Friday, September 30, 2005

UK vs US on Israel

According to the Jerusalem Post, it might be that the British get it:

Israel's response to the recent Kassam rocket attacks on Sderot has been measured and appropriate, Kim Howells, Britain's Minister of State for the Middle East, told The Jerusalem Post, disregarding Palestinian appeals for the world to rein in the IDF.

Howells, on a three-day visit to the region, hinted in an interview Wednesday night that financial aid to the Palestinian Authority might be withheld if the PA did not seriously begin tackling the terrorism in its midst.

"The Palestinians are receiving more aid per capita than any other people on the face of the earth, and we want to see some proper response," Howells said, hinting at a decrease of economic aid if the Palestinians don't fight terror.

"I thought the retaliation this week was proportionate," said Howells about the IDF operations. "The [Palestinian] attack was a very serious one, it could have killed a lot of people. It's a miracle really there weren't more casualties."

"I think there is no excuse now," he added. "Gaza is now in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, and there are no Israeli troops there. One hopes that where tough decisions have to be made, Abu Mazen [PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas] and the PA will make them."

At the same time, Howells said, the world would carefully watch how "selective" the IDF's retaliation would be. "I don't think that any nation on earth relishes the prospect of world opinion if it retaliates by shelling indiscriminately. But it seems to me that the Israelis have targeted with great care those it believes responsible for firing those rockets."

If this care continues, Howells said, "the world will understand [Israelis] are trying to defend their citizens, which after all is the primary responsibility of any government."

To say that the world will suddenly be more understanding is a bit much, but I would have thought that the US would be more appreciative.

And I would be wrong.

According to the Jerusalem Newswire

Asked for the US government's reaction to Israel getting “a little more active,” State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack repeated what he told reporters earlier in the week: Israel must act with restraint and consider the effects of its actions on American efforts to birth a Palestinian Arab state.

“We have always maintained that Israel has a right to defend itself, but we have urged the Israeli government to be mindful of the consequences of its actions on what all share as the ultimate goal - moving down the road towards two states,” McCormack said.

The spokesman said the Bush Administration wants to see the “Palestinians” and Israelis “work together to build on what we believe was a successful withdrawal in Gaza.”

Of course it could be that Howells is merely paying lip service and that this is a personal view and not that of British government itself. But I miss the days when the US would unabashedly back Israel when she defends herself against terrorism.

Don't you?

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fear of the Arab Street

In her column in the Jerusalem Post last week (Israel's disengaged establishment), Caroline Glick wrote about the decison by the Justice Ministry not to indict any policemen for their actions during the Arab riots in October 2000.

She gives some background on the events from 5 years ago:

Following months of increased violence and extremism in the Arab-Israeli sector incited directly by the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli Islamic Movement and the Arab members of Knesset, violent riots seized the Arab sector of Israel in October 2000. During the week of riots, Arab Israelis threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli civilian cars throughout the country. Israeli motorists were dragged out of their cars on Highway 65 along Wadi Ara and beaten. An Israeli motorist was murdered when Arabs from Jasser a-Zarka threw a rock at his windshield as he drove down the coastal highway.

And so the commission was born:

In the wake of the riots, the government of then-prime minister Ehud Barak went into a state of panic, concerned that the Labor Party would lose its support base among Arab Israelis. And so, rather than arresting the Arab leaders who incited the riots, banning the Islamic Movement and ending PA infiltration into the Arab sector, Barak sought to appease the very leaders who had fomented the violence. This he did by offering to establish an independent commission led by a retired judge that would investigate the police behavior towards the rioters. That commission, led by retired justice Theodore Or, was given the perverse job of investigating only the police, as if the officers had simply been firing at ducks in a shooting gallery rather than trying to contend with a violent, heavily incited mob that was paralyzing and terrorizing the country.

Once the Or Commission was established, discussion of the actual events was silenced and replaced by a surrealistic parade of policemen and politicians summoned before a tribunal to defend their actions as if they had taken place in a vacuum. And so, this week's announcement of the decision not to indict any officers in the 13 deaths was the first opportunity that the public has had in five years to actually discuss what happened in October 2000.

In the wake of the decsion by the commission not to take action, there was of course criticism of the failure to indict the Israeli police for the Arab deaths. Glick boils down the criticism to basically 2 sides:

On one side were the critics who claimed that the fact that the Police Investigations Department could not find sufficient evidence to justify indictments was a flimsy excuse for not conducting trials. They claimed that the fact that the families of the dead refused to cooperate with investigators was no reason not to indict, and the fact that the investigators expected the poor families to cooperate with them was evidence of their racism.

On the other side was the Justice Ministry. On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and his deputies held a press conference to defend themselves against the attacks of the members of their club. Mazuz and his associates made no mention of the fact that refusal to cooperate with investigators is a criminal act. They made no mention of the incitement of Arab Israelis by the Islamic Movement, the PA and the Arab MKs. For them, the deaths of the 13 were an unmitigated tragedy. The only thing that interested them was defending their honor as champions of Arab rights to their establishment colleagues.

All this becomes relevant once again now that the Justice Ministry has announced that it is going to go back and reopen the investigation:

The announcement was made Wednesday night by the Justice Ministry Police Investigations Department. It is widely felt that the ministry caved in to political pressure from the Arab community, which was angered by the recent decision not to press charges against policemen for their role in the killings.

Ministry officials explained on national television last night that the decision to reopen the case was made in light of the fact that family members of the deceased planned to appeal the decision to the courts.

It seems that in addition to the power of the liberal press, there is a new and growing voice that is expressing itself--the Israeli Arab community, which no doubt will get a helping hand from the liberal media, in the interests of fairness of course.

There is nothing wrong with the Israeli Arab community expressing itself and defending what it sees as its interests, per se. However they seem not to find fault with riots and murder that took place. Do they think that was as legitimate a means of expressing their political needs as terrorism?

In any case, perhaps the commission is merely responding to the potential of an Arab appeal.
Or maybe there is more to the timing:

In a related item, the police have moved to alert status as the Israeli-Arab community prepares to commemorate five years since the riots. A number of events are scheduled in the coming days to mark the date.

If the commission is responding to fear of the Arab street, it is not the only benefit that fear of the Arab street is reaping--there is a report that police know the identities of the Arabs who killed IDF soldier Eden-Natan Zada, yet have not arrested them, because they are afraid of Arab riots:

Zada, who opened fire on passengers on a public bus driving through the village of Shfaram under unclear circumstances, was handcuffed and in the custody of police when an Arab mob surrounded the bus, broke in, and killed him. A video of the lynch, with Zada seen alive after being placed in police custody, was aired by Channel 10 shortly after the incident.

It remains unclear whether Zada planned the attack in advance or whether something happened on the bus to provoke it, but the identities of the Arabs who killed Zada are known by the police. In the past, Jews who attacked or killed Arab terrorists after they were subdued or in police custody have been prosecuted in court.

The failure of Israel to defend itself properly in the world forum has been painful enough. Now it seems that in their own country they are unable to take the steps necessary to defend themselves from within.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


In today's Jerusalem Post, Herb Keinon writes about a report this week by John Dugard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories. Keinon's main thrust is that Dugard is hinting to a need for a binational, as opposed to a two-state, solution in his report:

"Interlocutors within both Israel and the West Bank warned the special rapporteur that with the two-state solution becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, consideration should be given to the establishment of a binational Palestinian state. The demography of the region increasingly points to such an outcome," he wrote in a report published Monday.

The immediate Israeli response to the report is provided in Ynetnews:

“He is an extremist, and his reports are not taken very seriously.”

Isn't that an odd sort of criticism seeing that there is no shortage of extremists out there criticizing Israel? On the contrary, I imagine Dugard has no shortage of friends and that his report is taken very seriously by them.

Part of the absurdity of Dugard's job is the fact that, as he himself admits (html version) in an interview in November 2003, he only reports on human rights issues as they apply to Israel's actions, and not the Palestinian Arabs:

No, that’s not part of my mandate. In my discussions, private discussions, with members of the Palestinian Authority I obviously do raise questions of this kind because they are of concern to me as a human rights lawyer but this is not part of my mandate and I do not report on the human rights violations of the Palestinian Authority, and clearly there are human rights violations on their part. [emphasis mine]

Terrorism becomes a 'violation'--which is an outgrowth of what he actually is mandated to do:

the Commission on Human Rights has mandated me – it has created the post of Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories to look into the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the occupying powers. So the emphasis is very much on the fact that Israel is the occupying power. That’s what gives this mandate it’s unique position. [emphasis mine]

The emphasis on Israel being an occupying power--"that's what gives this mandate it's unique position"? Now there's an understatement.

But for such an absurdly named post, the UN definitely got the right man for the job, as Keinon notes:

Dugard alleged that settler violence was on the increase, "and it seems that settlers are able to terrorize Palestinians and destroy their land with impunity." He alleged that setters have terrorized Palestinian children, poisoned wells and fields, destroyed crops and stole sheep. [emphasis mine]

Apparently no story or accusation escapes the keen eye of this raconteur.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

“Can't Buy Me Love”

Dr. Alex Grobman

When James Wolfensohn and Mort Zuckerman raised $14 million to buy the Gush Katif hothouses from Israeli farmers to give to the Palestinians, many people were surprised. “We thought it was a chance to show the Palestinians that there were more benefits from cooperation than confrontation," Zuckerman explained.

Zuckerman’s New York Daily News reported on September 22 that “ a week after they [Palestinians] descended like locusts on the greenhouses...looters continue to pillage what should be a prize asset for a fledgling Palestinian state.” In response to this wanton destruction, Zuckerman said, "I'm just sad that they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. ... It's almost inexplicable."

Later in the same article, 29-year-old Samir Al-Najar explained why he and eight of his men destroyed a half-acre greenhouse at the Neveh Dekalim settlement. He would probably rebuild the greenhouses he said, “but I want the greenhouses to be our own, not Jewish ones.”

Attempts to convince the Arabs that they have more to gain materially by embracing the Jewish State than by trying to destroy it, is not a new phenomenon. Yosef Gorny notes that in 1907, Yitzhak Epstein, an intellectual and teacher, declared that the Arabs “must, for its own good let the Jews into the country, for it is powerless to improve its situation and to extricate itself from its poverty and ignorance by its own efforts; only our people can provide for their needs.” It was to be a win-win situation. The Jews would reclaim their homeland and the Arabs would be able to improve their lives.

In 1921,Winston Churchill, then Colonial Secretary, echoed the same theme of “economic blessing” on a visit to Palestine. He urged the Arabs to give Zionism a “fair chance,” since Zionism would be “accompanied by a general diffusion of wealth and well-being…and by an advance in the social, scientific and cultural life of the people as a whole.”

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, said he shared the view of many early Zionists that Jews would be welcomed back once the economic progress they brought with them “would convey a blessing to the Arab people.” Years later he admitted that he was “naïve then to imagine …that the Arabs think like us.” In 1936, for example, he acknowledged that “the economic blessing” had no impact on Arab leaders: “Even if they admit—and not all of them do—that our immigration brings material blessing to the land, [t]hey say—and from the Arab viewpoint I think rightly so-‘None of your honey and none of your sting.’”

Al-Najar’s rejection of the Jewish hothouses was the same sentiment expressed to Ben-Gurion by a leading Arab intellectual in the 1960’s. The Arab leader acknowledged the achievements the Jews had created in Israel, but it was irrelevant to him. He wanted the land to remain desolate until the Arabs themselves were capable of achieving these same feats. Even if this would take a hundred years, he was prepared to wait.

Disregarding the experiences of previous Israeli leaders, Shimon Peres continued to espouse this failed approach in the early 1990’s when he said, “A higher standard of living is a precondition for mitigating the tensions among the Middle Eastern countries.” He wanted to fight poverty in the region “as if were a military threat.” That the Arabs have never renounced their desire to destroy Israel, that they persist in teaching hatred of Jews in their schools under Mohammad Abbas and assailing them in their mosques is either ignored or only perfunctory demands are made that it be stopped.

In light of the Wolfensohn-Zucker fiasco, perhaps we should finally understand that the Arabs will not be bought off. Zeev Jabotinsky, leader of the Revisionists, appreciated this fact in 1925 when he wrote, “… I do not believe that we can reconcile them [the Arabs] to the possibility of a Jewish Palestine by offering them the bribe of economic amelioration….”

The destruction of the hothouses and of the synagogues in Gush Katif raises fundamental questions about the nature of Israel’s “peace partners.” What type of people delights in destroying synagogues, continues to live in squalor out of sense of pride, yet takes hand-outs from the U.N., and when given a thriving business opportunity levels the site because they want to build their own someday? The British, the U.S., the European Union and Israel have enabled Arab leaders to engage in this self-destructive behavior for decades by giving in to their endless whiny and unjustified demands, providing them with money that is rarely used for the welfare of their people, and not holding them accountable to agreements they make.

As long as the West and Israel continues this pathological response, the Arabs will wallow in their own self-pity, glory in their victimhood and focus their energy on ways to destroy Israel and the West.

Dr. Grobman has an MA and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in contemporary Jewish history.

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When Smiling for the Camera is Not Enough

In my very first blog post, I drew some comparisons of society and politics between Israel and the US which I thought were interesting and ironic.

The very first item on the list was:

The media is liberal and presents news in a way that is slanted against the leader of the country and it's policies.

While they were covering the DC rally against the US presence in Iraq, the MSM came up with the following photo of someone protesting the Abu Ghraib scandal (hat tip to LGF):

That's all fine and good, until of course you take a few steps back and then get the entire picture, courtesty of Getty Images:

Remind you of anything?

Maybe this:

Or this picture from the anti World Trade Organization protest in Cancun:

Honest Reporting points out the following guidelines the New York Times recommends for its journalists:

Photography and Images. Images in our pages that purport to depict reality must be genuine in every way. No people or objects may be added, rearranged, reversed, distorted or removed from a scene (except for the recognized practice of cropping to omit extraneous outer portions). Adjustments of color or gray scale should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction, analogous to the "burning" and "dodging" that formerly took place in darkroom processing of images. Pictures of news situations must not be posed. In the cases of collages, montages, portraits, fashion or home design illustrations, fanciful contrived situations and demonstrations of how a device is used, our intervention should be unmistakable to the reader, and unmistakably free of intent to deceive. Captions and credits should further acknowledge our intervention if the slightest doubt is possible. The design director, a masthead editor or the news desk should be consulted on doubtful cases or proposals for exceptions.[emphasis added]

Does anyone read this stuff?

Just as in Israel we see that terrorists have become "militants" while reporters are now experts on international law and the difference between occupied and disputed territory--now in the US we see comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam and "peace protests" in Washington that we are told should remind us times gone by.

Christopher Hitchens addresses the cynicism--and distortion--in such comparisons by the liberal press. He describes

"International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda...the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump.... It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side.

Just like I wrote in my original post, it seems that the US is becoming more and more like Israel all the time.

Update: For a look at how the media itself is manipulated, by the Palestinian Arabas, take a look at Pallywood

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Monday, September 26, 2005

An Apartheid Apart

In today's issue of Daily Alert there is a short summary of an editorial from the Wall Street Journal, which aparently is not available in its entirety online:

The "Apartheid Wall" - Editorial

The "security fence" consists of two high-rise metal fences, topped by razor wire and equipped with sensor pads, movement detectors, spotlights, and infrared cameras. It's patrolled 24 hours a day by the military. No, we're not talking about Israel's security barrier. The "apartheid wall" described above surrounds Melilla which, together with Ceuta, is a leftover of Spain's colonial past in northern Africa. There's more than a hint of hypocrisy here. While Spain and much of Europe condemn Israel for building a security fence on disputed territory, the Socialist government in Madrid - which talks grandly of an "Alliance of Civilizations" - does exactly the same. Only, unlike in Israel's case, this wall isn't there to stop terrorists and save lives. It's intended to keep out Sub-Saharans looking for a better life. Spain even gets EU funding for it. (Wall Street Journal, 26 Sep 05)

I wonder if there's more here than the usual issue of Anti-Semitism. The 'Old Boy's Club'--the European countries with a long history of imperialism--stick together when ugly little realities intrude on worn-out reminders of past glories. But even assuming that these same countries respect Israel's right to exist--and that may be a stretch--there is almost a hint of condescension, as if certain measures that a country may take on its own behalf are allowed only to certain nations of standing.

That may explain in part the attitude of Europe towards America on the one hand and why the US tends not to view Israel in quite the same way that Europe does.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Israeli Occupation? Moslems are Just Being Modest

Like the rest of the world, the Palestinian Arabs and the Moslem world as a whole gives a geshrei about the Israeli 'occupation' along with cries of American 'occupation' of Iraq, imperialism, globalization, etc.

Moslem history is worth looking at in comparison.

In an article for The New Yorker back in 2001 entitled the The Revolt of Islam Bernard Lewis writes about the European counter-attack against Moslem invasion during the Middle Ages:

The Tatars were expelled from Russia, and the Moors from Spain. But in southeastern Europe, where the Ottoman sultan confronted first the Byzantine and then the Holy Roman Emperor, Muslim power prevailed, and these setbacks were seen as minor and peripheral. As late as the seventeenth century, Turkish pashas still ruled in Budapest and Belgrade, Turkish armies were besieging Vienna, and Barbary corsairs were raiding lands as distant as the British Isles and, on one occasion, in 1627, even Iceland. [emphasis added]

The material in the article appears also in Lewis' The Crisis of Islam (see page 51).

On page 34 of that book, he describes the beginning of Moslem Imperialism:

The then Christian provinces of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa were absorbed and in due course Islamized and Arabized, and they served as bases for the further invasion of Europe and the conquest of Spain and Portugal and much of southern Italy. By the early eighth century the conquering Arab armies were even advancing beyond the Pyrenees into France. [emphasis added]

Lewis describes the European attempt to end the Moslem occupation in contemporary terms:

By this time the jihad had become almost entirely defensive--resisting the Reconquest in Spain and Russia, resisting the movements for national self-liberation by the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire, and finally, as Muslims see it, defending the very heartlands of Islam against infidel attack. [emphasis added]

Lewis adds how Moslems describe this period of Christian self-liberation:

This phase has come to be known as imperialism.

Apparently Zionism is not the first nationalist movement to be labeled 'imperialist' by the Moslem world.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

A Personal Remembrance of Simon Wiesenthal

By Dr. Alex Grobman

The death of Simon Wiesenthal brings back many memories. Many years ago, when I served as director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in Los Angeles, being with him was always an experience. He was charismatic and a great raconteur, loved and admired by all. I remember coming out of a restaurant with him on Pico Blvd. one day, and an overwhelmed woman who recognized him stopped her car in the middle of this very busy street to shake his hand.

Another time we were in San Francisco for one of his lectures, and some people sent drinks over to us as we sat in the Mark Hopkins hotel lounge. When we arrived at the college auditorium in the middle of a torrential rainstorm, hundreds of students greeted him as if he were a rock star.

Wiesenthal will be always be remembered as the "permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators" of the Shoah to justice. He assumed this self-appointed role because no one else wanted it. After the survivors went their separate ways to rebuild their lives, he remained in Europe to hunt Nazis.

With few allies and funds, he relentlessly pursued those who sought to destroy the Jewish people. When I introduced him to my then seven year-old son Ilan, Ilan asked how could such an old man catch so many Nazis. Many people wondered the same thing. When others asked why he hunted Nazis, Wiesenthal responded, "When history looks back I want people to know the Nazis weren't able to kill millions of people and get away with it." Revenge was never the issue for him; it was always about justice.

The one area in which we disagreed was the SWC's initial use of the term 11 million, which is clear distortion of history. Simon believed that non-Jews would not care about six million Jews, unless he added a made-up number of five million non-Jews to the equation. The Jews were singled out because they were seen as a cancer that threatened the physical survival of the German people. This was the first time in history where an entire group - the Jews - every man, woman, and child was intentionally singled out by a state for total destruction. This has never happened before either to Jews or to any other group.

By comparing what happened to the millions of people killed during World War Two with the Jews, we trivialize the importance of this unprecedented and unparalleled event in modern history. When president Jimmy Carter began referring to the eleven million during discussions to build the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., the serious implications of this rewriting of history became even clearer. To his credit, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of SWC intervened and the center stopped using the term as did Wiesenthal.

Wiesenthal always said that he continued his work despite all odds so that when he would be reunited with the Six Million, he could assure them that he had never forgotten them. He never did. "May his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life."

Dr. Grobman served as director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center during its formative years. He has an MA and Ph.D. in Contemporary Jewish History from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Guess What Else is Being Smuggled into Gaza

From Khaled Abu Toameh at the Jerusalem Post, it appears that Palestinians who entered Egypt to get weapons got a bonus:

Many Palestinians were reported to have exploited the open border to smuggle large amounts of weapons and drugs into the Gaza Strip. Others, particularly wholesale merchants, are said to have brought cheap cigarettes, food, livestock and electrical appliances.

But while they were in Egypt, many Palestinian men also discovered that there were many single women eager to marry and move to the Gaza Strip. Hastily arranged marriages enabled the women to return with their new husbands to the Gaza Strip without seeking permission from the Egyptian or Palestinian authorities.

One of the brides, who identified herself as Samira, said she agreed to marry the man she met only hours earlier "because this was an opportunity that should not be missed." Samira, 28, lived with her family in Al-Arish.

"In Egypt, it's very difficult for a woman my age to get married because I'm considered too old," she said. "Moreover, the economic situation in Egypt is not as good as in the Gaza Strip."

Another bride from Al-Arish said that she always been dreaming of marrying a Palestinian. "Palestinian men are better than Egyptian men," the 27-year-old said. "They know how to look after their wives and provide for them a decent living."
[emphasis added]

Considering the billions that the US pours into Egypt, it's kind of odd to hear that living in Gaza is an Egyptian woman's idea of prosperity--and a busha to Egytians.

As far as women dreaming of marrying a Palestinian--I sincerely hope they are right. But Israelis for years had dreams of a better life with Palestinian Arabs, and have precious little to show for it.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Please Excuse the Transition

Yesterday at the United Nations, there was a meeting with the press, featuring Secretary of State Rice along with Kofi Annan and others. Here is one of the exchanges:

QUESTION: First of all, Secretary Rice, we just got the statement, but basically it said in the statement something about militias not candidates for -- armed militias not being candidates for elections. So let me put it another way. Prime Minister Sharon said last week that he will not -- that Israel will not help in -- if Hamas is part of the election. What is your view on that?

And also for the Europeans, what is there -- maybe Foreign Minister Straw. Since the EU said yesterday that it's about to, I think, 215 million Euro was the number to Gaza, what do we do to assure that money that goes into the Palestinian territories will not go into, you know, failed projects that might go to waste?

SECRETARY RICE: Before turning to my European colleague, let me just say that I think the Secretary General has said very well that there is concern that any democratic process must observe that you cannot have kind of an armed option within the democratic process. But we understand that the Palestinian political system is in transition, that it is in transition toward a democratic system, and that that has to be a Palestinian process.

We would hope that the elections can go forward and that everyone will cooperate to make those elections go forward because elections are fundamental to the continued evolution and development of the Palestinian process. That said, again, we have noted that ultimately it is the case that there is a fundamental contradiction between armed activities and the political process, armed activities that are outside the monopoly of the state on violence and the political process. And so that is a matter of principle ultimately.

We understand that this is a transition and I think everybody understands that this is a transitional process.

That's 4 times that Rice goes to the 'T' word. Considering the accumulation of arms following the Disengagement, the burning of synagogues, the failure to disarm Hamas and other terrorists, the murder of other Palestinian Arabs and the general overall corruption, I think it would be more accurate to say that what the Palestinians have on their hands it not a transition, but a mess. (The next time we have company at the house, I'll just tell them, "please excuse my daughter's room, it's in transition.")

Rice also uses the word process alot--6 times, including the impressive phrase "transitional process."

Rice seems to be going to great pains to push the idea that this is going to take a while, and that we should ignore the man behind the Kassam rocket. But the problem is that we are not in occupied Gaza anymore. This is land that is under the 'control' of the Palestinian Arabs, though at times it's difficult to tell which ones. It's time to start demanding some kind of accountability.

But it would be refreshing if the coddling would stop and someone would put their foot down. After all it was only last week that Bush was supposed to have indicated to Sharon that there will be no further steps in the diplomatic process if Gaza is not quiet. And Rice was supposedly at that meeting. Which may explain why rather than stick to the implications of Bush's words to Sharon, Rice comes out with:

I believe the Quartet's assessment of the Gaza withdrawal is that, in fact, it has been a successful withdrawal, that it demonstrated that the Israelis and the Palestinians can work together in the most detailed circumstances, in the most difficult circumstances. I think there has been excellent security coordination and cooperation that allowed the withdrawal to take place peacefully and effectively.

Our task now is to build on the momentum of that withdrawal to help the Palestinians create in Gaza a model for a Palestinian Authority that can indeed govern. And the international community is very actively involved in that. We talked today about security reform and the Ward mission that has been trying to improve the capabilities of the Palestinian security forces.

Yup, there she again talking about that momentum thing again. But from the way she describes it, you'd think there must have been a second disengagement going on that the rest of us weren't aware of.

More and more, it appears that Bush's Middle East policy is one big...transition.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Musharraf, Al Jazerra, and Douste-Blazy on The Holocaust

Attitudes towards the Shoa are being pointed out this week.

Over at The Corner, Warren Bell writes:

Daniel Pipes provides his thoughts on Musharraf's speech. This is the strangest compliment to pay a bona fide world leader, but Musharraf did not deny the Holocaust! (Among Muslim leaders this is, shall we say, unusual.)

Still at The Corner, Jim Robbins notes that:

The English online edition of Al Jazeera has a very straightforward obituary on Simon Wiesenthal. They headline it in a big box with a nice photo on the Culture page. Might be called progress. But for some reason I haven't found the same story in the Arabic edition...

And finally, for your consideration, at The American Thinker, the following is quoted from Haaretz by Clarice Feldman:

The French satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaine reported in its September 14th issue that during the visit of French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy to the new Holocaust museum in Jerusalem's Yad Vashem on September 8, he asked - while perusing maps of European sites where Jewish communities had been destroyed - whether British Jews were not also murdered. Needless to say, Douste-Blazy's question was met by his hosts with amazement. "But Monsieur le minister," Le Canard quoted the ensuing conversation, "England was never conquered by the Nazis during World War II."

The minister apparently was not content with this answer, which, according to the magazine, was given by the museum curator, and persisted, asking: "Yes, but were there no Jews who were deported from England?" [emphasis added]

No matter how impressed Pipes may be with Musharraf's speech, I think he himself hints at the problem:

Properly to appreciate the significance of this speech means hearing it with Muslim ears. It may not sound like much, for example, that he referred to the Holocaust as the Jewish people's "greatest tragedy," but the profusion of Muslim Holocaust deniers, including Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, makes this an important statement.

The point is that when they listen to Musharraf's speech with "Muslim ears" the Moslems will hear English and assume that Musharraf is exploiting the pro-Israel card to get something out of the US. Likewise, as Robbins points out, the Al Jazeera piece on Wiesenthal, bluntly acknowledging the Holocaust, only appears in English.

And what about French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy?

Some things never change.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Forget Israel--Let the US Invade Gaza

Lee Kaplan at The American Thinker writes about why the US has every right, according to international law, to invade Gaza, based on the news that Al Qaeda has opened shop in Gaza:

If the Palestinian Authority CANNOT keep Al Qaeda out of Gaza, then Gaza's status is now like that of Belgium during the World Wars. The U.S. would be free to invade Gaza to fight Al Qaeda at any time just as Britain and France and the U.S. were entitled to enter Belgium to fight Germany. If the Palestinian Authority WILL NOT keep Al Qaeda out of Gaza, then it has just declared war on the United States. Belgium, of course, had no choice once the Nazis invaded. But the Palestinian Authority does have a choice and responsibility in the situation.

Now this sounds interesting. But this is not just idle thought; Kaplan goes on to briefly outline the actual legal basis for this:

Under international law, a neutral country not party to a war between belligerents is not allowed to harbor enemy combatants from one of the belligerents. Doing so willingly demonstrates the neutral party is now a party to the conflict. International law defines “the rights and duties of neutrals and belligerents in time of armed conflict are not mere legalistic rhetoric--they represent a carefully balanced relationship in which neutrals do not interfere with the policy goals of belligerents in exchange for a broad immunity from the violence used to attain those goals by belligerents. Impartiality intends to prevent the actions of a neutral nation from giving unbalanced support to one belligerent at the expense of another. The law is the codification of sound policy decisions and the military principle of economy of force. Absent the law, the logical consequences would not be much different.”

Sounds promising, and we had our 60 seconds to fantasize about it.
But no one seriously thinks such a thing is going to happen.

Dream on...

The Taliban were required to hand over Bin Laden and refused. The US invaded (rightfully so) and,in addition to defeating Al Qaeda, also removed the Taliban from power who were shielding Al Qaeda Bases or at best allowing their presence in Afghanistan.

Just imagine the US invading Gaza, defeating Al Qaeda, removing the PA from power...

The problem is that the US equates the PA with Iraq, not with the Taliban. If years of terrorism did not alienate the liberals with the Palestinian Arabs--not even after the murder of Americans--then how difficult would it be to excuse Abbas' failure to deal with Al Qaeda? Secretary of State Rice has already created the precedent of reacting to Abbas' apparent weakness with calls for further support.

Besides, even according to a dream scenario, Gaza would not return to Israeli control, the Palestinians would still demand their own state, and the world would still be talking about the need to get back on track with the road map.

But it's nice to dream.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bush's Call for Freedom: Promise or Threat?

At a dinner this past Wednesday, celebrating "Jewish Life in America," Bush proclaimed:

Our two nations have a lot in common, when you think about it. We were both founded by immigrants escaping religious persecution in other lands. We both have built vibrant democracies. Both our countries are founded on certain basic beliefs, that there is an Almighty God who watches over the affairs of men and values every life. These ties have made us natural allies, and these ties will never be broken. (Applause.)

Earlier today, I met in New York with Prime Minister Sharon and the Ambassador. I admire Prime Minister Sharon. He's a man of courage; he's a man of peace. (Applause.) Once again, I expressed this nation's commitment to defending the security and well-being of Israel. (Applause.) I also assured him that I will not waver when it comes to spreading freedom around the world. I understand -- (applause) -- I understand this, that freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is an Almighty God's gift to each man and woman and child in this world. (Applause.) [emphasis mine]

So far, so good. I mean, after all, how can you argue with "I will not waver when it comes to spreading freedom around the world"? Every country deserves to live free from oppression, whether it is the oppression of its own rulers or from other countries.

No argument there.

But, as Instapundit has often noted, democracy is a process, not an event. The election of Abbas was quite an 'event', noted for irregularities and corruption by Jeff Jacoby, Myths and Facts and the Jerusalem Post. But what about the process that follows?

The point was made by the Iraqi Blog Democracy in Iraq:

If they want a new future, they have to start new. I honestly dont know how they can do this, but my hope is that other nations can somehow help them like they have helped us. They should make a peace period with Israelis, maybe Israelis can help them? I dont think this is realistic though honestly, because there is too much hatred between Israeli and Palestinian. (emphasis mine)

But has the US helped the Palestinian Arabs in the same way they have helped Iraq? Sure, the money was (and continues to be) given, but why is it that in Abbas' case, the US is acting so differently in implementing its plan for "spreading freedom around the world".

The US has made a point of being actively involved in advising Iraqis on the steps to take towards developing their constitution and government. So the question is whether in the case of the Palestinian Arabs--who unlike Iraq have no history, background, or experience in running a country--have US advisors accomplished or changed anything, or have the same corrupt resources and infrastructure already in place been used to put together Abbas' government?

Why is it that in Iraq Bush puts Saddam's cronies on playing cards and hunts them down while when it comes to the PA, he encourages Arafat's former cronies to hold positions of power and supports them?

Back in June 2002, Bush called for new Palestinian leadership:

I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.

And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East.
(emphasis mine)

Are those leaders uncompromised by terror? Does anyone associate the words 'democracy', 'tolerance', or 'liberty' with the PA?

Freedom is a process, not a steamroller. If in his blind rush to spread democracy Bush is willing to blindly empower a group--led and patrolled by terrorists--that seeks and inculcates the destruction of the very country it is supposed to be living in peace with well, then, Bush's promise not to "waver when it comes to spreading freedom around the world" may very well be not a promise, but a threat: a threat to Israel and everything Bush claims to be trying to achieve.

As Diana West writes in the Washington Times:

The fact that burning synagogues failed even to singe the secretary of state's assessment of diplomatic success and effective statecraft is nothing less than chilling. But maybe it reflects our arrival at a cold, new reality that calls into question administration attitudes toward long-standing American motives and goals in the Middle East.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush: No more steps till Gaza is quiet

That is the headline from the Jerusalem Post:

...Earlier in the day US President George W. Bush told Sharon there will be no further steps in the diplomatic process if Gaza is not quiet.

According to Israeli officials who participated in the 45-minute meeting, Bush told Sharon that from the US perspective Gaza is a test ground, and for there to be any further progress the Palestinians must ensure quiet, security and proper governance.

Sounds good--would sound even better if this had been said publicly at a press conference, instead of privately. After the enormous gamble taken and the chaos that has broken out in Gaza, it be a whole lot more reassuring to see Bush put his foot down, especially considering the $50 million that the US is giving the PA, and the anti-American rhetoric that Abbas tolerates.

According to the article, Secretary of State Rice attended the meeting too. That should make things interesting. Perhaps this will be the last we will hear of her talking about 'momentum'--at least for a while.

Why didn't Bush come out with this statement earlier?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What If Jews Destroyed Mosques?

That's not my question. It's the question asked on Alt.Muslim by a Farhan Memon, a New York-based journalist, entrepreneur, and law graduate. The sub-title to his post is "Do Muslims in America lack the conviction of their religion to condemn sacrilege when it is committed by Muslims against others?"--the Palestinian Arabs, and the PA, are not the only ones Memon is critical of:

Imagine if Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip destroyed two dozen mosques. There would be mass rallies in front of Israeli embassies around the world, and in America organizations like CAIR and MPAC would issue righteous condemnations calling on the American government to restrain Israel. However, as we've seen today, when Palestinians streaming into liberated Gaza set fire to synagogues there is deafening silence from most Muslims and certainly from the leadership of the American Muslim community.

Herein lies the sorry state of Islamic affairs.

A pretty blunt and honest assessment. We could use more voices like this.

The only thing that mars Memon's post is his conclusion that leaving the synagogues there was a trap. His proof? "Of course, as the New York Times reported today, this was a set up orchestrated by the Israeli government."

Two problems with that:

First of all, the actual NYT article in fact does NOT report that it was a set up orchestrated by the Israeli government. Instead, all the article reports is that "Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian civil affairs minister, described the Israeli decision about the synagogues as a 'political trap.'" Dahlan is not yet an editor for the New York Times.

And why is Memon--who claims to be critical of the PA--relying on the PA in general, and Dahlan in particular, for his analysis. This is the same Memon who writes that "the wholesale destruction of the Jewish synagogues is yet another indication that Palestinians of all stripes, whether Fatah secularists or Islamic Hamas types, do not have the political maturity to construct a civil society."

The other problem is that Memon's claim of a conspiracy seems to be the result of a fleeting confusion of Ariel Sharon with Karl Rove:

More likely Sharon rejoiced at the opportunity. He knew that the Palestinian Authority would not act to prevent the destruction. As a consequence, pictures and headlines would be flashed around the world showing Palestinian Muslims destroying synagogues. Once again the familiar narrative would be reinforced: Palestinian Muslims are barbarians, and Israeli Jews are justified in their brutal methods, otherwise civilization would fall.

Sometimes, Farhan, an Arab burning down a synagogue really is an Arab burning down a synagogue.


Soccerdad emailed me that in fact Sharon's decision to leave the synagogues standing was a reversal of his earlier opinion:

Political sources said that Sharon's change of mind had to do with internal Likud politics, and his desire to avoid another political battle inside the Likud over an issue as emotionally charged as the destruction of synagogues by an Israeli government.

On the other hand, later in the same article:

"Now, however, a source close to Sharon said that leaving the synagogues would be a test for the PA."

If every test is a trap, maybe the Palestinians would be better off just auditing.

In his blog, Soccerdad points out 2 sites that trace other cases of synagogues being destroyed by Moslems:

Elder of Ziyon provides clips from the Palestine Post to demonstrate the Rich history of synagogue desecration by Arabs

Israel Perspectives gives more recent examples of the Moslem attitude: Jewish Holy Sites: Not In This Land!

There is also a piece Destroying Synagogues--Again by Sara Yoheved Rigler about the Hurva, on Aish HaTorah's website.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

WaPo Comes Down on PA in Gaza

Richard Cohen writes about what is happening in Gaza and in the PA in blunt fashion. Why can't we see more of this in the MSM?

It could be that if the Media could see what is going on in Gaza and in the PA as one more thing to blame on Bush, they would be all over this in no time.

Here is a synopsis of what Cohen wrote, based on the summary from

Palestinian State of Nature - Richard Cohen ( Washington Post)

o Last week in Gaza, former head of Palestinian military intelligence Moussa Arafat (Yasser's cousin) was dragged out into the street and shot. The killing says more about the prospects for peace in the region than do assurances that everything is going just fine.

o Doesn't it say something troubling about a political entity (the Palestinian Authority) that two armed groups could battle for half an hour and not one of the PA's security forces could get to the scene and intervene? This is what passes for Palestine.

o As a society, the Palestinians have exalted suicide bombings, tolerated senseless and atrocious terrorism, and for years they apathetically supported the kleptomaniacal Yasser Arafat, whose peace plan consisted, basically, of waiting for Israel to evaporate.

o Gaza is lawless. Kidnappings are common. Armed gangs roam the streets. Under these conditions, it will be impossible for the Palestinians to secure outside investors. Who's going to put money in a business when there's virtually no rule of law?

o The murder of Moussa Arafat and the ordinary lawlessness of Gaza show that when it comes to enemies, Palestinians don't need Israel. They do just fine on their own.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Let's Give Them a Warm Welcome

According to Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post:

Former OC Southern Command and IDF Gaza chief, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, decided not to disembark from an El-Al plane that landed in London on Sunday afternoon after information that reached the Israeli Foreign Ministry indicated that a Palestinian from Birmingham had filed a lawsuit against Almog for crimes against humanity, allegedly committed while Almog served as IDF Gaza chief.

The basis for the charge apparently comes from Amnesty International, which claims that:

"Certain abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes, including unlawful killings, extensive and wanton destruction of property, obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel, torture and the use of Palestinians as 'human shields,'' the Amnesty International (AI) report, which covered 2004, charged.

I wonder how AI feels about the summary execution of Palestinian Arabs accused of collaborating with Israel--would those qualify as unlawful killings?
Would the burning of the synagogues in Gaza qualify as wanton destruction of property?
Does the hiding of Palestinian terrorists behind and among their fellow Palestinians qualify as the use of Palestinians as human shields?

Maybe it's time for Israel to make their own list of PA officials who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

Maybe after having started the ball rolling by suing the PA in court for damages, the next step is to have someone in the US--or in England--file a lawsuit the next time Abbas or his friends come to town.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

In the Same Boat?

I remember when France cracked down on the wearing of the hijab by Moslems--how it was noted that in the public schools the wearing of the kippah was also forbidden. It struck me how Moslems and Jews seemed to be in the same boat.

It seemed like an isolated incident.

Today, I read the following on the online version of the Toronto Star under the headline: 'No Sharia law in Ontario'

Ontario will not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow the use of a set of centuries’ old religious rules called Sharia law to settle Muslim family disputes, and will ban all religious arbitrations in the province, Premier Dalton McGuinty told The Canadian Press on Sunday.

And in case the full implications of "will ban all religious arbitrations in the province," are not clear, just read on to the next paragraph:

In a telephone interview with the national news agency, McGuinty announced his government would move quickly to outlaw existing religious tribunals used for years by Christians and Jews under Ontario’s Arbitration Act.

No more Beis Din.

Would a move by Moslems to demand the option to use Sharia law in the US lead to a similar result? I imagine that the ACLU on the one hand and CAIR on the other would make such an outcome unlikely.

Meanwhile, in England the Sunday Times Reports that Ditch Holocaust day, advisers urge Blair

ADVISERS appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims.

They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths.

It's one thing to find ourselves put in the same boat with Moslems and losing rights as a result. But when the Moslems themselves want to put themselves in the same category in order to standardize their propaganda while minimizing...

Well, actually, if Moslems want recognition in a general Genocide Day, perhaps we should oblige:

As Rabbi David G. Dalin, author of The Myth of Hitler’s Pope, points out in his article Hitler's Mufti, Not Hitler's Pope:

Precisely at the moment when Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church in Rome (and throughout Europe) was saving thousands of Jewish lives, Hitler had a cleric broadcasting from Berlin who called for the extermination of the Jews.

He was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the viciously anti-Semitic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who resided in Berlin as a welcome guest and ally of the Nazis throughout the years of the Holocaust.


I just noticed that the Volokh Conspiracy makes the same point.

David Bernstein writes:

Even worse is the idea that a new "Genocide Day" would include "Muslim deaths in the West Bank and Gaza," thus giving credence to the absurd contention that Israeli policies in those areas amount to "genocide," and thus replacing a memorial to victims of the Holocaust with the fantastical political propaganda of those whose political ancestors (e.g., the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini) allied with the Nazis.

The article he links to about the Grand Mufti at Palestine Facts goes into detail and at the end has a number of links for further reading.

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Exploiting Israel

Thank you to soccerdad for linking to this post.

Generally, the assumption is that the Arab countries exploit Israel by manipulating hatred of the Zioist Entity in order to keep the attention of its people off of the government and its corruption.

But Guy Bechor made an interesting observation on YNet this past week that there is more than one way to take advantage of Israel:

For a long time now, Arab and Islamic countries exploited Israel to facilitate better relations with the United States. There is nothing new about that. This is how late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat acted. He merely wanted peace with the United States, and the bridge to get there was Israel. the past, Arab and Islamic leaders had to pay for this cynical use of Israel with an official visit here or even the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel.

Today, there is no need for that any more: A photo opportunity with Israeli leaders will suffice.

How convenient. Now they can both blast Israel in the media and take time out periodically to claim that they are ready to re-examine relations with Israel, without committing to anything--of course--until Israel makes peace with the Palestinian Arabs.

After all, what under-developed Arab country would want to arbitrarily deny itself the possibility of American largesse?

...Besides the Palestinian Authority:

Palestinian Authority hatred of the United States is so deeply ingrained in its ideology that it continues to openly promote vicious anti-American hatred - even right after signing a deal to receive $50 million in direct aid from the US.

Radio and television sermons by senior PA religious officials in the past week have presented the US as foremost among the "heretical" countries, and as an enemy trying to dismantle the Islamic world.

In the presence of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, one religious leader called for Iraqis to intensify terrorist uprisings against American soldiers.

Leave it to the Palestinians to pitch their tent behind the curve.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Straw Poll

I was going through old emails--I tend to hold on to many of them forever--and came across the following. It is from 4 years ago, a post by David Wolf to a mail list in Teaneck, when there was supposedly a tremendous breakthrough in resolving the situation in Northern Ireland.

During a press conference, then-Secretary Powell makes a point that this breakthrough is proof of the superiority of negotiations over the use of force. There is no mention of Israel, but you can pretty well assume that he had Israel and the Palestinian Arabs in mind.

Which of course makes Straw's comments at the end all the more powerful.

Poor Colin Powell--he never saw it coming.

Take a look:

Joint Press Availability with British Secretary of State of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Jack Straw
Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
October 24, 2001

...QUESTION: Secretary Powell, does the situation in Northern Ireland not show us all that negotiations is really the only way forward in all of these situations? And just secondly, when you met Martin McGuinness yesterday, did he give you assurances that there is no link between the IRA and the FARC guerillas in Colombia?

SECRETARY POWELL: We didn't, when I met with him yesterday, we didn't discuss that. We were just sort of celebrating the progress that was achieved yesterday. And I think negotiations are always to be preferred to military conflict, and even when you have military conflict, it doesn't always result in the kind of classic military win. Very often, it sets the stage for negotiations.

And so I hope what we have seen in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours, which culminates a process that took many, many years long to get to this point, is an example of what can be achieved when people of good will come together, recognize they have strong differences, differences that they have fought over for years, but it's time to put those differences aside in order to move forward and to provide a better life for the children of Northern Ireland.

FOREIGN MINISTER STRAW: Could I just add one thing to that, if I may? Of course, negotiation is far, far better -- infinitely better -- than military action. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, we welcome hugely the progress that has been made following the Good Friday Agreement. It also has to be said that before that happened, there had to be a change of approach by those who saw terrorism as the answer. And that approach partly changed because of the firmness of the military and police response to that terrorism. And if there had not been that firm response by successive British governments and others to the terrorist threat that was posed on both sides, we would not have been able to get some of those people into negotiations. We would not be marking what is a satisfactory day in the history of Northern Ireland today.

Imagine if Israel would follow the advice from, of all people, Jack Straw.

Of course, there are drawbacks to having 20-20 hindsight with only one eye open. I realized later that in actuality, neither the negotiations nor the military response had the effect that way assumed back in 2001.

In reality the actual laying down of arms only took place a couple of months ago--after the London Bombing.

Putting aside the differences between England/IRA and Israel/Palestinian Arabs, what may have motivated the IRA to turn the corner may have been the fear of being associated with Moslem terrorists.

Which does not help Israel at all.

Palestinian Arabs will not 'lay down their arms' until the association with real terrorism becomes something that becomes abhorent in their eyes--something Arafat made sure will not happen in the forseeable future.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Time for Abbas to Earn His Allowance

Ted Belman of Israpundit has posted the following from Palestinian Media Watch:

PA gets $50m from US, then calls for terror against US soldiers
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Palestinian Authority hatred of the United States is so deeply ingrained in its ideology that it continues to openly promote vicious anti-American hatred - even right after signing a deal to receive $50 million in direct aid from the US.

Radio and television sermons by senior PA religious officials in the past week have presented the US as foremost among the "heretical" countries, and as an enemy trying to dismantle the Islamic world.

In the presence of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, one religious leader called for Iraqis to intensify terrorist uprisings against American soldiers.

The timing of these anti-US sermons is particularly significant - and not just because they come on the heels of the $50-million grant from the US. The PA has received considerable worldwide criticism for the hatred and calls for violence in its official sermons. In recent months, it has been reported that the texts of these sermons are now presented to PA officials for approval before the public broadcasts.

Even accounting for chutzpah, it is hard to understand what in the world these people are thinking -- until you realize that there really is no reason for them not to go around talking like this. Besides the fact that Abbas has not been putting his foot down in the past in reaction to...well...anything--whether you assume it is out of weakness or cleverness--the world at large has simply not reacted to such statements.

True, as Marcus and Crook point out "the PA has received considerable worldwide criticism for the hatred and calls for violence in its official sermons," but then again this is the same world that has for years reacted to Iran's pursuit of the nuclear option with nothing more than 'criticism.' Big deal. Apparently, once they have the money Abbas and company are not worried about words. After all, the main theme continues to be that Abbas must be supported. There has been no chorus for insisting on accountability from Abbas.

It's high time for Abbas to be held accountable.
It's high time that Abbas earn his allowance.

And a good collective spanking for the brats of the Middle East wouldn't hurt either.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Abbas From the Past

With all calling for Israel to do everything possible to support the 'democratically elected' Mahmoud Abbas, what do we have to show for it?

According to Arutz Sheva this: Abbas Encourages Students to be Martyrs

"They receive their reward in the Garden Of Eden," Abbas told the students returning to school. He reminded them that martyrs and suicide terrorists "brought about the withdrawal from Gaza." His comments came only three months after he told the American ABC television network that suicide bombings are a matter of the past.

Granted that poor Chairman Abbas is doing whatever he can to win support in the face of the growing popularity of Hamas, but just how much capital--political and financial--is Sharon, the US and the world supposed to waste?

Is the Palestinian 'democratic process' anywhere near what is going on in Iraq?

Why are observers critical of including Baathists in the Iraqi government but have no comment about terrorists be included in the Palestinian government and police?

Why does the world keep count of the Iraqi civilians murdered by the insurgents, but turns a blind eye when Palestinians murder other Palestinians on the pretext of assisting Israel?

Why does the media bend over backwards to find all the negative news that's fit to print about Iraq, but bends even further to stress the democracy and hard work of the Palestinain Authority?

Now Bush finds himself in the position of gathering support for Sharon in addition to Abbas. According to the New York Times:

The Bush administration, hoping to strengthen Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Israeli turmoil after the Gaza withdrawal, is urging allies of the United States to refrain from pressing Israel to make new concessions to Palestinians, senior American officials said this week.

But of course the bottom line is always the same:

American officials said Israel must keep at least some sort of momentum going on issues with the Palestinians, in part to bolster Mr. Abbas. But as a practical matter, they said, there may not be dramatic movements for some time on issues where the Palestinians want to see progress. "We want to see progress in carrying through the agreements to improve the quality of life in the West Bank," said the first senior administration official. "But realistically, what happens now in Gaza is very important. We have to see whether a stop can be put on terrorism in Gaza."

Two points about the Times article:

1. According to the Times, "in the spring, Mr. Sharon and Mr. Abbas agreed on various steps to accompany the Gaza pullout, including releasing some Palestinian prisoners, easing conditions in the West Bank and pulling military forces out of five major cities there." Very nice, but is there ever any agreement between Sharon and Abbas on what the Palestinians need to do?

2. The Times writes that, "On the subject of what Israel must do next, Ms. Rice said in an interview with The New York Times last month that the Gaza pullout could not be the only step Israel took to help achieve a peace accord with the Palestinians. But she added that the Palestinians needed to do more to secure Gaza and the West Bank. She said the two sides needed to act in tandem." It's nice to see the Times 'correct' their earlier misquote of Rice and actually give the full context of her remarks--as pointed out by Jewish Current Issues

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Fried Rice

Today NetWMD had a post about a piece on Jewish Current Issues regarding the near-infamous comment by Secretary of State Rice--"It cannot be Gaza Only"--as reported in the New York Times.

The point being made, and verified by the actual transcript is that the quote is out of context. Rice was not saying this as her own opinion, but rather speaking of what others are saying:

The other thing is, just to close off this question, the question has been put repeatedly to the Israelis and to us that it cannot be Gaza only and everybody says no, it cannot be Gaza only.

So far, so good. Jewish Current Issues nailed the Times on this point.

But even granted that the Times messed up the quote, the fact remains that right afterwards, Rice says:

There is, after all, even a link to the West Bank and the four settlements that are going to be dismantled in the West Bank. Everybody, I believe, understands that what we're trying to do is to create momentum toward reenergizing the roadmap and through that momentum toward the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.

And right before the 'Gaza only' comment, Rice said:

Let's see, you know, what's required. We will have a Quartet in New York because the world comes here for the UNGA. And we'll certainly have a Quartet meeting at that time. There's a Quartet envoys meeting that's scheduled for this week and part of their job is to kind of prepare the meeting of the Quartet and I think we'll look at where we are. But by no means do I think that this is the end.

Daniel Pipes calls the 'Gaza only' quote, " a massive distortion of her words and meaning." He quotes Alex Safian of CAMERA, who admits that

Yes, she expresses the US position in favor of the Roadmap and the "the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state," but that's a far cry from immediate pressure on Israel to go beyond the Gaza withdrawal, which is what "It cannot be Gaza only" clearly means in this context.

At this point, I think we are just splitting hairs. We are dealing with the context of a press conference, not a prepared statement; you can only go with the gist of statements--and the history of pressure that the US in general and Rice in particular has exerted on Israel. Besides, what difference does it make if the pressure on Israel to give more territory to the Palestinian Arabs is going to be 'eventual' or sooner?

It just seems to me that despite the Times misquote, Rice is basically implying what the quote attributed to her says.

The misquote is fake, but accurate.


Jewish Current Issues has more on this and the followup here and here

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