Daveed Gartenstein-Ross says in his article 'Christians on PalTalk Chat Service Tracked by Radical Islamic Web Site':
A radical Islamic Web site systematically tracks Christians on PalTalk.com, an Internet chat service on which a New Jersey man received a death threat two months before he and his family were murdered. The password protected Arabic Web site, at the address www.barsomyat.com, features pictures and information about Christians who have been particularly active in debating Muslims on PalTalk.
Here are some translations of these conversations. It is clear that the personal information is being exchanged in order to facilitate the murders of the people discussed ("After he is finished, the isolation of the Christian lady will be completed.") I have removed their names for obvious reasons.
Bibo 117: Allah bless you brothers!
Here is the surprise you’ve all been waiting for and we haven’t published yet due to a certain reason. The damned Muhammad-cursing dog "[NAME REMOVED]" is the big brother of "[NAME REMOVED]" and their little brother is the one called "[NAME REMOVED]."
"[NAME REMOVED]" the dog is married to the daughter of one of the Muhammad-cursing Christians from paltalk. We have postponed publishing this information because there is a lot more to be revealed when the time is right. These are the pictures of the "devil triangle."
[Photos of the people mentioned were then posted.]
Bibo 117: For you my brothers I now present the second photo collection of the Muhammad-cursing paltalk pigs. Wait a little for the rest of the pictures. The first photo is that of the foul smelling ugly pig "[NAME REMOVED]."
Anti Christians: [Posts Photos:] "The deceitful [NAME REMOVED]" and "The liar [NAME REMOVED]." [In green in the middle:] "Beware!"
Bibo 117: Fellow brothers this is the picture of one of the most Muhammad-cursing Christians. It was taken as he was opening a camera with one of the young Christian ladies from Paltalk.
*After he is finished, the isolation of the Christian lady will be completed.
This idiot’s name on paltalk: [NAME REMOVED]
His real name is: [NAME REMOVED]
He lives in [NAME REMOVED].
Titles of Threads at barsomyat.com:
A Pig Christian Soldier
Pigs of America
Blood Victims of Jesus
Destruction Perpetrated by the Love of Jesus
All this for innocent civilians?
You are digging your graves in your own hands
Because of America, Cancer Spreads in Egypt
Monday, January 31, 2005
Karachi: Peres interview broadcast sparks violence
By JPOST.COM STAFF
In the Pakistani town of Karachi, dozens if Muslim extremists attacked the offices of the country's largest media corporation after it broadcast an interview with Vice Premier Shimon Peres.
After barging into the building housing the corporation's television and newspaper offices, the attackers assaulted employees, destroyed equipment and vehicles, and set fires in the studios, Army Radio reported.
In the interview which the extremists were protesting, Peres had requested the Islamic country's leaders to improve relations with Israel and to participate in diplomatic procedures.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said that the country would consider formal recognition of Israel with the renewal of the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Soccerdad adds some more interesting wrinkles and quotes, including this fascinating quote from Kofi Annan found by Meryl Yourish:
New York, 14 January 2005 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Middle East
The Secretary-General condemns the Palestinian terror attack that caused the death of six Israeli civilians and injury to four others at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip yesterday evening. He wishes to express his deepest condolences to the families of those killed and injured.
The Secretary-General hopes that this terrible incident will not be allowed to undermine the recent positive steps made by both parties. He also calls on the new Palestinian leadership to make all possible attempts to bring to justice the organizers and perpetrators of this attack.
The Secretary-General emphasizes again that violence cannot provide a solution to the conflict, and that only through negotiation can peace be achieved.Notice that he called violence against Israel "terrorism"; he didn't condemn Israel for anything nor call for "restraint."
Yourish also points out that the EU has also given an uncharacteristic comment blaming terrorists for terror.
Evelyn Gordon in the Jerusalem Post gives the credit to a consistent Bush policy at the UN:
For years the US has vetoed resolutions it deemed too biased against Israel. But during the late 1980s and 1990s Washington was unable to sway any other council member to its side: With monotonous regularity such resolutions failed by a vote of 14-1.
Over the last four years, however, there has been a shift. While no country has yet joined the US in voting "no," there have consistently been two to four abstentions - usually from Europe, occasionally from Africa as well.
Since Security Council resolutions need nine votes to pass, this means that the council has been inching toward a situation in which anti-Israel resolutions could be defeated even without an American veto.
Bush achieved this shift by setting a clear, consistent standard for what constitutes bias: Condemnations of Israel are biased unless the resolution also condemns anti-Israel terror.
And, more importantly, vague condemnations of "all violence against civilians" do not qualify. The resolution must explicitly condemn Palestinian perpetrators such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
That is such a simple and reasonable demand that some countries have found it impossible to ignore. Yet the Palestinians, and hence the Arab countries that sponsor Security Council resolutions on their behalf, have never once been willing to agree.
The result is that a handful of nations that once voted consistently against Israel - England, Germany, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria and Cameroon - turned into frequent abstainers.This is definitely worth watching. I'm distrustful of Annan but the theory that the current US administration policies are influencing the EU is worth thinking about. I still tend to think that the EU and UN sponsorship of the roadmap has a lot to do with it, because they have to appear to be honest brokers in order to participate in the process that they so desperately want to be involved in, at the risk of sinking into irrelevance.
UNITED NATIONS - A United Nations agency transferred thousands of dollars to a Palestinian Arab charity affiliated with terrorism long after Israel warned of the terror connection, though the U.N. publicly claimed payments to the organization had stopped.
The blunder points to trouble inside the U.N. Development Program, a huge operation headed by Mark Maloch Brown, who has recently been appointed Secretary-General Annan's chief of staff, largely for his organizational skills and his ability to handle the press. The U.N. plans to launch an internal probe as a result of the revelations uncovered by The New York Sun.
According to a UNDP letter that was seen by the Sun, the agency transferred the sum of $6,000 to an account in the Jenin branch of Cairo Amman Bank in September 11, 2003. The account belongs to the Jenin Zaka, or charity committee.
A subsequent letter from UNDP, dated October 3, 2003, written in Arabic and addressed to the head of the Jenin organization, actually states that the transfer was a mistake and demands a return of the funds. 'It was transferred to your account by mistake,' the letter states, adding that the money 'was intended for the Tul Karem Charity Committee.'
Both committees were identified by the Israeli Defense Force as part of a charity network affiliated with Hamas, the terror organization that has boycotted the recent election in the Palestinian Arab areas. The head of the Jenin committee, Ahmed Salaatnah, spent time in Israeli jails between 1993 and 1995 for terrorist activities in the Izz a Din al Kassem, the operational military branch of Hamas responsible for a chain of suicide bombings.
The money transfers in the fall of 2003 are interesting because it was made clear to the head of the UNDP office in Jerusalem, Timothy Rothermel, by the IDF four months earlier that the charity organizations were fronts for Hamas.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
About 600,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries 1948-1952. The Arabs confiscate all their property, valued in the millions of dollars.
Pals go into refugee camps after their Arab brethren refuse to take them in.
Jews go to Israel where they are welcomed with open arms.
The Arab world is virtually without Jews.
Israel gives citizenship to a million Palestinians.
Pals grow up in sewage under UN auspices.
Jews, although discriminated against at first, become productive members of society.
Pals blame Israel for their problems.
Jews become cab drivers, store owners, farmers and politicians.
Pals remain in camps for over fifty years, in Lebanon, Syria and in the West Bank and Gaza, where they learn terror and hate. Their Arab brethren work hard to keep them in subhuman conditions. Any attempts to move them out of camps and into normal houses and apartments are vehemently opposed by other Arabs. Saudi oil billions go towards Palestinian terror rather than making Palestinian lives easier.
The Jews live in a democracy. Although they started out penniless, they now contribute mightily to Israel's economy.
Who is responsible for the welfare of the Jewish refugees?
Who is responsible for the welfare of the of the Arab refugees?
By the way, these are not left-wing nor reform rabbis for the most part, but rabbis who are quite Orthodox. -EoZ
Rabbis and imams unite against religious extremism
By Daniel Ben-Simon
BRUSSELS - A few minutes before Europe observed three minutes of silence last Wednesday in memory of the tsunami victims, Jewish and Muslim clergy who had convened at Egmont Palace decided to join them. Two days earlier, the clergy had come together to seek means of greater involvement for religion in quietening the bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At exactly noon, all the participants got to their feet around the tables in the magnificent conference hall. Rabbis and imams, along with several Christian clerics, stood side by side and bowed their heads in utter silence.
Suddenly, Rabbi Shlomo Chelouche, the chief rabbi of Haifa, recited a short prayer for the victims. When he finished, all those present said "amen."
Then Zimer Omar Farouk Turan, the former mufti of Istanbul, recited verses from the Koran. No sooner did he finish than Rabbi Yosef Azran, chief rabbi of Rishon Letzion, chanted a psalm, his voice choked with tears. When the moments of silence were over, the hundreds of clergy in the room remained standing. Some wiped away a tear.
"This proves that rabbis and imams can work together for a common goal," said Rabbi Rene Sirat, the former chief rabbi of France. "In all my years as a rabbi, I never experienced a moment like this," Sirat added, invoking the traditional Jewish blessing for reaching a special milestone.
Hojat al-Islam Muhammad Mehatali, a senior Iranian cleric, looked at his colleagues in amazement. "These moments were the cream of the whole conference," he said. "Where have you ever seen Muslims and Jews praying as if they were one family?"
There was no shortage of moving moments during the unprecedented "Rabbis and Imams for Peace" conference, which was sponsored by the organization Hommes de Parole. The confrence hosted more than 200 rabbis and imams as well as Christian clergy from all over the world to convey the message that religion does not send people out to kill and that anyone who takes a life in the name of religion transgresses a commandment of God.
The conference concluded on Friday with a pledge that the Jewish and Muslim clerics would work to put an end to bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians and would struggle with all their might against hatred, ignorance and extremism on both sides. When the declaration was read, the participants got to their feet and applauded.
The delegates grew close during the conference. Rabbis who had never met an imam spoke freely with them during the meetings. At first, they ate at separate tables - Jews here, Muslims there, eyeing each other suspiciously. A day later they had moved closer; a day after that, they were sitting together and even taking pictures arm in arm.
By Wednesday, they were praising each other's faith. "We are all the children of one father - Abraham the Patriarch," said Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron.
Sheikh Talal Sidr of Hebron moved the audience when he called on them to visit every mosque and synagogue to preach peace and dignity. "This is the divine commandment; we must educate a generation to peace and love," he said.
"How is it that every Jewish prayer ends with the word peace and every Muslim prayer ends with the word peace and we are killing each other?" asked Sheikh Abdul Jalil Sajid, the imam of Brighton, England.
Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, chief rabbi of Ramat Gan and a leading opponent of disengagement, surprised the audience with his conciliatory tone. "Judaism and Islam have a common task," he said, "to bring a message to the whole world. Don't we all have one father? So why should we hurt each other?"
The imams represented most of the countries of Africa and Asia, dressed in traditional robes and head coverings in a rainbow of colors. The former president of Indonesia, Abdul Rahman Wahid, canceled his participation because of the tsunami damage to his country.
"The extremists have taken God hostage," said Andre Azoulay, adviser to the king of Morocco. "Unfortunately they are stronger than the Jewish and Muslim people of peace." Participants made great efforts to distance themselves from the horrors perpetrated by fanatics in the name of God.
Paramount during the conference was the clergy's desire to participate in the political process. Several noted that without religious legitimization, no political agreement will last and realizing that if they do not rein in the extremists, the latter might touch off a powder keg of religious hatred that will ignite the whole region.
At the end of the conference, participants held hands and sang Haveinu Shalom Aleichem, a Hebrew song of peace. "We made history," said Alain Michel, a French Christian and president of Hommes de Parole.
Settlers hope for 100,000 at rally
Film clips set to dramatic music of scuffles between police and settlers during past evacuations of outposts in the territories will highlight Sunday night's planned anti-disengagement rally outside the Knesset, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 people.
"We will say, you can stop this, if you let the nation decide," said Emily Amrusy, a spokeswoman for the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, of the planned event, to be held at 7 p.m. under the twin slogans "Let the nation decide" and "Call for new elections."
"It's a cry for the democratic process," said Amrusy.
Protesters are asking Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to "legitimize disengagement" by either holding a national referendum or by calling for new elections. Should there be a national referendum, the council would respect the results, said Amrusy.
Among the speakers at the rally will be Yonatan Abukasis, the father of Ayala, 17, killed this month by a Kassam rocket that fell in Sderot. MKs, including those from the Likud who oppose disengagement, will speak, said Amrusy, but the exact list has not been finalized.
The council had also turned to personalities on the Left in hopes that they would join them in the call for a democratic process, but got no response, she said.
Film clips to be shown at the rally will include statements by Sharon, showing how he has "flip-flopped" on the issue.
The event is set to last for 18 hours, but it's expected that only a small group will stay overnight and into the next day, when the gathering is to end at 3 p.m.
Binyamin Regional Council head Pinhas Wallerstein said he hoped it would be the largest such protest ever staged outside the parliament building.
The Council of Jewish Communities has rented 1,200 buses to bring anti-disengagement protesters to Jerusalem from all over the country, he said.
"The true test of the rally's success is not in the speakers but in the number of people that attend," Wallerstein said.
He has not been deterred, he added, by the growing spirit of optimism that has brought Israeli and Palestinian leaders together, nor by the continual progress of the plan to evacuate all the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and four more in northern Samaria.
"We will not stop protesting," he said, explaining that settlers were planning many more events, including a conference of Orthodox leaders from around the world in a few weeks.
At the start of January, settlers set up a protest camp outside the Knesset. They plan to stay there until the government reverses the disengagement decision.
Ami Applebaum, a computer scientist from Bnei Brak who plans to attend the rally, said he was not the typical protester in that he supports the principle of giving up land for peace. But, he said, disengagement should only happen within the context of a negotiated plan.
He said he believed that Sharon aborted the democratic process by campaigning on one platform and acting on another once in office. Nor does he believe that the Knesset vote supporting disengagement is indicative of the nation's or even the politicians' true feelings.
"If a secret vote were held in the Knesset, it's not clear that the majority would support it," he said.
Friday, January 28, 2005
By Amelia Thomas | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
TEL AVIV - At 8:30 on a crisp January morning, Erez Finkelstein pulls up at Tel Aviv's central bus station. He takes two containers from his pocket. 'This one's TNT, dynamite,' he says as he shakes the small can, 'and the other's C4, plastic explosive.' He approaches a bus in a long line of parked vehicles, and tucks the TNT beneath the wheel arch. He then walks to a nearby motor scooter and conceals the C4 inside the engine casing.
Despite appearances, Mr. Finkelstein is performing a job crucial to Israel's domestic security. He is part of a team - half of whom are two-legged, the other half four - that works tirelessly to prevent the bomb attacks that regularly rock the country. As an instructor for the US-Israeli charity Pups for Peace, his job is to ensure that their highly trained squad of bomb-detecting dogs stays in top form.
'First, Cliff,' says Finkelstein as a brindle Dutch shepherd appears, straining at his leash. Cliff's handler, Elad Bachal, releases the excited young dog.
After just two minutes of sniffing, Cliff discovers the first of the hidden explosives. Mr. Bachal rewards him with his toy - a simple fabric cylinder known as a 'puppy roll' - and Cliff cavorts with glee.
Finkelstein extracts the dynamite. 'If the dogs didn't find what they're looking for at least once a day,' he explains, 'they might lose interest in their work.'
Since the beginning of the current intifada in September 2000, there have been 124 separate bomb attacks on Israeli civilians. But it wasn't until
the Park Hotel bombing in Netanya in March 2002 - which killed 30 and injured 140 - that a US economics professor, Glenn Yago, telephoned his long-time Israeli friend, Ronnie Lotan, and Pups for Peace was born.
'He called me from Scottsdale, Ariz., just minutes after the attack,' recalls Mr. Lotan, now director general of the charity. ' 'We've finally got to do something about this,' he told me. 'Let's get dogs.' '
Although neither man had any experience in the field, they became convinced after initial research that a squad of bomb-detecting dogs would boost public security.
Read the rest.
On Monday, the United Nations marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp with a day-long special session of the U.N. General Assembly, followed by the opening of an exhibition. Throughout the event, the words "never again" were repeated many times. But what exactly did they mean to U.N. members and officials?
Here is the cynical response: They meant that the secretary-general has been seriously weakened by the Oil-for-Food scandal and ongoing congressional and criminal investigations, as well as the sexual abuse of refugees in the Congo by U.N. peacekeepers and the mishandling of sexual-harassment charges in-house. A secretary-general seeking to serve out his remaining two years in office finds throwing something toward the Jews, in the form of commemorating a 60-year-old catastrophe, a relatively inexpensive means of redemption.
The scope of the exercise was strictly controlled. The Europeans agreed to promote the special session on the condition that there were no resolutions and no final declaration — in other words no lasting statement of purpose or resolve. They were not prepared to do battle with Arab and Muslim states over texts or outcomes. Not a single substantive U.N. document was distributed. The ground rules for the special sessions of the General Assembly for the previous decade were completely different — this one would be "commemorative" only.
One hundred thirty-eight U.N. members agreed with the proposition to hold the special session, and one more decided to speak at the actual event. Of the remaining 50 U.N. members, half were from the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
U.N. member states delivered 41 speeches over the course of the day. Only five of those speeches mentioned Israel. Even the speeches of the United States, the European Union, Canada, and Australia failed to refer to Israel. Nobel-laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, who spoke at the outset, mentioned Israel once; citing a number of examples of steps that the allies might have taken, he added "if Britain had allowed more Jews to return to Palestine, now Israel, their ancestral land...it would have prevented or reduced the scope of the tragedy." Weisel also called for condemnation and prosecution of suicide-terrorism as a crime against humanity (without mentioning the context).
An evening reception brought hundreds of Jews to the public entrance of the U.N. where an exhibit containing photographs and artwork from Yad Vashem was unveiled. Walking through it, one comes across the word "Israel" on one occasion, in the last sentence, which reads: "Most of the Holocaust survivors immigrated to the state of Israel after its establishment in 1945 following a resolution of the United Nations." When the exhibit was opened, the assembled crowd sang Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem — although this breach of U.N. protocol is said to have been approved on the grounds that the song was for all victims of the Holocaust.
The rules of the game were articulated by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz while speaking on behalf of the United States: "We have agreed today to set aside contemporary political issues, in order to reflect on those events of 60 years ago in a spirit of unanimity." And except for an indirect comment by Jordan and a direct reference to Palestinians by Venezuela during the day's speeches, the game plan was followed.
The upshot? The United Nations looks better in the eyes of many. The secretary-general improved his image. Israel, the perpetual U.N.-loser, was queen-for-a-day.
But the nagging question is, where does this leave "never again"?
Widening the lens, we notice that last month the U.N. adopted 22 resolutions condemning the state of Israel, and four country-specific resolutions criticizing the human-rights records of the other 190 U.N. member states. Also in December the public entrance of the U.N. sported the annual solidarity with the Palestinian people exhibit, featuring a display about Palestinian humiliation at having to bare midriffs at Israeli checkpoints. (No mention was made of the purpose of the checkpoints or the Israelis who have died from suicide belts on Palestinians who circumvent them.) On exactly the same day that the secretary-general announced the holding of the commemorative session, January 11, 2005, he also pushed forward the U.N. plan to create a register of the Palestinian victims of Israel's non-violent security fence. (There are no plans to create a register of Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism.) In March the U.N. will begin its annual session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, at which Israel will be the only U.N. member state not allowed to participate in full because U.N. states continue to prevent it from gaining equal membership in a regional group. The U.N. remains without a definition of terrorism, never having transformed the names of Palestinian terrorists from abstract entities into the targets of specific U.N. condemnation or consequences of any kind. And any day now we can expect the secretary-general to continue his pattern of denouncing Israel's lawful exercise of self-defense as "extrajudicial killing" or as a morally reprehensible contribution to "a cycle of violence." In other words, U.N. demonization of Israel and the green light to the killers of Israelis that such demonization portends will not skip a beat. This is the face of modern anti-Semitism.
Jews everywhere are indebted to the willingness and ability of Israelis to live and breathe self-determination. When contemporary political issues are set aside, and an affirmation of the centrality of the Jewish state's well-being to the Jewish people's well-being is not key to a commemoration of the Holocaust, "never again" is an empty phrase. Worse, situated in a place where a U.N. General Assembly resolution said Zionism was racism until 1991 and the 2001 U.N. Durban Declaration delivers the same message, it plays into the hands of those who would separate Jews from Israel for no other reason than to divide and conquer.
The speaker of the Italian senate, Marcello Pera, was the only non-Israeli participant who was prepared to stand against the wheeling and dealing in the backrooms, telling the General Assembly that the anti-Semitism of "today...feeds on...insidious distinctions...made between Israel and the Jewish state, Israel and its governments, Zionism and Semitism. Or...when the struggle for life led by...Israelis is labelled 'state terrorism.'"
The less-cynical response to our original question — about the meaning of "never again"? Some Holocaust survivors such as Nesse Godin and Congressman Tom Lantos were able to speak directly — during the unofficial lunchtime break organized by Bnai Brith, in a room far from the General Assembly. Some people listened. Some people heard. The pictures of Auschwitz are still in the front hall of the U.N. for a little while longer. A blow was struck against Holocaust deniers. And for one day, the democratic state of Israel was not the most reviled member of the U.N. (less than half of whose members can be called "free" according to Freedom House).
When all was said and done, however, the U.N. got a lot more than it gave. Improving the image of the U.N. and its secretary-general could prove more costly than Israelis have bargained.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The Canadian government is being sued for listing Jerusalem as the birthplace of a Toronto teenager instead of Israel, the Toronto Star said Thursday.
Eliyahu Yehoshua Veffer, 17, was born in West Jerusalem, and is angry with the Canadian government's stance on the embattled region.
There are 28 Jerusalems in the world, Veffer said. I'm from the one in Israel. I want the government to recognize that.
Under current passport regulations, Canadians born in Jerusalem cannot list Israel as their place of birth because of its ongoing classification as a disputed territory. That policy has been in effect since Israel was formed in 1948.
Veffer's lawyer, David Matas, also the legal counsel for B'nai Brith Canada, filed the initial application Wednesday for the review in a Winnipeg federal court, where Matas lives.
My client wants his country of birth on his passport, Matas said. Everybody else in the world can have it, but the government is denying him the right to do it. It's discriminatory.
IDF: Palestinian Child Was Killed by a Kassam Fragment
(IsraelNN.com) IDF officials report that the preliminary investigation into the death of a five-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza points to a Kassam rocket.
Military officials report the girl was killed when the rocket landed several hundred meters from her in the Dir el-Balah area of Gaza sending shrapnel flying in all directions. Officials explain the preliminary report indicates she was not killed by IDF gunfire at is being reported by PA sources.
(Rep. Solarz served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1993. Dr. Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which focuses on issues related to America’s response to the Holocaust - www.WymanInstitute.org)World leaders will gather at Auschwitz, site of the former Nazi death camp, on January 26 to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Allies’ liberation of the camp. The event will help focus needed attention on the horrors of genocide, then and now. But it will be haunted by the knowledge in 1944, that Allied bomber pilots had Auschwitz within their gun sights, yet were never given the order to attack.
George McGovern was one of those pilots.
McGovern, the former U.S. Senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, recently spoke on camera for the first time about his experiences as one of the American pilots who flew over Auschwitz. In a meeting with interviewers from Israel Television and the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, McGovern recalled his days as the pilot of a B-24 “Liberator” in the 455th Bomb Group, targeting German synthetic oil plants in occupied Poland--many of them within a few miles of the Auschwitz gas chambers.
After the Allies gained control of the Foggia air base in Italy in December 1943, Auschwitz was for the first time within striking distance of Allied planes. In June 1944, U.S. diplomats and Jewish leaders in Switzerland received a detailed report about Auschwitz, prepared by two escapees. They described the mass-murder facilities, and drew diagrams showing where the gas chambers and crematoria were located.
As a result, Jewish organizations repeatedly asked the Roosevelt administration to order the bombing of Auschwitz and the railroad lines leading to the camp. The War Department rejected the proposals as “impracticable,” claiming such raids would require “considerable diversion” of planes needed for the war effort. U.S. officials claimed to have conducted a “study” which found that bombing Auschwitz was not militarily feasible. But no evidence of the alleged study has ever been found.
Ironically, military resources were diverted for various other non-military reasons. Secretary of War Henry Stimson blocked the Air Force’s plan to bomb the Japanese city of Kyoto, because of its artistic treasures, and his deputy John McCloy --who rebuffed many of the requests to bomb Auschwitz-- diverted U.S. bombers from striking the German city of Rothenburg, because of its famous medieval architecture. General George Patton even diverted U.S. troops in order to rescue 150 Lipizzaner horses in Austria.
The administration’s “diversion” argument was just “a rationalization,” Senator McGovern said in the interview. How much of a “diversion” would it have been, when he and other U.S pilots were already flying over the area?
In the summer and fall of 1944, the Allies repeatedly bombed the oil factories near Auschwitz--at a time when hundreds of Jews were being gassed daily in the camp. On December 26, McGovern’s squadron dropped fifty tons of bombs on oil plants in Monowitz, an industrial section of Auschwitz, located less than five miles from the site where an estimated 1.6-million people were murdered during 1942-1944.
“There is no question we should have attempted ... to go after Auschwitz,” McGovern said in the interview. “There was a pretty good chance we could have blasted those rail lines off the face of the earth, which would have interrupted the flow of people to those death chambers, and we had a pretty good chance of knocking out those gas ovens.”
Even if there was a danger of accidentally harming some of the prisoners, “it was certainly worth the effort, despite all the risks,” McGovern said, because the prisoners were already “doomed to death” and an Allied bombing attack might have slowed down the mass murder process, thus saving many more lives.
Some years ago, in a supermarket in my old Congressional district in Brooklyn, I (Stephen Solarz) chanced to meet a woman who had a tattooed number on her arm. When she told me she had been in Auschwitz, I asked her what she thought of the argument that bombing the camp would have been wrong because prisoners would have been killed. She replied: “It would have been our finest hour, because we assumed we would all be killed anyway and this would at least have shown us that the world had not forgotten us and some of the Nazis would certainly have been killed as well.”
“Franklin Roosevelt was a great man and he was my political hero,” McGovern said. “But I think he made two great mistakes in World War Two.” One was the internment of Japanese-Americans; the other was the decision “not to go after Auschwitz ... God forgive us for that tragic miscalculation.”
One hopes the world leaders meeting at the Auschwitz site on January 26 will reflect not only upon the savagery of the Nazis, but also on the role of bystanders, then and now. As Senator McGovern emphasized, the Auschwitz experience should produce “a determination that never again will we fail to exercise the full capacity of our strength in that direction ... we should have gone all out [against Auschwitz], and we must never again permit genocide.”
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday that the cease-fire forged by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbbas was a 'ticking bomb which will blow up in our faces.' Shalom made the comments hours after an interview with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was published in which Sharon said he is 'very satisfied' with the steps being taken by Abbas to end the violence.
On Wednesday, the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened to end the new, tenuous cease-fire, after undercover Border Police troops shot dead a Hamas activist and wounded two members of the Brigades in the West Bank city of Qalqilyah.
The killing came hours after Israeli officials hinted at a change in assassination policy, stating that if quiet obtained on the Palestinian side, Israel would respond with quiet as well.
But Shalom, speaking to Army Radio after talks with newly-confirmed U.S. Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, said 'A cease-fire as such is not a goal.'
'Whoever thinks a halt is the right thing, is mistaken. A cease-fire is a ticking bomb which will blow up in our faces,' Shalom said.
'Therefore, you cannot take a cease-fire as a long-range goal, while they are are still preserving their infrastructure, the extremist organizations can rebuild them and bring about a situation in which at a time they choose they can carry out one terrorist attack or a series of terror attacks, which will bring down this whole process and send it to hell.'
A new book published in the US, “Code Names,” by William M. Arkin, exposes information about a US military presence in Israel, including US Army bases at secret locations. It gives a long list of code names that describe milestones in strategic cooperation between Jerusalem and Washington.
The book’s revelations about ongoing cooperation between the US Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces impart a new dimension to the saying by late Republican Senator Jesse Helms that Israel is America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East, and that this fact alone justifies the military aid that the US grants Israel every year.
The book lists US military bases in Israel. According to the book, these bases are called sites, and numbered Site 51, Site 53, Site 54, Site 55, and Site 56. The form indicates that other unspecified “sites” exist, but this is not explicitly stated.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.
Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that '45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz' (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004)
The Holocaust, symbolized by Auschwitz, the worst of the death camps, occurred in the wake of consistent, systematic, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda campaigns. As a result, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how.
As Germany expanded its domination and occupation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland, parts of the USSR, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy and others countries, the way was open for Hitler to realize his well-publicized plan of destroying the Jewish people.
After experimentation, the use of Zyklon B on unsuspecting victim was adopted by the Nazis as the means of choice, and Auschwitz was selected as the main factory of death (more accurately, one should refer to the “Auschwitz-Birkenau complex”). The green light for mass annihilation was given at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942.
The Wannsee Conference formalized "the final solution" - the plan to transport Europe's Jews to eastern labour and death camps. Ever efficient and bureaucratic, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office. The record represents a summary made by Adolf Eichmann at the time, even though they are sometime referred to as "minutes".
Several of the Conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. One notorious participant, Adolf Eichmann, was tried and convicted in Jerusalem, and executed in 1962 in Ramlah prison.
The mass gassings of Europe's took place in Auschwitz between 1942 and the end of 1944, when the Nazis retreated before the advancing Red Army. Jews were transported to Auschwitz from all over Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe and most were slaughtered in Auschwitz upon arrival, sometimes as many as 12,000 in one day. Some victims were selected for slave labour or “medical” experimentation before they were murdered or allowed to die. All were subject to brutal treatment.
In all, between three and four million people, mostly Jews, but also Poles and Red Army POWs, were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone (though some authors put the number at 1.3 million). Other death camps were located at Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec (Belzek), Majdanek and Treblinka. Adding the toll of these and other camps, as well as the mass executions and the starvation im the Ghettos, six million Jews, men, women, the elderly and children lost their lives as a consequence of the Nazi atrocities.
Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, sixty years ago, after most of the prisoners were forced into a Death March westwards. The Red Army found in Auschwitz about 7,600 survivors, but not all could be saved.
For a long time, the Allies were well aware of the mass murder, but deliberately refused to bomb the camp or the railways leading to it. Ironically, during the Polish uprising, the Allies had no hesitation in flying aid to Warsaw, sometimes flying right over Auschwitz.
There are troubling parallels between the systematic vilification of Jews before the Holocaust and the current vilification of the Jewish people and Israel. Suffice it to note the annual flood of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN; or the public opinion polls taken in Europe, which single out Israel as a danger to world peace; or the divestment campaigns being waged in the US against Israel; or the attempts to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. The complicity of the Allies in WW II is mirrored by the support the PLO has been receiving from Europe, China and Russia to this very day.
If remembering Auschwitz should teach us anything, it is that we must all support Israel and the Jewish people against the vilification and the complicity we are witnessing, knowing where it inevitably leads.
As I have been surfing around the Jewish blogosphere I have been profoundly disturbed at the sheer number of blogs by those who are either formerly Orthodox, or, maybe worse, those who fake a frum lifestyle but don't believe anymore.
It is hard to extrapolate from these blogs how much of a problem this is in real life, after all, bloggers are a self-selected group and cannot be considered proportionally representative of the population as a whole. But it is clear that this is a problem, and a it is a failure of the frum community to deal with this.
As I see it, it appears to be a problem in the educational system. We have wonderful kiruv projects that are phenomenally successful, the Aishes and the Ohr Somayachs and the Gateways, that can talk about frumkeit on an intellectual level and that aren't afraid to answer the hard questions. A solid belief system is happy to defend itself.
But how many schools in the frum world are as open to basic questions as Aish is? How many employ decent school counselors that can be understanding and available for these sorts of issues? How many even acknowledge the problems in the frum community without marginalizing them or using glib answers like "if he did that, then he is not frum"?
The Orthodox community will always lose people just like we will always gain people. But it seems to me that there should be a priority placed on investing in our own. Otherwise we are just making ourselves and our children more vulnerable to becoming lost.
If a religious kid graduates from high school without the ability to articulately defend his beliefs and his practices, then we have failed him or her badly.
Ending days of speculation about whether they had agreed to a cease-fire with Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Tuesday denied that they would halt terrorist attacks 'without making Israel pay a price.'
Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, the Syria-based head of the movement's political bureau, said there would be no discussion of a truce before the Palestinians test Israel's intentions and receive assurances from the international community that Israel would halt its attacks on the Palestinians.
He described the recent talks between Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as 'positive.'
'We agreed that the message that we should send to the international community is that the Palestinian resistance is not the problem, but it is Israel's aggression,' he said. 'We also agreed that our message to the Zionist enemy is that there would be no solution unless the occupation ends.'
Asked if the two sides had discussed ways of calming the situation, Mashaal told the London-based daily Al-Hayat: 'There is talk about calm, but a conditioned one. If the occupation meets our conditions, including ending the occupation and releasing all the prisoners, we will be prepared to consider a temporary truce.'
The Foreign Ministry called in Belgium's ambassador Jean-Michel Veranneman de Watervliet on Monday to protest a meeting that his colleague, the Belgian ambassador to Lebanon, held last week with Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
The meeting with Nasrallah took place at a time when Israel is pressing the EU to place Hizbullah on its list of terrorist organizations.
De Watervliet was called to the Foreign Ministry for a meeting with Ran Curiel, the ministry's deputy director-general and head of its Western Europe department, and Jeremy Issacharoff, deputy directory-general and head of the Division for Strategic Affairs, which deals with antiterrorism issues.
"We expressed our displeasure," Issacharoff said. "We believe these meetings accord the organization – which kills innocent civilians – a legitimacy it doesn't deserve."
Issacharoff said the timing of this meeting with Nasrallah was particularly inopportune, inasmuch as Hizbullah is trying to scuttle attempt to calm down the situation in the territories by trying to carry out terrorist actions in Israel, and trying to ignite the northern border.
"We explained Hizbullah's activities in the territories, and how they are bankrolling terror cells and passing on expertise," Issacharoff said.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Hizbullah is currently running some 50 terrorist cells within the Palestinian Authority.
In 2004, according to the ministry, Hizbullah transferred some $9 million to these cells, which carried out 60 attacks and killed 24 Israelis.
De Watervliet told The Jerusalem Post that he has already passed on Israel's protests to the Belgian Foreign Ministry. He said that he was unaware, before he was called to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, that such a meeting with Nasrallah took place.
"The Belgian government has always condemned terrorism," the ambassador said, adding that the Belgian government does not have a firm stand on whether Hizbullah should be added to the EU's list of terrorist organizations.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Is the UN moving away from its traditional anti-Israel, anti-semitic stance?
Sorry, but I don't buy it for a minute.
All that is happening is that the UN, like always, is practicing self-preservation above its charter. Israel has wisely decided that the UN was irrelevant, and the US was headed in that direction. The UN wants desperately to be relevant or else it has no reason to exist.
The UN's historic anti-semitism, coddling of terrorists and rabid anti-Zionism was becoming too extreme even for the EU. The EU at least would pay some lip service to Israel's rights; the UN would do no such thing in its one-sided resolutions.
Finally, during the aborted roadmap plan, the UN realized that Israel has no incentive to treat the UN with any respect whatsoever. But how can the UN re-assert itself as the leader in peacemaking in the world without the cooperation of the one democracy in the region?
This is what is behind the UN's newfound acceptance of Israeli issues and institutions. The UN needs a fig-leaf to cover its anti-Israel agenda and to impose its perverted vision of "peace" on Israel. In the coming months, the next time a UN resolution comes down against Israel for defending herself, just wait: Kofi Annan will proudly point to the UN track record of evenhandedness in regards to Jews and Israel and use that as proof that when it asks Israel to allow millions of Palestinian Arabs to move into Israel and go back to the 1947 borders, that it has no anti-Israel agenda whatsoever.
In other words, the UN's one-sidedness was so absurd that even it couldn't deny it anymore, so it hopes by pretending to address the issues then it can once again renew its calls for Israel's ultimate destruction without fear of appearing biased.
UPDATE: Check out Israpundit's take on this.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Russian Lawmakers Targets Jewish Groups
MOSCOW (AP) - A group of nationalist Russian lawmakers called Monday for a sweeping investigation aimed at outlawing all Jewish organizations and punishing officials who support them, accusing Jews of fomenting ethnic hatred and saying they provoke anti-Semitism.
In a letter dated Jan. 13, about 20 members of the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, asked Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov to investigate their claims and to launch proceedings 'on the prohibition in our country of all religious and ethnic Jewish organizations as extremist.'
The letter, faxed in part to The Associated Press by the office of lawmaker Alexander Krutov, said, 'The negative assessments by Russian patriots of the qualities and actions against non-Jews that are typical of Jews correspond to the truth ... The statements and publications against Jews that have incriminated patriots are self-defense, which is not always stylistically correct but is justified in essence.'
The stunning call to ban all Jewish groups raised concerns of persistent anti-Semitism in Russia.
Jewish leaders have praised President Vladimir Putin's government for encouraging religious tolerance, but rights groups accuse the authorities of failing to prosecute the perpetrators of anti-Semitic and racial violence.
Russia's chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, said lawmakers were looking for support 'by playing the anti-Semitic card.'
The prosecutor general's office could not immediately be reached for comment on the letter, which the Interfax news agency said was signed by lawmakers from the nationalist Rodina and Liberal Democratic parties as well as the Communist Party.
Krutov, a Rodina member, is deputy chief of the Duma's Committee on Information Policy.
With Putin planning to join events this week commemorating the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops, Russia's Holocaust Foundation head Alla Gerber said it was "horrible that as we're marking the 60th anniversary of this tragic and great day ... we can speak of the danger of fascism in the countries that defeated fascism."
While the Russian state itself is no longer anti-Semitic, there are "anti-Semitic campaigns that are led by all sorts of organizations," she said.
"The economic situation is ripe for this. An enemy is needed, and the enemy is well-known, traditional," Gerber said.
Echoing anti-Semitic tracts of the Czarist era, the letter's authors accuse Jews of working against the interests of the countries where they live and of monopolizing power worldwide. They say the United States "has become an instrument for achieving the global aims of Judaism."
"It is possible to say that the entire democratic world today is under the monetary and political control of international Judaism, which high-profile bankers are openly proud of," the letter says.
Along with outlawing Jewish organizations, the lawmakers call for the prosecution of "individuals responsible for providing these groups with state and municipal property, privileges and state financing."
A senior IDF officer explained Sunday that the principal obstacle in cease-fire negotiations between Abu Mazen and the terror groups is the amount of money he is willing to pay them to replace the funds they currently receive from Hizballah to conduct attacks.
"There are thousands of activists who regularly receive funds from Hizballah which directs the attacks, and they don't want to find themselves unemployed," he said.
The officer emphasized that Hizballah, together with Iran and Syria, is acting to block Abu Mazen's attempts to achieve quiet, out of fear that the IDF will then be free to act in the north.
This shows again how important it is to stop the funding of terrorism, whether by lawsuits or by alternate fuels or by impounding assets. When the money disappears the ability to terrorize is severely limited.
BRITISH Muslims are to boycott this week’s commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz because they claim it is not racially inclusive and does not commemorate the victims of the Palestinian conflict.
Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has written to Charles Clarke, the home secretary, saying the body will not attend the event unless it includes the “holocaust” of the Palestinian intifada.
This might be a good idea - the next time there is a rally demonizing Israel, other groups should mention the failed "Intifada" in Hama and the mass killings of Palestinians in Jordan and the expulsions of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from Kuwait.....
Sunday, January 23, 2005
It is nothing short of obscene to put the words "Jenin" in the same sentence as Nazi crematoria. For someone who brags about having read a couple of books on the Holocaust, it betrays not only profound ignorance but incredible offensiveness. To invoke Auschwitz as he sanctimoniously compares Israelis to those who were hell-bent on destroying Judaism itself is a breathtaking example of what real Jews would call chutzpah.
Mr. Lippman, you are no Jew except as an accident of birth. You know nothing about your religion, you know nothing about the feelings of those of your relatives who perished and you know nothing about modern Middle East history. This accident makes you no more qualified to lecture Israelis who are living in fear day after day than any other self-righteous European who uses fictional Israeli "crimes" like Jenin as a way to feel a little less guilty about the Holocaust.
I really am Jewish. My parents really are Holocaust survivors. Using your own peculiar circumstances where your parents denied their own heritage and you use that heritage for convenience to justify being able to write about your own hatred for Israel is an insult to real Jews, to real Holocaust survivors and to people who really care about their own heritage and religion.
Do us all a favor and don't try to invoke your own pretense of being "Jewish" as a reason to bash your co-religionists who want more than you can comprehend to live in peace and security. As it was, this little essay that was supposedly about hate showed far more hate than your Anglican mind can conceive. It was beneath contempt, and I am always amazed to see such drivel printed in major newspapers as if it means anything.
(Melanie Phillips' excellent reaction to the article can be found here. )
Friday, January 21, 2005
WASHINGTON — In bluntly threatening terms on Inauguration Day, Vice President Dick Cheney removed any doubt that in its second term the Bush administration intended to directly confront the theocracy in Tehran.
Cheney, who often has delivered the Bush team's toughest warnings to foreign capitals, said Iran was "right at the top" of the administration's list of world trouble spots, and expressed concern that Israel "might well decide to act first" to destroy Iran's nuclear program. The Israelis would let the rest of the world "worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterward," he added in a radio interview with Don Imus that was also broadcast on MSNBC.
The tough talk was part of the administration's attempt to halt what Iran contends is a peaceful, civilian nuclear energy program but which Washington believes is a clandestine program to develop nuclear weapons.
Facing weak diplomatic and military options, the administration has issued increasingly stern warnings in hopes that threats of sanctions and international isolation will convince Iran to shun nuclear weapons. President Bush and other top administration officials also have spoken in menacing terms about Iran in recent days.
But Cheney's words marked the first time that a senior official has amplified the threat by suggesting that the United States could be unable to prevent military attack by its close allies in Jerusalem, analysts and diplomats said.
The startling reference to an Israeli attack was "the kind of strong language that will get their attention in Tehran," said one allied diplomat in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"There's a rhetorical escalation here: They've ratcheted up the threat level by bringing Israel in," said Henri J. Barkey, a former State Department official during the Clinton administration. "They're using the fact of the inauguration, and the uncertainty people have about where they're going in the next term, to say, 'Look, we're not going to let up on Iran.'
Thursday, January 20, 2005
A close friend of the Coptic Christian brutally murdered in New Jersey along with his family, Hossam Armanious, is the source of this information, which comes to you exclusively from Jihad Watch:
The Armanious family had inspired several Muslims to convert to Christianity — or thought they had. These converts were actually practicing taqiyya, or religious deception, pretending to be friends of these Christians in order to strengthen themselves against them, as in Qur'an 3:28: "Let believers not make friends with infidels in preference to the faithful -- he that does this has nothing to hope for from Allah -- except in self-defense."
It was these "converts" who knocked on the door of the Armanious home. Of course, the family, not suspecting the deception, was happy to see the "converted" men and willingly let them in to their home. That's why there was no sign of forced entry. Then the "converted" Muslims did their grisly work.
Many Copts are regarding the murders as a warning to the Coptic community as a whole, related to the increasing strife between Copts and Muslims in Egypt and the Copts' energetic efforts in America to get the truth out about the differences between Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims -- differences that the Islamic lobby, with its disingenuous talk of "Arab Americans," routinely glosses over and hopes you don't notice. The Copts, to their immense credit, have been particularly outspoken among Middle Eastern Christians about Muslim oppression. And yes, many are active on Pal Talk debating Muslims.
The nature of the warning? The murders send a signal from the Muslims to the Copts: we are going to behave here the same way we behaved in Egypt, and the First Amendment and American law enforcement will not protect you. Don't expect America to keep you safe from us. The oppression and harassment you thought you had left behind in Egypt has now come to you.
This means, if Armanious's friend is correct, that this is indeed America's Theo van Gogh murder: indication that all Muslims in the nation do not, as we are supposed to believe, unanimously accept the parameters of American pluralism. That at least some are willing to enforce Sharia penalties right here, right now.
|1993||64 (38 before Oslo, 26 after Oslo)|
|2004 (Thru August )||97|
The number of people killed by Palestinian terrorists in the five years immediately after the Oslo accord (256) was greater than the number killed in the 15 years preceding the agreement (216). During the six years of the first uprising (Dec. 9, 1987 to Sep. 9, 1993), 172 people were murdered. More than 1,000 Israelis have been killed during the "al-Aqsa uprising" beginning in September 2000.
Note: Figures include Israeli civilians and security personnel, and foreigners killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and the territories. They do not include Palestinians killed by other Palestinians on suspicion of cooperating with Israel. The date of September 9, 1993, is used to mark the beginning of the Oslo process since it was on that date that PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin exchanged letters in which Arafat renounced terrorism and recognized Israel. These letters were incorporated into the Oslo Accords, which were signed on the White House lawn four days later.
The Palestinian Authority is blocking dozens of seriously ill Palestinians from going from Gaza to Egypt for medical treatment, a human rights group said Wednesday.
The Tel Aviv-based Physicians for Human Rights said the Palestinians were exploiting the sick for propaganda purposes. A Palestinian health official denied the charge.
The rights group petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of six ill Palestinians, and an agreement was reached to allow the Palestinians to leave by an alternative route, said Shabtai Gold, a spokesman for PHR.
The same route was used recently to bus out thousands of Palestinians going on the Hajj Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
But the Palestinian Authority refused to let them leave, Gold said.
The group was 'surprised and dismayed to discover that the Palestinian Authority is barring these patients from leaving the Gaza Strip for political reasons,' PHR said in a statement.
Among those the group petitioned for are a cancer patient, a man who needs a liver transplant and two people suffering gunshot wounds, Gold said.
However, there are dozens more sick Palestinians who also need to leave for treatment, Gold said.
Luckily, so far no one has coordinated a crank call to a terror attack elsewhere.
The directors of Magen David Adom in the Lachish region held an unusual news conference this week - rather than trying to raise funds or persuade people to donate blood, they were announcing the development of a new telephone system designed to screen crank calls to the organization's Ashdod hotline.
According to the director of the Ashdod hotline, Yehuda Gabai, the new system, which has been under development for several months and will become operational within a few weeks, is needed to deal with the hundreds of crack calls the hotline receives every day.
Gabai says that most of the calls are placed by Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, who call the emergency 101 number, curse the operator and then hang up. More disturbingly, the crank callers will try to report a fictitious emergency, hoping that MDA will waste valuable time and resources until the truth comes to light.
The new system, however, will allow MDA to define a list of `problematic' telephone numbers - numbers from which crank calls have been placed - and automatically block the calls from reaching the call center.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
by Bruce Thornton
Just as in the days after the death of Arafat, the Palestinian elections have sparked an outburst of international optimism that perhaps the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can begin to be resolved. While all people of good will must hope that the optimism is warranted, the evidence is scant that the hope is grounded on something more than exhausted wishful thinking.
Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen), newly elected president of the Palestinian Authority, bears all the weight of the world's optimism. He is opposed to the intifada, the launching of rockets from Gaza, and terrorist violence in general, and unlike Arafat, he is a pragmatist without the blood of terrorism on his hands. Given democratic legitimacy by the vote, he can now use that mandate to reign in the terrorists, clean up the corruption in the Palestinian Authority, and create the conditions for a negotiated settlement that will lead to a viable Palestinian state and security for Israel.
So we are told—but we should pay careful attention to what Abbas says and the symbolism he manipulates. For all he is supposed to be the anti-Arafat, Abbas campaigned on a platform of total agreement with the policies of Arafat: a Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem and the "sacred" right of return for Palestinian refugees, the latter demand a non-starter for the Israelis, who recognize it as code for the destruction of Israel by demography. To underscore his accord with Arafat, Abbas not only used Arafat's image whenever possible during the campaign, but also took to sporting a checkered scarf reminiscent of Arafat's famous keffiyeh. And to make sure there was no doubt about his solidarity with Arafat, after the election Abbas proclaimed, "We offer this victory to the soul of the brother martyr Yasir Arafat."
Given that Arafat called for "jihad, jihad, jihad" to be waged until there was a Palestinian state "from the river to the sea," we should be troubled by Abbas' eagerness to channel Arafat's blood-stained spirit—especially since there is evidence that Abbas himself may not be so innocent of terrorism as we are led to believe. Last year Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel Law Center in a letter to President Bush pointed to evidence that Abbas financed the 1972 PLO massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. And let us not forget Abbas' 1983 book in which he claimed that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis to murder Jews in order to create sympathy for creating the state of Israel, and asserted that fewer than a million Jews had been murdered in the Holocaust.
But as of this moment, the question someone needs to ask Abbas is whether his agreement with Arafat extends to the PLO's "phases" plan for the destruction of Israel, a long-range strategy in which many different tactics—from suicide bombers to negotiated agreements—are used at different times given particular circumstances. This is a critical point, for Abbas' much-touted condemnation of the intifada and violence seems to rest not on principle but on a cost-benefit analysis. In 2002, Abbas made this obvious when he said regarding the intifada, "If we do a calculation we will see that without any doubt what we lost was big and what we gained was small." And more recently, speaking out against a rocket attack from Gaza, Abbas said, "This is not the time for this kind of attack," which suggests there is a time for shooting rockets at women and children.
In other words, blowing up innocents is not wrong, just an inefficient tactic for achieving the long-term goal of a Palestinian state that eventually will include the territory of Israel. Since force alone isn't going to make Israel disappear, negotiate for time (and money from the West) and wait to see what events transpire that bring closer the ultimate goal of Israel's disappearance. At that point, terrorist violence once again may be a suitable tactic, just as at present negotiation is the best move in order to provide space for rebuilding and strengthening a Palestinian Authority weakened by the untimely use of terrorism.
This, of course, was essentially Arafat's view, which means that Abbas' continual invocation of Arafat is a statement of ideological and strategic agreement; as Ephraim Karsh has written recently in Commentary, "For all their drastically different personalities and political style, Arafat and Abu Mazen are warp and woof of the same fabric: dogmatic PLO veterans who have never eschewed their commitment to Israel's destruction and who have viewed the 'peace process' as the continuation of their lifetime war by other means."
But for the sake of argument, let's give Abbas the benefit of the doubt and assume that his embrace of Arafat—like his assertion that going after the terrorist militants is a "red line that must not be crossed"—is merely campaign rhetoric necessary in order to pull off the elections and get himself elected, not to mention keeping himself alive. Let's consider Abu Daoud, mastermind of the 1972 Munich slaughter, a liar when he said that Abbas kissed his cheek and wished him luck when Daoud set out to organize the Munich attack. Let's assume that Abbas is sincere about finding a negotiated settlement that respects the right of Israel to exist.
Even if all that were true, the elephant in the room is still being ignored: the Palestinian militants like Hamas that are explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel and to the use of terrorism to further that aim. As long as these groups exist, no settlement is possible, for Israel is not going to sacrifice the lives of its citizens to give Abbas or anyone else the time to find some other solution to the violence that does not involve killing the terrorists who kill Israelis. Israel should not be asked to treat its citizens as "loss leaders" in order to achieve a "peace" deal that may or may not come and may or may not last.
Quite simply, those Palestinians sincerely committed to the "two-state solution" must go after and kill those Palestinians who are committed to the destruction of Israel, and whose murders provoke Israel's legitimate responses that unfortunately make life hard for the Palestinians. And yes, that means there must be a civil war. The so-called "moderate" Palestinians have to recognize that their aspirations are subverted by those among them who want to kill Israelis more than they want to live in freedom and prosperity, and that their suffering is caused by the actions of such terrorists that compel Israel to do whatever it can to protect its citizens, which after all is the primary obligation of any state.
Yet here in the West we refuse to put this question to these "moderates" and to condition our political and financial support on the one action that will eventually resolve the crisis. Instead, we have given the Palestinian Authority 20 million dollars and have promised 200 million more, and Abbas has been invited to the White House. Haven't we been through all this before with Arafat—the soothing rhetoric of peace, the photo-ops at Camp David, the millions of dollars, all followed not by peace but by political thuggery, fiscal corruption, and more murdered Israelis? We have to learn that as long as terrorism even seems to pay dividends, terrorism will continue to be used as a tactic. And giving money and prestige to someone who refuses to destroy terrorists and calls them "martyrs," and who implicitly endorses terrorism as a legitimate tactic, is simply ensuring that indeed terrorism will be used.
So too with the magic powers bestowed on the recent election. But a democratic election that puts into power someone like Abbas who refuses to disavow terrorism and to prove it by killing terrorists means nothing, no matter how much corruption he cleans up. The one issue central to resolving the crisis—stopping the murder of Israelis—is still unresolved. For all our delight at the spectacle of Palestinians voting and Abbas talking about peace and negotiations, we are back to the heady optimism after Oslo, when so much hope was quickly drowned in the blood of Israelis.
©2004 Victor Davis Hanson
Abukasis suffered severe head wounds from shrapnel. Her friend and her sister were lightly wounded, while her brother was moderately wounded. According to one eyewitness, Ella had tried to shield her brother Tamir, 10, from the Qassam.
SISDE analysts disclosed the existence of Al Khansa, the unusual monthly Internet publication for female militants that is hosted by several Islamist Web sites, in the Italian spy service's quarterly review Gnosis.
"Among the Web pages of this newly born female review in Arabic, you won't find the usual fashion features that fill the pages of ladies' magazines the world over, except for a section dedicated to fitness with advice on diet and training to follow so as to acquire not a catwalk waistline, but martyrdom in the holy war."
With its bizarre format including articles on "breathing gymnastics to conquer the passions," evidently essential knowledge for those tempted to have a final fling before strapping on an explosive-laden corset, Al Khansa could indicate that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has made a strategic choice in favor of "women's emancipation through martyrdom," according to the Gnosis report.
"This is a turning point in the project planning of international terrorist networks, which until now, unlike in the Palestinian intifada or in Chechen nationalist extremism, were limited to the exclusive employment of men in operations," the SISDE analysts said. (This does not make me too confident in the abilities of SISDE analysts, if they haven't heard of female Palestinian suicide bombers, or the Chechen women who brought the plane down. -EoZ)
An aspiring female martyr, or "mujaheda," must learn the Koran by heart, have basic first aid training [and] be able to prepare an emergency kit "in which natural honey and water from the Zemzem spring at Mecca are indispensable since they flow directly from Paradise," Al Khansa advised.
A female militant must also "be content with what is strictly necessary, sending televisions and air conditioners to be burned." She should offer her own money for the cause and know how to shoot and "how to carry munitions on her shoulder," the Web site said.
"This is obviously an 'emancipation' that is light-years distant from what the West means" by the word, the SISDE essay said.
"The portrait of the new heroine is of a woman paladin suspended between tradition and renewal, capable of protecting the family and the community against both outside aggression and the moral degeneration that insinuates its way inside society dominated by the 'corrupt' Saudi royal family."
Al Qaeda's concept of emancipation does not extend to "the promiscuity of Arab television stations," SISDE's analysis added. Al Khansa considers "as a form of prostitution the presence of female announcers without burqas on the Saudi television network Al-Ekhbariya."
In Al Khansa, the theorists of al Qaeda offer women "a path to reach freedom that would be denied in every other way — using the dominion of religion to oppose the dominion of men," the Italian secret service report said.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
The genetic mutation disease Tay-Sachs, a fatal inherited disease of the central nervous system that mostly affects Ashkenazi Jews, has been almost completely eradicated, experts say, who claim that a genetic illness has become extinct for the first time.
"Last year not a single Jewish baby throughout North America was born with Tay-Sachs," says Prof. Robert Desnick of the Department of Human Genetics at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. Prof. Desnick is in Israel as the guest of Jerusalem's Hadassah hospitals. He said Monday that of the 10 babies born in North America in 2003 with Tay-Sachs, not a single one was Jewish.
Figures from Israel paint a similar picture. According to Prof. Joel Zlotogora, who heads the Health Ministry's Department of Community Genetics, just one baby was born with Tay-Sachs in Israel in 2003. Insofar as is known, not a single baby in Israel was born with Tay-Sachs last year, but as the disease takes some six months to manifest itself, the figures for 2004 are not final.
Desnick says that the data for the past two years may stem from a coincidental fluctuation in the incidence of the disease, and that isolated cases may appear this year or the next. He stresses, nevertheless, that whatever the case may be, the disease appears to have disappeared almost completely from among the Jewish nation.
Prof. Gideon Bach, who heads the Department of Genetics at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, says the eradication of Tay-Sachs can be attributed primarily to the fact that the general public in Israel is advised to carry out, at the expense of the state, genetic tests to diagnose the disease before the birth of the baby. In the event an unborn baby is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs, the pregnancy is usually terminated.
Another reason for the eradication of the disease, Bach says, is the work of the ultra-Orthodox association, Dor Yesharim. The association carries out tests on young individuals to check whether they are genetically "suitable." The results of these tests are passed on to the matchmaker. If there is a risk that a designated couple may give birth to children affected with Tay-Sachs, the matchmaker will report that the match is unsuitable. (before the couple have a chance to meet - EoZ)
Bach, who works with Dor Yesharim, says that numerous intended couples have been split up in the wake of genetic testing.
Some 1,000 years ago a Jew developed the genetic mutation which, it turned out, causes the fatal inherited disease. It has since been passed on among the Jewish people through the generations.
Tay-Sachs is a fatal genetic disorder mostly found in children that causes progressive destruction of the central nervous system. In general, children affected by the disease do not live beyond the age of 4.
Where the reporting stops
jpost staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 18, 2005
Palestinian journalist Majida al-Batsh surprised most of her colleagues late last year by announcing that she would run in the election for the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority.
Batsh, a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem, had been working for many years as a Palestinian affairs correspondent for the French news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Before she presented her candidacy in the January 9 vote, Batsh was a frequent panelist on Israel TV Channel 1's Politica talk show, where she would speak more like a representative of the Palestinians than an impartial journalist from an international news organization.
The story of candidate Batsh, who wound up withdrawing her candidacy weeks ahead of the vote, highlights many concerns about the identity and political affiliation of several Palestinian journalists employed by international news organizations and TV networks to cover the Palestinian issue. It also underlines concerns about the credibility of much foreign news coverage in general in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In addition to her work at the French news agency, Batsh was also a reporter for the PA's official organ, Al-Ayyam,. In other words, she was also on the PA's payroll, since the Ramallah-based newspaper was established and is financed by the PA. Al-Ayyam's editor, Akram Haniyeh, has been listed as an adviser to Yasser Arafat.
But Batsh was not the only journalist at AFP who was working simultaneously for the PA. One of the agency's correspondents in the Gaza Strip is Adel Zanoun, who also happens to be the chief reporter in the area for the PA's Voice of Palestine radio station.
IT IS perhaps less logical when the covering of Palestinian affairs is entrusted only to Palestinian journalists, some of whom are openly affiliated with the PA or other political groups.
"I will never work on a story that defames my people or leadership," boasts a Palestinian "fixer" (mediator/guide/translator) who works on a regular basis with many foreign journalists. "It is my duty to protect my people against Israeli propaganda."
AFP is not the only member of the international news media to employ "journalists" who see themselves as "foot soldiers" serving the Palestinian cause. Other parts of the foreign media frequently allow their stories to be filtered through such fixers-consultants.
The Associated Press also has a journalist – Muhammad Daraghmeh – who works for the PA's Al-Ayyam. "It's like employing someone from the [Israeli] Government Press Office or one of the Israeli political parties to work as a journalist," comments a veteran foreign journalist based in Israel.
Daraghmeh's byline has continued to appear in Al-Ayyam; AP's Jerusalem bureau chief denies that he works for the paper.
Adds the veteran foreign journalist: "I also know of cases where former security prisoners have been hired as journalists and fixers for major news organizations, including American networks. Can you imagine what the reactions would be if they hired an Israeli who had been in jail for one reason or another?"