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

May 07, 2003

David Warren joins the chorus of voices that rejects the Roadmap calling it a road to war.

Check it out. Hat tip to Zogby
The Jihad of Avram Bornstein

The Jihad of Avram Bornstein

Review of Avram Bornstein, "Crossing the Green Line between the West Bank and Israel," University of Pennsylvania Press)

Perhaps the fastest way to make sense of this book by Avram to pay attention to how he uses quotation marks. The book routinely refers to Israel as an apartheid regime, with no quotation marks. And it routinely refers to Palestinian "terrorism" with them...

Somewhat better news:

House amends bill supporting Palestinian state

The House International Relations Committee on Wednesday adopted an amendment to the fiscal 2004-2005 State Department authorization bill that expressed support for a terror-free, democratic Palestinian state.

The amendment, known as the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Enhancement Act of 2003, formalizes language in President Bush's June 24 speech on the Middle East, in which he said a peaceful Palestinian state is in Israel's interest but that the state must abandon forever the use of terror. The amendment urged Bush not to recognize a Palestinian state until the Palestinians have achieved the goals laid out in his speech.

The amendment, offered by Henry Hyde (R-Illinois), Tom Lantos (D-California), and Gary Ackerman (D-New York) also effectively codifies the concerns that over 300 House members expressed in a letter sent to President Bush, which insisted that the road-map peace process remain a performance, not time-table based initiative.

The amendment seeks to prohibit aid to a future Palestinian state unless the President deems that the PA is free from terror. It next goes to a full vote of the House.

The Latest

Rumor of pending legislation barring campus criticism of Israel sweeping Arab and left-wing media.

Arab newspapers for weeks have been running stories about rumored new legislation by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a member of the GOP congressional leadership and a strong backer of the government in Israel, that would “prohibit” criticism of Israel on college campuses.

Syria Can't Keep Its Hands Out of the Pot

Once again we are reminded that Syria does more than just harbor terrorists. It trains them.

It turns out, as Jane's reports, that the two suicide bombers in Tel Aviv were not only British citizens but also met and then were sent to train around Damascus, either by al-Qaeda or the Hizbullah.

Bad timing, what with Powell in the region and all.

Pointed out via Instapundit, Blissful Knowledge nails down one more "Jewish conspiracy"
Check out this fascinating piece in today's NYT about a search in Iraq:

In one huge room in the flooded basement of the building, American soldiers from MET Alpha, the "mobile exploitation team" that has been searching for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq for the past three months, found maps featuring terrorist strikes against Israel dating to 1991. Another map of Israel highlighted what the Iraqis thought were the locations at which their Scud missiles had struck in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The strikes were designated by yellow-and-red paper flowers placed atop the pinpointed Israeli neighborhoods.
Team members floated out of the room a perfect mock-up of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, as well as mock-ups of downtown Jerusalem and official Israeli buildings in very fine detail. They also collected a satellite picture of Dimona, Israel's nuclear complex, and a female mannequin dressed in an Israeli Air Force uniform, standing in front of a list of Israeli officers' ranks and insignia.
Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time.

As Best of the Web points out, this would seem to further disprove commonly-heard claims that Saddam was unlikely to cooperate with Islamic fundamentalists (or that such cooperation would only come about due to the Bush Administration's threats of war; note the May 2001 date). But why were they searching this building in the first place?

What began today as a hunt for an ancient Jewish text at secret police headquarters here wound up unearthing a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel as well as offers of sales of uranium and other nuclear materials to Iraq.
...The search began this morning when 16 soldiers from MET Alpha teamed up with members of the Iraqi National Congress, a leading opposition group headed by Ahmad Chalabi, to search for what an intelligence source had described as one of the most ancient copies of the Talmud in existence, dating from the seventh century. The Talmud is a book of oral law, with rabbinical commentaries and interpretations.
A former senior official of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein's secret police, had told the opposition group a few days earlier that he had hidden the ancient Jewish book in the basement of his headquarters. The building had been badly damaged by coalition bombing, said the man, who is now working for the Iraqi National Congress, but he was still willing to take a group there to recover it. MET Alpha hesitated. Its mission was hunting for proof of unconventional weapons in Iraq, not saving cultural and religious treasures. But Col. Richard R. McPhee, its commander, decided that the historic Talmud was too valuable to leave behind.

Can't you see the narrative taking hold? First, the story was that the U.S. military guarded the oil wells while neglecting the National Museum, thus encouraging looting and the loss of Iraqi cultural treasures. Add to that the story that while doing those things, the U.S. was also searching for an ancient copy of the Talmud. (That crazed Jewish neoconservative cabal is at it again...)Somewhere, Noam Chomsky is writing his next book.
(Yes, the links in the previous paragraph will take you to debunkings of those Baghdad-style urban legends, not to the initial peddling of those stories. Think of it as the next generation of Fisking. And as always, technicalities of factual and temporal discrepancies will be easily surmounted in formulating the narrative.)
How "Palestinians" demonstrate their burning desire for peace

In an article entitled "Nussaibeh pressured to scrap peace statement signed with former Shin Bet chief", JPost reports today (May 7, 2003) as follows:
The PLO's top representative in Jerusalem, Dr. Sari Nussaibeh, is under mounting pressure from Palestinian hardliners to scrap his joint peace initiative with former Shin Bet security service chief Ami Ayalon.

Nussaibeh and Ayalon signed a statement of principles last year calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The statement has been strongly criticized by many Palestinians because it ignores the refugees' right to return to their former villages inside Israel.
Earlier this week, representatives of various Palestinian political factions held an emergency meeting in Ramallah to discuss the Nussaibeh-Ayalon initiative. At the meeting, speakers condemned the peace plan, describing it as a "suspicious" move that contradicts the national positions of the Palestinians.

A statement issued at the end of the meeting by the National and Islamic Forces, a coalition of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other political factions, said the plan was aimed at "dealing a blow to the PLO's political program by giving up the sacred right of return."
The Nussaibeh-Ayalon plan is far from sufficient to secure Israel's basic needs, for it entails returning to the June 4, 1967, borders and evacuating all the Jewish communities in Yesha. But even this plan, because it requires that the Arabs forego the "right of return" fiction, is too much for the Arabs of Yesha, and not just any "Arabs of Yesha" but for the "coatlition of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other political factions" (isn't that everybody?)

Under these circumstances, what meaning does the vaunted Roadmap have?

In this context, a reference to the issue of the "Palestinian" security forces warrants reiteration (the issue was mentioned in an earlier IsraPundit piece). In an article entitled "Abbas appoints Dahlan as acting Interior Minister", JPost reports today (May 7, 2003) that
Arafat wants to keep control of the security services and therefore created the new National Security Council, headed by himself, which is not under the control of the interior minister.

The Americans had demanded that the PA reduce its many security services to three agencies under the control of the Interior Minister, but Arafat insisted on keeping five security bodies, placing three under his direct control and leaving only the Preventive Security and the Civilian Police under the control of the Interior Minister.
So far, Aratrash has got away with this violation of the Roadmap, just as he got away with a lifetime as a terrorist. What does that tell us about the way the Arabs in Yesha are welcoming peace?

In a second related news story, AP reports today (May 7, 2003) that
[I]n an interview broadcast late Tuesday on Palestine television, new Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas said he could not drop the Palestinian demand [the "right of return"].

Abbas, a refugee himself, said, "The refugees issue is for the final status. Keep it there and we will discuss it.

"Why would I drop the right of return for refugees? It is not my right to drop it."
If, as abu Mazen says, the "right of return" is not his "right to drop", then what is there to discuss now or ever???

Is the Quartet willfully blind or outright evil?

Saudi Arabia: The pendulum swings

If you want to know what is going on read this article in Asia Times
KARACHI - The road map for peace in the Middle East envisages as a final destination an independent Palestinian state. But along the way, it will also certainly call for the curtailment of organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jehad, which in turn will put pressure on the main sponsor of these groups, Saudi Arabia.

Over the past few months, sections of the Saudi media, some circles of the royal family and the clergy and intellectuals have speculated that after Iraq, the US is determined to bring Saudi Arabia to heel.

[...] Political analysts believe that this development has deep significance. Washington has already compelled Syria to sever its links with the Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian organizations. But Saudi Arabia's case is different. Being the most holy land of Muslims around the world, it would be difficult for the US to deal with Saudi Arabia as it has with Syria - with threats of war.

Nevertheless, the US has already mounted pressure on Saudi Arabia to sever its financial ties with Hamas and other Palestinian groups. It is a demand which the US knows will be hard for the country to accept, let alone implement.

It is an open secret that apart from the state treasury, mosque collections, personal funds of Saudi princes and individual donations by rich Saudi sheiks are the main source of finance for the Palestinian intifada. Once the US troops leave Saudi Arabia, the religious segment of Saudi society can be expected to be more outspoken. MORE
Why Peace Can’t Work

Arnold Beichman (originally in NRO)characterises the criminal pedagogy of Isreal's peace partners, taking off from the magisterial piece by Sofaer which IsraPundit refered to already in its time.

"The latest issue of Commentary magazine leads with an article by Abraham Sofaer about the dicey future of Arab-Israeli negotiations. It is a sober recital by the State Department's former legal adviser of the obstacles that stand in the way of a permanent peace. In his article, Sofaer describes the Palestine educational system as "an abomination." He writes:

Palestinian children are taught mendacious versions of their own history as well as of Jewish culture, history and beliefs. Generations have been fed on propaganda that denies the legitimacy of the state of Israel while simultaneously glorifying intolerance, fanaticism and "martyrdom."

And not only Palestinian children but children in Syrian schools from fourth grade up are taught:

Zionism is really a form of colonialism similar to Nazism. Zionism endangers the Arab world and prevents its unification. Israel, an aggressive and expansionist enemy, is responsible for the backwardness of the Arab world. When they grow up they must engage in jihad against Israel and seek martyrdom — meaning, of course, suicide attacks. Real peace with Israel would be treason. Arab leaders who negotiate with Israel are spies and traitors. Even outside of Israel, Jews are a menace and should be exterminated.

If the above sentences sounds incredible half-a-century after the Holocaust, let me quote in translation from a textbook called Islamic Education for the Tenth Grade, 1999-2000, page 116:

The logic of justice obligates the application of the single verdict [on the Jews] from which there is no escape; namely, that their criminal intentions be turned against them and that they be exterminated. The duty of Muslims of our time is to pull themselves together, unite their ranks, and wage war on their enemy until Allah hands down his judgment on them and us.

What needs saying is that no peace is possible between the two adversaries — road map or no — so long as the Arab nations insist, as they have been doing for generations, on teaching their children that hatred of Jews and suicide bombing is serving Allah. If the Arabs leaders were looking forward to a peaceful, negotiable resolution of the half-century conflict would Syrian school textbooks be peddling anti-Semitism?

From textbook brain-washing to the "real world": In an interview published November 10, 1974, in the Washington Post, Yasser Arafat told Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist: The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediators...We don't want peace; we want victory. Peace for us means Israel's destruction and nothing else.

That is what Arafat and his new Cabinet members believed yesterday, believe today, and will continue to believe in the unforeseeable future. Would Arafat today repudiate his quote? And if he did, who would believe him? In fact, could any Arab leader today repudiate Arafat's words?

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with or without "road maps," with or without U.S. mediation, promise only retreat and the eventual disappearance of Israel because the demands on Israel will never end. After all, what can you expect when First Lady Suha Arafat publicly accuses Israel of polluting air and water with "toxic gases" so as to cause cancer among Palestinian women and children. Mrs. Arafat's husband and Palestine Authority official were at that moment engaging in "peace" negotiations with these well poisoners.

Is Bashar al-Assad, the new Syrian dictator, going to repudiate the anti-Israeli racism imparted to three generations of schoolchildren? Is he going to tell them everything's changed: No more jihad; that making peace with Israel is in accord with Allah's teachings? His Baathist dictatorship rests on the enduring enmity between Syria and Israel. Sofaer quotes al-Assad as saying, "Even if peace is accomplished Israel will not be a legitimate state."

Not until Egypt President Anwar Sadat made the first move after the 1973 Yom Kippur War did peace loom as a distinct Middle East possibility. Sadat was rewarded for his efforts with a return by Israel of the Sinai, three times the size of Israel, and a few years later by his assassination in 1981. And there have been three assassination attempts against Sadat's successor, President Hosni Mubarak.

Arab intransigence is the insoluble important question and it will not change. After all, the Palestinians' annual "Palestine Prize for Culture" was recently presented to Abu Daoud for his recent memoir in which he detailed how he masterminded the 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. .

George Santayana once said: "All problems are divided into two classes, soluble questions, which are trivial and important questions which are insoluble."

(Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for the Washington Times. All emphases added)

Arab dailies angry at Israel

Good for laughs. Arabic newspapers have lashed Israel as it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence, as well as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for sending congratulations. They also continue to criticise the United States' actions in Iraq. An assortment of camel dung passing for journalism.
Message from PM Ariel Sharon to the Diaspora Communities on the Occasion of the State of Israel's 55th Independence Day

On the occasion of Yom Ha'atzmaut, it is my great pleasure and privilege to send you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Fifty-five years ago, the State of Israel was forged in struggle. Since then, we have built an independent Jewish democracy, making great strides in fields such as medicine, technology, agriculture and the arts while simultaneously fighting for our existence. Our cities have flourished, and we have absorbed millions of immigrants - from 102 countries - who conduct their lives in Hebrew, the ancient language of the Bible. From these accomplishments we derive the strength and resilience to persevere, even in the face of challenge and adversity.

The future of the Jewish people rests on our combined shoulders. With our common history, heritage and mission as our guide, we are certain to achieve even greater heights in the future. I call upon each of you to personally take part in the Zionist enterprise - by making Aliyah and joining us here. Aliyah is vital to the continued existence, growth and prosperity of Israel. Together, we will succeed in bringing peace and security to our nation and homeland.

Mazal Tov and Chag Sameach.

Ariel Sharon

On the Road Again

Iraqis reclaim homes from Palestinian refugees

Some of these poor Palestinains sorely miss the handouts for killing Israelis that were part of Saddam's welfare program!
After nearly a lifetime, Ahmed Issa is a refugee again.

Just a child when his parents arrived in Iraq from what was called Palestine in 1948, the former sweets maker has relied on charity of the Iraqi government, which gave him and thousands of other Palestinian refugees free housing and other benefits.

The subsidies never lifted them above poverty, yet were enough to make a life in an adopted country.

Saddam Hussein forced thousands of mostly poor Iraqis to give up their homes to Palestinians. And now, since Baghdad fell to U.S. forces April 9, hundreds of Iraqis who have waited a generation to reclaim homes commandeered by Saddam's Baath party, have begun knocking on their old doors, some with assault rifles in hand, to evict Palestinians with no place else to go.

As a result, Issa has taken up residence in a former Baath party building in a Baghdad neighborhood of brick apartment buildings and trash-strewn streets that is the center of the Palestinian diaspora in Iraq.

The building was once a high school; the room Issa shares with his wife and four grown children was a classroom.

A tent city has sprung up on a soccer field four blocks away to accommodate 285 other Palestinian families who have lost homes in a month of score-settling with the Baath government. About 1,000 Palestinians in all have lost their homes.

"Iraqis always envied us because they heard Saddam was helping us, was protecting us, was paying for us," Issa said. "It was really nothing, just a speech."

Many Arab leaders welcomed Palestinians after the creation of Israel in 1948, extending them charity and speaking out internationally on their behalf.

Saddam, whose pan-Arab-nationalist Baath party took over in 1968, did more, casting himself as an example in the Arab world, creating a civilian militia he said was dedicated to retaking Jerusalem and harboring at least two Palestinians the United States considered to be terrorists.

During the current uprising against Israel, he funneled payments to the families of Palestinians killed in the violence, including suicide bombers.

"He used the Palestinians for his own political purposes, and they are as a result associated with Saddam's rule," said Peter Bouckaert, a senior researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"The coalition as the occupying force is responsible for the protection of the civilian population, and this goes for the Palestinians," he said. "The problem is the Palestinians have no place to go. No one wants to take them."

Many Palestinians settled here in homes built under Abdul Karim Kasim, an army officer who overthrew the monarchy in 1958. Those accommodations changed after the Baath party took power and began making Iraqis an offer they could not safely refuse: give up homes to Palestinians in return for paltry rents from the government.

There are no precise figures on how many Palestinians live in Iraq; estimates range from 40,000 to twice that, most of whom live in Baghdad.

Nearly all are sons and daughters of the original Palestinian refugees. Khalid Yusef Moussa, 40, a house painter, is one.

Moussa, his wife and four small children share a tent on a soccer field since his home's former owner knocked on his door in the New Baghdad neighborhood a day after U.S. troops entered the city. They asked him to leave immediately. Moussa had lived there for 13 years.

"I blame America," he said. "At least Saddam gave us a home, some security. I am hoping to leave this place now and head back to Palestine."

Good fences make good neighbors--Robert Frost

ISRAEL’S ARAB MINORITY: Feeling economically isolated, Israeli Arabs reach out to Jews

[...]For some Israeli Arabs, however, the reality of the fence is motivating them to try to mend fences with the Jewish majority: As Israel celebrates its 55th birthday this week, some Israeli Arabs appear to have rediscovered their Israeli identity.

Two and a half years ago, days after the Palestinian intifada began, residents rampaged at the entrance to Umm el-Fahm, cutting the major Wadi Ara traffic artery and assaulting drivers who appeared Jewish.

Since then, Jews have avoided Umm el-Fahm, not patronizing its restaurants, discount furniture stores and olive oil shops. In fact, Israeli Jews largely avoid Arab areas anywhere in the Galilee since the October 2000 riots.

With an upsurge of terror attacks along the Wadi Ara road and in the neighboring Jewish towns of Afula and Hadera, local Arabs also have cut down on visits to their Jewish neighbors, avoiding the unpleasantness of feeling like suspects. As a result, the two populations are growing further apart.

Some Israeli politicians have suggested that as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Umm el-Fahm should be handed over to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for West Bank settlements that would be annexed to Israel.

That set alarm bells in Umm el-Fahm ringing nervously. Though the strength of the Islamic Movement has made Umm el-Fahm nearly synonymous in recent years with anti-Israel radicalism, most residents — like the vast majority of Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens — would prefer to be a minority in the Jewish state than to live under the Palestinian Authority.

Thus, even though the new fence cuts them off from their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank, many Israeli Arabs welcomed it. Perhaps, they said, it means the government didn’t really consider turning them over to the Palestinian Authority after all.

There is a general consensus here that the fence is a good idea, said Kassem Zeid, a retired journalist, at his home in the eastern suburbs of Umm el-Fahm.

Kassem still fears that the idea of a future territorial exchange between Israel and Palestine may be revived. That’s why he and a group of some 20 friends are working on a new campaign designed to mend relations with the Jews.

The group meets once a month in a private residence to work out the details.

Eventually they want to call a news conference under the title “Umm el-Fahm greets its Jewish neighbors.” [more]

Job opening?

Senior Hamas Activist Killed In Explosion Near Shechem

A senior Hamas activist, Amin Menzlaui, died this morning in an explosion in a village near Shechem. The IDF had no comment on the event but Palestinian sources suggested that it was most likely a ‘work accident’ that took place while working with explosives.
UC Berkeley program funded by Saudis with links to terrorism

Middle Eastern Studies Program accepted significant funds from groups linked to terrorism
UC Berkeley administrators ignored reports yesterday that a campus Middle Eastern studies program has accepted significant funds from groups and individuals linked to terrorism by the US State Department.

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies runs two programs whose stated missions are to increase “understanding of Islam and of Muslim peoples and cultures in the United States and around the world.” But those programs are funded by a Saudi businessman and a member of the Saudi royal family who the State Department maintains are responsible for funneling money to groups that sponsor terrorism.

The center’s Sultan Program is named for and funded by Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the second deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia. Al Saud has been implicated as having a direct hand in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and is currently a defendant in the $1 trillion class action lawsuit filed by the families of the attacks’ victims.

“At best, Prince Sultan (al Saud) was grossly negligent in the oversight and administration of charitable funds, knowing they would be used to sponsor international terrorism, but turning a blind eye,” states the brief filed by the victims’ attorneys. “At worst, Prince Sultan directly aided and abetted and materially sponsored al Qaeda and international terrorism.”

Al Saud, also the Saudi minister of defense, chairs the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, charged with reviewing and granting aid requests from Islamic organizations. Since Al Saud has administered charitable giving for the kingdom, it has funded organizations the federal government and UN have acknowledged aid and abet terrorism. They include the International Islamic Relief Organization, al-Haramain, Muslim World League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

Al Saud was publicly thanked for his contributions to the International Islamic Relief Organization by the organization’s secretary general just 10 months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

That organization has been connected with the funding of al Qaeda, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It has also been directly linked with the 1993 World Trade Center Bombings, plots to assassinate former President Clinton and the Pope, as well as plans to destroy the Lincoln Tunnel and Brooklyn Bridge. It is headed by Mohammed Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law who the federal government has branded a principal leader of global terrorism.

“Beginning with the Gulf War, Prince Sultan took radical stands against western countries and publicly supported and funded several Islamic charities that were sponsoring Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda operations,” the brief states.

Al Saud is among the primary defendants in the case which alleges the named defendants’ financial and material support “are what allowed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to occur.”

University administrators declined to comment on the connections between the center’s benefactors and terrorism. But the vice chair of the center did acknowledge the programs receive funding from Al Saud and another organization with ties to terrorism. Vice Chair Emily Gottreich said the majority of the center’s funding comes from the US Department of Education, but university officials refused to turn budget documents to the Patriot yesterday.[more]
How the West is being misinformed - an example based on Intifada II


Over the years, anti-Israel propaganda has scored two major victories: it has infected Western thinking with anti-Israel notions (e.g., the existence of a "Palestinian nation" with "inalienable rights"), and it has impsosed its terminology as the basis of Western discourse (e.g., "occupied territories", "illegal settlements").

The object of this article is to provide one example, culled from the British Telegraph, to illustrate the insidious ways in which Western media are biassing the minds of people against Israel. The example refers to the way the Telegraph presents Intifada II, with no reference either to the Israeli narrative or to facts known to all. The Telegraph has been chosen because it may be classified among the less biassed of the European media outlets.

In laying out the "alternative view" about Intifada II, this article includes the perspective given in Bodansky's book, The High Cost of Peace. The article concludes with the implication vis-a-vis the Roadmap.

Links to CAMERA and Honest Reporting, as well as selected other references, are given at the article's end; the links provide both analyses and numerous examples of anti-Israel distortions by the media.

...And now, the detials

In what perports to be an objective resource for researching the Middle East, the Telegraph states about the way Intifada II broke out [bold font added]:
28 September 2000
Violence flares in the Old City of Jerusalem after a provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex by the Israeli Likud leader Ariel Sharon. Mr Sharon is unpopular with Palestinians because of his role in the massacre of thousands of Palestinian refugees during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. He has also been heavily involved in the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

The second Intifada begins
The following six days see Palestinian protests against the visit and a brutal military response by Israel in which 58 Palestinians are killed. Gun battles erupt between Palestinian police and Israeli armed forces as the violence escalates into a full scale Palestinian uprising.
Readers of this site probably know all too well that the allegations in this Telegraph piece are ludicrous (to be fair, the Telegraph did get the date, September 28, right...). What is most troubling, however, is the fact that the Israeli perspective on the story is not even mentioned, let alone given equal presentation. For the record, therefore, here is the Israeli viewpoint about Intifada II.

First, let us refer to the Mitchell Report of May 4, 2001. Even this virulently anti-Israel document concludes quite unequivocally that:
The Sharon visit did not cause the Al-Aksa Intifada.
Mitchell Bard's "Myths and Facts" adds the following information on this particular point:
Internal Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami permitted Sharon to go to the Temple Mount - Judaism’s holiest place - only after calling Palestinian security chief Jabril Rajoub and receiving his assurance that if Sharon did not enter the mosques, no problems would arise. The need to protect Sharon arose when Rajoub later said that the Palestinian police would do nothing to prevent violence during the visit.

Sharon did not attempt to enter any mosques and his 34 minute visit to the Temple Mount was conducted during normal hours when the area is open to tourists. Palestinian youths - eventually numbering around 1,500 - shouted slogans in an attempt to inflame the situation. Some 1,500 Israeli police were present at the scene to forestall violence.

There were limited disturbances during Sharon's visit, mostly involving stone throwing. During the remainder of the day, outbreaks of stone throwing continued on the Temple Mount and in the vicinity, leaving 28 Israeli policemen injured, three of whom were hospitalized. There are no accounts of Palestinian injuries on that day. Significant and orchestrated violence was initiated by Palestinians the following day following Friday prayers.
Well, if it was not Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, what did ignite Intifada II?

Before we examine the tangled web that provides the answer, one should note the extraordinary skill of anti-Israel propaganda, aided and abetted by the the willing collaborators in mainstream media. While the picture, as will be presented below, is complex, the Arabs adopted a simple line, so well suited to the mentality of a Sesame Street world: "Sharon did it".

On December 28, 2000, Israel presented a well-documented statement to the SHARM EL-SHEIKH FACT-FINDING COMMITTEE which looked into the situation of Intifada II. The government of Israel stated:
118. The immediate catalyst for the violence of late September 2000 was the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations on 25 July 2000 and the widespread appreciation in the international community of Palestinian responsibility for the impasse. The violence was part of a planned campaign by the Palestinian leadership to recapture the diplomatic initiative. As Abu-Ali Mustafa, a member of the Palestinian Authority, stated on 23 July 2000, even before the final breakdown of the Camp David negotiations:

"The issues of Jerusalem, the refugees and sovereignty are one and will be finalised on the ground and not in negotiations. At this point it is important to prepare Palestinian society for the challenge of the next step because we will inevitably find ourselves in a violent confrontation with Israel in order to create new facts on the ground. ... I believe that the situation in the future will be more violent than the Intifada."

119. As this statement indicates, there was, within senior figures in the Palestinian leadership, a clear view, even in the very midst of the Camp David negotiations, that a violent confrontation with Israel was necessary "in order to create new facts on the ground". Violence was part of the agenda - notwithstanding all the commitments to the contrary in the agreements concluded since September 1993. The Palestinian dilemma, even prior to Camp David, was whether to engage with Israel in a serious attempt to address the issues that divided the two sides or to pursue a strategy which would lay the groundwork for a violent confrontation aimed at creating "new facts on the ground".
Mitchell Bard adds:
Imad Faluji, the Palestinian Authority Communications Minister, admitted months after Sharon's visit that the violence had been planned in July, far in advance of Sharon's "provocation." "It [the uprising] had been planned since Chairman Arafat's return from Camp David, when he turned the tables on the former U.S. president and rejected the American conditions."

The violence started before Sharon's September 28, 2000, visit to the Temple Mount. The day before, for example, an Israeli soldier was killed at the Netzarim Junction. The next day in the West Bank city of Kalkilya, a Palestinian police officer working with Israeli police on a joint patrol opened fire and killed his Israeli counterpart.
To this point, the evidence presented indicates that Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount had nothing to do with Intifada II; rather, the riots broke out as part of Arafat's well-crafted strategy to extort from Israel what could not be extorted at the negotiation table.

The complete picture, however, is even more complex. The most comprehensive elucidation is given by Yossef Bodansky in his book,

Yossef Bodansky. The High Cost of Peace. New York: Random House (Forum), 2002. See especially Ch 15-19.

(Among his credentials, Bodansky includes: director of the Congressional Task force on Terrorism; director of research, International Strategic Studies Association; senior consultant for the US Departments of Defense and State; senior editor of publications and author of eight books.)

As gleaned from Bodansky’s book, the background to Intifada II is the following (in order to enable readers to verify the statements made below, I have included numbers in prentheses, which refer to the pages in Bodansky's book).

During the first half of the year 2000, Arafat reviewed his strategy, noting, in particular, the unilateral Israeli retreat from Lebanon in May, 2000 (p. 306). Arafat had already come to a decision to renew the terrorist war against Israel, appointing Dahlan and Barghouti to make the necessary preparations in Gaza and Judea/Samaria, respectively. For example, what was supposed to be a "Palestinian police force" was re-organized in military formations with military training; this had been accomplished by April 2000, five months prior to Intifada II.

Later in 2000, Arafat and other Arab leaders perceived other weakness in Israeli society, e.g., a split between Barak and the military establishment, severe economic problems, and internal Leftist pressure for concessions. The conclusion was that inflicting further casualties on Israel would bring her to heel, especially if an armed conflict were accompanied by the usual petro-blackmail against the West; the evident Clinton pressure on Israel contributed to this assessment (pp. 348-350).

Arafat's short-term objectives were to use Israel's weakness in order to foment a "war of independence" or a regional war (aided by Iraq), from which a "Palestinian" state would arise (p. 307).

While the Clinton administration pressured Israel to make progressively more and more concessions, Arafat's Intifada was engaged in terrorist acts, such as the Arab assault on May 8 on IDF positions in Rachel's tomb and Ayosh junction. On May 15, 2000, Nabka Day, official PA forces opened fire on Israeli positions all over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, while mobs attacked Israeli positions such as Ayosh junction. On May 18, Arab terrorist groups, including Arafat's Tanzim, called for two "days of rage" (pp. 310-311). These facts alone are sufficient to debunk the Sharon connection to the Intifada, but what makes the proof even more decisive is the fact that the bouts of Arab violence began and ceased in a well-orchestrated manner, indicating a planned operation.

From this phase of the intifada, Arafat learnt that his basic strategy was sound: because of to the media, the Intifada mobilized the world against Israel and led to increased US pressure on Israel. At the same time that Israel was being demoralized - recall the unilateral retreat from concurrent Labanon - Arafat was forging links with Hizbollah in anticipation of the big blow he planned for September (p. 313). Military preparations were also accelerated.

In July, Clinton convened the Camp David summit; in view of Arafat's strategy to gain a state through violence, and to enshrine the right of return in his state's constitution, it is clear why an agreement could not have possibly been reached; indeed, the Summit was discontinued on July 25, 2000 (p. 318). Bodansky's assessment (p. 320):

Arafat had never had a "national agenda" in Western terms. His sacred objective throughout was the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a Muslim state in its stead.

Upon his return from Camp David, Arafat accelerated the Intifada preparations, mobilizing his troops and escalating the incitement with Fatwas and calls for jihad (p. 324). Links with Hizbollah, Syria and Iran were also strengthened (p. 326), and links with al Qaeda initiated (p. 328); indeed, on August 21, 2000, Israel announced the arrest of 23 terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda.

In mid-September, well before Sharon's visit to al Aksa on September 28, Arafat issued the order to resume hostilities and escalate them gradually. Ambushes and firing on Israelis became routine. For example, the Nezarim Junction saw Arab violence continually as of September 17; on September 27, Arab terrorists, aided by the PA, used road bombs (p. 351).

And thus, when Sharon visited Temple Mount, with the express consent of the PA, Intifada II was already ongoing, contrary to anti-Israel claims, and in accordance with Arafat’s laid down plan.

Bodansky's thoroughly-documented narrative raises a serious question in relation to the Roadmap. Inasmuch as Arafat is still at the helm, and inasmuch as Arafat still controls five armed terrorist groups, why would one assume that Arafat will cease pursuing his objectives - a Palestinian state through violence, to replace Israel - with the same vigour that led to Intifada II? And in this case, what is the meaning of the Roadmap other than the obliteration of Israel?

This article began with a quotation from the Telegraph's distorted, biassed presentation of Intifada II. For numerous additional examples of anti-Israel distortions by the media, as well as for analyses, see:


2. Honest Reporting

3. For an article concerning distortions in Israel's Leftist Ha'Aretz, see IMRA.

4. For an examination of "Why the Media Habitually Side with the Palestinians", see Front Page Mag article by Erick Stakelbeck, January 30, 2003.

5. For an article about Thomas Friedman specifically, see "Fighting Tom Friedman", By Caroline B. Glick.

6. For an article about the media war in general, see a JIA article, 27 January 2003, by Chuck Chriss.

7. For a lifetime research on the topic, check out google under “media and bias and Israel” - over 95,000 links appear.
May 1948 - May 2003

Today is Israel's 55th birthday.

On May 14th, 1948, David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel's Declaration of Independence, which stated, inter alia:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.
Israel has lived up to her mandate of being open "for the Ingathering of the Exiles": manifestly, Israel has provided a safe haven for Jews coming from such diverse countries as Ethiopia, the former USSR, and many Arab countries. A democratic lilly in a field of despotic weeds, Israel has also lived up to to her promise to "guarantee freedom", notwithstanding 55 years of constant war. Israel is nothing less than a miracle; may she flourish, prosper and thrive.

Iraqi Documents on Israel Surface on a Cultural Hunt

Judith Miller writes in today's NY TImes:

In one huge room in the flooded basement of the building, American soldiers from MET Alpha, the "mobile exploitation team" that has been searching for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq for the past three months, found maps featuring terrorist strikes against Israel dating to 1991. Another map of Israel highlighted what the Iraqis thought were the locations at which their Scud missiles had struck in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The strikes were designated by yellow-and-red paper flowers placed atop the pinpointed Israeli neighborhoods.

Team members floated out of the room a perfect mock-up of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, as well as mock-ups of downtown Jerusalem and official Israeli buildings in very fine detail. They also collected a satellite picture of Dimona, Israel's nuclear complex, and a female mannequin dressed in an Israeli Air Force uniform, standing in front of a list of Israeli officers' ranks and insignia.

Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time. [more]

May 06, 2003

Most Important: Nethanyau On The Map

The following is the last exchange in an interview with Nethanyahu published by today's JPOST and revolving, in the main, around the economic situation.

"Turning to diplomacy, it seems that the road map is gaining momentum. What's your view?

There's no illusion on the government table about who we're dealing with. That's why there's a consensus that we must agree on several things. First, not only the momentary cessation suspension of terror - but real action on the part of the Palestinian Authority against the sources of terror. Second, we have to see that any political process is accompanied by an a priori recognition of the Palestinians of our right to exist as a Jewish state, and the abandonment on their part on this so-called right of return, which means the destruction of Israel. Third, it's important, if those two conditions are met, and if we can engage in a political process, to ensure that the Palestinian entity, whatever its configuration, does not enjoy those powers that can endanger the one and only Jewish state, which means limitations on certain sovereign powers, for example the importation of weapons through third perimeters would be in our hands, and the airspace would be in our hands as well.

These are the principles that I think are agreed upon by the prime minister, by the ministers, and I think will serve us well if we stick to them. And there's no reason not to. I think the American people and administration understand these fears a lot better than they did a year ago. We need these measures to make sure we don't fall in a trap; Oslo was bad enough."

Action: Vote on six crucial issues

The website of Mesora has put up a voting facility concerning six important questions. Your vote is needed. Please visit the site and vote.

Israel Throws Mideast 'Road Map' in Doubt

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threw a U.S.-backed peace plan into doubt Tuesday, saying the Palestinians must drop their demand for Arab refugees' "right of return" to Israel if negotiations are to proceed.

Israel has always objected to the right of return for about 4 million Arabs who fled the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948, but never made renouncing the demand a condition for peace talks before.

The new Mideast plan unveiled by Washington last week says the fate of the refugees will be negotiated in the third and final stage of the so-called "road map." The right of return is a cornerstone of Palestinian policy.

But Sharon told Israel Radio the renunciation by Palestinians "is something Israel insists on and sees it as a condition for continuing the process." The interview marked Israel's Independence Day celebrations.

Israeli officials said the renunciation would have to come before creation of a provisional Palestinian state in the second of the plan's three phases.

The Palestinians already have accepted the road map, which seeks to end 31 months of bloody Mideast violence and lead to a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict.

Israel refuses to take blame for the consequences of the two-year war after its creation, when Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish state and about 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes.

Sharon called the right of return "a recipe for the destruction of Israel," because it would flood Israel with Arabs. Statistics released on the eve of Independence Day showed there are now 5.4 million Jews and 1.3 million Arabs in Israel.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said Sharon is stalling and trying to kill the plan.

"I think the end game here of Mr. Sharon is trying to extend the time until the American election in order to avoid implementation of any the provisions of the road map," Erekat said.

Sharon said that in the coming days, there would be another discussion in Washington over the 15 objections Israel has raised, delaying the start of the process.

Israel demands that before anything else is done, all Palestinian attacks must cease. The United States says steps must be taken in parallel — Palestinians working to stop attacks and Israel easing restrictions and halting Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sharon confirmed in the radio interview that he had turned down overtures from Syrian President Bashar Assad to resume peace negotiations. He said Syria was trying to ease pressure from the United States to close the offices of extremist Palestinian groups and to stop supporting guerrillas in Lebanon. [more]
Tel Aviv bombing trail leads to Damascus

Here is the non-subscribers portion of Jane' [intelligence]

At around 1.00am local time on April 30, Asif Mohammed Hanif, 21, detonated an explosive suicide belt at the entrance to the popular Tel Aviv waterfront café, 'Mike's Place', killing himself and three Israelis. His alleged accomplice, Omar Khan Sharif, 27, is said to have fled the scene after failing to activate another explosive-packed vest. Israeli police immediately launched a nationwide manhunt for Sharif, who at the time of writing remains at large. However, Israeli security sources who spoke to JTIC this weekend have acknowledged that Sharif may already have left the country. Both Hanif and Sharif are almost certainly UK nationals.

The attack was the first time a non-Palestinian has carried out a suicide bombing in Israel.

"Sharif appears to be quite resourceful for a someone planning to commit suicide and who had no getaway plan," a senior Israeli security source said. "After realising that there was a malfunction in his explosive charge he immediately dropped the belt and while running away from the scene he managed to snatch a purse from a citizen, probably to obtain some cash. This is the behavior of a well-trained person, rather than a naive ideologist, who managed to hide and escape in a foreign country," the source claimed.

Israeli Intelligence sources allege that Hanif and Sharif first met one another in Damascus. Hanif, believed to have been activated there, arrived in Damascus for the last time five months ago, while Sharif was alleged to have been activated in the UK and traveled to Syria in March. The men were met in Damascus by Hamas representatives, Israeli intelligence claims, but received training from another group, possibly Hizbullah or Al-Qaeda.

The explosives used in the bombing were also prepared in Syria, Israeli intelligence believes, but were probably brought into Israel by a third party. JTIC has learned that the explosive content of the devices was a rare form of plastic explosive nicknamed 'datasheet'. When flattened into thin leaves and disguised as pages of a book, this form of explosive is completely undetectable by X-ray machines and is difficult to identify even with a trained eye.

The Tel Aviv attack, if shown to have been planned and directed out of Damascus, comes at an inconvenient time for the Syrian government, which is trying to soothe damaged relations with the US. While US Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that the Syrians have reported shutting down the offices of some terrorist organisations, Israeli intelligence sources have long argued that no such action has in fact been taken.

The traditional Syrian position is that Damascus hosts only the political offices of a number of groups which they deem to be legitimate 'resistance' organisations. However Israel has claimed that Syria's involvement extends to the hosting of offices and training camps for at least six terrorist outfits both on Syrian soil and in Lebanon.
Arafat’s Road Map

Catoonists Cox and Forkum present "Arafat's Road Map"
The mega-historical context for our Map

Robert wistrich, a history scholar, has a very judicious assessment of the global context in which the "mapology" takes its fuller sense. In essence, all depends on the "Arab world" finally deciding between loosing itself in sterile anti-americanism cum anti -semistism and... entering bravely upon the path to modernity. Read it.

A Roadmap to Peace: With Whom?

This Front Page Magazine article says that many arabs in the region simply do not want peace with Israel but instead want to continue terror activities. History is invoked to show this to be the case till now, with the implication that those who do not learn from history will want to relive it
The proposed “roadmap to peace” in the Middle East has an intrinsic unknown. Peace must involve at least two parties. On one side we have the Israelis who are genuinely interested in peace, but who is on the other side? With whom are the Israeli supposed to make peace? Unfortunately, it cannot be the “Palestinians” Arabs because such a “peace” would be meaningless. The “Palestinian” Arabs, under their current political leadership are not a stable, politically independent entity with which a long-term peace can be made. We have witnessed the wrangling between Arafat and his hand picked Prime Minister who is still lacking the necessary authority to make meaningful political commitments. Mahmoud Abbas certainly does not meet the expectations laid out explicitly by President Bush in his speech of June 24, 2002.

To create a new Arab state, irrespective if its borders are permanent or temporary, with sole purpose of having a legitimate partner for tenuous peace negotiations with some local Arabs seems unreasonable. It would be interpreted in the Arab world as a reward for indiscriminant brutal terror, and an encouragement for continued terror against the State of Israel. In any case it is unlikely to eliminate Arab terror. Even if the “Palestinian” leadership changed significantly, which it does not seem to do, and the Arabs in the “disputed territories” eliminated their terrorist organizations to form a genuinely demilitarized state, which does not yet seem in the cards, Israel would remain the target for Arab terror and potential Arab military aggression. Would there have been a difference if Hammas’ headquarter in Gaza were closed and Hammas terrorists arrived then from the UK with British passports and blew themselves up near a nightclub, as it just happened in Tel Aviv?

Arab terror will continue as long as Arab Islamism maintains its grip on the Middle East, even after al-Queda was eradicated by the US, and Iraq was neutralized, at least for a while. Let us remember that many of the recent clashes between the IDF and the Arab terrorists are at the Egyptian border, which is the major conduit of military supplies for the “Palestinian” terror organizations. This flow of arms would not take place without the knowledge and support of the Egyptian leadership. The training of “Palestinian” terrorists in the Baka’a Valley and the supply of military materiel from Lebanon into Gaza would not have occurred without the active support of Iran and Syria. As these lines are written, in spite of US diplomatic pressure, the Syrians are still splitting hairs between terrorists killing Jews (seemingly sanctioned by Syria) and non-Jews. In brief, until the regional conflict between the Arab and Jewish nations is resolved, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, of any kind, might critically restrict Israel’s political maneuverability and military defensive options.

It seems now that even Collin Powell, who initiated the now dysfunctional “Quartet”, which the US State Department incorporated as a decisive element in its recently published “Roadmap,” realizes this. This is the reason for Powell’s current round of talks with the leaders in the surrounding Arab states before coming to discuss his “Roadmap” with the Israelis. The “Quartet” idea was part of Powell’s diplomatic strategy in an attempt to receive the UN’s endorsement to remove Saddam Hussein from power. That attempt failed miserably, as we all saw, and the non-American partners in the “Quartet” proved to be treacherous enemies of the United States in addition to their traditional animosity to the Jewish state.[more]
Half of an excellent article

Yesterday's NY Times almost featured a great article. Scott Atran's "Who wants to be a martyr?" started off with some very important debunking.
As logical as the poverty-breeds-terrorism argument may seem, study after study shows that suicide attackers and their supporters are rarely ignorant or impoverished. Nor are they crazed, cowardly, apathetic or asocial. If terrorist groups relied on such maladjusted people, "they couldn't produce effective and reliable killers," according to Todd Stewart, a retired Air Force general who directs the Ohio State University program in international and domestic security.
This point is not new. Daniel Pipes and others have made this point. Still given the numbers of "experts" asserting that suicide terrorism is the result of despair, it's important that this point be made repeatedly.

Unfortunately, Atran didn't dig nearly deep enough.
How do we combat these masters of manipulation? President Bush and many American politicans maintain that these groups and the people supporting them hate our democracy and freedoms. But poll after poll of the Muslim world shows opinion strongly favoring America's forms of government, personal liberty and education. A University of Michigan political scientist, Mark Tessler, finds Arab attitudes to American culture most favorable among young adults (regardless of their religious feeling) — the same population that recruiters single out.

It is our actions that they don't like: as long ago as 1997, a Defense Department report (in response to the 1996 suicide bombing of Air Force housing at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia) noted that "historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States."

Shows of military strength don't seem to dissuade terrorists: witness the failure of Israel's coercive efforts to end the string of Palestinian suicide bombings. Rather, we need to show the Muslim world the side of our culture that they most respect. Our engagement needs to involve interfaith initiatives, not ethnic profiling. America must address grievances, such as the conflict in the Palestinian territories, whose daily images of violence engender global Muslim resentment.
Whereas Pipes notes that there is a need to have an extensive infrastructure behind the suicide terrorists, Atran ignores that. He simply wishes to blame the West for suicide terrorism.

But the terror doesn't happen on a whim. Hatred for the West (and Israel) is not based on our actions, but on who we are. I know that Atran dismisses that because Arabs have a great respect for American freedom. (And Israeli freedom.) But having respect for something doesn't rule out that it can be hated too.

The hatred toward Israel and toward the West that pervades Arab societies in the form of official propaganda. And that propaganda has so little to do with real American and Israeli actions. It is hate plain and simple. (Explain why a Saudi official would claim that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake Hamentaschen. It has nothing to do with any occupation.)

In order to give vent to that hatred, the PA has supervised the importation of weapons and explosives. Israel's military offensive has reduced the quantities of arms held by the terrorists as well as the channels of their distribution. Atran is wrong. Israel's efforts have reversed the violence. But the only way to defeat the terror is to stop the arms and stop the hatred.

Going toe-to-toe with Sharon about the Map

JPOST did well to add Sarah Honig to its team. Here she is going toe-to-toe with Israel's great General. And the results are not neccessarily those one would consider the most predictable.

"Ariel Sharon's favorite reply to critics surprised by his determined championship of a Palestinian state is that from his vantage point things look different.

But he already viewed the arena from the elevated prime ministerial perch when he stood over a long row of body bags at the Patt junction not too long ago. At his feet lay the motionless victims of yet another bus bombing on a weekday Jerusalem morning.

"Are these the people," he asked referring to Palestinian terror overlords "to whom you want to give a state?" His pained query was doubtlessly addressed to George W. Bush.

So what's happened since? Has his vantage point inconspicuously and inexplicably shifted? I put this question to a leading Likud politician, one of the very few in his party reputed to be really close to Sharon.

His take is that Sharon hasn't fundamentally changed but has opted for clever tactics to buy us all time. Why appear as the bad guy striving to stymie Bush's attempts to please the Europeans and appease seething Arabs?"
(emphasis added).

Read the rest of it to consider whether we do not have here a ''penny-wise, pound-foolish" decision.

Pro-Palestinian 'activists' set up a mock check-point in Amsterdam.

To give it that touch of reality, that these 'activists' would like to deny, someone should have arrived as a mock suicide-bomber or mock sniper.
For Palestinian onlookers it was an emotional experience as it was performed with accuracy and detail, reliving the humiliation and frustration. For onlookers from other nationalities it was a learning experience. Many had no idea that Palestinians where treated so roughly, and felt betrayed by biased media coverage. They felt betrayed as they thought they where well informed. Others who were more informed told activists that they hoped for a fair and just peace. Many pro-Israeli onlookers shrugged angrily at the organizers, unwilling to fathom the bitter pill of confrontation. They chose to turn their backs and walk away.

So, when exactly does this group plan on recreating, for the Dutch, a realistic Palestinian classroom where children are told of the joys of muirdering Jews, or perhaps they can present a mock pizza parlor with realistic body parts of men women and children strewn about after the suicide bomber hits, or perhaps they can put the Dutch on busses and give them the experience of never knowing if the next person on might explode? Maybe they can give the Dutch trhe real experience of having hundreds of millions of neighbors who want nothing more than to wipe their nation off the face of the planet.

Cross-posted at Voice from the Commonwealth
Remembering Democracy's Guardians

Today being Israel's memorial day for the fallen soldeirs and the victims of terrorism, I find it appropriate to post the speech of Moshe Ya'alon, Cheif of the IDF General Staff in its entirety. Not out of respect for him, but for the emotions conveyed by his speechwriters at the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, of which I am a proud Alumnus.

Order of the Day of the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieut. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, for Remembrance Day

IDF Spokesperson 6 May 2003

Soldiers and officers of the Israel Defense Forces,

On Remembrance Day for Israel's fallen, the entire nation embraces in silence and pain, the meaning of its sons and daughters, soldiers of the IDF, who fell in the ongoing campaign for the existence of the State of Israel.

We remember all those who have fallen: their faces, their smile, always young, their activities and circumstances of their death. Their absence is ever present: among families whose longing and pain time cannot cure, among the units and soldiers at the IDF-who hurt the memory of our friends and comrades who fell, among the entire Israeli society where the loss of the best of its sons and daughters is evident in all walks of life and activity.

Even after fifty-five years of independence, our struggle for our basic right to live in peace and security has not ended. This year, these very days, the IDF, its units and soldiers, are still engaged in difficult, complex, and fateful fighting for our survival in this country and the region.

The memory of our friends who fell and their works are beacons for all of us. The Israel Defense Forces, its units and soldiers, will continue relentlessly to operate to assure the life, security and peace for the citizens of Israel and for the State of Israel, as long as required in the fighting that is totally justified.

On Remembrance Day, the IDF inclines its flags in love and pain, salutes the memory of our friends who fell, embraces the bereaved families and carries a prayer that the family of the bereaved will not grow. May the memory of the fallen be blessed.

May their memories be blessed, and may we see and end to this seemingly eternal war.
And Glory

Andrew Dodge who blogs at Sasha and Andrew's Rountable wrote a book And Glory that you might find interesting.
Mike's Place Update

Trust Fund For Victims Of The Terror Attack

We Have Set Up A Fund In Order To Raise Money For The Victims Of The Attack. This Fund Will Provide Assistance To People Such As Avi And Others Injured In The Attrocious Attack. It Will Also Finance A Memorial Which Will Be Placed Outside The Bar.

Please Give Generously!

You Can Make Money Transfers To The Following Accounts:

Account Name: Gavin Gross (Mikes Place Terror Fund)

Bank: Leumi, Basel Branch

Branch Number: 813

Account Number: 17294/73 (for shekel transfers)

Account Number for foreign currency: 17294/93

Or Mail Cheques In Any Currency To:
Gavin M. Gross.
Rehov Hashla 6/11
Tel Aviv 62283

All Cheques Will Be Cashed And Transferred To The Trust Fund.
If You Would Like To Discuss The Fund Prior To Transferring Money Please Call
Gavin M. Gross On 00972 54 544 245
Or E-Mail : Gavprop1@Netvision.Net.Il
Best Wishes To You All. Gavin

On Behalf Of The Mikes Place Family And Trust Fund.

....For those in the Toronto area, stay tuned for information on an upcoming benefit concert for the heroic Avi Taviv.
The Nakba and the RoachMap

Sometimes, one short news story encapsulates a complex problem better than a thousands analytical articles. This, I believe, is the case of a JPost article, 6 May 2003, entitled, "Palestinians to mark 55th anniversary of 'nakba' ", by KHALED ABU TOAMEH. The story reports:

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are planning a series of events on Independence Day, which they refer to as their nakba (catastrophe).

Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians have marked this day with anti-Israel rallies and demonstrations. They have also used the occasion to educate children on the right of all refugees to return to their former villages and towns.
A number of Israeli left-wing groups are expected to participate in the events, which are held under the motto, "No Independence without Acceptance of Moral Responsibility and Recognition of the Debt[;] No Independence without a Just Solution of Return, Repatriation, and Restitution."

The events include, among other things, the broadcasting of special programs on Palestinian TV with the aim of raising awareness on the right of return.
Question: Is it possible to create a peaceful state for a population that considers their neighbours' state to constitute "Nakba"? This alone is sufficient to reduce the RoachMap to a risible farce.

Second question: the vast majority of Israelis, and anyone outside of Israel with a view on the matter, understands that the so-called "right of return" is a code terms for the extermination of Israel. How can there be any peace negotiations with an entity like the PA, the TV of which incites "with the aim of raising awareness on the right of return"?

And if anyone doubts the intentions of some segments of the Left to see Israel utterly destroyed, note the passage, A number of Israeli left-wing groups are expected to participate in the events, which are held under the motto, "No Independence without Acceptance of Moral Responsibility and Recognition of the Debt[;] No Independence without a Just Solution of Return, Repatriation, and Restitution."

Palestinians face their blood debt

This editorial in The Arizona Republic cuts right to the essence of the problem with peace in the ME
Keep your eye on this picture .

It will tell you all you need to know about the Middle East peace process. For there can be no peace so long as this picture remains so.

If Yasser Arafat, longtime leader of the Palestinian people, and Mahmoud Abbas, new prime minister of the Palestinian Parliament, continue to be photographed beaming in the company of each other, peace is doomed.

For if Abbas is genuine, if he truly abhors terror and dedicates himself to eradicating it, he must fight Arafat.

There is no other way. The road map to Middle East peace goes first through war, a war of Palestinians, their civil war.

Arafat will ultimately side with the terrorists, because he is one.

For years he has charmed the camera with his avuncular smile and big, open arms. But he is a killer of untold men, women and children, a founding father of a Palestinian society that is known for two things, its nurtured sense of grievance and its fanatic embrace of murder.

Arafat's launch of the second Intifada was a crime so heinous that one should never believe he can reform. He has not. He will not.

For six months I have told some Palestinian-Americans I admire that there will be no Palestinian state until there is a Palestinian civil war. And they've told me I'm crazy.

But terrorism has rooted itself deeply in the territories. Those who murder to effect political change do not slip comfortably into the dialogue and diplomacy of state. When they are pushed, they will kill. So they must be crushed.

The Palestinians now face their blood debt. They have so nurtured the pathology of martyrdom in their own communities that they must spill their own blood to be rid of it.

That happens only when enough of them understand they have nothing at the moment to offer Israel. When you talk to Palestinians, they want to catalogue the crimes of the Israeli Defense Forces, tell you about the humiliation of roadblocks and the madness of Ariel Sharon.

But so long as they obsess over the Israelis and the land they inhabit, the status quo remains. And the status quo does not stop Israel from educating its children, developing new industries, enjoying the historic trend of rising wealth. The status quo for Palestinians is rot - one more generation of children who waste their minds and waste their lives.

Nothing changes until the Palestinians realize the contours of the mind are more important than the contours of the land. Then they will do the terrible work ahead of destroying their terrorists and bringing something to the table that is tangible and of consequence.

Real security. Real peace. The beginnings of a deal and the cornerstone of a state.

The Palestinians who do that will be the first to see their children prosper.
Israel and The New Anti-Semitism

There's a really fascinating article in Dissent by Shalom Lappin that traces the origins of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on the left. It's lengthy, but a worthwhile read. He's a key paragraph:
A large part of the contemporary European left has inherited the liberal and revolutionary antipathy toward a Jewish collectivity, with Israel becoming the focus of this attitude. While acculturated Jewish intellectuals and progressive Jewish activists are held in high esteem, a Jewish country is treated as an illegitimate entity not worthy of a people whose history should have taught them the folly of nationalism. The current intifada is regarded as decisively exposing the bankruptcy not so much of a policy of occupation and settlement, but of the very idea of a Jewish polity, which could not but do otherwise than commit such misdeeds. These underlying attitudes are clearly expressed in Perry Anderson's extended editorial article "Scurrying towards Bethlehem" (New Left Review, July-August, 2001). Anderson is at pains to show Zionism as a nationalist movement begotten in the sin of collaboration with European colonialism and sustained by continuing involvement with American imperialism. He envisages the de-Zionization of Israel as a necessary condition for a reasonable solution to the conflict. Interestingly, the fact that Arab nationalism and the various states that emerged from it were also deeply involved with European colonialist ventures plays no part in his story. Moreover, he does not regard Palestinian nationalism in particular and Arab nationalism in general as problematic phenomena. The former is understood solely as the engine of a progressive movement for national liberation. It seems, then, that the reasonable demands for graduation to a postnationalist politics and for a critique of historical myths apply exclusively to Israeli Jews. Palestinians and other Arab nationalists are exempt from these requirements as their national movements are inherently progressive, even if occasionally misguided in their formulations.
Read it all

The “What” and the “Why” of the Road Map

The end game is what counts, the rest is diversion

The “What”

The Map has the primateur of the Quartet, suggesting that the members of the quartet are in agreement, where no agreement exists. At best the Map is an acknowledgement of what each side wants for their client states without reconciling the contradictory wants.

It also suggests that it is a joint effort when it is not. The US is obviously in control and has acted all along, like it is their Map, although prepared in consultation with the others. The others don’t share this view but can’t do otherwise but go along. The US thus released the Map at a time of their choosing, presented it themselves and will be solely responsible to make it happen.

The Map imposes certain requirements on Israel without its consent and puts in play certain principles that the Arabs want to argue, to the detriment of Israel.


Take the issue of the refugees. The Israelis would prefer that it is not an issue. Putting it on the Map is in itself, a huge victory for the Arabs. To start with Res. 242 provides for “a just settlement of the refugee problem”. At the time of its passing the refugee problem included both Jewish and Arab refugees. This resolution was not binding. In the Oslo Accords, this resolution was accepted as a basis for negotiations. In Bush’s vision speech he said that we must resolve “the plight and future of Palestinian refugees”. This is a reformulation of Resolution 242 and omits reference to Jewish refugees and identifies the refugees as Palestinian as opposed to Arab.. One is left to wonder how this will colour negotiations.

The Map calls for a settlement in accordance with Bush’s June speech but goes further,
The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit – calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement.
The only thing that is missing is the kitchen sink. None of these additional guidelines give Israel anything. They are all there for the benefit of the Arab’s and greatly impact Israel’s position. The Saudi Peace Plan demands a fair solution for the Palestinian refugees. The Map also requires “an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue”

Israel is demanding that the Palestinians forego the right of return at the outset of the process, but the Palestinians will have none of it. First of all by referring to the “right of return” such right is given legitimacy where in reality, no right exists. That’s unfortunate. By just having the refugee issue on the table, it implies that Israel has a role and a responsibility to provide a solution. Why? Israel should be denying any such responsibility but its too late. So Israel is the loser by the Map because they are forced to be responsible for a solution to the refugee problem and Jewish refugees are omitted.


Next, the settlements. Res 242 made no mention of the settlements but did authorize Israel to remain in occupation until an agreement was reached. There is nothing in international law that prohibits the establishment of settlements. Oslo also does not prohibit settlements. Yet without Israel’s agreement, the Map has much to say about settlements. It requires Israel “freeze all settlement activity, including the "natural growth" of existing settlements.” and to “immediately dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001”. So not all issues are to be negotiated. The Arabs can still insist on the “right of return” but Israel can not insist that settlements are to continue until an agreement is reached. One more condition imposed on Israel without their consent. By what right?


Finally, the Palestinian state. Not even Oslo promised a state. Israel has never agreed to this before. This is one more issue that is decided and imposed before negotiations start. Not only is there to be a state, but also it must be “sovereign, independent, democratic and viable” and Israel is responsible to make it so. This rules out restrictions on the military activities of the new state.

In effect then Bush has forced four (including Jerusalem) major outcomes on Israel. Do not get overly concerned with sequence or parralellism. Do not take comfort in his pronouncements that all issues are to be negotiated. Focus on the fact that the key issues have been imposed. Only the details are left to negotiate.

The “Why”

The US has obviously decided to force a settlement of the conflict along the ’67 lines. This has always been their position. It is saying to Israel you can’t have more and it saying to the Arabs, that in exchange for the US pushing Israel that far, you have to make peace with it. Effectively it is endorsing the Saudi Peace Plan. There is very little left to negotiate. The big things have been decided and only the details are left to negotiate. The US will not let anything stand in its way on its quest to end the conflict. The guiding principle is what will bring peace to the ME. No historical fact, no rights, no law, no claim to justice and nothing else matters but achieving a peaceful ME. Both Israel and the Arabs are not permitted to fight for more.

Bush is even prepared to pursue the Roadmap while terror and incitement continue notwithstanding that the Roadmap says otherwise. Nothing will deter him. He is committed.. He accepts the fact that some Arabs will continue in their quest to defeat Israel. But this is the real world and many countries are subject to terror. What matters is that the other Arab countries make peace with Israel thereby settling a 100-year-old conflict with the exception of a little terror here and there.

They know that they have to fight terror and its supporters both in the territories and in Iran and Syria and are prepared to do so. Sooner or later, as needs be.

As for Sharon, “What must he be thinking?”

As for Arafat and certain Arab countries, they don’t want to accept Israel and so are resisting the Roadmap. As for the Congressmen and Senators, their famous letter is just demanding an end to terror first but they accept the two state solution. Only the Christian Coalition and the ZOA and Benny Alon and his supporters are against the two state solution.

Bush will no doubt focus on ending terror in the next two years rather than on forcing Israel to move while terror exists. This is so as to not hurt his political support. But he will continue to work toward the two state solution and the ’67 lines and a shared Jerusalem.

Abbas claims Palestinian road map advances

He may claim that but here is what Martin Kimel notes about that statement
CNN Bias Watch. Read this sentence from "Abbas claims Palestinian road map advances":

Final, permanent borders are to be in place by the end of 2005 after an international conference, which would settle long-standing disputes such as the status of Jerusalem -- where both sides want to have their capitals.

Maybe someone should tell CNN that Israel already has its capital in Jerusalem. This may some like a trivial point to some, but it's not. The failure to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel -- even if you want the Palestinians to be able to share Jerusalem -- is to delegitimize the Jewish state.
Joseph's Challenge

Below, Joseph chides us contributors for not looking enough at the opposition. So he introduces us to an article at the Israeli Policy Forum (IPF) website. Though he calls the article "thoughtful," I respectfully disagree. It is ripe for a fisking.

Before I start, though, it's necessary to remember that in 1997 IPF commissioned a poll that purported to show that American Jews favored "moderate" pressure being applied to Israel to make then-PM Netanyahu more flexible. At the time the issue was the Hebron Accord, for which Israel got American approval to determine unilaterally what would be an acceptable size of land to be turned over to the PA. Clinton (and Albright) betrayed that promise and sided with Arafat when he complained that the size of the land Netanyahu had decided to give was "insulting." The Washington Post and New York Times were, of course, all too happy to write articles on how a pro-Israel group was supporting pressure on Israel.

Remember at the time Arafat was still a "partner for peace." This begs the question: when did IPF change its view of Arafat? If they didn't see that Arafat was incapable of making peace in advance of July 2000, why should we accept their view that the change to Abu Mazen represents "nothing short of a minor earthquake" and that Mazen himself "represents at least a solid prospect for a credible negotiating partner."

True Abu Mazen is not Arafat and may not have the quantities of blood on his hands that Arafat does, but that doesn't mean that he is clean or even close to it. In America or Europe a Holocaust denier is considered beyond the pale politically. Only when it comes to Israel does a Holocaust denier - and one who earned his PhD denying the Holocaust - become a "moderate" or a "peace partner." It also doesn't mean that he is a "solid prospect"; just a better one than Arafat. Of course that's sort of like saying that the Baltimore Orioles have a better chance of winning the World Series than the Detroit Tigers do. But that doesn't mean that either has a credible chance of doing so.

Enough with the ad hominem stuff, let's get to the serious stuff...

IPF brings up three objections to the road map and dismisses them all.
Criticism One: The roadmap is lopsided in favor of the Palestinians.
IPF's rebuttal (in part)
It is ludicrous to claim this is lopsided in favor of the Palestinians when they have to do the vast majority of the initial work. Plus, as Bush has made clear, if the violence doesn’t stop, the process will never move forward. Withdrawals and concessions won’t be expected of Israel if the Palestinians don’t do their utmost to end terrorism. And if terrorism resumes in this performance-based program, the process stops. Unlike the Oslo process, there are built-in penalties for the absence of compliance. To quote the text, “Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress.”

My critique: Starting with the last first, IPF claims: "Unlike the Oslo process, there are built-in penalties for the absence of compliance. To quote the text, 'Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress.'” Did I miss something? What exactly is the penalty here? And what if, like Oslo, the Quartet deems the PA to be in compliance against Israeli claims? What then? Israel will be held as the non-complier.

Look at this past weekend when America called for Israel to give more freedom to the PA. Did the PA do anything to earn it? Sorry but I don't see how this is supposed to reassure me.

But the bigger problem is that the PA is asked to abide its ten year old commitments. In return Israel is asked to do things that were never part of a previous agreement. Most noticeably Israel is asked to withdraw from certain areas. "Settlement" building was never expressly prohibited by the Oslo Accords except in certain specific areas of Gaza. So in return for finally keeping a ten year old commitment, Israel is asked to do more than it committed to? That's why the agreement favors the PA.

In addition, Judge Abraham Sofaer, former legal adviser to the State Department, points out in Commentary (and as republished in OpinionJournal) the timetable in the Road Map is so accelerated that there will be pressure to certify the PA in compliance in order to get to the Israel obligations even if the the PA still hasn't met its commitments.
Criticism Two: The roadmap is an international, Quartet creation, one that deviates from the Bush vision of June 24, 2002.
IPF's rebuttal (in part)

Wrong. This document belongs to none other than George W. Bush. When opponents of the initiative warn that it doesn’t “stick to the Bush vision” it’s a monumental slight to a President that has assumed personal property of the roadmap. Through successive drafts of this document, the Bush administration insisted on improvements that provided additional security safeguards for Israel.

The proper degree of international participation is essential in this process. Arab pressure on the Palestinian Authority can only help them combat the terrorists within, and one failure of the Oslo Accords was that multi-lateral initiatives addressing regional issues between Arabs and Israelis were left on the backburner. The roadmap learns from this failure by making the neighboring Arabs part of the process.
My critique: This is classic misdirection. First of all while claiming that the Road Map is American and not European, IPF then argues that international participation is necessary. Second it doesn't address the problem that the Road Map contradicts the President's speech of last June. (The speech itself contained contradictory elements that are hard to resolve.)

Last June President Bush called for a PA that was free from terror. Yet as IPF noted, the President considers Abu Mazen "a mand dedicated to peace," despite his funding of the Munich Olympic massacre, his Holocaust denial and his recent statements condoning the killing of civilians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Mohammed Dahlan is even more implicated in terror. It's one thing to say that these guys aren't perfect but we have to deal with them; it's another to whitewash their records and change them into latter day Gandhis.
Criticism Three: The roadmap is a prize for terror, and doesn’t punish Arafat enough.
IPF's rebuttal:
There is no prize for terror in a process that goes nowhere without an end to violence. Arafat has been punished rather than rewarded by the international community's shoving a prime minister down his throat, the greatest political defeat he has ever suffered. Involving an Abu Mazen-led government in the roadmap process will show Palestinians that a pragmatic, non-violent strategy that recognizes Israel’s grievances is beneficial, while Arafat’s terror-oriented strategy leads them nowhere.

The promotion of Abu Mazen is only the first step out the door for Arafat, a move that 50% of Palestinians see as “an erosion in Arafat's status and authority,” according to PSR.
It's true that Abu Mazen's appointment as Prime Minister represents “an erosion in Arafat's status and authority,” but is it significant. Robert Satloff doesn't think so. After agreeing with Abu Mazen on Abu Mazen's role, there were pictures of Arafat smiling. If Arafat's happy, that suggests that he feels that he's pulled another one over on the purposely naive international community.
Finally, the IPF offers one last general critique:
Critics that focus on the details of the roadmap are wrongheaded because they treat the roadmap as if it were a final peace treaty. The roadmap is just what its title says – a guide. It is not an imposed solution, but rather a framework for returning the parties to the negotiating table through the cessation of violence.
This is not entirely true. When the roadmap calls for an eventual end to "settlements" this is problematic. It is in fact anticipating an end to the process. The PA, at the very least, believes that settlements include Maale Adumim, French Hill, Gush Etzion and Gilo. I don't believe that most Israelis believe this to be the case. During the Oslo years the PA has justified violence against Israeli civilians by claiming that the existence of settlements is a form of violence or a violation of Oslo. As long as there was no clause - and to my knowledge there is none - that specifies that Israel need not return fully to its 1967 "Auschwitz" borders, this too is a recipe for disaster.
And if the IPF thinks that only right wingers it can dismiss question the Road Map, it should read what former Oslophile, Barry Rubin, writes about it.