Jewish Right To Israel

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Letter From Rabbi Moshe Goldman, Mayor of Itamar: Eliyahu Asheri

To our wonderful friends of Itamar who have expressed their concern about the terrible kidnapping and murder of our young resident Eliyahu Asheri - Hashem Yikom Damo!

I didn’t have a second available the last three days to answer any of your questions. For three straight days we were beside ourselves praying to Hashem for the happy return home of Eliyahu. Unfortunately, the worst happened – Eliyahu was brutally murdered by blood thirsty terrorists.

There are no words to describe the special family that Eliyahu was part of. His father Yitro was born in Australia as a non-Jew and converted to Judaism. He made Aliyah 22 years ago and that’s when I personally met him in Yeshiva’t Machon Meir in Jerusalem. That very summer Yitro came to Itamar as a summer volunteer, still single at the time, and we worked together clearing a piece of land on Itamar and digging a pit for the Mikvah. Yitro returned to Jerusalem to continue his Torah study and later married his wife Miriam in 1987.

His wife Miriam was originally from a non-religious kibbutz called Bet Yosef. After her army service, she became religious and left the kibbutz, later adopted by Rabbi and Rebbitzen Drukman. After Yitro and Miriam were married, Yitro went to study Torah with Rabbi Drukmen in his Yeshiva Ohr Etzion. In 1991, they moved to Itamar and have been living there ever since. They have five wonderful children including Eliyahu.

Eliyahu was their first born, a quiet and sensitive boy always smiling. The last time I saw Eliyahu was last week in the synagogue. I was completely taken aback by his powerful devotion in prayer. Everyone had already left the shul and here Eliyahu was continuing to pray! One Rabbi on Itamar said that each Tifilah of Eliyahu had the same devotion and power that most people only achieve once a year during Tefilat Nieelah (closing prayer on Yom Kippur). Today when I paid a Shivah call at Yitro’s home he described the Tefilah of his son as a beautiful flower opening up to receive Divine abundance and as a pillar of fire.

A resident of Itamar, a boy the same age as Eliyahu who for the last few years has not been following Torah and Mitzvot, mentioned that Eliyahu recently convinced him to go to a yeshiva program. Unfortunately, after the terrible tragedy he expressed his fear about going to Yeshiva claiming that only the righteous suffer so much. This is only one small example of the difficult thoughts and feelings that our youth have to face. Thank G-D, Itamar is a united community and we are all working hard in order to get through this difficult experience. Our tremendous faith in Hashem will continue to give us the strength that we need to go on.

I want to thank all of you that have been there for us. Your constant concern and expression of solidarity is a tremendous uplift. Shabbat Shalom! Bisorot Tovot!

Lehitraot
Moshe

Hamas: Terrorists, Freedom Fighters...Or Thugs

Little Green Footballs links approvingly to the Fox News Website which reports on its home page:
Israel Hits Palestinian Interior Ministry
Warplanes pummel Gaza; Hamas thugs reportedly offer conditional release of kidnapped soldier [emphasis added]
He calls the description of Hamas as 'thugs'--'honest'.

Of course it's nice that in the age of political correctness that shuns the use of the word 'terrorist,' Fox is using a substitute term that sidesteps the positive 'freedom fighter' or terms likes 'militant' or 'activist.' But the fact remains that Hamas are not a bunch of thugs, hoodlums, goons, punks, or toughs.

If they were, then a statement like this might make sense:

Israel said the crisis will end when Cpl. Gilad Shalit is released.

"If the Palestinians act now to release Cpl. Shalit and hand him back to us ... we would immediately initiate a dramatic reduction in tension," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. "He is the primary issue, he is the primary reason for the crisis."

This sounds like a hostage situation--its not.

At a NRO Symposium on the Gaza situation, one of the participants--Michael Freund--points out:
The only thing surprising about the return to Gaza is that it took this long to occur. Ever since the withdrawal, the Palestinians have been firing rockets on a near-daily basis into southern Israel, making life unbearable for tens of thousands of Israeli citizens.
Its understandable that the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit could be the straw that broke the camel's back, but it's not clear why the resolution of that alone should bring Operation Summer Rains to an end.

The statements of Israeli officials that have been quoted over the last couple of days give the impression that the goal of Israel is to allow itself the option to get out of Gaza without having to perform the massive cleanup job that many expected and looked forward to from the IDF.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, in the same symposium, thinks Israel miscalculated by entering Gaza the way it did:
...Israel fell in a trap by going into Gaza with massive force. Upping the ante with targeted killings would prove more effective because it leaves the option open to invade later. Threatening to kill Hamas ministers if the kidnapped soldier is not returned would have been a better measure. The invasion allows the Palestinians yet again to play victims in the stage of world opinion.
Instead of a show of real strength, all we read about are the bombings of deserted areas and buildings.

July 4th is the anniversary of the rescue at Entebbe.
It seems as if Operation Thunderbolt took place during a different time.

It did.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Watch --The Meme

Soccer Dad tagged me with the watch meme: what watch do I wear.

I don't wear a watch.

Its not for biological or health reasons--my wrist does not react badly to leather or metal wristbands.

Its not for mechanical reasons--the watches I've had did not break easily or mysteriously.

At some point I just got out of the habit of wearing a watch.
When I really need to know the time, I just take a look at my cellphone.

I've also developed the habit that when I need to know what time it is, I first try to guess the time--and then look at my cellphone or a nearby clock or the computer.

I'm usually right within 10-15 minutes, which is as accurate as I need.

It's a talent.

Like now.

Some sixth sense tells me its time to end this post.

Uncanny.

I'm tagging:

Herut
I'm Haaretz, Ph.D.
Le Mont De Sisyphe
Psycho Toddler

The New York Times Likes 'Provocative'

Take this quiz:

Which of the following is not like the others:
  1. A commercial about churches using bouncers
  2. The word 'redneck'
  3. Leo Strauss' account of the modernity problem
  4. The reeling pace of urban renewal
  5. Hamas
Trick question--according to the New York Times, not only are the first 4 items provocative, but
When Hamas was only an opposition movement, its provocative behavior was a major impediment to peace. As a governing party, it is far worse.
Commercials, the word 'redneck', Leo Strauss, urban renewal, and suicide bombers/Kassam rockets.

I don't know who wrote the Times editorial.
Maybe it was the art critic.

Technorati Tags: and and and and

Destroyed Palestinian Power Plant Generates Irony

It turns out the power plant that Israeli forces destroyed on Tuesday as part of Operation Summer Rains is insured.

By the US.
But paying a claim on the plant, which was insured for $48 million, could prove problematic for the United States, which cut off funding for all infrastructure projects in the Palestinian territories after the militant group Hamas won legislative elections in January.
The plant took 5 years to build and cost $150 million to build-- and one of the original investors was now-defunct Enron.

Fixing the facility could take weeks or even months--and then of course the violence in Gaza (even before this week) does not make the situation any easier for the prospects of fixing the plant.
The insurance that Morganti purchased covers "political violence," which includes "wars, acts of terrorism, things like that," Spinelli said. To be paid for the damage, the company must file a claim, and the Investment Corporation must determine whether the claim is covered by the policy, Spinelli said.
I wonder if terrorists carry no-fault insurance.

One final note: the funds for the insurance are kept in the US Treasury and are controlled by Congress, which raises another issue:
After the election of Hamas in January, a host of congressmen introduced bills designed to freeze US assistance to the Palestinian territories to prevent any financial benefit from reaching Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization. In April, the State Department announced it would cut off all planned funding for infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank.
Maybe Hamas can smuggle a new power plant in one of their suitcases.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Peace In Our Time?

Defense Minister announced a possible breakthrough--but not in Operation Summer Rains:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz revealed on Thursday that a "surprising diplomatic breakthrough" was possible in the attempts to release kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit, but did not elaborate on the development.

"We are in one of the most crucial stages of establishing the rules of conduct between us and the Palestinian terror organizations, he asserted.

Still, he approved the continuation of IDF operations in Gaza that have been taking place since Tuesday night. He urged the forces to be aware of the Palestinian population's distress, Army Radio reported.
Of course it is good news that Shalit may be rescued, but there is something disturbing about
establishing the rules of conduct between us and the Palestinian terror organizations, he asserted.
I saw Charlie Rose last night and the discussion was about the kidnapping and Israel's response. Among the guests on the show were people representing both the Israeli and Palestinian side. The whole discussion was marked by polite discourse between opposing views.

I am tired of polite discourse.

I have heard more animation--and animus--between people talking about the theory of evolution.

And now this morning Israel announces that she sees the possibility of establishing the rules of conduct between herself and terrorists? How and since when do terrorists abide by rules of conduct?

Come to think of it, who is negotiating these rules of conduct? Is Israel directly negotiating with Hamas?

Arutz Sheva quotes Dennis Ross:
Former US mediator Dennis Ross says that Israel must not negotiate with Hamas for the release of the soldier, as "this will merely invite further kidnappings... As someone who believes in the value of negotiations, I say that negotiations are not the proper response in every situation."
Sounds like good advice.

But if it is only France and other countries doing the negotiating, is Israel going to allow other countries to dictate how Israel is going to deal with the Palestinian terrorists in the future?

No details of what Peretz is talking about are out yet, and it may be that what will be announced may be a genuine breakthrough--but there is something about this that is deeply unsettling.

Maybe that is part of the problem.

We already know that Olmert is intent on actions that are very 'unsettling' indeed--and the same thinking may go into establishing 'rules of conduct' with terrorists.

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A Blogger's Dozen Links For Thursday Morning

This has been a difficult week, and it is only half over. Three Israelis have been kidnapped by terrorists--one of whom has been murdered in cold blood--and Israel has gone into Gaza...and the West Bank. Some of the links below deal with these current events. Others deal with life in general--some on the lighter side.

May HaShem give Israel the strength to see her way through this crisis.

Olah Chadasha has started a prayer chain--asking for other bloggers to post their own tefillot.

SerandEz links to blogs participating in Olah Chadasha's prayer chain and shares a poem.

ConservaJew gives a concise summary of the recent updates on Operation Summer Rains, with links to other blogs and sites

Elder of Ziyon has an extensive--and updated--post on some of those female prisoners that the terrorists want released in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

The Hashmonean notes that Operation Summer Rains is not limited just to Gaza

The Ignoble Experiment, aka Live Dangerously! breaks off from her recollections of her trip to Israel to comment about this weeks events.

Israel Matzav sees a problem when a war turns into a police action.

It's summer, camp has started, and Elie's Expositions has a Pen-empty nest.

Erica's Blog spots something under the train trestle on Sheepshead Bay Road and shares some thoughts about a friend who has died.

Ha-Mikdash writes about his surgery last week, which was a success--surpassing both his and his doctor's expectations.

I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. contemplates the strange things in life.

Israel Perspectives wonders whether blogs can kill people and ponders the lesson for the JBlogosphere.

Jack's Shack has something to say about home remodeling.

J-Blogosphere Blog has a post about one of the most important messages of the JBlogosphere.


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If War Brings Peace, What Do Police Actions Bring?

In Halkin Declares War, But Will Israel?, I put in my 2 cents about Halkin's suggestion to call the conflict a real war and act accordingly:
It is a deceptively simple strategy, but it still boils down to whether Israel--and it's leadership--have the wherewithal to commit themselves to following through. Once she admits it is a war, Israel has to take those options Halkin suggests, and find others, to push towards some kind of real clear resolution. Israel may not lose such a war, but if the war goes on for too long, it will be a more visible defeat once Israel has redefined the decades-old conflict as a war. Conflicts have lulls, but for the overwhelmingly stronger side in a war it is weakness.
I thought about that when I read Israel Matzav's question about whether Israel was conducting a war or a police action, in response to the fact that while Palestinian terrorists murder an Israeli, Israel has gone into the West Bank, rounding up Hamas officials. He writes:
My problem is that this isn't supposed to be a police action. These people are murderers and they openly admit it. What are you going to do with them? Trade them in a prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit's body? Return them as 'heroes' so the 'Palestinian people' can elect them again? This is exactly what the US got itself into when it 'arrested' Saddam Hussein. They 'arrested' a mass murdering terrorist, a genocidist. They had to give him a show trial. And now what? If he's not executed, he'll spend the rest of his life in jail at US expense. We didn't need a trial to tell us that Saddam was guilty - there were hundreds of witnesses. We don't need a trial to tell us that any of the Hamas murderers are guilty either. It's time to bring out the helicopters and prepare the car swarms.
I think part of the problem is that Israel cannot fight this as a standard conventional war. There are no 2 armies meeting out in the open in the battlefield. This is an army against terrorists. It just isn't the same and I don't know how Israel can go to war against terrorists and target them in the numbers necessary to bring some sense of stability to the area--especially when the US and Europe will surely not allow it.

But if all this operation does is culminate in a police action, then short of rescuing Shalit--what will it have accomplished?

Technorati Tag: and and and

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Halkin Declares War, But Will Israel?

Hillel Halkin has an article in today's New York Sun, proposing An End To Ambiguity. No more using the "T" as if it were some sort of shameful condemnation that the world recognizes and joins in on. Instead, the time has come to openly admit that a state of war exists--and act accordingly.

Here is Halkin's proposal:
"An act of terror," Israel's chief-of-staff Dan Halutz called the Palestinian raid on an Israeli military outpost on the periphery of the Gaza Strip last Sunday, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, several more were wounded, and one, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, was captured and is now being held in Palestinian territory.

It was in fact anything but that. If terror consists of randomly killing and maiming non-combatant civilians for the purpose of sowing fear and insecurity, Sunday's raid, carried out by the military wing of Hamas, was the antithesis: A well-planned and well-executed attack on a strictly military target that was chosen long in advance and reached through the laborious digging of an underground tunnel half-a-mile long.

Why, when geologists can detect relatively minor underground tremors deep in the earth, Israeli scientists have been unable to develop equipment to detect the digging of tunnels, which have been widely used by Gaza Palestinians for the smuggling of weapons and occasional raids on Israeli positions, is a question in itself. What is not in question, though, is that if Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in a state of war, the attack in question was a perfectly legitimate act of war.

...the Israeli response to Sunday's raid should not be Chief-of-Staff Halutz's. Rather, it should be: "Fair enough! You fought this time like soldiers rather than like terrorists - we will treat you this time like soldiers rather than like terrorists."
The overall consequences of treating the situation as a war are twofold, according to Halkin:
1. Prisoners will be swapped, but only exchanging Palestinian prisoners who acted as soldiers and attacked Israeli soldiers--no terrorists would be released. According to Halkin there are a small number of prisoners in Israeli prisons who fit that description

2. The PA and Israel are now at war and Israel will act accordingly. Hamas has disassociated itself from those who fire Kassam rockets into Israel, but those were Hamas 'soldiers' who kidnapped Shalit.
a. All borders will be closed

b. All services being provided by Israel will be cut off

c. All branches of the Palestinian government and all those on the Palestinian side who is contributing to the Palestinian war effort are legitimate targets.

d. All civlian Palestinian civilians will not be harmed--and the PA is expected to reciprocate.
It is a deceptively simple strategy, but it still boils down to whether Israel--and it's leadership--have the wherewithal to commit themselves to following through. Once she admits it is a war, Israel has to take those options Halkin suggests, and find others, to push towards some kind of real clear resolution. Israel may not lose such a war, but if the war goes on for too long, it will be a more visible defeat once Israel has redefined the decades-old conflict as a war. Conflicts have lulls, but for the overwhelmingly stronger side in a war it is weakness.

The Palestinians should be careful what they wish for.
But so should Israel.

and and and and .

What Bloggers Are Saying About Operation Summer Rains

Posted 2:30am Wednesday morning.

There are a number of blogs that are giving regular updates on the operation as it progresses. Among them are:
Here is what they are saying...beyond the destruction of bridges and the electric generator.

Israel Matzav quotes Debka.com that the IDF does not really know where Shalit is being held and is trying to prevent his being moved out of Gaza--and may already have been moved out.

He also implies that a secondary consideration of the operation may be the Kassams:
IDF officials said a large military force was ready to enter the Gaza Strip Tuesday night, after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved a 'limited ground incursion' in southern Gaza, aimed at the "terrorist infrastructure." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. I would be surprised if this incursion is limited to 'southern Gaza.' Most of the Kassam fire - which has continued all week - actually comes from Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, which are further north.
Innocent Bystander reports:
JPost reports little resistance to IDF inside Gaza. They have taken secure positions around Dahaniya, which is about two miles from Kerem Shalom. IDF denies reports that they have entered Gaza in the north.
If there is a plan to deal with the Kassams in the north, the IDF is not giving any indication at this time. The extent of the operation is unclear.

He also points out the the Egyptian army that is stationed at Rafah could be serving a dual purpose--not only to prevent Shalit from being brought out of Gaza, but also to keep Palestinian refugees from entering Egypt.

Euphoric Reality
notes the preparations the Palestinians are making for the Israelis, including the planting of roadside bombs.

In light of this, Abba Gav raises the possibility that in the aftermath of the operation, we may be subjected to Jenin II--accusations of Israeli attrocities, and lays out the scenario.

From Blogs of War it also seems the extent of the operation is unclear. He quotes CNN that:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his parliament Tuesday to expect "an extended campaign against the Palestinian Authority" unless Shalit was released.
But he also quotes a headline from Haaretz (which doesn't seem to be there anymore): IDF official: PM Olmert approves `limited operation` in Gaza

At the end of his post he also provides links to a number of other bloggers covering the operation.

Vital Perspective also links to 2 sources that differ on the extent of the operation.

He also gives a taste of the kind of media coverage to expect:
Unfortunately, some in the press are already praising Hamas as peace-makers in the same breath used to scold them for the kidnapping. The praise comes as a result of the Hamas-Fatah agreement today, which some have hailed as a "breakthrough." That's false. As the media sang their praise, Hamas leaders said, "We said we accept a state (in territory occupied) in 1967 -- but we did not say we accept two states." Click here for a great rundown of the details
Finally, Israel At Ground Level provides some background in: Reporter's notebook of previous planned IDF Gaza operation

One question I have is--if the IDF cannot find Shalit or Asheri--and even if they do--what then? Under what conditions would Israel be willing to pull out of Gaza without returning to the status quo?

Update:

Jerusalem Post is reporting that the kidnapping is a sign of the tension within the Hamas leadership between Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Damascus-based Khaled Mashaal--and the attack that led to the kidnapping of Shalit was done under the instructions of Hamas in Syria. The Post claims the attack was intended to embarras Haniyeh. A number of blogs mentioned that Syria had taken extra steps to protect Mashaal, for obvious reasons.

and and and .

Gush Shalom Criticizes The Aggression And Threats Of...Olmert?

Arutz Sheva has an article on Gush Shalom, who--following the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit--is claiming that
"Prime Minister Olmert's arrogant and aggressive speeches, and his ugly, general threats are endangering the life of the captive soldier."

...Ever since states and wars have existed in the world, when a person is taken captive, negotiations are conducted to secure his release."
Not according to everyone.

According to President Bush:
"They will behead people in order to shake our will. These people are ideologues of hatred," Bush told a campaign rally.

"You cannot negotiate with these people," he said. "We will stay on the offensive against them."
In Turkey:
Turkey's defense minister said his government would not negotiate with terrorists in Iraq who are threatening to behead three Turkish hostages.
Of course, not everyone agrees on not negotiating with terrorists. France and Germany took the Gush Shalom option. The obvious counter-argument to negotiating is that if the terrorists receive anything, it will only encourage them to kidnap more hostages.

Whereas the Palestinian terrorists originally demanded the release of all women and children held in Israeli prisons, now Hamas has upped the ante:
Hamas spokesmen threatened even more kidnappings, until all Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons are released.
Actually, Gush Shalom does not see Shalit as 'a person taken hostage', but as a POW--as opposed to a kidnapped soldier. They claim that only a private citizen who was abducted by criminals would qualify as a kidnapped person. Considering the current situation as an actual war allows Gush Shalom to equate Shalit with the convicted Palestinian terrorists:
"It is worth remembering that in the Gaza Strip, as in other parts of the Palestinian territories, there are thousands of families waiting for the return of their loved ones from Israeli prisons, in exactly the same way the family of the soldier, Gilad Shalit, is waiting for his peaceful return," read the announcement. [emphasis added]
The distinction between terrorists whose goal is to kill innocent civilians and soldiers who kill innocent civilians by accident--is apparently lost on Gush Shalom.

Shalit was stationed outside Gaza and was not captured during an actual military operation. According to the All POW-MIA Website, a POW is:
A detained person as defined in Articles 4 and 5 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949. In particular, one who, while engaged in combat under orders of his government, is captured by the armed forces of the enemy. [emphasis added]
And terrorists are not soldiers--they do not conduct themselves according to all of the laws and customs of war, which require being part of a chain of command, wearing a uniform and bearing arms openly.

They seem to go to a lot of trouble to stretch a point. Just what are they up to?

On their Website, Gush Shalom defines their goals:

The primary aim of Gush Shalom is to influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and conciliation with the Palestinian people, based on the following principles:

  • Putting an end to the occupation,

    - Accepting the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent and sovereign State of Palestine in all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,

  • Reinstating the pre-1967 "Green Line" as the border between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine (with possible minor exchanges of territories agreed between the parties); the border will be open for the free movement of people and goods, subject to mutual agreement.

  • Establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, with East Jerusalem (including the Haram al-Sharif) serving as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem (including the Western Wall) serving as the capital of Israel. The city is to be united on the physical and municipal level, based on mutual agreement.

  • Recognizing in principle the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, allowing each refugee to choose freely between compensation and repatriation to Palestine and Israel, and fixing by mutual agreement the number of refugees who will be able to return to Israel in annual quotas, without undermining the foundations of Israel.

  • Safeguarding the security of both Israel and Palestine by mutual agreement and guarantees.

  • Striving for overall peace between Israel and all Arab countries and the creation of a regional union.
Gush Shalom's goals seem to depend an awful lot on reaching "mutual agreement." It's all well and good that they consider themselves a driving force as they "influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and conciliation with the Palestinian people"--but have they noticed who is behind the wheel on the Palestinian side?

Technorati Tag: and and and and .

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another Kidnapping - New Demands

Arutz Sheva reports:
Arab sources in the PA said last night, and again today, that they had kidnapped another Israeli. Eliyahu Asheri, 18, of Itamar, has not been seen since he left Beitar Illit on Sunday.
Keep in mind that the Palestinian claim has not been completely verified.

After the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the terrorists demanded the release of imprisoned women and children in exchange for his safe return. Now, Hamas has upped its demands--threatening even more kidnappings until all Arab prisoners are released.

The article concludes with comments from MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud)--Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the previous Knesset--who told Arutz-7 that it would be easier to find a kidnapped Israeli in the West Bank than in Gaza.

In terms of strategy, he said:
"Beyond the problem of Kassams and a kidnapped soldier, a Palestinian Hizbullah is being formed under our noses in Gaza, with tens of thousands of young Arabs training to fight against us - and yet Israel does nothing about it."

Shteinitz said that in the short range, Israel must close down Gazan infrastructures, as well as target Hamas leaders. "Ultimately," he said, "there will be no choice but to go into Gaza, as I have long proposed, and carry out another massive offensive like Operation Defensive Shield."
Left unasked is why the level of attacks have been racheted up. We've already seen from the example of Hamas how increased status is achieved in accordance with the number of civilians killed. Also, the nature of the attack that ended in the kidnapping of Shalit required detailed planning, the attack was not in reponse to recent events. In light of the power struggle among terrorist factions, this could be an attempt to leap-frog over Hamas. Whereas Hamas merely fires rockets from the safety of Palestinian villages at civilians, an opposing terrorist faction can now brag that it goes inside and kidnaps Israelis.

For it's part, Israel did not take the opportunity to take the initiative and lauch an immediate incursion to rescue Shalit, instead relying on diplomatic means. Hopefully they will work, but even if they do, that will not dissuade the terrorists from further attempts. And if diplomatic channels do not work, if Israel does go in, those holding Shalit have had more time to prepare.

The only other action Israel has taken is to announce that the kidnapping will not stop Israel from going ahead with it's plans in the West Bank.

Negotiations with terrorists and a promise to retreat from the West Bank.

Not a promising strategy.

Technorati Tag: and and and .



Another Bloggers' Dozen for Tuesday Morning

An assortment of posts, featuring a new mail list, what Cindy Sheehan has in common with Saddam and Barghouti, Alaa's release, a new blog listing with a twist, news that Churchill has something to fear after all, and a discussion about bloggers who turn pro...Israel.

And please keep in mind the kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad ben Aviva

And now the links:

Heichal HaNegina has started a new Modzitzer mail list on Yahoo to provide "a full range of the Torah, Negina/Music, Heritage and News of Modzitz, past and present"

Psycho Toddler writes about dealing with his professional musical career while in aveilus for his father.

WestBankBlog shares her thoughts on our attitude toward Israel's recent bad PR and the importance of seeing the bigger picture.

A Simple Jew looks into the connection between his daughters' day of birth and the 2 Luchos.

AbbaGav has thoughts about Cindy Sheehan's planned "open-ended" fast

Adloyada wonders whether bloggers campaingns helped to free blogger Alaa from an Egyptian prison.

IsraelForum.com introduces Blog Central, which not only lists your posts, but also provides feedback on each entry.

The Astute Blogger had an early post on the Al-Aksa claim to have WMD, and has some updates as well.

At Level Ground recalls that the Palestinian chemical weapon threat is nothing new. And don't forget to check out his podcasts.

The Colossus of Rhodey reports that the University of Colorado Boulder intends to fire Ward "Little Hitlers" Churchill

Soccer Dad has a post, with some insightful feedback, on the question of what Pro-Israel blogging is all about

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Will Israel Go To The Videotape?

Marc Garlasco just couldn't make up his mind about the Gaza beach incident.

Israel did it.
Israel did it not.
Israel could have done it.

Back on June 22, Kenneth Timmerman wrote about Garlasco and his meeting with the IDF and claims something I haven't seen elsewhere.

About Garlasco, he noted:
A self-styled "military expert" for Human Rights Watch, Marc Garlasco...who has no artillery experience or forensics training, has been unable to explain how a 155 millimeter artillery shell could explode amid sand dunes without leaving a huge crater.
But about the meeting, Timmerman notes:
"We came to an agreement with Gen. Klifi that the most likely cause [of the blast] was unexploded Israeli ordnance," Garlasco told the Jerusalem Post after the meeting.

But an Israeli official present at the meeting told NewsMax that that is not the case. "We agreed that no Israeli shell was fired at the beach that day, and that we could not yet determine what caused the explosion," an official present at the three-hour meeting said.

"It might have been an old Israeli mine, or an unexploded shell. Or it could have been a makeshift explosive device."

...Fearing that Garlasco might twist the contents of the meeting, the Israeli military taped the entire three-hour session.
If this is true, by all means--let's go to the videotape!

...At least I hope it's video.
...and in color.

But if so, why didn't Israel go public with it?

See also Hurray For Pallywood--At Gaza Beach (June 19)
See also: More on Gaza Beach (June 20)
See also: Human Rights Watch / Garlasco Admit Israel Not Responsible (Updated) (June 20)


Technorati Tag: and and and .

Real Freedom Fighters Don't Use WMD

At least that's how it use to be. But now, the media whitewashes Palestinian terrorists when they use suicide belts and fire Kassams and now Katyushas. What's more--Al Aksa is now claiming to have WMD: chemical and biological weapons, and who in the media is reporting it so far?
Reliapundit was on the story early and sees this claim, following on the heels of the kidnapping of an IDF soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, as an attempt--backed by Iran--to provoke war and divert attention from Iraq and Afghanistan on the one hand and Iran's nuclear program on the other.

According to Haaretz, Israel is asking Kofi Annan and Secretary of State Rice to apply pressure on Abbas to secure Shalit's release, the idea being that the abduction is a test of Abbas' leadership and he should stay in Gaza to see that the crisis is resolved.

Even if Abbas is able to pull this off, that still leaves the WMD claim. What are the chances that the West will then expect Israel to sit still with such a threat, even unverified, on its doorstep and rely once again on negotiations.

Captain's Quarters makes two interesting points:

1. Either Al Aksa is bluffing--big mistake, or they really have the weapons--in which case "they have just signed the death warrants of both Hamas and Fatah and quite possibly the Palestinian Authority," the idea being that faced with real Genocide, Israel has no option but to defend herself to the full extent possible. In such a case, according to the Captain, even the West will not stand in Israel's way.

2. According to Al Aksa, these weapons were 3 years in the making. Since they do not have the wherewithal to manufacture this stuff, it must have been acquired. That would point to Syria, rumored to having acquired stockpiles of WMD from Iraq prior to the American invasion. In that case:
The Palestinians have just tipped us off to where the WMD went, and now we know where at least some it may have ended up. The Israelis may not be alone in marching through Gaza and the West Bank.
A Blog For All notes that the various International Laws the Palestinian terrorists have broken don't seem to matter to them very much. Of course, for that matter, no one in the West seems to be making much of that point either--though Justice Minister Ramon's comments this past Thursday come to mind.

A different reaction comes from Riehl World View:
I wouldn't be surprised if the group claims this isn't their doing and it's actually an Israeli intelligence operation meant to justify any possible incursion into Gaza. In any event, I fail to see the wisdom in announcing one has such weaponry if you haven't or aren't intending to use it. It doesn't make sense.
Back in December 2003, in an article for Frontpage, Emanuel Winston wrote about the various possible consequences of the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state on the other side of the Security Fence:
6. WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction. Since the territory abandoned by Sharon will now be free of Israelis patrols or the IDF's snap raids, the Arab Palestinians can import WMD - including NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical). Hezb-Allah, Al Qaeda, PFLP, PLO, Tanzim, Al Aksa Brigades, Hamas, et al will have no problem in acquiring NBC - WMD (Weapons of Mass Death) from Iran and Syria which would easily pass into Arab Palestinian hands - and may already have. Israeli intelligence definitely knows that of the 10,000 missiles on the Lebanese border in the zone abandoned by Barak, a substantial number have chemical warheads.
Didn't take long. The Palestinians don't even have a state yet and not only have they been recognized by the Red Cross, they also now claim to have the ability to destroy life en masse as well.

See also Jerusalem Post: Al-Aksa claims biological, chemical capabilities

Technorati Tag: and and and and

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jerusalem Post: Al-Aksa claims biological, chemical capabilities

Either this is another empty boast or we have just turned a corner, sharply. It puts the ball simultaneously in both Israel's and Abbas' court.

Al-Aksa claims biological, chemical capabilities
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

The Aksa Martyrs' Brigades group announced on Sunday that it its members have succeeded in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons to be used against Israel.

In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, said the weapons were the result of an effort that has lasted for three years.

The statment was a response to an Israeli Security Cabinet decision to give the IDF the green light to prepare all the forces necessary for a military operation against Gaza terror cells.

As of 9:00 p.m. a large contingency of Golani and Givati Brigade infantry troops, along with elite units, were amassing on the Israeli side of the Gaza security fence for a possible ground operation there to rescue kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

According to the statement, the first of its kind, the group managed to manufacture and develop at least 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons.

The group said its members would not hesitate to add the new weapons to long-range rockets that are being fired at Israeli communities almost every day. It also threatened to use the weapons against IDF soldiers if Israel carried out its threats to invade the Gaza Strip.

"We want to tell [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz that your threats don't frighten us," the leaflet said. "We will surprise you with our new weapons the moment the first soldier sets his foot in the Gaza Strip."
Technorati Tag: and and and and

See also: Real Freedom Fighters Don't Use WMD

JCPA: Will There Be a Palestinian Civil War?

Sunday, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs came out with another issue of Jerusalem Issue Brief:

Will There Be a Palestinian Civil War?

Pinhas Inbari

Summary:
  • The June 25 Palestinian attack from the Gaza Strip on an IDF military post inside Israel is directly connected to the Hamas-Fatah struggle over the “Prisoners Document,” which may be put to a Palestinian referendum. The core of that document calls for the unification of all armed factions to carry out joint operations against Israel. What remains in dispute is who exactly will lead the new unified front. Essentially, Hamas’ Khaled Mashaal is telling Fatah that it will not determine for the Palestinians how to conduct the “resistance.”

  • Fatah sources have said that the referendum initiative was designed to offer Hamas a ladder with which to climb down from the current stalemate. However, Abbas did not properly calculate the veto power of Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’ Damascus-based political bureau.

  • Mashaal views Hamas as in the Iranian-Syrian orbit, while Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Gaza identifies his government as part of the global Muslim Brotherhood movement. Haniyeh is also limiting his horizons to the PA, while Mashaal has a broader vision of the global spread of Islam. Mashaal maintains direct command of the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

  • The fact that the Prisoners Document was produced by jailed Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti – the bitter enemy of the old Tunis Fatah echelons – created tensions inside Fatah between the Old Guard and Abbas, whom they suspected of secretly nurturing the Young Guard at their expense. The advent of Barghouti as the one who is controlling the development of events has led the Old Guard to limit their support of Abbas’ initiative.

  • Support for Abbas in a showdown with Hamas could come from the alarmed Arab governments that feel threatened by the rise of Hamas, and especially Jordan, which uncovered several attempts by Hamas in Syria to operate inside Jordan. The capture by Israel of Ibrahim Hamed, the military commander of Hamas in the West Bank, led to the exposure of far-reaching plans by Hamas to attack Jordan from the West Bank, according to directives coming from Mashaal in Damascus and backed by Tehran.

  • While there is no reason to suspect Abbas’ rejection of a renewed armed conflict with Israel, his build-up of a new militia based on Force 17 personnel who are in contact with Hizballah does raise concerns. It is also noteworthy that the Prisoners Document still calls for “resistance” inside the territories and accepts the establishment of a Palestinian state inside those territories, but without renouncing the fundamental Palestinian right of return to areas inside Israel.

Pinchas Inbari is a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently reports for several foreign media outlets. He is the author of a number of books on the Palestinians including The Palestinians: Between Terror and Statehood.

The full article is available here

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Haveil Havalim #75 Is Up!

This week, AbbaGav is hosting Haveil Havalim #75

Featuring posts on:
  • Defending Israel
  • Defending Israel from Ahmadinejad And Friends
  • Roger Waters and the Wall
  • Living in Israel
  • Visiting Israel
  • Blogging
  • Torah
  • More Good Stuff...
Next week, The Ignoble Experiment will be hosting Haveil Havalim #76. You can e-mail her at sicat222 at gmail dot com

Besides e-mailing you may submit your entries for Haveil Havalim using either Conservative Cat's submission form (It takes you directly to Haveil Havalim)
or the use the BlogCarnival submission form.

You can e-mail Soccer Dad at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Israeli Prison Goes Beyond Guantanamo

Though some claim that the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay gets a bad rap, and last year saw the publication of The Gitmo Cookbook, no one is claiming that anyone is actually trying to get caught so they'll be sent there.

But that is exactly the story of the Israeli Ofer prison just out of Ramallah, according to the Globe and Mail.

According to Jacob Dallal, a spokesman for the Israeli army, he has seen dozens of cases from Nablus and Jenin of teenagers purposely trying to get caught with weapons at checkpoints in order to get sent to prison. This in spite of the fact that Ofer was the site of prison riots last year and human-rights groups accused the prison of torture and mistreatment.

In the past, some Palestinian teenagers got themselves arrested for finanacial reasons--the PA paid Palestinians held in Israeli jails a stipend of $200 per month. Now with the cut in Western aid, this has stopped the stipend, but Palestinian youths have other reasons for wanting to go to prison.

One example of the reason some Palestinian teenagers are trying to get sent to an Israeli prison is Mohammed:
Ofer was like paradise. You could go to the toilet whenever you wanted, and we had a good time playing football and table tennis in the big courtyard. I started reading good books in there," he said, his hair short and gelled, and a hint of future stubble ringing his thin face. With a shy glance at his father, he added, "And I could stay up as late as I wanted."

Mohammed was pleased to get a seven-month sentence. He was crestfallen when his father, Qasim, paid a $250 bond to get him released early.
But having fun is not the only motivation for the Palestinian youths who trying to get caught. Mahmoud has long-range plans:
Ironically, another reason Mahmoud wanted to go back to jail was to concentrate on his studies. His 17-year-old sister, Yusra, said that her brother, who was good in school, had spoken longingly of prison ever since he was released the first time.

"He couldn't stand the guys from the refugee camps who were always carrying weapons. He felt like he was suffocating. He told me, 'I can't achieve in school with this chaotic environment around me.' " Her brother is now applying to take his high-school exams from behind bars, Yusra added.

...his mother, who visits him regularly, says he's as happy as he's been for a long time, reading books and dreaming of getting married and moving to Syria.
I don't know if all Israeli prisons are of the same quality as Ofer. If they aren't, then Israel had better do something about it fast--to fill the demand.

According to Mohammed's father:
"If the situation continues the way it is, everybody will be doing it," he said. "Young and old."

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Open House At The UN

When it comes to Iran, the UN continues to outdo itself.

October 2005:
The U.N. Security Council has condemned recent comments by Iran's president that Israel should be "wiped off the map" but did not say if the world body planned any action against Iran.
April 2006:
Under threat of United Nations Security Council sanctions for its own nuclear program, Iran has been elected to a vice-chair position on the U.N. Disarmament Commission, whose mission includes deliberations on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
June 22, 2006:
Iran Death Judge Lands U.N. Seat On Human Rights

Iran's delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council faces being isolated by the envoys of free nations this week after it emerged that its leader is one of Iran's most notorious censors and prosecutors of dissidents who the Canadians hold responsible for acquitting those who raped and murdered one of their female citizens.
Apparently Iran takes the UN as seriously as the UN takes Iran's nuclear threat.
What a pair.
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Just Say After Me: Firing Kassams Is A War Crime

On Thursday, Justice Minister Haim Ramon spoke to Ynet about a number of topics, but one thing stands out if for no other reason that it has been so long in coming:
Firing 40 Qassams a day on Sderot and trying to intentionally kill civilians is a war crime.

...Accidents during battle happen to every superpower that is engaged in the war on terror; it happened in London, in Spain, it is happening in the United States – it happens everywhere
True, this is only one Israeli official saying this, but:
  • Imagine if Olmert would say that too--instead of just issuing apologies.
  • Imagine if the Israeli government as a whole issued such a statement.
  • Imagine if Israel made of point of saying this and hammering the point home at every opportunity
  • Imagine if the Media started saying this.
To a degree some in the media do seem to be making the point.

Justice Minister Ramon:
...these incidents that may be deemed war crimes by the international community can be easily avoided if Israel ceases to be a target of daily terror emanating from the Gaza Strip; and this is taking place after Israel withdrew from the entire Strip and evacuated 8,000 Israelis from the area.”
Cliff May:
Is there no one – in Gaza, in Europe, at the UN – who will say that it is at the very least irresponsible to set up a launch site for a missile attack on Israel so close to areas where Palestinian civilians swim, sunbathe and picnic?

Also, note how every story on this emphasizes that Hamas has been “observing a truce.” How is permitting the firing of missiles from territories under its control, not a violation of this “truce”?
Charles Krauthammer:
But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel — and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?

Whether the rocket bases are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place — about 1,000 in the past year?

To get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then declared the line that separates Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians’ control? ...They declared war instead.
The point sounds so simple.
"What we're doing is self defense," Ramon said. "Contrary to the Palestinian terror, we try not to hurt civilians. The situation with them is completely different. Their aim is to target our civilian population in Sderot and the near-Gaza communities."
It just bears repeating.

Alot.

Technorati Tag: . and and and and

Friday, June 23, 2006

Myth of Palestinian Demographic Timebomb Affects More Than Just Israel

The issue of demographics in Israel used to be a vague, abstract, gnawing issue. In 2002, Ben Wattenberg wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that Israel needn't worry about a population implosion. But the demographics problem continued to be discussed--until it became an issue for 2 concrete calls for action in 2 different countries.

On the one hand, the demographic time bomb of the growing Palestinian Arab population was one of the reasons given to justify the need for the Disengagement. On the other hand the findings of American Researchers Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid, and Michael Wise--which seem to indicate that the numbers for the Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank have been highly inflated, while Jewish births and immigration forecasts are underestimated--found their way to the US Congress.

These findings, supported in part by the Palestinian Arabs themselves,were presented in March to the Middle East Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, chaired by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican Congresswoman of Florida--who in January proposed legislation, which would cut American funding to both the PA and the UN, designate the PA a "terrorist sanctuary," and close down some of the PA offices in the US, in order to reduce Palestinian-American diplomatic ties.

But the issue of Palestinian demographics was relevant to the committee for a different reason. The importance of the Zimmerman report for the US, as noted by World Net Daily, is that
almost $3 billion in United States taxpayer funds may have been provided as aid to the Palestinians in part based on fraudulent data.

"American tax dollars and other international humanitarian aid have been based on inflated population numbers which have been accepted without question by governments and aid agencies. Our researchers pointed out that money has been spent to help Palestinians who were double-counted, never born or not present in the West Bank and Gaza," Bennet Zimmerman, head of the new study, titled "Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza," told WND.
Of course, one could assume that Europe might be interested in the possibility that the Palestinians may have swindled them as well.

In an article in the Summer 5766/2006 issue of Azure entitle Voodoo Demographics, Zimmerman, Seid and Weiss lay out all the ways the Palestinian Arab population was miscounted:
In sum: By double-counting the Jerusalem Arabs and counting Arabs living abroad, the Palestinians inflated their base data for 1997 by 648,000. By predicting unrealistically high rates of natural population growth, the number was inflated by an additional 276,000; and by falsely predicting massive immigration to Gaza and the West Bank, and ignoring the significant net emigration of Palestinians from the territories, the PCBS[Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics] further inflated the numbers by another 415,000. If we add these figures together, by 2004 the PCBS figures had managed to inflate the population in the West Bank and Gaza by some 1.34 million people-more than 50 percent. When the pcbs’ numerous errors are corrected, the Palestinian Arab population for Gaza and the West Bank drops to 2.49 million people, with 1.42 million in the West Bank and 1.07 million in Gaza in mid-2004.
Now, in answer to criticism that their results were given in the form of a presentation instead of actual published research, in February the group published an academic research paper through Bar-Ilan's Begin-Sadat Center Center for Strategic Research--allowing the findings to be properly analyzed. It can be downloaded as a PDF from the Bar Ilan University website.

One possible weakness of the report is that for their prediction for 2025, the group has left their research data for Gaza out of their calculations because, as they note elsewhere in their article Gaza "is no longer under any kind of Israeli rule, and therefore is of questionable relevance when speaking of a demographic threat" Thus, according to their prediction, as Haaretz puts it:
7.5 million Jews will be living in Israel and the West Bank then, constituting 63 percent of the population, as compared to 4.45 million Arabs (of these, 2.25 million in the West Bank), or 37 percent of the population. In other words, for every Arab, there will be two Jews. The population in Israel proper will be 77 percent Jews and 23 percent Arabs - not much different from today.
But the bottom line question remains whether Israel is free and clear of the demographic time bomb that was calculated into the considerations for Sharon's Disengagement and for Olmert's Convergence Plan. In their article, they address this point:
Do the Jews of Israel face a demographic threat? The answer is still a qualified yes-but the threat has been greatly exaggerated. As the real numbers make clear, Arab population growth is not an overwhelming force that is destined, sooner or later, to relegate the Jews to minority status. On the contrary: With a greater understanding of demography and the specific forces that drive it, Israeli policymakers can develop a range of choices to affect the long-term demographic trends in the region-from the encouragement of Jewish immigration to the fostering of economic and social equality between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens. More important, Israel must realize that it has time, demographically speaking, to evaluate these choices, and to make the right decisions.
If Zimmerman and his group is right, this is one of the very rare issues where time is actual on Israel's side. It would also be an opportunity for the US and Europe to think through the implications of the report for their policy of support for the Palestinian Arabs and the PA. The question remains whether Zimmerman's report--and implications--will be accepted.

Haaretz concludes, "Now the findings can be discussed, challenged or rejected - but to ignore them would be folly."

Crossposted at Israpundit

Technorati Tag: and and and and .


Palestinian Demographic Timebomb Affects More Than Just Israel

[Note: I made a small change in the title of the post (see here). Because Blogger creates the link to the post based on the title, I had to create a separate post so that any links out in the blogosphere to this post would still have somewhere to go to. Sorry for any confusion]

The issue of demographics in Israel used to be a vague, abstract, gnawing issue. In 2002, Ben Wattenberg wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that Israel needn't worry about a population implosion. But the demographics problem continued to be discussed--until it became an issue for 2 concrete calls for action in 2 different countries.

On the one hand, the demographic time bomb of the growing Palestinian Arab population was one of the reasons given to justify the need for the Disengagement. On the other hand the findings of American Researchers Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid, and Michael Wise--which seem to indicate that the numbers for the Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank have been highly inflated, while Jewish births and immigration forecasts are underestimated--found their way to the US Congress.

These findings, supported in part by the Palestinian Arabs themselves,were presented in March to the Middle East Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, chaired by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican Congresswoman of Florida--who in January proposed legislation, which would cut American funding to both the PA and the UN, designate the PA a "terrorist sanctuary," and close down some of the PA offices in the US, in order to reduce Palestinian-American diplomatic ties.

But the issue of Palestinian demographics was relevant to the committee for a different reason. The importance of the Zimmerman report for the US, as noted by World Net Daily, is that
almost $3 billion in United States taxpayer funds may have been provided as aid to the Palestinians in part based on fraudulent data.

"American tax dollars and other international humanitarian aid have been based on inflated population numbers which have been accepted without question by governments and aid agencies. Our researchers pointed out that money has been spent to help Palestinians who were double-counted, never born or not present in the West Bank and Gaza," Bennet Zimmerman, head of the new study, titled "Arab Population in the West Bank and Gaza," told WND.
Of course, one could assume that Europe might be interested in the possibility that the Palestinians may have swindled them as well.

In an article in the Summer 5766/2006 issue of Azure entitle Voodoo Demographics, Zimmerman, Seid and Weiss lay out all the ways the Palestinian Arab population was miscounted:
In sum: By double-counting the Jerusalem Arabs and counting Arabs living abroad, the Palestinians inflated their base data for 1997 by 648,000. By predicting unrealistically high rates of natural population growth, the number was inflated by an additional 276,000; and by falsely predicting massive immigration to Gaza and the West Bank, and ignoring the significant net emigration of Palestinians from the territories, the PCBS[Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics] further inflated the numbers by another 415,000. If we add these figures together, by 2004 the PCBS figures had managed to inflate the population in the West Bank and Gaza by some 1.34 million people-more than 50 percent. When the pcbs’ numerous errors are corrected, the Palestinian Arab population for Gaza and the West Bank drops to 2.49 million people, with 1.42 million in the West Bank and 1.07 million in Gaza in mid-2004.
Now, in answer to criticism that their results were given in the form of a presentation instead of actual published research, in February the group published an academic research paper through Bar-Ilan's Begin-Sadat Center Center for Strategic Research--allowing the findings to be properly analyzed. It can be downloaded as a PDF from the Bar Ilan University website.

One possible weakness of the report is that for their prediction for 2025, the group has left their research data for Gaza out of their calculations because, as they note elsewhere in their article Gaza "is no longer under any kind of Israeli rule, and therefore is of questionable relevance when speaking of a demographic threat" Thus, according to their prediction, as Haaretz puts it:
7.5 million Jews will be living in Israel and the West Bank then, constituting 63 percent of the population, as compared to 4.45 million Arabs (of these, 2.25 million in the West Bank), or 37 percent of the population. In other words, for every Arab, there will be two Jews. The population in Israel proper will be 77 percent Jews and 23 percent Arabs - not much different from today.
But the bottom line question remains whether Israel is free and clear of the demographic time bomb that was calculated into the considerations for Sharon's Disengagement and for Olmert's Convergence Plan. In their article, they address this point:
Do the Jews of Israel face a demographic threat? The answer is still a qualified yes-but the threat has been greatly exaggerated. As the real numbers make clear, Arab population growth is not an overwhelming force that is destined, sooner or later, to relegate the Jews to minority status. On the contrary: With a greater understanding of demography and the specific forces that drive it, Israeli policymakers can develop a range of choices to affect the long-term demographic trends in the region-from the encouragement of Jewish immigration to the fostering of economic and social equality between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens. More important, Israel must realize that it has time, demographically speaking, to evaluate these choices, and to make the right decisions.
If Zimmerman and his group is right, this is one of the very rare issues where time is actual on Israel's side. The question remains whether Zimmerman's report--and implications--will be accepted.

Haaretz concludes, "Now the findings can be discussed, challenged or rejected - but to ignore them would be folly."

Technorati Tag: and and and and .


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Whose "Cycle of Violence" Is It Anyway?

On Best of the Web, James Taranto addresses the issue of 'the cycle of violence.'

He quotes blogress Jeralyn Merritt who intones:
Violence begets violence. Inhumanity and cruelty bring more of the same. The whole world is watching and we don't have the right to claim the moral high ground
as well as Andrew Sullivan who writes about "the cycle of depravity and defeat."

Of course, they are writing about the US--not Israel. Taranto addresses the issue as it applies to the US. He examines the implications of the often used phrase "cycle of violence" and demonstrates that the phrase no longer means what is implied by it's simple sence. Let's see how what he says applies to Israel. First, the implication of 'cycles':
This rhetoric about "cycles" appears to reflect a theory of moral equivalence, but in fact it is something else. After all, if the two sides were morally equivalent, one could apply this reasoning in reverse--excusing, for example, the alleged massacre at Haditha on the ground that it was "provoked" by a bombing that killed a U.S. serviceman--and hey, violence begets violence.
True enough. One could apply the moral equivalency in reverse to say that Israel--after the constant attacks over the years, the murders of loved ones, and the failure of accords and treaties--is provoked into targeted assassinations and into firing upon Palestinians launching Kassams from populated areas at Israeli citizens. The violence of the Palestinians is begetting more violence. But no one is saying that.

Taranto continues:
But America's critics never make this argument, and its defenders seldom do. That is because it is understood that America knows better. If it is true that U.S. Marines murdered civilians in cold blood at Haditha, the other side's brutality does not excuse it. Only the enemy's evil acts are thought to be explained away by ours.
True again. We accept the idea that Israel knows better. We understand the actions that Israel takes, expects that she will take every precaution, and cringe when Palestinian bystanders are hurt or killed. Israel knows better and so we expect better. But Israel's critics do try to explain away the Palestinian terrorist attacks by focusing on Israel.

Taranto concludes:
Implicit in the "cycle" theory, then, is the premise that the enemy is innocent--not in the sense of having done nothing wrong, but in the sense of not knowing any better. The enemy lacks the knowledge of good and evil--or, to put it in theological terms, he is free of original sin.
This is the problem that we have long had thrust upon us--the idea that the Palestinian Arabs do not know better, or at least cannot be expected to act better. Back in February, Treppenwitz puts the problem this way:
This word 'infantilization' most be brought into consistent and mainstream use wherever and whenever the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is discussed. It is untenable that Israel be the only party cast in the role of grown-up; making concessions, living up to agreements, being held accountable for actions (or inaction), simply because the other side is allowed to be portrayed as too immature and undeveloped to be held to the same standard.
It is a burden that should not be Israel's to carry.

The implied equivalence in the phrase "cycle of violence" is more apparent than real, and the moral equivalence is in reality a one-way street that carries a heavy cost.

Taranto finishes with the thought that holding oneself to a high moral standard is one thing
but blaming the other side's depraved acts on our own (real and imagined) moral imperfections is a dangerous form of vanity.
Just as in the US, in Israel there are some very vain people.

Technorati Tag: and and and and and .





A Second Bloggers Dozen of Links for Thursday Morning

This selection of links covers a one question poll for bloggers, a special blogburst for the 5th anniversary of 9/11 requiring 2,996 bloggers, Walmart Jews, why Moslems aren't enjoying the World Cup this year, a song about The Aliyah Blues, and a reason to brush up on your Mandarin.

On Tuesday, The Valve had open-heart surgery. Please keep Chaim Yehuda Elimelech ben Rachel Yehudis in mind.

Israelly Cool has a 'blog efficacy poll'--just one question. Take the poll here

Ocean Guy: Somewhere on A1A writes about a special blogburst planned for September 11, 2006.

Perspectives of a Nomad writes about Ron Suskind's new book and the defense against terrorism

SerandEz introduces us to the Walmart-Jews of Arkansas.

Shiloh Musings has thoughts on Likud--then, now, and the gulf in-between

Simply Jews notes the 2nd and 3rd offense to Islam occasioned by the World Cup

Smooth Stone quotes from an article by Daniel Pipes exploring the strength of ties to Jerusalem

Soccer Dad introduces us to plinths, vexilloligists and intaglio--and if he keeps this up, some oral depuration may be called for.

The Sunken Synagogue sings about--or at least provides the lyrics for--those Aliyah Blues

Treppenwitz suggests a way to get the Palestinians to sing a different tune, one Palestinian leader at a time.

Meryl Yourish provides a good reason to learn how to say thank-you in Chinese

Boker Tov, Boulder!, who was part of a select group of bloggers in a conference call with Sharanksy, writes about his meeting with Cheney and what Sharansky thinks about bloggers.

Technorati Tag: and and and .

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

'Peace Now' Could Teach Hamas A Thing Or Two

Arutz Sheva reports that Peace Now, in order to achieve their goal to get Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 borders is largely funded by foreign governments.

This is not really earth-shattering news.

Back in 2002, CAMERA reported that:
The EU reportedly provides much of Beilin's personal funding. According to an investigative report by Yoav Yitzchaki published in the Feb. 8, 2002 edition of the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, Beilin's salary is largely provided by the European Union (EU), as are his travel expenses. Beilin draws an annual salary of 350,000-400,000 NIS ( $80,000-$90,000) from the EU-funded Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF) which he established.
Caroline Glick wrote, also in 2002, that the EU funded organizations like Rabbis for Human Rights, which organized delegations of foreign activists to stand in front of IDF tanks and try to force their way through IDF roadblocks.

One year before that, in 2001, the Jerusalem Post reported on the justification given by the EU for the funding they provide to left-wing organizations in Israel:
"The European Union has always held a policy of supporting non-governmental organizations that work for peace, democracy, and human rights in the civil societies around the Mediterranean," an EU official told The Jerusalem Post. "The Israeli government is fully aware of this funding and has never complained about it. The EU has never provided financial support for political parties," he stressed.

..."We don't look at the political complexion of the people who apply to us," the official said. "We look at the project and if it meets our criteria, it is a candidate for our support."
That the Israeli government has stood by and let this happen is just one more indication of their paralysis and inability to take even the most basic stands in the interests of the country. On the other hand, for the EU to brag that they do not look at the "political complexion" of whom they give financial support to--in a region that is drowning in politics--is irresponsible.

But apparently the EU feels that the PA qualifies as one of those "non-governmental organizations that work for peace, democracy, and human rights in the civil societies around the Mediterranean" since it provided financial support to Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority. According to Glick in her article, the EU was the single largest contributor to Arafat's PA since its inception, despite the evidence that the PA is a terrorist entity.

But now, according to Arutz Sheva, David Bedein is claiming that he has documents showing that in 2005, Peace Now bypassed the EU and has gone directly to individual countries, receiving payments directly from Britain, Norway, and Finland, totaling nearly a half million dollars. He also claims that for its 2006 budget, Peace Now has approached Britain, Norway, Canada, Germany, Holland, and Finland, with commitments from Britain, Norway, and Finland.

Considering how Israel has learned that one is beholden to the one you accept money from, the question arises how these foreign countries may have impact

This issue of accepting foreign money goes further than the fact that Peace Now is engaging in an activity that would require it in the US to register as a foreign agent. Peace Now is out to challenge the status of Jewish communitees in the West Bank and see to it that the Israeli government dismantles them. The article makes it clear that:
Such challenges often have direct impact on government policy and on the country's fragile social and political fabric. The government's decision to dismantle nine homes in the town of Amona, for example, followed a Supreme Court petition filed by Peace Now, claiming the homes were built illegally. The homes were destroyed in
a violent police action, in which hundreds were injured.

The violence and sharp polarization of Israeli society ensuing from the Amona tragedy may be playing into the hands of the same foreign governments which fund Peace Now. This is so to the extent that divisions within Israel's political communitiy weaken the government's ability to maintain Israeli control of Judea and Samaria in the face of world criticism.
All of this: funded by countries that are foreign--both geographically and in terms of their friendship--to Israel. That makes it all the more unsettling that Bedein claims Finland's contribution to Peace Now was forwarded to Finland by the U.S. government, according to what a member of the Finnish Parliament told him.

It's not surprizing that over the years Peace Now has become more emboldened--and successful--in looking for financial aid from abroad. No doubt they could teach Hamas a thing or two.

Once again, the Israeli government has taken a passive role and allowed these things to happen. It is not enough for the Israeli government to periodically authorize the IDF to make daring strikes against terrorist leaders. It is in the basic day-to-day running of the country that Israel's future will be assured.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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