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Saturday, February 21, 2004

ARGH! International Court of "Justice" at the Hague rejects

Court holds that families do not represent a country (but the Palestinians do?)
JPost: The International Court of Justice in The Hague rejected Saturday the request of Israeli terror victims' families to participate in the court's hearing regarding the West Bank security fence, Israel Radio reported.

The court argued that the families do not represent a county and therefore should not take part in the hearing (NB: both the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference are participating, but those organizations "involve countries.")

Fourteen governments and two organizations are to testify in the ICJ three-day hearing, beginning next week. Most of the legal testimonies will be against the fence.

Israel is boycotting the internal legal proceedings, which will be broadcast live on the court's website, but it is sending a media team to play to the cameras on the street.

Israelis, their supporters, and Jews from around the world hope to highlight on the street that the issue here is terrorism, not the fence.

Zaka (Disaster Victims Identification) has sent the shell of the bombed out No. 19 bus in which 11 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem last month.

Representing the 927 victims of Palestinian terrorism, 927 students will march through the streets of The Hague carrying placards with pictures of the dead and their names. The rally, organized by the Jewish Agency, will end with a silent vigil in front of the court.
There's a story at JPost, of how Hauge Mayor Wim Deetman sought to stop pro-Israel demonstrators from holding up pictures and names of the 927 terror victims (since 2000), calling the demonstrations "provocative." He also accused the Israeli Embassy of disturbing the peace . . .

See also Maariv: Arab MKs will protest against Israel's counter-terrorism fence at the Hague.

Friday, February 20, 2004

A searing photographic essay:

On its way to the Hague
"The Human Cost of Terrorism"
Photo Exhibit at The Hague
During UN Court Hearings on Israel's Security Fence
February 23-24

Washington, D.C. - The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) is hosting a two-day photo exhibition in The Hague, Holland, showing the photos and stories of the some of the thousands of Israelis - Jews, Christians and Muslims, white and black, the elderly and children - who have been murdered or maimed in Palestinian terrorist attacks since 2000.

"THE HUMAN COST OF TERRORISM" is a photographic essay based on interviews conducted in Israel in August 2003 by Mark Dubowitz, a Vice-President of the FDD, and Jason Schwartz, a free-lance Canadian photographer.

Exhibition: February 23rd and 24th, from 9am -7pm
Press Conference: February 23rd, from 12-2pm

The Nieuwspoort International Media Center,
Wandelganger I Room, Lange Poten 10
Parliament Buildings
The Hague, Holland

The exhibit coincides with hearings by the UN's court, the International Court of Justice, on Israel's construction of a security fence to protect its citizens from terrorism. The photographs are a stark reminder of the human cost of terrorism - a cost the barrier is designed to reduce.

FDD supports the United States, the European Union and over 30 countries that have opposed the UN Court's jurisdiction to rule on Israel's anti-terrorism fence. On January 30, 2004, FDD's submitted a "Friend of the Court" Brief (pdf file) with the UN's Court arguing why, under international law, the court should not rule on the barrier, and why a ruling against the fence would hurt the war on terrorism.

FDD has also compiled a collection of useful information sources, briefings and backgrounders on the UN Court's hearing and Israel's Security Fence on our website at www.defenddemocracy.org.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, non-partisan organization founded immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to conduct research and education on global terrorism, and promote democracy worldwide.

For hard-copies of the exhibition book or other information, contact Anne Marek at 202-207-1090 or anne@defenddemocracy.org. For permission to use photos and stories from the exhibition, please contact Jason Schwartz at 416-716-7802 or jason@toronto-photographer.com.
Use the link above or go to www.humancost.org to see/read the essay. It is, shall we say, very powerful.

Fox News says Nader will run

NEW YORK — Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 as a Green Party candidate, will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate, advisers told Fox News on Friday.

A formal announcement by Nader is expected this weekend.

"He's going to be discussing his role in the presidential election," Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee, said of the man whose 2000 run is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush. "He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play."

* * *

A Fox News poll released Friday shows that 58 percent of voters favor Kerry over Edwards. Only 21 percent of voters would back Edwards if an election were held today. There was a 5 percentage-point margin of error.

And when asked who would do a better job as a wartime president, 50 percent said Bush, according to the poll, while 38 percent said Kerry.

Kerry beat Bush when it came to who voters thought would handle the economy better, 47 percent to 40 percent.

With Nader now in the race, 43 percent said they would vote for Bush, 42 percent for Kerry and 4 percent for Nader.
Maybe the Deaniacs will flock to Nader. Is democracy messy, or what?

Saul Singer: The Left's Turn

Ariel Sharon doesn't say it out outright, but his stance does. Down the line, he has been admitting the Left was right, or at least has won.

Sharon has embraced three of the main messages of the Left: that demography and democracy necessitate the creation of a Palestinian state, that Israel must withdraw from settlements, and that the key to defeating terror is a defensive barrier rather than offensive actions by the IDF. . .

The important question is, will the Zionist Left, which should include both Labor and Meretz, take the large part of the loaf being offered and meet Sharon part way.

Arab Terrorists Target Flights at Ben-Gurion Airport

Maariv: Palestinian terrorist organizations have been making great efforts to attack flights at Ben Gurion Airport. To date, the Israeli security services have prevented nine attempts to down flights taking-off or landing at the airport.

These attempts are behind Israel?s insistence on building an extension of the counter-terrorism barrier that is designed to protect the airport from the east and prevent shoulder-fired missiles or other weapons from being aimed at flights, similar to the Al Qaeda attempt to down an Arkia flight in Kenya.

Again we hear Palestinian Authority near collapse

"Frankly, there is chaos among the [Palestinian] security forces," said Mustafa Issa, governor of Ramallah and a longtime Arafat loyalist, "and there is much corruption."

Reflecting deepening disillusionment at all levels of society, Issa said he would like to see European countries sympathetic to the Palestinian people "control this area for the next five years -- eight years if they are good." Palestinians tried to administer their own affairs from the mid-1990s to the present, he said, "and we did not succeed."

A senior Israeli specialist in Palestinian affairs, who spoke on condition that his name not be published, said "the feeling that things are falling apart in the Palestinian Authority is not completely new, but in recent weeks there are increasing manifestations of it really happening"...

Issa and other Arafat loyalists have long blamed the Palestinian Authority's administrative problems on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but with the situation now rapidly worsening, growing numbers of Palestinians and sympathizers are publicly pointing the finger of blame at Fatah, and at Arafat himself.

"It is a disaster," said Bassem Eid, director of the East Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. "The problem is not just the occupation, it is much bigger. Nablus is ruled by thugs. The people are killing each other."

At least 27 people have been killed by fellow Palestinians in Nablus in the last year, police there say.

The resignation statement of 350 men describing themselves as "junior cadres from throughout Palestine" charged that "tribalism, factionalism [and] money . . . have dominated" Fatah politics and that the movement "suffers from political bankruptcy"...

Read it all in the Boston Globe.
And these on the possibility of HAMAS filling the vacuum: one in the Washington Times, and another, more scholarly, from JCPA, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Roger L. Simon: Bring it on!

The problem with Kerry is he’s just your average sleazeball politician. I can’t even get angry with him for railing about the “Special Interests.” No, I’m angry at the American people and my fellow Democrats for buying this crap. I’m angry at us. Can you imagine believing someone parading around in those suits, having married an heiress worth well over a hundred million, living in a Georgetown mansion with umpteen bedrooms is an enemy of the “Special Interests”? He is the “Special Interests.” You’d have to be an imbecile not to see that.

They say the people of a country get the government they deserve. Is this what we deserve? Maybe. I hope not. Now I’m afraid to hear the truth about Edwards. Okay, bring it on! [Did you realize what you just said?—ed.]

UPDATE: The AFL-CIO is about to endorse Kerry. How pathetic is that! Why don't they just get it over with and endorse Rockefeller--or Henry Ford?
See also Simon's post, Hearts in San Francisco -- it's very moving. I understand and feel for those who yearn for gay marriage, but I also share the concern of some comments on the thread that subverting the political process, as the SF mayor has done, may be dangerous to our whole political system.

There are no words

At the Belata refugee camp cemetery, a young Palestinian boy
holds a toy gun in his mouth as a joke.

Thanks to zulubaby (#3) for posting this.

Excitement in Israel over the Tennenbaum case

by Imshin: Not a Fish
They’re not telling much (or they don't know much), but it sounds exciting. He seems to have failed a lie detector test, and isn't cooperating very well with his interrogators.

You’ll remember Tennenbaum, he got exchanged a few weeks ago along with the bodies of three IDF soldiers, for a few hundred live prisoners Israel was holding. Well, he was immediately whisked off to hospital (he came back with all his teeth intact, except one, by the way), and then to interrogation, in a very comfortable police installation (usually used as a training center for police commanding officers or as a holiday camp for policepeople and their families), where he has been ever since, apparently lying through his (not torn out) teeth. It seems things were not exactly as they seemed (I can say things like that, you see, because I’m a bloody foreigner). It’s looking like much more than a case of a greedy, stupid gambler-turned-drug trafficker, who bit off more than he could chew. Maybe real bad guy stuff. Real real bad guy stuff. Take-him-out-and-shoot-him bad guy stuff.

posted by Imshin 17:27

Today is 27 Shevat 5764

On this day in 1583 CE, Joseph Sanalbo, a convert to Judaism,
was burned at the stake in Rome.

Based on the book, Day by Day in Jewish History by Rabbi Abraham P. Bloch, z"l, and provided by OU.org
February 18, 2004





February 17, 2004







February 13, 2004


February 12, 2004

LOTS MORE at MEMRI.org. See especially this Special Dispatch: The Mufti of Australia Calls for Jihad.

Representatives of Arab terror groups convened to plan "huge" new offensive against Israeli targets

Hamas, Hez b'Allah, al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad and Ansar al-Islam
met with Syrian, Lebanese and Iranian intelligence officials
Arutz Sheva: The Arab news portal Albawaba.com reported today that Muslim terrorist groups - including Hamas, Hizbullah, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Ansar Al-Islam and others - decided on a renewed offensive of attacks on Israelis and Israeli interests abroad. The attacks will include suicide bombings and assassinations of Israeli officials.

According to Albawaba, "The unordinary meeting was held on February 3-4 in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon - near Tripoli" The report is based on an interview, carried Thursday in the Kuwaiti Al-Siyasah newspaper, with an unnamed Arab diplomat in Amman, Jordan.

According to the diplomat, forty people, including representatives of the Arab terror groups, Syrian, Lebanese and Iranian intelligence officials, met in northern Lebanon in early February. The decision for the new offensive, according to the newspaper, came as a result of growing criticism among Arabs of their "silence" over Israeli activities.

The only objection to the plans, according to the diplomat, came from Syrian and Lebanese officials – who expressed the request that their borders not be used for the attacks.


Includes $7 MILLION every month into a bank account directly controlled by Yasser Arafat
Arutz Sheva: Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that monies needed to solve Israeli budgetary shortfalls should be drawn from the funds that Israel regularly transfers to the Palestinian Authority. The minister made the comments in reaction to insinuations by left-wing Knesset Members and leading newspapers that the Knesset Finance Committee's recent allocation of 91 million shekels - in loans and grants - to the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as eastern Jerusalem, comes at the expense of impoverished Israelis.

The minister made the same recommendation earlier this week in opposing the government budget cuts proposed by Finance Minister Binyamin Netanytahu.

According to data presented earlier this month by Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union), Israel transfers approximately 200 million shekels ($45.5 millon) to the Palestinian Authority every month. MK Eldad recently reintroduced a bill in parliament that would forbid further transfers of funds to the PA, which Israel has characterized as a "terror-supporting entity".

Furthermore, based on information obtained by investigative journalist David Bedein from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli transfers to the PA include $7 million (30.8 million shekels) every month into a bank account under the direct control of PLO leader Yasser Arafat.
I give up.

All should read this, and take heart

"The soul of Israel will live in the embrace of a bereaved
mother who finds it in her heart to dance with a young bride"
Opinion at JPost by Barbara Sofer

Tamar Ben-Zvi, 24, is as excited as any bride could be a week before her wedding. Blonde and blue-eyed, she is often mistaken for a foreigner. She couldn't be more of a sabra, growing up working in the kibbutz cowshed on Mount Gilboa.

And then the milkmaid fell in love with a soldier - robust and darkly handsome and, best of all, with a nurturing soul. His army comrades told her how he would cover their exposed feet whenever he came back last at night. She even liked his name, Shai Haim, literally "gift of life."

From listening to Tamar speak about her husband-to-be, you'd never suspect the great difficulty with which Shai will break the glass under the canopy. Shot by a terrorist, he no longer walks.

Likewise, it's hard to imagine the bittersweet emotions of the officiating rabbi. Even as he rejoices for Shai and Tamar, the rabbi cannot possibly forget that his own son was killed in the same attack that paralyzed Shai. That rabbi is Jerusalem Post columnist Stewart Weiss from Ra'anana.

Tamar's friendship with Shai began when she phoned another soldier in his unit. Shai picked up a ringing cellphone for his absent army bunkmate with the intention of taking a message. Instead, he and Tamar talked for two hours. Their May romance blossomed.

By happy coincidence, Tamar already knew Shai's best friend, Ari Weiss, whose cousins lived on Ma'aleh Gilboa. Although Tamar and Shai were just getting to know each other, Ari foresaw their marriage and promised to make merry at their wedding. It was one of the few promises the sincere and kind-hearted staff sergeant wouldn't keep.

On September 30, Ari Yehoshua Weiss was on guard duty in Nablus. Shai hadn't been scheduled to guard, but he decided to join Ari.

Shots rang out. Shai went down. Ari ran toward him and took the second, fatal bullet himself. The medics found them lying side by side.

Shai's parents phoned Tamar with the grim news. Ari was dead. Shai had survived, but he was seriously injured. He was already in surgery when Tamar arrived at the hospital.

"Abdominal injury" didn't sound too bad at first.

BUT AS the hours passed, Tamar's fears escalated. She remained alone with Shai in the intensive care unit. She wept all night for Ari and prayed for Shai. She realized then that she would do anything to get Shai back, no matter the condition in which he came back to her.

At dawn Shai finally opened his eyes. He motioned that he wanted to write.

"My friend is dead," he scrawled. He made Tamar promise to attend the funeral for both of them.

At the funeral Ari's mother, Susie, sought Tamar out among the thousands of friends. Susie hugged Tamar and wanted to know how Shai was.

"I wondered how she could be so large of spirit to care about someone else at a time like that," Tamar said. "What a remarkable family."

In the last year-and-a-half, Shai and Tamar have become part of that family. They speak to the Weisses daily. They couldn't imagine any other rabbi marrying them.

"He's a son to me," says Stewart Weiss of Shai. Nonetheless, as their son's friends from his unit gather next week, Ari's absence has to be excruciating. Had he lived, Ari would have been a witness at the wedding.

As for Shai's paralysis, acquaintances are quick enough to remind Tamar of "what she's getting into." Tamar answers that she knows many walking persons who are emotionally paralyzed and aren't nearly as "open, loving, and beautiful" as her Shai.

"There are tests in life," says Tamar. "We've passed this one."

Their own families have never uttered a word of discouragement. After the wedding, the couple are combining their honeymoon with one of those Israeli post-army wanderings: six months in the Far East.

In eulogizing Ari, his father asked those at the funeral to return home and sing "Am Yisrael Chai" - "the people of Israel lives." Anyone who knew the family well understood why.

Rabbi Weiss saw as a role model Chaim Shapiro, a Holocaust survivor whose only surviving son died with honor fighting in the War of Independence. Shapiro buried his son to that song of Jewish survival. The Weisses, in turn, have become role models for us all, may we never be tested.

The indomitable spirit of Israel will be very much alive next week as Rabbi Weiss pronounces the blessings under the bridal canopy. The soul of Israel will live in the embrace of a bereaved mother who finds it in her heart to dance with a young bride.

The determination of our people manifests itself in the courage and dignity of a young couple going on with their lives despite the terrible price defending our country has cost them. We are humbled and inspired by their ability to find the roses among the thorns.

May their lives always be filled with the sounds of joy and gladness. May they be blessed with the peace of their own holy canopy.
Amen, Amen.

Israel, the U.S. and EU all boycotting the hearing at the Hague next week

JPost: The US and Europe have joined Israel in boycotting the oral hearing at the International Court of Justice next week – leaving the stage largely to the Palestinians and their supporters – as The Hague judges hear testimony regarding Israel's right to construct a security fence in the territories.

A senior diplomatic official said that international community was divided from the start. The decision by many countries not to show up reflects the belief held by many that this issue should not be handled by the court, he said.

It does make the event "anti-climactic," he said.

While 44 entities submitted written testimony, only 14 governments, plus two organizations, plan to testify during the three days of oral proceedings. The hearing starts with the Palestinians on Monday morning and ends with the League of Arab States on Wednesday morning.

The other 13 countries are South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Belize, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Senegal, Sudan, and Turkey. The Organization of the Islamic Conference will also testify.

An Israeli bus, destroyed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Jan. 29, 2004 killing 11 passengers, is carried away from a garage in Jerusalem Tuesday Feb. 17, 2004. ZAKA, a volunteer group that deals with rescue work at the sites of suicide bombings and gathers body parts to ensure proper Jewish burial, is shipping the bus to the Hague, the Netherlands on Wednesday, as an illustration of the results of such attacks. The project was funded by the 'Christians for Israel'' organization in the Netherlands, which donated about US$10,000 and the Dutch government has approved a site for the display near the world court where a hearing about Israel's West Bank barrier will take place. (AP Photo/Baz Ratner)

Outside the Peace Palace, where the world court sits, lobby groups supporting and opposing the barrier prepared for several days of demonstrations, lectures and a mock trial. ZAKA (Disaster Victims Identification) is shipping the charred remains of the No. 19 bus that was blown up last month in Jerusalem, killing 11. It will be placed outside the court.

Israelis and Jewish students are also planning to stage protest demonstrations. . .

Red Cross yesterday declared that the fence violates international humanitarian laws

But even before the ICJ ruling, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared Wednesday that the fence is illegal because it violates international humanitarian laws. It called on Israel to halt its construction of the barrier.

"The measures taken by the Israeli authorities linked to the construction of the barrier in occupied territory go far beyond what is permissible for an occupying power under International Humanitarian Law," the Red Cross said in a press release.

The Red Cross monitors compliance with the universally accepted Geneva Convention on warfare and occupation, requiring protection of civilian populations, victims and prisoners of war.

The ICRC usually discusses problems in private with the occupying authorities, as it has done with US forces in Iraq. Only rarely does it go public with its concerns.

Ya'acov Levy, Israeli ambassador to international organizations in Geneva, regretted the ICRC's decision to go public and said it threatened to undermine Israel's "good relationship" with it and compromises the agency's neutrality.

Remember the attack on Haifa's Maxim restaurant?

It was called the Slaughter of the Families

This is a composite photo (AP) of members of the Zer-Aviv family, killed in Saturday's suicide bombing attack on a Haifa restaurant, made available Sunday Oct. 5, 2003 by the family in the northern Israeli kibbutz of Yagur. From left to right, Bruriya Zer-Aviv, 54, her son B'tzalel, 30, his wife Keren, 29, and their two children, Noya, 1, and Liran, 4.

Col. (res.) Zeev Almog, legendary former commander of the Israeli Navy's officer training school in Akko, was having lunch with his family at the Maxim restaurant when the suicide bomber struck. Almog, 71, was killed along with his wife Ruth, 70, son Moshe, 43, Moshe's seven-year-old son Tomer and another grandson through daughter Gallit, 10-year-old Assaf Staier. Almog's daughter, Gallit - Moshe's wife- as well as two other grandchildren and Zeev's daughter-in-law, Orli, were all seriously wounded.

Mark Biano, 29, -- a reporter for a cable news magazine, known for covering terrorist attacks -- and his wife, Naomi, 25, were at the restaurant having lunch when the suicide bomber struck. They were one of three families largely wiped out in the attack.

Others murdered included Nir Regev, 25; Osama Najar, 27; Matanas Karkabi, 29; Hana Naim Francis, 40; Sherbel Matar, 23; Zvi Bahat, 35; and Irena Sofrin, 38. A total of twenty-one people were murdered and more than fifty wounded in the suicide bombing.

TODAY: Planners of attack handed multiple life sentences

"What mother gave birth to people such as you?"
A Shomron military court on Thursday sentenced two Palestinian terrorists for sending the suicide bomber to attack the Maxim restaurant. They recruited the suicide bomber, provided her with the explosives belt which weighed 8kg and was packed with metal shards, and drove her to the restaurant.

One was sentenced to 23 consecutive life sentences and a further fifty years in prison. The other was handed 21 life sentences and fifty years.

In their verdict, the Judges wrote that the two "are mass murderers responsible for the deaths of many people. Their principal aim was to murder Jews."

"These abominable murderers, soldiers in the service of the angel of death, recruited Hanadi Jaradat, a youngster who was brainwashed to hate, dripping venom, and filled with murderous thoughts. What is the punishment for cowards who hide behind video cameras – and send others to kill and be killed," the Judges wrote in their verdict.

At a stormy court session Thursday, a woman who had worked in the restaurant's kitchen, railed at the terrorists, "What mother gave birth to such people as you, who are responsible for the murder of innocent children and women. . . "

The two terrorists, members of Islamic Jihad, did not show remorse for their actions. (JPost)

Palestinian Health Minister attacked in Jenin restaurant

in the "increasingly lawless West Bank"

Surrounded by gunmen, Palestinian Health Minister Jawad Tibi, third right, speaks with the head of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades cell in the Jenin refugee camp Zacariyya Zubeidi in the West Bank town of Jenin Wednesday Feb. 18, 2004. Masked gunmen opened fire on Tibi and a top economic official in a Jenin restaurant Wednesday, the latest in a series attacks on Palestinian officials in the increasingly lawless West Bank. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
JPost has the story:
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has targeted several PA officials, including the former governor of Jenin, who was dragged into the street and beaten by gunmen. The group has repeatedly accused the PA of stealing foreign aid.

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has ordered an immediate inquiry into the incident.

Together with Yitzhak Frankenthal, an Israeli whose son was killed by Palestinians, Dr. Jawad Tibi formed a group called the Parents Bereavement Forum, a support group for both Israeli and Palestinian families personally affected by the violence. Four of Tibi's brothers were killed by the army.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Colossal train explosion in Iran

according to DEBKAfile's exclusive sources in Tehran
Little credence is given in Tehran to the official claim that the colossal train explosion which killed at least 300 people and razed five villages in the northeastern Khorassan province Wednesday was caused by colliding wagons carrying industrial chemicals and fertilizers, as well as diesel fuel and cotton. Such flammable freights are usually shipped separately in Iran.

DEBKAfile’s sources note that Iranian officials, two days before a highly controversial parliamentary election, are doing their best to play down the disaster outside Neyshabur which rocked houses 50 miles away in Mashad. The Islamic Republican News Agency tried to blame an earth tremor of 3.6 magnitude, but the US Geological Institute in Colorado said no seismic activity was recorded in the area.

Most of the dead were fire and rescue workers, but also the city’s governor Mojtaba Farahmand-Nekou, its mayor and fire chief.

DEBKA’s sources in Tehran have heard unconfirmed reports that the disaster was no accident, but possibly sabotage carried out by anti-government forces in Khorassan province, which borders on Afghanistan.

This report ties in with another that claims the train was not carrying innocent industrial cargoes but hundreds of tons of explosive materials Iran was smuggling into Afghanistan via the Shiite city of Herat to be used by Iranian saboteurs and agents for guerrilla attacks on US troops and the forces of President Hamid Karzai, as well for supplying the Taleban in their Kandahar stronghold.

DEBKAfile’s sources report that there were a series of blasts; the first inside the Neyshabur train station was powerful enough to trigger a second explosion in the remote station of Khayyam. There, it set ablaze another train carrying fuel and other flammable material.

Iran has long used Khorassan province as a conduit for smuggling thousands of its agents into Afghanistan. But the province is also home to nearly two million Afghan refugees, some of whom hire out as agents to the Kabul government or the US military. The suggestion is that a group of these agents were ordered to blow up the train when it pulled into Neyshabur. Their mission: to deter the Iranians from further meddling in Afghanistan.

It would not have been hard to persuade Afghan refugees to undertake the mission. As Sunni Muslims, they harbor strong feelings of resentment against their discrimination at the hands of Iran’s Shiite majority....
I love DEBKA.

Who would be a war president, and who would not?

Rick Richman found this pearl in Sunday's Democratic presidential debate:
QUESTION: Senator Kerry, President Bush a week ago on "Meet the Press" described himself as a war president. He said he's got war on his mind as he considers these policies and decisions he has to make. If you were elected, would you see yourself as a war president?

KERRY: I'd see myself first of all as a jobs president, as a health care president, as an education president and also an environmental president. . . .
Richman: In other words, he would be everything but. If elected commander-in-chief, he will be AWOL -- continuing the non-foreign policy of the Democratic party even in the midst of a war.

O'Reilly's Talking Point Memo on 'The Passion"

I saw this on tv last night; it was very upsetting.
"The Passion of the Christ" is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." Mel Gibson's movie, which opens next week, is a faithful daptation of the execution of Jesus, according to the four gospels...

According to the gospels and most historians, some powerful Jews resented the popularity of Jesus. Is that a shock? Of course not. Any preacher straying from orthodoxy will be vilified, then and now.

Is it a shock that some Jews behaved badly? Come on. As the Islamic killers on 9/11 and the Catholic priest scandal have proven, people of any religion are capable of evil.

"The Passion of the Christ" is certainly not an anti-Semitic film. And those who say it is are to be pitied. I saw the movie with a Jewish friend who believes the danger of possible resentment against Jews overrides the worthiness of the film. Now I don't believe that. Hateful people will find a reason to hate.

This film is not anti-Jewish. It is an exposition of how good triumphs over evil.

Oy, "some Jews behaved badly"... Like people of "any religion," they are "capable of evil." Which is it, O'Reilly? Bad behavior or evil? Or do you accuse the Jews of both?

O'Reilly obviously wants to believe that Jews are like "people of any religion." Like many Jews, in fact, he wants us to be "capable of evil" so the comparison with others is not uncomfortable. Nobody wants Jews to stick out -- but face it, we do.

We stick out in lists of Nobel Prize winners, in the genealogies of this election's Democratic candidates, in panels of experts on talk shows and the news; we stick out for our history of miraculous survival and in every generation, as objects of hatred and scorn.

You're wrong, O'Reilly, that we're "like people of any religion" -- We don't hold Inquisitions or pogroms, and our rabbis don't molest little boys. We don't blow ourselves up or fly planes into buildings. We haven't conquered anyone in the name of our Gd since about the 12th century BCE, and these days, in spite of having a formidable arsenal, we only barely defend ourselves when attacked:

We do make Arabs stand in line to get into Israel, so we can check their bodies for bombs. That's because, if given the chance, they have a tendency to blow themselves up in our vicinity. We do demolish their houses when they cover tunnels for smuggling in weapons which they intend to use to kill us. And we do demolish the houses of killers as a deterrent to the practice of suicide bombing. Oh, and we're building a fence. Bad behavior, or just plain evil? I would say, neither.

What people (including Mr. O'Reilly) have yet to understand is that the Romans were haters and persecutors of the Jews. They didn't beat and crucify Jesus because of the Jews, but rather because he was a Jew! During the Roman occupation of Judea, over 250,000 Jews were crucified. Hullo? Is anyone awake out there?

It's ironic that if people become inflamed with hatred or anger from this movie, it will be identical to that which led the Romans to kill JC in the first place, Hitler to seek the Final Solution, and these days, has Arabs blowing themselves up on buses in Jerusalem. . . hatred of the Jews, antisemitism, that eternal cosmic mystery that just doesn't get resolved.

My question is, how many Jews have to die for the sins of humanity? Or put another way, how much sin is there, anyway?

Recommended reading at KosherTorah.com: The Violence in the Passion by Ariel Bar Tzadok.

Jewish cemetery desecrated in St. Petersburg

Yids Get Out of Here!

A woman sits near one of about 50 graves, which were vandalized with
swastikas and anti-Semetic grafitti in a Jewish cemetery in St. Petersburg,
Monday, Feb. 16, 2004. Mark Grubarg, head of the St. Petersburg Jewish
Religious Community, said the vandalism occurred Saturday night at the
cemetery, one of the most prominent Jewish burial places in Russia's
former imperial capital. (AP Photo/Interpress)
St. Petersburg Times: About 50 Jewish graves were defaced with fascist signs and slogans at the city's Jan. 9 Cemetery on Saturday night.

Unknown vandals painted swastikas on all the graves and wrote racist graffiti on some, including "Yids Get Out of Here!," said Mark Grubarg, head of St. Petersburg's Jewish Religious Community. "We are in shock," he said.

The cemetery, which in the 19th century was exclusively Jewish and the largest burial site for Jews in the city, had suffered separate acts of vandalism before, but it never witnessed such a massive act, Grubarg said.

A man looks at a desecrated grave of his grandfather, daubed with Nazi
swastikas, at a cemetery in St. Petersburg, February 16, 2004. Dozens of
Jewish graves have been desecrated in Russia's northern capital in the
city's second xenophobic attack in a week
, a Jewish community leader said
on Monday, accusing authorities of negligence. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk
xen·o·phobe n.
A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples. xeno·phobi·a n.; xeno·phobic adj.

It is interesting to note that Jews have been in Russia for at least 250 years, yet they remain "strangers or foreign peoples."

"It seems things are getting out of control, and for us, it's getting very scary," Pewzner Menachem-Mendel, the chief rabbi of St. Petersburg, said in an interview.
KUMAH! Arise, and let us return to our people. -Jeremiah 46:16

Nefesh B'Nefesh Applications for Summer 2004 Now Available

Regardless of religious affiliation, profession, age or marital status, If you are interested in Aliyah and need assistance, Nefesh B’Nefesh will help make Israel your present. Download an application.

Mousepad $11.25 at Kumah Store

Gush Katif supporters arriving in Jerusalem

REUTERS/Reinhard Krause
Arutz Sheva: Completing their long march, Gush Katif residents at this time are marching towards the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem to protest his plan to expel them from their homes.

Yesha Council spokesman Yehoshua Mor-Yosef reports over 2,000 persons are taking part in the march on Betzalel Street in the center of town. The main event, a rally outside the Prime Minister’s Office, is scheduled to get underway in about one hour [as of 17:36 Israel time].

They look like children, but they're really Zionist Aggressors and Obstacles to Peace

AFP CAPTION FOR THIS PHOTO: "Israel is deceiving the world"
Israeli children play in the Harasha settlement in the West Bank. Israel is deceiving the world over plans to quit the Palestinian territories, as more and more settlement outposts are being quietly 'legalised', settlement watchdog Peace Now said in a new report.(AFP/Gali Tibbon)
I can't find any "Harasha" on the innernut. I think they might mean Kochav HaShachar.

Abu Ala continues tour of Arab Cities in Europe

Seeks aid in Brussels

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia holds up a map as he
speaks at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday
Feb. 18, 2004. Qureia appealed Wednesday to the European
Union to support his plans for general elections this year,
while his finance minister sought increased aid, saying steps
have been taken to clean up corruption. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie (L) is
welcomed by European Union foreign policy
chief Javier Solana at the European Council
headquarters in Brussels February 18, 2004.
Qurie is on a one-day visit to Brussels to
discuss with European officials, efforts to
revive the Middle East peace process.
(Yves Herman/Reuters)
See DEBKAfile's Special Report: Arafat: They're after me and my money!:
Washington vowed not to give the Palestinians a red cent until they hand over the killers of three CIA security men murdered in a roadside explosion in the Gaza Strip on October 15...

[The European Union] has posed a key proviso: donations will no longer be handed over in cash to the PA ... but transferred directly into the individual payees’ banks accounts. Palestinian officials with no bank accounts will get no paychecks.

Ironically, Israel continues to make its regular shekel remittances to the PA, a leftover from its undertakings under the defunct Oslo peace accords.

UPDATE: Abu Ala must be doing something right:
AFP - Brussels could unblock 40 million euro aid package to Palestinians

A Google search for [Arafat + corruption] yields 72,600 results. . . [Sharon + corruption] yields 121,000.

AFP is so stupid

Caption reads, "Stars on the wall"

Stars on the wall : Palestinian women walks along the concrete
block that divides the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem.
(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)
AFP photo editors put quote marks around 'Star of David' (see photo of Ariel Sharon, below), yet not around these cute red "stars on the wall."

What the AFP either does not know, or does not care to tell you, is that the red stars shown are symbols of the DFLP (as it says, in English, right underneath), the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninst (and formerly pro-Soviet) group that split from the PFLP in 1969. It seeks the creation of a Palestinian state in any terrority "liberated" from Israel.

In February of last year, the head of the DFLP in Ramallah, Ibrahim Abu Hijleh (arrested by Israel December 2002), confessed to ordering DFLP squads to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets. His arrest by Israel was at the time condemned by the Palestinian Authority, who insisted that as “a member of the political echelon,” he should be exempt from arrest.

During his interrogation, Abu Hijleh revealed the organization’s plans to assassinate a military judge, to kill a former senior officer in the Israel Defense Forces and to carry out a suicide attack, using a suicide bomber with an Israeli identity card.
Stars on the wall, indeed. Pretty Decorations by the Poor Palestinians on the Evil Wall.

U.S. Seeks Safeguards for Israel's Gaza Pullout

Washington Post

Three senior administration officials plan to impress upon Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this week that his plan to withdraw Israeli settlers from Gaza needs safeguards to reduce the possibility that the Islamic Resistance Movement, also known as Hamas, or other radical Palestinian groups will fill a sudden power vacuum, U.S. officials said.

In the absence of Palestinian action against militant groups, the Bush administration has for many weeks signaled that it is supportive of Sharon's plan to "disengage" from the Palestinians. The officials -- deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley, national security senior director Elliott Abrams and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns -- are arriving in Israel today with a list of questions to better understand how the plan would unfold, how it is connected to possible unilateral steps on the West Bank, and how it meshes with the broader goal of establishing a Palestinian state...

U.S. officials appear especially eager to obtain a commitment that Sharon's plan does not signal an abandonment of the U.S.-backed "road map" plan. While the road map has been moribund for months, Bush has staked his credibility on it, especially among his European and Arab counterparts...

Sharon appears likely to offer concessions on the planned route of a fence separating Israelis and Palestinians, and to renew pledges to ease travel restrictions and road blocks in the West Bank. "Everything we do will be in the context and framework of President Bush's vision and the road map," said Danny Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to the United States. "This is a fundamental understanding we have with the administration"...

U.S. officials are especially concerned that the Palestinian Authority is so weakened that a more radical party, such as Hamas, could emerge as the de facto ruler in the wake of the Israeli departure.

"Hamas is the strongest political party in Gaza, bar none," said Edward G. Abington, a consultant to the Palestinian Authority who just returned from a trip to the region. He said the Israeli departure could fuel a "real power struggle" among Palestinians, particularly between Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, a former Palestinian cabinet minister with a strong following in Gaza.

Israeli officials say they also do not want a Hamas ascendancy in Gaza. But they appear to welcome a fracturing of the Palestinians...

Surprise, surprise - Arafat blocking reform

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is preventing his prime minister from implementing a financial reform that is a key European and American demand, and has become a condition for much-needed financial aid, cabinet ministers said Tuesday. Qurei's cabinet approved legislation on Saturday allowing the PA to pay security forces directly into their bank accounts, but Arafat refused to implement the cabinet decision.

Currently, security officers are given lump sums of cash and then distribute the money to their employees. International donors have said the cash distributions are an invitation for corruption. The Palestinians rely on international assistance for 60% of their annual budget. (AP/Los Angeles Times)
Where does the other 40% come from? Do they collect taxes? (I really don't know.)

See also Arafat Corruption Spurs Aid Cuts in the NY Post:
International aid to Yasser Arafat has been cut in half because of suspicions of corruption and a Palestinian failure to show the money is being spent properly, Western diplomats and officials in the West Bank said yesterday.

Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad said aid from the European Union, which used to run $120 million a year, had fallen to $80 million . . . Fayyad gave no figures for donations from Arab states but said all international aid to the Palestinians had dropped "by around half" over the last two years.
They must also really miss that $25,000 per family of a suicide bomber that Saddam used to send. Times are tough.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

More on The Passion

New York Post: February 17, 2004 --

WHEN actor Jim Caviezel was called in for the audition, he was told it was for a surfing movie. "Then Mel Gibson walked into the room and started talking to me about the Gospels," recalls Caviezel.

"I said to him, 'You want me to play Jesus?' and he said, 'You've got it.' "

Caviezel leapt at the chance to work with the Oscar-winning director, but in filming the controversial "The Passion of the Christ," which hits screens next week, the actor got more than he bargained for.

During the shooting of the film, which depicts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, as he's beaten, tortured and crucified, the 35-year-old actor dislocated his shoulder, battled hypothermia, suffered a lung infection and pneumonia, endured eight-hour makeup sessions that left him with severe headaches and skin infections - and was struck by lightning . . .

"We were preparing to shoot the Sermon on the Mount and three seconds before, I was hit by lightning. I knew it was going to happen. People started screaming and they said I had fire on both sides of my head and a light around me. I had locked eyes with people and it was very eerie because they made a weird sound - the kind of sound people made when they saw the jet plane run into the World Trade Center. It was a sickening feeling."
But Caviezel vigorously defends the director. . . He insists the anti-Semitic charges leveled against Gibson are unjustified.

"The sad thing about it all is that I'm the most Semitic-looking Jesus in history - Mel didn't want a blue-eyed, blonde Aryan Christ on the cross," he says.

"The gal that plays Mary [actress Maia Morgenstern] is Jewish and her parents were in the Holocaust. Talk to her. There are Romanian and Jewish actors in this film who say unequivocally that this film is not anti-Semitic."

Romanian actress Morgenstern recently rejected the notion that the film would fuel anti-Semitism, telling the AP: "Mel Gibson is an artist, a director. He never imposed his religious convictions on anyone."

Despite the furor - which he says Gibson warned him may end his career - Caviezel says he has no regrets about taking the role.
Check this out, too. Roger Friedman at Fox News says that the pattern of theatres where the movie will be released "highlights black neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods" and "seems designed to keep "The Passion of Christ" out of neighborhoods that are considered Jewish, upscale or liberal."

Maybe it won't come to Boulder. Yeah, right. And maybe if I close my eyes, no one can see me.
Okay, so I'm on a bit of a Daniel Pipes kick.

Muslim Student Association under Senate scrutiny for alleged terrorist ties

The student organization that had a direct role in disrupting Daniel Pipes's talk at UC-Berkeley, the Muslim Student Association, is listed among twenty-five organizations for which the Senate Finance Committee has requested extensive information from the IRS, "a rare and unusually broad use of the Finance committee's power," according to the Washington Post. A committee aide explained the purpose of the inquiry: "We want to look into where all their money comes from."
Al Haramain Foundation
Alavi Foundation
Benevolence International Foundation (BIF)
Global Relief Foundation (GRF)
Help the Needy
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF)
Human Appeal International
Institute of Islamic and Arabic Science in America (IIASA)
International Islamic Relief Organization
International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) or Internal Relief Organization(IRO)
Islamic American Relief Agency and/or Islamic African Relief Agency
Islamic Assembly of North American
Islamic Association for Palestine
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Islamic Foundation of America
Islamic Society of North America
Kind Hearts
Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA)
Muslim Student Association
Muslim World League
Rabita Trust
SAAR Foundation and all members and related entities
Solidarity International and/or Solidarity USA
United Association for Studies and Research (USAR)
World Assembly of Muslim Youth
Pipes points out that subsequent to his talk at Berkeley, the "Cal MSA" presented its 6th Annual Conference, "Liberation Through Islam", including the topic, "Preparing to Die" ... think about it ... and "a special live talk from prison by Imam Jamil Al-Amin" -- that is, H Rap Brown of the Black Panthers, for those of you old enough to remember.

You don't have to be that old to remember that in 2002, Brown, or "Al-Amin," was found guilty of the murder of a police officer, and sentenced to life in prison. I doubt his "live talk from prison" was disrupted by jeering, giggling, hissing, booing, or chanting of Seig Heil, as happened at Daniel Pipes's talk.

FYI, Pipes notes that the vice-chancellor of the university was present at his lecture, as well as large numbers of the UC police:
"... both showed weakness in permitting the disruptors to dominate. I should not have been subjected to this treatment. To make matters worse, none of the offenders was arrested."
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. UC-Berkley
Genaro M. Padilla

Abu Ala "can't go on like this any more"

Reuters has him quitting
Reuters: RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb 17 - Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie told cabinet members he is thinking of quitting following heated words with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat over reforms, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Qurie and Arafat battled over the formation of a cabinet when the prime minister took office late last year following the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Arafat of obstructing him. At the time, Qurie threatened to resign but stayed on.

The official said Arafat on Saturday rejected a cabinet decision on reforms and an argument with Qurie ensued. "An angry Abu Ala (Qurie) told ministers...that he wants to resign and that he's thinking of quitting because he can't go on like this any more," the official said.
But Abu Ala's in Germany . . .

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, right, and the Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, left, brief the media after a meeting in the Chancellery in Berlin Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2004. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Either the argument took place over the telephone, or Reuters is mistaken.

"There will be peace only when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us"

--Golda Meir, 1957

Not yet.

"The truth is in the buses"

Out of the Mouths of Terrorists by Paula R. Stern

Arutz Sheva: Look how they want peace, claim the Europeans. Yasser Arafat is calling you his partners and begging you to make the "peace of the brave." Trust us, offer the Americans, follow the "roadmap" and it will get you to a final settlement. After more than 50 years, this time the Arabs will meet you at the negotiation table and end the conflict.

Words, we try to explain, just words. The truth is in the buses that are blown up, in the graves we dig each week. Even releasing real footage, taken in the minutes after a bomb explosion, does not seem to have impressed the world. They have yet to understand that the real Palestinian goal is in the mortars they launch every day, each day, almost without fail. It is in the rocks that they throw, in the bullets they shoot at us. It is in the teachings of their children, the sermons of their religious leaders, the hatred broadcast in their newspapers and television programs and the continued calls for more violence. . .

For years now, Israelis have been asking themselves these simple questions: How do you make peace with a people willing to send a young mother to blow herself up, leaving behind her two young children? Can you possibly speak to a culture willing to stone two young boys to death? What hope is there when you have to talk to a people willing to focus their gun sights on the head of a ten-month-old baby and pull the trigger? Is it possible to understand the demented thinking of someone who enters a restaurant and takes the time to intentionally position himself between two families before exploding?

This is our message, an internal one that occupies our minds and disturbs our hearts. But this is not a message that the world can understand. They believe that if we offer the Palestinians a solution, these attacks will stop. They answer our concerns by avoiding them. Better not to think that there might not be answers, no real and true road to peace. . .

Read Saul Singer

JPost: Big sticks and fantatics
. . . the Palestinians cannot understand that they would get much more from Israel by ending terror and negotiating, while we often don't understand that the concessions we think will soften them have the opposite effect.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Oy veyz mihr, Bush said WHAT?

"Israel should end the suffering of the average Palestinian"
Maariv: “Israel should end the suffering of the average Palestinian”, said President George Bush in his first interview on the new Arab-American Television station, “Al-Hura”.

According to Bush, implementation of the road map moved forward during the Abu Mazen period, but he was removed from his position sooner than expected. “Some people undermined the peace process and made it difficult for Abu Mazen to realize his vision,” said Bush.

The US President explained what has to happen to stabilize the situation in the Middle East: “We need Palestinian determination and establishment of civil society institutions. The Israeli side needs to end the suffering of the average Palestinian, and neighboring countries must curb the financing of Palestinian groups”.

I know, we'll get them to love us instead. How about some "goodwill gestures," to start? Right, Mr. President. First thing in the morning. . . as soon as we wake up from this nightmare.

The Bad News is - No Kippah on Katsav

The Good News is - Chief Rabbi Still Wears One

French President Jacques Chirac, center, speaks as Israeli
President Moshe Katsav, right, and Joseph Sitruk, left, Chief
Rabbi of France, exchange greetings at a dinner party given
at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on the first day of Katsav's
state visit to France, Monday Feb. 16, 2004. Katsav is on
a four-day visit to France. (AP Photo/Jack Guez/Pool)

See AFP: Israeli President meets Chirac as hundreds protest against West Bank barrier.

When was the last time Paris saw hundreds protesting suicide bombings?

Battle of the "quotation" marks

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pictured in front
of the 'Star of David' on the blue and white Israeli
flag. He has said Israel will boycott the World Court
hearings on the controversial security wall constructed
by Israel.(AFP/Yoav Lemmer)
Now what? Why put the Star of David in quote marks? WAAAAAAA.

Kerry would be Third-Richest U.S. President

Forbes.com reports that, if elected, John Kerry would place third on their list of the richest U.S. Presidents, just behind George Washington and John F. Kennedy:
Sen. Kerry, like the last JFK from Massachusetts to serve as commander in chief, is also extremely wealthy. We estimate his family fortune at $525 million, which would make him, if elected, the third-richest president ever. But the key word is "family." The Kerry money comes from his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, who inherited it from her late husband, Sen. John Heinz III of the Heinz food family.

This puts Kerry in a situation somewhat similar to President Kennedy's. President Kennedy's father, Joseph, and his mother, Rose, were both still alive when JFK was in office and when he was assassinated, so John never inherited even a share of the Kennedy family fortune, which we estimated to be worth $850 million at its height in 1990.
I wouldn't bother to post this except that the Democrats' rhetoric about "the rich" falls somewhat flat when you realize that they are the rich.
DEBKAfile Special Report

What does Gaza have in common with Kirkuk?

The Washington-Jerusalem track has generated a sudden spurt of activity after several sluggish months. Three administration officials are heading for Jerusalem to examine the details of the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral evacuation plans, indicating that cold US disapproval has made way for a spark of interest.

Stephen Hadley, deputy head of the National Security Council, Elliot Abrams, NSC member and William Burns, State Department Middle East emissary, will therefore present themselves to Sharon on Thursday, February 19, for some rapid-fire questions and answers. They will also lay down certain conditions.

Last December, Sharon unveiled a go-it-alone proposal - more a concept than a plan - to withdraw some settlers from parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and unilaterally mark a temporary boundary between Israel and the West Bank.

He said these steps would go into effect if efforts to restart peace talks failed and if Washington agreed. He warned the Palestinians that if this happened, they would end up with less land than if they had entered into negotiations on the basis of the road map.

Two weeks ago, he followed this announcement up with a more specific statement of intent to uproot 17 of the 19 Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip and an unspecified number on West Bank – again without waiting for the Palestinians to have their say.

At first, the Bush administration looked askance at the Israeli leader’s unilateralism. But last week, it looked as though it might come round to some of its aspects. Secretary of state Colin Powell said the pullout from Gaza could help break the impasse blocking peace talks, but Sharon’s plan needed to be better understood. The State Department spokesman said the Israeli pullout from Gaza could reduce frictions and open the way to peace talks.

The Palestinians are aghast. They see a solution dictated instead of negotiated by the usual wheeling and dealing and the state envisioned by the US president George W. Bush shrinking in size.

Israel’s pro-settlement movement representing a quarter of a million Jews living across the Green Line is drawing up lines of battle. It is represented in the Sharon government and enjoys a degree of popular support although this has never been reliably measured.

Whether or not the Bush administration goes along with the Sharon approach depends on the report submitted by the American trio. . . According to DEBKAfile’s Jerusalem sources, these questions will be addressed seriously by the prime minister’s office, which appreciates that the makeup of the delegation and Hadley’s presence means it will report directly to the White House.

Approval of the Sharon initiative would go far to warming up some of the recent coolness between Washington and Jerusalem.


From the American point of view, its awakened interest in the removal of Gaza Strip settlements happens to coincide with a much larger challenge to its Iraq master plan, one that is rearing up 1,200 km northeast of Gush Katif at Iraq’s biggest oil city, Kirkuk, whose population of 700,000 is roughly one hundred times that of Gaza’s Jewish community.

Around 270,000, some 40 percent of Kirkuk’s inhabitants are Kurds, 28 percent (200,000) Sunni Muslim Arabs and the remaining 30 percent, Assyrians and Turkomen.

Kirkuk was originally more than half Kurdish. In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein transferred more than 120,000 Kurds from the city and dumped them in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdish zone in revenge for the protection extended by the UN and its declaration as a no fly zone closed to Iraqi aircraft. The Iraqi ruler awarded the Kurds’ homes to a similar number of Sunni Arabs who were the mainstay of his regime and made them the new masters of the oil city.

Since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, some 200,000 Kurds, including those Saddam displaced, have crowded into the towns and villages around Kirkuk. The former dwellers are waiting to repossess their old homes, their number topped up by the two leading Kurdish parties, the PUK and the PDK, who want to make sure of re-establishing a Kurdish majority in the oil city.

At first there were some clashes between returning Kurds and the Sunni occupants of their former homes. Fearing wholesale ethnic bloodshed, the Americans acted to check a Kurdish surge into by setting up roadblocks on its outskirts.

However, as the June 30 date for transferring sovereignty to the Iraqis approaches, the Kirkuk crisis is coming to a head. DEBKAfile’s Iraq sources report that the Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani are now cautioning American officials that their support for the US presence and Washington’s plans for the country would drop from its current level if they continue to prevent the 200,000 waiting Kurds from moving into Kirkuk. This support is critical.
Read it all.

Can't get away from it

Even my daughter's homework brings me back to Israel

Helping my (fifth-grade) daughter with her geography homework, we were looking at maps online.
Lonely Planet's map includes the disputed territories in Israel:

. . . but Miriam-Webster is apparently betting on the Palestinians:

I don't like the looks of this one, with a big bite taken out. How encouraging it must look to the Arabs, like progress in the making, with barely 9 miles to the sea. . . .

HAMAS "activist" teaches at Florida Atlantic University

And why not? When an American company hosts HAMAS website (see below)
Hullo, good morning (boker tov), time to wake up, boys and girls. Accuse me of McCarthyism, racism or libel if you want, but this is friggin' crazy!

Daniel Pipes and Asaf Romiorwsky have exposed the fact that a visiting Palestinian professor is teaching at Florida Atlantic University, USA (paid for with our tax money, via the Fulbright Foundation). Their "little scoop has been met with yawns or disbelief," or worse yet, cynicism.

The Fulbright exchange professor, Mustafa Abu Sway, is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Islamic Studies and Director of the Islamic Research Center at Al-Quds University in east (Arab-occupied) Jerusalem. He is the co-author of a Palestinian Authority textbook that explains to Palestinian seventh-graders that jihad is a military obligation that "becomes the individual religious duty of every Muslim man and woman -- if the enemy has conquered part of its land." See the book at www.edume.org.

Abu-Sway was a board member and raised funds for two HAMAS-related organizations: the Heritage Committee and the Foundation for the Development of Society. He has worked with the Palestinian "Charity Coalition" that includes two organizations known as HAMAS fund-raisers (which have had their assets frozen by the American government).

As I pointed out in the post on Rantisi's website (below), HAMAS IS DESIGNATED BY THE UNITED STATES AS A FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

Abu Sway is quoted as saying, at a 2002 interfaith meeting in Israel, that he wished the state of Israel "would disappear," or, according to another report, that he wished for "the end of the state of Israel." (I don't care which quote is the more accurate, do you?).

And get this. A letter to the editor, Palm Beach Post 11/13/03, states:
The students of the Florida Atlantic University Wilkes Honors College are a talented group who will be among Florida's leaders in the years to come. The faculty invited Dr. Abu Sway to join us because we want to offer our students and the wider community a better understanding of Islamic culture. . .

We found, in Dr. Abu Sway, a man of conscience. . . Dr. Abu Sway indeed is "an activist." But his activism has been on behalf of ecumenical and interfaith groups, groups that strive to build bridges across the chasms that separate us. We of the faculty are of many faiths, including Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism, and we see Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway as a peace-loving man in a war-torn place and time. . .





















A Palm Beach Post editorial (10/29/03) described Daniel Pipes as "the unreconstructed crusader who makes his living and reputation through vituperative attacks on Muslims and Islam, not just Muslim terrorists" and repeated the suspicion of "the professor (Abu Sway) and others" that his object is to "discourage acadmic freedom and certain viewpoints."

A local news piece in the Post 1/29/04 stresses that there is "no evidence" the charges of links to terrorism are true. It does not quote the PA textbook mentioned above, but quotes instead an article where Abu Sway wrote:
"It is our duty to reconfirm the sanctity of human life regardless of ethnic or religious background. Let us join hands for the welfare of humanity at large."
And then can we sing Kumbaya? ugh.

It's one thing to be attacked by Arab terrorists, but it's an altogether new experience to be endangered by our fellow Americans' goodwill and naivete. What really, really bothers me is that the "good" qualities, benefit of the doubt, freedom of speech, and all that, are extended differentially, more to The Other than to Our Own. Why would people rather believe the lies of Abu Sway than the truth of Daniel Pipes? Good question, no answer.

Palestinian Journalists Protest

Palestinian journalist Taghreed Al Khudari, of the
Lebanese network LBC, wears a symbolic bandana
over her mouth as she joins other colleagues in a
sit-in protest at the Palestinian Legislative Council
in Gaza City, Sunday Feb. 15, 2004. The Palestinian
journalists association in Gaza on Sunday occupied
the Palestinian legislative building and declared a
boycott of several government ministries to protest
a series of mysterious attacks on local news
reporters. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

HAMAS leader has official website

Hosted by Cervalis.com of Stamford, Connecticut
I was looking for information on al Tawhid (story next, below), a terrorist group associated with al Qaeda. There was nothing in the ICT database of International Terrorist Organizations, so I went to look at Internet Haganah.

I still couldn't find anything, but in the process of searching, I came across the fact that Rantisi, a key leader of HAMAS, has an official website: http://www.rantisi.net, hosted by an American company called Cervalis, with corporate headquarters in Stamford, CT.

Cervalis corporate headquarters in Stamford, CT

Blows my mind. You might remember Rantisi; he's the one who said from his hospital bed, "By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine." According to The IDF's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, HAMAS is responsible for at least 500 terrorist attacks killing 390 people and injuring 2,100 (most civilians)

The Acceptable Use Policy at Cervalis says that "Cervalis' network may not be used for . . . hateful materials," and that Cervalis will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if criminal activity is suspected.

Just off the top of my head, I would consider HAMAS both hateful and criminal, but more importantly, it has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
"Any complaints regarding violations of this Policy by a customer should be directed to abuse@cervalis.com."
You might want to register a complaint, yes?

Abu Ala meets with German president in Berlin . . .

German President Johannes Rau and Palestinian Prime Minister
Ahmed Kurei (L) address a news conference after a meeting at the
presidential residence Bellevue Castle in Berlin, February 16, 2004.
REUTER/Arnd Wiegmann
While 4 Arabs -including a Palestinian- go on trial
for alleged plot to bomb German Jewish targets

Reuters: DUESSELDORF, Germany - Four Arabs went on trial Tuesday in a case linked to an alleged plot to bomb Jewish targets in Germany by a group the United States has linked to al Qaeda.

Two Jordanians and a Palestinian appeared before the court in the west German city of Duesseldorf accused of belonging to the Islamic militant group al Tawhid, which the prosecution says planned attacks in Berlin and Duesseldorf.

Jordanian Mohamad Abu Dhees
covers his face with the Koran
at the start of his trial in Duesseldorf,
Germany February 10, 2004. (Reuters)

A fourth man, an Algerian, was charged with supporting the group and breaking Germany's weapons laws.

Prosecutors allege the al Tawhid "cell" had planned to bomb a Jewish target in Berlin and detonate hand grenades at Jewish restaurants in Duesseldorf with the aim of killing as many people as possible...

All four were arrested on April 23, 2002, along with a fifth man, Shadi Mohammad Mustafa Abdalla, who was tried separately last year after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.

Abdalla, a Jordanian who claimed to have served briefly as a bodyguard for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, received a four-year suspended sentence in November.

He also testified in the separate Hamburg trial of a Moroccan man acquitted last week on charges of aiding the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.

The Duesseldorf trial was scheduled to continue on at least February 11, 12, 17 and 18, after which there will be a 10-day pause, the court said in a statement.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

On Israel's Release of Hez B'Allah Prisoners

Daniel Pipes:

I was appalled by the deal the Israeli government cut with Hezbollah on Jan. 26, 2004, and expressed this in my column last week on the subject. I offered five reasons against this step, including the prediction that "Some or many of those 429 will again engage in terrorism against Israel." Well, it did not take long for that prediction to be confirmed. "Freed terrorist vows he'll fulfil suicide mission" reads today's The Sunday Times (London) headline.

It tells of Steven Smyrek, 32, a German (and British-educated) would-be terrorist arrested on arrival in Israel in 1997 before he could carry out his suicide mission. Convicted and sentenced to 10-years he jail, he expressed no remorse in court and rejected an offer to serve his time in Germany, preferring to stay among "his people" in Israel's toughest prison. Smyrek reportedly now speaks fluent Arabic and according to the Times, "After living with Palestinian and Lebanese convicts for more than six years, his fundamentalist resolve to die for the cause has hardened."

Smyrek signed a document renouncing violence before he left Israel, but also before leaving Israel announced in an interview on German television interview that
It's an honour to die for Islam and for Allah. When the order comes you have to carry it out and there's no time to ask if there is a God or not, or to think what will happen after you're dead, without feeling you simply have to lay down your life as Allah decreed.
And to think there are now another 428 such extremists on the loose. What were the Israelis thinking when they made this trade? What have they brought on themselves and the rest of us? (February 8, 2004)

Ahmad Nasser, Secy of the Palestinian Legislative Council, interviewed on PA TV Feb. 6:

Nasser: "[Israel] is based on racism, biblical concepts, death, killing and destruction ...."

Nasser (on the exchange of 400 Arab prisoners for one Israeli and three bodies of Israeli soldiers): ". . . We see that Israel is trying to delude the world, and delude the Arabs and the Palestinians psychologically - that one Israeli will be exchanged for a thousand Palestinians. Meaning - Israel is interested in planting among the Palestinian, the Arab or the world the concept of value - the value of a Jew and the value of an Arab. But it is not true..." [Interrupted]

Interviewer: "This concept appears in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that they [the Jews] are at a high level [of existence] and the rest are at a low level."

Nasser: ". . . It [Israel] does all it can to take as many prisoners of war as it can, for example, 10,000 Arab prisoners in exchange for the release of a hundred [Israeli] prisoners of war. By this, Israel is trying to put a value on an Arab and a value on an Israeli or Jew . . . Israel is an aggressive country, a racist country, an ideologically hostile country, which hates all the goyim, all the foreigners. Israel is a Satanic offspring."

Golda and Henry

from A Nice Jewish Boy's Weblog
When Golda Meir held the office of Prime Minister, she tried to encourage Henry Kissinger to make Israel a top priority. Kissinger sent her a letter:

"I would like to inform you that I'm first an American citizen; second, Secretary of State; and third, a Jew".

Golda responded, "In Israel, we read from right to left."

The 1st 28 Questions For Kerry

by George F. Will in the Washington Post
In the more than 250 days until Nov. 2, John Kerry can answer questions that linger despite, or because of, all he has said so far. Such as:

Other than denoting your disapproval, what does the adjective mean in the phrase "special interest"? Is the National Education Association a special interest? The AFL-CIO?

You abhor "special tax giveaways for the privileged and special interests." When supporting billions in ethanol subsidies, mostly for agribusinesses, did you think about corn-growing, caucus-holding Iowa?

Is the National Rifle Association a "special interest"? Is "special" a synonym for "conservative"?

When you denounce "lobbyists" do you include those for Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club? Is "liberal lobbyist" an oxymoron?

All the Americans affected by laws you pass -- that is, all Americans -- refuse to pipe down and mind their own business so that you can mind their business for them. Often they hire lobbyists to exercise their First Amendment right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances." Can you despise lobbyists without disparaging that right?

You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?

You say the federal government is not spending enough on education. President Bush has increased education spending 48 percent. How much is enough?

In January 1991, after Iraq extinguished Kuwait's sovereignty, you opposed responding with force rather than economic sanctions. Have such sanctions ever undone such aggression?

On Jan. 11, 1991, you said that going to war was abandoning "the theory of deterrence." Was it not a tad late to deter Iraqi aggression?

The next day you said, "I do not believe our nation is prepared for war." How did unpreparedness subsequently manifest itself?

On Jan. 22, 1991, responding to a constituent opposed to the Persian Gulf War, you wrote "I share your concerns" and would have given sanctions more time. Nine days later, responding to a voter who favored the war, you wrote, "I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis." Did you have a third position?

You say the Bush administration questions "the patriotism" of its critics. You say that as president you will "appoint a U.S. trade representative who is an American patriot." You mean the current representative, Robert Zoellick, is not a patriot?

You strongly praise former Treasury secretary Bob Rubin, who strongly supports NAFTA and free trade. Have you changed your mind about him or about free trade (as you have changed your mind about the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2002 war resolution, the Patriot Act, etc.)?

You oppose immediate termination of U.S. involvement in Iraq, and you opposed the $87 billion to pay for involvement. Come again?

In 1994, the year after the first attack on the World Trade Center, you voted to cut $1 billion from counterterrorism activities. In 1995 you proposed a $1.5 billion cut in intelligence funding. Are you now glad that both proposals were defeated?

You favor civil unions but not same-sex marriage. What is the difference? What consequences of gay marriage worry you? Your state's highest court says marriage is "an evolving paradigm." Do you agree? You say you agree with what Dick Cheney said in 2000: States should have a right to "come to different conclusions" about same-sex marriage. Why, then, were you one of only 14 senators who opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which protects that right? Massachusetts opponents of the same-sex ruling are moving for a referendum to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. How will you vote?

You favor full disclosure of political spending. Organized labor is fighting new regulations requiring full disclosure to union members of the political uses of their mandatory union dues. As president, would you rescind these regulations?

Praising McCain-Feingold restrictions on political contributions, you said: "This bill reduces the power of the checkbook, and I will therefore support it." In December you saved your sagging campaign by writing it a $6.4 million check. Why is your checkbook's unfettered freedom wholesome?

You deny that restricting campaign contributions restricts speech. How much of the $6.4 million did you spend on speech -- in the form of broadcast messages?

Billionaire George Soros says he will spend whatever is necessary to defeat President Bush. As one who believes -- well, who says -- there is "too much money" in politics, are you appalled?

There are 28 more questions where these 28 came from.
Bravo! georgewill@washpost.com

Excerpts from al-Zarqawi Letter

from website of Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority
1. The foreign Mujahidin:

Their numbers continue to be small, compared to the large nature of the expected battle. We know that there are enough good groups and jihad is continuing, despite the negative rumors. What is preventing us from making a general call to arms is the fact that the country of Iraq has no mountains in which to seek refuge, or forest in which to hide. Our presence is apparent and our movement is out in the open. Eyes are everywhere. The enemy is before us and the sea is behind us. Many Iraqis would honor you as a guest and give you refuge, for you are a Muslim brother; however, they will not allow you to make their homes a base for operations or a safe house. People who will allow you to do such things are very rare, rarer than red sulfur. Therefore, it has been extremely difficult to lodge and keep safe a number of brothers, and also train new recruits. Praised be to Allah, however, with relentless effort and searching we have acquired some places and their numbers are increasing, to become base points for the brothers who will spark war and bring the people of this country into a real battle with god's will.

2. The present and future:

there is no doubt that American losses were significant because they are spread thin amongst the people and because it is easy to get weapons. This is a fact that makes them easy targets, attractive for the believers. America, however, has no intention of leaving, no matter how many wounded nor how bloody it becomes. It is looking to a near future, when it will remain safe in its bases, while handing over control of Iraq to a bastard government with an army and police force that will bring back the time of (saddam) Husayn and his cohorts. (headquarters comment: it is not clear to whom "it" is referring, but it appears to mean the united states.) There is no doubt that our field of movement is shrinking and the grip around the throat of the Mujahidin has begun to tighten. With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening.

4. Plan of action:

after much inquiry and discussion, we have narrowed our enemy to four groups:
A. Americans as you know, these are the biggest cowards that god has created and the easiest target. And we ask god to allow us to kill, and detain them, so that we can exchange them with our arrested shaykhs and brothers.

B. Kurds these are a pain and a thorn, and it is not time yet to deal with them. They are last on our list, even though we are trying to get to some of their leaders. God willing.

C. The Iraqi troops, police, and agents these are the eyes, ears, and hand of the occupier. With god's permission, we are determined to target them with force in the near future, before their power strengthens.

D. The Shi'a in our opinion, these are the key to change. Targeting and striking their religious, political, and military symbols, will make them show their rage against the Sunnis and bear their inner vengeance. If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of these Sabeans, i.e., the Shi'a. Despite their weakness, the Sunnis are strong-willed and honest and different from the coward and deceitful Shi'a, who only attack the weak. Most of the Sunnis are aware of the danger of these people and they fear them. If it were not for those disappointing shaykhs, Sufis, and Muslim brothers, Sunnis would have a different attitude.
Read it all. As Andrew Sullivan rightly notes, "It's alternately terrifying and deeply encouraging. We are winning this war."