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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 20, 2003

The War Begins

Thissite by DAVID DOLAN, a Jerusalem-based author and journalist worth reading frequently [caps in original]
ISRAELIS ARE BEING TOLD TO GO ABOUT THEIR REGULAR BUSINESS THIS MORNING AFTER US BOMBS APPARENTLY MISSED SADDAM HUSSEIN IN A SURPRISE PRE-DAWN MISSILE ATTACK SOUTH OF BAGHDAD. NO SIRENS WERE SOUNDED HERE WHEN THE ATTACK TOOK PLACE AT AROUND 4:34 AM LOCAL TIME, BUT MANY ISRAELIS WERE AWARE OF IT WITHIN MINUTES AS PEOPLE PHONED EACH OTHER WITH THE NEWS. ALL LOCAL TV NETWORKS STAYED ON THE AIR ALL NIGHT WITH SPECIAL PRE-WAR PROGRAMMING.

ISRAEL'S FORMER ARMY SPOKESMAN IN THE FIRST GULF WAR HAS CRITICIZED THE GOVERNMENT FOR INSTRUCTING CITIZENS TO GO ABOUT THEIR NORMAL BUSINESS TODAY, A CALL THAT WAS CONTINUED FROM LAST EVENING WHEN ISRAELI LEADERS APPARENTLY THOUGHT---BASED ON INITIAL WHITE HOUSE INFORMATION---THAT THE WAR WOULD NOT BEGIN UNTIL THURSDAY EVENING.

ANALYSTS NOTED THAT IN A SPEECH BROADCAST AT 7:30 LOCAL TIME THIS MORNING, SADDAM MENTIONED THE SUPPOSED "ZIONISTS" WHO CONTROL WASHINGTON THREE TIMES. THE DICTATOR ALSO CALLED FOR THE "LIBERATION OF PALESTINE," INDICATING HE MAY TRY TO STRIKE ISRAEL TO STIR UP REGIONAL ARAB SUPPORT FOR HIS "JIHAD" WAR AGAINST AMERICAN AND BRITISH FORCES.

THEY ADD THAT THE APPARENT FACT THAT SADDAM SURVIVED THE SURGICAL MISSILE STRIKE AGAINST HIM BEFORE DAWN MAY STRENGTHEN ARMED IRAQI RESISTANCE TO ALLIED FORCES WHEN THEY CROSS INTO IRAQ AFTER DARK THIS EVENING (UNLESS THAT TIMETABLE IS NOW ADVANCED). HOWEVER, THEY COMMENDED PRESIDENT BUSH FOR TRYING TO KILL THE DICTATOR BEFORE THE FULL WAR ACTUALLY BEGINS, WHICH MIGHT HAVE THWARTED THE EXPECTED OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE WAR LATER TODAY IF IT HAD SUCCEEDED IN ASSASSINATING THE DEMENTED DESPOT.

SOME RESIDENTS OF TEL AVIV ARE GETTING OUT OF THE CITY THIS MORNING TO AVOID ANY POSSIBLE SCUD ATTACK UPON ISRAEL'S LARGEST METROPOLITAN CENTER. FLIGHTS TO THE SOUTHERN PORT TOWN OF EILAT ARE TAKING OFF EVERY HALF HOUR TO MEET THE DEMAND. SEVERAL AIRLINES, INCLUDING THE GERMAN CARRIER LUFTHANSA, HAVE JOINED BRITISH AIR THIS MORNING IN CANCELING FLIGHTS TO THE COUNTRY. THE DUTCH AIRLINE KLM IS BRINGING A JUMBO JET TO BEN GURION AIRPORT TO EVACUATE ALL REMAINING DUTCH CITIZENS WHO WISH TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY. ISRAEL'S NATIONAL CARRIER, EL AL, SAYS IT WILL CONTINUE TO FLY WHATEVER TAKES PLACE. .