“President Bush doesn’t have a clue,” American says

June 13, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "'President Bush doesn't have a clue,' American says" (CNS News.com, Jerusalem, June 12, 2003)
2. "US troops say kill 100 in raid on Iraq 'terror' camp" (Reuters, June 13, 2003)
3. "Israeli women injured in roadside ambush" (Ha'aretz, June 13, 2003)
4. "Saudi faults Israel, defends aid to bomber families" (Reuters, June 12, 2003)
5. The Rantisi strike (HonestReporting, June 11, 2003)
6. "From "Chicago" to Tel Aviv: Richard Gere's peace mission" (Israel Insider, June 2, 2003)


OONA KING COMPARES ISRAEL TO THE NAZIS

[Note by Tom Gross]

Yesterday, following the suicide bombing that killed 17 Israelis the day before, the editors at the Guardian (London) chose to run an article by Oona King, a British member of parliament from Tony Blair's ruling Labor Party, in which she compared Israel to the Nazis. King reminded us in the article that she is Jewish, which she obviously believes gives her the right to propagate this extreme anti-Semitic falsehoods. (King, who is black, is of joint West Indian-Jewish parentage.) Among other things, King equated Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto, and called for Britons to boycott Israel.

I attach 7 articles, with summaries first:

1. "'President Bush doesn't have a clue,' American says" (CNS News.com, Jerusalem, June 12, 2003). The daughter of New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer, wounded in the suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday, said President Bush does not understand the situation here. American Sherry Singer said "President Bush, who I voted for and I respect, does not understand what goes on here," Singer said. "I'd like to see him come to the country and visit and talk with Americans that moved here and see what really it's all about before he decides to put a peace plan into action. And I just think it's sad that he doesn't have any clue about what we're going through as Americans here," an emotional Singer added.

2. "US troops say kill 100 in raid on Iraq 'terror' camp" (Reuters, June 13, 2003). (TG adds: This US action serves as another reminder of the sheer hypocrisy and double standards of the entire world, including the US government, when it comes to Israel: Israel and only Israel is not allowed to defend itself.)

3. The top two headlines today (June 13) on Hotmail website / MSNBC News are (1) "U.S. troops kill Iraqi attackers" (so the Iraqis are the attackers here), followed by "Israel vows war to 'bitter end'" (no explanation that the war is on Hamas, in order to achieve peace between Israel and peaceful Palestinians.)

4. "Israeli women injured in roadside ambush" (Ha'aretz Service, June 13, 2003). Two Israeli women were wounded Friday afternoon in a roadside ambush on their vehicle. One of the women was seriously wounded by the shots; the condition of the second was described at moderate to serious. Avner Maimon, 49, from Netanya (note: not a settler) was killed in a shooting attack Thursday near the village of Yabed, in the northern West Bank. His body was found in a car adjacent to the village. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack. The death toll in the Jerusalem suicide bombing rose to 17 on Thursday when Tzipora Levy, 70, from Jerusalem died of wounds sustained in Wednesday's attack. Others among the injured remain in a serious condition.

TOP SAUDI OFFICIAL REFUSES TO CONDEMN HAMAS DIRECTLY

5. "Saudi faults Israel, defends aid to bomber families" (Reuters, June 12, 2003). "A top Saudi official on Thursday defended Saudi aid to the families of suicide bombers and faulted Israel's recent attempt to assassinate leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Adel al-Jubeir, adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, refused to condemn Hamas directly, and focused his criticism on Israel... But he acknowledged Hamas may run some institutions receiving the aid and that individual Saudis may help finance the organization."

6. The Rantisi strike (HonestReporting, June 11, 2003).

Myth: Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi is not all that bad. The Associated Press issued a lengthy, sympathetic biography of Rantisi, described in the headline as a "pediatrician and poet." The AP's Jayson Keyser characterizes Rantisi, who "wears gold-framed tinted glasses," as a healthy, caring and gracious patriarch of "six children and 10 grandchildren. He has written poetry for one of them, a girl named Assma." Keyser then proceeds to quote effusive verses from the love poem.

Fact: Rantisi, the "great family man," stated to the AFP in August that he would encourage his own sons to become suicide bombers. Rantisi has claimed responsibility for many bloody Hamas attacks, including the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing last summer.

7. "From "Chicago" to Tel Aviv: Richard Gere's peace mission" (Israel Insider, June 2, 2003). (Note: This story is from before this week's violence). One week after pop star Whitney Houston's highly publicized "spiritual retreat" in Israel, actor Richard Gere arrived in the country on a "visit to promote peace." Gere, the 54-year-old star of hit films including An Officer and a Gentlemen, Pretty Woman and Chicago, asked that the media not cover his three-day visit to Israel, but the Israeli press was full of reports of his arrival on an El Al airliner at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday and his lodgings in the royal suite at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, which had previously hosted the Dalai Lama, Gere's spiritual mentor. Gere is visiting Israel as the guest of Spirit of Peace, the Israeli chapter of the International Peacemaking Community.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“PRESIDENT BUSH DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT GOES ON HERE”

'President Bush doesn't have a clue,' American Says
By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com
June 12, 2003

The daughter of New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer, wounded in the suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday, said President Bush does not understand the situation here. Nevertheless, Israel has pledged to continue to implement the "road map" to an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Bush condemned Tuesday's terror attack, in which a terrorist linked to Hamas, disguised as a religious Jew, boarded a packed bus during rush hour and detonated a powerful bomb. The attack on a busy Jerusalem street killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.

"It is clear there are people in the Middle East who hate peace; people who want to kill in order to make sure that the desires of Israel to live in security and peace don't happen; who kill to make sure the desires of the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority [Mahmoud Abbas] and others of a peaceful state, living side-by-side with Israel, do not happen," Bush said in a statement from Chicago, Illinois. Bush also urged the international community to fight terror and "cut off money to organizations such as Hamas."

But American Sherry Singer said Bush just doesn't understand. She described her experience in a radio interview.

"Usually I look just to see who comes on. It was very packed. I sat down into a seat. And the next thing I know is I feel this... very strong blast. And the next thing I know people are pulling me out of the bus," Singer said.

"President Bush, who I voted for and I respect, does not understand what goes on here," Singer said. "I'd like to see him come to the country and visit and talk with Americans that moved here and see what really it's all about before he decides to put a peace plan into action. And I just think it's sad that he doesn't have any clue about what we're going through as Americans here," an emotional Singer added.

Press reports said her father, New Jersey Sen. Robert Singer, is on his way to Israel, hoping to persuade his daughter to return home with him.

Bush met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Abbas at a three-way summit in Aqaba, Jordan last week. There, Sharon pledged to recognize a viable Palestinian state and to evacuate "unauthorized" settlement outposts, while Abbas vowed to fight terrorism and also called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said Israel would continue to implement its part of the road map but would also continue to fight terror. "We will continue dismantling the outposts, and we will continue fighting terror at the same time, until the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen [Abbas] understand that he has to roll up his sleeves and begin taking action against them," Peled said at the site of Wednesday's attack.

"It's going to be a very difficult task but until Abu Mazen understands and realizes that this is endangering him and his government and everything and doesn't decide, 'Okay, I'm willing to fight the Hamas now,' not just sit down and wait to talk to them, I don't think we're going to see quiet," Peled added.

Israel meanwhile, dismantled at least nine "unauthorized outposts" this week and reportedly was ready to take down more.

 

OPERATION PENINSULA STRIKE

US troops say kill 100 in raid on Iraq 'terror' camp
Reuters
June 13, 2003

U.S. troops have killed at least 100 people in a "terrorist" training camp in Iraq, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday.

He said one U.S. soldier was wounded in the operation, which was still in progress. The 101st Airborne Division took part in the raid.

The army said earlier the raid on the camp, 150 km (90 miles) northwest of Baghdad, was part of the "continued effort to eradicate Baath Party loyalists, paramilitary groups and other subversive elements", but gave no details on the camp.

The operation began in the early hours of Thursday morning with an air strike on the camp.

U.S. commanders say supporters of Saddam Hussein are behind a wave of deadly attacks on U.S. troops in recent weeks. Some 40 soldiers have been killed in attacks and ambushes since Saddam's overthrow two months ago.

Operation Peninsula Strike, the largest U.S. operation in Iraq since the end of the war, involves some 4,000 troops scouring an area around the Tigris river northeast of the tense town of Balad, U.S. officials said.

 

ISRAELI WOMEN INJURED IN ROADSIDE AMBUSH

Israeli women injured in roadside ambush
Ha'aretz
June 13, 2003

Two Israeli women were wounded Friday afternoon in a roadside ambush on their vehicle in the West Bank. One of the women was seriously wounded by the shots; the condition of the second was described at moderate to serious.

The vehicle came under attack close to the settlement of Neveh Tzuf, close to Jenin.

Avner Maimon, 49, from Netanya was killed in a shooting attack Thursday near the village of Yabed, in the northern West Bank. His body was found in a car adjacent to the village. The Magen David Adom crew that arrived at the scene pronounced him dead.

The Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Maimon was a merchant who frequented Yabed, in Area B and under Israeli security control, to purchase coal.

Police had received several warnings in recent weeks on plans to murder the man, and he was informed of this. Despite the warnings, he arrived in the village on Thursday.

At approximately 7:40 P.M., the IDF and police received reports that a body had been found near the village. Police investigators are not yet sure if he was shot where he was found, at the entrance to the village, or if he was kidnapped, killed inside the village, and then placed in his car.

The death toll in the Jerusalem suicide bombing rose to 17 on Thursday when Tzipora Levy, 70, from Jerusalem died of wounds sustained in Wednesday's attack.

Twenty-seven of the more than 100 people wounded when a Palestinian suicide bomber, dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, blew himself up on a bus in the capital, remained hospitalized, six of them in serious condition.

 

SAUDI FAULTS ISRAEL, DEFENDS AID TO BOMBER FAMILIES

Saudi faults Israel, defends aid to bomber families
By Carol Giacomo
Reuters
June 12, 2003

A top Saudi official on Thursday defended Saudi aid to the families of suicide bombers and faulted Israel's recent attempt to assassinate leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

As the White House branded Hamas the major obstacle to Mideast peace amid a wave of bloodshed that has thrown a U.S.-backed peace plan into turmoil, Adel al-Jubeir, adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, condemned terrorism, but refused to condemn Hamas directly, and focused his criticism on Israel.

"Our view has been and remains that we are against targeted assassination of individuals. We believe it is morally wrong," he told a news conference.

"They do not achieve any objective other than further fueling hate and provoking reactions and responses, which in turn provoke more reactions and responses, which in turn keeps the cycle of violence going and accelerated," he said.

The region has been engulfed in a wave of retributive violence this week, including a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 16 in Jerusalem on Wednesday and lethal Israeli attacks in Gaza.

After failing in an attempt to kill a Hamas leader on Tuesday, an Israeli missile strike on Thursday killed a senior Hamas militant, his wife and one-year-old daughter, among a total of seven dead

Al-Jubeir denied the Saudi government gave money directly to Hamas, saying it provided assistance to impoverished Palestinians through the United Nations, the International Red Crescent and the Palestinian Authority just as the United States does.

But he acknowledged Hamas may run some institutions receiving the aid and that individual Saudis may help finance the organization.

Saudi government aid to Palestinian families, including relatives of suicide bombers, was justified, he insisted.

With more than half of all Palestinians living below the poverty level, "we give money to Palestinian families in need... Are some of those families, families who have had a suicide bomber? Yes. But do we give the money because their son or daughter was a suicide bomber? No. Is that money an incentive for them to commit acts of terrorism? No," he said.

Al-Jubeir said families in need should not be punished because a son did something people disapprove of, arguing: "I think morally, guilt should not transfer."

Most of the Saudi aid is in the form of blankets and food, not cash, and "there is an accounting of it," he said.

Al-Jubeir noted that Israel's assassination attempt came amid efforts to broker a cease-fire among Palestinian militants groups and after a last week's U.S.-Israel-Palestinian summit raised hopes of a peace deal.

"When you engage in assassination attempts in the midst of efforts to try to broker an agreement that I would think would be beneficial to the Israelis, that's not wise leadership," he said.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the Wednesday suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus. Asked if he condemned Hamas, Al-Jubeir, said: "We condemn terrorism in all its forms... whether it's perpetrated by one side or the other."

He described new controls imposed on Saudi banks to combat financing of extremist groups and reported that more than 1,000 individuals have been questioned and 300 arrested since the May 12 terrorist bombing in Riyadh that was blamed on al Qaeda.

Washington also blames Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States that killed more than 3,000 people.

 

A “PEDIATRICIAN AND POET”

The Rantisi strike
HonestReporting
June 11, 2003

On Tuesday the IDF carried out an unsuccessful mission to eliminate Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who survived the helicopter strike upon his vehicle in Gaza City. An outpouring of media criticism has followed, claiming Israel's attempted hit has damaged hopes for Mideast peace.

HonestReporting encourages members to be on the lookout for these five media myths, and to respond appropriately with the facts:

Myth 1: Rantisi is not all that bad.

The Associated Press issued a lengthy, sympathetic biography of Rantisi, described in the headline as a "pediatrician and poet." The AP's Jayson Keyser characterizes Rantisi, who "wears gold-framed tinted glasses," as a healthy, caring and gracious patriarch of "six children and 10 grandchildren. He has written poetry for one of them, a girl named Assma." Keyser then proceeds to quote effusive verses from the love poem.

Fact: Rantisi, the "great family man," stated to the AFP in August that he would encourage his own sons to become suicide bombers. Rantisi has claimed responsibility for many bloody Hamas attacks, including the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing last summer. Prior to the Iraq war, Rantisi called on Iraqis to carry out suicide bombings against US forces.

Can one imagine AP describing so warmly a perpetrator of mass terror against Americans?
Comments to: feedback@ap.org

Myth #2 Israel has undermined Abbas' effort to rein in terror.

The New York Times predicts the strike will "doom any prospect of a cease-fire in the near future," and Washington Post editors claim "the strike likely will undermine Palestinian efforts to control terrorism."

Fact: Abbas has suggested only a hudna (temporary ceasefire) with the terror groups, a frail approach Israel has consistently rejected. The road map itself demands at this stage much more than a hudna calling on the P.A. to "arrest, disrupt, and restrain" terror leaders.

As recently documented by The Washington Institute, Hamas agreed to ten ceasefires in the past ten years, and after every one of them returned freshly rearmed for terror. Why should this time be different?

Myth #3 The timing of the hit indicates Israel is trying to kill the peace effort.

The Globe and Mail called the strike "a direct challenge both to peace and to Mr. Bush."

Fact: The IDF action was not intended to kill the road map, but actually make the process possible. Consider had the strike been successful, it would have strengthened Abbas by removing one of his most ardent opponents, who condemned Abbas' peaceful course, then directed Sunday's killing of four Israeli soldiers, just days after the hopeful Aqaba summit.

As Vice President Cheney expressed after the recent attacks against Americans in Saudi Arabia, to bring peace, terrorists must be eliminated: "The only way to deal with this threat ultimately is to destroy it. There's no treaty that can solve this problem, there's no peace agreement, no policy of containment or deterrence that works to deal with this threat. We have to go find the terrorists."

At the least, this attempted strike keeps Hamas leaders off-balanced, on the defensive, and denies them the opportunity to perpetrate attacks unhindered, which would ultimately derail the peace process.

Myth #4 Israel has abandoned diplomacy in favor of military means.

The Times of London headlined their report, "Roadmap Left Burning on the Streets of Gaza."

Fact: On Monday, Israel began dismantling 14 illegal settlement outposts, a tangible expression of its commitment to moving the road map forward. Israel has always maintained, however, that even as it fulfils its road map commitments, it will continue to act against the terrorists and defend its citizens if the PA does not take action. The PA has not acted, the terror continued, and the IDF responded.

Myth #5 The consequence of the strike will be more terror.

The Washington Post claims "it's not hard to imagine the probable consequences of Israel's failed attempt yesterday to assassinate Abdel Aziz Rantisi [Hamas] will now launch a new terrorist onslaught at Israeli civilians."

Fact: Israel currently has over 50 specific warnings of planned terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. This figure existed on Monday, even before the attempted hit. Never has Hamas indicated their plans are anything other than a "terrorist onslaught at Israeli civilians." Israel had every reason to assume that Rantisi's terror activities would increase; one Israeli official said "Rantisi was not just a ticking bomb, but a factory of ticking bombs."

 

FROM “CHICAGO” TO TEL AVIV

From "Chicago" to Tel Aviv: Richard Gere's peace mission
By Ellis Shuman
Israel Insider
June 2, 2003

One week after pop star Whitney Houston's highly publicized "spiritual retreat" in Israel, actor Richard Gere arrived in the country on a "visit to promote peace."

Gere, the 54-year-old star of hit films including An Officer and a Gentlemen, Pretty Woman and Chicago, asked that the media not cover his three-day visit to Israel, but the Israeli press was full of reports of his arrival on an El Al airliner at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday and his lodgings in the royal suite at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, which had previously hosted the Dalai Lama, Gere's spiritual mentor.

Gere is visiting Israel as the guest of Spirit of Peace, the Israeli chapter of the International Peacemaking Community - a global, multi-faith peace organization. In recent years, Gere has made frequent visits around the world to promote peace, conciliation and the restoration of Tibetan rights.

"This is a modest visit to explore how he can help us in different ways," said Tel Aviv University Professor Yaakov Raz, chairman of Spirit of Peace.

Gere asked to "hear the voices of the people" and to get to know the special places in the region," said Iris Elhany, organizer of the visit.

Gere is expected to meet with Jewish and Arab citizens, peacemakers, artists, and businessmen in his efforts to understand the problems of the Middle East. He will also meet with former foreign minister Shimon Peres and visit the Palestinian Authority, although it is not clear if he will meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen. The Jerusalem Post added that Gere also plans to fly to Iraq.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.