.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hamas celebrates two female "martyrs"

The Al Qassam Brigades website has added two female "martyrs" to its ever-growing list.

Here's a picture of the first one:
And here's what the second one looks like:


The resemblance is striking!

Both women were allegedly killed on October 27, 2007, by a "Zionist shell" as they were doing some "charity" work for Hamas.

The only problem is, the PCHR lists no women killed by Israel that week, nor the week before and not the week after, in Gaza.

It looks like it is time for martyr inflation!

Pig blood in cigarette filters?

Al Arabiya reports:
A new study reveals cigarettes may contain traces of pig's blood which could be “very offensive” to Muslims and other religious groups, Australia’s The Australian reported on Tuesday.

University of Sydney Professor Simon Chapman referred to a “recent Dutch research which identified 185 different industrial uses of a pig - including the use of its haemoglobin in cigarette filters,” The Australian said.

"I think that there would be some particularly devout groups who would find the idea that there were pig products in cigarettes to be very offensive," Chapman.

The discovery places more than 100 million Muslim Arabs in an extremely awkward situation, especially considering that several fatwas have already been issued prohibiting smoking altogether. This new information would make the previous prohibition all the more valid for Muslims.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Report that Hamas robbed Gaza bank (updated)

Palestine Today reports:
Armed elements from Hamas today took control of a branch of the Bank of Palestine in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, and confiscated a million shekels.

Local sources reported that, in the wake of this incident, the management of the bank decided to close all its branches in the Gaza Strip.
In a completely different news story, the PA announced a $3.9 billion budget for 2010, of which some $1.5 billion will go towards the Gaza Strip.

All the money that the PA gives Gaza is money that Hamas can free up to buy weapons and to avoid any responsibility for the people under its direct control.

And, as we see, Hamas has some rather novel ways to raise money itself.

UPDATE: More details from Al Arabiya:

Hamas security forces took $400,000 from a bank in the Gaza Strip on Monday, in a direct challenge to Palestinian authorities in the West Bank who had frozen the money to comply with money laundering regulations.

Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, said the men were executing a court order to seize the assets of a medical organization, the Patient's Friend Association.

Seeking to apply global regulations against money laundering, the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) froze the association's account after its board fell under Hamas control, banking sources said.

The PMA described Monday's seizure, the first time Hamas had challenged the authority, as a "sinful attack".

Ehab al-Ghsain, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry, said Monday's move was "the implementation of a judicial decision." The association had "resorted to court after the Fatah government froze its account in the bank," he said.

One employee of the Bank of Palestine, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the Hamas policemen had forced the staff to open the bank's vault and acted "aggressively".

"They took 1.5 million shekels ($400,000) and signed a paper showing the amount of money they had taken," the employee said.

It was the first time Hamas had challenged the PMA, which functions as regulator of the Palestinian banking system in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

"This is a serious development. We are investigating the matter and then we will take the appropriate action," Jihad al-Wazir, the governor of the PMA, told Reuters. He declined to give details about the raid.

In a statement, the PMA called on Hamas to "abide by the rule of law to safeguard the soundness of the banks so that they can keep providing services to the people."

Banks in the Gaza Strip would stage a strike on Tuesday to protest at the raid, Wazir said. Around a dozen banks, Palestinian- and Arab-owned, still function in the Gaza Strip, though their headquarters are in the West Bank.

Well, bank robbing is pretty easy for Hamas. They already have the masks.

Must read: "The Future of an Illusion"

By Elliott Abrams:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned, it seems, to direct the Middle East policy of the Obama administration.

Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, 17 years of efforts under three American presidents and six Israeli prime ministers have taught five clear lessons. Each of them is being ignored by President Obama, which is why his own particular “peace process” has so greatly harmed real efforts at peace. Today the only factor uniting Palestinian, Israeli, and Arab leaders is distrust of the quality, sagacity, and reliability of American leadership in the region.

What are the lessons the Obama team is ignoring?

1. Israel’s flexibility is dependent on its sense of security.

2. The failure to set standards for Palestinian conduct hurts the cause of peace.

3. Israeli withdrawals do not lead to peace unless law and order can be maintained by responsible security forces.

4. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is not the center of world, Arab, or Muslim politics.

5. The ‘peace process’ retards peace.

Read the whole thing.

(h/t Yaacov Lozowick in a great essay of his own)

Another picture of Jews "storming" the Temple Mount

In a story about alleged Jewish plans to storm the Temple Mount on Passover, Palestine Today illustrates the article with another image of Jewish desecration of the Temple Mount:

Shocking!

Chag Sameach open thread

Wishing a happy Passover to all my readers, and trying to get my wishes in to those about to start the holiday in Israel.

I will not be posting from this afternoon until at least Wednesday night and posting might be light the rest of the week anyway.

You still have time to download the free EoZ Haggadah! Over 1200 people have grabbed it already!

Meanwhile, here is an open thread for others who want to share their holiday wishes...

Arabs nervous over Murdoch purchase

Last month, media mogul Rupert Murdoch purchased a 9% stake in Arab entertainment giant Rotana.

This has caused some consternation in Egypt that Murdoch, widely assumed in the Arab world to be Jewish, is trying to plant a "Trojan horse" in Arabic culture to normalize relations with Israel.

As Middle East Online says:
The tie-up between Arab entertainment giant Rotana and pro-Israel media mogul Rupert Murdoch is viewed in Egypt not only with suspicion but as signalling the decline of Arab film and art heritage.

In a country where film and television attract some of the largest audiences across the Arab world, the tycoon's foray into the Middle East is widely seen in cultural circles as a ruse to benefit Israel.

Murdoch's News Corp last month acquired a 9.09-percent holding in the Rotana Group of Saudi royal and business tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, with an 18-month option to double the stake.

Rotana is one of the largest film producers in Egypt and also owns the rights to hundreds of Egyptian motion pictures.

In Egypt, which signed a 1979 peace treaty with Israel but has resisted a warming of cultural ties, there has been wide suspicion that the tie-up with Rotana is part of a Murdoch scheme to thaw frosty Arab views of Israel.

"Murdoch will enter every Arab home to impose normalisation" of ties with Israel, said Egyptian film critic Ola al-Shafei.

The partnership amounts to "a defeat for the Arab film and art heritage," she added.

Scriptwriter Osama Anwar Okasha wrote that Murdoch's stake in Rotana was a "Trojan horse" designed to stealthily penetrate Arab culture.

"The important thing is not the share sold by Alwaleed, but a person who hands over nine percent can also sell off the rest of the company," said novelist Ezzat Qamhawi.

"We are now facing the reality of the sale of Arab films and music to an investor whose media empire is one of the causes of the erroneous image of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the West," he added.

Egypt's state-owned film company has already threatened to stop working with Rotana, whose bouquet of free-to-air satellite channels target an Arab audience across the Middle East that is equally opposed to Murdoch's politics.
Ironically, there is one rich person in this story who is explicitly hoping to affect news coverage with business deals - and it is not Murdoch:
[Prince Alwaweed] said last month that he hoped the partnership could help moderate the widely-perceived anti-Arab bias of some of News Corp's most strident outlets, such as Fox News.

"It's not only Fox that in general is against the Arab world. It's an American syndrome," he said at a news conference in Riyadh when the deal was announced.

"We will always do our best to lower that tone," he said.

When in 2005 Alwaleed was reported as saying he had influenced how Fox News depicted rioting in heavily Muslim suburbs in France, the conservative Accuracy in Media group called for an investigation.

After Alwaleed, who owns a seven-percent stake in News Corp, gave an interview to Fox News this January conservatives blasted the network for its alleged kid-glove treatment.

UNHRC Resolution Score: Israel 5, World 3

From UN Watch, last Wednesday:

The UN Human Rights Council slammed Israel in 4 resolutions today, with another scheduled tomorrow. The Council’s five against Israel surpass the total combined amount of resolutions it will dedicate to all other countries in the world — one each on Burma, North Korea and Guinea.
The nation that has the best record on human rights in the Middle East is considered to be worse than every other nation combined by the esteemed UNHRC. And no one even considers this unusual anymore.

Followup: Clothing and shoes to enter Gaza

I mentioned an Arabic news story last week that Gaza authorities rejected Israel sending clothing and shoes to Gaza because the number of daily truckloads were too low.

Today, Ma'an mentions that an agreement has apparently been struck, and Israel will be sending 10 trucks full of clothing a day. Of course, Ma'an doesn't mention Hamas' previous rejection of the shipments as being too insulting to accept. (The Arabic Ma'an story says that Hamas' managed to negotiate the amount of daily shipments from 5 to 10,, short of the 30-50 they had been demanding.)

Ma'an also illustrates the story with another heartbreaking picture of a Gaza storekeeper with nothing to sell.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Now Gazans can smuggle entire cars

Sshender sends me this link to an Israeli Channel 2 news story that seems to show a car being pulled, whole, through a Rafah smuggling tunnel.

(h/t Hasbara Master for the video link)

UNHRC passes resolution limiting freedom of expression

From Al Arabiya:

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday narrowly passed a resolution condemning Islamaphobic behavior, including Switzerland's minaret building ban, despite some states' major reservations.

The resolution, which was criticized by the United States as "an instrument of division," "strongly condemns... the ban on the construction of minarets of mosques and other recent discriminatory measures."

Some 20 countries voted in favor of the resolution entitled "combating defamation of religions," 17 voted against and eight abstained.

The resolution also "expresses deep concern ... that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

It "regrets the laws or administrative measures specifically designed to control and monitor Muslim minorities, thereby stigmatizing them and legitimizing the discrimination they experience."

However, the European Union pointed out that the concept of defamation should not fall under the remit of human rights because it conflicted with the right to freedom of expression, while the United States said free speech could be hindered by the resolution.

"The European Union believes that reconciling the notion of defamation with discrimination is a problematic endeavor," French ambassador Jean-Baptiste Mattei said on behalf of the bloc.

Eileen Donahoe, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. also slammed the resolution as an "ineffective way to address" concerns about discrimination.

"We cannot agree that prohibiting speech is the way to promote tolerance, and because we continue to see the 'defamation of religions' concept used to justify censorship, criminalization, and in some cases violent assaults and deaths of political, racial, and religious minorities around the world," she said.

"Contrary to the intentions of most member states, governments are likely to abuse the rights of individuals in the name of this resolution, and in the name of the Human Rights Council," added the U.S. envoy.

Islamic Jihad upset with Hamas for claiming responsibility for attack

Islamic Jihad is very upset with Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades for taking credit for the operation that killed two Israeli soldiers (which Islamic Jihad named "Operation Luring Idiots.")

Hamas had written a detailed account of the operation, including an interview with the purported members of the team that engaged with the IDF.

Islamic Jihad derided the Hamas account as a "fiction," especially a part where Hamas claimed to have shot at the soldiers from afar and that they refrained from firing on an Israeli ambulance because of respect both for international law and Islamic principles of morality. PIJ's response was to sarcastically ask why they were respecting international law when Israel targets hospitals and mosques.

Trying to walk the line between respect and derision, Islamic Jihad came out with a statement saying "Our brothers in Al-Qassam Brigades - whom we hold in high esteem as one of the other arms of the resistance - should more often check for accuracy before making statements to the media."

They agreed that the Al Qassam Brigades were in the area as backup, but denied that they were an integral part of the operation. And as a final measure of proof, PIJ referred to a Ha'aretz account of the fighting that more closely corresponded with Islamic Jihad's account than with Hamas'.

The implication is that he hated Zionist media won't lie the way Hamas does.

Arab Journalists Union to blacklist those who meet Israelis

Palestine Today reports that the Arab Journalists Union and other PalArab press organizations strongly criticized the Palestinian Arab journalists who met with their Israeli counterparts.

They said that this meeting was a kind of "normalization," and a serious crime. The unions called on the journalists to apologize or risk facing the consequences.

These consequences include being placed on a journalist "blacklist" and other punitive measures such as boycotting them.

The statement said it was with that deep regret and disgust that they learned that the meeting took place, seeing it as a disavowal of the blood of the martyrs of the Palestinian movement.

In other words, the Journalists Union made it crystal clear that, for them, objectivity is secondary to propaganda.

Of course, the correspondents for major news services in Gaza are members of this union that denies the adherence to even the most basic journalistic standards.

Hamas storms hospital to arrest Fatah member

Palestinian Press Agency reports on an incident yesterday, where Hamas members attempted to kidnap a Fatah member, Sheikh Abdul Khalil. His parents tried to stop the arrest and Khalil was beaten.

After the parents took him to the hospital, Hamas broke in and arrested Khalil and five of his Fatah friends (it was unclear if they were visiting him at the hospital or if they were arrested in their homes.)

Sunday Times slams Human Rights Watch

The Times (UK) has a beautiful article that nicely exposes the problems at Human Rights Watch, starting with the Garlasco affair that I helped expose, but showing that Garlasco was just a symptom of a much deeper problem.

Excerpts:

When the story broke that one of the organisation’s most prominent and vocal members of staff might be a collector of Nazi-era military memorabilia it felt like some sort of sexual scandal had erupted in the Victorian church. For a lobbying group accustomed to adulatory coverage in the media, it was a public-relations catastrophe.

Human Rights Watch is one of two global superpowers among the world’s myriad humanitarian pressure groups. It is relatively young — established in its current form in 1988 — but it has grown so quickly in size, wealth and influence that it has all but eclipsed its older, London-based rival, Amnesty International.

Unlike Amnesty, HRW, as it is known, gets its money from charitable foundations and wealthy individuals — such as the financier George Soros — rather than a mass membership. And, also unlike Amnesty, it seeks to make an impact, not through extensive letter-writing campaigns, but by talking to governments and the media, urging openness and candour and backing up its advocacy with research reports. It is an association that is all about influence — an influence that depends on a carefully honed image of objectivity, expertise and high moral tone. So it was perhaps a little awkward that a key member of staff was found to have such a treasure trove of Nazi regalia.

Every year, Human Rights Watch puts out up to 100 glossy reports — essentially mini books — and 600-700 press releases, according to Daly, a former journalist for The Independent.

Some conflict zones get much more coverage than others. For instance, HRW has published five heavily publicised reports on Israel and the Palestinian territories since the January 2009 war.

In 20 years they have published only four reports on the conflict in Indian-controlled Kashmir, for example, even though the conflict has taken at least 80,000 lives in these two decades, and torture and extrajudicial murder have taken place on a vast scale. Perhaps even more tellingly, HRW has not published any report on the postelection violence and repression in Iran more than six months after the event.

When I asked the Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson if HRW was ever going to release one, she said: “We have a draft, but I’m not sure I want to put one out.” Asked the same question, executive director Kenneth Roth told me that the problem with doing a report on Iran was the difficulty of getting into the country.

I interviewed a human-rights expert at a competing organisation in Washington who did not wish to be named because “we operate in a very small world and it’s not done to criticise other human-rights organisations”. He told me he was “not surprised” that HRW has still not produced a report on the violence in Iran: “They are thinking about how it’s going to be used politically in Washington. And it’s not a priority for them because Iran is just not a bad guy that they are interested in highlighting. Their hearts are not in it. Let’s face it, the thing that really excites them is Israel.”

Noah Pollak, a New York writer who has led some of the criticisms against HRW, points out that it cares about Palestinians when maltreated by Israelis, but is less concerned if perpetrators are fellow Arabs. For instance, in 2007 the Lebanese army shelled the Nahr al Bared refugee camp near Tripoli (then under the control of Fatah al Islam radicals), killing more than 100 civilians and displacing 30,000. HRW put out a press release — but it never produced a report.

Such imbalance was at the heart of a public dressing-down that shook HRW in October. It came from the organisation’s own founder and chairman emeritus, the renowned publisher Robert Bernstein, who took it to task in The New York Times for devoting its resources to open and democratic societies rather than closed ones.

He said: “It broke my heart to write that article… Of course open societies should be watched very carefully, but HRW is one of the very few organisations that is supposed to go into closed societies. Why should HRW be covering Guantanamo? It’s already covered by a lot of other organisations.”

Associates of Garlasco have told me that there had long been tensions between Garlasco and HRW’s Middle East Division in New York — perhaps because he sometimes stuck his neck out and did not follow the HRW line. Garlasco himself apparently resented what he felt was pressure to sex up claims of Israeli violations of laws of war in Gaza and Lebanon, or to stick by initial assessments even when they turned out to be incorrect.

In June 2006, Garlasco had alleged that an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed seven people had been caused by Israeli shelling. However, after seeing the details of an Israeli army investigation that closely examined the relevant ballistics and blast patterns, he subsequently told the Jerusalem Post that he had been wrong and that the deaths were probably caused by an unexploded munition in the sand. But this went down badly at Human Rights Watch HQ in New York, and the admission was retracted by an HRW press release the next day.

Since the Garlasco affair blew up, critics of Human Rights Watch have raised questions about other appointments. An Israeli newspaper revealed that Joe Stork, the deputy head of HRW’s Middle East department, was a radical leftist who put out a magazine in the 1970s that praised the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. In 1976 he attended an anti-Zionist conference in Baghdad hosted by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Stork’s boss, Sarah Leah Whitson, and most of his colleagues in the Middle East department of Human Rights Watch, also have activist backgrounds — it was typical that one newly hired researcher came to HRW from the extremist anti-Israel publication Electronic Intifada — unlikely to reassure anyone who thinks that human-rights organisations should be non-partisan. While it may be hard to find people who are genuinely neutral about Middle East politics, theoretically an organisation like HRW would not select as its researchers people who are so evidently on one side.

While HRW was dealing with the fallout from the Garlasco affair, it was already on the defensive as a result of criticism of a fundraising effort in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s worst human-rights violators. This involved two dinners for members of the Saudi elite in Riyadh, at which Sarah Leah Whitson curried favour with her hosts by boasting about HRW’s “battles” with pro-Israel pressure groups, such as NGO Monitor.

I asked the HRW executive director Kenneth Roth about the controversy that surrounded the Saudi dinners. He said: “Because somebody is the victim of a repressive government, should they have no right to contribute to a human-rights organisation?” Even if they had been invited, few victims would have been able to make the dinners — most Saudi dissidents are either in prison or live abroad in exile.
This is exactly the hubris and doubletalk that we have seen time and time again from HRW over Garlasco. There is zero evidence that the Saudi fundraising dinner had a single Saudi dissident or critic in attendance, yet HRW defends itself as if that was the focus of the dinner - not to line its pockets with money from people who share its loathing for Israel.

Many of those on the left of the human-rights “community” may feel conflicting emotions when it comes to dealing with radical Islam, as if the former is somehow a dangerous distraction from the real struggle. In 2006 Scott Long, the director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights programme at Human Rights Watch, attacked the British campaigner Peter Tatchell, accusing him of racism, Islamophobia and colonialism for having the temerity to lead a campaign against Iran’s executions of homosexuals — a campaign that Long believed was unconstructive and based on “a Western social-constructionist trope”.

Human Rights Watch does perform a useful task, but its critics raise troubling questions that go beyond Garlasco’s hobby or raising money from Saudis. Why put such effort into publicising alleged human-rights violations in some countries but not others? Why does HRW seem so credulous of civilian witnesses in places like Gaza and Afghanistan but so sceptical of anyone in a uniform?

It may be that organisations like HRW that depend on the media for their profile — and therefore their donations — concentrate too much on places that the media already cares about.

HRW’s reaction to the scandals has perhaps cost it more credibility than the scandals themselves. It has revealed an organisation that does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others.
The only thing that this article didn't mention was HRW's crude use of sockpuppets to defend itself during the Garlsaco affair.

Read the whole thing.

Gaza journalists admit Hamas censorship - including BBC

From JPost:
A delegation of Palestinian journalists from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank toured Tel Aviv on Thursday, as part of an initiative to build bridges between the Arab media and their peers in Israel.

Among those present were three reporters from the Gaza Strip and two from the West Bank. The reporters work for a variety of news outlets, both in the Arabic and English-speaking worlds....

One of the journalists, Palestinian TV broadcaster Lana Shaheen, said she appreciated the opportunity to meet fellow reporters in Israel and described the difficulties of being a reporter in the Gaza Strip.

...Shaheen says she has to contend with significant censorship from Hamas on what journalists can report from the Gaza Strip. Such limits make it very difficult to present a completely objective picture of the situation on the ground.

Shaheen said “to some extent” Hamas controls what they can report. She used the example of a friend who works for the BBC who produced a report on the rather widespread making of homemade wine in Gaza, “and the next day we receive a statement from a Hamas spokesman saying they are supporting the enemy and this is immoral.”
The question is, did the BBC end up running the story anyway?

I couldn't find any such BBC story, although AFP covered it last year. Apparently, the BBC caves to Islamist demands on how "objective" its news coverage can be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Operation Luring Idiots"

The fatal exchange of gunfire in Gaza on Friday between IDF troops and Islamic Jihad/Hamas terrorists was a named operation, according to a number of Arabic sources.

While IDF sources deny that there was an ambush, Hamas claims that it was an ambush operation.

The Arabic media is calling it "Operation Luring Idiots." Which makes it appear that the goal was indeed to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Zahi Hawass: "I will not allow any Jew to pray in restored synagogue"

Zahi Hawass, the Jew-hating general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and Egypt's top archaeologist, has announced that he will not allow any Jew to pray in the restored Maimonides synagogue in Cairo.

He told a Muslim scientific forum that "his decision to close the temple was a reaction to Israeli attacks on Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem."

He stressed that he would treat the Maimonides synagogue the same as any other Egyptian antiquities, and that the decision to cancel the opening rededication ceremony of the synagogue was to keep history and politic separated.

But he would not allow any Jew or Israeli to pray there and he would not allow the Egyptian Jewish community to administer the site. He also said that this was a reaction to "provocative practices that carried out by the Jews in their celebration which was held in the temple." He was referring to the dancing and drinking of wine, which he felt offended a billion Muslims.

He said that Egypt still intended to restore ancient synagogues, and the next one to be worked on was the Temple of the Prophet Daniel in Alexandria.

Earlier today, Palestine Today (link not available) quoted Hawass as saying that the very opening of the synagogue was a "slap in the face" of Israel, showing that Egypt is a tolerant country.

To him, Egyptian synagogues are museums that are meant to promote the idea that Egyptians are open-minded towards Judaism, even as he shows that he is not tolerant at all towards Jews.

Obama ensures that terror has no consequences

From YNet:
The Obama Administration is demanding that Israel hand over more West Bank land to exclusive PA control, including the Abu-Dis area adjacent to Jerusalem, Palestinian sources told Ynet Thursday.

According to the US vision, the move will take place as part of reverting to the state that prevailed in the West Bank before the outbreak of the last Intifada.

"The most significant demand is to restore the situation to what it was on the eve of the Intifada," one source said.

Because what could possibly be wrong with turning back the clock to the day before a war began that killed a thousand Israeli civilians?

Starting and losing a war has consequences in every part of the world except for one. Since 1967, the world - and "international law" as interpreted by most - is fixated on the idea that the Arabs can start all the wars they want against Israel. If they lose, international pressure will ensure that the previous status quo can be returned to, so there are no consequences for losing.

We have seen Egypt, Syria, the PLO, the PLO again, Hezbollah and Hamas start wars with Israel, secure in the knowledge that they will not lose anything of consequence if they lose the war. Just expendable people who are less important than "The Struggle" and perhaps a few years of negotiations and pressure.

It wasn't that many years ago that Israelis were putting their lives on the line in order to take a bus or go to a restaurant. Their government finally went on the offensive to fix this intolerable situation - it built a fence, it took actions against terrorists, it added checkpoints both in the territories and all over Israel itself that every citizen had to go through many times daily, and it took actions to stop giving Hamas materials to build rockets and tunnels with.

All those defensive actions, meant to save lives, appear to be now "unacceptable," in the term that the Obama administration uses with serious conviction against Israel and with fake conviction against Iran.

Now, the surviving Palestinian Arab leaders who wholeheartedly supported the intifada are being given an opportunity to turn back the clock, so they can come up with a new way to destroy Israel without losing any leverage.

The strategy is simple. When the Arabs win, militarily or politically, they win. When Israel wins, it is a draw at best. So all the Arabs have to do is keep trying.

While the White House thinks in terms of four-year chunks of time, the Arabs think in terms of centuries. To them, the Crusades were a mere blip in time.

And so is Israel.

So, backed by Westerners who cling to the false hope that a temporary peace treaty will somehow stop worldwide Islamic terror, the Arabs can keep trying to shave parts of Israel off until there is nothing left. After a Palestinian Arab state will come demands for the Arab parts of Israel, then demands for the 1947 partition lines, then demands for Arabs to "return" to lands that they never owned to begin with. There will be demands for "Palestine" to have full control over its airspace, to have the full ability to invite Iran or Syria to place an army on its territory, all in the name of fairness and independence.

The demands,and the supporting wars, will not stop because there is no incentive to stop them. They know that the West will always want to turn the clock back if they lose, so why fear losing?

There is a basic fact that should be self-evident, but years of double-talk and wishful thinking has rendered it invisible in the Middle East:

The only way towards real peace is if both sides have something to lose by its absence.

Another bomb in Gaza

Yet another bomb exploded in Gaza near a security compound, the latest in a series of such bombings aimed at police in recent months.

Earlier this week, Hamas' interior minister blamed the bombs on "teenagers."

The secret Jewish plan (guest post by Zvi)

In response to my posting on Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass' obsession with the Jews, where he declares his love for them but then informs us helpfully that the Jews have no history, culture or redeeming value, regular guestblogger Zvi reveals The Plan:


WARNING LABEL: THIS COMMENT CONTAINS SARCASM. JEWISH SARCASM HAS BEEN PROVED BY RESEARCHERS AT BIR ZEIT UNIVERSITY TO HAVE PRODUCED BIRTH DEFECTS IN GAZA. THE PAPER, PUBLISHED IN THE PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL "LET THE JEWISH PIGS AND MONKEYS DIE", SAYS THAT THE RESEARCHERS WERE UNABLE TO RULE OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF RETROACTIVE BIRTH DEFECTS. IF YOU WANT TO AVOID RETROACTIVELY RECEIVING BIRTH DEFECTS, DO NOT READ THIS COMMENT. AT ALL COSTS, AVOID READING EVEN THIS SENTENCE! OH, WAIT. YOU ALREADY DID. SORRY.

You might as well read the rest, then.

We're trying to humiliate Arabs, you know. Especially Egyptians. That's our obsession, the reason why we Jews live. It's the reason why we wake up in the morning.

And of COURSE we control the world. It makes SUCH perfect sense. Using this world control - which the Nazis used to rant about, so very unlike the wise and philo-Semitic leaders of Iran and Syria and Israel's great friend, Egypt - we ensured that 6 million of our loved ones would be murdered across the European continent. Yes! This was because our parents and grandparents knew that they would not miss their families anyway, and knew - clever Jews! - that survivors would be able to come to the Middle East and be locked up in British internment camps in Cyprus for several years.

Of course, we knew in advance, because it was part of the Plan, that the detainees would eventually be able to come to Israel and have the unusual opportunity to be attacked from all sides by 3 armies and their local allies, without an air force or tanks or even sufficient small arms to use in the defense. We knew, because it was in the Plan, that a few million Jews would somehow survive this kind of onslaught and would then be able to live on a fingernail clipping of land, half of which is desert, the 151st largest country in this Jew-controlled world. [And one of the few areas in the region without any oil - EoZ]. Yes indeed, we knew from the start that Jews would manage to live under bombardment in this snippet of a country, to which of course we have no real connection, because it's really "Muslim land", but which we "occupy" simply in order to humiliate the Arabs! We could really live anywhere in the world and continue to rule the planet - Tehran, for example, or Oslo, or Barcelona, or Baghdad. But Jews live in Israel for a Great and Wonderful Purpose - to drive Mahmoud al-Zahar nuts.

We set it all up in advance, because it was our plan all along to get massacred and expelled five or 6 times! Or was it 20 or 100 or 1000 times? Elder, when did we cook up this brilliant scheme, again? The year 1900? Or was it 1500? Or 100? Part of the Plan is that I don't know what the Plan is! Our diabolical cleverness astounds me whenever I think about it!

[Zvi - everyone knows that it is in the Talmud, but in the censored parts.]

Our incredible, magical control of the world allowed us to ensure that 1 million of us would be driven from homes in Arab and Muslim countries *cough Egypt cough* by Nazi-inspired repression, pogroms and threats of genocide, and allowed us to ensure that these refugees ended up in tent cities near present-day Sderot, where nobody but the Jews shouldered the burden of helping them and integrating them into Israel's population.

Our control further ensures that the Palestinians' childrens' childrens' children are not allowed to return to the countries from which many of their fathers and grandfathers came, and are living in squalid camps, supported by the taxes of people whom they hate. This is a big part of the Plan - to make sure that these people are kept on the dole, all the while being brainwashed to kill us.

Our control ensures that Israel gets rocketed and nobody worries about it, and that Israel is continually and uniquely attacked by one United Nations resolution after another, while most of Europe and Asia watch the spectacle. We are very clever, we who ensure that no other national state on earth receives such "special handling!"

Our absolute control of the world enables us to ensure that otherwise "caring" governments don't raise a finger to help Jews who are physically attacked or threatened in places like Oslo and Malmo, and it's why, when a Jew displays an Israeli flag in his window in Germany, we ensure that the German authorities make him take it down - while allowing a crowd of vicious anti-Semites to issue threats of violence against us without challenge.

Our pernicious control allows us to arrange for The Guardian and Aftonbladet to spread blood libels about our people and our lone national state; and because we control the world SO completely, we are able to make sure that our national state is singled out in this manner, that no other state on earth receives such a constant barrage of manufactured hatred. We ensure that when other states slaughter thousands of civilians in cold blood (e.g. Sri Lanka and Sudan) over the course of a few weeks, this is virtually ignored! Of course we do! We want the media to focus exclusively on insane, trumped-up political attacks on OUR lone national state. Because we are so diabolically clever and have such magical control over the planet. All part of the Plan.

And we control all of the money and all of the business! This is because we control the world's oil resources! Haha! Just seeing if you were on your toes! Okay, so we don't control the oil. But "everybody knows" that we control the banks - never mind the fact that the boards of directors of most of the world's biggest banks include either no Jews at all, or very few. We do it with Joo Rays (we're good with this high-tech stuff)! What else do we control? The making of Kosher l'Pesach food - very important. Oh, right, I forgot that we control the media; we use it to ensure that our lone national state is constantly bashed for behavior that is ignored when anyone else does it. All part of our clever plan! (It is a VERY CLEVER plan! ; - ) )

And we control elected governments, and NGOs! Never mind that there are only 11 million of us in the world. Pay no attention to the fact that governments blatantly don't give a fig what we think about Jerusalem, about Iran, or about most other major topics. But have no fear. We control with our JOO RAYS! We're mind-controlling politicians with our wily ways. Except when we're not. Do not be distracted by the relentless way in which major NGOs bash Israel in order to raise money from oil dictators. We control them!

And oh, boy! Our cabal is such a secret cabal! Every Jew participates in this network! Except for Norman Finkelstein. And Jeremy Ben-Ami. And just about all of the left-wing Jews. And the Neturei Karta. And the Israeli supreme court. And the settlers. And the millions of other Jewish people who can't be bothered to show up at the synagogue. No, wait! Sorry! I forgot! We're ALL conspirators; we just don't realize it! I don't realize it either. It's such a clever plan that nobody in the world knows what the plan is! We have endless, friendly debates about it in public forums, using such friendly pet names as "heartless neocon", "self-hating dhimmi", "naive liberal" and (whispers) "Zionist". Yes, Zahi is right. We Jews are so powerful because we are completely and totally united! Bibi is in league with Noam Chomsky! And Tzipi Livni! And Amira Hass! Danny Ayalon is consorting with Rahm Emanuel! And we have kept all of this a secret for thousands of years!

Oh, it's a fiendishly clever Plan.

Sssshh.

And it's all about humiliating Egypt. By signing a peace treaty with it and giving back the Sinai. Oops, wait. I think the idea is to humiliate the Arab world by continuing to breathe. Elder, help! I've lost the threads of our super-secret conspiracy!

[It is all very complicated, as you can imagine. A lot of it is centered around lawn darts, SETI, women's pro wrestling and shaitel machers. When you reach the rank of Elder Daled Zayin you will gain more knowledge.]

And only wise Zahi can detect our secret control! Wallah! It's a miracle!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

UNHRC says Israel must compensate Hamastan

From Arab News:
Israel should pay Palestinians reparations for loss and damages suffered during last year’s war in the Gaza Strip, the UN Human Rights Council said Thursday.

The 47-nation body didn’t call for similar payments by Palestinians to Israelis. The resolution was opposed by the United States and five European countries.

The council, which has been criticized for excessively focusing on Israel in the past, approved four other resolutions condemning the Jewish state on Wednesday.
Here are some expenses that the UN did not feel worthy of compensation:

* The cost of fortifying homes and schools in Sderot and other Negev communities (over $75million spent so far, an additional $150 million needed)

* The cost of 32 public bomb shelters ($1.5 million) and additional ones in Ashkelon ($2 million)

* Building new rocket-resistant schools in the Negev ($18 million)

* Paying for treatments of thousands of residents with post traumatic stress

* Compensating for those killed and injured

* Compensation for the lost property values in Sderot and surrounding communities

* Compensation for lost productivity of Negev residents

* Compensation for the cost of developing the Iron Dome system and any new systems to defend against rockets and mortars

* Compensation for the entire cost of Operation Cast Lead, a war that Israel would not have had to wage if the rockets weren't being fired. This includes the huge amount that Israel was forced to spend to minimize civilian casualties, dropping leaflets, calling residents to warn them to leave, the intelligence behind accurately targeting terrorists.

In the end, no one has yet come up with an alternative to Operation Cast Lead that would have stopped the rocket fire. In the absence of any real alternative, it appears that it is Hamas that owes the residents of Gaza compensation for starting the war.

Egypt's top archaeologist really hates Jews

Zahi Hawass is the general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. As Barry Rubin recently pointed out, he was quoted in the New York Times as saying "I love the Jews, they are our cousins!"

Which would be great, except that MEMRI translated an a TV interview he gave last year:

Zahi Hawass: "For 18 centuries, [the Jews] were dispersed throughout the world. They went to America and took control of its economy. They have a plan. Although they are few in number, they control the entire world."

Interviewer: "Dr. Hawass, you are a great historian and archaeologist. I would like to figure out the mystery of how 15 million people, 5 or 6 million of whom do not share this vile Jewish logic... With regard to Israel and Zionism – we are talking about 7 or 8 million. How is it possible that these 7 or 8 million have taken control of the entire world, and have convinced the world of their cause, while we, over one billion Muslims, cannot convince the world of our cause? How would you explain this from a historical perspective?"

Zahi Hawass: "The reason is that they are always united over a single view. They always move together, even if in the wrong direction. We, on the other hand, are divided. If even two Arab countries could be in agreement, our voice would be stronger. Look at the control they have over America and the media."

Interviewer: "So in your opinion, the secret lies in unity?"

Zahi Hawass: "Yes. It was unity that gave them this power..."

Interviewer: "You mean from a historical perspective?"

Zahi Hawass: "Of course."

In an earlier article in Asharq Al Awsat, he said " "The concept of killing women, children and elderly people... seems to run in the blood of the Jews of Palestine" and that "the only thing that the Jews have learned from history is methods of tyranny and torment - so much so that they have become artists in this field."

Well, this distinguished historian, who pretends to be a type of Indiana Jones on his website, now has another article in the pages of Al Awsat al Asharq, saying something really amazing:
What Israel is doing now is a violation of the rules and values, and the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Mosque of Bilal Ibn Rabah [The Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb] has no connection whatsoever with Jewish history, it is a product of and part of the culture and heritage of Palestine.
He must also think that the Talmud Yerushalmi is also "part of the culture and heritage of Palestine." After all, it is sometimes referred to as the "Palestinian Talmud."

I just wonder what kinds of mental gymnastics Hawass has to go through to claim that the burial places of the founders of Judaism - a fact admitted by Muslims - have "no connection whatsoever with Jewish history." It must hurt.

"Arabs should use Holocaust as a political weapon"

In an ironic op-ed at Asharq Al Awsat called "The Crocodile Tears of the Holocaust Industry,"

The corollary to this argument is that if, at some time, Holocaust denial becomes a more effective argument, then that would be the preferred weapon.

The only thing missing from his argument is any reference to the truth. Truth, he believes, is completely irrelevant - absurd Holocaust analogies must be used as a club to beat Jews with, because that hurts them more than denying the Holocaust does, and the goal, of course, is to hurt the Jews.

The ironic part is that the same people who accuse Jews of politicizing the Holocaust to justify Zionism are now politicizing the Holocaust to denounce Zionism. Somehow, to them, this is not a problem.

And the reason is, as mentioned, that the truth is not a factor in this battle.

Arab analyst notices Abbas' tactic of passivity

From an op-ed in Asharq al-Awsat by its editor, Osman Mirghani:

The Palestinian situation is now at its worst stage with division and conflict between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Even if reconciliation efforts are successful, mutual confidence between the two parties is something that may remain absent for a long time. This would mean continuation of a state of weakness and the absence of true bargaining power. To be clear, the Palestinians should not expect an Arab miracle that will result in all their dreams and aspirations being fulfilled. The current Arab situation is extremely frail, and even if there is a desire to take serious steps to support the Palestinian negotiator, this is something that would require the Arab position to derive its strength from the cohesion and strength of the Palestinian position.

It is not logical for the government of President Mahmoud Abbas to pin all of its negotiation hopes on the US effort, just as it is not acceptable for Hamas to stall reconciliation and subject the fate of the Palestinians in Gaza to the calculations of Tehran. While Fatah and Hamas fight over power, Palestinian suffering is increasing; their lands are being confiscated, and the dream of a Palestinian state is diminishing day by day. What is currently required of the Palestinian leadership is for it to rise to the level of responsibility and stop jeopardizing the rights of its people. Without complete reconciliation, neither the Arab states nor Washington will be able to do anything for the Palestinians.



While I obviously disagree with Mirghani's politics, it is refreshing to see an Arab call out the Palestinian Arabs for their lack of leadership and their waiting game. Abbas pretends that the US will create a state for him with no effort on his part, and while the direction of the US has changed, in the end he will need to make decisions that he has been assiduously avoiding - because of his fear of criticism.

Chances are, he will continue to avoid these decisions until he dies, because Abbas has never shown the slightest ability to lead.

Jews distribute pamphlet to Muslims asking them to leave

A pamphlet that some religious Jews distributed to Jerusalem Arabs, asking them to leave the Holy Land, was translated by Firas Press to Arabic.

It was distributed two weeks ago and no organization claimed responsibility.

It is remarkably polite.

The pamphlet starts with a Koranic quote:
"Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way - except in the case of those of them who do wrong - saying, 'We have belief in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him."

Appeal to all Muslims living in the Land of Israel

We want to explain to you in this letter the opinion of the Torah for the accommodation of non-Jews in the land of Israel. According to the Torah, every human being is created from the same God, and should be treated with respect. Do not look at the Jewish religion as racist or inhumane, this is a scriptural duty.

The origin of our religion is faith in God, King of the world, and according to our belief and faith God has given us the Torah and the commandments, messages and we must do.

In the Holy Qur'an there is no contradiction between what the Bible ordered us to do and what is commanded you by the Koran. Jews must assume the duties of the Torah, and in the Torah it is written in several places that the land of Israel was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants. We are descendants of the ancient people of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is also written in the Torah that the land of Israel, this small land, is the property of the Jewish people only, and others are prohibited from permanently living here.

Also written in the books of the Prophets is that due to how we're doing the Divine will, the Jewish people were exiled for 2000 years. Now the return of the people of Israel to the Land of Israel, as promised the prophets, has occurred, and it is time for the people of Israel to implement this divine command, so we ask you to leave the land of Israel.

We say that from a religious point of view, to ensure peace in the land of Israel, we explain to you the biblical and Qur'anic statements...

This is what the Lord God said to Moses:

Numbers 33:50-56:
50 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying: 51 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places. 53 And ye shall drive out the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein; for unto you have I given the land to possess it. 54 And ye shall inherit the land by lot according to your families--to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer thou shalt give the less inheritance; wheresoever the lot falleth to any man, that shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers shall ye inherit. 55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then shall those that ye let remain of them be as thorns in your eyes, and as pricks in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land wherein ye dwell. 56 And it shall come to pass, that as I thought to do unto them, so will I do unto you. :

In the Holy Qur'an:

Surat Al-Isra: And we said to the Children of Israel afterwards, "Go live into this land. When the final prophecy comes to pass, we will summon you all in one group."

...Surat Al-Maida: "Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto Allah) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah's Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers. "

After you saw the heavenly words, and because Islam is a religion of morality you should not be opposed to this - and you have other countries where you can live - and you will understand that we must do as is written in the Torah.

Because it is not easy to leave millions of people without financial assistance, we suggest that you have to negotiate with the State of Israel (which reflects the promises of the prophets), that you can obtain economic aid for moving elsewhere.

When we all obey God, we can live in peace, we and you, our children and your children for many years, as the Prophet Isaiah: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Today's PalArab news (3/25/10)

Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal held a "secret meeting" with Saudi Arabian leaders.

Meshal was also interviewed on Al Jazeera and admitted that there was a "real crisis" in relations with Egypt because of Hamas' refusal to sign a reconciliation agreement with Fatah.

Israel agreed to allow the body of Church of the Nativity terrorist Abdullah Daoud to be buried near his family in Nablus. Daoud died in Algeria following heart surgery, and the PalArab media invariably refer to him as a "martyr."

Meanwhile, a "specialist" in prisoner affairs said that the negotiated exile of the Nativity terrorists was against international and humanitarian law and called for their return.

Palestinian Arabs to complain about Hurva at Arab Summit

At the Arab Summit to be held in Libya this weekend, the Palestinian Arab delegation will present a report detailing their complaints about Jews rebuilding the Hurva synagogue.

The first issue is that they still believe that the discredited prophecy attributed to the Vilna Gaon associating the Hurva reconstruction with the building of the Third Temple on March 16th is guiding Israeli policy.

Their second problem is that the Hurva is to be administered, they say, by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, thus tying Hurva to the Temple Mount.

The third issue is that the "so-called" Jewish Quarter never existed and the Hurva was built on top of a Muslim neighborhood.

They say that an archaeologist named Meir Ben David agreed that it was not an archaeological site "contrary to Jewish claims."

They claim that the Hurva is "tens of meters" from the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Finally, they complain about the intolerable fact that the Hurva dome, at 24 meters, appears to be higher than the Dome of the Rock and is meant to hide the Temple Mount and make the Hurva appear more prominent from many angles.

I love Palestinian Arab "scholarship."

Incidentally, the best pictures of the Hurva come from Muslim sites complaining about it.

The myth and reality of Jerusalem (guest post)

From Zvi, in reaction to my post:
Jerusalem, like the Jewish people and the Jewish state, is the subject of vast and sweeping myths and legends that deeply color how people view it.

Many of the common myths about the Jewish people are monster stories (though some are "positive" myths about business acumen or high intelligence), and when you read opinion pieces, you can often see the myths poking up like rocks at low tide from the sea of opinion - if the opinion pieces are not simply parroting or inventing more lies. There are an awful lot of people out there who find it almost impossible to see us for who we really are; they see, instead, creatures composed of the myths they have learned and the fear, hatred or rivalry that they feel. They are so trapped in their prejudices that it is very difficult for them to escape. It takes a personal, conscious effort, and most people who have deeply bought into the myths have too much invested to make that effort.

Jerusalem, too, is shrouded in veils of mythology. Many people simply do not see it as a living place. They see it as a Beacon or a Cause or a Goal or - for many world leaders - a Problem - not as a place in the real world where 760000 people live their lives. In Jerusalem today, people were born. Kids went to school and played in the streets. People eat lunch together. People worked out. People blogged. They took showers. They met the love of their life. They got drunk and had a fight with their landlords. They proposed. They got divorced. They slept and will wake up in the morning with a hangover. They are raising kids. They will watch the sunset tomorrow. They will drop their laptop by accident this week. They are survivors of suicide bombings and survivors of Auschwitz and survivors of Israel's war of independence and survivors of stroke. They watch television, they paint pictures, they order pizzas, they fix the bathroom plumbing and ultimately, they die.

The picture below is not one of the standard "Jerusalem vista" pictures with the Temple Mount or other points of interest to tourists and fanatics; in that sense, it is much closer to the real life led by hundreds of thousands of people.

Here's a thought experiment. Imagine that your city was forbidden to build - anything. Forbidden to tear down illegal construction. Now go talk to your local city planners and ask if they have heard that there is a new proposal to freeze all new construction.

They won't believe you, because that's insane.

Now pick one window somewhere in this picture:
Ask who lives in that apartment. Ask what happens to her as the city fossilizes because foreign leaders want to impose that insane plan on her city.

Because they want to treat it like a symbol instead of a real city of real people.
You may also want to check out Proud Zionist's satiric view of the situation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Elder gets ripped off by - a "Palestinian" news blog

An alert reader pointed out to me that one of my posts from last month was copied, verbatim, including original links, into the Palestine Note blog.

The author is given as one "Mohamed Naseredin."

The usual contributors to that blog are people like MJ Rosenberg, Jonathan Cook and J-Street's Jeremy Ben-Ami. Not exactly the company I normally keep!

I get nominated by Watchers Council

My post, Obama the Actor, got nominated for the Best Non-council Post of the Watchers Council - by the Watcher himself, otherwise known as Soccer Dad (who I didn't realize got promoted to the top spot in the Council.)

I appreciate the honor. I have received a number of nominations over the years, and have won (to the best of my memory) twice.

Here is my last winning post, from 2008.

The Elder Haggadah is still available

Last year I made a religious Zionist Haggadah, using commentaries from various Internet sites. About a thousand people downloaded it.

I had hoped to clean it up, re-edit it to eliminate any potential copyright issues and maybe make a hardcover version this year, but I never did find the time. So you can still get last year's version for free, here.

The Israeli Left needs to step up

There is a basic disconnect between the Western understanding of Israeli politics and the reality.

Westerners assume that the Israeli left is just like the American or European left as far as the Middle East is concerned. The EU in general, and the Obama administration in particular, have been conditioned by the media to think in simplistic terms of "Netanyahu=Likud=Hardliner=Intransigent" and that if only they would get rid of him, peace will reign.

They simply do not get that the vast majority of Israelis, right and left, agree that the majority of Jewish settlers must remain in Israel. The major settlement blocs are not up for negotiation. And, as a result, building within existing boundaries is not a problem.

Of course there is disagreement between the right and the left on many issues, but the positions of J Street and Eric Yoffe are so far divorced from that of the Israeli public as to make one wonder how out of touch they are.

The left-leaning Labor Party is a major component of the ruling coalition in Israel, and it is time for them to step up. They need to be writing the op-eds. They need to be visiting AIPAC conventions. The people who are adored by the Western Left - Peres and, to some extent, Barak - need to clearly articulate the red lines and the reason that they are red.

In recent weeks the discourse has changed from negotiating over the items that must be negotiated to negotiating over items that practically every Israeli thought was already settled. Abbas, by being far more intransigent than Netanyahu ever was, has succeeded in getting the Obama administration to allow him to change the rules of the game. He has added conditions that had never been demanded before, and the US is playing the role he intends it to play - pressure Israel to adhere to his new rules.

It is true that the Obama administration has reneged on agreements made with Israel, both recent and not so recent. But I think it is also true that the White House thinks that most Israelis agree with its "tough love" initiative.

During the Gaza war, Bibi Netanyahu went on a tour to explain the Israeli position - even though his party was not in power. Right now, it is time for not only Peres and Barak but also for Tzipi Livni to start speaking to the American and European Left and explain their positions clearly. It is time for them to write the op-eds for major newspapers and for them to speak to presidents and prime ministers. It is up to them to explain the difference between the mainstream Israeli left and the far left fringe that is misrepresented in the media. Otherwise, Israel is in danger of having a catastrophe imposed on it, a disaster that will not distinguish between the Left and the Right.

Add paranoia to Jeff Gates' antisemitism

On odd occasions I have linked to the rantings of far left lunatic pundit Jeff Gates. The most recent link was when Gates asserted that the airplane underwear bomber was a Zionist, and beforehand. Previously he was used as an object lesson of how lies spread among the anti-Israel web, and before that for his classically anti-semitic piece on the Jewish lobby.

Now he is in the pages of Al Ahram, talking about anti-semitism itself. He implies that Jews are behind everything from 9/11 to America's economic problems to the Iraq war, and then asks rhetorically whether it is anti-semitic to ask these questions.

Hmmm.

More humorously, here's where he descends into real paranoia:
Early on in this challenge, I included the noun “Jew” in a Google search. I received in return an automated response from the ADL implying that I was an anti-Semite. Why? More importantly, how did a Google response appear in my e-mail inbox — automatically — from the ADL?

I don't know about you, but I have Googled "Jew" in the past (as well as just now) and never received an automated email immediately afterwards from the ADL. If a Google search ever resulted in any automated email, privacy advocates would topple Google itself.

But Gates, for whom truth is never a high priority, is now claiming that the ADL has a deal with Google to warn people who search for the wrong word.Which gives a good indication of how trustworthy his other amazing facts about Jews and Israel are.

"Palestine Today" to publish list of news thieves

The Islamic Jihad-aligned "Palestine Today" site is sick and tired of other Arabic news sites stealing its articles, and they plan to issue a "black list" of article thieves.

Because nothing ticks off a publication that supports attacks on civilians more than copyright violations.

(One of the violators is, no doubt, Firas Press, in which practically every article is an identical copy of an article from another publication, without ever giving credit.)

Malaysian politicians accused of Jew-cooties

From The Edge (Malaysia):
The opposition does not use Zionist communications consultants to woo nor attract support, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Azmin Ali on Wednesday, March 24.

Azmin, who is also the Gombak member of parliament (MP), also debunked the theory that opposition and PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh-PKR) was a Jewish agent.

During the debate on the royal address last Wednesday, Khairy Jamaluddin (Rembau-BN) had questioned Anwar on his relationship with former US ambassador to Indonesia Paul Wolfowitz.

“While it’s true that the Permatang Pauh MP has known Wolfowitz for a long time, their relationship has not reduced Anwar’s Malay-ness or his faith,” said Azmin in Dewan Rakyat.

But Zamin did make Zionist accusations:

Gombak MP Azmin Ali has urged Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to come clean about his alleged secret meeting with Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Paris last year.

“I want the defence minister and Umno deputy president to come into this House and explain Umno’s motive for meeting the Zionist at the Paris Air Show. Don’t deceive the Malays… don’t lie to the officers and don’t twist the facts,” he said in parliament.

It's nice to know that in the 21st century, politicians can still get mileage around meeting with Jews and Israelis.

(h/t to Meryl Yourish who coined the term "Jew-cooties.")

The world wants to kill Jerusalem

All the people who hyperventilate over new buildings, projects and plans for Jerusalem seem to forget the most basic fact there is: Jerusalem is a modern, living, growing city.

It is not a fossilized museum piece.

Jerusalem has not always been as dynamic as it is today. The portions of the city under Jordanian rule from 1948-67 did not grow to an real extent. In fact, the Jordanian municipality of Jerusalem was a mere 2 square miles in size. Its population decreased, and many citizens moved to Amman.

Under Israeli rule, however, Jerusalem has flourished. Its population has nearly tripled since 1967. It boundaries have grown in all directions.

Any vibrant city needs to make plans. Jerusalem, by its nature, requires very sensitive urban planning, as many of the religious populations want to remain in homogeneous areas but at the same time discrimination is to be discouraged. Children want to live near their parents. Growth is inevitable in a living city and it needs to be managed. Much of that management must be in terms of the mundane facets of everyday life - building approval, zoning laws, creating residential and business districts.

In Jerusalem it is even trickier, as you need to add enforcing the unique character of certain neighborhoods, protecting holy sites, and ensuring equal access to all.

The international community, however, wants to stop the municipality from acting as all cities must. It wants to treat every new initiative and approval as an international incident. It wants to give veto power over Jerusalem to people who do not live there, who never lived there and who showed no interest in the city when they had the means to do so.

In short, the world wants to kill Jerusalem.

The immediate consequence of President Obama's shortsighted and, frankly, stupid censure of Israel over the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood is that it is now open season on every single municipal project in Jerusalem, no matter how small or how important. Topics that were rightly ignored as a local issue are now considered international provocations. Reporters are now camped out near the Jerusalem municipal offices ready to create headlines for every new apartment expansion that gains approval. The neighborhoods that would remain under Israeli control in any realistic peace agreement are now considered up for grabs again, and this is emboldening the Arabs to demand more and more.

The main loser is Jerusalem itself.

One of the great ironies of the entire Palestinian Arab quest for independence is that the result would almost certainly be worse for the citizens of that very state. In the interests of a fake quest for "justice," the people for whom the justice is meant will lose. The quality of their lives will go down, and the odds are pretty good that sooner or later "Palestine" will turn into an Islamic theocracy with little concern for the rights of its members.

The same idiotic type of thinking is now being used to kill a beautiful city, a city that by any objective measure has grown, flourished and improved vastly while under Israeli rule.

Imagine if the Dutch wanted to re-assert their claim to New York City (which should properly be called New Amsterdam, in their theoretical lawsuit brought before the ICJ.) Imagine them getting UN resolutions to condemn any new New York planning until the parties could resolve their differences. This is effectively what is being demanded from Jerusalem today.

The world's most beautiful city is in danger of being choked to death by world politicians and diplomats. They don't care about the consequences of their actions. They think that they are as wise as Solomon but they really want to divide the baby in half.

Who will defend the Holy City? Who cares enough to make a stand to save Jerusalem?

A Church of the Nativity terrorist dies

One of the terrorists who defiled the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 has died.

48-year old Abdullah Daoud, known as "Abu Yusuf," was one the terrorists who was exiled in the aftermath of the standoff. He died in Algeria following an operation to repair a heart problem.

The terrorists had heavily damaged and booby-trapped the church. They also looted every gold item they could find.

Latest adventures in auto-translation

For some reason I have been seeing the phrase "high quality porn" sprinkled throughout the Google autotranslations of Arabic articles about politicians.

The Arabic word is الحمساوي and I have no idea if that is what it really means. But the first two letters are "Al", which means "the," and when they are deleted the word translates into "Hamas man" or "Hamas member." The connections between Hamas and pornography is still unclear to me.

In a similar vein, for the past six months or so at the al-Qassam Hamas website each "martyr" is invariably described as "Mujahid BeyondUnreal"مجاهد قسامي

which seems to indicate that they were good videogame players. In fact, the word is "Qassami", or simply members of the al-Qassam Brigades.

Dershowitz on Obama and Iran's bomb

Alan Dershowitz, a huge supporter of Obama in the 2008 elections, challenges the president in a strong Wall Street Journal piece:
Most people today are not aware that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain helped restore Great Britain's financial stability during the Great Depression and also passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits, pay pensions to retired workers and otherwise help those hit hard by the slumping economy. But history does remember his failure to confront Hitler. That is Chamberlain's enduring legacy.

So too will Iran's construction of nuclear weapons, if it manages to do so in the next few years, become President Barack Obama's enduring legacy. Regardless of his passage of health-care reform and regardless of whether he restores jobs and helps the economy recover, Mr. Obama will be remembered for allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. History will not treat kindly any leader who allows so much power to be accumulated by the world's first suicide nation—a nation whose leaders have not only expressed but, during the Iran-Iraq war, demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction.

If Iran were to become a nuclear power, there would be plenty of blame to go around. A National Intelligence Report, issued on President George W. Bush's watch, distorted the truth by suggestion that Iran had ended its quest for nuclear weapons. It also withheld the fact that U.S. intelligence had discovered a nuclear facility near Qum, Iran, that could be used only for the production of nuclear weapons. Chamberlain, too, was not entirely to blame for Hitler's initial triumphs. He became prime minister after his predecessors allowed Germany to rearm. Nevertheless, it is Chamberlain who has come to symbolize the failure to prevent Hitler's ascendancy. So too will Mr. Obama come to symbolize the failure of the West if Iran acquires nuclear weapons on his watch.

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