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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saudi women's advocacy group folds

From the Arab News:
A proposal to establish a first-of-its-kind organization to support women’s rights in Saudi Arabia has been dropped shattering the hopes of Saudi women for an official organization that would fight for their rights.

We failed to obtain official approval to operate legally,” said Sulaiman Al-Salman, the man who came up with the idea to establish the society, Ansar Al-Mar’ah (Supporters of Women).

Al-Salman said he has been in constant conflict with the Ministry of Social Affairs to gain approval, adding that the ministry’s rejection has frustrated the group’s determination and that group members have, as a result, lost interest.

“I recently called members for a meeting, but no one showed up apart from one member who said he would be willing to join again once the society gets approved,” he said. “I realized that I was the only one working for this goal, all alone. So I decided to break it up,” he said.

He added that Ansar Al-Mar’ah does not enjoy support in some official circles because it includes members of both genders.

Support for women in the sharia state of Saudi Arabia seems to be a bit...lacking.

Iranian logic

One of the most often-used arguments in favor of anti-semitism is that since there is such a long history of persecution of Jews, the Jews must have done something really evil to deserve it.

In normal enlightened societies where racism and bigotry are frowned upon, the haters are the ones who are put on the defensive. But in the twisted world of the bigots, the innocents who are persecuted are the ones who must prove they shouldn't be hated, an impossible task.

In today's world, the two major recent recipient groups of unbridled hate are "Zionists" and Americans. And just like classic anti-semitism, the haters are arguing that their hate is justified because everyone else is doing it.

From the Los Angeles Times, in part of a response by an advisor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Obama's Persian New Year's greetings:
In all corners of the world, it is worth noting, the only flags being set ablaze belong to the U.S. and the occupying Zionist regime.
See? Because Muslims have a love of burning flags, then the nations whose flags are burned must all be evil! QED!

I would add that the major targets of shoe-throwing incidents have been Israelis and Americans as well. The author can feel free to use that argument next time.

Birkat HaChamah, 1897

Via Daled Amos, an article from the April 8, 1897 New York Times:



The mental picture of a European rabbi who barely knows English explaining to an Irish New York cop about Birkat HaChamah is really amusing.

Birkat HaChamah will be observed on April 8 this year.

PalArabs support the "peace process" - and terror

A recent poll of Palestinian Arabs from the PCPSR shows what would appear to be a contradiction.

61.9% say they support the peace process while less than 20% oppose it. Yet 54.2% of Palestinian Arabs also support terror attacks against civilians in Israel, while only 42.7% oppose terror.

In Gaza, the seeming incongruity is even starker: 66.9% support terror attacks and 31.6% oppose - but 73.3% support the peace process, with only 15.5% opposing!

How can the Palestinian Arabs support peace and terror at the same time?

The answer is, of course, that they can't, and don't. They aren't in favor of peace - they are in favor of a "peace process." There is a big difference between the two, a difference that the West refuses to acknowledge.

Peace is the acceptance of the other party's rights and the desire to live and work together.
The "peace process," on the other hand, is a Trojan horse meant to weaken Israel for an ultimate attack to destroy the Jewish state.

The idea of using "peace" as a method of winning land that couldn't be conquered has been part and parcel of Arab thought since 1977, and it remains ingrained among Palestinian Arabs today. They have seen that the combination of terror attacks and fake peace overtures has gotten them effective control of Gaza and much of the West Bank, and this is a formula that they will not give up as long as the West pressures Israel to accept illusory "peace."

The "peace process" and real peace are antithetical.

UNRWA teachers overwhelmingly support Hamas

From JPost:
Hamas supporters scored a victory in elections for the school teachers' union of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that were held in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

The results showed that Hamas won all 11 seats of the teachers' union.

The Hamas victory means that Hamas supporters will continue to control UNRWA-run schools and other academic institutions throughout the Gaza Strip. Hamas has controlled the UNRWA teachers' union for the past 16 years.

Some 10,100 UNRWA workers participated in the election, with the turnout being estimated at more than 97 percent.

The voting was conducted at UNRWA's main headquarters in the Gaza Strip.
Just a small reminder that, no matter what UNRWA says, the people who teach at UNRWA schools support terrorism.

Arabs sick of Palestinian issue

From Ma'an:
The results of the Arab Summit in Doha were unrealistic and lacked any practical measures to ensure goals are met, said Palestine’s Islamic resistance movement Hamas on Tuesday.

A special statement from Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said the summit failed to deal with the Palestinian issue, and neglected the suffering of Gazans following Israel’s three week war on the Strip.

“We were expecting that this summit would be different than the other summits and put practical steps to protect the Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem and to help Gazans; but it is all the same,” Barhoum’s statement read.

The focus of the Arab summit turned to Sudan's President Omar Al-Beshir, who was strongly supported by Arab states against the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hauge. Al-Beshir stands accused of committing war crimes in Darfur.

Xinhua adds:
For the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the Arab summit only called on Israel to lift its siege on the territory. Hamas had hoped that the Arabs would do more than calls to overcome the blockade.

"We were hoping the Arab leaders would move to lift the siege by acts, not by words," Barhoum added. "We also hoped they would use their pressure cards against the Zionist occupation."

All together now:

"Awwwwwww!"

In recent years, Arab countries seem to be sick and tired of Palestinian Arabs. While they keep saying that it is their highest priority, in reality they only use the issue to blame their own problems on Israel and shield themselves from criticism. Decades of incessant whining and, worse, demands from the Palestinian Arabs have turned them off, and the Hamas/Fatah infighting has accelerated their anger. They'll tell the world that the Palestinian issue must be fixed before any other unrelated Arab problems, but privately they don't give a damn.

Yet the West has not yet picked up on this, as clueless Europeans and Americans keep insisting that fixing the unfixable Palestinian Arab problem is a magic key to solving all the problems of the Middle East.

Doha, where the only solidarity the Arabs had was to show support for a genocidal dictator, proves otherwise.

UPDATE: This post from last year shows even more conclusively that Arabs do not consider Palestinians to be a good investment.

Wild Saudi women let loose in all-girl coffee shops

From the Saudi Gazette:
Women’s coffee shops are no longer just meeting places for friends or refuges for a moment’s escape from the daily routine. Instead, according to some, they have become the haunts of university students and schoolgirls playing truant to indulge themselves in smoking shisha pipes and cigarettes, with women using the locations as impromptu job agencies, and matchmakers seeking willing bribes. Behind the walls of women’s coffee shops, some say, all sorts of things go on.

Salwan Abdullah, a 24-year-old university student, recalls the first time she was invited by a student friend to go to an all-female coffee shop. “I had no idea of what went on in these places, and when we entered the room was crowded with university students and girls from secondary and intermediate school. The air was full of smoke from shisha pipes and cigarettes. There were married and single girls, and women matchmakers going round asking girls if they were looking for husbands and if so what sort of features they were looking for.”

“I saw the same thing in another café during school exam time,” Salwan continued. “I saw girls in school uniform, no more than 14 years old, going into the bathrooms to change into jeans and T-shirts and putting on make-up they’d hidden in their school bags along with their cigarettes.”

“Girls have become more and more daring in coffee shops,” said university student Khuloud. “I once saw two girls among a group smoking shisha and laughing out loud as if it were the most normal thing in the world, and I could tell from their eyes that they were proud of it.”

Sara, a science student at King Abdulaziz University, described some of the behavior she saw in coffee shops as “incredible.”

“It goes completely against our ethics,” she said. “In one of the larger coffee shops I saw girls dressed very immodestly, acting as if they were young male teenagers, drinking coffee and tea, and there was a special place for listening to music which had been turned into some sort of place for dancing and showing off their bodies. Families need to keep an eye on this and prevent this sort of behavior in our conservative society.”
Smoking? Dancing? Make-up? Jeans? Acting like boys?

What could make Saudi girls want to act like this?

It couldn't possibly be living in a society where they are forced, 24 hours a a day, to avoid accidentally being seen by any man, could it?

No...it must be that they are simply immoral.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Money doesn't buy influence from Arabs

Diplomats are addicted to the idea of "influence." The thinking goes that they can influence how other entities act by dangling carrots or threatening with sticks. In recent times, sticks have gone out of fashion and the carrots have proliferated, but either way, the thinking is that by offering positive incentives, intransigent parties can become more malleable. Likewise, by offering a steady stream of positive incentives, the implicit threat of withdrawing them can likewise influence parties to act in more acceptable ways.

In the Arab and Muslim worlds, the entire carrot idea is not only ineffective, but it is derided as a perfect example of Western stupidity. It is as if both the scientists and the laboratory rats are convinced that each one has conditioned the other one to behave in the way they want. Paying off a party who is already resentful or hateful does not tend to make them change their minds nearly as much as it is supposed.

A perfect example of this comes from an Al Ahram article from last week, talking about the wisdom of Camp David from Egypt's perspective by countering arguments of those who were opposed. The last section has this very instructive section (h/t Judeopundit):
The last charge against the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty that I would like to address here is that which maintains that it turned Egypt into a US dependency. The contention could only come from someone who is not quite mentally stable, or that has never read history, or that does not know the true nature of Egypt, the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government. Clearly, no rational person would fail to take the world's sole superpower into account. But all that country's economic and political clout has not prevented Egypt from casting its vote contrary to that of the US in 83 per cent of issues that came to a vote in the UN (compare this to Israel's record of voting with the US in 87 per cent of the cases). History is full of instances of Egypt's ability to stand firm in the face of US demands. Cairo refused to cooperate with the American attack against Libya in the 1980s and it refused to exert pressure on the Palestinians during the negotiations that took place in the 1990s. Indeed, Egypt, which signed a peace agreement with Israel, has been the foremost obstacle to the rush to normalisation with the Hebrew state, keeping normalisation as a major card in the negotiating process between the Arabs and Israel, in perpetual defiance of Washington's wishes. Nor is it a secret that all the "advice" given by Washington regarding domestic change was not heeded. In fact, those who hold that Egypt is a US dependency would do well to study the entire chapter of the past eight years when Cairo was at constant loggerheads with the Bush administration. Moreover, even then Egypt remained the largest recipient of arms and money from Washington apart from Israel. This was the product of wisdom and skill...
Egypt has been playing the US, accepting billions of dollars of aid while not changing its policies towards US interests one iota. All of the benefits of the Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty, as enumerated by the author in the rest of the article, would be just as effective without US largesse.

In other words, all the billions of dollars given by the US to Egypt, ostensibly to influence that country, have gone to waste.

Washington's influence over Israel is not predicated on aid money but on shared interests and a deep friendship. That is what makes a reliable ally. And as we see from this article, Egypt is anything but.

Syphilitic dead terrorist in the news

A new website has been set up by the Yasser Arafat Foundation to celebrate the life of the world's foremost modern terrorist.

Don't take my word for it; here is how Arafat is described in his biography on the site (autotranslated):
Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian people and the revolution of modern bomber, and one of the most great leaders in the world during the twentieth century, the struggle and fought a relentless jihad for more than half a century ago on various fronts, the name of life for the cause of Palestine and its people in human rights awareness, and the development of the Palestinian issue on the political map of the World .
In normal English, this means that Arafat innovated in the modern use of murdering civilians deliberately to gain attention for his cause.

The Foundation's biography of the AIDS-stricken martyr starts off with a lie:
Born and raised in Jerusalem

Born, "Yasser Mohammed," Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Husseini Kidwa. Known to be the name of Yasser Arafat in Jerusalem, the fourth day of August 1929, the sixth in the family of Daoud Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Husseini and mother Kidwa Zahwa Khalil Abu Al-Saud, in the corner house in the honorary, the point of view of Abu Al-Saud, in the South West of the Temple Mount Al-Sharif.
Of course, Arafat was born in Cairo and his relationship with his father was so poor that he didn't attend his funeral in 1952 and never visited his Gaza grave.

The man behind the website and the Arafat Foundation, named Nasser Al-Kidwa (who is Arafat's nephew,) has also announced that he is starting a "Commission of Truth" to investigate exactly how Arafat died. Given that he has already established himself as a liar, it isn't too hard to imagine who he will conclude was behind the likely AIDS-ravaged murderer's death.

Clan clash!

From Ma'an:
A young Palestinian man was killed and six others were injured on Monday afternoon after a fight broke out between two families at Balata Refugee Camp east of Nablus.

Palestinian security sources said Ma’an that 25-year-old Saher Mahmoud Sawalmeh, a policeman, was killed after being injured in a clash at the camp as a result of being struck on the head with an iron bar. Shortly after his arrival at Rafidia Hospital he died, they said.

Sources added that six others were wounded in the clash and that Palestinian security services arrived at the scene and arrested a number of people who were allegedly involved.
The 2009 PalArab self-death count is now at 60.

New Israeli MK supports Iranian nukes

In other countries, this would be considered treason. From The Bulletin:
Hanin Zoabi is the first woman to be elected to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, as a representative of an Arab party. Ms. Zoabi, former director of the I’lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, is a feminist and strong secularist. She is now one of three representatives of the Balad (National Democratic Assembly) Party.

On one of her first days in the Knesset, the new parliamentarian asked for her thoughts regarding increased Iranian influence in Gaza. Ms. Zoabi replied that she welcomed it.

She said, “If this influence is supporting me, so I will not mind this influence. Even, I would ask for this influence ... The question is not whether there is an influence or not, the question whether this influence is supporting you, can support your demands or can go against your demands.”

Queried regarding Iran’s quest to manufacture nuclear weapons, she stated was that “It would [sic] be more supporting me to have a counter-power to Israel” and “I need something to balance its [Israel’s] power.

She also spoke of Egypt and Jordan as being a threat to the Arabs of the Gaza Strip, intimating that they are scared of a free and democratic Palestinian state.

Ms. Zoabi was then asked if she felt worried due to the fact that Iran is getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon and because she lives in close proximity to Jews. She replied, “No, I am not, I’m afraid from the nuclear Iran, I am more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons].”

Israel does not officially admit to being a nuclear power, yet it is generally accepted that it has been a nuclear power since the 1960s.

When asked if she thought that Iran would use nuclear weapons, she deliberately misunderstood and replied, “The Israelis? I think yes. And I am afraid from real risk rather than from potential risk.” She said that everyone is asking about potential risk while “Every day the Israeli uses its violence, army violence.”

“The Iranian is a potential … but the real risk is the Israeli army.”

She was then asked if an Iranian bomb would lead to a nervous America and thus more U.S. pressure on Israel and if that would be good for her she replied “Exactly.”

Asked about Israel as a Jewish state, Ms. Zoabi declared that the very concept of a Jewish state is “inherently racist,” saying that Israel must be turned into a “state of all its citizens,” which would eliminate its Jewish or Zionist nature.
The irony of an elected Israeli Arab MK, who while declaring her allegiance to a foreign power also calls Israel a racist state, is apparently lost on Ms. Zoabi.

If only the reporter would have asked her is the "Islamic Republic of Iran" or every Arab country is inherently racist by her definition, and if she would answer honestly, then she could compare the criticisms she'll receive from the Jewish state from the ones she would receive from her Arab brethren....

(h/t Jameel via email)

Qaddafi goes nuts in Doha

It looks like the good Colonel has not mellowed in his old age:
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi stormed out of an Arab summit on Monday after denouncing the Saudi king and declaring himself "the dean of Arab rulers."

Gadhafi disrupted the opening Arab League summit in Qatar by taking a microphone and criticizing Saudi's King Abdullah, calling him a "British product and American ally."

When the Qatari emir tried to quiet him, the Libyan leader and current Africa Union chairman insisted he be allowed to speak.

"I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings of Africa and the imam (leader) of Muslims, and my international status does not allow me to descend to a lower level," Gadhafi said.

He then got up and walked out of the summit hall.

Doha looks like it will be fun to follow!

Doha showcasing Arab disunity and support for genocide

There is an Arab League summit starting today in Doha, Qatar, and - as usual - it highlights the differences between Arabs more that their purported "unity."

In fact, pretty much the only unified statements that the Arab League has ever made have been support of Palestinian Arabs and denunciations of Israel.

This year, Egypt refused to attend, due to disputes between Egypt and Qatar. Egypt feels that Qatar has fallen under the influence of Iran and Qatar, including through Al Jazeera, has bitterly criticized Egypt for keeping the Rafah border closed.

Saudi King Abdullah walked out of the opening session following remarks made by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

But there is one issue that the Arab League does seem unified about this year: supporting genocidal Sudanese president al-Bashir.
The Arab leaders are expected to show support for Al-Bashir after the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted him for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur province. The indictment is perceived in the Middle East as a Western attempt to undermine a sitting Arab leader.

Al-Bashir adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters in Doha, according to Reuters, "We expect this popular uprising of support for Sudan, not just in the Arab world, to be translated into a strong resolution that meets the hopes of the Arab street."
Hmmm...the Arab League defying the International Criminal Court? But I thought that they had such respect for international law!

What I have been working on

With what little free time I had on Sunday, I decided to start creating a Passover gift for Elder of Ziyon readers.

Soon, I hope to be able to post a full EoZ Passover Haggadah.

It will not have any original material; it will just be a series of commentaries that I have taken from various websites that have a religious Zionist perspective, along with the full text in Hebrew and most of the full text in English. Since I didn't spend that much time on it, there will be inconsistencies in the transliterations and such between the commentaries, and some of the commentaries assume a fairly deep knowledge of Jewish texts and "yeshivish" Hebrew, but there should be enough material to add a dimension to your Seder.

If any of my readers wants to add their own Zionist-oriented divrei Torah to the Haggadah, I will be happy to put them in and give proper credit. Just do it by tonight!

The beautiful and talented Daughter of Ziyon plans to create the cover art tomorrow, and then I will try to post a PDF that can be downloaded.

I hope it comes out well, and I hope you like it!

Most Bahrani wife-beaters went to college

Another nail in the coffin of the idea that poverty and desperation causes violence among Arabs:
More than 60 percent of Bahraini men who abuse their wives have higher education, according to Baqer Al-Najjar, a professor of sociology at the University of Bahrain. He said Bahrain should invest more in counseling services.

“An academic qualification does not rule out violence. We need more family guidance centers across the country to deal with this issue,” Al-Najjar said, while speaking at a symposium organized by the General Organization of Youth and Sports recently.

Banna Buzaboon, head of the Batelco Care Center for Domestic Violence, said most of the people visiting counseling clinics were lawyers, doctors and engineers of both sexes. “Violence exists at all levels and in many forms. About 80 percent of women who are victims of domestic violence undergo therapy and rehabilitation process that could take up to 10 years,” said Buzaboon.

She said her center received about 1,200 cases in the first three months of this year. The doctor added that hospitals were increasingly dealing with domestic violence cases, especially during vacations and weekends.

We have already seen that most terrorists and their supporters are also middle- and upper-class, many of them well educated.

Unfortunately, to blame Arab culture for Arab violence is seen as a form of bigotry, rather than a fairly obvious conclusion.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Palestinian Arab kids' orchestra disbanded after Holocaust concert

Last week we saw a heartwarming story, the type of story that gives everyone who yearns for a real peace hope for the future:
For just over an hour on Wednesday, a club for elderly Holocaust survivors on a side street in this suburban town south of Tel Aviv came alive with an encounter of an extraordinary kind.

A youth orchestra came to play for the elderly Israelis, a good turn that might pass in other countries as routine. In this case, though, the entertainers were Palestinians, a group of musicians 12 to 17 years old from the Jenin refugee camp, once a notorious hotbed of militancy and violence in the northern reaches of the West Bank.

for a while on Wednesday, the politics of the conflict were put aside. The youths scratched at their violins and the Holocaust survivors clapped along, trying to keep up with the changing rhythms of the darbouka drums.

“We are here to play,” Wafaa Younis, 51, the Israeli Arab orchestra director, told the rapt audience. “I do not believe in politicians, only musicians and these children.”
The very idea of Palestinian Arab children trying to cheer up Holocaust survivors is one that brings with it hope that the future is not nearly as bleak as it appears, that people can change and maybe, just maybe, things can be much different in future generations.

All that optimism has just come to a fiery and fatal crash:
Authorities in an impoverished Palestinian refugee camp have shut down a youth orchestra, boarded up its rehearsal studio and banned its conductor from the camp after she took 13 young musicians to perform for Holocaust survivors in Israel, an official said Sunday.

Conductor Wafa Younes took the children from her Strings of Freedom orchestra to sing songs of peace last week as part of an annual Good Deeds Day organized by Israel's richest woman. But once parents and leaders back in West Bank's Jenin refugee camp realized where the group had been, they shut down the program, saying Younes had dragged the children into a political issue.

A community leader in the Jenin camp, Adnan Hindi, said the musicians' parents had not known where Younes was taking their children and were angry when they learned of the performance from media reports.

"She exploited the children for a big political issue," said Hindi, head of a camp committee responsible for municipal duties.

Hindi did not deny there was a Holocaust, but said Palestinians had suffered at the hands of Israel.

"The Holocaust happened, but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves," he said. "We lost our land, and we were forced to flee and we've lived in refugee camps for the past 50 years."
The mainstream of Palestinian Arab society has no ability to empathize with anyone else. They consider themselves unique in their suffering, and they do not believe that anyone else's suffering is even comparable.

Until they get everything they demand, they will continue to live in a deluded world where they are owed everything and have no responsibility to help fix their own problems.

There are no refugee camps in Israel - they all are in countries or areas controlled by Arabs. The Palestinian Arab leaders as well as the leaders of their neighboring nations are the ones who explicitly and openly prolong their suffering, decade after decade.

Yet they will continue to blame Jews for their continuing predicament, and they will refuse to entertain the idea that they are not the center of the universe in their suffering. As a result, their suffering is self-perpetuating.

Holocaust survivors managed to build an entire nation in only a few years after their "naqba." Palestinian Arabs continue to wallow in self-pity and self-destructive whining six decades after theirs.

Imagine how different their lives would be if they could show a little empathy, a little understanding of their Jewish neighbors! Imagine how different things would be if they took responsibility for their own actions! There is no shortage of Jewish organizations who work tirelessly to help Palestinian Arabs solve their problems, whether real or imagined. But how many Arab organizations could even make a slightly conciliatory gesture towards Jews without being insulted, vilified and shut down?

This incident is an accurate microcosm of the entire problem.

(h/t Mohammed the Teddy Bear)

Israel hit Fajr-3 rockets in Sudan

The more details that leak about the Israeli airstrikes in the Sudan, the more impressive it appears.

The Sunday Times reports that Israel used unmanned drones and UAVs to perform the strike:
The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) attacked two convoys, killing at least 50 smugglers and their Iranian escorts. All the lorries carrying the long-range rockets were destroyed. Had the rockets been delivered to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, they would have dramatically raised the stakes in the conflict, enabling Palestinians to wreak terror on Tel Aviv.

The raids were carried out by Hermes 450 drones. One source claimed they were accompanied by giant Eitan UAVs, which have a 110ft wingspan, similar to that of a Boeing 737. The drones, controlled via satellite, can hover over a target for 24 hours.

According to sources, the convoys were carrying Fajr3 rockets, which have a range of more than 40 miles, and were split into sections so they could be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza from Egypt. “They built the Fajr in parts so it would be easy to smuggle them into Gaza, then reassemble them with Hamas experts who learnt the job in Syria and Iran,” said a source.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards masterminded the smuggling operation. “The Iranians arrived in Port Sudan and liaised with local smugglers,” said a source. The convoy was heading for the Egyptian border where, for a fat fee, local smugglers would take over.

More details (via Ha'aretz):

The Israel Air Force carried out three air strikes in Sudan, not two, according to a report yesterday by ABC News. The TV network report said the attacks were carried out during the latter part of January and in February, targeting arms shipments from Iran destined for the Gaza Strip.

The ABC report, which was based on U.S. officials, reiterated earlier reports that the first air strike had targeted a convoy of trucks carrying arms, while the second sunk a ship. No details were given about the target of the third strike, which was probably another convoy of trucks.

The report of the American news network was also based on statements by Sudanese officials, who confirm that Israel had sunk a ship carrying arms.
Note that this all happened after the Gaza operation was finished.

If Hamas had hit Tel Aviv with rockets, Israel's response would have dwarfed that of Operation Cast Lead. Many more civilians would have been accidentally killed. So all of the world's "peace activists" must be thrilled that Israel's pre-emptive strike was so successful, right?

By the way, the Sudan is roughly the same distance to Israel as Iran. Just sayin'.

Hamas again rejects moderation. World ignores it.

One of the recurring themes coming from the wishful-thinking anti-Israel liberal crowd is that Hamas is really not that extreme, that it needs to be included in the "peace process," and that its "moderate" leaders can and should be encouraged and rewarded by the West.

There is a good reason we are seeing so much of this lately. The reason is that they want peace, and they project this desire onto everyone else. Peace is so obviously preferable to war that they cannot conceive that anyone really doesn't want peace deep down. In this mindset, people are the same no matter who they are, and everyone is reasonable, and if people would just talk in an atmosphere of tolerance and empathy, all problems can be resolved fairly.

This thinking is so ingrained that counterexamples - and counterproofs - are downplayed. The idea that people could be evil is simply not a possibility. If a Westerner says anything that could be vaguely perceived as anti-peace, he is vilified and shamed to be brought back into line. But if a non-Westerner says anything that is completely antithetical to peace, he is ignored or contextualized. His words are only meant for local consumption, we are told; he doesn't really believe it. Or perhaps he has been pushed into his extreme positions by the evil actions of the West and if we would only treat him better, he would reciprocate.

The media has embraced the meme so thoroughly that it will highlight any story that supports it and will downplay or ignore any story that disproves it.

The latest incarnation of this twisted bit of fatal wishful thinking has been the idea of a Palestinian Arab unity government as a way to save the moribund "peace process." Unifying Hamas and Fatah, the thinking goes, will force Hamas to moderate its positions. Of course, these same people thought that winning an election would force Hamas to moderate its positions as well, and that didn't work out, but hope springs eternal.

As a result, we are unlikely to see much of this story in the Western press:
The Hamas movement said on Saturday that accepting the unity government's positions on prior commitments would harm the Palestinian cause, and refused to do so.

According to Senior Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardaweel, accepting the agreements, such as the Oslo Accords or other signing documents, would be impossible, although he said the movement made a number of other concessions.

"Hamas does not agree on such formulas, for the betterment of the Palestinians, and Fatah," he went on to say. "The aim is forcing Hamas to commit to the agreements," which he described as "unfair."
In other words, Hamas has said, for the umpteenth time, that they will never accept a peace agreement with Israel, even if they join a quasi-government that has already made such an agreement.

But - but - Roger Cohen has assured us that Hamas is a viable peace partner! But the New York Times has insisted that Hamas needs to be brought into the peace process! But Richard Falk keeps saying that Hamas offered a near-permanent truce with Israel!

Hamas has been nothing if not consistent. There is nothing that it has done in the past two decades that has contradicted its radical, anti-semitic, hateful founding charter in the tiniest detail. Yet 22 years of fierce rhetoric, of terrorist actions, of uncompromising hate are just so inconsistent with the liberal ideas of everyone being the same as us, of underdogs being simply misunderstood, that stories like these must be ignored - they don't fit the meme. The tiniest wisp of hope gets overblown and the most radical examples of hate - like the "Pioneers of Tomorrow" children's TV show still being shown on Hamas TV - get swept under the rug.

And Israel - a nation that truly is liberal; a nation that has given up land, uprooted people and paid dearly for peace - gets demonized instead as being "intransigent" or worse.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saudi lingerie sold by - men

From the Times of India (h/t Jihad Watch):
RIYADH: Before her wedding last year, Huda Batterjee went abroad to buy her bridal lingerie she just couldn’t bear the humiliation of discussing her most intimate apparel with a man.

She had little choice: there are almost no saleswomen in Saudi Arabia.

Now a group of Saudi women sick of having to deal with male sales staff when buying bras
or panties, not to mention frilly negligees or thongs have launched a campaign this week to boycott lingerie stores until they employ women. It’s an irony of the kingdom’s strict segregation of the sexes. Only men are employed as sales staff to keep women from having to deal with male customers or work around men.

But in lingerie stores, that means men are talking to women about bras or thongs, looking them up and down to determine their cup sizes, even rubbing the underwear to show how stains can be washed out.

The result is mortifying for everyone involved shoppers, salesmen, even the male relatives who accompany the women.

“When I buy underwear in Saudi, some salesmen say, ‘This is not the right size for you,” said Batterjee. “You feel almost taken advantage of. Why is he looking at me in this way?” So for her wedding trousseau, she went to neighbouring Dubai to shop. She now lives in Virginia with her husband.

Heba al-Akki, a businesswoman who supports the boycott, said when she shops for underwear, “I go to a store, pick this, this and that and leave quickly. It’s as if I’m buying illegal stuff.”
It turns out that women are allowed to work in Saudi lingerie shops - but no one lets them:
Re'em As’ad is leading a Facebook campaign to boycott lingerie shops that employ men and she is aiming at the whole lingerie business in Saudi Arabia since women are not allowed to work in such shops.

As’ad hopes that her campaign will force storeowners to rethink the option of hiring women; she hopes to breathe life into a never-enforced law that allows women to be employed in lingerie shops. The law has been lying in a drawer somewhere for two years now. As’ad’s campaign started a few months ago with posts on websites and through e-mails asking people to show their objections to employing men to sell women’s lingerie.
Hiring saleswomen is difficult despite the Ministry of Labor’s approval. This is due to conflicting views on the subject between the ministry and the religious establishment. Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh recently said, “Women are entrusted to us, we should not involve them in matters far from their nature.”
That explains everything!

Hezbollah smuggling through Mexico to the US

From the Washington Times:
Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America's tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

Hezbollah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels," said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"They work together," said Mr. Braun. "They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.

"They'll leverage those relationships to their benefit, to smuggle contraband and humans into the U.S.; in fact, they already are [smuggling]."

His comments were confirmed by six U.S. officials, including law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism specialists. They spoke on the condition that they not be named because of the sensitivity of the topic.

While Hezbollah appears to view the U.S. primarily as a source of cash - and there have been no confirmed Hezbollah attacks within the U.S. - the group's growing ties with Mexican drug cartels are particularly worrisome at a time when a war against and among Mexican narco-traffickers has killed 7,000 people in the past year and is destabilizing Mexico along the U.S. border.
So the "Party of God" has no ethical problems with drug smuggling.

And Iran has easy entry into the US.

Sleep well.

Rule 5 Sunday (early edition): A corporal Miss Israel

Continuing Rule 5 Sundays, as suggested by The Other McCain....

From the IDF website:
Without a doubt, the most presentable Corps in the IDF is the Navy. White uniforms, impeccable ceremonies reflect an impressive sense of duty. It was therefore not surprising to discover that Miss Israel 2009 Adi Rodnitzki is also a corporal in the Israel Navy. Even less surprising is the fact that she serves as the secretary of the head of the Foreign Relations, whose job it is to present the Navy to the world. “This is an important role that represents the unit. In addition to office work, we participate in meetings with senior personalities from abroad,” commented Rodnitzki, “I enjoy my service and I am happy to be in the place I am.”

Adi, single, 20 years old and from Tel Aviv, has completed one and a half years of her service. She arrived to the Navy after finishing her basic training and notes that even at the time of her draft into the IDF she wanted the position that she now holds. “There are high quality people. Some of them speak foreign languages, which raises my interest level.” Adi was born in Israel and completed high school at the Alianz School in Tel Aviv, where she chose to study economics, psychology and French.

One of the things that surprised Adi the most was the support she received from the IDF, particularly her direct commander. “Normally, commanders don’t want their soldiers to leave and because of that I was afraid to ask her, but from the moment I did she was more excited than I was and that convinced me to do it.” She says her commander understood her need to leave the office for several months. “She called me during these months and also after I won, I received a phone call from her,” she remembers with a smile. Adi also received many calls of support from her friends in the Navy: “From the beginning of the competition until the end I got a lot of support from them.”

10 months of military service remain for the beauty queen and she fully intends to complete them even if things may have changed slightly. “I will not be in the army for a large number of hours, things will change. I do what I can.” Beyond the days where she is busy with interviews she is planning to compete in the Miss Universe competition in a few months. “The army will release me, I am not worried”, she stated. “It really doesn’t bother me, they release me every time I need to and when I don’t then I’m in the army. It is not contradictory,” she stresses. “I continue to do regular service as needed.”
Video of her victory can be seen here.

A "civilian" tortures a civilian to death in Gaza

From the PCHR:
According to PCHR investigations, at approximately 01:30am on Tuesday 24 March 2009, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City pronounced the death of Jamil Naser ‘Assaf, 20, from the ‘Asqoula neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. ‘Assaf died after suffering severe kidney failure, resulting from beating and torture carried out by members of the Security Services. The injuries were sustained while Jamil ‘Assaf was being detained at al-Tufah police station on charges of theft.

The victim’s mother, Nuha Zaki ‘Assaf, 46, gave the following statement to PCHR:

“At approximately 09:00am on Sunday 8 March 2009, members of the General Intelligence Service arrested my son, Jamil, from his house. They accused him of theft and led him to an unknown destination. On 12 March 2009 we heard that Jamil was detained at al-Tufah police station on theft charges. The following day, 13 March 2009, Jamil was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He was unconscious. After medical checks, it was found that he suffered severe kidney failure after he had been severely beaten and tortured by members of the Security Services. He was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit due to the seriousness of his health condition. He died of his injuries on Tuesday, 24 March 2009.”
Keep in mind that, according to the PCHR, the Hamas "Security Services" who routinely beat and torture people - often for political reasons - are considered "civilians" for the purposes of trying to jack up the number of civilian casualties in Gaza at the hands of Israel.

The 2009 PalArab self-death count is at 59.

Mistaking "peace process" for "peace"

The New York Times encapsulates the problem that much of the world has in its utter inability to distinguish between real peace and the illusory "peace process."

In a hugely condescending editorial today, the august NYT states:As he prepares to take office as Israel’s next prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is offering what sounds like a tantalizing commitment. He said that his government will be a “partner for peace.”

“I will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority for peace,” he said.

We would like very much to take Mr. Netanyahu’s words at face value, and it would be a lot easier to do that if he had not worked so assiduously to build his reputation as a hard-liner with deep misgivings about the very peace process he now claims to be willing to embrace. In this year’s election campaign, he disparaged talks on a peace treaty with the Palestinians. Even now, he has not spelled out exactly what terms he is offering as a “peace partner.” He still cannot bring himself to endorse a two-state solution — which we believe must be part of any serious regional peace effort.The logical fallacies here are staggering, and completely opaque to the NYT and similarly-thinking entities.

Even more egregiously, the Times proclaims:
If Mr. Netanyahu is serious about being a partner for peace, he will not get in the way of the militant group Hamas entering a Palestinian unity government with the rival Fatah faction — as long as that government is committed to preventing terrorism and accepts past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. He will recognize that the United States has its own interests in diplomacy with Syria, Iran and the Palestinians — and allow the Obama administration the freedom to pursue them. He also will not start a preventive war with Iran.
In other words, Israel must sacrifice its own peace and security for what the New York Times considers to be "peace." It is only a short distance from these self-righteous prescriptions to saying "Israel must allow itself to be destroyed in order to avoid any aggressive moves that might hurt our definition of peace."

Guess what? Syria and Israel have barely exchanged any bullets for decades. Even when Israel bombed Syria's nuclear reactor, a war didn't break out. And yet, somehow, there is no "peace treaty" between the two states! Things haven't been ideal, to be sure, but the clandestine Syrian support for Hezbollah would not be abated by a peace treaty, Syria will not suddenly love Israel because of a peace treaty, Israeli tourists will not flock to Syria after a peace treaty. All a "peace treaty" would accomplish is giving Syria a much greater tactical advantage for any future war(by owning the high ground of the Golan Heights and threatening Israel's water supply in the Kinneret) - a war that has not occured yet because Syria lacks that very advantage.

Why would anyone with two brain cells not see that this cold peace between Israel and Syria is the optimal solution?

This cold peace is the optimal model for "peace." It is ugly, it doesn't come close to the desired end state of Israel being treated like a normal country by its neighbors - but that end state will never occur. Ever. No matter what concessions Israel gives. Period.

Palestinian Arabs were offered a state multiple times. They refused, because the state they want will be by definition an existential threat to Israel. Therefore, such a state is not at all conducive to real "peace." Autonomy, economic reforms, gradual confidence building, a possible confederation with other Arab countries, allowing Palestinian Arabs "refugees" to become citizens in the nations they were born in - these and other moves would provide a type of "peace" that might not be ideal - but the constant insistence on the ideal is exactly what is preventing the optimal.

A Jewish state will never be accepted wholeheartedly by her neighbors, but it will be accepted grudgingly if Israel does not give in to stupid "peaceful" suggestions by idiots at the New York Times who consider a process more important than human lives.

(h/t Soccer Dad)

Anti-semitism to be "debated" at Oxford

Ah, debates. Where you get people of goodwill together to entertain an audience with intellectual arguments about interesting topics.

The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival is going to hold a debate on anti-semitism, with an interesting line-up of debaters. According to Middle East Online:
The debate, entitled "Anti-Semitism - Alive and Well in Europe?", will host Gilad Atzmon, renowned Israeli saxophonist and devoted opponent of Zionism; Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham; and David Aaronovitch, Orwell prize-winning 'Times' journalist.

The three participants will address pressing questions related to anti-Semitism; whether it is still strongly present in Europe and if the recent Israeli bombardment of besieged Gaza has further fuelled it.

Observers say Atzmon's participation will give the debate an "insider's view" on Jewishness, Israeli strategies and accusations of anti-Semitism.
Gilad Atzmon is a Jewish anti-semite; he writes articles insulting Jews and Judaism as easily as he breathes. The extent of his denial that anti-semitism exists at all can be seen from a bizarre article I quoted in 2006, about Borat, of all things. He pretty much markets his own anti-semitism to make money from forums like this.

David Aaronovitch seems like a nice enough guy. He describes himself this way:
These days, when I look in the mirror I see my father's face and when I speak, I hear my father's voice. From somewhere, God knows how, I have inherited a few inflections that Henry Higgins would recognise as being London Jewish. Apart from that, no synagogue, no briss, no Hebrew classes, no bar mitzvah. Yet in the past year ... small things have begun to make a Jew out of me, whatever I think about it.

Too many leftwingers and liberals are crossing the magic line right now. Let me spell it out for you. There is no all-powerful Jewish lobby. There is no secret convocation. Most journalists with Jewish names do not write the things they do because of loyalty to their race or religion. Nor can you simply change the word "Jewish" to "Zionist" and somehow be exempt from the charge of low-level racism. And it's no good wiffling on about your Jewish friends or trying to slip your prejudices past the guards by boldly proclaiming your refusal to be intimidated. There are no Elders and there are no Protocols.


So of the two Jews in the debate, none of them has even the slightest familiarity with Judaism - one is openly hateful towards it, the other is cheerfully ignorant.

Denis McShane - the Gentile - is the only one of the participants who is actually an expert in anti-semitism in Europe.

Often, the selection of "debaters" shows biases more than the debate itself.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Evening links

There are lots of stories out there that are important that I haven't had time to comment on.

Pat Oliphant made an incredibly offensive cartoon, published in the Washington Post and New York Times. See Barry Rubin's take on it, plus Daled Amos to fill in a missing piece that makes it even worse. Also check out Meryl Yourish and Abe Greenwald.

Roger Cohen is getting a bit repetitive with his coddle-the-terrorists-and-pressure-the-Jews shtick, but he's still going at it, and Soccer Dad and Daled Amos are still taking him apart.

Khaled Abu Toameh writes a scary article about the incredible hatred at American university campuses towards Israel - more so than in Palestinian Arab universities. Money quote:
What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.
Eye On The World brings us the latest example of Islamic attempts to end freedom of speech.

Yaacov Lozowick talks about Israeli innovations and makes this great observation:
Take, for example, the multiple-tiered explanations about how when people suffer, they aren't nice in return. They must be assuaged, their needs addressed, their woes removed, their grievances respected, acknowledged, and rectified. You know the line; it's one of the top meta-narratives of our age. It's also all wrong, fundamentally wrong, and quite pernicious. Those Shoah survivors disprove it by the simple fact of how they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps (after they acquired boots) in a mostly indifferent and partially hostile world.

The PCHR vs. the IDF on Gaza casualty counts

(This posting has changed from quoting yesterday's Haaretz article to quoting today's Jerusalem Post article which seems more accurate and uses the same numbers as YNet.)

The IDF has released a report on the Arab casualties in Gaza:
The IDF formally released precise figures on Thursday for the first time detailing Palestinian casualties incurred during Operation Cast Lead, and said a large majority of those killed were terrorists.

Of the 1,166 names of Palestinian dead gathered by the IDF's Research Department, 709 have been identified as "Hamas terror operatives," the IDF said, adding that the terrorists hailed from a variety of organizations.

According to the IDF, 162 additional names of men killed during the operation "have not been yet attributed to any organization."

A total of 295 Palestinian non-combatants died during the operation - 89 of them under the age of 16, and 49 of them women, the army added.

The figures were released "following the publication of reports that introduced false information originating from various Palestinian sources," the IDF said.

"In order to remove any doubt regarding the number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead, the IDF wishes to introduce the accurate figures to the public.

"The figures were gathered following the examination of various intelligence sources and after the names and numbers were thoroughly cross-referenced and examined," it added.
Ha'aretz adds:

The fatality list presented by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has numerous inaccuracies and contradictions, the IDF says. For example, Tawfiq Ja'abari, the commander of the Hamas police, and Mohammed Shakshak, a personal assistant to the head of Hamas' military wing, Ahmed Ja'abari, are both described as dead children on the Palestinian list.
The PCHR disputes the IDF methodology. Here is their main argument:
PCHR consider the IOF’s classification of police officers as combatants illegal: this classification constitutes a wilful violation of the principle of distinction, a key component of customary international law. Hamas is a multi-faceted organisation, exercising de facto governmental control of the Gaza Strip. As an organisation, it cannot be considered an armed group. Rather, a distinction must be made between Hamas’ armed and political/civil components. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades are the military wing of the Hamas organisation, they are an armed group, and are considered as combatants according to IHL. However, Hamas’ political and civil wings are comprised of civilians, who are legally entitled to the protections associated with this status, provided they do not take an active part in hostilities. Civil police, and governmental officials cannot be considered combatants. Attacks intentionally directed against these individuals constitute wilful killing, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and a violation of customary international law.
So the PCHR seems to accept for the most part Israel's contention that 600 of the known casualties are members of Hamas or other armed groups; they argue that only members of Hamas' "military wing" are legal targets.

This is sophistry.

Hamas is a military organization. Its entire purpose is to destroy Israel. All of its "wings" exist for that purpose, and its charitable and civil wings are not independent of its military wing - they are subsidiary to it.

Hamas will use its "charity" components to attract members for its terror wing. It will use the "political" wing as cover to deflect its clandestine use of terror.

Here is an excerpt from a book by Matthew Levitt that is probably the most comprehensive treatise on Hamas, describing the terrorist and political career of the mastermind of the 2002 Netanya Passover massacre:
The mastermind of the attack, Abbas al-Sayyid, served simultaneously as both the overt political Hamas leader in Tulkarm and the covert head of the Qassam Brigades terrorist cell there. Wearing these two hats, al-Sayyid gave public speeches and represented Hamas at public functions even as he secretly recruited military operatives and suicide bombers, received orders and funds from Hamas leaders in Lebanon and Syria, and personally planned and oversaw the cell’s operations. Al-Sayyid openly acknowledged his contacts with Hamas leaders abroad, but maintained these were purely political in nature. In fact, al-Sayyid took active measures to hide the military nature of these contacts. For example, while funds for Hamas political activity—$10,000—$13,000 a month—were overtly transferred from Hamas leaders abroad into al-
Sayyid’s personal bank account, Hamas leaders in Syria transferred funds for Hamas terrorist operations to an account al-Sayyid opened under a fictitious American-sounding name.

At the operational level, almost all the Hamas terrorists involved in the attack rose through the ranks of Hamas through the group’s Islamic Bloc student movement.Al-Sayyid himself began drifting toward Hamas while in high school after hearing the lectures of Sheikh Jamal Mansour, a prominent Hamas political and dawa leader. Three of the operatives, including both intended suicide bombers, were members of a singing troupe called al-Ansar that lauded Hamas and its suicide bombers. Hamas dawa activists and institutions performed a variety of key functions like helping fugitive cell members hide from authorities. In one case female Hamas activists helped a cell member move around Tulkarm disguised as a woman. Covert operatives also used mosques tied to Hamas as meeting places and as dead-drops where messages and matériel—including the suicide bombing vests—were left and retrieved by parties unknown to one another. Long after the attack, the Hamas dawa would use the Park Hotel bombing as a means to radicalize and recruit future operatives by printing posters glorifying the attack and naming community events like a soccer tournament after Abdel Aziz Basset Odeh, the suicide bomber.

Inside the Palestinian territories, the battery of mosques, schools, orphanages, summer camps, and sports leagues sponsored by Hamas are integral parts of an overarching apparatus of terror. These Hamas entities engage in incitement and radicalize society, and undertake recruitment efforts to socialize even the youngest children to aspire to die as martyrs. They provide logistical and operational support for weapons smuggling, reconnaissance, and suicide bombings. They provide day jobs for field commanders and shelter fugitive operatives.
Even after Hamas' takeover of Gaza, Hamas has shown little interest in building an infrastructure to perform daily duties that are a necessary part of governing. When it could, it would keep the existing PA/Fatah infrastructure; only when it felt threatened by them would it replace the leadership - all the while accepting hundreds of millions of dollars from the PA to keep the institutions running. In this way, all the "wings" of Hamas could concentrate on smuggling weapons, building fortified tunnels for bomb storage and to kidnap IDF soldiers, and recruiting more members.

The Hamas police, to take an example of a group that the PCHR considers civilian, is not primarily the law-enforcement organization that PCHR implies. There is no functioning legal infrastructure in Gaza. The Hamas police exist to keep the people under the thumb of Hamas and to stop any competing groups like Fatah to gain strength. Their purpose is just as terrorist as the "military wing."

The PCHR, as always, is doing its best to demonize Israel and as such it has a vested interest in increasing the numbers of "innocent civilians" killed in Gaza. But when you look at the details, you can see that most of those killed were not innocent civilians...and the PCHR knows this quite well.

Hamas privately admits it sucks at fighting

From Jane's:
Hamas will adopt new fighting and training techniques and emphasise its anti-armour capabilities following a review of the organisation's failures during the three-week conflict in Gaza, a senior Hamas official has told Jane's.

Some 50 field commanders will also be removed from their roles for their poor performance in response to Operation 'Cast Lead', the official said.

The highest-level military council and a representative from the intelligence department, as well as senior Hamas political figures, launched their investigation in January at the end of the three-week offensive, which Israel began after a six-month ceasefire ended without resolution. The investigation, first reported by Jane's on 22 January, was expected to be critical of virtually every decision made by commanders on the battlefield, as well as of the political decision-making surrounding Hamas' engagement in the conflict.

However, conclusions drawn from the investigation show an organisation unbowed by its defeat, with plans for new logistical supply lines and a modern satellite communications network. The report also stresses a need to rebuild the morale and motivation of the front-line fighters so that they do not show the same "weakness and fear [when confronted] by a real war".

Firas Press adds that some 40 Hamas commanders essentially abandoned the fighting during the war. It also adds this intriguing tidbit:
[The report emphasized] the necessity of changing the methods of warfare used and ways to train their units, and not to rely on Iran's combat doctrine.
Which means that Hamas admits that Iran was training them in how to fight, probably indirectly.

Chips

According to an article in Firas Press, a "collaborator" captured by Hamas admitted that he was given special "chips" by Israeli intelligence, homing devices that he placed on terrorists' cars or Qassam rocket factories, so they could accurately fire at the targets.

Of course, the only reason to do this would be to minimize civilian casualties, but that part didn't quite make it into the article.

Something to look out for

A couple of years ago I had found a Ma'an article about a PalArab Sesame Street special on Jerusalem, including a visit to the separation barrier, which seemed a bit too political for Sesame Street. I commented then:
Apparently, for the BBC to refer to Jerusalem as Israel's capital was a major crime worthy of apology, but for people to teach children that Jerusalem is Arab Palestine's capital is not a problem at all.

I wonder if Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) approved the script.
This morning, I was contacted by a New York Times Magazine reporter on a story she is writing about the Palestinian Arab version of Sesame Street. She wanted to know if I had the original article, and although Ma'an has changed its format and the original link was gone, I found it.

We'll see how this is spun.

Open question/thread

I had been barely following the IDF T-shirt controversy that al-Aretz has been talking about, and I looked at it a little yesterday. Many of the T-shirt slogans that Ha'aretz claimed were being printed were indeed very offensive and insensitive, although I have not had much luck actually finding photos of many of them.

My question for the day is, how many of you realized, from reading the media, that the T-shirts with the pregnant woman and the child in the crosshairs were showing a pregnant woman with a rifle and a child with a rifle? Should that information change one's attitude towards the entire episode?

UPDATE: I wrote this before seeing that Yaacov Lozowick noticed the same thing.

Muslim Council of Britain seethes and whines

From The Guardian:
Britain's largest Muslim body has accused ministers of wanting to "undermine its independence" by demanding one of its leaders be removed from office.

The accusation is the strongest public attack yet by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in its row with the government after ministers broke off relations earlier this month.

Hazel Blears, the communities and local government minister, wrote to the MCB demanding the resignation of Daud Abdullah, its deputy secretary general, after he allegedly called for violence against Israel.
This is very misleading; as the Guardian itself reported, Blears was upset over Abdullah's seeming support for Muslims attacking British troops as well as support for attacking Jewish communities. The Guardian is trying to make it look like this is simply a Zionist plot - essentially what the MCB claims.

Today the MCB spokesman Inayat Bunglawala told the Guardian that the government only wanted to deal with Muslim groups who were "stooges" and "spineless", and vowed the council would resist attempts to interfere in how it was run.
By cutting ties with the MCB, the British government is not mandating how the MCB is run.

But The Guardian is publishing a plethora of apologetics for the MCB:
In principle, whom the MCB chooses as its office-holders is none of Blears's business. The very unfortunate precedent she is trying to set reflects the practices of a totalitarian state – China perhaps, or Zimbabwe. I am shocked that such a mindset could emerge in the UK.
And this:
Whether or not we approve of the Istanbul declaration's content, there is little doubt that it represents a significant strand of Muslim opinion, in Britain and elsewhere. By refusing to acknowledge this and instead bestowing its favours on cuddly but marginal Sufi organisations, the government is destroying whatever credibility its policy of engagement might have had.
The arguments are absurd, of course, as they claim that the UK must excuse terror if a minority of its citizens accept terror and it wants to engage with that group. But they also ignore a much more salient fact: The MCB has received funding from the British Government.

In 2006, the MCB received £300,000 from the UK's Department for International Development, £148,160 in 2005 from the Home Office and some other smaller sums that have been documented.

The MCB can elect whomever it wants as its leadership. But the UK has an obligation to make sure that taxpayer monies do not go to groups who support terror. Beyond that, as long as the MCB is requesting money from the government, it has no right to whine about "undermining its independence" - if it wants independence, it should not accept money from outsiders; if it accepts money, it must also accept oversight on how the money is being used.

Does this photo editor make me look fat?

One strange thing that many Arab websites have in common is a weird tendency to stretch photographs to fit into pre-defined dimensions, rather than cropping them. As a result one would see webpages filled with distorted images that look like Silly Putty versions of the originals.

Sometimes, the results are less than flattering.

From Syria's SANA news agency (h/t Soccer Dad via email):

Election of Top Model Syria for 2008-2009

Mar 24, 2009

Damascus,SANA _ In the festival of Top Model Syria which was held last night, Miriam Salibi, 18 years old, gained the title of Top Model Syria for 2008-2009.

The festival was held at the Princesses Palace Hotel and sponsored by Tourism Ministry in the presences of a number of artists and pressmen.
I don't know, maybe the photo editor prefers his women to have some meat on their bones.

And while we are at SANA, here's a typical "culture" article from that brutal dictatorship:
The Italian singer Moraizio Tistoni gave a concert Monday evening at Abu Rumanah Cultural Center, entertaining the audience with Syrian and Palestinian songs in both English and Italian.

Tistoni sang 14 songs in the praise of Syria, its people and its leader. Among the songs were /Good Morning Syria/, /I Love Syria/ and /My Syria…Sweet Syria/.
You almost expect to read "Three audience members who did not applaud vigorously enough were arrested and shot after the show."

Then again, Syria's culture includes things like this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Israel celebrates, and Egypt despises, peace anniversary

From Al Arabiya (AFP):
Israel is set to celebrate on Wednesday its first peace treaty with an Arab state but its partner Egypt plans to leave the 30th anniversary almost entirely unmarked.

"No commemoration is planned in Cairo" for Thursday's anniversary, foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said, in a sign of the cold peace that still reigns between the two neighbors amid widespread popular opposition to the treaty in Egypt.

"We haven't received any invitation for an event in Egypt, while we're planning several in Israel," Israeli embassy spokeswoman Shani Cooper-Zubida said.
To give an idea of how ordinary Egyptians think about peace with Israel, here are some of the comments at Al Arabiya:
Anour Sadat who brought victory to Egypt in 1973, wiped it all off when he decided to make peace with the Zionist...
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This agreement was the start of the divide and rule policy by the Israelis of neutralising the powerful Arab countries. They have much to celebrate with their achievement. What about the Egyptians. After the Yom Kippur war they were in the ascendancy anyway and proved that the Israelis could not sustain a protracted ground war, particulalry against a nation with over 10 times its population.
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Rest assured you JEWISH (that`s an insult itself) , the end is near . War is coming and nothing is gonna stop Muhammad`s army , not your planes , nor your ships , nor the Mirkava tanks , hell not even your nukes .You`d better brace yourself , coz You`re going down !
---

Apparently, the tens of billions of dollars that the US sends to Egypt as compensation for signing Camp David has not made the Egyptians any more amenable to real peace.

Equally apparently, between the bloodthirsty Zionists and the peaceful Arabs, only one side seems to celebrate peace.

Rumors of IDF shooting at civilians found false

The rumors that surfaced last week that the IDF had deliberately shot at civilians in Gaa were found to be completely untrue, an IDF investigation is revealing:
"All of the soldiers who were involved in the conference were questioned - not as a punishment - but in order to understand whether they had witnessed these things. From all of the testimonies we collected, we can safely conclude that the soldiers who made the claims did not witness the events they describe," the source said.

"All of it was based on rumors. In the incident of the alleged shooting of the mother and her children, what really happened was that a marksman fired a warning shot to let them know that they were entering a no-entry zone. The shot was not even fired in their general direction," the source said.

"The marksman's commander ran up the stairs of a Palestinian home, got up on the roof, and asked the marksman why he shot at the civilians. The marksman said he did not fire on the civilians. But the soldiers on the first floor of that house heard the commander's question being shouted. And from that point, the rumor began to spread," the source added.

"We can say with absolute certainty that the marksman did not fire on the woman and her children. Later, the company commander spoke with the marksman and his commander. We know with certainty that this incident never took place," he said.

The source said that a second allegation of killing of civilians was also false, though he could not provide further details at this stage.

"We investigate every allegation in order to see whether these incidents took place, and to draw conclusions if necessary," the source stressed.

"Unfortunately, due to competition, sections of the press picked up this story and ran with it. It is a shame the media promoted this sort of spin all over the world," he added. It is unlikely the damage to Israel's image from the allegations can be repaired, irrespective of the results of the investigation, he noted.

"It is a shame that the media allowed Palestinian manipulations to spread," he said.
And now the lies have gone around the world a dozen times over, because of the irresponsible Israeli media and the even worse world media that picked up on the story.

Galloway: "I never supported Hamas"

From CTV:

British MP George Galloway says ambulances and medical supplies he gave to Hamas were meant for Palestinians battered by the Gaza conflict, dismissing the reasons behind a decision to block his entry into Canada.

"I have not now, nor have I ever been a supporter of Hamas," Galloway told CTV's Power Play by phone from New Jersey on Tuesday. "If I had a vote in the Palestinian elections it would not go to Hamas."

Here are some of the pictures of Galloway showing his distaste for Hamas:
Embracing Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.


Looking on with approval at Haniyeh's map of the Holy Land that doesn't include any place for Jews to live (and that also doesn't include historical Eastern Palestine.)


From BBC:
"Controversial British MP George Galloway (left) donates cash to Hamas in Gaza City. He also hands over the keys to vehicles he brought with him in an aid convoy."
But we should be kind. Perhaps he is serious in that he wouldn't vote for Hamas. He's probably a bit more oriented to the Marxist terror group, the PFLP, who look like they might also be included in the possible unified Palestinian Arab government.

(h/t ehwhy in email)

UN notes - and excuses - Gaza violence against women

From the UN's IRIN news service:
The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Gaza, local Palestinian NGOs and mental health professionals are reporting increased incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault against women in Gaza since the beginning of 2009.

An unpublished UNIFEM survey of male and female heads of 1,100 Gaza households conducted between 28 February and 3 March indicates there was an increase in violence against women during and after the 23-day war which ended on 18 January.

“According to our staff, and through clinical observation, there was increased violence against women and children during and after the war,” said public relations coordinator for the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), Husam al-Nounou.

We can attribute this to the fact that most people were exposed to traumatic incidents during the war, and one way people react to stress is to become violent.”

GCMHP, which runs six clinics and treats an estimated 2,000 mental health patients a year, carried out a post-war assessment, interviewing about 3,500 Gaza residents, said al-Nounou.

This war was extremely harsh, people felt insecure, vulnerable and unable to protect themselves, their children and their families; when people were trapped at home this increased the stress and anxiety,” said al-Nounou.
No condemnation. No calls to seek justice for the abusers and rapists. No mention of Hamas, as the de facto government, being even slightly responsible.

If women are attacked and sexually assaulted in Gaza, the UN and other NGOs like the GCMHP bend over backwards to try to "understand" the circumstances that could lead to such abuse. The people were stressed, you see. When they are stressed, of course they become violent. And the unstated but implicit source of the stress was, of course....Israel. Hamas clearly is blameless, as are the Palestinian Arab men themselves.
Sahar (who wanted her family name omitted), aged 36, divorced her husband in February due to the physical and psychological abuse she endured leading up to and during the war.

“He beat me severely and I was fainting from the stress,” said Sahar. “He forced me to engage in sexual intercourse against my will.”

Sahar brings her two-year-old daughter to the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) to visit the daughter’s father. The court ordered supervised visits after Sahar’s ex-husband and his brothers tried to take her daughter away by force.
He was just...stressed out! You have to be charitable to the abusers, after all. You need to understand where they are coming from. Just like you need to understand where terrorists get the idea that murdering dozens of civilians is a reasonable idea.

Has abuse of women increased in Sderot over the past eight years of stress under constant rocket bombardments?

Has any Israeli aggression even been excused, or contextualized, in a UN or other NGO article because the Israelis are under stress?

By the way, a women was stabbed to death in Gaza yesterday:
A Gazan woman from the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp was found stabbed to death at her parent’s home Wednesday morning, officials said she was likely stabbed overnight.

The woman, who was 31-years-old, left the home of her husband following a violent argument and gone to stay with her parents; they found her bleeding and brought her to local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police said an autopsy was being performed, and did not identify any suspects.
A real head-scratcher, identifying a suspect. But whoever he is, you can be sure that he was under tremendous stress, so go easy on the poor guy.

The UN once again proves its utter depravity.

The 2009 PalArab self-death count is at 58.

Those Jewish Zionists infiltrate everything

Gulf Times:
Militants yesterday warned the Pakistan government to stop expanding the mobile telephone network in a restive tribal area, worried it could be used to spy on their activities. They circulated a pamphlet in Wana, the main town of South Waziristan on the Afghan border, telling authorities to stop the network expansion and ordering vendors to stop selling SIM cards, residents and officials said. “A Jewish, Zionist-backed company is setting up the mobile phone network in Waziristan, which would be used to spy on Taliban activities and drone attacks,” said the pamphlet. “The government and those selling SIMs will be treated as criminals by us,” it warned.
Which reminds me, I need to check with the South Waziristan bureau of the International Zionist Web to make sure that our evil plans are on schedule.

Following a Muslim rumor

Late last year, a Dutch Muslim apostate created a short film called "Interview with Mohammed" where Mohammed, masked, is asked questions about any mistakes he might have made 1400 years ago, including topics like women's rights.

The Muslims were upset, of course. The first criticism of the movie was from a Moroccan newspaper, quoting unnamed European Muslim groups as saying that the movie was a "cartoon movie about the wives of Mohammed" and calling for a boycott of Dutch products.

In February, a Russian mufti called for a boycott of Dutch flowers because of a movie about Mohammed's wives - but he couldn't name the movie.

Now, in Gaza, the Hamas Minister of Religious Affairs calls for protests against a "blatantly pornographic" European movie about Mohammed's wives, and seeking the arrest of anyone who does similar insults against Islam. He also wondered why Arab and Muslim governments have been silent about this impending insult to the Prophet.

An adult movie about Mohammed's wives? There might be a market for that....

On second thought, such a movie should be illegal and anyone making one should be arrested.

Because it would involve child pornography.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Followup on Iranian missiles in Gaza

Soccer Dad emails me with a snarky but seemingly well-informed comment someone made on his post at Yourish linking to my post on terrorist claims that they had Iranian missiles in Gaza that didn't work:
rdamurphy Says:
  1. Basically, there are two types of Iranian anti-armor missiles, both copies of Soviet technology. There is a TOW version (tube launched, optically sighted, wire guided) and a laser tracking version. While there may have indeed been some duds (even American manufactured TOW missles have a high failure rate), most likely it has to do with the steep learning curve and demanding training required to be effective with either missile. Not to mention the courage to stay up and in sight of an advancing tank in order to track, fire, and guide the missiles. Most likely, poorly motivated illiterate fanatics couldn’t use them effectively. Hizbollah poorly motivated illiterate fanatics could go to Syria for training, but nobody wants any Palestinians coming over for an extended stay.

    Might be the lack of bathing and personal hygiene habits.

    Anyway, in Lebanon, the IDF was surprised by the fact that the missiles were in the hands of the enemy, and didn’t adapt their tactics. Both types of missiles require a direct line of sight for engagement, unlike more sophisticated missiles that are video guided and can be “flown” their target.

    One tactic of modern Armies since Napolean, not used by the IDF in Lebanon, but used to great effect in Gaza was the use of overwhelming artillery (and air) fire to demoralize the enemy. You can’t fight back against artillery, and even if it doesn’t kill anyone or break anything, it’s still hard to put up with for a few days. Or even hours.

    The interesting thing about contemporary warfare, if the Allies suspected Germany was hiding munitions in the basement of a hospital, they wouldn’t have hesitated to reduce it to rubble just to find out for sure. The unwillingness of the IDF, and the US, to engage in Total War while their enemy is will eventually result in their defeat.