.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

"But it was an accident!"

Since Hamas' takeover of Gaza, news of violent deaths have all but stopped as the few PalArab reporters still there cower in fear. But every once in a while something makes it through the new Iron Curtain:
Palestinian medical sources stated on Saturday that a Palestinian woman, Samah Al-Hor, 24, was killed in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as a result of the "misuse of arms." She mistakenly received a gunshot to the head.
A 24-year old woman being killed in Gaza is more likely to be a victim of an "honor crime" than an accidental gunshot. Either way, our count of PalArabs violently killed by each other in 2007 is now at 475.

UPDATE:
17 year old shot dead in Qalqiya in"mysterious circumstances." 476.

UPDATE 2:
"
Unidentified gunmen shot dead on Tuesday evening a Palestinian teenager in the south of the Gaza Strip. He has been named as Nasser Al-Kilani, 19." 477.

UPDATE 3:
Man killed in crossfire between Hamas and "Army of Islam" in Gaza. 478.

UPDATE 4:
On Saturday, at the same time that the woman above was killed, "At approximately 19:00 also on Saturday, the body of Ahmed al-Sayed Khalil Dughmosh, 28, from Gaza City, was brought to Shifa Hospital. His body was found in Juhor al-Dik village, south of Gaza City. According to medical sources, he was hit by several gunshots throughout the body. Dughmosh had been kidnapped by unknown militants at approximately 17:00 near his house in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the southwest of Gaza City." 479.

UPDATE 5:
Palpress.com reports:
Two citizens were killed yesterday in Gaza Strip , one was identified as Mazen Al kasas and was killed by un identified gunmen in Sabra neighborhood in Gaza.
Also Ibrahim Al Kilani 23 years old was killed Tuesday at night after being shot during a family dispute in Khan Yunis southern of Gaza.

481.

UPDATE 6:
Gaza - Ma'an - Capt. Abd Al Majid Abu Lihia, 39, has succumbed to wounds which he sustained in June during clashes surrounding the house of senior Fatah activist, Jamal Abu Al-Jidyan, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources reported on Thursday.
Al-Jidyan, by the way, is the famous Abu Billygoats. 482.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Farfour the terror mouse gets "martyred"

Hamas has such a good way with children:
Hamas TV on Friday broadcast what it said was the last episode of a weekly children's show featuring "Farfour," a Mickey Mouse look-alike who had made worldwide headlines for preaching Islamic domination and armed struggle to youngsters.

In the final skit, Farfour was beaten to death by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, Farfour called the Israeli a "terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while defending his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added.

The weekly show, featuring a giant black-and-white rodent with a high-pitched voice, had attracted worldwide attention because the character urged Palestinian children to fight Israel. It was broadcast on Hamas-affiliated Al-Aksa TV.
Do they have virgin female rats in Muslim paradise?

Morning links

A video from MEMRI is getting some publicity from LGF and IRIS - a man on the street asking Saudis if they would shake hands with a Jew.

I knew it sounded familiar - I linked to it back in 2004.
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Mere Rhetoric links to a nice article showing Jimmy Carter's duplicity yet again, this time in purposefully misreading Palestinian Arab polls to make them sound peaceful when the poll indicates the exact opposite.
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The new Palestinian Arab PM is saying the right things. Too little, too late, but enough to get everyone all excited again that Peace Is At Hand.
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The Saudi King snubbed Abbas in a most embarrassing way. Whatever Arab pride Abbas ever had is now officially gone.
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Another meme - I've been tagged

I've been tagged in the "8 Facts About Yourself" meme by Fiery Spirited Zionist. As is my habit, I'll answer the questions out of politeness for the requester, but I will not forward the meme to eight others out of politeness to cyberspace - memes are effectively a combination of computer viruses and pyramid schemes.

1. I've been getting up at 5 AM to blog - not a good thing to do.
2. I never learned how to tie my shoes properly.
3. My first computer was a Commodore Vic-20. I wrote some pretty cool games for it at the time, considering I only had 3.5K of memory. Including a game to teach Hebrew using only the joystick. And my version of "Breakout."
4. I never learned how to blow bubbles from bubble gum.
5. I enjoy coming up with answers to memes like this that do not reveal anything about who I really am.
6. I once had an electronic correspondence with an American convert to Islam from Yahoo message boards. She was very serious about Islam and a very nice person. The last I heard from her she was considering moving to Egypt to learn more. I am very, very worried that she was indoctrinated there into Al-Azhar-style fanaticism.
7. I feel guilty for any day I can't find the time to blog.
8. At my college, my first computer course used punch cards, one of my last ones used the very first Macintosh.

An example of Arab Jew-hatred masked as intellectualism

Al-Ahram in Egypt printed an op-ed, by a professor of political science at Cairo University, where the author starts off saying what is wrong with Arab conspiracy theories, and then swallows one hook, line and sinker. It has to be seen to be believed:

Many, I believe, share my sense of alarm over current events in the Arab world. Many wonder what will become of a region home to the world's worst crises. In Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan millions are being killed and repressed, imprisoned and tortured, expelled and displaced, brutalised and starved. No sooner do explosions abate in one location that they would flare up in another. Places of worship, the traditional safe haven for those in need of protection, have not just been caught up in the cycle of murder, but have become a target for destruction and bombing. Amid the dust cloud rising from chaos, everyone seems to be grabbing each other's throats. Often, we don't know what the fighting is about.

The most disturbing thing is that the crises present in the aforementioned countries keep escalating, finding new twists, and spilling over elsewhere in a whirlwind of intersecting disasters. Like a deadly disease slowly working its way across the region, some of our countries are in utter turmoil while others appear quiet on the surface. We don't hear explosions in these countries, nor do we see rivers of blood flowing. But if we look beneath the surface, we soon discover that these countries are neither immune nor sturdy. An eruption can happen at any moment.

There is no denying that the crises gripping the Arab world, whether evident or latent, have various roots. The causes may differ from one country to another, but there is a common thread somewhere -- a common thread that makes all vulnerable to civil war, to the kind of turmoil that may redraw the map of the region along ethnic or sectarian lines. How did we get into this fix? Is it self-destruction? Or is it the handiwork of outside powers? If so, what are their plans and intents?

So far, so good - the esteemed professor identifies a large undercurrent of problems throughout the Arab world and is seeking a common thread.

The mere asking of such questions causes controversy in the circles of the Arab elite. Any attempt to answer such questions inevitably puts one in one of two camps: the camp of conspiracy theory and the camp of self- deprecation. The camp of conspiracy theory has a ready- made interpretation for every disaster. It blames all sorts of evil on outside powers that hate the Arabs and the Islamic world -- mainly the US and Israel. The camp of self- deprecation takes the opposite point of view. It argues that our troubles are due to pitfalls latent in the nature of Arab and Islamic political systems. Both camps are busy ridiculing each other's thinking. So you can only challenge one or both at your own risk.

The conspiracy theory people tend to overlook aspects of inertia in the structure of Arab and Islamic regimes, as if the latter have no influence on our dismal reality. The self- deprecating people hate to admit that certain powers are plotting against the Arab world, and are therefore responsible for many of our current tribulations. I believe that it is time to get over the polarisation between those two schools of thought. We should start assessing events on the Arab and Islamic scene from various angles and dimensions, both domestic and foreign. We need to look at the entire picture. No conspiracies, however elaborate, can succeed without the inbuilt drawbacks in our systems.

OK, perhaps a little biased, but on the whole an admirable attempt to realistically come to grips with reality. Right?
I would like now to discuss the way the Zionist mind works and how it hopes to establish a major and dominant Jewish state in the region.
Ah, an analysis of the Zionist mind! Things are getting interesting!
To shed light on that issue, consider an article entitled "A strategy for Israel in the 1980s". Oded Yinon, a former Israeli journalist and diplomat, wrote the article in Hebrew. It appeared in February 1982 in the newspaper Kivunim. The article drew the attention of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, which asked Israel Shahak, the well-known Israeli human rights activist, to translate it into English and comment on it. The article was then republished under the title, "The Zionist plan for the Middle East."
Yes, out of the hundreds of articles written by Israelis and Zionists about foreign affairs in the past six decades, our good professor seems to have decided - based on commentary by one of the most outstanding Jewish anti-semites of recent history - that this one is emblematic of all of Zionist thought.

Some may wonder why I am interested in an article written by an obscure journalist, even if he was a former employee in the Israeli Foreign Minister. Why would I treat that article as if it were an official document released by the Zionist movement or Israel, instead of relying on the many documents released by official figures and organisations? To those, I would say that Professor Shahak, an authority in Zionist thinking, described the article as the most extensive on the subject and as faithfully mirroring the thinking of the Zionist mainstream on the matter of dividing the Arab world.
Just as an example, Shahak wrote in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion. The Weight of Three Thousand Years that orthodox Jews worship Satan during ritual hand-washing before meals and that Jewish children are taught a curse to say when they walk outside non-Jewish cemeteries. Yes, the professor has found his authority.

Does it make sense, you may ask, for the Zionist movement to publish a paper that would reveal its true intentions, even if it were written in Hebrew? Shahak provides the answer to this question. First, he points out that the aim of the document is to educate the new generations of the Israeli elite, especially in the military, of the thinking of the founding fathers, whose teachings were up to then relayed orally. Secondly, the Zionists doubt the ability of the Arab mind to react sensibly to any threats, however devastating those could be.
Now that we've solved that problem, time to see what this clearly seminal article from that obscure journal that is the blueprint of Zionist thinking actually says.
The Zionist strategy at stake involves two main aspects. One is its perception of the structure of the region surrounding it from the demographic, social and cultural perspectives. The other aspect is its perception of the security of the Jewish state and of the means to defend this security in an absolute manner, which is the ultimate aim of the Zionist movement.

Concerning the first aspect, the Zionist movement sees the Arab world not as an integral entity that is ethnically, socially, or religiously cohesive, but as a region of immense diversity, a mosaic of countries inside which tribes, sects and minorities are in continual conflict. Current entities, or Arab states, have been created through historic and political coincidences related to the ambitions of foreign powers (the imperial powers that inherited the Ottoman Empire) and the interplay of domestic interests (of tribes, clans and political and social movements). The Zionist movement believes that these units, or Arab states, cannot endure in their current form and can easily be dismantled, which would allow for the region to be reshaped on completely different foundations.

Concerning the second aspect, the Zionist movement believes that Israel's security cannot be achieved through military superiority alone, however important that military superiority may be. So no other major central state should be allowed to exist in the region. The Zionist movement is determined to break up any central state in the region and divide it into small entities created on ethnic or sectarian lines. Once this is done, Israel would become vindicated, for its ethnic foundations would be no different than that of other countries in the region; and Israel would become the biggest, strongest, and most advanced country in the Middle East. This would give it the clout it needs to lead the region and control its future course. In other words, Israel would be the region's mastermind, the country that calls the shots and tells others what to do.
I can imagine a serious article talking about how fractured the Arab world is, and even how it is in Israel's interests to encourage indigenous ethnic Arab subgroups to assert themselves. But it takes a special kind of paranoia to see this article as a blueprint for regional Zionist domination that echoes, in nationlistic terms, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And now that this Egyptian professor feels that his arguments are air-tight, he is free to see the world since 1982 in terms of Jewish - um, Zionist - domination:

The above is a short synopsis of Yinon's article, and yet the article is worthy of further discussion. First, because the article was published for the first time years after Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel, a few months after the assassination of President Anwar El-Sadat, and a few months before Israel pulled out of Sinai on 25 April 1982. When Israel invaded Lebanon, less than four months after the article was published, it was literally doing everything Yinon recommended. ...

Second, it has now become clear, beyond any doubt, that the Zionist movement, led by Israel, has played a pivotal role in prodding the current US administration to invade Iraq. The US administration acted like a tool in the hand of a Zionist movement that wanted Iraq partitioned at any cost, and that hopes to see other countries in the region follow suit.

Third, it is the right of future generations of Arab citizens to be aware of plots against their countries. We must encourage the young generations to keep an open mind about all ideas, including those attributed to conspiracy theories, before they wake up one day and discover that their future has been shattered or their land taken away.

I will dedicate three more articles to a detailed discussion of Yinon's essay. In the first article, I will discuss Zionist schemes against Egypt, focussing on Israel's hope to restore Sinai and divide Egypt into two states, a Coptic one in the south and a Sunni one in the north. In the second article, I will discuss Zionist designs on the eastern part of the Arab world; namely, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. In the third, I will discuss Zionist schemes for the Gulf and North Africa. Again, I do not wish to promote conspiracy theories per se, but some risks of naïvety are too real to ignore.
There you have it. A secret Zionist plan, cleverly leaked out to the public where only the most far-seeing Arabs can see its huge importance, for regional dominance and the destruction of the Arab world.

This is how the elite academics and intellectuals of the Arab world - in a country that is supposedly at peace with Israel - think. (I would rather not fall into the trap this author does of generalizing one article - if someone can find me Egyptian political science articles that do not think that there is a Zionist plan to dominate the Arab world or the world at large, I will be happy to give it equal space. But I've never seen it.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Olmert to Sderot: Drop Dead

In an astonishing public display of impotence, Ehud Olmert has essentially told the residents of Sderot to just suck it up and not kvetch so much about living in a human shooting gallery:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that he had no intention of providing maximal protection to all residents of Gaza periphery communities. "A country cannot protect itself ad infinitum, because there would be no end to it."

Olmert was addressing the Caesarea Conference.

The prime minister added that stepping up protection would be "just as [ineffective] as the demand to solve Sderot's Kassam problem by wiping Beit Hanun and other towns in Gaza off the face of the earth.

The prime minister appealed to the residents of the Gaza periphery: "In the short term we cannot supply you with all of the personal security that we would like to provide, because such protection would draw from expensive resources that are needed for other critical security needs."

Olmert also addressed the media, asking that they "not encourage, even mutely, demands of citizens that no normal government could accept." He added that "life in Israel entails a certain security risk, and anyone who chooses to live in the Jewish state is accepting this risk." And yet, "the risk in Israel is lower than the risk threatening Jews in other parts of the world."
Olmert makes Abbas look strong.

His straw man argument that since perfect security is impossible, the current level of security must be OK is not worthy of a high school debating team.

His apparent concern of the safety of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza sworn to destroy the Jewish state to be equivalent or superior to his concern about the residents of Israel itself is nothing short of obscene coming from any citizen, let alone the supposed leader of the country.

And his request that the media not take the side of citizens who, because of Olmert's failed policy of disengagement, are now in daily peril is more reminiscent of a Syria than an Israel.

Abbas controls no one (besides the Western media)

Yesterday:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas took steps Tuesday against factional fighting by outlawing armed groups outside the official PA security forces, and ruling that the government will confiscate all arms from these groups.

"On the basis of the declaration of a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories, and by virtue of my authority, all armed militias, groups and brigades that do not belong in practice to the security services shall be treated as illegal organizations," stated the decree.
Today:
Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades refuse to dissolve or to disarm and reject the truce in the West Bank

The Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades have announced that they have rejected the presidential decree regarding the disbanding of militia in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The spokesman of the brigades, Abu Oday, told Ma'an that, following consultations with the brigades' leaders in the West Bank, they have issued the following declaration:

First: the rejection of the dissolution of the brigades, "because they are a resistance group, and are defending the country and the dignity of the people".

Second: the refusal to disarm the group, "because it is a legitimate arm of resistance, and is the only weapon to remain to defend the Intifada ["Uprising"]."

Third: the rejection of the description of the brigades as 'militias', "which defame the Palestinians, and it is nonsense to describe the only remaining armed wing as a militia." [EoZ - wonder what they think of "terrorists?"]

Fourth: the brigades support the presidents' decision to withdraw illegal arms used in the lawlessness, and announce that they stand with the security forces to stop the state of disorder.

Fifth: the brigades will "do their best" to aid the security forces, "and will be honored to stand beside the security forces to defend the country."

Sixth: the brigades will not be complacent before the crimes of the occupation, "and will retaliate for the crimes committed [by the occupying Israeli military], especially in the recent days in the [Gaza] Strip, Nablus and Jenin.

Seventh: the brigades reject the connection established between themselves and the current state of lawlessness, and confirm that they "were created to confront the occupation and its aggression against the Palestinian people".

Eighth: the brigades will not be committed to a truce with the Israelis, as long as the occupation continues the crimes and incursions against Palestinians and their cities.
Abbas' next move will be, as usual, forfeit.

Either Abbas controls the terrorists, in which case he is complicit in terrorism, or he has no ability to control his own factions, in which case he is weak to the point of irrelevance. Either way, he is not someone who should be "strengthened" and rewarded.

American and Palestinian Arab slums

Gaza and the West Bank are reminiscent of American inner cities in the 60s and 70s. No authority figures, no leadership, poverty, rampant crime, extraordinarily dangerous, ruled by gangs, and the complete absence of any sort of justice. In addition, the criminals are quick to blame the rest of the world for their actions while the innocent residents are stuck with nowhere else to go.

The differences between the two cases are perhaps more enlightening. . Slums were cleaned up by a combination of innovative economic programs, grass-roots volunteerism and outside investment. But in the end, the people who were vital to cleaning up drug-infested neighborhoods were the residents themselves. There were still a significant number of residents who got used to the welfare culture and who had little interest in doing work - they got their food and a little money for doing nothing, which seems like a great deal. Yet a significant number of American slum residents still managed to get to real jobs, to interact with the rest of society and to have hope for the future; they were the heroes who finally stood up to the gangs and put in the hard work necessary to fix up and beautify their neighborhoods.

In the end, those who feel the most entitled are the worst people to have around when a society needs fixing.

Since the Intifada, the Palestinian Arabs are now far more dependent on the world's largesse than any slum community ever was. They have been told for years by the world that a Palestinian Arab state is inevitable and will happen no matter what - sometimes, even within specified timetables. Their once proud Arab culture has been transformed into a series of giant ghettos with pockets of normalcy amongst the twin cultures of death and entitlement.

Before 2000, even though their leaders had little interest in truly building a state, they at least had hope - they had jobs, they had an economy, they had some measure of pride. But we are going on to seven years now of the Palestinian Arab welfare state - billions of dollars thrown into compensate for the economic catastrophe that the Intifada wrought.

The American ghettos still had a critical mass of people who were willing to stand up and take responsibility. The PA ghettos have raised an entire generation of people who not only feel that they are owed everything, but that the violence that caused their problems is laudable and heroic.

Up until 2006, one could still sympathize with the presumed majority of innocent Palestinian Arabs who just wanted to live their lives and raise their families. But it has become clear since then that the majority has shifted, that the culture of death (from the most respected religious figures) and entitlements (from the UN, the EU and the world) has become the major driving forces in the Palestinian Arab psyche. Hamas' victories in 2006 may have been a backlash against Fatah corruption but it is also an indication of the value that this society places on pure terror. It is not surprising that this twin culture has spawned deadly infighting.

If Tony Blair succeeds in building up the economy of the PA it would be a win-win for all the parties involved (besides the terrorists.) In the end, however, the major ingredient for fixing the PA will not come from without but from within, and right now it doesn't look like there are enough people left in the territories to stand up and do what is necessary. Until real eaders emerge, until personal responsibility becomes the norm again, all the money in the world will not only be wasted on the Palestinian Arabs but it will entrench the twin cultures of death and entitlement.

Fatah refuses to talk with Hamas. Hmmmm.

Ma'an Arabic reports today that Fatah has rejected any dialogue with Hamas, after Hamas' Haniyeh said that Hamas is ready for immediate talks.

When Israeli right-wingers decide not to talk to terrorists, they are routinely described as "intransigent" and "hardline" and "hawkish." In contrast, the Fatah terrorist leaders that want to keep talking to Israel (to gain more concessions for free) are invariably described as "moderate" and "pragmatic."

Somehow, I don't think we will see these descriptions in this case. When the press is solidly behind one faction, it takes a great deal to dislodge their biases - and the decades of Fatah corruption and terror has barely dented the media's love of that "moderate" group, nor its conviction that Fatah and the PLO are the best leaders of an inevitable future Palestinian Arab state.

Hamas delusions

On the Al-Qassam (Hamas terror wing) Arabic website there is a readers' poll asking if the firing of Qassam rockets towards Israel contributes to safety and security in Gaza.

At the moment, the vote is 84% yes, 14% no.

And they have 6000 votes.

I imagine that the BBC would spin it as "84% of Hamas supporters desire peace."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Everything in moderation

The BBC manages to use the words "Hamas" and "moderate" in the same sentence:
Osama Bin Laden's number two has called on the Islamist group Hamas to unite with al-Qaeda after its victory in Gaza over Fatah, in a web-posted audiotape.

Ayman al-Zawahiri also warned against any attempt by Arab countries to wrest control of the Gaza Strip from Hamas.

Al-Qaeda has in the past criticised Hamas for taking part in the political process in the Palestinian territories.

Hamas leaders, who espouse a more moderate brand of Islamist politics, have always shunned al-Qaeda advances.

The Beeb needs to make Hamas sound moderate, because otherwise one needs to conclude that Palestinian Arabs voluntarily elected a terrorist government, which is just way beyond what the intelligentsia who trust the BBC for news can possibly comprehend in their giant sophisticated brains.

Now, what exactly makes Hamas more "moderate" than Al Qaeda? The BBC doesn't deign to tell us, although it implies that the fact that Hamas participated in an election gives it the "moderate" bona-fides. Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the spiritual father of both Hamas and al-Qaeda, is part of the political process in Egypt now as well. I suppose if al-Qaeda holds a Syrian-style election it can be called "moderate" as well.

In fact, Hamas and al-Qaeda hold virtually identical worldviews - the establishment of a world Islamic caliphate, and Hamas considers Palestine just the first step in its role. Hamas' slogan is "Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes." Is there any real difference between that and al-Qaeda's philosophy?

In reality, the reason that the BBC considers Hamas "moderate" is because its immediate target is only Israel, not the entire West. Since Israel is disposable from the Beeb's point of view, then by definition anyone who explicitly only wants Israel destroyed is a "moderate."
(h/t Daled Amos)

Juan Cole defending genocidal maniac, again

From the "Atlantic Free Press", by Juan Cole:
Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul continue to show themselves among the few in Congress with any integrity and backbone. They declined to go along with a resolution charging Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad with incitement to genocide, given his alleged call for Israel to be 'wiped off the face of the map.'

As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for 'this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish from the page of time.' Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed.

I was talking to two otherwise well-informed Israeli historians a couple of weeks ago, and they expressed the conviction that Ahmadinejad had threatened to nuke Israel. I was taken aback. First of all, Iran doesn't have a nuke. Second, there is no proof that Iran even has a nuclear weapons program. Third, Ahmadinejad has denied wanting a bomb. Fourth, Ahmadinejad has never threatened any sort of direct Iranian military action against Israel. In other words, that is a pretty dramatic fear for educated persons to feel, on the basis of . . . nothing.

I renew my call to readers to write protest letters to newspapers and other media every time they hear it alleged that Ahmadinejad (or "Iran"!) has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map." There is no such idiom in Persian and it is not what he said, and the mistranslation gives entirely the wrong impression. Wars can start over bad translations.

It was apparently some Western wire service that mistranslated the phrase as 'wipe Israel off the map', which sounds rather more violent than calling for regime change. Since then, Iranian media working in English have themselves depended on that translation. One of the tricks of Right-Zionist propagandists is to substitute these English texts for Ahmadinejad's own Persian text. (Ethan Bronner at the New York Times tried to pull this, and more recently Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute.) But good scholarship requires that you go to the original Persian text in search of the meaning of a phrase. Bronner and Rubin are guilty disregarding philological scholarship in favor of mere propagandizing.
Cole is engaging in the usual dishonesty so endemic among the terror-supporting Left where he attempts to use semantics to stupidly argue a point. (Those who claim that the term "anti-semite" means "hating Arabs, who are Semites" do this all the time.)

(His argument that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, based entirely on Iranian denials, is so absurd as to seem almost a parody of intellectualism.)

Let's look at exactly what Michael Rubin wrote, as he was demolishing Cole (and note that Cole does not address his point here:)
Revisionism is in full swing in Washington as some academics and policymakers bend over backwards to convince themselves and others that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not mean what he says.

Today, the National Iranian American Council—a lobby group advocating the normalization of ties between the United States and the Islamic Republic—published this analysis, which ends:

The proper translation of Ahmadinejad’s quotes has been the subject of some debate. Kucinich argued that the translations used in the bill were either misquoted or out of context, offering alternative translations from the New York Times to convey his point.

It's a line which originated with Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor, has peddled. Indeed, Cole wrote:

I have a suggestion for my readers. Every time you see a newspaper article that alleges that Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be wiped off the face of the map, please write the editor. Say that this idiom does not exist in Persian, and that what Ahmadinejad actually said was, "This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." And you can cite me.

Perhaps one can quibble over how to render a translation. Here, the Islamic Republic provides its own clarification. In its official translations, it headlined Ahmadinejad's call to "wipe Israel off the map."

There is a tendency among academics to feel they have to advocate for those countries they study. They should not. Nor should they advocate for the U.S. government. They should analyze dispassionately. But, ignoring or burying evidence that reflects badly on a regime is more likely to advance misunderstanding than advance rapprochement. It is time academics and policymakers both deal with reality as it is, rather than a sanitized version they would wish it to be.
Note Cole's dishonesty as he pretends that the official Iranian translation was just copying from American mistranslations.

The best proof that Cole knows his argument is weak is that he freely links to Kucinich's comments, but not to Michael Rubin's - because he knows that he is not saying anything that disproves Rubin's point. Rubin, on the other hand, has no such problem linking to Cole.

Hamas captures Fatah's collection of blackmail sex tapes

Ma'an reports on a Ma'ariv story, not otherwise translated into English yet:
The Israeli newspaper, Maariv, reported on Wednesday that Hamas discovered videotapes during the seizure of power in the Gaza Strip that reveal the corruption of the security forces and the sexual deviancy of several Fatah leaders.

Maariv reported that Hamas members discovered dozens of recorded sexual encounters of leading figures, which were being used by the security forces as blackmail. According to Maariv, Fatah ordered the videotapes to be destroyed so they did not fall into the hands of Hamas.

Hamas said the videotapes involve several Fatah ministers and prominent leaders. Maariv added that many of the tapes remain in the hands of Hamas.

Maariv said that the videotapes show several Fatah leaders committing infidelity.

The videotapes were recorded in several locations including offices, hotels, hospitals and houses. The purpose of the recordings was to recruit agents and collaborators and blackmail Fatah officials.

The paper added that some of the videotapes were recordings of Hamas leaders, one of whom was forced to collaborate with Fatah against Hamas. The tape showed him cheating on his wife.

Maariv added that some of the women who appeared in the tapes were imported prostitutes. Maariv’s reporter said that he had seen one of the tapes which was recorded in a hospital and involved a doctor with a girl. The reporter said that this type of blackmail is very common.

Maariv’s reporter concluded that Hamas are very satisfied by their discovery, which they intend to use to blackmail the Fatah figures recorded on the tapes.

And here I thought that Hamas members were so dead set against corruption and immorality.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

While the world toasts Fatah...


While Olmert meets with Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh, ready to give him lots of concessions in exchange for not screaming for Jewish blood right this moment, the "moderate" Fatah faction was busy as well:
The Fatah-affiliated Al Buraq Army announced that they launched a rocket-propelled grenade at the Israeli military position at Karni Crossing, between Israel and the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday.

“We are retaliating for Israeli aggression and assassinations and will stick to the choice of resistance,” said the brigades in a statement.

The death of Palestinian Arab journalism

I've touched on this topic before, but it is more clear than ever that there are no more real outlets for independent Palestinian Arab journalism ever since Hamas won Gaza.

While even before the civil war there would be daily murders in Gaza from clan clashes and work accidents, since Hamas took over they have all mysteriously disappeared. Even "human rights" organizations like PCHR have stopped trying to keep track of Arab violence - according to them, no one has died in nearly two weeks. Even Hamas has admitted to fighters dying from injuries since then.

Ma'an News, which was very flawed but was the closest thing to real journalism that the PalArabs had, has given up. It spins any articles that might be negative towards Hamas as much as possible, and it is refusing to directly report abuses in Gaza. I just found this article from last week where, in the last sentence, they admit to being threatened:
Gaza – Ma'an report – Local Palestinian radio stations in the Gaza Strip were launched in quick succession over recent years. As many as eleven radio stations were counted operating in Gaza Strip in a short space of time. Many of the stations had been closed and looted during the recent conflict in the strip.

Ash Sha'b station, affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was looted, whilst Al Hurriya and Ash Shabab, affiliated to Fatah, chose to cease transmission.

Palestine satellite TV station was deserted by its employees and another station transmitted continuous news, even though it was previously an entertainment station.

The spokesperson of the military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubayda, vehemently denied that the brigades had threatened any of the local stations.

Abu Ubayda told Ma'an that the radio stations halted transmission willingly because they were working within a certain framework and their coverage of events in Gaza was partial, rather than objective.

He added that the employees and owners of the radio stations closed them out of fear, rather than any direct threats from the Qassam Brigades.

Abu Ubayda also said that some of the radio stations were affiliated to well-known Fatah figures, or directly owned by Fatah.

He renewed the denial that the Qassam Brigades or Executive Force took control of the laborers radio station, which belongs to the laborers union, in northern Gaza. "We have not threatened any station, all stopped voluntarily because they were biased," said Abu Ubayda.

Palestine satellite and terrestrial TV stopped transmission last Friday in Gaza City and began transmitting from Ramallah, in the central West Bank. The director of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, Basim Abu Sumayya, ascribed the stoppage to Hamas' seizure of the Gaza Strip, which prevented employees from accessing the company's buildings in order to work.

Abu Sumayya accused Hamas of taking control of every property that belongs to the PBC, in addition to the live transmission vehicle and the satellite frequency, which the PBC changed immediately.

Abu Sumayya said that 720 employees work at the PBC. They are now at home until the situation is settled politically.

For his part, the spokesperson of Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, denied that the lives of journalists are in jeopardy in the Gaza Strip....

As for the radio stations, which stopped their transmission, Abu Zuhri said they did so voluntarily because they were involved in inciting and they committed criminal acts when they were fuelling disputes in the Palestinian arena. He asserted that the Al-Qassam Brigades and Executive Force never attacked or robbed any radio station.

The Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, which many accuse of lacking professionalism and fuelling dispute, was the sole TV station that continued broadcasting during the conflict in the Gaza Strip. They transmitted special photos of the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Executive Force, while they were storming the security HQs. They also conducted exclusive interviews with Hamas leaders. The most criticism-provoking act of Al-Aqsa TV was the transmission of the execution of Samih Al-Madhoun.

The chief editor of Ma'an News Agency threatened to close the agency's Gaza office as a result of the pressure exerted on him and the agency's correspondents and photojournalists. The Al-Qassam Brigades visited the office, but did not harm any employee or property. Meanwhile, Hamas and their Fatah allies criticised Ma'an's reports and some issued threats.
There is certainly criticism of Hamas in the PalArab media - from "news" outlets that shill for Fatah, like WAFA. And there are pro-Hamas "news" outlets like Palestine Today. Each will report rumors as fact, opinions as news, and news that they don't like gets ignored.

But there is no longer any real news.

"Humanitarian demands" to release terrorists

Ma'an reports:
The formal spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Mujahid, affirmed on Monday that the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is alive and well.

Abu Mujahid told Ma'an in an exclusive talk marking the one year anniversary of Shalit's capture that the factions holding him are determined to stick to their humanitarian demands from Israel regarding his release: the release of female Palestinian detainees, children, sick and leaders of the Palestinian factions, in addition to long-term prisoners. They reaffirmed that the Israeli government must accept these demands for Shalit to be released.


Here are some details on those female prisoners.

In this posting you can see that 15 year olds are obligated in Jihad, but to the West we are told that they are "children."

The sick get treated better in Israeli prisons than they would in PA territories.

And somehow he adds that the terror leaders and those who have blood on their hands should also be released on "humanitarian" grounds.

Tribute to Islamic Rage Boy

Snapped Shot has an impressive collection of wire-service photos of the exact same wild-eyed and wild-bearded Kashmiri protester, dubbed Islamic Rage Boy, who reliably shows up at every anti-Western protest and even more reliably gets photographed:


Christopher Hitchens picks up on the deeper meaning of the West trying to pander to people like this.

Meanwhile, Israel is saving the world

An Israeli company has developed a biodiesel fuel that can be used in normal diesel engines without modification, reducing dependence on Arab oil as well as reducing pollution.

Another Israeli company has moved closer to creating insulin that can be taken orally.

Israeli scientists have created a 1 mm robot that can swim through veins of a human body.

Another scientist came up with an innovative way to save lives after head trauma or strokes.

June Qassam calendar

As with the February, March , April and May calendars, the numbers for each date represent the number of Qassams fired on that day. The numbers in parentheses (second row after date) are those I saw reported by Palestinian Arab media, outside of parentheses (first row after date) are those reported in Israeli media. Italics represent mortars, not rockets, but I am not keeping track of that consistently. I am no longer maintaining the days Israel has fired back, as it has been pretty much every day since May 15th.


June
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa





1
2





4 1







3
4
5
6
7
8
9
1
1
4
4
2


8
6
2




10
11
12
13
14
15
16

5
2
2
3









17
18
19
20
21
22
23

1

3 + 5





3




24
25
26
27
28
29
30
2
2
2
2

2
2
2

3+4

4




July 1 at least 1
July 2 3 (Arab media)
July 3 1
July 8 5

Monday, June 25, 2007

For those who need a scorecard

Here's the quick rundown of the current meeting between Abbas and Olmert in Sharm el-Sheikh:

What Fatah gets What Israel gets
$1 billion or so annually from the rest of the world A Gaza that will still get some of that money for building up an army
250 terrorists freed More rockets
International legitimacy A reputation as a "roadblock to peace" for not going further
$400 million from Israel A figurehead PA government that has no legitimacy in Palestinian eyes
The ability to keep the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigades as the terror arm of the peaceful Fatah
More terror attacks

Those Jews are really crafty negotiators.

Shalit audiotape



It is obvious that he was forced to read these words written by Hamas and that Shalit did not write them.

I think that there should be a prisoner swap. Israel should nab Haniyeh and Zahar, force them to read a statement on audiotape, and then maybe swap them for Shalit.

Miscalculating the PalArab breaking point (Omedia)

A good article from Shaul Rosenfeld that, in its own way, explores how the West misunderstands the psychology of the Palestinian Arabs, and how in a large part Israel's previous mistakes have made things much, much worse today. An excerpt:
When asked to explain what made him believe the Palestinians would keep to the agreements they signed in Oslo, Shimon Peres used to trot out his corny old mantra “they are fully aware that they have what to lose”. Peres’s mantra contained a great theoretical truth, though it also contains a large number of weaknesses. Like any warring or terrorist body, the Palestinian do have what to lose. Peres was right on that count. But he never came close to understanding what would be an intolerable cost to them, just as he never saw that presenting the weak purpose throughout his and Rabin’s government failed to make an indelible impression on Israel’s partners, and certainly would not have made them believe that Israel would retaliate harshly.

Now, as then, despite the fact that the Palestinians have what to lose and lots of it, they still carry on even though cost them serious and painful losses. This is an irrational and non-western way of behaving, like the scorpion that stung the frog that was doing him a favor, carrying him across the river, and caused them both to drown. Except that only Israel sees this as “scorpion behavior”. Israel and the Palestinian have fundamentally different gauges for measuring loss, breaking points, and what would be intolerable. What Israel and the west considers “unbearable loss” is very bearable to the Palestinians considering their agreements with Israel are a means of achieving their end goals. And in any case they do not think Israel will go crazy over violations.

There is an out-of-touch rationale which argues the Palestinians “have something to lose therefore they won’t break the treaties”, and it has played a key role in constructing the fictitious Middle East reality, which has flourished in our region since Oslo. In January 1996 the same make-believe reading of reality led Peres, who was then prime minister, to compare the Oslo Agreements to the creation of the universe, while declaring 2000 the year of Middle East peace and Israel’s membership of the Arab League our next goal. Needless to say it is not just the fact that the Palestinians have something to lose that will make them stick to agreements. Not every loss will prevent them from breaking their agreements—the only loss that will stop them is one that feels so terrible and so irreversible that it is not worth taking the risk.

Read the whole thing.


Although Rosenfeld doesn't spell out a specific potential breaking point beyond a theoretical mass expulsion of Arabs to Jordan, I have mentioned before what I think the best and most humane way to force Palestinian Arabs to stop their violations: annexing land every single time a terror attack occurs or another agreement is broken. The symbolic value of even worthless land is incalculable, the amount taken can be small while the effect would be large, no one gets displaced or hurt (at first) and it can be directly justified, especially in the case of Gaza to build a buffer zone against attacks.

The entire conflict has been described, not too inaccurately, as a "real-estate dispute." Israel needs to add to its bargaining chips in this conflict, and real estate is the most direct and most effective means to do that.

Hamas: "Thank You, America!"

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar had an interesting interview with Der Speigel. Some highlights:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How would a Hamas-led Islamic state look?

Zahar: There would be no difference from how it looks today, because our customs and traditions in Gaza are already Islamic. Marriage, divorce, daily business -- everything is Islamic. As soon as we have a state, then everyone will have their freedom. Christians will remain Christians, parties could be secular or even Communist.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If an Islamic state is the ideal, why are there not more of them?

Zahar: If there were free and fair elections throughout the Arab world, Islamic forms of government would win everywhere. Islam is against the corruption, weakening, and materialism which have destroyed societies in Europe and America. Families are broken (in the West); there are AIDS and drugs. We don't have such things here.

[EoZ: I've been seeing more and more articles lately in the PalArabic press about the spread of drugs in the PalArab territories.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: At the moment there are no attacks on Israel by Hamas' military wing. Is this a new doctrine?

Zahar: Yes, at the moment we have to deal with two enemies at the same time. Also, the Israelis have halted their aggression. That's a direct result of our attacks on Sderot (in Israel) -- the Israelis have suffered too much. Thousands of citizens had to leave (Sderot), and the Israeli government had to pay for their hotels. Factories and offices in Sderot also had to close.

[EoZ: A baldfaced lie. Israel reduced its Gaza attacks when Hamas and Fatah were fighting, but never stopped. As my rocket calendars show, the number of rockets were reduced sharply as soon as the intrafada fighting flared up.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the West there is a fear that the Gaza Strip may become a playground for international terrorism. Is this danger real?

Zahar: Our people can't distinguish between resistance and terrorism. We're fighting for the liberation of our land from an occupation. When people in Europe had to fight the Nazis, they were honored, later, as freedom fighters. No one would have called Charles de Gaulle a terrorist.

[EoZ: Guess what - no one can distinguish between what he calls "resistance" and terrorism. I don't know if he meant to say that or if Der Spiegel made a mistake.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: There has been talk in Israel about turning off electricity, water, and gas in Gaza. Could the people in Gaza starve?

Zahar: In that case Israel would have to open its borders. People wouldn't starve to death before violently storming the borders. Israel also loses $2 million in business income for every day the border stays closed.

[EoZ: The Palestinian Arab habit of thinking that Jews can't handle Arab economic pressure is nothing short of delusional. See may latest history article.]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The international community plans to release all the aid money it has withheld from Palestinians for over a year to the Fatah government in the West Bank. Will the West Bank become a kind of luxury-Palestine, while the Gaza Strip starves?

Zahar: Fatah in the West Bank will receive money, and they will have to pass it on to Gaza. If it doesn't, it will lose Gaza forever. We would also have to search for alternatives. We have a very good image among people throughout the Arab world. If we want, we can get $5 million per month in donations from Egypt. We have also received money from foreign countries in the past -- $82 million from Kuwait, $50 million from Libya. I personally once brought $20 million from Iran to the Gaza Strip in a suitcase. No, actually twice -- the second time it was $22 million.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What will improve for people in Gaza now that Hamas is in control?

Zahar: The good thing is that we can now collect information about our enemies and informants from foreign powers. We will look for Israel's spies.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The militant wings of Fatah and Hamas have been fully armed over the last few months. Are these weapons still in circulation?

Zahar: There are naturally very many weapons around now. Two years ago, one bullet in Gaza cost around €3.50 -- now it would cost 35 cents. The American aid money has been translated into weapons. Thank you, America!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Psychological History of Palestinian Arabs, part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

It is noteworthy that the leaders of the revolts of 1921, 1929 and 1936 were all Muslim religious figures. Since Islam does not distinguish between politics and religion, it is perhaps natural that Muslim Arabs would rally around religious leadership as their political leadership as well. At any rate, it does point out a religious dimension to the Arab nationalist movement that does not get mentioned often - usually, the rise of Islamism is thought to coincide with the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that started in the late 1920s in Egypt. There are some significant differences between the goals and methods of the Muslim Brotherhood and the early Palestinian Arab nationalists, but their religious credentials show that the Brotherhood did not arise in a vacuum: the ideas of pan-Islamic nationalism and Arab nationalism grew in parallel, and probably influenced each other. The Palestinian Christians evidently did not feel threatened by the Islamic components of these nationalist movements, and the Christian religious leaders seemed to embrace it, in what can only be considered a combination of institutionalized dhimmitude and pure anti-semitism.

By mid-1939, the Palestinian Arab revolt had petered out and the Palestinian Arabs themselves were left leaderless and aimless. While Palestinian Jews continued to build the land and fulfill the Zionist dream, the Arabs of the area suffered from the economic disengagement that the riots forced on the Jews.

At this time, the word "Palestinian" meant almost exclusively the Jews of Palestine. The 1939 World's Fair in New York had a remarkably successful Palestine pavillion, built entirely by Jews when Britain indicated no interest in sponsoring it. Jewish dignitaries from Palestine sent messages to the American attendees speaking of peace; the Chief Rabbi of Palestine spoke about the economic benefits that the Arabs enjoyed as a result of Jewish immigration and Chaim Weizmann spoke of the successes of the Zionist enterprise, even in the wake of the White Paper.
At the outset of World War II, the uneasy peace between the Arabs and Jews returned. They cooperated when necessary, including in the war effort. Friction did steadily increase, though, as Jewish underground organizations became more prominent and started accumulating more weapons. Many Jews felt that they did not want to repeat the comparatively mild response that the Haganah had given to the riots of the 1930s.

Nazi Germany saw the Arabs of Palestine as a natural ally against the Jews. They tried very hard to recruit Arabs to their cause, by shipping weapons to Arabs in Palestine before the war and by telling the Arab Muslim world that they had converted to Islam and were ready to wage "jihad" . There is some evidence that Nazi money helped finance the latter parts of the Arab revolt in 1938 after the Peel Commission report. Amin al-Husayni, the now ex-Mufti, was a large factor behind these moves as he became an enthusiastic Nazi himself, complicit in genocide. The effects of these Nazi efforts were limited, though - the Nazi goals had some sympathy among some Arab leaders but it never seemed to spread among the Palestinian Arabs themselves, except in isolated cases.

During the war, Jews and Palestinian Arabs warily worked together in the British war effort, in separate battalions in Palestine but they volunteered together early in the war in the European theater.

An interesting episode in 1944 illustrates the Palestinian Arab ambivalence towards the Nazis. Two sets of Nazi paratroopers arrived in Palestine, each with an Arab who had helped lead the 1936 riots and later fled to Germany. The first group, led by Zul Kifel Abdul Latif, tried to enlist local Arab leaders in hiding them but the leaders refused. He and his team were captured a week later.

The other paratroopers, led by Sheikh Hassan Salameh, were not captured and were presumed to have been successfully hidden by the local Arabs. He later re-appeared as a leader of a Jaffa gang in 1947.

Latif, meanwhile, was sentenced to prison, where he was sprung by Arabs in early 1948.

The impression one gets is that while the Arab people were not very pro-Nazi, they weren't very much anti-Nazi either. They were interested in whichever side would benefit them more and for the most part the Palestinian Arabs felt that the British cause was more valuable to them than the Nazi movement, which after all hated Arabs almost as much as it hated Jews from a racial perspective. As has been usually the case, ordinary Arabs seemed to have far more common-sense than their erstwhile leaders, many of whom did embrace Nazism.

In late 1945, attention again turned towards Palestine. As noted, Jewish enterprise and progress in Palestine never really stopped despite the obstacles created by the British and the Palestinian Arabs, and by the end of the war the Jews of Palestine had already carved out their own quasi-government, army and economy. The Arabs of Palestine, on the other hand, were more disorganized than ever.

The Palestinian Arab leadership vacuum was noted by Palestine's Arab neighbors, all of whom had gained independence by this time. The Arab League was created in March 1945 with representation from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. While it recognized Palestine as a kind of honorary member, it was the League that selected the Palestinian delegate, not the Arabs from Palestine themselves.

The Arab League tried to fill the leadership void in Palestine, but as is usually the case, its members filtered their ideas of what would best serve the Palestinian Arab people through their own selfish prism.

In November, 1945, the League made two decisions about Palestine: it re-established the Arab Higher Committee of Palestine with its own hand-picked members, and it announced an Arab boycott of all Jewish goods to start January 1, 1946. Since Palestine was a member of sorts of the Arab League, the boycott was meant to apply to Palestinian Arabs as well as Arabs in other League-member countries.

Almost immediately, Palestinian Arabs complained about this boycott. They noted that a good amount of their clothing and food came from Jewish sources and that the boycott would be too onerous on those it was meant to help. They mentioned that Jews owned 80% of Palestinian industry, to no avail. They also worried that the Jews who had resumed buying Arab goods after the 1936 strike would once again refrain from buying Arab products and raw materials during this strike, leaving them in dire financial straits. Arabs started hoarding Jewish goods and a black market in Jewish products sprouted immediately in Palestine. Others simply ignored the Arab League directive altogether.

Rather than take note of the problems with the boycott, the Arab League extended it to include all Jewish services as well. As time went on, the Palestinian Arab adherence to the boycott kept going down, while the pro-boycott rhetoric among even their local mayors increased.

The other Arab League members did enforce the boycott at their borders, and the Jews immediately compensated by opening up new markets for their goods in Europe and elsewhere. During the first six months of 1946, Jewish exports actually increased over the same period the year before. The boycott, created by non-Palestinians for an Arab Palestine, was hurting the Palestinian Arabs it was meant to help and strengthening the Jews it was meant to hurt.

The Arab League leaders, not willing to admit that they were spectacularly wrongheaded in their boycott idea, decided in 1947 that the reason the boycott was failing was because of the traitorous Palestinian Arab businessmen who kept their Jewish business contacts and contracts. By August, a new set of terror attacks had started in Jerusalem and quickly spread throughout Palestine - "boycott bombs." Arabs would bomb Arab businesses who ignored the boycott.

Altogether, dozens of Arab businesses were damaged or destroyed in 1947 by Arabs who set boycott bombs. On at least one occasion, a reprisal bomb was set against an official of a boycott committee - an "anti-boycott bomb," establishing what would now be called a "cycle of violence."

Meanwhile, the Arab Higher Committee itself disbanded due to infighting, and its replacement was populated with the still-exiled leaders of pre-1936 Palestine, including Amin al-Husayni yet again.

This was the state of Palestinian Arab affairs going into November 1947 - no leadership to speak of, fractured by infighting, being eyed as convenient pawns to be used by other Arab leaders for their own selfish purposes, and the entire Arab world looking on impotently as the new United Nations was moving towards giving the hated Jews their own tiny state in a small part of historic Palestine.

Friday, June 22, 2007

No photos of Bilin when Israelis get injured

Like clockwork, every Friday for many months, a crowd of demonstrators gather in Bilin to protest Israel's defensive barrier. every Friday, photographers show up en masse to try to take pictures of Israeli soldiers doing anything that can be construed as oppressing them:


Israeli border police shoot tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest against Israel's controversial separation barrier near the West Bank village of Bilin May 25, 2007.

Tear gas grenades explode in front of a line of Israeli troops, partly obscured, during a protest against Israel's controversial barrier near the West Bank village of Bilin, June 1, 2007.

Demonstrators run away from tear gas canisters during a protest against Israel's controversial barrier near the West Bank village of Bilin June 8, 2007.

But on June 8, an unusual picture was taken:

A Palestinian demonstrator throws a stone at Israeli troops during a protest against Israel's controversial barrier near the West Bank village of Bilin June 8, 2007.

This is hardly "throwing a stone. " This is shooting a projectile that could be potentially deadly.

For some reason, this is the last Reuters Bilin photo I can find in Yahoo's archives. Nothing from last Friday nor today.

Yet today, according to PalToday, there was a not-quite non-violent incident today:
Israeli officer injured by stones demonstrators protesting against the wall in the village Blain
2007-06-22 16:47:45
An Israeli soldier injured at a "non-violent" protest - and no photographs?

Did the photographers stop coming, or did they just want to keep the narrative of a non-violent protest against heavily armed Israeli soldiers intact?

The West believes in PalArabs more than Arabs do

A curious thing is happening in the Arab world.

For a couple of years already there has been a sense of exhaustion and apathy from the Arabs concerning the Palestinian Arab "cause." Statements to the West in support of PalArab rights have seemed perfunctory and reflexive, and in the general Arab press the Palestinian issue has mostly disappeared from the front pages. After the first couple years of the intifada, there seemed to be a slow awakening to the fact that the Palestinian Arabs don't seem to want a state that badly, and if they would rather fight than make hard choices, why should the Arabs be more pro-Palestinian Arab nationalism than the PalArabs themselves are?

In the past couple of weeks, however, this apathy has turned into full-blown disgust. The Hamas/Fatah fighting is being treated with not only revulsion towards the fighters but towards the entire divided leadership of the Palestinian Arabs. Saudi Arabia has felt especially betrayed as it put much of its prestige behind the ill-fated Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah.

Look at some of the commentaries on Asharq al-Awsat in English:
Boycotting Fatah and Hamas is no longer an Arab choice but a duty because they have lost both their moral sense and capabilities. ... These two parties have become a group that feeds on the blood of its children to live.
Meshaal stated that what happened in Gaza was not a coup and that Hamas still considers Mahmoud Abbas the legitimate president of the Palestinian Authority and acknowledges that his powers cover the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. So how should one define the actions of Hamas's fighters as they rampaged through the office of the Palestinian president, trampled on his pictures and sat in his seat? Furthermore, as he sat in the president’s chair holding the phone to his ear, one Hamas militant said, “Hello Mr. President, from now on you will have to call us.” How should we understand what Hamas described as the “second liberation”, let alone the murder, torture, humiliation and destruction of buildings of the legitimate authority?
When murder and violence are considered a justified means of change, when we turn a blind eye to violent practices and have these events blacked out since they are carried out by ourselves, this means that our sense of humanity and our stance towards the principle of refusing to eliminate the other or target them becomes a confused and weak one.
Is Palestine on its way to become Somalia? Each faction wants to establish its own dream republic.
"Palestinians today need to be left without a shred of a doubt" as to what other Arabs think of them, a widely read opinion commentator for the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, Mamoun Fandy, thundered on Monday. "We need to tell them the only thing they have proven over 50 years is that they are adolescents who cannot and should not be trusted to run institutions of state or any other important matters."

And yet, exactly when the Arab nations give up on the infantile Palestinian Arabs, along comes Olmert and Bush ready to publicly proclaim their faith in the very same corrupt regime that lost the respect of the Arab world years ago. All the billions pumped into the territories have been wasted or used for terror, yet the Western solution is to add more money into the mix. One can only imagine Hamas wanting to wait to destroy Fatah in the West Bank until the latest half-billion shows up.

If the Arab world thinks that an independent Palestinian Arab state is a lost cause, why does the West still believe in it?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Palestinian Christians and Muslims hold conference against Jews

The rabidly Jew-hating Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims are holding a three-day conference in Bethlehem to discuss how much they have in common - they both really, really hate Jews.

From Palestine News Network (Arabic, autotranslated):

opened hotel in the Russian city of Bethlehem Wednesday afternoon after Heritage Conference of Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land at its nineteenth session, which will hold the meeting of religious studies and heritage in the Holy Land, which lasts for three consecutive days attendance crowd

Figures from the Palestinian territories and the Green Line areas, including Patriarch Michel Sabah Latin Patriarch of the Holy Land, Bishop Attallah Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia and Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, the Chief Justice in Palestine and Marwan Khader deputy governor of Bethlehem and representatives of institutions and the forces and events differently.

The conference started with the word of Dr. Grace Khoury head of the Center for the meeting, welcomed the attendees at the beginning, pointing out that the aim of this conference is not to cry over what happened to the Palestinian people over forty years of age or occupation since Catastrophe where continued violations and various practices that targeted Palestinian people and its territory and holy Islamic and Christian alike, killing thousands of people and tens of thousands trapped, but we have come here to assess and draw lessons and learn 2, and said in light of this situation we must lament tempted, especially after the fratricidal, and I want to say without shame that we must condemn and deplore what happened from the burning of the institutions and the killing of tens of our sons Almamenyen national cause and who have already sacrificed and suffered and therefore shame us all that they will get real about what each of us in the first of whom clergymen Christians and Muslims to assume responsibility for the work to stop this situation, which must be abnormal because there are no winners or losers in this fight Everybody loser and the cause of our people losing arms and found that it is not for killing brother for his brother, this weapon is for self-defense in case coats.

Khoury concluded by saying that we have to restore the strength of national unity, and the clergy implementation of this sacred mission, provided by religions Ours to bring one another and to manage the national dialogue effective and serious.

The Patriarch Michel Sabah has reviewed the most important events that occurred during the 40 years of occupation, pointing to the existence of negative and positive Among these stations Positive founding of the PLO, which kept the Palestinian identity at home and abroad and established a Resistors armed and unarmed, One of the key strengths is to stay so far to the Palestinian people despite the presence in their ranks of migration Christians and Muslims but the people stayed at home facing difficult circumstances all their patience, will and endurance.

As one of the most important aspects that could be addressed in this conference turmoil security, and the fratricidal and said ask God to anticipate sensible what happened in Gaza bloodshed on the hands of all of us is letting dangerous and detrimental to the Palestinian cause and fairness if we do not put an end as soon as possible and on a stable footing.

Sheikh Taysir Tamimi had said in a speech on the concept of dependents age founded the existence of brotherhood and unity between Muslims and Christians, which stipulates non-Christian prejudice blessed homes and the preservation of crosses, churches, property and defend them whenever necessary so.

Laden and his al-Tamimi at gay march that took place in the evening in Jerusalem confirmed that these homosexual who gathered from all corners of the world staged a march in Jerusalem after they refused all of the countries of the world and welcomed them the State of Israel, it is prejudice to the sanctity of this city and its people, and the feelings of its people, Forty years have elapsed from the prisons, massacres and attacks and settlements, a violation of Islamic and Christian sanctities and removed positioned our firm in the face of this brutal aggression.

They mightily try to avoid saying the word "Jew", and you just know it is killing them. Yet they shamelessly talk for hours on end about the Christian and Muslim sanctity of a land whose entire holiness derives from the very people whose name they try so hard to avoid.