Archive for March, 2006

What Paper am I Reading?

What Paper am I Reading?

Did someone with some sense barricade himself in the Boston Globe’s editorial office?

Arab League futility
March 30, 2006

THIS WEEK’S ARAB LEAGUE summit in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, appeared to validate the group’s reputation for idle chatter and obtuse decisions.

If the site of the summit was not callous enough — the host government is the perpetrator of an ongoing genocide in Darfur — the participants made things worse by rejecting a proposal to supplement 7,000 ineffectual African Union monitors in Darfur with a substantial United Nations peacekeeping force. In so doing, the league’s 22 members were accepting the cynical line of Sudan’s genocidal ruler, Omar al-Bashir, who characterized the plan for a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur as a violation of Sudan’s sovereignty.

This gesture of solidarity with the forces behind mass murder, systematic rape, and the ethnic cleansing of non-Arab African tribal groups in Darfur cast a pall on everything else that was said, or left unsaid, by the dignitaries — mostly autocrats — in attendance in Khartoum.

It just goes on and on in that vein–clear-headed, unflinching criticism of the Arab League, without a discouraging word spoken about President Bush or Israel. I’m stunned.


Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XIV

Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XIV

At this rate, these updates are going to pass the King Louis of France!

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Field Update
30 March 2006

The central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip have seen more incidents involving misuse of weapons by armed groups and security personnel, which constitute a continuation of the general security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Yesterday evening, 2 citizens were injured by gunfire from members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, against the backdrop of a dispute over a plot of government owned land in Khan Yunis.

Furthermore, 2 children were injured while they were handling a locally manufactured explosive device. And in the early hours of this morning, an explosion targeted the vehicle of an officer from the Preventive Security Forces, in El-Bureij refugee camp. Following the explosion, gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades closed Salah El-Deen Road, opposite El-Bureij refugee camp.

If this were a rare event, it would be a tragedy; but as common as it is, it’s pathetic:

At approximately 21:00 on Wednesday, Mohammad Husam Abu Tir, 15, and Hisham Ismail El-Habbash, 16, sustained shrapnel injuries all over their bodies, while they were handling a locally produced explosive device in Abu Tir’s house, located in Nuseirat refugee camp. They were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for treatment, where their injuries were classified as moderate.

Isn’t this a metaphor of Palestinian society today?


The Friend of My Friend is My Enemy

The Friend of My Friend is My Enemy

Aunt Agatha’s back to chewing broken bottles:

South African president pledges “unconditional support” of Hamas-led government (AP)

I will remember this. When people approach me about issues of racial equality, I will be able to recall that when Jewish people needed help, “unconditional support” was granted to those who would gladly wipe Israel off the map and slaughter half the world’s Jews. I won’t be in such a hurry to dig into my pocketbook or carry a sign or vote a certain way. That is a great source of pain for me, but it is better to face reality than to live in denial.

Here are the quotes:

At a briefing on Mr Abbas’s visit yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said government was eagerly anticipating a briefing from the Palestinian Authority president, who comes from a Hamas rival, the Fatah faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

Mr Pahad said that the government’s view was that Hamas was elected as the choice of leadership of the Palestinian people in a free and fair election, and that the Palestinians should not be “collectively punished” by international donors and Israel who had frozen aid and funds to the Palestinians, largely on the basis of Hamas’s history of its clashes with Israel and its refusal to recognize the Jewish state.

“It is our belief that those of us who have been consistently clamouring for democracy cannot now but accept the results of those [Palestinian] elections,” said Mr Pahad.

He said that South Africa would engage in relations with Hamas and would respect its election victory, but suggested that the government would seek to play a moderating influence on the militant party by reminding it that its coming into power in Palestinian territories was a direct result of the same, historic Oslo agreements that it now refused to recognize.

[BTL:] I remember when Mandela was first released, one of his first visitors was that opportunistic slug, Yasser Arafat. Mandela said he was not about to condemn those who stood by him during his long struggle. Very admirable, indeed, but when your posse includes Arafat, Qaddafi, Castro, and the other scum of the former Soviet sphere of influence, you’ve got to ask yourself what you stand for. Mandela may be one of the truly great men of the last hundred years–but he’s got his blind spots:

One of the first people he met abroad after his release from prison in 1990 was Yasser Arafat. Although never having previously met, Mandela thought enough of him to greet him as “my comrade and friend”, be it noted, years before the start of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and when the PLO was officially committed to Israel’s elimination.

Visiting Tripoli in 1997, in defiance of a large international consensus that Colonel Gaddafi had serious charges of state-sponsored terrorism to answer, Mandela was forthright in repudiating criticism. “This man helped us at a time when we were all alone, when those who say we should not come here were helping the enemy … those who say that I should not be here are without morals.

The following year, Mandela defended this visit and another one as Fidel Castro’s guest in Cuba. “I did that because our moral authority dictates that we should not abandon those who supported us in the darkest hour of this country.”

UPDATE: And another thing. In which country lies Durban, site of the notorious Durban Conference against racism, which turned into an intellectual Kristallnacht? I believe that would be South Africa.



Aggie Goes Postal

Aggie Goes Postal

Let her set the scene:

Briefly, I was driving around and heard Talk of the Nation discussing the Israeli elections. They took one call – from a woman who demanded to know why Israel doesn’t withdraw to the ’67 lines and how Israel has the nerve to criticize Iraq and Iran. The guest said that Israel should withdraw to the ’48 lines!!! Oh, and the guest was the mideast correspondant for the NYTimes. then the caller requested two more things: 1. that NPR do a show with the people who wrote the anti-Israel, anti-American Jewish paper, the ones from the Harvard Kennedy School and U. Chicago and 2. that NPR do a show w/Jimmy Carter. The host, Neil Conan, said: We already had Jimmy Carter on this program two weeks ago.

Perfect. What more do we need to know?

Question: If Israel doesn’t have a right to exist – I think it is pretty clear that that is the position of the left – why does Germany have a right to exist? THey started a war in which 40-60 million people lost their lives, and yet no one questions their right to exist. Just wondering.

I gave up on NPR after September 11th. I used to do my homework in high school to the dulcet tones of Bob Edwards and Susan Stamberg doing ATC (those were the days)–and even once worked for an NPR affiliate–but it got so I couldn’t take it anymore. I was annoyed, not edified, and I got smarter by listening to other stations. I can recommend to Aggie Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Michael Graham, and other programs with keener insights into the stories of the day than anything she’ll hear on NPR. Once, I listened to nothing else, like most of my friends and acquaintences. Now, it’s dead to me.


Want the Good News or the Bad News?

Want the Good News or the Bad News?

Well, the good news is that one day after killing a Bedouin father and son, the Palestinians did not fire another Qassam rocket. The bad news is that they did fire a Katyusha:

For the first time, Palestinians fired a 122mm Katyusha rocket, a much longer-range projectile than the Qassam, from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the IDF confirmed Tuesday night.

The Katyusha was fired Tuesday morning. It caused no injuries or damage. Israel Channel 10 Television said the rocket was apparently fired by the Islamic Jihad, which had vowed to try to disrupt the Tuesday general election.

Remains of the rocket were discovered in searches of areas hit by rockets south of Ashkelon.

Military sources said the potential range of the Katyusha is some 15 kilometers, about six kilometers longer than that of the Qassam.

This would place a much larger number of Israeli towns and villages in danger of being hit by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, including the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.

It is believed that the Katyusha fired from Gaza was smuggled into the Strip, apparently across the Gaza-Egypt border from Sinai.

Army Radio said the 122mm Katyusha fired Tuesday is a model used by Iran.

In recent years the Palestinian Authority and terror organizations have tried on numerous occasions to smuggle Katyushas into the territories, but until now, it was thought that Israel had succeeded in foiling all of the attempts.

In January, 2002, dozens of Katyushas were aboard the Karine A arms ship, when it was intercepted and impounded by Israeli forces.

Palestinian gunners have fired thousands of Qassams and mortars shells at Israel over the past five years. Of late, the rate of fire has been increasing, to two or more daily.
Katyushas were frequently fired by Hezbollah into northern Israel during Israel’s 18-year military presence in southern Lebanon, which ended in 2000.

Katyushas, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon–it’s a veritable stewpot of terrorism. Just waiting to boil over.


Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XIII

Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XIII

I considered giving this one a miss because boys will be boys, and a home-made hand grenade could go off on anyone, right?

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Field Update
28 March 2006

On Tuesday morning, 28 March 2006, 10 students were injured when another student threw a home-made hand grenade at them in a quarrel related to a family dispute in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 09:30, a quarrel erupted inside Hayel ‘Abdul Hamid Secondary School in Beit Hanoun, with relation to a dispute between the families of al-Masri and al-Kafrna in the town. The quarrel escalated and students used stones in it. Later, a student threw a home-made grenade at other students, injuring 10 of them.

Now, where do you suppose a Palestinian youth would get a home-made grenade? I just can’t guess.

Then there’s this story:

Field Update
28 March 2006

On Monday morning, 27 March 2006, unknown armed persons kidnapped and violently beat Nasser Yousef D’ib, 43, director of the agricultural bureau in the central Gaza Strip, and stole his car. In the evening, militants from the Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, kidnapped a member of the Palestinian Military Intelligence Services in Beit Hanoun.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:00 on Monday, 27 March 2006, 6 unknown armed persons intercepted D’ib’s car near his house, while he was on his way to the agricultural bureau in al-Zawaida village in the central Gaza Strip. They forced him out of his car and handcuffed and blindfolded him. They then violently beat him and pushed him into their car. Nearly an hour later, they dumped him in an area to the east of Khan Yunis. Official documents and keys from the agriculture bureau had been in D’ib’s car, when it was taken.

At approximately 21:00 on Monday, militants from the Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, kidnapped Ahmed Mahmoud Sha’ban al-Za’anin, 25, a member of the Palestinian Military Intelligence Services from Beit Hanoun, and took him to an unknown destination.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, a civilian car, in which 4 militants were traveling, stopped near al-Za’anin as he was walking in al-Sikka Street in Beit Hanoun. They forced him to get into the car and took him to an unknown destination. At approximately 23:00, the kidnappers handed al-Za’anin to the Military Intelligence Services in Beit Hanoun.

And walked away scot-free?


Innocent Victims

Innocent Victims

The title is a tautology: there are only innocent victims of terrorism. If it takes deaths like these to prove that, then shame on us.

Two Israelis were killed when a fallen Kassam rocket exploded near a group of Beduin shepherds in an open area between Kibbutz Nahal Oz and the Karni crossing late Tuesday morning.

The victims were Salaam Ziadin and his 16-year-old son Khalid, of the al-Azazneh clan.

The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, Israel Radio reported.

Two other people on the scene – including one of the boy’s sisters – were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and were being treated for shock.

A few hours later, three Beduin youths were wounded in an explosion in an IDF firing zone near the Beit Kama junction in the Negev.

A helicopter evacuated a 12-year-old boy who was critically wounded in the explosion. He died on the way to the hospital.

Another teen was evacuated in serious condition, but succumbed to his wounds in the hospital. The third teen was in serious condition at Soroka.

The army reported that the boys had picked up an unexploded bomb or shell and were playing with it.

An entire family destroyed. Jewish, Bedouin, whatever–it’s a despicable tragedy.


Never Mind

Never Mind

Can you believe the nerve, the chutzpah, of Israel for refusing entry to the Palestinians? Why, I have never heard–huh, what’s that? It’s not Israel?

A London-based rights group criticized Jordan Tuesday for banning entry to several dozen Palestinians who fled the violence in Baghdad to come to Jordan but ended up stuck in a no-man’s land on the Jordan-Iraq border.

Amnesty International said Jordan’s ban breached the country’s obligations under international law.

“Jordan has an obligation not to reject individuals at its borders if they are fleeing a country where they risk persecution or where their life or freedom is at risk,” it said in a statement.

A total of 88 Palestinians, including women and children, fled Baghdad earlier this month amid reports of Killings and death threats to members of the community there.

Nice. So much for Arab brotherhood. One nation persecutes the Palestinians, the other one throws ‘em back. I guess if they’re not blowing up Israelis, Palestinians are of no use to other Arabs.


Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XII

Scenes From the Palestinian Liberation XII

Oy, not again:

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Field Update
27 March 2006

[A]t approximately 15:40, a number of militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, fired at Yasser Ahmed Yassin, 40, and Ibrahim Ahmed Saber Yassin, 27, at the northern entrance of Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. The two brothers, from Northern ‘Assira village to the north of Nablus, were injured by several live bullets to the legs. The militants left the two brothers bleeding at the location of the attack and placed a leaflet near them, accusing them of collaboration with IOF. The two brothers were later evacuated to Rafidya Hospital in Nablus.


Field Update
27 March 2006

On Sunday evening, 26 March 2006, militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement, opened fire at the offices of the Public Transportation Bureau in Nablus and forced the offices to close.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 17:00 on Sunday, 26 March 2006, militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades opened fire at the offices of the Public Transportation Bureau, which are located in the Palestinian governmental compound in Amman Street, in the east of Nablus. They also detonated sound bombs in the area and forced the offices to close. The militants accused the Public Transportation Bureau of not delivering monthly payments to families of Palestinians killed by Israeli Occupation Forces and also of not issuing taxi registration plates to these families.

Anyone trying to hail a cab in midtown in the rain at rush hour can sympathize.


Whatever, Abu Dude

Whatever, Abu Dude


Palestinian chairman Mahmoud Abbas denied threatening to bring down Hamas’ incoming government but insisted that the militant group must adopt more moderate stances to avoid a stalemate with his authority.

Abbas had warned in a letter to the incoming Hamas prime minister, made public Saturday, that he would “exercise my mandate and authority” when needed to protect Palestinian interests – seen as a veiled threat to use his constitutional powers to fire the prime minister.

But on Sunday, Abbas told journalists, “There is no threat at all.”

Abbas is just as confused and contradictory as the Palestinian public. They want terrorism to continue, yet they want to negotiate; they want the so-called right of return, yet they will consider a two state solution. Abbas threatens to resign one week, threatens to bring down the government the next, and then denies it all. I guess the Palestinians get the government they deserve.




This lesson from Best of the Web Today is instructive in so many areas today:

Pro-Taliban Liberals
In today’s Yale Daily News, senior James Kirchick weighs in on the controversy over Yale’s admission of erstwhile Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, and he makes a very insightful point:

“Outrage over religious fascism ought to be the province of American liberals. But in Hashemi’s case it has been almost entirely trumpeted by Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and right-wing bloggers. A friend of mine recently remarked that part of his and his peers’ nonchalance (and in some cases, support for) Hashemi has to do with the fact that the right has seized upon the issue. Our politics have become so polarized that many are willing to take positions based on the inverse of their opponents’. This abandonment of classical liberal values at the expense of political gamesmanship has consequences that reach far beyond Yale; it hurts our national discourse.”

During the past several years liberalism has come to be defined less by what it stands for than by whom it stands against. “The enemy of George Bush is my friend” might as well be the credo of American liberals at this moment in history. And since George Bush is the leader of our country, it follows that “the enemy of my country is my friend.”

Correcting this may require waiting another three years, until Bush is out of office. In 2009 either a Democrat or a different Republican will be president. In the former case, liberals will have to act responsibly; in the latter, they will be forced to face the reality that hatred of Bush is not sufficient to win elections. Until then, brace yourself for more of the same.


More Vox Pal

More Vox Pal [Update: It's the Sharia, Stupid]

What’s the man on the Palestinian Street thinking? Glad you asked.

Do you agree or disagree to what the Brigades of Abu Ali Mustafa (military wing of the PFLP) have done, namely abducting foreigners and demolishing cultural centers belonging to countries of the EU and others as a reaction to the US-American and British attitude in the Israeli raid on Jericho’s prison and the subsequent abduction of the Secretary-General of the PFLP and his comrades?

1. Strongly agree14.5%
2. Somewhat agree33.7%
3. Somewhat disagree27.2%
4. Strongly disagree23.5%
5. Don’t know1.1%

That’s right, essentially half those interviewed think it’s perfectly okay to kidnap and vandalize because Israel took a convicted assassin of an Israeli cabinet minister out of a Palestinian jail (from which he was soon to be freed) and put him in an Israeli jail. Not killed him, jailed him.

But that wasn’t what really ticked the Palestinians off:

Did you feel insulted when watching the TV pictures of the satellite stations showing the Palestinian security men captured and just keeping their underwear?

1. Yes, to a high degree80.7%
2. Yes, to an intermediate degree16.0%
3. No, at all 1.3%
4. Don’t know2.0%

That’s the news, in briefs.

UPDATE: Another poll! All those people who say Hamass won because they were clean Jew-haters, as opposed to the corrupt Jew-haters, Fatah–you know who you are–eat your words. It’s the sharia, stupid.

Given the results of PLC elections which took place about two months
ago, some say that Hamas won because most voters wanted first and foremost (select one only)

1) a fighting authority that resists occupation 6.7
2) a clean authority that fights corruption 35.6
3) a strong authority that ends anarchy and chaos 9.4
4) an Islamic authority that rules according to Sharia and religion 36.6
5) other reasons specify —- 9.3
6) DK/NA 2.4

Wanna know something else?

Now that it has won the elections, should Hamas recognize or not recognize the state of Israel?

1) It should recognize the state of Israel 35.7
2) It should not recognize the state of Israel 60.8
3) DK/NA 3.5

For the assistance to continue, the donor community demand that Hamas must recognize the state of Israel. Do you think Hamas should accept this demand and recognize Israel?

1) Certainly yes 11.6
2) yes 25.5
3) no 42
4) certainly no 17.2
5) DK/NA 3.7

After reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinian people and Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state that is recognized by Israel, how soon do you think will reconciliation between the two peoples be achieved?

1) Reconciliation is not possible ever 44.5
2) Only in many generations to come 18.1
3) Only in the next generation 11.6
4) Only in the next decade 5.7
5) On the next few years 12.4
6) No Opinion /Don’t know 7.6

Concerning armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel, I..

1) Strongly support 14.2
2) Support 38.2
3) Oppose 40.2
4) Strongly oppose 5
5) DK/NA2.5

Do you believe that armed confrontations so far has helped achieved Palestinian national and political rights in ways that negotiations could not achieve?

1) Definitely yes 24
2) Yes 42.9
3) No 25.4
4) Definitely no 5.7
5) DK/NA 2

To summarize, the Palestinians don’t believe reconciliation is possible anytime soon, if ever, and support more terrorism, which they feel has helped their cause, even if it costs them money. And the money worries them, a lot, even if the dead Israelis don’t.


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