Tuesday, January 31, 2006


good article

It's definitely worth reading this Newsweek article:

Caught by Surprise. Again.
Arafat created one of the most ill-disciplined, corrupt and ineffective organizations ever to be taken seriously on the world stage.

By Fareed Zakaria
Feb. 6, 2006 issue - In the late 1970s, American officials were aware that the Shah of Iran was losing domestic support. They analyzed alternate scenarios and studied various opposition groups. They thought they were being very bold in their outreach, talking to Marxists, dissidents and other radicals. But they paid little attention to the turban-clad clerics preaching dissent via mosque, audiotape and pamphlet. How many people could possibly support mullahs promising a return to theocracy in the late 20th century?

Thirty years later, we're still surprised, and still asking the same questions. How could the Palestinians vote for a party that wants to create an Islamic state? We might even ask the question in Iraq, where elections have yielded consistently for hard-line Islamic parties (and hard-line ethnic parties, in the case of the Kurds).

Let's stop for a moment and understand how this happened, so that at least we can stop being surprised. The story of the rise of Hamas mirrors the rise of almost all such Islamic political parties in the Middle East.

For decades, the dictators who ruled (and rule) the Middle East destroyed all political opposition groups. They were particularly aggressive in co-opting or exterminating liberal, secular, forward-looking groups because those were seen as most threatening. They were often less harsh toward Muslim groups, partly because the Islamists were seen as less political. And, of course, you cannot ban the mosque in an Islamic country.

Rulers like Anwar Sadat and Jordan's King Hussein often used Islamic groups to discredit the secular opposition. Decades of repression, incompetence and stagnation ensured that citizens got increasingly unhappy with their regimes. And the only organized, untainted alternative was the Islamic movement.

Consider Hamas. It was founded as a sister group of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Initially it was a "quietist" group, accepting Israel's occupation of the West Bank as a fact and simply working to improve the conditions of Palestinians within it. Both Israel and Jordan tacitly supported the group during that period, because they saw it as a way of dividing the Palestinians. They also probably believed it could never come to power. But they worked tirelessly to destroy the PLO and its successor, Fatah, a secular, Soviet-styled revolutionary outfit. (Remember that in the 1970s, even the United States thought that conservative Islamic groups were allies against left-wing revolutionary ones, which is why we funded the mujahedin in Afghanistan.)
But the man who truly opened the space for Hamas was Yasir Arafat. Arafat created one of the most ill-disciplined, corrupt and ineffective organizations ever to be taken seriously on the world stage. Despite the pull of loyalty in tough conditions, Palestinians were losing faith in Fatah through the 1990s. Hamas, meanwhile, became more political, radical and organized. It provided health, education and other social-welfare services. And it stood up for its people.
For someone in Gaza, here is the contrast. Arafat was corrupt, and could not deliver on a Palestinian state. Hamas is honest, effective and holds firm. As Palestinians watched Arafat dither and Abbas fail, they lost any faith that Fatah has a path—by force or by negotiations—to get them a state. And meanwhile, their daily life was getting worse and worse while their leaders drove around in Mercedes cars.

Much is now being written on how Hamas will have to moderate itself to rule. But the next few months, if not years, will be a very rocky ride. If we are to learn something from this experience, it should surely be that now is the time to start building and shoring up the secular groups, the middle-class organizations, the liberal-minded civil society of the Middle East.

Today these groups barely exist. They have struggled under laws designed to prevent them from forming, with no free press to voice their views, no business supporters to give them money and muscle. "Right now we do not have a level playing field," says Bassem Adwadallah, a young Jordanian reformer. "For 30 years Islamic groups have been the only ones allowed in the political space. We liberals are just starting. We need to stop bickering, be better organized, present a persuasive program. But we also need some help."

President Bush has said that democracy promotion is a "growth industry." If it is, then funding such groups and helping them deliver for their people is surely the best way to invest. Without that you'll have elections in the Middle East but no real democracy.

Write the author at comments@fareedzakaria.com.
© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.

Annual ISM Hate Israel Conference at Georgetown University

February 17-19, 2006


The Jewish people are under attack at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The International Solidarity Movement is a propaganda arm of the PLO that is invading every college campus in America to spread anti-Semitism and hate for the state of Israel. They are composed of American communists and anarchists who ally with the PLO Muslims and Arabs to try and persuade Americans to reject Jews and a Jewish state in our world society. They use a college campus to appear intellectual when their goal is that of the Nazis.

This year they are holding their national conference at Georgetown University. This is the fifth year in a row they have held one at a college campus. Such conferences are “strategy and training” sessions where every Jew hater, every radical communist, every Muslim anti-Semite can join together and plot how to promote divestment and boycotts against the state of Israel, how to fund their activities on other campuses, and how to promote the end of the Jewish state.
The organizers use evasive language to endorse terrorism like “legitimate resistance.” They bemoan “Jewish control” of America. They train activists to go to the West Bank and Gaza and act as human shields for Arab terrorists. They also accuse Russian Jews in Israel of stealing Arab lands and birthrights. They excuse terrorism. They work with terrorist groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP. And they train people how to infiltrate Jewish organizations in America to try to persuade young Jews that “Zionists” are not the same as legitimate Jews. They teach all this in seminars during the 3 day conference February 17-19.

They have one goal: the dismantling of Israel.

We are seeking volunteers who we will bus to this conference at Georgetown. The college says nobody can be denied admittance. Our goal is to get 500 Jews inside. One of the speakers will tell people Israel has “Jew- only” hotels, or that Arab-Israelis cannot vote, or that Zionism is not true Judaism. One Jew speaking out against such lies is at a disadvantage, but 500 of them will counter the lies and tell the truth for all the world to hear through the media. In the past, Jews stood outside in the cold during such conferences. This year we intend to go in and actively refute what they do by speaking up and being heard.
Please join us by volunteering and helping Israel and countering these people who would gladly turn America into another Russia for Jews.

If you cannot join us at the protest, Please make a donation to help us defray the cost of busing the protesters to the event
Robert Turk
Email: bob@maalathageula.org
Phone: (860) 379-2912
Cell: (860) 480-9456


Press Coverage, and Freedom of Movement

Don't expect too much variety from the press, especially the international media, in the reports from Amona. The army is controlling all access and severely limiting what can be seen.

Here's the official announcement:

January 31st, 2006


As previously stated, due to space constraints, it has been decided that the FPA in coordination with the IDF will set up a joint APTN and Reuters TV media pool in Amona for TV crews wishing to receive live filmed footage of the evacuation. Press wishing to receive the footage should contact either Tzion from APTN at 02-5376660 or Reuters TV at 02-5008661. Additional TV crews and any reporter or stills photographer wishing to enter the evacuation area by foot will be free to do so. It should be noted that there is a walking distance of approximately 1 mile to Amona. Please take this into consideration when preparing your equipment.

Please contact the IDF Spokesperson's News Desk with any further inquiries or problems you may have, 03-6080245/248/308.

Monday, January 30, 2006


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 29, 2006

From Israel

Arlene Kushner akushner@netvision.net.il

January 29, 2006

[] Over the last few days there have riots by members of Fatah in Gaza and Judea-Samaria, with rage vented at Abbas and other Fatah leaders for failing to secure an electoral victory. Abbas, fearing for his life, cancelled a scheduled meeting with Hamas in Gaza.

This may be a precursor to growing violence between Fatah and Hamas, in a (non-electoral) battle for control.

[] President Bush said in a Friday interview that no aid would be going from the US to the PA unless Hamas recognizes Israel and stops terror activity. This is not simply a Bush policy decision, it is US law: no funding may go to a terrorist entity. The EU has taken a similar line.

The PA is already on the edge of bankruptcy and will collapse within weeks without international funds -- as it depends almost exclusively on this monetary support, which amounts to some $1.3 billion annually. The most pressing problem is meeting the payroll for some 130,000 PA employees; many of these are armed Fatah personnel and things are not likely to go smoothly if they find themselves without pay.

(I would suggest that the PA now rely on the "compassionate generosity" of Fatah bigwigs, who might tap into their private accounts (enlarged through siphoning off of public funds in the first place) to help out here, but I don't think anyone would listen. I do not have the most recent figures, but a couple of years ago, when I was doing research on this matter, I learned that Arafat and his cronies collectively were worth $20 billion; Arafat had only some $1.2 billion, so there's a lot still around. )

Of course, the Arab states could rescue the PA here, but whether they will or not is another question. Strange, is it not, that the bulk of that $ 1.3 billion annually comes from the west and not fellow Arabs? Other Arabs make a good show of support for the Palestinian people but in reality do not care.

[] In spite of the current position by the US and the EU regarding witholding of funds from the PA, Israel is waivering on a similar issue. Israel collects custom taxes that belong to the PA -- because goods bound for the PA come through Israel. Israel has an understanding with the PA that these taxes will be turned over regularly. As yet, no decision has been made by the Israeli government to withhold the next payment, which I believe is due next week.

[] I've been picking up some strange comments from here in Israel, in spite of insistence by the government that it will not negotiate with an unrepentant Hamas.

Most unsettling have been some recent statements by Defense Minister Mofaz. This is directly from today's Jerusalem Post online:
"Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said in Sunday's [today's] cabinet meeting that Hamas was, at this point, acting 'responsibly,' and added that he believed that the organization would soon attempt to rein in terror.
My response: Uh oh! Is it starting already? The attempt to represent Hamas as sufficiently moderated so that dealing with it becomes possible. Is this Olmert and Mofaz's notion, or is this rather to provide the US something it is looking for? We can only keep watching very closely.
[] Dr. Aaron Lerner today asked Dr. Michael Widlanski, to serve as translator in a phone contact with Musheer al-Masri, Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, regarding changes in the Hamas Covenant. Al-Masri's reponse to Widlanski: "The Covenant of Hamas does not change. The resistance to the occupation is based on international law."
Said Covenant can be found at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm
You might find it enlightening (if that's the right word) to take a look at it. It lays it all out, including the connection of Hamas to the Muslim Brotherhood, albeit with a great deal of bombast. And it says, in part:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [trust] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up...
"....Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.
"...There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.
And it cites this Hadith (statement attributed to Muhammad):

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight [kill] the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him..."

[] It seemed strange to me as well to read that Israel is concerned that with Hamas in charge the crossing at Rafah would be wide open to terrorists. Far as I knew, it already was. That's how some 15 wanted Hamas people that Israel had kept out for years got in while the PA was in charge.

[] Of late I have been writing about the tilt left of Netanyahu and the Likud party. With the changing political situation, this has altered, and Netanyahu is challenging Kadima regarding its role in creating the current situation. It remains to be seen what the political gain for the party will be.

[] The reasons why Hamas was able to win the PA election will be discussed for a long time to come. Here I offer a number of relevent factors.

-- The "disengagement." A major factor. It strengthened Hamas: Enabling them to make the claim that they drove Israel out of Gaza (and allowing them to promise the populace more of same, which wouldn't be achieved through negotiations). Making it possible for Hamas to bring into Gaza leaders that had been kept out for years by Israel.

-- The fairly mindless promotion in the western world of elections, as if they, in and of themselves, constituted democracy, no matter what parties participated. President Bush started with an idea that had some sound currency -- that democracy had to be promoted in the Middle East if there was to be peace. But that original idea was distorted and watered down.

-- The change of guard within PA leadership. Carolyn Glick addressed this in her column on Friday. Yasser Arafat was a strong man who managed to keep everyone in line. He did businesss with Hamas (actually had an agreement with Hamas), used Hamas to do his dirty work. But he remained in charge. Mahmoud Abbas couldn't cut it in this respect. He had no desire to take on the radicals. In his eagerness to control the situation indirectly, he tried to co-opt Hamas into the PA. It was he who spoke about "unity" and "inclusion," and invited Hamas to join the PLO. That has now backfired on him badly.

-- Increased legitimization of Hamas from another quarter: Glick suggests that when Mubarak of Egypt met with Hamas people last year he was giving them credibility. It should be noted that in Egypt, in 2005, there was a loosening of previous restrictions on the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (from which Hamas emanates) so that this group now has parliamentary representation. This may have inspired Hamas to do the same.

-- Discontent with corruption and failure of Fatah to produce for the people. There is disagreement on how major a factor this was.

[] Famed Kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, who lived to be over 100, was laid to rest in Jerusalem today, following his death before Shabbat. There were 300,000 mourners who accompanied him to his grave or saluted him on the side of the road as he was brought to the cemetery, Har Hamenuhot in Givat Shaul.

Friday, January 27, 2006


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 26, 2006

From Israel

Arlene Kushner akushner@netvision.net.il

January 26, 2006

There is no one reading this posting who does not already know that Hamas has won the PA Legislative Council elections, garnering 75 seats, with Fatah taking 43.

-- Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, has declared that Hamas will "complete the liberation of other parts of Palestine."

-- Dore Gold, in analyzing the situation, has reminded people that Hamas is the local branch of the very dangerous and militant Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.

-- There were violent clashes between members of Fatah and Hamas after results were announced.

-- The members of the PA government have submitted their resignations, although Abbas is asking them to stay on until a new government is formed.

-- PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie (aka Abu Ala) has resigned.

-- PA President Mahmoud Abbas is "thinking" of resigning but is being urged to stay. Among those urging him is President Bush (about which more below).

-- Hamas is seeking a unity government with Fatah, but Fatah seems to be exhibiting a distinct lack of enthusiasm for this, knowing that they would be powerless within the government.

Hamas actually needs them. They've never done governmental administration before. They need some experienced people in key positions.

-- The Quarter (the US, the UN, the EU and Russia) will be meeting to discuss this new situation and how to handle it.

It will be some time before the air clears and we see how this will play out.

At least in theory this should remove doubt about the intentions of the Palestinian people with regard to true peace with Israel. But it's possible to put spin on what has happened:

Already President Bush is saying that Hamas won because of dissatisfaction with the Fatah corruption (and there is some truth to this, but it is not the whole truth). In urging Abbas not to resign, he called on him to continue to lead the way in negotiations with Israel.

And Condoleezza Rice made this statement: "The Palestinian people have apparently voted for change, but we believe that their aspirations for peace and a peaceful life remain unchanged..."

Talk about twisting reality to fit what you want to believe!

It goes on and on...

There's this report: "Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Jordan on Thursday to discuss the results of the Palestinian Legislative Council elections and how they might impact future peace-making efforts. Abdullah expressed his hope that Israel and the Palestinian Authority would renew peace talks." WHAT is this man talking about?

But he's not alone: "Meretz-Yahad (far left) chairman Yossi Beilin said that the election results still provided a chance for an agreement with moderate Palestinians. He called on Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to launch peace talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Beilin also warned that if Israel and the PA failed to reach an agreement soon, Hamas would win in the next elections, as well." Ever hear of a better reason for launching peace talks?

But there are many people who are seeing things clearly:

National Religious Party MK Zevulen Orlev said that the Hamas victory was the result of Israel's "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip. "The Palestinian public recognized that Hamas's suicide bombers and Kassam rockets convinced the... disengagement government to uproot Jews from Gush Katif." And you know what? He's got it absolutely right. It was with the pullout from Gaza that Hamas gained strength.

In fairness to Bush and Rice, along with their pie-in-the-sky statements also came declarations that the US position on Hamas has not changed and that there was no negotiating with a terrorist entity.

From officials in Europe, as well, have come statements regarding the fact that there is no dealing with Hamas until it recognizes Israel and renounces terrorism.

The hope then, in all quarters, is that Hamas will moderate. I see this as the greatest danger. Because the moderation would be a facade, and yet would give the them an opportunity to be accepted by the world. I remind everyone that this is what Fatah -- whose constitution still calls for Israel's destruction! -- has been doing all along.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


more from the Gulag

Read Daniel Pinner's story:

How to Be a Menace to Society
by Jan 23, '06 / 23 Tevet 5766
E-mail This Print Homepage

Very well, I confess: when about 50 Arabs attacked me with rocks, I fired a few warning shots in the air, in order to cover my retreat. I saw my life was in clear and present danger, and in pure instinctive self-defense, I fired those shots. Many people (in particular, judges and other assorted intellectuals whose lives center around the genteel suburbs of north Tel Aviv, Ramat Hasharon and Tzahala) will argue that rocks are not dangerous to life. Other people who have seen rock-throwing Arabs, can testify that rocks are dangerous to life. Unfortunately, those who know this fact can no longer testify. Come to that, the court itself recognizes that rocks are dangerous to life. As I write these lines, my friend Shimshon Cytryn is under house arrest, and faces a charge of attempted murder -- for allegedly throwing a rock at an Arab.

Apparently, a rock thrown by an Arab is harmless, while a rock thrown by a Jew is lethal. In my case, I was accused of shooting an Arab named Nasser Wafi, who alleged that he was hit in the thigh by my bullet. In addition to the testimony of Nasser Wafi, several Arab "eye-witnesses" disposed of almost everything alleged by the government: how many people were holding firearms; how many shots were fired; what the alleged shooter looked like; what time Nasser Wafi was shot; the range at which he was shot; which leg he was wounded in.

However, the only thing these witnesses all agreed upon was that before any shots were fired, they (the Arabs) were throwing rocks at Jews. But I digress. The Court decreed, months ago, that I would be held in jail until the end of proceedings (to date, 6 1/2 months).

When I appealed this decision, Her Honour Sarah Dovrat decided:
"The actions of the respondent [Daniel Pinner] are dangerous, regardless of the
political background [i.e. the Disengagement]. A person who carries a weapon and
uses it, testifies to the menace inherent in him, and is not a result of political tension.... Under these circumstances, the end of the Disengagement does not neutralize the respondent's menace." (Decision of the Be'er Sheva District Court, Case # B.Sh. 021515/03, given on 24th Tishrei 5766 - 27th October 2005)

If Her Honour happens to read this essay, I want her to know that I never imagined that by defending my life, and carefully not endangering the life of anyone else (not even the Arabs who would have happily taken my life), I thereby became a menace to society. I have legally held a firearm for about five years, and have used it precisely once -- when I judged my life to be in danger. Even the prosecution did not claim that I am a serial shooter, or that I would be likely to shoot for no reason. Through my lawyer, Baruch Ben-Yosef, I appealed the 24th Tishrei decision to the Supreme Court. We lost. Then, as the case for the prosecution grew steadily weaker, we made another attempt to get house arrest. The same court, the same judge, a different date; the same decision:
"The circumstances have not changed in any way, nor has any new fact been
shown me, which can neutralize the respondent's menace." (Decision of the Be'er
Sheva District Court, Case # B.Sh. 021515/03, given on 7th Kislev 5766 - 8th
December 2005)

I have a couple of questions for Her Honour, Sarah Dovrat: If the Court eventually acquits me, then should I nevertheless be held in jail indefinitely as a "menace to society"?

And if the Court convicts me, then should I be held in jail for the rest of my life, on the grounds that even after serving time, I might still be a "menace to society"?

On Monday, 4th Kislev (5th December 2005), a suicide terrorist detonated himself in a shopping mall in Netanya. Five Israelis were murdered, dozens injured. In a radio interview, a security guard stated that even though he recognized the suicide terrorist for what he was, he chose not to shoot for fear of what would happen to him if he did. Countless other security guards have made identical comments; they know that if they shoot terrorists, then they -- the security guards -- are likely to be arrested and held for months in jail, even if they are eventually acquitted. It is simply less hassle to shout a warning, let the terrorist detonate and hope that as few Jews as possible will be killed.

So, my final question to Her Honour Sarah Dovrat is: Which one of us (you or me) is the real menace to society?


Disengagement victims still suffering

It's not over, not by a long shot. Read this from Arutz 7:

Expelled Families Continue to Suffer
16:44 Jan 24, '06 / 24 Tevet 5766By Hillel Fendel

Gush Katif families still waiting for temporary housing, five months after their expulsion, say that their harrowing tales of continuing Disengagement Authority harassment just don't stop.
Close to 100 families from N'vei Dekalim are still housed in Jerusalem hotels, more than five months after their expulsion. They are waiting for the government to complete their promised temporary housing in Nitzan, Ein Tzurim or elsewhere.

While they wait, the Disengagement Authority continues to make it difficult for some of them to receive their compensation monies, as the following stories show.

The family of Yigal and Tziporah Kirshenzaft, now with 12 children, was one of the first to live in the Gush Katif capital of N'vei Dekalim, having moved in over 22 years ago. They are still housed in the Ceasar Hotel in Jerusalem. Yigal says, "I received a letter in November saying I wasn't eligible for any compensation.

After this was publicized, I was assured that everything would be OK and that I would receive a letter of apology. I have not yet received an apology - or anything else. I don't know what the delay is; they threw us out of our house, and legislated a law saying that we are to get compensation - so what's the problem? They know how long I lived there, they know how many children I have, let them deposit the money in my bank! What do they need me to fill out forms and produce buried papers for? They have all the information at their fingertips!"

"The truth is," he then said, "that if they would start acting like human beings, I would fill out their forms."In response to Arutz-7's request to elaborate, Kirshenzaft said, "For instance, I have a friend who lived next door to me for 22 years, Meir C. For some reason, they decided to compensate him only from 1999, and not from 1983. They further decided to calculate his compensation as if he had a 67-square-meter house, instead of the 167 meters that he had. He says he paid property tax on 167 meters, and all the papers are there.

Why should they treat him this way?" Meir and family are still housed in the Jerusalem Gold Hotel in the capital, waiting, together with dozens of other families, for the government to complete the construction of their pre-fab structures in Ein Tzurim."

Or take the case of a single mother of a large family," Kirshenzaft continued. "She was divorced eight years ago, and is waiting for a caravila [pre-fab temporary home] in Nitzan. They are holding up her full compensation and recognition as a single-mother because they say, 'How do we know that your husband won't return and live with you?'

"In yet another case, the M. family, formerly of N'vei Dekalim, has received a letter from the Disengagement Authority saying that it was required to move out of the Gold Hotel immediately - or else have the hotel costs deducted from their future compensation funds.

The family's hotel neighbor, Rachel Saperstein, formerly of N'vei Dekalim, says that Mr. M. would love nothing more than to be able to do so - as soon as the heating/air conditioning system that was stolen is restored.

"Even without the heart condition that he has," Mrs. Saperstein said, "the winter is freezing, and the walls of the caravila are very thin, and a heater is a basic necessity. He wants to move to Nitzan, and asks only that they return his heater - but he gets nothing, except for nasty threatening letters."The Sapersteins have their own torturous story.

They were informed recently that because they rented their Gush Katif home for the past eight years from the local municipality association, and not from a public company such as Amidar, they are not entitled to any compensation. "We had a meeting today with some Disengagement Authority people," Mrs. Saperstein said, "and our lawyer, Yisrael Fuchs from the Land of Israel Forum, showed them that the law says that if someone rents from the municipality, which itself rents from Amidar, then it's as if it's rented from Amidar directly. They seemed to have nothing to say to this, but it looks like now they're putting up another obstacle: They say I have to prove that I rented from the association. I don't have all the papers, but I was able to produce my salary slip from the Ministry of Education which recognized my rent as a certain deduction - proving that the government recognized my rent. But this wasn't enough for them.

So the story just goes on and on and on..."Asked when her pre-fab house is expected to be ready, Mrs. Saperstein said, "That's another whole story in itself. There is a dangerous pipe sticking up outside the entrance, in addition to other problems, and though they have known about it for a long while, nothing has been done. The Disengagement Authority woman who showed us the house originally said that it's not a problem and that we could move in immediately - but when she herself proceeded to trip over it, she changed her mind. The problem is that the Disengagement Authority says that the pipe is in the purview of the Defense Ministry..."

As an aside, Mrs. Saperstein noted that though it is well-known that rent for the temporary caravilas in Nitzan is $450 a month, many do not realize that this is in addition to monthly property taxes of 2,000 shekels - another $430. This sum is to be deducted from the compensation the families are to receive.

"But we try to keep on smiling," Mrs. Saperstein said. "And we deserve a Mazal Tov - our daughter had twin daughters yesterday!"


Carnival of Liberty #29

We're included in the Carnival of Liberty #29. There are lots of great posts; take a gander!

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Loyal Citizens in Danger

Yes, this sounds rather mellow dramatic, but it's true, very unfortunately, it is.

Just a few months ago, thousands of innocent Israeli citizens were thrown out of their homes. That was the "Disengagement" from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria. The vast majority are till in temporary "solutions," and now the government is preparing to throw out even more.

While the government was preparing for Disengagement, it kept warning of violence, civil war etc, but the poor families disappointed them. Instead of attacking the police and soldiers with weapons, they either resisted passively, left on their own two feet, or in some cases held valiantly onto the Land.

Now with Arik Sharon comatose and in Intensive Care, Olmert, his replacement is raising the tension and threats. He has declared "war" on a few innocent Jewish families in Chevron, an ancient city with a long history of Jewish residence. As part of this campaign, the Chief of Police is preparing the public for the use of live fire, meaning real weapons against the civilians.

What's most amazing is the silence. Only MK Dr. Arye Eldad, Moledet-National Union, has been reacting to the constant incitement.

Why isn't the world condemning the attacks against innocent citizens?

Friday, January 20, 2006


Hebron Update: The travesty of justice, Two Hebron Women

The Hebron Gift Shop: http://www.gifts.hebron.org.il/
News from Hebron
The Hebron Press Office Friday January 20, 2006
Video clip of Tzippy Shlissel's arrest: www.hebron.com/news/tzippyarrest.htm

Hebron Update: The travesty of justice

The story of two Hebron women

Hebron has been relatively quiet today. The police, although still present, have lowered their visibility profile and are not, at present, marching through the Avraham Avinu neighborhood en masse, as they had been doing all week. However, yesterday several people were brutally arrested, including Mrs. Tzippy Shlissel, mother of 10, daughter of Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan, murdered in Hebron over 7 years ago.
According to eyewitnesses, Tzippy Shlissel was standing outside her home in the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood (scheduled to be destroyed before the 15th of February, reciting Psalms for the sake of Hebron. (An important Rabbi has instructed to repeat Psalm 109 nine times daily.) Seeing someone she knew come into the neighborhood, she stopped and walked over to say hello.
At this point, four policemen ran over to her, jumped on her and threw her to the ground, where they continued to hit her. A police jeep drove over to where she was lying on the ground, and the policemen picked her up and threw her inside, on top of another policeman, sitting there. They then slammed the door closed on her leg and sped away.
Mrs. Shlissel was taken to the police station, where she was interrogated about 'crimes' committed two weeks earlier, when massive forces arrived in the neighbor to issued expulsion orders to residents of the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood. According to Tzippy, they blame her for 'everything in the book,' which she, of course, denied.
After a couple of hours she was released and allowed to go home.

A second Hebron woman has been less fortunate.
On Wednesday morning, Mrs. Deli Landau, mother of 11, drove from Hebron to Kiryat Arba with a number of children in her car. At the entrance to Kiryat Arba a policeman stopped the car and asked her if she was from Hebron. When she replied positively, he demanded to see her identification card. She responded, 'if you only demand IDs from people in Hebron, your purposes are political' and continued driving into the community. A couple of minutes later a police van, following her, called on her to stop and park. Police then started yelling at her that she had tried to run down a police officer, a charge which she vehemently denied.
The policeman, looking into her car, demanded that two of her older children, Yedidya, 18 and Ditza, 17, identify themselves. When they refused, they were arrested. Deli was then taken to the Kiryat Arba police station and interrogated, charged with: attacking a police officer (reduced from the initial charge of attempting to run him over), for trying to pour water on police issuing expulsion orders two weeks earlier, and for rioting.
The police then officially arrested her and sent her, together with her year and a half old infant son Yehuda Tzvi (who is sick with spastic bronchitis) to the Neve Tirza women's prison, where she spent the night. The police conveniently forgot to provide her with food, both for her and for her baby, all day.
The next day Deli was taken to court, where the prosecutor, claiming that she is 'dangerous' and 'a threat' be held in prison until the conclusion of all proceedings against her. At the last minute the judge agreed to allow her to remain under house arrest at her parent's home in Jerusalem until Tuesday, when a final decision will be issued as to whether she will be remanded in prison.
It should be noted that Deli Landau, a Hebron resident for 21 years, hasn't any criminal record, and is a profession medic who travels with almost all Hebron women by ambulance to Jerusalem when they are in labor before they give birth.

The story of two 16 year old boys
Thursday Jan. 12: The two are brutally arrested in Hebron. AA – (an expellee from Gusk Katif) is kicked in his face and between his legs and gas is sprayed into his face. A second boy, AR was hit all over his body, especially punched in the stomach.
Thurs. night-Friday morning: The police deny that the 2 are in jail, replying negatively to lawyers from the Honenu organization.
Friday, Jan. 13: The police tardily notify that a hearing will take place in the Jerusalem Shalom court. Their demand: that they be held until conclusion of all proceedings against them. Decision: To remand them in prison until Sunday.
Sunday, January 15: The two are indicted for "rioting," for "a serious attempt to injure a policeman and soldiers" (by throwing eggs at them) and for illegal carrying of a knife. (They had no knife, rather a screwdriver.) Decision: to delay a decision for a day.
Monday, Jan. 16: Decision: They are forbidden to be in all of Judea and Samaria for A YEAR, excepting one boy's home and the yeshiva where they study and a deposit of 5,000 shekels cash, another 5,000 shekels personal bond and 5,000 shekels bond from their parents (for each boy). The prosecutor demands a delay in the boy's release in order to appeal. The demand is accepted and the boys remain in jail.
Tuesday, Jan 17: Hearing at regional appeals court. The judge requests that a representative of the boy's yeshivas appear the next day. They remain in jail.
Wednesday, Jan. 18: The hearing is delayed until Thursday
Thursday, Jan. 19: Hearing in presence of the boy's parents and yeshiva deans. The judge 'has to get her car out of the garage' so a decision is postponed until Friday.
Friday, January 20: Decision: The bond is raised: 25,000 shekels from the parents and 25,000 shekels from the yeshiva deans. Also, traveling between the yeshiva and the boy's home only when accompanied by the parents, for a year. The prosecutor demands that the boys not be released until he decides whether or not to appeal. The demand is granted. The boys are sent back to jail for another 24 hours, until a decision is made.

Note: The boys involved have no criminal record, their guilt hasn't been proven – they are still only 'suspects!"


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 20, 2006

Arlene Kushner akushner@netvision.net.il

January 20, 2006

[] I wrote yesterday about the emphasis Olmert is putting on challenging "illegal" Jews, who are residing where they don't have permission, while ignoring illegal Arab building in Jerusalem. But there is more, and now is not a time to remain silent about these matters:

Gush Etzion (Etzion bloc) is a group of Jewish communities south of Jerusalem, off route 60 in Judea. It is in a region that has Biblical significance, and it has played a distinguished part in modern Israel's history. Decades before the founding of Israel, small communities were established within the bloc; repeatedly they were destroyed by Arabs, and repeatedly they were re-established. (Remember that this was Mandate land, and "close settlement" by Jews was supposed to be encouraged.) With the War of Independence, the communities played a critical role in defending the southern gateway to Jerusalem; but then they were destroyed and 240 people massacred.; the land was in Jordanian hands. In 1967, when Israel gained it back, children of those massacred returned to again build the communities. They have flourished, and it has been a given, within Israeli politics, even among people to the left, that this bloc would remain in Israeli hands in any agreement with the Palestinians.

It was a given, that is, until now. An investigative report by Erez Tadmor, of the Hebrew weekly Makor Rishon, has exposed the massive unauthorized Arab building projects, which are going on all over Gush Etzion. This is ILLEGAL. The building is being done on Israeli state land (originally purchased by the Jewish National Fund), without official permission.

"In the full light of day and with the knowledge of the relevant authorities, intensive works have been underway during the past months to seize control of thousands of [acres] of uncultivated lands between the settlements of western Gush Etzion and the Green Line. The goal is to prevent any possibility of creating territorial contiguity in the direction of Jerusalem..." Gush Etzion is being deliberately cut off.

Says this report: "...official vehicles of the Palestinian Authority, manned by paid PA employees, are supervising the work and traveling freely in the areas between Gush Etzion's Jewish towns. The areas are worked day in and day out using heavy equipment such as bulldozers, tractors, dump trucks, and large teams of workers." It takes my breath away.

Ehud Barak, who was willing to negotiate with Arafat over a state, stopped a similar effort when he was prime minister. But Ehud Olmert, who is real tough with a few Jewish families in Hebron, allows this to continue.

Time is short for voices to be raised to stop this!

[] I have been of late expressing concern about the leftward tilt of Likud because of the agenda set by Kadima. But I have now learned that the tilt is not quite as far left as I had, with alarm, begun to imagine. This, too, is important to share: In The Jerusalem Post I had read that Uzi Landau had said a plank in the Likud platform endorsing a Palestinian State was OK with him. Uzi Landau? Had he caved? This man of integrity. Well... I have now communicated directly with an aide to Uzi, who was present when he made his statement to the press. This is what he REALLY said:

"I am against a Palestinian state; we have to do everything we can to make sure no Palestinian state is established; while the Israeli govt is committed to the road map, we must stand strong in the first stage and demand compliance – dismantle terrorist infrastructure, cease encitement – and then no Palestinian state will be able to be established either."

A lesson in how the media work. Shouldn't be surprised, but it's important to stay vigilant always on such things.

[] If you look visibly Jewish in terms of clothing, beard, etc. do not expect to be able to do any touring in Jordan. The Jordan government is blocking all those with kippot and similar items that identify Jewish observance from entering the country. They say it's because this will stimulate terrorism. NOT a good sign. I had thought our peace with Jordan was far warmer than that with Egypt. It HAS been warmer. But now I'm learning about the enormous amount of anti-Semitism in Jordan and a good deal else that is unsettling.

[] Mofaz has ordered intensified operations in the Nablus area following yesterday's suicide bombing. Thirteen of the wounded remain in the hospital.

[] Two mentions here of films that humanize Palestinian terrorists and tell their stories. This is a very disturbing sign of where American/western culture is going. One I mentioned before. That is Spielberg's "Munich." I mention it again because of the attention it is receiving and suggest you read Charles Krauthammer's comments on this , written just a week ago:


Then there is the award winning "Paradise Now," which glorifies suicide bombers. See what Michael Freund has to say about this:



A Thank You From Gush Katif Expellees


A Thank You From Gush Katif Expellees

There was a knock on the door a few minutes ago. Yoram--- from Efrat introduced himself as the representative of an anonymous donor from the U.S. The donor, in memory of Golda bat Rachel and Nachum, generously wanted to financially help the expellees from Gush Katif who have lost their communities, homes, and in many cases employment. We'd like to express our gratitude and let people know of the Kiddush HaShem in a public forum.

The vacuum left by the Israeli government's cruel expulsion has been, at least partially, filled by tremendous thoughtfulness of private individuals and organizations. This is one positive aspect to the "Disengagement Plan" and the complete story has yet to be told.

Here in Nitzan, religious and non-religious volunteers from L'maan Achinu and Lev Echad have cleaned "caravillas" for newcomers, created activities for children and youth and organized seminars on finding employment. Rav Yehoshua---and his wife, from the Golan, helped set up religious services before synagogues existed in Nitzan. Youth from Ulpanas and Yeshivas continue to help with babysitting, washing floors, and tutoring. The One Israel Fund which is supported by thousands of anonymous donors gave scholarships for continuing education for university students from Gush Katif. Then there's Anna--- from Short Hills, NJ who is raising money as a Bat Mitzva project towards supplying the Nitzan community center with needed equipment. This is but a small fraction of precious individuals and organizations helping victims of the government's expulsion from Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron. These efforts are a true Kiddush HaShem.

Perhaps the "Disengagement Plan" was part of a test or trial from Hakodesh Baruch Hu – not so much how the evil decree was fought but rather how Am Yisrael responded after the fact. Am Yisrael Chai!

By Yossi and Sara Layah Shomron
Nitzan Caravilla site
19 Tevet 5766 (19 January 2006)

Thursday, January 19, 2006


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 19, 2006

Arlene Kushner akushner@netvision.net.il

January 19, 2006

[] Suicide bombing in Tel Aviv this afternoon, Israeli time. Thank G-d, no one died except the bomber himself, who was from a village outside of Nablus in Samaria. He detonated himself outside of a schwarma (grilled meat) and falalfel stand near the bus station in Tel Aviv. Some 30 people are injured, a couple seriously. I have picked up reports about both Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Brigades (which is Fatah) claiming responsibility.

An increase in terrorism is expected in the days before the PA election, scheduled for next Wednesday if it happens.

[] The police and soldiers have been called off for the time being -- in Hebron, that is. There had been a military blockade of the area, with orders to evict the Jews that the court has said are living illegally in the small Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood.

They are "illegal" because of a dispute as to lease and specific ownership, but there is no dispute about this being Jewish land. I repeat this fact because I have picked up news that referred to the land as Palestinian. It is not. What is more, the people went in there in the first place to take a stand against Palestinian terrorism, which had been initiated in the area.

Now there has been an announcement that the police will be back in force after the Palestinian elections to do the evictions.

The same court that said the people were there illegally proposed a compromise solution regarding leasing of the area to Jews by the State. A peaceful compromise was (still is) possible! What Olmert is doing is despicable. He is grandstanding for political reasons, appealing to the left by showing that he is "tough" on "settlers." The settlers are the bad guys.

"Olmert is instigating a civil war," charged Aryeh Eldad of National Union and, in my opinion, he is indeed correct.

[] Part of what is so distressing is that Olmert is coming out tougher on fellow Jews than he is on Arabs. Dr. Justice Wiener, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by Dore Gold, has released a major report on illegally constructed housing in Jerusalem. There are 6,000 illegally constructed Arab units in the city. But Olmert (who was mayor of Jerusalem not so long ago) doesn't confront this illegality and demand that the law be obeyed. That's a political hot potato. Going after 50 people in Mitzpe Shalhevet, saying that their disobeying the law cannot be tolerated and implying that the integrity of the state demands enforcement -- that's easy, and cowardly.

[] There is a good deal of political disarray in the country, with various parties not able to get their acts together and rebelious moods against the party leaders expressed -- this is so in Likud, and in Labor.

Moledet, the major faction of National Union, has just begun its campaign formally. This is without the merger with National Religious Party.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Olmert Taxes Donations to Gush Katif Victims

Just a couple of months ago, Dr. Daryl Temkin, of Los Angeles California, understood that Israel's evacuees were in crisis and he came up with a wonderful idea how to help the Disengagement victims. He heard that not only didn't most of them have their possessions, but that it would cost them several thousand shekelim to go through their storage containers. Winter weather meant that they wouldn't have warm clothes, and most are in climates much colder than Gush Katif. Buying new clothes, when unemployed and homeless, would be another hardship.

Dr. Temkin wrote up his plan to collect and send warm clothes to the refugees warm clothes, sent it out on the Internet and the project mushroomed. Tons of clothes and other needed items were donated. El Al was generous about the shipping rate.

Everything was going great until the donated items arrived in Israel and Ehud Olmert's taxmen got started! Olmert wants so much tax, that it is financially absurd to pay such a high price to release the donated humanitarian relief items.

Due to the unresolved crisis, more than 3 tons of donated clothing, toys, and medical supplies intended for Israel's needy have been stranded for over four weeksweeks in warehouses at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.
The American Jewish community that is trying to help the refugees are livid! When I heard about it I contacted Daryl, to make sure this unbelievable situation is really true. And he confirmed it. Olmert's ministry and government are demanding tens of thousands of dollars above the shipping fee for these donations. And due to the delays, thousands of dollars of storage fees.

This is unheard of for humanitarian donations any place in the world. In the meantime, it's winter, and the clothes, and other necessary items are being kept from the very people who need them. Haven't those loyal, hardworking Israeli citizens suffered enough?

Now, even when help is not only on its way but here and waiting, the government, led by Ehud Olmert is preventing the donations from getting to the victims.

Ehud Olmert, now Prime Minister, has the power to release the tons of donations, so that the Disengagement victims and other needy Israelis can benefit from them.

It's time to protest.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Save Mt. Zion!

"SAVE MT. ZION" ellenwrite@bezeqint.net

The Committee to Save Mt. Zion is issuing this
update because there has been
a marked and visible increase in the Vatican's
calculated efforts to exert
pressure upon Israel via the United States and
through other diplomatic
(and not-so-diplomatic) channels. The following
issues are at stake:
a) The status of Jerusalem, holy sites and other
properties in Eretz
b) The efforts on the part of the Catholic church
to evade their tax
obligations to the State of Israel, and to assume
extra-territorial status.
c) Blatant interference by the Catholic church in
Israel's security
d) A concerted effort by the Catholic Church to
proselytize in Eretz
Now that Archbishop Pietro Sambi (formerly the
Vatican's representative to
Israel and the PA) has been appointed by the Pope
as the new U.S. Papal
Nuncio, we ask that Diaspora Jewry pay particular
attention to developments
and that they take a pro-active stance on
protecting Jerusalem and ensuring
that the Land of Israel and her holy sites remain
in Jewish hands. We hope
the below summary will bring you up to date. For
additional background
information on this issue go to:
OCTOBER 12 - Mid NOVEMBER: The Vatican, the
London Times, and other
international news services report an imminent
deal involving the
relinquishing of Israel's control, to the
Vatican, of the Cenacle Shrine
(Last Supper Room), which is housed in the same
Mt. Zion building as King
David's Tomb and the Diaspora Yeshiva.
DESOLATE CENACLE - The Cradle of the Eucharist:
Will this Room of the Last
Supper in Jerusalem soon be Given Back to the
Please see attached jpeg of the magazine cover or
go to
NOVEMBER 2nd and 9th: President Katsav's office
officially issues denials of
any deal after an outpouring of public protest
and publicity via phone
calls, fax, email, blogsites, radio and Israeli
press reports.

NOVEMBER 16: the question of a possible deal is
brought before the Knesset
and denied by Minister Meir Sheetrit.
NOVEMBER 16: President Katsav meets with the Pope
in Rome and discusses
unresolved property and tax issues.
NOVEMBER 17: Haaretz article outlines American
intervention and the
pressure placed upon Israel to complete
negotiations with the Vatican.
Father David Jaeger reportedly feels that, " ...
the Israeli government only
wakes up when it comes under pressure from the
DECEMBER 19 : In what appears to be a calculated
move to pressure Israel
via Washington, Pope Benedict XVI appoints
Archbishop Pietro Sambi as the
new U.S. Papal Nuncio. Sambi served as the
Vatican's representative to
Israel and Palestine.
Israeli Franciscan Father David Jaeger, a
longtime participant in
Vatican-Israeli talks, said he thought Archbishop
Sambi would be an
"extremely effective nuncio in the United
States...I'm sure he will take the
capital by storm," Father Jaeger said...
...During his years in Israel, Archbishop Sambi
was involved in talks or
negotiations on a wide variety of controversial
issues with the government
of Israel and representatives of the Palestine
Liberation Organization...
...Archbishop Sambi has negotiated with Israel to
reach an agreement on
taxation and financial issues regarding church
institutions in the Holy
Land. To date, those talks have not born fruit.
GREATEST OFFENDER: Churches owe more than $65
million to the city of
Jerusalem in overdue property taxes...
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, NY - Dec 23, 2005
Jerusalem Post, Israel - Dec 22, 2005
Catholic World News - Dec 23, 2005
DECEMBER 24: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Michael Sabbah says, the barrier
­ which Israel says it erected to curb suicide
bombings and Palestinians say
is a land grab ­ has turned the town into an
"immense prison"... "Nobody
needs checkpoints in the Holy Land."
DECEMBER 30: The Jerusalem Post reports that the
Latin Patriarch of
Jerusalem, Michael Sabbah and President Moshe
Katsav exchanged sharp words
at the annual New Year's reception at Beit
Hannasi (see attached picture of
the exchange)
(IsraelNN.com) The legal counsel of the Vatican
in Israel, the priest David
Jaeger, said today that Jerusalem is too
important of an "issue" to be left
to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Jaeger
further expressed criticism
of Israeli policy regarding holy sites in the
"The issue of Jerusalem," the representative of
the Roman Catholic Church
said, "is to important to leave in the hands of
the Israelis and the
The Catholic Church has been making efforts to
obtain historical sites in
Jerusalem of late, but without public successes.
The Vatican Explores Israel, and Discovers Its
Own Faithful
The number of Jewish Christians in Israel is
growing constantly, and the
Holy See is adapting. The new Custodian of the
Holy Land speaks Hebrew. And
in the Cenacle, soon to be returned to the
Church, the mass will again be
Since 1948, Mt. Zion has been part of Israel. The
government's Department of
Religious Affairs now administers both floors of
the building. The
pseudo-tomb of David is used as a Jewish
synagogue and the upper room is
left open for Christian visitors... Perhaps one
day it will be excavated
more thoroughly. In the meantime, we may venerate
it as Christendom's most
ancient shrine: The mother of all churches.
In the midst of celebrating the Chanukah
festival, prominent Rabbi Eddie
Chumney of Ohio has agreed to serve as an advisor
to Daniel Imperato¹s 2008
run at the White House...³I¹m more than happy to
help Dan and his mission to
change our country,² commented Chumney, who has
been heading up the HHMI
(Hebraic Heritage Ministries International) for
the past 10 years
Recently a 150 year old Christian denomination of
about 700 churches agreed
to switch their entire denomination in 2006 to
the ³Hebraic roots of
Christianity² expression and be trained in the
HHMI discipleship program...http://openpr.com/news/2350.html
For more on "Rabbi Eddie" go to:
or get smart and support the efforts of
anti-missionary organizations like


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 3, 2006

From Israel

Arlene Kushner akushner@netvision.net.il

January 3, 2006

[] Channel 10 carried a report today (subsequently picked up by all major online news sources here) that the police have evidence that the Sharon family took $3 million in bribes from Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff. The case has been under investigation for two years -- it is in connection with this that Sharon's son Omri was convicted -- but now reportedly evidence has been confiscated from a Schlaff home in Israel (although Martin Schlaff himself has studiously avoiding entering Israel).

Having learned some of the sordid details of this truly convoluted affair several months ago, I have been waiting for it to come together. If it is truly the case that evidence has been secured, it should spell the end of Sharon's free ride. Our nation deserves better than this. Political opponents are already calling for Sharon's resignation. He's slipped away without repercussions before, however, and we will have to see how this plays out.

Omri has already resigned from the Knesset.

[] IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs ad Defense Committee today admitted that the "no go" zone was designed to keep Kassams from hitting strategic sites in the Ashkelon area, but that it would not prevent them from hitting Sderot, which is not protected.

The conclusion of Committee Chair Yuval Steinitz is that a ground operation would ultimately be necessary.

Also testifying for the Committee was Yuval Diskin, head of Shin Bet, Israeli security. According to Arutz Sheva, he said that it would be difficult for Israel if Hamas won the PA elections because once they had influence in the government the PA would make no effort at all to stop terrorist attacks. I found that a rather strange comment, for to the best of my knowledge the attempt the PA is currently making to stop terrorist attacks against us is close to non-existent anyway.

Diskin said that Fatah already has Kassams with a range of 30 km.

[] As of Sunday Likud will be an opposition party and no longer part of the government. That means that the Likud members who remain part of the Cabinet will resign by then -- Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom; Education Minister Limor Livnat; Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz; and Health Minister Danny Naveh.

It's a strange set of circumstances, having a switch in party by the head of the gov't. There is the possibility that Shimon Peres, who has joined Sharon at Kadima, will be appointed interim Foreign Minister. Sharon is said to be wavering because he does not want to commit to giving Peres this position after the election (assuming Kadima wins the election and Sharon isn't indicted, of course).

Netanyahu would have called the party into the role of opposition sooner, but wanted to wait until Sharon had his heart catherization, scheduled for Thursday.

[] The National Union and National Religious Party will not be running as a right-wing bloc designed to cull more votes. After off again/on again negotiations the parties went their own ways with mutual recriminations. I find this deeply saddening. Information from persons I trust implicitly from within National Union lead me to believe the fault does not lie with them; wherever the fault does lie, I wish it had been different.

[] I have wondered how it is that terrorist Marwan Barghouti, in jail for several life sentences because of his direct role in killing Israelis, has been able from his cell to negotiate all sorts of election deals with Fatah. The answer comes clear with the news that restrictions on him will be eased even further by order of "the political echelon." He is going to be allowed to hold meetings in prison, and is permitted to make phone calls. I find this rather disgusting. This is the man who helped engineer the second Intifada. In 2002, as head of the Tanzim, he gave his blessings to their attack at a bar mitzvah party in Hadera.

[] The IDF is going to be patrolling the northern Sinai border with Egypt in an effort to stop smuggling of arms and terrorists across the border, and then across the Negev into Judea and Samaria. The smuggling is done by Bedouins, skilled at maneuvering in the desert.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Jews in Chevron attacked by...

...Israeli Police. Look at the pictures!

Actually, I wasn't all that surprised. Last night I spoke to someone who lives in Chevron, as do some of her kids. When she was asked if Disengagement had affected them, she replied that it's about to happen in her neighborhood. I hope not.

The Israeli Government and police seem to be developing quite an appetite for brutality and violence.

That's bad news for Israel.


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 2, 2006

From Israel

Arlene Kushner akushner@netvision.net.il

January 2, 2006

[] The end-of-the-year report from Israel's General Security Services has been released. And guess what? There has been a major -- and I mean major -- increase in the amount of weaponry smuggled into Gaza from Egypt since the "disengagement." The numbers are startling. A 900% increase in the number of anti-tank missile launchers compared with the months before we pulled out. A 600% increase in the number of missiles. An estimated five tons of explosives; 5,000 rifles and handguns, and more than a million bullets.

What amazes me is that while we cannot stop this flow of weapons, we can monitor it so that we know what is coming in. The report, naturally, says the PA is doing nothing to stop this.

I am growing weary of saying the same thing, but I will persist: This was predicted before the pullout. It is the height of insanity that we've gotten ourselves into this situation. Anyone who claims our position is better since the pullout is lying or is totally self-deluded.

While there has been a reduction in the number of terrorist attacks over the past year, the report indicates that this is largely the result of increased Israeli success in preventing attacks or intercepting terrorists attempting to carry out attacks. During 2005, the GSS arrested 160 suicide bombers in Judea and Samaria. Despite pledges of "calm" (Tahidaya) by terrorist organizations during 2005, the GSS reported that the number of security alerts remained fairly consistent all year.

[] Bashir Hammad, one of the founders of Hamas's armed wing, Izzaddin al- Kassam, returned to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing yesterday; he had fled in 1992 and has been wanted by Israel since 1988.
At least 45 Hamas and Fatah fugitives have returned to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal since it was handed over to the Palestinian Authority four months ago.

[] Thankfully, at least the talk of allowing Palestinians safe passage across Israel has been stopped. Israel refuses to discuss it further now because of the chaos in Gaza and what the safe passage would represent from a security position. Apparently, the US and even the EU have stopped pressuring us on this. Maybe even they are starting to get it. Surely the fact that the EU monitors at the Rafah checkpoint were driven back by gunmen a few days ago has helped them have a clearer perspective on the situation.

[] The latest take on the PA elections is that they are likely to be postponed. Top officials in Fatah have called for such a postponement and Abbas has now come out saying that he will delay the elections if Israel does not allow voting in Jerusalem. My guess would be that he hopes Israel doesn't permit voting, so that he has a scapegoat and can call for the delay that he really wants, since Fatah is being threated by a Hamas victory.

[] Negotiations are currently under way for Turkey to be directly involved in management of the Erez industrial zone and crosssing into Israel from Gaza. More to follow on this.

[] According to Amnon Danker and Ben Caspit, writing in today's Maariv (and reported in IMRA http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=28016), Sharon is planning massive unilateral retreats in Judea and Samaria after the elections because the PA is not fulfilling its obligations under the roadmap. Sharon, according to Danker and Caspit, has already approached President Bush with this plan, seeking his blessing on what would be Israel's final borders, and his guarantee that we would never have to take in Palestinian refugees if we did this. Bush reportedly is not signing on -- but this is likely not out of concern for Israeli rights and security. It would not go well with the Palestinians if Bush were to unilaterally promise away what they imagine to be and promote as their "right" regarding return, or if he were to recognize borders for Israel that were any less than a full and complete withdrawal to at least the '67 lines. Bush's position has been and will undoubtedly remain that these issues must be resolved between the parties.

It should be noted that Sharon declared that there would be no more unilateral withdrawals after Gaza. But of course, we know what Sharon's word is worth.

I can think of nothing more urgent for the future and the wellbeing of this country than a decisive defeat for the Kadima party in the coming elections.

Here I have just documented the security disaster that has been wrought by the pullout from Gaza, and yet Sharon would entertain thoughts of a far greater pullout, involving the removal of tens of thousands of Jews from land that is ours by heritage as well as needed for security -- and this is the face of increased fanaticism, stockpiling of weapons, increase in the number of terrorists present, and breakdown of law and order in the areas ostensibly administered by the PA. We'd be giving them wide swaths of terroritory from which to hit us hard while reducing our strategic logistical edge.

My reactions to Netanyahu at this point are highly ambivalent. He has already tilted left in ways that make me decidedly uncomfortable, and there is merit to the charges that, based on his previous record, he cannot be trusted. But I continue, however reluctantly, to recognize that he is most likely to defeat Sharon if he takes a centrist position. I think MK Effie Etam, of National Union, has it right: He made a statement just today that Netanyahu will give away what he shouldn't unless there is a strong right wing bloc along side of Netanyahu's Likud.

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