Archive for February, 2008

Traitorous Moshe gets his cue from intellectuals

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The following report appeared in the Jerusalem Post today:

Israel recently foiled a terror attack on the Dimona nuclear reactor, a Kuwaiti newspaper quoted British sources as saying Friday.

According to the paper, Al Jarida, Israeli security forces arrested a senior employee at the plant after they uncovered a plot to blow up one of the heaters at the facility.

According to the British sources, the worker, who was only identified as Moshe, is also suspected of leaking information about the reactor to foreign sources.

Is it true? Who knows? A Kuwaiti newspaper quoting unnamed British sources plus about $1.51 will buy you one Euro (if you act quickly). But the fact that today this is considered not only thinkable but quite possible is upsetting.

The early Zionists wished for the Jewish state to be a ‘normal’ country with Jewish criminals and prostitutes (although they probably didn’t expect quite so many). But they certainly weren’t hoping for Jewish traitors and saboteurs like ‘Moshe’.

Possibly the fact that the intellectual and media elite of Israel are so anti-Israel has something to do with it.

An academic named Ze’ev Sternhell has received this year’s Israel prize in political science. Here are some choice quotations from his voluminous output:

Many in Israel, perhaps even the majority of the voters, do not doubt the legitimacy of the armed resistance in the territories themselves. The Palestinians would be wise to concentrate their struggle against the settlements, avoid harming women and children. — “Facing a sleepwalking government“, Ha’aretz (2001)

“In the end we will have to use force against the settlers in Ofra or Elon Moreh. Only he who is willing to storm Ofra with tanks will be able to block the fascist danger threatening to drown Israeli democracy.” — Davar, 1988

And Sternhell is not the only one. Apparently there is sort of a contest between left-wing Israeli intellectuals to say the most outrageous thing (even to an American Secretary of State), like former Ha’aretz editor David Landau’s comment that Israel needed to be ‘raped’ by America into making peace with the Palestinians (and no, it wasn’t a case of mistranslating the Hebrew verb לאנוס because Landau’s first language was English).

Every society, whether a business enterprise or a nation, gets a character formed by shared experiences but also by a top-down process from its leaders. So it’s been suggested that Microsoft’s aggressiveness has its roots in Bill Gates’ personality. When you have intellectual leaders who are apparently opposed to the whole enterprise of the Jewish state and political leaders who are constantly involved in scandal, is it surprising that there are people like Moshe?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Give us the truth, not ‘balance’

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

The Jerusalem Post reports:

The latest deaths brought the number of Palestinians killed in army strikes on Thursday to 18, according to Gaza medical officials.

Thursday’s dead included members of rocket squads, but also five children, ranging in age from eight to 12, who their relatives said were playing soccer when they were killed in a missile strike…

Palestinians said Wednesday’s air strikes killed a 6-month-old baby, children ages 10 and 11, and heavily damaged the offices of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a local humanitarian group.

The Post at least includes the phrase “according to Gaza [Hamas — ed.] medical officials” and “Palestinians said”. But other news agencies often do not. For example, the AP story by the intrepid Ibrahim Barzak and Karin Laub simply says:

The dead Thursday included members of rocket squads, as well as five children, ranging in age from 8 to 12, who their relatives said were playing soccer when they were killed in a missile strike…

Since Wednesday, 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli missile strikes, including 14 civilians, among them eight children, according to Palestinian officials. The youngest was a 6-month-old boy, Mohammed al-Borai, whose funeral was held Thursday.

The touch about the funeral is very nice, but how do we know that any of this is true?

The Palestinians have time and again fabricated entire incidents, like the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al-Dura. Why should they tell the truth now?

The news services depend on ‘official’ spokesmen, who are Hamas functionaries, and local Palestinian reporters — who won’t last 10 minutes if they deviate from the Hamas line — to report from Gaza. I mean, after what happened to Alan Johnston (who was pro-Palestinian) wouldn’t you? Yet their reports are treated as if they are as reliable as those of the latest killed and maimed in Sderot.

I am not saying that the IDF never accidentally kills or injures civilians. But great effort is expended to prevent it, and the true number of such cases is nowhere near what is reported.

It seems that the news services feel that it would be biased, racist or un-multicultural to treat Palestinian statements with a little bit more skepticism than those that come from a democratic state like Israel. But given the precedents, they should.

Technorati Tags: , ,

What is Hizballah? And what does that say about Iran and Syria?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Every so often somebody says that Hizballah is just another political movement, possibly antagonistic to Israel but not relevant for the rest of the world.

There is also the view — which seems to be held the leading candidate for the US Presidency — that Iran and Syria are ‘normal’ nations with whom we may disagree and with whom we can negotiate, just like, for example, Russia or China.

The recent death of arch-terrorist Imad Mugniyah, however, provided a window into the real nature of Hizballah, as well as the nations that employ its murderous terrorism as instruments of policy.

Confessions At a Funeral
By Barry Rubin

A funny thing happened at the funeral of Imad Mughniyah. Those who had for years been denying any connection with him and his international terrorist activities–Iran, Syria, and Hizballah–suddenly admitted that he was one of their favorite people.

At the same time, other critical points came out. Mughniyah’s critical position as the link between those three allies, in their conduct of terrorism and subversion, stood out clearly. In addition, Mugniyah’s career as an international terrorist, who often operated against Western targets, showed how Hizballah–along with its backers in Tehran and Damascus–were second only to al-Qaida in their global operations of violence.

Let’s first look at the record of the man who Iran, Syria, and Hizballah were so eager to praise and ready to revenge. Mughniyah, a Lebanese citizen, first worked with the PLO and then with Hizballah, leading the latter group’s main terrorist operations. During the 1980s alone, Mughniyah was involved in killing 340 American and French soldiers in a peacekeeping force, 63 civilians in bombing the U.S. embassy in Beirut; kidnappings and sometimes executions of Westerners living in Lebanon; attacks on the U.S. embassy in Kuwait; hijacking an American airliner in which a U.S. citizen was murdered; killing two U.S. officials in Lebanon; and hijacking two Kuwait Airways’ planes.

In 1994, he organized the bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Argentina, killing 86 civilians. The official Argentinean investigation concluded Iranian intelligence had hired Mughniyah and his unit for this job.

As a result of his activities, Mughniyah was on the U.S. list of ten most wanted terrorists, with a $25 million reward on his head. Interpol had an extradition warrant against him due to the Argentina attack. But traveling between Lebanon, Iran, and Syria–protected and often working for the latter two governments–Mughniyah continued his career of violence up to the day of his death.

With the exception of the September 11 attack, Mughniyah was probably responsible for more terrorist violence and killings than any other individual over the last quarter-century.

How did Iran’s rulers respond to his demise? They all praised him. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called him, “An example for the young generation to follow.” Powerful former president and current Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani referred to Mughniyah as a “great figure” whose actions Iran did not consider terrorism. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad eulogized him as, “An outstanding leader from Hizballah,” though up to his death that organization denied Mughniyah held such a post.

Hizballah’s own leader, Hassan Nasrallah, used his funeral oration to threaten to wipe out Israel, paralleling what many Iranian leaders say. If Iran obtains nuclear weapons that threat becomes most plausible. But Hizballah hopes to achieve the same end through lower-level violence. Nasrallah declared “open war” on Israel and boasted he would launch attacks anywhere in the world, presumably against anyone he deemed to be standing in the way of his destructive dream.

As for Syria, where Mughniyah was repeatedly given help and safe haven, he was being protected in a highly secure area under government control. An Iranian television station reported he was killed near a Syrian intelligence base at a time a major meeting of Palestinian groups was taking place, including Hamas leader Khalad Mishal, who is based in Damascus. Two respected Arab newspapers claimed Mughniyah was the guest of top Syrian leaders and had been meeting with them and Hamas chiefs to plan the kind of bloody deeds he was so good at doing.

Revenge was also threatened by such pro-Mughniyah groups as Hamas, the Muqtada Sadr forces in Iraq, and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigades. Not all Arabs reacted in this way. In Kuwait, for example, it was pointed out that Mugniyah had been involved in the murder of many Arabs and Muslims, in Kuwait, Lebanon, and Iraq

A Lebanese newspaper backed by Syria and Hizballah noted that Mughniyah’s Death was the hardest blow to Hizballah ever. Ironically, however, many in the past had refused to condemn Hizballah as a terrorist organization–including the EU–because they said there was insufficient evidence of such involvement.

As one expert on Hizballah, Magnus Ranstorp, retorted, too many had “allowed themselves to be misled” about Hizballah use of international terrorism and its use by Iran and Syria. “And so Hezbollah was allowed to have its cake and eat it too” since it could carry out terrorism without any significant international price or punishment.

When Iran, Syria, and Hizballah embrace such a person as a great hero and role model they are:

  • Openly admitting their association with many past acts of terrorism.
  • Making clear that they favor murderous attacks deliberately designed to kill civilians.
  • Showing their past denials of involvement to be lies.
  • Urging people to commit many more such attacks in future, include genocide against Israel and its people.

Now that Hizballah, Iran, and Syria have “taken credit” for Mughniyah’s past killings and urged many more in the future, the world should confront the fact that these groups are engaged in a systematic terrorist policy and react accordingly.

. . .

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA). His latest books are The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Hamas plans mother of all information attacks

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Dry Bones: Battle Cry

Courtesy of Mr. Dry Bones

The primary theater of the Arab war against Israel has moved to the information war. Israel has consistently lost battles in this theater. For example, the second Lebanon war was not a military defeat for Israel despite what Nasrallah says; however it was a rout in the information arena. The Qassam rocket blitz, also spun as the ‘siege of Gaza’ has been another defeat.

Now Hamas is preparing the mother of all information offensives, the Women and Children’s Crusade against the Gaza/Israel border.

The Russians would probably respond with live fire, but almost anything Israel does is going to be a loss in the information theater, in part because the world is predisposed to accept the Arab story. The information war is cumulative; unlike traditional war, a sudden reversal cannot be brought about by a brilliant change in strategy.

What’s needed is a campaign to get the truth out in response to Palestinian lies, to respond quickly and effectively to incidents (the Mohammed Dura libel, the various ‘massacres’ in Lebanon), and to tell the overall story to the world in a clear way.

That means that Israel will have to devote an amount of money, personnel and effort to this project that is proportionally equivalent to that expended by her enemies. The process will be long and hard, before it will begin to reverse the present strategic disadvantage.

Also, Israelis have to understand that there is an information war, and that their words have consequences. Giving physical aid or comfort to an enemy in wartime is treason, and carries the highest penalties. In a democracy, anyone can say almost anything. When the editor of Ha’aretz, for example, does the information equivalent of smuggling explosives to Hamas, he is not arrested or placed in a mental institution.

Technorati Tags: , ,

What’s the point?

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

There are several channels, open and secret, through which Israeli-PA negotiations are taking place. Here’s a report about the public one:

The new teams will work on common concerns about water, the environment, economic and judicial matters, while leaving the tough subjects of borders, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem to the political negotiators, said Arye Mekel, spokesman for chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, who is Israel’s foreign minister…

The main issues facing the negotiators have stymied decades of peace efforts. Arguably the touchiest is Jerusalem, where the Palestinians want to create a capital in the eastern sector. But both sides lay claim to the explosive joint holy site in the Old City, where the Al Aqsa Mosque compound sits atop the ruins of the biblical Jewish Temples.

No less volatile is the future of Palestinian refugees from the 1948-49 war that followed Israel’s creation. With their descendants, they number in the millions. Palestinians insist they have a right to return to their original homes in Israel, while Israel demands that they be resettled in the new Palestinian state. Other major issues are final borders and the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. No progress is reported in any of those areas. — Jerusalem Post

Leaving aside the issues about Palestinian ability or desire to perform if a deal is made, and of course what to do about Hamas, there is something else that is left out of this description.

That is that the real issue in dispute is whether or not there should continue to be a Jewish state. No Palestinian faction, not even Fatah as run by Mahmoud Abbas or by presently imprisoned murderer Marwan Barghouti, will accept this.

They make this totally clear by their demand for the resettlement of the ‘refugees’ in Israel, and by their refusal to accept that Israel is the Jewish state — can you imagine if someone refused to accept ‘Palestine’ as an Arab state?

It’s also clear that the elites of the Israeli Arab minority also do not agree that Israel should be a Jewish state, and wish to see national symbols such as the flag, the national anthem, etc. replaced. Of course they also want to see Israel’s Law of Return repealed.

In other words, everybody on the Arab side wants it to be 1947 again.

Is there any evidence that the Palestinians will change their minds and agree to another partition proposal after rejecting at least three?

No, the most that can be hoped for is that they will settle for getting the IDF and the settlements out of the West Bank, sovereignty over large portions of Jerusalem — including the holiest sites of Judaism — and some kind of arrangement that will accept in principle that the refugees are the real owners of Israel and pay them a bunch of money, but not actually allow them to take possession. At least, not today.

There is a danger that the present government, profoundly blind to symbolism and incapable of thinking in the long term, will agree to this.

But of course the Palestinians will not give up their dream of eliminating the Jewish state. The agreement will simply mark the beginning of a new round of threats, terrorism, international bullying of Israel, etc. And Israel will be in a far weaker position, militarily and diplomatically, to resist.

So what is the point of negotiating?

Technorati Tags: ,