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

June 07, 2003

Better (26 years) late than never

JPost reports today, June 7, 2003:

The Israel Project produces new pro-Israel ads for US market

Starting this week, The Israel Project will begin running 30 second TV spots in the Washington D.C. area that will feature Israeli mothers calling for an end to terror so that both Israelis and Palestinian can live in peace.
Since its inception, IsraPundit has been calling for Israel's PR to wake up, and I am delighted to see that at long last something IS happening on the PR front. We don't have a sample of "experimental Israels" and "control Israels", so it's difficult to prove that had The Israel Project started in 1967, then Israel's image would not have been tarnished to the point of making it all to easy for Israel's enemies to gang up on her, as the EU is doing. Nonetheless, even without a clinical trial setup, this is indeed my firm belief, and just as I lament that Israel ignored the PR front for 26 years, so do I welcome the change that seems to be taking place.

In this connection, I once again reiterate the need for a co-ordinating hand to render more efficient the efforts of score bloggers (e.g., IsraPundit, LGF), scores of non-blogger sites (e.g., ZOA, Hasbarah), scores of organizations (e.g., ADL, Christian Friends of Israel) and scores of individuals (e.g., Tom DeLay, J Kirkpatrick). Pro-Israel advocacy efforts are spread too thinly and redundancy abounds.

P.S. I would ask readers who watch US TV to report on the Israel Project ads when they see them, so that those of us who do not watch US TV may hear eye witness impressions (IsraPundit's visitors include readers from several countries outside of the US). Articles, comments and e-mails are welcome.

Root Causes need help to grow

Does anyone ask "why does the KKK hate the blacks?"

Hatred, racism etc... are all taught, that is their root.

This the same with Islamicism.

The root is being taught.

Their cause is murder.

The root cause of terrorism is being taught to murder and its ensuing success.

Giving rewards for murder proves to the terrorists murder does pay, they are winning, they are right, and that they are justified to murder.

Teaching murder cannot be solved with rewards, the war on terror is not Northern Ireland.

The hatred being sown is far deeper and apolitical which no process can ever solve until this islamists theocracy is not being taught.

In Europe and especially Germany you cannot teach nazism.

When one cannot teach islamism we will be one step closer to peace.

Tolerating bad behaviour is not good behaviour ;so too tolerating intolerance is not tolerance.

Dahlan denies report of PA program to buy illegal weapons

[...]The Palestinian Authority ministry of interior is preparing to receive European and U.S. police equipment to rebuild a strong Palestinian police force, interior sources said Thursday.

The sources said that the aim of receiving such police equipment is to rehabilitate the different Palestinian security apparatuses for implementation of the security requirements in the so-called roadmap peace plan.

The equipment is to include jeeps and special vehicles to disperse riots, shields, light pistols and helmets, adding that the equipment is waiting at Israeli passages to be allowed into the Palestinian territories.

An intensive movement of police forces was seen in the streets of several Gaza Strip areas still under the control of Palestinian Authority security forces, where joint patrols of different security agencies were seen moving around in Gaza.

Palestinian security sources said that several security apparatuses recently began intensive training course to suppress violence, adding that training courses were given to qualified and professional police officers.

Well-informed security sources said that there are preparations to build up a new Central Security Force, adding that officers in the force are being prepared to handle riots or civil disturbances.

The sources said that the force would have special uniforms and special weapons and equipment from both Europe and the United States.
The same deception, the same delusion
By Israel Harel

The following is an absolutly amazing analysis by a veteran commentator for Ha'aretz. Wait to reach the end to savor the fact that such a analysis appears in Israel's equivalent of the NYT. The link to this piece appeared in a posting by Ted of post-Akaba comments. It is here posted in full because of the condensed significance of practically each and every one of its words, in the context of the publication in which they are "embedded". (All emphases are added):

"Even someone who hangs his hopes on the road map and the outcome of the Aqaba summit must admit that American President George W. Bush has given us an original and unique set of laws on the eve of our Festival of the Giving of the Torah - our book of laws. All the terrorists in the world can now look and learn how he who has sworn to fight terror is handing Palestinian terror its greatest achievement - a Palestinian state, the prize and reward for murdering many hundreds of Jews.

Furthermore, while Israel is finally attacking and the terrorists are busy mainly fleeing for their lives, the leader of the superpower that declared a merciless war against terror comes along and creates a political and psychological situation that will force Israel to stop its offensive before it is completed and will allow those murderers to reorganize anew.

"We must fight terror until it is destroyed," said Bush a short time ago. "We must not allow even the slightest of achievements." It turns out that there is his kind of terror - terror against the United States, which indeed must not be granted any achievements, and another kind of terror - terror against Jews, to which the Bush doctrine does not apply.

The American president wants a Palestinian state free of terror. But why should the Palestinians want this too? After all, they are forever grateful to the terrorists for their murderousness, which gained them a state. They will conclude that terror must be nurtured, certainly not suppressed, in order to accelerate the process of the establishment of a Palestinian state and a whip against Israel in preparation for further rounds of aggression.

Were it not for the distress of the Israeli leadership, and perhaps of the general public, the Americans would not have succeeded, perhaps would not even have tried, to impose the road map. After all, more than once Israel has repulsed American pressures, and quite successfully at that. But instead of the current Likud government learning from the late Menachem Begin, who rejected the Reagan plan in his time, this government is instead drawing inspiration from the early Oslo days.

Many of the things that are being said now about the "political process" are reminiscent of what was said and written by the architects and journalists of Oslo. It seems that nothing has been learned, including the "gestures." Even after what we have undergone in the past 31 months, the first gesture is the release of convicted prisoners with blood on their hands. As if nothing had happened, the same deception and the same delusion.

There is one significant difference: Oslo, at least initially, came after a period of calm. It was permissible to believe - despite the warnings of Ariel Sharon and a handful of incorrigible pessimists - that the Messiah was approaching. But to return, after close to 1,000 murder victims, to the same pattern of behavior, is pathological.

In any event, the speeches in Sharm and Aqaba will not result in peace. And not only because the warnings about attacks did not slacken and the incitement against Israel and the Jewish people continues, both in the Palestinian Authority and in the Arab countries. There will be no peace because even if Bush succeeds in forcing an agreement, the territory cannot support the two nations. The more residents there are - and the natural increase on the Arab side is greater than anywhere else in the world - the struggle between the Jews and Arabs over the same land will intensify, and not just the ideological dispute as to whom the land belongs. Even Bush's other vision, that there be no more periodic intifadas, will shatter on the rocks of the impossible reality.

Lasting peace, according to the terminology of the road map, will come only when the bull is grabbed by the horns; if a solution can be found to the main, although not the only, cause for the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews: the amount of land under the feet of both nations. The solution of two states for two nations on 26,000 square kilometers (10,400 square miles) - with just 5,500 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) for the Palestinians, if we withdraw to the June 4, 1967 lines - is ridiculous.

Only a generous land grant that would provide for the demographic increase of the Palestinians over time could, perhaps, alleviate the driving force behind a constant war. Such a grant could come only from the Arab states that participated in the Sharm meeting and which are rich in this resource: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Without such a grant, no political arrangement will last."

(Does leave one breathless, does not it?).

Behind the hype and the headlines

Hakol B'seder ( everything is OK)

Extracts from Haaretz Correspondent, Aluf Benn's report

U.S. President George Bush's determination to throw his weight and prestige behind finding a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Intheir earlier meetings, Bush also spoke of his striving for a solution for the Middle East, but his words were bare.

Sharon came away with the impression that American relations toward Israel remain unchanged. Bush's support of Israel is fundamental and runs deep, and his personal relations with Sharon were maintained as they have been. The prime minister wanted to hear from the president that his commitment to Israel is not dependent on progress in the peace process, and he came away from their meeting satisfied. Already a few weeks ago an understanding was reached between Jerusalem and Washington according to which if the process fails they won't come to Israel with demands.

Sharon asked to make certain that the president is sticking to the diplomatic plan (that's what I have been saying) that they agreed upon last year, according to the Bush speech from June 24, 2002: elimination of terror, reform of the Palestinian Authority, and progress toward a political solution in stages, for which moving from one state to the next depends on their implementation, and not according to a time line.

Sharon told Bush that he wants to continue the process and to try to reach a diplomatic settlement with the Palestinians, but that it all depends on them waging a real war on terror. No "hudna" and no announcements and declarations, but real steps on the ground. Over and over Sharon repeated the importance of the war against terror, until Bush responded that it was unnecessary to raise the matter in all of their meetings, as this was also the position of the Americans.

In their meeting Bush wanted to hear from Sharon how to move from the current state of affairs to the creation of a Palestinian state with interim borders. The prime minister spoke of the importance that the Palestinian state be completely demilitarized, and promised that he would consider territorial contiguity for it.

He was careful about speaking about evacuating settlements, and left the matter vague, with his promise to find solutions to ease conditions for the Palestinians and free them from having to stand at checkpoints between their cities. Roads could be paved, for example.

His speech, which was written with close guidance from the White House, was different from his past declarations. This time he lessened the demands from the other side and showed readiness for Israeli steps. The only concrete commitment that he gave was to immediately evacuate "unauthorized" outposts - a new term inserted by Foreign Ministry attorneys in place "illegal outposts" that preceded it. Their evacuation is not dependent upon Palestinian steps, but all other progress will first depend upon Palestinian action against terror.

The issue of the outposts weighed as a heavy cloud over Sharon's relations with the U.S. administration, which suspected him of being unreliable because of his 2001 commitment not to establish new settlements. The visit by White House envoys Steve Hadley and Elliot Abrams at the end of April was intended as an opportunity for them to see the settlements up close, not just as slogans and subjects of political plans. They saw large cities, with a university and industrial zones, and understand that the settlements can't just be uprooted like that.

Sharon proposed dividing the outposts according to three types: outposts having great security importance; settlements established only in order to provoke and test the government; and outposts with less security importance, which have no need if there is quiet. This formula was accepted by the administration, which in the meantime is satisfied by the promise of immediate evacuation of some outposts, and not to burden Sharon with demands to freeze construction or evacuate older settlements.

Hamas Stops Talks on Halting Attacks on Israelis

There are many media reports of this key dismissal of peace talks by Hamas. I cite here what I consider a key statement
[...]"Let Abu Mazen use whatever force he wishes against the Palestinian people, the Palestinian people will never cede an inch of their land," Rantissi said.

Ziad Abu Amr, the Palestinian cabinet minister commissioned by Abbas to liase [be liaison] with various factions, said the government had made a commitment "not to resort to force in running internal Palestinian affairs."

The afterglow of the summit had already faded on Thursday, when Palestinian President Yasser Arafat publicly questioned whether anything had been achieved and hard-liners on both sides vowed to oppose the road map[more]
UN seeks $103 million US for Palestinians, says aid is crucial to peace talks

Helping their favorites through the back door? Why not make money and aid contingent upon stopping terrorism? Was there not a siphoning off of earlier monies to support terror activities, something UNRAW refused to investigate?
GENEVA (AP) - The "road map" for peace in the Middle East will only be successful if governments back it with aid for suffering Palestinians, the head of the UN relief agency in the region said Friday.
"If the international community wishes to encourage peace in the region it must continue working to ease the plight of the Palestinians," said Peter Hansen, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency, the body responsible for helping Palestinian refugees. Launching an appeal for $103 million US for emergency programs in Gaza and the West Bank during the second half of 2003, Hansen told reporters the aid was crucial to Palestinian confidence in the peace process.

"This population has suffered for more than 50 years as refugees, more than three years under the current crisis, and undoubtedly as negotiations go forward it will be called on to make more sacrifices," he said. [...]

Hansen said the agency supports all efforts for peace in the region but cautioned that the population will continue to need help for a long time.

"Even if peace should break out tomorrow, we can look forward to an unfortunately long period of great needs on the part of the Palestinian population. We are still talking about a humanitarian crisis that shows very few signs of abating. If anything matters have gone from bad to worse."

As well as its emergency program, UNRWA provides long-term education, health and social services to more than four million Palestinian refugees spread across the region. The programs cost around $400 million US annually.

Maher denies Israeli news on return of Egyptian

The Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Maher has deliberately denied that Sharm Esh Sheikh meetings which were held two days ago tackled the issue of the return of the Egyptian ambassador to Israel.

He stressed that what was issued to that effect "was baseless." Maher's statements came in comments of news stated by the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot in a report published in its yesterday ( Thursday) issue that "Egypt and Jordan are discussing in secret for two ambassadors to be sent to Israel," according to what was stated in the paper's report.

Maher described Sharm Esh Sheikh and al-Aqaba summits as reflecting American, Arab and Palestinian seriousness in dealing with the peace issue, stressing Egypt's support for the Palestinian people in order to build their state, supporting them to implement their obligations. Maher denied margining Yasser Arafat's role, noting that the Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas is always careful to assure Arafat's position and role in his capacity as a chairman for the Palestinian authority.

Egypt had withdrawn Muhammad Basyouni, its last ambassador accredited to Israel, almost 30 months ago, following the Israeli bombardment of the offices of the chairman of the Palestinian authority Yasser Arafat. Amman took a similar decision of withdrawing its ambassador for the same reasons on which Cairo had based then.

The former Egyptian ambassador occupies currently the post of the deputy chairman of the foreign relations committee at the Egyptian parliament, while the former Jordanian ambassador Omar al-Refai, occupies the post of Jordan's ambassador to Italy.

However, relations between Egypt and Israel are classified according to observers as having a "cold peace," despite signing a peace treaty between the two countries and this is because of the absence of a great progress in the negotiations between Israel and its neighbors. Nevertheless relations between the two sides have become intensified since the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada
Israel's debts put heat on Sharon

We too often ignore the eonomics when we ask Sharon and Israel to stand up against Bush demands.
THE chances of progress in the Middle East are cast so easily in terms of personalities it is easy to forget the overshadowing disaster of Israel's economy – and the fact this threat is now itself a force for peace.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon admitted as much recently, saying in remarks that caused shock on several fronts: "The occupation . . . is bad for the Israeli economy."
His choice of the word occupation dominated the analysis of his comments. But the pointed reference to the economy, from a man so identified with Israel's security and politics, also made waves.

Israel has been in recession for nearly three straight years since the start of the Palestinian intifada, and its economic prospects are bleak on every front. Since September 2000, according to government figures, its gross domestic product has fallen by 3 per cent overall, and by 7 per cent per head of population.

In these conditions, the US is well aware of the extra value of its economic aid to Israel. In April, Congress gave an extra $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) grant for military assistance and $US9 billion in loan guarantees, on top of the normal $US2.7 billion in annual aid...The US reportedly made some of the guarantees – which Israel needs to repay government bonds and support the budget deficit – conditional on economic reforms.

Washington has also indicated it would take a dim view of Israel's continued large subsidies to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. [...]It would be easy to overstate the role US economic leverage has had in bringing about the shift in Sharon's position. But has clearly played some part.

More significant is the recognition by Sharon, shown in his comment on occupation and in Netanyahu's budget, that the conflict with the Palestinians could squander Israel's economic success, and preventing this is an urgent need

Cardinal Keeler says church committed to its friendship with Jews

Jews and Catholics after John Paul II?

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (CNS) -- Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore told an interreligious group of seminarians that the commitment of the Catholic Church to friendship with Jews would continue regardless of who the next popes may be.
Pope John Paul II has taken notable steps to advance relations, but the new approach of the church is now firmly embedded in its teaching and does not depend on which individual may later be chosen for the papacy, the cardinal said.

The church's teaching on Catholic-Jewish relations is now set forth "at all levels," he said, and has the affirmation of the Second Vatican Council's 1965 declaration "Nostra Aetate," which repudiated all forms of anti-Semitism and called on Catholics to build mutual respect and understanding with Jews.[...]
.In the presentation, the seminarians got a view of important events in Catholic-Jewish relations, over the past two decades particularly, from someone who has played a key role at national and international levels.
Cardinal Keeler told how he as former chairman of the bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs had worked with top Jewish leaders and Catholics such as the late Cardinal John J. O'Connor of New York and the former president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands.
Their ability to work cooperatively with mutual respect, Cardinal Keeler said, enabled them to defuse controversies such as one in 1987 over the pope giving an audience to Kurt Waldheim, then the president of Austria, who was accused of participating in Nazi crimes.[...]

After Israel and the Palestinians entered into the Oslo peace process, the Vatican saw ways those concerns could be addressed, he said.
But, he said, he pointed out that Jewish organizations had been among the strongest opponents of the Vatican having diplomatic relations with the United States.

...Although not every individual Catholic expresses the church's outlook perfectly, the message of "Nostra Aetate" has set the church's official direction, and this is what is taught to future priests in Catholic seminaries, he said.
Cardinal Keeler said that during a recent appearance at a synagogue he talked about "Nostra Aetate," and found its message was "new to the rabbi." So there is still a need to tell people about it, he added.

The cardinal said in response to another question, however, that the theological implications of the "Nostra Aetate" statements about Jews have not been fully worked out.The relationship of the church to the Jews "transcends our understanding, but we're now trying to explicate it," he said.
But Catholics do not make Jews special targets for conversion in the way some other Christian groups do, he noted.
Cardinal Keeler also asked that Jewish congregations be told about the Catholic Church's commitment to religious freedom.

June 06, 2003

Reflection on the Bali mass murder in the name of Islam.

[...[While Adolf Eichmann's defense was that he merely followed orders, that of the Bali bombers is that they responded to wrong inflicted on the Muslim world, otherwise known as the ummah.

Although the litany of wrongs is extensive, ranging from the Kashmir conflict to the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire, the Bali bombers were driven not so much by their ideological and religious bondage as by their inability to think even within the context of their own religion.

Islam affirms, for example, that the murder of a single person is akin to the slaughter of all humanity. Yet the Bali bombers, in their haste to indict, did not take this demand into proper consideration. Islam also affirms that mankind was created in different nations and groups so that all can know one another. The Bali bombers ignored this injunction as well.

It would be a tragedy if other Muslims, or for that matter non-Muslims, also believe that this sharia equates religious dogma and violence, for this is clearly not the case. If anything, the Bali bombers, not unlike Eichmann, have proved one thing: An empty mind is literally the devil's playground. In this context, all were guilty of sins of thoughtlessness.

Read this surprising piece in Asia Times. All may not be lost yet, perhaps.

Analysis: Jews flooding into Germany

Any number of things come to mind for some sort of wiseguy remark. I will refrain and let you digest. The writer even notes that there are certain ironies in this Return
WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- The turbulent relationship between Jews and Germany is taking yet another stunning turn. Seventy years after Hitler's ascendance to power and 60 years after the Holocaust, more Jews are flooding into Germany than into any other country, Israel included.

This makes Germany the one nation with the fastest-growing Jewish community in the world. Ironically, one reason for this state of affairs is the anti-Semitism in their countries of origin, chiefly successor states of the former Soviet Union, Julius H. Schoeps, head of the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies in Potsdam, told United Press International Thursday.

"Of course there are other reasons as well, such as economic considerations and the chance to give their children a better education," Schoeps allowed. "Moreover, they see Germany as a 'safe country.'"

As a result of this accelerating migration, the Jewish population in Germany has swollen from 33,000 in 1990, the year of that nation's reunification, to 200,000 today, according to Schoeps. Before World War II more than half a million Jews lived in that country. At the end of the war there were only 15,000 left.
Feit interpreted the Jews' return to Germany as "a fulfillment of a biblical spiritual theme -- the rebirth and rejuvenation for which there are many examples in history, where Jewish people in one part of the world or another have seemed to have been eclipsed only to reappear against all odds and common expectations."

Feit added, "The biblical paradigm for this rebirth was the return of the Jews to Israel" from the Babylonian captivity in 516 B.C.
Let the Civil War Begin!

Hamas Halts Truce Talks With Abbas

Because Hamas militants (terrorists) would not surrender but instead fought and got killed, Hamas has now called off any ceasefire. How will the PA deal with this?
Top Hamas leaders said today that the militant Islamic group was calling off cease-fire talks with Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, a move that poses a direct challenge to the current Middle East peace plan.

The statements by the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip came a day after Israeli troops killed two Hamas members in a shootout in the West Bank.

It also followed criticism by Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, of Mideast peace talks between Mr. Abbas and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel convened in Aqaba, Jordan, on Wednesday by President Bush.

Under the peace plan, known as the road map, the Palestinians are obligated to stop violence against Israel, and Mr. Abbas has been trying to negotiate a truce with Hamas and other groups responsible for bombing and shooting attacks.

Further talks were expected this weekend, but Hamas said it was calling off the negotiations with Mr. Abbas after Wednesday's summit meeting in Jordan.

At the Aqaba talks, Mr. Abbas, commonly known as Abu Mazen, called for an end to the ``armed intifada,'' or uprising.

Hamas leaders said they rejected this as a ``surrender'' to Israel, and they also cited the Israeli military operation against Hamas members on Thursday night in the West Bank village of Attil. The Israeli Army said it killed two militants and arrested a third when they refused to surrender.[more]
"Mike's Place Toronto" Final Details - This Coming Monday - Spread the Word!!!

A Benefit Concert for Avi Taviv & the victims of the Mike's Place bombings

"Through his bravery, we mourn 3 and not 30....."

Monday June 9, 2003 @ 8:00 p.m

Toronto's Premier Blues Club

486 Spadina Ave., just north of College St.


"The Virgins"
"Lizard and the Snakes"
"The Mike's Place Jammers"
"10 Year Drought"

$15 at the door

On April 30, 2003 there was a homicide bombing at Mike's Place, a popular Tel Aviv blues bar, killing three and wounding over fifty. Mike's Place is an establishment that is very dear to many Canadians who have spent time in Israel. Upon hearing the news and picturing the crowded bar, many of us were surprised to hear that the death toll was 3 and not 30. The carnage would have been much greater if not for the heroic actions of Avi Taviv, the security guard whose brave and selfless actions prevented the terrorists from penetrating further inside.

Avi, miraculously survived the attack, and is currently making a speedy recovery in a Tel Aviv hospital. We would like to send him a message to express our gratitude and indebtedness for saving our friends, family and loved ones from harm.

About Mike's Place
Mike's Place started in Jerusalem where it was the bar of choice amongst a generation of North American kids spending their junior year abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mike's was one of the only bars to have survived the horrible blow that the Jerusalem (and Israeli) hospitality industry has encountered since the intifada started. Their decision to expand to a second Tel Aviv location on the beach at a time when there were almost no new bar openings defied conventional wisdom, but was a natural one, as many of us find ourselves spending time in Tel Aviv.

We hope that you will come out and show your support for Israel and for a true hero whose bravery has touched our community. This event will send the message that we will not let Israel's enemies take away our little slice of heaven on earth.

Good friends, tasty beverages and great live music by talented local musicians in the Mike's Place spirit

Proceeds from the evening will help with Avi's medical expenses, school tuition and the recovery of other victims of the attack.

For further information or donations contact:

VDH for wars, NF for empires

"We may now be witnessing the most radical reshaping of the MiddleEast since it acquired its modern form(and many of its modern problems) in the wake of World War I. What the British Empire began, the American Empire may be about to finish."

So begins Niall Ferguson's THE 'E' WORD in today's WSJ opinion section. NF seems to become to history of empires (and what can be learned from it for the present moment) what VDH is for the history of wars and its lessons for today.

The WSJ piece, though short, is a comprehensive contextualisation of the "roadmap"+. If you are possesed by the map, you would not want to go on before reading it.

(This piece is basically a condensation of a more extensive one which appeared in the NYT Magazine on Apr 27).

Post Aqaba; the verdict is in. Or is it?

Some columnists have pronounced the "peace process", DOA, dead on arrival.

Bottom line for Israel Harel in his article The same deception, the same delusion is "There will be no peace because even if Bush succeeds in forcing an agreement, the territory cannot support the two nations."

The Road Map to Hell in the Middle East by Robert W. Tracinski concludes with "This is the only road to peace: to abandon diplomacy and destroy the terrorists."

Others like Charles Krauthammer in "The unilateral surrender of Israel continues" concludes "Bush, having taken his friend Sharon to the cleaners, needs now to make sure that Abbas keeps his word.".

Mona Charen describes the reality on the ground in "Caution: Reality ahead" concludes, "No roadmap can erase that landscape".

Yet Neil Lochery presents the most interesting viewpoint in How a Mideast deal might take shape argues otherwise. I tend to agree with him.

In my piece, Could it be, I argued "[...] that Bush shouldn't be counted out just yet. I have come to the conclusion that there is a Grand Plan afoot that Bush and Sharon agreed to during Sharon's seven trips to the White House last year. That is why Sharon is going along with the demands of the US."

I then finished the argument in What, me worry?

Bottom line for me is that Bush wouldn't be trying if he wasn't sure he would succeed and Sharon wouldn't be so cooperative if he wasn't sure where he was going.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) distorts

On June 5, 2003, CBC's Anna Marie Tremonti broadcast a piece that included the well-known distortion of Paul Wolfowitz's text. I received a copy of the following letter, which was sent to the CBC.
June 5, 2003

Dear Ms. Tremonti,

The statement you attributed to Paul Wolfowitz, that the war in Iraq was all about oil, has been all over the internet, as misconstruing what he in fact did say during an interview.

Perhaps your misinformation about his remark came from The Guardian or Independent, both of which published this slander. Both these sources took a statement made by Wolfowitz and joined phrases out of context. You certainly did not go to the source.

Wolfowitz made his comment during a Q&A at the IISS Asian Security Conference: "The difference between North Korea and Iraq is that the United States could not use economic pressure to strangle Hussein's regime because the country floats on a sea of oil'. North Korea, by comparison, is near economic collapse and that offers a major point of leverage".

I accidentally heard your program this AM, as I was a captive audience in someone's automobile. Your unprofessional standards (in this case relying on secondary sources which have in themselves a built in agenda) and blatant biases are only two reasons I have ceased listening to CBC.

Roslyn Molinoff

The unilateral surrender of Israel continues

Charles Krauthammer

Let's be plain about what happened at Sharm el-Sheik. The president of the United States put his prestige on the line for the sake of Arab-Israeli peace and the Arab states gave him nothing. They refused to endorse Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. They spoke of their opposition to ``terrorism,'' even as they repeatedly present their own publics with the most elaborate intellectual and religious justifications of why the killing of Jews in ``Palestine'' is ``resistance'' and not terrorism.

They did not take a single concrete action, not even a gesture, toward Israel. Egypt did not offer to return its ambassador to Israel. The Saudis threatened a boycott if Israel was even invited. And most important, the Arab states refused what Bush most desperately wanted: explicit endorsement of the American view that Yasser Arafat's time had come and passed.

[...] Then on to the second summit at Aqaba. Here, Bush managed to extract enormous concessions from Israel. Ariel Sharon's speech was revolutionary. He explicitly recognized the legitimacy of a Palestinian state. He further recognized that the state would need to be ``contiguous,'' which instantly conceded to the Palestinians the overwhelming majority of the territories in the West Bank and Gaza. And even more painful for Sharon was his statement, largely overlooked, that ``no unilateral actions by any party can prejudge the outcome of our negotiations.'' ``Unilateral actions'' is Middle East-speak for settlements, which means that in drawing the final border between Israel and Palestine, Jewish settlements would be of no account.

This is a serious moving of the goalposts. What did Bush get out of Abbas? Did Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state? No. He refused to give up the Palestinian principle of ``return,'' which means eradicating Israel by flooding it with millions of Palestinian refugees (the overwhelming majority of whom, by the way, have never lived in Israel). [...]

What did Abbas offer? An end to terrorism. Fine. But until the lip service is carried out, this is nothing but a restatement of the famous letter from Arafat to Rabin--September 1993--in which he pledged that ``the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.''

Abbas pledged there will be no more incitement of hatred against Israel-- another repetition of another Oslo pledge. The Palestinians then spent the next decade poisoning their children with the worst anti-Semitic propaganda since the Third Reich. More
Muslims lament Israel's existence

PARIS If the American threat of preemptive military action against Iraq inflamed the Muslim world over the winter, the war itself fanned the flames, with a sharp new rise in hostility toward the United States, the latest Pew survey has found.

Animosity is so high that solid majorities in five populations surveyed expressed confidence in Osama bin Laden to "do the right thing" in world affairs.

And, at a time when the Israeli government has accepted the right of Palestinians to statehood, most Muslim populations surveyed believe by wide margins that the needs of Palestinians cannot be met so long as the state of Israel exists.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, surveyed more than 15,000 people in May. Muslim populations included were Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey.[more]
Actions speak louder than words

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) has sent subscribers an e-mail on the topic, SWC Trains Senior French Police Delegation at Museum of Tolerance. The piece is also available on the web at the SWC web site.

With growing anti-Semitism in France, training of police personnel, as described in the article, is of particular significance. The SWC should be commended for launching this initiative.

The SWC site also enables visitors to subscribe to the SWC e-mail list.

The Institution called "Madrassah"

An examination of Madrassah education and how it differs from an American Islamic education
The Institution called "Madrassah" has drawn attention worldwide in recent days. Specifically, after the capture of power in Afghanistan by the Madrassah graduates and teachers, the western media focused more on "Madrassahs" throughout the world. Some of the programs I watched in television on the Madrassah education in Pakistan and Afghanistan appeared to me very credible. The teachings were fully based on the primitive scriptures originated in Mecca and Medina about fourteen hundred years ago. In those programs, a few of the Madrassah teachers and students were interviewed. They were asked about their academic subjects and views about the non-Muslims based on their learning from the primitive books. The answers to the questions were mostly hateful. For example, they think that the non-Muslims must be converted to Muslims by applying force, if necessary. They also think that the whole world should be under Sharia law. The implication of Sharia Laws in a society is barbaric to say the least. The abhorring rules of stoning to death, forcing women to wear burqah/veil (mobile prison), killing opponents (calling them by such name as Murtads), etc., are but a few of the barbaric rules of Sharia. All these Sharia Laws based on Quran and Hadiths are the areas of focus in Madrassah education. They read, memorize, and believe in the myths of Quran. Arabic language is taught for them to understand the essence of both Quran and Hadiths.
One may investigate the Madrassah education now and will find that this education system has not been improved/changed/modified at all. While I went to Bangladesh in 1997, I happened to have some conversation with a Madrassah student. I asked him about the subjects they were taught. As expected and anticipated by me, he said that the subjects were only Quran and Hadiths. These are taught in different years of their Madrassah education. Different types of Tafsirs (interpretation) of Quran and different chapters of Hadiths are taught during their stay in Madrassah. They are not taught about subjects such as economics, science, etc. They don't know about modern economics, cost -benefit analysis, internal rate of return, etc. based on interest. According to their views derived from Sharia, these are haram (forbidden). In fact, the subject "Economics" will be totally considered Haram by some of the fanatic Madrassah-educationists.

Considering all the deficiencies in Madrassah education, it's really alarming to know that the present Bangladesh government has decided to allow Madrassah graduates to join the civil service.

One should not mix up American Islamic schools with Madrassahs. In American Islamic schools, the students are taught science, mathematics, social studies, and literature. These students have to go through state and national examinations if they want to go to better colleges and universities. The curriculum in the Islamic schools in USA is not based on Hadith and Qur'an. The criminal nature of the modern-day Madrassah students will be exposed once any government decides to reform. I strongly believe that the graduates of Madrassahs learning only Qur'an and Hadiths should not be included in the Bangladesh Civil Service. This is an ill-conceived idea, which should be opposed by all decent Bangladeshi folks [more]
The Community of the Disobedient

Susan Sontag thinks Rachel Corrie was a hero, says Steven Zak in Frontpage. Sontag's "approval" of Corrie " the martyr" appeared in The Nation. Sontag has of course had a long career of being an amazingly gifted writer and critic, but as usual she identifies with any nation or group or person she assumes to be an "underdog."
Sontag's ultimate metaphor of moral principle, then, is to try to stop the train -- irrespective of whether its purpose is virtuous. "You don't do it just to be in the right," she admits without flinching. "You resist as an act of solidarity. With communities of the principled and disobedient."

Disobedience, then, is itself the principle.

No wonder, then, that Sontag apotheosizes Corrie and exalts the cause of the terrorists she served.
Terrorists like Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Mohammed Hanif who, under the cover of Corrie's ISM, slipped into Israel from Gaza on April 30 and went to a Tel Aviv beachfront pub strapped with bombs that might have come through Corrie's tunnels. There they murdered three people and maimed 55, all innocents who were merely enjoying drinks and human company -- life-affirming acts that required negation.

Days earlier Sharif and Hanif had met with members of ISM for conversation and tea, a shared moment in the community of the disobedient.
I [fred lapides, posting here] find Sontag's generalizations to be fairly typical of ideologues and intellectuals who prefer abstract principles to specifics of a given situation. Here, for example, is Sontag speaking at the Vassar commencement: "Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. ... Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. It's all about taking in as much of what's out there as you can, and not letting the excuses and the dreariness of some of the obligations you'll soon be incurring narrow your lives. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager."

yes: helping killers.
Why I love the road map -- really!

Don't be dismissive of this Jewsweek article by Richard L. Benkinbecause of its title. He makes a good point
Why, then, do I love the road map? Because the events of 2000 failed to make clear to the world what they made clear to us. So many in the press, on campus, in the streets still seem to think that something they call "the occupation" is at the root of the conflict. With the road map, the United States will be investing itself and its prestige in the belief that a negotiated peace is possible right now. And it is the U.S. that will be spat upon by the Arab rejectionists who refuse to live up to their commitments. In its ultimate failure, the road map could prove to be the same pivotal element for the U.S. that Camp David and Taba were for Israel and its friends. (We can hardly hope for the same understanding from the UN and EU!)

Peace? Certainly, that is our hope - but a true peace, not a hudna, or a temporary Arab agreement until they feel they are strong enough to pursue their true agenda. That would be a false peace. At this point, the trap of hudna seems to be all the road map holds.

As soldiers for justice, we can do our part by pointing out Arab duplicity - and Israeli efforts. We must point out the false moral equivalency in the press and in the State Department. We must guard against the falsehoods and red herrings we know that the Arabs and their friends will spew regularly to hide their duplicity from the American people. And we must never let the press fail to show the people the anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian actions on the Arab side - things a real "partner in peace" would never do.

I love the road map because it again shows Israel's moral authority and Arab perfidy. To paraphrase what Victor Laszlo said to Rick Blaine in Casablanca, "This time, I think our side will win."
Israel News

Cherry pick among some 45 articles. Summary and links
Israel and Palestinians Promise First Steps in Peace (45 articles)
The U.S.-sponsored "road map" peace plan calls for mutual confidence-building steps, including a halt to Palestinian militant attacks on Israelis and curbs on settlements, leading to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza by 2005. Hard-line Israelis say the settlements reinforce their claim to Biblical lands but other Israelis say the illegal outposts get in the way of a deal that could unburden their country of the costly occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. President Bush gave impetus to the peace process by his vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security. Israel eased travel restrictions Sunday on Palestinians and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would probably dismantle illegal settlement outposts soon, as leaders prepared for a summit with SHEIK, Egypt President Bush. The summit Wednesday in the Jordanian town of Aqaba will be the ceremonial launch of the '' road map '' to Mideast peace, a three-phase plan envisioning an end to violence and the creation of a Palestinian state in 2005. The Mideast peace summit (search) could yield a series of goodwill gestures and first steps toward calming the violence that erupted 32 months ago, ended peace negotiations and killed more than 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians. [locate specific links under title link]
News from Israel: 25 articles (links)

With focus on Arafat inteference (his remakrs) and Hamas refusal to be involved.
The Price for A Palestinian State

Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post discusses what the Palestinians must do, especially focusing upon the Right of Return
[...]Arafat, a creature of exile politics, refused at the last minute to swallow the bitter pill, which would have offered compensation for those not admitted to Israel[under the Clinton proposals for a wayaof working around the Right]. Instead he walked away from peace and into insurrection. And he got no pressure or criticism from the Arab leaders who have refused to take the politically risky steps of integrating the Palestinian refugees into their own societies. These leaders continued to put their interests and safety before those of peace. (Another historical note worth remembering: No one opposed a Palestinian state more fiercely in the 1970s than the royal families of the Gulf, led by the Saudis.) No one can dispute that Palestinian refugees lead existences of daily suffering and humiliation. They deserve not only sympathy but also compensation for their dispossession, and a fresh start outside those awful camps.

For that to happen on the basis of an Israeli-Palestinian peace, Arab leaders will have to display courage and toughness that have been absent for half a century in dealing with their own publics about the Palestinian refugees and workers in their midst.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and in the first instance the Palestinian Authority will have to abandon the fiction that the Palestinians in diaspora have an absolute and unlimited "right of return" into Israel.

The Arab side must now also show concretely that it is committed to a genuine two-state solution.

Sharon's Big Bet

Liked by some and loathed by others, Sharon's approach to the Road is here evaluated by New York Post writer Eric Fettmann
[...] Sharon, recall, vowed that he wouldn't be forced back to full-scale negotiations under fire - and he wasn't. Moreover, alone among Israeli leaders since 1993, he has not handed over any territory to the Palestinians (save for areas briefly re-occupied by Israel after terrorist attacks).

Critically, Bush is the first U.S. president to finally understand Sharon's longtime insistence that Yasser Arafat is incapable of delivering anything resembling peace and an end to terrorism.

Indeed, Bush did not interfere as Sharon moved to physically isolate the PLO leader - though, despite his absence from yesterday's event, he remains a troubling factor, determined to resist and undercut his own prime minister.

Sharon, of course, promises that he is not making concessions on anything but a bilateral basis - that, absent the end of terrorism, Israel will move no further. Yes, Israeli leaders have said that before - but not in the presence of a U.S. president who vows "to hold people to their commitments."

Sharon, in short, is pinning his hopes on a new Palestinian leadership and on Bush. The two men have forged the closest ever relationship between an Israeli prime minister and an American president - and this president is delivering more than lip service to the battle against terrorism. [more]

June 05, 2003

The message from Sinai, By Amotz Asa-El

[...]In its 55 years,(writes Asa-El), Israel has probably gone through more retreats and conquests than most other countries would during entire centuries.

Read this condensed history of those "retreats and conquests" and you will have a taste of the famous Jewish saying:" with friends like this...."

Periodically the cry goes up. Israel must yield, relent, compromise and concede. Israel - always Israel.

Yet here is a country, a solitary democracy in an autocratic sea, created by the United Nations and warred against constantly by Arab regimes and their foot soldiers - currently the Palestinians. Israel has repelled every Arab attack, won every war - as well it must, for the first war it loses will be the last war it fights. And still, following every conflict and during the intervening periods of relative truce, world opinion demands that the Israelis give up, give in, and give back e.g. the Sinai, the Golan, southern Lebanon, the West Bank, and the very Jerusalem so closed and defiled during Arab occupation.

Maybe the reason for this abiding hostility to Israel is deep-seated religious or ethnic hatred. Maybe in those areas of the Arab world dominated by Islam, it's the Koran. Maybe in the Western democracies - even at their highest political, social and intellectual levels - it's an inexplicable guilt combined with an insidious anti-Semitism.

Whatever. When in history has the attacked so determinedly been required to compromise by yielding in various ways (land, security, settlements, right of return, sovereignty over Jerusalem) to the perpetrating vanquished - to give them through politics what they lost in wars they have waged?

A Palestinian state already exists. It is called Jordan. The vast Arab territories possess plenty of lands to set up housekeeping for the Palestinians - if the Arab regimes possessed the matching moxie (a moxie they demand of Israel) to relocate the Palestinians on those lands, and thereby to resolve the Palestinian "problem." But the Arab regimes neither offer nor provide such a solution because they prefer the Palestinians where they are - at the point of the spear and strapping on suicide bombs in their abiding war to eradicate Israel, and Jews, from the face of the Earth.

(This is from the pen of Ross Mackenzie . Worth your time).


The attacks in Iraq are beginning to remind me of Lebanon. Israel's failure in Lebanon (and turning tail and running) has caused the view to arise among Muslims that the West can't take such low level conflict. This is one cause for the activity ion Israel today and also the reason why Iraq is being Lebanonized. I think it is only a matter of time before the lefty press picks up the sympathetic term "Iraq Intifadah" (TM) or "Iraqi Intifadah" (TM). On second thought maybe the right should call it that in order to minimize the importance of the palestinian intifadah.

For those of you who saw last night's program with me (Ted Belman) on it, please offer your assessment in the comments.

For those of you who missed the Counterspin program you can see on the web.
The topic is Will the Roadmap lead to peace?
You will see the option for playing parts 1,2,3 and 4 on RM. If you don't have Real One already downloaded on your computer, you must first click "RM" and download and install the media player. Once done you can click on 1 and see the tv program. Good luck.

The Czech Parable

A small nation threatened with annihilation takes preemptive action to save itself, wins, and is never forgiven ...

....Considerations of space force me ( adds Sara Honig ) to leave out most of this parable of the Six-Day War and its aftermath, but the basic idea is that little Czechoslovakia (i.e., Israel), threatened by Nazi Germany (the Arabs), takes preemptive action (the Six-Day War) to save itself from the destruction that Hitler planned for it.

The brilliant Czech campaign lasted six days. Chunks of Germany were occupied. Wrathful condemnations were rained upon the aggressor by British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, the French Quai d'Orsay, the Soviets, and the League of Nations.

The Czechs were raked over the coals for firing the first shot, winning a war without permission, and damaging international commerce. Their willingness to contract a peace in which Hitler would recognize their country's independence and integrity did no good. The world pitied Nazi refugees and accused the Czechs of inhumanity. Thus began the period of unjust occupation.
(Emphases added).

What are the Consequences?

Can the Prime Minister of Israel stand up to the United States, given the debt he owes the US for standing with him? What do you feel would be the consequences? Could Israel withstand these consequences?

In Rabbi Tovia Singer's calculus, if Israel just said NO the skies will not fall... Read this (entirely secular ) answer here

The Bush record, for the record

In his Aqaba speech On Wednesday, June 4, 2003, Bush pledged as follows:

Today America is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to Israel's security as a vibrant Jewish state.
If I were an Israeli, would I sleep better with this double "strongly committed"? Or would I remember other "strongly committed" by Bush. Here is an example, quoted from Jvibe
"[If elected president, I will] begin the process of moving the US ambassador to the city Israel chooses as its capital."
(Bush's speech at B'nai B'rith International Convention 2000, Washington, DC 8/28/00)

"As a general proposition around the world, we have located our embassy where the host country has its capital. And Israel is one of the few places where we haven't done that, and I think it's probably time, although with - recognize the fact that it is a very delicate moment in terms of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and I think you have to take that into account."
(Cheney on NBC's Meet the Press, 7/30/00)

"Bush believes that the embassy's rightful place is in Jerusalem, and if it is not transferred during Clinton's presidency, then it will be during Bush's."
(Condoleeza Rice, Bush's foreign policy advisor, on Army Radio 8/15/00)

So, the answer to my question is this: Considering Bush's record (and, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "Bush is an honourable man"), the last Aqaba statement would not make my sleep any sounder, if I were an Israeli.

For an extensive list of quotations on the topic, also see the site of NJDC.

Headless in Saudi Arabia

They say there is a good deal of unemployment in The Kingdom (Saudi Arabia), but this guy sure has enough to keep him busy daily. A tough job but someone has to do it

JEDDAH, 5 June 2003 — Saudi Arabia’s leading executioner Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi will behead up to seven people in a day.

“It doesn’t matter to me: Two, four, 10 — As long as I’m doing God’s will, it doesn’t matter how many people I execute,” he told Okaz newspaper in an interview.

He started at a prison in Taif, where his job was to handcuff and blindfold the prisoners before their execution. “Because of this background, I developed a desire to be an executioner,” he says.

He applied for the job and was accepted.

His first job came in 1998 in Jeddah. “The criminal was tied and blindfolded. With one stroke of the sword I severed his head. It rolled meters away.” Of course he was nervous, then, he says, as many people were watching, but now stage fright is a thing of the past.

He says he is calm at work because he is doing God’s work. “But there are many people who faint when they witness an execution. I don’t know why they come and watch if they don’t have the stomach for it.

“Me? I sleep very well,” he adds.

Does he think people are afraid of him? “In this country we have a society that understands God’s law,” he says. “No one is afraid of me. I have a lot of relatives, and many friends at the mosque, and I live a normal life like everyone else. There are no drawbacks for my social life.”[more]
Small wonder there is law, order, and a great sense of purpose in Saudi Arabia.
Bennet Just Can't Get Enough

I meant to keep my criticism of the New York Time's reporter James Bennet limited to my last article, but today's report from Aqaba must have crossed every journalistic red line there is.

First of all, Bennet has yet to write an article focusing on the domestic problems Palestinian prime minister Mahmud Abbas--Abu Mazen--faces, namely: he has no power. None. So, while all of his aricles have hinted that the agreements depend on Abu Mazen's ability to carry them out, Bennet has not taken any pains to inform the readers that Arafat still controls everything. Every security organization is now either directly or indirectly controlled by Arafat--since Muhammad Dahlan was stripped of his powers over the security forces by the Fatah executive last Friday--and we all know that a state with no monopoly over violence cannot enforce its mandates.

Bennet does not address this situation of power, although he says that:
"Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, said that Mr. Abbas could work only through persuasion, because Israeli raids had left him without police forces. Yet Muhammad Dahlan, Mr. Abbas's security minister, has thousands of armed men under this control."
Yes, Dahlan retains control over his personal militia, and yes, they could start fighting terrorists. But the point is that the rest of the security forces are under Arafat's control and far from fighting terror these forces are fighting Israel using terror.

But the following are the parts of the articles that really infuriated me for their lack of moral scruples. First, to keep to the same topic, his token line about Arafat:
"Indeed, the risks to national unity may have been apparent today, but so were the risks of not risking unity, as demonstrated by the man who was not there: Mr. Arafat. Mr. Arafat led his people from behind, never completely alienating any group or excluding any option, including terrorism.

"He wanted national unity," said one diplomat who has studied him closely. "But you can't have national unity while you have people getting blown up in coffee shops."

In journalistic lingo, this can be called "the kicker." A kicker is mainly a rhetorical device used to give a good end to an article, to drive a point home. But what exactly is he trying to say? That Arafat used to use terror? That he is a person of the past? That the Palestinians have gotten over that bitter chapter of their history? In using this as a kicker, Bennet is ignoring the entire Palestinian domestic front, glossing over the extreme power-struggles within the PLO, and making the reader think that Abu Mazen is ready to lead the Palestinians in turning over a new leaf.

The next thing that was a cheap shot to say the least was the following:
"It was perhaps significant that Mr. Sharon spoke in English, not in Hebrew. Israeli leaders have often accused Palestinian leaders, particularly Yasir Arafat, of speaking in English and not Arabic when they delivered messages that were popular with the Americans but not necessarily with their own people."

Read that over again, because that very sentence is the pinnacle of biased journalism. There is no reporting in it--what Bennet has done, skillfully, is speculate on Sharon's credibility while playing down the Israeli charge that Arafat, for one, would call for peace in English and martyrs in Arabic. Bennet does not mention that Sharon said the very same things in Hebrew at the Likud central committee meeting last week, or that Sharon has defended his comments, in Hebrew, since. No, Bennet, seemingly intent on debunking Sharon, instills doubt in his statement due to his use of English.

James Bennet and the New York Times have once again proven their extreme bias in reporting and their lack of journalistic ethics, publishing affronts to intelligent people everywhere, what are basically attacks on the credibility of information upon which rests democracy. With our "newspaper of record" publishing opinion under the guise of reporting in this field, I wonder what other stories they have made up.
Bush's View of Palestinian Opposition to Peaceful Coexistence

The usual perceptive observations by Martin Kimel. Note his link to Gary Trudeau cartoon and take a peek.
You've got to wonder how the president can describe the Palestinians opposed to peace with Israel as "a few people, a few killers, a few terrorists" when the most recent poll shows that 71 percent of Palestinians surveyed expressed "a lot of confidence" or "some confidence" in Osama bin Laden while a miniscule 1 percent of Palestinians expressed the same level of confidence in Bush. The survey also found that 80 percent of Palestinians are dubious that a Palestinian state can coexist with Israel in a way that meets the Palestinians' needs. Grim tidings, indeed. By contrast, two-thirds of Israelis believe peaceful coexistence is possible. Let's see whether Bush continues to whitewash the unpleasant reality.

* * *
NYT Bias Watch (ctd.). For at least the second time -- and the first instance I can recall was in a Page One Times news story by my old Daily Pennsylvanian editor Dick Stevenson -- the paper of record has referred to "Palestine" as if such a state already existed. I recognize that Bush has adopted this locution, but that doesn't mean it's right.
* * *
A Canadian MP has nominated Rachel Corrie's group, the International Solidarity Movement, protector of Palestinian gunmen and weapons smugglers, for "the contribution of the ISM to advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East, to defending human rights, and to upholding international law." As Honest Reporting (the source of the above link) notes, if Yasser Arafat "merited" a Nobel Prize, why not the ISM? To which I add, why not just nominate Hamas and Al Qaeda and be done with it?
* * *
Stop It, Gary, You're Killing Me! It's amazing how Gary Trudeau can find humor in Palestinian suicide bombers. Ha, ha. (No direct hyperlink; to view, go here and then to the June 4 Doonesbury.)

Summit Like It Not

This is a roundup of American papers and their lead articles--mostly on The Road meeting. While a pro-Israel position focuses upon what Abbas does or does not say or do, it is useful to know what is being said about the Sharon position too. See links within for specifics of each paper cited
Everybody leads with the Israeli–Palestinian summit in Jordan, co-hosted by President Bush, where both sides made pledges toward peace: Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called for an end to "the armed intifada," while Israeli Prime Minister Sharon said he'll start dismantling the few illegal settlement outposts that have sprouted up since violence restarted in October 2000.

The New York Times says that Sharon's statement fell short of what American diplomats had drafted for him (though the paper doesn't detail exactly how). The Wall Street Journal points out that while Sharon's pledge to dismantle some settlements has big symbolic value, only about 800 settlers live on those outposts while there are about 230,000 settlers overall in the West Bank and Gaza. Still, thousands of right-wing Israelis demonstrated yesterday against Sharon's promises.

Meanwhile, while Abbas pledged to "exert all of our efforts, using all our resources to end the militarization of the intifada," the papers all note it's not clear how he's going to get that done. Palestinian officials say Abbas is close to getting Hamas and others to declare a cease-fire. But while Hamas has suggested it's open to that, it said it's opposed to the pledges Abbas made yesterday.

A piece inside the Washington Post looks at how the carefully crafted speeches suggest the obstacles ahead. For instance, one word not mentioned during the scripted chatter: "settlement."
Straightening out NPR

Because of its consistent distortions, NPR (National "Palestinian" Radio?) has been the target for corrective action. I have corresponded on this topic with Diana Muir whose recent e-mail to me is reporoduced below with permission.

I have been very active in bringing pressure on National Public Radio, a better target then the[New York] Times because NPR's coverage is far more biased than the Times, and it is far more dependent upon Jewish support.

Here we have made some progress, but we need help in several areas.

The first is to have more communities participate in our No-Pledge campaign. This involves answering NPR's on-air fund appeals by mailing in No-Pledge slips . Our web site has more info on NPR.

We will soon post the rather extensive newspaper coverage of our May 14 demonstrations held outside 35 NPR affiliate stations from Seattle to Miami - this will be up on the site in late June.

The most important aspect of the campaign is to encourage activists in other cities to meet with businessmen who are supporters of Israel and NPR underwriters and encourage them to withdraw their sponsorship from NPR affiliate stations until NPR begins to cover Israel in a fair and unbiased manner. In Boston, such major underwriters as Brandeis University and Cognex Corp have stopped funding WBUR. Robert Shillman, chief executive officer of the Natick-based Cognex Corporation, said he has also ended support for the station, because of what he calls "a profoundly pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias" on NPR and WBUR. Ten other major businesses have stopped underwriting WBUR, some are willing to have their names publicized, others are not. All, however, are in touch with us and all have met with the station management which knows why the contributions are being withdrawn.

Wordsworth books, owned by Hillel Stavis who is the leader fo the movement to defund NPR as a way of getting the network to cover Israel fairly, was the first business to withdraw its underwriting. The bookstore was picketed earlier this year by supporters of the Palestinian cause. This was truly outrageous. After all, Wordsworth continues to sell Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and company. The picketers complaint was that a businessman had decided not to make a charitable contribution to a radio station!

WBUR acknowledges having lost over $1 million in annual support from former donors who are upset over biased coverage fo teh Middle East. We have reason to believe that the actual figure is closer to $2 million out of a $20 million annual budget. We believe that if other cities would make similar efforts, NPR would be forced to take a serious look at its coverage.

Nearly every major Jewish organization, The ADL, the Council of Presidents, and JCRC's from across the nation, have met with NPR to express concern with the biased nature of its coverage. NPR has responded by hiring a Public Relations firm and by hoping that if they ignore the criticisms of their coverage, we critics will disappear. On March 15 I appeared on WGBH television news in Boston. I was invited to debate a representative of WBUR. WBUR, however, refused to send anyone to debate me. NPR is now refusing to send a speaker to any forum at which they will have to share the podium with a critic of their Middle East coverage.

NPR spokeswoman Jessica Sarmiento and ombudsman, Jeffrey Dworkin, have answered charges that NPR's Middle East coverage is biased by lying to reporters. Dworkin and Sarmiento have repeatedly claimed that Bonnie Lipton, President of Hadassah, has "gone on record in support of NPR's Middle East coverage."

Lipton denies having made any statement "in support" of NPR's Middle East coverage:

It's interesting and important fight.
Diana's e-mail is encouraging in the sense that it points to an action-oriented initiative that may well yield fruit in the long run, if pursued consistently. The e-mail also indicates a problem which I have highlighted numerous times: pro-Israel advocacy is fragmented into a zillion initiatives with no hand co-ordinating or even providing a central list of links to the various actions. I consider this a problem on many levels, the least being the fact that without central co-ordination, people involved in supporting The Cause are deprived of information. More serious is the fact that without such a central hand the effort may be spread too thinly over too many fronts, or may be duplicated unnecessarily, resulting in inefficiency and squandering of resources. This is no way to wage a war.

I would appreciate readers' comments on the last point in particular.

"All quiet" on no front

January 4, 2003

For the record: A report on how Abu Mazen's promises are translated into facts on the ground.

On Wednesday June 4, 2003, in Aqaba, Abu Mazen uttered brave words about curbing terrorism. Meantime, on the ground...

1. JPost article dated 5 June 2003, headline: "Defense officials to discuss removal of "unauthorized" outposts"
Palestinians opened heavy fire at IDF troops in two separate incidents Wednesday night. Palestinians fired on troops west of Jenin in the West Bank, and also on troops guarding the settlement of Kfar Darom in the central Gaza Strip.
Note the contradiction between the headline and the part of the report which is cited. This is exactly what the RoachMap means: Israel makes concessions, Arabs continue terror.

2. Another JPost news story, June 5, 2003, headline: "Despite summit, dozens of terror warnings"
Israeli police and security forces were on alert Wednesday, citing dozens of warnings of terror attacks, as Palestinian and Israeli leaders met in Jordan with US President George W. Bush to launch a new Mideast peace plan.
In other incidents Wednesday, the military said soldiers found and destroyed a rocket in the West Bank city of Hebron, and Palestinians fired a rocket at an Israeli settlement in Gaza. No one was hurt.

Troops returned fire in both instances and no injuries were reported in either attack.
3. A third JPost report, 4 June 2003:
Palestinians attack troops in Gaza Strip and West Bank

Shots were fired at soldiers near Nizlat Zeid west of Jenin in the West Bank Wednesday night. No one was wounded in the attack.

In the Gaza Strip a mortar shell was fired at an Israeli community in the southern Gaza Strip, no one was wounded and no damage reported.

Several grenades were thrown at soldiers near Rafah, the soldiers returned fire.
4. A fourth report from JPost, 4 June 2003
IDF arrests dozens in Hebron, wrecks 3 terrorist homes

In an anti-terror sweep in the West Bank town of Hebron Wednesday, IDF soldiers arrested dozens of suspects and wrecked the homes of three Tanzim terrorists in a nearby village, media reports said.

To the north, soldiers clamped a curfew on the West Bank city of Jenin, due to intelligence warnings of plans to launch a terror attack against Israel from the area. Jenin is a hotbed for Islamic Jihad and has been the point of origin of numerous suicide bombers in the past.
All this, and the terror to come, are of little consequence to Bush; for Bush, you see, is committed to fighting terrorism everywhere, and Bush is also the best friend Israel has ever had. Right.

5. Also see in this context an IMRA article entitled:
ZOA - Abu Mazen's Media Still Inciting Hatred and Violence

Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi

A report from today's [June 4, 2003] AP reads,

U.S. Military Pours Into Baathist Areas

HABANIYAH, Iraq (AP) - In a high-profile show of force, the U.S. military poured more than 1,500 combat troops into a swath of central Iraq on Wednesday, signaling that any violent resistance to American occupation would be met with harsh punishment.
"What is permitted to Jupiter, is not permitted to the Bull" (or as the Romans said, Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi). When Israel reacted in a similar way, in pursuit of murderous terrorists, Foggy Bottom repeatedly issued demands that Israel "show restraint", but when US troops act in that manner, it's apparently OK (which it indeed is). And the US administration is supposed to be Israel's friend, eh?

Sharon's speech

…As the P.M. of Israel, the land which is the cradle of the Jewish people, my paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel and of the State of Israel… Israel has lent its strong support for President Bush's vision, expressed on June 24, 2002, (no mention of the Road Map) of two states--Israel and a Palestinian state--living side by side in peace and security… It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state (he is saying that Israel doesn't want to govern people. He is not saying that he doesn't want the land where our settlements are. He distinguishes between occupying people and occupying land,). A democratic (that's a must) Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state (the stress on Jewish state). There can be no peace, however, without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence, and incitement…(This is a precondition to a state) As all parties perform their obligations, we will seek to restore normal Palestinian life [and] improve the humanitarian situation…

We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial contiguity in the West Bank, for a viable, Palestinian state…(He is trying to limit the meaning of "viable" as in the Road Map to contiguous as opposed to Israel being responsible for its economic viability or water self sufficiency) In regard to the unauthorized outposts (he didn't call them illegal), I want to reiterate that Israel is a society governed by the rule of law (to my mind this reference can only mean that because our laws require it we will remove them. He didn't want to leave the impression that he was removing them because the Road Map or Bush required the removal.)Thus, we will immediately begin to remove unauthorized outposts (he distinguishes between settlements and outposts). Israel seeks peace with all its Arab neighbors [and] is prepared to negotiate in good faith wherever there are partners….

Bush, the man

The author of the following email, is the wife of a lawyer in Portland Oregon, Alan Abravanel, a lineal descendent of THE ABARBANEL (15c Spain) and a classmate of the President.

Tonight, I received a personal guarantee--from the President of the United States--that Karen would be safe during her upcoming clerkship with Aharon Barak, and that Israel's security would never be undermined.

This guarantee was sealed with two firm hugs, and memorialized forever with digital photos that I will send to you upon our return to Portland.

As you know, this was Allan's 35th Yale Class of '68 reunion. We were told that the President wanted very much to be there but his security--and his travel schedule--precluded his attending the planned events in New Haven. So instead, he invited the entire class "to the house". The invitation arrived a few weeks ago, for a picnic this evening on the White House lawn.

The Luncheon . . .
Earlier today, there was a luncheon for those from Allan's (and the President's) college, Davenport. Yale is divided into 12 residential colleges--Allan and the President were both in Davenport, and also took a number of courses together.

About 80 of us attended the Davenport luncheon, although the President himself was not there.

Clay Johnson--a classmate who was White House Chief of Personnel and is now Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget--was the speaker, and shared with us his personal insights about George's personality.

He presented a protrait of a man who consistently asks essential questions, who consistently deals with compassion, who steadfastly refuses to stoop to spite.

During the Q & A that followed, Allan raised the following question:

"You have spoken about how the President's personality plays a role in public affairs. I have a vested interest in this question, because my daughter is going to be living in Jerusalem for four months this fall.
What role will the President's personality play in upcoming negotiations in the Middle East crisis?"

. . .to which Clay responded that the President did not trust Arafat--he thought he was a liar--but that he generally "got along with the other players".

The Dinner . . .
All afternoon, we buzzed with speculation.

Would the President actually be in attendance at the "picnic"? Would any of us actually get to meet him? (General consensus was, unlikely ...)

And, as the rain began, we wondered, would there be a tent for shelter? (none dreamed we would get into "the house" . . .)

We arrived at the East Gate at 5 PM.

After coming through security,we found ourselves inside the White House, in a receiving line--and suddenly, face-to-face with the President and First Lady themselves.

Allan approached, and the President reached out his hand:

"Allan! How good to see you again! How have you been?" And then . . ."By the way, I heard that at lunch today you asked a question. I want to tell you: I assure you that your daughter will be safe."

We were dumbstruck. . .that he had heard, that he had remembered, that he felt compelled to respond . . .
I offered, "Mr. President, you know this is very important to me."
"Susan," he replied--we were all wearing nametags--"I know, her safety of course is important to you."
"No, Mr. President," I replied, "what I meant is, that it is very important to me that this is important to YOU."
At which point, he put his arm around my shoulder, hugged me, and said again, "don't worry--I promise you, we will make it safe for her. Israel's security IS important to me."

Allan and I moved on into the White House where we--and approximately 950 others--found ourselves being given the complete run of the White House for 5 1/2 hours--not a single room was off limits, with the exception of the private family quarters upstairs.

An hour later, the President and First Lady finished receiving everyone--and joined us inside, mingling amongst us. Allan approached and said to him, "Mr. President--what you said to Susan and me in the receiving line was very special." He looked at me, put his arm around my shoulder again, and said, "you are a mom, I understand, you are nervous--and I assure you, she will be safe."

Once again, a hug--this one Allan asked if he could photograph--"of course," came the reply, and he graciously posed--first with me, then with us both.

He continued, "You know, by the way, I am going to Auschwitz tomorrow . . ."

Laura--she is stunning in person, much more beautiful than you ever see in photos or on television--was inches away, and also agreed to photos. . .

She left shortly thereafter. But not the President. He stayed to chat, with one classmate after another, throughout the next 4 amazing hours. He did not even take time out to eat--he just talked and hugged and held court in our midst until it seemed that everyone who had something to tell him was satisfied.
We had been told that the evening would end sharply at 9 PM, that the President had an early flight out.
Yet he did not leave us until after 10:30 PM. There he was--the most powerful man in the world--not 5 feet away from us all that time. There he was--the most powerful man in the world--telling me once, then reassuring me again, that Israel's security is of utmost importance to him.

And I was not the only one with whom this was discussed:
Another conversation--this one with his arm around Rabbi Jim Ponet--Yale's Chaplain--and also a member of the Class of '68--
The President: "Jim, I understand you are the chaplain now . . .and I want you to know, I assure you--I will never do anything to undermine the security of the State of Israel. We must remove Arafat. He is not a good person. . ."
Rabbi Ponet: "Mr. President, what do you think of Abu Mazen?"
The President: "I don't know. I haven't met him yet . . .but his Chief of Finance--he's a good man . . ."The President: "I don't know. I haven't met him yet . . .but his Chief of Finance--he's a good man . . ." and then once more, "I promise you, I will never undermine Israel's security . . ."

The power of one . . .
Many of us attribute both the President's strong support for Israel, and for certain, his trip to Auschwitz--the first by a sitting President of the US--to his longstanding close friendship with classmate Don Etra. Don is an Orthodox Jew, an attorney in private practice in Los Angeles. He is also a frequent guest at the White House--Don and his wife Paula (whose mother is an Abravanel) were, in fact, staying at the White House tonight. Don was in Skull & Bones--a Yale secret society--with the President.

Don and Allan have also remained friends since their college years, exchanging client referrals, etc. of late. At the Davenport lunch today, Don told us that over the years, many people have known about his friendship with the President, and have asked him to arrange "special favors" or have asked him to deliver "special messages". He has always refused to do so.

Don explained, "I restrict my requests of the President to just one thing: never to sell out or undermine Israel." Don also told us that when the President told him he would be visiting Poland this week, he responded, "Mr. President, do it right, go to Auschwitz. . ."

This is truly a most amazing moment in time. From the White House, to G-d's ears . . .


Vehicles for Terror

Honest Reporting e-mail, without URL
Israeli investigators have found that the British terrorists who carried out the deadly suicide bombing at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv on April 29 hitched a ride with an Italian journalist to gain entry to Israel from Gaza.

As a result of this incident and others, the IDF has tightened reporters' previously loose inspections at Gaza checkpoints; the International Federation of Journalists (representing 500,000 journalists in 100 countries) then criticized Israel for unwarranted "restrictions on media staff and foreigners entering the Gaza Strip."

Perhaps the IFJ's efforts would be better spent warning its members about terrorists' use of the media as a literal "vehicle for murder."

HonestReporting subscribers will recall that the Mike's Place terrorists also used the "non violent" International Solidarity Movement "peace group" as a cover, sipping tea with ISM members before commencing their mission. ISM members act as "human shields" to block IDF anti-terror work; a number have recently been arrested and deported by Israel.

The ISM has now been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Canadian MP Svend Robinson, for "the contribution of the ISM to advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East, to defending human rights, and to upholding international law."

If Yassir Arafat "merited" a Nobel Prize, why not the ISM?
All Wet in Toronto

There is no URL for this e-mailed piece from Honest Reporting (they post at their site some time after sending out via e-mail)
On Sunday, Toronto Sun contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis submitted a column that begins with the journalist's admission of deep, familial pro-Palestinian sympathies, then proceeds with a host of inaccuracies to support his claim that the road map is "a lopsided deal that is only good for one side" (Israel's). Among the distortions and errors:

-- Margolis states that the road map was grudgingly "accepted by Israel with undisclosed key reservations." The 14 Israeli reservations were made public and are easily available (click here to view); instead of doing his homework, Margolis suggests sly Israeli concealment.

-- Margolis claims that Abbas is being forced to "renounce the right of return of 1.5 million refugees." In fact, the road map's third stage calls for "a just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue." A mass "right of return," moreover, lacks any international support.

-- Margolis claims that Arafat, "the democratically elected PLO leader," has been wrongly sidelined by Bush. Democratically elected? Even the Israeli left recognizes that the 1996 Palestinian elections were a sham. Former CIA director Jim Woolsey said, "Arafat was essentially elected the same way Stalin was, but not nearly as democratically as Hitler, who at least had actual opponents."

-- Margolis decries Israel "annexing large chunks of former Palestinian lands." Historically, set borders of an autonomous Palestinian region have never existed; on what basis, therefore, are any lands considered "Palestinian"? Margolis also objects to Israeli land acquisitions "after the 1948 war" and "conquered in 1967," with no reference whatsoever to the Arab hostility that caused those wars.

-- Margolis claims that the settler community forms Sharon's "political core support." Sharon's Likud party won 31% of the vote in January; West Bank and Gaza residents are just 3.9% of the Israeli populace, and many settlers support parties to the right of Likud.

In the article, Margolis proudly affirms his credentials: "I have been steeped in Mideast affairs since the early 1950s." But with so many inaccuracies, this article is all wet indeed.

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