Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Quartet Has Its Head in the Sand

This statement was issued by "The Quartet." It continues a tradition of ignoring reality, rewarding Arab terrorism and intransigence and pretending the Palestinian Arabs are really interested in peace and the establishment of another independent state alongside Jordan and Israel in Palestine.

The statement may be found on the State Department web site.

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 26, 2008

Quartet Statement

The following statement was issued today by the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation, and the United States):

Begin Text:

Representatives of the Quartet - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner - met today in New York to discuss the situation in the Middle East. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.

The Quartet reaffirmed its support for the bilateral and comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and commended the parties for their serious and continuous efforts since the Annapolis Conference.

[Given that the Palestinian Authority has yet to move from its initial negotiating position back in 1993, it's hard to see how their efforts can be considered serious.]

The Quartet recognized that a meaningful and results-oriented process is underway and called upon the parties to continue to make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.

[There are a few steps that need to be taken before any meaningful agreement is possible, let alone before the end of this year. These start with a complete change in the attitude of the Palestinian Authority, from absolute intransigence to a willingness to compromise, and the establishment of a negotiating partner that actually represents the Palestinian Arabs.]

It noted the significance of this process and the importance of confidentiality in order to preserve its integrity. The Quartet underlined its commitment to the irreversibility of the negotiations; to the creation of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, living in peace and security alongside Israel; and to an end to the conflict.

[For negotiations to be irreversible, first there have to be real negotiations. For the creation of another state alongside Jordan and Israel in Palestine, first the Palestinian Arabs have to make it one of their top goals. For an end to the conflict, first both the Palestinian Arabs and the Arabs in general have to accept the existence of Israel.]

The Quartet expressed its desire to see the continuation of the solid negotiating structure, involving substantive discussions on all issues, including core issues without exception, in order to ensure the fulfillment of the Annapolis goals. The Quartet reiterated its previous call for all Palestinians to commit themselves to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations. Restoring Palestinian unity based on the PLO commitments would be an important factor in this process.

[Given that the Palestinian Arabs are really at least two separate people, if they are even a people, it's going to be rather difficult to "restore Palestinian unity."

There is some note of reality in the call for the Palestinian Arabs to "commit themselves to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations." It at least implicitly recognizes that the Palestinian Arabs have reneged on all their previous commitments.]

The Quartet emphasized the need for a renewed focus on improvements in the situation on the ground and stated that visible and tangible progress must accompany the negotiations. The Quartet commended the Palestinian Authority for the encouraging results of its efforts to reform the security sector, to confront militias and terrorism, and to enforce the rule of law in areas subject to its security control.

[Giving such unwarrented praise only feeds the belief by the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs that they can get away with anything. While they've taken some minimal steps towards reducing wanton civil disorder in the territories for which they are responsible (or more properly, irresponsible). They have done nothing to confront terrorism and the Palestinian Authority controlled media still glorifies terrorists and indoctrinates the people with hatred.]

The Quartet commended recent measures by the Israeli government to lift restrictions on access and movement and encouraged further steps to ease conditions for Palestinian civilian life and the economy.

[Until the Palestinian Authority decides to adhere to its commitment to end terrorism, those steps will only facilitate terrorism and ultimately harm not only Israel but the Palestinian Arabs themselves.]

The Quartet called on the parties to re-double their cooperative efforts on security to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and safety. In particular, the Quartet urged the parties to continue cooperation in order to expand the success observed in Jenin to other major centers in the West Bank and called on the international community, including regional partners, to support these efforts with targeted and coordinated assistance and through the continued efforts of Quartet Representative Blair. The Quartet called for speedy implementation of the outcome of the Berlin conference and invited all donors to fulfill the pledges made at the Paris conference in line with the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. It welcomed the September 22 statement of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and recalled the importance of equitable burden-sharing.

[It's interesting that, for all their profession of support for the Palestinian Arabs, the oil-rich Arab states have repeatedly reneged on their commitments to actually help them with anything but the promotion of terrorism.]

The Quartet discussed the status of the parties' obligations under the Roadmap as an integral part of Annapolis follow-up. The Quartet expressed deep concern about increasing settlement activity, which has a damaging impact on the negotiating environment and is an impediment to economic recovery, and called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.

[In other words, Arab intransigence should be rewarded.

This attitude also flies in the face of the meaning of real negotiations, presupposing a particular outcome.

Israel has at least as much legal, historical and moral right to the disputed territories as the Palestinian Arabs. If there is to be any freeze in construction, it should be undertaken equally not only by Israel, but by the Palestinian Arabs.]

In this regard, the Quartet reiterated that the parties must avoid actions that undermine confidence and could prejudice the outcome of the negotiations. Quartet Principals condemned the recent rise in settler violence against Palestinian civilians, urging the enforcement of the rule of law without discrimination or exception. The Quartet also condemned acts of terrorism against Israelis, including any rocket attacks emanating from the Palestinian territories, and stressed the need for further Palestinian efforts to fight terrorism and dismantle the infrastructure of terror, as well as foster an atmosphere of tolerance.

[This implies an equivalence between the extremely rare instances of violence by Israelis against Arabs with the systematic use of terror by the Palestinian Arabs, still encouraged by the very Palestinian Authority that is supposed to fight terror.]

The Quartet commended Egypt for its endeavor to overcome Palestinian divisions and to reunite Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza under the legitimate Palestinian Authority.

[At the present time, it's highly questionable whether there is any "legitimate Palestinian Authority."]

The Quartet welcomed the continuing calm between Gaza and southern Israel, which has largely persisted for over three months and expressed its hope that this calm will result in further relief for the civilian population of Gaza, including the regular opening of the crossings for both humanitarian and commercial flows, and sustained peace on Israel's southern border. The Quartet stated its expectation that movement of persons and goods will be normalized in the coming months, as foreseen in the Agreement on Movement and Access, and expressed its strong support for the immediate resumption of stalled UN and other donor projects in Gaza. This will facilitate economic activity, reduce dependence on humanitarian assistance, and restore links between Gaza and the West Bank. The Quartet welcomed the offer by the EU to resume its monitoring mission at the Rafah crossing point. The Quartet called for the immediate and unconditional release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit.

[It would be nice if the Palestinian Arabs in Hamastan actually abided by the cease fire and stopped launching Kassam missiles and stopped preparing for future terror offensives.]

The Quartet welcomed efforts toward comprehensive regional peace and stability, including Turkey's facilitation of indirect Israeli-Syrian negotiations. It expressed hope for an intensification of these talks with the goal of achieving peace in accordance with the Madrid terms of reference. The Quartet noted the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative as a major element in moving the process forward and re-affirmed its support for a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, and 1515.

[Unfortunately, the provisions of the so-called "Arab Peace Initiative" conflict the the provisions of those Security Council Resoltions.]

The Quartet expressed its intention to work closely with the parties in the important period ahead. The Quartet agreed that the spring of 2009 could be an appropriate time for an international meeting in Moscow.

[Perhaps by then Russia will end its occupation of parts of Georgia as well as its support of the Iranian effort to develop a nuclear bomb.]

The Quartet noted with appreciation the parties' suggestion to brief the Quartet on their ongoing negotiation process, with due regard for the confidential and bilateral nature of the discussions. The Quartet expressed its interest in coordinating such a meeting for a mutually accepted time.

End text.


Released on September 26, 2008

One-sided, at best naive statements like this are actually an impediment to peace.

Between the Lines: Lessons Not Learned

The interesting thing PP finds about these two stories, both from the Associated Press, is the way they illustrate the continued obtuseness of state sponsors of terrorism.

Terrorism is not a controllable weapon which will always be directed at one's enemy; it ultimately comes back to bite the hand that nurtured it.

The Arab states have long promoted terrorism against Israelis; here are examples of how that weapon is being used against them.

The Soviet Union was a prime sponsor of terror groups; today terrorism is a serious problem for Russia.

The "victims" in these two incidents are Syria, which today remains one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism, and Egypt, which sometimes pays lip service towards the cause of eliminating terrorism but effectively remains a terror-enabler by allowing, and sometimes encouraging, Hamas and other Palestinian Arab terror groups to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

There is a lesson somewhere for the fanatical mullahs ruling Iran.

Bombing kills 17 in Syria

Damascus, Syria - A car bomb went off near a security complex in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others in the deadliest attack to strike the country in more than a decade, Syrian television reported.

A car packed with 440 pounds of explosives blew up on a highway in a southern residential neighborhood shattering dozens of car and apartment windows.

The charred booby-trapped car was seen sitting in the street near a primary school as firefighters stood near a wide crater believed to be caused by the blast.

The explosion knocked down part of a 13-foot-high wall surrounding a security complex that houses several buildings in the Sidi Kadad area.

Hours after the morning explosion, traffic returned to normal on the highway, but dozens of plainclothes Syrian police lined the road.

Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdul-Majid called the bombing a terrorist act and said all the victims were civilians.

Anti-terror units were investigating, he said.

We cannot accuse any party. There are ongoing investigations that will lead us to those who carried it out, Abdul-Majid told state TV.

Such deadly bombings are rare in Syria, a tightly controlled country where the government uses heavy-handed tactics to crack down against dissent and instability.

But over the past nine months, the country has witnessed two major assassinations, including one involving a car bomb.

The secular government also says it is battling Sunni Muslim militants who have carried out several bombings and attacks against government institutions in recent years.

Little is known, though, about Islamic militant groups here because information is limited by the state, which rarely discusses security issues.

But Saturday's bombing was by far one of the largest ever and tested weaknesses in the government's traditionally tight security grip.

Several witnesses said the blast sounded like an earthquake struck their neighborhood.

Mohammed Shubli, the owner of a toy shop, said after the blast he saw columns of smoke rising in the sky.

My house was completely damaged by the force of the blast, Shubli said.

The explosion also occurred at an intersection that leads to Sayeda Zeinab, a holy shrine for Shiite Muslims frequently visited by Iranian and Iraqi pilgrims about five miles away from the bombing site.

The United States condemned the bombing and all terrorist actions, said State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid.

He said the U.S. Embassy in Damascus would close its consular section through Tuesday except for emergency services because of the heightened security concern.

Saturday's bombing is the deadliest in more than decade. On New Year's Eve 1997, a bomb went off aboard a public bus in Damascus, killing 12 people and wounding dozens.

Syria blamed Israel for the bombing, though Israel denied the charge.

[When in doubt, blame the Jews.

Even when there is no doubt, blame the Jews.]

The last major explosion to strike Damascus was in February when a car bomb killed the commander of Lebanon's Shiite militant Hezbollah group, Imad Mughniyeh.

Hezbollah and its top ally, Iran, blamed Israel for the assassination, but Israel denied involvement.

[To repeat: When in doubt, blame the Jews. Even when there is no doubt, blame the Jews.]

Perilous Adventure in Egypt's Remotest Desert, Tourists at Risk

By Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb

Cairo, Egypt - The abduction of a European tour group in a distant corner of Egypt's desert underlines the potential dangers of adventure tourism pushing deeper into remote destinations and getting closer to conflict zones.

In the case of the 11 Europeans and eight Egyptians held since Sept. 19, the lawlessness in the desert plateau of Gilf al-Kebir may be a spillover from the violence in eastern Chad and Sudan's Darfur region, where armed bands are notorious for hijacking and robberies.

Desert tour operators and security officials say there have been several robberies and carjackings of tourists over the past year by heavily armed gunmen at Gilf al-Kebir, near the Sudanese and Libyan borders, which never previously saw such incidents.

Until recently, desert guides often ran into smugglers in the area but each side left the other alone, said guide Mahmoud Nour el-Din, who has led tours to the Gilf and other parts of Egypt's Western Desert for 12 years.

The bandits are a new element, better armed and more aggressive, he said - connecting them to Chad and Darfur.

We never had attacks with guns before. We are starting to have incidents now and they are related to militia and gunmen. They started roaming around to steal cars, el-Din said.

The kidnapping is a dramatic escalation to the banditry, highlighting the ease of crossing the vast, unguarded desert borders, marked only by the occasional signpost in the sand.

Gunmen seized 11 Italians, Germans and Romanians and their eight Egyptian guides and drivers and fled into Sudan. On Thursday, Sudanese officials said the kidnappers had moved again, into Libya, but Libyan officials said they couldn't find them and didn't believe they were on Libyan soil.

German officials have been negotiating with the kidnappers, who are demanding millions of dollars in ransom, but there has been no word on progress.

The vast majority of Egypt's 9 million tourists each year visit pharaonic sites along the Nile River or Red Sea beach resorts, a world away from the Western Desert and the Gilf al-Kebir.

The Gilf, a desert plateau 500 miles southwest of Cairo, has only recently become a popular destination. It rewards those who make the daunting trek with spectacular vistas of sand dunes and desert cliffs, as well as a treasure trove of prehistoric cave art. About 2,000 tourists visited the area in the past year, up from only a handful a year less than a decade ago.

The area is uninhabited, but is a crossroads for nomadic tribes in all three countries, used by smugglers trafficking drugs, vehicles and even illegal migrants. It lies only 180 miles from Darfur and eastern Chad, where aid groups have been forced to cut back on travel because of frequent hijackings of convoys and kidnappings by armed groups.

The identity of the tourists' kidnappers remains a mystery, but they are presumed to be tribesmen, possibly Sudanese. Sudanese officials suggested they might be connected to Darfur rebels - a claim denied by rebel leaders - but others speculated they could be Chadian. Egyptian tour operators say there have been several armed robberies in recent months in the Gilf area.

Tourist driver Hamada Marzouk says that last winter he and a tour group of one German and three Britons were camping at an area known as the Eight Bells, site of an abandoned World War II-era British airstrip near the Gilf, when they were attacked. His car had broken down and, while he was fixing it, a Land Cruiser with eight gunmen pulled up.

The gunmen appeared to be ethnic Africans and I could only communicate with them by signals because I couldn't understand their language, Marzouk said.

They forced us to sit while two of them pointed their automatic weapons at us, he said.

The gunmen took a satellite phone, mobile phones, money and computers. A second vehicle arrived with more gunmen and a heavy machine gun in the back, and the bandits began looting the tourists' cars, Marzouk said.

The bandits drove off after 90 minutes, leaving behind two vehicles. We were in shock, Marzouk said. We thanked God that we didn't die.

The tour group made its way back to the Dakhla Oasis, some 220 miles away. They reported the incident to the tourist police, who instead ended up briefly detaining Marzouk because he had made the safari without the required military permit. They accused Marzouk of fabricating the story, he said.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not the UN's Finest Hour

The UN hasn't distinguished itself in any good ways in a long, long time and it certainly hasn't this week.

It may not be able to prevent a head of state like Ahmadinejad to attend, even though based on its charter it should have expelled Iran long ago, but it certainly doesn't have to greet him warmly.

Nor did the Mennonites distinguish themselves by honoring the madman at a dinner.

All this was followed by the Security Council doing its traditional best to undermine any hopes, already dismal, for an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This article about the sham session of the Security Council appeared in The Jerusalem Post.

'Settlements aren't the biggest problem'

During a Friday UN Security Council meeting called at the request of Arab states to deal with the sole issue of Israeli settlement-building in Palestinian territory, Saudi Arabia, the Arab League and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked the Security Council to save the faltering Middle East peace process by demanding an end to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

[There is no "Palestinian territory," just disputed territory on which Israel has at least as much legal, moral and historical claim as the Palestinian Arabs. These exercises in Israel-bashing are an obstacle to peace.

The reality is that there is far more settlement activity by the Arabs than by the Israelis in the disputed territories. If there is to be a settlement freeze, then it should be an equitable freeze on all construction, Arab and Israeli, rather than just on Israeli construction.]

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reminded the Council that "just one year ago, there was no peace process," and noted that Israel and the Palestinians continue their negotiations, along with many other partners. She said US President George W. Bush had met with Abbas on Thursday, and that she would be meeting him later Friday.

[There still is no real peace process and cannot be until the Arabs finally decide they're interested in peace.]

Rice also noted that the recognized format for discussion of the Middle East peace process is the Quartet, the working partnership of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.

"The Quartet is the proper forum for those negotiations," she pointedly told the council.

Abbas said that "A definite end must be put to settlement diplomacy."

[He's quite right; it's time for him to stop his "settlement diplomacy." He's the one waging "settlement diplomacy" - or, more accurately, "settlement warfare."

One sign that he's finally getting interested in peace will be when he stops whining about the presence of Israeli communities in the disputed territories and starts serious negotiations.]

Saudi Prince Saud Al-Faisal said the settlement problem is the "one issue that threatens to bring down the whole peace process."

[First there has to be a peace process. This whining about so-called settlements is a sideshow that prevents a peace process.]

He said that addressing it was the only way to save the peace deal brokered in Annapolis, Maryland, early this year by Bush Administration, with the goal of achieving a substantive peace accord by the end of 2008.

[What peace deal? There was no peace deal brokered at Annapolis.]

For months, the United States had successfully kept Palestinian issues out of the Security Council, giving room for private discussions between Israel and the Palestinians to work.

Friday's debate seemed to signal that time had run out for the quiet back-door talks favored by the Annapolis process.

[More accurately, it's just one more signal that the Arabs don't care about peace, or at least they don't care about any peace that would involve accepting the existence of Israel.]

Before the meeting, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that the United States and some other nations had objected to Friday's open debate, but that Washington had bowed to the inevitable and let the meeting take place.

Saud called on Israel to "cease all settlement activity including the issuance of permits."

Now the Bush administration is winding down into its final months before a new president is inaugurated in January, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has resigned in a corruption scandal. Olmert remains caretaker prime minister until his successor as head of the ruling Kadima party, Tzipi Livni, forms a coalition.

Amr Moussa, speaking for the Arab League, noted that "there are only three months left in the year 2008 and there is no sign" of a Palestinian state emerging.

[A third, or a third and fourth - one in Gaza and one between the Green Line and the Jordan River - will emerge alongside the existing Palestinian states of Jordan and Israel only when the Arabs decide they're interested in such a state or states.]

New Israeli UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev replied that a stranger visiting the UN might suppose from the debate that Hamas violence, missile attacks fired over Israel's border, the buildup of Hizbullah forces in Lebanon and Iran's nuclear ambitions posed no problem to the Mideast peace process.

"While settlements remain a delicate issue, they are not the principal one," she said.

[They're not even a minor one; they're just a diversion.]

"We in Israel are committed to a two-state solution," Shalev said. "We continue to negotiate with the Palestinian president."

[Unfortunately, the Palestinian Arabs have no commitment to a two-state — really a three- or four-state — solution.]

"Israel is prepared, if the conditions arrive, to make painful concessions" on the settlement issue. she said.

Between the Lines: The "Occupation" Ended Long Ago

Every once in a while, a bit of anti-Israel propaganda contains a tacit admission that it is the Palestinian Arabs themselves, along with their Arab brethren, who are responsible for their miserable condition.

This propaganda piece, appearing in This Week in Palestine, contained that inadvertent admission in its first paragraph.

Obsessed with Taybeh

By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

I have developed a deep obsession, given that I live full time in Palestine. Following the historic Oslo Agreement, I was fooled into believing that Israelis and Palestinians can actually live side by side.

[They could, if only the Palestinian Arabs were willing.

It wasn't long after that agreement when the newly created legislature of the Palestinian Authority chose, as one of its first acts, to make it a capital crime to sell land to a Jew.

Apparently it's okay for Arabs and Jews to live side by side in Israel, at least until the Arabs destroy Israel, but not in any of the territory controlled by Arabs.]

I can only say that since 28 September 2000, the landmark day for the Second Uprising, I simply have not had a normal day, due to the collapsed economy and the reoccupation of the Palestinian Territories.

[There hasn't been a true "reoccupation;" Israel has only temporarily entered Palestinian Authority areas when necessary to minimize terror attacks. However, by even calling anything a "reoccupation," Khoury implicitly recognized that Israel had ended any occupation prior to that time.

Obviously, had the Palestinian Arabs chosen peace rather than terror when they were offered a sweetheart deal by Ehud Barak, she would have had plenty of normal days in the last eight years.]

I have developed a deep obsession with inviting people to our small Palestinian village of Taybeh, which is my way of trying to be normal. Probably inviting people to a beer festival in Palestine does not sound normal at all since we hardly have a country; but technically speaking, the country has a national beer that carries with it our pride in Palestine. My husband David returned to Taybeh with his brother Nadim to boost the economy by opening the one and only microbrewery in the Middle East region (1995), and in 2005, they initiated an Oktoberfest - Palestinian style. Well, who could imagine that, after the tragic attack on Taybeh that burned down fourteen houses, we would actually celebrate our existence with the first Oktoberfest, which turned out to be a great success.?

Taybeh Beer means everything right now. It means that we want to work for a modern Palestine where democracy, freedom, and human rights would encourage all to thrive. It means that we are just craving to be normal.

[Far more effective means of achieving normality would include ending incitement, terrorism and the inculcation of hatred in the young.]

The Taybeh Oktoberfest has become the big open day in Taybeh, specifically Taybeh-Ramallah. (There are about four Taybeh locations in the Middle East. But one of the most ancient places in Palestine with Taybeh as its modern name is actually the biblical Ephraim.) You will not find Taybeh-Ramallah on any map since it is such a tiny spot in one of the highest mountain regions in Palestine and quickly being swallowed up by the illegal Israeli settlements.

[One may question the wisdom of some of the Israeli communities in parts of the disputed territory, territory to which Israel has at least as much a moral, legal and historical claim as the Palestinian Arabs, but they are not illegal are not "swallowing up" land.]

As we try to find creative ways to survive the closure and the high rate of unemployment, we are promoting local products, one more time, with the 2008 Taybeh Oktoberfest on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 October 2008. Thus, if you catch me telling you that I would love to see you in Taybeh, it is not just an obsession but a genuine invitation.

[One way for them to "survive the closure and the high rate of unemployment" would be to work towards peace rather than the destruction of Israel.]

Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, has been the coordinator for four Oktoberfest festivals.

Hatred on Display in Iran … and Rafsanjani is the "Moderate"

This article was in YNet News. There's not really anything surprising about it, but what I find interesting is that the West still considers Rafsanjani a "moderate."

Of course, in the context of the fanatic-dominated Iranian political scene, he is relatively moderate, but that only means he's not as nuts as some of the others, such as Iran's current president.

Iran holds annual pro-Palestinian march

Dudi Cohen

If the entire Muslim world "would come together to support the Palestinian people, it would break the spirit of the Zionists," said former Iranian president Akbar Rafsanjani in a Friday morning press conference.

The press meeting marked the opening of Iranian celebrations of 'Jerusalem Day', a national day to demonstrate Shiite solidarity with the Palestinians and Shiite support of the goal to 'emancipate' Jerusalem from Israel. It has been held every year since 1979 in the Islamic Republic on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan.

[They're not really interested in supporting the Palestinian Arabs; if that was their interest they'd be working towards peace with Israel. Their interest is simply venting their hatred of Israel, Jews and any society that has progressed in the last millenium.]

During the press conference, Rafsanjani also warned Israel and the United States of the price of attacking Iran, adding that he did not think that the two states would seriously consider undertaking such an attack.

International news agencies reported that thousands of people had gathered in Tehran for an annual Jerusalem Day march, chanting 'Death to Israel' and holding anti-Israeli and anti-American signs. Calls of incitement were heard both from leaders and participants.

One marcher, quoting the words of former Iranian leader Ayatollah Humeini, said "we must remove the cancer of the Zionist establishment." Iranian news agency IRNA reported that another marcher called on Israel to "stop its crimes immediately."

[The crime of existing.]

A book containing 52 caricatures of the Holocaust was displayed in Palestine Square in the Iranian capital.

[The Iranian president was warmly welcomed at the United Nations this past week.]

Mohammad Ali Ramin, Advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that "Jerusalem Day is a day to report on the work of the Muslim world, to see what they've done to save the Palestinians in the previous year."

[As in the past, they've worked hard to ensure the Palestinian Arabs continue to reject peace and millions continue to live in squalor in refugee camps rather than build normal lives.]

Similar pro-Palestinian marches are planned in cities and towns across Iran.

[They are not "pro-Palestinian marches;" they are demogogic calls to hatred.]

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crossing the Line Again

On August 21, the Waterbury Republican-American published a letter by Frances Rostocki. An earlier blog pointed out two areas in which Rostocki crossed the line:
  • Gratuitously referring to Senator Lieberman receiving campaign donations from "Jewish-Americans"
  • Implicitly accusing Lieberman of being unpatriotic with the false assertion that he puts Israel ahead of America.
Rostocki was appropriately taken to task by two letter-writers.

Unsatisfied with leaving disgraceful enough alone, Rostocki sent in another letter, breaking further ground. It was published September 20.

Lieberman has been a failure as state's junior senator

In my Aug. 21 response to William D. Moore's Aug. 19 letter, "Speaker Pelosi, please shut up," I defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticism of Sen. Joe Lieberman's public statement that unlike Barack Obama, John McCain places his country first. I questioned Lieberman's motives and honesty, as well as his duty to represent all of the people of Connecticut.

[Senator Lieberman is a public figure and thus subject to criticism; Rostocki went well beyond the bounds of propriety in her criticism.]

For this, I was personally attacked by Jim Tierney of West Hartford and Jerry Greenberg of Goshen.

[Rostocki apparently does not understand the differnce between a personal attack, such as her attacks on Senator Lieberman, and criticism of one's actions.

Tierney and Greenberg criticized Rostocki's writing; they did not personally attack Rostocki.]

Never in my life have I been a bigot or promoted bias and hatred. I have lived and practiced acceptance and tolerance in my professional and personal life.

Routinely, some in society believe they have a free pass to trash Hispanics and Muslims. CNN's Lou Dobbs, who has a large following, whips up an audience with vicious attacks directed mostly at Mexicans. CNN's Glenn Beck questioned whether an American Muslim was fit to serve as a congressman.

[And some in society, like Rostocki, believe they have a free pass to trash Jews and other supporters of Israel.]

Lieberman compares Evangelical pastor John Hagee to Moses. Hagee, a racist and bigot,

[Talk about personal attacks!]

has written in "Jerusalem Countdown" that the United States and Israel will wage a nuclear war against Iran and other Muslim Mideast nations that will result in the Armageddon and extinction of all except Christians and Jews. This is OK with Lieberman, even as Hagee labels the Roman Catholic Church a whore.

[Rostocki apparently doesn't realize it's possible to agree with someone about some issues and disagree with them about others.

One of the current presidential candidates has a grandmother who has said some things that candidate finds extremely distasteful, but he never distanced himself from her.]

But if one is critical of Lieberman, or the actions of Israel, that person immediately is subjected to charges of bias, hatred and anti-Semitism, and if in public office, will be committing political suicide.

[It's amazing how often Israel-bashers bring up alleged accusations of anti-Semitism.

The truth is that there's far more anti-Semitism around than one would believe based on accusations. Certainly, most criticism of Israel is based on anti-Semitism, but since it's usually almost impossible to be certain of the motivation in individual cases, critics are rarely accused of being anti-Semitic.

Neither Tierney nor Greenberg mentioned anti-Semitism.]

Lieberman was elected to represent the people of Connecticut, and I judge him on his failure to do what he is being paid for.

Just this month, he not only continued to campaign for McCain but also took the additional job of tutoring McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in foreign policy.

Instead of instructing her in Political Science 101, he took her to the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the most powerful pro-Israel lobbies in the United States.

[This is rather amusing.

Foreign policy is not the same as "Political Science 101." Certainly, bringing Palin to an office of an allegedly powerful lobbies involved in foreign affairs is a very reasonable part of an education in foreign policy.]

Lieberman's association with AIPAC, shared by many members of the senator, is troubling. In 2006, two AIPAC lobbyists were accused of passing secret American intelligence to Israel. Last year, these men were indicted and are awaiting trial. AIPAC is paying their legal fees.

[In America, people are considered innocent until proven guilty.

The men referred to were accused in an unprecedented use of an obscure law nearly a century old. Their activities appear, from the available information, to be of a sort routinely performed by many people in Washington on a daily basis.

Rostocki also has her facts wrong: AIPAC is not paying their legal fees. Indeed, it is likely AIPAC will get sued for not paying their legal fees.]

Of all the choices for instruction, why did the senator choose AIPAC?

[Most likely because it and whatever other places Lieberman probably took or plans to take Palin are valuable places for gaining insight. It also probably has a map of the Middle East...and maybe even Alaska.]

Frances G. Rostocki

Friday, September 19, 2008

Between the Lines: Ahmadinejad Calls for Arabs to Leave Israel

Nothing in this article is surprising, but it's interesting to take some of Ahmadinejad's words and not only apply them as he explicitly states, but generalize them.

I refer particularly to his calling on Israelis to go back to their countries of origin.

For Israeli Jews, Eretz Yisrael is their country of origin, the land of their ancestors, so his words call on them to stay right where they are. Those words even call on yordim, Israeli Jews who have left, to return to Israel.

On the other hand, the families of Israeli Arabs generally came to Israel from other parts of the Middle East, so if Israeli Arabs listened to Ahmadinejad, they would leave Israel.

The same, of course, would apply to the Palestinian Arabs, if they obeyed the spirit of Ahmadinejad's words.

One might look upon his words as a call for a Greater Israel!

Of course, if everyone in the world carried the spirit of Ahmadinejad's words to the extreme, almost every country in the world would be totally free of human any human presence, although the Garden of Eden would be rather overpopulated and far from a paradise. On the other hand, isn't his whole purpose in developing The Bomb to get to Paradise faster?

Ahmadinejad: Israelis should go back to "countries of origin"

Middle East News
September 18, 2008

Tehran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Iran had nothing against Israeli Jews but called on them to return to their 'countries of origin.'

'Although we distinguish between the people (Jews living in Israel) and the Zionist (Israeli) regime, but we neither acknowledge an Israeli government nor a nation,' Ahmadinejad said in a press conference in Tehran.

'We have no problems with these people (Israelis) but they should leave the occupied territories, leave them to their genuine owners and get back to their countries and homes where they originally came from,' he added.

Ahmadinejad has attracted international condemnation in the last three years with his anti-Israeli tirades and by doubting the historical dimensions of the Holocaust in the Second World War. He has however constantly rejected anti-Semitism charges.

'The Holocaust is a lie and the real Holocaust is happening to the Palestinians,' he said Thursday, reiterating his antagonistic approach towards the Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran would never acknowledge the sovereignty of the Israeli state and stand besides the Palestinians 'both politically and spiritually' until liberation of their occupied territories.

'The Zionist regime (Israel) is going towards its final collapse after 60 years of aggression. The final solution would be a referendum on Palestine's future fate with the participation of all Palestinians, regardless of whether Moslems, Jews or Christians,' he said.

Ahmadinejad did not comment on the election of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as the new leader of Israel's ruling Kadima party.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 11 Will Always Unite Americans

Published in The New Haven Register, September 15. Posted with the permission of the author.

By Neil Berro

Neil Berro lives in New Haven. Readers may write him in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511.

I visited the World Trade Center site Thursday, Sept. 11. I couldn't get close. The barriers were everywhere, in part because the presidential candidates were due to lay memorial flowers.

Pedestrian traffic flow was so constricted that it took, at one point, more than 10 minutes to walk about 100 feet. Across the street were shouting protesters demanding that the government confess at long last its role in a Sept. 11 cover-up and conspiracy.

It was the third time I had been to the site since the attacks seven years ago.

The first time was two weeks afterward when a friend and I wanted to be in the city to express our own sense of solidarity. Central Park, the major hotels, midtown, they were all at least half-deserted on that beautiful early fall Sunday in 2001.

The second time was last fall right before I was due to testify on behalf of secure driver's licenses as part of America's homeland security efforts. I wanted to be reminded why America needed to wake up and start taking identification security seriously.

I was in Israel Sept. 11, 2001. Even casual acquaintances said, be careful when you are in Israel. Of course, what I was thinking was, how does one be careful. Palestinian terrorists had made it a habit to attack civilians whenever and wherever possible. The carnage was growing and would become worse when I visited Israel some months later and nearly 40 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks.

About 500 American Jews had gone to express solidarity with Israel in its battle against terrorism. We had just finished a lovely lunch with some high-powered Israeli women philanthropists and were headed back to the buses when the cell phones went off.

The first reports were startling, but unconfirmed, as to their nature. Later, as the bus was stuck in traffic returning to Jerusalem, we heard the second horrifying reports of hijacked planes being turned into missiles against Americans.

Some of us had family and friends in those buildings. Rabbi Richard L. Eisenberg, then of Congregation B'nai Jacob in Woodbridge, became the healer and pastor to the entire bus as shock spread. His gentle tone as much as his words were powerful tools of comfort.

About 10 of us were from New Haven. More would have come, but for several last-second cancellations due to fears of travel in Israel. After hearing the news of the attacks, it made me think of the last time I saw those two tall towers.

It was on the way to Newark Airport two days before the attack. I kept thinking as we drove how unattractive those big boxy behemoths were, at least to me. But I also recalled how as a kid on Long Island, on a very clear day, I could see them standing as beacons some 30 miles away.

In Israel, we saw unedited video of Palestinians celebrating on CNN International. Later, there would be reports of Italian news media, which had filmed the demonstrations applauding the attacks, being threatened.

It was dawning on me that the West was finally being exposed to the extremes of terrorists who have an agenda, whether that agenda is to destroy a country, a people, a way of life or another faith.

Perhaps the greatest mistake the terrorists made was being too successful on Sept. 11. People may have short memories, but they don't have amnesia.

Seven years on, the West is still realizing that the war on terror is going to be very long and hard and bloody. It can no longer be cynically confined to permissible areas like shopping centers, buses, schools and restaurants in Israel.

The list of Western targets hit by extremists has affected people from hundreds of countries and come from all walks of life. Efforts at enhanced security are a feature in every nation. Most chilling, people who have expressed individual opposition to Islamic fanaticism have been subject to attack and killing. Journalists and others professing objectivity and even sympathy have not been immune.

On the issue of national security, Americans remain largely united, even if unfocused until reminded by the anniversary of Sept. 11. Only at the fringes of the far right and far left, where the conspiracy theorists reside, is there any real assertion that America or civilians in any nation deserve to be attacked.

America's enemies should not be fooled by all the politics of presidential campaigns. There is a rockhard and shared determination that our way of life will triumph over those whose first course of business is to disrupt and destroy that life precisely because the details of democracy will always elude the extremists.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Crossing the Line: Threatening Paul McCartney

This is excerpted from The Daily Express, which bills itself as "The World's Greatest Newspaper."

I'm not sure about that, but the article would be funny if it wasn't serious. It's an indication of how morally bankrupt Israel's enemies are.

In this outrage, they are threatening former Beatle Paul McCartney if he has the chutzpah to sing in the only democracy in the Middle East.

Once again, we see Israel's critics aren't interested in peace and don't really care about Israel's activities, but are simply driven by passionate, irrational hatred and the drive to destroy Israel.

Imagine - threatening Paul McCartney!

Sir Paul: Terror Target

Dennis Rice

Sir Paul McCartney has been threatened that he will be the target of suicide bombers unless he abandons plans to play his first concert in Israel.

Self-styled preacher of hate Omar Bakri claimed the former Beatle's decision to take part in the Jewish state's 60th anniversary celebrations had made him an enemy of all Muslims.

Sources said Sir Paul was shocked but refused to be intimidated.

In an interview with Israeli media yesterday he said: I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here. I refused. I do what I think and I have many friends who support Israel.

Sir Paul, 65, should have gone to Israel with the Beatles in 1965 but they were barred by the Jewish nation's government over fears they would corrupt young people.

Yesterday a number of websites described him as an infidel and suggested he was going to Israel only because of the reported 2.3 fee for the one-off concert.

A message posted on one website said: Shame on you Paul McCartney for day trippin' to apartheid Israel and vowed never to buy his music again.

Bakri, who made his weekly internet broadcast to fellow extremists from his home in Lebanon, where he has lived in exile since being banned from returning to Britain, said Sir Paul was making more enemies than friends.

Syrian-born Bakri, 48, went on: I heard today that the pop star Paul McCartney is playing as a part of the celebrations.

If you speak about the holocaust and its authenticity never being proved historically in the way the Jewish community portray it, people will arrest you. People will you say you should not speak like this. Yet they go and celebrate the anniversary of 60 years of what?

Instead of supporting the people of Palestine in their suffering, McCartney is celebrating the atrocities of the occupiers. The one who is under occupation is supposed to be getting the help.

And so I believe for Paul McCartney, what he is doing really is creating more enemies than friends.

Explaining his comments, Bakri told the Sunday Express: Our enemy's friend is our enemy.

Thus Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim. We have what we call 'sacrifice' operatives who will not stand by while he joins in a celebration of their oppression.

If he values his life Mr McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.

Lawyer Anjem Choudary, who last week chaired a meeting in London at which extremists claimed the next 9/11-style atrocity would be in Britain, said Sir Paul had allowed himself to become a propaganda tool for Israel.

He added: Muslims have every right to be angry at Paul McCartney. How would the world react if he wanted to have a concert in occupied Kashmir?

They would not allow it to happen but because it is Israel he can play. A country which, as the celebration indicates did not exist 60 years ago, only exists thanks to stealing and occupying another country's lands. Yesterday the comments drew condemnation from Palestinian sources and outsiders.

Omar Barghouti, of The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, described the threat as deplorable.

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former Shadow Security Minister, said: One could dismiss Bakri as a ranting extremist but history has shown that he has an ability to twist minds, so his comments should not be underestimated.

If Sir Paul McCartney wants to play at the 60th anniversary then it is the worst form of illiberalism for Omar Bakri to restrict the artist's freedom in this way.

A spokesman for Sir Paul declined to comment on the threat, saying: Paul's Friendship First concert is about his music. Paul's is a message of peace.

[And Omar Bakri's is a message of hate.]

Monday, September 15, 2008

People of Faith = Morally Bankrupt Joke

A recent email from the misguided "People of Faith" group brought a strong but well-deserved response from Rabbi Stephen Fuchs of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, Connecticut.

With his permission, we post his response along with the section of the misguided email which provoked it.

From: Stephen Fuchs
Subject: RE: Immigrant Rights | Re-Opening Libraries | Get Out The Vote! | Free Gaza

People of Faith has turned itself into a morally bankrupt joke! Free Gaza indeed!

Israel evacuated Gaza, uprooting many of its citizens for only one reason: to make an overture for a lasting peace with people who have proven over and over again by their words and their actions that the only peace they will accept is a peace where there in no Jewish State of Israel on the map of the Middle East.

When she left Gaza, Israel left behind a thriving greenhouse industry. The Gazans bulldozed it.

The Palestinians in Gaza had the opportunity to build an infrastructure, to build schools and hospitals; they had the opportunity to turn Gaza into a seacoast showplace of modern urban planning.

The Palestinians eschewed all of these opportunities that Israel afforded them and chose instead to use Gaza as a launching pad and hiding place for terrorist activities. The children of Sderot have been traumatized by these activities. Ashkelon has been under attack (Funny to think of People of Faith raising a voice on behalf of the children of Sderot, isn't it?)

And then when Israel does what it must to protect its citizens from Gaza's bombs and bullets, People of Faith rises up on its hind legs to condemn Israel.

For rational thinking people, People of Faith has lost all credibility.


Rabbi Stephen Fuchs
Congregation Beth Israel
West Hartford, Connecticut

From: People of Faith
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2008 6:00 AM
Subject: Immigrant Rights | Re-Opening Libraries | Get Out The Vote! | Free Gaza

People of Faith Progressive Politics & Activism!

Immigrant Rights | Re-Opening Libraries | Get Out The Vote! | Free Gaza

People of Faith e-newsletter August 9, 2008


1. Rally for Immigrant Rights, Re-Opening Libraries, Hartford, 8/11

2. Nonprofits, Voting & Elections, Hartford, 8/14

3. Primary Election Endorsements by LMF PAC

4. Free Gaza: Break the Siege

5. Talking Points for Immigrant Rights and Re-Opening Hartford Libraries


Free Gaza

The situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is deteriorating.

Gaza Cannot Wait Any Longer.

And Neither Will We.

Palestinians, Israelis, including a Holocaust survivor, and Internationals from 15 countries will sail to Gaza during this, the 60th-year anniversary of the Nakba.

Break the Siege of Gaza!

The message contains a link to, put together by a group of people who pretend to be unaware that the people living in Gaza are imprisoned by Hamas, the very terror group they voted into office.

The "Nakba" is the self-inflicted tragedy resulting from the Arab refusal to live in peace with Israel, the encouragement they gave to their brethren living in Palestine to leave their homes and their forcing those same people and their descendants to live in refugee camps for six decades.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gotta Give Those Israel-Haters Credit: They Have a Sense of Humor

I found the following so-called "open letter" supposedly from "US Jews" to Hollywood starts. It contains the usual lies and distortions, starting with the first paragraph where it accuses Israel of systematic ethnic cleansing of the Arabs (who fled their homes when the surrounding Arab armies invaded in an attempt to destroy Israel).

The funniest part, though, is the list of "US Jews" who supposedly sent the letter: there aren't any!

Absolutely nobody is listed as signing the letter!

Absolutely no individuals are listed anywhere indicating who is responsible for the web site!

Read it and laugh.

US Jews to Hollywood stars: Boycott Israel celebration!

The following has been sent as an open letter to Jason Alexander, Heidi Klum, Debi Mazar, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Stone, Kiefer Sutherland, and all other confirmed attendees of the September 18 celebration of Israel at Paramount Studios.

It has also been sent to unconfirmed guests Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Adam Sandler.

[Yasher koach to everyone who is able to attend the celebration of Israel's sixty years of progress in the face of unremittant hostility from its neighbors and hateful attempts from people such as the distributors of this letter.]

Stay tuned for any updates or action announcements!

September 12, 2008

We write to you with sadness and outrage as we learn that you plan to attend the September 18 event From Vision to Reality, a Hollywood celebration of sixty years since the establishment of the state of Israel. The vision that led to the reality of the Israeli state is one of systematic and ongoing ethnic and religious discrimination against the Palestinian people. This does not deserve to be celebrated.

Sixty years ago, Zionist groups destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state in a land where the majority was not Jewish. This has come to be known by Palestinians as the Nakba, or catastrophe, and this Nakba continues today. Inside of the 1948 borders of Israel, Palestinian citizens are denied equal rights to Jews under the law. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land, water, healthcare, and other basic resources. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees throughout the world, all of whom are denied their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and land simply because they are not Jewish.

As Jewish North Americans, we are outraged at the policies the state of Israel has implemented in our names and with our government's financial support for more than sixty years. At the same time, we are inspired by the ongoing creative resistance of the Palestinian people, and most recently the unified civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. We ask you to heed this call. Boycott is a nonviolent tool that has been used by ordinary people countless times to hold countries responsible for atrocities when our governments fail to do so. In South Africa, the boycott movement helped bring about an end to the apartheid system. In the case of Israel/Palestine, it can do the same.

Whether you attend or not, you are making a statement. If you attend, you indicate that you support the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people (now millions) and ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population from their land. If you cancel your attendance, you indicate that you will not turn a blind eye to both the suffering and the call to action of millions of Palestinian people.

With stature comes responsibility, and we hope you do not take yours lightly.


The No Time To Celebrate Campaign
a campaign organized and implemented by thousands of Jewish people in the US and Canada this year to protest Israeli Independence Day activities, to commemorate the Nakba, and to honor the Palestinian call for boycott against Israel.

[We again note there's no indication of who is organizing this hate campaign.

It's also interesting to note the contrast between the actions of Israel and its supporters and the actions of the Israel-haters.

Even as the people of Israel are being bombarded by terror attacks, including Kassam missiles launched from Hamastan, the Israeli government continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Arabs and AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, lobbies Congress to provide foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority.

In contrast, the Israel-haters try to get the world to boycott the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, the only country there which even tries to provide a semblence of equal rights to a diverse population.]

Friday, September 12, 2008

And I Always Thought Quakers Were Pacifists

I'd always thought the Quakers and Mennonites were pacifists, but by honoring the warmongering, genocide-threatening, terror-supporting fanatical president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with a dinner later this month, they certainly aren't acting like pacifists.

This press release is from the ADL. It makes sense.

Religious Groups Pervert Message Of Peace By Breaking Bread With Iranian Dictator

New York, NY, September 10, 2008 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it "defies belief" that five religious organizations will break bread with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the United States, calling the planned event "a perversion of the search for peace and an appalling betrayal of religious values."

The Mennonite Central Committee, the Quakers, the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee are sponsoring a dinner and conversation with President Ahmadinejad on September 25 in New York City. The dinner to break the Ramadan fast, called an Iftar, is being billed as "an international dialogue between religious leaders and political figures" in a conversation "about the role of religions in tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

It simply defies belief that five organizations with a mission of promoting peace through dialogue would choose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from among the hundreds of world leaders and ambassadors who will be in New York this month, as an appropriate and legitimate interlocutor on world peace.

Ahmadinejad represents a rejection of everything these religious groups stand for. He is the leader of a regime that promotes terrorism, defies the will of the international community in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, threatens the United States and the West, and calls for the destruction of Israel. His speech at Columbia University a year ago showed the futility of attempting to dialogue with a dictator who makes crystal clear his antipathy toward the West, who denies the Holocaust, and who defends the Iranian regime's willful neglect of basic human rights.

In extending an invitation to Ahmadinejad, the religious organizations sponsoring this dinner have tarnished their reputations as peace seekers and bridge builders. Their breaking bread with President Ahmadinejad is a perversion of the search for peace and an appalling betrayal of religious values.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Implicit Tribute to America: The Freedom of the Press

I got a kick out of reading this. In a way, it demonstrates what's great about American: even people who are at best nuts, at worst evil, have the right to peddle crackpot ideas.

This is the editor's comments from the September 8 issue of American Free Press, a publication that fully takes advantage of the gullibility of the ignorant.

The writer gave it the ironic title "Truth Prevails;" truth certainly doesn't prevail in the pages of American Free Press.

As we often do, we include some comments.

Personal From The Editor
Truth Prevails

You will find the story (page 3) about the SS Liberty's successful penetration of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip heart-warming and exhilarating. The ship, escorted by a sister ship, the SS Free Gaza, carried humanitarian aid to the Palestinians suffering under Israel's brutal occupation.

[This is almost funny.

The amount of "humanitarian aid" carried on the two propaganda ships was miniscule, dwarfed by the amount of real humanitarian aid given to the Palestinian Arabs on virtually a daily basis by Israel. (Virtually a daily basis because the provision of aid is frequently prevented by Arab terror attacks.

Gaza is suffering from a brutal occupation, but the occupier is Hamas; Israel completely left the Gaza Strip years ago.]

But it also had another major cargo: truth. The SS Liberty was named for the USS Liberty that was deliberately attacked by Israel in 1967, killing 34 Americans. Israel wanted to sink the ship, killing all aboard, so Arabs would be blamed and America conned into Israel's Six-Day War or attacking Russia. Zionists love for their enemies (everyone) to fight each other. All survivors, to the last man, said the attack was deliberate.

[Only the writer knows whether he is ignorant of the transcripts of the cockpit conversations, which conclusively prove the Israelis, in the midst of a fight for survival, did not know the ship was American.]

But your next-door neighbor probably thinks it was a tragic mistake and not deliberate.

[In which case, your next-door neighbor is correct.]

The mainstream media has imposed a complete blackout on this story. It is widely known in Europe, where the press is less under control of the banksters.

[Interesting choice of words. Who could those powerful banksters be?]

For example, the Washington Post carried a detailed story about the good ship SS Liberty on August 24. But the Post said not one word about the main mission: to get the truth about the sinking of the USS Liberty to the American people and the world. Decades ago, when USS Liberty survivors had been discharged and ungagged, they held a reunion in Washington, D.C. For two days, speakers stressed the deliberateness of the attack. The Post carried a lengthy story, describing one as a Christmas tree farmer, another as a store owner, etc. Deep inside the Liberty story, on the jump page, was a condescending mention that some thought the attack deliberate.

[Perhaps the writer was aware of the truth?]

When I raise the issue with other paperboys at the National Press Club, I hear howls of anti-Semitism. I explained that I frequently receive mail from subscribers who identify themselves as Jews who are Americans first. They are outraged by the attack on the USS Liberty. All of us criticize this country we love every day; it is a patriotic duty.

Why can't we criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic?

[It is perfectly possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic. Patriotic Israelis do it all the time. So do American Zionists.

It's also clear that most of the criticism we hear is motivated by anti-Semitism, even though in individual cases it's difficult to be certain. Thus, allegations that specific criticism is motivated by anti-Semitism is extremely rare.

On the other hand, it certainly raises a red flag when someone strongly and unfairly criticizes Israel, whines about alleged accusations of anti-Semitism and uses code words like "banksters."]

James P. Tucker Jr.

[It's a tribute to the greatness of America that people like Tucker, who are disgraces to America, are free to peddle their trash.]

Medical Emergency in the Middle East

This letter was published in the Danbury News-Times, September 11, 2008.

Medical Emergency in the Middle East

Virtually every article about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generates an argument or hostility between people on different sides of the issue.

Larry Rich, director of development and public relations at the Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel, told of a recent event that no one would argue about, and may offer a glimmer of hope that peace is indeed possible.

On Aug. 22, a five-year-old Arab boy by the name of Hassan Shagadi from the Palestinian village of Kfar Adja was playing with his 10-year-old brother when they were both stung by a large poisonous scorpion.

They were rushed to Jenin Hospital where anti-serum was administered to both, but Hassan's condition quickly deteriorated and his lungs began to fail. Hassan was near death. A frantic call was made to the liaison officer on the Israeli side who coordinates medical emergencies.

The unconscious boy was quickly transferred to an Israeli ambulance, and rushed to Emek Medical Center. In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Hassan was connected to a life-support ventilator and administered critical medications.

Dr. Yossi Merzel, head of the PICU, said that Hassan was taken off the respirator after five days, was breathing on his own, and would be discharged the following week. Hassan's first words were asking about the condition of his brother, who was now released from Jenin Hospital.

Kassam, the father, could not say enough about the medical treatment his son was given, and the dignity that he himself was accorded by the hospital staff. He said, "When I stood next to the bed and saw the Jewish hands working to save my son -- I understood in that moment that this is the essence of life. We are neighbors and we can live together."

Lew Siegel

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Between the Lines: Darwish Tells Peres There Won't Be a Peace Agreement

As is often the case, one has to read between the lines. Put together Darwish's statement that "the Palestinian Arabs have nothing left to offer Israel" with the fact that they have yet to offer Israel anything and the reality that it takes two to make an agreement and the only possible conclusion is that there won't be an agreement … at least until the Palestinian Arabs decide they're interested in peace.]

Darwish to Peres: PA has 'no more to give'


Israelis and Palestinians have never been closer to making strategic decisions than they are today, and at the end of the day, each side wants to win a little more than the other, Sheikh Abdallah Nimr Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement, told President Shimon Peres on Tuesday. "But the Palestinians have nothing left to offer Israel," he added.

Darwish spoke at the traditional Iftar meal for leaders of Israel's Arab communities hosted by President Shimon Peres during Ramadan.

"The Palestinians can't give up any more," said Darwish, without elaborating on what they have already ceded.

There was agreement on both sides, he said, that Israel would return to the 1967 borders, with possible exchanges of territory.

Turning to Peres, Darwish entreated the president to pressure the government into realizing that the Palestinians have given as much as they can and that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "wants to live out his days in a free, independent state of Palestine."

Darwish said that Palestinians who are Israeli citizens were pained by the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza who live under an Israeli blockade and were "frequently subjected to intrusions into their lives by Israelis soldiers."

Although Israeli Arabs wholeheartedly support the creation of a Palestinian state, continued Darwish - whose statement was reiterated by Shawki Hatib, chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadle - Israel's Arab sector should not be regarded as a security threat.

Majadle went further and asked Peres to join him in eradicating racism against Arabs. He reminded Peres that when they had presented a cup to the Betar Jerusalem soccer team, the team's coach and various "academics and other well-educated people" had refused to shake the hand of an Arab minister. "Racism against Arabs is on the rise," he said. "It's not just our problem. It's your problem."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Abbas Again Confirms He's Not Interested for Peace

Abbas didn't say it in so many words, but that's one of the meanings of his words, quoted in this Ha'aretz article.

Abbas: Jerusalem, right of return are inalienable Palestinian rights

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Saturday that chances of reaching peace with Israel by the end of 2008 look scant.

During a meeting in Cairo, Abbas said that last November's Annapolis Summit created high hopes for peace, but "despite the significant efforts each side has made, there is no certainty we can strike a deal by the end of the year because very little time is left."

Abbas said that the "solution that the Palestinians seek will have to include all the issues surrounding a permanent agreement." In his remarks, he stressed how important these issues are to the Palestinian people, saying that "Jerusalem and the right of return are inalienable Palestinian rights, too."

[Once again, Abbas/Abu Mazen has flunked a litmus test.

Historically, Jerusalem has been generally ignored by Arabs and Muslims and certainly has far, far less significance to them than to the Jewish people. In any reasonable settlement, the incredibly strong, central role of Yerushalayim to the Jewish people has to take precedence over the minor role it has for Arabs and Muslims.

For different reasons, the so-called "right of return" is a bogus issue. It is in total contradiction of the basic premise of a "two-state" (which is really a three-state or, as seems more likely at the present time with the split between the residents of Fatahland and Hamastan, a four-state) solution.

Anyone who insists on either a redivision of Israel-s capital or what amounts to the breaching of Israeli sovereignty with the insistence on Israel's acceptance of hostile immigrants from foreign lands demonstrates he is not interested in peace.]

On Friday, Abbas met with President Shimon Peres at a conference in Italy.

The two declared that Israel and the Palestinian Authority were closer to a peace agreement than ever.

[Ten light years apart is closer than ever if the sides had previously been twenty light years apart.

Since Israel keeps making concessions, the two sides do keep getting closer together even though the Palestinian Arabs have yet to budge on their outrageous demands.

However, sooner or later, if there is to be peace, the Palestinian Arabs have to start moving, including giving up their insistence on redividing Jerusalem, flooding Israel with hostile immigrants, creating a border on the temporary armistice lines from 1949 and creating hundreds of thousands of new Israeli refugees.]

During their meeting, the two statesmen discussed current indirect peace negotiations between Israel and Syria, and Iran's nuclear ambitions. On this topic, Peres said "the world will not allow a fanatic country to have an atomic bomb."

[One hopes Peres is closer to the mark on this one than he was on the Oslo Experiment and the New Middle East.]

Saturday, September 6, 2008

If Laura Booth Loves The Hamas Terrorists So Much, She Should Be Happy To Stay With Them

PP hasn't had time to comment on this news from a few days ago, but the subject says it all: Lauren Booth clearly loves the Hamas terrorists, so she should be very happy to stay with them in Gaza/Hamastan.

Blair relative trapped in Gaza

Middle East envoy Tony Blair's sister-in-law is trapped in the Gaza Strip.

Lauren Booth arrived in Gaza nearly two weeks ago on a boat filled with activists protesting the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. When the boat left Aug. 28, she remained with several other activists.

Booth has been refused entry to both Israel and Egypt through their border crossings with the strip. Israel has a policy of refusing entry to anyone from Gaza who did not come through Israel, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told Reuters.

Egypt would not allow Booth and two other activists to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Booth told Reuters that she was told Egypt was acting under pressure from Israel.

The London-based Telegraph said it is not known if Blair, the former British prime minister who represents the diplomatic Quartet grouping of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, has tried to intervene on Booth's behalf.

One other comment: Booth obviously hates Israel, so why does she want to go to it?

Suggestion to Booth: Learn to swim.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A New Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

These are excerpts from a Jerusalem Issue Brief written by by Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Many other Jerusalem Issue Briefs may be found on the JCPA web site, as may the full version of this article.

A New Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon

Former Chief of Staff, Israel Defense Forces

Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says mainstream public opinion, and the rest will follow. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of many afflicting the Middle East, and it is by no means the dominant one.

The Palestinian leadership continues to evade accountability. Today the watchword is "weakness." The image of political impotence has become a precious asset in the Palestinian strategy. The problem is not Abbas' actual capabilities. The problem is his unwillingness and lack of determination to create and govern a viable and accountable state.

The central conflict of the Middle East is not territorial but ideological; not about borders but about Islamic Jihadism and Western liberty.

From Oslo to Annapolis, we have engaged in a top-down strategy. We aimed to reach a political horizon or a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian leadership, hoping that political reform among Palestinians would follow. I propose we replace this approach with a bottom-up strategy in which the PA first proves its willingness and ability to govern.

Current efforts to achieve a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are based on a number of deeply flawed assumptions. These have in turn produced an erroneous paradigm and a manifestly failed strategy for seeking peace and security which is preventing us from moving forward.

Another myth is that at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the "occupation." This term refers to the territories conquered by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967.

The Palestinians have maintained a posture of implacable hostility to Israel's most fundamental and inalienable rights. The PLO, for example, existed and launched terror attacks against Israelis before 1967 when the West Bank and Gaza were not yet occupied by Israel. The PLO's pre-1967 raison d'etre has not magically disappeared in the meantime. Both Fatah and Hamas continue to maintain charters denying Israel's right to exist as an independent Jewish state. We find the rejection of Israel forms an integral part of the Palestinian ethos, and is expressed in no less than the founding documents and actions of the largest and most important Palestinian factions.

Rejectionism, far from being a "mere" matter of official policy or posturing, reaches the rhetoric of the Palestinian national leadership (including Mahmoud Abbas), the educational curriculum, and the Palestinian media. It deeply informs Palestinian strategy and policy. During the preparations for the Annapolis conference, it was demonstrated in the Palestinian refusal to make a basic declaration of their belief in "two states for two peoples." Instead they spoke only of "two states," avoiding explicit recognition of the Jewish people's right to an independent state. This quibbling over words is only the tip of an iceberg.

If the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were a territorial compromise within Mandatory Palestine, I have no doubt we would have reached this long ago. Instead, from the dawn of Zionism to the present day, the Palestinian leadership has rejected every partition plan proposed, and has reacted violently to all political initiatives seeking a settlement along those lines. This occurred in 1937 in response to the Peel Commission, in 1947 as a reaction to the UN partition plan, and in 2000 when the Palestinians rejected former Prime Minister Barak's proposal at Camp David.

Attempts by Israel at peace through territorial concession have been met, again and again, with violence by Palestinians. The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the "occupation" according to its meaning in Western discourse. Rather it is the "occupation" in the Palestinian sense: The relentless refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel's right to exist as an independent Jewish state. Professor Bernard Lewis put it succinctly in the Wall Street Journal on November 28, 2007, a day before the Annapolis Conference: "'ÄòWhat is the conflict about?' There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence....If...the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise between existing or not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist."

Do the Palestinians Want a State?

It is often said that the Palestinians desire and are capable of establishing a state that will live in peace alongside Israel. Those who believe this is so must explain why the Palestinian leadership, from the implementation of the Oslo Agreement in May 1994 through to the present, have failed to take even the first baby steps toward establishing a state - this in spite of overwhelming and unprecedented international support.

Arafat and his cronies brazenly violated every agreement they signed with Israel.

Arafat has since been replaced by Mahmoud Abbas, yet the Palestinian leadership continues to evade accountability, according to a modified version of Arafat's strategy. Today, the watchword is "weakness." The image of political impotence has become a precious asset in the Palestinian strategy. Western politicians, as well as many Israelis, believe that Mahmoud Abbas is the only alternative to a far more extreme Hamas. They believe, therefore, that he should be strengthened economically, and equipped with additional weapons and ammunition. This approach has not and will not pay dividends because the problem is not Abbas' actual capabilities. The problem is his unwillingness and lack of determination to create and govern a viable and accountable state.

Mahmoud Abbas is not weak.

A third prevailing misconception in the Western understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict relates to the economy.

Although the PA has received no less than $7 billion from donors in recent years, neither Arafat nor Abbas has managed to improve the basic living conditions of the Palestinian people in any significant way. On the contrary, the Palestinian economic situation began to deteriorate precipitously from the moment Arafat rose to power in 1994, and continues to do so under the regime of cronyism he instituted.

In light of historical experience, there are some fundamental questions we have to ask ourselves. Can we trust that a future Palestinian entity in the West Bank will not become Hamastan, as occurred in Gaza? Could such an entity, even according to the 1967 borders, be economically viable? Would the Palestinians be satisfied with those borders as a final settlement? Would it bring stability, peace, and tranquility to the region? Are these borders defensible for the State of Israel?

A Palestinian Entity in the 1967 Borders Threatens Both Israel and Jordan

I believe, in light of the Palestinian leadership's behavior since its inception, and especially since Oslo, that the answer is an unequivocal "no." As things stand today, a Palestinian entity according to the 1967 borders would present an existential threat to Israel, to the stability of the region, to Western interests, and to Jordan.

The paradigm of the "two-state solution" within the boundaries of former Mandatory Palestine under the present status quo is both irrelevant and dangerous. It is irrelevant because today there is no Palestinian partner willing to accept it as a final settlement. It is dangerous because it fosters illusions which undermine our resolve and embolden our enemies. Ultimately, the "two-state solution" paradigm, at this juncture, threatens the security and stability of the region.

What is worse, the mistaken paradigm and conceptions regarding Jihadism and the Middle East prevent the emergence of a new strategy. While the pundits and the public continue to debate "the solution," the problem has slipped from their view. The problem is Islamic Jihadism and Palestinian rejectionism towards Israel's most basic rights. Whoever realizes this, realizes also that what is needed is not a solution based on failed paradigms and wishful thinking. What is needed is a long-term strategy based on realistic assumptions culled from experience.

Begin with Changes in Palestinian Political Culture

Let me briefly outline a new strategy for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From Oslo to Annapolis, we have consistently engaged in a "top-down strategy." We aimed to reach a political horizon or a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian leadership, hoping that political reform among Palestinians would follow. This approach was based on the mistaken paradigms outlined above, and failed. I propose we replace this approach with a "bottom-up strategy" in which the PA first proves its ability to govern. Real gains in stability and security on the road to peace can then be consolidated through political agreements. Experience teaches that political agreements which precede real changes in Palestinian political culture are useless, or worse.

The process of change in Palestinian society can and should be supported by Israel and the West, but most of the burden will necessarily fall on the Palestinian leadership to assume the responsibilities of good government.

The key to all other reforms is educational reform. During the implementation of the Oslo Accords we were forced to confront a Palestinian educational system designed to inculcate hatred of Israel. It sought in a variety of ways to undermine Israel's right to exist as an independent Jewish state. It took pains to deny every connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, called openly for our annihilation, and promoted terrorism and Jihadism. While the Palestinian leadership was negotiating with Israel, it was educating its young for a war of annihilation. This must change before there is any chance for the Palestinians to reach a final settlement with Israel.

An entire generation of Palestinians has already been educated according to this curriculum. Change will not come quickly. It is clear, however, that demanding Palestinian educational reform is the only path to solving the conflict which will not require Israel to relinquish the idea of a Jewish homeland, and in which Islamic Jihadism will not be unwittingly strengthened.

At the same time, there is no need to wait for the end of this process before dealing with the refugee issue, as is sometimes argued. The refugee issue should, in fact, be dealt with as soon as possible and in parallel to educational reforms in the PA.

The Challenge for the West

The Iranians, the Syrians, and their proxies must be punished by the international community for funding terror and challenging the international order. They have been allowed to nurture international terrorism, develop WMD, and instigate the Second Lebanon War. This would not have been possible without the lack of clarity and determination in confronting them shown beforehand by the international community.

The confrontation between Muslim moderates and extremists around the world crosses borders and threatens societies from within. There is no society in which everyone is a Jihadist. There are always those who prefer democracy and human rights over tyranny, freedom over oppression, and life over death. More and more people in the region are realizing that the culture of Jihad is a culture of death and self-destruction. The West must directly approach and strengthen those elements in order for them to gain the political strength necessary to undertake reforms in education, politics, and the economy.

It is true that this process is likely to be a long one. The challenge for Western leaders is to convince their constituencies that there are no instant solutions, and to educate their publics to patience. Western leaders cannot promise quick solutions and should not be tempted to do so. What they can do is develop a viable strategy.

The struggle against Islamic Jihadism is, in many ways, a contest of wills. As our values and way of life are challenged by Islamic Jihadists, and our legitimacy as a Jewish state is challenged by Arab nationalists, we in Israel must consolidate our belief in our path and its righteousness.

The "solution," when it comes, will be only half our doing. For us, the quest for stability in the Middle East requires moral clarity, vision, and a long-term strategy based on realistic assessments. Ultimately, the long way is the shortest way and I believe the right one which will lead towards a better future for all the peoples of the Middle East and the free world.

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Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon is a former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center. This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs on June 24, 2008.