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

February 08, 2003

Send Condolences to Ilan Ramon's Family!

Details can be found at Winds of Change.NET. We also cover memorials planned or under way, the funeral date, and a story from an airport traveller that says it all with respect to the kind of person Col. Ramon was.

Israel’s War Against Terror

The following message was received from Naomi Ragen.

If you'd like a really good website with information on Israel's war against terror, including all the Palestinian propaganda lies, and a list of all Israel's victims, I am happy to direct you to the following excellent website:

The volunteers who put it together deserve a real pat on the back and thanks from all of us.
Naomi Ragen’s website is .

To subscribe to Naomi Ragen’s mail list, send an empty email to: .

Invitation to Sharon draws angry reaction in pro-Palestinian Egypt

Perhaps the U.S. ought send more money to help out Egypt. Between a government that approves of the TV show Protocols of Zion and the many pro-Palestinians within the country, I am beginning to believe we may well have a questionable friend in Egypt.
CAIRO (AFP) — President Hosni Mubarak's invitation to Israel's newly reelected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has drawn angry reactions in Egypt, where the Israeli leader is commonly referred to as a “butcher” of the Palestinians.
Egyptian officials have been at pains to explain that Mubarak's initiative was taken in the interest of the Palestinians, pointing out that even President Yasser Arafat had offered, but in vain, to meet with the hard-line prime minister.

But vitriolic media comments revealed widespread hostility to the invitation that Mubarak said Monday aimed at reviving peace talks frozen since 2000.

“No, Mister President, don't shake hands with him, don't put your hand in the blood-stained hand of this assassin,” wrote the editor-in-chief of the pro-government Al Osboue Weekly, Mustapha Bakri.

“He's a terrorist, a vampire, and not a statesman or an ordinary man with whom it is possible to talk about peace,” added Bakri in an editorial titled “Before the butcher stains our soil” published next to a photomontage picturing Sharon's heads on a cobra snake body.

He expressed worries that the invitation would reward Sharon's tough repression of the Palestinian uprising, and that it would “break his isolation and open for him the road to other Arab capitals.”

“Wouldn't this overture towards Sharon prove to the Zionist society that force, violence and intransigence are the only ways to goad the Arabs into accepting Israel's policy of fait accompli?,” he asked.

A meeting with Mubarak would be Sharon's first with an Arab leader since he took office nearly two years ago. [more]
The PR war.

The following article comes from the Hasbara web site. I could not manage to link to the article itself, so I am posting it here in its entirety. I think it is a must-read.

Why the Palestinians Are Winning the Media War.

An Interview with David Bedein, Reform Judaism Magazine. David Bedein has run the Jerusalem-based Israel Resource News Agency, which provides news services for the foreign media, since 1987. He has also worked on special assignment for BBC, CNN Radio, the Los Angeles Times, and the weekly Israel news magazine Makor Rishon. He was interviewed by RJ editor Aron Hirt-Manheimer.

Do you agree with those who say that "the Palestinians have been doing a better job than the Israelis on the public relations front"?

Yes. For the past twenty years, the Palestinians have outmaneuvered the Israelis in framing the conflict for the world media. The turning point came during the 1982 Lebanon War, when the Palestinians initiated a propaganda campaign to cast themselves as the defenders of human rights and the Israelis as the violators of human rights. At the same time, Yasser Arafat's brother, Dr. Fatchi Arafat, exploited his position as director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to release grossly inflated casualty figures. On June 10, 1982, for example, Dr. Arafat issued a statement declaring that "10,000 Palestinians have died and 600,000 have become homeless in the first few days of the war"--a lie calculated to portray the Palestinians as the victims of a genocidal assault in Lebanon. In fact, the total population in the war zone numbered fewer than 300,000. Yet the International Red Cross and Middle East Action Committee of the American Friends Service Committee spread the 10,000/600,000 figure to every media outlet in the world, and the major American networks picked up the story. NBC's Jessica Savitch reported, "It is now estimated that 600,000 refugees in south Lebanon are without sufficient food or medical supplies."

Palestinian media professionals have no qualms about deceiving the media for political advantage. In their attempt to convince the world that the IDF massacred hundreds of civilians in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield, they used animal carcasses to fill the air with the stench of rotting flesh in places where reporters and UN officials were likely to visit. The IDF caught that ploy on video, as they did a staged funeral in which "the body" jumped out of the coffin and ran for cover when an Israeli surveillance plane flew over the site.

Are you suggesting that such tactics have been counterproductive?

Not at all. Such bloopers are the exception. The Palestinians have an excellent track record in manipulating images that appear in the world media. They achieved an enormous propaganda windfall at the beginning of the second intifada, when a Palestinian film crew working for a French television network recorded the shooting of eleven-year-old Mohammed al-Dura as his father tried in vain to shield him during a battle at a road junction near Gaza. The video, edited to portray the IDF as heartless child killers, fit the Palestinian story line perfectly. The Israeli government fell into the trap, issuing an apology even before investigating the incident. Mohammed al-Dura, the "poster boy" of the second intifada, will go down in history as a celebrated martyr of the Palestinian people--and yet, the Palestinian version of al-Dura's death is a lie, an invention of Palestinian P.R. professionals. A thorough IDF investigation, which was issued three weeks after the incident and confirmed by a German TV crew, showed that the bullets fired at the boy had come from the direction of Palestinian gunmen who had attacked an Israeli guard post. But the world had "witnessed" the shooting of al-Dura, as the media scripted it--an atrocity committed by Israeli troops--and the damage could not be undone. It is impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

When did these Palestinian P.R. professionals first come onto the scene?

Back in March 1984, Ramonda Tawill, a media professional (who six years later would become Yasser Arafat's mother-in-law), helped the PLO establish the Palestinian Press Service (PPS) to provide assistance to visiting journalists and conduct training seminars in media relations. The PPS then joined forces with the Palestine Human Rights Information Center (PHRIC) to change the image of the PLO from that of a sixties-style liberation movement to an organization fighting to protect the victims of Israeli human rights abuses. PHRIC seminars instructed their "students" to steer every media interview to the same themes--Israeli occupation, illegal settlements, human rights abuses, and the right of the Palestinian refugees to go home. Regardless of the question, these themes were to be repeated over and over again. I know this firsthand, because our agency made it a policy to assign our journalist interns to take Tawill's courses.

One of her great "accomplishments" came in May 1985, after Israel released more than a thousand convicted PLO terrorists in exchange for seven Israeli soldiers. As a way of diverting media attention from their crimes, Tawill coached these freed terrorists to stress that they were tortured in Israel jails for "political activism" and "support of Palestinian nationalism." I learned about this tactic from several of Tawill's students in a media course I took in May 1986. They explained that by monopolizing the reporters' time with stories of torture, the journalists would invariably have to complete the interview before they had time to ask the terrorists about the actions that had led to their capture and imprisonment. At the time, Israeli intelligence did not allow reporters to look at the prison files of security detainees, so the crimes of these terrorists went virtually unreported.

Was the PHRIC widely perceived as a credible human rights organization?

Absolutely. By mid-1989, international human rights organizations routinely reproduced information developed by the PHRIC, which by then had secured funding from the Ford Foundation and had established offices in Chicago and Washington. Addressing the media in Jerusalem in November 1989, Amnesty International spokesman Richard Reoch acknowledged that his organization regarded the PLO, which works with the PHRIC, as an objective information source. "Since the PLO is not a government body," he said, "we feel comfortable with Amnesty using them as a source." And a U.S. embassy spokesman told me in February 1989 that the PHRIC had "impeccable" credentials.

How do Palestinian P.R. professionals get their training today, and who funds it?

The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) provides courses and more than thirty how-to manuals on public relations, media relations, fundraising, communications, lobbying, and public speaking. PASSIA trains Palestinian academics who will be teaching abroad on how to promote their cause on university campuses; in addition, Palestinians in the U.S. are taught how to seek out the Arab constituencies in each congressional district and how to lobby members of Congress for political and financial support of the Palestinian cause. And who picks up the tab for PASSIA? The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a program of the U.S. State Department, grants PASSIA and eighteen other Palestinian media relations firms in Jerusalem more than $1 million annually. It was only this past March, after a U.S. House International Relations Committee staffer discovered that USAID was providing allocations for Palestinian media relations, that members of Congress became aware of this aid. A surprised Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) looked at PASSIA's advocacy manual and said incredulously: "Here we are in Congress paying them to lobby us."

How have the Israelis countered this Palestinian strategy of portraying them as human rights violators?

The Israelis constantly find themselves on the defensive. They can't seem to get out of the box into which the Palestinians have put them. By framing the conflict as a human rights issue, the Palestinians have succeeded in convincing many journalists, on some level at least, that every act of terrorism against Israeli civilians is not a crime, but a legitimate response to human rights abuses.

What is the organizational structure of the Palestinian public relations program, and how does it differ from Israel's?

The major Palestinian media organization, known as the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), is heavily subsidized by the European Union and the Ford Foundation. Headed by Dr. Ghassan Khatib, a close associate of Yasser Arafat, JMCC provides the foreign media with topnotch professional services--affordable camera crews, translators, photographers, and transportation, as well as daily press bulletins, briefing papers, and people to interview.

The Israeli government provides the visiting press with bushels of bulletins, but leaves the provision of camera crews and translation services to the private sector. No Israeli TV crew can compete with the heavily subsidized JMCC, which essentially has cornered the market on media services for the foreign press. The foreign press is totally dependent on Palestinian technical support personnel, who have a strong influence on the narrative and images that appear in the Western media.

Do the Palestinians have a P.R. presence in Washington, DC?

Their man in Washington is Edward Abington, who served as U.S. consul in Jerusalem when USAID began to finance PASSIA in the '90s and is now registered as a paid foreign agent for the PLO in Washington. Abington coordinates information from JMCC, PASSIA, and other Palestinian information agencies and puts a moderate face on the Palestinian cause, which often means damage control. For example, each time one of Arafat's militias takes credit for a terror attack, Abington's office quickly issues a statement to the media denying Arafat's involvement. A case in point: on November 20, 2000, the PLO's Fatah was quoted on official PBC radio and PBC TV as taking credit for an attack on a school bus near Cfar Darom, where two schoolteachers were murdered and three siblings were maimed for life. Yet CNN reported that the PLO had condemned the attack. I called the international desk of CNN in Atlanta to inquire about the contradictory statements. The person on the desk, a nineteen-year-old intern, told me that she had received a call from Abington's office in Washington, followed by a fax, denying PLO involvement.

Abington also provides the press and the U.S. government with "translations" of Arafat's speeches. On May 15, 2002, Arafat delivered a speech to the Palestine Legislative Council in which he compared the Oslo accords to the ten-year peace treaty between Mohammed and the Jewish tribe of Qureish, a treaty the founder of Islam tore up two years later, when his forces had the power to slaughter the Jewish tribe. President Bush declared that Arafat had been speaking the "right words." When our news agency asked the U.S. embassy in Israel if the entire speech had been sent to Bush, embassy officials responded that Bush had not yet received any of the speech. We then called Abington's office, which told us that they had supplied the translated speech to the president. Clearly, the text supplied by Abington's office arrived before any official dispatch from the ambassador's information office. The "right words" conveniently excluded Arafat's bellicose message.

Are Palestinian medical and relief organizations involved in the "media war"?

Like the so-called Palestinian human rights organizations, the Union of Palestine Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), run by Dr. Mustafa Al-Bargouti (brother of jailed Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan Al-Bargouti), coordinates its strategies with Dr. Fatchi Arafat's Palestinian Red Crescent Society in disseminating wild reports of Israeli medicalneglect and torture of Palestinians. There have also been numerous incidents in which false information issued by UPMRC sources has been picked up by U.S. media. On July 11, 2001, for example, the Associated Press reported that a pregnant Palestinian woman was shot to death at an Israeli roadblock. In fact, she didn't die, and the doctor who had told the AP reporter she'd been shot and killed hadn't even seen her. He was in a different town at the time. AP reversed itself the next day, reporting that "Israeli soldiers did not bar a Palestinian woman in labor from passing an Israeli checkpoint, refuting initial claims by two Palestinian doctors." Another incident: in late May, National Public Radio aired a parallel report of a Palestinian suicide bombing at an outdoor restaurant near Tel Aviv that killed a toddler and her grandmother, and the shooting of a Palestinian grandmother and child that the IDF mistook for terrorist infiltrators. Palestinian doctors told the NPR reporter that the Palestinian victims' bodies were burned, dismembered, and crushed by an Israeli tank. NPR included these unsubstantiated accusations in its coverage. When I asked the IDF spokesman about these accusations, he laughed with disbelief that mainstream reporters would give credibility to such outrageous inventions--but they did.

How is the UPMRC funded?

It receives $300,000 annually from the United States for P.R. And Dr. Arafat's Palestinian Red Crescent Society receives $215,000 a year in U.S. assistance. Both agencies are on the list of the fifty-nine non-government Palestinian organizations that have shared $100 million in U.S. aid since 1997.

Do you believe the United Nations plays a role in advancing the Palestinian P.R. agenda?

Definitely. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) maintains a professional media relations department and a news service called the UNRWA television network, both based in the Ain el-Helweh UNRWA refugee camp in Lebanon. UNRWA cooperates with the media services of the PLO and the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) to provide the visiting press with information and services. Its literature focuses largely on the plight of the refugees who are being housed in camps until they can "return to their homeland"--which, according to their literature, includes not only the territories captured by Israel in 1967, but also all the areas that Israel annexed after Israel's War of Independence in 1948.

The UN's agenda is to present the Palestinian Arabs as victims. In Witness to History: The Plight of the Palestinian Refugees, one of several primers distributed by UNRWA and published by MIFTAH, the Palestinian media agency run by well-known Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi and commissioned by the Canadian government, the UN asserts, on page 13, that all "refugees and their descendants have a right to compensation and repatriation to their original homes and land...."

How do the Palestinians and Israelis different in their methods of media relations?

Professionally trained and disciplined Palestinian spokespeople usually present themselves as a ragtag bunch of amateurs. They meet Western reporters in modest Jerusalem or Ramallah hotels or against the backdrop of refugee camps. This tactic has been very successful in reinforcing the stereotype of their side as the aggrieved underdog. An interview with a Palestinian in an alleyway with burning tires and bullets flying overhead captures the imagination of editors who place a premium on entertainment value--the human drama unfolding.

In contrast, when foreign correspondents meet with Israeli officials, they are often greeted by slick government spokespeople at fancy hotels, state-of-the-art media centers, or modern offices. Israeli spokespeople labor under three false notions: first, that formal, professionally packaged P.R. is persuasive; second, that lengthy explanations of the history of the conflict will be more effective than sound bytes in convincing the public of the rightness of their cause; and third, that the moral correctness of their action and cause is self-evident to any rational, fair-minded human being. Along these lines, Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres once said: "Good policies are good P.R.; they speak for themselves." Unfortunately, Peres was wrong. A lie can be more powerful than the truth, if you market your lie well enough for people to believe it.

Another problem with Israeli P.R. is that it is woefully uncoordinated and sometimes contradictory. News originates from at least four different offices--the IDF, the Foreign Ministry, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, and the Defense Ministry--and at times each conveys a different message. On October 28, 2001, for example, Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres gave numerous interviews to Israeli and foreign news bureaus stating that Arafat was not responsible for the current wave of terror, and produced as proof the fact that the PA had recently arrested several Hamas terrorists. Yet on that same day, IDF intelligence met with more than a hundred journalists to present evidence linking Arafat and his Fatah organization to Hamas terror activity. Explaining how Hamas terror groups train and operate in the full view of the Palestinian Authority security services, an Israeli military spokesman furnished the media with documentation that the Hamas wing operates as an official, integral part of Arafat's Palestinian Authority security forces in Gaza; he also pointed out that two wanted Hamas terrorists working for the Palestinian security services had murdered four women and wounded fifty civilians at the Hadera bus station that very morning.

In contrast to the seemingly uncoordinated messages coming from Israel, spokespeople of the autocratic Palestinian Authority adhere to a party line with practiced discipline, simply reciting the standard litany of complaints about their "oppression," the "occupation," "human rights abuses," "racism," etc.

Why do you think the Israel government has had such difficulty in recent years getting its point of view across to the Western media?

I think Israel made a major mistake in 1986, when Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and his deputy Dr. Yossi Beilin revised the way in which the government would relate to the PLO. They asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cease distribution of the PLO covenant, which has never officially changed the provision calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. They also asked that the ministry stop defining the PLO as an enemy. In countless briefings that the ministry held in the late 1980s, both Peres and Beilin explained that the time had come to put the fight with the PLO in the past. The 1986 Peres/Beilin policy change paved the way two years later for the U.S. government to recognize the PLO.

The Israeli government also gave the Palestinians a free ride from 1993- 2000, during the seven-year Oslo process, by downplaying terrorist attacks and the two-faced message of the Palestinian leadership, which presented a message of peace in English and a message of war in Arabic. To keep the Oslo process from collapsing, both Israeli and U.S. leaders decided in 1993 to ignore the PA's daily radio and TV calls for a renewed war against Israel. Indeed, in 1995, when the Institute for Peace Education Ltd., which our agency helped to facilitate, produced videos of Arafat's speeches promoting jihad (holy war), then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres asked Israel TV not to air any of Arafat's speeches in Arabic. In September 1995, Peres went so far as to ask Representative Ben Gilman, the chairman of the U.S. House International Relations Committee, not to hold a special hearing in which these videos of Arafat's speeches were to be screened. The House committee ignored the request.

The "don't tell" policy continued during the Netanyahu administration from 1996 to 1999. While Netanyahu's office churned out weekly reports on PA incitement for Likud Party members, a senior official of the Netanyahu administration confirmed to me that the reports were deliberately withheld from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli media. In October 1998, during my coverage of the Wye conference, I asked the Israeli embassy why they did not distribute this material. They answered, "The Israeli government downplays the reality of Arafat's PA in order to not alienate the U.S. government." The Barak government, which assumed power in May 1999, went so far as to quietly eliminate the clause in the Oslo accords that required the PA to cease incitement against Israel.

How do the Palestinians and Israelis compare in their treatment of foreign journalists?

The Israeli army often declares areas to be off limits to the media, which is like flashing a red flag before a bull. The first thing a reporter assumes is that Israel is trying to hide something. One foreign reporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me that Israel had made a "horrible mistake" when "the IDF closed the whole West Bank to reporters during Operation Defensive Shield and left the area wide open to wild rumors planted skillfully by Palestinian spokesmen. We had no way to check out the rumors, and so many of us had to report it in a he-said, she-said format. And, of course, when TV networks put Palestinian spokesmen on live to make their charges, then it's out there and we have to deal with it."

In contrast, the PA rarely engages in confrontation with the foreign press. A rare exception occurred in October 2002 when two IDF soldiers were lynched in the Ramallah police station. The gruesome scene was captured by an Italian TV crew and sent abroad without going through PA censors. The PA demanded an apology and a promise never to do it again--or lose permission to cover Palestinian territory. The Italians said mea culpa and promised never again to embarrass their hosts. We asked our staffer to fly to Rome to interview this Italian crew, who told us, on the record, how they had been browbeaten by PA security officials into providing a letter of apology.

What advice would you give the Israeli government to improve its image in the Western media?

Instead of barring reporters from "closed military places," the IDF and the Israeli government should facilitate press coverage of every event, no matter how delicate or dangerous. Preventing journalists from doing their jobs, in some rare cases even shooting in their direction, does little to win friends in the media.

I think the best way for Israel to improve its public relations is to improve its human relations. On the positive side, Israel has finally begun to provide correspondents with more concise and useful background information, such as kits, CD roms, and profiles of Israel's enemies. But rather than providing reporters with the means to get to the scene of an attack, Israel still prefers to keep them away. In short, Israel needs to treat journalists with less suspicion and more respect.

Do you believe that many Western journalists harbor an anti-Israel bias, or are there other factors which work in favor of the Palestinian point of view?

I agree with the assessment of Dr. Mike Cohen, a Jerusalem-based strategic communications analyst and IDF reserve officer, who says that most foreign journalists are not inherently anti-Israel, antisemitic, or pro-Palestinian. They are, however, easily swayed by Palestinian manipulation, which relies on the reporters' and editors' lack of background knowledge, combined with the lack of time and desire to take a deep look at the facts. Another factor is the fear of losing access to Palestinian sources and logistical support if their stories are perceived as hostile. Moreover, non-Palestinian reporters are deliberately impeded and intimidated when trying to cover news that may embarrass the PA. I know of several foreign journalists who had reported incidents of Palestinian incitement and were thereafter barred from PA briefings.

Are there dissenting Palestinian voices in the Palestinian media?

One rarely hears a dissenting voice among the Palestinians because anyone who publicly criticizes the PA can be imprisoned or even executed. The foreign media is told, and dutifully reports, that the person in question was a "collaborator." A case in point: in early March 2002, BBC reported the execution of two Palestinians who had been accused by the PA of collaboration. When the BBC crew met with the families of the two victims, they discovered that both had a history of opposition to the PA and that both had openly criticized Arafat. The BBC correspondent told me that these were dissidents, not collaborators, but BBC World Service chose not to report the story.

In the final analysis, how important is the P.R. factor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Absolutely crucial. So long as Western journalists project an image of the PA as a defender of human rights and Israel as a brutal occupier, development funds from the United States and the European Union will continue to flow into the PA's coffers with little public protest about some of that money being used to bankroll the intifada, including suicide bombers, as documents seized from Arafat's office during Operation Defensive Shield prove. So long as Palestinian P.R. professionals continue to dictate the story line to the media, Israelis will continue to be portrayed as the villains and the Palestinians the victims. It's time to change the script.
And then there is this.

George Will: War a step to Mideast peace

The assumption implicit here by writer George Will is that things can not get worse than they presently are
George F. Will, who will be in Tucson next week, says U.S. military action in Iraq could be a positive step toward peace in the Middle East.

"It will mean one less extremist tyranny in the area. They've got to improve the neighborhood,'' said Will, 61, a longtime supporter of Israel. He will be the keynote speaker at a local event Tuesday to raise money for Israeli victims and survivors of terror.

The event, called an Israel Chai, is being sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and will be held at 7:15 p.m. at Congregation Anshei Israel, 5550 E. Fifth St.

Will has spoken to groups in Tucson before but never to "indigenous Tucsonans," he said in an interview last week, adding that he expects to discuss both Israel and a possible war in Iraq during his talk.

"I'm going to talk about what we've learned about Israel's dilemma during the past few years," Will said, explaining that the most Israel can offer in diplomatic concessions is much less than what Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat is willing to accept.

Will also believes that Americans have become more sympathetic to Israel since Sept. 11, 2001.

"Having lived with terrorism in our own country for 17 months, they have a greater understanding of what Israel has been living with for 55 years,'' Will said. "Although obviously the news there is dismal, the fact is there's a new clarity on American policy on Israel." [more]
Shiites Brace for Possible War Fallout

The winds of change. How the West may make itself felt in this report from The On-line Ledger
(...)The next conflict - if it comes - may do even more than disrupt spiritual travels between the world's main Shiite populations, some experts say.

It could start to unravel the taut Shiite weave of religion, politics and militancy that supports some heavyweight features of the Middle East: Iran's theocracy and guerrillas fighting Israel.

Iran, the Shiite heartland, sits squarely at the center of the possible fallout.

A pro-Western government in Baghdad - with key roles for Iraq's majority Shiites - could become a beacon for moderate Shiite clerics and scholars in Iran opposing the iron-fist rule of the establishment. This could expand the reformist base and draw important religious figures into the struggle, observers say.

"A new government in Iraq will bring changes to the entire Islamic world, not just Iran," said Mohammed Abdel Jabar, a former leader of al-Dawa, an Iraqi Shiite militant group opposing Saddam. "Iraqi Shiites will pay a big role in these changes." [more]
U.S. Urges American Citizens to Leave Israel

This report via Goldwater.miedeastreality of course points to the reality of the imminince of war against Iraq.
Jerusalem-----February 8.......

The United States State Department has advised nonessential U.S. diplomats and family members on Friday night to leave Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Private U.S. citizens also were advised to leave those countries and Americans were cautioned not to travel to Israel.

At the same time, the department urged Americans to stay away from Iraq and said it was closing the Polish office in Baghdad that provided consular service to Americans in the absence of U.S. relations with Iraq.

U.S. citizens in Iraq were urged to leave.

"The Iraq regime's continuing refusal to cooperate fully with U.N. weapons inspectors has led to mounting tension between Iraq and the international community," the department said.

The statement added foreigners in Iraq had been used in the past as "human shields," and there are credible reports they may be kidnapped.

Officials said the decision was made on the advice of American diplomats in the embassies and not because of a specific threat to U.S. personnel.

The U.S. embassies in Tel Aviv, Amman, Damascus and Beirut and the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem will remain open to assist Americans, the spokesman said.

The diplomats and family members would return home at government expense, leaving only essential personnel at the embassies in Tel Aviv, Amman, Damascus and Beirut and the consulate in Jerusalem.

"Private American citizens in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza should evaluate rigorously their own security situations and should consider departing," the department said.

Link To US State Department warning: [more]
Hamas Urges Muslims to Hit Back if US Attacks Iraq
On the subject of Arafat and his possible retirement--not to Florida, I am told-- here is another peek at Hamas, the gang that would bring peace, tranquility and a virbrant economy to the Palestinians.
GAZA (Reuters) - The founder of the militant Palestinian group Hamas urged Muslims on Friday to attack Western interests around the world if the United States launches a war on Iraq.

"It's a Crusaders's aggression, a Crusaders's war and an occupation," Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said of a possible U.S.-led military campaign against Iraq.

"Muslims will have to threaten and strike Western interests, and hit them everywhere," Yassin wrote in an open letter.

"As they fight us, we have to fight them and as they threaten our interests, we have to threaten their interests," he said.

Hamas, a fundamentalist Islamic group on the U.S. government's list of terrorist organizations, has killed hundreds of people in suicide bombings in Israel during the 28-month-old Palestinian uprising for statehood.

But the group insists it only operates in Israel and in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and that it does not target Westerners.

Yassin, who brands the United States an enemy, called upon Muslims in the U.S. armed forces to disobey any order to attack Iraq. [more]
Sharon's bureau chief: Arafat won't be around in the next few months

It is rather odd that despite the number of posts in the media (see below) about Sharon's meeting with Arafat and his gang, this report in the Internet Jerusalem Post suggests that Janus-like Arafat is finished.
Bureau chief for PM Ariel Sharon, Dov Weisglass, has said that within a few short months, Yasser Arafat would not be the chairman of the Palestinian Authority.

Weisglass said that a new leader would be elected who will be in complete control of the entire Palestinian Authority infrastructure.

Weisglass declined to comment on the discussions he has been holding with Palestinian Interior Minister Hani al-Hassan.

Weislglass told reporters however that the discussions had started some time before the elections and that they would continue this week.

He said that the aims of the discussions is to bring about a situation whereby the Palestinians would act in a serious way against terror as they have already started doing in the Gaza strip.

Israel, he added, would respond with a redeployment of its forces and will act to improve the economic and humanitarian situation of that part of the Palestinian population that is not involved in terrorist activities.

Weisglass also said that after the war in Iraq is over, the US will greatly increase its focus on the Israel-Palestinian issue.
Arafat Welcomes New High-Level Contacts
Here we go again as Arafat once again steps up to the plate. Is he worried about the recent announcement from Hamas that they are ready to replace him? Or is there American pressure on Shaon?
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Saturday he welcomed the resumption of high-level contacts between the Israelis and Palestinians, and was prepared for additional discussions.

Arafat spoke briefly to reporters at his battered headquarters in Ramallah. His comments came a day after officials from both sides confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held secret talks on Wednesday with Ahmed Qureia, a senior Palestinian negotiator.

"There is a decision within the Palestinian leadership to continue talks with the Israelis," Arafat said. "We are ready for any talks as long as this might lead us to peace."

Sharon has refused to meet with Arafat, accusing him of masterminding violence and calling for his removal before peace talks with the Palestinians can resume. The talks broke down two years ago, shortly before Sharon was elected prime minister. [more]
Gabrielle Goldwater and the Saudis

Gabrielle Goldwater has been mentioned on this site in the past. Gabrielle e-mails her material to subscribers several times daily: some of it is for information, some action-oriented and calls for letter-writing. A recent e-mail sent to subscribers concerned Gabrielle’s correspondence with the Saudi embassy in the US.

This drama began on February 5, 2003, when the Washington Post ran a story concerning the fact that the Saudi embassy in the US assisted in the escape of a witness associated with a terrorism case:
The Saudi embassy quietly provided the wife of a terror suspect a passport and transit out of the United States in November, after she was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in New York investigating her husband's possible links to the al Qaeda terrorist network, diplomatic and law enforcement sources said.

Federal law enforcement officials were outraged by the Saudi action, saying the move impeded their investigation. State Department officials, who had objected to the woman's departure without clearance from the FBI, expressed surprise at the move as well...

Ali S. Marri, a native of Saudi Arabia and a citizen of Qatar, is charged with lying to the FBI about phone calls he allegedly made in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to a number in United Arab Emirates that belonged to a suspected al Qaeda operative. The operative, Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, allegedly received calls from several of the Sept. 11 terrorists and managed a bank account they used...

The Saudi government has insisted it is cooperating fully with the United States in its war on terrorism, but law enforcement officials have described that assistance as erratic at best. The U.S. government contends, for example, that Saudis must do more to crack down on charities that funnel money to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda.

In December, the Saudis were embarrassed by disclosures that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the United States, and his wife had provided charitable funds to Saudis in this country who aided and befriended two of the Sept. 11 terrorists.
The next day, February 6, Gabrielle Goldwater e-mailed the Saudi embassy (copied to other parties) a strong protest, underscoring the fact that assisting in a witness’ escape constituted obstruction of the judicial process in the US, especially in a serious case involving terrorism.

Coincidentally, as the facts of the case became public, the Saudi embassy issued a well-crafted press release, dated February 5, which is quoted below in full:

For Immediate Release

February 5, 2003

Statement Regarding Saudi Cooperation With FBI Investigation

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reaffirms its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities on matters related to terrorism investigation. In regard to the issue involving Mrs. Maha Almarri, which was reported in the Washington Post today, Saudi Arabia assured the United States in a formal communication that Mrs. Almarri will be made available to U.S. authorities, should they wish to interview her.

U.S. authorities, following the questioning and later arrest of her husband on charges of making false statements, had prevented Mrs. Almarri and her five children from leaving the U.S. During that time, according to her attorney, she was never questioned by authorities nor given information about the time that would be required to remain in the U.S. In addition, the Grand Jury that originally issued a subpoena for her appearance had recessed.

During this ten-month period, with no contact from the FBI, the Saudi Embassy made numerous inquiries to the U.S. government about allowing her to return to her family in Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Almarri had no money or means of economic support. She was suffering from Grave's disease and was in need of medical attention. Her children could not attend schools. To prevent Mrs. Almarri from rejoining her family for such a long period of time is unreasonable and unjust.

Following numerous communications, which did not elicit any response, the Embassy allowed Mrs. Almarri to return to Saudi Arabia, subject to being available for interviews by U.S. officials. She is still awaiting word from U.S. authorities in regard to any questions she can answer to aid in any investigation. The Saudi government stands ready to facilitate any such request.
Gabrielle reacted to the Saudi press release with the following e-mail:
To The Saudi Embassy

Your press release doesn't excuse your interference with U.S. legal authorities, nor your intentional removal of a prime witness from U.S. jurisdiction, by helping such [a] person to flee the USA...

This is not what one calls "cooperation" with the war against terrorism, but actually helping terrorism...

A witness that is under subpoena, has to be ready on any date and time the Court requires to give evidence in the matter [under] question...

You... acted deliberately, preventing legal "discovery" and "disclosure" in a terrorist related case.

You are a third party to an illegal act, in preventing discovery of terrorism that was committed.

Your actions were a deliberate act trying to squash knowingly any legal investigation by the U.S. Authorities...

This press release isn't going to pull [the] wool over anyone's eyes. The excuses in [given in the press] release are the usual type of Saudi language, and [it was issued] only after Saudis were caught red-handed in a deliberate act to cover up terrorism.

Ms. G. Goldwater
Switzerland, Geneva

It would appear that Gabrielle Goldwater’s blunt language got the message across, for the Saudi response came fast and furious (remember, this is an embassy responding!):

That is simply your opinion Ms. Goldwater. The US government has not accused Saudi Arabia of the things you accuse it of. And since you are neither a citizen of Saudi Arabia, nor a citizen of the United States, I think you are sticking your nose where it does not belong. In other words - butt out.
To this Saudi e-mail, Gabrielle responded as follows:

February 8th, 2003

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your response to my e-mail. I have been corresponding with embassies for years, and never have I encountered such rudeness as that which has come out of your embassy.

You will allow me, I am sure, to post your response on the net, for all to see the level of courtesy extended by the Saudi legation.

I should point out the obvious: the US is the leader of the free world of which I am part; therefore, the steps taken by Saudi Arabia against the US in this case are steps taken against me, and it is indeed my business.

Once again I must reiterate that the linguistic skills of those who worded your press release may be ranked as highly professional, but they deceive nobody and my accusations stand. Specifically, as I have stated, in the eyes of the public you “acted deliberately, preventing legal discovery and disclosure in a terrorist related case.”

Sincerely yours,
Ms. G. Goldwater
Switzerland, Geneva

More of Gabrielle Goldwater’s material may be found on the web at Gabrielle Golwater's Reports. To subscribe (free) to Gabrielle’s e-mail, contact her at .

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.

February 07, 2003

Man [nut] Throws Bomb at Nut Vendors in Yemen

Here's a country that doesn't mess around calling the police. Everyman's right to have a bomb or two.
SAN`A, Yemen - A Yemeni man irritated by noisy nut sellers outside his house threw a bomb at them Friday, seriously wounding four of the peddlers, security officials said.

The blast rocked a crowded marketplace in downtown San`a, near the headquarters of the country's intelligence services.

According to security officials in the capital, the bomb-thrower was arrested and said he was angered by the noise being made outside his house by the nut sellers, whose business had increased ahead of the coming Islamic holiday.
8 Saudis arrested in January shooting

Our friends, the Saudis, have problems too. Not with militants or terrorists but with people afflicted with deviant ideas

RIYADH - Saudi authorities have arrested eight men in connection with a shooting here January 24 that left one dead and three wounded, including two police officers, the interior ministry said Friday.
"An interrogation, as well as their own statements, revealed that they were influenced by erroneous and deviant ideas," a ministry official said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The statement did not identify the suspects - all Saudis - and did not say when they had been taken into custody.

Some of the men were apprehended by security forces while others turned themselves in to police, the official said.

The shooting erupted when Saudi investigators went to an apartment complex in the Al-Nasif district of Riyadh to check the identity of four men suspected of drug trafficking, the ministry said.

The man killed was a Kuwaiti soldier on a private visit, according to Al-Riyadh newspaper.

Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed bin Abdel Aziz later said police had been looking for four people but added that authorities did not know if they had links to the al-Qaeda network operated by Osama bin Laden, accused by the United States in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A spokesman for the London-based Islamic Movement for Reform in Arabia, Saad al-Faqih, said earlier this week that recent acts of violence on Saudi territory - some of which targeted police - were the work of armed al-Qaeda sympathizers.
Militant Islamic Leader Freed in Egypt

Our friends in Egypt
CAIRO, Egypt - A founding member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, Egypt's most militant Islamic group, has been freed after spending seven months in prison, his lawyer said Friday.

Salah Hashem was released Thursday, a day before a scheduled court appearance to decide on renewing his detention, according to his lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat.

Another al-Gamaa figure, lawyer Ali Rady, also was freed.

Al-Zayat said he had no details on why they were released, and there was no immediate confirmation from authorities.

Hashem helped found Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, Arabic for the Islamic Group, in the 1970s, and was tried in absentia for an alleged role in assassinating President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Rady was also tried in absentia on several counts, including trying to revive the group. Neither man was ever convicted. [more]
PETA to Arafat: Do What You Want With The Jews, Just Stop Hurting Those Precious Donkeys!

From the life is much, much stranger than fiction department.
You really CAN'T make this stuff up:
Animal rights campaigners have complained to Yasser Arafat after a donkey was blown up in a bomb attack in the West Bank. Ms Newkirk says she has not asked Mr Arafat to try to stop suicide bombings that kill people. "It's not my business to inject myself into human wars," she told the Washington Post.

And people wonder why Jews who legitmately support "liberal" or "humanitarian" causes are beginning to feel a little alienated!

Israel braces for Iraqi "earthquake", fears more Palestinian attacks

Article from MiddleEastTimes reports expectations of increased terror activities against Israel
Israel was bracing for what its army chief predicted Friday will be an "earthquake" in the region if the United States attacks Iraq, amid fears of more Palestinian attacks inside Israel.

As the US administration was banging the drums of war louder by the day, General Moshe Yaalon warned that a US offensive on Iraq would drastically reshape the region whatever the outcome.

"In the coming weeks, a US attack in Iraq will trigger a regional earthquake, which will reshape" the Middle East, Yaalon said in an interview with the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily published Friday.

"A successful US offensive will have positive consequences, by strengthening the pragmatic elements in the region," he explained.

"However, if it is perceived as a failure, it will have negative consequences for us," Yaalon said in reference to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians. [more]
Israel and the United Nations

We have repeatedly been been told that Israel cannot be a member of the Security council and has always been excluded from the numerous bodies of the UN and can never be a president of the general assembly. She is one of the oldest members of the UN.
I asked the question of the "cyberschoolbus" - a site set up by the UN and have received a response, copied below in full. Secondly, Israel, in it's own UN web site deals with the issue in even more detail. The linked site is easy to read, and relatively brief. My suggestion is that our respective governments be lobbied with direct information, to correct a grievous anomaly.
The five Permanent Members of the Security Council as I'm sure you know are USA, UK, China, France, and the Russian Federation. There are ten revolving seats which each have a two-tear term. This is a list of the
current Member States on the Security Council (click down to MEMBERS):

The Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN's interptetation of events is excerpted below, from Israel's UN web site.

Prior to May 2000, Israel was the only UN Member State excluded from a UN regional grouping. This state of affairs stemmed primarily from a rejection by Arab states of Israel's membership in the Asian group. As a result, Israel was denied membership in a number of important UN bodies, including the Security Council in violation of the principle of sovereign equality enshrined in the UN Charter. Israel also could not be elected to the vast majority of bodies in the UN system, where voting is based on membership in a regional group. Thus, Israel was unable to serve as the President of the General Assembly, or as a member of any bureau in the GA and its main committees.

As of May 2000, Israel was accepted as a temporary member of the Western European and Other States Group (WEOG). This elopment helps to rectify an anomaly,which hs affected no other nation in the world and marks an important first step towards the full ntegration of Israel into the United Nations system. Israel has agreed to continue to seek membership in its natural grouping in the Asian group.

While Israel's admission into WEOG signified an important development, it remains excluded from the regional groups system in international organizations and conferences outside New York. For this discriminatory anomaly to be fully rectified Israel must be included in the regional groups system outside New York so that it can be fairly represented and participated in all international organizations and conferences, on an equal basis with all other states.

It is unclear to me whether it is a rule that a Member State cannot be a Member of the Security Council simply because it did not belong to a geographical grouping.

I am copying my good colleague Lydia Ramos on this email. She works for the Department of Public Inquiries, the last word on all things UN. Perhaps she can clear things up on this most perplexing issue.

Thanks for writing.


Colleen Werthmann
Research Editor
United Nations Cyberschoolbus

Under siege

An outstanding photo gallery by Lefteris Pitarakis that chronicles "a year of violence and pain in the Middle East. Pitarakis, an Associated Press news photographer from Greece, has documented the Palestinian intifada against Israeli occupation that erupted on Sept. 30, 2000, and Israel's response."
In Labor’s loss, some analysts
see signs of historic power shift

This article suggests that the recent election has changed Israeli politics for some time to come
JERUSALEM, Feb. 4 (JTA) — “Historic” may be a term that is used too often, but respected Israeli political analysts believe the Labor Party’s electoral debacle last month was a watershed in the balance of power between left and right in Israel.
Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna believes the decision to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s previous national unity government was one of the main reasons for the crushing defeat Labor suffered at the polls on Jan. 28.

Mitzna hopes that leading Labor into opposition will allow him to rebuild the party and quickly turn it into a credible government alternative.

“Our stay in opposition will be short,” he promised party faithful in his concession speech.

But experts aren’t so sure. Ephraim Ya’ar, head of Tel Aviv University’s Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, argues that the decline in support for the Labor Party and the left in general stems from deep and possibly irreversible changes in Israeli voting patterns. [more]
At least 31 Palestinian women murdered in 'honor killings' in 2002

Love, kindness, respect, affection--all part of Islamic beliefs? Not acording to this article in The Jerusalem Post
At least 31 Palestinian women have been murdered in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2002 in what is known as "honor killings", where a female is executed by a male member of her family for perceived misuse of her sexuality.

Most of the victims were under the age of 18 and some had been sexually abused or raped by male relatives, according to statistics released by Palestinian police Thursday.

The latest murder was perpetrated earlier this week when a woman from a village near Ramallah strangled to death her 17-year-old daughter for staying away from home for a few days. The mother has been arrested, but her family is employing heavy pressure on the Palestinian Authority to release her "so she can attend to her other children."

"It's a very serious problem," said Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, member of the Legal Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council. "The entire society bears the responsibility in combating this phenomenon. The first step should be to recognize that the problem exists"

Ok. now you know it exists. What's next? Blame the Jews?[more]

Maybe the US should stop US Aid to Egypt... NOW

The always helpful Gabrielle Goldwater has this piece that is but another indication of how the Arab world plays a double game with the U.S.

WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Egypt has rejected a U.S. request to interview Egyptian engineers and scientists employed in Iraq's nuclear program.

U.S. officials said the regime of President Hosni Mubarak failed to respond to Washington's appeals for information of and access to Egyptian nationals employed in Iraq's nuclear program.

The officials said after repeated U.S. efforts the Cairo government responded that it viewed Egyptian nationals
who work in Iraq as private citizens.

"They said they would not get involved and refused to help us locate them or provide information so we could reach them ourselves," a U.S. official said.

Officials said that late last year the U.S. intelligence community received information of the employment of dozens of Egyptian engineers and scientistsin Iraq's nuclear program.

Some of the names of the Egyptians matched a list provided by Iraq to the United Nations of more than 500 scientists who worked in Baghdad's nuclear program.
[note: not full article; subscription required]
Palestinians Rally in Support of Saddam

Why do the Palestinians always manage to align themselves with losers and make world-class asses of themselves? Even anti-war folks despise Saddam.
RAMALLAH, West Bank — “Saddam, Saddam!” a hot-eyed young Palestinian shouted through his bullhorn as the latest pro-Iraq march was winding its way through the streets of this town Thursday. “Strike with chemical weapons!”

Another of the rally’s leaders, mindful of the TV cameras closing in, swiftly turned on him. “Shut up now,” he snapped. “Don’t be saying that.”

It was a telling moment. As the prospect of war looms ever larger, Palestinians are venting their anger at the United States, which on Wednesday laid out its case for military action against Saddam Hussein, and at Israel, which could find itself an Iraqi target.

But they don’t want to take it too far.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many ordinary Palestinians — beaten down by Israeli military curfews and checkpoints, midnight arrests and grinding low-level violence — feel that, these days, they have little to lose.

In 1991’s Persian Gulf War, which took place before the start of the peace process that eventually led to the Oslo accords, the Palestinian public — and leaders — were squarely on the side of Saddam, the enemy of their enemy, Israel.[more]
Police Say Find Explosives Belt in Mosque in Israel

We are sure to soon hear from the Left and pro-Palestinians about religious freedom and human rights, but recall that ambulances have also been used to conceal weapons. This find in a mosque is a first
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police said Friday they had found a suicide bomber's explosives belt hidden in a mosque in Israel, and said it was the first such discovery since the Palestinian uprising began more than two years ago.

The army said the belt was discovered Thursday as a result of "precise intelligence information" from two members of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad who were captured by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
Packed with about 30 pounds of explosives, the belt had been placed in the washroom of a mosque in the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh near the West Bank, police spokeswoman Shira Lieberman said.

Taybeh is along a route that suicide bombers have used in the past when infiltrating into Israel. Islamic Jihad has
killed dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings during the 28-month-old Palestinian uprising for statehood.

Taybeh mayor Salah Jabara condemned the use of the mosque as a hiding place for explosives. "In the final analysis, bombs harm Arabs and Jews alike," Jabara told Israeli Army Radio.[more]
Sect caught in the middle

The chaos that is the ME affects not only the Isralis and Palestinians but also the Samarians , a small group caught in the middle
The high priest of the biblical Samaritan sect on this holy mount is a member of the Palestinian legislature. Yet most Samaritans are also Israeli citizens who voted in Israel's election.

The tiny, dwindling Samaritan community, caught between warring Israelis and Palestinians, got another reminder Thursday of how stuck in the middle it is: Samaritans were confined to their hamlet on Mount Gerizim by Israeli troops after a nearby gunbattle left two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinians dead.

Samaritans trace their past to an ancient tribe. Jesus mentioned a Samaritan in a parable - the only traveler who stopped to care for a man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead along the side of a road, the Good Samaritan bandaged and salved the man's wounds with wine and oil (Luke 10:25-37).

Samaritans claim descent from the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, which separated from the southern kingdom of Judea after the death of King Solomon, about 3,000 years ago.

Today, the identity of this hilltop tribe is a strange mosaic. Many Samaritans carry both Israeli and Palestinian ID cards. They speak an ancient Hebrew dialect as well as modern Hebrew and Arabic. Their high priest, Saloum Cohen, is a member of the Palestinian legislature, filling a seat reserved for the sect, while most community members are also eligible to vote in Israel. [more]
Israel Envoy: Expelling Palestinians Not an Option

Reuters article.
AMMAN, Jordan (Reuters) - Israel's ambassador to Amman said Wednesday the idea of expelling Palestinians en masse from the occupied territories to Jordan was morally repellent and contrary to his country's interests.

Jordanian leaders have in the past voiced fears that Israel might take advantage of a U.S.-led war on Iraq to "transfer" large numbers of Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan.

"It can't happen," Israeli Ambassador David Dadonn told Reuters in an interview. "I can't imagine any Israeli government ordering the transfer of population."

Besides this, he said, the international community would not tolerate any such action.

"At the bottom of their hearts, I believe the Jordanians understand that," Dadonn said.

Some Israeli right-wingers have publicly flirted with the idea that Palestinians from the West Bank could find a home in Jordan. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has in the past declared that "Jordan is Palestine," but not while prime minister. [more]
Anger over donkey bomb attack

As for intended target, Israelis, seems unimportant.
Animal rights campaigners have complained to Yasser Arafat after a donkey was blown up in a bomb attack in the West Bank.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has sent a letter to the Palestinian leader to protest at last month's blast near Jerusalem.

No humans were killed when the donkey was strapped with explosives and detonated, but the attack narrowly missed an Israeli bus carrying soldiers.

"We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing," Peta president Ingrid Newkirk wrote.

Politics and Terrorism in Israel

As a computer programmer and a student of history I often draw patterns from previous experiences to form truisms.

In comparing the past two years within Israel a glaring and sad fact comes to the fore.

Comparing the terrorists that murdered hundreds of Israelis with over 15,000 terrorist attacks in the past two years sheds light on an ongoing issue within Israeli politics.
In the past two years there have been two Defense Ministers of Israel. The first was from the Labor (Left) and the second from the Likud (Right). Americans may not understand but in parliamentary systems, similar to Europe such as in Israel, even though a political party such as the right-wing may have a majority of the voters they still may need to appoint high-level cabinet ministers from the opposing political parties and ideologies.

It has been known for a long time that the greatest internal threat to Israelis security is saboteurs, those willing to weaken the security of Israel from within. Even as of late there have been many high-level Israeli politicians and military officials, affiliated with left-wing political movements, that have been accused and or prosecuted of aiding and abetting if not hindering military security from terrorists.

The alignment of the Left-wing in Israel to weaken Israeli security can be seen as purely political and not heinous by some quarters. Yet, there is one undeniable truth when comparing arab terrorism in Israel under the Labor Defense Minister and the Likud Defense minister; the rates of terrorism against Israelis have dropped precipitously.

One can come up with many reasons outside of the political affiliations of the two ministers to excuse the differences. But one thing is again clear, when there was massacre after massacre last year and everyone said "why isn't Israel doing anything?" and this year where the number of successful terrorists attacks have been hindered and the IDF is constantly within Yesha fighting the terrorists on their side the level of Israelis murdered have noticeably dropped since a Likud Defense Minister became in charge.

So what does this all mean?

Israel is in fact able to fight terrorism within its own borders just like its supporters have begged it to do for years. But it seems those affiliated with the Israeli Left do not want it to do so at the high cost of more Israeli lives.

I compare the political Leftist (neo-Fascist) movements throughout the world to "suicidal teenagers."
They hate their freedoms at home more than they hate foreign Despotism and Tyrants.
They have an identity crisis, they don't know who they are, and hate what they represent; self-hating (e.g. Michael Jackson being Black).
They have low self-esteem, a lack of conviction, and confidence. They aren't for anything but are they are most definitely against everything.

In a word they are ungrateful of their birthright and lot in life.

If I was an Israeli - voting for the Left - would be like voting my life away.
Whither the Road Map

Here today, gone tomorrow.

According to Herb Keinon in JPost, Powell advised the Senate yesterday that they will release the Road Map “in the not too distant future” and that President George W. Bush soon "intends to take a more active role in finding a way forward with the Middle East peace process.” Israeli insiders advise Israel is not worried and suggest that Powell is just giving assurances to the EU and the Arabs that the Road Map has not been forgotten. Is there cause for concern.

In November I wrote The New Road Map in which I traced the progression of plans starting with Res.242, to achieve agreement and warned Israel to refuse to travel down it. I also registered concern that negotiations on the Road Map were linked to negotiations on Res 1441

With each new plan Israel had to forgo rights in favour of the Palestinians. The US and Israel always took the position that peace had to be negotiated between the parties and that is what Oslo required. Now, among the many problematic aspects of it, the most problematic of all, is that it probable involves an imposed solution.

Quoting heavily from Sharon’s speech at the Herzeliya conference in Sharon/Bush Road Map I argued forcefully that Sharon and Bush had made a deal that the Road Map would be based on Bush’s vision speech of June ’02. I advised,
Read this speech in its entirety. It sets out the path to peace agreed upon by Sharon and Bush. Forget about the Quartet. Sharon has dismissed it as "nothing". Forget about the Road Map. Sharon said he doesn't take it "seriously". Forget about Arafat. Once the Iraq war gets going so will Arafat with Israel's help. Forget about Powell and the State Department, they aren't calling the shots.
Finally, I concluded,
I used to think that the US had committed itself to both the Arab countries and to the EU to do more for the Palestinians. But I no longer do. Look at the lack of support from all these Arab countries. Look at the opposition of France and Germany and Russia. The US owes them nothing. If anything the actions of these groups have made it all the clearer that trying to win them over is fruitless and a bad idea. So look for more unilateralism. Prosecuting the Iraq war will be simpler and so will solving the Palestinian problem be simpler. Too many crooks spoil the broth.

There is no way that after taking a lot of trouble to defeat one terrorist state, Iraq, is America going to create another. Mark my words.

Fortunately Keinon reports that Powell added “But you're not going to get there in 100 years unless there is a different kind of performance on the Palestinian side with respect to ending terror," he said. "So performance is required." This reflects one of Sharon’s key demands.

I stand by my words in bold above. After Powell and the US have laboured so hard with the EU and the UN to get consensus and action on Iraq, I doubt that they are anxious to repeat the process on the Israel/Palestinian conflict. These parties, the US has learnt if they didn’t always know, are more of a hindrance then a help. Secondly, it is one thing to negotiate a Road Map with the EU and the Arabs when they are feeling strong and we need their support in Iraq, it is an entirely different matter when Iraq has been defeated without France’s help and the Arabs are worried about their own regimes. Finally, the US has its hands full with the impending war on Iraq and the brewing problem with N. Korea. So, I can't see them taking time out, any time soon, to solve this problem .

This plan will take its place in the dustbin of failed plans along with Oslo, Mitchell and Tenent.

Reinstate Ahenakew, native elders say

O, Canada Canadian tribal elder, outspoken anti-semite, welcomed home
Regina — The Saskatchewan council of native elders that banished one of its members for his anti-Semitic tirade last year has quietly suggested inviting the disgraced leader back into the fold.

Senators for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations voted 20 to 1 in favour of reinstating David Ahenakew during their two-day meeting in Prince Albert, Sask., earlier this week.

"I was shocked that this unexpected decision was made," said Rochelle Wilner, president of B'nai Brith Canada.

"This sends a message that anybody in Canada can just climb on a soapbox and spew hate," she said.

Mr. Ahenakew, who is a former leader of the Assembly of First Nations and who has been admitted to the Order of Canada, caused a national furor in December when he said that killing millions of Jews during the Holocaust had been a good idea.[more]
Saddam Hussein. Pol Pot. Idi Amin.

On Feb 5, 2003, the NYT carried an article by Barham A. Salih (“co-prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Goverment in Iraq") under the tilte, Give Us a Chance to Build a Democratic Iraq . In his article, Salih writes:
Most of my Iraqi compatriots — Shiite and Sunni Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi — have been united by what they have endured under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. They want the overthrow of a regime that used chemical weapons against the Kurds and wasted a nation's natural resources on wars rather than schools. They want democracy in Iraq. These are goals worthy of the world's support.
We have watched demonstrators in Washington and other cities chant, "No to war." But the Baathist dictatorship has been waging war for decades. It has inflicted hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. Every day, Iraqis of all ethnic and religious groups are tortured in horrible ways. The regime even now is waging a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in the parts of Iraqi Kurdistan it still controls.

Iraq has many dedicated apologists, including some who defend or deny the Hussein regime's use of chemical weapons on Kurds. They ignore captured Iraqi documents that tell of inhuman attacks on my people, among them an audiotape of Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid boasting of his plans to use chemical weapons against the Kurds. We know from samples collected by Human Rights Watch at the village of Birjinni and tested by the British defense ministry that the regime used mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin against our people.
Subsequent to World War I, the Kurdish people were the victims of outrageous conduct on the part of the Allies. The same 1921 “Cairo Conference” in which Churchill gave away Eastern Palestine to Abdullah (son of Hussein, King of the Hejaz), also decided that a considerable portion of the Kurd’s homeland would become part of Iraq. As the World War I agreements were being finalized, “independence or autonomy for the Kurds, which had been on the agenda in 1921, somehow disappeared from the agenda in 1922, so there was to be no Kurdistan” (quoted from p. 560 of

Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace. New York: Avon Books, 1989).

Today, the Kurdish people are divided among four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. (See Kurdish Online Encyclopaedia).

Now the Kurds are hoping to rid themselves of the tyrant who rules Iraq, but the “antiwar” bleeding hearts are standing in the way. One of their slogans, heard repeatedly on radio and TV shows, is “war and violence solve nothing”. Tell that to the nations who fell under the Axis occupation during World War II. Tell that to the people of Cambodia under Pol Pot, a murderer who was removed only when Vietnam's troops overthrew him. Or, tell that to the Ugandans during Idi Amin’s rule of terror, people who were not liberated from the terror until the Tanzanian army came to the rescue.

The story of Uganda and her liberation from Amin is particularly noteworthy because it highlights several recurring themes. First, as in the case of Iraq, the UN proved itself utterly irrelevant. Second, again as in the case of Iraq, it showed how selective the bleeding heart’s vision is, seeing Israel’s sins where they don’t exist, but blind to the Idi Amin’s of the world while they proceed on their murderous path. Third, also in parallel to the Iraq situation, because of misguided loyalties, the bleeding hearts stand in the way of peoples’ liberation. And finally, as in the case of Iraq, tyranny, opposing Israel and support for terrorism go hand in hand. For all these reasons, it is useful to review the story of Uganda in the 1970's, where an entire community - Ugandan Asians - was expelled, and several tribes were slaughtered, while the UN turned a blind eye.

The facts about Idi Amin's dictatorship, 1971-1979, may be found, inter alia, in the web sources given at the end of this article. In a nutshell, the data culled from these sources reveal as follows:

On January 25, 1971, while President Obote was outside of Uganda, Idi Amin staged a coup.

On March 30, 1972, Amin won the distinction of being the first African leader to break diplomatic relations with Israel and expel Israeli technicians who were in Uganda to assist its economy.

Hot on the heels of this achievement, on August 5, 1972, Idi Amin began expelling the Asian population that constituted the backbone of the merchant class. Estimates of the number expelled vary from 50,000 to 80,000. The Asians expelled ended up in many countries, including Canada, but mostly in Britain.

On December 18, 1972, Idi Amin nationalized 41 foreign-owned farms and tea estates, of which 34 were British. This trend continued later with the expulsion of all foreign business interests from Uganda.

On June 27, 1976, an Air France plane with some 100 Israeli citizens was hijacked and flown eventually to the Entebbe airport. On July 5, 1976, in an outstanding feat of courage and skill, the IDF landed in Entebbe, killed the hijacking terrorists and flew the freed hostages to Israel.

On November 1, 1978, Idi Amin attacked his neighbour, Tanzania. The Tanzanian army fought back, and on April 11, 1979 reached Kampalla, the capital of Uganda. Idi Amin found refuge in Saudi Arabia, where, according to the available information, he continues to live in luxury to this very day. Born in 1925, Idi Amin is now 78 years old.

Idi Amin’s reign of terror cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen. The estimated number of those murdered varies from 100,000 to 400,000, mostly Christians.

Throughout the eight-year period reviewed above, the Security Council (SC) did not find it appropriate to condemn Idi Amin even once. In the view of this august organization, Amin’s assault on Tanzania warranted no attention under the peace and security mandate of the SC, nor did his expulsion of the Asians warrant denunciation.

In general, Amin was treated with kid gloves by “the international community”, as summarized by the following quote from Encarta (see link below):

The United States government did not pass a trade embargo until 1978. In an unsuccessful effort to encourage Amin to moderate his policies, the rulers of other African states elected him chair of the Organization of African Unity for a one-year term in 1975.
Sounds familiar?

Sources Regarding Uganda:

A compact chronology was posted by the BBC site.

Recent BBC stories about Uganda and Idi Amin may be found in this site.

Encylopaedia resources may be found at, or at the Encarta site.

Other informative sites include this page.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.

February 06, 2003

Hamas leader: Islamic group is ready to take over from Arafat

At least with Hamas there is no duplicity about their goals
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Hamas is prepared to assume leadership of the Palestinian people, a senior Hamas official said Thursday in a rare expression of the goal of the violent Islamic movement.

Hamas has avoided direct conflicts with Yasser Arafat's leadership, although from time to time, clashes between the groups have erupted.

Mahmoud Zahar, a leader of the Hamas political wing, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that his group is "absolutely" prepared to lead the Palestinian people now.

He said Hamas has the infrastructure to take over leadership "politically, financially (and) socially."

Polls have shown consistently that Arafat's Fatah movement is more popular than Hamas among Palestinians, but Arafat has not visited Gaza in more than a year. He has been confined to his Ramallah West Bank headquarters by the Israeli military presence.

Hamas has moved into the vacuum in Gaza, stepping up social services in the crowded, poverty-stricken territory. Also, its frequent attacks against Israel have bolstered its backing.
I have to say this:

I just heard on the radio Geula Cohen, for whom I have the greatest respect (although at times she tends to be a bit too emotional for my taste). Geula is not religious, or, at least as far as I know, not an orthodox. She said: "I think that the ultra-orthodox,...are desecrating God's name [by their hatred of Zionism], and people like Lapid are desecrating God's name by their hatred of the Jewish religion". I could not agree more. The most important point, in my view, is: does Lapid hate the Jewish religion? I don't think so. If anyone can prove me wrong, I will withdraw all my support for him (not that my support is relevant at all right now, mind you).

Why one should oppose a second Palestinian-Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - Part 20 of 23

This piece continues a series of which the first 19 parts were posted on September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; November 6, and 26; and December 5, and 13, 2002, and January 7, 10, 21, and 27, 2003. (Alternatively, the previous articles may be found in the IsraPundit archives as follows: September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; and November 6 and 26; December 5, and 13, 2002; and January 7, 10, 21, and 27, 2003). The object of the series is to provide a database that is not only reliable and well-documented but also one for which documents are easily accessible, preferably from web resources. The term "second Palestinian-Arab state" is used in order to underscore that one Palestinian-Arab state already exists: it's called Jordan, and it is located in that part of Eastern Palestine that was originally to have been part of the Jewish National Home.

Recapitulation: The first nine parts of this series dealt with arguments based on fundamentals and principles: the historical right of the Jewish people to a home in their ancestral land, which has had a Jewish population continuously for millenia; the international acceptance of the Balfour declaration and the British Mandate to ensure the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine; the fact that Israel is in possession of Yesha as a consequence of a defensive war; the argument that the current Arab population of Palestine consists mainly of immigrants who came to Palestine as a consequence of the development brought about by the Jewish pioneers since the 1880's; and the fact that the Arabs of Palestine have rejected numerous opportunities to establish a state by peaceful means, indicating that their real objective is to destroy Israel.

The second group of nine parts dealt with arguments based on Middle East realities. The points made include the assessment that a sovereign Palestinian State would obviate Israel’s ability to defend herself; that such a state, by the admission of the Palestinian Arabs themselves, would not solve their grievances; that violence within and among Arab states has a long history, and adding another Arab state will not pacify the region; and the economic base of Yesha, as well as the water resources in the area, do not permit the creation of an additional, viable state.

The present Part 20 continues the third group of five articles, which deal with such issues of the disputed territories, Jerusalem, the Arab refugees, and an alternative to Palestinian-Arab sovereignty. Strictly speaking, these are not arguments against the creation of a Palestinian-Arab state, but they are intrinsically linked to these arguments.

20. An undivided Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Israel. Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish state but of secondary importance to the Palestinian Arabs, except as a propaganda tool.

The literature on Jerusalem is vast, as any library or web search will prove. For example, a Google search under “Jerusalem and history” or “Jerusalem and status” yields hundreds of thousands of links. Jerusalem-related topics also occupy a considerable portion of sources on Israel in general. This is illustrated, for example, by Mitchell Bard’s Myths and Facts - A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict (also see other material on Jerusalem at the site of the Jewish Virtual Library. In connection with Israel’s right to sovereignty over Jerusalem, there are, however, a few ways in which the essence of this vast literature may be captured in a relatively short document. One such way is to refer to the US Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, as posted by the Mideast Web. Section 2 of the Act states as follows:
Sec. 2. FINDINGS. (1-17)

The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.

(2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.

(3) The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions.

(4) The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.

(5) From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.

(6) In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War.

(7) Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.

(8) This year marks the 28th consecutive year that Jerusalem has been administered as a unified city in which the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected.

(9) In 1990, the congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that the Congress "strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected".

(17) In 1996, the State of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David s entry.
Paraphrased, these Findings affirm that Israel’s claim on Jerusalem is based on: (i) the Jewish historical connection with the city; (ii) the continuous presence of a Jewish population in Jerusalem, except for short periods when Jews were prohibited from living in the city; (iii) the fact that the city is the heart of the Jewish state; (iv) the lack of justification for dividing a city united; (v) the exemplary administration of the city as a holy place accessible to adherents of all religions, as opposed to the administration of the city by the Jordanians, which deprived Jews as well as non-Jewish Israelis of any access to their holy places; (vi) the capture of a portion of the city in a defensive war.

Part 19 of this series attempted to establish that at the very least, Israel has as strong a claim to the disputed territories of Yesha as any other party. In the case of Jerusalem, this argument is even stronger. For example, it may be argued that most areas within Yesha were not inhabited by Jews at the time of the 1948 War and for long periods before that date. But in the case of Jerusalem, a Jewish plurality was evident in the first half of the 19th century, and a Jewish majority was evident since 1896; by 1948, Jerusalem’s Jews outnumbered Moslems and Christians combined by a ratio of almost 2:1 (a statistical table to that effect is given at the site Myths and Facts which was cited previously).

One point warrants special emphasis. The “International Community” has supported unification of divided cities (and, for that matter, of divided countries like Germany before the 1990s). Divided cities (currently or within living memory) include Nicosia, Beirut, Berlin and Sarajevo, as well as many other cities and towns in the former Yugoslavia.

For all these places, the literature laments the division and supports unification. In the case of Jerusalem alone, efforts are made to re-divide a city that is functioning better than it ever did as a divided entity. When Israel’s enemies contend, “we are not antisemitic, only anti-Israeli”, this evidence is sufficient to unmask the true feelings behind the hypocritical facade.

Here is a brief example of how divided cities are assessed. A CBC post under the heading, Mitrovica - A City Divided , reads:
Jerusalem, Berlin, Beirut, Sarajevo. All of these cities were divided by war and its aftermath. All became symbols of conflicts that tore them in two. It is a daunting list and now there is another city to add to it -- Mitrovica.
Well, from the cities listed, Berlin and Jerusalem have been united, why must Jerusalem alone be singled out to be re-divided?

But what, one may ask, about the Moslem claim to Jerusalem?

To answer this question suffice it to refer to the pronouncements of Abdul Hadi Palazzi. (Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi holds a Ph.D in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He served as a lecturer in the Department of the History of Religion at the University of Velletri in Rome, Italy and he is also an Imam who serves as secretary general of the Italian Muslim Association in Rome.) In an essay excerpted from Palazzi's address to the Third International Seminar on The Sources of Contemporary Law, Jerusalem, July, 1996 Palazzi stated:
As opposed to what "Islamic" fundamentalists continuously claim, the Book of Islam -- as we have just now seen -- recognizes Jerusalem as the Jewish direction of prayer. Some Moslem exegetes also quote the Book of Daniel as proof of this (Daniel 6:10).

After exhibiting the most relevant Koranic passages in this connection, one easily concludes that, as no one wishes to deny Moslems complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view there is no sound theological reason to deny the Jews the same right over Jerusalem.
(A longer quotation is given in the Appendix; I urge readers to review the complete article at the link given above.)

Comparing the claims of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Daniel Pipes wrote in an article dated September 2001:
What about Muslims? Where does Jerusalem fit in Islam and Muslim history? It is not the place to which they pray, is not once mentioned by name in prayers, and it is connected to no mundane events in Muhammadìs life. The city never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state, and it never became a cultural or scholarly center. Little of political import by Muslims was initiated there.

One comparison makes this point most clearly: Jerusalem appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. In contrast, the columnist Moshe Kohn notes, Jerusalem and Zion appear as frequently in the Qurìan "as they do in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada and the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta"—which is to say, not once.
Other authors have noted that the holiness of Jerusalem to Moslems is confined to the Dome of the Rock (a point implied in the foregoing citation from Palazi’s essay), while for the Jewish people, the entire city of Jerusalem is holy.

Just as Arafat invented the notions of “Palestine”, “Arab lands” and “Palestinian People”, so he has attempted to invent new Islamic claims to Jerusalem, accompanied by an attempt to dismiss the central role of Jerusalem to the Israel. These issues are discussed in detail in the Daniel Pipes’ article cited above.

Finally, as the US Congress did, one should take into consideration the administration under Moslem rule (1948-1967), as compared with the Israeli administration. The process of ethnic cleansing conducted by the Jordanians when they captured East Jerusalem is described at the site United Jerusalem as follows:
On May 28, the Arab Legion completed the capture of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, including the Western Wall (the major remnant of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans over 2000 years ago, and the holiest sites in the Jewish religion.) The Legion's commander, Abdallah el-Tal, recalled that "The operations of calculated destruction were set in motion....Only four days after our entry into Jerusalem the Jewish Quarter had become a graveyard" (Abdallah el-Tal, Disaster of Palestine, Cairo 1959).
After the Arab Legion captured the Jewish Quarter, the destruction, desecration, and systematic looting of Jewish sites continued. 57 ancient synagogues, libraries and centers of religious study were ransacked and 12 were totally and deliberately destroyed. Those that remained standing were defaced, used for housing of both people and animals. Appeals were made to the United Nations and in the international community to declare the Old City to be an 'open city' and stop this destruction, but there was no response.
In addition, thousands of tombstones from the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives were used as paving stones for roads and as construction material in Jordanian army camps. Parts of the cemetery were converted into parking lots, a filling station, and an asphalt road was built to cut through it. The Intercontinental Hotel was built at the top of the cemetery...These acts of deliberate desecration and destruction, designed to obliterate the long history of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem, were also blatant violations of the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement, signed on 3 April 1949. Article VIII of this agreement stipulated the establishment of a Special Committee, "composed of two representatives of each Party...for the purpose of formulating agreed plans" including "free access to the Holy Places and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives"...This did not take place, and these clauses of the Armistice Agreement were never honored... The United Nations was of no assistance in this issue, and ignored the discrimination and violations of the Armistice Agreement. In presentations before UN bodies, Abba Eban pointed out that although the Christian and Moslem Holy Places were freely accessible to Moslem and Christian worshippers, "the Wailing Wall, the most hallowed sanctuary of Judaism and the most ancient shrine in the entire city is barred to all access by worshippers despite solemn agreements and undertakings."
Israeli administration of East Jerusalem stands as a sharp contrast. Israel did not re-establish control of the single holiest Jewish site. To the contrary, in an act of generosity and tolerance, Israel handed over control of the site to the Wakf, the Moslem Religious Trust. This fact is recorded, inter alia, on p. 307 of a recent book,

Oren, Michael B. Six days of War. New York: Oxford U Press, 2002:

Palestinian community and religious leaders were, for the most part, retained in their prewar positions, including the Muslim wakf atop the Temple Mount.
Israel has more than earned the right to sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Appendix - Excerpt from an essay by the Islamic cleric Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, concerning Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem

“The most common argument against Islamic acknowledgement of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is that, since al-Quds is a holy place for Moslems, they cannot accept its being ruled by non-Moslems, because such acceptance would be a betrayal of Islam.

Before expressing our point of view about this question, we must reflect upon the reason that Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque hold such a sacred position in Islam. As everyone knows, the definition of Jerusalem as an Islamic holy place depends on al-Mi'raj, the ascension of the prophet Muhammad to heaven, which began from the Holy Rock.

While remembering this, we must admit that there is no real link between al-Mi'raj and sovereign rights over Jerusalem, since when al-Mi'raj took place the city was not under Islamic, but under Byzantine administration. Moreover, the Koran expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays the same role for Jews that Mecca has for Moslems.

We read:

...They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qibla), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other's direction of prayer... (Koran, Sura 2:145, "The Cow")
All Koranic commentators explain that "thy qibla" is obviously the Kaba of Mecca, while "their qibla" refers to the Temple Area in Jerusalem...

As opposed to what "Islamic" fundamentalists continuously claim, the Book of Islam -- as we have just now seen -- recognizes Jerusalem as the Jewish direction of prayer. Some Moslem exegetes also quote the Book of Daniel as proof of this (Daniel 6:10).

After exhibiting the most relevant Koranic passages in this connection, one easily concludes that, as no one wishes to deny Moslems complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view there is no sound theological reason to deny the Jews the same right over Jerusalem.

If we consider ourselves as religious men, we must necessarily include justice among our qualities. As regards the argument, we have to admit that the same idea of justice requires that we treat Jews, Christians and Moslems equally. No community can demand for itself privileges that it is not ready to recognize to others.

We know that Roman Catholics consider Rome their own capital, and the fact that city has the largest mosque in Europe and an ancient Jewish community does not alter its role as the center of Catholicism.

Even more can be said of Mecca: It is the main religious center for Moslems the world over and is completely under Islamic administration.

Respecting this principle of fair-mindedness, we necessarily conclude that the Israelis as a nation and the Jews as a religion must have their own political and ethnic capital, under their sole administration, even though it contains certain places regarded as sacred by the other two Abrahamic faiths.

To my mind, this is the only realistic ground for any discussion of the future of the Holy City. The other parties must understand that Jews will never agree to have less rights than the other religions, and that Israelis will never agree to see David's City divided into two parts.

If everyone was happy to see the Berlin Wall destroyed, it was because the very idea of forced separation within a single city is something offensive to human sensitivity. We cannot even think of creating another Berlin in the heart of the Middle East.”

Palazzi’s message has been the topic of several articles, noteworthy among which are the articles by Robert Fulford (National Post of Canada, May 4, 2002) and John Dougherty (WorldNetDaily, April 17, 2001).

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.