Israel thumbs its nose at the Obama administration

The Obama administration, without making any demands on the Palestinians who haven’t abided by any parts of the Road Map, insisted that Israel freeze all settlement activity, including such little things as bathroom additions and new floors on houses.  The Israeli administration just thumbed its nose at the US:

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the building of 455 housing units in the West Bank, defying U.S. demands for a freeze on settlement construction.

Israel is saying very clearly, to an administration very hostile to its interests:  “We belong here, and we will act appropriately.  We will not allow you to turn ever more parts of our nation, ours by right of ancient history, purchase, world treaties and war, into Judenrein territory.”

Apparently The One lacks the magic touch when it comes to the Middle East.

Funnily enough, I haven’t seen a word about this this in the MSM

We hear a lot about dead or wounded Palestinian children, each of whose death or injury is a tragedy. Funnily enough, though, the MSM falls silent when it comes to the Israeli children:

There were a lot of tears of sadness and pain on Monday at the convalescence wing of the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer outside of Tel Aviv, as Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal visited the two young victims of the recent Qassam rocket attack.

Osher and Rami Tuito are being hospitalized at Sheba after a Qassam rocket made impact just a few feet away from the two brothers causing serious injury. Osher, 8, had to have a part of his leg amputated and his older brother Rami, 19, sustained moderate injuries.

As I tried to make clear in my introductory paragraph, I’m not denigrating what happens to Palestinian children, since children are the true tragedy of every conflict. I am noting, however, that while they make headlines, Israeli children don’t even rank the back pages.

UPDATE: I’ve switched to a new server, so you can feel free to look around here or check out my new site, which not only has the old stuff, but also will move forward into the future with all my new material.

What do you bet these good men are dead by next week?

While fanatics fight, ordinary people try to live. In Hebron, a City with a sadly bloody history, a few good men have had the courage to try to achieve stability and some measure of harmony:

Heads of local Palestinian clans in Hebron met on Sunday with representatives from Israeli settlements in the area and discussed the easing of tensions between the two sides.

The settlers reported that sheikhs Abu Khader Jabri and Haj Abu Ahram Abu Sneina representing the city’s Arab Muslim population in the West Bank city met in Jabri’s home with the Kiryat Arba Regional Council head Tzvi Katzover, former Knesset Member Elyakim Haetzni and other settler leaders.

The commander of the IDF’s Hebron Brigade, Colonel Yehuda Fuchs, also took part in the meeting.

The Israelis said Sheikh Jabri told them during the meeting that “I do not regard you as settlers but as residents. This city is yours just as much as it is ours.”

The Jewish participants described the meeting as cordial, adding that the sides agreed to strive to live in peace with one another.

You can already anticipate the response that these Sheikhs’ humane, moral efforts received:

According to the Israelis, shortly after the meeting began, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades issued a proclamation throughout the city that called for dealing with the meeting’s participants “with an iron fist.”

And just to make it more likely that this threat will be put into action, Israel released more than 30 al-Aqsa Murderers back into the pond.

So, back to my original post title: How likely is it, do you think, that these decent men, men who clearly want their children to live a quality life, and to have their souls freed from the burden of religious and racial fanaticism, will still be alive even a week from now? I’ll try to keep an eye on the Israeli newspapers and see what happens.

UPDATE: I’ve switched to a new server, so you can feel free to look around here or check out my new site, which not only has the old stuff, but also will move forward into the future with all my new material.

The stupid dance begins again *UPDATED*

We now know that the Gazans instant collapse into existential despair the last time Israel reduced their electricity flow was a carefully choreographed dance that served two purposes: it enabled Hamas to knock down the wall Egypt had built (a wall about which no one in the West ever complained) and it gave photo ops to the useful idiots in the Western press. It looks as if the whole grotesque dance is starting all over again:

Israel began reducing the amount of electricity it sells to Gaza as part of sanctions against continued rocket fire, Israeli officials said on Friday. The move prompted a warning from the United States not to “worsen the humanitarian situation” of the civilian population in Gaza, and was followed by the firing of yet more rockets at Israel by militants there.

Israel began reducing its electricity flow into the Gaza Strip by less than one percent late Thursday night. By Friday afternoon, 21 rockets had been launched against Israel, an Army spokeswoman said, with several landing in and around the Israeli border town of Sderot and in open areas south of Ashkelon, a larger Israeli coastal city north of the strip.

Israeli officials said the electricity had been cut by about one megawatt out of the 124 megawatts that Israel provides to Gaza, and that an additional megawatt could be cut each week depending on the security situation and the needs of the Gaza population. Israel said it would continue to provide the necessary minimum to prevent harm to the safety or health of the residents.

Has there ever been a time in the history of the world when Country A repeatedly states its wish to destroy Country B and then acts upon that wish, only to have Country B continue to keep vital material flowing into Country A? I’d like to say that it’s gotten to the point that Israel is too stupid to deserve the gift of national survival, but I won’t. It’s true that the Israelis, for reasons unclear to me, keep the amazingly ineffectual Olmert in office, and it is true that the Israeli peace movement could more aptly be named the National Suicide Pact, but there’s more to it than that.

The fact is, Israel inadvertently made a pact with devil when she began to rely. Because America is a necessary part of the Israeli war machine and the Israeli economy, Israel can’t afford to alienate her — that would be a suicidal act as sure as just opening the borders and letting in the Palestinians. So as long as the US has this bizarre “let’s make nice with your killers” attitude, Israel is completely handicapped. She cannot fight a war against her open enemies and, instead, ends up subsidizing them as they fight a war against her.

It always was a Catch-22, of course, because Israel could never have survived as long as she did without US aid. It’s like steroids I guess: first they make you stronger, then they destroy you.

UPDATE:  While Israel is forced by world pressure to support her enemy, fellow Arabs have no such constraints.  As James Taranto describes:

Arabs love Palestinians in the abstract–as a symbol of the putative evil of the hated Jews. But they’re not so crazy about Palestinians as actual human beings. Here is a prominent Egyptian who is so averse to Palestinians that even their money isn’t good enough for him.

The crystal ball was accurate once again

Here’s what I wrote yesterday:

Laer does a fantastic post about Israel’s decision to cut of power to Gaza. I would be more impressed if it weren’t for the fact that I know that, in a day or two, when Palestinian shrieking reaches fever pitch, the UN, Europe and the US will gang up on Israel and demand that she act in a more humanitarian way. And Israel, instead of sticking to her guns and refusing to provide supplies to those trying to destroy her and every one of her citizens, will yield — and the Palestinians will be heartened once again.

And here’s the news today:

Israel resumed fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip’s main power plant on Tuesday, offering limited respite from a blockade that plunged much of the Hamas-ruled territory into darkness and touched off international protests.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she had voiced her concerns to Israel, which has argued that sealing the borders could make the Palestinians stop rocket salvoes.

“Nobody wants innocent Gazans to suffer and so we have spoken to the Israelis about the importance of not allowing a humanitarian crisis to unfold there,” Rice told reporters travelling with her to Berlin for a meeting on Iran.

“Nobody wants innocent Gazans to suffer….”  Somewhere, lost in that whole little touching intro is the fact that Israel cut power to Gaza because those innocent Gazans, over the course of the two days before the fuel shutdown, lobbed 53 rockets into Israel.  Apparently a few in Gaza very much want innocent Israelis to suffer.

It’s only when one digs halfway through the story that any mention is made of those rockets — and then one learns that Israel caved, not because the rockets stopped, but because they merely lessened:

Israel’s decision to allow in emergency supplies followed a decline in the number of rocket attacks.

Islamist Hamas refuses to renounce the fight against the Jewish state and opposes peace moves by Abbas, who condemned the Israeli closure as harmful to diplomacy.

Palestinians launched at least one rocket into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday, causing no damage, compared with 45 salvoes on Friday and Saturday, the military said.

Israel will go down in history as the only country in the world that supplied the enemy with the weapons of Israel’s own apparently inevitable destruction.

More fake but accurate — this time from Israel *UPDATED*

In one of my recent posts fawning over Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, I mentioned his discussion about the fascistic love for the “fake but accurate” approach to “truth.” Thus,

As the cross-burning incident at Cornell demonstrated, this preference for arousing passions at the expense of truth and reason defined the agenda for those fighting in [the 1960s Leftist] trenches. The practice of “lying for justice” — always acceptable on the communist left — was infused into the American New Left with potency. The catch-phrase at the Columbia uprising was “the issue is not the issue.” No wonder, since the actual “issue” — building a gym in adjacent Harlem — was such small beer. For most of the activists, deceit wasn’t the point. The point was passion, mobilization, action. As one SDS member proclaimed after he and his colleagues seized a building and kidnapped a dean, “We’ve got something going on here and now we’ve just got to find out what it is.” (p. 179.)

Apparently — and unsurprisingly — this viewpoint isn’t limited to the American left, but arises wherever there is a left. Thus, at Augean Stables, Richard Landes describes giving a speech to Israelis about the false Muhammed al-Durah video:

I recently gave a talk at a conference on Media and Ethics in Jerusalem, where I presented the case against Enderlin’s version of the Muhammad al Durah story. Apparently, the presentation was relatively convincing since one of the first criticisms I immediately received from a prominent Israeli professor of communications was: “So what? According to reliable statistics, the Israeli army has killed over 800 Palestinian children since the second Intifada. So what difference does it make if this case is staged or not?” His intervention was followed by a round of applause from about a third of the 200-some person audience.

Israel is not going to be murdered. With the help of her own leftists, using Hamas as its instrument of choice, she’s going to commit assisted suicide.

UPDATE: Melanie Phillips elaborates on Israeli suicide, and its roots in the false history promulgated about Israel on the left (often by Israel’s own leftists).  Sadly, those who can no longer buy the leftist view seem to have settled for a type of apathetic nihilism (which may explain why Israeli voters can’t rouse themselves to get rid of Olmert).  My cousin, an incredibly smart sabra who still lives in Israel, admits that she is no longer a leftist (which was the default political position for Israel’s educated class when she was a girl in the 1950s).  Now, she says, “I support them all.  One of them might have an idea.”

Obama, Israel and the Jews

If you’re a liberal Jewish voter, and tremendously excited about Obama’s candidacy as the fulfillment of the civil rights movement, slow down, Pardner.  Jews have always assumed that, because they supported the civil rights movement with enthusiasm and hard work, there would be a quid pro quo by which blacks, recognizing Jews as fellow victims, would be equally supportive of Jewish issues.  Jews have held to this viewpoint despite regularly occurring proof of the fact that African-Americans, perhaps resentful of having to share the “victim” limelight with the Jews, are not supportive of Jews or Jewish causes.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Obama himself, a man who has aligned himself with anti-Semitic churches and causes his entire adult life.  If you think this will change when he reaches the White House, I would suggest that you think again.  And if you believe that Israel, a small island of democracy surrounded by hostile tyrannical nations should exist without anyone questioning her legitimacy, you may not want to vote for Obama.  (Of course, if Israel’s security matters to you, you also might want to rethink any vote for Hillary, either — not just because she mouths the usual liberal pieties about a Palestinian state, but because she kissed Suha Arafat immediately after the latter spouted vicious antisemitic lies.)

George Bush may well be right

Although I think he’s fallen into the stupidity trap that plagues all American presidents who get embroiled in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I actually don’t doubt the possibility that Bush will force through another peace agreement within the next year.  These agreements are easy to reach, with the Israelis so desperate for peace (especially under the craven Olmert) that they’ll agree to anything; and the Palestinians willing to agree to any plan proposed because they have no intention of abiding by any proposal, at least not for the long haul.  The Palestinians’ widely trumpeted long term goal is the destruction of Israel and the death of all Jews.  To achieve this goal, they are willing, in an entirely unprincipled but effective way, to say “yes” to any proposal that comes along if it will buy them time and gnaw away at Israel’s position.  Israelis used to win because they were smart; they’re losing now because they’re acting dumb.

Footage of Jewish history

Here you will find amazing film clips from almost one hundred years of 20th Century Jewish history, including images and testimony from Eichmann’s trial. It is a reminder that, while the Jews wanted Israel as an escape from bloodshed and tyranny, the Palestinians joyfully imagine their lands awash in a sea of blood.

Hat tip: Crossing the Rubicon

UPDATE: More on the blood Palestinians long to have on their hands. And if you click over to this last link, remember Golda Meir: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Would the Muslims really make nice with us if Israel were gone?

In my post about Jews’ love for Israel and America, I noted Michael Medved’s thought experiment, which was to imagine whether world attitudes towards America would change if Israel magically vanished, as well as his conclusion that nothing would change. Nevertheless, in the comments to that post — and perhaps inevitably given how widespread the canard is that Israel taints America — came the charge that it’s all Israel’s fault that the Muslim nations have aligned against us. It is for that reason that I now post about a bombing that normally would not provide subject matter for this blog (heinous though the bombing was):

Two car bombs ripped through the Algerian capital Tuesday, reportedly killing at least 62 people in what appeared to be targeted attacks on government and United Nations buildings.

One explosion occurred outside the constitutional court in the Algiers neighborhood of Ben Aknoun while the other took place in the residential area of Hydra tearing the front off the U.N.’s headquarters in the city.

A reporter from CNN affiliate BFM quoted hospital sources as saying 62 people were killed in both blasts.

[snip]

So far no group has admitted responsibility for Tuesday’s blasts.

[snip]

Algeria, which has a population of three million, is still recovering from more than a decade of violence that began after the military government called a halt to elections which an Islamist party was poised to win.

Tens of thousands of people died in the unrest. Although the country has remained relatively peaceful, recent terrorist attacks have raised fears of a slide back to violence.

In April, the northern Africa wing of al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in downtown Algiers that killed 33 people.

A couple of points: First, although the police are not yet sure, it is reasonable to believe that this is an Al Qaeda blast, both because of Al Qaeda’s history in Algeria and because of the simultaneously explosions, a typical AQ hallmark. Second, neither Algeria nor the UN are friends of Israel or America.

In other words, the Muslim violence described above had nothing to do with America’s support for Israel. The same holds true for the Muslim violence in the Philippines, India, Spain, England, and Russia, all of which have distinguished themselves over the years by continued hostility to Israel and, often, to America. (Although India, faced with intractable Muslim violence and a booming capitalist economy, is hewing closer to both Israel and America.) Likewise, the Sudanese — both Christian and Muslim — being slaughtered left and right at the hands of their Islamist compatriots probably have only the haziest knowledge of either America’s or Israel’s very existence.

And for those who claim that Spain and England came into the line of Islamist fire only because they supported the Iraq war, which in turn is the result of a Zionist conspiracy, a couple of facts should put that argument to rest: First, it does not explain the Islamic violence in the other countries, which have nothing to do with or actively opposed the Iraq War. Second, Israel and most American Jews opposed the Iraq War, the former because it viewed Iran as the greater threat and didn’t want to get side tracked, and the latter because they hate Bush, and whatever he’s for, they’re against.

Indeed, when one looks thematically at Muslim violence, there is only one common thread: Islam itself. That is, one cannot wrap around each act of Muslim violence the blanket of economic oppression, or support for the Iraq War, or support for Israel, or support for America, or any other common denominator other than Islam itself. Islam is now, as it has always been, a religion devoted to territorial conquest and the acquisition of non-Muslims to serve as a tax base. Islam also is now, as it always has been, a religion defined by a deep and abiding intolerance for anything non-Islamic and, true to the teachings of Mohammad himself, this intolerance provides license for rapine and slaughter.

So please disabuse yourself of the notion that Muslims world-wide hate America because America staunchly supports the nation that so closely shares her values and that is so besieged by those who don’t. Instead, Muslims world-wide hate America because Muslims currently hate everyone.

UPDATE: Just today, out of Indonesia, comes a story, not of another bombing or attack, but of Muslim militants sent off to jail for slaughtering Christians in that land. The murder victims, including several school girls attacked and beheaded, had no known connection to Israel or America.

Explaining American Jews’ love for Israel and America

I did something fun tonight: I went to a moderated talk concerning Israel. The speakers were Dennis Prager, John Podhoretz and Mona Charen, with Michael Medved moderating. As you can imagine, the discussion was informed, vigorous, amusing, intelligent and opinionated. I enjoyed every minute of it and I gathered from the applause, laughter, murmurs of agreements and other sounds of an engaged audience that the hundreds of other people attending did as well. (And believe me, it impressed me tremendously that there were hundreds of conservative Jews who could be gathered together in San Francisco. Before I arrived, part of me suspected that only about 10 people would show up — just enough for a political minyan.)

At the end of the evening, I asked a question that got some very interesting answers. I didn’t go into the evening expecting to ask this question, by the way, but it seemed an appropriate question by evening’s end. You see, it was patently clear, both from the conversation at the front of the room, the periodic audience applause, and the audience questions, that people in that room were both fiercely supportive of Israel and deeply patriotic Americans. That love for and belief in two countries reminded me of a question that’s been thrown at me over the years (or, perhaps, it could be categorized more accurately as an accusation): “How can you support Israel and call yourself a loyal American?” So when Michael Medved went around the room with a microphone, I caught his eye, and quickly asked “For those people who claim that America’s and Israel’s interests are antithetical to each other, how do we justify or explain our loyalty to both?”

John Podhoretz answered first by pointing to the common values shared by both nations — their belief that all men (and women, of course) are equal before God and their commitment to true Democratic values (however imperfectly that commitment may sometimes be realized). He noted that these shared values have resulted in two unusually free societies, free by any standards, but especially when one compares Israel’s society to her neighbors. Although I don’t think he quite said it outright, I gather that Mr. Podhoretz believes that American Jews are not disloyal to America when they support Israel because it is the morally correct thing to do: one beacon of light supporting another. I think he’s right.

When he’d wrapped up, Mona Charen chimed in to point out that the most fervent support for Israel comes, not from American Jews, but from Evangelical Christians. In other words, support of Israel is not some shady Jewish conspiracy, but is part of the value system religious conservatives of all stripes, both Christian and Jewish.

Finally, Michael Medved closed with the flip side to these preceding answers. That is, after Mr. Podhoretz and Ms. Charen pointed out that it is not unpatriotic to support Israel, he explained why Jews are — or should be — patriotic. His take, and one with which I strongly agree, is that America is one of the great blessings bestowed on the Jews. In America, they have enjoyed freedom and opportunity the likes of which has never been seen before during diaspora history — and probably wasn’t seen that often during the Jews’ own Biblical history. We have every reason to be profoundly grateful to this nation that has treated us so generously over the centuries, and there is no reason to doubt the patriotism of Jews who recognize America’s beneficence.

Mr. Medved also suggested a thought experiment: if Jews could magically vanish onto a space ship (kind of like the space ship that Louis Farrakhan assures his followers will be coming for them), would the world like America any better? It’s doubtful that the Europeans would. Our support for Israel isn’t why they dislike us, it’s just a piece of evidence in the litany of complaints they have against us. As for the Muslim world, Medved believes that it is our support for Israel — real support, not just lip service — that forces the Muslim world to pay attention to us and to give us some influence in those lands, influence we’d never have if there was no Israel and they dealt with us only as supplicants for oil. He also pointed out that, in the Arab hierarchy, we’re the Great Satan, with Israel ranking only as the Little Satan. That may relate to geographic size, but one has to suspect it also goes to influence and importance.

I gathered that the panel thought it was a good question (something reinforced by the fact that Mr. Medved was kind enough to tell me — twice — that it was a good question). I liked their answers, but I’d be interested in what you have to say as well. So, my question again: Can American Jews be both patriotic Americans and supporters of Israel? And to take Mona Charen’s point, if an American Evangelical Christian supports Israel, should that call his patriotism into question in the same way that people feel it calls a Jewish person’s patriotism into question?

Syria — spoiler or saviour?

My view of the Annapolis talks has been that they will turn into something of a gang bang, with Israel, led by the inept Olmert, as the victim. I just know that Israel is going to concede and concede and concede, with nothing to show for the experience except a ruined reputation and some serious problems down the line. However, it turns out that Syria, of all countries, has stated that its purpose is to make sure that Israel leaves Annapolis with her national virtue intact.  Okay — I admit it.  Syria doesn’t actually use that language, nor does Syria intend for anything good to happen to Israel.  Nevertheless, Israel might benefit from Syria’s stated goal going in, which is to make sure that nothing whatsoever comes out of Annapolis:

It really would be something if the Syrian delegation could find their own road to Damascus on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. But that would require something approximating good faith. The Syrians’ decision to be represented at Annapolis by their deputy foreign minister–his bosses evidently having more important things to do–is one indication of the lack of it. So is the Assad regime’s declaration (via an editorial in state newspaper Teshreen) that their goal at Annapolis is “to foil [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert’s plan to force Arab countries to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” And lest the point hadn’t been driven home forcefully enough, the Syrian information minister told Al Jazeera that Syria’s attendance would have no effect on its relations with Iran or its role as host to the leadership of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.

Of course, things are never quite so simple. Because Syria seems more adept at this Machiavellian game than either America or Israel, there’s a strong likelihood that it’s not simply going to ensure that Annapolis doesn’t change the status quo (because I’m sure Olmert, unfettered, will make things worse), but instead it will actually use subtlety and nuance to drive both the US and Israel into positions that are untenable and even dangerous over the long term.  Thus, as Bret Stephens says in the article from which I quoted above:

At best, then, Syria will attend Annapolis as a kind of non-malignant observer, lending a gloss of pan-Arab seriousness to the proceedings. At worst, it will be there as a spoiler and unofficial spokesman of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. If it’s clever, it will adopt a policy of studied ambivalence, with just enough positive chemistry to induce the administration into believing it might yet be prepared for a real Volte face, provided the U.S. is also prepared to rewrite its Syria policy. Recent attestations by Gen. David Petraeus, that Damascus is finally policing its border with Iraq to slow the infiltration of jihadis, suggest that’s just the game they mean to play.

What price will the U.S. be asked to pay? Contrary to popular belief, recovering the Golan is neither Syria’s single nor primary goal; if anything, the regime derives much of its domestic legitimacy by keeping this grievance alive. What’s urgently important to Damascus is that the U.N. tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri be derailed, before the extensive evidence implicating Mr. Assad and his cronies becomes a binding legal verdict. No less important to Mr. Assad is that his grip on Lebanese politics be maintained by the selection of a pliant president to replace his former puppet, Emile Lahoud. Syria would also like to resume normal diplomatic relations with the U.S. (which withdrew its ambassador from Damascus after Hariri’s killing), not least by the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by the 2003 Syria Accountability Act.

Random thoughts about Annapolis

Regarding Annapolis, I’ve had little to say. I feel as if I’m watching a car accident in slow motion, horrified by the spectacle, but helpless to do anything. I do have one hope, though, and one comment. My hope is that the Arab nations attending get into “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” mode and recognize that they may need to form an alliance with Israel against the greater threat that is Iran.

The comment is that I know the outcome is going to be the same old, same old: Palestinians are going to emerge with tangible benefits based on their promise never to be bad again. This will happen regardless of a long history showing that this is one promise they can’t keep.

How about this instead: If Palestinians promise to go 40 years without attacking Israelis, and do in fact keep that promise, then they will get X, Y & Z.

By the way, that 40 years is a deliberate number that you may recognize from the Bible: God determined that 40 years in the desert was a sufficient time for the old, slave generation to die out and a new nation to be born, deserving of its own land. Maybe 40 years of self-imposed peace amongst the Palestinians will be enough to see the fading away of the hatred that currently animates them so that a new people can be born.

Of course, my wish will never see the light of day. As always, Israel will make concessions and get nothing in return but bombs dropped on her citizens. As many have said, until the Arabs take the first step of recognizing the Jewish state’s right to exist, everything else is meaningless, pointless window dressing. As Bernard Lewis said in a WSJ article (which, unfortunately, is behind the subscription barrier as of this writing):

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

UPDATEA little boost for my theory that the Arab leaders showed up because their fear of Iran outweighs their hatred for Israel.

If you’re a friend of Israel….

If you’re a friend of Israel, go here, read and, if you’re like me, you’ll then want to take the recommended action, action that I already suggested here.

I won’t badmouth Condi Rice here, but I’d like to.

Keep Jerusalem whole

If you are like me and think that it’s insane to use the Annapolis gather to pressure Israel to divide Jerusalem, you can make your voice heard through a free phone call.  Go to this link and follow the instructions.

If you’re waffling, keep in mind that, when Jerusalem was in Arab hands after the Israeli War of Independence, the Arabs evicted all Jewish residents, desecrated Jewish graves and sites of worship and denied Jews access to their holy places.  Since 1967, when Israel took Jerusalem, the Israelis have made this holy city freely available to all worshipers.  Also, do keep in mind what happened in Gaza just recently when Hamas took over.  This is a bad idea whose time has not come and whose time should never come.

Hat tip:  LGF

Let’s avoid those pushy Joos

England recently made a very big to do over a state visit from the King of Saudi Arabia, the land in which women are veiled, rape victims are beaten, thieves are dislimbed, and Bible owners are imprisoned and killed. That place. That place that is the antithesis of all Western values. However, it appears that royal England is less enthused about the single Middle Eastern nation that has a Western style rule of law, that provides equal rights and protection to women, and that allows freedom of worship. That nasty place, Israel, just isn’t on the royal family’s to do list:

Leaked emails between senior staff Clarence House have put Prince Charles at the centre of a row about the Royal Family’s attitude towards Israel.

Exchanges between Sir Michael Peat, the Prince’s principal secretary, and Clive Alderton, Sir Michael’s deputy, contained apparently disparaging remarks about the Jewish state.

Earlier this year the Israeli embassy invited the two senior aides to Israel for a four-day visit as guests of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Sir Michael initially replied enthusiastically, saying: “The invitation is hugely appreciated and Clive and I would love to come.”

The comments which have caused offence came a month later in an exchange of emails between Mr Alderton and Sir Michael which were apparently accidentally copied to Zvi Heifetz, the outgoing Jewish ambassador.

In the emails, obtained by the the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Alderton complains of being “pursued” by the ambassador and says to his boss:

“Safe to assume there is no chance of this visit ever actually happening?
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“Acceptance would make it hard to avoid the many ways in which Israel would want HRH [Prince Charles] to help burnish its international image.

“In which case, let’s agree a way to lower his expectations.”

***

The Royal Family has never made a formal state visit to Israel.

In 1994 the Prince Philip went to Yad Vashem and planted a tree in memory of his mother and in 1995 Prince Charles attended the funeral of the assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The royals are spinning frantically, and Israel is being polite, but the fact remains that the future king of England, who has long had a love affair with Islam, is pursuing a course that can only mean he welcomes the embrace of the 7th Century and turns his back on the type of liberal democracy that his country helped create.  Political expediency is one thing, but an absolute lack of moral values is another.  Pardon me for saying this, but what scum.

Here’s how the story could have been reported, Part II

A few months ago, I took umbrage at a BBC news story that reported that Israel killed Palestinian children and only saw fit to mention, in the 5th and 6th paragraphs, that the children were fiddling around rocket launchers when Israel fired its missiles. I felt that the news was being reported to demonize Israel, and that’s why it led the story with the dead children. Just to refresh your recollection, here are the headline and first three paragraphs of that story:

Palestinian children die in blast

Three Palestinian children have been killed after an Israeli tank shell hit northern Gaza, Palestinian doctors say.

Israel’s military confirmed it launched an attack, saying it had targeted people setting up a rocket launcher.

Doctors said two boys aged 10 and 12 died of shrapnel wounds. A 12-year-old girl who was critically injured in the blast died also in hospital.

Two months later, I now have an interesting comparison study about how newspapers report child deaths in the Middle East. As you may recall, yesterday Hamas, a Palestinian organization, fired into a crowd of supports of Fatah, another Palestinian organization. Here are a few headlines and first paragraphs.

From the BBC:

Deadly clash at Arafat Gaza rally

At least six people have died in gunfire at a rally in Gaza City organised by Fatah to mark three years since the death of Yasser Arafat.

The violence occurred when Fatah supporters began taunting Hamas police and throwing stones, witnesses said.

From the London Times:

Bloody anniversary wrecks hopes for peace between Gaza factions

Seven people were killed and more than 100 wounded yesterday when Hamas paramilitary police clashed with Fatah supporters during a massive Gaza City rally marking the third anniversary of Yassir Arafat’s death.

In the worst inter-Palestinian clashes since the Islamist Hamas drove its secular Fatah rivals from the Gaza Strip in June, the self-appointed Hamas police force fired on a demonstration and beat protesters, claiming that Fatah snipers on rooftops had triggered the violence.

From Sky News:

Gunmen Open Fire At Gaza City Rally

At least five people have reportedly been killed at a mass rally marking former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s death.

Hospital officials said 50 others were wounded when security forces opened fire in Gaza City.

From the AP (via the Winnipeg Sun):

7 killed as Hamas open fire on Fatah rally

GAZA CITY — Seven civilians were killed and dozens were wounded in a clash between Palestinian factions yesterday when Hamas police opened fire after protesters began hurling rocks.

On the anniversary of the 2003 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a rally of more than 250,000 Fatah supporters posed the strongest challenge to Hamas rule in Gaza since the Islamic militants seized the territory.

From the New York Times:

6 Palestinians Killed in Gaza at Fatah Rally

GAZA, Nov. 12 — At least six Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded here on Monday when a rally by the relatively pro-Western Fatah movement to mark the third anniversary of the death of its founder, Yasir Arafat, ended in armed clashes with its rival, Hamas.

Doctors at two Gaza hospitals said all of the dead and most of the wounded were Fatah supporters who had taken part in the rally.

None of these stories, from major news outlets, make any mention of children amongst the dead after this Palestinian violence. Yet, surprisingly, at least one child was, in fact, a victim of this internecine bloodshed. I discovered that tidbit in paragraph 9 of a London Times story from today looking back on yesterday’s events.  Yesterday, buried deep in its initial report of the event, the London Times did have witnesses report that children were in the line of fire, but it mentioned no juvenile deaths.  The New York Times also didn’t mention juvenile deaths in its initial report, although I think it gets credit for reporting the Palestinians’ dawning realization that they opted for a sizzling Palestinian fire in lieu of the warmer, more humane, Israeli frying pan:

At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Afaf Abu Tayeh, 45, was waiting by the morgue. She was there to look for two sons, ages 16 and 17. “The Israelis were more merciful than them,” she said of Hamas. “They beat children in front of my eyes.”

Maybe it’s just coincidence, but I think there is something going on when the death of children is reported so differently, depending on who is doing the shooting.  And I think that what is going on is that the media, either purposely or because of an inherent, uncontrollable bias, views Israel as a demonic child-killing country (sort of the modern blood libel), while it is loathe to give any openings for too many value judgments regarding the Palestinians, whom the media has championed for so long.  And all the while, as we excuse the Palestinians for their bestial conduct towards others as well as to themselves, we give them carte blanche to continue with such behavior, so that more children will die.

Maybe Condi has a plan

I respect Condi Rice for the most part, but have thought her naive for believing (or, at least, appearing to believe) that the Palestinians want peace with Israel, as opposed to Israel in pieces.  David Brooks, however, thinks that there is a method to her madness, and that Iran’s follies may result in a back door route to some stability in the Middle East:

It’s not really about Israel and the Palestinians; it’s about Iran. Rice is constructing a coalition of the losing. There is a feeling among Arab and Israeli leaders that an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance is on the march. The nations that resist that alliance are in retreat. The peace process is an occasion to gather the “moderate” states and to construct what Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center calls an anti-Iran counter-alliance.

It’s slightly unfortunate that the peace process itself is hollow. It’s like having a wedding without a couple because you want to get the guests together for some other purpose. But that void can be filled in later. The main point is to organize the anti-Iranians around some vehicle and then reshape the strategic correlation of forces in the region.

Iran has done what decades of peace proposals have not done — brought Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinians and the U.S. together. You can go to Jerusalem or to some Arab capitals and the diagnosis of the situation is the same: Iran is gaining hegemonic strength over the region and is spreading tentacles of instability all around.

Though this article originated in the NY Times, I take its conclusions with a grain of salt, simply because I’ve come to distrust the Times.  Nevertheless, this is certainly not a wacky idea, and it does reflect an impulse to bring some central stability to a region that will become entirely unbalanced if the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis does in fact ascend to real power, rather than stopping at the noises of power, along with the violence of terrorism.

There’s an ugly irony here

A Palestinian human rights group is complaining about major abuses against Palestinian civilians. The malfeasors stand accused of

  • “extra-judicial and willful killings and shooting at combatants and civilians after capturing them;”
  • seizing people “in their homes” and dumping their bodies “in remote areas;”
  • executing “wounded persons during their evacuation to hospitals;”
  • pushing people “to their deaths from tall buildings;”
  • shooting people to death in hospital beds; and
  • “disregard[ing] the lives of civilians” by using civilian homes as battle grounds.

Those damn Israelis!

Whoops. There I go again, misreading a news stories. The fact is, as soon as I saw the words “Palestinians” and “abuses” I went on automatic pilot.  After all, from ordinary media reports, whenever the Palestinians complain about the violence visited against them, it’s always the Israelis’ fault. But not this time: this time, it’s Palestinian on Palestinian violence being reported, from the Fatah/Hamas fighting.

Nor can we get around the Israelis’ lack of involvement by contending that they somehow brutalized these people, rendering them incapable of avoiding this type of violence. As Augean Stables explains, a recent study shows that, while 11 million Arabs have died in the last 57 years, over 90% of them were killed by fellow Muslims. In other words, the bloody, brutal, heartless battles being waged amongst the Palestinians slot neatly into a cultural approach to tribal warfare that has absolutely nothing to do with the Jews.

News out of the Middle East

A few stories caught my eye regarding the Middle East:

The Palestinians say that they won’t negotiate with Israel until Israel agrees in advance to their demands.  (That’s an interesting negotiating tactic and definitely one to try during my next Court-ordered settlement conference.)

Egypt has discovered a smuggling tunnel into Gaza, a squiblet that tells lots about how neighboring Arab states feel about the Palestinians (useful tools, but dangerous), the risks Israel took when she left Gaza and stopped being able to police it, and the reason why Gaza should be viewed and treated as an enemy nation.

Syria is celebrating the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War — which it lost.  Again, you can read into that fact a whole lot about the Arab and Muslim psyche.  Local papers in Syria are issuing a call to war saying that this time they’ll be victorious (so last time should be celebrated as a trial run).  Sadly, one of these days, they’re going to be right.

What Ahmadinejad really said….

The media is congratulating itself for “exposing” Ahmadinejad with its constant focus on it’s “we have no gays in Iran” statement. Ha, ha, ha! Isn’t the man an idiot! Look, America, he thinks there are no gays in Iran!

Ahmadinejad is right, of course, when it comes to Iran. But he’s not right because he’s a silly little fool who doesn’t see what’s in front of him. He’s right because the Iranian government executes its gays — making it even worse than the Soviet Union, which “merely” sent them to Gulags and brutal “psychiatric” units.

What’s really important about the media’s coverage, though, is that all of it is besides the point. Whether it exposes Ahmadinejad as a laughable ignoramus or a murderous tyrant, it still misses what really happened during his speeches before the UN and at Columbia: he is an Islamic fanatic who is telling us that our culture is woefully corrupt and that his burgeoning nuclear weapon program is the way to purify our culture by destroying it, which in turn will pave the way for the glorious dawning of an Islamic takeover.

One person who totally gets this is Caroline Glick. In a wide-ranging article, she explains the text of his speech, explains how willfully world political leaders misunderstand it, and exposes how the Islamists are using the world’s antipathy to Israel as the wedge in their ongoing battle against the West itself. After detailing the Islamist’s explicit statement of their goals (statements we ignore at our peril) and the strides they have already made towards their goals, Glick says this:

THE POINT in all of this couldn’t be clearer. And Ahmadinejad made it at every opportunity. The Free World today finds itself embroiled in an ideological war for its very survival. Our enemies – whether Shi’ite or Sunni – are followers of a totalitarian ideology based on Islam which tells them that Allah wishes to rule the world through them. Israel is a central front in this war. Given the weakness of Western support for the Jews, jihadists see attacking Israel as a strategic tool for eroding the West’s ideological defenses and shoring up their supporters throughout the world.

The thing of it is that aside from blind narcissism, there is a reason that the West ignores the dangers facing it. The Western media ignored Ahmadinejad’s message, just as it has insistently ignored the messages of bin Laden and Fatah throughout the years, because Westerners have a hard time believing that anyone would want to abide by the Islamic world view which denies mankind’s desire for freedom.

But no matter how ugly an ideology is, in the absence of real competition it gains adherents and power. The only way to ensure that jihadists’ demonic views are defeated is by stridently defending and upholding the fundamental principles on which the Free World is based. And the West hasn’t even begun to take up this challenge.

As a result, it has handed its enemies two victories already. It has demoralized its potential allies in the Islamic world, and it has failed to rally its own people to defend themselves.

In spite of what the West would like to believe, Ahmadinejad and his allies from Ramallah to Waziristan, from Gaza to Kandahar to Baghdad, are not negotiating. They are fighting. Rather than ignore them or seek to find nonexistent common ground, we must defeat them – first and foremost on the battleground of ideas.

Right now, not only should we be afraid, by very afraid, of Iran, we should be even more afraid of our own leaders, who empower what should be an economically and intellectually disabled movement every time they negotiate with it and fail to send out an equally strong message supporting our own culture and world view.
Hat tip:  Paragraph Farmer

The military solution works

I would have missed this entirely if Patrick, my favorite Paragraph Farmer, hadn’t brought it to my attention.  It spells out good news for Israel and reveals an important lesson for Americans:

The mantra “there is no military solution to terrorism” is so rarely challenged these days that it was shocking to see the following commentary last Wednesday on the front page of Haaretz, a leading bastion of the “no military solution” theory.

“It’s common to claim it is impossible to defeat terrorism,” the analysis stated. But in the seven years since the intifada began, “the IDF and Shin Bet have come as close as possible to achieving victory. Since the beginning of the year, two soldiers (one each in the West Bank and Gaza) and six civilians (three in a suicide bombing in Eilat, two from Kassam rockets in Sderot and one who was stabbed to death in Gush Etzion) have been killed by terrorism. This is a very small number, considering the number of attempted attacks, and also compared to the high point of the intifada, when 450 Israelis were killed in 2002. The last suicide bombing in central Israel occurred 18 months ago, in April 2006.

“The formula that produced this achievement is known,” it continued: aggressive intelligence gathering, the security fence and “the IDF’s complete freedom of action in West Bank cities.”

If this is not victory, it is a close enough approximation that most Israelis would happily settle for it. That is why the June Peace Index poll found Jewish Israelis overwhelmingly opposed to security concessions to the Palestinian Authority, with 79 percent against arming the PA, 71 percent against removing checkpoints and 54 percent against releasing prisoners: Few Israelis want to scrap measures that have reduced Israeli fatalities from 450 to eight over the last five years.

It also helps explain the stunning reversal in Israeli attitudes toward Sderot revealed by August’s Peace Index poll. According to that poll, fully 69 percent of Jewish Israelis now support an extensive ground operation in Gaza to stop the Kassam fire at southern Israel – whereas last December, 57 percent opposed such an operation. Moreover, this support crossed party lines: Even among people who voted for the leftist Labor and Meretz parties, 64 and 67 percent, respectively, favored a major military operation in Gaza.

That’s just the intro.  The rest of the article makes the same point, tracing the history of Israel’s response to the Intifadah, which ranged from non-military and passive to the current (and successful) military and aggressive.  Despite this manifest success, Evelyn Gordon, the article’s author, still has to ask why senior Israeli officers and politicians are still going around saying “the military option doesn’t work.”

I can think of a couple of reasons.  The first is that the muckety-mucks are saying this as a meaningless platitude to satisfy world opinion, which is untroubled by dead Israelis, but they still intend to go on doing what needs to be done to save Israeli lives.  Alternatively, because these muckety-mucks keep rubbing shoulders with the European and American political class (including Condi Rice, who’s always weak about the Middle East), they may be suffering from the Greenhouse effective.

What, you ask, is the Greenhouse effect?  It does not mean that their brains have been fried by rising global temperatures.  Instead, it refers to one theory about why many Supreme Court justices, once ensconced, start turning Left:  Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times‘ Supreme Court correspondent.  Even conservatives recognize that (at least until it started its startling decline), the Times was the paper in America, which made Greenhouse the Supreme Court reporter.  If she stroked you for a good decision, you purred; if she complained, you felt wounded.  Since people like strokes, even Supreme Court people, there came into being a subliminal urge to make Linda Greenhouse happy, so that she would write nice things about you, saying that you were a brilliant jurist, a humanist, and an inspired thinker.

In that light, maybe the high-ups in Israel are unconsciously craving a break from the relentless international criticism directed at Israel.  By saying what the world community wants to hear, these men and women in turn get to hear what they need — “you’re so smart and correct.”

Putting the sob story in context

The New York Times has a long, sad story about children killed in Gaza. As the first few paragraphs are framed, not only should your heart be wrenched at the children’s death (which is always a tragedy), but you should also feel inflamed with rage that Israel would visit this destruction on innocents:

The three Abu Ghazala fathers were in mourning, in the Palestinian way, sitting with their relatives recently in a shaded courtyard, open to the fields of watermelon and eggplant in which their children had died.

The children — Yehiya, 12, Mahmoud, 9, and Sara, 9 — were tending goats and playing tag on Aug. 29 when an Israeli shell or rocket blew them apart. “They went up to that palm tree,” said Ramadan Abu Ghazala, Yehiya’s father, pointing 300 yards away. “They went there every day.”

As the fathers, all farmers, talked, an Israeli blimp, with cameras, hovered in the sky above Beit Hanoun on the northern edge of Gaza, an Israeli drone buzzed in the air and an Israeli watchtower loomed over the nearby border. It was the blimp or the drone, presumably, that first identified the target.

Fatah, the more secular and nationalist of the two main Palestinian movements, and the opposition here in Hamas-run Gaza, has adopted the three young cousins. A Fatah flag flies over the house where they all lived. Fatah has published a “martyr” poster of the three, with Sara represented, between the boys, by a large bunch of red roses. Anyone who dies for any reason in the fight with Israel is regarded by Palestinians as a martyr, with a rapid path to heaven.

Wow. Clearly, the Israelis are either (a) intentionally targeting children or (b) they’re firing shells at random to terrorize the local population. Well, not so fast. Context starts to creep in in the next paragraph:

The Israeli Army said the children were playing near a launcher used to send Qassam rockets into Israel to try to kill or destroy anyone and anything they happen to land on — children, soldiers, livestock. Sderot, an Israeli city visible from here, has been the main target, and its residents live in fear, running to shelters when an alarm sounds. Sometimes they do not make it.

The children touched the launcher, the Israelis say. But they will not say what munition hit the children, except that it was ground-launched. The assumption here is that it was a missile, directed or fired by the Israeli troops who often hide in the orchards and fields, trying to kill the gunmen who launch the Qassams.

The Israelis, who contend they must do everything they can to stop rockets from falling on innocent Israelis, say they did not realize that the targets in this case were children, except when it was too late. The Abu Ghazalas do not defend the rocket fire from their fields.

I can give a little more context, because I blogged about this story when it was first reported, at the end of August. It turns out that there were several rocket launchers aimed at a heavily industrialized part of Israel near the Gaza border. Israeli surveillance revealed several people clustered around the rocket launchers, and assumed that they were ready to be fired. It was based on this information that the Israel Army attacked, not the people, nor the village, nor the field, but the rocket launchers themselves. As an Israeli military source said, rocket launcher sites are appropriately considered war zones, and are reasonable military targets. Even had the Israeli military known that the people clustered around the launchers were children, that would not necessarily have been a reason to hold fire against what appeared to be an imminent threat. While individual Palestinian families suffer genuine grief at the death of their children, the Palestinian culture and, especially, the Palestinian terrorists, believe that children are useful warriors in their death match with Israel.

Given that the rocket launcher is a legitimate military target, perhaps our attention should shift from the Israelis and back to the family. In that regard I ask, “What the #*%@ were these children doing playing around a rocket launcher?” One Palestinian, after the children’s death, was shocked enough to speak the truth (anonymously, of course, because truth kills in that neck of the woods) — he believes that the fault lies with the ones who leave the guns near children.

A member of the Abu Ghazallah family who witnessed the airstrike said a rocket launcher was near the area where the children were playing. The relative, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, said the launcher belonged to Islamic Jihad, an armed movement responsible for much of the rocket fire into Israel.

“I hold the Islamic Jihad responsible for the killing of these children,” the relative said.

What he left unsaid is that the terrorists entice children there, effectively stating them out like tethered goats, ready to be killed for propaganda value.

If you plow deeper into the story, there is material there showing that Israeli’s are not, in fact, targeting children and are, instead, troubled by the children put into military zones and doing their best to avoid tangling with them:

And although the children had been killed by ground fire, [an Israeli military spokeswoman] offered an interview with an Israeli fighter pilot, identified only as Major Asaf, who spoke with feeling of how hard Israel tried “to prevent terror actions against our innocent civilians” while “not hurting the innocent on the other side.”

“The moment we see that there is any doubt that all the people in the vicinity are armed, our policy is to cancel the mission,” Major Asaf said.

That these aren’t just words is demonstrated by another anecdote told in the same article, although it wraps up with a scathing indictment from the Palestinians because Israel failed to dispense sufficient medical care to a people who, as a group, are intend upon destroying them:

In June, the first day of vacation after school exams, four boys were playing at the beach, near the former Israeli settlement of Dugit, in northwest Gaza, about 100 yards from the border fence, another good place to launch Qassams.

Israeli forces were just inside Gaza, searching for rocket-launching teams. The troops saw the boys crawling toward the fence and appearing to dig and plant something, presumably an explosive.

The Israelis say they yelled a warning over a loudspeaker and fired warning shots, then real ones. Two of the boys, Ahmed Abu Zubeida, 9, and Zaher al-Majdalawi, 10, were shot dead. Muhammad al-Atawanah, 16, was seriously wounded and brought by the Israelis to an Israeli hospital, where he was treated and interrogated by Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence agency. Muhammad Abu Tabaq, 15, ran away.

Some Palestinians said the boys had been digging for scrap metal. Others said they had been flying a kite and wanted to hide it while they went to the beach. That is roughly the Atawanah youth’s story.

“We swam, we played and flew the kite, but it hit something and fell,” he said. “We all bent to try to find out what went wrong and fix it, but then there was shooting. Ahmed wasn’t moving. Zaher was bleeding. I got a bullet in the back.” The Israeli soldiers took him to the hospital, but he accused them of not helping Zaher. “They are criminals!” he said. “All this for a kite!”

So, we have a military that, before defending itself, gives loud verbal warnings and warning shots before it fires.  It then takes away those who are wounded and treats them.

In case you need a reality check to see just how abnormal Israel’s behavior is, not in terms of brutality, but in terms of being an unusually humane — probably too humane to be effective — military force, why don’t you check out some live blogging from this May when Palestinians were lobbing rockets into a town, with many heading for a school.  The rockets heading for the school were surely no coincidence.  Palestinian terrorists like intentional targeting schools.   Oh, and about the Israelis treating the wounded boy, please contrast that with the two soldiers who got lost in the West bank and were actually ripped to pieces by a screaming, celebratory crowd.

War is brutal and children die.  But for the NY Times to run a story that wallows in the Gazans’ victimhood without providing a stronger dose of context (I think the context is weak), is just well — typical.

(Sorry for this post’s fading out.  I’ve been trying to get it written all day, but between work and children, this is the best I can do.)

Transcendent beauty

I have nothing to add.  Go here, to Michelle Malkin, and be sure to watch the video.

The alignment of the Left

One more thing, related in a way to the SF mural post I did earlier.  Yesterday, I did a post about that amazing collection of photographs that came to the US Holocaust Memorial, showing photos of the Auschwitz staff (guards/management) at play.  My post was fairly banal, in that I made the unoriginal observation about the horrifying normalcy of evil, which is part of why the Holocaust looms so large in the collective memory:  we can’t separate ourselves from the perpetrators because they are not alien savages; they are like us.

What was much more interesting than my post was the horrible anti-Israel comments I got, all of which denigrated the Holocaust by saying the Jews are now, and were at their founding, just as bad.  Even more interesting was the fact that these comments relied on Leftist Israeli academics who promote this viewpoint:  Benny Morris and Victoria Buch.  (The commenters seemed not to know about, or care about the fact, that Morris has been repeatedly exposed for manipulating the material to the point of fraud, not to mention the fact that this heroic intellectual, fearing Iran, has shifted dramatically rightward, perhaps as he contemplates the real meaning of a real Holocaust, not just a Leftist defined event.)

As my sister-in-law pointed out having seen the two posts in tandem, Leftism trumps and absorbs everything in its path and reduces it to the simplistic level of oppressors and victims.  Then it tells all who are neither Jewish, Israeli nor an old-fashioned patriotic American that they are in the victim category and must make common cause with all other victims.

Syria is up to its neck in dirt

I have increasingly less doubt that Israel’s raid into Syria was intended to knock out some sort of three way nuclear transaction involving Syria, North Korea and Iran.  This is especially true given the absence of huffing and puffing from anyone, including Syria, about what Israel did.  Syria wants to keep the event low profile, because it was violating every international law known to man.  And heads of state around the world are once again breathing a sigh of relief that Israel stepped in and did the world’s dirty work for them (just as Israel did in 1981 in Iraq).

But if you had any doubt about Syria’s complicity in the worst type of WMDs, get a load of this story about a little industrial accident in Syria during the summer:

Additional proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction was revealed Monday in a Jane’s Magazine report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas and VX gas.

The factory was created for the purpose of adapting ballistic missiles to carry chemical payloads, Jane’s claimed.

Although reports of the accident were circulated at the time, no details were released by the Syrian government, nor was the Iranian connection revealed.

SANA – Syrian news agency — at the time cited an official information source which stated that “an explosion ripped through an explosives depot in Aleppo, northern Syria, due to the high temperature that … set off the high explosives materials. 15 soldiers were martyred and 50 were wounded. Most of the wounded were treated from their minor wounds caused by the shattered glass and left the hospital.” The source The source added that ” the explosion was not the result of sabotage.”

In a startling non-sequitur, the very next paragraph in the above quoted story, which comes from IsraelInsider, reveals that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is insane:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had only praise Monday for Syrian President Bashar Assad Monday. “I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and for Syrian policy. They have internal problems, but we have no reason to rule out dialogue with Syria.”

What’s Hebrew for “impeachment”?

Are you really sure you want a world without Israel?

A reader sent me a link to a wonderful site called Israel High Tech TV, which highlights all of the technology Israel has brought to the world, including the speed of the computer you’re using right now.  A world without Israel would not be a world free from Islamic grievances and aggression, but it certainly would be a world with fewer inventions that enhance our lives at every level.

This is how they decide to celebrate the High Holy Days?

Through a reader, I just got wind of the shenanigans (or, should I say, the Sheehan-igans) going on at Beyt Tikkun, the ultra Left wing synagogue in Berkeley. It turns out that the special guest at this year’s High Holy Days is going to be none other than Cindy “get Israel out of Palestine!” Sheehan.

Let me backtrack a little so that you can see what a travesty this whole thing is, and how (to my mind) it really shockingly mixes religion and politics — or, should I say, uses politics to destroy religion.

First, let’s talk about the High Holy Days. As the name implies, these are not little holidays in the Jewish calendar. In the middle and at the end of September we’re coming up to the big ones: Rosh Hashanna, or Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. One Jewish website neatly summarizes their importance:

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most important of all Jewish Holidays and the only holidays that are purely religious, as they are not related to any historical or natural event.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated the first and second days of Tishri. It is a time of family gatherings, special meals and sweet tasting foods.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn day of the Jewish year and is observed on the tenth day of Tishri. It is a day of fasting, reflection and prayers.

Thus, while American merchants in December are kind enough to decorate their stores with Menorahs, all of which remind us of a great military victory (that would be Chanukah), it’s these Fall holidays that are the real deal for even the most marginally observant Jew.

Second, let’s talk about Michael Lerner, a man who is both a far Leftist and (at least in his own mind) a rabbi. Lerner has long been a well-known figure on the Left, especially since he always favored highly wrought symbolic acts to make his various political points:

A former 1960s Berkeley radical, Michael Lerner (b. 1943) is the founder of Tikkun magazine, a publication whose philosophy is an admixture of Old Testament teachings, medieval cabala mysticism, and 1960s-style campus Marxism. Though Lerner identifies himself as a duly ordained rabbi, many of his critics dispute that claim – on grounds that he was given a controversial private rabbinic ordination by “Jewish Renewal” rabbis, whose ordinations are recognized only by those within the Jewish Renewal community and Reconstructionist Judaism. Orthodox Judaism, the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly all consider such ordinations invalid.

Lerner’s radical politics and counterculture mindset were nourished during his years at Berkeley and have remained with him ever since. At his wedding reception, the wedding cake was inscribed with the words, “Smash Monogomy,” a slogan popularized by the Weathermen terrorist group that rose to prominence in 1969. During the marriage ceremony itself, Lerner and his bride exchanged rings fashioned out of metal extracted from a downed U.S. military aircraft. Shortly after the birth of the Lerners’ first child, the couple separated – the mother and son going to live in Boston, and Mr. Lerner returning to Berkeley. When asked why he had chosen to move so far from his young son, he answered without hesitation, “You don’t understand. I have to be here. Berkeley is the center of the world-historical spirit.” (Sha’i Ben Tekoa Israel National News – “Deprogram Program” June 4, 2001).

Lerner might have remained a fringe figure, running the Berkeley beat, if it weren’t for the fact that, during the 1990s, he sprang into the public view as the Clintons’ rabbi friend:

For some time, Lerner had a warm relationship with Hillary Clinton – and, by extension, with Bill Clinton also. Lerner’s 1997 book titled The Politics of Meaning was the source of Mrs. Clinton’s widely publicized use of that phrase. In a spirit reminiscent of the inscription atop Lerner’s wedding cake, one of his book’s chapters is entitled “The Tyranny of Couples.” In Hell To Pay, her biography of Hillary Clinton, author Barbara Olson reports that Lerner, during his years of friendship with Mrs. Clinton, liked to frequently invoke the phrase, “Hillary and I believe” as a prelude to identifying points of agreement he shared with her. However, as the Clinton presidency progressed, Lerner, a devoted far-leftist, lost interest in Bill and Hillary when he saw that polling data and focus groups were leading the administration toward moderation on such issues as welfare reform and social welfare spending.

Of course, in the 1990s, when the media was fawning over him, we never heard about (or we heard little about) Lerner’s Marxist politics and anti-American animus. Instead, we read fawning articles about his deep spirituality and his amazing ability to renew Jewish thinking amongst yuppies searching for meaning in their lives. And when he tired of the Clintons, the press ignored him and he just faded away.

Because Marxism always triumphs over all other religions, Lerner’s nominal role of a rabbi is always going to be subordinate to his political beliefs. Thus, while most Jews support Israel in her life and death struggle with the Palestinians (even Jews who acknowledge that Israel hasn’t always made the right practical or legal decisions over the years), Lerner, based upon Marxist misreadings of history, would see Israel destroyed entirely on the ground that she’s an imperialist U.S. puppet:

With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of recent decades, Lerner has consistently aligned himself with the Palestinian side. He characterizes Israel as a nation whose “repressive” and “fascistic” leadership uses “disproportionate force to repress an essentially unarmed population.” He exhorts Jews everywhere to “allow themselves to hear the cries of pain of the Palestinian people” – as a first step toward atonement for their own transgressions. When asked about a barbaric October 2000 lynching of two Israeli reservists by Palestinian police in Ramallah, he replied that he understood “how Israel’s occupation can lead to such violence.”

“I believe,” says Lerner, “that the Israeli people will never be safe until the Occupation ends and a new spirit of repentance and generosity spreads through the Jewish people” He urges Jews “to atone for the pain we have inflicted on the Palestinian people in [many] years of brutal occupation, and in forcing so many Palestinians out of their home and not allowing them to return in 1948-49.” “Israel needs an atonement for what it has done,” he adds, “for the way it has failed to recognize the humanity, the sanctity of life, of Palestinians.” He lists, among Israeli transgressions, their responsibility “for expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians during the War of Independence in 1948″; “for not having fulfilled the terms of the Oslo Accord, which envisioned granting Palestinians an independent state several years ago”; “for not being able to recognize themselves as the superior force with the greater responsibility to compromise and respect the needs of the less powerful”; and for “the deep racism in their society.”

Notably, Lerner does believe that the obligation to pay restitution to victims of injustice is a two-way street. Thus, while calling for Israel to provide “significant compensation for the families of Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes in 1948,” he similarly advocates a “corresponding compensation from Arab lands for Jews who fled Arab oppression in 1948-1954.”

Given all this, would it surprise you to know that the guest of honor at Beyt Tikkun’s High Holy Day services this year is going to be Cindy Sheehan, who is also completely hostile to Israel? At Free Republic, someone who is on a mailing list received this invitation to Beyt Tikkun’s services:

You may not live in the SF Bay Area, but there is a very good chance you know someone who does and who would love the High Holiday services conducted by Rabbi Michael Lerner. Cindy Sheehan will speak on Yom Kippur.

This year, all of America needs repentance and atonement, not just Jews. The failure of Americans to give an unequivocal message to their elected representatives that they must immediately cut off fund for the war, prevent a US attack on Iran, reverse the decision to expand the President’s power to tap our phones and invade our privacy, and stop the assault on immigrants provide an immediate focus for repentance, but the larger context of materialism, self-centeredness and environmental irresponsibility add dimensionality.

You don’t have to be Jewish to use the repentance and atonement traditions of the Jewish High Holy Days this year. So even if you can’t come to Rabbi Lerner’s High Holiday services, you can still use some fo the resources below, and you can tell people you know in the Bay Area about the services and expose them to a spiritual progressive version of religion. This is a Judaism of love, generosity, kindness, social justice, environmental sanity and peace. Rosh Hashanah is the evening of Sept. 12th and then Sept 13 & 14th. Yom Kippur is eve of Sept. 21 and all day Sept 22nd. Also note the course on A Judaism of Love being offered by Rabbi Lerner the weekend of Nov.9-11 (see below).

To get a better sense of what Jewish High Holidays are about, and how they can provide a spiritual practice even for people who don’t believe that there is such a thing as “spiritual” (much less God), please go to this website and download the High Holiday Guide (which also appears in Tikkun Magazine between pages 16-17. http://www.beyttikkun.org/article.php?story=HHDmain

Information and registration at http://www.beyttikkun.org. Take it from us, it’s a life changing experience for those who come to all the services and then use the High Holiday Guide above during the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (which is why some people have flown to our services from Miami, NY, Boston, Minneapolis, San Diego and Chicago?and were happy they did! So, let your friends in this area know about the services by urging them to go to http://www.beyttikkun.org. They do NOT have to be Jewish to get a huge amount out of this practice.

It’s worth traveling for!

The one bummer: we have to charge for this. We believe all religious services should be free, as should health care, higher education, utilities, the internet, public transportation and legal costs. Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet, and in order to pay our yearly expenses we have to charge (sliding fee scale). In exchange for some volunteer work and commitment to attend the Global Judaism of Love course in Nov (but see http://www.beyttikkun.org for all conditions), people 21-34 can become a member of Beyt Tikkun for free and then don’t have to pay to go to services at all.

Mearsheimer and Walt Speak on The Israel Lobby for Beyt Tikkun and the NSP

(I hope you caught that bit at the end, which has Beyt Tikkun avidly supporting Walt & Mearsheimer’s repackaged Protocols of the Elders of Zion.)

Is it just me or does this announcement have absolutely nothing to do with religion? As I read it, it’s the usual Leftist/Progressive anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Administration blather with a thin coating of religion painted over it. Why do these people even bother with the religious veneer? This is politics, pure and simple. It reminds me of the way in which the former Soviet Union used to pretend it had a Russian Orthodox Church by propping up a few old churches, and staffing them with KGB clergy.

There are a lot of people who hate Israel and who hate Jews but it always seems to me that some of the worst (sadly) are Jews themselves.

The Israel lobby

With the resurgent charge that there is a pro-Israel lobby destroying U.S. interests around the world, I’d like you to read this essay, from George Friedman, of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence organization. I’m publishing it with permission of Stratfor, which included this message in the email I receive regularly with Stratfor articles:

This report may be distributed or republished with attribution to Strategic Forecasting, Inc. at www.stratfor.com. For media requests, partnership opportunities, or commercial distribution or republication, please contact pr@stratfor.com.

Having got the legalisms out of the way, here’s the analysis:

The Israel Lobby in U.S. Strategy

 

By George Friedman

U.S. President George W. Bush made an appearance in Iraq’s restive Anbar province on Sept. 3 — in part to tout the success of the military surge there ahead of the presentation in Washington of the Petraeus report. For the next month or two, the battle over Iraq will be waged in Washington — and one country will come up over and over again, from any number of directions: Israel. Israel will be invoked as an ally in the war on terrorism — the reason the United States is in the war in the first place. Some will say that Israel maneuvered the United States into Iraq to serve its own purposes. Some will say it orchestrated 9/11 for its own ends. Others will say that, had the United States supported Israel more resolutely, there would not have been a 9/11.

There is probably no relationship on which people have more diverging views than on that between the United States and Israel. Therefore, since it is going to be invoked in the coming weeks — and Bush is taking a fairly irrelevant pause at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Australia — this is an opportune time to consider the geopolitics of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Let’s begin with some obvious political points. There is a relatively small Jewish community in the United States, though its political influence is magnified by its strategic location in critical states such as New York and the fact that it is more actively involved in politics than some other ethnic groups.

The Jewish community, as tends to be the case with groups, is deeply divided on many issues. It tends to be united on one issue — Israel — but not with the same intensity as in the past, nor with even a semblance of agreement on the specifics. The American Jewish community is as divided as the Israeli Jewish community, with a large segment of people who don’t much care thrown in. At the same time, this community donates large sums of money to American and Israeli organizations, including groups that lobby on behalf of Israeli issues in Washington. These lobbying entities lean toward the right wing of Israel’s political spectrum, in large part because the Israeli right has tended to govern in the past generation and these groups tend to follow the dominant Israeli strand. It also is because American Jews who contribute to Israel lobby organizations lean right in both Israeli and American politics.

The Israel lobby, which has a great deal of money and experience, is extremely influential in Washington. For decades now, it has done a good job of ensuring that Israeli interests are attended to in Washington, and certainly on some issues it has skewed U.S. policy on the Middle East. There are Jews who practice being shocked at this assertion, but they must not be taken seriously. They know better, which is why they donate money. Others pretend to be shocked at the idea of a lobbyist influencing U.S. policy on the Middle East, but they also need not be taken seriously, because they are trying to influence Washington as well, though they are not as successful. Obviously there is an influential Israel lobby in Washington.

(more, including an update)

More on the morality of supporting Israel, not the Palestinians

After a fascinating discussion ran at my blog regarding Israel’s legal standing, I did a post saying that, even if I doubted Israel’s rights in the land (which I don’t), I would support Israel anyway because she is a true Western Democracy being besieged by a a malevolent, amoral travesty of a state. Today, of course, the Palestinians gave a bit more evidence that my instincts are good (h/t LGF):

The Sderot Parents Association decided they would not take their children to schools and day care centers beginning Tuesday, until the government changed its policy regarding ongoing Kassam rocket attacks on the western Negev town, The Jerusalem Post learned Monday.

It followed a salvo of seven Kassam rockets that landed in and around the beleaguered town Monday morning. After one of the rockets thudded into the courtyard of a day care center, soldiers scrambled to evacuate everyone inside. Twelve people, including some of the babies, suffered shock and a building was damaged.

Despite the fact that none of the 15 babies at the center were wounded, frantic parents across the city – already furious over the government’s failure to protect them and their children from the near-daily rocket fire – pulled their children out of schools on the second day of the academic year.

In total, seven Kassam rockets landed in and around the western Negev town as Sderot children started their second day of the new school year. The Islamic Jihad said they had fired nine Kuds-3 rockets, saying on their internet site that the attack was “a present for the start of the new school year.” (Emphasis mine.)

You did get the gist of this article, I hope. Islamic Jihad deliberate aimed its rockets at a preschool. When their actions occurred, they boasted about it, making it clear that they had hoped for more destruction. Please contrast this with Israel ‘s recent apology for the deaths of three Palestinian children whom Islamic Jihad had deliberately enticed into a military target zone.

UPDATE: The military strategists who intentionally bomb infants proudly expand upon the righteousness of their “moral” choice:

According to the man, Abu Ahmed, “We definitely planned to increase the rocket fire when the school year opened in order to cause the world to pay attention to the suffering of the Palestinian schoolchildren s and their parents.”

The rocket barrage on Sderot landed as thousands of children made their way to schools and kindergartens. One of the Qassams landed not far from a kindergarten, causing 12 children to suffer from shock.

***

“I won’t deny that there is a connection,” Abu Ahmed said, “Although we wish not to emphasize this. There is a connection but it’s not a direct one. Our goal in increasing the rocket fire as the school year opens is to send a message to the Israelis and the world.

“Just like the closure imposed by Israel on the Strip prevents the Palestinians from earning their living and prevents the students from starting the school year normally and makes it difficult for them to buy clothes, bags and equipments – both because of the shortage and because of the economic difficulties – we would like to say that the Israelis will also not be secure in the south, including their schoolchildren.” (Emphasis mine.)

I do hope you caught the algorithm driving the attack there:  “Our kids are having a hard time buying school supplies, so we’re going to make it even by murdering your kids en masse.” Next time you try to find some moral relativism between Israel and the Palestinians, so as to justify either even handed support for both, or abandoning the former to support the latter, read these words again, and think about the choice you are making.

Why I support Israel

My blog, lately, has hosted a really interesting discussion about both Israel’s legal rights in the disputed territories and the Palestinians’ lack of legal rights. Those two statements (Israel’s rights vs. Palestinian non-rights) are not mirror-like redundancies. It’s entirely possible to argue (although I wouldn’t), that while Israel has no right to the disputed territories, neither do the Palestinians. That is, for Israel’s sake, advancing one argument is just as important as advancing the other.

The problem with the argument about rights to the disputed territories is that these arguments often boil down to something like the lawsuit from Hell. The various disputants point to events in 3,000 B.C., 2,000 B.C., 1,000 B.C., the 19th Century, the 1910s, the 1920s, the 1930s, the 1940s, and so on, ad nauseum, right up until events taking place yesterday. Throw in the sagging Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, the British Mandate, the League of Nations, the United Nations, five wars, the fact that Arabs routinely lost on the battlefield but were rescued at the UN, endless border battles, strategic missteps by the Israelis, and the rhetorical hijacking of purely legal, territorial arguments by Islamists and radical Leftists — face it, you’re not going to create any easily comprehensible arguments.

Then, layer over this whole factual and rhetorical swirl of words the fact that Israel, in her endless quest for some sort of meaningful ceasefire from the Palestinians, has soft pedaled her own indisputable rights. Israel’s tentative approach, from the 1940s onward, to asserting her legal and post-war rights creates a situation where, to either the uninformed eye or the eye looking for Israel’s faults and failures, it appears that Israel doesn’t believe in her indisputable rights. Then, consider that Israel is a truly pluralist country hampered by a coalition style government imported from Europe. This last point explains why Israeli policy wobbles from strong to weak, and why Israel is exceptionally bad at setting out a coherent statement of her case before a hostile world.

These problems, where fact and law intersect, where arguments became muddy, and where Israel sometimes appears terrified of asserting her own case, are also easily exploited by those who have Israel and Jews in their cross hairs. Indeed, a point of exploitation, right now, is the publication of a revamped Walt and Mearshimer book, which AFP is pushing hard as the ultimate truth regarding Israel’s alleged evil control over world debate and American foreign policy.

At times like this, it sometimes helps to pull back and look at larger issues. Throwing around legal arguments dating back either 4,000 years or 1 day can be fun, just as playing an endless game of Monopoly can be fun. Still, there’s no doubt that these arguments, while satisfying their makers, don’t necessarily shine light on the situation.

For me, the larger issue is the nature of the two cultures currently at war, and my own moral decision about the culture I believe deserves my support.

On the one hand (that would be the Israel hand), we have a representative Democracy that gives equal legal and political rights to women, gays, Arabs, Christians, Hindus — hey, to all citizens within its borders. It is so desperate for peace that it routinely compromises its own security in the hope of obtaining that peace. Recently, rather than mowing down entirely a neighboring community devoted to killing its citizens, Israel built a wall, immuring its own people to help prevent their deaths. It’s also a country with free speech and a thriving marketplace of ideas, one that adds quality to the day-to-day life of people around the world.

On the other hand (that would be the Palestinian hand), you have two lawless communities that subjugate and brutalize women, murder and harass gays, murder and expel Christians, and refuse to allow anyone else within their territories (including, of late, even grovelingly friend journalists). For generations, these people’s sole goal, and the value they’ve passed to their children, is to murder the Israelis — every last one of them — that live next door. While Israel tries to prevent its own citizens from dying, these people put their children in the front line of battle, not even because they actually aid fighting, but because their inevitable deaths help this culture look pathetic, giving it a leg up in international opinion.

Given these two different cultures, I say law is useful, but not determinative. I have no truck with moral relativism, and I’m therefore able, with a clear conscience, to place my support behind Israel, the country of (sometimes flawed) Western humanism, and not behind Hamas or Fatah, territories of animalistic immorality and violence.

UPDATE: A little more on the perverted lessons taught to Palestinian children.

UPDATE II: Today’s example of free speech (NOT) amongst the Palestinians.

UPDATE III: And this is where the UN falls on the moral question of backing either a free Democracy or a nihilistic, murderous, semi-theocracy.

UPDATE IV: Yet another recent story about Israeli innovation that makes a difference — this time for American soldiers.

Important things happen in the comments here

Spurred by Amanpour’s CNN series on religion, DQ, who is a very astute analyst and a thinker who is truly open minded to new information and ideas, wrote his impressions of the show, which led to a lively and very fact intense discussion about Amanpour’s errors, both explicit and implied, regarding Israel’s borders. Regular readers gave detailed answers better than anything I could ever have put together and I urge you to read them all. From these comments, DQ went on to write another post asking very specific questions about Gaza and the West Bank.

Ocean Guy, who has a great blog called Somewhere on A1A, took on the challenge in this second post and wrote here, as comment #4, what I think is one of the best summaries about the border dispute, including why it is reasonable for Israel to have continued to exert control over the West Bank and Gaza during the dispute. Indeed, I like his argument so much, I’m elevating parts of it here to a stand alone post. Reading it, I was struck by how lucidly it exposes the weakness of the Palestinian claims of righteousness regarding that land, as well as explaining Israel’s weak approach to territories that could rightly be seen as the spoils of an endless border war, with Israel the defender, not the aggressor. Read the whole Ocean Guy comment, but please pay specific attention to these points:

You are right, there was no claim to the territories prior to the ‘67 War… although there was a universal Jewish cry for access to Jerusalem, which the Jordanians forbade. (Which is another bone of contention.. comparing Arab administration of Jerusalem between ‘47 and ‘67 to Israeli governance since… but that’s another volume.)

So, no claim prior to ‘67… and if the Arabs had decided to accept Israel, and live in peace, there would NOT have been a “claim.” However, continued hostilities, terrorism, and ultimately another breakout of the war meant that SECURE and DEFENSIBLE borders were required. Still, even after the ‘67 war, Israel tried to give Judea and Samaria back to Jordan… despite ancient ties to the land, Israel was willing and happy to trade the land for peace… Again the Arabs rejected it.

In ‘67 the world stepped in and, once again, bailed the Arabs out by negotiating another cessation of hostilities… 242 came into the picture then and basically told the disputants that the status of the land occupied during the war (’67) needs to be settled through negotiation. The Arabs refused to negotiate… still refuse to negotiate… and have instead continued the war they started in 1947 with different tactics. The main problem throughout has been “Who does Israel negotiate with?”

Egypt took the Sinai back but didn’t want Gaza… Gaza wouldn’t/couldn’t rule itself. Jordan wouldn’t take the West Bank back, and the West Bank wouldn’t/couldn’t rule itself. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon, all were happy keeping all authority from the palestinians yet steering the focus towards the wretched state of their Arab brothers. Meanwhile Arafat and the PLO terrorized their way into the international discourse.

Thrown out of Jordan, Thrown out of Lebanon… no one wanted them… they were simply corrupt terrorists and murderers with the goal of destroying Israel. The PLO/Black September, were given the recognition they had not earned. For Arafat and the PLO, ALL of Israel was illegally occupied lands. That is why so many of us put so much emphasis on the maps the PLO used to teach their children, the way Arafat war his Keffiyah, the rest of the school curricula… everything indicated they thought all the land belonged to Arabs… NOTHING they said ever gave Israel any acknowledgment, let alone official recognition.

Why did Arafat continually turn down generous peace offers??? Because he had promised his “people” ALL of Israel… the West Bank wasn’t enough… Sadly the western media kept feeding us the fantasy that Jenin and Ramallah, the West Bank and Gaza, was all they wanted, when in reality Arafat had promised the Arabs Haifa and Tel Aviv too. But the “overwhelming consensus” of western media was more in line with the fiction that Arafat fed to them in English. He was tremendously successful in getting the myth of his palestinian narrative to be accepted as truth.

So, the terror campaign and media campaign against Israel continued… it was working marvelously, giving the Arabs victories they could never win on a battlefield. But Israel just wanted peace, was/is willing to give up almost all of the gains from ‘67 in exchange for peace. And for another 20 years they absorbed the terror, endured the lies and prayed for peace. Then came Oslo.

When the Oslo process was concluded everyone was ecstatic…well the majority was… finally there would be an Arab “government” in the territories… Arafat was given the tools to set up a functioning government and the recognition as the negotiating partner… But it didn’t quite happen that way…

Arafat proved he was still a corrupt, murderous thug even as the world’s heads of State welcomed him. The trouble was, and still is, that Arafat’s and the Arabs’ idea of living in peace was completely different from everyone else’s. We thought and assumed the Arabs wanted to live in peace with Israel and we just needed to find the right price in land and concessions to buy it. But, on the other side, what Arafat wanted and the Arabs want, is to live in peace WITHOUT Israel.

So the main point is… The Disputed Territories for the Arabs include ALL of Israel. Even though so many, like you, limit the disputed/occupied territory to the ‘67 cease fire lines… The Arabs want it ALL.

If they don’t want it all… If the Arabs are really interested in peace, they would recognize Israel, set up embassies in Israel, allow Israeli embassies in their own countries… they would trade with Israel and allow free travel. They would grant citizenship to their “palestinian” brothers who want it. They would set up a viable government in a nascent Palestine who would be the negotiating partner with Israel. None of that is even close to happening.

The territories are disputed because the world and the UN kept the belligerent parties from settling it on the battlefield and demanded that they settle it peacefully. One side refuses to talk peacefully…

The Arabs have never acknowledged defeat, indeed they have never really been defeated. Hell, in Egypt they still celebrate their “victory” in the ‘73 war. At every outbreak of hostilities, the UN has stepped in to save the Arabs from the humiliation of defeat. Having never lost, the Arabs continue the war by whatever means they can get away with… and the western press and governments let them get away with a lot.

Many in Israel would like to annex the territories. Yes, there is dispute in Israel today on that matter, but virtually EVERYONE would gladly trade the land for peace… REAL peace. The fact Israel is willing to bargain much of the land away for peace does not mean the territory is not disputed.

Again… Where are the borders? Who exercises Sovereignty now? Who will have Sovereignty when the final status is negotiated? Who is the negotiating partner for ending the State of War that has been ongoing since ‘47? If Israel were to withdraw every person from territory outside the ‘67 cease fire lines, would the situation be settled? I don’t think so. That to me sounds like disputed territories

Here’s how the story could have been reported

Israel, which has been the victim of endless and destructive rocket attacks originating in Gaza, successfully stopped one before it happened. Taking facts directly from the BBC, this is how I would have reported the Israeli Army’s successful action:

Israel destroys several rocket launchers in Gaza

The Israeli Army reports that it surveillance into Gaza revealed several rocket launchers aimed at a heavily populated industrial zone in Beit Hanoun. Several people were clustered around the rocket launchers, apparently preparing to fire them. The Israeli Army responded by shelling the rocket launchers.

In the last four months, Gazans have launched ten qassam rocket strikes on Israel. The seventy-seven rockets fired over this fourth month period killed two people, wounded several others, and caused significant damage to a factory containing hazardous materials, requiring evacuation.

Palestinian spokespeople announced that three children were killed in the attack. This report has yet to be confirmed.

The Israeli army expressed sorrow for the deaths of the children, but said it held militant groups responsible. “The army regrets terror organisations’ cynical use of children,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

In fact, this is how the BBC reported the story, using the same facts, but with a very different emphasis:

Three Palestinian children have been killed after an Israeli tank shell hit northern Gaza, Palestinian doctors say.

Israel’s military confirmed it launched an attack, saying it had targeted people setting up a rocket launcher.

Doctors said two boys aged 10 and 12 died of shrapnel wounds. A 12-year-old girl who was critically injured in the blast died also in hospital.

The Israeli army expressed sorrow for the deaths of the children, but said it held militant groups responsible.

“We identified and fired at several rocket launchers aimed at Israel in the Beit Hanoun industrial zone,” an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

“We also identified several suspicious looking people fiddling with the rocket launchers before we fired. The army regrets terror organisations’ cynical use of children,” she added.

This is what I mean when I talk about spin. The spin one could put on it is that Israel successfully deflected what was shaping up to be the tenth rocket attack on it in just four months. Unfortunately, because the Palestinians place their children in combat areas, both to use them as soldiers and to increase youth casualties for propaganda purposes had, in fact, had children swarming around these rockets, which are also obvious targets.

The alternative, of course, is that the Israeli Army kills children. Then, at the back end, you note that, perhaps, just perhaps, the children were in what could possibly be classified as a combat zone, since they were near weapons about to be fired. An in the really alternative, you don’t even mention that these type of rockets have been fired into Israel unceasingly for years, with increasing numbers of civilian dead and wounded.

Sadly, the second alternative is the type most commonly found in newspapers, especially European newspapers.

By the way, if you’d like to hear the Israeli point of view directly from the horse’s mouth, you can read this article, which points out that Israel believes (as I do) that the launch sites are war zones. I’ll just add that I don’t believe that a humane people cluster their children around weapons and war zones, unless they intend to use those children as soldiers or strategic targets.

UPDATE: More on Palestinian children used as instruments of war.

UPDATE II: Here’s a report from the LA Times identifying in the lede that the children were hanging out near rocket launchers.  It also gives a bit more context for the Israeli actions, by acknowledging the fact that, last month alone, more than 90 rockets were launched into Israel from the same area.

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