Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Point CounterPoint: To Cease or Not to Cease; The NY Times & Jerusalem Post face off

Israeli forces mass along Gaza border waiting for orders

Fight Fire with a Cease-Fire -David Grossman

After the heavy blow that Israel has dealt to the Gaza Strip, we would do best to halt, turn to the leaders of Hamas and tell them: Until last Saturday, we restrained ourselves in responding to the thousands of Kassam rockets fired at us. Now you know how severe the retaliation can be. So as not to add to the death and destruction that has already taken place, we intend, unilaterally and absolutely, to hold our fire for the next 48 hours.
(New York Times)

Cease Terror, Not Cease-Fire -Editorial

It is way too premature for Jerusalem to be entertaining thoughts of a cease-fire. It is Hamas that needs an exit strategy to extricate it from a devastating situation of its own making.

Let us keep our eyes on the prize. The government has rightly declared the imperative to change the security environment in the south and stop Hamas from attacking our population. No country - not Britain, France, Russia, Turkey or the U.S. - would tolerate missile attacks on its homeland. Neither can Israel.
(Jerusalem Post)

Israeli school cancellation saves kindergarten children

Palestinian Rockets Reach Deep into Israel

Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets at the Israeli city of Beersheba, located 28 miles from Gaza. [O]ne rocket hit an empty kindergarten [photos above].

Gaza Rocket Strikes School in Beersheba -Yanir Yagna

A Grad rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza directly struck an empty school in Beersheba. After holding emergency consultations with the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command, authorities in Beersheba had decided there would be no school in the city.

More than 40 rockets struck Israel on Tuesday, striking Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat.

When a Regime Uses Its Citizens as Tools of War -Fania Oz-Salzberger

Imagine your next-door neighbor - with whom you have had a long and bloody feud - pulling out a gun and shooting into your windows from his own living room, which is densely packed with women and children. In fact, he's holding his daughter on his lap as he claims he will not stop till your family is dead. Police are unavailable. What should you do?

Finally, as one shot hits your child's bedroom, you decide that enough is enough. You attempt a surgical strike: aim at the shooter's head, try to spare the innocents. This is what Israel is doing.
(The Age-Australia)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Imagine: victory over Hamas

Israel’s War on Hamas: A Dozen Thoughts -Daniel Pipes

10) The Israeli goal should be victory, not ending terrorism.
11) The Bush administration must not save Hamas.
12) Nor should the Obama administration.
[National Review]

Hamas Knows One Big Thing -Bret Stephens

War offers no outcome other than victory or defeat. This is one big thing that Hamas understands, and that Israel must as well.
(Wall Street Journal)

Hamas Gets Its Wish -Editorial

Israel bombarded Hamas security targets in Gaza for the third straight day, and much of the world screamed in protest that Israel has overreacted.

What would have happened if there had been such international outrage when the rocket attacks from Gaza began to escalate a few weeks ago? Or if there had been outrage when Hamas formally declared on Dec. 18 that it was ending the six-month truce with Israel?
(Chicago Tribune)

Sderot Under Siege -David Keyes

If 6,000 rockets were launched at San Diego from Tijuana, rest assured that the residents of Tijuana would have little trouble finding parking because their city would be flattened. There would be no talk of ceasefires. America would wage war, it would win, and the rocket fire would cease.

Hamas must be annihilated and Gazans' very faith in their way of life must perish in the agony of their total defeat, to paraphrase MacArthur. Only then may the people who elected the region's most vicious terrorist group undergo the spiritual reformation so critical of a defeated people to reject militarism and violence and embrace civility and restraint.

Israel should defeat Hamas -Caroline Glick

The current operation in Gaza is not aimed at defeating Hamas. They have uttered no call for victory. To the contrary, as Olmert made clear in his speech [that] the goal of the current campaign is simply to "change the situation" in the South.

Livni has called for installing the Fatah terror group in Gaza instead of Hamas. But Fatah has been rejected by Palestinians. Bringing Fatah into Gaza would simply be an invitation for Fatah to conduct war against Israel and seek an accommodation with Hamas and Iran.

As was the case with Hizbullah, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government is signaling that it seeks a new negotiated settlement with Hamas. The hoped-for settlement will leave Hamas in power in Gaza. Although the government claims that the postwar Hamas will be more peaceful than the prewar Hamas, there is no reason to believe this will be the case.

[I]f Hamas remains in control of Gaza after the current war, no matter what its condition, it will be perceived as the winner.

[A]ny strategic advantage enjoyed from the IDF's success will be marginal. Like Hizbullah, Hamas - which enjoys Iranian and Syrian state sponsorship - does not have to defeat Israel to be perceived as the victor. It merely needs to survive. [B]y surviving, it will expand its international cachet.
[Jerusalem Post]

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ground assault on Gaza?

IDF tanks take up positions, preparing for a ground assault on Hamas

Israel Hints at Ground Operation as Gaza Rockets Hit Cities -Gwen Ackerman & Saud Abu Ramadan

Israel hinted it was ready to broaden its assault on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip with a ground operation after three days of air raids failed to bring an end to cross-border rocket attacks.

[M]ore than 70 rockets fell in Israel, hitting the port city of Ashdod for the first time. Two people were killed in the rocket attacks.

The Cabinet cleared the way for the army to draft as many as 7,000 reserves and the military yesterday declared a swath of Israel just north of Gaza a closed military zone, where movement and traffic was restricted.

Israeli army continuing preparations for ground incursion -Xu Gang

Asked whether Israel would follow up air strikes with a ground offensive, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Barak said that "if boots on the ground will be needed, they will be there."
[Xinhua News Agency-China]

More reflections on Gaza incursion

Hamas TV: 180 Killed Are from Hamas Armed Forces -Itamar Marcus & Barbara Crook

Hamas TV acknowledged that the vast majority of those killed are from the Hamas military.
(Palestinian Media Watch-FrontPageMagazine)

Iran Orders Muslims to Defend Palestinians in Gaza -Zahra Hosseinian

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world, ordering them to defend Palestinians against Israel's attacks in Gaza, state television said.

Khamenei also criticized some Arab governments for their "encouraging silence" towards the Israeli raids in Gaza.

With Strikes, Israel Reminds Foes It Has Teeth -Ethan Bronner

The risk to Israel in Gaza is that if the operation fails or leaves Hamas in the position of scrappy survivor or even somehow perceived as the victor, it could then dominate Palestinian politics for years to come.
(New York Times)

Fear of Rockets Sends Israeli Hospital Underground -Aron Heller

Wary of a missile strike from nearby Gaza, Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital has moved its most essential departments into an underground bomb shelter [photo above].

In Barzilai's underground children's ward, sick Gazans lay alongside sick Israelis. Dr. Ron Lobel, the hospital's deputy director, said that his facility had close ties with Gaza's Shifa hospital, and accepted many of its patients who need treatment the Gazan hospital cannot provide.

Hizbullah-Type Rockets Fired at Israel from Gaza -Yaakov Lappin

Two Katyusha rockets that Hamas fired deep into Israel on Sunday are the same type launched by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, an Israel Police source said.
(Jerusalem Post)

Made in China or Iran -Amos Harel

The two long-range Katyushas were made either in China or Iran.

Air Force Hits Explosives Laboratories at Islamic University in Gaza -Yaakov Katz

The Israel Air Force on Monday targeted two laboratories at the Islamic University in Gaza City which served as research and development centers for Hamas' military wing. The development of explosives was done under the auspices of university professors. The IDF said rockets and explosives were stored in the buildings.

According to a poll broadcast on Channel 10, 81% of Israelis support the war in Gaza and only 17% oppose it.
(Jerusalem Post)

Jerusalem: No International Pressure to End Gaza Operation -Herb Keinon

Israel is feeling "no real pressure" from the international community to end the operation in Gaza, senior diplomatic officials said.

Publicly, Israeli officials maintain, some world leaders - especially leaders of Muslim states or countries with large Muslim populations - must harshly condemn Israel's actions to pacify public opinion, while privately they support them.
(Jerusalem Post)

Key Arab States Hope for Weakened Hamas -Zvi Barel

Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which view Hamas as an Iranian ally whose goal is to increase Tehran's regional influence at their expense, prefer to wait a bit in the hopes that Israel's military operation will strip Hamas of its ability to dictate terms.

Arab solidarity with the Palestinians is crumbling under Hamas' leadership.

Palestinians Need Israel to Win -Michael Oren & Yossi Klein Halevi

Israel's current operation in Gaza is essential for creating the conditions that could eventually lead to a two-state solution. Gaza is a test case of Israel's ability to restore its deterrence power and uphold the principle that its citizens cannot be targeted with impunity. Without the assurance that they will be allowed to protect their homes and families following any future withdrawals from the West Bank, Israelis will rightly perceive a two-state solution as an existential threat.

In addition, Israelis will be unwilling to cede strategically vital territories - including on the Golan Heights - in an international environment in which any attempt to defend themselves will be denounced as unjustified aggression.

Israel must be allowed to conclude this operation with a decisive victory over Hamas; the untenable situation of intermittent rocket fire and widespread arms smuggling must not be allowed to resume. This is an opportunity to redress Israel's failure to humble Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, and to deal a substantial setback to another jihadist proxy of Iran.
(Wall Street Journal)

Obama appears to stick close to Israel in Gaza incursion

Obama speak in Sderot during his campaign.
Behind him are Tzipi Livni and a collection of spent Hamas rockets.

Obama Defers to Bush on Gaza Crisis -Steven L. Myers & Helene Cooper

When President-elect Barack Obama went to Israel in July [photos above] — to the very town, in fact, whose repeated shelling culminated in this weekend’s new fighting in Gaza — he all but endorsed the punishing Israeli attacks now unfolding.

If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” he told reporters in Sderot, a small city on the edge of Gaza that has been hit repeatedly by rocket fire. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

Mr. Obama’s presidency will begin facing yet another foreign crisis the moment he steps into the White House on Jan. 20, even as he and his advisers have struggled mightily to focus on the country’s economic problems. Mr. Obama has not suggested he has any better ideas than President Bush had to resolve the existential conflict between the Israelis and Hamas. Mr. Obama might have little to gain from setting out an ambitious agenda for an issue as intractable as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Early on as a candidate, Mr. Obama suggested that he did not necessarily oppose negotiations with groups like Hamas, though he spent much of the campaign retreating from that position under fire from critics.

By the time he arrived in Israel in July, he suggested he would not even consider talks without a fundamental shift in Hamas and its behavior, effectively moving his policy much closer to President Bush’s. “In terms of negotiations with Hamas, it is very hard to negotiate with a group that is not representative of a nation-state, does not recognize your right to exist, has consistently used terror as a weapon, and is deeply influenced by other countries,” he said.

On Sunday, [Obama's senior advisor David] Axelrod said the president-elect stood by the remarks he made in the summer.
[New York Times]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The return of fake photos

The Washington Post included this Associated Press photo suspected of being staged, in a photo essay on the Gaza incursion.
Note the seemingly deliberate placement of healthy children next to a wounded man. Khalil Hamra, the photographer, is a Hamas supporter.
The Washington Post has since removed the photo.

Reflections on Gaza incursion

A Time to Fight -Editorial

That over 200 Palestinians have been killed compared to only one Israeli leads some journalists to conclude that Israel is inherently in the wrong. If one Jew is killed, we get very little pity. If, heaven forbid, an Israeli kindergarten was to take a direct hit - Israel might, temporarily, gain the sympathy of news anchors from Paris to London to Madrid.

At that price we would rather forgo their sympathy.

We wonder how an international community that can't bring itself to explicitly support Israel's operation against the most intransigent of Muslim fanatics expects to play a positive role in facilitating peace in this region. Hamas must be stopped. And the civilized world must help stop it.
(Jerusalem Post)

Would U.S. Accept Ceasefire with Al-Qaeda?

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told FOX News: "For us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you [the U.S.] to have a ceasefire with al-Qaeda....It's something we cannot really accept."
(FOX News)

Israel Must Defend Its Citizens
-Amos Oz [Author & peace activist, pictured below]

The systematic bombing of the citizens in Israel's towns and cities is a war crime and a crime against humanity. The State of Israel must defend its citizens.

It is obvious to everyone that the Israeli government does not wish to enter Gaza; the government would rather continue the ceasefire that Hamas violated and finally revoked. But the suffering of the citizens surrounding Gaza cannot go on.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israel Tries to Change the Rules of the Game in Gaza -Ron Ben-Yishai

Israel [now] makes it clear that it would respond "disproportionally" every time Israeli residents are hurt.
(Ynet News)

Hizbullah Will Not Join Hamas

Hizbullah will not join Hamas in fighting Israel and will not open a second front against it in the current conflict, the London-based Al-Hayat quoted a Hizbullah source as saying Sunday. The source explained that Hizbullah was not interested in a conflict with Israel at this time.
(Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian Rocket Falls Short, Kills Girls in Gaza -Sheera Frenkel

Two Palestinian girls died when militants in Gaza bombarded southern Israel with homemade rockets and mortars, one of which fell short and hit the victims' home.

Egypt blames Hamas for Gaza War...again

Will Obama keep his campaign promise to stick by Israel?

White House Puts Onus on Hamas to End Violence -Robert Pear

[During] the [recent] campaign, Mr. Obama made statements that sounded similar to those issued by the Bush administration on Saturday.

If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Mr. Obama said in July. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”
[New York Times]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel finally confronts Hamas

Analysis -Yaakov Katz

[T]he IDF's goal [was] to shock and awe Hamas with a blow the likes of which has not been seen in Gaza since the territory was conquered by Israel in 1967.

The bank of targets included all of the main Hamas military headquarters, outposts, training camps and weapons stockpiles.

The operation - called [Operation] Cast Lead - started off the way the IDF entered the Second Lebanon War on July 12, 2006.

The Israeli operation has three goals: to stop Hamas rocket attacks; to stop the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into Gaza; and to thwart Hamas military activity in the Strip. These are modest goals that do not include toppling the Hamas regime.
[Jerusalem Post]

PA 'ready' to take Gaza if Hamas ousted -Khaled Abu Toameh

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said that they were prepared to assume control over the Gaza Strip if Israel succeeds in overthrowing the Hamas government.

"Yes, we are fully prepared to return to the Gaza Strip," a top PA official [said]. "We believe the people there are fed up with Hamas and want to see a new government."

Another PA official said Fatah had instructed all its members in the Gaza Strip to be prepared for the possibility of returning to power. "We have enough men in the Gaza Strip who are ready to fill the vacuum," he said. "But of course all this depends on whether Israel manages to get rid of the Hamas regime."
[Jerusalem Post]

VideoBite: The Third Jihad trailer

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas...Love, Hamas

Column One -Caroline Glick

Both Iran and its Hamas proxy in Gaza have been busy this Christmas week showing Christendom just what they think of it. But no one seems to have noticed.

Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.
[Jerusalem Post]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No Christmas for Christians in Saudi Arabia

Call for Christian Churches to Be Built in Arab Countries

EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering [pictured above] called on Arab governments to allow Christian churches to be built in their countries in the same way that mosques can be built in Europe.

In Saudi Arabia, at the end of a tour of Gulf countries, Poettering noted that Saudi Arabia is host to millions of foreign workers, including more than one million Filipinos, most of whom are Christian. "There are hundreds of thousands of Catholics here. We have Christmas tomorrow and they cannot assemble in a church."

Egypt endorces Israel Gaza incursion

Hamas Mocks Israel; Egypt: Teach Hamas a Lesson -Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas mocked what it described as the "state of confusion" in Israel over how to react to the latest spree of rocket and mortar attacks.

Meanwhile, the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper quoted Egyptian Intelligence Chief General Omar Suleiman [pictured above with Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak] as saying that Egypt was not opposed to a limited Israeli operation in Gaza. According to the report, Suleiman said, "The Hamas leaders have become very arrogant....It's time to teach these leaders a lesson so that they would wake up from their dreams."
(Jerusalem Post)

Ahmadinejad & The Queen

Iran Leader's Christmas Broadcast to UK Denounced

Iranian President Ahmadinejad is offering season's greetings to Christians in a British TV address and suggesting that if Jesus were alive he would oppose the United States and its allies.

Ahmadinejad's Christmas Day broadcast will be delivered on Britain's Channel 4 television, occupying a slot that provides a counterpoint to Queen Elizabeth II's traditional annual [Christmas] message.

Israeli Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor said: "That [Channel 4] should give an unchallenged platform to the president of a regime which denies the Holocaust, advocates the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel, funds and encourages terrorism, executes children, and hangs gay people is a disgrace."
(AP/Washington Post)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No US President can move the Palestinian polity

Banging Square Pegs into Round Holes -Dore Gold

Throughout 2008, U.S. mediation on the outlines of a settlement were once again the equivalent of banging a square peg into a round hole: the territorial demands of the Palestinian leadership did not fit into the territorial space Israel could afford to vacate without compromising its minimal security needs as well as its most important historical rights, especially in Jerusalem.
From: How President Obama Can Promote Israeli-Palestinian Peace - David Pollock, Editor
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Status of the Arab world

Lessons from Arabia's past -Adam LeBor

No fully sovereign Arab state is a democracy with meaningful independent institutions where power passes peacefully by popular vote.

Economies are sclerotic, but human-rights abuses are flourishing. South Korea and Taiwan export more manufactured goods in two days than Egypt in a year. Since 1950 the Arab population has risen from 79m to 327m, but real wages and productivity have barely moved since 1970.

Poor economic opportunities, endemic corruption, education based on rote learning, state-sponsored Jew-hatred, soaring youth populations and unemployment are a recipe for social catastrophe. Add the rise of radical Islam and the growth of al-Qaeda and the mix becomes something explosive.
(Sunday Times-UK)

CAIR defends Islamists

Five Muslim Immigrants Convicted of Conspiring to Attack Fort Dix
-Paul Von Zielbauer & Jon Hurdle

A federal jury convicted five men of conspiring to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey last year.

Three brothers - Shain, Eljvir and Dritan Duka - and Mohamad Shnewer and Serdar Tatar are all Muslim immigrants who lived in South Jersey or Philadelphia. Federal prosecutors called the five men "radical Islamists" and said the men had taken concrete steps to train and arm themselves.

Jim Sues, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR], said that the men, though not innocent of any wrongdoing, were unjustifiably egged on by government informants...
(New York Times)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The centrality of Iranian nukes

A Middle East Arms Race -Editorial

When Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president-for-life, warned last week that "the Persians are trying to devour the Arab states," it's worth paying attention.

States like Egypt and Saudi Arabia calculate that the U.S. lacks the will to prevent a nuclear Iran. Little wonder, then, that the Arab states are taking a keen interest in acquiring nuclear capabilities of their own.

A Middle East in which Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt have the bomb is possible within a decade. This is a recipe for global instability, if not catastrophe, and a reminder of why no one should be complacent at the looming prospect of an Iranian bomb.
(Wall Street Journal)

Gaza watch: rockets in place & guerrillas ready

Hamas' increasing rocket range
[Click graphic for larger image]

Meet the Hamas Military Leadership -Yaakov Katz

IDF officers like to say that Israel can conquer the entire Gaza Strip within days. The difficult part is holding on to the territory against Hamas guerrilla warfare.
(Jerusalem Post)

Israel Warns of Gaza Rockets that Can Reach Beersheba -Mark Lavie

Israel's top security official warned Sunday that Gaza militants can hit more Israeli cities with longer-range rockets, even the outskirts of Beersheba, 30 miles to the east.

"In order to return to a calm like six months ago, we will probably need a wide-scale operation," Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the Cabinet.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fatah: a dead horse

Betting on a dead horse -Caroline Glick

Imagine what would happen if all the horse racing experts in the world got together and bet their money on a dead horse to win the Kentucky Derby. As far-fetched as that sounds, today all the who's who in foreign affairs are either supporting or actively enacting an analogous policy toward the Palestinian Fatah movement.

Over the past year, Fatah received $1.7 billion in international aid - some $600 million more than the world's foreign policy gurus promised to give last December. But Fatah is a dead horse. Even if it were to sign a peace deal with Israel - and really meant to keep it - the deal would be a dead letter because the Palestinian people themselves want neither peace with Israel nor Fatah.

Fatah lost the Palestinian Authority's January 2006 legislative elections to Hamas. In June 2007 it was violently ousted from Gaza by Hamas. And next month, on January 9, Abbas's term of office as PA chairman will end. If Abbas refuses to relinquish power on January 10, as far as the Palestinian people are concerned, Hamas will be right to reject his authority and to seek to overthrow his government in Judea and Samaria.

By convincing Palestinian society to support jihad, Fatah paved the way for Hamas's takeover. [W]hen you bet on a dead horse. You lose.
[Jerusalem Post]
[This post is dedicated to my father, of blessed memory, who loved horses]

Hamas rising

Hamas Doubled Its Rocket Arsenal During Cease-Fire -Alex Fishman

Hamas possesses a rocket arsenal that is double the size and range of what it had six months ago. Hamas has 8-10,000 rockets of various types. Six months ago, its rockets had a 20-km. range (12 miles). Today, its rockets may be able to hit Beersheba. Hamas' defense system for Gaza includes eight divisions and 16,000 armed personnel, as well as anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, and 50 km. of underground tunnels.
(Ynet News)

Hamas Declares End to Cease-Fire

Hamas announced Thursday that the six-month cease-fire with Israel in Gaza was officially over. Palestinians fired nine Kassam rockets and seven mortar shells at Israel. Close to 50 rockets have been fired over the past three days.

Friday, December 19, 2008

All the world's a stage

On the Big Screen, Where All the Arabs Are Israeli -Dan Ephron

In HBO's ongoing miniseries "House of Saddam," the lead actor is Yigal Naor. One of his costars is Uri Gavriel, who portrays the depraved Chemical Ali.

Israeli actors are often preferred, some in the industry say, because their English tends to be good and their acting style is Western - as opposed to the more florid, theatrical technique popular in Arab drama. Many Israeli actors grew up hearing Arabic and know something about the culture.

Still, moviegoers across the Arab world must find it unsettling to see themselves so often depicted by their enemies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jihadists wish Paris a Merry Christmas

Explosives Found at Paris Department Store -Katrin Bennhold &Basil Katz

A package of dynamite planted in a luxury Paris department store was found and removed by the police on Tuesday, at the height of the Christmas shopping season.
(New York Times)

Shoe jihad

A Political Culture of Self-Righteous Fury -Jonathan Spyer

The flying shoes that greeted President Bush at his press conference in Iraq are the latest emblem of [a] political culture [that] sanctifies anti-Western fury, and continues, half a century after decolonization, to see the Arabs as hapless victims of the West. The tremendous popularity of Hizbullah's Hassan Nasrallah and even the non-Arab Mahmoud Ahmedinejad among broad masses of Arabs is a product of this political culture.

It is an undeniable fact that the individual more responsible than any other for the enfranchisement and elevation to power of the Shi'ites of Iraq is George W. Bush. The man who established a situation in which the Iraqi Shi'ite Muntadar al-Zeidi is able to work freely as a journalist, worship freely as a Shi'ite, and vote freely as a citizen was the same one at whom Zeidi chose to hurl his shoes. The peculiar political culture of self-righteous fury that bestrides the Arabic-speaking world constitutes perhaps the single largest barrier to its rational and mature development.
(Jerusalem Post)


The Arab Sole -Tunku Varadarajan

A vast swath of people, from Morocco to Iraq, have found cultural and tribal, even civilizational, catharsis in a 20-second display of theater comprising the hurling of shoes at George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad.

Yet only a people who live under the boots of their rulers celebrate the throwing of a shoe at a guest.

Is this how their heroism is now defined? To me - to many - this is alarming proof of the depth of Arab impotence, of the Lilliputian self-image that drives Muslim Arabs to take to terrorism, to assault that which they cannot comprehend. The irony that has been lost on them is the fact that in the entire Arab world, only in Bushified Iraq could such an act of protest be possible.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Saudi's wisdom: Arabs are obsessed with Israel

Saudi Columnist: We Need to Get Over Our Obsession with Israel

Saudi columnist Turki Al-Hamad [pictured above & right] wrote: "Israel and Zionism have always been the primary 'justification' for every failure and disaster in modern Arab life: from the failure of the project of the great Arab renaissance and of the great Arab unity, to a child's death by starvation in Basra [Iraq] ."

"[E]ven if Israel disappeared entirely, and we had a new Palestinian state from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea to add to the list of Arab states, the situation would still remain the same..."

"Israel, and behind it the West and America, has not prevented us, and cannot prevent us, from building good schools if we want to, and putting in place forward-looking curricula. Israel will not prevent us, and cannot prevent us, from respecting humans and human rights in our countries, if we really wanted that. Israel will not prevent us, and cannot prevent us, from eradicating illiteracy in our countries or rooting out corruption."

Monday, December 15, 2008

VideoBite: Massive Hamas rally

Mofaz: Gaza truce big mistake

'Truce without Schalit was a mistake'

Minister Shaul Mofaz spoke out against the Gaza cease-fire, claiming the agreement with Hamas should not have been made without securing the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Speaking to high school students in Raman Gan, Mofaz said that "the 'calm,' which was achieved months ago, was a mistake without Gilad Schalit's release. That's the reason I voted against it."
[Jerusalem Post]

Jihad battles itself

Ideological Clash of Two Jihadi Titans Shakes Al-Qaeda -Caryle Murphy

A bitter, year-long feud has shaken al-Qaeda's ideological pillars.

Sayyed Imam [pictured above], an esteemed theoretician of jihad whose ideas helped shape al-Qaeda's ideology, continues to attack Ayman al-Zawahiri [pictured below], al-Qaeda's no. 2. "Zawahiri's support among jihadis is still strong, but he is losing the media battle," says William McCants, a Washington area-based analyst who monitors al-Qaeda Web activity.

In Nov. 2007, Imam released Rationalizing Jihad in Egypt and the World, a book that refuted al-Qaeda's terrorist tactics and ideology and was especially critical of Zawahiri. Zawahiri responded in March with Exoneration, a book charging that Imam lacked credibility because he wrote from an Egyptian prison and was supervised by U.S. intelligence. Last month, Imam's reply to Zawahiri, a book titled Denudation of the Exoneration, was serialized in Cairo's Al Masri Al Youm newspaper. In it Imam vigorously rejects the victimization theme in jihadist thinking. "The cause of Muslims' problems is Muslims themselves," Imam writes.
(Christian Science Monitor)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Success: cleaning up the West Bank

Israel's Strategy Against Palestinian Terrorism Pays Off -Ehud Yaari

Even though isolated bombings, shootings or stabbings may still occur, the West Bank has been thoroughly cleansed of active terrorist networks.

It has taken six years - since Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 - of systematic effort to reach this result, including nightly raids, usually by small detachments, into Palestinian towns and villages to arrest or kill terrorists, concentrated and focused co-ordination between all branches of the defense establishment and, above all, acquisition of accurate, real-time, pinpointed intelligence.

[T]he production line of suicide bombers, explosive belts and roadside bombs has been totally destroyed.
(The Australian)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eleanor Roosevelt would be outraged

Human Rights at 60 Aren't What They Used to Be -Joseph Loconte

Sixty years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt [pictured above], then head of the UN Human Rights Commission, said: "Democracy, freedom, human rights have come to have a definite meaning to the people of the world, which we must not allow to so change that they are made synonymous with suppression and dictatorship."

Today, the world's dictators and terrorists are no doubt celebrating the prostitution of human rights - often at the encouragement of UN policies and protocols. More than half of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council fail to uphold basic democratic freedoms in their own countries. Some of the most egregious offenders of human rights - including China, Cuba, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe - typically evade censure.
(Weekly Standard)

Friday, December 12, 2008

India's Muslim population speaks out

Muslims in India Repudiate Terrorism -Robert F. Worth

Throngs of Indian Muslims, ranging from Bollywood actors to skullcap-wearing seminary students, marched through the heart of Mumbai and several other cities, holding up banners proclaiming their condemnation of terrorism and loyalty to the Indian state.

Muslim leaders have refused to allow the bodies of the nine militants killed in the [Mumbai] attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries. Muslim religious scholars and public figures have issued strongly worded condemnations of the attacks. [S]ome 40 Muslims were among the victims of the attackers.
[New York Times]

Murder in Yemen

Jew Murdered in Yemen -Roee Nahmias

Moshe Yaish-Nahari [pictured above], the brother of a prominent rabbi in Yemen and the father of eight, was shot to death in Yemen. Eyewitnesses said the killer had confronted Nahari at the market in Rida, called out to him "Jew, accept the message of Islam," and then opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
(Ynet News)

Jews of Yemen to Be Relocated in Wake of Deadly Attack -Yoav Stern

President Saleh of Yemen is planning to relocate Yemen's Jews from the Amran district and the city of Raidah to the capital, Sana, the rabbi of the Jewish community, Yehi Yaish, said. The community in Raidah, where Moshe Nahari was murdered a few days ago, is estimated to number about 270 Jews. Central government control is weak and many residents carry automatic weapons for protection, including Jews.

Can technology beat jihad?

Israel Developing Armed Robots That Hop Over Obstacles -Mark Rutherford

SWAT and other urban assault teams could soon be deploying packs of all-seeing robots armed with mini-missiles to ferret out bad guys.

The EyeDrive unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) [pictured above and below] uses remote-controlled 360-degree panoramic video technology and a patented Point and Go sensor guidance mode to run down and "instinctively eliminate" human targets at ranges of up to 90 feet, according to the Israel-based company ODF Optronics.

This 5-pound, all-terrain UGV can be tossed - or dropped - from up to 10 feet and is self-righting. The "hopper" feature allows the EyeDrive to hop over 3-foot obstacles. ODF plans to produce an armed version in cooperation with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, another Israeli outfit, that could carry up to 16 miniature rockets.
(CNET News)