Archive for April, 2007

Hamas’ hypocrisy

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Khaled Meshaal, leader of the so-called ‘military wing’ of Hamas — as if there is anything military about terrorism against civilians, kidnapping, etc. — said yesterday that a barrage of 41 rockets and 54 mortar shells fired into Israel last week were an act of ‘self-defense’:

“It’s the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves,” Mashaal said, adding the attacks came in revenge for the killings of nine Hamas supporters by Israel. “These are violations that needed a retaliation.” — AP

Last week three Hamas terrorists were killed while planting explosives on the border fence between Gaza and Israel. Another died in Gaza when a bomb he was transporting exploded. And prior to that several were killed immediately after firing Qassam missiles at Israel. These are not defensive acts.

In another example of his ability to turn reality on its head, Meshaal blames PM Olmert for the fact that Gilad Shalit is being held by Hamas. Olmert is “personally behind the delay in the release of the Israeli soldier.”

It’s insane: Hamas criminals cross the border, grab Shalit and kill several others, and then demand the release of more than a thousand prisoners, including convicted mass murderers…but when Israel balks at the demand, Olmert is ‘responsible’?

By the way, Israeli security sources have said that the rocket and mortar barrage was intended to cover an attempt to kidnap another Israeli. So much for self-defense.

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U.S. taxpayers supporting campaign to defame Israel

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Here’s what you’ll see on the Washington DC Metro (WMATA) in the near future:Washington Metro poster

According to Canadian Jewish News,

Initiated by a charity called the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the 46-by-60-inch posters depict an imposing tank pointing its main firing turret at a child with a schoolbag walking along a dirt road.

“Imagine if this were your child’s path to school. Palestinians don’t have to imagine,” the poster states, before continuing to call for an end to U.S. aid for “Israel’s brutal military occupation… paid for by U.S. taxpayers like you.”

CBS Outdoor, the New York-based firm that places in-station advertising for WMATA, at first refused to consider the poster, but eventually relented to pressure from WMATA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). [my emphasis]

Believe it or not, apparently the IRS feels that the “U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” is a legitimate charity:

Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, which does business as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations made to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law [from].

So if you are a U.S. taxpayer, you may be paying for aid to Israel (as well as aid to the Palestinians, Egypt, etc.), but you are also paying for these posters!

The ACLU and WMATA argue that this is a legitimate exercise of first-amendment rights. I say that the posters are defamatory of the State of Israel, and should not be permitted for this reason.

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Israeli Arabs and Palestinian nationalism

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Israel will need to face the question of how to respond to the growing Palestinian nationalism of her Arab citizens soon:

The Balad movement held a rally in support of former Knesset Member Azmi Bishara [see my previous posts here and here], who is under investigation for suspected collaboration with the enemy during the Second Lebanon War last summer…

“What is Bishara accused of? Collaborating with the enemy? Hizbullah isn’t our enemy, the Israeli occupation is the enemy. [PM Ehud] Olmert, [security service head Yuval] Diskin and [right-wing MK Avigdor] Lieberman the immigrant will not succeed in removing us from our land,” Hadash [Communist party] Secretary-General Ayman Auda said. — YNet

Another speaker was the head of the “Islamic Movement in Israel”, Sheikh Raed Salah. Salah, who recently incited Arabs to riot over the repairs to the Mughrabi Gate near the Temple mount, said that Israel was trying to expel Arab citizens from the state:

If the options before us are either to be kicked out or to die on this land – we will take the second option. We may be killed and jailed and we will not leave this land. At the end of the day, we will win…

As I’ve written before, there is a difference between guaranteeing equal rights to a minority and satisfying its nationalistic aspirations, especially when this nationalism directly contradicts the defining character of the state.

Israel is not going to kick the Arab minority out. But there are 22 Arab nations, 23 if you count the anarchic Palestinian state in Gaza. There is one Jewish state. Arab citizens of Israel will have to decide if they want to live as a minority in the Jewish state, where they may continue to demand equal rights (but not nationhood) or if they want to move to Palestine or another Arab nation. The option of continuing to live in Israel while fighting for its replacement by yet another an Arab state cannot be provided to them.

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No surprise in leaked report on conduct of the war

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

The Winograd report, the inquiry into the disaster of the second Lebanon war, will be released on Monday. Naturally, its contents are already leaking out:

A report broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 news claimed on Saturday evening that the committee found Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed to put into action emergency plans drawn up long before the war. Fearing it would result in heavy casualties Olmert resisted a ground incursion into Lebanon but presented no cohesive alternative in its stead due to a lack of structured planning. According to the committee the war was grossly mismanaged and decisions were hastily made in the ensuing chaos

The committee accused [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz of failing to make up for his lack of military experience and failing to utilize the defense-oriented resources at his disposal. Peretz, according to the committee, preferred to convene a private forum which bypassed the ministry of defense so that in the end [Peretz] was running the war with Olmert with a complete lack of the necessary knowledge. (my emphasis) — YNet

The report also severely criticized former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. Halutz resigned earlier this year and was replaced by Gabi Ashkenazi.

YNet claims that left-wing Knesset member Yossi Beilin met with right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu ‘secretly’ on Friday, and both agreed that Olmert “must not continue as PM”. There is probably no other issue that these two could agree about. This reminds me of a joke:

Israeli 1: Did you hear that Olmert’s popularity was at 3%?

Israeli 2: I had no idea he had so many relatives!

In addition to his failure as a decision-maker, Olmert’s Prime Ministership is suffering from his unpopularity, the perception that he will not be PM much longer, and several investigations for corruption. Only someone displaying enormous arrogance, someone disconnected from reality, could continue to insist upon remaining in his position as Olmert has. Like Dan Halutz, he should take responsibility and resign.

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Impact of Saudi terror attack could have been great

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Saudi Arabia has broken up a huge plot to attack their oil industry:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Police arrested 172 Islamic militants, some of whom had trained abroad as pilots so they could fly aircraft in attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, the Interior Ministry said Friday. A spokesman said all that remained in the plot “was to set the zero hour.”

The ministry issued a statement saying the detainees were planning to carry out suicide atttacks against “public figures, oil facilities, refineries … and military zones” — some of which were outside the kingdom…

The kingdom…devotes significant resources to defend its oil industry against [such] threats. The government planned to spend $2 billion of its $12 billion defense budget last year to protect the country’s oil sector…

Previous reports have said the country keeps round-the-clock helicopter and F-15 fighter patrols over its export terminals, with as many as 30,000 troops protecting the oil infrastructure.

Although one’s first impulse is to say “they deserve it”, a successful attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure would be a tremendous blow to the West. Such an event could cause the price of oil to double or more overnight. Even though the US gets only about 7 or 8 percent of the oil it consumes from Saudi Arabia, the impact of the price increase would be enormous. The US economy, already imperiled by high levels of public and private debt and a large current account deficit, could be seriously destabilized. We could see a sharp increase in inflation and interest rates, and a stock market plunge as starters.

One major beneficiary would be Iran. Iran’s oil industry is much less efficient than that of Saudi Arabia, and indeed current Saudi attempts to keep oil prices stable are in part aimed at the hostile Iranian regime. A sudden flow of cash would reinforce Ahmadinijad’s regime and allow it to spend even more on its nuclear program.

In fact, even though the terrorists that have been arrested appear to be al-Qaeda Sunni types, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that Iran had provided support for them in money, weapons, training, or other forms.

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