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Friday, May 21, 2004

You can help

Invoke Gd's protection for the IDF

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob --may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers' sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.
Now let us respond: Amen.

Hideous in RamAllah

Masked Palestinian activists of the militant group Islamic Jihad
carry a mock army tank with a picture of Israeli army Sergeant
Eitan Newman
, killed in an attack during the latest army operation
in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, during a rally in the West Bank town
of Ramallah, Friday, May 21, 2004. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Big Media: Israel withdrawing from Gaza under international pressure

Led, as far as I can tell, by al Reuters, Big Media (over 2,000 articles, according to Newsmap) is proclaiming a victory: international pressure has caused Israel to withdraw from Rafah. Whether it's true or not, the story benefits those who have written it. It strengthens - and appears to legitimize - the view that Israel is always in the wrong.

DEBKAfile's special correspondent in Rafah says these reports are incorrect, and come from two sources: 1) Israeli political circles trying to stop anti-Israel media and diplomatic campaigns around the world, and 2) from the Palestinians! According to DEBKA, the Palestinians (this is very cynical, but I'm inclined to believe it) want to draw their own civilians out of hiding with the belief that Israeli forces are withdrawing --knowing all the while that the troops will return (to "booby-trapped alleys where ambush squads await").

DEBKA doesn't spell it out, but it's obvious to me that when Israeli troops encounter terrorists hiding among Palestinian civilians, no matter how much care is taken to avoid hurting civilians, they're in the way! And the terrorists score, big time, in the war of world opinion anytime a Palestinian woman or child is accidentally (and unavoidably) injured or killed. It seems the Palestinians are waging their terror war on two fronts -on the ground (which is literally booby-trapped) and in the media, where the "ground" is also laden with hidden "explosives" - while Israel is responding on only one front.

Arutz Sheva, the Jerusalem Post, Maariv and Haaretz are all reporting that Operation Rainbow will continue; the IDF is merely cutting down its presence in some areas and expanding it in others. MiddleEastOnline quotes Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as saying that the operation, designed to destroy tunnels used to smuggle in weapons from under the border with Egypt,would "last for as long as it takes." Army chief of staff General Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Gaza that "We are not demolishing houses either systematically or proactively . . . We took pains before the operation and are taking pains now as well so that the civilians receive everything they need."

Par for the course, everyone and their brother is condemning Israel for destroying the terrorist capability and infrastructure in Gaza, something the Palestinian Authority was supposed to do (and agreed to do) under the Performance-Based Road Map.
WaPo: "In rare public criticism of Israel, the White House rebuked the Jewish state yesterday for its deadly incursion into Gaza, saying it did not 'serve the purposes of peace and security' and had 'worsened the humanitarian situation.'"

IsraelInsider: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell: "We know that Israel has a right for self-defense, but the kind of actions that they are taking in Rafiah -- the destruction of Palestinian homes -- we oppose."

AP: Tony Blair: "We entirely understand the concerns of Israel about acts of terrorism . . But what happened yesterday was unacceptable and wrong."

In Madrid, Spain, [Spanish Prime Minister] Zapatero met with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia. "Every day that we live in this climate of violence we lose a year in the search for peace," Zapatero said. "Peace requires a cease-fire. Peace requires immediate dialogue." (One must assume he means the kind of dialogue Spain had with al Qaeda.)

NTV/MSNBC: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: ". . . Israel’s following such a policy is unacceptable. We harshly condemn yesterday’s events in Gaza. Israel’s actions could affect the whole region."

The Toronto Globe and Mail has the chutzpah to ask, "Is there method behind Israel's madness?"
Enough of this tangent; I can't bear it.

Three Lebanese Canadians Arrested for Montreal Fire-Bombing

Inspecting the damage at the
United Talmud Torah elementary
school in Montreal.(CP PHOTO)
MONTREAL -- Four days after the firebombing of a Montreal Jewish elementary school, police already were investigating one of the young men of Lebanese origin who were eventually charged with the arson, court documents show.

The information is outlined in two applications the Montreal police made before a justice of the peace two weeks ago to retain evidence officers had seized without a search warrant.

The object of the investigators' attention, 18-year-old Sleiman Elmerhebi, was arrested last Friday.

Mr. Elmerhebi and a friend, Simon Zogheib, also 18, were taken into custody and charged with arson and conspiracy.

Mr. Elmerhebi's 36-year-old mother, Rouba Elmerhebi Fahd, was also arrested and charged with being an accessory after the fact.

After a day-long hearing, the mother was released yesterday on $20,000 bail. Quebec Court Judge Robert Sansfaçon will rule Tuesday on whether to release her son.

All three accused are Canadian citizens of Lebanese origin.
FBI Warning to Homeland Law Enforcement:

Be on the alert for suicide killers

The FBI is warning law enforcement agencies to be on the alert for the possibility that suicide bombers may attempt to strike inside the United States. A lightly classified intelligence bulletin circulated Thursday to 18,000 U.S. law enforcement bodies is headlined "Possible suicide bomber indicators," and was distributed via the Bureau’s secure Law Enforcement Online (LEO) Intranet. It warns local badge-carriers to look for obvious signs of trouble — people wearing heavy, bulky jackets on warm days, smelling of chemicals, trailing wires from their jackets — as well, more subtle ones, such as tightly clenched fists. Someone who never shows his palms could be gripping a detonator rigged to go off when a button is released. "If you shoot him, you're still not safe because his hands relax and the bomb explodes," says a counter-terrorism official.

The FBI bulletin also notes that suicide bombers may disguise themselves in stolen military, police or firefighter's garb, or even as pregnant women.

FBI sources say there's no hard intelligence warning of specific plans by terrorists to launch suicide attacks here like those wreaking havoc in Israel and Iraq. But, says one official, the circular was prompted by "a renewed concern" that fury at the U.S. for its occupation of Iraq or its support of Israel could move some extremists to attempt to bring the war to the American homeland. "At the end the day, it's probably one of the simplest forms of attack, and it's one of the hardest to detect," says one counter-terror veteran.

At a pro-Arab-Palestinian demonstration in Berlin, Germany
on April 13, 2002, an Arab demonstrator carries his daughter,
who is wearing a mock suicide terrorist explosive belt.
Photo: Jan Bauer/AP, via the ADL

Yad Vashem criticizes Austrian newspaper for antisemitism

cartoon compares IDF with Nazis

title is "Then and Now"
JPost: In a rare move, Yad Vashem on Thursday criticized an Austrian newspaper for running a caricature that compared an IDF solider to a Nazi.

In the caricature titled "Then and Now," which appeared Wednesday in the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, a frightened Jew appears on one side of the cartoon, labeled past, as a Nazi soldier, with a swastika on his arm, bears down on him.

On the other half of the caricature, marked present, a small, frightened Palestinian child appears, with an Israeli soldier with a Star of David on his arm bearing down on him.

"The caricature is a classic expression of the new antisemitism... which diminishes the Holocaust and distorts both today's reality as well as that of the Holocaust," a press release issued Thursday by Yad Vashem read.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

WMD Found, Part II

What would be "adequate proof"?

I'm posting this in its entirety, because frankly, it's amazing.
Charles Smith at Newsmax connects the dots:

The discovery of an Iraqi artillery shell armed with nerve gas has the liberal community and mass media in a panic.

The 155mm nerve gas shell was rigged to kill U.S. troops but it failed. U.S. Brig. General Mark Kimmitt confirmed the discovery during a news conference in Baghdad.

Yet, the discovery of nerve gas was followed by a second revelation. A second shell, equipped with mustard gas was found two weeks ago.

The mustard gas shell identified by the special WMD inspection team in Iraq appears to be one of 550 declared by Saddam to U.N. inspectors during the early 1990s. These shells disappeared later in 2002 when Hans Blix asked to see them.

The sudden discovery of nerve gas and mustard gas in Iraq can be added to two other recent events ignored by the mainstream media.

Saddam and Osama

The first took place during the 9/11 hearings when former Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen testified that in 1998 Saddam's top nerve gas experts met with several members of al Qaeda in Baghdad. Clearly, such a meeting places the top terrorist with the leading Middle East dictator in the same basket. The dangerous combination of two madmen, mixed with weapons of mass destruction, seems to blow the "no threat here" argument out of the water.

However, that is not enough for the left.

The second event, a foiled gas attack in Jordan, piles more facts higher and deeper. The attack, led by Al Qaeda operatives, reportedly could have killed 20,000 people. The Jordanians were very clear about the foiled attack, the weapon involved was deadly gas and the terrorists, based in Iraq, entered by the Syrian border.

Jordanian diplomats have informed me that the investigation into the foiled gas attack is still under way and that at least two other members of the terrorist team are still on the run. Still, this is not enough proof for the anti-war fanatics.

Kill U.N. Teams

It is very clear from what we have found so far that Iraq did have chemical weapons and was trying to hide its arsenal. The discrepancies between documentation, box markings and actual items found clearly show that an intentional effort was made by Iraqi troops to mislead U.N. inspection teams. In some cases false shipping documents written in English were discovered with the weapons.

The effort to find chemical or biological weapons is being hampered by the vast quantity of conventional munitions stored under dangerous conditions. The Iraqi Army was well known for storing chemical weapons with its conventional explosives.

The Iraqi program to hide its weapons programs from U.N. inspectors was no small effort. Aviation Week and Space Technology noted in an article published in September 2002 that Iraq went to great lengths to conceal its arms technology.

According to Aviation Week, the Iraqis tried to destroy a German aircraft and its crew on a U.N. mission. The Iraqis were trying to prevent documents produced by the U.N. inspectors from leaving the country.

The U.N. documents covered details found on Iraq's nuclear weapons programs and a blueprint for aggressive, military-backed, inspections to root out the underground WMD programs. The documents also contained "rough" details of Iraqi command authorities, weapons production and delivery systems.

France and Russia

Iraq did most of its killing using Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi aircraft equipped with chemical sprayers. In addition, Saddam used French-made artillery and helicopters to dump gas on the Iranians and his own people.

The 155mm shell found outside of Baghdad airport was made for Iraq's arsenal of French made artillery. Clearly, the shell was designed to meet French military standards to fire and used advanced safety techniques to protect Iraqi gunners.

It was that safety technique, of separating the nerve gas into two inert chemicals, and placing them in two chambers inside the shell, that foiled the terrorist attack. The "binary" chemical weapons design has a metal or plastic diaphragm designed to keep the two inert chemicals apart until the massive force or shock of firing it down a cannon bursts the wall, allowing the chemicals to mix.

Ironically, the binary weapons design originated inside the former Soviet Union. Saddam Hussein rose to power backed by Russian weapons and Russian money. Saddam still owes Moscow over $8 billion for the arms he purchased from Russia.

The primary Iraqi chemical weapons are nerve gas and mustard gas, a blistering agent, standard equipment for the 1980s Soviet era military machine.

According to "Russian Military Power" published in 1982, "It is known that the Soviets maintain stocks of CW (chemical weapons) agents." The two primary Russian chemical weapons in the 1982 Soviet inventory were "nerve" gas and "blistering agents - developments of mustard gas used so effectively in World War I."

Iraq obtained Russian chemical delivery systems and the same inventory of Russian made chemical weapons at the same time. Iraqi SU-22 Fitter attack jets have been armed with Warsaw Pact designed bombs filled with chemical weapons.

Iraq used these Russian jet fighters to drop chemical weapons on Iranian troops during the Iran/Iraq war. Iraq tried to use these SU-22 jets during the 1991 Gulf war and was foiled by the allied air superiority.

The Next Attack

We are indeed fortunate that the two weapons discovered so far were not used correctly. However, it is clear, that much like cockroaches - when your find one it is an indication of many more. Saddam did not make just one - he made tons.

Saddam had 220 tons of nerve gas, counted previously by U.N. inspectors that he could not declare to Hans Blix. The deadly gas, and the delivery systems, vanished into the Iraqi desert and points beyond.

U.S. satellite's detected large convoys of unspecified equipment flowing over the Iraqi/Syrian border just prior to the war. The General in charge of our space assets has publicly noted the photos showing what appeared to be weaponry passed from Iraq to Syria.

We all know from the anti-war fanatics that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - the leftist media and pundits have pounded that assertion into the American TV fact file. We are told again and again that George Bush lied.

The recent discovery of nerve gas and mustard gas in Iraq is clearly proof that it was Saddam Hussein that was lying. Saddam lied about his weapons and has hidden more than one for future use.

The fact is the left will not be satisfied with the recent discovery. How many need to be found - two - ten - a thousand? The left does not feel that any number of these dangerous weapons reaches the level of adequate proof.

Yet, the one important question they will not answer is: How many have to die from such a weapon to qualify?

You never know when you'll need it, so commit this quote to memory:
". . . former Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen testified that in 1998 Saddam's top nerve gas experts met with several members of al Qaeda in Baghdad."

Jordanian Soldier Attacks Israelis - No one injured

(Israel and Jordan signed a Treaty of Peace in 1994)
Arutz Sheva: Thursday afternoon, a Jordanian soldier managed to infiltrate into the VIP waiting room at the border crossing between Israel and Jordan. Four Israelis were waiting to receive a permit to cross the border at the time and the soldier opened fire in their direction. Miraculously, his rifle jammed after firing only one bullet, and Jordanian security forces apprehended him.

Following the incident Israeli security forces contacted Jordanian forces and arranged for the crossing of the four Israelis - two academics, a journalist and a Defense Ministry official.

One of the Israelis present at the border crossing during the incident was journalist Israel Harel, an advocate of Jewish settlement in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza). "We were waiting in the VIP room for our passports to be returned,” he told Army Radio. “A policeman came in and fired a bullet that just missed us. His rifle jammed and he cocked it. He pulled the trigger again and again but the rifle didn't fire and eventually there were about 30 bullets on the floor around him. A low-ranking officer jumped on him and then some more people arrived on the scene and apprehended the man,” Harel said.

This is not the first time since the peace agreement with Jordan that Jordanian soldiers have attacked Israelis. Seven Jewish schoolgirls from Beit Shemesh were murdered when a Jordanian soldier opened fire on their class trip to the "Island of Peace – which is controlled by Jordan.

Portland lawyer released

A Case of Mistaken Fingerprints?
MSNBC: Federal authorities Thursday released an Oregon lawyer held in connection with the Madrid terror bombings after Spanish police said that fingerprints on a bag containing detonators like those used in the bombing were not his.

The man, Brandon Mayfield, 37, a lawyer and former Army officer who converted to Islam in the late 1980s, was arrested May 6 as a material witness. FBI agents also searched his home in the Portland suburb of Aloha.

The Spanish government announced then that his prints had been uncovered on a plastic shopping bag, which was inside a stolen van that had been left near the train station from which three of the four bombed trains departed. The bag contained detonators of the kind used in the attack, which killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others on March 11, officials said.

Thursday, Spanish police said that the fingerprints were actually those of a man from Algeria, identified as Ouhnane Daoud, who remains at large.

Spanish police would not comment when asked whether the development fully exonerated Mayfield, but U.S. officials had told NBC News earlier Thursday that the prints were the only information that could link him to the bag.

Senior law enforcement officials told NBC News earlier this month that Mayfield had been matched with the fingerprints on the bag through the FBI fingerprint database, adding that his prints were in the system because he served in the U.S. military.

Mayfield passed the Oregon bar in 2000 and largely kept a low profile in the Portland legal community until 2002, when he volunteered to represent a Muslim terrorism suspect, Jeffrey Battle, in a child custody case.

Battle was among six Portland-area residents who were sentenced last year on charges of conspiring to wage war against the United States by helping al-Qaida and the former Taliban rulers of Afghanistan.

Mayfield was not involved with Battle’s defense in that case. Law enforcement officials in Washington did not know of any contacts between Mayfield and the other Portland terrorism defendants.
Oh, one last quote:
Holding a Quran and grasping his wife’s hand, Mayfield walked out of the Multnomah County Detention Center in downtown Portland on Thursday afternoon.

“I want to thank my family and friends who were supporting me through this, what I would call a harrowing ordeal. I just want to say God is great. There is no God but God," he said at a news conference.

Is that, might that be, is the translation, Allah Akbar? After seeing (and hearing) the video of Nick Berg's slaughter, I don't really want to hear that.

Sarin? What Sarin?

William Safire

You probably missed the news because it didn't get much play, but a small, crude weapon of mass destruction may have been used by Saddam's terrorists in Iraq this week.

The apparent weapon was sarin gas, a highly toxic nerve agent that causes victims to choke to death. Developed by the Nazis, it has been used in the past by terrorists in Japan to kill a dozen subway riders and panic thousands, and by Saddam Hussein, who produced tons of it to kill Iraqi Kurds.

Rigged as an "improvised explosive device," or roadside bomb, the 155-millimeter howitzer shell was accidentally detonated by a U.S. ordnance team. Two men were treated for what an Army spokesman called "minor exposure" to the nerve gas.

You never saw such a rush to dismiss this as not news. U.N. weapons inspectors whose reputations rest on denial of Saddam's W.M.D. pooh-poohed the report. "It doesn't strike me as a big deal," said David Kay.

Must-read it all.

Is it a rush to dismiss? or, as Gary Aldrich posits, A.D.D. ?

European Governments Slash Funding to Human Rights Group

... for monitoring Arafat's PA

TheScotsman.com: Gethin Chamberlain, Diplomatic Correspondent
ARAB prisoners beaten and tortured, innocent bystanders killed by gunfire - another damning human rights report.

But the difference this time is that the violence is being perpetrated not by coalition forces in Iraq, but by the Palestinian Authority, and the victims are its own people.

The report, partly funded by the Finnish government, claims Palestinian cities are in a state of near anarchy, with people on the payroll of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed for 90 per cent of gangland violence.

It highlights numerous incidents of torture of prisoners and refers to the killing of civilians in gunbattles between Palestinian factions.

Its latest report describes the situation in PA areas as "the Intra’fada" or "the chaos of the weapons", and paints a picture of a society where the proliferation of guns has brought grave consequences for the people.

It says: "PA security forces do not live up to international laws and regulations concerning the treatment of individuals under arrest.

"There have been several cases in which Palestinian civilians were arrested without proper reason, and suffered beatings and other forms of torture at the hands of the police."

It cites an incident in July last year in which a worker from Bethlehem was forcibly taken from his house and interrogated by members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, working with the PA, who accused him of collaborating with Israel.

"Under threat of violence [including firing at his feet] the man confessed to having committed certain thefts, but insisted that he was not responsible for Israeli assassinations of Palestinians in Bethlehem.

"When he finished his ‘confession’, the militants broke his hand and leg, smashed his teeth and hit him with an iron bar on his back. He was then dumped into a garbage container where he was found the next day."

The report says the examples quoted are the tip of the iceberg. "Violence permeates the security forces, and it is worsened by legal confusions. Unless and until more accountability and order is introduced, the problem will remain and could worsen as PA control continues to deteriorate," it says.

It is another blow for Mr Arafat’s organisation, which was recently accused of misusing £134 million of European Union funds. Mr Arafat was accused of signing cheques to people linked with terrorist activity.

The organisation behind the latest report, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG), has won few friends for its work documenting human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Although it has been strongly critical of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, its criticism of the PA has seen its funding by European governments slashed.

According to the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute, Basem Eid, the man who set up the PHRMG after years investigating Israeli human rights abuses, has struggled to find funding because his former backers were concerned about the political implications of being seen to support a group that exposes Palestinian abuses. Yesterday, MEMRI’s director, Yigal Carmon, said that as soon as Basem Eid decided to investigate Palestinian abuses as well as Israeli abuses, his support dried up.
Irish Foreign Minister and EU President, Brian Cowen:

"Israeli forces showed a reckless disregard for human life"

DUBLIN (AFP) - Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, condemned Israel's military operation in Rafah as "reckless disregard for human life."
"It is clear that today's action was completely disproportionate to any threat faced by the Israeli military and that Israeli forces showed a reckless disregard for human life," he said Wednesday.
* * *

Israel replied with a statement that it was "sickened" by these comments. "Outraged" would have been a better term, but unfortunately, it might not have been accurate.

* * *

Meanwhile, French President Jacques Chirac has enlightened us all, saying that human rights must be respected in the fight against terrorism.

Deutsche Welle Opinion

Israel Faces a Growing Barrage of Criticism
DW-World.DE: Israel is facing an increasing barrage of criticism that cannot be overlooked. But Israeli officials continue to act as though they have nothing to worry about. The "operations" in Rafah are forging ahead. The death of innocent civilians is "regrettable."

Denial, indifference

Government spokespeople tried to deny that demonstrators were attacked. A warning shot accidentally hit the crowd, they said. Then, we were told that Palestinians were to blame for allowing gunmen to mix in with a civilian crowd. Another official simply said that civilians who hang around in warzones should know they're taking a risk.

That must sound like sheer mockery in the ears of the Palestinians. Civilians weren't just "hanging around" there -- they live in the area, and were demonstrating against the destruction of hundreds of homes, and against the restrictions they face in their daily lives because of the occupation.

Many of these restrictions run contrary to the Geneva Convention, and to most international agreements. In Israel's official circles, one frequently hears the opinion that such conventions don't apply when they stand in the way a state's own military and political strategy. For decades now, Israel has insisted that the West Bank and Gaza Strip aren't really "occupied territories" and for that reason, the Geneva Convention doesn't have to be obeyed there.

Understandable motive

The reason for the army's incursions? Weapons and explosives are being smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels. Israel says the offensive will continue until it can be sure that these tunnels are cut off for good.

It's an understandable motive, but it in no way can it or should it justify the random killing of civilians, especially children. In the most macabre of ways, parallels are being drawn between Israel's actions in Rafah, and those of the U.S. in Fallujah -- between the shooting of demonstrators, and the U.S. bombing of a wedding party in western Iraq. There, just as in Israel, soldiers become extremely thin-skinned, and find themselves making knee-jerk reactions in certain situations. First, they fire, and only then -- sometimes -- do they ask.

Still, there are voices in the Israeli public, and in the government, who are drawing the only appropriate conclusion from this current situation. The occupation has to end. In the case of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, those voices have yet to be heard. But Washington's decision to abstain from the Rafah question points to the first stirrings of change.

Peter Philipp (dc)

If you scroll down to the very bottom of this webpage, there is a question asked, under the heading "Feedback" -- Is Israel justified in its actions in the Gaza Strip?

I beg you to answer the question. I did.
I don't understand why you even ask this question: "Is Israel justified in its actions in the Gaza Strip?"

Did you ever hear of Tali Hatuel? Eighteen days ago, she was driving with her four young daughters from Gaza to Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorists shot at the car and it spun off the road. The terrorists then approached the car and shot the mother and four little girls at close range, including Hila, who was 11 years old; Hadar, who was 9 years old, Roni who was 7; and little Merav, only two years old. The terrorists then videotaped them bleeding to death.

Tali Hatuel was a social worker who counseled terror attack victims and their survivors. She was eight months pregnant.

Rafah (and Gaza in general) is used by Arab terror groups to smuggle, procure and produce weapons, with which the terrorists seek to murder more Israelis. You can see photographs of terrorist weapons attempted to be smuggled into Gaza at http://www1.idf.il/SIP_STORAGE/DOVER/files/5/31365.pdf.

There is an utter disconnect between this opinion piece, "Israel Faces a Growing Barrage of Criticism" by Peter Philipp, and Israeli reality. I am shocked and appalled that the German people do not seem to understand the threat to Jewish existence that this war of terror represents.

You should be ashamed. Doubly ashamed.

al Aqsa Brigades threaten kidnappings

A masked militant of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The radical Palestinian group said it would kidnap
New York Times reporters Israeli soldiers to secure
the release of Fatah chief Marwan Barghuti who was
convicted of murder by a Tel Aviv court.
(AFP/File/Mahmud Hams)

The Anti-Bush

"Right now he's the anti-Bush and nothing more"
--Rob Gray, Republican political consultant

Read about "Kerry's Strategic Silence" at NationalReviewOnline.

Or check the latest polls: The Anti-Bush is in the lead by an average of 1.6%.

UN Security Council:
Israel must stop defending herself demolition of Palestinian homes


photo: White House Archives

UN News Centre: 19 May 2004 – Concerned by the recent demolition of homes in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations Security Council today called on Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law and insisted on its obligation not to destroy homes contrary to that law.

The Council voted 14 in favour, with the United States abstaining, to adopt a resolution expressing its grave concern regarding the humanitarian situation of Palestinians made homeless in the Rafah area, and calling for the provision of emergency assistance.

As is written,
"For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this . . . ."
Esther 4, 14

Dear Supporter of Israel,

I write to you on behalf of a 20 year-old Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer who is facing long years in prison on trumped-up charges.

In the course of IDF combat operations against Palestinian terrorists last year, the young officer was alleged to have shot a British anti-Israel militant who was aiding the Palestinians. The IDF conducted a thorough investigation, and ruled that the officer acted correctly and lawfully. However, following an outrageous campaign of pressure, intimidation and diplomatic threats by the British government, the officer was arrested and falsely charged with homicide. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.

For decades, Israeli soldiers have risked and given their lives to defend the Jewish homeland. Now, you have the opportunity - and the privilege and duty - of defending an Israeli soldier.

Since the outbreak of the current round of Palestinian violence in September 2000, Israeli troops have conducted thousands of counter-terrorism operations in the towns and villages of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in the heart of hostile and dangerous Palestinian population centers.

The IDF's ability to operate effectively in these areas against the Palestinian terrorists has been systematically and intentionally obstructed by groups of foreign volunteers, who are used by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority as ''human shields''.

The most dangerous of these groups is the Palestinian-financed International Solidarity Movement(ISM). The ISM recruits anti-Israel radicals, primarily from Europe, and sends them to Judea, Samaria and Gaza to disrupt Israeli military operations. The presence of these foreign civilians in the midst of the Palestinian population obstructs the IDF's ability to fight Palestinian terrorists. By interfering with Israeli counter-terrorism operations, the ISM directly endangers the lives of Israeli civilians.

In April 2003, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that:
"ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, their activity in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip is under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations."

ISM encourages its members to enter Israel on fraudulent visa applications and illegally cross into the territories

ISM demonstrators regularly disrupt IDF patrols in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

ISM members have been arrested vandalizing and destroying Israeli security fences and equipment

On March 27, 2003 fugitive Islamic Jihad terrorist, Shadi Sukiya, was arrested in a house in Jenin rented by the ISM

On April 30, 2003, two British Muslims blew themselves up at a popular Tel Aviv nightspot, Mike's Place, killing three and injuring fifty. The terrorist had spent the weeks before the attack living with the ISM in Gaza.
On April 11, 2003, a group of ISM operatives were interfering with IDF operations in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. Tom Hurndall, an ISM member from England, was among a group of ISM and other foreign militants who had taken up positions among a mob of Palestinians who had illegally congregated in a closed military zone. Hurndall was allegedly shot and injured when the mob resisted an IDF operation to clear the zone.

After being evacuated by the IDF to an Israeli hospital for treatment, Hurndall was flown by his parents to a London medical facility for further care. Nine months later, on January 13, 2004 he died of pneumonia in the London hospital.

At the time of the incident a young Israeli officer was questioned about the shooting. The IDF found no misconduct or breach of regulations regarding the use of live fire.

However, under furious pressure from the British government and a sophisticated propaganda campaign launched by Hurndall's parents, and despite the finding by the IDF that the officer had acted correctly, cowed Israeli prosecutors did an about-face and charged the officer with ''intent to cause injury.'' After Hurndall died of pneumonia, the charge was amended to ''homicide.'' The young IDF officer, 20 years old, now faces the prospect of life in prison.

Not surprisingly, the case against the IDF officer has become a cause celebre for Israel's opponents in England. Britain's anti-Israeli press has tried to depict Hurndall as an innocent volunteer, who died trying to save Palestinians from Israeli military aggression. They do not question what Hurndall was doing in Gaza in the first place, nor why he was interfering with an IDF operation in Rafah.

Hurndall's family has repeatedly flown to Israel to pursue the case, and has retained radical left-wing attorneys to advise them on ensuring that the soldier receives the maximum penalty. They are carrying out a loud public campaign to convict the officer. Representatives of the British Embassy attend all the court hearings, as a crude but effective means of intimidating and influencing the judges.

And who in the Jewish community is standing up to defend this Israeli soldier?

The Jewish People has a long-standing tradition of not abandoning its soldiers on the battlefield. We must not allow this IDF officer to be turned into a scapegoat, his young life thrown away to appease the British Foreign Office.

Shurat HaDin has organized a campaign to assist in his legal defense.

Only a strong IDF can safeguard the Jewish State. If you care about Israel's future and security then you must not remain silent while our soldiers are falsely prosecuted and imprisoned. We must give every soldier serving in the IDF the solidarity and support he deserves.

I call upon you to join in the legal defense campaign being organized by Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center on behalf of this IDF officer. This is your opportunity to defend a defender of the Jewish people.


Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq.



An Israeli protester holds a picture of a woman killed
during the Palestinian uprising, at the end of Marwan
Barghouthi's hearing in a Tel Aviv District Court, May
20, 2004. REUTERS/ Nir Elias

JPost: The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday convicted West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in the deaths of 5 Israelis.

Barghouti was convicted of four of the 37 terror attacks he was charged with orchestrating, including three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. In addition, he was convicted of membership of a terrorist organization.

The judges said that, even though it was clear Barghouti was involved in the other terrorist attacks, there was not enough concrete evidence to link him with the rest of the cases, as required by Israeli law.

The verdict stated that Barghouti, in his capacity as commander of the both the Fatah-Tanzim and the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades in the West Bank, he was responsible for all of the terror organizations' military activities.

It also said that, in this position "he was a direct subordinate of Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat. His military actions were intrinsically connect to his political work, as secretary general of the Fatah in the West Bank and member of the Palestinian parliament."
According to a Justice Ministry spokesman, Barghouti "can expect multiple life sentences."


Barghouti, speaking at the trial, said, "We the Palestinians believe in peace, the Intifadah has been an effort to achieve a peace process."

MK Ahmed Tibi (yes, an Arab member of Israel's Knesset, duly elected) said, "the occupation cannot judge the leaders of the Palestinian people and its freedom fighters."

Commenting on the verdict, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said: "We may have to consider putting Arafat on trial one of these days."

Among the family members who demonstrated outside the courthouse, was Zion Sveri, whose three sons were murdered in a terror attack on the Modi’in Jerusalem highway in August of 2001. Sveri told Maariv Online, “I came to the trial to witness the sentence of Barghouti, who was convicted of murdering my children and probably many other children who were killed by his operatives. There is no death sentence in Israel so I hope he will rot in prison for the rest of his life”. (Maariv)

UPDATE: The other day, I turned on NPR at three various times during the day when I was in the car; all three times they were discussing the Abu Grahib scandal. This morning, coming home from bringing my daughter to school, I heard their coverage of this trial. Barghouti was quoted at length about the illegitimacy of the Israeli court and prosecutors. No one else was quoted. Oh yeah, and they called him an "activist" (he's a terrorist murderer).

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, "Palestinians hold their guns"

Two Armed Palestinians hold their guns during anti Israeli
demonstration to protest against Israeli forces at the Ein
el-Hilweh Refugee camp near the southern Lebanese city of
Sidon, Thursday May 20, 2004. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Gaza Arabs try to kidnap James Bennet of the New York Times

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - A New York Times correspondent narrowly escaped a kidnap attempt by Palestinians while covering a massive Israeli army raid into Gaza's Rafah refugee camp, the newspaper said on Thursday.

James Bennet, bureau chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories, said he was speaking on a cellphone in front of a Rafah hospital on Wednesday when a Palestinian he did not know came up, smiled and offered his hand, saying "Welcome."

When Bennet shook his hand, the man and another Palestinian grabbed him and tried to thrust him into an old Mercedes car that pulled up with its back door open, recalling kidnappings of foreigners by Muslim militants in wartime Beirut in the 1980s.

An abduction was averted only by police at the hospital, who ran to Bennet's assistance in response to his struggle and cries. The men then jumped in the car and sped away, the correspondent said in his dispatch in Thursday's Times.

You can read the rest, but it basically just says that this is highly unusual (except for the last time it happened), is due to anti-American sentiment (blame George Bush) which in turn is due to Bush's "pro-Israel tilt" (blame Ariel Sharon), and lastly, that the Foreign Press Association urged officials on both sides to protect journalists.

That's very balanced of them, don't you think? To urge Israel, too, not to kidnap New York Times reporters? Very balanced and very necessary. After all, according to opinion at the New York Times, the Jewish "settlers" in Gaza are no different than Arab terrorists. You just never know when religious Jews - with their "religious messiansim," "absolutist visions," and "disdain for man-made laws" - might just, well, do anything.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Real Shocker!
PA Inflated Figures of Palestinians Killed

Israel Television Channel One defense correspondent Yoav Limor reports from a senior Israeli defense source that it now turns out that seven Palestinians were killed in the incident this afternoon in Rafah - of which 5 were armed Palestinians.

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

from the IDF Spokesman

Rafah Incident, 19 May 2004

Today's incident in Rafah is a very grave incident and the IDF expresses deep sorrow over the loss of civilian lives.

At no point in this incident was intentional fire opened in the direction of civilians.

A large procession of several hundreds demonstrators, among them gunmen, organized by the Palestinian Authority, left central Rafah along the main road towards IDF forces in Tel-Sultan.

As the crowd, with the gunmen among them, drew near IDF forces, a warning fire of a single missile was fired from a helicopter into an open area, not towards the demonstrators.

In addition, flares were fired in the air to deter the crowd and to prevent endangering the demonstrators. As this did not deter the crowd and they continued to converge on the troops, machine gun fire was opened towards a wall of an abandoned structure along the side of the road and then four tank shells were fired at this abandoned structure.

It is possible that the causalities were a result of the tank fire on the abandoned structure. The details of the incident continue to be investigated.

It should be mentioned that the scene of the incident is an area of combat and an area of frequent exchanges of fire. The road has been rigged with explosive charges planted by the Palestinians. The IDF has not yet cleared the road of these explosives.

At this stage it is difficult to determine the cause of the civilian casualties. The incident is being investigated thoroughly at this time.

The IDF has approached the Palestinians and offered medical assistance, including the evacuation of the casualties to Israeli hospitals.

Get this scenario

As the Israel Defense Force was moving into Gaza to destroy tunnels used for smuggling weapons and explosives in from Egypt, they had to fight off terrorists who surrounded themselves with children. At the time, Pres. Bush was telling AIPAC members that "Israel has every right to defend itself" (see below.

The very next day -today- after reports of Palestinians killed and injured in Gaza, the President urged Israel to show restraint and "respect innocent life."

Now DEBKA is reporting that a U.S. helicopter strike has killed 20 to 40 Iraqis at wedding party (Iraqi sources say more than 40 victims, including 15 children and 10 women).

Meanwhile, it's Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, in Israel.

A crowd of Israelis waving flags march in Jerusalem
Wednesday May 19, 2004. Israelis celebrated the 37th
anniversary of Jerusalem Day, which marks the day of
the capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 War.
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

UN Ambulance Caught Red-Handed

Arutz Sheva: Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz announced [Sunday, May 16] that UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) ambulances were used to steal and transport body parts of Israeli soldiers killed in last Wednesday’s bomb attack on the Philadelphi route in southern Gaza. The senior minister called upon UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan to address the disturbing phenomenon.
This story is also covered at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and badly, by al Reuters under the headline, "Israel Gunmen Used UN Ambulances to Carry Remains"

A Google News Search for [unrwa + ambulance] yields 53 results.
There are 16,500 results for [israel + gaza].

Stop the Moral Equivalence

Suicide bombing and hostage-taking vs. democracy
by Garry Kasparov (yes, the world's leading chess player) at WSJ Opinion Journal

It is said that to win a battle you must be the one to choose the battleground. Since the Abu Ghraib abuses were revealed, the battleground has been chosen by those who would blur the lines between terrorists and those fighting against them. The Bush administration has contributed to the confusion with its ambiguous "war on terror." You cannot fight a word. You need targets, you need to know what you are fighting for and against. Most importantly you must have beliefs that enable you to distinguish friend from foe.

While al Qaeda may not have a headquarters to bomb, there is no shortage of visible adversaries. What is required is to name them and to take action against them. We must also drag into the light those leaders and media who fail to condemn acts of terror. It is not only Al Jazeera talking about "insurgents" in Iraq, it is CNN. Many in Europe and even some in the U.S. are trying to differentiate "legitimate" terrorism from "bad" terrorism. Those who intentionally kill innocent civilians are terrorists, as are their sponsors. No political agenda should be allowed to advance through terrorist activity. We need to identify our enemy, not play with words.

The situation is worse in the Muslim world. Calling the terrorists "militants" or "radical Islamists" presupposes the existence of moderates willing to confront the radicals. Outside of Turkey, it is very hard to find moderate clerics who will stand up to Islamist terrorists, even though the majority of their victims are Muslim. In Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr has been murdering his religious opposition and using armed gangs to establish political rule. He appears immune to anything resembling condemnation. We know that his militia receives outside support--and where would it come from other than Syria and Iran?

We have seen 25 years of anti-Western propaganda and hatred emanating from Iran, not only against Israel and the U.S. but against the liberal values that make up the core of our civilization. The effect has been to so polarize the Muslim world that we are left with two unappealing groups. On one side you have those who rally support by exhortation against a common foe: America and Israel. We may call this the Arafat model. By appearing to be the only viable leader in Palestine he has received billions of dollars from the European Union to prop up his corrupt organization and to fund terrorism. Hijacking, suicide bombings, hostage-taking--this "Palestinian know-how" has been exported throughout the region.

Leaders of this type focus the energy of an impoverished people into fighting a sworn enemy. They realize that the free circulation of liberal ideas would threaten their hold on power. With modern methods of communication it is impossible to build a new Iron Curtain, so they convince their people that they are engaged in a war against the very source of these democratic ideals. Arafat has done this successfully for decades.

On the other side of this dual model we have dictators who present themselves as the last bastion against religious extremists. Gen. Musharraf in Pakistan and the Saudi royal family are supported by the U.S. and given free reign to limit human rights because they are considered the lesser evil. Yet the more favor they have with the U.S., the more they are hated at home, empowering the extremist opposition. Everyone gets what they want in the short run but it is a recipe for inevitable meltdown.

U.S. success in Iraq is essential in order to provide an alternative model. Unlike Vietnam, there will be repercussions for global security if America does not finish the job. This is the big picture that must stay in focus. We are dealing with an enemy who considers the concessions and privileges of democracy to be weaknesses. To prove them wrong we must follow through.

The Islamic public-relations offensive is focused on proving that the West is corrupt and offers no improvement on the despots in charge throughout the Islamic world. At the same time, Al Jazeera isn't examining Vladimir Putin's war against Muslims in Chechnya. All of Chechnya is one big Abu Ghraib, but the Islamic world pays scant attention to the horrible crimes there because Mr. Putin shares their distaste for liberal democracy. The war is not about defending Muslims; it is about Western civilization and America as its representative.

Continue . . .

I cannot help but wonder how things might be different now - if Israel had taken Arafat out years ago, and/or if the U.S. had attacked Saudi Arabia in response to 9/11.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

for Shavuos

Plant a tree and receive Israeli fruit basket

Have a tree planted in your behalf in an Israeli Air Force base and help strengthen Israel. Receive a straw basket filled with various Israeli dried fruits. $16.95
Kosher under the supervision of Badatz of Israel.

Bush tells AIPAC "Israel has every right to defend itself" (duh)

(This is Big News - see NewsMap.)
Jewish vote -about 4% of electorate- could prove pivotal in November

U.S. President George W. Bush smiles as he receives
applause from members of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, in Washington May 18, 2004. Bush
today pushed his Mideast peace effort as his
administration tries sway Jewish voters who could
prove crucial in a tight election. At left is AIPAC's
executive director Howard Kohr and at right is AIPAC
president Bernice Monacherian. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

AP: The president got two dozen standing ovations in an address before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group whose political support has been courted by the administration, particularly as Bush faces re-election.

Jewish voters preferred Democrat Al Gore over Bush by a 4-to-1 margin in 2000, but Bush's political advisers think even a slight increase in support among Jewish voters could help the Republican incumbent in what they expect to be another tight election. . . .

Lawrence Grossman, editor of the American Jewish Yearbook, published by the American Jewish Committee, said Bush seems intent on winning a larger share of the Jewish vote."

Exit polling showed Jewish voters constituted about 4 percent of the electorate in 2000.

Grossman said Jewish voters are concentrated in three states that Bush most wants to win, including Florida, with 620,000; Pennsylvania, with 282,000; and Ohio, with 149,000. The disputed 2000 election was decided in Florida by 537 votes. Bush narrowly won Ohio, and lost Pennsylvania.

Surprise! New Amnesty International report critical of Israel

"Evictions and Demolitions Must Stop"
According to Amnesty's press release yesterday,
Israel's unjustified destruction of thousands of Palestinian and Arab Israeli homes as well as vast areas of agricultural land has reached an unprecedented level and must stop immediately, Amnesty International said today.

Over the last three and a half years, Israeli armed forces have demolished more than 3,000 homes, leaving tens of thousands of men, women and children homeless or without a livelihood.

In a report released today -- Israel and the Occupied Territories. Under the rubble: House demolition and destruction of land and property -- Amnesty International said: "The grounds invoked by Israel to justify the destruction are overly broad and based on discriminatory policies and practices."

According to the United Nations, more than 2,000 homes in Gaza have been destroyed in the last three years and 10 percent of the agricultural land. In the West Bank, almost 90% of Israel's fence/wall is being built on occupied territory and at least 600 homes have been destroyed.

In the Occupied Territories, demolitions are often carried out as collective punishments for Palestinian attacks or to facilitate the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. Both practices contravene international law and some of these acts are war crimes.

Forced evictions and house demolitions are usually carried out without warning with families given little or no time to leave their homes and salvage their possessions. Most cases of house demolition and destruction of land are not subject to legal supervision or appeal.

Amnesty International is calling on Israel to halt all unlawful destruction of homes and land, including for the expansion of Israeli settlements and/or for the building of the fence/wall in the Occupied Territories.

The Palestinian Authority is called upon to take measures to prevent attacks by Palestinian armed groups on Israeli civilians.

Amnesty International is also pressing for other States, particularly the US, to stop the sale or transfer of weaponry and equipment that are used to commit unlawful destruction of homes and other human rights violations..
Amnesty also has an Action Alert whereby you are asked to appeal to PM Sharon:
"Such destruction has resulted in widespread violations of the right to adequate housing and a decent standard of living for tens of thousands of people and violates fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law."

An Israeli Armored Personnel Carrier moves into Rafah during an incursion.
At least 15 Palestinians were killed and more than 30 wounded as dozens of
Israeli tanks and hundreds of troops swept through the heart of this Gaza
refugee camp in one of the bloodiest operations of the intifada.
(AFP/Nadav Neuhaus)

Initial Response from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
For nearly four years, Israelis have been the victims of a relentless and ongoing campaign by Palestinian terrorists to spread death and destruction, condemning our region to ongoing turmoil, killing more than 900 Israelis and injuring more than 6000.

In light of this unprecedented lethal threat, and the failure of the Palestinian leadership to comply with its obligations to fight this terrorism, Israeli security forces have sought to find new effective and lawful counter-measures that would minimize the occurrence of such attacks in general, and suicide terrorism in particular.

One such security measure is the demolition of structures that pose a real security risk to Israeli forces. When terrorists fire from within civilian structures or activate roadside charges from trees and fields, military necessity dictates the demolition of these locations. Under International Law, these structures are considered legitimate military targets. Therefore, in the midst of combat, when dictated by operational necessity, Israeli security forces may lawfully destroy structures used by terrorists.

Israel refrains whenever possible from attacking terrorist targets from the air or with artillery, in order to minimize collateral damage, a policy which entails risking the lives of Israeli soldiers. The death of 13 soldiers in ground operations in the Gaza Strip in early May 2004 is just one example of the heavy price Israel pays for its commitment to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties.

A further factor necessitating the demolition of buildings is the use made by terrorist groups of civilian buildings in order to conceal openings of tunnels used to smuggle arms, explosives and terrorists from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Other buildings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are used for the manufacturing and concealment of rockets, mortars, weapons and explosive devices to be used against Israel. The demolition of these structures is often the only way to combat this threat.

Justus Reid Weiner, a member of Amnesty International and lecturer on international law and business at Hebrew University, also responds in an interview at Access/Middle East, and JPost covers the Rafah incursion (and world condemnation) here.

King Abdullah suggests Arafat step down

"The Palestinians need to help themselves first before others can help them"
Maariv: King Abdullah II of Jordan said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should consider yielding power if it would be beneficial to the Palestinian people, in a “New York Times” interview published Tuesday.

“I think Arafat needs to have a long look in the mirror to be able to see whether his position is helping the Palestinian cause or not”, King Abdullah II said.

The King went on to say that Arafat stepping aside could be what the Palestinian people need to make progress towards statehood. "If this allows the Palestinians to get beyond the obstacle that they are facing now with the United States and Israel, then that's something the Palestinians need to sort out and sort out quickly," he said.

The King told reporters at a regional economic conference in Jordan Monday that he believes “The Palestinians need to help themselves first before others can help them “.
UPDATE: This is the second Arab call for Arafat's resignation in as many days. See JPost coverage of a prominent Arab columnist and longtime friend of Arafat, Jihad al-Khazen, publishing an open letter to Arafat in Al-Hayat:
"You have done your best. It is time to give the wheel to younger hands. The American administration wants you to leave the scene, and Ariel Sharon wants to kill you. The reasons of both are known. They took a stance from you based on enmity. I came to this conclusion out of love. I am worried about you. . . .

You are not in the best of health. Your cause is weaker than you are. It needs a brilliant mind and hands that do not shake. I ask you to resign because I am your friend. I wish you well and I want your cause to live."

Also of interest might be this story in the Gulf News (Dubai), by a Jerusalem-based Palestinian journalist:
Last week, Arafat chaired a meeting with his top aides, including the National Security Council. During that meeting, Abu Alaa and Dr. Saeb Erekat, the minister in charge of negotiations with Israel, urged Arafat to introduce reforms and to furnish Abu Alaa with the authority he needs.

Brigadier General Jibril Rajoub, who was commander of the preventive security in the West Bank and is currently Arafat's advisor on security, asked the president to consolidate all the security forces under one person, as proposed by the roadmap. Arafat was furious.

He screamed at Rajoub and ordered him out of the room. Rajoub left the building through a side door avoiding the press. He refused to comment on what happened. A day later, shots were fired at his office. Some argued that those bullets could be the signal from Arafat's supporters to remind Rajoub who is the boss.

Headlines show bias

Prager: News media have essentially become propaganda organs for anti-Americanism
The vast majority of the world's news media are so anti-American and so morally confused that they reported the claims of anti-American butchers as if they were facts. Nick Berg's murderers said their butchery was revenge for American abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison, and the world's press dutifully published this as if it were a fact (or even worse, as if it were an understandable, though admittedly extreme, act of revenge).

Here are examples of the headlines -- not subheads -- in major American newspapers:
"American beheaded in revenge for abuses" -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Grisly Vengeance" -- The Hartford Courant

"Militants avenge abuse with taped beheading" -- The Des Moines Register

"Vengeance on Video" -- The Arizona Republic

"With a Vengeance" -- Newsday (Long Island)
Lest their readers be distracted from the real evil in Iraq -- the American treatment of Iraqi prisoners -- some newspapers actually conflated that with the Berg murder in their headline:
"Amid prison inquiry, revenge" -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"U.S. civilian beheaded in Iraq; abuse responsibility in dispute" -- The Providence Journal
Revenge? Islamists slaughtering innocents is never revenge. Was the slaughter of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan "revenge"? The terrorists called Berg's murder "revenge" in order to justify their savagery and because they know that the world press is so malleable and so anti-American that it will print their lie.

More criticism of Big Media by Thomas Sowell at townhall.com: "The hyena press"
The family of the murdered man begged the media to leave them alone in their pain and sorrow, but there was a forest of microphones and cameras being shoved into the face of his sister by the hyenas of the press.

The media wrap themselves in the First Amendment and proclaim "the public's right to know" but there is also such a thing as common decency -- or at least there once was. How much public demand was there to see the anguish of a young woman the day after her brother had been brutally slaughtered by terrorists whom the media have christened "militants" or "insurgents"?

Since the whole purpose of terrorism is to maximize the pain from whatever acts they can get away with, the media are making themselves accomplices of our enemies.

Know your enemy

Daniel Pipes in the New York Sun
Whence comes the main danger to homeland security in North America and Western Europe?

With the exception of the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, notes Al-Qaeda authority Rohan Gunaratna, all major terrorist attacks of the past decade in the West have been carried out by immigrants. A closer look finds that these were not just any immigrants but invariably from a specific background: Of the 212 suspected and convicted terrorist perpetrators during 1993-2003, 86% were Muslim immigrants and the remainder mainly converts to Islam.

"In Western countries jihad has grown mainly via Muslim immigration," concludes Robert S. Leiken, a specialist on immigration and national security issues, in an important new monograph, Bearers of Global Jihad: Immigration and National Security after 9/11 (published by the Washington-based Nixon Center, where Leiken is employed). Leiken's research offers valuable insights.

Violent acts against the West, he finds, "have been carried out largely through two methods of terrorist attack: the sleeper cell and the hit squad."

Hit squads – foreign nationals who enter the country with a specific mission, such as the 9/11 hijackers — threaten from without. Sleeper cells consist of elements quietly embedded in immigrant communities; Pierre de Bousquet, head of France's counterintelligence service, says "they do not seem suspicious. They work. They have kids. They have fixed addresses. They pay the rent." Sleepers either run terrorism support networks of "Muslim charities, foundations, conferences, academic groups, NGOs and private corporations" (prime example: Sami Al-Arian of the University of South Florida) or initiate violence on a signal (like the Moroccans who killed 191 people in Madrid this March).

That said, Muslim life in Western Europe and North America is strikingly different. The former has seen the emergence of a culturally alienated, socially marginalized, and economically unemployed Muslim second generation whose pathologies have led to "a surge of gang rapes, anti-Semitic attacks and anti-American violence," not to speak of raging radical ideologies and terrorism.

And, contrary to expectation, these come predominantly not from countries like Iran or Syria, or even Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for the simple reason that their nationals undergo extra scrutiny. Islamist terrorists are not dumb; they note this special attention and now recruit intensively from citizens of the 27 countries – mostly European – who, thanks to the Visa Waiver Program, can enter America for 90 days without a visa.

Continue . . .

Monday, May 17, 2004

Esther Sarah asks, "and you want me to vote for this administration?!"

According to the Jerusalem Post, the U.S. State Department today released a world human rights report. It says
"Israel's overall human rights record in the West Bank and Gaza remained poor and worsened in the treatment of foreign human rights activists." It said the Palestinian Authority also had a poor human rights record.

Mark Helprin is none too happy with the administration, either:
From the beginning, the scale of the war was based on the fundamental strategic misconception that the primary objective was Iraq rather than the imagination of the Arab World, which, if sufficiently stunned, would tip itself back into the heretofore easily induced fatalism that makes it hesitate to war against the West. After the true shock and awe of a campaign of massive surplus, as in the Gulf War, no regime would have risked its survival by failing to go after the terrorists within its purview. But a campaign of bare sufficiency, that had trouble punching through even ragtag irregulars, taught the Arabs that we could be effectively opposed.

Mistakenly focused on physical control of Iraq, we could not see that, were we to give it up, the resultant anarchy might find a quicker resolution than the indefinite prolonged agony through which our continuing presence has nursed it. Seeking motivation after the fact, we decided to make Iraq a Western-style democracy, and when that began to run off the rails, to make Iraq the mere model for a Middle East filled with Western-style democracies. Of course, instead of a model to inspire them (of which they have many, such as Switzerland), what the Arabs need is first the desire, and then a means to overcome the police states that oppress them, neither of which a reconfigured Iraq, were it possible, would supply. Japan and Germany are often cited in defense of this overreach, but rather than freeze our armies in place and set them to policing and civil affairs as we fought through the Second World War, we waited until we had won.
But then the left doesn't appeal to him, either:
John Kerry may say one thing and another, but no matter how the topgallants break in the Democratic Party, its ideological keel is a leaden and unthinking pacifism, a pretentious and illogical deference to all things European, and the unhinged belief that America by its very nature transforms every aspect of its self-defense into an aggression that justifies the offense against which it is defending itself.
Wow, what a sentence.

I will vote for Bush because, as Helprin says,
. . . Sen. Kerry's only non-secret policy for the war is a bunch of mumblings about the U.N. and our "allies," presumably the ones who are not with us at the moment in Iraq. It is they and the U.N. who in the fairy dust of multilateralism will solve this most difficult problem. But in fact they neither can nor will do any such thing. Either Sen. Kerry knows that his strategy is just a cover for simple, complete, and ignominious withdrawal, or he does not know, which is worse.

I do think the State Department stinks. . .

American Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks with
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, left and
Jordan's King Abdullah II, right, at the World Economic
Forum in Southern Shuneh on the Dead Sea, Jordan,
Sunday May 16, 2004. Powell acknowledged at a press
conference Sunday that Arabs were angry at the United
States because of a sense it was trying to force change,
as well as because of its occupation of Iraq and the
perception it is biased in favor of Israel in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
but Kerry might appoint Jimmy Carter as his special envoy to the Middle East.

I'm hoping our choices will become clearer as we get closer to the election. Then again, perhaps one four-year presidential term doesn't even matter that much; one of the world's leading analysts of global terrorism expects it to continue "unabated for the next 100 years."

Lila tov,

Iraq: Roadside bomb contained small amount nerve agent SARIN

DEBKAfile: Small amount of poison nerve agent sarin released in 155mm binary artillery shell laid as roadside bomb against US convoy. Coalition spokesman Gen. Kimmit said no one injured. Two members of ordinance team treated for minor sarin exposure. This is first discovery of chemical weapon in Iraq War and major escalation 45 days ahead of June 30 handover of sovereignty.

Oy, Thomas Friedman should resign

Yesterday's column, Tyranny of the Minorities, begins like this:
"Question: What do the Shiite extremist leader Moktada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army have in common with the extremist Jewish settlers in Israel?

Answer: More than you'd think. Both movements combine religious messianism, and a willingness to sacrifice their followers and others for absolutist visions, along with a certain disdain for man-made laws, as opposed to those from God."

HonestReporting comments on the comparison:
Friedman has long drawn outrageous comparisons between Israeli settlers and Palestinian terrorists, but he breaks new ground by bringing American victims into his twisted equation.

Al-Sadr leads an armed movement attempting to drive Americans from Iraq by killing as many US soldiers as possible. Its members are attempting to impose their will by using shoulder-launched rockets and other weaponry, hiding themselves and their armaments in mosques, and firing at American troops from their religious havens.

How are the residents of Gaza, whom Friedman equates with the Mahdi Army, 'fighting' their battle? They utilized the democratic process to make their voices heard, mobilizing supporters to encourage members of the Likud party to vote against Sharon's plan.

Jerusalem Conference of Mayors

from Israel 21c: A Focus Beyond the Conflict
Nine American mayors temporarily traded in their managerial duties last week to become students again.

The mayors, who spent the week in Israel for the 22nd Jerusalem Conference of Mayors along with 22 other mayors from around the world, got first-hand exposure to Israeli expertise in disaster preparedness and emergency response, homeland security issues, as well as information about hi-tech business opportunities.

Of course, they also had fun. For Billings, Montana mayor Charles Tooley, the conference entitled "The Role of Mayor in Times of Crisis" as well as the entire Israel experience "was delightful. I've had a wonderful time," he told ISRAEL21c. In addition to their working sessions, the mayors also got to tour the country, from the Old City of Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and the Golan Heights.

"I think our sessions in the morning at City Hall are very valuable. We learned how the Jerusalem municipality has responded to terror and other emergencies. We also visited Hadassah Hospital to learn how they handle medical emergencies. It's all been very worthwhile," said Tooley.

At Hadassah, the mayors toured the trauma department and emergency facilities and learned about the hospitals disaster preparedness and emergency response capabilities in both conventional and non-conventional attacks.

For Cleveland, Ohio Mayor Mayor Jane L. Campbell, the conference prompted her to consider contingency planning for disasters, instead of handling cases as they arise.

"The most significant visit we made was to the Israel Center for Medical Simulation at Sheba Hospital," she told ISRAEL21c.

The center is an international leader in the innovative and evolving field of medical simulation. Operational since late 2001, it has designed unique, hands-on training, in response to vital national needs to increase medical preparedness to face the ongoing challenges and threats of conventional and non-conventional warfare.

"We have actually been in conversation for months about trying to create a sister center in Cleveland," Campbell said.

Mayor James A. Garner, of Hempstead, New York was most impressed by a Homeland Defense demonstration by the IDF.

"We had an amazing demonstration yesterday by the Army regarding biochemical detection that was an eye opener. You never know about this subject - things like anthrax are always a threat," said Garner, a representatives on the State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee to the Department of Homeland Security. . . .

Michael Wildes, the mayor of Englewood, N.J told the New York Jewish Week about conversation he had with a nurse at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem who recalled treating a Jewish child who was a victim of a terror attack and the Arab terrorist at the same time.

"She told me how emotionally difficult it was and that the charge of saving a life is so significant that they leave politics at the door," he said. "It gives me tremendous pride to see that the mayors from Rwanda, Poland, Latvia and Croatia were hearing and seeing firsthand the quality of care provided, the level of intelligence [of the staff] and their professionalism."

"We have had sessions with the chief of police of Jerusalem, the army commander in charge of the Jerusalem sector, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski," he said. "As mayors, we have to accept the inevitability that terrorism may find its way to our shores. The mayor of Jerusalem put together a presentation that gives us great comfort to know that there is a democracy that not only has met this challenge but has ensured the quality of life and the establishment of law."

Other mayors in the U.S. delegation included Cristina Cruz Madrid of Azusa, Calif.; Rosemarie Ives of Redmond, Wash.; David Wallace of Sugar Land, Texas; Shelia Young of San Leandro, Calif., and County Executive Joseph Griffo of Oneida County, N.Y.

Mayors of capital cities - including Buenos Aires, Stockholm, Addis Ababa, and Vilnius participated alongside mayors from lesser-known locales, including Barquisi, Venezuela and Lilongue, Malawi.
Also see this bit at Israel 21c about Schwarzenegger's fruitful trip to Israel.
The five deals the governor announced are:

The relocation of the worldwide headquarters of the IP storage networking company SANRAD from Tel Aviv to Alameda, California, creating 300 new jobs in Alameda;

A partnership between Yokneam, Israel's Arad Technologies and Sacramento, California's USCL Corp. to develop "smart" utility meters so business and residential ratepayers can monitor and control their own energy usage, resulting in 200 new jobs in the Sacramento area;

An expansion of the Fremont, California operation of Israel's Magal Security Systems, where the company will hire 250 Californians to make and sell its high-tech monitors to protect public buildings, such as airports, train stations and hospitals;

A partnership between Tel Aviv's Netline Communications Technologies (NCT) and Santa Cruz-based Life Safety Systems to design and assemble equipment that will protect military forces with a jammer to prevent bombs from being triggered remotely by cell phones, bringing 60 new jobs to Santa Cruz; and

The expansion of the Israeli Internet security firm ForeScout in San Mateo, where it will locate the control center for a new worldwide service to stop Internet hackers, adding 30 new jobs.

Palestinian poster girl

Arabs continue to manipulate the hearts and minds of the world through the media. They don't hesitate to use their beautiful children to convince the world of their victimhood.

A Palestinian girl with her hands symbolically
chained shouts slogans during a protest demanding
the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli
jails, in the West Bank city of Nablus, May 17,
2004. REUTERS/George Smith Abed Omar Qusini
What "slogans" do you think she was shouting? Death to the Jews, maybe?
Peace Now? My daddy has an infidel's arm at home?

Syrian "Technicians" and "Military Material"
Aboard Korean Train that Exploded


This report comes from the Tokyo Sankei Shumbun internet version, and has been translated and published in English by IMRA:
A military source familiar with Korean Peninsula affairs revealed on 6 May that Syrian technicians were killed in a train explosion incident that occurred on 22 April in Yongch'on in the northwestern part of the DPRK and that the damage was especially serious in that section of the train where the Syrians were aboard, along with large equipment.

The same source noted that although the contents of the equipment are
unknown, DPRK military-related personnel wearing protective suits arrived on the scene immediately after the explosion and removed debris only from that section of the train where the Syrian group had been aboard.

Consequently, there is a strong likelihood that the accident occurred when military materials were being secretly transported between the DPRK and Syria.

According to the same source, the technicians aboard the train had been sent from the Syrian technical research center called Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche Scientific (CERS). Although CERS was established to promote science and technology development, it is suspected of playing a major role in Syria's weapons of mass destruction development program.

The technicians and the cargo were reportedly aboard the same section of the train.

The same source said it was uncertain whether the cargo was the source of the explosion or whether it exploded after being set off by an explosion on another section of the train. The source then said, "The damage to that section of the train was the most serious," noting that nearly 10 Syrians and accompanying North Koreans were killed. The bodies of the Syrians were carried onto and transported home on 1 May by a Syrian aircraft, which had come to Pyongyang to deliver aid supplies.

Syrian and DPRK medical and military personnel who were involved in
transporting [the Syrians and other victims] were also reportedly wearing protective suits similar to those worn by the DPRK military personnel who arrived on the scene immediately after the accident.

The same source said, "The action taken by Syria and the DPRK indicates that the cargo was top secret matter, which the two countries did not want to bring out into the open." With regard to the DPRK and Syria, the United States and other countries have indicated concern that the two countries are continuing to cooperate in the development of Syria's "Scud-D" missiles, as well as chemical and biological weapons.

Concerning the cause of the explosion incident, the DPRK has explained that a train carrying fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate and a railroad tank carrying petroleum were being shunted, and, in the process, came into contact with electrical wires, due to carelessness.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

May those who grieve be comforted
among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem

Adva, 10, left, the sister of Israeli army
Lieutenant Aviv Hakani, is comforted by a
relative during his funeral procession, at
the military cemetery in the southern
Israeli port city of Ashdod, Sunday May 16,
2004.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Terror Alert in Jerusalem

IsraelNN.com 19:42 May 16, '04 / 25 Iyar 5764

A terror alert was declared in Jerusalem a short time ago based on intelligence community information of a planned terror attack.
"Master of the world, the people of Israel are your tephillin (allusion to a Talmudic passage in tractate "Menachos" - LB); when a simple Jew drops his tephillin on the ground, he picks them up and kisses them. When the people of Israel suffer and are thrown in the dust, isn't it proper that you should pick them up and kiss them?"
--Rebbe Levi Yitschak of Berditshev, Ukraine, late 1700's

The Sunday New York Times

A lifetime ago, when we lived in Brooklyn, the Sunday New York Times was an Event. This event generally took several hours and would be held in bed, at the dining room table or -if not too hot or cold- in the garden. It always, always meant coffee, the best in the world, and bagels, the likes of which I have not tasted anywhere since. It is one of my very fondest memories.

So imagine my dejection when today, without benefit of any of those delicious accoutrement, or the actual weight of the thing on my lap, I check the front page online, and find the lede story is Prep School Peers Found Kerry Talented, Ambitious and Apart.

I take this as added insult to injury.

The only good news is that when checking the innernut to see if lede was a real word and the word I wanted, I happened upon the blog, Peoria Pundit, specifically this great post about how America's newspapers played the execution of Nick Berg at their online sites. (Kudos to blogger Bill Dennis, who yes, actually does live in Peoria.)

A final note. While Bill shows the Berg story as a lede at the Times online, Rick told me that
"The day after Nick Berg was beheaded, every single story above the fold in the NYT was about Abu Grahib -- four different stories -- except the one about Nick Berg, the lede of which was the father blaming Bush and Rumsfeld.
So much for ledes. and the Sunday New York Times. and my Brooklyn memories.

One day, I will make aliyah to Israel. Sitting in bed on a Sunday morning, I will have my coffee in Israel, with the Friday Jerusalem Post on my lap.
With Gd's help.

Courage and Faith: A Letter from Israel

Shiva Call by Naomi Ragen

Dear Friends,

This morning, I paid a shiva call to Sara and Michael Newman's house, the parents who lost their wonderful son Eitan when his tank went over a bomb in the Gaza Strip last week. They buried him last Thursday, after his comrades, under constant fire from terrorists, combed the dangerous streets to bring his holy remains and those of
his comrades home.

As I neared the Newman home, I saw army men standing in small circles, talking quietly. Some wore beards and knitted skullcaps. Friends, religious and non-religious, came and went in and out of the Newman home, fulfilling one of Judaism's most honored rituals of comforting mourners for seven days after the funeral.

Sara and her husband sat on low chairs, as is the custom, surrounded by friends. I introduced myself. "I want to talk to you..." Sara said softly. I pulled up a chair. "I understand that you write to many people around the world. And this is what I would like you to please tell them for me. Many people have asked what they can do, how can they help. Please tell them to go out and buy something that was made in Israel. That's all. Just help us, we are going through such hard times. Everybody can do that."

I felt quick tears come to my eyes, wondering at this woman who sat clear-eyed and full of courage and faith, her mind focussed on what else she could do to help the country she loved, a woman who had just given her country and her people her handsome, bright, intelligent, wonderul young son.

Who had given her son.

I nodded, wordlessly.

I told her about a conversation I had just had with my own son,who is being drafted in November. "Maybe you could go into anti-aircraft," I urged him. "Your brother did that, and your father." There was a slight pause at the other end of the line. "Look Mom," he said patiently, "I might as well tell you the truth. I'm not going into the army to strike a pose. I'm going because I want to do something, protect people from getting killed by terrorists. And the only
way to do that, is to be a foot soldier." He wanted to go into Givati, he said. The same unit as Eitan Newman.

"This is how we brought them up," I told Sara Newman. "I'm very proud of him. And I'm terrified."

She put her hand over mine. "When my son died, he was surrounded by people he loved and respected and trusted. He was on his way back from a mission he'd successfully completed. He died instantly, with no pain. I would rather he went that way then stabbed in the back by some skinhead far away from home."

Would I please, she urged me, send out her message?

When I left the Newman home, I walked up the winding stone staircase that one finds in Jerusalem's hilly neighborhoods. A cool wind was blowing, and the sky seemed strangely cloudy for spring. As I reached the top I saw a friend coming down the road. She too was on her way to the Newman. I hugged her, and both of us wept.

And now I am home at my computer, doing what Sara Newman asked me to do. I'm asking you to please go out a buy something from Israel. If you can't find it in your stores, you can find it on-line I'm sure.

And if you'd like to send Sara and Michael some words of comfort, please send it to msnewman@netvision.net.il

Thank you.
Naomi Ragen

From Rabbi Lazer Brody:

In my humble opinion, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon is the best, most level-headed IDF Chief of Staff there ever was, and I'm sure - with Hashem's guidance - that he'll do what needs to be done. But, I'm not talking about the armed war; the spiritual war is what we're out to win.

If you're sitting in your office or living room - whether it be New York, LA, London, Toronto, or Melbourne - and you want to actively support Bugi Yaalon and the courageous boys on the front, all you have to do is to open up a Gemorra, Tehillim, or Chumash - whichever is your favorite spiritual ammo - and fire away. The Chofetz Chaim teaches that every word of Torah creates an angel from the good side. The better the Torah, the stronger the angel. Such angels are the spiritual power that will bring about the utter defeat of evil, soon, amen.
Amen, amen.