.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gaza/Egypt update

Palestine Press quotes Israel Radio as saying that Egypt arrested 15 Hamas terrorists in its territory.

Al-Ahram (Arabic) says that Egypt is prepared to seal the border with new, sophisticated equipment. It estimates that Gazans spent 1.2 billion Egyptian pounds (roughly $210 million) and sums up the week this way (autotranslated):
Under the rule of the spirit of the market was the sale of corrupt goods and the use of counterfeit dollars, and the banks suffered a severe shortage of liquidity, and Egyptian traders responded to the request of the closure of their shops business, the inability of citizens to obtain their living conditions, and suffered economic life for the people of Rafah into something like complete paralysis, Some were enriched, while others have gone bankrupt.
This was the first confirmation I've seen of my earlier report of counterfeit currency.

200K

Today this blog received its 200,000th visitor.

It has been ten months since number 100,000 and the number of average daily visits has been climbing steadily since I started this in 2004. The last few days saw a huge influx of visitors thanks to a link from Little Green Footballs - roughly 5000 readers of just that story.

The average reader visits about 1.4 pages; so far I have some 273,000 page hits total.

Number 200,000 apparently lives in Toronto; he or she came from Bell Canada on a wide-screen monitor running Internet Explorer. This visitor has been here at least 32 times before.

Thanks to number 200K and to all my readers for coming by!

Qassams resume after lull - Gazans injured

After a break of four days without Qassams, two were fired into Israel today, with no injuries.

A third rocket fell short and hit a house in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, injuring a woman and child, according to the Palestine Press Agency.

January 31, 1948: Jewish woman killed by mosque sniper

People forget what life was like for the Jews in Palestine in the months that followed the UN partition vote. Until the Haganah took the offensive, Jews were sitting ducks for Palestinian Arab terror attacks, which occurred all the time.

The following story was on page 3 of the four-page Palestine Post for February 1, 1948. At that point these types of attacks were so routine that they were no longer front page news. Notice how many of the victims were women (click to enlarge):


This is a taste of what life would be like in an Israel where millions of hostile Arabs would "return", as so many demand.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sir Moses Montefiore's visit to Morocco, 1863

In October of 1863, a Spaniard in Morocco died, and naturally the community found a Jewish scapegoat(from Sir Moses Montefiore: a centennial biography, published in 1884):
At Saffi, a seaport on the West coast of Morocco, a
Spaniard had died suddenly, and suspicions of foul
play, probably poisoning, had been aroused in the
mind of the Spanish Consul. In his official capacity
he called upon the Moorish authorities to investigate
the case, and they, in great trepidation, cast about for
a convenient scapegoat. The procedure was singular.
No steps were taken to ascertain whether there were
any facts to establish the cause of death, or to show
that it had a connection with crime; but the most
convenient person was forthwith arrested and examined
under the scourge and other kinds of torture.
Israelites being the least protected of the population,
the culprit was sought among their body, and it being
discovered that a Jewish lad, about fourteen years of
age, Jacob Wizeman by name, had resided in the
family of the deceased, he was seized and "examined."
The fourteen year old boy was tortured and finally confessed to this "crime" and he gave the names of eleven other Jews as co-conspirators.
The lad, when released, re-asserted his innocence ; this, however, did not save him. His confession being on record, he was condemned to death by the Moorish authorities and publicly executed, the Spanish Consul acquiescing in the sentence, notwithstanding the irregular manner in which the conviction had been obtained.
Eight of the other eleven were sentenced to prison and one other was tortured and executed.

Anti-Jewish riots broke out, described here in Appletons' Annual Cyclopædia and Register of Important Events of the Year, 1863:
The most notahle case of persecution of Jews occurred, in 1863, in Morocco, a country in which as in Mohammedan countries in general they have often been taxed, fined, beaten with " khoorbashes," bastinadoed with maize canes; in which they have been torn from their shops by agas and emirs to work for nothing, laughed at in the law courts, derided in public, oppressed in private, their complaints disregarded, their rights ignored, and their adopted home made for.them a place of misery and shame.

The account of their sufferings induced that celebrated Jewish philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore, to undertake a journey to the sultan of Morocco, to implore justice for his co-religionists.
Sir Moses was resolved to sec the sultan, and ask justice in the name of God and man. He pushed up the country by marches of fifteen miles a day, in the horse litter used by women «nd the sick—his name and the nature of his errand going before him....[The sultan] welcomed his generous visitor; admired the spirit and fortitude which had brought his silver hairs so far at such a season ; praised the well-known exertions of the baronet for others, not of his race only, but of all creeds in other countries; finally, he received very graciously the petition for justice. A few days afterward a firman appeared:

"In the name of God the merciful and gracious," granting to his Jewish subjects perfect equality of right and of protection under the law. " For," says the sultan, with truth, not the less sound or welcome because it is tardy, " injustice here is injustice in Heaven, and we cannot countenance it in any matter affecting either the Jews' rights or the rights of others, our own dignity being itself opposed to such a course. All persons in our regard have an equal claim to justice, and, if any person should wrong or injure one of the Jews, we will, with the help of God, punish him."

Montefiore not only managed to get this proclamation to protect the Jewish minority in Morocco, but he got the sultan to extend similar protection to Christians. In addition, he got the prisoners released. He also interceded for a Moorish man who was unjustly accused of killing two Jews:
Sir Moses did not confine his attention to the Jews.
During his stay at Tangier he was one day visited by
a large deputation of Moors, about fifty in number,
who, with their chiefs, had come from a distant part
of the country to appeal to him. to intercede for the
release of one of their tribe, who had been imprisoned
during two years and a half on suspicion of having
murdered two Israelties, but had not been brought to
trial. Gratified at this display of confidence in his
sense of justice on the part of the native population,
generally so hostile to Jews, Sir Moses made careful
inquiries into the case, and, finding that the man's
guilt had not been proved, promptly interceded with
the authorities. In a few hours the prisoner's chains
were removed, and he was brought by the members of
his tribe to return thanks to his deliverer. Sir Moses
availed himself of the opportunity to urge the grateful
Moors to show kindness and afford protection to his
co-religionists; and they readily gave their solemn
promise that all Jews travelling in their district should
be safe.
And finally he donated money to establish a Jewish girls' school in Tangiers.

He accomplished all of this in eight days, traveling throughout Morocco on camel, covering sixteen miles a day.

Montefiore was eighty years old.

Hamas kills some dude in Khan Younis

It has been a slow month for Palestinian Arab self-deaths, but that may only appear to be so because the reporting out of Gaza is essentially self-censored by every Palestinian Arab news source save for Palestine Press Agency, which doesn't seem to have real credentialed reporters there. It has been fairly accurate in many of its scoops, though.

It makes the count a bit difficult.

Anyway, PalPress reports that Hamas has killed someone named Mohammed Awad Abu Latifa in Khan Younis, bringing this year's self-death count to 12.

UPDATE:
Clan Clash in Khan Younis, one 28 year old killed. 13.

Real slow ethnic cleansing

One of the mantras of the Arab world and their useful leftist idiots is that Israel is engaging in an "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinian Arabs, or Arabs altogether. Gaza is always trotted out as the supreme example of Israeli genocide/ethnic cleansing.

A consistent recent theme among these propagandists and morons is their utter conviction that Israel planned the entire Rafah wall breach in order to get hundreds of thousands of Gazans to leave - and then Israel would seal up the wall and maroon them in Egypt. For example, from the ultra-left Pacific Free Press from last week:
So the fleeing Palestinians just fell into a trap. Now they've been banished to Egypt by their own volition. We'll have to wait and see how many are allowed to return.
Similarly, a columnist in Palestine Press today was mystified as to why exactly Israel didn't implement this nefarious - and oh-so-obvious - plan.

But even without this smoking gun, there are no shortage of mental midgets who have latched onto their latest catchphrase, "slow-motion genocide" in Gaza. A few recent examples:

Uruknet: "There is no doubt that Israel is effecting a slow-motion genocide in Gaza."
Al-Ahram: "Samira Al-Halayka, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (one of two Hamas lawmakers -- both women -- who has not been arrested by Israel), called on Arabs and Muslims all over the world to oppose proactively the 'slow-motion genocide' in Gaza."
Dissident Voice: "Zionism is irrefutably racist. The proof is the dispossession of and slow-motion genocide that Israel is waging against the Palestinians in the Middle East."

Let's look at the numbers!

According to the CIA Factbook, there are 1,482,405 people in Gaza. The mortality rate is 3.74 deaths/1,000 population and the birth rate is 38.9 births/1,000.

This means that this year one can expect some 5500 Gazans to die, and over 57,000 to be born.

The upshot is that even if 50,000 additional Gazans died this year - ten times their normal rate - their population would still be higher next year.

To kill that many Arabs, Israel would have to adopt the methods of Syria or Saddam's Iraq or Jordan or Iran or Egypt (with that nice chemical weapon touch in Yemen) or....

Nope, when it comes to killing Arabs, Israel is out of its league.

Egypt arrested 5 Gazans with bomb belts; 36 injured in Rafah clashes

Al-Ahram, Egypt's semi-official newspaper, reports on the latest from Hamastan's invasion: (autotranslated)
Informed sources announced that over the past few days in Taba (authorities) arrested five Palestinians who were carrying explosive belts and were targeted to conduct suicide operations inside Israel, and is currently being investigated by a security body. These sources said that security forces seized another group that entered the country and possession charges Croquet (maps?) containing precise details of some outlets on the Egyptian-Israeli border, and includes details on the numbers of troops and concentration. has been seized sophisticated weapons with these elements, including weapons snipers and bombs.

The sources said: that some Palestinian elements offered large sums to members of the Guard assigned to secure the border, to allow them to enter without searched shipments, or the application of the legal requirements on them.
I don't quite understand this dispatch but it doesn't sound too good for Egypt:
Eyewitnesses said that the Rafah crossing Some Palestinians tried to force one of the feeder roads into the city, and opened fire on a house guard dogs, Afqatloha to everyone, which angered many parents, and Vtdechloa abducted to Gaza , and the incident led to the injury of more than 36 security men, some of them serious situation.
Hamas seems to have no compunction about angering the Egyptian government. Perhaps it thinks that it can cause enough instability to join forces with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Egyptian Islamists.

Al-Ahram also bragged about Egypt sending 4 truckfuls of food to Gaza. If the Egyptian citizens of Rafah and al-Arish are out of food because of the invasion, this might not go over well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hamas claiming some Egyptian land

Palestine Press Agency reports of a TV interview with Hamas advisor Amhad Yousef.

Yousef is saying that some 13,000 acres of Egyptian territory are really "Palestinian" and he wants an open border with Arab countries: (autotranslated)
Ahmed Yousef, political adviser to Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, called for the "demolition and removal of the border between Palestinian Rafah and the Egyptian territory and the seizure of thousands of acres built on the border" claiming that the ownership back to the Palestinians.

Youssef claimed in an interview with the Arab channel tonight that "Hamas' destruction of the wall was intended to restore to the Palestinians their land allegedly taken to build a border wall is about 13 thousand acres" and said: "We do not want the continuation of the wall because we do not prefer the existence of any wall between us and deepened Arab" as he said.

Yousef described the demolition of the border as a first stage of what he called the third intifada, pointing out that the second stage will be moves towards crossing "Beit Hanoun" Erez north of the Gaza Strip.

In response to a question that by Hamas refusing European presence on the Rafah crossing the Palestinians could lose financial support from the EU, which is in a new Europe based on the formulation in support of the Palestinians and the construction of infrastructure and development plans, in the long run Yousef replied: "Europeans at the crossing were always part of the problem," suggesting that his movement does not want the Europeans' financial support, saying: "There are Arab parties prepared to offer assistance to us and we heard news of these reassuring Arab parties."
This should go over well in Egypt.

UPDATE: From JPost:
The Egyptians have also foiled an attempt by Hamas members to raise Palestinian and Hamas flags on top of several government institutions in Sinai's Rafah and el-Arish.

The semi-official Al-Ahram newspaper reported that the attempt to place the flags was seen as a serious "provocation" by many Egyptians.

Hassan Issa, a member of the Egyptian parliament, accused Hamas of jeopardizing his country's security. "Hamas has violated our sovereignty and this is totally unacceptable," he said. "This move poses a real threat to Egypt's national security."

Arab diplomats in Cairo estimated that around 10,000 Palestinians were still in Sinai, six days after the barrier separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt was destroyed.

One diplomat told the Post that Hamas supporters were trying to create the impression that they had succeeded in "liberating" Egyptian territory.

"The Hamas people apparently forgot that they had invaded Egypt, and not Israel," he said. "The Egyptians are running out patience."

Poverty-stricken Gaza spending spree close to a half billion dollars

The FilBalad News reports that as of Monday, the poor besieged unemployed desperate Gazans had spent $250 million and the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce estimates a total of $480 million spent by the end of the week.

Sandmonkey has a great roundup of the problems that the Gazans are causing the average Egyptian, especially in the Sinai.

Gaza fuel companies reject fuel shipments again

For the second time in a little more than a week, Gaza fuel companies are rejecting fuel deliveries from Israel:
Chief of the Gaza Strip's union of fuel companies, Mahmoud Al-Khizindar affirmed on Tuesday that the fuel companies refused to receive the fuel shipment from Israel to the Gaza Strip save the natural gas and the fuel for running the electricity generating station.

He pointed out that Israel reduced the fuel supplies to 10% of the needed amounts of fuel. As a result, all gas stations in the Gaza Strip closed and cars remained dependent of the fuel which has been brought from Egypt after the border walls in Rafah have been opened by force.

Al-Khizindar also explained that so far Israel has shipped 2.8 million litres of diesel over the past 12 days to the power generating station, and they were supposed to ship 2.2 million litres per week. As a result, the station could not operate in full capacity.

Over the past 12 days, Israel has been sending 50 thousand litres of gasoline per day, 10 thousand of which goes to the UN. The Gaza Strip usually consumes 120 thousand litres per day, and that reduction coerced the fuel companies to abstain from receiving the fuel supplies.

As for diesel, the Israelis have been shipping 350 thousand litres per day while the Gaza Strip needs 700 thousand litres per day.
What a desperate humanitarian crisis it must be for the poor, starving, candle-lit Gazans to have the luxury of not accepting that much-needed fuel.

But I'm sure that the hospitals in Gaza fully support this move. Not to mention the poor Gazans who just purchased motorcycles.

Peres Peace Center computer game shows Olmert strategy

From, of all places, The Electronic Intifada:
I have succeeded in making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In an interview preceding the Annapolis Conference, Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erakat claimed that peace could be delivered in half an hour. The basis, everyone already knows, is the Clinton draft: two states with border adjustments and division of Jerusalem. In my case, peace took two hours -- or, well, two years. I delivered it in 2009. I watched the express train glide through the Safe Passage from Gaza to the West Bank. I brought together Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian farmers; we are planning a tri-state organic cooperative. Jerusalem is the capital for all. Euphoria!

How did I pull this off? As a subscriber to the Israeli daily Haaretz, I received, in advance of Annapolis, a computer game from the workshop of the Peres Peace Center. It begins with a survey of the conflict from 1922 until the end of 2007. I was offered the choice of being either the Israeli or the Palestinian leader. I chose the former. The game set me the goal of lowering the level of violence, providing Israelis with a feeling of security, and improving the economy. In addition, I was supposed to make life easier in the occupied territories and advance toward a peace agreement. I was provided with a range of tools, including the "stick" of selective assassinations, air strikes, curfews, etc. and the "carrot" of opening roadblocks, granting permits to work in Israel, and economic cooperation (as a reward to the PA for combating terrorism). I could also expand or dismantle the settlements and initiate projects to improve the Israeli economy, such as tax breaks or aid to the elderly.

On the international scene, I worked with the US (which always cooperated), the UN (most of whose members were skeptical about my intentions) and the European Union (which was not especially helpful).

The game is complex. If your disapproval rating climbs beyond 70 percent, it's all over and you go home to feather your nest. It was no coincidence that peacemaking took me two years. It was very hard to supply security to the Israelis and prosperity to the Palestinians while sticking to the rules and conditions, which reflected actual events.

Every time I rewarded the Palestinians, my disapproval rating in Israel soared, but do you think the Palestinians were satisfied? Not at all. They just wanted more. Because of them I almost lost my coalition.

Right at the start, on the day I took office, there was a major suicide bombing: 18 dead and 40 wounded. I turned to the PA president and demanded he take action against the militants (my disapproval rating in Israel jumped to 20 percent). He said I had a lot of nerve to demand such a thing after destroying his security apparatus. I offered to help and build it anew -- but got clobbered by him and my own right wing. My Israeli disapproval rating climbed to 30 percent. I added roadblocks and performed a few selective assassinations. Israeli disapproval dropped accordingly to 10 percent, but Palestinian disapproval now rose to 20 percent. In order to stabilize the situation, I gave a speech for peace in English (the pundits were underwhelmed). I turned to the US president for help in restarting negotiations, and I let in 5,000 Palestinian workers. The settlers raised a ruckus, but I managed to calm them. I initiated a tax cut to spur the economy. My approval rating rose by five percentage points on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian.

Then I spent half a year learning how to make a stable government. Conclusion: fight terrorism as if there are no peace negotiations, and negotiate peace as if there is no terrorism!

For two years I went back and forth between selective assassinations and dismantling illegal settler outposts, between getting American aid and stabilizing the PA president by restoring his economy. I handed out a lot of work permits.

By the 18-month mark I was getting approval from more than 50 percent of Israelis and Palestinians. I could afford to absorb a suicide attack here and there, because the economy was stable on both sides of the Green Line and the Palestinians had something to lose. The PA president grew stronger and began to suppress the militants. When at last we ran the train between Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas caved in. I understood that we had passed the point of no return. I then started dismantling settlements. The settlers again raised a ruckus, but I clobbered them. A few cabinet ministers jumped ship, but the Zionist Left gave me backing to continue. I added joint patrols in order to raise the feeling of security, and I reached the 80 percent approval mark. I got word that in Nablus people had started to smile. I was euphoric. I agreed to allow 100,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel, and I released prisoners with blood on their hands. To my great surprise, this didn't seem to bother the Israeli public. I came to the end of the game. I didn't have to trouble myself about dividing Jerusalem. I received an announcement on the screen that it was already divided, accompanied by a notice thanking me for bringing peace. Now the game suggested that I play the part of the Palestinian leader.
This is amazing - a blueprint of roughly what Kadima is very possibly planning to do in the guise of a computer game, together with absurdly optimistic results from these "wise" decisions (not to mention the wishful thinking of an 80% approval mark.) Starry-eyed dreams abounds even as it pretends to tackle reality. It even includes Olmert's decision to push off talking about Jerusalem until he can pretend that it is going to solve itself.

International humanitarian law question

Here's a picture that an AFP photographer took yesterday:

A Palestinian youth throws a petrol bomb towards Israeli military armoured vehicles in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 28.

Are Israeli soldiers justified in shooting a youth like this who is throwing a bomb towards them? Or is there some special dispensation for 17 year olds to do whatever they feel like because the magic age of 18 makes them somehow more responsible?

This is not a theoretical question: at the same time this photo was taken the IDF appears to have shot and killed a 17-year old. Perhaps it was this very same person, although PalArab sources say that he was "only "throwing rocks.

UPDATE: Indeed, the "youth" was throwing a Molotov cocktail, not rocks.

Did Hamas miscalculate?

In the first days after Hamas blew up the wall with Egypt it appeared that it was a great political victory. There was wall to wall coverage of Gazans buying everything from food and fuel to motorcycles and big-screen TVs, Hamas seemed to be negotiating with Egypt directly as a legitimate nation, and Fatah looked weaker than ever.

But something unexpected has been happening. This apparent Hamas victory is looking like anything but.

MEMRI publishes a series of articles critical of Hamas in the influential London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat:
The situation of the Palestinians in Gaza, and the barbaric oppression from which they suffer, are saddening. But it is equally saddening that they live under a leadership that does not understand that the role of a leadership is to protect the people and guarantee their security and livelihood... Today there is no choice but to tell the truth... instead of continuing to [exploit] the Palestinian cause..."
"What is the point of these [rocket attacks]... that increase the suffering of 1.5 million Palestinians, but do not cause Israel any military harm or induce it to make political concessions? Hamas' rocket [attacks] amount to a suicide operation that sacrifices the security of all the residents of Gaza. What is the point of all this spilt Palestinian blood and all this suffering? All those rockets [fired by] Hamas did no more than injure 10 Israelis. Where is the war that Hamas is talking about?...

"Hamas' stupidly [only] caused harm: it gave Israel the opportunity of [forcibly] retaliating against the launching of a few rockets that are nothing but pieces of scrap metal.

"Previously, [Hamas] committed another grave crime against the Palestinian people, by carrying out a coup against the Palestinian Authority.

"The people of Gaza have suffered greatly as a result of Hamas' behavior..."
Not only that, but a recent poll taken of Palestinian Arabs finds that 59% of PalArabs disagree with Hamas' shooting rockets into Israel and 61% say Hamas should recognize Israel, both higher numbers than in the past. 70% prefer the PA strategy to Hamas'.

And it looks like a possibility that Hamas will allow Fatah to man the border crossings as per the original agreement with the EU and Israel - and the EU might even return as observers (though Hamas is rejecting that idea right now.) This is far from what Hamas had stated its intentions were vis a vis the Rafah crossings.

It is entirely possible that the relative lack of rockets the past few days is not a decision made as a direct result of Israel's more aggressive stance but rather Hamas being under pressure from its own people to act as if it cares about the lives of fellow Palestinian Arabs.

In general, Islamists make their greatest political gains in the wake of chaos that they sow. This seems to be a counterexample. It remains to be seen how this will all play out, but Hamas does not seem to have won what should have been an easy PR victory.

UPDATE: The ever-amazing Soccer Dad in the comments section here points out a Barry Rubin article that also says that Hamas' supposed PR victory is an illusion.

Monday, January 28, 2008

MSM talks about "settlements" in the Negev

The CAMERA blog mentions that the BBC used the word "settlements" to describe Israeli towns in the Negev:
Israel began tightening its blockade of the Gaza Strip after an increase in rocket attacks by militants targeting its settlements near the border.

As CAMERA notes:

Israel withdrew its military and civilian settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Sderot--the prime target of Palestinian rocket and mortar fire--is a city in the western Negev, well within Israel's pre-1967 borders. Yet it is still a "settlement" to BBC journalists who consistently label Israeli settlements "illegal under international law". Does this mean that BBC now considers all of Israel to be "illegal under international law"?
Alas, the BBC is not the only one to do this. Check out this passage from an op-ed in the Telegraph (UK):
This massive demonstration of people power continued again all day yesterday, as thousands more made their way across the border to buy much-needed goods and supplies. These have been in short supply in recent weeks after the Israeli military intensified its stranglehold on the enclave, following a series of rocket attacks on nearby Israeli settlements.
And AP, quoted in the Jerusalem Post:
Israel sealed off Gaza last weak, halting fuel shipments and shutting down its only power plant, which provides electricity to about one-third of Gaza's 1.5 million residents after militants launched rocket attacks on Israeli settlements.
No doubt these media outlets would argue that they are using the word "settlement" in its more general sense, but (for better or for worse) that word is now a keyword referring to Jewish towns and villages that happen to be built on disputed land, and the word is almost always used in a pejorative manner by these same media.

A quick search reveals that not once has the MSM referred to any "Arab settlements" in the past month, so it is hard to believe that the use of the word is an accident or innocuous.

What if the Beatles had come to Israel?

Israel's Foreign Ministry today extended a formal apology to the Beatles for not allowing them to play in Israel in 1965:
"We would like to take this opportunity," the letter says, "to rectify a historic missed opportunity which unfortunately took place in 1965 when you were invited to Israel. Unfortunately, the State of Israel cancelled your performance in the country due to lack of budget and because several politicians in the Knesset had believed at the time that your performance might corrupt the minds of the Israeli youth."
One can only imagine what would have happened had the Beatles arrived...

{cue flashback music with trippy 60's font}

* George could have taken up Kabbalah instead of Hinduism
-The first song on the second side of Sgt. Pepper would have been "Within you? Without you? Where are you already?"
* John might have met an Israeli performance artist instead of Yoko. One who could actually sing.
* Brian Epstein would have become a ba'al teshuva
* Paul and Linda would have visited Israel in 1969 where Linda would have been "khopped" at the Kotel by a kiruv group, and she would have stayed to learn and end up marrying a Syrian Jew.

Oy! Such a wasted opportunity!

Hamas counterfeiting Egyptian currency for buying spree

The anti-Hamas but often reliable Palestine Press Agency is claiming that Hamas is counterfeiting Egyptian currency, providing them to Gaza merchants to buy goods wholesale - and then Hamas gets a cut of the sales when the goods are resold in Gaza.
(autotranslated)Palestinian merchants who crossed in the last few days to the Egyptian territories for the purchase and needs to clinch deals to supply humanitarian needs of the sector, dealers Egyptians "The Hamas movement illegally provided a number of traders and citizens with counterfeit currencies to be used in Egyptian territory to the needs of wills and goods ".

He added traders and citizens that "elements of the militia movement Hamas provided currencies amounting to" hundreds of thousands of dollars that were "forged for inclusion in the Egyptian market and access to the goods and return trade deals have these militias share in these deals."

They pointed out that they have already managed to introduce these funds to the Egyptian market and the purchase of goods and basic needs and delivery of assistance to the Gaza Strip militia movement Hamas.
One of the commenters gave the names of two alleged Hamas counterfeiters in Rafah.

Gaza and International Law

A very good article on the legality of Israeli actions in Gaza has been published by Abraham Bell at the JCPA.

In addition to doing a much better job than I in showing that Gaza is not legally occupied by Israel, Bell goes further in showing how Israel's actions are legal both if Gaza is considered to have legal independent sovereignty or not. The summary:
International law authorizes Israel to initiate military countermeasures in Gaza. If Gaza is properly seen as having independent sovereignty, Israel's use of force is permissible on the grounds of self-defense. If Gaza is properly seen as lacking any independent sovereignty, Israel's use of military force is permissible as in other non-international conflicts.
  • The rule of "distinction" includes elements of intent and expected result: so long as one aims at legitimate targets, the rule of distinction permits the attack, even if there will be collateral damage to civilians. The rule of "proportionality" also relies upon intent. If Israel plans a strike without expecting excessive collateral damage, the rule of proportionality permits it. Israeli attacks to date have abided by the rules of distinction and proportionality.
  • Israel's imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip is a perfectly legal means of responding to Palestinian attacks. Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade of fuel or anything else with Gaza, or to maintain open borders, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion.
  • The bar on collective punishment forbids the imposition of criminal-type penalties to individuals or groups on the basis of another's guilt. None of Israel's actions involve the imposition of criminal-type penalties.
  • There is no legal basis for maintaining that Gaza is occupied territory. The Fourth Geneva Convention refers to territory as occupied where the territory is of a state party to the convention and the occupier "exercises the functions of government" in the territory. Gaza is not territory of another state party to the convention and Israel does not exercise the functions of government in the territory.
  • The fighting in Gaza has been characterized by the extensive commission of war crimes, acts of terrorism and acts of genocide by Palestinians, while Israeli countermeasures have conformed with the requirements of international law. International law requires states to take measures to bring Palestinian war criminals and terrorists to justice, to prevent and punish Palestinian genocidal efforts, and to block the funding of Palestinian terrorist groups and those complicit with them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Arab unity in praise of a dead scumbag

I have yet to see anything in the Arab press that mentions George Habash's death as less than tragic.

The entire Arab world - from moderate US allies and Arab members of Knesset to the PA and the far reaches of the diehard Islamist terror groups - is uniformly mourning an arch-terrorist leader.

He is being described most often in the Arab press as a force for "unity" and yet he was an unrepentant advocate of terror against civilians worldwide. All of the Arabs who claim to be against terror nowadays are uniformly mourning one of the architects of modern terrorism - without the slightest reservation. I could find no expressions of regret over his methods, over the scores of deaths of innocents worldwide that he was responsible for.

And it is not like Habash changed his positions in his later years. He remained with the same mindset that came up with airplane hijackings and bombings in the 1960s and 1970s.

His death, and the outpouring of grief and mourning it has spawned, is a damning indictment of the willingness of Arabs across the political spectrum to truly eschew terror.

This man remains a hero to people that we are supposed to be negotiating with as if they live in the same moral universe as we do. That fact should give us pause when we hear platitudes about "terror" from our erstwhile allies.

Sex and al-City

From the New York Post:
A Wall Street stockbroker fears for her life after she rebuffed a Brooklyn imam she met on a Muslim dating Web site.

In an explosive $50 million lawsuit that blows the lid off the wacky world of Muslim dating in New York, Cherine Allaithy alleges the religious leader promised he would make her one of four future wives and boasted of a cousin in al Qaeda. When she dumped him, he trashed her reputation in the Arab press.

The imam, Tarek Youssoff Hassan Saleh, 42, says Allaithy is a loose, mentally unstable woman. He has filed criminal charges against her in Brooklyn for allegedly destroying two computers at the Oulel-Albab mosque in Bay Ridge. He also claims she threatened to frame him for rape.

Allaithy, 32, says she met the imam, who goes by the name Sheikh Saleh, online at the Muslim Matrimonial Network site in May 2007. They courted for a month.

In June, she claims in court documents, Saleh proposed marriage, telling her she would have to start wearing a veil and be subservient to him.

When Allaithy rejected the sheik's proposal, she alleges, he suggested they have a temporary marriage, or mu'ta, so they could have sex without committing a sin.

Allaithy again declined. In the meantime, she started dating Bessem Elhajj, an engineer also living in Bay Ridge.

Saleh said Allaithy two-timed him with Elhajj. She came to Saleh in August, the imam told The Post, distraught that Elhajj had broken up with her.

Saleh insists he is single and not actively seeking four wives. Allegations contained in the court documents say he used Arab-language newspapers to accuse Elhajj of being a womanizer bent on luring Muslim women into temporary marriages.

Allaithy attempted to reconcile with Elhajj and in August went to the mosque, where Saleh lives, to beg him to stop the newspaper stories. He told her she would be exposed next in the press, according to court papers.

In order to prevent her name from being smeared, she said, she ran into his bedroom, grabbed two laptops, and threw them in the sink.

Saleh responded by beating her up, she claims in court papers.

In another article referenced in the complaint, Saleh alleged she came to the mosque to threaten to have him charged with rape.

According to Allaithy's court claims, the sheik sent her an e-mail describing her as "a trashy and lustful woman, a weeping and cursed Jewish woman."...

"This is a dishonor to my entire family, every member. My parents disowned me. Basically, he's ruined my life," she told The Post. "I have to clean my name."

Worst of all, she fears she is now a target for an "honor killing" by al Qaeda, according to court papers. Saleh admitted to The Post that a distant relative is a member of the terrorist organization, but said he has had no communication with him.

Elhajj, the man in the middle, said he has washed his hands of both of them.

"He's crazy," he said of the imam. "He says he's a holy man, but it's just a cover to go after women."

And of Allaithy: "She's a child, she's stupid. She went to him to come after me, but it backfired. He went after her instead."

Saudis mourn death of beauty contest winner

Arab News reports:
People don’t usually receive condolence messages for the death of animals. But Abdullah ibn Fahaad Al-Fasam Al-Dossari, owner of the most beautiful camel in the world, Mashoufan, received many such messages from camel lovers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries after his camel died last week following a disease.

Mashoufan, which had won first prizes in camel beauty contests for a number of years, was valued at more than SR17 million before its death. Its progeny include 60 male and 40 female camels.

The most beautiful among them include Mashoufa, Zalban, Masruban and Mazaal. Mashoufa won second place in a contest and is likely to get the title of the most beautiful female camel in the world, according to Al-Madinah daily.
Saudi beauty pageants are a big business:
The legs are long, the eyes are big, the bodies curvaceous.

Contestants in this Saudi-style beauty pageant have all the features you might expect anywhere else in the world, but with one crucial difference -- the competitors are camels.

"In Lebanon they have Miss Lebanon," jokes Walid, moderator of the competition's Web site. "Here we have Miss Camel."

Camels are a big business in a country where strict Islamic laws and tribal customs would make it impossible for women to take part in their own beauty contest.

Delicate females or strapping males who attract the right attention during this week's show could sell for a million or more riyals. Sponsors have provided 10 million riyals ($2.7 million) for the contest, cash that also covers the 72 sports utility vehicles to be will be awarded as prizes.

"Beautiful, beautiful!" the judge mutters quietly to himself, inspecting the group. Finalists have been decorated with silver bands and body covers.

"The nose should be long and droop down, that's more beautiful," explains Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the organizers. "The ears should stand back, and the neck should be long. The hump should be high, but slightly to the back."

Some females have harnesses strapped around their genitalia to thwart any efforts by the males to mount them. One repeat offender called Marjaa has been moved away.
At least the Saudi ideas of honor for their females is not limited to humans.

UPDATE: Here comes the LGF-lanche - welcome and check out my other postings!

Fisking Khalidi's "Iron Cage" - part two

Part one here.

Rashid Khalidi admits in the introduction to his book that he provided very little original research in writing it, and mostly relied on the works of other historians. This does not invalidate a book as a work of history, of course, but it does give the author a little more burden of proof as to which facts he chooses to highlight and which he chooses to ignore.

Arab historians, for understandable reasons, love Benny Morris. As one of the earliest post-Zionist historians, Morris broke new ground in demolishing the prevailing Zionist narrative of the events leading up the establishment of the State of Israel, using primary source materials as they were declassified by the Israeli government. Khalidi is no exception, as he praises Morris' "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem" as one of the best sources on the topic.

Yet one must wonder why Khalidi only cites Morris when his facts support the traditional Palestinian Arab narrative and he ignores him when he proves the opposite. Morris, by exploding myths on both sides, proves to be intellectually honest; one cannot say the same about Khalidi.

The most obvious example is the fact that Morris re-wrote his classic work in 2004, based on far more archival material that became available in the 1990s. Israel's laws seal classified material for fifty years, so anything declassified in the 1990s would be directly relevant to the issues that Khalidi is writing about. Yet Khalidi never references Morris' newer work - which is far harsher on the Arab narrative - and instead stubbornly sticks with his earlier work, something that Morris himself would argue is not as accurate anymore. Why would a scholar writing in 2006 (and referencing events that occurred in 2006 as well) ignore this updated information? Indeed, it appears that Khalidi is selective when referring even to Morris' earlier work, at at other times he offers the same slipperiness that we have already seen. (The following quotes of Morris comes from a New Republic article he wrote in 2005.)

While Khalidi blandly - and consistently - uses neutral terms like "fighting broke out" when describing Arab attacks, in 1948 as well as earlier, his revisionist hero Morris describes things as they were:
[T]he U.N. General Assembly voted by more than a two-thirds majority in favor of partition and the establishment of Jewish and Arab states. The Palestinians and the Arab states rejected the resolution and vowed to prevent its implementation. Throughout the Arab world the cry went up for "jihad." On November 30, 1947, the day after the partition vote, Arab gunmen ambushed two Jewish buses near Petah Tikva, killing seven passengers and wounding others, and Arab snipers began firing from Jaffa into Tel Aviv's streets, killing a passerby and wounding others. These attacks marked the start of the war. The Arab Higher Committee, the Palestinian Arab community's "government," called for a general strike, in the course of which an Arab mob poured out of Jerusalem's Old City and looted and torched the New Commercial District. The civil war had begun.
Similarly, Khalidi spends much time describing how poorly equipped and organized the Arab armies and Palestinian Arabs were compared to the Zionists:
Although it was not initially apparent, in the fighting during the first phase of the war between the Hagana and its Arab opponents, the former were considerably superior to the latter in weaponry, numbers, and organization. Their most important assets, besides these advantages, was unity of command.
Morris, the only one of them who is a true historian of primary sources, describes things quite differently:
In truth, the forces in Palestine during the civil war half of 1948 (November 1947 to mid-May 1948), were more or less evenly matched in terms of armed manpower. The roughly eight hundred Arab villages and towns of Palestine had, between them, some 25,000 to 30,000 armed men (albeit with inadequate ammunition stockpiles). Add to this the reasonably well-armed roving bands and the ALA, and one gets a force about equal to the Haganah's. The Haganah probably had fewer arms, but they were better munitioned.

But the real difference lay in organization and mentality. The Jews were relatively well organized, and thought and acted like a nation. The Palestinians were not organized, and mostly acted out of a village-centered mentality: there was no national mobilization; each village fought alone, and fell alone, and those not engaged kept their distance from the trouble. The Palestinians had only themselves to blame for their poor preparation and performance in 1948.
This next section shows Khalidi's biases and disregard for truth - while trying to be technically accurate - even more starkly:
For the first few months of the fighting, until March 1948, the Palestinians nevertheless appeared to be holding their own. They maintained control over most Arab-inhabited regions of Palestine, and managed repeatedly to cut the roads linking major cities and some of the isolated Jewish settlements, including at the end of March the critically important road from the cost to Jerusalem. However, as soon as the Haganah and its allies went on a nationwide offensive early in April 1948, on the basis of a military plan for linking up most of the major Jewish-inhabited regions of the country, known as Plan Dalet, they rapidly showed their overwhelming superiority. By the end of their offensive, they had overrun the major coastal cities with large Arab populations, Haifa, Acre, and Jaffa, as well as Tiberias, Beisan, and other cities and towns, and scores of villages, and set hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the road to exile.
Compare with Morris' much more complete and accurate narrative:
...This hodgepodge of irregulars managed by late March 1948 to halt Jewish convoy traffic and to besiege, and to mortally threaten, isolated Jewish communities, notably Jerusalem. By then, tens of thousands of Arabs and Jews, fearing war's fury, had moved out of embattled or vulnerable urban and rural areas. For the Palestinians, this marked the start of the refugee exodus.

Between November 1947 and March 1948, the Jews remained strategically on the defensive, and did not conquer or destroy Arab villages. (There were two exceptions, Qisariya and Arab Sukrir.) Things changed radically in early April 1948: the Haganah, with its back to the wall, especially in Jerusalem and along the roads, and facing imminent invasion by the Arab states' armies, switched to the offensive, and within six weeks overran Arab areas, including Jaffa and (Arab) Haifa, and defeated the Palestinian militias, inducing chaos and mass flight.
Morris accurately describes how the fighting began - how the Zionists remained on the defensive while the Arabs attacked at will, starting the day after the partition vote. Khalidi describes the Hagana's defensive posture against brutally aggressive Arab attacks as the Palestinian Arabs "holding their own."

Khalidi mentions a number of times the "myth" of powerful Arab armies attacking Israel in May 1948, that "only" four armies set foot in Palestine in 1948, and he implies that they never stepped foot beyond the original boundaries of the partition:
...the only Arab armies that actually entered Palestine were those of Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, and Syria." Moreover, by prior agreements between King Abdullah ant the Jewish Agency, and between 'Abdullah and Britain, the most powerful and combat worthy of these armies, the Transjordanian Arab Legion and the Iraqi forces that were under'Abdullah's command and control), never crossed into the territory allotted to the Jewish state. These two armies fought Israeli troops only in the area originally assigned to the Arab state, or in the area of Jerusalem —which according to the partition plan was supposed to have been an international corpus separatum -and thus they never invaded the territory of the Jewish state.
Notice how the impression one gets from reading this is that no Arab army invaded the Jewish state, although he doesn't really say it - Khalidi's hallmark of giving impressions at odds with the facts.

Now read what really happened:
The Syrian Army, after invading Israel and before being bested at the Deganias, conquered and destroyed two kibbutzim, Masada and Shaar Hagolan, on May 18, inside Israel; the Iraqi Army invaded Israeli territory and unsuccessfully assaulted Kibbutz Gesher and nearby positions before moving to the northern West Bank; and the Egyptian Army, while halting, or being forced by the IDF to halt, at Isdud (Ashdod) in early June 1948, invaded and conquered Israeli territory between the Gaza Strip and Beersheba and between Majdal (Ashkelon) and Beit Jibrin. Lastly, while the Jordanian Army did not invade Israeli territory, it did much more than take up "defensive positions" in the Old City of Jerusalem. It conquered, and razed, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and took up positions in Latrun, Lydda, and Ramle, blocking the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road and laying siege to the holy city. And on May 12- 14, before the pan-Arab invasion began, the Legion attacked and destroyed the settlements of the Etzion bloc.

In short, the neighboring Arab states (save for Lebanon) and Iraq simultaneously, on May 15, attacked Israel, its settlements, and its territory. One of their aims was to destroy, or at least to mortally wound, Israel, if not to eradicate the Yishuv. The documentary proof is abundant. The Arab armies' actions in mid-May speak louder than a thousand atlases. That the Arab armies were "ill-prepared" and incompetent does not diminish the fact of their aggression. And there can be little doubt that had the invading armies, including Jordan's, encountered no or weak resistance, they would have pushed on to Tel Aviv.
Perhaps Khalidi's greatest misrepresentation is with regard to the comparative amount of land that the Jews and the Arabs owned:
[The Zionists] knew full well that as late as 1948, Jewish-owned land in Palestine amounted to only about 7 percent of the country's total land area (and only 10.6 percent of its privately owned land, including much of the country's best arable land), that the vast bulk of the country's privately owned land and much of its urban property was in Arab hands.
Again we see a combination of choosing convenient sources and purposefully ignoring salient facts. Morris again:
In reality, Jews owned about 6 to 7 percent of Palestine's land surface, and the Arabs owned around 20 percent, and the rest was public or state-owned.
Notice how easily one gets the impression that 90% of the land belonged to Arabs from Khalidi's description, as he ignores the amount of public land that shows that Arabs didn't own most of the land of Palestine - exploding one of the biggest and most pervasive myths there are from the Arab narrative.

Khalidi doesn't have any regard for the truth, except in the sense that he is too clever to say too many explicit lies. He clearly knows the truth because of the wordplay he employs to get his point across, and his failure to mention these topics that he so assiduously avoids is the best proof of his mendacity.

Here we see how selectively and dishonestly Khalidi uses his secondary sources. Morris is a good source for him only when he supports Khalidi's preconceived notions; when Morris disagrees Khalidi will ignore those facts or selectively use them. This is a fundamental methodological flaw in Khalidi's work and it shows his disregard for truth, even as he takes pains to portray himself as being fair.

These quotes prove the contrast between a true historian and a very good propagandist.

Sunday links

My Shrapnel, a new blog of a terror victim

Another PA music video inciting hatred against Israel

Interesting analysis of the possibility of Hamas terrorists going after the multi-national forces in the Sinai

The Second Draft looks at last year's Gaza beach tragedy

HH CLI hosted (and now sponsored) by Jack's Shack

Aussie Dave continues liveblogging the situation in Israel

Fisking Khalidi's "Iron Cage" - part one

In 2006, Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi published "The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood." Khalidi, an American of Palestinian Arab descent, occupies the prestigious Edward Said Chair in Arab Studies at Columbia University and he heads the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.

Khalidi's book has been lauded for its supposed even-handedness in being critical of Palestinian Arabs and in describing their missed opportunities, in addition to the usual blame given to the British and Zionists for their troubles.

However, a closer analysis of the book shows that Khalidi is deceptive in his writings, and one cannot escape the fact that he is knowingly dishonest in pushing through his narrative. While he is certainly guilty of omitting and downplaying many facts of Palestinian Arab history, he is also guilty of sleight of hand where he will string together sentences that contain mostly truth but give the reader an impression that is wholly false.

An early example of such dishonesty comes from a close reading of this passage on page 39 meant to show British pro-Zionist sympathies during the mandate period:
In fact, access to those levers (of state power) was systematically denied to anyone of Arab background. The low ceiling that Arab functionaries came up against is best illustrated by the case of George Antonius, an urbane, articulate Cambridge-educated (but Lebanese-born) official of the mandatory government, who...was repeatedly passed over for responsible posts, as mediocre British subordinates were promoted over his head, until he finally resigned in disgust. Similar limitations did not apply to Jewish officials, if they were British by origin rather than Palestinian: among them were the first high commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel and Norman Bentwich, attorney general of Palestine until 1930, both deeply committed Zionists. By way of contrast, although a few senior British officials might well be considered anti-Zionist, pro-Arab, or even anti-Semitic, from the beginning of the British occupation of Palestine in 1917 until its bitter end in 1948, none of the top appointees of the mandatory administration outside the judiciary were Arabs.
Khalidi's dishonesty is subtle but representative: he decries the lack of Palestinian Arabs in high positions of the mandatory government but rather than contrast that with the number of Palestinian Jews (which would be the exact analogy) he instead mentions that some of the officials were British Zionists. He then goes on to admit that some of the senior British officials were pro-Arab - the exact analogy with those who were pro-Zionist. In other words, from parsing his sentences one can see that he has proven nothing about British pro-Zionist leanings from his proofs; he purposefully conflates British Zionists with Palestinian Zionists and he refuses to do the same between British Arabists and Palestinian Arabs, thus subtly using his command of the language to give an impression that is not borne out by his own facts, but one that the reader could be forgiven for not noticing.

Khalidi shows similar dishonesty when dealing with the British-installed Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husayni. He claims in a number of places that al-Husayni kept his end of the bargain with the British by keeping his 1921 promise to "maintain tranquility" among the Arab population (p. 62.) Khalidi claims that Husayni only reluctantly abandoned his pro-British actions when he could no longer contain the "popular" uprising. Khalidi doesn't mention the evidence that the mufti was himself behind anti-Jewish pogroms in the early 1920s as well as the 1929 riots, and he only passingly mentions the Mufti's Nazi alliance during World War II. He accepts, when it is convenient for his thesis of the pro-Zionist British Mandate, that Husayni was a moderating force when in fact he was the opposite - even as Khalidi admits that the British directly subsidized Husayni's position.

Khalidi does give some evidence that the British were more pro-Zionist than pro-Arab until the 1939 White Paper but he misses the point of those leanings. For the first decade and a half of the mandate, the British were following the explicit terms of the mandate, to create a Jewish national home in Palestine. This is not as much evidence of pro-Zionist leanings as it is for British feelings of responsibility. During the 1936-39 strike and revolt, of course, the British were on the same side as the Zionists against the Arabs. The manifestly anti-Zionist 1939 White Paper showed that, rather than being inherently pro-Zionist, the British were mostly concerned with their own self-interest, and the Arab riots had changed the British calculus towards maintaining the peace in the false hope that acceding to Arab demands to limit Jewish immigration would put a lid on their anger. A pro-Zionist government would not have caved that easily.

Worse yet, Khalidi completely dismisses Arab anti-semitism - which is most properly embodied by the Mufti - and claims throughout the book that the Arabs were only anti-Zionist. The fact that the 1929 pogroms were primarily against the old yishuv - Jews whose families were in Palestine before modern Zionism - is ignored as Khalidi spends much of his book claiming that Palestinian Arab nationalism was only fighting against Zionism, not Jews.

In the coming days, I will explore some more of the specifically dishonest claims made by Khalidi, as well as the problems with his larger theses.

Egypt catches Gazans with explosives

Palestine Press Agency reports (autotranslated):
Egyptian sources revealed that the security authorities had detained several Palestinians in the Egyptian governorates of possession of explosives and advanced mobile phones capable of penetrating Egyptian security communication networks.

Deputies of the prominent ruling National Democratic Party in Egypt warned of the seriousness of leaving open the border with Gaza, without controls, saying that Palestinians carrying explosives, and a sophisticated communications, caught the night before last, and warned deputies also what it called "a blueprint for the settlement of Israelis in Sinai, Gaza residents.

During a meeting of the Egyptian People's Assembly was held yesterday evening, said deputy ruling party and the President of the Court of the President, Dr. Zakaria Azmi, "said 30 infiltrators from Gaza were arrested in possession of explosives," adding that "were found inside a belt taxis after going down in the Palestinian Sinai, will also present 18 security guards Egyptian officers were in danger of attack by armed Palestinians tried to blow up the crossing 5 times "(referring to the Hamas militias), reiterating that" Sinai will not be a substitute for Gaza. "

For its part, Egyptian security sources said the seizure of more than 20 Palestinians aged between 20 and 40 years, said: "They infiltrated into the country and was caught with someone quantity few primitive explosives, in addition to a sophisticated communications networks capable of breaking the security in Egypt, and that the security bodies are high investigate what is happening in the search for other suspects. "
I have not yet seen this in any other press reports, but there are enough specifics here to make it appear that PalPress is reporting fairly accurately.

UPDATE: Confirmed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Iranian official threatens Jews worldwide

From the Iranian Mehr News:
International Institute for Holocaust Research Secretary General Mohammad-Ali Ramin has called on the Jewish community to break their silence on Israel’s crimes against Palestinians and give up their support for the Zionist regime.

“If the world’s Jews keep silent on the blatant genocide of Palestinians, the entire human community will hold Jewish people responsible for the crimes,” Ramin told the Mehr News Agency on Friday.

He said, “The presence of a blood-thirsty enemy at the heart of the Islamic world like the Zionist regime which poses a threat to all Islamic countries provides the best opportunity for the Islamic Ummah to preserve unity and return to its religious identity.”

Referring to Israel’s “organized massacre of Palestinians”, Ramin said, “Silence on these crimes will have irreparable repercussions for Muslims.”
Summing up:

* If Jews don't publicly declare that the Islamist viewpoint on "the Zionist regime" is correct, the entire world will be justified in punishing the Jews.

* Jews aren't human, as the "entire human community will hold Jewish people responsible."

* Israel is a direct threat to every Islamic country from Malaysia to Bahrain.

* If Israel didn't exist, Muslims would all be fighting each other, so the Zionist regime is the best hope for Muslims to unify - and get religion.

* Muslims cannot be held responsible for their actions if Israel has the audacity to continue to exist.

* The Muslim that holds these viewpoints is the leading Holocaust "researcher" in Iran.

Glad he cleared that up!

Great moments in UN history

During the discussion around yesterday's routine UNHRC one-sided condemnation of Israel came this exchange, which pretty much says it all about how serious one should take that august institution:
HILLEL NEUER, of United Nations Watch , said that the proposed draft resolution constituted a case of psychological projection. It was Hamas which deliberately fired rockets into Israel. They were the ones rejecting the very notion of distinction between combatants and civilians. Israel did the opposite by protecting its citizens. It should also be considered who had initiated this session. They included the lowest possible rated States in the annual world survey released by Freedom House. Were these the arbiters of human rights in the world today?

JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ PALACIOS ( Cuba ), speaking in a right of reply in response to the statement of United Nations Watch, said the organization was a lucrative organization amply funded by the CIA and Mossad aimed to degenerate certain States on the Council. There was nothing more barbaric than the occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

When one cannot tell the difference between websites written by loony conspiracy theorists and official UN delegates, perhaps it is time to rethink the legitimacy of the latter.

Is Gaza occupied?

Yesterday, the ever-reliable UN "Human Rights" Commission did what it literally always does - it condemned Israel and no one else. As Israellycool points out, the resolution used the terminology "occupied Gaza Strip" no less than four times.

Is Gaza legally occupied?

It is hard to find a good definition of "occupied territory" in international law. The best one is perhaps from the Hague Convention of 1907, which the Geneva Conventions seems to rely on:
Art. 42. Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.
From the specifics of both the Hague and Geneva Conventions, it is clear that "occupation" means control over the day to day lives of the citizens of the territory. For example:
Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.
Other provisions talk about maintaining public order and the like.

From these many provisions in the Hague and Geneva, as well as in normal use of the word in English, it is clear that "occupation" means physical presence as well as the effective takeover of functioning governmental institutions and tasks, like collecting taxes.

From Israel's perspective, its (legally ambiguous) declaration of Gaza as a "hostile territory" is far more accurate, as is clear from this article by two legal experts at The American Thinker last year:
If Gaza is territory under the control of the enemy -- as it manifestly is under Hamas -- then the Israeli government is both within its rights and arguably obliged by its responsibilities to its citizens to treat the strip as "hostile territory." Siege and blockade of a hostile territory is a legitimate tactic of war, used in declared and undeclared (e.g., Cuban) conflicts and explicitly recognized by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The Conventions' sole limitation is that there be "free passage of all consignments of food-stuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases" (Fourth Convention, art. 23) -- and even this exception was conditioned on there being "no reasons for fearing... [t]hat a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy" (for example, if resources destined for humanitarian aid will be commandeered by the enemy). Israel has carefully respected this requirement.

In fact, if anyone is occupying Gaza, it would appear to be Hamas.

Hamas never legally seceded Gaza from the PA and both Hamas and the PA keep declaring that both Gaza and the West Bank are a single legal entity. In fact, Hamas and the PA keep negotiating over where the PA might be able to take over some functions in Gaza, as well as their ultimate rapprochement, thus fulfilling another essential portion of the definition of occupation - that it be temporary.

In addition, Hamas clearly acted against the wishes of the PA and against PA laws in its takeover. Beyond that, Hamas is fully acting like an occupier, taking over the governmental institutions in Gaza like the police and the courts and collecting taxes.

Obviously Hamas has never accepted any international legal conventions. And Hamas is not a country, which complicates the definition further. Even so, as the effective occupier, it clearly violates many of Geneva's laws, including forcibly taking hospital supplies from the civilian population for its own purposes (Geneva IV, Art. 56)

Hamas' status under international law needs to be clarified, and its obligations spelled out. The current situation where a terrorist occupying force (or quasi- government) has no legal obligations is absurd, and it directly leads to travesties like this UNHRC resolution.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two terror attacks near Jerusalem

One Israeli was killed and another wounded Thursday night in a shooting attack near the entrance to the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem.

One of the wounded died after resuscitation attempts and the other, a female, was listed in serious condition.

IDF sources said that terrorists had approached the entrance to Shuafat by foot and opened fire at a group of Israelis nearby and then fled the scene. Military forces and Border Policemen immediately dispatched search parties to catch the gunmen.

In another simultaneous incident, two terrorists were killed after they infiltrated a high school in Kfar Etzion, south of Jerusalem.

The terrorists, armed with knives and possibly with a pistol, infiltrated the kibbutz - in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc - and snuck into a building used by the Makor Haim High School, run by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.

“The terrorists came inside and began stabbing students,” a defense official said. Three students were injured, including two moderately. They were all evacuated to Hadassah Hosptial in Jerusalem.

Shortly after the infiltration, a number of the school’s counselors, armed with guns, arrived at the scene and shot and killed the terrorists. IDF sources hailed the student’s quick response.

“This could have ended much worse,” a source in the Central Command said.

YNet says

Fatah’s military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack. A Fatah spokesman told Ynet that the organizations “Black September” activists carried out the attack.

This is of course the Fatah faction that the PA declared “dismantled” a few weeks ago and then “disbanded” a week later.

This must all be part of the celebration of breaking down the Rafah wall.

4,200 Balloons

From YNet:
The Israeli consulate in New York released 4,200 red balloons Thursday, equal to the number of Qassam rockets fired at Sdeort since the Gaza disengagement, outside the United Nations headquarters in the city. The display aimed to protest the international community's disregard for Qassam fire at Israel.

Consul for Media and Public Affairs in New York, David Saranga, said that the protest aimed to place the distress faced by Israelis on the American and global agenda.

"To this day, all attempts to place this issue on the American media's agenda have failed," Saranga said.
So far, none of the major wire services have posted a single photo of this protest.

But protests against Israel that appear to have attracted a dozen or so people get prominent coverage, like this one from Lebanon. AP posted no less than 10 pictures of this protest, each one cropped in such a way so that you cannot see how tiny it really is.

Which proves Israel's point precisely.

This of course begs the question - why does AP consider a small protest of Hezbollah-supporting college students in front of the Egyptian embassy in Beirut to be infinitely more newsworthy than Israel's more creative and innovative protest taking place opposite the United Nations?

UN is way too Zionist for Iran


From FARS
(h/t NRO Corner)

An interesting "martyr"

Palestine Today keeps up the tradition of finding roughly one person a day who dies in a hospital in Gaza and blaming his death on Israeli travel restrictions:
Palestinian medical sources announced last night on the death of a patient due prevented by the Israeli authorities from leaving the Gaza Strip to receive the necessary treatment abroad.

The same sources stated that the young Naji Hamdan Cream (36 years), resident of the Rafah governorate joined the caravan of martyrs of patients travel ban after suffering from heart disease.
What makes "Number 77" interesting is that he died while the border to Egypt was open. In fact, he is a resident of Rafah!

Did anyone notice in the crowds of hundreds of thousands of supposedly desperate Gazans streaming to Egypt whether any of them were transported by ambulance or stretcher to go to Egyptian hospitals? I have yet to find any such picture, among the photos of the "starving" Gazans carrying large-screen TVs back to their homes. If the medical crisis is so acute (and of course it isn't - Israel is still allowing dozens of ill Gazans to enter Israeli hospitals daily) then why haven't we seen a surge of sick PalArabs being escorted through Rafah to Egyptians happy to help them out?

Fertilizer for bombs and terrorists going through Rafah

From the Daily Telegraph:
And somewhere in the teeming crowd, came people anxious to exploit the day for their own less innocent purposes.

Fertiliser, broken down into half bags for lugging through the many tunnels that arms smugglers normally use for delivery into Gaza, was to be seen as it was manhandled overland.

It was white, oily, crystalline and a dab on the tongue left a sharp, burning sensation.

In most countries fertiliser has a perfectly innocent function but in Gaza militants use it to make explosive.

"Hey, hey, hey," shouted a man as I took a photograph of a pile of fertiliser half bags.

His aggressive tone jarred with the mood the crowd as he grabbed my camera lens firmly.
From the Washington Post:
Along one teeming road in the Egyptian part of Rafah, a Hamas security official who had been stranded on Egypt's side of the border since June -- fearing arrest by Israel during a crossing if he tried to return -- met his mother and sisters in the surging crowd. "Eight months I haven't seen him!" his mother exclaimed after a flurry of hugging and kissing.

The man excused himself for not talking. "I'm on the wanted list," he explained.

Israel accuses Egypt, increasingly sharply, of allowing smugglers to bring arms and explosives into Gaza. It was clear Wednesday that contraband and gunmen could cross the border that day with little chance of being stopped.

... Seven or eight Egyptian border guards stood lined up along one stretch of no man's land, which was thick with milling Palestinians and livestock.

The Egyptian guards watched but did not move. "Don't speak to us! Don't even look at us!" one Egyptian officer shouted after someone in the crowd moved toward them.

(h/t Backspin)

Morning links

Israellycool continues his liveblogging of the situation in Gaza, Sderot and vicinity.

Egypt Today on the Israeli film The Band and why Egypt refuses to screen it.

YNet and BackSpin on anti-semitic Arab cartoons.

Canada decides not to attend Durban II : "We'll attend any conference that is opposed to racism and intolerance, not those that actually promote racism and intolerance"

Brazilian singer: "I constantly ask myself why I need suffer so. I am not Jewish, I did not crucify Jesus.”

Sderot Reality

And. from what I can tell, it's been about 36 hours since the last Qassams, although mortars have continued. B'li ayin hora.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More Hamas staged stunts - candlelight edition

From the Jerusalem Post:
On at least two occasions this week, Hamas staged scenes of darkness as part of its campaign to end the political and economic sanctions against the Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists said Wednesday.

In the first case, journalists who were invited to cover the Hamas government meeting were surprised to see Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his ministers sitting around a table with burning candles.

In the second case on Tuesday, journalists noticed that Hamas legislators who were meeting in Gaza City also sat in front of burning candles.

But some of the journalists noticed that there was actually no need for the candles because both meetings were being held in daylight.

"They had closed the curtains in the rooms to create the impression that Hamas leaders were also suffering as a result of the power stoppage," one journalist told The Jerusalem Post. "It was obvious that the whole thing was staged."
Hamas also seems to have timed its Sunday night blackout for prime-time TV:

Fortunately for those who wanted all-Gaza, all-the-time, there was still Al-Jazeera, which had been on the scene with live broadcasts and commentary from the very moment that Hamas had decided to cut the power in Gaza and send it into darkness on Sunday night.

Indeed, so ready was Al-Jazeera with live coverage of candle-bearing Palestinian children and immediate reaction from across the Arab world, that Israeli officials said Tuesday they strongly suspect the Arab news network had coordinated its coverage in advance with the Hamas leadership.

"They were so prepared, it's hard to believe they didn't know this was going to happen," said the official. "Although it's already dark in Gaza by 6 p.m., they waited two hours to shut their generator down so that the lights going out in Gaza could be carried live on Al-Jazeeera during prime-time viewing."

Others noticed the fortuitous timing of a "spontaneous" candlelight demonstration only minutes after the power plant shutdown:
Minutes after the power plant shutdown, Gaza residents started a candlelight march. Live Associated Press TV pictures showed dots of light moving slowly up a darkened main street.
So when the media talk about how Hamas won the PR war with Israel, it is a bit disingenuous of them not to admit their own responsibility for that victory - the news organizations are not only susceptible to obvious staging, they welcome being manipulated if they can get a good picture or story out of it.

See also my posting "Baking a crisis" on a similar theme.

Rafah blasts were planned for weeks

From Dion Nissenbaum of McClatchy Newspapers:
Before dawn, Palestinian militants blew up and tore down large sections of the concrete and iron walls separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

They had apparently been planning the attack for weeks. With the knowledge of locals, militants had spent weeks methodically using blow torches to cut along the bottom of the 30-foot-tall corrugated iron wall along the Egyptian border.

Before dawn on Wednesday, militants blew holes in the adjacent concrete slabs and then toppled the iron wall.
It looks like yesterday's clashes between Gazan women and Egyptian border guards were staged specifically for the purpose of doing this pre-planned operation in such a way that Egypt would be unwilling to interfere.

And it seems probable that everything we've seen over the past few days - Hamas closing bakeries, shutting the fuel plant, perhaps even the rocket barrages themselves last week - were all meant to play to world opinion, create a fake "crisis", all ultimately to force Egypt to open Rafah, something that Hamas has been trying to do for months.

(h/t Backspin)

UPDATE: The Times (UK) reports that this has been going on for months!
a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border today admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.

That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations after midnight last night the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man's land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt.

The guard, Lieutenant Abu Usama of the Palestinian National Security, said of the cutting operation: "I've seen this happening over the last few months. It happened in the daytime but was covered up so that nobody would see."

Asked whether he had reported it to the government, he replied: "It was the government that was doing this. Who would I report it to?"

Abu Usama, who normally works from a small guard cabin in no-man's land, added: "Last night we were told to keep away from the wall. We were ordered to stay away because they were going to break the blockade."

Just remember, it is all Israel's - and the Joooz' - fault

I haven't been spending too much time lately looking for absurd misozionistic and anti-semitic rants, but that is not a reflection of any sort of moderation in the Arab and Islamic world - these rants are still printed daily in Arab and Muslim media.

Two examples from today, the first from the ever-reliable Iranian IRNA:
Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said here Wednesday that Palestine is the main problem of the world of Islam.

"It is for 60 years that criminal West has imposed Israel on the world of Islam like a dagger and occupied the first Qibla of Muslims," said Haddad-Adel in an address to a group of parliamentarians.

He said today, Muslim world has been awakened and Muslims have regained their identity.

He added that Americans too intend to deceive public opinion by their lies, which are broadcast by the media run by the Zionists.

Our second comes from that moderate ally of ours, the UAE:
ONE of the basic principles of war is that one must have a plan. One of the even more basic principles is that in order to win the war, one must know the enemy's plan!

This is impossible, unless one has first identified the enemy and has taken whatever measures are necessary to know him as well as he can possibly be known. This leads to an old, probably Chinese, injunction; "To succeed, keep your friends close; but your enemies even closer!"

If you are going to fight for the Palestinian, the Middle East, the Arabic, the Islamic, the Pakistani, the Lebanese, the Iraqi, the Iranian cause, or any of the many causes of "the people" in the Middle east, or even understand the conflicts in the region, it is imperative that you not only know all about the enemy, and his plans, but first that you recognise and acknowledge exactly who the enemy actually is!

I am not sure this has been done, for I see little mention of him in the media which seems to be flowing out of the region. ...

No one seems to want to address this major issue, which for years has been behind the Balkanisation of so many countries in the region, and the establishment, installation, stabilisation and solidification of one great foreign and aggravating element, Zionist Israel!

To know the enemy is half the victory. No victory or defence can be devised or pursued without knowing whom one is fighting. Since the "enemy" in this case is right there on the home grounds of the people he is invading and attacking, it should be obvious who he is.

I ask, of the people who live in the region, the Press who write about it, and Muslims particularly, what would the Prophet have done faced with such a scenario? What are you doing?

Read a rare and refreshingly clear voice of startling and exceptionally clear vision on this “unmentionable topic,” by an American. He, and what he has to say on the matter, may be a good platform from which to search for the truth of the enemy, and get an ID on him.

Scott Ritter is not only a clear-sighted and perceptive visionary, he is a brave man who writes exceptionally well. Worth reading!

Israel at present can have no friends, because Israel does not know how to be a friend. Driven by xenophobic paranoia and historical grievances, Israel is embarked on a path that can only lead to death and destruction. ...” writes Ritter.

America's inability to resolve the question of Palestine is one of the gravest tragedies of our times. This is primarily because the US administration and the US Congress have succumbed to the demands of the Zionists and the Zionist regime. This is a lethal ailment that afflicts the US. The American politicians have fallen captive to the Zionist network. Even though Jews only make up 2.9 per cent of the country's population, an astounding 56 per cent of Clinton's appointees were Jews. Let me assure you the situation was the same in the Bush administration. A coincidence? I don't think so. You have to ask yourselves what motivates American Jews to gain such political power. Is it a genuine care for American interests?

The proportion of 56 per cent in the administration, compared to 2.9 per cent in the populations, says it all without going into the specific numbers. Surely fair-minded Americans the likes of Scott Ritter prefer US-inspired policies to those perpetrated by the Zionists. Regretably little is being done to cure this fatal disease.