Saturday, December 17, 2005


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, December 17, 2005

From Israel

Arlene Kushner

Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) December 17, 2005

[] It's not going to get better and it's very likely to get a whole lot worse in coming days. The terrorism, that is. It was predicted by Israeli intelligence and security persons before the "disengagement." Now what Sharon has wrought in this nation will become more and more obvious. The Palestinians said it plain: We believe our terrorism in Gaza drove the Israelis out of Gaza, and so now we will increase our terrorism in the West Bank to get the Israelis to move from there as well. Who was listening?

Yesterday, in the Hevron hills south of Jerusalem, there was a drive-by shooting by Arabs riding in the opposite direction from the car they attacked. Two passengers were wounded, while a third, Yossi Shok, from Beit Hagai, a 35 year old father of five (including an infant girl), was killed.

So painful to read that shortly before this attack a local roadblock had been removed by the IDF.

How many times does this point have to be made? Every time we reduce our guard and show "good faith" someone pays for it with his/her life.

A friend of Shok, Yair Lior, lamented, "We pray that we will be delivered from this government that does not care about the spilled blood of Jews."

Both Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade took responsibility; but Judea and Samaria Division Commander Yair Golan said that the specific attackers were part of the same cell of terrorists responsible for the deaths of five Israelis in the area. Some four months ago, two Israeli teenagers were killed in a similar drive-by at the hitchhiking post near Beit Hagai.

[] Now things are being tightened up -- for the time being anyway -- across the country, in the face of multiple attacks, not just this one. In the last several days,
IDF, operating in and around Nablus and Jenin uncovered the following:* An explosives laboratory in the Massaken Sha'abiya neighborhood in Nablus. In the laboratory were found an explosive belt ready for use, a projectile rocket, 160 pounds of explosives, an electronic system used for cellular activation of a network of explosive devices, a small explosive device and a large quantity of raw materials used for the manufacturing of explosives. * A number of explosive devices, weighing hundreds of pounds, in a well in the village of Kabatya, southeast of Jenin. Four wanted Islamic Jihad terrorists were arrested in the operation.* Two metal cans filled with explosives were found in the possession of a 15-year-old Arab boy who arrived at the Hawara Crossing, south of Nablus. This crossing has caught multiple terrorists attempting to slip through. * Two pipe bombs were confiscated at a temporary roadblock west of Jenin and a belt full of ammunition confiscated at another roadblock south of the city.

This is all very bad news, folks.

[] I had referred in my last posting to the likelihood of a trial run of bus convoys between Gaza and Judea/Samaria for the "free passage" deal in the Rafah Agreeement. That never happened. This is part of the "tightening up." Israel is balking in the face of the escalating terrorism. May the spines of those responsible for making decision on the Israeli side continue to be strengthened. The terrorists are heating up in Judea and Samaria, and we should bring people from Gaza to that area?

[] Marwan Barghouti -- the terrorist serving five live sentences in Israeli prison -- has been promoting an alternate Fatah list for the elections. This represents, quite clearly, a contest between the old guard and the young turks of Fatah. The old guard has been negotiating with Barghouti and trying to get him to pull back on this action. What he proposes represents not only a slap in the face to the old guard, it would create a split in Fatah strength that would benefit Hamas come election time.

[] Speaking of Hamas and the elections in the PA...

Many of you have undoubtedly already heard about the overwhelming vote in the US House of Representatives (bless them!!) passing a resolution that all US aid to the PA be cut unless the PA set criteria for groups running in the elections; criteria include acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, stopping terrorism and condemning the use of violence, and halting incitement. While other smaller groups would also be affected, clearly it is Hamas that the legislators had in mind in this attempt to stop the blatantly terrorist group from strongly influencing if not running away with the January elections.

Now a representative of PA president Mahmoud Abbas has said, "...this does not serve the peace process nor the US efforts to maintain peace in the region...all Palestinian parties have a right to participate...Otherwise the elections wouldn't be democratic."

And that old standby Saeb Erekat, pointing out that the PA's electoral law allows anyone to run, added, "On the other hand, we have have a law that forbids the use of weapons and incitement in mosques and churches."

I love it when they give me the chance to run these idiotic statements.

For the record I remind everyone that the pulpits of their mosques constitute one of their favorite venues for venom-filled incitement.

The bottom line: At this point the PA pretty much has no choice but to let Hamas run, because of the strength Hamas has today in the street and the physical threat it represents: their people would tear the place apart (or that part of it not already torn apart) if banned at this point. But at the same time the current Fatah majority of the PA is plotzing (having a small fit) over the propect of having to share legislative power with Hamas. So they babble about "democratic process" and such.

What does all this say about genuine prospects for peace? And why are there still people talking as if it is around the corner?

[] Allow me to be politically incorrect here, and to tell the truth in the process.

The Jerusalem Post Magazine on Friday ran an exposé on the violence against women in the Israeli Arab community. One story relayed, which will give readers a feel for what we're talking about here:

In the Druse community of Shfaram, near Haifa, there was a young girl who was dating a Muslim boy who wasn't Druse. What is more, there was suspicion that she was sleeping with him. This brought shame and loss of honor to not only the Hasson clan that she came from, but the whole community. So the father, with the assistance of two uncles, took the situation into his own hands, and hung his daughter from a tree.

"Everyone was celebrating, it [the hanging] was beautiful," a young man from the Hasson clan told the author of the article. Said a leader in the community, the men of the clan were "ashamed to be seen on the streets," but now, "from the way they carry themselves, my impression is that [the hanging] has been good for their morale. The family has gotten its pride back."

The father and uncles, caught in this instance (although typically no one talks) are being charged by Israeli authorities. But there are some ten such killlings within the Muslim community each year. In some instances women have been killed for "staying out late and smoking" or "leaving the house frequently."

Why do I write about this here? Because it is related to what we are dealing with. In a companion article in the Post, there is discussion about what can be done with regard to the problem of abuse of Arab women. According to Professor Muhammad Haj-Yahia, an expert on Arab domestic violence in Israel, "...there are very high percentages of Arab men who justify abuse."

He says that many Arab men are educated as children to view violence as a legitimate way of solving problems.

And this is why I am writing about it. The professor believes Arab men must be taught alternatives to violence because he is concerned, very legitimately, with saving Arab women. But let's extrapolate for a moment: Would a society in which the men are raised to see violence as a legitimate tool for solving their problems be capable of making a genuine peace? Doesn't this underlying attitude speak to the way in which the Palestinians resort to terrorism instead of sticking it out at the negotiating table? And isn't genuine education for peace over the course of a generation going to be necessary before peace can truly be anticipated?

[] Ending on a lovely note. Because of Israel's strategic geographic location between continents, it is one of the prime sites in the world for bird watching, as all sorts of birds cross our territory in migration. That migration takes place over the winter and before our winter is done, almost 500 million birds -- from song birds to raptors -- will fly over the Hula Valley in the north. Tens of thousands of these are cranes, and for some reason they arrived a month early this year and in greater numbers than ever.

Life does go on here, and it can be beautiful...

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