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Friday, February 29, 2008

Pic of the satirical poster in the German art gallery

Here is the picture by the satirical group "Surrend" that forced a Berlin art gallery to shut down because of Islamic threats.

It shows the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia with the caption "Dummer Stein", meaning "Stupid Stone."

But what is more interesting is that it is part of a series of "Dummer" posters. The one next to it shows a Chassidic Jew and is called "Dummer Hat." For some reason, there were no death threats about that poster.

Snapped Shot shut down

The best place on the web for analyzing and critiquing news photography has been sent a "cease and desist" letter from AP, and the blogger (and blog-friend) Brian Ledbetter has agreed to take his Snapped Shot site down until the issue can be resolved.

As the Jawa Report mentions:
Since all of the AP images reprinted by Brian are criticisms of them, they clearly fall into the realm of "fair use".
This is a chilling development, as many other bloggers (myself included) often link to and reproduce wire service photos for criticism and comment. The Lebanon war "fauxtography" scandals, where many photos were found to have been Photoshopped, staged or otherwise deceptive, would not have come to light had it not been for bloggers like Brian.

It is a sad day for free speech.

Another side of the culture of death

One of the more obvious differences between how Palestinian Arabs act and how Westerners act is in how they treat, and think about, their own dead people.

When Roni Yechiyeh was murdered on Wednesday, the closest one could find to a picture of his body was this one, made by an Israeli photographer for Reuters:

Shoes lie beside the body of an Israeli killed after a rocket attack in the southern town of Sderot February 27, 2008.


The picture is meant to evoke sadness and loss. To show his face would be demeaning and painful to his family. With few exceptions, this is how Israeli victims are shown to the world by Israelis themselves.

On the other hand, the Arab press- and Arab photographers for the wire services - revel in showing bloody dead bodies. When a baby dies, his picture gets plastered on front pages (like this one in Ma'an today, I'm not going to reproduce it here.) There is no indication that the families of the victims are upset by this - it is as if a child being killed is cause for celebration, because it can be used as ammunition against Israel in the war of public relations.

The glee at which PalArab deaths are embraced can be seen from this rally, which in a normal culture would be characterized as child abuse:


A man carries a Palestinian boy during a protest against Israeli air strikes which killed Palestinian youth in Gaza February 29, 2008. An Israeli missile attack on Thursday killed four Palestinian youngsters playing football in the Gaza Strip, local medical workers said. The banner reads 'Help us Egyptian people'.REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA)

What the caption pointedly fails to describe is the red paint on the children's faces and clothing. This rally is meant to have Palestinian Arab children literally play dead, and causes them to associate death with a fun outing at another rally meant for Western consumption. Death is thrilling and pictures of death are titillating - the Palestinian Arab equivalent to pornography.

In short, Palestinian Arabs celebrate both Jewish and Arab civilian deaths, while Israelis mourn them. Death, which is described countless times by Palestinian Arabs themselves as reasons for celebration, is also a major propaganda victory.

And those PR victories, milked for all they are worth and more, give them all the more reason to celebrate.

Another member of the Zionist-controlled press

I just stumbled onto Tony Karon's blog. He works for Time magazine as a senior editor at TIME.com. While he takes pains to say that his opinions on his blog do not represent those of his employer, his opinions are, shall we say, a bit less than even-handed.

His blogroll includes Juan Cole and Richard Silverstein. He continuously describes anything but total love for Palestinian Arabs and anyone who is pro-Likud as "racist Zionist alte-kakkers". And he proudly brings out his Jewish bona-fides so prove to his leftist friends that, see, even Jews can be anti Israel with the best of you!

Having these opinions is his right, of course, as is his grating name-dropping. But it shows again that the American media and its leaders are hardly Zionist.

Morning links

The Palestinians’ Willing Accomplices at Israellycool

A Zionist Manifesto: We must make the change that we seek at ZioNation

A follow-up on the anti-semitic speech at the Vancouver Public Library from the Ottowa Citizen

Norman, is that you? at the LA Times Blogs

The Colorado Jewish school teams both lost last night, making the Sabbath issue moot

Inaccurate Qassams and inaccurate reporting in the Guardian

The Guardian today includes this "fact" in its coverage of Gaza:
The Qassam rockets are notoriously inaccurate - Hamas launched 28 yesterday and only 10 landed in Israel - but there are growing fears that the militants are acquiring an arsenal with a longer range.
Yesterday, according to YNet, "over 30" rockets landed in Israel, and 10 of them landed in Ashkelon alone. Haaretz counted 12 of them as being Grad rockets.

Hamas alone claimed to fire 26 Qassam rockets in its many press releases yesterday, but I cannot find anywhere that Hamas lists which ones landed in Israel and which in Gaza.

There is a very small possibility that The Guardian's reporter Toni O'Loughlin in Jerusalem managed to track how many rockets were from Hamas, how many from Fatah and Islamic Jihad and other groups, tracked them individually to see where each one landed, distinguished between Qassams and Grads, and counted exactly 28 Qassams from Hamas (two more than they claim) of which exactly 10 landed in Israel.

It is undoubtedly true that many Qassams land in Gaza and that there is always a discrepancy between the number claimed to have been fired by terror groups and the number that are known to have landed in Israel. A 3:1 ratio is absurd, though.

Far more likely is that O'Loughlin is, subconsciously or not, trying to minimize the Qassam threat to Israel and is reporting "facts" as inaccurate as s/he claims the Qassams are.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Berlin gallery shuts down after Muslim threats

From Reuters:
A Berlin gallery has temporarily closed an exhibition of satirical works by a group of Danish artists after six Muslim youths threatened violence unless one of the posters depicting the Kaaba shrine in Mecca was removed, it said on Thursday.

The Galerie Nord in central Berlin said it had closed its "Zionist Occupied Government" show of works by Surrend, a group of artists who say they poke fun at powerful people and ideological conflicts.

On Tuesday, four days after the exhibition opened, a group of angry Muslims stormed into the gallery, shouting demands that one of the 21 posters should be removed, said the gallery.

"They were very aggressive and shouted at an employee that the poster should be taken down otherwise they would throw stones and use violence," the gallery's artistic director Ralf Hartmann told Reuters.

The Muslims objected to a depiction of the Kaaba -- the ancient shrine in Mecca's Grand Mosque which Muslims face to say their prayers -- which gave a "bitingly satirical commentary against radicalism," said the gallery in a statement.

Hartmann said the gallery was working with German authorities to improve security and he hoped to re-open the show as soon as possible.

"It would be unacceptable if individual social groups were in a position to exercise censorship over art and the freedom of expression," said the gallery in a statement.

The show also contained pictures which ridiculed neo-Nazis who believe Jews dominate global politics and industry as well as the state of Israel and radical Jews.

Surrend members are mainly street artists and use stickers, advertisements, posters and Web sites to express irony.

Surrend might make fun of everyone, but only one group threatens them for it.

Surrend once bought an ad in the Tehran Times that pretended to be pro-Ahmadinejad but actually called him a "swine" in the first letter of each bullet point:

Surrend's webpage is here.

Kuwait summons 1500 Mugniyeh mourners

From AFP:
Kuwait has summoned more than 1,500 suspects, including Kuwaiti citizens as well as others from various Arab and Islamic nationalities, over a rally to mourn top Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh.

Diplomatic sources in Kuwait said interrogation is underway with some of them.

The summons relate to an investigation into a rally to mourn Mughniyeh who was killed in a car bombing in Damascus Feb.12.

The suspects were summoned for "suspicion of belonging to Hizbullah and for intimidating state security," said one source.

The sources said prominent Shiite Kuwaiti MPs Ahmad Lari and Adnan Abdulsamad will not be debriefed because they enjoy parliamentary immunity.

They said the summons, however, included former Kuwaiti MP Abdel Mohsen Jamal, municipality council member Fadel Sifr, Secretary General of the Social Cultural Society (SCS) Hussein al-Maatouk as well as SCS member Hasan al-Salman. They were prevented from traveling.

Prior to the summons, interrogation was carried out with three other Kuwaiti officials.

"Mughniyeh is a martyr hero who shook the grounds beneath the Zionist enemy (Israel) and America ... His blood will wipe Israel off the map," Abdulsamad told a large crowd that took part in Mughniyeh's mourning.

But Abdulsamad denied that Mughniyeh, who was on America's most wanted list for a series of attacks on Israeli and Western targets in Lebanon in the 1980s, was involved in two plane hijackings and a series of bombings in Kuwait.

"There is no evidence whatsoever to prove that Mughniyeh was either the mastermind or a perpetrator in the hijackings or the bombings," he said.

Although it is widely believed that Mughniyeh was behind the hijackings in Kuwait, the Gulf state has never officially accused him.

A former Egyptian steward with Kuwait Airways has said he recognized Mughniyeh as the hijacker of two Kuwaiti passenger planes in the 1980s.

The planes were seized by militant Shiite groups to demand the release of 17 Shiite activists jailed in Kuwait for carrying out a series of bombings against U.S., French and Kuwaiti targets.

About one-third of Kuwait's native population of one million are Shiites. They have four MPs in the 50-member parliament.(AFP)
I wonder - is Kuwait acting "disproportionately" for questioning 1500 people about their support for someone who performed two terror attacks against Kuwait 20 years ago?

Waiting to hear what the human rights organizations have to say....

Saudi Vice, episode 10: The Sting

Like most working men, the employees of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice sometimes have to attend stupid mandatory training sessions. Pinheaded academics who know nothing about the raw, hard real world of enforcing Sharia law come and say things like "you shouldn't bash women's heads with your batons" and "you should be more sensitive when beating foreigners."

In one recent, boring session, our heroes became fed up when the instructor suggested that they should be polite to the public. Other Vice Commission members were upset when this same teacher gave some of them failing grades.

Clearly, this man - a professor of psychology at Umm al-Qra University in the holy city of Mecca - was an immoral attacker of Islam who spat on time honored customs like beating women. The only thing that our heroes needed to do was catch him in the act.

So they set up a sting.

They "persuaded" a woman to call up the professor, pose as a student and ask to meet with him to discuss her grades. He agreed to meet her in a public place, as long as she shows up with a chaperone - her brother.

As soon as he arrived, he was surprised to find the girl alone. The professor then found himself surrounded by our heroes, the religious police, who handcuffed him and hauled him into custody.
He was accused of being in a state of khulwa – seclusion – with an unrelated woman.

The professor has been sentenced to 180 lashes and eight months in jail, and the heroic Muttawa has restored its honor. And by extension, the honor of Allah has been protected as well.

UN envoy calls Qassams "terrorism"; Abbas proud of Fatah terror

Yesterday, UN envoy Robert Serry gave a report to the UN Security Council. As can be expected, most of the report was more of the same - blaming Israel for how it is dealing with Gaza, blaming settlements for creating a humanitarian crisis (not quite sure how that works), claiming that Israel has not removed any outposts (um, remember Amona? Neve Daniel North? Tapuach West?) and similar naive statements.

As usual, he has no real idea about what Israel should do, only what it should not do:
A different and more positive strategy for Gaza was a humanitarian, security and strategic imperative, for Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.
Any idea what this strategy should be? Well, nothing that can possibly involve the remotest possibility of hurting civilians, of course, so possibly he is calling for Israel to move from "condemning" Qassam attacks into "deploring" them. Perhaps providing them with more potassium nitrate so they can fertilize their crops.

Buried in his speech, however, is something that I have never seen the UN say before:
His visit to Sderot, which had been the target of over 4,300 rockets since 2004, had brought out the physical and psychological damage to the population. Those crude rockets were aimed at hurting civilians and clearly constituted terrorism. Their continued firing was completely unacceptable and must be halted unconditionally.
The "T word" is hardly used even in the Western media to describe Qassams, with sickening words like "resistance" used far more often. The fact that the reliably anti-Israel UN classifies rocket attacks as terrorism needs to be publicized and the Arab terrorists and their friends need to be forced to respond, so that the world can see their sickening "logic" for what it is.

I, for one, would love to see if Mahmoud Abbas would agree with that characterization - unlikely given his statements yesterday:
"I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world; what it's like; when it is effective and when it isn't effective; its uses, and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is," Abbas said.

"It is common knowledge when and how resistance is detrimental and when it is well timed," he addad. "We (Fatah) had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hizbullah, who trained in our military camps."

Let's ask Abbas what his distinction is between effective terrorism and ineffective terrorism, whether he has any moral rather than tactical problems with suicide bombings, and whether he is still proud over the early PLO airplane hijackings and mass murders.

This is what reporters should be doing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jewish school in Sabbath basketball playoff kerfuffle

From Sports Illustrated (h/t Global Freezing):
DENVER (AP) -- State senators have taken up the cause of a Jewish boys basketball team whose playoff run may be halted because its players can't play on the Jewish Sabbath.

The Herzl/Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy team could be headed for a regional championship on Saturday, March 8, if it wins one more game. But the Denver team's religious beliefs prohibit students from playing on the Jewish Sabbath between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday.

If Herzl/RMHA makes it to the regional championship and refuses to play a Saturday game, another school would be chosen to take its place, CHSAA commissioner Bill Reader said.

Earlier this month, the Colorado High School Activities Association, which governs sports and other high school activities, rejected the team's request for a schedule change.

At the end of morning debate in the state Senate on Wednesday, Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, called on the CHSAA to be more flexible.

Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver, said the CHSAA's decision was ironic because it has a rule barring games from being played on Sunday for religious reasons.

Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Sedalia, said there must be a way for the CHSAA to accommodate the team.

"It just seems like the bureaucracy has run amok here," Wiens said.

Bruce H. DeBoskey, mountain states regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said the group was disappointed by CHSAA's decision.
More details in this article from CBS 4 Denver:
Reader said CHSAA can't accommodate everyone.

"We speak for 110,000 athletes and 340 member schools that all have different needs and desires. It's impossible for us to be all things for all people," he said.

"(Herzl/RMHA) joined in 2002 with the full understanding that sundown Friday to sundown Saturday is a prime time for high school athletics, and they voluntarily joined anyway."

Reader said the CHSAA board allowed the school to compete at the district level of playoffs if other schools agreed, which they did. He said late scheduling changes at the regional level would be more difficult, with teams having to travel to a rented facility in Sterling.
The school knew the rules when it joined the league. So what is the best solution?

As with all similar problems, the religious minority has the right to request accommodation - but not to demand it.

And when accommodation can be extended, appreciation must be shown enthusiastically.

In this case, I would recommend that should the Herzl school win the next game, that they try to privately arrange an unofficial game against the opponents they would have faced that Saturday - just for bragging rights.

Abbas doesn't want PalArabs to become citizens of Lebanon

From the Daily Star (Lebanon):
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted Wednesday as rejecting the naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. "We would never accept any settlement that leads to naturalizing Palestinians in Lebanon," Abbas told pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.

"We would not accept any settlements that would lead to a demographic change in Lebanon. This is totally unacceptable ... We won't accept a settlement that obliges Lebanon to naturalize even one Palestinian. We will find a settlement that satisfies Palestinians in Lebanon and satisfies Lebanon ... I'm sure of this and time will prove it," Abbas added.
What a great leader the Palestinian Arabs have! He cares about Lebanon so much - the country that keeps his people in camps, restricts their movement and what kinds of jobs they can have, doesn't let them buy land, restricts their travel, and even limits the amount of building material they can have inside the camps. But rather than fight for the rights of Palestinian Arabs who have lived for generations in Lebanon to become naturalized citizens, Abbas wants to keep them in misery - and the reason he gives is because he cares more about Lebanese demographics than about his own people!

An interesting vignette: in 1994, Lebanon quietly allowed some Palestinian Arabs to become citizens, but it didn't publicize it . Even so, some 20,000 PalArabs took advantage of the new law, desperately trying to improve their lives. Then, in 2003, right before the Lebanese law that grants full rights afer ten years of citizenship, Lebanon started revoking the citizenships of these same Palestinian Arabs.

(Another interesting fact: some 50,000 Palestinian Arabs did successfully manage to get citizenship in Lebanon in the 1950s and 1960s - and the way they did it was by proving that their parents and grandparents had moved to Palestine from Lebanon and weren't in Palestine for centuries. Imagine that!)

How many Lebanese Palestinian Arabs would similarly jump at the opportunity to become full Lebanese citizens if given the chance? We'll never know, because the topic is forbidden to even be brought up among Arabs - they will facetiously claim that Palestinian Arabs of course prefer to self-identify as Palestinian and remain in stateless limbo for the foreseeable future. Even so-called "civil rights" organizations for Palestinian Arab "refugees" refuse to consider the possibility of resettlement - even they prefer that the Palestinian Arabs remain in limbo, with some more human rights but not the full rights of citizens.

But has anyone actually polled the people stuck in camps for sixty years? Is there any doubt that if Lebanon would offer citizenship to its 250,000 PalArabs languishing there that most of them would jump at the chance?

No, the self-appointed leaders of the Palestinian Arabs know that if they would give their people these choices there would be no "Palestinians" left. The only people who benefit from Palestinian Arabs staying in miserable conditions are their so-called "leaders" and the leaders of the Arab world who use the "Palestinian" issue as a means to keep pressure on Israel and avoid addressing internal problems.

See also An Arab almost admits the truth about PalArabs and Very interesting Arabic editorial in "Falasteen" for other postings that elaborate on this Arab pathology against making Palestinian Arabs happy.

Dead Hamas terrorists trained in Iran or Syria

In an article about Israel's airstrike this morning that killed 5 Hamas members, Arab News adds an interesting detail:
Israeli forces killed at least eight Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and one in the West Bank during separate attacks yesterday. The dead included Hamas members, who had allegedly returned from military training in Syria or Iran.

Five members of Hamas’ Ezeddine Al-Qassam Brigades were killed when the van they were traveling in was attacked by Israeli warplanes near the southern town of Khan Younis, medical officials said. Local residents, who knew the men, reportedly said some of them had undergone training in Syria or Iran and returned home after Hamas breached the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.

Egypt closed the border at Rafah about two weeks after the breach, but allowed Palestinians who had crossed into its territory to return.

On Tuesday, Israel’s military intelligence chief alleged that dozens of Gazans, who had gone “primarily to Syria but also to Iran for training in various areas of terror expertise,” had taken advantage of the open Rafah border to return home.

So while Hamas' main objective in storming the Egyptian border may have been to embarrass Egypt, a possible strong secondary reason was to bring back all of their newly-trained terror leaders to plan more ways of killing Jews.

And Israel's job is now to find these people and kill them before they kill Israelis.

Georgetown University hires a real Israel scholar

With all the things we read about the vicious misoziony and anti-semitism at many US universities, it is refreshing to see that one is hiring someone who does not call for Israel to be destroyed:
Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service announced that renowned international historian Michael B. Oren has joined the faculty as Visiting Professor. Beginning in Fall 2008, he will teach undergraduate and graduate students in courses on America in the Middle East, military history of the modern Middle East, and the history of Zionist diplomacy.

“Michael Oren is a great addition to our community of scholars and will enhance our cadre of experts in the growing Program for Jewish Civilization,” said Robert L. Gallucci, dean of the School of Foreign Service. “I am pleased to welcome him to the School of Foreign Service and know he will offer valuable contributions to our understanding of critical issues in the Middle East.”

In addition to his position at Georgetown, Oren is a Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research facility, where he specializes in the diplomatic and military history of the Middle East. Oren joins other distinguished faculty associated with the Program for Jewish Civilization (PJC) including Jacques Berlinerblau, PJC director and associate professor of Jewish civilization; Ambassador Dennis Ross, visiting professor of Jewish civilization; Yossi Shain, founding director of PJC and professor of comparative government and diaspora politics; Robert Lieber, professor of government and international affairs; and, Avi Beker, Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor in the department of government.

Read the Hamas press release taking credit for murder

Hamas, for all its terrorist rhetoric, tends to be considered a bit less extreme than Islamic Jihad or Al Qaeda. And like the long line at the supermarket where you feel better when someone goes behind you, the very existence of organizations that are more extreme makes Hamas look a bit more moderate in comparison without having to change their position.

Reporters pick up on this as they take pains to distinguish between Hamas and the other groups, and as a result the word "extremist" is not used quite as much for Hamas as for others anymore.

This is a manifestation of Western projection as well as wishful thinking - it is too hideous to imagine that Hamas cannot be reasoned with, so we really want to think that they are more pragmatic and therefore more reasonable and that peace is possible.

The press has no such compunctions with Israel, routinely using words like "hawkish" and "hardline" to refer to people on the Israeli political right. Over time, readers of the press will start to associate hardline Israeli positions with hardline Arab positions, making a mental parity between the two groups who have that adjective in common.

Keep that in mind as you read this, the auto-translation of the Hamas press release taking credit for killing an Israeli college student with a rocket today:
Recognize the Zionist enemy soldier killed and three wounded by the shelling rapists principals of Sderot

(Fight them and punish God's hands and helps you heal them and recovered the people believing)

Statement issued by the military

..::: Brigades martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam :::..

Recognize the Zionist enemy soldier killed and three wounded by the shelling rapists principals of Sderot

After reconcile God for they, here is the Zionist enemy recognizes killed a Zionist soldier and wounding three of the rapists by the fall of Qassam rockets at Sderot usurped, the Qassam Brigades announced in their successive shoulder and figures (0802-93) and even (0802-97) claimed responsibility for the bombing usurped mentioned ten missiles.

The shelling came in response to the Zionist crime and the massacre committed by the Zionist aviation treacherous this morning in the town of Khan Yunis, which led to the martyrdom of five of the finest Qassam Mujahideen fortunate ..

We in the Qassam Brigades, which declare jihad for the task that we face stress occupation usurper all of the means we have, and break thorn cowardly army on the eve of the Gaza Strip and steadfast stationed ..

It is a jihad victory or martyrdom,,,

Brigades martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam
It is instructive to occasionally read the actual words that Hamas uses. If more people would read their words rather than the sanitized versions that make it into English it would be much harder for natural Western empathy and "understanding" to kick in when thinking about them.

Breaking: Israeli murdered by Hamas Qassam at Sapir College

UPDATE:
At least one person was killed, another was wounded and many were treated for shock Wednesday as least 20 Qassam rockets slammed into the western Negev town of Sderot and surrounding communities.

The victim was apparently in a car, parked next to Sapir College on the outskirts of Sderot, which was directly hit by a Qassam.

A rocket directly hit a home in Sderot, while another exploded in a factory mess hall shortly after the workers had exited.

Another person was lightly wounded in the strike and several people were reportedly suffering from shock.

Hamas' military wing claimed responsiblity for firing the Qassams.

Iran: Anyone who disagrees that Israel is a dirty microbe is a filthy Zionist

Ya gotta love it:
Iran hit out at the European Union on Tuesday for condemning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s description of Israel as a “dirty microbe”, saying the bloc had given in to pressure from a Zionist lobby.

The EU’s Slovenian presidency had condemned as “unacceptable, damaging and uncivilised” a stream of anti-Israeli comments from Iranian officials since the murder of a top Hezbollah commander.

“The issuing of such a biased statement by the rotating presidency of the European Union is the result of pressure from the international Zionist lobby,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region,” Ahmadinejad [had] said.

The foreign ministry warned the Slovenian EU presidency “not to fall into the trap of the Zionist lobby.”
Ah, but Iran has already fallen into our Zionist trap, as we force them to publicly make themselves look even dumber than they already had!

February Qassam Calendar

As usual, this is far from complete, and it is more to show how ignored the Qassam issue is rather than to show how many are being fired. Many Qassams never make it in the news, and the rare times that the IDF publishes statistics shows that I am usually undercounting by about 50%. Also, these are Qassams that make it to Israel; many that are fired explode in Gaza itself.

This list does not include mortars being shot from Gaza, which are usually much more numerous on any given day. It also does not count the occasional rocket from Lebanon. It does count Grad-style rockets that come from Gaza, often to Ashkelon.

February

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa





1
2






5
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

4
19 9
18
30
8
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
1
3
2
7
13
1
10
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
6
16
7
5
6
4

24
25
26
27
28
29

6
7
3
50
31
16

288 this month.

Previous calendars:

January 2008

December 2007
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February

Saudis try to increase tourism - with polygamy

The New York Times wrote a glowing article about how much fun it is for adventurous people to visit Saudi Arabia:
As part of a group of reforms, the kingdom is trying to develop the country as a tourist destination, first for domestic travelers and later for international ones. Westerners are starting to visit the country on small group tours, a process that has become easier with loosened visa rules.

The country’s starkly different customs are part of the appeal for visitors — some even claim to see advantages in wearing the abaya, the formless black robe that women must wear in public. So are its intact culture, historical sites and unexpected diversity of climate and topography.

...It is a closed country, but a wealthy one, with a mix of modern buildings and ancient architecture. Although non-Muslims cannot see Mecca and Medina (and those with Israeli stamps on their passports cannot enter the country at all), most can visit the old souks of cities like Jidda, which is well-preserved.

...But the biggest draw of Saudi Arabia may be the closed nature of the country itself. The tour operators interviewed for this article said that the majority of clients who went on their Saudi tours were exceptionally well traveled, many having visited 100 countries. Saudi Arabia at this point is a place Western tourists go when they’re looking for something totally different, a culture little touched by the Western world.

The country’s leaders are interested in encouraging the Saudis themselves to move around in their country, believing that the growth of a domestic tourism industry would actually solidify their culture. Families would have more options for traveling together and could see the diversity of their country, which Prince Sultan bin Salman thinks would make them recognize their national unity as “nothing less than a miracle.”
The Saudi desire for increasing internal tourism was discussed in a public meeting ten days before this article was published, so it seems unlikely that the NYT reporter was unaware of one specific proposal raised on how this could be accomplished: by encouraging men to marry multiple wives and keep them far away from each other.

From Youssef Ibrahim:
Here’s an official plan submitted to invigorate tourism in Saudi Arabia: Marry four women, domicile them in corners of the kingdom, travel to visit each during the year, and — boom — you’ve stimulated airline business, hotel occupancy, and car rentals. This was submitted by none less than Hassan Alomair, director of self-development in Saudi Arabia, at a Jeddah conference for the development of internal tourism.

The project combines piety with efficacy by uniting Sharia’s entitlements to multiple wives with economic stimulus, Mr. Alomair argued. Sharing the dais was the female dean of the school of literature at King Faisal University, Dr. Feryal al-Hajeri, who remained silent as he prescribed his harem-induced economic scheming.

Not so with the readers and bloggers on the Saudi daily Al Watan’s website, which lit up on February 12 with commentary. “Why not make it four cows? He can fly around to milk them,” one said. “If that is the mentality of our director of self-development,” another asked, ”how are the others in that department?” There was plenty of accord with Mr. Alomair too. Some saw his idea as a “pillar” for building a true Islamic society, a “refuge” for unmarried Saudi women, and a “cure” for a widening spinster phenomena.
(The entire article is worth reading.)

But the NYT tries to spin the ancient misogynist culture as just part of the fun:
FOR the time being, the experience of visiting Saudi Arabia includes conforming to its norms. No alcohol, pornography or proselytizing materials can be taken into the country. A woman under 30 cannot enter the country without a husband or brother. Women cannot walk about unaccompanied, and they must keep their bodies covered with abayas.

And the Saudis aren’t kidding about it. On a tour she led in 2006, Ms. Zawaideh said, she noticed some Europeans walking around with their husbands, probably business travelers, without abayas or head scarves, and she warned them that the husbands could be arrested for this offense. The women brushed her off, she said, and within an hour, she noticed security people talking with the couples, then taking the men away.

Ms. Zawaideh says that she has no such problem with her clients. Two women wore the abaya all the way to New York, and some found it had the advantages of helping them fit in and protecting against blowing sand.

Joyce Jolley, 76, a retired dental hygienist from Seattle, bought the most severe kind to take home, including a head covering with only an eye-slit opening and a sheer black veil to cover that — more than what Saudi women are required to wear. “It was kind of an adventure,” she said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama vs. Likud

Barack Obama raised up a little dust in a speech to American leaders in Cleveland on Sunday night with this statement:
This is where I get to be honest and I hope I’m not out of school here. I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel. If we cannot have a honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we’re not going to make progress. And frankly some of the commentary that I’ve seen which suggests guilt by association or the notion that unless we are never ever going to ask any difficult questions about how we move peace forward or secure Israel that is non military or non belligerent or doesn’t talk about just crushing the opposition that that somehow is being soft or anti-Israel, I think we’re going to have problems moving forward.
The bolded statement is interesting on a number of levels.

It is curious that Obama is adopting an apparently anti-Likud stance. Likud, after all, was responsible for Camp David and the surrender of the Sinai to Egypt; and Likud was in power when Gaza was abandoned.

Obama's statement seems even more naive when the latest polls in Israel show Likud handily beating Kadima and Labor. As Shmuel Rosner asks, does this mean that a President Obama would not support a Likud prime minister?

Also, as The American Thinker observes, the word "Likud" has turned into a generalized anti-Israel term by the far left, pretty much their equivalent to "Taliban." It is hard to read Obama's comment as anything but influenced by the strong anti-Likud stance of people who clearly are anti-Israel.

But even assuming that all he meant was that the Likud-like positions of the ZOA and other Zionist organizations have taken over the pro-Israel stance in America - not an unreasonable observation - Obama still needs to go a bit beyond this rhetoric and let us know what his specific ideas are about how a final peace agreement between Israel and the Arab world would look.

Americans, by and large, have the erroneous idea that most Israelis want to see essentially all settlements dismantled. However, both Bill Clinton and George Bush at one point realized that there is no realistic way for Israel to give up the major settlement blocs, and acted accordingly. Even the most dovish Israelis cannot countenance the Jerusalem Jewish suburbs and the large blocs being abandoned, but the US has lately been treating them the same as the most isolated settlements. Where does Obama stand?

Does Obama want to see Jerusalem divided again?

How does he expect Israel to deal with missiles shot towards all major Israeli population centers that would result if Israel withdrew from the entire West Bank?

Does he consider the possibility that Hamas could take over the West Bank, either politically or militarily? How should the US react to a democratically-elected Hamas PA government?

Does he consider Gaza as the PA's responsibility, or is it a separate political entity now that would not be included in any peace agreement?

Would further Israeli withdrawals help the "moderates" on the PalArab side - or the extremists?

These are the real questions that Obama - or any candidate - should answer. The answers would reveal whether they have actually thought through on the issues or are just hazily repeating the "land for peace" mantra that is too often used as a substitute for real thought.

Obama's flippant use of Likud as a rhetorical bogeyman indicates that he has not yet reached that stage.

The best autotranslated name

As I try to decipher Arabic articles that are auto-translated into English, proper names are often a problem - because the software translates the names rather than transliterates them. After some time I recognize a few:

French = Shalit
Singer = Mughniyeh
Exhausted = Livni

But I think I finally today deciphered the biggest mystery of all:

Syphilis = Fatah Central Committee member Abdullah Franji

I very often see quotes in the Arabic media from "Syphilis" and it was hard to figure out who he was, but an interview in Firas Press today with him told me his first name was "Abdullah" and showed a picture of him, which narrowed down the field. So here is Mr. Syphilis:

John Dugard, racist

The latest drivel from John Dugard, of the UN Human Rights Council, shows that he shares the same racist tendencies of all "human rights" activists that can "understand" Palestinian Arab terror.

Although the report will come out next month, it includes this gem:
While Palestinian terrorist acts are to be deplored, "they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation," writes Dugard, whose 25-page report accuses the Jewish state of acts and policies consistent with all three.
So, like others before him, Dugard thinks that Palestinian Arabs have no ability to tell right from wrong, that they have no ability to think for themselves, and that they have an irresistible urge to perform acts of terror.

In other words, Dugard considers Palestinian Arabs to be akin to animals; they are subhuman beings who react instinctively but without any ability of thought. Their actions are understandable - but deplorable - exactly the way a rabid dog can be understood, but scolded, for biting people.

He makes a distinction between Palestinian terror and Al Qaeda terror, because, of course, Al Qaeda terror is "mindless" while Palestinian Arab terror is against the unjust Jews. Dugard can magically distinguish between the mindset of Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad, knowing that blowing up Jews in Israel because Israel "occupies" Jaffa is much different than blowing up Spaniards in Madrid because Spain "occupies" Andalusia. Dugard is so amazingly smart that he knows that there is a world of difference where PalArab terror is understandable but Al Qaeda terror is outrageous. This is, as he states it, "common sense."

Certainly, Dugard can "understand" how Hezbollah is so upset over "occupation" that it can attack Jewish community centers in South America - because they obviously support Israeli "apartheid." This personification of human rights can discern very fine distinctions of what is considered "understandable" and what goes over the line. He can, after all, show a measure of empathy for one type of terror - because it is done by innocent, unthinking animals - while show horror for the other type of terror.

It takes a very strong commitment to human rights to distinguish between disco bombings in Bali and in Tel Aviv, and John Dugard is just the person to do it. Because when the bombers are Palestinian Arabs, or the victims are Jews worldwide, their rage can be understood and the blame can be placed on Israel.

The other cases of terror are just immoral.

Considering Palestinian Arab terrorists to be subhuman is just a single example of the racism of the Left - excusing and understanding the actions of those who, according to people like Dugard, are simply mentally unfit to be responsible for what they do.

Iranian anti-espionage video

This video was broadcast a year ago on Iranian TV (not, as some think, in the past few days) but it is a fascinating look at Iranian propaganda, not to mention its computer graphics skills.

It features a scary cabal of:

John McCain – a senior White House official, who orchestrates numerous conspiracies against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

George Soros – a Jewish tycoon and the mastermind of ultra-modern colonialism. He uses his wealth and slogans like liberty, democracy, and human rights to bring the supporters of America to power.

Gene Sharp – the theoretician of civil disobedience and velvet revolutions, who has published treatises on this subject. He is one of the CIA agents in charge of America's infiltration into other countries.

Bill Smith – one of the CIA's senior experts on Iranian affairs. For many years, he has maintained close ties with Iranian opposition groups.

It is hokey but it shows that Iran is very nervous about internal spies.

Particularly funny is the part where the spy's sister gets told that his sentence will be lenient because he helped the investigators. Yeah - they'll behead him a little quicker.


Hamas attacks woman student in Gaza university - with an axe

The near-total news blackout that Hamas enforces on Gaza makes it very hard to find stories like these.

IMEMC reports:
Sources within Fateh movement reported on Monday that Hamas security forces attacked a with an axe female student of Al Azhar University in Gaza after breaking into the campus.

The sources stated that Hamas gunmen and security men broke into Al Azhar University and struck Tharwat Abdul-Qader with an axe on her head inflicting serious wounds.

Fateh stated that this attack is part of several recent attempts carried by Hamas-controlled forces and gunmen to control facilities controlled by Fateh movement.
The Fatah-leaning Al-Hayat al-Jadida (Arabic) mentions the attack, saying that the university re-opened today after the incident. Al-Hayat makes it sound like the student was struck in the chest with a hatchet.

Canada gives welfare for Muslim polygamists?

I missed this story from a couple of weeks ago, originally in the Toronto Sun:
Hundreds of GTA [Greater Toronto Area] Muslim men in polygamous marriages -- some with a harem of wives -- are receiving welfare and social benefits for each of their spouses, thanks to the city and province, Muslim leaders say.

Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, said wives in polygamous marriages are recognized as spouses under the Ontario Family Law Act, providing they were legally married under Muslim laws abroad.

"Polygamy is a regular part of life for many Muslims," Ali said yesterday. "Ontario recognizes religious marriages for Muslims and others."

He estimates "several hundred" GTA husbands in polygamous marriages are receiving benefits. Under Islamic law, a Muslim man is permitted to have up to four spouses.

However, city and provincial officials said legally a welfare applicant can claim only one spouse. Other adults living in the same household can apply for welfare independently.

The average recipient with a child can receive about $1,500 monthly, city officials said.

In addressing the issue of polygamous marriages, the preamble to the Ontario Family Law Act states: "In the definition of 'spouse,' a reference to marriage includes a marriage that is actually or potentially polygamous, if it was celebrated in a jurisdiction whose system of law recognizes it as valid. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 1 (2)."

"There are many people in the community who are taking advantage of this," Ali said. "This is a law and there's nothing wrong with it."

Immigration officials said yesterday that polygamous marriages aren't allowed in Canada, but that contradicts the provincial law.

"Canada is a very liberal-minded country," Ali said. "Canada is way ahead of Britain in this respect."

He said Britain recently began permitting husbands to collect benefits for each of their wives.

The British government recently admitted that nearly a thousand men are living legally with multiple wives in Britain. Although the families are entitled to claim social security for each wife, the department for work and pensions said it has not counted how many are on benefits.

In Canada, Ali said, the man and his main wife and children enter Canada as landed immigrants. The other spouses are sponsored or arrive as visitors to join their husband to share one home.

The families receiving benefits didn't want their identities released because it can lead to questions by authorities on how they entered Canada and can mean an end to their benefits, Ali said.

Brenda Nesbitt, the city's director of social services, said benefits are only paid to one spouse and names and addresses are cross-checked for possible fraud.

"There may be polygamous cases we are not aware off," Nesbitt said yesterday. "They can apply as single people and we won't know."

Photos of poor PalArabs fenced in - by Pali fence

Palestinian children take part in a human chain protest near Erez crossing with Gaza, calling for an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip February 25, 2008. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Palestinian youths gather at a fence during a protest calling for the end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip near the Erez Crossing in Beit Hanoun, Monday, Feb. 25, 2008. Israel deployed thousands of troops and police officers along the volatile border with the Gaza Strip on Monday, fearing a mass demonstration by the Hamas militant group against Israel's blockade of Gaza would turn violent and spill into Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)


Quick - where do you think this fence is?

If you answer that it is obviously the border fence between Gaza and Israel, you lose. While this is clearly the what the photographers want to imply in showing poor, photogenic Palestinian Arab kids on the "other side" of some fence, this is clearly not the border. It was certainly easy enough for the photographers to walk around to the other side of this fence.

In the unbelievably sickening LA Times article about the fizzled "human chain" protest yesterday ("The demonstration is mostly peaceful, though 11 rockets are fired into Israel.") it mentions that "Palestinian organizers ... ordered demonstrators to stay at least 1,100 yards from the border."

So this fence that the wire service photographers are showing was over a half mile away from Israel. While the captions did not explicitly say that this was the border fence that handsome Arab boys were pasting their faces against, the implication is obvious.

Yet another way that pictures can lie.

Satellite channel to "defend the Prophet"

Saba News says,in broken English:
Prime Minister Ali Mujawar called for international resolution that criminates any insult against religions and enhances the respect for beliefs of peoples.

...Mujawar added that publishing the drawings is not among concepts of freedom of expression and insults regions of others under this pretext which is against human values and laws of human rights.

He urged scholars, academicians and media to highlight life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) among society.

Scholar Mohammed al-Hajari delivered a speech on behalf of Yemeni scholars saying hat any insult against prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is an insult for other prophets too, calling on Parliament to issue decision to ban any ties with any one insults Islam.

For his part, chairman of the Al-Iman University, sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zandani revealed that the university is working to set up a satellite channel in Arabic and English to highlight features of Islam.
This satellite channel will not only preach, though. From Al-Yemen.org (autotranslated):
Yemen announced on Monday, the inauguration of the satellite channel to defend the Holy Prophet peace be upon him, and to monitor all the abuses and coordination with the Islamic and international response thereto.

Al-Sheikh said: "The waiting abusers of the Arab nation and the Islamic answer, in order to be useful and answer reactions are safe and permanent, we announced the formation of the Yemeni defence of the Prophet peace be upon him; to monitor abuses and coordination with the Islamic and international response to the to be moving at the cultural and media in each incident, in addition to try to cause boycotting Danish. "
So the channel will dig through all Western sources it can find to look for insults of Islam, and plan appropriate responses - like riots, or boycotts.

Because nothing shows the glory and power of your god than to have to defend him from some cartoons.

The biggest recent events in the political JBlogosphere

Members of the political JBlogosphere often are frustrated that our message is not "getting out" to a larger audience, and that we are preaching to the choir (so to speak.) While sometimes one of us hits a "home run", for the most part we are part of an echo chamber.

In the past few weeks, while there has been no sea-change, the echo chamber has expanded significantly. The reason? The new feature at Little Green Footballs that allows any registered user there to post interesting links.

I don't know about others, but my hit count has roughly doubled since I started posting links to selected articles here, and judging from the number of links I'm seeing by many other JBloggers I suspect that their numbers have been impacted as well.

Now, LGF mostly attracts readers who are pro-Israel anyway, but it does become a showcase for news stories and original posts that otherwise would have a much more limited audience. The links there have become a great place to find other news items as well.

For me, there is a slight downside, as I see that my postings now tend more towards unearthing news stories that most wouldn't have seen and only posting brief comments, as opposed to longer articles. I'm not sure if this is because of LGF or just me being busier with other things. Both types of posts are, I think, valuable.

Another recent event of note is the start of Israel ENews, an on-line magazine that showcases a large number of authors from the far right to the far left, and one where a few JBloggers have gotten to write articles as well. (They offered to have me write for them, but I am trying to figure out how to do it while staying anonymous.) I do not see too much discussion in the articles listed there and I don't know if it has gained any traction, but it is listed as a news source in Google News which ensures a more eclectic readership.

Writing a blog is great and rewarding, but we need to come up with ways of increasing our influence and making a difference. G-d knows Israel is clueless in making its own case.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Incredible Stretching Palestinian Arabs

From Arab News:
Thousands of Palestinians formed a human chain yesterday morning, stretching 41 kilometers along the border with Israel from north to south, in protest against a crushing Israeli blockade.

The human chain extended from the Salah Al-Deen Gate on the border between Gaza and Egypt in the south until the “Eretz” crossing point in the north of the Strip.

Organizers had forecast 40,000 to 50,000 participants but only about 4,500 people turned out in inclement weather.

So first the Arab News says that the "human chain" stretched for 41 kilometers, and then it says that 4500 people showed up.

Which means that each person must have taken up over 9 meters of linear space (about 30 feet.)

Now, that's flexible!

Also, for context:
Hamas got 4000 protesters last Friday in an anti-Mohammed cartoon rally.
Tens of thousands protested the Annapolis talks late last year.
Thousands typically come out for funerals.
Fatah's rally last November attracted 250,000 people.
Hamas' rally in December got 200,000 participants.

And the 4500 included thousands of children bussed in by their schools.

Which means that Gazans pretty much choose to protest only when the rallies are close to home.

Blood on his hands - literally

Ma'an Arabic, in a story about a possible reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas yesterday being negotiated by Yemen, bizarrely illustrated the article with this picture:
The caption was: "Palestinian on his hands the blood of sacrificial lamb."

But, besides that, they are just like us!

Even when Israel does hasbara, it stinks

I saw this article in the Arabic Palestine Press Agency: (autotranslated)
In light of the presence of dozens of foreign journalists near the crossing "Sufa" which is scheduled to be launched from smooth human blockade to protest the Gaza invitation of the People's Committee to meet the siege, the occupation authorities this morning, cargo trucks entering into the sector.

The Hebrew radio Assembly to the Israeli army located at the Sufa crossing allowed sixty truck packed goods pass to the Gaza Strip.
At first, I thought, "Finally! Israel is actually being pro-active!" It is high time that Israel gets journalists to see trucks filled with goods being shipped into Gaza, showing that the "siege" is not a siege. Why can Hamas and Hezbollah bring journalists to handpicked news events and not Israel? While it is hardly a huge story, it should deserve some exposure, right?

It was covered by Infolive TV and Arutz-7 , both Israeli news outlets. Indirectly, EuropeNews picked up on the InfoLive TV story.

And that's it. Even though there were journalists there, practically none converted it into a story.

Now, I don't know if PalPress is accurate in describing "dozens" of journalists there, but clearly there was a disconnect between what Israel tried to show and what the journalists saw. Palestinian Arabs can always find a "hook" that intrigues journalists - children holding candles or other made-for-the-camera staged events or protests. Every two-bit masked terrorist can call a press conference and guarantee a turnout of lazy journalists willing to take notes and photos.

Here, a real event occurred - not earthshaking, but certainly newsworthy - and it was ignored.

Is anyone in the Israeli government noticing things like this and following up?

The EuropeNews article points out indirectly part of the problem. It mentions:
Since June 16, 2007, when partial restrictions were imposed after the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, 16,778 trucks have passed through the border crossings delivering 385,361 tons of goods and more than 29.3 million gallons (112 million liters) of fuel. [7]

Israel facilitates the transfer of supplies into Gaza, including food, medicine and fuel via five crossing terminals into the Gaza Strip: Erez, Karni, Nahal-Oz, Sufa and Kerem Shalom (see map below).

The crossings continued to operate on Feb. 21. During that time 3,649 tons were transferred through the crossings into Gaza including:

* 164 tons of rice;
* 293 tons of fruit and vegetables;
* 106 tons of flour and yeast;
* 1,872 tons of wheat;
* 504 tons of animal feed;
* 16 tons of medical supplies;
* 160,088 gallons (606.000 liters) of fuel;
* 306 tons of heating gas.[8]

The following goods have been transferred through the various crossings into Gaza since June 16, 2007 (information correct as of Feb. 21):[9]

Karni Crossing (goods): 132,786 tons, principally wheat and animal feed and also other raw commodities such as barley, corn and soya beans.

Sufa Crossing (goods): 155,539 tons, including general food products such as flour, rice, milk powder, fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy products, sugar and medicines.

Kerem Shalom Crossing (goods): 97,037 tons

Nahal Oz Crossing (fuel): 3,449 tankers with 32,429 tons of heating gas; more than 2.4 million gallons (9 million liters) of benzine (gasoline); more than 13.2 million gallons (50.1 million liters) of diesel for automobiles; and 16.7 million gallons (63.2 million liters) of diesel for the Gaza power station.

From Nov. 2007 - Jan. 18, 2008, 71 truckloads of flowers were exported from Gaza into Israel.
The reference it gives is to this website - in Hebrew only, hard to navigate, and one has to really dig to find out this information.

Why does the Government of Israel make good information so hard to find? This is a hasbara failure of massive proportions. As we have seen countless times when looking at media bias inthe Middle East, reporters will report news that is handed to them; most of them will not work hard for stories when they can be drinking instead.

AFP can't find a good photo, so it posts an old one

Today, Hamas staged what was meant to be a huge rally on the Gaza border with Israel. There was a lot of publicity and many people got very nervous, but it sort of fizzled out:
Despite concerns that Palestinian demonstrators against the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip would attempt to storm the border with Israel during a "human chain" demonstration Monday, the event itself proved an anticlimax and the thousands of Israeli security personnel manning the Israeli side of the border were not forced to cope with the nightmare scenario.

About 5,000 people, many of them schoolchildren released from school early to attend the event and university students, joined the "human chain" outside the town of Beit Hanun, about six kilometers from the border.

The crowd hoisted banners in English and Arabic, saying "End the siege of Gaza now," and "Your siege will not break our will."

Organizers had hoped to form a chain running the length of the 40-kilometer Gaza Strip, but turnout was well below expectations.
Not only was Hamas disappointed, but also the teams of wire-service photographers who were hoping for some juicy, Pulitzer-caliber stuff.

Reuters' picture was underwhelming:


So was AP's:


AFP was so upset that they decided to use an old photo to add the pathos that they felt was necessary to augment the story:

Palestinian children in the West Bank city of Jenin hold candles during a sit-in against the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Palestinians are forming a human chain the length of the Gaza Strip in protest at a crushing Israeli blockade, with Israeli forces on alert for any rush on the border.(AFP/File/Saif Dahlah)


See? That's much more likely to tug at the heartstrings, especially when AFP adds the "crushing" adjective to describe a group of apparently quite well-fed people.

Who cares when the photo was taken? Who cares what the signs say? As long as cute-looking PalArab kids are holding candles and AFP can claim some connection with events (or non-events) from today, then all is well.
(h/t Callie)

Looks like the PA did torture the Hamas imam to death

From PCHR:
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 17:30 on Thursday, 14 February, two civilian vehicles with Palestinian registration plates moved into Koubar village, northwest of Ramallah. When Sheikh Majd ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Mustafa al-Barghouthi, emerged from the local mosque, he was confronted by four masked persons. Al-Bargouthi called for help, at which point a man got out of one of the vehicles and introduced himself as an officer of the Palestinian GIS. He claimed he had a warrant to arrest al-Barghouthi, who was immediately transferred to the GIS Headquarters in the north of al-Bireh for interrogation. During his detention, Majd al-Bargouthi was denied visitors.

On the evening of Friday, 22 February, Majd al-Barghouthi's body was transferred to Khaled Hospital in Ramallah. The Palestinian Attorney General ordered an autopsy to be performed at the forensic medicine institute in Abu Dis. According to the forensic report – a copy of which has been obtained by PCHR – “the cause of death was the inflation and subsequent failure of the heart. Having inflated to a size above normal, the heart failed, and under these circumstances, death is often sudden.”

However, in an affidavit given to PCHR, a Palestinian who had been detained by the GIS at the same time as Majd al-Barghouthi alleged that al-Barghouthi was violently beaten whilst in detention. The detainee claimed he recognized al-Bargouthi's voice calling for help from an interrogation room opposite his own cell. He also alleged that he could hear al-Bargouthi being interrogated about his relationship with the Executive Force of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in the dismissed government in the Gaza Strip.

The detainee further alleged he could see al-Barghouthi through a hole in the wall of his cell, and that al-Barghouthi was handcuffed by an iron chain which was connected to the top of the window pane, suspending his body above the ground. On the third day of al-Bargouthi's detention, the detainee said he heard an interrogator asking

Al-Barghouthi if he was vomiting before moving him to another cell.

The detainee indicated that al-Barghouthi was beaten about the abdomen during the early stages of his detention, and said he was screaming. The detainee also alleged that he was personally tortured whilst in detention. The PCHR field worker saw marks on al-Bargouthi's hands that were consistent with being chained and suspended for a lengthy period.

The detainee eyewitness stated:

“… At approximately 08:30 on Thursday, 21 February, an officer came and asked Sheikh Majd al-Barghouthi to eat, and to drink water and juice, but he [Al-Barghouthi] vomited. I then heard the cell door being opened. Through a small hole in the wall, I saw the officer pulling Sheikh al-Barghouthi, with his hands under the Sheikh’s shoulders. When the officer asked him to stand up, Al-Bargouthi replied that he could not stand anymore. In the afternoon, he was taken to the balcony, and I could hear him groaning until 08:30 on Friday morning (22 February). He then became silent.”

Al-Barghouthi was married with eight children. He was the Imam of the Koubar village mosque. His family denies that he was suffering from any of the symptoms identified in the autopsy report as causing his death.
I was reluctant to consider this a murder based only on Hamas accusations, but it seems clear here that Barghouti was tortured and left without medical attention.

The 2008 self-death count is now at 26.

There was also a "collaborator" killing today but it occurred in Israeli territory.

Hamas kidTV: Kill the cartoonists!

The latest MEMRI transcript of the "Pioneers of Tomorrow" Hamas children's show includes:
Child host Saraa Barhoum: Amani, you've seen the kind of attack that the West launched against the Prophet Muhammad. What do you have to say on behalf of the Prophet Muhammad?

Amani, by phone: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, I say to those cowardly infidels...

Assud the Bunny: Those criminals...

Amani: Yes, those criminals... You mock our Prophet Muhammad, but look, my beloved Prophet Muhammad, how Allah responded to them: "Allah shall pay them back for their mockery, and He leaves them alone in their excess, blindly wandering on." My beloved Messenger of Allah, they mocked you with their drawings, because they do not know the mercy in your heart. My beloved Muhammad, if they had known the mercy in your heart, they would not have done this to you. Allah knows that we love you, and that we will redeem you with our souls, our blood, and our hearts.

[...]

Saraa: How did these Danes have the audacity to affront the Messenger of Allah? Do you have an answer to that, Assud?

Assud: No, I don't. Maybe because the Arabs and Muslims keep silent, [the Danes] humiliated them and did these things to them.

Saraa: That's one reason, but there is an even more important reason, Assud.

Assud: I have no idea.

Saraa: It's because the West has seen that we've moved away from the religion of Allah, and from the Sunna of our Prophet Muhammad. They have also seen that we have forsaken the religion of Allah, and therefore, they could affront the Prophet, because... We have done nothing to redeem the Prophet Muhammad. But I say to them: You haven't seen anything yet. Allah willing, the soldiers of the Pioneers of Tomorrow will redeem the Prophet Muhammad with all that they possess, and even with their blood, Assud. They will not allow them to do this again.

Assud: If they do it again, Saraa, we will kill them, right?

Saraa: Allah willing.

Assud: I will bite them and eat them up.

Saraa: Yes.

[...]

Assud, we are not terrorists. All we want is to get our beloved homeland, Palestine, back. We want all of Palestine to be ours. We are not terrorists...

Assud: Because it was ours to begin with, right?

Saraa: Right. They say we are terrorists merely because we want this, but of course, we're not terrorists...,/p>

Assud: They are the terrorists.

Saraa: Yes, Assud. Allah willing, we will regain the cities under Zionist occupation, such as Jaffe, Haifa, Acre, Ashdod, the village of Hoj, and all the Palestinian cities.

Assud: Saraa, do you know what I'm hoping for? I want us to take Jaffe, Acre, Haifa, and all of Palestine, Allah willing, and then we'll go to Iraq. All the borders will be opened. Between Egypt and us, there will be no barriers, and the same goes for Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We'll come and go by car. I hope this comes true. Do you think this will come true?

Saraa: Allah willing, this will come true soon.

Assud: Allah willing, when I am martyred, a tiger will take my place... Allah willing, I will be the one to fix things, and there won't be any tiger. The "Pioneers of Tomorrow" and I will make this dream come true.

[...]

Who will host this show if you are martyred? Will 100,000 Saraas take your place?

Saraa: Allah willing, Assud.

Assud: We'll take them from among the Pioneers of Tomorrow, Allah willing.

Saraa: Allah willing, there are thousands of soldiers of the Pioneers of Tomorrow.

Assud: Martyrdom for the sake of Allah is what we hope for, right?

Saraa: Right, Assud.

[...]

Saraa: What do you have to say to the cartoonist who started all this, and affronted the Prophet by drawing him?

Assud: He's a criminal...

Saraa: Yes, a criminal.

Tasnim, by phone: I say to him, and to all of them, that no matter how much they try to hide him, we will manage to kill him, to assassinate him.

Assud: Allah willing.

Saraa: I pray that Allah makes the earth swallow him up, so that he serves as a lesson to others like him, Tasnim.

[...]

Assud, it appears that our show is coming to an end. What do you have to say to this criminal, the cartoonist who affronted the Prophet by drawing him?

Assud: I say to him what you already said: You criminal, you lowlife, you scum of the earth – right, Saraa? Allah willing, the day will come when you will regret what you did
It's nice to know that Assud is already preparing for his death, as is the habit of this show's mascots.

Counting the days until his cousin the tiger takes over....

Iran's Tae Kwon Do follies

Iranian competitors continue to be coerced into refusing to go up against Israeli opponents, resulting in funny articles like this one from Iran's PressTV:
Iran's team has pocketed seven medals during the second day of competitions at the 35th Dutch Open Taekwondo Championships in Eindhoven.

...Alireza Shakouri settled for bronze in the men's 54-kilo competition after refusing to face a contestant representing the Zionist regime in the semi-finals. Hadi Mosta'an also made the same decision when he came up against an Israeli opponent in the finals and opted for the silver.

In the women's competitions, Fatima Ne'mati took bronze after losing in a semi-final match against a British practitioner. However, Aitak Me'marzadeh, who could have walked away with the gold, decided not to face her Israeli rival and placed second.
What is noteworthy is that the international sports bodies refuse to penalize Iran for its behavior.

In 2004, an Iranian judo competitor refused to go up against an Israeli opponent in the Olympics, but he purposefully missed his weight so as to have a legitimate excuse to avoid sanctions from the International Judo Federation. Iran rewarded his scam with a $125,000 reward, the same amount it gives its gold medal winners, and praised him for his cowardice.

Saudi Vice, episode 9: Flirting in Mecca



Mecca. The holiest of all cities. Where one cannot walk a cubit without thinking about Allah. Where infidels and dhimmis are strictly prohibited to pollute with their presence.

It is also the land of shopping malls.

Our heroes, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, know very well about the dangers of malls.

After all, they must be extra vigilant to guard against that most hideous of Western-style creatures - the mall rat.

The appropriately-named mall rat is a subhuman who goes to the mall, but not to shop for items that increase his holiness and piety. No, this rat has far more nefarious ideas in mind:

To use the mall to meet women.

Our ever-watchful heroes know where to look, and what to do:
Saudi Arabia began interrogating 57 men Saturday who were arrested after allegedly flirting with women in front of a shopping mall in the holy city of Mecca, a local newspaper reported.

The country's religious police arrested the men Thursday night, alleging behavior that included dancing to pop music blaring from their cars and wearing improper clothing, according to the Okaz newspaper, which is deemed close to the government.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice runs the religious police, who are charged with enforcing Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic lifestyle.

Its members patrol public places to make sure women are covered and not wearing make up, the sexes don't mingle, shops close five times a day for Muslim prayers and men go to the mosque and worship.

The police _ informally known as the muttawa, literally "enforcer" _ don't wear uniforms. But they are recognizable by their long beards and their robes, shorter than the ones normally worn by Saudi men. They also shun the black cord that sits atop the headdress worn by most Saudi men.

Women in Saudi Arabia are required to wear a long, enveloping black cloak called an abaya and to cover their hair with a headscarf.

The newspaper report said the men who were arrested Thursday could be released if they could prove they did not flirt with any women. Otherwise, they will be transferred to court and stand trial, the paper added.

The Muttawa arrested the men on Thursday, kept them in jail of course for the Friday day of prayer, and started asking them questions about what they were doing after two nights in jail. And, obviously, if they cannot prove that they were not flirting with women - well, they will stay in jail indefinitely.

Because how else can the Commission keep the holy kingdom moral?

The streets of Mecca are now a bit safer without the improperly dressed dancing men. Thanks, once again, to our heroes.

Earlier episodes:

Episode 8: Seeing red on Valentine's Day
Episode 7: Depravity at Starbucks
Episode 6: Protecting Saudi Women
Episode 5: What's ummah, Doc?
Episode 4: The car washer
Episode 3: Holy Shi'ite
Episode 2: Alone with a strange, sick woman
Episode 1: Introduction, plus A Gang of Magicians