Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Saving Corporal Shalit

June 28, 2006

* Hamas supreme leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus said to be target
* Meshal on par with Zarqawi and Bin Laden in world terror league
* Israeli deputy PM Shimon Peres: We would prefer it if the EU and UN asked for Meshal to be taken to the International Court in The Hague
* Israeli troops enter Ramallah, currently searching for second abducted Israeli teenager, Eliyahu Asheri

 

CONTENTS

1. Saving Corporal Shalit
2. Hamas deeply involved in the attack
3. The use of Hamas funds
4. Associated Press misleads again
5. “Second Israeli teenager kidnapped”
6. “The world cares not at all”
7. Europe’s role in prolonging the conflict
8. PA political leaders advocated kidnapping policy
9. “When you’re ready to sue for peace-and-quiet, let us know”
10. Hamas’s rival points of power
11. “When you empower terrorists, terrorists are empowered”
12. “We shot at the Jews and they fled Gaza”
13. “Tie a blue ribbon for Gilad” (Ha’aretz, June 26, 2006)
14. “Europe, Palestine and peace” (Wall Street Journal Europe, June 23, 2006)
15. “PA political leaders advocated kidnapping policy” (PMW, June 27, 2006)
16. “An end to ambiguity” (New York Sun, June 27, 2006)
17. “Cracks in the Hamas edifice” (Jerusalem Report, July 10, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

SAVING CORPORAL SHALIT

I attach several articles below relating to Hamas and the kidnap of an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit.

But before that, here are a few observations:

Some news media have not made clear that the attack and kidnap of Shalit at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, which happened at 5.40 am last Sunday morning, was unprovoked, occurred in sovereign Israeli territory, and that two other Israeli soldiers were shot dead in the raid and four others wounded, one critically.

Few international media have mentioned that Gilad Shalit is a teenager (he is 19). The BBC has referred to him as a “missing man” while in the very same news bulletins has referrred to Palestinian “youths” who are in fact the same age as Shalit.

HAMAS DEEPLY INVOLVED IN THE ATTACK

Many international news media have not made clear that Hamas (along with the Popular Resistance Committees terror organization) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The idea that the Hamas leadership is not responsible is ridiculous. Indeed full details and photos of the attack can be seen at the main Muslim Brotherhood Arabic forum at www.ikhwan.net/vb/showthread.php?t=19349.

The details of the operation, given the name “Scattered Illusion” by Hamas (probably referring to Mohammed Abbas’s referendum idea to recognize Israel) have also been placed on this forum.

Browsing the site, one can see the video clip of the operation that was released and three joint statements (under the Hamas Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades logo): the first claiming responsibility for the attack, the second naming the terrorists that were killed during the attack, and the third demanding the release of all women prisoners and under 18s from Israeli prisons in return for information concerning the kidnapped soldier. All participants in the discussion on this Muslim Brotherhood webpage fully support the operation.

It is important to point out that Article 2 of Chapter one of the Hamas Charter states Hamas is “the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”
(See www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_charter.htm)

From their side, Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt and elsewhere constantly praise and support Hamas acts of violence, regarding Hamas as the “spearhead of Muslim resistance.”

Lately there have been many indications that the British government and the EU are trying to engage in a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, wrongly considering it to be a moderate organization.

THE USE OF HAMAS FUNDS

Almost no news organization has pointed to the fact that the abduction operation cost Hamas a considerable amount of money. Some news media are still even continuing to emphasize that the Hamas-led Palestinian government is short of money. The abduction involved building a 650-meter tunnel well into Israel, which takes substantial resources, and (expensive) mortar and anti-tank fire were also used in the assault. Who provided the money? Was it from charity accounts?

Almost no news organizations have mentioned that the Palestinian women whom Hamas is demanding Israel release have been convicted of serious offenses, including murder.

Few news media are reporting that the Israeli military build up comes after the daily missile bombardment of Israel’s southern towns and villages. Over 1,000 Qassam rockets have been fired at civilians in Israel since Israel left Gaza – deliberately aimed to kill and maim civilians.

Almost no western media mention that several Israelis (usually poor ones, from Ethiopian, Russian or North African backgrounds) have been killed as a result of the Qassam fire. These include the children Dorit Benisian, age 3, Afik Zahavi, 4 and Yuval Ababeh, 5. A dozen other Israeli Jews have been murdered by Qassams in what is euphemistically referred to on the BBC as “resistance.” The rockets have also killed a Bedouin shepherd and his son, as well as Thai workers.

ASSOCIATED PRESS MISLEADS AGAIN

Yesterday, an Associated Press report, titled “Hamas-Fatah to implicitly recognize Israel,” carried in newspapers around the world, wrongly claimed that the Hamas/Palestinian Authority government has implicitly recognized Israel by accepting the “Prisoners’ document,” the plan put forward for referendum by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

On the contrary, the Fatah-Hamas deal was not completed until amendments were added that made it very clear that Hamas does not recognize Israel, a position that has been reiterated by Hamas spokesmen since.

Israel’s right to exist is not mentioned in the “Prisoners’ plan,” which actually endorses terrorism, calling for “resistance” [i.e. violent attacks] 15 times. And by calling eight times for the so-called “right of return,” it is not recognizing a solution of two states for two peoples.

“SECOND ISRAELI TEENAGER KIDNAPPED”

Israeli authorities fear that assertions by a Palestinian group claiming to be holding an 18-year-old Israeli that were at first dismissed may be true. Eliyahu Asheri has been missing from Itamar, since Sunday. This morning the group claiming to be holding Asheri told Al Jazeera that unless Israel called off its incursion into the Gaza Strip, the teenager would “be butchered in front of television cameras.” In the last few hours the so-called Palestinian Resistance Committees have presented Asheri’s identification card at a press conference in Gaza.

“THE WORLD CARES NOT AT ALL”

I attach a number of articles below about the kidnapping of Shalit and Hamas in general.

Although this list/website has a strict policy of not including appeals or press releases, the first article is included just as an indication of how traumatized Israelis are over the kidnapping, even those who read and write for the liberal daily Ha’aretz who were so keen on pulling out of Gaza while Hamas and other groups were still so heavily armed.

Writing in Ha’aretz, Bradley Burston urges readers to “tie a blue ribbon” for the kidnapped Israeli soldier, pointing out that “when the missile hit his tank, Gilad Shalit was guarding our pre-1967 war border.” Burston asks why “the world cares not at all” about “this kidnapping of a soldier in an army which has withdrawn from the internationally recognized whole of the once-occupied Gaza Strip.”

This article is an example of how emotional people are in Israel: “Our ability to care, our very ability to notice, has been compromised by a reign of terror of such enormity, of such horror, of such duration, that the threshold of our emotional attention has become all but unreachable.”

EUROPE’S ROLE IN PROLONGING THE CONFLICT

In the second article, Daniel Schwammenthal, a subscriber to this email list, writing in The Wall Street Journal Europe, questions the role of Europe in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Even after almost 60 years, Europe still allows the Palestinians to dwell in some fantasy land, where, according to the degree of their delusion, they have been dreaming either of Israel’s destruction or – and this is the ‘moderate’ view – of Israel’s retreat to what many military experts consider indefensible 1967 lines and the ‘return’ of Palestinian refugees.”

As a result “by refusing even to hint at rewarding Israel for uprooting thousands of Jews and leaving most of the territory, it makes it less likely that such an agreement will ever be reached. What Europe in effect does is to create a safety net for Palestinian extremists. Their terror war is much easier to pursue knowing that no matter how irresponsible their action, the Palestinians will never lose Europe’s backing of extreme positions.”

“Do the normal rules of history not apply to the Palestinians? How long can successive Palestinian leaderships wage a terror war against Israel that stands ready to negotiate before Europe considers extracting a price for this behavior? Instead, Brussels just decided to resume aid payments to Hamas-led Palestine.”

PA POLITICAL LEADERS ADVOCATED KIDNAPPING POLICY

Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus reports that on their website, Palestine-info.net, Hamas has celebrated the killings and kidnapping “in graphic posters of smoldering and destroyed Israeli positions, with the words: ‘Smashed Illusion Operation,’ and ‘Crushing Blow on Zionist Enemy.’”

Saed Siam, the Palestinian Authority Interior Minister, who is now supposedly charged (according to gullible Western journalists) with locating Gilad Shalit, said on Abu Dhabi TV before Hamas came to power that “There is nothing the resistance cannot do… When there is a kidnapping, and it is secured, each case in its own time, has its own negotiations.”

Marcus, who is also a subscriber to this list, points out that in March this year Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmud Al-Zahar told the Saudi paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that “Hamas will not hesitate to kidnap Israeli soldiers.”

“WHEN YOU’RE READY TO SUE FOR PEACE-AND-QUIET, LET US KNOW”

Hillel Halkin, writing in the New York Sun, has urged the Israeli government to respond to the Palestinian raid into Israel and killing of Israelis last Sunday as an “act of war.”

Halkin urges the Israeli government to tell the Palestinian Authority that “The charade is over. While we are willing to negotiate through neutral parties a prisoner exchange involving Gilad Shalit, we are also declaring war on you. From now on we will treat you as any country treats another country it is at war with. We will close all our borders with you, cease providing you with all services, and consider any branch of your government, any of its members, and anyone on your side contributing to your military effort, legitimate war targets. We will do our very best to avoid harming civilians, and we will expect you to do the same, but anyone else, from Prime Minister Ismail Haniya down, is from now until further notice a legitimate target. And when you’re ready to sue for peace-and-quiet, let us know.”

HAMAS’S RIVAL POINTS OF POWER

In the final piece attached below, the veteran Israeli journalist Ehud Ya’ari (who is also a long-time subscriber to this list) says that the Hamas victory in the recent elections “has led the organization into deep crisis.” According to Ya’ari no fewer than five rival power centers have emerged. These are in Damascus, Gaza, the armed wing of Hamas, the West Bank and in Israeli prisons.

“WHEN YOU EMPOWER TERRORISTS, TERRORISTS ARE EMPOWERED”

I would also draw attention to two other pieces, not attached below for space reasons, which show how some leading Israeli commentators blame the “misguided” withdrawal from Gaza last year while Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups were still so armed and active there, for the current round of events.

Caroline Glick (another subscriber to this list) writing in the Jerusalem Post under the title “Israel’s rude awakening,” argues that “the IDF was not in Gaza to protect the Israelis who lived there. The IDF was in Gaza to protect Israel.”

The world view of Ehud Olmert and other Israelis so eager to withdraw from Gaza, she says, “involves a denial of a basic, fundamental truth: When you empower terrorists, terrorists are empowered.”

“We have been in this situation before. Six years ago, in October 2000, on the eve of Yom Kippur then prime minister Ehud Barak gave Yasser Arafat an ultimatum. He was ordered to end all the violence he had fomented within 48 hours or face the consequences. When as the deadline passed Arafat continued the violence, Barak did nothing. He did nothing because he could do nothing. His entire government was based on the idea of making peace with Arafat by empowering him. When Arafat chose war, Barak had nothing to say. [Now it is the turn of] Olmert and his colleagues.”

“WE SHOT AT THE JEWS AND THEY FLED GAZA”

Michael Oren, writing today in The Wall Street Journal in an article titled “Stop Terror at Its Source” says “While the [impending Israeli] operation may flex [Israel’s] military muscle, it cannot restore Israel’s deterrence power or prevent future rocket attacks and kidnappings. Indeed, the attack may well prove Pyrrhic – inflicting greater injury on Israel than on the Palestinians. The quandary Israel confronts today originated in the unilateral withdrawal of all Israeli settlers and soldiers from Gaza last August… even those Israelis most in favor of the Gaza pullout understood that many Palestinians would interpret the move as a strategic retreat and a victory for Hamas and al-Aqsa terror. ‘We shot at the Jews and they fled Gaza,’ they would say, ‘so let’s keep shooting and they’ll abandon Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.’

“Israel could have refuted that claim by responding immediately and massively to every infiltration and to every rocket fired, irrespective of whether the attacks caused Israeli casualties. Gaza is now a de facto independent state, Israel should have declared, and like any other state it must bear the consequences of its aggression. But Israel did none of this. On the contrary, infiltrations and rocket strikes began almost the day after the Gaza disengagement.

“… Israel’s inaction has provided a bonanza to Hamas. By firing the rockets from densely populated neighborhoods, the Palestinians have forced Israel to kill and wound civilian bystanders, sullying its reputation abroad. Indeed, many world leaders and virtually all of the press hastened to condemn Israel for allegedly firing a shell onto a Gaza beach that killed eight Palestinians. That the IDF denied firing the shell and that the Palestinians destroyed exculpatory evidence by gouging shrapnel from the victims’ limbs could not repair the damage to Israel’s image. Collateral damage not only hurts Israel’s international standing, it also divides the country internally. Many Israelis grieve over the deaths of innocent Palestinians, even those incurred in successful strikes against terrorists. Israel’s Supreme Court is now considering two lawsuits against the IDF, both filed by Israelis, for the unintentional deaths.”

“… There is, however, one way to avert a public relations disaster for Israel, to limit casualties, and to restore Israel’s deterrence power: Israel must return to the targeted-killing policy that enabled Mr. Sharon to triumph over terrorist organizations. Israel must target those Palestinians who order others to fire rockets from within civilian areas but whose families are located safely away from the firing zones. No Hamas or Islamic Jihad leader should be immune from such reprisals – neither Prime Minister Ismail Haniya nor Khaled Meshal, who masterminds Hamas from Damascus…”

I attach five articles below.

-- Tom Gross

 

[Additional notes by Tom Gross]

“LONDONISTAN” AND THE NEW YORK TIMES

Relating to yesterday’s dispatch on “Londonistan,” several of you have written to me noting that last Sunday (June 25), the New York Times magazine carried a piece titled “After Londonistan.” I am aware of that. The author of the piece, Christopher Caldwell, went out of his way not to mention Melanie Phillips’ book, and as I said yesterday, the New York Times has been markedly absent from the otherwise widespread coverage of the book in the U.S.

 

ANOTHER ISRAELI SOCCER PITCH HIT BY MISSILE

In Football killing fields, I wrote of the double standards employed by world football’s governing body FIFA, who condemned an Israeli strike on an empty Palestinian football (soccer) pitch that had been used for terror training exercises, but refused to condemn a Palestinian missile attack on an Israeli soccer pitch. Last week – at the height of the soccer World Cup – another Palestinian rocket hit another Israeli soccer pitch, and again FIFA said nothing. On the morning of Sunday June 18, moments before the daily training session was set to begin, the Palestinian rocket hit the home of the local Sderot team, a member of the Israeli Football Association playing in the 4th division. A photograph of the aftermath of the attack was published in the sports section of Yediot Ahronot on Monday June 19. No one outside Israel has condemned the attack.



FULL ARTICLES

TIE A BLUE RIBBON FOR GILAD

Tie a blue ribbon for Gilad
By Bradley Burston
Ha’aretz
June 26, 2006

There’s an inexplicable calm regarding Gilad Shalit.

Must be the way the world works.

When the missile hit his tank, Gilad Shalit was guarding our pre-1967 war border.

The border that Hamas has been talking about for months. The one to which, should we withdraw, they would make peace with us for generations.

Or until Sunday morning, whichever came first.

When the missile hit his tank, two of his crewmates, Hanan Barak and Pavel Slutzker, were killed in the blast. A third was seriously injured.

And there was Gilad, this kid, bleeding, alone, dragged off into the Gaza Strip by men who would probably rather kill him than look at him.

There’s this heartbreaking photograph of a kid not 20 years old. The wide, unspoiled smile, doubtless unchanged from when he was small.

There is this lovely family, their guard let down because they believed him to be serving in the north, far from danger. A father who, in the depth of his dread, can say to the kidnappers, “We believe that those who are holding him also have families and children, and that they know what we are feeling.”

The world can’t give a fallen fig.

When the missile hit, there was this kid, stationed at a quiet IDF position, not in the territories, nowhere near Palestinians.

And here is this kidnapping of a soldier in an army which has withdrawn from the internationally recognized whole of the once-occupied Gaza Strip.

The world cares not at all.

Perhaps we should care more. Perhaps it’s time people made a small statement in as many places as possible.

Tie a blue ribbon on a tree for Gilad. So that people will ask what it’s for, and you can tell them.

So that he won’t be left alone, nor his family.

Ignore the voices – you can hear them already – saying that he had it coming, as a member of a military that attacks Palestinians – the Palestinians that fire Qassams into homes, schools and medical clinics, the Palestinians that fire Qassams every single day, sometimes as many as seven times a day.

The world doesn’t give a fallen fig.

The world has washed its hands of the Palestinians. The world has washed its hands of Hamas.

The world is tired of our troubles as well.

There’s a sense that this is a kidnapping that even Hamas would rather not think about.

The answer may well lie somewhere between the Twin Towers and Faluja. Mass murder in the name of God, beheadings in the name of God, bombing after bombing after bombing after bombing in the name of God, gets to us after a while. Our ability to care, our very ability to notice, has been compromised by a reign of terror of such enormity, of such horror, of such duration, that the threshold of our emotional attention has become all but unreachable.

But just this once ...

We should tie a blue ribbon for Gilad. For his parents, his older brother, his younger sister.

So that people will ask what it’s for. And so they’ll find out.

 

“DO THE NORMAL RULES OF HISTORY NOT APPLY TO THE PALESTINIANS?”

Europe, Palestine and peace
By Daniel Schwammenthal
The Wall Street Journal Europe
June 23, 2006

Imagine a sovereign country trying – no, eager – to bring about the birth of an enemy state, fully aware that its leadership and a large part of its population want to destroy its “midwife.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposes to do just that with his “realignment” plan. His Israel is to be the midwife to a Palestinian state. It is a unique endeavor in human history. Without a negotiating partner willing to make peace, Israel has decided to end the conflict unilaterally, whether the Palestinians like it or not. Mr. Olmert’s predecessor, Ariel Sharon, emptied Gaza of Jews. Now Mr. Olmert wants to withdraw from about 90% of the West Bank to make space for Palestine.

Israel’s critics in Europe ought to be thrilled. The Jewish state, as demanded, is ending “the occupation” that’s supposedly the root cause not just of this conflict but the Muslim world’s anger at the West. World peace is about to break out! But no, Mr. Olmert wasn’t greeted with church bells and parades when he came last week to sell Europe on his plan. He got the cold shoulder.

Now why would Europe have second thoughts? Some legitimate reasons come to mind. Israel’s enemies might interpret a unilateral withdrawal as a sign of weakness and evidence that terrorism works. Living next door to a hostile country run by a terrorist Islamic organization might generally not be a very good idea for the Jewish state. Israel’s friends voice these concerns.

The European Union doesn’t share them. Its skepticism is rooted in, let’s say, due process. At their summit last Friday, the bloc’s leaders made clear what they think of the Olmert plan: “The European Union will not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed to by both sides,” the final conclusion read.

Obviously, the Israelis would prefer a negotiated solution as well. Handing over land that’s critical to the territorial security of a small country still threatened by enemies, not to mention one that is associated with three millennia of Jewish history, would be easier to sell to a wary Israeli public if, in return, Israel got a peace treaty. But the new Palestinian government, run by terrorist group Hamas, refuses even to recognize Israel. Insisting on a negotiated solution gives Hamas veto power and discourages Israel from leaving the West Bank. Absurd doesn’t quite capture it.

The phrase “pre-1967 borders” gives some clues to European resistance. In fact, there never were either pre- or post-1967 borders – only armistice lines following the Arab attempt in 1948 to extinguish newly created Israel. At the end of that war, the West Bank and Gaza did not become part of a Palestinian state but were occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. Israel conquered these territories only in 1967, which is why it prefers to speak of “disputed” and not “occupied” land. In a legal sense occupation requires that the territory in question was the recognized part of a sovereign state before its conquest.

By getting this history wrong, the EU implies that the complete withdrawal to the 1967 lines would return the region to some previous state of order. Acknowledging that there never were any borders to begin with would make the insistence on the complete withdrawal to arbitrary battle lines appear less than objective.

And this leads us to the real “root cause” of the conflict. Even after almost 60 years, Europe still allows the Palestinians to dwell in some fantasy land, where, according to the degree of their delusion, they have been dreaming either of Israel’s destruction or – and this is the “moderate” view – of Israel’s retreat to what many military experts consider indefensible 1967 lines and the “return” of Palestinian refugees. That return would take place not to a new-born Palestinian state but to Israel. The influx of millions of hostile Palestinians, the vast majority of them descendants of refugees born outside the country, would amount to nothing less than the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. So the difference between so-called moderates and extremists is largely academic. While Europe rejects the extremists, it has yet to tell the “moderates” to give up on their dreams as well.

That is exactly what U.S. President George W. Bush did when he assured Mr. Sharon in a 2004 letter that Israel can’t be expected to remove the large population centers just across the armistice lines or to welcome millions of Palestinians. Some European diplomats will tell you at cocktail parties that they agree with Mr. Bush’s letter but they will not publicly endorse it. The official reason is that as a neutral party they could not possibly prejudge the outcome of the negotiations. Of course, by accepting total withdrawal as the default position, they are doing just that. The same applies to Europe’s refusal to take a stand on the refugees. Pretending that the “return” of the refugees is even a theoretical possibility is to entertain the idea of Israel’s destruction – clearly incompatible with the position of a neutral partner.

Of course in a cosmic sense, Europe is right. Real peace can come only once both sides agree to it. But by refusing even to hint at rewarding Israel for uprooting thousands of Jews and leaving most of the territory, it makes is less likely that such an agreement will ever be reached. What Europe in effect does is to create a safety net for Palestinian extremists. Their terror war is much easier to pursue knowing that no matter how irresponsible their action, the Palestinians will never lose Europe’s backing of extreme positions.

Do the normal rules of history not apply to the Palestinians? How long can successive Palestinian leaderships wage a terror war against Israel that stands ready to negotiate before Europe considers extracting a price for this behavior? Instead, Brussels just decided to resume aid payments to Hamas-led Palestine.

By giving tacit support to radical and unrealistic expectations – full withdrawal and “return of the refugees” – the EU is not doing the Palestinians any favors. It only weakens the position of true Palestinian moderates who are ready to find a workable compromise – and it prolongs the conflict and suffering on both sides.

 

PA POLITICAL LEADERS ADVOCATE KIDNAPPING-FOR-HOSTAGE POLICY

Palestinian Authority political leaders advocated kidnapping-for-hostage policy
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch
June 27, 2006

Foreign Minister, Mahmud Al-Zahar: Hamas will not hesitate to kidnap Israeli soldiers “to exchange for [Palestinian] prisoners, should the opportunity arise.”
[Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, March 7, 2006]

Interior Minister Saed Siam: “It is inevitable to kidnap soldiers to exchange for them... There is nothing the resistance cannot do. And when there is a goal and a good plan, the goal can be achieved... [In the past] Hamas succeeded in kidnapping and hiding bodies, but unfortunately, two bodies were handed over for nothing.”
[Undated video clip from Abu Dhabi TV – before Hamas came into power]

The Palestinian Authority political leadership has been attempting to distance itself from the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Yesterday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas instructed PA Prime Minister Haniyeh and Interior Minister Saed Siam to “guarantee the release of the abducted soldier.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 27, 2006]

However, one must question the sincerity of such public displays, especially by the Hamas leadership. A review of policy articulated by Hamas political leaders, including Interior Minister Siam himself and the PA Foreign Minister, shows that it was the avowed policy of the Hamas political leadership to kidnap Israeli soldiers as hostages to exchange for terrorists.

There’s another clear show of support for the kidnapping from the political leadership. The Hamas website, Palestine-info.net, has celebrated the killings and kidnapping in graphic posters of smoldering and destroyed Israeli positions, with the words: “Smashed Illusion Operation”, and “Crushing Blow on Zionist Enemy”.

Another poster in English on their web site has the names of the three groups accepting responsibility, which includes the Al Qassam Brigades of Hamas, followed by the words: “In the first movie – Mission 1 – Be Back!” [See below]

The following are policy statements of both Hamas political leaders and Islamic Jihad:

Mahmud Al-Zahar, Hamas, Foreign Minister: “The Head of Hamas party in the Palestinian Legislative Council, [and current Foreign Minister-ed] Dr. Mahmud Al-Zahar, said that his movement would not hesitate to kidnap soldiers of the occupation in order to exchange them for [Palestinian] prisoners, should the opportunity arise.”
[Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, March 7, 2006]

Saed Siam, PA Interior Minister (now charged with locating the hostage): “In the past Hamas succeeded in kidnapping many Zionist soldiers.

There are thousands of prisoners of our forces, they have to think how to free these prisoners. And I believe that it is inevitable to kidnap soldiers to exchange for them. In the past Hamas kidnapped 10 soldiers.

There is nothing the resistance cannot do. And when there is a goal and a good plan, the goal can be achieved, especially about the prisoner issue, [which] is top priority.

During the PA administration, Hamas succeeded in kidnapping and hiding bodies, but unfortunately, two bodies were handed over for nothing. When there is a kidnapping, and it is secured, each case in its own time, has its own negotiations.”
[Undated video clip from Abu Dhabi TV – before Hamas came into power]

Fathi Hamad, Member Palestinian Legislative Council, Hamas: “The Islamic resistance movement “Hamas” yesterday threatened to carry out kidnapping operations of soldiers in the Israeli army, in order to release Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The threat was announced by Hamas Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Fathi Hamad.”
[Al-Ayyam, March 16, 2006]

Sheik Halid Al-Batash, Islamic Jihad: “[Palestinian Authority] Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah emphasized the importance of forming a mechanism for the release of our heroic prisoners who are held in the jails of the occupation, without making concessions...

Prominent Islamic Jihad movement leader, Sheik Halid Al-Batash... called for seeking different mechanisms for the release of our heroic prisoners. He emphasized that among the mechanisms is the kidnapping of Zionists to exchange for the release of the [Palestinian] prisoners.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, April, 17 2006]

Sheik Halid Al-Batash, Islamic Jihad: “The Islamic Jihad [Movement] says: kidnapping of Israeli soldiers – the fastest way for the release of the prisoners. Islamic Jihad movement senior official [Halid Al-Batash] called on the factions of the resistance to kidnap Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners, who Israel holds and refuses to release.”
[Al-Ayyam, May 9, 2006]

(For the pictures that accompany the above article, please see
www.pmw.org.il/LatestBulletins.htm#b270606.)

 

“THE CHARADE IS OVER”

An end to ambiguity
By Hillel Halkin
New York Sun
June 27, 2006

www.nysun.com/article/35123

“An act of terror,” Israel’s chief-of-staff Dan Halutz called the Palestinian raid on an Israeli military outpost on the periphery of the Gaza Strip last Sunday, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed, several more were wounded, and one, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, was captured and is now being held in Palestinian territory.

It was in fact anything but that. If terror consists of randomly killing and maiming non-combatant civilians for the purpose of sowing fear and insecurity, Sunday’s raid, carried out by the military wing of Hamas, was the antithesis: A well-planned and well-executed attack on a strictly military target that was chosen long in advance and reached through the laborious digging of an underground tunnel half-a-mile long.

Why, when geologists can detect relatively minor underground tremors deep in the earth, Israeli scientists have been unable to develop equipment to detect the digging of tunnels, which have been widely used by Gaza Palestinians for the smuggling of weapons and occasional raids on Israeli positions, is a question in itself. What is not in question, though, is that if Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in a state of war, the attack in question was a perfectly legitimate act of war.

Indeed one might say, with one’s tongue only partially in one’s cheek, that attacks like Sunday’s, if the alternative to them is suicide bombs, should be encouraged by Israel. Since its inception, the greatest blot on the generally unsavory record of the Palestinian “liberation movement” has been its clear preference for terror over military action. For every Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers in the four decades since the 1967 war, there have been many dozens of attacks on Israeli civilians, even though in many cases it would have been just as easy to target soldiers.

True, soldiers shoot back and civilians generally don’t. But if you are a suicide bomber sworn to die anyway, why not trade your bomb for a gun and open fire on soldiers, who are not exactly difficult to find in Israel? The only real answer to this question is that the Palestinian organizations have wanted to kill civilians rather than soldiers because this is precisely the message they have wished to deliver – namely, that their enemy is not specifically the Israeli “occupation,” nor even the Israeli army, but the entire Jewish population of Israel.

And it is because of this, too, that the Israeli response to Sunday’s raid should not be Chief-of-Staff Halutz’s. Rather, it should be: “Fair enough! You fought this time like soldiers rather than like terrorists – we will treat you this time like soldiers rather than like terrorists.”

In practice, this means two things. The first is that, if Hamas wishes to suggest a prisoner exchange in which Gilad Shalit is swapped for Palestinians in Israeli jails, Israel’s response should not be an automatic “No.” It should be: “Very well. We will not swap terrorists for an Israeli soldier because an Israeli soldier is not a terrorist, but among the many Palestinians incarcerated by us there is a small number that behaved like soldiers and attacked only soldiers on our side – and about them we are willing to negotiate.”

The second thing is to make it clear that, as far as the government of Israel is concerned, it and the Palestinian Authority are now in a state of war and that Israeli policies will be adjusted accordingly.

Until now, ever since the creation of the Palestinian Authority by the 1993 Oslo accord, Israel’s relations with this Authority have been absurdly ambiguous. On the one hand, the PA has supported anti-Israel terror, both by funding it and its organizations, and by turning a blind eye to it when it has been committed and refusing to bring its perpetrators to justice. Yet on the other hand, because the Palestinian Authority has always publicly disclaimed responsibility for terroristic acts, and has mendaciously asserted that it is not to blame for them and has done all it could to prevent them, Israel has refrained from declaring it an enemy state.

Although this has been a gross charade all along, there have been perhaps justifiable political and diplomatic reasons, from an Israeli perspective, for allowing it to take place. But these reasons have now exhausted themselves. The Palestinian Authority now has a Hamas government – and however this government may twist or turn, and however it may have tried to disassociate itself from the hundreds of Kassam rockets shot from the Gaza Strip into Israel with its complicit knowledge in recent months, it can not disassociate itself from the Hamas soldiers who raided the Israeli outpost on Sunday.

Israel should therefore say to this government: “The charade is over. While we are willing to negotiate through neutral parties a prisoner exchange involving Gilad Shalit, we are also declaring war on you. From now on we will treat you as any country treats another country it is at war with. We will close all our borders with you, cease providing you with all services, and consider any branch of your government, any of its members, and anyone on your side contributing to your military effort, legitimate war targets. We will do our very best to avoid harming civilians, and we will expect you to do the same, but anyone else, from Prime Minister Ismail Heniya down, is from now until further notice a legitimate target. And when you’re ready to sue for peace-and-quiet, let us know.”

Rest assured that Hamas will sue fast. This time, though, Israel will have to insist that the quiet, if not the peace, be real and lasting.

 

HAMAS “HAS BECOME ANOTHER ELEMENT IN THE PREVAILING ANARCHY”

Cracks in the Hamas edifice
By Ehud Ya’ari
Jerusalem Report
July 10, 2006

The Hamas movement is not what it used to be. It is not able to rule effectively, even though it is in charge of all the ministries. It has not succeeded in imposing its order on the streets, despite having pulled all the members of the Izz aI-Din al-Qassam Brigades out of the underground and deployed them all over the Gaza Strip like some pseudo-police militia. Nor has its leadership managed so far to overcome the economic and diplomatic siege enforced by Israel, the United States, the European Union and most of the Arab states as well. Hamas does not have the wherewithal to resume a concerted campaign of terror, and most important, it finds it increasingly difficult to maintain its internal cohesion. Significant cracks are appearing in the top ranks of the movement, and they threaten to grow into an open schism.

In other words, Hamas’s victory in the January elections has led the organization into deep crisis. Still, there is no cause for joy just yet. Hamas is far from singing its swan song; and is not about to break up or admit to failure.

But in the course of its ongoing struggle against Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Fatah, the inner tensions are breaking out. In recent weeks, no fewer than five rival power centers have emerged:

The Damascus leadership: Khaled Mashal, head of the Hamas political bureau, is now undoubtedly the most senior figure in the organization. Born in the West Bank and exiled from Jordan in 2001: he has set up headquarters in the Syrian capital. But he does not have ultimate authority and there is a lot of internal criticism about his arrogant behavior and belligerent statements. Even his deputy, Dr. Musa Abu-Marzuk, hints at reservations. Mashal’s approach is dogmatic and confrontational, and is perceived back in the territories as being excessive in its extremism. He commandeers a significant portion of the funds that Hamas raises in the Muslim world and the Arab states, but he does not sufficiently control the local branches of the movement inside the Palestinian territories.

The Gaza leadership: Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of Gaza, has won a lot of respect among the younger cadres for his restrained and smiley manner, but he is not ranked highly among the members of the Shura Council, the supreme decision-making body of the organization whose members are elected from all the different branches. Even the Hamas leadership inside Gaza is not prepared to bestow on him the status of first among equals. Often his instructions are not acted upon. In a number of instances Haniyeh has given Abu Mazen his word – for example, on the removal of the Hamas militia from the streets of Gaza – and later it transpires that he does not have the power to make good on his promises. His own interior minister, Said Siam, simply ignores him.

The military leadership: It is now absolutely clear that the commanders of the armed wing of Hamas do not see themselves as automatically subordinate to the political echelon. Since the liquidation of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Dr. Abd al Aziz Rantisi, in 2004, there has been no one figure that they obey without question. The acting commander, Ahmed Ja’abari, and his comrades are in touch with the Damascus leadership, behind the back of Haniyeh and his colleagues. They are pushing for a violent confrontation with Fatah and for a resumption of terror against Israel.

The West Bank leadership: Unlike Hamas in Gaza, which emerged from the womb of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the West Bank leadership is traditionally connected to the more accommodating Jordanian Muslim Brothers. The prominent figures in the West Bank – such as Adnan Asfour and Hassan Yusuf – hold more moderate positions than the Gazans and seek understandings with Fatah. Also, because of the absence of armed Hamas forces in the West Bank, they feel weaker opposite Fatah and more vulnerable to Israeli attack.

The prison leadership: The Israeli prisons have long been a finishing school for Hamas’s top brass, and still are today. A long list of senior figures are sitting in the jails, exerting their influence from behind bars and routinely taking part in decision-making. Imprisoned Hamas leader Sheikh Abd al-Khaleq Natsheh from Hebron, together with Fatah’s Marwan Barghouti, formulated the “Prisoners’ Document” that Abu Mazen threatened to put to a referendum on July 26. The document is supposed to lead to a partnership between Fatah and Hamas, on the basis of a joint political platform and power-sharing within the Palestinian Authority and the PLO.

This complex power play is taking place mostly behind the scenes, but Hamas can no longer hide it completely. In private conversations, senior activists cast harsh aspersions on each other in ways they never did before. There is suspicion and bitterness, and even gossip about corruption, which was unheard of till now. At the peak of the combined efforts to abort the Hamas government, the movement itself is divided, with no consensus on a leader and no clear institutional hierarchy. So long as the financial boycott continues, and Fatah demonstrates an ability to fight back, the cracks will only get wider.

Hamas is no longer the Palestinians’ “great white hope” when it comes to energizing policy and running an efficient administration. Rather, it has become another element in the prevailing anarchy. It no longer holds out an attractive promise, but has become just one more problem. Hamas is not solving the Palestinian national crisis, but worsening it.

That’s why they are desperately in need of a time-out to regain their breath. Hammering out an agreement with Abu Mazen has become the preferred option. And this is winning proof that the pressure on Hamas is bearing fruit, and that it is therefore imperative to keep it up.


“Londonistan”: “I’d rather take ricin than publish this”

June 27, 2006

CONTENTS

1. “Londonistan”
2. “A human cactus”
3. “I’d rather take ricin than publish this”
4. “While England sleeps” (By Tom Gross, New York Post, June 18, 2006)
5. “Home office funds Muslim council of Britain” (Freedom of Info Centre, June 5, 2006)



“LONDONISTAN”

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach below a slightly longer version of my review in the New York Post of “Londonistan,” the important new book by British journalist Melanie Phillips.

“Londonistan” was generally very well received in America, and widely reviewed – though true to form, The New York Times has so far ignored it.

The book has also received some good reviews in Britain, for example from Michael Gove in the Mail on Sunday. Leading British bloggers Clive Davis and Stephen Pollard have also generally welcomed “Londonistan” (while, like myself, disagreeing with some of Phillips’ more conservative views on social issues.) “On the really big issues, she is frighteningly right,” writes Davis.

“A HUMAN CACTUS”

But, the British left – rather than openly debate the issues – have viciously attacked the book and its author in a number of different publications.

In a piece by Jackie Ashley in The Guardian, Phillips is described as “quick to take offence,” “a human cactus” and patronizingly told to “keep your hair on, Mel.” According to Ashley “The problem is that Phillips’s hysterical tone repels frank and thoughtful argument.”

Last weekend there was also a particularly cheap review in The Observer by Peter Preston, the former editor of The Guardian – who sums up Londonistan as “a ferocious denunciation of new London’s many faiths and traditions.” This is simply not true. Phillips goes out of her way not to criticize Muslims per se, let alone Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs (many of whom have written to her welcoming her book).

Phillips previously worked at The Guardian for almost two decades, which is one reason the newspaper is now so bitter about her changing views.

Brendan O’Neill, writing in the New Statesman (the house magazine of the British left) in a review titled “Losing the plot” says “I have thought hard about the best word to use to describe Phillips’s book, and really only one will do: hysterical.” He also writes that since 9/11, Phillips’ writing “has become increasingly shrill and paranoid. She says Britain has been ‘subverted’ by radical Islamic ideology, when in fact it is she who has been subverted.”

In his review, O’Neill dismisses last year’s deadly London transport bombs as merely a “stunt executed by four bored and overgrown adolescents who had nothing better to do.” That is how he engages with the argument.

On a BBC TV program, a guest who was brought in to challenge Phillips tried to dismiss her book with the bizarre accusation that she had written in defense of Menachem Begin (which she says she has not).

“I’D RATHER TAKE RICIN THAN PUBLISH THIS”

Despite being one of Britain’s most read journalists, Phillips had great trouble finding a publisher in Britain. Phillips tells me that one British Jewish publisher told her: “I’d rather take [the deadly poison] ricin than publish this.”

Whether one agrees with everything Phillips says or not, it should be clear to anyone who has read “Londonistan” that it is not written in an exaggerated or hysterical tone. Phillips presents her case thoughtfully and persuasively. (For more, see my review below.)

The final item below reveals that the British government Home Office has quietly been funding the Muslim Council of Britain – last year the MCB received at least £150,000 (approx $275,000). In a letter now made public, the Home Office set out a series of terms for the grant, including the fact that their work with the MCB “may need to be on a strictly confidential basis.” The MCB was led until earlier this month by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who among other things refused to attend Holocaust memorial commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and five months later was rewarded with a knighthood by the English Queen.

This MCB funding appears to support Phillips’ view that the British authorities have still not responded adequately to the radicalized Muslim minority in its midst.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

A MESSAGE THAT WOULD BE DANGEROUS TO IGNORE

While England sleeps
By Tom Gross
The New York Post
June 18, 2006

www.nypost.com/postopinion/books/while_england_sleeps_books_tom_gross.htm

Britain is probably America’s most important ally. So what happens there has repercussions here too. And if British writer Melanie Phillips is right in her grim portrayal of “Londonistan” – the phenomena of increasing Islamic radicalism and the British failure to confront it – then Americans have good reason to be concerned.

While the United States provides the muscle to defend the free world against what Phillips terms “Islamic Fascism,” Britain – the originator of the values that America defends – provides much of the backbone. The “special relationship” between the two countries, she argues, is as vital today as when they stood shoulder to shoulder against Nazi Germany.

So could America really “lose Britain”? In short, thinks Phillips, yes. The situation is bad, very bad, “so much so that if we were fighting World War II now, we’d lose.”

That Prime Minister Tony Blair has shown great resolve and determination obscures the true picture, she says. For Blair is largely alone in a British establishment rife with anti-Americanism and the desire to placate Islamic extremists.

Even Blair’s own wife has made sympathetic comments about suicide bombers. Others in his governing Labor party – notably the leftist mayor of London, Ken Livingstone – have done their utmost to welcome Muslim Brotherhood radicals into the heart of British life.

After embracing (literally) the notorious bigot Sheikh Qaradawi, Livingstone dismissed an unprecedented coalition of British Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, gays, and lesbians who objected, claiming their protest was a Mossad conspiracy to defame Islam. Yet Livingstone remains popular among Britain’s liberal elite, who are obsessed, says Phillips, with promoting multiculturalism, political correctness and Islamist-chic.

Indeed according to Phillips, many if not most members of Britain’s governing class – its politicians, judges, intellectuals, journalists, church leaders, and even senior police – have turned right and wrong on their heads and encouraged Londonistan to develop. And this is, amazingly, still the case even after last year’s quadruple suicide attack on London’s transport system, carried out by British-born, British-raised, middle-class Muslims.

For two decades now, the British political and intelligence establishment has simply turned a blind eye to the substantial network of radical Islamists who have made London their home, preaching hatred of the West, indoctrinating impressionable young British Muslims and recruiting for jihad. (And not only in London: the phenomenon extends to other British cities.) Wrongly believing that these imams posed no threat to Britain itself, the authorities ignored them, repeatedly turning down extradition requests by Saudi, Algerian and Egyptian governments.

Radical Islamists in Britain have already produced some of the organizers behind the Bali bombings and the beheading of Daniel Pearl, the 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui, the shoe-bomber Richard Reid, and suicide bombers that have murdered innocent Israelis, Iraqis and Indians. British-based terrorists have also been behind attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Russia.

Yet even now, when they have struck (and are trying to strike again) inside the UK itself, the country, warns Phillips, is still in a state of deep denial. In London, the chattering classes are simply asleep, or worse still are busy scapegoating Israel and “the Jews” rather than acknowledging the Islamist threat they actually face.

Many of her fellow countrymen regard Phillips as misguided. But such was the reaction too, to the few who spoke out in Britain against appeasing Hitler in the 1930s.

Phillips is a powerful writer and her book makes compelling reading. She sets out the evidence skillfully and even if she occasionally overstates her case, her message is one that would be dangerous to ignore.

(Tom Gross (tomgrossmedia.com) is a former Jerusalem correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph.)

 

BRITISH HOME OFFICE FUNDS MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN

Home office funds Muslim council of Britain
Freedom of Information Act Centre
June 5, 2006

Letters between the home office and a high-profile Muslim group reveal that the government has given at least £150,000 to it. The Muslim council of Britain (MCB), led at the time by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, received the grant after asking the government for £500,000, according to correspondence disclosed under the freedom of information act (FOIA).

The financial relationship between the group and the home office is bound to raise questions – especially among Muslims – about the MCB’s independence from the government.

However, correspondence between Sacranie and a home office minister shows that he has been critical of the government.

Ministers have seen the MCB, which in June 2006 elected Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari to replace Sacranie as secretary general, as the organisation through which to reach out to Britain’s Muslim population in the wake of the September 11 attacks in America and the bombings in London last July.

However, some British Muslims complain that the MCB does not speak for them.

In February last year, a policy advisor at the home office’s ‘cohesion and faith’s unit’ (CFU) sent a letter to the MCB’s treasurer Dr Akber Mohamedali offering the group a grant of £148,160 for the financial year ending the following March.

The money was to fund five projects that the MCB had proposed: MCB leadership development programme; MCB leadership mentoring programme; MCB direct, a web portal for information on Islam and Muslims; British citizenship programme; and British Muslim equality programme.

The home office set out a series of terms and conditions for the grant, including: “MCB will contribute to policy development work by attending meetings, submitting ideas, debating issues, etc, which may need to be on a strictly confidential basis.”

“MCB will be prepared to work in partnership with CFU on the development and implementation of policy initiatives.

“MCB will act as a source of expertise and experience to government on issues relevant to the work of the organisation.”

The MCB had submitted, in January last year, a £500,000 bid to fund the programmes in a proposal entitled, “British Muslims: from alienation to engagement.”

The proposal says: “There is now a growing body of evidence that British Muslim communities suffer some of the sharpest forms of both race and religious discrimination and disadvantage. They are, however, inadequately protected from either.”

“It is suggested that this defining experience of Muslims, of discrimination and disadvantage, often leads to detachment and alienation from the mainstream of British society.

“This alienation has been further fuelled more recently – in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 – by a backlash of increased levels of Islamophobia in all sections of society, the over-zealous use by law enforcement agencies of new draconian anti- terrorism provisions resulting in a disproportionate impact on Muslims, the intense focus of the media on Muslims as the ‘enemy within’, the gains of the far right across Europe and Britain’s role in the ‘war on terrorism’ in Muslim countries.

“The level of alienation is in some cases so high that it results in not just ‘parallel lives’ but such high levels of disaffection as to threaten the kind of disorder experienced in some northern cities in 2001. It also helps the recruitment of young men by extremist tendencies.”

“Much is already underway on different fronts to address the British Muslim experience and what may be brewing just below the surface as a result.

“The government’s new strategy on race, faith and community cohesion will not only add to these activities but also provide a more coherent framework for them. The purpose of the initiatives proposed in this bid is to complement those activities from within the Muslim community.”

The released correspondence shows that, since being offered the £150,000 grant, the MCB has sought more funding from the home office.

In one e-mail from Mohamedali to a home office official last August, the MCB makes a bid for another £35,000, including £9,300 for “an incident monitoring service” and £5,000 for the MCB’s website.

He writes: “Home office funded developing the merged MCB website, which is completed and ready for testing and then going live. This will enable the community at large to access the work and services of the MCB in a much more user-friendly way.” The additional £5,000 is “to get the merged MCB website technically tested and go live on the web.”

The released correspondence does not include the response to this further bid.

The financial relationship between the MCB and the home office did not stop Sacranie from criticising the government’s response to the terrorist threat in the wake of the July attacks in London in a letter last August to Hazel Blears, then a home office minister.

He wrote that the MCB remained committed to working with the government to defeat terrorism.

“However, we are concerned that the current proposed strategy will not be the most effective in dealing with this problem.”

“The starting point must be for the government to institute a full statutory judicial inquiry into the terroristic incidents of July 7 and July 21.”

The government continues to refuse calls for such an inquiry.


Human Rights Watch admits Israel likely not responsible for Gaza beach deaths

June 23, 2006

* But Western press don’t report HRW findings...

* While British, American and other newspapers rushed to blame Israel, using highly emotive language and photographs, Germany’s largest newspaper simply asks:
* Why is it claimed that the 10-year-old girl pictured was not wounded because she was swimming in the sea at the time of the explosion, yet she is “running around in dry clothing?”
* Why does “footage shows a dozen men with typical Hamas-style beards removing evidence from the site” and other media didn’t mention this?
* How come only the German press interviewed the Palestinian cameraman who took the footage, who then hinted he had been given stage directions as to what pictures to take?

* Report yesterday: “It’s final: IDF not guilty of death on Gaza beach: Physical proof exists that the seven Arab family members who died on a Gaza beach were not killed by an Israeli shell”

 

CONTENTS

1. Introductory remarks
2. “We do not believe the Israelis were targeting civilians”
3. Yet more flawed reporting on Israel
4. Missing shrapnel
5. “Palestinians sometimes bend the truth”
6. Kofi Annan retracts his accusations
7. Arab media also accuse Israel
8. Dana Olmert demonstrates against Gaza beach deaths
9. “The Palestinians’ classic and cowardly human-shield tactic”
10. “The Western press falls for these scams again and again”
11. “The war of the pictures” (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, June 16, 2006)
12. “Too quick to atone” (By Gerald Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2006)
13. “Who is to blame for grief on a beach?” (By Charles Krauthammer, W. Post, June 16, 2006)
14. “Untold story of Gaza (and Haditha?)” (Washington Times, June 19, 2006)


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

By now, close followers of the Israeli media are probably aware that Israel has once again been unfairly targeted for blame by many in the international media for civilian deaths that it was not responsible for. But readers and viewers in the rest of the world would have had to look very closely to discover the truth, given the lack of balanced coverage and the mass of emotive reporting and distressing photos that dominated the pages of many prominent newspapers for several days last week.

The prominence given, and the rush to blame Israel, was not just startling in itself, but so too was the complete lack of coverage of other news during these days. For example, The Times of London was (as far as I could tell) alone among British papers to prominently report on the shooting deaths of at least five Iraqi civilians, including a woman and a six-year-old child, by British troops in southern Iraq on June 11. And of course the British are not trying to stem a tide of Kassam rockets raining down on their civilians, as Israel is.

(Seventy shells and rockets firedfrom Gaza fell in and around the working class Israeli town of Sderot last weekend alone, all aimed at civilians, yet barely reported on outside Israel. One Israeli journalist on this list tells me he did a search for “Sderot” on the AP photo wires and came up with just one result. Type in “Gaza” and you get 151 hits.)

The following is a partial glimpse into the unfair way the international media and community treats the Jewish state.

 

“WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE ISRAELIS WERE TARGETING CIVILIANS”

On June 9, 2006, television viewers around the world were informed of a tragedy on a Gaza beach. An explosion had claimed seven lives of a family out enjoying a picnic. Arab television and the western media all covered extensively a survivor of the explosion, a young girl named Huda Ghaliya, screaming for her father. A man held up a limp body to the cameras and called out: “Muslims! Look at this!” Highly emotional language, and horrifying pictures were used, of a kind rarely employed for all the countless other conflicts and tragedies, let alone accidents, around the world.

Immediately following the explosion, Israel was blamed for a “war crime” and accused of carrying out a “massacre” both by the Arabic-language media and by the mainstream western press.

European countries in particular rushed to conclusions. I cite the British press because this list and website is in English, but many other European news media were equally bad.

A SINGLE SOURCE: MARC GARLASCO

As the basis for many of their stories last week, BBC News, The Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph and The Times of London all cited a single “expert,” Marc Garlasco, from the New York-based group Human Rights Watch, who claimed that the Palestinians were killed by a stray Israeli shell. This conflicted with the version of events provided by an Israeli army investigation.

Yet, in recent days – and all but unreported in the British and international press – Marc Garlasco has now conceded that he could not contradict the Israeli army findings into the deaths of seven Palestinian civilians on a Gaza beach on June 9, 2006.

Garlasco met with the head of the Israeli army investigation, Major Meir Klifi, and praised the IDF’s professionalism in investigating the blast, which Garlasco said was most likely caused by unexploded Israeli ordnance left lying on the beach, a possibility also raised by Klifi and his team.

BRITISH COLONEL MIKE DEWAR: UNLIKELY ISRAEL TO BLAME

(Not only has Hamas planted many mines on beaches to propel any seaborne commando raid, but as Colonel Mike Dewar, a respected British military expert, pointed out, “It seems unlikely Israeli shelling was responsible. I’ve spent much time in that part of Gaza and it is littered with old munitions some dating back to the 1967 war.”)

Garlasco also commented that he was impressed with the IDF’s system of checks and balances concerning its artillery fire in the Gaza Strip and unlike Hamas, which specifically targeted civilians in its rocket attacks, he pointed out that “We do not believe the Israelis were targeting civilians.”

The Israeli investigation into the incident concluded that some of the injured Palestinians, who are incidentally being treated in Israeli hospitals, had shrapnel removed in their bodies that did not match the metal composition of Israeli artillery shells. Major Klifi said “It is possible that it occurred as a result of something [a bomb] that someone placed, in order to prevent operations by our forces.”

It should be noted that while Garlasco did backtrack from his original comments blaming Israel he has continued to call for “an independent, international investigation.”

 

YET MORE FLAWED REPORTING ON ISRAEL

Last week, The Independent and The Guardian both rushed to accuse Israel of a “massacre.” The Independent titled one of their numerous articles on this incident: “Revealed: the shrapnel evidence that points to Israel’s guilt.”

Chris McGreal, the notorious mideast correspondent of The Guardian, also promoted Garlasco’s comments in a lengthy account (running to over 1500 words) which included the sub-heading, “Guardian investigation casts doubt on Israeli claim that army was not to blame.

The Daily Telegraph told its readers that the family were “killed by Israeli artillery while enjoying a beach picnic.

The Times’ banner headline was “Babies die as artillery barrage hits families on picnic beach.” The first line of the report (which incidentally was written from Jerusalem, not Gaza) was “ISRAELI artillery fire killed a Palestinian family… on a Muslim holiday.” The enormous photo of a wailing child was captioned “Children were among the casualties after an Israeli artillery shell…

The British press enthusiastically reported that the victims’ injuries and the craters on the beach were consistent with shells dropping out the sky. As one blogger has asked in recent days “Will the British and international press now publish HRW’s change of story and reflect on what it says about Garlasco’s credibility as a professional expert?”

Not one of the many newspapers and news organizations who quoted Marc Garlasco last week as a supposedly objective and independent witness mentioned that he has a history of severely criticizing Israel, in 2004 he wrote a report titled “Razing Rafah: Mass Home Demolitions in the Gaza Strip.”

Newspapers in the U.S. are also guilty of blaming Israel for the blasts, The Washington Post titled one article, “Israeli Fire Kills 7 Beachgoers in Gaza,” and The New York Times proclaimed “Errant Shell Turns Girl Into Palestinian Icon.”

 

MISSING SHRAPNEL

Only the Israeli media bothered to report that Hamas operatives came and moved much of the evidence following the blast.

It has also emerged that one of the Palestinian victims from the Gaza beach, being treated at Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, was received from a hospital in Gaza with cuts all over her body. It appears that the medics in Gaza had removed all the medically reachable shrapnel, Ichilov hospital said, adding it had never before received a patient who had been the victim of an explosion who had shrapnel removed from their bodies prior to admission to Ichilov.

To date, the BBC News, The Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph and The Times of London have all failed to report on the recent developments to this story. It would appear that when it comes to demonizing Israel, as in the cases of Jenin and Mohammed al-Dura. they are not interested in the truth.

Melanie Phillips has commented on the flawed reporting by the western media who “rushed to damn Israel over an incident on which they not only had no reliable information but where it was obvious from the start that the Palestinians’ claims were suspect, not least because of the way they obstructed attempts to inspect the evidence.”

 

“PALESTINIANS SOMETIMES BEND THE TRUTH”

German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung (the largest quality daily published in Germany) was one of the few media outlets in the world to cast doubt on the pictures taken soon after the bloody incident. In an interview with Zakaria Abu Irbad, a photographer for the Ramattan News Agency and the first to arrive on the scene of the tragedy, they questioned the veracity of his pictures and note that this may be another “example of how Palestinians sometimes bend the truth.”

Among the most pertinent questions asked in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung article (translated into English and attached as the first article below) is, if Huda Ghaliya, the 10-year-old girl pictured, was not wounded because she was swimming in the sea at the time of the explosion, how is she “running around in dry clothing?”

The German newspaper also asks why the “footage shows rescue workers in green hospital uniforms and a dozen men with typical Hamas-style beards apparently removing evidence from the site… Did the Hamas men remove pieces of evidence as was claimed by the Israeli media and Palestinian eyewitnesses?”

The questions continue, “If the artillery shell that killed the Ghaliya family was from the Israeli army, why don’t the Palestinians present the fragments?”

“And: Why didn’t Irbad think of calming the hysterical Huda down instead of following her for several minutes with his camera? Irbad says ‘she asked me to film her. She wanted to be seen with her dead father and wanted to show the world what criminals the Israelis are.’ Is it possible that the saddened 10-year-old Huda, who just lost seven family members, could have been giving Irbad stage directions?”

I recommend reading the article in full below.

 

KOFI ANNAN RETRACTS HIS ACCUSATIONS

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has a track record of speaking out against Israel, no doubt to placate the bigots in his organization, had also rushed to express doubt over the Israeli army version of events. Speaking to Al-Hayat, a Saudi-owned Arabic newspaper published in London, he labeled the Israeli version of events as “strange.” Revealing that he knows next to nothing about the operational methods of Hamas and Fatah in Gaza, Annan was also quoted by reporters at U.N. headquarters saying that “To find a mine on the beach is rather odd.”

According to press reports of a phone call between Annan and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert following the Gaza beach deaths, when Olmert asked why Annan had not also called to express similar concern about the many missiles raining down on southern Israel daily, Annan replied “What missiles?”

Following a meeting with Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Gillerman, Annan retracted his remarks. Will Chris McGreal, Donald McIntyre of The Independent, and BBC News now retract some of their own reports and inform their readers of Human Rights Watch’s renewed findings casting doubt that Israel was to blame?

(The last time this happened, they certainly didn’t. In February, 20 Palestinians were killed in an explosion in a Gaza refugee camp that was wrongly blamed on Israel, and now turns out to have been beyond any doubt caused by a spate of Hamas rocket attacks aimed at Israel.)

 

ARAB MEDIA ALSO ACCUSE ISRAEL

Palestinian television last week repeatedly broadcast doctored scenes showing file footage of Israeli naval vessels, interspersed with video of the beach victims. The Israeli army investigation also rejected the possibility that the Palestinians were hit by shells fired from a navy ship.

In the leading Saudi-owned, London-based paper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Safi Nar Kazem, writing in the opinion section following the events in Gaza, argued that the American war on terror does not concentrate on the “main terrorist country,” Israel.

 

DANA OLMERT DEMONSTRATES AGAINST GAZA BEACH DEATHS

Those on the far left in Israel also rushed to blame the Jewish state without any evidence. Among these was Dana Olmert, the leftwing academic daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. She joined 200 activists in a protest outside the house of Israeli army chief Dan Halutz. The demonstration, which took place a day after the incident, included chants calling Halutz a “murderer” and a “war criminal” and that “the Intifada shall prevail.”

Gerald Steinberg, writing in The Jerusalem Post (article attached below), criticizes the demonstrators who “provided legitimacy to another round of anti-Israel demonization.”

 

“THE PALESTINIANS’ CLASSIC AND COWARDLY HUMAN-SHIELD TACTIC”

Charles Krauthammer, commenting on the Gaza beach incident in The Washington Post, asks “Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel – and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?”

He answers: “This is another example of the Palestinians’ classic and cowardly human-shield tactic – attacking innocent Israeli civilians while hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians. For Palestinian terrorists – and the Palestinian governments (both Fatah and Hamas) that allow them to operate unmolested – it’s a win-win: If their rockets aimed into Israeli towns kill innocent Jews, no one abroad notices and it’s another success in the terrorist war against Israel. And if Israel’s preventive and deterrent attacks on those rocket bases inadvertently kill Palestinian civilians, the iconic ‘Israeli massacre’ picture makes the front page of The New York Times, and the Palestinians win the propaganda war.”

 

“THE WESTERN PRESS FALLS FOR THESE SCAMS AGAIN AND AGAIN”

Mona Charen, writing in The Washington Times, cites a “glaring missing ingredient to the media coverage is what happened before Israel fired on Gaza (Israel acknowledges aiming at terrorists in a different area of Gaza that day). In the 10 months since Israel withdrew from Gaza, some 1,000 missiles have been fired at Israel from Gaza. More than 800 have hit the country.”

Charen goes on to point out that “The world press, very much including the mainstream U.S. media, tends to take the word of Palestinian spokesmen about civilian deaths, although experience should have taught them by now to be more guarded. In 2005, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl was killed by gunfire. U.N. and Palestinian officials blamed her death on Israel until it was determined a bullet fired by Palestinians shooting into the air to celebrate their pilgrimage to Mecca hit her.”

Charen concludes that “The Western press falls for these scams again and again. Their credulity betrays their partiality, and it dishonors them.”

Gary Rosenblatt, the editor of The Jewish Week, questions why “Few in the media or in seats of power seemed to note that while Israeli-inflicted casualties on civilians are unintentional, swiftly apologized for, and the result of defensive responses, the Palestinian attacks are part of a consistent and acknowledged plan to kill Jewish men, women and children. Virtually every legal system in the world distinguishes between accidental and premeditated killings, so where is the moral outrage over the Palestinians’ murderous intentions?”

For those who are still unaware of the extent to which film footage from Gaza is falsified, one should watch the “Pallywood” and other movie clips, which I have recommended before.

As David Frum, another subscriber to this email list, writes in the Canadian paper The National Post: “The makers of the film have compiled documentary footage to reveal a startling series of faked funerals, staged gun battles, and professional weeping grandmothers. They dub the Palestinian propaganda complex, ‘Pallywood,’ and ask hard questions about the readiness – eagerness – of much of the world media to be deceived.”

(Charles Krauthammer, Gerald Steinberg, Melanie Phillips, David Frum and Gary Rosenblatt, and Dan Gillerman are all subscribers to this list.)

I attach four articles below.

-- Tom Gross

 

* See also this article published since this dispatch was compiled:

“It’s Final: IDF Not Guilty of Death on Gaza Beach: Physical proof exists that the seven Arab family members who died on a Gaza beach were not killed by an Israeli shell. IDF Spokesman comes down hard on Israeli (and foreign) newsmen who spread PA fabrications.” (www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=105806)



FULL ARTICLES

“NOTHING NEW ABOUT PALESTINIANS PUBLISHING FALSIFIED OR FABRICATED PICTURES”

(Translated from German)

The war of the pictures
Seven dead on the Gaza Beach: Was it Israeli artillery fire or a Palestinian landmine? An example of how Palestinians sometimes bend the truth
By Thorsten Schmitz
Sueddeutsche Zeitung
June 16, 2006

www.sueddeutsche.de/ausland/artikel/315/78237/

Last Friday, ten-year-old Huda Ghaliya woke up early in the morning even though she did not have to go school. She was excited. Final exams were over and summer vacation had just begun. Huda’s father had promised the children on Friday of last week that they would go to the beach in northern Gaza for a picnic.

According to her cousin, Huda was one of the best students in her class. She loved mathematics, biology and reading. Her favorite poem is called “Identity Card,” by Mahmoud Darwish. It is a sad poem about a homeless Palestinian and his hatred of the occupiers.

Carrying plastic tables and chairs, and baskets filled with corn on the cob and pita bread, this large family left their home in Beit Lahiya (population of 35,000), and traveled the short distance to the beach. Beit Lahiya is known for its strawberries, as well as for the fact that short-range rockets are fired from this city toward Israel.

The picnic ended in death for her father, one of his two wives, and five of his children. Around 5 PM, there was an explosion in the middle of the family. Seven people lost their lives on the beach and on their way to the hospital that Friday afternoon.

The bloody picnic made Huda Ghaliya world famous in just a few hours. For this, she has photographer Zakaria Abu Irbad to thank. In the blink of an eye, after a metal-filled device exploded, the 36-year-old photographer from Gaza City took his camera and recorded the misfortune.

A Lucrative Job

Irbad works for the Arab TV Production company, Ramattan News Agency. The agency has bureaus in the West Bank city of Ramallah and Gaza City, which is the main city in the Gaza Strip.

The largest TV networks in the world, including CNN and ABC, news agencies such as Reuters and AP, and German TV stations work together with Palestinian cameramen when it comes to news from Gaza. Pictures of the hopeless world in the Gaza Strip are first distributed by Palestinian cameraman. Working as a cameraman for the western media is a very lucrative business for the Palestinians. Some cameramen earn as much as $250 per day. Some Palestinians don’t make that much money in a half a year.

This past Friday, Irbad had professional good fortune. He was the first to arrive at the scene of the tragedy. His agency, Ramattan News Agency, sold the heart-rending footage of the hysterical and crying Huda Ghaliya to media all around the world. His pictures of Huda – as she pulls her hair, beats her chest, falls over her dead father in the sand, and wanders in the sand crying – appeared in Australia, India, Europe and the US.

The cause of death of the Gahliya family members was very clear to the Arab world and the Palestinian community already on Friday: Israeli artillery fire. To reinforce this assumption, the Arab TV networks inserted archived footage of Israeli soldiers firing artillery shells among the images provided by Irbad.

Following the story, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Fatah President Abu Mazen claimed the family was killed by Israeli artillery fire. Both used the term “massacre.” In a rare display of agreement between Hamas leader Haniyeh and Abbas, they symbolically adopted Huda on Saturday. A Palestinian child who lost his father served as a witness to the adoption. (Huda’s beloved mother Hamdiyah was wounded but survived the blast). A team of US Human Rights Watch activists determined that Israeli artillery was responsible for the explosion.

Human Rights Watch carefully analyzed the scene after visiting the site and conducting interviews with eye witnesses, policemen, and physicians. It strongly suggested that Israeli artillery was responsible for this tragedy. The report of this human rights group does not take into account that the supporting evidence from the beach was examined a day after this unfortunate event – enough time to remove any important evidence.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, using initial reports from radar and satellite pictures, explained that the explosion that killed the seven Palestinians did not come from the army. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Israel regrets the death of the Palestinians but that does not mean “that we are responsible for the deaths.”

According to Israeli army reports which relied on film footage and physicians’ reports, but not on an on-site investigation, the Israeli army fired six artillery shells in the direction of the Gaza beach on that Friday afternoon. In accordance with reports from Halutz, five of the six shells were fired between 4:31pm and 4:48pm, approximately 250 meters north of the position of where the family was picnicking. The purpose of the artillery shelling was to stop Palestinian rocket fire.

An unmanned Israeli army drone recorded the Gaza Strip at the time of the firing. From the film, one can see civilians located 250 meters south of where five craters created by the artillery fire on the beach were visible. According to army information, the explosion on the strip of sand where the Ghaliyas were picnicking must have occurred between 4:57 PM and 5:10 PM. Prior to 4:57 PM, the army film shows a normal scene at the beach.

It is strange that the over-flight film does not show beachgoers fleeing after the artillery shells landed 250 meters away. The next pictures from army film show the ambulances as they arrive at the beach. That is at 5:15 PM. The hospital from which the ambulances arrived is five minutes from the site of the explosion.

A Possible Unexploded Shell

The Israeli army cannot determine the site of impact for the sixth artillery shell which Human Rights Watch and the Palestinian Government claim was an unexploded shell that caused the deaths of the seven family members. But the army asserts that it is “impossible” that the shell could have landed 250 meters from the site it was targeting.

As further evidence, Israel claims that there were four wounded people from the beach who received treatment in a Tel Aviv hospital. A piece of shrapnel taken from the body of one of the wounded could not have come from weapons in the Israeli arsenal.

The Israeli army does not discount the possibility that the explosion was caused by a mine planted by Palestinians to prevent Israeli marines from entering the Gaza beach.

Irbad’s footage has great significance due to the contradictions it raises. This footage generates more questions than clarifications. Segment of the original footage are so questionable that the CNN website is only showing abbreviated clips.

Irbad explained to the SZ that he learned about the explosion from the medics and followed the ambulances to the site of the blast in his own car. From the footage that Irbad took of the hysterical ten-year-old Huda, it appears as if he was a witness to the explosion. He also filmed the arrival of the emergency workers to the site which must mean that he was already on the beach. Furthermore, some of the dead and wounded were covered with blankets – who did that?

Irbad explains to the SZ that Huda was not wounded because she had been swimming in the sea. But in his video, Huda is running around in dry clothing. For minutes, Irbad ran after Huda and recorded images of the dead and wounded.

Suddenly, the camera captures footage of a man next to Huda’s dead father, who was also covered by a blanket and lying motionless, standing up with a machine gun in his hand. The footage shows rescue workers in green hospital uniforms and a dozen men with typical Hamas-style beards apparently removing evidence from the site.

In any case, one has to ask why the emergency workers didn’t treat the wounded and make sure that police arrived at the site. Did the Hamas men remove pieces of evidence as was claimed by the Israeli media and Palestinian eyewitnesses?

The Cameraman’s Evasive Answers

Curiously, Irbad’s footage does not include an identifiable crater. The more Irbad was asked about this by the SZ, the more evasive he was. Was he at the site before the ambulances arrived? Who are the civilians who are cleaning the beach? Where is the armed man who suddenly got up from the ground? If the artillery shell that killed the Ghaliya family was from the Israeli army, why don’t the Palestinians present the fragments?

And: Why didn’t Irbad think of calming the hysterical Huda down instead of following her for several minutes with his camera? Irbad says “she asked me to film her. She wanted to be seen with her dead father and wanted to show the world what criminals the Israelis are.” Is it possible that the saddened ten year old Huda, who just lost seven family members, could have been giving Irbad stage directions?

Pallywood

There is nothing new about Palestinians publishing falsified or fabricated pictures during the Middle-East war. Since the airing of a “60 Minutes” investigative report, the term “Pallywood,” modeled after the Hollywood film industry, has been used by the media. In the report, for example, there are Palestinians from the early days of the Intifada who are carrying a dead person. One of those carrying the dead stumbles, and the supposed corpse falls to the ground – and springs back onto the stretcher, lies down, and mimics a dead person.

The most recent example of this effort of the Palestinians to openly mislead the world occurred when Israel attacked three member of the Islamic Jihad last Tuesday, killing eight civilians, including two children. Shortly after the attack on the car in which the three terrorists were sitting, one can see three men on the other side remove a short-range rocket from the car.

For two days, the sentence: “Urgent: News for our clients” flashed on the Internet site of the Ramattan News Agency. As the agency fears further dissemination of the Huda video whose authenticity is called into question by many people, they assert they have exclusive rights to the footage. No one else has the right to further disseminate these pictures without their consent.

 

TOO QUICK TO ATONE

Too quick to atone
By Gerald Steinberg
The Jerusalem Post
June 18, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1150355513677&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The speed with which a small group of Israelis gathered on Shabbat morning to protest the tragic deaths of members of a Palestinian family in an explosion on a Gaza beach was impressive.

Without bothering to wait for verification, these worthy citizens, including Dana Olmert, the prime minister’s daughter, accepted responsibility on behalf of the IDF, chanting “murderer, murderer” opposite the Tel Aviv residence of IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz.

In this way, deliberately or by default, they also provided legitimacy to another round of anti-Israel demonization, accompanied by dramatic images of bereaved Palestinian children. Journalists – and others who might be accused of double standards – were covered. The Israelis were themselves protesting this brutality.

Neophyte Defense Minister Amir Peretz also seemed to accept this view. In a news briefing the night of June 10, Peretz announced an immediate end to Israeli retaliatory shelling into Gaza. This policy had constituted one of the primary countermeasures to the Palestinian missiles and rockets that have rained down on Sderot and other communities in recent months.

In a certain sense, the moral fervor of these Israelis is admirable. They claim to embody the deep Jewish tradition and commitment to morality and human rights. Setting themselves up as moral paragons in the model of the Jewish prophets, they wasted no time in condemning what they were convinced was Israeli culpability.

But there are other, less admirable reasons behind this rush to judgment, including the psychological pressure to find an easy way out. If this war is indeed Israel’s responsibility, all we have to do is change our evil ways and the conflict will end.

This is a naive response to generations of Arab violence and hatred. Instead of the complexities of defense, deterrence, dismantling terrorist groups and difficult negotiations, all that is needed for these secular messianic prophets is for Israel to apologize, withdraw and dismantle its military.

This form of “instant peace” is also patronizing to Palestinians – they are not independent actors, but reduced to responding to Israeli policies. Similarly, their missile attacks and other forms of terror are not given credit as independent acts expressing the goals of a nation.

In this way, 60 years of inflexible, principled and unswerving Arab and Palestinian rejectionism are erased, leaving Israel as the only actor that counts.

Despite their appeal in some quarters, such emotional and ideological dimensions overwhelm any rational or considered responses to these violent events. Sure of the moral high ground, these few hundred Israeli neo-prophet protesters felt no need to wait until investigations produced reliable information, providing a firm basis for moral judgment.

The track record of the Palestinians in artificially promoting stories of Israeli “atrocities” should have been a warning against a rush to judgement. The widely spread Jenin “massacre” myth during April 2002, and the remaining inherent contradictions and questions regarding evidence (particularly the raw footage from France-2 TV) surrounding the alleged killing by Israel of Mohammed al-Dura in October 2000 are cases in point.

Similarly, video footage of Palestinian fake funerals (in which the body was accidentally dropped, stood up, and ran away), would suggest a more cautious approach to assigning and accepting blame.

In fact, the tragic incident on the beach that Friday afternoon shares many of the hallmarks of such events, including the speed with which New York-based Human Rights Watch supported the Palestinian version in a massive public relations campaign.

The qualifications of HRW’s “military expert,” Mark Garlasco, have never been examined independently, and his experience in the US is limited. Garlasco was among the authors of HRW’s publication, Razing Rafah, (October 2004), based on unverifiable Palestinian claims and published to justify the active involvement of HRW in the anti-Israel boycott campaigns following the Durban strategy.

Neither Garlasco nor HRW has produced a report on the origins of Palestinian missiles, again highlighting this group’s primary political bias.

In this case, Garlasco again relied on Palestinian sources and claims without questioning their accuracy. Some of the evidence he produced at the Gaza news conference was conveniently found nearby, or provided by what he refers to as the “Palestinian police explosives department.”

And there was no mention of the suspicious Palestinian activity to reshape the site of the explosion.

In contrast, the IDF, having learned something (though not enough) from the previous experiences, immediately set up a commission of enquiry and avoided premature statements (notwithstanding the minister of defense’s initial comments). The commission produced a detailed and credible preliminary report within a few days (in the case of al-Dura, this took months), showing that the condemnations of Israel were not justified by the available evidence.

We may never know what caused these tragic deaths, but the anti-Israel demonization campaign that resulted has been slowed.

For those who cling to the myth of peace via atonement, even for sins Israel did not commit, these events will not change anything. But for others there is some comfort in the improvement of the IDF’s response to such political and media assaults.

 

“THE PALESTINIANS PREFER VICTIMHOOD TO STATEHOOD”

Who is to blame for grief on a beach?
By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
June 16, 2006

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/15/AR2006061501794.html

It was another one of those pictures that goes instantly around the world. A young Palestinian, wailing in wretched sorrow, grieving over her dead father, stepmother and five siblings who had been killed by an explosion on a Gaza beach. Then came the blame. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (he’s the moderate) immediately called the killings an act of Israeli “genocide” and, to dramatize the crime, legally adopted the bereaved girl.

The sensational coverage and sensational charges raise the obvious question: Why would Israel deliberately shell a peaceful family on a beach?

The Israeli government, clumsy as ever, seemed to semi-apologize by expressing regret about the deaths, implying that perhaps they had been caused by an errant Israeli shell targeting a Palestinian rocket base. But then, a few days later, an army investigation concluded that it was not Israel’s doing at all.

First, because the shrapnel taken from the victims (treated at Israeli hospitals – some “genocide”) were not the ordnance used in Israeli artillery. Second, because aerial photography revealed no crater that could have been caused by Israeli artillery. And, third, because Israel could account for five of the six shells it launched at the rocket base nearby, and the missing one had been launched at least five minutes before the one that killed the family.

An expert at a local chapter of a human rights group disputes the Israeli claims. Okay. Let’s concede for the sake of argument that the question of whether it was an errant Israeli shell remains unresolved. But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel – and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?

Answer: This is another example of the Palestinians’ classic and cowardly human-shield tactic – attacking innocent Israeli civilians while hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians. For Palestinian terrorists – and the Palestinian governments (both Fatah and Hamas) that allow them to operate unmolested – it’s a win-win: If their rockets aimed into Israeli towns kill innocent Jews, no one abroad notices and it’s another success in the terrorist war against Israel. And if Israel’s preventive and deterrent attacks on those rocket bases inadvertently kill Palestinian civilians, the iconic “Israeli massacre” picture makes the front page of the New York Times, and the Palestinians win the propaganda war.

But there is an even larger question not asked. Whether the rocket bases are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place – about 1,000 in the past year?

To get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then declared the line that separates Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians’ control? They have used their freedom to launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns.

Why? Because the Palestinians prefer victimhood to statehood. They have demonstrated that for 60 years, beginning with their rejection of the United Nations decision to establish a Palestinian state in 1947 because it would have also created a small Jewish state next door. They declared war instead.

Half a century later, at the Camp David summit with President Bill Clinton, Israel renewed the offer of a Palestinian state – with its capital in Jerusalem, with not a single Jewish settler remaining in Palestine, and on a contiguous territory encompassing 95 percent of the West Bank (Israel making up the other 5 percent with pieces of Israel proper).

The Palestinian answer? War again – Yasser Arafat’s terror war, aka the second intifada, which killed a thousand Jews.

This embrace of victimhood, of martyrdom, of blood and suffering, is the Palestinian disease. They are offered an independent state. They are given all of Gaza. And they respond with rocket attacks into peaceful Israeli towns – in pre-1967 Israel proper, mind you.

What can Israel do but try to take out those rocket bases and their crews? What would the United States do if rockets were raining into San Diego from across the border with Mexico?

Now look again at that terrible photograph and ask yourself: Who is responsible for the heart-rending grief of that poor Palestinian girl?

 

“THE WESTERN PRESS FALLS FOR THESE SCAMS AGAIN AND AGAIN”

Untold story of Gaza (and Haditha?)
By Mona Charen
The Washington Times
June 19, 2006

washingtontimes.com/commentary/20060619-123756-9130r.htm

The story was everywhere and was everywhere the same. On June 9, Israel had fired a rocket onto a Gaza beach killing seven picnicking Palestinian civilians.

The New York Times carried a huge, Page One picture of a 12-year-old girl weeping as she searched for her father’s body in the sand (the photo was excerpted from video broadcast around the world). CBS News reported, “The ruling Hamas group fired a barrage of homemade rockets at Israel on Saturday, hours after calling off a truce with Israel in anger over an artillery attack that killed seven civilians in Gaza.”

The New York Times characterized it this way: “Hamas fired at least 15 Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel on Saturday, ending a tattered 16-month truce with Israel, a day after eight Palestinians were killed on a Gaza beach, apparently by an errant Israeli shell.” CNN went even further, explaining, “Hamas’ rocket attacks were prompted by a string of Israeli attacks, including an artillery shell blast that killed at least seven Palestinians picnicking on a northern Gaza beach on Friday.”

Just another brutal attack on civilians by the Israel Defense Forces? So we are invited to conclude. But the IDF, after initially apologizing and offering assistance to the families of those killed, has now investigated and concluded the explosion was not caused by an Israeli shell. Full stop.

First, consider this elemental difference between Israel and the Palestinians: Israel apologizes and tries to make amends if its missiles go astray and kill civilians. The Palestinians, by contrast, aim at civilians and dance in the streets when they are killed.

The Israelis say the explosion on the beach may have been caused by a land mine placed there by Palestinians to thwart any Israeli assault, or possibly by unexploded ordnance from an earlier skirmish. According to the Israelis, shrapnel taken from the bodies of victims did not match Israeli shells but looked more like bomb fragments.

Another glaring missing ingredient to the media coverage is what happened before Israel fired on Gaza (Israel acknowledges aiming at terrorists in a different area of Gaza that day). In the 10 months since Israel withdrew from Gaza, some 1,000 missiles have been fired at Israel from Gaza. More than 800 have hit the country.

In May alone, more than 30 Qassam rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. On May 21, a Qassam slammed into a classroom in Sderot – it was empty as the children were at synagogue. On May 16, a Katyusha landed in a farm. On May 31, four Qassams struck Sderot (Hamas has vowed to make that town of 20,000 into a graveyard). One hit an apartment building wounding two. On April 17, a suicide bomber killed 11 and wounded more than 70 when he exploded his bombs in a Tel Aviv cafe.

The world press, very much including the mainstream U.S. media, tends to take the word of Palestinian spokesmen about civilian deaths, although experience should have taught them by now to be more guarded. In 2005, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl was killed by gunfire. U.N. and Palestinian officials blamed her death on Israel until it was determined a bullet fired by Palestinians shooting into the air to celebrate their pilgrimage to Mecca hit her.

Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy supposedly shot by Israelis has become a worldwide symbol of Israeli brutality, though it has since been firmly established Israelis could not and did not kill him.

And, of course, the “Jenin Massacre” proclaimed by Palestinians high and low (5,000 innocents were slaughtered, they claimed) and condemned by the United Nations, turned out to be a complete lie (only 52 were killed, along with 23 Israeli soldiers who went house to house to avoid civilian casualties).

After the Gaza incident, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke by phone with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who demanded an explanation for the Gaza deaths. When Mr. Olmert asked why Mr. Annan had not shown similar concern about the scores of missiles hitting Israel, Mr. Annan was nonplussed. “What missiles?” he asked.

Two weeks ago, I was critical of those who leaped to conclusions about what happened at Haditha. It now looks as though news from Haditha may have been manipulated – just as news from the Palestinian territories routinely is.

The Western press falls for these scams again and again. Their credulity betrays their partiality, and it dishonors them.


Arab world enraged at Ghana player’s salute to Israel (& Jihadists attack soccer)

June 22, 2006

* Arab League receives official apology, after Ghana’s World Cup soccer player waves Israeli flag in an on-field celebration of his team’s goals in what he calls “an act of solidarity with the Israeli people”

* Ghana player is “obviously a Mossad agent,” say Egyptian journalists

* UK Jihadists attack “religion of soccer,” warn Muslims against taking part in this “colonial crusader scheme”

Pantsil unveils the Israeli flag after scoring for Ghana

(This dispatch concerns the ongoing soccer World Cup, the world’s biggest sporting and television event, currently taking place in Germany.)

 

CONTENTS

1. “Soccer is against Islam”
2. “The best public relations since Entebbe”
3. “Many Israelis have now become supporters of Ghana”
4. Ghana player is “obviously a Mossad agent”
5. Do cry for me Argentina
6. Protests at Iranian World Cup games
7. Thoroughly unIslamic Iranian women
8. World cup audiences soar, and Germany flies the flag again
9. “Jihadist site: Soccer is against Islam” (Yediot Ahronot, June 21, 2006)
10. “From Ghana with love” (Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2006)
11. “Apology follows Pantsil gesture” (BBC News, June 19, 2006)
12. “Fury in Egypt over Ghana’s Israeli flag waver” (AFP, June 19, 2006)
13. “1,000 protest before Iran World Cup match" (AP, June 17, 2006)
14. “Iran’s women defy Islamic ban to cheer on their team” (Times, UK, June 19, 2006)



[All notes below by Tom Gross]

“SOCCER IS AGAINST ISLAM”

A Jihadi website, called The Saved Sect, has attacked the “religion of soccer” and warned Muslims against taking part in this “colonial crusader scheme.”

The website, one of a number which call on Muslims to establish an Islamic state in Britain, also attacked the current “football fever” sweeping the world since the start of the World Cup two weeks ago.

The website claims that soccer plants the seeds of nationalism to divide Muslims and causes them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity, and instead waste their time following this “false religion.” For more, see the first article below. It should be noted that several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are competing in the World Cup finals.

 

“THE BEST PUBLIC RELATIONS SINCE ENTEBBE”

Whilst Israel did not qualify for the soccer World Cup, John Pantsil (also spelt Pentsil and Paintsil), a defender for the Ghanaian national team, became a hero to Israeli soccer fans last weekend after he repeatedly waved the Israeli flag on the pitch in front of a television audience of hundreds of millions. TV broadcasters in Iran, Syria and Gaza did not have time to remove the images, as broadcasts of the match were carried live.

Pantsil, who plays professionally for Hapoel Tel Aviv, pulled an Israeli flag from his sock and waved it above his head straight at the television camera following both Ghana goals and also at the end of the game against the Czech Republic.

One Israeli media expert said “this was Israel’s biggest PR coup in front of a global audience since Entebbe in 1976. Black Africans voluntarily shared their love of and appreciation for Israel in front of all those Arabs and Europeans constantly fed the Israeli apartheid lie.”

The Ghana “Black Stars” 2-0 win was one of the biggest shocks in the tournament so far, as the Czechs are ranked second in the world, and had already defeated the Americans 3-0. Whilst FIFA, soccer’s governing body, say they would not object to the gesture*, following pressure on Ghana from various Arab governments, the Ghanaian Football Association this week apologized to “anybody who was offended” and promised that “it will never happen again.”

Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League said the League had received an official apology from the Ghanaian government expressing regret at the incident. The memo said Pantsil’s action had no official support and Ghana hoped the incident would not affect relations with friendly countries.

Lots of people in Ghana, however, said they welcomed Pantsil’s move. Pro-Israeli sympathies are still quite common in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, Sheila Raviv, a subscriber to this list, notes that at the dinner for the Governors of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem last week, doctors and health-care specialists from African countries, and from the Palestinian Authority, were guests of honor. The Hebrew University allows them to study without any university fees, and gives them the tools to return to their homes and cope with their specific medical problems. Dr Eugene, from Cameroon, gave the keynote speech in which he expressed his deep gratitude to Israel for extending this helping hand.

(* FIFA said that while Pantsil violated no rules, it hopes the scene would not be repeated when Ghana play the U.S. today. Since the article Football killing fields was published in April, FIFA have been very careful not to directly criticize Israel.)

 

“MANY ISRAELIS HAVE NOW BECOME SUPPORTERS OF GHANA”

Following the game, the Israeli Sports Minister Ofir Pines-Paz praised Pantsil for his actions and proclaimed that “We have an Israeli at the World Cup. Pantsil’s gesture has warmed our hearts and many Israelis have now become supporters of Ghana.”

Pantsil himself said “The people in Israel have been very nice to me. I wanted to make them happy.”

Many among Tel Aviv’s Ghanaian community live in a working class district close to the city’s central bus station, an area that has repeatedly been the target of deadly Palestinian suicide bomb attacks. Many black Africans, in contrast to white intellectuals in Europe and North America who spout nonsense about “Israeli Apartheid,” say they love Israel and its people. Two other players of the Ghana national soccer squad play for Israeli clubs (goalkeeper Sammy Adjei plays for Ashdod, and defender Emmanuel Pappoe for Hapoel Kfar Saba).

 

GHANA PLAYER IS “OBVIOUSLY A MOSSAD AGENT”

The live commentator on the Arab satellite channel broadcasting all World Cup matches in the region abruptly cut short his trademark “goooaaaaaaal” when Pantsil brought out the Israeli flag. The commentator then asked “What are you doing, man?”

Some Egyptian newspapers subsequently described Pantsil as a “Mossad agent,” whilst others claimed “an Israeli had paid him to do it.”

A sports analyst for Al-Ahram (whose content is controlled by the Egyptian Ministry of Information) claimed that “The real reason (for the flag-waving),” is because many Ghanaian players go through soccer training camps set up by an Israeli coach.

The lies of Egyptian journalists are becoming more imaginative all the time. According to Hassan el-Mestekawi, “The training program for these children starts every morning with a salute to the Israeli flag.”

The Arab media has paid a lot of attention to the waving of an Israeli flag at the World Cup, al-Arabiya featured the news as the first item on its home page.

For a photo, see: www.alarabiya.net/Articles/2006/06/17/24815.htm.

In the past, the World Cup has been used for anti-Israeli gestures. For example, Italy dedicated their 1982 Word Cup victory to the PLO, according to an editorial in the International Herald Tribune last week.

 

DO CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA

Whilst many Israelis say they will now support Ghana, since the start of the tournament the Israeli newspaper and TV coverage has been dominated by support for Argentina as both the head coach (Jose Pekerman) and team captain (Juan Pablo Sorin) are Jewish, and say they are glad to be so.

Adrian Stoppleman, an Argentine Jewish sportswriter, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that “in the past, Argentina has had a sprinkling of Jewish players in its local league. But to have two such key people like the coach and team captain being Jewish is truly an achievement to be proud of.”

Pekerman, 56, has lived much of his life in the Jewish neighborhood of Villa Crespo in Buenos Aires. Under his guidance, the Argentine under-23 teams won three world championships. In 2004, he was promoted to coach the national team.

Sorin, 30, a defender-midfielder for the Spanish club, Villareal, has a “dynamic blend of spirit, leadership and intelligence that made him an obvious choice as team captain,” according to Argentine news reports.

Argentina has played very well so far (for example, beating Serbia & Montenegro 6-0), and many soccer experts think they may win the tournament, which concludes in Berlin on July 9.

 

PROTESTS AT IRANIAN WORLD CUP GAMES

Over 1,000 people demonstrated peacefully last Saturday before Iran’s second game at the World Cup in the German city of Frankfurt, in protest against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s comments to “wipe Israel off the map,” and his repeated assertions that the Holocaust was a myth.

Demonstrators waved Israeli flags and held up signs saying “Support Israel!” and “Israel has the right to exist.” Included in the demonstration were a small group of Iranian dissidents with their country’s flags. The Iranian dissidents applauded respectfully as Holocaust survivor and scholar Arno Lustiger told the rally that any welcome for Ahmadinejad would “be a provocation to all German Jews.”

Iran’s participation in the World Cup is now over, following defeats against Portugal and Mexico and a draw yesterday with Angola.

About 250 people demonstrated against Ahmadinejad in Leipzig just hours before the start of the Iran-Angola match.

The rally in the downtown area, far from the city stadium, was organized by Jewish and anti-Nazi groups, and was attended by the mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung. During the rally he said Iran’s soccer fans were welcome in the city, but anti-Semitic speeches by its president were not.

 

THOROUGHLY UNISLAMIC IRANIAN WOMEN

For all three of Iran’s games at the World Cup thousands of women, who would be banned from attending games in their homeland, have turned out to watch their national team. See the article in the dispatch of May 19 titled Israel to have its own baseball league (& Iran bars women from soccer matches).

As the Times (of London) article (below) notes, some of the women “wore headscarves and long, modest dresses in keeping with the dictates of religious tradition in the Islamic republic but many more, mainly the daughters of the middle-class diaspora scattered across Europe, painted their faces red, white and green, dyed their hair and draped themselves in the national flag.”

The Iranian women supporters attending the World Cup matches were rejecting the laws of the ruling Iranian regime which believes it is unIslamic for women to see the bare legs of men who are not their husbands. Women are routinely detained at the Azadi stadium in Teheran if they try to gain admission to a soccer match.

 

WORLD CUP AUDIENCES SOAR, AND GERMANY FLIES THE FLAG AGAIN

Global television audiences for the 2006 World Cup have surged, with audiences up nearly 30% for the opening matches compared with 2002. The study by media analyst Initiative found that the tournament was very popular in countries that did not have a team playing. Brazil is the most popular team among viewers.

The tournament has also seen the biggest outpouring of national pride in Germany since the Third Reich. After 60 years of inhibition and embarrassment, the national colors of black, red and gold are fluttering all over the country, from windowsills and cars, shrouding shops, town halls and high-speed trains.

The newspaper Die Welt declared in an editorial: “One and a half centuries after 1848, we have learned to value and show the colors of our flag as a sign of our democratic nation… Neither the 1972 Munich Olympics – stained by the murder of Israeli athletes – nor the 1974 World Cup was like this. Nor, even was the moment the Berlin Wall crumbled.”

“Deutschland! Deutschland!” a chant that in the 1930s made the world tremble, was last week roared by hundreds of thousands of German soccer fans around the Brandenburg Gate. The novelist Thomas Bruessig says that there has not been such naked spontaneous German patriotism since the start of the First World War in August 1914.

According to the Times of London, “Young women are buying black-red-gold underwear so that every time a goal is scored they can raise their skirts and flash the flag.”

I attach six articles below

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

UK JIHADISTS ATTACK “RELIGION OF SOCCER”

Jihadist site: Soccer is against Islam
UK jihadists attack ‘religion of soccer,’ warn Muslims against taking part in ‘colonial crusader scheme’
By Yaakov Lappin
Yediot Ahronot
June 21, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3265595,00.html

A British jihadists website has warned Muslims against being drawn in to what they described as “the new religion of soccer.”

The Saved Sect website, which calls on Muslims to work to establish an Islamic state in Britain, has attacked “football fever,” saying that soccer has “captivated the masses, dedicating their time and effort towards it.”

Comparing the allegiance of soccer fans to Islam and jihad, the organization said: “Football is the deen (religion) by which people live their lives by and are willing to die for. Their jihad is to fight against those who are arch rivals against their team. Their da’wah (call, invitation) is to publicize, defend and justify their team, inviting others to support them in this.”

“People will spend hundreds and thousands of pounds for this religion of theirs, traveling to other parts of the world in support of their team… showing affection, supporting and caring about… They will jump down the throats of those who so much as even dare to criticize their god rising to defend it at all costs,” the Saved Sect website said.

Claiming that soccer plants the seeds of nationalism, and is therefore part of a “colonial crusader scheme” to divide Muslims and cause them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity, the website told readers: “The sad fact of the matter is that many Muslims have fallen for this new religion and they too carry the national flag.

The statement, aimed at calling on British Muslims to disassociate themselves with the World Cup in Germany, ended with a quote by Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, condemning nationalism.

 

FROM GHANA WITH LOVE

From Ghana with love
By Sharon Solomon
The Jerusalem Post
June 18, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1150355513691&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The Israeli national soccer team failed to qualify the World Cup Finals, so the local fans were stunned when the Israeli flag made a surprise appearance on a field in Germany Saturday.

John Pantsil, a Ghana defender who plays professionally for Hapoel Tel Aviv, pulled a blue-and-white flag out from his sock following both of his team’s goals against the Czech Republic as the “Black Stars” pulled off the tournament’s most significant upset so far.

The frequently criticized and underrated side from West Africa played a tactically sound game, including an effective defensive effort against Juventus left winger Pavel Nedved. Pantsil was a major contributor in shutting Nedved down.

Ghana shocked the Czech Republic – which defeated the United States 3-0 last Monday – with brilliant strikes by Gyan Asamoah and Sulley Muntari, after which Pantsil showed his loyalty to his club’s home.

Sources at Hapoel Tel Aviv disclosed later that the Ghanaian international had promised to perform the act if his team scored in the World Cup.

 

“WE PROMISE THAT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN”

Apology follows Pantsil gesture
BBC News
June 19, 2006

news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/teams/ghana/5092762.stm

The Ghanaian Football Association has apologised after defender John Pantsil waved an Israeli flag to celebrate the World Cup win over the Czech Republic.

Spokesman Randy Abbey said the Ghanaian FA was not taking sides in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Pantsil plays in Israel for Hapoel Tel Aviv wanted to thank Israeli fans who travelled to support him, Abbey said

“He’s unaware of international politics. We apologise to anybody who was offended,” said Abbey. “We promise that it will never happen again.

“He did not act out of malice for the Arab people or in support of Israel. He was naive... we don’t need to punish him.”

Pantsil celebrated the two Ghana goals on Saturday by taking out a small Israeli flag from his sock and waving it above his head.

Abbey said neither the Ghanaian FA nor Ghana as a country had a strong political position on the subject and said they were just in Germany for the World Cup.

“We are not in support or against Israel or the Arab nations. We are here to do football, we are not here to do politics.”

A spokesman for Fifa had said they had no problem with the gesture.

Israel’s Sports Minister Ofir Pines-Paz had been quoted as praising Paintsil for his actions and saying Ghana had gained many Israeli fans.

“We have an Israeli at the World Cup. Paintsil’s gesture has warmed our hearts and many Israelis have now become supporters of Ghana,” Paz said.

 

“AN ISRAELI HAD PAID HIM TO DO IT”

Fury in Egypt over Ghana’s Israeli flag waver
By Jailan Zayan
Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 19, 2006

Ghana defender John Paintsil’s waving of an Israeli flag to celebrate his team’s World Cup goals drew a barrage of insults and furious reactions in Egyptian newspapers.

Paintsil, who plays for Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv, celebrated the two goals in Ghana’s 2-0 win over the Czech Republic by pulling an Israeli flag out of his sock and waving it at the cameras.

“The ignorant and stupid Paintsil, who spent 20 days in Egypt during the last African Nations Cup, plays for Hapoel,” sports commentator Alaa Sadek wrote in the daily Al-Akhbar, explaining to baffled Egyptian audiences Painstil’s link to Israel.

“Egyptians supported the Ghanaian team all the way until the 82nd minute, and regretted it after the Israeli flag (waving),” screamed a bold red headline in the independent daily Al-Masry al-Yom Monday.

“As soon as the referee blew his whistle to start the match, Egyptians were out enthusiastically, almost hysterically supporting Ghana, until defender John Paintsil took out the Israeli flag,” read the paper’s front page article.

The live commentator on the Arab satellite channel broadcasting all World Cup matches in the region abruptly cut short his trademark “goooaaaaaaal” when Paintsil brought out the flag.

“What are you doing, man?” the bewildered commentator said.

The main question on Egyptian lips after the match was “why?”

Some papers described Paintsil as a “Mossad agent”, others said “an Israeli had paid him to do it” but the most elaborate theory was offered by the top-selling state-owned daily Al-Ahram.

“The real reason,” sports analyst Hassan el-Mestekawi wrote, stems from the fact that many Ghanaian players go through football training camps set up by an Israeli coach who “discovered the treasure of African talent, and abused the poverty of the continent’s children” with the ultimate goal of selling them off to European clubs.

“The training program for these children starts every morning with a salute to the Israeli flag,” Mestekawi claimed.

FIFA said they had taken note of the flag-waving and that although there was nothing in the rules to prevent it, they hoped not to see a repetition.

Egyptian football fans who were out supporting Ghana on Saturday’s match were equally rattled when the player took out the Israeli flag and dubbed him “the Israghani” (Israeli-Ghanaian).

“We were totally supporting Ghana and we were so excited by how well they were doing,” Ashraf al-Berri, who watched the match with a dozen friends told AFP.

“We were screaming with joy, but the whole room went quiet when Paintsil took out the flag. We didn’t really know how to react,” he said.

“As an Egyptian I am very sensitive when it comes to Israel,” Osama Mohy, who watched the match at a friend’s house, told AFP.

“If Mido scores, would he wave the England flag? And if he did everyone would hate him for it,” he said refering to Egyptian striker Mido (Ahmed Hossam) who plays for England’s Tottenham Hotspur.

African champions Egypt failed to qualify for the World Cup finals.

 

PROTEST BEFORE IRAN WORLD CUP MATCH AGAINST AHMADINEJAD

1,000 protest before Iran World Cup match
By Matt Moore
The Associated Press
June 17, 2006

hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SOC_WCUP_IRAN_PROTEST?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-06-17-13-50-20

More than 1,000 people gathered peacefully Saturday to protest the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust as Iran played its second match at the World Cup.

Demonstrators waved Israeli flags at the rally outside the Alt Oper opera house in Germany’s financial capital. Some held up signs reading “Support Israel Now!” and “Israel has the right to exist.”

They were joined by a small group of Iranian dissidents with their country’s flags, though police said there was no trouble.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has caused international outrage by dismissing the Holocaust as a myth and questioning Israel’s right to exist.

Germany’s interior minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, has said that his country would have to accept a visit by Ahmadinejad if he decided to come during the World Cup.

Holocaust survivor and scholar Arno Lustiger told the rally that any welcome for Ahmadinejad would “be a provocation to all German Jews.”

Ahmadinejad has not announced any firm plans to attend. However, Germany’s Central Council of Jews has said the presence at the tournament of one of Ahmadinejad’s seven vice presidents, Mohammed Aliabadi, already is a provocation.

An estimated 1,200 people, many of them German Jews, demonstrated against Ahmadinejad before Iran’s loss to Mexico in its opening World Cup game in Nuremberg last Sunday. Portugal beat Iran 2-0 on Saturday.

The prospect of a possible Ahmadinejad visit has been a delicate issue for the German government, which is involved in diplomatic efforts to defuse a standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Schaeuble has refused to meet his Iranian counterpart, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, during the World Cup.

His ministry said the Iranian embassy in Berlin had asked whether Schaeuble would meet Pourmohammadi during a visit to an unspecified Iran World Cup game. Despite reservations, a ministry statement said, a meeting would have provided a chance to condemn Ahmadinejad’s statements and to press the case for early release of a German tourist held in Iran after his boat allegedly strayed into Iranian waters.

However, it said an Iranian official’s recent statement that the man would not be released early removed a “significant basis of business” for any meeting.

German Jewish leaders have worried about possible shows of support for Ahmadinejad by Germany’s far right.

Police rejected an application from the far-right National Democratic Party to stage a rally in Frankfurt Saturday, and the party did not appeal the ban.

 

“I LOVE FOOTBALL. OF COURSE WOMEN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO WATCH”

Iran’s women defy Islamic ban to cheer on their team
By Sean O’Neill
The Times (of London)
June 19, 2006

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,28787-2231950,00.html

This was probably as close as the World Cup will come to a political demonstration – not so much a mass protest as a defiant gesture. Thousands of Iranian women, barred from attending football matches by the religious leadership in their homeland, turned out in Frankfurt to watch their team play Portugal on Saturday.

Some wore headscarves and long, modest dresses in keeping with the dictates of religious tradition in the Islamic republic but many more, mainly the daughters of the middle-class diaspora scattered across Europe, painted their faces red, white and green, dyed their hair and draped themselves in the national flag.

They hailed from all generations: women in their twenties in “Iran Girl” T-shirts, young mothers with their toddlers and older matriarchs with their teenaged daughters – all passionate and excited about attending a World Cup match.

Simply by being in the stadium they were rejecting the view of the ayatollahs that it is unIslamic for women to see the bare legs of men who are not their husbands. They screamed and pleaded for their team but, apart from one banner which read “Heroes of our nation, make us proud again”, there was no overt political statement.

Darya, 21, her hair covered with a blue scarf and eyes hidden behind stylish sunglasses, said: “I don’t really have an opinion about politics but I like football, I love football. Of course women should be allowed to watch it.”

Maryam, Mahssa and Elham had travelled from Gothenburg and had succinct views on the ban on female spectators. “It’s so much bullshit,” Maryam, who, like many of the young women going to the game, has never lived in Iran, said. “We were born and raised in Sweden because that’s where our parents settled after the revolution. But our hearts are in Iran, we love our country and we love our team.”

Women are routinely detained at the Azadi stadium in Tehran if they try to gain admission to a football match.

Offside, Jafar Panahi’s film about a group of women arrested after dressing as men in an attempt to see Iran play Bahrain in a World Cup qualifier last year, is on release at present in Britain.

On the pitch, Iran’s men were outclassed by the Portuguese and fell to a brilliant goal by Deco and an expert penalty by Cristiano Ronaldo. But in the stands the Iranian women struck a noisy blow for equality.


Iran bans The Economist & Turkey bans Winnie the Pooh

June 21, 2006

* & Egypt bans the Da Vinci Code because it is “Zionist”

* The media battle in the Middle East heats up as Germany’s public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, prepares to launch a 24-hour Arabic news channel, following decisions by France, Russia, and Britain to do the same
* CNN’s Arabic Web site now attracts more than 300,000 unique visitors monthly (and the BBC’s Arabic site 1.5 million unique visitors, and 12 million listeners)

 

CONTENTS

1. Iran bans The Economist
2. First they came for Piglet…
3. Egypt bans the “Zionist” Da Vinci Code film & book
4. Syria: Israel behind both world wars
5. “Information is becoming more important than diplomacy”
6. “Iran bans The Economist over map” (Associated Press, June 14, 2006)
7. “Piglet keeps Pooh off air” (Reuters, June 17, 2006)
8. “Egypt: Da Vinci Code based on Zionist myths” (Reuters, June 13, 2006)
9. “Big fish dive into Arab news stream” (International Herald Tribune, June 18, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

IRAN BANS THE ECONOMIST

Iran has banned the influential news and business magazine, The Economist, for describing the Persian Gulf as merely “the Gulf.” According to the Associated Press, Teheran believes in aggressively defending the historical term “Persian Gulf” against “Arabian Gulf,” which it regards as a name invented by Arab nationalists.

Both Al-Jazeera and the National Geographic were banned in Iran in 2004 for the same reason. For more, see Zionists “secretly control” both Al-Jazeera and the National Geographic (Dec. 15, 2004).

Incidentally, those of you who still believe (wrongly) that The Economist is a byword for balanced journalism, may be disappointed to learn that The Economist’s sole obituary this week is not of a figure who achieved something of world value in his lifetime, but is a highly politicized, sympathetic obituary of Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, one of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who committed suicide on June 10th. (Several Economist writers and editors are subscribers to this list.)

FIRST THEY CAME FOR PIGLET…

Turkey’s public television TRT, which is controlled by Ankara’s Islamist government, has banned the screening of Walt Disney’s classic cartoon Winnie the Pooh because piglet is one of its central characters.

TRT had considered cutting the scenes showing Piglet, who is one of Winnie the Pooh’s best friends, but abandoned the idea because the small pink-skinned character appeared too often, according to the left-wing Turkish daily Cumhuriyet and the mass-circulation Sabah newspaper.

Employees of TRT have recently complained of increasing government pressure in TRT programming policy.

Muslims consider pigs to be unclean and Islam prohibits the consumption of pork, but Turkey was (at least until recently) a modern, secular country.

In the dispatch of Oct. 7, 2005, titled Hamas: “No dancing and no gays”; & on banning Winnie the Pooh..., I included an article by Mark Steyn who commented on the outlawing of “pig-related items” in the United Kingdom.

Steyn wrote sarcastically (in a parody of the famous 1930s warning): “As Pastor Niemoller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character...”

EGYPT BANS THE “ZIONIST” DA VINCI CODE FILM & BOOK

The Egyptian authorities have announced that they will confiscate copies of the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code and ban the film based on the book, from Egyptian movie theaters.

Georgette Sobhi, a Coptic member of the Egyptian parliament claimed that Dan Brown’s mega-best seller is “based on Zionist myths.” (For the record, Dan Brown is not Jewish, and it would be a stretch, to say the least, to claim that the plot of his novel has anything to do with Zionism.)

Members of the Egyptian parliament burst into applause as minister Farouk Hosni announced the ban, according to Reuters. Some Egyptian pro-democracy activists have expressed alarm at the government’s decision, calling it “a continuation of an assault on freedom of expression.”

As of Monday, The Da Vinci Code had grossed $678 million worldwide, since its release one month ago.

Reuters reports that the Egyptian distributors of the film had postponed a decision on screening it in Egypt in anticipation of the ban. For more on this, see “Da Vinci Code” movie banned by Egypt, Lebanon, Syria & Jordan (May 16, 2006).

SYRIA: ISRAEL BEHIND BOTH WORLD WARS

Syrian diplomat Ahmed Alhariri told the UN Security Council meeting on the Tuesday before last that Israel was behind both the first and second world wars. (Of course, Israel didn’t even exist at the time, but the truth has never stopped Israel-haters.)

“If we examine the matter, we will find that Israel was behind the eruption of both world wars,” Alhariri told the UN Security Council’s anti-terror committee. He then went on to say that Israel was doing its utmost to launch a third world war.

“INFORMATION IS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT THAN DIPLOMACY”

The battle to influence viewers in the Arab world is heating up.

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster, is preparing to launch a 24-hour news channel in Arabic this fall, and France’s yet-to-be-named CNN-style channel is due to go on air next year.

The state-owned Russia Today also plans for an Arabic-language website and television station. In addition the BBC World Service, with a budget of $35 million, is due to launch its Arabic news broadcasts this fall.

Last March the state-owned Spanish news agency EFE started an Arabic service whilst in Denmark the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party is proposing to set up an Arab version of Radio Free Europe.

As Ahmed al Sheikh, the editor in chief of Al-Jazeera, notes in the final article attached below, “Information is becoming more important than diplomacy. Diplomats sometimes screw things up, but if you play it right via television, then you can achieve so much more.”

I attach four articles, with summaries first for those that don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

A GULF OF MISUNDERSTANDING

[This is the full article]

“Iran bans The Economist over map” (The Associated Press, June 14, 2006)

Iran has banned The Economist magazine for describing the Persian Gulf as merely “the Gulf” in a map published in the latest edition, state television reported late Wednesday.

It is the second time in two years that Iran has prohibited a publication of international repute for failing to use the term “Persian Gulf” in its maps. In November 2004, it banned the National Geographic atlas when a new edition appeared with the term “Arabian Gulf” in parenthesis beside the more commonly used Persian Gulf.

Tehran believes in aggressively defending the historical term “Persian Gulf” against “Arabian Gulf,” which it regards as a name dreamed up by Arab nationalists. While Iran dominates the eastern side of the waterway, the western shores are held by Arab countries.

 

PIGLET KEEPS POOH OFF AIR

“Piglet keeps Pooh off air” (Reuters, June 17, 2006)

Turkey’s public television TRT, controlled by the Islamist-rooted government, has barred the popular Walt Disney cartoon Winnie the Pooh from air because it has a piglet as one of its main heroes, the Turkish press reported today. Several other cartoons featuring pigs also failed to win the green light from TRT management, according to the left-wing Cumhuriyet daily.

The station initially considered scissoring the scenes showing Piglet, but abandoned the idea because the small pink-skinned character, one of Winnie the Pooh’s closest friends, appeared too often, Cumhuriyet and the mass-circulation Sabah newspaper said… Winnie the Pooh videos remain easily available at the stores…

 

“THIS VIOLATES FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND BELIEF”

“Egypt: Da Vinci Code based on Zionist myths” (Reuters, June 13, 2006)

Egyptian authorities will confiscate copies of the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code and ban the film based on the book from showing in Egypt, the culture minister told parliament.

To applause from members of parliament, minister Farouk Hosni said: “We ban any book that insults any religion... we will confiscate this book.” Parliament was debating the book and film at the request of several Coptic Christian members who demanded a ban.

Georgette Sobhi, a Coptic member, held up a copy of the book and the Arabic translation and said it contained material which was seriously offensive. “It’s based on Zionist myths, and it contains insults towards Christ, and it insults the Christian religion and Islam,” she said…

Hafez Abu Saeda, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, told Reuters: “This violates freedom of thought and belief... This is fiction. It’s art and it should be regarded as art.”…

He said the book had sold well in various Christian-majority countries and had not faced calls for a ban. The members of parliament should be aware that the measure would not work, given that thousands of Egyptians already own copies and that the book can be downloaded from the Internet, he added.

Shahira Fathy, the manager of Cairo’s popular Diwan bookstore, said the book had been one of their top sellers since it came out in 2003…

 

WILL MORE WESTERN NEWS ORGANIZATIONS CREATE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE MIDDLE EAST?

“Big fish dive into Arab news stream” (International Herald Tribune, June 18, 2006)

The media battle for hearts and market share in the Middle East is evolving into a teeming crowd of Western news organizations poised to deliver headlines – and geopolitical views – in the language of the Koran.

Backed by government financing, Germany’s public international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, is preparing to beam as much as 24 hours daily of news programming in Arabic this autumn. France’s yet-to-be-named CNN-style channel is in development for a year-end opening, along with a Web site in Arabic and later in 2007 an Arabic television version.

The state-owned Russia Today has similar plans for a Web site and Arabic television along with a $40 million budget, while the U.S.-based news giant CNN is holding back for now, preferring to watch the development of its Arabic Web site, which currently attracts more than 300,000 unique visitors monthly…

The BBC World Service itself is also in the fray, with £19 million, or $35 million, from the British government for an autumn debut of an Arabic news broadcast, starting with 12 hours of daily programming and expanding to 24 hours.

The headlong rush of these national news organizations reflects a practical approach to the Middle East: Conflicts can be influenced by story-telling and a relentless flow of information as well as by missiles and pin-striped diplomats…

For countries like Denmark and Spain, where Arabic news efforts are beginning, the benefits may well outweigh the hazards. Both nations have confronted geopolitical tensions, with the terrorist bombings in Madrid in March 2004 and the furor over the publication last year of cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

In late March, the state-owned Spanish news agency EFE started an Arabic service with financing from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The service offers information to newspaper and media outlets and an Arabic Web site that eventually will be available in part for free to general readers…

For the newcomers, the keys to success are credibility and performance, many Arab media experts say. Already, more than 200 free television channels cover the Arab region on the satellites Arabsat and Nilesat, with 10 percent devoted to news, according to Judeh Siwady, a media analyst with Arab Advisors Group, based in Amman.

That includes the American-backed station Al Hurra, which, according to the Arab Advisors surveys, lags far behind the news leaders, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera and the Saudi Arabian station Al Arabiya. In a poll last month of more than 10,000 adults in 10 countries by the BBC and Reuters, 59 percent of Egyptians ranked Al Jazeera as their most trusted news source…

In some ways, the BBC seems best poised to expand into Arabic broadcasting because of its long history, which dates from the start of its Arabic shortwave radio service in 1938.

The organization can leverage its established Middle Eastern presence with more than 12 million radio listeners and 1.5 million unique visitors monthly on the BBC Arabic Web site.

Ahmed al Sheikh, the editor in chief of Al Jazeera, gave a backhanded compliment to his new competitor. “People are quite familiar with the BBC, and they trust it,” he said. “I’m not sure whether the new generation trusts the same as the old one. I still remember my father tuning in when I was young, and he used to say, ‘I heard it on Radio London.’ Whether they can capitalize on that, I’m not sure.”…



FULL ARTICLES

TURKEY BANS WINNIE THE POOH

Piglet keeps Pooh off air
Reuters
June 17, 2006

www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,19503274-1702,00.html?from=rss

Turkey’s public television TRT, controlled by the Islamist-rooted government, has barred the popular Walt Disney cartoon Winnie the Pooh from air because it has a piglet as one of its main heroes, the Turkish press reported today.

Several other cartoons featuring pigs also failed to win the green light from TRT management, according to the left-wing Cumhuriyet daily.

The station initially considered scissoring the scenes showing Piglet, but abandoned the idea because the small pink-skinned character, one of Winnie the Pooh’s closest friends, appeared too often, Cumhuriyet and the mass-circulation Sabah newspaper said.

TRT officials were not immediately available for comment.

Pigs are regarded as unclean by Muslims and Islam prohibits the consumption of pork.

Winnie the Pooh has been aired on other television channels in Turkey and its videos are easily available at the stores.

Employees have recently complained of increasing government intervention in TRT’s broadcasting policy, including also the appointment of ruling party cronies to key posts at the institution, which runs several television and radio channels.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, the offshoot of a now-banned Islamist movement, is under fire for seeking to raise the profile of Islam in mainly Muslim but strictly secular Turkey.

 

DA VINCI CODE “BASED ON ZIONIST MYTHS”

Egypt: Da Vinci Code based on Zionist myths
Authorities to confiscate copies of best-selling novel, ban film based on book from showing in Egypt
Reuters
June 13, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3262603,00.html

Egyptian authorities will confiscate copies of the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code and ban the film based on the book from showing in Egypt, the culture minister told parliament on Tuesday.

To applause from members of parliament, minister Farouk Hosni said: “We ban any book that insults any religion... we will confiscate this book.”

Parliament was debating the book and film at the request of several Coptic Christian members who demanded a ban.

Georgette Sobhi, a Coptic member, held up a copy of the book and the Arabic translation and said it contained material which was seriously offensive.

“It’s based on Zionist myths, and it contains insults towards Christ, and it insults the Christian religion and Islam,” she said.

A central part of the fictional plot is that Christ married Mary Magdalene and that their descendants are alive today.

Hussein Ibrahim, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc, said that as the Brotherhood had opposed the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, so they would oppose any insult to Jesus Christ.

News of the government’s decision caused concern in other quarters, with one human rights activist calling it a very dangerous decision and a continuation of an assault on freedom of expression.

‘Decision violates freedom of thought’

Hafez Abu Saeda, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, told Reuters: “This violates freedom of thought and belief... This is fiction. It’s art and it should be regarded as art.”

He said the book had sold well in various Christian-majority countries and had not faced calls for a ban. The members of parliament should be aware that the measure would not work, given that thousands of Egyptians already own copies and that the book can be downloaded from the Internet, he added.

Shahira Fathy, the manager of Cairo’s popular Diwan bookstore, said the book had been one of their top sellers since it came out in 2003.

“It’s a shame. A lot of people are interested in this topic,” She said, adding that other books written on the subject had also been selling.

The Egyptian distributors of the film had postponed a decision on screening it in Egypt in anticipation of a ban.

 

“CONFLICTS CAN BE INFLUENCED BY STORY-TELLING”

Big fish dive into Arab news stream
By Doreen Carvajal
International Herald Tribune
June 18, 2006

www.iht.com/articles/2006/06/18/business/arabtv.php

The media battle for hearts and market share in the Middle East is evolving into a teeming crowd of Western news organizations poised to deliver headlines – and geopolitical views – in the language of the Koran.

Backed by government financing, Germany’s public international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, is preparing to beam as much as 24 hours daily of news programming in Arabic this autumn. France’s yet-to-be-named CNN-style channel is in development for a year-end opening, along with a Web site in Arabic and later in 2007 an Arabic television version.

The state-owned Russia Today has similar plans for a Web site and Arabic television along with a $40 million budget, while the U.S.-based news giant CNN is holding back for now, preferring to watch the development of its Arabic Web site, which currently attracts more than 300,000 unique visitors monthly.

“I’m losing track,” said Jerry Timmins, head of the BBC World Service’s operations in Africa and the Middle East. “There’s pretty much of an announcement a week, and it seems to be part of the fashion industry.”

The BBC World Service itself is also in the fray, with £19 million, or $35 million, from the British government for an autumn debut of an Arabic news broadcast, starting with 12 hours of daily programming and expanding to 24 hours.

The headlong rush of these national news organizations reflects a practical approach to the Middle East: Conflicts can be influenced by story-telling and a relentless flow of information as well as by missiles and pin-striped diplomats.

But the debate is beginning about whether these foreign broadcasts will create understanding or more bitter conflict. “Lost in Translation” was the name of a panel at the Arab Broadcast Forum this month in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, that raised questions about how foreign broadcasters would address sensitive issues like suicide bombings.

The potential risks were apparent last week when about 500 Iraqi followers of a radical Shiite cleric attacked the Iranian consulate in Basra, Iraq, in anger over talk show commentary on Al Kawthar, an Iranian satellite television channel that broadcasts in Arabic.

For countries like Denmark and Spain, where Arabic news efforts are beginning, the benefits may well outweigh the hazards. Both nations have confronted geopolitical tensions, with the terrorist bombings in Madrid in March 2004 and the furor over the publication last year of cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

In late March, the state-owned Spanish news agency EFE started an Arabic service with financing from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The service offers information to newspaper and media outlets and an Arabic Web site that eventually will be available in part for free to general readers.

“We want to be a piece of the big puzzle and try to offer a bridge between civilizations,” said Javier Martin, head of EFE’s Arabic services. “It’s one of our aims. The other one is a commercial aim, and we’re trying to sign up subscribers.”

With a newly hired staff of 14 Arabic editors and translators in Cairo, the news agency is concentrating on reaching African media outlets in some of the countries closest to Spain: Tunisia, Mauritania and Morocco, the latter being the home country of several terrorists involved in the Madrid bombings.

In Denmark, the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party is proposing to set up what it calls an Arab version of Radio Free Europe through the national public broadcaster, Danmarks Radio. They aim to set aside 25 million kroner, or $4.2 million, to transmit radio and television programming to Arabic-speaking countries, tapping a 100 million kroner fund set up in 2003 by an initiative called the “Danish as an Arab.”

“It has not been approved yet, but eventually it looks like it’s possible,” said Soren Espersen, the Danish People’s Party’s foreign policy spokesman. “We feel that there is a lack of democracy in Arab countries, and that was the reason for the crisis with the cartoons. It’s important that they get discussions about democracy.”

For the newcomers, the keys to success are credibility and performance, many Arab media experts say. Already, more than 200 free television channels cover the Arab region on the satellites Arabsat and Nilesat, with 10 percent devoted to news, according to Judeh Siwady, a media analyst with Arab Advisors Group, based in Amman.

That includes the American-backed station Al Hurra, which, according to the Arab Advisors surveys, lags far behind the news leaders, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera and the Saudi Arabian station Al Arabiya. In a poll last month of more than 10,000 adults in 10 countries by the BBC and Reuters, 59 percent of Egyptians ranked Al Jazeera as their most trusted news source.

“People will have a look” at the new foreign channels, said Nasib Bitar, a Dubai-based producer and media consultant who is advising Jordanian broadcasters and producers on setting up operations. “It all depends on content and how they run it. I believe if any broadcaster showed compassion through its programming, people would watch. The problem at this stage is that Arabic broadcasting is growing in numbers, but not in quality.”

Said Timmins of the BBC, “I think very few will have an impact, really.”

While others are stampeding in, CNN is hanging back for a better commercial opportunity, lacking access to government financing available to the BBC.

“It remains a possibility in the future,” said a spokesman for CNN, Nigel Pritchard, noting that “as a commercial broadcaster, anything we do needs to make both editorial and business sense.”

In some ways, the BBC seems best poised to expand into Arabic broadcasting because of its long history, which dates from the start of its Arabic shortwave radio service in 1938.

The organization can leverage its established Middle Eastern presence with more than 12 million radio listeners and 1.5 million unique visitors monthly on the BBC Arabic Web site.

Ahmed al Sheikh, the editor in chief of Al Jazeera, gave a backhanded compliment to his new competitor. “People are quite familiar with the BBC, and they trust it,” he said. “I’m not sure whether the new generation trusts the same as the old one. I still remember my father tuning in when I was young, and he used to say, ‘I heard it on Radio London.’ Whether they can capitalize on that, I’m not sure.”

Deutsche Welle, which last year rolled out its Arabic-language service with Arabic anchors, intends to expand the same general format with a mixture of news, features and documentaries exploring issues from health care to politics, according to Klaus-Dieter Seelig, head of its department of foreign language services.

New technology is central to the British and French strategies, with television programming designed to be interactive with Arabic Web sites.

The aim of the €80 million, or $101 million, French project is to draw users to its Arabic Web site this autumn, leading them to the new television channel when it starts.

“The Internet is the heart of our whole machine,” said Ulysse Gosset, who is leading the development of the French project, which is likely to announce its name this week. “We want to make sure that people will be able to address the channel, to participate in forums, to follow the blogs and video logs of our correspondents. We are really a multimedia channel.”

All the discussion about new technology does not seem to faze Al Jazeera, which is preparing to spin off an international English version, the start of which has been delayed three times because of “technical reasons” involving the linkup of its four international news centers.

Sheikh, the broadcaster’s editor in chief, said the new competition was positive. “It’s a natural development that all these new news organizations are springing up,” he said. “I think it’s because of Al Jazeera’s existence in the first place.”

The stakes, he noted, are high: “Information is becoming more important than diplomacy. Diplomats sometimes screw things up, but if you play it right via television, then you can achieve so much more.”


Banning the World Cup, Israeli wine labels, and other items

June 14, 2006

CONTENTS

1. “Made in Israel-occupied Syrian territories”
2. Islamists ban World Cup
3. Double standards for “targeted assassinations”
4. Hamas leader carries millions in suitcase
5. Swiss intelligence foils plan to fire rocket at El Al plane
6. “Palestinian Hamas denies statement mourning Zarqawi” (Reuters, June 9, 2006)
7. “Kidnapped American released unharmed” (Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2006)
8. “Hamas working on adding toxic chemicals to bombs” (Ha’aretz, June 6, 2006)
9. “Terrorists planned to hit Israeli airliner with rocket” (Daily Telegraph, June 9, 2006)
10. “Poll: Most Israelis oppose convergence” (Ha’aretz, June 9, 2006)
11. “Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote” (AFP, June 10, 2006)
12. “German Jews elect woman as leader” (Reuters, June 7, 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

“MADE IN ISRAEL-OCCUPIED SYRIAN TERRITORIES”

Systembolaget, Sweden’s state-owned alcohol retail monopoly, has labeled Israeli wines made in the Golan as “made in Israel-occupied Syrian territories.” Systembolaget has one of the most extensive catalogues of alcoholic beverages in the world.

A spokesman for Systembolaget, Bjorn Rydberg, told the Jerusalem Post that the decision was made after clients complained about the previous label, which stated the wine was Israeli. The company then consulted with the Swedish Foreign Ministry who recommended the new label.

In April, Sweden pulled out of a European military exercise due to Israeli participation. In May, Sweden hosted Hamas minister Atef Adwan. Adwan, who was invited by local politicians, was granted a visa to visit Sweden, which he then also used to visit other European countries.

Systembolaget’s decision is “upsetting and unfair,” said Annelia Enochson, from Sweden’s Christian Democratic Party. “It means Israel receives special treatment, and it also politicizes the state-owned alcohol company.”

It is reported today that Systembolaget may now be reconsidering their decision, and will instead sell the Israeli-produced wine without a label of where it was produced.

ISLAMISTS BAN WORLD CUP

Hundreds of Somalis have protested in the capital Mogadishu against moves by sharia courts to stop them watching the ongoing soccer World Cup. Scores of young men set fire to tyres after Islamist gunmen pulled the plug on makeshift cinemas airing the soccer tournament. Two people were injured when militia tried to break up the demonstrations.

The soccer tournament had drawn huge crowds to television screens set up under trees and iron-sheeted shacks, providing some escape from the tension that has gripped Mogadishu since Islamists seized control there last week. Hundreds have been killed in recent weeks.

Similar moves last November by Islamist militia to close cinemas and video stores in Mogadishu on the basis that they are “unIslamic,” triggered heavy fighting that killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 20.

DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR “TARGETED ASSASSINATIONS”

Following the “targeted assassination” by U.S. forces in Iraq last week of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (a subscriber to this list) pointed out on an American blog that the international community was again employing double standards against Israel.

“The same technique that has been repeatedly condemned by the international community when Israel has employed it against terrorists who have murdered innocent Jews,” was all of a sudden being welcomed, he said.

Dershowitz points out that “If it is argued that Sheikh Yassin was merely a spiritual leader of Hamas (a total lie since he explicitly authorized numerous terrorist acts), then it must be noted that one of the people targeted by the United States was Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman, who was also described as a ‘spiritual advisor.’”

(For more on this point, see NY Times public editor: Paper wrong to say Yassin was a “spiritual leader” May 3, 2004.)

Dershowitz sums up his argument saying “All decent people must insist on a single standard of judging tactics such as targeted killing. It is nothing short of bigotry to approve this tactic when used by the United States and Great Britain but to condemn it when it is used by Israel.”

It should also be pointed out that a woman and child were among those killed in the strike against Zarqawi, and this was barely mentioned in most western media, in stark contrast to when civilians have died when Israel has targeted terrorists. For more on Zarqawi, see the first article below.

HAMAS LEADER CARRIES MILLIONS IN SUITCASE

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, of Hamas, returned to the Gaza Strip today with a suitcase full with $20 million in cash, Palestinians officials told the Associated Press a short time ago.

It is not known how much of this will be used to purchase and manufacture weapons. The source of Zahar’s money isn’t yet known. During his recent trip, Zahar traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Pakistan, Iran and Egypt.

Also today, a Hamas operative was shot and killed outside his home in the Gaza town of Khan Yunis after Hamas gunmen shot a security commander loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The local security commander, Rifat Kulab, was shot seven times during an ambush on his car in the town. Hamas accused Fatah of the shooting.

A total of 22 people have been killed in Hamas-Fatah fighting in recent weeks.

SWISS INTELLIGENCE FOILS PLAN TO FIRE ROCKET AT EL AL PLANE

Attached below are articles on various topics. One of them reports that Swiss intelligence has confirmed that it foiled a plan to fire a rocket at an El Al flight over Switzerland. In other terrorism-related news, Ha’aretz reports that Hamas terrorists have experimented with adding toxic chemicals to bombs to cause even greater damage to their Israeli victims.

In an update to the recent dispatch titled “Not statesmanship, but stupidity” (June 1, 2006), a recent poll suggests that 56 percent of Israelis now oppose Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan.

Another poll by Gallup has revealed that Muslim women believe they should have the rights to vote, work outside the home and serve in the highest levels of government. The poll results came out only days after the Central Council of Jews in Germany elected 73-year-old Charlotte Knobloch as its president.

I attach seven articles below, with summaries first for those that do not have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

HAMAS: “ZARQAWI WAS A SYMBOL OF RESISTANCE”

“Palestinian Hamas denies statement mourning Zarqawi” (Reuters, June 9, 2006)

The ruling Palestinian faction Hamas has denied issuing a statement mourning the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, but at the same time hailed him as a symbol of resistance.

Reuters received a statement on Thursday saying that Hamas mourned Zarqawi, killed in a strike north of Baghdad by U.S. warplanes on Wednesday. Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said that “Hamas did not issue any statement in this regard.”

He also said that Hamas “reiterates its supportive position to all liberation movements and foremost the Iraqi liberation movement, for which Zarqawi was one of the symbols in the face of the American occupation.”…

 

FISHBEIN RELEASED BECAUSE HE WAS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN

“Kidnapped American released unharmed” (Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2006)

The American student, who was kidnapped by gunmen while having coffee at a Nablus coffee shop (in the West Bank), has been transferred to Israeli army protection. He was reported to be in “good condition.”

On Saturday night, IDF officials said a tape had reached various news outlets showing the 20-year-old exchange student of holding photo identification and saying that he had been abducted. On the tape, the student said that his captors would kill him if Israel did not release Palestinian prisoners.

Al-Jazeera reported that Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed the kidnapping. It appeared that his abductors agreed to release Fishbein, who is from the Bronx, because he was an American who did not hold Israeli citizenship… He is a student at Brown University, where he is majoring in Political Science and Anthropology. From August-December 2005, he studied at the American University in Cairo…

 

HAMAS EXPERIMENTING TO ADD TOXIC CHEMICALS TO BOMBS

“Hamas operatives working on adding toxic chemicals to bombs” (Ha’aretz, June 6, 2006)

Hamas operatives in the West Bank have experimented with adding toxic chemicals to their bombs, security sources have told Haaretz. The sources said the experiments have involved relatively simple chemicals, and as far as is known, the organization is not yet able to integrate such agents into its bombs effectively. However, they said, Hamas’ West Bank cells include several skilled bombmakers who are investing great effort in trying to upgrade their weapons.

The organization also is amassing large stocks of explosives so operatives will be ready to launch attacks immediately should its leadership decide to end the security “lull,” the sources added…

“They have no intention of repeating what they’ve done in the past,” he continued. “The tendency is to prepare ‘mega-attacks’ that would create a new balance” of power with Israel.

 

TERRORISTS PLANNED TO FIRE ROCKET AT EL AL PLANE

“Terrorist gang planned to hit Israeli airliner with rocket” (Daily Telegraph, June 9, 2006)

Swiss intelligence agents foiled a plot to shoot down an Israeli airplane, the country’s federal prosecutor said. Several North African members of an alleged terrorist cell were arrested. Intelligence services believed terrorists planned to fire a rocket at an El Al flight over Switzerland in December…

One member had been in contact with Mohamed Achraf, a North African Muslim extremist extradited from Switzerland to Spain in April 2005 for allegedly plotting to blow up Spain’s highest court. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda network claimed responsibility for a similar attack in 2002 on an Israeli plane carrying 261 people…

 

POLL: MOST ISRAELIS OPPOSE CONVERGENCE

“Poll: Most Israelis oppose convergence” (Ha’aretz, June 9, 2006)

Some 56 percent of Israelis oppose Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan, according to a new Ha’aretz-Dialog poll. The poll results were released as Olmert was meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who also reportedly opposes the plan…

Despite the widespread opposition to the plan, however, 51 percent of the public said they believed that it would be implemented, compared to only 32 percent who thought that it would not be carried out. This belief was shared by both supporters and opponents of the plan…

Abdullah, for his part, expressed grave concern about Olmert’s plan to unilaterally draw Israel’s border if efforts to resume peace talks failed, saying that such a move could undermine Jordan’s stability by driving Palestinian refugees into Jordan or empowering Islamic militants inside the kingdom.

Olmert tried to reassure the king by promising that any future moves regarding Israel’s final borders would be made in consultation with Jordan, as well as with Egypt and the United States, since Jordanian stability is also an Israeli interest…

 

MUSLIM WOMEN WANT RIGHT TO VOTE

“Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote” (AFP, June 10, 2006)

Muslim women do not mind the veil but want to vote as they wish, according to a survey released this week, in which respondents did not feel oppression in Muslim countries.

Lebanon had the highest proportion of women who feel they should be allowed to make their own decisions on voting, at 97 percent, followed by Egypt and Morocco, each at 95 percent. Lowest was Pakistan, with 68 percent, according to the Gallup poll…

Although women largely said they should be able to work outside the home and serve in the highest levels of government, they linked sexual equality with the West: 78 percent in Morocco, 71 percent in Lebanon and 48 percent in Saudi Arabia. However, when asked what they least admired about the West, they said moral decay, promiscuity and pornography, which degraded women…

 

GERMAN JEWS ELECT WOMAN AS NEW LEADER

“German Jews elect woman as leader” (Reuters, June 7, 2006)

The Central Council of Jews in Germany have elected 73-year-old Charlotte Knobloch as its president, the first time a woman has been chosen leader of Germany’s Jewish community. The council says it represents some 110,000 Jews, more than half of the estimated 200,000 Jews believed to be living in the country that once tried to wipe them out.

Knobloch was born in the southern German city of Munich and survived the Holocaust by living with a Catholic family in Franconia… She succeeds Paul Spiegel, who died in April after a long battle with leukemia. The other candidate for the council presidency was Salomon Korn, the Polish-born son of a rabbi…



FULL ARTICLES

HAMAS DENIES STATEMENT MOURNING AL-ZARQAWI

Palestinian Hamas denies statement mourning Zarqawi
Reuters
June 9, 2006

today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-06-09T102206Z_01_L09462827_RTRUKOC_0_US-MIDEAST-HAMAS-ZARQAWI.xml&src=rss&rpc=22

The ruling Palestinian faction Hamas on Friday denied issuing a statement mourning the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, but hailed him as a symbol of resistance to occupation.

Reuters received a statement on Thursday saying that Hamas mourned Zarqawi, killed in a strike north of Baghdad by U.S. warplanes on Wednesday.

Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said on Friday that “Hamas did not issue any statement in this regard.”

He also said that Hamas “reiterates its supportive position to all liberation movements and foremost the Iraqi liberation movement, for which Zarqawi was one of the symbols in the face of the American occupation.”

Hamas, an Islamic militant group, took over the Palestinian government in March after winning elections.

It is formally committed to destroying the Jewish state, but has said it could follow a long term truce if Israel withdraws from the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 war, following a pullout from the Gaza Strip last year.

Hamas, branded a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe, has in the past distanced itself from violence blamed on al-Qaeda, though it has used similar suicide tactics during a Palestinian uprising.

The Hamas government has been under a world financial boycott that has crippled the Palestinian Authority economically in a bid to pressure it to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past accords.

 

KIDNAPPED AMERICAN STUDENT RELEASED UNHARMED

Kidnapped American released unharmed
JPost staff and AP
The Jerusalem Post
June 11, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1149572654519&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

“I had the feeling they were in over their heads,” Benjamin Bright-Fishbein told Israeli security officials after he was released by the Palestinians who had abducted him in Nablus overnight Saturday.

The American student, who was kidnapped by gunmen while having coffee at a Nablus coffee shop, was transferred to the IDF at Hawarah checkpoint. He was reported to be in “good condition.”

Earlier Saturday night, IDF officials said a tape had reached some news outlets showing the 20-year-old exchange student at the Hebrew University of holding photo identification and saying that he had been abducted in the West Bank city. On the tape, the student said that his captors would kill him if Israel did not release Palestinian prisoners, Army Radio reported.

Al-Jazeera reported that Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed the kidnapping.

It appeared that his abductors agreed to release Fishbein because he was an American who did not hold Israeli citizenship.

Fishbein remained in police custody early Sunday, where he contacted his family in the United States and was being questioned about the incident.

Fishbein had recently finished a brief internship at the Jerusalem Post.

Hailing from the Bronx, Benjamin Bright-Fishbein graduated Horace Mann High School in 2003, continuing on to Brown University, where he is majoring in Political Science and Anthropology.

From August-December 2005, he studied at the American University in Cairo before moving across the Canal for another semester abroad, this one at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Bright-Fishbein also has an extensive background in theater and writing. During high school, he was heavily involved with his school’s theater company as Technical Director. At Brown, he wrote opinion columns for the Brown Daily Herald as well as contributing to the “Brown Daily Squeal,” a political blog on campus.

His interests include “acting, writing inflammatory columns in the midst of a homogenous political culture, and being the guy with the multi-tool at the exact right moment.”

 

HAMAS TO ADD TOXIC CHEMICALS TO THEIR BOMBS

Hamas operatives working on adding toxic chemicals to bombs
By Amos Harel
Ha’aretz
June 6, 2006

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/723309.html

Hamas operatives in the West Bank have experimented with adding toxic chemicals to their bombs, security sources told Haaretz Monday.

The sources said the experiments have involved relatively simple chemicals, and as far as is known, the organization is not yet able to integrate such agents into its bombs effectively. However, they said, Hamas’ West Bank cells include several skilled bombmakers who are investing great effort in trying to upgrade their weapons.

The organization also is amassing large stocks of explosives so operatives will be ready to launch attacks immediately should its leadership decide to end the security “lull,” the sources added.

“Thus far, members of its military wing have not received any orders to commit attacks, since a return to terror at this time would not serve the Palestinian Authority’s Hamas government,” one said. However, he added, they have been instructed to prepare attacks that can be launched the instant the order is given.

“They have no intention of repeating what they’ve done in the past,” he continued. “The tendency is to prepare ‘mega-attacks’ that would create a new balance” of power with Israel.

Currently, Hamas’ West Bank cells are focusing mainly on buying arms, training operatives, setting up explosives factories and conducting experiments. However, a few cells – mainly in the southern West Bank, around Hebron and Bethlehem – are continuing to carry out small-scale attacks. These cells are only loosely connected to the organization’s leadership in Damascus and Gaza, and as long as they keep a relatively low profile and do not claim responsibility for their attacks in Hamas’ name, the leadership does not interfere. One such cell was arrested early this year after murdering six Israeli civilians near Gush Etzion and Hebron.

In Gaza, Hamas operatives often assist attacks carried out by Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees. The rockets fired at Sderot last week, for instance, were made by Hamas, and “rebellious” members of the organization helped launch them. The Shin Bet security service also accused senior Hamas operatives of having helped the Popular Resistance Committees prepare a attack in April at the Karni crossing between Gaza and Israel. That plan was foiled by PA security personnel.

There is also one type of attack to which Hamas’ leadership has given its unequivocal blessing: attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians for use in negotiations over the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Senior operative arrested

The Shin Bet and police arrested a senior Hamas operative in Ramallah two weeks ago who was responsible for planning several “mega-attacks.” The arrest was made public Monday.

Ibrahim Hamed heads Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank. His planned attacks included attempts to blow up railway tracks and an attempted bombing of the Pi Glilot gas storage facility.

Two of his assistants were also arrested in Ramallah Sunday.

 

SWISS FOIL PLOT TO SHOOT DOWN ISRAELI AIRPLANE

Terrorist gang planned to hit Israeli airliner with rocket
The Daily Telegraph
June 9, 2006

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/06/09/wswiss09.xml

Swiss intelligence agents foiled a plot to shoot down an Israeli aeroplane, the country’s federal prosecutor said yesterday.

Several North African members of an alleged terrorist cell were arrested.

Intelligence services believed terrorists planned to fire a rocket at an El Al flight over Switzerland in December.

The prosecutor’s office said the gang members were identified in early 2005 and lived off the profits of a series of robberies in Zurich and elsewhere.

It dismissed media reports that agents had seized a rocket-propelled grenade, surface-to-air missile or explosives. But prosecution officials claimed the gang had links to terrorist groups in Spain and France.

One member had been in contact with Mohamed Achraf, a North African Muslim extremist extradited from Switzerland to Spain in April 2005 for allegedly plotting to blow up Spain’s highest court.

Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda network claimed responsibility for a similar attack in 2002 on an Israeli plane carrying 261 people.

Two shoulder-fired rockets were aimed as the plane flew over Mombassa, Kenya, but they missed their target.

 

56 PERCENT OF ISRAELIS OPPOSE OLMERT’S CONVERGENCE PLAN

Poll: Most Israelis oppose convergence
By Ha’aretz Correspondents and AP, By Yossi Verter, Aluf Benn and Jack Khoury
Ha’aretz
June 9, 2006

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/724830.html

Some 56 percent of Israelis oppose Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan, according to a new Haaretz-Dialog poll. The poll results were released as Olmert was meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who also reportedly opposes the plan.

The poll, which questioned a representative sample of 515 respondents, found that only 37 percent of Israelis support the plan, which calls for a massive unilateral withdrawal in the West Bank, while 7 percent are undecided. Unsurprisingly, most of the supporters were people who had voted for one of the two main coalition parties, Kadima and Labor. But a whopping 83 percent of people who voted for Shas, the third-largest coalition party, said that they oppose the plan.

Despite the widespread opposition to the plan, however, 51 percent of the public said they believed that it would be implemented, compared to only 32 percent who thought that it would not be carried out. This belief was shared by both supporters and opponents of the plan.

At his meeting with Abdullah yesterday, which took place at the king’s palace in Amman, Olmert assured the Jordanian leader that Israel would prefer to reach a negotiated solution with the Palestinians and promised to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas soon. Only if a negotiated solution proved impossible would Israel proceed with unilateral steps, he said.

But according to Israeli sources, Olmert also told the king that if Jordan really wanted serious negotiations between the sides, it must work with the Egyptians and help to create a partner. “Pressure the Palestinians to accept the Quartet’s principles [recognizing Israel, abandoning terror and accepting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements] and to implement the road map [peace plan], and we’ll begin negotiations immediately,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Abdullah, for his part, expressed grave concern about Olmert’s plan to unilaterally draw Israel’s border if efforts to resume peace talks failed, saying that such a move could undermine Jordan’s stability by driving Palestinian refugees into Jordan or empowering Islamic militants inside the kingdom.

Olmert tried to reassure the king by promising that any future moves regarding Israel’s final borders would be made in consultation with Jordan, as well as with Egypt and the United States, since Jordanian stability is also an Israeli interest.

During a private meeting that lasted about 45 minutes, the two leaders also discussed issues such as strategic cooperation between Israel and Jordan and the assassination of Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier in the day. After the private meeting, they held a working meeting with their aides, with this session focusing primarily on economic issues, such as free trade manufacturing zones and the construction of a joint airport that would serve both Eilat and Aqaba.

After the meeting, the leaders gave brief statements to the press. The statements contained no references either to the killing of Zarqawi or the convergence plan, however, and they declined to take questions from reporters.

Flanked by Israeli and Jordanian flags on a hot day outside the palace, Abdullah said that there could be no substitute for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We emphasized Jordan’s position that a two-state solution is the only solution that we should seek. It is a solution that must be achieved through bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that are based on the road map,” the king said, referring to an internationally backed peace plan outlining steps for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Jordan, he added, had promised to help Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace, and he and Olmert had agreed to stay in close contact for this purpose over the coming weeks.

Abdullah also expressed concern over the “deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation” in the Palestinian Authority following a crippling economic aid boycott of the Hamas-led government. “We expressed Jordan’s desire for all parties to work together to guarantee the resumption of assistance to the Palestinian people,” he said.

Olmert reiterated Israel’s commitment to the road map, adding: “Political stalemate in the Middle East is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for Jordan and the region. It is essential to avoid stagnation.

“I assured His Majesty that I intend to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in order to encourage the process that will enable us to make progress in accordance with the road map,” he continued.

Olmert also said that Israel would not oppose any humanitarian aid that Jordan chose to deliver to the Palestinians, and that he was “encouraged” by Jordan and Israel’s mutual “commitment against global terror.”

After speaking, the two leaders shook hands, smiled and re-entered the palace together.

Prior to their meeting, both leaders were engaged in trying to drum up support among other world leaders for their respective positions on the convergence plan. Both recently visited Washington to lobby U.S. President George Bush on the issue; Abdullah has also been in touch with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whom Olmert met with earlier this week. In addition, Abdullah traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in an apparent effort to coordinate a moderate Arab front regarding Israel-Palestinian relations, which have worsened since Hamas assumed power in the PA.

 

MUSLIM WOMEN SAY THEY WANT RIGHT TO VOTE

Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote
Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 10, 2006

www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=73082

Muslim women do not mind the veil but want to vote as they wish, according to a survey released this week, in which respondents did not feel oppression in Muslim countries.

Lebanon had the highest proportion of women who feel they should be allowed to make their own decisions on voting, at 97 percent, followed by Egypt and Morocco, each at 95 percent. Lowest was Pakistan, with 68 percent, according to The New York Times reporting on a Gallup poll.

None of the 8,000 women surveyed even mentioned the use of the headscarf or the full-length burqa in open-ended questions, the Times said.

Despite the suffragist leanings, Muslim women set aside their own issues and said their countries had greater problems, such as violent extremism, corruption and lack of unity among Muslim countries.

Although women largely said they should be able to work outside the home and serve in the highest levels of government, they linked sexual equality with the West: 78 percent in Morocco, 71 percent in Lebanon and 48 percent in Saudi Arabia, the New York daily reported.

However, when asked what they least admired about the West, they said moral decay, promiscuity and pornography, which degraded women.

A majority of the women said that economic or political advancement in Muslim countries would notimprove with the adoption of Western values, the survey said, according to the New York daily.

Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted among 8,000 women in 2005 for “What Women Want: Listening to the Voices of Muslim Women,” part of The Gallup World Poll, a project to canvass 95 percent of the world’s people.

Overwhelming majorities of the women said the best aspect of their cultures was their countries’ “attachment to moral and spiritual values,” the Times said of the poll.

“Women’s empowerment has been identified as a key goal of US policy in the region,” said Dalia Mogahed, of The Gallup World Poll.

However, Mogahed said that what Muslim women really want has not been plumbed.

Egyptian-born Mogahed wears a headscarf, and said Muslim women have not been brainwashed, according to the Times.

She cited as proof statements of the respondents that they deserved certain rights.

“In every culture there is a dominant narrative, and in many cases it is constructed by people in power who happen to be men,” she was quoted as saying in the Times.

 

GERMAN JEWS ELECT A WOMAN AS THEIR NEW LEADER

German Jews elect woman as leader
Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch is first woman to been chosen leader of Germany’s Jewish community
Reuters
June 7, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3260031,00.html

The Central Council of Jews in Germany elected 73-year-old Charlotte Knobloch as its president on Wednesday, the first time a woman has been chosen leader of Germany’s Jewish community.

The council says it represents some 110,000 Jews, more than half of the estimated 200,000 Jews believed to be living in the country that once tried to wipe them out.

Knobloch became vice president of the council in 1997 and was named vice president of the New York-based World Jewish Congress in 2005.

She was born in the southern German city of Munich and survived the Holocaust by living with a Catholic family in Franconia.

Knobloch was the daughter of well-known Munich lawyer Fritz Neuland. After World War Two, Knobloch had intended to immigrate to the United States but settled back in Munich instead.

Knobloch has called for a ban on right-wing extremist parties in Germany, including the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). She has also criticized Berlin for not being forceful enough in its fight against neo-Nazi extremism.

State’s support

She succeeds Paul Spiegel, who died in April after a long battle with leukaemia. The other candidate for the council presidency was Salomon Korn, the Polish-born son of a rabbi.

Spiegel signed an accord in January 2003 with then German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder which gave the council the same legal status as the country’s main churches and annual government support of three million euros.

At the time of the council’s founding in 1950, there were only 15,000 Jews left in Germany. In 1933 – the year Adolf Hitler took power – there were an estimated 600,000 Jews in Germany.


Suha Arafat, TVs for the World Cup, and Gaza’s so-called “humanitarian crisis”

June 13, 2006

* Suha Arafat’s $100,000 a month from the PA budget, while the PA claims it has no money

* Before purchasing an expensive villa on the Rue Fauborg St. Honore, Mrs. Arafat occupied a 19-room suite for more than a year at the five-star Bristol Hotel in Paris that goes for about $16,000 a night, paid for by the Palestinian Authority

* While Palestinians say they have no money, 111 truckloads of top of the range new televisions enter Gaza so Palestinians can watch the soccer World Cup

 

CONTENTS

1. Palestinians refuse medications; ask for money instead
2. 111 truckloads of televisions
3. Palestinian financial woes “started with Mr. & Mrs. Arafat”
4. Abbas meets with Suha in Tunis
5. “Palestinians’ woes started with Arafat” (Delaware Online, May 31, 2006)
6. “Israel offers medicines, PA demands cash” (Yediot Ahronot, June 7, 2006)
7. “Abbas holds ‘sulha’ with Suha” (Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

PALESTINIANS REFUSE MEDICATIONS; ASK FOR MONEY INSTEAD

Barely a day goes by without major western media outlets, in particular the BBC, warning of a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza and claiming that there is a greater shortage of medical supplies in Gaza than there is in most other hospitals throughout the third world.

At the same time, virtually no western media have reported that Israel’s offer to donate medications worth 50 million shekels (approximately $11 million) has been turned down by the Palestinian Authority, on the basis that the PA say they want cash instead. Israel does not want to hand over cash since past donations have been used to buy weapons to attack Israel.

The World Health Organization says that despite its efforts it has been unable to convince the Palestinians to accept the medications from Israel. But the western media chose not to report this. (For more, see the Yediot Ahronot article below.)

“The PA’s position shows that there really is no health crisis in the PA, contrary to its claims,” Israeli security sources said, “and that they want to use the money for other purposes.”

111 TRUCKLOADS OF TELEVISIONS

It has also been reported in the Israeli media that 111 trucks containing TV sets have entered Gaza over the past two weeks, having been purchased from Israeli TV importers. Some of these TVs are expensive new wide-screen models. The upswing in television purchases in Gaza is thought to have coincided with the start of the soccer World Cup. This happens at a time when, according to Palestinian claims made to foreign journalists, there is supposedly a great shortage of money, food and medicine in Gaza.

PALESTINIAN FINANCIAL WOES “STARTED WITH MR. & MRS. ARAFAT”

While international media and politicians continue to criticize the Israeli and American governments for creating a “humanitarian crisis” in Palestinian areas, very few commentators have attempted to highlight the principal reason for the present poor state of Palestinian finances: corruption and mismanagement.

In his article below, Howard M. Berlin, reminds us that the “Palestinians’ woes started with Arafat.”

“An audit by the International Monetary Fund stated that Arafat had diverted about $900 million of public PA funds into his own accounts from 1995 to 2000… In 2000, Internet hackers reportedly broke into Arafat’s computer system, finding information on more than $5 billion stashed in secret accounts…”

Writing about Suha Arafat, Berlin says: “The Palestinian press has a nickname for her: Miss Moneybags.” Mrs. Arafat “was questioned about the receipt of $11.4 million from Swiss accounts controlled by her between 2002 and 2003.” Her reported annual allowance is alleged to be $22 million for the rest of her life.

Before purchasing an expensive villa on the Rue Fauborg St. Honore, Mrs. Arafat occupied a 19-room suite for more than a year at the five-star Bristol Hotel in Paris that goes for about $16,000 a night, paid for by the Palestinian Authority. While her husband wore his trademark army uniform and kafiyah, she shopped for French designer clothes.

Berlin says that “The U.S., E.U., Israel and UN should demand guarantees that before one dollar is handed over, Palestinians will apply the same energy and resources they have been using to manipulate world opinion to recover the money Arafat stole from them… when the Palestinian Authority government has shown it can be fiscally responsible, then the world will respond in kind.”

For a previous dispatch on Yasser Arafat’s financial dealings, see Arafat appears on “Forbes” world’s richest list (Feb. 28, 2003).

For more on Arafat’s legacy and its implications for the future, please read, Yasser Arafat, ‘the stuff of legends’: A warning for the future.

ABBAS MEETS WITH SUHA IN TUNIS

Whilst Berlin and other commentators have suggested that the PA must “terminate payment for Suha Arafat’s lavish lifestyle,” only days ago PA President Mahmoud Abbas and senior members of his Fatah party held “warm and friendly talks” in Tunis with Suha Arafat, reports Khaled Abu Toameh, a subscriber to this email list, in the Jerusalem Post.

Suha Arafat had moved to Paris in 2000 but relocated to Tunis following her husband’s death, “after French prosecutors announced that they had launched an inquiry into the transfer of $9 million into her French bank accounts. The inquiry was launched after information provided by the Bank of France and a government anti-money-laundering body.”

The talks in Suha’s villa were said to have “raised many eyebrows” in the West Bank and Gaza. The meeting between Abbas and Suha appears to have only been mentioned in the Israeli and Palestinian, not in the international media. For more, see the final article below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“MISS MONEYBAGS”

Palestinians’ woes started with Arafat
By Howard M. Berlin
Delaware Online
May 31, 2006

www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060531/OPINION07/605310341/1108/OPINION

In hindsight, the theme of the Palestinian parliamentary elections should have been the wise adage, “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.”

Ever since Hamas overwhelmingly defeated the Fatah Party of incumbent Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas earlier this year, the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority have been laying a guilt trip on the West and especially Israel as the sole cause for their supposed economic woes. Hamas intransigence in not recognizing the existence of the Jewish state, preferring instead that it be wiped off the map altogether, has led the United States and the European Union to cut off virtually all economic assistance to the Palestinians.

When it comes to Israel, there always seems to be a double standard. Many nations found it morally justified to boycott South Africa about 20 years ago, and businesses involved with it, to force changes in its apartheid laws. But when the United States, Israel and the European Union try to use similar economic leverage to force Hamas to change its policies about wanting to destroy Israel, Palestinians cry foul and blame Israel as the root cause of all their problems.

In Gaza and the region west of the Jordan River under control of the Palestinian Authority, the economic boycott has deteriorated all aspects of daily life. There are now shortages of all kinds: food, cooking fuel and gasoline because of unpaid bills to suppliers. Even government workers have been unpaid for months. Israel has said it would continue to offer humanitarian and medical assistance.

However, I wouldn’t shed too many tears for the Palestinians just yet. They knew full well what they were getting into when they voted for Hamas – a choice between the Fatah Party of corruption and incompetence for the last 12 years and Hamas, which would alienate them from most of the civilized world.

What Hamas and especially Fatah don’t want the world to remember is their economic troubles go much further back than the January elections and the economic boycott. The trouble, almost all of it self-induced, goes back to the biggest goniff of them all: Yasser Arafat. As chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority, he ran the PA unchallenged from its inception in 1994.

A wise person once said, “Follow the money.” A number of people did just that. For years, Arafat traveled from place to place, raising money supposedly for the PLO and later the Palestine Authority and its many factions. Very little of it, and the tax transfer payments from Israelis, actually went to the Palestinians it was supposed to help. Most of it reportedly wound up either in numerous secret bank accounts controlled by Arafat alone or by a few trusted advisers.

As to his personal wealth, there were estimates ranging from $200 million by Forbes magazine to $6 billion by U.S. and Israeli intelligence. It has been documented that Arafat opened his first secret bank account in 1965 with a $50,000 check from the emir of Kuwait.

From then on, Arafat set up accounts in well-known tax havens: Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands. In 1998, the European Union discovered that $20 million designated for low-income housing was used to build a luxury apartment complex for top PA officials and Arafat associates.

Arafat also was rumored to have owned a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Ramallah, and a number of hotels and resorts in Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria. He was the main shareholder in two cellular telephone companies operating in Tunisia and Algeria before he died in November 2004. An audit by the International Monetary Fund stated that Arafat had diverted about $900 million of public PA funds into his own accounts from 1995 to 2000.

In 2000, Internet hackers reportedly broke into Arafat’s computer system, finding information on more than $5 billion stashed in secret accounts in Switzerland, the United States, Asia and North Africa.

Arafat played the role of an unshaven leader with a frugal lifestyle while robbing his own people blind and letting them suffer. He purposely kept his compound in Ramallah looking like a bombed-out crater, living in only two rooms, to give the world the impression that Israel was the bad guy and to keep money flowing out of sympathy or guilt.

Arafat’s widow, Suha, was not without clean hands either. The Palestinian press has a nickname for her: Miss Moneybags. Unlike her husband who was born in Cairo, Suha is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem to reasonably well-to-do Christian parents.

Mrs. Arafat has virtually nothing in common with the Palestinians who suffer because of theft of funds and fiscal mismanagement. For much of her married life she was a pampered princess, living with her mother and young daughter in Paris, away from her husband. Before purchasing an expensive villa on the Rue Fauborg St. Honore, she occupied a 19-room suite for more than a year at the five-star Bristol Hotel in Paris that goes for about $16,000 a night, paid for by the Palestinian Authority. While her husband wore his trademark army uniform and kafiyah, she shopped for French designer clothes.

The financial sources of Mrs. Arafat’s lifestyle didn’t escape the attention of the France either. She was questioned about the receipt of $11.4 million from Swiss accounts controlled by her between 2002 and 2003.

And there is a reported allowance of $22 million annually from the Palestinian Authority for the rest of Mrs. Arafat’s life, approved by Mahmoud Abbas and then-Prime Minister Ahmed Queria in 2004.

With all this Palestinian money squandered and stolen by one of their own, Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim recently had the chutzpah to appeal for $4.3 million for health care in the Palestinian territories to prevent a “humanitarian and health disaster.” The United States, European Union, Israel and United Nations should demand guarantees that before one dollar is handed over, Palestinians will apply the same energy and resources they have been using to manipulate world opinion to recover the money Arafat stole from them.

The West should directly provide all humanitarian aid. The PA must terminate payment for Suha Arafat’s lavish lifestyle, and stop paying reparations to families of homicide bombers.

When the Palestinian Authority government has shown it can be fiscally responsible, then the world will respond in kind.

 

“THERE IS NO REAL HEALTH CRISIS IN THE PA”

Israel offers medicines, PA demands cash
Foreign minister meets with US assistant secretary of state, tells him Israel sought to aid Palestinians with medications worth NIS 50 million but was turned down
By Ronny Sofer
Yediot Ahronot
June 7, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3260173,00.html

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday updated US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch that the Palestinians refused to receive aid in medications from Israel.

Livni told Welch that Israel sought to transfer to the Palestinian Authority medications worth NIS 50 million (about USD 11 million), but the Palestinians asked that the sum be delivered in cash from their tax money.

Israeli defense officials said that “the Palestinians’ stance reveals that there is no real health crisis in the PA and that they are trying to use the money for other needs.”

The affair was exposed by Channel 10. According to the report, the World Health Organization (WHO) failed to convince the Palestinians to receive the medications from Israel.

State officials said Wednesday evening that 34 trucks loaded with medications have entered the Gaza Strip in recent days. The Israel Defense Forces also enabled the delivery of 119 additional donations through shipping containers loaded with medications expected to enter the Strip in the near future.

‘Palestinians not interested’

Several weeks ago, Israel turned to the Palestinians through the WHO in a bid to clarify which hospitals were in need of medical equipment and medications in order to purchase them with the money in its possession.

The decision to purchase the medications and not give the Palestinians money was made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who sought to address the PA’s humanitarian problems, but to prevent the transfer of funds to the Hamas-led government which will use them as it pleases.

WHO representatives recently got back to Israel, saying that the Palestinians were not interested in receiving the medications. According to the representatives, the Palestinians are interested in cash for their own needs. On Wednesday Israel raised it before the US assistant secretary of state, and the argument remains unresolved.

 

“WHAT’S WRONG IF MY HUSBAND SENDS ME SOME MONEY?”

Abbas holds ‘sulha’ with Suha
By Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post
June 4, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1148482098723&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and senior members of his Fatah party have held “warm and friendly talks” in Tunis with Suha Arafat, the widow of Yasser Arafat, sources close to Abbas and Suha announced on Saturday.

At the meeting, the first of its kind in many years, Abbas and the 43-year-old Suha agreed to end their long-standing dispute. The two, according to PA officials, had not been talking to each other for nearly 10 years.

Suha’s Tunis-based office described the meeting as “very warm” and said the two sides stressed the importance of the “national dialogue” that is taking place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between Fatah and Hamas.

The sulha [reconciliation] took place in Suha’s villa in the Tunisian capital, where she has been living since the death of her husband in November 2004.

The meeting, which lasted for about three hours, was attended by old guard Fatah leaders including former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, legislator Azzam al-Ahmed and other members of the Fatah central committee.

The meeting, which was not announced in advance of Abbas’s visit to Tunis, raised many eyebrows in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, especially among representatives of the young guard in Fatah.

One source in Ramallah said the meeting focused on a “variety of issues” concerning the latest developments in the Palestinian arena in the wake of Hamas’s victory in the January 25 parliamentary election. Asked if the talks also dealt with financial issues, the source said: “I don’t rule out the possibility that they also talked about this matter, but I don’t have enough details at this stage.”

Suha, who reportedly received up to $100,000 a month from the PA budget before her husband’s death, moved to Paris shortly after violence erupted in the Gaza Strip in September 2000.

She left for Tunis after French prosecutors announced that they had launched an inquiry into the transfer of $9 million into her French bank accounts. The inquiry was launched after information provided by the Bank of France and a government anti-money-laundering body.

Asked then to explain how she received the money, an angry Suha retorted “What’s wrong if my husband sends me some money? I’m working here (in Paris) for the benefit of my people.” She later accused her husband’s close aides of being responsible for corrupt dealings, saying: “Every beautiful flower ends up surrounded by weeds.”

When the ailing Arafat was hospitalized in a French Hospital, Suha refused, under French law, to permit Abbas and other Palestinian leaders to visit him, accusing them of seeking to “bury Yasser Arafat alive.” She later agreed to allow only Qurei to enter Arafat’s room.

Suha’s allegations, made in a message to the Palestinians through the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera news network, drew sharp criticism from PA leaders who accused her of insulting her husband’s legacy.

Because of the tensions, Suha was advised to stay away from Arafat’s funeral in Ramallah. She and her daughter only attended a memorial service in Cairo before flying back to Tunis.

During his visit to Tunis, Abbas also met with estranged PLO leader Farouk Kaddoumi.The two, who have been at odds ever since Abbas succeeded Arafat, agreed to patch up their differences and to work together against the Hamas cabinet.

Kaddoumi, who sees himself as the “Foreign Minister of Palestine," has in the past openly challenged Abbas’s right to appoint a PA foreign minister. Kaddoumi is now challenging Hamas’s right to name its own foreign minister.

Last week he surprised PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar by arriving before him at a meeting of Non-Aligned countries in Malaysia.


Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson says West must intervene to free Iran

* Khomeini’s grandson: “Iran needs democracy, not the bomb”

* In a ground-breaking interview, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini tells al-Arabiya TV: The West must free Iran from the “dictatorship of clerics who control every aspect of life. My grandfather’s revolution has devoured its children”

 

CONTENTS

1. “Iran will gain power if freedom and democracy develop there”
2. “If you were a prisoner, what would you do?”
3. “Strength will not be obtained through weapons and the bomb”
4. “Jews are the source for the plague and typhus”
5. “Article 51 of the U.N. Charter would allow Israel to act”
6. Iranian exiles and German Jews demonstrate together
7. “Grandfather’s revolution devoured its children” (MEMRI, June 13, 2006)
8. “Iran leader’s aide: Jews are filthy” (Yediot Ahronot, June 8, 2006)
9. “A legal case against Iran” (Washington Post, June 6, 2006)
10. “Iran accused of hiding secret nuclear weapons site” (Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

“IRAN WILL GAIN POWER IF FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY DEVELOP THERE”

Hussein Khomeini has made a sweeping attack on the Iranian regime in an interview on al-Arabiya TV’s website to mark the 17th anniversary of the death of his grandfather, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Hussein Khomeini, who is also an ayatollah, described the current regime as “a dictatorship of clerics who control every aspect of life.”

He told al-Arabiya: “My grandfather’s revolution has devoured its children and has strayed from its original course.”

Hussein Khomeini also points out that “Iran will gain [real] power if freedom and democracy develop there. Strength will not be obtained through weapons and the bomb.”

“IF YOU WERE A PRISONER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?”

He also called for foreign intervention to topple the regime, saying that “freedom must come to Iran in any possible way, whether through internal or external developments. If you were a prisoner, what would you do?”

Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini, who for the last three years has been under surveillance and been banned from giving interviews to the Iranian media, criticizes the issue of the “hijab” (veil): “The Iranian regime shackles women by forcing [them to wear] the hijab in its ugliest form… The hijab is a personal issue. If a woman wants, she may [wear it], and if she doesn’t [want it], she may [refuse it].”

Describing himself as a “liberal religious person,” he argues that Iranian law is not now based on Shi’ite religious principle, but developed for historical reasons having to do with persecution of clerics in pre-revolutionary Iran.

“STRENGTH WILL NOT BE OBTAINED THROUGH WEAPONS AND THE BOMB”

Whilst Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini argues that “strength will not be obtained through weapons and the bomb...” the (London) Daily Telegraph reported yesterday (article attached below) that “fresh evidence has emerged that Iran is working on a secret military project to develop nuclear weapons that has not been declared to United Nations inspectors responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear programme.”

The network of research laboratories is thought to be based at a secret military base outside Teheran. The project is named “Zirzamin 27.” Zirzamin means “basement” in Farsi, and 27 refers to the 27-year-old Iranian revolution.

“JEWS ARE THE SOURCE FOR THE PLAGUE AND TYPHUS”

Mohammad Ali Ramin, who is one of the most senior advisors to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has told students in the town of Rasht that Jews are “filthy people,” and that is why they have been accused throughout history of spreading deadly disease and plagues.

Ramin is believed to be one of the key figures in the regime who has encouraged the president to make recent statements denying the Holocaust.

Ramin told the impressionable young Iranians: “Historically, there are many accusations against the Jews. For example it was said that they were the source for such deadly disease as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to Christians and thus killed them.”

He added “So long as Israel exists in the region there will never be peace and security in the Middle East… so the resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel.”

“ARTICLE 51 OF THE U.N. CHARTER WOULD ALLOW ISRAEL TO ACT”

David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, Washington lawyers who served in the Justice Department during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, argue that the comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be “wiped off the map” should have been followed up “by a concerted diplomatic and legal effort in the U.N. Security Council.”

Rivkin and Casey write in the Washington Post (article attached below) that “Ahmadinejad’s words clearly violate Article 2.4 of the U.N. Charter. This provision, to which Iran has agreed, requires all U.N. member states to ‘refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.’”

Ahmadinejad’s comments also “entails a threat of committing genocide, which member nations are obliged, under the Genocide Convention, to prevent.”

They constitute “a direct and unequivocal threat, and it gives Israel a valid casus belli – under both Article 51 (self-defense) of the U.N. Charter and customary international law – to use preemptive force as a means of ensuring that Iran cannot make good on its stated intentions.”

The writers conclude that “this is how the U.N. system was, and is, supposed to work. When a clear threat to peace arises, it is incumbent upon the Security Council to act in defense of the threatened party to head off the unilateral use of force and to advance ‘collective security.’ This imperative is particularly compelling when the very legitimacy of the threatened party and its right to independent national existence have been challenged.”

IRANIAN EXILES AND GERMAN JEWS DEMONSTRATE TOGETHER

Before Sunday’s World Cup soccer match between Iran and Mexico in Nuremberg, German Jewish groups and Muslim Iranians-in-exile held a joint demonstration against the Iranian regime. About 300 people attended. Iran lost the match 3-1. Iran’s next game is against Portugal on Saturday.

I attach four articles on Iran below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“THE REVOLUTION HAS STRAYED FROM ITS ORIGINAL COURSE”

Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson: Grandfather’s revolution devoured its children, strayed from original course
MEMRI
June 13, 2006

www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD118406

In an interview with the Al-Arabiyya TV website (www.alarabiya.net) on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the death of Islamic Republic of Iran founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini said that the current Iranian regime was “a dictatorship of clerics who control every aspect of life,” and called for foreign intervention to topple the regime. (1)

In the interview, Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini argued that the “rule of the jurisprudent” was not based on Shi’ite religious principle, but developed for historical reasons having to do with persecution of clerics in pre-revolutionary Iran. He also says that in its current form, the revolution has “strayed from its original course” by abandoning the principles of freedom and democracy, and states that Iran will gain real power only when it re-embraces these principles, not through relying on bombs and weapons.

For the last three years, the Iranian regime has kept Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini under surveillance and has banned him from giving interviews to the Iranian media owing to his criticism of the regime. (2)

The following are highlights from the interview:

Strength Will Not Be Obtained Through Weapons, but Through Freedom and Democracy

Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini told Al-Arabiyya: “Iran will gain [real] power if freedom and democracy develop there. Strength will not be obtained through weapons and the bomb...”

Khomeini also objected to the principle of “[the rule of] the jurisprudent” [velayat-e faqih]. He added: “At the time of the [Islamic] revolution, establishing ‘the rule of the jurisprudent’ was not one of its main principles. Moreover – and I witnessed this [myself] – [the revolution] called for freedom and democracy. But this changed [in light of] the religious view that prevailed in the religious committees and seminaries.

“Within this religious view, there were two approaches. One, which rejected [the principle of] velayat-e faqih, was represented, for example, by [Ayatollah] Abu Al-Qassem Khoi, the supreme marja’ [religious authority] at the time. The second approach advocated velayat-e faqih, [but this approach] was not based on a religious consideration, but stemmed from historical factors. It arose because the religious seminaries were oppressed for many years, especially [in the time of Shah] Reza Khan Pahlavi in Iran [1921-1941], who persecuted the clerics. In response, the clerics lay in wait [for an opportunity] to seize power. This approach was fostered by the many of the wearers of the turban, and I do not say ‘religious scholars’ so as not to [include] Khomeini [in this category].”

The Revolution Persecuted its Leaders

“My grandfather’s revolution has devoured its children and has strayed from its course. I lived through the revolution, and it called for freedom and democracy – but it persecuted its leaders. For example [Ayatollah Mahmoud] Taleqani, who was frequently imprisoned in the days of the Shah, and after the revolution was harshly persecuted by [the regime] for denouncing violations of the law. He consequently [had to] go into hiding, while grieving and protesting. He protested against the establishment of the revolutionary committees that ruled in an arbitrary and disorganized [manner], and against the persecution of his family...

“The revolution rocked the foundations of society, which had [previously] been conservative and had rejected freedom. The revolution prepared society to accept democracy and freedom. Thanks to the revolution, all sectors of [the Iranian] society, from the educated class to the peasants and the women, are now able to accept [the notion of] freedom and have become politically aware.”

Khomeini further said that his meeting with the son of the deposed Shah Reza Pahlavi was “an ordinary meeting with a man who shares my suffering. The [cause] of our suffering is one and the same, namely tyranny, though each of us has his own [political] orientation...”

Addressing the issue of the hijab (i.e. the veil), Khomeini said that if he came to power in Iran, he would first of all “pass a law which makes the wearing of the hijab an optional choice for Iranian women. The Iranian regime shackles women by forcing [them to wear] the hijab in its ugliest form – namely a black [veil], even though the [veil] may be colorful. Girls coming out of schools or out of the university [campuses look] depressingly somber. I am personally in favor of the hijab, but not like this. The hijab is a personal issue. If a woman wants, she may [wear it], and if she doesn’t [want it], she may [refuse it]. Many female relatives of my grandfather Khomeini did not wear the hijab...”

Khomeini Calls for Foreign Military Intervention in Iran

The Al-Arabiyya website stated: “As for his call to American President George Bush to come and occupy Iran, Hussein Khomeini explained that ‘freedom must come to Iran in any possible way, whether through internal or external developments. If you were a prisoner, what would you do? I want someone to break the prison [doors open]...’”

At the end of the interview, Hussein Khomeini remarked that he believes his father Mustafa to have been poisoned, though, to this day, it is not clear who was responsible. (3)

Footnotes:
(1) Ayatollah Hussein Khomeini was born in Tehran in 1958. In 1965, he emigrated with his family to Iraq, where he studied in a religious seminary. After the Iraqi Ba’th revolution of 1968, he returned to Iran. He defines himself as a “liberal religious person.”
(2) www.alarabiya.net/Articles/2006/05/31/24251.htm , May 31, 2006.
(3) The Al-Arabiyya website writes that the death of Mustafa Khomeini was the main cause for the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

 

“THE JEWS ARE VERY FILTHY PEOPLE”

Iran leader’s aide: Jews are filthy
Senior aide to Iranian president says Jews have been accused of spreading deadly plagues throughout history because they are filthy; states that as long as Israel exists, “there will never be peace and security in Middle East”
Yediot Ahronot
June 8, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3260391,00.html

Jews are filthy people, and that is why they have been accused throughout history of spreading deadly disease and plagues, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin told students during a visit at the town of Rasht, the Iranian news site Rooz Online reported Thursday.

Ramin, a historian who serves as the president’s most senior aide, is believed to be the man behind the regime’s recent statements that the Holocaust is a myth.

“Historically, there are many accusations against the Jews. For example it was said that they were the source for such deadly disease as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to Christians and thus killed them,” the site quoted Ramin as saying.

“I only know that Jews have been accused of such conspiracies and sabotage throughout history and have not performed well,” he added.

Ramin reiterated past statements made by President Ahamadinejad regarding the Holocaust, saying it was the cause for the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and claimed that Israel is responsible for Middle East crisis.

“So long as Israel exists in the region there will never be peace and security in the Middle East,” he said adding, “so the resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel.”

 

A LEGAL CASE AGAINST IRAN

A legal case against Iran
By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey
The Washington Post
June 6, 2006

Speaking last October at a Tehran conference on “The World Without Zionism,” Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, referred to Israel as a “disgraceful blot” and called for it to be “wiped off the map.” This was not an isolated or idle threat. In the same speech, he defended Iran’s determination to press ahead with its nuclear program – which would give it the practical ability to achieve this result.

Although Ahmadinejad’s bellicose statements were condemned by the United States and a number of its European allies, the condemnation was not followed up by a concerted diplomatic and legal effort in the U.N. Security Council. It ought to be, especially given the uncertain prospects of the council’s current consideration of Iran’s nuclear activities, further complicated by the just-announced offer of direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington.

There is a good legal basis for such action. Ahmadinejad’s words clearly violate Article 2.4 of the U.N. Charter. This provision, to which Iran has agreed, requires all U.N. member states to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” Ahmadinejad’s specific formulation – wiping Israel off the map and prophesying a coming nuclear conflagration in which much of humanity would expire – also clearly entails a threat of committing genocide, which member nations are obliged, under the Genocide Convention, to prevent.

Both the nature and context of Ahmadinejad’s manifesto set it apart from such harsh but legally permissible rhetoric as President Bush’s talk of an “axis of evil” or President Ronald Reagan’s reference to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” Such statements do not threaten the existence of a sovereign member of the international community. Likewise, expressing a view that a particular undemocratic regime or an otherwise odious government would not survive the rising anger of its people, or will fall prey to certain forces of history, does not amount to a legally proscribed challenge.

But Ahmadinejad’s rant features a direct and unequivocal threat, and it gives Israel a valid casus belli – under both Article 51 (self-defense) of the U.N. Charter and customary international law – to use preemptive force as a means of ensuring that Iran cannot make good on its stated intentions.

Indeed, the International Court of Justice, in a 1996 opinion analyzing the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, found that use-of-force threats that violated Article 2.4 and were not otherwise justified under Article 51 also posed a threat to international peace and security, thereby further infringing the U.N. Charter. Since Israel has not committed aggression against Iran, Ahmadinejad’s statements cannot be justified as self-defense. They have, in fact, created a legally cognizable threat that can, and should, be addressed by the Security Council under its Chapter VII powers, which are concerned with threats to peace.

So far U.S.-led efforts to have the Security Council directly condemn and impose sanctions on Iran under Chapter VII for its nuclear ambitions have not succeeded. That’s why seeking the council’s intervention on Iran’s illegal threats to use force makes excellent diplomatic sense. Such an approach would provide multiple and reinforcing benefits.

First, it would broaden the international dialogue beyond Tehran’s breach of nonproliferation obligations, focusing on the real underlying problem: the bellicose nature of the Iranian regime and the use it might make of nuclear weapons. And since Tehran’s violations of the U.N. Charter are, by their nature, issues that can be handled only by the Security Council, bringing them to the council would counter Iran’s efforts to displace the U.N. framework in favor of direct negotiations with the European Union and the United States. Indeed, a serious debate on Ahmadinejad’s illegal threat would give the United States a unique opportunity to focus the Security Council on the shrill anti-Israeli rhetoric emanating not just from Iran but also from numerous other Islamic countries. This rhetoric fosters regional tensions and nurtures the dangerous “jihadist” sentiments.

Second, demands that Iran withdraw its threat and acknowledge its obligation to peacefully resolve any dispute it may have with Israel would be firmly grounded in international law – so much so that Security Council members Russia and China would be hard-pressed to oppose the effort. Both of those countries have routinely cloaked their objections to E.U.-U.S. policy toward Iran in the language of international law, arguing, for example, that Iran has a legal right to pursue civilian nuclear activities. No country, of course, is entitled to violate the U.N. Charter.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is how the U.N. system was, and is, supposed to work. When a clear threat to peace arises, it is incumbent upon the Security Council to act in defense of the threatened party to head off the unilateral use of force and to advance “collective security.” This imperative is particularly compelling when the very legitimacy of the threatened party and its right to independent national existence have been challenged. Such a challenge goes beyond the violation of Article 2.4 and raises the specter of the most heinous international crimes, including genocide.

If Iran genuinely desires the peaceful atom as an energy source, then it should have no problem retracting its threats against Israel and reaffirming its commitment to resolve any differences it may have with Jerusalem through peaceful means. If it refuses, it will provide compelling evidence that Iran’s current government cannot be expected to act as a responsible member of the international community. Then the world can take stock of its true intentions and act accordingly.

 

“THIS IS A TRULY ALARMING DEVELOPMENT”

Iran accused of hiding secret nuclear weapons site
By Con Coughlin
The Daily Telegraph
June 12, 2006

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/06/12/wiran12.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/06/12/ixnews.html

Fresh evidence has emerged that Iran is working on a secret military project to develop nuclear weapons that has not been declared to United Nations inspectors responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear programme.

Nuclear experts working for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna are pressing the Iranians to make a full disclosure about a network of research laboratories at a secret military base outside the capital Teheran.

The project is codenamed Zirzamin 27, and its purpose is to enable the Iranians to undertake uranium enrichment to military standard. Zirzamin means “basement” in Farsi, which suggests the laboratories are underground and 27 refers to the 27-year-old Iranian revolution.

Concerns over activity at Zirzamin 27 will be raised at this week’s meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors in Vienna, which starts today.

Suspicions have been growing that Iran has a secret military nuclear research programme since UN inspectors discovered particles of enriched uranium at a research complex at Lavizan, a military base on the outskirts of Teheran, in 2003.

The Iranians agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Lavizan complex but then razed it to the ground before the inspectors arrived.

Iranian nuclear officials have ignored repeated requests by IAEA officials for a detailed explanation of the Lavizan project. Now the IAEA officials are studying new intelligence indicating that the Lavizan research project has been moved to a secret military location outside Teheran.

Although IAEA officials do not know the precise location of Zirzamin 27, they have comprehensive details of its activities.

“This is a truly alarming development,” said a senior western diplomat working with the IAEA. “This evidence indicates that the Iranians remain committed to developing nuclear weapons, despite their claims to the contrary that their nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful.”

Teheran has consistently argued that its nuclear programme is aimed at developing an indigenous nuclear power industry. But Iran’s insistence on developing its own uranium enrichment facilities has raised concerns that it has a well-advanced programme to develop nuclear weapons.

The Zirzamin 27 operation is thought to be being supervised by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards under the direction of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran’s Modern Defensive Readiness and Technology Centre, a top-secret military research site.

According to reports being studied by IAEA officials, scientists working at Zirzamin are required to wear standard military uniforms when entering and leaving the complex to give the impression they are involved in normal military activity. They are only allowed to change into protective clothing once inside the site.

Special attention has also been given to developing specialised ventilation systems to make sure no incriminating particles of radioactive material are allowed to escape.


Hamas prime minister’s nephews “served in the Israeli army”

June 06, 2006

CONTENTS

1. Hamas leader’s three sisters live quietly in Israel as full citizens
2. Gunmen fight media bias
3. Fatah sweeps Gaza University elections with 80% of vote
4. Arafat “lives” in Jenin
5. 20-year-old woman, 8 months pregnant, killed by masked Palestinian gunmen
6. Palestinian support “crashes” in Europe
7. IDF intelligence warns conflict with Palestinians likely to escalate
8. Israeli government officials: UN seminar is anti-Israel forum
9. “Hamas leader’s three sisters live secretly in Israel as full citizens” (Daily Telegraph, June 2, 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

HAMAS LEADER’S THREE SISTERS LIVE QUIETLY IN ISRAEL AS FULL CITIZENS

Those Europeans and others who ignorantly and maliciously accuse Israel of conducting “Apartheid” against Arabs, will have trouble explaining the fact that it turns out that Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian Hamas prime minister, has three sisters who have all been granted full Israeli citizenship.

The Haniya sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah, married Israeli Bedouin from the Negev town of Tel Sheva and moved to the town 30 years ago. They were granted Israeli citizenship and live in relative comfort. Tel Sheva is a town inhabited mainly by Israeli Bedouin. (See the Daily Telegraph story below for more details.)

It is reported that some of their children and grandchildren have served in the Israeli army, though for security reasons they have refused to divulge details.

Ismail Haniya, who took office in March as the Palestinian prime minister after Hamas won a January parliamentary election, has not visited these three of his sisters for many years. Of course, had he not chosen to become a senior member of an organization dedicated to murdering Israelis on buses and at cafes, he could have visited them.

The Palestinian prime minister has 13 children of his own, a not uncommon number among devout Palestinian Muslims.

GUNMEN FIGHT MEDIA BIAS

Hamas gunmen rampaged through a TV station in Khan Yunis, Gaza, yesterday.

Reuters reports: “Dozens of Hamas gunmen stormed an office of Palestine TV in the Gaza Strip on Monday, destroying broadcasting equipment and accusing the network of favoring the rival Fatah faction in its coverage, employees said. It was the first such armed assault on the official television network in the Palestinian territories since Hamas, an Islamic militant group, formed a government in March after defeating Fatah in a January election.

“Firing bullets into broadcasting equipment, computers and a transmitter that feeds reports from Khan Yunis to a studio in Gaza City, the gunmen shouted that Palestine TV was distorting the truth and that its coverage had a pro-Fatah slant. Two employees said they were beaten by the gunmen.”

Tom Gross adds: This is the same Palestinian TV station that has often broadcast messages encouraging Palestinian children to become “martyrs” in order to murder Israelis.

FATAH SWEEPS GAZA UNIVERSITY ELECTIONS WITH 80% OF VOTE

The Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has gained 80 percent of the vote in student union elections held at Al-Quds University’s five Gaza Strip colleges. This is a surprisingly large margin of victory over Hamas, which usually enjoys strong support, especially among Islamic students.

A total of some ten thousand students participated in the elections. In the Gaza City branch of the university, and in the central Strip’s college, Fatah won 75 percent of the vote. In Khan Yunis it won 78 percent. In the northern Gaza campus it won 82 percent. And in the Rafah college, Fatah won 84 percent of the student vote.

ARAFAT “LIVES” IN JENIN

Meanwhile in the West Bank, Fatah has deployed a new militia on the streets of Jenin, in a show of force against the ruling Hamas government.

More than 2,000 members of the new unit gathered in Jenin in recent days, wearing white headbands and black T-shirts emblazoned with “Special Protection Unit” on the back, and a photo of the deceased Palestinian dictator Yasser Arafat, on the front. Many of the men were armed with assault rifles and pistols.

The new fighters raised their arms in a salute and shouted “Fatah, Fatah.” The force then split into 23 groups that paraded throughout the streets of Jenin. Unless Hamas disbands its new force, Fatah will create similar units across the West Bank and Gaza, Fatah officials said.

20-YEAR-OLD WOMAN, 8 MONTHS PREGNANT, KILLED BY MASKED PALESTINIAN GUNMEN

One of the reasons tens of thousands of British university lecturers, as well as the Canadian Union of Public Employees, have taken time off working and teaching to organize McCarthyite style boycotts of any colleague who doesn’t denounce imaginary “Israeli apartheid” is that they really believe what they hear about Israel in the media.

They are told lie after lie, day after day. Yesterday morning, for example, it was said on BBC radio that Ehud Olmert is planning to annex “half the West Bank.” And while almost every day, near the top of its “World News headlines,” the BBC World Service reports that some Palestinian public employees (most of whom it fails to mention are in bogus jobs) have not been paid since March, the BBC (along with other media) failed to report on the pregnant woman and three other civilians shot dead by the Fatah-led Preventive Security Service in Gaza on Sunday night. If the Israelis didn’t do it, the media, the UN, and the “human rights” groups just aren’t interested.

PALESTINIAN SUPPORT “CRASHES” IN EUROPE

The Jerusalem Post reports on new findings of a public opinion survey conducted among “opinion elites” in Europe that show support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously. The poll was conducted by former Clinton pollster, Stan Greenberg, on behalf of the Washington DC-based Israel Project. There has not been “a rush to support Israel” but there has been a “crash” in backing for the Palestinians, Greenberg said.

Greenberg singled out France as the country where attitudes had changed most dramatically. Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they backed one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference. “Suddenly it is the Palestinians who may be the extremists, or who are allied with extremists who threaten Europe’s own society.” (The senior staff of both the Jerusalem Post and the Israel Project are subscribers to this list.)

IDF INTELLIGENCE WARNS CONFLICT WITH PALESTINIANS TO ESCALATE

The Israeli army predicts that it is headed toward another violent round of clashes with the Palestinians following a period of relative calm, senior security officials said. This grim prognosis is based on the army’s five-year plan for 2006-2011, which will be made public in July.

According to the assessment, Israeli army intelligence believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s ambitious plan to withdraw from large parts of the West Bank will not do anything to decrease the scope of daily violence in the region. Instead, army intelligence assesses it will lead to another round of bloody violence with the Palestinians.

ISRAELI GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: UN SEMINAR IS ANTI-ISRAEL FORUM

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is trying to stop a United Nations initiative to invite (anti-Zionist) Israeli politicians and public figures to the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, scheduled to be held in Moscow on June 8 and 9. Officials in the foreign ministry believe the invitation is intended to lend the appearance of respectability to an anti-Israel forum.

The seminar is an annual event grounded in a UN Assembly resolution calling for the implementation of the “Palestine Plan” by the UN’s Department of Public Information.

I attach one article below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLE

ENJOYING LIFE AS ISRAELIS

Hamas leader’s three sisters live secretly in Israel as full citizens
By Tim Butcher in Tel Sheva
The Daily Telegraph
June 2, 2006

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/06/02/whamas02.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/06/02/ixnews.html

Israel regards Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian Hamas prime minister, as an enemy of state. But three of his sisters enjoy full Israeli citizenship, having moved 30 years ago to the desert town of Tel Sheva.

Some of their offspring have even served in the Israeli army, the force responsible for decades of Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, an occupation that the Islamist movement, Hamas, was founded to fight.

The Daily Telegraph tracked down the Haniya sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah, to a town in southern Israel. That they live in Israel is a closely guarded secret and nowhere is it guarded more secretly than Tel Sheva, a town inhabited mainly by Israeli Bedouin on the edge of the Negev desert.

“There is no reason to speak to my wife,” said Salameh Abu Rukayek, 53, who married Kholidia. “It is private business and you are not welcome asking questions about my wife.”

Blind since birth, Mr Abu Rukayek sat on a thin floor cushion and said he was happy living in Israel. “Our life is normal here and we want it to continue,” he said.

Perhaps he felt discussion of his wife’s family links might jeopardise his relatively comfortable lifestyle.

Bedouins form a small and poor minority in modern Israel, descendants of desert nomads who roamed the Holy Land in ancient times, living in tents and travelling by camel train. Some Bedouin have settled down in towns such as Tel Sheva and many make a good living, often running transport firms across Israel.

Although they regard themselves as separate from Palestinians, links between the two communities are nevertheless close. Both share the same Muslim faith.

Another member of the clan, Yousef Abu Ruqia, 50, who works as secretary in the municipal council, explained how the Haniya sisters came to Tel Sheva.

“In a small community like ours there were not enough women to go round, so some of the men would go and look for wives elsewhere,” he said.

“The Haniya sisters were Palestinians living in Gaza. Back then it was possible for people to visit Gaza easily, so Kholidia was the first to be married and move to Tel Sheva, and then Laila and then Sabah.”

He said he remembered the time, 25 years ago, when their younger brother, Ismail, would come to visit his sisters.

“There was another brother, Khaled, who came here to work laying tiles and each year, at the holiday after Ramadan, Ismail would come and visit his brother and sisters.”

The issue of Palestinian-Israeli links recently received close scrutiny from the Israeli supreme court, which was asked to consider the legality of a new law banning Palestinians from joining their Israeli spouses. The court accepted the state’s argument that security concerns justified keeping couples apart if they married across the divide.

While the law is intended to address current political problems, the presence of a Hamas leader’s own family in Israel reveals the extent and strength of links in spite of decades of mutual hostility.

Mr Abu Ruqia said the law banning Palestinian women over 25 and men over 35 from applying to join their spouses in Israel would have stopped the Haniya sisters’ move to Israel had it applied 30 years ago.

“This is a racist law that makes problems for some people in Israel like the Bedouin who often marry into Palestinian families,” he said. “It is unfair against us and not against other Israelis.”

Laila and Sabah are both widows but remain in Tel Sheva, apparently reluctant to give up their Israeli citizenship. It is not known when the Haniya sisters last had contact with their brother. As he is a Hamas prime minister, contact with him could, under Israeli law, be illegal.

“Not statesmanship, but stupidity”

June 01, 2006

CONTENTS

1. Reuters “Zionist pig” death threat update
2. “Nothing will stop me”
3. Listening to all opinions
4. “Democracy is a precious commodity”
5. The current Nobel laureate speaks out
6. “Israeli concessions will also make the U.S. look weak”
7. “Not statesmanship, but stupidity”
8. Not heard on BBC or CNN
9. “Tough love from Israel’s friends” (By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, May 24, 2006)
10. “A two-state disaster” (By Youssef Ibrahim, New York Sun, May 26, 2006)
11. “West Bank terrorist state” (By James Woolsey, Wall St. Journal, May 29, 2006)



REUTERS “ZIONIST PIG” DEATH THREAT UPDATE

[Additional note by Tom Gross]

Following the previous dispatch, Reuters employee issues “Zionist pig” death threat (May 30, 2006), several journalists have asked me to confirm that Inayat Bunglawala is an employee of Reuters. He is. Bunglawala, who also serves as media secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, and in the past has made various anti-Semitic comments, works as a senior systems engineer in the Reuters Docklands offices in east London.

In the last two days, the influential Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) has rushed to the support of Bunglawala, even though Bunglawala has strongly denied any involvement with the anonymous death threat sent from a Reuters computer to the publisher of the Little Green Footballs blog. (Bunglawala did refer to Little Green Footballs in a comment he posted under his name on the website of The Guardian newspaper a few hours before the anonymous death threat was also sent from a Reuters computer; hence some suspect him of being the sender of the anonymous threat too, or at least being near or in contact with the sender who also used a Reuters computer.)

MPACUK has in the past included images from neo-Nazi journals on its website. In August 2005, the MPACUK website featured an image of a supposedly “Jewish” monster with horns holding up the American flag. Sources tell me that the image came originally from the web site of the neo-Nazi magazine “National Journal.”

MPACUK has also vilified supporters of Israel “accusing” them of being Jewish, such as former British Labour MP Lorna Fitzsimons (who is not Jewish).

In the last year, MPACUK has also republished articles or quotes that originated from the extreme right-wing newspaper, the American Free Press, and from David Irving’s website.

 

“NOTHING WILL STOP ME”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch contains three articles, and a number of other views, opposing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposed “convergence” plan to withdraw from over 90 per cent of the West Bank and from a portion of Jerusalem.

In an interview today with Yediot Ahronot, Olmert clarifies that he wants to withdraw from the West Bank in one fell swoop. “Nothing will stop me, I hope at the end of my term reality here will be completely different,” he says.

Others, such as Shimon Peres, have warned against this, saying it is not logistically possible. Peres believes it will take a decade to find new homes, schools, communities, and so on, and will costs tens of billions of dollars. Israel has still not found housing for all the 8,000 Jews removed from Gaza last year and it is not clear what would happen to the tens of thousands Olmert plans to move from the West Bank.

LISTENING TO ALL OPINIONS

I am not necessarily in agreement with the views expressed below. However, I think it is important that they are aired to a wider audience so at least we might seriously consider them.

One of the problems during the period of the Oslo peace process was that those warning that it was a terrible mistake (both for Israelis and for Palestinians who wanted neither the dictatorship of Yasser Arafat nor Islamic rule) were simply not listened to. For years it was simply impossible to get those views into the mainstream media. Today, many people now admit Oslo was a dreadful mistake for both Israelis and Palestinians.

So when voices as experienced as the former director of the CIA (article below) and the world’s leading Game Theorist, speak out against the wisdom of Israel withdrawing from the West Bank at the present time and under the current circumstances, I think we should at least listen.

“DEMOCRACY IS A PRECIOUS COMMODITY”

Youssef Ibrahim, writing in the New York Sun, argues that “a new Palestinian state, carved out of Gaza and the West Bank and governed by Palestinian Arab Jihadists, would be a recipe for disaster.”

Ibrahim sees a Palestinian state as a future threat to “the Arabs who live in places like Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and beyond. Giving Muslim fundamentalists a base in Palestine from which to operate and finish off these dying regimes would be unconscionable.”

Ibrahim concludes that “the Palestinian Arabs, who just elected a radical, mindless, bloody Islamic fundamentalist regime, Hamas, as their first freely elected government, have not demonstrated they deserve further indulgence. Democracy is a precious commodity. It has to be consumed by the right people at the right time.”

(The government of Jordan, incidentally, has also been lobbying hard with the Bush administration to stop Olmert pulling out of the West Bank, fearing that it will greatly strengthen Hamas and radical Islamists throughout the region.)

THE CURRENT NOBEL LAUREATE SPEAKS OUT

Another prominent critic of Israel’s plan to withdraw from the West Bank is winner of last year’s Nobel Prize for Economics, Prof. Robert Aumann. Aumann, the world’s leading expert in Game Theory (on how individuals and groups act when they have different, and often opposing, goals), says “Israel’s leaders and the West are not playing the game correctly.”

Aumann claims that the West Bank withdrawal will simply encourage further acts of terror against Israel and embolden Jihadi terrorists the world over.

He argues that Israel must show patience. “Merely taking action for the sake of doing something, by withdrawing, will lead to greater militancy and more bloodshed. The current drive for peace now, not tomorrow, is liable to bring about the opposite.”

Israel is showing “fatigue,” he says. “It is the exhaustion experienced by a mountain climber or a skier who has become stuck in the snow all night; all he wants to do is sleep, but it is the sleep of death. A mountain climber in that position must resist the urge to sleep. He cannot give in to that fatigue, because if he does, he will die. Israel is in mortal danger because of that tiredness.”

“Israelis can take care of themselves against outside enemies, but they do not know what to do from the danger that comes from within their own ranks,” he added, alluding to supporters of disengagement while Hamas is in power. Ehud Olmert and his government, he says, are “well-meaning patriots who think they are doing the right thing, but they are not doing the right thing.”

“ISRAELI CONCESSIONS WILL ALSO MAKE THE U.S. LOOK WEAK”

James Woolsey asks in respect to Olmert’s recent request in Washington for money to implement the “convergence plan,” “what does one say to a good ally who seems determined to reinforce failure?”

The former director of the CIA maintains that “Israeli concessions will also make the U.S. look weak, because it will be inferred that we have urged them, and will suggest that we are reverting to earlier behavior patterns.”

Since “it seems increasingly clear that the Palestinian cause is fueled by hatred and contempt. Israeli concessions indeed enhance Palestinian hope, but not of a reasonable two-state solution – rather a hope that they will actually be able to destroy Israel.”

Woolsey mentions that “today we cannot envision the 250,000 Jewish settlers who live outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders being permitted to live at all, much less live free and unmolested, in a West-Bank-Gaza Palestinian state. But some 1.2 million Arabs, almost all Muslim, today live in Israel in peace among some five million Jews.”

As a result Woolsey concludes that “a two-state solution can become a reality when the Palestinians are held to the same standards as Israelis – to the requirement that Jewish settlers in a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state would be treated with the same decency that Israel treats its Arab citizens.”

“NOT STATESMANSHIP, BUT STUPIDITY”

Jeff Jacoby argues that to replicate the “debacle” of last summer’s evacuation from the Gaza Strip would not be “statesmanship, but stupidity.”

“Israel cannot afford to succumb once again to the delusion that retreating in the face of terror will bring safety and peace of mind. Wars are not won by evacuations, as Winston Churchill told his British countrymen in 1940. Israelis, weary after so many years under siege, wish to pretend otherwise? Then it is up to their friends to tell them the truth.”

NOT HEARD ON BBC OR CNN

Other prominent voices speaking out against Olmert, but whose views are not heard on BBC or CNN, include Moshe Ya’alon, the recently retired chief of staff of the Israeli army. Ya’alon, a kibbutznik from a Labor background, laments what he describes as widespread combat-fatigue among Israelis and says Israel must come to grips with many more years of needing to occupy the West Bank in order to bring about a situation when enough Palestinians are finally prepared to live in long-term peace with Israel. “It will take at least a generation – probably more than one – for Palestinian society to ripen for peace negotiations, and stop planning measures to destroy Israel,” he said in a speech recently.

Ya’alon says he does not share the views of the ideological right who want a “greater Israel.” He says his views are based on realism – not ideology – stemming from a correct assessment of Palestinian society and goals.

Ya’alon says he supported the Oslo Accords in 1993, but the extremism in Palestinian society fermented by Yasser Arafat since then means it will now take at least a generation until peace can be possible. “We must stop showing Palestinian militants that terrorism pays, that Israel cuts and runs under pressure,” he argues.

Israelis and others who think that peace is round the corner are dreaming, he says. “As long as Palestinians are continuing to teach children from the age of 3 to hate and kill Israelis, peace will not be possible.”

I attach three articles below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“ALBERT EINSTEIN DEFINED INSANITY AS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS”

Tough love from Israel’s friends
By Jeff Jacoby
Boston Globe
May 24, 2006

www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/05/24/tough_love_from_israels_friends

Ehud Olmert’s first visit to Washington as Israel’s prime minister has been eventful. What with meeting President Bush at the White House, addressing a joint session of Congress, and taking part in all the other social and substantive activities that get packed into a Washington summit, Olmert probably hasn’t had much time to hang out and watch TV. So he may not have seen a new television ad that takes aim directly at Israel’s ongoing campaign of territorial surrender.

The ad pulls no punches. Israeli withdrawals from south Lebanon and Gaza, it says, have played into Al Qaeda’s hands and increased the terror threat “for Israel and for us.” Olmert’s proposed “convergence” program in the West Bank – a follow-up to last year’s unilateral retreat from the Gaza Strip, when 21 communities were destroyed and 9,000 Israelis were expelled – will only intensify that threat. “Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” the ad bitingly observes. “We cannot afford any more of this insanity.”

Condemnation of the Jewish state by its detractors is nothing new, but this TV spot isn’t the work of an Israel-basher. It is part of a campaign launched by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington think tank committed to pursuing international peace through American strength. For years, the center has staunchly supported Israel’s right to defend itself against its enemies. Why is such a longtime ally so publicly opposing the new prime minister and his signature policy?

The same question might be asked of Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily and one of Israel’s most outspoken Christian defenders. In a recent column headlined “I give up on Israel,” Farah said he was appalled by Olmert’s determination to hand over more than 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, describing that as a “national retreat” and “appeasement of the global Jihad.” Last summer’s evacuation from Gaza, he wrote, was an “unmitigated disaster.” Hamas, an Islamist terror organization, now controls the territory and is turning it into a Taliban-style haven to be used as a staging ground for further attacks. To replicate such a debacle on an even larger scale in the West Bank is not statesmanship, but stupidity.

“I’m through making excuses for Israel,” a disillusioned Farah declared. “I’m through trying to understand the incomprehensible moves of a self-flagellating nation.”

It isn’t only in TV spots and on the Internet that Israel’s plans for another destabilizing self-expulsion are being blasted. Thousands of pro-Israel/anti-Olmert protesters descended on Capitol Hill yesterday, some traveling hundreds of miles to urge the Bush administration to refuse its support for another Israeli retreat. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former CIA director James Woolsey pointed out that a “West Bank terrorist state” – the foreseeable result of the Olmert plan – would mortally threaten not only Israel but also its moderate Arab neighbor, Jordan. “Israeli concessions will also make the US look weak,” Woolsey warned. Washington’s approval of yet another territorial surrender to Hamas and its allies will signal that we are “reverting to earlier behavior patterns – fleeing Lebanon in 1983, acquiescing in Saddam Hussein’s destruction of the Kurdish and Shi’ite rebels in 1991, fleeing Somalia in 1993.” Those behavior patterns eventually led to 9/11.

In a democracy, it is said, people get the leaders they deserve. Israeli voters chose Olmert in a free and fair election, knowing full well that he intended to “disengage” from the enemy by giving more land. If that enemy threatened only the people of Israel, perhaps a case could be made for letting them lie in the bed they themselves have made.

But Israel’s enemy – a murderous Palestinian regime and the international terror network of which it is a part – is our enemy, too. “By Allah,” proclaimed Sheik Ibrahim Mudayris in a sermon broadcast on Palestinian TV, “the day will come and we shall rule America... We shall rule the entire world.” When Florida teenager Daniel Wultz was horribly wounded in a recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, terrorist leaders rejoiced that an American was among the casualties. After Daniel died of his injuries last week, Abu Nasser of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades cheered the news as “a gift from Allah” and promised Americans “more Daniel Wultzes and more pain and sorrow.”

Israel cannot afford to succumb once again to the delusion that retreating in the face of terror will bring safety and peace of mind. Wars are not won by evacuations, as Winston Churchill told his British countrymen in 1940. Israelis, weary after so many years under siege, wish to pretend otherwise? Then it is up to their friends to tell them the truth.

 

“THERE IS NO NEED TO ADD MORE BATS TO A DARK NIGHT”

A two-state disaster
By Youssef Ibrahim
The New York Sun
May 26, 2006

www.nysun.com/article/33464

A new Palestinian state, carved out of Gaza and the West Bank and governed by Palestinian Arab Jihadists, would be a recipe for disaster. Indeed, drawing up a two-state solution now would be tantamount to opening the gates to barbarians.

A former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey, was on target when he warned that a hastened pullout would unleash a wave of Islamic fundamentalist terror on Israel as well as Arab lands, without resolving anything for Palestinian Arabs.

The notion that unilateral withdrawal by Israel from parts of the West Bank would lead to peace and Palestinian statehood constitutes “flawed logic,” Mr. Woolsey wrote in the May 23 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Spot on. Palestinian Arabs are far from ready to run anything – let alone a country in the tinderbox that is the Middle East.

A few days ago, Egypt asserted that the perpetrators of the most recent deadly bombings of tourist resorts in the Red Sea, as well as those of two other attacks since 2004 that killed more than 100 and wounded hundreds more, were trained, equipped, and “weaponized” ideologically as well as physically by Muslim Palestinian Jihadists in Gaza and the West Bank.

The last thing anyone wants to do is give such folks a green light to widen the scope of their operations.

“The approach Israel is preparing to take in the West Bank was tried in Gaza and has failed utterly. The Israeli withdrawal of last year has produced the worst set of results imaginable: a heavy presence by Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and even some Iranian Revolutionary Guard units; street-fighting between Hamas and Fatah and now Hamas assassination attempts against Fatah’s intelligence chief and Jordan’s ambassador; rocket and mortar attacks against nearby towns inside Israel, and a perceived vindication for Hamas, which took credit for the withdrawal,” Mr.Woolsey wrote.

That is only the tip of the iceberg. There are more reasons to be wary of a Palestinian Arab state.

A new Palestinian Arab state, governed by Palestinian Jihadists, would fling open doors to a potpourri of anarchists, assassins, and killers. It is tantamount to laying down a welcome mat for Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah pro-Iranian activists, Saudi Wahhabi preachers of darkness, Iraqi messengers of insurgency, and Muslim Sunni and Shiite fanatics, along with Muslim Brotherhood angels-of-death types, including European and Pakistani Muslims – all competing for hearts and minds in a seriously dysfunctional Palestinian and broader Arab society.

Nation-building is too serious a business to come to that. No responsible party can give such people an area of operation under the name of Palestine. Jihad is already an ideology to a lot of Muslims, indeed an obsession. There is no need to add more bats to a dark night. We already have the government of Saudi Arabia doing enough harm as it is.

Should anyone allow this, Israel will be the last to suffer from it. With superb intelligence management, technology, and informant apparatus, it will take care of itself. The question should instead be about the Arabs who live in places like Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and beyond.

Most of them are governed by failed regimes, teetering on the brink of collapse with Jihadists nipping at their heels and corruption eating their entrails. Giving Muslim fundamentalists a base in Palestine from which to operate and finish off these dying regimes would be unconscionable.

A two state Palestinian-Israeli solution may be possible one day. But not today. The Palestinian Arabs, who just elected a radical, mindless, bloody Islamic fundamentalist regime, Hamas, as their first freely elected government, have not demonstrated they deserve further indulgence.

They can wait until they learn the price of responsible governance. Democracy is a precious commodity. It has to be consumed by the right people at the right time.

 

“THREE FAILURES IN 13 YEARS SHOULD PERMIT US TO EVALUATE THE WISDOM OF FURTHER CONCESSIONS”

West Bank terrorist state
The folly of Israeli disengagement
By R. James Woolsey
The Wall Street Journal
May 23, 2006

www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008442

What does one say to a good ally who seems determined to reinforce failure? That the U.S. will pay for the undertaking?

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Washington last week, where he asked for advice and assistance in financing the withdrawal of 50,000 to 100,000 Israeli settlers from 90% to 95% of the West Bank and major portions of Jerusalem, and for the Israel Defense Forces to be repositioned largely near the security barrier Israel is constructing. Most Americans are inclined to believe that such disengagement may be a reasonable step toward a two-state solution, even if some territorial disputes remain to be negotiated. It is also widely assumed that Palestinian hostility to Israel is fueled by despair that can only be reduced by Israeli concessions. Both assumptions, however, may be fundamentally flawed.

The approach Israel is preparing to take in the West Bank was tried in Gaza and has failed utterly. The Israeli withdrawal of last year has produced the worst set of results imaginable: a heavy presence by al Qaeda, Hezbollah and even some Iranian Revolutionary Guard units; street fighting between Hamas and Fatah, and now Hamas assassination attempts against Fatah’s intelligence chief and Jordan’s ambassador; rocket and mortar attacks against nearby towns inside Israel; and a perceived vindication for Hamas, which took credit for the withdrawal. This latter almost certainly contributed substantially to Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections.

The world now needs to figure out how to keep Palestinians from starving without giving funds to a Hamas government in Gaza resolutely focused on destroying Israel. Before his massive stroke last year, Ariel Sharon repeatedly said he would not replay the Gaza retreat in the West Bank. With good reason: Creating a West Bank that looks like today’s Gaza would be many times the nightmare. How would one deal with continuing launches of rockets and mortars from the West Bank into virtually all of Israel? (Israel’s Arrow missile defense will probably work against Iranian medium-range ballistic missiles but not against the much shorter-range Katyushas.) A security barrier does no good against such bombardment. The experience in Gaza, further, has shown the difficulty of defending against such attacks after the IDF boots on the ground have departed. Effective, prompt retaliation from the air is hard to imagine if the mortar rounds and Katyushas are being launched, as they will be, from schools, hospitals and mosques.

Israel is not the only pro-Western country that would be threatened. How does moderate Jordan, with its Palestinian majority, survive if bordered by a West Bank terrorist state? Israeli concessions will also make the U.S. look weak, because it will be inferred that we have urged them, and will suggest that we are reverting to earlier behavior patterns – fleeing Lebanon in 1983, acquiescing in Saddam’s destruction of the Kurdish and Shiite rebels in 1991, fleeing Somalia in 1993, etc.

Three major Israeli efforts at accommodation in the last 13 years have not worked. Oslo and the 1993 handshake in the Rose Garden between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat produced only Arafat’s rejection in 2000 of Ehud Barak’s extremely generous settlement offer and the beginning of the second intifada. The Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 has enhanced Hezbollah’s prestige and control there; and the withdrawal from Gaza has unleashed madness. These three accommodations have been based on the premise that only Israeli concessions can displace Palestinian despair. But it seems increasingly clear that the Palestinian cause is fueled by hatred and contempt.

Israeli concessions indeed enhance Palestinian hope, but not of a reasonable two-state solution – rather a hope that they will actually be able to destroy Israel. The Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas axis is quite explicit about a genocidal objective. When they speak of “ending Israeli occupation” they mean of Tel Aviv. Under these circumstances it is time to recognize that, sadly, the Israeli-Palestinian issue will likely not be the first matter settled in the decades-long war that radical Islam has declared on the U.S., Israel, the West and moderate Muslims. It will more likely be one of the last.

Someday a two-state solution may become possible, but it is naive in the extreme to believe that this can occur while the centerpiece of the radical Islamic and Palestinian agendas is maximizing Jewish deaths. A durable compromise will be achievable only when we no longer, to borrow from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “define deviancy down” for the Palestinians.

Today we cannot envision the 250,000 Jewish settlers who live outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders being permitted to live at all, much less live free and unmolested, in a West-Bank-Gaza Palestinian state. But some 1.2 million Arabs, almost all Muslim, today live in Israel in peace among some five million Jews – about double the percentage of Jews now in the West Bank as a share of the Muslim population there. Israel’s Arab citizens worship freely – one hears muezzins calling the faithful to prayer as one walks around Tel Aviv. They vote in free elections for their own representatives in a real legislature, the Knesset. They give every evidence that they prefer being Arab Israelis to living in the chaos and uncertainty of a West Bank after Israeli withdrawal.

A two-state solution can become a reality when the Palestinians are held to the same standards as Israelis – to the requirement that Jewish settlers in a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state would be treated with the same decency that Israel treats its Arab citizens. Until then, three failures in 13 years should permit us to evaluate the wisdom of further concessions.