Archive for February, 2008

Leading a charmed life at Foggy Bottom

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

The Washington Post reports:

The State Department is considering supporting the Palestinian Authority in its quest to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments won by American victims of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, according to Palestinian officials and defense lawyers involved in the cases.

U.S. officials insist that no decision has been made regarding the complex litigation, which could force the Bush administration to choose between supporting compensation for victims of terrorism and bolstering the Palestinian government as the United States presses for a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Testimony in Israeli courts has connected senior Palestinian leaders — such as the late Yasser Arafat — to specific terrorist attacks involved in the lawsuits. But Palestinian officials have argued that it makes no sense for the United States to be providing millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority while U.S. courts are threatening to bankrupt it.

I couldn’t agree more. It makes no sense for the US to support a murderous terrorist faction which has killed numerous Americans, and which danced in the streets on 9/11.

Leslye Knox, a 46-year-old mother of six children and widow of Aharon Ellis, a U.S. citizen who was killed in 2002 while singing at a bar mitzvah in Hadera, Israel, said that she has sued under a law passed by Congress in 1990 after the murder of Leon Klinghoffer by terrorists who seized the Achille Lauro cruise ship. In 2006, a federal judge ordered the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to pay Knox and other Ellis relatives nearly $174 million, but nothing has been paid while Knox has struggled to support her family.

One doesn’t expect the US State department to be concerned with a few Jews and their families, but I am surprised that the State Department does not remember the murder of their own Ambassador Cleo Noel Jr.

On March 1, 1973, a gang of eight operatives of the Black September Organization stormed a party at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum. The party had been held in honor of the imminent departure of George Curtis Moore, the American charge d’affaires at the United States Embassy in Khartoum. The Black September gang took Moore and two others hostage — Cleo Noel Jr., the United States ambassador to Sudan; and Guy Eid, the Belgian embassy’s charge d’affaires. (Two other diplomats taken by the Black September operatives were released.)

The Black September gang demanded the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy; the release of a Black September leader held in Jordan; and the release of several members of the Baader-Meinhof gang held in Germany. On March 2, President Nixon and representatives of the other two governments announced that they would not negotiate with terrorists for the release of the diplomats. That evening the Black September operatives marched Noel, Moore and Eid to the embassy basement and brutally murdered them. — Scott W. Johnson, Who Murdered Cleo Noel?,

Johnson argues that not only is there indisputable proof that Black September was merely a front for Arafat’s Fatah, but that the State Department was aware of this and has made efforts to cover it up. And in fact Arafat was never held to account for this and other crimes against Americans. Here’s another, more recent case:

On October 15, 2003, three vans made their way into Gaza, carrying United States diplomats and security specialists to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarships in America.

Two miles into the district, an explosive device planted under the road was remotely detonated, destroying the vehicle carrying the security specialists. John Branchizio, Mark Parsons, and John Linde died instantly.

This was not simply the latest in a lengthening list of Palestinian atrocities. On this occasion, Americans on an official State Department mission had been targeted, with sophisticated explosives, in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority…

The State Department vowed to “pursue the perpetrators until they are caught.” The PA put the head of the Gaza Preventive Security Service [Rashid Abu Shabak — ed.] in charge of its inquiry, a man who was himself suspected of involvement in prior terror attacks. Like O.J.’s search for the real killers, the inquiry did not get far.

Three months later, the deputy chief of the American embassy met with PA officials to express dissatisfaction with the Palestinian “investigation.” He told them “we know that there is not a huge number of people who have the proven capability to carry out an attack like that” and warned that America would offer a reward for information and reduce Palestinian aid if the crime were not solved.

The PA arrested three persons and charged them with “manslaughter” less than 48 hours after the reward was offered. They were subsequently freed after the PA failed to present evidence against them. — Rich Richman, Getting Away with Murder, NY Sun

Both Johnson and Richman have tried to get information from the State Department by way of Freedom of Information Act requests, and have met with difficulty. It seems that Fatah leads a charmed life at Foggy Bottom.

A mystery of the current Mideast situation is the way the US and the rest of the West have adopted a particular gang of anti-American thugs, fund them (donor nations have pledged $7.4 billion to the Fatah faction of the PA), and train and arm their militia — while militia members unofficially carry out terrorism against our supposed ally, Israel. At the same time the West supports diplomatic efforts to force Israel to cede control of territory to this gang as well as to compromise security measures against terrorism.

One could be excused for being confused about US intentions and goals in the region.

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Quotation of the day

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Speaking volumes about contemporary (and perhaps today’s) British attitudes, Sir Alan Cunningham, High Commissioner for Palestine,  described Zionism in 1947 as a movement in which

…the forces of nationalism are accompanied by the psychology of the Jew, which it is important to recognise as something quite abnormal and unresponsive to rational treatment. — quoted in Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History, p. 187

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Debunkers debunked

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

It’s an article of faith in academic circles that Zionism as understood and practiced by Ben-Gurion included the ‘transfer’ of the Arabs of Palestine. And we now ‘know’ that Golda Meir conspired with King Abdullah of Jordan in 1948 to divide up the part of Mandate allocated to the Palestinian Arabs between Israel and Transjordan. And we have ‘learned’ that most Palestinian refugees were really driven from their homes by the Jews under threat of massacre.

The ‘Zionist myths’ about the founding of the State have been debunked; even those of us who support the state need to understand that it was born in sin, thanks to the so-called New Historians such as Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappé, etc. Right?


And not only wrong, but wrong because the real sins here were of those of dishonest scholarship — worse, of national slander by means of falsification of sources, deliberate mistranslation, removing whole sentences and paragraphs from quotations in order to completely reverse their meaning, etc.

Historian Efraim KarshThis is convincingly demonstrated in a book by historian Efraim Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History (Second, revised edition. London: Frank Cass, 2000). I almost said “a new book”, because the book has not received the attention it deserves, perhaps because the academic departments of Mideast Studies are unhappy with its contents.

Karsh shows in detail just how these historians have distorted the record, particularly Morris, who is probably the most respected and influential of them. It is not simply a question of interpretation, but — as Karsh proves conclusively — of deliberate falsification of sources.

In fact, Ben-Gurion deeply wished for a state in which Arab residents would have full citizenship and be treated fairly, and he did not advocate or favor their transfer or expulsion. King Abdullah of Jordan never believed that there should be an independent Jewish state, and Meir and others did not make a deal with him to violate the partition resolution. And only a small minority of the refugees left their homes under pressure from the Jews.

This is enormously important, because these writers provide the theoretical underpinning for the anti-Zionism of so many left-leaning Jews who have come to accept the so-called “Palestinian narrative” about the founding of the State. And because many of these ‘scholars’ are anti-Zionist — Pappé is perhaps no less anti-Israel than your average Hamasnik — their dishonesty can be traced to the basest of motives.

As always, the fact that these are Jews and Israelis gives more weight and influence to their tendentious writings. Although it is impossible for anyone to truly divorce his political views from his understanding of history, the cynical substitution of propaganda for academic research does violence to the idea that there is such a thing as objective truth.

Karsh himself is no right-wing ideologue, but in fact favors an independent Palestinian state.

Read this book.

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US pours money into terrorism and corruption

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

This is absolutely incredible. Do we have any idea of what our government is doing with our money?

For the first time, the Bush Administration plans to give $150 million in cash directly to the Palestinian Authority (PA) Treasury, as part of a $496.5 million “aid” package, including $410 million for development programs. This added to the $86.5 million for CIA “security training,” which Congress authorized in April 2007…

CIA Palestinian training success is best described by a member of the PA’s Chairman own security unit, – Force 17, officer Abu Yusef: “The operations of the Palestinian resistance would [not] have been so successful and “would not have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without [American military] trainings,” he boasted in August 2007.

Since the Oslo Accords, the PA received some $14 billion to $20 billion in international aid, according to a 2007 Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) report to the British Parliament. Each Palestinian received $4,000 to $8,000 per year. In comparison, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provided $1 billion in humanitarian aid for 2.5 million Darfur refugees from 2003 to 2006 –only $100 per person annually. Moreover, of the $7 billion pledged international aid, only $5 billion were spent to assist more than 5 million Tsunami victims in more than 15 countries on two continents.

The PA received “the highest per capita aid transfer in the history of foreign aid anywhere,” according to former World Bank country director for Gaza and the West Bank, Nigel Roberts. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of Gazans spent more than $300 million in less than two week shopping spree [OK, some of the money was phony –ed.], after Hamas blew up the border with Egypt. Yet, the Palestinian economy is in ruins, Why?

In March 2007, PA Prime Minister and former World Bank official Salam Fayyad, told London’s Daily Telegraph: “No one can give donors that assurance” that funds reach their designated destinations. “Where is all of the transparency in all of this? It’s gone.” Controlling Palestinian finances, Fayyad concluded, is “virtually impossible.” — Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen

You may well ask why don’t their fellow Sunni Arabs, the swimming-in-oil Saudis help them. Didn’t they promise big bucks as part of the Arab League peace proposal back in 2002?

Rather than $660 million in annual aid the Saudis promised in 2002, the kingdom donated only $84 million since then, according to World Bank reports. Other Arab League members, who in 2002 promised $55 million monthly to foster PA economic development, gave even less.

But not because they were stingy. They simply wanted to allocate the funds where they would do the most bad:

Meanwhile, however, the Saudis and the Gulf states funneled hundreds of millions of petrodollars–some raised in government-sponsored telethons –to reward Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and Palestinian Jihad suicide bombers and fuel the anti-Israel Jihad. Indeed, “Saudi Arabia remains a source of recruits and finances for …Levant-based militants,” said National Intelligence Director J. Michael McConnell, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on 5 February 2008.

McConnell should have included USAID on his terror-funding list. A Dec. 2007 USAID audit reported that the mission administering its funds gave money to groups and institutions affiliated with U.S. designated terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It warned: “Without additional controls, the mission could inadvertently provide support to entities or individuals associated with terrorism.”

Real economic activity in the territories barely exists any more. The biggest source of income is the PA payroll, which is doled out to the members of the various clans and militias according to whatever it costs to buy their support.

The Palestinians, it seems, are pinning their hopes on the day that they will finally succeed in reversing the outcome of the 1948 war, at which time all the wealth of Israel will be theirs.

In the meantime, their creativity and initiative are focused on destruction and death, rather than building industries and infrastructure.

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War in Israel much closer than many think

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Hamas must understand where this is heading:

Anger boiled over in Sderot on Saturday night as residents took to the streets, demanding that the government take stronger steps against the rocket fire from Gaza following a Kassam strike that shattered one local family’s Shabbat.

Two brothers from Sderot, aged eight and 19, were seriously wounded and two other members of their family were also hospitalized when a rocket fired from northern Gaza – one of almost four dozen launched this weekend – struck two meters from where the boys were standing. — Jerusalem Post

It is becoming politically impossible for the Israeli government to not take effective steps to stop this. As I wrote yesterday, such action will have to be to totally crush Hamas. If the decision hasn’t been taken already, sooner or later it will be.

Hamas knows this. So the fact that they are continuing, even stepping up, the provocations means that they must want to engage in full-scale warfare as soon as possible.

I’m sure that they have what they believe to be surprises up their sleeve. The IDF should have contingency plans for everything imaginable, including the participation of Hezbollah or even intervention by Syria.

In my assessment, the enemy is seriously underestimating the IDF. Their thinking is based on the 2006 war but there is no doubt in my mind that the IDF has learned its lessons. There is also a real Minister of Defense this time.

I don’t think this will be easy, not for the IDF, not for Israeli or Palestinian civilians. But I know what the outcome will be.

Like everyone with family or friends in Israel (or among the Palestinians, I’m sure) I feel a degree of anxiety. It’s unfortunate that there’s no alternative.

Possibly afterwards the Palestinians will develop a leadership that understands that they will not, ever, succeed in their goal to destroy Israel. Maybe after a lot of blood flows, they will finally understand that it’s more important for them to help themselves than to hurt Jews. Maybe.

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