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Friday, May 07, 2004

A Little Humor Going Into Shabbos

Bush Apology Sparks Torrent of Global Goodwill

Washington - The recent apology of US President George W. Bush for abuses by American military prison guards continued to reverberate around the globe today, as the White House was again inundated with with a flurry of "apology accepted" notes from world media, governmental leaders, and Islamic fundamentalist clerics.

Typical of the responses was a personal note from Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, who wrote "aww, dude, you know I can't stay mad at you," saying that the apology had prompted him to immediately dismantle his country's secret nuclear weapons program. In a postscript, Assad added, "good luck to the Rangers this year."

"Now was that so hard?" joked Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat in an email to Bush. "Now get out of here ya knucklehead, before we have to do one of those awkward man-hugs."

The apology also prompted an outbreak of gratitude in the Arab street, as hundreds of thousands of Muslims took to the streets Friday in an impromptu demonstration of thanks. In Gaza, a cheering crowd estimated at 30,000 waved American flags and banners reading "No Prablem Bosh" [sic], while in Damascus throngs gathered in the Square of the Martyrs chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A".

"I used to dream about dying in a glorious fireball of martyrdom," said Ali Ahmed Amoud, 23, a marcher in the first annual Infidel Appreciation Days parade in Nablus. "But that apology was so nice and sincere, it just seems kind of petty to keep nursing a grudge."

In Tehran, the ruling council of Iranian clerics ordered a "national day of celebration and family fun" to commemorate the historic apology. "The Great Satan has given our honor back, so it's time to move on and let bygones be bygones," said Ayatollah Rafinstani in a nationwide radio address. Rafinstani also announced Iran's immediate nuclear disarmament, and cautioned celebrants not to drink and drive.

In Cairo, local clerics were equally enthusiastic and appreciative of Bush's gesture. In his weekly Friday sermon, Egyptian Imam Muqtaba Salim urged followers to show their appreciation by "reaching out and hugging a Zionist."

"Sure, they're a little pushy and abrasive, but c'mon guys -- let's take a deep breath and count to ten before we go all 'martydom operations,'" said Salim.

Perhaps the biggest reaction to the Bush apology occured in Saudi Arabia, where leaders of the fundamentalist Wahabbist sect issued a rare commendation of the president.

"It's just been such a catharsis for all of us," said Imam Abdelkarim Matwalli, prayer leader of the Grand Mosque in Medina, choking back emotion. "All we really ever wanted was a simple 'I'm sorry,' and Mr. Bush delivered. Thank you, America."

The president's apology was no less well-received in Europe, with dozens of newspapers blaring effusive, pro-Bush headlines. The Parisienne Le Monde declared "All Is Forgiven, George" while the Manchester Guardian lionized Bush as "an Apologizer for the Ages"; the tabloid Sun carried a simple "Dubya, We Lubya" above a flattering photo of the president festooned with garlands.

The apology also appeared to have created a thaw in the United States' sometimes icy relationship with continental political leaders. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder issued a joint communique welcoming the United States "back in the fold of civilized nations," and vowed to introduce a UN resolution asserting the US right to exist, following scheduled week-long pro-Bush demonstrations across Europe.

Newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero also commended the President's contrition, and said that "I would gladly once again pledge Spanish troops to the War on Terror, if the whole terror thing ever becomes a problem again."

Domestic reaction was generally favorable, led by Congressional Democrats who drafted a resolution praising the President's "bold, thoughtful groveling for world peace," and calling on Bush to "stop beating yourself up." Progressive websites such as DemocraticUnderground, Daily Kos and BartCop urged readers to "forgive, forget, and send a nice thank you card to the White House."

Despite the outbreak of world geopolitical harmony, not everyone was satisfied with Bush's overture. In a scathing OpEd in today's New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman demanded an additional apology from the President.

"Fess up, Mr. Bush," said Friedman, "that was my idea."

Thanks to Katy for the grins.

The New Antisemitism by Melanie Phillips

with introduction by Carol Gould, editor at CurrentViewpoint.com
Introduction by Carol Gould

I am a member of the London Society of Jews and Christians and was privileged to hear the eminent British writer Melanie Phillips give a talk last week on 'the new anti-Semitism' to the Society at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

Regular readers of this site will know that I 'bang on' a lot about British anti-Jewish and anti-American fervour. It was therefore refreshing for me to hear a journalist as respected as Melanie sounding like me.

Her speech appears below.

*********************************

The new antisemitism
Talk to London Society of Jews and Christians, 29 April 2004
by Melanie Phillips

The resurgence of Jew-hatred in Britain should be a cause of concern for everybody. Instead, it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.

Last year, there were 375 anti-Jewish attacks in Britain—the second highest total since the figures were first collected and a 7 per cent increase on 2002. Jews are being attacked in the street; synagogues and cemeteries desecrated; schoolchildren bullied because they are Jews.

Of course, this is nowhere near as bad as it is in parts of Europe. However, what should concern us is that according to a new survey, while anti-Jewish attitudes are now going down again in almost every country, in Britain they have risen steeply during the past two years. This is surely because Europe is now alarmed enough to acknowledge the problem has arisen and try, however inadequately, to address it. Here, however, the very phenomenon is still denied.

Israel, of course, is the complicating factor in all this. When people think of antisemitism, they think of the Nazis. They believe they themselves think well of the Jews, as Jews. And they certainly don’t take kindly to being told they are antisemites when as far as they’re concerned, all they’re doing is criticising Israel. People like me, they say, are waving the shroud of the Holocaust to conceal the crimes of Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. And a number of Jews say the same thing, too.

But neither I nor anyone else says Israel shouldn’t be criticised, even strongly. What I’m talking about goes far beyond legitimate criticism and turns instead into irrational and malevolent hatred. What we’re seeing now is a new mutation of the virus of Jew-hatred. Whereas previously the aim was to eradicate the Jews, now it is to eradicate the Jewish state. Instead of Jews being demonised, the Jewish state is demonised. Israel, the one democracy in the Middle East, is now viewed with a loathing that is never applied to Arab dictatorships. Anti-Israelism and, in particular, anti-Sharonism are being used as a fig-leaf for hatred of the Jews. And this twisting of the narrative of Jewish victimhood into one of Israeli oppression has legitimised an eruption of explicit prejudice against Jews, which has resulted in a grotesque tacit alliance between progressives, the far-right and the Islamic jihad.

There's more . . .

Please visit http://www.melaniephillips.com

American Lawyer detained,
Linked to Madrid Bombings

Newsweek: May 6 - FBI agents today detained a Portland, Ore., lawyer after receiving evidence from Spanish authorities that the man’s fingerprints allegedly were found on bomb-related evidence associated with the March 11 railway attack in Madrid that killed 191 people and wounded 2,000 people, NEWSWEEK has learned.

The arrest of the lawyer was described by federal law-enforcement authorities as a major investigative breakthrough that for the first time suggests links between an individual inside the United States and the Madrid bombing—the worst act of terrorist violence since the September 11 attacks in 2001.

The man was identified as Brandon Mayfield, a convert to Islam who is tangentially linked to one of the chief defendants in the so-called “Portland Seven” case—a suspected terror cell in Oregon whose six surviving members pled guilty last year of plotting to fight for the Taliban against U.S. soldiers during the war in Afghanistan.

Israel Appoints Arab Christian to Supreme Court

Haaretz: Israel's Judicial Appointments Committee Thursday selected Acting Justice Salim Jubran for appointment to the Supreme Court.

Jubran's selection was the first permanent appointment of an Arab Supreme Court justice.

Jubran, 57, was born in Haifa to a Maronite Christian Arab family. At 35, he was appointed a Magistrate's Court judge, in 1993 he was promoted to the city's district court, and he received a temporary appointment to the Supreme Court bench in 2003.

It's Friday, and that means a new Krauthammer

This war is also about sex

Taliban rule in Afghanistan was the model of what the jihadists want to impose upon the world. The case the jihadists make against freedom is that wherever it goes, especially America and Europe, it brings sexual license and corruption, decadence and depravity.

The appeal of this fear can be seen in the Arab world's closest encounter with modernity: Israel. Israeli women are by far the most liberated of any in that part of the world. For decades, the Arab press has responded with lurid stories of Israeli sexual corruption.

The most famous example occurred in the late 1990s when Egyptian newspapers claimed that chewing gum Israel was selling in Egypt was laced with sexual hormones that aroused insatiable lust in young Arab women. Palestinian officials later followed with charges that Israeli chewing gum was a Zionist plot for turning Palestinian women into prostitutes, and ``completely destroying the genetic system of young boys'' to boot.

Which is why the torture pictures coming out of Abu Ghraib prison could not have hit a more neuralgic point. We think of torture as the kind that Saddam practiced: pain, mutilation, maiming and ultimately death. We think of it as having a political purpose: intimidation, political control, confession and subjugation. What happened at Abu Ghraib was entirely different. It was gratuitous sexual abuse, perversion for its own sake.

That is what made it, ironically and disastrously, a pictorial representation of precisely the lunatic fantasies that the jihadists believe -- and that cynical secular regimes such as Egypt and the Palestinian Authority peddle to pacify their populations and deflect their anger and frustrations. Through this lens, Abu Ghraib is an "I told you so'' played out in an Arab capital, recorded on film.

Oy, the Doctor thinks outside the box, does he not? Read it all.


PoliticoDiploBabble or Appeasement?

New York Times: . . . administration officials have struggled in the past week to try to answer Jordan's deep concern, shared by other Arab nations, over a letter last month from Mr. Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. That letter, intended to help Mr. Sharon win support at home for his plan to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, endorsed Israel's position that it would not return to pre-1967 borders or accept the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendents in any final settlement.

But now, after Mr. Sharon's Likud Party voted against this "disengagement" plan, some administration officials are wondering what Mr. Bush's letter accomplished, beyond infuriating American allies throughout the Arab world, where anti-American passions are already high because of Iraq. One result was King Abdullah's abrupt postponement of his meeting with Mr. Bush, which had been scheduled for late April.

The administration has stated repeatedly that Mr. Bush's endorsement of Israeli objectives does not amount to a prejudgment of a negotiated final settlement.

On Thursday, Mr. Bush said that "as I have previously stated, all final status issues must be negotiated" and that the United States "will not prejudice the outcome of those negotiations."

Arab, European and United Nations officials have accepted that statement, but with a certain skepticism, if not outright cynicism. They assert that Mr. Bush's letter to Mr. Sharon could not help but "prejudice the outcome" because that was its purpose.

Nevertheless, American officials and their negotiating partners feel that the newest statements will at least assure angry Arabs, in the long diplomatic tradition of statements contradicting each other while claiming they do not.

The letter to Mr. Sharon created a special problem in recent weeks for King Abdullah, who, according to administration officials, responded by demanding a letter of his own from Mr. Bush.

Ideally, the king's aides had suggested, the letter could have said that any land or homes awarded to Israel in a final settlement be compensated with land or cash to Palestinians.

No such assurance was forthcoming on Thursday, however.

Instead, Mr. Bush noted that the king "had some suggestions about how to explain our position to the Palestinians, and I appreciated your advice, Your Majesty."

He added that he would "shortly send" to Ahmed Qurei, the Palestinian prime minister "a letter that will explain my views."

Administration officials said the drafting of this letter could reopen some internal disputes among Mr. Bush's advisers, some of whom were uneasy about the Sharon letter and favored a strong effort to reassure the Palestinians of American intentions.

It was also striking, diplomats said, that Mr. Bush promised to send the letter to Mr. Qurei, commonly know as Abu Ala, even though the administration has basically endorsed Israel's view that the Palestinian has no power and is being told what to do by Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader.

"If Abu Ala is powerless, why is the United States sending him a letter?" asked one diplomat close to the Middle East peace negotiations.
See also the Washington Post about Condoleezza Rice's upcoming meeting with Abu Ala -- planned for next week in Eurabiarope.


Abdullah is terrified of getting stuck with the Palestinians
Reuters: Jordan, which has hosted successive waves of Palestinian refugees since the creation of Israel in 1948, fears the rejection of the right of refugees to return will pave the way for their permanent integration in the kingdom. The majority [Ed.- two thirds] of Jordan's 5 million population are Palestinian refugees and their descendants.


PalestineFacts.org: The 1922 White Paper (also called the Churchill White Paper) was the first official manifesto interpreting the Balfour Declaration. It was issued on June 3, 1922, after investigation of the 1921 disturbances [Arab riots].

Although the White Paper stated that the Balfour Declaration could not be amended and that the Jews were in Palestine by right, it partitioned the area of the Mandate by excluding the area east of the Jordan River from Jewish settlement. That land, 76% of the original Palestine Mandate land, was renamed Transjordan and was given to the Emir Abdullah by the British.


One final Historical Fact of Interest and Relevance:
Great Britain. . . decided that no Jews could reside or buy land in the newly created Emirate. This policy was ratified — after the emirate became a kingdom — by Jordan's law no. 6, sect. 3, on April 3, 1954, and reactivated in law no. 7, sect. 2, on April 1, 1963. It states that any person may become a citizen of Jordan unless he is a Jew.

King Hussein made peace with Israel in 1994, but the Judenrein legislation remains valid today.

Bumper Stickers increasingly seen in Boulder:


ANYBODY?


How far are extremist Bush-haters willing to take this?


UPDATE:
For those who want to keep abreast of current Bush-bashing, don't miss Anthony Lewis in today's New York Times: A President Beyond the Law. I'm not kidding, that's what it says.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Palestinian doctor sentenced to death in Libya

FOR DELIBERATELY SPREADING AIDS IN A CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
TRIPOLI (AFP) - A Libyan court sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death for deliberately spreading AIDS in a children's hospital, sparking fierce reactions to a verdict that could damage Libya's improving ties with the West.

The accused were convicted of having deliberately infected more than 400 children with the HIV virus that can lead to AIDS, of whom 43 have since died, by injecting them with tainted blood products.

A copy of the verdict obtained by AFP on Thursday also showed they have been ordered to pay a total of one million dollars (827,000 euros) in compensation to the families of the victims.

Both Bulgaria and the United States, which recently lifted economic sanctions against Tripoli after more than 20 years, condemned the verdict as "unacceptable". . . .

EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten expressed his "considerable shock and concern" at the news. "It does cast a shadow over a relationship which we hoped was getting better," he said.

Huh? I don't get it. We have the death penalty here; what's wrong with the death penalty for these people who deliberately infected children with AIDS? What is the problem?

KUDOS to Larry Elder!

For re-stating the obvious: 20 Tons of WMD Found

The curious lack of curiosity about WMD
by Larry Elder at Townhall.com

"Week after week after week after week," said Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., about President Bush's rationale for going to war with Iraq, "we were told lie after lie after lie after lie." Were we?

Jordan recently seized 20 tons of chemicals trucked in by confessed al Qaeda members who brought the stuff in from Syria. The chemicals included VX, Sarin and 70 others. But the media seems curiously incurious about whether one could reasonably trace this stuff back to Iraq. Had the terrorists released a "toxic cloud," Jordanian officials say 80,000 would have died!

So, I interviewed terrorism expert John Loftus, who once held some of the highest security clearances in the world. Loftus, a former Army officer, served as a Justice Department prosecutor. He investigated CIA cases of Nazi war criminals for the U.S. attorney general. Author of several books, Loftus once received a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

John Loftus: There's a lot of reason to think (the source of the chemicals) might be Iraq. We captured Iraqi members of al Qaeda, who've been trained in Iraq, planned for the mission in Iraq, and now they're in Jordan with nerve gas. That's not the kind of thing you buy in a grocery store. You have to have obtained it from someplace.

Larry Elder: They couldn't have obtained it from Syria?

Loftus: Syria does have the ability to produce certain kinds of nerve gasses, but in small quantities. The large stockpiles were known to be in Iraq. The best U.S. and allied intelligence say that in the 10 weeks before the Iraq war, Saddam's Russian adviser told him to get rid of all the nerve gas. It would be useless against U.S. troops; the rubber suits were immune to it. So they shipped it across the border to Syria and Lebanon and buried it. Now, in the last few weeks, there's a controversy that Syria has been trying to get rid of this stuff.

Hello?

KUDOS to Rick Richman!

He's watching Kerry like a hawk :/

Mazal tov to the Jewish Press for carrying Rick's investigative reporting as a Page One Feature. Here's a taste:
So on December 3, 2003, when Kerry went before the most prestigious foreign policy forum in the United States, to make a major foreign policy address, and

* listed the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an example of a Bush foreign policy gone "radically wrong,"

* suggested that the "end game is the focus, not the steps leading up to it,"

* proposed to appoint a "presidential ambassador" to the peace process "in the first days of a Kerry administration,"

* named Jimmy Carter as a prospective envoy, and

* announced he had already talked to Carter about it,

Kerry was not simply "floating a name." He was endorsing a major shift in U.S. relations with Israel far beyond anything Howard "Even-Handed" Dean had suggested.

But that was then, right? Later, he disavowed Carter as a prospective envoy, and on "Meet the Press" said he "completely" supports the Bush position on Israel. The nuanced Senator Kerry had changed his position - right?

In a word, no.

After Kerry gave Russert his non-answer about Carter ("I think that what I was trying to talk about, Tim, was a kind of potential . . ."), Russert followed up:
Russert: Why do you think Carter and Baker are not acceptable?

Kerry: Well, that's not important. What's important is how to resolve the crisis, how do you move forward. I believe there's a way to move forward, I'm convinced of that. [In other words: Why did you suggest Carter and then reject him? None of your business, Tim.]

Now, I think what the president did in the last few days is to recognize a reality that even President Clinton came to. If you're going to have a Jewish state, and that is what we are committed to do and that is what Israel is, you cannot have a right of return that's open-ended or something. You just can't do it. It's always been a non-starter. I personally said that at a speech I gave to the Arab community in New York at the World Economic Forum. I've said that.
It would be interesting to know what Kerry meant by "even" President Clinton. It might also be interesting to see a copy of Kerry's World Economic Forum speech, to see exactly what he "personally said" to the Arab community.

That speech is not on Kerry’s campaign website nor on his senate office website, and the summary of it on the World Economic Forum website does not mention any Kerry discussion of the “right of return.” Repeated e-mails to Kerry’s campaign over the past two weeks have not produced a copy.

Readers will find that Taba is an important reference in understanding Kerry's position(s). Rick describes it thus:
Taba was a set of marathon talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations at the Egyptian resort of Taba between January 22 and January 28, 2001, conducted by Israel under fire, during the fourth month of the war brought by Arafat after he rejected a state in substantially all of the West Bank and Gaza, with a capital in East Jerusalem:

"The Barak government continued to offer concessions to the Palestinians, but neither the Israeli public nor the Knesset supported these positions. Ariel Sharon's landslide victory was only days away on February 6, 2001. . . . Barak was hoping for some breakthrough that would bolster his election chances in the few weeks remaining of his term as Prime Minister." -- PalestineFacts.org.

One of the desperate concessions Barak offered the Palestinians that fateful week was a limited right of return.

Taba. Did you know that Taba was a resort built by Israel in what had been a barren desert near Eilat? The Jewish state relinquished Taba in 1988, as part of the withdrawal from Sinai called for in the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Menachem Begin agreed to return 91% of the territory won by Israel during the Six Day War - in exchange for Egypt's promise of peace.

Israel won additional aid from the U.S. for this withdrawal, but gave up much of its strategic depth in the Sinai, and relinquished 1,000 miles of roadways it had built, as well as homes, factories, hotels, health facilities and agricultural villages. Because Egypt insisted that The Jews Move, 7,000 Israelis were expelled from the homes and business they had spent years building in the desert.
During the Camp David negotiations with Egypt, all of the issues had been resolved, but one remained, Sadat's insistence that all settlements in the Sinai be removed. Begin didn't want to remove them, but he called Ariel Sharon for advice. Sharon said that in the interest of peace, the settlements should be dismantled. Israel did just that in 1982, providing compensation to residents for the loss of their homes, farms and businesses that ranged from $100,000 to $500,000 (Jerusalem Post, January 8, 2004). Nevertheless, a small group of settlers in the town of Yamit refused to leave and Sharon had the army literally drag them out of their homes. . . . (from the Jewish Virtual Library)

We need to know the moral fiber, or lack thereof, of our presidential candidates. This election may be one of The Most Important Ever, and we should vote as if our lives depend on it. Rick Richman does us a great service in ferreting out what Kerry has said, and what he might have meant.

Read his piece in its entirety, and don't miss the editorial in the same issue: Pay Attention To What John Kerry Is Saying . . . especially to the ADL about his administration "being more engaged as an honest broker."

KUDOS to Charles Johnson!

His Take on Friedman's Take (that "We're All Doomed Unless Bush Grovels")

Johnson's brief and biting remarks
are worth all the Friedman commentaries in the world - because, unlike Friedman, he is unafraid.
Thomas Friedman demands that Donald Rumsfeld be fired, and maybe the entire Pentagon along with him. He says it’s the only way to restore our honor. After laying waste to our military command, he proposes that President Bush invite to Camp David the UN Security Council, and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, and grovel before them in abject shame, rubbing ashes into his hair and weeping. Then he needs to explain to the world that we’re losing in Iraq, and give the whole thing over to the United Nations, who will know what to do with this gigantic mess.

According to Friedman, this is the only way we’ll ever regain our moral standing. It’s the only way to rebuild our shattered credibility. Otherwise, we’re doomed. We’re radioactive.

I’m not exaggerating. OK, maybe a little. But just a little.

Can I demand that Thomas Friedman be fired?

posted by Charles at 7:49 AM PST
As always, the comments of the LGF gang are worth reading; there are over 400 now, within just a few hours of the post.

KUDOS to Jeff Jacoby!

His Op-Ed in Today's Boston Globe: ABANDONING GAZA WON'T END TERRORISM

The Jewish people should send Jeff Jacoby a resounding Kol Hakavod for this piece. Not only does he generously allow for the humanity of the Hatuel family, but he makes clear the insult, danger and sheer uselessness of expelling Jews from Gaza. Then he goes on to expose the brutal bias of NPR's coverage of the murders. We have a remarkable friend in this writer.
MEIRAV, the 2-year-old, had been strapped into a car seat for safety. But car seats are no protection against bullets, and by the time rescue workers reached the Citroen station wagon, Meirav was dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head. So was her 7-year-old sister, Roni. And Hadar, the 9-year-old. And Hila, 11. One by one, each had been shot at point-blank range.

In the driver's seat, their mother was dead, too. Tali Hatuel, 34, was a social worker who was often called upon to comfort and assist victims of terrorism. Eight months pregnant with her first boy, she had been driving to Ashkelon on Sunday for an ultrasound exam. Then she and the girls had planned to join her husband, David, at an election precinct to urge voters to oppose the controversial Israeli referendum on unilaterally "disengaging" from the Gaza Strip.

But David never saw his wife and daughters alive again. He buried them Sunday evening, sobbing with grief and surrounded by thousands of mourners in Ashkelon's new cemetery. "You were my flowers," he wept. "I am all alone and there is no one left."

Not long after the slaughter of the Hatuel family, two terror groups -- Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committee -- proudly claimed responsibility in a call to the Associated Press. The Voice of Palestine radio praised the quintuple murder as a "heroic" operation against "five settlers," not bothering to mention that the victims were an unarmed pregnant woman and four children or that their bodies had been riddled with bullets fired at close range.

The savagery of the attack was similarly downplayed by National Public Radio in its broadcast the next morning. Actually, reporter Julie McCarthy did more than minimize the horror of the massacre. She blamed the victims for "provoking" their own murder -- not by anything they did but by their mere "presence" in the disputed territory.

Continue reading . . .

This is a Must Read and a Must Respond. Please take the time to thank Mr. Jacoby; he's gone out on a limb for all of us, and he is sure to catch hell for it. jacoby@globe.com

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Bush-bashing at the NY Times

On the Road by David Sanger


The dirty little secret of President Bush's bus tour is that he didn't spend much time on the bus.

An hour or so on Tuesday was all he logged, though that seemed plenty for the startled residents of some small towns in rural parts of Ohio, who had never seen a motorcade quite like this one. After all, it is not every day you see three buses moving along on back roads, preceded and followed by Chevy Suburbans carrying men with large guns, and helicopters overhead. One woman who was mowing her lawn ran indoors, leaving the lawn mower idling in her yard.

But it was not just the spectacle of it all; it was the agenda, too. Mr. Bush's aides made no secret of their joy that he was using the sardonic tone about John Kerry that until now has been reserved for Vice President Dick Cheney to use. And it worked: The president's most rousing reception was in Cincinnati, where 16,500 people jammed into the Cincinnati Garden (it cost the campaign only $19,000 to rent it for the night, a bargain in their view) and cheered every jab at Mr. Kerry.

"The other side hasn't offered much in the way of strategy to win the war," Mr. Bush said. The large and enthusiastic crowd shouted back "Four More Years."
This was published as part of the paper's Times on the Trail, and was juxtaposed with a report on the Kerry campaign:
. . . He often does give civilians a chance to ask questions, however. And in Albuquerque on Tuesday, he was pestered with several toughies — and impertinent follow-ups — by a group of 5- and 6-year-olds when he arrived at an elementary school to read two books to them: "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing."

A boy named Pablo asked, "What will you do to make sure airplanes don't fly into tall buildings?" Mr. Kerry began to say he would hunt down the bad guys first, but a girl interjected that Mr. Kerry had blue eyes.

Another child asked if Mr. Kerry could "make sure dogs don't get run over by cars," and Mr. Kerry promised to try. And another wanted to know how he would stop war.

Mr. Kerry deftly tried to throw his inquisitors off their game, spotting a drawing of himself that one of the children had done. "That's — that's skinny," he said.
Skinny, as in light weight.

The Arab Street

Noteworthy quote via Daniel Pipes's "Caught my eye"

From "Scent of despair" by Yasmine El-Rashidi, in al-Ahram, the Cairo weekly:
At local cafes, at bus stops, within shops and on the streets, the news remained just a murmur. The assassination [of Rantisi] clearly represented yet another blow to Arab dignity, an affront from the rest of the world.

"The difference between the Arabs and the rest of the world is that we don't go around randomly killing innocent people," said one gentleman playing backgammon at a coffee shop in Old Cairo.



frontpage images from www.september11news.com

UPDATE: Reader and blogger Leah Guildenstern writes, "No they don't go around randomly killing innocent people; they go around intentionally killing innocent people." Good point.

CAMERA ALERT: NPR Blames Mother and Daughters for their own Murders

May 3, 2004 by Tamar Sternthal

In perhaps the most distorted coverage of the brutal murder of a pregnant Israeli mother and her four young daughters, NPR's Julie McCarthy blamed the victims for their own slaughter. In the atrocity in Gaza on May 2, the gunmen reportedly fired on the family's car from 20 yards away. When 34-year-old Tali, a social worker who was in her last trimester of pregnancy, lost control of the vehicle, the Palestinian terrorists approached the vehicle and executed Tali and her daughters — Hila, 11; Hadar, 9; Roni, 7 and Merav, 2 — one by one at close range. According to press reports, the younger children were still strapped into their car seats, the car was blood-soaked, and it took the ZAKA recovery crew a long time to extract all of the bullets and collect the body parts.

Julie McCarthy's egregious statement on "Morning Edition" today came at the end of a report about Ariel Sharon's referendum loss on his "disengagement" plan. McCarthy reported:
The settlers rallied support saying Israel was withdrawing under fire. But there was ample evidence yesterday to show that their continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed. Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen after the men ambushed mother and her four small daughters outside the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif. The family was shot and killed on their way to the Israeli city of Ashkelon where they intended to campaign against Ariel Sharon and his plan to uproot them from Gaza. Julie McCarthy, NPR news, Jerusalem.

BLAMING THE VICTIM

McCarthy's editorializing that the Jewish community's "continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed" is consistent with the Palestinian Authority view that the killing of settlers is a natural and legitimate outgrowth of the fact that Jews dare to inhabit territory that the Palestinians claim as their own. According to Ha'aretz, "A senior Palestinian source said he thought there was no chance the Palestinian Authority would express reservations, since every settler was considered an integral part of the occupation against which action must be taken" (Danny Rubinstein, 5/3/04).

Of course, though, there is no justification whatsoever within international law that justifies the killing of civilians simply because they live in territory which others claim as their own. Unfortunately, McCarthy's report suggests justification where there is none.

REVERSING CAUSE AND EFFECT

McCarthy further distorts the killing of the Hatuel family members by reversing the chronology of events. She states: "Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen after the men ambushed a mother and her four small daughters outside the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif." Why is the Israeli response mentioned before the Palestinian murder? The result is that the defensive Israeli action is amplified while the Palestinians' barbarous act is de-emphasized.

SOFT-PEDALLING THE MURDER

McCarthy's sanitized description of the Hatuels' murder employs equivalent language to describe Israel's shooting of murderers and the murderers' butchering of young children and their mother. Thus, "Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen," "the men ambushed a mother and her four small daughters," and "the family was shot and killed." From these indistinguishable descriptions, listeners would have no clue as to the brutality of the execution of a mother and four children whose bodies were riddled by dozens of bullets shot at point blank range.



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Phone: 202-513-2000
Fax: 202-513-3329

President, Kevin Klose
kklose@npr.org

Ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin
ombudsman@npr.org

Morning Edition
morning@npr.org

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Herzl's 100th yarzheit on July 3


Undated file photo of the founder of Zionism and Israel,
Theodor Herzl. Plans to name a Vienna square after Herzl
drew protests from the Arab League, which urged city
officials to reconsider for the sake of continued good relations
with the Arab world. (AP Photo/PID/Zionistisches Archiv)

Full story from the AP.
The Vienna mission of the 22-nation Arab League sent a letter to [Mayor Michael] Haeupl expressing its "regret" at the decision to honor a man whose name "represents a sad memory for Arabs and Muslims."

The letter, which was dated April 29, also suggested the plan could lead to terrorism.

Carna Amina Baghajati, a spokeswoman for Vienna's 120,000-strong Islamic community, also criticized the plan. She suggested a square be named instead for Mohammad Asad, the Austrian-born Jew who changed his name from Leopold Weiss, converted to Islam and went on to become an honored 19th century Muslim scholar.

Hear any good news lately?

DEBKA: Syrian, Saudi Rulers Blame Terror Woes on "the Zionists"
The teaming up of al Qaeda terrorists with Iraqi guerrillas on a Middle East rampage against American, British, Jordanian, Saudi, Syrian and Israeli targets last month exposes three dangerous developments:

A. Iraq has turned into a hub that radiates terrorist violence far beyond its borders as demonstrated by the April 20 battle in the Hashemi district of Amman, the April 21 bomb blast at Saudi General Intelligence Headquarters in Riyadh and the Saudi security forces? shootout with armed bands in Jeddah port on April 22. In all these cases, local security forces were confronted with infiltrating Iraqi combatants.

B. Al Qaeda has provided itself with a large reservoir of crack troops from Saddam Hussein's Special Republican Guards who are willing to fight and lay down their lives for the sake of terrorist action on behalf of al Qaeda. These men are highly trained in urban guerrilla tactics and chemical and biological warfare. Their participation enabled the Islamic fundamentalist organization to attempt a chemical attack in Jordan in the second half of April.

C. The ruling Arab dynasties of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria find themselves in the grip of unprecedented hazards.
Al-Ahram (Cairo): Unprecedented TV campaign to dispel negative Palestinian image in U.S.
Palestinian and American peace activists launched an unprecedented television campaign to dispel the negative Palestinian image among the US public. Khaled Dawoud reports from Washington

A long-standing taboo in popular local American cable television networks was broken this week. A pro-Palestinian group aired for the first time a number of short, sharp, catchy and extremely moving 15-second advertisements seeking to deliver a simple message to a largely pro-Israeli American public: Palestinians are human beings too. . . .

On Monday 19 April, the first in a series of advertisements was launched on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, MTV, The History Channel, Black Entertainment TV and several local stations.

Imagine-Life -- mainly made up of young Americans of Palestinian origin supported by several pro-peace American and Jewish-American organisations -- spent months preparing for the campaign, carefully working on the message they wanted to deliver, and even more so on how to deliver it without giving influential pro-Israel organisations cause to protest and kill the project altogether.

The campaign is planned to go on for six months with organisers hoping to raise more funds in order to prolong airtime. Janienah Shaouri Ghanam of Imagine-Life said that the unprecedented awareness campaign aimed at "reaching average Americans who do not know much about the conflict". Thus the logo that precedes each of the six advertisements reads "Occupation 101".

The campaign highlights the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, mainly focussing on the cases of children, Palestinian Christians and average citizens who are not involved in the conflict. One advertisement refers to the Israeli pilots and soldiers who have publicly announced their opposition to the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories and the excessive force they are ordered to deploy by superiors. Israeli Refuser Solidarity Network is among the various pro-peace groups backing the awareness campaign on US television networks. Other groups include Remember These Children, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Holy Land Christian Society.

"We wish to convey to the American public that most people want to have a normal life without checkpoints and daily killing," said Hanna Hanania, another member of Imagine-Life. Nadine Wahab, who moved from New York to Washington to help in the production of the advertisements, said these topics were carefully chosen "as we have to concede that many Americans do not know what occupation means, or that there are Christians in Palestine, or that there are people inside Israel itself who oppose occupation and support Palestinian rights". . . .

Another advertisement shows black and white images of poor young children -- some smiling, others weeping -- while member of the United Nations Human Rights Fact- Finding Commission Richard Falk recounts a psychological study of 1,000 Palestinian children which reflected how they were "so dehumanised and generally humiliated by the Israeli Defence Forces".

However, two of the most moving ads, according to many of those who attended a fund-raising event to mark the launch of the campaign, used no images at all. One opens with a child's laughter, accompanied by a heartbeat and the sound of a machine indicating a normal pulse. Meanwhile, a typed script appears on the screen as the laughter of the child turns into crying, the sound of the heartbeat stops and a long beep is heard: "The collapse of the peace process has caused the death of innocence. Suffering is escalating on both sides. Nearly 500 Palestinian children and over 100 Israeli children have been killed since September 2000. How many children must die? Speak out against the cycle of violence."

There's another piece I was going to add, where writer Ellen Horowitz says, "Seems like a lot of us are still waiting for the Allied forces to bomb the tracks," but it's really more than I can bear for now. Maybe tomorrow.

We just can't get dead enough to satisfy


Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants burn mock coffins representing Israel in the southern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Rafah during a joint rally with members of the Popular Resistance Committees, in support of the Kissufim crossing attack.(AFP/Said Khatib)
It's not enough to have murdered a mother heavy with pregnancy along with her four young daughters, nor to have videotaped the children bleeding to death after shooting them in the head at close range. These monsters have to build mock coffins -probably the only thing they'll ever build- and set fire to them.

They are sick, the culture that produces them is sick, and they are a danger to everything we hold sacred.

Imagine a "Palestinian state."

The Latest from MEMRI


It seems to me that so many still-liberals aren't seeing the connections among -and tensions between- Arab terrorist groups and organizations. Their interest, indeed their obsession, lies only with the Arab "street" and the (negative) emotions there; there is little seeking of informational or intellectual understanding. This newest offering in MEMRI's Inquiry and Analysis series provides some very timely information. Guaranteed to enlighten.
Iran's Stirrings in Iraq by Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli
With the downfall of its nemesis Saddam Hussein, Iran can now pursue two principal objectives in Iraq: the first is to stir up problems for the Americans to keep them pinned down and divert their attention from its nuclear program. The second is to assert its influence over the Hawza, or the Shi'a religious centers in the two holy cities of Najaf and Karbala,and to prevent the emergence in these cities of an independent religious and spiritual leadership competing with the Iranian city of Qum.

Oriana Fallaci does it again!

Her new book The Force of Reason said to be a passionate wake-up call
NRO publishes a review by Lorenzo Vidino:
Amid Fallaci's bleak vision for Europe, however, a ray of hope comes from America. In a very emotional last chapter, Fallaci describes her admiration in witnessing the 2004 New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square. In a sharp contrast with the fear-constrained Europeans, thousands of New Yorkers decided to defy the Code Orange terror alert and party hard in the face of the terrorists. Proud to honor itself, young and determined, America is perceived by Fallaci as the only hope for the West. In this unprovoked cultural war that has been waged on the West, America should lead the way, but it cannot do it alone. According to Fallaci, the West has not realized that it is under attack, and that this war "wants to hit our soul rather than our body. Our way of life, our philosophy of life. Our way of thinking, acting and loving. Our freedom. Do not be fooled by their explosives. That is just a strategy. The terrorists, the kamikazes, do not kill us just for the sake of killing us. They kill us to bend us. To intimidate us, tire us, demoralize us, blackmail us."
Not available in English (yet), The Force of Reason is available to Italian readers at UniLibro. Oriana Fallaci is one extraordinary lady, my great hero and probably one of the most influential journalists of our time. Let's hope she's still very influential....

If you haven't read it yet, her previous book, The Rage and The Pride is available at Amazon for $10.47. Get it.

EXPOSED: AntiISRAELism funded by the City of Melbourne

Kol hakavod to "Tom Paine" of Silent Running


The words in red read:
Since the creation of Israel in 1948

200,000 Palestinians have been killed
5,000,000 refugees have been created
21,000 square kilometers of land have been annexed
385 towns and villages have been destroyed
200,000 settlements have been built
300 billion military dollars have been spent
100+ WMDs have been manifactured
65 UN resolutions have been ignored

HonestReporting has picked this up, so notice of it has gone to their 100,000 subscribers. That's a good thing.

The bad thing is that this is official, funded by the City of Melbourne, and is chock full of LIES about the State of Israel.
* Independent analyses by SIPRI, B'Tselem, and other agencies indicate that no more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since 1948. Meanwhile, Israel has lost 20,297 [in] military personnel [alone], since the War of Independence.

* The actual number of Arab refugees in 1949 was, according to Israeli sources, 538,000. (The UN puts the figure at 720,000.) Due primarily to neglect by Arab leaders, their descendents have reached over 4 million.

* The 21,000 square kilometers of land that the exhibition claims Israel 'annexed' apparently refers to the actual size of Israel itself - without considering disputed territories. This is a clear indication that the 'artist' considers Israel's very existence illegitimate. [Besides which, Israel never ANNEXED the terrortories, because it doesn't want to rule over the Palestinian mobs!]

* '200,000 settlements'?! Even if one includes the Golan and eastern Jerusalem, there are no more than 350 disputed settlements.

What can we do?

Write to the Herald Sun in response to their story, Art offends Jews (they "welcome your comments" at the bottom of the page), and likewise at The Age.

Write to the Melbourne City Council, who funded this atrocious and deeply offensive propaganda.

Write to Lord Mayor John So, who issued a a statement saying, "The views expressed in this exhibition are those of the artists's solely." His email is lordmayor@melbourne.vic.gov.au

BTW, who IS the artist? The newspaper articles name only curators: Mark Hilton (overseas and unavailable for comment) who received the funding, and Kiron Robinson, "24seven joint curator," who doesn't want to offend anyone: "The intention of the art is to present another side of the story to a very politically sensitive issue, not to offend anyone."

And finally, we can write to Dr. Colin Rubenstein - executive director and editorial chairman of the Australian/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council - to express our support for the local Jewish community's opposition to this display.
It might be good also to forward the Silent Running story (linked at the top of this post) to the wire services in the hope of further distribution - but care should be taken to include factual corrections to the misinformation in the "artwork" - we don't want to aid in spreading the lies.

P.S. If you want to see some real art, check out this coverage of my husband's photography at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, NY. There's more images at his website.

Does the world need another blog? Yes!



Meet Dave Billington's MITZPOR

You have to read this post called "The Miracle of Israel". I am a total sucker for this story, with its divine 'coincidence' - interwoven with the words of the prophets. Keep your eye on this blog; I have a feeling it will help us all keep the faith.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Israeli troops block entrance to Arafat's HQ


Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat addresses
supporters during a rally outside his office
at the Muqataa compound in the West Bank
city of Ramallah. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - Israeli military jeeps sealed off the entrances to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)'s headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, a Palestinian official told AFP.
"The soldiers, travelling in 15 jeeps, approached the president's HQ and blocked the three entrances to the building," said Arafat advisor Nabil Abu Rudeina.

He expressed the fear that the move was "in preparation for an attack on the president," without giving any details.

Israeli military sources said that the troops were conducting "routine arrests" in Ramallah.

The Inside (Israel) Scoop: On the Defeat of Retreat

by Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director of IMRA


The key difference between the Likudniks who voted massively against the retreat plan and the rest of Likud voters - and for that matter the "average" Israeli - is not a matter of ideology but knowledge. By the same token that a huge number of secular and traditional Likudniks who originally told pollsters that they supported the retreat plan changed their positions after being presented with the facts, the general body of Likud voters - and
"average" Israelis - can also be brought over to opposing retreat when provided the opportunity to learn the facts.

A key theme driving support for retreat among Israelis is a view that there is a need to "do something" about the "situation". But the key element of "the situation" is not specifically the Arab-Israeli conflict but instead the economic situation. The greater the proportion of the population that is drawn into the ongoing economic recovery the lower the pressure to "do something". Thus, the longer the window available for both the education of
the public on the one hand, and an improvement in the economy, on the other, the greater the possibility of bringing over the majority of the Israeli public to also oppose retreat.

By the same token that the massive propaganda campaign by the Israeli media supporting Sharon's retreat plan failed to convince Likudniks, the general Israeli public, jaded by over a decade of media Oslo propaganda, will not be suckered into accepting the massive media campaign that was launched at 10:00 PM this evening with the announcement of the exit poll results to paint the Likud as a radical right wing party out of touch with the rest of the nation.

While Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was willing to warn of the catastrophic consequences on both the diplomatic and economic front if his retreat plan is rejected, he has no interest in such a catastrophe now that he has been trounced. Nothing will be done to interfere with the economic recovery well under way and the last thing that President Bush wants to do, only months before his own election day, is punish the Jewish State for the outcome of its democratic processes.

Prime Minister Sharon's harsh words against his opponents during the campaign in no way prevents cooperation in the future. Sharon's terming his opponents "extreme right" is nothing as compared to the words that the Labor Party used against him in the heated election campaign of 2001 which he gracefully ignored the moment the polls closed and he invited them to join the ruling coalition.

Shinui leader Minister Lapid doesn't threaten to even consider leaving the ruling coalition if the retreat plan is rejected - he only asks that he be given the opportunity to vote on it in the cabinet - where it will be defeated. He does this in full knowledge that the overwhelming majority of his own party (77% in a poll last week) wants to stay in the coalition even if the retreat plan is rejected.

Binyamin Netanyahu and the other "shfanim" ("bunnies") - Limor Livnat and Sylvan Shalom unintentionally made a greater contribution to defeating the retreat plan by half heartedly endorsing it than they would have made if they took key roles in the campaign against the plan. Their absence prevented Sharon from turning the vote into a personality contest between
him and the prime ministers in waiting. No one could possibly claim that Minister Uzi Landau, who led the campaign against retreat, is a contender for the prime minister's slot. Likudniks did not have to worry that a vote against retreat in any way could be interpreted as a vote in favor of a candidate they do not want to support.

It is doubtful that Netanyahu's political future was seriously hurt by his move since no major Likud personality who is considered a possible candidate for prime minister had the intestinal fortitude to openly oppose Sharon's retreat plan. Netanyahu only reminded the rank and file of his perennial orthopedic problem. The puzzle for Likudniks is not, therefore, which candidate to support in the future, but rather what mechanisms or devices might be employed to deal with their seemingly inevitable spinelessness.

While the media welcomes Deputy Minister Ehud Olmert's calls to immediately reward savage Palestinian terror with retreat, it is far from clear if Mr. Olmert, who returned from the defunct Central Party to the 32nd place in the Likud, will be able to make the cut in the next Likud primaries.

Finally, the last thing Ariel Sharon wants to do today is risk forfeiting the special standards that are applied by the attorney general when considering the criminal indictment of a prime minister. A serving prime minister is only indicted if there is a close to absolute certainty he will be convicted. A former prime minister can be sent to court if the odds for a conviction are just better than even. Hence his announcement already tonight that he has no intention to resign.

Victor Davis Hanson

We are presently engaged in a world war for our civilization and its vision of a just and humane society. Our values will either endure this present struggle and indeed be invigorated by the ordeal, or like once great civilizations of the past we will stumble in the face of barbarism and lose all that we hold dear. Across the world in places as diverse as Madrid, Fallujah, Kandahar, Thailand, Amman, and Bali agents of intolerance and religious fascism seek to terrorize and thereby eventually destroy the promise of a free and tolerant mankind. We must be as determined to defeat them as they are to destroy us.

Americans believe that freedom and consensual government — far from being the exclusive domain of the West — are ideals central to the human condition and the shared aspirations of all born into this world. That is the great hope we embrace now in Iraq, that as we rout those who advocate fundamentalism and intolerance, millions of others will gain confidence and join the struggle for democratic change. But until then, even as we speak, millions, sometimes in fear and silence, are watching our present efforts. They are uncertain of the outcome. They wait to pledge their allegiance to the victor, hoping, but not yet convinced, that we can defeat those who would impose tyranny and intolerance on any who would seek to reform and escape from their present misery.

What are the values for which hundreds of Americans have now fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq? They are not new or hard to fathom, nor are they the easily caricatured images of American popular culture. Rather they are the same principles for which Americans died at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, and Pusan: the guarantee of free association and expression, the tolerance of different ideas, a respect for the rule of law, and the right to enjoy equality under the aegis of consensual government. So this is what we believe in and this is what we have made it our mission to preserve.

Make no mistake: As we learned on September 11, our enemies do not merely disagree with us. They demand our very destruction for what we believe and who we are. Against savages who knock down skyscrapers and blow up innocents, we understandably speak of a war against terror. Indeed we are fighting against cowardly and cruel people who behead, desecrate, blow up, and know only how to harm and torture the innocent — never to create or build a just society.

Continue reading . . .

Dear Gd, Just when I was thinking it was already The Worst . . .

Terrorists videotaped aftermath of Hatuel murders
(IsraelNN.com) IDF officials continue to investigate yesterday’s terror attack on the Kissufim Road leading into Gush Katif that claimed the lives of Tali Hatual and her four children. They were gunned down in cold blood as they drove in their family vehicle.

Preliminary reports indicate that an army patrol vehicle passed the scene ahead of the Hatuals, and was even hit with gunfire. The two soldiers in the non-armored vehicle sustained light shrapnel injuries from the gunfire. The question being asked is why they did not stop and return fire, and engage the terrorists in a shootout as is the standard response. Instead, they continued traveling to the Kissufim Checkpoint. The preliminary response appears to be they were injured in their hands and therefore, were unable to return fire. It was also learned that the terrorists not only murdered the 34-year-old mother of four who was eight months pregnant along with her children, but then ran up to the vehicle and took a video of the results of their actions, filming the young victims as they bled to death.

There goes the neighborhood!


An Israeli settler stands on the roof top of a
new house in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis.
Jewish settlers maintained an aggressive stance
on the ground after their defeat of Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza pullout plan, as
families moved into an Arab suburb of Jerusalem
and Gaza settlers inaugurated a new neighbourhood.
(AFP/Atta Hussein)


JPost: "Settlers lay new cornerstone of faith and messianism"

Arutz Sheva: "The 'Live Jewish Wall' of Jerusalem"

Kol hakavod to the yidden of Gush Katif and Kidmat Zion!

Australia outlaws PIJ - Palestinian Islamic Jihad

SYDNEY, (AFP) - The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) radical group has been officially outlawed under Australia's counter-terrorism legislation, which carries penalties of up to 25 years' jail, the government announced.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the government had gazetted a regulation proscribing PIJ and making it an offence to belong to, recruit for, train with, provide training for, or make funds available to the organisation in Australia or abroad.

"Listing this group as a terrorist organisation will serve to deter Australians from any inadvertent involvement in their activities," Ruddock said in a statement.

"The government will not tolerate any involvement in groups or activities that threaten the safety and security of Australians and Australian interests." Ruddock said members of listed terrorist organisations face prosecution and penalties of up to 25 years' imprisonment for what is now a serious criminal offence.

"Law enforcement agencies will pursue those that commit terrorist offences to the full extent of the law," he said.

The PIJ was founded in 1979-80 in Egypt and, along with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, has been regarded as responsible for a significant number of attacks and suicide bombings in Israel and Palestine in recent years.

If you're not on Naomi Ragen's email-list, you should be

Details that were not on BBC News
I attach various details about yesterday's terror attack that many media
outside Israel have ignored.
* This was an organized attack.

* Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction claimed co-responsibility for the
"heroic" attack in statements sent to both Reuters and The Associated
Press. It named the two dead "martyrs" as Ibrahim Hamed and Faisal
Abuntera.

* The victims were civilians. A mother and four young girls. Tali
Hatuel, 34, who was 8 months pregnant, and her four daughters, Hila, 11,
Hadar, nine, Roni, seven, and Merav, two.

* After initial gunshots brought the car to a halt at the side of the
road, Hamed and Abuntera approached the car and shot each of the
children execution-style twice in the head at point-blank range.

* Tali Hatuel was a social worker. Part of her job was to comfort and
assist victims of terrorist attacks.

* In one of the largest funerals in Israel in recent years, several
thousand Israelis, including President Moshe Katsav, attended their
funeral in Ashkelon last night.

* Tali's husband David Hatuel, who is principal of a school in Ashkelon,
southern Israel, said that he and his wife were expecting their first
son.

* Three other Israelis driving behind Tali Hatuel's car were injured
To subscribe, send a blank message to NaomiRagen-on@mail-list.com

From an Israeli woman to world leaders
Esteemed gentleman,

Yesterday morning a heavily pregnant Israeli woman traveling with her 4
innocent little daughters were murdered by Palestinian gunmen, each one of
them shot dead in cold blood by a bullet through the head.

What happened gentleman? - not gruesome enough for you to speak out.

Where were you Mr. Annan? Never a slow mover when it comes to quoting
your usual "malignant metaphor" of asking for both sides to end the cycle
of violence, especially if g-d forbid just one demonic stone throwing
Palestinian child in Jenin has been accidentally killed by Israeli soldiers.
This usually brings you racing out of the rotting woodwork of the UN
building faster than 5 Palestinian bullets could kill 4 little Israeli girls
and their pregnant mother.

Where were you Mr. Patten? Still to busy looking through reports of
Palestinian spending, conveniently finding no sign of monies being diverted
for terrorism, yet never demanding how such a degree of poverty, recently
compared to the Sub Saharan Continent, allowed 2 youths to have guns and
bullets to kill 4 little Israeli girls and their pregnant mother.

Where were you Mr. Solana. To o absorbed with your obsession with the
Arabs, trying as usual to give all these tin-pot dictators some hope for a
peaceful future, if only Israel would be more obliging to their demands.

Where were you Mr. Straw? You let the killing of the quadriplegic Sheik
Yassin and the blood thirsty Rassin ruin your Sunday lunch. You were quick
of the mark with your grim expression and dubious comments of "unjustified
and illegal" at this act by Israel, yet remain ominously silent as the
effects of these 2 evil creatures teachings reach the innocent heads of 4
little girls and their pregnant mother.

Not one of you has, or had the moral conscience to come out and condemn
this horrendous and despicable act. It was carried out by people trained
and heavily brainwashed in barbarism. The same people that you think
deserve millions of dollars in aid and their own state.

These 5 people died a senseless and horrendous death. 4 little girls had
to watch their mother callously murdered before these same dehumanized
ghouls turned their bullets onto these petrified and innocent little girls.
Not a single word of horror or condemnation came out of any of your biased
and bigoted mouths.

One can only imagine what will be written on their death certificates.
One thing is for sure though and that is what will be written on all of
yours:
"Died of Shame caused by irreversible decay of the conscience".
Angela Bertz - Israel

UPDATE
EU Condemns the killing of Israeli family

Yediot Aharonot


Arutz Sheva: More details on yesterday's massacre of the five members of the Hatuel family are now known. Two terrorists from Dir el-Balah, the Arab village closest to Kfar Darom and the Kisufim route to Gush Katif, lay in wait around noon for Jewish cars to arrive. They then opened fire with their Kalachnikov rifles on the cars passing by - the first of which were two armored vans belonging to a CNN news team. No one was hurt, but producer Mike Schwartz realized that a terrorist attack was in progress, and instructed the cars to drive forward and then park in the middle of the road. He thus prevented additional cars from falling into the ambush trap.

Though Schwartz heroically saved the lives of those in some ten cars behind him, he couldn't help the Hatuel family, who was already on its way into the trap. The terrorists shot at the car carrying the mother and her four daughters, and when the vehicle veered off the side of the road, the terrorists performed "ascertainment of death:" they ran over to the car and, at point-blank range, shot each of the occupants to death: Tali, the 8-month pregnant mother, and Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and two-year-old Meirav. The murderers then continued to unload dozens of more bullets into the bodies. Zaka volunteers worked for a long while afterwards to collect the body parts from the car and its vicinity.

It is possible that the terrorists evaded detection by first shooting at nearby IDF outposts, thus causing the surveillance cameras to be momentarily directed away from the road. The murderers took advantage of the moment to run up to the road and take up their positions. In addition to shooting at the cars, the murderers also threw a small bomb at the vehicles. IDF forces who did arrive on the scene shot and killed the two terrorists. Two lightly-wounded soldiers and one moderately-wounded civilian were flown to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.

Hamas, one of the terrorist groups that took responsibility for the attack, said afterwards that just as the Jews of Gush Katif are about to be expelled from their homes because of the Arab resistance, so too will all the Jews of Judea and Samaria be expelled from their homes.

It's hard to believe that there's no mention at CNN.com of the CNN crew's involvement in the attack. Moreover, the Hatuel murders are mentioned only in an article headlined, "Israel kills four militants in West Bank."

Now, c'mon, isn't that weird?

"Never Again" has become "Never Mind"

In today's Daily Camera
'DEMOCIDE' - Nazis killed many more besides Jews

Thank you for your April 19 editorial ("Passionate Blindness") explaining how the film "The Passion of the Christ" can worsen anti-Semitism. Christian anti-Semitism is especially irrational because Christians believe that Jesus had to be crucified in order to save us all. Therefore, Christians should be thankful to everyone who helped crucify him.

However, one common factual error in your editorial is overdue for a correction. Not counting the war, the Nazis killed about 20 million people, about 6 million of which were Jews. That's less than a third of the total, which shows that Mel Gibson was being accurate rather than insensitive when he said "Some of them were Jews."

It is sad that after decades of Holocaust Awareness, most people think that the only targets of the Nazis were Jews. The majority of Nazi victims were Roma ("Gypsies"), homosexuals, the mentally retarded, people with birth defects and anyone who tried to protect these folks. It's time we stopped thinking in terms of genocide, which only covers Jewish losses, and took a more humanist perspective that sees this as democide (the killing of the demos, the people).

DEVIN NORDBERG, Boulder
Did you catch that? He suggests a more "humanist perspective." Never mind the attempt to utterly annihilate the Jews. Never mind that it was almost successful: two out of every three European Jews were murdered, including over a million children. Never mind.


NB: The best estimates are that approximately 250,000 Roma and Sinta were murdered by the Third Reich.

The Jewishness of the Holocaust is well discussed here:
Does the focus on the Jewishness of the Holocaust take away from or minimize the suffering of the millions of non-Jews who were persecuted? Do the Jews, unintentionally perhaps, try to keep all the suffering for themselves? No. On the other hand, does the Holocaust have a particularly crucial and central Jewish element, even though millions of others died? Simply put, the answer is yes. The Holocaust, from its conception to its implementation had a distinctly Jewish aspect to it and, arguably without this Jewish aspect, there would have been no Holocaust. Most of the non-Jewish people would not have been killed because the killing machinery would not have been put into operation.

Susan C. Deans, Vice President and Editor
deanss@dailycamera.com

Stephen E. Millard, Editor of the Editorial Page
millards@dailycamera.com

Clay Evans, Associate Editor
evansc@dailycamera.com

Clint Talbott, Associate Editor
talbottc@dailycamera.com

Open Forum: letters to the editors
openforum@dailycamera.com

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Gush Katif: The Jewish Communities in Gaza


* 21 communities, most of them founded some 20 years ago
* close to 8,000 residents
* 26 synagogues
* over 20 yeshivot, schools and other educational institutions (not including nurseries and kindergartens)
* 900 acres of greenhouses growing bugless lettuce, cherry tomatoes (90% of Israel's exports), organic vegetables, spices, flowers, plants and more
* $60 million a year in exports - an average of $7,500 for every man, woman and child
* manufactures 70% of all of Israel's organic produce
* has faced over 4,000 mortar shells and Kassam rocket attacks, as well as 10,000 shooting incidents, at the hands of Palestinian terrorists over the past 3.5 years
* a 10% growth in population since the Oslo War began in September 2000

Science and Life

As this dreadful day starts to wind down, I am heartened and comforted by reading Rick's Friday post at Jewish Current Issues, about the future or end of science. He relays a truly fascinating debate from a review of the book, The Fabric of the Cosmos. It's an excerpt that's well chosen and important. I read into it that we are always at this critical juncture, of end or no end, asking what understanding is within our grasp.

I was planning to get that book for my son, who is off to college in the fall, wanting to study Jewish mysticism and physics. The thought of his doing so reminds me that there is hope for the future; as surely as the future is moulded by the sudden and brutal murders of a mother and her children, it is also moulded by the living. We must do what we can while we're here.

Israpundit's Joseph Norland offers this perspective on the immediate situation, the day after, as it were:
How did we get to the point where an Israeli government can contemplate ethnic cleansing of Jews in parts of the Land of Israel, accept a "two state solution", and talk about "Palestinians" (without quotation marks)? How did we get to the point where Bush is considered the defender of Israel, when he is the first US president to threaten the free world with a "Palestinian" state? How did we get to the point where the hostility of Europe towards Israel is omnipresent and ubiquitous?

We, Israel supporters, must engage in a vigorous and urgent campaign to reverse these trends. We must, among other things, ensure that we explain the root cause of the Israel/Arab conflict: the all-consuming hatred and rejection by the Arabs of the West, of Jews and of Israel. We must purge our language of the enemy terminology - no more "Palestinians", for example, just Arabs living in Yesha. We must counter every enemy argument, and highlight the enemy's systematic campaign of lies, from Blood Libels to Jenin and al Dura.

Those among us who opposed the surrender plan were faced with the count-argument about the economic burden of Gaza. We must obviate this argument by increasing our contributions to Israel and by ensuring that we purchase Israeli goods at every opportunity. And those among us who invest, can find other avenues to support the Israeli economy and profit personally.

We must also present alternatives to territorial surrender and creation of yet another Arab state. We can, for example, support the proposal of autonomy for Yesha Arabs under Israeli sovereignty over all the former Palestine, a solution advanced by Benjamin Netanyahu in his opus magnum, Durable Peace.

We must not give up on EUrabia, difficult as it may seem. We must engage the people of that continent in dialogue until they see the light. Miracles do happen.
Miracles? Let's hope so. In the meantime, may Gd help us and protect us, and those we love.

Am Yisrael Chai.

PA-controlled Radio covers the day's events

IMRA:

The Voice of Palestine called the men who carried out the earlier attack today that left a pregnant mother and her four children dead "an act of heroic martyrdom". The radio station repeatedly used the term "is tish-had" (heroic martyrdom) and "mustash-hidin" (heroic martyrs) to describe the act committed by "two youths". After reporting the attackers names the radio repeated that they were heroic martyrs.

The Voice of Palestine referred to the victims of the shooting attack as "five settlers" without mentioning that the attack involved a pregnant women and four children who were first shot at a distance of several yards and then finished off from point blank range.

Yasser Arafat's PA condemned tonight the attack in Gaza by Israeli helicopters on the Hamas radio station. "This is a cowardly act by a war criminal," Voice of Palestine quoted a senior Palestinian official.
Michael Widlanski, who teaches at the Hebrew University's Rothberg School, is a former reporter for The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers, and The Boston Globe. He recently completed his doctorate on the political role of the Palestinian mass media.

Sharon Disengagement Plan Rejected by Likud voters

Arutz Sheva: A moderate voter turnout in the Likud - but the victory of the opponents of the unilateral evacuation/expulsion plan was sweeping. The Channel One television prediction, based on exit polls and other information, indicates that the Prime Minister's plan was defeated by a staggering 62%-38% vote.
IDF Hit in Nablus
DEBKA: Missiles fired from Israeli helicopter kill three Palestinian terrorists in Nablus Sunday night, two of them heads of Arafat’s Fatah-Tanzim in city, in rare targeted assassination on West Bank. Earlier, Israeli airborne missiles struck Gaza City building housing Hamas radio station.

JPost says it was four terrorists.
I just saw Jennifer Griffin's report from Israel on FoxNews, and she reported the names of two of the killed terrorists, though not, of course, the names of the innocent civilian Israeli "settler" and her children, who were shot dead at close range.

What kind of coward shoots a two-year-old at close range?

What kind of journalists allow terrorists to be valued enough to be named, yet leave murdered Jewish innocents to an anonymous realm of numbers only?

The whole thing is sickening beyond words.

Thousands of mourners attend funeral in Ashkelon for Tali Hatuel
and her only children . . . Hila, Hadadr, Roni and Merav










May David Hatuel be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. . . and may the Gd of Israel hear our cries.

Israel is small and vulnerable







Between the years 1949 and 1967, the Kingdom of Jordan ruled the
Judea/Samaria highlands. Israel's 'waistline' in the Sharon region
was extremely narrow, totaling a mere 15 km (9 mi.) in the area of
Tulkarm and Netanya. These were cease-fire lines rather than
permanent borders, and were considered to be indefensible, especially
in light of the area's topography, which left Israel in the plains while the
Arab armies controlled the dominating high ground.

The Israeli Foreign Minister at that time, Abba Eban, used to describe
these lines as 'Auschwitz boundaries', in order to illustrate the dangers
inherent in their continued use.

These and other maps of Israel can be found at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

In the U.S. - Banagor is undercover at a Hippie Hangout


AMBUSH: PREGNANT MOM AND FOUR DAUGHTERS MURDERED BY ARAB TERRORISTS


An Israeli soldier takes a bible out of a car that was shot by two
Palestinians, killing a 34 year old Israeli mother and her four
daughters as they were driving the to the Jewish area of the
Gaza Strip, May 2, 2004. REUTERS/Nir Elias


DEBKA: Two Palestinian terrorists shot dead 5 Israelis – a mother and her 4 daughters – in ambush of cars coming out of Gaza Strip’s Gush Katif on Kissufim road. They were Tali Hatuel, 34, a social worker, Hilah, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7 and Meirav, 2. Tali was eight months pregnant. Two Israeli troops and civilian injured before shooting two terrorists dead.

After hitting the Hatuel car, two Palestinians approached and murdered the children and mother at close range under cover of general offensive by several Palestinian bands on Israeli military positions.

AP: The militants opened fire — killing the five family members and wounding a motorist in a second vehicle — before detonating a bomb, the army spokesman said.

The car was riddled with bullets, and the carpet inside was stained with blood. Israel Radio reported the mother had been on her way to protest against Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan. On the car was a bumper sticker saying, "Uprooting the settlements, victory for terror."


Israeli soldiers and rescue workers inspect the car of a Jewish settlers
family after it was attacked by Palestinian militants near the entrance
of the Jewish settlement of Nezer Hazani. . . On the hood of the car a
sign calling for rejecting prime minister Ariel Sharon's plan for the Israeli
withdraw from Gaza on today's Likud party referendum.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)


JPost Two soldiers and an Israeli civilian were also wounded in the attack and were evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheba.


Israeli soldiers carry a wounded comrade to be evacuated from
the area in a helicopter next to the Kitsufim crossing bewteen
Israel and the Gaza Strip. . . (AP Photo/Edi Israel)


The IDF said that both of the gunmen, who arrived at the area by car, were killed in an ensuing firefight.

Settler leaders said that the attack proves that Likud members must vote against the disengagement plan in order not to give a prize to terrorists. "People have to look us in the eyes and not throw us out of our houses," Avner Shimoni, a Gaza settler leader, told Army Radio. "We paid a very heavy price today."

The Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees claimed joint responsibility for the attack. . . .

NY Times: The militant Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella group, claimed responsibility for the "heroic'' attack in a call to The Associated Press.

UPDATE: CNN FILM CREW TRIED TO WARN THE FAMILY
Haaretz: CNN said the Palestinian terrorists opened fire on one of its film crews working near Gush Katif in Gaza.

The CNN crew said that after fleeing the terrorists, they attempted to warn and stop unsuspecting Israeli civilian vehicles leaving Gush Katif in the direction of the terrorists. They did not successfully stop the mother and four daughters who drove past the armored CNN vehicle and were subsequently gunned down by the terrorists.

"We drove on to the nearest army checkpoint, told them what happened, stopped the cars from coming the other way. Then they sent the soldiers and the ambulances in to see what had happened."