Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Between the Lines: Israeli Veterans Explore Our Moral Boundaries

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial board member for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She is often quite critical of Israel. So it appears to be the case with a recent commentary of hers highlighting the "Break the Silence" group.

On the surface, the commentary is not complimentary to Israel and, unfortunately, many readers will not go beyond the surface. Between the lines, the commentary can be used to highlight the way the Arab-Israeli conflict was initiated and is perpetuated by the Arabs, giving Israel unacceptable choices leading it to agonize over actions it has been forced to take.

For Israel, unlike the Arabs, the conflict is an existential issue. The so-called occupation began as a consequence of Jordan's attack on Israel in 1967 and has continued as a result of the Arab refusal to agree to peace.

If anyone had any doubts before, the aftermath of the unilateral pullout from Gaza has made it clear Israel cannot just give away territory without a mutual agreement. Indeed, it would need a mutual agreement which, unlike the Oslo Accords, would be adhered to by the Arab side.

Israel is thus in an unenviable situation, with no good choices. It's a testament to the character of Israel that, even in the midst of an existential struggle not of its own choice, its own citizens continually question not only the choices of their government but the actions of individuals forced into difficult situations.

This is a sharp contrast to the sickness in the Palestinian Arab society, where the last election was won, in a landslide, by a terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel -- over another terrorist organization whose charter does the same. One cannot even imagine any similar introspection among Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to come up with any society, other than Israeli and American, which is ever so self-critical in the midst of war - and even in America, the wars during which we have indulged in self-criticism have not been clearly existential the way Israel's struggle is.

It is also interesting, and typical, that although "Breaking the Silence" highlights the way the war has put Israelis in situations in which individuals have sometimes taken less than admirable actions, there are no alternatives suggested.

There is an Israeli expression, "ayn breira," no choice. It epitomizes Israel's overall situation and is why Israel's critics have never been able to come up with any reasonable alternatives.

We include excerpts from the commentary, which may be found in full on the Inquirer's web site. We also add some of our own comments.

Worldview: A look at the limits democracy must set

Trudy Rubin

At a time when Americans are debating whether torture is acceptable in a democracy, I recommend an exhibition in Philadelphia by a group of young Israeli military veterans called "Breaking the Silence."

On view at the Rotunda, the show consists of photos, films and discussions on the daily routines of soldiers in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. (You can read about it at This material is not about torture per se, but is a courageous examination of the boundaries any democracy must set for itself if it wants to remain true to its values.

[From reading this, one would think Israel occupies Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Israel totally left Gaza more than two years ago, while the areas in Judea and Samaria where most Palestinian Arabs live have been under the corrupt administration of the Palestinian Authority since the mid-1990's.]

The main goal, say the organizers, is to "expose the true reality in the (occupied) territories and as a consequence to promote a public debate on the moral price paid by Israeli society."

[The parenthetical word "occupied" was apparently added by the writer, distorting the meaning of the original statement.

Six decades of war, forced on it by its Arab enemies, have forced Israel into many choices it would have preferred to avoid.]

Over my years of covering the West Bank and Gaza, I have seen all sorts of behavior at checkpoints. But, Shaul says, occupation "instills total indifference in you. Questions pop up, and you find a way to go on." He remembers manning a machine-gun post on a Hebron hill -- a photo shows a Palestinian neighborhood spread out below.

"They shoot, and then we shoot into several supposedly empty buildings." The shooting is blind, and a one-minute pull releases 80 grenades. "No, we never knew what we hit. Questions are not something you have."

[War is ugly.]

And does he care whether or not Palestinians are doing similar soul-searching, say, about suicide bombers? He does not. "For me, Palestinians are a political issue. Israeli society is an existential issue." Shaul begs the question of whether a political solution is possible.

[It is a tribute to Israel's character that, even in the midst of an existential struggle against an enemy trying to liquidate it, Israeli's continue to question the morality of the actions it is forced to take.

Obviously, there is no corresponding soul-searching on the other side.]

To read the full article, go to

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Women and Children First

This is the JINSA take on the "disappointing" turnout Hamas generated for its protest against Israel not letting it bombard the civilians in Sederot with Kassams with absolutely total impunity.

The big, much-ballyhooed "human chain" across Gaza was a big bust - an interesting bust, but a bust nonetheless.

About 20,000 Gazans took part, less than half the number Hamas called for and less than participate in a good Gaza funeral. Media reports attributed the low turnout to the rain - and indeed, there is nothing quite as nasty as cold February rain in a Mediterranean city.

There is, as usual, a contrarian's view - a more hopeful one.

The Hamas principle was women and children first. Not into the lifeboats or out of the burning building, but first to face the beefed-up Israeli military forces on the other side of the Gaza border. Maybe Gaza's women and children didn't want to go first, and so they didn't go at all. Maybe, absent the ability to shop as they did when they burst through the Egypt/Gaza border, they stayed home. Maybe, one can hope, some of Gaza's men were uncomfortable or humiliated to be told to march behind the women and children and so they stayed home.

Hamas rules Gaza with an iron fist and everyone there has been set against everyone else. Israel faces daily shelling with ever more precise rockets, and Gilad Shalit remains a prisoner of Hamas in violation of international law. But beyond that, the manager of Gaza's only Christian bookstore was abducted and killed; the YMCA library, which had been a resource for Muslim as well as Christian high school students, was burned to the ground; Hamas TV encourages children to hate and kill (recently they were encouraged to "bite and eat" Danish people); gangs of Hamas teenagers are encouraged to fight gangs of Fatah teenagers. Gaza is an outpost of bloody misery and anarchy - last year's civil war ousted Fatah leadership, but a great many Fatah members remain stranded there.

One might hope Palestinians would ask themselves on occasion how they descended into this abyss. Part of the answer would be that they were given lousy leadership in the form of Yasser Arafat and his gang brought from Tunis under the Oslo Accords; they inherited lousy leadership in the form of Abu Mazen when Arafat died; and they elected lousy leadership when they chose Hamas. All of this - including allowing Hamas, a terrorist group, to run for election - was done with the active participation of the American and Israeli governments. The result has been the isolation, radicalization and impoverishment not only of this generation of Palestinians, but the ruination of the next as well. Children taught what these children are taught will not become healthy adults, if they live long enough to become adults at all.

Maybe the low turnout was due to some dawning recognition in Gaza, as there was in Anbar, that a radical, terrorist government will devour its own as well as its enemies. And maybe in Gaza, as there was in Anbar, people will look for a way to throw out that which they had previously accepted. The unfortunate difference may be that when the people of Anbar were ready, American forces were there to help affect the change. The Palestinians have little hope of rescue from their own folly and their own jailors.

On the other hand, let's not ascribe too much intellectual understanding to the Gaza civilians - maybe it was just the rain.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

It Would Be Funny If They Weren't Serious

According to YNet News, the latest salvo of Kassam rocket at innocent Israelis in Sederot was retaliation for "the cartoons published in Denmark degrading the memory of Prophet Muhammad."

To the best of PRIMER's knowledge, Israel had nothing to do with the publication of those cartoons. But neither Hamas nor any other Palestinian Arabs have ever needed a logical reason for attacking Jews. Nor, at least in the civilized world, the publication of a cartoon generally deemed a sufficient reason for trying to murder people.

Elsewhere in the article, a spokesperson acknowledges his terrorist group doesn't need any reason to attack Jews other than the fact that they are alive, asserting "We won't give them peace and security as long as there is one Zionist soldier on the land of Palestine."

We include excerpts from the article, which may be read in full on YNet News.

New excuse for Qassams: Prophet cartoons

Six Qassams were fired from the northern Gaza Strip towards the western Negev since Sunday morning. …

The Salah al-Din Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing, claimed responsibility for firing the rockets. The organization's spokesman, Muhammad Abed al-Aal, told Ynet that the firing operation, dubbed "the lines of fire", was a response to the "crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians," but also "in response to the cartoons published in Denmark degrading the memory of Prophet Muhammad.

"The Palestinian resistance has committed to respond to the cartoons, and this is our initial response," he added.

Asked why the residents of Sderot and the Negev should pay the price for cartoons published in Denmark, Abed al-Aal responded, "The Jews have also hurt Islam and have also hurt the Koran in their prisons, as part of the plot to harm Islam and the memory and status of Prophet Muhammad.

"The Palestinian resistance will not let Israel's crimes and the smearing of Islam's symbols go unanswered," he said.

Addressing Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal's willingness to reach a ceasefire with Hamas, Abed al-Aal said that the only way for the residents of southern Israel to feel safe is to leave their houses and the entire area.

Goodwill Gestures Are Important

The Arab states are threatening to withdraw their "landmark offer of peace and full ties with Israel in exchange for a return of Arab lands, unless Israel explicitly accepts the initiative."

According to an Associated Press article, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal - whose country sponsored the Arab peace initiative, adopted by Arab nations in 2002 - warned Thursday that despair would force us to review these options, including withdrawing the proposal."

The initiative itself, while a huge step forward in the context of six decades of Arab rejection and intransigence, is not a serious initiative but a totally unacceptable ultimatum.

It might be reasonably viewed as a starting position, but should be viewed no more seriously than an analagous proposal by Israel.

To look at a few points:
  • The Saudis propose Israel go back to the armistice lines in effect prior to the 1967 war. Israel might similarly propose to go back to the Balfour Declaration, thus having Israel take over the West Bank, Gaza and Transjordan.
  • The Saudis propose all Israelis leave the disputed territories. Israel might similarly propose all Arabs leave Israel.
  • The Saudis propose that Israel give away its holiest city, Jerusalem, in addition to Hebron. Israel might propose the Saudis give away Mecca and Medina.
Such Israeli positions would rightly be ridiculed; the Arab League ultimatum deserves no less ridicule.

According to the article, al-Faisal "accused Israel of sabotaging the initiative, which is now facing grave danger."

Threats and false accusation from the Arab states are nothing new, but this one somehow makes me think about the value of goodwill gestures.

Certainly the Arabs believe goodwill gestures are critical; indeed, they keep insisting on the need for Israel to make them, to convince the Palestinian Arabs of its sincerity.

Israel has repeatedly made goodwill gestures, with results that undoubtedly make the Arabs happy but have yet to be reciprocated with anything but terror attacks and dead Israelis.

One popular goodwill gesture has been the release of "security prisoners," a euphemism for terrorists. Israel has released thousands. Generally, the released prisoners sign an agreement to not return to terrorism. This agreement is generally honored as much as the Palestinian Authority has honored its agreements with Israel, with a significant portion of the released prisoners going back to their hobby of murdering Jews.

Some other popular goodwill gestures:
  • Removing checkpoints. This is very effective in making it easier for terrorists to carry out their attacks.
  • Reducing operations against terrorists. This has the same effect.
  • Freezing construction in Jewish communities in the disputed territories. This increases Arab confidence in their ability to completely cleanse the disputed territories of any Jewish presence.
  • Removing unauthorized "settlements." This only refers to unauthorized Jewish homes. It has the same effect as freezing construction of Jewish communities.
  • Ignoring the rampant, illegal Arab construction in the disputed territories. This has the same effect.
All these goodwill gestures have generally been counterproductive, unreciprocated and often deadly.

Isn't it time for the Arabs to start making some goodwill gestures?

Here are just a handful of possibilities.
  • The Saudis might start by actually communicating their alleged offer to Israel. Indeed, how is Israel supposed to respond to an offer that was never made to it?
  • The Saudis might agree to shake hands with the Israelis when they come to a conference that's supposed to have something to do with bringing peace closer.
  • The Saudis and other Arabs might actually talk to Israelis during peace conferences.
And here are a few goodwill gestures the Palestinian Arabs might make.
  • They might stop glorifying terrorists.
  • They might stop teaching their children that murdering innocent Jews will earn then 72 virgins.
  • They might indicate they recognize the absurdity of not making a single concession in a decade and a half and start educating their people any peaceful solution entail compromise by both sides.
  • They might stop bombarding the civilians in Sederot with a daily dose of Kassam missiles.
  • They might publicly acknowledge the Jews were in Eretz Yisrael long before the ancestors of today's Palestinian Arabs and the role of the Temple Mount to Muslims derives solely from its central place in Judaism.
This is just a handful, none of which would cost the Arabs anything — in contrast to the tangible and costly gestures Israel has made.

Indeed, there can't be a real "peace process" until the Arabs start making gestures such as these.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

True Lies: Palestinian Arabs Protest Barrier

It's possible to write a straight news article in which every word is completely true but the entire article is a lie. The Associated Press managed to perform that feat with the caption and photo shown here.

Palestinians Protest Barrier

A Palestinian protester hurls a stone at Israeli troops during a demonstration Friday against a separation barrier in the village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel says the barrier is necessary for security. Palestinians call it a land grab.

Every word in the caption is true.
  • A Palestinian Arab was indeed hurling a stone, apparently at Israeli troops — although perhaps it was just a show for the cameraman.
  • The Palestinian Arabs do repeated claim the anti-terror barrier is a land grab.
  • Israel does point out the barrier is there to save lives.
Yet, as a whole, the article is a true lie.

The barrier, still being reluctantly constructed by the Israeli government, was forced on the government by a population sick of having its children blown up in shopping malls, discotheques and pizza parlors. It has almost completely stopped the terror bombings, which even the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas/Abu Mazen Fatah "militants" keep trying to perpetrate. Its purpose was clearly to save lives and it has done so.

Arabs may lie about the purpose, but that does not change the obvious reality. Indeed, the allegation about a "land grab" is absurd on its very face, since if Israel wanted to use a barrier to "grab land," it would have built it much farther east instead of leaving almost all of the disputed territories outside the barrier.

It's worth repeating: the caption was true, but it was a lie.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Misuse of the Word "Peace"

Even The Jerusalem Post gets caught repeating anti-Israel propaganda terminology.

The Jerusalem Post posted an article misleadingly entitled "US peace activist hurt in Bil'in protest." The article included the following:

Some 2,000 Palestinians and left-wing activists gathered in the West Bank village of Bil'in on Friday to commemorate three years of their struggle against the security barrier in the area.

According to the organizers of the demonstration, 10 people were wounded in clashes with security forces, including a US peace activist who was hit in the head by a rubber bullet and evacuated in moderate condition to a hospital in Ramallah.

Among the demonstrators were Palestinian parliamentarian Mustafa Barghouti and Hadash Chairman Muhammad Barakei.

Anti-Israel groups inherently supporting war and terrorism frequently include the terms "peace" and "justice" in their names in order to deceive the naïve; it's surprising The Jerusalem Post fell into their trap.

True peace activists aren't violent. Eye on the World blog noted the demonstration was accurately portrayed as a violent protest in the following Reuters photo caption:

Shanbo Heinemann, a pro-Palestinian activist from San Francisco, California, is tended to by Palestinian medics after he was shot in the head with a rubber bullet fired by Israeli troops during a violent protest against Israel's security fence in the West Bank village of Bilin.

We shouldn't give too much credit to Reuters, which apparently recoiled from the concept of accuracy and ommitted the reference to the violence of the protest in the following caption of a similar photo:

Shanbo Heinemann, a pro-Palestinian activist from San Francisco, California, reacts after being shot in the head with a rubber bullet fired by Israeli troops during a protest against Israel's controversial separation barrier near the West Bank village of Bilin.

Someone who protests against life-saving measures such as the anti-terror barrier that has already saved thousands of lives is obviously not a "peace activist."

Norman Finkelstein Tells Us What He Is

Norman Finkelstein is member of the pathological subset of Jews who revel in spreading hatred of their own people. Undoubtedly, he and others will be responsible for furthering the careers of numerous psychologists and psychiatrists.

It's rather interesting to watch him perform, strutting at a podium and getting an emotional high from spreading venom. At the present time, he seems to be a free agent after having been kicked out of his fifth university.

We include here annotated excerpts from a January 20, 2008 interview in which he effectively praised Hezbollah, the terrorist organization whose alleged raison d'être vanished in 2000 when Israel completely left Lebanon.

The interview was conducted in Arabic and English. The English transcript is courtesy of MEMRI, The Middle East Media Research Institute.

The annotations are from PRIMER-Connecticut; the unannotated, more complete MEMRI transcript may be viewed at

The Middle East Media Research Institute
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: [202] 955-9070 Fax: [202] 955-9077 E-Mail:

January 20, 2008
Clip No. 1676

American Political Scientist Norman Finkelstein: "Israel Has to Suffer a Defeat"

Following are excerpts from an interview with American Political Scientist Norman Finkelstein, which aired on Future TV on January 20, 2008. The questions were posed in Arabic, and Finkelstein's responses are in English.

Norman Finkelstein: I was of course happy to meet the Hizbullah people,

[… because they too hate Israel …]

because it is a point of view that is rarely heard in the United States. I have no problem saying that I do want to express solidarity with them, and I am not going to be a coward of a hypocrite about it. I don't care about Hizbullah as a political organization.

[Hezbollah isn't much of a political organization. It's basically a terrorist organization. It supposedly began to drive Israel out of Lebanon, even though
  • Israel was only in Lebanon because Arab terrorists were attacking Israel from Lebanon
  • Israel agreed to leave Lebanon as part of a peace treaty which Lebanon negotiated but eventually refused to sign after Bashir Gemayel was assassinated
  • Israel left most of Lebanon even after Lebanon refused to sign the peace treaty it negotiated
  • Israel completely left Lebanon in 2000, even without the treaty
Besides being busy murdering Israelis, Hezbollah has been active in helping Syria keep Lebanon in chaos.

So it's no wonder Finkelstein wants to express his solidarity with Hezbollah.]

I don't know much about their politics, and anyhow, it's irrelevant. I don't live in Lebanon. It's a choice that the Lebanese have to make: Who they want to be their leaders, who they want to represent them.

[Hezbollah, of course, has been a major force in preventing the Lebanese from choosing their government and in furthering the Syrian role in destroying Lebanon.]

But there is a fundamental principle. People have the right to defend their country from foreign occupiers, and people have the right to defend their country from invaders who are destroying their country. That to me is a very basic, elementary and uncomplicated question.

[One thus wonders why Finkelstein is expressing solidarity with a foreign-supported terrorist group which is helping a foreign country, Syria, continue to effectively occupy Lebanon.

The reason, of course, is that Finkelstein, isn't interested in having the Lebanese defend themselves from the Syrian occupiers; he's just interested in destroying Israel.]

My parents went through World War II. Now, Stalin's regime was not exactly a bed of roses. It was a ruthless and brutal regime, and many people perished. But who didn't support the Soviet Union when they defeated the Nazis? Who didn't support the Red Army? In all the countries of Europe which were occupied 'Ä' who gets all the honors? The resistance. The Communist resistance 'Ä' it was brutal, it was ruthless. The Communists were not... It wasn't a bed of roses, but you respect them. You respect them because they resisted the foreign occupiers of their country. If I am going to honor the Communists during World War II, even through I probably would not have done very well under their regimes... If I'm going to honor them, I am going to honor the Hizbullah. They show courage, and they show discipline. I respect that.

[Finkelstein has his analogy backwards, since Hezbollah's role is analogous to the role of the Nazi collaborators.]

Interviewer: That is an accurate description of the situation before 2000, but after 2000, the Israelis withdrew from South Lebanon. There was a rift within Lebanon between the Lebanese political players on the issue of the future of the weapons and the issue of the resistance. This rift, which has taken place... You are now taking sides. After all, you are saying that you are only visiting Lebanon, but you don't see the ramification of the July war for the people.

Norman Finkelstein: Listen, if you want to close your eyes and believe it was all over in May 2000, you can do so. You can play that game. But the reality was - and everyone understood it - that the Israeli attitude was: We are going to knock out Hizbullah. They began planning for a new war right after they were forced to leave in 2000. They found their excuse, their pretext, in July 2006, but there is no question among rational people that Israel was never going to let the Hizbullah victory go by. They were determined to teach their...

[Israel never wanted to be in Lebanon in the first place, was happy to get out and hoping to never have to go back.

Unfortunately, Hezbollah never stopped launching attacks against Israel and no nation could stand idly by as a terrorist group like Hezbollah crosses into its terroritory and murders and kidnaps Israeli citizens.]

Interviewer: The war could have been avoided.

Norman Finkelstein: It could not have been avoided. There is no way that the United States and Israel are going to tolerate any resistance in the Arab world. If you want to pretend it can be avoided, you can play that game. But serious people, clear-headed people, knew there was going to be a war sooner or later.

[Hezbollah isn't resisting any Israeli actions; it's resisting Israel's existence.]

Do you think there is not going to be another war? Do you think Israel is going to allow that defeat in July 2006? Do you want to pretend it is Hizbullah that is causing the trouble?

[Hezbollah continues to held Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser hostage, assuming Hezbollah hasn't already murdered them.

In violation of any human decency, they've even refused any contact with Eldad and Ehud, even by the International Red Cross.]

No, there will be another war, and the destruction will probably be ten times worse - maybe even more - than July 2006, because Israel is determined, with the United States, to put the Arabs in their place and to keep them in their place.

[Israel simply wants the Arabs to let it live in peace; it wants its citizens to live normal lives.]

Israel and the United States are attacking, because they will not allow any military resistance to their control of the region. That's the problem. If Hizbullah laid down its arms, and said: We will do whatever the Americans say, you wouldn't have a war - that's true, but you would also be the slaves of the Americans. I have to respect those who refuse to be slaves.

[If Hezbollah laid down its arms, the simple result would be peace. Israel has no demands of Lebanon other than to be left to live in peace, although it would be nice to be able to travel back and forth and actually have friendly relations.]

Interviewer: Is there no other way than military resistance?

Norman Finkelstein: I don't believe there is another way. I wish there were another way. Who wants war? Who wants destruction?

[Hamas, Fatah and the PLO all declare the central role of "armed struggle," regardless of whether it's needed.]

Even Hitler didn't want war. He would much prefer to have accomplished his aims peacefully, if he could.

[Finkelstein is effectively arguing that the Arabs are less civilized than Hitler.]

So I am not saying that I want it, but I honestly don't see another way, unless you choose to be their slaves - and many people here have chosen that. I can't really say... I can understand it - you want to live. I can't really say I respect it. You know, so many dead, so much destruction... Before the bodies are even buried, before the buildings are even rebuilt, the person who is responsible for it all - you can't wait to welcome him. You can't wait to roll out the red carpet. I can't respect that.

In that respect, I like the Jews much more. I like their attitude. Do you know what the Jewish attitude is? Never to forgive, never to forget. I agree with that. Who roll out the red carpet less than two years after your whole country was destroyed by them? The Secretary of State said it was the birth pangs of a new Middle East. That's the statement of a freak. A human freak would compare the birth of a child with the destruction of a country, and yet, there are people here who are so anxious to welcome her. They are trying to figure out what the Americans are thinking. They can't wait for their banquets. How can anyone respect that? I respect the Jews a thousand times more - never to forgive, never to forget. All the death and all the destruction - and you can't wait to welcome him.

[It took a while to realize what was in Finkelstein's convoluted mind. Most of his arguments would logically lead to support for anyone working to drive both Syria and Hezbollah out of Lebanon.]

Interviewer: Norman...

Norman Finkelstein: It's disgusting!
Who the hell cares if Bush is coming?

Interviewer: But you say there will be another war.

Norman Finkelstein: You should have declared him persona non grata. He's not welcome here. He destroyed your country. He was responsible for the war. You know full well that resolution could have been passed three weeks earlier. He destroys your country, and you can't wait to greet him. You have no self-respect. How can you expect other people to respect Arabs, if you show no respect for yourselves?

[Arafat, Syria and Hezbollah destroyed Lebanon.]

If the Lebanese people overwhelmingly vote to let the Americans and Israelis have their way, I guess you have to accept that. I could see that. I couldn't possibly say that they don't have the right to make that choice. Listen, in Nazi-occupied Europe, you have to remember, most of the populations made the choice to live under the Nazis. All this talk about a French Resistance is just a joke - it never happened. The French Resistance... About 20% of the French population read the Resistance's newspaper. There were maybe 10% of the French who resisted. The rest said: Don't resist, because the Nazis were ruthless. You resist - four hundred are killed for each soldier who's killed. That's how the Nazis operated. So most of the French said, like you: We want to live. Don't resist. But now I have to ask you, in retrospect: Who do we honor? Do we honor those who say: Let us live, or do we honor those who said: Let's resist?


Leaders come last. There will be a leader who comes to power in Israel, who is willing to make the concessions, after the conditions have been created - namely, Israel has to suffer a defeat.

[Let's see now:
  • Israel offered to give back virtually all the disputed territory after 1967 — but Finkelstein doesn't consider that a concession.
  • Israel gave all of the Sinai back to Egypt in 1956 and again with the treaty with Egypt — but Finkelstein doesn't consider that a concession.
  • Israel pulled out of most of Lebanon even after Lebanon reneged on the treaty it negotiated — but Finkelstein doesn't consider that a concession.
  • Israel completely pulled out of Lebanon in 2000, asking absolutely nothing in return — but Finkelstein doesn't consider that a concession.
  • Israel offered the Palestinian Arabs all of Gaza, almost all of Judea and Samaria, and threw in part of its own capital city to boot — but Finkelstein doesn't consider that a concession.
  • Israel completely left Gaza, taking every last Jew with it — but Finkelstein doesn't consider that a concession.
Meanwhile, the supposedly "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas/Abu Mazen hasn't budged from the extreme demands Yassir Arafat started with a decade and a half ago.

The problem has never been an Israeli willingness to compromise; the problem is the Arabs have yet to reconcile themselves to the existence of Israel.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization providing translations of the Middle East media and original analysis and research on developments in the region. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: [202] 955-9070
Fax: [202] 955-9077

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let the Palestinian Authority Declare Independence

According to Reuters, Abbas Aide Says Declaring Independence a Possibility:

Palestinians should declare an independent state unilaterally if peace talks with Israel continue to falter, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top aide to Mahmoud Abbas, said on Wednesday. "Kosovo is not better than us. We deserve independence even before Kosovo," Abed Rabbo said. However, Saeb Erekat, another senior Palestinian negotiator, voiced opposition to any unilateral declaration of independence and said the PLO had already declared independence in 1988.

[The Palestinian Authority is already, de facto, an independent terrorist state — actually, two separate terrorist states, Hamastan and Fatahland.

Let them declare independence and stop pretending Israel has any obligation to them. It would clarify the situation and force them to suffer the consequences when they launched terror attacks against Israel.

They would have a small problem of not having defined borders, but Israel has managed to deal with that problem for six decades.]

Abbas to Olmert: Progress Impossible Unless Israel Stops Making It Hard for Arabs to Murder Jews

From Ma'an:

Bethlehem - Ma'an - No progress has been made in ongoing meetings between Palestinian and Israeli officials, a Political Advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Nimr Hamad said on Tuesday.

Hamad added that there is no truth to Israeli media reports about an agreement regarding the drafting of an agreement on the shape of a future Palestinian State.

"These are all speculations and their objective is to cause confusion and to send a message that it is useless to continue the negations." Hamad added.

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

He added that the Palestinian side will persist in their pursuit pf negotiations to prove to the international community that Israel is refusing to cooperate and that its actions against the Palestinian people are getting more excessive everyday.

[Israel is extremely stubborn about refusing to completely abandon actions which save Israeli lives; no wonder Hamad is upset.]

According to Hamad, President Abbas will tell Olmert during their meeting in Jerusalem that "things can't continue under the status quo and that the checkpoints that keep on increasing everyday must be removed and the siege must be lifted, in addition to discussing final [status] matters."

[Perhaps if the Palestinian Authority started adhering to its commitments and stopped trying to murder Jews, Israel wouldn't have to take as many defensive measures.]

Asked what other strategy Palestinians should pursue, should the talks fail, Hamad said, "Everyone must understand that we are not going to be the ones to put obstacles in the way of negotiations. We will turn to the Arabs to decide on a common goal and try to apply pressure on the international community."

[What negotiations? The Palestinian Arabs haven't budged from the same extreme positions they held a decade and a half ago.]

He added "many European countries are on our side, especially France and Russia. France already suggested holding a conference called Annapolis III in the event that Russia holds Annapolis II next April."

Hamad, however, refused any discussions of military options or another Intifada in case of a collapse in the negotiation process. He said that these options would only bring more destruction to the Palestinian people.

He said: "Another Intifada like the previous one will only bring more deaths and injuries to the new Palestinian generation of youths. It is a very dangerous option if we consider the imbalance in power between us as Palestinians and a whole world outside. We will not go back to an Intifada that will only bring more destruction."

[Another intifada? They never abandoned the last one; it's just not quite as effectice, thanks to the measures Israel has been taking.]

Another Surprise: Abbas' "Moderate" Fatah Proudly Claims Responsibility for Terror Attack

From Ma'an:

Nablus - Ma'an - The Al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, took responsibility Tuesday evening for shooting at a settlers' bus near Beta intersection, South of Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

In a telephone call to our reporter in Nablus, Al-Aqsa Brigades spokesperson Abu Mujahed said that one of the Brigades' groups was able to fire shots at a red bus, with the license plate number "101." Abu Mujahed claimed that the bus was full of settlers, and that some of the passengers were injured.

Abu Mujahed also said that the group returned to their base safely. He also added that this operation comes as a response to what he sees as ongoing crimes committed by the occupation against the Palestinian people.

The occupation authorities confirmed the incident and claimed that the bus was hit and some material damage was caused.

Al-Aksa, of course, is part of the Fatah terrorist group led by the "moderate" Abu Mazen/Mahmoud Abbas.

The so-called "occupation" effectively ended more than a decade ago, when almost all the Arabs living in the disputed territories came under the administration of the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

Oh, No! Palestinian Authority Upset

Israel keeps PA's J'lem offices closed

Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2008

Israel is keeping Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem shut tight, despite its pledge to reopen them under a recently revived peace blueprint, Palestinian officials said Thursday.

[The Palestinian Authority used various offices in Israel's capital to promote terrorism, in blatant violation of the Oslo Accords and the conditions they agreed to in order to be allowed to open those offices. Israel has no obligation to let them reopen; indeed, it would be absurd to do so.]

Azzam Abu Saoud, director of the 72-year-old Chamber of Commerce, said the closure order was extended on Feb. 7 despite the renewal of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel's commitment to implement the road map.

At an international peace gathering in Annapolis, Maryland, in November, Israel and the Palestinians agreed to "immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map."

Initial obligations require Israel to "reopen the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem."

[Initial obligations require the Palestinian Authority to end terrorism and end incitement. There's no comparison between the Palestinian Authority's continued incitement and terrorism and Israel's understandable reluctance to allow the Palestinian Authority to run terrorist bases in Israel's capital.]

EU Endorses Terrorism

Not in so many words, but that's the effect of its resolution urging an end to the non-existent blockade of Hamastan.

We include excerpts from a Jerusalem Post article, along with some comments.

European Parliament resolution urges end to Gaza blockade staff and Mark Weiss
Feb. 21, 2008

The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on Israel to lift the blockade imposed on Gaza, saying the move had failed and calling for the reopening of crossings into the Strip.

[Israel has no responsibility for the Gaza Strip. It was the EU itself which, by reneging on its agreement to monitor the movement between Egypt and Hamastan, that is effectively responsible for any lack of goods in Hamastan.]

"The policy of isolation of the Gaza Strip has failed on both the political and humanitarian level," said the MEPs in Strasbourg.

The parliament also called on Israel to halt IDF operations which endangering civilians, as well as targeted killings. In addition, it condemned Hamas, saying it must stop the firing of Kassam rockets.

[In other words, Israel is supposed to stop defending itself, while Hamas continues to bombard Israeli civilians with Kassams.]

The resolution is of a symbolic nature only, since the European Parliament has no influence over EU foreign policy.

[Let us be thankful for small favors.]

Earlier Thursday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni slammed the European community on for what she called its failure to see what is really happening in Gaza.

After talks in Tel Aviv with visiting European Union Middle East envoy Marc Otte, Livni said people who live here cannot accept the compromises that the international community is pushing for.

"It would be better if Europe understood that Gaza is a zero sum game; either Hamas or the moderates," Livni said.

[The "moderates," of course, are the Fatah terrorists, who continue to launch attacks on Israel as well. As long as appeasement continues, it's a negative sum game.]

A diplomatic source explained the relatively harsh comments by Livni by arguing that the EU and the international community are on the wrong track in focusing on what Israel should or shouldn't do.

"Hamas is the source of the problem and they can stop the rocket attacks against Israel within minutes if they decide to," the source said.

In Strasbourg on Thursday, European Union lawmakers urged Israel not to inflict "collective punishment" on Gaza's population, saying its isolation of the territory had failed and its actions were endangering civilians.

[If the EU is worried about the people who elected Hamas terrorists to lead them, let the EU take over Hamastan.]

"Hamas does not seek to win rights for the Palestinians, but rather to deny the rights of others. Any indirect support for Hamas - even through a discussion of the crossings or the humanitarian situation - weakens those interested in reaching an agreement."

[Unfortunately, even the so-called "moderates" among Palestinian Arabs haven't shown much interest in an agreement.]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

If a Tree Falls in a Forest and Nobody Hears It, Does It Make a Noise?

From YNet News:

Saudi minister calls for Israeli response on talks

Buenos Aires - Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Wednesday that lack of positive response from Israel to initiatives for Middle East peace would make Arab nations review their position.

[Saudi Arabia has never communicated its "initiative" to Israel. It refuses to communicate with Israel, even refusing to shake hands with the Israeli representatives at the Annapolis Conference, even refusing to use the same entrance.

How is Israel supposed to react to a proposal that's never been communicated to it?

If, perhaps by osmosis, Israel learns of the alleged initiative, how is it supposed to convey any reaction to Saudi Arabis if Saudi Arabia refuses contact?]

"We hope that Israel responds positively to our quest and efforts, to avoid desperation that would force us to review our options," al-Faisal said in a speech at the opening a meeting of Latin American and Arab nations' foreign ministers in Buenos Aires.

Al-Faisal said Arab participation in last November's conference in Annapolis, Maryland to launch a new bid for Middle East peace was based on the idea of entering a new era of talks.

[Interesting idea: entering a new era of talks without talking.]

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed on Tuesday to accelerate US-backed peace talks after critics warned Israel not enough was being done to get a deal this year.

[Some examples of "not enough:"
  • Not enough Kassams aren't being launched at Israeli civilians.
  • Not enough Arab terrorists are being restrained by the Palestinian Authority.
  • Not enough schoolchildren are not being incited by the Palestinian Authority.
  • Not enough brutal terrorists aren't being lionized by the supposedly moderate Ramallah branch of the Palestinian Authority.
One could go on and on, although that's not what the unnamed critics have in mind.]

"It is not logic to always blame the weak side of the equation. The Palestine people are suffering and it cannot be ignored what Israel is doing as far as expanding settlements," al-Faisal said.

[Of course, if the Arabs were interested in peace, having a handful of Jews living in the currently disputed territories would be no more an issue than having more than a million Arabs living in Israel.

One sign that the Arabs are finally ready to seriously discuss peace is when they stop complaining about Jewish communities in Eretz Yisrael.

One might also note the Palestinian Arabs are backed by hundreds of millions of Arabs living in dozens of Arab states and have an automatic overwhelming majority in the United Nations backing any absurd anti-Israel resolution they introduce, so it's rather absurd to imply the Palestinian Arabs are the "weak side of the equation."]

The negotiations that were launched in Annapolis have been stalled by disputes over Israeli plans to build new homes near Jerusalem and Olmert's insistence on putting off talks about the future of Jerusalem.

[Actually, they've been stalled by the fact that they're essentially pointless as long as Kassams are constantly being launched from Hamastan, as long as the Ramallah branch of the Palestinian Authority continues to refuse to dismantle its terrorist infrastructure and as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to instill hatred in its schoolchildren.]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Muslims Blame Israel for Earthquake and Destructive Activity of Muslim Wakf

Israel was affected by two different earthquakes during the past week or so. The Muslim Wakf controlling the Temple Mount has also undertaken wanton construction which has not only destroyed irreplaceable antiquities but also undermined the structural integrity of the Temple Mount.

It's thus not very surprising some damage was found a few days ago.

Also not surprising is that rather than acknowledge the two forces almost certainly responsible, Muslims are using Israel as a scapegoat.

The following came from the website of the The Muslim Student Association @ UConn/The Islamic Center of the University of Connecticut, which reported its source as We add some comments in [brackets].

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - A landslide at part of Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade has sounded the alarm over the ongoing Israeli excavations near Islam's third holiest shrine.

[Jerusalem is not "occupied;" it is the capital of Israel.

The Temple Mount may be "Islam's third holiest shrine," but it runs a distant third to Mecca and Median, while it is by far the most important place in the world for Jews.

Israel's escavations have been scrupulously planned and supervised, while the Muslim Wakf has been totally irresponsible while using heavy construction equipment to destroy history and undermine the foundation of the Temple Mount.]

Worshippers witnessed a crater at the esplanade as they were en route to the Friday prayer, Al-Aqsa Online reported Saturday, February 16.

The crater is two meters in length and 1.5 meters in width.

"I was cleaning the mosque's esplanade for the Friday prayers," said Ashraf Al-Sharyati, the driver of the mosque's cleaning vehicle.

"Suddenly, some bricks fell down at 10:00 a.m., creating a crater. We covered the big hole with wooden plans for worshippers' safety."

The landslide occurred near Al-Selsela (Chain) Gate and Qatibai Water Fountain at the mosque's western side.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the Muslims' first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj - the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).

The holy place represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict as Jews claim that their alleged Haykal (Temple of Solomon) exists underneath Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

[It was only because of the centrality of Yerushalayim to the Jews that it attained any importance for Muslims; it is likely Mohammed never entered Yerushalayim.]

Israeli Diggings

Palestinians blamed the Israeli diggings adjacent to Al-Aqsa for the earth moving.

[Of course, just the way they are planning to retaliate against Israel for their own recent "work accident" which killed senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Ayman Atallah Fayed.]

"The diggings and tunnels Israel is building beneath and around Al-Aqsa Mosque are the cause of the new landslide," said Al-Aqsa Foundation for Reconstruction of Islamic Sanctities in an online statement.

"The Jewish tunnels network have reached Al-Selsela Gate."

The Islamic Movement in Israel also blamed the Israeli diggings for the landslide, calling on Muslim countries to step in to stop Israeli excavations near the holy mosque.

The movement's leader Sheikh Raed Salah has warned that Israel plans to build a colossal synagogue at the heart of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and contiguous to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

[Sheikh Raed Salah has also reported that the Harry Potter series is not a work of fiction.]

Israeli bulldozers started last February demolishing the wooden bridge leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque's Al-Maghariba Gate and two underground rooms, sparking widespread protests in the Palestinian lands and Muslim countries.

Archeologists warn that leveling the mound upon which the wooden bridge is built would threaten the foundation of Al-Aqsa Mosque and open the way for more Israeli excavations.

A part of the road leading to one of the mosque's main gates collapsed in February of 2004 due to the destructive Israeli digging work.

[Translation: The Wakf's irresponsible construction activity has been causing damage for years, but it's always nice to blame the Jews.]

Sunday, February 17, 2008

When in Doubt, Kill Some Jews

Two different terrorists died the last few days, one from Hezbollah and one from Islamic Jihad. In both cases, the organizations responded by pledging to murder Jews, even though it was unclear whether Israel was involved in either death.

Hezbollah, one of the world's leading practitioners of car bombing, had the tactic turned on itself with the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, mastermind of terror attacks responsible for hundreds of American lives.

Washington had a bounty on Mughniyeh's head, making it quite possible Israel's denial of any responsibility was legitimate. But that didn't stop Hassan Nasrallah for screaming "Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open."

In Gaza, senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Ayman Atallah Fayed was killed and at least 40 people injured when Fayed's home was flattened by a powerful blast.

The explosion was apparently a "work accident," the unplanned detonation of Kassams being engineered for launching at Israeli civilians. One of course wonders whether any of those who blast Israel anytime civilians are injured when Israel goes after terrorists will criticize Islamic Jihad for endangering innocent civilians by locating a bomb and missile factory in a residential area.

Not surprisingly, Islamic Jihad announced it would carry out reprisal attacks against Israel, even though Israel had nothing to do with the work accident and Fayed was killed, effectively, by either Islamic Jihad itself or one of its allies.

Such is the lunacy Israel has to deal with.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

America Again Benefits from Israel's Experience

The last Lebanon War might not have been very successful for Israel, with hundreds of Katyusha rockets making northern Israel unlivable and Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser still being held captive by Hezbollah terrorists, but the United States is learning from Israel's experience.

Once again, it looks as if we will save American lives thanks to Israel.

U.S. learns from Israel-Hezbollah war

By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Senior Pentagon officials are using a classified Army study on the 2006 war between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah to retool the U.S. military's combat strategy for future wars.

That means focusing on heavy armor, such as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles; more body armor; and unmanned aircraft that can monitor enemy activity and fire missiles at enemy fighters.

Such an approach conflicts with the current emphasis on counterinsurgency operations, which are being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. Counterinsurgency tactics could leave U.S. forces vulnerable to the kind of coordinated attacks that stymied Israel.

TROOPS AT RISK: Combat discussions, investigations into military readiness, interactive graphics and more

"It's not just counterinsurgency," said Rickey Smith, of the Army Capabilities Integration Center-Forward Office. "This was a wake-up call to all of us as analysts."

The study by the Center for Army Analysis, which provided an unclassified version to USA TODAY, stresses that guerrillas armed with high-tech equipment can fight a modern military force to a standstill.

The Army has identified several lessons, according to Smith. They include:

  • Train soldiers to use a full range of combat skills, not just how to conduct counterinsurgency operations against an enemy with limited weapons.
  • Equip soldiers with vehicles that can take blasts and shoot down rockets; sensors that can detect enemy tunnels; and unmanned planes that provide video of enemy activity. In President Bush's 2009 budget, the Army asked for $3.6 billion to develop Future Combat Systems, a suite of vehicles, weapons, sensors and communication equipment.
  • Conduct a media campaign during such conflicts to get out the U.S. message to local and international audiences. Soldiers skilled in communication need to be on the front line not for propaganda, but to explain U.S. actions.

"It's still going to boil down to a human contest," Smith said. "But we don't want it to be a fair fight. We want to win with overwhelming force."

Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Secretary Pete Geren and Marine Commandant James Conway have seen the classified version of the briefing.

"The Army's lesson is that it has to focus on a continuum of threats," said Dov Zakheim, former Defense Department comptroller and now a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. He has not seen the briefing but has studied the conflict.

Spending billions on the Army's Future Combat System to confront the threat would be the wrong approach, said Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution.

Read the rest on USA Today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Egypt deports 3,000 Palestinians to the Gaza Strip Gaza

Note the Egyptians didn't let the Palestinian Arabs bring the goods they had purchased in Egypt back into Hamastan. Apparently, they realize there has never been a humanitarian crisis in Hamastan ... or else figure since the Palestinian Arabs paid for the goods with counterfeit currency, they didn't own the goods they were carrying. Brotherly love just goes so far.

Ma'an - Egyptian authorities sent 3,000 Palestinians who had been detained in Egypt back into the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

After crossing through the forcibly-opened border, the Gaza Strip residents stayed in Egypt after the border was resealed over a week ago.

Egyptian security forces had rounded up Palestinians over the past week, holding them in make-shift detention centers in schools and sports clubs in the cities of Al-Arish and Rafah, preparing to deport them.

Reliable sources that Egypt did not allow the 3,000 deportees to bring goods purchased in Egypt back into Gaza. Shopping for basic supplies made scarce by the Israeli blockade of Gaza had been the main reason compelling thousands of Palestinians to cross the border.

70 Egyptians were also sent back into Egypt from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian trucks loaded with cement and other materials are also waiting on the Egyptian side of the border.

Good Will Gestures Lead to Terror

From Steve Shamrack:

The recent suicide bombing in Dimona, that left one dead and more than 20 wounded, and the increase in terror attacks on the roads perpetrated by 'moderate' PA terrorists has brought a sudden surge of understanding of the underlying problem amongst Israel's politicians. Is it just a political survival instinct or genuine concern about the country and the people that they represent that will materialise in action?

Likud Knesset Member and former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said "we must understand that all the good will gestures to Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) help terrorists."

The director of the Almagor terror victims' association said, following Monday's attack "we shouldn't be surprised if the perpetrators had previous criminal-terrorist records."

"Perhaps after Olmert releases prisoners with blood on their hands and enjoys his photo-op with Gilad Shalit, he will also find the time to visit the bereaved families and promise them that Israel will arrest the terrorists yet again," Meir Indoor said bitterly. Indoor was referring to the prime minister's decision to relax the criteria that determine which prisoners with "blood on their hands" are eligible for freedom in a prisoner swap deal with Hamas terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai declared that: "The government's previous decision to abandon the Philadelphia Route without supervising forces was a serious mistake". Terrorists have used the route for years to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza and Israel.

Kadima Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said bluntly, "We have to guard our own border, without worrying about what anyone else thinks or does about it. Whether the Egyptians guard or don't guard the border is not our problem. Our problem is our border and we have to protect it – sometimes by force if necessary."

Left-wing Meretz party Knesset Member Ran Cohen claimed that the blast proved the need for the government to negotiate with Hamas. (It is hard to change the belief system of a self-hating Jew, especially a politician. May be by moving them all to live in Sherod for a while, under the shower of Quassam rockets, would change their mind!)

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

It is time to face the truth: Hamas is Islamic terrorist organisation, which was legitimately elected by residents of the PA controlled territories. As a result, so-called Palestinians have made quite a clear declaration that they have no interest in recognising Israel or letting Jews live in peace. Israel can easily rectify the problem by removing all of this hostile population from Jewish ancestral land. A Jewish national government, with vision and integrity, is urgently needed! Self-serving politicians must go!

Winograd Panellist Admits a Whitewash. Professor Yehezkel Dror, a member of the Winograd Commission investigating the Second Lebanon War, admitted in an interview that he was influenced by the desire to keep Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in power so that Israel would continue making concessions to the Palestinians and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu would not have a chance to be elected. (Time to get rid of this politicly sickening, self-serving elite!)

Hamas: We're Allowed to Lie. "A Muslim is permitted to say things that oppose his beliefs in order to prevent damages or to be saved from death." Hamas leaders told the Arabic language Ash-Sharq il-Awsat newspaper. This approach, known in Arabic as "taqiyya" was behind several Hamas leaders' recent public expression of support for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. (This is old news! Arafat used "taqiyya" regularly, as does his comrade, Mahmoud Abbas. Their teacher prophet Mohammed invented the concept! At least, Hamas honestly admits it.)

Government of Self-hating Idiots. This year's Israel Prize in political science will be awarded to Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Education Minister Yuli Tamir announced on Thursday. Sternhell has called for use of IDF tanks against Jews living in Judea and Samaria and encouraged Arab terror attacks on the Jews living outside Israel's pre-1967 borders.

Forged Dollars in Sinai. More than a million dollars in forged United States currency have been found in Sinai in the past two weeks. The authorities continue to find fake money in towns near Gaza where Gaza Arabs shopped two weeks ago. The fake currency was allegedly produced in Gaza. 'Poor' Gaza Arabs spent well over $300 million during the several days that they were allowed to enter Egyptian territory.

Quote of the Week:

"I would support moving the Palestinians to Egypt temporarily, in order to bomb Israel into the stone-age. Then, after some environmental cleanup, bring the Palestinians back to their land. That would be just." – A response from a 'friend' of Israel to my article "Sinai Option". Unfortunately, there are too many responses like this from Muslims, anti-Semites of all sorts and self-hating Jews! During the six and a half years that I have been publishing my editorial letter, not once have I called for killing of our enemies!

Brotherly Love. President Mubarak decided to crack down on the Hamas-led mass Palestinian invasion of Sinai after Saudi King Abdullah, a former Hamas patron, warned that the Palestinian fundamentalists were on a rampage which could provoke destabilizing radical violence against Arab regimes. An angry Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said: "Anyone who breaches the border will have their legs broken." (Muslim leaders, unlike Israeli ones, say what they mean. They do not care about international opinion or fake political correctness.)

Ultimate Betrayal. The Olmert government has agreed to transfer JNF land in Karmiel to the ownership of Arabs. Minister of Construction and Housing Ze'ev Boim has instructed the Israel Lands Authority to register apartments built on JNF land in the Jewish Galilean town in the name of Arabs. (Jews around the world collected fund to secure the future of the Jewish state by buying land in Palestine. Is spite of all of the difficulties caused by the British mandate administration and Arab leadership, most of the land in Israel was bought by JNF at high cost. Now, the traitors are betraying the memory and inspirations of the Jewish pioneers by giving away Jewish land to the enemies, which is not theirs to give!)

Politicly Correct Stupidity. The digital remake of the children's classic story based on the Three Little Pigs has been rejected by by Becta, a UK government education technology agency, in case it offends Muslims. Tahir Alam, the head of education at the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "We are not offended by that at all." (It is not kosher to eat pork, but one can read about pigs!)

Olmert is Unable to Learn. Israel Security Service director Yuval Diskin has warned that the plan by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to free terrorists involved in murders of Israelis will endanger the security of the country.

Saudi Arabia to Receive Eurofighters. Saudi Arabia will receive 72 Eurofighters in 2009. The deal provides for a transfer of technology. The deal is unrelated to the proposal by American President George W. Bush to sell Saudi Arabia $20 billion in advanced weapons.

Israel and NASDAQ. Israel has become a Goliath in the fields of medicine and technology and is the third ranking countries with NASDAQ listings. Israel is ahead of economic powerhouses like Germany, England and China. Among Israeli innovations are instant messaging on the Internet, wireless computer chips and medicines. American troops use Israeli portable digital X-ray machines in Iraq and Afghanistan that don't require film for developing and are used in battlefield situations.

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You Don't Have to be Jewish to Recognize Hatred

The Islamic Center of the University of Connecticut is hosting a program it calls Terrorism, the USA, and the Palestinian-Israeli Struggle at the Dodd Center at UConn on February 14.

The Dodd Center is devoted to human rights, being named after Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd, who played a prominent role in the Nuremberg trials.

It's unfortunate that it is sometimes the location of programs which make a mockery of human rights, such as the program February 14.

Both speakers are vicerally anti-Israel, with Mazin Qumsiyeh being a co-founder of Al-Awda, a group whose very name is code for the destruction of Israel, and the author of a book misleadingly titled "Sharing the Land of Canaan," which calls for the replacement of the only democracy in the Middle East by a state in which Jews would be lucky to have dhimmi status.

Qumsiyeh is so notorious that one respected civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League, has put together a backgrounder on him.

At least one UConn student, Jessica M. Hartke, has taken offense at this misuse of the Dodd Center and has written Michael Hogan, the president of the University of Connecticut.

We post her open letter along with an announcement of the offensive program.

Dear President Hogan,

I emailed you a while back welcoming you, thanks for your response. I hope all is going well!

I am emailing you in concerns to a lecture/forum being held tomorrow night by the Muslim group- I am hoping you can help with this situation.

I am not Jewish, but a Judaic Studies M.A. student, and many of my friends are Jewish and Muslim, in fact one of my best friends is from Saudi Arabia. However, I have little patience for people with negative attitudes towards certain groups. The Muslim group invited two people to lecture tomorrow night in the Konover auditorium in the Dodd Center- one of which spoke here before who is a racist against Jews, saying how Israel should not exist, and such degrading remarks about Jews which I will not go into at this time.

It is a disgrace that our money is being wasted on speakers who give negative attitudes, advice, and morals to the community: student, faculty, and visitors. This University should praise good ethics and peace- not racism and violence towards minority groups.

These speakers tomorrow is everything a university should be against. And yet.... if Hillel or a Christian group were to invite people in to show racism against other minority groups something would be said. *IF* a forum is held there should be a pro-Israel person to rebuttal- not a one sided argument to brainwash listeners.

Whether these people are right or wrong is not the concern- but it is the negativity which comes from speakers such as this- and we wonder why there is still hate and racism in this world. This is not something to teach university students.

Please call this issue to attention! I appreciate your time, whether or not you take action, I wanted to tell you about the degradation happening on campus.

Thank you! And sorry I had to bring this to your attention, but I felt as if it has to be addressed.

Jessica M. Hartke
M.A. Student, 09

The following is the announcement about the program, obtained from the Muslim Student Association's web site.

Terrorism, the USA, and the Palestinian-Israeli Struggle
Start: 02/14/2008 - 18:00
End: 02/14/2008 - 20:00
Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center - 405 Babbidge Road, Storrs, CT 06269

Unfortunately, the United States’ “war on terror” campaign has successfully silenced any discussion regarding the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, especially the U.S.’s support for an expansionist and U.N.-defying Israel that is militarily occupying and oppressing millions of Palestinians. Dr. Gerteiny and Dr. Qumsiyeh will discuss aspects of legitimate and illegitimate political violence in this region, the origins and progression of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and why standing for justice and human rights is in the best interest of the whole world.

Dr. Alfred Gerteiny
Adjunct Professor of History at UCONN Stamford and author of "The Terrorist Conjunction"

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh
Christian Palestinian-American, Human Rights Advocate, and author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan"

Alfred Gerteiny, PhD, specializes in International Relations and History. He is the adjunct professor of history at UCONN Stamford since 1997. He has also served as a professor and Chairman of the Department of History at the University of Bridgeport. He has studied the Middle East, Islam, and Francophone Africa extensively, and has published many books and dissertations in these areas. He is interested in humanitarian and cross-cultural counseling. His latest book, “The Terrorist Conjunction: The United States, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and al-Qaida,” analyzes power, political legitimacy, and examines terrorism. He delves into the role of terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and does not shy away from discussing the United States’ role in this area.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD was born to a Palestinian Christian family. He served on the faculty of both Duke and Yale Universities (six and five years respectively). He served on the Steering/Executive Committees of a number of groups, including the US Campaign to End the Occupation, the Palestinian American Congress, Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and National Council of Churches of Christ USA. In CT, he is Vice Chair of the Middle East Crisis Committee and volunteers and participates with several local groups including and We Refuse to be Enemies. His latest book is titled "Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle". Appearances in national media include the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

United Nations Spokesperson in Time Warp

The following is taken verbatim from the United Nations News Service.

The spokesperson refers to Hamastan as "occupied territory" but gets somewhat flustered when a questioner points out the only non-Palestinian Arabs in Hamastan are United Nations personnel, implying the only possible occupier would be the United Nations itself.

30 January 2007

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today's noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Ashraf Kamal.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General


** Middle East Statement

A statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Secretary-General has noted today's announcement of an agreed ceasefire in Gaza, and commends Egypt for its continuing efforts to calm a volatile and worrying situation. He calls for all parties to abide by the terms of the ceasefire and to move quickly back to the process of national dialogue in the pursuit of national unity.


**Questions and Answers


Question: You read a statement about the situation in Gaza before and I know it's difficult to change terminology, but we have a new Secretary-General now, so let me try it again. A year and half after the last Israeli withdrew from Gaza, the UN system still refers to Gaza as an Occupied Palestinian Territory. The only people who are not Palestinian in Gaza currently are UN people. Do you mean that Gaza is occupied by the UN?

Spokesperson: Definitely not.

Question: So who is it occupied by?

Spokesperson: Well...

Correspondent: I think there are some Israeli soldiers on the border.

Question: Not borders, who is Gaza occupied by?

Spokesperson: Traditionally, this is the terminology we have used. Yes?

Question: But the situation on the ground changed since Israel withdrew from Gaza.

Spokesperson: I will look into this.

Correspondent: Thank you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

PA Officials Audition for Saturday Night Live

Palestinian Authority officials are demonstrating an amazing sense of humor. According to an article "PA official: Peace talks at a standstill published in The Jerusalem Post, an unnamed senior official in Ramallah said: ""Final status talks between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams have reached a severe standstill, due to Israeli stubbornness."

He also said the Israeli delegation was "not demonstrating flexibility on any issue."

For the skeptical who don't think that official has a sense of humor, we include a complete list of all concessions made by the Palestinian Arabs since 1993 along with a miniscule sample of the concessions made by Israel.

Concessions Made by the Palestinian Arabs:

  • None.

Miniscule Sample of Concessions Made by Israel:

  • Gave almost all the Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories their own government.
  • Completely turned over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, including the ethnic cleansing of any Jewish presence.
  • Offered to give almost all of the disputed territories to the Palestinian Arabs.
  • Offered to give parts of its capital to the Palestinian Arabs.
  • Forced numerous Jews out of their homes in Judea and Samaria.
  • Turned over most of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority.

PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami also demonstrated an amazing sense of humor, asserting that Israel was not contributing to creating an atmosphere conducive to a peace agreement and "continuing its policies of blockades, settlements and checkpoints and ... not releasing prisoners in accordance with the road map's demands."

Israel, of course, has repeatedly released prisoners, only to have them return to murdering Jews.

The most important provision of the roadmap was for the Palestinian Authority to end its love affair with terrorism, something it refuses to do.

It's possible neither al-Ajrami nor the unnamed official have senses of humor and are merely divorced from reality. In any case, it's unlikely either will be hosting Saturday Night Live in the near future.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

CMEP: Churches with a Skewed View of Middle East Peace

One of the sad ironies of the Arab-Israeli conflict is that groups with either peace or justice in their names are generally interested in neither.

CMEP stands for "Churches for Middle East Peace," but they're really just a typical anti-Israel pressure group.

It can be educational to read materials from such groups. We include the text of CMEP's December newsletter, along with some comments enclosed in brackets.

The CMEP web site is at and the newsletter may be found at

Quarterly Policy Analysis Newsletter

Holy Land Peacemaking on Center Stage in 2008

December 2007 Newsletter

By Corinne Whitlatch, Executive Director

With the news filled with articles and commentary about the Annapolis peace initiative and US relations with Iran, I am reminded of 1978 when I began working for Middle East peace, at the regional office of the American Friends Service Committee in Des Moines. As I clean my desk in preparation for my retirement as Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace after 21 years, I reflect on these years of organizing national churches and local church members for education and advocacy in support of peace and justice.

[It is impossible to ever undo the injustice caused by six decades of Arab war, terrorism and intransigence.]

In 1978, President Carter brought Egypt's President Sadat and Israeli PM Begin to Camp David to hammer out the first major breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli conflict by negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Israel's occupation of the Sinai ended, but the occupation of other land as a result of the 1967 war - Gaza, the West Bank including east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights - continued.

[Israel tried to give Gaza back to Egypt, but Egypt refused.

Israel offered the Golan, which was originally promised to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration, to Syria, but Syria refused.

Israel has completely left Gaza.

Most of the Arabs in the West Bank are living it territory long ago handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

Jerusalem happens to be Israel's capital.

The United Nations called upon the establishment of secure and recognized borders. Obviously, Israel cannot determine those unilaterally, so the disputed territories must remain disputed — using the term occupied is both inaccurate and misleading — until the Arabs are willing to agree to borders.]

Near my home in Iowa is Iowa State University with a large number of foreign students. Downtown on Saturdays in 1978 were demonstrations by Iranian students, wearing paper bag masks to hide their identity, with petitions protesting the shah's cruel regime. In 1979, the shah fled, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to usher in the Islamic Republic and the U.S. embassy was taken hostage.

During this 30 year span, much has changed, some progress has been made, and the challenge of resolving these conflicts has sharpened.

By looking back, we can see the way forward.

[The rest of her letter reveals a rather distorted vision of the way forward and complete ignorance of the key ingredient needed: the willingness of the Arabs to abandon their drive to destroy Israel and agree to a reasonable compromise.]

Spotlight on Settlements

The second piece of the Camp David Accords, regarding Israel withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, was the topic of follow-up meetings between Sadat and Begin until the process broke down in mid- 1980. Meanwhile, Begin encouraged accelerated Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, increasing from 17 settlements with 5,000 settlers in 1977 to 100 settlements with a population of more than 20,000 in 1982. Throughout the years since 1978, Israeli settlements in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza continued to grow, with the exception of those in Gaza dismantled in 2005.

[There was no "Israel withdrawal from" Judea and Samaria included in the Camp David Accords. There was a provision for setting up autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs, but it never happened because neither Egypt nor the Palestinian Arabs were willing to engage in the necessary negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Arab population of the disputed territories expanded far more than the Jewish population there.]

The demand for Israel to cease settlement building was revived at the November Annapolis meeting, and follow-up meetings are planned. Now, negotiators must deal with a situation of 450,000 settlers (260,000 in the West Bank and 190,000 in East Jerusalem), complicated by President Bush's April 2004 letter to Prime Minister Sharon noting that the realities on the ground make it unrealistic to expect the outcome of negotiations to be a full return to the armistice line of 1949, generally referred to as the "green line."

[A tiny note of realism. Of course, the armistice agreements themselves specified those lines were never to be borders and that was effectively reiterated in United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338.]

The tied commitments of Israel to freeze settlements and of Palestinians to end violence, as the first step in 2003 launch of the "road map" peace plan, have not been met. The Annapolis meeting reset the clock on the road map, but it remains to be seen if settlement building will halt and if Palestinians can rein in militant violence.

[Given that both Palestinian Authority governments are led by terrorist organizations committed to "armed struggle" in their charters, there's no hope they will ever "rein in militant violence."

To freeze construction of Jewish housing in the disputed territories without a corresponding freeze in Arab housing there amounts to an unfair and unrealistic double standard. It is also in violation of the principle of not prejudicing the outcome of negotiations for a final settlement.]

Big question: Will settlement building stop and, if not, what will President Bush do?

[The big question is whether the Arabs will ever start adhering to their most basic commitment under both the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap: the abandonment of terrorism.]

Jerusalem for All?

Unlike the West Bank and Gaza, Israel annexed east Jerusalem and its environs and proclaimed the expanded city to be Israel's reunited and eternal capital and not subject to negotiation. Even though Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem was not accepted by the US government or the international community, disputing the status of Jerusalem was a taboo topic in Washington. For years, the US Congress has passed legislation mandating the movement of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital city, Jerusalem - a move that successive Presidents refused.

[A big mistake. One more example of continued appeasement of Arab intransigence.]

At Camp David with Clinton and Arafat in 2000, Israel Prime Minister Barak acknowledged that Israeli claims to east Jerusalem were not absolute and that some measure of Palestinian sovereignty might be possible. At the conclusion of the failed peace talks, President Clinton outlined bridging proposals including for Jerusalem. As a general principle, he stated "Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish ones are Israeli," and in the Old City, Palestinians would have sovereignty over the Haram and Israelis would have sovereignty over the West Wall.

[When Arafat rejected peace and launched his terror offensive, all offers came off the table.

While it may make some sense to give some peripheral areas to the Palestinian Arabs, it makes no more sense to divide Jerusalem, a city which as Israel's capital is open to all, than it makes to divide Mecca or Medina. Jerusalem, while central to Jews, has relatively little significance for Arabs and Muslims.]

Now, discussions on Jerusalem's future as a city to be shared by Israelis and Palestinians as the capital of each state are commonplace. Scenarios for how Jerusalem might be shared, or some would say divided, have been drafted by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Considerable progress has been made in just how this very thorny final status issue will be settled. While the Bush Administration has not reiterated Clinton's proposal, it has stood firm on the position that Jerusalem's status can only be established by means of negotiations and has criticized Israeli actions that would prejudge the future status of the city prior to negotiations.

Big question: Will President Bush elaborate on his vision of a Palestinian state to include "with its capital in Jerusalem?"

[Portions of Jerusalem were incorporated into the Palestinian Arab state of Jordan for nineteen years, yet nobody felt it important to make it the capital.

If the Palestinian Arabs are ever willing to make peace, they can build an embassy in Jerusalem. That would, legally, be their sovereign territory and they could consider it their capital.]

Refugees Still Waiting

Little progress has been made in resolving the situation of the Palestinian refugees during these decades. Generations of Palestinians crowd the refugee neighborhoods in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. However, the reiterated promises of Arab and Palestinian leaders that these refugees will be able to return to their homes in Israel have been trumped by the Arab League Peace Initiative that calls for an "agreed" solution, which would require Israel's approval.

[Obviously, while Israel might allow the immigration of some of the remaining refugees, all of whom will be at least sixty years old this year, it's not going to allow the immigration of the descendants of those refugees.

The mere mention of the misleading term "return" is an indication of a lack of seriousness when it comes to peace.]

This particular final status issue is a regional matter that involves neighboring Arab states as well as Israelis and Palestinians. As is the case with Jerusalem, the refugee issue can only be resolved as a package deal that includes all the final status issues and is within the framework of a comprehensive agreement between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab states. Proposals have been drafted that would both recognize the Palestinian refugees' suffering while also taking into account the needs and aspirations of both peoples in the context of a two- state solution.

[Actually, the refugees and their descendants are a non-issue. Just as Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees who were kicked out of their homes in Arab lands, the Arabs will have to absorb their brethren.]

Big question: Will President Bush pursue a comprehensive peace agreement or limit his engagement to Palestinian-Israeli negotiations?

Setting the Borders

The "green line" between Israel and the West Bank was not visible 30 years ago, neither shown on Israeli maps or by markers on the ground. But this armistice line from the 1948 war was indicated by a dotted line on international maps and, through UNSC Res. 242, recognized as the dividing line between Israel and the Jordanian-controlled territories that were occupied and from which, Israeli withdrawal is required. The lack of a clear border line allowed some semblance of interaction between Israelis and Palestinians, but the breakdown of negotiations at Camp David in 2000 and the violence that followed resulted in separation both psychologically and physically.

Now, the distinction between the West Bank and Israel is made all too visible by the wall and fence infrastructure that Israel is building, ostensibly for security purposes. The current debate is not about the existence of a border, but the location of the border. Resolution of the border issue is inextricably connected to other final status issues, settlements, Jerusalem and security.

[Ostensibly??? The barrier was forced on the government by parents tired of having their children blown up in malls, discotheques and pizza parlors by Arab terrorists. It's saved lives.]

Big question: Will the border be based on the 1967 "green line" or defined by the separation barrier that Israel is building?

[The border should be based on the demographics in the disputed territories, with heavily Arab areas going to the Arabs, heavily Jewish areas going to Israel, and the lightly populated areas divided equitably.]

Palestinian National Movement

Thirty years ago, the Palestinian people were struggling for recognition as a national movement. In 1976, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) became a member of the Arab League and gained observer status to the United Nations. But it wasn't until the late 80's that the United States agreed to talk with the PLO officials; still, at the 1991 Madrid conference the US insisted that the Palestinian delegation not include PLO members. It wasn't until the Oslo Accords in 1993, which was based on mutual recognition by Israel and the PLO, that the United States agreed to negotiations with the PLO.

[Yet even today the ostensibly "moderate" leader of the Ramallah branch of the Palestinian Authority adamantly refuses to recognize the reality of Israel as a Jewish state.]

Jordan controlled the West Bank and east Jerusalem until July of 1988 when King Hussein stunned the international community by renouncing Jordan's claim. As the Palestinian uprising, known as the intifada, took root, the Palestinian National Council in late 1988 declared an independent Palestinian state and accepted UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

[They may have said out of one side of their mouths that they accepted 242 and 338, but they have continued to violate them.]

Now, with its authority to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people undisputed internationally, the PLO has been, in large part, transformed into the Palestinian Authority whose leadership is contested by the religious party Hamas. The questions of recognizing Israel and renouncing violence that the PLO answered now nearly 20 years ago are being replayed as Hamas stands defiant. The division within Palestinian society is deep and there is a lack of will at this point to reconcile, complicated by US policies intended to isolate and punish Hamas and end its control of Gaza.

Big question: Will Hamas moderate and can internal Palestinian divisions be overcome to achieve the unity necessary for a durable peace?

[Unless and until Hamas, Fatah and the countless other Arab terrorist groups completely change, there's no chance of even a shaky peace.]

A Changed World

The Israeli-Arab conflict, 30 years ago, was a fuse to super-power conflict. US policy in the Middle East, and globally, was dedicated to the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union. As the USSR gave support to the nascent Palestinian cause and armed its Arab allies, the United States bolstered its influence by arming Israel and oil-producing allies, including Iran under the leadership of the shah.

Then, secularism was a tenet of Soviet principles and the Arab leaders in the Soviet orbit repressed opposition, most especially from the Muslim Brotherhood. As the Islamist political movement spread throughout the region, governments tied to the Soviets and those allied with the West, felt the heat.

Now, the Soviet Union no longer exists, but the United States is newly challenged by the emergence of a resurgent sense of Muslim self-identity across the region that is expressed in a multitude of ways, including political engagement and, by some, violent acts against their rulers and the West.

It was in Iran, nearly 30 years ago, that religious leaders joined with leftist opponents to topple the secular US-backed ruler. Ever since Iranian students seized American diplomats and held them hostage for over a year, United States-Iran relations have been broken and characterized by hostile rhetoric.

Now, there are new doors opening for diplomatic engagement to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict and to restore relations with Iran.

[And Pangloss believes this is the best of all possible worlds.]

Changes at CMEP

Churches for Middle East Peace has grown from a working group of Washington staff of protestant churches in the National Council of Churches into a broad coalition that includes Catholics and Orthodox churches and organizations and has greatly strengthened its advocacy voice on Capitol Hill. I retire from CMEP knowing it is in good hands - with an extraordinary staff, dedicated Board and a new Executive Director, Warren Clark. Together they will continue to guide CMEP and the CMEP network of church members and clergy toward timely and effective advocacy.


2008 is sure to be a significant year for Israeli-Arab peacemaking. President Bush has set a goal of establishing a Palestinian state by the end of the year. Doubt is reasonable, but inaction is not. CMEP's role, and yours, is to express the churches' long-standing commitment to peacemaking and to help provide policymakers with the necessary commodities - moral courage and political will. Our concern should not be predicting whether the peace talks that will follow the Annapolis meeting will fail or succeed but doing everything we can do to ensure they become the vehicle for a just peace.

There are rejectionists in all camps - political and religious - who will work hard to dissuade your senators and representative from supporting the strong leadership by President Bush and Secretary Rice that is essential for real progress in negotiations. Your voice is important now, and will be necessary during the year as specific issues come onto the table.

CMEP urges advocacy directed toward the Administration and to the Congress. Make the following points in calls or emails to President Bush and your Senators and Representative:

As an American Christian, I long for the day when there will be peace in the Holy Land. I encourage the President and Secretary of State to continue their strong leadership following the Annapolis meeting, with the bipartisan support of Congress, toward the goal of a viable and independent Palestinian state and a negotiated end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the end of 2008.

[Given the continued unwillingness of the Palestinian Arabs to move from the positions they held at the start of the Oslo disaster and the continued incitement even under the ostensibly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, the probability of a negotiated settlement this year, or within the foreseeable future, is effectively zero.]

I support sustained, robust U.S. diplomatic engagement, together with the Arab League states and the Quartet, to help achieve a comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace that includes agreements between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon.
I urge the President and Secretary of State to continue to work with Israeli PM Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas to make progress both on the humanitarian and security conditions on the ground and on negotiations on final status issues, such as Jerusalem, borders, refugees, settlements, security and water.

[Totally ignored is the only real issue: the unwillingness of the Arabs to live in peace with Israel.]

White House: 202-456-1111 or

Congress: 202-224- 3121 or and

Churches for Middle East Peace
110 Maryland Ave., NE #311
Washington, DC 20002

We suggest you write to CMEP and suggest they consider becoming part of the solution rather than continuing to be part of the problem.