been dividing his time between Qatar, Damascus and Cairo, but he will nevertheless feel the loss of the Syrian capital. Neither welcomes him unconditionally. Qatar denies the Hamas chief a resident’s permit and Cairo stipulates his continued acceptance of a ceasefire with Israel. If this ban from Damascus remains in force, Teheran will be the only capital where he can stay with no strings attached

In addition he has taken some other steps towards defusing the crisis with Washington. These include an agreement with the US regarding patrolling the Syrian-Iraqi border, and a crack down on militants and terrorists joining the uprising in Iraq. Some small restrictions have been placed on the 3,500-4,000 Iraqi Baath leaders granted asylum in Syria. Assad has also agreed to dismantle his non-nuclear weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological) programs with Iran’s consent, which has been footing most of the bill.
Israel has been asked to reciprocate with a 12-month halt on all military action against Palestinian commands and terror bases, once the planed cease-fire comes into effect. During this period too, Sharon will be required to demonstrate whether he is able to execute his disengagement plan and withdraw all military forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank, as well as make good on his promise to the United States to dismantle unauthorized outposts.

Arafat’s goodwill and the cooperation of his security services are the prerequisite for the success of the plan. However, until the moment of writing these lines, the Palestinian leader had still not given the Egyptian president an answer, despite repeated promises to do so.

In return Mubarak would actively take Syria’s side in negotiations over the Golan Heights, and, if necessary facilitate an accord between Damascus and Washington over this issue, which could make it extremely difficult for Israel not to accept.
US officials are keeping track of the Mubarak-Assad interchange without committing themselves. First, they say, Damascus must demonstrate that it means business by showing goodwill on two urgent issues: to stop providing the guerrillas in Iraq with a logistical base, and to end its occupation of Lebanon. Only if and when Assad delivers on those two counts would Washington contemplate getting involved in any way with the Golan issue.

On Lebanon too, the US administration does not object to an unwritten understanding that would enable Syrian troops to retain some armed presence in Lebanon, as the US sheriff’s deputy, to make sure Islamic militants remain neutralized. This would allow Assad to ensure any Lebanese government does not go too far in negotiating a peace treaty with Israel, as long as the Golan issue remains unresolved. The border with Israel would remain quiet, but Israelis will not be able to flock to Beirut and Lebanon’s ski resorts until Assad gets most of the Golan back.

This leaves Iran. Cairo, Washington and Jerusalem are all aware that Iran holds the keys to the success or failure of the entire initiative. Teheran however is also on the horns of a dilemma. So far its Iraqi policy has failed. Al Sadr’s uprising, which was hatched in and supported by Teheran, was a flop. In addition, its aid to both Shiite and Sunni insurgents in Iraq, including allowing al Qaeda personnel to enter the country and providing them with safe haven has not materially impacted the US will and capabilities to remain in Iraq for a long haul.

The Egyptian strategists believe that if they succeed in isolating Iran, leaving the Shiite Persians with no significant allies in the Arab-Sunni world, they will prefer joining the pax-Americana to standing alone against it.
Well seasoned in the evanescent nature of Middle East peacemaking and diplomacy, Mubarak and al Baz have set a precise timeline for the ripening of their multilateral project, precisely one week before the November 2 presidential election in America.

They reason that the guerrilla, terrorist war will peak then in Iraq. With this heavy cloud over his campaign, Bush will be badly in need of a ray of light. The announcement of a 12-month ceasefire in the Israel-Palestinian conflict after four years of warfare could lift his chances immeasurably at the twelfth hour.

The Egyptians also figure that a week will not be long enough for the ceasefire to break down, a predictable outcome given the track record of truces in this region. But by the time its does, Bush will be home and dry. He will also owe Mubarak big.

What will the Egyptian president expect as his reward? Our sources suspect he will not be satisfied with anything less than White House backing for his son, Jimmy Mubarak’s appointment to succeed him as president of Egypt.

For Mubarak this is a win-win situation. If he succeeds he historical stature will equal that of his mentor Sadat, a statesman who totally transformed the Middle East and reaffirmed Egypt’s preeminence as the ultimate leader of the Arab world.

If it fails, he has lost nothing, since so far he has acted extremely covertly, not risking loss of face. Neither he, nor anyone in Egypt would lose any sleep if Syria, Iran and the Palestinians end up in open and full scale conflict with the US and Israel. In fact, he probably secretly welcomes such an outcome. A nuclear capable Iran not part of the pax America-based international order poses a major potential threat to Egypt. Having an angry and possibly vengeful President Bush, no longer fettered by pre-election considerations, take care of that problem for him would not be such a bad outcome.

An interesting question is why Al Hayat, which is owned by Saudi interests chose to air this information at this time. Was the motive to help Cairo exert subtle pressure on Hamas by letting it be known that Israel is in a position to strike at its leaders, or is it a move by Saudi interests, possibly linked to Islamic militants, to wreck the initiative by publicizing it?

The Fruits of French Appeasement

Frenchman Killed in Jidda
JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 26 (Reuters) - A French technician for a defense contractor was shot dead here on Sunday, in an attack security officials said might have been carried out by Islamic militants.

The police and hospital employees said the shooting happened around 1 a.m. near a supermarket. The victim, Laurent Barbot, a 41-year-old resident of Jidda who was a technician for the French defense and electronics company Thales, was shot twice while in his car. A security official in the Interior Ministry, Brig. Gen. Mansur Turki, said, 'There is a strong possibility that this is a terrorist attack,' and speculated that militants loyal to Al Qaeda might have been involved.

Mr. Barbot is the latest Westerner with links to defense companies to be killed in this country.

Part of Dome of the Rock may collapse?


An Israeli minister has warned that part of a holy site in Jerusalem sacred to both Muslims and Jews may collapse beneath the weight of worshippers.


Thousands of Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage to the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, during Ramadan.

But Israel's interior security minister says the the site must be strengthened or numbers of pilgrims must be limited.

Muslim authorities say it is an attempt to seize control of the mosque.

One can only hope and pray :)- EoZ

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Hamas threatens to target Israelis abroad


GAZA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The Palestinian militant group Hamas threatened on Sunday to target Israelis abroad after blaming Israel for the killing of a Hamas official in Syria.


'We have let hundreds of thousands of Zionists travel and move in capitals of the world in order not to be the party which transfers the struggle. But the Zionist enemy has done so and should bear the consequences of its actions,' said the statement by Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

The statement issued in Gaza and obtained by Reuters mourned the death in a car bomb of Izz el-Deen al-Sheikh Khalil, believed to be in charge of Hamas's military wing outside the Palestinian territories.

Hamas blamed Israel for the assassination.

'The Zionist enemy has opened a new door for the struggle by transferring the battle outside Palestine, in spite of the fact that al-Qassam Brigades has always been keen to keep its rifles directed against the entity in the land they occupy,' said the statement, which had been broadcast earlier by the Arabic television station al-Jazeera.

A Hamas representative in Lebanon denied that the group had taken a decision to attack Israeli targets abroad. He and a spokesman in Damascus said Hamas would launch attacks only inside Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Hamas, which has launched scores of suicide attacks against Israel and Palestinian territories, has always maintained that its policy was not to attack Israeli targets worldwide.

In Jerusalem, a senior Israeli government source said that Hamas' pamphlets and Web sites made clear it was engaged in a 'total war against Jews' and the latest threat reported by al-Jazeera, whether genuine or not, would not be new.

New Iran missiles can reach London (WorldNetDaily)



Iran said today it has successfully test-fired a long-range 'strategic missile' and delivered it to its armed forces, saying it is now prepared to deal with any regional threats and even the 'big powers.'


Iran's new missiles can reach London, Paris, Berlin and southern Russia, according to weapons and intelligence analysts.

If there is anything bad about US involvement in Iraq, it is that we are less likely now to confront Iran, which is proving itself to be the biggest threat to the world today. -EoZ

Syria brokers secret deal to send Iraqi atomic weapons scientists to Iran (Daily Telegraph)


Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.


Western intelligence officials believe that President Asad is desperate to get the Iraqi scientists out of his country before their presence prompts America to target Syria as part of the war on terrorism.

The issue of moving the Iraqi scientists to Iran was raised when President Asad made a visit to Teheran in July. Intelligence officials understand that the Iranians have still to respond to the Syrian leader's request.

A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Saddam's now defunct Special Security Organisation and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president's brother-in-law.

The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear programme, were given new identities, including Syrian citizenship papers and falsified birth, education and health certificates. Since then they have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts.

Growing political concern in Washington about Syria's undeclared weapons of mass destruction programmes, however, has prompted President Asad to reconsider harbouring the Iraqis.

American intelligence officials are concerned that Syria is secretly working on a number of WMD programmes.

They have also uncovered evidence that Damascus has acquired a number of gas centrifuges - probably from North Korea - that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Israelis Win 7 Paralympic Medals

The Israeli Paralympic team has brought home seven medals, three of them gold, in what has been Israel's most successful Paralympic performance ever.
Israel's sailing team, made up of members Dror Cohen, Arnon Ephrati and Benny Vexler, has dominated the sonar division, coming in first place after finishing fourth in the in the seventh leg and first in the eighth leg of the nine-race competition. They won their final race today.

“We are very happy for ourselves and for Israel," said skipper Dror Cohen. "The flag of our country is being displayed now."

Israeli swimmer Keren Leibowitz won Israel's second gold medal Wednesday, coming in first place in the 100-meter backstroke race.

Leibowitz narrowly missed winning the gold in the 100-meter freestyle Monday, after which she lamented: "I don't feel like I won the silver - I feel like I lost the gold." Leibowitz had raced against American Jessica Long, who pulled ahead of Leibowitz at the very end of the race, beating her by 19/100 of a second. Two years ago, in the Sydney Paralympics, Leibowitz won three gold medals and broke three world-records.

This morning, in an interview with Army Radio, Leibowitz said she was glad to again represent the State of Israel in the position that suits it: "Number one," she said. Leibowitz was seen smiling, with tears streaming down her face, at the singing of Hatikva, Israel's national anthem.

Israeli Itzhak Mamistalov also won a gold medal, coming in first in the men's 100-meter freestyle Tuesday and setting a new Paralympic record. Mamistalov is paralyzed in three limbs, swimming using only his right arm. He also took home a silver medal on Wednesday in the 200-meter freestyle.

Other Israeli winners include Inbal Pezaro, who took the bronze in the women's 200-meter freestyle and Doron Shaziri, who won a bronze medal in the men's rifle contest. Nimrod Tzabiran placed sixth in the men's 100-meter freestyle.

With seven medals total, Israel's Paralympic team surpassed its record of five medals in Sydney.

The Paralympic Games are a biennial event for elite athletes with any disability. They follow the Olympic Games every two years, with both summer and winter games. The Paralympics 2004 has more than 4,000 disabled athletes from 136 countries competing for 525 gold medals in 19 sports.

Egypt bans Madonna after Israel visit

Egypt has issued an order barring pop star Madonna from entering the country because she visited Israel.

Members of Egypt's parliament have demanded Madonna, who has not requested entry into Egypt or announced any plans to visit the country, be barred from entering Egyptian soil. The parliament directed Egyptian embassies abroad to deny any visa requests from Madonna.

Egypt gets $2 billion annually for its Camp David "peace" with Israel. - EoZ

Friday, September 24, 2004

G'mar chatima tovah

For those who observe Yom Kippur, have an easy fast and may we all be sealed for a great year!

Jordan plans to build 5th minaret on Temple Mount

It is appearing that Israel's government has lost interest in having anything Jewish about the "Jewish state." Politics should not decide what happens to Judaism's most holy site. - EoZ

Jordanian Wakf officials are planning on building a fifth minaret on the Temple Mount, and Israel has not objected to the proposal, a senior Jordanian official said Tuesday.


"We informed the Jerusalem police chief the day before yesterday that we are going to build a fifth minaret at the site," said Dr. Raief Najim, the vice president of the Jordanian Construction Committee, in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post from Amman.

Najim, who is overseeing the renovation of the southern and eastern Temple Mount walls, said the planned minaret was the brainchild of Jordanian King Abdullah II and would be constructed near the eastern wall of the Temple Mount next year.

Four other minarets exist on the Temple Mount, three near the Western Wall and one near the northern wall.

Jerusalem police declined comment Tuesday, but Najim said Wakf officials inferred from the silence of the Jerusalem police chief, Cmdr. Ilan Franco, that Israel had no objection to the plan.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Raanan Gissin, told the Post the building of the minaret is "within Jordan's religious autonomy" as the traditional overseer of maintenance at the site.

According to decades-old regulation in place at the Temple Mount, Israel maintains overall security while the Wakf, or Islamic Trust, is charged with day-to-day administration.

Najim said construction work on the minaret – which is estimated to cost 250,000 Jordanian dinars ($352,000) – would begin in 2005, after a design similar to the four existing minarets is completed.

He added that the tentative location chosen for the planned fifth minaret, just north of the Golden Gate near the eastern wall, would not require "deep excavations."

But leading Israeli archeologists, who have been decrying the lack of archeological supervision at the site for the past four years, lambasted the plan.

"Before any change is made at the ancient Temple Mount it is essential that archeological supervision resume immediately at the site," said Dr. Eilat Mazar, a Temple Mount expert and member of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount.

"In the past, Wakf requests for small structural changes on the Temple Mount were actually an excuse for large-scale Islamization of the site, which caused massive antiquities damage," she added, referring to the unilateral Wakf construction work carried out in the late 1990s at an architectural support of the mount, known as Solomon's Stables. That project began after Israel approved a request for an "emergency exit" to the underground site.

During this period, Israel has been keen to involve the Jordanians in the ongoing repair work on the Temple Mount, with the Jordanians considered to be more moderate than the Palestinian heads of the Wakf appointed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Hizbollah upset over Iraqi-Israeli handshake

I found it interesting that the BBC doesn't identify exactly who is criticizing the handshake in the headline, implying that the entire Arab world agrees. Maybe they do but the only criticism comes from Hizbollah, which is hardly newsworthy. - EoZ


Iraq's interim prime minister is facing some withering criticism for shaking hands with Israel's foreign minister at the United Nations general assembly.

Lebanese militant Hezbollah group said Iyad Allawi's gesture was 'scornful' to Arabs and an 'insult' to Iraqis.

Israel's Silvan Shalom said it was the first official contact between Israel and Iraq. He told Mr Allawi he hoped for peace in the Middle East, he said.

Israel and Iraq are neighbours at the alphabetically-seated New York venue.

Mr Shalom and Mr Allawi and other Israeli and Iraqi delegates exchanged handshakes and pleasantries just before the start of the UN's annual debate on Tuesday night.

Hezbollah said the gesture showed how the US was trying to pull Iraq away from the Arab and Islamic worlds and draw it into an American-Israeli sphere of influence.

'It was also in blatant disregard of the pains and sufferings of the Palestinian people, and of the feelings of Arabs and Muslims everywhere,' the statement added.

Mr Shalom told Associated Press he hoped Iraq would establish relations with Israel and US officials have expressed the same aspiration.

However, Mr Allawi has said Iraq will not establish relations with Israel until other Arab states did so as part of a Middle East peace settlement.

Iraq's mission at the UN said it had no information about the incident.

No to another terror state (Joseph Farah)


There is an opportunity right now to weigh in on one of the greatest and most important issue of our time – whether the world should create a Palestinian Arab state.


A group called Global Israel Alliance is attempting to mobilize opposition to this misguided plan now, prior to the November elections. If the turnout is high enough, the organizers believe it might help reverse U.S. support for the so-called Mideast "roadmap."

What's wrong with the idea of creating a Palestinian Arab state?

There are many reasons to oppose the creation of what would certainly be another breeding ground and support base for Islamic terrorism. But I want to focus on just one.

One of the great untold stories of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the Palestinian Authority's official policy is to demand all Jews get out of the country they are attempting to create.

I'll bet you didn't know that. But it's true. This is why the Palestinian Authority is calling for the dismantling of Jewish communities within its territory. There is no room for any Jews in the country the children of Yasser Arafat want to start.

In any other part of the world, this kind of racist, anti-Semitic effort at ethnically cleansing a region would be roundly condemned by all civilized people. Yet, because most people simply don't understand the clear, official plan by the Arab leaders to force out all Jews from the new Palestinian state, Arafat retains a degree of sympathy, even political support, from much of the world.

Think about what I am saying: It is the official policy of the Palestinian Authority that all Jews must get off the land! Why is the United States supporting the creation of a new, racist, anti-Semitic hate state? Why is the civilized world viewing this as a prescription for peace in the region? Why is this considered an acceptable idea?

Is there any other place in the world where that kind of official policy of racism and ethnic cleansing is tolerated – even condoned?

Why are the rules different in the Middle East? Why are the rules different for Arabs? Why are the rules different for Muslims?

Would America consider it acceptable if the new Iraqi government said the few Jews remaining in Iraq would have to leave? Would America consider it acceptable if the new Iraqi governing council said Christians would have to go?

Of course not. So why – even before a Palestinian state is created – do we accept as a fait accompli that Jews should be forced off their land in the coming state of Palestine?

Why are U.S. tax dollars supporting the racist, anti-Semitic entity known as the Palestinian Authority?

Is it any wonder Israelis seek to build a wall to protect themselves from the racist, anti-Semitic supporters of suicide bombers determined not only to kill Jews in the Palestinian Authority, but to kill as many as they can in Israel as well?

While the Arabs do not even believe Jews have the right to live in the Palestinian state, the Israelis, on the other hand, offer full citizenship rights to Arabs in the Jewish state.

What a contrast!

In fact, as I have said many times, nowhere in the Middle East do Arabs experience more freedom than in Israel.

So, sound off. Participate in the referendum. Make your voice heard.

There's still time to stop the creation of another terror state in the Middle East.

Iran Moves to Roll Back Rights Won by Women

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have been forced to cover their heads and wear long, loose coats in public. But many had defied the restrictions since Mr. Khatami's election in 1997 and started wearing tighter and more colorful coats and showing more hair.


In recent months, though, newspapers have reported that scores of women have been arrested in Tehran, the capital, and around the country because they were wearing what the authorities considered to be un-Islamic dress.


Members of Parliament have called for segregating men and women at universities and for other limits on women's activities. Hard-liners have held protests to call for a crackdown on freedoms for women and have contended that women ridicule religious sanctities by violating the dress code.

The previous Parliament, dominated by reformists, embraced more legal rights for women and - despite opposition by hard-liners - expanded women's right to divorce and child custody.

Eshrat Shaegh, a conservative woman who has a seminary education and who is one of the women elected to Parliament in the sweep by hard-liners, wrote a letter to Mr. Khatami in July that called for an end to the mixing of unmarried young men and women in public places.

'How do you intend to resolve problems by allowing half-nude women to mingle and party with men who dress like women?' she asked in her letter, referring to women who in the hard-liners' view show too much hair and men who wear colorful clothes."

"Non-Violent" PSM at Duke won't condemn terrorism

Nice to see them exposed for what they are, yet again. - EoZ

The planners of a pro-Palestinian student conference at Duke University will not sign a statement condemning terrorism as Jewish groups on campus have requested, a spokesman said.


Condemning Palestinian organizations methods would violate the guidelines of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, said Rann Bar-On, a member of the affiliated Duke group Hiwar.

'We don't see it as very useful for us as a solidarity movement to condemn violence,' he said. 'That will not achieve any particular goal.'

Despite protestations from conference organizers that the Palestinian Solidarity Movement supports only nonviolence, conference opponents have said the group tacitly supports suicide bombings and other violent acts by leaving its position on them deliberately vague.

Jewish groups placed an advertisement in the Duke student newspaper earlier this month saying conference organizers must condemn the killing of civilians in order for Jewish and Palestinian groups on campus to have a useful dialogue.

The request conflicts with one of the groups guiding principles as stated on its Web site.

'As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation,' the statement reads."

Arabs continue to support kidnappings, beheadings; but worry about PR


Muslim outrage over killings found lacking

By Paul Martin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

LONDON — The beheadings of two Americans in Iraq this week have been treated as unwelcome developments in the Arab press, but the concern has been more for the image of Muslims than for the victims.
Most organizations continued to cast the outrage as a small part of a wider conflict in which the United States is seen as the prime culprit.
"There has been little sign of the outrage that greeted the kidnapping of two French hostages last month and none of the soul-searching prompted by the ... siege" at a school in Beslan, Russia, said Sebastian Usher, who monitors the Arab media for the British Broadcasting Corp.
A survey of the Arabic press in the past few days found that almost all reported the kidnappings of two Americans and a Briton and the Internet posting of statements and videotapes depicting the grisly killings of the two Americans. Appeals for mercy from the family of British hostage Kenneth Bigley also were widely reported.
But in most cases, the stories were quickly overtaken by extensive and colorful reports of bloodshed elsewhere in Iraq or in the Palestinian territories.
Al Jazeera, the most widely watched Arabic television channel, conducted a telephone poll during its top debating program, the Other Direction. In it, 93 percent of viewers said they approved of kidnapping foreigners in Iraq — even though by then, one of the two American hostages had been decapitated.

French Reiterate Support for Arafat


UNITED NATIONS - Disagreeing with US officials, France’s foreign minister said on Thursday that no progress could be made in the Middle East peace process by marginalizing or not negotiating with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.


“There are a number of political authorities who say that nothing can be done with Yasser Arafat,” said Michel Barnier, answering a question on whether he was concerned that recent calls by US President George W. Bush for a change in Palestinian leadership would further undermine the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“I believe that nothing can be done without Arafat, or against Arafat,” Barnier said. “He is the legitimate and chosen leader of the Palestinian people, and we must have a dialogue with him because he represents his people.”

The French have never met a murderous dictator they didn't like. - EoZ

Powell: World Getting Tired of Waiting for Arafat to Cede Power


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday the international community is growing weary of waiting for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to hand over control of security forces to an empowered prime minister. He suggested this could mean reduced outside aid for the Palestinians.


Mr. Powell made no specific threats for cutting aid and set no deadlines. But at a news conference on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the Secretary suggested that international aid to the Palestinians could be jeopardized if Mr. Arafat continues to resist calls for reform, especially demands that he yield control of security agencies to Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.

'There is a weariness in the international community to continue providing the kind of assistance the Palestinian people so desperately need unless we see some sort of political reform and determination on the part of the Palestinian Authority to improve itself,' he said. 'And improve itself in the form of having an empowered prime minister who has control over the security forces, can rationalize the security forces, and can put in place a government that is ready to take political responsibility for Gaza, security responsibility for Gaza, and is ready to engage the Israelis.'

The United States has been the largest single aid provider to the Palestinians through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, despite its differences with Mr. Arafat, with whom it ceased political contact in 2002 because of his failure to curb terrorism.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Disgusting Reuters article gloriying suicide bomber

Lots of gnashing of teeth about the family of the monster, not a word about the families of the people blown up. Way to go, Al-Reuters. - EoZ

'I don't know what's happening,' said Abu Salem's 12-year-old brother Tarek, in disbelief that his sister had died. 'I don't know where she is. She isn't at home.'


Abu Salem, whose photographs show her as a brown-eyed girl in a white headscarf with a slight smile, blew herself up near a hitch-hiking post in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing two Israeli border police and wounding 17 other people in the first suicide attack in the city in seven months.

The blast tore through the mainly Jewish district of French Hill in Arab East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally. (which of course justifies blowing up Jews, according to al-Reuters. - EoZ)

In the aftermath of the attack, hundreds of residents of the Askar camp rushed to help the bomber's family remove furniture, clothes and appliances from a two-storey house built by the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees.

Family members said they had known nothing of Abu Salem's plans for the attack.

Her father Ali, recovering from surgery to open clogged arteries, collapsed and was taken to hospital after learning of his daughter's death.

Relatives said Abu Salem had just passed high school graduation exams and had spoken of entering university.

Minutes later, Abu Salem's mother also passed out and was rushed to a local hospital.

'She had a second shock. It was not enough that she lost her daughter. Now she fears she will lose her husband,' a neighbour said. 'Look at the house, which is empty of her daughter, her husband and all its contents.'

Israel typically demolishes the homes of militants suspected of involvement in suicide bombings, a practice Palestinians condemn as collective punishment but which Israeli officials say deters future attacks. (Once again, demolishing homes is condemned but blowing up people is normal. My disgust at Reuters knows no bounds. - EoZ)

Suicide Bomber Was Children's TV Show Hostess


The young 18-year-old female suicide terrorist, Zeinab Ali Isa Abu-Salem, who murdered two Israelis yesterday and wounded some 30 others, was none other than a children's TV show hostess on a local station in Shechem.
Ofra resident Debbie Segal, who noticed the terrorist approaching the bus stop moments before she blew herself up, described her as 'extraordinarily beautiful.' She comes from a very wealthy Arab family in Shechem, which owns the TV station where she worked.

Palestinian Media Watch has thoroughly documented numerous children's TV programs that indoctrinate Arab children to seek 'heroic death for Allah.' On January 15, 2002, Arafat himself, during a PA televised message to children, told them, 'Is it not the greatest message to the world, when a child dies for Allah?'"

"Humiliating" her saved maybe twenty lives: Questions for President Bush

President George W. Bush:

When an Israeli border policemen, Mamoya Tahio and Menashe Komemi approached Zainab Ali Issa, 18, asking for identification and then demanding that she be searched, is this what you were referring to yesterday at the United Nations as the "daily humiliation" of the Palestinian people?

So what was the poor girl to do? She had come all the way from Jenin with her explosives. She was no doubt carrying her bag as a fashion accessory. How dare those nasty Israeli bullies stop her and ask her what was in the bag?

How dare they stop her from approaching that hitchhiking stop packed with Israeli soldiers! Maybe she wanted a ride?

So she did what any nice Palestinian girl would do under the circumstances. She pressed her detonator, blew herself to hell, and murdered her inquisitors.

The reality is that young women who choose to become suicide bombers is a growing trend among the Palestinians. Zainab Ali Issa was the eighth successful female suicide bomber, all of them sent by Arafat's Fatah. In the last few weeks five would-be female bombers either have been caught or turned themselves in enroute to attacks.

There is a reason for this trend. Their handlers, invariably men, know that women look more innocent, are less likely to be stopped. They take advantage of the hesitance of Israeli soldiers to stop and search them.

When a woman walks by fully covered in the garb of traditional religion, there is a natural tendency to respect their modesty and privacy.

The "disrespect" of two heroic border policeman, their "humiliation" of this ticking bomb, saved the lives of at least a dozen people.

One has to wonder, listening to you scold Israel from the podium of the United Nations: have you no shame? Are you not afraid that the listening delegates will laugh at the sheer hypocrisy of you, the Commander in Chief of armed forces which daily, in the streets of Iraq, and in the homes of Iraqi families, submit the locals to searches and worse, not hesitating to shoot first and ask questions later when a suspicious character approaches a checkpoint or looks askance at a patrol?

Of course you are not afraid, because you know that the listening delegates are part of the same hypocritical double standard. Those who come to blow up Israelis are freedom fighters, not terrorists like the ones who try to blow them up. Israelis who try to reduce contact with suicide bombers who wish to infiltrate into their country are accused of creating an "Apartheid Wall."

Don't misunderstand me, Mr. President: I think the American armed forces are for the most part exemplary, as soldiers and as human beings. They are doing their best in a difficult mission. And if there are others, whether in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay, show some disrespect for human rights and a taste for intentional humiliation and sexual abuse, they are the exceptions, the rotten apples who don't reflect or spoil the glorious bunch of men and women fighting the good fight, yes, to keep the world free and to fight the evil terrorists.

Why can't you see that it is exactly the same with us?

The heroes are the young border policeman who pay with their lives to save the lives of others. Who guard the checkpoints under terrible conditions. And yes, who live and build in the heartland of the Bible that belongs, and has always belonged to the Jewish people!

How dare you tell us to freeze our growth? How dare you insult us by accusing us of "humiliating" a people when all we are doing, and have always done, is to defend ourselves against murderers.

You seem to fancy that the Palestinians really want peace rather than to end Israel and kill Israelis, even if their leaders and people say so and do so?

Why can't you see, and say, that the villains are a people which glorifies ritual murder, which celebrates on TV and schools suicide bombing as the fashion of choice for young people? When the Palestinians started sending ticking bombs to murder our people, they forced us to impose stringent checks and, ultimately to build a barrier that is as ugly as it is necessary--at least for the moment. You build tall ugly barriers against Mexican seeking employment? Is our desire to keep suicide bombers out so terribly hard to understand?

So, President Bush, this is what we say: if protecting ourselves means "humiliating" others by stopping potential bombers and searching them, then let us humiliate them daily, 24/7.

President Bush: if you really fancy yourself the leader of the global war on terrorism, then please: stop resorting to this embarrassing double standard where you are unwilling to call the master terrorists by name, where you don't demand that the Palestinian fight terrorists in their midst, where you single out for criticism Israel -- the world leader in the fight against terror, historically in terms of counter-terror techniques, and the nation on the front lines and the most risk from terror.

When you say these shameful and foolish things in front of a shameless world, Mr. President, with all due respect, you do not earn the respect of your people, or ours.

I believe you remain basically on our side, and I have no doubt the "other guy" would probably say about the same, or worse. But when all is said and none, that really is no excuse. When you obscure the difference between good and evil, you undermine the moral basis of your just cause.

When you accuse us of "daily humiliations" as we give our lives to save lives, Mr. President, you only humiliate yourself.

Reuven Koret
Publisher, Israel Insider

Heroes who blocked bomber to be buried today

Two Border Policemen killed Wednesday while barring the path of a female suicide bomber, an action which police officials said may have saved dozens of lives, are to be laid to rest on Thursday. The funeral for Border Policemen Yonatan (Mamoya) Tahio, 20, of Rehovot will be held at the military cemetery in Rehovot on Thursday at one P.M. The funeral for Menashe (Meni) Komemi, 19, of Moshav Aminadav, will take place Thursday afternoon at four PM at the police cemetery at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

French lawmakers amused by Sharon's disengagement expectations


At least someone is laughing.


Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin recently told the national-religious Hatzofeh newspaper the following anecdote about his last visit to Paris, where he had been invited to meet the heads of the French Parliament.

'I came, and after a few words of courtesy, they asked me, 'Tell me, Mr. Israeli Parliament Chairman, you are known as one of Prime Minister Sharon's close friends, so why is it that you do not support his disengagement initiative?'

I said, 'Well, the truth is that I should ask you. He has been trying to convince me that the moment we disengage, Europe will give us at least 15 years of quiet and won't put pressure on us [to make further concessions], and during this time we will be able to stabilize our control over areas on which we cannot compromise, such as the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem. So tell me: Will you in fact give us 15 years of quiet?''

'They started to laugh and said that they now understand why I don't support the Prime Minister. Later on, I asked them if they would give us 15 months of quiet. They laughed.'

'I asked, 'How about 15 weeks?' and they continued to laugh.

''15 hours?' I ventured, and they still laughed.

Regarding 15 minutes, they didn't laugh, but neither did they nod....' "

MADRE - Ford Funded NGO Leads Demonization of Israel

Founded in 1983, and based in the United States with 23,000 members, MADRE describes itself as an "international women's human rights organization that works in partnership with women's community based groups…to develop long term solutions to the crisis they face."

In practice, however, MADRE's activities reflect an extremist political and ideological agenda that also justifies terror. Nevertheless, and despite its high-profile role in the 2001 Conference on Racism at Durban, MADRE received $350,000 of funding from the Ford Foundation in 2003 (There is no list of sponsors on the MADRE website.) A former MADRE official, Sarah Leah Whitson is currently the Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, providing another example (along with Joe Stork and Gary Sick) of the primacy of anti-Israel bias in HRW's Middle East activities.)

The 2001 Durban Conference and beyond

Madre was a major participant in the NGO forum of the Durban Conference on Racism in 2001, including a highly biased presentation on the history of Palestinian refugees. MADRE's political agenda is also reflected in the partnership formed with the Palestinian NGO Ibdaa, a "refugee community center" engaged in virulently anti-Israel activities. Ibdaa also had a prominent role at the Durban conference, and supplies much of MADRE's anti-Israel materials.

Historical Distortion

In examining MADRE's publications on the conflict, extreme distortions in the service of a political agenda are commonplace. Reports accuse Israel of using F-16s to destroy "houses, mosques, kindergartens, clinics" and make the false claim that "half of all the land [in West Bank] will be swallowed by Israel." Its background resource to the conflict is a farce. There is no reference to Arab terror attacks, no historical background, and Israel is consistently portrayed as responsible for the 1948 and 1967 Wars. MADRE repeats the canard blaming Zionism for anti-Semitism, and portrays the Oslo process as an anti-Palestinian accord designed to consolidate Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza, a claim repeated in a MADRE report "Hunger in Palestine".

MADRE's dominant political agenda is also seen in the differences in the distribution of its reports. Between December 1999 and April 2003, this organization issued 17 reports on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as compared to 13 on all of Latin America, eleven on Iraq, five on women's health and three on Africa during this period. The content of these reports reflect the continued ideology of delegitimization of Israel.

Excusing terror in order to demonize Israel

In its "Palestine Country Overview", the post-Oslo violence beginning in September 2000 is termed a "Palestinian struggle" versus an Israeli "military offensive characterized by grave and massive violations of Palestinian human rights." Rejecting Israel's security concerns, MADRE places Palestinian terror in the context of the "right to resist military occupation". Marking International Women's Day on March 8, 2002, a MADRE statement ignores Palestinian terror and the murder of hundreds of Israelis, while charging Israel with assassinating "activists" or "leaders" and building an "Apartheid Wall", which is falsely labeled "electrified". This is a blatant propaganda text, including sentences such as "Israeli forces have responded to Palestinian demands for independence by attacking with US made Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets..." A MADRE press statement of April 2, 2002 during the height of the Palestinian terror campaign continues this theme: "Israel is killing unarmed women, children and old men…" and adding the grossly unethical statement that "Israelis killed by Palestinian suicide bombers are victims of Sharon's policy." MADRE's amoral equivalence between Israeli victims and Palestinian perpetrators is demonstrated in its view that "[state] terrorism is the essence of Sharon's policy."

Despite MADRE's claim to be a human rights organization, there is no mention of Palestinian violation of Israeli rights through terror or encouragement of childhood martyrdom and official incitement. Violence and terror are excused as part of Palestinian culture and nationalist struggle. MADRE's only mention of human rights violations within the Palestinian Authority is in a short letter of December 10, 1999 asking "honored President Arafat" to reassess his incarceration of twenty political opponents.

In summary, MADRE's radical political agenda and demonization of Israel are in direct contrast to its claimed objective "to develop a long term solution to the crisis". Women's rights issues are discarded in favor of carrying out a blatant anti-Israel politicized agenda. If it continues to fund this organization, the Ford Foundation is ignoring its own guidelines.

Hizballah broadcasts propaganda to North America via Al Manar


Hizballah broadcasts a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week stream of Iran-inspired propaganda to North America via the Al Manar TV channel, using the American company Intelsat's Telestar 5 satellite.
Broadcasts to Europe and North Africa are made via Eutelsat of the European Space Agency, now operated by a private French company. Additional Al Manar broadcasts are carried to North Africa and Europe by the American firm New Skies Satellites. Al Manar broadcasts to the Middle East on Arabsat, owned largely by Saudi Arabia. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies-Hebrew)

Israel demands change to IAEA resolution, threatens boycott


Israel has threatened to boycott an international conference on a nuclear free Middle East sponsored by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) if a resolution calling Israel a nuclear threat is not removed from the agenda.

The conference, scheduled for January 2005, will be attended by representatives from several Middle Eastern countries including Iran, as well as non-government organizations and a number of independent experts.

The conference, which has no binding powers and is characterized as an 'academic seminar' last met in 1997 and in 1993. IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei discussed Israel's possible participation in the forthcoming conference. He was in Israel a few months ago and met Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the director of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, Gideon Frank.

In a speech to the IAEA's general conference, meeting this week in Vienna, Frank yesterday said Israel would take part in the January conference only if an Arab resolution submitted to the general conference was removed - it refers to Israel's nuclear 'capabilities and threats.' This draft is submitted yearly by the Arab bloc but has always been removed after pressure from Israel, the U.S. and other countries.

If the resolution is removed, Israel says it will vote for another more general resolution, passed in previous years, which speaks of the IAEA's efforts to extend nuclear monitoring to the Middle East."

Zarqawi's Mentor Killed

The spiritual mentor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed in a US air strike, associates and relatives said yesterday.

Omar Youssef Jumah, known as Abu Annas al-Shami, a Muslim cleric who justified Zarqawi's alleged beheading of hostages in Iraq, died last Friday while heading to the west of Baghdad, they said. The report could not be independently confirmed.

Shami called himself the grand mufti, or spiritual guide, of Zarqawi's Tawhid wal Jihad group.

In edicts published on Islamist web sites, Shami said Islam permitted the beheading of hostages who co-operated with the US military.

'Whenever a major kidnapping would take place they would take from him a ruling on how to handle the hostage according to religious sharia teachings,' one Islamist activist said.
Shami's militancy was shaped by four years as a religious seminary student in Saudi Arabia, where he fell under the influence of the strict Wahhabi brand of Islam before returning to Jordan in 1991."

Pals to US: "We Know who Killed Americans and We Won't Arrest Them"


Gen. Musa Arafat, the overall commander of the Palestinian Authority's National Security Forces in the Gaza Strip, said Wednesday that the PA security forces know the identities of the perpetrators of last October's attack on a US diplomatic convoy in which three Americans were killed.


However, Arafat told Reuters that the PA security forces cannot act against the suspects while fighting with Israel continues.

The US called the comments 'outrageous' and urged the PA to immediately arrest the killers if it indeed knows their identities.

'We find Musa Arafat's statement, if he is correctly quoted by Reuters, to be totally unacceptable and outrageous,' a State Department spokesman said Wednesday.

'The US has consistently demanded that the PA take action to locate, apprehend, and bring to justice the killers of our three colleagues, since the deadly October 15, 2003, attack on embassy personnel in Gaza.

'The PA performance on this issue has been unacceptable to us. We have not seen the PA demonstrate the will, much less the capacity, to investigate this case seriously. If it is true that the PA knows the identities of the murderers, we expect immediate action to be taken to arrest, prosecute and convict them.'

It was the first time a senior PA official admitted to knowing who was behind the attack.
Arafat described the perpetrators as 'some Palestinian factions' and said that the US also knew who was behind the attack.

Sharon's deepening crisis of legitimacy


This month, as the right massed in tens of thousands to assail Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the conduct of his disengagement campaign, denouncing his drive to evacuate settlements as lacking all legitimacy, one of the most respected advocates of the withdrawal initiative lent her voice in unlikely backing for the prime minister's critics.


'The central question is that of legitimacy,' said Ruth Gavison, one of Israel's foremost professors of law and a founder and former president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

'The Sharon government today has no clear legitimacy for the move that it is making,' she said of the disengagement campaign, noting that the plan has yet to be approved either by the cabinet or the Knesset.

'It is not at all certain that we should cooperate with this move, which threatens to take people out of their homes under the authority of such a shaky [legal] basis, without even so much as a cabinet decision.'

In fact, a number of attempts by Sharon to win formal backing for the plan have either been blunted or brusquely rebuffed.

In May, the prime minister's bid to garner momentum for disengagement through a referendum of members of his Likud party ended in a humiliating defeat.

A month later, Sharon's cabinet balked at ratifying the initiative. So divided was the cabinet that the prime minister ultimately sacked two far-right National Union ministers to ensure a majority.

But even then, three of his five senior Likud ministers withheld their votes until the prime minister agreed to limit the decision to an anemic resolution on preparations for a possible future disengagement, which would then be subject to a potentially crippling series of phases and cabinet reconsiderations."