Saturday, January 17, 2004
Sharon's popularity DOWN
Arutz Sheva: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's popularity is rapidly descending, according to a poll published in Yediot Acharonot newspaper today. The survey, conducted by pollster Mina Tzemach, indicates that 56% of the Israeli public feels that Sharon is not trustworthy, and that 46% of the populace thinks he should resign. Just over half say he need not resign. Asked who their preferred replacement would be in the event that Sharon steps down, more respondents chose Binyamin Netanyahu than any of the other candidates - Ministers Olmert, Shalom, and Mofaz.
Israeli Ambassador to Sweden smashes art exhibit,
is escorted out of Stockholm museum
FM Silvan Shalom backs him "to the hilt"
DEBKAfile Special Analysis: An undiplomatic act by Israel’s ambassador to Sweden has switched the spotlight on a virulent strain of anti-Semitism sweeping West Europe that draws its moral legitimacy from demonizing the Jewish state. What better symbol of this hybrid object of hate than the exhibit whose plug ambassador Zvi Mazel furiously pulled?Note: AFP calls what the ambassador did vandalizing, but readers' reactions at JPost provide a fascinating and heartening read.
The Israeli ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, damages an artwork at
the Historical Museum in Stockholm, January 16, 2004, in this grab taken
from video / REUTERS/Erik Pauser/Making Differences
The exhibit consists of the photo of the female Palestinian suicide bomber who blew 21 Israelis to their deaths in a Haifa restaurant on October 4; it is planted on a boat floating serenely on a large pool of red water. Labeled “Snow White”, it was shown in an exhibition that opened Friday night, January 16, at Stockholm’s Museum of National Antiquities, part of an upcoming conference on genocide hosted by the Swedish government.
the "artists" with their "art installation"
After wrecking the exhibit and calling it “a monstrosity and an affront to the grieving families,” the Israeli ambassador was hustled out of the museum and informed he would be summoned to the Swedish foreign ministry next Monday to explain his actions.
In Jerusalem, the Israeli foreign ministry official Ran Curiel called the Swedish ambassador to warn him that if the offensive exhibit is not removed, Israel will reconsider its attendance at the conference. Sweden, he said, would not be allowed to hide behind the principle of artistic freedom to justify terrorist murders of Israeli citizens.
A diplomatic storm had blown up in hours.
The designers happened to be an ex-Israeli Swede called Dror Feiler and his Swedish wife Gunilla Skoeld Feiler. Dror is president of a group called “Jews for Palestinian Peace.”
The Israeli ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel (L), and artist Dror Feiler (R)
argue at the Historical Museum in Stockholm where Mazel damaged an artwork,
January 16, 2004, in this grab taken from video. REUTERS/Erik Pauser/Making Differences
Clearly, they neither knew nor cared that the red pool represented Jewish and Arab blood – both Jews and Arabs were murdered in the restaurant by innocent “Snow White.” The bloody symbol they used inevitably recalls the fictional blood libels drummed up by European anti-Semites as the pretext for medieval pogroms. In modern-day Sweden, the purported Christian boy victim has been replaced by a real-life Palestinian suicidal killer.
The angry ambassador was backed to the hilt by his boss, foreign minister Silvan Shalom - more unexpectedly by former prime minister Ehud Barak, who said he understands the emotions the exhibit aroused in the diplomat, but confessed he cannot fathom Israelis like Feiler who efface themselves at European feet.
The to-do in Stockholm occurred on the day that Pope John Paul II invited Israel’s two chief rabbis to the Vatican for the first time to discuss the tide of anti-Semitism besetting Europe. Crucifixes were taken off the walls of the papal audience chamber as a gesture of respect to the guests. But did the historic meeting have any concrete results? Not immediately.
Heads of the European Union and its members talk constantly about combating the blight of anti-Semitism but the only action they have taken is to shelve a report they themselves commissioned because it pointed to Islamic and Palestinian agitators as leading culprits.
Israel has not done much either. When Miki Theodorakis branded the Jews “the root of the world’s evil,” the Greek government, while refraining from entering the controversy over freedom of speech versus racial incitement, made the gesture of finally introducing a Holocaust day on the 2003 national calendar, suddenly noticing that 90 percent of Greek Jews had perished in Nazi concentration camps in World War II. However, in Israel, no banking or financial institution has ever responded actively to comments made by the Dutch wife of the president of the European Central Bank last year that “Israel is worse than the Nazis,” and “the rich Jewish lobby in America is responsible for the Palestinians’ plight.” ” (“Jews” and “Israelis” are interchangeable when it suits their denigrators.)
The recent poll in which a majority of Europeans canvassed described Israel as the biggest threat to world peace likewise went by without response. In fact, shortly after its publication, Israel’s deputy prime minister and minister of industry, Ehud Olmert, bowed to the EU’s demand to add special markings to Israeli products manufactured across the Green Line in order to help European consumers boycott them.
As for Sweden, after the Palestinians embarked on their 2000 confrontation with Israel, more than one voice urged the Nobel Prize committee to recall the peace prize awarded jointly to the late Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat from… Peres.
If Israel were to follow the European example, its ministers, senior officials and high court judges would tomorrow morning hand in the Swedish Volvo automobiles which are standard Israeli VIP issue and trade them for cars made in other countries. There is nothing, moreover, to stop the heads of the Jewish Agency advising Jews around the world to boycott Volvo, SKF and Ikea, in the same way that many American consumers spontaneously blacked French wines and cheese in response for French hostility to the Iraq War.
European democracies like Sweden might then have the necessary incentive to finally decide how far freedom of expression or art may be indulged when blood libels against Jewish citizens are published freely on European Web sites and exhibited publicly in their national museums. Who will draw the line on freedoms used to license incitement to mass murder?
Those Murdered in Haifa
remembered in a very real way today by Ambassador Zvi Mazel
Bruria Zer-Aviv, 59,
her son Bezalel Zer-Aviv, 30,
his wife Keren Zer-Aviv, 29,
and both their children, Liran, 4, and Noya, 1 year old - all from Kibbutz Yagur.
Ze'ev Almog, 61,
his wife Ruth Almog, 60,
their son Moshe Almog, 43,
their grandsons Tomer Almog, 9, and Asaf Staier, 10,
all from Haifa.
Mark Biano, 29,
his wife, Naomi Biano, 25 - from Haifa.
Nir Regev, 25, Nahariya.
Osama Najar, 27, Haifa.
Matanas Karkabi, 29, Haifa.
Hana Naim Francis, 40,
Fassouta, Sherbel Matar, 23,
Fassouta, Zvi Bahat, 35, Haifa
Irena Sofrin, 38, Kiriat Bialik.
October wasn't all that long ago. That was when Israeli warplanes struck in Syria, Tony Judt's piece came out in the NY Review of Books, Arafat was very ill and we thought he might die, Shark Blog exposed a Greek artist who glorified, you guessed it, female suicide bombers, and Cafe Hillel reopened.
Friday, January 16, 2004
Boker Tov! Boulder welcomes hip-hop legend Russell Simmons to the fight against antisemitism
Hip hop mogul collaborates with rabbi to improve Jewish-African American relations
Haaretz: In a ground-breaking article to be published soon, hip-hop legend Russell Simmons will urge African-Americans to join forces with Jews, to fight anti-Semitism in Europe and the U.S.From strength to strength, Mr. Simmons!
Simmons, known for the "Phat Farm" clothes line in addition to his success with hip hop, is an admired role model for millions of American blacks. America's Jewish community cannot fight anti-Semitism on its own, Simmons says.
Jews and blacks have a long history of collaboration to advance social reform, especially during the civil rights struggle.
Simmons article was co-written with Rabbi Marc Schneier to mark this year's observances of Martin Luther King Day in America. The hip hop mogul and the rabbi have in the past worked together to improve Jewish-African American relations.
The new article is ground-breaking for being the first time an African American figure of Simmons' stature in popular culture has issued a denunciation of resurgent anti-Semitism. The article will be published this weekend in newspapers which reach Jewish and black readers across the U.S.
If Martin Luther King were alive today, the authors write, he would protest against the new wave of anti-Semitism. Nor would Martin Luther King keep quiet about the "moral laryngitis" of political leaders who fail to speak out against hatred of Jews.
Simmons and Schneier allude to a recent public opinion survey, which found that 77 percent of blacks and 73 percent of Jews in the U.S. believe that the two communities must collaborate together to promote civil rights.
Jewish leaders in New York who are acquainted with the upcoming article emphasize its influential, pioneering character. "The is the first time in years that such a central, popular figure among blacks in America, particularly among young people, has issued such a strong condemnation of anti-Semitism, and called for a renewal of the historical alliance between African Americans and Jews," these leaders said in a comment yesterday.
"We will find him in the tunnels and we will eliminate him"
Israel issues blunt warning to founder of Hamas
Associated Press: JERUSALEM - Israel will hunt and kill the founder of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, in retaliation for a deadly attack on Israeli border guards, Israel's deputy defense minister said in the bluntest warning yet against leaders of the Islamic militant group.
Yassin, a quadriplegic, did not try to hide Friday, making his way to a Gaza City mosque near his home in a wheelchair pushed by an assistant.
(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
"We do not fear the threat of death," Yassin, wrapped in a brown blanket, told reporters outside the mosque. "We will not bow to pressure and resistance will continue until the occupation is destroyed."
Yassin said he was not personally involved in planning attacks, denying allegations by Israeli security officials that he had approved Wednesday's bombing in which a female suicide bomber killed four Israelis at the Erez crossing into Israel.
The Israeli officials also said Yassin issued a religious ruling allowing women to become bombers, after Hamas initially recruited only male assailants.
Israeli security officials met Wednesday at the Defense Ministry to weigh a response to the latest Hamas bombing. One official said targeted killings of senior Hamas members are likely to resume after a lull of several months.
Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim said Yassin is a key target.
"Sheik Yassin is marked for death, and he should hide himself deep underground where he won't know the difference between day and night. And we will find him in the tunnels, and we will eliminate him," Boim told Israel Army Radio on Thursday night.
However, several security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Yassin was not mentioned specifically in the discussions at the Defense Ministry. Killing the Hamas founder would require approval by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the officials said.
An Israeli strike against Yassin, who is revered also by Palestinians who do not support Hamas, would likely provoke revenge bombings.
Yassin already dodged one Israeli attempt to kill him in September. A warplane dropped a 550-pound bomb on a building where he and other Hamas leaders were meeting, but Yassin escaped with just a small wound to his hand.
Hezbollah "fighter, recruiter and fundraiser" charged
in Detroit, MICHIGAN, U.S.A.
Reuters: Federal officials charged a Detroit-area man on Thursday with supplying material support and resources to Lebanon's Hizbollah, saying the move was a breakthrough in efforts toward "choking the funding that supports terrorism."Kourani received training in weaponry, spy craft and counterintelligence in Lebanon and Iran. According to the Detroit News, he is the fifth person in Michigan charged with providing material support to terrorists.
Jeffrey Collins, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, identified the man as Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, who has been in custody since last year on immigration charges. Collins said Kourani was a "fighter, recruiter and fund-raiser for Hizbollah," and the brother of its chief of military security for southern Lebanon.
He entered the United States illegally from Mexico about three years ago, Collins said, adding that he continued his "substantial" fund-raising for Hizbollah after taking up residence in Dearborn, Michigan, which is home to a large Arab community.
Kourani pleaded not guilty in federal court later Thursday, speaking through an interpreter.
Kourani faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for "conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization," Collins said.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
HULLO? ARE YOU LISTENING?
from the fifth paragraph of an Associated Press article,
headlined Palestinians Hail Female Bomber as Hero:
"She is not going to be the last (attacker) because the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe," Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said.
This is not a bedtime story. This is The Plan. Hats off to Charles at LGF for bringing it to our attention.
ISMer filing libel suit against Judy Balint?!
Dear friends,Judy's new book, Jerusalem Diaries: In Tense Times is now available. Order Online.
I am being sued for libel by Radhika Sainath, an American participant in the International Solidarity Movement.
Ms. Sainath claims that an article I wrote for my website about her and her ISM activities "consists of blatantly false accusations," so she's suing for $20,000.
Ms. Sainath is represented by attorney Shamai Leibowitz, whose most infamous client is Al Aksa Brigade leader Marwan Barghouti, accused of murdering tens of Israelis and injuring hundreds in numerous terrorist attacks.
I have the privilege of being represented by Nitsana Darshan Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin--Israel Law Center. Shurat HaDin has filed lawsuits in Israeli and American courts against Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the European Union on behalf of terror victims. Ms. Darshan-Leitner has filed petitions in Israel's High Court of Justice concerning terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti, Abu Abbas and Israel's targeted killings policy.
If you would like to help defray our legal expenses in fighting the libel action of the ISM
we would welcome your tax-deductible donations:
Please make your tax- deductible check payable in the US to:
PEF - Israel Endowment Fund
and mail to: Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, Balint Defense Fund
c/o PEF - Israel Endowment Fund
317 Madison Avenue, Suite 607
New York, New York 10017
To donate outside the United States or in Israel, please make your check payable to:
Shurat Hadin - Israel Law Center
and mail to:
Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, Balint Defense Fund,
11 Havatikim St.
Petach Tikva, 49389
Judy Lash Balint
See also her most recent article, Deja Vu at Tel Aviv Rally? about the rally in Tel Aviv this past Sunday:
Only one MK, the young, secular Gila Gamliel, a former student leader, brings home the point that this is not a "settler" rally. "We're all settlers--those in the center of the country, in Jerusalem, in Eilat," she states. "And who is my teacher and mentor in these matters?" Gamliel asks. "None other than our prime minister."
Banner: "Jordan Is the Palestinian State"
P.S. Iraq is not Viet Nam
Protestors BOOED President Bush as he laid a wreath at the grave of Martin Luther King
President George W. Bush lays a wreath at the grave of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
in Atlanta, January 15, 2004. Standing to the left is Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott
King. Several hundred protesters loudly booed Bush on the anniversary of the civil
rights leader's birth. Protesters shouted 'Bush go home' and 'peace not war' from behind
a barrier of parked buses across the street from King's grave. Larry Downing/Reuters
You know that "Letter to a Friend" that we've all read, where Martin Luther King, Jr. declared anti-Zionism to be antisemitism? Well, I am very sad to learn -and to report- that it's apparently a hoax. It is however quite true that in a 1968 appearance at Harvard, he said,
"When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking antisemitism."May his memory be for a blessing.
Ask the Editor
The Jerusalem Post Online Edition has a page where you can submit a short question to Editor-in-Chief, Bret Stephens. The most interesting questions will be published online. Click here to give it your best shot.
What a great newspaper the Post is! Wish we had something like it in this country.
Yassin himself intervened to allow Hamas terrorist to blow herself up to kill Jews
And personally gave his blessings
JPost: Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, personally authorized the use of the female suicide bomber who attacked the Erez terminal crossing Wednesday, killing four Israelis.According to a sickeningly sympathetic, terror-apologist bio by the BBC, the Israelis had Yassin under arrest in 1989, then released him in 1997 in a trade for two Israeli agents. Oy.
According to Channel 2, Reem Salah al-Rayashi, 21, the mother of two small children, approached Hamas several times with the request to be a suicide bomber.
"She practically begged," an Arab affairs reporter told Channel 2.
The Hamas leadership repeatedly spurned her requests, until Yassin himself intervened. Hamas has previously resisted the use of female suicide bombings on ideological grounds. However, when Hamas operatives brought a plan to bomb the Erez crossing into the joint Israeli-Palestinian industrial zone, the Hamas leadership put ideology aside and adopted the plan most likely to succeed.
Sheikh Yassin then personally gave his blessing for al-Rayashi to be used as a bomber, and issued a decree (a few hours after Wednesday's attack) to the effect that "Jihad was the duty of men and women."
Sidney (AU) Morning Herald seeks to glorify Arab Muslim terrorist
"Mother's only wish was to die a martyr"
By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Gaza
Palestinian militant groups use suicide bombers as political currency, and usually their faces and praises are postered all over their home towns within hours of their deaths.
Unusually, though, little is yet known about Reem Raiyshi, the 22-year-old mother who blew herself up in a Gaza industrial estate on Wednesday, killing four young Israeli guards and wounding seven other people, including four Palestinians. She is believed to be the first mother to carry out such an attack.
Immediately after the 10am attack, the Islamic militant group Hamas claimed her as the first woman suicide bomber to die on its orders - although several other women have died for less conservative groups - and set up the customary mourning tent near her home. But the traditional glossy posters of the "martyr" were absent and, even more unusually, so were her husband and much of her middle-class merchant family.
Her brother, who acted as chief mourner, refused to talk to reporters and local Hamas supporters warned them off approaching her home.
The dead woman's brother-in-law, Yusuf Awad, told Associated Press she and her husband had fought with the family a couple of months earlier and she had disappeared.
"We were not expecting that from her," he said, referring to the terrorist attack. "We would not have thought it possible."
Raiyshi left behind a three-year-old son, Obedia, an 18-month old daughter, Doha, and a video recorded just before her death. Cradling an assault rifle and flanked by green Hamas flags, the young woman said she had dreamt of martyrdom from the age of 13.
"I always wanted to be the first woman to carry out a martyr attack, where parts of my body can fly all over," she said, smiling. "That is the only wish I can ask God for." She concluded: "God gave me two children and I loved them so much. Only God knew how much I loved them."
"Abu Jihad", a 22-year-old Hamas member attending her mourning tent, said he had not known Raiyshi but that sometimes she had come to the place where young men studied the Koran. "Really, I am jealous of her," he said. "I hope and I wish to be in her place one day."
See also coverage in the New York Times:
"After the bombing, her husband was seen crying outside the family home."The Times apparently does not see fit to even mention the names of those murdered, much less if and where their family members were seen crying.
The Times also omits:
-- that four of the seven wounded were Palestinians,And while I'm at it, and my blood pressure is sky-rocketing anyway, please note that the Times does consider it newsworthy that Rabbi Defends Blocking Israeli Bulldozers.
-- that this bombing caused thousands of Palestinians to be prevented from going to work in Israel, and
-- that Abu Ala did not condemn the bombing.
Write to the New York Times Public Editor:
To reach Daniel Okrent, who represents the readers, e-mail email@example.com
UPDATEI did write, and got these responses, okay by me. So far.
Thank you for your comments and inquiries. Everything sent to this mailbox is read either by me or by my associate, Arthur Bovino. If a reply is appropriate, you will be hearing from us shortly. When referring to a specific article please include its date, section and headline. If you do not wish for your message to be relayed to the appropriate editors and reporters please let us know.and then . . .
-- Daniel Okrent
Dear Ms. Lieberman,
Thank you for your message.
I have forwarded your concerns to Alison Smale, acting foreign editor.
If you have not heard anything from us within two weeks please let me know.
Office of the Public Editor
WTF?! This is beyond words
on this day, of all days
Congresswoman Lois Capps: "If you have an immediate concern, please call any of my four offices
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia shakes hands with
U.S. congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Calif.) during a meeting
with an American delegation at his office in the town of Abu Dis,
in the outskirts of Jerusalem, Thursday Jan. 15, 2004.
(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
to speak with someone from my staff."
Washington, D.C.See also "Arab American involvement in 2004 US elections" below.
1707 Longworth House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3601
Fax: (202) 225-5632
1216 State Street, Suite 403
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: (805) 730-1710
Fax: (805) 730-9153
San Luis Obispo
1411 Marsh Street, Suite 205
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 546-8348
Fax: (805) 546-8368
141 South A Street, Suite 204
Oxnard, CA 93030
Phone: (805) 385-3440
Fax: (805) 385-3399
Christian clerics criticize Israel
for obstructing the work of the church
Security barrier makes their travel difficult
The Latin Patriarch of the Holy Land, Michel Sabbah (R), the Bishop of
Urgell and co-Prince of Andora, Spanish Bishops' Conference Joan
Enric Vives (C) and the Bishop of Chartres, French Bishops'
Conference Bernard Nicolas Aubertin speak at a press conference
in east Jerusalem January 15, 2004. In the news conference Thursday
in Jerusalem Christian clerics led by the Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah
criticized Israeli military measures including a barrier being built in the
occupied territories as obstructing the work of the church by making
travel difficult . . . REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen
the other funeral
Hamas and Fatah celebrate their "success"
Palestinian carry the coffin of
female suicide bomber, during her funeral in Gaza City January 15, 2004.
Photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Palestinian gunmen from the Fatah movement ride atop a vehicle
during the funeral of Hamas female suicide bomber
in Gaza City, January 15, 2004.
crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip and threatened renewed military
strikes on Palestinian militants
mother of two blew herself up at a border crossing..[murdering four
young Israeli men, and wounding 7 people- four of whom were
Palestinians] Photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Palestinian militants from Hamas wear masks during the funeral of
female suicide bomber
Jan. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Palestinian youths hold flags of the Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, yellow
and Hamas, green, as they stand on the roof of the morgue at Shifa Hospital
prior to the funeral of female suicide bomber Reem Raiyshi, in Gaza City,
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
ARAB MOTHER CRIED FOR MERCY, THEY RESPONDED - AND SHE MURDERED THEM
"It was always my wish . . . to knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists"
Arutz Sheva: Additional details of yesterday's murderous terrorist bombing in northern Gaza that claimed the lives of four Israelis paint a frightful picture of a woman who cried for mercy - and seconds later coldly murdered those who bestowed it upon her.
The suicide attack was perpetrated by a young woman, the mother of two children aged 3 and 1 - the first time that Hamas has employed such a weapon, and the seventh female suicide bomber of the Oslo War. It is now known that she made her way to the checkpoint without arousing suspicion, but when she passed through the electronic door, the alarm sounded, and the guard on duty turned her away. She began to cry that she had a metal implant in her leg, and the same guard then apparently took pity on her, and allowed her in for a body check - and then she killed him.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Tzvi Poleg, who served in the past as IDF Commander in Gaza, said this morning that the attack might have been prevented:"Wherever you have easing of restrictions, you have attacks. If we were just a little less humanitarian, this attack would not have happened - or at least it would have been less costly. It is unacceptable that a terrorist should arrive at the checkpoint and not be checked. Even when a woman comes in crying that her leg hurts, we must not be too humanitarian. We always want to be nice, and good, and sensitive - but not at the expense of our sons. Wherever this happens, the terrorist organizations will see it as a weakness, and will take advantage to carry out attacks."The results of Arab/PA incitement and hatred for Israel were manifest not only in yesterday's attack, but in the videotape the terrorist mother made before her death. Smiling and cradling a rifle, she said that she had dreamed since she was 13 years old of "becoming a martyr" and dying for her people."It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists and to knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists," she said.The army is now looking into several difficult questions in the aftermath of the attack. The first critical issue, of course, is how to relate to women at the checkpoints. Col. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Gaza DCO liaison with the PA, says today that the army will have to "reconsider the manner in which it checks Arab women."
Hamas terrorist leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said yesterday that Hamas will continue to use women terrorists for suicide attacks. He said that"jihad [holy war] is an imperative for Muslim men and women," and that "resistance will escalate against this enemy until they leave our land and homeland."Another dilemma on the IDF scales is the tension between the desire to allow the PA population to live normal lives and the need for security for Israeli citizens. The Erez Crossing will be closed today, and it is not known when it will be re-opened. Nineteen thousand Arab workers and businessmen generally cross the Green Line every day to work inside pre-1967 Israel, and another 5-6,000 are employed in the Jewish-owned businesses in the Erez Industrial Zone.
Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz met with U.S. Senators yesterday, and told them that distinguishing between terrorists and the rest of the PA population is "complex," but that in any event, Israel will "continue to act as a humanitarian and democratic state."
Three of the four victims of yesterday's terrorist bombing were buried today:
* Security guard Gal Shapira, 29, of Ashkelon, was laid to rest in the cemetery in his hometown. He is survived by his parents and sister.
The father of slain Israeli Gal Shapira, cries over his body during his
funeral in the town of Ashkelon, January 15, 2004
* The funeral of Sgt. Tzur Ohr, 20, of Rishon LeTzion was held in the military cemetery in Holon. He is surviced by his parents, Tal and Adi, his older sister Ma'ayan and yourger brother Barak.
An Israeli soldier cries during a funeral of Israeli soldier Tzur Or
in the town of Holon January 15, 2004. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
* At 3 PM in Nahariya, Corp. Andrei Kegeles, 19, was laid to rest. He is survived by his parents and younger brother.
Andrei Kegeles immigrated to Israel from Belarus six and a half years ago with his parents, Nina and Igor, and brother Dimitri. Drafted into the army just four months ago, Andrei decided to be a combat soldier, saying to his parents, "I want to my army service to be useful. That's my way of contributing to the state."
After his son's death yesterday, Igor's voice was choked with tears and sorrow, but also with pride. He spoke about his son, "who was a regular Israeli guy, who wanted to go to the army. He was not afraid to serve in Gaza, he was no coward, and wanted to go to an officers' course. I asked him to serve somewhere else, but he wouldn't."
* The funeral of the fourth victim - Border Guard St.-Sgt. Vladimir Trostinsky, 22, of Rehovot - has not yet been set. He immigrated to Israel six years ago with his mother Yevgenia and younger brother Constantin; his father remained in Russia. He is survived by these, and by his grandparents, Moshe and Ida.
Friends of Israeli Border Police Staff Sgt. Vladimir
Trostinsky comfort each other during his funeral
in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, Thursday Jan. 15,
2004. Trostiansky, 22, and three other soldiers
were killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber
Wednesday at the Erez Crossing between
the Gaza Strip and Israel.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
While I loathe infringing on the privacy of mourners, it seems important to bring this into our lives. We must never stop caring for what happens to our people. When Jews die for being Jews, it is part of us, and should be part of our experience. After all, their murderer wanted to "knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists" - it didn't matter which ones.
May the families and friends of these young men be comforted among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
The Official IDF Hagadah is being translated into English
Be a SPONSOR or simply BUY THE BOOK
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OR buy the book, for a pre-publishing price of only $22 (regularly $25). The Hagada will be released one month before Passover (on or about March 10, 2004) and shipped directly to your home.
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Arab American involvement in 2004 US elections
by James J. Zogby
published in the Jerusalem Times, an "independent Palestinian weekly"
Arab Americans enter the 2004 election cycle prepared, as never before, to make a difference. The community is now engaged on almost every level of the political process and is ready to reap the benefits of more than 20 years of political growth.Oy, when they speak of "Palestinian rights," my heart sinks, because Palestinian "responsibilities" are still not part of the conversation . . . and when they say "Justice in Palestine," all I can think of is dead Jews.
The early focus will, of course, be on the Democratic primaries, which are due to begin in less than two weeks. The first contest will be in Iowa where Arab Americans have been mobilizing for the past six months. The Arab American Institute (AAI) organizer in Iowa has conducted training sessions and what have been called "Yalla Vote" voter registration events in locations across the state. Arab Americans have also been visible in the last several months at candidate campaign events carrying signs calling for "Justice in Palestine" and "Civil Rights for Arab Americans" and asking tough questions of all the presidential aspirants.
Already three of the Democratic candidates have attended community events in Iowa seeking Arab American support. And two days before Iowans vote, AAI will host a major "Get Out the Vote" event at Cedar Rapids, Iowa's historic mosque.
After Iowa, Arab American attention will shift to Michigan where a major mobilization effort is well underway. AAI's October National Leadership Conference, held in Michigan, represented a kick-off to the community's election efforts, bringing eight of the nine Democratic presidential candidates before the Arab American community. With the Arab American vote clearly a factor in Michigan elections, three of the campaigns have hired Arab American staff to seek out community support. In addition, Arab American committees have been formed on behalf of a number of the leading Democratic candidates and a substantial "Get out the Vote" effort is underway in order to create a sizeable turnout on primary election day in early February.
In several other states, and in every campaign, Arab Americans are playing key roles in this election. Most of the leading Democrats have hired or appointed Arab Americans in major roles and most states have Arab Americans already slated to run for delegate positions to the National Democratic Convention. In at least three states, Arab Americans are serving in key party positions that enable them to play a role in the delegate selection process.
In more than ten states, where the political process allows issues to be raised, Arab American delegates will bring forth resolutions on Palestinian rights, a call for justice and peace in Iraq and a condemnation of civil liberties violations of Arab and Muslim immigrants. These resolutions have already won broad support and so should be passed at the local and state levels. But Arab Americans will make an effort to continue to challenge both parties and the candidates to ensure that these issues are debated and acted upon in the national policy discussion as well.
But this is only the beginning and represents just a part of the community's engagement in 2004. On the Republican side, for example, Arab Americans are also gearing up. Since President George W. Bush faces no challenge for his party's nomination, Republican Party outreach efforts are not yet in full swing. Nevertheless, the Bush/Cheney Campaign has established an Arab American outreach desk and has initiated the formation of a national Arab American support committee. While Arab American Republicans know they will face challenges in 2004, given the frustration that exists among some of those who supported Bush in 2000, they indicate a resolve to make a serious effort to bring Arab Americans into the Republican campaign.
The important fact is that Arab Americans will be involved in both parties' presidential campaigns and will be engaged in fulfilling the dual task of both supporting their party's nominee while challenging them to be responsive to Arab American community concerns.
Because the 2004 election will, in all probability, be as close as that of 2000, every vote will count and both parties will be seeking the support of organized political constituencies. That means that, by the time we get to the Fall, Arab American voters can expect to be courted by both Republicans and Democrats, especially in key battleground states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
But that's not all. Arab Americans are already raising money and becoming organized in several communities on behalf of congressional and Senate candidates, especially those who have been responsive to the community's concerns. And in addition to the sitting Arab American members of Congress who are running for re-election, it appears that two qualified Arab Americans will be running for a U.S. Senate seat in the state of Louisiana.
Regardless of the outcome, Arab Americans are clearly the winners in 2004. In a short 20-year period, the community has grown in size, organization and recognition. It has become a key participant in the electoral process. The community has overcome the painful exclusion of the 1980s when candidates returned contributions and endorsements. Today they are actively being sought out and courted for their support.
This didn't come easily. It required hard work, and the hard work never ends. Every new election brings new challenges: more voters to register and mobilize, new issues to confront, new candidates who need to be introduced to Americans of Arab descent and new threats from those who still seek to turn back the clock and lock out Arab Americans and their concerns from the electoral process.
But this year Arab Americans are better prepared to meet these challenges and the proof is there for all to see.
James J. Zogby is President of the Arab American Institute.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Abu Ala declines to condemn bombing, blames Israel
According to Haaretz,
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia declined to condemn the attack, saying that continued Israeli attacks and restrictions on the Palestinians are leading "to more escalation on both sides."They're sick, but the man is correct. See photo:
A senior Fatah official, taking issue with the bombing, told Israel Radio that the object of the attack was to prompt Israel to declare a closure over the Gaza Strip and cut off access to jobs within Israel, measures that act to boost grass-roots Palestinian support for Hamas and other militant movements.
Palestinian workers are guarded by an Israeli soldier as they wait to
be sent back to the Gaza Strip at the Erez crossing after a suicide
bombing (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
In light of today's suicide bombing at the Gaza border . . . this makes me sick
Just yesterday, Sharon raised possibility
of Israeli withdrawal from Gaza
New York Times: JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon raised the possibility on Tuesday that the Israeli military could one day withdraw from the Gaza Strip, where large numbers of troops guard Jewish settlers.That day is not yet here, Arik. I truly hope you are not asleep at the wheel.
In remarks to Bedouin soldiers who have served in Gaza, Mr. Sharon again indicated that he is considering scaling back the Israeli presence in lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
"I hope that the day will come when we won't have to be in the strip and you will truly be free to handle more essential matters," Mr. Sharon said on Israeli television and radio. He spoke in the southern Israeli village of Segev Shalom, not far from Gaza.
Mark Steyn in the Jerusalem Post
Chalk it up to multiculturalism
Let me see if I understand the BBC Rules of Engagement correctly: If you're Robert Kilroy-Silk and you make some robust statements about the Arab penchant for suicide bombing, amputations, repression of women and a generally celebratory attitude to September 11 – none of which is factually in dispute – the BBC will yank your show off the air and the Commission for Racial Equality will file a complaint to the police which could result in your serving seven years in jail.Read it all.
Message: This behavior is unacceptable in multicultural Britain.
But, if you're Tom Paulin and you incite murder, in a part of the world where folks need little incitement to murder, as part of a non-factual, emotive rant about how "Brooklyn-born" Jewish settlers on the West Bank "should be shot dead" because "they are Nazis" and "I feel nothing but hatred for them," the BBC will keep you on the air, kibitzing (as the Zionists would say) with the cr me de la cr me of London's cultural arbiters each week.
Message: This behavior is completely acceptable.
So, while the BBC is "investigating" Kilroy-Silk, its only statement on Paulin was an oblique but curiously worded allusion to the non-controversy on the corporation's website:
"His polemical, knockabout style has ruffled feathers in the US, where the Jewish question is notoriously sensitive."
"The Jewish question?" "Notoriously sensitive?" Is this really how they talk at the BBC?
In this image taken off video, 22-year-old
Reem Saleh al-Riyashi,
holding an automatic rifle and wearing a bandana of the Islamic
militant group Hamas, reads a statement.
Riyashiwho was the
mother of two young children, blew herself up in an inspection
room at the Erez crossing this morning killing four Israelis.(AFP/HO)
Video grab image shows Palestinian suicide bomber 22 year old
Reemtalking on an undated prerecorded amateur video, released
on Janaury 14, 2004. A Palestinian mother of two who killed four
Israelis in a suicide bombing on Wednesday professed love for her
children before launching an attack that she said was meant to turn her
body into 'deadly shrapnel'. Smiling at times in a videotape that showed
her cradling a rifle, 22-year-old
Reem Al-Reyashisaid she had dreamed
since she was 13 of 'becoming a martyr' and dying for her people.
May her name be erased. She should rot in hell.
ARAFAT RADIO BLESSES WOMAN SUICIDE BOMBER
by Michael Widlanski
In an unprecedented show of support for a human bomb attack, Yasser Arafat's official radio greeted with elation the news of latest suicide assault in the Gaza Strip.
"Citizen Rim al-Riyashi was heroically martyred when she carried out an explosive operation at the Beit Hanoun Junction , killing four soldiers of the Occupation," declared Voice of Palestine Radio in its 4-PM newscast, about an hour after the attack in the Gaza Strip.
The style of the news item, which opened the afternoon news round-up, was more like a birthday greeting than a regular news report, stressing the woman's identity and "heroic martyrdom" (Arabic: istish-haad) repeatedly.
There was no mention that she was a member of the Islamic terror group known as HAMAS (Haraka al-Muqawwima al-Islamiyya: Islamic Resistance Front).
Arafat's VOP radio said Israel was to blame for the attack, and it offered no condemnation for the assault at the Gaza crossing point which also serves as a place of employment and access into Israel for Palestinian laborers.
Michael Widlanski, who teaches at the Hebrew Unviersity's Rothberg School, is a former reporter for The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers, and The Boston Globe. He recently completed his doctoral dissertation on the political role of the Palestinian mass media.
Palestinians walk past fresh grafitti saying the name in arabic of female
Jan. 14, 2004. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
More on Gaza grafitti at the Washington Times.
Mark my words, when the world becomes innured to mom bombs, they will -Gd forbid- begin to send their children.
JIHAD IN HOUSTON
via the Freemanlist
How is it that only the Israelis know that World War III started on September 11, 2001?
ooner or later it was bound to happen—Jihad would come to the United States. (Not that it hasn't been here since the Oklahoma City bombing, mind you.) And by this statement I don't mean attacks on America's infrastructure such as the assault on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the apparent attempted assault on the White House that occurred on 11 September 2001. No, I'm thinking of something much more simple than elaborate plans to fly commercial aircraft into buildings. I'm thinking of something as simple as the murder of a Jew by a Muslim. In Houston, Texas, no less.
The Muslim man has confessed to the crime, which his own roommate witnessed as a near decapitation of the Jewish victim. Amazingly, the press is reporting that Houston police say they don't have a clue as to why he did it. Honest, I'm not making this up....
News Media Reports
Here are two news stories about the murder. The first one is from the January 12 edition of the Houston Chronicle. The second was published by The WorldNetDaily on 13 January 2004. Please read them both and then join me below.
I called the Houston Chronicle's Andrew Tilghman, who is assigned to the Houston Chronicle's Court House Bureau, to discuss the matter. We discussed the puzzling statement that appears in paragraph three of the World Net Daily story concerning the Houston Police Department's alleged inability to attribute religious motives to the slaying, despite the "religious reawakening" of Alayed to a "conservative, Islamic lifestyle".
Does one light a candle to see the sun?
It turns out, according to my interview with Tilghman, that the prosecutors chose not to pursue hate crime indictments because by doing so, the prosecutors risked complicating the case. "Does it really matter why Alayed murdered Mr. Sellouk?" mused Mr. Tilghman during our conversation.
Good point, Andrew.
I concluded my conversation with Mr. Tilghman by suggesting to him that I'd attempt to send him a list of other Islam-motivated murders that have taken place within the borders of the United States of America since the Oklahoma City bombing.
I didn't bother to mention that I won't count the 2,800 Islam-motivated murders that took place in the United States on 11 September 2001.
After all, as President Dubya points out, Islam is a religion of peace.
We are Dar al-Harb*—and proud of it.
Zionist Enemy of Islam - So Designated by Islammemo
*Dar al-Harb: The Domain at War: Territory under the hegemony of unbelievers, which is on terms of active or potential belligerency with the Domain of Islam.... Glossary of Islamic Terms by Muhammad Ishaq Zahid (Copyright © 1998-1999 By The Sabr Foundation)
Palestinian journalists pledge allegiance to "His Excellency"
JPost: Some 100 Palestinian journalists converged on the presidential headquarters in Ramallah on Tuesday – not to interview Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, but to pledge allegiance to him. The official PA news agency Wafa said the journalists came from all over the West Bank "to renew their allegiance to His Excellency."
The journalists, who included representatives of international new organizations, did not trouble Arafat with any difficult questions. Three of the journalists who attended said no one dared to ask Arafat about recent attacks on Palestinian correspondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, they read poetry and delivered emotional speeches in his honor before they lined up to have their pictures taken alongside their leader.
Addressing the journalists, Arafat told them that their responsibilities were "great because of your suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces." Arafat told the journalists that their work on behalf of the Palestinian cause was so effective that he was now considering including some of them in official PA delegations sent to the UN, US, and Europe. "The journalists are witnesses to what's happening and no one can challenge their testimony from the heart of events," he said. Arafat added that the Palestinians, including the journalists, are not only defending their villages, towns, and refugee camps, but the dignity of the entire Arab nation as well.
The journalists responded by expressing their affection and continued loyalty to Arafat.. Some of them read poems composed especially for Arafat in which they heaped praise on him, describing him as a symbol and great leader of the Palestinians.
The reception comes at a time when the PA is launching a campaign designed to "educate" all journalists who work for the non-Palestinian media.
The meeting with Arafat stands in sharp contrast to a demonstration staged in Gaza City on Monday to protest against attacks and threats against journalists. The protest was organized by scores of Palestinian journalists in solidarity with Al-Arabiya TV correspondent Seif al-Din Shahin, who was beaten by Fatah gunmen in Gaza City last week.
Spiritual leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas Sheik Ahmed
Yassin answers questions as a television shows pictures of United
States President George W. Bush in his home in Gaza City, Wednesday,
Jan. 14, 2004. A female Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself up Wednesday . . . Yassin said the use of a woman bomber was unique,
but added that holy war is an obligation of all Muslims, men and women. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Terrorist bomber explodes at checkpoint, murders 4
"Arabs were screaming, Jews were screaming"
DEBKA and Arutz Sheva: Early Wednesday, about 9:30 am, four Israelis were killed – 3 soldiers and 1 civilian - and 10 injured - by a female suicide bomber at Erez checkpoint on Israel-Gaza Strip. The explosion, perpetrated by an Arab mother of two, shook the entire building in which the many thousands of Arab workers from Gaza are checked and cross daily into pre-'67 Israel.According to al-Reuters, HAMAS said it sent a woman for the first time because of Israeli security "obstacles" facing its male bombers. . . . Smiling as she cradled an assault rifle in a videotape she left, Reem Al-Reyashi, 22, professed love for her children, a 3-1/2-year-old boy and a girl of 1-1/2 years, before an attack she said was meant to turn her body into "deadly shrapnel."
The four victims include two soldiers, one policeman, and one guard. The blast caused the roof to collapse at the point at which Israeli soldiers and security personnel check the incoming Arabs for explosives and weapons. The murderer approached the soldiers, saying that she had a metal plate implant and could therefore not pass through the regular electronic check post without causing the alarm to go off. The guards then called for a woman soldier to come and check her - but as they did so, the murderer walked forward another meter or two and detonated the explosives on her person, killing the four Israelis. The blast also wrecked the security screening facility, leaving thousands of Palestinians heading for jobs in Israel stranded.
Brig.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, IDF Commander of the Gaza Formation, said today, "The terrorists take cynical advantage of the State of Israel's humanitarian desire to help out the Arabs of Gaza and allow them to [cross the Green Line] and find work in Israel."
Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin claimed bomber was first female suicide “fighter” ever assigned mission by Hamas – a new development in “resistance to enemy until they leave our land and homeland.” The bomber was 21, mother of two young children.
"Glass and black smoke flew everywhere. Arabs were screaming, Jews were screaming," said a Palestinian witness, her clothes stained with the blood of others.
UPDATE: Three of those killed were 1st Sgt. Tsur Or, 20, from Rishon Lezion; Corp. Andrei Kegles, 19, from Nahariya; and Border Guard 1st Sgt. Vladimir Trostinsky, 22, from Rehovot.
Our friend Felix has family in Rehovot. I couldn't help but let my mind leap to wondering the last name of the man his sister married. They have children this age . . . if Felix had to go to Israel, Gd forbid . . . then, and I am ashamed of this, I think . . . I was wondering if the increased tourism figures are nothing more than relatives going to funerals . . .
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
The Imam of Cleveland arrested, indicted
In Cleveland, OHIO, U.S.A.
photo from The Cleveland Plain Dealer
AP/Yahoo News via LGF: CLEVELAND - A prominent Islamic clergyman was arrested Tuesday on charges he concealed his links to anti-Israel terrorist groups when he applied for U.S. citizenship a decade ago, officials said.According to LGF, a report in February of last year in the Cleveland Plain Dealer noted the Damrah had been identified as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the case of Sam al-Arian. Unindicted no longer.
Imam Fawaz Mohammed Damrah, who leads the Islamic Center of Cleveland, Ohio's largest mosque, withheld information on his membership or affiliation with several groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, U.S. Attorney Gregory White said.
White would not specify the nature of Damrah's involvement in the groups but said such allegations often involve fund-raising. The indictment did not accuse Damrah, a Palestinian, of committing any terrorist acts.
"We are strictly dealing with issues, activities and incidents prior to his becoming a naturalized citizen and what he was required to disclose" to gain citizenship, White said. Damrah became a citizen in 1994.
Damrah, 41, was charged with obtaining U.S. citizenship by providing false information. If convicted, he could lose his citizenship and face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
He pleaded innocent and was released on $160,000 bail for a trial Feb. 23. Damrah's only comments in court were brief responses to routine questions.
Damrah represented the Islamic community at interfaith gatherings in Cleveland after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
At the time, local TV stations broadcast a videotape from a Chicago gathering 10 years earlier showing him making anti-Jewish comments in a speech. He called for rifles to be directed at Jewish people, referring to them as "the sons of monkeys and pigs."
He apologized for the remarks, saying they were made before he had any interaction with Jews and Christians. But a local community college replaced him in 2001 as the teacher of a course on Islam.
More on Damrah from the United Church News, two years ago -- the article includes "ways to reach out to the Muslim community," such as "Invite the local imam to a) participate in an interfaith service; b) serve on a steering committe or participate in a community event; or c) participate in a religious fact-finding delegation." It also cheerfully notes that "Muslim mosques are springing up in cities and suburbs all across America," up 42% in the years 1990-2000.
Also see this from last year, at Blogcritics.org, detailing the activities of Unindicted Co-conspirator One vis-a-vis al-Arian.
One Israeli shot and killed, two wounded,
in Arab terrorist attack near Talmon
Tuesday night, Roy Arbel, 28, father of five, killed, two injured in Palestinian shooting attack on their car Tuesday night at Talmon U-turn Junction northwest of Ramallah.
Medics carry an Israeli man in front of a hospital in Jerusalem January
13, 2004, after he was wounded by a Palestinian gunman near Talmon
settlement, west of the West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestinian
gunmen shot dead an Israeli civilian on Tuesday and wounded two
others in an attack on a car near a Jewish settlement in the
West Bank, a military source said. (ISRAEL OUT) REUTERS/Sharon Perry/Flash 90
Go to hell with that "Israel Out" business, whoever you are . . .
If we can't even keep this idiocy from happening in Reuters photo captions, how on earth can we manage anything actually constructive? ARGH and GRRR.
UPDATE / Wednesday: The funeral of Roee Arbel, who was murdered when terrorists shot at the vehicle he was travelling in as near Talmon in Samaria, took place Wednesday at 1 PM, leaving the Talmon synagogue for the cemetery at Dolev.
Arbel, 29, the father of five was killed and two other travellers injured Tuesday night. The two injured Israelis are expected to be released from hospital later this morning. The attack was claimed by the Fatah's Al Aksa Martyr's Brigade.
Arbel is the first terrorist fatality from Talmon since the outbreak of Palestinian violence in September 2000 . . . a spokesman from Talmon said the community was devastated. Roee and his wife, Hagit, moved there two years ago, he said, and moved from their mobile home into a permanent home only six months ago. "They have five children: two daughters, aged five and three-and-a-half, and triplets who were born three months ago," he said.
Relatives of Roi Arbel mourn during his funeral in the synagogue at the
West Bank settlement of Talmon Wednesday Jan. 14, 2004. The 28-
year-old father of five whose wife gave birth to triplets just two months
ago was killed by Palestinian gunmen in an ambush late Tuesday. (AP
The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip said: "All discussions of withdrawal and dismantling communities and encampments transmit weakness and invite further terrorism."
SINCE WHEN IS TEL AVIV IN THE WEST BANK?!
Oy vey! Daily Camera makes major blunder - yesterday:
Caption says (correctly), "The rally was held Sunday in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square." So what's with the headline, putting it in the West Bank??!!
You might want to write to the Camera, to insist upon a correction.
Greg Anderson, Publisher: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deans, Editor: email@example.com
Map from CIA's world factbook
See also American Media Blackout of the Rally by Shelomo Alfassa, at Arutz Sheva.
Aliyah from UK on the up and up
Arutz Sheva: Immigration from Great Britain is up over 28%. The Jewish Agency reports that figures for 2003 show that 405 British Jews made Aliyah, compared with 316 the year before. The main increase occurred in the second half of the year, corresponding to the period when the Jewish Agency began instituting more immigrant-friendly procedures.
The Jewish population in the United Kingdom is approximately 275,000 and declining, with 200,000 in London and 40,000 in Manchester and the northern areas of the country.
Saudi national pleads guilty to slitting the throat of Jewish friend
In Houston, TEXAS, U.S.A.
Houston Chronicle: A Saudi Arabian national who slashed a Jewish friend's throat after apparently undergoing a religious reawakening has pleaded guilty to murder rather than face trial.
Mohammed Ali Alayed, 23, faces up to 60 years in prison for the Aug. 6 attack in which Ariel Sellouk was almost decapitated with a knife.
Although Alayed went to a local mosque after the slaying and no clear motive was established, Houston police said they could not find any evidence that Sellouk, also 23, was killed because of his race or religion.
Alayed, of the 2500 block of Winrock, was arrested Aug. 14 in a friend's empty Galleria-area apartment. He initially was held without bail because he allegedly had told his roommate that he would flee to Saudi Arabia, but a judge set bail at $5 million in October.
Sellouk had been attending Houston Community College, but was taking a break from school to work in his father's business at the time he was slain, said his father, Michel Sellouk.
Sellouk, a Moroccan Jew who settled in Houston in 1982, said his son became friends with Alayed a few years ago. He said Alayed underwent "a religious experience" about two years ago, became a devout Muslim and broke off contact with Ariel.
On the day of the slaying, Sellouk said, Alayed called his son and suggested they get together. The two had drinks at a bar before going to Alayed's apartment about midnight.
Alayed's roommate told police the two were not arguing before Sellouk was killed.
Court-martial of Syrian-born US Air Force translator begins in California
Court-martial proceedings against the Arabic translator accused of spying at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison camp will begin Tuesday, military officials said.
U.S. Air Force officials last month dropped some of the most serious charges, but Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi still faces 17 of the 30 charges filed following his arrest in July after nine months at the prison. They include espionage counts, disobeying an order, making false official statements, mishandling classified documents and lying on a credit application.
Al-Halabi, a naturalized American who was born in Syria, was arrested July 23 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida at the start of a leave from Guantanamo, when he was heading to Syria . .
Saudi grad student indicted for conspiring to support Jihad on the internet
In IDAHO, U.S.A.
Washington Post: A federal grand jury in Idaho yesterday charged a Saudi graduate student with conspiring to help terrorist organizations wage jihad by using the Internet to raise funds, field recruits, and locate prospective U.S. targets -- military and civilian -- in the Middle East.
Sami Omar Hussayen, a doctoral candidate in computer science in a University of Idaho program sponsored by the National Security Agency, is accused of creating Web sites and an e-mail group that disseminated messages from him and two radical clerics in Saudi Arabia that supported jihad, or holy war.
The indictment, the result of an extensive two-year probe, represents the first time the government has charged that using the Internet for recruitment, fund-raising and other purposes constitutes aid under a law that makes it illegal to provide "material support or resources" for terrorist activity.
That law and a 1996 statute that bars support to terror organizations have been the Justice Department's principal tools for prosecuting people who have raised money for terror groups or trained in terrorist camps. But department officials carefully weighed where and how to prosecute Hussayen, in part because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which oversees federal courts in Idaho and other western states, has found the 1996 statute unconstitutionally vague.
"The importance of this case is that for international terrorism to thrive -- their success in the recent past has rested on their ability to raise funds and recruit through the Internet," said Thomas E. Moss, U.S. attorney in Boise. He and other Justice Department officials are aware of the "unique nature of the case," Moss said, and are confident the charges "will withstand constitutional muster."
But Hussayen's lawyer, David Nevin, said he believes "there is substantial question about the constitutionality of this charge," contending that facilitating the operation of Web sites falls within Hussayen's First Amendment rights. Nevin denied that Hussayen has raised money for jihad and said that "he has not posted calls for violence, absolutely not."
The 12-count indictment issued yesterday contends that Hussayen, 35, "knew and intended that the material support he provided were to be used in preparation for, and to commit, violations of federal law involving murder, maiming, kidnapping and the destruction of property." It asserts that Hussayen sought to conceal the work he did.
Hussayen is accused of moderating an Arabic-language e-mail group that posted instructions on how to train at a particular terrorist camp. The same e-mail group was used to issue an "urgent appeal" to Muslims in the military last February for locations of U.S. military bases in the Middle East, residences of civilian base workers, storage facilities for weapons and ammunition, facilities of American oil companies, and routes followed by oil tankers, in order to select them as targets for acts of terror, according to the indictment. The posting also urged an attack on a high-ranking American military officer, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors charged in the indictment that Hussayen launched the e-mail group four years ago as a "Cry and Call" to Muslims, exhorting them to "fight the idolator with your money, your selves, your tongues and your prayers." He allegedly sent numerous postings to the group -- which grew to 2,400 members -- including one titled "Virtues of Jihad," that glorified those who die in holy war. In other messages, he urged group members to donate money to provide jihadists with the "weapons and physical strength" for war.
Georgetown University law professor David Cole, a civil liberties advocate who has challenged aspects of the material-support law, said that in order to convict Hussayen, the government would have to show that he was promoting speech "that advocates criminal activity," and that "it was intended and likely to produce imminent lawless action."
Hussayen has been in federal custody for the past year, charged with lying on immigration documents by failing to disclose his employment as webmaster for the Detroit-based Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). That case was slated to go to trial Jan. 20. Nevin said he has not decided whether to ask the court for more time to answer the new charges filed yesterday.
The Saudi government, which sponsored Hussayen's studies in the United States, has provided money for his legal defense and sought his release, though Saudi Embassy officials have said they consider IANA a radical organization and a branch of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood. Embassy officials were unavailable to comment on the new indictment.
The Hussayen investigation is part of a cluster of interrelated probes across the country, federal officials have said. Previous court filings and testimony have linked the Idaho effort to investigations of charities and foundations suspected of financing terrorism. Those groups include the Illinois offices of the Benevolence International Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, and the Northern Virginia-based SAAR foundation.
Hussayen's uncle Saleh ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a senior religious official in Saudi Arabia, has been involved with those charities and has provided funds to IANA, according to the FBI.
The Hussayen probe is also linked to the case of 11 men indicted in Alexandria last June and accused of training to wage jihad with a Pakistani terrorist group. Four have pleaded guilty, and law enforcement sources said they are expected to be called as witnesses in Hussayen's case.
Without commenting directly on those witnesses, Moss said his office "will no doubt call people who have responded to admonitions and calls for action" they found on the Web sites Hussayen operated.
The indictment charges Hussayen with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists through his operation and control of Web sites, his financial support of IANA, and by signing contracts and doing Internet work for the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation. That organization is a Saudi-based charity whose branches in Bosnia and Somalia have been designated terrorist organizations by the Treasury Department.
Web sites registered or operated by Hussayen published, among other material, a solicitation for the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, which has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, according to the court papers.
Hussayen faces as much as 15 years in prison if convicted.
Al Qaeda Terror Plot foiled in France
The Guardian (UK): The French police are convinced that their country has escaped a planned chemical or biological attack by an Islamist cell linked to al-Qaida. An interior ministry official said evidence from Islamist militants arrested in the Lyon area last week made it "very plain" that an attack with the deadly botulism or ricin toxins was being actively prepared.Testing on animals? Wait til PETA hears about this!
The eight suspects arrested on Tuesday were mainly relatives of Menad Benchellali, the son of a radical imam in the Lyon suburb of Venisseux, who has been in jail since December 2002, when he was arrested during a police investigation of French Islamists' efforts to send young Muslim volunteers to fight the Russian forces in Chechnya.
The ministry official, who asked not to be named, confirmed a report in Le Monde that the suspects admitted to the police that Mr Benchellali was a chemicals expert who had been trained in poison-making in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and was actively trying to produce a botulism toxin and ricin.
He had tested his chemicals on animals, they said.
Mr Benchellali's arrest was said at the time to have thwarted suicide bomb attacks on Russian targets in Paris, including the embassy.
But Tuesday's arrests have proved a "goldmine" of further "unexpected but unsettling" evidence, the official said.
"After last year's arrests we thought we were dealing with a group planning bomb attacks on Russian interests, and possibly supplying false papers, money and lodgings to Chechens," an investigator said. "It now seems a cell around the Benchellali family was trying to manufacture chemical and biological weapons for attacks around Europe."
Those arrested last week included Mr Benchellali's father, Chellali, a well-known and controversial radical imam; his mother; his brother Hafed; and his sister Anissa. Another of his brothers, Mourad, is among six French nationals suspected of having ties to al-Qaida held by the US authorities at Guantanamo Bay.
Two women were released on Saturday, their lawyer, Jacques Debray, said, but six others were expected to be brought before the anti-terrorist magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, in Paris today.
About 150 Muslims in Venisseux protested against the arrests on Saturday. Muslim organisations asked people to gather in the market square and read a statement calling the arrests "a message to intimidate all France's Muslims".
Le Monde said the imam had admitted that he was aware of his son's chemical experiments, the products of which were stored in Nivea face cream jars and 70cl flasks and later given to a local chemist, identified only as Mourad M, for safekeeping. Several relatives had helped buy 9-10kg of ingredients.
As little as one drop of the botulism toxin released into a building's ventilation system can be fatal. Ricin is one of the deadliest poisons to occur naturally, many times deadlier than cyanide and capable of being given in food and drink without affecting the taste.
The police are investigating whether the Lyon discovery is related to the British anti-terrorism police's seizure of ricin in a flat above a chemist's shop in north London in January last year. At the time Scotland Yard said it might have been part of an untraced wider shipment. Tiny traces were found in a left-luggage locker at the Gare de Lyon in Paris in March.
Monday, January 12, 2004
FATAH's troubled relations with the Press
"We don't want to be on the side of those who practice intellectual terrorism"
JPost: Last week, Al-Arabiya's correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Seif al-Din Shahin, was attacked and wounded as he was driving his car in the center of Gaza City. He said the attackers identified themselves as members of Fatah.
Shahin, 35, said five gunmen fired warning shots into the air, intercepted his car, dragged him out, and beat him with the butts of their rifles for nearly 10 minutes. The attackers told Shahin they were unhappy with his coverage of paramilitary celebrations in the Gaza Strip marking the 39th anniversary of the founding of Fatah.
Masked militants of Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia
linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Palestinian
National Liberation Movement (Fatah), dance with their
rifles during a rally to mark the 39th anniversary of the
movement's foundation in Gaza City, Wednesday,
Dec. 31, 2003. Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered
at the Palestinian Legislative council to mark the anniversary
of the 1965 founding of Fatah. Activists wave yellow, white
Fatah and Palestinian flags. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Many Palestinians have criticized Fatah for allowing hundreds of armed men who participated in the celebrations to shoot extensively into the air, wounding several people in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The celebrations reportedly cost Fatah more than $3 million.
"I was in the car with one of my colleagues when we were surprised by a car that blocked our way," Shahin said from his bed in Gaza's Shifa Hospital, where he is being treated for bruises. "Five masked men came out of the car and started firing into the air. Then they forced me and my friend to get out of our car."
Shahin said the gunmen beat him all over his body with the butts of their rifles and clubs. "When I tried to escape they fired some shots towards me," he said. "One of the attackers, who did not have a mask on his face, approached me and told me that he was from Fatah. He said from now on it is forbidden for me to make any mention of Fatah in my reporting."
Shahin said he received death threats earlier this week from people who said they belong to Fatah. "I reported these threats to the Palestinian Authority security forces, and it is time that they take deal with this case," he said.
Samir Mashharawi, a senior Fatah official in the Gaza Strip, strongly condemned the attack on Shahin, denying that his group was responsible. "Fatah condemns this cowardly action," he said. "I don't believe that Fatah or any of its members have endorsed this cowardly action. We don't want to be on the side of those who practice intellectual terrorism."
THE WAR OF WORDS
Palestinian Authority: Slain Arabs are "martyrs"
JPost: The Palestinian Authority is demanding that all journalists who work for Arab satellite TV stations refer to a Palestinian who is killed by the IDF as a 'shaheed' (martyr) and refrain from voicing any criticism of the PA in their reporting.
Yussef al-Qazzaz, a senior official with the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, lashed out at Palestinian journalists for not placing the interests of their people above everything else, and dubbed some of them "primitive." Qazzaz's attack was directed mostly at Palestinian correspondents who work for the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya 24-hour news channel, who have been using the term "dead" instead of "martyred" when referring to Palestinians killed in the ongoing violence.
PA officials have accused the journalists of displaying "insensitivity" by not referring to the victims as martyrs. A spate of suicide bombings in Riyadh and other parts of Saudi Arabia has prompted Al-Arabiya to start referring to these attacks as terrorist actions . . .
Qazzaz said he cannot understand how some Palestinian journalists make harmful remarks to their people at a time when even foreign journalists are careful not to alienate the PA.
News from the IDF
The Northern Border:4/1/04
IDF forces uncovered two additional explosive devices near the Israeli community of Zarit - the same location in which two strings of explosives detonated on 10/12/04.
Judea and Samaria:During the past week, Israeli security forces arrested over 135 wanted Palestinians. In addition, terrorists fired nine separate times at IDF forces, and detonated five explosive devices against IDF forces operating in the area.
IDF forces identified a roadside bomb in the city of Tulkarem. The bomb was detonated in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.
- IDF forces identified two terrorists armed with pistols approaching them in the Nablus Casbah. After determining their hostile intent, IDF forces fired and hit the terrorists.
- Terrorists hurled an explosive device at IDF forces operating in the Nablus Casbah. IDF forces returned fire.
- Terrorists fired at IDF forces during operational activity in the Tulkarem refugee camp. IDF forces returned fire, killing a Hamas operative armed with an assault rifle.
- IDF forces identified a terrorist in Rafadia, Nablus, who drew a revolver. IDF forces fired and killed the terrorist.
- IDF forces operating in Jenin arrested Muntasar Abu Alion. Alion, age 28, is a senior operative of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, and served under the command of Zacharia Zabidi, commander of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade in Jenin region.
Muntasar was responsible for planning and carrying out dozens of terrorist attacks in the Jenin region under the auspices of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. In addition, Muntasar was responsible for a number of shooting attacks during June 2003, which killed three people.
At the time of his arrest, Muntasar was in the process of planning a terrorist attack against Israeli targets.
IDF forces also arrested Dib Horani, a Tanzim operative who worked for Al Manar, the official television station of the Hizballah.
Dib Horani was dressed as a woman at the time of his arrest.
Gaza StripDuring the past week, terrorists fired a Qassam rocket towards the Israeli city of Sderot. In addition, terrorists fired 8 mortars, five anti-tanks missiles, and shot over 20 times at Israeli communities and IDF positions in the Gaza Strip.
IDF forces prevented a terrorist attack against an IDF position near the Israeli community of Ganei Tal.
IDF forces opened fire after identifying a number of terrorists approaching an IDF position in a restricted area. During searches of the area carried out after the incident, IDF forces seized a 70 kilogram explosive device - which was detonated in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.
IDF forces uncovered two tunnels along the Israel-Egypt border near the "Kerem Shalom" crossing.
The first tunnel was dug to a depth of 9 meters, and was discovered under a road used by IDF vehicles. Apparently, the tunnel was meant to contain explosive devices which were to be detonated against IDF vehicles.
The second tunnel, discovered in an abandoned building, was dug to a depth of 6 meters, and was intended to be used for weapon smuggling.
The tunnels were destroyed in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.
It should be noted that since 2003, IDF forces have uncovered over 40 weapon smuggling tunnels.
Easing of Restrictions:As part of ongoing efforts to improve the lives of the Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and Gaza Strip, and in accordance with an assessment of the situation, IDF forces carried out the following steps:
- Permission was granted to 15,000 Palestinian workers to work in Israel.
- Permission was granted for 4,000 Palestinian merchants to enter Israel.
Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley
- 3,000 workers agricultural workers were permitted to enter Israel and to work in agriculture.
- 7,000 merchants from Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley were permitted to enter Israel.
For the fifth consecutive year, Avotaynu is sponsoring Jewish Genealogy Month. This year it is March 23-April 21, 2004, which corresponds to the Hebrew month of Nisan 5764--the Passover season. In association with this event, Avotaynu has created a poster, copies of which will be distributed free of charge to each of the approximately 80 Jewish Genealogical Societies throughout the world.Genealogy may conjure up images of the old and dusty, but it also has hot contemporary issues, such as the controversy surrounding the Mormon practice of "baptising" dead Jews. For more on this, see JTA's Baptism controversy flares anew (12/24/03) and the opinion of Gary Mokotoff, editor of Avotaynu: Posthumous baptism is a terrible insult to Jews, published in the Deseret News, Salt Lake City.
Some societies have indicated they are planning events is conjunction with Jewish Genealogy Month. This year's theme is "This Year in Jerusalem," which commemorates the return to Jerusalem of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.
Individuals who would like to receive copies of the poster can send $6.00 to cover postage and handling ($11.00 outside North America) to Avotaynu's offices at 155 N. Washington Ave., Bergenfield, NJ 07621.
The conference will be held from July 4-9, 2004 at the Jerusalem Renaissance Hotel. It is sponsored by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and hosted by the Israel Genealogical Society.
Subscribe to Nu? What's New? a biweekly newsletter on Jewish genealogy, or to Avotaynu, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy. Avotaynu also offers many fascinating books, microfiche, maps, cd-roms and videos for sale. Check this out:
The Book of Destiny: Toledot Charlap, by Arthur F. Menton: Yet another distinguished Jewish family tree is documented. The Charlaps are traced from Eastern Europe back to Spain and Portugal, and from the Babylonian exile to the royal families of Judah and Israel. A magnificent panorama of a people told through the experiences and memories of one vast family.
Jordan bars Israeli fencing team from competition
Haaretz: The Israeli fencing team will not be allowed to participate in the world fencing championship to take place in Aqaba in two days, the head of the Jordanian fencing association has told his Israeli counterpart. "If the Israelis take part in the championship, Arab teams will not come to Aqaba," he said.
The Israeli Embassy in Amman has appealed to various officials in Jordan, but so far to no avail.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
The People of Israel are not ready to surrender
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
DEBKA: More than 100,000 attended demonstration in Tel Aviv Sunday night against Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and evacuation of outposts and settlements
Arutz Sheva: “The people of Israel are not ready to surrender” is the message being broadcast across the world from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.UPDATE: Arutz Sheva is now saying that police reports estimated 250,000 people attending the rally. Monday, the estimate is 150,000.
Channel 2 TV News reports 75,000 persons are in attendance. Yesha Council spokesperson Yehoshua Mor-Yosef reported over 100,000 and Ynet is reporting 120,000 people strong.
Minister of Housing Effie Eitam (NRP) issued an emotion filled plea to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “Arik,” said Eitam from the podium, “we, your friends are here to strengthen you. We know that the last watch before dawn is always the toughest – but the morning is almost here. We are witnessing the success of our war against the enemy and you wish to hand him victory? Is this the time to surrender and flea the battlefield – in the middle of combat?
“We were with you in battle, Arik . . . We are with you in this battle for our roads, cities and homes. But we will not cooperate in the destruction of Jewish communities – we will not cooperate in expelling a single Jew from their home!”
JTA: Effi Eitam, head of the National Religious Party and Sharon's housing minister, vowed to pull his party out of the government should Sharon follow through on his plan to dismantle settlements. “We returned to this land to build it, love it, and defend it. With the help of G-d, we will be victorious,” he said. “We will stand up to any challenge.” The crowd roared its approval.
Young settlers dance during a demonstration in Tel Aviv's Yitzhak Rabin
Square January 11, 2004. Tens of thousands of people protested in Israel
on Sunday against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan that would mean
moving some Jewish settlers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, witnesses
said [the photographer wasn't there, so had to rely on witnesses?]. The rally
was the biggest show of force by the pro-settler movement since Sharon
revealed a scheme late last year for unilateral steps to separate from
the Palestinians if a U.S.-backed peace plan fails. REUTERS/Havakuk Levison
Thousands of protesters demonstrate at a rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin
Square Sunday, Jan. 11, 2004 against possible evacuation of the
Jewish settlements. Several dozens of thousands of people
participated in a right-wing demonstration organized by right-wing
movements to protest Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government
planned evacuation of settlement outposts . . . (AP Photo/ Ariel Schalit)
Read the rest, by Larry Derfner, Cleveland Jewish News. I think he's right that "if Sharon can't break the settlers, nobody can," and that "it's going to be an awful fight." But I disagree that the settlers are inflicting damage on Israel. They may very well be saving it.
Here's where things stand: Within a few months we will pretty well know if Israel's 36-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is on its way out, or here to stay.
Ariel Sharon, backed by a large majority of the public, has pledged to send the IDF to take down not only dozens of outposts, but at least a few established settlements as well. The settlers, backed by the hardline Right, have vowed to stop them.
Inside a few months - this being the time frame Sharon cited in his Herzliya speech for carrying out the "disengagement plan" - one side will win and the other will lose.