Archive for December, 2007

The asymmetry of the conflict

Monday, December 31st, 2007

The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) describe their activities as “reducing violence by getting in the way”.

I am all for reducing violence. But the CPT have a history of getting in the way of people, if they happen to be Israelis, defending themselves.

The point of view is perfectly illustrated by this fragment of an email written by a CPT member named Jan Benvie:

On 28 December, 2007, two armed, off-duty Israeli soldiers and two Palestinian gunmen killed each other… The Israelis were from the settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, the Palestinians from Hebron.

Both communities have their narratives of why their young men are dead. Their narratives are similar, although I doubt either would agree with me, such is their enmity towards each other.

Part of the narrative goes like this: both believe the other wants to kill them and steal their land; neither thinks the other wants peace…

I think of the bereaved families in both Kiryat Arba and Hebron. As a mother, I feel particularly for the parents mourning their dead sons. [my emphasis]

Now a few facts, independent of ‘narratives': three Israelis were walking down a road. A car carrying Palestinians drove by and sprayed them with bullets. Because the Israelis were off-duty soldiers walking in a dangerous place, they were armed and fired back. Two Israelis and one, possibly two, Palestinians died.

The thrust of Ms. Benvie’s email is that there is a symmetry here: both sides hate the other, both sides commit violence, both sides have grieving parents.

But this incident (which I wrote about in “The 35… and two more” ) is a perfect example of the asymmetry of the conflict.

Apologists for the Palestinians will say that the Israeli settlers had initiated the violence by living on ‘Palestinian land’. But even if you ignore the history of the Jewish presence in and around Hebron, and even if you think that the penalty for a Jew living on ‘Arab land’ should be death, the terrorists did not know who they were shooting. There is no doubt in my mind that any Israeli hiking on that road would have been shot.

If the victims had been unarmed, the only difference would have been that none of the terrorists would have been hurt. In that case, would Benvie still blame the Israelis equally? For what?

The CPT distribute a brochure entitled “No way to the Inn” which includes the line “If the Christmas story were to happen today, Mary and Joseph would have a hard time getting to Bethlehem”, because of the security fence.

CPT's nativity sceneThe brochure suggests building a little wall around a nativity scene, and then calling the local media to explain why you are doing it. It compares the Jews of today to the Romans of Herod’s time, and talks about the hardships faced by Palestinians living near the barrier.

But nowhere does it mention that the barrier is being built in order to stop Palestinian terrorists from attacking and killing Israelis. The CPT ‘gets in the way’ of self-defense, but doesn’t seem to do much to get in the way of terrorism (although one CPT member did offer to ride the no. 18 bus in Jerusalem after it had been bombed twice in two weeks).

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Who killed Benazir Bhutto?

Monday, December 31st, 2007

I haven’t written anything about Benazir Bhutto’s murder because I wasn’t ready to deal with it. I wasn’t ready to face the fact that, in the Middle East, murder is the option of choice to achieve political ends, and death is more important than life. If so, is there hope for anything except war, poverty, and death?

The Profession of Death
By Barry Rubin

Much will be said about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination; little will be understood about what it truly means. I’m not speaking here about Pakistan, of course, as important as is that country. But rather the lesson–as if we need any more–for that broad Middle East which begins in Pakistan and ends on the Atlantic Ocean coast.

This is a true story. Back in 1946, an American diplomat asked an Iranian editor why his newspaper angrily criticized the United States but never the Soviet Union. The Iranian said that it was obvious. “The Russians,” he said, “they kill people.”

A dozen years earlier, in 1933, the Iraqi official Sami Shawkat, gave a talk which became one of the most famous texts of Arab nationalism. “There is something more important than money and learning for preserving the honor of a nation and for keeping humiliation at bay,” he stated. “That is strength….Strength, as I use the word here, means to excel in the Profession of Death.”

What, you might ask, was Shawkat’s own profession? He was director-general of Iraq’s ministry of education. This was how young people were to be taught and directed; this is where Saddam Hussein came from. Seventy-five years later the subsequent history of Iraq and the rest of the Arab world show just how well Shawkat did his job.

September 11 in the United States; the Bali bombing for Australia; the tube bombing for Britain; the commuter train bombing for Spain, these were all merely byproducts of this pathology. The pathology in question is not Western policy toward the Middle East but rather Middle Eastern policy toward the Middle East.

Ever since I read Shawkat’s words as a student, the phrase, “Profession of Death,” which gave his article its title, struck me as a pun. On one hand, the word “profession” meant “career.”

To be a killer–note well that Shawkat was not talking specifically about soldiers, those who fight, but rather those who murder–was the highest calling of all. It was more important than being a teacher, who forms character; more important than a businessperson, who enriches his country; more important than a doctor who preserves the life of fellow citizens. Destruction was a higher calling than construction. And for sure in the Arabic-speaking world what has been reaped is what has been sowed.

But also the word “profession” here reminds me of “to profess,” “to preach.” What is of greatest value is for an educator to preach and glorify death. What kind of ideology, what kind of society, what kind of values, does such a priority produce? Look and see.


The 35… and two more

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

The Lamed-HeyIn the Winter and Spring of 1947-48, Palestinian Arabs and Jordanian troops maintained a siege on several Jewish kibbutzim southeast of Jerusalem in the area known as Gush Etzion. Ultimately, after five months, Kibbutz Kfar Etzion was overrun, and 250 inhabitants — soldiers and civilians — were massacred. The other kibbutzim surrendered.

Early in January 1948, a detachment of Jewish soldiers numbering 35 tried to walk the twenty kilometers from Jerusalem to Gush Etzion to bring them needed supplies. Supposedly they were seen by an Arab shepherd, whom they captured.

The story is that they considered killing him but decided to release him because he was a noncombatant. This story is told to recruits in the Israeli army, where it is presented as correct behavior, an illustration of the concept of tohar haneshek (purity of arms).

Of course the shepherd reported what he had seen, and a large force of Arabs was sent against them. All 35 were killed. They are remembered as the “lamed-hey” (the 35).

Ahikam Amichai (L) and David RubinThis Friday, almost exactly 60 years after the deaths of the lamed-hey, three young Israelis, Na’ama Ohion, Ahikam Amihai and David Rubin, were hiking in a place called Nahal Telem, near Hebron. Here is how Na’ama Ohion described what happened:

Ohion told her friends that, at the beginning of the hike, an elderly Arab passed them, and they began to recall the story…

Ohion told her friends they were making black-humor jokes about the historical incident. “We could never imagine that our hike would end up like theirs,” her friends said she told them.

About an hour later, she said, a gray Land Rover appeared and drove toward the three hikers, with a rifle barrel sticking out of the window. A Palestinian sitting in the back seat sprayed the three with bullets. Amihai and Rubin were hit, and Ohion ran to hide behind bushes above the trail. When she heard the shooting die down and the terrorists’ vehicle drive away, she came out of her hiding place.

Ohion saw her friends’ bodies riddled with bullets. After her attempts to resuscitate them failed, she climbed out of the wadi to a high point where she could use her cell phone, and waited there until help came. — Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz

Amihai and Rubin, both sons of rabbis, were off-duty soldiers, and they were armed. Before they died they managed to kill one of the terrorists and wound another. The Islamic Jihad, the Fatah al-Aksa Brigades, and Hamas have all claimed ‘credit’ for the murders.

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Trouble for the ‘moderates’

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Looks like the ‘moderate’ wing of the PA is taking some heat:

Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, on Sunday called for the murder of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad for “collaboration” with Israel and the US…

Fayad has been under heavy criticism from some Fatah leaders and activists, who accuse him of denying them public funds and plotting to undermine Fatah’s grip on power. — Jerusalem Post

Fatah, of course, is the basket the US has been putting all of its eggs into. And Fayad is almost singlehandedly responsible for the recent international pledges to donate more than $7 billion to the Palestinian authority.

The so-called moderate PA has not been getting much support from the Arab states lately, either. Last month at the UN,

Riad Mansour, the PA’s [UN] observer, wanted to include a clause in a draft resolution condemning Israel at a Decolonization Committee meeting. It would have expressed “concern about the takeover by illegal militias of Palestinian Authority institutions in June 2007″ and called for its reversal, but under Arab state pressure this was toned down to “concern about an illegal takeover.” Mansour himself was subjected to a barrage of insults, led by the representatives of Egypt, Syria and Libya, who claimed that his initiative would be interpreted as a UN condemnation of Hamas, thereby easing Israel’s cutting of electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza. —Daniel Pipes [my emphasis]

What seems to be true is that there is very little support for the Abbas/Fayad PA except in the US State Department.

If I thought it was prepared to struggle with extremists, reach a negotiated settlement with Israel, and create a peaceful Palestine, I might feel bad about this.

But since I think that compromise with Israel is not a popular point of view among Arabs (to say the least), that Abbas and Fayad have exactly as much real support as the US will pay for, and that the PA ‘government’ is a Potemkin village, I am not heartbroken. There’s no possibility of success anyway.

I think the government of Israel knows this and is doing the only possible thing right now: killing the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists. Why doesn’t the US understand the situation, stop wasting money on the corrupt Fatah organization, and let it fall of its own weight? Any services delivered to West Bank residents come from their local minor warlords anyway.

But, you say, “Hamas will take over!”

The only thing preventing a Hamas takeover in the West Bank today is the IDF. If the US policy continues — if we succeed in stage-managing a ‘peace’ agreement with those who, it has been said, “couldn’t deliver a pizza in Jerusalem”, and the IDF leaves the West Bank as a result — then Hamas will take over.

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Do you trust the wire services? You shouldn’t.

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Time after time, we read, see and hear outrageously biased “news” reports and “analyses” in the supposedly impartial media. Barry Rubin dissects one of them for us.

How The News Is Made
By Barry Rubin

Ring, ring, goes the telephone. And of course I answer it.

The voice on the other end says that he is “Joseph” of Reuters. I get many calls from journalists and wire services but never has someone I don’t know introduced himself by first name only. Since he has an obvious Arabic accent it is quite clear that he thinks I am either so biased as to care what his family name is or so stupid not to guess why he isn’t giving it.

So the effect is to achieve the exact opposite of what he wants. It puts me on my guard.

Next he tells me that he is doing a story on how Israel is strangling the Palestinian economy. In such circumstances, I have taken to arguing back with correspondents. By framing the story that way, I explain, Reuters is building in a bias. After all, the story should be: What’s wrong with the Palestinian economy, how to fix it, and will the massive infusion of aid–$7.4 billion just promised for three years by mostly Western donors–help?

Aren’t wire services, and the media in general, supposed to be somewhat balanced? They ask an open question, collect viewpoints, and let the reader conclude what the factors are, or at least wait until they have gathered some evidence. This is supposed to be especially true of wire services, which supply newspapers and other media with the basic facts on which they can build their own stories.

What is going on here, then, is not reporting but propaganda.

Clearly unnerved, he promises to quote me accurately. And he does keep that promise fully, sort of. But the outcome is quite predictable. And here is the dramatic headline that went out in the resulting story: “Analysis-Aid can’t save Palestinian economy in Israeli grip.”

No doubt is to be left that it is Israel’s fault that the Palestinian economy is in shambles. And so pervasive is this evil that even the whole world cannot save them. So after that $7.4 billion is all gone with no result everyone will know who to blame, right?

Before continuing let’s note the problem with this analysis on two levels. First, Israeli closures and control on movement are the result of Palestinian terrorist attacks, coupled with the unwillingness and inability of the two Palestinian governments (Palestinian Authority-Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip) to stop them. No attacks; no closures. And this is absolutely clear. If attacks were to stop, so would Israeli restrictions. But if Israel removed all roadblocks and closures, the attacks would continue. This makes obvious the principal, fundamental cause of the problem and what needs to change in order to fix it.

In other words: if Palestinian terrorism stops, Israeli restrictive measures will end and the Palestinian economy has a chance to develop.

But if Israeli restrictive measures end, Palestinian terrorism would continue and thus the Palestinian economy would not develop because Israel would put back on the restrictions eventually and also, of course, no one will invest in the middle of a war.

Is that clear and logical? Obviously, not for Western leaders and much of the news media.

Second, even if all Israeli action were to disappear, the Palestinian economy would still be in trouble. There are a number of reasons for this which are all well-known and were vividly seen in the 1990s, at a time when there was massive aid and a low level of Israeli security operations. These factors include: huge corruption which siphons off money; the lack of a clear legal framework for investment and commerce; the incompetence of the Palestinian regime; internal anarchy and violence by gangs with political cover; and an ongoing war against Israel.


Obama on the conflict

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

The Orthodox Union Public Affairs blog has recently published a statement by presidential candidate Barack Obama on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict:

“I start with the premise that Israel is a stalwart ally of ours and their security cannot be compromised. I also start with the premise that the status quo is unsustainable and that what would be good for Israeli security will be the kind of two-state solution that allows the Palestinians to live and prosper in their own state and allows Israel to maintain the security of its state.”

“I think everyone knows what the basic outlines of an agreement would look like. It would mean that the Palestinians would have to reinterpret the notion of right of return in a way that would preserve Israel as a Jewish state. It might involve compensation and other concessions from the Israelis but ultimately Israel is not going to give up its state.”

This is carefully worded and nuanced, and it’s worth thinking about what it means. The first paragraph represents the conventional wisdom on the two-state solution, and is true in a tautological way: obviously a solution that “allows Israel to maintain the security of its state” will be good for Israeli security.

However, the implication is that a two-state solution is necessary for Israeli security, because the status quo is unsustainable. What Obama does not deal with is the fact that the Palestinians do not want — in any way, shape or form — a state alongside Israel in which they can live and prosper. Forcing Israel to make concessions that are intended to lead to a two-state solution in this situation could certainly compromise Israel’s security.

The second paragraph is even more interesting. Shmuel Rosner, writing in Ha’aretz, suggests that it means that “Barack Obama backs Israel remaining a Jewish state“. Well, it means that he does not think that the Palestinians should be able to flood Israel with ‘refugees’, but it also does not mean that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

“Compensation and other concessions from the Israelis” implies that the Palestinian nakba story is legitimate, that Israel created the refugees, and is responsible for them. Otherwise, why should Israel owe them anything?

The war that ended in 1948 was a continuation of the struggle to throw the Jews out that the Palestinian Arabs began in the 1920’s and was taken up by the Arab nations when they invaded Israel. There would have been no Arab refugees if they had accepted the partition resolution, instead of choosing war. The fact that the refugees weren’t resettled, but kept in misery for 60 years was the fault of the Arab nations and the compliant West — not Israel.

Accepting the principle of compensation is accepting the principle that Palestine actually belonged to the Arabs, the Jews took it, and now they need to compensate the Arabs for their loss.

The right of return does not require reinterpretation. There is no such right. The refugees have a right to resettlement in the Palestinian state or perhaps their present host countries, and a right to compensation from the Arab nations for the way they have been treated.

Here is what I think Obama, or any presidential candidate, should say:

“I start with the premise that Israel is a stalwart ally of ours and their security cannot be compromised. I also start with the premise that the status quo is unsustainable and that Palestinians must accept Israel’s right to exist unmolested as a Jewish state in the Middle East.”

“Part of any two-state agreement must be that the Palestinians agree that there is no right of return to Israel, but only to the Palestinian state. Refugees may receive compensation or other benefits (from Arab nations or the West), but they are not in any way the responsibility of Israel.”

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Academic: IDF dehumanizes Palestinians by not raping them

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

What I am about to discuss is simply unbelievable. So maybe it’s made up, intended as a satire on leftist academics. You decide.

( A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers’ committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.

The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that “the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals.”

The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: “In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences – just as organized military rape would have done.”

The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers’ eyes…

Nitzan’s paper did, however, give much space to the explanation that the Israeli soldiers refrained from rape out of demographic considerations. She explained at length how fearful the Jewish population is of the growing Arab population, and how in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother’s nationality.

Let me try to get my mind around this idea.

Arab propaganda for the past hundred years or so has accused Jews of raping Arab women, because of the inflammatory nature of such accusations. But despite the fact that rape in war, even mass rape as a military tactic, has characterized many recent conflicts throughout the world, there are almost zero known cases of IDF soldiers raping Palestinian women.

A normal person would think that this is a good thing which speaks well of our army. Explanations that can be offered might include Jewish religious traditions, which persist even in secular Jews, the IDF’s concept of tohar haneshek [purity of arms], etc.

But a normal person cannot understand the mind of a person so damaged by self-hatred, so infused with the viewpoint of her enemies, that she would conclude that the reason her country’s soldiers are not guilty of rape is…that they are racists!

And it doesn’t matter if IDF soldiers rape or not, because “the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences – just as organized military rape would have done.”

So we might as well be rapists, because the goal of raping and not-raping is the same!

Even Dr. Chomsky didn’t think of this.

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Saudi “libel tourist” wins a round

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Khalid Salim a bin MahfouzSheik Khalid Salim a bin Mahfouz sleeps with goats and chickens. And he looks like a weasel, too. So sue me.

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld made some perhaps better-researched statements in her 2003 book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop It. In particular, she accused Saudi billionaire Sheik Khalid Salim a bin Mahfouz of financing terrorism in a big way:

Her book had reported that bin Mahfouz, the former chairman of Saudi Arabia’s largest bank, National Commercial Bank, had allegedly deposited “tens of millions of dollars in London and New York directly into terrorist accounts—the accounts of the same terrorists who were implicated in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 224 people were killed, including twelve Americans, and more than four thousand were injured.”

The book implicated bin Mahfouz in transferring from the bank’s Zakat (charity) Committee some $74 million to the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and to the Muwafaq “blessed relief” Foundation. Muwafaq in turn allegedly deposited funds directly with al Qaeda. Finally, Ehrenfeld also indicated that much of the funding for terrorism emanates from the Saudis, including the bin Mahfouz and al Rahji families, who allegedly funnel the monies through a host of “charitable” institutions. — Alyssa A. Lappen, ‘Libel Wars’, Frontpage Magazine (2005)

Ehrenfeld’s accusations were carefully documented, and under US law are protected as free speech. However, libel laws in the UK are much looser and put the burden of proof on the accused. Although only a handful of books were sold in the UK, Ehrenfeld describes what happened:

Bin Mahfouz sued me in London in January 2004, shortly after the U.S. publication of my book… I refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of a British court over a book published here; the court then ruled for bin Mahfouz by default, enjoined British publication of Funding Evil, awarded bin Mahfouz $225,900 in damages and expenses and ordered me to publicly apologize and destroy the book. I refuse to acknowledge the British Court or its ruling…

Since British libel law favors suits such as bin Mahfouz’s, and the First Amendment protects U.S. journalists reporting on public issues, I chose to fight his false claims in America. I sued in a New York federal court, for a declaration that bin Mahfouz’ English default judgment is unenforceable in the United States, because it violates my First Amendment rights…

On June 8, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously declared my case is “ripe” for hearing in a U.S. [state] court, noting that the case has implications for all U.S. authors and publishers, whose First Amendment rights are threatened by foreign libel rulings.

Unfortunately, the New York State Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) has just ruled that a New York court cannot hear Ehrenfeld’s case on the technical grounds that bin Mahfouz does little business in New York.

Although our sheik can’t collect his judgement in the US without going to court here (where he would probably lose, big time) Ehrenfeld is out a small fortune in legal expenses. And she can’t travel to the UK without risking arrest.

The practice of silencing writers and journalists by taking advantage of UK laws has come to be called “libel tourism” and is a favorite tactic of bin Mahfouz and other rich malefactors:

…bin Mahfouz sued Pluto Press in the U.K. over the suggestion in Michael Griffin’s 2003 Reaping the Whirlwind that he was related by marriage to Osama bin Laden and a supporter of terrorism. Bin Mahfouz “accepted” a substantial settlement and an apology, as he did earlier for a report in the Mail on Sunday. In another case, bin Mahfouz’ litigiousness was reportedly behind the halt in British publication by Secker & Warburg in early 2004 of Craig Unger’s House of Bush; House of Saud. — Lappen

…bin Mahfouz threatened to sue Cambridge University Press (CUP), the publisher of Alms of Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, but refrained from including the book’s two American writers, J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins.

Facing the mere threat of a lawsuit from Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, Cambridge University Press — the world’s oldest publishing house — agreed in Britain’s High Court on July 30, to pulp all the unsold copies. When the American authors rightfully refused to join, CUP issued a public apology, which in fact defamed the authors. CUP also paid substantial undisclosed damages, a huge “contribution” to a charity of bin Mahfouz’ choice, and sent letters to more than 200 libraries worldwide, asking to pull the book off their shelves. CUP’s capitulation handed an important victory to the Saudis’ financial jihad against free speech. — Ehrenfeld

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Mohammed Jameel — another Saudi billionaire — have also sued foreign publications for libel in the UK and won (although Jameel’s case was later overthrown by the House of Lords).

The problem with all this is that publishers are beginning to get cold feet about printing anything that could make a possible libel tourist unhappy, no matter how untrue — or how important. Truth and justice are all very nice concepts, but when a publisher needs to spend half a million dollars in legal fees to publish a book that may not earn that much, this has what lawyers call a “chilling effect” on free speech:

Ehrenfeld was hardly his only target. Bin Mahfouz and other wealthy Saudis had previously attacked other reporters and news agencies, all of which chose to apologize publicly, or settle the cases—or in the cases of some book publishers, to back off publication all together. USA Today, for one, printed a lengthy retraction concerning a November 2004 article by Marc Umile that had implicated bin Mahfouz.

As a result of bin Mahfouz’ intimidation, Gerald Posner, in Secrets of the Kingdom, makes no reference to bin Mahfouz or Muwafaq. Loretta Napoleoni removed all references to bin Mahfouz from her U.S. paperback book, Terror Incorporated. — Lappen

And since the internet has world-wide reach, even I could be a target of such as bin Mahfouz.

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Hamas is a disaster for Arabs, but irrelevant for Israel

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Barry Rubin writes,

[The] Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip… is the most important single Middle East event of 2007 because it is a clear, probably irreversible, shift in the balance of power. Four decades of a movement dominated by nationalists has come to an end. Given Fatah’s continuing weaknesses it is conceivable that Hamas will take over the West Bank within a few years and marginalize its rival. To Islamists, this is a great victory.

In fact, it is a disaster for Palestinians and Arabs. It deepens divisions and destroys any real (as opposed to the silly superficial events that take up governments’ time and media space) diplomatic option for them. A negotiated resolution of the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and with it prospects for a Palestinian state, has been set back for decades. Much Western sympathy has been lost. [my emphasis]

In years to come, struggles between Arab nationalists and Islamists, as well as between Sunnis and Shias, will dwarf the Arab-Israeli conflict. During 2008 we will have to assess whether the Palestinian Authority still ruling the West Bank can meet the Hamas challenge (we already know it won’t meet the diplomatic challenge but it will take all year for most Western politicians and much of the media to discover that).

I agree that it is a disaster for Palestinians and Arabs. But so many of them, maybe not only the hard-core Islamists, think the opposite!

The fact is (and I’m sure Rubin would agree), that they don’t have the same criteria as the West. Peace and prosperity are not the primary desiderata for them. Recovery of Arab honor and removal of the hated Jew from ‘their’ land are.

The US has finally learned a similar lesson in Iraq. The Shiites, having suffered horribly under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, are not looking forward to peace and prosperity alongside Iraq’s Sunnis. Rather, they would like to set up a brutal regime which will give the Sunnis their ‘just’ desserts!

Strategic planners in Israel and the West should be prepared for the ultimate triumph of Hamas. But regardless of who the Palestinian leadership will be, whether it will be of the nationalist or Islamist variety, the one thing that we can be sure of is that it can garner respect and support from the Palestinian public only if it promises to replace Israel by an Arab state. This is the only way that honor can be restored.

Therefore we can expect that there will always be demands for right of return, etc., that Israel cannot meet and still survive as a Jewish state.

It’s a matter of speculation whether this has always been the case or if there was some point — possibly before the return of Arafat and his campaign of incitement that was enabled by the Oslo accord — at which a modus vivendi between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East could have been found. But if there was such a window, it is certainly closed today.

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Who is stronger, Israel or Hamas?

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Hamas, under pressure from Israeli air attacks, has recently started talking about a cease-fire and even the release of Gilad Schalit, who has been in their captivity now for 18 months.

Of course, they will only release him in return for hundreds of terrorist operatives held in Israeli jails. Apparently they will not be satisfied only with those who are being held for trying to murder Israelis, but want freedom for successful murderers as well.

Israel is considering the criteria to be used in selecting candidates for release. Some officials were adamant about not releasing those with blood on their hands:

[Foreign affairs and defense committee] members stepping out of the meeting quoted [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni as saying the government was reevaluating what the classifications for prisoners were and how Israel should negotiate with the Palestinians.

“By being so flexible and pragmatic, the government is helping increase terrorism and foils the international fight against it,” Israel Radio quoted FADC member and Likud MK Yuval Steinitz as saying.

“According to the government’s new formulae, a killer is no longer a killer, and the terrorist Palestinian Authority is a peace partner”…

But others were less harsh:

Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan said that “Israel should stop dealing with definitions and rigid standards.” [like the definition of ‘murder’?]

…Vilan said that “in Israel too there are fighters who killed terrorists and can be considered as those with ‘blood on their hands.’ We call them terrorists but they [the Palestinians] call them freedom fighters.”

One might well ask Vilan, “who cares what they call them?”

The fact that a member of the Knesset could make such a statement speaks to the demoralization that has affected some circles in Israel. But the situation is not so black that the discussion needs to be about how much appeasement can be tolerated before it becomes surrender.

The appeasement strategy cannot work anyway, because Arab demands will always escalate, remaining just out of reach until the red lines are crossed — until what had previously been unthinkable, like releasing murderers, becomes acceptable. And then they press even more.

As a tactic to get Gilad Schalit released, it may succeed. But then they can simply grab another Israeli and start the whole process over again.

We should keep in mind that this entire process has begun because Hamas is hurting. Israel is killing Hamas’ own soldiers and their Islamic Jihad lackeys at an unprecedented rate. They want this to stop, and if Israel is dumb enough to also release prisoners, so much the better.

Rather than trying to negotiate a cease-fire, the approach should be to step up the targeted killings and pinpoint incursions with the goal of creating fear for their lives in the hearts of the Hamas (and other terrorist) leadership. And then explain to them that it will only get worse until the rocketing of Sderot stops and Gilad Schalit goes home.

Israel needs to know that it is stronger than Hamas and to act on this basis, not the reverse.

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Final exam on Israel and Saudi Arabia

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

President Bush with Saudi King Abdullah

President Bush with Saudi King Abdullah

1. Which country allows its residents religious freedom?

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Israel

2. Which country is explicitly racist in its immigration and employment policies?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

3. Which country practices a form of religious apartheid in which certain places are off-limits to any but a favored group?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

4. Which country is a democracy?

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Israel

5. Which country is a monarchy in which a 6000-member royal family holds most of the wealth?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

6. Which country does not permit women to drive, and sentences rape victims to be whipped for the crime of being alone with an unrelated male?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

7. What was the destination of nine charter flights which left the US as soon as airspace was reopened after 9/11?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

8. What country colluded with Egypt and Syria prior to the Yom Kippur war to use oil as a weapon, declared an oil embargo on the US during that war which caused severe shortages of gasoline and heating oil, and led OPEC to raise prices in a maneuver which quadrupled the price of oil in the world within a year?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

9. What country is the major beneficiary of the present run-up in the price of oil?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

10. Which country operates a quiet network of agents made up of highly influential former officials — including former Presidents — in the US, paid either directly for services of various kinds or by way of funding for foundations and pet projects?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

11. To which country do present US officials defer in hopes of obtaining a well-paid post-retirement job?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

12. Which country’s much-discussed lobby is made up mostly of businessmen who meet at fancy hotels, has less real influence than everybody thinks, and recently had two staffers framed by the FBI for “espionage”?

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Israel

12. Which country distributes petro-funds around the world to institutions teaching an extremist form of Sunni Islam, institutions which teach the necessity of jihad against Shiite Muslims, Christians, Jews, Israel, and the West?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

13. In what country are huge amounts of money collected, ostensibly for ‘charity’, which go directly to Hamas and other terrorist groups?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

14. What country held a telethon in 2005 to raise funds for the Palestinian intifada?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

15. Which country was the first to be allowed to buy the advanced F15E jets?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

16. After a huge bomb killed 19 US servicemen and injured scores more at the Khobar Towers housing complex in Dharan in 1996, what country was criticized by the US justice department for withholding evidence and hindering the investigation into the bombing?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

17. When the Saudi network went head-to-head with the pro-Israel lobby in 1981 over the proposed sale of the advanced AWACS system to Saudi Arabia, who won?

  1. The pro-Israel lobby
  2. The Saudi network

18. To defend Kuwait and what other country did the US go to war in 1991?

  1. Israel
  2. Saudi Arabia

19. When Saddam Hussein fired scud missiles at both Israel and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf war, which country was forbidden by the US to defend herself to avoid insulting the other?

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Israel

20. During the recent Annapolis conference, which country’s delegates were made to enter through a service entrance in order to avoid insulting those of the other?

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Israel

Hint: all correct answers are even numbers. But you knew that.

Extra credit essay:

Explain US Mideast policy since the 1960’s in terms of the influence of the Saudi network on a series of Presidents and other officials, especially Fred Dutton, James A. Baker, Jimmy Carter, J. W. Fulbright, G. H. W. Bush and G. W. Bush, etc.

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More on Marcy

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Nothing recently has come close to irritating me as much as Marcy Winograd, exemplar of the Jewish anti-Zionist Left (see: Marcy Winograd, please convert to Islam).

But I suppose it’s worth trying to educate her. She can’t possibly be as dumb as she seems.

Ami Isseroff is trying:

However, for the real and imagined crimes of the “Zionists” there is only one remedy according to these friends of “peace and justice:” Israel must be dismantled, and the Jewish people must be denied the right to self determination. Germany, which was responsible for two world wars and genocide, is not to be dismantled. The German state is not to be flooded with Poles and Czechs and Frenchman. Japan, which committed committed unspeakable horrors in China, was not dismantled and settled with Chinese, and the Japanese are allowed their own language and customs, like the Germans. America, which committed genocide against the native Americans, and is the home of many of these ostensible lovers of peace and justice, will not pay for its sins. Russia, which terrorized all of Eastern Europe and the Baltic, and continues to deny the rights of the Chechnyans and others, is exempt from criticism.

But the Jews are not to share the same justice as Germany, Japan, USA and Russia. Israel must be turned into a “secular democratic” single state of Jews and Arabs according to the peace lovers. This is precisely the “peace” solution offered by his excellency, Hajj Amin Al Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the escaped Nazi war criminal, in 1948. And so, in the name of “peace and justice,” the opponents of “Zionism,” including Jews like Marcy Winograd, propagate the racist doctrine that only the Jews are not worthy of self-determination, and that alone among the states of the world, the Jewish state has no right to exist, solely because it is Jewish. [my emphasis]

The continuation of this “peace” plan is known. The Mufti told the British that the “solution” he planned for the Palestinians, that is, the Jews of Palestine, was precisely the one adopted for the Jews of Europe by his mentor and friend, Adolf Hitler. The Mufti planned to build an extermination camp near Nablus. But the Jews of Palestine were not “citizens of the world” and did not allow this “peace solution” to be implemented. That was the cause of the “Nakba” of the Arabs of Palestine. And the same obstinate and evil Zionists will not, frustratingly enough for people like Marcy Winograd, allow the final solution to be implemented now.

Read the whole article here. I hope that Marcy does, although I am afraid that she’s beyond help.

Update [1104 PST]: I am informed that she did read Ami Isseroff’s article, and her response indicates that it did not affect her thinking at all. Why am I not surprised?

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