.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Qassam Calendar for March (final)

As with the February calendar, the numbers for each date represent the number of Qassams fired on that day. The numbers in parentheses are those I saw reported by Palestinian Arab media, outside of parentheses are those reported in Israeli media.

The one day highlighted in red is the single day since the "cease-fire" started that Israel reacted to Qassams in Gaza.

March
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa




1 2 3




1
1+1

4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(3)
2(6)

2(3)
(2)

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

2(3+2)
1(1)
1(2)
1


18 19 20 21 22 23 24
5(2)
(2)



(2)

25 26 27 28 29 30 31
2
(2)

8(7)
7
(1+1)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Liberal admits leftist thinking encourages terror

I disagree with Ha'aretz' columnist Bradley Burston often, but he hit the nail on the head here. Excerpts:
Not a simple issue. Especially for those of us Jews and leftists who were educated at places like Berkeley, where we received our degrees in Selective Blindness, with a minor in Understanding the Roots of Violence when practiced by Muslims.

We were taught to sniff out, publicize, and condemn every instance of racism, violence, injustice, and humiliation practiced by Israeli Jews against Palestinian Muslims. And that was as it should be.

But we were also taught that it was racist to impose our Western values on the acts of Muslims, even, or especially, when it came to the most extreme of Muslims.

We can, with facility, therefore, comprehend all Muslim atrocities against Muslims in Iraq as the direct, understandable, and legitimate response to the American-British occupation.

We were taught wrong.

We can understand terrorism in Bali, in London, in the Twin Towers, as an outgrowth of anger over American expansionism and Israeli military repression.

We were taught wrong.

This is what we should have been taught: Violations of human rights are violations of human rights, regardless of the cultural background of the perpetrator, regardless of the background of the victim.

This is what we should have retained: One way to demonstrate compassion for victims is to stop showing sensitivity to their tormentors. Even if both are Muslims. Because it's our business to cry out. Because the victims are human beings. Because villains deserve to be denounced.

We were taught to feel guilt, when we should have been taught that wrongdoing is the work of the wrongdoer.

In the end, those of us who excuse Muslim fanatics their outrages against their own, those of us who explain away their crimes by blaming them on the West, or on ourselves, are guilty of racism as well.

We are saying, in effect, that they cannot be considered responsible for their actions, as would any other human being.

We are saying, in effect, that we made them who they are.

We are saying, in effect, that the suicide bomber who kills his own, lacks the ability to discern right and wrong. We are also saying, in effect, that they can do what they like, to their own.

There is racism in our view, and megalomania, and arrogance, and cowardice, and weakness. Terrorists know this. They feed on it.

They were taught well.
This is similar to a theme I've mentioned many times, that liberals treat Arabs as if they are mentally ill and need to be "understood," not as if they are adults who have the ability to understand right and wrong. This is racism, as Burston says.

The way to erase terror is to hold people responsible for terror, and for the environment that romanticizes terror. This simple lesson is lost on much of the Left.

Major Microsoft vulnerability

Sorry for being off-topic, but Microsoft yesterday announced a "zero-day" vulnerability (animated cursor files, .ANI) for Windows that is very, very nasty. I expect that this weekend there will be many attacks, and Microsoft does not yet have a patch available.

It affects Windows Internet Explorer, including Vista. Even worse, it affects email, and just viewing an email message can allow someone to do anything they want to your machine.

Every major computer security organization is listing this as a critical flaw. Updated anti-virus software will help with known variants but if someone comes out with something new, you're still in trouble. Details can be read at the Internet Storm Center.

I would not interrupt my blog about this if I didn't think this was a biggie.

There is an unofficial patch from eEye. I recommend installing it until Microsoft gets its act together.

Get it at http://research.eeye.com/html/alerts/zeroday/20070328.html .

Otherwise, have a Shabbat Shalom!

Times-UK editor needs to learn English

Gerard Baker, US editor for the Times of London, writes about Barack Obama:
Of much more interest is the flak that the Democratic senator is taking for some remarks he made about the Middle East. Hillary Clinton, his main opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination in next year’s election, has seized upon them as proof that the senator cannot be trusted with US national security nor as a true friend of Israel.

What exactly, was the young senator’s offence? Did he, in an unguarded moment of adolescent radicalism, say something nice about Yassir Arafat? Did he call on Israel to give back the occupied territories?

Here, for the record, is precisely what he said, in a speech in Iowa a few weeks ago: “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”

The response to this little aside, the shower of invective heaped on Mr Obama from all sides of the political arena, is instructive and depressing. In American political debate, saying something sympathetic about the Palestinians is evidently now deemed unsayable. Even as mild and neutral an observation as noting that Palestinians are “suffering” is considered a gaffe somewhat akin to expressing a kindly word for KGB pensioners.

The potential political penalties for such dangerous talk are well demonstrated by Mr Obama’s own rather pitiful response to the incident. Under pressure for his remarks, his spokesman “clarified” them, saying that what Mr Obama meant was that Palestinians were suffering because of the cruelties of their own, Hamas-dominated leadership. Phew! Thank goodness he cleared that one up. We thought for a horrible moment he might have been offering just the minutest criticism of Israeli policy.
One would expect a British editor to have a slightly better command of the English language than is demonstrated here. One would also expect the United States editor of a major newspaper to understand the US a bit better.

Somehow, he interprets the statement "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people" as "The Palestinian Arab people are suffering." Of course, the first statement is an absurd lie and the second statement is 100% accurate. Yet this paragon of the editorial page cannot seem to distinguish between the two.

For a presidential candidate to say something so stupid is, of course, noteworthy. Perhaps it was disproportionately criticized, especially by Hillary, but somehow I think that Mr. Baker would have been somewhat upset if a major presidential candidate had in decades past declared that "Nobody is suffering more than the Irish people" or "Nobody is suffering more than the Falkland Islanders." In fact, I think that Mr. Baker would be a bit upset if Obama had said that no one is suffering more than Israelis, and he would not have misinterpreted that statement as being just an expression of sympathy for terror victims.

Mr. Baker might be amazed to see that people do criticize Israel every day in the US. He may be astonished that the current Secretary of State is heavily pushing for a Palestinian Arab state and pressuring Israel towards final-status negotiations even with an entity that wants to see Israel destroyed.

But this is nothing that a little remedial English and history cannot solve for the esteemed editor.

PalArab self-death count methodology

Since late June, 2006, I have been keeping track of how many Palestinian Arabs have been violently killed in the territories by each other.

For the purposes of this count, I include:
  • Deaths in internal fighting
  • Deaths in clan clashes
  • "Honor killings"
  • Accidental or negligent deaths from playing with weapons or explosives
  • Deaths during terror or criminal activities, such as while digging smuggling tunnels
  • Deaths from gunshots during weddings and funerals
  • Extrajudicial killings for "collaborators" or various Koranic crimes
I am not counting suicides, true accidents like car crashes that have nothing to do with terror, or indirect negligence like the sewage "tsunami" deaths.

There is no shortage of "human rights" organizations that obsessively count PalArab casualties from Israeli sources, but essentially no one else seems to count internal Palestinian Arab killings. If they are truly concerned about Palestinian Arab lives, they would show the same attention to detail and accuracy that they do for deaths at the hands of Israel (and even then, they never show context for Israeli actions.)

There are some organizations that partially count some of these deaths. For example, B'Tselem only counts deaths directly related to the intifada, including Hamas/Fatah clashes. Yet their numbers get quoted as authoritative.

My reasons for maintaining this count is to show the hypocrisy of those who pretend to care about Palestinian Arab lives. In fact, my thesis is that they only care about Israeli actions that they can call criminal, and the victims are only important in how they can implicate Israel, not as tragedies in themselves. The fact that Palestinian Arabs have less regard for their own lives than Israel has for PalArab lives is rarely reported.

The sources for these statistics are many Palestinian Arab newspapers (both English and Arabic, using Google auto-translation) and human rights organizations, as well as Israeli papers and other sources. All my postings about this topic include links to the original articles. I far prefer to only count deaths for people that are named, although during particularly violent periods of time this can prove almost impossible so I may rely on reported aggregate figures.

I do try for accuracy, so for example I did not count all of the honor killings mentioned in this article for the reasons I wrote there. On the other hand, when there is a dispute as to who is responsible for some PalArab deaths I will make a decision and I will tend to believe the Israeli accounts more, if only because they have historically proven to be far more accurate (a good example is the killings of the Ghalia family on the Gaza beach last year, which I counted as PalArab self-deaths based on the evidence I saw.)

I have no doubt that these numbers are undercounted. There seem to be many deaths that are never reported, particularly inter-family killings, although things have improved since last year. Ma'an News, in particular, has been fairly honest about reporting internal Palestinian Arab killings.

Terrorists killed in former Gaza settlement

At least one Hamas terrorist was killed and several more injured this morning in a large explosion. According to Ma'an English, it was in a Khan Younis "military post."

Wafa (Arabic) adds that it was in a Hamas "training camp" in the former settlement of Netzar Hazani, and the early reports make it sound like the number of casualties may increase.

This brings the number of PalArabs violently killed by each other in 2007 so far, by my count, up to 157.

UPDATE:
Ynet reports one dead, seven injured, some critically. Ma'an now reports eight injured, including a child.

UPDATE 2: A Salafi sheikh was murdered in Gaza City by four gunmen, a relative was injured and an Internet cafe was blown up. 158.

16 weeks in a row

Israel was more aggressive this week against terrorists, and the IDF killed three of them. PalArab sources blame settlers for another death, although I have seen no evidence of that.

Even so, more PalArabs were killed this week by PalArabs than by Jews, for the 16th week in a row. (There were about 10 killed from Thursday to Wednesday, the time period that PCHR uses in calculating their weekly stats.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

PA and Jordan arrest Arabs who sold Hebron building to Jews

Last week we mentioned the story about a building in Hebron that Jews moved into, where Arabs disputed that it was ever sold to Jews.

Today, the PA arrested one man and Jordan arrested another man for selling that very building to Jews.
The Palestinian Authority and Jordan earlier this week arrested two Palestinians suspected of selling a house in Hebron to settlers who have been occupying it since March 19.

One of the suspects is being held in Jordan, and the other in Jericho. PA laws call for a death sentence for anyone found guilty of selling land to Jews.

Hebron's Jewish Committee condemned the arrest, saying, "The arrest exposes once again the anti-Semitic nature of the PA. We call upon the government to accept the racial hatred prevalent in the PA."

MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) called on the government to act for the release of the arrested Palestinians. Orit Struk of the committee said the arrest is proof the house legally belongs to the Jewish community.

Committee members told Haaretz that police and army officials said off the record the house purchase was legitimate, adding: "Despite this, Defense Minister Amir Peretz has instructed the Military Advocate General to come up with a pretext for our eviction."

Meanwhile, several well-known leftist academics have called on Peretz to issue an order to evict the settlers from the building. "The decision not to evict the settlers is not only asinine and wrong, but also a violation of international law and public order," they wrote.

The academics warned that the presence of the settlers could disrupt security in Hebron and in the entire area. They said: "The settlers' presence is a violation of basic morals, requiring security forces to allot resources to protecting the Palestinians from the settlers."
Of course, the presence of Jews in Israel seems to disrupt security as well, so I guess these "academics" will be moving away very soon.

Beyond that, the fact that Arabs are arresting people for selling this building to Jews sure makes it look like Jews legally own the building.

Now, what human rights activists will protest these arrests?

How crowded is Gaza City?

In 2005, I posted an article that debunked the idea that Gaza was ridiculously overpopulated, comparing the population density of Gaza with Macau, Monaco, Singapore and other countries.

In honor of "Land Day," the Palestinian Arab Central Bureau of Statistics came out with new statistics that showed that Gaza City itself is the most densely populated part of the PA.

Let's see how badly overcrowded Gaza City is compared to a representative sampling of major world cities:

City Population/km2
Cairo 35,420
Dhaka 30,403
Mumbai 29,042
Seoul 17,008
New York City 10,439
Moscow 9,644
São Paulo 7,247
Gaza City 6,834
London 4,697
Los Angeles 2,980
"One of the most crowded places on the planet?" Not quite.

US aid to Abbas earmarked for attacking Israel

Reuters reports that the US is trying hard not to make past mistakes with the new round of funding Abbas' Fatah terrorists:
Members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's presidential guard eligible for U.S.-funded training and equipment will be screened in advance for militant ties, U.S. documents showed on Wednesday.

The Bush administration is trying to allay concerns raised by some U.S. lawmakers and Israeli officials that a portion of the $59.4 million program for the presidential guard could inadvertently benefit militants from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is linked to Abbas's Fatah faction, or Hamas.

The groups are considered "terrorist organizations" by the United States and Israel.

Under the program, the United States will provide $14.5 million for "basic and advanced training" for the presidential guard and $23 million for non-lethal equipment.

Another $2.9 million in U.S. funds will be used to upgrade the presidential guard's training facilities, including a sprawling new base being build in Jericho, in the occupied West Bank.

A U.S. government document, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, said members of the presidential guard will undergo a series of local background checks before receiving any U.S.-funded training.

Their names also will be run through terrorism databases maintained by the FBI and the State Department.

In addition, Israel will be able to screen individual trainees before they are allowed to travel to Jordan for U.S.-funded training.

A Western diplomat close to the U.S. program said the screening process would create a "firewall against any terrorists becoming part of this program".

But it was unclear whether the safeguards would satisfy U.S. lawmakers and Israelis.

Presidential guard recruits already undergo screenings by local commanders. Some recruits have been dropped or moved to other branches, either because they are affiliated with non-Fatah groups or their family members are, Palestinian sources say.
Notice how recruits are allowed to be associated with Fatah terror groups like Al Aqsa, and would only be dropped if they are from non-Fatah groups.

Fatah has other ideas. From WND's incomparable Aaron Klein, who seems to be the only journalist who actually interviews terrorists (hat tip EBoZ):
The declared "military wing" of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party took credit for two of seven rockets fired into Israel on Tuesday, vowed to break a Gaza ceasefire and told WND that US financial aid pledged for Fatah security forces will be used to "attack the Zionists."

"Even if the American money and weapons reach only members of Fatah who are not involved in the resistance, it will find its way to the Palestinian resistance and be utilized for attacks against the Zionists," said Abu Ahmed, the northern Gaza commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group.

Abu Ahmed was referring to $59 million the Bush administration announced Tuesday it will send to strengthen Fatah security forces.
Of course, this would not be the first time that US weapons are used by Fatah against Israel.

Kids die because of Arab pride (updated)

A cryptic article was posted to the Ma'an News website:
Ramallah - Ma'an - A young Palestinian child has died in vague circumstances in a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The doctors of the hospital refused to speak to Ma'an about the case.

However, Ma'an has learnt that a forensic doctor arrived at the hospital and took samples from the baby girl and another child who was also suffering from the same condition. The doctor will take the samples to Amman, Jordan for further examinations and checks.
It sounds like a child died from some sort of disease, that may be contagious, and it is scary enough that the hospital places a news embargo.

Now, let's pretend that Palestinian Arabs truly wanted to live in peace with Israel. Wouldn't they want Israel's doctors to look at this case?
  • Israel's doctors are better, by any measure, than Jordan's.
  • If it is a contagious disease, Israel has great incentive to determine the cause and contain it.
  • Israeli hospitals do not discriminate between Jew and Arab, and they have treated thousands of Palestinian Arabs who are not citizens.
  • This could be a perfect opportunity to build bridges of peace between Israel and the PalArabs.
The only conceivable reason for not asking for help from Israel is because PalArabs do not want to look as if they can't handle the problem themselves. Admitting that Israel is better equipped to find a solution is yet another blow to Arab pride, and it is better to endanger the second kid and whoever else may have this problem than to appear weak and ineffective.

For Palestinian Arab leaders, 1984 lives: War Is Peace, Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.

UPDATE: Ma'an was wrong; the Palestinian Arabs did call Israel for help and for the first time since the Intifada, and Israeli ambulance went to Ramallah and picked up the sick (possibly poisoned) child. YNet has all the details.

Explosion in Hamas official's house; 5-year old killed

The unity government continues to show real results.

A 5-year old boy, Amir Killab (which gets auto-translated as "Amer struggle dogs") was killed and his 6-year old sister Fatima and 3-year old brother Ahmed were injured in their house in Khan Younis from an explosion there.

There were a couple of other kidnappings and shootings this morning in that sewage-filled paradise known as Gaza.

Things really improved there since those hated settlers left, didn't it?

Our count of Palestinian Arabs violently killed by their own actions is now at 156 for this year.

Qassam Rocket calendar - March

As with the February calendar, the numbers for each date represent the number of Qassams fired on that day. The numbers in parentheses are those I saw reported by Palestinian Arab media, outside of parentheses are those reported in Israeli media.

March
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa




1 2 3




1
1+1

4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(3)
2(6)

2(3)
(2)

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

2(3+2)
1(1)
1(2)
1


18 19 20 21 22 23 24
5(2)
(2)



(2)

25 26 27 28 29 30 31
2
(2)

8(7)
7
(1)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pride, Iran and the British prisoners

To understand what is going on in Iran, one needs to understand the psyche of Iran's leaders.

A year ago, Iran was riding high - it was working hard at becoming the de facto leader of the Muslim world, and it seemed quite close to becoming a superpower, taking aim squarely at the United States.

Since then, relations have cooled significantly between Iran and most Arab countries, internal criticism has increased, Ahmadinejad's list lost in an election and US pressure has had an effect on the shrinking Iranian economy. Clearly, the leaders have lost momentum, although they are still quite dangerous.

Islam is wedded to the notion of honor. This deceleration of Iranian influence was a challenge to Iran's Muslim sense of pride. And in today's Islamic world, the opposite of honor is not disgrace - it is irrelevance.

Iran simply had to show that it can affect world politics the way it did a year ago.

There is little doubt that this abduction was planned and staged. Great Britain has already proven that the ship was in Iraqi territorial waters. Either Iran also claims the same waters as its own, or Iran is lying.

But notice what Iran is demanding now - just Britain's admission of making a mistake. Notice what the video of the female prisoner was focused on - her admission that it was a mistake.

Iran is trying desperately to make itself look like the wronged party, but more than that - it wants to humiliate Great Britain. Because in the Iranian psyche, honor is a zero-sum game, and if England is humbled, Iran is glorified.

Iran assures the world that all England has to do is say a couple of words and then the great Islamic Republic will magnanimously release the prisoners. To the West, saying a statement like that is not a big deal, although the West certainly has pride as well. Iran was calculating that Great Britain's Western values putting human life above all else will force it to submissively take the blame for this snafu. This will then make Iran's stock zoom in the estimation of the other Islamic nations that share the same values and help restore Iranian honor and leadership.

What Iran did not seem to realize is that Western nations are almost as averse to dishonesty as Muslim nations are to dishonor. England is simply not going to say "oops" when it is in the right.

England should make it very clear to Iran that it has miscalculated, badly.

What's Hamas up to this morning?

I like to check the Arabic version of the Al Qassam (Hamas "military wing") website to see how much this group has moderated in recent months.

Highlights from today's edition:

  • Readers were asked if they thought the "unity government" would support the terrorists ("resistance option "): 67% said yes.
  • They condemned an assassination attempt of one of their officials, presumably by Fatah.
  • They denounced an Abbas advisor who implied that the unity government might crack down on "resistance."
  • A report on Israeli building activities around Jerusalem and another on Hebron consistently refers to them as "rape" and Israelis as "rapists."
  • A report on Israeli actions in Nablus against terrorists refers to Israel consistently as "Nazis."
  • The logo of the page shows a picture missing from the English website:
They sound like peace partners to me!

Gazans stealing sand led to sewage tragedy

From The Age:
However, construction of a new plant did not appear to have been affected by year-old international sanctions on the Palestinian Authority. The Gaza City mayor blamed the collapse on local people digging dirt from an earthen embankment around the structure and selling it to building contractors.
One can imagine that they were not selling shovelfuls of stolen dirt to these contractors. Almost certainly, since it is easier to get dirt that is above ground than to dig it, one can imagine trucks backing up to the embankment shoving in the dirt.

This is so negligent, these victims should almost be added to my list of PalArab self-deaths.

Saudi FM: Take our plan or face war

In an astonishing display of chutzpah, the Saudi Foreign Minister is telling Israel that the absurd "peace plan" that the Kingdom has been pushing is the only hope for peace and if Israel doesn't accept it, it has no interest in peace.

Mahmoud Abbas said something similar.

Remember, this plan says that the Arab world will accept Israel if Israel capitulates on every single issue (descendants of refugees, Jerusalem, 100% of territories.) And even if Israel does agree to commit national suicide by accepting these terms, there is no guarantee that Hamas or Islamic Jihad would.

So it seems to be a good time for Israel to make a counter-offer. Call it the Elder peace plan:
  • Allow Jews to return to Mecca and Medina, where they lived before the Islamic conquest.
  • Compensate all Jews from Arab lands for the possessions they lost when they were forced out after 1948.
  • Give control of the Temple Mount back to the Jews.
  • Rebuild or pay for all synagogues destroyed in Arab territory since 1800.
  • Change the laws in Arab countries to allow Palestinian Arabs to become citizens if they choose.
  • Allow Israeli TV to broadcast in Arab countries.
  • In return, Israel will establish diplomatic relations with every Arab country. They'll fully normalize relations, send sports teams and orchestras and dance troupes to perform in Arab countries.
And if they reject these terms, then clearly the Arabs are not interested in peace.

Hamas word games

From The New York Sun:
The Word Games That Hamas Plays
The MEMRI Report

By STEVEN STALINSKY
March 28, 2007"I am confident that the siege will be partially broken, which will give our people an opportunity to be prepared for the forthcoming stage." — Khaled Meshaal, Asharq Al-Awsat, February 2

Has Hamas moderated? Or are the Palestinian Arab organization's leaders following in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat, discussing peaceful intentions in talks with the West while declaring jihad in Arabic?

During a press conference in Tehran with President Ahmadinejad on March 4, the political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said he supported the recently signed Mecca Accords for power sharing between Hamas and the Fatah Party of Arafat and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr. Meshaal also spoke in favor of other Palestinian Arab objectives, such as the establishment of a state with the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital, and the so-called right of return.

Mr. Meshaal reiterated Hamas's position against official recognition of Israel, and he promised to continue the group's resistance. With a smile on his face, Mr. Ahmadinejad told the Hamas leader: "The Zionist entity is in the worst period in its history, and is headed toward crumbling. … The divine victory … will soon be revealed."

At an address at Al-Murabit Mosque in Damascus on February 3, 2006, Mr. Meshaal said publicly what some Palestinian Arabs have been talking about for some time with their press outlets: They will be patient in their battle against Israel. He promised, "Muslims will take over the world," and he explicitly said his organization's plan is to deceive Israel with semantics.

In his speech, the Hamas leader explained that his people are willing to continue fighting Israel even if it takes 1000 years for victory. Mr. Meshaal also said one aspect of Hamas's current strategy is to rely on such tools as using statements like "we love peace" or "we have given up the option of war," while still planning Israel's destruction.

Mr. Meshaal also promised: "Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. … We will make them lose their eyesight, we will make them lose their brains."

Besides Mr. Meshaal, many Hamas leaders have been discussing the coming "stage," or battle against Israel. A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and columnist for the Hamas organ Al-Resala, Younes Al-Astal, called the Mecca Accords " Sulh Al-Hudaybiyya," alluding to a temporary peace agreement from the early days of Islamic history.

He wrote on February 15: "We are optimistic that the new Mecca agreement will be the key to many achievements, which will provide the internal security that is necessary to renew the siege on Khaybar [ Israel], and to subjugate the Zionists to the demands of the resistance."
There is no doubt that Norway and other countries now clamoring to recognize the "moderate" Hamas know about these statements as well. The problem is that they choose to interpret the "peaceful" statements as being accurate and the terrorist statements as rhetoric for the Arab audience.

The reason is, once again, that the desire for peace in the Middle East is so strong that wishful thinking trumps sober analysis of the truth. People believe what they want to believe and they pick and choose the facts to back up their beliefs, and this is the major reason that the world believes Arab lies and half-truths, over and over again, no matter how many times they are proven wrong.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

UN invites terror bank to join

From NRO:
Bank of the Intifada to Join the U.N.
The U.N.’s legal body has recommended that the Islamic Development Bank be granted observer status.

By Anne Bayefsky

The United Nations’ nourishment of terrorism (a concept it has yet to define) reached a new low last Friday. On March 23, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly’s Sixth Committee — its lead legal body comprised of all 192 member states — recommended that observer status be granted to the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), an entity that has been directly involved in paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Back in August of 2001, Ahmad Muhammad Ali, president of the bank, was questioned by the publication Asharq Al-Awsat about payments to the Palestinian Authority for the sake of carrying out the intifada. Ali told the publication that “there was no delay in paying financial assistance to the families of Palestinian martyrs,” assuring it, “We have started paying them soon after receiving the money.”

An Arab Summit in Cairo in late October of 2000 created two funds, the Al-Quds Intifadah Fund and the Al-Aqsa Fund. According to Ali, the IDB is responsible “for the smooth functioning of the two funds.” The final communiqué of the summit made no attempt to conceal the purpose of the funds: “the Al-Quds Intifadah Fund will have a capital of 200 million dollars to be allocated for disbursement to the families of Palestinian martyrs fallen in the Intifadah.”

The creation of a fund dedicated to making suicide-bombing financially appealing was the brainchild of then Crown Prince, now King, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He announced the move at the Arab League Summit thus:

[W]e propose the establishment of a special trust under the name of ‘The Jerusalem Intifada Fund’ with a capital of 200 million US dollars. This amount will be allocated, to the families and the education of the children of the Palestinian martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the struggle.

(That “education” is one that will certainly include the glorification of the violent and racist goals of the children’s parents.)

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has reported on some of the details of the financial connections between the IDB and terrorism. According to a 2003 report:

Saudi funds which originate in the Jeddah based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) reach the Palestinian Authority Treasury Department via Account 98 of the Saudi Development Fund (SDF). All funds for Prince Salman Ibn Abd Al-Aziz's Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahideen go directly to the PLO, while Prince Nayef's funds from the Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada and Al-Aqsa Fund go to the Palestinian Authority.

In June of 2006, the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the 56-member voting bloc that drives the majority “non-aligned” movement in the U.N., praised the contribution of the Islamic Bank in forwarding the OIC’s hateful agenda. It adopted a resolution explaining its goals and the IDB’s role in achieving them, “Commending the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people…[and] Commend[ing] the efforts of the…Administrative Committee of the Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds funds and the Islamic Development Bank…with respect to the management of the Funds.”

As recently as March 9, 2007, Arab foreign ministers concluded a meeting in Cairo and “decided to upgrade the ceiling of [the] Al-Aqsa fund and Al-Quds uprising by $300 million.”

None of this made the slightest difference at the U.N.

Saudi Arabia, where the bank is headquartered, put forward the application of the IDB for observer status, announcing in accompanying documentation that the IDB works “to promote social progress in accordance with the ethos of Islam.”

...
The U.N. Charter says membership in the United Nations is open to “peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter” — among them the commitment to “fundamental human rights and the dignity and worth of the human person.” This principle, which is supposed to apply equally to any other entity formally accredited by the U.N., didn’t seem to matter in this case to the U.N.’s member states. Instead, the recommendation that the IDB be granted observer status was adopted, by consensus, in the form of a draft resolution. The United States looked the other way. Only Israel registered a concern that the bank had relations to Hamas and pointed out that its “organizational chart showed that it had operated Al Aqsa and Al Quds funds, which had known ties to terror groups.”

Although the recommendation must now be formally ratified by the plenary of the General Assembly, it is expected to be rubber-stamped before June. The Islamic Development Bank will then join the ranks of the 64 other U.N. observers, on a par with the Holy See, the Council of Europe, and the Organization of American States. It will have a standing invitation to participate as an observer in all of the sessions and work of the General Assembly — extraordinary global access to policymakers for an entity linked to terrorists.

The American Embassy in Palestine

The webpage of the "Consulate General of the United States - Jerusalem" seems to imply that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.

There are no activities I can find that take place on the Israeli side of the Green Line.

For example, the Consulate in Jerusalem offers 25 Fulbright Scholarships - with the following condition: applicants must be "legal residents of Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Here is a list of events:
# Burns and Hughes Co-host a Ramadan Iftaar ( )
# Cinderella in Jericho ( )
# Consulate General host a special Iftar Dinner in Ramallah ( )
# Iftar and Storytelling for Shoufat Camp Children ( )
# U.S Consulate Jerusalem Hosts Ramadan Quiz Nights ( )
# YES Alumni Address ACCESS and High School Students in Ramallah (October 5, 2006)
# Ramadan Night at the American Corner in Jericho ( )
# U.S. Consulate Hosts Religious Tolerance Dialogue between Prominent Palestinian and American Muslims (October 4, 2006)
# Ramadan Storytelling and Music for Children ( )
# Concert by Al Kamandjati at the Palestinian National Theater ( )
# Celebrating Ramadan ( )
# USAID Provides Scholarships to Over 2000 Palestinian Students ( )
# U.S. Consulate Reinvigorates Partnership with the Jericho Municipal Library (August 17, 2006)
# Consulate Brings Musician/Environmentalist TH Culhane to Power up Summer Camps in East Jerusalem (July 19, 2006)
# U.S. grant creates Opportunity for Palestinian Women to promote their handicraft skills ( )
# Over 700 Palestinian Youths graduate from U.S.-funded English language training program ( )
# Gazan Students Graduate from English Language Program (June 5, 2006)

The site is available in English and Arabic - but not Hebrew. (Even the US Embassy site in Tel Aviv doesn't provide a Hebrew page.)

The Consulate is physically located in West Jerusalem - on the Israeli side of the Green Line.

The United States Congress agreed to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem in 1995 by an overwhelming vote, but every president since then has stopped the move. Yet it appears that the US State Department does recognize Jerusalem as the capital of a nation, even if it doesn't have an official embassy there.

PalArabs in deep doo-doo

A sewage reservoir wall collapsed in Gaza, flooding the town of Umm Nasser with so far 9 dead and dozens missing and injured, and many homes under water.

This is tragic enough, but the Palestinian Arab reaction to the event is as predictable as ever:
  • The Palestinian Arab Interior Minister visited the site, to be greeted by gunfire (this is now being denied.)
  • Israel offered to help, and was turned down (although they said they appreciated the offer.)
  • Palestinian Arabs are blaming Israel for the disaster. IMEMC somehow tries to link this with Israeli attacks on the village in years past; the PA Environment Minister claims that the funding to fix the structure was in place but he claims Israel threatened to bomb construction workers and sewage pipes should the new reservoir be built.
Even though it is not directly related to this story, it is worth mentioning again that PalArab terrorists have dug up sewage pipes in Gaza to build Qassam rockets to shoot at Israel. It is possible that the minister is referring to Israel's refusal to allow more pipes to be delivered to Hamastan as threatening to bomb the pipes.

So once again, we see how these wonderful people respond to tragedy: by complaining, allowing and expecting Europeans to fix it, and blaming Israel.

It's funny, but not once have I seen a news story about Palestinian Arabs trying to smuggle water purification systems into Gaza.

Monday, March 26, 2007

UN Watch slams UN in Geneva. UN closes their ears.

A brilliant speech by Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, at th UN Human Rights Council 4th Session on March 23. It is amazing that the UN allowed UN Watch to address the council, but even more amazing was the angry reaction by the UN Human Rights President to the speech, not even acknowledging the issues Neuer brought up:

Mr. President,

Six decades ago, in the aftermath of the Nazi horrors, Eleanor Roosevelt, Réné Cassin and other eminent figures gathered here, on the banks of Lake Geneva, to reaffirm the principle of human dignity. They created the Commission on Human Rights. Today, we ask: What has become of their noble dream?

In this session we see the answer. Faced with compelling reports from around the world of torture, persecution, and violence against women, what has the Council pronounced, and what has it decided?

Nothing. Its response has been silence. Its response has been indifference. Its response has been criminal.

One might say, in Harry Truman’s words, that this has become a Do-Nothing, Good-for-Nothing Council.

But that would be inaccurate. This Council has, after all, done something.

It has enacted one resolution after another condemning one single state: Israel. In eight pronouncements—and there will be three more this session—Hamas and Hezbollah have been granted impunity. The entire rest of the world—millions upon millions of victims, in 191 countries—continue to go ignored.

So yes, this Council is doing something. And the Middle East dictators who orchestrate this campaign will tell you it is a very good thing. That they seek to protect human rights, Palestinian rights.

So too, the racist murderers and rapists of Darfur women tell us they care about the rights of Palestinian women; the occupiers of Tibet care about the occupied; and the butchers of Muslims in Chechnya care about Muslims.

But do these self-proclaimed defenders truly care about Palestinian rights?

Let us consider the past few months. More than 130 Palestinians were killed by Palestinian forces. This is three times the combined total that were the pretext for calling special sessions in July and November. Yet the champions of Palestinian rights—Ahmadinejad, Assad, Khaddafi, John Dugard—they say nothing. Little 3-year-old boy Salam Balousha and his two brothers were murdered in their car by Prime Minister Haniyeh’s troops. Why has this Council chosen silence?

Because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the dictators who run this Council couldn’t care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights.

They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to delegitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people. They also seek something else: to distort and pervert the very language and idea of human rights.

You ask: What has become of the founders’ dream? With terrible lies, it is being turned into a nightmare.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL PRESIDENT LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA:

For the first time in this session I will not express thanks for that statement. I shall point out to the distinguished representative of the organization that just spoke, the distinguished representative of United Nations Watch, if you'd kindly listen to me. I am sorry that I'm not in a position to thank you for your statement. I should mention that I will not tolerate any similar statements in the Council. The way in which members of this Council were referred to, and indeed the way in which the council itself was referred to, all of this is inadmissible. In the memory of the persons that you referred to, founders of the Human Rights Commission, and for the good of human rights, I would urge you in any future statements to observe some minimum proper conduct and language. Otherwise, any statement you make in similar tones to those used today will be taken out of the records.

Some hypocrisy from Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said Monday that the Palestinian cause is the first of Arab cause and the axis of the problems that plague our region.
It warms my heart to know that Saudi Arabia is so concerned with the welfare of Palestinian Arabs.

Especially since Palestinian Arabs are the single exception to a 2004 Saudi naturalization law:
JEDDAH, 21 October 2004 — Expatriates of all nationalities are entitled to apply for Saudi citizenship and their travels abroad with re-entry visas will not disqualify them, press reports said yesterday quoting senior officials.
...
Shubaily ibn Majdoue Al-Qarni, chairman of the security committee which supervised amendments to the law, said Saudi citizenship would be open for all nationals working in the Kingdom. “The law does not aim at a particular nationality. On the other hand, it covers all expatriates in the country,” he told Al-Madinah.

But Al-Watan Arabic daily reported that the naturalization law would not be applicable to Palestinians living in the Kingdom as the Arab League has instructed that Palestinians living in Arab countries should not be given citizenship to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland.

Diplomatic sources have estimated the number of Palestinians in the Kingdom at about 500,000. There are large concentrations of Palestinians in the country’s western, central, eastern and northern provinces.
So the Kingdom has no problem disenfranchising a half-million Palestinian Arabs, most of whom would undoubtedly be happy to become citizens of Saudi Arabia, to "avoid dissolution of their identity."

If Palestinian Arabs have such a strong identity, why would they need the Arab League to protect it by punishing millions of them, leaving them stateless?

Apparently, when Arabs speak about "helping the Palestinian cause," they really mean "keeping Palestinian Arabs in misery for the next few generations."

Liking Israel despite themselves

The Guardian "Comment if Free" column has an article by Alex Stein, clearly not a fan of Israeli policies, who was impressed with the welcome that English fans received from Israelis:
Normalisation is the desire to be a country like any other. Israelis are fiends for it. Whatever the circumstances, they see it as their birthright - the final piece in the Zionist jigsaw. Israel's most virulent critics take the opposite view. Whatever the circumstances, they wish Israel to be made into the exception. And last weekend's festivities in Tel Aviv, in which the drab goalless draw in Ramat Gan was only a sub-plot, provided the perfect opportunity to further assess Israel's place in the world.

The match was an unequivocal hasbara success for Israel. For England, this was just another tiresome away game. For Israel, this was one of the biggest games in the country's history, and a chance to welcome the mythical England supporter - tattooed and bevvied-up, but cheerful and decent all the same. Despite this, most countries tend to greet English fans with fear. The Israeli authorities, however, preferred to adopt Jay-Z's dictum that sensitive thugs need hugs. English flags were paraded throughout Tel Aviv, supplies of beer were increased dramatically, and free transport was laid on. A special one-day festival was held in Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park, with fun and frolics, including a chance for some of England's fans to see if their beer bellies could defeat their leaner Israeli counterparts in some friendly wrestling.

The fans could not believe the welcome. They are used to being received by riot police, not adoring admirers. This kind of revelry is normally reserved only for the World Cup. But, for a country that's not always so competent at crowd control, police were sparse. I witnessed a friendly face-off between the two sets of fans on Tel Aviv's beach, in which the Israelis' rendition of Shalom Aleichem, was greeted with English cries of "Let's go fucking mental". Unable to free myself of inherited prejudices, I wondered whether I might hear the occasional anti-semitic chant. Not a whisper, although - on a different tack - I did hear a bit too much of "No surrender to the IRA".

Of course, however friendly the banter, it doesn't take much for trouble to start. But the hands-off approach to security was a tremendous success. Hopefully there's a lesson to be learned.

The match also provided an opportunity to highlight the work of Kick Racism out of Football, an English creation which has now been exported to Israel. The New Israel Fund organised a weekend of activities to showcase the work of the organisation. The legendary John Barnes led a British delegation on a visit to Hapoel Abu Ghosh-Mevasseret Zion, Israel's first joint Jewish/Arab professional team. And at a gala dinner held by the New Israel Fund, Israel's first Arab minister, Raleb Majadele, gave his first official address. Much work remains to be done before the promise of kicking racism out of Israeli football (not to mention the wider society) is complete. But it's vital to know that serious work is being put into achieving this goal.

However, we mustn't forget the arguments of the "exceptionalists". Last week on Comment is free, Ismail Patel argued that Israel should be expelled from Uefa. Patel focused on the problems experienced by the Palestinian football team. These range from a missile hitting Gaza's only football stadium, to the difficulties faced when the team tries to go abroad to play a match. But because boycotting a team because of the policies of its government isn't a particularly frequent occurrence, Patel had to adopt the incoherent strategy tried by others who seek to demonise Israel - weird attempts to establish a universal principle through twisted logic: "Although in an ideal world sports should be kept separate from politics, there is a different reality. Nazi Germany used the 1936 Olympics to showcase Hitler and his fascist ideology, which culminated in the Holocaust and the tragic deaths of 6 million Jews."

And therein lies the rub. Nazi Germany did indeed use the 1936 Olympics to showcase Hitler and his fascist ideology. As we have noted, the Israeli football authorities used the occasion as an opportunity to welcome thousands of people from another country, and as a shot in the arm for the campaign to kick racism out of the sport. Followers of Patel might respond to this by admitting the value of these initiatives, and by arguing for them to be spread more deeply into society. This would not weaken their basic thesis. But, as ideological anti-Zionists, they are engaged in a project to systematically reject every aspect of Israeli society that does not proclaim its own deviance. And so they label projects such as Kick Racism out of Football as superficial attempts to cover up the deeper crimes of the Zionist project.

Despite all this, there is a part of me that's not comfortable with thousands of Englishmen coming to Israel and thinking it's just the Republic of Tel Aviv, a sun-drenched paradise with beautiful girls and uber-chic bars. I have no problem with them knowing about the darker side of life here, which is one of the reasons I try and write as frankly as I can in this space.

But I also want them to know the positive things. If someone like Ilan Pappe can speak of the "many, many good things in Israel, it's an impressive project that the Zionist movement did, the way it saved Jews, the way it created a modern society almost out of nothing", then why can't Ismail Patel? I don't want people to boycott Israel, I want them to engage with it. I want people who are interested to come here and take an honest look at the good and bad things that are going on. Then, in whatever small way they can, to try and strengthen the forces of progress within Israeli society. This, and not the cowardice of boycott, is the imperative that faces all tourists, even England football fans.
The easiest way to distinguish anti-Zionists from anti-semites is to see if they have the ability to say anything nice about Israel.

An interesting reaction to the Rachel Corrie play

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Portland pro-Israel community responded to the play "My Name is Rachel Corrie" in an interesting way: by setting up a website of facts about Corrie and the ISM, and buying ads in the playbill.

The website, rachelcorriefacts.org, is low-key and filled with context and links to show the context about Corrie. It meant to be used where ever the play is staged. It synopsizes the facts nicely:
My Name is Rachel Corrie is a simplistic, incomplete, one-sided portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The show, based on Rachel's diaries and letters, does not attempt or claim to be an objective or balanced report from the region. It contains many factual errors and myths. [More...]


The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-run organization that lures its members into war zones to act as human shields in obstructing counter-terrorism efforts.

The ISM describes itself as a peaceful humanitarian group, but in reality it is sympathetic to terrorist tactics and lures well-intentioned, idealistic young adults to the Palestinian Territories to promote its anti-Israel views. The ISM then knowingly leads its members into war zones, placing them directly in harm's way as human shields in an attempt to obstruct Israel's counterterrorism operations. [More...]

Rachel Corrie's death was a tragic accident.

On March 16, 2003, Rachel, acting as a human shield, attempted to deter bulldozers clearing brush and earth around homes in Rafah. According to a witness, Rachel slipped as she moved in front of the bulldozer, fell in front of the slow moving blade and was crushed by unearthed debris. An investigation, which included extensive interrogation of the driver and his commanders, using polygraphs and video evidence, revealed that the driver's view had been obstructed by the debris and by the bulldozer’s protective driver cage. An autopsy confirmed that the bulldozer had not touched Rachel. [More...]

Gaza was, and still is today, a hotbed and source of violent terrorism against Israeli civilians.

Between 2000 and early 2003, hundreds of Israeli men, women and children had been murdered and thousands were injured in suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups. Israel had escalated its military operations against Palestinian terrorist groups and infrastructure in 2002 and 2003 in an effort to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist violence. [More...]

Israel wants peace and has made sacrifices and territorial concessions in its quest for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Israel has always sought long-lasting peace with its Arab neighbors. Israel gave up all of the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 to achieve peace with Egypt, left its security zone in Lebanon in 2000, and withdrew soldiers and settlements from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. Israel remains ready to negotiate peace based on a two-state solution. [More...]

Understandably for the liberal audience it aims to educate, the site avoids showing that Corrie herself was a rabidly flag-burning anti-American idiot who was supporting murderers and was protecting a weapons smuggling tunnel.

This approach to the play avoids the label (and libel) of "censorship" that dogs the usual approach that American Jewish groups use in cases like this.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Peaceful PalArab Poll

There were some interesting results in the latest An-Najah poll of Palestinian Arabs: (h/t Barak)

Do you support or reject concentrating Palestinian resistance within the
1967 borders alongside with political negotiations?
24.5%-I strongly support
43.7%-I support
22.4%-I reject
3.4%-I strongly reject
6.1%-No opinion/I do not know

Do support or reject firing rockets by Palestinian factions from the Strip
against Israel?
19.7%-I strongly support
29.9%-I support
37.5%-I reject
9%-I strongly reject
3.9%-No opinion/I do not know

Do you think that firing rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israel hurts or
helps Palestinian national struggle?
32.9%-It helps
40.4%-It hurts
20.8%-It is useless
6%-No opinion/I do not know

Under your current circumstances, do you think of emigrating to another
country?
29.4%-Yes(34.1% in Gaza)
69.9%-No
0.7%-No opinion/I do not know

If proper conditions are made available to you to live outside Palestine,
will you think of emigrating?
33.1%-Yes (41.7% in Gaza)
65.7%-No
1.2%-No opinion/I do not know

So fully 68% of Palestinian Arabs support terror attacks against civilians inside the Green Line. There's a statistic that Jimmy Carter is not likely to quote.

Even more interesting are the next two questions: a plurality support firing rockets into Israel, even as only one third feel that it helps the Palestinian Arab cause. The only conclusion one can come up with is that the purpose of the rockets is not to help their cause, but rather to kill Jews. This is that honor/shame culture again - blowing up a Jewish kid in the Negev is a "victory" that is worth it even though it will not help the PalArabs one bit, even in their own estimation!

Finally, we see that despite decades of indoctrination to generations of Palestinian Arabs that they should want to live in "Palestine", well over one third would like to emigrate to somewhere else. They do not love "their land" as much as everyone likes to pretend they do.

Which brings up an interesting question: why can't they emigrate? Who is stopping them from moving to other Arab countries, or South America, or anywhere else?

We know the answer. The Arab leaders themselves are the ones who are the most keen at keeping PalArabs in refugee camps and in misery, and they have been since 1948 as I have shown many times.

One would think that it would be a basic human right to be able to emigrate to other welcoming countries. Yet no Arab countries are willing to give Palestinian Arabs citizenship (except Jordan, which already had for the West Bank PalArabs but not for anyone else.) So where are the screams from the UN and HRW and Amnesty slamming Arab countries - the most natural destination - from allowing PalArabs to move and integrate there as equal citizens?

100K

I just received my 100,000th hit.

Thanks to all my readers!

(For those interested, number 100,000 was from San Francisco, running Firefox on Windows XP, who has visited me 31 times and who linked to me from Israellycool.com . )

Open season on women in Gaza

The Australian has a highly disturbing story about "honor killings" in Gaza. Apparently, there are many that never get reported by any Palestinian Arab media or "human rights" organization. (Hat tip: Kalen)
Hunted women of the Gaza

ON a windswept winter day last week, just before afternoon prayers, three gunshots rang out across the damp sand dunes of northern Gaza. Mohammed Yousef was just about to climb the minaret of the beach mosque to summon the faithful when he heard the distinctive crack of a Kalashnikov, a sharp, violent, intrusion that has become a soundtrack for the turbulent Gaza Strip, especially this month.
He hurried outside, looking first down a rubbish-strewn strip of beach that leads to the Mediterranean, then left towards a low-set concrete fence. Just inside a narrow entrance lay the crumpled body of a small woman, wearing a green Islamic gown and a full black veil. Her blood seeped into the puddles of sandy water around her head. Mohammed didn't bother with an ambulance. He need not have bothered with the police.

The dead woman was Dalal al-Behtete, a young woman from a struggling family in central Gaza. Seven other women have met the same violent and lonely fate across Gaza during a 10-day stretch this month. According to their assassins, their deaths gave them honour that their conduct in life had not. All the women had been accused of immoral behaviour. Some had been labelled prostitutes; others were branded for fraternising with men outside their immediate families.

So-called honour killings have been carried out here in the past, but even in this ramshackle, anarchistic and fractured society, women have never before been hunted down so blatantly.

Gaza, more so than anywhere else in the Palestinian territories, has been a feudal battleground of countless agendas, historical enmity, ideology and greed. Historically, clans and tribes have ruled the roost here, with factionalised militant ideologies running a close second. But the balance appears to have shifted during the past six months. Strict observance of Sunni Islam seems to have encouraged a fundamentalist trend that is making a play for influence, through the rigid enforcement of radical Islamic law espoused by the global jihad network that follows the bin Laden world view.

Sharia law appears to have drifted into Gaza, alarming Muslim and militant groups alike and sharply rattling the neighbour across the security barrier, Israel.

Change had begun in Gaza long before its women began to fall. Late last year, several internet cafes and music stores were bombed. In February, six pharmacies in the southern town of Rafah were also attacked because they persisted in selling Viagra to youths. In the past year, the name of a new group, first heard of after the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit last June, persistently has been linked to the unrest.

It calls itself the Army of Islam and consists of self-styled morality warriors who claim links to al-Qa'ida. Hamas, the most powerful of the militant groups and a joint partner in the new unity government, steadfastly denies that al-Qa'ida has established an organised presence in Gaza. If it is true that al-Qa'ida has done so, it cripples Hamas's claims to be fighting for a Palestinian state alone and not being standard bearers of the global jihads.

Saha Rijab had never heard of the Army of Islam until she was dragged by her hair and tossed into a car by masked men with assault rifles hours before Dalal was murdered. From her hospital bed in central Gaza, she agrees to tell Inquirer of the ordeal that has left her legs riddled with bullets and nearly led her to become the eighth victim of Gazan women's most terrifying month.

"I was taking clothes to my female neighbour and I had to pass my cousin's house to get there," she says, wearing a yellow-knitted cardigan and a brown hijab. "My cousin was inside and saw me passing and he opened the door and came outside. I didn't look at him and he slammed the door against the wall."

Saha's cousin, Wael Rijab, is the head of the Hamas executive force in the northern Gaza Strip, the vanguard of the militant group's strike power and a key player in the blood-soaked factional in-fighting of the past three months. He has accused his cousin of immorality for the past five years, seemingly because of her preference for jeans, tops and sometimes flowing hair instead of the Islamic jilbab. Just as damaging was his accusation of treachery; she was an avowed supporter of the Fatah movement that Hamas deposed in elections 14 months ago. Both groups have since been entangled in a struggle for power in Palestinian society.

"I kept walking and gave my neighbour the jilbab, then came back home," Saha says, with her shocked 12-year-old son sitting beside her. "After that I took a taxi to the shop to buy fruit and some militants from the Hamas executive force were sitting in a Mitsubishi with darkened glass. Their windows were half open and they were looking at me.

"I was scared but I decided to just keep walking to my street. What else could I do?

"I was 20m away from my home, then their car moved and another one arrived; the cars started moving closer to me. They opened the door. They were masked and they were running after me, the driver and two others. I was a few metres away from a clothes shop, but they reached me and put their hands on me. They dragged me by the hair and clothes and pushed me inside the car. They blindfolded me and they tied my hands.

"When I took the blindfold off I was in a street full of taxis. They said: 'Where are you going?' And I said: 'I am going to my street, I swear to God.' They said: 'You know God and you dress like this?' I said: 'I know God better than you.' They said: 'Are you Fatah or Hamas?' I said: 'I am Fatah', and they replied: 'We spit on Fatah."'

Then they announced their allegiance as followers of the Army of Islam and told Saha she should dress liberally only for her husband.

She retorted: "This is politics and you are trying to avenge something. I have nothing to do with it. If this is just about the way I dress I will start wearing the jilbab.

"They said: 'We will beat you and force you to say, 'I had sex with my son.' Then they covered my eyes again. I could hear the sound of the sea and their mobiles were ringing all the time. We went to a market and they said: 'So, you promise you have not been in contact with any other men?"'

Terrified and haunted by the recent deaths of other women, Saha drew little comfort from the next words she heard: "OK, don't worry. We will take you home."

She was right to be wary. Minutes later, she tells Inquirer, the car stopped and she was thrown outside into the dirt. She wriggled furiously to free herself as the first bullet thudded into the bone just below her knee. Two more pierced her lower legs before the gunmen sped off.

At the Jabaliya police station, which notionally investigates crime in the north of the Gaza Strip, five officers usher us inside the dingy office of the lead junior officer. Two officers sit behind a desk, and others sit on old foam mattresses on single beds along the wall. There is no computer, let alone a typewriter, no files or cabinets, not even a notepad. The officers received about 30 per cent of their annual salary last year and have no operational budget of which to speak. But it isn't their dearth of resources that has left them hamstrung; it is the impossible task of taking on the perpetrators.

"What could we do even if we wanted to?" asks an officer, who refuses to be named. "We are ruled by the tribes and we will not fight the Hamas executive force."

In the case of Dalal, after escorting her body to the morgue and advising her distraught father of her death, the police will play no further role. Justice, if it is delivered, will be played out Gaza-style, in a cycle of vengeance.

But with the rising power of the so-called Army of Islam, even that seems unlikely. Dalal and three other women murdered during the 10-day stretch - Ibtisam Mohammed Abu Genas, Samira Tohami Debeki and Amany Khamis al-Hussary - were victims of killers who claimed the ideological backing of the fledgling group, even if the murders stemmed from bids for family honour.

The deaths pose a significant issue for the new unity government on many fronts, especially Hamas. No one in the uneasy Fatah-Hamas alliance wants to be seen to be linked to extremism, especially of the Salafi-Islamic kind.

Israel has long feared that Gaza will be turned into a platform for al-Qa'ida and the consortium of international jihadis that have emerged in its likeness. Creeping sharia law at the border is a worst-case scenario for the Jewish state; it fears it will lead to imported and intensified jihadism.

For Hamas, the links appear to be just as troubling. Saha says she recognised her tormentors as being members of the Hamas executive force.

Soon after Inquirer's visit to Dalal's grieving family, our translator receives a phone call from a cousin confessing to the murder. In a menacing tone, the man says he too is an executive force member and warns us not to publish the dead woman's story.

"These are the worst days ever here," Saha says, knowing well the risks she faces for speaking out.

"Hamas believes that women cannot be the ones who lead. So long as Hamas is in Gaza, the situation will keep developing."
As horrible as this is, I question the reporter's credibility.

Chulov has in the past shown almost an admiration for Hamas, so this article can hardly be accused of having a Zionist agenda. Chulov seems to accept fairly fantastic stories without proper skepticism from all sources (he defended his story last summer of the UN ambulance supposedly bombed by Israel in Lebanon even after contradicting himself numerous times, and last week he wrote a story that uncritically repeats Hamas' claim that Israel has 50,000 collaborators in the territories.)

Even this story has a self-contradiction - in one place he mentions seven other murders besides Dalal al-Behtete, and another time he says that Saha Rijab nearly became the eighth victim, although she would be the ninth. I don't like to count deaths where the names of the victims are not mentioned, and only one name was mentioned here that I hadn't listed previously. In addition, he said that these killings happened this month when they happened last month.

I will not accuse him of willfully lying, but Chulov does have a tendency to be reckless with facts in seeming pursuit of a good story, or journalistic awards.

For these reasons, I will only add one to my count of Palestinian Arabs violently murdered by each other. This brings our 2007 PalArab self-death count to 152.

But this also brings up the question of how many other deaths have gone unreported in the peaceful, unified PalArab territories, and whether the ones reported in the PA press are only the tip of the iceberg.

UPDATE: A PalArab in Nablus came to work and killed his boss, no doubt because of Zionist colonialism. 153.

UPDATE 2:
A PalArab succumbed to a gunshot wound from last month when his friend was playing wih a gun and it accidentally fired. On that same day were two other accidental gunshot wounds, one other death. 154.

UPDATE 3:
A Hamas terrorist blew himself up Monday while on training exercises near Khan Younis. 155.

HH CXI

Haveil Havalim #111 is now up at Dafnotes.

It is a low-key but quite comprehensive roundup of the JBlogosphere for this week. (My post on the Hadassah Hospital attacks of 1948 is listed.)

Check it out!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Your tax dollars at work

AP has some somewhat homoerotic pictures of Fatah's Force 17 terrorists training:




Masked members of the Palestinian Force 17, an elite secuity unit linked to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement train in the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip Saturday, March 24, 2007.

It is not unusual to see wire service photos of masked Fatah terrorists.

What makes this noteworthy is which group this is: Force 17, otherwise known as the Presidential Guard.

These are the people that the United States has been training to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas.

Never mind that Force 17 has a long history of terror attacks.

What does it say when the most respected, "elite" members of the Palestinian Arab security forces - the ones that the US pins hopes on - are too afraid to show their faces?

Two Palestinian Arabs riddled with bullets. Ain't unity great?

Just another peaceful weekend in the unoccupied Gaza Strip:
Palestinian medical sources stated that the corpses of two Palestinians were found on Friday evening.

The sources added that the corpses are a Palestinian teacher and a preventive security officer.

The teacher was found in the area of Salateen street in the north of the Gaza Strip, the officer was found in Al Mughraqa in the central Gaza Strip.

Sources from Ash Shifa hospital said that the teacher, 40 year old Mohammad Aishan from Sheikh Radwan, Gaza City, arrived at the hospital dead, his body riddled with bullets.

The body of the preventive security officer, Arafa Nofal, who was abducted by masked gunmen in Gaza on Friday, was found dead just hours after his abduction. Medical sources said that Nofal was found with more than 30 bullets in his body.
Fatah is blaming Hamas and vowing revenge.

Also, a teacher apparently committed suicide. but I don't count that in my Palarab self-death count, which is now at 151 for this year.

UPDATE: A 24-year old man was shot and injured in Khan Younis. When the ambulance came to pick him up and his brothers climbed in, "gunmen" shot at the ambulance too, injuring 3 brothers.

This will certainly be on top of HRW and AI's agenda next week. Right after they finish condemning Israel for a Zionist dog biting an Arab woman in Hebron.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Neturei Karta nut wants to be a minister in PalArab unity gov't

Ma'an (Arabic) published an interview with Israel Hirsch, the anti-Zionist self-styled "rabbi" from Neturei Karta who is the son of the equally deranged Moshe Hirsch.

It includes the usual drivel but here are some gems from the Jew that the terrorists love to pretend to love:
Q : You have representation in the Legislative Council?
A: We are working on that we have representation in the government of National Unity.

Q: Do you prefer Fatah or Hamas?
A: We are not a political movement nor interfere in the policy of the State again, we Jews want to live, submit to the Palestinian state because the Palestinians of the right does not matter if Hamas or Fatah.

Q : Even if the government composed of an Islamic regime?

A: We prefer the Islamic regime of the Zionist regime.

Q : To what extent is your relations with Mahmoud Abbas?
A: Abu Mazen is subject to the American administration and Zionist, so it is bound to affect people's admiration for the "remains" to remain abroad and maintain informal relations and not public because this could harm him in the international arena, and we contacted as well as with Hamas and we are working on that we have a representative in the government.

Q : What do you think members of the Knesset Arabs?
A: Itattakdon Arab Knesset members, such as "Haredim," that they could fight for their rights through their presence in the Knesset and this is not true and therefore they recognize the Zionist Perkins says every time the Zionists occupy the ground and you sit down with them and recognize them.

Q : What is your opinion in Islamic thought by the Islamic world?
A : We prefer the control of the the Islamic movement to the world at this moment...

So NK is to the left, politically, of Arab Knesset members as well as Abbas.

There are some lessons that Zionists can learn from how NK is treated in the Arab world. Whether we like it or not, they look at NK the same way many Zionists look at "Secular Islam" or other progressive Islamic groups. Both groups get loads of publicity, both groups benefit from immeasurable wishful thinking on "the other side," and both groups represent essentially nobody.

Westerners would love to see progressive Muslims gain political power, but we need to understand that mainstream Muslims loathe these people as much as we hate NK.