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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Argh: The Daily Camera

Writer suggests local lady go to Israel and kill Palestinians
ISRAEL: Nations must be judged by actions

For a self-proclaimed "unenlightened one who still believes in quaint things," Michelle Miller sure has a handy way with rhetoric (Open Forum, Feb. 3). In "300 words or less" she manages to describe the Palestinians as: "suicide murderers," "Islamic homicidal murderers," "homicide bombers" and, again, "homicidal murderers." While I do not question the passion behind Ms. Miller's power of redundancy, I find the lack of numbers in her argument dishonest.

According to Google, since the resumption of hostilities on Sept. 29, 2000, 2,673 Palestinians have been killed and 24,541 wounded. Strangely, I could not find an updated Israeli count, but four months ago, Amnesty International announced that three Palestinians were being killed for every Israeli. More troubling, Amnesty also found that four Palestinian children were killed to every one Israeli child. That's not eye for an eye ? that's head, legs and one arm for an eye.

Does paying attention to casualty counts mean I am a terrorist-loving anti-Semite? I don't think so, but then again I don't consider the Israeli-Palestine conflict a black-and-white affair.

Although the Holocaust was one of humanity's greatest failings, it cannot be used to justify the four-to-one slaughter of children. Despite the well-established, 2,000-year persecution of the Jews, Israel is a sovereign nation and must be judged ? as must we all ? by its actions.

Ms. Miller disparages Jim Vacca for "pondering world affairs" while "sipping a latte in Boulder." I suggest that if Ms. Miller wants to remain true to ideas, she should stop writing letters from Erie, renounce her U.S. citizenship, travel to Israel and kill the remaining Palestinians herself.


I wish I could respond to Patrick Clark in writing (I blew my month's quota Feb. 5), but I hope that many of you will take the time to write. He seems willing to be caring, but is thrown off track by the numbers game. His premise, that Israel is somehow more culpable because they have less dead, is utterly fallacious.

EVERYONE should be made aware of the ongoing study by the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, which provides a breakdown of those killed in the intifada --by age, gender and combatant status. Most people do not realize that the Palestinians themselves were responsible for more than one out of every eight Palestinians killed (as of 5/21/03) .

Moreover, if he's going to play the numbers game, Mr. Clark would do well to learn that "numbers of Palestinian dead" give a skewed impression, as they include hundreds of suicide bombers, alleged collaborators and victims of occupational hazards, i.e. bomb-makers.

[Also see Dershowitz's The Case for Israel. He makes the interesting and applicable point that the better medical care in Israel translates into a greater proportion of lives saved. Were it not for Israel's superior medical technology, I hate to think what the numbers might be. Also, as I remember, he states that though Israeli medical institutions are willing to treat Palestinian combat injuries, Arafat will not allow them to be transported out of the terror-tories.]

Back to the study: 80% of the Israelis killed have been non-combatants, and almost 40% of those were women and girls.

On the Palestinian side, those killed by Israel have been consistently and overwhelmingly (over 95%) male, mostly between the ages of 12-29. The author of the study's Summary points out that these were people who had to "have been aware that they were placing themselves in harm's way."

If you don't want to play numbers with Mr. Clark, then you can always cast aspersion on his source ("according to Google"), or his suggestion that Michelle go to Israel and kill Palestinians. That's a pretty crazy thing to say.

P.S. (I can't stop) As for Clark's alleged "four-to-one slaughter of children," the ICT study reveals that as a proportion of total fatalities "more young Israeli children were killed:" 2.8% of Palestinian fatalities have been children under the age of 12. For Israelis, the proportion is 4.1%

Even in terms of straight numbers, there is no "four-to-one slaughter of children." From 9/27/00 to 1/13/04, fatalities of Palestinian non-combatants below the age of 12 number 74; Israeli children, 36.

And then there were the older folks (over 45): 3% of Palestinians killed, but 27% of Israelis killed...

It can give no one any comfort to play this game. Besides, it ignores more important questions like who tries to protect their children, and who sends them to fight? And who started this frigging war in the first place?

And P.P.S., about Clark's figure of 24,000+ Palestinian wounded, I have no more reason to believe what "Palestinian sources" say than that minister of information previously employed by Saddam Hussein... the one who kept saying there were no invaders in Baghdad, while our soldiers and embedded media with cameras were rolling down the streets of Baghdad in tanks. They lie.

And before it's out of your mouth that I am accusing all Arabs of being liars, I'm not. Just the 80% fringe extremists.

"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen"

Isaiah 62:6

Become a United Jerusalem Watchman, helping to battle anti-Israel media bias and inaccuracy, by contributing a minimum donation of $18.00 (chai).
Today the largest and most prolific news services continuously embed bias and falsehood in their reporting on Israel and it's having a cumulative negative effect on the public's perception and attitudes about Israel and the Jewish people.

United Jerusalem battles this bias every day and provides the largest daily Israel-related news archive on the internet. Each article is connected to a proprietary email "Letters to the Editor" system, which can also post to comment boards.
I urge you to make use of this website and to support it generously.

Islamic Jihad should have much happiness

Islamic Jihad leader Abdallah al-Shami arrives at the Shifa hospital
in Gaza, February 7, 2004. His close relative Aziz al-Shami died of
injuries in a Gaza City hospital Saturday and that the death 'has
brought happiness into our hearts because Aziz has achieved what he
always dreamt of achieving, and that was martyrdom'.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

So stay there

Palestinians and left-wing Israelis demonstrate on the Palestinian side
of the controversial 'separation barrier' Israel is constructing through
the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem (AFP/Yoav Lemmer) [to keep
suicide bombers out]

There are no words . . .

Photographers take pictures of a Palestinian woman as she cries
next to the 8-meter-tall wall part of the barrier Israel is building to
separate the outskirts of Jerusalem from the West Bank in the village
of Abu Dis. Saturday Feb. 7, 2004. (AP Photo/Enric Marti)

Thos Friedman & his sudden flash that American policy is controlled by the Jews

The Jewish Conspiracy by Elliot Chodoff
Thomas Friedman has, after years of study and experience, determined the core issue of the Arab Israeli conflict: Jewish conspiratorial power in the White House controlling the president.

In an op ed in the New York Times ("A Rude Awakening," NY Times, February 5, 2004) Friedman tells us that "Sharon has...Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who's ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates, and by political handlers telling the president not to put any pressure on Israel in an election year - all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing."

Friedman, whose writing skills far surpass his analytical ones, chooses his words carefully. After warning us that Bush is being held under "house arrest" by Sharon, he uses terms like "surrounded," "dictates," and "conspiring." So, if we are to understand Friedman, US policy is made in Jerusalem and dictated to a surrounded president under house arrest, who is paralyzed by a conspiracy. The sinister absurdity of Friedman's assertions are so overwhelming that they make the nonsense of the rest of his article virtually irrelevant.

We are forced to wonder about the source of Friedman's sudden realization that American policy is controlled by the Jews. Is he simply parroting the conspiracy theories of his Saudi and Palestinian friends, or is he quoting from two of their favorite bed time story books: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf?
See also ZOA's condemnation of Friedman column:
"Friedman's language conjures up disturbing stereotypical images of Jews conspiring to manipulate world leaders and events, and gives comfort to bigots who promote such imagery," said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein. "We urge the publishers of the New York Times to publicly repudiate Friedman's outrageous insinuations."
Write to letters@nytimes.com
Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, public@nytimes.com

Hundreds resign from FATAH

they want "greater democracy" . . . within Fatah and the Palestinian Authority
Reuters: RAMALLAH, West Bank - More than 300 members of President Yasser Arafat's ruling Fatah movement resigned collectively from the Palestinian group on Saturday in protest against internal strife and a lack of reform, a statement said.

There were no leading figures among those who quit but the unusual step by rank-and-file members signaled an emerging power struggle between a more radical, younger generation and older leaders of the mainstream Palestinian national movement.

Those who resigned want greater democracy within Fatah and the Palestinian Authority and an end to corruption.

Some observers worried that the move could lead to a splintering of a movement that spearheaded the Palestinian cause for decades, which led the way to peacemaking with Israel and an uprising that erupted when peace talks collapsed in 2000.

"We the sons of the Fatah movement place in your hands our collective resignations from Fatah," a statement, signed by 356 Fatah members from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said.

"Fatah is beginning to disintegrate as a result of internal contradictions, Fatah is not united...Fatah has not asked the Palestinian Authority to punish those who have harmed the Palestinian peoples' interests," it added.

Arafat was expected to discuss the resignations in a leadership meeting he was to chair in his battered headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah later on Saturday, Fatah officials said. The resignations seemed to pose no threat to Arafat, who remains a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, but could weaken his grip on the actions of individual Fatah members.

A weakened Fatah could further strengthen the movement's Islamic rival, Hamas, a group that has vowed to destroy Israel.
Reuters got that last bit right! thanks to HonestReporting.

Palestinian reaction to Sharon's plan to quit Gaza:

Arutz Sheva: Leading Fatah officials believe that despite, or because of, Ariel Sharon's plan to quit Gaza, the terrorist war on Israel - unifying Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah - must continue. Nabil Abu Rudeina, advisor to PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and Sameer Mashrawi, a member of Fatah's leadership council, both spoke yesterday with the Arabic-language satellite station Al-Jazeera.

Interviewed from Ramallah, Abu Rudeina said that Sharon's declarations "are not serious. The only aim of the Israeli declarations is to mislead the international public and to avoid implementing the signed agreements.... [and] to cover up the internal problems of Sharon and an attempt to hide the truth."

In answer to Al-Jazeera's question whether Sharon's declaration can be seen as a "victory for the intifada," Abu Rudeina replied: "The intifada is winning, either with these declarations or without them. The intifada is the only way that might lead to peace."

Sameer Mashrawi of Arafat's Fatah faction told Al-Jazeera that "we do not necessarily trust statements by Sharon or his government," but in any event, "no one should believe any such move is a result of Israeli good will, but rather highlights Israel's security and moral bankruptcy."

Praising terrorist groups from Hamas and Fatah, Mashrawi continued, "[The unity of] the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the Al-Quds Brigades and the Al-Qassam Brigades... has shown to all that the intifada has won out . . .

Friday, February 06, 2004

Olmert explains plan for Gaza to Powell and Cheney

A "more comfortable parking position" for Israel
Voice of America: The Israeli official said there was no sign the Palestinians are ready to engage in a peace dialogue or crack down on terrorism. He said, under the circumstances, the Sharon government feels there is "no need to wait" on action in Gaza.

"What we are interested in is to reduce the level of collision and confrontation, which is a daily event that creates difficulties - that is a source for bitterness and for sometimes unnecessary confrontations - to the inevitable minimum," he said. "And since, at the end of the day, according to the president's vision, according to the agreement of most of the Israelis, Israelis will not remain in Gaza anyway, then we are ready to pull out now when we will be ready for it soon, not as a concession for the Palestinians, but as an improvement of the living conditions of many Israelis."

Mr. Olmert said plans for leaving Gaza, which would include relocating and compensating thousands of settlers, would be ready by the second half of this year, but he gave no indication when actual dismantling of settlements might occur.

He said disengagement from Gaza would put Israel into what he termed a "more comfortable parking position" as it awaited Palestinian readiness to negotiate.

Today is 14 Shevat

On this day in 1738, Yosef b. Issachar Suesskind Oppenheimer, financial expert, was executed in Vienna. (One example of many "court Jews" whose financial expertise was valued and used by nobility, who were able to use their high positions to improve conditions for their fellow Jews, and who, when they fell out of favor, were summarily disposed of.)
Based on the book, Day by Day in Jewish History by Rabbi Abraham P. Bloch, z"l, and provided by OU.org

Bomb (or suicide bomber) in Moscow subway
kills at least 40 - over 100 wounded

Putin: "It is the plague of the 21st century"
NYTimes: MOSCOW, Feb. 6 — A bomb exploded inside a crowded subway train here during the morning rush hour today, killing at least 39 people and wounding 122 in what officials said appeared to be the latest and one of the worst terrorist attacks linked to the war in Chechnya.

The bomb — said to be hidden inside a backpack or suitcase — tore the second car of a subway train as it approached the Avtozavaodskaya station at 8:45 a.m. and hurled bodies and body parts from the train. Hundreds of passengers — some of them bloodied, many of them dazed — had to stagger hundreds of yards through smoke-filled tunnels to reach safety.

As they emerged, they described a scene of fear, confusion and carnage deep beneath the heart of the Russian capital. Officials said the death toll would almost certainly rise; the force of the explosion tore many bodies into pieces, complicating the identification of the dead.

"I saw five bodies near the tracks and some metal parts," said Anna Kolmykova, 51, who was riding two or three cars behind the one hit by the blast. Police officers who happened to be in her car helped lead the survivors out.

"Those officers warned us about the bodies and pieces of metal so that we would not stumble," she said, her face smeared with black soot. "It was dark and full of smoke."

President Vladimir V. Putin, appearing with the new president of Azerbaijan at the Kremlin, responded obliquely, as he did on Dec. 9, when a suicide bomber killed herself and five others in front of the National Hotel, only a few hundred feet from the Kremlin itself.

Mr. Putin did not immediately address today's bombing in detail, but called for an intensified international effort to combat terrorism.

"It is the plague of the 21st century," Mr. Putin said in televised remarks.

Senior police and military officials announced that they had increased security at subway and railroad stations across Moscow, but there appeared to be little the authorities could do to prevent new terrorist attacks.

Mr. Putin's reserved remarks suggested an effort to minimize any political damage from the continued violence and fear stemming from the war in Chechnya, now in its fifth year. Mr. Putin, who rose to power as the second war in Chechnya unfolded, faces re-election on March 14, and though he is universally expected to win, he finds himself presiding over a conflict with no end in sight despite his reassurances that the worst was over.

With today's attack, there have been 13 terrorist bombings in the last year, most of them suicide attacks. More than 250 people have died in the attacks, including, with today's bombing, some 50 in Moscow itself.
Lest you be confused about whodunnit, "the war in Chechnya" means Muslims... Islamic extremists... Jihadists...
Irina M. Khakamada, a former parliamentary deputy who has launched a quixotic challenge to Mr. Putin, said the Kremlin's military and political efforts in Chechnya, including a referendum and presidential elections in the republic last year, had proved ineffective.

"The peace process that is under way is not guaranteeing peoples' security," she said in a radio interview on Ekho Moskvy.
Sound familiar?

I read this, and all I can think is that I'd rather get blown up in Israel than in Russia. The response and medical attention must be so much better. Pretty twisted, huh?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Great moment in French antisemitism number 14,576

via Internet Haganah
French Jewish Singer Heckled at Charity Concert (AFP/Expatica - Netherlands).

At a charity concert Saturday in Macon, France, as Jennifer Djaoui, 25 - known by her stage name Shirel - sang a song entitled "Jerusalem," "around 30 young people of North African origin sitting in the front rows started to insult Shirel with cries of 'dirty Jew, death to Jews, we'll kill you'," said the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, Roger Cukierman.

Posted by aaron on Tuesday, 3 February, 2004 @ 13:07:13

What are we to think? that Sharon is all washed up?

Oops!! navigational malfunction (Gaza beach)
Maariv International

Dahlan supporters attack police chief in Gaza

13 hurt
Haaretz: Supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, the former minister in charge of the Palestinian security service, on Thursday attacked Gaza Strip police chief Major General Ghazi al-Jabali and wounded 13 Palestinian policemen and passersby, two of them seriously.

Jabali, the senior security appointee of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, suffered light injuries.

Palestinian sources said the attackers burst into Gaza's police headquarters, got past Jabali's bodyguards, and beat him. The attackers then fled the building, with the help of gunmen who fired at Jabali's police officers.

Several policemen were injured during the exchange of fire and some cars were damaged.

Palestinian security sources denied reports that the attack was an assassination attempt, describing it as merely a scuffle that erupted in Jabali's office .
Those "Palestinian security sources" are so creative with language -- Since when does a "scuffle" include an "exchange of fire" and damage to cars?

p.s. Don't know who Dahlan is? See Thomas Friedman post below; the NYTimes columnist considers Dahlan to be both "responsible" and "moderate" (even though his supporters are anarchic thugs who attack the police --who, btw, are probably thugs too).

Terrorist killed in explosion in his home

No word as to whodunnit
JPost: Hamas military wing commander in refugee camp near Gaza City was killed Thursday night in an explosion inside his home - Yediot Ahronot's website reported...

An IDF military source told the news agency that the army suspected that Abu Shuka died in an accident while preparing an explosive.

Egyptian government daily legitimizes suicide bombings

even if children are killed
The new MEMRI Special Dispatch translates and quotes an editorial in the Egyptian government daily Al-Masaa, the point of which is that the Palestinians shouldn't publish the names of the "martyrs" (since this seems to result in their getting their houses demolished). The quotes reveal some mind-boggling assumptions:
"We have no argument regarding the question of the legitimacy of these operations, because they are considered a powerful weapon used by the Palestinians against an enemy with no morality or religion, [an enemy] who has deadly weapons prohibited by international law, that is not deterred from using them against the defenseless Palestinian people.

"Even if during [a martyrdom operation] civilians or children are killed – the blame does not fall upon the Palestinians, but on those who forced them to turn to this modus operandi.

"Ultimately, we should bless every Palestinian man or woman who goes calmly to carry out a martyrdom operation, in order to receive a reward in the Hereafter, sacrificing her life for her religion and her homeland and knowing that she will never return from this operation.
This from a country with whom Israel has a "peace treaty."

On that note, I really am going shopping.

Which Founding Father Are You?

On a tip from my friend, Leah Guildenstern, I took this dumb online quiz, and found out that I most resemble:

Got me pegged! This is much more accurate than the President Match test, which determines the presidential candidate for whom you should vote (via Andrew Sullivan). On that one, I got 100% Kerry.
I'm going shopping for my daughter's birthday presents now. I'm useless at blogging today.

Arab Americans For Dean (DOT COM)

... "because Dean is for Arab Americans!"
Not that he poses any threat of becoming the next president . . . it's just that the kaffiyeh thing still pisses me off.

Lileks lets loose le bile

You must read today's bleat:

Heard a John Kerry speech today: ended with “Purple Haze,” I think. As a Hendrix tune for the campaign, it’s better than “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire,” which would be the most inapt Kerry tune imaginable. He has no fire. He wouldn’t catch fire if you doused him in kerosene and shot Roman Candle balls at him. He’s a sopping-wet asbestos poncho. But it was the 60s music that made me shudder. It appears that in the middle of the new war we’re going to revisit the most important war ever, Vietnam.

God no. Please no. I think I speak for millions when I say that I am deathly sick of the counterculture sixties. The music, the war, the protests, all the hagiography - it's not a reflection of the era’s importance but the self-importance of the generation who hung on the bus as it trundled along down the same old rutted road of history.. I’m tired of hearing about the boomers’ days of whine and neuroses; I’m weary of ritual genuflection to their musical icons; I’m utterly disinterested in most of the pop-cult trivia they hold so dear. We’ll probably be better off when that demographic pig has been excreted from the python so we can see the era clearly without choking on the smoke.

What's the message here? John Kerry is best suited to lead us in the present war because he was a prominent opponant of the last one, which we lost. John Kerry led the fight to leave South Vietnam to the mercies of the North. John Kerry would rather lose a theater for the right reasons than win it for reasons the critics derided. Dress it up however you like, but that’s what it came down to; college students marched not against the Vietnamese war but the American participation in that conflict. Anyone fill the Mall in DC to protest the reeducation camps? Any Solidarity with the Boat People committees formed on campuses after the fall of the south? The privations of the vanquished South Vietnamese were an uncomfortable consequence of their goals – but of course it didn’t detract a jot from the nobility of the cause. I still remember the week we had a Vietnamese woman stay at our house - she was a Party member, a professional, and what did she bring back home for her kids? White paper. To draw on. A luxury item, that.

If Kerry wants to bring this era back, he’s demonstrated that his branch of the party are the modern-day Bourbons. They have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. For them the great evil wasn’t communism, but America’s response to communism. And now the threat isn’t Islamic terrorism, but what we do to combat it. We act without French approval. We act after 170 UN resolutions instead of crafting a 171st which forbids us from acting. We deploy anti-missile defenses around the Korean peninsula instead of striking a deal to give them more food, more oil, more time. In short, we act as if we have a pair.

I’m sure this appeals to the people in my neighborhood who’ve altered their NO WAR WITH IRAQ to read NO HALLIBURTON IN IRAQ. (Seriously.) And I’m sure those people said YEAH! when Terry McAuliffe – Carville without the warmth – accused Bush of “not serving in the military,” and said that Bush Sr. pulled strings to get him an honorable discharge. They know that’s true. They know it. Just as they know that Bush never flew a jet, and has the IQ of a warm rock, etc. etc. The whole AWOL thing is slanderous nonsense – but it’s completely consistent with the new tone.
I'm with Lileks:
"I’m waiting for a Kerry speech in which he seems angrier about 9/11 than he does about tax cuts.

I’m waiting for an ad that simply puts the matter plainly: who do you think Al Qaeda wants to win the election? Who do you think will make Syria relax? Who do you think Hezbollah worries about more? Who would Iran want to deal with when it comes to its nuclear program – Cowboy Bush or “Send in the bribed French inspectors” Kerry? Which candidate would our enemies prefer?
It's a magnificent screed. Read it all.

And don't miss Rick Richman's blog on John Kerry and Israel -- read and beware. (Kerry promises to appoint "a Presidential Envoy for the Islamic world who will seek to strengthen moderate Islam." May I suggest Thomas Friedman? See below.)

LGF report: Norwegian Dhimmitude

Charles Johnson at LGF juxtaposes a story of Norway's Education Minister scoffing at the idea of banning the hijab in Norwegian schools, with one about a Norwegian teacher (who is not Jewish) forced to remove a tiny Magen David necklace which his principal fears could "provoke and offend students."
Sickening. And to make matters worse, if you go to the original articles, in the same newspaper, there is a photo of Muslim ladies wearing hijab at the one link, and no photo at the other.

Thank Gd, the teacher "said he feels this is a violation of his freedom of speech." He has hired a lawyer and "refuses to give in." Kol hakavod!

What happened to the wounded?

Suicide Bomb Survivors Face Worlds Blown Apart
Washington Post, by Keith B. Richburg: JERUSALEM -- Alona Shaportova immigrated here from Ukraine with her parents when she was 10. Soon she was speaking Hebrew, English and some Arabic, as well as Russian.

Ask Alona how old she is today and she hesitates, and begins to count out loud, "One, two, three, four" until she gets to 17. She looks to her mother for verification and gets a nod of approval.

Counting is a chore for Alona, reading is impossible, and she can manage only slowly to write her name. Two years ago, Alona and a friend were at Tel Aviv's popular seaside Dolphinarium discotheque when a Palestinian wearing explosives and copper ball bearings blew himself up outside, killing 21 people, mostly teenagers, and wounding 100 others.

Alona was among the most critically injured. When five ball bearings smashed into her head and face, her left eye was shattered, the teeth on the left side of her mouth were knocked out and the left side of her brain was torn away, leaving her paralyzed on the right side and mentally impaired for good.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, who once thought of becoming a model, now has a plastic prosthetic and a mop of curls that artfully cover the missing part of her head.

For thousands of Israeli families like the Shaportovas, the suicide bombings of the last three years have been a life-shattering, life-altering experience. The attacks make headlines with the numbers killed -- about 500 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in suicide attacks on civilians since the beginning of the current Palestinian uprising in September 2000. But for all those killed, there are many, many more left alive but burned, maimed, scarred, blinded, paralyzed, hearing-impaired, missing limbs and often requiring long-term care.

A case-by-case review of Israeli government records indicates more than 3,000 people have been injured in suicide bombings, not counting other types of attacks.

Their suffering is often intensified by the rudimentary and ruthless technology of the bombmakers; the explosives are wrapped with screws and ball bearings, causing multiple lacerations and punctures for those in the blast vicinity.

Some Israelis are still hospitalized from wounds sustained in suicide attacks months, even years ago; many more require repeated hospital visits and follow-up operations. Dozens are unable to work. And families have been forced to alter their lives to care for a wounded family member.

Alona's mother, Irina, says caring for her daughter has become her full-time job. She needs to help her daughter get dressed, takes her to a special school and shuttles her constantly to the hospital for care and rehabilitation therapy. "I'm really stressed by all of this," said Irina, who quit working after her daughter was injured. "I have no choice. I have only one daughter."

The Israeli government's national insurance institute has a mandate to provide financial assistance to anyone deemed a victim of a hostile act, meaning either war or terrorism. Medical care is free, including transportation to and from the hospitals, and the injured person receives a monthly stipend based on salary, or, in the case of the unemployed, the average government bureaucrat's salary.

Those found by an independent panel to be severely and permanently disabled continue to get a monthly payment for life, while those less disabled lose their stipends and receive a one-time grant.

The financial support is supplemented by private groups such as the One Family Fund, created three years ago to support and provide psychological counseling to victims. The fund provides cash to affected families until government compensation arrives, and it sponsors workshops and "healing retreats."

Yet victims and their family members say they sometimes feel their suffering is forgotten after the initial horror of a suicide attack has faded.

"As time goes by, the support and help gets less and less," said Mally Nissim, whose 16-year-old daughter, Adi Huja, was badly injured in the suicide bombing of Jerusalem's Cafe Rimon on Dec. 1, 2001. "The whole situation has been going on for two years. My heart is ripped up. I can hardly take it. The atmosphere at home is bad. Everybody is irritable and yelling. Tempers are raised."

She added: "When I hear about an attack, I feel sorry for the injured. It tears families apart."

Adi is a beautiful girl with light hair and olive skin. The only evidence of the severity of her wounds is that she walks with a crutch.

Seated on the living room couch, she pulls off her thick-soled sneakers and rolls up the legs of her khaki trousers to show what is left of her mangled legs. Both are riddled with wounds from ankle to hip -- huge craters, small holes, discolored black.

Her right foot stays in one position; the ankle was filled with screws. In all, 100 pieces of metal sliced through her body, mostly screws and bolts. Some of her wounds became infected by rat poison packed in the bomb, doctors told her.

Adi has endured 26 operations, and she will have more. She was hospitalized for half a year and in a wheelchair for one year. There are still seven or eight bolts in her body.

"The doctors said I'll be able to walk and run," she said, "but it will take time."

Adi and her mother are full of praise for the doctors who saved Adi's legs. For the bombers, there is only hate.

"I hate them and their entire families," Adi said bitterly, "and I wish them to go through exactly what I went through. They have no heart."

The Weapons Instructor

In a bed at a rehabilitation center outside Tel Aviv, American-born Steve Averbach, 37, counts the sum total of his progress since a suicide bomber on Jerusalem's No. 6 bus shattered his world eight months ago.

He can wiggle his toes a little, and he can flex his left foot. He can move his left thumb and index finger. There is a little movement in his left elbow, and there's some sensation in the hand. That is all, but that is progress for a man who was told he would likely never move his limbs again, after a ball bearing from the bomber's explosive vest hit his spinal cord and lodged in the back of his neck.

Before the bombing, Averbach, who moved to Israel from New Jersey at age 18, was a healthy, high-powered, active man, the father of four children. He was known as "Steve Guns" to many Israelis because of his role as the premier weapons instructor in the country.

All of Averbach's training kicked in on May 18, 2003, when he boarded the bus in the French Hill neighborhood and the driver stopped to pick up one last passenger: a man dressed in the garb of a religious Jew. "He wasn't Jewish," Averbach recalled. "He was Arabic."

Averbach immediately grabbed for his gun and spun around to fire. "I was known to be able to draw my gun in .85 of a second," he said. But the bomber already had his hand on the triggering device. "I was in mid-spin when the bomb went off," Averbach said. "It doesn't matter how fast you are -- the guy with his finger on the trigger is going to win." Averbach's gun never cleared his holster.

Averbach retains his good humor, even as he lies on his back and his mother, Maida, gives him water from a small plastic container with a straw. "I had been involved in four or five bus bombings," Averbach said. "This time I just showed up 10 minutes early."

"The thing I say to myself is, next time I will be faster," he said. "I can't lay back and say to myself, 'I'm sorry about what happened.' "

His mother, a nurse, said that since her son's injury she has viewed the horrific scenes of bus bombings differently.

"When I hear the phrase 'non-life-threatening injury,' I always wonder what's the implication of that," she said. "The people who die die. But the survivors, and how they have to cope, and their families -- you never hear about that. The psychological implications, the emotional implications, the financial implications -- it goes on and on."
The article continues with the story of an Israeli Arab bus driver, injured in a bus bombing, who is angry because he has yet to receive financial compensation from the government. "The reason, he believes, is because he is an Arab, not Jew."

The author may be trying to achieve "balance" - profiling a Jew who "hates them," a Jew with "good humor," and an angry Arab. It doesn't seem accurate to me; I don't think Israeli Arabs have suffered one third of the casualties. Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems to be getting digs in at Israel under the guise of sympathy and compassion. Have I become too cynical? Perhaps.

Palestinians Accuse . . .

AP: RAMALLAH, West Bank - A senior adviser to Yasser Arafat on Wednesday accused the United States of "blackmailing" the Palestinians by withholding aid — unusually harsh criticism reflecting exasperation with perceived U.S. disengagement from the Mideast conflict.

Reuters: UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinians accused United Nations staff on Tuesday of improperly leaking documents to Israel from a World Court case challenging Israel's construction of a barrier in the West Bank. . . The Palestinian U.N. envoy called on the United Nations to investigate the allegations and punish anyone found to have leaked documents in the politically explosive case pending before the Hague-based U.N. court.
The Palestinians obviously understand the old cliche about the best defense being a good offense. I wish Israel would get it. It's so simple . . . isn't it?

AFP/File/Pedro Ugarte

"Our right to the country - the entire country - exists as an eternal right"

"No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish People in Israel. No Jew has the authority to do so. No Jewish body has the authority to do so. Not even the entire Jewish People alive today has the right to yield any part of Israel.

It is the right of the Jewish People over the generations, a right that under no conditions can be cancelled. Even if Jews during a specific period proclaim they are relinquishing this right, they have
neither the power nor the authority to deny it to future generations. No concession of this type is binding or obligates the Jewish People.

Our right to the country - the entire country - exists as an eternal right, and we shall not yield this historic right until its full and complete redemption is realised."
David ben-Gurion, at the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, 1937

Thos Friedman could use "A Rude Awakening"

today's New York Times
This is so full of it, that it's hard to imagine what it would take to set this man straight. Some examples:
". . . given the Bush team's failure so far to create a political process that can forge, empower and legitimize a moderate center in Iraq or in Palestine . . . "
Let's not hold the Iraqis or Palestinians responsible for failing to be moderate. Whatever they are or do is always someone else's fault.
". . . Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he's had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office."
Excuse me?
" . . . in the past two years, Mr. Sharon has crushed Mr. Arafat's corrupt Palestinian Authority, but failed to lift a finger to empower more responsible Palestinians like Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammad Dahlan."
Sharon has crushed the Palestinian Authority? I only wish.

Dahlan, whom Friedman calls "moderate," has been credited with inventing the tactic of using cell phones to detonate bombs and suicide killers to trip bombs and activate explosive belts in multi-casualty strikes at Israeli crowd centers. He brought Islamic Hamas and Jihad Islami into Arafat's fold, played host to Lebanese Hizballah experts imported by Arafat, and set up the Karin-A terror ship, loaded with 50 tons of weapons for Arafat's arsenal.

Friedman believes Sharon should have "empowered" this man? I shudder to think what he could do if "empowered."
"And last week, Mr. Sharon turned over 400 Palestinian prisoners to the Islamist Lebanese militia Hezbollah in a prisoner swap, something he was never ready to do with moderate Palestinian leaders."
HonestReporting notes that this is patently false: "On two occasions - June and August 2003 - Sharon ordered the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners as "'goodwill gestures' to support Abbas and the road map process. Friedman's own NYTimes reported after the August release that it was 'the largest of several Israeli prisoner releases in the past few months, and brought the number of those freed to almost 600."
You get the gist of it. Everything is Sharon's fault, except what is Bush's fault. And Arab terrorists can do no wrong.

Friedman himself could use a rude awakening. Write to letters@nytimes.com with copy to the Times' Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, at public@nytimes.com

HonestReporting achieving some response from Reuters

HonestReporting Communique
5 February 2004
Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,

HonestReporting media activists have scored another important victory for accuracy in Mideast coverage:

A cornerstone of our 2003 Dishonest Reporting 'Award' was Reuters' attempt to legitimize Hamas by falsely describing their goal as the 'pursuit of independence'. For example:
The military wing of the Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement faxed to Reuters. Hamas has spearheaded a 28-month-old Palestinian militant uprising against Israel for a state in Gaza and the West Bank. (Feb. 15, 2003 - emphasis added)
Hamas makes it perfectly clear in their official charter and at speaking events that their goal is the destruction of the State of Israel - not merely an independent Palestinian state - yet the highly influential Reuters persisted in this charade, regularly casting Hamas as 'freedom fighters'.

We are now pleased to report that the thousands of emails that HonestReporting subscribers directed to Reuters in recent months have paid off - Reuters has fundamentally improved the way they describe Hamas in news reports:

In December, Reuters began indicating that Hamas' idea of 'independence' includes the complete destruction of Israel:
Hamas, sworn to Israel's destruction, has led a suicide bombing campaign during the three-year-old Palestinian uprising for independence. (Dec. 15, "Israel Remands Arab-Canadian in Alleged Bomb Plot")
And by January 26, Reuters was describing Hamas in no uncertain terms - "a faction sworn to destroy Israel," adding:
Hamas has led a suicide bombing campaign that has killed hundreds of Israelis during more than three years of violence. It has rejected peace talks and demanded that a Palestinian state be formed on all the land that was Palestine under the British mandate preceding the creation of Israel more than five decades ago.
Though not yet calling Hamas 'terrorists', Reuters' current, far more accurate descriptions properly frame Hamas' actions as beyond the pale of legitimate political struggle. Reuters' millions of worldwide readers thereby understand the need for Israel's tough stance against Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.

Congratulations to HonestReporting subscribers for this important accomplishment.
Make a Difference! Join the 60,000+ members of HonestReporting. Just send a blank email to Join-HReporting@list.NetAtlantic.com.

Or donate online.
February 3, 2004


February 2, 2004



POLL at Jerusalem Post

Do you support the Prime Minister's unilateral Gaza pullout plan?
I just voted, and when the results came up after, it was exactly 50/50, with 1199 votes having been cast.

Vote here.
There is another interesting poll at Maariv: Would you vote for Sharon in a new election? 68% say no.

Today is 13 Shevat

On this day in 1790, the French National Assembly granted full and equal citizenship to the Portugese and Avignonese Jews. France was the first European country to pass such liberal legislation.
Based on the book, Day by Day in Jewish History by Rabbi Abraham P. Bloch, z"l, and provided by OU.org

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Today's DEBKA Headlines

I blogged like crazy all day, and didn't even get to these stories
CIA chief Tenet will defend his agency’s work on Iraq’s WMD in public lecture at Washington’s Georgetown University Thursday. He will have his say after Senate Intelligence Committee did not give him chance to testify before drafting its report

DEBKAfile reports rising political disaffection in Syria. 700 opposition leaders are circulating petition for democratic reforms - end of emergency regulations, free elections and press – with target of one million signatures by March 8 anniversary of Syrian Baath revolution. Assad releases 150 political prisoners, some incarcerated for 22 years, with little effect on unrest.

Rumsfeld notes Kay’s Iraq Survey Group had not ruled out Iraq’s possession of WMD at start of war and search under his successor is not complete. Testifying before Senate committee Wednesday, Rumsfeld put forward 6 diverse theories to explain why they had not been found, one of which, that they were not there, which he judged possible but not likely.

Deadly poison found in Baghdad: 7-pound block cyanide salt discovered by US troops in Baghdad late January, according to Fox News. Toxic substance found in safe house used by Abu Musab Zarqawi whom DEBKA-Net-Weekly exposed last year as al Qaeda’s WMD specialist, its key link with Saddam Hussein and current controller of anti-US terror terrorist cells in Iraq. New intelligence indicates he also attempted to produce ricin in large quantities in northern Iraq.

WMD materials shipped last month from Libya to US include warhead designs sold by Pakistan black market network – first hard evidence that underground connected to Abdul Qadeer Khan sold Qaddafi bomb-making elements far beyond technology for enriching uranium – NY Times. Deal apparently involved more than $50m. Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist pleads for mercy for selling nuclear secrets – state TV.

Sharon faces police questioning under caution Thursday about his son’s multimillion fee from indicted businessman Appel.

Bush disinclined to support Sharon’s disengagement-cum-evacuation plan. Read DEBKAfile Special Analysis.
That's it for me for the day, boys and girls. Thank Gd, I have laundry to do and dinner to make for my family.


One Week Later by Judy Lash Balint
The shiva week is over.

For the families of the eleven victims of the #19 bus bomb the initial mourning period draws to a close. The rituals of mourning ratchet down a few notches for the next 30 days, and even further over the next 11 months, but the real pain of living without a father, sister, daughter, husband, son or brother has only just begun.

On the surface, the speed with which the city returns to “normal” is almost obscene. The area of the horror is cleaned with lightning speed. People are back waiting at the #19 bus stop with no visible signs of discomfort. Politics dominates the news again.

But beneath the surface, this attack seems to have had a particularly jarring effect on many of us. Like Café Hillel, last September, this one occurred on our turf, everyone knows someone killed or injured. In countless conversations this past week, friends have expressed their profound feelings of grief, loss, depression, resignation and helplessness.

For one, a nurse at Hadassah, it was the swift discovery that the son of a colleague lay in a ward upstairs with “moderate” injuries—the loss of an eye, limited hearing and shrapnel all over the place. Another friend who was walking a block away when the bus blew and saw everything, has had trouble doing anything except sleep all week.

Someone else was surprised to find herself so upset over the realization that one 23 year old victim shared their rather unusual last name. I was shaken to discover that father of seven, Chezi Goldberg, 42, an e-mail acquaintance, was supposed to be the third member of my Hebrew conversation class that started this week. It’s the severing of a life in full swing that’s so jarring.

Driving a couple of American guests around town at the beginning of the week, I realize that there’s almost nowhere to go that doesn’t harbor a reminder of the terror we’ve endured. Here Sbarros; there Café Moment, the #4 bus stop on Jaffa Road, the site of the stabbing in front of the Anglican School, Café Hillel, Ben Yehuda Mall, the shoe store next to my coffee bar where the owner’s wife was murdered in a bus bombing etc. etc

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to lift oneself out of the reality of the effects of Arab terror. Especially this week when the lop-sided body/prisoner exchange takes place and our prime minister decides to give the appearance of rewarding terror by announcing his plans to remove thousands of Jews from their homes.

This shiva week is over, but who knows what next week will bring?

Jihad Rap Video: "Dirty Kuffar"

from Isralert
The video you are about to watch is a rap video designed to inspire people to take up jihad against the West. Posted on a radical Islamic website based out of the United Kingdom, the video is undeniably entertaining, as professionally produced as any video you might see on MTV.

Consider the irony: radical fundamentalism, sworn to destroy Western culture and beliefs, uses that culture to market its hate. Paralleling the same deception, the Islamic organization that produced and marketed this video claims to be an Islamic "human rights" group but in reality is a group sworn to support the killing of Jews, Christians and moderate Muslims.

To view jihad rap video:

click here for Hi-Res (requires Broadband connection)
click here for Low-Res (dial-up connection)
This offering is only the first of many to come from IP News Service... a news service soon to be offered by the Investigative Project, widely acknowledged as one of the leading counterterrorist research and investigative centers in the world. Under the leadership of Executive Director Steven Emerson, the Investigative Project has for years investigated the operations, funding, activities and front groups of Islamic terrorist and extremist groups in the United States and around the world.

The Investigative Project has amassed one of the largest archival intelligence centers in the world on militant Islam.

The IP News Service will be posting tens of thousands of court-exhibits from terrorist trials, indictments and government investigations; newly declassified documents on Hamas, Osama Bin Laden, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups; clandestinely recorded transcripts of radical Islamic meetings in the US and the West; dossiers of militant Islamic front groups in the West; clandestine recorded videos and audio tapes of terrorist gatherings; secret terrorist finances and funding; interviews with US and foreign counter-terrorist officials; investigations into terrorist operations; and investigative reports on the 9/11 attacks.

Stay tuned.

GAZA BLUES: "The farce has taken a serious turn for the worse."

Letter from Jerusalem
Needless to say, all the dogs and other beasts of prey were ready waiting just as soon as Fat Cat Sharon let the pigeon out of the bag. The Israeli media, led by Haaretz and followed energetically by the world media, immediately turned it into a major breakthrough. The arch impure-bird Peres, who simultaneously happens to have gained an extension of his leadership of the Labor Party for yet another year, immediately opened up the prospect of rejoining a "unity" government. Sharon is going to meet Qureia… Then from one dog to another, Sharon will be off to Washington to show George Bush his great quarry... the Gaza First plan.

The butcher of Yamit seems determined to end his career in a blaze of infamy, slaughtering the Jewish yishuv of Gaza as the first step to uprooting all the other settlements of YeshA so as to bring Israel back to the pre-67 Auschwitz borders. After which the Arabs will still not make peace. The chopping up of Israel alive is in fact taking place this very minute under all of our noses in the guise of building the "Security Wall", which is going up despite the display of international opposition, and which will, of course, provide no security at all. This week we were shown one live businessman of dubious credentials and three coffins as Israel's prize for releasing hundreds and hundreds of Arab terrorist murderers to Hizbullah. This prize was paraded as an "achievement" by Ariel Sharon, whom the people of Israel were duped three years ago into choosing as their savior.

Can you blame me for wanting to crack jokes -- or should we sit in sackcloth and ashes?

For years it has been a political crime to talk about the transfer of Arabs, yet the Prime Minister of Israel unashamedly announces his intention to carry out an "evacuation -- sorry, a relocation" (sic) of Jewish settlements. Why is it permitted to plan and execute the transfer of Jews in order to create a judenrein Palestine, while even to whisper the idea of transferring Arabs is considered incitement?

The Prime Minster states that he is "working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza". Because of this false assumption, he is prepared to throw the full resources of Medinat Yisrael, including armed riot police and troops, tanks and bulldozers, etc. in order to drive 7,500 Jews from the homes and lands they have sweated and lost blood in order to build. We are now faced with another protracted period of internecine war between Jew and Jew as the protest movement against the evacuation gathers strength and the acrimony increases. And who will be smiling, watching the Jews fighting with each other? Who will enjoy watching media footage of Jews packing up their bags, loading them onto carts and going into exile -- while the Arabs fire rockets on Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beit Shemesh…

The Prime Minister justifies making Gaza judenrein and handing over thousands of square kilometers of hothouses, factories and other installations as a free gift to the Arab terrorists, because "these are places we will not hold onto anyway in a final settlement".

It is the narrowness of Sharon's vision of the "final settlement" that is so disturbing, because it is symptomatic of his total disconnection from Torat Yisrael -- and this is the very root of the problem. Sharon's "assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza" is in direct contradiction to biblical prophecy, which states that in the true final settlement, all these territories will be the portion of Judah -- i.e. the Jews:
"Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites, the word of the Lord is against you O Canaan, the land of the Philistines. I will even destroy you, that there shall be no inhabitant. [Rashi and Targum Yonatan explain that these are the Philistines -- or Palestinians in your and my language -- and they are called Kerethites from the word Kareth meaning to cut off, since they are guilty and will be cut off.]

"And the sea-coast shall be pastures, even the meadows for shepherds and folds for flocks. And it shall be A PORTION FOR THE REMNANT OF THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, whereupon they shall feed... For the Lord their GOD WILL REMEMBER THEN AND TURN THEIR CAPTIVITY" (Zephania 2:5-6).
If the people who elected Sharon as their Prime Minister would heed the words of the prophets, they would throw him out and avoid the whole tragedy of the Gaza settlements that Sharon and those who give him his marching orders are cooking up.

Those who still believe in Greater Israel despite everything have no option but to fight Sharon's ugly plan. And we will surely see it fall in ignominy -- if for no other reason than that the Arabs themselves will probably succeed in sabotaging it.

Those who are in favor of having Jews stay in Gaza should also heed the words of the prophet in the same passage
The answer to Israel's security problems is the same as it always was. It lies not in ignominious retreat and high walls, but in guarding the holy Shabbat.

Shalom UVrachah
Yehuda ben David
I highly recommend subscribing to the rare LETTER FROM JERUSALEM. It is a treasure. Just go to this link and enter your email address in the box on the left.

Dismantling Sharon

by my friend Patrick Pearlman in WV
Sharon's zigzagging can only confuse and further demoralize the Israeli populace, to say nothing of what it does to Likud's supporters or members of coalition parties. Moreover, coming as they do in quick succession to the release of hundreds of Muslim terrorists -- many of whom have Israeli blood on their hands -- and the most recent murderous attack in Jerusalem, Sharon's statements leave Jews and Israelis questioning more than ever what all the sacrifice has been for.

Read it all at the website of Manhigut Yehudit.
Also see Michael Freund: "Topple Sharon now" at JPost and David Wilder: "A Jewish Decision" at Arutz Sheva.

And please note: Manhigut Yehudit's second Annual Journal Dinner will take place on Shushan Purim, Monday March 8th at 6:30 pm at the Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre. Guest speakers will include Moshe Feiglin, Motti Karpel and Shmuel Sackett.

Email aliza@manhigut.org or call (888)-217-4820 if you would like to receive an invitation.
The price per couple is $400.

Left-wing horsesh*t

I was reading Daniel Pipes' opinion at the Jerusalem Post: Hizbullah's victory, Israel's decline,
when I saw this picture:

The Yellow Wind
Photo: AP
I thought to myself, as anyone would, what in the hell is "the yellow wind"?
So I searched GoogleNews, and got only this one hit:
Israel's David Grossman Serves Up a YA Novel
Village Voice, NY - Jan 20, 2004
... He posed the problem explicitly in 1988's The Yellow Wind, a journalistic account
of the many costs of the occupation that is, depressingly, as fresh and ...
It's a review of Israeli David Grossman's new book, and it begins like this:
"Well before Ariel Sharon undertook with brutal literal-mindedness to erect a wall separating Israel from the territories it occupies, David Grossman was building an extraordinary literary opus..."
and ends with this:
"You know it's somehow less than honest, but also that the lies it tells, it tells out of love."
This last line struck me between the eyes, as frighteningly indicative of how low the Left has sunk: Lies are okay, as long as they're told "out of love."

So much for my curiosity about something called Yellow Wind (though I do still wonder what a "YA novel" is). But do go and read the Pipes piece. It's very depressing yet refreshingly true:
ISRAEL'S reputation and standing undergo severe damage from this signal of demoralization and vulnerability. Listen to Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, on the [prisoner] exchange, seeing in it another proof "that the evil Zionist regime is defeatable by the strong wills and concrete faiths of the Mujahedeen of Islam."
with or without love . . . I'll take the truth anytime.

One out of every four children in Israel is Muslim

Arutz Sheva: "The Demographic Problem"
It was announced this week that one out of every four children in Israel is Moslem, and that the annual Moslem population growth in Israel is 3.4%, compared with only 1.4% for Israeli Jews.
See also U.S. Department of State: "Muslim Life in America,"

and "Mother of 3 to be Deported" at Cleveland NewsNet5

Today is 12 Shevat

On this day in 1941, Nazis provoked the first anti-Jewish riots in Amsterdam. The Jews successfully fought off their attackers.

Two years later (1943) to the day (12 Shevat), Jews in the Warsaw ghetto put up their first resistance to the Nazi effort at liquidation.

Two more years later (1945) to the day (12 Shevat), the Russian army liberated 2819 survivors of Auschwitz.
Based on the book, Day by Day in Jewish History by Rabbi Abraham P. Bloch, z"l, and provided by OU.org

Hajj deemed "a great success"
as Muslim swarm comes to an end

An aerial view from a helicopter shows the buses and pilgrims and their camps
in Arafat, northeast of the city of Mecca, during the annual Muslim pilgrimage hajj,
Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2004. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
The official Saudi Press Agency gave the following breakdown of the nationalities of 244 hajj pilgrims who were trampled to death Sunday during "stoning of the devil" rituals on the plains of Mina, Saudi Arabia.
Indonesia 54
Pakistan 36
Egypt 13
Turkey 11
India 11
Algeria 10
Bangladesh 10
Morocco 7
Sudan 8
China 5
Yemen 4
Sri Lanka 3
Saudi Arabia 2
Somalia 2
Syria: 2
Afghanistan 2
Nigeria 1
Chad: 1
Tunisia 1
Oman 1
Burma 1
Cameroon 1
Unnamed South Asian countries 3
Unnamed African country: 1
Unnamed Western European country: 1
Other unidentified bodies: 53
Get this! from an opinion piece in the Toronto Star:
"Peace is the central theme of the hajj: peace with oneself, with fellow human beings, with the environment, even with the tiniest creatures...

This grand assembly at one place, drawn from a vast array of nationalities, races and colours, yet with a remarkable unity of heart and purpose, harmony of thought and feeling, is the greatest gift of Islam to the Children of Adam."
This may indeed be the greatest gift of Islam to the rest of us, but I think I'll pass. Thanks, but no thanks.

Death toll over 100
from double suicide bombings in Iraq

133 wounded remain hospitalized

Two US soldiers keep watch on an Iraqi street during a night patrol.
The US army apologised for killing an Iraqi child, as the death toll
from double suicide bombings, the deadliest post-war attacks in
Iraq, climbed to over 100. (AFP/File/Jewel Samad)

Sharon willing to hold national referendum on withdrawal

AP Photo/Oded Balilty

"You always have to look at what is more dangerous."
JPost: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon revealed on Wednesday that he would be willing to support proposals from Likud MKs to hold a national referendum on his plan to withdraw from settlements.

"I do not rule out going to a referendum," Sharon told reporters in the Knesset cafeteria. "I think it's a good idea. I don't rule it out and I will look into the idea. It's important to gauge the opinion of the public."

Sharon said the current diplomatic deadlock is grave and that therefore he feels he must fill the vacuum by taking steps to improve Israel's security. He said his diplomatic plans have nothing to do with the investigations against him.

"There is no connection at all," Sharon said. "[The plan] is not because of [the investigations], it's despite them."

Singling out the Geneva Accord and the Saudi plan, Sharon said his plan is better than the alternatives. "It's never a choice between good and bad," Sharon said. "It's a choice between bad and even worse. You always have to look at what is more dangerous."
According to a UPI/Washington Times story,
a senior government official... said Sharon is concerned... about a possible collapse of law and order in the Palestinian areas that would create a dangerous vacuum. He wants to preempt a situation in which Israel is pressured to send over its troops [to] put an end to anarchy and restore its civil administration...

A unilateral Israeli pullback might prompt an internal Palestinian power struggle between the ruling, though weakened secular Fatah, and the rising Islamic militant Hamas.
Maariv carries this story about the reaction of the military establishment to plans for withdrawal from Gaza:
“This is encouragement for the terrorists, a prize for the Palestinians. It is going to increase the terrorists’ appetite”, said a senior military official...
This view is affirmed by a story at Y-Net (Hebrew only), translated by the good folks at JCPA's Daily Alert:
Two senior leaders of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Hashem Abu Hamdan and Nadir Abu Lil, said Sharon's intention to remove settlements is a victory for the Palestinian resistance, but they want to see an "Israeli flight, like in Lebanon." The two claimed that Palestinians in the West Bank, as well as in Gaza, possess rockets and mortars that will reach the cities of central Israel. They said, "The Israeli separation fence is a cardboard barrier. Soon the Israelis will witness our actions from inside the fence."
Ditto, in a Reuters story at http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=4272260
"Sharon's statement no doubt resulted from the greatness of resistance and steadfastness of the Palestinian people," senior Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam told Reuters in reference to the Sharon's bombshell announcement on Monday.
UPDATE: Kofi Annan gave strong backing Wednesday to Sharon's plan to dismantle virtually all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, saying it could provide new momentum for Mideast peace . . .

The case against Arafat

Books reviewed by Bret Stephens

Arafat's War: The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest
By Efraim Karsh

Grove Press. 296 pp. $25
$17.50 at Amazon

Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography
By Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin

Oxford University Press. 352 pp. $28
$11.00 at Amazon
Why won't Israel's conflict with the Palestinians just go away? The world has been working on it for decades: We've had a Rogers Plan and a Reagan Plan, Madrid and the Oslo Accords, the Barcelona Process, Camp David, Taba, Mitchell, Tenet, Zinni, June 24 and the road map, to name the more prominent efforts. The explanation for their respective failures depends on whom you ask, but generally the answers run:
1. Occupation and settlement building
2. Cultural or civilizational frictions
3. Missed diplomatic openings
4. Arab rejection of Israel's right to exist
No doubt there's something to each of these views. But Efraim Karsh, head of the Mediterranean Studies program at King's College, London, and Barry and Judith Colp Rubin, two Israel-based scholars with many books between them, share a different view. The scourge of the Middle East, they would argue, is one man, Yasser Arafat, who single-handedly has done more than anyone or anything else to put peace out of reach.

Karsh's book may as well have been titled "The Case Against Arafat." He dwells briefly on Arafat's boyhood, his early misadventures, his first murder (the account here, described by an eyewitness, is chilling), his struggle to gain absolute mastery of the Palestinian cause, and his sojourns - both of which ended violently - in Jordan and Lebanon.

Most of the book, however, deals with the Oslo period, and the chapter headings suggest the thrust of the argument: "A Trojan Horse," "A Licence to Hate," "Hate Thy Neighbor," "Terror until Victory," and so on. This may sound tendentious, but Karsh has done his research well. He is particularly adept at capturing every instance of Arafatian doublespeak - the "feigned moderation" for Western audiences, the frank avowals to destroy Israel to Arab ones. Thus, after sharing a peace prize with Peace Now in Stockholm in January 1996, he told an Arab audience:
"We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion.... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem."
This, when Yitzhak Rabin was barely in the grave, Shimon Peres was prime minister, and neither Binyamin Netanyahu nor Ariel Sharon had come along to "spoil the atmosphere."

In quotation after quotation, Karsh also puts paid to the notion that Arafat's lieutenants are moderates or staying influences on the ra'is, or captain, as Arafat likes to be known.

Thus the late Faisal Husseini:
"Though agreeing to declare our state over what is now only 22 percent of Palestine, namely the West Bank and Gaza, our ultimate goal remains the liberation of all of historical Palestine from the river to the sea, even if this means the continuation of the conflict for another thousand years or for many generations."
... By contrast, Barry and Judith Colp Rubin offer a comprehensive and meticulous portrait of the man, dwelling as much on Arafat's inner life and his core convictions as on his strategy and the historical narrative. What results is a wonderfully rich narrative and a still more devastating indictment...

At the heart of the book is a masterful chapter on "Being Yasser Arafat." It explains how Arafat, whose diplomatic unreliability, military incompetence, cruelty and clownishness have been proved time and again, nevertheless succeeded in persuading everyone that he is the indispensable man...

Unlike Karsh, who marshals his evidence to a single purpose, the Rubin book really does bend over backwards to be fair. I wonder if it matters. We have now reached a point where any book written by an Israeli on an Arab subject is likely to be viewed with suspicion. (Unless, of course, it provides a sympathetic account, in which case it will be accepted uncritically.) In a sense, this too is part of Arafat's legacy - the Palestinian appropriation of history and the almost complete delegitimization of Israel's version of events. But readers who still think that fact and truth are related phenomena will find much that is rewarding in these two commendable volumes.

A masked militant of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
A local leader of the hardline Palestinian movement
was arrested in a raid involving dozens of Israeli
soldiers in the northern West Bank.
(AFP/File/Mahmud Hams)

See full story of arrest.

Lieberman drops out

JPost: A little over a year ago, after Al Gore announced he would not seek the presidency, US Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut led the pack of potential Democratic candidates by wide polling margins.

According to an ABC survey at the time, 27 percent of Democrats and Independents preferred Lieberman, while only 10 percent preferred the current frontrunner, US Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor trailed with three percent support.

After soaring to center stage with his 2000 vice presidential bid, Lieberman had earned enormous respect, and name recognition, among Democratic voters. And his position as a centrist Democrat, rooted in religious and moral values, prompted President Bush reportedly to tell Australian Prime Minister John Howard in October that Lieberman would be his most formidable opponent.

So why in an election year when Democrats are searching first and foremost for someone who can beat Bush did Lieberman, who terminated his campaign Tuesday night after failing to win any of the early primaries, fare so poorly?

Lieberman campaign insiders and analysts say the reasons were a mix of poor organizational planning early in the campaign, a moderate message that was unpopular with liberal primary voters, and a lackluster performance on the stump. His Judaism, they say, had nothing to do with his demise; voters rejected Lieberman's politics, not him as a person...

"The only people who really were nervous about having a Jewish president were the Jews themselves," says Jay Footlik, Lieberman's former director of community outreach.

Now, with his presidential bid behind him, Lieberman will return full-time to his senatorial duties, and continue, as he said Tuesday night, to fight for "a Democratic party that is strong on defense and unwavering in the war against terrorism."
The Democrats missed a promising opportunity with Lieberman. Now they've rejected the two candidates with the highest marks in integrity and experience, Gephardt and Lieberman, the only two I would have voted for. It's sad to see where they're headed.

Monday, February 02, 2004

I can't believe they hate us so

Belgian soccer fans chant "Hamas, Hamas, gas all the Jews"

Good ol' AFP /Yahoo News, via that DANEgerous blog:
BRUSSELS (AFP) - A Belgian minister expressed outrage at anti-Semitic chants made by fans at a recent Belgium-Israel football match, and backed calls for legal action.

The fans were heard chanting "Hamas, Hamas, gas all the Jews" and "Cut the Jews' throats" at the indoor soccer match last Wednesday in the eastern Belgian town of Hasselt.
I guess I still have a naive bone left in my body: I find this shocking. What was that Saul Singer said (below) about "naivete and false sense of security"? Ah yes, "It is these, not our love of life, that must be overcome."

According to Haaretz, charges have been brought by the city of Hasselt and a Jewish organization:
About a dozen troublemakers seated some rows behind the Belgian players bench started the chants which were also documented on regional television station TV Limburg on Wednesday.

According to the Jewish organization, the insults included such chants as "Jews to the gas chamber!" "Death to Jews!" "Strangle the Jews!"

Belgian soccer player Mustapha Toukouki, who was not brought into action for the game, was said to have encouraged the chanters, reports in several newspapers say. Toukouki rejected the allegations. He has been suspended for the rest of the tournament.
A "dozen troublemakers" -- no big deal. Right?

Ricin found in Senate Mailroom

Does that count as "finding WMD"?
CNN: Preliminary tests on a white, powdery substance found in the mailroom of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist indicate the presence of the deadly substance ricin, a Homeland Security official said Monday.

A U.S. Capitol police spokeswoman said the department is investigating the matter but would not comment on the substance found, saying only that preliminary tests were positive for a "hazardous substance."

The substance is to be tested further at the Army research laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The Homeland Security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said those results could be back as soon as Tuesday.

Authorities said people should stay clear of the south side of the fourth floor of the Dirksen Senate Office building...

Authorities stressed the ricin results were preliminary and that field tests often prove unreliable. They also pointed out that though ricin is an effective weapon against a single person, it is difficult to use against large numbers of people at once.

Ricin is a natural, highly toxic compound that comes from castor beans, used to make castor oil. It can be inhaled, ingested or injected.

There is no known antidote, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One milligram of ricin, a dose the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult.

If inhaled, ricin can cause death in 36 to 48 hours from failure of the respiratory and circulatory systems.

If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.

Injected ricin immediately kills the muscles and lymph nodes near the site of the injection. Failure of the major organs and death usually follows, the CDC said.

In a notorious Cold War assassination, Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, living in London, England, was killed in 1978 by a poison dart filled with ricin and fired from an umbrella.

Interesting Times: Life is many things

by Saul Singer
Jerusalem Post: I thought about my brother Alex this week, but not in circumstances I have known in the 17 years since his death. For all those years, I have focused on Alex's life, not on how he died in battle on a rocky hilltop in Lebanon, and even less on the terrorists who shot him.

This week's prisoner deal, however, made the issue unavoidable for my family and a number of others who lost soldiers in Lebanon. Among the released prisoners was Anwar Yassin, who had another 13 years to serve of his 30-year sentence for killing Alex Singer, Ronen Weisman, and Oren Kamil on September 15, 1987.

Alex Singer

The surprise introduction of a personal element has not helped crystallize my muddled views on the deal. A pundit's job is to make tricky cost-benefit analyses, but even before I knew Alex's killer was in the mix, my calculator had short-circuited. How to compare the concrete freedom of one Israeli, even one who may have been kidnapped under circumstances partly of his own making, against the potential victims of unrepentant released terrorists? What weight should be given to the injustice that Yassin, 36, will be given a hero's welcome, and has a whole life ahead of him?

I am comforted by the fact that the price that so many Israelis have found expensive is regarded by Palestinians to be cheap. Some analysts found Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah to be more defensive than triumphant, and have noted that most of the Palestinians were small fry on the terror ladder, sprung only a short time before their scheduled release.

Yet while I find the morality and advisability questions to be murky, one message is not: the vast contrast between the value placed on human life. Prisoner deals represent a rare and stark quantification of the human value gap.

The same imbalance that horrifies us says something profound: Alex's killer may be a hero in his home town, but he was worth on the order of 1/400th of one Israeli's freedom. The reason we have to trade so many for so few is that we value human life and freedom differently.

To our enemies, this is precisely our weakness and their chief asset. It is no accident that the suicide bomber is the emblematic weapon of the struggle of our age. Each such bombing repeats the question, literally in our faces: Can a society that loves life beat one that celebrates death? Al-Qaida and its groupies are explicit about this. "We know that you are still deluded by your power and think that your fortresses and destroyers and aircraft carriers will protect you. ... these are worth nothing in our eyes. ... we can face you one-on-one and make you taste the despair of those who have put their faith in this world," said one bin Laden mouthpiece.

The jihadis are right that we are more vulnerable than they. Our societies are wide open, and every prick hurts. As the aggressor, they automatically enjoy the initiative and can always choose the softest target, be it the Red Cross in Iraq, vacationers in Bali, or a cafe in Jerusalem.

Ho Chi Minh said to the French in the 1940s, "You can kill 10 of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds you will lose and I will win." Or as Henry Kissinger said, if guerrillas do not lose, they win; if the defenders do not win, they lose.

Today's jihadis may seem even more invincible than yesterday's guerrillas, who were ruthless but whose goals included staying alive. But increased asymmetry does not just cut in the jihadis' favor. In the end, the jihadis are not just up against free governments, which may be weak, but the human will to live, which is strong.

It would be a mistake to mirror-image the West's this-world, life-affirming orientation on more fatalistic cultures. We should not assume that all young Muslims are secretly pining for Western freedom and prosperity. But neither should we assume that the jihadis' death cult has spread within its own culture past the point of no return.

Loving death is not alien to all cultures, but it is alien to all life. Nor does loving life necessarily negate a willingness to sacrifice it.

"Life is many things. It is fragile, beautiful, full of opportunity to create and improve our world," Alex wrote from IDF officers' school to an American friend. "But it is also short. To kill, in the most extreme cases, can be just. There are more important things than one life," my brother said.

Alex loved life, but he was willing to die to save lives - as he did when he stopped Yassin from fulfilling the murderous mission that captured documents showed he had planned to carry out in Israel.

The forces of life have infinitely more untapped power than the forces of death. The jihadis' real theory of victory is not based on the West's fear of death but on our naivete and false sense of security. It is these, not our love of life, that must be overcome.
Saul Singer is the Editorial Page Editor of the Jerusalem Post and author of the book, Confronting Jihad: Israel's Struggle & the World After 9/11. He can be reached at saul@jpost.com

I'm ordering his book, and in the process decided to also get Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars by Yaacov Lozowick, who is the director of the archives at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Museum. I like this, that Booklist said about him: "Like the proverbial liberal who is mugged into conservatism, he is a former peace activist who voted for Ariel Sharon in response to the collapse of the Oslo process and the ongoing violence directed at Israeli civilians." Reminds me of myself, and so many of us now. . . I wonder if he too is mystified and or disappointed by Sharon?

What do you make of this?

Mel Gibson says "Yes to Mike Evans' recommendation
From the Jerusalem Prayer Team

I was recently invited to a special screening of "The Passion of the Christ" in Dallas to make recommendations regarding the film. My agent-attorney, my pastor, and 30 other leaders were also invited. At the end of the screening, Mr. Gibson humbly asked if we felt the film could incite anti-Semitism and, if so, what could be done to avoid it.

Sign our Letter of Thanks to Mr. Gibson for his concern and response, now!

I explained to Mr. Gibson that the Crucifixion story had been used by anti-Semites to feed and fuel Jew-hatred throughout history, and that anti-Semitism has risen throughout the world to levels not seen since the days of Hitler. I further stated that the film, in its present form, could incite violence against Jews in the former USSR, Muslim countries and Europe, and could even result in Jews being killed.

I related to Mr. Gibson that the Christian church in Germany supported Hitler, and a major reason for that support was the belief that Jews were suffering for their sin of crucifying the Savior. Oswald J. Smith of the People's Church in Toronto, who visited Germany in 1936, said:

"Every true Christian in Germany is for Hitler. I know, for it was from the Christians that I got my information, and right or wrong they endorse Hitler." I also told him that great numbers in the Muslim world teach Hitler's evil myths to their children, even in the schools. This is the reason it is so very important to correct this. Purely and simply, the foundation of terrorism is firmly imbedded in bigotry!

Mr. Gibson listened intently, hung his head, and was deeply moved. "What can I do," he asked? I responded, "When the last scene ends go to black, scroll these words across the screen: "During the Roman occupation, 250,000 Jews were crucified by the Romans, but only One rose from the dead."

"By doing this," I said, "instead of feeding Jew-hatred, you will be fighting it. You will be communicating the suffering of all Jews under Roman occupation. By simply inserting this statement, those who desire to use the film to incite hatred toward Jews will be deterred.

"Those who might use the movie to incite Jew-hatred would know that they would be doing just the opposite - challenging the evil myths (that Jews are cursed for crucifying Christ and are Christ-killers) taught throughout history, and still today. In addition, 'The Passion of the Christ' would be the first Jesus film produced to fight anti-Semitism by telling the true story of Jewish suffering during the time of Christ."

Mel Gibson became very excited, and said, "Perfect! I will do it. Yes, I will do it. I needed something for that spot anyway. This is it. I will do it. Thank you."

At the showing in Dallas, no one was given a legal form to sign, so I am not bound to a confidentiality agreement. Why am I speaking out now? Because the film was screened when I was in Orlando on Jan. 21 and 22. I realized that leaders in the Jewish community were still extremely worried about increased anti-Semitism because of the film.

I became convinced it was time to let the Jewish community know that Mr. Gibson is very concerned, and is making a historic contribution to combat anti-Semitism. Never before has any effort been made in any Jesus film to correct the myths and misinformation propagated by Jew-hatred.

Please take this opportunity to thank Mel Gibson for his willingness to make this change. Let him know how much you appreciate it, and ask your friends to do the same because numbers of Jew-haters will try to persuade him to do otherwise.

"The Passion of the Christ" opens on Feb. 25, Ash Wednesday.

Jerusalem Prayer Team
PO Box 910
Euless, TX 76039

I hope this is for real, and Euless isn't really Clueless. I know, people must've made that joke before. Not funny. Sorry sorry.