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Saturday, December 27, 2003

Shavua Tov


Dear [News Outlet]:
I don't understand why it's not mentioned in your news reports that
[Israeli] Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom issued a statement following the earthquake [in Iran], saying, "The Israeli people and government send their condolences to the Iranian people. The government and people of Israel feel the pain of this human tragedy facing the Iranian people, and despite all the differences of opinion, at these moments a mobilization of the entire international community is needed to help the injured and the families of the victims."
but...
"Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, a spokesman for Iran's Interior Ministry, said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organizations, with the exception of the Zionist regime."
The story's at the Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1072420674113

Signed,
[Your Name
Your Town and State]

Friday, December 26, 2003

Shalom,
Good Shabbos
Chag Sameach

http://www.memri.org/ticker.html
December 26, 2003
AN IRAQI DAILY REPORTS THAT ELEMENTS OF THE FORMER IRAQI INTELLIGENCE SERVICES LOYAL TO SADDAM HUSSEIN HAVE LEFT IRAQ FOR SOME ARAB COUNTRIES TO ASSASSINATE ARAB LEADERS WHO DIDN'T INTERVENE WITH THE UNITED STATES TO PREVENT THE WAR OR SUPPORT SADDAM BEFORE OR AFTER THE WAR. (AL-YAWM AL-AKHER, IRAQ, 12/25/03)

December 26, 2003
A SAUDI EDITORIAL SAYS THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM REPRESENTS MORE THAN THE COLLAPSE OF A REGIME. IT REPRESENTS THE VANISHING OF DREAMS OF THOSE WHO BELIEVED SADDAM WOULD PRODUCE NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO ELIMINATE ISRAEL'S EXISTENCE, UNITE THE ARAB NATION, AND LEAD IT TO VICTORY. (AL-RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA, 12/26/03)

December 26, 2003
AHMAD MAHER, THE EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WHO WAS ATTACKED BY PALESTINIANS AT AL-AQSA MOSQUE, WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR 3 DAYS UPON HIS RETURN TO CAIRO. THE PALESTINIAN DELEGATION TO THE ARAB LEAGUE CALLED THE INCIDENT 'AN ISRAELI CONSPIRACY INTENDED TO DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN THE PALESTINIAN AND EGYPTIAN RELATIONSHIP.' (AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT, LONDON, 12/26/03)

December 26, 2003
ADLI SADEQ, DEPUTY TO PA FOREIGN MINISTER NABIL SHA'ATH, WROTE IN THE PA DAILY AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDA: 'WE WILL PERSECUTE THE FOLLOWERS OF THE AMERICANS SO THAT THEY WILL BE AT THE BOTTOM OF SOCIETY.' (AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDA, PA, 12/25/03)

May the family and friends of our slain young people
be comforted
among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem


Relatives mourn over the body of Israeli Edva Fisher, who was killed
as a suicide bomb attack, at her funeral December 26, 2003. A bomber
blew himself up at a bus stop outside Tel Aviv on Thursday killing four Israelis.
ISRAEL OUT NO ARCHIVE REUTERS/Eli Dassa


There is that horrid "Israel Out" again. In the caption of such a photo,
it amounts to desecration.


WRITE TO PICTURES@REUTERS.COM

Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of 21-year-old Israeli army Staff Sergeant
Noam Leibovitch during his funeral in the central Israel
settlement of Elkana Friday, Dec. 26, 2003. Leibovich was one of four
Israelis killed Thursday when a Islamic Jihad suicide bomber blew himself
up in a bus station. The suicide bombing came minutes after an Israeli
airstrike in Gaza killed three Islamic Jihad militants and two civilians.

(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

[Note AP trying to make this into tit-for-tat, "cycle of violence" BS.
Suicide bombings are hardly impulsive; there is no way that this murder
of innocents was a response to the IDF strike in Gaza. /y
]

Aftershocks of War

by Charles Krauthammer

If you do nothing else today, read this and Caroline Glick below. You will have done your homework for one day.
"Libya Vows to Give Up Banned Weapons; Two Decades of Sanctions, Isolation Wore Down Gaddafi''
-- Washington Post headline, front-page news analysis, Dec. 20.


WASHINGTON -- Yeah, sure. After 18 years of American sanctions, Gaddafi randomly picks Dec. 19, 2003, as the day for his surrender. By amazing coincidence, Gaddafi's first message to Britain -- principal U.S. war ally and conduit to White House war councils -- occurs just days before the invasion of Iraq. And his final capitulation to U.S.-British terms occurs just five days after Saddam is fished out of a rat hole.

As Jay Leno would say, what are the odds? The nine months of negotiations with Libya perfectly frame the war on Iraq and the fall of Saddam. How is it possible to ignore the most blindingly obvious collateral benefits?

Imagine this kind of thinking 50 years ago: "Japan Surrenders --Years of War Deprivation Proved Too Much.''

Dateline Tokyo, Aug. 14, 1945. Japan capitulated yesterday to the allies, worn down by the accumulation of hardships from the war begun with the sudden outbreak of violence in Hawaii in December 1941. The housing shortage in Tokyo had become particularly acute, especially since the nights of March 9 and 10. And there also has appeared to be an abrupt downturn in recent economic activity in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sen. John Kerry was equally ridiculous in his explanation of the Libya deal: "An administration that scorns multilateralism and boasts about a rigid doctrine of military pre-emption has almost in spite of itself demonstrated the enormous potential for improving our national security through diplomacy.''

Unlike Howard Dean, Kerry is not a foreign policy ignoramus. Does he really believe that the Libyan surrender is a triumph of multilateralism? Does he really think that Libya's capitulation -- coinciding precisely with a pre-emptive war that destroyed Saddam Hussein -- is a contradiction of the "rigid doctrine of military pre-emption''?

What kind of naif thinks that this is a triumph for "diplomacy,'' as if, say, Bill Clinton had sent Warren Christopher to Tripoli and he chatted Gaddafi into surrendering his WMDs?

The Democrats seem congenitally incapable of understanding that force has not just the effect of disarming the immediate enemy, but has a deterrent effect on others similarly situated. Iraq was not attacked randomly. It was attacked as part of a clearly enunciated policy -- now known as the Bush Doctrine -- of targeting, by pre-emptive war if necessary, hostile regimes engaged in terror and/or refusing to come clean on WMDs.

Mullah Omar did not get the message and is now hiding in a cave somewhere. Saddam did not get the message and ended up in a hole. Gaddafi got the message.

Diplomacy is fine. But we are dealing not with Canada but with gangster regimes. In rogue states, the only diplomacy that ever works is diplomacy at the point of a bayonet. Why, even the hapless Hans Blix went out on a limb to speculate that "I would imagine that Gaddafi could have been scared by what he saw in Iraq.''

Ashton Carter, co-director of the Harvard-Stanford Preventive Defense Project, agreed that ``what we did in Iraq put countries like Libya on notice that we're really serious about countering proliferation.'' To be sure, Carter prefaced this obvious truth with the Blixian phrase "one certainly hopes that.'' But that is to be expected from an adviser to Howard Dean.

Do the Democrats really not see the larger picture, or do they pretend not to because it is an election year? The domino effects of the Iraq campaign are already in clear view. It is no accident that Iran has agreed to surprise nuclear inspections. Mind you, I do not hold much hope for this; it will take far more to disarm the mullahs, possibly U.S. airstrikes during a second Bush administration. But for now, Bush's willfulness and determination in Iraq have persuaded Iran to grab a European plan for inspections rather than face the wrath of the United States.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Hezbollah has been quiet since the war. Syria has made its first peace overture in years. Libya has now confessed and capitulated on WMDs.

And that's not counting Iraq, which with Saddam captured has finally turned a historic corner and may be on its way to establishing the first pluralistic, representative pro-Western Arab polity in the region.

These are not triumphs of diplomacy. These are the aftershocks of war.
©2003 Washington Post Writers Group

Of Intellectual Bondage

by Caroline Glick
"How could you report the war in Iraq if you sided with the Americans?"

"How can you say that George Bush is better than Saddam Hussein?"

These are some of the milder questions I received from an audience of some 150 undergraduate students from Tel Aviv University's Political Science Department. The occasion was a guest lecture I gave last month on my experiences as an embedded reporter with the US Army's 3rd Infantry Division during the Iraq war.

Many of the students were visibly jolted by my assertion that the patriotism of American soldiers was inspirational. The vocal ones among them were appalled when I argued that journalists must be able to make moral distinctions between good and evil, when such distinctions exist, if they wish to provide their readership with an accurate picture of the events they describe in their reports.

"Who are you to make moral judgments? What you say is good may well be bad for someone else."

"I am a sane human being capable of distinguishing good from evil, just like every other sane human being," I answered. "As criminal law states, you are criminally insane if you can't distinguish between good and evil. Unless you are crazy, you should be able to tell the difference."

When the show was over, and the students began shuffling out of the lecture hall, a young woman approached me.

"Excuse me," she said with a heavy Russian accent. "How can you say that democracy is better than dictatorial rule?"

"Because it is better to be free than to be a slave," I answered.

Undeterred, she pressed on, "How can you support America when the US is a totalitarian state?"

"Did you learn that in Russia?" I asked.

"No, here," she said.

"Here at Tel Aviv University?"

"Yes, that is what my professors say," she said.

In the weeks that have passed since I gave that lecture, I have not been able to get those students out of my mind.

While campuses throughout the Western world are known as hotbeds for radicalism, it is still hard to believe that Israeli students, who themselves served in the IDF, and who as civilians have experienced more than three years of unrelenting terrorist attacks on their cafes, night clubs, campuses, highways and public buses, could subscribe to such views.

How can they believe it is impossible to make moral distinctions between those fighting terrorism and totalitarian regimes and those perpetrating terrorism and leading such dictatorships?

It is an open secret that many of the most prominent Israeli academics and professors are also identified with the radical leftist fringes of the Israeli political spectrum.

The Hebrew University's Political Science Department was dominated for years by the leaders of Peace Now. Tel Aviv University's Social Science and Humanities Faculties are the professional home to some of the leaders of the even more radical Ta'ayush and Yesh Gvul organizations.

Israeli professors have signed petitions calling for boycotts of Israeli goods. Some have even supported the boycott of Israeli academics by foreign universities and academic publications.

Israel Radio reported this week that the letter written by 13 reservists from the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit in which they announced their refusal to serve in the territories was written for them by a Tel Aviv University professor.

Prof. Rafi Yisraeli from the Hebrew University notes, "It is ironic that the university presidents and Minister Natan Sharansky are now organizing a campaign to stop the boycott of Israeli academics in foreign universities.

A year ago, I discussed the issue, as well as the rampant anti-Semitism on European campuses, with the president of the University of Paris. He told me, 'What do you want from us? All we are doing is repeating what we hear from Israeli professors.'"

Continue reading Column One at the Jerusalem Post.
Thank G-d for Caroline Glick.

IRAN, Dec. 24th: "We will 'sweep away' Israel if attacked"

WorldNetDaily: Iran's minister of defense yesterday threatened Israel with a long-range missile attack should the Jewish state hit any nuclear facilities in the country.

"We will strike Israel with all weapons at our disposal, if the Zionist regime ventures to do so," Ali Shamkhani told the Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's government-controlled news outlet.

Iran possesses Shahab-3 missiles with a range of 800 miles. Israel is about 600 miles west of Iran. . .

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will strongly deal with the action against its national territory. The Israeli threat emanates from its evil literature. It is too cowardly to threaten Iran," Shamkhani is quoted as saying.

Haaretz reports Iranian President Mohammed Khatami said Israel would be "swept away" if it dared to attack Iran.

Agence France Presse, Arab News (www.Aljazeerah.info . . . .): TEHRAN, 23 December 2003 — Israel will “dig its own grave” if it attacks Iranian nuclear sites, the head of the Iranian air force Gen. Syed Reza Pardis warned yesterday, reacting defiantly to threats by the Jewish state.

“The threats of the Zionist regime hold no value for us,” Pardis was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency, close to Islamic hard-liners, following statements by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.

“The (Zionist) regime knows that the armed forces of the Islamic republic, in particular our Air Force, have such high capabilities ... that it would be digging its own grave in the region if it launches military attacks against Iran,” said Pardis.

“An attack (by Israel) would have serious consequences beyond the imagination of Israeli leaders,” he warned. “Whether these threats are serious or not, our armed forces are totally prepared to defend sensitive sites and our country’s airspace.”

IRAN, Dec. 25th: More than 15,000 Killed in Iran Quake

Reuters: TEHRAN (Reuters) - More than 15,000 people were killed in an earthquake in the southeastern Iranian city of Bam on Friday, government officials said.

"What I know is that more than 15,000 have been killed," one of the officials told Reuters by telephone. The other confirmed the figure.

MSNBC: TEHRAN, Iran - An earthquake devastated the southeastern Iranian city of Bam on Friday, leveling more than half the city’s houses and its historic mud-brick fortress. At least 5,000 people were killed and 30,000 injured, the region’s governor said.

The 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck about 5:30 a.m., collapsing buildings, severing power lines and shutting down water service.

“The quake hit the city when most of the people were in bed, raising fears that the death toll may go higher,” said legislator Hasan Khoshrou.

Mohammed Ali Karimi, the governor of Kerman province, said preliminary estimates put the death toll at 5,000 to 6,000, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Katy, friend and colleague, offers this interpretation:

"Don't mess with the G-D of Israel."

Yasser, are you listening?

POLL: Majority in Israel Oppose Abandoning "Settlements"

via The Voice of Judea

The following are the results of a poll of a representative sample of 602 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs) carried out by New Wave for Maariv the week of 26 December 2003, before the suicide bombing in Petach Tikvah.
If an agreement is not reached between Israel and the Palestinians,
would you support or oppose unilaterally evacuating settlements in the territories?

Oppose 51%
Support 37%
Don't know/refuse reply 12%


Are you satisfied with the performance of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in general?
Yes 38%
No 51%
Don't know/refuse reply 11%


Compared to last year, do you feel more or less safe going around public places?
More 15%
Less 24%
Same 59%
Don't know/refuse reply 2%


Compared to last year, did your standard of living rise or fall in 2003?
Rise 7%
Fall 48%
No change 43%
Don't know/refuse reply 2%


Asked to Jews: Did you light Chanukah candles this year?
Yes 90%
No 10%

From IMRA, Independent Media Review Analysis
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

TEL AVIV, CHRISTMAS DAY, 2003

by Naomi Ragen
Who will write the elegies for Jewish girls and a Jewish boy,
murdered in Tel Aviv on Christmas day, 2003?

Who mourns lovely Rotem?
Bright eyed Angelina?
And warm Edva?
And handsome Noam?
Who mourns them, slaughtered as they stood,
waiting for the bus to take them home?

Nineteen years old.
Nineteen years old.
Twenty years old
Twenty-one years old.

Murdered, because we opened our gates.
Because our walls are not high enough.
Because we let them in, to kill and maim.
Let them in to take our children, in the streets.



Our kind young men.
Our beautiful girls.
Helped them to serve their stone-hearted god,
their evil prophets who despise life.
Stone-hearted, like the idols of old,
who reveled in human sacrifice.

They claim a land. They claim a culture.
These stone-hearted hordes who love gravestones
and bombs and iron-nails and exploding flesh and dead children.

Who will sing for Rotem, Angelina, Edva, Noam,
killed in Tel Aviv on Christmas Day, 2003?

Who will write the elegies?

1, 2, 3 . . . IT'S A KNOCKOUT!


Gary Kornfeld delivers the third blow to Chernut in today's Daily Camera under the amusing title,
"Chernus' theories are myth-taken." Someone over there has a good sense of humor.

Todah rabah to the Daily Camera, and kol hakavod to Maccabee Gary Kornfeld.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Jesus not the only Jew to die for the sins of the world:

Death toll from today's bombing near Tel Aviv rises to 4, with 24 injured
Arutz Sheva: The explosion occurred at a bus stop located under the bridge at the Geha junction near Jabotinsky Street in Petach Tikva - three stops before Tel Aviv. The terror attack took place on one of Israel's busiest highways during the heights of rush hour.


Witnesses initially reported two consecutive explosions.

Yossi Sedbon, Tel Aviv district police commander, said medics and rescue workers were having difficulty reaching the scene because of heavy rush hour traffic on the busy highway. He also noted that the junction, just outside Tel Aviv, is regularly used by PA Arabs waiting for Israeli contractors looking for cheap labor to pick them up. Because of this, the suicide bomber was able to approach the bus stop without raising suspicion.

Recent “gestures” by Israel have allowed thousands of PA Arabs to enter Israel to find work.

Sedbon said that indications pointed a suicide bombing, though police were seen chasing two people near the scene, who witnesses said placed a bag at the bus stop before running away. A high security alert has been issued in the area.

The police strongly request that the public stay away from the area.

The Associated Press reports that the PFLP terrorist group has taken "credit" for the murderous attack. The terrorist, 18-year-old Shahed Hanami, was from the village of Beit Fureik, near Shechem.

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz ordered a full closure to be re-imposed on PA cities following the attack. The closure had been lifted in honor of Christmas, a Christian holiday.

Due to the attack, Israel’s phone company, Bezek, has cancelled its ongoing strike.

24 wounded, including two moderately injured, have been evacuated to Beilinson (Tel: 1255134 ) and Tel HaShomer (Tel: 1255131) hospitals. Israel’s Absorption Ministry’s emergency hotline can be reached at 1255081010 locally, and 011 972 125 508 1010 from abroad.

People are requested to pray for the recovery of those injured.



Israel Insider reports:
A routine condemnation of the attack was issued by the office of PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, but media analyst Michael Widlanski reported that neither Voice of Palestine Radio nor Palestinian State television reported the "condemnation," and VOP radio--which is directly supervised by Arafat -- referred to man who set off the bomb as a "heroic martyr."

Readers might want to pass this last bit on to the wire services, unless of course they happen to report it . . .

IDF takes out Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza


Palestinians crowd around a car that was destroyed by Israeli helicopter gunships, during a missle attack in Gaza, December 25, 2003. Israeli helicopter gunships killed a senior Islamic militant and at least four other people in the missile strike in Gaza City on Thursday, medics said. . . it was the first such attack on Gaza for more than two months. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
IsraelNN.com - It is being reported that Makleb Khamed, the Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza was among the five terrorists killed earlier tonight.

An IDF helicopter gunship reportedly fired two air-to-surface missiles at his vehicle in the Sheik Rejwan neighborhood, killing the five.
May his name be erased.

In Doing So, IDF Prevents Mega-Attack
JPost: Hamid was riding in a Subaru with four others, according to Israel Radio, when IDF helicopters fired two missiles at the car as it drove through Gaza's Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, a frequent source of terrorism.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Hamid was planning a large-scale terrorist attack. "This evening, the IDF has prevented what I would call a mega-terror attack," he said. Mofaz did not elaborate further.

It was the first targeted counter-terror strike of its kind in more than two months. IDF spokesman Captain Jacob Dallal described Hamid as a "ticking bomb," and said Hamid "was behind a long, long list of terror attacks, and he was in the midst of planning a major attack."

Israel’s Channel 1 reported that Hamid was behind a terror attack that killed three IDF soldiers three weeks ago, as well as the attack on the Kissufin checkpoint this past Tuesday.

Following the fatal rush hour terror attack on Israel’s busy Geha highway, Arutz-7’s Ezra HaLevi commented that, “Although tomorrow's headlines worldwide are sure to read ‘Suicide Bombing and Targeted Killing Renew Cycle of Violence,’ the fact is that one murderous terrorist attack was prevented and one, unfortunately, was not.

The only cycle of violence that exists is that without exception, the easing of restrictions on PA Arabs results in explosions and bombs at bus stops, cafes and schools.”

SUICIDE BOMBING OUTSIDE TEL AVIV

3 MURDERED, 18 WOUNDED

JERUSALEM (AP)- A suicide bombing near a bus stop outside Tel Aviv killed three people Thursday in the first such attack in more than two months, rescue workers said. It was unclear if there were one or two separate explosions.

"We believe that this was a terror attack," Yossi Sedbon, Tel Aviv district police commander told Israel's Channel 2 television.

Rescue workers, who were having difficulty in reaching the scene because of heavy rush hour traffic, said three people were killed in the attack as well as the bomber or bombers. The attack occurred during rush hour at Geha, a major junction just outside Tel Aviv.

The bombing was the first since an Oct. 4 bombing at a restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa that killed 21 people.
Details from JPost:
At least three people were killed and eighteen wounded on Thursday after two explosions rocked the Geha bridge area on Jabotinsky street near Tel Aviv at 18:40.

Channel Two reported that two of the victims were women.

The blast took place at a busy bus stop under the Geha Bridge. The Geha Bridge is a major junction just outside Tel Aviv used by commuters to reach Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva and Bnei Brak.

Following the attack, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered the IDF to impose a full closure on the territories.

Magen David Adom officials reported that four people were seriously injured in the blast which took place underneath the Geha Bridge. The wounded have been taken to Tel Hashomer, Beilinson hospitals.

NOT NEWS: Israel withdrew from Bethlehem last summer

This from the LA Times, according to HonestReporting:
The day before Christmas Eve, the Bethlehem commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group with ties to Arafat, sat in an idling sedan at the edge of Manger Square, slumped low in his thick jacket. The trunk of his car was stocked with a tangle of M-16 rifles.

Abu Hussein was relatively comfortable. "I'm sitting here talking to you, and the people can see me," he said. "This wouldn't have happened before, with the Israelis."
Abu Whassisname is damned right about that.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
to our many Christian friends (and relatives)


Palestinian Christian woman Jane Nustas walks
with her daughter Hanna, age 3, who is dressed
in a Santa Claus outfit, as they enter the Church
of the Nativity, the said birthplace of Jesus, in the
West Bank town of Bethlehem, on Christmas Eve,
Wed. Dec. 24, 2003. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Chanukah Miracle:
Sister and Brother, Holocaust survivors, reunited in Israel


After 65 years
. . . a brother and sister separated since the Holocaust were reunited in Israel this week.

78-year-old Binyamin Shilon believed for most of his life that his sister had been murdered by the Nazis, along with the rest of his family in Poland. 73-year-old Shoshana November, Shilon’s sister, had presumed him part of the six million Jews lost in the Holocaust, as well.

During the Holocaust, Shoshana November was sent to a concentration camp and was eventually selected to be sent to the gas chambers. A stranger saved her life by pushing her into a line for slave labor rather than gassing. Binyamin Shilon joined the Soviet Red Army. In 1945 he was sent to Poland with orders to liberate the death camps there. After the war each decided independently to immigrate to Israel in 1948.

Their reunion came about after a friend of Shoshana’s convinced her to visit Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, last Friday.

She started looking through the archive for members of her husband's family because she assumed that she herself "had no one left," but a member of the archive’s staff typed her information into the database and discovered that her brother Binyamin was still alive. Mr. Shilon had left his details just two weeks earlier in the Holocaust museum's "Pages of Testimony."

On Saturday night following the end of the Jewish Sabbath, Binyamin and Shoshana saw each other for the first time since 1938. They lit a Chanukah menora (candelabrum) together and thanked God for reuniting them. They found they had been living just a 90-minute drive from each other.

"We jumped on one another and we hugged and kissed and it was hard to talk — it was hard to think," Mrs. November said of their meeting.

"I looked for her and my siblings during all the years after the war. In the end it happened like a Chanukah miracle," Mr. Shilon added.
Baruch HaShem, this story from Arutz Sheva.

Debka's hot this holiday season

IDF pulls out of southern Gazan Rafah camp after blowing up arms smuggling tunnel running from Egypt out to hidden exit inside Palestinian dwelling. Nine Palestinians killed resisting operation.

Tuesday night, two Qassem missiles fired from Gaza Strip – first hit Nissanit home injuring an Israeli couple, second landed on a truck in Israeli town of Sderot

Also, in Iraq:

* report of large explosion at Baghdad's Sheraton Hotel

* three U.S. soldiers killed when roadside bomb ripped through convoy near Samarra

* suicide car bomb killed three, injured 15, near Interior Ministry in Kurdish Arbil

* before dawn, U.S. forces in biggest anti-insurgent engagement so far in SW Baghdad

Chernut gets 1-2 punch, maybe -3


Dec. 23rd, my letter in the Camera

Dec. 24th, Raz's letter:
ISRAEL: Accord won't help the cause of peace

Re: "Beyond the myths, peace is possible," the Dec. 21 Guest Opinion by Ira Chernus.

There seems to be one thing missing from this opinion. Reality. The professor once against proves why tenure can be such a dangerous thing.

While Chernus asserts that a majority of the Israeli population accepts the concept of the Geneva Accord, the fact is that this accord was spearheaded on the Israeli side by Yossi Beilin, whose far-left-wing appeasement group Meretz was voted out of office and lost his seat in Parliament, and on the Arab side by Abed Rabbo, who is responsible for the daily incitement against the Jewish state on Arab television and in schools.

As the accord rewards the Palestinian Arabs for years of terrorism by establishing yet another Arab state, it makes no provisions for the dismantling of terror organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who are still bent on the destruction of the Jewish state. The accord makes no mention of the Palestinian government aligning itself with rogue states such as Iran, whose leaders run on a platform of destroying the Jews.

The accord also relinquishes any right Jews have to Judaism's most holy site, the Western Wall, while recognizing Arab control of the Temple Mount. And while this new Palestinian state must be Jew-free, Israel still has over 1 million Palestinian Arabs who participate in the nation's everyday life.

This revolutionary accord also puts the onus of the Arab refugees on Israel, which denies the historical fact of Arab states' responsibility in creating and maintaining the Palestinian Arab refugee problem. The accord also states Israel must release all Palestinian Arab prisoners, even those responsible for the death of Israelis.

Israel has shown its willingness to negotiate, if only the Palestinians would arrest and dismantle the terrorist organizations. They refuse and yet the likes of Chernus would hand them the key to Israel's destruction.

RAZ TELCHAI, Boulder

Dec. 25th? Maybe Gary's:
Ira's Myth Schtick

I heard Ira speak on campus nearly a year ago about his "Myth" shtick. Ira, please tell me, where is the myth in the cold blooded intentional murders in 1972 of 9 Israeli Olympians, killed under the guise of one Yasser Arafat, the great "leader" who would soon "change his stripes" for the sake of peace for "his people". Where is the myth in 1973, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when the tiny country of Israel is attacked by it's surrounding neighbors, more than 40 times it's size, with the sole purpose of the countries complete destruction(myth or miracle). Where is the myth in the numerous attempts, each time with a different elected official from Israel, to sit down with Yasser A. to negotiate peace(something the PA charter is completely against). Where is the myth, Ira, in the constant homicide deaths taking place right now, of innocent civilians. There are, of course, multitudes of "myths". You're probably one of those believers that says we ought to drop the whole "myth" of the Germans attempted destruction of ALL Jews, that BIG myth that nearly made it possible that you never came into being.

Ira, you state as one of your "myth" theories, "our foe is inherently evil, harboring an irrational desire to eradicate our nation"...they blow up pizza parlors, buses, discos, etc. and collect checks for it! It's no myth that parents and grandparents are cheering for their dead child, who is made a hero for killing women and babies, as they collect $25,000 checks from other governments. They teach hate in their schoolbooks. Why do you insist on telling the world, Israel is guilty for defending against that or cautiously negotiating for peace . Peace, love, and brotherhood is beautiful Ira, but don't hide or avoid the truth. I know you actively support the Rockie Mountain Peace and Justice Center and I applaud much of what they stand for. It's just that, similar to your myth article, they're missing the emphasis on "justice". That's a critical piece to the Peace. Where is the real injustice. Just must be pursued. I strongly recommend "The Case for Israel" by A. Derschowitz for a complete understanding of this topic, from a staunch liberal like you. It clearly references Israel's exhaustive efforts and attempts at making peace with the Palestinians. Please be fully informed before assuming Israel and it's supporters are brainwashed by the "Ira Chernus Myth".

Gary Kornfeld

The Camera is good to the Jews this Christmas! See also the Original Chernut (12/21), and "Khayim kashim" by Murray Richtel (12/14).


UPDATE 12/25: Gary's letter didn't make it today, but there's a really important letter on sledding that you might want to read.

TERROR-DEE AND TERROR-DUM
Dealing With Arab Terror


LETTER FROM RUTH MATAR
WOMEN IN GREEN

Jerusalem
December 24, 2003

Dear Friends,

It grieves me to watch Fox TV News today with the repeated warnings from Homeland Security, and the justified fear that there might be another 9/11 type attack. As an American, I fear as much for the safety of my brother's family in New York and New Jersey, and the safety of my sister's family, in Maryland, Illinois and Florida, as I fear for the safety of my children and grandchildren, who live in Israel.

What is not to be understood is: How can the U.S. hope to deter terrorism when it itself is actively involved in the rapid establishment of a terrorist State? When the U.S. itself is undermining its own strategic posture by genuflecting to the Palestinian terrorist agenda?

When the Bush Government speaks about the need for reform of the Palestinian Authority, no mention is ever made of the simple fact that every Palestinian political party is a terrorist organization. That every faction represented in the PA's legislature is an armed group, and that every one of the PA's "Security Forces" is involved in terrorist attacks against Israel.

Not withstanding, hundreds of millions of Dollars in annual U.S. aid for the PA and President George W. Bush's support for a Palestinian state, the PA's message remains staunchly anti-U.S. A poll by Palestinian Media Watch indicates that Palestinian hatred of the U.S. is deep and ingrained. The poll found that 42% of Palestinians support attacks on American forces in Iraq; 74% said they had supported Saddam Hussein in the war; and only 37% felt the World Trade Center bombers were "terrorists".

After Saddam's capture by the U.S., the PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Yadida wrote the following on December 18: "When the tragic fall of Baghdad took place and it became the second Arab capital to fall under occupation after Jerusalem, the traitors considered it an official holiday. This is your day, traitors. Dance to the tune of Bush's drums and time your prayers on Sharon's trumpets. But remember, that the Arab masses, especially in great Iraq, may have their backs to the wall, but they know that you are the enemy."

In Kahn Yunis (Gaza) Palestinians demonstrated in support of Saddam after his capture, shooting in the air from M-16 rifles (gift from Shimon Peres) and burning American and Israeli flags. They also burned George W. Bush in effigy.

President Bush and his State Department, keep insisting that all Jewish (not Arab) settlement activity in the Holy Land must stop. In fact, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, (who frequently issues orders to Israel as if he were the High Commissioner rather than the U.S. Ambassador) has issued a dictate to Israeli courts: do not to let the fact that Migron has submitted documents proving that it is a legal community on Jewish owned Land, prevent its uprooting! Why is U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer focusing on Migron? It seems that he had previously instructed Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that Migron has to be the first Jewish "settlement" to be evacuated, so as to make possible a contiguous Palestinian State.

It is difficult to understand President Bush's insistence on creating a Palestinian terrorist state in the Holy Land and thereby depriving the Jewish People of their rightful heritage.

But, as it has often been said, in politics there are no friends, only interests. And unfortunately, the United States perceives its interests to be to placate Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world.

But it is impossible to understand what has happened to Ariel Sharon, our erstwhile hero. He was elected by an overwhelming majority, because he promised security. But more civilians had been killed on his watch, than in all the years of Israel's statehood.

He has undergone a complete metamorphosis. First he agreed to the "Road Map", which is even worse than the Oslo Accords. It is important to remember that the "Road Map" was NEVER approved by the Israeli Knesset. Sharon said that it was not a formal agreement, just a "direction" or a "frame", and hence there was no need to bring it to the Knesset for approval. Very clever strategy on Sharon's part. And now, his pretence is that the Israeli People have already agreed to the "Road Map"!

He promised that Israel would not become another Czechoslovakia, and then he voluntarily agrees in his Herzliya speech in December 18 to "Unilateral Disengagement" and "Relocation" of tens of thousands of his countrymen.

Ariel Sharon, why not be honest with yourself and the Israeli People? Why do you hide behind phrases that attempt to mislead the public instead of using words that we all know and understand? "Unilateral Disengagement" really means "Retreat" (and the first step of defeat is retreat) and "Relocation" of Jews means TRANSFER of Jews.

Let Sharon's words written in the not too distant past speak for themselves. On September 29, 1995, an Op-Ed article by Ariel Sharon was published in the Jerusalem Post. The following is a reprint of this article in its entirety.
SICK JOY OF RETREAT by Ariel Sharon
Jerusalem Post, September 29, 1995. pg. 07
The foreign minister helps the Palestinians rewrite history. The writer, a Likud MK, is a former defense minister.

I felt pain after the agreement was signed this week [Oslo 2]; pain caused not merely by the government's mistaken, irresponsible decisions, but chiefly by its ministers' devilish joy at the "defeat" of their foes - the settlers. A very premature joy, I believe.

Sometimes, you have no choice but to retreat; sometimes you hold on to something not yours for bargaining purposes. But to give up something that's entirely yours with cries of joy - the joy of retreat - is a sick phenomenon.

The devil's advocates like to make comparisons: distorting history, they have made the late Menachem Begin their symbol.

At Camp David, they contend, president Carter imprisoned Israel's premier and his advisers with Egypt's president and his aides for 13 days until they reached agreement. But at Camp David, despite American pressure, the hours of sleep were normal, and Begin conducted consultations with his government every day.

At Taba, on the other hand, Israel chose this mode of negotiations of its own free will, without outside pressure. And it surrendered, too, of its own free will.

Today, through cooperation with the US, Israel can obtain almost anything it wants. But, instead of promoting the country's interests, the government is busy helping Arafat, despite his violation of almost every clause of the Oslo agreement; it works for Jordan's benefit; and it aids President Mubarak, even though he now leads the anti-Israel Arab bloc.

The government hasn't demanded the release of Jonathan Pollard, nor has it pressed for the return of MIAs about whom Arafat has information. It refrains from demanding, in return for releasing Palestinian terrorists, the extradition of murderers who now roam free in the PA-ruled areas, or take short vacations in prison.

Terrorists, murderers with blood on their hands, will soon be freed. That is the height of abomination.

IN A campaign to mislead the public, Arafat's Israeli advocates claim there is no other way. They don't want a binational state, they don't want to rule over another people, they say.

What do they really mean? Are they planning a divided Jerusalem? After all, about 150,000 Arabs live in the city. Do they intend to "transfer" 850,000 Israeli Arabs?

We have never proposed granting Israeli citizenship to the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria: all have Jordanian passports. And there are other peaceful, acceptable solutions to the threat of binationalism.

The prime minister continues to talk about the Jordan River as Israel's security border, and mentions the Jordan Rift. He should know what any divisional commander knows: To wage a defensive battle there, forces must be deployed to a depth of at least 40-50 km. from the Arava. For this, a permanent foothold is needed on the mountain ridge, and west of it.

Even the Taba signing ceremony was shameful. Arafat, proud of his language, spoke in Arabic. Our foreign minister, a prisoner of inherent servility, spoke English.

Nor can one ignore the minister's bon mot: "Two peoples born in the same cradle." As though it were at all possible to compare the two histories!

The Jewish people settled in Eretz Yisrael 2,500 years before the Moslems ever reached it. That 2,000 years later the Moslems adopted our forefather Abraham as one of their prophets doesn't grant them preferred status here. Nor does the Koran, written a millennium after the Bible, and which never mentions Jerusalem, give them privileges in this country. Since when must an Israeli minister help the Palestinians rewrite history?

This is a Jewish state in which Arabs can live in dignity if they abide by the law. They can, of course, practice religious ritual according to their faith. We shall never emulate Arafat's "Minister of Religious Affairs" Hassan Tahboub, who recently said, "Jews will not be able to pray on the Temple Mount, the Machpela Cave, or Rachel's Tomb, once these shrines come under Palestinian control."

Hebron must remain in our hands: not because of the 400 Jews who live near the cave, but because of the 4,000 years of Jewish history; because of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, that glorious monument whose like no other city can boast; because of David's kingdom in Hebron.

Neither the Israel of the left nor that of the National Camp has the right to concede Hebron, Rachel's Tomb, Shilo, Beit El and Joseph's Tomb. Certainly no government has the right to give up the Temple Mount.

Governments come and go, and so do generations: it is our great privilege to hold these sacred possessions in trust for future generations. We have no right to transfer them to alien hands.

A note on the government's recent chastisement of Diaspora Jews: "You live abroad. Don't intervene in Israel's affairs."

Strange. During Likud administrations, opposition leaders (today's cabinet ministers) made every effort to solicit foreign intervention against the government, including urging the US to reduce assistance to Israel.

For decades now, I have repeatedly declared that Israel is not just an Israeli project, but the responsibility of all the world's Jews. What happens to Israel will affect the situation, even the destiny, of Jews everywhere. It is not only their right but their duty to make their voices heard.
It is so very sad to see how Sharon has changed. I do very much agree with the last paragraph in his article, with one important addition: Israel is not just an Israeli project, but the responsibility of not only all of the world's Jews, but Bible believing Jews and Christians everywhere.

It is not only their right but their duty to make their voices heard, because the current struggle is for the very survival of the Judeo-Christian Western Civilization against radical Islam.

U.S. President George W. Bush may want to create a Palestinian State on covenant land for reasons of what he wrongly conceives as beneficial to the United States.

Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon now believes in "Unilateral Disengagement", in effect retreat, because he has lost faith in the G-d given right of the Jews to the Land of Israel, or because he is afraid of the United States, and/or because he has just lost his nerve altogether. Both President Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are not able to see the larger picture. And hence, both are going against the words of G-d as spelled out in the Judeo-Christian Bible.

As it is written in Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans in man's heart, but the counsel of Hashem will prevail."

Dear Friends:

What can we do? It would be most effective if you forwarded this message to your friends, acquaintances, President George W. Bush president@whitehouse.gov, and Vice President Cheney vice.president@whitehouse.gov.

To get the email addresses of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and your Senators and Congressman, call the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202)456-6212 or (202)224-3121. They will even tell you who the Congressman of your District is, or transfer you to his office.

In addition, I hope that you will forward this Letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at pm_eng@pmo.gov.il. He needs thousands of reminders from you of what he told the world in 1995 about the Rabin Government's "mistaken irresponsible decisions" to make agreements of retreat with the enemy.

With Blessings and Love for Israel,
Ruth Matar

Aish Kodesh Coffee House/Channukah Celebration
December 25, 7:30 at the Boulder JCC



IT’S CHRISTMAS !
BUT YOU’RE JEWISH !
SO YOU’RE BORED
EVERYTHING’S CLOSED

SO WHY DON’T YOU COME TO THE AISH KODESH/JCC
‘SILENT NIGHT’ COFFEE HOUSE

Featuring good coffee espresso cappucino

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Open mike featuring music, torah, comedy, carolling,
and a special interview with a leader of the Boulder Jewish community
plus other surprises and fun.

Contact Gary 303-946-7587 for more details

Bush-disparagers won't quit

Mark Steyn in the Jerusalem Post
Last Sunday's exciting news seems to have prompted a wide array of interpretations around the world. But, to simplify things, most of them fall between two extremes.

The one end is neatly distilled by the headline on John Podhoretz's post-Saddam column in The New York Post: "Message: America Wins."

The other end is encapsulated by our old friend Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's Number Two: "America has been defeated by our fighters despite all its military might," he said in an audio tape broadcast on al-Jazeera last weekend. "With God's help we are still chasing Americans and their allies everywhere, including their homeland."

You won't be surprised to hear I incline broadly to the "Message: America Wins" end of the spectrum. What's slightly more perplexing is the number of hitherto sane people who take the al-Zawahri line.

For example, the distinguished British historian Professor Correlli Barnett, whose piece in the current issue of The Spectator is headlined "Why Al-Qa'eda Is Winning." If I were Osama, I'd tuck that one away in the cuttings file. Except, of course, that these days what's left of poor old Osama can itself be tucked away in the cuttings file.

Here, in a nutshell, is why recent trends seem to be going Bush's way rather than al-Zawahri's: In the little more than two years since 9/11, two vile dictatorships have fallen in Kabul and Baghdad, and only the other day a third, in Tripoli, has suddenly announced that it's dismantling its nukes program and the Brits and Yanks are welcome to take a look over anything they fancy.

A plus for Bush's side? Or al-Zawahri's? You make the call.

MUST-READ it all

"How is Israel combating Palestinian terror groups?"


JPOST POLL: Based on 1151 votes, the results are at present:
Too aggressively - 6%

Appropriately - 28%

Not aggressively enough - 66%
JPost: "Please note that our online polls are not scientific but offer our site users the chance to express their views about current issues in the news."

So, go express yourself . . . surely Arik reads the Post.

JPost Editorial: Maher's humiliation

If a picture is worth a thousand words, unedited video footage is far more telling yet. This was demonstrated Monday as the entire world watched Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher humiliated, jostled, and pelted with shoes, until physically lifted off his feet and carried away from his frenzied attackers. His eyes betrayed vivid panic.

Nothing could have more forcefully expressed what he had just experienced, when he attempted to pray at the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, than the terror writ large on his face as the 68-year-old statesman struggled to regain his breath.

The fanaticism and hooliganism that greeted him at a hallowed place of worship could not be covered up by Egyptian attempts to play down the entire incident and ascribe it to a minuscule rabble. The visual record belies the spin from President Hosni Mubarak's bureau, as well as Maher's own pronouncements upon returning to Egypt, when he belittled the onslaught.

To sweep under the rug the hostility Maher encountered on Temple Mount is to distort the very reality which has so far frustrated all efforts to reach even minimal accommodation with the Palestinians not only to end their terror war against Israelis, but also to ease their own self-imposed hardships. It's a reality which defies self-interest and logic, but this makes it no less of a reality.

When Maher was violently accosted and branded a traitor, he came face to face with the frightening aspect of Palestinian intransigence and extremism.

Those who continue to murder Israelis even if they thereby damage their own cause, are also those who assaulted Maher. They are not a marginal minority. They embody the situation Israel is up against.

Continue reading . . .

See also Palestinian editor praises Maher attack:
"The shoes that landed on the head of Mr. Ahmed Maher during his visit to the Aksa Mosque are a lesson to all the Arab leaders and their representatives, who have belittled the Arab street and its requirements and feelings and are listening only to the American administration and its humiliating demands for normalization with the Hebrew state."
There's more, about Arab "lost dignity and rights". . . which makes me wonder yet again, how it is that the Arabs garner all the rights with no responsibilities, while Israel is stuck with all the responsibility, but no rights?

I am sick to death of hearing about the "requirements and feelings" of the "Arab street." Since when do losers of multiple wars get to have "requirements"?

The "sophistication" of Ramallah HAMAS

Haaretz: When Shin Bet security service officials spoke yesterday about Hamas' largest mobilization to date in the Ramallah area, they had trouble concealing their astonishment. Twenty-two operatives apparently connected to this Hamas cell were arrested last week.

True, the Shin Bet men indicated, in recent years there have been terror cells more lethal than this Ramallah group, which shot dead 10 Israelis in two years. However, said security officials, apparently few terror cells could compete with the high level of planning, operational performance, sophistication and intelligence work displayed by the Ramallah Hamas group before its members were arrested.

If the confessions of some of the detained Hamas men are to be believed, the Shin Bet uncovered the Ramallah cell just in time. Shortly before its members were captured, they hatched a plot for a particularly gruesome attack: to kill members of an Israel Defense Forces patrol and cart away their bodies as bargaining chips. Concerned that the get-away car wouldn't have enough space for all the corpses, the Hamas men intended to decapitate some of the bodies.

The Hamas men who devised this plan hoped that it would be a sequel to the successful (sic) ambush in which three IDF men were killed in the village of Ein Yabrud, north of Ramallah.

For more than six months, Hamas' military wing in Ramallah has been the driving force behind the organization in the West Bank. IDF anti-terror strikes against Hamas cells in the Hebron and Nablus regions left the Ramallah operatives, headed by Sheikh Ibrahim Hamad, in the lead position.

Hamad, 40, a native of the Ramallah area, is one of the shrewdest terror suspects in the West Bank, say Israeli security officials. Among other accusations, they say Hamas dispatched the suicide terrorists to Jerusalem's Moment and Hillel cafes, and to the attack on a night-club in Rishon Letzion. The IDF and Shin Bet pursued Hamad for years, to no avail.

The attempt to track down Hamad reached a peak on December 1, when members of an elite army unit raided sites in Ramallah, arresting dozens of his subordinates in one night. During gunfire clashes precipitated by this raid, three top Hamas operatives were killed; and for 24 hours, the IDF believed that Hamad's body was among the rubble of a demolished building. After the operation, however, the IDF established that a large-framed man who was spotted in the building prior to its demolition was not Hamad.

Last week's capture of the Hamas cell produced new information about the scope of the organization's activities in the Ramallah area. Hamad's efforts, Israeli officials have learned, have not been limited to the handling of suicide bombers. He has "on the side" directed shooting attacks on Jewish settlers and also soldiers around Ramallah.

Shin Bet men yesterday admitted that relief and satisfaction produced by the uncovering of the large Ramallah cell has been tempered by knowledge that the security service's past efforts were misdirected. In many instances, Israeli security officials wrongly attributed attacks launched by the Hamas group to Fatah-affiliated Tanzim operatives. "We invested a lot of energy chasing the wrong leads," said one security official. "We made mistakes, and these will have to be investigated thoroughly."

Some of the Hamas men detained last week told interrogators that they never met Hamad personally. During their few meetings with top Hamas officials in Ramallah, they said, their handlers wore masks. Hamas went to extreme lengths to compartmentalize its work: Field operatives who took part in shooting attacks didn't use their real names with one another.

Interrogation of the Hamas detainees has revealed information about the ambush at Ein Yabrud, in which the three IDF soldiers were slain. Hamas, it turns out, closely monitored IDF operations in the Ramallah area for weeks. They identified a weak spot: army patrols would wander deeply into the Ein Yabrud village, relatively far from other IDF comrades. Hamas meticulously planned the ambush. A five-man squad opened fire on the soldiers from short range; three other Hamas operatives stood watch, to warn about the possible arrival of IDF reinforcements. Still other Hamas men were on hand to drive a get-away car; and some had the assignment of hauling the weapons of those killed to a hiding place. At the end of the attack, the Hamas men concluded that it had gone according to plan but they realized, they could take away the corpses and use them in negotiations to free Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

This analysis led to the cell's next plan. One of the operatives, Majdi Na'asan, operates a dump truck for a living. In the past, his vehicle was used to smuggle weapons, on the plausible assumption that the stench would deter IDF soldiers from searching for contraband in its layers of garbage.
Stench is a good word. . . the stench of HAMAS . . . book title, eh? Or maybe just a chapter . . .


HAMAS not only sophisticated, but brave:

Braving torrential rain, thousands of sympathizers of the
hardline Palestinian Islamic group Hamas took to the streets
to mark the group's 16th birthday which was founded in
December 1987 in Gaza. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Tomb of the Maccabees

TIME Magazine, November 27, 1995.

Wonderful-to-read Israeli blogger Imshin links to this at Not a Fish.
ISRAELI ROAD BUILDERS STUMBLE ON THE FIRST PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF A BIBLICAL TRIBE OF JEWISH WARRIORS

A site 30 km northwest of Jerusalem, where Route 443 is being widened, police stood guard last week as half a dozen black-clad, ultra-Orthodox demonstrators vented their anger at the workers. "You are stealing bones!" they shouted, protesting the disturbance of Jewish graves. One of the demonstrators lay curled on the ground, uttering prayers. All were finally arrested.

The objects of their wrath were not highway workers but an archaeological team that was excitedly excavating a remarkable new find: a burial cave used by the Maccabees, the family of Jewish warriors whose successful revolt against their Seleucid rulers in the second century B.C. is celebrated in the festival of Hanukkah and documented in the Apocryphal Books of Maccabees. Artifacts found in the cave are the first physical evidence of the existence of the Maccabees, who until now have been known only from ancient writings.

"For years scholars had been searching for this elaborate site," says Yeshayahu Gafni, a history professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Its existence was known for hundreds of years after the Maccabean period, and it is depicted in a sixth century mosaic map at Madeba in Jordan. But then it was lost."

Earlier in the week a tractor leveling ground at the highway site had lurched to a stop after its blade uncovered the opening to a cave. In compliance with the law in antiquity-rich Israel, the construction crew halted work immediately and notified the Antiquities Authority, which dispatched staff archaeologist Shimon Riklin and a team of laborers to the scene.

Before long the team had opened up an entrance courtyard that led to two more burial caves and 23 ossuaries--stone boxes containing bones--stored in niches constructed out of chalk blocks. One of the ossuaries was inscribed with the partly obliterated Hebrew word Hasmonean, another name for the Maccabean clan. "This is the first time that word has been found on archaeological evidence," says Riklin. Several other ossuaries were inscribed with such names as Sarah, Mariama, Eliezer and Elazar, all in Greek letters, and Simon in Hebrew. The cave also yielded coins and oil lamps unique to Hasmonean times.

Experts at the Antiquities Authority, noting the style of burial, the Jewish names and the artifacts typical of the times, have no doubt the findings are Maccabean. Indeed, many of the names are those of the original Maccabees. Says Efrat Orbach, spokeswoman for the authority: "We know from historical writings that the Hasmoneans lived and were buried in this area." Riklin speculates that the cave may contain three generations of Hasmoneans, perhaps even its most famous members, Judah Maccabee and his brothers.

It was Judah Maccabee who led the second century B.C. revolt against Seleucid King Antiochus IV, who had persecuted the Jews and desecrated their temple. Judah's forces were successful, conquering Jerusalem and reconsecrating the temple in 165 B.C., a feat that is celebrated during Hanukkah. The Hasmonean era ended in 63 B.C., when the Roman Emperor Pompey conquered Judea.

The discovery is particularly exciting for Israelis, says Professor Gafni, "because the Hasmonean period was the last era of Jewish independence in the land of Israel until the modern state of Israel."
Imagine, Jewish independence in the land of Israel. Put that in your hannukiyah and light it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

MIRACLE ADVERTISED IN BOULDER






Our thanks to the Sheiner and Rosencrantz families
for bringing Chanukah lights to the Pearl Street Mall

I only wish it might have been . . . CHOCOLATE!
Timeout for the personal

Thank You for all that you have done for us

…for being there when we woke you in the middle of the night… for being here... for strengthening us... for making us breakfast before the sun came up... for your many good words of kindness, sympathy and empathy... for telling us that we have to be strong... for telling and showing us what to do to make this loss an honored one... for your nods and smiles and pats on the back... for hugging and holding us… for sending us out to dinner… for wishing us long life... for dropping your lives and obligations at a moment’s notice, and showing up... for sending beautiful flowers and baskets of food... for calling us... and for not calling when we were talked out… for your prayers and cards…for your daavening… for providing a minyan so Thorney could say kaddish… for standing in the cold snow and helping us to bury his Mom… for bringing cheesecake, cherry pie and beef stew... for donating to hospice and to Bertha's thrift store... for wanting to help, for offering to help, and for helping…
May you merit G-d’s bountiful goodness upon yourselves and your families.
with best wishes for a year of life and of peace,
the Liebermans

Monday, December 22, 2003

Israel to send judges to the International Court of Justice in the Hague?

JPost: Foreign Ministry officials were meeting in Jerusalem Sunday to discuss the possibility of sending Israeli judges to preside over a court hearing to be held in February over the Security fence, in the The International Court of Justice in the Hague.

The Foreign Minister Legal Advisor Alan Baker has recommended that Israel send judges to the international court.

The Yediot Ahronot daily reported Sunday that Israel is worried about the panel of judges who will preside over the hearing since two of the current judges are Arabs who have in the past expressed anti-Israeli sentiments.

With support from less than half of the UN's member states, the General Assembly voted two weeks ago to request that the International Court of Justice in the Hague render an advisory opinion on Israel's security fence.

The non-binding resolution asked the court to consider the 'legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power.'

Israel condemned the decision, saying it was a 'cynical manipulation' of an apparatus that is designed to promote world peace in order to further the interests of those supporting terrorism.

But Israeli officials agreed to cooperate with the court's expected investigation, saying they would argue the fence is needed for self-defense against terrorism.

Officials from the Justice Ministry, the State Prosecution and the Prime Minister's Office were participating in the discussion.



San Diego/Tijuana fence, where they don't even have suicide bombers.

WHODUNNIT?
Not one headline mentions Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims

AP: "Group Attacks Egypt Official . . . "

Reuters: "Egypt's Maher Assaulted . . ."

AFP: "Egypt FM taken to hospital after assault . . . "

AP: "Protestors Attack Egypt FM . . . "

ABC Online: "Egyptian Minister Assaulted . . ."

CNN: "Egyptian FM attacked . . . "

BBC: "Egypt minister attacked . . . "
. . . and, just for kicks, this alternative view, from Al Jazeera: "Egyptian minister jostled in Aqsa mosque"

VIPAC suggests writing to President Bush

In support of the right of Jews to live throughout Israel
In America and in other true democracies, people are free to practice their religion, any religion, anywhere and at any time. This country contains a wide mixture of religions and sects: Mormons, Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Protestants and even Atheists … to name just a few.

Our country prides itself on the freedoms it allows for all peoples and in the way we go out of our way to protect those freedoms. In most parts of the world the wide variety of ideas and freedoms found in America do not exist. Life is generally dominated by the majority and the minorities are prosecuted or restricted in the manner in which they can carry out their beliefs. Few countries allow or nurture the wide variety of ethnicity and religions as are found in America.

In walking the streets of Israel one finds a wide variety of ethnic cultures. Not only among the Jews who found refuge from persecution there, but among the non-Jews who have made their homes there. The Moslems have a major holy site in Jerusalem. For many Christians, Jerusalem is held to be a shrine of preeminent holiness. The Israeli city of Haifa contains the shrines of the Bahai religion and other religions such as the Druze exist in freedom throughout Israel.

But only to the Jews is Jerusalem and Israel the most holiest of places. The Christians have Rome and many other shrines. The Moslems have Mecca and Medina. To the Jews there is only Israel.

One would think that the Jews would be reluctant to share their one country with the rest of the world but that has not proven to be the case. They have never prevented other peoples from observing their religions. For nineteen years the Kingdom of Jordan ruled Jerusalem but did not choose to refurbish the golden dome of the City’s Mosque until the city was ruled by the Jews. Christian Monks walk the streets of the Old City with Hassidim in peace. The shocking truth is that the Jews have less freedom to worship and live in their own country than do other groups.

Last week a group of Jewish worshippers were attacked in Nablus while returning from worshipping at the Tomb of Joseph. A Rabbi was murdered there three years ago on his way to protect holy books from destruction by the Arabs. An Israeli soldier was killed at the Tomb trying to protect the freedom of worship.

Your call for another Arab Palestinian State, this one within the borders of Israel, is contrary to the spirit of the religious freedom our country stands for. Will the Arabs permit Jews within their “State”? Will they allow Jews to worship at their holy sites?

The Arabs failed the test at the beginning of their current war against the Jews when they burned the Tomb of Joseph, destroyed an ancient synagogue in Jericho and damaged numerous other holy sites. The Arab call for the demolition of all Jewish towns and cities within the area they claim is blatant segregation. Apartheid! Arabs are free to live throughout Israel. Jews live in Hebron and other cities and places holy to their religion at the risk of their lives.

The former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira recently issuedthe following declaration: “We are encountering intentions, Heaven forbid, to evacuate Jewish communities in our Holy Land … We stand in shock at these futile ideas and thoughts, that come not from within, but from without. Our Sages have taught us: ‘The first stage of defeat is retreat.’ … We must answer the call and come to the aid of these heroes in every spot in Israel, and take action to prevent the uprooting of communities. Such destruction is forbidden according to our holy Torah…”

The Jews of Israel have the right to live in their holy land. They have the right to live in all parts of their land. It is contrary to the principles of America to allow the Arabs the sole exclusive right to any part of the land of Israel to the exclusion of other peoples or other religions. The principles of freedom are not served by the uprooting of the Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

I urge you to support the right of the Jews to live throughout Israel.

A bit too long for any politician to actually read, but I completely support the position and the sentiment.



In this Nov. 28, 2003 file photo, Israeli outpost settler Eli Chai Dinner
plays with his three month old daughter Adi, as his wife Hadassa looks
on from the doorway of their one year old trailer home, at the Mitzpeh
Danny outpost, where twenty Israeli families now call home, in the
West Bank. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

The time has come

by Raz Telchai

Israel born from a gift
The time has come
Israel reestablished from a vision
The time has come
Rivers of red of our brothers and sisters flow so we can be Jews
The time has come
So safe in our cocoons, or are we
The time has come
Our youth naive, unaware of their birthright, our fault
The time has come
Love of Zion lost on a generation, once again our fault
The time has come
A war of land, a war of media, a war of history, a war of population
The time has come
A government giving away, we have no unity
The time has come
Viewed as a threat to world peace because we exist
The time has come
Year after year we pray “Next year in Jerusalem”
The time has come
To insure The Jewish homeland for generations yet to be
The time has come
We must say THIS YEAR in Jerusalem for that is the answer
The time has come
You must see


"The Bush Doctrine Experiences Shining Moments"

gloating, just a tad
Washington Post: It has been a week of sweet vindication for those who promulgated what they call the Bush Doctrine.

Beginning with the capture of Saddam Hussein a week ago and ending Friday with an agreement by Libya's Moammar Gaddafi to surrender his unconventional weapons, one after another international problem has eased.

On Tuesday, the leaders of France and Germany set aside their long-standing opposition to the war in Iraq and agreed to forgive an unspecified amount of that country's debt. On Thursday, Iran signed an agreement allowing surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities after European governments applied intense pressure on the U.S. foe. On Friday, Libya agreed to disarm under the watch of international inspectors, just as administration officials were learning that Syria had seized $23.5 million believed to be for al Qaeda.

To foreign policy hard-liners inside and outside the administration, the gestures by Libya, Iran and Syria, and the softening by France and Germany, all have the same cause: a show of American might.

Those who developed the Bush Doctrine -- a policy of taking preemptive, unprovoked action against emerging threats -- predicted that an impressive U.S. victory in Iraq would intimidate allies and foes alike, making them yield to U.S. interests in other areas. Though that notion floundered with the occupation in Iraq, the capture of Hussein may have served as the decisive blow needed to make others respect U.S. wishes, they say.

More . . .

Bush: "We must get rid of Arafat" (((YES!)))

Couldn't be better if I had written the script myself
JERUSALEM - AFP - US President George W. Bush told an Israeli journalist that "we must get rid of" Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.


Bush's comments came in a brief exchange with the mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot's correspondent during a Christmas drinks party in Washington.

The conversation came several hours after a keynote speech by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday in which he outlined plans for unilateral disengagement from peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The US government has boycotted Arafat with Bush accusing the veteran leader of failing the Palestinian people.

Israel has also shunned the 74-year-old, branding him an absolute obstacle to peace and confining him to his West Bank headquarters for more than two years.

Israel's security cabinet approved Arafat's "removal" in September, with one minister even suggesting that he could be assassinated, but Washington warned Israel not to attempt to expel him.

Bush was non-commital about Sharon's speech, saying that he would wait to see what happened on the ground.

"Speeches are good things, but they are words. I am waiting for action," he was quoted as saying.

"Now is the time to do a lot in the Middle East, and I am determined and committed to doing that. You can be sure that I have done a lot until now, but I am going to keep on doing. I am going to continue to be active and committed to (my) vision."
I guess he got my email objecting to the double standard (capturing Hussein while continuing to appease and protect Arafat) :) Life is good in America.

Columbia rebel kidnappers release Israeli, British hostages!

A great miracle happened there

Tammy Ohayon, the mother of former hostage Orpaz Ohayon, hugs an
Israeli journalist, Assaf Gur, in Bogota Tusday, Dec. 22, 2003, after
receiving the news from her son on a cell phone that he had been
released by leftist rebels in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern
Colombia. Orpaz Ohayon, three other Israelis and a Briton spent more
than three months in the hands of the National Liberation Army, or ELN.
AP Photo/Fernando Vergara


DEBKA: Five Columbian ELN rebel hostages on way to Bogota, freed with help of local Roman Catholic priests from nearly three months in jungle. All in good health. Four Israelis: Benny Daniel, 23, from Ma’aleh Adumim; Ido Guy, 26, from Haifa; Erez Tawil, 24, from Herzliyah, and Orpaz Ohayon, 22, also from Ma’aleh Adumim – and Briton Mark Henderson, 31.

Two Israelis Killed, One Wounded, in Terrorist Shootings

As of 8 pm Monday Night
IsraelNN.com: Both Israelis hit by terrorist gunfire in the Kissufim area of Gaza have been pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. One terrorist was killed and a manhunt continues for the second.

In the Hevron area, a border policeman sustained light-to-moderate injuries in a shooting attack on ‘Ikul 160’ between Kiryat Arba and Hevron. He was hit in a shoulder and is being transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

PALESTINIANS ATTACK EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER INSIDE JERUSALEM MOSQUE

Maher called a "traitor" for "meeting the Jews"
JPOST: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher was taken to hospital after being attacked by Muslims at Al Aqsa Mosque Monday evening.

Prof. Shmuel Shapira, head of the emergency ward at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital said that based on preliminary examinations, Maher is in good condition.

Jerusalem police said Maher was attacked inside the Mosque, and that there were no Israeli guards with him inside the compound - as agreed in advance with the Egyptian delegation.

Several dozen Muslims attempted to attack the Foreign Minister by throwing shoes at him. They shouted at him, "Collaborators in the crimes against Palestinians and Muslims!" "Not welcome" "Allah Akbar!" and "Jihad in Egypt!"

Egyptian officials said Muslim extremists were responsible for the assault, Channel 1 reported. The officials said the extremists are a group with influence in the Al Aksa compound.

Israeli officials said it was a pity that Muslim extremists used such a holy site for violent purposes.

Continue reading . . .
DEBKAfile adds: Maher’s assailants belong to Hebron branch of international fundamentalist Islamic Hizbat al-Tahrir whose late leader Taka A’din Naabani was executed in Jordan in 1951 for assassinating Abdullah I who held secret peace talks with Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir.
Don't forget - Tonight's the Night


Public Menorah Lighting @ Pearl Street Mall




Wonderful Chanukah celebration!
Giant 9 foot Menorah
Chanukah doughnuts and refreshments
Singing
Special Chanukah fun pack for kids
(One per family first 35 families)

TONIGHT, Monday
6:00 pm
@ Pearl Street Mall 1300 block

My Response to Chernut

submitted to the Daily Camera
Ira Chernus structures his advocacy for the Geneva Accords (Guest Opinion, 12/21/03) around a notion of Chanukah that will leave readers with a misimpression of this Jewish holiday. He describes it thus: “In the Jewish community this Hanukkah, when we celebrate a struggle for freedom, we are struggling to free ourselves from an old myth.”

In fact, quite the opposite is true. The story of Chanukah calls for our return to an “old myth,” i.e. the cardinal principles of Jewish faith and practice.

The Greek/Syrian oppressors of the original Chanukah story did not threaten the Jews physically, but spiritually. They sought to annul the covenant between us and our G-d, by outlawing the obligation of circumcision, the study of Torah, the keeping of the Sabbath and the sanctification of the new moon (Rosh Chodesh), upon which the dates of all the festivals depend.

Those whose military victory we celebrate on the first night of Chanukah were not “progressives” in favor of appeasing their enemy through empty peace-making. They were the “right-wing extremists,” the “settlers” of their time, the “war-mongers” – who fought and gave their lives rather than abdicate their Jewish identity. It was these unlikely few into whose hands were delivered the many.

Chanukah is in fact a celebration of “the old myth of uncompromising, violent nationalism” that Chernus would have us “grow beyond.” He may personally have “an interest in seeing Jews . . . free themselves from the past,” but it is dishonest to project that goal beyond himself, onto the Jewish community as a whole.

For many of us, Chanukah is not a matter of “struggling to free ourselves from an old myth.” It is an enduring opportunity to engage in the timeless, ongoing war between sanctity and defilement.

When we light the Chanukah candles, we reiterate the Jewish worldview that reality is essentially spiritual, not physical. We reject false promises made by false prophets, and dedicate our faith solely, uncompromisingly, to the Holy One Above.

Spiritual warriors, light your candles! Chanukah Sameach!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

U.S. Raises Terror Alert

See DEBKA for more.

"Beyond the Myths, peace is possible:
Israel and Palestine could show us the way"

Guest opinion in today's Daily Camera by Ira Chernus
Excerpt

At holiday season, we struggle with old myths. If you are Christian, you may be wondering what to tell the children about Santa Claus, or what to tell yourself about a virgin giving birth. In the Jewish community this Hanukkah, when we celebrate a struggle for freedom, we are struggling to free ourselves from an old myth. It's the one that says Israel really wants peace, but there is no one to make peace with, no one to talk to on the other side, because all Palestinians support terrorists bent on destroying the Jewish state.


HAMAS terrorists in Rafah today - photo not included in original

That myth is hard to hold on to, since some top Palestinian political figures joined with some peace-minded Israeli leaders to sign the Geneva Accord. It's a compromise plan for peace between the two nations, supported by sizable public opinion on both sides. Yet it faces fierce opposition from some Jews, led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government. So Jews who want to try new ways are pitted against Jews who cling to the old myth, just as in the days of the Maccabeean war that Hanukkah commemorates. Of course, there is significant opposition from some Palestinians, too.

Why the opposition to an approach that strikes so many as reasonable and hopeful? Why cling so desperately to the idea that "the other side" does not really want to make peace? That idea is merely one fiber in a complex set of interwoven beliefs that make up the fabric of modern nationalism. People who sew their personal identity out of the fabric of nationalism treasure each fiber. To give up any one, they fear, might unravel the whole myth on which they have built their lives.

Continue reading Chernus . . .

For further information, see THE PEACE ENCYCLOPEDIA on Galut Mentality, Dhimmi Mentality.

Write to the Camera at openforum@dailycamera.com.

Rantisi/HAMAS: "Palestine will never be Jewish"


Young boys carry weapons given to them to hold as they walk
with masked Palestinian gunmen from Yasser Arafat's Fatah
movement on the beach road during a demonstration
in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2003. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)



Masked militants from The Al-Aqsa brigade, a link of Yasser Arafat's
Fatah movement, hold their weapon during a rally in Gaza
December 20, 2003. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic


As Arafat's al Aqsa Brigades arm children, and HAMAS promises a renewal of suicide bombings against Israelis, the U.S. meets with Palestinians and Israel pledges to give up settlements in a move to "disengage" from the Palestinians.

Saddam Hussein is in chains, but Arafat rules.

None of it makes any rational sense whatsoever; we are in the anti-world of Galut, of exile.

Caroline Glick, always The Best

No mention of Palestinian terror in Israeli national debate,
as Egyptians mediate between U.S. and terror bosses.
Column One in the Jerusalem Post: The US war on terror hit a new high and a new low this week. The capture of Saddam Hussein was a great victory. It showed that as far as the ousted Iraqi regime is concerned, President Bush is fulfilling the pledge he made on September 20, 2001, that, when it comes to fighting international terrorism, "We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.

"Yet in the days before Saddam's capture, the Bush administration was moving ahead with a policy towards Palestinian terrorists which is the polar opposite of its policies toward Iraq.

Last week, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, and CIA Director George Tenet all reportedly met with Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman.

During the meetings, Suleiman reportedly demanded that the Bush administration provide guarantees to Palestinian terrorist organizations in exchange for a temporary cessation of terrorist attacks inside Israel's pre-'67 borders.

Specifically, he demanded that the US pressure Israel to force IDF redeployment outside areas transferred to the PLO in the Oslo Accords and to end Israeli military action against Palestinian terrorist chiefs, their operatives, and their terrorist infrastructures.

Upon his return to Cairo, Suleiman dispatched his emissaries to Gaza to meet with the commanders of the official PA security services, Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the DFLP, and the Iraqi Baathist Arab Liberation Front. There they told the terror chiefs that Suleiman had received such guarantees from Washington.

The meetings convened on Monday, just two days after Hamas held a mass rally in Gaza celebrating the 16th anniversary of its founding. During the rally, Hamas commander Abdel Aziz Rantisi told the crowd of more than 100,000 that his organization would continue its jihad against Israel until the entire country was destroyed.

"Palestine will never be Jewish," he said as he promised a renewal of suicide bombings against Israelis.
Over the weekend security forces thwarted yet another attempted suicide bombing in the Dan region – the third such attack thwarted in a 10-day period according to Shin Bet director Avi Dichter.

The Palestinian terror bosses have reportedly rejected the US offer because it was too vague. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Islamic Jihad leaders Muhammad al-Hindi and Nafez Azzam said Wednesday that there could be no cessation of attacks until Israel releases all Palestinian prisoners from jail, ceases the construction of the security fence, and redeploys IDF forces to where they were stationed on September 28, 2000 – the day the Palestinians launched their terror war.

The terrorists said US guarantees themselves were insufficient because "we don't believe the American promises."

It is not remarkable that the Palestinian terrorists, who routinely burn US flags and effigies of President Bush and call for jihad against the US, would reject ambiguous US guarantees. What is shocking is that the US would deem it proper to make any gesture at all towards these terrorists.

Indeed, the most significant aspect of the latest round of cease-fire talks is that the Egyptians are no longer acting simply as a party to the talks. Rather, in the aftermath of Suleiman's visit to Washington, they are acting as mediators between the Bush administration and Palestinian terror bosses.

To say that negotiating with terrorists is antithetical to US national security interests would seem to be stating the obvious. Official Palestinian links to Saddam's regime, as well as to al-Qaida and Hizbullah, have been well documented. After the murder of three American personnel in Gaza and the subsequent physical abuse of US investigators at the scene this past October, it should also be self-evident that Palestinian terrorists operating in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza are hostile to the US.

And yet, the fact that Palestinian leaders have lent assistance – both rhetorical and concrete – to the guerrillas fighting coalition forces in Iraq is ignored. PA security boss Jibril Rajoub's call last month for Arabs to join the guerrilla forces in Iraq was barely noted in Washington.

Noticing the fact that Palestinian leaders find common cause with parties presently warring against America would force the administration to admit what it has so far refused to countenance: that the PLO and its Palestinian terror affiliates are openly hostile to the US and share Osama bin Laden's views of America.

No doubt this American refusal to contend with Palestinian hostility is a great failure of US national security policy. But the blame cannot be placed solely at Washington's doorstep. The Israeli government has played a critical role in this policy failure.

Not only is our government unable to convince the US of the danger that Palestinian terrorist groups pose to America's national security, it is also unwilling to make the case to Israelis that the existence of these forces, harbored and led by the PLO's Palestinian Authority, constitutes an unacceptable national security threat to Israel.

This failure has been made abundantly clear over the past two weeks. When two weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert adopted former Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna's policy of unilateral withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, he effectively said that Palestinian terrorist organizations deserve safe-havens and Israel should surrender ground rather than fight them. Since Olmert's breathtaking display of defeatism, our already superficial national debate has become incomprehensible.

At this week's much touted three-day Herzliya Conference, which presumed to debate the most salient issues impacting Israel's national security, almost no mention was made of the PLO's continued dedication to the violent destruction of Israel.

Not a word was spoken of the implications of Egypt's sponsorship of the Palestinian terror war or Cairo's protective embrace of Palestinian terror organizations. No real discussion was held about the links between Palestinian terrorist networks and international terror networks now actively engaging US forces in Iraq and around the world.

Indeed, the entire vacuous debate seemed to be a tired collection of cliches, all the way down to Sharon's much-touted message Thursday night.

When policy-makers, experts, and pundits talk about the need for reform of the PA, no mention is ever made of the simple fact that every Palestinian political party is a terrorist organization. Every faction represented in the PA's legislature is an armed group.

When discussion is held on the need to reorganize the PA's security services, no one bothers to notice that every single one of these forces is involved in terrorist attacks against Israel. It is as if none of these facts has any bearing on the nature of the war.

Indeed, when Israeli leaders like Olmert proclaim the need for unilateral surrender, when Israel's prime minister declares that in the absence of a Palestinian campaign against terrorism Israel will expel Jews from their homes in order to hand over territory to Palestinian terrorists, they behave as though the Palestinians do not exist and the matter of the war they have been waging against Israel is an internal Israeli affair.

At base, this pathological Israeli political discourse is the direct result of Sharon's declaration in late September 2001 that he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Since Sharon made this declaration, the fact that such a state would be the first ever to be spawned directly by a terrorist organization has been conscientiously ignored. Palestinian actions, intentions, and connections to global terrorism were swept under the rug even before the US ousted the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

This all makes sense. If Israelis were to internalize the fact that, as presently constituted, the Palestinian body politic is immersed in terrorist ideology, how could anyone define "progress" as anything other than benchmarks towards the ousting of the PLO and its sister terrorist organizations from positions of power? If our leaders were to actually look at what the Palestinian leadership is doing and listen to what it is saying, they would be forced to reject the expressed policy of the prime minister.

And so it came about that our national debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes almost no mention of the Palestinians. In the absence of another side, we can talk about the need to "cut ourselves off" from Palestinians without considering whether Palestinian terrorists have any intention of cutting themselves off from Israel.

It is reasonable for the Bush administration to be criticized for its willingness to engage in mediated discussions with Palestinian terror bosses. Such engagements are inimical to US national security interests.

How can the US deter terrorism when it is actively involved in the rapid establishment of a terrorist state? How long will the image of Saddam Hussein's cowardice work to dispel the jihadist belief that the US is a paper tiger when the US is undermining its own strategic posture by genuflecting to the Palestinian terrorist agenda?

Yet the criticism should first be focused on our own leadership. It is the responsibility of our leaders to wage a war against terrorists who attack Israelis. It is the responsibility of our leaders to pay attention to what our enemies are saying and doing and to point out their actions and plans both to the Israeli people and to our allies in Washington.

Perhaps now that our glitterati have had their chance to shine in Herzliya and Olmert has consumed his 15 minutes, we can clear the decks for a real discussion of the threats to Israel's security. The first item on the agenda should be, "What would Israel's diplomatic policy look like if our government took into account the fact that Palestinian society is infected root and branch by terrorist ideology?"

While Caroline Glick and her Israeli readership contend with the national debate within Israel, we in America need to make clear to the Bush administration that a double standard which opposes Saddam Hussein, yet appeases Yasser Arafat, is unacceptable.

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