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DECEMBER 2008 THINK-ISRAEL BLOG-EDS
Opinions And Editorials By Our Readers


ISRAEL AT WAR: A PRIMER
Posted by Honest Reporting, December 31, 2008.

Israel has launched a major military operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Over the coming days and beyond, Israel will come under intense pressure both in the mainstream media and in online forums and the blogosphere. HonestReporting presents a guide to the important talking points to enable you to answer the questions and issues that will appear.

Defending Israeli citizens from terrorist fire

  • Since the end of a formal ceasefire (during which terror attacks continued) with Hamas came to an end on Dec. 19, more than 170 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli civilians including a barrage of some 80 missiles on Dec. 24 alone.

  • As US President-elect Obama stated during a visit to Sderot five months ago, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."

  • No other country in the world would have exercised the amount of restraint that Israel has shown for the past several years without responding.

Hamas bears responsibility

  • The deterioration in the situation is the direct result of Hamas policy. It violated the calm, is firing against and attacking Israeli citizens, and is investing all its resources in arming itself and gathering power.

  • If Hamas would renounce the path of terror, there would be no need for the Israeli action. Quiet will be answered with quiet, but terror will elicit a response.

  • "We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there." — US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice

  • "We talked to them [Hamas] and we told them 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop' so that we could have avoided what happened." — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

  • "For quite some time, Egypt has been warning. Whoever tried to confuse the understand of [ignore] this warning, must bear the responsibility. The Prime Minister of Israel warned the Hamas and said: "You must stop, otherwise we will take measures in response." In response to what? To not renewing the calm, to the rocket fire. Just before the arrival of [Israeli Foreign Minister] Livni to Egypt, 60 rockets were fired from Gaza!" — Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit

Israel targets Hamas and the terrorist infrastructure

  • The goal of the Israeli military action is to strike the growing infrastructure of terror and ability of Hamas and its allied organizations to launch missiles and mortars at Israeli citizens and carry out terror attacks.

  • Hamas has used the ceasefire to massively arm itself with increasingly sophisticated weapons to expand the range of the threat against Israeli civilians.

  • Hamas has demonstrated its increased threat as the Ashdod area was hit by rockets, marking the northernmost point where Hamas rockets have reached, more than 40km north of Gaza.

Israel does not target Palestinian civilians

  • The terrorist organizations work out of the Palestinian population centers and cynically exploit them, so the responsibility for Palestinian civilians getting hurt rests on their shoulders. Israel, for its part directs its activity at terrorist elements and does its utmost to refrain from harming the innocent.

  • Those homes and buildings which are used for storing weapons caches and manufacturing weaponry are legitimate military targets.

  • The high casualty figures being fed to the media from (unreliable) Palestinian medical sources do not differentiate between terrorists and civilians. The vast majority of those killed in IDF actions have been terrorists. Hamas terrorists do not always wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from the general population.

  • As The Times of London reports: "Radio stations ordered all members of the security forces, who have borne the brunt of the attack, to slip into civilian clothes, stay away from their bases and avoid congregating in groups to escape death from above."

  • At the time of writing, even the United Nations is citing some 50 civilian deaths out of more than 300 Palestinian casualties.

  • Hamas TV has acknowledged this morning that the vast majority of those killed are from the Hamas military. A news ticker running repeatedly from 10:00 AM announced:

    "More than 180 Palestinian policemen were killed including the [Police] Commander, General Tawfik Jaber." In the background Hamas TV is repeatedly broadcasting the same scenes of dozens of bodies of the uniformed Hamas soldiers who were killed in Israel's first attack Saturday when Israel hit a Hamas officer's course graduation ceremony. (Source: Palestinian Media Watch)

  • In stark contrast to Israel, Hamas actively celebrates targeting Israeli civilians. A video on Hamas TV Sunday morning blended pictures of Hamas fighters shooting at Israel with pictures of injured Israelis and medical evacuation scenes. In addition, the visuals include pictures of skulls dripping with blood, captioned: "Let them taste violent death". Other narrations and texts include:
    "Send them to Hell! Tear them to pieces!"
    "Send them to Hell, Qassam missile!"
    (Source: Palestinian Media Watch)

  • Israel has collected intelligence on specific targets for the past year and has not indiscriminately attacked the Gaza Strip. For example, during the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas took control over many facilities in Gaza, including this building and the "Palestinian Prisoner Tower" located in southern Gaza City. The facility was being used as a central operational facility for Hamas security operations and as a weapons arsenal. Hamas offices were also located inside this building and and additionally, large amounts of weapons are also stored inside. The building was used only by Hamas and was not a residential building by any means.

Preventing a humanitarian crisis

  • Israel has continued to allow humanitarian aid to pass through Gaza's border crossings despite Hamas's rocket and mortar attacks, including upon the crossings themselves.

  • 23 trucks bearing medical supplies, basic food commodities and other humanitarian goods passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza beginning at 10.30am on Sunday morning (28 Dec).

  • "As the prime minister said yesterday, we are not at war with the Palestinian people, but with the Hamas terrorists, and therefore we are bringing in the goods for the Palestinian people," said IDF Major Peter Lerner, Defense Ministry Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories.

  • Three humanitarian aid agencies are sending goods into the Gaza Strip: UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), WFA (World Food Agency) and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). All three agencies were notified Saturday evening that they would be allowed to send as many truckloads of supplies into the region as they could muster. "We didn't place any limit on the number of trucks," Lerner said. "There are only 30 truckloads because that was what they were able to get ready for today."

  • Israel also plans to allow some Palestinians wounded in Saturday's offensive on Hamas to enter Israel to receive medical treatment. Meanwhile, Hamas is preventing wounded Palestinians from crossing into Egypt to receive treatment.

Further sources

  • International Law & the Fighting in Gaza, Justus Reid Wiener & Avi Bell, JCPA, Justus Reid Wiener & Avi Bell, JCPA (PDF format)

  • Did Israel Use "Disproportionate Force" in Gaza?, Dore Gold, JCPA

What can you do?

  • Please use the above to counter some of the misreporting and disinformation that is already appearing in both the mainstream media and online.
  • Download our free Internet Activism Guide to help you respond to media bias online. As the Internet grows as a battleground for Israel's legitimacy, we bring you the tools you need to join the fight. Our 24-page booklet covers the fundamental principles of online activism.

To see the video "Breaking Point, the Real story of Israel's Gaza Operation", click here.

Honest Reporting monitors the media and reports on thedishonest. Go to their Backspin page for recent articles and to leave comments
http://backspin.typepad.com/backspin/2008/12/myths-to-watch-for.html

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CRASH COURSE ON THE ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT
Posted by Avodah, December 31, 2008.

[http://www.israellycool.com/2008/12/27/israel-strikes-back/] Hat Tip: Israellycool

Apparently, Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview and was asked about Israel's occupation of Arab lands. His response was "It's our land". The reporter (CNN or the like) was stunned — read below "It's our land..."It's important information since we don't get fair and accurate reporting from the media and facts tend to get lost in the jumble of daily events.

Here are overlooked facts in the current Middle East situation.These were compiled by a Christian university professor:

BRIEF FACTS ON THE ISRAELI CONFLICT TODAY.

It makes sense and it's not slanted. Jew and non-Jew — it doesn't matter.

1. Nationhood and Jerusalem. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, Two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years.

5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

10 The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab la nds to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people's lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey .

13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.

14. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.These are incredible times. We have to ask what our role should be. What will we tell our grandchildren about we did when there was a turning point in Jewish destiny, an opportunity to make a difference?

Contact Avodah at avodah15@aol.com and visit his website:
http://am-yisrael-blog.blogspot.com/

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GAZA AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
Posted by Eli E. Hertz, December 31, 2008.

What unites Palestinian Arabs is their opposition to Jewish nationalism and a desire to stamp it out — not aspirations for their own state. Murdering Jews is a collective Palestinian Arab effort that requires a collectively sensible response.

Israel's reaction to nearly eight years of shelling Israeli civilian population centers from the Gaza Strip is nothing more than a measured, fair response, designed to effectively terminate armed attacks and more importantly — to prevent its recurrence. All of Israel's actions in this regard are supported by international law.

Hamas — a United States designated foreign terrorist organization, by their aggression and initial use of armed force against Israeli civilians and non-combatant Jews in breach of the United Nations Charter, constituted prima facie [Latin: on its face] evidence of an act of aggression — aggression being defined by international law as "the most serious and dangerous form of illegal use of force."[1]

Therefore, the rule of proportionality in this case of continuous aggression, needs to be met by Israeli acts that will induce the wrongdoing aggressor to comply with international obligations. A countermeasure need not be the exact equivalent of the breaching act.[2]

United Nations Resolutions demand of states to combat terrorism and reaffirm their:

"unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever committed."[3]

Judge Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice is quoted saying:

"In the case of action taken for the specific purpose of halting and repelling an armed attack, this does not mean that the action should be more or less commensurate with the attack."

Footnotes

[1] See: UN Resolution 3314 (XXIX). Definition of Aggression.

[2] United States Department of State, Draft Articles on State Responsibility, Comments of the Government of the United States of America, March 1, 2001. See: www.state.gov/documents/organization/28993.pdf.

[3] See: UNSC 1269, 1368,1373, 1377 .

Eli E. Hertz is president of Myths and Facts, Inc. The organization's objective is to provide policymakers, national leadership, the media and the public-at-large with information and viewpoints that are founded on factual and reliable content. Contact him at today@mythsandfacts.org.

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SHIMON PERES REPLACES JOSE FERRER IN THE FILM, "SHIP OF FOOLS"
Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman, December 31, 2008.

This was written by Rael Jean Isaac, Editor of Outpost. This article was in the December 2008 issue.

Shimon Peres is now Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St.. George, the sixth most senior award in the British system. The award immediately rises to first place according to one criterion; it easily boasts the most foolish recipient of any British honor. Future Knights should be embarrassed to be lumped in the category of Israel's Simple Shimon.

A few recent samples from the cornucopia of Israel's Prince of Fools:

  • On Nov. 17, Peres recycled one of his tired "witticisms" to the annual General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities. "Peace is a little bit like marriage. You have to close your eyes and accept what is possible to accept."

  • In May 1977, Peres was quoted in Jerusalem Report "In Argentina, the home of the tango, you know that in order to dance you have to close your eyes and let the romance begin. Peace is a romantic process." The assembled Jewish leaders laughed and applauded, suggesting they are worthy followers in the game of Shimon Says. (You not only have to close your eyes but shut down your brain to think that the peace process" has been anything but an unmitigated catastrophe for Israel.)

  • On October 28 The Jerusalem Post offers this surreal gem from Shimon; We will not cease to negotiate with the Palestinians and help them with all our might in order to establish an independent Palestinian state...never in the past 100 years have we been closer to peace than we are today."

  • Topping it off, speaking to the British Houses of Parliament (in the wake of the Grand Cross business) Peres declared that "the way in which Great Britain ran the Mandate" had "inspired the state of Israel." Of course, the way Great Britain ran the Mandate was to close Palestine — which it was "mandated" to make the Jewish National Home — to Jewish immigration, when the need for escape from Europe was most acute — dooming millions to their death.

    (Of course, this latest award to President Peres is a perfect companion piece to his Nobel Peace Prize obtained in conjunction with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat) jsk

  • On October 28 The Jerusalem Post offers this surreal gem from Shimon; We will not cease to negotiate with the Palestinians and help them with all our might in order to establish an independent Palestinian state...never in the past 100 years have we been closer to peace than we are today."

  • Topping it off, speaking to the British Houses of Parliament (in the wake of the Grand Cross business) Peres declared that "the way in which Great Britain ran the Mandate" had "inspired the state of Israel." Of course, the way Great Britain ran the Mandate was to close Palestine — which it was "mandated" to make the Jewish National Home — to Jewish immigration, when the need for escape from Europe was most acute — dooming millions to their death.
(Of course, this latest award to President Peres is a perfect companion piece to his Nobel Peace Prize obtained in conjunction with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat) jsk

Jerome S. Kaufman is National Secretary of the Zionist Organization of America and hosts the Israel Commentary website (http://www.israel-commentary.org).

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ANSWERING ISRAEL'S CRITICS
Posted by Steven Plaut, December 31, 2008.

This was written by Yigal Walt and published yesterday in NYET news http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3647296,00.html

1) "Israel's response in Gaza is disproportionate"

Since when is war a mathematical equation? The basic objective of any warring party is to inflict maximal damage on the enemy while minimizing its own casualties. Was there anything proportional about the US war in Iraq? Or about Iraq's invasion of Kuwait for that matter? Or about Russia's recent war against Georgia? Israel is doing exactly what any other country has done in the past. This is how war works.

Would a British citizen complain that "too few" British soldiers are being killed in Iraq? Probably not.

And on a more elementary note: Palestinian military inferiority is not an indication of moral superiority. Palestinian insistence on resorting to violence despite this military weakness is an indication of poor judgment perhaps — yet it is by no means an indication of moral virtue. Being militarily weak does not make the Palestinians right.

2) "But Qassams don't kill"

Actually, Qassams do kill. Not too often, perhaps, but dozens of Israelis were killed and wounded by rocket fire in recent years. Moreover, at this time the Palestinians are firing long-range Grad rockets with even greater explosive power. Such rockets killed 2 Israelis Monday.

Yet beyond the casualty figures, the psychological damage caused as result of living under an ongoing rocket threat is immeasurable. Would anyone in the West agree to have their family live under constant rocket attacks and be regularly woken up by sirens in the middle of the night? Would anyone living under such conditions appreciate being told that "these rockets don't kill?" Probably not.

3) "It's all because of Israel's siege. Israel should allow aid into Gaza."

Israel has allowed goods into Gaza regularly throughout the "siege". Palestinians have been able to complement these deliveries with supplies smuggled through hundreds of tunnels (of course, they would likely be able to bring in even more food had they not used the tunnels to smuggle in missiles.).

The day before operation "Cast Lead" got underway, Israel allowed dozens of trucks carrying aid to enter the Strip. On Tuesday, another 100 trucks — double the normal number — are expected to enter Gaza after Defense Minister Barak approved the move.

In short, Israel is allowing aid into the Strip (but guess who has kept Gaza crossings mostly closed thus far? That's right, Egypt.)

4) "Why didn't Israel just agree to renew the Gaza truce?"

First, what truce? Terror groups continued to fire rockets throughout the lull, even if somewhat infrequently, and even if the world didn't seem to care too much. Nonetheless, Israel clearly declared that it is interested in extending the truce. Our top officials made it clear time and again.

Yet Hamas leaders clearly declared that the truce has ended on December 19th, and proceeded to bombard southern Israeli communities with dozens of rockets daily. In short, it is no wonder that even the Egyptians are blaming Hamas this time.

5) "But Hamas was elected democratically — why can't Israel accept it?"

Although Hamas won the Palestinian elections, it took Gaza by force, in the process hurling rival Fatah members down to their death from high-rises and shooting others in the knees with the declared aim of maiming them. Some democracy.

In any case, Israel in fact "recognizes," de facto, Hamas' rule in Gaza, which is precisely why it is justified in attacking the Hamas-ruled Strip, recognizing that it is indeed being governed by a terror entity. Israel did not launch the operation because Hamas is in power there — rather, it did so because Hamas is a terrorist organization that has deliberately targeted civilians with thousands of rockets over the past 8 years.

6) "Israel is targeting civilians"

You mean to say that "one of the most powerful armies in the world" has been bombing Gaza for days, deploying massive air power, dropping hundreds of bombs, and ultimately killing a grand total of 50 civilians or so in the "most crowded place on earth?"

There are two options here: A) The Israeli army is not targeting civilians, or B) Israeli pilots suck. We tend to go with option A.

Indeed, Israel goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, by deploying precise ammunition and specialized techniques. In fact, nobody in the world does this better than the Jewish State.

Steven Plaut is an American-trained economist, a professor of business administration at Haifa University and author of "The Scout." He frequently comments — both seriously and satirically — on Israeli politics and the left wing academic community. Write him at splaut@econ.haifa.ac.il His website address is
http://www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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THE GAZA WAR: IS IT ALL SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?
Posted by Barry Rubin, December 31, 2008.

But why, more than one reporter from highly reputable publications has asked me, is Israel attacking Gaza now? At first, I was astonished: because Hamas cancelled the ceasefire and started massive rocket firings at Israel.

No, they responded, as if I had said something rude. Isn't it the election, or an attempt to stop the tunnels, or this or that reason?

Absolutely not, I say, it's like Pearl Harbor, or September 11. If someone announces they are going to go to war with you and then does it, you retaliate and fight.

At that point, the reporters seem to lose interest and bring the interview to an end, as if clearly a person who can say such things is not going to provide any rational analysis. Yet if one cannot even understand this most basic fact, what comprehension can there be of this issue or, indeed, of Middle East politics in general.

There are reasons, however, for this response. Large elements in the West find it very hard to "get," that is to understand, Hamas or the Palestinians in general — or, for that matter, Islamists in general, or Arabs in general, or Muslims in general — albeit with all the many variations and exceptions.

  1. The problem with pragmatism:

    Today, people ask, why didn't the Jews of Poland understand the Nazis were going to wipe them out, at least in the earlier period when escape or revolt was more possible? According to contemporary and later eyewitness testimony because they didn't think Germans would act in such an unpragmatic manner.

    After all hundreds of thousands of Jews were involuntarily contributing to the German war effort. They were making clothes, repairing roads, growing food. Why should the Third Reich destroy a highly effective, very cheap, and low-problem labor force, thus crippling itself and helping to ensure that it lost the war?

    Answer: ideology. A doctrine and belief system will make people act in a way that doesn't fit pragmatic expectations. Why should Hamas start a war against a stronger power? Due to believing itself to be stronger and needs to mobilize mass support. Why should Palestinian leaders reject a state even if it means the end of an increasingly small degree of "occupation"? Due to belief that total victory is inevitable, that compromise is treason, and that their enemies are satanic. 2. The solvency of solutions:

    The other big question asked is: what is the solution? How can, as some say, peace be attained; how can Israel, others say, eliminate Hamas? The presumption is that the first or the second is easy, or at least possible.

    Answer: Wrong. This is the Middle East — we don't do solutions. Hamas is not going to disappear, nor will it be moderate. Israel, for good reasons, has no interest in occupying the Gaza Strip. Fatah is incapable of retaking control there.

    This situation will go on and probably most likely end in some new ceasefire. Hamas will break the ceasefire a bit every week, and smash it altogether every six to eighteen months, repeating the current situation. That isn't the ideal outcome but it is by far the most likely one. 3. The unbearable lightness of gratitude:

    No matter how much diplomatic aid, sympathy, or money the West gives Hamas — and it has saved Hamas and the PLO over and over from their own mistakes — they will not become grateful or pro-Western. Anti-Western and anti-American sentiment is too valuable and too widespread to disappear. The Palestinians — and Iran's regime, and Syria's government, and Hizballah, and other Islamists — need scapegoats. Who else are they going to blame for their problems, themselves?

    If you save the terrorists today, they will commit more terrorism tomorrow. If you let them escape the consequences of their own extremism, you can guarantee they will stay extremist and take a lot of the masses with them.

    4. The reality of reality:

    In some ways, the most important — or at least second most important — thing to happen in the Middle East this week is that Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah went too far, calling for the overthrow of Egypt's government.

    Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit responded, "They have actually declared war on Egypt...." And when he says "they" he means Iran, Syria, Hizballah, and Hamas. The Saudis and Gulf Arabs are also drawing lines deeper than ever before. Publicly and loudly, they look at Gaza, and see Arabs and Muslims, and criticize Israel. More softly in public and loudly in private they look at Gaza and see the Iranian axis.

    This is the Middle East of 2008 and not of 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988, or 1998. The Palestinian issue has little effect on any other issue. The real conflict is Iran-Syria against Egypt-Saudi Arabia. Islamists are seeking to conquer the region from Arab nationalists. Radical groups are not interested in happy homelands but jihad and genocide.

    And so the issue is not why Israel is attacking Hamas in Gaza now, but why Hamas in Gaza is attacking Israel now.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Note: This article was written for Pajamas Media. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-gaza-war-is-it-really-so-hard-to-understand/

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WAKE UP! IT'S A NEW YEAR! CALL THE WHITE HOUSE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD
Posted by Justice for Jonathan Pollard, December 31, 2008.

Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard!

DIAL: 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111

Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EDST

From Israel, call toll-free: 077-566-4305

Israel Time: 4 PM to Midnight

Leave a message for President George Bush:

Free Jonathan Pollard now!

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THEY'RE AFRAID
Posted by Moshe Feiglin, December 31, 2008.

"Those who forced Israel out of Gaza do not have the moral right to send our soldiers back there," said Feiglin. "There is not and cannot be a solution to the present situation as long as Israel is ruled by the very elites that created the problem. Israeli society must free itself of their despotic grip."

I was at a family Chanukah party in Haifa when I received word of the High Court decision to overturn the District Court ruling that would have reinstated Michael Ratzon, and as a result — myself, as well, to our original slots on the Likud list. Our relatives were certain that the High Court would not embarrass itself by overturning the District Court decision. After all, everybody in the country knows why I was bumped down to the 36th slot on the Likud list. In the ruling handed down by the District Court, Judge Yehuda Zapt clearly writes: "In truth, the change in the list stemmed from the desire to distance Moshe Feiglin from the slot in which he was placed."

But I thought otherwise. In interviews that morning I had already predicted that the High Court's fear of me would overcome its embarrassment, that it would accept the Likud's appeal and that in the best case scenario, I would remain in the 36th slot.

They are afraid. They are very afraid. They see how the Israeli public has opened up to our messages. They see the amazing interest and coverage that my campaign generated. From their vantage point they can discern the progress of the faith based revolution much more clearly than we can. Deep inside, they understand that they are actually a relic of the past. They see the 'changing of the guard' of Israeli society and they know that they exist on borrowed time.

If I had accepted the offer of my friend Aryeh Eldad to head his party, the High Court would have had no problem. They had allowed Baruch Marzel to run, but disqualified me in the same election (for my 'disgraceful' crime of organizing the Zo Artzeinu anti-Oslo protests). As far as they are concerned, it is just fine for the nationalists to create a sector-based party for their own constituency, put six, seven or maybe even eight people into the Knesset and to invest all of their energies outside the arena that threatens them — the national leadership arena.

In the previous elections, Lieberman and the Likud won approximately the same number of Knesset seats. Lieberman emerged as the grand victor, while Netanyahu looked like he was permanently finished. But Lieberman was king of the sector. Netanyahu, on the other hand, was the defeated contender for the national crown. Just two and a half years later, Lieberman has exhausted his sector-based possibilities while Netanyahu is once again considered the up and coming prime minister.

Our strategic goal is to lead Israel. My election to the Knesset as an MK is a tactical tool to attain this goal. That is why we cannot leave the national leadership arena for a sector-based party.

If we succeed in convincing the Likud members in the next primaries to vote Feiglin for head of the party, we will also be able to convince the entire Israeli population — and in a big way. If we do not succeed, then we are not yet ripe to lead the nation and we must continue to work and progress. The fact that we are progressing on the national leadership track scares the leftist elites now controlling Israel. Their fear is the most reliable sign that we are on the right path.

Now that all the parties have submitted their Knesset rosters and the dictatorship has exhausted its intra-party tools (in this round) the battle against me moves to the general Knesset arena. The radical Left Meretz party has already announced that it will appeal to the Central Elections Committee to disqualify me from running for the Knesset — in any slot.

Nobody said this would be boring.

Post-Election Miracles

Whether I will or will not get a Knesset seat or which slot I occupy on the Likud roster is not of great concern to me. But what has been really difficult since I was bumped to 36th place has been explaining to my supporters why I insist on not appealing the decision in court. After all, wonderful people have been following my lead for years. They have worked with unending dedication and volunteered countless hours of their precious time. Suddenly I stubbornly insist on something that seems to be completely marginal.

"True," they say to me," the High Court is not very popular, but these are the rules of the game. You can't be in politics and play by your own rules." Top notch lawyers volunteer to represent me gratis. Veteran Likud members call me in astonishment, "What do you think you're doing?" Friends who have been with me through thick and thin appeal to my conscience. "You can't abandon all the people who have worked so hard," they plead. "This is not your own private game."

Then there are the people who see my refusal to appeal to the court as a sign of weakness. "Why don't you fight?" they protest. "What? You've given up?" Later, their protests became even more accusing. "O.k., you've made a nice demonstration. But now Michael Ratzon has appealed to the court instead of you. His appeal is based completely on your case. The District judge says that you are completely right: "The Elections Committee did not have the authority to change the outcome of the elections. Clearly the measures they took were directed at the purpose of changing the roster in a way that would distance Moshe Feiglin from the high slot that he had won." (From the decision handed down by District Court Judge Yehudah Zapt). "All that you have to do is to turn to the court and request that its decision (that is about you) be applied to you, as well as to Ratzon."

But I refuse to do it. People who have supported our efforts for years call up in anger. And worst of all, people throughout the country call and say, "We stood in line for hours to vote for you. We feel betrayed."

And then G-d performs another of a long string of elections miracles. The Likud appeals to the High Court and announces that if the appeal is rejected, it will revert to the original Likud roster — in other words, I would be back in the 20th slot. Once again, the judicial process is exhausted despite my insistence and without the necessity for me to appeal to the 'enlightened' dictator.

On the eighth night of Chanukah, G-d removes the shadows of doubt. It turns out that our Father in Heaven directed us and the intuition of Michael Fuah and myself was right on the mark. If I had listened to all those urging me to appeal to the court, I would still have remained in the 36th slot — but without the possibility of expressing my lack of faith in the High Court.

Israel needs a revolution — not Knesset marionettes beholden to the dictatorship. If I now enter the Knesset from the 36th slot, it will be perfectly legitimate for me to lead the faith based revolution. And if I do not get into the Knesset, we will continue to lead the faith based revolution from where we are today. "You know," a prominent journalist said to me, "there is something unique about you. Every other politician who is no longer in the Knesset becomes immediately irrelevant. But with you, it makes no difference. You are always relevant."

The truth is that the faith based revolution is progressing quite well outside the Knesset. As a result of my primaries race, the faith based approach has reached almost every Israeli home. It will continue to take hold and develop either within the Knesset or without — simply because Israel's reality necessitates genuine Jewish leadership. It is the only relevant alternative that we have.

Influence in the Knesset

Most of the top slots in the Likud list for the Knesset are filled with those MKs who fought against Sharon and his Expulsion plan. The media called them 'rebels.' They worked hard to be elected to the top of the Likud list, with a little help from the faith based voters who responsibly and unanimously voted according to our recommendations. Those who supported the Expulsion were pushed to the bottom of the list. For the districts, Netanyahu endorsed the more 'centrist' candidates. We supported the more faithful candidates and won in most cases. The message is clear. Likud MKs eager to retain their seats and progress must be faithful to the Land of Israel, to the Likud constitution and to the values of the National Camp.

While he was planning the destruction of Gush Katif, Sharon could not have cared less about the right wing parties. The only place he had to fight was inside his own party. We all remember the mighty battle that he waged in the Likud Central Committee and against the 'rebels.'

If Netanyahu as PM attempts to surrender the Golan Heights or divide Jerusalem he will be met with serious opposition from within the Likud. In order to make the pro-Land of Israel faction in the Likud even stronger, it is crucial to register for the Likud. When the public faithful to the Land of Israel registers for the Likud and integrates into the party, it sends a message loud and clear: Those who are not faithful to the Land of Israel will not be re-elected.

Concerned about the Land of Israel? Now is the time to register for the Likud (Israeli citizens only). Encourage your friends, family and neighbors to register as well. Click here for the online registration form. Please fax the completed form to our office at 09 792 0570 or mail it to our office: POB 301, Ginot Shomron, 44853.

One more point. Toward the bottom of the Likud roster there are a number of faith based candidates who will be important in the Knesset. Keti Sheetrit is in slot 31, Sagiv Asulin in 33, Boaz Haetzni in 34, Moshe Feiglin in 36, Michael Ratzon in 37, Ehud Yatom in 38, Moshe Lehrer (of the Achi party — we're glad to welcome him on board and hope that more good people like him will realize that the Likud is the most effective place to work for the future of our Land, People and Torah) in 39 and Osnat Mark in the 40th slot.

You, the faith based voter, must decide. Do you want to use your vote to put faithful but politically insignificant people into the Knesset? Or would you prefer to use your vote to put in people who will have the political power to actually protect the Land of Israel? The choice is in your hands.

Demonstrations in the Knesset

Not surprisingly, the Jewish Home party imploded and its two components will now be running on separate lists. These parties have chalked up some positive achievements, but they never had — and never will have — political influence. They were not capable of stopping the retreat from Sinai, from Shechem, Hebron or Gush Katif. They will not be the parties to stop the retreat from the Golan Heights or Jerusalem. True, their speeches in the Knesset will express our feelings exactly. But they will be nothing more than a wonderful demonstration in the parliament.

The politicians who make up the renewed National Union are excellent people. But the only place to create the true solution to Israel's crisis — and not just to demonstrate — is in the Likud.

Join the Team!

Donate to help Moshe Feiglin establish authentic Jewish leadership for Israel. Click here to donate today!

Moshe Feiglin Campaign Headquarters
Email: update@mflikud.com
Web: www.mflikud.com
Tel: 02-996-1123 (Israel); 516-295-3222 (USA)

Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) is a group of people inside the Likud party who want to see Israel adopt a more Jewish character. Moshe Feiglin, its cofounder, has emphatically said he does not want a theocracy, but he does want a State based on Jewish values. The Manhigut Yehudit website address is http://www.manhigut.org. To learn more about Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) and to read their plan for Israel's future, visit www.jewishisrael.org. Or contact Shmuel Sackett, International Director (516) 330-4922 (cell)

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I WANT TO CHALLENGE YOU TO SUPPORT ISRAEL
Posted by Kendra Summers, December 31, 2008.
HAMAS IS FLOODING THE IDF SITE ON YOUTUBE WITH NEGATIVE COMMENTS I SAY WE FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE! GO TO YOU TUBE AND TYPE IN IDF. FOOD THEIR SITE WITH WORDS OF LOVE AND SUPPORT AND LET OUR WORDS GO CLEAR AROUND THE WORLD TO LET ISRAEL KNOW HOW MUCH WE LOVE HER!!

Contact Kendra Summers at kendrasummers@cgmailbox.com

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MUSLIM APOLOGIA
Posted by Paul Eidelberg, December 31, 2008.

Muslims never forget; indeed, they are taught never to forget the assaults of their enemies even if such assaults occurred more than a thousand years ago.

Reza Aslan is a Muslim apologist. Much of his book No god but God (Random House 2006) is a shockingly disingenuous exercise in obscuring the savage and genocidal history of Islam.

Askan points out that the Ayatollah Khomeini "deliberately cast Iran's horrific eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq as revenge for the massacre of Husayn and his family at Karbala" at the end of the seventh century!!!

Without being judgmental, about Iran in its war with Iraq, he says, "In fact, the ten thousand Iranian children who were thrown into the front lines of the war as human mine sweepers wore keys to Karbala around their necks and headbands emblazoned with the word Karbala to remind them that they were ... walking in the footsteps of the martyrs."

This lesson in Islam is of fundamental importance. It must be borne in mind by Israel's government and by the people of Israel. Because Hamas, Iran's proxy, will NEVER forget Israel's current attack on Gaza.

Israel will NEVER pacify Hamas. Forget about cease fires or hudnas. No sir: Hamas must be totally destroyed.

Professor Eidelberg is the founder and president of The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, a Jerusalem-based think tank for improving Israel's system of governance. Contact him at list-owner@foundation1.org

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FROM ISRAEL: STILL HOLDING
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 31, 2008.

I note in passing that tonight is New Year's eve in much of the Western world.

Here, where we observe Rosh Hashana as the start of the year, it's business "as usual" tonight. Right now that includes contending with a war.

But I am pleased to wish everyone reading this a good new year — filled with health and peace, love of family and friends and financial security.

~~~~~~~~~~

Still holding: I'm grateful to be able to write this.

Last night French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner proposed a 48 hour cease-fire. The suggestion was made, ostensibly, so that humanitarian supplies might get in. This was rejected out of hand by our government, because it implies that supplies are not getting in now, and this is not the case (see below).

But Kouchner wasn't done. He persisted with this idea, saying that 48 hours would give Paris the time to work on a more permanent cease-fire. Uh oh. This rang considerable alarm bells. It's not time for a cease-fire. A half-way operation would be a failure — if we leave them with capacity to hit us again, it's a mistake.

For the first time, then, there seemed to be a split between Olmert — who was opposed and said the pressure on Hamas shouldn't let up — and Barak — who entertained thoughts of doing this, reportedly to give us a chance to regroup and wait out bad weather, and also to expose Hamas, which would not maintain full quiet for 48 hours and would thus give us further justification for acting.

Ashkenazi and the defense establishment were said to be decidedly not happy about doing this. The IDF is well prepared and ready to move on with the operation.

~~~~~~~~~~

A great deal of confusion ensued. Mixed messages. The issue of temporary cease-fire versus a permanent one not altogether clear. One unnamed government official was quoted as saying that if a sustainable cease-fire could be arranged that wouldn't be bad, because, after all, that was what we were after — to get them to stop firing at us. But he had it wrong, whoever he is. We're past that. No more situations in which they can keep on smuggling, keep on training, just as long as they aren't shooting at us. This is what Olmert has said, and this is what the nation wants and expects.

First Olmert, Barak and Livni met to discuss this potential cease-fire. There was a black-out on what was said in their meeting.

Then the Security Cabinet met, and a decision was made not to agree to a 48-hour ceasefire, but to continue operations. "We didn't initiate the Gaza operation in order to end it while Israeli towns are still under fire," Olmert declared. What might happen in the future was left up in the air.

~~~~~~~~~~

So we are still left with the question of what is "enough"? That is, what end result is the goal of this operation and when would a ceasefire, or a cessation of our attacks, be acceptable for us? When will we know that our aims have been achieved?

There seems to be a consensus that simply resuming a period of quiet similar to what we had in the past is unacceptable. But do we drive Hamas to its knees? Destroy it utterly?

From my perspective, at a bare minimum, Hamas's capacity to hit us, and to smuggle in additional weaponry, must be destroyed. But a much weakened Hamas might be preferable to a Hamas totally destroyed and leaving a vacuum in its wake.

What is clear to me, with all of my contacts, is that I don't know enough to judge this very complicated situation. To demonstrate just how complicated matters are: Even as this ceasefire was on the table, Barak was seeking — and received — permission to call up an additional 2,500 reserves. I don't presume to know what's in this man's head or what he is planning.

~~~~~~~~~~

President Bush has called Olmert and offered words of support.

~~~~~~~~~~

I have seen conflicting reports regarding Hamas's response to the French suggestion of a cease-fire: both a belligerent refusal to cooperate and an expressed readiness to consider it if Israel opened all crossings.

~~~~~~~~~~

The rocket attacks are increasing. There were some 50 yesterday and today there have been at least 60. Beersheva is now being hit by Grad Katyushas: twice schools have been hit. The schools were empty, however: Beersheva falls within the 40 km. radius of Gaza in which students are being kept home. Yesterday Grad rockets hit Ashkelon and Ashdod and two people were killed. Additional rockets in these areas today wounded people.

Rocket strikes have been reported in the Sha'ar Hanegev region, the Eshkol region, the Yoav region, Sderot, Ofakim, an area near Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi, Netivot and Gedera. It is now estimated that 800,000 persons are within range of the rockets being launched from Gaza.

Magen David Adom (Israeli emergency service) is declaring an unprecedented high alert, with 6,000 ambulances at the ready.

~~~~~~~~~~

On Monday evening mortars hit an IDF camp in the Negev, killing one soldier — Chief Warrant Office Lotfi Nasr a-Din of the Druse village of Daliat al-Carmel — and severely wounding another. Nasr a-Din's grandfather is Amal Nasr a-Din, who served for 12 years as a member of Knesset with Likud, beginning when Menachem Begin became prime minister.

~~~~~~~~~~

Yuval Diskin, head of Shin Bet, provided a report for the Security Cabinet today:

"Hamas has been attacked as it has never been attacked before; it has suffered serious damage and its governability in Gaza has been severely impaired."

Diskin said many senior Hamas operatives were hiding out in mosques and hospitals, in some instances disguised as doctors and male nurses.

"Some of them have turned dozens of mosques into command and control centers on the assumption that Israel won't attack those places," he said. "Their development laboratories have been completely destroyed. Their tunnel system has sustained heavy damage. Hamas is trying to utilize [what remains] so that their operatives can escape to Egypt."

~~~~~~~~~~

We hit a mosque in Gaza City today, and the IDF let it be known that this was a place where rockets were stored.

Late on Monday, we hit the office of Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. We've also hit buildings that house Hamas's finance ministry, foreign ministry, labor ministry and the construction and housing ministry.

Other operations continue as well.

~~~~~~~~~~

A brief report here regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza. This information comes directly from an IDF spokesman dealing with issues of Gaza. Not only does each of you need to know the facts, they can be utilized in responding to inaccuracies in the media.

I'm seeing media reports that Gaza is without electricity. This is not the case. The Gaza generator is down, but it only supplies some 20% of Gaza's power. We supply about 75% and even with this war we have not cut it off. And Egypt supplies about 5%.

There are absolutely sufficient humanitarian supplies being permitted into Gaza: food, medical supplies, medicines. Some 4,000 tons of supplies has gone in, and another 3,500 tons is scheduled.

Yesterday 20 Gazans requiring hospitalization were allowed to come through: most chronically ill, and one person who had been injured in an attack. This, says my IDF contact, is a routine day-to-day happening. All the hospitals in Israel care for Arabs from Gaza.

~~~~~~~~~~

In case you still think the situation hasn't changed with regard to Arab attitudes to what's happening here, think again:

Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal, addressing the split between Fatah and Hamas, which he believes made this war possible, said, "We are telling our Palestinian brothers that your Arab nation cannot extend a real helping hand if you don't extend your own hands to each other with love." That's a criticism obliquely leveled at Hamas.

And, according to a Saudi website with reportedly good connections, a radical Shiite Saudi cleric, Sheik Awadh al-Garni, who issued a fatwa, a religious edict, that Israeli interests around the world be targeted, has been arrested.

Egyptian President Mubarak, meanwhile, says that Egypt will not open the Rafah crossing fully until the PA is in charge there again, because Hamas control is not legitimate and should not be honored.

~~~~~~~~~~

The PA has "suspended" peace talks with Israel for the duration of this operation. This is absolutely essential for them. How could they be seen dealing with us now?

The suspension was to protest the Israeli action, which "has resulted in 345 martyrs." That means every Hamas terrorist we've killed is identified as a "martyr" by the PA.

~~~~~~~~~~

Some small number of wounded Gazans has been brought to Iran for treatment, presumably transferred via Egypt. Egypt would not cooperate with transfer of a larger number.

Jordan will be taking about 40 wounded.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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ARAB: "LIEBERMAN, WE SHALL YET STEP ON YOU", AND THE ANSWER FROM AN ISRAELI
Posted by Daisy Stern, December 31, 2008.

The facts Drora is bringing forth in this mail are essential, and worth bringing to the knowledge of so many people as possible.

I have translated the mail to English, and am sending it to you, asking you to distribute it to as many people as possible.

Thanks, and best regards,
Sam

The article "Lieberman, we shall yet step on you", and the answer from the Israeli Arab woman called Samar to this article made the surfer on the Internet Drora respond.

This is what Samar (the Arab woman from Haifa) wrote:

We are not Israeli Arabs . . . . we are Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. And our citizenship is a technical thing that includes Israeli passport and identity card, which we have to present on demand from Israeli institutions. We have a nationality, and according to it we are Palestinian Arabs. We are not Arabs of this country, and we do not agree to be ascribed as such at all. Y-o-u have no nationality. Y-o-u have a religion called Judaism!! and you belong to it, and nothing more!!! Your only creation is the Hebrew language. Except of this, there is nothing that you succeeded to create during the 58 years that you are here as conquerors of the land of another nation!!

You are simply a nation without culture, and without any past that justifies taking pride of. You are simply individuals that got together from the Exile, you came with impudence, in order to fulfill your right for self materialization, on the account of this right of another people. The peace according to Rabin you have killed for ever!

Then, be ashamed, because we have nothing more to talk with you. And I refrain here from any sweeping generalization. I have Jewish friends that are like brothers to me, and I appreciate them very much, but there are people that in order to exist deny the existence of other people.


 

And this is the answer of Drora:

#270. Answer to #84 Samar from Haifa.

Samar from Haifa,

There aren't in the State of Israel or in the areas of Eretz Israel even one single Arab who hasn't an Arabic native country, (and that's why you are Arabs).

You invaded/you flowed in/you intruded — to Eretz Israel under the protection, encouragement and back up of the Ottoman conqueror and of the British conqueror, but just because of that you didn't turn into the owners or the sovereigns. Open a world map, Arab woman from Israel. You will found that the area of the Arab countries (22) is as big as the area of the European continent, and the area of all the Moslem countries (56) covers almost one third of the Earth.

A mighty area, hard to describe. Oil resources and wealth beyond any description.

Then, it looks like being alright, that the Jewish people shall have a very little country of its own, without having to share it with another Arab Moslem nation, doesn't it ? And let me tell you a few words about the Palestinian "people".

You are not a nation. You are a moslem fiction, whose aim is only one — to conquer The Land of Israel.

Let us start with your name: The Romans who conquered Israel called it as part of their occupation "Provincia Palestina" — in accordance with the name of the Pilishtim that settled in the Israeli towns along the coast. The Palestinians were red-haired, and came to the coast of Israel f r o m E u r o p e. They disappeared from our region about 1600 years before the birth of Mohammed. There is no connection at all between the Arabs, who originate from the Arabic Peninsula, with the Pilishtim — not genetic, not religious, not cultural, not historic and not geographic. You are Arabs and not Pilishtim. In the same way, the Romans could have called Israel as Provincia Switzerland. Would this have turned you into Swiss?

And with concern to Eretz Israel,
Samar from Haifa.

Choose whatever historical document you want, any historical map, any expert in History accepted by the International Academy, that will show us where is Palestine, when in the history of mankind existed a State or a country called Palestine, when in the history of mankind existed a nation that was called the Palestinian nation, who are you, from where did you come, and what is your relationship with the land of Eretz Israel. I cannot find even a single detail at any place in the world, even not at Moslem and Arab researchers (including the Koran, in which Eretz Israel is called"Eretz Israel, the land of the Israeli people"),that will testify your claims.

There is British documentation from the time of the British Mandate, Turkish documentation from the Ottoman period, documentation from all the occupations of the Eretz Israel — there is not the least reminder of a Palestinian people, and not of a Palestinian State.

So, let us conclude, that if you will find any documentation whatsoever (and which is not part of the Palestinian propaganda, that changes post factum historical facts) — as to your existing and being in the Land of Israel — then we shall have something to start with.

You are an occasional accumulation of factions and phalanges from all over the Moslem world, which hate one another almost . . . . almost as you hate us.

This is in fact the only thing that unites you — your hate towards the Zionists.

This is in fact a very poor basis to build on it a nation!

In 1948, the number of the Arabs living in Eretz Israel was identical to the number of Jews living in Arab countries.

The 20th century was a century of emigration and change of population on the whole of our world. All Jews from the Arab countries emigrated to their motherland Israel. All Arabs from Israel ought to emigrate back to their native Arab countries.

Not only that you didn't so — you continued to infiltrate and intrude into Israel in every sophisticated way that one can imagine, and that the weak policy of the State of Israel enabled you to.

In fact, you have today a Palestinian State, it is Jordan. But you want for yourself three Palestines — Jordan, "the New Palestine" that will come into being in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and of course that the Israeli Arabs, who identify themselves as Palestinians will continue to live in Israel and will bring to them more and more Palestinian "brothers" from all over the world. So that in another 10 or 20 years will the Jews be a minority in their land, and also Israel will turn into Palestine. This does not suit us. And therefore, this is what will happen at the end, even if our leftists spread illusions that fill your hearts with great hope: you will have to turn back to your native countries. This will happen, either by good, or by sword.

In the course of time (with the Zionist settlement), you adopted the Jewish ethos, which is — the sanctity of Jerusalem, and the right of return to Zion. Indeed, you have built a mosque in the middle of the most holy place of the Jews, (a Moslem custom wide spread in our world), but your holy city is Mecca and not Jerusalem, and the right of return you have only to your native country and not to Zion.

Concluding, I want to turn you to a lovable book, full of humor. Its name is A journey of pleasure in the Holy Land. It was written by the author Samuel Longhorn (who is known by the nickname Mark Twain) in the year 1867.

He travelled in Israel across the whole of the country.

He did not see here neither Palestinians, nor any green fruit-gardens, no Arab villages, no bustling towns. Nothing. He saw and describes loneliness, swamps, cholera, malaria, sand dunes. "Eretz Habacha" — "The Land of Crying", so he named Eretz Israel.

All what is here, this paradise called Israel — was built by the Jewish genius.

No wonder that you and your brothers like it.

And if you are sitting in your home connected to electricity and are typing an answer on the computer, it is thanks to the Zionists who organized here a state, that enables you to live in an entirely different standard than 99% of your brethren in the Arab countries.

A Jewish Israeli Citizen
The owner of the place.

Contact Daisy Stern by email at daisystern1@gmail.com

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TEARS FOR ISRAEL
Posted by Rich Carroll, December 31, 2008.

The cartoon is by Michael Ramirez
http://www.investors.com/editorial/cartoon.asp

Today's article is for the anti-semite, cowardly members of the United States Congress and Senate too intoxicated by Arab oil, too weak, too shallow, or too afraid of Muslim backlash to support Israel, the birthplace of our savior, Jesus Christ, in their hour of bombardment by the terrorist group Hamas.

This article is for American Jews who voted for a pro-Islamic Presidential candidate who has no intentions of supporting Israel, the candidate who said "If the political winds shift in an ugly direction I will side with them (Muslims)." (Dreams from My Father pg. 261) Where is your outrage? The civilized world awaits your response. I said the "civilized world," not the Arab nations who carry signs denouncing that Israel has a right to exist. This article is for an atheist pro-Arab liberal media who fails to mention 400 Muslim rockets falling indiscriminately into Jewish neighborhoods but shouts "disproportionate response" when tiny Israel hits back.

In case you have swallowed the Muslim propaganda bullshit, let us set the record straight:

There was no "Palestinian" nation in 1948. Or ever. There was no "Palestinian nation" that the Jews could steal. Or occupy. Four hundred years until WWI, the middle east was ruled by Turks.

There was no Palestine, no Jordan, no Lebanon, no Syria, no Iraq. These countries were created by European powers out of the ruins of the Turkish empire. The Jews have lived continually on what is called "Palestine" for 3700 years.

Since the 19th century, the Jews were the majority of the population of Jerusalem. Jews have been the most persecuted people on Earth. Many of the six million Jews killed by Adolph Hitler could have been saved if a country had allowed them refuge. But none did.

In 1922 Winston Churchill gave 80 per cent of Palestine (British Mandate land of the defeated Turks) to the Arabs.

Today, this is Jordan. Jordan would be the Palestinian state if the Arabs wanted one. But they don't.

In 1948 the United Nations divided the remaining 20 per cent that was left into two parts; one for Arabs, one for Jews. Sixty percent of the new Israel was barren desert. The Jews transformed this land into a rich oasis. Funded by the United Nations with billions of U.S. and Israel dollars for economic development, Israel thrived.

The Arabs could have done the same. Instead, their dollars went to their leaders' Swiss bank accounts to fund hatred and terrorism. If the Arabs had been willing to accept an arrangement in which they were given 90 per cent of the original Palestine Mandate, there would be no middle east conflict. But they weren't willing to accept Jews, monkeys and pigs according to their Qur'an.

The creation of Israel meant Jews had a homeland and state for the first time in 2000 years (that Jews had a state of their own where a Jew could be a Jew and not suffer for it. For Arabs, 1/6th of one per cent of the middle east was too much land for Jews. Any amount of land would be too much for Jews. There were no Arabs in Palestine until the Muslim invasions of the 7th century. In the nearly 1300 years that followed, Arabs made no attempt to create an independent Palestinian state:

"If the Jewish state becomes a fact, the Arabs will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea." ~ Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, 1948

In the 60 years that followed, Arabs have waged continuous war of terror on Israel. The war is not about land. The Arabs say they justify war against Israel because the Jews stole their land and occupied it. They are lying. It was the Arab governments who encouraged the Arabs to flee their homes. Some fled out of fear of war itself. Arabs were told by various Arab leaders that if they left their homes in Palestine they could return and have not only their land, but the land of the Jews, after they won.

Today, the Arabs who live in Israel have more rights than Arabs living in any Arab country. If the Jews were thieves and ruthless occupiers as Arab leaders and Jimmy Carter claim, why would they welcome Arab citizens and give them more rights than Arabs enjoy in any Arab state? Arabs have full citizenship rights in Israel.

The Palestinians were offered a state in 1948, and again in 2000. Both times they responded with armed aggression and terrorist attacks. The middle east war has nothing to do with land, it is only about the destruction of Israel:

"Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for all out war, a war which will last for generations." ~ Yasser Arafat

I want you Marxist Democrats to know that Yasser Arafat is the same terrorist that Jimmy Carter lobbied for to get the Nobel Peace Prize. I want you to know that Jimmy Carter, along with top members of the Democrat party, oversaw the Hamas elections. May you people rot in eternal hell for forsaking God's word in Genesis 12: "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you." Hamas is not a political party. They are terrorist thugs.

Israel left Gaza completely in 2005 spending $2.5 billion dollars to remove all Jewish settlers from their homes and businesses so that Arabs could have this land and, hopefully, be willing to have peace with Israel. Israel sent financial and medical aid to Arabs in Gaza, yet no sane person can explain why Hamas is firing rockets against Israel. What is the purpose? The answer is in the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an. There are 89 derogatory references in the Qur'an about Jews. This "war" is about Jewish extermination. The middle east "conflict" is but half of the real story. It is about the saying shared among Muslims around the globe: "First we kill the Saturday people, then we kill the Sunday people."

A victim is treated following a Grad attack on Ashkelon (Photo: Edi Israel)

Do you understand this, or do you need a rocket exploding in your back yard to italicize the point?

Contact Rich Carroll at crossedrifles@hotmail.com

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SEVEN WAYS (ONE EFFECTIVE) TO STOP THE ROCKETS
Posted by Jack L, December 31, 2008.
This was written by Moshe Arens.

For over two years, the Olmert government has been searching for ways to stop the shelling of Israeli civilians in the south. Initially while Amir Peretz was defense minister, and more recently with Ehud Barak as defense minister. In all this time, the residents of Sderot and the communities around the Gaza Strip were subjected to rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, while government efforts to stop them brought little relief. Of the many ways to stop the rockets that might come to mind, almost all have either been tried or else suggested and rejected. The results were disappointing.

First is what seemed like the preferred method — from the air. Israel has an all-powerful air force, and the risks to our soldiers when operating from the air are small. Air power was tried in the Second Lebanon War in order to stop Hezbollah's shelling of the north and failed. Nevertheless, it was tried again against the rockets coming from the south. Again fighter aircraft, unmanned aircraft, and helicopters attacked rockets observed on their way to launching sites and the workshops used to produce them, but to little effect. The rockets are small, mobile and hard to catch before they are launched.

Second, billions are being spent to develop an interceptions system that will destroy the incoming rockets in mid-air. This is technically very hard to do, extremely expensive, not 100 percent effective, and not capable of intercepting mortar rounds. In any case, the system, despite ambitious target dates for operational use that were announced in the past, is still far from becoming available.

Third, time and again politicians have called for indiscriminate artillery bombardment of areas from which rockets have been launched against Israel, though fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed. Similarly, the frequent calls for preventing food and fuel supplies from reaching the population in the Gaza Strip have not been put into effect with the knowledge that it would have counterproductive results that would not put an end to the attacks on Israel.

Fourth was the call that Israel establish a "price tag" for each rocket attack. This seemingly sophisticated approach was based on economic considerations that might give pause to the rocket launchers in the Gaza Strip. A sufficiently high price in terms of Israel's response would presumably convince them not to continue launching rockets. But the laws of economics practiced by Islamic terrorists are considerably different from those in the West. That did not work either.

Fifth, it was thought that the solution must lie in the sphere of deterrence. By making it clear that the Israeli response to Gaza rockets would be sufficiently severe, the Gaza terrorist would be checked from using that weapon against Israeli civilians. But the age-old lesson that terrorists are not dissuaded by anything had to be relearned.

Of course, some would suggest a sixth alternative — negotiating with the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip and accepting their terms for ceasing the rocket attacks. That is not as far-fetched as it might seem at first. The cease-fire with Hamas that Israel agreed to six months ago was a major step in that direction. But while it gave Hamas a chance to train, rearm and amass a stock of longer-range rockets, it did not bring peace to the western Negev.

Now that leaves the only effective alternative — for the Israel Defense Forces to take control of the rocket launching sites in the Gaza Strip. Over 60 years ago, in World War II, the Allies understood that the only way to put a stop to the shelling of London by German V2 rockets was for Allied armies to reach the launching sites in Western Europe.

Much has changed since then, but the rockets are essentially still the same (the Qassams and Grads fortunately have considerably less range than the V2s). So that leaves the job to the IDF ground forces.

Why has it been so difficult for our leaders — civilian and military — to understand this? The prospect of ground forces entering the Gaza Strip is not particularly attractive, especially after we have been told that "we have left the Gaza Strip forever." But nobody has yet found a way of defeating an enemy without invading their territory. Call it occupation or whatever else you like, but that is how wars have always been won, and if we are going to defeat Hamas and stop the rockets from raining on Israeli civilians that is what we will have to do.

"Once there, how are we going to get out?" is the ultimate argument sounded by those who oppose the only move that can attain our declared objective of providing security for Israel's citizens in the south. It is an argument that is based on the presumption that future events can be foretold with certainty; that the IDF, once in the Gaza Strip, will find it impossible to disentangle itself from there; and that Hamas, even after having been defeated, will continue to rule the Gaza Strip. Not very sound reasoning. This appeared in the Haaretz
www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=1051316

Contact Jack L. at yakovdov1@yahoo.com

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IT'S FUNNY TO THINK ...
Posted by Seth J. Frantzman, December 31, 2008.

It's funny to think: The dark news from Europe, the stories of more minarets, more Shariah law, and more Khaffiyeh wearing extremists, is beginning to take the form of a large joke, a sort of joke on humanity, 'progress' and civilization. It's especially funny considering two recent news items; that Hamas removes Khaffiyas from the necks of European activists in Gaza because they perceive the symbol as supporting Fatah and that the film Whatever Lola Wants, which romanticizes belly dancing, will also not be shown in Gaza, but will be cheered wholeheartedly by western audiences yearning for the 'exotic'.1) It's funny to think: The dark news from Europe, the stories o more minarets, more Shariah law, and more Khaffiyeh wearing extremists, is beginning to take the form of a large joke, a sort of joke on humanity, 'progress' and civilization. It's especially funny considering two recent news items; that Hamas removes Khaffiyas from the necks of European activists in Gaza because they perceive the symbol as supporting Fatah and that the film Whatever Lola Wants, which romanticizes belly dancing, will also not be shown in Gaza, but will be cheered wholeheartedly by western audiences yearning for the 'exotic'.

It is funny to think that in Gaza people who wear black and white checkered Khaffiyas have them removed by the police and are questioned. That is Hamas justice. The newest 'exotic' movie to come out of North Africa, 'Whatever Lola Wants' includes an hour of a white teenage American girl shaking her breasts and buttocks for crowds of men as part of her 'belly dancing training' where she 'frees her mind' and 'comes to know her body.' But there are some people who won't be going to this degrading film; Islamists. It is a strange world where the Hamas loving Islamic terrorist won't countenance the terror-supporting khaffiyah but the blond haired-blue eyed woman from the U.K will proudly wear it in Jerusalem and wax poetic about 'Al Khalil' the "real name of Hebron", while she lectures some Palestinian girl on how that girl is "not sufficiently nationalistic, you learned Hebrew, that language of oppression." It is a strange world where one can only count on the Islamist to remove the symbol of terrorism, the Khaffiyeh, and where one can only rely on the white European to wear that khaffiyeh, even at a restaurant in Jerusalem recently renovated after being bombed by one of those very Khaffiyeh wearing terrorists.

Let me speak clearly. The woman from the U.K wears the symbol that supports the terror that blew up Restobar on Gaza Street causing blood to flow down the street. The Hamas government of the Gaza strip takes that Khaffiyeh from around the neck of the same surprised blue eyed white girl and explains "not around here." The European gushes with enthusiasm and crowds up to see the 'cultural' masterpiece of some white teenage girl gyrating her breasts for men to watch and the white Europeans say "oh, this is an expression of an ancient fertility ritual from the Middle East." But the actual resident of the Middle East, except for some French speaking elites in Tunis, don't go to see this degrading movie.

Why is it that Islam makes more sense than western civilization and liberalism? Why is it that Islamism is so rarely contradictory. It is strait. It likes terrorism, so long as it is its terrorism. It won't allow belly dancing to be passed of as some 'ancient cultural ritual that empowers women.' It tells it like it is: "Belly dancing is a western import, invented by western women, it is a dirty immoral display of female nudity and corrupts men and women who are exposed to it." Western liberalism would like to jam 'oriental dance' down the throat of Islam, forcing it to 'admit' that its part of Middle Eastern culture. But its not. Belly Dancing is only 'Middle Eastern' in the sense that strip clubs are 'western'. Both arose for the same reason: to give men a place to go and smoke a pipe and pay a few coins to watch women disgrace themselves in the nude so the men may enjoy themselves. Is a tripper, on her hands and knees, shaking her thong in a man's face practicing an 'ancient fertility ritual'? Not really. She doesn't get pregnant very often with those clients, so we can't really say she is 'fertile'. She reminds the man of sex, so in that sense she is encouraging his instinctual desire to impregnate something. But liberalism would twist it all around so we can't figure out what is an ancient part of our culture and what is just a bunch of sleazy immorality.

There is something funny about watching Minarets arise over European cities and watching those leftist-khaffiyeh-wearing Israel-hating-Europeans supporting the rise of this religion in their midst. There is something funny about watching European women with their unkempt hair and their 'African' necklaces championing the cause of separate swimming at public pools and at parks for men and women. Only liberalism would support the very thing that it spent between 1850 and 1950 trying to make us get rid of. At the very point where the last social clubs will be forced to integrate men and women one will find that Islam will come along and save them, under the auspices of culture, so that they can remain 'males only', lest the Muslim men be offended. The slaughtering of sheep and other animals for Muslims, Halal butchery, is being brought to the same Europe where some people wish to bar Jews from Kosher butchery. So Islam will save the Jews dietary habits. The Europeans will soon no longer have to recall their history of genocide, the Holocaust, also thanks to Islam which finds learning about the Holocaust 'offensive'. That is good. Europeans shouldn't have to learn about their own history. They can read Ibn Khaldun's The Mugaddinah, his masterpiece of 'world' history. Europeans hated the Jews and gave them little, but it is good to see them bending over backwards for their most recent arrivals. The European, who never wore a Star and David on his arm, wears the Khaffiyeh around his neck and it is 'cool'. The Jews were not cool enough for Europe. Islam is cool.

There is something funny about the knowledge that Shariah law is now legal in England and beating one's wife is now judged in a special Shariah court. There is just something funny about European schools going over to Halal diets for the children. There is something funny about the fact that Amsterdam has legal prostitution and drug use and is 20% Muslim Islamist. Its sort of like a nightmare come true: sex slavery and Islamism, all in one city. Its nice to see gay activists supporting Islamism. Its funny to watch halter top wearing bra-less European women in their miniskirts marching for Islam. Its funny to watch it all because its all just a big joke.

No two civilizations were made for eachother more in history than the European and the Muslim. European men are becoming homosexual at about the same rate that Muslim men in Europe desire polygamy. Could anything fit more closely except a continent of same sex relationship loving males, abandoned women, and polygamous Muslims?

What is still funny to think about is my memories of that European 22 year old white woman, scampering off to her house in the Shuafat refugee camp in the West Bank to meet her curfew, she doesn't want to offend those Muslim sensibilities, wearing that khaffiyeh and declaring that she was "wants to live in a traditional Arab village but close enough to Jerusalem so I can go to bars in West Jerusalem." The European. They are such funny people. They will wear that khaffieyh in the West Bank to show their support for the 'resistance', they will encourage nationalism among Palestinians, they go with that khaffiyeh to some bar in Jewish Tel Aviv, a bar that has been blown up by terrorists, and the European doesn't think of the offense that they cause, or they enjoy the idea that they are "exercising their rights by wearing it, showing the Israelis that I support the Palestinians and am proud of it."

The European. When one knows the smirk on the Europeans face when the European hears about terrorism in other countries, the lack of empathy for other peoples who suffer from the terror the European supports, when one thinks of it they almost wish terror upon Europe, they almost look forward to watching Europe reap what it has sown. And then one thinks of Hamas and how they ban the Khaffiyeh. Will Hamas save us from the European? Who is worse, the Hamas activist or his European female European collaborator? Who is worse: the terrorist or his excuser, his lover, those who call his act 'resistance'? The terrorist is honest. The European is not. The European needlessly spits on the graves of the dead and offends the victims, wearing its khaffiyeh into the offices of terror victims, enjoying tea at elitist coffee shops and looking down on average people.

Hamas doesn't spit on the grave of the terror victim. Hamas can be relied on for its hate and one can fight Hamas with a closed fist. But how does one fight the European and his support of terrorism and the fact that he comes to every country in the world and exploits democracy in order to fan the flames of terrorism and ethnic hatred and nationalism? How does one fight him? Hamas knows how. We could learn much from Hamas. The European loves Hamas. If we can become like Hamas will the European love us? If not at least we can deal with the European the way Hamas has: remove the khaffiyeh and interrogate and expel them, tell the European once and for all: stay home and stop coming to our countries and trampling on the graves of our dead. You Europeans caused enough bloodshed, enough genocides: the world has had enough.

Luckily leftist Europeans have few children and their continent is being slowly made more and more poor through the immigrants in Europe: soon they will decline and be poor and suffer terror and ethnic and religious strife.

This appeared December 27, 2008 on Seth Frantzman's website: Terra Incognita.

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THE POLITICS OF AIRSTRIKES
Posted by Michael Freund, December 31, 2008.

In recent days, various Israeli leaders have offered a range of differing, and often contradictory, assessments of what the ultimate objective of the current campaign in Gaza is intended to be.

Indeed, it is hard to escape the nagging feeling that what is really motivating our politicians right now is not bullets, but ballots. With national elections looming in just six weeks, and polls indicating that Labor and Kadima are headed for the opposition benches, both parties have suddenly rediscovered the need to defend the country and its citizens.

While there is of course reason to rejoice that we are at last defending ourselves, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that our leadership has gotten it right this time. Chances are that even as they pull the trigger, they are keeping a steady eye on the polls.

Thus, as I argue in the column below from today's Jerusalem Post — now more than ever we need to raise our voices and make clear to the politicians that nothing short of total victory in Gaza will do.

Comments and feedback may be sent to: letters@jpost.com or to me directly. Michael Freund

This article appeared today in the Jerusalem Post http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456536778&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

thanks,
Michael Freund

The operation in Gaza is just a few days old, but Israel's leaders already seem confused about the objective.

Echoing the lack of strategic clarity that characterized the conduct of the Second Lebanon War, our decision-makers have wasted little time in offering a series of muddled, and often contradictory, assertions regarding the goal of the present campaign against Hamas.

This does not bode well for the days and weeks to come.

Speaking in the Knesset on Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was adamant, declaring that "we have an all-out war against Hamas and its kind." This would clearly seem to indicate the IDF intends to obliterate the terrorist movement and remove it from power.

After all, what else could "all-out war" mean, other than reentering Gaza and flushing out the Hamas regime?

But Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in US television interviews on Sunday, offered an entirely different perspective. On NBC's Meet the Press, she insisted that "our goal is not to reoccupy the Gaza Strip." And when asked by Fox News if Israel was planning to topple the Hamas regime, Livni said, "Not now."

But wait, it gets better.

Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Channel 10 television the other day that the present operation would only cease once Hamas is removed from power. "We will stop firing if someone takes responsibility for what happens there — anyone except Hamas," he insisted.

So which is it? Is the current campaign aimed at removing Hamas or simply delivering a blow to its terrorist infrastructure?

It would be comforting to think the different messages being offered are all part of a well thought-out plan aimed at confusing the enemy.

Comforting, but extremely naïve.

For if past experience is any guide, the more likely scenario is that the government does not have a clear sense of what it hopes to achieve on the battlefield.

NOW DON'T get me wrong. I am all in favor of the use of force against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Just last week, I wrote about the need to reassert complete military control over Gaza, put Hamas leaders on trial for war crimes and rebuild and repopulate the ruins of Gush Katif.

But it is hard to escape the nagging feeling that what is really motivating our politicians right now is not bullets, but ballots. With elections looming in just six weeks, and polls indicating that Labor and Kadima are headed for the opposition benches, both parties have suddenly rediscovered the need to defend the country and its citizens.

Bear in mind that Livni has been foreign minister since May 2006, and Barak has served as defense minister since June 2007. During that period, literally thousands of rockets, mortar shells and other projectiles have been fired at the South, and yet the government refrained from taking concerted action to stop it.

Indeed, since January 1, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 3,000 Kassam rockets and mortar rounds at communities in the Negev.

And yet, the military campaign only began on December 27.

So the question remains: What took so long?

Sure, the so-called cease-fire with Hamas was in effect until December 19. But that was a cease-fire in name only, one which the terrorists brashly and repeatedly violated.

On June 12, for example, Hamas fired a barrage of more than 50 mortar shells, Kassam and Katyusha rockets at the South. Similarly, on November 14, it bombarded towns in the Negev. Yet in neither instance did Israel undertake a large-scale military operation.

So it seems somewhat odd that precisely 45 days before the elections, with their fortunes sagging at the polls, Barak and Livni suddenly seem compelled to act to stop the rocket fire.

And not surprisingly, it is already paying political dividends, at least for Barak's Labor Party. On Sunday, Channel 10 reported the results of a poll which was conducted after the air strikes on Gaza the previous day. It showed Labor soaring to 16 seats from a projected 10 in earlier surveys. That is a gain of 60 percent in just a matter of days.
 

YOU MIGHT be wondering why any of this matters, as long as the IDF is getting the job done in Gaza. But that is precisely the point. If in fact this current operation is guided by political calculations, rather than straightforward military and security considerations, you can rest assured that it will end as soon as the political objective is achieved, with strategic concerns coming in a distant second.

And so, rather than achieving all-out victory, which is what is so desperately needed, we might very well find ourselves in a situation where Hamas is battered, but left standing, or perhaps replaced with a corrupt and hostile Fatah-run regime. In either scenario, it will only be a matter of time before the rocket fire returns, just as it has in the past.

So while there is of course reason to rejoice that we are at last defending ourselves, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that our leadership has gotten it right this time. Chances are that even as they pull the trigger, they are keeping a steady eye on the polls.

So now more than ever, we need to raise our voices and make clear to the politicians that nothing short of total victory in Gaza will do. It is time to reverse the disaster of the August 2005 pullout, and restore control over the area. Anything less will only mean continued turmoil and terror.

Israel did not start this conflict, nor did we seek it out. But we know how to end it, so let's make sure that, once and for all, that is what we do. Hamas fired a barrage of more than 50 mortar shells, Kassam and Katyusha rockets at

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THE WHY OF TERRORISM IN ISLAM
Posted by Dane Dahl, December 31, 2008.

I am an American living in Asia. I am not Moslem, but I am a writer and historian. I would like to share some information with you: information concerning Moslem violence and terrorism, and why the United States and its military allies throughout Europe and Asia must continue to be vigilant, and when appropriate, respond to individual acts of violent Islamic terrorism with relentless, overwhelming, and deadly force.

This information may help you understand what is going on not only in India, Pakistan, and China, as well as other parts of Asia, but also the Middle East, as well as Africa, Europe, and even the United States. In the not too distant future, Moslem extremists hope to involve you and your loved ones, as well as a vast number of other innocent victims in a man-made catastrophe: an organized and violent calamity of biblical proportions that is based on teachings that were added to the Koran, decades after the faith was founded.

Disregarding the social, economic, and political factors that serve as underpinnings for Islamic terrorism, I will address the more fundamental issue: the religious teachings that sanction violence against non-Moslems and AGAINST ALL WOMEN. Here are seven verses from the Koran. These scriptures have been translated into modern English.

...murder, crucify, or cut off the hands and feet of non-Moslems...Chapter 5 Verse 33 — The Koran

...create terror in the hearts of non-Moslems ...cut off their heads...Chapter 8 Verse 12 — The Koran

...and fight non-Moslems until Allah's religion is the only one...Chapter 8 Verse 39 — The Koran

...of all the loot you plunder from non-Moslems, 20% belongs to Allah and to Mohammed. Chapter 8 Verse 41 — The Koran (Author's note: Loot included kidnapped female sex-slaves.)

...Take as many as four wives from the women you are sexually attracted to ... Chapter 4 Verse 3 — The Koran

...God has made men superior to women... Virtuous women are obedient. If a woman becomes disobedient, beat her. Chapter 4 Verse 34 — The Koran

...When it comes to marriage, Allah makes it legal for you to take as wives, women whom your right hand possesses. Chapter 33 Verse 50 — The Koran (Author's note: This verse talks about the "loot" non-Moslems call... kidnapped female sex-slaves.)

Most people in the western world have never heard of these astonishing scriptures, but they are in the Koran ... along with a relatively short list of others, just like them. This is important because not all Moslems are the same; there are two very different types. Militant Moslems view these verses as commandments from their god — a primitive desert god, from a land of heat, sand, scorpions, and death. Militant Moslems think these teachings apply to life in the Twenty-first Century and they try to use them, regardless of the suffering and mayhem they create, whereas moderate Moslems ignore such verses because they were uttered a long time ago, when the Arabian peninsula, from whence Islam came, was a wild and savage place.

Historians tell us these terrorist teachings are part of a cluster of ferocious beliefs that were deliberately added to one specific part of the formerly peaceful and tolerant Koran. These startling changes were made, decades after Islam was first founded in the Arabian city of Mecca. By the time of these changes, the original (and real) prophet of Islam was dead. Thereafter the religious headquarters was uprooted and moved to the city of Medina. Islam began changing; under new leadership it turned cruel and predatory.

In fact, historians also tell us Islam didn't simply fall from the sky as a full-blown religion, but rather evolved from a persecuted sect of Jewish-Christians. The first Moslems in the city of Mecca were actually part of a larger group of Jesus' followers called the Ebionites.

Ebionites were peace-loving disciples of Christ, who shared their wealth with fellow believers, and taught that a man should marry only one wife.

In fact, women were much more independent in the Ebionite Jewish-Christian days of Islam. They were more influential too. I say this because my research has determined that the first prophet of Islam may have been someone other than Mohammed: I believe the first prophet was a very special Arabian princess named Khadija the Pure. Khadija was Mohammed's first and only wife for twenty-four years. Khadija was fifteen years older than Mohammed. She was considered to be fabulously wealthy, and she was Mohammed's employer, before she became his wife.

Mohammed on the other hand, before he became Khadija's employee, was an impoverished youth who had been raised as an orphan. Ultimately Mohammed worked his way up to a position as Khadija's business manager. With time, Khadija grew fond of Mohammed. However, Khadija was never a timid Moslem woman. She was liberated enough to boldly ask Mohammed to marry her! And she never allowed Mohammed to have other women in HER house.

Throughout her lifetime, even though Khadija had already converted to Christianity, Mohammed's first and only wife for twenty-four years remained an influential Arabian princess in the ruling family that controlled worship in the Kabba Temple, with it's pantheon of more than three hundred pagan gods and goddesses. Clearly, in the early days of Islam, Khadija was a person of great influence in Arabian society: and clearly Mohammed, her husband... was not. www.TheMoslemInstitute.com

After Khadija's untimely death from a terrible illness, Islam was hijacked by a cartel of corrupt men, headed by Mohammed himself. The faith was abruptly relocated to the city of Medina and new beliefs were added to the Koran; at the same time, old beliefs were deleted or relegated to unimportance, and the religion was changed beyond recognition. In the end, Islam abandoned many of its Ebionite Jewish-Christian teachings. Women suffered the most: they became the focus of repression, scorn, and violence.

Today, although moderate Moslems are loath to admit these ideas, and many of them are terrified to voice criticism of their militant Islamic brothers, because of fear that violence will come to them and their families, the fact remains that these added teachings are not the original beliefs of Islam; they are amendments: They are the terrorist teachings of Islam.

In the near future, militant Moslems hope to unleash a Jihad: a Moslem holy war upon the non-Moslem world; not only the United States and Western Europe, but also throughout parts of Asia, including India and maybe even China, and Japan. Because the terrorist teachings of Islam sanction treaty breaking, deception, and war, as well as looting, murder, kidnapping, terrorism, and human slavery (including sexual slavery), so long as these crimes are directed against non-Moslems, there is no limit to the things these fanatics can do. But the scariest part: Militant Moslems will do everything... in the name of their primitive desert god.

Once victory is attained in this violent holy war, these fanatics believe Allah will grant them harems of kidnapped sex slaves taken from destroyed cities and nations, as well as enormous fortunes of loot plundered from the non-Moslem world. They believe this because of the terrorist teachings that were added to the Koran. These terrorist teachings even say ransoms paid to Moslem terrorists, to redeem stolen property (like hijacked oil tankers and cargo ships) as well as kidnapped men, women, and children, are part of the Islamic loot these vicious criminals are entitled to receive.

These same terrorist teachings even allow Moslem men to force their kidnapped female sex slaves to marry them in Moslem wedding ceremonies, and bear children for them: whether the women want to or not. Terrorist Moslem teachings mandate only two requirements: The women must come from Christian or Jewish backgrounds, and secondly, if the unfortunate women resist, these same terrorist teachings say the Moslem husbands must beat them, and imprison them in their own homes.

As an eternal reward for their cruel deeds, if the Moslem fanatics die while committing war crimes and other vile acts against humanity, these extremists believe their fierce desert god will admit them to paradise and bless them with luxurious palaces filled with riches and populated by seventy-two virgin brides, who are exquisitely beautiful and modestly struggling to control their lust to have sexual intercourse with a dead Moslem terrorist.

With these stinging indictments against terrorist Islamic doctrines entered into the record, it is important to remember that the majority of Moslems are moderate, decent people, who love God and practice acts of charity and kindness to their neighbors, both Moslem and non-Moslem. Such moderate Moslems recognize these violent teachings as obsolete and out of place in the Twenty-first Century. In the author's opinion, in spite of enormous cultural and ideological differences that exist between the non-Moslem world and the followers of Islam, it is with this moderate Moslem majority that any long-term resolution to the Islamic terrorism issue will ultimately be negotiated.

However, given the massive population increases taking place in the Moslem world, at a time when poverty, chaos, criminality, and religious fanaticism are burgeoning, the numbers of Moslems worldwide who declare themselves militant is increasing; the influence their growing networks of terror cells exert on Islamic governments throughout the world has reached crisis levels. Because of the terrorist teachings of Islam, modern civilization faces a nightmarish future; the attacks on Mumbai, India, the World Trade Center in New York, and the subway bombings in Spain and London are simply previews of things to come. In this ferocious Jihad, nuclear and biological weapons are almost certain to come into play.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill: The road before us will be long and dangerous and terrifying; the United States and Europe and Asia must be resolute... and take courage. We must work together to neutralize militant Islamic movements... and if necessary... wage war against the governments that sustain them. At the same time, the non-Moslem world must also nurture moderate Islamic states and establish strong alliances with them. The very survival of our civilization, and even mankind itself depends on it.

Are you are interested in learning more about an array of Islamic topics including:

1. Who are The Seventy-two Virgins of Islam and how did they get into Moslem doctrine;
2. What role did the Ebionites and Khadija the Pure play, in founding Islam;
3. What role does militant Islam play in modern human slavery?

Go to: http://www.TheMoslemInstitute.com

Dane Dahl is an author and historian, who believes that the original Moslem faith began as a persecuted sect of Christianity: the Ebionite sect. He also believes the first and real prophet of Islam was someone other than Mohammed — and that person was eventually erased from the Koran. His recent book is The Pox of Mohammed, a historical fiction thriller. Contact him by email at historian@danedahl.com and visit The Moslem Institute website: www.TheMoslemInstitute.com

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ISRAEL'S RIGHT TO DEFEND AGAINST ATTACKS
Posted by Christine C. Quinn, December 30, 2008.

While many of us were celebrating the holiday season with friends and loved ones, the state of Israel found itself forced to defend against a series of unprovoked rocket attacks from Hamas militants. I want to express my support for the Israeli government as it works to prevent further violence against its citizens. Just as the United States reserves the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks, so must Israel be able to defend itself to prevent further loss of life.

In February of 2007, while visiting the city of Sderot during a Council delegation trip to Israel, I experienced first hand the shock and devastation of a rocket blast incident. That experience was just a small taste of the attacks many Israelis have faced on a near constant basis, and left me with a greater perspective on this ongoing struggle.

No one wishes to see escalating violence in the Gaza region, particularly in the wake of the six-month truce between Israel and Hamas that had left so many hopeful for further peaceful relations. But while I pray for a swift and lasting peace in this troubled region, I recognize that further military action may be necessary in order for Israel to preserve its security.

Christine Quinn is Speaker of The Council Of The City Of New York. Contact her at quinn@council.nyc.ny.us

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ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE OR ARAB PROJECTIVE ILLUSION?
Posted by Israel Academia Monitor, December 30, 2008.

This was written by Ami Isseroff and it appeared December 25, 2008 as a publication of the Zionism & Israel Center (http://zionism-israel.com.) It is archived at http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000642.html

About once a month, it seems that it is necessary to write about the Arab Peace Initiative (See Zionism and the Arab Peace Initiative) The initiative is constructed like a statement of the oracle at Delphi or a projective test. The point of the exercise is precisely that everyone can see in it precisely what they want to see. Even the Arab states that agreed to the initiative would probably be unable to say what it means. Consider each phrase of the initiative, and you will see that it is capable of multiple interpretations, and is sometimes self-contradictory.

The Arab Peace Initiative was designed to sow confusion in the ranks of the enemy, and that is what it has done. The promise of "peace" is so tempting, and the conditions so vague, that they can, and do, invite support from every well meaning and not-so-well-meaning analyst and adviser. The transition to a new president in the United States seems to many to be the ideal time to push for United States adoption of the Arab Peace Initiative. Surprisingly, not only Arabs, but Israelis and Zionists have jumped on this bandwagon. The latest to push for Israeli acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative is Eyal Benvenisti. His article is entitled "The Right of Return Myth." Benvenisti,[1] a most esteemed professor of international law, uses the most astute legal arguments to assure us that the Arabs could not possibly intend for the Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, since that would be contrary to international law and to the provisions of General Assembly Resolution 194 as he interprets them.

However, the truth is that in Resolution 194 there is no recognition of the refugees' right of return: Indeed, since the 1990s the Palestinians have been claiming that the resolution recognizes the right to return but their claim is baseless. On the contrary, the resolution denies the refugee's right to return to his home.

Moreover, the resolution set as a goal for the UN the solution of the problem of the refugees by means of resettling them in Arab countries. The formulation that was passed was amenable to convenient interpretation from Israel's perspective, because it left in its hands the judgment as to whether, when and how many refugees it would accept into its territory.I am but a bear of little brain, and not a professor of international law, and could find none of these provisions in General Assembly Resolution 194. Clearly, Professor Benvinisti's superior exegesis must be based on his years of training.

Now it happens, that on almost the same day, Professor Benvenisti's call for acceptance of the Arab Peace Initiative was matched in the Arab world, by a call imploring US President-elect Barack Obama to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative. One of the major points made by this advocate is that American Jews (presumably alluding to M.J. Rosenberg) are already calling for support of the Arab Peace Initiative. This Arab peace advocate, George S. Hishmeh, writes in Gulf News, a moderate Arab publication from a moderate Arab state, to explain that Barack Obama should heed Palestinian Views. And why are Hishmeh and Gulf News so enthusiastic about the Arab Peace Initiative? According to Hishmeh and his Gulf Arab publishers, this is the reason:

Walter Russell Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, puts it most succinctly in the forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs. Under the headline, "Change they can believe in," Mead writes:...

"Most Palestinians who left their homes and villages to protect themselves and their families were never allowed to return, and much of their property was confiscated by the new Israeli government. It is not a crime for civilians to flee combat, and international law recognises the right of such people to return to their homes."

This is what Obama needs to know. Not only the Palestinians or Gulf News, but Americans as well, are evidently mistaken about the intent of the Arab Peace Initiative. They all believe that it will allow Palestinian refugees to "return" to Israel en masse. They have not been enlightened by Professor Benvenisti. Now I ask you, who are are we going to believe, a smart Jewish professor, or some Palestinians and Arabs and Americans? Isn't it clear that Benvenisti knows better than the Arabs and the Americans what the Arabs intend in the Arab Peace Initiative?

What is the logic behind urging the United States Government to adopt an initiative that is intentionally vague, rather than sticking by its own much clearer program that was set forth in the Clinton Bridging Proposals? How can anyone seriously advocating support for a document or a policy when nobody knows what it means? Are the Arab states going to take it upon themselves to announce that Eyal Benvenisti will arbitrate all disputes about the meaning of Resolution 194?

Analysts like M.J. Rosenberg and Eyal Benvenisti were quick to note that "Peace" is the middle name of the Arab Peace Initiative. If so, what could be bad? They forgot that "Arab" is the first name of the Arab Peace Initiative. It says "Arab" right on the label. If it was called "Israeli peace initiative," and originated from the Israeli government rather than the Arab League, no serious analyst in their proper senses would think that the United States would adopt it as the basis for peace with no reservations. By urging Israelis and the United States government to adopt it, they are in fact calling on the United States to to abandon all pretense of neutrality and simply adopt Arab policy. More improbably, they expect Israel to simply cave in to a vague set of Arab demands just because it has the word "peace" in it.

There are, of course, a number of easy resolutions to the problem at hand. The United States and Israel can announce that they accept the Arab Peace Initiative, based on the Benvenisti interpretation of UN General Assembly Resolution 194, the Clinton Bridging proposals and the US and Israeli interpretations of UN Security Council 242. Or, more simply, someone can ask the Arab League to clarify, once and for all, what it means. [1] The Right of Return Myth was published in Haaretz,
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1049425.html

Eyal Benvenisiti's website address is http://www.tau.ac.il/law/members/benvenisti/archives/oldindex.html or contact him by EMail at ebenve@post.tau.ac.il

Contact the Israel Academia Monitor by email at e-mail@israel-academia-monitor.com

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ISLAMICS, SOCIALISTS, THE MEDIA, HAMAS ROCKET ATTACKS ON ISRAEL
Posted by Marc Samberg, December 30, 2008.

If the Zionists and Jews truly control the media, then why does it always look so bad for Israel? Cheesh. Wake up and smell the camel dung being hurled at you!!! You can't have it both ways. Either the media is controlled by Jews and Zionists and the news looks good, or else proof that that is a lie is in the bad news.

The article below is called "Israel Gets Slammed Again For Defending Itself" and was written By JR Dieckmann. It appeared December 29, 2008 in Canada Free Press http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/7199

JR Dieckmann is editor, publisher, writer, and webmaster of GreatAmericanJournal.com. He also works as an electrician in Los Angeles, Ca. He has been writing and publishing articles on the web since 2000. JR can be contacted at http://www.greatamericanjournal.com/contact.htm.

In a world view increasingly dominated by Islamic and socialist propaganda, reaction to the latest Israeli-Hamas conflict would be almost funny if it weren't so tragic. No matter what the facts are, the Arabs are always made to look like the innocent victims and Israel the aggressor.

The liberal world media is only too happy to promote the anti-Israeli view by looping over and over the television scenes of carnage and destruction rained down on the innocent Islamic victims by the Israeli bullies.

You may recall seeing scenes of carnage by Israeli bombing attacks against Hezbollah in 2006, often with the same actors appearing in rescue efforts in different parts of Southern Lebanon. In one unauthorized civilian video, the actors actually got up and walked away laughing after they had been brutally shot dead or blown up.

Without fail, the Islamists always exaggerate the damage and claims of "innocent civilian victims killed" in Israeli attacks.

As we've seen so many times before, the actual numbers of civilian deaths turn out to be only a small fraction of what the Arabs claim, and in many cases, were not even the responsibility of Israel. The fact of the matter is; when it comes to the killing of Islamic terrorists, not even their own government knows who is a civilian and who is a combatant. Terrorists usually are civilians until they become corpses.

Since Hamas' refusal to renew the 6 month Egyptian negotiated truce 3 weeks ago, Israel has been pounded with over 400 rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza strip. Where were the outcries from the socialist media mouthpieces then? Only when Israel was forced to counterattack in their own defense did the media think it worth reporting on.

But what did they choose to report? Just every last line of propaganda coming out of the Arab world and accusing Israel of aggression and the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians — just as they reported during the Israeli war with Hezbollah.

But what is even more noticeable is how the Islamics and socialists all wait until Israel gets the upper hand, then they start calling for ceasefire and U.N. intervention before Israel is able to finish the job. Never do we see any international calls to protect Israeli citizens from Palestinian terrorism, only calls to protect Islamic militants and civilians who get too close to the action.

It's the standard operating tactic of Islam to use false media propaganda to rally world sympathy to their side and against Israel. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in a statement that the Israeli attack was "proof of the aggressive attitude of the Zionist regime." But I guess the attacks by Hamas, that prompted the Israeli attack, don't mean a thing.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora denounced the Israeli air raids as "tragic and criminal." He also called on the United Nations to adopt "deterrent and necessary measures against Israel for it's continuous violations of Palestinian and Arab human rights."

In a statement issued on Saturday, Syria condemned the Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip as a "heinous crime and convicted terrorist act." "Syria condemns this appalling crime and calls on Arab nations and the international community to use all available means to pressure Israel to stop this aggression immediately..."

Turkey strongly condemned "the death of many Palestinians as result of Israel's attack on Gaza," and appealed for "an immediate halt" to the military operation. "We strongly condemn the death of many Palestinians as result of Israel's attack on Gaza. We are calling for restraint and an immediate halt to the Israeli operation," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate halt to the violence, as did the European Union, Russia, Britain and France, while several Middle Eastern states and the Arab League slammed Israel. In New York, the United Nations Security Council called for an "immediate halt to all violence" and urged all sides "to stop immediately all military activities."

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, on Saturday urged an immediate halt to military action by both Israel and the Palestinians, saying "there is no military solution" to the situation in Gaza.

After 60 years of failed diplomatic efforts to resolve this problem, it seems that the only solution to end it is a military solution, providing Israel is allowed to finish the job just once.

Javier went on to say: "The E.U. has repeatedly condemned rocket attacks against Israel. The current Israeli strikes are inflicting an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians and will only worsen the humanitarian crisis as well as complicate the search for a peaceful solution."

"Repeatedly condemned rocket attacks against Israel?"

I guess that didn't make the evening news.

Here too, Solana falls for the Hamas propaganda that it is "Palestinian civilians" that are taking the brunt of the attacks, and not the Hamas militants who are actually being targeted and killed.

And after 60 years of failure, he and others still seem to think that some "peaceful solution" is still possible with Hamas which is sworn to wipe Israel off the map, simply because it's there, and it's not Islamic.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who brokered the six-month truce, referred to Israel's counterattack as "Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip" and blamed "Israel, as an occupying force, for the victims and the wounded."

According to an article in World Net Daily, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his office today slammed as "barbaric" and "unnecessary" Israel's air strikes in Gaza, "There are no reasons for the Israeli raids." But according to top diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Abbas for months now has been petitioning Israel to launch a massive military raid against his Hamas rivals in Gaza.

"Unnecessary?" "No reason?"

How else is Israel supposed to stop the Hamas attacks and protect its people?

Hamas leaders have repeatedly warned they will not recognize Abbas after the 9th, and that they will launch a major campaign to delegitimize the PA president and install their own figures to lead the Palestinian government.

Abbas hopes a large-scale Israeli military campaign in Gaza would distract Hamas from attempting to undermine his rule. How many times have we seen this kind of doubletalk from Islamic leaders before — saying one thing to western states, and the exact opposite to their own people?

Even Pope Benedict XVI got in on the act as usual, after Israel defended itself, by imploring the international community to do "all it can to help the Israelis and Palestinians on this dead-end road... and not to give in to the perverse logic of confrontation and violence." In Rome, the pope said that "the terrestrial homeland of Jesus cannot continue to be the witness of such bloodshed which is repeated ad infinitum."

How many times do we have to play this game?

Continual Palestinian or Hamas attacks on Israel with nary a peep out of the international community, but when Israel finally breaks out of its peaceful posture and comes to the defense of its own people, outbursts erupt all over the globe condemning the "ruthless aggressor." And every time, Israel comes out on the short end of the stick — giving up more of the land it has won from its attackers before the socialists interfered.

It would appear that Israel has only one friend in this whole world, and that friend is the Untied States of America, at least for the remainder of the Bush Administration. It's uncertain just how long that friendship will continue into the next administration. Israel has good reason to be worried.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned Hamas for breaking the truce with Israel. "The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza," Rice said in a statement.

But then in concert with socialist diplomats who continue to deny Israel the approval to finish the job, Rice added: "The ceasefire should be restored immediately. The United States calls on all concerned to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza."

"Immediately," she says, before Israel wipes Hamas off the map. Diplomats always feel the need to stick their noses into the middle of a war to stop the fighting, only to have it start up again later. This war has been going on for 60 years because of failed diplomacy. Will Israel ever be allowed to finish the job without international socialists getting in the way?

White House spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, had a slightly different approach in a statement made from President Bush's Texas ranch.

"These people are nothing but thugs, and so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas. If Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel, then Israel would not have a need for strikes in Gaza," Johndroe said.

"What we've got to see is Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel. The United States holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire; we want the ceasefire restored. We're concerned about the humanitarian situation and want all parties concerned to work to make sure the people of Gaza get the humanitarian assistance they need," said Johndroe.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "Operation Cast Lead" against the Islamist aggression on Israel will continue "as long as necessary" I hope he means it this time, in spite of the Islamic propaganda and pressure from the international community to allow Hamas to live to fight another day.

Contact Marc Samberg at mechelsamberg@gmail.com

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US OR THEM: THE CHANUKAH WAR
Posted by Naomi Ragen, December 30, 2008.

As night fell, and we lit our Chanukah candles, we were filled with new hope; as our government finally undertook its basic responsibility towards its citizens and launched the long-delayed IDF strike against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. We were overjoyed that our planes had caught the Hamas murderers completely off-guard. They managed a magnificent coordinated attack on major Hamas military and police outposts that took minutes and did major damage. This included a strike on the swearing-in ceremony at the end of a Hamas military training program, sending all the "graduates" to an early martyrdom before they could use their training to kill more Israeli children. It left us proud and joyful.

Our news program showed us the home of a couple in southern Israel that had been completely destroyed by an unprovoked rocket attack this afternoon. The woman of the house, Aviva, was interviewed. She was asked if she agreed with the IDF strikes on Gaza that would provoke rocket attacks. With complete calm she said if this was the price the citizens of Israel had to pay for bringing peace and security back to southern Israel, it was a price she was willing to pay. Later, Aviva and her husband, who miraculously escaped injury, lit Chanukah candles in their rubble-filled living room. When they said the blessing, "He who did miracles in days of old and in our own time," it gave us all a sense of renewed faith.

The map showing which parts of Israel are now endangered, and which residents will have to spend the next few weeks in security rooms, is a startling fulfillment of the predictions of all those who begged that the Disengagement not take place. No longer is it just the citizens of Sderot. With the homes of the brave residents of Gush Katif destroyed, and the Philadelphi corridor no longer patrolled by the IDF, unlimited sophisticated equipment has been pouring into Hamas hands for years. Now, the rockets are falling in Netivot and Ashkelon, and threatening Kiryat Gat.

Just for some masochistic fun, I turned from the Israeli news to BBC. Of course, they were interviewing some Hamas spokesman talking about "Israeli atrocities, massacres, slaughter," etc. etc. But even Fox News had some blond bimbo repeating similar things from her "Palestinian source." It's not Israel's bad PR. It's the desire of the media to listen to the terrorists and sympathize with them. They are the ones who decide who to interview.

Just shut off your televisions. Don't read the newspapers. Hopefully, Israel is going to finish them off this time. Even the leftists, like Amos Oz, who usually lives in the Land of Oz when it comes to fighting against terror, seems to understand this, and has come out in favor of self-defense. Wow. Amazing. A leftist who believes Israel shouldn't commit suicide. That didn't stop three hundred leftists from marching in Tel Aviv to protest. I suggest we send them all to Sderot to live for the next few weeks.

I also worry about our other fifth column, Israeli Arabs. There were Molotov cocktails thrown at police patrols in eastern Jerusalem, and Arabs marching in Nazareth and other places. We should send them all to Gaza to be with their "brethren."

Also last night, memorial services were held for the Chabad rabbi and his wife killed in Mumbai. With the recent release of photographs of how Mumbai terrorists sexually mutilated their victims in the hotels, we cannot cry for dead terrorists. Evidence is mounting that the residents of Chabad house were tortured more than other hostages. In light of this, I say with no hesitation that the world would be a better place if every Muslim terrorist — Hamas, PLO, Al-Qaeda, Taliban (who are now threatening to kill any Pakistani girl who goes to school), and Janjaweed (who have slaughtered and raped their way through Darfur) were sent to their Allah and their 72 virgins immediately.

As for civilian casualties, Hamas only targets civilians. And their "civilians" elected them, after all. If their civilians get hurt because their elected government decided to end the ceasefire and put rocket launchers inside their neighborhoods, whose fault is that? In the war that Hamas declared, it remains us or them. I prefer them. I have one wish: that every reporter, every pundit, every media outlet presenting Israel's just and long-delayed war against terrorists in Gaza as a brutal, unjustified "slaughter of innocents" find themselves personally involved with terrorists at some point in their lives.

Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist and journalist who lives in Jerusalem. She can be contacted at www.naomiragen.com, where you can subscribe to her newsletter.

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FROM ISRAEL: STANDING STRONG
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 30, 2008.

So far we are doing just that.

But of course we see the inevitable, as Arab and Muslim nations work overtime at the UN to secure a resolution in the Security Council ordering Israel to cease all military action. This came after UN Secretary-General Ban's comment about "Israel's excessive use of force."

I hope and trust that nothing will come of attempts to get the Security Council to stop us, because there will be a US veto of any such effort.

This is from a White House briefing yesterday:

"For six months, a ceasefire, a state of calm, was in place between Hamas and Israel. Recently, Hamas refused to renew it. During that ceasefire, Hamas continued to fire rockets. Last week, Hamas substantially increased its rocket and mortar attacks on the people of Israel.

"Hamas has once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization that refuses to even recognize Israel's right to exist. In order for the violence to stop Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel..."

This places onus on Hamas, where it belongs.

~~~~~~~~~~

I cannot pass on the opportunity to share what Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of UNRWA had to say about this:

"Palestinians in Gaza believed Israel had called a 48-hour 'lull' in retaliatory attacks with Hamas when Israeli warplanes launched a massive bombardment of militant installations in the Gaza Strip."

This woman, once again, takes the side of terrorists against Israel, employing misinformation. The fact is that it was a 24 hour lull, that rockets were shot during that 24 hours, and that after this time Hamas indicated it didn't want to continue and shot even more rockets.

This, which should be a signal lesson in terms of what we deal with, is coming from the head of a UN relief and humanitarian organization. She has no business meddling in political affairs, but frequently does.

~~~~~~~~~~

But I'm seeing a lot of encouraging signs here.

First, from our side, as Olmert has instructed top staff to refrain from referring to a truce. There is no intention here of conveying the sense to the world that we're ready to pack it in. We're not.

~~~~~~~~~~

Our ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, delivered the same message: The operation would continue, she said, for "as long as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely...The main goal is to destroy completely this terrorist gang, which makes people on both sides of the border, in Gaza and in Israel, suffer daily."

We're deeply sorry about innocent deaths, she said, which we try our very best to avoid. But we're not going back to the sort of ceasefire we had before.

Israel is "concerned" about international criticism, "But first of all, we have the right to defend ourselves and we have the duty to protect our citizens. This comes before the understanding, which we hope to receive, of the international community."

And I say Bravo! to this. I will leave aside for a moment precisely what she meant by dismantling Hamas. (Her staff said she meant only infrastructure, but she may have been exposing an intent that Olmert and company very clearly have avoided mentioning, but which the head of the air force has now alluded to as well.) The point is that we're doing what we must as a sovereign nation — not appeasing, not cowering before the world.

Across the board, our public relations effort is showing itself to be smooth and effective. It even includes an IDF YouTube site on which military actions can be seen. The latest one I've seen shows Hamas people loading Kassam rockets on a truck when they are targeted. www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk.

And Binyamin Netanyahu, I am most pleased to say, has stopped all campaigning and joined the public relations effort on behalf of the IDF and our nation. He is exceedingly effective at this.

~~~~~~~~~~

On the international scene, I'm seeing a sort of disarray with regard to stances on the operation that is exceptional. Whatever is said for public consumption, a good many nations are glad Hamas is getting its comeuppance.

In some instances support for Israel is direct:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said forthrightly that the responsibility for the current situation lies "clearly and exclusively" with Hamas. Her Chancellery website speaks of Israel's "legitimate right" to defend its people and its territory.

Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, has said, "These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people."

Then there is this statement from Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg of the Czech Republic:

"Let us realize one thing: Hamas increased steeply the number of rockets fired at Israel since the cease-fire ended on December 19. That is not acceptable any more. Why am I one of the few that have expressed understanding for Israel?...I am enjoying the luxury of telling the truth."

Bless him!

In other instances it's an attitude reflected more by what is not said or done:

Qatar has offered to host an Arab summit to discuss the situation in Gaza, but both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are offering various reasons as to why this might not be a good idea.

There is actually a report that a pro-Gaza demonstration in Saudi Arabia was broken up by police shooting rubber bullets. The Saudi government, of course, denies this.

~~~~~~~~~~

Of course, there are also those nations quick to criticize Israel. In this regard we are hearing from Great Britain and France, as well as from the EU. The primary charge made is that this is "disproportionate use of force."

And so I want to focus here on the legal ramifications of this and similar accusations.

A key source to rely on with regard to this is a Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs briefing by Dr. Dore Gold, who heads the Center. (Emphasis has been added):

"The charge that Israel uses disproportionate forces keeps resurfacing whenever it has to defend its citizens from non-state terrorist organizations and the rocket attacks they perpetuate. From a purely legal perspective, Israel's current military actions in Gaza are on solid ground. According to international law, Israel is not required to calibrate its use of force precisely according to the size and range of the weaponry used against it. (Israel is not expected to make Kassam rockets and lob them back into Gaza.)

"When international legal experts use the term 'disproportionate use of force,' they have a very precise meaning in mind. As the President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Rosalyn Higgens, has noted, proportionality 'cannot be in relation to any specific prior injury — it has to be in relation to the overall legitimate objective of ending the aggression.' In other words, if a state, like Israel, is facing aggression, then proportionality addresses where force was specifically used by Israel to bring an end to the armed attack against it. By implication, force becomes excessive if it is employed for another purpose, like causing unnecessary harm to civilians.

" [As to civilian casualties] ...What was critical from the standpoint of international law was that if the attempt had been made 'to minimize civilian damage, then even a strike that causes large amounts of damage — but is directed at a target with very large military value — would be lawful.' Numbers matter less than the purpose of the use of force. Israel has argued that it is specifically targeting facilities serving the Hamas regime and its determined effort to continue its rocket assault on Israel: headquarters, training bases, weapons depots, command and control networks, and weapons-smuggling tunnels. This way Israel is respecting the international legal concept of proportionality.

"...the attack becomes a war crime when it is directed against civilians (which is precisely what Hamas does) or when the 'incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage.' In fact, Israeli legal experts right up the chain of command within the IDF make this calculation before all military operations of this sort."

There's more. Please see the entire report at: www.jcpa.org.

~~~~~~~~~~

On this same JCPA site, there is a second briefing by Justice Reid Weiner and Avi Bell on our actions in Gaza and international law. Noteworthy here is this:

Attacks on Israeli Jews that are part of a larger aim to kill Jews are in violation of Article 1 of the Genocide Convention. Israel and other signatories to this Convention are to "prevent and punish" those who carry out such acts, as well as those who conspire with them, incite them, and are complicit in their acts.

"The Convention thus requires Israel to prevent and punish the terrorists..." (emphasis added)

This quote from Palestinian cleric Muhsen Abu 'Ita from a TV interview (cited by Bret Stephens) makes clear that the above stipulation is, indeed, highly relevant: "The annihilation of the Jews here in Palestine is one of the most splendid blessings for Palestine."

~~~~~~~~~~

Tomorrow, more news on the war...

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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SAFRIR RONEN Z'L, THE PRIDE OF ZIONISM & A JEWISH HERO
Posted by Buddy Macy, December 30, 2008.

Simply put, Tsafrir Ronen was the most passionate Zionist I have ever met. Tsafrir's life mission was to protect and defend all of the Land and People of Israel; especially, in the vulnerable Jewish heartland of Judea & Samaria. He did this, in part, by exposing the insidious Arab campaign of lies and deception intended to falsely de-legitimize and ultimately destroy Eretz Yisrael.

I was introduced to Tsafrir Z'L in Israel in August, 2006 by a mutual friend and fellow activist. Some introduction — we spent the next eleven hours together, driving south from Tel Aviv to the many places where the past residents of Gush Katif were displaced after the 'Disengagement'. (Tsafrir had been a fierce and publicly vocal opponent of the Israeli Government's plan to expel 10,000 Jews from their homes, synagogues, schools, communities and livelihoods in Gaza and northern Samaria, and, unlike most mainstream Jewish leaders in America and Israel, he did not neglect our fellow Jews once the senseless destruction had been executed...rather, he embraced their cause as his own.) Tsafrir's true Zionistic and Jewish spirit glowed in pride as we witnessed the re-birth of a Gush Katif organic vegetable greenhouse farm far from its former home, just one year after the 'Disengagement', and, despite it. The long day was topped off by watching the Gush Katif championship basketball game in Ashkelon, the first one held outside the beautiful, once-thriving communities of Gush Katif.

A few days later I went with Tsafrir to the Lebanese border and back, enjoying falafel in Afula, seeing the devastating aftermath of Hezbollah missiles in Kiryat Shmona and meeting his brother, Gil — a member of the Israel active reserves — along with some of his fellow reservists. At the beginning of our adventure, I was immediately struck by Tsafrir's honesty, sincerity and exuberance for life. Of course, his favorite topic of conversation was his Homeland. Tsafrir was extremely knowledgeable about ancient and modern Israel, and spoke about the Jewish State with love and tremendous passion — similar to the manner in which a devoted son talks about his parents. If only the leaders and media in Israel expressed such devotion and pride for their Homeland!

Tsafrir was an activist par excellence who reached out across religious lines and commanded the respect, love and support of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, alike. He worked tirelessly on behalf of his fellow Jews whose civil rights had been violated or were threatened.

For the past seven months, Tsafrir had been working on the fulfillment of one of his dreams — the production of a documentary that would 'expose' the truth about Palestine and the 'Palestinians'. Entitled, "Hadrian's Curse," the purpose of Tsafrir's far-reaching, critically-needed project may be explained in the following brief excerpts:

If Palestine is the name of the land, than Israelis are the occupiers. If Eretz Israel is the name of the land, then the Arabs are the occupiers. The fight for Israel is a fight for the identity of the land. The identity of the land will determine who has the right to that land.

The accepted narrative in much of the world today is that Israel is an occupier of Arab land — that Israel stole the land from the Palestinians. But who are these Palestinians? If there are Palestinians, there must have been a Palestine somewhere. There never was. There is no such thing as a Palestinian. Palestine is the name of the land given to the Jewish people. The Arabs stole the name Palestine in order to accomplish their goal of eliminating the State of Israel.

Let us hope that Tsafrir's dream is soon experienced by citizens throughout Israel and that his work is then translated into all of the world's languages and aired in every country around the Globe.

I was extremely fortunate to get together with Tsafrir on several occasions in the United States, and I looked forward to each meeting. His spirit and optimism were contagious and always made me feel happy. In addition to speaking about Israel, Tsafrir spoke lovingly and often about Judy and his three daughters (even though I almost never got them right on the phone), and he was always quick to show me photos of them. Girls, you had one great Dad. And he was extremely proud of each of you!

Everyone who had the great fortune of brushing up against Tsafrir Ronen in his tragically-shortened, but oh-so-productive life was blessed to have known a modern Jewish hero and tzadik (righteous one). Tsafrir will be greatly missed, but his spirit and positive impact on Israel and the Jewish People will far outlive us all. Buddy Macy


Tsafir Ronen Z"L,

Tsafrir's Pro-Israel Activities got him into heavy debts, which are to be paid by his family Contributions can be deposited to account # 165496 at Bank HaMizrachi (# 20), Branch # 474,

OR By a personal cheque to his widow, Judi Ronen,
Moshav Moedet 19130
(From: Kati Cohen 03-5323-472)

OR make check to: Central Fund of Israel
c/e Marcus Brothers Textiles
980 6th Avenue
New York NY 10018
TAX ID # 13-2992985
Tel: 212 519 0207
At the bottom of check, write: Eretz Yisrael HaShleima

The family will receive condolences, pictures etc through his email address tsafrir-ronen@bezeqint.net

PS. Another article about Tsafrir by Gil'ad K'dumim is at http://www.quimka.net/?l=he&a=343677

Contact Buddy Macy by email at vegibud@gmail.com

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ISRAEL, US AND THE STINKING FISH
Posted by Barbara Ginsberg, December 30, 2008.

This was written by Rabbi Meir Kahane. in 1976. It appeared in The Magazine of the Authentic Jewish Idea

Anyone reading this Rav Meir Kahane article and is not on my personal list to receive the weekly articles written by Rav Kahane and would like to be, please contact me at: barhow@netvision.net.il

My blog address for Rabbi Meir Kahane's writings is: http:/www.barbaraginsberg.blogspot.com

Many times I have spoken of the Talmudic parable of the king, his servant, and the fish. Never was it more apt.

Once there was a king who sent his servant to buy a fish. The servant returned with a fish that stank. In fury the king gave the servant a choice of three punishments: "Eat the fish, get whipped for the fish, or pay for the fish." In common with most people, the servant chose not to reach into his pocket and he decided to eat the stinking fish but after two bites the stench made him give up and he decided to get whipped for it. The pain of the lashes, however, made him stop that, too, and he cried out, "I will pay for the fish!"

And so the fool ate the fish, got whipped for the fish and, in the end, had to pay for it, anyhow. Those in Israel and without, who refuse to understand that nothing will deter America from demanding that Israel make the maximum concessions, play the same fool. Those who do not understand that there is nothing that Israel can possible do, that there are no compromises it can make, that there is nothing short of full retreat to the 1967 borders that will satisfy the United States — are the same fools as the servant who ate, got whipped and in the end had to pay anyhow,

Their refusal to make the difficult choice of telling the Americans "no", now, at this moment, will see them making the retreats they hope will avert American anger; it will see this effort fail even as the frontier moves from its present lines within the Arab heartland to new ones close to the Jewish cities; and most important, the Americans will make the same demands they always have envisioned since the days of the Roger Plan — total Israeli withdrawal. And since this is a thing that not even the most dovish of Israelis will agree to, the result will be an ultimate Israeli firm "no", an ultimate American anger of the kind all men of "new initiative" propose to avert today by compromise, and exactly the same conditions of confrontation that would come anyhow if the Israelis said their "no" today. There would be one great difference, however, a "no" today will bring the crisis while Israel stands poised near the Arab capitols. A "no" tomorrow, after all the hapless and confused compromises and "initiatives," will bring the same crisis near Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Netanya.

This is what happens when foolish and confused Israelis, by refusing to pay the price of saying "no" to the stinking fish of pressure, attempt to eat it, submit to getting beaten over it and then learn to their dismay that there is no escape from the difficult decision that they should have made in the first place.

Let the Israeli government, its men of "new initiative" and the Jewish leaders in America understand several basic axioms:

1) America is committed to the Roger Plan and the world's interpretation of Security Council Resolution 242, i.e. Israeli withdrawal from all (but insignificant) parts of the lands of 1967. This includes the Golan Heights, Gaza, the entire West bank and the entire Sinai as well as changing Jerusalem's present Jewish sovereignty status.

2) American interests lie, in the minds of most officials in Washington, with Arab oil, the huge potential Arab market and with supplanting Soviet influence with American. This means, at best, an "even-handed" policy rather than a pro-Israeli one.

3) America is moving steadily to recognition of the "Palestinians" as a people and of whomever they decide to have as their leaders. Those leaders are clearly the PLO and already the move to "moderate" the PLO, "public-relations-wise" is underway so that Washington can more easily pressure Israel into recognizing them.

4) The Ford-Kissinger administration is determined to prevent stagnation and will pressure Israel into concession after concession.

5) No administration will got to war for Israel and no administration will continue the present aid level no matter what Israel does or concedes. The frantic search for human allies will end as unsuccessfully as those Jews in the past who forgot what faith in the Jewish G-d was and who turned to Egypt or Assyria or other "allies" for help, only to learn to their dismay that the allies betrayed them.

Stinking fish are not made to be eaten or to get whipped or. One must have the courage to look at the truth and pay the bitter price of honesty. America is tired of the Israeli nuisance and wishes it would eat the fish already. The time to loudly proclaim "no" is now.

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8440 DAYS IN PRISON... CALL THE WHITE HOUSE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD
Posted by Justice For Jonathan Pollard, December 30, 2008.

Polar Bear. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago

call now!

DIAL: 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111

Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EDST

From Israel, call toll-free: 077-566-4305
Israel Time: 4 PM to Midnight
Leave a message for President George Bush:

Free Jonathan Pollard now!

Reach Justice for Jonathan Pollard by sending an email to justice4jp@gmail.com and visit their website: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/rss.htm

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PROPORTIONALITY
Posted by Shaul Ceder, December 30, 2008.
This was written by Tom Carew of Dublin, Ireland.

If the enemy is the aggressor, and you are defending your rights — especially your right to live, and live free from terror — then the aggressor has simply forfeited any right to life. The number of the aggressors it is legitimate to kill is whatever number of fatalities will permanently eliminate their threat — not just temporarily halt their current assault, but also their capability to resume their aggression at a future time of their choosing. And the more fanatical they are, the more of them it will prove unavoidable to eliminate — possibly every single one.

So it was with the Japanese dug into 11 miles of underground tunnels on Iwo Jima island in the Pacific in February 1945. That fierce 35-day battle by U.S. Marines saw only 1,083 Japanese taken POWs; the remainder of their 22,000 force were killed.

Consider the estimate of Hamas now with 15,000 in three Brigades (North Gaza, Gaza City, Central, Khan Younis, Rafah), plus 5,000 more in five more terrorist gangs — Islamic Jihad, Fatah, PFLP, DFLP. The level of enemy fatalities (among the six bands of hostile armed elements) necessary to eliminate, and not only the current, but even more the ongoing and increasing threat to Israel, could readily prove to be 20,000. Like Iwo Jima, but so be it. The choice is entirely that of Hamas.

Which is wholly proportionate to the legitimate goal of security for all Israeli civilians.

Recall how King Hussein dealt with the PLO threat in Jordan in September 1970. Five to ten thousand PLO terrorists were killed, while the rest were expelled to Beirut — until Israeli intervention in 1982 sent them to Tunisia.

The scale of force needed to defend freedom in any context depends solely on that available to those threatening freedom, not on the wishes of the media, NGOs, or politicians.

And while some 60,000 civilians in UK cities were slaughtered by Nazi bombers in WW II, the Allied aerial counter-offensive to eliminate that evil threat cost 600,000 German lives — a ratio of 10 to 1. Disproportionate?

Contact Shaul and Aviva Ceder at ceder@netvision.net.il

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IRAN ACTIVATING ITS PROXIES
Posted by Olivier Gutta, December 30, 2008.

This was published yesterday in the Middle East Times
www.metimes.com/International/2008/12/29/iran_activating_its_proxies/1567/

After the six-month truce with Israel expired on Dec. 19, Hamas decided, or perhaps was urged, to resume its attacks on Israel. Thus Hamas went on a rampage campaign, firing rockets at Israel to create terror and death among Israeli civilians. As could be expected, Israel reacted the way most countries would when attacked, and to protect its population against a group it considers to be a terrorist organization.

A new war in the region is likely to benefit only one country: Iran.

Indeed, following the model of the summer 2006 war against Israel triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese Shiite organization, Hezbollah, Iran would benefit with a new front opening up.

This time Iran is turning to using its Sunni arm, Hamas. Contrary to what a number of experts in the region profess, Sunni extremists and Shiite extremists have no problem joining forces against a common enemy and putting aside their age-old rivalries.

While Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Palestinian Resistance Movement, also known as Hamas, was still alive, he refused to Iran's advances time and again. Yassin was adamant not to engage the Shiites. After his death, Hamas became much more open to Tehran's advances. Recently, Iran has become Hamas' main bankroller and as such wants to have a say in what Hamas should or should not do.

Hamas has most certainly benefited from Hezbollah's experience and could try to mimic Hezbollah's performance during the 2006 war. In fact, right after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in Aug. 2005, there were quite a few reports of Hezbollah operatives moving into Gaza to help their newfound Sunni brothers.

In light of this new "unnatural" alliance, it would only make sense that Hezbollah offers support to Hamas.

Hezbollah deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem went as far as saying that "Hezbollah's goal is to liberate Palestine." Qassem also called for "the Arab people to rise up to break the blockade imposed to the Palestinians in Gaza," something he described as a "crime against humanity."

Forcing the world's attention on Gaza allows Iran to divert the world's attention from its nuclear program: It's a win-win scenario at this point.

There is a real danger of Hezbollah launching a second front.

Last week the Lebanese army seized eight Katushya rockets aimed at Israel and ready to be fired. These rockets were found about one mile away from the UNIFIL headquarters and about two miles from the Israeli border. So a new front could open up.

Some analysts think Iran is also attempting to create a rift within the Sunni world.

It is therefore not a coincidence that Qassem accused Egypt of plotting "with the Zionist enemy against the Palestinians" and exhorted the Egyptian people to rise up to demand the opening of the borders with Gaza.

Egypt is not the only one targeted by this Iranian strategy; Saudi Arabia is also in the mix. On Dec. 19, hundreds of Saudi Shiites demonstrated in the eastern province — an area mostly populated by Shiites — in support of Gaza, brandishing portraits of Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah and waving Hezbollah flags. Saudi authorities have for a long time been quite concerned with Iran's expansion ambitions to dominate the Gulf region.

Olivier Guitta, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant (www.thecroissant.com).

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AN ANALYSIS OF THE MIDDLE EAST SITUATION AND GAZA FIGHTING
Posted by Gabrielle Goldwater, December 30, 2008.

This comes today from Laura Rozen's website —
http://warandpiece.com.

A well known Arab American analyst in Washington who asked to speak on background offered this analysis on the regional and domestic politics of the Gaza conflict from an Arab perspective:

There are two domestic agendas here. The Israeli one is very familiar... But what people are not asking and is at least as important: what are the f**** rocket firers hoping to do? ... If you look at what people are saying, there is a disconnect between what Haniyah and people in Gaza are saying, and what Nasrallah and Meshal and regional actors say. ... The Hamas leadership in Gaza is saying, we want a ceasefire on our terms. What Nasrallah and Meshal and Iran are saying: Egyptians, rise up ... What's missing in every analysis I see is that Egypt is the prize, the low hanging fruit ...

Sketch out the regional scenario: two unsympathetic forces hinged by Hamas. You have the Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraqi Islamist parties on the one hand, on one side of the hinge. ... And you've got the Muslim Brotherhood regional project for overthrowing [moderate Arab regime] governments on the other.

The hinge is Hamas. Because Hamas is a core member of Leninist collection of national Muslim Brotherhood parties. It is also the only Sunni member of the pro Iranian alliance because of the money it gets through Khaled Meshal. Hamas is a hinge, Syria is a hinge. You've got Meshal in Damascus who gets lots of money from Iran. Hamas is not neutral in the moderate Arab regimes vs. Iranian alliance rivalry.

Both stand to benefit here. One project advances [unrest] in Egypt to the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood. And while that is not something to be overjoyed for for Nasrallah, it's very helpful if it advances the Islamist agenda to destabilize your enemies.

It's limited ultimately. It's very unlikely to result in direct destabilization of Egypt. But they shoot for it, and hope that it contributes to the discreditation of all the [moderate, pro American] Arab regimes [Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia] and in that sense, shows that there is an authentic movement in the region that has two manifestations, the Iranians and the Muslim Brotherhood, who are resistant to the regional order and the status quo. ...

What you end up with here are two groups of political actors with domestic and internal motivations that largely don't have to do with Gaza. And they are using the lives of these people like casino chips...

Gabrielle Goldwater lives in Switzerland. Contact her at III44@aol.com

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CAMERAMAN TO MOURNING MOTHER: "HIT YOUR FACE, CRY, DO SOME ACTION"
Posted by Palestinian Media Watch, December 30, 2008.

PA daily: Media are manipulating Gaza news

Cameraman to mourning mother: "Hit your face, cry, do some action"

A Palestinian journalist has complained that the media and others are manipulating the images going out to the world:

"A mother of one of the martyrs stood by the door of the intensive care unit while crying... relatives and those around her were telling her what she should say to the television cameras: 'Say your son [before he died] prayed and went out.'

Another tells her: 'Curse the Arab leaders'... The journalists [in the hospitals] are going overboard in their insensitivity and taking advantage of the [difficult] moments, with the explanation that they are showing this to the world. One cameraman told a mourning mother: 'Hit your face, cry, do some action.'"
— [Al-Ayyam, December 29, 2008]

Itamar Marcus is director of PMW — Palestinian Media Watch (http://www.pmw.org.il). PMW is based in Jerusalem.

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THE ETHICAL COMMENTARY OF THE FATHER OF A MURDERED JERUSALEM CHILD
Posted by Steven Plaut, December 30, 2008.

Stop Talking about Peace and Start Talking about Justice

Of all the commentary the past few days, I found the following one of the most touching (in Hebrew only, my translation of parts of it follows):
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3646994,00.html

It is written by David Moriah, himself a teacher, whose son was butchered in the terrorist attack on the Jerusalem yeshiva last year. The column is entitled: "Stop Talking about Peace and Start Talking about Justice."

He writes:

'After our son was murdered in the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, the current scenes in Gaza bypass my human intellect and instead find their way to the basic primitive yearning for revenge... 'When our 16 year old son was murdered ten months ago together with seven of his friends, the TV screens of the world were filled with scenes of the yeshiva library filled with blood, together with scenes of the residents of Gaza dancing in celebration and flashing "V" signs to one another for victory, handing out candies and firing into the air in celebration.

'I do not deny that the current scenes in Gaza bypass my human intellect and instead find their way to the basic primitive yearning for revenge. But even more so they satisfy the fundamental yearning for justice. And anyone living in this land knows that there will yet come more pictures of innocent Jewish blood and more pictures of Gaza Arabs celebrating.

'Everyone knows that there lives amongst us a large community of citizens, and it includes members of the Knesset. They — in spite of occasional clickings of the tongue and even a condemnation here or there of the atrocities — clearly desire more mass murders of civilians and bloodshed to prove that there is no choice but to negotiate with the Hamas, not to defeat it, and capitulate to its demands.

'The media commentators will go back to explaining to us that the strong is the weak and that the weak is the strong and about how the victims and casualties on our side make it necessary to negotiate with the Hamas. Governments around the world pour out advice for us about how to calm things down and negotiate, while everyone on earth knows that in our place they would undertake the most destructive and violent retaliations without a shed of moderation or mercy for any poor women and children.

'Yet everyone is speaking about peace and no one is speaking about justice. It is time to stop the jabbering about peace and to address the question of justice. I met a grandmother with healthy common sense who used to say: "That which is evil is evil, and that which is good is good." Firing dozens of bullets at children studying in a yeshiva library is evil. Firing missiles for the purpose of killing civilians is evil. Causing agony to the families of the kidnapped is evil. And dancing for joy when innocent civilians are murdered by terrorists is evil. On the other hand, taking measures to kill the murderer before he is able to kill civilians again is good. To demolish the home of a terrorist in order to deter is good. And expelling people who identify with the Gaza murderers to go live in Gaza is VERY good.

'And good things need to be done immediately, with no delay or ponderings and the darkness must be vanquished immediately...'
 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Of interest, Annie Lieberman reported today in her Boker Tov, Boulder website (http://bokertov.typepad.com/btb/2008/12/dipnote-indeed.html) that a poll taken among the West Bank Arabs shows that

"an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders."

And that's the supposed 'good guy' terrorists.

Steven Plaut is an American-trained economist, a professor of business administration at Haifa University and author of "The Scout." He frequently comments — both seriously and satirically — on Israeli politics and the left wing academic community. Write him at splaut@econ.haifa.ac.il His website address is
http://www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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IDF OPENS A YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Posted by Aliza Landes, December 30, 2008.

The IDF's International Press Branch has opened a YouTube Channel. We will be uploading IDF footage as it comes out.

www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk

Thank you,

Aliza Landes
North American Desk
International Press Branch
IDF Spokesperson's Unit
206 Jaffa Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: +972 (2) 548-5800

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DAMNED IF THEY DO — BUT ISRAEL'S DEAD IF THEY DON'T
Posted by Barbara Taverna, December 30, 2008.

This was written by Ralph Peters and it appeared yesterday in the New York Post
http://www.nypost.com/seven/12292008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/ damned_if_they_do_146263.htm?page=0

DEAD Jews aren't news, but killing terrorists outrages global activists. On Saturday, Israel struck back powerfully against its tormentors. Now Israel's the villain. Again.

How long will it be until the UN General Assembly passes a resolution creating an international Holocaust Appreciation Day?

Israel's airstrikes against confirmed Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip were overdue, discriminating and skillful. So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower.

Instead of bombing empty buildings in the dead of night in the hope of convincing bloodthirsty monsters to become peace-loving floral arrangers — the US Air Force version of "Shock and Awe" — the Israeli Defense Force aimed to kill terrorists.

Israel's attack aircraft appear to have accomplished that part of the mission. As I write, some 300 terrorist dead have been reported in Gaza, while the propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has struggled to prove that 20 civilians died.

Given the fact that Hamas adheres to the terrorist practice of locating command sites, arsenals and training facilities in heavily populated areas, the results suggest that the IDF — supported by first-rate intelligence work — may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.

The bad news is that it still won't be enough. While Israel has delivered a painful blow against Hamas, it's still not a paralyzing hit. The only way to neuter such a terror threat — even temporarily — is to go in on the ground and scour every room, basement and underground tunnel in a region.

That would mean high Israeli casualties and, of course, condemnation of Israel's self-defense efforts by every self-righteous, corrupt and bigoted organization and government on earth, from Turtle Bay to Tehran.

What have been Israel's "crimes?" Not "stealing Palestinian land," but making that land productive, while exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.

Israel's crime isn't striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel's crime hasn't been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.

Israel's crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel's crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.

But Israel's greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history's grimmest disaster.

Was it a crime to hand Gaza back to Palestinian authorities, to give peace a chance? Look what Israel received in return for trading land for peace.

Let us never forget the fundamental truth that, while Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors, those neighbors openly profess the desire to eliminate Israel and exterminate its people.

Indeed, Arab and regional jealousy toward Israel is so all-consuming, so necessary to excuse the Arab art of failure, that even these judicious airstrikes will hardly make a dent in the terrorist threat.

Unless Israel sends in ground forces for the long haul — and thousands of IDF reservists are being mobilized — there will be, at best, a temporary respite from terror attacks. Even a new occupation of Gaza would not fully solve the problem.

A crucial point about interfaith and interethnic conflicts that we sheltered Americans refuse to understand is that, all too often, there's just no good solution — and not even a bad solution, short of acts of barbarism.

It's a rare conflict that results in an enduring peace. Unintended consequences abound. At times, you fight just to buy time, to gain breathing space — or merely to frustrate an enemy's designs for a limited period.

That's the situation Israel faces: No hope of an ultimate victory, but a constant fight to survive. Enemies who believe their god ordains their actions can't be placated. For faith-fueled terrorists, such as the core members of Hamas, the struggle with Israel's a zero-sum game. Compromise is, at most, an expedient tool, never an acceptable end state.

What will we see in the coming days? Much depends on Israel's resolve. The most probable scenario is that Hamas will continue launching terror rockets for a few weeks to salve its wounded vanity and maintain the image of "resistance," but will ultimately reduce its attacks against Israel — while it rebuilds its cadres and restocks its arsenal.

Israel will have bought time, not peace.

What might Israel have done better? It's essential to take out the top terrorist leaders. But Israel's government remains reluctant to target the cowardly Hamas leaders hiding in Damascus — or even the top terrorists remaining in Gaza.

For terrorist bosses, the rank-and-file are disposable and replaceable. You can't just kill the gunmen. You have to kill the names.

We may sympathize with the average Palestinian family, exploited by generations of corrupt leaders and now caught in yet another round of violence. But let us never forget that Israel hasn't fired thousands of blind rockets into Palestinian cities, that Israeli suicide bombers don't attack Arab restaurants and bus stops, and that Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians — while Hamas seeks to kill as many civilians as possible.

In a world where there are no good answers, Israel just answered as best it could. The world's response? "How dare Jews defend themselves."

Humanity doesn't progress. It just changes clothes.

Contact Barbara Taverna by email at

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ISRAEL TARGETS TERROR LABS FUNDED BY U.S. ISLAMIC GROUP
Posted by Barbara Taverna, December 30, 2008.
This was written by Patrick Poole and it appeared today on the Pajamas Media website
(pajamasmedia.com/blog/israel-targets-terror-labs-funded-by-us-islamic-group/2/). Patrick Poole is an anti-terrorism consultant to law enforcement and the military.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that Israeli Defense Forces aircraft bombed suspected Hamas terror laboratories located at the Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza (IUG).

According to the article, IUG professors were using the labs to build explosives for the terrorist organization. A BBC report confirmed that the IUG science building was the target of the Israeli retaliatory strikes.

Thus far unreported is that the IUG science and technology lab was financed and constructed with the assistance of the Dublin, Ohio-based Arab Student Aid International (ASAI). In fact, the IUG website has a page dedicated to ASAI's ongoing contributions to the Hamas institution and specifically mentions the labs financed by the Ohio Islamic group. Additionally, the ASAI website promotes its assistance in creating the IUG science and technology center, which was completed in 2002.

In a previously published article I revealed ASAI's extensive financial ties to the IUG, including direct cash payments to the Hamas school in addition to the facilities construction projects supported by ASAI. The Washington Post also revealed in April 2006 that ASAI had financed the Western education of a number of top Hamas leaders.

The organization's primary benefactor is Prince Turki Ben Abdul Aziz, a former high-ranking Saudi government official and half-brother to King Abdullah. Prince Turki has lived in exile in Egypt since the 1970s following a highly-publicized marriage scandal, his 100+ entourage occupying the top three floors of the Cairo Ramses Hilton. The prince serves as ASAI's chairman of the board, and the labs built by ASAI at the IUG bear his name.

The ties between Hamas and the IUG have been long established. The university was founded by Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, and many Hamas leaders hold faculty and administrative positions at the school.

In an August 2007 policy report for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled "Better Late than Never: Keeping USAID Funds out of Terrorist Hands," Matthew Levitt, former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Treasury Department and author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale Univ. Press), detailed the integral role that IUG plays as part of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure:

Indeed, Israeli and Palestinian scholars alike characterize the IUG as a Hamas institution. Meir Hatina described it as one of the key institutions that "coordinated [Muslim] Brotherhood activities in the Gaza Strip and later constituted a springboard for Hamas." Similarly, in his book Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza, Ziad Abu Amr depicted the IUG as "the principal Muslim Brotherhood stronghold," referring to the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, which became Hamas in December 1987. "The University's administration, most of the employees who work there, and the majority of students are Brotherhood supporters," he concluded.

Hamas itself has corroborated these ties. In a 2003 interview in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal boasted of the group's participation in building the IUG in 1978. And according to FBI surveillance of a 1993 Hamas meeting in Philadelphia, Muin Kamel Muhammad Shabib, a member of the organization's Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, briefed attendees on "the situation in Palestine" and the status of "Islamic works" tied to Hamas, naming the IUG as one of "our institutions." In fact, even a cursory search of articles on LexisNexis through March 2007 produces 149 articles mentioning the IUG and Hamas together. Yet, only after congressional and media scrutiny exposed the taxpayer-funded awards to the Hamas-linked institution was USAID funding for the university terminated.

Other reports have detailed how the IUG has also been used for weapons storage, launching rockets, and holding hostages. In February 2007, Palestinian security forces captured seven Iranian military trainers and confiscated 1,000 Qassam rockets located at the IUG. Another article reported that 2,000 AK-47s were also confiscated, as well as evidence that captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas in June 2006, had previously been held at the university.

A May 2007 International Herald Tribune article described IUG's centrality in the Fatah-Hamas factional fighting in Gaza, with the university used to launch attacks against their rivals and for military training:

Hamas fighters have been inside Islamic University for days, trying to protect it from another Fatah attack like one last year that badly damaged the school, one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause. Hamas guards at the university have been killed by snipers in previous days, and on Friday, Fatah fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at the school, setting a building on fire, and exchanged gunshots with Hamas men inside.

Fatah said that Hamas fighters were using the university as a base for attacks on nearby police stations.

After the IUG strikes on Monday, IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich gave an interview to investigative reporter Aaron Klein, characterizing the militant nature of the IUG and the use of its facilities for the manufacture of Hamas explosives. "This is the first university in world that gives out bachelor's degrees in rocket manufacture," she said.

IUG figured prominently in the recent Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial, with federal prosecutors entering documents into evidence showing that Holy Land officials used the IUG to funnel funds to Hamas.

With Israel declaring "all-out war" against Hamas, the present conflict will hopefully provide incentive for law enforcement officials to further roll back the extensive Hamas support network in the U.S. Considering the success that prosecutors had in securing convictions on all 108 counts against the Holy Land Foundation defendants, investigating the degree of involvement of Arab Student Aid International in the financing and construction of the IUG Hamas terror labs might be a good place to start.

Contact Barbara Taverna at bltaverna@yahoo.com

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THE TERRORISTS ARE ALWAYS THE VICTIM
Posted by Sultan Knish, December 30, 2008.

Want to open fire on a passing family sedan? How about setting off a bomb in a crowded pizzeria? How about beating in a 4 year old girl's head with a rock? Or hijacking a jet plane and flying it into a crowded skyscraper killing thousands?

If you're a terrorist, the one thing you can count on is always being the victim.

Shoot, stab, bomb, kill, maim and massacre — but when your victims get tired of taking it and come after you, they'll be the bad guys and you'll be the victim.

It's easy, just run to a populated area where you have plenty of supporters and hide. After the raid meant to take you out is over, grab a body, hold it up to the cameras and scream that you're the victim. And if that fails and you actually get captured and stuck in a cell somewhere, the moment they let you see a lawyer or reporter, scream that you're been tortured and abused — because when you're a terrorist, you're always the victim.

When the terrorist kills, his victims are told that they brought it on themselves. When the terrorist becomes the hunted, he's suddenly an object of pathos and pity.

Columnists pen fiery screeds about the soulless military minds who could describe civilian casualties are collateral damage. Naturally terrorists never talk about collateral damage, because killing civilians is the whole point of terrorism. The only people who talk about collateral damage are soldiers who have not set out to kill civilians.

Entertainers, who you can be certain never bothered to condemn a single terrorist attack or offer a helping hand to the survivors stuck with crippling injuries for life, suddenly begin speaking about how awful this whole violence thing is, and wonder why we can't all just live in peace. As if anyone was disturbing their Beverly Hills mansions.

And when the media is done throwing up the staged and photoshopped pictures assembled by their local stringers, many of whom are loosely affiliated with the very terrorist groups involved in the fighting, the world bemoans not the actions of the terrorists, but the measures taken to fight them.

Typically words like "Disproportionate Response" are thrown about. Not that it's clear what exactly a proportionate response to terrorism would involve. Maybe randomly firing rockets into their town and cities for years. Or hijacking one of their planes and flying it into a heavily populated area. Or perhaps planting a bomb on one of their buses. Naturally the heavy thinkers who offer up such criticisms rarely have much to say on that, or on the morality of "an Eye for an Eye" combat, rather than the "You Poke Out My Eye, I Cut Off Your Hand So You Can't Do That Anymore" combat which we currently employ.

But it's not as if this sort of "Murderer Centered Morality" so in vogue among progressive types began last week or around the time a greasy bearded Egyptian terrorist with the face of a frog, donned a Keffiyeh, declared himself a Palestinian, and began sending out terrorists to murder Israeli schoolchildren.

Think of how many people wear T-shirts with the face of Che on them, and how many people wear T-shirts with the faces of any of his thousands of victims. Songs were written for Caryl Chessman, none were written for the women he victimized. Eldridge Cleaver was a hero, the black girls he talked about "practicing on" in the ghetto for the "revolutionary act" of rape, or the women he graduated to raping, are faceless and anonymous. They don't matter.

The ACLU has much to say on behalf of the Al Queda terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. They have nothing to say for the men and women who jumped from the burning towers, and whose images have been neatly erased from the newscasts. The terrorists are victims. Their victims' final screams have been silenced.

This is the ugly face of a progressive politics, that cheers the terrorist and the murderer as the underdog protesting society's oppression, while dismissing his victims as pawns of the oppressive system. Moderation, appeasement and attempts to find common ground — earn nothing but scorn from terrorists and their Western liberal accomplices. In place of morality, they have only a mythology in which they are the heroes and the mass graves they and theirs have dug from Cuba to Siberia, from Cambodia to Columbia, from Iran to China, from Iraq to Ground Zero hold tens of millions of faceless men, women and children who deserved to die.

This article appeared on the Sultan Knish website sultanknish.blogspot.com. It is archived at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2008/12/terrorists-are-always-victim.html

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WHO IS SANE AND WHO IS CRAZY?
Posted by Dave Alpern, December 30, 2008.

I believe that it was the infamous Kofi Annan who said something to the effect that "an entire world can't be wrong" regarding criticism of Israel's attempts to exercise its elementary right of self-defense against implacable enemies sworn to its destruction. I am continually dumbstruck by the "enlightened international community's" refusal to support Israel in her eminently just and necessary struggle. Dave

This is a Dry Bones Blog from 1975 called "The Savoy Hotel"
http://drybonesblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/savoy-hotel-1975.html Dry Bones are created by Yaakov Kirschen, who started the series in 1973. Contact him at blog@mrdrybones.com

Yaakov Kirschen writes:

Today's Golden Oldie is from 1975.

I pulled it out of the Dry Bones Archives because a reader left a comment on the blog yesterday to suggest it as pertinent. He did so because he remembered the "Could we be sane and the rest of the world be crazy?" line.

The 1975 cartoon was a response to a PLO terror attack in Tel Aviv a few days earlier. In a strange coincidence, that particular Palestinian atrocity was discussed in India Today (New Delhi) earlier this month:

Mumbai Terror Attacks Similar to Savoy Hotel Attack

"Eight terrorists land on a beach from a mother ship, walk into a busy hotel in the centre of town firing AK-47s, throwing grenades. Sounds familiar? If Israel is grieving the death of its eight citizens in the November 26 attacks in Mumbai, its terror experts cannot help regard it with a sense of déjà-vu. The attacks were a near repeat of the Savoy hotel attacks of March 1975 carried out by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)."

"On the night of March 4, 1975, two teams of eight Palestinian terrorists landed on Tel Aviv beach in rubber boats. Shooting and throwing grenades, they captured the Savoy Hotel near the centre of the city. The Palestinians threatened to kill their hostages if the authorities did not release 20 Palestinian prisoners within four hours." Click here for the rest of the India Today article.

So in the end the world convinced us. We pulled out of Gaza and invited them to set up a state on our border. So in the end it turns out that what they really wanted was a massive launching pad from which to vilify us, demonize us, and attack us relentlessly.

And now as our forces fight back against the terrorist enclave of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and as we hear the rising chorus of hatred directed against us, I once again ask, "Could we be sane and the rest of the world crazy?" My answer is the same.

What's yours?

Contact Dave Alpern at daveyboy@bezeqint.net

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CAST OUT THE LEAD
Posted by Steven Plaut, December 30, 2008.

1. There is so much to say about events over the past few days, but I will try to keep mine very short. The web is full of relevant materials.

a. As usual, the press and the Israeli political establishment are ignoring what actually produced the massive rocket attacks on the Israeli south, namely the pusillanimous decision to expel the Jews from the Gaza Strip and to turn the area over to the Hamas. The result of that cowardice was entirely predictable and was predicted in these quarters. The Israeli politicians at the time whined that there was no choice but to act as they did, the same whine they chant every time they do something catastrophically stupid entirely by choice. The only lesson learned by the Olmert people is that the same arrangements that produced the hundreds of rockets on the Israeli south this week must be repeated in the West Bank.

b. Air strikes are dramatic and produce a nice warm fuzzy feeling in Israelis watching the film clips of buildings and bunkers exploding, and this time were far better planned than in the 2006 war against the Hezbollah. However, they cannot produce real change nor solve the problem. This was proved in Lebanon in 2006.

c. There is only one solution that can work = R&D = Re-Occupation and Denazification. Everything else is a delusion.

d. Those who think the Israeli government is serious about fighting terror this time need to explain why Israel is still warning the Hamas about which buildings will be bombed before they ARE bombed so that the people there can be gotten out. Also needed is an explanation for why Israel is still transferring supplies and funds to the Hamas in Gaza in the middle of the battle, including of course sugar from which Qassam rocket fuel is produced, and why Israel has not turned off the electricity so that the press propagandists cannot serve Hamas.

e. It is of great value that the Hamas CONTINUE to fire rockets at Israel. Otherwise, the Olmert government would call a halt to the Israeli attack against the Hamas, and return to goodwill measures, "signaling," and new appeasements.

f. A law should be passed making it illegal for an Israeli politician to use the word "signaling." Any such pol should have his mouth washed out with turpentine.

g. It is clear to all that Israel should never have agreed to any "ceasefire" with the Hamas, especially not to one that left Gilad Shalit in Hamas captivity. There is a serious danger that Olmert and his people will now agree to a new ceasefire in which Shalit remains captive.

h. While it has not yet happened, there is a non-trivial danger that the Hezbollah will open up rocket fire at northern Israel any time now. The same person who moved the Hezbollah up to the Israeli border with its thousands of rockets, Ehud Barak, the man who essentially shot 4000 rockets at Northern Israel in 2006, is now pretending to be a tough fighter leading the battle against the Hamas.

i. Anyone who thinks the Israeli Left is merely stupid and not treasonous is being proven wrong every minute this week.

j. While we all know that the overseas Left is not just anti-Zionist but also anti-Semitic, it is also increasingly Nazified, as it cheers on the Hamas attacks on Jewish children and denounces Israel as a Nazi country when it defends Jewish children. Not a single one of the anti-Israel protesters on British and American campuses had been protesting when the Hamas was "only" shooting rockets into Sderot every day.

k. The international Left would denounce a Jewish partisan in 1944 who shot an SS officer and would use it as proof that all of World War II is about Jewish mistreatment of innocent Germans. Haaretz would agree.

l. Israeli Arabs are massively expressing their contempt for Israel's existence and their open identification with and support for the Hamas, cheering every rocket that lands on Sderot or Netivot. Every Israeli university has seen pro-Hamas protests by Arab students carrying flags of "Palestine," in some cases where Jewish leftist students and professors join them. At the University of Haifa law school lecturer Ilan Saban was one of several leftist faculty members who demonstrated with the pro-Hamas horde.

m. Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua have articles in the Italian press today protesting Israel's bombing Gaza. David Grossman has a long piece in Haaretz today demanding an immediate end to Israel shooting back. None of these writers ever found the time to publish articles anywhere calling on the Hamas to stop firing hundreds of rockets at Jewish civilians.

n. For those who missed the humor, the name of the operation, "Cast Lead" or in Hebrew Oferet Yitzuka, comes from a children's Hannuka song about Daddy bring home a little Hannuka menorah made of cast lead. It is a song well know to all Israelis, even the most secular, and its choice symbolizes the unification of Israel behind the savages.

o. I have been convinced so often and so incorrectly over the years that the Israeli Left and the Israeli academic world will be jolted into rationality by events. One of the most convincing times was when my own university was being targeted by Hezbollah rockets in 2006. Sure THIS will wake up the moonbats, I believed. I was wrong every single time. Every single time the Left lay low for a few days and then emerged all the more convinced that appeasement and capitulation must be the only Israeli policy. There is no doubt that this time things will be the same. Haaretz is already cover-to-cover denunciation of Israel's operations and calls for immediate ceasefire and "negotiations" with the Hamas. Any day now hundreds of Israeli academics will be calling for Israel to meet the Hamas' demands.
 

2. Auld Lang Zion 2009

Should auld accomplice be forgot,
And never brought to trial?
Should auld Osloids, friend, be forgot,
In days of auld lang Zion?
For betraying auld lang Zion, my dear,
For debasing auld lang Zion.
Should their accomplice be forgot,
In days of auld lang Zion?
We yids hae run aboot the world,
Under fire the whole time.
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
To reach auld lang Zion.
Save auld land Zion, my dear,
Save auld land Zion,
Indict those Oslo blaggards, dear,
For the sake of auld lang Zion!!!

Steven Plaut is an American-trained economist, a professor of business administration at Haifa University and author of "The Scout." He frequently comments — both seriously and satirically — on Israeli politics and the left wing academic community. Write him at splaut@econ.haifa.ac.il His website address is
http://www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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ISRAEL THE BEAUTIFUL: VIEW FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
Posted by Yehoshua Halevi, December 30, 2008.


Jerusalem: view from the Mount of Olives
 

This is one of Yehoshua Halevi's Golden Light Images.

Yehoshua Halevi writes: "HOW I GOT THE SHOT:

The Talmud teaches that "Ten measures of beauty descended on the world — nine were taken by Jerusalem, one by the rest of the world. There is no beauty like the beauty of Jerusalem." The immeasurable beauty of Jerusalem can be witnessed on any day of the year. This photograph, however, illustrates the guiding principle which separates the casual photographer from the serious devotee. It's what I call "carpe photos," or "seize the light," if you'll forgive me for mixing the Latin and Greek. This view of the old city of Jerusalem is photographed day after day by thousands of tourists who flock to the Mount of Olives. I had the good fortune to be passing through this section of the city on a spectacular winter morning when the air was crystal clear following a day a rain. I was equally lucky to have time to take the half-hour detour required to get in position to take this shot. It was well worth the time as cloud shows such as this are rare enough to warrant seizing the opportunity when it arrives.

No complex, technical thinking was required to make this photograph. The mid-morning light is fairly even across the frame, which allowed both the sky and land to remain properly exposed for detail in the highlights using the camera's automatic metering system. Compositionally, I chose to give a slight emphasis to the sky so that the two halves of the photograph are not equal in size. To me, the beauty of this scene is inherent in the subject. Capturing it in a photo is merely a question of making the effort.

Contact Yehoshua Halevi by email at smile@goldenlightimages.com and visit his website:
http://www.goldenlightimages.com. Reproductions of his work as cards, calenders and posters may be purchased at
http://www.cafepress.com/halevi18

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AMERICA'S DILEMMA
Posted by Lawrence Uniglicht, December 29, 2008.

A Saudi Arabian so-called judge refuses to annul a pre-arranged marriage between a forty seven year old Saudi man and an eight year old child, not at all an uncommon pedophile practice in that neck of the desert, consistent with the tenets of cruelly interpreted sharia law. Furthermore, the ruling royal despots of that regime finance fundamentalist 'universities'(called madrassas) worldwide where a student may major in suicide bombing, the art of blowing up innocent victims usually in crowded venues. Yet, the United States government considers Saudi Arabia a most essential ally in the Middle East since those turbaned Machiavellian rulers that rule its roost guarantee the primacy of the U.S. petrodollar, mostly under the media radar, allowing the challenged greenback to remain the main oil trading currency worldwide thus the primary reserve currency of a dysfunctional planet. Most U.S. citizens, unfamiliar with economic concepts, of course would be outraged if they were aware of the startling fact that their government must pay homage to a country that sanctions pedophilia, mistreats females in general, and underwrites terrorists (don't forget fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers had Saudi roots), because if not for The House of Saud the U.S. dollar would lose its psychological value, would likely be dumped by creditor nations that by the way hold trillions of dollar denominated debt notes, drastically tanking an already fragile U.S. economy.

Concurrently, Israel's current leaders finally display some spine and robustly attack missile lobbing Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Better late than never! Yet, would any other sovereign nation have waited as long before defending herself against deadly exploding rockets? Would any other sovereign nation have allowed her citizens to be so terrorized on a regular basis, truly a humanitarian crisis (a term generally reserved for so-called Palestinians in media outlets), without taking substantive military action to thwart the attackers? Would any other sovereign nation be so concerned about the 'disproportionate response' condemnation inevitably spewed upon her by a feckless media with pro-Arab blinders and dysfunctional pusillanimous oil crazed world leaders? Would any other sovereign nation be so inclined to ask for permission to defend herself, in effect ceding her independent authority for the sake of protectorate status, to another albeit more powerful nation, even though that presumed formidable ally values the 'friendship' of a hostile immoral neighbor that finances terrorists worldwide, some of which have snuffed out the lives of her precious children?

Israel's new set of leaders, whoever they are, must captain their own ship, not be tugged around by an ocean liner itself wounded by so many leaks. The newly elected Obama Administration, from the get go, must understand that the Jewish homeland is 'not for sale'! The 'Land for Peace' concept, in effect a bargain basement fire sale to give away land justifiably secured by a victorious Israel in her 1967 battle of survival, must be viewed in the same context as the United States ceding its Southwest back to Mexico; including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Texas; land less justifiably secured by Uncle Sam in the nineteenth century in battles predicated on 'Manifest Destiny'. As Israel confronts Hamas, she must do whatever it takes to neuter that enemy whose raison d'etre is to destroy the Jewish State and wipe out Jews in general, a notion unambiguously inferred in the fundamentalist terrorist organization's abominable charter, notably displayed within Part One Article Seven:

"....But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim)."

Furthermore, Israel's new leaders should do a little tugging of their own, encouraging America's new leaders to wean their troubled nation off the immoral course of allying with the soulless House of Saud, financers of some of the most dangerous enterprises on earth, a course that will surely lead their nation over a cliff into Catastrophe Canyon. America owes that to her children, grandchildren, and generations of citizens yet unborn! Let there be no doubt; debt-ridden America's dependence on imports, voodoo financial services, and the petrodollar as virtual pillars of a once thriving tangible economy; then strengthened by homemade manufactured products for domestic consumption, infrastructure, and export; will surely lead to her imminent collapse as a superpower nation. Over time, less than trustworthy thoughtless U.S. leaders with tunnel vision have sold their nation's soul; supporting ruthless dictators, including those squatting in Saudi palaces, not primarily for the sake of a hard-working U.S. middle class, but for the sake of Big Oil as well as other ice cold corporations addicted to bottom lines that for one analyze the cost effectiveness of recalling tainted products as opposed to defending subsequent lawsuits by consumers or their families relating to wrongful damages including deaths. Profits uber alas has been the basic theme of a corporate juggernaut abetted by those pandering politicos holding out tin cups for 'jobs well done'. Outsourcing of America's manufacturing base to sweat shop infected third world nations, further enhancing corporate bottom lines, further tainting her national soul, has inevitably brought Israel's formidable ally to her present petrodollar dependence mode; contaminated by the kind of fleas one gets from sleeping with unwashed dogs or wretched Saudi kings, princes, and kindred spirit financiers of terrorism. If it's not too late, it's time to put an end to all that. Maybe the politician from Chicago will do the right thing, influenced by concerned Israeli leaders with substance as well as a hopefully pro-Israel Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel born of a pro-Israeli father who once fought for the Irgun. We can only hope!

Lawrence Uniglicht is a career civil servant. He advocates for the State of Israel with an American perspective. He writes, "Advocating for the disrespected underdog has been my passion, no doubt Israel falls into that category." Contact him by email at larose@snip.net

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WHAT OUR SPEECH AT THE UN SHOULD HAVE BEEN
Posted by Dave Nathan, December 29, 2008.
Below, Assaf Wohl presents the Gaza operation speech he wrote for our United Nations ambassador. It appeared as an Opinion piece today in YNET
http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3646169,00.html

Members of the United Nations, Democracies, dictatorships, republics, and the honorable secretary-general:

Within a few hours, media outlets in your countries shall present horrific photos of blood, fire, and rubble from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians will be screaming, in front of the cameras, about the massacre undertaken by the State of Israel. Initially, you may show understanding for our operations in the Strip, yet once the photos of wounded civilians reach you, you shall press us, as is your custom, to stop defending ourselves.

The first signs of this phenomenon can already be seen. Calls to "end the violence" from across the world are being heard loud and clear — yet they are only being heard now, after years of violence, and after Israel finally decided to respond. The European Union already rushed to declare that it condemns Israel's "disproportional use of force." Several news networks have brought together panels whose members are scrutinizing the law books at this very moment in order to ascertain whether the Jewish State violated some international law.

I do not intend to deal with the question of where were these condemners and critics for the past seven years, when Hamas' murderers set the timers of their rockets to coincidence with the end of the school day in Israel, because of a declared aim to kill as many children as possible. The question we should be discussing at this time is as follows: Why do the countries of the world and global media outlets obsessively engage in strict criticism that is only directed at Israel? After all, there is not even one country out there that is required to adhere to the moral criteria which the world demands of us — of us of all people, the ones who as opposed to the rest of the world face threats of extermination.

Our Arab neighbors are well familiar with this double standard vulnerability. On their part, they are not bound by any kind of moral code. And so, they learned to exploit the international strictness towards Israel. A long time ago, they already understood that they cannot face the State of Israel on the battlefield. Indeed, when it comes to photographs and videos, they boast uniforms and weapons, yet once the fighting gets underway, they are quick to take off their uniforms and assimilate among women and children used as human shields.

They also make sure to place their arms depots in hospital basements and to fire rockets at population centers out of schoolyards. Their great hope is to elicit an Israeli response that would unintentionally hurt a few children. Once that happens, they will wave their bodies before the cameras and cry out to the world for help. This was the case in Lebanon, and this may happen tomorrow in the Gaza Strip.

Easing Europe's conscience

The states demanding that Israel adhere to certain moral standards do not even dream of asking the same of her enemies. After all, we are dealing with theocracies and dictatorships, where homosexuals are publicly hanged, where women are regularly stoned for undermining their "family's honor," and where children suspected of theft have their arms severed. What do these states have to do with the value of human life? We should therefore ask representatives of global opinion: Be honest with yourselves — Do the lives of humans being butchered daily in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur arouse you into similar action? Reality indicates this is not the case.

My answer to the question regarding the obsessive preoccupation with the actions of the Jews is purely sociological. Many of you, the shapers of public opinion, and mostly the Europeans amongst you, are interested in easing your conscience: If only you can show that the Israelis-Jews are not so moral or innocent, perhaps they deserve everything you did to them before they were able to establish their state? After all, here they are, occupying and butchering the poor Palestinians; they are certainly no better than us!

To that end, you are willing to help out the lowliest terrorists. Therefore, you bought into their slanderous Mohammed al-Dura tale, and therefore you will rush to buy into various blood libels in the coming days. Those who launch missiles and mortar shells into kindergartens know that they will always enjoy a protective umbrella from you. They draw their self-confidence from the intolerable ease with which they enlist your public opinion in their favor.

Therefore, you would do well to think twice before you move to stop the punishment they lawfully deserve. After all, you are the only lifesaver that can spare this radical terror group the measure of justice hovering above it.

And this is the speech the Israeli Ambassador delivered. Sad, isnt' it?

ISRAEL ADDRESSES SECURITY COUNCIL ON DEFENSIVE GAZA OPERATION

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR GABRIELA SHALEV, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE

31 December 2008 — — As Israel continues its defensive action against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev addressed an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

"Israel was compelled to resort to a military operation after many weeks — — and indeed months and years — — in which its civilians were subjected to deliberate terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations operating from the Gaza Strip," stated Ambassador Shalev.

Ambassador Shalev touched on a number of subjects related to the current conflict, and she emphasized that Israel's target remains Hamas, not the Palestinian people. "The targets of this operation are the terrorists and their infrastructure alone. We are not at war with the Palestinian people, but with Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. As such, Israel is doing its utmost to minimize civilian casualties," she noted.

Contact Dave Alpern at daveyboy@bezeqint.net

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TO THOSE WHO DEFEND HAMAS — YOU SEEK TO DEFEND AND JUSTIFY THIS?
Posted by Dave Alpern, December 29, 2008.

To all sympathizers, defenders of and apologists for Arab terror against Israel in particular and the West in general:

Please read the despatch below and then answer these questions: do you actually believe that the concept of "human shields" can be defended and justified in any way? Is there truly a "root cause" to be found for such an obscene practice?? Do you really and sincerely claim that such worship of death is just "another and no less valid point of view" in your insane and slavish obsession with multiculturalism and political correctness??

Arab civilian casualties in Gaza are the direct and inescapable responsibility of the Gazans themselves and the savage Hamas terrorists who have conquered them and placed their weapons of terror directly among them. There have been and always will be "collateral damage" in any military conflict.

As a veteran and proud Israeli whose two adult sons (one the father of a magical 2-year-old daughter and the other just married with his entire future ahead of him) are always in danger of making "the ultimate sacrifice," (one nearly did several years ago) I ask, indeed DEMAND, that you stop holding tiny Israel to impossible moral standards while holding death-loving and bloodthirsty Arab butchers to no standard at all!

Dave

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch PMW)
PMW Bulletin
Hamas explains use of civilians as human shields:
"We desire death as you desire life." [Feb. 29, 2008]
Gaza Update 5

The UN announcement that 51 civilians have died in the conflict in Gaza must be understood in the context of Hamas's declared ideology to use civilians as human shields for Hamas fighters.

Indeed, Hamas continues to emphasize and promote the religious ideology that death for Allah is an ideal to be actively pursued. The goal is to convince Palestinians, including women and children, not to fear death but even to face it at the front to protect Hamas fighters.

Hamas's placement of its military installations and fighters among civilians reflects this ideology, and has led to these 51 deaths.

A Hamas representative in the PA legislative council this year expressed pride in the fact that women and children are used as human shields in fighting Israel. He described it as part of a "death industry" at which Palestinians excel, and explained that the Palestinians "desire death" with the same intensity that Israelis "desire life."

The following is the full text of the comments by Hamas representative Fathi Hamad:

"For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life." — [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) Feb. 29, 2008]

To view video in English click here.

To view video in Hebrew click here.

Contact Dave Alpern at daveyboy@bezeqint.net

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HAMAS'S STRATEGY: THE ROCKETS OR THE MEDIA
Posted by Barry Rubin, December 29, 2008.

Nothing is clearer than Hamas's strategy. It gives Israel the choice between rockets and media, and Hamas thinks it is a situation of, "We win or you lose."

Option A: The Ceasefire

Hamas ends a ceasefire giving it the peace and quiet needed to build up its army and consolidate its rule over the Gaza Strip. Israel would deliver supplies as long as there weren't attacks. From a Western-style pragmatic standpoint this is a great situation.

But Hamas isn't a Western-style pragmatic organization. Peace and quiet is its enemy not only because of its ideology — the deity commands it to destroy Israel — or its self-image — as heroic martyrs — but also because battle is needed to recruit the masses for permanent war and unite the population around it.

Hamas has no program of improving the well-being of the people or educating children to be doctors, teachers, and engineers. Its platform has but one plank: war, war, endless war, sacrifice, heroism, and martyrdom until total victory is achieved.

Thus, it ends the ceasefire.

Option B: The Rockets

And so Hamas ends the ceasefire and rains rockets down on Israel, accompanied by mortars and the occasional attempt at a cross-border ground attack. Israel does nothing.

Hamas crows: you are weak, you are confused, your are helpless. Come, people, arise and destroy the paper tiger! And so more people are recruited, West Bank Palestinians look on with admiration at those fighting the enemy, and the Arabic-speaking world is impressed.

Remember 2006, they say. It is just like Hizballah. Israel is helpless against the rockets. Why don't our governments fight Israel? Let's overthrow them and bring brave, fighting Islamist governments to power.

Option C: The Media

But then Israel does fight back. Its planes bomb military targets which have been deliberately put amidst civilians. If there is a high danger of hitting civilians, Israel doesn't attack. But there is a line below which risk that will be taken, and rightly so.

The smug smiles are wiped off the faces of Hamas leaders. Yet they have one more weapon, their reserves, they call up the media.

Those arrogant, heroic, macho victors of yesterday — literally yesterday as the process takes only a few hours — are transformed into pitiful victims. Casualty figures are announced by Hamas, and accepted by reporters who are not on the spot. Everyone hit is, of course, a civilian. No soldiers here.

And the casualties are disproportionate: Hamas has arranged it that way. If necessary, sympathetic photographers take pictures of children who pretend to be injured, and once they are published in Western newspapers these claims become fact.

Yet there is a problem here. Rockets and mortars may win wars; newspaper articles really don't. Of course, too, material damage is inflicted that sets back Gaza's material development.

Hamas doesn't care about that, but by acting in a way to ensure the destruction of their material base, Hamas does weaken itself. Precisely because Israeli attacks are focussed on military targets, Hamas is weakened.

Conclusion: The problem with no solution

Of course, Israel does not win a complete victory. Hamas does not fall. The problem is not gone. For Hamas will define survival as victory. Hamas, like the PLO before it, wins one "victory" after another and always ends up worse off.

The conflict will be back, however it ends this round, on whatever day it ends. Quiet will return, the supplies will flow back into Gaza. And so many months in the future the process will be repeated.

There is, however, an important difference. Israel uses its time not only for military preparations but to educate its children, build its infrastructure, raise its living standards. Hamas doesn't.

"We believe in death," Hamas says, "You believe in life."

Be careful what you wish for, you will get it.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and co-author of "Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography" and "Hating America: A History" (Oxford University Press). His latest book is The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). Prof. Rubin's columns can now be read online at http://gloria.idc.ac.il/columns/column.html. Contact him at profbarryrubin@yahoo.com

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HELP DESPERATELY NEEDED FOR MY WEBSITE THAT NEEDS TO BE PUT ON THE WEB!
Posted by Kidney Mitzvah, December 29, 2008.

Hi!

I created a website on my own, but it isn't on the web, yet. I don't have any experience on web design and never took a course, but just did the best I can. It's just not good — and if I don't get the help I need with it — I cannot put it out there on the web.

An article about me is going to be in the next issue of Prevention magazine (Februrary 2009 issue) that will be out next week, which has a readership of about 3.2 million. Being that I don't have a website, if people want more information about kidney donation, it sure would be a lot easier to direct people to my website, where I have a wealth of information.

The object of my website is to promote kidney donation, give information to people who would consider becoming a kidney donor, and to help people who are in desperate need of a kidney. Also this website will give information myself, since I have had people who have seen my postings for people in need of a kidney and want to know who I am. And for media people to access as well, since media people have contacted me in the past.

I had downloaded to my website an ABC-TV special on Organ Donation that I was on but was told by my Yahoo web-hosting, that the file was too big, over 700mb and even if I would compress it to 200mb, besides the quality going down, it could still take 20 minutes for someone to open up that file. Ugh!

I also need help with the wording I have on there. If someone knows about kidney donation — that would be a big plus.

If you know someone who can do this at a minimal cost, would appreciate if you can have them contact me. It would be a great mitzvah since the purpose of my website is to help save more lives!

I am not working and spend part of my time on this project which I am doing on my own. I don't get paid for doing this and don't charge a fee.

As I said, this hasn't been published on the web so you won't be able to see it. I can put it on a flash drive though and show it to someone and they can give me an idea on what they can do and how much it would be.

If I can't get anyone to help me with this, I won't be able to have a website. I cannot put it out there the way it is now. I am getting tired of emailing people information — since about 95% of the time people just ask for information and end up not following through. Instead of wasting my time and emailing information to those — I could just tell them to go to my website.

Would appreciate if someone can help me out here!

Thanks so much.

Sincerely,

Chaya Lipschutz
(917) 627-8336

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FROM ISRAEL: AS WE PROGRESS
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 29, 2008.

How are we doing? To this point, thank G-d, very well.

The original prediction when this war started had been that, after our first day of attack. hundreds of rockets per day would rain down on the south. There have been rockets — some serious attacks — but the volume of launchings has been less than had been expected, although it is increasing.

This is said to be both because Hamas leaders are in shock and disarray, and because we took pains to hit hidden launchers. They still have thousands of rockets, and there is expectation that as they regroup the attacks will yet become more numerous. (Although I do mention that Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post says Hamas is crumbling — more on this below — and suggests we might not see the rocket fire that had been expected.)

~~~~~~~~~~

In order to take out launchers hidden in bunkers, as well as in destroying tunnels near Rafah yesterday, we utilized high precision bunker buster missiles, called GBU-39, that we recently acquired from the US. These missiles, which can penetrate through 90 cm of steel-reinforced concrete, do little collateral damage.

~~~~~~~~~~

Today we hit ammunition stocks and further tunnels. In the Khan Yunis area in the south of Gaza we took out Ziad Abu-Tir, a senior member of Islamic Jihad, along with his brother, nephew and two others. We also hit targets in the north of Gaza, as well as a government compound in Gaza City and buildings in Islamic University near Khan Yunis — all Hamas strongholds.

Two laboratories in the university were bombed because they were research and development centers for Hamas's military wing. It is important to assimilate this information in order to understand what we're dealing with: development of weapons was done under the supervision of university professors. There are no lines drawn between the military and the civilian in this authoritarian, militaristic system, yet someone unaware of this might be horrified that we bombed an educational institution.

~~~~~~~~~~

We have been engaging in some psychological warfare: breaking into radio broadcasts to warn civilians not to cooperate with Hamas.

We've also been sending recorded messages to phones in Gaza telling people to immediately evacuate homes near Hamas infrastructure. This strikes me not as psychological warfare but an attempt to save civilians.

~~~~~~~~~~

With all of this, I say, with a trembling heart, that the hardest part of this war is yet to come. We have not amassed thousands of troops and tanks and artillery at the border of Gaza just to sit there. The next stage of the fight is imminent. In Hebrew we say ein breira — there's no choice. Once our boys go in on the ground, I can only ask that each and every one of you pray for them. Ask everyone to pray for them. And don't stop until they've come home.

~~~~~~~~~~

The response of the world to our operation has, to this point, been gratifyingly moderate. There are several reasons for this — including the PR work being done and the degree to which the terrorist Hamas is blatantly out of line.

There had been concern from the time there was first talk of an operation in Gaza that we'd likely have to deal with a second front in the north. Yesterday Nasrallah made threats with regard to this. But so far the north is quiet. It occurs to me that the force of our attack on Hamas has given him pause.

And it seems that Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, and Nasrallah are at bitter odds.

~~~~~~~~~~

Defense Minister Barak addressed a special session of the Knesset today. "This operation will be extended and deepened as we find necessary," he declared.

"I would like to remind the world that Israel withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip more than three years ago. We gave a chance for a new reality, and all we've seen is Hamas firing rockets and missiles on our citizens and carrying out attacks against Israel...we must fight against the Hamas leadership. We are making great efforts to prevent civilian casualties."

~~~~~~~~~~

Foreign Minister Livni also spoke. She said:

"To all those criticizing us we say that Hamas is an extremist terror group that does not represent the Palestinians...We have decided to hold a peace process with those who are truly committed to living in peace, side by side."

Well. I've been monitoring our leadership in the last few days, and until now I have found nothing to criticize. It has seemed to me they were saying what needed to be said.

But, even if Livni made this statement simply to show the world how peaceful we are, it cannot pass without notice. First, because Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are most decidedly not committed to living in peace side by side. This is a myth that has gotten us into a great deal of trouble. No, Abbas is not Maashal. But neither is he a man of peace committed to a "two state" solution. Abbas heads a party, Fatah, whose charter to this day calls for our destruction. The PA he heads produces textbooks that teach jihad. There is map in his office of "Palestine," from the river to the sea, without Israel.

Then it is erroneous to say that Hamas does not represent Palestinians. Has everyone forgotten? Hamas was victorious in the last PA legislative election and to this day has popularity in Gaza in spite of everything. (Abu Toameh has something to say about this, as well.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Today over 60 rockets have been launched from Gaza. Earlier, a Grad Katyusha struck a building undergoing construction in the center of Ashkelon, killing Hanni Al-Mahdi, of the Bedouin town of Aroer, and wounding at least 14 others, five moderately to seriously. Most of the wounded were Arab construction workers from villages in the Galilee.

A Grad rocket also hit in Ashdod — the first direct hit in this city — killing one woman at a bus stop and wounding others.

A house in Sderot sustained a direct hit.

~~~~~~~~~~

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are conducting their own psychological warfare — speaking in dire terms of the suicide bombings they will carry out, and the kidnappings of soldiers.

An Egyptian paper and Al-Jazeera have carried reports saying that Gilad Shalit was wounded in one of our air attacks. The IDF is dubious because Shalit is valuable to Hamas, as they hope to trade him for some of their prisoners. It is considered unlikely that he would have been left in a vulnerable location.

~~~~~~~~~~

Now to Khaled Abu Toameh: He wrote a piece today regarding a viable successor to Hamas in Gaza. The government has not declared taking out Hamas to be a goal of this war. (It is possible that Barak and company think they might do so, but are refraining from saying so in order to avoid being over-ambitious in their stated goals.) Abu Toameh seems to think this is a possibility because Hamas has been hit exceedingly hard — with almost all of its security and civil institutions destroyed. "The general feeling on the streets of the Gaza Strip on Sunday night was that the countdown to the collapse of the Hamas regime had begun."

But, asks, Abu Toameh, what happens if Hamas does collapse?

I have been uneasy about Abbas's eagerness to take over; the thought of our having fought for him being rather obscene. But Abu Toameh says this is not possible: "Judging from the reactions of the Palestinian and Arab masses, it's highly unlikely that Abbas and his forces would be allowed to regain control under the current circumstances."

Says Ramadan Shallah, secretary-general of Islamic Jihad: "...who dares to return to the Gaza Strip aboard an Israeli tank would be condemned as a traitor." And a Hamas representative said that "the majority of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would revolt against any Palestinian officials who returns with the help of Israel."

According to Abu Toameh, "...Hamas appears to be as popular as ever."

What he says next is something that should make everyone — most notably Tzipi Livni — sit up and take notice.

"Even if Hamas is totally crushed, there is no reason to believe that those who would succeed the Islamist movement would be any better or less radical. These are days when only the voices of the extremists...are being heard..."

~~~~~~~~~~

This is precisely what I found in my research on Fatah this past year: With the growing influence of Hamas, Fatah had radicalized further. Scholars were even writing about how Fatah was no longer secular nationalist but, rather, increasingly using Islamic symbols. Hamas was setting the tone of political discourse.

Until we grab hold of this reality, and disabuse ourselves of the notion that we have a "moderate" Palestinian entity to deal with, we are going to be in trouble.

Whether Hamas is quite as weak as Abu Toameh thinks, or not, the points he raises are of huge significance.

There seems to be an aversion to our going into Gaza and staying there, but at the end of the day, sooner or later, this may be necessary.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS ARE WAR CRIMES
Posted by Naomi Ragen, December 29, 2008.

Friends,

Did you know that according to international humanitarian law there is a principle called "distinction" when it comes to combat? That means, that you can only aim at legitimate targets: "enemy combatants or objects that contribute to enemy military activity." Along with that is the international human rights laws that prohibit the use of weapons that cannot be aimed at specific targets, thus violating the principle of distinction.

Thus, every single one of the 6,000 rockets fired at Israel's population since the disengagement in 2005, is a war crime. The next time you hear a bleeding heart from Europe or the U.N. talk about Israel's "crimes" ask them where they were in the last three years.

To read the explanation by Justus Reid Weiner and Avi Bell,
click here.

Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist and journalist who lives in Jerusalem. She can be contacted at www.naomiragen.com, where you can subscribe to her newsletter.

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DEFIANCE
Posted by Shaul and Aviva Ceder, December 29, 2008.

This was written by Gavriel Horan and it appeared on the Aish.com website. It is archived at
http://www.aish.com/societyWork/arts/Defiance.asp

How the Bielski Partisans built a village amidst the Nazi death machine.

The Maccabee's revolt against the Greeks is probably the most famous example of Jewish rebellion, when a band of untrained scholars overcame the greatest empire in the world. In modern times, the Israeli army has revived the image of a Jewish fighting force.

Many of us however, still have a stereotyped image of the Holocaust, of millions of Jews marching like sheep to the slaughter, silently accepting their fate. In reality, most Jews lacked the proper information to rebel, and when at last they understood the gravity of their situation, it was usually too late. Beyond this was the inner strength that countless Jews expressed by maintaining their dignity and staying true to their faith even when death stared them in the eye — spiritual heroism on the highest order. The Nazis watched in disbelief as Jews marched to the gas chambers singing in joyous song, proud to die as Jews rather than sink to the twisted level of their murderers.

In the rare instances that Jews did know the reality of the situation ahead of time, however, they rebelled with a vengeance. One well-known act of defiance was the Warsaw Ghetto, where untrained, starving Jews repelled the powerful Nazi army for several weeks, using mostly homemade weapons. In the end, the last of the Warsaw Ghetto fighters either perished or ran for their lives as the Ghetto burned to the ground.

This was not the only Jewish rebellion. During the war, rumors began to circulate of a band of Jews who roamed the forests, terrorizing the Nazi regime at every opportunity, looting villages and local farms — while rescuing men, women, and children from the ghettos and bringing them to safety in the woods. These fighters were known as the "Bielski Partisans," named after the three charismatic brothers who led them. When they came to a town, the tables were turned, and suddenly the Jews were the ones looking down the butt end of the rifle.

By the end of the war, the Bielski brothers had inflicted more casualties on the enemy than the famous Warsaw Ghetto uprising — over 380 German soldiers and Nazi collaborators fell at their hands. And they saved more Jews than Oskar Schindler — some 1,230 souls.

This story remains relatively unknown until today. Their story is now being told on the silver screen in Edward Zwick's new blockbuster film, Defiance, featuring Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski.

Jerusalem in the Woods

On June 22, 1941, the Germans began their infamous Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Within two months, most of eastern Poland and all of Belarus had fallen to the Nazi invaders — an inferno that would eventually consume all the Jewish communities.

Tuvia, Zus, and Asael Bielski ran into hiding, after their parents and other siblings were killed in the Navahrudak ghetto at the beginning of the war. Before being killed, their father David commanded them to stay in the woods. "This war won't last forever," he said.

The Bielskis had been successful farmers and millers before the war. They were no strangers to the woods and they knew how to handle a gun. They followed their father's advice and fled to the woods surrounding their family's farm. Before long, refugees from the ghetto began to join them. Determined to stay alive despite all the death and destruction around them, a makeshift community formed and they started to construct underground bunkers for shelter.

What began as an act of personal survival became a mission to save as many Jews as possible. And while they carried out acts of sabotage against their enemies, the saving of Jews took precedence. Tuvia Bielski, the eldest of the brothers, often declared that he would "rather save one old Jewish woman than kill 10 Nazis." This is in line with the Talmudic dictum, "He who saves a single life, is as if he saved an entire world."

The natural thing to do would have been to try to save themselves without worrying about anyone else. The Bielskis responded selflessly.

As more and more refugees joined the Bielskis, their forest dwelling eventually turned into an all-out village — complete with a mill, bakery, bathhouse, medical units, tannery, school, synagogue, and even a theater and a jail. Amongst the members were many skilled workers such as tailors, shoemakers, carpenters and mechanics; they equipped the large community with everything they needed for survival and minimal comfort. A herd of 60 cows provided milk and 30 horses were used for transportation. Two ritual slaughterers supplied the community with kosher meat.

Among themselves, the partisans referred to their forest haven as "Jerusalem in the woods."

When the Soviet General Platon came to visit the village, he was amazed to see the tannery where over a dozen people worked preparing hides for shoes, the bakery ovens full of bread, the soap workshop, and the sausage factory. "Are you also making vodka here?" Platon asked incredulously.

Hunter and Hunted

The Nazis offered a reward of 100,000 Reich Marks for assistance in the capture of Tuvia Bielski, and in 1943 led major operations against partisans in the area. The Bielskis constantly led their group deeper and deeper into the forest to new locations. They were never truly safe and lived in constant fear — not only of German soldiers, but also of local police and peasants who were happy to turn them in to the Nazis in exchange for some cash or foodstuffs.

Tuvia was a born leader, and he was successful at forming allegiances with the Russian partisans in the area, convincing them that he was fighting for Mother Russia. The Red Army provided them with weapons and supplies, as well as protection from the other various partisan groups in the area who were not particularly fond of Jews.

To ensure their safety, the Bielskis ruled their unit with great vigilance, demanding utter obedience from their members. Although his measures may have been extreme, he felt it necessary to respond harshly to disobedience in order to ensure the safety of the whole. In one instance, Zus had one of his officers executed for leaving a civilian Jew behind during a village raid. Saving Jews was a non-negotiable policy and it wasn't easy to promote such selfless behavior among his men at a time when self-preservation was the norm.

Dealing with Nazis and collaborators entailed powerful moral struggles. The Bielskis' ruthlessness was fully unleashed on anyone who turned Jews or partisans into the authorities. Tuvia had a former neighbor beheaded with an ax for collaborating with the Nazis. An informer and his family were shot to death in their home, which was then torched, leaving a sign threatening the same fate for anyone who attempted to follow in their footsteps. No mercy was shown to a group of captured German soldiers, with many willing would-be executioners eager to avenge the death of loved ones.

Although the Torah forbids the taking of vengeance, it does permit killing for self-defense, to stop someone who intends on killing you or someone else. For the Bielskis, it was clearly a matter of both self-defense mixed with vengeance.

After the War

The Nazi fires continued to rage until the summer of 1944, when Red soldiers marched through Belarus, reclaiming it for Mother Russia, spreading the news that Hitler's army had been defeated in the Soviet Union. Just hours after the last enemy lines had been broken and pushed out, an incredulous sight appeared on the outskirts of the village of Navahruda: emerging from the dark forest was a line of Jews nearly a mile long.

Instead of perishing at the hand of the Nazis in ghettos, cattle cars, and gas chambers, this troop of over 1,200 Jews had survived the war living in the woods, and now at the disbelief of the gentile onlookers, had returned to the smoldering ashes of their villages, to put the pieces of their broken lives back together.

Their survival was nothing short of a miracle and it was due entirely to the efforts of the three Bielski brothers.

After the war, the Bielski partisans were accused by the Polish government of war crimes against the neighboring villagers, primarily regarding alleged involvement in the massacre of 128 people in the Polish village of Naliboki, as well as numerous cases of armed robbery and looting. Members of the unit denied those charges, claiming they were not in the vicinity at the time.

Toward the end of the war, Asael was drafted into the Red Army, where he fell in combat against the Germans at the battle of Konigsberg in 1945. Tuvia and Zus immigrated to Israel with their families where they fought in the 1948 War of Independence. Tuvia was offered a high-ranking position in the IDF, but he declined, tired of all the fighting. Convinced that the Arab-Israel conflict would never end, they moved to Brooklyn in the mid-1950s in search of a peaceful existence. There, they drove delivery trucks, pumped gas, and did other blue collar jobs, as well as raising large families.

Tuvia and Zus died anonymously, their story fading into oblivion, until it was discovered by Nechama Tec who publicized it in her 1993 book, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans.

The Bielski brothers responded in defense of the Jewish people, risking their own lives instead of taking the easy way out. Their souls were stirred by the spilling of innocent blood and they rose to the aid of their brethren against all odds. They are but another link in the eternal chain of Jewish struggle against darkness.

Contact Shaul and Aviva Ceder at ceder@netvision.net.il

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MY NEW BLOG
Posted by Bruce Tuchman, December 29, 2008.

I started a blog called Free Thinker so please bookmark

Also feel free to start posts and comment on other posts.

It is for a strong America, general sensible politics, anti terrorism, Fight Radical Islam, support for Israel and to encourage intelligent banter.

I will be non partisan but hopefully sharp and pointed and hopefully have logical bent to it. I want to get it off the ground fast.

It can be found at:

http://free-thinker-99.blogspot.com/

or

at http://www.nycat.org/ Please pass this on.

Thanks
Bruce Tuchman

Contact Bruce Tuchman at bruce@nycat.org

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THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT
Posted by Fred Reifenberg, December 29, 2008.

Contact Fred Reifenberg by email at freify@netvision.net.il and visit
http://fred343-enjoy.blogspot.com/ to see other examples of his graphic art. This one appeared in http://4batya.blogspot.com

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MY PLEA TO YOU: CARE ABOUT THE JEWS OF YEMEN. THEY ARE IN DANGER
Posted by Shaul and Aviva Ceder, December 29, 2008.
This article comes from www.aish.com and is entitled "In Danger". It was written by Goldy Rosenberg. It is archived at
http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/In_Danger.asp

Goldy Rosenberg has written for several publications and is the author of Clouds of Glory (Mesorah/Artscroll). More importantly, however, she is working on trying to figure out how her life style can become her magnum opus (and that might take a while).

As a child of two Hungarian Holocaust survivors, I grew up with the Holocaust as real as my parents' existence. It was just part of who my family was, cognizant Jews attempting to rebuild that which was lost. Since my parents had been young during the Holocaust, many of their memories were fragmented, bits and pieces of recollections that took time to surface.

My mother, more than my father, was fierce in her reaction to all she had been through. With clenched teeth she would tell us, "I didn't survive Hitler for no reason. You have to be good Jews." It was a theme in my home. There must be purpose to the generations that followed.

The other mantra I heard from my mother, said in a bewildered tone, was, "I don't understand how American Jews went to hotels on vacation, enjoyed their food, bought clothing, all while my family was being tortured and killed."

My father would occasionally tell us that Hungarian Jewry might have been spared had they done more for the Polish Jews while they were being tortured. My father had grown up in a home that served as a stop on the route of fleeing Polish Jews. My paternal grandfather had risen to the occasion, but he caught a lot of flak from his community who called him a fool for taking the "risks" of getting involved with Polish Jewry's fate.

Many years ago, I picked up a novel, written by another Hungarian Holocaust survivor. She had written of the years she spent trying to save Polish Jews, even as her parents protested her involvement with the rescue work. Most telling was her description of what happened during her engagement. Her mother was busy with her trousseau, and this amazing young lady asked her mother to forgo the luxuries and use the money to buy food to throw over to Polish Jews who were interred in camps. Her parents' response — "Your life comes first!" — overruled her intentions.

This writer ends her narrative explaining how the Nazis got to enjoy the expensive furniture, extravagant jewelry and well-stocked trousseau...and how she and her family joined their fate with those of the Polish Jews they failed to save.

After reading that account, each time my mother would muse about where American Jews had been during the Holocaust, I had to button my lip to prevent myself from saying that Hungarian Jews must be accused too.

ENDANGERED JEWS OF YEMEN

Is this a guilt trip? Yup, it sure is. I live in the Western world, relatively safe, comfortable, and blessed. However, through one of my responsibilities at a local school as foreign student coordinator, certain world situations come my way as students from various regions come and go through our school system. This past year, two former students were harmed grievously in Yemen. One, a girl, was kidnapped by an Arab suitor and forced into a marriage. Another former student, a Yemenite rabbi was just killed. It barely makes a dent in the news.

The entire Yemenite Jewish community is threatened with kidnappings or murder. So what did you buy your kids for Chanukah? A grenade is hurled into the home of another Yemenite Jewish leader... Have you seen Macy's is having a sale? Amnesty International released a statement, concerned about the very lives of the Yemenite Jews... I found a venue where we can have the Bar Mitzvah.

I raise my voice and shout over the din of our blessed lives, "Hello, Jews! There is a Jewish community whose lives are threatened!" Conversation ceases for the moment, then comes the discounting of the danger. "Let them just go to Israel" (Um, with what passports?). "It is their own fault for staying in Yemen (They should have just left their kidnapped children there alone?).

The Almighty placed us into this luxurious, peaceful existence that we find ourselves in. It means He expects more from us.

At this shaky time in history, the least we can do is care.

And take action. Write a letter to the Yemenite government. Sign onto the Amnesty site and lend your voice to the cause[http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE31/013/2008/en]. Contact the Yemen ambassador in Washington at: ambassador@yemenembassy.org or information@yemenembassy.org

In England, you can email the Ambassador at: yemen.embassy@btconnect.com

Save the Jews of Yemen.

Care.

FAST FACTS ABOUT THE SITUATION:

Yemenite Jews have limited rights in Yemen. They are not allowed to bear arms, while everyone else carries daggers and guns. "Abandoned" women, those who have no husband, are under the care of the government and are not given passports. Many of the families still there have relatives who have been kidnapped by Yemen Moslem families.

Two weeks ago, a Yemenite rabbi, Masha Yaish bin Yahya, was murdered in broad daylight in a marketplace in Raidah. The President of Yemen agrees that the Jews in Raidah are no longer safe there. He proposes moving them into Sana'a, the capital city, to be under his protection. However, he promises them a plot of land and tells them to build houses on this tract of land, but gives them nowhere as an immediate safe haven.

Two sisters of the Yemenite murder victim who had years ago moved to Bnei Brak, flew in from Israel upon hearing of their brother's murder. A car drove head-on into the vehicle carrying them from the airport. The two sisters were hospitalized.
(http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2008/12/yemen-murder-victims-brother-protect-us.html) At this point, they would like to return to Israel but want to take their elderly, blind father and the widow and orphans of the murdered rabbi. Thus far, their request is denied.

TALKING POINTS TO HELP YOU GET INVOLVED:

What the Yemenite government ought to be doing:

  • Facilitate immediately the safe return to Israel of the two sisters with their requests fully granted and the safe relocation of the entire family to Israel. The widow and orphans of Rabbi Masha must be allowed to move to Israel.

  • Give an immediate safe haven for the Jews from Raidah, not some far-off long-term resettlement plan.

  • Grant each and every Jew currently in Yemen a valid passport, no questions asked about what they will be doing with such passport. This must include each man, woman and child. If they would like to leave Yemen, that should be their right.

Related Links:

Amnesty Statement: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE31/013/2008/en

Yemen Ministry of Human Rights
P.O. Box 16313, Sana'a
Tel: 967-1-419-672
Fax: 967-1-419-555
967-1-419-700

Yemen ambassador in Washington: ambassador@yemenembassy.org or information@yemenembassy.org

News report from Yemen Times:
http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=1216&p=front&a=1

Click here to read latest UN report about Jews in Yemen:

Contact Shaul and Aviva Ceder at ceder@netvision.net.il

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AIR FORCE BOMBS ISLAMIC UNIV. ROCKET LABS
Posted by Sonia Nusenbaum, December 28, 2008.

Below are 2 news item from Arutz-7 (www.IsraelNN.com).

(1) "Air Force Bombs Islamic Univ. Rocket Labs"
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/158220

(IsraelNN.com) The Israeli Air Force bombed rocket laboratories at the Islamic University in Gaza City in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning. Rockets and explosives were stored in the laboratories. The Gaza City university, located in Gaza City, was chosen by Intel two years ago to be the home for a retraining center.

In other strikes, Israeli airplanes pounded several Hamas prison facilities and a home near the residence of Gaza de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas has claimed that the death toll in the Israeli counterterrorist operations has passed 300.

(2) "Report: Hamas Terrorists Commander Eliminated"
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/158222

(IsraelNN.com) Amhed Ismail Ja'abri, commander of the Hamas terrorist militia, may have been killed in an Israeli Air Force strike. Hamas sources said they could not yet confirm or deny the report after the Air Force hit a mosque where Ja'abri often visited, but the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency was among the casualties. Also killed was Tawkif Jaber, head of Gaza police.

Aerial strikes on smuggling tunnels damaged the barrier between the Egyptian and Gaza side of Rafiah, and Egyptian troops killed at least one Gaza Arab trying to enter the country.

UPDATE From Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2008

Two laboratories in the university, which served as research and development centers for Hamas's military wing, were targeted. The development of explosives was done under the auspices of university professors.

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YEMEN TO BUILD GHETTO FOR JEWS
Posted by Gateway Pundit, December 28, 2008.

After the murder of Moshe Yaish-Nahari (pictured), the brother of a prominent rabbi, earlier in the month the Yemeni Government announced this week they will build a ghetto for the Jews.

Ynet News reported, via Free Republic:

Two weeks after the murder of Moshe Yaish Nahari, the brother of Yemen's Jewish community's head, the country's president Ali Abdullah Saleh pledged to build a secured Jewish ghetto in the outskirts of the capital San'a.

The new neighborhood will house the 300 Jews of the Umran province where the murder took place.

Yemen's president has informed human rights organizations and the heads of the Jewish community in the country of his decision to allocate an area in Sana's northern suburb for the construction of a residential neighborhood for Jews on the state's expense.

Any family who decides to move there from Umran will receive $10,000 in compensation.

Eyewitnesses reported that Abed el-Aziz el-Abadi, a former MiG-29 pilot in Yemen's air force, had confronted Moshe Yaish-Nahari two weeks ago at the market in Rida, called out to him "Jew, accept the message of Islam" and then proceeded to open fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Nahari was struck by five bullets and killed.

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FROM ISRAEL: DAY TWO
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 28, 2008.

Our military action in Gaza has been named Operation Cast Lead.

Today the Cabinet, after being briefed, approved the mobilization of 4,500 reserve troops in addition to the 2,000 who were mobilized yesterday. Some of these troops will reinforce ground forces waiting at the periphery of Gaza; others will be involved with Home Front actions.

The response of the Home Front and our ability to protect those under risk of rocket attack are seen as key elements of what will be happening now. There is, for example, something called "special situation," which will allow the Home Front Command to shut down factories or schools on the periphery to Gaza if risk to the people is perceived to be high. Right now schools are on Chanukah break, and this will be extended in communities near Gaza. People are being told to remain close to shelters.

~~~~~~~~~~

Defense Minister Barak has allowed Keren Shalom crossing to be opened for the transfer of emergency supplies: basic food items, medical supplies and medicines. Supplies went in yesterday and today an additional 30 trucks were allowed through; the quantity of supplies is coordinated with international relief agencies.

We have — incredibly — offered to do something else, as well: We will take a limited number of wounded Palestinians for treatment here in Israel. I hope and trust that this will be restricted to civilian population. This is called going above and beyond in order to stifle international criticism. Does any nation anywhere else do this while at war?

But whether Hamas will release wounded to us is another question: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has made public the charge that Hamas is preventing wounded from reaching Egypt, where they would have treatment.

~~~~~~~~~~

Typical of the misrepresentations we must contend with is the claim by Palestinians that we had bombed a mosque, killing two in the process. The IDF says this "mosque" was a base for terrorist activities.

~~~~~~~~~~

Of the more than 250 people killed yesterday (the great majority terrorists), the IDF is reporting 15 civilian deaths. This is a very low figure — .06% of the casualties.

However, "defense officials" said that we will not hesitate to target the homes of civilians who protect terrorists throughout the operation. This demonstrates a new resolve; timidity will not help us succeed here. An ostensible "civilian" who shelters terrorists is a collaborator, in any event.

~~~~~~~~~~

Strikes in Gaza have continued through the night and into the day today. Some hits were against efforts to launch weapons, and some were attacks on pre-determined Hamas institutional targets.

We've done several strikes in the region of the Philadelphi corridor at the border between Gaza and the Sinai, taking out some 40 tunnels in four minutes. We also hit in Jabaliya, in the north of Gaza, a key terrorist locale.

Our artillery batteries have deployed along the Gaza border.

~~~~~~~~~~

While Hamas is reeling at the moment, we have not yet taken out their capacity to hit us. Apparently at this point they retain roughly 50% of that capacity.

About 100 rockets were launched and mortar shells fired yesterday from Gaza, and that, too, continues today, but at a lower rate than was expected. So far about 20 rockets have been launched today. Some six Kassams have landed in Ashkelon, wounding three, including a 12-year old boy; and for the first time, Ashdod — about 40 kilometers from Gaza — was hit by three Grad Katyusha rockets. This represents the most northernmost region that the rockets have reached to date.

~~~~~~~~~~

To see aerial photos of Hamas sites in Gaza pinpointed for Israeli Air Force attack, see:
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129055

~~~~~~~~~~

A word here about the political ramifications of this operation. That it will accrue to Barak's strength in the coming election seems clear (unless, G-d forbid, he weakens and make fools of us by stopping precipitously). But that is how it is. Barak, as Minister of Defense, is the prime instigator of this operation. He has been so terribly weak and self-serving for years — starting with his pullout from Lebanon in 2000, which strengthened Hezbollah. But he is our most decorated military man and time was when he was wily and incredibly sharp. And the beginning of this "shock and awe" operation with its deceptions was brilliant.

I'm receiving messages suggesting that this was a political ploy, with the election scheduled for February 10. I don't buy it, because the intelligence work has gone on for a year, and the strength with which we hit — the strongest attack inside Gaza since 1967 — indicates seriousness of intent. We could not have waited another month and a half to do this, until after the election, remaining sitting ducks for Hamas attacks. There is a broad consensus about the fact that this had to be done now. And we have to remember that Israel wasn't the only player in this scenario: Hamas could have agreed to another "lull."

Barak and his party have been headed for political disaster. If this operation is successful, he will again be a player of some strength — but it is not thought that he would have sufficient strength to win the election. Yossi Verter, in an analysis in Haaretz, suggests that increased Labor strength would come at the expense of Livni and Kadima. As Verter puts it, "The political deck of cards has been reshuffled."

~~~~~~~~~~

At any rate, for the moment, campaigning has been put on hold. While a war is being waged is not the time to attack the leaders of that war. Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and Meretz have all expressed full support for the operation.

There are suggestions that if the war were lengthy the election might be postponed, but it's too soon to consider this.

The irony is that today (midnight) is the deadline for parties to register, with their lists, and this would have been the focus of national attention if not for the Gaza operation. I will make limited comments below, with more to follow in due course.

~~~~~~~~~~

The waging of this war is being measured against the conduct of our government during the Lebanon War over two years ago. Whether lessons have been fully assimilated remains to be seen, but there is clear and encouraging evidence that indeed lessons have been learned. Preparation going in has been much better. Goals are more modest and bravado is absent.

~~~~~~~~~~

There has been unrest and violence in some Arab localities in the north of Israel and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem with regard to the war. This is not unexpected. Some of these places have a strong Hamas influence.

~~~~~~~~~~

A light moment: Moammar Kadafi, of Libya, has suggested the Arab League withdraw the Arab League's peace plan since "Arabs are the only ones striving for peace."

~~~~~~~~~~

PA officials — who knew something was coming, but did not have a sense of how big it would be — have announced their readiness to take over Gaza when we finish Hamas. This is not in the planning now. This operation leaves Abbas with nothing — there will be no meetings with Hamas toward a new unity government and no chance for him to move back into Gaza. But in point of fact, while saying so publicly doesn't play well, the PA is happy that Hamas is getting what's coming to it. Hamas was not headed toward a unity government in any event.

Abbas is in Cairo, consulting with Mubarak. "See," he has said to Hamas, "I told you that you should have sustained the tadiyah (informal quiet)." The PA maintains the official position that it is supportive of the Palestinian people in Gaza, not of Hamas, although money the PA sends to Gaza to pay salaries does filter to Hamas.

~~~~~~~~~~

Mubarak, my sources tell me, did know what was going to happen, but opposed it because it would have been politically incorrect to do anything else. It is doubtful that even privately to Livni last week he encouraged us to go ahead. There is, I'm told, considerable turmoil within Cairo. First because they see they had no leverage with Israel. Then because there is pressure on them to open the Rafah crossing between Gaza and the Sinai, and they don't want to end up responsible for the Gazans.

(Today, the fence at Rafah was breached again in some four places as a land mine was detonated and a bulldozer was brought into play. This happened during Israeli actions in the area, when Egyptian police had pulled away from the border. Hundreds of Palestinians made their way into Sinai, but some 300 Egyptian troops were brought in and I believe the Gazans have been pushed back.)

But at the end of the day, this operation serves Egypt well in several respects: It takes on Hamas, which has been so troublesome to Egypt of late. It delivers a message to the Muslim Brotherhood inside of Egypt that threatens the Mubarak regime — but which Mubarak does not have the courage to take on. And lastly, it diminishes Iran, with which Egypt still has considerable conflict. Said one source, "If I were Mubarak, I'd be smiling now."

~~~~~~~~~~

Note how significant this is on a broad scale: When we are weak and allow a terrorist organization to strengthen, it has a ripple effect, sending a message that emboldens terrorists all over the Middle East. When we take on the terrorists, similarly is there a ripple effect. What we are doing here serves not only Israel well, but the West and most specifically the US.

This message should be broadcast widely at every turn.

~~~~~~~~~~

IMRA is carrying quotes from an op ed in Asharq Al Awsat, a major Saudi-backed paper:

"...leniency with Hamas made the Arab world a partner in the suffering of the Palestinians."

"...Arab states should call a spade a spade...let Hamas bear the responsibility if only once."

At the same time, the Saudi Gazette quotes President Bush as saying that "Israel has a right to defend itself," and does not take issue with this or call for attacks on Hamas to end.

This is not insignificant. I would say this also reflects Saudi discontent with Iranian actions. And it reminds us that Arab unity is only a facade.

~~~~~~~~~~

A side benefit of the war is already evident: Syria is canceling indirect peace talks with us.

~~~~~~~~~~

Turning to politics:

Michael Ratzon — who was bumped down from the 24th slot to the 37th on the Likud list when a rearrangement of that list was done after the Likud primary — filed a petition to be restored to his original place with the Tel Aviv district court. The court has just found in his favor.

Said Judge Yehuda Zaft in his verdict: "The [Likud] Elections Committee lacked the authority to change the result of the elections."

Ratzon is referred to as a Likud rebel, as he balked at the "disengagement." Similarly, Ehud Yatom, who was also a rebel, found himself moved down on the list. As did Moshe Feiglin, who was shifted from slot 20 to slot 36. Neither Yatom nor Feiglin had filed a petition with the court for reinstatement to their original slots. But there is a feeling that Zaft's broad-based ruling may affect them, as well, if they quickly appeal to the internal system of Likud. Don't know how this will play out.

What Judge Zaft wrote was that: "It seems that there is no room for doubt that this election did not make the Likud chairman and its leadership very happy...it is clear that the move was intended to change the list in such a way that [Moshe Feiglin] would be distanced from the high and realistic position he had reached."

Wow! As Ratzon said: "justice has been restored and the democratic process...has won. There are judges in Israel."

~~~~~~~~~~

It had been anticipated that MK Effie Eitam's Ahi party was going to join with Likud, but at the last moment, legal problems prevented this.

However, the Tzomet party is going to be joining with Likud. MK Elhan Glazer of Tzomet will be 39th now on the Likud list, and Likud will add 12 million shekels in state funding to the Likud kitty and maybe garner a seat or two. Tzomet was founded by Rafael (Raful) Eitan, a celebrated military man and right-wing nationalist politician, who drowned four years ago; there is no Tzomet presence in the current Knesset.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last situation to be described today:

Some many weeks ago, it was announced that the National Union — which was itself composed of Moledet, Ahi and Tkuma — was merging with the National Religious Party and forming a new party, called HaBayit HaYehudi (The Jewish Home). It started to move left however, in an attempt to appeal to a wider group of voters, and was not holding fast to a nationalist vision. The new party chair would not even state forthrightly if it was opposed to a "two state" solution. For this reason and others, Moledet — the major section of National Union, headed by MK Benny Elon — broke away from this new party. I have already written about this. Elon retired from politics and the remainder of the party, with Uri Bank notable here, joined with the new Hatikvah party headed by MK Arieh Eldad. Eldad, himself, was a breakaway from Moledet.

Ahi, headed by Effie Eitam, as I've mentioned above, broke away and hoped to join Likud. At the last minute this didn't work out, but I believe Ahi is disappearing for now — it certainly is no longer part of HaBayit HaYehudi.

That left Tkuma. headed by MK Uri Ariel. Ariel has now announced that on the advice of Rabbi Dov Lior, Tkuma will be pulling out of HaBayit HaYehudi — which was self-righteously angry — and joining with Eldad of Hatikvah.

That leaves NRP as the sole remaining group in HaBayit HaYehudi — they've reverted to what they had been.

And the merger of Hatikvah and Tkuma will be called National Union. They too are again what they had been.

Said a spokesman for Ariel:

"We plan to create a strong right-wing party that will proudly fly the orange flag of Greater Israel.' (Orange was the symbol of opposition to the "disengagement.")

"At a time when settlements are in a real danger of being dismantled, we must proclaim the message that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people."

I wish them strength.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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FOUR MEDIA MYTHS TO WATCH OUT FOR AS ISRAEL STRIKES BACK
Posted by Honest Reporting, December 28, 2008.

Now that Israel's fighting back in Gaza, here are four media myths to be on the lookout for.

Myth 1) Israel's response to the rockets is disproportionate and excessive.

When measuring a response to an enemy in wartime, you don't just consider the amount of force needed to end the immediate threat. You weigh in the need to deter future attacks. Anything less sets you up for a war of attrition. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post summed this up best in 2006: For Israel, a small country within reach, as we are finding out, of a missile launched from any enemy's back yard, proportionality is not only inapplicable, it is suicide. . . It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to reestablish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights.

Myth 2) Hamas merely wants to break the siege of Gaza.

Uh, rockets have been fired from Gaza since 2001. They were fired at Israel both before and after disengagement. They were fired during periods of time when the Palestinian Authority "controlled" Gaza, and they've been fired since Hamas took over. Just about any excuse has been a reasonable pretext to fire rockets at Israel.

Myth 3) This is just an escalation in a "cycle of violence."

If you really believe that the Israeli-Gaza fighting is simply a "cycle of violence," then you'll take this argument to its logical conclusion just as The Economist did in March: In the preceding weeks exchanges of Palestinian rockets and Israeli missile attacks on Gaza, in which cause and effect had merged into a seamless continuum, had intensified.

"Cycles" and "seamless continuums" don't have clear beginnings and ends. Muddying the waters makes it harder for the outside observers to judge a constantly changing situation, which benefits the bad guys launching the rockets. The language encourages further terror. Myth 4) The camera doesn't lie.

Yes it does. Palestinian photojournalists have Hamas press credentials just like the other stringers the Western papers rely on. Lenny David already raises the possibility of AP "fauxtography."

Honest Reporting monitors the media for inaccuracy and unfairness in how they report the news about Israel. Their website address is
http://www.honestreporting.com. Contact them by email at action@honestreporting.com This essay is archived at
[http://backspin.typepad.com/backspin/2008/12/myths-to-watch-for.html]

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EVEN HAMAS TV ADMITS IT
Posted by Dave Alpern, December 28, 2008.

To the sympathizers, apologists and other bleeding hearts wailing, moaning and bleating about "Palestinian innocents" and "collective punishment", read the following and calm down.

Enough is enough!! We say yet again:

1) No military force in the world is as careful as the Israeli Defense Forces in distinguishing between combatants and the supposedly "innocent" civilians surrounding them.

2) The deterioration in the situation is the direct result of Hamas policy. It violated the calm (and fair-minded people know there was never any real "calm"), is firing against and attacking Israeli citizens and is investing all its vast resources from Arab, American and European "benefactors" in arming itself and gathering power.

3) The terrorist organizations operate out of the Palestinian population centers and cynically exploit them, so the responsibility for Palestinian civilians getting hurt rests on their shoulders. Israel for its part directs its activity at the terrorist elements and does its utmost to refrain from harming the innocent. Hamas brings women and children up to the roofs of buildings housing terrorist activity in an attempt to prevent air strikes; it sends civilians to the line of fire; it works out of schools and mosques; it fires rockets out of crowded population centers; and it sends Palestinian mothers to murder Israeli children in suicide attacks. Omar Fathi Hamad, a Hamas member of parliament said in a television interview (Feb. 2008), "The Palestinian people has developed its own methods of killing...it has become an industry...it has turned women, children and old people into human shields."

4) Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, to enable Palestinians to live their lives in peace alongside Israel. In the disengagement, Israel evacuated all its settlements and military bases, and 9,000 residents who lived in the area. Gazans had every opportunity to begin their state-building in the Gaza Strip, but since then Hamas took control of the region and is subjecting Israeli citizens to rocket attacks inside sovereign Israeli territory, in flagrant violation of international law. No responsible government of any other sovereign nation would tolerate such an intolerable situation, and to demand such tolerance from Israel is nothing less than blatant, hypocritical and wicked antisemitism.

5) The situation of Israeli citizens in the south is intolerable. The Hosen Center in Sderot recently reported the spread of developmental problems among children living in the area, such as speech difficulties, fear of sleeping alone, juvenile diabetes, hair falling out, and more. The reality of real life is expressed in the descriptions of journalists who visited the city: 7-year-old Sagi will only agree to go to sleep in his parents' bed, 8-year-old Yanai bought a first-aid kit with money he saved up, 9-year-old Neria has nightmares that her parents will be killed, children are scared to go to the bathroom for fear they will not make it to the shelter in the 15 seconds given by the warning system. The first words of Alon, two years old, were "red" and "boom." The trauma centers report high stress among children and adults alike. The residents do not use the seat belts in their cars, so they can get out quickly in case of attack. They never change radio stations lest they miss a warning. Schools have become "concrete monsters," in some of which the children do not see daylight all day long.

This below comes from Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Bulletin and is entitled "Subject: Hamas TV: 180 killed from Hamas military."

Among those killed Hamas Police Commander, Tawfik Jaber

Hamas TV acknowledged this morning that the vast majority of those killed are from the Hamas military. A news ticker running repeatedly from 10:00 AM announced:

"More than 180 Palestinian policemen were killed including the [Police] Commander, General Tawfik Jaber."

In the background Hamas TV is repeatedly broadcasting the same scenes of dozens of bodies of the uniformed Hamas soldiers who were killed in Israel's first attack yesterday when Israel hit the Hamas officer's course graduation ceremony.

Contact Dave Alpern at daveyboy@bezeqint.net

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ISRAEL AIR STRIKES DEMOLISH HAMAS COMPOUNDS, OVER 200 DEAD klm
Posted by Brother Shane, December 28, 2008.

I've already said what Israel needs to do. But does anyone listen?

It's quite simple...

...kick out the Philistinian thugs and secure the borders.

And when i say "borders" i am talking about ALL of Israel...including; the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Sinai (Yes, retake it), Lebanon (as a protectorate state), the Golan Heights (with added western Syria areas — for a buffer zone).

All Hamas, Fatah, and other terrorist affliates (within Israel and Lebanon's borders) must be completely destroyed. The remaining Islamic Philistinian civilians (are there any!?), need to be sent to a region in western Jordan.

This area will have to be briefly occupied by I.D.F. forces til the refugees can be secured in a permanent settlement.

Any and all retaliation against Israel, from Philistinians outside of her borders, must be met with swift action.

Take no prisoners. Exhcange no prisoners.

All Mosques in Israel need to be destroyed. Islam needs to be outlawed. It is not a religion. It is a political movement and a cult of/for Arab perverts.

Israel needs to establish Lebanon as an independent Christian nation.

All Hizbollah and other terrorist factions there must be totally destroyed.

Israel then needs to help rescue any and all Jews and Christians remaining in Arab/Islamic nations...who want to leave.

Bring the Christian refugess to Lebanon so they can help re-establish the nearly exterminated Christian population there.

Any peace-loving, law abiding Arabs who wish to remain in Israel may do so. But the practice of Islam must not be allowed.

Now, a few things can happen if this takes place. One, Russia will denounce all moves by the Israeli govt. and threaten to help the Muslims attack her.

The U.N. will denounce same and threaten same.

The Vatican will follow suit.

The U.S. will follow suit.

But guess what...the World will do that anyways. It's written in the Scriptures. Every nation will surround Israel and threaten to destroy her.

So what else is new!?

Get someone with backbone (Netanyahu?), into office and do what is right! Israel needs to stop pussy-footing with heathens and do what is right.

It is her God-given right!

And do not fear, for God is on her side.

Oh yeah...and tell the following self-righeous hypocrites; Barack "Insane" Obama, Nazi-Pope Ratzinger, Jimmy "Whitetrash" Carter, and Connie "Mizz. Dog Meat" Rice (and any other Socialist/Fascist busy-body/Moonbat), that they can all go to hell.

One last thing...arrest Olmert (and his cronies), and charge him with treason against his own people/nation.

In His Love,
Brother Shane

"Don't you know, God's Word said, "Who ever wcurses Israel, will be cursed?' Certainly. I stand with Israel" — William M. Branham


"Israel demolishes Hamas compounds, over 200 dead"
By Ibrahim Barzak, Associated Press Writer

AFP — Smoke billows from the Gaza Strip following Israeli air strikes on the southern town of Rafah. Israel ...

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing more than 200 people and wounding nearly 400 in the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

Most of those killed were security men, but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit, threatened to resume suicide attacks, and sent at least 70 rockets and mortar shells crashing into Israeli border communities, according to the Israeli military. One Israeli was killed and at least six people were hurt.

With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.

"My son is gone, my son is gone," wailed Said Masri, a 57-year-old shopkeeper, as he sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, slapping his face and covering his head with dust from a bombed-out security compound nearby.

He said he had sent his 9-year-old son out to purchase cigarettes minutes before the airstrikes began and now could not find him. "May I burn like the cigarettes, may Israel burn," Masri moaned.

The offensive began eight days after a six-month truce between Israel and the militants expired. The Israeli army says Palestinian militants have fired some 300 rockets and mortars at Israeli targets over the past week, and in recent days, Israeli leaders had threatened to launch a major offensive.

"There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting," said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, vowing to expand the operation if necessary.

Asked whether Hamas political leaders might be targeted, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared at a news conference: "Hamas is a terrorist organization and nobody is immune."

The first round of airstrikes on Gaza came just before noon. More than 100 attacks took place, continuing well into the evening.

Hospitals crowded with people, civilians rushing in wounded people in cars, vans and ambulances. "There are heads without bodies .... There's blood in the corridors. People are weeping, women are crying, doctors are shouting, " said nurse Ahmed Abdel Salaam from Shifa Hospital, Gaza's main treatment center.

The offensive sparked angry protests throughout the Arab world, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Vatican, the U.N. secretary-general and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair all called for an immediate restoration of calm. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation.

In Washington, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "Hamas' continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop. The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza."

In Gaza City's main security compound, bodies of more than a dozen uniformed Hamas police lay on the ground. One survivor raised his index finger in a show of Muslim faith, uttering a prayer. The Gaza police chief was among those killed. One man, his face bloodied, sat dazed on the ground as a fire raged nearby.

By early evening, 205 Gazans were known to be dead and 388 wounded, Gaza health official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said. He did not provide figures on civilian deaths. But earlier in the day, police said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed. Some of the dead, rolled in blankets, were laid out on the floor of Gaza's main hospital for identification.

Israeli military officials said more than 100 tons of bombs were dropped on Gaza by mid-afternoon. They spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines.

Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge. Hamas "will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Israel told its civilians near Gaza to take cover, and in the West Bank, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a bitter rivalry with Hamas, condemned Israel. Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded.

Despite the overwhelming show of force, it was not clear whether it would halt the rocket fire. Past operations have failed to stop the attacks.

One rocket struck the Israeli town of Netivot, killing an Israeli man and wounding four people, rescue services said.

Dozens of stunned residents, some of them weeping, gathered around the house that took the deadly rocket hit. A hole gaped in one of the walls, which was pocked with shrapnel marks. The crowd broke up after an alert siren went off and everyone went running.

Streets were nearly empty in Sderot, the Israeli border town that has been pummeled hardest by rockets. A few cars carried panicked residents leaving town. Dozens of people congregated on a hilltop to watch the Israeli aerial attacks.

Protests against the campaign erupted in Arab Israeli villages, the Abbas-ruled West Bank and across the Arab world.

The most violent West Bank response came in the city of Hebron, where dozens of youths, many of them masked, hurled rocks for hours at Israeli forces, who lobbed tear gas and stun grenades in response. Officials in Bethlehem, Jesus' traditional birthplace, turned off Christmas lights and traders shuttered shops to protest the Israeli attack.

Anti-Israel protests also erupted in Amman, Jordan, and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria.

Israel has targeted Gaza in the past, but the number of simultaneous attacks was unprecedented.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but the withdrawal did not lead to better relations with Palestinians in the territory as Israeli officials had hoped.

Instead, the evacuation was followed by a sharp rise in militant attacks on Israeli border communities that on several occasions provoked harsh Israeli military reprisals.

Contact Brother Shane at wisevirgin_777@yahoo.com

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OBSERVATION: IF IDF REALLY WANTED A "MASSACRE" THERE WOULD BE TENS OF THOUSANDS DEAD
Posted by Aaron Lerner, December 28, 2008.

There is a straightforward answer to those who claim that Israel is carrying out a "massacre" or "holocaust" in Gaza:

Don't insult the IDF

If the IDF wanted to carry out a "massacre" or "holocaust" in Gaza there would be tens of thousands dead — not hundreds.

Gaza City alone is full of residential buildings full of civilians that Israel could have leveled overnight.

And if the purpose of the exercise was to level residential buildings full of civilians, the IDF could line up artillery and sweep neighborhoods instead of wasting Israeli taxpayer's money on expensive airborne attacks.

Simply put: it is silly to assert that when the IDF kills several hundred in expensive pinpoint attacks that Israel is trying to carry out a "massacre" or "holocaust"

Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director of IMRA, Independent Media Review and Analysis, an Israel-based news organization which provides an extensive digest of media, polls and significant interviews and events relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Its website address is http://www.imra.org.il Write him at imra@netvision.net.il

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A YEAR'S INTEL YIELDS 'ALPHA HITS' — INCLUDING UNDERGROUND KASSAM LAUNCHERS
Posted by Gabrielle Goldwater, December 28, 2008.

This was written by Yaakov Katz and it appeared yesterday in the Jerusalem Post
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111714969&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

A year of information-gathering by Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) paved the way Saturday for Operation Cast Lead.

At 11:30 a.m., more than 50 fighter jets and attack helicopters swept into Gazan airspace and dropped more than 100 bombs on 50 targets. The planes reported "alpha hits," IAF lingo for direct hits on the targets, which included Hamas bases, training camps, headquarters and offices.

Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at 60 targets, including underground Kassam launchers — placed inside bunkers and missile silos — that had been fitted with timers.

Their locations were discovered in an intensive intelligence operation. The goal: to strike at Hamas's ability to fire rockets into Israel.

More than 170 targets were hit by IAF aircraft throughout the day. Over 225 Gazans were killed and over 780 were wounded, according to Palestinian sources. Estimates are that around a third of those killed were civilians.

The IDF released a list of some of the targets hit: the Hamas headquarters and training camp in Tel Zatar; the "Palestinian Prisoner Tower" in Gaza City that was turned into a Hamas operations center and armory; the Hamas police academy, which was bombed during a graduation ceremony, killing 70-80 people; training camps in southern and central Gaza; the former office of Yasser Arafat in Gaza City that is now used by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh; and the Izzadin Kassam Brigades headquarters in the northern Gaza Strip.

Throughout the initial stages of the air operation, the IDF Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration transmitted messages to civilians in Gaza to stay away from Kassam launch sites and Hamas buildings and infrastructure.

Gabrielle Goldwater lives in Switzerland. Contact her at III44@aol.com

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IDF OPERATION IN GAZA: ISRAELI ELECTIONS SHOW
Posted by Eleazar Ben Yair, December 27, 2008.

The IDF attack on Gaza stems from convergence of everyone's interests. Kadima and Avodah would have lost the elections handsomely if Hamas had continued to pound Israel with rockets at the December rate of dozens a day. A successful campaign in Gaza seriously improves the leftists' chances in elections. Fatah stood to lose its president as his term expires in two weeks; defeating Hamas military is Fatah's only option for Abbas' continued rule beyond his legal term. Hamas failed to deliver prosperity to Gaza, and military success against Zionists is its only option to remain popular. Syria needs to show its strength in a peripheral war with Israel before launching direct talks with her. Egypt loves to show the West that no one else can sustain local peace: once the Egyptian-mediated Israeli-Hamas talks failed, war ensued. Iran has to embroil Israel into a Lebanon-type military debacle in order to distract Jews from attacking Natanz.

The IDF operation shows that people don't learn from their mistakes; not Jews, at any rate. We had exactly the same problem in two Lebanese wars: to conquer is easy, but to maintain the quiet is impossible. Israel can bomb everything into dust, but guerrillas lurk from devastated buildings. They have the advantage of surprise, human shield, and human rights. Most of all, they have time on their side: in a few days and probably immediately, the world will start pressing Israel into ceasefire. Israeli Arabs already erupted in riots. Hamas will come out from tunnels and claim the victory. The US-trained Fatah battalions would prove powerless against the lawless Hamas guerrillas — or transform into a lawless bunch themselves.

Israeli attack can destroy Hamas shacks. What about PIJ, PLFP, and PRC who don't have many buildings to retaliate against? There are militant clans such as Dughmushes which span residential neighborhoods; conceivably, an army concerned with human rights is powerless against them. There are several ways to defeat deeply entrenched guerrillas. The most common historically and reliable way is depopulating their areal; Israeli government has no guts to do that.

Then, there is a police way: occupy the place and start hunting down the militants. Sharon did that successfully when he was Gaza's military governor. The police operation is inherently long-term, requires full control of the territory and tens of thousands of agents. In short, the disengagement should be reversed, Gaza re-occupied, and Jewish soldiers endangered daily in urban combat. Israeli government has no guts for that, either. Leftists believe everything has a solution, and loath to admit some situations take centuries to settle down.

Also, there's an SLA way, or quislings'. Israel propped South Lebanon Army to do the most dirty work against the Palestinians. But in Gaza we lack natural associates, every group is against us. If Jews prop Fatah, Palestinian voters won't forget the collaboration; a short-term victory would spell long-term defeat for Fatah. Even if Fatah fights and — unrealistically — destroys Hamas, it cannot touch PLFP and PRC which are the PLO-type secular nationalist fighters.

Machiavelli also discussed a theoretical option of winning an enemy to your side with goodness, but I cannot imagine what Jewish goodness short of sailing off to Canada would placate Hamas.

Whether Hezbollah would support Hamas with concurrent attacks is a matter of guesswork. Probably, not, as Syria doesn't want to antagonize Israel too much, and Lebanese government — now the one with Hezbollah — is afraid of massive retaliation. Palestinian terrorist groups in Lebanon can launch rockets at Israel sporadically.

Israeli operation in Gaza will confer international legitimacy on Hamas the way the Second Lebanese War conferred it on Hezbollah. From a terrorist group, Hamas becomes a recognized combatant, thus a legal army in its own right. Today was the first time that the prime minister's office confirmed that a ceasefire with Hamas had in fact existed. Before then, Israel denied any formal agreement with Hamas, and referred to it as an understanding only.

In military terms, the operation is very far from being successful yet. Three-hundred-plus Palestinian casualties already started provoking the world's outcry even though the collateral deaths are remarkably few. Destroying all the security compounds in Gaza hardly diminished Hamas arsenals — the Muslim group would be stupid to store its weapons inside the obvious targets of Israeli attacks. The demolition of all the police installations in Gaza increases chaos and works against the year-long Hamas attempts to instill any kind of order in the unruly territory.

After the first shock, Palestinian guerrillas will re-group and ready themselves for the IDF invasion. At best, the army won't repeat its glaring errors of 2006 such as sending tanks in urban combat without helicopter cover and will sap the road before the advancing tanks. But Hamas stocked significant arsenals of anti-aircraft rockets useful against Israeli helicopters. IDF didn't equip most of the tanks with active defense, and they remain vulnerable to cheap RPGs.

Hamas will increase its rocket attacks on Israel and, more importantly, their precision and deadliness. Today's rocket toll of ten casualties is very high by the ceasefire period's standards. As IDF pushes rocket launching squads away from the border, they will start using deadlier Grad-type missiles. As the IAF grows out of targets in Gaza, Olmert's government would have to declare an interim victory and accept a ceasefire, or invade Gaza. The last option is not election-friendly for the Kadima because of the personnel losses and absence of clear-cut victory. A large-scale invasion of Gaza is unlikely: Israel will stick to the discredited shock-and-awe tactics.

You can leave a comment at
http://samsonblinded.org/blog/idf-operation-in-gaza-israeli-elections-show.htm

Best regards,
Danny

Contact Eleazar Ben Yair at eleazar_benyair@yahoo.it

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FROM ISRAEL: IT'S WAR!
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 27, 2008.

"Sof sof!" That's "finally!" in Hebrew. Finally, a strong military response to Hamas with the promise of more to come. A sigh of relief follows this.

Whether the "more" will be all that is needed remains to be seen. But today was a most auspicious beginning for the operation. In fact it's being called the most serious offensive in Gaza in over 40 years. So far there have been at least 170 sorties utilizing war planes and helicopters, and some 60 targets have been hit. These include (according to the IDF): Hamas headquarters in Tel Zatar; the tower in Gaza City that was used as an operations center; the Hamas police academy — which was bombed during a graduation ceremony, killing some 70; Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office; and headquarters of the Izzadin Kassam Brigades (military wing of Hamas). Various other command posts, warehouses, training centers, security compounds, rocket manufacturing facilities and underground launching sites were hit.

Reports are that over 220 people in Gaza have been killed and many others wounded. According to Taher Noono, a spokesman for Hamas, most of those killed were members of the Hamas security forces, including police chief Tawfiq Jaber and the head of the organization's Security and Protection Service, Ismail al-Jabary. (See http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aw5WKSxUSqHU&refer=home)

~~~~~~~~~~

What this does, at last, is change the game, putting us in control and Hamas on the defense. This is not a "proportional" response to a particular rocket attack. We're aiming for infrastructure now.

~~~~~~~~~~

And we managed to come in for our first blows with a huge element of surprise: Word is that our opening of crossings yesterday led Hamas leaders to assume we were softening and had no intention of hitting them; nor were they expecting an attack on Shabbat. Additionally, they had factored in the coming election here and assumed that if we were going to hit at all it wouldn't be until after that.

What is more, our attacks were incredibly accurate: We'd been honing our intelligence for a full year in order to be able to do this.

~~~~~~~~~~

Prime Minister Olmert delivered a live TV address today, with Foreign Minister Livni and Defense Minister Barak joining him. We tried peace, he said, but Hamas has shown it is hostile and not interested in peace. He said the operation may take weeks and the south of the nation, bordering on Gaza, must be prepared for an escalation in the number of rockets launched — some reaching further than any have until now. It is estimated that as many as 150-200 a day could be launched.

Olmert also made it clear that we do not consider the people of Gaza our enemies and that we will do everything possible to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

~~~~~~~~~~

We have tanks and infantry moving towards the border with Gaza now, as we prepare to go in as necessary. Barak is in consultation with Chief of Staff Ashkenazi on the next steps to be taken. In a press conference, Barak said the operation would deepen and widen as necessary. The IDF had prepared for months for this operation. "It won't be easy and it won't be quick."

~~~~~~~~~~

Tzipi Livni put out this statement: "...today there is no other option than a military operation. We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza. This is the expression of our basic right to self-defense."

~~~~~~~~~~

The question remains of precisely what the goals of this operation are.

Olmert said: "The operation is intended to radically improve the security situation of the residents of southern Israel."

A statement released by his office put it this way: "...the IDF [has been] ordered to act to bring about a cessation of rocket fire for a length of time,"

That's considerably vague and more than a bit simplistic. While the goal here is not to topple Hamas, this clearly is no longer a matter of simply getting Hamas to agree to another "lull" while they retain the option to hit us again at will.

In a statement I find astonishing (for him), Barak said today in a Fox News interview that, "For us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you to have a ceasefire with al-Qaeda. It's something we cannot really accept."

But precisely at what point will it be considered that we've done enough to "radically improve security"? And how long a cessation of rocket fire is "a length of time"? This is not sufficiently clear or straightforward.

The Post, citing "defense officials," was more specific: Israel's goals, they say, are to "end Hamas rocket fire, end smuggling of arms into Gaza and severely disrupt any Hamas military activity."

That's a major step in the right direction and implies a significant operation. We'll have to see how they expect to end smuggling.

~~~~~~~~~~

How far we go and how much we achieve will be determined in part by our strength in the face of the international outcry. Such an outcry is inevitable and has already begun.

That the Arabs say they're "furious" comes as no surprise — whatever they may think privately about our taking on an Iranian proxy, this is the line they'll take publicly. Abbas has condemned the attack, as has Egypt.

But already France, as well, has protested our "disproportionate response." At least President Sarkozy also condemned the Hamas attacks.

For then we have (with acknowledgement to Lenny Ben David for calling this to my attention) the libelous charge by the Telegraph in the UK, stating that, "The attack on the Gaza strip is proof that Israel is addicted to violence. Slaughtering 155 civilians, many of whom are women and children, cannot be justified."

See above for a Hamas spokesman's accounting of who was killed. Most of those killed, reports the IDF, were in uniform. I cannot emphasize enough the fact that this was a razor sharp operation because of the preparatory intelligence work done. We didn't go in and drop some bombs — we knew precisely where they were being dropped. The IDF spokesman's office has released pictures of targets taken before the bombs were dropped. And please, keep this in mind as you encounter the negative press.

The UN and the EU have both called for a cessation of hostilities. So has Condoleezza Rice, who, while condemning Hamas attacks, expressed concern about "escalating violence" and called for the ceasefire to be restored immediately and fully respected.

This is where the international diplomatic preparation that Livni has been doing should kick in, if she's done the job right.

But even so, we will have to monitor carefully and expose the outright Arab lies and distortions — which you may remember well from the Lebanon War.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Hamas rocket response to our operation began by early this afternoon and soon took a toll. When 10 rockets were launched toward Netivot, one directly hit a private home, killing 58-year-old Beber Vaaknin and wounding three others. Another rocket that hit a synagogue in Eshkol Regional Council seriously wounded a man.

By 9 PM tonight over 60 rockets had been fired.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Hamas verbal response was as bellicose as might be predicted.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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THE LAME DUCK AND THE AMPUTEE
Posted by Barbara Taverna, December 27, 2008.

This was written by David Horovitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post.
www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111707099&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

In a few days' time, there'll only be one elected Palestinian leadership: Hamas.

A Palestinian man had his car stolen in Ramallah a few days ago.

Dutifully, he turned to the local Palestinian Authority police — whose improved law enforcement capacity has been much exalted in certain quarters of late. Police officers proceeded to attempt to negotiate a "ransom" arrangement with the thieves, under which the vehicle would be returned in exchange for an acceptable payment.

Dismayed, the victim abandoned that corrupt path, and decided to go all the way to the top. He contacted the office of PA head Mahmoud Abbas. But the response was not dissimilar. Officials there also offered to negotiate with the thieves on a fee for the car's return, with a little supplementary payment for their own involvement.

Difficult to verify, this story was told to me by a trusted colleague who is thoroughly familiar with the current workings of the PA at street level, and is thoroughly skeptical about its capabilities. His point: If Abbas is incapable of achieving the legitimate return of a stolen car to its rightful owner in his home city of Ramallah, why on earth would anyone consider him capable of marketing to his own people and then implementing a peace agreement with Israel?
 

WHATEVER THE accuracy of the stolen car tale, the point about Abbas's credibility is well-made and too rarely highlighted.

A month and a half ahead of general elections, Israel is embroiled in a debate about the rights and wrongs of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's last-minute peacemaking efforts — with both the Syrians and Abbas's PA.

How dare he seek to commit Israel to agreements, compromises, concessions et al, the opponents protest, when he has been hounded from office in the wake of a failed war and a trail of corruption allegations? But he remains the democratically elected leader of Israel, the supporters retort, and as such is obligated to work to advance what he perceives as Israel's interests during every waking hour in the Prime Minister's Office.

Largely ignored by the local antagonists, and by most international analysts, meanwhile, is the fact that if Olmert is a lame duck, his Palestinian interlocutor, Abbas, is a veritable political amputee. As of January 9, he will cease to be the democratically empowered president of the Palestinian Authority. His term in office will have expired.

Hamas has long been indicating that it will not regard him as a credible authority after that date. Arab media sources are already starting to cast doubt on his post-January 9 legitimacy. Arab governments and the wider public will certainly do the same. "Palestinians are asking by what virtue will Abbas claim to be leading the Palestinians," reports a West Bank-based journalist. "They scoff that 'he'll be Bush's president or Rice's president, but certainly not our president.'"

Indeed, this reporter pointed out to me, after January 9, there'll be only one elected Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza: Hamas.
 

WHILE ARIEL SHARON and subsequently Ehud Olmert, firmly supported by the Bush administration, have consistently depicted Abbas as a well-intentioned moderate and as embodying the best hope of an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation, Abbas's standing among his own people has gradually ebbed away since he succeeded Yasser Arafat four years ago.

Two months after Arafat's death in November 2004, Abbas was overwhelmingly elected to presidential office (with 62.5 percent of the vote) on a promise to clean up Fatah and the governance of the Palestinians, to root out corruption and institute reform.

He failed so signally that Hamas, after winning a series of local council elections over Fatah as the perceived exemplar of honest authority, cemented its elected hold on the Palestinian polity by gaining a majority of seats in elections for the quasi-parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council, a year later, on January 25, 2006.

Despite the violence it employed against its own people in seizing undisputed power in Gaza in June of 2007, and the dire reality of daily life in the Strip today, many Palestinian analysts believe that Abbas would lose to Hamas's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh if he were to succumb to the legal timetable and submit himself to a presidential vote.

Not only that. Abbas has gradually hemorrhaged support within Fatah for failing to clear out the Old Guard, for failing to thoroughly support his reformist Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, for failing to display credible and consistent leadership even as regards Hamas.

Sometimes he lambastes his Hamas rivals as infidels and enemies of the prophet Muhammad, and vows to crush them and never be reconciled to them. At other times, he talks of the need for sulha in the greater Palestinian interest, stresses the imperative for brothers to solve their problems together and implores the likes of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to help him achieve this goal.

Sometimes, notably to Western audiences, he talks up his determination to fight terrorism and depicts Hamas as undermining the Palestinian cause through the use of bombs and rockets against Israel. At other times, he seems to deride Hamas for the purported puny nature of its (drastically escalating) Kassam fire, only this week branding it "inefficient."

Centrally, he is seen to have sought American and other international help to get rid of the Islamists, profoundly damaging his standing among his own people. The necessary response to Hamas's rise, of course, was to recognize the terror group's ballot-box popularity as proof of the urgent need to reform Fatah.
 

AS REGARDS Israel, Abbas's language may be significantly less incendiary than Arafat's, and the gulf between what he says to Arab audiences and what he says to Western and Israeli audiences somewhat less gaping, but a gulf there most certainly is.

Most importantly, Abbas has not adopted domestic public diplomacy to emphasize to his own people the historic legitimacy of Jewish claims in the Holy Land — and thus to prepare Palestinians for the kind of viable compromise that Olmert and Bush relentlessly insist he is capable of both making and selling. He succeeded a leader who had sneered at the very notion that a Jewish Temple was ever constructed in Jerusalem, and has chosen not to counter that delegitimizing thrust, while the media organs that he controls maintain highly negative coverage of Israel and Jews.

"The day you have a Palestinian leader who stands up and says in Arabic to his own people that the Jews have rights here, that the Jews have rights in Jerusalem, that there are historic and religious sites of deep significance here for Jews — on that day you can start to feel optimistic,' says my West Bank-based journalist source. "Whatever may or may not be said in the face-to-face meetings at the Israeli Prime Minister's office, that day has not dawned under Abbas."
 

IS THERE, waiting in the wings, a truly moderate and capable Palestinian leader — someone ready to reform Fatah, willing and able to counter and marginalize Hamas, and courageous enough to tell the Palestinian public that the Jews have rights here, too?

Prime Minister Fayad may well possess some of these qualities, but he does not have not all of them. Unfortunately for his ambitions, he boasts no record of years spent in Israeli jails. He can claim no glorious history of stone-throwing and worse. He has played no part in the revolution.

As such, in a Palestinian political culture unreformed by Abbas since the Arafat era, he has no credibility.

So, today, Mahmoud Abbas shuttles rather pointlessly from Ramallah to Washington, Cairo and beyond in the dying days of his legitimate presidency, having lost Gaza utterly and barely retaining a hold on the West Bank. And the prospect of a longed-for Israeli-Palestinian accommodation is about as realistic as the likelihood of getting your car back without paying a ransom if it's stolen on the streets of Ramallah.

Contact Barbara Taverna at bltaverna@yahoo.com

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REPLY TO MR. TURKI-FAISAL, THE VOICE OF ISLAM
Posted by Paul Lademain, December 27, 2008.

This is my reply to the voice of Islam, which come to the US through the mouth of Mr. Turki-Faisal and was delivered by the editors of the Washington Post. We assume the editors are revealing Mr. Faisal's screed as a wake-up call:

Mr. Faisal, the former ambassador from SA to the UK and the US, conveniently ignores the fact that the so-called "palis," who invaded Jewish Palestiine, are the settlers, not the Isralis, whose tiny nation, Israel, stands as a boulder blocking Ummah's march toward Europe.

We must revisit history and study how the Islamic fundamentalists used terrorism to seize the Arabian peninsula. We must also remember that Faisal's justification for terrorism lies in his religion; a religion that justifies the murder of children, pregnant women, women, and all males who refuse to bow to Islam or remain captured by Faisal's Islamic political system.

We must also remember that Faisal's nation-state come into being as a result of his ancestor's slaughter and conquest of the peoples who were native to the region now known as the Arabian Peninsula. As a matter of fact, Saudi Arabia is a relatively new state which came into existence in 1932, when the British recognized the new state of Saudi Arabia as a theocratic monarchy, based on Abdullah the First's claim that the British owed it to him because the League of Nations and Great Britain had earlier recognized Palestine as a "Jewish Homeland." Buy such means, terrorism and psychological extortion, Abdullah created his throne. Ever since then, the Arabists, in league with Saudi Arabia, have been chiseling Jews in the most deceitful, but cleverest way possible. Their schemes involve intimination, terrorism, and outright purchase of what once was the "free press".

Unfortunately for the free world, the Saudis, utilizing cunning promises coupled to gifts and huge "loans" to some politically powerful US politicians, recruited some very wealthy Jews to aid them in their internationalist schemes. And thus we have Mr. Faisal attempting to have the youth of America accept his fantasy that his make-believe "people" were somehow in existence at the time of Mohammed's "crusade" against the Christians during their Middle Age struggles for Jerusalem. Before the days of Islamic deceit, Palestine was a region that had been widely recognized, even by the ancestors of today's murderous Islamics, as the Homeland of the Jews.

The Islamics have no basis whatseover to claim the lands of Israel, and they must return the lands of Jewish Palestine to the Jews or else (and by the same reasoning Mr. Faisal asks the free world to swallow) the Islamics must relinquish their claims to the Arabian Peninsula. Yes, if Mr. Faisal truly desires peace in the Middle East, he must set the example by returning the lands, seized by Abdullah, to the tribes of the Saba, and Medina must be returned to the Jews.

Viva to the Patrots of Israel from the NON-evangelical Christians for Zion! Happy New Year to Mr. Obama, president-elect.

Contact Paul Lademain by email at lademain@verizon.net

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JEWS RETURN TO JOSEPH'S TOMB
Posted by Sunlike, December 27, 2008.

Judaism's 3rd holiest site regarded as burial place of biblical patriarch

This was written by Aaron Klein and it appeared yesterday in World Net Daily
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=84585

Jews return to Joseph's tomb to pray, repair damage

JERUSALEM — Eight years after the site was heavily desecrated by Palestinians, Jews this week quietly returned to Joseph's Tomb in the northern West Bank to rebuild the structure in hopes of a continued Jewish presence at the tomb — Judaism's third holiest site.

Joseph's Tomb is the believed burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became viceroy of Egypt.

Following repeated Palestinian attacks, Israel in October 2000 unilaterally retreated from Joseph's Tomb and, with very few exceptions, banned Jews from returning to the site purportedly for security reasons.

Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly ransacked and then partially destroyed the structure. Local Arabs have since set the tomb on fire several times, including an incident last February in which WND first reported burning tires were found inside.

The past few months, the Israeli Defense Forces has been protecting small, monthly convoys of Jews who quietly pray at the tomb for about an hour under the cover of darkness. The visits were arranged by Israel's Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika along with a local organization, Shchem Ehad.

On Monday night, Mesika led a group of Jewish students and professional contractors to the tomb, where the group repainted the exterior and interior of the structure and laid a new concrete stone covering on Joseph's tombstone, which had been smashed by local Muslims.

Shromron Community Council liason David Haivri told WND the plan is to bring more professionals to the tomb in the near future to complete renovations. He said the ancient dome-shaped roof needs to be reinforced and a Jewish seminary attached to the tomb structure needs to be completely rebuilt. In 2000, television footage showed the dome being smashed by Palestinians after it was painted green — a color associated with Islam. "We hope to bring Joseph's Tomb back to the Jewish people," Haivri said. It was unclear whether the Israeli government would change their policy by allowing Jews to visit more frequently.

Israel forfeits tomb

The tomb is located just outside the modern city of Nablus, or biblical Shechem, in the northern West Bank. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph's Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat's militias, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.

Immediately following the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb's interior. Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat's office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, "Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem)."

One BBC reporter described the scene: "The site was reduced to smoldering rubble — festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags — cheering Arab crowd."

Third holiest site turned into mosque

The Torah describes how Jacob purchased a land plot in Shechem, which was given as an inheritance to his sons and was used to re-inter Joseph, whose bones were taken out of Egypt during the Jewish exodus. Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, are also said to be buried at the site.

As detailed in the Torah, shortly before his death, Joseph asked the Israelites to vow they would resettle his bones in the land of Canaan, biblical Israel. That oath was fulfilled when, according to the Torah, Joseph's remains were taken by the Jews from Egypt and reburied at the plot of land Jacob had earlier purchased in Shechem, believed to be the site of the tomb. Modern archeologists confirm Nablus is the biblical city of Shechem.

Yehuda Leibman, who until the Israeli retreat from Joseph's Tomb in 2000 was director of a yeshiva constructed there, explained, "The sages tell us that there are three places which the world cannot claim were stolen by the Jewish people: the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Joseph's Tomb."

There is evidence suggesting for more than 1,000 years Jews of various origins worshipped at Joseph's Tomb. The Samaritans, a local tribe that follow a religion based on the Torah, say they trace their lineage back to Joseph himself and that they worshipped at the tomb site for more than 1,700 years.

Israel first gained control of Nablus and the neighboring site of Joseph's Tomb in the 1967 Six-Day War. The Oslo Accords signed by Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called for the area surrounding the tomb site to be placed under Palestinian jurisdiction but allowed for continued Jewish visits to the site and the construction of an Israeli military outpost at the tomb to ensure secure Jewish access.

Following the transfer of control of Nablus and the general area encompassing the tomb to the Palestinians in the early 1990s, there were a series of outbreaks of violence in which Arab rioters and gunmen from Arafat's Fatah militias shot at Jewish worshipers and the tomb's military outpost.

Six Israeli soldiers were killed, and many others, including yeshiva students, were wounded in September 1996 when Palestinian rioters and Fatah gunmen attempted to over take the tomb. Eventually, Israeli soldiers regained control of the site.

Gravestone at traditional burial site for biblical patriarch Joseph after it was ransacked by Palestinian mobs.

The Palestinians continued to attack Joseph's Tomb with regular shootings and the lobbing of firebombs and Molotov cocktails. Security for Jews at the site increasingly became more difficult to maintain. Rumors circulated in 2000 that Barak would evacuate the Israeli military outpost and give the tomb to Arafat as a "peacemaking gesture."

In early 2000, the Israeli army began denying Jewish visits to the tomb on certain days due to prospects of Arab violence. Following U.S.-mediated peace talks at Camp David in September 2000, Arafat returned to the West Bank and initiated his intifada. During one bloody week in October 2000, Fatah gunmen attacked the tomb repeatedly, killing two and injuring dozens, prompting Barak to order a complete evacuation of the holy site Oct. 6.

In a WND exclusive interview, Tariq Tarawi, a Fatah lawmaker who in 2000 served as chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group in the vicinity of the tomb, said the Palestinians would "never" allow Israel to rebuild a yeshiva or synagogue at Joseph's Tomb. The Brigades carried out most of the attacks against the tomb site.

"A yeshiva is an institution," said Tarawi. "An institution can be the beginning of claiming rights and these claims can bring once again the Israeli army to establish a base in the place, and we cannot accept this. If the Jews try to build a yeshiva, we will shoot at them."

Contact Sunlike at mttaborsl@yahoo.com

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GAZA — CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS SUPPORTS ISRAELI ACTION TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS
Posted by Daily Alert, December 27, 2008.

New York, December 27, 2008. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stands solidly with the government of Israel and its decision to defend its people against terrorism through the targeted airstrikes made on Gaza today.

"The government and people of Israel have shown unprecedented restraint in the face of unyielding attacks with hundred of missiles and mortars fired on civilian targets by Hamas and other terrorist organizations who have made clear that their goal is the destruction of the State of Israel. No country could or would put up with this," said Harold Tanner, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents. "The first obligation of every government is to protect its citizens and there can be no more justified use of force than responding to such unending terrorism."

"We support the United States administration's position that places the blame for Israel's attack on Hamas and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence," they added.

Palestinian militants in Gaza have long been launching Kassam and other rockets at southern Israeli towns and have dramatically increased these attacks in the past six weeks. Hamas launched more than 250 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and civilians in the past week, including 80 today, which killed one and injured seven others in their homes and in synagogue.

The goal of today's attack was to strike at Hamas' infrastructure in order to bring an end to the rocket firings on Israel and the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip. Israel remains committed to maintaining a peaceful solution and had entered into the most recent ceasefire through Egypt to work toward establishing calm without the use of force. At the same time, however, the Hamas regime took advantage of the ceasefire by continuing to launch rockets into southern Israel, keep Gilad Shalit captive and build up its arsenal. The Hamas arsenal is now believed to have thousands of missiles, anti tank and anti-aircraft weapons, tons of munitions and an infrastructure of 50-kilometer underground tunnels. They improved the range of their rockets so that major population centers like Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva are at risk.

Israel specifically selected Hamas military targets and used pinpoint strikes in order to avoid civilian casualties. Israel targeted training camps, underground missile silos and command-and-control centers throughout the Gaza Strip. One of the buildings hit today included a Hamas headquarters that was used for stockpiling weapons and military equipment and was a launching point for terrorist operations into Israel.

"Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization by most democratic nations. We take their declarations of war and their intent to kill and maim Israeli civilians seriously and we believe the international community should do so as well. Tolerating terrorism anywhere means escalating it everywhere," said Tanner and Hoenlein.

"The Conference of Presidents urges our government to assert Israel's rights to defend its citizens and we call on the United Nations to focus on the Hamas terrorist regime, as well as those who aid and abet that regime, as the source of the constant attacks to which Israel and her citizens have been subjected, said Hoenlein. "The UN charter recognizes the right of countries to defend their borders and their citizens and must uphold that principle. UN condemnations of the Israeli airstrike will be counterproductive and further terror will be invited in the Middle East and around the world if they equate those engaged in terror with those defending against it and those who exercise restraint with those who exploit it."

###

The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 51 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

The Daily Alert is sponsored by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). To subscribe to their free daily alerts, send an email to daily@www.dailyalert.jcpa.org

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"CAST LEAD" OPERATION AGAINST TERROR INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE GAZA STRIP CONTINUES
Posted by Gabrielle Goldwater, December 27, 2008.

IDF Spokesperson's Office Dec 27th, 2008

"Cast Lead" Operation against Terror Infrastructure in the Gaza Strip Continues

Since this morning, the IDF attacked dozens of targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The targets included command centers, training camps, various Hamas installations, rocket manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses.

The vast majority of the casualties are terror operatives; most of whom were wearing uniform and working on behalf of terror organizations.

The operation is ongoing and will continue for as long as is necessary, pending security assessments by the General Staff the IDF Chief of Staff.

The IDF wishes to emphasize that secrecy and the element of surprise were central to the implementation of the operation.

The IDF also wishes to inform the Israeli public that it must prepare itself for continued rocket fire by Hamas. The patience and resilience of the Israeli public is required.

The Israeli public is requested to listen to IDF Spokesperson Announcements and follow directions given by the Home Front Command in order to ensure their safety.

Gabrielle Goldwater lives in Switzerland. Contact her at III44@aol.com

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MINOR MISHAPS BY DEDICATED TERRORISTS
Posted by Mechel Samberg, December 26, 2008.
 

(1) "Israeli Hospital Treats Palestinian Seriously Wounded By Palestinian Qassam That Hit His Gaza House"

Shmulik Hadad
YNET news.
www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3644801,00.html

A 40-year-old Palestinian seriously injured from a failed Qassam rocket launch was evacuated by a Magen David Adom crew to Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Friday.

The rocket directly hit the Palestinian's house, and he was hit in the head. The victim's two children were also injured in the incident, and negotiations towards their evacuation to hospital are being held.  

(2) "Misfired Palestinian projectiles kill two, injure ten Gazans"
Ma'an
www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=34232

Bethlehem — Two young girls are dead and four others were injured after to a "mysterious explosion," thought to be a misfired projectile, rocked a house in the Al-A'tatrah area of northern Gaza on Friday medical sources said.

The two girls were identified as 12-year-old Sabah Hasuna and five-year-old Haneen Abu Khusa, and were pronounced dead on arrival at Kamal A'dawan Hospital.

A third girl, identified as U'la Hasuna Abu Khusa, was seriously injured in the blast, according to medical sources. Three others were treated for injuries by paramedics, but were not taken to a hospital.

This is the fifth incident in which Gazan civilians sustained injuries from misfired projectiles over the last week. According to Ma'an and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reports, the last week has seen two dead and ten injured in what appear to be weapons accidents.

PCHR expressed grave concern over the rise in injuries and deaths at the hands of Palestinians by the "misuse of weapons" and blame the tragedies on the current state of security chaos in Palestinian areas.

On 24 December a mysterious explosion was reported in the home of Journalist Imad Ad-Dremeli, injuring his brother Iyad. The family insists that the explosion was not from inside the home, but rather was the result of a misfired projectile. Imad spoke with Ma'an and said he knew armed brigades used areas near his home as a launch pad for projectiles fired at Israeli targets.

On Monday afternoon a three and five year old, Myassar and Mohammed Wahdan, were injured in the abdomen and head by shrapnel from a locally produced rocket that was fired by members of the Palestinian resistance. The rocket fell on agricultural land near Beit Hanoun Agriculture College in the north to Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip.

The two children were immediately transferred to Beit Hanoun Hospital for treatment. Medical sources described the wounds of Myassar as serious and reported that she was admitted into the intensive care unit. The wounds of Mohammed were described as moderate.

On Sunday PCHR reported the light wounding of 32-year-old Hanan Sohwail, who was hit by shrapnel that exploded near her home.

On Saturday a locally produced rocket fired by members of the Palestinian resistance fell near a group of children playing in a bystreet to the east of the industrial zone, west to Beit Hanoun. Shrapnel from the rocket wounded two children, who are in the intensive care unit. The two children were identified as nine-year-old Sari Mana'a As-Sama'ana and eight-year-old Safi Eid As-Sama'ana.

Contact Mechel Samberg at mechelsamberg2@yahoo.com

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FROM ISRAEL: GOALS
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 26, 2008.

The question is being raised in many quarters regarding what the goals of an operation in Gaza would be.

What is obvious to anyone who sees clearly on this issue (sees clearly = considers the past and the future and not just the current situation) is that simply getting Hamas to agree to another "lull" is not a good idea. Those "lulls" are used by Hamas to strengthen and will have serious repercussions down the road. And yet, that is what people in our government talk about: "If Hamas will agree to another period of quiet, we will go with that." Certainly they see achievement of a "lull" as having political gain: We brought quiet to the country.

It also seems to be the case that fully retaking the Gaza Strip is not a viable option (at least under current circumstances). Too costly in terms of lives, too lengthy a process, too risky in terms of international opinion and political ramifications (see below).

Then what?

~~~~~~~~~~

The worst thing would be a wishy-washy tentative operation that makes us look incompetent and unsure of ourselves. When we move it has to be with certainty and (taking care to move with all possible concern for our soldiers and Arab civilians) a strong hand. No "proportional" response. Strong.

Of all the suggestions I've seen to date, what I ran yesterday seems most intelligent. Similar thoughts are being shared by other analysts, such as Aaron Lerner of IMRA:

— What must be taken and held — with surrounding area — is the Philadelphi Corridor, which marks the border between Gaza and Sinai. It is underneath this area that the smuggling tunnels run.

We never should have left that area in the first place. When we did the "disengagement," the pulling out of Gaza, plans called for us to remain. It was Condoleezza Rice who pushed us into this because it was supposed to give more power to the PA (which was then still in charge in Gaza).

— Targeted killings.

— Destruction of terrorist infrastructure. Weapons storage and manufacturing areas, as well as buildings where records are kept and planning is done. Wipe out computers and communications systems as possible.

~~~~~~~~~~

This accomplishes several things:

— It weakens their ability to hit us, not only now but in the future, as the venue for bringing in new weapons will have been blocked and the capacity to manufacture them will have been seriously weakened.

— It weakens Hamas politically if its leaders have been sent beyond this world and its ability to function bureaucratically has been truncated.

— Of great significance, it restores our deterrence power, so that not only Hamas but other groups will understand that attacking us is not such good idea.

— It shifts the balance psychologically, so that we are now calling the shots and not the terrorists. We here in this country need this desperately. The sense of being powerless, of sitting here and knowing terrorists are going to launch weapons at our civilians, is destructive to our sense of ourselves as a nation. It is corrosive to the national soul.

~~~~~~~~~~

Then an agreement for quiet can be struck with Hamas, but this time from our strength. No nonsense from them about how "calm for calm" is not a good deal. They'll grab calm without all sorts of other demands.

If we play things properly, we should not agree to such a calm until they surrender Gilad Shalit. THAT would be the final, and appropriate, price for them to pay. We've neglected this in our dealing with Hamas for too long. Our vaunted "leaders" have conducted two separate negotiations with Hamas, one for "calm" and another for Shalit. They should not have calm until we have Shalit.

~~~~~~~~~~

Barak has announced that in spite of the continuing rocket fire, crossings will be opened and emergency supplies will be allowed in. This is a good move, first from a humanitarian perspective and then from a political perspective vis-a-vis the international community.

Barak has used the closing of the crossings as the means of "punishing" Hamas when rockets are fired. Two sorts of things go through these crossings essentially: humanitarian supplies such as basic foods and medicines, and commercial supplies. I don't think most people realize this. Merchants inside of Gaza can order whatever supplies they intend to sell or use in their businesses from suppliers outside of Gaza.

Part of our concern has been preventing the entry into Gaza of commercial supplies — such as building supplies and fertilizer for farming or even large quantities of paper — which might be co-opted by Hamas for their purposes: building bunkers, manufacturing rockets, proceeding with bureaucratic process, etc. The other is to prevent the Hamas-run entity from becoming a thriving enterprise.

It has been Israeli policy to allow humanitarian supplies in whenever possible. (Sometimes crossings must be closed entirely to protect Israeli lives because shooting is done at the crossing points themselves.) Israel also allows Gazans who need medical treatment to come across to Israeli hospitals, even if the crossings are closed.

~~~~~~~~~~

From my perspective the closing of crossing has been a failed policy. First because the international community attacks us as being inhumane and Hamas secures some public sympathy. I have documented in my writings on several occasions the difference between what is being claimed (the people are starving, etc.) and what the reality inside of Gaza is (according to knowledgeable sources and factual evidence that can be seen). UNRWA and the UN more broadly have been prime culprits in the PR war that involves exaggeration. They lie, to make us look bad.

And then because so much has been secured via the dozens of tunnels from the Sinai that commercial ventures are not being stymied quite as it was thought they would be.

This is not to say that conditions are wonderful in Gaza. Life there is no picnic. But they are not what the Arabs would have the world believe they are. Hamas is seeking full commercial traffic.

~~~~~~~~~~

If and when we do go into Gaza, we will have to contend with the exaggerations regarding civilian damage we've done. We've seen specific instances of this in the past, with regard to Lebanon. I believe our government will make every effort to offset this by allowing in basic humanitarian goods in considerable volume so that this, at least, is not a significant issue.

~~~~~~~~~~

Another issue to be considered in all its various ramifications is the different results that would be achieved if Hamas were weakened as versus Hamas being taken out completely. If Hamas were gone, there would be a clamor to turn the area over to the PA, and with this, the claim that there is now one negotiating partner, one address, for all Palestinians and we should move ahead in arranging that two-state solution.

We do not need to sacrifice a single one of our boys for the sake of Fatah and increased pressure on Israel to negotiate. I deplore the fact that we pulled out of Gaza at all, and in due course I hope we can move back in. But indeed now might not be the time.

It remains to be seen how parameters change after January 9th, which is when Hamas says Abbas's term as president is up.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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NO TO GUILT FOR ISRAEL
Posted by Barbara Ginsberg, December 26, 2008.
 

Anyone reading this article by Rav Meir Kahane and is not on my personal list to receive the weekly articles written by Rav Kahane and would like to be, please contact me at: barhow@netvision.net.il, This was published Spring 5744 — 1984

There is a specter haunting Israel and its American Jewish supporters. It is called guilt. Guilt over the "repression of Palestinian human rights." Guilt over the refusal to remove "the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East, the "occupation of Arab land seized in 1967." Guilt over the unwillingness to give the "Palestinians" their own state in the "occupied lands." And now, guilt over the killing of "Palestinians" and "innocent civilians in Lebanon."

It is a powerful weapon, this guilt; Jews have a difficult time coping with it. A people that has been the most debased of losers for 2,000 years finds it difficult to cope with victory. It finds it extraordinarily difficult to remain normal. It inherits insecurities, complexes, guilt. It begins to believe its enemies slander. It loses its self-respect and longs for the love of a hating world. It is important that those who have retained their self-esteem and some Jewish survival speak out against the disease of guilt and moral insecurity.

No guilt. Are the lands of 1967, "occupied" by the Jews, the main obstacle to peace? Is the year 1967 the origin of the conflict? How peaceful it must have been in 1966, when Sinai and Gaza were in Egyptian hands and the Golan was possessed by the Syrians to shell for 19 years the Jewish settlements below, and when Judea-Samaria (the "West Bank") and East Jerusalem were in the hands of the "moderate" King Hussein. Why did they all go to war? What did they want then? When one has East Jerusalem and attacks Israel, can it be that he desires, West Jerusalem? And Tel Aviv?

And what did they wish in 1947 when they rejected the "Palestine" state offered them by the United Nations and went to war, killing fully 1 percent of the population? And what did they wish in the riots of 1936-38 when there was no country called Israel and they murdered more than 500 Jews? And in 1929 when no "Zionist occupation troops" were in Hebron, why did the "Palestinians" rise up to murder 67 Jews in one day? And why the pogroms in Jerusalem and Jaffa in 1920 and 1921?

What troubles the Arabs is the very presence of large numbers of Jews in the land, Israel of any size, Zionism. That is what troubles the Arabs. That is the obstacle to peace. Let us inscribe that on our hearts lest we open the doors to a repetition — on — a grand scale — of that which the Arabs have done to Jews since 1920. And the bearers of guilt would do just that.

No guilt. There is one sublime reason why we should not give up a centimeter of land: It belongs to us!

If we have no right to Judea-Samaria, then we indeed have no right to Tel Aviv. Abraham did not walk on Dizengoff Street, nor did our ancestors live in the Israeli cities that were built in the 20th century. But Abraham, who lived in Hebron, and Jacob in Shechem, now Nablus, and David in Bethlehem are the 'sole legitimate reasons that Jews can lay claim to a Tel Aviv and the kibbutzim of the guilt-ridden left. The land belongs to us because the G-d of Israel, Creator and Titleholder of all lands, gave it to us.

No guilt. There is no such thing as a "Palestinian people." They are Arabs, part of the Arab nation, possessors of 21 lands. Let them live in peace in any or all of them. but, there are no "Palestinians."

It was the Roman emperor Hadrian who, after the Jewish revolt against the Romans, angrily erased the name of the state, Judea, and invented the name "Palestine," after the Philistines. In every normal case, an existing people gives its name to a land. The Franks named it France and the Angles, England, and the Germanics, Germany. Only in this ludicrous case does a Roman invent a name, give it to a land, and the arriving Arab trespassers become "Palestinians." One presumes that had Hadrian not changed the name, Israel would today be fighting Yasir Arafat and the Judean terrorists.

No guilt. The "Palestinians" civilians in Lebanon cheered and supported every Palestine Liberation Organization murder and shelling of Jewish towns. They are united in hatred of Israel. It would be nice if they were not mingled with the P.L.O., but they are. And if the only way to destroy the terrorists is by shellings and bombings that take the lives of people who cheer our death, we have no choice. I wonder how many mourned and protested the killing of German civilians during World War II bombings of Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden? And Gen. Yekutiel Adam was gunned down and murdered by a 14-year-old "innocent Palestinian child."

No guilt. There is nothing ethical about dying or anything moral about another Holocaust. There is nothing immoral about winning and nothing necessarily noble in a loser. Let us cast off the chains of guilt and reject the accusations of its bearers. The greatness of Judaism is its spirit, but no spirit can survive without a living body.

No guilt. Rather faith, pride, strength and the love of Jews rather than the enemy who would destroy them. That is sanity, that is Judaism.

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ISRAEL'S CHALLENGE
Posted by Family Security Matters, December 26, 2008.

This was written by Mark Silverberg and it appeared in Family Security Matters (FSM)
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.2115/pub_detail.asp

Mark Silverberg is a foreign policy analyst with the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel) and the author of "The Quartermasters of Terror: Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Jihad." He has lectured extensively on subjects of counterterrorism, Jihadism, homeland security issues and intelligence matters.

I was asked recently to explain why Israel was "ghettoizing" the Palestinians by constructing a security barrier in areas that have served as transit points for terrorists entering the country. The questioner noted that, as a Jew, I should be more sensitive to the concept of a ghetto, and its dehumanizing effects on human beings. I responded that the security barrier was neither built for reasons of discrimination nor motivated by racism, but as a deterrent to protect the lives of Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers and, in fact, it has, to a great extent, accomplished its purpose.

But the suggestion that Israel may have had racist motivations in constructing the barrier disturbed me because it seems to be a recurring theme among major international bodies. I asked the questioner why she had decided to sort Israel out for "special treatment?" After all, the security barrier that Israel has constructed to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out of its country is not unlike the security barrier constructed by the Saudis to keep the Yemeni jihadists out of their country; or the one that India has constructed along its borders with Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh for the same reason;or the one that the Thais have constructed to keep the Malaysian jihadists out of their country, or the one that the U.S. is constructing to keep Mexican illegals out of our country......although I couldn't recall the last time a Mexican self-detonated in Albuquerque, or fired missiles into Dallas or Houston.

What is disturbing here is that this anti-Israel parody goes far beyond the barrier issue. Comments such as these represent a callous disregard for fundamental justice, and perhaps even anti-Semitism cloaked as righteous indignation. For example, with the start of Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting) in early September, Israeli forces manning West Bank check-points were instructed to avoid eating or smoking in front of Palestinians as a sign of respect, even as the Palestinians continue to use the Tomb of Joseph as a garbage dump and have urinated next to the Torah scrolls in the Cave of the Patriarchs.Further, on any given day, Israeli prisons are hosting Red Cross representatives, journalists, lawyers, prisoners' advocates, as well as family members of convicted Palestinian prisoners, while Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on Israeli soil, is being held in isolation and denied any and all visitation rights from lawyers, family and even the International Red Cross in violation of his human rights and international law. So, where is the international outcry for Shalit?

Then there's the condemnation that Israel is denying Gazans access to Israeli hospitals and medical care. In fact, the number of patients receiving permits for referrals to hospitals in Israel increased by 45% from 4,932 in 2006 to 7,176 in 2007, and has continued to increase in the first six months of 2008, despite increasing missile attacks on Israel's civilian population, including terror attacks directed at the very crossings used by patients. At the same time, there have been at least twenty incidents where Palestinians used "medical missions" to attempt terror attacks.

And there's more. Israel is constantly confronted with the demand that it must return Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians and the Golan Heights to Syria — areas seized during the 1967 Six-Day War. Why then do we never hear that same argument being raised against other nations? After World War II, Poland annexed 10% of historic Germany (East Prussia); Morocco controls the Western Sahara; Armenia has controlled 15% of neighboring Azerbaijan since 1994; Turkey has controlled half of Cyprus since its 1974 invasion; Russia has controlled the Kurile Islands off northern Japan for 63 years and China has occupied Tibet since 1950. So, where is the international outcry demanding that these countries return lands they seized in war? Why is it that only Israel's control over the West Bank merits international censure?

Then there's the demand that the Palestinians be allowed a right of return to Israel proper or at least fair compensation for having been displaced as a result of Israel's War of Independence in 1948. Why are similar demands not being made of the Syrians, the Iranians, the Iraqis and the Egyptians who displaced (or more specifically expelled) 750,000 Jews from their countries in 1948? I don't recall any demands being made of any nation for compensation or allowing a right of return to any refugees displaced after any wars in modern times — except of course for those being made of Israel. Czechoslovakia expelled its Sudetenland Germans from their homes after World War II; the Poles expelled millions of Germans from East Prussia and absorbed that territory into Poland in 1945; thousands of Turkish Cypriots were displaced by Greek military forces in the 1960s and early 70s while Turkish forces displaced thousands of Greek Cypriots from Northern Cyprus after their 1974-1976 war; 450,000 ethnic Chinese were expelled from Vietnam between 1978-1979; the Bangladeshis expelled over three million Hindus in 1974; 250,000 Georgians were displaced from Abkhazia between 1993 and 1998, not to mention more than 500,000 ethnic Russians in Chechnya who were displaced during the First Chechen War in 1994-1996 and more than 800,000 Kosovar Albanians who were expelled from Kosovo during the Kosovo War in 1998-1999. Somehow, I must have missed offers of a right of return or any compensation package being offered to these millions upon millions of persons displaced by wars — except in the case of Israel.

And then there's the issue relating to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza. Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British premier Tony Blair, recently entered Gaza aboard a protest boat on August 23 and told Ynet News in Israel that Gaza was "the largest concentration camp in the world today" and a "humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur." She was later photographed at a seemingly well-stocked grocery store in the so-called "concentration camp." So, let's consider how these Israeli "monsters" have behaved. Hamas has declared its intention to destroy Israel and murder every Jew residing there, and has fired over 7,000 missiles at southern Israel. In return, Israel is providing 70% of Gaza's electrical power and, each week sends tons of food, fuel and humanitarian aid to an enemy whose entire rationale for existence is the extermination or subjugation of every Jew in Israel. During World War II, the Allies firebombed Dresden, obliterated German cities, and dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Israel feeds its enemies!

And finally, Israel has been condemned for retaliating against Hamas and Hezbollah for their missile attacks on Israel's southern and northern civilian populations because, it is said, Israel is (and this is a direct quote from Human Rights Watch) "endangering non-combatants, using disproportionate force and committing crimes against humanity." If Israel fired missiles into Gaza City, Sidon or Tyre, the world would be enraged, the UN Security Council would be called into Special Session, Condoleezza Rice would be threatening Jerusalem — again, and the media would be having a field-day. So why is it that when the Palestinians and the Lebanese fire missiles at Israeli civilians as their primary target, it is barely mentioned in the media, but when Israel retaliates against those missile sites in targeted bombings, it's considered "disproportionate force" — all which leads to the real issue lurking behind the scenes here — our enemies' tactical use of human shields.

Why is criticism never leveled at Hamas or Hezbollah who regularly use children as human shields to protect their leaders and their weapons? In all the condemnation being heaped on Israel by the media for its retaliatory strikes in Gaza and in Lebanon during the Second Lebanon War (and indeed any future conflict), no one ever asks: "How can any democratic nation expect to win a war without "endangering civilians" especially when the enemy uses human shields as a tactical weapon to insulate itself from military strikes? Are we not handing our enemies an enormous tactical advantage? How can any democratic nation ever hope to win a future war against enemies that use human shields if it is condemned for "endangering civilians"?

Until there is universal condemnation of these tactics and recognition of the discriminatory double-standards applied to Israel, claims by self-righteous international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the UN General Assembly, the European Union and the International Court of Justice are more than meaningless. They are offensive and deceitful.

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HE AIN'T HEAVY...HE'S OUR BROTHER
Posted by Justice For Jonathan Pollard, December 25, 2008.

Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard!

DIAL: 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111
Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EDST

From Israel, call toll-free: 077-566-4305
Israel Time: 4 PM to Midnight

Leave a message for President George Bush:

Free Jonathan Pollard now!

Reach Justice for Jonathan Pollard by sending an email to justice4jp@gmail.com and visit their website: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/rss.htm

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MUSLIM GRINCHES STEAL CHRISTMAS
Posted by Aaron Klein, December 25, 2008.

Christians warned against celebration: 'We are living under a state of fear'

JERUSALEM — Christians living in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are holding only small, quiet Christmas celebrations after local leaders received warnings from Muslim groups against any public display of Christianity this holiday season, according to a Gaza Christian leader.

Publicly, some Christian leaders announced the dampened festivities were to protest an Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza after Hamas seized control of the territory in the summer of 2007. Israel limits trade convoys but still allows in humanitarian aid and directly supplies Gaza with 75 percent of its electricity. The Jewish state also provides monthly infusions of Israeli currency that fuel the Gaza economy.

Gaza Latin Church pastor Manuel Musalam faxed a statement to reporters announcing his church would not hold midnight Christmas mass to protest both the blockade and a threatened Israeli military invasion of Gaza. At least one other Christian leader in the territory made similar remarks to the media.

Still, according to local Christians, some private, low key celebrations took place.

A top Christian leader in Gaza told WND the decision to keep celebrations quiet came after he received threats from local Muslim groups against any public display of Christianity during Christmas. The leader was speaking on condition of anonymity, saying his life would be threatened if he spoke out publicly. He said the threats were conveyed to other Christian leaders in Gaza.

"We were warned not to celebrate in the streets or ring the church bells, otherwise Christians would be targeted. We are living under a state of fear," the Christian leader said.

"There is nothing we can do about the situation. We don't want to infuriate anyone," he said.

The Christian leader would not say whether the threats were verbal or came in the form of written communication.

He said he had reason to believe the threats emanated with Jihadia Salafiya, a Hamas-allied Islamic outreach movement in Gaza that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law. The organization, which is not directly connected to Hamas but publicly supports it, has been suspected in a string of anti-Christian attacks, including the bombing of a Christian bookstore in November 2007 and the murder of the store's manager, local Christian resident Rami Ayyad.

Contacted by WND, Abu Islam, chief of Jihadia Salafiya, denied making any threats against Christians.

Still, Abu Islam commented, "Gaza is a Muslim state. Why do 3,000 Christians need to celebrate openly in a territory of 1 million Muslims? Any celebrations are clearly for missionary purposes and must not be tolerated."

Abu Islam previously gave WND interviews under a different name, Sheik Abu Saqer. He changed his name to Abu Islam in June 2007 in celebration of Hamas' Gaza takeover.

Immediately after Hamas' Gaza coup, Abu Islam told WND in an exclusive interview Christians could continue living safely in the Gaza Strip only if they accepted Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings.

"[Now that Hamas is in power,] the situation has changed 180 degrees in Gaza," said Abu Islam, speaking from Gaza in June 2007.

"Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity," he said.

Abu Islam accused the Gaza Christian leadership of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals."

"This missionary activity is endangering the entire Christian community in Gaza," he warned.

Christians warned: Accept Islamic law

About 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million.

After Hamas' rise to power, Christian in Gaza repeatedly have been targeted. Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of many of the Islamist attacks, such as a May 2007 shooting against a United Nations school in Gaza after it allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in the attack.

In the case of Ayyad, who managed the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, his body was discovered riddled with gunshot and stab wounds. Just before his murder, Ayyad, a Baptist, was publicly accused by Abu Islam's group of engaging in missionary activities. Ayyad's bookstore, owned by the Palestinian Bible Society, was firebombed in April 2007, after which he told relatives he received numerous death threats from Islamists.

WND quoted witnesses stating Ayyad was publicly tortured a few blocks from his store before he was shot to death.

The witnesses said they saw three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, beat Ayyad repeatedly with clubs and the butts of their guns while they accused him of attempting to spread Christianity in Gaza. The witnesses said that after sustaining the beating, Ayyad was shot by all three men.

Aaron Klein is Chief, Jerusalem Bureau, World Net Daily. His newly released book is "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans — to a Jew!" This article appeared in World Net Daily
http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=84518

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NEWS MEDIA'S 'COLD DECEIT' DESCENDS UPON BETHLEHEM
Posted by Aaron Klein, December 25, 2008.

This was published yesterday in World Net Daily
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=84462

An arctic chill has descended upon Bethlehem in recent days. And I'm not talking about the weather, but the cold deceit of the mainstream media, which, like clockwork, file misleading reports from this important Christian city every year. They completely ignore Muslim intimidation of Christians while blaming Israel for ruining Christmas and for the drastic decline of Christianity in one of the holiest cities for that religion.

Let's start with a widely circulated AP article: "Bethlehem adapts to life in shadow of Israeli wall."

The piece paints a picture of an economically downtrodden Bethlehem and squarely blames Israel for building a "wall" that the AP claims "not only cuts Bethlehem off from Jerusalem, but meanders through the town." AP "journalist" Dalia Nammari interviews local residents who lost their jobs, including one family who closed their car repair shop, we are told, because of the Israeli "wall."

The article is drowning in lies. Did Nammari actually travel to Bethlehem? If so, she would know there is absolutely no wall that "meanders through town."

Israel built a fence, in 2002, in the area where northern Bethlehem interfaces with Jerusalem. A tiny segment of that barrier, facing a major Israeli roadway, is a concrete wall that Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists. Israel had good reason to build the wall in that one small area, since terrorists in 2000 and 2001 routinely shot and killed Israeli motorists at the adjacent roadway.

The rest of Bethlehem is not encircled by any wall or fence. Actually, unless one enters the city from the area interfacing Jerusalem, a traveler coming in from any other entrance will not even encounter the barrier.

Nammari's main contention — Palestinians in Bethlehem are suffering economically, and this is Israel's fault — couldn't be further from the truth. The Palestinian Authority itself has declared Bethlehem is undergoing major economic growth and is expecting more tourists this year than any time since 1999!

Even the New York Times was forced to admit as much. A Times article from yesterday datelined in Bethlehem, was titled, "Palestinians work to jolt West Bank back to life."

The piece, allows, "Both Israeli and Palestinian officials report economic growth for the occupied areas of 4 to 5 percent and a drop in the unemployment rate of at least three percentage points. The improved climate has nearly doubled the number of tourists in Bethlehem and increased them by half in Jericho."

The Times quotes Victor Batarseh, the Palestinian mayor of Bethlehem, triumphantly declaring: "It has been the best year since 1999."

"Our hotels are full, whereas three years ago there was almost nobody. Unemployment is below 20 percent," he said.

But alas, the Times is sure to get in an inaccurate snippet aimed at Israel: "Even today, getting into Bethlehem requires passing through an Israeli checkpoint under the shadow of the enormous Israeli separation barrier." (Again, not true. There are other entrances into Bethlehem that don't face any barrier).

The Times piece did not bother to tell readers one of the main reasons tourism is up in Bethlehem: The number of terrorist attacks launched by Bethlehem-area terrorists is down, drawing fewer Israeli antiterrorism operations in the city.

Enter Reuters. A piece by the news agency concedes in its title, "Bethlehem fills up with Christmas pilgrims," that the city is teeming with tourists. But it blathers about "a daunting concrete wall 4 metres (13 feet) high with watchtowers" without informing readers that the wall is only in a tiny, necessary section.

The Reuters article attributes the rise in Bethlehem tourism to a "decline in violence" in the West Bank that has "tempted back tourists who no longer fear gun battles in the streets." Decline in violence? That's a bit general. Perhaps Reuters is so entrenched in its political narrative in which Israel is the aggressor it is afraid to admit a decline in Palestinian terrorism has helped free Bethlehem from economic decline.

Now let's go into a little necessary background on that "wall" in Bethlehem. The barrier, most of which is a fence, was constructed after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, or terror war, launched after late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat turned down an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state, returning to the Middle East to liberate Palestine with violence.

Scores of deadly suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis were planned in Bethlehem and carried out by Bethlehem-area terrorists, including Eita and his ilk.

At one point during the period of just 30 days in 2002, at least 14 shootings were perpetuated by Bethlehem cells of Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, killing two Israelis and wounding six.

Many times Muslim gunmen in the Bethlehem area reportedly took positions in civilian homes in the hilltops of Christian Beit Jala, which straddles Bethlehem. Beit Jala afforded the terrorists a clear firing line at southern sections of Jerusalem and at a major Israeli highway down below, drawing Israeli military raids and the eventual building of the security barrier there.

Another popular theme of the mainstream media in recent years is that Bethlehem's Christian population, which is drastically declining, is dwindling because of the "barrier."

Simple demographic facts disprove this contention that Israel built the barrier six years ago. But Bethlehem's Christian population started to drastically decline in 1995, the very year Arafat's Palestinian Authority took over the holy Christian city in line with the U.S.-backed Oslo Accords.

Bethlehem was more than 80 percent Christian when Israel was founded in 1948. But since Arafat got his grimy hands on it, the city's Christian population dove to its current 23 percent. And that statistic is considered generous since it includes the satellite towns of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Some estimates place Bethlehem's actual Christian population as low as 12 percent, with hundreds of Christians emigrating each year..

As soon as he took over Bethlehem, Arafat unilaterally fired the city's Christian politicians and replaced them with Muslim cronies. He appointed a Muslim governor, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabar and deposed of Bethlehem's city council, which had nine Christians and two Muslims, reducing the number of Christians councilors to a 50-50 split.

Arafat then converted a Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus, into his official Bethlehem residence.

Suddenly, after the Palestinians gained the territory, reports of Christian intimidation by Muslims began to surface.

Christian leaders and residents told me they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spokes of instances in which Christian shopkeepers' stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked.

They said in the past, Palestinian gunmen fired at Israelis from Christian hilltop communities, drawing Israeli anti-terror raids to their towns.

In 2002, dozens of terrorists holed up inside the Church of the Nativity for 39 days while fleeing a massive Israeli anti-terror operation. Israel surrounded the church area but refused to storm the structure. Gunmen inside included wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and Brigades terrorists reportedly involved in suicide bombings and shooting attacks. More than 200 nuns and priests were trapped in the church after Israeli hostage negotiators failed to secure their release.

Some Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs.

"There are many cases where Christians have their land stolen by the [Muslim] mafia," said Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station.

"It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, and then they say we have papers proving you're living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can't do anything about it. The Christian loses, and he runs away," Qumsiyeh told WND, speaking from his hilltop television station during a recent interview.

Qumsiyeh himself said he was targeted by Islamic gangs. He said his home was firebombed after he returned from a trip abroad during which he gave public speeches outlining the plight of Bethlehem's Christian population.

One Christian Bethlehem resident told WND last year her friend recently fled Bethlehem after being accused by Muslims of selling property to Jews, a crime punishable by death in some Palestinian cities. The resident said a good deal of the intimidation comes from gunmen associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization.

A February Jerusalem Post article cited the case of Faud and Georgette Lama, Christian residents of Bethlehem who said their land was stolen by local Muslims and when they tried to do something about it, Faud was beaten by gunmen.

One religious novelty store owner I met recently told me Muslim gangs regularly deface Christian property.

"We are harassed, but you wouldn't know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims. This is why Christians are running away."

Aaron Klein is Chief, Jerusalem Bureau, World Net Daily. His newly released book is "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans — to a Jew!"

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FROM ISRAEL: HOLDING PATTERN
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 25, 2008.

Today, thank Heaven, it is raining. We've needed this so badly, and need much more than is coming down right now.

But the cloud cover makes visibility poor and makes any major action from the sky over Gaza unlikely at the moment in any event.

Arutz Sheva reports today that Barak said, after the Security Cabinet meeting yesterday, that he has given the IDF authorization to plan but not to execute a major operation.

This bewilders me, because the IDF has been planning and for some time now has had in place a number of attack alternatives, pending political approval. Chief of Staff Ashkenazi has said this on several occasions: The IDF is prepared, we're waiting for a go-ahead.

Arutz Sheva is indicating there will be a slow escalation of attacks (which, I add, might include "pinpoint" ground strikes with soldiers going in and out quickly). But who knows.

~~~~~~~~~~

I'd like to share a piece of particular thoughtfulness, written by Brigadier General (ret.) Dr. Yossi Ben Ari, former intelligence chief of the IDF's Central Command. Says he:

"Securing tactical quiet is no longer the objective: Israel would never be able to view Hamas, [in] its current ideological form, as a viable dialogue partner that we can reach even minimal agreements with. Today it is already clear that Israel must view the confrontation with Hamas as a 'zero-sum game.' Yes, it's either 'them or us.'"

Ben Ari is disturbed that we are seeing no "progress in the required intellectual shift from the disgraceful strategic status of permanent respondent, to the proper status required for our existence — initiators and leaders." We are not setting the terms, Hamas is.

"However, it's not too late yet," he assures us. "We do not have to keep following the path dictated by Hamas. Instead, we can make the Hamastan government scamper as if it had been poisoned."

He recommends taking the initiative not by re-taking the full Gaza Strip, but by doing the following simultaneously:

— Retaking the Philadelphi Corridor and a kilometer-wide strip around it, to dry up Hamas's capacity to continue to arm.

— Resuming targeted killings, of both Hamas military and political leaders.

— Doing comprehensive and continuous air assaults on terror infrastructure.

— Treating this as a war. Doing everything possible to prevent Hamas from operating from civilian areas.

"Adopting a wide offensive initiative could make the difference: It will certainly affect the way we view ourselves in the future, and no less importantly, the way our image is shaped in the eyes of our enemies and allies."
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3643967,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Tzipi Livni has met with officials in Cairo, and it seems to me that what transpired is pretty much of a joke. Mubarak reportedly demanded that Israel use restraint in responding to Hamas rockets. Demanded?

He demanded that Hamas stop launching those rockets, as well. Hamas has been very angry at Egypt of late. Egypt's main leverage over Hamas, such as it exists, involves Egyptian readiness to open the Rafah crossing.

~~~~~~~~~~

My information from a reliable source is that Egypt, which indeed fears Hamas (an off-shoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood), does not want to be rid of Hamas but simply to control it. They do not want a major Israeli operation in Gaza, their preference being for "cooling it."

I had reported some months ago about the fact that in spite of strong tensions between Sunni Egypt and Shi'ite Iran, Egypt was willing to tolerate Hamas as an Iranian proxy at its border because this was troublesome for Israel. Yesterday, I reported on a possible reduction in those tensions as the Egyptian Amr Mousa speaks of dialogue with Iran. It all comes together when we see Egypt's attitude towards Hamas.

~~~~~~~~~~

My source also confirmed what I had suspected: That Abbas's total turn-around with regard to sanctioning an Israeli operation in Gaza was the result of Egyptian pressure. Mubarak told him simply not to give his approval to this, and that, literally, is what Abbas said. It was after Abbas's meeting with Mubarak that Abbas also started speaking again about the need for a unity government.

~~~~~~~~~~

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit said at a press conference after the meeting today that "Hamas is not receiving its weapons through Egypt, and Israel had better not blame Egypt for this....I don't know how these weapons reached the Gaza Strip."

I am stunned at his audacity here and most vociferously disagree. It is and has been common knowledge for some time that Hamas smuggles weapons from the Sinai into Gaza via tunnels. At this point in time, Hamas controls those tunnels and Egypt in the main has turned a blind eye.

If you doubt this, take a look at a site called Weapon Survey and see the series of reports by the Shin Bet and others regarding the amounts and kinds of equipment that are being smuggled under the Philadelphi Corridor between Egypt and Gaza.

"The openings of smuggling tunnels are often located within private Egyptian houses in close proximity to the border. In addition, smoke from detonated smuggling tunnels (indicating a tunnel opening) has been observed rising from Egyptian army and border guard bases.

"In August 2004, Israel Radio military correspondent Carmela Menashe reported that, 'Egypt knows exactly what weapons are being smuggled...Egypt uses the weapons smuggling as a measure against Israel.'

"In September 2004, Yuval Steinitz, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee emphasized it was 'crystal clear...Egypt supports terrorism against Israel by enabling Hamas and others to transform Sinai into their logistical rear...'"

"Since August 2007, the defense establishment has recorded five major incidents of arms smuggling through Egypt, during which 13 tons of explosives and 150 RPG launchers were imported.

"In October 2007, Yuval Diskin stated that approximately 1,650 RPG rockets and some 6,000 bombs have been smuggled into Gaza since January 2007. In addition, an estimated 73 tons of explosives have been smuggled into Gaza through tunnels since June. Millions of bullets for light weapons and tons of potassium, used to manufacture bombs, have also crossed the Gaza-Sinai border."
http://www.weaponsurvey.com/kbase/egyptandsmuggling.htm

~~~~~~~~~~

A different take on the tunnels is provided by a report that a VIP tunnel has been constructed that is high enough to allow people to walk in and is equipped with electricity. It is being used by wealthy people in Gaza (gasp! there are wealthy people in Gaza?) who are paying to go out to Egypt. As Hamas controls the tunnels, they collect a "tax" when individuals use them.

~~~~~~~~~~

Livni told Mubarak that Israel will not turn a blind eye to the rocket launchings.

Egypt, with whom we have a peace treaty, remains an enemy, not to be trusted. And it is Egypt, playing a balancing act, that has been negotiating Shalit's release for us.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just how crazy are we? Last week a senior Prison Services official made a call in Maariv for tougher conditions for terrorists in our prisons.

"I could not hold back any longer... I see Gilad Shalit rotting in captivity, crouched in some darkened cellar with no visits, no reasonable living conditions, without seeing the light of day, while in contrast, in our prisons its one big summer camp. Some of [the terrorists] are lowly murderers who express no regret. They eat, drink, study, enjoy excellent conditions. It's shocking."

Terrorists can move about for three hours a day, during which time games such as ping pong, basketball and backgammon are available to them. They are fed meat and fish on holidays and permitted to spend up to 1,200 shekels a month on food and cigarettes. Inmates all have TVs in their cells, which include Arabic programming that may be anti-Israel. And they can pursue academic degrees.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter responded to this, saying that we were adhering to international agreements. The official maintains that we could provide these prisoners with much less and still fall within international regulations.

The ultimate irony, perhaps, is that the world never perceives us as good guys in spite of all of this. And I suspect that the terrorists laugh at us.

~~~~~~~~~~

I just raised questions about the utility of polls, I know. But I'd like to cite this: According to a Ma'agar Mohot poll, 58% of Israelis don't believe we should agree to full withdrawal from the Golan, even for comprehensive peace, while 46% believes we shouldn't relinquish any part of the Golan under any circumstances.

~~~~~~~~~~

On top of this, there is a Druze for Israel Forum, that supports Israeli retention of the Golan. (There are Druze, who were originally under Syrian control, who live on the Golan now under Israeli control.) Mandi Safdie, leader of the Forum and a candidate on the Hatikvah list, has asked Druze residents of the Golan to vote only for parties that oppose giving the Golan to Syria.

~~~~~~~~~~

Another poll, done by the Panels Institute after the expulsion of residents of Beit HaShalom in Hevron, shows that 73% of Jewish Israelis feel "an emotional connection" to Hevron. This includes 61% of the secular population. Surprising. And reassuring.

~~~~~~~~~~

Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) — an organization that has no legal identity but conducts itself as if it did — has been penalized by a Jerusalem Magistrates Court for misrepresentation. Peace Now, along with activists Hagit Ofran and Dror Atkis, was held responsible for publishing a false report about the Samaria town of Revava. Two years ago, Peace Now published a report that claimed that most Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria were built on land stolen from Arabs. In particular the report noted that 71.5% Revava was built on Arab land.

The Fund for Redeeming the Land, which legally owns 100% of the land on which Revava is built, demanded a retraction. When neither Peace Now nor the two report authors agreed, the Fund took them to court. Now Judge Yechezkel Barclay has ruled that they have to publicly apologize to the town of Revava — placing the apology in major Hebrew press — and must pay the Fund 20,000 shekels.

The time has come to end the serial lies issued by various leftist groups," said the Fund's attorney, Nir Tzvi. "The public should doubt any report they write."

Indeed. Lies come from several left-wing anti-Zionist organizations, and, regrettably, are often believed.

~~~~~~~~~~

Earlier this week, archeologists found 254 gold coins that date back 1,400 years in the parking lot adjacent to Ir David (David's City, the original Jerusalem, sitting outside the Old City walls). They were found in the remnants of a building from the Byzantine period and bear the likeness of a Byzantine emperor.

Archaeologists found a hoard of gold coins from the 7th century in Jerusalem on Sunday.

This is not the first time there have been stunning archeological finds in this area that had become a place for parking cars. Scratch the earth in this incredible land, and history is exposed.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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THEN AND NOW
Posted by Professor Paul Eidelberg, December 25, 2008.

Back in 1920, an event took place in Israel that redounds to the honor and courage of many Jews, secular and religious. Indeed, since these Jews were then subject to British rule, their noble conduct shines all the more brilliantly when contrasted to the behavior of many Jews in the supposedly sovereign state of Israel — and I have especially in mind Israel's ruling elites.

The event is recorded in Dr. Joseph B. Shechtman's excellent biography of Vladimir Jabotinsky, from which I shall quote and paraphrase.

At the end of 1919, Jabotinsky formed the Jewish Defense Corp (Haganah) in reaction to Arab violence. On April 4, an Arab mob, inflamed by anti-Jewish speeches, began attacking Jews in Jerusalem. "Soon Jewish blood was shed and the mob rushed into the Jewish quarter to kill and to pillage, shouting: "El Dowleh ma'ana (the government is with us)."

"Instead of assisting the victims, Arab police either adopted a passive attitude or joined the attackers. The pogrom lasted two days and resulted in five Jews and four Arabs killed, 211 Jews and 21 Arabs wounded; two Jewish girls were raped."

The only part of Jerusalem affected by the riots was the Jewish quarter in the Old City, where Orthodox Jews refused to permit Jabotinsky's Jewish Self-Defense Corp to operate. All other quarters of the City were guarded by Jewish patrols, with the result that not one casualty occurred in these areas.

"Hardly was the pogrom over when the British administration started reprisals against the Jewish defenders of Jerusalem." Twenty Haganah members were arrested, including Jabotinsky. The men were brought into an interrogation room, where they were surrounded by Arab guards with Turkish lashes in their hands.

On the order of the judge (an Australian captain), an Arab secretary started the investigation by addressing Jabotinsky in Arabic: "What is your name?" There was no answer. The question was repeated in French: Votre nom, Monsieur? No answer. Finally in English: "Will you please tell me your name?" No answer.

The judge lost patience, banged on the table and angrily shouted: "Why don't you answer?"

Turning to the judge, Jabotinsky said quietly but firmly: "Your honor! I shall not answer a court secretary who belongs to the tribe of the murderers whose attacks upon innocent people, coupled with pillage and raping, are still going on beyond these walls. Furthermore, I shall answer no questions unless they are asked in Hebrew, my language, the language of the Land of Israel and the language of my nineteen comrades."

"There are no nationalities in the Court; there are only officials," the judge sternly admonished him.

"If this is the case, I shall not reply to this official," was the composed answer.

"Take him out of the room," ordered the judge.

This was quickly done. But the remaining prisoners firmly clung to Jabotinsky's policy. The Court adjourned. Two hours later they were summoned again; a Jewish sergeant, speaking English and Hebrew, was in the secretary's chair and his opening question was in Hebrew" "Mah Sh'meicha?" (What's your name?).

But this is not all. We read in the sequel: "The Jews of Jerusalem learned that Jabotinsky and his comrades ... were committed for trial, on Sabbath, April 10th. The same day, three hundred-eighty members of the Defense Corp who had not been arrested, signed a petition to the Court declaring themselves at one with the twenty arrested men and asking to be tried together with them.

"Simultaneously, in all synagogues signatures were collected under a petition expressing full solidarity with Jabotinsky and stating that, although the signatories had not been in a position to participate in the Self-Defense Corp, they would have done so, had it been possible. The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Kook, was the first to sign the petition and authorized its signing on the Sabbath by others.

"Two thousand five hundred Jews signed, among them three hundred women who stated they had been urging their husbands, brothers, sons to join the self-defense. The petition was submitted to the Military Court, but was disregarded."

Jabotinsky and his comrades were tried, found guilty, and sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude — this, for defending Jewish life and Jewish honor against murderous and rapacious Arabs! Indignation seized the Jews in Jerusalem and all the suburbs. Haaretz reported on April 20: "All the schools, institutions, shops, etc. are closed. Nobody on the streets; no trading, no newspapers, nothing. A total strike." The Rabbinate proclaimed the 26th of April a day of general strike, fast, and mourning, with the sounding of the Shofar in all synagogues in the country. (What would happen in Israel if such a strike were called today?)

When news about the vindictive sentence reached London, a storm of public indignation was aroused. Members the House of Commons were embarrassed, for Jabotinsky had served as an officer in the British army during World War I, indeed, had organized the Jewish Legion that fought on the side of the allies.

On July 8th, the High Commissioner of Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, issued an amnesty for all those imprisoned in connection with the Jerusalem riots, including two Arab rapists! Instead of being exonerated as he had insisted, Jabotinsky and his comrades were placed on the same level as Arab rapists and pogromists! He bitterly protested, but in vain.

A bright episode in Jewish history was thus dimmed by what we now call "moral equivalence." But the Jewish pride and courage displayed by Jabotinsky, his comrades, and his 2,500 supporters — let us again mention Rav Kook — should serve to inspire Jews today confronted, as they are, not only by bloodthirsty Arabs, but by a shameless and pusillanimous government at war with heritage of the Jewish people.

Professor Eidelberg is the founder and president of The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, a Jerusalem-based think tank for improving Israel's system of governance. Contact him at list-owner@foundation1.org

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TIME TO END THE POLICY OF RESTRAINT
Posted by Shaul and Aviva Ceder, December 25, 2008.

This was written by Bernard J. Shapiro, who is Executive Director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies and editor of The Maccabean. It was published originally as an Editorial in The Maccabean

"He who is merciful when he should be cruel will in the end be cruel when he should be merciful." ...Midrash Samuel (Jewish rabbinic text from early Middle Ages)

From the very early days of the Haganah and continuing with the emerging Israel Defense Forces (IDF), there was a policy of self-restraint or havlagah. This policy mandated that defenders could only return fire, hold their positions, and never to engage in counter-terror. This policy was based on the false premise that the Arab masses did not support the war against the Yishuv (the Jewish population before independence) and then the State of Israel and would be brought into the conflict if Israeli forces were too aggressive. There were some good and practical reasons for restraint in the early days. There was legitimate fear that the British would cut off immigration if the Jews were to go on the offensive against the Arabs. Havlagah was essentially a Haganah (Labor/Socialist) policy and many supporters of Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionist movement broke off from them to form fighting units (Irgun Zvai Leumi and Stern) unrestrained by that policy.

The modern IDF was dominated by Labor and quickly adopted the policy of restraint and the concept of "purity of arms" as its official doctrine. The later reinforced the former by adding that a soldier should never have to obey an illegal order to commit some atrocity. The enemy, including prisoners of war, should be treated with dignity and civilian populations should be spared as much harm as possible, even if this causes greater Israeli casualties. There was some flexibility in this strict moral code. A young officer named Yitzhak Rabin (1948) was sent to fire on Jewish teenagers swimming to flee the sinking Altalena (he killed 16 of them). Many retaliatory raids were launched against terrorist targets in neighboring countries, killing numerous civilians as collateral damage.

This policy of restraint may have been practical during the pre-state days and even during the early years of Israeli independence. These periods were characterized by weakness and relative dependence on foreign goodwill. Following the Six Day War in 1967, the need for havlagah decreased and the damage it caused began to become more evident. Israel became the preeminent power in the Middle East, yet failed to grasp the strategic opportunities that came with such dominance. Here are some of the historical highlights of the failed policy of restraint:

1. Following the Six Day War (1967) and the capture of Jerusalem, Moshe Dayan turned over control of Judaism's most sacred place, the Temple Mount, to Moslem authorities. He did it to appease their sensibilities to the Israeli capture of the city. Jewish rights were ignored to please the defeated Arabs, who had plotted our destruction. Dayan also prevented a mass exodus of Arabs from YESHA, which ultimately led to the problems we face today.

2. During the War of Attrition with Egypt (1969-70), the Israeli forces adopted primarily a defensive posture. They built a system of bunkers (The Bar Lev Line) along the Suez Canal. Israeli soldiers were heavily pounded daily by Egyptian artillery. Finally they began to use aircraft to strike targets deep into Egypt. The policy of restraint kept them from striking anything but military and minor economic targets. Israeli soldiers died because the government was inhibited from causing Egypt 'real' pain.

3. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 is a classic example of restraint run amok. Israeli military intelligence did not fail to recognize the approaching danger as has been the common account. In fact, Israel's leaders made the political decision not to utilize the great power of the IDF to crush the Egyptian and Syrian armies that they KNEW were planning to attack. Thousands of Israeli soldiers died needlessly.

4. The Camp David Accord with Egypt was another example of the failure to exert Israeli power. The oil fields of Sinai would have given Israel economic independence from America. The cost of redeployment from Sinai placed Israel in almost permanent debt to American diplomacy (often pro-Arab). Did Israel achieve anything worthwhile at Camp David? I think not and believe history will bear me out. Egypt has become one of the most ant-Semitic and hostile Arab countries in the world. As a result of Camp David, the Egyptian army now threatens Israel, having been equipped with the most modern American weapons.

5. During the War in Lebanon (1982), the IDF reached Beirut and then failed to complete the destruction of the PLO. Our enemies were allowed to escape and prepare to fight another day. Why didn't the Israeli Navy sink the ships loaded with PLO troops (including Arafat) as they fled Beirut? RESTRAINT!

6. In 1987 the intifada began and the Israeli forces showed great restraint and thus were incapable of crushing it. Of course, Israel received no credit in the Western media for such restraint. The failure to defeat this uprising began a process of demoralization among the Israeli population.

7. The Persian Gulf War (1991) and the SCUD attacks on Israel led to further demoralization. The failure to adequately respond to Iraq's aggression and the humiliating sealed rooms, led to a rapid decline in Israeli morale and desire to defend itself. More and more Israelis began to feel impotent, weak and fatigued with the continuous battle for survival. The Oslo Accords were the logical outcome of this depression and feeling that they could not sustain the struggle.

8. The Oslo Accords (1993) were the ultimate failure of the policy of restraint. Israel actually was very powerful. The IDF was unequaled in the Middle East. Yet despite this power, its leaders, were ready to grant equal status to a band of murderers and ultimately create a state of "Palestine" which would challenge its right to the Land and its capital of Jerusalem.

9. Israeli forces in Lebanon should have been given a free hand to 'punish' all those who facilitate attacks on them including Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. No more agreements that tie Israeli hands.

The damage caused by havlagah (restraint) has been immense and it far past time to reverse that policy. Israel must massively and disproportionately retaliate for terrorist attack. The murderers of Jews must be plucked from their safe havens in Palestinian Authority areas. Oslo must be declared null and void due to Arafat's non-compliance with its terms. No more giving him "one more chance." The test is over. HE FAILED! He and his cronies should be arrested and tried for murder.

MAY THE LION OF JUDAH RISE ON THIS ROSH HASHANA AND RECLAIM THE SOUL OF ISRAEL AND WITH A MIGHT HAND VANQUISH HER ENEMIES....

Contact Shaul and Aviva Ceder at ceder@netvision.net.il

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THE CHOSEN LAND AND JEWISH-ARAB RELATIONS
Posted by Herb and Miki Sunshine, December 25, 2008.
This was written by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1974.

It was circulated by Barbara Ginsberg, who writes: "Anyone reading this Rav Kahane article and is not on my personal list to receive the weekly articles written by Rav Kahane and would like to be, please contact me at: barhow@netvision.net.il"

There is a Jewish people, the same that began with Abraham. There is a Jewish state, the home of that Jewish people from the time of the first divine promise. This is the Jewish claim. It is not a request. It is not an offer. It is not a plea. It is a claim and it brooks no denial. We have no home but Israel; we have no claim to any home but Israel. But within this one small state, that claim is absolute. The Land of Israel is the land of the Jewish people, whose claim to sovereignty over it — all of it — is clear and as ancient as

G-d's decision to grant that sovereignty.

A "Palestine" people? The concept is a contradiction in terms. There is either a "Palestine" or a Land of Israel, and we declare for the latter. There is no "Palestine" and if there is no "Palestine" there is no "Palestine" people. Arabs? Yes. Those Arabs who dwell and who dwelt for years within Eretz Yisrael are indeed part of the Arab people or nation and we respect and recognize that definition. But, they are not "Palestinians," for there never was such a concept. The Arabs who wandered into the Land of Israel while it lay desolate and empty of its exiled Jewish sons and daughters came as trespassers and interlopers. The passage of time, no matter how much time, cannot make legal that which is illegal. The claim of Arabs who have lived within the land for years or centuries is irrelevant in terms of a claim to Arab national sovereignty. And how much more so when "Palestine" was always looked upon as nothing more than southern Syria. As individuals who arrived and lived in the Land of Israel while there was no Jewish state, they are free to live and prosper. Under claim of national right, they are entitled to nothing. Jews have a sovereign national right to the land as a people and under this, each Jew has a right to live in Israel. The Arab, with no national sovereignty claim, may ask to be allowed to live in Eretz Yisrael, but can expect nothing more than that.

It is this most basic of concepts that gives the Jews not only the right to their own state, but the right to a state within the entire boundaries of the Land of Israel. Neither a fictitious "Palestine" nor a no less fictitious "Jordan" are anything more than interlopers within the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael.

What is the Arab of Eretz Yisrael? A human being, and we respect him for that and must treat him accordingly. What else is he? A member of the Arab nation, and we respect him for that. But he is no more than that: He is not a "Palestinian" belonging to a "Palestine" state, because both designations are fictitious. The Jewish claim rests upon divine grant and historical continuity based on that grant, and even if there were no questions of security, the state and the boundaries of that state would be Jewish for historical reasons alone.

Yet there is a security question, a question that goes to the heart of the existence of the Jewish state and the lives of its inhabitants. This question of security concerns the liberated lands, the Arabs who live there, the Arabs of pre-1967 Israel and, indeed, the entire Arab-Israel conflict. All of these problems, from a security standpoint, have given rise to a number of dangerous illusions that we must look at carefully and dispel. We fail to do so at our own peril.

The first illusion can be stated as: "If only Israel shows 'moderation.' A willingness to 'compromise' and is prepared to make 'concessions' to the Arabs, peace can be achieved.

Anyone who thinks this way encourages the destruction of Israel. Despite pious hopes and impious pressures, the fact remains that there will be no peace between Jews and Arabs so long as there remains a Jewish state of any kind, no matter how small. Regardless of what concessions Israel might make to the Arabs-be they the modest concessions of a Golda Meir or the maximalist concessions of the Israeli Left — all of the land that is now Israel is considered by the Arabs to be part of "Palestine." There is no difference to the "Palestinian" between the soil of Hebron or the West Bank or that over which are built the Jewish coastal villas of Herzliya and Savyon. "Schehem (Nablus) is like unto Tel Aviv and Haifa and Jericho are both mine," sayeth the Arab nationalist. So long as there remains a Jewish state with the name of Israel, the Arabs will never agree to peace. If that is a depressing prognosis, far better for pundits to be depressed than for Israelis to succumb to false hopes and be exterminated.

Herb Sunshine is a lawyer, qualified to practice in U.S.A. and Israel. He and his wife Miki live in Jerusalem. Contact them by email at sunshine.h@012.net.il

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JUDAISM'S SANTA PROBLEM
Posted by Shaul and Aviva Ceder, December 24, 2008.

This essay was written by Rabbi Dovid Zauderer and it appeared today in Jewish World Review

The message many parents and educators are teaching our youth have had its impact — to our detriment

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It has been said that there are four stages in a person's life:

(1) When one believes in Santa Claus
(2) When one no longer believes in Santa Claus
(3) When one dresses up like Santa Claus
(4) When one looks like Santa Claus.

Believing that there really is a Santa Claus is one of those things that many parents hope their child will do for a few years, and then, hopefully, figure out the real truth.

When one's daughter is three years-old, and sitting impatiently near the tree, waiting for Santa to fill up her stocking with Barbie Dolls and Barney videos, the parents just smile and think it's cute. But if she's already ten, and still thinks that the white-bearded, roly-poly man with the reindeer at the mall really lives at the North Pole, understandably, they start getting really nervous. "Silly girl," they tell her, "Santa is for kids! You are almost an adult now. You shouldn't be taking that legend seriously!"

For many Jews today, the Torah and its many "legends" and commandments and "rituals", have much in common with Saint Nick. Children are sent to Jewish Day School, or to Hebrew School, where they are taught about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and about Moses and the Burning Bush, and about all the Jewish holidays and the miracles that occurred during those times ... but we often don't take those stories and events too seriously. We tend to doubt that any of this stuff ever really occurred, and we (often subconsciously) hope that, as they grow older, our children will move past the stage where they believe that everything that they were taught in Hebrew school really happened.

"JACOB AND THE BEANSTALK"

Consider this fascinating "tale" found in Genesis to illustrate the phenomenon:

"Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He encountered the place and spent the night because the sun had set; he took from the stones of the place which he arranged around his head, and lay down in that place. And he dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set earthward and its top reached heavenward; and behold! angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it. And behold! G-d was standing over him, and He said, "I am the G-d of Abraham your father and G-d of Isaac; the ground upon which you are lying, to you I will give it and to your descendants." (Genesis 28:10-13)

Interesting "legend" ... our forefather Jacob falls asleep and, in his dream, he sees this really tall ladder that goes all the way up to the sky. Hmmmm .... sounds remotely similar to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk!

Now ...... what happens is that our kids learn about "Jacob's ladder" in Hebrew School, and they even make a nice little art project in which a paper cutout of Jacob sleeping is pasted at the bottom, and a huge ladder goes up to the top of the picture where a few white clouds are drawn. Our kids bring this project home, and we ask them to explain to us what it represents, and when they tell us the whole story of the ladder going up to the sky and G-d's revelation to Jacob, we smile at them and think that it's all rather amusing. Ho! Ho! Ho!

But do we really believe that it's true? Did any of these Bible stories actually take place? And if we don't take these stories so seriously, do we really want our kids to believe them? Or is this all just another Santa deal ... let the kids think it's real until one day when they will hopefully grow out of it.

JEWISH HISTORY AND THE "FOUR KINGDOMS"

The fact is, that for the better part of our history (and that covers about 3300 years!), Jews did take the Torah stories and all that they represented seriously — very seriously. And not just as children in Hebrew School, but as mature, sophisticated adults.

As a matter of fact, all of the greatest Jewish thinkers and philosophers, including the likes of Maimonides and Luzzato, believed in the Truth of the Torah and its account of history, well beyond their childhood years. And they not only believed in the Truth of the stories themselves, but they passed down traditions that they had received from earlier generations regarding the symbolism and interpretation of those stories.

An early Midrashic source, Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer, interprets the Biblical account of Jacob's vision of the ladder reaching heavenward with angels ascending and descending on it, in an amazing way:

Jacob was being symbolically shown the Four Kingdoms that would, after Egyptian bondage, successively "ascend" to subjugate Israel, and then "descend", and fall from power. The angels accordingly represent the "guardian angels" of the nations that are chosen by G-d to be the "rod of His anger" by becoming His earthly agents to punish Israel.

Accordingly, Jacob was shown the angel of the Babylonian Empire ascending 70 rungs [one for each year that Israel would be subjugated during the Babylonian Exile], and then descending. Then the angel of Media ascended 52 rungs and descended; the angel of Greece climbed 180 rungs and descended, representing the years of their respective domination of Israel. Jacob was then shown the angel of Edom (Rome). [Traditionally, this refers to the current, lingering exile amid Western civilization]. Edom ascended an undetermined number of steps, boasting that he would climb to the utmost heights and be like G-d Himself, but Jacob did not see him descend. [This uninterrupted ascendancy alluded to the unspecified duration of the Edomite exile.] Jacob became frightened that Edom's dominion would last forever ... G-d assured him that Edom's angel would ultimately cease [for as G-d assured Jacob in verse 15 (ibid.), He would be with Jacob — throughout his descendants' exiles — to guard him wherever he would go, and return him to the Land of Israel.]

As you can see from the Midrash, this "tale" of Jacob's ladder was taken very seriously by our great Bible commentators and philosophers .... so much so that they actually read into the story a foretelling of the entire destiny of the Jewish people. Now that's a far cry from Jack and the Beanstalk!!!

So ... and this is the big question ,,, how has it come to pass that for the better part of our history as a people, all Jews (with few exceptions) — learned and ignorant, young and old, religious and irreligious — have believed in and accepted as true all the Bible stories as well as their interpretations ... and yet, today, we have "Santa-fied" (that's the opposite of "sanctified") these Torah stories to the point where we teach them to our kids as part of their Jewish education, but we hope they don't continue to believe in them as they grow up?

And now that there already exists this dichotomy between what all of our ancestors believed to be the Truth and what we believe in today, as well as between what we allow our kids to be taught in school as "truth" and what we ourselves believe in as adults ... we must ask ourselves what is probably the most important question of all ... Is the Torah true or not?

Is it just another Grimm's Fairy Tale or did Moses really go up on Mount Sinai and chat with G-d? Did the Chanukah miracle actually take place as our tradition teaches us, and like all our great-grandparents once believed in and celebrated — or are we just getting fat on all those oily latkes for no good reason?

Well ... did it all happen as they say in the Books, or didn't it? And, if it did happen, are there any proofs? BUY THE BOOK ...

PERMISSION TO RECEIVE

This being such an important question for every Jew to explore at least at some point in his or her life, it certainly can't be fully addressed and done justice to within the parameters of a (relatively) short online article.

So instead, let me just recommend one very short, but extremely fascinating and thought-provoking, treatment of the subject. The book is called Permission To Receive: Four Rational Approaches to the Torah's Divine Origin, and is written by Rabbi Lawrence Keleman. As Rabbi Keleman writes in his introduction:

"As few as five generations ago, nearly all Jews agreed that G-d revealed the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai in the presence of the entire Jewish people. Nearly every Jewish family can trace its roots to ancestors who believed this with all their hearts. Today, however, even those of us who admire the Torah's ethical principles, value its insights, and appreciate the beauty of its practices find it difficult to relate to it as our ancestors did. Those who passionately value both intellectual integrity and their spiritual inheritance; those separated from their heritage only by healthy skepticism will find here permission to receive."

At this time of the year, maybe we should start thinking about the "santa-fication" of our own religion. Is this all some kind of folk legend that we teach our kids but don't take seriously ourselves, or just maybe our great-grandparents knew more than we give them credit for, and the Torah that they lived by (and died for) is based on Truth and on events which actually occurred? And maybe, with a little reading and thinking about this issue, we, too, will find the permission to receive a different outlook on the Torah and on life.

Contact Shaul and Aviva Ceder at ceder@netvision.net.il

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HAMAS ENACTS ISLAMIC LAWS, INCLUDING: AMPUTATION, CRUCIFIXION, LASHES
Posted by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, December 24, 2008.

Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza have approved a new bill "to implement Koranic punishments," including hand amputation, crucifixion, corporal punishment and execution. Drinking, owning or producing wine is punished by 40 lashes, while drinking in public adds three months' imprisonment. Several laws are directed against Hamas's Palestinian rivals, including a law intended to inhibit non-Hamas negotiators by sentencing to death anyone who was "appointed to negotiate with a foreign government on a Palestinian issue and negotiated against Palestinians' interest."

The following is the description as it appears today on the Al Arabiya website:
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/12/24/62699.html

Headline: Hamas approves law of punishment by lashes, amputating hands, crucifying, and execution — in order to implement the Islamic Sharia law.

Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council approved in its meeting in Gaza a new bill proposed by the Hamas who have a majority in the Legislative Council, whose purpose is "to implement Koranic punishments." The newspaper Al Hayat of London reported on Dec. 24, 2008, that this step is seen as unprecedented, and has brought criticism and concern from human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip, especially as this law includes punishments by lashes, cutting off of hands, crucifixion, and execution...

The language of the law proposes "primary and secondary" laws. Primary laws include: "Koranic laws, blood revenge, lashes, crucifixion, and execution ..."

The text stresses: "These punishments will not be canceled or pardoned ... except if pardoned by the victim himself...

Section 59 of the law establishes that "punishment of death will be enacted on any Palestinian who intentionally does one of the following: Raised a weapon against Palestine on behalf of the enemy during war, was appointed to negotiate with a foreign government on a Palestinian issue and negotiated against Palestinians' interest, performed a hostile action against a foreign country in a way that endangers Palestine in war or in harming political relations, served a foreign army in time of war, advised or helped soldiers to enlist in this army, weakened the spirit or the force of resistance of the people, or spied against Palestine especially during war."

The punishment of lashes appears in many sections of the law. Section 84 states that: "Whoever drinks wine, owns or produces wine will be punished with 40 lashes if he is Muslim, and anyone who drinks wine, or angers another person [with wine], or causes him distress when drinking wine in a public place, or goes to a public place while drunk, will be punished with no less than 40 lashes and imprisonment for the minimum of three months."
[Al-Arabiya, Dec. 24, 2008]

Itamar Marcus is director of PMW — Palestinian Media Watch –– (http://www.pmw.org.il). PMW is based in Jerusalem. Barbara Crook, a writer and university lecturer based in Ottawa, Canada, is PMW's North American representative.

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BETTING ON A DEAD HORSE
Posted by Yuval Zaliouk, December 24, 2008.

Dear friends,

If some of you live under the illusion that Barack Obama can or will fix the Israeli "Palestinian" conflict, all you have to do is read the sobering article by Caroline Glick. It appeared December 18, 2008 in the The Jerusalem Post

My prediction is that Obama, being a very smart person that he is, will soon realize that Bush's hands-off-as-much-as-you-possibly-can policy was correct, and will continue in Bush's foot steps.

Your Truth Provider,
Yuval.

Imagine what would happen if all the horse racing experts in the world got together and bet their money on a dead horse to win the Kentucky Derby. As far-fetched as that sounds, today all the who's who in foreign affairs are either actively supporting or enacting an analogous policy toward the Palestinian Fatah movement.

Cheered on by the Olmert-Livni-Barak government, this week the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1850, which among other things calls on all UN member nations to provide political and financial support for Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas's government. And no doubt the call will be answered with enthusiasm. Over the past year, Fatah received $1.7 billion in international aid — some $600 million more than the world's foreign policy gurus promised to give last December.

But Fatah is a dead horse. Even if it were to sign a peace deal with Israel — and really meant to keep it — the deal would be a dead letter because the Palestinian people themselves want neither peace with Israel nor Fatah.

Fatah lost the Palestinian Authority's January 2006 legislative elections to Hamas. In June 2007 it was violently ousted from Gaza by Hamas. And next month, on January 9, Abbas's term of office as PA chairman will end. If Abbas refuses to relinquish power on January 10, as far as the Palestinian people are concerned, Hamas will be right to reject his authority and to seek to overthrow his government in Judea and Samaria.

With the massive backing he enjoys from the US, in all likelihood Abbas will remain in power on January 10 and will refuse to run for reelection. Palestinian journalists and Fatah officials in Ramallah readily acknowledge that were Abbas to face Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in open elections, Haniyeh would win big. And this is Fatah's fault.
 

OVER THE past 13 years, Palestinian society has come to view jihad against Israel and the US as its definitive goal. And Fatah brought about this state of affairs.

Fatah indoctrinated the Palestinians to support jihad through a massive campaign of media incitement. Fatah has controlled the Palestinian media since 1994. Although it lost that control in Gaza in June 2007, aside from declaring their support for Hamas, Gaza's media today are no different than they were when Fatah was in charge.

By convincing Palestinian society to support jihad, Fatah paved the way for Hamas's takeover. Although Fatah operatives have killed more Israelis than Hamas has, Hamas still has more credibility in the jihad department. This owes mainly to Fatah's image as a US and Israeli stooge.

Fatah's American and Israeli champions justify their support for it by noting that since Hamas took over Gaza, Fatah has been willing to fight Hamas. But Fatah — which is begging Israel to reconquer Gaza for it — has not tempered its commitment to Israel's destruction. The reason it fights Hamas is because Fatah's leaders rightly view Hamas as a mortal threat.

In an interview with Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz last week, US Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who as US security coordinator for the PA has been working with Fatah militias for the past three years, praised the US-trained Fatah forces now deployed in Jenin, Nablus and Hebron as "state-builders."

Dayton also defended Fatah's behavior during Hamas's coup in Gaza. Noting that some 250 Fatah members were killed during the coup, Dayton claimed that Fatah forces fought well before they surrendered. In his words, "These aren't people that simply, immediately raised their hands and surrendered. I know this. It took five days... They were clearly outgunned and still they stood their ground for five days."

Perhaps this is true. But what Dayton ignored is the fact that Hamas would never have been able to build up a force capable of outgunning Fatah forces if Fatah leaders hadn't let it.
 

IN SPITE of the fact that the entire Israeli-Palestinian peace process was predicated on Fatah's pledge to disarm and disband Hamas, from 1994 until the 2007 coup, Fatah and Hamas were strategic allies and constant collaborators in their common war against Israel. Indeed, at the time of the coup, as partners in the PA's unity government, Fatah and Hamas were closer than ever.

When on January 9 Fatah finds itself lacking any legal basis to lead the PA, Hamas will be sitting on top of the world. In addition to enjoying the support of the majority of Palestinians, Hamas is now second only to Hizbullah in Iran's terror proxy pecking order.

Hamas cemented its alliance with Iran in December 2005 and it has only benefitted from its proxy status. Iran has provided Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars. And to Iran's monies must be added US and European financial assistance. Using the massive inflows of US and European contributions, Fatah transfers tens of millions of dollars to Gaza each month to pay the salaries of 70,000 Fatah-aligned PA employees in Gaza. That money frees Hamas from the need to develop Gaza's economy, enabling it to devote itself to building up its war machine against Israel.

Iranian military assistance includes both training and equipment. Thanks to Israel's decision six months ago to implement a largely one-sided cease-fire toward Hamas, since June, Hamas has doubled both the size and the range of its rocket and missile arsenals. Today it fields more than 10,000 rockets, missiles and mortars and has extended their range from 20 to 40 kilometers, placing major cities like Beersheba and Ashdod under threat.

If the government ever permits the IDF to defend the South by launching an offensive in Gaza, Hamas will be able to put up a very strong fight. Thanks to Iranian assistance and Israeli passivity, today Hamas's forces are organized much like Hizbullah forces were in 2006.

Hamas has raised a 16,000-man army divided into eight brigades. Its forces possess advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Like Hizbullah, Hamas has developed sophisticated intelligence capabilities. And like Hizbullah it has constructed 50 kilometers of tunnels and bunkers along Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt.

As a member of the Iranian camp, Hamas deters Israel from attacking it by raising the specter that any serious IDF operation in Gaza will be answered by the entire axis. An Israeli strike in Gaza is liable to be greeted not only by Hamas but by Hizbullah, Syria and Iran.

Hamas allies drove this point home over the past week. As Hamas escalated its rocket offensive against Israel, Iran launched state-sponsored rallies in support of Hamas and announced it is sending a "humanitarian aid" ship to Gaza to break Israel's naval blockade. Hizbullah launched identical protests and likewise stated its intention of sending a "humanitarian aid" ship to Hamas.

Then, too, Hamas-controlled UNRWA announced on Thursday that it is suspending its food assistance to Gaza to protest Israel's blockade of the Gaza coastline. This in turn will generate an outcry in Europe and give Iran and Hizbullah an excuse to attack Israel for refusing to let their "humanitarian aid" ships dock in Gaza.
 

TO DATE, Israel's strategy for contending with Fatah's demise has been to deny it. As for Hamas, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government has adopted Defense Minister Ehud Barak's favored policy of speaking loudly and carrying no stick. As Abbas moves from failure to failure, they cling to him ever more tightly as Israel's irreplaceable interlocutor.

After Hamas renewed its war against Israel this week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Barak have all threatened to take action against Hamas. But at the same time, they have sent emissaries to Egypt to beg Hamas to reconsider its decision.

Since Abbas gave his final refusal last month to Olmert's pleas to finalize a peace deal with Israel before US President George W. Bush leaves office, and since Hamas renewed its missile offensive against Israel last month, Livni, Barak and Olmert have found it impossible to justify their policies to the public. With elections around the corner and with dozens of rockets and mortars now being launched against the country daily, Yediot Aharonot's leftist military columnist Alex Fishman tried to help them out.

In a front-page commentary on Thursday, Fishman gave four major justifications for their decision to allow Hamas to build up its armed forces without an Israeli challenge for the past six months.

First, he argued that had Israel not given Hamas a free pass for six months, Israel wouldn't have been able to negotiate the surrender of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to Fatah.

Presumably this is so because had Israel opted to fight Hamas, Fatah would have sided with Hamas against Israel. Of course, given Fatah's preference for Hamas over Israel, it is unclear why negotiating with Fatah is in Israel's interest. But Fishman ignores that issue.

Fishman then claimed that by not attacking Hamas for six months, Israel has allowed two Palestinian "states" to be established — the Hamas state in Gaza, and the US- and Israel-sponsored Fatah state in Judea and Samaria. And again, this is supposed to be a good thing because if only one Hamas-Fatah state existed in both areas, then the Olmert-Livni-Barak government wouldn't have been able to negotiate the surrender of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to Fatah. The fact that Hamas can and will overthrow a Fatah-run state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem as easily as it overthrew the Fatah-run state in Gaza went unnoted by Fishman for some reason.

Fishman also argued that Israel's decision to stand down against Hamas has improved Israel's relations with Egypt. This assertion rings hollow, though. Throughout this period of supposedly improved relations, Egypt has continued to turn a blind eye to massive Iranian arms transfers to Hamas through its territory.

Finally, Fishman asserted that Israel's unilateral cease-fire toward Hamas has been a good thing for Israel because it facilitated the return of the so-called Saudi peace plan to the regional agenda. But since the Saudi plan requires Israel to commit national suicide by withdrawing to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as immigrants, it is hard to see why its return is a positive development for Israel./font>

And still, with Hamas now in the driver's seat and ready to roll out its new war against Israel together with its many allies, everyone who is anyone is putting his money on Abbas, who in less than three weeks will lose his last vestige of democratic legitimacy.

In his interview with the Post, Dayton couldn't think of a way that Hamas could be ejected from Gaza. On the other hand, it is self-evident that if the people betting on Abbas get their way and Israel gives Fatah Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, Hamas will quickly take over those areas as well.

That's what happens when you bet on a dead horse. You lose.

Yuval Zaliouk writes the Truth Provider columns. To subscribe, send an email to ynz@netvision.net.il

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ISLAMIC JUDGE STEALING CHRISTIAN CHILDREN
Posted by C.A. Fulghum, December 24, 2008.

Islamic judges strip Christian mothers of children. Below are Excerpts from a World Net Daily news item
http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=81963

Muslim judges are defying Islamic law in custody battles involving Christian mothers and Muslim fathers — to shield children from Christian influence.

Egyptian law's Article 20 states that children younger than 15 should stay with their mothers. But, without fail, Egypt's judges are ruling for Muslim fathers if the mothers are Christian, Compass Direct News reports.

The judges are bypassing Article 20 and referencing a portion of Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution: "principles of Islamic law are the principal source of legislation."

On Sept. 24, an appeals court defied the statute and awarded custody of 13-year-old twins Andrew and Mario Medhat Ramses Labib to their father.

"The government's treatment of the boys' mother, Kamilia Lotfy Gaballah, constituted discrimination based on her religion and violated her right to equal protection before the law," the EIPR said in a statement. "The case also charges that the government violated the two boys' right to freedom of religion and contravened the state's legal obligation to protect child rights."

The father divorced his wife to marry another woman and converted to Islam in 1999. He then changed the boys' official religious status and applied for custody in 2006.

"Obviously in this custody decision, it is a flagrant disregard of the Personal Status Law, which ensures custody for the mother until the children are 15 years old," said Hossam Bahgat of the EIPR. "In this case the judiciary chose to ignore statutory law and apply their own interpretation of sharia."

Contact C.A. Fulghum at chasful@gmail.com.

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A DISTURBING BOOK WORTH READING
Posted by Mechel Samberg, December 24, 2008.

This was written by Tony Blankley and is archived at
http://www.arcamax.com/ezinesamples/240.html Tony Blankley is executive vice president of Edelman public relations in Washington. E-mail him at TonyBlankley@gmail.com.

" As you might expect, there are constant examples of American textbooks describing recent Israeli/Palestinian history in a manner consistent with the late Yasser Arafat's version rather than anything approaching honest and accurate history."

I recently read a book that deserves the widest possible readership: "The Trouble with Textbooks — Distorting History and Religion," by Gary A. Tobin and Dennis R. Ybarra. I never have met or talked with either of these gentlemen, but I can't say enough good things about this book. For all who believe that there is a fairly objective rendition of history that we are obliged to teach our children, this book reveals how shockingly far from that objective American education — particularly in schools' textbooks — has fallen.

In their conclusion, the authors quote the great historian of Islam Bernard Lewis' observation concerning the willful bending of history: "We live in a time when great efforts have been made, and continue to be made, to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they wish it to have been, as they would like their followers to believe that it was."

I discuss some of the findings of Tobin and Ybarra's study in my latest book ("American Grit — What It Will Take To Survive and Win in the 21st Century"), which will be released Jan. 12. "The Trouble with Textbooks" identifies a system of self-censorship and cultural equivalence that "celebrates everybody and omits many unpleasant historic facts."

The grievance group that has become particularly adept at influencing textbook publishing is the organized Muslim lobby. The founder of the Council on Islamic Education, the chief Islamic group for vetting textbooks in the United States, refers to his work as a "bloodless revolution ... inside American junior high and high school classrooms."

He is, regrettably, right. While these days one may expect "sensitive deference" to Muslim sensitivities, the authors show how American textbooks have gone so far as to outright proselytize Islam.

As "The Trouble with Textbooks" shows, textbooks relate Christian and Jewish religious traditions as stories attributed to some source (for example, "According to the New Testament ..."), while Islamic traditions are related as indisputable historical facts. The authors cite the textbook "Holt World History," where one can read that Moses "claimed to receive the Ten Commandments from god," but "Mohammed simply 'received' the Koran from God." The textbook "Pearson's World Civilizations" instructs that Jesus of Nazareth is "believed by Christians to be the Messiah" — which would be a fine comparative religion study observation if the book didn't also disclose that Muhammad "received revelations from Allah."

"The Trouble with Textbooks" is filled with such shocking examples. It also reports on a textbook ("McDougal Littell World Cultures and Geography") that relates that "Judaism is a story of exile" and that "Christians believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah" but that the Quran "is the collection of God's revelations to Muhammad." As "The Trouble with Textbooks" makes only too clear, one instance perhaps could be overlooked, but in fact, there is a consistent malicious practice of Islam — and only Islam — being described as historical truth in numerous prominent public-school textbooks. In those textbooks, Christianity and Judaism equally as consistently are described as mere notions of their believers.

I have no problem with religions being taught in public-school textbooks on a comparative basis. But to see Islam alone taught as the "truth" is an outrage. This is only one small part of the assault on truth in textbooks by organized Muslim special pleaders that is analyzed in the book "The Trouble with Textbooks." As you might expect, there are constant examples of American textbooks describing recent Israeli/Palestinian history in a manner consistent with the late Yasser Arafat's version rather than anything approaching honest and accurate history..

I understand that perfect objectivity in the study of history is never possible. And it would not surprise anyone that each country tends to teach its children its history — and the history of the world — in a manner that makes the country look better than it perhaps is. What is particularly galling in this report on American textbooks is that a fraction of the 5 million or so Muslims in America are winning the battle for textbook writing against the interest and tradition of the 275 million or so Judeo-Christian Americans.

"The Trouble with Textbooks" is a wake-up call to the parents of America to fight back to reinsert the truth of our history in our children's textbooks and classrooms. Is it too much to ask that in American schools our traditions and faith not be denigrated but rather get equal treatment with other faiths and traditions?

Contact Mechel Samberg at mechelsamberg2@yahoo.com

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FROM ISRAEL: WORDS WITHOUT END
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 24, 2008.

To all of my Christian readers I extend wishes for a joyous Christmas celebration.

~~~~~~~~~~

Isn't Tzipi Livni ashamed? How could she hold her head up and offer these words today:

"I advise Hamas — don't delude yourselves. Our desire for peace and quiet does not soften our will to act in the face of kidnappings and threats. The desire for peace does not quell the desire to act when necessary, and it is necessary now."

If you are serious about hitting an enemy, you DO it, you don't talk about it.

After all the threats, all the declarations, still, she offers more words. The world knows already about "our desire for peace and quiet." She would best stop trying to convince people. This is like an apology: Gee, we might have to take serious action, but that's not really what we want.

Well, some of us really do want that. We are very weary of words.

~~~~~~~~~~

Today the barrage of rockets from Gaza was back to where it had been last week. Since Tuesday night, some 36 Kassams and 18 mortar shells have been launched; one house took a direct hit. In addition, a number of Grad Katyushas — a more serious weapon — were fired towards Ashkelon.

In response to this situation the Security Cabinet called an emergency meeting. A media blackout was placed on much of what was discussed. What has made news is that there will be responses to rocket attacks at the time and scale of Israel's choosing, which isn't telling us a whole lot.

According to Channel 1, the decision was made not to retake Gaza. I am assuming, until there is evidence to the contrary, that this means no ground operation at all now. According to one "senior official" cited, the goal of responses would be to do maximum damage to Hamas in the quickest possible amount of time. A ground operation is not quick. But how much damage can be done to Hamas from the air is debatable. And what happens when a bomb misses its mark and hits civilians and the world screams?

One wonders what time frame is being utilized here, if the goal is an operation within a minimal amount of time: Obama's inauguration? Our elections? Finishing before the world has a chance to scream?

~~~~~~~~~~

Following the Cabinet meeting, the Air Force targeted a rocket launching cell that was preparing to fire. One person was killed and three wounded. But it's got to get bigger than this. This hardly represents "maximum" damage.

~~~~~~~~~~

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is supposed to be the hawk of Kadima. These were his words today:

"We cannot accept the reality of a regime of terror imposing horror and fear on the children of Israel. Israel will not accept Hamas' regime in the long run."

"In the long run"? That means for now we can accept the regime of terror imposing fear on our children?

~~~~~~~~~~

I am ashamed, my friends. And while Livni has plenty of words to offer about this situation, I begin to feel close to the point of being speechless. Because — unless something big is planned that we're not supposed to know about — this is all incredible.

~~~~~~~~~~

Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu, has this right:

"Hamas is setting the agenda and taking the initiative; Israel is only responding.

"The government has failed in its job to safeguard the people of Israel; we mustn't wait until after the elections to make the necessary decisions, and if Barak is undermining these decisions he should be dismissed immediately."

~~~~~~~~~~

Professor Morty Kedar of Bar Ilan University (Arabic speaking and an Islamist specialist) says that if we let the leaders of Hamas know that we "want to severe the connection between their shoulders and their heads" they will pull back, because they want to live. Kedar is my kind of man.

~~~~~~~~~~

Have no illusions in terms of whom we're dealing with. This is from Palestinian Media Watch:

"Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza have approved a new bill 'to implement Koranic punishments,' including hand amputation, crucifixion, corporal punishment and execution."

This is next door to us.

~~~~~~~~~~

One positive step the Security Cabinet did take today was in declaring 35 different groups — operating primarily in Pakistan, Afghanistan and north Africa — to be terrorist groups. These are groups that operate against the West and not necessarily against Israel.

The declaration puts us in line with Western countries, and most notably the US, in terms of dealing with terrorists via blocking of their financial support. Banks and financial institutions will now be required to report any financial activity suspected of being related to these organizations to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.

~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday I mentioned that Kadima was gaining in the polls and Likud dropping; I had seen two different polls indicating this. Then my attention was called (thanks Jeff!) to a poll run by Geocartography showing Likud with 37 mandates and Kadima with 26, which is more like it. But today a Maagar Mohot Survey shows Likud with 31 and Kadima with 25.

I'm not sure what all of these polls are worth.

~~~~~~~~~~

Syrian president Bashar Assad has give an interview in which he says that Syria has no responsibility for Hezbollah. No, Syria only made it possible for Hezbollah to re-arm.

He also says ties with Iran help protect Syrian interests. No the words of someone thinking of breaking those ties.

How does Olmert remotely imagine that anything positive can come from negotiating with this man?

~~~~~~~~~~

Amr Mousa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, has suggested for the first time that Arabs and Iran should sit together and "resolve disputes." Tensions are high between Shi'ite Iran and the Sunni Arab nations, with considerable unease in nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt regarding Iranian nuclear intentions and Iranian meddling via sponsorship of groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This represents a shift that seems aimed at taking the lead away from non-Arab nations. Mousa is Egyptian.

~~~~~~~~~~

Dear friends, I apologize for the somber nature of this posting. It is the holiday season, after all. And so let me end here, up-beat, with a holiday season story about the Jerusalem Post Office's dead letter office.

Every year at this time, letters come from around the world to Jerusalem, addressed to G-d or to Heaven or to Jesus. Manager Avi Yaniv and his staff open the letters and destroy the envelopes. Then they carry the letters to the Kotel (Western Wall).

Yaniv believes that all of these prayers and petitions can be answered by G-d.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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GAZA VACATION
Posted by Mechel Samberg, December 24, 2008.

This was written by Jack Engelhard and it appeared today as an Opinion piece in Arutz Sheva
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/5923 Jack Engelhard is author of "Indecent Proposal", as well as the award-winning memoir of his experiences as a Jewish refugee from Europe, "Escape From Mount Moriah". He can be reached at his website: www. jackengelhard. com.

Bestselling author Robert Spencer calls it "courageous, a rousing thriller" and the raves keep coming in for Jack Engelhard's latest novel that's got all the news that is not fit to print. Catch The Bathsheba Deadline, Engelhard's explosive newsroom thriller that's running as a serial on Amazon.com. Part 3 is available now for digital download. The novel will run exclusively on Amazon.com with a new installment each month until completion.

That spree of kidnappings in gun-totin' Gaza has some of us wondering what we're doing wrong. Why not us?

That spree of kidnappings in gun-totin' Gaza has some of us wondering what we're doing wrong. Why not us?

Apparently, honeymooners and other vacationers who don't include a Gaza kidnapping on their itinerary, well, they just don't know what they're missing.

Kate Burton, a British "human rights" worker, was recently abducted and then freed by her Palestinian Arab captors and her first response, to the press, was that she was treated wonderfully. This is more than I can say for myself in my own home. I am never treated wonderfully around this place.

At the same time that Kate Burton and her parents were kidnapped in Gaza, someone else was kidnapped in Gaza. This is Alessandro Bernardini, an aide in the European Parliament, who later (when he was freed) "told reporters that he had been treated well in captivity, receiving tea and cigarettes," as reported by the Associated Press.

So? When is the last time anyone offered you tea and cigarettes just for showing up? I can remember this happening to me just once when I was selling magazines door to door and this lady in a skimpy — oh never mind. That's another story. We're talking about Gaza, and if you want tea and sympathy, this is the place.

Chances are better that you will get your head chopped off, but, with the right hostage-takers, you could get lucky. Kate Burton, for example, is lucky, and confused. To one reporter she says she had a marvelous time, to another reporter she concedes that she feels guilty for bringing her parents along on her Rafah Vacation. They were also abducted. (Next time, Disneyland maybe?)

All these liberated captives feel that the Palestinian Arabs have been misrepresented by the press. Gosh, go figure. This goes for all the people who've been kidnapped and released, and there are quite a few that never make the papers. They all want to go back. Can you blame them?

Who wouldn't want to be in Gaza now that the Israelis have left and the weather is changing, along with the leaves and the neighborhood? Getting kidnapped and being treated wonderfully by your hooded abductors is a big plus, rounds out any vacation. Abduction Chic!

Also romping in Gaza, where it's every man for himself, were the parents of Rachel Corrie, an ISM (International Solidarity Movement) activist who died so that the Intifada might live. Craig and Cindy Corrie were staying with friends in Rafah. They came this close to being abducted by rifle-toting strangers, the Corries did. Masked men on the hunt for "internationals" desired to "relocate" them. They managed to escape, and are still grateful to their hosts, all those "good people" in Gaza. (Fascinating how these types hate Israel, yet this is where they scamper for comfort and safety.)

They are already booked for their Gaza return, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie, but "when it is safer." They never felt threatened, insists Mr. Corrie, as those rifles were never trained directly at them. That certainly is reason for gratitude and jubilation. Who wouldn't register with the local travel agency for a trip right back to Rafah?

Those of us who've seen all those "vacation" movies with Chevy Chase (National Lampoon's "Vegas Vacation" my favorite) will understand why humanitarians regularly seek out Gaza to find Wallyworld. Now that the place is under new management, all Arab, this is your terrorist theme park if you are a true humanitarian.

Gaza Syndrome is different from Stockholm Syndrome. Gaza revelers know, or should know, that this place is no picnic. Bullets are flying. That should be a hint. So these humanitarian frolickers know what's up, but still they go "to help these poor misunderstood people."

Stockholm was another story. Those captives who turned loyal to their captors, going back to 1973, were bank employees. They were not humanitarians. A man named Nils Bejerot, a psychologist, came up with the phrase "Stockholm Syndrome" to identify people who become attached to their captors.

In a world where terrorists are given equal justification, in this world full of dhimmis, that pretty much identifies most of us.

Bestselling author Robert Spencer calls it "courageous, a rousing thriller" and the raves keep coming in for Jack Engelhard's latest novel that's got all the news that is not fit to print. Catch The Bathsheba Deadline, Engelhard's explosive newsroom thriller that's running as a serial on Amazon.com. Part 3 is available now for digital download by clicking here. The novel will run exclusively on Amazon.com with a new installment each month until completion.

Contact Mechel Samberg at mechelsamberg2@yahoo.com

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SOME THOUGHTS ON A TORAH-BASED CONSTITUTION
Posted by Moshe Kerr, December 24, 2008.

I have an obligation to teach Torah. Torah constitutionalism does not view the world through the prism of democracy. The revelation of the Torah at Sinai eternally teaches the generations how to employ the Oral Torah, i.e., the systematic logical measurements, as the passed down building blocks of the generations which permits every generation to interpret the intent of the Framer to legislate law/legislative review, based upon the prevailing and pressing conflicts of the moment. Each generation and every individual in each generation must address these conflicts in their walk before the Elokim.

The first book of the Torah, which by the way I learn teaches the general to specific of the brit bnai noach. This book teaches of human conflicts and how men and women choose to behave. It teaches a profound revelation of the humanity of man. This book, whose first word holds 2 words — fire brit — teaches about the art of making alliances and defines therein both justice and the brit spirituality.

The theme of this book focuses upon the poor choices taken by leaders of men and nations at critical junctions of human conflict. Par'oh as the leader of the nations of the world chose not to "know" Yosef. He abandoned the oath/brit of Noach and caused himself, his people and all the nations to follow his lead into exile. Egypt became a barbarian nation who had no eternal soul following Par'oh's decision.

This book goes from the general to the specific, from the macrocosm to the microcosm, employing the specific of Avraham's seed to define the general of all humanity. This book rejects the religious narcissism which "believes" that redemption applies only unto bnai brit Israel.

This book contrasts bnai brit Israel with bnai brit noach. The oath/fire of the brit of bnai Noach: a solemn oath not to do acts of theft, oppression and sexual disgrace.

Noach curses one of his sons for sexual disgrace. But Reuven and Dina/Sh'cem, Yehuda/Tamar and even Yaacov's marriage unto two sisters, — and the resulting bitter rivalry which follows — weigh against the brit that the Elokim informed Avraham that his seed would descend into galut. And this in turn weighs against Avraham and Yitzak's fear over being murdered by "barbarians" over their wives. Avi Melech is rebuking both of these fathers of Israel over this specific matter of sexual disgrace and declaring before Elokim that he lead a righteous nation.

The Torah calls Sodom wicked. By what measurement? By the way I learn, the oath/brit of Noach. Cutting an oath/brit requires making a sacrifice. Later following the Torah revelation our sages instituted the chiddush of making an oath while standing in front of a Safer Torah. The great prayer we call "Amidah", and prayer requires kavvanna!

The language of bloods (plural) following the murder of Chevel distinguishes a unique concept of faith and explains why the Elokim accepted one offering and not the other. An oath profaned can not only bring destruction upon the world, but an oath has the power to create a world from nothing — the Nefesh/world. Thus making man in the image of the Creator and making the creationism vs. evolution debate non sense! The Torah distinguishes between the bnai brit soul that lives after the body dies from the barbarian soul that dies together with the body at the moment of death.

We say krea Sh'ma twice b/c the mitzva of accepting the yoke of heaven entails calling for redemption from exile for both bnai brit noach and Israel. At the point of conflict this bnai noach went into exile; Avi Melech and his Philstine peoples, who stole wells during a famine and fought over water rights. Levan over sheep and prestige went into exile. Esau over fear of death sold his birthright and lost his bnai brit inheritance of leading the family of Avraham.

But in equal measure the sons of Yaacov made poor choices at points of conflict: Sh'cem, the selling of Yosef and examples previously mentioned. Therefore this book teaches the faith of the oath/brit. It is like Moshe who said at the end of his life: I give you life and death — choose life.

Viewing Torah through the prism of democracy skews the most fundamental teachings of Torah. STOP this error immediately.

Contact Moshe Kerr at moshekerr@gmail.com

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EGYPTIAN POLICE TORTURE, RAPE CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY FROM ISLAM
Posted by Robert Spencer, December 24, 2008.

Recently in the Hate Mail bag I received a missive berating me for not acknowledging Egypt as a "moderate Muslim country."

"Egyptian Convert to Christianity Tortured, Raped in Egypt," from AINA, December 20 (thanks to Pamela):

(AINA) — Martha Samuel, an Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity 5 years ago, was arrested at Cairo airport on Wednesday as she and her husband and two sons (4 and 2) were leaving for Russia (AINA 12-17-2008). Her name was on the observation list of people prevented from leaving the country.

The Egypt for Christ Ministry is reporting that Martha Samuel has been subjected to sexual assault by Egyptian police officers at El-Nozha police station as well as at the National Security office in Heliopolis. She has also been beaten and tortured in an attempt to force her to return to Islam. The police have promised to release her if she returns to Islam.

Martha Samuel and her children, who are also under arrest, is to be transferred from the National Security office in Heliopolis to Al-Qanater prison after seeing the "renewal judge." The children are not being provided with food deliberately to pressure their mother to return to Islam. Fadl Thabet, Martha's husband, has been taken to the National Security office in Alexandria (Somoha District).

Martha Samuel, whose former name is Zainab Said Abdel-Aziz, and her family were trying to travel to Russia using a passport of her Christian name, in order to escape from the continuous persecution by the Egyptian police and her own family, who have been trying to kill her for 5 years as a result of her conversion.

Robert Spencer is director of Jihad Watch is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law an. His latest book is called "Stealth Jihad". This article is archived at
http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/024031.php

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WHAT PRICE YOUR MOTHER'S LIFE?
Posted by Beth Goodtree, December 24, 2008.

On the first day of summer 2007, when the world was blooming with life and hope, I was given an immediate death sentence. No trial, no appeals, no parole, no pardon. My crimes? None.

I had given charity when I could, volunteered when I had time (and even when I didn't.). When good things happened to me, I'd shared my fortune with others. And when bad things happened I tried not to be a burden. I had loved deeply and strongly and had been loved in kind. Was I a saint? Hardly. I had my faults. But I was a person who felt deeply, had strong convictions and acted upon them. I was full of life and love, good intentions, well-meaning actions and good deeds. Yet I was to die a horrific and excruciatingly painful death.

My executioner? Cancer. Stage 4 cancer that had spread to just about every organ in my abdomen. I had weeks or maybe mere days left.

When the doctor opened me up, he just shook his head and closed again. He couldn't even see my organs for the uncountable tumors. I was drowning in my own fluids, fluids that were squeezing my lungs and heart. My organs were failing.

And a young man who had grown up without his father was about to lose his mother. A lover was about to lose their soulmate, two brothers were about to lose their only sister, an aunt about to lose her favorite (if only) niece, cousins were about to lose their cousin, and a best friend was about to lose their closest confidante.

If you had told any of them that if they got together enough money, say $50B, my life would be spared, there would have been a rash of robberies like the world has never seen.

And yet, in a way, that is exactly what has happened. And not just for me, for thousands of other mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and best friends.

I am referring to that master of the Ponzi scheme Bernie Madoff. Yes, he cheated untold numbers of people out of their money, but some of that money went to cancer research which directly saved my life and thousands of others.

Regrettably, already one person has lost their life due to Mr. Madoff's thieving. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, of Access International Advisors, killed himself over the loss of his investments. Sadly, I fear he will not be the last.

So how does one judge a man who has ruined so many lives, while saving so many thousands through his philanthropy?

If my loved ones had been told that if they would only impoverish themselves to save my life, I have no doubt that they would have done so gladly. As would most people who were about to lose a loved one or even themselves. Better poor and alive than rich and dead or with your loved ones gone.

However evil we deem Mr. Madoff for callously stealing from so many people who could ill-afford to lose, in some cases, their life savings, we must also weigh in with this evil the good he accomplished with his ca ncer research funding.

So how do we judge a man who robbed so many yet saved so many? Better minds than mine will have to determine that. But if you asked my son "What price your mother's life?" he would have answered "Anything."

Beth Goodtree is a writer, fine artist and cancer survivor. Contact her by email at BethGoodtree@yahoo.com

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IF THE SHOE FITS
Posted by Victor Sharpe, December 24, 2008.

This appeared December 17, 2008 in American Thinker
http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/12/arabs_if_the_shoe_fits.html.

Apparently, showing the sole of your shoe to someone in the Arab world is a sign of extreme disrespect, and throwing your shoes is even worse.

Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who was kidnapped by Arab terrorists last year, chose to show his bravery by throwing his shoes at President Bush while the American President was making a farewell visit to Iraq and speaking at a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. "This is a farewell kiss, you dog," Mr. Zeidi yelled in Arabic as he threw his shoes.

Palestinian Arab journalists in Ramallah joked about who would be brave enough to toss their shoes at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, another U.S. official widely disliked by the Arab world. Even though Ms. Rice has made a career of expressing soulful, even if grotesquely misplaced, similarities between the Palestinians and the blacks during the American civil rights struggle, they still despise her. Maybe it is because she is a woman and in Islam even a female American politician is not to be taken seriously.

But of course these Arab reporters know full well that they would never dare to throw a shoe or anything else at an Arab dictator, tyrant, emir, or king. If they did, they would be guaranteed a particularly unpleasant punishment, which would no doubt include painful amputations of various body parts. That is why Muntadhar al-Zeidi is a coward, for he knew full well that he can insult a western leader with impunity.

I am reminded about previous incidents involving shoes in the world of Islam that have taken place. Some years ago, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher was visiting the Muslim Waqf controlled Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem when a shower of old shoes, boots and sandals rained down upon him.

Maher was rescued from the revolting Palestinian Arab worshippers by an Israeli security squad while two Palestinian security teams stood by indifferent as the shoes rained down. Perhaps they were too afraid to confront the bare-footed mob. Anyhow, one unconfirmed source reported that the Egyptian Foreign Minister may have been overcome not so much by the shower of shoes as by the frightful odor that suddenly permeated the mosque.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister was taken to Hadassah hospital where Israeli doctors and nurses gave him sweet tea and bunches of delightful smelling flowers to restore his nerves and nasal passages. Another unconfirmed source reported that the Foreign Minister accused the Palestinians of "acting like heels."

An Egyptian official, who asked to remain anonymous, blamed Yasser Arafat, who was then the leader of the Palestinians, for the riot because Foreign Minister Maher had not made the obligatory pilgrimage to the terrorist's bunker in Ramallah. Arafat, in a pique of rage, decided it was time for the shoe to be on the other foot and ordered his ever ready rent-a-mob to use whatever weapons came to hand; hence the cache of old shoes.

Cairo was suspicious that the two Palestinian security teams at the mosque had advance knowledge of the shoe-bombing plot and had received orders not to intervene. Perhaps worse, the fear was that Arafat had lost control of al-Aqsa mosque to Muslim extremists who considered their victory a shoe-in.

However, the sole fall-out from the incident was a panicked succession of Palestinian officials who scurried to Cairo where they succeeded, metaphorically, in groveling at the feet of the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarrak.

Apparently, Mubarrak was incensed that he had sent his foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, to help unite the disparate and squabbling Palestinian terror groups in their confrontation with Israel, but in return saw Maher succumb to a barrage of assorted footwear laced with violent curses.

Perhaps the only redeeming fact for Maher was that, unlike British Muslim shoe bomber Richard Reid's shoes, the footwear of the al-Aqsa shoe rioters were not of the exploding type.

Many in the Arab media have wanted to boot out those Arabs in their midst who, as Gubran Tweini wrote in Lebanon's An Nahar newspaper, "adopt rejection, extremism and radicalism." These Arab media pundits, however, did not necessarily object to such extreme behavior; rather, they realized such behavior didn't look good in the international press.

Tweini described the behavior of the Palestinian mob at al-Aqsa as "the peak of Arab lowness." Presumably, elevated heels would not have redeemed the rioters in Tweini's eyes.

Tweini opined that "what happened to Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher, brought to memory the history of squalid inter-Arab relations. These, he claimed, were based upon "conspiring, setting up traps, using armies to oppress peoples, protect regimes and invade a neighbor — like Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, 'a great deed' that brought to a climax the age of Arab collapse and deterioration."

Gubran Tweini's slow foot shuffle inevitably led him to the realization that the motto 'if the shoe fits, wear it' governs the conduct of Arabs. Meanwhile, one can only hope the Arabs will one day be in-step with the rest of the civilized world.

And before concluding, who cannot forget British citizen, Richard Reid, the convert to Islam who with his size 15 shoes believed he would use them to blow himself up along with dozens of innocent passengers on a December 22, 2001 trans-Atlantic flight from Paris to Miami.

Reid attempted to light a fuse connected to plastic explosives in his shoe. He was subdued and restrained by passengers on that flight and taken into custody. On January 30, 2003, Reid claimed to be a member of the al-Qaida terrorist network, admitted allegiance to Osama Bin Laden, Islam and Allah, and declared himself an enemy of the United States.

Ever since, passengers flying domestically and internationally now have to remove their shoes while going through airport security before boarding their aircraft.

Weapons can be costly items to purchase. Though there is no absence of money circulating within the oil rich Arab world, sometimes the old preferred weapon remains the shoe.

Richard Reid, Muntadhar al-Zeidi and the Arab mob that showered Ahmed Maher with their shoes in Al-Aqsa seem to prove that in the Arab world one can still act violently on a shoe string.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer with articles and essays published in FrontPageMag.com, Townhall.com, Outpost, the Wall Street Journal, the London Daily Telegraph, Israel Alert, Jewish Review and other publications. He is also the author of "Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish State" and "The Blue Hour and Other Strange Tales." Contact him at janvic@verizon.net This article appeared today as an Opinion Piece in Arutz-Sheva (www.IsraelNN.com).

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CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, PARTICULARLY CHRISTIAN LIFE UNDER THE P.A.
Posted by Sunlike, December 24, 2008.

This summary comes from the Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East
http://c4rpme.org/christians.html

CHRISTIAN LIFE UNDER ISLAM (CRPME)

A nice summary of what life is really like for religious minorities when Islam take over. CAIR doesn't care — but you might.
(http://c4rpme.org/christians.html)

CHRISTIAN LIFE UNDER THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

Muslim groups imposed a "reign of terror" on Christians in the PA

  • On September 3, 2005, hundreds of armed Palestinian Muslims torched 14 Christian homes in Taybeh, a village near Ramallah, to punish the community because one of its residents was having a relationship with a Muslim woman from a neighboring village. The Muslim woman was murdered by her own family in what they termed an "honor killing." [1]

  • The militants who took over the Church of the Nativity in April 2002 had "imposed a two-year reign of terror [on Bethlehem Christians] that included rape, extortion and executions, according to Bethlehem residents. 'Finally the Christians can breathe freely,' said Helen, 50, a Christian mother of four. 'We are so delighted that these criminals who have intimidated us for such a long time are now going away.'" [2]

  • "In February 2002, Palestinian Muslims rampaged against Christians in Ramallah, burning apartments and stores owned by Christians and attempted to burn down the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches." The PA failed to intervene, according to the Boston Globe. [3]

Muslim militants harass and rape Christian girls and coerce them to adopt Islamic clothing and behavior

  • Inaz Jiries Hanna Muslah, a 23-year-old Palestinian Christian teacher, said that "public harassment of Christian girls began when the PA came to power after 1993. Before, [there were] no things like this. We could go everyplace we wanted....[but now] I don't walk alone on the street because of this bad thing." Interview (with what media outlet?)August 2002 [4]

  • Sana Razi Nashash, a 24-year-old Christian woman from Beit Jallah, said sexual harassment became widespread after the PA came to power. She feels she is a "virtual prisoner" in her own home due to the pervasiveness of harassment of Christian women: "So right now I could not go to the street, even 7 o'clock I cannot go to the street alone, but before [the PA came to power], I used to go and work with no problem at night." Interview (with what media outlet?)August 2002 [5]

Christian holy sites and cemeteries are vandalized, and worshippers are prevented from attending services

  • Muslim extremists have attacked Christian facilities and clubs, the Wall Street Journal reported in July 1994. Christian graves, crosses, and statues have been desecrated. Christian cemeteries have been defaced, monasteries have had their phone lines cut, and there have been break-ins at convents. [6]

  • In 1997, the Waqf (Muslim religious property) authorities attempted to break through into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, which is adjacent to the al-Hanaqa Mosque in order to install toilets on the roof of the church. The illegal construction was halted only after Israeli and world pressure. [7]

Persecution is forcing Christians to flee the PA and its increasing Islamic radicalism

  • The Arab states in the Middle East all established Islam as their official religion and have "very serious issues of religious restrictions, discrimination, persecution....lack of tolerance and pluralism...[and] impose significant legal obstacles to religious freedom, contrary to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Steven J. Coffey, US Principal Deputy Assistant of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations May 1, 1997. [8]

  • "Life in [PA-ruled] Bethlehem has become insufferable for many members of the dwindling Christian minorities. Increasing Muslim-Christian tensions have left some Christians reluctant to celebrate Christmas in the town at the heart of the story of Christ's birth," according to a December 1997 report in the London Times. [9]

  • "The Christian rate of emigration from the Territories has accelerated and the Christian population of the Territories has dropped from 15% in 1950 to barely 2% today. Many fear that soon few if any Christians will be left in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, or in Nazareth though they once were Christian majority cities." [10]

Muslim conversion to Christianity is a crime in the PA

  • Muhammed Bak'r, a Muslim convert to Christianity, was jailed and tortured in a PA prison for distributing Bibles to Muslims. "His hands were tied behind his back to a rope connected to the ceiling and he was left hanging there for several days." [11]

  • The PA arrests Palestinian converts to Christianity. In late June 1997, the PA's Preventive Security Forces arrested a convert to Christianity for regularly attending church and distributing Bibles. He is still in prison and has been subjected to physical torture and interrogations. [12]

  • In December 2002, Saeed and Nasser Salamah escaped from prison and from a death sentence for converting to Christianity in the PA and sought asylum in Israel. [13]

    You do not hear about this persecution because Christians are afraid of reprisals if they speak out.

  • "[1]ncidents like these are known to be widespread, but most go unreported or are denied by the victims for fear of retaliation by the PA." JC Watts. [14]

  • "Last week, five Muslims beat up a Christian boy. We are afraid. They have knives [and] guns and can do whatever they want. They can kill you simply...[for] speaking bad about them." Mar, a Palestinian Christian from Ramallah. [15]

  • Palestinian Christians often say there are good relations with the PA because of fear of speaking the truth: "There is fear. If I lived in London, I would tell you [my real name]. [Here], somebody will shoot me." Abu Sumayah. [16]

  • Former Florida Senator Connie Mack described the fear he found in Palestinian Christians. "Needless to say, these Christians met with me at considerable risk. They conveyed to me a message of fear and desperation." [17]

  • A Christian cleric in Jerusalem "compared the behavior of Christian dhimmis to that of battered wives and children, who continue to defend and even identify with their tormentor even as the abuse persists." [18]

You do not hear about this persecution because Christian leaders ally with the PA and are separated from their people

  • Latin Priest Rafiq Khoury's "call to venerate the rule of Islam because it creates national unity ignores the heavy price Christians would pay...living under such a regime....It indicates acquiescence to an inferior position...and the abandonment of the Christian dream of a liberal, secular society that would accept them as equals." Professor Tsimhoni [19]

  • "You have to distinguish between the leadership [which was supportive of Arafat] and the people." Christian resident of Bethlehem [20]

  • "Our leaders are liars: They tell the newspapers that everything is OK. But when Christians go to the market, they're afraid to wear crosses." Christian man from Bethlehem [21]

  • "A public opinion poll performed by a Christian academic revealed that only 48% of Palestinian Christians trust their religious leaders." [22]
For additional information on this issue, go to:
http://c4rpme.org/christians/cpa.html.
 

CHRISTIAN LIFE UNDER MUSLIM RULE

Christians Are Persecuted Throughout the Muslim World.

There are over 50 Muslim countries around the world. All of them incorporate some elements of sharia, or Islamic law in practice. This is the same sharia law that considers conversion to Christianity an offense punishable by death. And while many Muslim countries officially allow Christian worship, most have placed restrictions on Christians, making worship difficult and even dangerous.

Here are some examples:

Egypt: Attacks by Muslim fundamentalists against Coptic Christians are common and not being effectively countered by the government. The government has conducted mass detentions, harasses and tortures Christian converts and restricts the expansion and repair of Christian facilities.

Indonesia: The government closes down churches without explanation, depriving Christians of places of worship. Christian women are forced to conform to Muslim dress codes. Churches have also been burned to the ground.

Iran: To convert from Islam to another faith is a criminal offense in Iran. Christians are routinely threatened, arrested, imprisoned and tortured because of their faith.

Jordan: Muslim woman are often killed by their own families for marrying Christian men. A court in Jordan ordered a Christian widow sent to jail because she refused to hand over her two young children to be raised as Muslims.

Lebanon: Once over half the Lebanese population, Lebanese Christians now make up 30% of the population. Civil war, persecution and anti-Christian violence have led to mass Christian emigration.

Nigeria: Northern Nigeria is mostly Muslim. The government there appears to be conducting a campaign to eradicate all evidence of Christianity in that part of the country. Anti-Christian mob violence and church burning is common.

Pakistan: Christians have been the target of trumped up charges of blasphemy. They are often the target of fundamentalist Muslims, who have even attacked Churches and schools with firearms and hand grenades. A high court judge who acquitted Christians in a blasphemy case was assassinated.

Palestinian Authority: There have been numerous reported cases of Christian worshippers and converts harassed, beaten, imprisoned and killed. In July, 2003, a Palestinian convert to Christianity was murdered and carved into four pieces as a warning to other Christians.

Saudi Arabia: All Christian worship is forbidden in the country — even within the U.S. Embassy. Christians have been jailed and deported for possessing a Bible. Saudi Muslim citizens who convert to Christianity are subject to the death penalty.

Sudan: The Muslim northern government has encouraged and facilitated attacks on Christians in the south, including mob violence and church burnings. Horrendous civil rights violations are conducted against the Christians and non-Muslims. Crucifixion and slavery have been reported.

United Arab Emirates: A Filipino pastor was arrested for distributing Christian materials. A Lebanese Christian man who married a Muslim woman from UAE was arrested, tortured and forced to divorce his wife after moving to UAE

Sources:

Egypt:

* http://freedomhouse.org/religion/news/bn1999/bn-1999-03-31.htm
* http://www.freedomhouse.org/religion/news/bn2000/bn-2000-12-13.htm
* http://www.copts.net/detail.asp?id=465

Indonesia:

* http://www.freedomhouse.org/religion/country/indonesia/The%20Southeast%20Asian%20Front.htm
* http://www.persecution.org/Countries/indonesia.html

Iran:

* http://www.freedomhouse.org/religion/news/bn2005/bn-2005-02-18.htm
* http://www.freedomhouse.org/religion/news/bn2002/Lutheran%20Witness%20article.htm

Jordan:

* http://www.christianresponse.org/articles/151/christian-widow-wins-guardianship-battle-in-jordan
* http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/827.htm

Lebanon:


* http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/lebanon/facts.html
* http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/arabs/christianme.html

Nigeria:

* http://www.freedomhouse.org/religion/country/Nigeria/Outside%20Encouragement.htm
* http://www.christianpersecution.info/features/nigeria-hit-anti-christian-violence.html

Pakistan:

* http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1625976.stm
* http://freedomhouse.org/religion/publications/newsletters/2002/Mar-Apr-May-Jun/newsletter_2002-Mar3.htm

Palestinian Authority:

* http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/reports/
Denial_of_Religious_Rights_by_the_Palestinian_Authority.asp
* http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/11117.htm

Saudi Arabia:

* http://www.freedomhouse.org/religion/news/bn2002/Lutheran%20Witness%20article.htm
* http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/saudi/issues/dp.html
* http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006712

Sudan:

* http://www.persecution.org/Countries/sudan.html
* http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37913

UAE:

* http://www.domini.org/openbook/ghalib.htm

For additional information on this issue please goto
http://c4rpme.org/christians/cmr.html.

Contact Sunlike at mttaborsl@yahoo.com

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BBC'S CHRISTMAS ODYSSEY
Posted by Honest Reporting, December 24, 2008.

The original article
(www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/BBCs_Christmas_Odyssey.asp) has live links to additional material.

In June 2008, HonestReporting questioned BBC journalist Aleem Maqbool's account of an incident in Ramallah where he said a Palestinian "militant" was dragged out of cafe and killed, execution-style, by IDF soldiers operating from armored vehicles. We found Maqbool's version did not match up with accounts from human rights organizations and even other media outlets, demonstrating not only a lack of journalistic objectivity but also a breathtaking naivety about the reliability of Palestinian "eyewitnesses."

Now, Maqbool is walking from Nazareth to Bethlehem, retracing a journey made by Mary and Joseph in the New Testament story of Jesus's birth. Maqbool follows in the footsteps of other journalists such as The Times's Stephen Farrell, The Guardian's Rory McCarthy and the BBC's own Matthew Price, whose December 2005 report was described by Israeli Foreign Ministry sources as one of the most dreadful ever broadcast by the BBC (something of an achievement considering the amount of BBC anti-Israel output).

Maqbool attempts to treat his journey, complete with donkeys, as a personal road trip rather than the blatantly politicized efforts of journalists such as his colleague Price. Unfortunately, he over-romanticizes the Palestinians while portraying the IDF in a sinister light, exerting a strong but subtle bias.

EXTREMIST TRAVELLING COMPANIONS:

Maqbool spends some time travelling with George Rishmawi who "is passionate about walking through the region and has done extensive research into biblical sites here..." Maqbool fails to mention that his companion also happens to be a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, the well-organized movement that spreads anti-Israel propaganda and misinformation and voices support for others who engage in armed resistance against Israel.

George Rishmawi, via his local organization Grassroots International Protection for Palestinians, helps coordinate and train ISM volunteers once they arrive. Since 2001, hundreds of ISM volunteers have placed themselves in front of Israeli Army vehicles, removed concrete boundaries from roads, confronted Israeli troops, and in some cases, stayed in the homes of suicide bombers.

Did Maqbool happen to stumble upon Rishmawi during his journey and did he really not think Rishmawi's background relevant?

NO ROOM AT THE INN?

Unlike Joseph and Mary, Aleem Maqbool has no trouble finding accomodation during his journey. He stays with Palestinians who are only too willing to tell stories of suffering at the hands of the Israelis, such as the family in Bir Zeit who talk of land confiscations and arrest raids.

Perhaps this is no coincidence. For among George Rishmawi's roles is the head of the Alternative Tourism Group, which specializes in giving tours that "allow the Palestinians to present their own views and culture" to visitors from abroad, portraying Palestinians as victims of unyielding Israeli oppression and brutality.

Alternative Tourism was established to greet and aid ISM volunteers who come to Israel. In April 2003, two Pakistani Muslims from Great Britain entered Israel through Jordan as clients of Alternative Tourism; they met with ISM leaders for an entire day in Gaza before proceeding on to Tel Aviv, where they bombed a popular beach bar, Mike's Place, killing three people.

Was Maqbool's entire journey coordinated with George Rishmawi and the Alternative Tourism Group?

SUBTLE BIAS AND SELECTIVE CONTEXT:

Maqbool doesn't directly attack Israel. He doesn't have to. The bias in his diary is much more subtle. With little or no mention of Palestinian terror, the Israeli army is portrayed as a faceless entity that carries out arbitrary actions:

But the Israeli army has also arrested and killed hundreds of people it suspects of militancy, in regular raids on West Bank towns and cities.

Of course, "militancy" is such an all-encompassing and meaningless term that it cannot do justice to the legitimate counter-terror operations that the IDF carries out to protect Israeli citizens.

Again, Israelis are portryed as malevolent:

From al-Badhan, the "Journey of Death" trail started. It is called that, not just for its long, steep, rocky climbs, or the fact that Israeli snipers frequently use the mountain tops ...

Even when Maqbool puts a human face to IDF soldiers, it is tinged with bias. He has a pleasant chat with a soldier at a checkpoint:

It was a reminder that at the checkpoints I go through almost daily — behind the uniforms, the shouted orders in Hebrew, and the guns — are many personable young people, doing the job they are told to do.

Are Israeli soldiers automatons who merely follow orders or are they something that Maqbool cannot comprehend? — young men and women proud to serve and protect their country against the daily threat of terrorism without being forced to do so.

HISTORICAL REVISIONISM:

Maqbool visits Jenin and once again misses out vital context:

The road to Jenin from the West Bank's border with Israel began as quite a desolate walk this afternoon. Once, this was a busy area of trade, but the shops were all destroyed in an Israeli invasion six years ago.

Maqbool refers to Jenin's refugee camp:

Until recently, it was a militant stronghold, even after large parts of the camp were destroyed in an Israeli invasion six years ago.

An "Israeli invasion" again draws images of arbitrary actions. Has Maqbool deliberately forgotten that this so-called "invasion" was the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield carried out in response to the Palestinian terror campaign that had cost the lives of 125 Israeli civilians and wounded hundreds more? The operation was launched following the Passover massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

In addition, while Maqbool claims that "large parts of the camp were destroyed," this was not the case. As aerial photos showed, only a small part of the refugee camp was affected.

Visiting Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, Maqbool states:

In 2000, Palestinian youths used the site as a focus for demonstrations against Israeli occupation, which led to clashes with Israeli troops there. In October of that year, in an infamous episode, 17 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed.

Soon after, the army pulled out and stopped having a permanent presence at the site, which a group of Palestinians then burned and ransacked.

In fact, these so-called "youths" did more than simply demonstrate. The small contingent of IDF border policemen at the site were attacked with gunfire, stones and firebombs over the course of a number of days, despite Palestinian Authority pledges under the Oslo Accords to protect the holy site, which they then allowed to be destroyed.

Maqbool expresses his bias by writing about his "hope" that he will be permitted to cross the checkpoint from Israel to the West Bank — even though he knows that his British passport and an Israeli Government Press Office press card should guarantee him free passage, albeit with the normal security checks that would be carried out at an Israeli crossing point.

In the event, it is the donkey that falls victim to Israeli bureaucracy and is not allowed to cross without the correct paperwork. But while this may elicit some humor, the abuse of donkeys for terror attacks is a sad reminder of why IDF soldiers have to be so vigilant.

Aleem Maqbool claims that "the notion of a walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem is, for me, a romantic one." Even if that is his primary motivation, his diary exposes his own prejudices. The BBC will no doubt claim that this project is a personalized account of Maqbool's journey, much in the same way that BBC journalist Barbara Plett shed tears for Arafat. If so, then Maqbool has merely allowed us an insight into the mind of a typical BBC correspondent operating in the region.

You can send your comments to the BBC Complaints website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

Honest Reporting monitors the media for inaccuracy and unfairness in how they report the news about Israel. Their website address is
http://www.honestreporting.com. Contact them by email at action@honestreporting.com

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"ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE"?
Posted by Emanuel A. Winston, December 24, 2008.

Once again I observe that the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other journals, re-published a full page ad Friday, December 19th (1), sponsored by the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), the Council of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The title of this Ad was "Arab Peace Initiative". A similar earlier ad was sponsored, in part, by the Saban Center, directed by Martin Indyk (former American ambassador to Israel).

In addition to the text, there were 57 full color flags of Muslim countries who purportedly supported this message. Prince Abdullah Bin Abullaziz, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, also calls for Israel full withdrawal from all Israeli Land since 1967. Presumably, the U.S. State Department provided the language.

All Israel has to do is to withdraw from the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Mt. Dov observation sites overlooking Damascus and especially those parts of Jerusalem that Jordan occupied and desecrated for 19 years from 1948 to 1967. This would bring Israel back to the 1967 Armistice Lines which Abba Eban called the "Auschwitz Borders"... meaning the 1967 Armistice Lines invite another Holocaust to eliminate the Jewish State of Israel.

So why this doubling up of a screed of propaganda ads just before President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leave office and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (resigned because of imminent indictments for corruption — but still in power), Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak similarly face elections and are very likely to be ousted?

It looks as I predicted before that all of the above are in collusion to force the re-partition of Israel and complete the "Road Map" plan to position Israel for elimination in order to please the Muslim and Arab nations. The theory being that all the Muslims would be so pleased with the demise of Israel that they would cease their Global Terror in their fervent "Jihad" against all non-Muslim nations.

To accomplish this, the Arabs and Muslims know that they must, for a moment, discard their War face:"Dar el Harb" and put on their "accommodation" or false "peace" face: "Dar al Islam". They count on the Christian West to agree to their scheme — along with the Leftist Israeli Government under Olmert and his Kadima gang to make an announcement out of the Prime Minister's Office with Mahmoud Abbas (current President of the Palestinian Authority) — to relinquish more Land — in addition to those lands Israel already surrendered for peace — but got more war.

Hamas launched 354 rockets and missiles into Southern Israel, hitting civilians during the current "cease-fire". With Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) at his side, Olmert (on behalf of all of Israel, but without their vote or consent) accepted the Muslims' conditions of withdrawal from Jewish Land.

Simultaneously, Bush and Rice will leap forward and accept Olmert's statement as fully committing all of Israel to all of the demands of the Muslim Arab States.

Presumably, incoming President-elect Barack Obama has been briefed on the Plan so he could seamlessly accept the Sudeten-like plan of betrayal.

When you see expensive propaganda ads repeat themselves in flagship journals with Global reach, be assured that the "colluders" are about to strike.

Does any intelligent, sane person believe that 56 "Jihadist" nations dedicated to following Koranic Law and Mohammed's Hadith as 'holy script' will simply abandon their pledged goal of eliminating Israel and all the Jewish people as "Infidels" (non-Muslims) on Land they (the Muslims) claim is sacred to Allah?

Don't bother producing proof text that Jews were on their Land several thousand years before there was a Mohammed and the desert pagan tribes were worshiping Zin, the moon god.

By the way, Barack Obama says he will try to "reboot America's image" among the world's Muslims and will follow tradition by using his entire name — Barack Hussein Obama — in his swearing-in ceremony. (2)

Never mind that Arab Muslim nations, especially led by the Grand Mufti Amin al Husseini before 1948 pledged "that this was to be a war of annihilation like those of the great Mongol hordes killing all in their path. The Jews would be either dead or out." Israel was not just fighting a war of independence, but a war for her survival. (3)

Seven Arab armies invaded the newly born State of Israel, which undermanned, under-armed Israel miraculously won. The Muslim Arab countries continued with their unrelenting Terrorism (low-level warfare), plus 6 more full sized wars against Israel which Israel won — at great cost of men, blood and treasure. The Arab Armies failed and continue to suffer unrelenting Shame.

What leaves an Arab/Muslim mouth as a blatant lie in defiance of all recorded history is considered a truth by the liar and the greedy nations who accept the lie as the new truth. Thus, the ad of December 19th, pledging peace that the Muslims have no intentions of keeping — which Bush, Rice, Olmert, Livni, Barak and Peres already know.

Israeli is sadly on the cusp of being betrayed by her own corrupt government and by those nations who wish to appease the Arab Muslim nations for the oil on which they sit.

Is there retribution for what is being planned for Israel? Certainly!

Is Global Depression sufficient retribution from Above?

What will be next?

Bush, Rice, Olmert, Livni, Barak and Peres are on a collision course with G-d. They will be utterly crushed — along with the pagan Muslims who want the Land G-d gave to Abraham and his descendants.

Will it happen in our lifetime? You can count on it because it is happening now.

###

1. "ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE" (Adopted by the 14th Arab Summit in Beirut-Lebanon March 2002 — Ad in The New York Times, December 19, 2008

2. "Obama Wants to 'Reboot America's Image' Among the World's Muslims" American News Wrap HAMODIA December 18, 2008

3. "BIG LIES: Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel" By David Meir-Levi by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Emanuel Winston is a commentator and Middle East analyst. His articles appear often on Think-Israel and Gamla. He is a member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies (http://www.freeman.org/online.htm). Contact him at gwinston@gwinstonglobal.org

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CONTEMPLATING ISLAM
Posted by Daisy Stern, December 24, 2008.

This was written by Wafa Sultan, a Syrian-born ex-Muslim, now living in U.S.A., where she is a practicing psychiatrist. She is also a well-known and dedicated activist; she sees her mission as exposing and fighting radical Islam and defending human rights in the Islamic world. She is a Hudson New York Columnist. This essay appeared December 15, 2008 on the Hudson New York website:
http://www.hudsonny.org/2008/12/contemplating-islam.php

Allan wrote: "If you don't know Wafa Sultan, after you read this powerful piece you might wish to do a Google search, read more of her wisdom, and even watch her in several video postings around the web."

If we consider the Islamic texts, their content and the devotion that so many Muslims — including in America — attach to them; if we consider the tragic upshot of these teachings in terms of our current world's security, is it not a duty for each one of us to view Islam not frivolously but in a most serious manner?

There was an episode during the current Presidential election that greatly disturbed me. It was former Secretary of State Colin Powell's interview on "Meet the Press." For me this interview was a defining moment. He expressed his displeasure at some of his colleagues' accusations that Obama might be a Muslim, and stated: "And what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim?"

Mr. Powell's admonition at others who dare questioning Muslims, or Islam and its implications, in particular, people like me, who suffered immensely precisely because there is "something wrong with being a Muslim," would indeed be disheartened. If Powell doesn't understand what may be the dire consequences for being a Muslim, then who should understand? The man, who once held the post of American Secretary of State, asserts categorically that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim, even though the country he led has been suffering immensely from Muslim terrorism and has paid a high price because of it.

I appreciate that Powell, who has been nurtured by the American moral code, refuses to judge people on the basis of their religious affiliation. That is his right. But he does not have the right to nonchalantly disregard people's apprehensions of Muslims, especially at those of us who have lived in Muslim countries. We have risked our lives to escape from them, and are now risking our lives again to speak up against the harm they cause, induced by Islamic theology and culture.

In order to understand my perspective one would have to be a woman, living in Syria, my birthplace, or any other Arab Muslim country.

Since immigrating to the United States more than five presidential elections ago, I always regarded American politics as a luxury that did not concern me. Living in the US was enough to satisfy me emotionally, physically and intellectually. Anything beyond that was more than I required.

I came to regard America's might as much greater than any president that happened to be in power — Democratic or Republican. Hence, I assumed that any person, who attained the rank of presidential candidate, regardless of party affiliation, was capable of safely leading this great nation. Because of that, I never took the trouble to inquire which candidate was more worthy of victory; for me it was a mere toss-up.

However, the events of September 11th, 2001 stripped away my confidence. I began wondering how well Americans understand Political Islam — the underlying cause of this and other heinous attacks and how willing are we to probe into its ideology or comprehend its objectives. The events surrounding the most recent election have increased my doubts and my concerns for this country, which I love with all my heart.

So what is the problem? During and after the recent election, my fear for America was that Obama's victory could breathe fresh life into the further rise of Islamism, including Islamic terrorism.

Why?

Islamists' psychology is worlds apart from that of Westerners. They believe in absolute terms in their divine mission to submit the world to Islam. They are engaged in a constant search for divine meaning and inspiration — even in mundane matters.

First, there was Senator Obama's Muslim background. It is well known that Mr. Obama was born to a Muslim father, spent part of his early life in Indonesia — a Muslim country — and attended a Muslim school there. Almost every day my inbox was flooded with e-mail rumors about Obama which reflected many American citizens' fears regarding the Democratic candidate's Muslim background.

But Mr. Obama reassured us that he is a Christian and that was enough to dispel the doubts I might have had about him being a Muslim. I let go of my fear for America should Obama win. For now, I regained my confidence in him.

However, Salafists interpret even daily events in a way that may not necessarily appear significant to Westerners. In this context some Islamists go so far as viewing the Islamic background of Obama as a heaven-sent confirmation of the first step in realizing the dream of submitting the West to Islam. The mere fact that American president bears a Muslim name like Hussein is enough to assure them that Islam is marching into America and has already infiltrated the White House.

Once, I was browsing through a website in Arabic and came across a news item announcing that the American actress Halle Berry gave birth to a daughter whom she named Nahla; an Arabic name meaning "bee". I then read readers' comments on this piece of news. A considerable number of them were jubilant, since they regarded this report as a God's sign that Islam had begun to advance into America, because the word nahla is mentioned in the Koran.

As for Mr. Powell, does he understand that Islam is not just a religion but a political doctrine that seeks to impose itself on non-Muslims even by force? If he does, why should people not be doubtful?

This is not an Islamophobic prejudice I present. Muslims, like any other national group, can be either good or bad, and the best among them do not act in accordance with Islam's political ideology, either because they are not familiar with it, or because they have deliberately progressed beyond it. But how are we to scrutinize the good from the bad when a high level political official like Mr. Powell undermines the questioning of any concerns related to this issue?

Certainly, Mr. Powell knows that Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, is most revered among Muslims. Does Mr. Powell realize that it is incumbent upon every devout Muslim male to emulate Muhammed's ways? If so, has Mr. Powell studied the life of Muhammad as it is recounted in the original Arabic sources, as I learned it in my schooldays?

One particular part of the prophet's historical account I studied in third grade at primary school. We read with pride how Muhammad beheaded eight hundred Jews from the Bani Quraiza tribe in one night, then took their wives and children hostage and spent that same night with a Jewish woman Safia, whose husband, father and brother he had just killed. This wretched story is only a drop in the ocean of numerous Arabic narratives written about Muhammad's misconduct.

Moreover, according to Islam's most revered jurists, a true Muslim must believe in Islam as both religion and a political entity. A committed Salafi Muslim does not

American government officials must spend funds to interpret Arabic texts word for word, without distortion or falsification. Among other illuminating tenets they may find, is the concept of taqqia (literally, "caution, prudence, dissimulation"). It allows a Muslim to conceal his true cherished beliefs when he feels that non-Muslims around him have the upper hand, while at the same time working secretly to achieve his "noble" objective, so that he can attack them when the time is ripe.

Did Mr. Powell ever contemplate that what he heard from countless Muslims he met throughout his career was not necessarily what they truly meant?

I always considered Mr. Powell one of the giants of American politics. To me he was as majestic as the American eagle. But in that moment, sadly, I saw the eagle topple from its lofty peak and tumble down in front of me like a little sparrow; and with it tumbled many of my convictions.

After the events of September 11th, I watched a press conference with an American general whose name I can no longer recall. In the course of the conference, he shared that he had read the Koran twice. One of the reporters asked him, "What conclusion did you reach after you had read it?" He bowed his head for a moment before replying, "We have to defend ourselves."

It is clear to me and many others who have lived in Islamic countries that a military man — a general — understood our perilous situation better than Mr. Powell — a politician — who held a high level government position. Had Mr. Powell done any thorough research into the study of Islam, as the general did, he may also have come to the conclusion that his question, "What's wrong with being a Muslim?" was indeed unwarranted.  

Daisy Stern adds:
"First the Saturday people; Then the Sunday people!"
— Arabic text painted on the walls of muslim-occupied Bethlehem, Israel.

Contact Daisy Stern by email at daisystern1@gmail.com

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PM OLMERT FANTASIZES; OVER-RELIANCE UPON GOVERNMENT
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 24, 2008.

PM OLMERT FANTASIZES

Olmert said, a peace agreement with Syria would reduce the chance of war.

Hizbullah and Hamas have tens of thousands of rockets pointing towards Israel, but the IDF can beat those militias.

Disengagement from Gaza was a success for having removed the Jews, needing protection from Hamas, and Arabs aren't diluting the Jewish state. Although we love the whole Land of Israel, Israel should evacuate from most of Judea-Samaria, too, to form an Arab state, which cannot be a terrorist state (IMRA, 12/19). If Israel doesn't annex Arab towns, they won't dilute Jewish sovereignty.

Pacts don't mean that the enemy wants peace, as Olso proved. Syria could promise a lot, to get the Golan. Then it would have a much better chance of defeating Israel at war. Hence, the agreement is likelier to result in war.

Olmert's restraint, or defeatism, enabled the terrorists to acquire tens of thousands of rockets. Wiping out the terrorists would have ended their menace and given pause to Israel's other enemies. It is no great accomplishment for the IDF to beat them, but now at higher cost to itself and to the populace! Suppose it doesn't beat them, due to Olmert-Livni incompetence that failed to beat them, before? Suppose the tens of thousands of rockets destroy Israeli airplanes, communications, and much else? More likely, after the rockets are fired, Egypt and other Muslim armies would descend upon the weakened Israel. The Muslims probably would wait until either Iran has nuclear weapons ready or Israel has withdrawn from strategic borders. If it withdraws from Judea-Samaria, it may gain a little more illusory time, while the new Arab state also gets rockets.

If Israel had destroyed Hamas, it could have left Jews in Gaza and annexed the nearer Jewish towns. Could have settled more there. All without diluting the Jewish state ethnically.

Want not to dilute Israel ethnically? Stop letting in Arabs and Russian Christians pretending to be Jews. Start getting the million Arabs inside Israel to move out!

What does Olmert mean, a sovereign Arab state in Judea-Samaria cannot be a terrorist state? What is to stop them from starting out as one or from becoming one? There hasn't been the slightest movement against terrorism in the P.A., since Oslo gave them autonomy15 years ago. Hasn't Olmert noticed the US moving towards a policy of letting the P.A. become a state without eradicating terrorism? Once sovereign, nobody can tell a state not to commit terrorism.

DOZENS OF POLICE INJURED TRAINING AGAINST SETTLERS If so injured in practice, imagine how violent against settlers! (Arutz-7, 12/19).

OVER-RELIANCE UPON GOVERNMENT

Israel now is at its greatest peril, beset not only by jihad, but also by an alignment of a particularly self-destructive domestic regime and a particularly anti-Zionist US circle around the President-elect. There is something bizarre, or is it just my distaste in expecting too much from someone too inexperienced, to see Obama's hand waving from every magazine? Advice to him is flooding in. Trained (by the NY Times, among others) to be pessimistic, Americans exaggerate their problems, serious as they are, and under-estimate their resources. They lost faith in themselves and blame everything on Pres. Bush and business. Hence they look to his successor to relieve them of more than is possible, if he even can relieve them of anything without creating equal or worse problems.

They distrust politicians, yet seek governmental solutions, devised, run, and monitored by...politicians. They don't perceive the self-contradiction in that. In their panic, they demand action before the politicians can gather their wits, the few they have. One popular demand, as if Obama doesn't have anything better to do, is to get "involved" in the Arab-Israel conflict. Their notion of solving it is to reward the terrorists with a state, and to punish their Israeli victims by depriving them of secure borders. These Americans may not realize there wouldn't be secure borders, because diplomats and the Times falsely suggest that new borders would be secure. Don't want them to be secure, can't make what's left secure? Then nevertheless declare them secure. Against that fraud, my liberal friends suspend their suspicion of Bush and withhold their skepticism of Obama.

An example of over-reliance upon government was provided in a NY Times Op-Ed piece by Nicholas Kristoff. He supported New York Gov. Paterson's proposed tax on non-diet sodas. Rather than eliminate more unnecessary spending, the Governor would tax residents more and would do so with an air of virtue. Non-diet soda is pronounced unhealthful. Oddly, government revenues would become dependent upon its continued sales. Will the State advertise it?

My political science professor warned that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Taxation and individual choice should not become the outlet for ideology. An ideology may be more wishful thinking than valid.

The pernicious principle is introduced that government's role is to force consumers to become healthful. Government knows best? It didn't about eggs and cholesterol, certain vaccines, especially the excessive number, containing poisonous mercury, administered too frequently to babies, and many other mistakes. Government regulators get influenced by industry lobbyists. Hence the effort, defeated by consumers better informed than government, to put non-organic substances and irradiated substances into food to be labeled by the Dept. of Agriculture as "organic."

(I read all the experiments on irradiation. They are based on, or utilize, two frauds. One fraud is to pretend that the question is whether they retain the radiation beamed onto them. They don't. Promoters of filthy but germ-irradiated meat then proclaim them safe. The other fraud is the old trick of drawing illogical but self-serving conclusions from the evidence. The evidence is that irradiation destroys some vitamin potency of food and converts some of the food into the same results of radiation that poisoned the Hiroshima victims.)

In defense of the health benefits of government taxation, Mr. Kristsoff cites cigarette taxes. As those taxes rose, cigarette consumption fell. In his mind, that means the whole reduction in smoking is due to the increase in expense. That's too simple. At the same time, there was a movement of education and pressure against smoking. Smoking has been banned in most work places, so the smoke is not imposed on those who don't choose to smoke.

As cigarette taxes rose, so has smuggling to evade taxes. Organized crime benefits. Among the criminals are Islamists. Thus when taxation is used as a form of prohibition, terrorism gets more money.

The new tax is supposed to make people switch to non-diet sodas. Such sodas contain various harmful chemicals. One is phosphoric acid. That erodes tooth enamel, among other problems. Another often is the sweetener, aspartame. I read Excito-toxin. The book classified aspartame as a major "excito-toxin." It harms brain function. Mr. Kristoff didn't know that. There is more to these issues than press releases about soda and the tax.

Yes, many soda-drinkers gain weight. He suggests it's because the sugar adds to their caloric intake. A source of mine explained that high-fructose corn syrup, which starts with natural corn but is processed into something not natural for humans, inhibits a feeling of having eaten enough. Hence those drinkers eat more. Therefore, if government is to do anything to protect people, let it ban that artificial chemical that definitely impairs the body's mechanism!

Another example. Government tries to protect us by forcing businesses to inform us of our rights and of our privacy. Every couple of months, my regular bills include an insert about rights or privacy. Who reads them, after the first time? Likewise, credit card agreements used to be three pages, but now have been stretched into a pamphlet. This imposes on resources and on prices.

I think that government has enough difficulty performing its few legitimate functions properly. It should not be expanded beyond that, lest it gather illegitimate functions or perform poorly. Human beings have to learn to be self-reliant and prudent. Keep the rules fewer and simpler. And don't let the State Dept. dictate to Israel! We Americans had better learn that the State Dept. is neither competent nor sincere. We should return to our basic principles, and not try to be over-sophisticated. Just be honest and decent.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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WILL JONATHON POLLARD HAVE TO DIE FIRST, TOO?: BUSH PARDONS CHARLIE WINTERS
Posted by Avodah, December 23, 2008.
This was written by Debbie Schlussel and it was posted on her website at http://www.debbieschlussel.com/atom.xml

A new batch of Bush pardons was just announced. Among them, Charles Winters, who died in the 1980s. I'm glad Bush pardoned him, for committing the "crime" of helping Israel in the War of Independence. But it's sad that Charles Winters had to wait so long.

The list also included Charles Winters, who during the 1940s helped ship arms and aircraft to Jews trying to found their own state in the Middle East, the Associated Press reported. Winters died in the 1980s, the news agency said.

Offense: Conspiracy to export, and exportation, of a military aircraft to a foreign country in violation of the Neutrality Act of 1939; 22 U.S.C. Section 448(a). Sentence: Feb. 4, 1949; Southern District of Florida; 18 months in prison, $5,000 fine. Jonathon Pollard

Not in the pardons, so far, Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby, whose crime was saying "I don't remember" about something he didn't remember, and of which he wasn't the source of the leak.

Also not in the pardons, Jonathon Pollard who spied for Israel. Yes, he spied, and he should be punished. But he's been in prison for more than two decades, when other spies who did far more harm and spied for enemies — like China — got far less time and are already out. Most of what Pollard turned over to Israel was information the U.S. had agreed in writing to share with Israel, but chose not to. And he's been kept in solitary confinement and deprived of medicine for his illnesses. Much of the spying that he was credited for helping the Soviets get, actually turned out to have been committed by Aldrich Ames.

Sadly, it looks like Pollard will get the Charles Winters treatment, if even that. If only he'd spied for the Chi-Coms, the Soviets, or the Muslims, he'd be free by now.Remember Nada Nadim Prouty, the FBI and CIA agent who spied for Hezbollah? Remember her $750 fine? Hello ...

[EDITOR'S NOTE:

Please Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard!
Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EDST
Israel Time: 4PM to Midnight. Call now. Call often.]

Contact Avodah at Avodah15@aol.com and visit his website:
http://am-yisrael-blog.blogspot.com/

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FROM ISRAEL: A VERY BRIEF LULL
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 23, 2008.

Seems I may have underestimated Mubarak a bit yesterday when I said that Hamas was disenchanted with the Egyptians as negotiators and would likely not be moved by his attempts to cool matters.

Mubarak knew what to say: He told the Hamas leaders that Israel was planning on assassinating them. Worked like a charm. For a few hours, anyway. What he had asked for was 24 hours of quiet, what he got was 24 hours with just three rocket launchings — a considerable reduction from the day before. And today Hamas people are saying they provided a few hours of complete quiet before those three were launched. As serious as the ramifications of this situation are, this is truly laughable.

But there seems to have also been another reason why Hamas cooled it for a few hours: they wanted the Kerem Shalom crossing opened so some supplies would get through.

~~~~~~~~~~

Today six Kassams have been launched. But Arutz Sheva, with an admirable sense of the ridiculous, explains the difference between today's launchings and yesterday's: Yesterday's were "truce attacks," while today's are "non-ceasefire" attacks.

One Hamas spokesman acknowledged that the shooting was begun again after the aid came through the crossing; they had gotten what they were after.

This, in spite of a statement by Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar to the Egyptian paper Al-Aharam that an assessment would be made after yesterday's quiet and that the "truce" would probably continue.

What is perhaps significant — revelatory of Hamas thinking — is that the level of rocket fire has not, at least not yet, escalated to what it had been a few days ago. It's as if they perceive (hopefully this time they're wrong!) that a "few" rockets will be tolerated by the Israeli public, while what they had been doing before stimulated sufficient protest so that an operation might have been imminent.

One Israeli official explained that, "Hamas does not want us to invade Gaza. They are hoping that because of the elections we will not invade and that they will be able to put pressure on us with the rocket attacks and... get better conditions in a new cease-fire."

~~~~~~~~~~

According to "senior defense officials" quoted by the Post, a reduction in attacks will not stop the operation. It is not anticipated that all rocket launchings will cease.

Hamas has been making threats about suicide attack renewals and other forms of violence if we don't get with their program. But this is my favorite Hamas quote, from spokesman Fawzi Barhoum:

"Israel wants to extort us so that we would agree to a cease-fire without gaining anything in return. Israel is offering us calm in return for calm, and this is unacceptable. They don't want to lift the siege and include the West Bank in the cease-fire agreement."

"Calm for calm" is unacceptable. Because they're not gaining anything in return? Isn't not having their leaders targeted for assassination "something"?

~~~~~~~~~~

Now factor this in, as well: In a reversal of what was understood to be his position just days ago, Mahmoud Abbas, PA president, sitting in a meeting with Mubarak today, declared that the PA "will not agree to Israel invading the Gaza Strip, or its planes bombarding it."

I wasn't aware we need him to "agree," although it does make matters a bit more complicated internationally if he is opposed.

Just days ago, Abbas was reportedly of a mind to see Hamas defeated because it would not negotiate with Fatah to establish unity. Now Abbas says that there is "no escape from renewing dialogue despite the fact that Hamas boycotts it. Our attempts have failed once, but still they should be continued until successful, because this is in the Palestinians' interest."

What pressures were brought to bear here? I would assume it was at least in part Mubarak's pressure, as Egypt still imagines it can broker a unity government. Did Abbas decide it looked really bad for him to even implicitly support an Israeli operation?

We must remember that he's going to be at odds with Hamas in a most significant way if he, as he says he will, remains in the presidency past January 9th.

~~~~~~~~~~

Livni will be in Cairo for meetings on Thursday.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Elder of Ziyon blog has run an amusing and very telling quiz, challenging people to match statements by our ostensible leaders with the date on which they made the statements. The point, quite simply, is that for two years they've been saying pretty much the same thing regarding Israeli refusal to tolerate rockets shot into Israel and the immediacy of a major response. Two years.

I thank Chana Givon for calling this to my attention. You can see the quiz at:
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2008/12/kadimalabor-qassam-reaction-quiz.html

~~~~~~~~~~

After holding meetings yesterday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Olmert is waxing enthusiastic about the possibility of holding direct talks with Syria.

But Assad has said he doesn't want to negotiate now — he's waiting for new administrations both in Israel and the US; then, ultimately, he would be in favor of talks. Obviously he sees Obama as more receptive than Bush has been. With regard to Israel, he prefers dealing with a stable new government, rather than one that is in its last days.

What I seriously wonder is if Olmert has provided Assad with an answer to his question as to whether Israel would permit Syria to go all the way down to the Kinneret if there were a deal and the Golan were returned to Syria.

One must conclude that this might be the case, because Assad said he wouldn't pursue negotiations unless Israel agreed on this point first.

~~~~~~~~~~

Netanyahu went to the Golan yesterday with some key figures from Likud, including Moshe Yaalon, Yossi Peled and Gideon Saar, in order to make a statement while Olmert was in Turkey. Said he:

"We are here to say clearly to the people of Israel and the entire world that the government of Israel under the Likud's leadership will remain in the Golan and safeguard it as a strategic asset for the country's future. It doesn't matter what Olmert says in Ankara. We say the government under my leadership will not withdraw from the Golan."

It's good for the world in general and Assad in particular to hear this. The same issue applies here as in what I've been discussing with the PA negotiations. The world tries to squeeze us into picking up in dealings where a previous government left off. But a verbal statement made by the former government is not legally binding on the next government.

What we will need, first of all, to see the new government under Likud leadership. It's early in the campaign, but Likud is slipping in the polls and Kadima is gaining.

Then we need to pray that Netanyahu will stand strong on this. There are critics pointing out that he's on the record previously as being willing to relinquish the Golan. Benny Begin says Netanyahu has changed... (Please, friends, in this instance, no messages telling me how I definitely can or cannot trust Bibi. I know full well there are people espousing both views. I know the arguments. And I know I trust Bibi more than I trust Tzipi.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Tomorrow is the final day for registration of parties for the election campaign. It would be difficult for me to fully describe how complicated the scenario is, with people switching parties, parties with new names establishing, and old parties coalescing and then coming apart.

I will do my best to provide updates on significant parts of the campaign.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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PALESTINIAN CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (PCHR): LAWLESSNESS IN GAZA AND PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS
Posted by Gabrielle Goldwater, December 23, 2008.

Note the Palestinian humanitarians are concerned with the misuse of weapons — i.e., they hit other Arabs, not Jews.

Lawlessness and Proliferation of Weapons Misuse of Weapons by Armed Groups and Security Forces Field Update 23 December 2008

6 Palestinians, Including 4 Children, Injured in Gaza Due to Misuse of Weapons

In the past three days, 6 Palestinians, including 4 children, were injured as a result of the continuation of the misuse of weapons.

The wounds of 3 children were described as serious. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) remains deeply concerned over the re-occurrence of such incidents that are part of the state of security chaos and misuse of weapons plaguing the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 16:15 on Monday, 22 December, 2008, 3-year-old Myassar Mousa Wahdan, was injured in the abdomen and chest and her 5-year-old brother, Mohammed, was injured in the head by shrapnel from a locally produced rocket that was fired by members of the Palestinian resistance.

The rocket fell on agricultural land near Beit Hanoun Agriculture College in the north to Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. The two children were immediately transferred to Beit Hanoun Hospital for treatment. Medical sources described the wounds of Myassar as serious and reported that she was admitted into the intensive care unit. The wounds of Mohammed were described as moderate.

In another incident, at approximately 17:30 on Sunday, 21 December, 2008, Hanan Sohwail, 32, was lightly wounded by shrapnel to the right hand when a locally produced rocket exploded near her house in al-Zaytoun quarter in the west of Beit Hanoun Town. She was immediately taken to Beit Hanoon Hospital for treatment.

At approximately 14:40 on Saturday, 20 December, 2008, a locally produced rocket fired by members of the Palestinian resistance fell near a group of children who were playing in a bystreet to the east of the industrial zone, west to Beit Hanoon town. Shrapnel from the rocket wounded two children. The two children were taken to Beit Hanoun Hospital for treatment and then transferred to the intensive care unit at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, since their wounds were serious. The two children were identified as Sari Mana'a al-Sama'ana, 9, and Safi 'Eid al-Sama'ana, 8.

Also on Saturday, 20 December, 2008, at approximately 00:30, gunmen on a motorcycle fired at Nayef Nasser al-Mahmoum, 20, while standing near his house in al-Tannour neighborhood in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip. Al-Mahmout was wounded by a bullet to the left arm. He was taken to Martyr Mohammed Yousef al-Najjar Hospital for treatment.

PCHR is gravely concerned over increasing casualties resulting from the misuse of weapons, which is part of the state of security chaos prevailing in the OPT.

PCHR calls upon concerned authorities to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice. PCHR calls also upon Palestinian resistance groups to be far away from civilian populated area when conducting military actions.

Gabrielle Goldwater lives in Switzerland. Contact her at III44@aol.com

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LATKE MAKING
Posted by Carrie Devorah, December 23, 2008.

6th and I synagogue has become a hub of Jewish community social life in Washington DC. Top Chef Chicago contestant Spike Mendelsohn and his mother Katherine shared family recipes with a capacity audience.

Spike Mendelsohn Making Latkes

Carrie Devorah is an investigative photojournalist based in DC. Former religion editor of "Lifestyles" Magazine, her areas of focus are faith, homeland security and terrorism. Devorah is the sister of Jewish Press columnist Yechezkel Chezi Scotty Goldberg, victim of Egged Bus 19 bombing, 1-29-04. Goldberg was a noted psychologist with expertise in at-risk youth.

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HANNUKA AMONG THE HELLENISTS
Posted by Steven Plaut, December 23, 2008.

(1) American Thinker
http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/12/hannuka_among_the_hellenists_1.html
December 15, 2008

Of all the Jewish holidays, the one that I think best captures the contemporary Jewish zeitgeist, the one that is the most relevant to the current (and, if certain trends are not reversed, the last?) chapter in Jewish history, is Hannuka.

Hannuka is, of course, the story of Jewish national liberation. It is the story of the military victory of the few against the many, of the champions of Judaism against the pagan barbarians.

But it is more than this. It is the saga of the heroic struggle of Jewish survivalists (those one would today label "Zionists") against the assimilationists and self-hating Hellenists of the second century BCE.

Hannuka is less a story about the battle against the Greeks than it is about the battle against the predominant assimilationist paradigm at the time among the Jews. It is about the battle against the anti-survivalists, those who hated themselves for being Jews, those who seek to be "progressive", "modern", and "in", through rejecting, abasing, disgracing and degrading themselves and their people. The Hellenists who fought the Hasmoneans were struggling against Jewish survival. Sound familiar?

In the United States, the main movement of Hellenistic assimilationism has been the school of "Political Liberalism as Judaism", the pseudo-religion that holds that all of Judaism can be reduced to the pursuit of this week's liberal political fads. But the global avante garde of Jewish self-hatred these days is the Israeli Left.

The Israeli Left is the main manifestation today of Jewish anti-Semitism.

It not only promotes "plans" and policies designed to end Israel's existence, increasingly endorsing the one-state, bi-national Rwanda solution to the "problem" of Israeli national existence, but it also regularly attacks every symbol and concept of traditional Judaism.

You think I am exaggerating? Well just consider the Op-Ed a few years back in the Israeli anti-Zionist daily Haaretz, penned by one Yehiam Shorek, a "historian" who teaches at the Beit Berl College in Israel. Beit Berl is a college run by the kibbutz movement.

The "historian" Shorek devoted his Haaretz column to proving that the Maccabees were fascist and racist hooligans, bloodthirsty zealots, and downright Likudniks. His column was entitled "Bloodthirsty Zealots". His thesis was that Jews should stop celebrating Hannuka and the exploits of the Maccabees, and should instead feel sympathy for the poor occupied and mistreated Greeks and Hellenists.

His article was not a spoof.

The evil Maccabees were plotting to perpetrate population "transfer", wrote Shorek, that most evil of all crimes in the "minds" of Israel's fundamentalist Leftists. Population "transfer" is far worse than, say, mass murdering 2000 Jews after signing with them a series of peace accords, or turning the West Bank and Gaza over to barbarian fascists to allow them to carry out such mass murders. Shorek is a member of that same Fundamentalist Left that will not rest until all Jews have been expelled from the West Bank and Gaza in an act of ethnic cleansing, and until no Israeli armed forces are left behind to interfere with the terrorist activities of the "Palestinians."

Matityahu, the father of Judah Maccabee and his brothers, was a lunatic, wrote Shorek. He was a warmonger who dragged his country into an unnecessary "war of choice", one that was not a legitimate "war of self-defense". (Never mind that there is nothing at all in Judaism that says Jews should refrain from conquering their lands unless it is part of a war of self-defense.) The Maccabees were the aggressors, insisted Shorek. And they suppressed the free speech of those who supported the Greeks; how undemocratic of them!

Judah Maccabee was guilty of causing many families to lose their loved ones by leading people to war, wrote Shorek, instead of pursuing some sort of Hellenistic Oslo appeasement and capitulation, the sort the "enlightened Left" seeks today to impose upon Israel. All Judah Maccabee really wanted to do was to Occupy, Occupy, Occupy, insists Shorek. No better than the West Bank settlers today! And not only that, but Judah and his hooligans were Orthodox Jews, which every leftist knows must make them primitive and barbaric; you know, unlike the enlightened Marxist historians who live on nice kibbutzim or teach at the Beit Berl college.

Unfortunately, Shorek is hardly a lone phenomenon. Israel's anti-Jewish leftists have been launching similar jihads against every other symbol of Jewish valor. Masada was a cesspool of non-tolerant fanatics, according to them. The Bible is a backward document full of fabrications. Schools should stop teaching it altogether, they demand, and instead teach something really useful, like the works of Palestinian "poets". Archeology proves the Bible is nothing but lies and fantasy, they insist. One wag labeled such people Pentateuch Deniers (intended as a play on "Holocaust Deniers").

In Israel, the country's politics — particularly its cultural/educational elite and its chattering classes — are now largely dominated by those motivated by the desire for their country to commit national suicide. They scorn themselves, their own country and their own people, the same way that the Hellenized Jews did at the time of the Maccabees. Many endorse boycotts of Israel by anti-Semites abroad. Like the Hellenized Jews, they are convinced that traditionalist Jews are reactionary and primitive, and that the greatest national priority should be renunciation of Jewish peculiarity and the striving to assimilate amongst the cosmopolitan progressive "Greeks" of the world. They are ashamed of their Jewishness and convinced that the only path to peace is to renounce it. They insist that a Seleucid "narrative" should replace the Jews' own reactionary national one.

Israel's universities are by and large the Occupied Territories of these Hellenists. The Israeli media is to almost the same extent. Hellenists dominate much of the Israeli military and, somewhat incredibly, the intelligence services. (It is doubtful the country could have undergone the Oslo debacle had these intelligence services not operated as lap dogs for the Beilinized Israeli Left.)

Hellenists have attempted to rewrite the Israeli school curriculum, to teach Israeli Jewish children to despise themselves. Their message is that Jews must feel ashamed, because they are mean, selfish, evil and immoral people. Surely, there would be no anti-Semitism on the planet were not the Jews such racist and insensitive people.

Their aim is to convince the Jews that the only way they may become accepted in the world is to adapt to paganism, to stop seeking to exist as a separate national entity, to commit national suicide. Moreover, their campaign is aimed at challenging the moral existence of the Jews. They realize this is the weakest chink in the armor of the Jews. If Jews can be convinced that they are morally in the wrong, then no Maccabees will emerge. The aim of the Jewish Hellenists is the delegitimization of the Jews as a nation, discrediting the moral position of Jewish survivalism.

The message of the contemporary Hellenists is unambiguous: Those who wish to purify the Temple, who seek pure oil for the Temple lamp, who wish to evict the barbarians from Jerusalem, are the enemies of peace. The Maccabees must be arrested for incitement. The Jews must provide Antiochus with concessions and arms and funds and a Road Map. Under no circumstances should the Jews seek to defend themselves militarily against the Seleucids, for there is no military solution to the problem of Seleucid aggression. If the barbarians murder the Jews, it is because the Jews are evil, selfish people and because they have been too reluctant to abandon their primitive survivalism.

If the Israeli anti-Jewish Left has its way, the Post-Hasmonean, post-survivalist era will be upon us.
 

(2) "God Is a Problem, Sources Say "
How secular newsrooms handle stories with a religious component.
by Vincent Carroll, editorial-page editor
Rocky Mountain News.

In a jarring misreading of the Islamist mentality, the New York Times last month described a Jewish center in Mumbai, India, as the "unlikely target" of the terrorists who attacked various locations there. "It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen," the Times went on to declare, "or if it was an accidental hostage scene."

Paul Marshall would not be surprised by such stunningly na.ve statements. In "Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion" — a collection of essays that he edited with Lela Gilbert and Roberta Green Ahmanson — he notes that similar assertions have been common in the coverage of Islamic terrorism. The book's contributors explore all sorts of news stories with a religious component — Islamic and otherwise — showing where reporters have veered off course and discussing the reasons why.

Despite 9/11 and dozens of equally pitiless massacres, some journalists, Mr. Marshall says, are reluctant to accept the "fundamental religious dimension" of jihadist motives. Such journalists concentrate on "terrorist statements that might fit into secular Western preconceptions about oppression, economics, freedom and progress." When terrorists murdered Christian workers while sparing Muslims in the offices of a Karachi charity in 2002, Mr. Marshall observes, "CNN International contented itself with the opinion that there was 'no indication of a motive.' Would it have said the same if armed men had invaded a multiracial center, separated the black people from the white people, then methodically killed all the blacks and spared all the whites?"

But surely journalists do a better job at stories in their own backyards. Actually, no. According to the evidence in "Blind Spot," the coverage is often worse. Jeremy Lott reminds us, for example, of the media hysteria in 2004 that greeted the release of the movie "The Passion of the Christ." Never mind that director Mel Gibson seemed to confirm the worst suspicions of his critics two years later when he spouted anti-Semitic drivel after an arrest for drunken driving. The contempt of journalists was hardly reserved for the director alone. Many confidently predicted that, if by some chance this violent rendition of Jesus' death found an audience, it would unleash a surge in anti-Semitic bigotry or even an orgy of violence. Such forecasts appear delusional in retrospect. They were possible, Mr. Lott maintains, because of "a troubling willingness by journalists to believe the worst of religious would-be moviegoers."

Blind Spot
Edited by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Roberta Green Ahmanson
(Oxford, 220 pages, $19.95)

The chasm between a profoundly secular media and their audience was also unmistakable upon the death in 2005 of John Paul II. Although the pope's international legacy was treated with respect in most post-mortems — reporters could hardly miss his role in the fall of communism — his influence within the church was described in decidedly less flattering terms. " 'Disciplinarian' was often used," Amy Welborn tells us, "as was 'authoritarian' and even 'monarchical.' "

Most journalists apparently believed that the "only Catholics dissatisfied with his pontificate were those advocating women's ordination or changing Church positions on abortion or homosexuality," yet the pope took positions and made appointments that bothered traditionalists, too. Indeed, the most notable excommunication of his papacy was of the "deeply traditionalist archbishop Marcel Lefebvre." In some respects, Ms. Welborn argues, conservative Catholics may have been even more frustrated by John Paul's papacy than liberals.

The same conservative template was immediately imposed on Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he became Pope Benedict XVI. The gentle, complex intellectual the public has grown to know over the past three years was variously described as "polarizing," "hard line" and, in an oft-repeated phrase, "God's Rottweiler" because of his Vatican role, as cardinal, in protecting church doctrine and disciplining theologians.

No less revealing has been coverage of the faith-based effort to deploy U.S. foreign policy on behalf of victims of persecution. An alliance that included conservative evangelicals, the Catholic Church, Jewish groups and a variety of other organizations prodded Congress into passing four watershed measures: the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Sudan Peace Act of 2002 and the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004. "Any one of these initiatives is a major story," Allen D. Hertzke writes, "but together they represent the most important human rights movement since the end of the cold war."

Not only was this story underplayed in the press; it was often miscast as merely a crusade of Christian conservatives and reported with patronizing, skeptical references to their claims — as if the persecution of Christians abroad was a matter of debate. Too many journalists apparently have trouble treating with respect any movement in which Christian conservatives provide what Mr. Hertzke calls "crucial grass-roots muscle."

Such attitudes no doubt explain the media's double standard in the coverage of the 2004 presidential election. As C. Danielle Vinson and James L. Guth observe: "The Bush campaign in evangelical churches was portrayed as unusual and certainly questionable, whereas [John] Kerry's outreach through black churches was seen as routine." Ms. Vinson and Mr. Guth maintain that "the most significant problem is not media bias but media ignorance," but their own evidence suggests that the problem is equal parts of both.

Many journalists, it would seem, equate modernity with secularism. Yet God refuses to retire, not only in this country but in most of the rest of the world. Terry Mattingly offers a prescription for better coverage: "Editors do not need to try to hire more reporters who are religious believers," he says, but they do need to hire more journalists "who take religion seriously, reporters who know, or are willing to learn to hear the music." At a time of newsroom cutbacks, such advice may fall on barren soil. If so, the news media will continue to miss a vast dimension of mankind's story.

Steven Plaut is an American-trained economist, a professor of business administration at Haifa University and author of "The Scout." He frequently comments — both seriously and satirically — on Israeli politics and the left wing academic community. Write him at splaut@econ.haifa.ac.il His website address is
http://www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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FROM ISRAEL: WHO KNOWS?
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 22, 2008.

...what's going to happen with regard to military action in Gaza. The situation shifts almost hourly, and the politicians are posturing. And so, I will make this review of the situation as concise as possible:

That we are, or were, on the edge of a major action is to my mind fairly irrefutable. In fact, I had information on Friday that a ground operation was due to start the following evening after Shabbat — an operation that was, apparently, then cancelled.

It is also, to my mind, clear that it is Barak who is blocking this action, at this point letting the nation know — with an eye to the election — that he is the "wiser, more careful" statesman for acting this way. Don't believe it for even a second. It was Barak in 2000 who, as prime minister, precipitously pulled our troops from the security zone in Lebanon, thereby setting the scene for Hezbollah to move in. No one wants our boys to be at risk — my heart wrenches with the possibility of causalities. But an army must defend a nation.

~~~~~~~~~~

Head of the Shin Bet gave a briefing to the Cabinet yesterday in which he said that Hamas has rockets now that are capable of reaching to the edge of Beersheva and into Kiryat Gat and Ashdod (farther than ever before) and we should anticipate a strong retaliation if we do go in and prepare for it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Reports have been released saying that Olmert and Barak (or in another version, also Livni) have met and decided on a major operation.

Olmert, from Turkey, is saying we must respond to the rockets. Livni, campaigning, is saying that if she's prime minister, she'll take out the Hamas leadership. But I notice that she says she would do so by a combination of methods, military and diplomatic. This is nonsense: she's not going to undo Hamas diplomatically, and I haven't forgotten that she's the one responsible for the horrific "diplomatic" resolution to the Lebanese war that ended up permitting Hezbollah to rearm.

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has now also made a statement about the impossibility of the current situation.

In preparation for this presumed military operation that has been decided upon, Livni, as foreign minister, is preparing a Hasbara (PR) blitz to present Israel's side to the world. Israeli ambassadors worldwide will be taking our position to various governments and international ambassadors here are to be taken to see Sderot.

~~~~~~~~~~

Hamas is said to be divided between the military wing, which is eager to confront us without limitations now, and the political wing, which would like a new "lull," but under their terms, which include opening of crossings and extension of the "lull" to Judea and Samaria. Even this government won't agree to that. It is our IDF operations in Judea and Samaria that prevent suicide bombings and the like; to agree to stop going after these guys would be a disaster.

A good percentage of the rockets and mortars that have hit in recent days have come from Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Front, rather than from Hamas itself — but what is clear is that Hamas, which controls the situation, is allowing these groups to operate as proxies.

~~~~~~~~~~

Egypt is sending mixed messages. Egypt has been angry with Hamas since it boycotted a recent Egyptian effort to bring Hamas and Fatah together for a Cairo meeting. And it is reported that the Egyptians are furious with Hamas now for refusing to continue the "ceasefire" — they know full well that at some point Israel will have to respond to the rockets from Gaza. And yet, Egypt, playing both ends, has "warned" Israel regarding the ill-advised nature of a military operation.

Right now Egypt is attempting to negotiate a new "lull," and asked Hamas to hold the rocket fire for 24 hours. Three rockets were fired today and gunmen shot at soldiers near the Sufa crossing. In an unusual move, Mubarak invited Livni to meet with him to discuss the "deteriorating situation." It was said that she would be presenting our position. Unless Mubarak has a new offer from the Hamas side, he is unlikely to achieve his goal. But Hamas is disenchanted with Egypt as a mediator (even where Shalit negotiations are concerned, Hamas wants a mediator other than Egypt) and is not likely to be influenced by Mubarak.

~~~~~~~~~~

The talk now is about the possibility of achieving a period of quiet again. But this avoids the essential issue, which is that Hamas continues to strengthen during such periods, retaining the ability to hit us at their option. The fact that they are stronger now than they were six months ago is evidence enough that another such "lull" is ultimately a poor and exceedingly short-sighted option for us.

I thank Aaron Lerner of IMRA for pointing out that a letter submitted to the UN secretary-general by Israeli ambassador to the UN Gabriele Shalev protesting the firing of rockets by Hamas does not also protest the weapons smuggling, manufacture and stockpiling. As if all is well as long as Hamas is not using its weapons at a given moment. This is Livni's "diplomatic" approach?

~~~~~~~~~~

Who knows? Maybe tomorrow — a day in which clear skies are predicted — there will be the beginning of a serious operation. But, maybe not.

~~~~~~~~~~

How low can this man sink? The man? Jimmy Carter. And apparently there are no limits to how far down he can go. On his website, for the Carter Center, he reports about his recent trip, which included a stop in Damascus:

"In the afternoon...I met with Khaled Mashaal and his fellow Hamas politburo members, all of whom are scientists, medical doctors, or engineers — none trained in religion. [Implication: they're good guys and not Islamic radicals at all.] It was the anniversary of Hamas' founding, and they were watching Prime Minister Haniyeh's speech in Gaza to an enormous crowd. We discussed items on my agenda that included ...formulas for prisoner exchange to obtain the release of Corporal Shalit..."

Incredible. A former US president giving advice to terrorist Mashaal regarding how much to demand for Shalit. We must remember that the Carter Center takes huge donations from Arab nations. Can he be impeached retroactively?

~~~~~~~~~~

There have been conflicting reports about a situation of serious dimensions: The possible sale to Iran by Russia of state-of-the-art S-300 anti-missile missiles that would seriously retard Israeli efforts to hit Iran.

Iranian sources had said that delivery of the missiles would be starting soon. But Russia has since denied this. Israeli remains convinced that Russia was standing by its agreement with Olmert, who visited in October, that it would not provide Iran with equipment that would "tip the strategic balance."

Let's hope the Israeli perception is correct. Amos Gilad, head of the Ministry of Defense military-diplomatic bureau, was in Moscow last week.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ending again with good news: Scientists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem have discovered a gene mechanism in stem cells that could lead to significant treatment options. Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated and extraordinary in their ability to develop into various sorts of tissue, Different sets of genes in the cells control the process of differentiation into specific types of tissues. One set of genes makes muscles cells, another makes liver cells, and so forth. What tissue a particular stem cell becomes depends on which genes were activated and which turned off. The discovery concerns the central process involved and may in time lead to generation of tissue for repairing cells damaged by a variety of diseases: heart tissue for those with heart disease, pancreatic tissue for those with diabetes, brain cells for those with Parkinson's disease, etc.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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HUMILIATION IS THY NAME
Posted by Victor Sharpe, December 22, 2008.

The days pass and Arab aggression grows more blatant and deadly. The world becomes less and less friendly towards the Jewish state, but in turn, the response from Israel's present leaders — Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni — can be summed up as humiliation piled upon humiliation.

Both the United States and Russia are rushing to arm Lebanon with new deadly weapons, knowing full well that they will fall into the hands of Hizbullah, yet not a murmur of protest has been heard from the three leaders who have brought Israel to the edge of the abyss. Israel is humiliated.

The farce that was the truce between Hamas and Israel was always a lie. The three politicians, whom the Israeli people endure, bought into a deceptive Arab ploy that any schoolchild could see for what it was.

How many times must it be restated that no Muslim entity, especially Hamas, will ever honor any agreement made with non-Muslims. It is in the Koran for all to see, except, of course, those who lead Israel and choose not to see. Again, the Jewish state is humiliated.

Hamas used the illusory ceasefire to build up its weaponry and defenses, while the Israeli people suffered from intermittent shelling and missile attacks from the Gaza Arabs. Now, the missile barrage grows daily in its intensity and lethality, while the Arabs look at the Jews' timid response with derision and contempt.

When Hamas announced that the so-called six-month ceasefire was over, Ehud Barak pleaded with them to continue the farce. Again, more humiliation.

The Israeli Supreme Court declared that in the course of responding to Arab aggression from Gaza it is illegal to fire at Arab civilian populations, thus rendering retaliation against Hamas and Islamic Jihad impossible. Meanwhile, the Arabs deliberately aim at Israeli civilians.

If Israel had fought such a war in 1948, then the state would never have been reborn. Sixty years afterwards, Israel no longer stands as the symbol of pride and pluckiness that so many in the world once respected.

Now Israel, under the present government, stoops low like the ghetto Jew. Forced to survive but fearful to strike back at his tormentors, he is always seeking that delusional opiate called "peace," which is but a bitter herb.

The new Obama administration is looming large for Israel. It will not be friendly. It contains officials hostile to the Jewish state. They will lean with growing brutality upon Israel to force it to give away its Biblical homeland, to make Judea and Samaria judenrein in order to create a new Arab state.

The "two-state solution" will be for the Jews of Israel a new "final solution." Within the mere fifty miles which is the width of Israel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, a hostile Arab state will emerge. What southern Israel has endured from Gaza will be repeated from Judea and Samaria. Israel will be reduced to a nine-mile-wide insanity within lines once called by Abba Eban, "the Auschwitz borders." Humiliation will give way to annihilation.

Are we to be the generation that witnesses the destruction of the Jewish state; a destruction primarily self-induced by sad and sorry leaders?

How long before a leader returns the Jewish state to a condition of pride in itself and a terror to its enemies? We know it is hated by the world, even though it conducts itself in a more humane way towards its implacable and barbaric Arab foes than any other nation has ever done or would.

Is it not better then to do what it must to survive, knowing that it will be hated anyway? Is there any purpose served in trying to be liked by such a world? Must Israel heap more humiliation upon itself in order to win brownie points from a world that scorns it?

Have not all the past examples of the world's deceptions and intrigues against the Jewish state taught Israel's present leaders anything? Alas, it would seem not.

Let this era of humiliation end speedily in our time. With the miracle of Chanukah fresh in our minds and in its spirit of re-dedication, let us pray for a leader like Judah Maccabee to arise and once more give all who love and cherish Eretz Yisrael reason to feel pride and hope.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer with articles and essays published in FrontPageMag.com, Townhall.com, Outpost, the Wall Street Journal, the London Daily Telegraph, Israel Alert, Jewish Review and other publications. He is also the author of "Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish State" and "The Blue Hour and Other Strange Tales." Contact him at janvic@verizon.net This article appeared today as an Opinion Piece in Arutz-Sheva (www.IsraelNN.com).

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SAUDI COURT TELLS GIRL AGED EIGHT SHE CANNOT DIVORCE HUSBAND
Posted by Mechel Samberg, December 22, 2008.

This is a news item from Mail Online
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/archives/oldindex.html

Saudi court tells girl aged EIGHT she cannot divorce husband who is 50 years her senior

A Saudi court has rejected a plea to divorce an eight-year-old girl married off by her father to a man who is 58, saying the case should wait until the girl reaches puberty.

The divorce plea was filed in August by the girl's divorced mother with a court at Unayzah, 135 miles north of Riyadh just after the marriage contract was signed by the father and the groom.

Lawyer Abdullar Jtili said:"The judge has dismissed the plea, filed by the mother, because she does not have the right to file such a case, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty."

Mass wedding in Riyadh


Grooms take part in a mass wedding ceremony in Riyadh in June. Governor of Riyadh Prince Salman and a local group organized a mass wedding for about 1600 couples to help people unable to afford expensive ceremonies

"She doesn't know yet that she has been married," Jtili said then of the girl who was about to begin her fourth year at primary school.

Relatives who did not wish to be named said that the marriage had not yet been consummated, and that the girl continued to live with her mother.

They said that the father had set a verbal condition by which the marriage is not consummated for another 10 years, when the girl turns 18.

The father had agreed to marry off his daughter for an advance dowry of £5,000, as he was apparently facing financial problems, they said.

The father was in court and he remained adamant in favour of the marriage, they added.

Mr Jtili said he was going to appeal the verdict at the court of cassation, the supreme court in the ultra-conservative kingdom which applies Islamic Sharia law in its courts.

Arranged marriages involving pre-adolescents are occasionally reported in the Arabian Peninsula, including in Saudi Arabia where the strict conservative Wahabi version of Sunni Islam holds sway and polygamy is common.

In Yemen in April, another girl aged eight was granted a divorce after her unemployed father forced her to marry a man of 28.

Contact Mechel Samberg at mechelsamberg2@yahoo.com

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UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1850
Posted by Eli E. Hertz, December 22, 2008.

President Bush and Secretary Rice betray Israel

For the first time the United States ignores Israel in matters before the UN Security Council. No prior discussions or consultation with Israel on matters directly affecting the well being of the Jewish state. ~

Foreign Minster Livni flip-flops — is it No or Yes?

November 14, 2008

NO

Livni — No to Rice's plan for UN Security Council diktat [1]

"Israel Television Channel One Correspondent Ayala Chason reported on the evening Mabat News program that PM Olmert and FM Livni oppose plans by U.S. Secretary of State Rice to pass a UN Security Council Resolution that would call for the establishment of a Palestinian state."

December 16, 2008

YES

Livni — Welcomes UN Security Council Resolution 1850 [2] "Israel welcomes the unequivocal support expressed today by the Security Council for the direct bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, in the framework of the Annapolis process."  

[1] Israelinsider November 14, 2008. http://israelinsider.ning.com/profiles/blogs/livni-says-no-to-rice-plan-for.

[2] Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, December 16, 2008 at: www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/MFA+Spokesman/2008/ Statement_UN_Security_Council_resolution_1850_16-Dec-2008.htm.

Eli Hertz is President of Myths and Facts Organization. Contact him at today@mythsandfacts.org

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KID GLOVES FOR IRANIAN SPY; LEITER PROPOSES ANNEXATION; BE SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE NEW ISRAEL FUND
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 22, 2008.

SURVEY OF JEWS OF JUDEA-SAMARIA

The study found that Jews move to Judea-Samaria more, work more there, study more, graduate more, reproduce significantly more, and consider themselves healthier and happier than do Jews in the state of Israel (Arutz-7, 12/16).

A self-evaluation whether one feels healthier and happier is subjective. If true, the question becomes why.

YEARS OF ATTACKS; BARAK "NOT RUSHING" TO DEFEND

Terrorists fired 24 more rockets into Israel, today. Today is the day before the ceasefire ends. Three people were injured from the attacks.

Defense Min. Barak is "not rushing" Israeli forces into Gaza. He said when Israel is forced to act, it would. What does "forced to act" mean? It doesn't mean when Hamas is able to strike strategic targets, because it already can. It may mean that so many Israelis are killed that Israel's enemies conclude that they all can kill Israelis without consequence. It also may mean that Barak would be forced to act when polls show his Labor Party losing all popular support.

US military observers asked for an IDF armored car for the area where the rockets land (IMRA, 12/17). Most Israelis don't have that luxury.

Maybe nobody told the terrorists that there is supposed to be a ceasefire.

IRANIAN NUCLEAR SPY GETS 15 MONTHS IN PRISON

A naturalized citizen who was born in Iran worked as an engineer for the biggest US nuclear plant. He downloaded nuclear software for Iran. He was convicted on two counts for 15-months, but the judge made them concurrent. The judge speculated that the information probably did not harm the US now but may in the future, but why punish for the future. Objectively, Iran is the greatest menace.

Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life for passing information to a US ally that did not harm the US now. They speculated that it might in the future, punished him for it, and now that they can see he did no harm, refuse clemency for what usually draws a 2-4-year sentence. The media focused indignantly on Pollard but hardly noticed the Iranian (IMRA, 12/18). We need more native scientists.

DOUGLAS FEITH RECOMMENDS AGAINST TERRORISM

Mr. Feith was involved in turning India into an ally, a process that the recent terrorism there may expedite. He wishes that Pres. Bush had done more against the ideology of terrorism. He suggests additional steps.

The US should identify the key Muslim individuals and groups for and against jihad, region by region. Analyze their networks and weaknesses. Develop for the US and other states ways to help anti-terrorists and undermine terrorists. Define success and mark progress (Wall St. J., 12/6, A11).

That is what the State Dept. should have been doing. Unfortunately, it helps some terrorists and undermined Pres. Bush's efforts against them. The US lacks a strategy. Americans still think of individual theaters of combat as separate wars, whereas they merely are different thrusts of the same enemy, the jihadists.

LEITER PROPOSES ANNEXATION

Knesset candidate, Yehiel Leiter, proposes that Israel annex nine-tenths of Judea-Samaria, leaving Arab cities in the other tenth. He would annex first Jewish settlement blocs, vacant areas, and areas needed for access to water. He added that Israel cannot annex unilaterally (IMRA, 12/7).

What does he mean, "cannot?" Does he mean that the Road Map and Oslo forbid it? Does he mean that in any case, it would not be legal? Does he mean that the US would object?

The Road Map is not binding on Israel, and it transfers some sovereignty over Israeli security from Israel to hostile foreign powers. It was foisted upon a collaborative Israeli regime. A new regime should repudiate it.

Oslo is a foolish agreement that the Arabs have so thoroughly violated, that Israel should declare it voided.

That leaves the legal status of Judea-Samaria and Gaza as under the Mandate. Israel is the chief heir of the Mandate, with the best claim to annex the Territories. Israel also has the right under international law to annex land that repeatedly has been used for aggression against it.

Yes, other countries would object. They object to anything that Israel does in its own behalf. A new Israeli regime, dedicated to Israel's survival, must do what is necessary for that survival, such as annexing the strategic territories and explaining its reasons to the world. I would add to Rabbi Leiter's proposal that Israel should arrange conditions so that the Arabs want to leave.

HOW SHOULD INDIA DEAL WITH PAKISTAN

Kashmir is a source of conflict between India and Pakistan. Resolve it, and reduce mutual antagonism. Nevertheless, the two states have more in common than they realize. Many Indians finally demand that their Army end terrorism from Pakistan. I think that would be premature. If the two countries fight against each other, the Islamists will have a better opportunity to take over Pakistan.

The Musharraf regime was complicit with terrorism. Its successor is liberal and democratic. It could be persuaded that the Islamists are driving to impose an Islamist dictatorship on Pakistan. Therefore, it behooves them to combat Muslim terrorism. The two governments should coordinate against that common enemy.

The government of Pakistan must root the Islamist collaborators from it's Army's security service. The government could gain public approval by pointing out that the collaborators get Pakistani soldiers battling terrorists in the Tribal area killed.

In this recession, ways must be found of resolving conflicts without recourse to the more expensive forms of gasoline-burning war.

BE MORE SKEPTICAL!

A pro-Israel and usually sensible friend attended a speech given at a synagogue by an Israeli representative of the New Israel Fund. The speaker lied that most Israelis believe in "a two-state solution." The friend took the speech seriously.

I told her that the New Israel Fund, like the EU, finances subversive movements in Israel. It favors the Arabs. The mis-named two-state plan is not a solution but part of the Arab plan for conquering Israel. Just because someone is Jewish and from Israel doesn't mean that she favors Israel. Don't imagine a Jewish unity that does not exist, and Jewish loyalty long gone. Be skeptical!

The speaker might have cited polls. Those polls are deceptive. The trick question is: IF the P.A. would end terrorism and indoctrination in hatred and jihad, would you be willing to cede the Territories? A positive answer doesn't mean, as the Left claims, that Israelis favor setting up a P.A. state. Questions about whether Israelis trust the P.A. to end terrorism get answered in the negative. That is why Israelis keep electing Prime Ministers who promise security, not that they deliver it. The trick question is like asking if, in Heaven, would you trust your soul to someone who once worked with the Devil. You'd reply yes, IF really in Heaven. Israeli citizens aren't sophisticated about polls. They should answer the trick question, "No." A better question would be, "Do you think that the P.A. should end jihad before or after Israel were to cede the Territories?" Most Israelis would say, "before." That would be more sensible.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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ISRAEL THE BEAUTIFUL: FILL CHANUKAH WITH LIGHT AND BLESSINGS
Posted by Yehoshua Halevi, December 22, 2008.


Wishing you a Chanukah filled with light and blessings
 

This is one of Yehoshua Halevi's Golden Light Images.

Yehoshua Halevi writes: "HOW I GOT THE SHOT:

Part of the process of previsualization — envisioning an image in your mind before you shoot it — includes giving thought to how that image might be used later on. For example, if an image is being used to illustrate a magazine article, I would give priority to shooting a vertical composition to allow for the option of placing it full frame on the publication's cover. More important, however, is allowing some dead space in the image where text can be placed. With that in mind, I'll often shoot an image wider than necessary, knowing I can always crop out unneeded content.

This week's photo works perfectly in that respect. I chose it because it differs from the most common Chanukah pictures, which show the menorah lit with all nine candles. Additionally, a few lucky coincidences help make this photo exceptional. I like the way the candles stand at odd angles to each other and the flames bend in the breeze. There is a pleasant lack of perfection, emphasized by the empty holder next to the shamash, that makes the image feel natural, not staged. I also like the background, which is blurred but mimics the foreground with specks of firelight from several other menorahs. And I like the way the light drifts to shadow as your eye moves down the candles and toward the base of the menorah. Combined with the dark border along the top, which provides a perfect spot to overlay a holiday greeting, the dark area along the bottom gives prominence to the photo's main subject.

Contact Yehoshua Halevi by email at smile@goldenlightimages.com and visit his website:
http://www.goldenlightimages.com. Reproductions of his work as cards, calenders and posters may be purchased at
http://www.cafepress.com/halevi18

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JONATHAN POLLARD TELLS WHY HE SPIED. HE RAISES TROUBLING QUESTIONS
Posted by Sonia Nusenbaum, December 22, 2008.

This is entitled "Did U.S. Give Wmd To Saddam Hussein?" and was written by Richard Cummings. It appeared yesterday in World Net Daily.
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=84195

Case of Jonathan Pollard raises troubling questions

Butner, NC — Imprisoned Jonathan Pollard Tells Why he Spied; Raises Troubling Questions Did The U.S. Give WMD to Saddam Hussein

Richard Cummings holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He taught international law at the Haile Selassie University. Prior to that he was attorney-adviser with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D., where he was responsible for legal work in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, "The Immortalists," as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream and the comedy "Soccer Moms From Hell."

Butner, NC — Imprisoned Jonathan Pollard Tells Why he Spied; Raises Troubling Questions Did The U.S. Give WMD to Saddam Hussein

Butner, NC — The federal medium security prison in Butner, N.C., is a grim, long, low building surrounded by a high wire fence. It is where, since 1993, Jonathan Pollard has served a life sentence for spying for Israel.

Seven years prior to his transfer to Butner, Pollard was held briefly in a Washington, D.C., jail following his arrest and then was confined for more than a year in Springfield, Mo., in a ward for the criminally insane. He then spent six years in solitary confinement, three stories underground, cut off from the world.

Since his arrest Nov. 21, 1985, Pollard has consistently expressed remorse, but the hostility against him is still manifested by those who describe him as a traitor who acted not on behalf of Israel, but for money — a charge he vigorously denies.

I arrive at Butner Wednesday, Oct. 24, with Pollard's pro bono attorney, Eliot Lauer, a highly respected litigator specializing in white-collar crime and Securities and Exchange Commission civil suits at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, a prestigious New York law firm founded in 1838 with offices all over the world.

Visitors are greeted on entering the prison lobby by a flashing, colored sign that says, "WELCOME TO BUTNER. HAVE A NICE DAY."

Nick appears, a slight, pleasant man with rosy cheeks, who is to monitor our visit. He is from Naval Intelligence, where Pollard worked when he engaged in espionage for the Israelis. The three of us are led by an officer down a long, immaculate hallway lined on one side with Ansel Adams photograph prints.

Nick leads us through secured doors until we reach the cheerful, brightly lit cafeteria, with low, child-sized plastic blue tables and uncomfortable red plastic chairs.

Pollard appears. Now in his early 50s, he has a neatly trimmed graying beard and closely cropped hair, a change from his previous incarnation when he let his hair grow long.

He wears a small yarmulke and a khaki prison jump suit, and has the built of a wrestler. He quickly zeroes in on the background of one piece of information that the Israelis were particularly anxious to have.

In 1981, Israel, using information supplied by American intelligence, bombed Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear facility without consulting the U.S. Pollard found out while working as an analyst for Naval Intelligence that the U.S. had an agreement with Israel that the two counties would share intelligence. But after the attack at Osirak, the U.S. started to secretly punish Israel by stopping the flow of intelligence.

Without knowing this, the Israelis approached American military intelligence regarding something going on in Samarra they thought was suspicious.

According to Pollard, he learned that Casper Weinberger, then-secretary of defense, had "assured them that nothing was going on." When Pollard discovered, before he volunteered to spy for Israel, that there was, in fact, a chemical weapons plant under construction there, he asked his superiors at Naval Intelligence why the U.S. had not informed Israel. One of them quipped that "Jews are sensitive about gas."

Pollard learned as well that Bechtel — the American construction giant for which Weinberger had served as general counsel and for which then-Secretary of State George Shultz had served as CEO — was facilitating the construction of the plant through a number of different companies. The firms were camouflaging it as a "dual-use facility that could be explained away as a fertilizer plant."

"How much fertilizer does Iraq need?" Pollard speculates with irony.

According to Pollard, the plant cost "hundreds of millions of dollars to build" and required waivers from the Department of Defense and the State Department.

It was at this point that Pollard decided he had no choice but to spy for Israel. As a Jew, he was haunted by the Holocaust and concluded that what he had learned meant Israel was faced with an "existential threat" about which it knew nothing.

Israel did not know that the U.S. was providing Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction, even though he had pledged to annihilate Israel. The weapons were deemed necessary for Saddam to use against Iran, the home of the Islamic revolution.

When Pollard's handlers asked him to provide them with the information to confirm that what Weinberger had told them was true, he produced the "irrefutable evidence" — there was, in fact, a large chemical weapons facility.

Examining the photographs, one of them said, "This is the stuff that doesn't exist." Pollard's handler then observed that "sometimes it's better to deal with a reliable enemy than an unreliable friend."

Not knowing where it stood with the U.S., Israel flew RF-4 reconnaissance planes to confirm what Pollard had shown them, losing one plane.

In addition to the information, Pollard also supplied Israel with the U.S. handbook on communications intelligence, a reference manual of radio-signal notations. The prosecution would argue this was a major breach of security, based on Weinberger's affidavit to the court, but later were forced to acknowledge it was part of the legal flow of information to Israel.

The court records show that when challenged, the U.S. government grudgingly acknowledged that one third of the compendium had nonetheless been officially denied to Israel. Citing "national security" considerations, the government also declined to provide the court with the list of foreign intelligence agencies that had received the entire document.

Silenced in Solitary

But there well may have been other reasons why the Reagan administration wanted Pollard silenced in solitary and then at Butner.

Pollard had an official assignment with regard to Iran and Israel. His job, he explains, was to "write an assessment of what air defense systems were available on the open market so that Israel would make the equipment available to Iran."

This was the method used to circumvent the arms embargo against Iran. Israel would sell the equipment to Iran at a premium, with profits from the sales going, though a series of conduits, to the Contras fighting in Nicaragua. The result was that he was indirectly providing Iran with the tools it needed to protect its strategic Kharg Island, where its oil pumping facilities were located. Iraq had been pounding the site, using strategic intelligence provided to Saddam by the CIA and the Pentagon.

Pollard says he also had knowledge of the Raptor-Hawk missiles that were shipped from Israel to Iran by way of Portugal.

"Bill Casey wanted me out of the country," he asserts. "To understand my case," Pollard sums up, "it has everything to do with Iran-Contra."

Targeting Arafat

Pollard also supplied Israel with the exact location of Arafat's headquarters in Tunisia and with information about Libya's radar capabilities, enabling Israel to bomb it without detection as its Lockheed Martin F-16s flew towards their target. Arafat escaped, but a number of his aides were killed.

Moreover, Israel was using American aircraft that the U.S. had made possible for them to buy with American military aid, to hit targets the U.S. did not want attacked.

Pollard also insists he never sold the information to Israel and that he didn't spy for any other country. The suspicions that he sold information to Pakistan come from what he said to the FBI when he was first arrested. Pollard's Israeli handlers had told him to say that he was a spy for Pakistan, so that Israel would not be implicated.

And when he delivered the first information that the Israelis had requested, he turned down the $10,000 they had offered him. It was only after he had made several deliveries to them that his handlers explained that they had to pay him a salary, as he was now an official Israeli agent of LAKAM, the science and technology spy agency.

LAKAM, as Pollard describes it, was, in actuality, a "black bag operation that "supposedly got the nuclear trigger" for Israel." It was an official intelligence agency operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense.

LAKAM was a competitor of the Mossad, and the two agencies, which ought to have cooperated, were fiercely combative. LAKAM severely embarrassed Mossad with the quality of information provided by Pollard, engendering Mossad's animosity towards LAKAM and Pollard. Regarded as a rogue agency by Mossad, it succeeded in shutting LAKAM down in 1988 after the Pollard scandal.

The Israeli government, at the time, asserted that the Pollard operation was an unauthorized deviation from its policy of not conducting espionage against the U.S., an assertion Israel would eventually withdraw when it recognized Pollard as its agent.

Pollard and his ex-wife, Anne, who had tried to save him at the last moment by removing documents from their apartment, were both indicted under 18 USC 794(c) of the 1917 Espionage Act on one count of conspiring to pass classified information to "the advantage of a foreign nation," in this case, Israel.

No treason

Specifically, Pollard was not indicted for treason under 794(b), which involves giving classified information to "the enemy of the United States in time of war," or under 794(c) "for the "intent or reason to believe" that the information "is to be used to the injury of the United States."

What Pollard did was to violate the Espionage Act in the least harmful manner, since he passed information to an ally of the U.S., Israel, that had a right to the information under an existing treaty. Pollard contends the U.S., itself, breached the treaty, placing its ally Israel in serious danger.

Pollard admitted his guilt and acknowledged that what he did was wrong. On the advice of his attorney, Richard Hibey, he entered into a plea deal. In return for giving up his right to a trial and to remain silent, Pollard agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit espionage.

He also agreed to cooperate fully with the government, which he did over a period of 15 months, during which time he willingly underwent polygraph tests to confirm the veracity of the information he provided. In exchange, the government promised not to ask the court for a sentence of life in prison, the maximum sentence it could have imposed for Pollard's offense.

Yet the government placed the admission in a section titled "Factors Compelling Substantial Sentence," thereby denigrating the cooperation without any factual or legal basis. This, according to Pollard's current attorneys, was a breach of the plea agreement. The agreement required the government to bring to the sentencing court's attention the nature and extent of the cooperation. The attorneys regarded it as an extreme violation of the requirement that the government act in "good faith."

When Pollard appeared before Judge Aubrey Robinson III, the judge asked if he was prepared to enter a guilty plea, advising him that, irrespective of the plea agreement, the judge could still sentence him to life in prison. Pollard responded in the affirmative. There was, at that time, no reason to believe that would be the case. But soon after accepting the plea deal, Pollard found everything was falling apart.

Iran-Contra players

Joseph diGenova, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, submitted a Victim's Impact Statement, or VIS, to show Robinson the extent of the harm that Pollard had done to the U.S., the purported victim of the crime. The damage, the statement alleged, was the harm done to relations with other Middle Eastern countries, which "skewered the balance of power in the Middle East."

Pollard also, the document alleged, deprived the U.S. of "the quid pro quo routinely received during authorized and official intelligence exchanges with Israel." The VIS alleged Pollard, by virtue of his actions, had "significantly damaged office morale and caused considerable emotional distress." It also pointed to the "thousands of pages" delivered to Israel.

DiGenova had Secretary of Defense Weinberger provide a memorandum to the court, explaining why Pollard's actions merited life in prison. Pollard's defense counsel argued that even the sealed portions of the Weinberger Declaration did not allege that any agents died, or were even compromised or "that it had to replace or relocate intelligence equipment, that it had to alter communication signals, or that it has lost other sources of information, or that our technology has been compromised."

Indeed, the memo only discussed the possibility that "sources may be compromised in the future, thus requiring countermeasures."

DiGenova's boss was Attorney General Ed Meese, a longtime Ronald Reagan confidant from California when Reagan was governor, just as Weinberger had been. And Meese was up to his ears in Iran-Contra. His involvement was as a "counselor" and "friend" to the president, not technically as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, since what Meese advised Reagan raised serious questions of illegality.

Chapter 31 of the official Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Conta Matters discloses Meese's direct involvement: "Meese knew of the 1985 HAWK transactions, in which the National Security Council staff and the CIA were directly involved without a presidential covert-action finding authorizing their involvement, raised serious legal questions. The president was potentially exposed to charges of illegal conduct if he was knowledgeable of the shipment and had not reported it to Congress, under the requirement of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and in the absence of a Finding. ...When Meese got answers in his inquiry that did not support his defense of the president, he apparently ignored them, as he did with Secretary of State George P. Shultz's revelation on November 22 that the President had told him that he had known of the Hawk shipment in advance."

Meese clearly knew that Pollard had known about the HAWK missile transaction. That his U.S. attorney in Washington was recruiting Weinberger to denounce Pollard was no accident. This was a high profile case in which Reagan had taken an interest. He was furious with the Israelis about the Pollard affair and had summoned them to a meeting to explain themselves.

The Israelis implausibly continued to deny any knowledge of Pollard, claiming it was a "rogue operation," which only inflamed American sentiments further. In an attempt to pacify the Americans, then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres committed himself immediately to return all of the documents that were then used as evidence against Pollard

Weinberger, himself, had much to hide in Iran-Contra. He participated in the transfer of U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran, and following the disclosure of his role, he resigned as secretary of defense. Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh placed Weinberger under indictment in 1992 after his resignation on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in connection with congressional and Independent Counsel investigations of Iran-Contra.

The court dropped the obstruction count and one count charging a false statement made in a second indictment, leaving four counts. Before the January 1993 trial date, President George H.W. Bush pardoned Weinberger, denying any personal knowledge of Iran-Contra himself.

The U.S. District judge that presided over the case was Thomas Hogan. According to Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, Judge Hogan kept delaying the Weinberger trial until the fall of 1992, when Bush lost the election and pardoned Weinberger. In 2003, the Pollard case was assigned to Judge Hogan, who was called upon to decide the claim that his trial lawyer, Richard Hibey, was ineffective for having failed to challenge the Weinberger Declaration. Judge Hogan denied all relief.

Determined to go after Pollard, Weinberger first submitted the 46-page pre-sentencing declaration, setting forth the government's views regarding damage allegedly caused by Pollard's actions, including predictions of the possible harm that might arise as a result of his conduct. Both Pollard and Hibey examined the declaration. Pollard and Hibey submitted their own memorandum, and the government replied.

However, portions of the government's submissions, some 35-40 pages distributed among five documents — including Weinberger's specific projections of possible harm and the sentencing transcript — were redacted from public view based on the government's assertion that the portions contained classified information.

On March 3, 1987 — the day before sentencing — Weinberger submitted a four-page Supplemental Declaration in which he now accused Pollard of having caused as much or greater harm to national security that any other spy in the "year of the spy" — a well-understood reference to the recent espionage cases of John Walker (head of the infamous Walker Spy Ring,) Jerry Whitworth, (a member of the Walker Spy Ring,) and Ronald Pelton. Each had spied for the Soviet Union, and each had been sentenced to life in prison just a few months earlier.

In addition, Weinberger's Supplemental Declaration falsely accused Pollard of "treason," a crime for which he had not been charged and which he had not committed. Treason, a capital offense, entails aiding an enemy of the U.S. in time of war. (Over four years later, an attorney for the government would admit in court that the government's use of the word "treason" at sentencing was "regrettable." However, the damage had been done). By comparing Pollard to Walker, Whitworth and Pelton, each of whom had been sentenced to life, and asking for a sentence commensurate with the harm done, Weinberger was unambiguously asking for life in prison. This was a material breach of the plea agreement

Based on what Judge Robinson considered a breach of the plea agreement by Pollard, and by virtue of Weinberger's two declarations, Robinson sentenced Pollard to life in prison. He made the decision even though the average sentence for others who had committed the same offense — passing classified information to another country without intending to harm the U.S. — was in the neighborhood of four to five years.

But Pollard's lawyer failed to file the one-page Notice of Appeal of the sentence, which he could have done by walking down the hall to the appropriate office. Pollard's current lawyer, Eliot Lauer, points out that since the government was in substantial violation of the plea agreement, there was no question but that the sentence would have had to be set aside and that a new sentencing hearing would have been ordered.

Lauer, who, with his colleague Jacques Semmelman became Pollard's lawyers on a pro bono basis after the sentencing, says he cannot fathom why the notice of appeal was not filed, particularly since Hibey was an experienced criminal attorney. Hibey served as an assistant U.S. attorney and appeared as counsel of record for a number of high profile cases.

Lauer and Semmelman describe Hibey's failure to file the Notice of Appeal as "mind boggling." By not doing so, he deprived Pollard of any chance of direct appellate review of his life sentence. Any review could only be done thereafter via habeas corpus, which carries a much greater burden of proof than direct review and which was the major reason why Pollard's first habeas corpus petition was denied.

In 2005, an item appeared on the U.S. Prisons website saying "Pollard's life sentence to end in 2015." As Lauer has explained in a communication to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, "under U.S. law in effect at the time of Mr. Pollard's activities, any prisoner sentenced to life in prison is presumptively entitled to parole on the 30th anniversary of the date of incarceration as the 'projected' release date, which is posted as such on the U.S. Prisons website.

On Nov. 21, 2015, Pollard will be presumptively entitled to parole. However, the U.S. government will still be entitled to oppose it.

Pollard, a self-acknowledged Jewish nationalist, had to sue Israel to give him Israeli citizenship, which finally was granted in 1995 as a result of legal action. In 1998, after years of denial, Israel officially acknowledged Pollard was their agent.

Meanwhile, he pressures the government of Israel to do more to get him released, while his wife, Esther, and his supporters in Israel agitate for him, condemning what they consider to be betrayal by Jewish state.

When I ask him what he would do if he were released, he says, "I will go home, to Israel."

Secret files

When Lauer and Pollard entered the case, they saw there were sealed documents in the court file. They asked the U.S. Department of Justice to allow them access to present a clemency application to President Clinton, who was about to leave office.

To effectively present the petition, they needed to see the entire court record. After spending months getting the highest security clearance possible, "Top Secret," the Justice Department summarily denied them access, because they had no "need to know." They filed a motion in the U.S. District Court, asking for a modification of the 1986 protective order by which the materials had been placed under seal in 1987.

The government opposed their motion on two grounds: They had no "need to know," inasmuch the materials were (supposedly) of interest to no one, least of all the Clinton administration, and that they been accorded the wrong security clearance. They had received "Top Secret," while the materials were "SCI," Secure Compartmented Information.

Motions then were filed to modify the prior denial of access. The motions were assigned to Judge Hogan, who denied them. On appeal to the D.C. Circuit, Judge Sentelle insisted from the bench that there was no jurisdiction to hear the motions, supposedly because their underlying objective in seeing the court records was to prepare a clemency application. The judge reasoned that this somehow implicated the separation of powers and precluded the court to exercise jurisdiction over the motion. The decision was 2-1 against Pollard, based on a lack of jurisdiction.

Pollard's legal team appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case. Pollard repeatedly was denied his day in court, on a technicality only, from the lower court to the Court of Appeals all the way to the Supreme Court. His lawyers then wrote a lengthy "Executive Summary of the Legal Initiatives for Jonathan Pollard," which they have circulated to "seek the support of members of Congress, other elected officials, and organizational, communal and clerical leaders" in order to martial public opinion.

A letter to President Bush requesting access to the sealed court docket materials so they could prepare a serious clemency application based on the record, remains unanswered.

Bargaining chip

Pollard has been used off and on as a bargaining chip, with his release preconditioned by actions the U.S. wanted from Israel. During the negotiations over the Wye River Memorandum, brokered by the U.S. between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in October 1998, President Clinton playing a critical role. The president approached American ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and raised the issue of Pollard. Indyk, suspecting that Netanyahu had brought up Pollard with Clinton, reminded Clinton that Rabin had asked for Pollard's release but that Clinton had not given him to Rabin. Clinton responded that what was fair did not matter but whether they could get a deal.

The Wye agreement Clinton was pushing would give the Palestinians autonomy in Gaza and the West Bank in exchange for a pledge by the PLO to renounce terrorism. It also required that there would be no further settlements in the occupied territories. Netanyahu resisted any accommodation with the Palestinians but had indicated a willingness to negotiate the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners.

Clinton asked his chief negotiator, Dennis Ross, whether releasing Pollard would help seal the deal.

"Is it a big political issue in Israel? Will it help Bibi (Netanyahu)?" Clinton asked.

Ross told Clinton that it was a big issue, because Pollard was considered a "soldier for Israel" and there was "an ethos in Israel that you never leave a soldier behind in the field."

But if Clinton wanted Ross' advice, Ross told him, he should not release him now.

"It would be a huge payoff for Bibi; you don't have many like this in your pocket. I would save it for permanent status. You will need it later, don't use it now."

In a footnote to his memoir, "The Missing Peace," Ross writes: "I also said I was in favor of his release, believing that he had received a harsher sentence than others who had committed comparable crimes. I preferred not tying his release to any agreement, but if that was what we were going to do, then I favored saving it for permanent status."

Clinton demurred. "I usually agree with you," he said, "but this stalemate has lasted so long that it has created a kind of constipation. Release it and a lot becomes possible. I don't think we should wait, and if Pollard is the key to getting it one now, we should do it."

But when CIA chief George Tenet reportedly threatened to resign if Clinton released Pollard, Clinton, using this as a pretext, changed course. The president, in effect, called Netanyahu's bluff on Ross' advice.

Netanyahu later confirmed that Clinton had in fact offered to released Pollard, as did others at the negotiations, but Clinton continued to deny it. Netanyahu did release 700 Palestinian prisoners and granted Ghazi Jabal immunity from prosecution, but to no avail. In the end, Netanyahu backed down and signed the accord in exchange for a promise by Clinton to review Pollard's case. Later, Malcolm Hoenlein, a top U.S. Jewish leader, revealed Tenet told him that he never threatened to resign over the release of Pollard.

And while he serves the hardest time possible, Pollard himself contemplates a statement made by Weinberger shortly before his death. In a 2004 interview, Weinberger said the Pollard issue was "a very minor matter, but made very important. ... It was made bigger than its actual importance."

Weinberger took the real reasons for Pollard's life sentence to the grave.

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WORRIED ABOUT GAZA'S DIGNITY
Posted by Barbara Taverna, December 22, 2008.

This was written by Petra Marquardt-Bigman and it appeared in Jerusalem Post
http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/Bigman/entry/worried_about_gaza_s_dignity

Is there a precedent for a state being held responsible for the conditions and the standard of living in a territory that is ruled by a group sworn to this state's destruction? Is there a precedent for a state being expected to improve the situation in a hostile territory on its borders that is ruled by a group whose priority it is to stockpile arms and explosives, train militants and terrorists, and use its territory as a launching pad for thousands and thousands of mortar- and rocket attacks against its neighbor?

During the year that is about to end, there was supposedly a six months ceasefire between Israel and Gaza — and sure enough, there were "only" about 2,500 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza at Israel in 2008. Hamas has now declared an end to the fake truce, and a spokesman of the group expressed confidence that there would be "huge popular support" for this decision. Indeed, militants in Gaza are reportedly "itching for a fight".

Yet, in addition to relentless rocket attacks, Israel also gets plenty of advice, which often includes the demand that "Israel must allow Gaza to breathe, to reconnect to the world, to live on more than international handouts, and to reclaim its dignity." To find "dignity" on this list of Israel's responsibilities towards Gaza is perhaps somewhat surprising, but it's clearly something that is mentioned often: The UN's relief agency has decried Gaza's "profound human dignity crisis", and the intrepid cruisers who send boats to Gaza to "bust the blockade" have seen it fit to name one of their vessels "Dignity".

Unfortunately, the people who like to protest the "blockade" or "siege" of Gaza and blame Israel for shortages there — including now, apparently, a lack of dignity — tend to ignore the fact that it is first and foremost Hamas that is responsible for the situation in Gaza: it was Hamas's violent take-over of power in Gaza that led to a suspension of the multilateral agreement that set the rules for the operation of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt — an agreement that Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, had hailed with the words: "This is the first time in history we will run an international passage by ourselves, and it's the first time Israel does not have a veto over our ability to do so." Quite so, but as it turned out, Hamas had a veto.

And Hamas happily exercised this veto in talks about a re-opening of the Rafah crossing, when the group insisted on its demands that the agreement would be changed to accommodate its preferences. Indeed, it's always the same game: Hamas expects the world to dance to its tune — and since Hamas doesn't budge irrespective of the consequences for the people it rules, some in the world think it would be a good idea to comply.

To be sure, when it comes to the closing of the border crossings, particularly the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, it's obvious that the closure doesn't hurt Hamas in any way — quite the contrary: first, since "resistance", no matter how counterproductive, is enormously popular everywhere in the Arab world, Hama's refusal to behave like a responsible political party that abides by agreements is seen by many as admirable and heroic; secondly, Hamas profits handsomely from the literal "underground" economy that thrives thanks to the large number of tunnels that have been dug under the border with Egypt to smuggle consumer goods, luxuries, and, of course, anything Hamas needs to stay in control and build-up its forces.

Plainly, it's a win-win situation for Hamas: if the crossings are closed, the group profits from the smuggling and, in addition, scores PR points with every lament over the "siege" of Gaza and the terrible "collective punishment" meted out by the inhumanely cruel "Zionist entity"; conversely, if the crossings are opened despite rocket attacks and, with regard to the Rafah crossing, under the conditions Hamas sets, the group scores a big political victory by proving that intransigence, violence and the willingness to ignore the welfare of Gaza's population in pursuit of its aims will be rewarded.

Anybody who calls on Israel to "allow Gaza to breathe, to reconnect to the world, to live on more than international handouts, and to reclaim its dignity" has got the wrong address: it's not Israel but Hamas that strangulates Gaza, isolates it, makes it dependent on handouts, and encourages behavior that suggests that dignity is not something that is highly valued in Gaza: dignity is certainly not a concern for a group that celebrates its 21st anniversary with a rally that entertains participants by mocking a hostage and ridiculing his parents, family, friends and everyone who worries about him.

And no, it's not just Hamas that is undignified enough to think that making fun of a hostage is what people in Gaza might find entertaining: in "besieged" Gaza, thousands of people with enough money to afford fancy cell phones have gladly paid the few shekels it costs to download the latest video clips mocking Gilad Shalit, and more of this kind of undignified "entertainment" is circulated for free online.

What possibly could Israel do to help people who enjoy this kind of "jokes" to "reclaim" their dignity?

Contact Barbara Taverna at bltaverna@yahoo.com

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CHANUKAH 2008 GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
Posted by Yoram Ettinger, December 22, 2008.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The folowing was assembled from various Jewish Sages.

1. THE HASMONEAN DYNASTY:

*Mattityahu son of Yochanan, the priest-led rebellion — 166/7BC
*Yehuda son of Mattityahu — 166-161BC
*Yonatan son of Mattityahu — 161-143BC
*Shimon son of Mattityahu — 143-135BC
*Yochanan Hyrcanus son of Shimon — 135-104BC
*...
*Mattityahu Antigonus — 40-37BC

2. HISTORICAL CONTEXT.

Alexander The Great — who held Judaism in high esteem and whose Egyptian heir Ptolemy II translated the Torah to Greek — died in 323BC following 12 glorious years at the throne. Consequently, the Greek Empire disintegrated into five, and thirty years later into three, kingdoms: Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. The Land of Israel was always militarily contested by Syria and Egypt. In 198BC, Israel was conquered by the Syrian kingdom. In 175BC, a new king assumed power in Syria, Antiochus (IV) Epiphanies, who viewed the Jews as pro-Egyptians and held Judaism with contempt. In 169BC, upon his return to Syria from a military victory over Egypt, he devastated Jerusalem, massacred the Jews, forbade the practice of Judaism (including the Sabbath, circumcision, etc.) and desecrated Jerusalem and the Temple. The 167BC-launched rebellion against the Syrian (Seleucid) kingdom featured the Hasmonean (Maccabee) family: Mattityahu, a priest from the town of Modi'in, and his five sons, Yochanan, Yehuda, Shimon, Yonatan and Elazar. The heroic (and tactically creative) battles conducted by the Maccabees, were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were hired frequently as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers.

3. INSPIRATION TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S "REBELLION AGAINST TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD". The Maccabees were a tiny minority of "rebels" — condemned by the "loyalists/pragmatists" — rising against an oppressive super-power. They were condemned as "the enemies of peace" and "extremists." They prevailed due to their principle-driven, determined and can-do state-of-mind. They demonstrated the victory of the few over the many, right over wrong, moral over immoral and truth over lies. The Maccabees became a role-model for the US' Founding Fathers, including Paul Revere and the organizers of the Boston Tea Party.

4. INSPIRATION TO PATRICK HENRY'S "GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH" and NEW HAMPSHIRE'S "Live Free Or Die". The Maccabees' sacrifice and political-incorrectness has preserved and inspired today's Jewish religion, language, culture and sovereignty. They followed in the footsteps of Abraham, Phineas the High Priest, Joshua & Calev, King David and Elijah.

5. AN EARLY VERSION OF "IN G-D WE TRUST" was the Maccabees' battle cry, which adopted Moses' battle cry against the builders of the Golden Calf. A literal translation of the battle cry is "Whoever trusts G-D; join me!"

6. CHANUKA'S UNIQUENESS. Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday which commemorates a Land-of-Israel national liberation struggle, unlike Passover (Exodus from Egypt), Sukkot/Tabernacles & Shavouot/Pentacost (on the way to the Land of Israel), Purim (deliverance of Jews in Persia), etc. Chanukah is the longest Jewish holiday (8 days) with the most intense level of Light (8 consecutive nights of candle lighting).

7. ORIGIN OF THE NAME, CHANUKAH: THE HOLIDAY OF EDUCATION. According to the first book of Maccabees, Yehuda (who succeeded Mattityahu, the priest) ordered the Jewish People to observe an eight day holiday on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, 165BC, in order to commemorate the INAUGURATION (CHANUKAH in Hebrew) of the holy altar and the Temple, following Syrian desecration. A key feature of Chanukah is EDUCATION of the family (The Hebrew word for education is CHINUKH, spelled with the first four of the five letters of Chanukah). The Hebrew word, Chanukah, consists of two words, CHANU (they rested/stationed) and KAH (25), which refers to the fact that the Maccabees re-consecrated the Temple on the 25th day of the month of Kislev (purging it from the idolatries installed by the Seleucids). Some have suggested that the celebration of Christmas on December 25th and the celebration of the New Year 8 days later (January 1) have their origin in the 25th day of Kislev (which always "accompanies" December) and the 8 days of Chanukah as well as the 8 days of circumcision.

8. HOLIDAY OF LIGHT AND REMEMBRANCE. The first day of Chanukah — the holiday of light — is on the 25th day of Kislev, the month of miracles (e.g. Noah's Rainbow appeared in Kislev). The first and last Hebrew letters of Kislev equal (in Jewish numerology) 26, which the total sum of the Hebrew spelling of Jehovah. Moses completed the construction of the Holy Arc on the 25th day of Kislev, as was the date of the laying the foundation of the second Temple by Nehemaya. The 25th (Hebrew) word in Genesis is LIGHT ("OR" in Hebrew). A Jewish metaphor for the Torah is light. The 25th stop of the People of Israel — on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land — was Hashmona (same root as Hasmoneans in Hebrew). Chanukah commemorates the victory of Light (Maccabees) over Darkness. While light stands for remembrance, darkness (Chashecha in Hebrew) stands for FORGETFULNESS (Schichecha in Hebrew, spelled with the same Hebrew letters as Chashecah/darkness).

9. ORIGIN OF THE NAME, MACCABEE. Yehuda's middle name was Maccabee, derived possibly from the Hebrew word MAKEVET (The Power Hammer), which described Yehuda's tenacious fighting capabilities. It may have derived from the Hebrew verb CABEH (to extinguish), which described the fate of Yehuda's adversaries. Another possible interpretation of the name is that MACCABEE is the Hebrew acronym of "Who could resemble you among Gods, Jehovah" ("Mi Camokha Ba'elim Adonye" in Hebrew).

10. LEGACY OF THE MACCABEES: Faith, moral clarity, long-term vision, defiance of odds (the few against the many), willingness to sacrifice short-term convenience on the altar of long term national security, and awareness that nations who do not adhere to their roots, and are not willing to make a sacrifice for Liberty, forsake their future and do not deserve Liberty. NO FREE LUNCH FOR SOVEREIGN PEOPLES, especially in violent and unpredictable neighborhoods.

11. CHANUKAH DEMONSTRATES THAT WISDOM IS SUPERIOR TO KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING. According to Jewish definition of intellect, "Khokhma" (faith in divinely inspired wisdom, morality and capabilities) is superior to "Beena" (human understanding and interpretations) and "Da'att" (human intelligence/knowledge). The Greek/Syrian culture was based on the superiority of human knowledge and (tenuous) moral standards. The Greeks/Syrians felt constrained, and therefore threatened, by Jewish faith in divine (permanent) morality. Chanukah demonstrates the victory of divine morality over convenience-driven human definition of morality.

12. EIGHT DAYS OF CHANUKAH REPRESENT DIVINE CAPABILITIES AND OPTIMISM. The ancient Temple Menorah consisted of seven branches, which commemorated the seven days of creation. The Chanukah Menorah has eight branches, reflecting the additional level of divine capabilities over and beyond human expectations: The victory of the few over the many and the lasting of one day supply of oil for eight days. Some have suggested that the eight day celebration was designed to make up for the holiday of Tabernacles, which could not be celebrated by the Maccabees due to the war. The shape of the digit 8 represents infinity: No end to divine capabilities to enhance human fortunes, as evidenced by the survival of the Jewish People against all odds. The root of the Hebrew word for the digit 8 ("Shmoneh") is "oil" (Shemen), which is also the root of "Hasmonean" (Hashmonayim in Hebrew).

13. A LESSON TO ISRAEL's LEADERSHIP: Shimon the Maccabee — who succeeded Judah and Yonatan the Maccabees — responded to an ultimatum by the Syrian/Greek Emperor Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A, Chapter 15, verse 33): "We have not occupied a foreign land; We have not ruled a foreign land; We have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation." Thus responded Simon the Maccabee to Emperor Antiochus' ultimatum to end "occupation" of Jaffa, Jerusalem, Gezer, Ekron and Gaza.

It's much easier to follow "practical" policies and retreat from long-term (eternal) vision and historical and traditional values — for the sake of short term diplomatic convenience — than to adhere to them. However, history has documented that roots constitute the prerequisite for long term blossoming. From Abraham to the Maccabees — until Theodore Herzl and other Founding Fathers of the Jewish State — the politically-incorrect leaders have been vindicated.

14. KEY GEOGRAPHIC SITES OF THE MACCABEE LEGACY, the cradle of today's Jewish State: Modi'in, Mitzpah (Nebi Samuel), Beit Horon, Ma'aleh Beit Horon, Hadashah, Beit Zur, Ame'os, Michmash, Judean Desert, Jericho. Other than Modi'in, the rest are beyond the "Green Line." Are they currently "occupied" by the descendants of the Maccabees???

15. CHANUKAH-PASSOVER-PURIM. The heroes of Passover and Purim had no choice but to defy their enemies. The Maccabees turned down physical peace in return for spiritual assimilation. They refused to sellout the cradle of Jewish history. They were willing to pay any price for the protection of their values and heritage. Chanukah symbolizes the victory of conviction and roots over short-term convenience and over opportunism/cynicism (sometime presented as "realism" or "pragmatism").

16. SEVEN CHANUKAH ("Inauguration" in Hebrew)-LIKE EVENTS: Chanukah of the Creation (Genesis 2:1-3), Chanukah of the Sanctuary (Numbers 7:1-11), Chanukah of the First Temple (Kings 1, 7:51, 8:1-11 & 62-66), Chanukah of the Second Temple and the Ingathering (Ezra 6:13-18), Chanukah of Jerusalem's Wall (Nehemiah 6:15-16), Chanukah of the Temple Priests in 165BC (Maccabees 1, 4), Chanukah of the After World. Some attach the significance of each Chanukah to a corresponding day of the Creation.

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger is a consultant on US-Israel relations as well as the Chairman of Special Projects at the Ariel Center for Policy Research. Formerly the Minister for Congressional Affairs to Israel's Embassy in Washington, DC, Ettinger also served as Consul General of Israel to the Southwestern US. He is a former editor of Contemporary Mideast Backgrounder, and is the author of the Jerusalem Cloakroom series of reports. Contact him at yoramtex@netvision.net.il

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KURDS, JEWS, AND SHI'A SHOES...NEED TO ELIMINATE ONE WORD
Posted by Gerald Honigman, December 21, 2008.

On a recent visit to Iraq, President Bush had to duck when a Shi'a Arab journalist threw shoes at him in protest of American policies in Iraq. During a news conference, Muntadhar al-Zaidi yelled out, "this is a gift from the Iraqis, a farewell kiss, you dog" and fired away. Thrown shoes and dogs are about as low as you go in the Arab world. Forget about Marley and Me, Rin Tin Tin, or Old Yeller.

I wish I could say that I was shocked by this disrespect usually reserved for such folks as the tolerant Arabs' kilab yahud — Jew dogs. I wasn't.

Polls show that most Arab Iraqis — especially Shi'a — supported al-Zaidi. While he was roughed up by those with a stake in the current regime, those later reports reveal the pulse of the nation. While the Sunni have no love for America either, they now fear what's in store for themselves later on.

While estimates of the dead vary (some hundreds of thousands), the 60% of Iraq who are Shi'a had their own aspirations suppressed only via the iron fist of the Sunni Arabs' Saddam. He employed the same murderous tactics against them as he did with non-Arab Kurds in the north. Similar bloody actions against others in neighboring Iran by the majority non-Arab, Persian Shi'a are probably not a bad model for what to expect after America leaves a Shi'a-dominated Iraq as well...Payback time, so to speak. And don't expect President Obama to move back in.

Unfortunately, Kurds will also be caught up in this murderous, age old Arab feud. The one thing both Shi'a and Sunni Arabs agree on (just like with Israel, the black African Sudan, Berber North Africa, and elsewhere) is that Kurds should have no claims on alleged "purely Arab patrimony."

Having supported America's move against Saddam, decades of intense study, publication in academic journals and elsewhere, and involvement with the region still made me very wary.

While the Arabs owed Great Britain a huge debt for the very creation of a united, Arab-ruled Iraq out of the post-World War I Mandate of Mesopotamia, this didn't stop them not long afterwards from rising up against what they only saw as British imperialism.

No giving the devil his due here...Use him then lose him.

I can understand that. Too bad Arabs can't grant this same understanding to others though.

Imperialism is only nasty when it's not Arabs dishing it out. How do you think the region became "purely Arab patrimony" in too many an Arab mind?

Without the Brits' involvement, the Turkish phoenix rising under Ataturk from the ruins of the centuries' old Ottoman Empire would have surely grabbed the oil-rich region around Mosul (which it formerly ruled) and probably would have extended its claim to the black gold of Kirkuk as well.

To make the new prospective Arab state viable (the British navy had recently switched from coal to oil and was the main arm of the British Empire), the Brits had to attach the oil of the Kurdish north to the Sunni Arab center and Shi'a Arab oil of the south.

In the process of siring the Middle East's version of Yugoslavia, London thus shafted Kurds out of the best chance they ever had at regaining their own independence...something the Brits had promised them earlier as well.

After having their very country created and handed to them by the Brits (who also supplied aircraft and such to fight the Kurds), the Arabs soon revolted to try to drive the Brits out.

Granted, imperialism has its nasty side, and the Brits created an Arab Iraq for their own reasons, yet still...

So, the point here is that America should have known not to expect any gratitude from most Iraqi Arabs either. Hence the thrown shoes, the thrower now a national hero, and so forth.

There's yet another angle to this...

Think of all the American blood, lives, money, and other aid which have been spent for the sake of Arabs in Iraq, giving them new freedoms which they have never had.

Trillions of American dollars will be spent before it's over, billions each month. Visit a local VA hospital to see just some of the other tragic, lasting costs...That shoe-thrower who called President Bush a dog would have literally been fed to the dogs if he tried that trick with the man America freed him from. The innocents who died whom the shoe thrower complained about mostly died because of the same cowardly Arab trick Israel deals with daily. Arabs love to use their non-combatants as human shields...against the Geneva Conventions, and so forth. They shoot and then run behind the skirts of their women and toys of their kids.

Was/is America hoping to get something positive for itself as a result of its Iraq expenditures? Sure...But does that erase the above truisms?

Think about those anti-Israel voices quick to protest about two billion dollars in aid sent to Israel each year...an investment whose return comes back to us positively in many ways.

The current war in Iraq costs America more (for the sake of Arabs who mostly hate us as "infidels" in a context of a war for their Dar ul-Islam) in one week than Israel gets in foreign assistance in one year. And, in exchange for that assistance, the State Department feels it has the right to pressure Jews into suicidal concessions.

America has already spent about $500 billion dollars for Iraq, with much more set to come.

It would take Israel centuries to get this much aid from America. And Israel doesn't ask for American blood to be shed on its behalf or to be bribed to display America's own values and democratic inclinations. How long will the latter last among Arabs after America's exit from Iraq?

Ironically, the one people in Iraq who better share our values — the Kurds — are the folks the Arabist James Baker types in the State Department are determined to shaft yet again on behalf of Arabs who want to be sure that oil in Kurdish lands remains part of the "purely Arab patrimony."

Sound familiar?

Same shafting game you read above...just different shafters.

While I didn't vote for the Obama-Biden ticket largely because of the long list of known anti-Semitic and anti-Israel friends and advisors Obama has aligned himself with (he's already brought several into his future Administration), Senator Joe Biden has a better understanding of the Yugoslavian nature of Iraqi demographics than most politicians.

I'm hoping against the odds that he'll pull more weight than the shaft the Jews and the Kurds Arabist types which are all-too-common in the State Department (and among Obama's buddies) which Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will soon be leading.

Gerald A. Honigman, a Florida educator, has created and conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated Arab spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been published in both the print media and on websites. Contact him at honigman6@msn.com or go to his website: http://geraldahonigman.com/blog.php

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HANUKA 5769/1008
Posted by Mel Alexenberg, December 21, 2008.

Hawaii

My Rotating Light Before Darkness Hanuka exhibition is in Jerusalem. These photos are taken from
http://artiststory.blogspot.com/2008/12/illuminating-darkness.html

Happy Hanuka
Mel

Celebrating light over darkness in Mumbai in front of the Taj Hotel attacked by Islamist terrorists a month earlier
 

The Soul of a Creator

Whoever is endowed with the soul of a creator must create works of imagination and thought, for the flame of the soul rises by itself and one cannot impede it on its course.... The creative individual brings vital, new light from a higher source where originality emanates to the place where it has not previously been manifest, from the place that "no bird of prey knows, nor has the falcon's eye seen" (Job 28:7), "that no man has passed, nor has any person dwelt" (Jeremiah 2:6).

From Lights of Holiness by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

Hobart, Tasmania
 

Rotating Light Before Darkness

A digital artwork honoring Gabriel and Rivah Holtzberg and the others murdered in Mumbai Chabad House, is being exhibited in the "Art in Darkness" Hanuka exhibition at Emuna College in Jerusalem. The title of my artwork Rotating Light before Darkness is a phrase from the Jewish prayerbook. I created this artwork to express the Chabad view that the tragic darkness witnessed in Mumbai must be counteracted by speading the light of Torah around the globe.

Aizwal, Mizoram State, India
 

Welcoming Dawn Around the Globe

This memorial artwork shows the welcoming of dawn around the world by cycling photographs of morning prayers from Jerusalem, Aizwal (Mizoram State, India), Seoul (Korea), Melbourne, Hobart (Tasmania, Australia), Honololu, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Richmond (Virginia), New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Milano, Prague, Budapest, Eisiskes (Lithuania), Johannesburg (South Africa), Vysoki (Russia), Tbilisi (Georgia), and returning to Jerusalem the following morning. At the Emuna College exhibition, Rotating Light before Darkness is shown in digital motion rotating through 24 time zones.

Prague, Czech Republic
 

Add Light to the World

There is a Talmudic disagreement between Hillel and Shamai about lighting Hanuka candles. Shamai proposed lighting 8 candles on the first night and one less each following night until on the 8th day only one candle glows. This makes sense conceptually since the story goes that all the oil was found and was used up after 8 days. Hillel chose the aesthetic route in contrast with Shamai's conceptual one. He proposed that we should add light to the world rather than subtract from it. Jewish tradition follows Hillel by lighting one candle on the first night of Hanuka and adding an additional candle each night until all eight candles give light together on the last night.

Budapest, Hungary

Professor Mel Alexenberg is Head of the School of the Arts, Emuna College, Jerusalem, author of "The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness" (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press) and "Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Four Essays on Judaism and Contemporary Art" (Jerusalem: Rubin Mass House) [in Hebrew] and editor of "Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture" (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press). Contact him at melalexenberg@yahoo.com

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FABRICATED SETTLER VIOLENCE; SRAELI PRISONS ARE SUMMER CAMP; JUDGE THIS PROPOSED PRISONER EXCHANGE
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 21, 2008.

SAUDI WOMEN

Saudi women are getting divorced in larger numbers, now. Many are educated. Having traveled abroad and been treated by men with respect as equals, they don't want to be treated by their husbands with disrespect as inferiors, and certainly don't want to be brutalized (IMRA, 12/16). What happens to a marriage of convenience that becomes inconvenient?

FABRICATED SETTLER VIOLENCE

Some Jewish youths in Judea-Samaria lately have violently resisted police repression, but they hardly injure any. Nevertheless, there often are stories of their having thrown acid at police. Those stories are false. The media fails to check stories that fit their ideology, never mind how defamatory they are.

They did some damage in Arab areas, but hardly harmed anyone physically, not to warrant the charge of committing a pogrom. If right-wingers called some of the Arab attacks on Jews a pogrom, or compared Islamist philosophy with the Nazism it emulates, the left-wingers would object (Prof. Steven Plaut, 12/16).

JEWISH ANTISEMITISM

Europeans' attention has been flagged by an essay proving that certain leftist Jews and their organizations have adopted classic antisemitic language and positions. Up to now, the Europeans either didn't pay much attention to it or paid a lot of attention to it, as a vicarious way of expressing their own antisemitism.

One of the outlets of antisemitism is anti-Zionism. "Jewish intellectuals like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky and Alfred Grosser strongly deny being anti-Semites. They claim they are simply formulating severe critiques of Israeli policy that have nothing to do with anti-Semitism." False. They are rationalizing for hysterical vilification of Israel, double standards towards it, and demands for its destruction. Aggressiveness expressed that way exceeds normal political discourse. For example, they claim that Israel's policies are like the Nazis' in seeking genocide [ironically, they aren't, the Arabs' are]. They also claim that "the Jews" have almost irresistible influence over the world, as was written in that classic antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [ironically while the rest of the world presses Israel to give in to jihad]. And they often do it in Germany, as if hoping to rouse its old antisemitism. Some do it to appear "progressive." That atavism shows how non-intellectual and how non-progressive the Left can be.

The harm the Jewish antisemites and other leftists do is to inure people to how extreme antisemitism is (Prof. Steven Plaut, 12/16). It splits the Jewish people and encourages conventional antisemites. It also discredits leftist reformers.

ISRAELI PRISONS ARE LIKE SUMMER CAMP

An Israeli prison official contrasted the summer camp-like conditions for convicted Muslim terrorists in Israel with the harsh, blindfolded conditions of any Israeli prisoners of the Muslims. The Arab prisoners "eat, drink, study, enjoy excellent conditions."

"Terrorists are granted three hours a day to wander the premises, where they socialize together and even play games. The prison provides ping-pong tables, basketball courts, soccer fields and backgammon sets."

"Terrorist prisoners receive meat and fish on holidays, and are allowed to purchase 1,200 shekels worth of food each month in the prison canteen. Many buy meat, soda, candy, cigarettes and similar items. Most prisoners apparently get money to buy luxury items from the terrorist groups they represent."

"Did you see how Samir Kuntar went back to Lebanon? Puffed up like a balloon..." "They enjoy good meals all day, with all the extras...A prisoner like that, when he gets released and returns to Gaza, his quality of life drops.

"Courts. Did you know they appeal every day? Hundreds of appeals each year. Maybe more." "The appeals are funded by Israeli taxpayers." "The prisoners each have a television set in their cell that receives 12 channels. The channels include programming in Arabic. According to the official, some of the Arabic-language programming includes stations hostile to Israel — provided at taxpayer expense."

"Inmates are allowed to keep personal items in their cell, including the food and cigarettes they purchase, large quantities of books and more. They are allowed to pursue academic studies, and many complete degree programs while in jail. "'Whoever wants a degree just has to kill a Jew or carry out an attack. He'll get a degree, live like a king on the Israel taxpayer's dime, until he gets released in the next deal.'"

"While terrorists are supposed to be separated from visitors by a sheet of glass, in reality they are allowed to see their young children in person. Their families bring blankets and other items from home. Female terrorists are allowed to keep very young children with them in prison."

Hamas is in no hurry to get its men released. All the pressure is on Israel to make more concessions, to get its man released. Remove those privileges and just abide by international law, and Arabs would press Hamas to get their relatives released by making concessions. The Public Security Ministry ignored all those specifics. It claims it must abide by international agreements (Arutz-7, 12/16). I doubt those luxuries are by agreement.

WHAT WOULD MAKE GOOD "TIMING" TO ATTACK GAZA?

For months or years, Israeli officials have been declaring the need to clear the terrorists out of Gaza, but also have been contending that the "time is not ripe." Finally, an Israeli journalist asked what conditions would be "ripe."

He also claims that in secret, the Cabinet has just approved a plan for invading Gaza soon. Dr. Aaron Lerner remarks that if, after a month, there has been no invasion, you may conclude that the secret plan is not to invade (IMRA, 12/17).

A top Israeli official complained that it would be easier to invade than to get out. After having done a complete cleanup, the IDF would have to stay, to prevent terrorism from returning. After all, the terrorists aren't making peace. They won't look after their own lives. They exist to take the lives away from infidels.

Then let the IDF keep some troops there! It wouldn't take so many. More would be needed to fend off Hamas during a regional war, when Israel can't afford to maintain a front in Gaza.

The problem is not keeping the IDF there but keeping the Arabs there. Many Arabs want to move away. Israel should encourage them to depart. Fewer Muslim Arabs, less terrorism!

IDF LAWYER CONDONES TERRORISM'S HUMAN SHIELDING

Hamas puts rocket launchers in a schoolyard and atop a hospital. The lawyer for the IDF gave an opinion that Israel may not shell the school or hospital, to get at the launchers, because more civilians would get killed or damaged than gunmen. Israel could warn the civilians to evacuate, but the lawyer says they might not evacuate. Dr. Aaron Lerner thinks the IDF should get a smarter lawyer to figure out a basis for not letting the terrorists fire upon Israeli civilians with impunity (IMRA, 12/17). Yes, sometimes Arab civilians refuse to evacuate, expecting Israel, which they claim is super-cruel, to be too tender about them.

I think the lawyer is generally mistaken or is pursuing a defeatist ideology that pretends to be humanitarian. It is not humanitarian for Israeli civilians who increasingly come under terrorist attack, as the range of enemy rockets extends to big Israeli cities and industries. (1) The target is a significant military one, because it rockets could cause a mass-explosion and represent their whole form of warfare. (2) IDF shelling would be justified, to protect one's innocent civilians, as against supposed Arab civilians who support terrorism and who willingly serve as human shields. (3) Hamas can't be allowed to get away with the war crime of fortifying a civilian area. (4) Once warned, it is the civilians' responsibility for ignoring the warning.

SHULMAN TRAVEL ADVISORY

I was planning a trip to Israel. The map given out by the Israel Govt. Tourist Office does not differentiate between the Israeli Administered Territories and the State of Israel. Tourists might not realize they may be plotting a route through closed military areas or going along roads that are dangerous or through villages from which their rented cars bearing Israeli license plates may not emerge.

JUDGE THIS PROPOSED PRISONER EXCHANGE

Cuba has offered to free some political prisoners if the US freed Cuban spies. Usually, US prisoners accused of spying are convicted and we may presume they are guilty of crimes. Cuba considers dissent a crime. Cuban political prisoners are not criminals. It would not be fair to equate US and Cuban prisoners. Cuba committed the crimes in both cases, first by imprisoning innocent people and second by setting spies on the US. Cuba should release its political prisoners and the US should not release Cuban spies until their sentence is up. That is the ethics of it.

Practicality may be another matter. However, Cuba may release a tiny percentage of its many political prisoners and replace the ones freed by any deal with the US.

The US has very few political prisoners. Pollard, by the length of his sentence is one. The AIPAC accused may be three more.

I don't know whether Russia has any. Dissidents there obviously are murdered or disappear (not so obviously murdered). Now Putin is backing a proposed law enabling the Kremlin to declare its domestic critics "traitors." The irony of that is that much criticism of the regime would be justified. By contrast, the Jewish traitors in Israel are part of the regime, which oppresses its critics and, in a further irony, calls those critics undemocratic. (The Israeli Arab traitors are in the Arab parties or Islamist movement, trying to subvert the society, and their critics are oppressed. Subversion is financed in part by the New Israel Fund — your Jewish charity dollars at work — and by the EU)

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSERVATIVES & LIBERALS?

The conservative drives an S.U.V., leaves the lights on in every room, and denies that we can alleviate global warming, if it is even occurring.

The liberal drives an S.U.V., leaves the lights on in every room, and demands that the government do something about global warming.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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HAMAS ENDS CEASEFIRE. LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON CEASEFIRE
Posted by Barry Rubin, December 21, 2008.
 

If you can understand why Hamas is ending its ceasefire with Israel, you can comprehend Middle East politics. And if you can't, you can't.

From of a Western moderate pragmatist standpoint o, Hamas's decision makes no sense for several reasons:

* Hamas cannot defeat Israel militarily. Thus, fighting won't improve Hamas's strategic situation or bring victory.

* Israeli counterattacks will cause both injuries and material damage in the Gaza Strip, inflicting big costs on Hamas's domain and subject.

* Returning to warfare will ensure Hamas remains politically isolated and blocks international recognition or aid that would help its cause or end economic sanctions against the Gaza Strip.

* Going back to fighting makes certain that the Gaza Strip faces continued, even heightened, reductions in the material let in, thus ensuring more Palestinian suffering there.

Yet Hamas is seemingly making three additional mistakes regarding timing.

The first is that they ending the ceasefire while George W. Bush is president. Certainly Israel feels freer to hit back at Hamas now than after Barrack Obama is inaugurated simply because the new administration would want to avoid a crisis before it consolidates its plans and team. Also, the United States is likely to prefer quiet as it begins withdrawing from Iraq.

Second, the ceasefire is being suspended on the eve of a major Palestinian crisis as Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas announces a self-extension of his term in office. One might think Hamas would prefer to keep the Israel front Israel quiet for a while to focus on battling Fatah and the PA.

Finally, there's the Israeli election campaign. While this doesn't make large-scale Israeli retaliation inevitable, such a move would make the current government more popular with the electorate.

Therefore, Hama's behavior, an outside observer can easily conclude, seems "stupid." But having built a mass movement, sizeable army, seized the Gaza Strip, and built broad support throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds, Hamas may be composed of genocide-oriented fanatics but not fools. What then explains this apparently silly behavior?

Here's a case study of how Middle East politics really work:

* Hamas really believes its own propaganda, expecting victory despite the odds. Costs and casualties are irrelevant. The battle will go on until total victory even if that takes decades. This indicates Hamas will not moderate — the same applies to Hizballah, Syria, and Iran.

* At the same time, Hamas is not only indifferent to its own people's welfare, it actually seeking to inflict suffering on them as a political strategy. The worse off Palestinians are, Hamas believes, the more likely they will fight and die. This "the worse things are, the better they are," is the exact opposite of Western perspectives.

But Hamas goes even further. It knows suffering can be blamed on Israel. Western pragmatists reason: obviously the Palestinians must prefer peace, prosperity, and statehood. Rejectionism must then be due to desperation and the lack of a good offer or faith in the West. In fact, though, the situation is not due to our mistakes but to their deliberate choices.

Thus, Hamas can well conclude that the best way to put pressure on Israel and — in its own mind at least — gain Western help — is to be more radical, not more moderate.

To cite one example, what is considered America's leading newspaper recently reported that both sides violate the ceasefire: Hamas fires rockets at Israel; Israel retaliates by closing the border. By this definition, the fact that Hamas and its allies fire rockets at Israeli civilians doesn't allow any Israeli response, military or otherwise. This is the kind of thinking Hamas seeks to promote.

Then, too, setting off a crisis, Hamas expects, will draw peacekeepers like (I thought of using the word "flies" or the phrase "moths around a flame" here but rejected it) hardworking ants giving press conferences insisting that "something must be done to defuse the crisis." That "something" usually seems to be unilateral Israeli concessions. In short, the international community may rush in to save Hamas or the Palestinians in spite of themselves.

At the same time, though, Hamas believes that its intransigence and aggressiveness will increase support in the Arab and Muslim worlds. As with Hizballah, waging a war and portraying it as victory — even though the facts are otherwise — makes one a hero and attracts financing. This is also a judgment regarding Palestinian responses. More popular support can be garnered by producing martyrs than by producing higher living standards. Thus, Hamas will do better in its rivalry with the PA by fighting Israel than by fighting poverty.

I am not saying this strategy will work completely but it does succeed in part. If one believes the short run is irrelevant and the deity is on one's side, reality looks rather different. In addition, macho militancy in the Middle East does bring popularity, both domestic and international. The last quarter-century has also shown that Western sympathy can be manipulated by increasing violence and blocking solutions to the conflict in a way that will be blamed on Israel.

Yet this world view is also illusory. Impoverishing one's people and destroying the infrastructure over which one rules makes such groups weaker rather than stronger, especially as Israel focuses on material gains. Western patience with the Palestinians has waned; Arab states are not so eager to help. A strategy depending on suicide bombers is also ultimately suicidal.

Ironically, too, regarding the West, Islamists cannot get away with what radical Arab nationalists can. Too many Western intellectuals, journalists, leftists, and even politicians might have been carried away with revolutionary romanticism for Fatah — seeing Yasir Arafat as merely an ugly version of Che Guevara. Far fewer see radical Islamists as heroic liberators.

The bottom line is that Hamas will remain isolated and weaker than it could be if they kept things quiet, consolidated their hold on the Gaza Strip, built up their armies and base of support, and had more patience.

But Hamas will also survive, ideology undiluted, able to utter war cries about wiping Israel off the map, and intoxicated with the belief it is following divine will. That's enough for Hamas's leadership and followers.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and co-author of "Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography" and "Hating America: A History" (Oxford University Press). His latest book is The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). Prof. Rubin's columns can now be read online at http://gloria.idc.ac.il/columns/column.html. Contact him at profbarryrubin@yahoo.com

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FROM ISRAEL: CHANUKAH
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 21, 2008.
 

Tonight we light the first candle of our eight-day festival of Chanukah. And so the spirit of Chanukah will infuse today's posting.

It is said that because miracles were "common" on Chanukah, this time, within all the year, is the time to pray for miracles. And so, as I wish each of you a Happy Chanukah, I ask please that if you are lighting candles you pray for miracles for Israel with those candles. "Common" miracles — what is possible if we are strong and believe.

~~~~~~~~~~

We are on the edge of a major ground operation in Gaza, but the political leadership (read, Barak) is holding back. There is great anger in the country about this, including among many in the Knesset and the government. At today's Cabinet meeting the issue was discussed, but without resolution.

It is reported that Barak asked Olmert to calm things down, and indeed that is what he tried to do. Said he, "...a responsible government is never eager to battle, but nor does it shy away from it. We will take all necessary measures."

With words of great profundity, he observed that, "Obviously, the ceasefire can only exist while it exists, not while there's nonstop fire.

"It is no secret that we were hesitant to accept the ceasefire. Naturally, we wanted the terror and the weapons smuggling to stop completely, and based on that we decided to embark on the lull."

Indeed, our intention with the "lull" may have been to get Hamas to stop smuggling, but it was evident quite quickly that smuggling continued. It was then our business, immediately, to declare that terms were not being honored and go after them.

Finally, said Olmert, "I've discussed the situation with the defense and foreign ministers, the scenarios are clear and the government will know which move to take and when."

This is a hedge that tells us nothing. And I would say that we were going to get nothing but words, except that I know that the pressure to do something is great, and plans are very real and very much in place. The IDF is superbly prepared for this. At the Cabinet meeting, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said that a strike in Gaza is impending.

~~~~~~~~~~

It's shameful for this man, Barak — who was once brave and much decorated — that he has turned into a self-serving political wimp in his position now. But it is not what he has done to himself, but rather the damage he does to the nation that is significant. For us to fail to act in a significant manner while we are being bombarded with Kassams and mortars weakens us and makes us foolish. The pressure of international community cannot hold sway here: It's time we did what is right for Israel. And today is the time to draw on the model of the ancient Maccabees.

~~~~~~~~~~

A barrage of some 10 Kassams had been launched by noon today (and they will undoubtedly keep coming). One person (a foreign worker in a greenhouse near Ashkelon) has been hurt and a home in Sderot has been demolished. Mortars exploded near the home of MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima) in Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

Hermesh has said: "From the moment the 'ceasefire' began on June 19, Defense Minister Ehud Barak in effect surrendered to Gaza terrorists. The State of Israel has surrendered its sovereignty over the Gaza Belt area due to electoral considerations."

~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday and today there were IDF strikes against launching sites in northern Gaza. One terrorist, associated with Fatah's Al Aksa Brigades, was killed. Good, but not nearly, nearly enough. They go to new sites and pull out new rockets and draw on new personnel.

~~~~~~~~~~

If, finally, a major operation does go ahead, it cannot be fought the way we fought in Lebanon. It must be fought with full force, so that the enemy Hamas (and all those watching) know with whom they are dealing. I fear for half-way measures — leaving Hamas leadership intact and suddenly calling a new "lull." That will leave Hamas mocking us and make us, still, appear weak in enemy eyes. We are facing too many enemies to permit that to happen.

~~~~~~~~~~

In honor of Chanukah I turn now to good news about Israel — to items that show strength of another kind. We are, whether the world wishes to know it or not, a gift to mankind, a blessing to the world:

~~~~~~~~~~

Scientists at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, working with researchers at US universities, have discovered a technique that promises the possibility of neutralizing Diabetes type I.

What they have done is to transplant healthy insulin-producing tissue onto a diabetic pancreas. This is not a new process, but had limited value until now because the healthy tissue was ultimately rejected. But now they have discovered a drug that prevents rejection; they believe, it will allow the healthy tissue to function indefinitely. Tests on animals have been most encouraging and clinical trials are to begin soon.

As there are over 180 million people worldwide with Diabetes, this promises a development of considerable magnitude.

~~~~~~~~~~

An Israeli company, Bio Mark, has developed an inexpensive screening test for colon cancer that catches this disease in its early — or even pre-cancerous — stages. The test, which can be run as part of a routine blood screening, can successfully identify colon polyps, which are overwhelming the source of colon cancer. Expected to be available in about a year, this test will be a life saver.

~~~~~~~~~~

Rcadia Medical Imaging, in Haifa, has developed a software technology for the automated analysis of coronary CT angiography, which enables doctors to quickly identify and diagnose patients who need further evaluation for severe coronary artery disease.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Research Center has developed a new solar cell that can produce over one thousand times more electric power than a conventional photovoltaic or PV.

Explains developer Professor David Faiman, "The achievement is that we separate out the collection function of a photovoltaic cell to the light conversion to electricity function. When we collect the light, instead of using a huge area of solar cells, we use an equal area of cheap glass mirrors and they are curved in such a way as to concentrate the light onto a very small solar cell, the size of just one cell, and in this way you concentrate the light a thousand times and you can get a thousand times more power out of a small cell."

This has enormous implications; it will be put to use in the US, and, in time, in many other places.

~~~~~~~~~~

A grassroots organization called Fugee Fridays is gleaning surplus produce from the Carmel Friday food market in Tel Aviv and distributing it to African refugees who fled here on foot.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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NEED A LITTLE NIP ON THE PAW TO REMIND YOU? PLEASE CALL THE WHITE HOUSE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD!
Posted by Justice For Jonathan Pollard, December 20, 2008.

Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard!

DIAL: 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111

Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EDST

From Israel, call toll-free: 077-566-4305
Israel Time: 4 PM to Midnight

Leave a message for President George Bush:

FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW!

Reach Justice for Jonathan Pollard by sending an email to justice4jp@gmail.com and visit their website: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/rss.htm

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PALLYWOOD STRIKES AGAIN. PALESTINIAN PROPAGANDA FAKES NEWS
Posted by Mechel Samberg, December 19, 2008.
 

It's really really OK to say it. The only ones who desperately want to believe this crap are the Jew haters who then will whine "I am anti-Zionist, I don't hate Jews. Some of my best friends....." Or else they will claim that if someone disagrees with you "You are using the race card, calling everyone anti-Semitic." Guess what? Its OK to call a Jew hater, a Jew hater!!!! Don't let these pathetic excuses for human beings intimidate you or manipulate you. That is part of their propaganda.

What Really Happens Pallywood
http://www.break.com/index/what_really_happens_pallywood.html

Pallywood Strikes Again Palestine Propaganda Fake News
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL1ClZgtoeI

Pallywood propaganda used against Jew-dah
http://jewsandjoes.com/blog/pallywood-propaganda-used-against-jew-dah/

Pallywood Presents ANOTHER Propaganda 'Film'....... Of course this 'film' of the alleged shooting is another Pallywood production. Why waste everyone's time and money pretending otherwise, if not to besmirch the 'settler' movement?
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPTalkback%2FCommonFrame &tbId=1219277350774&tbNum=4&type=Show

Contact Mechel Samberg at mechelsamberg2@yahoo.com

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UN FLIRTS WITH 'RACIST FANTASYLAND'
Posted by Sunlike, December 19, 2008.

This was written by David Singer and it appeared yesterday on Insternational Analyst Network
http://www.analyst-network.com/.

"All these attacks prove that settlers are dangerous and that it's impossible to live with them. If these settlers are allowed to stay, that would mean more friction and confrontation. Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimetre of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967" — Ahmed Qurei, Head of Palestinian Authority Negotiating Team, Jerusalem Post, 13 December 2008.

This call to remove every Jew living in the West Bank — 500000 men, women and children — was accepted in total silence by the United Nations. No urgent meeting of the General Assembly or any of its Human Rights Committees was called to condemn this racial vilification of Jews by a former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and its chief negotiator with Israel.

One remembers how fervently world leaders correctly argued that you couldn't blame all Moslems for the terrorist actions of those few who hijack Islam and commit horrible atrocities worldwide in the name of Allah.

No similar statements were heard from those same leaders this week condemning Mr Queri for calling for the removal of those 500000 Jews because of the misguided actions of a few.

Collective punishment — not to be tolerated for Gazan Arabs — was perfectly acceptable when it involved West Bank Jews.

Indeed the UN Security Council met just three days after Mr. Qurei's outrageous statement — yet raised not one word of protest or censure at his highly offensive and hate-ridden remarks.

Instead it passed Resolution 1850 (2008) by 14 votes to 0 — with Libya abstaining — declaring "its support for the negotiations initiated at Annapolis on 27 November 2007 and its commitment to the irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations" and called "on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations."

One could not imagine a more destructive statement designed to undermine confidence or to prejudice the outcome of the Annapolis negotiations than that delivered by Mr. Qurei.

His demand defiantly flies in the face of the written commitment given by President Bush to Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 — forming an integral part of the Roadmap negotiating process under the auspices of the Quartet — America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

In that letter President Bush stated:

"As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. "

In declaring its support for the Annapolis negotiations the Security Council conveniently ignored the basis on which those negotiations were undertaken by Israel as expressed in these clear and unambiguous terms by its Prime Minister — Ehud Olmert — at the opening of the Annapolis conference:

"The negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the road map and the April 14, 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel."

All the international players sitting in the Security Council — including outgoing US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — were surely aware that Mr Qurei's statement sounded the death knell for the Annapolis negotiations and signalled the end of any hope for a successful outcome of those negotiations.

Yet instead of condemning Mr Qurei's statement — or demanding its retraction — Ms. Rice had the effrontery to tell the Security Council that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators:

"had made the choice to defeat an ideology of hatred with one of hope"

The only conclusion that one can draw from the Security Council's extraordinary conduct in totally ignoring Mr Qurei's statement is its unwillingness to face up to the fact that Annapolis is finished, President Bush's dream has turned into a nightmare and the Quartet's strategy in backing President Bush's Roadmap has exposed it as totally impotent in having any influence to determine the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Jews and Arabs.

The Security Council by its silence has offered encouragement to those Jew haters like Mr Qurei who for the last 130 years have opposed Jews having any right to live in their biblical homeland — the West Bank — or indeed within any part of the 23% of Palestine designated by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter as the site for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

In doing nothing to disavow the Arabs from pursuing their long standing enmity and racial hatred of the Jews, the Security Council has ignored a whole body of international law on the issue and given comfort to the long held Arab view that everything done since the creation of the Mandate in 1920 is deemed null and void.

"Jews out" is indeed a call that is still alive and kicking in the Middle East.

This racist fantasyland has been given a considerable boost by the Security Council's flirtation with — and failure to unequivocally repudiate — Mr Qurei's remarks when endorsing Resolution 1850. United Nations efforts to eliminate all forms of racism worldwide have been seriously compromised.

RIP President Bush's Performance — Based Roadmap.

RIP Annapolis.

RIP the United Nations

Contact Sunlike at mttaborsl@yahoo.com

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MUMBAI IN USA?; UNO BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL; SYRIA WANTS ACCESS TO SEA OF GALILEE
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 19, 2008.

ANOTHER POST-ELECTION ADMISSION

Some rather thoughtful articles about current national problems in a changing society, requiring original solutions rather than ones patterned after the old society, graced the Sunday Opinion section of the 12/14 NY Times.

Patrick Radden Keefe suggests bi-partisan Congressional investigation into eavesdropping and determining what should be legal, without seeking scapegoats. Yes, we need an effective and an organized intelligence effort that does not break down our rule of law.

Art Brown suggests that the CIA arrange for accountability of its officers rather than bureaucratic protection, for higher quality of analysis, for consulting outside experts in the fields of nuclear weapons, prosecution, and crime detection.

Reuel Marc Gerecht discuses lending terrorism suspects to foreign interrogation by torture. He said it was started by the Clinton administration. It was? One wouldn't know that from the Democrats' campaign, which lay all the blame on Pres. Bush. This is another post-election admission that the Democrats warranted more blame, How much less indignation against Bush and consequent harm to McCain would there have been if this same frankness had replaced the veil that liberal campaigners put between themselves and voters? My liberal friends were manipulated. They still haven't figured that out.

Global terrorism is different from past terrorism. Phillip Bobbit offers constructive new approaches for global terrorism. He would integrate them into our foreign security policy. He would assure European allies that the US won't violate the human rights accords we signed. We should align the interests of Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan against the mutual threat of terrorism and piracy and their potential access to nuclear and biological weapons and civilian catastrophes, even if in other respects we don't like those countries' policies. [In defending those states from terrorism, we may seem to be defending their dictatorships.]

His new concept is to protect civilians, not territory nor our ideology. [I think we should attack enemy ideology.] That means bolstering nations' health systems against attacks and plagues. Mexico is a failing state we had better bolster, for our own security. We should set up anti-terrorism mandates within new or existing international agencies. We need to help our businesses resist cyber attacks on our businesses. We need provision for swift replacement of a bombed Congress. Nevertheless, Pres. Bush deserves credit for protecting us from further terrorist attack. Terrorism (militant Islam) is at war with us. Gee, that's what Bush tried to say and Sen. McCain did say, but my liberal friends denied anything more than an al-Qaida attack. Finally the Times admits it.

The public editor discussed the Times' reluctance to label people "terrorist." His own standard is good, but he lets the reluctance seem principled. I think it's not.

MUSLIMS PREPARING A MUMBAI IN U.S.?

The 12/14 NY Times denies that there are sleeper cells in the US, and that al-Qaida can easily inject foreign agents into the US. Therefore, it is not likely that terrorists can perpetrate a major terrorist attack on the US.

To the contrary, reports an FBI consultant. Muslims are in the Catskills, practicing storming a school bus and using automatic weapons. Their gunfire disturbs nearby residents. Are they planning to attack school children? Their Internet messages indicate that they want to murder people in a mall.

The consultant says he has photographic evidence. He says the evidence, and action based on it, often is ignored because of ineptness or political correctness. For example, a 20-year career soldier issued a 300-page report about the Islamist threat to the US. Its facts were not contested, but a Muslim Pentagon official objected to it, and the soldier was fired.

Since this war is a religious one by Islamo-fascists who want a global caliphate, they would not be appeased by any territorial concession by Israel. Trouble is, our government calls it a war on terrorism, rather than a religious war (Arutz-7, 12/14).

Mumbai also was warned about an attack, but paid it no attention.

TERRORISTS RECEIVING SHORTER SENTENCES

The head of Israel's victims association noticed that terrorists convicted of serious crimes have been getting shorter prison sentences lately. He asked the IDF why. An Army lawyer said there isn't room to incarcerate so many for so long.

Abbas, supposedly moderate, is demanding not that Israel transfer convicted terrorists to P.A. prisons, but that Israel free them. They may have murdered Israelis after the P.A. signed Oslo and its anti-terrorism pledges, but Abbas wants them freed, as if murdering civilians were normal warfare and what Israel agreed to. He doesn't on principle oppose terrorism, which he calls "resistance." At most he objects to its timing. In fact, he threatens Israel with terrorism and warfare, if it doesn't concede everything he wants, though what he wants would render Israel untenable. Meanwhile, Gen. Dayton contends that the P.A. battalions he is building up would not menace Israel. How wrong he is! (IMRA, 12/15). I think that Dayton is rationalizing if not lying.

Considering what terrorism is, the IDF reply becomes an argument for capital punishment of terrorists.

CHIEF P.A. NEGOTIATOR GOES OVERBOARD

Ahmed Qurei made these points: (1) Negotiations have left the gap between the P.A. and Israel as wide as before; (2) Israel sought to annex 7.3% of Judea-Samaria, then 6.8%, which the P.A. still rejects; (3) The P.A. won't agree to any retention, because a P.A. state couldn't have territorial continuity, Arabs can't live with settlers, who attack them daily, and Jewish towns around Jerusalem impede visits by Arabs ; (3) Israel offered to accept 5,000 Arab refugees over a period of years, but the P.A. rejected offer; (4) Jerusalem was too complex to discuss; and (5) Israel is creating facts on the ground that squeezes Arabs out of Jerusalem, causing mistrust. The Security Council may demand that Israel negotiate over refugee admittance.

Israel said Qurei's points are inaccurate, but would not explain why (IMRA, 12/14).

By not explaining, Israel leaves the Arabs' false accusations in people's minds.

The P.A. mistrusts Israel. Then alleged confidence-building measures — releasing prisoners and removing checkpoints — don't work! Halt them!

It is dangerous to facilitate Muslim visits to Israel's capital, Jerusalem, which is unimportant to Muslims except they pretend importance in order to wrest it away from Judaism. Israel lets Muslims visit, when they act civilized.

The Arabs are creating facts on the ground in Jerusalem and elsewhere, but overlook that. Complaining hypocritically is one of their bargaining tactics.

For months, the P.A. claimed that Jerusalem was discussed, now denies it.

Far from squeezing Arabs out of Jerusalem, Arabs are pouring in, in order not to be left under P.A. rule and bereft of Israeli welfare benefits! Then end benefits! Qurei is lying. That's an unfair bargaining tactic.

Israel should have rejected entry of any Arab refugees and descendants on principle. By waiving the principle, it opened the number to negotiations. We see that the Arabs concede nothing and Israel keeps conceding more. Therefore the negotiating gap is narrowing. Qurei is lying. The Security Council, by not minding its own business, by demanding that Israel accept some refugees, who want to destroy Israel, would be making Israel insecure for Israel.

Jews of Judea-Samaria were not attacking Arabs except that recently, some unknown youths, perhaps incited by agents provocateurs, were retaliating against them. Arabs, however, have been attacking Jews there for years. Therefore, I agree with Qurei that Jews and Muslim Arabs cannot get along well, but disagree about whose fault it is and who should depart from that section of the Jewish homeland. I think it is the Arabs who should depart.

UNO BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL

The UNO's rapporteur on human rights in Israel is ordered to come to pre-determined conclusions against Israel, regardless of what he may find when he arrives. Now that's prejudice! His UNO mandate excludes findings of human rights violations by Palestinian Arabs against Jews or Arabs. Now that's bias! Prof. Falk, the designated rapporteur proclaims that Hamas terrorism is legitimate and that Israel is inflicting a holocaust upon the Arabs there. [That's crazy!] He does not meet the set qualification of objectivity and integrity. Israel declared him persona non grata, but he tried to sneak in (IMRA, 12/15).

The NY Times presented those facts. It also had a P.A. comment that it is odd that Israel opposes entry by a Jew, Falk, and an Israeli comment that barring him would not make his reports more sympathetic (12/16). Neither would admitting him, but why cooperate with one's defamer and why give him more opportunity to put local color into his pre-determined conclusions? The Arab comment reflects the notion that a person represents his ethnic or religious group, which is not true of Jews and often not true of other Americans.

ILLEGAL ARAB BUILDING VS. JEWISH REAL ESTATE

An Israeli committee "recommended 'legalizing' 50,000 illegal buildings constructed on state-owned lands and giving legal recognition and state funding to 42 illegal settlements constructed over the past several years by Beduin on state-owned land." You read it right, 50,000!

"The Supreme Court, in response to petitions on behalf of the Beduin lawbreakers submitted by far-Left organizations, has repeatedly prohibited the government from taking any action against the land thieves. And the state prosecution has refused consistently to open criminal investigations or file indictments against the Beduin, not only for their illegal seizure of land, but for their massive criminal activity which spans the spectrum from polygamy, to agricultural theft, extortion, racketeering, drug trafficking and treason."

How does the government treat Jews in Judea-Samaria and Jerusalem and their supporters in property disputes? It over-prosecutes [or persecutes. Defense Min. Barak calls for harsher punishment of Jews who are claimed not to have full legal authorization for real estate or whose ownership is in dispute.

Barak may have been aroused by a film that was said to have shown a Jew shooting Arabs needlessly. The film actually showed him attacked and then on the ground while Arabs ran over to kick him if not lynch him. He fired in self-defense. A judge ordered him released. Prosecutors demanded that the judge rescind the order, based on media reports, on pain of harming Israel's international reputation. [What reputation? Commit injustice, so foreign antisemites will be appeased? But antisemites never can be satisfied.] Pressed, the judge gave in. Travesties like this are typical.

Politicians such as Barak claim it is necessary to uphold the rule of law, but they uphold the extra-legal powers abused by the minions of the law. Law in Israel is not upheld. Rather, the ruling class favors criminal Arabs and persecutes innocent Jews for political reasons (Caroline Glick in IMRA, 12/15).

SYRIA WANTS ACCESS TO SEA OF GALILEE

Syria is defining the Golan, which it wants from Israel, to include the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Syria wants major US involvement in negotiation (IMRA, 12/16).

Syria would get land and access it never had. That is a land grab. Israel keeps getting accused of making land grabs. See who really grabs from others?

The Sea of Galilee is one of Israel's three main water sources. One can expect Syria to tap heavily into the already depleted Sea, if not pollute it. A second is in the Golan, that Syria covets. The third is in Judea-Samaria, which other Arabs claim. What will Israelis drink after having given away the major sources?

When the Arabs request US involvement in negotiations with Israel, they really mean they want the US to butt in. Remember that critics of Pres. Bush said he minds other countries' business? The Arabs expect to demand everything, all unjustified, and the US would take their demands seriously. The US and the media et al would note a "gap" in negotiating positions, unless the Israeli regime is so Quisling that it accepts Arab demands. The US would demand that the gap be narrowed. Since the Arabs don't budge, the world would pressure Israel to concede. News reports would say that the gap has narrowed. But there still would be a gap. On would rush new demands that Israel, always and only Israel, be "reasonable," although it is the Arabs who are unreasonable.

The resulting Israeli concessions would make a treaty but not peace, because they would achieve Arab war goals. They started earlier wars for those lands, and lost the wars, but they can get the territory through diplomacy. The purpose of getting those lands is to render Israel indefensible, so the next war could finish Israel off without much difficulty.

U.S. DIPLOMACY & N. KOREA

Sec. Rice spent four years trying to "engage" our enemies, states the Wall St. Journal. She failed. N. Korea refuses to sign verbal commitments on nuclear verification, the basis for removing N. Korea from the list of terrorism-sponsors. N. Korea has broken all its commitments, including written ones. It makes promises for concessions, and then reneges until offered more concessions. This time, it already received half the fuel shipments promised (12/16, Ed.).

The Democrats criticized the Bush administration for not trying to "engage" our enemies. Not true. After a while, Bush got disgusted, as would any intelligent person. The Democrats didn't get disgusted. They don't set limits for determining that with certain fanatics, negotiations prove useless.

SAUDI WOMEN

Saudi women are getting divorced in larger numbers, now. Many are educated. Having traveled abroad and been treated by men with respect as equals, they don't want to be treated by their husbands with disrespect as inferiors, and certainly don't want to be brutalized (IMRA, 12/16). What happens to a marriage of convenience that becomes inconvenient?

FABRICATED SETTLER VIOLENCE

Some Jewish youths in Judea-Samaria lately have violently resisted police repression, but they hardly injure any. Nevertheless, there often are stories of their having thrown acid at police. Those stories are false. The media fails to check stories that fit their ideology, never mind how defamatory they are.

They did some damage in Arab areas, but hardly harmed anyone physically, not to warrant the charge of committing a pogrom. If right-wingers called some of the Arab attacks on Jews a pogrom, or compared Islamist philosophy with the Nazism it emulates, the left-wingers would object (Prof. Steven Plaut, 12/16).

JEWISH ANTISEMITISM

Europeans' attention has been flagged by an essay proving that certain leftist Jews and their organizations have adopted classic antisemitic language and positions. Up to now, the Europeans either didn't pay much attention to it or paid a lot of attention to it, as a vicarious way of expressing their own antisemitism.

One of the outlets of antisemitism is anti-Zionism. "Jewish intellectuals like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky and Alfred Grosser strongly deny being anti-Semites. They claim they are simply formulating severe critiques of Israeli policy that have nothing to do with anti-Semitism." False. They are rationalizing for hysterical vilification of Israel, double standards towards it, and demands for its destruction. Aggressiveness expressed that way exceeds normal political discourse. For example, they claim that Israel's policies are like the Nazis' in seeking genocide [ironically, they aren't, the Arabs' are]. They also claim that "the Jews" have almost irresistible influence over the world, as was written in that classic antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [ironically while the rest of the world presses Israel to give in to jihad]. And they often do it in Germany, as if hoping to rouse its old antisemitism. Some do it to appear "progressive." That atavism shows how non-intellectual and how non-progressive the Left can be.

The harm the Jewish antisemites and other leftists do is to inure people to how extreme antisemitism is (Prof. Steven Plaut, 12/16). It splits the Jewish people and encourages conventional antisemites. It also discredits leftist reformers.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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UNITED STATES HAD A PLAN FOR ATTACKING ISRAEL IN 1967
Posted by Michael Travis, December 19, 2008.

This appeared in
http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/05/united-states-had-plan-for-attacking.html

Ami Isseroff writes:

The extent of US support for Israel should not be judged from festive pronouncements of politicians. Speeches are speeches, but reality is another matter.

In 1967, the United States had a plan for attacking Israel in order to stop its progress in the war that was sure to break out.

This plan was seriously considered despite all of the proclamations about U.S.-Israel friendship, only democracy in the Middle East etc. As the Godfather explained, "business is business."

Anyone who is foolish enough to take US pronouncements on friendship with Israel for granted, should remember that this plan existed, and might have been put into effect. The truth is, apparently, that all the Middle East states are viewed equally and any of them, including Israel, could be the target of an American attack. We are no better than Iraq, Egypt or Iran for the United States government.

This article below is called "The right to strike" and was written by Amir Oren.

The end of the story is known: During the Six-Day War, no battles were waged between the Israel Defense Forces and the United States. True, the American spy ship "Liberty" was attacked by mistake, but neither side initiated exchanges of fire. What is not known — and because of it, the story is riveting nevertheless — took place in the background. For some time, the United States had had an emergency plan to attack Israel. In May 1967, one of the U.S. commands was charged with the task of removing the plan from the safe, refreshing it and preparing for an order to go into action. However, the preparations lagged behind the developments in the diplomatic arena, and even further behind the successes of Israel's air force and armored divisions in Sinai. The general who was planning to attack Israel made do with extricating frightened American citizens and a panic-stricken ambassador from Jordan.

This unknown aspect of the war was revealed in what was originally a top-secret study conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington. In February 1968, an institute expert, L. Weinstein, wrote an article called "Critical Incident No. 14," about the U.S. involvement in the Middle East crisis of May-June 1967. Only 30 copies of his study were printed for distribution. Years later the material was declassified and can now be read by everyone, although details that are liable to give away sources' identities and operational ideas have remained censored.

Strike Command, the entity that was to have launched the attack on Israel, no longer exists. It was annulled in 1971 for domestic American reasons and superseded by Readiness Command, which was abolished in the 1980s in favor of Central Command (CENTCOM) — which today includes forces in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan — and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

The general who oversaw the planning in 1967 was Theodore John ("Ted") Conway. In Israeli terms, taking into consideration all the relevant differences, he can be likened to Avraham Tamir and Yuval Ne'eman, Aharon Yariv and Giora Eiland. Conway was a talented but forgotten officer, who did not leave a powerful impression on the history of the army that made use mainly of his brain; he did more participating than actual fighting in his generation's wars. His qualities as a curious and intelligent planner, a quick study who was creative in his solutions, led his commanders to assign him to headquarters and deprived him of the prospect of leading fighting forces.

That didn't stop Conway from advancing through the ranks. In the last decade of his service he moved up quickly to the highest level — that of four-star general — at the age of 56, as head of Strike Command. It was in this last post, ahead of his retirement, that he served as the crisis of May 1967 unfolded. It was his last opportunity to see whether what he had conceptualized could truly be realized.

'Subway' soldiers

Conway, who hailed from Indianapolis, described himself jestingly as one of the "subway" soldiers, as New Yorkers who enlisted to serve in World War II were sometimes described: short men, whose dimensions suited the crowding on the underground trains. He was a small, coiled spring, a physical fitness zealot. Every New Year's Day he made his officers take part in a 16-kilometer run, so that they would not spend the holiday watching television in a beer-induced stupor on the couch.

In the 1930s he was sent to Paris to study France, its language and culture, in order to return to West Point and teach the cadets about them. His exposure to Europe peeled away the provinciality that characterized the American officer corps at that time. During World War II, in the course of his service in North Africa, Italy and France — sometimes as an interpreter and liaison between the U.S. and British forces, and between both of them and the French forces — Conway acquired expertise and an understanding of the complexities of security and diplomacy on both shores of the Mediterranean. If the U.S. Army was going to have to act in the Middle East, there was no officer more suited than him to command the forces in the period of the Six-Day War.

As a 30-year-old captain at the start of the American involvement in the world war, Conway volunteered for the paratroops, but was disqualified because of his age. A decade later, after two years in military colleges, he discovered that the only way to avoid being assigned to a desk job in the Pentagon was to volunteer for the paratroops. He tried again, and this time, as a colonel of 40, he was given command of a brigade.

In October 1961, when President John Kennedy paid a visit to Fort Bragg, the headquarters of the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division and of the Special Forces, the then 50-year-old Conway was already the commander of the division, had parachuted with his troops and marched back to base with them in a trek of 135 kilometers. His deputy, Ed Rowny, later recalled the presentation Conway prepared for Kennedy: He divided the division into five units and dressed each of them in a different uniform, in order to demonstrate the division's flexibility to carry out missions anywhere in the world. One group was in standard battle fatigues, ready to be airlifted to Europe; a second was in jungle camouflage fatigues, ready to deploy to Vietnam; a third wore desert camouflage fatigues; a fourth wore winter uniforms of the Korean War type; and the fifth, equipped with skis and wearing white ski suits, was available for Arctic operations.

Within a few months, Conway's clever presentation of worldwide readiness sparked an imitation. At MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida, the headquarters of Strike Command, an officer demonstrated for the camera of the ground forces monthly journal Army just how ready every soldier there was for any mission anywhere: They had not one duffle bag and not two, but three: one Arctic, one tropic, one miscellaneous.

Worrisome gaps

Strike Command (STRICOM) was established in January 1962 at the order of President Kennedy and his secretary of defense, Robert McNamara, in order to fill two worrisome gaps in U.S. military deployment. The first was a crying need for fit and available General Staff reserves for immediate posting to the main arena (Europe) or the secondary arena (Korea), where most of the ground forces outside the United States were deployed.

The creation of STRICOM was welcomed enthusiastically by the air and ground branches, but opposed by the U.S. Navy and Marines. The latter two branches were unable to torpedo the establishment of STRICOM, because the chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were all, consecutively, generals from the army. The commander of STRICOM also came from the ground arm: first General Paul Adams and then, four years later, Conway.

The second gap lay in the world map: in Africa and Asia. Between the arena of responsibility of the European Command, EUCOM, and that of the Pacific Command, PACOM, lay a vast area, from Egypt via the Arabian Peninsula to Iran, without command responsibility. Until the end of the 1950s, the Americans preferred to leave that region to the British as part of the Western bloc's distribution of labor. However, as Britain continued to grow weaker, gradually losing its hold in the region and finally ignoring American policy altogether (in the Suez crisis of 1956), Washington became convinced that improvising in emergency situations was untenable.

It was decided that STRICOM, as an external contractor from Florida, would prepare the ground and the hearts for U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. To that end, and at the request of the State Department, the command received another acronym, MEAFSA, referring to the sectors under its responsibility, for fear that newly independent governments in Asia and Africa would look askance at the explosive term "Strike."

Spokesmen for Strike Command took pride in plans that placed 225,000 troops at its disposal in eight ground divisions and more than 50 combat, transport and refueling squadrons. The command's major expertise was far more modest: preparing an airborne force — a battalion or at most a brigade — for offering rapid assistance to friendly governments, or rescuing civilians who were caught in battles between rebels and the army of a friendly regime. That proficiency was put to the test in operations in the Congo and the Dominican Republic.

Conway, who earlier had contrived to escape the labyrinth of the Pentagon in favor of field posts, discovered that in the remote Tampa of the mid-1960s he was "out of sight, out of mind," as he noted years later when he dictated his memoirs: Far from both Washington, where the decisions are made, and far from the Middle East, where he was barred from setting up his headquarters.

He did pay occasional visits to the region, flying in his executive jet, "The Princess." He developed particularly close relations with the emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. He also became friendly with Jordanian King Hussein and visited Cairo for talks with the chief of staff, Mahmoud Fawzi, a few months before the Six-Day War.

The American approach to the Arab states was then quite simplistic: good Arabs and bad Arabs — meaning, good Arabs and Nasser. The good Arabs resided in North Africa, in the formerly French (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) and Italian (Libya) states. East of there were Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, good Arabs (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon) who were afraid of Nasser, and relatively bad Arabs who were somewhat with Nasser and somewhat against him (Syria, Iraq). The underlying assumption of American policy was that when push came to shove, such as in an Egyptian-Israeli war or a clash between the West and the Soviet Bloc, the Arabs would split into two camps. Moderate North Africa, under the responsibility of EUCOM, would not intervene; Nasser would cause havoc and might need treatment by STRICOM.

This assumption, which fell apart in light of the reality that unfolded in the Six-Day War, was based in part on the open enmity between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In the 1960s, the Egyptian army became bogged down in aiding the rebels in Yemen against the monarchy there, and against Saudi Arabia, which was assisting it. Following Egyptian bombings inside Saudi territory, Kennedy ordered Strike Command to send half a combat squadron to help the Saudis, with rules of engagement that included readiness to down planes.

John Kennedy's assassination and the rise to power of Lyndon Johnson improved Israel's status in Washington. For American Jewry, the political and personal channels to Johnson were more open, warm and influential. Johnson did not share Kennedy's intransigent opposition to the reactor at Dimona. The secretaries of state and defense, Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara, stayed on under Johnson, but the new president appointed to three key positions officials who were more sympathetic to Israel than their predecessors: Walt Rostow as national security adviser, Richard Helms as CIA chief, and General Earle Wheeler as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Adherence to armistice

The planning of operations against the IDF remains in the defense apparatus as a persistent relic of a declared American policy that seeks to achieve a holy balance in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Its origins go back to the 1950s and the tripartite U.S.-British-French declaration against arms sales to either side. The Soviets exploited this policy to sell arms to the Arabs, and the French looked after their own interests when they supplied weapons to Israel, but the Americans preserved an outward appearance of egalitarianism.

Washington's support for the existence, independence and territorial integrity of all the states of the region was translated into adherence to the armistice lines of 1949: not to allow Egypt, or any combination of Arab states, to destroy Israel, but also not to allow Israel to expand westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank. The American pressure in this regard brought the IDF back from El Arish in Operation Horev in 1949 and from Sinai in 1956. A version of it would appear in Henry Kissinger's directives after the IDF encircled Egypt's Third Army at the end of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

On May 20, 1967, according to L. Weinstein's confidential study for the Institute for Defense Analyses, cable No. 5886 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was sent to EUCOM and STRICOM. STRICOM was asked to refresh the emergency plans for intervention in an Israeli-Arab war — one plan on behalf of Israel and the other, on behalf of the Arabs.

Conway replied four days later. He was doubtful about combat intervention and preferred an operation to evacuate American civilians from Israel and from Arab states. He also emphasized the need for political coordination in order to secure rights to use foreign bases, particularly Incirlik in Turkey, but also in Libya and Spain, and overflight rights. On May 25, STRICOM and EUCOM were asked to send officers familiar with the commands' plans to assist with planning at the Pentagon.

The next day, the Joint Chiefs asked Conway for his view on the question of American support for Israel. The government of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol implored the Johnson administration to take action to lift Nasser's closure of the Straits of Tiran. Johnson did not want a U.S. operation, but he was also not keen on the two other alternatives: a unilateral Israeli operation, or an Egyptian operation, which would jeopardize Israel's existence.

Conway was asked for his opinion about how the United States should act if the war were to be launched by an Arab action or, alternatively, by an Israeli strike. "The ultimate objective would be to stop aggression and insure the territorial integrity of all the Middle Eastern states," he was informed in cable No. 6365 of the Joint Chiefs, with a copy to EUCOM.

Conway's reply to this, dated May 28, is described in the top-secret study as "a strong plea for complete impartiality." The United States was liable to lose its influence to the Soviets, the general warned, and therefore it must demonstrate "strict neutrality" and avoid open support for Israel. The true importance of the Middle East lay in the American-Soviet context of the Cold War, Conway argued, and the American stance must derive from those considerations, not from "local issues." Only as a last resort should the United States take unilateral action — and then only to put an end to the fighting. In the estimation of the STRICOM commander, the Egyptian forces were deployed defensively, whereas the Israelis were deployed in rapid-strike offensive capability.

On May 29, Conway recommended that any U.S. intervention be launched early in order to ensure the territorial integrity of all the countries involved; restoring the status quo ante would become more complicated as the attacking army captured more territory. It might be difficult to determine which side had launched the hostilities, he noted, but the American response should be identical in both cases: a display of force, warnings to both sides, and if that should prove insufficient, "air and naval action to stabilize the situation, enforce grounding of aviation of both sides plus attacks on all moving armor or active artillery." Following the cease-fire, U.S. ground forces would be moved in for peacekeeping missions. The return of territories would be achieved primarily by diplomatic means, with military force to be used only if "absolutely necessary."

'Reasonable bounds'

While Conway represented the feelings on the ground, General Wheeler was attentive to the president. In an internal directive, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs recalled that Israel had repeatedly requested joint planning, but had been told that there was no authorization for this. At the same time, Wheeler continued, this possibility could not be ruled out, and the Joint Chiefs should therefore prepare an operational concept for the use of American forces to assist Israel, if war should erupt and if the relevant political decision were taken.

Wheeler barred the distribution of the planning concept to subordinate levels. A preliminary paper was prepared by June 5, the day the war erupted, and became outdated even before it could be used. On June 6, when the success of the Israel Air Force was known, and as the divisions under Israel Tal, Ariel Sharon and Avraham Yoffe advanced into Sinai, the Joint Chiefs sent McNamara top-secret memorandum No. 315-67, recommending that the United States not intervene militarily, that it continue to work through the United Nations and bilateral diplomatic channels, including consultation with the Soviets, to stop the war, and that logistical support for all sides be suspended.

The American sigh of relief at the demise of the worst-case scenario — the danger that Israel would be destroyed — was replaced by the fear that the Arab defeat had been so crushing that the Soviets would intervene on their behalf, or at least would reap a diplomatic profit. Because the United States did not know what Israel was aiming at, despite declarations by Eshkol and by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan that Israel had no territorial ambitions, the administration "now felt that it was necessary to limit [the Israeli] success to reasonable bounds."

In the years prior the war, Strike Command held a series of surprise exercises — "Bold Shot" and "Rapid Strike" — to examine the ability of the forces to organize without any prior warning, board a transport plane and prepare themselves for a parachute drop into battle. The last exercise in the series, held at the end of March, was based on the scenario of a crisis in an African country. Even against a small rebel force, a battalion of paratroopers needed four days from the start of the crisis, and two days from the time the order was received, to reach the target. In order to stop armored divisions in the desert, at the pace the IDF was keeping in June 1967, a force that embodied an internal contradiction would have been required: i.e., one that was both heavier, but also faster than what was available. Even if Johnson had made an unreasonable decision to use his army to block the IDF as it sped to Suez — contrary to his inclinations, the advice of his aides and what his confidants in the American Jewish community said — he would not have had the requisite military capability. The IDF was faster than the planners, decision makers and paratroopers of the United States.

True, we can conjecture that the appearance of an American force opposite the IDF would have had the effect of a tripwire that can block whatever is approaching, on the assumption that Israel would have been careful not to step on the little piece of metal cable that would have brought about even more massive American intervention — but this possibility is not hinted at in the American documents. The "Liberty" incident, which stemmed mainly from failures of coordination between the intelligence elements that ran the ship — the Joint Chiefs, EUCOM and the Sixth Fleet — illustrated how dangerous it was to deploy units without a uniform and clear chain of command in a combat zone.

In his memoirs, General Conway took a swing at his rival, Admiral McCain, over the "Liberty" issue. It was a tragedy of errors in more ways than one. Nasser had fabricated the idea of an intervention by the Sixth Fleet in Israel's favor; this was, as mentioned, a type of operation that had been planned secretly for an emergency, but was never implemented. The Pentagon initially attributed the attack on the ship to Egypt, as a kind of reaction to the fictional intervention. If Israel had not forwarded a surprising admission of its responsibility for the attack, Sixth Fleet aircraft would have been sent to attack Egyptian targets. The made-up story of the intervention would have become fact, by mistake, and Israel would have been accused of fomenting it.

Two retired IDF major generals — Israel Tal and Shlomo Gazit, who was then head of research in Military Intelligence — said recently, upon hearing the secret plan of the U.S. military, that Israel had no knowledge of this. The IDF fought the Egyptians, the Jordanians and the Syrians without imagining that it might find itself confronting the Americans as well, in their desert camouflage fatigues. This is the detail that is missing in Conway's memoirs: Did he study the events of the previous war, in 1956, and of all possible places in Sinai choose to parachute a battalion precisely in the Mitla Pass?

Contact Michael Travis at michaelmgr@gmail.com

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FROM ISRAEL: GAZA
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 18, 2008.

So, it's official (at least for now): A spokesman for Hamas has declared it will not be renewing the "lull" that ends tomorrow.

Not only are the more radical elements of this radical organization holding sway at the moment, there is less of a tendency to hold back other militant groups such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front.

But a couple of observations about what has been described as a split in the Hamas leadership are worth making here. First, Khaled Mashaal, who is opposed to further quiet, is situated in Damascus. Thus, he is more directly under the influence of Syria and Iran than are leaders such as Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahar, in Gaza City. On the flip side, Haniyeh and company are aware that if there are heightened hostilities with Israel, Hamas leadership in Gaza will be targeted.

However, to illustrate how complicated the situation is, it was Zahar, in Gaza, who stated in a recent interview that Palestinians need to fight to regain their land.

~~~~~~~~~~

In response to the barrage of rockets launched from Gaza yesterday, the Israeli Air Force took out two stationary rocket launchers near Jabaliya, in the north of Gaza, targeted a weapons cache in Jabaliya, and a site for manufacturing rockets and mortars in Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza. Both fighter planes and helicopters were involved in this operation — the first against infrastructure since the "lull" began six months ago.

~~~~~~~~~~

Assuming that Hamas doesn't switch its position at zero hour, what can we expect now? More operations such as the one done today, certainly, and likely larger operations from the air. The question of whether a major offensive that includes ground forces is imminent remains unanswerable from where I sit. The experts are generous with their frequently conflicting opinions.

That the IDF is ready, I believe is not a question. Some sources are saying something really big is on the immediate horizon. Others suggest the timing militarily may be wrong because we're going into winter, which means foot soldiers in the mud and poor visibility for planes because of clouds.

And then there are those saying the opportunity has been lost because Hamas has developed such a good defense against foot soldiers with booby traps and tunnels. It's painful to even write about this possibility because we should never, ever have let it get to this point. Six month "lull" indeed! A "lull" that gave them an opportunity to do this preparation unimpeded. My own guess, from everything I've heard, is that going in would be more difficult, but not impossible.

When all is said and done, however, the ultimate decisions come from the political level. So then there are questions to be asked regarding what our political heads, such as they are, may be considering. The election is certainly a factor. Would Kadima consider it a political asset to appear tough right before that election? Labor, which appeals to an even more left-wing electorate, likely would not.

~~~~~~~~~~

If matters proceed in the direction in which they seem now to be going, there is yet another factor: The so-called "peace process." How does strong Israeli action impinge on Abbas's standing and what pressures will be brought to bear on Israel in this regard? The line has been that Israeli action in Gaza hurts Abbas, because he is then seen to be negotiating with an entity that is shooting Palestinians. But tensions today between Hamas and Fatah are such that I wonder if that is truly the case.

Remember Livni's quote from yesterday: "...the negotiations must be accompanied by parallel and uncompromising efforts against Hamas rule in Gaza and terrorist groups that target innocent civilians. Concern for security is the first and highest imperative."

~~~~~~~~~~

There are some thoughtful predictions that within a matter of weeks we'll be seeing two completely separate Palestinian entities — with different governments and different armed forces. This issue, most of all, fascinates me with regard to the presumption that we are supposed to forge ahead with the Annapolis agreement. That was all predicated on one Palestinian people.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ehud Olmert is coming from a place that is both mindless and dangerous. He is headed for Turkey on Monday to discuss picking up again on the indirect talks with Syria. In a speech today he said that peace with Syria is "feasible" and would give Israel "substantial advantages":

"I sometimes hear censure of the peace process with Syria. There is the concern that Syria will continue its ties with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran in the future. It is exactly in order to test these ties that we need to talk to Syria."

Huh? He can talk to the Syrians and Assad can say whatever he wishes to say, and this guarantees exactly nothing. It was only days ago that Assad had the audacity to say that he wants Olmert to promise — before there are negotiations! — that Syria can come all the way down to the Kinneret if there's a deal. And Olmert is responding to this with serious discussion? To even contemplate allowing Syria down that far, to the edge of one of our major water sources, is total lunacy.

~~~~~~~~~~

As assurance that what Olmert is attempting is not likely to happen, I offer this:

First, there are very serious legal questions as to the permissibility of Olmert, heading a transition government, negotiating anything this huge.

Then there is the law: The Golan Heights are incorporated as part of sovereign Israel, governed under Israeli civil law. The law says that no part of sovereign Israel can be given away without a vote of the Knesset and a national referendum. And the mood in this country is very much against giving away the Golan.

~~~~~~~~~~

The political situation is so much in flux here that it's necessary to keep a score card. Now I want to focus on one key happening of significance with regard to the right wing parties, with other political news to follow in the next few days.

National Union — which had three factions, the largest and most significant being Moledet — and the National Religious Party had announced a merger some months ago that was intended to strengthen them. Their new party was named the Jewish Home. But it took off very poorly and polls showed a weakening of their strength. There was some quibbling about who would head the party and some question of how they would define themselves. After Gen. Yaakov Amidror declined to lead the party, they selected little known Daniel Hershkowitz — a Haifa rabbi and professor at the Technion — whose statements rapidly indicated that the party was moving centrist.

When the party list was established by party council without benefit of a primary, only the leader of Moledet, Rabbi Benny Elon, found himself out in the cold, an untenable 17th. Moledet was a nationalist party, primarily religious Zionist, and the Jewish Home wanted to head in a different direction. Benny Elon, I should note, has established and promoted the "Israel Initiative," a plan for resolving the question of how to achieve peace, which can be seen at http://www.israelinitiative.com/.

~~~~~~~~~~

MK Aryeh Eldad had been a member of Moledet, but is a secular nationalist. He left Moledet, feeling it wasn't the place for him, and began his own HaTikvah party. Eldad, a physician by training, is a model of integrity and devotion to the State. But his new party wasn't gaining traction and it looked regrettably as if he would not be in the next Knesset.

~~~~~~~~~~

Now tonight comes this announcement: Moledet is pulling out of the new Jewish Home party, and Benny Elon is retiring from politics. The remainder of the party will be joining with Eldad's HaTikvah and putting together their list for the election. This means, first, that there is new hope for Eldad. And then that a nationalist ticket will be invigorated. Among those likely to be high up on the list from Moledet is Uri Bank — well known to those on the inside for his hard work for years at the side of Benny Elon, most recently with regard to the Israel Initiative. It would be good to see him make it to the Knesset.

There may be even more to say about this situation shortly.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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THIS REALLY DOES SET A NEW STANDARD FOR VICIOUS UNBLINKING STUPIDITY
Posted by Mechel Samberg, December 18, 2008.

LMAO. There is nothing in those TWO PLATES of FOOD that is green or grassy. Jew haters will believe anything as long they get to demonize Jews. And the poor poor Transjordanians are so shameless that they'll tell any lie to further their cause of greedy Arab Imperialism.

This appeared in Mere Rhetoric
http://www.mererhetoric.com/archives/11275203.html

Breathless HuffPo Headline About Gazans Eating Grass Contradicted By Rest Of Headline, Linked Picture, Reality (Plus: Anti-Semitic Comments Ensue Anyway)

This really does set a new standard for vicious unblinking stupidity. The overnight HuffPo frontpage:

What a perfect photo to go with the headline: a child with two plates of food, a shelf of spices against the wall, and a full sink in the background. But don't get hung up on visual forensics. Down that road lies the UN's complaint that Gazans have enough food but not enough fruits and vegetables (a complaint they made right after Hamas banned Israeli fruits and vegetables). So forget the jarring visual. Just meditate on the headline for a second. Ready? Now: how the hell are Gazans getting high-end drugs if they can't even get food? Do these geniuses think it's easier or cheaper to score regulated narcotics — narcotics that according to the story Hamas "has made efforts to control" — than it is to get food? Come on. This takes less than 5 seconds of thought.

Of course the solution to this little conundrum is that Gaza is actually well-stocked with goods. All kinds of goods. Anything that can be bought is smuggled in via the underground tunnel network that the Palestinians run on Israeli electricity. Computers, cell phones, cement, furniture, whatever. Here are some illustrative photos for over-excited anti-Israel partisans: food and clothing and widescreen TVs and even live cows. Seriously. Anything.

Now one HuffPo commenter did realize that the headline was a problem. The solution?

The narcotic is one thing the Israeli occupiers will allow to get smuggled thru the blockade. No accident, I am sure. Tear down the Apartheid Wall, you Israeli criminals!!

Well obviously. I've got some more choice selections from the HuffPo comments section below the jump. This is just a sample from pages 3 and 4. I couldn't go back any further.

Israel is not a democracy and never was. It was always a military state and shows no signs of changing. It exploits the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis to justify eradicating the Palestinians.

Israel is the most evil state in the world. I really enjoyed when Candace Bergen said it should no longer exist on Boston Legal.

They show no signs of being human, actually. But that is beside the point. Israel is the occupier of Palestinian territories. They control the borders, the food and energy supply, the medical care, they control schools, they control the flow of water.

God will only put up this chit for so long before He intervenes, one way or another.

G*d bless AIPAC, ADL and all the other US perpetrators from 'The Israel Lobby' and supporters of the IDF, the same people who blackmailed the US into the Iraq war... for the attempted re-enactment of the Warsaw Ghetto strategy against another defenseless people and their democratically elected government!

IT'S THE JEWISH LOBBYISTS DEARIE! WE PAY A HUGE MONTHLY SUM TO ISRAEL SO THAT THEY CAN ARM THEMSELVES AND FIGHT — IT'S A DISGRACE. WE NEED THAT MONEY HERE AT HOME — LET THEM FIND THEIR OWN WAY AND HAVE HARD TIMES.

"Jewish lobbyists"? I thought they were Israel lobbyists. Didn't Walt and Mearsheimer say you have to keep them straight to avoid coming off like a vulgar anti-Semite?

References:

* UN: Gazans Have More Than Enough Food, But Lack Of Fruits And Vegetables Is A Humanitarian Crisis [MR]
* Hamas Blocks Israeli Food Shipments, Intentionally Starves Gaza Civilians To Create A Humanitarian Disaster — Again! [MR]
* Gaza's Booming Economy — Underground Mall System, Hundreds Of Supermarkets, Latest Fashions (Plus: New Gaza Tunnel Wasn't For Smuggling) [MR]
* New Data Confirms Old Data: Blaming Israel For Gaza's Medical Collapse Is A Vicious Lie [MR]
* More Photos from the Gaza Concentration Camp [IndyMedia]
* Wide Screen TV in Gaza [Solomonia]
* Photo from Getty Images

Previously:

* Palestinians Reject Israeli Humanitarian Efforts — Easier to Demonize Israel That Way
* Palestinians Intentionally Creating Humanitarian Crises In Gaza By Refusing To Accept Israeli Fuel
* Palestinians Shut Down Generator To Create Gaza Humanitarian Crisis, UN Blames Israel

Contact Mechel Samberg at mechelsamberg2@yahoo.com

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INTERVIEW OF CHIEF RABBI METZGER AFTER VISIT WITH JONATHAN POLLARD
Posted by Justice For Jonathan Pollard, December 18, 2008.

This appeared today in Yeshiva World News.

To listen to interview, click here.

This past Monday, 15 December 2008, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger — along with Rabbi Pesach Lerner Executive VP of NCYI & Mr. Shlomo Mostovsky Naional President of NCYI — visited Mr. Jonathan Pollard in jail. After leaving the prison, YWN was granted an exclusive interview with Rabbi Metzger about the condition of Mr. Pollard. An audio file of the interview is located at the bottom of this article.

With just four weeks remaining until President George Bush leaves office, the nationwide grass roots effort on behalf of Jonathan Pollard is entering a critical phase as people work to remind the White House of Jonathan Pollard's plight and push for a commutation of his prison sentence. People are encouraged to go to freepollardnow.com every day for the next month and join the effort to help set Jonathan Pollard free. In addition, people are encouraged to urge their relatives, neighbors, friends, and business colleagues to visit freepollardnow.com and participate in this important endeavor.

Since freepollardnow.com was launched and the nationwide grass roots effort began just one month ago, tens of thousands of people have called and faxed the White House.

Because it is essential that the White House hear from as many people as possible in the next four weeks, visitors to freepollardnow.com are urged to continue calling, faxing, and sending letters to President Bush on a daily basis. The website provides contact information for the White House, a sample letter that people can fax or mail, and an online petition that will be sent to President Bush. Visitors to freepollardnow.com are reminded that just 60 seconds a day can help Jonathan Pollard go free.

Pollard, who just began his 24th year in federal prison, has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his more than two decades in prison.

In addition, Pollard's life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations. Countless elected officials, individuals from the national intelligence arena and the legal world, as well as religious and community leaders, have described Pollard's sentence as excessive, and have called for his sentence to be commuted.

"The response to this grass roots effort has been extraordinary, as thousands upon thousands of people have contacted the White House and called for Jonathan Pollard's release," said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel, and one of the driving forces behind freepollardnow.com. "The next four weeks are especially critical, and we are hoping that people will continue calling and faxing President Bush and urge him to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence. After more than two decades in prison, it is time for Jonathan to go home to Israel and reunite with his family."

 

TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH!

Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard!

Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard!

DIAL: 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111

Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM EDST

From Israel, call toll-free: 077-566-4305
Israel Time: 4 PM to Midnight

Leave a message for President George Bush:

FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW!

Reach Justice for Jonathan Pollard by sending an email to justice4jp@gmail.com and visit their website: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/rss.htm

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PALESTINIANS GOT $1.7BLN IN AID LAST YEAR
Posted by Avodah, December 18, 2008.

This comes from Google News
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iApRoTyESi2JfZXp2zJTskfoqOnQ

PARIS (AFP) — The international community has given 1.7 billion dollars (1.18 billion euros) in aid to the Palestinian Authority over the last year, the French foreign ministry said Wednesday.

That was 0.6 billion dollars more than was promised at a major donor conference held last December in Paris, spokesman Frederic Desagneaux said.

At that conference, donors promised to provide 7.4 billion dollars over three years, which was considerably more than the 5.6 billion dollars the Palestinians had requested.

The donors agreed to allocate 1.1 billion dollars in the first year.

"Such payments above the promises made are the concrete sign of the exceptional engagement of the international community," Desagneaux said.

The conference agreed a package of aid to stabilise the Palestinian economy and try to shore up the faltering peace process with Israel.

Palestinian leaders said the money was needed for direct support to the budget to help develop a viable economy and institutions for a future Palestinian state.

Contact Avodah at Avodah15@aol.com and visit his website:
http://am-yisrael-blog.blogspot.com/

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THE ARAB STATES THAT FUND THE CLINTON FOUNDATION
Posted by Avodah, December 18, 2008.

This comes from the New York Times and and it appeared on by the Elder of Ziyon website
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2008/12/arab-states-that-fund-clinton.html

The governments of Saudi Arabia and Norway, the Dubai Foundation and the business moguls Bill Gates, Stephen Bing, Haim Saban and Robert L. Johnson are among the biggest financial backers of former President Bill Clinton's foundation over the last decade, according to a complete donor list published for the first time Thursday morning.

Here are the names of nations that have given money to the foundation, with the amounts they gave:

$10,000,001 to $25,000,000
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

$5,000,001 to $10,000,000
Government of Norway

$1,000,001 to $5,000,000
Dubai Foundation
Friends of Saudi Arabia
State of Kuwait
State of Qatar
The Sultanate of Oman

There are many other donors, of course, but in terms of donors that specifically represent countries, Arab states are heavily over-represented.

It will be remembered that a significant portion of The Carter Center donors also represent specifically Arab interests.

Contact Avodah at Avodah15@aol.com and visit his website:
http://am-yisrael-blog.blogspot.com/

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GEN. JONES WANTS NATO IN SAMARIA, IDF DOES NOT; NON-DEBATE DEBATES; ENEMY LOGIC
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 18, 2008.

LYING TO PERVERT ISRAELI DEMOCRACY

PM Olmert said his decision to forcefully evacuate the Jews from a disputed house in Hebron, was required by the Supreme Court. Olmert and the media keep repeating that the Court ruled that the Jews "should" be evacuated.

No, the Court ruled that the Jews "may" be evacuated but that if not, a lower court would determine rightful ownership of the house. Olmert and the media have been corrected often about their misstatement. The government and media reject the correction. They keep lying in behalf of their oust-the-Jews ideology.

Olmert also said that the government could not allow independent militias, so it had to disarm the Irgun men from the Altalena. He admitted that Irgun chief Menachem Begin had ordered them not to harm fellow Jews (IMRA, 12/3).

A decent government would not expel families that exhibited proof of ownership verifiable by a lower court. It would wait for adjudication.

The Irgun offered nine-tenths of its arms and most of its militia to be integrated into the government forces, which badly needed them. It wanted to retain a fraction of forces and arms for liberating Jerusalem, which the government had given up on. The Irgun fraction would be fighting outside of Israel.

There was no need for Ben-Gurion to order Rabin to fire on Irgun men waiting on the beach, to sink the arms ship that they could have unloaded, and to murder the men who had jumped off the burning ship into the sea. When Nazi U-boats used to shoot floating survivors of their torpedoes, we thought that barbaric. Ben-Gurion really was attempting not to work out a solution to the benefit of Israel but to assassinate a political rival. His Labor Party, a party of the Left, is based on force and murder, couched in terms of "law and order." I find it unchanged. Shame on the Left!

GEN. JONES WANTS NATO IN SAMARIA, IDF DOES NOT

Gen. Jones, to be Obama's national security advisor, wants NATO troops to risk their lives in Judea-Samaria, defending Israel from terrorists still armed after any Israeli withdrawal from the Territories. The IDF, which, unlike NATO, knows how to deal with terrorists, does not want NATO there (IMRA, 12/3).

Foreign troops are hostile to Israel and untrustworthy. Why should Israel withdraw from an area at permanent religious war against it? How dare they move towards statehood for Territories that in all these years, built rather than ended terrorism! Let NATO attend to Afghanistan, where it is failing! Let UNIFIL's European troops do their job in Lebanon, where they are not!

REACTION TO CHANGING OIL PRICES

The President of Iran finally admitted that his country's economy is in difficulty. He attributes it to reduced oil prices (IMRA, 12/3).

Oil prices keep falling. Arab oil states based their budgets on the inflated prices. They must have assumed that the price of oil would rise continually. Hedge funds assumed the same about mortgages and commodities. They cannot imagine reversal. Hope is eternal, reversal is universal.

NON-DEBATE DEBATES

Is American drug policy a success or a failure to be ended? Two Op-Ed pieces in the Wall St. Journal took opposite sides. Both made good points. Neither, however, rebutted the other's case or even seemed aware of it.

The one claiming the policy is a success doesn't acknowledge the problems with the policy. The other one doesn't acknowledge the successes (12/5, A21). That isn't enough of a debate. I couldn't make up my mind from two, one-sided cases.

The key question is whether we could acknowledge having found some methods successful, and whether we then expand spread those methods sufficiently to solve the problem. Then terrorists and gangsters would not profit from drugs.

Otherwise, the anti-prohibitionist may be right in proposing a program of damage-control without an outright ban.

What struck me is the lack of a national forum for debating the most important social issues. It might attract much attention and reduce our polarization.

IS THERE A CEASEFIRE IN GAZA?

Terrorists have been firing rockets and mortars into Israel steadily for some days or weeks, now. They fired at least 20 rockets on 12/5, 6. Foreign Min. Livni says it is not a ceasefire. Urging retaliation, Vice PM Ramon said there is "calm" in Gaza but not in nearby Israeli cities, used as targets. Deputy PM Mofaz said that Israel should change its strategy and give Hamas to understand that its attacks on Israel won't pay. "In response, Barak said, 'the situation in Gaza is known. The reality requires us to weigh opinions, responsibility and politics." Defense Min. Barak said one has to weigh realities (IMRA, 12/6).

They are playing politics, ignoring reality, not defending Israel. Pathetic! Even if honored, ceasefires help only the Arabs. They don't honor them. Then don't implement a policy towards the Arabs unless willing to enforce it or end it.

ENEMY LOGIC

"Any people who have been persecuted for 2000 years must be doing something wrong." "If Jews weren't evil, no one would hate them. " "If the Holocaust really happened, no one would deny it. "

"If Uncle Sam wasn't an International Ass-Hole, America wouldn't need a missile shield." (Screenname "I Enemy Combatant," 12/5.)

Does "Doing something wrong" mean wrongdoing or mean not having good public relations. Which? Enemy Combatant accuses without explaining. Internet antisemites usually offer many examples, from distortions to fabrications. The persecution of Jews stemmed from rivalry by other religions. Certain Christian sects have disavowed their prejudices, but left them embedded in popular culture. Foreigners are tempted to stick with the usual scapegoat. All that is not the fault of Jewry. Muslims hate many peoples. Shall we assume that those peoples must be doing something wrong? The accusation blames the victim. It's like blaming a woman for being raped by a Muslim or a drunk.

Jews tended to be popular among Christians, until the Church campaigned against them. The resulting antisemitism was cultivated. The Jewish people do have poor public relations, but they are easy to pick on. Attention: cowards.

I think that there is something wrong with those who blame a whole people and all their descendants for something their ancestors did not do.

The notion that hatred of Jews must be deserved is ignorant and naive. It is ignorant, because, as I explained, much of the hatred is false and cultivated. It is naïve, because it assumes that the world in general is benign. Benign? Think of the Nazis, Communists, Muslims, and the murderous rebels in Africa, among others!

Holocaust denial, despite the mountain of records and other evidence, the memories of living witnesses, and the admissions by perpetrator nations is both naïve and malicious. Muslims deny it, because they want the world to sympathize with them against the Jews, rather than the reverse. The record shows Muslim Bosnian and Arab participation in the Holocaust. It also shows Albanian Muslim protection of native Jews.

The claim that the US ought not need a missile shield is ambiguous. Why shouldn't it? Because it failed to knock out Iran's nuclear facilities or because it doesn't make nice to the Iranian Muslims who hate the US not because of what it does but because it is not Muslim? What about other countries that need the shield? "Ass-holes," too?

I Enemy Combatant's type of reasoning combines poor logic, ambiguity, fantasy, misunderstanding, and prejudice. Considering that half of Americans drop out of high school, one cannot expect much of them. Considering our schools' increasing ideological bias, how educated would graduates be! And yet, the better educated Europeans are more bigoted.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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A CLASSIC: DOWN WITH CHANUKAH
Posted by Barbara Ginsberg, December 18, 2008.
 

Anyone reading this Rav Kahane article and is not on my personal list to receive the weekly articles written by Rav Kahane and would like to be, please contact me at: barhow@netvision.net.il,
Barbara Ginsberg"

This article was published December 15, 1972 is from Rabbi Meir Kahane's writings (5732-33) (1971-73)

If I were a Reform rabbi; if I were a leader of the Establishment whose money and prestige have succeeded in capturing for him the leadership and voice of American Jewry; if I were one of the members of the Israeli Government's ruling group; if I were an enlightened sophisticated, modern Jewish intellectual, I would climb the barricades and join in battle against the most dangerous of all Jewish holidays — Chanukah.

It is a measure of the total ignorance of the world Jewish community that there is no holiday that is more universally celebrated than the "Feast of Lights", and it is an equal measure of the intellectual dishonesty and of Jewish leadership that it plays along with the lie. For if ever there was a holiday that stands for everything that the mass of world Jewry and their leadership has rejected — it is this one. If one would find an event that is truly rooted in everything that Jews of our times and their leaders have rejected and, indeed, attacked — it is this one. If there is any holiday that is more "unJewish" in the sense of our modern beliefs and practices — I do not know of it.

The Chanukah that has erupted unto the world Jewish scene in all its childishness, asininity, shallowness, ignorance and fraud — is not the Chanukah of reality. The Chanukah that came into vogue because of Jewish parents — in their vapidness — needed something to counteract Christmas; that exploded in a show of "we-can-have-lights-just-as-our-goyish-neighbors" and in an effort to reward our spoiled children with eight gifts instead of the poor Christian one; the Chanukah that the Temple, under its captive rabbi, turned into a school pageant so that the beaming parents might think that the Religious School is really successful instead of the tragic joke and waste that it really is; the Chanukah that speaks of Jewish Patrick Henrys giving-me-liberty-or death and the pictures of Maccabees as great liberal saviors who fought so that the kibbutzim might continue to be free to preach their Marx and eat their ham, that the split-level dwellers of suburbia might be allowed to violate their Sabbath in perfect freedom and the Reform and Conservative Temples continue the fight for civil rights for Blacks, Puerto Ricans and Jane Fonda, is not remotely connected with reality.

This is NOT the Chanukah of our ancestors, of the generations of Jews of Eastern Europe and Yemen and Morocco and the crusades and Spain and Babylon. It is surely not the Chanukah for which the Maccabees themselves died. Truly, could those whom we honor so munificently, return and see what Chanukah has become, they might very well begin a second Maccabean revolt. For the life that we Jews lead today was the very cause, the REAL reason for the revolt of the Jews "in those days in our times."

What happened in that era more than 2000 years ago? What led a handful of Jews to rise up in violence against the enemy? And precisely who WAS the enemy? What were they fighting FOR and who were they fighting AGAINST?

For years, the people of Judea had been the vassals of Greece. True independence as a state had been unknown for all those decades and, yet, the Jews did not rise up in revolt. It was only when the Greek policy shifted from mere political control to one that attempted to suppress the Jewish religion that the revolt erupted in all its bloodiness. It was not mere liberty that led to the Maccabean uprising that we so passionately applaud. What we are really cheering is a brave group of Jews who fought and plunged Judea into a bloodbath for the right to observe the Sabbath, to follow the laws of kashruth, to obey the laws of the Torah. IN A WORD EVERYTHING ABOUT CHANUKAH THAT WE COMMEMORATE AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO COMMEMORATE ARE THINGS WE CONSIDER TO BE OUTMODED, MEDIEVAL AND CHILDISH!

At best, then, those who fought and died for Chanukah were naïve and obscurantist. Had we lived in those days we would certainly not have done what they did for everyone knows that the laws of the Torah are not really Divine but only the products of evolution and men (do not the Reform, Reconstructionist and large parts of the Conservative movements write this daily?) Surely we would not have fought for that which we violate every day of our lives! No, at best Chanukah emerges as a needless holiday if not a foolish one. Poor Hannah and her seven children; poor Mattathias and Judah; poor well meaning chaps all but hopelessly backward and utterly unnecessary sacrifices.

But there is more. Not only is Chanukah really a foolish and unnecessary holiday, it is also one that is dangerously fanatical and illiberal. The first act of rebellion, the first enemy who fell at the hands of the brave Jewish heroes whom our delightful children portray so cleverly in their Sunday and religious school pageants, was NOT a Greek. He was a Jew.

When the enemy sent its troops into the town of Modin to set up an idol and demand its worship, it was a Jew who decided to exercise his freedom of pagan worship and who approached the altar to worship Zeus (after all, what business was it of anyone what this fellow worshipped?) And it was this Jew, this apostate, this religious traitor who was struck down by the brave, glorious, courageous (are these not the words all our Sunday schools use to describe him?) Mattathias, as he shouted: "Whoever is for G-d, follow me!"

What have we here? What kind of religious intolerance and bigotry? What kind of a man is this for the anti-religious of Hashomer Hatzair, the graceful temples of suburbia, the sophisticated intellectuals, the liberal open-minded Jews and all the drones who have wearied us unto death with the concept of Judaism as a humanistic, open-minded, undogmatic, liberal, universalistic (if not Marxist) religion, to honor? What kind of nationalism is this for David-Ben-Gurion (he who rejects the Galut and speaks of the proud, free Jew of ancient Judea and Israel)?

And to crush us even more (we who know that Judaism is a faith of peace which deplores violence), what kind of Jews were these who reacted to oppression with FORCE? Surely we who so properly have deplored Jewish violence as fascistic, immoral and (above all!) UN-JEWISH, stand in horror as we contemplate Jews who declined to picket the Syrian Greeks to death and who rejected quiet diplomacy for the sword, spear and arrow (had there been bombs in those days, who can tell what they might have done?) and "descended to the level of evil," thus rejecting the ethical and moral concepts of Judaism.

Is this the kind of a holiday we wish to propagate? Are these the kinds of men we want our moral and humanistic children to honor? Is this the kind of Judaism that we wish to observe and pass on to our children?

Where shall we find the man of courage the one voice, in the wilderness to cry out against Chanukah and the Judaism that it represents-the Judaism of our grandparents and ancestors? Where shall we find the man of honesty and integrity to attack the Judaism of Medievalism and outdated foolishness; the Judaism of bigotry that strikes down Jews who refuse to observe the law; the Judaism of violence that calls for Jewish force and might against the enemy? When shall we find the courage to proudly eat our Chinese food and violate our Sabbaths and reject all the separateness, nationalism and religious maximalism that Chanukah so ignobly represents? ...Down with Chanukah! It is a regressive holiday that merely symbolizes the Judaism that always was; the Judaism that was handed down to us from Sinai; the Judaism that made our ancestors ready to give their lives for the L-rd; the Judaism that young people instinctively know is true and great and real. Such Judaism is dangerous for us and our leaders. We must do all in our power to bury it.

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FROM ISRAEL: THE UN
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 17, 2008.

Eye on the UN, headed by Anne Bayefsky, has put out an appeal with regard to the planned Durban II conference, scheduled for April 2009 in Geneva:

A 2008 U.S. State Department report on global anti-Semitism highlighted the malicious role played by the 2001 United Nations Durban I Conference. It was, in theory, intended to be an "anti-racism" conference. It was, in practice, anything but. The American and Israeli delegations walked out in protest, deeply disturbed that the conference was being hijacked by global promoters of hate.

The stated purpose of Durban II is to "further the implementation of the (2001) Durban Declaration."

The Durban Declaration declares that Israel, and only Israel, is guilty of racism.

Sitting on the planning committee for the Durban II conference are Chairman, Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya; Vice Chairman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran; and Rappateur, Raul Castro, Cuba.

Can you believe this? Believe it. Is any other information needed to understand what's going on?

~~~~~~~~~~

The government of Canada has announced that it will not be attending the conference. Israel will not be attending. The Dutch foreign minister has said his country will not be involved unless anti-Israel statements are removed from draft texts: "It seems like the sole intention is to criticize Israel and condemn the West for slavery and its colonial history."

In November, when announcing that Israeli would not be participating, Foreign Minister Livni called upon the international community to also refuse to participate.

The US has not yet decided whether to participate. Eye on the UN is promoting action to encourage the US government to stay away. It is recommending this request be made of:

President-elect Obama at 202-456-1111, comments@whitehouse.org

Secretary of state-designate Clinton, at 202-647-4000, with e-mail via http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php

Congressman Howard Berman, Chair House Foreign Affairs Committee, 202-225-5021, 202-225-4695, or fax (202) 225-3196.

Many persons of distinction lent their names to this appeal, including Bernard Lewis, Eli Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Victor David Hanson, William Bennet, Norman Podhoretz and James Woolsey.

In the cases of Obama and Clinton, contact information provided by Eye on the UN is via the White House and State Department respectively. Please, convey your messages so that it clear for whom they are intended. I suggest also contacting your own senators and congresspersons. You can find their contact information here: http://www.israelunitycoalition.org/media/contacts_congress.php. Faxes are a most effective way to relay messages.

~~~~~~~~~~

In some quarters the argument is being made that it's better to be at the conference in order to combat what's going on. In principle this sounds good, but where this conference is concerned, it would be impossible. If the US — and a solid number of European countries — were to decline to participate, the legitimacy of the conference would be undercut.

If you are a citizen of a European nation and are able to promote a campaign to get that nation to withdraw participation, please do!

~~~~~~~~~~

Pity that a proposal made some while ago for democratic nations to withdraw from the UN and start their own organization never took off. The UN is a good idea that has gone seriously bad. Some of its agencies do constructive work, but it is, to a large extent, co-opted by corrupt, repressive, anti-democratic, and hateful forces.

~~~~~~~~~~

Now, having seen the UN Security Council resolution — # 1850 — on promoting the Annapolis negotiations, I would like to return to that subject briefly.

I clearly am not pleased that Condoleezza Rice promoted this resolution as a way of firming up the "legacy" of the work she and President Bush have done with regard to Annapolis — in essence saying that the way to continue to deal with the "Palestinian-Israeli conflict" is via this avenue of negotiations and not some other way (something that Olmert pretty much signed on to with the Annapolis Agreement, which referred to "vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations").

But neither am I as alarmed as some of the people I've been hearing from are. And I would like to explain why.

It speaks, as does the Quartet statement I analyzed yesterday, about the "irreversibility" of the bilateral negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis. The "irreversibility," as I've explained, refers to the process, not to specific content of negotiations. So...we're expected to keep talking.

But, we must note, the negotiations are referred to as "bilateral," which means between the two sides, and not with resolution imposed from the outside. There were no specifics dealt with — something for which I am grateful. It doesn't talk about the need for Israel to withdraw from specific lands, or about the sanctity of Jerusalem to both parties or about justice for the refugees.

~~~~~~~~~~

It does speak of a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side. But this is not groundbreaking. In 2003, there was SC resolution 1515, which endorsed the roadmap for a two state solution. In 2002, there was SC resolution 1397, which affirmed the vision of a region in which two states would live side by side, welcomed the contribution of Prince Abdullah (that's the horrendous Saudi plan), and called on both sides to cooperate in the Tenet plan with the aim of resuming negotiations towards a political settlement.

So, there's sort of a tradition here, with various plans that promote a two-state solution endorsed. So far, we don't have a two-state solution. Neither resolution 1397 nor 1515 imposed that upon us, and I believe neither will the current resolution.

We've been talking off and on for 15 years now. For the time being, seems we'll keep talking. I won't belabor what I said yesterday regarding the need to stand up for our rights and security within those talks.

~~~~~~~~~~

Two things are of concern to me. One is that it calls on the parties to "refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations." This is not new language but it's troublesome. It's one thing to abide by agreed-upon rules. It's another to speak of "undermining confidence," which is very amorphous. What seems most likely is that the international community will be on us if we so much as breathe in Judea and Samaria or eastern Jerusalem.

But I have a response to this of considerable import: There is little that undermines our confidence in the sincerity of the Palestinians more than does the horrendous incitement that spews forth daily in the PA. It behooves us to be on top of them for that, make noise internationally about that (we've been far too quiet), and retort with that when we are accused of "undermining confidence." There can be no progress until they change the textbooks that call for jihad, etc. etc.

The second matter that causes unease is that the Security Council "Welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." This is amorphous enough — "in consultation with the parties" — so that it may come to nothing. But a conference in Moscow would not be a good scene. This resolution was co-sponsored by the US and Russia and my assumption is that Rice signed off on this to get Russia, which is eager for such a conference, to cooperate.

The text of the resolution can be found at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/sc9539.doc.htm

~~~~~~~~~~

The Foreign Ministry, as might have been expected, responded positively to the resolution, putting an anti-Hamas spin on it, saying:

[The resolution] "delivered an unequivocal message to the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza.

"The Security Council's statement that lasting peace can only be based on mutual recognition, ending terror and incitement, and committing to the two-state solution, is an endorsement of core Israeli principles for the peace process."

Livni additionally said that "the negotiations must be accompanied by parallel and uncompromising efforts against Hamas rule in Gaza and terrorist groups that target innocent civilians. Concern for security is the first and highest imperative."

This last suggests to me that she's setting the scene for something other than a "lull" with Hamas. The question of how we "negotiate" with the PA while we're fighting with Hamas remains to be seen.

~~~~~~~~~~

Add Barry Rubin to the list of commentators who thinks Obama will be focused domestically:

"[The Obama administration] faces humongous problems at home and has gigantic ambitions to change America, for better or worse." This was Krauthammer's point precisely.

~~~~~~~~~~

The escalation of violence from Gaza continues. Today 20 Kassams were launched and three people in Sderot were lightly injured.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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70 COOL CHANUKAH YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Posted by Jacob Richman, December 17, 2008.

Hi Everyone!

I created a list of 70 cool Chanukah YouTube videos. There is something for everyone.

The list includes:

Adam Sandler's — The Chanukah Song
Kenny Ellis sings his hit single Swingin' Dreidel
I Had a Little Dreidl — Bagel Blvd Chanuka Edition
Captain Smartypants sings Dreidel
The Funky Gold Menorah by The Mama Doni Band
Chabad: Chanukah Around the World
Nefesh B'Nefesh: Modern Day Miracles
Birthright: Light em Up
Hanukkah Bird (animation and song)
My Menorah — The knack is back! (animation and song)
Ahmedinijad admits he is addicted!
Eli Yazpan, Hanukkah (in Hebrew)
The Man Show — Hanukkah with Bill Goldberg
Jewlarious: he Miracle on 42nd Street
Meshugga Beach Party — Oh Hanukkah
Al Hanisim — Six13 @ Chabad Chanukah Telethon
Hannukah Song Texas Style
Oy Cappella — Adam Sandler Chanukah Song
Voices of Liberty singing O Hannukah
Aish: Just Jew It — True Chanuka Story
Chana Zelda
"The Latke Song" by Debbie Friedman
How to play Chanukah Dredyl
Gerber Folk Skewer The Dreidel Song
The Eight Nights of Hanukkah, as told by Jewish celebrities
Purim Homintaschen vs. Hannukah Latke debate
Light One Candle performed by Peter, Paul and Mary
Light Up — Moshe Skier Band 2006
Feed Me Bubbe — Latkes

and many more.....

The address is: http://www.jr.co.il/videos/chanukah-videos.htm

Enjoy!
Have a Happy Chanukah!
Jacob

Contact Jacob Richam at jrichman@jr.co.il

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AMERICAN NUCLEAR SPY FOR IRAN GETS 15 MONTHS!
Posted by Justice For Jonathan Pollard, December 17, 2008.

Is there a bigger nuclear threat to the world today than that posed by Iran's possession of nuclear arms? Providing nuclear software to Iran which he stole from the largest American nuclear plant where he was employed, netted Mohammad Reza Alavi, an American [Iranian-born] spy, fifteen-months in prison.

Alavi's crimes were all but dismissed because no immediate harm to the US could be discerned. The judge actually speculated that harm to the US may yet occur, but did not see any reason to penalize Alavi, "It has not been shown that the transporting of stolen software and its presence in Iran actually resulted in any security harm, but it is impossible to know," [Judge] Wake said.

Jonathan Pollard's experience has been just the opposite. Pollard got life, instead of the usual 2 to 4-year sentence, because of speculation that harm to the US may some day occur. More than 2 decades later this claim has long since been put to the lie, but Pollard continues to languish in prison with no end in sight.

Unlike the screaming headlines, slander and smear that have accompanied the Pollard case for more than 2 decades, the Iranian spy case was so downplayed in the media, that it was barely noticeable in the news.

This is yet another example of a case where a spy for an American enemy is treated with kid gloves; the charges against him downgraded to merely "transporting stolen software"and the sentence is a joke!

This news item below is named "Prison for Nuke Engineer Who Took Nuclear Software To Iran" and it appeared yesterday on www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iPuDoo93G1-fCDtFV0aBjYUK6GaQD95400DG0

PHOENIX (AP) — An Iranian-born engineer who worked at the nation's largest nuclear power plant was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison for taking computer software that he obtained at the plant to Iran.

U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake ordered that Mohammad Reza Alavi's two sentences of 15 months each be served at the same time. Alavi, a naturalized U.S. citizen, worked for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix for 17 years.

Palo Verde officials have said the software did not contain enough information to pose a security threat.

Alavi, 51, apologized in court before Wake handed down the sentence, which was more than the six months the defense had asked for but less than the prosecution sought.

"I have only myself to blame for these actions and I accept full responsibility," Alavi said. "I love America and would never do anything to hurt this country."

Wake said he believed Alavi was aware that what he was doing was wrong and that other people need to be deterred from committing similar crimes.

"It has not been shown that the transporting of stolen software and its presence in Iran actually resulted in any security harm, but it is impossible to know," Wake said.

Federal prosecutor David Pimsner said the government couldn't ignore Alavi's crimes.

Iran is "a country that everyone is well aware is developing its own nuclear industry," he said.

The U.S. and many of its allies suspect that Iran wants to develop weapons through its nuclear program, but Tehran says it is focused on power generation.

In May, a federal jury convicted Alavi of illegally accessing a protected computer but deadlocked on two other counts. Alavi then reached a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded to one of the remaining counts. The other one, involving violation of the U.S. trade embargo with Iran, was dropped.

Prosecutors said Alavi likely wanted to use the software to boost his chances for a job in the Iranian nuclear industry. Access to protected American software would have made him especially valuable, they said.

Alavi's lawyer, David Laufman, said in court documents that Alavi wanted to move back to Iran because his wife found living in the U.S. difficult. He said he took the software with him because he was proud he had helped design it. He said he showed the software only to his family, and then only for a few minutes.

Alavi's access to the plant's computer network was terminated 11 days after he quit in August 2006. But when he was in Iran two months later, investigators said, Alavi downloaded an access code from the software maker.

SEE ALSO:
Comparative Sentencing Charts http://www.jonathanpollard.org/sentences.htm

The Unequal Justice Page (other cases) http://www.jonathanpollard.org/justice.htm

Hey! Got a minute?
Call the White House for Jonathan Pollard! 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111 From Israel, call toll-free: 077-566-4305 Leave a message for President George Bush: Free Jonathan Pollard now!

Reach Justice for Jonathan Pollard by sending an email to justice4jp@gmail.com and visit their website: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/rss.htm

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THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT BASHES ISRAEL IN ANNUAL RITUAL
Posted by Barbara Sommer, December 17, 2008.

Dear Friend of FLAME:

The United Nations is back at it again, doing what it does best: Trashing Israel.

This time it was General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann at the helm. In his eyes, Israel is guilty of running an apartheid state, with the solution being "boycott, divestment, and sanctions" by the international community. A few days after these remarks were made, the UN's annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people took place on November 29th. Where is the UN's annual day of solidarity with the people of Sudan, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tibet or Kurdistan?

Let us overlook d'Escoto's warm embrace of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after his vile, hate-filled speech to the UN General Assembly earlier this year. And let us overlook d'Escoto's clear distaste for Israel's strongest ally, the United States (for one, he called President Ronald Reagan ¡the butcher of my people'). Instead, let us focus on his false cry of apartheid.

Apartheid is a system for ensuring the rule of the minority over the majority. This is clearly not the situation in Israel. Jews are not in the minority and Israel is a democracy in which Arabs, Jews, and Christians all have the same rights. In calling Israel an apartheid state, d'Escoto essentially expresses his preference for a single state in which all the region's Jews and Arabs should be living side by side, a notion that inherently delegitimizes the Jewish state's existence.

Israel and most of the world have continually embraced a two-state solution. The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity to create their own state — largely because that has meant Israel would also exist as an independent Jewish nation. D'Escoto completely ignores the fact that if the Palestinians were capable of finally renouncing and eliminating terror, there would be no need for checkpoints, blockades, and Israeli forces in the West Bank. Then, if they could stop their own bloody internecine battles, they could probably even form a state. We recently experienced Islamic terrorism again in the despicable terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The Chabbad house was attacked specifically because there were Jews there. It is far past due for the UN to call an emergency session on the scourge of global Islamic terror. There have been ten emergency special sessions called by the UN. Six have been on Israel. None on the violence in Rwanda or Darfur. In the current 62nd session of the UN General Assembly there have been nineteen one-sided resolutions against Israel. Are we truly to believe that Israel represents one of the worst threats in the world? That Israel is among the greatest purveyors of human rights atrocities? We simply should not tolerate such blatant and biased attacks on Israel in the UN.

Please read the summary of d'Escoto's accusations against Israel below. Does it truly sound like he "loves" Israel and the Jewish people as he claims? It is called "UNGA head accuses Israel of apartheid" and was written by Allison Hoffman. It appeared November 25, 2008 in the Jerusalem Post.

Best regards,

Dave Nogradi
FLAME Hotline Contributor

P.S. The UN's unfair treatment of Israel is certainly not new — indeed, it's been going on for years. No wonder FLAME published a revealing position paper on the subject: "The UN and Israel: Is the Jewish state getting a fair shake from the world body? (See http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_74.html.) This explanation illuminates the reason behind the many anti-Israel resolutions passed in the U.N. and has run nationwide in dozens of publications, which have reached tens of millions of Americans. Please review this position paper and pass it along to others. Most of all, if you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able — with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html. Thanks for continuing to help us keep the flame alive!

A top UN official has called for "concrete action" against Israel over the country's treatment of Palestinians.

General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann said the international community should consider sanctions against Israel including "boycott, divestment and sanctions" similar to those enacted against South Africa two decades ago.

D'Escoto, who told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview last month that he "loved" Israel but disagreed with its policies, reiterated in his speech Tuesday that he had "great love for the Jewish people."

But he went on to say that the Holocaust and other historical crimes against the Jews didn't give Israel "the right to abuse others, especially those who historically have such deep and exemplary relations with the Jewish people."

He pointedly added that he wanted to remind Israelis that despite "the protective shield of the United States and the Security Council," nothing could excuse the failure to establish a Palestinian state.

"This central fact makes a mockery of the United Nations and greatly hurts its image and prestige," d'Escoto said.

D'Escoto made no mention of rocket attacks into the western Negev.

"Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society who are calling for a similar nonviolent campaign," said D'Escoto, a Nicaraguan diplomat who currently holds the one-year presidency.

"Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away, and I believe it is very important we in the United Nations use this term," he said. "We must not be afraid to call something for what it is."

D'Escoto's remarks kicked off a two-day plenary session on the Palestinian issue ahead of the UN's annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, slated for November 29. On that day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 on the partition of Mandatory Palestine.

The session, in which envoys from Arab countries and around the world condemned the failure of the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement that would establish a Palestinian state, comes two weeks after a gathering in which heads of state from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Arab countries publicly expressed optimism about the current bilateral negotiations.

Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev told the Post she planned to send a letter complaining about d'Escoto's comments to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"To equate, to make a similarity between apartheid and the Israeli action in the territories is something we cannot accept," she told the Post on Tuesday.

"Just two weeks ago there was talk of peace, with the moderates leading the way, and now it is the same old narrative."

Shalev addressed the General Assembly earlier in the day and called on the body to reject the "yearly ritual" of "bashing Israel."

"Will you continue adopting resolutions that are irrelevant at best, and damaging at worst?" she challenged her colleagues.

In his remarks, d'Escoto called on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Earlier Tuesday, checkpoints had been opened to allow humanitarian supplies to reach UN facilities.

Later in the day, Ban called for an immediate end to the blanket closure on Gaza, but also "unreservedly" condemned rocket attacks on the western Negev.

Their comments followed a morning of debate before the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, at which the envoy of the Palestinian Authority read a speech from President Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of intentionally obstructing the peace process.

In the statement, Abbas called for a guarantee of "the return of our land and the rights of our refugees, and the possibility of establishing a contiguous and viable state."

"What we mean by a just and lasting solution, which will end the violence in this region once and for all, is not a partial solution that will create the fertile environment for a continuation of the conflict that is more intense and deadly and could spread in the region," Abbas wrote in the statement, delivered on his behalf by PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki.

A South African envoy speaking at the session also raised the specter of apartheid, comparing conditions in the West Bank and Gaza to those of two decades ago in his own country.

On Tuesday, Cape Town's Cape Argus newspaper reported that South African President Kgalema Motlanthe's name, signed as president of the republic, had appeared on a published petition protesting Israel's "colonial oppression" of the Palestinian people.

From Barbara Sommer (sommer_1_98@yahoo.com)

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'THIS, DESPITE SO MANY OF THEIR GREATEST INTELLECTS DYING IN THE GAS CHAMBERS'
Posted by Sonia Nusenbaum, December 17, 2008.

Something good from the English Press at last. Well done, Daily Express! This was written by Andrew Roberts, The Daily Express, London

The State of Israel has packed more history into her sixty years on the Planet — which she celebrates this week — than many other nations have In six hundred. There are many surprising things about this tiny, Feisty, brave nation the size of Wales, but the most astonishing is That she has lived to see this birthday at all. The very day after the New state was established, she was invaded by the armies of no fewer Than five Arab countries, and she has been struggling for her right to Life ever since.

From Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Caspian Sea to Aden, the 5.25 Million square miles of territory belonging to members of the Arab League is home to over 330 million people, whereas Israel covers only Eight thousand square miles, and is home to seven million citizens, One-fifth of whom are Arabs. The Jews of the Holy Land are thus Surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and Sixty times their population, yet their last, best hope of ending two Millennia of international20persecution — the State of Israel — has Somehow survived.

When during the Second World War, the island of Malta came through Three terrible years of bombardment and destruction, it was rightly Awarded the George Medal for bravery: today Israel should be awarded a Similar decoration for defending democracy, tolerance and Western Values against a murderous onslaught that has lasted twenty times as Long.

Jerusalem is the site of the Temple of Solomon and Herod. The stones of A palace erected b y King David himself are even now being unearthed

Just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Everything that makes a Nation-state legitimate — bloodshed, soil tilled, two millennia of Continuous residence, international agreements — argues for Israel's Right to exist, yet that is still denied by the Arab League. For many Of their governments, which are rich enough to have solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as A scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and Corruption of their own regimes.

The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status, and whenever Israel puts Forward workable solutions they have been stymied by those whose Interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well-being Of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to c ome to some kind of Sane accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is Not going away.

The process of creating a Jewish homeland in an area where other Peoples were already living — though far fewer of them than anti-Israel Propagandists claim — was always going to be a complicated and delicate Business, and one for which Britain as the Mandated power had a Profound responsibility, and about which since the Balfour Declaration Of 1917 she had made solemn promises.

Yet instead of keeping a large number of troops on the ground Throughout the birth pangs of the State of Israel, Britain hurriedly Withdrew all her forces virtually overnight on 14 May 1948, thus Facilitating the Arab invasions that very day, one of which was Actually commanded by a former British Army officer, John Glubb (known As Glubb Pasha). Less than four years earlier, Britain had landed Division after victorious division in Norma n dy, now 'Partition and Flee' was the Attlee government's ignominious policy, whose Consequences are still plaguing the world half a century later in Kashmir and the Middle East.

'We owe to the Jews,' wrote Winston Churchill in 1920, 'a system of Ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, Would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in Fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together.'

The Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, Commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been Astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less Than half of one per-cent of the world's population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32% of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32% for Physics, 39% for Economics and 29% for Science. This, Despite so many of their greatest intellects dying in the gas chambers. Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for The right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can Provide. Yet we tend to treat Israel like a leper on the international scene, merely for defending herself, and threatening her with academic boycotts if she builds a separation wall that has so far reduced suicide bombings by 95% over three years. It is a disgrace that no senior member of the Royal Family has ever visited Israel, as though the country is still in quarantine after sixty years.

After the Holocaust, the Jewish people recognised that they had to have their own state, a homeland where they could forever be safe from a repetition of such horrors. Putting their trust in Western Civilisation was never again going to be enough. Since then, Israel has had to fight no fewer than five major wars for her very ex i stence. She has been on the front line in the War against Terror and has been fighting the West's battles for it, decades before 9/11 or 7/7 ever happened. Radical Islam is never going to accept the concept of an Israeli State, so the struggle is likely to continue for another sixty years, but the Jews know that that is less dangerous than entrusting their security to anyone else.

Very often in Britain, especially when faced with the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli bias that is endemic in our liberal media and the BBC, we fail to ask ourselves what we would have done, placed in their position? The population of the United Kingdom of 63 million is nine times that of Israel. In Jul y 2006, to take one example at random, Hizbullah crossed the border of Lebanon into Israel and killed eight patrolmen and kidnapped two others, and that summer fired four thousand Katyusha rockets into Israel which killed a further forty-three civilians.

Now, if we multiply those numbers by nine to get the British equivalent, just imagine what WE would do if a terrorist organization based as close as Calais were to fire thirty-six thousand rockets into Sussex and Kent, killing 387 British civilians, after killing seventy-two British servicemen in an ambush and capturing eighteen. There is absolutely no lengths to which our Government would not go to protect British subjects under those circumstances, and quite right too. Why should Israel be expected to behave any differently? Last month I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, researching a book about the Second World War. Walking along a line of huts and the railway siding where their forebears had been worked and starved and beaten and gassed to death, were a group of Jewish schoolchildren, one of whom was carrying over his shoulder the Israeli flag, a blue star of David on white background. It was a profoundly moving sight, for it was the sovereign independence represented by that flag which guarantees that the obscenity of genocide — which killed six million people in Auschwitz and camps like it — will never again befall the Jewish people. Happy birthday, Israel and Shalom.

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PEACE NOW FIGURES FOUND SLANDEROUS; US SPIES ON ISRAEL; RICE'S FINAL MISCHIEF
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 17, 2008.
PEACE NOW FIGURES FOUND SLANDEROUS

Peace Now claims that most Jewish towns in Judea-Samaria stole their land from Arabs. It seemed very precise in accusing Revava of having taken 71.15% of its land from Arab owners. The Fund For Redeeming the Land, which owns the town's land, sued Peace Now and the report's authors for libel. Peace Now refused to apologize. It reduced its figure from 71.15% stolen to 22%.

The case was completed in court. The court ruled in favor of the town. It fined Peace Now and its activists and ordered a full apology. The fine is taxed. Court ordered the defendants to pay the tax, too. The victorious attorney urged Jews of Judea-Samaria to stand up to slander by Peace Now (Arutz-7, 12/12). My statistics professor taught that when people pretend to greater accuracy than they command, they disguise their unreliable figures by using decimal points, as if accurate down to such detail.

Now one wonders how much other slander Peace Now is guilty of. How much of the poor reputation of "settlers" is based on their slander? The NY Times impugns their decency often. The Left engages in dirty politics.

ISRAEL BUILDING DESALINATION PLANT TO END SHORTAGE

(Arutz-7, 12/12.) That's expensive. Uses a lot of fuel. Probably oil. If so, it makes new problems to solve the old one.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL PLOTTING FOR ARABS

Attorney-Gen. Mazuz testified before the Knesset that he favors preferential discrimination for Arabs applying to civil service, but not for Ultra-Orthodox Jews. He said those Jews could win places if they tried.

He admits insinuating more Arabs onto lower courts benches, hoping to seat a Muslim on the Supreme Court alongside the Christian Arab (Arutz-7, 12/18).

Quota systems long have cheated qualified Jews. Now it harms them in their own country and in behalf of their enemies! Prof. Plaut described the Arab judge in his case openly giving sway to her bias against Jewish nationalists. He said she has a record of siding with Arabs against Jews. One wonders whether that is the real reason for Mazuz' preference. Anything for Arabs and against Jews?

WHY THE SECURITY FENCE IS NOT COMPLETE

Arab villages bisected by the fence sue. The Supreme Court orders the fence diverted. That uses up much of the fence budget (Arutz-7, 12/16).

GAZA OFFENSIVE VS. FREEING ONE SOLDIER

Foreign Min. Livni acknowledged that Israel can't always get its kidnapped soldiers released. Many people criticized her for givIng up. She wasn't giving up. One critic, Defense Min. Barak, is her political rival.

Min. Barak said he was deferring the invasion of Gaza, lest Hamas execute its Israeli prisoner. Dr. Aaron Lerner remarked that to preserve one soldier, Israeli civilians are to get killed by Hamas attacks (IMRA, 12/13).

I think Barak is letting Hamas build military potential rather than be seen by voters shortly before the election as getting into a war. Public figures are subject to instant, unthinking, and unfair criticism. Min. Livni has gotten away with many absurd claims, but this time, when she was being realistic, she was denounced. After all, at other times, the Arabs simply executed Israeli prisoners. The most recent instance was by Hizbullah. There were other wars in which the Arabs and not Israel did that. I recall the Syrian dictator's father rewarding a Syrian soldier who murdered an Israeli prisoner for nothing.

GEN. DAYTON DESCRIBES HIS TRAINING OF P.A. FORCES

He thinks that unlike the time that Hamas overran P.A. forces in Gaza [which has some foreign training], he is training thousands of P.A. troops to be competent. They are part of building up for a state.

He assures Israelis that the new forces pursue criminals in the P.A. and occasionally some terrorists, and are told not to think of Israel as the enemy. To that end, he recruits young men not previously connected with terrorism.

He had nothing to back his assurances. As Dr. Aaron Lerner reminds us, P.A. head Abbas said that if negotiations do not bring the results he wants, he would turn against Israel. Those US-trained 7 battalions would be at his disposal (IMRA, 13).

I think it is morally wrong and unjust to build up another Palestinian Arab state on traditional Jewish territory that Israel needs for survival. The whole P.A. society is inciting the people to violence against Israel. For now, the US-trained battalions repress crime. The crucial indicator of Gen. Dayton's program is that they hardly ever combat terrorism. They are not reforming P.A. society against jihad. As far as Israel is concerned, or should be concerned, they are a new military force being prepared against them, just as the US has prepared a modern Egyptian military against Israel. US foreign policy makes false assumptions about foreign cultures, and is counter-productive. That is not a Bush phenomenon, because it has been going on for many years.

OBAMA VS. ISRAEL

Everybody is offering President-elect Obama advice. It isn't advice he needs as much as what they want him to do for their own agendas. For example, a Finnish Nobelist, whose level of indecency can be measured by his suggestion to treat Hamas as a legitimate political movement, suggests that Obama make the Arab-Israel conflict his highest priority. They suggest that Israel withdraw from the areas that the Arabs demand, for now, to re-start a peace process.

Those who know Obama's foreign policy team find it obsessed with doing that. The incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Jones, is Israel's severe critic. He wants US and other NATO troops in Judea-Samaria which, if like UNIFIL, would allow terrorist build-up and attacks, but block IDF response. An aide of Obama, Samantha Powers, long has called for such a force. She claims to want to protect the Arabs from Israel, which she calls a human rights abuser. [Apparently she doesn't consider terrorism a human rights abuse.]

At a think tank affair, supporters of Obama's policy criticized the likely next Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu. They derided his proposal to build peace and democracy from the bottom up, by bringing civil institutions and prosperity into the P.A.. Bush and Rice said it contradicts the [mislabeled] "two state solution." [It doesn't stop it, it just slows it down and gives it a better chance of working.] Their policy never worked, for there is no constituency in the P.A. wanting peace.

Neither did the policies of Netanyahu's rival parties work. Those parties are defeatist and delusional. The Likud primary brought more realistic people to the fore. Unfortunately, Netanyahu is not using their strength to shore up a realistic policy. He is concentrating on putting down the most nationalistic of them. His motive is probably to keep the US from trying to oust him, the way Pres. Clinton did. Thus Netanyahu seeks a coalition with the Left. Such a coalition would inject defeatism into his regime!

To win election and resist US pressure, Netanyahu must stick to the basic Likud doctrine: (1) Israel needs to retain Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, the Samaria Hills, and the Golan Heights; (2) A P.A. that elects terrorist regimes is not interested in peace; there won't be peace until drastic reform; and (3) Foreign militaries won't protect Israel, only the IDF can (Caroline Glick, IMRA, 12/13).

We've been through this before, with Netanyahu. As soon as elected, he ignored his supporters and allied himself with leftists. He couldn't resist US pressure (or he is a US plant). He is untrustworthy.

In this era of recession, declining fuel supply, Taliban success, and Pakistan shakiness, how dare people tell Obama to make Israel his priority!

Oh the knaves and fools who get Nobel prizes!

OLMERT REGIME WANTS "CEASEFIRE TO CONTINUE"

The regime accepts the recent acceleration of Gaza artillery fire as a negotiating tactic. The subsequent deceleration convinced the regime that it can continue the ceasefire (IMRA, 12/13). The ceasefire is dictated by a suicidal ideology and near genocidal US pressure. Israel shows Hamas that Hamas can get away with much violation, killing some Israelis while preparing the means to do worse.

U.S. SPIES ON ISRAEL

An official Israeli publication cited by Reuters discloses that the US continuously spies on Israel. From the embassy in Tel Aviv, the US uses electronic eavesdropping devices to try to ascertain Israel's nuclear capability. Israel's secret service considers the attempt benign. After all, it reasons, the US doesn't want to be surprised (IMRA, 12/13).

"Unbenignst" to the secret service, the US seems to be switching to a policy of getting Israel to disarm any nuclear weapons, while the Muslims would pretend to disarm their facilities. Then Israel would become unable to resist Arab demands for more and more territory. It will have taken the State Dept. about 70 years to rescind the statehood it never wanted the Jews to have.

Meanwhile, with great indignation, the US has been keeping Pollard as a political prisoner, whose sentence for espionage is far longer than his crime usually is penalized. He engaged in it to get for Israel information about enemy Arab military capability, which the US had pledged to give Israel but secretly reneged or censored. In a war, Israel would be surprised and suffer high casualties. The US broke its plea bargain with Pollard. It slandered him, to demean his intent and to make Israel look bad. Initially it made him suffer by putting him naked in a cold cell, into solitary confinement, and into a mental ward. It still is brutal towards him by denying him certain medicine and medical treatment.

I don't want Israel to mistreat American diplomats just as barbarically, but Israel would be within its rights to arrest, try, and convict US spies there and deport those with diplomatic immunity. A patriotic Israeli regime would end the misconception that the US government is pro-Israel. The Jewish people have little idea what they really are up against.

The US does not want to be surprised, but wanted Israel to be surprised, and became outraged by Pollard for preventing the surprise. It also initially blamed him for damage done by Soviet spies. He stumbled upon subversive blunders by the Reagan-Bush administration, which silenced him. This is our democracy? Israeli leaders, such as Peres, Barak, Netanyahu, and Sharon were complicit in betraying Pollard to arrest, conviction, and continued incarceration.

NOW THAT THE ELECTION IS OVER — more

Now that the election is over, the NY Times keeps making one formerly withheld admission after another which, had it been made during the election campaign, would have helped McCain. Today's admission was about the military, though still in a selectively and unfairly partisan way. Such is the way of the Times.

The story goes that the current wars have strained the lives, availability, and equipment of our military. True. Now for the blame. The government had to over-extend the National Guard and Reserves, "because the Bush administration badly underestimated the number of ground troops needed to simultaneously wage war in Iran and Afghanistan. New Defense Sec. Gates began "a needed expansion — long opposed by the Bush White House" of active duty forces.

"In response to Congressional pressure, the most recent defense budgets have included substantially increased spending for re-supplying Guard units at home and abroad." But the re-supply is too slow. It would be helped by an early draw-down of troops from Iraq (12/14). They'll be sent to Afghanistan.

The problem that they blame on Pres. Bush started before he took office and was created by both parties in both the executive and legislative branches. Historically, the US did not keep, or care to keep, large standing forces. In the past, we had time to mobilize. In recent decades, events move faster. The call was close during the Carter administration. Pres. Carter presided over a great reduction in our armed forces. The Soviets began to outmatch the US, and were becoming bold and triumphal about it. Pres. Reagan rebuilt our forces.

Reagan was succeeded by Pres. Clinton, who let the forces dwindle, again. These shifts were accompanied by changing theories of how big a force we need. The need was expressed in terms of sufficiency to win one or more wars of varying sizes. The number and size of such wars, in the formula, was reduced to accommodate how much our officials wanted to spend, not what foreign policy needed. If a single Muslim front ties down our forces, another country, such as N. Korea, might feel it could get away with aggression. I have criticized our weaker policy for years. But I am not on the National Security Council.

Defense Sec. Rumsfeld seems to have envisioned modern wars as one of massed forces. Turned out to be just as much one of guerrilla forces. Guerillas take just as many troops to defeat, but over a longer period. In his blunder, Congress was complicit. Congress doesn't spend particularly on what is needed, it spends on what is lobbied and what makes member districts thrive. It has no vision. Sen. McCain was one of the few voices that called for a military expansion. Did the NY Times praise him for that? Did it call for Sen. Obama to join him on that and make it a non-partisan, American objective? No. It still doesn't. It still is being partisan about it. That makes the objective more remote. Although the editorial is worded patriotically, it is directed politically. For shame!

U.S.-ISRAELI MISCHIEF

The US proposes to drop from the Roadmap a requirement that the P.A. cease terrorism and incitement to terrorism before the designation of borders for turning it into a state. Israel has accepted the proposal (Arutz-7, 12/14).

The two governments always pretended that the P.A. would reform and become peaceable, before being considered for statehood. There was no US or Israeli intent that terrorism must cease or that peace must be made before taking a chance of giving the P.A. independence. (I believe that even if peaceful, it would not deserve independence at the expense of the Jewish homeland.) The Roadmap always was a fraud. Dropping the requirement for eradicating terrorism proves it. The purpose of rushing statehood is to shrink Israel. As the State Dept., if not Israel's leaders know, a shrunken Israel cannot defend itself.

The P.A. would become a sovereign, terrorist state, like Syria. It would not have given up its war on Israel. With statehood, it could demand UNO protection from Israeli retaliation against terrorism and military build-up. Will the US and Israeli ruling classes pretend that statehood can safely be granted to terrorists, or that they are not terrorists because Abbas says they are not? Will the ruling classes argue that statehood would be granted on Abbas' promise to end terrorism? He and his PLO promised in the Oslo agreements to end it, but they violated those agreements for 15 years! Rationalizing statehood on the basis of liars' promises is another fraud. The Muslim Arabs in the P.A. are committed to jihad. Their whole society indoctrinates their people thoroughly. In a realistic world, to eradicate terrorism there, their people would have to be eradicated. Once an area is sovereign, pre-sovereignty promises have no legal standing.

This latest move proves the two ruling classes' malign intent and their deception of their populations. The State Dept. always has been anti-Zionist. Unfortunately, the Israeli Left, including Netanyahu, has become so, too. Here is an opportunity for the NY Times to criticize Bush, but it shares his evil.

RICE'S FINAL MISCHIEF

Sec. Rice is promoting a resolution in the Security Council to give the P.A. sovereignty (IMRA, 12/14).

Out of the despair during the dark days of WWII, the US set up the United Nations Organization idealistically. We thought it would enable the decent forces of the world to work together and contain the evil forces. Membership however, is by government, not by decency. Evil regimes form the majority in the UNO.

It is time for the US to pull out of the UNO.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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SPEAKING OF PONZI SCHEMES
Posted by Steven Plaut, December 16, 2008.

1. Ordinarily the Israeli media, which are by and large the occupied territories of the Israeli Left, are strongly opposed to any rhetorical metaphors from Jewish history. They would get downright upset if someone were to compare Palestinian atrocities against Jews to Nazi crimes. They think it is insensitive to compare Islamofascism to fascism, or even to use the term "Islamofascism." They certainly reject any comparison between terrorist crimes and pogroms. They reject any comparison between today's anti-Zionists and traditional anti-Semites. Anti-Israel rallies must never be compared with Nuremberg rallies. And so on.

Over the past week or so, the Israeli media are suddenly filled with the terms "pogroms," anti-Semitic violence," "racist attacks," and similar terms. No, not with respect to the terror attack in Mumbai, but with respect to the behavior of "settlers."

Last week, Jewish settlers were forcibly evicted from a house they legally owned in Hebron. The eviction itself was outrageous and was wanton anti-Jewish discrimination. No Arabs ever get evicted from homes in Hebron they legally own or illegally occupy. The idea that "Palestinian" areas must be ethnically cleansed of Jews in order to achieve peace is mindlessly stupid. If that is what is necessary to achieve "peace," then war is preferable. This would not be peace in any form.

In response to the eviction, many Jews were angry and some misbehaved. Groups of Jewish teenage hotheads threw rocks at Israeli soldiers and at Hebron Arabs. Some wrote offensive graffiti on the walls and doors of Arab homes. Others engaged in similar forms of mischief. No Arabs were killed.

Some pogrom!

The media in Israel are almost unanimously referring to such behavior of the Jewish teenagers as "settler pogroms against Arabs." Never mind that no Arabs were killed and it is doubtful even that any were injured. There were some injuries to Israeli soldiers and cops during the scuffling in the eviction of the settlers, and there were also settlers injured.

Yet these are "pogroms" in the minds of the columnists and reporters of the Israeli media. One almost wishes they could personally experience a REAL pogrom some place, so that they would know the difference between pogroms and teenage mischief.

The throwing of stones by settlers at Arabs was in large part a response to decades during which the settlers have been the targets of stones and worse hurled at them by Hebron Arabs.

The settlers themselves are dragging out old stories about police "provocateurs" to explain away the bad behavior of the young Jews. There is no evidence of any such thing. Not every story in the media about misbehavior of Jews is incorrect. Such misbehavior discredits the Israeli Right and helps keep the policies of the Left operating. There is no excuse for angry Jewish hotheads raising their hands against Israeli soldiers and police.

There is also no excuse for the open bias and perpetual political self-recruitment of the Israeli media on behalf of the far Left. This bias infects the entire media, which serves as a daily amen chorus for the Left.

Take the now-famous cell phone photo of what is being touted as a Jewish settler firing at close range at Hebron Arabs. The photo is blurred. One sees a man, who might or might not be a Jew, holding out his arm, which might or might not contain a gun, in the general direction of some other people, who might or might not be Arabs. If indeed the photo is of a Jew aiming a gun in the direction of Arabs, it well might be someone pointing it at Arabs threatening him, to warn them off. The bottom line is that there were no reports of Arabs getting killed in the days of violence following the eviction of the settlers. So the media interpretation of the blurred photo is fiction.

Or take the reports, repeated ad nauseum in the Israeli mainstream media, about settlers throwing acid on soldiers and destroying a soldier's eye. Such "acid throwing reports" appear regularly in the Israeli mainstream media every time settlers are evicted by the police from anywhere.

Except the stories are fabrications. In a previous such "report," the acid turned out to be laundry soap. In the "report" this week, an independent reporter called all the area medical facilities and there were no soldiers who had received medical treatment for an acid injury to an eye in any of them. (Documentation was on israelnationalnews.com) In other words, while settler claims that every case of violent behavior by Jews is just a police provocation are false, so are most of the reports about settlers injuring soldiers and police.

For decades, Jews living in the West Bank have been daily victims of Arab violence. The mainstream media no longer reports such stories. They are boring. Mundane. But when a Jew allegedly uses violence against Arabs, it is news. But news whose facts do not need to be checked too thoroughly.

Dogs biting mailmen are not news. Mailmen biting dogs are.

My guess is that 97% of cases involving reported settler "violence" against Arabs are fictional or consist of Jews shooting back or otherwise defending themselves. The rest are mischief. The Israeli mainstream media would have you believe that for decades innocent Palestinians in the West Bank have been terrorized by Jewish settlers, who vandalize their property and violently assault them without provocation. This is exactly as accurate as representing SS officers in 1944 as being the innocent victims of violent partisans assaulting them and abusing them for no reason at all. The media regularly claim that settlers vandalize Arab orchards. While I would not go so far as to insist that they never do so, Arab vandalism against Jewish orchards and property is the non-newsworthy rule, and Jewish vandalism is the occasional retaliation.

I unreservedly repudiate all violence used by Jewish settlers against Israeli police and soldiers. The same media so upset by such behavior studiously ignore the violence and hooliganism by leftist pro-terror demonstrators, who enter the West Bank every week to try to vandalize the security fence in order to make it easier for Arab terrorists to murder Jews. THAT is not news. Not even when they injure soldiers and police.
 

2. The whole world is talking about Bernard Madoff, the con man who ran a fund and managed to lose at least $50 billion of the wealth of his clients, which include much of the Jewish world. Yeshiva University may have lost its entire endowment. Jewish charity funds lost millions. The Technion lost at least 6 million dollars there. The Elie Wiesel fund lost. So did Steven Spielberg.

The YNETnews.com web site run by Yediot Ahronot decided to interview a representative of Jewish charity funds in the US about the scandal. They chose a rep from the anti-Israel New Israel Fund.

Naw, the Israeli media are not biased.

Meanwhile, the media all over the world are reporting this as the world's largest Ponzi scheme or pyramid con. It is not. The Israeli bank share scandal of the 1980s was probably larger in inflation-adjusted dollars and certainly much larger as a proportion of the Israeli economy, compared to Madoff's scam relative to the US economy. It was larger than the recent pyramid scheme in Columbia, south America, which paralyzed the country. It was larger than the pyramid schemes that rabaged Albania, Russia, and other countries.

Israelis are still paying for the 1980s bank share Ponzi con. And not just in cash. That bank share scandal discredited the Likud and reinstated the Labor Party as a credible governing alternative. Labor had been largely discredited after 1974, thanks to the military fiasco in the early stages of the Yom Kippur War. The 1980s bank share boondoggle restored Labor to its "respectability," convinced lots of Israelis that the Likud consists of incompetent boobs, which it generally does.

Indirectly the bank share Ponzi scheme, which operated under the noses of the Likud government, caused Oslo. In 1983 the only people in all of Israel unaware that a giant Ponzi scheme was operating were the Likud Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Israel.

The Likud bears direct responsibility both for the 1980s bank share Ponzi scheme and for its horrific political side effects. The Oslo dead are in part the collateral damage of the Likud's own gigantic Ponzi scam.
  Dec. 11, 2008
Benjamin Weinthal And Alex Feuerherdt,
The Jerusalem Post
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728151848&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

Prof. Alvin H. Rosenfeld's 2007 essay "Progressive Jewish Thinking and the New Anti-Semitism" triggered an international debate over a largely neglected phenomenon: anti-Zionist Jews who are waging fierce polemical and organizational campaigns against Israel's existence. Many of them employ language that fulfills the criteria of both the European Union's "working definition" of anti-Semitism and the US State Department's definition of contemporary anti-Semitism.

Although such anti-Zionist Jews are a bizarre fringe group in the US, England, Canada and Germany, they are, nonetheless, attracting growing attention from mainstream media because of their support for campaigns to boycott Israel and their comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany and the former apartheid regime in South Africa.

In his carefully worded manifesto, Rosenfeld, director of the Institute of Jewish Culture and Arts at Indiana University and a leading Holocaust scholar, poses the pressing question: Are these "Progressive Jews" contributing to the new anti-Semitism? Perhaps the most astonishing achievement of his essay is the didactic purpose it serves for a non-Jewish audience. Charges of anti-Semitism and vulgar anti-Zionism among Jews have been written off by non-Jews as an internecine Jewish matter. However, major German and European media outlets, as well as university forums and politicians, which seem unable to resist the temptation to offer a bully pulpit to hard-core anti-Zionist Jews, could benefit from a sober reading of Rosenfeld's essay. A vicarious need among many German journalists to vent anti-Israeli hostility through anti-Zionist Jews, who inoculate the press from the charge of Jew hatred because of their Jewish backgrounds, helps to explain the staying power of this unsavory phenomenon.

Rosenfeld's essay has been translated into German and his ideas have been discussed, attacked and praised in a number of German newspapers. The ongoing legal dispute between the German-Jewish journalist Henryk M. Broder and Evelyn Hecht-Galinski over whether Hecht-Galinski is a Jewish anti-Semite jolted the German media.The recent release of the media watchdog organization CAMERA's book, Israel's Jewish Defamers: The Media Dimension (2008), which includes a new essay by Rosenfeld, adds more insight into "the Jewish Jew-haters."

Professor Rosenfeld, is there Jewish anti-Semitism? Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

On the face of it, Jewish anti-Semitism does sound like a contradiction in terms, but unfortunately the phenomenon exists and has a long history. Some even claim to find reference to it as far back as the Bible and interpret a verse such as Isaiah 49:17 as an example: "Your destroyers and they that make you waste will come forth from among you." Isaiah was a farsighted prophet, and while I claim no direct line of continuity between ancient and medieval Jewish enemies of the Jews and the people that Henryk M. Broder has rightly been exposing as implacably anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic, some of the parallels are chilling.

Jewish intellectuals like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky and Alfred Grosser strongly deny being anti-Semites. They claim they are simply formulating severe critiques of Israeli policy that have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. What do you think of that claim?

In and of itself, criticism of Israeli politics and actions need not be anti-Semitic. Like all countries, Israel is far from perfect and should not be exempt from criticism, even sharp criticism. But too often what passes as criticism of Israel is no more than a code term, or rhetorical cover, for what is sometimes transparently a form of verbal aggression — an impassioned denunciation or vilification of the state itself and even its right to continued existence. If one attends carefully to the language of some of the people you name, one finds that it has an edge to it — an extra note of enthusiasm, anger, bitterness: an overwrought quality — that goes well beyond what one normally thinks of as political commentary or criticism. Something perverse is going on here, something that one almost never finds when critics turn their sights on other countries, unless that country happens to be America.

The current legal dispute between Broder and Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, the daughter of Heinz Galinski [former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Berlin Jewish Community] caused widespread media attention in Germany. Hecht-Galinski equates Israeli policies with Nazi Germany and argues that a "Jewish-Israel lobby with an active network extends around the world and, thanks to America, its power has become great." Do you view Hecht-Galinski's statements as anti-Semitic? And what is her motivation for waging a campaign against Israel in the German media?

I don't know Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, so I have no idea what motivates her. What I do know is that anytime I come across someone who draws links between Israel and Nazi Germany, I become more than just a little uneasy. And when such bogus links are made by commentators within Germany, then it's time to pay special attention and ask what in the world is going on. For these analogies are not only without foundation by the facts of the real world but manifestly foul, clear expressions of bad faith or ill-will.

When such people also allege a concerted effort by a "Jewish" or "Israeli" lobby to exert control around the world, then the game is up. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just spouted this despicable stuff, which could have been taken right out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, before a large gathering at the United Nations. Remarkably, he received sustained applause for it. Had they been in this audience, would Hecht-Galinski, Grosser, Judt and Chomsky have joined in the hearty reception for the vicious words of the Iranian president or walked out on him?

I would be heartened to read of their disapproval, but to date have seen nothing by any of them that expresses contempt for this horrific assault. And yet to just let it pass, as if it doesn't matter, is dismaying, and a sign that the most extreme anti-Semitic rhetoric no longer registers as serious or somehow is viewed as acceptable. That's a deeply worrisome development, abetted by some of the aggressive words of anti-Zionist Jewish intellectuals.

When does criticism of Israel become anti-Semitic?

Natan Sharansky's "three Ds" test applies here: Whenever so-called criticism of Israel demonizes or delegitimizes the Jewish state or holds it to a double standard in passing judgment on it, we have crossed a line that distinguishes legitimate criticism from anti-Semitism. There are other measures as well, but Sharansky's are surely apt.

The European Union has had a working definition of Anti-Semitism since 2005. The US State Department's definition mirrors the EU definition. The American historian Jeffrey Herf commented that "the State Department definition is okay, but I would add that the most dangerous form of anti-Semitism accuses Jews of waging wars with the intent to exterminate others. This was the central Nazi accusation and key justification for mass murder. Related to it is the accusation that Jews have seized control of a nation's foreign policy and led it to war against its own national interests. The accusation that an Israel lobby was responsible for the war in Iraq is of that sort." How do you view the definitions? And is Herf's criticism justified?

The EU's working definition is helpful, as is the US State Department's which resembles it closely, but neither is exhaustive. Herf's additions focus on some current, concrete examples that are justified and help to drive home the reality of a resurgent anti-Semitism.

In your essay "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism," you write: "The extreme anti-Zionism is not driven by anything remotely like reasoned historical analysis, but rather by a complex tangle of psychological as well as political motives that subvert reason and replace it with something akin to hysteria." What political and psychological motives do you mean?

The political motives behind present-day hostility to Jews and the Jewish state spring from both right-wing and left-wing circles, but on the intellectual level, most of it is situated among people who identify with the Left. To proclaim oneself an anti-Zionist today is to seek validation as a member in good standing of so-called progressive opinion. To my mind, such gestures illustrate nothing much more than the ritualistic aspects of a weak political identity and point up the poverty of much of what passes today as "progressive" thought.

As for the emotional content or psychological motives at work here, that's complex and cannot be adequately covered in a brief interview. Sander Gilman has analyzed some of this complexity in his major study of Jewish self-hatred. Theodor Lessing's earlier study exemplifies as well as clarifies some of the mental/emotional turbulence at play.

In your essay you do not address Jewish self-hatred. Does the phenomenon exist? And if so, how do you asses it?

You are right, I don't deal with Jewish self-hatred in that essay, and not because I am skeptical about its existence. Sadly, it does exist, especially among Jews who are beset by a disturbed or deeply conflicted Jewish identity. Gilman's book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to learn more.

Let me just say this much for now: No one who knows the Jews well would mistake them for being a normal people. They are not. The Jews date back a long time — we are now in the year 5769 — and in different ways see themselves as part of a long, accomplished, but often difficult history. Threatened with total annihilation by Nazi Germany and its allies just the day before yesterday, as Jews count time, some Jews do not want to see themselves or want to be seen by others within this line of descent.

Add to these anxieties and rejections the revival of Jewish national sovereignty in the State of Israel after millennia of national political disenfranchisement, and you can begin to see how complex Jewish identity can be. It is impacted by numerous factors — family, community, country, culture, history — some of which make Jews feel uneasy or inadequate or embarrassed or vulnerable.

One way — not a healthy way — to deal with the tangle of pressures that accompany such a multifaceted identity is to deny it altogether or turn aggressively against it. When that happens, and especially when Jews internalize the external charges against them and adopt the negative stereotypes in which these charges crystallize, you get something like Jewish self-hatred. Most Jews are not afflicted by it, but some are.

According to a 2007 BBC survey, three-quarters of all Germans have a negative opinion of Israel. Surveys show that anti-Semitism is growing steadily in Europe, not least among Muslim immigrants. Against this background, how do Jewish intellectuals come to condemn Israel in such harsh form?

Especially at a time when anti-Semitism is again having a voice in segments of the European public, it's irresponsible for Jewish intellectuals to say some of the extreme things some have been saying. And it's especially objectionable when some of these same people — to name just three: Grosser, Hecht-Galinski and Reuven Moscovitz — regularly attack Israel in the name of Judaism or Jewish ethics or Jewish experience during the Shoah. These critics of Israel need their own critics. I am full of respect for Henryk Broder for taking them on and pointing out how wrongheaded and reckless they can be. More power to him!

Many of the Israel-criticizing Jews claim that Israel's policies toward Palestinians promote anti-Semitism. What is your assessment of that?

If one wants to identify the agents of today's anti-Semitism, one should look to the anti-Semites, not to Israel. How Israel can be justifiably blamed for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries within Europe, or the burning of synagogues, or assaults against individual Jews beats me.

Benjamin Weinthal is The Jerusalem Post correspondent in Germany. Alex Feuerherdt lives in Bonn and writes for the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel, the weekly Jewish newspaper J.dische Allgemeine, and the weekly Jungle World.

This article can also be read at
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728151848&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Steven Plaut is an American-trained economist, a professor of business administration at Haifa University and author of "The Scout." He frequently comments — both seriously and satirically — on Israeli politics and the left wing academic community. Write him at splaut@econ.haifa.ac.il His website address is
http://www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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FROM ISRAEL: THE PUSH IS ON
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 16, 2008.

Yesterday, the Quartet — that's the US, the UN, the EU and Russia — met and subsequently issued a statement, which said in part:

"The bilateral negotiations process launched at Annapolis is irreversible and ... these negotiations should be intensified in order to put an end to the conflict and to establish as soon as possible the state of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel."
Full statement here:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/dec/113216.htm

~~~~~~~~~~

Let us count the ways in which this is a surreal statement (to be counted among a host of prior surreal statements):

First there is the erroneous premise — that the establishment of a Palestinian state would end the conflict. It wouldn't, of course, because this is not a conflict about territory, but rather an attempt on the part of the Arabs to weaken Israel with an eye to destroying her.

Then we must recognize that the Palestinians don't have their act together and are in no position to establish a state. They couldn't run a state successfully if it were handed to them tomorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~

On top of this, there is division between the Palestinian people, a division, suggesting enormous instability, that has been exacerbated in recent weeks. PA president Mahmoud Abbas recently announced intention to extend his term for a year, while Hamas has declared it will appoint an interim president because Abbas is finished on January 9, 2009. Now Abbas says he may call for presidential and legislative elections "very soon" in Judea and Samaria and Gaza. But there cannot be elections in Gaza without Hamas cooperation, and Hamas (which has the majority in the legislature) points out the legislative elections are not scheduled for another year. Enormous instability indeed.

Hamas — which just ran a huge rally in Gaza with over 200,000 people coming out to celebrate the organization's 21st anniversary — is disinclined to participate in a unity government and is not going away.

So there is no political entity representing all of the people, no single address. How this is supposed to be resolved if a state is established is simply not dealt with.

To make matters worse, one of the two groups representing the Palestinian people is overtly (rather than covertly) terrorist. Sort of puts a wrinkle in things, doesn't it? If Hamas were to join with Fatah in a unity government, it would mean that Israel would be expected to negotiate with terrorists. There is solid precedent suggesting that when Hamas and Fatah get together (as they did for a period of months last year), it is Fatah that radicalizes and not Hamas that moderates. What is more, Israeli defense officials are saying that Iran has increasing influence over Hamas. This means that if there were a unity government and Israel were to negotiate with it, it would be with an eye towards establishing a state at Israel's borders over which Iran held sway.

But, piffle, these are mere technicalities and shouldn't stand in the way of a chance to make peace. The members of the Quartet are so dedicated to the cause of peace that they let nothing deter them — certainly not facts on the ground. But not to worry, we all know that the Quartet is interested in safeguarding the security of Israel.

~~~~~~~~~~

The statement about the "irreversibility" of the Annapolis process was, unquestionably, added in anticipation of a more right wing government being established in Israel after February elections. Don't even think about walking away from these talks, they are telling Binyamin Netanyahu, who is expected to become Israel's next prime minister.

There has been distress in the right wing here with regard to Netanyahu's apparent slide to the center, presumably intended to garner more votes. But there is also another perspective on this: On December 11, Netanyahu met in Tel Aviv with 26 EU ambassadors and assured them that he would continue peace talks. This takes substantial heat off of him.

It should be noted, however, that he told them that his emphasis would be different: He would focus first on economic development within the Palestinian Authority, rather than moving speedily to a state — the implication being, at least in theory, that one would in time lead to the other. And — which I have already written about — he has said that when he does talk about a state for the Palestinians he would put security concerns first, with demands that Israel control borders, airspace, the Jordan Valley, etc. etc.

He would be continuing "the process." But the negotiations would not be the same.

Those negotiations between Israel and the PA have to this point yielded nothing official on paper. Representatives of Israel have signed nothing. Thus the statement about "irreversibility" has very limited import, if any at all, with regard to the content of the negotiations.

Mark this well, for you may read about it in various contexts: The world seeks to pressure Israel and thus makes it appear that verbal statements that have been made are binding. Legally, they are not. If Olmert has said, for example, that he would be willing to divide Jerusalem, Netanyahu is not bound to this specifically — and indeed has already come out against dividing Jerusalem. He must, no small matter, hold strong.

~~~~~~~~~~

All of the above is by way of background. Condoleezza Rice is at the UN, where today the Security Council voted on a joint US-Russian resolution declaring support for the Annapolis process "and its commitment to the irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations." Fourteen nations voted in favor and Libya abstained. After the full text becomes available, I will provide further comment as appropriate.

Rice has been actively promoting this. Said she:

"I believe that will then add the voice of the international community, through its most powerful and its most consequential body, that is the Security Council, to establish ... the Annapolis process as the way forward."

~~~~~~~~~~

Here's an Israeli response to a UN initiative that is positive (the response, not the initiative):

Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Israeli conduct in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was banned from entering Israel on Sunday. Falk had a mandate from the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israeli violations of Arab human rights — a mandate that Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, called "profoundly distorted and conceived as an anti-Israel initiative...It had nothing to do with the promotion of human rights."

Falk, an American professor, had compared the conduct of Israel in Gaza with Nazi conduct in Europe. He was less than pleased about being put on a plane and sent back to Geneva.

But it turns out that Falk has more in his sites than Israel. Last month he wrote an article in The Journal (Scotland) called "9/11: More than meets the eye," in which he says that the true story of 9/11 has been covered up by the American government, and that this suggests the possibility of "complicity." After all, he writes, 9/11 was "relied upon [by the US government] to wage bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to underwrite a disastrously conceived 'war on terror' that should be concern of everyone on the planet."

This is who the UN sends to judge Israel?

~~~~~~~~~~

Four Kassam rockets and several mortar shells were launched from Gaza this morning.

Alex Fishman says in YNet that the Israeli defense establishment has concluded that a major confrontation with Hamas is on the way, and is ready. And indeed, according to Haaretz, Hamas has now decided not to renew the "lull," as Israel wasn't "abiding by its terms." In spite of this, negotiations are still going on.

Maariv reports that it was the Iranians (see above) who pressured Hamas not to renew. The implications here are vast and it is to be hoped that the world will be paying attention. Indeed, Israel is the canary in the mine.

~~~~~~~~~~

What utter nonsense this is: Syrian president Bashar Assad has drafted a document that provides a Syrian definition of the boundaries of the Golan Heights (which Heights he wants in a peace agreement). According to his version, the Golan reaches all the way down to the shores of the Kinneret. Syria encroached upon this area, which was not originally Syrian, and now claims it. He demands to know what Israel's position on this is before pursing peace negotiations via Turkey further.

In other words, this is a contested area, but he wants Israel to concede it up front before negotiations.

Responded Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, she "doesn't know of any negotiations which end before they even begin...What we care about is...the kind [of peace] where weapons smugglings to Hezbollah are stopped and ties with Iran cut and the support of terror organizations like Hamas ends."

The government of Israel would be wise to be done with this. It's a pipe dream, the expectation that anything positive will develop. And to ever allow Syria to come down to the Kinneret would be insanity.

What we're seeing here is a confidence on Assad's part that he can demand the maximum because Israel has been foolish enough to appear greatly eager for a deal.

~~~~~~~~~~

I've now encountered two reputable commentators — Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and columnist Charles Krauthammer — who are of the opinion that the focus of the Obama administration will be domestic, with the financial crisis, and not international.

Wrote Ajami:

"There is a detached tone to Obama's utterances on the Islamic world. If Bush believed he could remake that old and broken and wily region, Obama signals a fatigue with it, an acceptance of its order of power."

Krauthammer suggests that Obama is about remaking America according to his progressive vision.

~~~~~~~~~~

I would like to recommend an excellent piece by Barry Rubin, "What They Say Is Not What You Hear," about the duplicity of Arab officials who say one thing in Arabic and something quite different in English. It's most enlightening, and of considerable importance:

http://www.gloriacenter.org:80/index.asp?pname=submenus/articles/2008/ rubin/12_16_04-20.asp

~~~~~~~~~~

Sad news: A private bus carrying Russian tourists in the area of Eilat, and navigating a winding narrow road, plunged down a 40-foot chasm. At least 28 are dead and 20 wounded.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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JEWS GET KILLED, BUT MUSLIMS FEEL VULNERABLE
Posted by Bobroisk, December 16, 2008.

This was written by Mark Steyn and it appeared December 8, 2008 in Jewish World Review
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/

Allan writes, "With his own unique wry humor, Steyn always gets it just right! And if you somehow haven't read his book "America Alone," don't procrastinate another day."

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/ | Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, The Sydney Daily Telegraph's columnist wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline:

"British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow's Train Bombing."

Indeed. And so it goes. This time round — Mumbai — it was the Associated Press that filed a story about how poor Muslims "found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion."

Oh, I don't know about that. In fact, you'd be hard pressed from most news reports to figure out the bloodshed was "linked" to any religion, least of all one beginning with "I-" and ending in "-slam." In the three years since those British bombings, the media have more or less entirely abandoned the offending formulations — "Islamic terrorists," "Muslim extremists" — and by the time of the assault on Mumbai found it easier just to call the alleged perpetrators "militants" or "gunmen" or "teenage gunmen," as in the opening line of this report in The Australian: "An Adelaide woman in India for her wedding is lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen ran amok."

Kids today, eh? Always running amok in an aimless fashion

The veteran British TV anchor Jon Snow, on the other hand, opted for the more cryptic locution "practitioners." "Practitioners" of what, exactly?

Hard to say. And getting harder. For the Wall Street Journal, Tom Gross produced a jaw-dropping round-up of Mumbai media coverage: The discovery that, for the first time in an Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured and killed produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: "It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene."

Hmm. Greater Mumbai forms one of the world's five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An "accidental hostage scene" that one of the "practitioners" just happened to stumble upon? "I must be the luckiest jihadist in town. What are the odds?"

Meanwhile, the New Age guru Deepak Chopra laid all the blame on American foreign policy for "going after the wrong people" and inflaming moderates, and "that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster" in Mumbai.

Really? The inflammation just "appears"? Like a bad pimple? The "fairer" we get to the, ah, inflamed militant practitioners, the unfairer we get to everyone else.

The murdered Jews were described in almost all the Western media as "ultra-Orthodox," "ultra-" in this instance being less a term of theological precision than a generalized code for "strange, weird people, nothing against them personally, but they probably shouldn't have been over there in the first place."

Are they stranger or weirder than their killers? Two "inflamed moderates" entered, shouted "Allahu Akbar!," tortured the Jews and murdered them, including the young rabbi's pregnant wife. Their 2-year-old child escaped because of a quick-witted (non-Jewish) nanny who hid in a closet and then, risking being mowed down by machine-gun fire, ran with him to safety.

The Times was being silly in suggesting this was just an "accidental" hostage opportunity — and not just because, when Muslim terrorists capture Jews, it's not a hostage situation, it's a mass murder-in-waiting. The sole surviving "militant" revealed that the Jewish center had been targeted a year in advance. The 28-year-old rabbi was Gavriel Holtzberg. His pregnant wife was Rivka Holtzberg. Their orphaned son is Moshe Holtzberg, and his brave nanny is Sandra Samuels. Remember their names, not because they're any more important than the Indians, Britons and Americans targeted in the attack, but because they are an especially revealing glimpse into the pathologies of the perpetrators.

In a well-planned attack on iconic Mumbai landmarks symbolizing great power and wealth, the "militants" nevertheless found time to divert 20 percent of their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping the city's poor in a nondescript building. If they were just "teenage gunmen" or "militants" in the cause of Kashmir, engaged in a more or less conventional territorial dispute with India, why kill the only rabbi in Mumbai?

And yet we take it for granted that Pakistani "militants" in a long-running border dispute with India would take time out of their hectic schedule to kill Jews. In going to ever more baroque lengths to avoid saying "Islamic" or "Muslim" or "terrorist," we have somehow managed to internalize the pathologies of these men.

We are enjoined to be "understanding," and we're doing our best. A Minnesotan suicide bomber (now there's a phrase) originally from Somalia returned to the old country and blew up himself and 29 other people last October. His family prevailed upon your government to have his parts (or as many of them as could be sifted from the debris) returned to the United States at taxpayer expense and buried in Burnsville Cemetery. Well, hey, in the current climate, what's the big deal about a federal bailout of jihad operational expenses? If that's not "too big to fail," what is?

Last week, a Canadian critic reprimanded me for failing to understand that Muslims feel "vulnerable." Au contraire, they project tremendous cultural confidence, as well they might: They're the world's fastest-growing population. A prominent British Muslim announced the other day that, when the United Kingdom becomes a Muslim state, non-Muslims will be required to wear insignia identifying them as infidels. If he's feeling "vulnerable," he's doing a terrific job of covering it up.

We are told that the "vast majority" of the 1.6 billion to 1.8 billion Muslims (in Deepak Chopra's estimate) are "moderate." Maybe so, but they're also quiet. And, as the AIDS activists used to say, "Silence=Acceptance." It equals acceptance of the things done in the name of their faith. Rabbi Holtzberg was not murdered because of a territorial dispute over Kashmir or because of Bush's foreign policy. He was murdered in the name of Islam — "Allahu Akbar."

I wrote in my book, America Alone, that "reforming" Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Quran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there'll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there'll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Mumbai in the name of Allah, and that's just business as usual. And, if it is somehow "understandable" that for the first time in history it's no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, "worry about image."

Not enough.

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ANTHROPOLOGY, THAILAND AND EVIL
Posted by Seth Frantzman, December 16, 2008.
1) An Anthropology of Anthropologists:
Seth J. Frantzman
December 16th, 2008

Anthropologists enjoy sitting at dinner parties and condemning other cultures and unique people's, saying that their best traditions are myth and that they are a 'kin-group' or 'imagined community' and not a people. But one should analyze anthropology the way it so arrogantly analyzes humanity. Is anthropology not a 'clan' with its own 'cultic site' and its own 'altar' that it bows down to, its own 'creation myth'. Anthropologists deserved to be poked and prodded and their cherished myths subjected to the same rigorous 'science' as they direct at others.

Anthropologists enjoy sitting at dinner parties and condemning other cultures and unique people's, saying that their best traditions are myth and that they are a 'kin-group' or 'imagined community' and not a people. But one should analyze anthropology the way it so arrogantly analyzes humanity. Is anthropology not a 'clan' with its own 'cultic site' and its own 'altar' that it bows down to, its own 'creation myth'. Anthropologists deserved to be poked and prodded and their cherished myths subjected to the same rigorous 'science' as they direct at others.

Anthropology is an infuriating subject. It is like arguing with those who accuse people of being alcoholics. When one replies "I am not a drunk" the response is "you are in denial." I have seen it again and again in life. There is some person from some unique culture and opposite them is some arrogant bespeckled western leftist intellectual saying "research has shown that you do this in your culture and that your prayer is stolen from so and so and your historic roots are actually in this place and not the place you say." And I've seen the bewildered look on the face of the human, surprised to be told by someone he thought was his fellow man that in fact this 'anthropologist' is above him and capable of telling his own history to him. In the old days when man had honour he might challenge the weak 'anthropologist' to a duel for having insulted his culture, but instead we are trained today to accept such hateful dehumanizing criticism as part of 'science' and 'intellectual' life. Anthropology places itself above humanity and thus a human does not feel capable of arguing with it because it has pretensions to be a 'science' based on 'research.' But Anthropologists are also human. So if they are human than surely we can apply anthropology to them and we can stand above them and see their way of life. Think of anthropologists like a tribe. They are not naked and half-starved children are not suckling on their breasts in the midst of some swamp, but they are a tribal people. They have a culture and a way of life. They have families. They give birth. They have a cultic center and a religion.

How does an Anthropologist band (a small group of related people, who are primarily organized through family bonds. Foraging typifies the subsistence technology. A respected and older person may be looked to for leadership, but the person has no formalized authority) or clan (a noncorporate descent group in which genealogical links to a common ancestor are assumed but are not actually known) survive? It has elders in the form of 'scholars' and 'research' which is passed down from generation to generation. Anthropology's mythological source is actually to be found in the Muslim world where they claim descent from Abu Rayhan Biruni. It emerges from the shadows of history in the British empire of the 19th century. Later it was adopted by intellectuals of the Southern Aristocracy to support the "natural state of the Negro in slavery." Fredrick Douglas replied in 1854 that "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered," Douglass argued that "by making the enslaved a character fit only for slavery, [slaveowners] excuse themselves for refusing to make the slave a freeman.... For let it be once granted that the human race are of multitudinous origin, naturally different in their moral, physical, and intellectual capacities... a chance is left for slavery, as a necessary institution.... There is no doubt that Messrs. Nott, Glidden [authors of Types of Mankind], Morton, Smith and Agassiz were duly consulted by our slavery propagating statesmen." Later Anthropology was a keystone of Nazism and part of their cultic belief system that theorized that Jews and slavs were sub-human. The Nazi obsession with anthropology was such that they even searched for their ancestors in Tibet and collected Jewish relics of destroyed communities in order to preserve the history of the people they were so proud at having destroyed. So Anthropology has a beautiful pedigree: Islamism, Slavery and Nazism.

Anthropology was involved with a coevolution (the joint evolution of two or more systems that interact with each other) with the enlightenment. It is predicated on the colonization (forced change in which one culture, society, or nation dominates another) of native peoples in the sense that it believes its ideas about culture are correct and it thus imposes them on others. IAnthropologists like to study the coperiphery (the structural relation between centralized core, often an urban area, and communities on the periphery, usually tribal or rural, resource-based communities) but usually reside in urban bourgouise communities. Its culture (the learned patterns of behavior and thought that help a group adapt to it's surroundings) is one of wealth and arrogance. Its curer (a specialist who heals with herbal preparations and magic learned through apprenticeships) is called a doctor. Anthropologists engage in a cyclical migration (the annual pattern followed in the production of food) to posh ethnic restaurants at noon time where they sit with other members of their economic group and talk about other peoples.

What marks the anthropologist is his view of the world. He has a unique view whereby he categorizes other people according to his own views of them and disregards their own views of themselves. He creates mythological histories of peoples and call its 'science'. He creates names for things that already have names, such as turning 'tribe' into 'kin group' and then he creates complicated definitions of those names that have no basis in reality. The anthropologist has an arrogant speech pattern when speaking about others and he enjoys observing other 'cultures' but he believes he is above that culture and thus has a right to observe it. An Anthropologist has no heritage or history of his own but in his belief system he exists above humanity, judging and classifying it as he sees fit. There may be some ancient decent tribe of people living on their own and the anthropologist believes that he has the right to go observe them, interview them and then decide to call their religion a 'cult' and describe their lifestyle in some complicated 'scientific' manner, turning their unique rituals into something base and turning their language and culture and speech and habit and traditions into simply classified things devoid of meaning or color. All this in the name of the anthropologists 'science'.

Anthropology and its arrogance stands at the height of the evil side of western civilization. Western civilization claims to free man of many things, specifically savage superstitions. It claims reason and 'enlightenment' can free man. But it also creates new disciplines, such as anthropology, that take man and re-enslave him. Thus some poor decent person living in some decent and honourable lifestyle in some place such as India or Africa stops being a human in the eyes of the 'scientific' western civilization and instead becomes a thing to be poked and prodded. This poor person's marriage becomes some 'kin ceremony' and his love for his brothers become part of some elaborate 'kin-group' that is demeaned and made fun of. His religion, his love for his land, his love for many things, are degraded. His heritage is said to be a 'myth'. His love for his people and his language are all re-classified so that those tribes he considers his enemies are said to be his source and languages that he can speak are classified as separate while those he cannot understand are described as being the same as his.

Science is a satanic force in the hand of Anthropology for it denies man his soul, his history, his religion, his land, his source, his roots. Everything is cast aside by the idol smashing anthropologist. The anthropologist, a child of the west, has no history or identity, he has cannibalized his own, so he believes that to take revenge on the world for having vomited him out he must take away the traditions of others and tell them that their most cherished ways of life are nothing but superstition and hocus-pocus.

We must always question what 'science' tells us. Science tells us it has some logic to it. It tells us that it is superior to belief because it has some 'method'. But if it has a method how can it come up with myths that are as complicated and far-fetched as any myth found in the Bible. 'Research' tells us the Jews are variously believing in a religion created in Mesopotamia or connected to a god in Egypt worshipped long ago by a cult. 'Research' condemns the Ethiopian Jews as the product of Christian missionaries and damns their ethnicity as something from Yemen, then twists history once more to create some myth about them being connected to Coptic Christians. 'Research' turns Santa Klaus into a pagan god or new years into a pagan holiday. It turns Greeks into slavs and claims Hindi is a 'made up language' and that the Japanese are based on a 'modern myth'. 'Research' tells us the Bedouin 'tribe' is not a real entity but a 'kin network' that is an 'imagined community'. 'Research' goes so far, thus, to even tell people "our research has shown that you do not exist."

But what if we were to shatter this lie and ask if anthropology exists. What is the proof that it exists? Its origins are as convoluted and obscure as any Bedouin tribe. Anthropologists want to call Bedouin tribes 'kin-groups'. But what is a research method if not a religious tradition of a secular society? What is science but a name for a new belief system created by man, one as convoluted and full of ridiculous myths as any religion. What is a college degree if not another right of passage akin to some Sun Dance of the Sioux? What is an anthropologist if not a modern day Shaman, weaving tales of history and myth into narratives? We know the source of anthropology. We know how it was harnessed to imperialism and to justify slavery and then Nazism. Now it is harnessed to secularism and used to declare man dead and his traditions dead.

But will anthropology prevail in the contest over man's soul? It tries very hard. It tries to seduce us with claims to have 'researched' something and it drops names, saying things like "Dr. so and so has shown in his research that ...." But is that more powerful than some native Siberian Shaman sacrificing a goat and smearing its blood on the wall to determine the future? There is a story in the Bible in 1 Kings 18 of the time when Jezebel was hunting down the prophets of Israel to exterminate them. Elijah emerged from his cave to confront the prophets of the Baal. He was confronted 450 of them and asked that they sacrifice a bull and he would also and they would see whose god would respond. The prophets of the Baal cried out from morning until noon and danced by their altar. Elijah asked "cry out in a loud voice, for he is a god! Perhaps he is conversing or pursuing his enemies or relieving himself, or asleep." So the prophets of the Baal whipped themselves and cut themselves with swords and stabbed eachother with spears "according to their custom." We know how the story ends. Elijah, after preparing carefully is answered by a fire from the heavens which consumes his offering. How did Elijah deal with the prophets of the Baal? "he took them down to the Kishon Brook and slaughtered them there." This was surely a different time than today. But the war between humanity and anthropology is no less important. For humanity to exist anthropology cannot. Anthropology demeans society and denies heritage, it kills the spirit, shackles the mind and numbs the soul. It whips and stabs and lacerates humanity in order scourge it because anthropologists are themselves a people without a past, each one a blank slate seeking to make others that way.

Tribal peoples should rise up against anthropology and throw off its chains. They do not deserve to be studied, anymore than anthropologists would invite some savage tribesmen from the Kalahari into his home to study him, anymore than we would welcome Siberian Shamans to come to our university and study us. When someone cites anthropological 'research' as evidence of something they must be asked immediately, 'what is your kin group', where is your 'band', what is your 'cultic cite'? Is it not the toilet you squat on so forcefully in the morning? Is that not your altar? How do we know it is not. Perhaps you bow down before it and wash your face in the toilet bowl and splash yourself in your own filth in the morning? What is this thing called "research." Is it your 'myth', your 'ancestor-tale'? Tell us more, anthropologist, tell us how you have sex with your wife at night and about your kin group, tell us about your rituals? Those who demean culture and murder heritage must themselves be examined, poked and prodded, put in cages and have their speech recorded, as was done to the last Native-American, Ishi. Their words should be deconstructed so we may understand their belief system and we should look on their ideas as the monkeys did the ideas of the man in Planet of the Apes.

Anthropology will die out along with the rest of the western system of education. It will be forgotten and its myths and fables buried under the sands of time. It will vanish. If our culture cannot defeat it than at least Islam will defeat it. There is no anthropology among Muslims. There is none among Religious Jews. There is none among the Sikhs. There is non among the BJP. There is none among all the religious people in the world who love their heritage. Heritage cannot go hand in hand with a science that denies humanity's basic rights to its own history. Mussolini declared a 'battle against Economics,' a nonsensical battle that cannot be won because economics is a fact. But Anthropology is a myth. We must wage a battle against anthropology, for it is a system of thought which hates us and our way of life.

Never allow a person to speak of anthropology in front of you for its source is Nazism and we would not let someone readily tell us about some Nazi research that has shown we are 'sub-human'. Nor should we allow some person to interpret our culture to us. We, and I mean all the unique peoples in the world, are our culture and no one can tell us its history or its traditions, for culture and heritage and history are the most sacred elements of humanity. No leftist westerner with his science can strip humanity of them. But we can strip the west of its hateful sciences, those with origins in slavery and Nazism, those used to justify genocide and those that demean people, degrade them and in a racist and arrogant manner pretend that one man can judge the accuracy of another man's history and lineage and tradition.
 

2) Thailand's Democracy problem: and the problem for all democracies
December 10th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman

Thailand's Democracy problem: and the problem for all democracies: The takeover of the airports in Thailand and the banning of the ruling party to placate the street, alongside the riots in Greece, show an incredible chink in the armor of democracy. It cannot defend itself against violent street riots by small minorities, who are able to hijack governments and use the media to appear that they are the majority. The people who vote, the majority, those who pay their taxes demand that the police do something, and demand their property be protected, otherwise they too should form gangs and run these lazy violent youth off the streets. But that last option is not very democratic.

Images from Thailand recently have shown un-ending protests culminating in them seizing airports and shutting down the country. But for Thais this has been only a slight break from the normal course of events that have seen protesters shutting down the capital at their whim for years.

Thailand's current 'crises' stretches back to at least 2001 when Thaksin Shinawatra was elected Prime Minister of the country. He had come from a middle class background with Chinese (rather than Thai) ancestry on his father's side. He attended school at a military prep academy and entered the police forces as a young man before becoming one of the countries most successful and wealthiest businessman. Following in the mold of other successful rich men turned politicians, such as Italy's Silvio Berlusconi or Israel's Nir Barkat, he formed his own political party, Thai Rak Thai, and formed his fist government in 2001.

He soon made it clear that he would not behave like former politicians in this Southeast Asian country. He tackled the drug problem in a harsh and successful way. He fought a true War on Drugs, resulting in the killing by police of, some have claimed, 2,275 people, mostly drug sellers and makers And thugs involved in the drug trade. He wiped out entire sectors of drug use, including the use and sale of Meth. Success brought the usual suspects of the international human rights mafia and its ill tanned men from Europe to 'investigate'. Amnesty International and its legion of shrill female complainers along with Human Rights Watch condemned Shinowatra for cracking down on drugs. Human Rights Watch called him a "human rights abuser of the worst kind."

Thaksin was known to be undiplomatic with some of his neighbours and international organizations. He dared to thumb his nose at the UN and ASEAN, at one prestigious conference he was accused of not adhering to protocol and showing the proper respect to the Malaysian head of state. Thaksin distaste for the Malaysian regime stemmed from two problems. First his knowledge of Malaysia 'Malays first' policy where the Chinese minority in Malaysia is denied education and government jobs so that the majority Malay population can have them and because of the long running anti-Buddhist killings carried out by Malay Muslim terrorists in Southern Thailand. Due to the last 'insurgency' that began around 2001, probably inspired by the 'success' of Bin Laden, some 3,000 people were killed in Southern Thailand by Muslim terrorists.

But Thaksin's trouble came when he somehow alienated Bangkok's elites and middle class. His party had always received most of its votes from the rural poor, especially in northern Thailand. He had enacted various schemes to bring them out of poverty and provide health care to them. Many of them were angered due to years of neglect and having to watch their sons and daughters get swallowed up by the faceless urban environments that turned the sons into day labourers and the women into sex slaves for the European tourists and elites. Thaksin was their saviour. Beginning in 2005 under the pretext of opposing corruption a motley group of protestors that included students, militant Buddhist societies, royalits, right wing vigilantes and others popped up to oppose the government. This 'People's Alliance of Democracy' provided non-stop protests that resulted in a coup in 2006 led by a Muslim general and supported by the King. The Generals governed until February of 2008 when new elections brought the People's Power Party into power. Thaksin had been in exile and his party had been declared illegal but it had re-formed itself under this new name and was once again elected. The response of the urban youth and their allies was to begin protesting again with the claim that the king must support a new coup or all the streets and services in the capital would be blocked. The way of the protestors is not peaceful but violent and the army is unwilling to intervene, apparently because it too dislikes the democratically elected government.

Here we see in Thailand a case where democracy has failed. The people have been asked again and again to elect the party they choose since 2001 and since 2005 the urban elites, students and monks and leftists and other radicals, apparently because they are wealthy and do not have to work, have simply made it impossible for normal life to continue in the capital. The army has refused to intervene and the police are incapable of controlling the crowds or suppressing the protests.

This is where democracy fails. One does not need a minority of 45% to make governing by the 55% impossible. One only needs the 10-15% who reside in the largest city, the elites who know how to use violence, intimidation and street protests, and human rights organizations, in order to make life impossible. The police in all countries prove entirely inadequate in controlling even small crowds of rioters. One need only recall the 'intifada' in Paris in 2005, the riots in Greece in December 2008 or any other riot. The police are unable to defeat rioters and police tactics do not train them to defeat them. Police tactics are never such that the police succeed in protecting businesses or keeping the streets open and the people safe. The police only succeed in skirmishing with the rioters. And this is the problem with democracy. When a small group is dedicated to not respecting democracy that group can make elections seem illegitimate through mass protests. In many places this has led to new elections simply because some 10% have been able to hijack entire countries, and usually it is the urban leftist educated 10%, not the people who actually vote.

To surrender to the politics of the street is the weakness of democracy. It means the majority is rarely respected if the minority knows how to use the protest, the human rights movement and other forms of intimidation. This is why, at some level, there must be a mechanism to remove protestors once and for all, jail them en masse, beat them, terrorize them, do whatever it takes to stop them from corrupting democracy and hijacking it to their narrow wishes. One method of doing this is an American Style election which happens at a set time every 2 or 4 years. This way there can be decision to 'call new elections' because that would be unconstitutional. The protestor may whine and complain but he will not get his new elections. The government remains in place. Secondly the protester cannot be allowed to invade and shut down airports and main thoroughfares. These are the public's property and must be defended from protestors the way one defends property: arrest and if necessary shoot.

The idea of a protest is something that appeals to those wishing to subvert democracy. It is part of the 'pressure' group mentality where some tiny minority can have its way with government and because of the use of the media and the collaboration of 'human rights' groups it is given legitimacy because it is seen to represent the majority by virtue of the fact that we are exposed to it so much on television and in the press.

The actions by lunatic protestors in Greece and Thailand remind democracies that they must train the police better to deal with the people when the people break the law. The fact that the police are incapable of protecting private business is a problem because it means that the protestors is allowed to destroy private property. When the police do not defend private property than the people must and that means the people must be willing to fight the protestor in the same way the protestor fights. The people must be willing to go to the wealthy gated community or the hippie commune from whence the protestor springs, to his anarchist apartment, and burn that apartment, burn his car, destroy his motorcycle, hit him in his property. Spray paint his house, tear down his extremist signs. The protestor always is able to run loose in the city, whatever day it is he has a new cause that he exploits and uses violence against the property of others. The protestor is a thug and a terrorist, a natural bully who works in crowds and assaults and intimidates the majority. But the majority should not be silent. There is no excuse for having 'youths' running the streets burning cars and businesses and invading airports. Beat them mercilessly. As Stalin said "Beat, beat and beat again." Or as Yitzhak Rabin said "Break their bones." Beating is not enough, the police are capable and do it enough and it is not effective at stopping the abuse of the streets by the 'youths'. This is why they need to be completely cleared from the streets as one fights a war in an urban environment: street by street, block by block. They need to be curfewed and when that doesn't work they need to be arrested en masse and transported a distance of a hundred miles to some rural location and unloaded in a football field and kept there until they can be processed and given the harshest prison terms possible on such charges as 'disturbing the peace' and 'loitering' and 'blocking public street', 'vandalism', 'protesting without a permit' and such things. 'Youths' feel a mandate to do as they please because they do not have jobs and because there is no punishment, they believe that there is 'safety in numbers' because 'who would arrest all of us.' The police need to think outside the box on this and arrest them all. Thousands, tens of thousands. Whatever it takes to put a stop to lawlessness and the destruction of property.

Protesting is a legal part of democracy. But taking over streets and airports, smashing cars and burning businesses is not. Spraypainting people's doors is not. Paralyzing a city is not. Those last things are part of terrorism and the destruction of democracy, they are the prelude to coups and civil wars. Democracy must defend itself with a strong hand, otherwise it dies the lonely death that we have seen in Thailand.
 

3) Obscured Evil: The problem with modernity
Seth J. Frantzman
December 8th, 2008

The problem with modernity: One of the great hallmarks of modernity is not only that it obscures a cesspool beneath its own ivory towers, but that it also obscures evil in history. One of the greatest test cases is to read accounts of slavery written in the 1860s by American southerners (who believed slavery was a normal part of life) and by academics today. One finds incredible similarity. The obscuring of evil, the inability to condemn it is part of the post-modern culture. Whereas our proud ancestors fought slavery, their descendants white wash it. Obscured evil is a hallmark of a dying society, once one ignores evil it means they accept it.

History will judge us harshly. It will not judge us merely on our failure but it will judge on our ability to obscure evil, our use of intellectualism and the predilection among the best and the brightest to obscure evil and fabricate history. Our inability to judge which is passed of as an interest in not judging and thus not being 'racist' in fact hides a deeper and more disturbing reality, the tragedy of modernity and its inability to process and judge and value things, particularly its inability to condemn evil, whether it is evil in our midst or evil in the past. It is a failure for which modernity will pay the ultimate price and be smashed on the rocks of history.

Societies that sanctioned evil were still able to judge, in our view they just judged wrong. Nazism did not shy from judgment and neither does modern day Islamism. They both understood evil, even though they themselves are it. But modern society does not even rise to the simple level of the Nazi or the Islamist for he cannot even judge. Whereas the Nazi and the Islamist judge incorrectly, modern intellectuals simply do not judge, which means they are in fact worse.

Take two simple examples. The medias reaction to the recent Mumbai attacks, the media's callous treatment of the victims, the media's unwillingness to name who carried out the attacks and the media' prevarication in noting who the attacks were against. Each time the media lied the media murdered he victims again.

The second example is modern societies treatment of slavery, particularly slavery as was found in the Middle East not so long ago. Society denies the slave his right to a heritage, his name, his right to have a mother and a father, his justice, and sees the slave as a 'commercial unit' much as he was seen by his masters and abductors. This enslaves the slave twice, murdering his history twice, for it was first done by the actual people who enslaved him or her against their will, but it is done again by the Western historian in his ivory tower.

History will judge us harshly and rightly so because it will see that we had access to so much information and yet we knowingly obscured that information in order to lie to ourselves about things that were blatantly obvious. A society that does not do justice to the victims of slavery and terrorism, it is as if the society itself is responsible for terrorism and slavery. It is an accomplice. Our modern secular society is an accomplice in more ways than one. In some cases our democratic secular 'progressive' way of life allows for slavery to take place under our very noses in the form of trafficking in women, a crime whose perpetrators receive little punishment primarily due to the female feminist judges who re-label such things 'sex work' and turn the slave sellers into 'business owners'. I don't blame Islam for hating our way of life, it is a way of life that is objectionable and deserves exactly what it gets, it is not worth saving or defending. Any society that can turn terrorists in 'militants' and whose elite media dares to ask whether the targets of the terror were "strategic or by mistake" deserves what it gets.

William Hopworth Dixon, a man used to understanding of the role of slavery in the American South, in the 1860s described a scene in Jaffa: "Said is a Nubian, a Negro, and a slave, and like the mule and the horses, is the property of an Arab gentleman."

Our modern secular 'progressive' society, 148 years later, describes slavery thus:

"In the nineteenth century, there was growing demand for slaves in the Ottoman Empire, particularly during the middle third of the century. Commercial prosperity stimulated demand for Africans — from the Sudan, Senegal, Ethiopia and parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa — and from the Caucasus and central Asia. They were brought to slave markets in cities, of note Cairo, Istanbul and Bursa, and sold to work as urban domestics, in municipal services, in industry, and in other dangerous and disdained occupations. Some were kept in harems as slave-girls or concubines. As well, slaves were used to work on farms and as sharecroppers. Sarah La Preta was brought as a young girl to Jerusalem around 1880. She was a slave who endured the difficulties of travel from her native Ethiopia to be sold in Jerusalem's market.... As a slave, there are no official records of her birth."

Lets tell the truth. She didn't "endure", she was "forced to endure." She doesn't lack "official records" of her birth, her records exist in Ethiopia the place she should have grown up and lived a free life. The place she should have enjoyed playing as a child instead of being raped by Muslim Arabs and put in chains and forced to march through the desert. Forced to be stolen and abducted from her parents by a pedophile religion of hate and transported illegally across the sea to be sold as an object, her humanity denied again and again. Her family surely recalled her birth. She had a name given to her by them. No one gave these animals, these beasts, the right to sell a human being. Slaves were not "used to work", they were "forced to work." But the West obscures and prevaricates. The West lies and lies and lies again in order not to judge, in order to enslave our minds to this mindless life of non-judgment and ridiculous sensitivity to 'racism'. But who is the greater racist, the liberal-secular western person who obscures the life of an African slave and turns her into chattel, or the person who tells the truth about the Muslim role in the African slave trade. Who is the greater racist, the liberal-secular media who refuses to admit that it was Jews, Hindus and westerners who were targeted and murdered in Mumbai, or the person who tells the truth about terror and names who the terrorists are; Muslim terrorists?

We cannot abide such a world. Liberalism and secularism promised us many things and in each thing it was a lie. Each 'freedom' became a slavery, each secular promise to free us from the chains of religion brought new religions with new chains to whip and murder us, each time we were told we would be freed by some new leftist ideology such as Communism we found that leftist intellectuals came and set taskmasters upon us in the name of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. But there was no proletariat, there was just the Soviet-Bolshevik elite, born of wealth who continued their bourgouise leftist lifestyle while man was re-enslaved. Each time we were told 'now we will do justice to occupied voices and colonized peoples' we found that the truth was obscured, in the name of anti-colonialism Robert Mugabes arose and new colonialism had to be imposed to bring out men such as Charles Taylor, good people like Rose Kabuye were arrested under arrest warrants issued by the International Court, a court with no jurisdiction that Rwanda never allowed to have power over her citizens. Each time we found that 'never again' meant 'do it again'. Each time we found that slavery was not abolished but only changing in form as we watched millions of women from the Former Soviet Union sold as chattel across the world, raped for the enjoyment of men and murdered.

We ask. When will it be enough? When will we stop submitting to this charade. When will slavery start being slavery again? When will terrorism become terrorism? When will peace stop meaning war? When will justice stop meaning genocide? When will human rights stop meaning hatred for humans? When. Will we have to extricate ourselves from the diseased western civilization and allow it to die so that we may live again free from its shackles?

Contact Seth J. Frantzman at sfrantzman@hotmail.com and visit his website: http://journalterraincognita.blogspot.com. These essays are Issue #65 and appeared on his website.

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INTERNATIONAL ORDER FAILS, AGAIN; POLICE BIAS AGAINST "SETTLERS"; DIPLOMATS MAKING TROUBLE
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 16, 2008.

OBAMA GUARANTEE EVALUATED

An aide said that Obama plans to follow Hillary Clinton's idea to offer Israel a guarantee: if Iran nuclear-bombs Israel, the US would devastate Iran. The US already has placed in Israel a device that supposedly can intercept a nuclear bomb-carrying missile. Meanwhile, Obama would offer Iran a financial incentive not to attack, and threatens tougher sanctions if it does not accept the offer.

An Israeli asked, who could believe a guarantee from someone who thinks he can talk matters over with Iran. Would the US talk so tough after Iran has accumulated some nuclear weapons?

The Administration ridiculed Obama's plan committing the US to a war Americans wouldn't want and would occur after Israel already is destroyed.

The offer supposes that Iran will manufacture a nuclear weapon. That seems to be conceding its success. Iran certainly has mastered the technology. Iran seems to be giving us a little more time, by accumulating more nuclear material than needed for a single bomb (IMRA, 12/10). It may have more, now.

In supposing that Iran's fanatical regime would stay its hand for money, Obama demonstrates ignorance of jihad or worse. Do they care what happens to them on earth, so long as they destroy Israel? They don't think like us! They could accept the money and then bomb Israel. With our recession, what money?

The US is preparing Israel to defend against nuclear delivery by missiles. There are other methods of delivery. Defense is risky, offense, surer.

INTERNATIONAL ORDER FAILS, AGAIN

The US proposed pursuing Somali pirates to their lairs. This was an attempt to solve the problem multilaterally. That upset African countries whose primary concern is sovereignty.

Congolese factions continued mass-murder not far from a post of UNO peacekeepers. The UNO group was understaffed and unable to respond (NY Times, 12/11).

Dispatching insufficient forces just wastes money and dashes hopes. It demonstrates that the UNO is not a viable organization.

A sovereign state is supposed to patrol its borders. When it cannot do so or will not, aggrieved parties may. The law supports the US position. But political correctness, and excessive legalism and internationalism hobble self-defense.

ISRAEL SAVES HAMAS

[Israel provides Gaza with a certain amount of electricity, water, food, and medicine, some for sale and some bought by foreigners.] Having kept excise taxes from Hamas, Israel brought the Gaza banking system to the brink of collapse. The banks lacked funds to pay salaries there.

To the rescue strode Israel's Defense Minister. He allegedly exerted political pressure on Israeli banks to send about $25 million to Gaza banks. Shurat HaDin is seeking an injunction against that aid to terrorism. The aid probably is illegal (IMRA, 12/10, 11).

Salaries go not only to Gaza teachers who preach jihad but also to military men who carry it out against Israel. Whose side is the government of Israel on? Do you see the danger of too much government connection with business, enabling it to put pressure on business? Beware of the Democrat's bigger government tendency (as contrasted with the GOP big government tendency) and the excuse the financial crisis may give to get political ideology intruding upon business.

HOW LONG HAS OLMERT PROMISED TO INVADE GAZA?

Arutz-7 called it a 3-year discourse, "we will not tolerate rocket attacks" and "we know how to react." (12/10.) He's tolerated thousands of rockets, causing some damage. When Israel does invade, Hamas will have greater firepower.

THE TWO SIDES OF LIVNI'S MOUTH

PM Olmert ordered staff and colleagues not to reveal a recent Cabinet discussion about handling Gaza terrorism. According to Israeli security officials, that enables Foreign Min. Livni to tell the public she urges Olmert to strike Hamas hard and now, and to tell Cabinet meetings otherwise (IMRA, 12/10).

She has a reputation for honesty. Will she be found before elections?

HOW PERES WOULD STOP IRAN

The West should take steps to reduce the price of oil, so Iran can't afford to make nuclear bombs, said Israel's Shimon Peres (Arutz-7, 12/10).

The West doesn't have the money to take such steps fast. Too late, anyway! Iran has the know-how and enough material for one or more bombs. It would sacrifice whatever else it needs, to complete them. Peres is unrealistic, as usual.

FRAUD IN LABOR PARTY PRIMARY

[Earlier we reported probably deceit or fraud in the Kadima Party primary.] Officials have found evidence of fraud in the Labor Party primary of 2007, won by Barak. Again, the problematic areas were in Arab precincts. Labor Party activists noticed that some ballot boxes brought out at the start of the day already had some envelopes in them! Indications are that some signatures were forged (Arutz-7, 12/11).

Paper ballots, in this day and age? In New York State, we have electro-mechanical machines. Our votes are fairly safe. Newer machines being ordered all over the country are electronic. Votes on them are not secure. They can be programmed to alter votes. Those machines should not be allowed, but there was some kind of pressure to get that type.

KADIMA POLITICIAN, CHAIM RAMON

At an interview, Vice Premier Ramon rebuked his government's policy of sending money to Gaza. He'd prefer to overthrow Hamas rule there by military and diplomatic means. Otherwise, Hamas has no incentive to moderate. Kept in power by Israel, it wins, as did Hizbullah [also thanks to his Kadima regime].

Ramon urged voters to select Kadima, because, he said, Kadima knows how to run the country.

The interviewer did not ask Ramon to explain the contradiction between his praising Kadima as knowing how to run the country, and his lambasting the country for letting Hamas and Hizbullah win (IMRA, 12/11). Is Kadima stupid or treasonous?

IRANIAN OIL OUTPUT FALLING

Iran's oil industry has aging equipment, little investment, and less chance that foreign investors can help much now. Output would decline each year (IMRA, 12/10). Haven't foreign countries pledged billions each, to Iran, for oil recovery?

OBAMA'S APPOINTEE JONES

Obama wants Gen. Jones as his national security advisor. Jones recommended having NATO forces in Judea-Samaria. No doubt they would push out the Jews, or be the excuse for a leftist government of Israel to force out the Jews (Barry Chamish, 12/11).

REPORT POLICE BIAS AGAINST "SETTLERS"

The Civil Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria digested police crime statistics that confirm discrimination against the Jews there. Here I explain the highlights from the newsbrief — I did not read the report.

How can one tell whether police are persecuting? One way is whether they initiate criminal files without complaints. In Israel, police initiate 14% of the cases. In Jewish towns of Judea-Samaria, however, police initiate 25-80% more. In Israel, 14% of cases lead to indictment. In Jewish towns of Judea-Samaria, 38% of the cases lead to indictment. Are "settlers" more criminal?

Then consider this indicator. Although 97% of indicted Israeli are convicted, in Judea-Samaria, only 54% are. Thus the executive branch initiates a higher proportion of the cases against "settlers" than against Jews in Israel, and indict a higher proportion, but the courts convict only about half the proportion. Apparently judges find half the cases against "settlers" unwarranted. [More judges might find cases unwarranted, but many judges are picked for leftist views or are Arabs, and are biased.]

Before we draw conclusions, one asks how police, prosecutors, and judges treat the Arabs of Judea-Samaria and non-resident leftists and anarchist protestors in Judea-Samaria and resident Arabs. Perhaps the heavy police presence in Judea-Samaria weighs down on the Arabs and leftists, too. It doesn't.

In the first two-thirds of 2008, police opened 400 files of "disturbing the peace." Only 36 were against left-wing activists, but every week, the left wing holds violent protests, and I mean violent, against IDF forces in Bil'in and Na'alin, alone. Only 30 leftists were arrested. [That encourages the violent anarchists.] Adding in 2007, 66 leftists were arrested, but only 3% (or 2) were indicted. Thus prosecutors indict only 3% of leftists whom police found violent, but 38% of "settlers." Now the pattern of bias seems more pronounced.

What about orders of restraint, prior to determination of guilt? This year, prosecutors got courts to order five local Jews to stay away from Judea-Samaria or large areas of it, where they live and work. No such orders ever were issued against outside leftist protestors, although their family lives and income would not be adversely affected, because they came from outside to Judea-Samaria, intending trouble. Thus the justice system treats nationalist Jews worse.

Police were able to locate suspects and verify the charges in 73% of cases against Jews of Judea-Samaria. They found only 13% of the Arabs. The report attributes this to greater and better resources focused on Jews. The report about government regulations and procedure confirms the attribution. [Israeli intelligence seems able to locate terrorists in Judea-Samaria and even in Gaza, so why not in cases of rioting and land conflicts?]

When Arabs clash with Jews in Judea-Samaria, what happens? Not every instance draws judicial comment, but several judicial rulings criticized prosecutors for pressing charges only against the Jews and not against the Arabs. [This I've reported over the years, except that people should be arrested for attacking others, not for defending themselves. Until police discrimination demoralized the Jews, Arabs did the attacking and Jews did the defending. Therefore, police should have arrested the Arabs and not the Jews. Police did the opposite.]

Those are the statistics. By what procedures does the criminal system act so as to produce those results?

In 1999, the government set up special, secret, regulations against Yesha Jewry. Instead of using police detectives to gather information, the government employs secret police against Yesha Jews, preventive detention, internal exile, lower standards for prosecuting, and re-opening closed cases. The government "operates in violation of Knesset decisions."

By contrast with treatment of Jews, the special regulations state that charges against Arabs of Judea and Samaria, if not for heavy security crimes must be dropped for "lack of public interest," and in any case must not be made against public figures.

Then the Jews in Judea-Samaria are not more criminal. Rather, police are arresting Jews too freely in Judea-Samaria, and prosecutors are discriminating against them by excessive indictment. The Jews there are being punished, even if found innocent, for they have to lose time working, are jailed for a long time pending trial, and have to lay out money to prove innocence in cases that should not have been brought in the first place. The government spends more by persecuting.

Why this inequality before the law? For politics and ideology. Why does the media present an opposite picture of this factual and reasoned report? (Arutz-7, 12/11.) Because the leftist media is complicit with the leftist government. I find it especially shameful that the Jewish state discriminates against dissident Jews.

UTILIZE FALLING OIL PRICES?

Oil demand still is depressing prices. Consumption may take a year to recover. Meanwhile, will consumers resume buying big cars, and companies no invest in renewable energy, as if low oil prices will last? Renewable energy would become competitive shortly after the new facilities are built or developed.

Will the government buy more oil for the strategic reserve?

WHAT IS HUMANITARIAN?

Israel lets Arab families visit imprisoned, convicted terrorists. Israel doesn't have to, I believe, because terrorists to not have POW status.

By contrast, Muslim Arab terrorist captors do not let Israeli families visit or telephone. The supposed humanitarian organizations hardly criticize the Arabs for this. Instead, they complain about Israeli checkpoints that detect armed terrorists out to kidnap but that retard the flow of Arabs not on such a mission.

The so-called humanitarian organizations have a political agenda, biased against the Jewish state. They distort statistics to uphold their ideology. They have a warped sense of ethics. They can be most inhumane.

SOCIETIES' ETHICS ON IMMIGRANT LABOR

When a country's government allows employers to keep temporary foreign workers from finding better jobs or going home, it encourages over-exploitation. The US has such rules. So does Israel. So does S. Arabia. It doesn't matter how different a society is, employers influence the government to let them take unfair advantage of alien workers. Shame on them all!

LET THE QUARTET PLAY VIOLINS, MUSIC WOULD BE BETTER

The Quartet keeps issuing statements affirming the same unprincipled principles. So what's the point of each new press release, when it isn't a new release?

The Quartet keeps asserting that the negotiating process is irreversible. What does it mean, "irreversible?" Does it mean that Israeli concessions are irreversible? If Israel ever got a psychologically normal regime, it would repudiate the concessions to the enemy. Does it mean that the Israeli regimes, that want to cede 96% of what Abbas demands, and that the P.A., which won't take less than 100%, must keep negotiating their impasse forever? That is ridiculous! Time for Israel to start annexing the unallocated part of its homeland, for justice and for security. That is the better way to break the deadlock.

SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN P.A.

The news is not that this has happened, but that it is continuing. So fearful are the local Christian leaders, that they deny it is happening, even as their members keep fleeing. The Muslim leaders officially claim to be tolerant and nationalist. They are, however, intolerant and religious. Islam doesn't recognize nationality.

Hamas and Fatah let Muslim gangs attack or kidnap Christians with impunity. This is part of the growing Islamic fervor. The Muslim organizations that attack Christians say they want to drive them out, they don't belong (IMRA, 12/11).

How interesting that when Arab Muslims become more devout, they become more intolerant and violent about it!

POLITICAL EFFECT OF EXPELLING HEBRON HOUSE'S JEWS

After Defense Min. Barak expelled the Jewish owners of a house in Hebron, his Labor Party popularity returned to double digits. Coincidence (IMRA, 12/12)?

What else explains his urgency in resorting to force rather than waiting for a lower court to determine the legal ownership?

DEALING WITH SOMALI PIRATES

When warships capture Somali fishing boats whose crews are well armed, the navies suspect piracy and confiscate weapons, but can't prove the crews are pirates. The warships let the crews go (Wall St. J., 12/13).

LIKUD PRIMARY DECEIT

Moshe Feiglin is trying to influence Likud in a nationalist way and take over from Netanyahu. He won the 20th slot in the list for Knesset candidates. That was high enough to be elected, according to current polls.

Netanyahu's associates came up with technical reasons for moving Feiglin down to the 36th slot, not likely to win. The associates boasted that they had moved Feiglin aside, meaning their maneuver was political. Netanyahu boasts that he is sole ruler of the party. Meanwhile, the media and rival parties still complain that Likud is an extremist, right wing party (IMRA, 12/11).

They should admit it is a left wing party, but not as hard line as theirs. Netanyahu disgusts me. He makes party primaries undemocratic. The people want to vote for a major, security-minded party, but there are none.

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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FEDERAL RESERVE SUED FOR FUNDING SHARIAH PRODUCTS
Posted by World Net Daily, December 16, 2008.
There is an internal cultural jihad under way against our great nation'

A lawsuit has been filed against the Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. over Wall Street bailout money going to American International Group, which is funding Shariah-compliant insurance and products.

WND reported a week ago that AIG has benefited from two major bailout agreements with the U.S. government giving $152.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to the company. Then it confirmed it is stepping up its dealings with Islamic finance offering homeowners insurance that complies with Islam's religious Shariah laws.

According to an announcement at the time, Risk Specialists Companies, Inc., or RSC, a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance, was introducing its Shariah-compliant Takaful Homeowners Policy to the U.S.

The Shariah-compliant policy is underwritten through RSC member company A.I. Risk Specialists Insurance, Inc., in conjunction with Lexington Insurance Co. and in association with AIG Takaful Enaya.

A lawsuit has been filed against the Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. over Wall Street bailout money going to American International Group, which is funding Shariah-compliant insurance and products.

WND reported a week ago that AIG has benefited from two major bailout agreements with the U.S. government giving $152.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to the company. Then it confirmed it is stepping up its dealings with Islamic finance offering homeowners insurance that complies with Islam's religious Shariah laws.

According to an announcement at the time, Risk Specialists Companies, Inc., or RSC, a subsidiary of AIG Commercial Insurance, was introducing its Shariah-compliant Takaful Homeowners Policy to the U.S.

The Shariah-compliant policy is underwritten through RSC member company A.I. Risk Specialists Insurance, Inc., in conjunction with Lexington Insurance Co. and in association with AIG Takaful Enaya.

"Takaful" is based on Quranic principles of "Ta'awon" — or mutual assistance. The term originates from the Arabic word "Kafalah," meaning "joint guarantee." Similar to mutual insurance, where policyholders own a stake in the organization, members of a Takaful group pool their resources to help the neediest member, and losses are divided among them.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to stop AIG from using any taxpayer funds distributed as part of the Wall Street bailout, because of its Islamic-based businesses and activities.

"This lawsuit not only raises significant constitutional issues, it also shines a light on serious national security issues that our own government has created by direct financial support and ownership of a business that supports anti-American, radical Islamic activities," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel for the Thomas More Law Center, which is handling the case.

"Make no mistake, there is an internal cultural jihad under way against our great nation, and I fear that many of our political leaders are unwittingly complicit in it," he said today.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Michigan on behalf of Kevin J. Murray, a former Marine infantryman who served two tours of duty in Iraq.

It challenges the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" as being unconstitutional, because of the $40 billion in taxpayer funds used to support the U.S. government's new majority ownership interest in AIG.

The company's "Islamic religious activities" are "anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-American," the lawsuit says, and violate the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause.

According to the lawsuit, through the use of taxpayer funds, the U.S. government acquired a majority (79.9 percent) ownership interest in AIG, and as part of the bailout, Congress provided money to fund and financially support AIG and its financial activities. AIG, which is now a government-owned company, engages in Shariah-compliant financing, which subjects certain financial activities, including investments, to the dictates of Islamic law and the Islamic religion. This specifically includes any profits or interest obtained through such financial activities.

The lawsuit said an important element of Shariah-compliant financing is a form of obligatory charitable contribution called zakat, which is a religious tax for assisting those that "struggle [jihad] for Allah." The amount of this tax is up to 20 percent, depending upon the source of the wealth. The zakat religious tax is used to support Islamic "charities," some of which have ties to terrorist organizations that are hostile to the United States and all other "infidels," which includes Christians and Jews.

"The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, recently convicted for providing material support to Islamic terrorist organizations, is an example of an Islamic "charity" that qualifies for receipt of the zakat," the lawsuit said.

"Thus, as a direct consequence of the taxpayer funds appropriated and expended to purchase and financially support AIG, the U.S. government is now the owner of a corporation engaged in the business of collecting religious taxes to fund interests adverse to the United States, Christians, Jews, and all other 'infidels' under Islamic law," the lawsuit said.

"This lawsuit is as much about protecting constitutional principles as it is about protecting our national security and preventing another 9/11 — whether it be overt through flying planes into buildings or covert through appropriating taxpayer money to fund an Islamic cultural jihad," Thompson said.

AIG's Shariah program was set up with the help of a three-person Shariah Advisory Board, with members from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Pakistan. According to AIG, the role of its Shariah authority "is to review [its] operations, supervise its development of Islamic products, and determine Shariah compliance of these products and [its] investments," the lawsuit said.

But of particular interest Pakistani Board member, Muhammed Imran Ashraf Usmani, the case said.

"Usmani is the son and devoted disciple of Sheik Mufti Taqi Usmani, the leading authority on Shariah financing who, in 1999, authored a book dedicating an entire chapter on why a Western Muslim must engage in violent jihad against his own country — even if Muslims are given equality and freedom to practice their religion and to proselytize," the lawsuit said.

Murray was one of those who "answered the call" when Islamic terrorists, "guided by principles of Shariah-mandated jihad against 'infidels,' attacked and killed thousands of innocent American civilians,'" the case said.

"Yet today, Murray's federal tax dollars are being used to advance the very cause of global jihad he and his fellow servicemen were placed in harm's way to overcome," the lawsuit said.

"Shariah explicitly demands the murder of infidels like Kevin Murray and the destruction of the United States, which Murray took an oath to defend. Shariah is the same law that is used to justify beheadings, stonings, and amputation for petty crimes in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Sudan, which Americans deplore," the complaint said.

WND also reported earlier that the U.S. Treasury was teaching a course called "Islamic Finance 101."

"It is clear," said Thompson, "oil money is purchasing the sovereignty of the United States and whatever loyalty to America these greedy financial institutions, corporations, and universities have left. It's up to the American people to take back their country from those who so easily betray its interests."

Jeffrey Imm of Family Security Matters and the Anti-Jihad League of America has written extensively on the subject, warning that AIG would expand its Shariah products in the U.S. He has even created a petition demanding the Federal Reserve, Securities Exchange Commission and Department of the Treasury require AIG to divest itself of its Shariah businesses.

"The Sharia legal codification is intended to enforce discriminatory and segregationist practices against women and non-Muslims and to suppress the liberties of those living in Islamic theocracies," Imm writes."... Sharia is incompatible with democratic values and the inalienable right that 'all men are created equal.'"

A part of AIG's government bailout includes its Takaful Sharia-based insurance business, its divisions promoting Sharia finance and Sharia mutual trusts.

"You own it," Imm declares. "That's where your tax dollars are going today."

Imm warns investing in Shariah-compliant businesses is dangerous for the U.S. When the government first considered providing a bailout to AIG it should have first required the company to divest itself of Shariah-based businesses, he wrote.

This article was published yesterday and is archived at
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=83704

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ISRAEL THE BEAUTIFUL: SUNSET AT GUSH ETZION
Posted by Posted by Yehoshua Halevi, December 16, 2008.


Sunset at Gush Etzion
 

This is one of Yehoshua Halevi's Golden Light Images.

Yehoshua Halevi writes: "HOW I GOT THE SHOT:

The little curl at the top of the tree — and how perfectly it rolls over to the right and how impeccably it echoes the roundness of the sun — is the reason I took this photograph. Beautiful sunsets are frequent in the Judean mountains near my home and I've taken enough satisfying shots to be able to enjoy them without my camera.

This photo was the culmination of a short hike around the community of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. I don't think I would have even noticed the trees had I not paused to look up at the sky, just to see if perhaps something interesting were about to unfold. As soon as I did, I spotted the sun dipping into the gap between the two silhouetted trees. I adjusted my angle of view slightly and waited until the sun dropped to the midpoint of the space. Because the sky is almost entirely without clouds, the dark trees need to occupy some of the empty space at the top of the photo to provide balances to the composition. All photographs, especially those shot in nature, preserve fleeting moments in time. A few months later I returned to this spot and both the tree, and its cute little curl, were gone.

Contact Yehoshua Halevi by email at smile@goldenlightimages.com and visit his website:
http://www.goldenlightimages.com. Reproductions of his work as cards, calenders and posters may be purchased at
http://www.cafepress.com/halevi18

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FROM ISRAEL: INTERESTING TIMES
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 15, 2008.

That's the old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." And indeed we do. Sometimes it's hard to know what to look at first.

Defense Minister Barak has sent his top aide, Amos Gilad, to Cairo to discuss with the Egyptians the possibility of renewing the "ceasefire" that ends on Friday of this week.

(Actually words are bandied about loosely in the media: ceasefire, truce. What we're talking about is a tahadiyeh, which is an informally agreed upon period of calm. A hudnah is a formal ceasefire agreement. So, a "lull" or "period of quiet" best describes what's being sought, not "ceasefire" or "truce.")

We knew this was coming, didn't we?

Residents of the communities near Gaza consider this ridiculous, because there hasn't been any "ceasefire" for a while now. They ought to know, for they're the ones getting bombarded with rockets and mortars.

~~~~~~~~~~

I wrote yesterday about how we used to operate on the basis of deterrence but now have a policy that is pure confusion. Here's a perfect example. It's not only the residents of local communities that know this is a joke, so does Hamas.

According to my information, provided via the IDF, in the last six months, the time of the "ceasefire," almost 370 projectiles — 190 Kassam rockets and close the same number of mortars, as well as few Grad Katyushas — have been shot from Gaza. That's an average of more than two per day. What we're saying is, hey, if we didn't have this informal deal, it would be a lot more than that, so we'll pretend what we've had is a "ceasefire." (wink wink) This makes us weak.

At an absolute bare minimum, Barak ought to say, "If you want a 'ceasefire,' give us a real 'ceasefire.' Otherwise the deal is off." He won't.

~~~~~~~~~~

Numerous reasons are being offered as to why Barak favors this "ceasefire" policy:

Barak is afraid if we do a ground operation we will be stuck in Gaza again. Myself, I think this is absolutely necessary. The powers that be are simply playing around. We say having a terrorist entity at our border isn't acceptable, but does anyone imagine the terrorists are going to pack their bags and go quietly into the night? It's time to restore the situation to the status quo ante and stop fooling around. They had their chance to make something of themselves and blew it big-time.

Barak is also afraid, it is said, that even if we do a more limited operation it might escalate into a ground operation. What "borscht" this is. See my comment above.

Still another reason is said to be Barak's fear that in the course of an operation many rockets would be fired at the communities on the periphery of Gaza. Well, I hate to break this to him, but Hamas — whose goal is our destruction — has the capacity to fire those rockets any time it chooses, and will shoot when it is ready. This lull does not exactly represent a permanent cessation of hostilities. The longer we sit without hitting them the stronger they get towards the time when they will hit. This is better?

No, it's not better, but it wouldn't be on Barak's watch. And that's what counts, right? Interesting that the upcoming elections are not mentioned as a reason to not do a Gaza operation now.

The only thing that might make sense is concern about fighting on two fronts at the same time and what Hezbollah might be up to.

~~~~~~~~~~

Top IDF officers have voiced a call for renewal of operations into Gaza, and Shaul Mofaz, now a member of Kadima and formerly minister of defense in Likud, says there never should have been an agreement for "quiet" if Gilad Shalit was not part of the deal.

And our new, reformulated foreign minister is saying that:

"As long as Hamas continues to operate with terror from Gaza, Israel will operate with its own means. It needs and must respond to terror through military means."

I continue to believe that she's shifted somewhat right in response to the Likud primary.

~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile there seems to be disagreement within Hamas as to whether to continue the lull, such as it may be. Hamas leader in Damascus, Khaled Mashaal, has stated that "the general mood among the Palestinian people and factions" is opposed to a renewal of the lull.

What rather startled me was this sentence in the Post report, to which the reliable Khaled Abu Toameh has contributed: "[The Hamas leadership is] insisting instead on an unofficial agreement that would allow Hamas to continue firing rockets at Israel in response to IDF attacks on its members."

Leadership inside of Gaza, it is being reported, is favoring an extension of the lull. One of the things that is being sought is opening of the crossings into Gaza.

~~~~~~~~~~

The people of Gaza are not as dependent upon those crossings as Hamas would have the world believe because they are utilizing the tunnels from the Sinai. I found fascinating this acknowledgement by the UN, from a GlobeandMail piece on December 12:

"'Reports that as many as 50 per cent of children are suffering from malnutrition are exaggerations,' says Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Program.

"'This is not a humanitarian crisis,' he said. 'It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving.'

"'That doesn't mean it's pleasant,' he said. 'It's like a prison: You have shelter and food, but it's not a nice place to live.'"

Amazing, in light of what was said by UN representatives at a press conference I attended on November 26: Both Maxwell Gaylard, UN Humanitarian Coordinator, and Philippe Lazzarin, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated unequivocally that there was a humanitarian crisis.

Do these guys not coordinate with each other? Of course, the press conference was called to announced the launching of fundraising for relief efforts in Gaza. A signal lesson here.

~~~~~~~~~~

According to PA officials in Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas plans to extend his term as president for a year past its January 9 expiration date. They claim that the Arab League backs this move, as they're trying to buy time until there can be a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah (which would permit a pan-Palestinian election).

Hamas, for its part, has made it clear that it will not accept this, and will be naming Abdel Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as acting president and then will hold elections. Dweik, it should be noted, has been in an Israeli prison since the Hamas abduction of Gilad Shalit.

This is where things will get really "interesting."

A poll done by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research last Thursday shows that 64% of Palestinians think Abbas's term is over.

~~~~~~~~~~

Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), the ranking Republican on the Senates Intelligence Committee, has paid a lightning visit here, during the course of which he has given an interview to the Jerusalem Post. In response to recent Obama statements about his approach to Iran, he said that:

"Offering them carrots does nothing, talking about it is not effective. We need sanctions and full pressure."

~~~~~~~~~~

The latest group of prisoners has been released: 224 to Ramallah and a greeting by Abbas, and another 18 to go to Gaza. The petition by the Almagor Terror Victims Association asking that they not be released was ultimately rejected by the High Court because the State indicated that none of those slated for release had harmed Israelis.

What nonsense. Almagor says some had attempted murder. So if they tried, and failed, this makes them safe?

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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KNOW WHO YOU'RE DEALING WITH
Posted by Barry Rubin, December 15, 2008.

The Obama Administration-elect is planning how it is going to engage with Syria and Iran — to try to split the former from the latter and to persuade the latter to...split from itself? Let's say, be more moderate. The debate in the media, academia, and policymaking circles generally assumes that such an approach can work, that you can deal with these countries with a real chance they will meet commitments and change their spots.

There is, however, much evidence to the contrary, showing the duplicity and world-record cynicism of the radical states. Here's the latest one, which deserves wide coverage and understanding.

Two of the most courageous and non-violent reformers in Syria are Michel Kilo, a journalist, and Mahmoud Issa, a human rights activist. In 2006 the two men were imprisoned and sentenced to prison thereafter.

But on November 2 of this year, the appeals' court in Damascus, which always does what the government tells it to do, ordered a pardon for the two men. Why this unusual move? Because Syria was in the midst of negotiating an association agreement with the European Union and the deal had been frozen since 2005, partly due to European criticism of Syria's human rights' record.

On December 14, the EU and Syria finally initialed the agreement, moving it a big step forward.

On December 15, the next day, the Syrian court reversed itself and withdrew the promised pardon.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. Some months ago, during the visit of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, the legislator publicly announced that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Asad had promised him to release some political prisoners. A few days later, the Syrian government denied any such promise. To my knowledge, Spector never denounced the trick that had been played on him.

When then Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Damascus the first time, Bashar promised to close terrorist offices there. Powell announced success; the offices weren't closed. The second time Powell went to Syria, he publicly stated he would not be fooled again. While there, Bashar promised him to close the oil pipeline from Iraq which was breaking the international sanctions invoked against Saddam Hussein.

It isn't that no one has tried negotiating with Iran on its nuclear program but merely that Iran has broken all its pledges.

There is a saying that goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." What do you say for being fooled the twenty-second time?

As the Obama administration will discover when dealing with Syria and Iran, this is typical behavior. Start counting.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and co-author of "Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography" and "Hating America: A History" (Oxford University Press). His latest book is The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). Prof. Rubin's columns can now be read online at http://gloria.idc.ac.il/columns/column.html. Contact him at profbarryrubin@yahoo.com

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WISHING ALL HAPPY CHANUKAH AND TO OUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS MERRY CHRISTMAS
Posted by Gabrielle Goldwater, December 15, 2008.


HAPPY CHANUKAH ...... ......

Shavua tov
Dec. 22 — 29 2008

The Holiday of Lights

celebrating the miracle of a little oil that lasted eight days and continues to illuminate our lives to this day....

May this spirit be with You ALL and Your Families

TO Our Christian Friends,     We wish YOU ALL a Happy Merry Christmas

May we all see Peace

Gabrielle

Gabrielle Goldwater lives in Switzerland. Contact her at III44@aol.com

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OF JOY AND SORROW AND VINDICATION
Posted by Naomi Ragen, December 15, 2008.

Friends,

The story below, which I didn't write, really conveys so much of what life is like for Israelis.

Such wonderful people, such special human beings. It is called Renewal and it was written by David S. It appeared on the Israelity Blog and is archived at
http://israelity.com/2008/12/12/renewal/ Naomi

It's been said that everyone in Israel knows at least one — one family touched by terror, that is. The truth is, things are far better than they used to be on that front, certainly better than during they were six and seven years ago, when there seemed to be a bus bombing or shooting attack every week — and sometimes more often.

Terrorism aims to destroy lives — and often it does. But it's not just lives: Families are never the same, even if the intended victim survives. Communities change, kids relate to their surroundings differently. We hear about the attacks, which make news for a few days, and move on; they often can't. So when we see individuals and families who do manage to rebuild their lives, we can only stand back and gape in awe at their superhuman strength.

I had an "awesome" moment last night, when the son of a friend of mine got married. I won't reveal their names, but I can tell you the story: While driving home from buying school supplies for the upcoming term, Jacob and Rachel (not their real names) were shot at by Arab terrorists. With them in the car were three of their five children. The shooter got their car point blank — killing Rachel, and leaving Jacob and their oldest daughter, Dina, in a wheelchair. Rachel was several months pregnant at the time. Also in the car were two boys — Shimon, 8, and Levi, 3. Not in the van were their oldest son Reuven, 13 (he had just had his bar-mitzvah two months earlier), and Sarah, 10.

Suffice to say that the family was shattered; the oldest boy became rebellious, the second son took after him, and the youngest boy, in the car when it happened, was basically shellshocked. Jacob tried as well as he could, but it was difficult juggling his family and work obligations. The community helped — a lot — but it just wasn't the same. Rachel was one of those "super-moms" — always there for the kids, working to help others (she was a nurse), with a golden personality, always smiling. This was a family that had lost so much — and things looked bleak.

But the family experienced a rebirth — in large part thanks to Leah, whom Jacob married three years after losing Rachel. The kids were wary at first — she was a widow herself, and had three older kids of her own — and things were rocky at first. But with love and patience, things worked themselves out. The community helped a lot, too. Plus, the determination of Jacob — and the kids — not to give the terrorists the victory they so sorely sought. And now see Reuven at his wedding! He grew up to be a fine, sensitive, scholarly young man, a veteran of the elite Duvdevan unit. The joy on his face, and on the faces of family and friends, was unique. This wasn't just a wedding; it was a vindication, a confirmation of life, a message to the forces of darkness — Israel, and Israelis, are here to stay.

Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist and journalist who lives in Jerusalem. She can be contacted at www.naomiragen.com, where you can subscribe to her newsletter.

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NEW DANISH BOOK DRAWS JIHADIST IRE
Posted by Steve Emerson, December 15, 2008.

It is an equation becoming all too familiar. A new book released in Europe contains essays critical of Islam and illustrations of the Prophet Mohammed. In response, some are calling for blood.

Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard's book Groft Sagt (Rough Talk), was released in Denmark earlier this month. It is a collection of about 100 of his favorite newspaper columns from a Copenhagen daily. Many of the columns are critical of Islam. In addition, the book features 26 new illustrations from Kurt Westergaard, whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammed in the newspaper Jyllands Posten in 2005 sparked a wave of violent protests.

An Israeli security center is sounding the alarm about calls for a violent backlash after noticing a series of incendiary posts on jihadist web sites. According to an International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) release, someone identifying himself as Abu Salem posted comments about Hedegaard's book on a website called Hanein, "a mouthpiece for Al-Qaeda and other jihad organizations":

"Abu Salem requests that all who love the Prophet Muhammad help spread the news of the upcoming publication and notify religious leaders of what 'these pigs' are attempting to do. One forum visitor responded to the post, suggesting that Bin Laden attack Copenhagen, repeating the call: 'Bin Laden, Copenhagen!' several times. Another forum visitor wrote: 'Our blood... our souls... our children... our money... all that we have... the entire world... anything so that a single hair of your distinguished head [i.e. Muhammad] is not harmed.'"

In a separate post on another site, the ICT reports an internet user identified as Saqr Al-Islam Al-Maqdasi said a boycott of Danish goods would be an insufficient response. Instead:

"[...] by attacking Denmark everywhere so that it be known we are a nation sacrificing itself for Islam and its Prophet [...] this cattle doesn't understand anything but the language of rage, and we will decapitate the heads and set fire to the ground underneath their feet. They do not understand anything but the language of blood and scattering of body parts. I ask that Allah make successful the way of the loyal Jihad warriors, in order to blow up and set fire to Denmark."

In an interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Hedegaard said he has been in communication with Danish law enforcement but isn't letting the threatening response curtail his activities. His book is being used by Jihadists looking for an excuse to justify their violence. "It is quite obvious that they think it is the right moment to strike a new offensive against Denmark and against free speech. It could be anything. This is planned. This is orchestrated."

In February, Danish police arrested three men suspected of planning to kill Westergaard, who had been forced into hiding after the 2005 publication of his Mohammed illustrations. Many Muslims consider any image of Mohammed to be blasphemous.

The response to perceived insults against Islam has grown increasingly violent.

In 2004, filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a Dutch Moroccan angered by his film "Submission." The murderer stuck a note on van Gogh threatening Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who developed the idea for the film and wrote it. Since that time, Ms. Ali, formerly a Dutch MP, has had to live with constant protection, often a contentious issue in the Netherlands.

In September, the home of British publisher Martin Rynja was firebombed in advance of the publication of the novel "The Jewel of Medina," a fictional account of the life of Aisha, a child bride of the Prophet Mohammed.

These incidents make it more important to continue issuing work that may offend some people, Hedegaard said. "The point has to be made again and again. We live in a country with free speech. Unless we make this point again and again, every day, we don't have free speech."

Most of the columns in the book are not about Islam. Others deal with foreign policy, religion and "idiots that need to be taken down."

Hedegaard's newspaper, Berlinske Tidende, let him go earlier this year. His bosses told him he was getting boring and repetitive but he said he thinks they were bowing to pressure from his critics. As the new controversy brews, he said he feels he has strong public support, but felt Danish journalists and academics were either passive or hostile toward him.

Despite the controversy and the threats accompanying it, Hedegaard vowed to continue speaking his mind. Whether those threats should ever target him personally is not something he thinks about.

"I cannot live that way," he said. "I might as well be dead. It's like dying before you die... Death is when you are forced to shut up. I don't want them to shut me up before I die physically."

Steve Emerson is recognized as one of the first terrorism experts to have testified and warned about the threat of Islamic militant networks operating in the United States and their connections worldwide. He is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

This article appeared in FamilySecurityMatters.org.

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QUREI: NO ROOM FOR JEWS IN THE WEST BANK
Posted by Sunlike, December 15, 2008.

This is from The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition
(www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1228728175196&pagename= JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull) and was written by Khaled Abu Toameh and Mark Weiss AP contributed to this report.

There will be no room for Jews or settlements in the West Bank because their presence there will always be an obstacle to peace with Israel, Ahmed Qurei, head of the Palestinian Authority negotiating team, said at the weekend.

Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei. A day after his presence at a meeting with Olmert and Livni, the IDF killed one of his bodyguards after an arrest raid turned into a fire exchange. (Photo: AP)

Qurei, who was speaking to Palestinian reporters at his home in the village of Abu Dis, said that the peace talks have been suspended because of the upcoming elections in Israel, adding that the gap between the two sides remained as wide as ever.

Qurei said that the major difference centered on the status of the settlements in the West Bank.

"Initially, Israel sought to annex 7.3 percent of the West Bank," he disclosed. "Then it went down to 6.8%. Of course we completely rejected this idea."

Qurei said that by annexing settlement blocs, Israel would have been allowed to keep the important areas in the West Bank, rendering it impossible to establish a Palestinian state with territorial continuity.

The areas which Israel seeks to retain control over in a final agreement with the Palestinians are Ariel, Givat Ze'ev, Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, he added.

"These settlement blocs constitute an obstacle to any future peace agreement," Qurei stressed. "There can be no peace with the presence of these settlement blocs in the West Bank.

"Our experiences have taught us that it's impossible to coexist with these settlers. We still remember the [Tomb of the Patriarchs] massacre in Hebron in 1994 and the daily attacks carried out by settlers in Hebron, Nablus, Kalkilya and other places.

"All these attacks prove that the settlers are dangerous and that it's impossible to live with them. If these settlers are allowed to stay, that would mean more friction and confrontation. Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimeter of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967," Qurei said.

There was no official Israeli response to Qurei's comments, but a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem stressed that what the Palestinian chief negotiator said "was not entirely accurate."

Israeli representatives have refused to reveal details on the negotiations that have taken place since the Annapolis process was launched last year, and are reluctant even to respond to Palestinian claims of what was discussed.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said settlement blocs are a legitimate Israeli demand and that Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev and Ariel-Kedumim should be part of Israel under a permanent peace agreement.

Speaking over the weekend, Barak said, "if and when there is a peace agreement, if it is in five months, or five years, or 15 years, we will need a magnifying glass to spot the differences between the agreement and what was on the table at Camp David."

The chief Palestinian negotiator also said Israel agreed to take in 5,000 Palestinian refugees over a five-year period, but this was rejected by the Palestinians.

Qurei said he had not heard from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni about the Israeli government's final position regarding the future status of Jerusalem, "apparently due to internal Israeli issues."

The issue of Jerusalem, he said, was not discussed at all because of its complexity.

"Every day Israel is creating new facts on the ground that further complicate the issue of Jerusalem," Qurei, a former PA prime minister, charged. "Israel is seeking to squeeze the Arabs out of the city. This has raised a lot of concern and has created mistrust between the two sides."

Qurei said the Palestinians have also rejected the idea of land swap with Israel.

"How can we give up any part of Jerusalem?" he asked. "For us Jerusalem is not only a spiritual or cultural or historic center, but also the economic center of the future Palestinian state. The settlements surrounding the city will make it hard for millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem in the future."

Qurei also denied reports according to which he has not been speaking to PA President Mahmoud Abbas for several weeks now.

"There are no differences between us, and all what's being said in this regard is untrue," he said.

Qurei has boycotted several meetings with Abbas over the past few months, triggering rumors about a sharp dispute between the two.

Meanwhile, for the first time in five years, the UN Security Council is poised to adopt a resolution calling for collective peace in the Middle East.

Council members met Saturday in a closed-door emergency session to discuss a US-drafted resolution, strongly backed by Russia, that appeared to have near-unanimous support.

A vote on it by the 15-nation council is expected Tuesday.

The two-page draft resolution calls on Israelis and Palestinians "to fulfill their obligations" under the Annapolis process and for all nations and international groups "to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations."

The council would reiterate "its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders."

The US focus is on a smooth hand-off to President-elect Barack Obama that keeps up the momentum for peace, said US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who made a symbolic point of standing beside Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin while addressing reporters after the council session.

"This is an important time for the council to express itself on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. There is transition taking place here — by here I mean the United States — and there is of course also transition possibilities in other countries in the region," Khalilzad said.

It's also important, Khalilzad said, that nations "recognize the progress that has been made and for this process ... to be sustained, and for the council to express its support so that there is no pause in the negotiations" once Bush leaves the White House.

Churkin said the draft resolution was presented to council members Saturday for the first time as a culmination of "this close joint work" between the US and Russia, which have been at serious odds much of this past year over Zimbabwe, Georgia and other issues.

"We believe it's very important to continue the momentum," Churkin said. "Of course, we all cannot be satisfied with where the peace process is at now. But considerable effort has been made over the past 12 months or so. And we believe that the effort has to be pinned down, and it has to continue without a pause, which may be there because of some political circumstances: change of administration in the United States, elections in Israel, possible elections in the Palestinian autonomy."

On Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will come to the UN for two days. First she will meet with the Middle East quartet _ the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations — that also will meet with Arab partners for talks on Middle East peace efforts.

The next day she is participating in a council session on piracy from Somalia.

"It is very important for the Security Council to show that they are on the side of the people on the ground" in the Middle East, said French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, whose nation holds the EU presidency until the end of the year.

He said France has been urging for a long time that the Security Council get involved in the Mideast peace process.

"So for us it could be a very important milestone... to go forward to the solution of two states living side-by-side in peace," Ripert said.

The council needs only nine members to pass the new draft resolution, but diplomats said the resolution appears to be headed toward near-unanimous passage.

An Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that "there is no reason for Israel to oppose such a move," hinting that Washington and Jerusalem may have coordinated the initiative.

The official said that as long as the text backs the Annapolis process, supports continuing bilateral negotiations and does not impose timetables, then Israel welcomes the move.

Contact the poster at mttaborsl@yahoo.com

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JUDEA AND SAMARIA POPULATION GROWING AT HIGH RATE
Posted by UCI, December 15, 2008.

This was written by Yehuday Lev Kay and it appeared today in Arutz Eretz
(www.IsraelNationalNews.com)

(IsraelNN.com) A new study by the University Center in Ariel concluded that the population in Judea and Samaria is growing at a rate three times higher than that in the rest of Israel. The study also found that residents of Judea and Samaria do better on matriculation exams, work more, feel better and profess to enjoy life more as well.

The study appears in the 2007 statistical journal put out by the University Center. Professors Dan Suan and Dr. Vered Ne'eman-Haviv led a team of researchers in compiling twelve chapters of information on all details of life in Judea and Samaria.

The study found that while in 1995 the population of Judea and Samaria stood at 130,000, as of 2007 it had jumped to 270,000 — in other words the population grew by 107%. In contrast the population of Israel grew by only 29% in the same period of time. Even more impressive is that in the three years between 2005 and 2007 the growth rate was 5% a year, three times higher than the rate in the rest of Israel of 1.7%.

The main factor in the growth came from natural increase.

The birth rate in Judea and Samaria stands at 35 births per 1,000 persons whereas the average in the rest of Israel stands at only 20 births per 1,000 individuals. The second factor in growth came from positive migration (persons migrating in minus persons migrating out). In fact, Judea and Samaria had the highest rate of positive migration in all of Israel. The third factor in growth came from immigrants to Israel, who came mainly from the US, Britain, and France.

Students in Judea and Samaria seem to be putting more time into their studies as well. The study found that 71.2% of Judea and Samaria high school students succeeded in passing their matriculation exams. That was only true for 65.8% of their peers in the rest of the country.

The study also found that residents of Judea and Samaria work more than the rest of the country. In particular, 62% of Judea and Samaria residents take their part in the workforce — In the rest of the country only 56% do so. In addition, the unemployment rate stands at only 6.5% in Judea and Samaria. In the rest of the country it is higher and stands at 7.3%.

The researchers also noted that in a separate study by the Bureau of Statistics, Judea and Samaria residents reported on average that they feel healthier than those in the rest of the country. In fact 91% of Judea and Samaria residents said they feel either "good" or "very good" healthwise, while only 73% said the same countrywide.

The same study also asked respondents to express their satisfaction with life. In the country in general 83% said that they are either "satisfied" or "very satisfied." In Judea and Samaria that rate was even higher and stood at 92.3%.

UCI — The Unity Coalition for Israel (http://www.israelunitycoalition.org) — is "the largest worldwide coalition of Jewish and Christian organizations, with more than 200 groups representing millions of people dedicated to Israel. Though we have many different backgrounds, we have one common goal: A Safe and Secure Israel."

"Israel is not just a Jewish issue. Millions of Christians resolutely endorse the principle of peace with security for the state of Israel. Because we work closely together and speak with a united voice, our message is being heard!"

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HOW YOU CAN BE EFFECTIVE IN DIASPORA
Posted by David Bedein, December 15, 2008.

Over here, support for Israeli gov't to fund the Hamas regime in Gaza is non existant..

The one thing that the Israeli gov't is concerned about, however, is how they look abroad.

Lefty groups have organized letter campaigns from around the world to pressure the Israeli gov't to feed the Gaza Gestapo Gerber Babies.

Your role, where you are, is crucial

You must give the impression that the support base for Israel has been weakened as a result of such measures.

The most effective role that each of you can play is to get as many people as possible to write individually written letters — by e-mail, fax and hard copy to local Israeli consuls and/or local Israeli ambassadors with follow up calls of confirmation that they got the letter with a basic question:

How can Israel fund a terror entity and then ask its disapora supporters to fight support of that same terror entity?

Every diaspora letter filters into the system and is reported to the highest level of the Israel Foreign Ministry.

Make your letters free of hyperbole and verbosity. Keep them siimple.

I write to you as a veteran community organizer, and investigative reporter, sitting in an office that shares office facilities with the Israel gov't press office.

Trust me that I know what I am advising you:

DIRECT communication with the representatives of Israel abroad does affect policy.

This is the process applied by the lefties, and it works.

Brachot
David Bedein

David Bedein is Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency. (http://Israelbehindthenews.com). He is president of Center for Near East Policy Research.

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BE MORE SKEPTICAL!; EXPELLING JEWS IS PHONY UPHOLDING OF LAW; THE REAL GUILTY ONES IN HEBRON
Posted by Richard H. Shulman, December 14, 2008.

BE MORE SKEPTICAL!

A pro-Israel and usually sensible friend attended a speech given at a synagogue by an Israeli representative of the New Israel Fund. The speaker lied that most Israelis believe in "a two-state solution." The friend took the speech seriously.

I told her that the New Israel Fund, like the EU, finances subversive movements in Israel. It favors the Arabs. The mis-named two-state plan is not a solution but part of the Arab plan for conquering Israel. Just because someone is Jewish and from Israel doesn't mean that she favors Israel. Don't imagine a Jewish unity that does not exist, and Jewish loyalty long gone. Be skeptical!

The speaker might have cited polls. Those polls are deceptive. The trick question is: IF the P.A. would end terrorism and indoctrination in hatred and jihad, would you be willing to cede the Territories? A positive answer doesn't mean, as the Left claims, that Israelis favor setting up a P.A. state. Questions about whether Israelis trust the P.A. to end terrorism get answered in the negative. That is why Israelis keep electing Prime Ministers who promise security, not that they deliver it. The trick question is like asking if, in Heaven, would you trust your soul to someone who once worked with the Devil. You'd reply yes, IF really in Heaven. Israeli citizens aren't sophisticated about polls. They should answer the trick question, "No." A better question would be, "Do you think that the P.A. should end jihad before or after Israel were to cede the Territories?" Most Israelis would say, "before." That would be more sensible.

IDF LEGAL ADVISOR RESTRICTS ATTACKS ON GAZA

The legal advisor told the IDF that it may fire artillery at rocket launchers in Gaza in open areas but not in urban areas where doing so would greatly damage even evacuated residential property (IMRA, 12/8).

This advice seems to be an attempt to comply with international law which prohibits disproportionate military means that may damage civilians more than the military target is worth.

I disagree. Rocket launchers are genuine military targets. There is no alternative way to get at them without sending ground forces into ambush. I don't believe in sacrificing Israeli soldiers for a pro-terrorist population. The IDF interpretation of international law gives an advantage to terrorism, which puts its military forces into civilian areas. I think that an artillery barrage of those areas is more justified than the WWII bombardment of strictly civilian areas. I think it would do less damage to civilian property than imagined, because the terrorists don't put launches in every neighborhood. How civilian are those areas? Many of the houses contain weapons factories, store explosives, and harbor terrorists.

ISRAELI WEAKNESS TOWARDS HAMAS

The IDF drew up a list of 15 reasons not to invade Gaza in force and end the one-sided lull. Number one was not to irritate the new US administration. (Not worth dead Israelis.) Number 15: since the government had failed to armor the communities within stated range of Gaza rockets, they would suffer more when Hamas really opens up on them. Hamas warehouses are full of rockets! The IDF list is a prescription for weakness. As Hamas perceives this weakness, it feels safe from retaliation and dares to violate the supposed ceasefire more.

Hamas has 17,000 troops. Israel contributes to the P.A. there, which pays their salaries! How stupid! Hamas warehouses are full of food for withstanding an Israeli siege. [Why doesn't Israel publicize those warehouses, to contradict Hamas claims of food shortages and the need for foreign ships to bring more in?] Foreign military planners were seen helping Hamas to prepare miles of underground bunkers to protect its forces from siege. Israel was foolish to let them build those [all the while, the regime, as Olmert again stated, will invade Gaza in the "future." The delay will cost many lives. That high cost will galvanize Arabs to gang up on a weak, and after the invasion, weaker IDF.]

The regime is not informing Israelis that Hamas rockets have a greater range than it admits. More distant cities would come under fire during an invasion, if not before it. The regime's tardy response to blockade-bursting ships naturally encouraged more to load up (IMRA, 12/8) as I had warned.

CIVIL VS. MILITARY AUTHORITY

In a democracy, civil authorities decide whether to go to war, when and how to end it, major military priorities, and appropriations. The President, Prime Minister, or Defense Minister is the civilian authority over the military.

I remember when the US Sec. of Defense, John McNamara, brought civilian intellectuals in to dictate to the military. That aspect of the Vietnam War fared ill.

During the recent war In Lebanon, Israel's Defense Minister Peretz, unfamiliar with military matters, had a say in policy and failed to serve as a check on top brass misconceptions. One such misconception was of the Chief-of-Staff, formerly of the Air Force, that air power, alone, would bring Hizbullah to its knees. That was a concept that failed for the US decades ago, but the Minister was not well educated; he didn't have much general knowledge or sense.

Prime Min. Olmert also knew little about military matters. He failed to question its readiness for war. He tried to micromanage the war, but merely injected vacillation and inferior tactics. Foreign Min. Livni arranged a ceasefire that left Israel without having achieved its goals and left Hizbullah in a position to rearm.

Israel's military and intelligence agencies warn the government of growing enemy dangers. The government fails to give the order to invade Gaza, so the danger does grow. As a result, Israelis get killed and the prospect for a great many Israelis getting killed grows even faster. Dr. Aaron Lerner pointed out at least a year ago that Hamas is increasing the range of their rockets, and that soon they would be able to reach power plants and fuel storage areas in Ashkelon. Rockets could wreak a vast explosion. Much would be wrecked and many killed. Now Hamas is firing such rockets, but still the government doesn't act.

Why doesn't the government act? Dr. Lerner thinks it cannot plan ahead, only for the next day's public relations. Yes, but that is not the whole story.

Others think that the government hampers itself with an ideology of restraint and concessions to the enemy, believing that would bring peace. The State Dept. says the same. There is that, too, but the State Dept. theory may not be sincere, since it always has been anti-Zionist.

That brings us to Barry Chamish's theory, that the ruling class has a neurosis of hating Jewish sovereignty and the people. That is true of the Far Left and perhaps of the regime.

In the name of civilian control over the military, the government keeps the military from providing national security. It does so for politics! That is an abuse of power. What are the people to do? They keep electing candidates who vow to protect them, but who subsequently let them down.

EXPELLING JEWS IS PHONY UPHOLDING OF LAW — more

The Left declares [wrongly, as I've pointed out] that it expelled the Jewish owners of a house in Hebron in order to uphold the law. This is the same Left that approved of leftist efforts to organize mutiny against Army service in the Territories. When the Left [or Arabs] breaks the law, they say it is good, and when the Right is falsely accused of breaking the law, they say that is intolerable.

Removing Jews from Hebron, the Left's goal, is the very apartheid that it falsely accuses Israel of perpetrating (Prof. Steven Plaut, 12/10).

ISRAEL STILL UNPREPARED FOR WAR IN GAZA

Israel and the US can't wage war without lawyers' approval! Ten months ago, Dr. Aaron Lerner advised the IDF that its lawyers must draft rules for combat under the particular conditions in Gaza, Israel would be unable to proceed expeditiously and might suffer much greater casualties and poorer public relations.

The government of Israel still has not drawn up those rules (IMRA, 12/18).

Some of its lawyers did write an opinion that hampers retaliatory defense short of war. Their primary concern appears to be avoiding criticism by phony human rights organizations and to protect the Arab enemy. They misinterpret international law to do so. Concern for protecting Israeli soldiers and civilians seems to be secondary to them.

ISRAEL TO REVIVE ABANDONED MOSQUES

When most of the Arabs fled from Israel, they abandoned their mosques. In the ensuing 60 years, the crumbling buildings came to be in the middle of Jewish neighborhoods. The Knesset is considering a bill to rehabilitate some of those mosques, which the news brief calls holy sites. The bill would commit the next government to rehabilitation (IMRA, 12/18).

The present Knesset has allowed the country to endure attacks, incompetent waging of war, and attempts to turn strategic territory over to the enemy, rather than risk another election. It knows that voters would not return many of its members to their plush jobs in Knesset. The Knesset is out of favor. Nevertheless, it wants to bind an incoming Knesset that would have a fresh mandate from voters. What nerve! Not democratic.

The mosques would become a pretext for entering Jewish neighborhoods to harass. This happens already. The Jewish sponsor of the bill thinks he is being tolerant, but he is helping the intolerant. Demolish the unused mosques!

A DIFFERENT SOLUTION

A P.A. organization polled what percentage of Arabs would like to emigrate. It finds that 25% of the Arabs in Judea-Samaria and 40% of the Arabs in Gaza want to emigrate (IMRA, 12/11). Hundreds of thousands have left.

Those percentages must be lower as a result of foreign aid, training, cooperation, and political support that the West no longer can afford and the Jewish state ought not give. If Israel removed its aid and repealed the social welfare it gives Arab non-citizens in Jerusalem, and If Israel started annexing Jewish towns and vacant land in the Territories, and if it gave some assistance to Arab emigration, larger numbers would leave. Similar steps taken within Israel, and its own Arab fifth column would depart. That would be a real solution.

That is, it would be a solution ending terrorism within Israel and what now are the Territories. It would not end the Arab-Israel conflict, which is a front in international jihad.

THE REAL GUILTY ONES IN HEBRON

In the fuller version of the film than what B'Tselem showed the media, the two, stone-throwing Hebron Arabs supposedly shot by a Jew, arrested for shooting them, got right up, as if unhurt. One Arab resumed throwing stones. A judge criticized the police for not having arrested the Arab assailants (IMRA, 12/10).

Not all judges fall in with the leftist policy of persecuting Jews who defend themselves and of ignoring Arabs who attack Jews.

In my previous comment, I characterized the intent of prosecutors to frame the Jew. The media should have asked to see the whole video. Did it? The police certainly should have asked to see the whole video. Did they? Since

B'Tselem did the filming, it did see the whole film. Therefore, it certainly was trying to frame the Jew and, the way the media extrapolates unfairly, smear all Hebron Jews. I don't know whether the police and media were trying to frame the self-defending Jew initially. Once B'Tselem's attempted fraud became known, however, PM Olmert should have apologized for calling the incident an attempted "pogrom" against the Arabs, the media should have apologized at least for carelessness, B'Tselem should be sued for slander, and prosecutors and police should be fired for obstruction of justice and, because they failed to arrest the Arab attackers, for dereliction of duty. This didn't happen.

In Israel, justice is rare, ideological motives are common, and police are both biased and incompetent.

THE MEDIA VS. LIKUD

In an ostensible news report, the NY Times made these points: Many Likud candidates likely to gain Knesset seats are more right wing than Netanyahu. He may have difficulty forming a centrist government. His Party colleagues either reject "territorial compromise" or the feasibility of negotiations with the P.A., which, he has been assuring foreign officials, he doesn't. He reminds him that he made an agreement to withdraw from some territory. A candidate who is Netanyahu's aide said, "The general public is not represented by the composition of the Likud list" of candidates. A centrist Israeli newspaper called Netanyahu "a hostage in the hands of the extreme right wing."

The "centrist" Kadima Party hopes to gain seats from Likud's appearance of being too right wing. A poll shows this not happening yet. A Likud official explains that Israelis don't expect the Arabs to make peace, and they have other, urgent needs from government. Netanyahu proposes building up the P.A. economy and institutions while negotiating a land-for-peace deal.

A right-wing, Likud Knesset candidate, Moshe Feiglin, is the lightning rod for criticism of Likud. He denies there is a Palestinian nationality and any need for those Arabs to get sovereignty. He advocates that Israel withdraw from the UNO and stop furnishing of electricity and water to the P.A. He proposes annexing Judea-Samaria, and paying the Arabs to leave (Ethan Bronner, 12/11, A6).

What is wrong with those stated concerns? Everything! The notion of "extremist" Vs. "centrist" and of "territorial compromise" is media propaganda. Mr. Bronner's commentary and that of Israel's media, uses those labels falsely and as a way of steering people against Likud. It is political campaigning. Its campaign is in behalf of abject appeasement of the Arabs, the Times' long-time goal.

How so? Mr. Feiglin is right, there is no Palestinian nationality and therefore no reason for separate statehood for it. The PLO Covenant admits that the Arabs of the Palestinian area are part of the Arab nation. The PLO fabricated the notion, as if fabricates all its arguments such as the one that the Jews never had the Temples on the Mount. The purpose of alleging nationality was to give its religious case political standing. With the help of sympathetic media, diplomats, and Left, it has gotten that claim accepted. How can there be a distinct nationality with the same religion, culture, and history as, and no significant differences from, the surrounding people, claiming to be separate recently only when it became advantageous for jihad, which doesn't involve nationality!

There once was territorial compromise. Britain split off most of the Palestine Mandate for a Jewish national home to give to the Arabs, after having arranged as part of the WWI peace settlement for the Arabs to get 99.5% of the Mideast outside of Iran. The Golan went to the Syrian Mandate. and then 79% more went to what became Jordan. The Palestinian Arabs therefore have a state, not that they warrant one. It is three times the size of Israel.

Territorial "compromise" now is the Madison Avenue spin for surrender of all the territory that the Arabs claim in their immediate demands. The Quartet and the Council on Foreign Relations asks Israel to give it all up and asks the Arabs to relinquish claims to nothing, not even to Judaism's holiest sites. The insincerity of the Quartet's demand is clear from its failure to demand P.A. compliance with its existing peace agreements to end terrorism and indoctrination in the bigotry that lead to terrorism. Quartet insincerity is clear also when it condemns every means of Israeli self-defense and condones Muslim Arab aggression. That is "extremist." Since the P.A. has been violating its peace agreements continuously, and since it is rabid about jihad, Feiglin's contempt for further negotiations is realistic. The left-wingers' appeasement has been a failure with the Nazis, Soviets, and Muslims. The Left is not realistic.

The leftist parties are extremist. Bringing them into Netanyahu's Cabinet would not make the Cabinet centrist. Rather, it would enable Netanyahu the more easily to cede territories to an enemy pledged — see the PLO Covenant — to use any territory from which Israel evacuates to fight to get the rest. PLO maps include Israel within the area it claims.

Netanyahu's territorial withdrawal, that he reminds foreign powers of, was from Hebron. He let Arabs control the hills around the main Jewish area; the Arab fire down upon it. His agreement led to many Arab riots and terrorist attacks. I wouldn't boast of such an agreement.

Netanyahu's position is close to that of the Quartet, except, so he says, he would retain a little territory and would move slower. In dealing with the Arabs, Netanyahu has been leftist. Because the other leftist parties are extreme to the point of psychosis, such as allowing Arab seizure of land and illegal building, and demanding expulsion of Jews from land they own, and whose media and academia deny Jewish territorial claims and laud terrorism and attack Israeli soldiers or agitate for mutiny, only by comparison does Netanyahu seem an extreme right winger.

What really bothers the Left is to see Likud become a part of the Right, again. It wasn't when Sharon sabotaged it. It may become so, as a result of the 15 years of failure of Oslo, the thousands of resulting murders of Israelis and the P.A. building up terrorist forces and ideology rather than moving towards peace. To expect peace from such forces is naïve to the extreme. That, again, is true extremism.

The Times' concern about the influence of the Likud candidates is overstated. The Knesset has become a sinecure, rather than a body that sets the law. The Prime Minister, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney-General make the law. The justice system violates law to the point of brutality against right-wing Jews. That's the real problem with Israel, Jewish disloyalty, subversion, and corruption that makes many politicians hostage to prosecution.

That Feiglin wants to quit the UNO is not extremist. The UNO, which lets most security issues become grave, and which devotes half its efforts against Israel, is a center of evil, ineptitude, and corruption. The UNO is extremist. Let's get our terms straight, so we can think straight and not be manipulated by false labels!

Cutting off Israeli supply of electricity and water to Gaza is not extremist, either. Who ever heard of a country being obligated to supply its enemy during war? Those who ask the Jews to strengthen enemy forces and only Jews are not humanitarian but antisemitic.

Cutting off food and other supplies, that the article did not attribute to Feiglin, would be more complicated. That is because it would be barring shipments by other countries, not Israel. However, international law does permit blockades. There was a boycott of S. Africa. Israel could show that the P.A. is an apartheid government, which executes Arabs who sell land to Jews, and which lets its Muslim gangs drive Christians out of the P.A.. Israel might need to declare war formally, first. That would mean voiding the Road Map and Oslo, long overdue.

I think that Feiglin puts the cart before the horse, when he suggests annexing land and then paying Arabs to leave. Annexed people can become citizens entitled to welfare, which means that Israel would be paying them to stay. Perhaps he meant, as I would do, to annex land not having Arabs, and paying Arabs to leave the rest. Wouldn't have to pay them, though. When half of Judea-Samaria and Gaza are annexed, and Israel removes Arab residents of Jerusalem from its welfare roles, and stops subsidizing the P.A. and Israeli Arabs, the Muslim Arabs would realize their defeat. Since half of them already want to leave, the reversal of their somewhat favorable conditions would provide the impetus. Law enforcement against their tax evasion, illegal immigration, land theft, illegal building, and riots would accelerate their departure.

Did Feiglin not mention Israeli Arabs because he has no plans to encourage their departure or because he was addressing just the Territories? Terrorism against Israelis cannot be eliminated, and keeping Israel a Jewish state cannot be secured, without getting the huge Arab fifth column in Israel packing. Most right-wingers overlook this, though it is a natural corollary to their views about the Arabs in the Territories.

Now think how unduly alarmist, unfair, and misleading the newspaper report was!

Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses appear often on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at richardshulman5@aol.com

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FROM ISRAEL: NO LESS THAN OUR EXISTENCE
Posted by Arlene Kushner, December 14, 2008.

So much to report today, so much to respond to. But, for me, it all ties together.

I spent a large portion of the day today at a conference called "Facing Jihad" at the Begin Center here in Jerusalem Sponsored by MK Aryeh Eldad and the Ariel Institute, it featured some excellent speakers and a short film.

The speakers: Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch; John David Lewis, visiting professor of political science at Duke University; Dr. David Bukay, who teaches in the Political Science Department of Haifa University, with specialization in Arab and Palestinian issues; Itamar Marcus, director of the Palestinian Media Watch; Shlomo Sharan, Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University School of Education; Simon Deng, former Sudanese slave and human rights activist — witness to the horrors inflicted on the Christian Sudanese of the Islamic government of Sudan; Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum; and Dutch parliamentarian and founder of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, who produced the film Fitna, which was shown.

~~~~~~~~~~

I would like to summarize the main thrust of the messages offered in the conference, interspersing some of the specifics provided by the speakers:

Israel and the Western world are seriously, indeed existentially, threatened by Islamic Jihad. There is no absolute consensus as to whether there is such a thing as moderate Islam — that is, whether we need to look at a specific form of Islam known as "radical Islam," or whether Islam by its nature is radical. It was conceded across the board that there are certainly some moderate individuals who are Muslim, but the sense is that Muslim nations are not — even and including those typically called "moderate" by the US.

It is state Islam that is the danger, the purveyor of the threat to the Western way of life.

What is Islam (or radical Islam) after? Nothing less than control of the world via restoration of a caliphate. Certainly control from China to Spain, with some speaking of control of the Americas as well. The ideology promoted is one that advocates an Islamic theocracy, with no individual human freedoms. This is an absolute holy war for the sake of Allah.

The danger takes various forms.

One is overt terrorist attacks. This is Jihad (which is a promotion of bloody violence and not an internal struggle as sometimes represented). The film Fitna showed this most vividly, as it juxtaposes quotes from the Koran and terrorist acts.

Itamar Marcus similarly showed various clips from Palestinian TV (Fatah as well as Hamas) demonstrating as clearly as clear could be that the message is violent and that Palestinians are encouraged to believe that killing Jews is what Allah wants. This message is everywhere: in books, sports coverage (events named after terrorists), texts, TV interviews, sermons by clerics, etc. etc. The violence advocated is extreme enough so that genocide is sometimes advocated. And, it should be noted, these Palestinian messages go world-wide via satellite for Muslims to see.

The other major method of promoting Islam is via stealth: internal subversion that promotes immigration into a Western country and then attacks the nation's culture and secular constitution, incrementally introducing Sharia, Islamic law. This is happening in Europe today. This is not a legitimate exercise in freedom, for it invokes the protection of Western constitutions to destroy those constitutions, claiming the "right" to destroy rights.

~~~~~~~~~~

The techniques utilized by radical Islamists in promoting their agenda include Dawa, a sort of missionary activity endorsed by Islamic holy texts. Islam, in the service of promoting the Muslim cause, permits misinformation — advancing lies as a strategy, and dissimulation — concealing one's beliefs or telling only part of the truth.

According to Dr. Bukay, the next major Dawa event will be Durban II, at which a catastrophic attack on the Western world is planned with regard to "Islamophobia," The goal is to utilize the UN to criminalize defamation of Islam, thereby shutting down criticism.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Western world is not responding well to these threats, because there is no coherent policy, only a stop-gap response in each case. Multiculturalism, which is so prevalent today, undercuts the West. It is a cultural egalitarianism that forbids Westerners to say that the Western way of life — with individual human freedoms — is better than what Islam promotes. I have cited both Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes on this before: There is a reluctance to even name the enemy. But we cannot defeat what we fear to even name.

Accompanying this is a sort of misplaced altruism that bids Westerners to confront the fact that they have oppressed other peoples — which means they must be compassionate in judging the radicals now, and be giving to them.

~~~~~~~~~~

The reality, however, is that this is a war of civilizations. If the Western way of life is to survive, the radical Islamists must be defeated.

~~~~~~~~~~

This leads us now to the issue of Israel within this broader context.

Geert Wilders said this: "Israel is on the fault line of Jihad receiving the blows meant for all of us." The war against Israel is a war against the West, and the fight must be fought here.

What is clear is that radical Islam, which includes both Fatah and Hamas, wants Israel destroyed, and certainly not a "two-state solution." Our presence on Wakf land is offensive to the Islamists. Permitting a Palestinian state would weaken us seriously, as it would truly resolve nothing. It would serve only as a stepping stone for what they intend next. (Remember, they consider it legitimate for Allah's sake to dissemble when signing peace treaties with non-Muslims.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Daniel Pipes traced the path Israel has taken, which is a losing path right now. No state in history, he says, has faced the array of problems Israel faces.

Arab rejection of Zionism is clear, but the position of the Arabs has shifted. Where once there was a desire to destroy Israel, now it's more a matter of ideologically undermining it and co-opting it. Israel was first said to be part of Greater Syria, and then part of pan-Arabism. Then Palestinianism arose, which is now part of the Muslim world Jihad.

Prior to 1993, Israel sought Arab acceptance by being tough — doing deterrence. The idea was to demonstrate that we were here to stay and could not be defeated. But post Oslo this was replaced with appeasement. The people of Israel were tired of waiting it out. We no longer sought victory, but resolution via timely concessions. There was the notion that we were actors in determining our fate via the "peace process."

By 2000, it was clear that this wouldn't work, and then Israel moved to unilateral withdrawal.

Since 2006, there has been only confusion.

But victory can only be achieved if we defeat our enemy. No mediation is possible between Israel and the Arabs because the goals are diametrically opposed. The key is Israel's will to go on.

The Palestinians are feeling strong now. There should be no aid given to them, no recognition, no meetings. Nothing that strengthens them. They need to see they cannot win.

~~~~~~~~~~

Lastly, here I want to return, yes, one more time, to the Netanyahu-Feiglin issues of the last few days. First, it's obvious, especially in light of the above, that we cannot couch discussion of protecting or sustaining Israel purely in religious ideological terms. The issue of security looms large as well.

I had made the comment recently that Feiglin's religious nationalist ideology would not resonate with the Israeli public and that he, therefore, could not win for Likud were he heading the party — the win would go to the leftists.

~~~~~~~~~~

Prof. Shlomo Sharan, speaking today, addressed the painful reality of why this is so:

Over a period of years, the left wing ministers of education we've had, and their cohorts in academia, have consistently reduced the amount of education provided in our (secular) public schools on the history and culture of our own people and our own country. "Universalist" values have been substituted, with lessons on Greek culture and more. Jewish Zionist components in education have been devalued, considered "ethnocentrism." In current history books in schools here there are pictures of Churchill, Roosevelt, Salvador Dali, Freud, but not of Ben Gurion, Weizmann, or Herzl. (Can I write these words and not weep?)

Says Prof. Sharan, "It is the moral responsibility of educators to sustain the values of our State through education so that the State may survive." Our educators, with their own distorted agenda, have failed the State miserably.

If we wish to sustain our State, then we must be pragmatic in determining how this can be done. It's not a question of putting into place as leader of Israel someone who promotes religious Zionist ideology with conviction. It's an issue of whether it's possible to place such a person who could become a leader now.

Whether I, personally, believe in religious Zionist ideology seems to me beside the point. My concern is with sustaining Israel's existence. Right now I see no viable alternative to Netanyahu. That is realistic. I cannot read his heart. Bennie Begin says he's matured. Some people have written to me to say that he'll be good. Others don't trust him at all. I see him as a far far better bet than Livni. I am pleased that at a minimum he's focusing on security issues and pray he holds tight on this. His slate — even as adjusted — is a strong one, with Bennie Begin, and Moshe Ya'alon and more. They will provide strength for his spine.

And then, my dear friends, as we secure the existential safety of the State of Israel, we have a long hard job to do in educating the populace to who we are and why it matters.

~~~~~~~~~~

I make one last comment here: MK Aryeh Eldad, an exemplary human being and devoted nationalist, is to be congratulated for putting together this conference. He cares passionately about the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. But he categorizes himself as a secular nationalist. He does not wear a kippah. A lesson here on not defining too narrowly who speaks for the State.

Contact Arlene Kushner at akushner@netvision.net.il and visit her website: www.ArlenefromIsrael.info

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GEERT WILDERS IN JERUSALEM: "THE JIHAD AGAINST ISRAEL IS THE JIHAD AGAINST THE WEST."
Posted by Naomi Ragen, December 14, 2008.

We are privileged to have freedom fighter Geert Wilders with us in Jerusalem. His remarks are captivating and important to everyone who values freedom, whose mind is clear, and whose heart is not filled with irrational sympathy for the wicked, and hatred for the innocent.

This was posted By Andrew Bostom On December 14, 2008
http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2008/12/14/geert-wilders-in-jerusalem-%e2%80% 9cthe-jihad-against-israel-is-the-jihad-against-the-west%e2%80%9d/ It is the talk Geert Wilders gave.

Naomi

Thank you very much.

It's a privilege for me to be here in this beautiful city Jerusalem, the capitol of the only democracy in the entire Middle East. When I was a teenager I lived some years here in this city and after that I visited Israel more times than I can count. Israel: the only country in the region with a functioning parliament, a rule of law and free elections. The only country in the region that shares the values of our Western societies, in fact is one of the foundations of our Judeo-Christian identity.

We are here to voice our concern over the growing Islamisation of the West. We do this in this city, the city of David. The city that, together with Rome and Athens, symbolizes our ancient heritage.

Perhaps a few of you may be new to Jerusalem, yet, Jerusalem is not new to any of you. We all carry Jerusalem in our blood, in our genes. We all live and breathe Jerusalem. We talk Jerusalem, we dream Jerusalem. Simply because, the values of ancient Israel have become the values of the West. We are all Israel, and Israel is in all of us.

This city is the capital of a democracy under threat. Israel is under siege, like the Jewish community in the Land of Israel is under siege for over a century now. Israel with all its glory and splendour is unique, and its history unparalleled. Yet, Israel's security situation is not unique, and neither is its enemy.

Samuel Huntington writes it so aptly: "Islam has bloody borders". Israel is located precisely on that border. This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, just like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way of the Islamic advance. Just like West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other places to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Therefore, the war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Thanks to Israeli parents who see their children go off to join the army and lie awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and have pleasant dreams, unaware of the dangers looming.

At present the front-line of jihad runs not just through the streets of Tel Aviv and Haifa, but through the streets of London, Madrid, and Amsterdam as well. Jihad is our common enemy, and we better start Facing Jihad before it is too late.

Therefore, if we voice our concern over the Islamisation of the West, we have to do it here, where our civilization borders on Islam. Where jihadists fire Qassams into civilian homes in Sderot and Ashkelon, and where a doctor like Aryeh Eldad is characteristic of our civilization by treating terrorists the same way as he treats the Israeli victims. I salute Professor Eldad for his work for humanity, and for his patriotism. And I thank him for hosting this conference in this great city. Aryeh I am proud to be your friend.

I will say a few things about the Islamisation of Europe and my film Fitna. I will use some examples from the Netherlands, because they are indicative for the situation on the continent.

The mass migration to the Netherlands continues full-speed ahead. Currently, a staggering number of new immigrants arrive every year, many of them Muslim, often uneducated, if not illiterate. Bringing along with them the local customs of the mountains and deserts of backward Islamic countries. Thousands and thousands of Muslims arrive in the Netherlands every year, while already one million Muslims are living in our tiny country.

There are many problems concerning this massive influx: immigrants are overly represented in social benefits and crime statistics and the overall costs are staggering. The financial costs of mass immigration in the Netherlands exceeds 100 billion euro's.

But what we ha