Archive for April, 2011

Juliano Mer-Chamis, a martyr to — what?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Elder of Ziyon has a terrific piece today on Juliano Mer-Chamis, the Israeli Arab / Jewish actor and director who was murdered recently in Jenin, probably by an Arab terrorist (Mer-Chamis had a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father, so he would likely be unpopular in Islamic fundamentalist circles).

The article notes that the theater and drama club that Mer-Chamis ran and his mother Arna started, supposedly to teach a philosophy of peace to the youth of Jenin, was a total failure:

Arna’s school had not resulted in a single original student supporting pacifism. Every single one of the original kids there became a militant…

Arna Mer-Chamis, if she really was trying to teach peace, was a spectacular failure. It is not possible for her to have been more of a failure. The last person alive from her kids, who now claims to want peace, didn’t say he learned the idea from the Mer-Chamises – he just says that he was simply “fed up with fighting.”

Which brings up the question: did the theater really promote peace in any sense at all?

Now Juliano Mer-Chamis, who created an entire movie [Arna’s Children] trying to soft-pedal the terrorism of his mother’s proteges, has become victim to something the leftists pretend doesn’t exist – Palestinian Arab hate. His film, rather than showing the inherent culture of violence and hate that laughs at the idea of words replacing bullets, was a prophetic view of what his own end would look like.

Actually, I don’t see any evidence on the website of the “Freedom Theater” that there is any intent to “teach peace.” It’s all about the suffering Palestinian people, as usual, and how they are victimized by Israel and the “40 year occupation.”

An admirer of the film wrote that the theater helped children to “express their anger and grief through art and drama.” Nothing about how Palestinian Arabs might be responsible, even in part, for their predicament. Nothing about how there might be a tiny bit of justice on the Israeli side. Just express how furious you are.

Mer-Chamis had a lot of admirers. Julian Schnabel wrote that

Juliano started the Freedom Theater to educate children in the only professional venue for the arts in the Northern West Bank. Juliano envisioned the Freedom Theater as a “third intifada” — a cultural uprising, with poetry, music, theater, cameras and magazines used to fight back against the violence.

Apparently the effect was to encourage its students to fight against Israel, not against ‘violence’ in general.

These students, like the two high-school murderers that I wrote about yesterday, grew up in the atmosphere of hate created by Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. It would take more than a chance to “express their anger and grief” theatrically to defuse these human bombs. Probably the most positive message that they received from people like Mer-Chamis was something like this:

We know you’ve suffered unspeakably from the vile actions of the Israeli occupiers, we understand why you resist violently, but nonviolence is better.

That doesn’t cut it with young Arabs concerned with proving their masculinity, and it is also fundamentally dishonest. But apparently even that much is enough to get you killed.

In order for the conflict to end, one of three things has to happen:

  1. The Arabs succeed in eliminating Israel.
  2. The Arabs are beaten so badly in the next war that they give up the idea of eliminating Israel.
  3. The Arabs realize that they are not only victims but perpetrators and that they bear much of the responsibility for their problems.

No. 3 is impossible, so it will be 1 or 2.

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Fogel murderers and Palestinian Arab society

Sunday, April 17th, 2011
Amjad Awad, one of those arrested for the Itamar murders

Amjad Awad, one of those arrested for the Itamar murders

The IDF has arrested the two perpetrators of the vicious slaughter at Itamar, and several accomplices. The murderers are members of the Progressive Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the second largest (after Fatah) faction of the PLO, which the Oslo accords recognize as the ‘sole legitimate representative of the ‘Palestinian people’, and from which was constituted the Palestinian National Authority (PA). The PA plans to declare a state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem with UN sanction this September.

The murderers came from the nearby Arab village of Awarta:

The suspects have been named as Hakim Maazan Niad Awad, an 18-year-old high school student, and Amjad Mahmud Fauzi Awad, 19 [cousins], both from the West Bank village of Awarta, located 2 kilometers south of the settlement of Itamar…

The suspects have confessed to the stabbings and re-enacted the murders, security forces said on Sunday. According to Army Radio, they did not express remorse for their crimes.

Both men are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) terror group and received significant assistance from family members and friends after the attack, security forces added.

The suspects planned the stabbings days ahead of time. On the night of March 11, after unsuccessful attempts to obtain firearms from a local PFLP representative in their village, the two set out toward Itamar on foot, armed with knives, a wirecutter and masks to cover their faces.

After walking one kilometer, they cut the wire fence that surrounds Itamar, climbed through a forest and over a hilltop, and reached a row of homes. The suspects at first entered a home adjacent to the Fogel residence, but found that nobody was home. They stole an M-16 rifle from the home, ammunition and body armor, before walking on.

“They saw children sleeping in the home, and entered the Fogel family residence,” the IDF said. Immediately after entering the home, the youths set their knives on two young brothers sleeping in their beds, 4-year-old Elad and 11-year-old Yoav.

They then entered the parents’ bedroom, where they launched a knife attack on Ehud and Ruth Fogel. The parents fought back, attempting to fend off the attackers, but died of their stab wounds during the struggle.

The two then left the house. One of the suspects returned and stabbed the three-month-old baby Hadas to death in her crib after she began crying.

According to Israel Radio, Amjad said that he was unaware that there were two other children in the house, and that if he had known, he would have stabbed them as well.

After completing the slaughter, the suspects walked back to the village and told Hakim’s uncle, PFLP member Salah Adin Awad, what they had done. Salah hid their firearms and instructed them to burn their clothes, which were covered in blood. — Jerusalem Post

The murderers were identified by DNA evidence left in the struggle with Ruth and Ehud Fogel. During the investigation, there were numerous complaints from village residents and also from the PA as well as left-wing Israeli groups that their rights were being violated.

How did the murders become familiar with Itamar? At least one of them had been there:

Hakim Awad, 18, was permitted to enter Itamar along with other PA Arabs in order to harvest olives.

The IDF Civil Administration allowed PA Arabs from the nearby village of Awarta to harvest olives within Itamar that they claimed belonged to their village, despite concerns voiced by Itamar residents, who expressed fear that some PA Arabs could use the opportunity to learn the layout of the town in order to plan an attack.

Residents of Itamar even said they would be willing to pick the olives themselves, and deliver them to residents of Awarta, rather than open their town to potentially hostile PA residents. However, Civil Administration officials insisted that Awarta residents not only be given possession of the olives in question, but be allowed to harvest the produce themselves…

The IDF and the Civil Administration face pressure each year from the PA and the foreign and Israeli left to allow Arabs to harvest olives freely, regardless of security concerns. Many far-left groups, among them the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and Rabbis for Human Rights, hold annual “olive harvest” events aimed at forcing Israel to allow PA Arabs to enter Israeli land during the harvest.  — Israel National News

More information is at The Muqata and Israel Matzav. Israel Matzav also has a recording in which a PA minister reiterates the PA demand to ‘release all Palestinian prisoners’ — specifically including these suspects — regardless of the charges against them, because of their ‘right to resist occupation’.

The ‘alleged’ (yeah, right) murderers grew up under the Palestinian Authority regime of Yasser Arafat, and breathed the atmosphere of racist hatred promulgated in PA media, schools, textbooks, mosques, camps, etc. ever since 1993. Note that even though Mahmoud Abbas and other PA officials have promised to stop the hateful incitement to murder in the official media and educational system, they have not done so.

Think about what it would take to make your average 18-year old capable of slitting a baby’s throat — and think about the premeditation, the adults that helped them, and the whole town, many of whose inhabitants are related, that knew about it. Think also about the megalomania that informs Palestinian Arab culture, which permits them to complain about violation of their rights in these circumstances. Think about their assertion of a ‘right to resist occupation’ which includes butchering Jewish children.

Understand that these are the people that want to be given control of a highly strategic area next to Israel’s major population centers, while refusing to agree that a Jewish state has a right to exist and to end all claims against it in a ‘peace’ agreement.

Many have suggested that a death penalty be instituted for particularly vicious terrorism, and I agree.

Some have also suggested that village of Awarta should be razed to the ground. I have another idea: just convert it into an institution for the incarceration of the criminally insane. Unfortunately, it isn’t big enough to hold the one-third of Palestinian Arabs who approve of the murders.

Update [1117 PDT]: Daniel Viflic,the 16-year-old boy who was wounded in the Hamas antitank missile attack on a school bus near Gaza last week, has died. May Hashem revenge his blood, and the Fogels’ and all the rest of the victims of the ‘Palestinian cause’.

Update [22 April 0949 PDT]: Corrected identification of photo to Amjad, not Hakim, Awad.

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Sarah Leah Whitson pushes the race button

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Sarah Leah Whitson, the Human Rights Watch official who raised funds for her organization by blasting Israel in uber-racist, slavery-tolerating Saudi Arabia, has made one of the most odious analogies possible. She writes,

Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Washington earlier this month, hot on the heels of an announcement that Israeli authorities had approved yet more housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. In a week when the U.S. paused to recall the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, President Peres might have considered King’s message — an end to segregation — and why such a system of racial inequality remains in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Back in 1968, when Dr. King was murdered, the debate about discrimination was live and real. Most governments have long since stopped trying to justify separating people based on race or national origin, whether for ostensible security concerns, like the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, or plain old bigotry, like the Jim Crow laws of the American south.

Yet in the areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories where Israel has moved almost half a million Jewish “settlers,” not only do Israeli laws and policies strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians, they deliberately deprive Palestinians of the most basic needs, in many cases forcing them out of their communities.

If Whitson is suggesting that the ‘Palestinian cause’ is anything like the civil rights movement in America — clearly she is — she is living in an alternate universe.

Civil rights workers did not fire antitank missiles at school buses, nor did they slit the throats of babies and children. American blacks did not blow themselves up at holiday celebrations, and Mexican and Canadian ones did not launch rockets into American towns and cities.

In fact, try as I might, the only way that Dr. M. L. King and Ismail Haniyya are alike is that they both say they are struggling for their people’s rights. Of course, Dr. King actually was, whereas Haniyya is a racist, genocidal antisemite who wants to wipe out the Jews in Israel and take their country. King indeed represented an oppressed racial minority that was discriminated against in law and custom, while Haniyya is supported by the considerable resources of the Arab world and Iran in his murderous cause. If the analogy makes sense at all, Jewish Israelis are the ones discriminated against in the Middle East and in the broader international community.

But Whitson isn’t interested in reality — as she wasn’t interested in the very real human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia — she is interested in pushing buttons.

So she claims that Israel maintains a system of ‘racial inequality’, when the concept of race has nothing to do with relations between Jews and Arabs, who are genetically closer to each other than to non-Jewish Europeans. Of course she doesn’t have to use the word ‘race’, she could claim that there was a system of cultural or linguistic discrimination. But that wouldn’t push the button.

Whitson refers numerous times to the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’. What are these territories? They are part of the lands that were set aside by the League of Nations for a “Jewish National Home” after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI. Various Arab states were also created at the same time, but this was the only area specifically designated for Jewish settlement. These territories were never ‘Palestinian’. They are not ‘occupied’ by Israel, since there was no sovereign authority there since the end of the Mandate — they are at most ‘disputed’, and an argument can be made that if any party ought to control them, it’s Israel, the representative of the Jewish people.

She continues,

With little regard for the blatant racial inequality of its policies, the Israeli government provides Jewish settlements with water, electricity, housing, schools, hospitals and roads, while it severely restricts access to these necessities to Palestinian communities under its control.

Race doesn’t have anything to do with it. The territories are not part of Israel. Israel doesn’t have to ‘provide’ anything — there is a Palestinian Authority (PA) which gets enormous sums of money from the West and which governs the areas of Judea and Samaria (Areas A and B) which contain more than 90% of the Arab population. Arabs connected with the corrupt PA have well-paying positions or lucrative business concessions. They live in large villas, much more elaborate than the housing found in Israeli settlements.

Whitson, by the way, refers to the “the 60 percent of the West Bank known as ‘Area C’ where Israel has complete control without mentioning that Area C contains only 4% of the Arab population! The rest is mostly uninhabited desert and mountainous areas, along with the Israeli settlements of course.

In 1967, only 20% of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria was connected to a water system — now 90% are connected to Israel’s national water grid. Even Gaza, ruled by the bellicose Hamas, receives most of its water and electricity from Israel. This leads to ironic situations, such as the time Hamas snipers shot and wounded an Israel Electric Company worker who was climbing a tower near the border. And it is upsetting to know that the factories that make the Qassam rockets fired at Israel are powered by Israeli electricity.

A particularly pernicious accusation is that Israel has built ‘apartheid roads’ on which Arabs are not permitted to drive. What is actually the case is that Jewish residents were subjected to frequent deadly drive-by shooting attacks on certain roads — in August of last year four people were killed in a single incident — and so the Israeli authorities chose to close the off-ramps to the Arab villages in the area. Arabs, both Israeli Arabs and residents of the territories do drive on the roads — again, there is nothing racist involved, unless it is the racist murderers who shoot at vehicles containing Jews.

Israeli hospitals routinely treat patients from the territories and Eastern Jerusalem. During the Gaza war, the Palestinian Authority stopped paying for its patients on the grounds that the Jews were ‘making propaganda’ by treating them. There is no separation between Jewish and Arab patients, and in fact even wounded terrorists are treated.

Whitson goes on:

Israel’s security justifications fall far short of the strict and narrow limits on differential treatment permitted under international law between people of different ethnicities or national origins. A state should never apply such measures categorically against an entire group and must limit them to specific individuals who pose a threat.

One of the security measures that Whitson and others find to be unacceptable profiling are the checkpoints, which do present an inconvenience for the entire Palestinian Arab population. But almost every day, potential terrorists are stopped at the checkpoints with weapons or explosives. How would it be possible to do this without everyone passing through the checkpoint? Should security personnel only check “specific individuals who pose a threat?” How would they know who the are?

The fact is that Israel is at war, and many of those fighting against it are embedded in the Palestinian Arab population. You cannot understand the relationship of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs outside the context of this war, and you cannot understand the Israeli-Palestinian part of it outside the context of the broader war — whose goal is the elimination of Israel — that has been prosecuted by the Arab world (and now Iran) since the beginning of the state.

Pretending that this is a question of civil rights, that there is ‘racial discrimination’, completely falsifies and distorts this reality.

But it’s great for pushing buttons.

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Stupid warfare

Friday, April 15th, 2011

I was going to write about something entirely different today, but the following description of ‘smart warfare’ as it is to be practiced by the IDF was so surreal, that I couldn’t let it go by.

Pushed by Goldstone, Israeli army embraces new ‘smart’ warfare

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Despite Israel’s rejection of the Goldstone report on the Gaza war a year-and-a-half ago, the international criticism it engendered has led the Israel Defense Forces to make a number of significant changes in policy and doctrine…

…during the Gaza operation, even after every effort had been made to induce civilians to evacuate areas where combat was expected — for example, by dropping fliers and making direct telephone calls to area residents — more often than not some non-combatants stayed behind.

The new doctrine requires that after efforts have been made to warn the civilian population to leave, the incoming troops first fire warning shots and give the remaining civilians a chance to leave safely. Then, to minimize casualties among civilians who nevertheless choose to stay, IDF fighters and commanders must use the most accurate weapons at their disposal and choose munitions of relatively low impact.

But wait, you haven’t heard the best part yet:

The Military Advocate General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry consult regularly with foreign governments and international organizations to ensure that all IDF operations conform to accepted legal norms…

Another step the IDF has taken to help minimize civilian casualties and humanitarian distress on the other side is to attach humanitarian liaison officers to troops in the field. The officers come from a pool set up by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, and are in regular contact with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and international aid organizations in Gaza.

Their task in the event of hostilities is to help coordinate humanitarian needs on the Palestinian side and to point out locations of sensitive facilities like hospitals, schools and U.N. aid centers to ensure that they are not mistakenly targeted. Such officers were assigned during the Gaza War on an ad hoc basis and, according to the IDF, proved very effective.

There is something crazy going on here. Can you imagine ‘humanitarian liaison officers’ in contact with the Germans hitting the beach on D-Day? A few days ago (“War is Heck“) I facetiously predicted that the  IDF would be issued rubber bullets for combat operations. Are these the “munitions of relatively low impact” that they are talking about?

During the Gaza war, Hamas headquarters was said to be located in the basement of al-Shifa Hospital (which incidentally was rebuilt by Israel in the 1980’s in order to improve the living conditions of Gaza residents). The IDF did not attack it then and certainly would not get permission from its humanitarian liaison officers to do so in the next war.

Suppose this had been in place in June, 1967:

Hello, UN? We’re going to try to destroy the Egyptian air force on the ground before they can provide cover for an invasion to wipe us out. What? The Turks don’t think it’s legal?

No, not without 1) dropping leaflets, 2) making phone calls, 3) firing warning shots, and 4) waiting for the planes to take off — er, for any civilians to leave.

Seriously, how does this play when the enemy deliberately locates itself in civilian areas, fires missiles from school courtyards, etc? It means that the IDF will never have the advantage of surprise, and that in most cases it will be prohibited from shooting back when attacked, at least until long after the enemy is gone.

On the other hand, groups like Hamas and Hizballah are exempt from any kind of humanitarian standards.  They would simply laugh if anyone suggested that they should be careful about how many Jewish civilians they kill — after all, their objective is to kill all the Jews they can find!

The international community will (sometimes) criticize terrorist groups when their actions are shockingly outside the window of acceptability, such as in the case of the murder of the Fogel family. But even then it’s tempered by a sort of “boys-will-be-boys” attitude: they are terrorists, it’s regrettable, but what can you do?

But if nothing can be done about the terrorist groups, all the responsibility is placed on Israel. All of the casualties are seen as Israel’s fault, regardless of the circumstances.

Israel must refuse to accept this responsibility — it must maintain the absolute right to defend its population and soldiers, regardless of the tactics its enemies use.

Since the terrorist groups deliberately use the civilian population as a shield, then the responsibility for civilian deaths should fall on them.  But by adopting the “smart warfare” techniques described above, the IDF in effect accepts responsibility and gives the terrorists a pass.

The IDF is falling into a trap: if it admits that it could stop all collateral damage by ‘fighting smarter’, then any collateral damage at all means that it is not trying hard enough. And it means that the damage is its responsibility.

The terrorists fully understand this and continue to try as hard as they can to put their own population in harm’s way. The IDF then responds by adopting stricter rules of engagement, which makes it harder for it to defeat its enemies.

Israel can not win against this kind of escalation, because it is not possible to fight a war in a populated area without hurting anybody.

The solution is to establish reasonable rules of engagement that will result in a minimum of collateral damage consistent with achieving its military objectives, and stick to them. If terrorist tactics cause an increase in civilian casualties, that’s their responsibility, not that of the IDF.

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Hostage in Gaza had no sympathy for Shalit

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Vittorio Arrigoni

Vittorio Arrigoni

OK, so Yet Another Terror Organization (YATO) in Gaza, this one called called “Monotheism and Holy War,” has kidnapped an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist, an Italian named Vittorio Arrigoni. (h/t Elder of Ziyon)

It turns out that Arrigoni is a passionate hater of Israel, who even criticized a French official for expressing solidarity with … Gilad Shalit!

Here’s a Google translation of Arrigoni’s comments in his blog on January 21, 2011:

Michele Alliot-Marie, French Foreign Minister, yesterday in Israel during a press conference expressed [her] solidarity with the soldier Gilad Shalit, the only Israeli prisoner in the hands of the Palestinians.

Despite the French minister knows very well that Shalit was taken prisoner during an Israeli attack on Gaza border [false — Hamas operatives tunneled under the border and attacked an Israeli base — ed] (and thus is a prisoner of war), it seems yesterday alongside the parents of the soldier spoke of a “war crime” is attributable Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Silence on the obvious and real daily Israeli crimes in Gaza.

By virtue of [her] statements and those of  [her] silence before the drama of occupied Palestine today via the Erez crossing and entering the Strip, Michele Alliot-Marie has found a well-deserved reception from relatives of the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners (many women and children) detained illegally and tortured every day in Israeli jails.

For more ironic links to his anti-Israel work, plus a quite chilling video of a beaten Arrigoni displayed to the world (with background music), see the post by Elder of Ziyon here.

The kidnappers are apparently demanding that Hamas release the leader of their group, or they will kill the Italian. One wonders why they didn’t kidnap a Hamas member. Maybe they feel that Arrigoni is such a big asset to Hamas that he’s worth more than some flunky. Or maybe they’re expecting ransom from the Italian government.

Elder of Ziyon also noticed that some ‘activists’ are already blaming Israel.

Every time you think that Palestinian Arabs can’t be more violent, cruel, or just crazy, something happens to show you that you were wrong.

Did you ever meet a crazy person or group, and realize that you should stay as far away from them as possible? That if you didn’t, their craziness would become part of your life, too? This is what has happened with the Palestinian Arabs — and their supporters. The rest of the world has let them into its life, and boy, are they sorry.

Update [2028 PDT]: It’s being reliably reported that Arrigoni has been found, dead. I guess they didn’t want to wait for the ransom.

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