Sunday, January 04, 2009

Israel's Looming Catastrophe

By Robert Parry
January 4, 2009

For the past three decades, Israel has charted a course that invites its own destruction by relying on two risky propositions: first, that it could extend its security perimeter beyond the reach of a devastating missile attack, and second, that it could permanently control the political debate inside its crucial ally, the United States.

Read on.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article, but why do you buy into the mainstream media's labeling of groups such as Hamas as "extremist"? What is extremist about fighting for your survival?

You can see here how pervasive the propaganda is. I ask you, who else, other than Hamas, is defending the Palestinian people against genocide at this very moment? Does one have to be an extremist to object to Israeli tyranny?

Anonymous said...

Good article, but why do you buy into the mainstream media's labeling of groups such as Hamas as "extremist"? What is extremist about fighting for your survival?

You can see here how pervasive the propaganda is. I ask you, who else, other than Hamas, is defending the Palestinian people against genocide at this very moment? Does one have to be an extremist to object to Israeli tyranny?

Mark E. Smith said...

Israel has lost it -- gone completely meshugah. It's as if they're trying to outdo the United States when it comes to disproportionate responses. G-d said that we Jews are "a stiff-necked people" and who would know better?

5,769 years, and we still haven't learned to treat our neighbors as ourselves. Instead we get weaselly rabinic misinterpretations, that non-Jews aren't really our neighbors, and "Final Solutions" for Palestine. We have forgotten the Warsaw Ghetto and created one of our own in Gaza. There will be retribution, and it will come not from the Arab world but directly from Ha-Shem.

Anonymous said...

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Dr. Dan said...

You know, I used to idolize Israel, but watching their treatment of the Palestinians turned me. They of all people know "conflict resolution" and negotiating so what has happened to Peace in Israel has been deliberate sabotage at every step.

If the Bible is not the LITERAL WORD OF GOD, then the Jewish "right" to Palestine is just a MYTH also.
The President of the United States has just admitted that the Bible is probably NOT LITERAL.
Bible probably not true, US President George W Bush has said that the Bible is "probably not" literally true and that a belief that God created the world is compatible with the theory of evolution.
Last Updated: 12:15AM GMT 09 Dec 2008
"I think you can have both," Mr Bush, who leaves office January 20, told ABC television, adding "You're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president."
... Asked whether the Bible was literally true, Mr Bush replied: "Probably not. No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anti-GENTILISM causes anti-semitism. There was no such thing as "anti-semitism" until the Old Testament of the Bible, especially the Torah created it. They codified hatred of all GENTILES in their religion, and now wonder why Gentiles are "anti" them. So-called anti-semitism is not "hate", it is the normal reaction of any SANE person to a Group, Society, Organization, System, that openly preaches IT's hatred of You. Judaism has been preaching it's Hatred of NON-jews for thousands of years, and THAT is why any NON-jew with enough intelligence to tie their shoes, opposes it.
============================================================================
israel's fabled ‘right to exist’
For close to 60 years, the state of israel has struggled fruitlessly to gain legitimacy among its Arab neighbors.
'Arabs must recognize israel's right to exist,' they insist.
The only problem is - that 'right' doesn't exist - and no amount of idle 'recognizing' in the world can change that reality.
Only human beings have a 'right to exist' - not institutions, or states, and certainly not corporations.
These entities only have privileges - which are granted by human beings or conversely withheld or dissolved.
Rights are God-given and unique to human beings. With rights come obligations that can neither be curtailed nor denied.
Privileges, on the other hand, are assigned by people, ideally for the benefit of everyone they effect.
In other words, institutions have the privilege to exist among human beings, for the express benefit of those human beings.
Therefore, when institutions act, it must be in a representative capacity for the purpose of enhancing and protecting human rights - otherwise, they are in conflict with those rights. There is no in between.
If a state or an institution does not exist to enhance and protect human rights but instead requires their annihilation in order to exist - then it is defacto illegitimate and human beings who are adversely affected by its actions have not only a right but a duty to defend themselves against its assault.
israel, by definition, is an illegitimate state, for its very foundation demands one group of people forfeit their right to exist in order for israel to realize its so-called 'right to exist' as a 'Jewish' state.
It will never happen - at least not legitimately.
It can only happen through fraud, corruption and brute force.
israel can have no 'right to exist' that supersedes the rights of human beings to exist.

Anonymous said...

Parry,
You're full of****! The extreme left and their allies always support the "poor arabs" Heaven forbid Israel defends herself! The double standard for a democracy like Israel vs. the theocratic and dictatorial regimes of the arab states just doesn't wash. 200 million plus hostile people want to destroy all Jews in Israel. Every day the Arab press churns out antisemitic propaganda worse than Goebbels ever did, in newspapers, schools, books, etc. How can you support a philosophy that wants the world to go back a thousand years and live under a brutal theocracy?

Anonymous said...

This video shows the kind of child abuse that hamas perpetrates: turning children into killers...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTGbP55HGi8

Mark E. Smith said...

Dear Anonymous Mossad Propagandist:

You write, "How can you support a philosophy that wants the world to go back a thousand years and live under a brutal theocracy?"

Exactly.

Israel is a theocracy.

Israel is brutal towards the Palestinians.

Therefore Israel is a brutal theocracy, yet you support them. How can you do that?

Mark E. Smith
1055 9th Ave #203
San Diego CA 92101-5527
(619) 702-7251
mymark@gmail.com

I am a real person, I am not on any political payroll, and I stand behind my words.

My recent donations to the United Palestinian Appeal helped get 4,000 endotracheal tubes into Gaza. Half of those trach tubes are child-sized and they may not be enough after the ground invasion. If you cared about children, you would help too. Both sides are teaching their children to hate, but only one side is regularly killing children: Israel.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Smith,
your naivete (spelling) is pathetic. Of course Israel is not perfect. I guarantee if the tables were turned and Israel was defeated in 1948, 67, & 73. All its Jewish inhabitants would be dead. Yes, it is a good thing to reach across and try to build bridges amongst individuals. Arab governments and their apologists have preached the destruction of the Jewish state since its inception. By the way, there are Arabs living in Israel with more rights than in Arab countries, again it's not perfect, but the remaining Jews in Arab countries have even less. By the way, I'm just an ordinary US citizen who has experienced antisemitism first hand. Your self righteousness doesn't fool me....

Mark E. Smith said...

Nameless, nobody is asking for perfection from Israel, just that Israel stop killing children in Gaza. The remaining Jews in Arab countries may be experiencing anti-Semitism, but they are not being slaughtered wholesale.

What you think might have happened, which did not actually happen, does not justify what IS happening. If you had told your friends that you hated me and would like to kill me, would that justify me actually killing you?

Israel and the United States are both engaged in preemptive wars of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Principles, are the worst type of crimes against humanity.

Stereotyping the victims of genocide, as Hitler and Goebbels did with the Jews, does not justify it either. Even if Arabs are bad people and wish you were dead, it doesn't justify killing them and their children.

Anti-Semitism does exist in America, but it is nothing like the racism that exists in America. Jews don't form the majority of U.S. prisoners, don't earn less on average than goyim, and don't have shorter life expectancies and higher infant mortality here in the U.S. the way that blacks here do.

I'm 68 years old and not naive. I spent almost five years living in Afghanistan, an Islamic country, in the early seventies, and was always treated with respect.

I am very aware that even here in San Diego, there are criminals who would like nothing more than to kill me. But it would be not just naive, but insane for me to think that I'd be safer if I went out and started killing such people to ensure my personal safety.

Did you ever see Michael Moore's film, "Bowling for Columbine"? There's a classic scene in it where the father of one of the teens who shot up a high school is standing in front of a large military missile at his place of employment which manufactures them, saying, "I don't understand what gives kids the idea that you can settle things through violence."

I too have experienced discrimination, but instead of going out and trying to kill everyone who discriminates, I try to teach people that discrimination is wrong, and to spread respect for human rights.

Here's a video for you:

The Shministim

And they are not the only sane people in Israel. There was a huge rally of both Israeli Jews and Arabs against the Gaza massacre. They marched together in Tel Aviv and didn't try to kill each other. Not everyone is stuck in the caveman "eye for an eye" mentality as you are.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

HISTORY CHANNEL aired "Predicting Armageddon"--with 'experts' in decripting the Talmud. These 'experts' claim the Talmud predicts the Challenger disaster (even which wing was affected), 9/11, JFK/Oswald, RFK/Sirhan, 7/7, Twin Towers attack, and other key turning events in recent history that have steered the human journey. I thought I was watching an Orwell movie--and intend to purchase this DVD set from HISTORY Channel. The 'experts' never showed the methods of finding all these events--seemingly more accurate than Nostradamas predictions--and it is interesting that the 'official stories' of these events are, PRESTO!, affirmed by this ancient work, the Talmud.
I see the HISTORY CHANNEL as a propaganda arm of the Israeli/CFR, New World Order/ criminal syndicate. Let's hammer on the 'expert cryptographers' of the Talmud who affirm the BIG LIES of false flags terrorism. Hmmmm, the Challenger may have been an inside job? All the rest were.
HISTORY CHANNEL is owned by Hearst Publications. The term 'yellow journalism' arose from William Randolph Hearst's newspaper 'journalism'. It should be criminal to promote big lies--like the Talmud affirms the big lies of 9/11. http://www.history.com/shows.do?action=detail&episodeId=397006 An episode of the HISTORY CHANNEL's Armageddon Week.
Ruthless conspirators would take us into armageddon rather than be revealed or surrender their despicable control over this planet. Check the article "Gaza and the Psychopaths". Israel is our 'special ally' USS Liberty (Google it).

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Marvin Heir Dean of the Simon Wisenthal Center hits the crux of this issue:
THE JEWS FACE a DOUBLE STANDARD
The world-wide protests against Israel's ground incursioninto Gaza are so full of hatred that they leave me with the terrible feeling that these protests have little to do with the so-called disproportionality of the Israeli response to Hamas rockets, or the resulting civilian casualties.
My fear is that the rage we see in the prtesters marching in the streets is far more profound and dangerous than we would like to believe. There are a great many people in the world who, even after Auschwitz, just can't bear the Jewish state having the same rights they so readily grant ot other nations. These voices insist Israel must take risks they would never dare ask of any other nation-state--risks that threaten its very survival--because they don't believe Israel should exist in the first place.

Just look at the spate of attacks this week on Jews and Jewish institutions around the world:a car ramming into a synagogue in France; a Chabad menorah and Jewish-owned shops sprayed with swastikas in Belgium; a banner at an Australian rally demanding "clean the earth from dirty Zionists!";demonstrators in the Netherlands chanting "Gas the Jews"; and in Florida, protestors demanding Jews "Go back to the ovens!"

How else can we expolain the double-standard that is applied to the Gaza confilict, if not for a more insidious bias against the Jewish state?

At the U.N., no surprise this double-standard is in full force. In response to Israel's attack on Hamas, the Security Council immediately pulled an all-night emergency meeting to consider yet another resolution condemning Israel. Have there been any all-night Security Council sessions held during the seven months when Hamas fired 3,000 rockets at half a million innocent civilians in southern Israel? You can be certain that during those seven months, no midnight oil was burning at the UN headquarters over resolutions condemning terrorist organizations like Hamas. But put condemnation of Israel on the agenda and, rain or shine, it's sure to be a full house.

Red cross officials are all over the Gaza crisis, describing it as a full blown humanitarian nightmare. Where were they during the seven months when tens of thousands of Israeli families could not sleep for fear of a rocket attack? Where were their trauma experts to decry that humanitarian crisis?

There have been hundred of articles and reports written from the Erez border crossing falsely accusing Israel of blocking humanitarian supplies from reaching beleaguered Palestinians in Gaza. (In fact, over 520 truck loads of humanitaria aid have been delivered through Israeli crossings since the beginning of the Israeli counterattack) But how many news articles, NGO reports and special UN commissions have investigated Hamas's policy of deliberately placing rocket launches near schools, mosques, and homes in order to use innocent Palestinians as human shields?

Many people ask why there are so fe Israeli casualties in comparison with the Palestinian death toll. It's because Israel's first priority is the safety of its citizens, which is why there are shelters and warning systms in Israeli towns. If Hamas can did tunnels, it can certainly build shelters. Instead, it prefers to use women and children as human shields while its leaders rush into hiding.

And then there are the clarion calls for a cease-fire. These words, which come soeasily, have proven to be a recipe for disaster. Hamas uses the cease-fire as a time-out to rearm and smuggle even more deadly weapons so the next time, instead of hitting Sderot and Ashkelon, they can target Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The patterin is always the same. Following a cease fire brought on by international pressure, there will be a call for a massive infusion of funds to help Palestinians recover from the devastion of the Israeli attack. The world will respond eagerly, handing over hundreds of millions of dollars. To whom does this money go? To Hamas, the same terrorist group that brought disaster to the Palestinians in the first place.

The world seems to have forgotten that at the end of World War II, President Harry Truman initiated the Marshall Plan, investing vast sums to rebuild Germany. But he did so only with
the clear understanding that the mony would build a new kind of Germany-not a Fourth Reich that would continue the policies of Adolf Hitler. Yet that is precisely what the world will be doing if we onhce again entrust funds to Hamas terrorists and the Iranian puppet masters.

In less than two weeks, Barack Obama will be sworn in as president of the United States. But there is no "change we can believe in" in the Middle East - not where Israel is concerned. The double-standard continuosly applied to the Jewish state proves, that, for much of the world, the real lessons of World War II have yet to be learned.

Mark E. Smith said...

Rabbi Hier seems to have forgotten that after WWII our government smuggled many Nazi war criminals into the United States under Operation Paperclip and put a lot of them into high-level policy-making positions. The U.S., which is currently engaged in two wars of aggression, in Iraq and Afghanistan, never really opposed fasciam--indeed it was from the U.S. genocide against Native Americans and U.S. slavery and subsequent discrimination against African-Americans that Hitler learned much of his agenda--an agenda he couldn't have carried out without support from U.S. financiers like Henry Ford and Prescott Bush.

Hier gives himself away when he writes about "the so-called disproportionality of the Israeli response to Hamas rockets." The response is not just called disproportionate, it IS disproportionate.

If Hier is truly concerned about anti-Semitism, instead of trying to sweep Israel's disproportionate response under the rug, he should encourage Israel to stop emulating the WWII Nazis and to start treating the Palestinians the way that Israelis would want to be treated themselves if they once again found themselves the victims rather than the perpetrators.

Many Arab countries have good cause to think that if Israel succeeds in Gaza, they'll be next in line. Everyone knows what the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel has the full support of the U.S. government.

The question isn't why do they hate us, but why do we keep giving them every reason to fear us.

Israel has yet to learn one of the most important lessons of The Holocaust. Hitler would NOT have succeeded in exterminating the Jews if he had just been more ruthless or had more military power. He himself had Jewish ancestry, so to exterminate the Jews, he would have had to exterminate himself, which is what he eventually did anyway.

Arabs are Semites. If Rabbi Hier opposes anti-Semitism, he needs to understand that Arab lives are just as precious as Israeli lives. Israel is putting itself in the position of the old joke about the person who kills their mother and father and then asks the court for mercy because they're an orphan.

Jews don't face a double standard. We face the same standard that all perpetrators of war crimes face.

There is no security in this life. You can get run over by a car when you cross the street, or die of a heart attack in your sleep without warning. People get run over by cars all the time and people die of sudden heart attacks all the time. Does that mean that we should destroy all cars or never sleep?

It is the Palestinians who are being subjected to a double standard by Israel. No Israeli would want to live in such conditions, and any Israeli who was forced to, would use every possible means they could to fight back. Don't blame the Palestinians for not going like sheep--nobody forced into a ghetto is required to submit to it peacefully.

Yes, the real lessons of WWII have yet to be learned, and before he writes about the poor Israeli nuclear superpower going sleepless for fear of crude rockets, he should learn those lessons. They are the same lessons everyone must learn for the world to have peace. Treat thy neighbor as thyself because if you don't, you are teaching them discrimination and hate, which they will learn quickly and put to use when their turn rolls around.

The wrongs of ages past go back millenia. Before we were slaves in Egypt, we were slaveholders. What goes around, comes around. The ONLY way to break the cycle of injustice is to break the cycle of injustice. If the Hatfields and McCoys could do it, Israel and the Palestinians can do it too. Otherwise the ancient blood feuds will continue forever.

When children fight, the responsible parent doesn't start by asking which one started it. Both will always insist that the other one started it. The right thing to do is to first call time out and stop the fight.

If you oppress others by force and violence, you not only had better not ever sleep, you don't deserve to. Instead of spending the billions of dollars the U.S. gives Israel on weapons, it could spend that money helping the Palestinians improve their quality of life (I do realize that the United States would not allow that to happen--U.S. subsidies usually require that the money be spent on U.S. weapons).

Rabbi Hier is correct about there being a lot of anti-Semitism in the world. For the security of all Jews everywhere, it is time that Israel stopped acting in ways that inspire and increase anti-Semitism, and started demonstrating that it is unjustified.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Myopic Smith says Israel is fighting a preemptive war of agression. The reality is that the Palestinians VOTED for a hamas regime, knowing that they were committed to Israel's destruction, and refusal to recognize her right to exist. hamas has launched thousands of rockets for many years into Israel. BY VOTING FOR A TERRORIST REGIME, YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW. Look at the Germans voting for Hitler and passively allowing the Nazis to take away their rights and wage a world war. Their destruction was sealed.
What the hell do you expect?
If we went down Smith's road, Israel's destruction would be mutually assured...

Mark E. Smith said...

So many lies in one short paragraph--no wonder you remain anonymous.

Hamas is not committed to Israel's destruction. That's a lie. It was Iran's deceased Ayatollah Khomeini, not Hamas, who said, "this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time," because the UN Partition Plan had designated Jerusalem as an international city. Israeli propaganda twisted those words to say that Arabs wanted to wipe Israel off the map. Just because you keep repeating the same lie, doesn't make it true.

Yes, the Palestinians voted for Hamas. Not that Israel or the United States would ever accept a democratically elected government that doesn't serve their military and business interests, but Israel has no right to tell the Palestinians who to vote for.

If you read Stephen Zunes' article, America's Hidden Role in Hamas's Rise to Power you might be very surprised to learn what the real truth is that your lies are trying to hide.

The crude rockets of the Palestinians are quite unlike the modern technological weapons of mass destruction that Israel is using.

Americans voted for Bush's second term even after knowing that the wars of aggression he started were based on lies--should America be destroyed also because we voted for fascists?

Anonymous said...

Smith,
You are totally delusional and a stooge of the Islamic fundametalists. Why don't you move to Gaza? I'm through discussing anything more. By the way there was another more famous version of you. His name was Neville Chamberlain, Mr. "Peace in our time"....

Mark E. Smith said...

Islamic fundametalists? Some new rock band, or perhaps a stitchery circle that reaps what they sew?

Apart from name-calling and slurs (how appropriate for a nameless, anonymous poster to call other people names), you cite no sources and make no arguments.

We know that Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair supported U.S. policy. How do we know that U.S. supporters of Hitler like Henry Ford and Prescott Bush didn't pressure Neville Chamberlain into his treachery? The U.S. was already protecting U.S. factories in Germany that were supplying the Nazi war machine (see Trading With the Enemy by Charles Higham), and undoubtedly already planning Operation Paperclip.

It is nothing unusual for major international arms dealers like the United States to be on both sides of a war--the more war, the more money they make. That has been the case in Central America and Africa.

As for me moving to Gaza, why don't you make Aliyah to Israel? Or are you already there, posting from a cubicle at Mossad central?

It amazes me that Israeli stooges would gladly risk setting off a nuclear holocaust and destroying the entire world, just because the Palestinians have the insolent audacity to want human rights.

The people in Gaza don't have food, water, electricity, or medicine, are being bombed by fighter planes and invaded by tanks, and we're supposed to feel sorry for Israel because Hamas sends over a few crude rockets that rarely do more than make small holes in the ground and Palestinian kids throw rocks to protest being subjected to inhumane and intolerable conditions?

Leave it to ignorant right-wing Americans to feel sorry for and bail out the wealthiest while ignoring and deprecating the neediest.

If a Wall Street billionaire stepping from his limousine towards the door of his office building, was asked by a homeless woman for spare change, you'd probably think it was his right to shoot her for being disrespectful. After all, doesn't she really want to redistribute the wealth so that there can be equality, dignity, and justice for all? Didn't somebody she's never heard of once say so? Doesn't that make the homeless woman a threat to the millionaire's very existence?

You're good at ad hominem attacks and at repeating propaganda (but not spelling it correctly), Nameless, but since you don't have the research and logic skills to post to a public forum, the only smart thing you've done is conceal your identity.

Mark E. Smith said...

Former President Jimmy Carter thinks this is An Unnecessary War. Is he myopic also?

Think about it. If you were being deliberately starved to death and told that if you stopped trying to defend yourself and your family, you might be allowed 15% of a normal diet, would you accept a deal like that? That's the deal Israel offered Hamas if the rockets stopped. Force your children to starve quietly and without protest and we might let them starve a bit more slowly. But even if there is never another rocket attack, we will not allow you enough food to sustain life.

Anonymous said...

Shame!
by David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee
January 11, 2009


There’s an interesting juxtaposition this month.

As Israel pursues its military operation against Hamas, preparations are under way around the world for Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.

The two are not disconnected.

Israel’s policy should be scrutinized like any other state’s, and the loss of any innocent life should be mourned. But some of Israel’s fiercest critics go far beyond the limits of what might be termed rational debate. They have obscenely tried to turn the Holocaust on its head, portraying Israel as committing Nazi-like crimes—the ultimate libel against the Jewish state.

A Catholic cardinal—and leading Vatican official—refers to Gaza as a “concentration camp.”

A Greek newspaper entices readers with the banner headline “Holocaust,” referring to Israel’s alleged actions in Gaza.

A Brazilian newspaper publishes two cartoons—one of Hitler wearing an armband emblazoned with the Star of David and swastika, saluting, “Heil Israel!”; the other of a Star of David casting a shadow in the form of a swastika over the Gaza Strip.

On his website, white supremacist David Duke reacts to the Gaza crisis by lamenting that Hollywood portrays Jews as Holocaust victims rather than perpetrators.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez calls on Venezuela’s Jewish community to denounce the “Holocaust” being committed in Gaza.

Posters equating the Star of David with the Nazi swastika are ubiquitous at anti-Israel rallies around the world.

A demonstrator in Holland confidently asserts that “Anne Frank would be turning over in her grave” if she saw what was happening in Gaza.

Shame!

Israel seeks to defend itself in a highly complex environment, where the adversary, Hamas, cravenly uses civilians as shields and mosques as armories. For that right to protect its citizens, which any sovereign nation would exercise under similar circumstances, it is labeled as the successor to the demonic force that wiped out two-thirds of European Jewry, including 1.5 million children.

How many times does it need to be said?

Israel left Gaza in 2005. Israel has repeatedly renounced any territorial ambitions there. Israel gave Gazans the first chance in their history to govern themselves.

Israel has a vested interest in a peaceful, prosperous, and developing Gaza. This point cannot be stressed enough. After all, the two are destined to share a common border.

Israel has only one overarching concern in Gaza: Does it pose a security threat to neighboring Israel? The answer, tragically, is clear. That was the result of a decision taken in Gaza, not Israel. Hamas was chosen to rule, and choices have consequences. After all, Hamas denies Israel’s right to exist.

Why were tunnels built across the Egyptian border? What are the Iranian-made Grad missiles going through those tunnels to Gaza meant for? And why are Hamas fighters going through those tunnels in the other direction for training in Iran and Lebanon?

More than 10,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars have been fired at southern Israel from Gaza in the past eight years. Towns and villages have lived under constant threat. If some of those projectiles were crude and missed their targets, it was not for lack of trying. Their aim is to kill, maim, and intimidate as many civilians as possible. Everything is fair game—homes, hospitals, schools, playgrounds. The trauma this has created cannot be adequately described.

And for what? To “liberate” Gaza? Well, Gaza is already under Hamas, not Israeli, rule. No, more likely, to eventually “liberate” Israel from Israeli rule.

But wait.

What about all the clergy, cartoonists, protesters, and politicians so concerned about the human rights of those in Gaza? Have they ever uttered a peep while those 10,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars were raining down on southern Israel? Did they ever take to the streets to support the human rights of Israelis? Did they ever read the Hamas Charter and hear the echoes of Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, two European books that helped to condemn Jews to their death?

Did they ever put two and two together and ask what would happen if Hamas married its annihilationist goals with ever more advanced weaponry? And did it occur to them that, yes, nearly six million Israeli Jews would be in the crosshairs?

To ask these questions is to answer them, which probably means one of two things.

Either the accusers are totally clueless about the Holocaust and, therefore, incapable of understanding why their words and actions are so outrageous.

Or they are deliberately manipulating history, distorting the truth, and twisting facts for a larger political purpose.

What could that purpose be?

Well, for starters, extreme right, extreme left, and radical Islamic groups have found something to agree on—the Holocaust complicates their goals.

For the extreme right, by seeking to deny or minimize the Holocaust, the crime of their predecessors, they have tried to burnish their credentials as a “responsible” element in more mainstream society.

For the extreme left, the Holocaust is seen as a basis for the subsequent creation of the State of Israel, a nation whose right to exist they single-mindedly deny.

And for radical Islamic groups, the Holocaust is regarded as a perennial source of sympathy for Israel, undermining efforts to chip away at its legitimacy.

These three movements can’t agree on much, but they seem to have a convergent interest in hijacking the Holocaust and using it against Israel.

And there are others, especially in Europe, who don’t fit into any of these three categories but may have their own Holocaust-related agenda.

Perhaps it’s an effort to get out from under the moral weight of the genocide. After all, it was the sins of commission by the perpetrators, abetted by the sins of omission on the part of bystanders, that amounted to the Final Solution. How could Europe – especially the Europe that today sees itself as a source of such enlightenment and reason – have been the stage for such a monstrous crime against humanity just a few short decades ago?

And, of course, the Europe in which the Holocaust unfolded was a continent already haunted by the crowded presence of Jewish ghosts—victims of centuries of expulsions, pogroms, ghettos, pales of settlement, inquisitions, forced conversions, discriminatory laws, professional restrictions, conspiracy theories, blood libels, and the teaching of contempt.

Pinning a swastika on Israel, and, by extension, its supporters, can be unburdening. It allows for a catharsis of the spirit. Given a measure of power, the argument goes, the Jews behave no differently than the Nazis. According to this inverted, not to mention perverted, logic, the only lesson of the Holocaust is to stand up for targeted “victims.” And who is that targeted victim today? The Palestinians of Gaza, of course.

The Holocaust taught several lessons. This January 27th would be a good time to remind the world of what they are.

First, sometimes people mean what they say. Hitler spelled out his ambitions well in advance. Too few took him seriously. Until late in the day, there were those leaders in Europe who believed that he could be reasoned with, that his words were simply hyperbolic, that negotiations were possible, and that compromises could be reached. Is it possible that Hamas and its patron, Iran, actually mean what they say when they speak of a world without Israel?

Second, there is such a thing as a just war. War should be the last option, but there are times when it must remain an option. Had the Allied nations not declared war on the Third Reich, how would the world have looked? Mind you, that war was neither “clean” nor “surgical,” and Allied leaders were hardly preoccupied with debates over “proportionality.”

As diplomacy offered no solution and restraint met with no reciprocity, what was Israel supposed to do in the face of Hamas’s arms buildup and daily barrage of fire? Simply accept the role of sitting duck so that it might aspire to the moral high ground of victimhood?

And third, defenselessness is no strategy. Jews were defenseless against the Nazi onslaught. They had no army, no recourse to weapons, and few who sought to defend them. Jews learned, at high cost, never to permit such vulnerability again.

So, as January 27th approaches, and we recall the six million, spare us the lip service and the crocodile tears from those who would accuse Israel of Nazi-like crimes.

Remembering dead Jews is important, yes, but protecting living Jews is no less significant.

--------------------

Anonymous said...

MYTH

“The Palestinian Authority held a free, democratic election in 2005.”

FACT

Elections are not synonymous with democracy. Several Arab countries hold elections, including Egypt and Syria, but they have only one candidate, and there is no doubt about the outcome. The dictators are always reelected with nearly 100 percent of the vote. In those nations, no one seriously claims the elections are democratic.

In the case of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections held in January 2005, the standards were higher. These were advertised as an example of democracy and, compared to other Arab states, the voting was a considerable advancement toward free elections.

Still, the election could hardly be called competitive as the outcome was never in doubt. Seven candidates ran for president, but the only question was the size of Mahmoud Abbas’ margin of victory. He won with 62.3 percent of the vote. His nearest challenger was Mustafa Barghouti with 19.8 percent.1

The election had a much lower turnout than expected (62 percent), and supporters of the Islamic terrorist organizations largely boycotted the vote, as did Arabs living in east Jerusalem. Thus, Abbas was conservatively estimated by al-Jazeera to have received the support of only about one-third of the eligible voters.2

The election process went smoothly and, despite Palestinian predictions of Israeli interference, international observers reported that Palestinians were not obstructed by Israel from participating in the election. In fact, Palestinian and Israeli officials were said to have worked well together to facilitate voting.3


“Free elections can only take place in societies in which people are free to express their opinions without fear.”

— Natan Sharansky4


Immediately after the election, however, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned, confirming suspicions of voting irregularities and fraud. The Committee had come under pressure from Abbas’ staff to extend the vote by an additional two hours and to allow non-registered voters to cast ballots to guarantee a larger turnout and improve Abbas’ chance of a “landslide” victory.

The day of the election, gunmen stormed the Committee offices to demand that Palestinians who were not registered be allowed to vote. The deputy chairman of the Committee, Ammar Dwaik, said he “was personally threatened and pressured” and confirmed that some voters were able to remove from their thumbs the ink that was supposed to prevent double voting.5

While Abbas is now seen as a legitimately elected leader by most Palestinians and the international community, the PA has no history of democratic institutions, so it remains in doubt whether the various terrorist groups will also accept his leadership, and whether the security services will enforce the president’s will.

Natan Sharansky observed that “It is important that these elections took place, because it important that the new leadership comes, or will come, not through violence. That can be the beginning of the process of democracy.”6 To move closer to true democracy, Abbas will also have to remove his predecessor’s restrictions on the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and the press. Then perhaps the next election will be truly free and democratic.

MYTH

“Israel is building the security fence as part of a land grab to control the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

FACT

The purpose of the security fence is the prevention of terror. Its route has been carefully plotted to maximize the security it provides to the citizens of Israel and minimize the inconvenience and harm to Palestinians. The route of the fence must take into account topography, population density, and threat assessment of each area. To be effective in protecting the maximum number of Israelis, it also must incorporate the largest communities in the West Bank.

After the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the government had to more carefully balance security concerns and harm to the Palestinians, the route of the fence was adjusted to run closer to the “Green Line.” When completed, the fence will now incorporate just 7 percent of the West Bank — less than 160 square miles — on its “Israeli side,” while 2,100 square miles will be on the “Palestinian side.”

If and when the Palestinians decide to negotiate an end to the conflict, the fence may be torn down or moved. Even without any change, a Palestinian state could now theoretically be created in 93 percent of the West Bank (and the PA will control 100 percent of the Gaza Strip after the disengagement is complete). This is very close to the 97 percent Israel offered to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000, which means that while other difficult issues remain to be resolved, the territorial aspect of the dispute will be reduced to a negotiation over roughly 90 square miles.

MYTH

“The demographic threat to Israel posed by Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza is overrated and therefore Israel need not make territorial compromises.”

FACT

A study was recently published that suggested the assumption that Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza pose a demographic threat to Israel has been exaggerated because the actual population in the territories is significantly lower than what is reported by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials. According to a study by a team of independent researchers, the 2004 Palestinian-Arab population was closer to 2.4 million than to the 3.8 million cited by the PA.7

The independent study comes up with its figures largely by deconstructing PA statistics, but Israel's leading demographer, Professor Sergio DellaPergola of Hebrew University, has challenged the result, saying his estimate of 3.4 million Palestinians is based on Israeli data (the CIA estimates the population for the West Bank and Gaza at 3.6 million). According to DellaPergola, 4.7 million Arabs now live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River out of a total of 10,263,000. The Jewish proportion of this total is 51 percent. DellaPergola argues that because of the higher rate of birth in the Arab community, they have the demographic momentum, and that by 2020, the proportion of Jews is likely to drop to 47 percent and could fall to 37 percent by 2050.8

Even if the new study is more accurate, it only has a minimal impact on the demographic reality. According to Israeli census figures, the population of Israel today is approximately 6.8 million. If we add the 2.4 million Arabs the new study says live in the territories, the total population from the river to the sea would be 9.2 million (including about 1.3 million Israeli Arabs). The Jewish population is roughly 5.2 million or 57 percent, slightly better than DellaPergola’s estimate of 51 percent.

These overall statistics also distort the debate over the disengagement from Gaza where the demographic picture is crystal clear. According to the new study, the Arab population there is more than 1.07. The Jewish population, according to the State Department, prior to the evacuation was 7,500, which means the the percentage of Jews in Gaza was a fraction of 1 percent.

The independent study focuses solely on discrediting the PA statistics and does not address the crucial issue of future trends, which DellaPergola shows are clearly in the Arabs’ favor. The new report argues that the growth rates in Israel and the territories have been lower than previously forecast (though they use figures for only the last four years), but even the new figures show that the growth rate for the Arabs remains higher than that of the Jews, so the proportion of Jews should continue to decline.

Recent data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics suggests the situation may be even worse. The Bureau said that the proportion of Jews within the current borders of Israel is expected to decline from the present figure of 78 percent to 70 percent in 2025 because of the higher birth rate among Israeli Arabs. According to Industry and Trade Ministry data released in March 2007, Jewish women in Israel on average have 2.69 children each and give birth to the first at age 30. Muslim women have an average of four children and give birth to the first at age 27.9

Many proponents of territorial compromise argue that these demographic trends make it impossible for Israel to remain both a Jewish and democratic state if it holds onto the West Bank and Gaza. If a majority of the population of Israel, or even a significant minority, were non-Jews, then the Jewish character of the state would likely change. In fact, the new report states that “As in 1967, Israel faces a very real issue on the status of a large minority population in the West Bank and Gaza” (emphasis in the original). Extremists have suggested that non-Jews could be prohibited from voting, but this would make the state undemocratic. Since no Israeli leader – even those labeled as right-wing fanatics who dream of “Greater Israel” – have found a way to square this circle, Israel has never annexed the West Bank and Gaza. And now one of those “hardliners,” Ariel Sharon, was moved by the demographic reality to initiate the disengagement plan.

Many people argue that it is impossible to predict the future, and that most past projections were proven inaccurate. Earlier doomsday predictions were upset by large influxes of immigrants, and many Israelis still believe this will be their demographic salvation. After more than one million Jews from the former Soviet Union arrived in the 1990s, this view was temporarily vindicated, however, there only about 8 million Jews in the entire world outside Israel, and a large number would have to decide to move to Israel to offset the demographic trend. This is especially unlikely given that roughly 75 percent of the Jews outside Israel live in the United States from which very few emigrate.

The demographic issue is still only one variable in the Israeli political calculus related to territorial compromise. The other principal concerns are whether Israel can have greater peace and security without controlling some or all of the territories. That is a matter of great debate within Israel. For now, the majority of Israelis have come to the conclusion that withdrawal from Gaza and part of Samaria is in Israel’s best interest.

MYTH

“Israel is killing Palestinians with radiation spy machines.”

FACT

Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was the master of the “big lie” tactic in which a lie, no matter how outrageous, is repeated often enough that it will eventually be accepted as truth. It is a propaganda tool the Palestinians have repeatedly tried to use to tar Israel. Past examples have included specious claims that Israel “massacred” 500 people at Jenin,10 infects Palestinians with the AIDS virus,11 and drops poison candy for children in Gaza from airplanes.12

The latest calumny from the Palestinians is the claim that Israel is using a “radial spy machine” at checkpoints, and that the device killed a 55-year-old Palestinian woman.13The charge is apparently related to the Palestinian Authority’s decision to close a checkpoint on their side of the border in Gaza to protest Israel’s use of advanced radio-wave machines for searching Palestinian travelers.14

The device is the SafeView Millimeter Wave Radar, an American-made portal system that uses millimeter a safe wave holographic technology to screen travelers from Egypt for weapons and explosives. Unlike metal detectors, this system is capable of detecting virtually any man-made object, regardless of the type of material, by transmitting ultra-high frequency, low-powered radio frequency waves as people pass through the portal. The waves penetrate clothing and reflect off of the person’s skin and any items being carried. A sensor array captures the reflected waves and uses a desktop computer to analyze the information and produce a high-resolution, 3-D image from the signals.15

Since the allegation is coming from the official Palestinian media, it represents a violation of the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to end incitement against Israel.

MYTH

“Unlike other Arab women, Palestinian women are not killed for dishonoring their families.”

FACT

Maher Shakirat learned that one of his sisters was thrown out of the house by her husband for an alleged affair. Shakirat strangled his sister, who was eight months pregnant, and forced two other sisters he accused of covering up the affair to drink bleach. One of those was badly injured but escaped, but the third sister was also strangled by her brother.

Palestinian women who bring dishonor to their families may be punished by male family members. The punishments may range from ostracism and abandonment to physical abuse to murder. “Honor killings” may be carried out for instances of rape, infidelity, flirting or any other action seen as disgracing the family. By killing the woman, the family’s name in the community is restored.

Women are usually not allowed to defend themselves; they are considered “minors” under the authority of male relatives, and may be killed based on a family member’s suspicions. An allegation of misbehavior is sufficient to defile a man’s or family’s honor and justify the killing of the woman. Men who carry out these murders in the Palestinian Authority typically go unpunished or receive a maximum of six months in prison.16

Because these crimes often go unreported, it is difficult to determine the actual number of victims in honor killings, but the Palestinian Authority’s women’s affairs ministry reported that 20 women were murdered in honor killings in 2005, 15 survived murder attempts, and approximately 50 committed suicide, often under coercion, for shaming the family.17

According to a June 2005 poll, 24% of Palestinians said that if a family discovered that one of its daughters was involved in a case of family disgrace (e.g., adultery), the family should kill the daughter to remove the disgrace.18

MYTH

“Israel has moved the border so it will not withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip.”

FACT

Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Civil Affairs, has claimed that Israel moved the northern border of the Gaza Strip about 1.2 miles, and that Israel's disengagement will not be complete unless it withdraws to the 1949 armistice lines.19 By suggesting that Israel is holding onto a piece of Gaza, the Palestinians are threatening to create a Shebaa Farms issue that could undercut the prospects for peace created by Israel's courageous decision to evacuate all its citizens and soldiers from the area.

Substantively, Dahlan’s claim is inaccurate. The border of Gaza was originally determined during the 1949 Rhodes Armistice negotiations with Egypt. A year later, Israel agreed to move the border southeast, creating a bulge in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. In exchange, Egypt redrew the border in the north, moving it more than a mile southwest. According to Israel's National Security Council chief, Giora Eiland, the border was reconfirmed in the Oslo accords.20 Today, Netiv Ha’asara, a community of 125 families, many of which were evacuated from settlements in the Sinai as part of the peace treaty with Egypt, is located in the area Dahlan wants included in Gaza.

In the case of Shebaa Farms, the Lebanese terrorist group, Hizballah, has speciously maintained that Israel did not fully withdraw from Lebanon, despite the UN's verification that it has, and used Israel’s presence in the Shebaa Farms area as the pretext for continuing its terror campaign against Israel. If the Palestinians adopt a similar policy toward the sliver of land they claim to be part of Gaza to perpetuate their image as victims, and to try to win propaganda points by claiming to still be under “occupation,” they will once again demonstrate that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

If the Palestinians continue terrorist attacks against Israel, and make claims to additional territory, rather than focusing on state-building within Gaza and meeting their road map obligations, Israel will have little interest in pursuing negotiations regarding the West Bank.

MYTH

“Hamas should be permitted to participate in Palestinian Authority elections.”

FACT

The second Oslo agreement (Oslo II) between Israel and the Palestinian Authority prohibits the “nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions” that “commit or advocate racism” or “pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means” (Annex II, Article II).21 Under this agreement, Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians alike, cannot legally participate in Palestinian national elections. The Covenant of Hamas says nothing about democracy or elections. It does say that when “enemies (the Jews) usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.”

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned that Israel will not cooperate with the Palestinian Authority during elections if candidates from Hamas are allowed to participate. “An armed organization doesn't become democratic once they participate in the election,” Sharon said.22

Yossi Beilin, the leader of the Meretz-Yahad Party, and one of the architects of the Oslo accords, said that recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political entity “is a gross violation of the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement,” and that in the global struggle against terrorism, “it would be surprising indeed if Israel, paradoxically, were to acquiesce in the legitimization of a terrorist organization under its very nose.”23

The United States has left it up to the Palestinians to decide who can participate in the Palestinian Legislative Council; however, National Security Council spokesperson Frederick L. Jones II said the U.S. would never have diplomatic relations with candidates from a terrorist organization.“We do not believe that a democratic state can be built when parties or candidates seek power not through the ballot box but through terrorist activity,” Jones said.”24

MYTH

“Israel's disengagement from Gaza was a victory for terror.”

FACT

Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank was applauded by the international community as an important and painful step toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the United Nations, which rarely has anything positive to say about Israel, praised the “determination and political courage” shown by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon25 in implementing the disengagement plan peacefully and successfully.

In an effort to bolster their standing with the Palestinian public, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim it was their terror campaign that forced Israel to withdraw.26 In fact, the terrorist groups did nothing but bring death and destruction to the people of Israel and their fellow Palestinians. Israel was not driven from the territories, it made a calculated decision to leave based on its own interests.

The 8,000 civilians who lived in Gaza were viewed by the terrorists as targets, and Israel had to devote a great deal of its human and material resources to protect these innocent people. In addition, Sharon agreed with those who concluded it would make no sense for Israel to hold on to an area with a Palestinian population exceeding one million. By withdrawing, Israel's security has been enhanced, and the Palestinians have been given the opportunity to govern themselves and demonstrate whether they are able and willing to create a democratic society that can coexist with Israel.

At the time of the disengagement, Israel had dramatically reduced the level of terror, and the security fence around Gaza had a nearly perfect record of preventing the infiltration of suicide bombers. Israeli forces had severely damaged the terrorist infrastructure and killed or jailed most of the leaders of the major terror groups. The disengagement took place after Israel won the Palestinian War the Palestinian Authority had instigated in 2000, and the withdrawal took place from a position of strength, not weakness.

Palestinian extremists can claim whatever they want, but even they know the truth. As Zakariya Zubeidi, the leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorist group observed, “Not only was the intifada a failure, but we are a total failure. We achieved nothing in 50 years of struggle; we've achieved only our survival.”27

And the Palestinian people are not fooled by the rhetoric of the terrorists, as is evident by this comment by Mohammed Ahmed Moussa, a grocer in Jabaliya, who said, “Let's be frank. If Israel didn't want to leave Gaza, no one could have forced them out. Those who claim the rockets and attacks made them leave are kidding themselves.”28

MYTH

“Israel is obstructing Palestinian elections.”

FACT

Israel is a democracy and believes in free elections as the best means of insuring representative government. Consequently, Israel has been supportive of the idea of democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority. In the 2005 presidential election, international observers reported that Israel made no effort to impede the vote. To the contrary, it took a number of measures to facilitate the election.

Similarly, Israel has no intention of interfering in the upcoming legislative elections in the PA. While there is some dispute about whether and how Palestinians living in Jerusalem may participate, a similar issue was resolved before the last election.

The Jerusalem issue, however, is being used as a smokescreen by the Palestinians to obscure their internal divisions. Palestinian officials have been talking for months about delaying the elections scheduled for January 25 because of chaos and disorder throughout the PA, and because of fears that they will lose power and that Hamas will take seats from the dominant Fatah party.

Many Palestinians also legitimately fear the election will not be fair. With just three weeks to go before the election, the Palestinian election commission resigned because the commissioners said Prime Minister Ahmed Korei was interfering with their work. After the last election, 46 officials from the PA Central Election Committee resigned to protest voting irregularities and fraud.

The problem for the PA today is not any Israeli interference in their affairs, it is the Wild West climate that now dominates the Gaza Strip and much of the West Bank. So long as the PA is unable to insure the safety of its residents, it will be unable to hold a free democratic election.

MYTH

“Academic freedom means any criticism of Israel is permissible in a university.”

FACT

The one place in America where anti-Semitism is still tolerated is in the university, where “academic freedom” is often used as a cover to sanction anti-Israel teachings and forums that are anti-Semitic.

In an address on the subject of academic freedom, Columbia President Lee Bollinger quoted from a report that described a professor as someone whom “‘no fair-minded person’ would even suspect of speaking other than as ‘shaped or restricted by the judgement . . . of professional scholars.’” He also spoke about the need for faculty to “resist the allure of certitude, the temptation to use the podium as an ideological platform, to indoctrinate a captive audience, to play favorites with the like-minded, and silence the others.”

Many faculty, however, do not resist temptation; rather, they embrace their position as an ideological platform. Those who abuse their rights, and insist they can say what they want, hypocritically denounce others who exercise their right to criticize them. To suggest that a professor’s views are inappropriate, or their scholarship is faulty, is to risk being tarred with the charge of McCarthyism.

Legality is not the issue in evaluating the anti-Israel, sometimes anti-Semitic speeches and teachings of faculty and speakers on campus. No one questions that freedom of speech allows individuals to express their views. The issue is whether this type of speech should be given the cover of “academic” freedom, and granted legitimacy by the university through funding, publicity or use of facilities.

For the last several years, for example, an anti-Semitic forum has been held at different universities by the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM). In 2004, the conference was held at Duke University. Organizers were asked to sign an innocuous statement before the event calling for a civil debate that would “condemn the murder of innocent civilians,” “support a two-state solution” and “recognize the difference between disagreement and hate speech,” but refused to do so. By hosting a group that could not bring itself to object to the murder of Jews, Duke gave their views legitimacy and tarnished the university’s academic reputation. The 2006 PSM conference is being held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

It is sometimes suggested critics seek to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel. There is a clear distinction, however, between criticism of Israeli policy, which you can read in any Israeli newspaper, and anti-Semitism, in which the attacks against Israel challenge its right to exist, or single Israel out among all other nations for special treatment, as in the case of the PSM’s call for the end to Israeli “occupation” in all of Palestine and divestment from Israel.

A related question is whether the presentations are in any way academic or scholarly. Few people would claim that a conference in which anti-black, anti-gay, or anti-woman sentiments were expressed would be protected by academic freedom, and yet that is the shield used to permit attacks on the Jewish people.



“Palestine means Palestine in its entirety - from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, from Ras Al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy's [right] to a single inch.”

— Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar29


MYTH

“The Palestinian Authority held a democratic election and Israel and the rest of the world must accept that Hamas was the victor.”

FACT

Winston Churchill said that “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” It was a step forward, then, for the authoritarian Palestinian Authority to hold elections that by all accounts were conducted fairly. Nevertheless, so long as the Palestinian people continue to be denied by their leaders the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly and the press, the election cannot be considered truly free and democratic.

While democratic outcomes are preferable to the alternatives, the rest of the world is not obligated to have a relationship with elected leaders whose policies and views are dangerous. Adolf Hitler was elected by the German people, but few people would suggest today that the rest of the world should have ignored his genocidal views and treated him as an equal just because he emerged from a democratic process. Similarly, the current Iranian president was elected and is still widely viewed as a pariah because of his threats to destroy Israel and to pursue nuclear weapons in defiance of the rest of the world.

The Palestinian people chose to elect members of an organization whose avowed purpose is the destruction of Israel by violent means. Hamas is recognized throughout the world as a terrorist organization. Since the election, Hamas leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the Hamas covenant calling for the liberation of all of Palestine and they have made clear it they have no intention of disarming.

Israel now has on its borders a quasi government run by people who oppose negotiations and compromise. Hamas can now take over all of the security services and weapons that have previously been given by Israel and others to the Palestinian Authority to keep the peace. The institutions that were bound by agreements to stop the violence, confiscate illegal weapons, end smuggling and cease incitement are now controlled by the very people most responsible for terror, gun running, and the use of the media and schools to demonize Israel and Jews.

Most of the world understands that Hamas is not a partner for peace and that it is a terrorist group that threatens the stability of the region. The United States and other countries rightly have said that it must recognize Israel and renounce terror before any diplomatic or economic support can be given to the PA. Of course, we went through a similar exercise in 1993 when similar demands were made of the PLO. Yasser Arafat made the necessary commitments in a letter to then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, but he never matched the words with deeds. The world will be wise not to make the same mistake with Hamas.

“Palestinians need to understand that the exercise of self-government carries consequences. For too long, the international community has failed to extract a price for the Palestinian recourse to terror. That failure has not brought peace, but far worse it has produced the "Palestine" we have now: destitute, savage against both Israelis and moderate Arabs, and, so far, incapable of managing its internal affairs peacefully and competently. By refusing to render Hamas respectable, the U.S. and Israel aren't punishing the Palestinians. They're educating them.”

— Wall Street Journal30


MYTH

“Israel is digging under the Al-Aksa mosque and intends to destroy it.”

FACT

The Palestinians and other Muslims routinely accuse Israel of threatening their holy places in Jerusalem and have discovered that this is a good way to provoke local violence and international condemnation. The tactic goes back to the 1920s when the Mufti of Jerusalem made similar charges that provoked widespread rioting. The latest example of using this method of incitement (which violates the road map and Oslo agreements) came when Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the director of the Al-Aksa Foundation, accused Israel of excavating under the Temple Mount with the intention of destroying the Al-Aksa mosque.31

As in the past, the charge is a total fabrication. The most recent construction involved the development of a new visitors center built around new findings excavated near the Western Wall. Discoveries at the new site include a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, destroyed in 70 C.E., and a wall archaeologists say dates to the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 B.C.E.32 The work was done in the already tunnel area that has now been open to tourists for several years. It is not underneath the Temple Mount and nowhere near the Al-Aksa mosque. What really bothers the sheikh is that the center will “show a fabricated heritage that might help them to deceive foreign visitors into believing Jerusalem as a historical place of the Jews....” 33

Israel denied the accusations, but official government denials rarely satisfy those who are ready to believe any libel emanating from the Palestinian Authority. In this case, however, UPI reporter Joshua Brilliant attended the Foundation press conference during which a misleading film was shown purporting to prove the charges. Brilliant independently investigated the tunnel and found no evidence of any excavation in the direction of the mosque. A Hamas website nevertheless said that a synagogue was under the mosque and “We will spill blood and offer souls in defense of the mosque.”34

MYTH

“Israel is responsible for disparaging cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.”

FACT

Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that the cartoons first published in Denmark, which have sparked widespread Muslim protests, were part of a “conspiracy by Zionists who were angry because of the victory of Hamas.”35

Sometimes the myths propagated by Arabs and Muslims are so outrageous and ridiculous that it would seem to be a waste of time to respond. This is one of those instances. Unfortunately, history has proven that one cannot underestimate the capacity of people to believe even the most absurd charges when they are applied to Israel. After all, large numbers of Muslims still believe that Israel was responsible for the atrocities committed on 9/11.

The cartoons, of course, haven’t anything to do with Israel. They were solicited by a Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten, and have subsequently been reprinted widely. In fact, one blogger posted images from an Egyptian newspaper that published the cartoons.36Khamenei’s conspiracy theory also has a minor flaw — the cartoons were published in September 2005, six months before the Palestinian election.

In a juvenile and bizarre effort to retaliate for what they consider an affront to Islam, Iran is now soliciting cartoons lampooning the Holocaust. This really is nothing new as Iran and other Muslim nations routinely publish vile anti-Semitic cartoons in their state-controlled media. Sensitivity and tolerance are a one-way street in those countries.

MYTH

“The Palestinians have maintained a truce and ceased terror operations against Israel.”

FACT

The number of successful Palestinian terrorist attacks has fallen dramatically in the last several months. This is not because of any actions on the part of the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority continues to refuse to fulfill its road map obligation to stop violence, dismantle terrorist infrastructures, and confiscate illegal weapons. The decline in violence is due primarily to the efficiency of Israel’s security forces and the presence of the security fence. It has little to do with a supposed cease-fire during which there has been no lull in the effort to murder Israelis.

Prior to construction of the security fence, the Palestinians carried out 73 suicide bomb attacks that killed 293 Israelis. Even with the fence only about one-third completed, it has helped significantly reduce the carnage. Since construction began in July 2003, 11 suicide attacks have been launched that killed 54 people. In 2005, only seven suicide attacks were successful, which has taken terror against Israelis off the radar of the international media and given the perception that all is quiet. The reality is far different.

According to the Shin Bet, a total of 2,990 attacks were launched against Israel during 2005 following that January’s truce announcement by Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, and Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Each month, Israel has more than 70 terror alerts.37

To give just a few examples of the ongoing terror campaign:

• On February 2, 2006, soldiers prevented two Palestinian teenagers from smuggling 12 pipe bombs through a checkpoint. The next day two Palestinian teenagers were captured carrying explosive belts.38

• On February 19, 2006, border police arrested three Palestinians from Bethlehem on their way to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. That same morning, two Palestinians attempted to place a bomb near the southern Gaza security fence.39

• On February 20, 2006, the Shin Bet chief revealed that the IDF uncovered a launcher and eight mortar shells in Bethlehem, which were planned to be fired at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.40

• On February 21, 2006, an IDF force found a large bomb factory in Nablus.41

• Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have continued to fire rockets into Israel on an almost daily basis (more than 450 have hit Israel in less than six months42), and increasingly threatened strategic targets, such as the power station in Ashkelon.

• Smuggling of weapons has accelerated in the Gaza Strip. The head of the Shin Bet reported that the number of rifles smuggled each month has increased from 200-300 to 3,000 since disengagement, and that the Palestinians have also smuggled in anti-aircraft missiles and tons of explosives.43

Israel may have won the Palestinian War started by the Palestinian Authority in September 2000, but that does not mean that it has ended all terror threats. Cease-fires and truces mean little when those who declare them continue to arm themselves for the next battle, and their comrades continue to wage war.

The situation is likely to grow more dangerous now that the security forces responsible for enforcing the law in the Palestinian Authority will be infiltrated and probably controlled by the terrorists from Hamas who have made no secret since the Palestinian election that they are committed to their covenant’s call for the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the Palestinian people continue to support terrorism according to the latest poll, which found that 56% of Palestinians support suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians.44

MYTH

“The PA is entitled to international aid because Hamas was democratically elected and the Palestinian people should not be made to suffer because Israel doesn’t like the election outcome.”

FACT

Billions of dollars of aid have flowed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the last 13 years despite the fact that most of it was siphoned off by corrupt officials and very little has actually reached the people. Now the PA is led by a party that pledged to fight corruption, but it also promises to continue to use terror as a means of achieving the objective of destroying Israel. Why does anyone believe the United States or any other country has an obligation to underwrite terrorism and programs for genocide?

The New York Times noted:


America cannot bankroll a Hamas government that preaches and practices terrorism, denies that Israel has any right to exist, and refuses to abide by peace agreements signed by previous Palestinian governments....the United States would make a resounding diplomatic and moral point by cutting off aid. It would demonstrate in the clearest possible terms that the American people are not prepared to support governments, elected or unelected, that proclaim the annihilation of other nations as their goal and embrace terrorism as an acceptable tactic for achieving it.

It is true that the PA has financial problems, but that is not the rest of the world’s responsibility. Had the PA not misspent the billions it had received already from international donors, it would not be in this predicament. Moreover, as the Times editorialized, “Continuing United States subsidies while Hamas is in power will not move the region one step closer to a fair and sustainable peace.”

The Times and others are wrong in suggesting that Israel be pressured to pay tax and customs funds to the PA. These are funds that Israel agreed to pay as part of the Oslo agreements, which the PA has not fulfilled, and Hamas says it does not accept. Moreover, what government would give money to an authority that is calling for its destruction? Can you imagine the Israeli prime minister speaking to his Hamas counterpart: “We are very upset that you say that you are committed to destroying our nation, and we’re disturbed that you are launching terrorist attacks against us each day, but here’s the money we owe you. Don’t spend it all on one suicide bomb.”

The Palestinian people aren’t going to starve. Even if the United States, Israel, and other Western nations were threatening to withhold all aid until Hamas either is driven from power or completely reforms and renounces its covenant, Iran and other nations will provide the minimum required to sustain the Palestinians, a group which already receives substantially more aid than far needier populations around the globe. And the United States and others are not even talking about cutting off all aid; they all say they will continue to provide humanitarian funds.

The Palestinian people will blame the world for their predicament, as they have for the last 58 years, but perhaps a cutoff of some aid will be the consequence that finally teaches them the lesson that the path to statehood requires them to make a different choice – peace over violence.

MYTH

“Saudi Arabia has ended its boycott of Israel.”

FACT

In late 2005, Saudi Arabia was required to cease its boycott of Israel as a condition of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). After initially saying that it would do so, the government subsequently announced it would maintain its first-degree boycott of Israeli products. The government said it agreed to lift the second and third degree boycott in accordance with an earlier Gulf Cooperation Council decision rather than the demands of the WTO.46

Saudi Arabia continues, however, to prohibit entry to products made in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components and hosted a major international conference aimed at promoting the boycott in Jidda in March 2006. The Organization for the Islamic Conference’s (OIC) Islamic Office for the Boycott of Israel is based in Jidda and the head of the office is a former Saudi diplomat.47

In hearings in February 2006 before the Senate Finance Committee, U.S. trade representative Rob Portman insisted that the Saudis “have a responsibility to treat Israel as any other member of the WTO” and added that the U.S. had received assurance “they will abide by their WTO commitments.”48

While the Saudis were presenting themselves in the media as peacemakers in early 2007 by resurrecting their 2002 peace plan, the government continued to bar entry to products manufactured in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components.48a This is in addition to the ongoing political boycott whereby Saudi officials refuse to meet with Israelis. The Saudi behavior is inconsistent with their rhetoric and raises questions about the sincerity of their peace proposals and whether a government that has reneged on its promise to the WTO to end the boycott can be trusted to fulfill commitments to peace with Israel.

MYTH

“Israel is knowingly desecrating a Muslim holy place in Jerusalem by building a museum on top of a cemetery.”

FACT

An offshoot of the Islamic Movement in Israel petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to halt the the Simon Wiesenthal Center from constructing a new Museum of Tolerance in the center of Jerusalem. The petitioners, from a group called “the Al-Aqsa Corporation,” claim the museum is being built on part of an ancient cemetery where 20,000 soldiers from Saladin's army are buried, and want the area recognized as an Islamic waqf. This would give them exclusive rights to any decisions regarding use of the land. This claim is very controversial because it would in effect place a Muslim enclave in the heart of West Jersualem.

Over forty years ago, an Islamic court ruled that the land was no longer sacred and could be used for construction or other purposes. Even four decades before that ruling, in 1922, the infamous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, built a luxurious hotel on part of the land. The Mufti ruled that construction was possible if the tombs were removed and reburied in another place, and he made plans to build a Muslim university on the same tract of land.49

The cemetery has been abandoned for well over a century and, in 1964, an Islamic court ruled that its status was mundaras (erased), meaning that its holiness had expired. Muslim scholars and religious leaders have allowed the “recycling” of cemeteries that have not been used for more than a generation. The Islamic Movement, however, sees the dispute as an opportunity to claim part of Jerusalem as a Muslim enclave.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has been especially careful in removing remains found at the site for reburial. The Wiesenthal Center has also offered to re-inter all of the remains in the part of the cemetery that still exists, and plans to renovate and fence off the area.

MYTH

“Hamas is a threat only to Israel.”

FACT

While attention is correctly focused on the threat Hamas poses to Israel because of its commitment to the destruction of the Jewish State, and its active involvement in terrorism to accomplish that goal, the radical Islamic organization also is viewed as a grave danger to the stability of Jordan.

The Jordanians have no illusions about Hamas and, in late April 2006, arrested several members of the organization it suspected of planning a terrorist attack against senior members of the government on orders from Hamas leaders in Damascus.50 This followed an earlier threat uncovered when Jordanian officials learned that Hamas had smuggled weapons, including bombs and rockets, into the kingdom. That discovery led Jordan to cancel a planned visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas.51

Tensions between Hamas and Jordan are nothing new. In 1998, the government warned leaders of the Islamic resistance movement in Jordan to refrain from making statements inciting violence or obstructing the Palestinian-Israeli Wye River peace deal that had just been signed. The admonition came after a Hamas bomb attack on an Israeli school bus in the Gaza Strip, and a statement by the Hamas politburo chief in Amman, Khalid Mashal, condemning the Wye agreement and vowing to continue the war against Israel.52

In 1999, five commercial offices in Amman registered under the names of Hamas leaders were closed, several of its members were detained and arrest warrants were issued for several Hamas leaders. On September 22, 1999, Khalid Mashal, Ibrahim Ghousheh, Mousa Abu Marzook, Sami Khater and Izzat Rasheq were arrested after returning from a trip to Tehran. Marzook, who held a Yemeni passport, was deported. Mashal, Khater, Rasheq and Ghousheh, all Jordanian citizens, were given the choice of being tried for membership in an illegal organization or leaving Jordan. Ultimately, the four men were deported to Qatar.53

Jordanian officials were growing increasingly worried about the close ties that Hamas was developing with the radical Muslim Brotherhood and the group’s close ties with Iran and Syria. Computer files confiscated from the Hamas offices contained sensitive information about the kingdom and Jordanian figures, records indicating that around $70 million had been transferred to Hamas from abroad over the previous five years, and the locations of arms and explosives caches around the kingdom.54

Subsequently, Hamas became an “illegal and non-Jordanian” organization whose presence was no longer tolerated.55

MYTH

“Palestinians have the right to sell land to Jews.”

FACT

In 1996, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mufti, Ikremah Sabri, issued a fatwa (religious decree), banning the sale of Arab and Muslim property to Jews. Anyone who violated the order was to be killed. At least seven land dealers were killed that year. Six years later, the head of the PA’s General Intelligence Service in the West Bank, General Tawfik Tirawi, admitted his men were responsible for the murders.56

On May 5, 1997, Palestinian Authority Justice Minister Freih Abu Middein announced that the death penalty would be imposed on anyone convicted of ceding “one inch” to Israel. Later that month, two Arab land dealers were killed. PA officials denied any involvement in the killings. A year later, another Palestinian suspected of selling land to Jews was murdered. The PA has also arrested suspected land dealers for violating the Jordanian law (in force in the West Bank), which prohibits the sale of land to foreigners.57

During the Palestinian War, few, if any Palestinians tried to sell land to Jews, but the prohibition remained in effect. Now that the war is over, the persecutions have begun again. In April 2006, Muhammad Abu al-Hawa was tortured and murdered because allegedly sold an apartment building in Israel’s capital city to Jews. Since the Mufti forbade Muslims accused of selling land to Jews from being buried in a Muslim cemetery, al-Hawa was laid to rest in a makeshift cemetery on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.58



“There are no words to adequately condemn the despicable attack in Tel Aviv. Not only because it is contrary to the interests of the Palestinian people...[but] because of the philosophy that is behind it....A racist philosophy that is based on the cruel principle of killing Jews because they are Jews.”

— Colunnist Nazir Majali 59




“Hamas faced its first concrete choice this week between its ambition to govern the West Bank and Gaza and its extremist commitment to terrorism -- and it chose to side with the suicide bombers. The sickening Passover attack at a Tel Aviv restaurant Monday, which killed nine Israelis and injured dozens, was carried out by Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed extremist group that refuses to observe the shaky cease-fire Hamas has followed for more than a year. Yet, though the attack violated its own policy and undermined its interests, several of Hamas's spokesmen quickly defended it. The result was to put the Palestinian government on record as an outlaw and to raise dangerously the chances of a major new outbreak of Middle East violence.”

— Washington Post 60




MYTH

“Israel has no justification for withholding tax monies due to the Palestinian Authority.”

FACT

Under the Oslo interim agreement, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza are in a customs union administered by the Israeli government. Israel collects a duty on any foreign imports destined for the West Bank and Gaza as welll as a value added tax on goods and services from Israel destined for the Palestinian territories.

At the beginning of 2001, Israel decided to withhold more than $50 million in taxes it owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the ongoing violence. U.S. officials, and others, pressured Israel to transfer the money because of the PA's dire financial straits and inability to pay many of its bills. Israel recognized that its action was harsh, but believed it was necessary to demonstrate to the Palestinians that the inability or unwillingness to stop the violence had a cost. Israel must use whatever leverage it can to protect its citizens and this economic sanction was a milder response than a military one.

While Israel's action was blamed for the sorry state of the Palestinian economy, the truth was the Arab countries suspended the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars, collected as donations, meant for the PA. The justification for the Arab states' action was their concern that the funds would be embezzled and encourage further corruption in the PA.61 For example, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Yasser Arafat stole more than $5 million in foreign aid intended for needy Palestinians.62

In July 2002, Israel agreed to transfer some of the tax revenues to the Palestinians as a confidence-building measure after Palestinian violence subsided, and an agreement was reached to set up a committee of U.S. representatives to oversee the transaction.63 Israel subsequently began to forward the taxes it collected to the PA, after deducting the amount owed for electricity and water bills that many Palestinians refused to pay Israeli utilities.

Case Study

The speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, and later Prime Minister, Ahmed Korei, suddenly vacated the villa he built for $1.5 million in Jericho after President Bush raised the issue of PA corruption. A sign on the door was posted that said the villa had become a welfare institution for the relatives of Palestinians killed in terror attacks.64


Following the election of Hamas in 2006, Israel again began to withhold tax revenue on the grounds that it had no obligation to help finance a government that was calling for its destruction. Furthermore, Israel argued that the agreement to remit these taxes to the PA was part of the Oslo accords that Hamas explicitly said it would not honor. The United States, the European Union and other countries also froze funding because Hamas is a terrorist group that does not recognize Israel as a country.

While Israel wants to deny Hamas the resources it needs to wage a terrorist war, the government does not want to harm the Palestinian people and therefore agreed in May 2006 to release tax revenues for humanitarian purposes, such as medicine and health needs.65

MYTH

“If Israel ends the occupation, there will be peace.”

FACT

The mantra of the Palestinians and their supporters since 1967 has been “end the occupation.” The assumption underlying this slogan is that peace will follow the end of Israel’s “occupation.” The equally popular slogan among critics of Israeli policy has been that it should “trade land for peace.” Again, the premise being that it is simply Israel’s presence on land claimed by the Palestinians that is the impediment to peace.

The experience in Gaza has offered a stark case study of the disingenuousness of these slogans. When Israel announced the plan to evacuate Gaza, rather than cheer the unilateral end to the occupation, the Palestinians denounced disengagement and refused for months to cooperate or to take measures to ease the transition. If the Palestinians’ fervent desire was really to end Israeli control over their lives, why didn’t they cheer the disengagement and do everything possible to make it a success?

Israel has withdrawn from every inch of Gaza; not a single Israeli soldier or civilian remains. The evacuation came at great emotional and financial cost. And what has the end of “the occupation” brought Israel? Has it received peace in exchange for the land? No, to the contrary, the Palestinian answer to meeting their demands has not been quiet, but a barrage of rocket fire. Since September 12, 2005, 770 Kassam rockets have been fired, more than 100 since the weekend of June 10, 2006.66

Fortunately, these rockets are relatively inaccurate and have caused minimal death and destruction, but that is beside the point. What nation would hold its fire if its population was under daily attack from missiles? The ongoing rocket fire disrupts the lives of Israelis, traumatizes the children, and amounts to an act of war.

It has been a testament to Israel’s restraint that it has not mounted a large-scale military operation to this point to end the threat to its citizens. The Palestinian Authority has ceased to exist in Gaza; now it is simply a wild west outpost for terrorist factions to fight for power and provoke Israel. Time is running out for the Palestinian leadership to exert control or face the consequences.

Slogans are good for bumper stickers and sound bites, but they are irrelevant to the future of Israel and its neighbors. Israelis have repeatedly shown a desire for peace, and a willingness to make painful sacrifices, but nothing they do will end the conflict. The escalation of violence not only has occurred following Israel’s evacuation of Gaza but after the Israeli Prime Minister expressed his intention to withdraw from virtually the entire West Bank. Peace will be possible only when the Palestinians and other Muslims and Arabs demonstrate by their deeds their willingness to live beside a Jewish state.

“I extend my hand in peace to Mahmoud Abbas, elected President of the Palestinian Authority. On behalf of the State of Israel, we are willing to negotiate with a Palestinian Authority.”

— Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Speech to Congress67





“If we are to look at Israeli society, it is within the academic community that we've had the most progressive pro-peace views and views that have come out in favor of seeing us as equals....If you want to punish any sector, this is the last one to approach.”

— Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh on academic boycotts of Israel 68





“The responsibility for this escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rests with the Palestinians who have yet again turned their backs on peace. Rather than take the withdrawal of Israel from Gaza as an opportunity to build a future for their children, they instead refused to relinquish their embrace of a culture of hate and death.”

— Editorial, Chicago Sun Times69




“When Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted by the military wing of Mr. Haniyeh's Hamas movement last weekend, his administration faced a choice. It could behave like a civilized government — and work to free the hostage — or align itself with a terrorist operation. It chose the latter. Hamas government officials endorsed the militants' demand that Israel release Palestinian prisoners it has legally arrested in exchange for a soldier who was attacked while guarding Israeli territory. Hamas justified this position by citing the terrorist movement Hizballah, which has extracted prisoners from Israel in exchange for hostages, as well as governments that exchange POWs in wartime. Fair enough. But if Hamas wants to be equated with Hizballah or define itself as at war with Israel, then Israel has every right to try to destroy the Islamic movement's military capacity, to capture its leaders...and to topple its government. Isn't that what happens in war?”

— Editorial, Washington Post 70




MYTH

“Israel deliberately targets Lebanese civilians.”

FACT

Israel does not target civilians. Israel has no claim to Lebanese territory and no dispute with the people or government of Lebanon. Israel’s enemy is Hizballah, a terrorist organization that has been launching unprovoked attacks against Israelis since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

It is one of the horrible consequences of war that civilians die. In Lebanon, Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid harming civilians. What other army drops leaflets telling civilians to leave an area, thereby giving away the element of surprise, in the interest of protecting innocents?

Let the critics of Israel’s campaign explain how they would respond to a barrage of more than 1,400 rockets on their cities. How would they stop the rockets without hurting any noncombatants when the rockets are being fired from civilian neighborhoods rather than military bases?

Meanwhile, look carefully at the television pictures of the destruction in places such as Beirut. While the commentary by reporters often suggests Israel has bombed targets indiscriminately, what is remarkable is how precise the attacks actually have been. Frequently you see only a single building or a couple of structures damaged while the rest of the area is untouched. Israel could have easily leveled entire neighborhoods, but it did not.

Listen carefully as well. When reporters go to neighborhoods in Lebanon they are being guided by men from Hizballah who show them only what they want the reporters to see and tell them what Hizballah wants them to hear. The Hizballah terrorist says the building was a civilian residence, but the reporter has no way of knowing what was in the buildings, whether it was a rocket workshop, a hiding place for katyushas, the home of a Hizballah leader, or a command center. In fact, he doesn’t even know if the Israel was responsible for the destruction that he is shown. Does it make any sense that Israel would pick out a single residence in a Beirut neighborhood to bomb for no reason?

And notice too that the only people around are from Hizballah. The civilians are gone, so when the Hizballah terrorist tells the reporter they have to keep moving because the Israelis might strike, he knows that he and his fellow terrorists are the only targets.

Tragically, many civilians have died, but history has shown that the terrorists are very good at fabricating statistics. At one point, it was reported that something like 300 civilians had been killed and only one member of Hizballah. Does it seem plausible that in all of Israel’s attacks it only managed to kill one terrorist? Is everyone a civilian that the Lebanese claim is a civilian?

In war, mistakes are sometimes made. In some cases, troops kill each other in friendly fire incidents. In others, civilians die, as was the case when the United States killed 48 people at a wedding during fighting in Afghanistan. No one seriously believed the United States bombers had targeted people celebrating a marriage and no one should believe Israel has any reason to target trucks of food and medicine as the Lebanese president has alleged, or any other purely civilian target.

Besides the ethical and moral restraints, Israel has very good political reasons not to hurt noncombatants. Israeli officials know that a mistake leading to a large number of civilian casualties will hurt their image and provoke greater demands that they cease-fire before accomplishing their military objectives. An Israeli pilot openly admitted this consideration:


It’s strange how the focus in these missions is not to succeed, hit the target precisely, but rather – not to make any mistakes. The message is clear all the way from the Squadron commander to the last pilot. One mistake can jeopardize the whole war, like Kfar-Kana, in one of the last operations in Lebanon, where artillery bombarded a refugee camp, killing over 100 people, which resulted in international pressure that halted the operation. Hitting the target is expected, no misses are acceptable.71

The main reasons Lebanese civilians are in danger have nothing to do with Israel. First, the Lebanese government failed to fulfill its obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1559 to disarm Hizballah and deploy its army in southern Lebanon. Second, Hizballah has so little regard for civilians that it purposely bases its weapons and fighters in their homes and neighborhoods where they will be put at risk. Third, the civilians themselves have allowed Hizballah to create a state within Lebanon and to carry out terrorist attacks. Finally, if Hizballah had not attacked Israel, not a single Lebanese civilian would have been hurt. If Hizballah returns the soldiers it kidnaped and disarms, not one more civilian will die.

“The criticism that Israeli attacks aimed at Hezbollah are disproportionate is lazy and facile in several ways, especially in implying a moral relativism between the two sides that does not exist. This is not the contest between misguided equals that many in the West seem to see. One is the region’s lone democracy, which for much of its existence has faced a very real existential threat and would like, if possible, to live in peace with its neighbours. The other is a terrorist organization, bent on preventing such a future. ”

— Editorial, London Times72





MYTH

“Israel should exchange Arab prisoners for soldiers kidnapped by Hamas and Hizballah.”

FACT

The fighting that broke out between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and Israel and Hizballah in Lebanon in 2006, was provoked by longstanding threats by the terrorist organizations against Israel’s civilian population. The final straw that stimulated Israel’s military campaign was the kidnapping of three soldiers. The kidnappers demanded that Israel release prisoners in exchange for the soldiers they were holding.

The people in Israeli jails are there because they were involved in terrorist activities and many committed heinous crimes. In an effort to win greater sympathy for their gambit, Hamas asked for the release of women and children, giving the impression that housewives and toddlers were being unfairly imprisoned. Out of the 109 women and 313 juveniles then in prison, 64 women and 91 juveniles “have blood on their hands.” Palestinian prisoners under the age of 18 threw Molotov cocktails, transported weapons and associated with terrorist organizations. The women planned suicide attacks, prepared bombs and assisted suicide bombers; they also attacked Israeli soldiers and joined terrorist organizations. Ahlan Tanimi, for example, brought the bomb that murdered 16 in the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. Kahira Sa’adi drove a terrorist to King George Avenue, where he blew up three people. Hanady Jaradats killed 21 in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa.73

The focus of Hizballah’s demand was the release of Samir Kuntar. He was captured in 1979 and tried and convicted for the murder of Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter Einat, and for killing two Israeli policemen. Upon taking them hostage, Kuntar shot the father dead at close range in front of his daughter. He then smashed the girl’s head, killing her. He was sentenced to multiple life terms, amounting to 542 years in prison.73a

It is true that Israel has exchanged prisoners for soldiers in the past, often in lopsided trades of dozens of prisoners for a handful of Israelis. Sometimes the Israelis have already been killed and the nation is just trying to retrieve the bodies of its soldiers. These cases demonstrated how much Israel values the lives of its citizens, and reflect the IDF policy of leaving no soldier — dead or alive — on the battlefield.

This sense of obligation explains the deal struck on July 16, 2008 in which Israel agreed to trade Samir Kuntar, along with five other Lebanese militants, in return for the bodies of its fallen soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, both killed after being kidnapped by Hizballah, and information regarding missing Israeli airman Ron Arad, who disappeared when his jet went down over Lebanon in 1986. The report on Arad contained no new information and said Hizballah did not know what happened to Arad, but they believe he is dead.

Meanwhile, Kuntar, the murderer, was given a hero’s welcome in Beirut and his release was praised by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

The decision to make the trade was a painful and difficult one for Israel. The idea of releasing prisoners like Kuntar is odious to Israelis. Moreover, prisoner exchanges are dangerous because they increase the risk that the terrorists will see kidnapping as a weapon to use repeatedly to force Israel to make concessions. It also lessens the terrorists’ incentive to keep hostages alive.

The latest prisoner exchange has emboldened Hamas to increase its demands for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. “We have to take advantage of this to release our prisoners,” said Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar.73b

MYTH

“The media is fairly and accurately covering the war in Lebanon.”

FACT

During the last war in Lebanon, disinformation was the norm and Israel’s enemies learned that they could disseminate lies that the media would not investigate, that they could exaggerate Israeli actions, and that reporters could be manipulated by controlling their access. This pattern is now repeating itself in coverage of Israel’s war with Hizballah terrorists.

Reporters covering the war from Lebanon have been particularly egregious in revealing their own biases based, it seems, on having been based in the country and developing sympathies for their subjects. More serious, however, has been the way some of these correspondents have allowed themselves to be used by Hizballah. In the first Lebanon war, the PLO threatened reporters and made favorable coverage the price of access. Hizballah learned from their example and now influences much of what reporters can see and say.

CNN’s Nic Robertson, for example, was taken to an area of Beirut and told that the rubble of buildings was a result of Israeli air strikes on civilian targets. He repeated the allegation as fact. He had no way of knowing what was in the buildings, whether it was a rocket workshop, a hiding place for katyushas, the home of a Hizballah leader, or a command center. In fact, he didn’t even know if Israel was responsible for the destruction that he was shown.

Robertson later admitted that his report had been influenced by his Hizballah guide. He acknowledged that he had been told what to film and where. “They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath.” Robertson said Hizballah controls south Beirut. “You don’t get in there without their permission. We didn’t have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizballah fighter by night.” Unlike what he said on air during his guided reports, Robertson told CNN’s Reliable Sources, “there's no doubt that the bombs there are hitting Hizballah facilities.”74

Robertson’s CNN colleague, Anderson Cooper, is one of the journalists who has been consistently fair and balanced. He also has not hesitated to point out Hizballah's mendacity. He said the group was “just making things up,” and gave as one example a tour he was given in which Hizballah had lined up some ambulances. They were told to turn on their sirens and then the ambulances drove off as if they were picking up wounded civilians when, in fact, they were simply going back and forth.75

Time Magazine contributor Christopher Albritton made clear that reporters understand the rules of the game. “To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hizballah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loath to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one.”76

Under no duress whatsoever, the Washington Post’s Thomas Ricks made perhaps the most outrageous charge of the war when he claimed that Israel is intentionally leaving Hizballah launchers intact because having Israeli civilians killed helps Israel in the public relations war.77

Israel’s image is also being tarred by suggestions that it is targeting Lebanese Christian areas, intimating that Israel is killing innocent Christians and is not restricting its attacks to the Shiite Muslims of Hizballah. CNN reported, for example, an Israeli strike “on the edge of the city’s mostly Christian eastern district” that killed 10 people. In the next paragraph, however, the report says Israel hit “a building near a mosque” (emphasis added)78

Photographs can be especially powerful, but they can also be misleading or outright fakes. In the last Lebanon war, for example, the Washington Post published a photograph (August 2, 1982) of a baby that appeared to have lost both its arms. The UPI caption said that the seven-month-old had been severely burned when an Israeli jet accidentally hit a Christian residential area. The photo and the caption, however, were inaccurate. The baby did not lose its arms, and the burns the child suffered were the result of a PLO attack on East Beirut.

A similarly dramatic photo of a baby pulled from the rubble of a building in Qana that appeared on front pages around the world is now being challenged as a fake.79 One of the photographers involved, Adnan Hajj, was discovered to have doctored at least two photographs, one of which was changed to show more and darker smoke rising from buildings in Beirut bombed by Israel, and the other changed the image of an Israeli jet so it showed three flares being discharged instead of one. Reuters admitted the photos had been changed, suspended the photographer, and removed all of his photographs from its database.80 This incident should make editors and viewers alike suspicious of images being disseminated by freelance Arab photographers and videographers who are engaging in propaganda rather than photo-journalism.

It is also conceivable that some of the scenes that reporters are being shown have been staged. It is difficult to prove without access to the raw footage of the photographers, but anyone who doubts that this is part of the strategy of Israel’s enemies need only look at the examples of Palestinians choreographing events in the territories documented on The Second Draft web site.

Reporters in Lebanon also continue to exaggerate the destruction in Beirut and elsewhere by showing tight shots of buildings hit in Israeli air strikes and rebroadcasting the same images repeatedly. “You would think Beirut has begun to resemble Dresden and Hamburg in the aftermath of Second World War air raids,” observed former Sunday Telegraph correspondent Tom Gross. But, Gross notes, “a careful look at aerial satellite photos of the areas targeted by Israel in Beirut shows that certain specific buildings housing Hizballah command centers in the city’s southern suburbs have been singled out. Most of the rest of Beirut, apart from strategic sites such as airport runways used to ferry Hizballah weapons in and out of Lebanon, has been left pretty much untouched.”81

Qana was also an example of how the press immediately reports whatever statistics they are fed by Lebanese officials. Again, we learned in the last war that these figures are usually inflated and the press rarely bothers to verify them. Front page stories around the world said that 57 civilians were killed when Israel bombed a building it believed to be empty. While still tragic, the actual casualty figure was only 28. Moreover, most accounts failed to mention the building was in an area where 150 rocket attacks on Israel had originated.

While an Israeli strike that killed UN observers drew headlines, little attention was given to reports that Hizballah was using the UN posts as shields. A Canadian soldier with UNIFIL, for example, reported that his team could observe “most of the Hizballah static positions in and around our patrol base” and noted that Israeli ordnance that fell near the base was not a result of deliberate targeting, but “has rather been due to tactical necessity.”82

Over the years, the Arabs have learned one sure-fire way to get media attention is to scream “massacre” when Israelis are in the neighborhood. On August 7, news outlets repeated Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s claim that Israel had committed a “massacre” by killing 40 people in an air raid on the village of Houla. Later, it was learned that one person had died.83 Throughout the fighting Siniora’s statements to the media have suggested that Israel has unique weaponry that only hits civilians and never terrorists.

Turning momentarily away from the carnage of war, some reporters have suggested that Israeli attacks have created environmental problems in Lebanon. Meanwhile, little attention has been devoted to the ecological damage caused by fires sparked by Katyusha rockets that have destroyed 16,500 acres of forests and grazing fields.

The press is also spending a great deal of time talking to Lebanese civilians and their relatives in the United States and highlighting the difficult conditions they are enduring. This is no doubt the case since they are living in a war zone; however, the media has spent almost no time talking to the Israelis living under the constant threat of rocket attacks. Few reporters have gone into the bomb shelters to interview the frightened Israeli families. No one seems interested in how the relatives of Israelis in the United States feel about their loved ones living under siege.

Similarly, initial reports focused on the Americans living in Lebanon while no one seems interested in the 120,000 North Americans living in Israel. It is terrible that tourists and students had to be evacuated from Lebanon, but what about those same groups in Israel? How many reporters talked to the hundreds of students on summer tours and programs in Israel, many of whom were in the north when the violence escalated? While the complications of leaving the country may not be as severe as in Lebanon, it is still very difficult to arrange a quick exit from Israel, and many American parents are in a state of panic worrying about their family and friends in Israel.

Here are some facts that the media has neglected:

Two million Israelis are now living under threat of rockets, including approximately 700,000 Israeli Arabs.
Altogether, more than 300,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes.
Fifteen percent of the entire Israeli population is living in bomb shelters.
Approximately 5,500 homes have been damaged by Hizballah rockets.
Israel’s tourist industry, which had finally started to recover from the Palestinian War, is again being devastated.
Towns that are home to important sites of the three major religions have come under fire, including Tiberias, Nazareth and Safed.
Wars are never easy to cover, and each side of a conflict wants to make its case through the media. A responsible press, however, does not repeat whatever it hears, it first makes every effort to insure the accuracy of its reporting. That is the standard expected of journalists covering the war between Israel and Hizballah.

MYTH

“Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians during the war instigated by Hizballah.”

FACT

Three weeks after the beginning of the war initiated by Hizballah on July 12, 2006, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report that charged Israel with indiscriminate attacks against civilians in Lebanon.”84 Nothing in the report was based on first-hand knowledge of HRW; rather it was gathered from interviews with “eye-witnesses and survivors” of Israeli strikes who “told HRW that neither Hizballah fighters nor other legitimate military targets were in the area that the IDF attacked.” The HRW staff added for emphasis that they did not see “any signs of military activity in the area[s] attacked, such as trenches, destroyed rocket launchers, other military equipment, or dead or wounded fighters.”

If the investigators did not find evidence of Hizballah’s presence at bomb sites, it does not necessarily follow that the terrorists had not been there since it is possible that any weapons, documents or bodies were removed before HRW arrived on the scene. As Joshua Muravchik observed, “There was no dependable method by which HRW could assess the veracity of what it was told by the ‘witnesses,’ many of whom were in areas where the population was sympathetic to, or intimidated by Hizballah. Indeed, there was no means by which it could be sure that they were not Hizballah cadres, since members of the group do not ordinarily wear uniforms or display identity badges.”85

HRW also has no evidence for the scurrilous accusation that civilians were “deliberately” killed. Unless the investigators are mind readers, they could not divine Israeli intentions. Moreover, it is easy to find a great deal of evidence to show the efforts Israel made to avoid harming noncombatants, such as the dropping of leaflets to warn civilians to evacuate locations before they were attacked, the pinpoint attacks of buildings in neighborhoods that could more easily have been carpet-bombed, and the reports of Israeli pilots and others who withheld fire because of the presence of civilians in target areas.

When challenged about the group’s methods, HRW director Kenneth Roth said, essentially, trust me. Anyone watching TV, however, saw the images of rockets being fired from civilian areas, and the photos of weapons and armed men in what should have been peaceful neighborhoods. Numerous witnesses also told reporters very different stories than those reported by HRW, giving examples of weapons caches in mosques and fighters using UN troops as shields.86 HRW had no trouble accepting the word of the Lebanese people it interviewed, but gave no credence to evidence presented by Israel, such as weapons captured in fighting in civilian areas or videos showing the deployment and launching of rockets from areas that were attacked.

Two days after the release of their report on Israel, and while being subjected to serious criticism for having double standards, a relatively short statement (7 pages compared to 51 on Lebanon) was released by HRW.87 Rockets had already been falling on Israel for three weeks before Roth managed to call on Hizballah’s to stop its attacks and declare that “Lobbing rockets blindly into civilian areas is without doubt a war crime.” Even in this report documenting strikes on Israeli hospitals, educational institutions, businesses and civilian homes, HRW couldn’t resist reiterating its charges against Israel.

The decision by HRW to treat Israel as the main culprit in this war also entailed a studied refusal to make basic moral and legal distinctions. The group did not differentiate between Hizballah’s action in initiating the conflict and Israel's reaction in self-defense, nor between Hizballah’s openly announced and deliberate targeting of civilians and Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties by, for example, appealing to Lebanese civilians to evacuate areas it intended to attack (and thereby giving up the element of surprise and increasing the risk to its own troops).

Most remarkably, HRW did not take note of the contrasting goals of the combatants. One of Hizballah’s declared aims is to destroy Israel, while Israel's goal was to survive and to protect its citizens. HRW justifies this self-imposed moral blindness on the grounds that its touchstone is law, not morality.

The spurious allegations made by HRW, as well as similar ones published by Amnesty International, were further undermined by a report issued in November 2006 by the Intelligence and Terrorism Center at the Israeli Center for Special Studies. This publication provides extensive documentation and photographic evidence of “Hizballah’s consistent pattern of intentionally placing its fighters and weapons among civilians.” It also shows that Hizballah was “well aware of the civilian casualties that would ensue” from this activity.

MYTH

“A unity Palestinian government will reinvigorate the peace process.”

FACT

Israel has been hoping since the death of Yasser Arafat that a Palestinian leader who would emerge with the vision and courage to pursue peace negotiations. The hope was that Mahmoud Abbas was that leader, however, he has proven over the last two years to be unable to control the Palestinian Authority, and he is therefore incapable of negotiating any agreement that Israelis could expect to be implemented.

The election of Hamas to power further undermined the position of Abbas, and worsened the overall situation of the Palestinians as the international community has withheld most of its financial and political support for the PA unless and until Hamas agrees to recognize Israel, end its campaign of terror and agree to fulfill past agreements signed with Israel. Though Abbas has repeatedly offered to form a unity government with Hamas, and said that it was prepared to meet those conditions, Hamas has adamantly refused to do so.

As recently as September 21, 2006, Abbas told the UN General Assembly that a Hamas-Fatah government would recognize Israel. Hamas denied this, however, and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reiterated his opposition to recognizing Israel’s right to exist and reasserted the Palestinians’ intention to continue their “resistance.” Haniyeh also urged moderate Arab countries not to support U.S. policy just as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was meeting in Egypt with Arab allies in an effort to revive the road map.88

The only way that a unity Palestinian government can become a partner for peace is if the Hamas half of the government effectively ceases to reflect the core values of the organization expressed in its covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

For now, the Palestinians cannot even make peace among themselves. Fatah’s al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades threatened to kill all of Hamas’ leaders, including Haniyeh, and 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 150 were wounded in battles between the rival Palestinian groups.89 In addition to either instigating the violence or being unable to stop it, Abbas has also failed to secure the release of the Israeli soldier still being held by Hamas. None of these developments inspire confidence that an Abbas-led government, unified or not, can advance the peace process.

MYTH

“Saudi Arabia has proposed a new formula for a comprehensive peace.”

FACT

In an effort to jumpstart the peace process, Saudi Arabia has resurrected the idea of negotiating with Israel on the basis of a formula outlined by then Crown Prince Abdullah in 2002. Abdullah’s ideas were revised and adopted by the Arab League as a peace initiative that offered Israel “normal relations” in exchange for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders and resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue.

In response to the renewed discussion of the plan in March 2007, Prime Minister Olmert expressed a willingness to talk about the Saudi initiative. When the plan was brought up a few months earlier, Olmert reportedly met secretly with a member of the Saudi royal family.90 More recently, Israel tried to persuade the Saudis to modify the plan’s position on the refugees to make it more palatable, but the Palestinians objected to any changes.

For the plan to have any chance of serving as a starting point for negotiations, the Saudis and other Arab League members will have to negotiate directly with Israel. In 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would go the Arab League summit to discuss the plan, but he was not invited. The Saudis were also been invited to Jerusalem to discuss their proposal, but they rejected this idea as well.

As it is, this initiative is nothing more than a restatement of the Arab interpretation of UN Resolution 242. The problem is that 242 does not say what the Saudi plan demands of Israel. The resolution calls on Israel to withdraw from territories occupied during the war, not “all” the territories in exchange for peace.

In addition, Resolution 242 also says that every state has the right to live within “secure and recognizable boundaries,” which all military analysts have understood to mean the 1967 borders with modifications to satisfy Israel’s security requirements. Moreover, Israel is under no obligation to withdraw before the Arabs agree to live in peace.

The Arab plan calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. The Israeli government has offered to withdraw from most, if not all of the Golan in exchange for a peace agreement; however, Syrian President Bashar Assad has so far been unwilling to negotiate at all with Israel.

The demand that Israel withdraw from “the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon” is at odds with the UN conclusion that Israel has completely fulfilled its obligation to withdraw from Lebanese territory.

The Arab initiative calls for a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem based on the nonbinding UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Today, the UNRWA says that 4.3. million Palestinians are refugees. The current population of Israel is approximately 7 million, 5 million of whom are Jews. If the Palestinians all returned, the population would exceed 10 million and the proportion of Jews and Palestinian Arabs would be roughly 60-40. Given the higher Arab birth rate, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish state and would de facto become a second Palestinian state (along with the one expected to be created on the West Bank and Gaza Strip). This suicidal formula has been rejected by Israel since the end of the 1948 war and is totally unacceptable to all Israelis today. Israel does, however, recognize a right for all the refugees to live in a future Palestinian state.

Israel has agreed to allow some Palestinian refugees to live in Israel on a humanitarian basis, and as part of family reunification. Thousands have returned already this way. In the past, Israel has repeatedly expressed a willingness to accept as many as 100,000 refugees as part of a resolution of the issue. In fact, one government report said that Israel accepted 140,000 refugees in the decade following the Oslo agreement of 1993.91

The refugee issue was not part of Abdullah’s original proposal and was added at the summit under pressure from other delegations. Also, it is important to note that Resolution 242 says nothing about the Palestinians and the reference to refugees can also be applied to the Jews who fled and were driven from their homes in Arab countries. Another change from Abdullah’s previously stated vision was a retreat from a promise of full normalization of relations with Israel to an even vaguer pledge of “normal relations.”

The Arab demand that Israel accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital has been part of the negotiations since Oslo. Israel’s leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, have accepted the idea of creating a Palestinian state in part of those territories, and Israel has even offered compromises on the status of Jerusalem, but the Palestinians have rejected them all.

It is also worth noting that most of the Arab League nations have no reason not to be at peace with Israel now. Israel holds none of their territory and is more than willing to make peace with the members of the League. Several members of the League had already begun to normalize relations with Israel before the latest outbreak of violence, and their principal critic was Saudi Arabia.

MYTH

“A report proves Israeli settlements are built on Palestinian land.”

FACT

A report disseminated by Peace Now charged that “Palestinians privately own nearly 40% of the land on which the settlements have been built.”92 This sensational allegation, however, is not supported by any evidence and was subsequently undermined by data released by the government. The Peace Now study stated as fact data that it admitted was leaked to the organization by a government official. When asked to produce any of the data to backup the claims, the coauthor of the study said he could not do so and that it was up to the Israeli government to release the information. The result is that the organization has put an inflammatory allegation out before the public without presenting any documentation to back it up.

Without giving readers any information to evaluate the report’s accuracy and reliability, it is impossible to verify the conclusions. If the data was made available, it is likely that arguments would be made about the ownership of the land. As Steve Erlanger noted in the New York Times, “The definitions of private and state land are complicated, given different administrations of the West Bank going back to the Ottoman Empire, the British mandate, Jordan and now Israel. During the Ottoman Empire, only small areas of the West Bank were registered to specific owners, and often villagers would hold land in common to avoid taxes. The British began a more formal land registry based on land use, taxation or house ownership that continued through the Jordanian period.”93

Palestinians can and often do challenge Israeli land seizures in court. In fact, the Peace Now report reviews the case of Elon More in which Palestinians petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice and the justices prevented private land from being seized for the establishment of a settlement. Often, however, the Palestinians cannot prove ownership of land they claim. Moreover, while Peace Now makes a distinction, the Palestinians do not see any difference between the West Bank and Israel proper, which they also claim was stolen and belongs to them.

The Civil Administration, from which the data was leaked, also challenged the report’s accuracy, noting that much of the land believed to be privately held was actually state land. The government agency also said it carries out “an in-depth reexamination of the status of the land in order to ensure that no harm comes to or use is made of privately held Palestinian land for the needs of Israeli settlement.”94

Not surprisingly, the Times put the incendiary story on the front page, but, as has become typical of the “Paper of Record’s” shabby reporting, Erlanger failed to verify the information. He said only that the paper “spoke to the person who received it from the Civil Administration official.” So Erlanger did not see the original documents and did not get a second source, as journalistic ethics require, to verify unsubstantiated claims put out by a partisan organization.

Several months later, the government released data that cast the entire Peace Now report in doubt. One of the findings the original report sensationalized was that 86 percent of the largest Israeli community in the West Bank, Ma’ale Adumim, was built on private Palestinian land. The government data, however, showed that only 0.5 percent of the settlement is on private land. The response of the Peace Now study’s author was to blame the military for not releasing the data earlier.94a

At one level, the accuracy of the report is irrelevant. The authors’ primary interest was in tarring the Israeli government, and that goal was aided by the Times, which cooperated by publishing the story in advance of the report’s official release, before anyone could respond and without checking its veracity. Furthermore, even if the data would have shown that 100% of the land belonged to Jews, it would not have mattered because Peace Now believes, despite nearly 60 years of evidence to the contrary (including the recent disengagement from Gaza), that settlements are the obstacle to peace.

Every Israeli wants “peace now,” but it will not be achieved by trying to embarrass the government. Even if data is eventually released to substantiate some or all of the claims in the Peace Now report, it will not change the dynamics of the region; Hamas, Hizballah and Iran will be no more likely to accept a Jewish state in the Middle East. It will not even have much impact on the settlements as the tens of thousands of Jews living in the larger consensus settlements such as Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel, whose land is alleged to belong in part to Palestinians, will not be evacuated. If Palestinian claims could be proven, at worst, Israel would be expected to compensate the landowners, as it has in the past, and it will deservedly receive a black eye. Most people, however, will also understand that the situation that exists in the West Bank has always been first and foremost the result of the decision of Jordan to attack Israel in 1967 and has persisted because of the refusal of any Palestinian leader to trade peace for land.

“It's easy enough for global leaders to issue flowery appeals for action on the Middle East or to imply that progress would be possible if only the United States used its leverage with Israel. The stubborn reality is that there can be no movement toward peace until a Palestinian leadership appears that is ready to accept a two-state soluiton.”

— Editorial, Washington Post 95


MYTH

“The overwhelming majority of casualties in the war with Hizballah were civilians.”

FACT

Throughout the 2006 war with Hizballah, the media reported casualty totals offered by Lebanese officials as facts with no apparent effort to verify them. When the number of Hizballah terrorists killed was mentioned at all, it was invariably with a qualifier such as “Israel says” or “Israel claims.” The evidence suggests, however, that it is likely that half or more of the casualties were not innocent civilians, but Hizballah fighters.

According to Lebanon’s Higher Relief Council, the total number of Lebanese who died in the war was 1,191.96 No distinctions are made between civilians and terrorists. Press reports usually ignored the fact that it was in Hizballah and the Lebanese government’s interest to exaggerate the number of civilian casualties to blacken the image of Israel and support their contention that Israeli attacks were disproportionate and indiscriminate. Simultaneously, Hizballah sought to conceal its casualties to enhance its prestige and make propagandistic claims about the damage it was inflicting on Israel while suffering few losses of its own.

The truth did dribble out, though it was largely ignored. For example, the Daily Telegraph reported: “Lebanese officials estimate that up to 500 fighters have been killed in the past three weeks of hostilities with Israel, and another 1,500 injured. Lebanese officials have also disclosed that many of Hizballah’s wounded are being treated in hospitals in Syria to conceal the true extent of the casualties. ‘Hizballah is desperate to conceal its casualties because it wants to give the impression that it is winning its war,’ said a senior security official. ‘People might reach a very different conclusion if they knew the true extent of Hizballah’s casualties.’”97 The Kuwait Times quoted a report that said Hizballah “buried more than 700 fighters so far, with many more to go.”98 Military expert John Keegan said Hizballah losses might have been as high as 1,000 out of a total strength of 5,000.99

These sources are consistent with information provided by Israel. Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, a former senior officer in Israeli military intelligence, said “Israel identified 440 dead guerillas by name and address, and experience shows that Israeli figures are half to two-thirds of the enemy’s real casualties. Therefore, Amidror estimated, Hizballah’s real death toll might be as high as 700.”100 A subsequent report three weeks later said that Israel had identified the names of 532 dead Hizballah terrorists and estimated at least 200 others had been killed.101

These reports suggest that at a minimum, roughly half the casualties in the war were combatants. It is more likely the figure approaches 60 percent, which would mean the majority of dead were terrorists. This reinforces the Israeli position that it did indeed inflict heavy losses on Hizballah and that the civilian casualties were not a result of deliberate or indiscriminate attacks. Tragically, many civilians were killed, but as Israel has also shown, many of them died because they were used as human shields. Of course, there would have been zero casualties if Hizballah had not attacked Israel and kidnaped its soldiers (who have still not been returned or visited by the Red Cross).

“The major difficulty is that the Palestinians don't accept Israel's right to exist.”

— British Prime Minister Tony Blair102



“What is urgently needed is decisive steps by the U.S. and its allies to counter the extremists and to force them to pay a price for their aggression. Passage of a UN sanctions resolution against Iran cannot be put off any longer. The Security Council should also be prodded to investigate whether Damascus has respected its resolutions calling for Hizballah's disarmament and an end to Syrian weapons trafficking. ‘Realism’ in the Middle East means understanding that Syria and Iran won't stop waging war against the U.S. and its allies unless they are given reasons to fear they might lose.”

— Washington Post editorial 103



“We offered the Syrians peace four times, including withdrawing from the Golan Heights, and it didn’t happen four times. It's true that this was during the days of his father Hafez, but now he has to prove that this is what he wants. A statesman is examined according to his deeds, not according to his declarations.”

— Shimon Peres104


MYTH

“Abbas is helpless to stop the terrorists.”

FACT

The media has helped create the misperception that the Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot dismantle the terrorist network in its midst because of the strength and popularity of the radical Islamic Palestinian terrorist groups.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not huge armed forces. Together, the armed wings of both organizations total fewer than 5,000 men. By contrast, the PA has 45,000 people in a variety of police, intelligence, and security forces.105 Not only does the PA have overwhelming superiority of manpower and firepower, it also has the intelligence assets to find most, if not all of the terrorists.

Given the disparity of forces, the Jerusalem Post’s Palestinian affairs correspondent, Khaled Abu Toameh, asked “Why then, doesn’t [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas simply order thousands of his policemen to deploy along the border with Israel to halt the Kassam attacks? How come he hasn’t even made the slightest effort to stop the smuggling of tons of explosives from Egypt into the Gaza Strip?”106

Toameh answers the questions himself. “Abbas lacks the will — not the ability — to take harsh decisions. In fact, he appears comfortable with the image of a weak leader low on funds and resources.”

Despite the suffering the terrorists have brought them, the Palestinian public has not called for an end to the violence. No equivalent to Israel’s Peace Now movement has emerged.

Still, on an individual basis, it is possible for Palestinians to say no to terror. When the suicide bombing recruiter phoned the wife of former Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi to ask if her son was available for an operation, she turned him down.107

In other countries, including Israel (where they helped prompt a withdrawal from Lebanon), mothers have often helped stimulate positive change. When enough Palestinian mothers stand up to the terror recruiters, and to their political leaders, and say that they will no longer allow their children to be used as bombs, the prospects for peace will improve. So long as they prefer their children to be martyrs rather than doctors, bombers rather than scholars, and murderers rather than lawyers, the violence will persist, young Palestinians will continue to die needlessly and peace will remain a dream.

MYTH

“Israel is obstructing progress toward a Palestinian state.”

FACT

Newspaper headlines in mid-January 2007 said it all: “Palestinian Opposes Provisional State” (New York Times, January 14) and “Abbas Rejects ‘Temporary Borders’ for Palestine” (Washington Post, January15). Israel once again offered to move the peace process forward and advanced ideas to allow the Palestinians to achieve independence before the thorniest issues are resolved, but Mahmoud Abbas, following in the footsteps of his mentor Yasser Arafat, chose to prove again the Palestinian penchant for never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Abbas not only rejected the chance for peace and interim statehood, he declared his continued support for violence against Israel. Speaking at the 42nd anniversary of the founding of Fatah on January 11, 2007, in Ramallah, Abbas said, “Let a thousand flowers bloom, and let our rifles, all our rifles, all our rifles, be aimed at the Occupation.” Paying tribute to Arafat, Abbas continued, “I say to the master of the martyrs your sons will continue your march. I say to you, your lion cubs will continue this struggle, this battle until a Palestinian state is established on the land of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Abbas also used the type of anti-Semitic rhetoric normally associated with Hamas. While criticizing Israeli counter-terror operations, he said, “The sons of Israel are mentioned as those who are corrupting humanity on earth.”108

At the very moment when the United States, Israel and Europe are trying to strengthen his position against Hamas in the belief that he will act to stop terror, Abbas was condoning attacks against Israel. Just days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived to ask him to fulfill his commitments under the road map for peace, Abbas announced he supported the very actions the road map calls for him to stop. This is the familiar tactic of Palestinians who pretend to be moderates in English for the Western press and then express their true feelings in Arabic to the Palestinian public.

The priority for Abbas today is not peace or improving the lives of the Palestinian people that he is responsible for as president of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas is now just trying to survive. To do so, he must unify the factions fighting for dominance. Since he is unwilling to confront his opponents militarily, he hopes to cajole them to cease their mutiny against him by playing the Israel card. He is asking for unity to fight against their common enemy – Israel. Simultaneously, he seeks the means to stay in power from the West by presenting himself as the only alternative to Hamas. And it is working because he is being armed and financed even as he continues to allow the attacks against Israel to continue.

The Palestinians’ latest rejection of an offer for statehood can now be added to the long list of missed opportunities starting as far back as 1937. Will the Palestinian people ever choose a leader who will put their interests first and choose prosperity over power, peace over violence and the future over the past?

MYTH

“Israeli Arabs are unpatriotic.”

FACT

While Jimmy Carter and other critics of Israel attempt to paint the country as intolerant and discriminatory toward Arabs based on their ill-informed and distorted views of both the past and present, Israeli Arabs themselves have a very high opinion of their country. According to a new poll released in January 2007109, 82 percent of Israeli Arabs said it is “better to be a citizen of my country than others.” By comparison, 90 percent of Americans agreed with the statement and 88 percent of Israeli Jews.

In addition, 77 percent of Israeli Arabs agreed “my country is better than others,” which was only slightly less than the 83 percent of Australians and 79 percent of Canadians and Americans who felt the same way. Interestingly, the figure for Israeli Arabs was 11 points higher than that for Jews.

While almost everyone in the survey from Ireland and the United States said they were proud to be a citizen of their country, 83 percent of Israeli Jews said they were proud and 44 percent of Israeli Arabs. Another 27 percent of Israeli Arabs said they were willing to fight for their country, an increase from 22 percent in 2000. While still well below the overwhelming 94 percent of Israeli Jews who are prepared to fight (Finland was second with 83 percent and the U.S. third with 63 percent), it is significant that more than one-quarter of Israeli Arabs, who are exempt from military service, are still prepared to defend their nation.

Analyzing the survey data it is clear why Israeli Arabs are adamant about remaining citizens of Israel and express no desire to be part of a Palestinian state. The results also illustrate why Palestinian Arabs in the territories express a high regard for Israel in polls. They see how their fellow Arabs are treated and the type of society Israel has built and wish to emulate it.

It is too bad the Jimmy Carters of the world do not see Israel the way its citizens – Jewish and non-Jewish – view their nation. If they did, they’d recognize that Israeli society can serve as a model, albeit an imperfect one, for the values they espouse.

MYTH

“Women are not recruited to become suicide bombers.”

FACT

In the perverse world of Islamic fanaticism, women who become suicide bombers are viewed as noble and heroic feminists acting out the collective desire of Muslim women to defeat the enemies of Islam. These women, however, are usually pawns of psychotic men who do not have the courage to kill themselves and who instead prey on the vulnerabilities of women who have often already been victimized by the norms of Muslim society.

Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin ruled that women should not become suicide bombers because it was more important for them to “ensure the nation’s existence” by reproducing. He nevertheless approved suicide actions by women who stained their family honor. In one case, for example, a married mother of two small children requested Yassin’s permission to carry out an attack after her relationship with a lover became known.

The first female suicide bomber was Wafa Idris, who blew herself up in Jerusalem on January 27, 2002. Idris was 25 years-old and had been divorced after failing to have children. “Her status as a divorced and barren woman, and her return as a dependent to her parents’ home where she became an economic burden, put her in what is a dead end situation in a patriarchal society,” explained Ben-Gurion University Professor Mira Tzoreff.110 Idris believed the way out of her inferior status was by becoming a martyr.

Roughly 70 women have followed in her footsteps, though only eight succeeded in blowing themselves up. These are not uneducated women; more than one-fifth, for example, had more than a high school education.111 Tzoreff notes that women who are childless, divorced, and “unbetrothable” are targets of recruiters. Some younger women are seduced by terrorists and then are blackmailed if they become pregnant. Those who do not become pregnant are still viewed as having shamed themselves and their families by having violated the society’s norms regarding modesty. They are then offered the opportunity to redeem themselves by dying for the terrorists’ cause.

It is not only the young, however, who can be turned into murderers. In what the National Post called a “new low,” even by the standards of Palestinian terrorists, a woman thought to be over 60 with more than 40 grandchildren was recruited by Hamas to attack Israeli soldiers in Gaza. The Post editorialized that the good news was that the woman didn’t kill anyone but herself, but the bad news was that “there are Muslims on this earth who think Allah wants them to turn grandmothers into walking bombs.”112

MYTH

“Palestinian terrorist groups are committed to a cease-fire.”

FACT

In November 2006, Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza announced a cease-fire following an agreement reached between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian factions. As part of the agreement the Palestinians had agreed to stop Qassam rocket fire, suicide bombings and the digging of tunnels.113

Despite the cease-fire, Qassam rockets continue to be launched frequently into Israeli territory and tunnels are dug along the border with Egypt. Such a tunnel provided the opportunity to conduct a deadly suicide bombing attack in Eilat on January 29, 2007 , which took the life of three innocent people.

Two Palestinian groups, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (the military wing of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction), claimed joint responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the ruling Hamas movement praised the bombing, a sentiment echoed by a senior Islamic Jihad leader, who called the attack “a natural response to the continued crimes by the Zionist enemy.” According to Israel Radio, Abbas condemned the suicide bombing, adding that he was opposed to all attacks that harm civilians.114 Such condemnations were criticized in the past by militants within its own party.115

This latest attack and the Palestinian response follows an all too familiar pattern. The PA proclaims a cease-fire and the leadership presents itself as a force of moderation. Simultaneously, those same leaders either look the other way or actively encourage terrorist attacks. Once an atrocity occurs, some Palestinians condemn the attacks, including those who have the power to prevent them, and others openly praise them.

The implication for Israel is clear: Palestinian leaders cannot be trusted to keep agreements or to prevent violence. And it should come as no surprise given the long history of such behavior, which is also reflected in the actions of the Palestinians among themselves. Fatah and Hamas agreed to stop fighting each other after weeks of bloody clashes, but the internal truce was almost immediately broken and the groups continue to engage in a civil war.

MYTH
“Israel is damaging the Temple Mount and threatening Islamic shrines.”

FACT
“We denounce this blatant act of provocation and the complete disregard for the sanctity of the holy mosque. This act will ignite the feelings of Muslims all over the world and is in fact a retrogressive step in the efforts to achieve peace in the region.”116 This statement from the Malaysian Foreign Minister refers to the Israeli excavation and plan for construction at the site of the Mugrabi ramp in the Old City of Jerusalem and serves as a call to action and incitement rather than as a warning of a concerned observer.

In February 2004, the Mugrabi ramp, which provided access to the Temple Mount, collapsed as a result of numerous natural disasters. The Jerusalem Municipal Authority approved the building of a permanent bridge to replace the wooden structure that was built as a temporary entry. The commencement of an archeological dig, required by law to salvage any artifacts in the area before construction begins, has been met with outrage and violence from the Islamic world, which claims that Israel’s actions are meant to destroy Islam’s third holiest site to replace it with the Third Temple.

A four-member team from UNESCO found that the construction and excavation at the Mugrabi ramp site, located 50 yards from the Temple Mount, was being conducted with complete transparency and poses no danger to the Temple Mount or to the Al-Aksa mosque.116a Israel has a record of safeguarding the holy places of Christians and Muslims and has no interest in the destruction of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. In contrast, the Muslim Waqf, which has been in control of the Temple Mount since 1967, banned the Israel Antiquities Authority from the area in 2000 to conduct illegal construction on an underground mosque. In the process, the Waqf dumped 13,000 tons of dirt containing artifacts from the First and Second Temple period in Municipal garbage dumps, rendering many of the ruins useless.

Muslim leaders are expressing outrage over the excavation and construction in an effort to unite the Palestinians against Israel and to distract from internal Palestinian factional tensions. The Palestinians have a long history of using false accusations of Jewish threats to Muslim holy sites to rally the Muslim population, going as far back as the riots of the 1920’s. Riots today echo the Western Wall tunnel riots of 1996 when Israel was also falsely accused of endangering Muslim shrines by opening an additional exit to the already existing tunnels. The tunnel exit was a significant distance from any Muslim holy places and posed no danger whatsover to the Temple Mount. The exit actually facilitated the use of the tunnels and helped make them a popular archeological park.117

The media and international organizations have served to perpetuate these false accusations by reporting on conflicting “claims” rather than by accurately reporting the facts, which contradict the rumors.

MYTH
“Palestinians are moderating their views toward Israel.”

FACT
It is often suggested that the Palestinians have moderated their views toward Israel. When it is pointed out that groups such as Hamas (a partner in the Palestinian Authority government) openly advocate the destruction of Israel, as the group’s spokesman did on March 12, 2007,118 their position is often dismissed as mere rhetoric. The Palestinian people, we are told, are prepared to live in peace with Israel. Surveys of Palestinian public opinion, however, consistently present a very different picture. Large majorities of Palestinians repeatedly tell pollsters they support terror and oppose a two-state solution. In February 2007, for example, Near East Consulting (NEC)119 found that 70% of Palestinians support a one-state solution and 75% said Israel is not a peace partner. Though 70% did support a peace settlement with Israel, 75% said Israel has no right to exist and another 51% agreed that Hamas should maintain its position on the elimination of Israel.

Even more alarming are the signs that young Palestinians are more militant than their elders. On the question of whether Hamas should continue to seek the elimination of Israel, for example, 66% of Palestinians 18-21 agreed and an overwhelming majority of 90% said Israel has no right to exist.

Given the steady diet of anti-Israel propaganda in the Palestinian Authority media and educational system, these results are not surprising and reinforce Israel’s longstanding view that incitement through those channels is having a significant negative impact on Palestinian attitudes toward Jews and Israel and hurting the prospects for peace. These results are sobering for anyone who believes that Israeli concessions will end the conflict or that a new generation of Palestinian leaders will be any more willing to accept Israel than their predecessors.

MYTH
“The Arab peace initiative reflects the Arab states’ acceptance of Israel.”

FACT
Imagine if one day someone who has always despised you let it be known through a third party that they were willing to be your friend. But first you had to meet some conditions and, if you didn’t, your enemy would try to kill you. How seriously would you take your adversary’s offer of friendship?

This is similar to the position Israel finds itself in following the Arab League’s reiteration of its “peace plan.” Israel has made clear that it is prepared to negotiate with the Arab states on the basis of the plan, but that many of their demands, such as the withdrawal from all territory captured in 1967 and the acceptance of a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, are unacceptable.

If the Arab proponents of the plan were sincere, the response should be that they are prepared to sit down with Israel’s leaders and discuss how to overcome the disagreements. But this has not been the Arab response. Rather than accept an Israeli invitation to come to Jerusalem to negotiate or exploit the willingness of Israel’s leaders to go to an Arab capital for talks, the Arabs have told Israel it must accept the plan or face the threat of war. Here are a few examples:

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, said: “If Israel refuses, that means it doesn’t want peace and it places everything back into the hands of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but in the hands of the lords of war.”120

The Syrian information minister, Muhsen Bilal, declared: “If Israel rejects the Arab League peace proposal, resistance will be the only way to liberate the Golan Heights.”121

The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdulrahman al-Attiya said that Israel should respond expeditiously to the Arab peace initiative because the Arabs are in no mood to wait interminably.122

Make peace on our terms or else. Is this the rhetoric you would expect from leaders who have moderated their views and want to seek an accommodation with Israel?

Peace plans are not worth the paper they are printed on if the proponents continue to talk about war and pursue policies such as supporting terrorists, arming radical Muslims, inciting their populations with anti-Semitic propaganda and enforcing boycotts that promote conflict. Progress toward real peace requires the Arab states to show by words and deeds that they are committed to finding a formula for coexisting with Israel. The only ultimatum should be that if the first efforts to reach an understanding do not succeed, they will try and try again.

MYTH
“Israel is denying health care to Palestinians.”

FACT
The Palestinian Authority’s ongoing inability and unwillingness to prevent terror attacks against Israel has required the imposition of security measures to prevent most Palestinians from entering the country. Still, Israel has remained open to Palestinians in need of medical assistance.

Contrary to frequent Palestinian claims that Israel prevents Arabs from obtaining health care, the Civil Administration in the West Bank receives and grants thousands of requests by Palestinians to visit Israeli hospitals where they are treated by some of the finest medical professionals in the world. In 2006 alone, 81,000 Palestinians were given permits to enter Israel for health reasons, an increase of 61 percent from 2005. According to the Health Coordinator responsible for responding to requests, 90 percent of the applications for permits are approved.123

In addition to providing direct care to Palestinians from the territories, Israel is also training Palestinian health care workers. Courses have been offered since 2000 and since then 200 Palestinians have taken part, including Marwan Baqer, who heads of team of ambulance workers in Gaza. Baqer was invited to participate in a course in emergency medicine. “It is excellent that people from the Palestinian territories come to participate in an Israeli course.” He added that when he returned to Gaza he would say he “learned something good.”

One of the Israeli physicians on the board of Physicians for Human Rights’, the group sponsoring the course, observed, “We have a common enemy – disease.”124

Israel is committed to providing health care for anyone in need, including not only Palestinians but sometimes Arabs from countries still at war with Israel. This concern for the individual, and willingness to cooperate with Palestinians in the field of medicine, offers hope that Israelis and Palestinians will find more common ground in the future.

MYTH
“The Hamas takeover of Gaza poses no threat to Christians.”

FACT
On June 14, 2007, the Rosary Sisters School and Latin Church in the Gaza Strip were ransacked, burned and looted by Hamas gunmen who used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the buildings. Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the Latin community in Gaza, expressed outrage that copies of the Bible were burned, crosses destroyed and computers and other equipment stolen.125

“I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza. The application of Islamic law, he said, includes a prohibition on alcohol and a requirement that women be covered at all times while in public.126

Critics of Israel who express concern for Christians, such as former president Jimmy Carter and columnist Robert Novak, have consistently ignored the persistent discrimination and abuse of Christians by Muslims throughout the Middle East and especially by Palestinian Muslims. It is therefore not surprising that they are once again silent as Christians come under attack in the Gaza Strip as Hamas begins to impose its extreme Islamic views on all the people now living under its control.

The Christian position throughout the territories has always been precarious, which is why most have fled the Palestinian Authority. In Gaza only about 2,000 Christians live among more than one million Muslims and they are now seeking international protection and many are planning to leave.

MYTH

“Lebanon has abided by UN Resolution 1701 and poses no direct threat to Israel.”
FACT

On August 11, 2006, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1701 in response to the Israel-Hizballah war. The resolution called upon the Lebanese government “to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms and related materials.”

In May 2007, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon established the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team (LIBAT) to evaluate Lebanon’s compliance with Resolution 1701. The committee concluded that “The performance of the (Lebanese inspection) agencies in stopping ongoing arms smuggling, which is generally accepted as a fact, can only be described as not up to what can be expected.”127

The committee discovered widespread corruption amongst Lebanese border police and described the ease by which missiles and militants can sneak across the Syrian-Lebanese border. The report illustrated the United Nations’ skepticism of Lebanese attempts to end the flow of illegal arms into Lebanon when it said “one would have expected that an occasional seizure of arms…would have taken place. If by nothing else, then by pure chance. This lack of performance is worrying.”128

Lebanon’s failure to implement Resolution 1701 poses a direct threat to Israel and to Lebanese stability. Since last summer’s war, large amounts of weapons (including rockets capable of striking as far south as Tel Aviv and southern Israel), have been smuggled into Lebanon from Syria and Iran. Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has declared openly that Hizballah will not disarm so long as Israel remains a threat. He also claims to have tens of thousands of rockets ready to fire at Israel (Israeli military estimates place the number at 20,000).129 The smuggling and stockpiling of weapons by Hebollah, with the complicity of Lebanese border officials, also threatens the pro-Western Lebanese government. If the UN does not take steps to insure the implementation of its resolution, the risk of renewed violence between Israel and Hizballah will grow, as will the possibility of a takeover of Lebanon by Hizballah.

MYTH

“Israel is once again expelling Arabs from Palestine.”
FACT

Palestinians are fleeing in droves of their own volition. Israel is not forcing any of them to leave.

Today, Palestinians have the opportunity to build the infrastructure of a democratic state in the Palestinian Authority. They control all of the Gaza Strip and the population centers of the West Bank, but have squandered the chance by engaging in fratricide and terror. Palestinians are voting with their feet, however, and tens of thousands have left, or are now trying to emigrate. According to Palestinian sources, as many as 80,000 people have departed the territories since the Palestinian War began in September 2000, and a study by Bir Zeit University found that 32 percent of Palestinians, and 44 percent of young Palestinians, would emigrate if they could.130

Undoubtedly, Israel’s measures to curtail terrorism – roadblocks, military operations, closures – have created hardships for Palestinians, but this does not explain why so many people would abandon their homeland. In fact, many Palestinians have moved to Israel because they would rather live in a democracy than a theocratic mobocracy. This is especially true for Arabs living near Jerusalem who have chosen the “hell in Jerusalem over paradise in the PA.”131

Palestinian officials have become so alarmed that the PA’s mufti issued a fatwa [religious decree] forbidding Muslims to leave.132

MYTH

“The ‘occupation’ has sapped Israel's morale as reflected by the decline in Israelis willing to serve in the IDF.”
FACT

The Israeli government released figures showing that 25 percent of potential male draftees do not serve in the Israel Defense Forces. This reflects an increase from 12.1 percent in 1980. As political scientist Stuart Cohen noted, however, these figures are misleading and do not reflect the ongoing commitment to service of Israel’s youth.133

The principal reason the number of draftees has declined, Cohen relates, is that the number of ultra-Orthodox males granted deferments has grown dramatically, as this population nearly tripled from 3.7 percent of all potential recruits to 11 percent. Of the remaining 14 percent of non-Orthodox Jews, 9 percent either reside abroad or are rejected because they have a criminal record or are physically incapable of serving. This means that the percentage of Israeli “draft dodgers” who actively seek to avoid service for any reason is only 5 percent.

It is more striking that the overwhelming majority of Israelis serve their country despite often having to carry out unpleasant duties. In wartime, moreover, Israelis respond to the call to service in even greater numbers than required. For example, in 2002, during the Palestinian War, more than 100 percent of the reserves showed up to join their units during Operation Defensive Shield, which means many who had been excused reported for duty,. The same phenomenon occurred in the 2006 war with Hizballah, where certain units were ready to be operational in less than 24 hours and soldiers who were not called up volunteered to defend their country.

MYTH

“Israel has nothing to fear from a nuclear Iran.”
FACT

Some argue Iran would never launch a nuclear attack against Israel because no Muslim leader would risk an Israeli counterstrike that might destroy them. This theory doesn’t hold up, however, if the Iranian leaders believe there will be destruction anyway at the end of time. What matters, Bernard Lewis observed, is that infidels go to hell and believers go to heaven. Lewis quotes a passage from Ayatollah Khomeini cited in an 11th grade Iranian schoolbook, “I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against the whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all of them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom, which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another’s hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.”134

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, believes the most important task of the Iranian Revolution was to prepare the way for the return of the Twelfth Imam, who disappeared in 874, bringing an end to Muhammad’s lineage. This imam, the Mahdi or “divinely guided one,” Shiites believe, will return in an apocalyptic battle in which the forces of righteousness will defeat the forces of evil and bring about a new era in which Shi’a Islam ultimately becomes the dominant religion throughout the world. The Shiites have been waiting patiently for the Twelfth Imam for more than a thousand years, but Ahmadinejad may believe he can now hasten the return through a nuclear war. It is this apocalyptic world view, Lewis notes, that distinguishes Iran from other governments with nuclear weapons.

There are those who think that Iran would never use such weapons against Israel because innocent Muslims would be killed as well, but Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad’s predecessor, explicitly said he wasn’t concerned about fallout from an attack on Israel. “If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession,” he said, “the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” As one Iranian commentator noted, Rafsanjani apparently wasn't concerned that the destruction of the Jewish State would also result in the mass murder of Palestinians as well.135

Iran will not have to use nuclear weapons to influence events in the region. By possessing a nuclear capability, the Iranians can deter Israel or any other nation from attacking Iran or its allies. When Hizballah attacked Israel in 2006, for example, a nuclear Iran could have threatened retaliation against Tel Aviv if Israeli forces bombed Beirut. The mere threat of using nuclear weapons would be sufficient to drive Israelis into shelters and could cripple the economy. Will immigrants want to come to a country that lives in the shadow of annihilation? Will companies want to do business under those conditions? Will Israelis be willing to live under a nuclear cloud?

If you were the prime minister of Israel, could you afford to take the risk of allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons?

MYTH

“Israel’s presumed nuclear capability is stoking an arms race.”
FACT

Israel is widely believed to have developed a nuclear weapon in the late 1960s. Despite U.S. fears at the time that this would provoke a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, this did not happen. Now, however, it appears many nations are interested in pursuing a nuclear capability, but it is in response to what they see as the danger posed by Iran’s nuclear program, not Israel’s.

The only Muslim nation that currently has a nuclear capability is Pakistan. The decision by Pakistan to build the “Islamic bomb” had nothing to do with Israel; it was a response to the development of the bomb by its neighbor and rival India.

Iran began its secret development of nuclear weapons nearly two decades ago, but that decision was also unrelated to Israel. Iran’s principal concern was to counterbalance what Iranians viewed as the dangerous nuclear ambitions of their rival in Baghdad. Israel had long been Iran’s ally and even the paranoid mullahs in Tehran knew Israel had no hostile intentions toward the Islamic Republic. Iran is now determined to build a bomb to achieve regional domination over the Arab states.

The focus on the belligerent rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has led many to wrongly assume that he is the driving force behind the Iranian nuclear effort, but the program was initiated long before his election. For Iranians, the drive for a bomb is a function of their nationalistic belief that they have just as much right to nuclear weapons as any other nation, so it is a mistake to believe that a difference of opinion exists between pro-Western Iranians in the opposition and the Islamists currently in power.

Some Arab leaders, notably Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, may have believed that the only way they could ultimately achieve their goal of destroying Israel, given their belief in Israel’s nuclear arsenal, was to have bombs of their own, but neither leader seemed primarily motivated by Israel’s capability. Hussein knew he had little to fear from Israel and was more interested in developing a weapon that would give him an advantage over Iran and help establish Iraq as a regional power. The same is true for Libya, which was for many years interested in a nuclear weapon because its megalomaniacal leader believed it would make his country a superpower.

In recent months, as tensions with Iran have escalated, several Arab countries suddenly announced their interest in nuclear power. Like the Iranians, they all publicly claim their interest is solely in the peaceful purpose of electrical generation. After more than 30 years of living with Israel’s assumed arsenal, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia did not suddenly decide they needed nuclear energy.136 Since Jordan and Egypt have peace treaties with Israel and the other Arab states have no dispute with Israel, their motivation is more likely to have come from the fear of a nuclear Iran.

If Iran’s nuclear program is not stopped, it is clear the arms race in the Middle East will be on and the proliferation of nuclear weapons will become a far more serious danger.

MYTH

“Iran’s nuclear program threatens only Israel.”
FACT

Israel is not alone in its concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In fact, the nations most worried about Iran are its immediate neighbors who have no doubts about the hegemonic ambitions of the radical Islamists in Tehran.

Former Bahraini army chief of staff Sheikh Maj.-Gen. Khalifa ibn Ahmad al-Khalifa said Iran stirs trouble in many Gulf nations. “[Iran] is like an octopus – it is rummaging around in Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Gaza and Bahrain,” al-Khalifa proclaimed.136a The Crown Prince of Bahrain was the first Gulf leader to explicitly accuse Iran of lying about its weapons program. “While they don’t have the bomb yet, they are developing it, or the capability for it,” Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa said.137

At least 12 Arab countries have either announced new plans to explore atomic energy or revived pre-existing nuclear programs between February 2006 and January 2007 (Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, & the GCC) in response to Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report released by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

The trend continued in 2008 as many Middle Eastern countries sought to strengthen their nuclear cooperation with other Western nations, such as the United States, Russia and France. Both Saudi Arabia and UAE signed nuclear cooperation accords with the United States, and Russia and Egypt have laid the groundwork for Russia to join a tender for Egypt’s first civilian nuclear power station.

Kuwait, Bahrain, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan announced plans to build nuclear plants as well. Even Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world announced plans to purchase a nuclear reactor.

Iran’s neighbors have good reason to worry.

In October 2007, a senior Iranian general said that suicide bombers were ready to strike at targets throughout the Gulf “if necessary.” The threat was aimed at Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Earlier in 2007, a close associate of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad resurrected an old claim on Bahrain as Iran’s 14th province, which Bahrain’s foreign minister said “touched on the legitimacy of our country.” The effect of Iran’s saber rattling, Giles Whittell wrote, “is especially chilling in Bahrain as the only Sunni-led country with a Shia majority that is not at war or on the brink of war.”138

European leaders also clearly see Iran as a threat to their interests. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said, for example, “Iran is trying to acquire a nuclear bomb. I say to the French, it’s unacceptable.” France has indeed recently signed a nuclear framework agreement with the UAE.

Similarly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated, “I’m emphatically in favor of solving the problem through negotiations, but we also need to be ready to impose further sanctions if Iran does not give ground.”139

Great Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown proclaimed, “We are absolutely clear that we are ready, and will push for, further sanctions against Iran....We will work through the United Nations to achieve this. We are prepared also to have tougher European sanctions. We want to make it clear that we do not support the nuclear ambitions of that country.”140

President George W. Bush has been even more emphatic, “I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”141

“But the true realism is that Iran is a menace — potentially a great one — and that its Revolutionary Guard is engaged in the dirty business of killing Americans and others. The fact that the Bush administration says so does not make it otherwise. The Senate's resolution [to label the al-Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization] was a necessary step toward tightening sanctions on Iran — a way to avoid war, not the overture to one.”

— Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen 142


The international concern that has prompted a series of UN resolutions and ongoing condemnation of Iranian behavior has nothing to do with Israel. Most of the world understands that a nuclear Iran poses a direct threat to countries inside and outside the Middle East, raises the specter of nuclear terrorism, increases the prospects for regional instability, and promote proliferation. Israel’s detractors, such as professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, portray Israel and the “Israeli lobby” as campaigning for military action against Iran. In fact, Israel and its supporters have been the most outspoken in their desire to see tough measures implemented to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program to avoid war.

MYTH

“No state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity.”
FACT

Just as the parties were preparing for peace talks in Annapolis, the Palestine Authority’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This latest effort by a Palestinian official to delegitimize Israel was accompanied by Erekat’s startling statement that “no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity.”143

Apparently Erekat has not read the draft constitution for the future state he envisions in Palestine or the PA’s Basic Law, which declare Islam the state religion of Palestine. He also conveniently overlooks the following nations that have established Islam as their state religion: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates.

Nations with predominantly Muslim populations are not the only ones to link their national and religious identity. These nations constitutionally recognize Christianity or Catholicism as their state religion: Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Norway and the United Kingdom. Bhutan and Cambodia are officially Buddhist nations.144

Israel has no official state religion. Freedom of worship is guaranteed to all. It is, however, the homeland of the Jewish people and was established and recognized internationally as a Jewish state by the United Nations in the partition resolution.

MYTH

“Arab participation in the Annapolis conference signaled a new attitude toward Israel.”
FACT

As most analysts expected, no substantive agreements came out of the conference convened by the United States in Annapolis, MD, on November 27, 2007, to discuss Arab-Israeli peace. Optimists did hope, however, that by attending the conference Arab states might finally signal their recognition of Israel and begin a process of normalizing relations. That, too, did not happen. Instead, most Arab participants reinforced their rejectionist policies and demonstrated that simply gathering around a conference table will not make them less intransigent.

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, reiterated Israel’s interest in a two-state solution with the Palestinians and in peace with the entire Arab world. She also talked about Israel’s willingness to compromise:

We are not trying to establish facts on the ground through settlements and we are willing to pay a heavy price in terms of territory for peace. We do not want to control the Palestinians or to dictate their lives. We do not want our children, as soldiers, to stand at checkpoints and screen civilians, and we do not want your children’s childhood pictures to be our children, as soldiers, putting their parents through a security check. We have no hidden agenda. Not so long ago, we decided on disengagement. We left Gaza, we dismantled settlements, we withdrew our army, we took risks with the understanding that Gaza will not be the last step. We want to take the next steps through agreement.It is clear to us that in order to carry out change, we will have to give up parts of Israel.

Substantively, none of the Arab delegates showed any interest in compromise. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not back down from the traditional irredentist demands of Yasser Arafat. The Syrian Foreign Minister rejected the idea that giving up the Golan Heights would be a painful compromise for Israel and reiterated Syria’s longstanding position that Israel must evacuate the Golan before Damascus would even consider peace. The Lebanese representative also said nothing about peace, but demanded Israel withdraw not only from the disputed Shebaa Farms region but also a new area never contested before.

The biggest disappointment may have once again been the Saudis, whose participation was treated as a major achievement by the U.S. State Department. A Saudi diplomat told non-Israeli reporters (he wouldn’t speak to Israelis) Israel could not expect normalization of relations until it reached an agreement with the Palestinians. The Saudi Foreign Minister repeated Arab maximalist demands regarding settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees.145

Livni also pointed out how the Arab delegates had missed an important opportunity to show they had changed their attitudes:

I have heard some say that Israel should not expect a handshake, and I will not ask for one. But let us imagine what might happen if the worst possible scenario occurs and there is a handshake between an Israeli leader and an Arab leader whose country has no diplomatic relations with Israel, and that handshake is broadcast around the world.Then the extremists in the Palestinian Authority will understand that the fact that Abu Mazen, Salam Fayyad and Abu Ala are meeting with Israelis and conducting peace talks is not a betrayal of these principles but rather a process that is supported by the Arab world.

Alas, Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said he would not shake hands with the Israelis and the Saudis went so far as to request that they be allowed to enter through a different door than the Israelis. Livni sought meetings with some of the participants from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel; they all refused. Dutch European Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans said the Arab delegates “shun her like she is Count Dracula’s younger sister.”146

Instead of a psychological breakthrough, the conference once again illustrated the difficulty of achieving progress toward peace so long as most of the Arab leaders refuse to even acknowledge their Israeli counterparts’ existence, let alone the right of a Jewish state to exist in their midst.

MYTH

“Palestinians prefer to live in a Palestinian state.”
FACT

Most Palestinians currently living inside Israel’s borders say they would prefer to live in Israel rather than a Palestinian state. In fact, 62% of Israeli Arabs prefer to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state.147 Israeli Arabs sometimes say they prefer the hell of Israel to the paradise of Palestine because they know that, despite its faults, Israel is still a democratic state that offers them freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the press, and respects human rights in general and women’s rights and gay rights in particular, all rights they would be denied under Palestinian rule.

Residents of East Jerusalem began voting with their feet when politicians began discussing the possibility of dividing Jerusalem prior to the Annapolis Conference in 2007. Only about 12,000 East Jerusalemites had applied for citizenship since 1967 (out of some 250,000), but 3,000 new applications flooded Israel’s Ministry of Interior in the four months prior to the meeting.148

With the peace talks resuming after years of stagnation, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians accustomed to the social and economic freedoms in Israel see themselves at risk of losing their rights. For the Palestinians of the Ras Hamis and Shuafat refugee camps, which are a part of Jerusalem, but would most likely fall on the side of Jerusalem apportioned to the Palestinian Authority in any future peace agreement, the preference for staying in Israel is clear. They plan to take advantage of their status as Israeli permanent residents, which allows them freedom of movement, and move to a city well within Israel’s borders and legal jurisdiction. “If they put a border here, we’ll move to Haifa and Tel Aviv. You’ll have fifty thousand people who live here leaving East Jerusalem in minutes,” declared Jamil Sanduqa, head of the refugee camp’s local council.149

Many of the 250,000 East Jerusalemites depend heavily on Israel for jobs, health care, and unemployment insurance. They do not foresee having the same opportunities or benefits under the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians living in Israel want to live normal lives and earn a living to help their family and don’t want to be involved with extremists. “I don’t want to raise my children on throwing stones, or on Hamas,” Sanduqa said.150

One of the proposals for moving toward a two-state solution is a land swap. The idea is that Israel would evacuate most of the West Bank but keep the large settlement blocs that are home to approximately 170,000 Jews. This area is estimated to be 3-5 percent of the West Bank. Israel has proposed a land swap of a similar amount of territory now within Israel. One idea is to shift the border so the 45,000 residents of Umm el-Fahm, plus an additional 150,000 Israeli Arabs who sit on 200 square miles of land just northeast of the West Bank, would be a part of a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians swap citizenship; Israel exchanges land. In theory, it’s a win-win situation where everyone gets to be citizens of their own nation. But the Israeli Arabs in these towns, especially Umm el-Fahm, the largest Muslim Israeli Arab city in Israel, are vehemently opposed to being part of the deal.

“We wish to express our sharp opposition to any initiative taken by the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority with regard to our civil, political and human rights,” the heads of the Arab regional councils and cities wrote to Prime Minister Olmert and his cabinet members in response to the land swap proposal. “…We wish to make it clear that as citizens of the State of Israel since 1948-1949…the proposed moving of borders will deprive us of these human rights and tear apart the social and economic ties that have been constructed on the basis of a long and difficult struggle.”

One of the first to sign the letter to Prime Minister Olmert was Sheikh Hasham Abed Elrahman, Umm el-Fahm Mayor and head of the Wadi Ara Forum of Arab and Jewish Mayors. He wrote, “I cannot argue with feelings. I can tell you that we want to work together with the Jewish majority for the betterment of all of Israel. Religiously, politically and socially, we want to remain part of the State of Israel.”151

Not only do few Palestinians want to move to “Palestine,” many Palestinians now living in the Palestinian Authority would emigrate if they could. According to a December 2007 survey, 34 percent of the residents would like to leave.152

MYTH

“Israel and the Palestinians agree a future Palestinian state will have an army.”
FACT

Israel has always regarded the creation of a Palestinian state as a threat to its security. This remains true today, but most Israelis believe the best chance for coexistence with the Palestinians is to negotiate an agreement whereby a demilitarized state is created in the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank.

Given the damage and terror caused by the rockets Palestinians are firing daily from Gaza, it should not be surprising that Israelis worry about the possibility of a Palestinian military force with missiles, artillery, tanks, warships or fighter planes. Long before the two-state solution became popular, discussions about the creation of a Palestinian state envisioned that it would be demilitarized to minimize the risk of an Israeli withdrawal.153 Jordan is equally concerned that a Palestinian army that could turn in its direction.

Following the Annapolis conference, Palestinian officials denounced the idea that their future state should have any limits placed on it. “The Palestinian Authority rejects talk about a demilitarized Palestinian state,” a senior PA official told the Jerusalem Post.154

While the focus of the negotiations, and media coverage of them, has been on the familiar issues of settlements, refugees and Jerusalem, it is the issue of whether the Palestinian state will be permitted to create an army that could threaten its neighbors that may yet turn into the major obstacle to an agreement.

MYTH

“Gaza settlers’ greenhouses have bolstered the PA economy.”

FACT
On the eve of Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, Middle East envoy James Wolfensohn brokered a deal to purchase greenhouses built by Jewish settlers in the hope of providing employment and export income to the Palestinian people and boost the fledgling economy. Wolfensohn and a number of other donors, including several American Jews, bought the greenhouses, which averaged more than $75 million in total crop output annually, and gave them to the Palestinian Authority.155

Almost immediately after Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, many greenhouses were ransacked and looted. In September 2005, looters in Neve Dekalim, the largest Jewish settlement in Gaza, walked away with irrigation hoses, water pumps, and plastic sheeting, often while Palestinian policemen watched.156

Despite pleas from the Palestinian Prime Minister to leave the structures intact, the security situation around the greenhouses worsened. In 2006, roving gunmen destroyed greenhouses in the former settlement of Morag, and dozens of armed militiamen ransacked more than 50 acres of greenhouse space in the former settlement of Gush Katif.157 Witnesses said the militants used bulldozers to demolish the buildings’ frames, and then destroyed or stole whatever equipment they could find inside, including irrigation computers.158

The Palestinian Company for Economic Development, the organization in charge of running the greenhouses, complained that hundreds of greenhouses and other agricultural installations were destroyed. In an appeal to the Palestinian Authority leadership, the company said, “These greenhouses and other installations and projects provide a source of income for over 4,500 families. We are very disturbed by the recurring attacks and thefts. Such actions jeopardize the largest agricultural project carried by the Palestinian Authority after the Israeli withdrawal.”159

In addition to rendering the greenhouses useless for their intended purpose of building up the PA economy, Hamas has also established terrorist training centers on some of the lands of the evacuated settlements. Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hamas’ military wing, said the two former settlements of Eli Sinai and Dagit are now advanced training zones.160

Nearly 70% of the greenhouses have been completely destroyed, most recently by Palestinians who dismantled some of the remaining greenhouses to sell to Egyptians after the Gaza-Egypt border was breached in January 2008.161 The treatment of the greenhouses is an example of how, contrary to Palestinian propaganda blaming Israel, the economic troubles in the Gaza Strip are largely self-inflicted.

MYTH

“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is Israel’s fault.”

FACT
Life in the Gaza Strip is difficult, and many Palestinians are suffering deprivations because the international community has imposed a boycott against Hamas since it seized control in a violent coup. Hamas, however, has attempted to blame Israel for the situation it created by its ongoing terrorist campaign against Israeli citizens, refusal to recognize the Jewish state and daily bombardment of innocent Israeli civilians with lethal explosive rockets. Cynically, Hamas is using innocent Gazans in an effort to manipulate public opinion.

The most recent example of this and Hamas’ manipulation of the international media was the protest conducted on “peace boats” off the coast of the Gaza shore. Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Middle East Envoy and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, arrived in Gaza on one of these “peace boats” and proclaimed that Gaza is “the largest concentration camp in the world today” and a “humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur.”161a

Although all of her fellow protestors eventually left Gaza on the same boats they arrived in, Booth decided to remain behind. Although having been offered opportunities to leave, Booth declined, and she was later photographed at a well-stocked grocery shop inside the world’s “largest concentration camp.” (To view the photo, click here.). During her month-long stay in the Gaza Strip campaigning for human rights, Booth did not once mention the name of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

Earlier this year, Palestinians announced they would form a human chain, mostly women and children, to highlight Israel’s refusal to allow the free movement of goods until the rocket fire ceases. That propaganda ploy backfired, however, when only a few thousand people participated instead of the 50,000 or more Hamas said it was mobilizing.162

Hamas’ propaganda efforts have been more successful in the past. In January, pictures released by foreign news agencies showed a meeting of the Hamas-led government lit by candlelight, suggesting Israel had deprived Gaza of power. Meanwhile, sunshine can be seen streaming through the window curtains since the meeting was actually held at one o’clock in the afternoon. Other pictures depict protests in the streets; masses of Palestinians march down Gaza sidewalks, each one holding a lit candle for the world to see the desperateness of a society living without electricity and running water. Yet, a streetlight shines in the background.

According to Arabic Daily Asharq Al-Awsat, Hamas thrives at the expensive of the people, paying about 18,000 militants nearly 16 million dollars a month to carry out their dirty work. “So how can there be talk of lifting the Gaza siege and relieving the distress of its people, while Hamas concentrates all its efforts on recruiting and providing for its thousands of fighters. It is clear that Hamas’ priority is to look after its militants, at the expense of Gaza’s people and their suffering!” exclaimed columnist Tariq Alhomayed.162a

As part of their effort to promote the Palestinian image of victimhood, Hamas forced businesses to close in Gaza. A top Palestinian Authority official recently accused Hamas of ordering owners of bakeries to keep their businesses closed for the second day running to keep up the ruse of an imminent crisis in the Gaza Strip. “Hamas is preventing people from buying bread,” he said. “They want to deepen the crisis so as to serve their own interests.”

The official also said that, contrary to Hamas’s claims, there is enough fuel and flour to keep the bakeries in the Gaza Strip operating for another two months. “Hamas members have stolen most of the fuel in the Gaza Strip to fill their vehicles,” he said.163

Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for Israel’s Defense Ministry, reiterated the PA official’s remarks. Gaza has enough fuel, he said, and he accused Palestinian officials of trying to create the impression of a crisis that did not exist. In fact, at one point after Israel initially decided to reduce fuel supplies to the Strip, the Israeli fuel company Dor offered the Palestinian distribution companies shipments of gasoline, which they refused.164

Less than a week later, the PA Health Ministry accused Hamas of stealing fuel and medicine stockpiles from hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The PA Health Ministry sent these provisions into the territory after the initial fuel cuts, but Hamas used the fuel instead for cars belonging to senior officials.165

Furthermore, in addition to the fuel it receives from Israel to power its electrical plant, Gaza gets about two-thirds of its electricity directly from Israel. Israeli officials said that supply would not be affected. In fact, 70 percent of the fuel Israel supplies to Gaza was still flowing into the territory during the border closings, but Hamas still ordered the power plant in Gaza to turn off its turbines.166

“If they shut it down, it’s not because of a fuel shortage,“ Dror said. “The power plant shutdown,” he explained, “would not be comfortable, but it’s not a humanitarian crisis.” 167 Most of Gaza’s electricity comes from Israel and Egypt. Very little is supplied by the Gaza plant.

Of course, Hamas officials do not have to worry about the impact of even these modest power cuts. Ahmed Youssef, an adviser to the Hamas foreign ministry said that when the lights go out during a dinner party with foreign guests, Hamas can call the power company and have them turned back on.168

The press has consistently exaggerated and misreported the situation in Gaza. For instance, the Boston Globe ran an op-ed on January 26, 2008, claiming, “Gaza daily requires 680,000 tons of flour to feed its population,” and that “Israel had cut this to 90 tons per day by November 2007, a reduction of 99 percent.”169 According to both a 2007 UN document and the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, however, flour consumption needed daily in the Gaza Strip falls somewhere between 350 to 450 tons, nowhere near the gross miscalculation of 680,000. At 680,000 tons daily, and at a total population of nearly 1.5 million people, the Boston Globe is claiming that each Gazan needs almost half a ton of flour every day. The newspaper did run a correction shortly thereafter by simply amending the “tons” to “pounds,” a measurement that no one in the international community would use.170

In addition, the breaking down of the security fence along Gaza’s border with Egypt was another propaganda coup for Hamas. As tens of thousands of Palestinians flocked into Sinai, aid officials estimated that the supposedly penniless residents of Gaza spent more than $100 million on goods in the first few days after the border breach.171

Hamas has no shortage of funds. Senior officials have been caught at the border carrying suitcases with millions of dollars; many other cash deliveries have undoubtedly been smuggled in undetected. The terror group ensures that their officials and soldiers are well-fed and housed, while the rest of the population suffer for the benefit of the television cameras.

In May 2006, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal made clear that he is not interested in medicine or other humanitarian supplies. “We ask all the people in surrounding Arab countries, the Muslim world and everyone who wants to support us to send weapons, money and men,” Meshaal said).172 Rather then spend money on food and medicine for the people of Gaza, Hamas buys weapons on the black market and the smuggling of arms into Gaza continues unabated.

Hamas has gone so far as to block shipments of food. In July 2007, for example, Hamas prevented more than 60 truckloads of Israeli fruit and vegetables from arriving in Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.173

MYTH

“Israel's actions in Gaza were disproportionate and unprovoked.”

FACT
Israel's military operation in Gaza was a response to the unceasing indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists that have targeted the civilian population centers of southern Israel. Between January 9 and March 1, 2008, at least 231 rockets have rained down on Israeli kindergartens, schools, parks and homes.174

Initially, the Gaza terrorists could only terrorize nearby Jewish communities such as the town of Sderot (population 19,400) with their lethal rockets because the Qassam’s range was 4.3 miles. Hamas has been determined, however, to threaten more innocent Israeli lives. Hamas subsequently developed longer range projectiles and also smuggled in through Egypt more sophisticated weapons supplied by Iran and others. The upgraded Qassams now have a range of 7.5 miles. More ominously, Hamas has acquired deadly and accurate Iranian-made Grad rockets, which have nearly doubled the reach of the Qassams.175 The Grad rockets are now threatening the Israeli port city of Ashkelon (population 108,600).176 Hamas is expected to continue to improve the range and lethality of its arsenal and to be capable of producing their own Grad-type rockets by the end of the year.177

The men, women and children who live within range of the rockets go about their lives in a perpetual state of trauma and fear. Imagine for a moment how it must be to live under those conditions. Perhaps you are a student, commuting to the university, as Roni Yechiah, a 47-year-old father of four was doing on February 27, 2008. Roni was sitting in his car in the parking lot of Sapir College on the outskirts of Sderot when the "Color Red" alarm sounded, indicating a rocket strike was moments away. A rocket struck nearby and Roni suffered mortal shrapnel wounds.178

He is only one of many Israelis who have been killed or maimed by the barrages from Gaza. Brothers Osher and Remi Twito were on their way to the bank on the evening of February 9, 2008, when the "Color Red" alarm sounded. They dove for cover, but there simply was not enough time. The rocket landed almost on top of the boys. Remi took shrapnel in both his legs. His little brother, Osher, who aspired to play professional soccer one day, had his left leg amputated below the knee.179

Thousands of families have been made to live in fear. The most ordinary tasks, like driving to school or walking to the bank, cannot be completed without putting one's life at risk. Terror has seized these communities —communities of teachers, students, parents and children.

The decision to take military action in Gaza was not made lightly. Israeli leaders were forced to choose one of two evils: either sit by and allow Hamas to besiege southern Israel with rockets or to take action to stop the terror. Israel's Operation Warm Winter, began February 29 and ended March 3, 2008. It involved air strikes on Hamas power centers and military bunkers (often hidden in Palestinian population centers, as well as ground operations. As in past conflicts with the Palestinians, Israeli infantry engaged Hamas militants in close, urban warfare for the purpose of limiting the civilian death toll, often putting themselves at greater risk to do so.180 While Hamas militants used the Jabalya refugee camp as a shield, Israeli soldiers endeavored to disarm and arrest militants with non-lethal force.181

Hamas is deeply entrenched in Gaza and has made no secret that its long-term objective is the destruction of Israel. Shortly after Israeli troops withdrew, the terror attacks resumed, with three Grad rockets striking Ashkelon, one hitting an apartment building and another a kindergarten playground.182 Israel will undoubtedly continue to engage in military operations until its civilian population is safe, a policy that would certainly be followed by any other government facing similar threats.

MYTH

“Mahmoud Abbas is a moderate interested in compromise.”

FACT
The definition of “moderation” is relative. Compared to the murderers of Hamas and the genocidal Iranian president, for example, Abbas can be said to be a moderate since he has negotiated with Israel and expressed a willingness to accept a two-state solution. On the other hand, Abbas has expressed no willingness to compromise on any substantive issue.

On the issue of Jerusalem, Abbas said the city would be the capital of a future Palestinian state. “At the Camp David summit, the Palestinian leadership rejected an Israeli proposal to share sovereignty over the Aksa Mosque,” he said. “They wanted to give the Muslims all what is above the mosque, while Israel would control what's under it. We continue to reject this offer. We cannot compromise on Jerusalem.”183 In an interview with the Washington Post, Abbas declared, “I say and have always said that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory. We have to restore it.”184

On the subject of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, Abbas insisted that “The withdrawal from Gaza must only be part of other withdrawals which should follow. Israel must pull out of all Palestinian lands occupied in 1967. We must end the occupation.”185 He reiterated this again in the Post interview.

In the same speech Abbas said that the refugee issue had to be solved on the basis of UN Resolution 194. According to Abbas, 4.5 million Palestinians are refugees. In a January 3, 2005, appearance, Abbas said Palestinian refugees and their descendants have the right to return to their original homes. “We will never forget the rights of the refugees, and we will never forget their suffering. They will eventually gain their rights, and the day will come when the refugees return home," Abbas told a cheering crowd.186

While Abbas negotiates with Israel, he continues to reject its raison d’etre as a Jewish state. He said the Annapolis peace conference was nearly scuttled because “[the Israelis] wanted us to state we recognize Israel as a Jewish State in the closing statements, but we wouldn’t hear of it.”187

For Western journalists, Abbas presents himself as the voice of moderation, but like his mentor Yasser Arafat, he expresses his true feelings in Arabic. For example, Abbas was supposed to have forsworn terror, but on February 28, 2008, he told the Jordanian newspaper al-Dustur that he did not rule out returning to the path of armed “resistance” against Israel. In fact, his reason for not engaging in “armed struggle” now is not because he has disavowed terror, but simply because he doesn’t believe the Palestinians can achieve their objectives. “At this present juncture, I am opposed to armed struggle because we cannot succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different,” he said.188 Earlier, Abbas had launched his presidential election campaign by saying “the use of weapons is unacceptable because it has a negative impact on our image.” The Wall Street Journal noted afterward that “Mr. Abbas does not reject terrorism because it is immoral, but because it no longer sells the cause abroad.”189

Abbas was the number two person in the PLO under Arafat and a founder of the Fatah terrorist organization, which makes him responsible for decades of atrocities. In February 2008, he proudly claimed credit for initiating the terror campaign against Israel. “I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world; what it’s like; when it is effective and when it isn’t effective; its uses, and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is,” Abbas said. The PA president even takes credit for training the Lebanese Shiite terrorists. “We (Fatah) had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hizbullah, who trained in our military camps.”190

Abbas has consistently opposed taking decisive steps against Palestinian terrorists. In 2004, for example, he said, “I will not use weapons against any Palestinian.” He added, “Israel calls them [the armed groups] murderers, but we call them strugglers.”191 A week later, Abbas said he would shield Palestinian terrorists from Israel and that he has no plans to crack down on them after the presidential election scheduled for January 9, 2005.192 True to his promise, Abbas has yet to take serious measures against terrorism and, of course, the Hamas terrorists he shielded later staged a coup and seized power from Fatah in Gaza.

On January 4, 2005, Abbas escalated his anti-Israel rhetoric after an Israeli tank fired two shells into a field in response to Palestinian mortar attacks, killing seven Palestinians and wounding six. Referring to those who attacked Israel as “martyrs,” Abbas condemned Israel as the “Zionist enemy.”193

Like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Abbas is a Holocaust denier. His Ph.D. dissertation suggested that six million Jews did not die at the hands of the Nazis and denied that gas chambers were used to murder Jews.194 It is therefore particularly galling that he would proclaim that Israeli retaliation against the hail of rocket fire from Gaza targeting Israeli civilians “worse than the Holocaust.”195

The daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, Al Hayat Al Jadida, controlled by Abbas, has praised terrorists, even going so far as to eulogize and honor suicide-attackers. This newspaper, whose budget is supplied by the Palestinian Authority, praised the martyrdom of the Palestinian man who murdered eight youths in a Jerusalem seminary on March 6, 2008. The paper ran a front-page story with a large, color photo of the attacker. The article referred to the attacker as having achieved Islamic martyrdom.196 As recently as April 2008, Mahmoud Abbas had planned to award the PLO's highest honor, The Al Quds Mark of Honor, to twp female terrorists who had assisted in the murder of Israelis. When this became public, Abbas withdrew the awards.197

On the issues, Abbas is no moderate. A better description would be that he is a pragmatist. As evident from the quotation above about giving up the use of weapons because it hurts the Palestinians’ image, he is primarily interested in creating a facade that will allow him to continue to receive funding and support from abroad to stay in power without making any concessions that would improve the prospects for peace or imperil his standing among radical Palestinians. He also clings to the hope that Israel will be forced to capitulate to his demands by outside powers, a fantasy that is fed by pressure exerted on Israel from the Europeans, UN, and U.S. State Department.

Israelis have no illusions about Abbas and, from the start, expressed skepticism that any agreements could be reached with a man who has shown neither the will nor the ability to carry out any of his promises, particularly with regard to ending terror against Israel. Nevertheless, Israeli leaders understand he is the only interlocutor they have for the moment and are willing to pursue negotiations in the hope that Abbas will actually moderate his views and compromise on the issues required to reach an agreement.

MYTH

“Israel’s enemies must recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.”

FACT
Whenever Israel has been asked to negotiate with one of its enemies, one condition that is often presented is that Israel’s right to exist be recognized. When, for example, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to lift the longtime ban on negotiations with the PLO, Yasser Arafat was first required to write a letter renouncing terrorism and recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Israel subsequently began what came to be known as the Oslo peace process. Of course, it turned out the “recognition” was largely meaningless as Arafat continued to support violence aimed at undermining Israel’s existence.

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, some people, including Israeli and American officials, have conditioned talks with that terrorist group on its recognition of Israel. As in the case of the PLO, such a statement would mean little without corresponding deeds. To date, Hamas has explicitly said it has no intention of ever recognizing Israel’s right to exist and has repeatedly said it is committed to Israel’s destruction.

Even Mahmoud Abbas, who is often referred to as a “moderate,” has made clear that he does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.198 This has not deterred Israeli officials from negotiating with him because they understand that Israel’s future depends on their ability to reach an agreement with the Palestinians and other neighbors that ensures Israel’s security whether the Arabs or Muslims acknowledge the Jews’ right to statehood or not.

Most people have forgotten Abba Eban’s wise admonition made more than 25 years ago: “Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist.’ Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement....There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its ‘right to exist’ a favor, or a negotiable concession.”199

MYTH

“Palestinians are driven to terror by poverty and desperation.”

FACT
The situation many Palestinians find themselves in is unfortunate and often quite severe. Many live in poverty, see the future as hopeless, and are unhappy with the way they are treated by Israelis. None of these are excuses for engaging in terrorism. In fact, many of the terrorists are not poor, desperate people at all. The world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, for example, is a Saudi millionaire.

In the most recent attack at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem on March 6, 2008, in which eight seminary students were brutally gunned down and another 15 wounded, the perpetrator, Ala Abu Dhaim, was not poor or desperate. He was engaged to be married, he came from a family that is financially comfortable, and was employed by the yeshiva as a driver. Dhaim also was not suffering under “occupation.” In fact, as a resident of the East Jerusalem village of Jabel Mukaber, which lies within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, he was entitled to all the same social and welfare benefits as Israeli citizens.

The stereotype that Palestinians turn to terrorism out of desperation is simply untrue. “There is no clear profile of someone who hates Israel and the Jewish people. They come in every shape and from every culture. Demonstrators, rioters and stone throwers do tend to be younger, unmarried males. But there’s a big difference between the young men who participate in those types of disturbances and terrorists,” remarked Aryeh Amit, former Jerusalem District Police Chief.200

A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded, “economic conditions and education are largely unrelated to participation in, and support for, terrorism.” The researchers said the outbreak of violence in the region that began in 2000 could not be blamed on deteriorating economic conditions because there is no connection between terrorism and economic depression. Furthermore, the authors found that support for violent action against Israel, including suicide bombing, does not vary much according to social background.201

For example, the cousin of one of the two Palestinian suicide bombers who blew themselves up on a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem in 2001, killing 10 people between the ages of 14 and 21, remarked candidly, “These two were not deprived of anything.”202

Amnesty International published a study that condemned all attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and said that no Israeli action justified them. According to the report, “The attacks against civilians by Palestinian armed groups are widespread, systematic and in pursuit of an explicit policy to attack civilians. They therefore constitute crimes against humanity under international law.”203

Terrorism is not Israel’s fault. It is not the result of “occupation.” And it certainly is not the only response available to the Palestinians’ discontentment. Palestinians have an option for improving their situation, namely negotiations. But under the current Hamas regime, this is adamantly rejected. The Palestinians could also choose the nonviolent path emphasized by Martin Luther King or Gandhi. Unfortunately, they choose to pursue a war of terror instead of a process for peace. Israel has proven time and again a willingness to trade land for peace, but it can never concede land for terror.

“The use of suicide bombing is entirely unacceptable. Nothing can justify this. ”

— UN Special Representative for the protection of children in armed conflict, Under Secretary-General Olara Otunnu204


MYTH

“Israel must negotiate with Hamas.”

FACT
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and, therefore, some people, including knowledgeable Israelis, argue that Israel must negotiate with the terror group. No one seriously believes that Hamas is interested in any lasting peace with Israel, but the advocates for negotiations believe it may be possible to reach a ceasefire agreement in which Hamas promises to stop firing rockets into Israel and Israel ceases its military operations against the group in Gaza. A byproduct of such an agreement is hoped to be a prisoner exchange that would lead to the release of Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped by Hamas 21 months ago.

Israel has not pursued this strategy for a number of reasons. First, Hamas has given little indication it is prepared to end its terror campaign. On the contrary, its spokesmen continue to make belligerent statements. On March 28, for example, Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya, declared: “The Zionist enemy doesn’t have a vision of peace. Only force... fighting and holy war works with [Israel].”205 Hamas also remains committed to its covenant that calls for the destruction of Israel.

From Israel’s perspective, a ceasefire would be exploited by Hamas to build up its forces. Without Israeli counter-terror operations, the group will be free to continue to smuggle in weapons and money from Iran and elsewhere, and to develop longer range missiles capable of striking Israeli population centers. In exchange for a short-term respite in attacks, many Israelis fear they will be allowing Hamas to become a far more dangerous adversary in the future.

It is often said that you don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies, but this assumes the enemy you are negotiating with is not committed to your destruction. Golda Meir said it best when she explained the conflict had nothing to do with territory. “We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here,” she observed. “And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive. Here....They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise.”
MYTH

“Mahmoud Abbas has rooted out the corruption in the Palestinian Authority .”

FACT
In his June 2002 speech outlining a vision for Middle East peace, President George W. Bush said, “Today, the Palestinian people live in economic stagnation, made worse by official corruption. A Palestinian state will require a vibrant economy, where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest government....If Palestinians embrace democracy, confront corruption and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a provisional state of Palestine.”

Despite failing on all counts, the United States has supported the Palestinians, but their failure to meet Bush’s expectations explains their current predicament.

The Palestinian Authority’s record on rejecting terror is clear. The Palestinians have done no such thing and continue to support and encourage violence against Israel. That has been well documented. Less attention has been paid, however, to the PA’s failure to confront corruption.

Less than a year after Bush’s speech, the IMF documented how Yasser Arafat diverted $900 million to his own account. The revelation helped explain why the Palestinian people saw little improvement in their lives despite international contributions to the PA of more than $6 billion.

While the international community was focused on the peace process, Palestinians were more concerned with how their lives were being affected by the widespread corruption in the PA, and Fatah in particular. Their anger finally became apparent to everyone when elections were held in 2006 and Hamas won control of the legislature. Since then, however, Fatah’s leader, the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has done little to promote honest government. In fact, the situation appears to have grown worse, with a series of scandals emerging in 2008 that are again provoking public outrage.

The former Prime Minister, Ahmed Qurei (Abu Alaa), who heads the Palestinian negotiating team with Israel, is accused by the PA ambassador to Romania of depositing $3 million of PLO funds into his personal bank account. An older accusation that has also resurfaced is that Qurei and his sons own a cement factory that supplies concrete used for the construction of Israel’s security barrier as well as Jewish settlements.206

Qurei is no stranger to controversy. After Bush raised the issue of PA corruption in his 2002 speech, Qurei suddenly vacated the villa he built for $1.5 million in Jericho. A sign on the door was posted that said the villa had become a welfare institution for the relatives of Palestinians killed in terror attacks.207

In addition, one of Abbas’ advisers, the former speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Rouhi Fattouh, was caught by Israeli customs officials using his Israeli-issued VIP pass to smuggle thousands of cellular phones from Jordan into the West Bank. Fattouh was forced to resign.208

Other Fatah officials are also believed to be involved in smuggling. Officials in the Ministry of Health, for example, are suspected of working with doctors and pharmacists to smuggle expired medicine into the West Bank. Some of these medications are believed responsible for the death of Palestinian patients.

Another crony of Yasser Arafat, Khaled Salam, is being investigated after PA officials learned he planned to invest $600 million in a tourist project in Jordan. The former “financial adviser” to Arafat is also known to have close ties with Abbas and some of his aides.

The latest scandals create serious problems for Israel as well as American peace efforts. The disaffection with Abbas threatens to further strengthen Hamas at a time when Israelis are increasingly concerned that Abbas may lose control of the West Bank as he did the Gaza Strip. This would reduce the prospects for peace and increase the probability of war. The ongoing corruption also undermines confidence in the Palestinians’ ability to create a viable governing authority.

President Bush had the correct formula for peace in 2002. The Palestinians have now had nearly six years to fulfill his vision and their inability or unwillingness to do so is the principal reason they have not achieved their goal of statehood and the conflict with Israel has continued.

MYTH

“Hizbollah is a resistance movement whose only interest is fighting Israel.”

FACT
Hizbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, has been building up its forces since its establishment in the early 1980s with the intent of eventually establishing an Islamic government in Lebanon and across the Arab world. After provoking a war with Israel in the summer of 2006, and bringing ruin to much of the country, Hizbollah set out to undermine the pro-Western government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

When their demand for a national unity government and veto power was rebuffed in late 2006, Hizbollah (and Amal Party) representatives resigned from their cabinet posts and carried out protests again Siniora’s government. For months, Hizbollah supporters conducted demonstrations in Beirut and prevented pro-Western, anti-Syrian members of the Lebanese legislature from electing a new president who would not be loyal to Syria or sympathetic to Hizbollah’s agenda. Other anti-Syrian legislators were assassinated, presumably by Syrian agents or supporters, to reduce the number of potential votes against Hizbollah’s (and Syria’s) preferred candidate.

In a bid to gain power, armed Hizbollah militiamen stormed Beirut on May 9 and took control of the western part of the capital. Fierce street battles ensued between the armed gunmen and Sunnis loyal to the U.S.-backed government. At least 67 people died over the course of five days of intense fighting.

The staged coup came shortly after the Lebanese government shut down Hizbollah’s private telephone network, as well as firing the airport security chief for alleged ties to the organization. The two measures sparked the bloodiest confrontations since the civil war ended in 1990. In response, Hizbollah spiritual leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah proclaimed, “We have said before that we will cut off the hand that targets the weapons of the resistance.”209

The two moves aimed at reigning in Hizbollah backfired. After Hizbollah threatened further violence, the Lebanese government rescinded both measures on May 15 in what was viewed as a victory for the terrorist organization.

The veto was a major triumph for Hizbollah and their supporters, effectively allowing them to nix any legislation they oppose. In addition, the Syrian-backed opposition party received 11 seats in the Cabinet. A new election law was also adopted that divides Lebanon into smaller-sized districts that will redistribute power in favor of the allies of Iran and Syria.210

Siniora also gave up enforcing the UN resolutions requiring Hizbollah to be disarmed. This insures the group will continue to act as a state within the state and destabilize the country and also allows the terrorists to remain a threat to Israel.

The general population was not fooled by the rhetoric of Hizbollah officials and recognized the group was interested in dominating the country rather than resisting the non-existent Israeli occupation. “Hizbollah are liars; they are despicable,” said Nawal al-Meouchi, an innocent bystander to the sectarian violence. “They said they would never turn their arms on the Lebanese, but they have.”211

MYTH

“Palestinian terrorist groups agreed to a cease-fire to advance the peace process.”

FACT

In an effort to stop the nearly daily onslaught of rockets from Gaza, Israeli officials have discussed the possibility of a cease-fire with the Hamas terrorists bombarding the Israeli civilian population. Egypt and others have also tried to mediate a cessation of terror that would allow Israel to end its counterterror measures. Rather than agree to a simple cease-fire, however, Hamas, has engaged in verbal gymnastics to suggest it will adopt a policy that will, at best, offer a temporary respite while the organization continues to build up its arsenal to pursue its long-term goal of destroying Israel.

The latest example of this Hamas tactic is the proposal in May 2008 to accept a “tahdiyah,” or period of calm. Earlier, in June 2003, Islamic Jihad and Hamas agreed to a hudna in response to demands from then Palestinian Authority prime minister Mahmoud Abbas to stop their attacks on Israel so he could fulfill his obligations under the Middle East road map. The agreement was interpreted in the Western media as the declaration of a cease-fire, which was hailed as a step forward in the peace process. Violence continued after the supposed cease-fire, however, and Israeli intelligence found evidence the Palestinians exploited the situation to reorganize their forces. They recruited suicide bombers, increased the rate of production of Qassam rockets, and sought to extend their range. Over the last five years since the declaration of the hudna, attacks on Israel increased and Hamas succeeded in smuggling in more weapons with longer ranges.

While any cessation of violence against Israeli civilians is to be welcomed, it is important to understand the cease-fire the radical Islamic groups are contemplating in the Muslim context.

The media and some political leaders portray a hudna as a truce or a cease-fire designed to bring peace. Though the term hudna does refer to a temporary cession of hostilities, it has historically been used as a tactic aimed at allowing the party declaring the hudna to regroup while tricking an enemy into lowering its guard. When the hudna expires, the party that declared it is stronger and the enemy weaker. The term comes from the story of the Muslim conquest of Mecca. Instead of a rapid victory, Muhammad made a ten-year treaty with the Kuraysh tribe. In 628 AD, after only two years of the ten-year treaty, Muhammad and his forces concluded that the Kuraysh were too weak to resist. The Muslims broke the treaty and took over all of Mecca without opposition.212

A modern-day hudna is not a form of compromise, rather it is a tactical tool to gain a military advantage. Hamas has used it no fewer than 10 times in 10 years.213

The hudna declared by Islamic terrorist organizations in 2003 was no different. The Hamas charter openly rejects the notion of a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the group did not change its views. On the contrary, Hamas spokesmen said they would not give up their weapons, that they would continue to resist “illegal occupation,” and that they believed the “violent awakenening from a few weeks or months of quiet” will “reaffirm Palestinians’ belief in the intifada as the only option for them.”214 Even the hudna declaration asserted “the legitimate right to resist the occupation as a strategic option until the end of the Zionist occupation of our homeland and until we achieve all our national rights.” Hamas contends that all of Israel is occupied territory.215 This is why Secretary of State Colin Powell called Hamas an “enemy of peace” just before the hudna was declared, and said “the entire international community must speak out strongly against the activities of Hamas.”216

Israel understandably fears a repeat of the earlier experience.

Hamas officials, meanwhile, made clear that an agreement will not change the group’s policy. “The confrontation with the [Israeli] occupation will continue despite the talk about a tahdiyah [calm],” said Osama Hamdan, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon. “As far as Hamas is concerned, all options remain open,” he added.217

Whether the Palestinian terrorist groups are sincere in their declaration of a cease-fire is irrelevant to the fulfillment of the Palestinians’ road map obligations. The road map explicitly calls on Abbas to do more than just achieve a cessation of hostilities; he is obligated to disarm the terrorists and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

MYTH

“Olmert’s resignation means the end of peace talks with the Palestinians.”

FACT

Ehud Olmert’s decision to resign as prime minister will naturally cause a delay in negotiations with the Palestinians as Israel’s democratic process works toward the creation of a new government. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni won the Kadima Party primary and has now been asked to form a government. Livni has been the lead negotiator for nearly a year and has developed a very good working relationship with her Palestinian interlocutors. If Livni forms a government, she can be expected to quickly return to the talks with the Palestinians. If she is unable to do so, elections will be called and the campaign will indeed preoccupy Israeli leaders.

This is the nature of democracy. American leaders are also distracted by the presidential campaign, but everyone knows once it is over, the new administration will turn its attention to the Middle East. After Israeli elections, the new prime minister will also return to the bargaining table.

The outline of a future agreement has long been on the table and it has been further refined in recent months according to details of the negotiations leaked to the Israeli press. It should come as a surprise to no one that the security fence is likely to become a de facto border with the major settlement blocs inside the fence. The settlements outside the fence would be evacuated and legislation is already before the Knesset that would pay settlers living west of the fence $305,000 each to leave voluntarily.218 Whether this bill passes or not, the message is clear that the intention is to dismantle most settlements and compensate their residents.

Israel has proposed a land swap that would result in the Palestinians receiving an area of land equivalent to what Israel annexes. According to the details in the press, Israel would annex 7 percent of the West Bank and, in return, cede 5.5 percent of the Negev and an area equivalent to the other 1.5 percent for a passageway connecting the Gaza Strip and West Bank. This proposal is very similar to what the Palestinians were offered in negotiations between President Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat in 2000. Arafat rejected the “Clinton parameters,” but many Palestinians subsequently lamented the lost opportunity for statehood.

The negotiations have been very detailed with Israel, for example, as both sides have discussed security arrangements such as demilitarization (Israel wants but the Palestinians reject), warning stations and deployments in the Jordan Valley. Israel has also offered to allow 1,500-2,000 Palestinians to move to Israel each year for 10 years. The Palestinians want the total figure to be 100,000, a figure Israel may yet approve as it was the number David Ben-Gurion said he would allow after the 1948 war (and well over 100,000 have been allowed into Israel since 1993).

The question of Jerusalem remains one of the most controversial, but the contours of an agreement have also been around for some time and there is reportedly an understanding that the Jewish neighborhoods would be part of Israel and the Arab neighborhoods Palestine and some interim arrangement over the holy areas of the Old City.219

Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition, has different ideas about what a final agreement would look like with the Palestinians. If he were to win a future election, as current polls project, the details of an agreement are likely to change, but he is no less committed to pursuing peace with the Palestinians.

MYTH

“Jerusalem Arabs cannot vote in Israel.”

FACT

On November 11, 2008, Nir Barkat was elected mayor of Jerusalem. Not participating in the mayoral election, once again, was Jerusalem's Arab population. As permanent residents of the city, Jerusalem's Arabs are entitled to vote in municipal elections, although the overwhelming majority of the Arab population boycott these elections.

Since 1967, various Palestinian Authority associations (now run both by Fatah and Hamas) have demanded that the Jerusalem Arabs refrain from voting in these elections. According to these groups, any voting in Israeli government elections on the part of the Arabs will signify their approval of the Israeli “occupation” of what they claim is Palestinian territory. East Jerusalem, of course, is one of these highly contested areas. In the days leading up to the 2008 election, Hamas and Fatah leaders again threatened any Arab who might consider going to the polls.

In addition to voting, Palestinians in Jerusalem may run for office. Zohir Hamden, an Arab from the village of Sur Baher, intended on running for mayor of Jerusalem but withdrew his candidacy one month before the election and became candidate Arcadi Gaydamak’s advisor on East Jerusalem issues.

Fouad Suleiman, another Jerusalem Arab resident, joined the Meretz Party for the city's election. His personal platform focused on improving education and general living conditions in East Jerusalem.

Pressure is also exerted by Palestinians in the territories to discourage Arabs running for office. In a similar municipal election in 1998, “The Lobby for Human Rights in Jerusalem” - made up of nine private Palestinian agencies - decried Arab candidates' participation in the election. In a published letter they wrote:

“The candidacy of and the support for the “Arab List” violates all international law and norms, and seriously undermines the prospects for a successful struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their capital Jerusalem.”220

The boycott of this election shows, yet again, that Jerusalem's Arab population is cutting off their nose to spite their collective face. Indeed, if Palestinians do not express their right to vote in municipal elections, and especially if they do not support their own Arab candidates, how can they expect to influence policy in Israel? Israel and the Palestinians cannot come to a real peace agreement if the Palestinians are prohibited by their own leaders from exercising a basic human right – the right to vote.

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of preventing thousands of Palestinians from making the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Abbas told reporters in Mecca that Israel had never once prevented Palestinians from making the holy visit.”221


Notes
1CNN.com, (January 10, 2005).
2Aljazeera.Net, (January 11, 2005).
3CNN.com (January 10, 2005); Herb Keinon, “Observer teams validate PA elections,” Jerusalem Post, (January 11, 2005).
4Herb Keinon, “Sharansky: PA election not ‘truly free,’” Jerusalem Post, (January 11, 2005).
5Aljazeera.Net, (January 15, 2005); Jerusalem Post, (January 16, 2005).
6Herb Keinon, “Sharansky: PA election not ‘truly free,’” Jerusalem Post, (January 11, 2005).
7WEST BANK/GAZA DEMOGRAPHY STUDY: THE 1.5 Million POPULATION GAP, American Research Initiative, (January 23, 2005)
8What is the True Demographic Picture in the West Bank and Gaza? - A Presentation and a Critique, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, (March 10, 2005); Yair Ettinger, “Critics slam report debunking demographic threat,” Haaretz, (January 10, 2005).
9Jewish Telegraphic Agency, (April 5, 2005; March 9, 2007).
10CNN, (April 17, 2002).
11Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, (May 15, 1997).
12Jerusalem Post, (May 23, 2001).
13Palestine News Agency WAFA, (April 28, 2005).
14Al-Quds, (April 27, 2005).
15Endwave Corporation and SafeView, Inc.
16Muslim Women’s League; About.com
17Chris McGreal, “Murdered in name of family honor,” Guardian, (June 23, 2005).
18Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, (June 14-19, 2005).
19Jerusalem Post, (July 4, 2005).
20Jerusalem Post, (July 4- 5, September 7, 2005); Ha'aretz, (September 6, 2005).
21Akiva Eldar, “Oslo said it: Hamas and elections don't go together,” Ha'aretz, (July 19, 2005).
22Glenn Kessler, “If Hamas Participates, Sharon Says Israel Won't Aid Palestinian Elections,” Washington Post, ((September 17, 2005).
23Yossi Beilin, “Recognizing Hamas is irresponsible,” Bitterlemons.org, (September 26, 2005).
24Glenn Kessler, “If Hamas Participates, Sharon Says Israel Won't Aid Palestinian Elections,”Washington Post, (September 17, 2005).
25Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations.
26Khaled Abu Toameh, “A Palestinian Verdict: Terror Worked: Fatah and Hamas both claim it was 'our' fighters who beat Israel,” The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, (August 26, 2005).
27Jerusalem Post, (August 4, 2004).
28Daniel Pipes, “Palestinian Responses to an Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza,” Danielpipes.org, (September 6, 2005).
29Al-Manar TV, (January 25, 2006).
30Wall Street Journal editorial, (February 20, 2006).
31Palestinian National Authority, (December 13, 2005).
32Aaron Klein, “Israeli dig to spark Temple Mount violence?” WorldNetDaily.com, (October 24, 2005).
33Palestinian National Authority, (December 13, 2005).
34Joshua Brilliant, “ ‘Israel digging under Al-Aksa,’ or not,” UPI, (January 3, 2006).
35“Iran's Khameini says Israel behind Danish cartoons of Muhammad,” Al Bawaba, (February 7, 2006).
36Jyllands Posten Muhammed Cartoons.
37Jerusalem Post, (January 2, February 20, 2006).
38Jerusalem Post, (February 3, 2006).
39Jerusalem Post, (February 19, 2006).
40Ynet.com, (February 20, 2006).
41Haaretz, (February 21, 2006).
42Margot Dudkevitch, “Kassam-weary residents vow change,” Jerusalem Post, (February 24, 2006).
43Jerusalem Post, (January 10, 2006).
44Jerusalem Media & Communication Centre, (February 2006).
46New York Times editorial, (March 4, 2006).
47Trade Information Center, International Trade Administration; Arab News, (December 31, 2005).
48John Zarocostas, “Saudi meeting eyed for WTO violation,” Washington Times, (March 9, 2006); Michael Freund, “S. Arabia to host Israel boycott event,” Jerusalem Post, (March 7, 2006).
48a Michael Freund, “Saudis continue to boycott Israel,” Jerusalem Post, (April 16, 2007).
49Ehud Ya'ari, “O Jerusalem: The Next Chapter,” The Jerusalem Report, (March 20, 2006).
50“Jordan arrests Hamas terror suspects,” Jerusalem Post, (April 25, 2006); Detainee’s confession televised, AP, (May 11, 2006).
51Jamal Halaby, “Jordan Accuses Hamas of Smuggling Weapons,” AP, (April 18, 2006).
52Alia A. Toukan, “Jordan warns Hamas members in Kingdom against inciting violence,” Jordan Times, (November 2, 1998).
53P.R. Kumaraswamy, “The Jordan-Hamas Divorce,” Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, (August/September 2001).
54“Jordan Strikes at Hamas,” Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, (September 1999).
55P.R. Kumaraswamy, “The Jordan-Hamas Divorce,” Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, (August/September 2001).
56Jerusalem Post, (August 19, 2002).
57State Department. Human Rights Report for the Occupied Territories, 1997, 1998.
58Caroline Glick, “Why is Muhammad Abu al-Hawa dead?” Jerusalem Post, (April 18, 2006).
59Nazir Majali, “Philosophy of death,” Haaretz, (April 23, 2006).
60“Suicide Rhetoric,” Washington Post, (April 19, 2006).
61Ha'aretz, (February 11, 2001).
62Al-Watan [Kuwait], (June 7, 2002).
63Jerusalem Post, (July 21, 2002).
64Jewish Telegraphic Agency, (June 11, 2002).
65“Israel To Bypass Hamas With Aid Funds,” UPI, (May 11, 2006).
66Jerusalem Post, (June 13, 2006); Embassy of Israel.
67Prime Minister Olmert Addresses Joint Session of Congress, (May 24, 2006).
68“Palestinian university president comes out against boycott of Israeli academics,” Associated Press, (June 18, 2006).
69Editorial, Chicago Sun Times, (June 27, 2006).
70Editorial, Washington Post, (July 1, 2006).
71Jerusalem Post, (July 18, 2006).
72London Times, (August 1, 2006).
73Barbara Sofer, “The Human Spirit: Palestinian women in Israeli jails,” Jerusalem Post, (July 6, 2006).
73a“Lebanon hails militants freed in prisoner swap,” CNN (July 16, 2008).
73bBarzak, Ibrahim, “Hamas hints it will raise stakes for captured Israel sodier,” AP (July 1, 2008)
74CNN, (July 23, 2006). Also, corrected transcripts from broadcast.
75CNN, (August 8, 2006).
76Tom Gross, “The media war against Israel: The Jewish state is fighting not one enemy but two: Hizballah, and those who peddle its propaganda,” National Post, (August 2, 2006).
77CNN, (August 6, 2006).
78CNN, (August 7, 2006).
79Reuven Koret, Hezbollywood Horror: “Civil Defense Worker” doubles as Traveling Mortician,” Israelinsider.com, (August 3, 2006) and “Hezbollywood? Evidence mounts that Qana collapse and deaths were staged,” Israelinsider.com, (July 31, 2006); EU Referendum, (July 31, August. 1, August 5, 2006).
80AP, (August 8, 2006).
81Tom Gross, “The media war against Israel: The Jewish state is fighting not one enemy but two: Hizballah, and those who peddle its propaganda,” National Post, (August 2, 2006).
82“A Canadian soldier's report from South Lebanon,” CTV.ca, (August 6, 2006).
83AP, (August 7, 2006).
84Human Rights Watch, “Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,” (August 3, 2006).
85Joshua Muravchik, “Human Rights Watch vs. Human Rights: The cynical manipulation of a worthy cause has a history,” The Weekly Standard, (September 11, 2006).
86Alan Dershowitz, “What Are They Watching?” New York Sun, (August 23, 2006).
87Human Rights Watch, “Israel/Lebanon: Hezbollah Must End Attacks on Civilians,” (August 5, 2006).
88Aluf Benn, “Haniyeh: I won't head a government that recognizes Israel,” Haaretz, (September 23, 2006); Herb Keinon, “Haniyeh: Rice trying to weaken region,” Jerusalem Post, (September 21 & October 3, 2006).
89 Khaled Abu Toameh, “Palestinian violence down, rhetoric up,” Jerusalem Post, (October 3, 2006).
90Reuters, (October 4, 2006).
91Jewish Telegraphic Agency, (February 6, 2002).
92Dror Etkes & Hagit Ofran, “Breaking the Law in the West Bank – One Violation Leads to Another: Israeli Settlement Building on Private Palestinian Property,” (Jerusalem: Peace Now, October 2006).
93Steven Erlanger, “Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land,” (New York Times, November 21, 2006).
94“Response of the Civil Administration – Judea and Samaria – to the “Peace Now” Report,” Civil Administration, (November 21, 2006).
94a“Military database released to Peace Now shows little land seized from Palestinians to build largest West Bank settlement,” Associated Press, (March 14, 2007).
95“Instransigent Hamas,” Washington Post, (October 11, 2006).
96Lebanese Higher Relief Council, (December 6, 2006).
97Con Coughlin, “Teheran fund pays war compensation to Hizbollah families,” Daily Telegraph, (August 4, 2006).
98Kuwait Times, (August 30, 2006).
99John Keegan, “Why Israel will go to war again – soon,” Daily Telegraph, (November 3, 2006).
100UPI, (September 7, 2006).
101Washington Times, (September 27, 2006); Steven Stotsky, “Questioning the Number of Civilian Casualties in Lebanon,” CAMERA, (September 27, 2006); Wikipedia.
102AP, (December 7, 2006).
103Washington Post, (December 16, 2006).
104Ronny Sofer, “Peres: Syria deceiving, focus on Palestinians,” Ynet News.com, (December 21, 2006).
105Anthony H. Cordesman, “Escalating to Nowhere: The Israeli-Palestinian War — The Actors in the Conflict: The Palestinian Factions That Challenge Peace and the Palestinian Authority,” (DC: CSIS, September 12, 2003), p. 35; Khaled Abu Toameh, “ Palestinian Affairs: Guns and Poses,” Jerusalem Post, (November 25, 2006).
106Khaled Abu Toameh, “ Palestinian Affairs: Guns and Poses,” Jerusalem Post, (November 25, 2006).
107Israel Radio, (August 1, 2002).
108Khaled Abu Toameh, “Abbas: Aim guns against occupation, Jerusalem Post, (January 11, 2007); Aaron Klein, “Abbas urges: ‘Raise rifles against Israel,’” WorldnetDaily.com, (January 11, 2007).
109Uzi Arad and Gal Alon, “Patriotism and Israel's National Security - Herzliya Patriotism Survey 2006,” Herzliya: Institute for Policy and Strategy, 2006.
110Mira Tzoreff, “The Palestinian Shahida: National Patriotism, Islamic Feminism, or Social Crisis,” in Yoram Schweitzer, Ed. Female Suicide Bombers: Dying for Equality? (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, August 2006), pp. 13-24.
111Yoram Schweitzer, “Palestinian Female Suicide Bombers: Reality vs. Myth,”in Yoram Schweitzer, Ed. Female Suicide Bombers: Dying for Equality? (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, August 2006), pp. 25-42.
112“For Palestinians, a new low,” National Post, (November 25, 2006).
113Avi Issacharoff, Aluf Benn and Jack Khoury, “Israel, PA agree on cease-fire starting today,” Haaretz, (November 26, 2006).
114Shmuel Rosner, “EU slams Eilat bombing, calls it bid to derail peace,” Haaretz, (January 30, 2007).
115“Militants demand Abbas apology for condemning Tel Aviv attack,” Haaretz, (January 29, 2007).
116Haaretz, (February 11, 2007).
116aJerusalem Post, (March 13, 2007).
117Jerusalem Post, (February 8, 2007).
118“We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine,” Reuters, (March 12, 2007).
119“General Monthly Survey,” Near East Consulting, (February 2007).
120David Blair, “Accept peace plan or face war, Israel told,” Telegraph, (March 28, 2007).
121Roee Nahmias, “Syria: Without peace, resistance will liberate Golan Heights,” Ynet News, (April 16, 2007).
122“Arabs won't wait decades for Israeli response to Arab Peace Initiative: GCC,” Kuwait News Agency, (May 3, 2007).
123“ISRAEL-OPT: More Palestinians entering Israel on health grounds,” IRIN, (February 15, 2007).
124Corinne Heller, “Palestinians learn emergency medicine in Isrel, Reuters, (November 22, 2006).
125Khaled Abu Toameh, “Gaza's Christians fear for their lives,” Jerusalem Post, (June 19, 2007); “Catholic compound ransacked in Gaza,” AP, (June 19, 2007) .
126Aaron Klein, “‘Christians must accept Islamic rule,’” WorldNetDaily, (June 19, 2007).
127Lebanonwire, Independent Border Assesment Team Report, (June 2007).
128Lebanonwire, Independent Border Assesment Team Report, (June 2007).
129Uzi Mahnaimi Zarit, “Hezbollah 'has stockpiled rockets' on Israeli border,” Timesonline. The Sunday Times. (June 10, 2007).
130Khaled Abu Toameh, “Fatwa forbids PA Muslims to emigrate,” Jerusalem Post, (June 10, 2007); Mark Mackinnon, “Heavy-hearted Palestinians taking their chances abroad,” The Globe and Mail, (November 20, 2006); Sarah El Deeb, “More Palestinians Flee Homelands,” AP, (December 9, 2006).
131Larry Derfner, “Jerusalem Undivided” U.S.News & World Report, (June 3, 2007).
132Khaled Abu Toameh, “Fatwa forbids PA Muslims to emigrate,” Jerusalem Post, (June 10, 2007).
133Stuart A. Cohen, “Why is the IDF crying wolf?” Jerusalem Post, (July 30, 2007).
134“Does Iran have something in store?” Wall Street Journal, (December 26, 2006).
135Iran Press Service, (December 14, 2001).
136See, for example, “Egypt to build nuclear power plants,” AP, (October 29, 2007); “Analysis: Yemen, Jordan hope for nuclear,” UPI, (October 1, 2007); “Six Arab states join rush to go nuclear,” [London] Times Online, (November 4, 2006).
136aAl-Hayat (London), May 16, 2008.
137Giles Whittell, “Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie,” TimesOnline, (November 2, 2007).
138Giles Whittell, “Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie,” TimesOnline, (November 2, 2007).
139David Jackson, “Iran, Iraq top agendas for meetings with allies,” USA Today, (November 1, 2007).
140Associated Press, (October 23, 2007).
141Matt Spetalnick, “Bush: Threat of World War III if Iran goes nuclear,” Reuters, (October 17, 2007).
142Richard Cohen, “Bush’s Legacy of Cynicism,” Washington Post, (October 30, 2007).
143“Erekat: Palestinians will not accept Israel as 'Jewish State',” Barak Ravid, Haaretz, (November 12, 2007).
1442006 Report on International Religious Freedom.
145Herb Keinon, “Behind the scenes at Annapolis,” Jerusalem Post, (November 28, 2007).
146Herb Keinon, “FM's complaints of Arab conduct denied,” Jerusalem Post, (November 29, 2007).
147KEEVOON Research, Strategy and Communications, (December 26, 2007).
148Ronny Shaked, “Thousands of Palestinians apply for Israeli citizenship,” Ynetnews.com, November 7, 2007).
149Joshua Mitnick, “Better the Devil You Know,” The Jerusalem Report, (November 12, 2007).
150Joshua Mitnick, “Better the Devil You Know,” The Jerusalem Report, (November 12, 2007).
151Eetta Prince-Gibson, “Land (Swap) for Peace?” The Jerusalem Report, (November 26, 2007).
152Near East Consulting, Bulletin # II-12, (December 2007).
153For example, demilitarization was one of several prequisites to ensure Israel’s security after the establishment of a Palestinian state according to a study group that explored Israel’s options for peace in 1989. The West Bank and Gaza: Israel's Options for Peace, Tel Aviv: The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 1989, p. 104.
154Khaled Abu Toameh, “PA does not want demilitarized Palestine,” Jerusalem Post, (January 4, 2008).
155Jonathan Pearlman, “Fruitless Enterprise,” The Jerusalem Report, (August 7, 2006).
156Lara Sukhtian, “Palestinians loot greenhouses; Pumps, hoses taken; Abbas appeals for order,” The Boston Globe, (September 14, 2005).
157Khaled Abu Toameh, “Gaza: Gunmen raze Morag hothouses,” Jerusalem Post, (May 14, 2006).
158Arnon Regular, “Palestinian militants ransack former Gush Katif greenhouses,” Ha’aretz, (October 2, 2006).
159Khaled Abu Toameh, “Gaza: Gunmen raze Morag hothouses,” Jerusalem Post, (May 14, 2006).
160Aaron Klein, “Ex-Jewish cities now for Hamas terror training,” World Net Daily, (March 20, 2007).
161Will Rasmussen, “Gaza's greenhouses become hot property in Egypt,” Reuters, (January 31, 2008).
161aRaz, Noa. “Blair sister-in-law: Gaza world’s largest concentration camp.” Ynetnews.com (September 11, 2008)
162Shelly Paz and Rebecca Anna Stoil, “Gaza human chain a few links short,” Jerusalem Post, (February 25, 2008).
162aAlhomayed, Tariq. “Hamas’s Gluttony.” Asharq Al-Awsat (September 7, 2008).
163Khaled Abu Toameh, “Arab editor blames Hamas for Gaza crisis,” Jerusalem Post, (January 21, 2008).
164“Palestinians refuse to receive fuel from Israel,” Xinhua, (December 2, 2007).
165Jpost.com Staff, “PA: Hamas stealing Gaza hospitals’ fuel,” Jerusalem Post, December 6, 2007).
166Jpost.com Staff, “Defense sources: Gaza blackout a Hamas trick,” Jerusalem Post,(January 20, 2008).
167Amos Harel and Yuval Azoulay, “Gaza power plant shuts down due to fuel blockade,” Haaretz, (January 21, 2008).
168Ellen Knickmeyer, “Gazans feeling recoil of attacks on Israel,” Washington Post, (February 19, 2008).
169Eyad al-Sarraj and Sara Roy, “Ending the stranglehold on Gaza,” Boston Globe, (January 26, 2008).
170Martin Kramer, “Gaza buried in flour,” Martin Kramer’s Sandbox, weblog, (January 28, 2008).
171Ellen Knickmeyer, “Egyptians Reseal Border, Cutting Access From Gaza,” Washington Post, (February 4, 2008).
172Near East Report, (May 22, 2006).
173Matthew Krieger and Tovah Lazaroff, “Hamas bans Israeli produce from Gaza,” Jerusalem Post, (July 10, 2007) .
174Wikipedia, “List of Qassam Rocket Attacks”.
175Matan Tzuri,“‘We Didn't Think They Would Get to Us’,” Yediot Achronot, (March 2, 2008,) pg 8 (Hebrew).
176Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, “Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population on 30/09/2007."
177Mijal Grinberg and Yuval Azoulay, “5 Hurt in Ashkelon as Close to 50 Rockets Hit Southern Israel,” Haaretz, (March 2, 2008).
178Ofra Edelman and Yuval Azoulay, “Student Killed in Negev College as Qassam Barrage Intensifies,” Haaretz, (February 28, 2008).
179Shelly Paz and Judy Siegel, ‘I Screamed as Loud as I could So They Could Hear Me,’ Jerusalem Post, (February 11, 2008).
180Ron Ben Yishai, “Givati Officers: Lessons from Lebanon Implemented in Gaza,” YNET News, (March 4, 2008).
181Ibid.
182Tani Goldstein, “Rocket Hits Ashkelon House; Qassams Land in Sderot,” YNET News, (March 3, 2008).
183AP Story, (January 1, 2005.)
184 “A Conversation with Mahmoud Abbas,” Washington Post, (September 30, 2007).
185AP Story, (January 1, 2005).
186Ibid.
187Roee Nahmias, “Report: Abbas Does Not Rule Out Resuming Armed Conflict with Israel,”YNET News, (February 28, 2008).
188JPost Staff, “Abbas: ‘Armed Resistance Not Ruled Out’,” Jerusalem Post, (February 28, 2008).
189“The End of the Affair, ” Wall Street Journal, (December 31, 2004).
190Ibid.
191Khaled Abu Toameh, “PA's Elite Urge End To Violence,” Jerusalem Post, (February 27, 2004).
192“The End of the Affair, ” Wall Street Journal, (December 31, 2004).
193Barry Rubin, “Two Arab Elections, ” Jerusalem Post, (January 4, 2005).
194Raphael Medoff, “Likely PA Prime Minister a Holocaust Denier,” Frontpage, (February 26, 2003).
195AP and JPost Staff, “Abbas: ‘IDF Action Worse than the Holocaust’,” Jerusalem Post, (March 2, 2008).
196Itamar Marcus and Barbara Cook, “Palestinian Authority Daily: ‘Killer of Eight Young Men is Holy Martyr- Shahid,’” Palestinian Media Watch, (March 9, 2008).
197 JPost Staff, “Abbas: Awards To Terrorists Have been Revoked,” Jerusalem Post, (April 17, 2008).
198Roee Nahmias, “Report: Abbas Does Not Rule Out Resuming Armed Conflict with Israel,”YNET News, (February 28, 2008).
199Abba Eban, “The Saudi Text,” The New York Times, (November 18, 1981).
200Interview with Jerusalem District Police Chief Aryeh Amit by Eetta Prince Gibson, “The Back Page,” The Jerusalem Report, (March 31, 2008).
201Jitka Maleckova and Alan Kreuger, “Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?” (July 2002), quoted in the Daily Star [Lebanon], (August 6, 2002).
202Washington Post, (December 5, 2001).
203“Without Distinction - Attacks On Civilians by Palestinian Armed Groups,” Amnesty International, (July 11, 2002).
204Jerusalem Post, (January 15, 2003).
205 Staff and AP, “Haniyeh: Hamas Will Weigh Ceasefire,” Jerusalem Post, (March 28, 2008).
206Khaled Abu Toameh, “Palestinian Affairs: Abbas's latest headaches,” Jerusalem Post, (March 27, 2008).
207 Jewish Telegraphic Agency, (June 11, 2002).
208The Associated Press, “Palestinian Resigns Over Smuggling,” Washington Post, (April 7, 2008).
209The Associated Press, “Hezbollah agrees to remove Lebanon roadblocks,” International Herald Tribune (May 15, 2008).
210The Associated Press, “Hizbullah wins veto right in government,” The Jerusalem Post (May 21, 2008).
211Robert F. Worth and Nada Bakri, “Hezbollah Begins to Withdraw Gunmen in Beirut,” The New York Times (May 11, 2008).
212Palestine Chronicle, (July 6, 2003); Embassy of Israel (USA), (June 27, 2003).
213Washington Institute for Near East Policy, (June 2, 2003).
214Jerusalem Post, (July 17, 2003); Ha'aretz, (July 7 and 14, 2003); Israel Radio, (July 10, 2003).
215IMRA.
216The State Department, (June 20, 2003).
217Khaled Abu Toameh, “Truce doesn’t mean end of resistance,” The Jerusalem Post (May 20, 2008).
218“Israeli Cabinet debates evacuation pay,” JTA (September 14, 2008).
219“Olmert sees land swaps in deal with Palestinians,” JTA (August 12, 2008); Leslie Susser, “Olmert’s Last Hurrah,” Jerusalem Report (September 15, 2008).
220“Lobby For Human Rights In Jerusalem,” (October 7, 1998).
221“Abbas: Israel never prevented Palestinians from making Hajj like Hamas is,” Jerusalem Post,(December 6, 2008).

Mark E. Smith said...

Anonymous Mossad shill, this is not an appropriate place to post propaganda from the mainstream media. The repetition of lies doesn't make them true. The souls of the dead cry out for justice and you cannot silence them. The voices of Gaza, like the voices of the Warsaw Ghetto, will resound throughout history.

There will be judgment, both on earth and on high, and it will be based on what we do, not on what we say. There is no possible justification or rationalization for genocide. Those who say peace but make war, are nothing but hypocrites.

You may care nothing today about world opinion, and that is fine, because if things should change and you should seek it tomorrow, it will not be there for you. Every argument you use to justify genocide and a disproportionate response, can and will be used against you in the future. History repeats, so it doesn't take a prophet to predict the inevitable.

In the short term, you are winning, but many tyrants have enjoyed short term success. In the long term, you are cutting your own throats and dooming our children and grandchildren to oblivion.

Shalom.

Anonymous said...

Check this out. It shows the real world, not the idealist Arab totalitarian stooge mentality of Smith & company. By the way the Mossad did the world a favor by providing the data to take out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor in 1981. They also captured the #3 Nazi in 1960-Adolf Eichmann. Just to burst Smith's paranoid obsessive obsession....

http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2009/01/05/1002001/bloomberg-on-cnn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5eKXOBf5_w

Mark E. Smith said...

Anonymous nameless coward, the fascist propagandist, writes:

"By the way the Mossad did the world a favor by providing the data to take out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor in 1981."

Saddam Hussein's Iraq was the most modern country in the Middle East. It was a secular country, women had rights, the people were educated, and it was not a haven for terrorists. It had electricity, running water, and all the modern conveniences. It was one of the world's oldest civilizations and it was economically stable. Now, after our blockades killed over a million innocent children and our invasion has killed over a million more innocents, Iraq, which never attacked us, has nothing. Saddam Hussein was one of the dictators that America supported, even to the point of providing him with weapons to use against the Kurds and encouraging him to invade Kuwait. It was only when he threatened to open a Euro-denominated rather than dollar-denominated oil bourse, that he, who had never attacked us and had nothing to do with 9/11, became an enemy. Even Abu Ghraib wasn't as dreadful a torture dungeon under Saddam as it was under Bush and Cheney.

Anonymous nameless coward, the fascist propagandist, continues, "They also captured the #3 Nazi in 1960-Adolf Eichmann."

South America was always a primary rat line destination for Nazi war criminals. Paraguay at that time was still a fascist dictatorship under Straussner. Even Bush owns a ranch there. During the time of Straussner's openly fascist rule, the three biggest foreign investors in Paraguay were Germany (naturally), the United States, and ISRAEL.

I'm glad the Israelis captured Eichmann, even if they let Mengele go, and I suppose that one day the Palestinians will capture some of the Israeli war criminals and bring them to justice also, but that does not bring back the dead.

I've seen pictures of Israeli settlers standing on hilltops watching the genocide in Gaza and laughing. Did the Nazis watch and laugh as the Warsaw Ghetto was destroyed? No, they at least had the common sense to turn away so that they could pretend that they didn't know. The Israelis appear to be not only heartless, but brainless.

Here is a video taken about a year ago, during the economic blockage and occupation of Palestine by Israel, filmed by Korean TV journalists, of an American woman (after a moment you'll hear her speaking in English) trying to stop Israeli troops from shooting Palestinian kids:

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=SQyIKyd2gqA

And then there was Rachael Corrie, a young American woman killed by Israeli bulldozers as she tried to prevent them from destroying a Palestinian home.

The Zookeeper's Wife and Schindler's List are stories of people who retained their decency and saved Jews during The Holocaust. Will there be any decent and heroic Israelis for the world to remember, or just the genocide and the settlers laughing as they watch children being slaughtered?

It is not obsessive to oppose genocide, it just seems strange to you because it is the sane and moral thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Smith, your hutzpah is unending. How dare you compare your usual antisemetic rants of genocide and the Warsaw Ghetto fighters to the Palestinians? ALL JEWS WERE MARKED FOR DEATH BY THE NAZIS, which is a lot different than Israel defending its citizens against harm by people sworn to destroy you. The arabs want peace only if Israel goes back to its pre 1967 borders which still were breached in 1948, and 1967.

I do agree that the Iraq war was misplaced and has emboldened Iran which sponsors and arms Hezbollah and Hamas.

Israel has offered many times land for peace without success.

You are just a shill for the medievalists. Never once have you mentioned Jewish or Israeli suffering. I've said it before, go move to Gaza or any other Arab country. See how long an "indfidel" would fare under their system of law.....

Mark E. Smith said...

Ashamed of his/her identity, and only able to post anonymously for fear that his/her family and friends would learn what a liar he/she is, writes, "I've said it before, go move to Gaza or any other Arab country. See how long an "indfidel" would fare under their system of law....."

If you had bothered to read my previous posts instead of cluttering the forum with entire mainstream media propaganda articles rather than just posting the links, you'd know that in the early seventies I spent almost five years living in Afghanistan, a Moslem country, and was treated with respect.

And if your weren't so ignorant and provincial, you'd know better than to believe the stereotypes and lies you're told, and wouldn't be spreading them around.

Not even Hamas is sworn to destroy Israel, that's a lie by Israel. They took a statement by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who was quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini, a statement which referred only to the illegal occupation of Jerusalem, and twisted it to say that "all Arabs" want to wipe Israel off the face of the map. It simply isn't true. All the Palestinians want is to be treated humanely, not deprived of food, water, and medicines, and not to be bombed and murdered because Hamas has been lobbing some crude rockets from the Gaza Ghetto where the Palestinians have been walled off and deprived of the necessities of life.

There is no better comparison than the Warsaw Ghetto. Were the Jews wrong to fight back because the Nazis were a stronger military power and believed in collective punishment as Israel does?

And the words are infidel, chutzpah and anti-Semitic. Learn to spell or at least to use a dictionary. If nothing else, type the word into your search engine and it will show you correctly spelled examples.

The medievalists are the Orthodox Israelis who beat up a Canadian woman for refusing to move to the back of a public bus. Afghanistan, when I lived there, was commonly said to still be in the 13th century, but they respected all "people of the book," meaning Christians, Jews, and any other religious group that has a written text. They don't hate or kill infidels or ferangi (foreigners), they defend themselves against invaders and have been doing so for thousands of years. They didn't try to impose their culture or beliefs on the British, French, Chinese, or American men and women living, teaching, or working there in hospitals and at archaeological sites. Ask anyone who served there in the Peace Corps.

I did mention Jewish and Israeli suffering. But only during The Holocaust could it be compared to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians now. It is sheer barbarism and terrorism to say that if Hamas kills one Israeli, Israel will kill 80 or 800 Palestinians. That isn't even "an eye for an eye," it is hundreds of eyes for one.

So now you're calling me anti-Semitic because I value all human life, not just Jewish human life. You think Ha-Shem is a shlemazel who clumsily created other people by mistake and needs you to clean up after the accident? You think that others of different beliefs aren't as good or as deserving as Jews? What are they, untermenschen?

"Treat your neighbor as yourself" does not apply only to Jewish neighbors. What kind of egotists could misinterpret something that simple?

There is a Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill." But it is not Jewish. It was stolen from much earlier and more advanced cultures whose gods did not tell people to slay their neighbors and bring back their foreskins because they weren't Jewish. That mishagash wasn't from Ha-Shem, it was written by men who wanted to justify their genocides by saying that G-d told them to do it. Any G-d that would tell people to kill is not omnipotent, because the omnipotent doesn't need anyone to do the wet jobs. The omnipotent just creates a microbe, earthquake, or flood when needed. A patriarchal war god who orders people to kill is not a deity or a Creator. Hitler too said, "Gott mit uns."

When you learn to treat your neighbors the way you'd want to be treated yourself, then and only then can you call yourself a member of the human race.

There will be judgment and retribution, and it will come not from Hamas but from Ha-Shem. To spend years studying Torah and Mishnah and still not be able to understand the four one-syllable words of the Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill," is NOT a sign of intelligence. What are you going to say when judgment comes and you are asked why you disobeyed the Commandment not to kill and why you committed or supported genocide? That the rabbis told you that Ha-Shem didn't really mean it and that there were exceptions to the Commandment? Where does it say that it is okay to destroy many lives to save one?

To set yourself apart from humanity and believe that you are better than everyone else is to ask Ha-Shem to punish you for your arrogance. And no matter how many times and how severely you are punished, you still don't learn.

As Max Blumenthan posted on Alternet:

Pro-Israel Rally Attended by Big-Time NY Dems Descends into Calls for 'Wiping Out' Palestinians

....The rally made me think of a passage in “The Holocaust Is Over, We Must Rise From Its Ashes,” a powerful new book by former Israeli Knesset speaker and Jewish National Fund chairman Avraham Burg:

“If you are a bad person, a whining enemy or a strong-arm occupier, you are not my brother, even if you are circumcised, observe the Sabbath, and do mitzvahs. If your scarf covers every hair on your head for modesty, you give alms and do charity, but what is under your scarf is dedicated to the sanctity of Jewish land, taking precedence over the sanctity of human life, whosever life that is, then your are not my sister. You might be my enemy. A good Arab or a righteous gentile will be a brother or sister to me. A wicked man, even of Jewish descent, is my adversary, and I would stand on the other side of the barricade and fight him to the end.”

Read that last paragraph, nameless supporter of genocide, if you can actually read (your comments appear to indicate that you don't read what anyone else says and just cut and paste whatever the Mossad sends you), and try to understand there is a very good reason to treat others as you would want to be treated. It is very simple and even you can understand it. Another way of phrasing it is, "What goes around, comes around." We were slaveholders before we were slaves in Egypt. We committed crimes against humanity before crimes against humanity were committed against us. It is all there in the Torah.

What Israel is doing in Gaza now is not just killing Palestinians, it is also asking the world to kill Jews and giving the world a great excuse to do it. Go back and read the original article, if you can read. It is titled, "Israel's Looming Catastrophe." How many Holocausts will it take before you figure it out?

Nobody has absolute security. Anyone can be run over by a car, caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between criminals and the police, or killed by some maniac who shoots up a store, a workplace, a school, or a restaurant, even here in the United States, even during peacetime, and even without rockets or suicide bombers. The best security is to treat your neighbors the way that you want to be treated, so that they do not become resentful and start to hate you. The kids who shoot up schools and the workers who go postal have been bullied for years before they finally can't take it any more. Moslems are no better and no worse than Jews. Everyone has a right to equality, dignity, and respect without regard to sex, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, age, disability, or any other historically suspect category.

Shalom.

Anonymous said...

Smith, you are indeed a legend in your own mind, living in an unreal make believe world where there are no retributions against Jews. The Afganistan of the 1970's is not the same as today. By the way, doesn't Bin Ladin still hide out there? I'm sure he has plenty of assistance.

"Crude Rockets" kill, you jerk. Israelis have suffered from homicide bombers from your beloved so called Palestine. Nary a peep.

When was the last time one of these medieval countries contributed something to mankind? Maybe 1000 years ago....

Sure, peace and recognition that you exist would be wonderful, however since Arabs miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, choose terrorist proxies, and espouse radical Islamic principles by and large, it won't happen soon unfortunately.

Mark E. Smith said...

Nameless writes, "(Ad hominem attack), living in an unreal make believe world where there are no retributions against Jews."

Didn't I suggest you use a dictionary, nameless? Retribution is punishment for what you do wrong. If you DON'T do anything wrong, then it would not be retribution, it would be discrimination or even anti-Semitism. Are you acknowledging that the genocide Israel is carrying out in Gaza is wrong, or is it just that, as usual, you have no idea what you're saying?

Nameless continues, "The Afganistan of the 1970's is not the same as today."

Of course not. First the Russians invaded them and then we did.

Nameless goes on, "By the way, doesn't Bin Ladin still hide out there? I'm sure he has plenty of assistance."

I'm sure he does too. He has always gotten assistance from us. Only four months before 9/11, when bin Ladin was on our terrorist list and we knew he was being sheltered by the Taliban in Afghanistan, we sent him $40 million. His family is close to the Bush family, so they were flown out of the U.S. immediately after 9/11, when no Americans were allowed to fly, and not questioned. Bush first tried to avoid having a 9/11 Commission, then appointed partisan political cronies to do a cover-up, and even then he suppressed the portion of their report involving Saudi Arabia, which is where the alleged hijackers were supposed to have come from, not Afghanistan and certainly not Iraq. But the rulers of Saudi Arabia are also friends of Bush. So Bush invaded two countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 because he wasn't going to invade Saudi Arabia which did. If bin Laden is still alive, he is probably being sheltered at a CIA safe house, as he is a CIA asset, as were the Taliban, which was why Bush sent them that $40 mil.

Nameless continues: "Crude Rockets" kill, you jerk. Israelis have suffered from homicide bombers from your beloved so called Palestine. Nary a peep.

Yes, crude rockets kill. If the correct response is to kill eighty Palestinians for every Israeli killed, then the world now has an obligation to kill eighty Israelis for every Palestinian killed by Israel. Or is it ONLY Israelis and Jews who are more precious than anyone else on earth?

Nameless suddenly starts to make sense, asking, "When was the last time one of these medieval countries contributed something to mankind? Maybe 1000 years ago...."

That's right. Neither Israel nor Palestine has contributed anything but violence to the world. Both countries are medieval theocracies, but Israel is more violent and kills more people.

Nameless writes, "Sure, peace and recognition that you exist would be wonderful, however since Arabs miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, choose terrorist proxies, and espouse radical Islamic principles by and large, it won't happen soon unfortunately."

The retribution is already starting. As Jimmy Carter wrote in the article I linked above, Israel missed opportunity after opportunity to have peace, chose terrorist proxies, radical Orthodox and Zionist principles, and embarked on a course of violence that, even if it ensured Israel's security, which it will not, endangers every Jew in the world. As Israel kills Palestinians in Gaza, anti-Semites in Franch, the United States, and every other country in the world are having a field day. Because the Iraelis are brutish, short-sighted medievalists just like their Palestinian neighbors, decent and humane Jews all over the world will suffer.

You think that because Israel is more violent, has more modern weapons, and is killing more Palestinians than Palestinians can kill Israelis, that Israel is therefore superior? You, who believe in the law of the jungle that might makes right, are accusing others of medievalism?

If you were capable of logic, you would understand that there can be no "final solution" to the Palestinian problem other than equality for both countries and both peoples. The economic blockade has forced a Palestinian disapora. There are Palestinians all over the world, just as there were Jews outside of Germany and Nazi-occupied territories. Even if Hitler had killed every last Jew in Europe, he would not have destroyed the Jews. The Holocaust did not fail to exterminate us because Hitler wasn't violent or ruthless enough, it failed because violence is never and can never be a final solution.

If Israel had at least adhered to the barbaric code of "an eye for an eye," and killed one Palestinian for every Israeli killed, it would be a barbaric country but would not be inviting another Holocaust against world Jewry. But by killing hundreds of Palestinians for every Israeli killed, Israel has shown itself unable to rise even to the level of barbarism.

Mark E. Smith said...

Oh, and by the way, Nameless, because I posted my address above, I get email thanking me from some of the people following this discussion.

If you think you are doing Israel or the Jews a favor by making personal attacks, repeating lies and propaganda, not bothering to read comments from anyone else, not responding to points and arguments that I have made, and openly displaying your inadequate language and logic skills, you're wrong.

I post because it is important to show that not all Jews are bigots, racists, and barbarians, but your posts illustrate clearly that the majority of Jews really are bigots, racists, and barbarians. But G-d does not save a place of sin for the sake of a few good people within it, G-d saves those worthy few and destroys the place of sin. If you cannot learn from history and cannot learn from the Torah, then you cannot learn and will continue to be punished by G-d (retribution for your sins) until you do.

Empires fail by overextending themselves militarily, and the United States and Israel are no exceptions to the rule. Israel is a failed experiment. It was an attempt to see if once the Jews had a homeland again, we would be able to live in peace with our neighbors. Instead we tried to wipe Palestine off the face of the map. In 1917 Jews owned less than 3% of the land in Palestine. In 1947, the proposed distribution gave 56% of the land to Israel and only 44% to Arabs. Israel now owns 87% of the land and the Palestinians only 13%, and that 13% is walled off and under economic blockade and military bombardment. Who is trying to wipe whom off the face of the map?

You can't justify what Israel is doing by saying that the Arabs want to do what Israel is doing, or that the Arabs might do what Israel is doing if they could. Actions speak louder than words. It is Israel that is wiping Palestine off the face of the map, not the other way around.

Mark E. Smith said...

Here is a link to an article in the Guardian, UK, by Michelle Goldberg, entitled, "Israel's Free Ride Ends."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jan/13/us-media-israel-gaza

You cannot get away with lies forever, because sooner or later somebody will check the facts.

And you cannot get away with genocide forever either. Do the math. For every Israeli that Hamas kills, the Iraelis kill a few hundred Palestinians. For each Palestinian killed, a thousand people in other countries who had previously supported Israel and thought well of the Jewish people, become outraged and withdraw their friendship and support.

Israel will have total security, as will the architects of the U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. War criminals who are not hung, are put in special maximum security prisons. Rudolf Hess had total security. If that's what you want, that's what you'll get.

curt said...

words vs. images........

http://sabbah.biz/mt/wp-content/palestine_olmert_plan_maps.jpg

Anonymous said...

Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, at the Four Seasons, New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem.

The speech was sponsored by the Hudson Institute on September 25.

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for inviting me.

I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe.
First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe. Then, I will say a few things about Islam. To close I will tell you about a meeting in Jerusalem.

The Europe you know is changing. You have probably seen the landmarks. But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world. It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration. All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighborhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It's the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corners. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighborhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe. These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.

There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe. With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule.

Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam, Marseille and Malmo in Sweden. In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighborhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities. In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims. Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear 'whore, whore'. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin. In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity. In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system.. Many neighborhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan. Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization.
A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.
Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favor of a worldwide caliphate. Muslims demand what they call 'respect'. And this is how we give them respect. We have Muslim official state holidays.

The Christian-Democratic attorney general is willing to accept sharia in the Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority. We have cabinet members with passports from Morocco and Turkey.

Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots. Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs, the banlieus. I call the perpetrators 'settlers'. Because that is what they are. They do not come to integrate into our societies, they come to integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam. Therefore, they are settlers.
Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighborhoods, their cities, their countries. Moreover, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be ignored.

The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet. His behavior is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized. Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriages - at the same time. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. If it is good for Islam, it is good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad.

Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam means 'submission'. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.

Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam 'the most retrograde force in the world', and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam's territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming. Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a 'right-wing extremists' or 'racists'. In my country, the Netherlands, 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat. Yet there is a danger greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine. An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for America - as its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem.

Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe's children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so.

Mark E. Smith said...

Judaism and Christianity are no better. All patriarchal religions are authoritarian and warlike.

The Hudson Institute is a conservative think tank founded by military strategists that promotes xenophobia and hatred as a way of supporting the genocide-for-profit industry, otherwise known as the military-industrial complex.

There are no arms and missile sales when neighbors live in harmony with each other, but when they can be frightened by fascist propaganda like the above into killing each other, the merchants of death get richer.

Peace!

Mark E. Smith said...

Anonymous, it is time you left the dark side and came into the light. The U.S. and Israel have done themselves irreparable harm by perpetrating torture and genocide. Many of us prefer peace talks and life to hate speech and death. Of course if you are an arms dealer who is personally profiting from the massacres and slaughter, you care more for money than for human life and won't be swayed. But just in case you are open to reason, here's another organization I support:

http://www.awalls.org/tour

Anarchists Against the Wall is a direct action group that fights against Israeli apartheid and oppression in all its forms, most recently also the atrocities in Gaza. For five years the group has waged a constant struggle against Israel's Wall. The work on the ground in the West Bank, alongside the Palestinian popular movement is breaking new ground in the joint struggle for Palestinian liberation. In December 2008, Anarchists Against the Wall and the Bil'in Village Committee were jointly awarded the prestigious Carl von Ossietzky Medal---an award given annually by the Berlin-based International League of Human Rights, named after German Nobel Peace Prize winner Carl von Ossietzky who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

Now more than ever, it is critical to support the Israeli resistance movement against the state's attempted repression of our work. Members of Anarchists Against the Wall continually pay the price for our activism, including being shot, beaten, arrested and indicted. We desperately need funding for legal support for both Palestinian and Israeli activists who are arrested and charged in the course of the struggle.

Schachaf Polakow, a member of Anarchists Against the Wall, will be touring the U.S. and Canada from February 1st to March 9th. His presentation will include film and photos, and will focus both on AATW's recent work in solidarity with Gaza and our ongoing work in the West Bank. Please see the tour schedule below, and help us get the word out. A highlight of the tour is bound to be a special evening with Noam Chomsky at Harvard Square, February 17th.

For more information questions about the tour, please email aatwtour (at) gmail.com.

Tour dates

Feb 1st-8th
California
Regional coordinator: Rebecca - rvilkomerson (at) gmail.com

Feb 1st - Los Angeles
An event sponsored by LA Jews for Peace and American Friends Service Committee
Levantine Cultural Center Studio
5998 W. Pico Blvd., LA (street parking available)
Time TBA
Contact: PatnJeff (at) keyway.net

Feb 4th - Sacramento
Sponsored by Sacramento Peace Action
Davis University
the Quad of the UC campus
12 noon
Contact: David Mandel - dlmandel (at) pacbell.net; Jessica Gray - jessicadgray (at) msn.com; Issam Hararah - iahararah (at) ucdavis.edu

Feb 4th - Sacramento
Sponsored by Sacramento Jewish Voice for Peace and Sacramento Peace Action
The Peace Action Conference Room,
909 12th St.
7 PM
David Mandel - dlmandel (at) pacbell.net; Jessica Gray - jessicadgray ( from ) msn.com; Issam Hararah - iahararah (at) ucdavis.edu

Feb 5th - Berkeley
An event sponsored by JVP Bay Area
Unitarian Hall, 1924 Cedar St.
JVP Bay Area
7:30-9:30 PM
Contact: bayarea (at) jewishvoiceforpeace.org

Feb 6th - UC Berkeley
An event sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, Berkeley
Berkeley campus:
Time TBA
Contact: Yaman Salahi - ysalahi (at) gmail.com

Feb 7th - Marin
An event sponsored by 14 Friends of Palestine, and Keep Hope Alive
First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo
72 Kensington Road, Anselmo
4 PM
Contact: 14friendsofpalestine (at) gmail.com

Feb 8th - South Bay 7-9 PM
An event sponsored by South Bay JVP, Pilgrims of Ibillin, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, South Bay Mobilization
Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall
W. Fremont Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94087 (Exit Fremont Ave off of Hwy 85. Between Mary and Hollenbeck)
Time TBA
Contact: southbay (at) jewishvoiceforpeace.org

Feb 1st-8th
Seattle region
Regional coordinator: Judith Kolokoff - jkolokoff (at) hotmail.com

Feb 11th - Seattle
Details TBA

Feb 12th - Portland OR
Details TBA

Feb 13/14 - Vancouver/Bellingham
Details TBA

Feb 15th-20th
Boston and New England region
Regional coordinators: noam - Noambahat (at) yahoo.com; matan kohen - matankohen2 (at) gmail.com

Feb 15th - Boston
Details TBA

Feb 17th - Boston Feb 17
An event featuring Noam Chomsky
Unitarian Church,Church St. Harvard Square
7 PM
Contact: Jean Entine - jeanentine (at) igc.org

More Boston events TBA

Feb 21st - Montreal
Comité Sociale Centre-Sud
1710 Beaudry
6 pm
Contact: Aaron Lakoff - info (at) tadamon.ca

Feb 22nd - Montreal
D.I.R.A Anarchist Library,
2035 St-Laurent (3rd floor).
1 PM
Contact: Aaron Lakoff - info (at) tadamon.ca

Feb 22nd - Ottawa
Details TBA
Contact: abla abdelhadi - abla_a76 (at) hotmail.com

Feb 23rd - Kingston Ontario
AKA Autonomous Social Centre
75 Queen Street, Kingston, Ontario
Time TBA
Contact: Avi - grandfunk.cfrc (at) gmail.com

Feb 24th - Toronto
Details TBA
Contact: Sue Goldstein - nyinmind (at) yahoo.com

Feb 25th - London Ontario
empowerment infoshop
636 Queens Ave. London
Time TBA
Contact: Darius Mirshahi - info (at) empowermentinfoshop.com

Feb 26th - Detroit
Barbara Harvey Jewish Voice for Peace Detroit and American Jews for Just Peace, Detroit
Details TBA

Feb 27th - Oberlin Oh
Details TBA
Contact: sam.cassanos (at) gmail.com

Feb 28th - Pittsburgh
Hosted by University of Pittsburgh Students for Justice in Palestine
Endorsed by Pitt Muslim Student Association and Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee
University of Pittsburgh
David Lawrence Hall Room 121
7pm
Contact: Jonas - joeskillet (at) riseup.net

March 1st - Philadelphia
Details TBA

March 2nd - Washington, DC
Details TBA

March 3rd-5th - NYC and Hudson Valley
Details TBA
Contact: Patrick Conners - ConnersPatrick1 (at) aol.com

March 5th - Ithaca College
Details TBA

March 6th - Cornell University
Details TBA

March 7th - Syracuse
Details TBA

March 8th - Rochester
An event sponsored by SDS
Details TBA

March 9th - Binghamton NY
An event sponsored by Binghamton Education Workers Union (I.W.W.) and Binghamton Political Initiative
Binghamton University
Time TBA
Contact: Joe Golowka - jgolowk1 (at) binghamton.edu

Anonymous said...

Hypocrisy!
by David A. Harris
Executive Director
American Jewish Committee
January 26, 2009


Dear Ms. Trine Lilleng,

You were an unknown Norwegian diplomat till this month.

No longer.

As first secretary in the Norwegian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, you recently sent out an email on your office account in which you declared: "The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany."

Accompanying your text were photos, with an emphasis on children, seeking to juxtapose the Holocaust with the recent Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Clearly, you are miscast in your role as a diplomat, all the more so of a nation that has sought to play a mediating role in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In fact, you're desperately in need of some education.

Let's begin with your current posting. You've been in Riyadh since 2007.

If you're so anguished by human rights violations, perhaps you could have begun by devoting some of your attention - and email blasts - to what surrounds you.

Or were your eyes diplomatically shut?

Have you failed to notice the many legal executions, including beheadings, going on in your assigned country?

Have you ignored the often abysmal treatment of foreign workers, many from Asia, who also happen to be disproportionately counted among the victims of Saudi capital punishment?

Have you neglected the gender apartheid that surrounds you? Did you ever look out of your car to notice that Saudi women are proscribed from driving, and that's hardly the worst of it?

Have you checked the skyline of Riyadh or Jeddah lately to count the number of church spires or other non-Muslim houses of worship?

Have you bothered to inquire about the fate of homosexuals?

Okay, you were AWOL on those issues. Maybe you just didn't want to offend your hosts by speaking the truth, or maybe you're suffering from that diplomatic disease known as "localitis" or "clientitis."

But surely a woman like you, with such capacity for empathy for those in far-away places, and especially for children in danger, couldn't remain silent about other human rights transgressions, could she?

After all, could an individual so deeply moved by the plight of Palestinians in Gaza remain silent about what a New York Times columnist earlier this month described as "hell on earth" - Zimbabwe? Could a person so anguished by the fate of Palestinian children stay mum about a country where a girl's life expectancy at birth is 34, much less than half that of her Norwegian counterpart, and where the health care sector has vaporized, all thanks to the one-man rule of Robert Mugabe?

Could such a dedicated humanist possibly avert her eyes from the deadliest conflict since the Second World War, which has killed over five million people, many of them children, in the Congo in the past decade - not to mention the documented and widespread use of torture, rape, and arbitrary detention?

An observer of such acute sensitivity could hardly hold her tongue while Afghan girls attempting to go to school have been doused with acid by those who wish to deny young women access to education, reminiscent of the five years of Taliban rule, could she?

In neighboring Pakistan, where you served in the Norwegian embassy for three years, the beleaguered human rights community must have been fortunate to have such an impassioned voice for all that's wrong in this failing state. Or was that voice, perhaps, on mute?

The children of Sderot, the Israeli town near the Gaza border, have been in desperate need of just such a spokesperson as you for the past eight years.

After all, their town has been in the crosshairs of literally thousands of missiles and mortars fired from Gaza. Those Israeli children live with all the signs of trauma, knowing that, with only 15 seconds warning, they could be hit at any time in their schools, their parks, or their beds. Yet, during my visit there last week, for some reason, those children and their parents had yet to hear you speak out for them. What a pity!

And the children of Iran could use your help as well. According to human rights groups, Iran has no compunction about executing children or those who were children when their crimes were allegedly committed.

Oh, and by the way, your compassionate help would also undoubtedly be welcomed by others under the gun in Iran, including women's rights activists, union organizers, student protesters, independent journalists, reformist politicians, and religious minorities. And let's not forget, once again, the children of Israel, who, according to the Iranian president, don't have a right to live.

But wait! A Google search about you reveals nothing, not a single word, regarding your views on Zimbabwe, Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sderot, or Iran. Or, for that matter, Burma, Darfur, Syria. Shall I go on?

Only Israel, faced with those who wish to destroy it, manages to prompt your impassioned correspondence and righteous indignation. Why?

No less, your stunning lack of education extends beyond the contemporary world to 20th century history, specifically the Holocaust.

Your invocation of the Holocaust to describe what's taken place in Gaza is, frankly, nothing short of obscene.

Your claim that the grandchildren of the survivors are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them goes beyond any norm of decency, much less honesty.

Approve or disapprove of the Israeli military operation, but there is no basis whatsoever for such a comparison.

When Israel entered Gaza in a war of self-defense in 1967, the population was 360,000. After Israel withdrew totally from Gaza in 2005, it was estimated at 1.4 million.

Would that the Jewish population under Nazi rule had quadrupled!

When Israel entered Gaza in 1967, life expectancy for women was 46. When it left Gaza, it was 73.

Shall we even bother to discuss life expectancy for Jews under Nazi occupation?

The Second World War in Europe lasted from September 1, 1939 to May 8, 1945 - 68 months in all. That means an average monthly extermination rate of nearly 90,000 Jews.

Compare that to the total number of victims in Gaza over three weeks - roughly guesstimated at more or less 1,000 - and recall that the majority were armed fighters committed to Israel's destruction, who used civilians, including children, as human shields, mosques as arms depots, and hospitals as sanctuaries.

Believe me, Ms. Lilleng, if the "grandchildren of the Holocaust survivors" had wanted to do exactly what the Nazis did to their grandparents, they would have unleashed their full air, land, and sea power. They would have thrown the Israel Defense Forces' ethical guidelines to the wind, kicked out the UN and Red Cross personnel on the ground, stopped humanitarian transports of food, fuel, and medicine, prevented media reporting, and left absolutely nothing - and no one - standing.

Unless, of course, they needed slave labor, in which case they would have carted off the able-bodied to work in Auschwitz replicas until they dropped. Or material for ghoulish medical experimentation, in which case, in the spirit of Mengele, they would have kept Palestinian twins alive temporarily.

But Israel didn't do any of these things. It's a peace-seeking democracy dedicated to the rule of law - unlike so many of the countries whose horrific sins you blithely choose to overlook.

What are we to make of your selective moral outrage and rank hypocrisy?

You ought to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why Israel, and only Israel, makes your blood boil and leads you to speak out, even at the risk of grossly distorting both reality and history.

The answer, Ms. Lilleng, should be painfully obvious.

--------------------

Mark E. Smith said...

All that Ms. Lilleng did was speak the truth. While it is true that many Islamic countries are as authoritarian and patriarchal as Israel or even more so, any Jewish mother can tell you that it doesn't matter what the other kids do, it matters what YOU do, and any Jewish three-year-old can tell you that citing the wrongs of others does not justify your own misbehavior.

Here is a brief 3-part YouTube video that makes it indisputable that Ms. Lilleng spoke only the truth:

Never Again - Part One

Never Again - Part Two

Never Again - Part Three

All the photos in Part Three are genuine and authentic. Neither the pictures from The Holocaust nor the pictures from Gaza have been photoshopped or doctored.

Israel does not deny drivers' licenses to women just because Saudi Arabia does--why then would it ghettoize and massacre people just because Nazi Germany did? When something is wrong you abhor it, you don't emulate and repeat it.

Anonymous said...

as usual the myopic smith is delusional. He seems to forget what happened to Daniel Perl who was Jewish and his beheading and dismemberment by muslim fanatics. Funny, I never heard of this happening in Israel. Let's see how long smith would fare in those medieval societies....

Anonymous said...

Smith,
You are indeed a despicable self hating Jew along with Chomsky whose views would insure the extermination of all the Jews in Israel by the Arabs if they were to adapt your warped views. I've said it before. Why don't you move to one of those medieval countries?

Mark E. Smith said...

You're getting quite repetitive, Nameless. When you can't cut and paste somebody else's propaganda, you seem to be reduced to repeating pathetic ad hominem attacks to which I've already responded.

As for Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded in Pakistan in 2002, he was a journalist, and many more journalists have been killed by the crusading Christian military forces of the U.S. and our allies for not being "embedded" (sworn not to leak the truth to the U.S. public), than by Moslems or Jews.

Citing an atrocity against one person, committed years ago in another country, does not justify the genocide that Israel is continuing to commit against its neighbors now. Just because Jesse James robbed banks a long time ago, doesn't give you the right to rob banks now. I wrote in my comment above that any Jewish three-year-old would understand that, but I guess your logical abilities are not yet that mature.

If, however, you believe that a wrong done to one justifies doing wrong to many (collective punishment), then Israel has just given the Palestinians eternal justification for anything they ever do.

I'm flattered to be placed in the same class with Noam Chomsky. I'm a peace-loving citizen of the world--it is the Israelis and ignorant propagandists like you, who don't care if the world sees Israel as a bloodthirsty monster and who provoke anti-Semitism worldwide for short-term local goals, who are self-hating Jews.

All Jews everywhere will be paying the price for Israeli arrogance for generations to come. Like the United States itself, Israel took advantage of the world's sympathy and won't ever have that sympathy again.

Anonymous said...

Smith,
What chutzpah accusing Israel of genocide! This belies the radical left selective BS w/antisemitic overtones that Jews are not allowed to defend and protect themselves. No Arab country attacking Israel in the same situation would have any reservations killing civilians because like their past mentor nazi germany, all Jews would be marked for extinction. Your selective peace loving makes me sick....

Anonymous said...

Having absorbed over 10,000 rockets aimed at its towns and cities and having issued innumerable warnings, Israel finally decided to defend its citizens. It bombarded Gaza by air and by sea and ultimately invaded it. The “world community” is concerned and enraged about Israel’s having used “disproportionate force” in its response. Is that a valid complaint?

What are the facts?

Some History: In order to understand what is happening, some historical review is in order. Israel captured Judea/Samaria (the “West Bank”) and the Gaza Strip in June 1967, in a defensive war against three Arab states. Since then, Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and with Jordan. It has returned the vast Sinai to Egypt. Attempts at peace with Syria have been unsuccessful so far. Although there have been many attempts to make peace with the Palestinians, Israel’s most immediate neighbors, that has until now proven to be elusive. There have been any number of “interim” agreements, but a final peace agreement covering all aspects and all demands has not yet been reached.

With the concurrence and support of the US and of Israel, the Palestinians installed a Palestinian Authority (PA) to represent and to govern them. In order to move the peace process forward, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally disengage from Gaza. It was a very difficult and wrenching decision because 9,000 Israeli citizens who had been living there for generations had to be evacuated. Twenty-one communities had to be dismantled. Since then, there is absolutely no Israeli presence – civil or military – in Gaza.

In June 2007, Hamas wrested control over the Gaza Strip from the PA in bloody fighting. Hamas, classified as a terror organization by the United States and by most civilized nations, is openly dedicated to the destruction of Israel and for “carrying the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” Immediately after seizing power, Hamas began to fire rockets into Israel. It is estimated that so far close to 10,000 rockets have been launched, 3,000 alone in 2008. Even one rocket would be considered an act of war by any country. Constant barrages of rockets on Israel by Hamas are obviously intolerable. If a neighboring country would fire rockets against our cities we would respond with massive force. And that is exactly what Israel is doing.

Was Israel’s Response Disproportionate? Article 51 of the UN Charter is quite clear that any nation has the right to engage in self-defense against armed attack. The response has indeed to satisfy the principle of proportionality. But it is not correct to claim that Israel has violated that principle by killing more Hamas terrorists than the number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets. There is no legal equivalence between the deliberate killing of civilians, which is what Hamas is doing by lobbing its rockets into Israeli cities without strategic significance, and the targeted killing of Hamas militants. The law is clear that any number of combatants can be killed to prevent the killing of even one innocent civilian.

In its air and ground operations against Gaza Israel went to unprecedented lengths to avoid killing civilians. In an area such as Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world – and in view of Hamas’s custom of locating its rocket launchers and other military installations in the middle of residential areas and even in mosques, using civilians as shields – that becomes particularly difficult. In what is certainly unique in the history of warfare, Israel, in its respect for human rights, dropped tens of thousands of leaflets over Gaza and placed telephone calls to warn residents of non-military installations to get out of the way of military action. The accusation that Israel is using “disproportionate force” is absurd.

What were Israel’s war aims? The “world” most insistently demanded that an immediate cease fire be arranged. Remarkably, that same “world” did not utter a word or lift a finger when thousands of rockets fell on Israel. Israel cannot be expected to terminate its defensive action in Gaza until a comprehensive solution to the crisis can be reached. One can only surmise what Israel war aims were, but in all likelyhood, at the very minimum the following: • Full dismantling of all military power of Hamas, including destruction of stockpiles of rockets and other weapons. • Increased Egyptian supervision of the border crossings between Gaza and Egypt. • Return of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel cannot possibly conclude a peace agreement with those who are sworn to destroy it and continue on that path. The PA, though still nursing impossible dreams of the division of Jerusalem and the “return” of the 1948 refugees, is amenable to diplomacy and can be dealt with. Final solutions have so far been unavailable, but there is indeed hope for ultimate success. The US government will wish to play a positive role in that. But before that, terrorist Hamas must be totally eliminated. That is the principle and the main goal of Israel’s action against Gaza.

Mark E. Smith said...

Some Israelis don't see it that way, Anonymous coward. Are you going to kill everyone in the world because you think they might kill you for having killed them?

Read what Tel Aviv University scholar Shlomo Zand has to say in his book, When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?

But of course you're not going to think things through or do the research, you'll just call him a myopic, self-hating Jew, etc. Funny that people who fancy themselves Talmud chochem can do nothing more than name-call and kill like mindless beasts when they're confronted with real scholars and researchers.

Repeated insults and repeatedly cutting and pasting lies and propaganda isn't the same as being able to make intelligent comments. Please keep it up so that everyone can see for themselves why Jews with a conscience will no longer support Zionists.

You're not intelligent enough to realize that you're doing yourself and your cause a disservice by openly displaying your ignorance and zealotry. Of course you hate intellectuals like Chomsky and love ideologues like Rush Limbaugh. Your friends are anyone dumb enough to believe your lies and your enemies are anyone smart enough to see through them.

After you get through killing all the Gazans are the Israeli intellectuals next on your list?

Mark E. Smith said...

Israel has no right to the land it is occupying. As George Galloway says, it happened because the world felt sorry for the Jews after The Holocaust and, on behalf of one people (the British), promised the land belonging to another people (the Palestinians), to a third people (the Jews).

Now that the world has seen that it was mistaken in feeling sorry for the Jews, and that Israel is every bit as fascist as the United States and Nazi Germany, the Balfour Declaration will soon be replaced with something more equitable.

Personally, I fancy putting a bigger wall around the entire area of Palestine and Israel, letting anyone who can prove they have worked for peace leave, and thenignoring the place until they finish killing each other. Then it can be decontaminated and used for organic gardens.

Have you seen this cartoon by Mike Luckovich?

You should get something in return for your propaganda--why not ask the Mossad to teach you how to use html to post links so that you don't have to copy entire articles? Not that anyone expects a zealot to be considerate of others or capable of learning simple tasks. Since html wasn't in the Old Testament, it probably doesn't exist for you. All you know is "an eye for an eye."

Unfortunately, the few pitiful crude rockets that the Palestinians have used in self-defense as Israel occupied their country and subjugated them over a period of decades, cannot be compared to the atrocities that Israel has committed. What you do unto Gaza today will be done unto you tomorrow and this time nobody will have any misguided sympathy, not even intelligent Jews who have tried in vain to get you to stop the genocide.

Yes, you've got your story and you're sticking with it, but it happens to be nothing but lies and will never stand up in International Criminal Court. Nobody ever thought that it would be Jews in the dock in Nuremberg, but already the Israeli government is trying to provide legal defense teams for its war criminals.

Anonymous said...

Smith,
You're a real asshole in assuming that I'm a Limbaugh dittohead. If Jews followed your infantile dittohead type logic, I would'nt be here to waste my time with you. You're just a shill for the Hamas terrorists and a paranoid obsessed with delusions of me be a Mossad agent. By the way I happen to despise Limbaugh. Bye forever....

Mark E. Smith said...

My apologies (it feels strange to apologize to an anonymous propagandist) if Limbaugh is not your favorite. Since I've never listened to ANY conservative talking head, that's the only one that came to mind. But I understand that what they do is call people names like asshole, infantile, paranoid, and delusional, while they spout their hate. So if you got it from a different hate freak, I apologize for suggesting it was Limbaugh.

As for Jews and logic, Shlomo Zand is a Jew, an Israeli, and a scholar. Not even those respected academics who are critical of some of his writing dismiss it as infantile or illogical.

It appears that for each ten percent of Palestinian land that Israel has illegally occupied, destroying their homes and crops, denying them livelihood, and forcing them into exile, refugee camps, walled ghettos, or killing them outright, Hamas has launched ten rockets, only a very few of which have caused any actual damage to people or property. Hamas was democratically elected and they have a right to defend their land against Israeli terrorists and an illegal occupation.

I'm also sorry to see you go, if you are actually leaving this discussion. It helps people understand the true situation when they see that one side has logical arguments and the other side has only talking points and insults.

Anonymous said...

This article shows the hypocrisy of Smith and all those who give excuses and a free pass to terrorist ideologies especially when demonizing Israel.


Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil
When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror?

By JUDEA PEARL
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy?

The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.

Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.

No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.

I believe it all started with well-meaning analysts, who in their zeal to find creative solutions to terror decided that terror is not a real enemy, but a tactic. Thus the basic engine that propels acts of terrorism -- the ideological license to elevate one's grievances above the norms of civilized society -- was wished away in favor of seemingly more manageable "tactical" considerations.

This mentality of surrender then worked its way through politicians like the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. In July 2005 he told Sky News that suicide bombing is almost man's second nature. "In an unfair balance, that's what people use," explained Mr. Livingstone.

But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel." Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.

Mr. Carter's logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas's rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: "They should end the occupation." In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.

The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.

Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society's role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera's management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.

Some American pundits and TV anchors didn't seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a "resistance" movement, together with honorary membership in PBS's imaginary "cycle of violence." In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that "each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man's terrorism becomes another's resistance to oppression." He then stated -- without blushing -- that for readers of the Hebrew Bible "God-soaked violence became genetically coded." The "cycle of violence" platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror's victims for violence as immutable as DNA.

When we ask ourselves what it is about the American psyche that enables genocidal organizations like Hamas -- the charter of which would offend every neuron in our brains -- to become tolerated in public discourse, we should take a hard look at our universities and the way they are currently being manipulated by terrorist sympathizers.

At my own university, UCLA, a symposium last week on human rights turned into a Hamas recruitment rally by a clever academic gimmick. The director of the Center for Near East Studies carefully selected only Israel bashers for the panel, each of whom concluded that the Jewish state is the greatest criminal in human history.

The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after, when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, "Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza," to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph -- another inch of academic respectability, another inroad into Western minds.

Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: You did not die in vain.

Mr. Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, founded in memory of his son to promote cross-cultural understanding.

Mark E. Smith said...

For a nation like ours, founded by the invasion, occupation, and subsequent genocide of Native Americans, it isn't that genocide gets a free pass, but that genocides we or our allies commit get a free pass and that any resistance against them is called terrorism.

The world, except for the United States, Israel, and the tiny dependent island of Palau, is in agreement that the occupation of Palestine by Israel is illegal.

Hamas has every right to resist an illegal occupation. Israel is now openly bragging of its disproportionate response. As it has done unto others, so shall it be done unto when, as history notes, what goes around, comes around, as it always does.

Fascist countries that commit genocide only have other genocidal countries as allies and those alliances rarely hold because fascists have no regard for decency or human life.

It does not excuse a child molester to know that they themselves were molested as a child. If what was done to you was wrong, you don't do it to others. If what Israel is doing to Gaza is okay, then the Nazi Holocaust was okay also. You can't have it both ways, demanding human rights for yourself but denying them to others. If The Holocaust was wrong, then there should be no walled ghettos and no collective punishment.

A few years ago there was a guy posting to a forum who expressed racist sentiments and when I confronted him, he said that a relative of his had been killed by a person of color. Well, a relative of mine, who was white, was killed by another white person--should I therefore feel hatred towards all white people?

What we have here are two barbarian tribes, who identify with ancient warlike patriarchal beliefs, and are not yet ready to become part of the human race. They cannot live in peace because they worship masculine War Gods.

For both sides, their own people are freedom fighters and the other side are terrorists. Ancient enmities cannot be resolved because believers are not rational. And because they believe that they are better than everyone else and entitled to special privileges. For there to be peace, there has to be equality, dignity, respect, and justice for all, not just for some. No justice, no peace.

Anonymous lied about leaving this discussion and is lying about everything else. Why would anyone believe an anonymous coward who has proven themself to be a liar and consistently defends crimes against humanity? Nobody does.

Mark E. Smith said...

A Palestinian and an Israeli Find Peace Together
By Marion Pargamin

Quite an extraordinary event happened to me during a peace walk organized by a meditation group in Israel. The eight-day walk took place on the first week of April. It was intended to give an opportunity for Palestinians and Israelis to walk together, to develop dialogue and self-introspection, inspired by the ancient traditions that guided people like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. During these eight days, participants walked together from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, passing by Jewish and Arab towns and settlements in silence and awareness, declaring a commitment to deep listening and nonviolence.

Monday, the 8th of April, the last day of the Walk, is the eve of the Holocaust day, a day of deep emotion for the Jewish community. The walk goes through Jerusalem to the foot of the old city walls. I had been planning to join the group in the morning, but after a sleepless night I decide to join later.

In the early afternoon, I walk up to the walls of the old city to join the walkers. When I get to Jaffa gate, I find myself in front of a very agitated elderly Arab man exchanging insults with an elderly religious Jew who is standing at a bus station a few meters down. They are extremely angry. Some policemen from a Border Police patrol are trying to calm them down, so that it won't turn into a fight.

I stand beside the Arab. I speak to him calmly and ask him to sit down without reacting to the other's provocation. I am quite impressed by the restraint shown by the policemen. They don't defend one side or the other and respect both sides. The bus arrives, the Jewish man boards the bus and the situation seems to have settled down.

Then, a Jewish woman who was there in the queue from the beginning of the argument takes it upon herself to start insulting the Arab, who reacts immediately. The police have gone and I am left alone to try to calm the situation.

I give my attention to the Arab, who would have stayed quiet if he was not continually provoked by the woman. I try from a distance to reason with her without success. She stops a passing police car and says something to the policeman. I explain to him what is going on. I am so happy that all the policemen in this situation act so calmly and help to restore peace.

Then, a Palestinian woman on her way to Jaffa gate bursts onto the scene. She jumps to the conclusion that the old Arab is under attack and rushes in a frenzy to rescue him. She yells insults at the Jewish woman, and the situation heats up again. All my attention is now focused on her. She is like a bomb ready to explode. I try to explain to her what is going on, but she is furious with me, screaming out her hatred, her despair and her pain.

This whole situation is greater than the two of us and takes on proportions beyond our present meeting. This is Palestine accusing Israel. At this moment I represent Israel for her. She shouts out her sorrow about what is going on now in the territories, the military incursions into Palestinian towns.

She has family and friends in Jenin and says that our soldiers are war criminals. She is convinced that we want to kill them all. Why do we hate them so much? They are not responsible for the Holocaust, why should they be paying the price? Pointing at the Jewish woman, she assures me that in the Arab country from where this Sephardi woman comes, she was treated with honor, as a human being and yet look at how she behaves with Palestinians now!

It goes on and on. She shouts and spews her hatred for Israel at me. I don't try to argue with her at all. I don't show any reaction to all these accusations. I feel a huge compassion and an intense need just to listen to her. My patience is nourished by understanding that behind this overwhelming hatred is a deep suffering and pain aggravated by the present situation of war. It must express itself in some way so that healing can take place. I don't let myself get tempted or trapped into guilt or anger. I am sorry for the tragedy on both sides.

I let her express herself for a long time without interrupting her. As she continues to shout at me, I tell her that she has no need to speak so loudly, because I am listening to her with all my attention. At the same time I find myself caressing her arm. She lets me do it and progressively lowers her voice, while continuing to let her despair overflow.

She says to me, “Do you understand why some of us come and commit suicide among you? You kill us anyway, so why not kill you at the same time?” She even mentions the possibility of coming and blowing herself up out of despair. I tell her softly that I don't want her to die. Nobody should come to this decision. We all suffer on both sides.

She goes on and on claiming that the Zionists only want to get rid of the Palestinians. I tell her, “You see I am a Zionist, and I don't want to get rid of you. I wish we could live together as good neighbors.” She listens to me! She tells me about the demonstration that took place the week before near Ramallah. Then she asks me to donate some money to buy phone cards for Palestinians who need them. I give her some money.

At this stage the conversation is quite normal between us. She doesn't shout any more, she is even able to listen to me. She is almost calm when I notice the people of the Walk approaching us slowly, at the top of the street. They are in a line, a hundred of them, one after the other walking in silence, slowly, quietly, aware of each step, creating an atmosphere of peace and safety around them. They are very present. They radiate calm and warmth.

I point them out to her and explain that this is the reason I came here, to join a walk of peace in which Palestinians and Israelis walk together. I tell her about the Walk, its message of coexistence and peace; peace at every step, here and now. I suggest that she come into the line with me. She hesitates and rejects my offer.

At this moment they reach us. Several people I know shake my hand warmly as they go by. A young woman approaches her and gives her a kiss. It appears that they know each other. I notice that she is very moved by the Walk and the atmosphere it radiates. She is much calmer now. Nothing like the furious woman I met only several minutes before.

The end of the line passes by us and I want to join it. Again I invite her and again she declines. I tell her that I understand and respect her decision. Before I go I tell her, “I am sure that someday we will succeed in building peace between us.” She smiles and replies, “Me too.”

Then to my total surprise, she comes close to me and kisses me on my cheeks! She walks alongside the line for a while. She tells me that she likes this Walk, that it makes her feel good. She says it gives her relief and that her mood is much better now. I am very, very moved. I feel overwhelmed by this encounter, especially by its unexpected ending. Peace was there around the corner! I did not miss it!!

I never understood so fully as in this moment, the deep meaning of the words pronounced by Thich Nhat Hanh in Shanghai on the 19th of October, after the September 11th tragedy:

”Terror is in the human heart. We must remove it from the heart. The root of terrorism is misunderstanding, hatred and violence. This root cannot be located by the military. Bombs and missiles cannot reach it, let alone destroy it. Only through the practice of finding calm and looking deeply within can our insight reveal and identify this root. Only with the practice of deep listening and compassion can terror be transformed and removed. Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness. Only light can dissipate darkness. Those of us who have the light should display the light and offer it so that the world will not sink into total darkness."


Note: The author of this moving story was using some of the transformative techniques of Nonviolent Communication to create a powerful breakthrough with her new Palestinian friend. For an excellent summary of the principles of nonviolent communication, click here.. For more empowering ideas on how each of us can take greater responsibility for being the change in the world, click here. And for a brief statement which reminds us of the common humanity we share with all people in our world, click here.

Anonymous said...

Smith you're nothing but a hypocrite. If all Jews went with your logic we'd be dead. You are not only an asshole, but an antisemitic one to boot.. Bye again.

Mark E. Smith said...

Hillel, when asked by a gentile to teach him the entire Torah "in a nutshell," said, "Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow."

If Jews were to follow my logic (and Hillel's), we'd not only not be dead, but we'd have no enemies and could live in peace.

Was Hillel also an anti-Semite?

Anonymous said...

No surprize that a Nazi doctor would find refuge in a Muslim country such as Egypt, where a forgery called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is the basis for TV documentaries, and where Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is a bestseller.

For Nazi Doctor, New Life in Cairo Provided a Haven
Shawn Baldwin for The New York Times
The Kasr el Medina Hotel in Cairo, where Aribert Ferdinand Heim lived under the name of Tarek Hussein Farid.

CAIRO — Even in old age the imposingly tall, athletic German known to locals as Tarek Hussein Farid maintained the discipline to walk some 15 miles each day through the busy streets of Egypt’s capital. He walked to the world-renowned Al Azhar mosque here, where he converted to Islam, and to the ornate J. Groppi Cafe downtown, where he ordered the chocolate cakes he sent to friends and bought the bonbons he gave to their children, who called him Uncle Tarek.

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LKA Baden-Wuerttemberg, via Associated Press
Aribert Ferdinand Heim in a photo released in 1950.
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Friends and acquaintances here in Egypt also remembered him as an avid amateur photographer who almost always wore a camera around his neck, but never allowed himself to be photographed. And with good reason: Uncle Tarek was born Aribert Ferdinand Heim, member of Adolf Hitler’s elite Waffen-SS, and medical doctor at the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps.

It was behind the gray, stone walls of Mauthausen in his native Austria that Dr. Heim committed the atrocities against hundreds of Jews and others that earned him the nickname Dr. Death and his status as the most-wanted Nazi war criminal still believed to be at large by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Dr. Heim was accused of performing operations on prisoners without anesthesia; removing organs from healthy inmates, then leaving them to die on the operating table; injecting poison, including gasoline, into the hearts of others; and taking the skull of at least one victim as a souvenir. After living below the radar of Nazi hunters for more than a decade after World War II — much of it in the German spa town of Baden-Baden where he had a wife, two sons and a medical practice as a gynecologist — he escaped capture just as investigators closed in on him in 1962.

His hiding place, as well as his death in 1992, have remained unknown until now.

Investigators in Israel and Germany have repeatedly said that they believed Dr. Heim was alive and hiding in Latin America, near where a woman alleged to be his illegitimate daughter lived in Chile. Witnesses from Finland to Vietnam and from Saudi Arabia to Argentina have sent tips and reported sightings to investigators.

A dusty briefcase with rusted buckles, sitting nearly forgotten in storage here in Cairo, hid the truth behind Dr. Heim’s flight to the Middle East. Obtained by The New York Times and the German television station ZDF from members of the Doma family, proprietors of the hotel here where Dr. Heim resided, the files in the briefcase tell the story of his life, and death, in Egypt.

It contains an archive of yellowed pages, some in envelopes that were still sealed, of Dr. Heim’s letters and medical test results, his financial records and an underlined, annotated article from a German magazine about his own manhunt and trial in absentia, even drawings of soldiers and trains by the children he left behind in Germany. Some documents are in the name Heim, others Farid, but many of the latter, such as an application for Egyptian residency under the name Tarek Hussein Farid, have the same birthday, June 28, 1914, and the same place of birth, Radkersburg, Austria, as Dr. Heim.

Although none of the 10 friends and acquaintances in Cairo who identified a photograph of Dr. Heim knew his real identity, they described signs that he may have been on the run. “My idea, which I’ve taken from my father at that time, is that he was in dispute with maybe the Jews, but he took refuge in Cairo at that time,” said Tarek Abdelmoneim el Rifai, the son of Abdelmoneim el Rifai, 88, Dr. Heim’s dentist in Cairo and close friend.

A certified copy of a death certificate obtained from Egyptian authorities confirmed witness accounts that the man called Tarek Hussein Farid died in 1992. “Tarek Hussein Farid is the name my father took when he converted to Islam,” said his son, Rüdiger Heim. In an interview in the family’s villa in Baden-Baden, Mr. Heim, 53, admitted publicly for the first time that he was with his father in Egypt at the time of his death from rectal cancer.

“It was during the Olympics. There was a television in the room, and he was watching the Olympics. It distracted him. He must have been suffering from serious pain,” said Mr. Heim, who is tall, like his father, with a long mournful face and speaks softly and carefully. Dr. Aribert Heim died the day after the Games ended, on Aug. 10, 1992, according to his son and the death certificate.

Mr. Heim said he learned of his father’s whereabouts through his aunt, who has since died. He said he did not come forward because he did not wish to bring trouble to any of his father’s friends in Egypt. As the number of surviving Nazi war criminals have dwindled, his father’s case has grown in prominence.

Despite the newly uncovered evidence of Dr. Heim’s time in Egypt, it is impossible to definitively close his case, with the location of his burial site still a mystery.

His death would mark a significant but hitherto unknown milestone in the winding up of the passionate and at times controversial hunt for Nazi war criminals that led to the trial and execution of the Holocaust planner Adolf Eichmann but never managed to catch up with Josef Mengele, the most famous of the Nazi doctors, who died in Brazil in 1979, as forensic tests later proved.

While the secret lives of Nazis in countries like Argentina and Paraguay captured the popular imagination in books and films like “The “Odessa File” and “The Boys From Brazil,” the Heim case casts light on the often overlooked history of their flight to the Middle East.

Until political winds shifted, ex-Nazis were welcomed in Egypt in the years after World War II, helping in particular with military technology. Rüdiger Heim said that his father told him he knew other Nazis there, but tried to steer clear of them.

Even so, how Dr. Heim was able to elude his pursuers for so long, while receiving money from Europe, most notably from his late sister, Herta Barth, and corresponding with friends and family in long letters, is unclear.

“The Arab world was an even better, a safer haven than South America,” said Efraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who had been searching for Dr. Heim and traveled to Chile last July to raise awareness about the case. “On one level I’m in complete shock,” said Mr. Zuroff when informed of Dr. Heim’s apparent fate.

He said the center was about to raise the reward for information leading to his arrest from $400,000 to $1.3 million .

The search for Dr. Heim began shortly after World War II, while he was still an American prisoner of war. A United States war crimes investigating team took testimony about his alleged crimes from Josef Kohl, a former inmate at Mauthausen, on Jan. 18, 1946, less than a year after the German surrender.

“Dr. Heim had a habit of looking into inmates’ mouths to determine whether their teeth were in impeccable condition,” Mr. Kohl said, according to a transcript of the interview. “If this were the case, he would kill the prisoner with an injection, cut his head off, leave it to cook in the crematorium for hours, until all the flesh was stripped from the naked skull and prepare the skull for himself and his friends as a decoration for their desks.”

Mr. Zuroff said that because Dr. Heim was at Mauthausen for a short time early in the war, in the fall of 1941, he is “aware of no people alive today who suffered at his hands and can give first-hand testimony of his crimes.”

German investigators said that Dr. Heim was careful throughout the postwar period when less-controlled people might have let down their guard.

Investigators noted that Dr. Heim, a talented ice hockey player, stayed out of pictures when his hockey team posed for its group portrait, even after they won the German championship. Dr. Heim owned an apartment building in Berlin, which investigators said for years provided him with income for his life incognito.

At the headquarters of the Baden-Württemberg state police in Stuttgart today, small magnets freckle a map of the world, marking the spots where clues or reports of sightings surfaced. Investigators said that they had searched continually since his disappearance in 1962, checking more than 240 leads and ruling out several people thought to be Dr. Heim. While they never caught him, they appear to have come tantalizingly close to his hiding place in the Middle East.

“There was information that Heim was in Egypt working as a police doctor between 1967 and the beginning of the seventies,” said Joachim Schäck, head of the fugitive unit at the state police. “This lead proved to be false.”

According to his son, Dr. Heim had left Germany and driven through France and Spain before crossing into Morocco, and eventually settling in Egypt. “It was only sheer coincidence that the police could not arrest me because I was not at home at the time,” Dr. Heim wrote in a letter to the German magazine Spiegel, after a report about his war-crimes case was published there in 1979. It is unclear whether he ever sent the letter, which was found in his files, many of which were written in meticulous cursive style in German or English.

In the letter he also accused Simon Wiesenthal, who was interned at Mauthausen, of being “the one who invented these atrocities.” Dr. Heim went on to discuss what he called Israeli massacres of Palestinians, and added that “the Jewish Khazar, Zionist lobby of the U.S. were the first ones who in 1933 declared war against Hitler’s Germany.”

The Turkic ethnic group the Khazars were a recurring theme for Dr. Heim, who kept himself busy in Cairo, researching a paper he wrote in English and German, decrying the possibility of anti-Semitism owing to the fact, he said, that most Jews were not Semitic in ethnic origin. Mr. Rifai recalled that Dr. Heim had showed his family many different drafts of the paper, which were among the papers found in the briefcase that The Times and ZDF television obtained. A list also showed plans to send drafts of the paper to prominent people around the world — under the name Dr. Youssef Ibrahim — including United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito.

He formed close bonds with his neighbors, including the Doma family, which ran the Kasr el Madina hotel, where Dr. Heim lived the last decade before his death. Mahmoud Doma, whose father owned the establishment, said Dr. Heim spoke Arabic, English and French, in addition to German. Mr. Doma said his neighbor read and studied the Koran, including a copy in German that the Domas had ordered for him.

Mahmoud Doma, 38, became emotional when talking about the man he knew as Uncle Tarek, whom he described giving him books and encouraging him to study. “He was like a father. He loved me and I loved him.”

He recalled how Uncle Tarek bought rackets and set up a tennis net on the hotel roof, where he and his siblings played with the German Muslim until sundown. But by 1990, Dr. Heim’s good health began to fail him and he was diagnosed with cancer.

After his death, his son Rüdiger insisted that they follow his father’s wishes and donate the body to science, not an easy task in a Muslim country where the rules dictate a swift burial and dissection is opposed. Mahmoud, who wanted to put Uncle Tarek in the family crypt next to his father, opposed the plan.

The two men rode in a white van with the body of Dr. Heim, which had been washed and wrapped in a white sheet in accordance with Muslim tradition and placed in a wooden coffin. Mr. Doma said they bribed a hospital functionary to take the body, but Egyptian authorities found out, and Dr. Heim was instead interred in a common grave, anonymously.

Mark E. Smith said...

So Egypt welcomed this Nazi war criminal, but the Egyptian government, unlike the U.S. government, did not smuggle Nazi war criminals into their country and give them high-level policy-making jobs the way we did with Operation Paperclip.

Since this has nothing to do with the original post that I can see, perhaps you are suggesting that Israeli war criminals might be able to escape justice? Some may, but other Nazi war criminals were caught, tried, and hung, and so will many Israeli war criminals be brought to justice.

Comparisons of atrocities are odious. You can't get a judge or jury to declare you innocent of robbing a liquor store by stating that somebody else robbed a bank, or innocent of killing one person by proving that somebody else killed four.

Since most Israeli Jews are in favor of the war crimes in Gaza, it just tells the world that sympathy for Jewish Holocaust victims is misplaced, as they are have no more respect for human life (except Jewish life, which may be the only life they consider to be human), than the Nazis did.

I'm sure that when we were slaves in Egypt there were atrocities perpetrated upon us by the Egyptians. But before we were slaves, we were slaveholders, and I'm sure that what was done to us was no more than what we did to our slaves. I no longer believe the lies and propaganda.

You can continue this thread by posting every atrocity ever done to a Jew in the past 6,000 years, and I'm sure there are equivalent complaints by every other patriarchal religion. There is no reasoning with religious zealots, fascists, or war criminals. They think that what others do or have done, justifies what they do. Can you tell the IRS that because somebody else cheated on their taxes, it is okay for you to do so?

Until you become responsible human beings instead of barbarians, and start taking responsibility for your actions and treating others with respect as equals, you are not only justifying The Holocaust, but asking for future Holocausts and increasing anti-Semitism.

The surviving Palestinians, and there are many throughout the world, will not rest until they track down the murderers of their families, and Israeli war criminals will not all be as fortunate as this Heim monster.

Crimes against humanity must be opposed, not emulated.

Being able to trace one's descent back to the original act of andrapodismus should not instill a sense of pride, identity, or cohesion, but a sense of shame, revulsion, and revolt.

Anonymous said...

Myth: The “Palestinians” are a nation and therefore deserving of a homeland.

Reality: The concept of Palestinian nationhood is a new one and had not been heard of until after the Six-Day War (1967), when Israel, by its victory, came into the administration of the territories of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and the Gaza Strip. The so-called “Palestinians” are no more different from the Arabs living in the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, than Wisconsinites are from Iowans.

Myth: Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and the Gaza Strip are “occupied Arab territory.”

Reality: All of “Palestine” — east and west of the Jordan River — was part of the League of Nations mandate. Under the Balfour Declaration, all of it was to be the “national home for the Jewish people.” In violation of this mandate, Great Britain severed the entire area east of the Jordan River — about 75% of Palestine — and gave it to the Arabs, who created on it the kingdom of Transjordan. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, five Arab armies invaded the new country in order to destroy it at its very birth. They were defeated by the Israelis. The Transjordanians, however, remained in occupation of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and East Jerusalem. They proceeded to drive all Jews from those territories and to systematically destroy all Jewish houses of worship and other institutions. The Transjordanians (now renamed “Jordanians”) were the occupiers for nineteen years. Israel regained these territories following its victory in the Six-Day War. Israel has returned the entire Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. The final status of the “West Bank” will be decided if and when the Palestinians will finally be able to sit down and seriously talk peace with Israel.

Myth: Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) are the “greatest obstacle to peace.”

Reality: This is simply not correct, although it has been repeated so often that many have come to believe it. The greatest obstacle to peace is the intransigence and the irreconcilable hostility of the Arabs. Not more than 150,000 Jews are settled in these territories, living among about 1.4 million Arabs. How can Jews living there be an obstacle to peace? Why shouldn't they live there? About 1.2 million Arabs live in Israel proper. They are not an obstacle to peace. Neither the Israelis nor they themselves consider them as such.

Myth: Israel is unwilling to yield “land for peace."

Reality: The concept that to the loser, rather than to the victor, belong the spoils is a radically new one, never before thought of in world history. Israel has emerged victorious in the five wars imposed on it by the Arabs. In order to make peace, it has returned over 90% of the territory occupied by it, specifically the vast Sinai Peninsula, to Egypt. That territory contained some of the most advanced military installations in the world, prosperous cities and settlements, and oil fields developed entirely by Israel that made it independent of petroleum imports. In the Camp David Accords, Israel agreed to autonomy for Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) with the permanent status to be determined after three years. But no responsible Palestinian representation has been available to negotiate with Israel about this.

All these myths (and others we shall talk about) have poisoned the atmosphere for decades. The root cause of the never-ending conflict is the unwillingness of the Arabs (and not just the Palestinians) to accept the reality of Israel. What a pity that those of the Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens have lived and continue to live in poverty, misery and ignorance. They could have chosen to accept the proposed partition of the country in 1947, would now have had their state alongside Israel for almost sixty years and could have lived in peace and prosperity. They could have kept hundreds of thousands of refugees in their homes and could have saved tens of thousands of lives. Peace will only come when the Arabs finally accept the reality of Israel. And that is not a myth — that is a fact!

Anonymous said...

Myth: The “Palestinians” are a nation and therefore deserving of a homeland.

Reality: The concept of Palestinian nationhood is a new one and had not been heard of until after the Six-Day War (1967), when Israel, by its victory, came into the administration of the territories of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and the Gaza Strip. The so-called “Palestinians” are no more different from the Arabs living in the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, than Wisconsinites are from Iowans.

Myth: Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and the Gaza Strip are “occupied Arab territory.”

Reality: All of “Palestine” — east and west of the Jordan River — was part of the League of Nations mandate. Under the Balfour Declaration, all of it was to be the “national home for the Jewish people.” In violation of this mandate, Great Britain severed the entire area east of the Jordan River — about 75% of Palestine — and gave it to the Arabs, who created on it the kingdom of Transjordan. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, five Arab armies invaded the new country in order to destroy it at its very birth. They were defeated by the Israelis. The Transjordanians, however, remained in occupation of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and East Jerusalem. They proceeded to drive all Jews from those territories and to systematically destroy all Jewish houses of worship and other institutions. The Transjordanians (now renamed “Jordanians”) were the occupiers for nineteen years. Israel regained these territories following its victory in the Six-Day War. Israel has returned the entire Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. The final status of the “West Bank” will be decided if and when the Palestinians will finally be able to sit down and seriously talk peace with Israel.

Myth: Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) are the “greatest obstacle to peace.”

Reality: This is simply not correct, although it has been repeated so often that many have come to believe it. The greatest obstacle to peace is the intransigence and the irreconcilable hostility of the Arabs. Not more than 150,000 Jews are settled in these territories, living among about 1.4 million Arabs. How can Jews living there be an obstacle to peace? Why shouldn't they live there? About 1.2 million Arabs live in Israel proper. They are not an obstacle to peace. Neither the Israelis nor they themselves consider them as such.

Myth: Israel is unwilling to yield “land for peace."

Reality: The concept that to the loser, rather than to the victor, belong the spoils is a radically new one, never before thought of in world history. Israel has emerged victorious in the five wars imposed on it by the Arabs. In order to make peace, it has returned over 90% of the territory occupied by it, specifically the vast Sinai Peninsula, to Egypt. That territory contained some of the most advanced military installations in the world, prosperous cities and settlements, and oil fields developed entirely by Israel that made it independent of petroleum imports. In the Camp David Accords, Israel agreed to autonomy for Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) with the permanent status to be determined after three years. But no responsible Palestinian representation has been available to negotiate with Israel about this.

All these myths (and others we shall talk about) have poisoned the atmosphere for decades. The root cause of the never-ending conflict is the unwillingness of the Arabs (and not just the Palestinians) to accept the reality of Israel. What a pity that those of the Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens have lived and continue to live in poverty, misery and ignorance. They could have chosen to accept the proposed partition of the country in 1947, would now have had their state alongside Israel for almost sixty years and could have lived in peace and prosperity. They could have kept hundreds of thousands of refugees in their homes and could have saved tens of thousands of lives. Peace will only come when the Arabs finally accept the reality of Israel. And that is not a myth — that is a fact!

Anonymous said...

Since the Gaza conflict ended a few weeks ago, the international media have had some time to reflect on events as they actually occurred---as opposed to the events as they were reported.

Among numerous examples of inaccurate and at times blatantly false reporting, a few stand out. One of the most notorious examples was the report that Israel supposedly bombed a UN school, resulting in 43 deaths. Please read the article below by Patrick Martin of the Canadian paper, the Globe and Mail, in which he describes the results of their detailed investigation in Gaza.

As it (not so surprisingly) turns out, no Palestinians were killed in the school or even within the school compound.

The Washington Post also recently issued a correction on the UN school story (though it is worth noting that it was placed within the inside pages of the Saturday edition). Why haven’t the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, or the NY Times issued retractions or corrections of their coverage over this story?

Another example involved the (now infamous as a result of their al-Dura story) French TV station, France 2. They showed video footage that they originally claimed was of an Israeli air strike on a civilian area in Gaza. They were later forced to admit that they had used old footage from a 2005 video showing the explosion of a truck filled with arms in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

It has now also come to light that the number of Palestinian deaths in Gaza was wildly over-reported. Far from the 1,300 deaths reported by many news outlets, the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, concluded that 500-600 Palestinians were killed. And of these, most were Hamas fighers.

Reports are only now coming out about the killing and maiming of Fatah supports in Gaza (here is a list of the 181 Fatah victims). Hamas has also been accused by the UN of stealing food and medicine being sent in by donors. UNRWA, the UN agency whose specific purpose is to provide for the Palestinian people, now has to be wary of blatant Hamas aggression.

It has been a modest vindication of Israeli action during the conflict, now that the extreme bias of international media has been proven. But the damage has already been done. This atrocious reporting was in part responsible for the rise in anti-Semitic attacks throughout the world, specifically in Venezuela, where a Caracas synagogue was attacked on January 30th. Now the country’s 10,000 Jews can only wonder what might come next.

Rather than focus on the important fact that Israel went further than any other army in history to warn civilians of impeding attacks (thereby divulging their attack plans in the process), the media jumped at the chance to criticize Israel once again.

As rockets continue to fall on Israel after the "end" of the conflict, one would hope (against hope) that Israel will get a little more integrity out of the BBCs of the world when the inevitable next conflict occurs

Anonymous said...

Account of Israeli attack doesn't hold up to scrutiny
by Patrick Martin, Globe and Mail, January 29, 2009

JABALYA, GAZA STRIP - Most people remember the headlines: Massacre Of Innocents As UN School Is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens At UN School.

They heralded the tragic news of Jan. 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The news shocked the world and was compared to the 1996 Israeli attack on a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, in which more than 100 people seeking refuge were killed. It was certain to hasten the end of Israel's attack on Gaza, and would undoubtedly lead the list of allegations of war crimes committed by Israel.

There was just one problem: The story, as etched in people's minds, was not quite accurate.

Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.

Stories of one or more shells landing inside the schoolyard were inaccurate.

While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers.

The teacher who was in the compound at the time of the shelling says he heard three loud blasts, one after the other, then a lot of screaming. "I ran in the direction of the screaming [inside the compound]," he said. "I could see some of the people had been injured, cut. I picked up one girl who was bleeding by her eye, and ran out on the street to get help. But when I got outside, it was crazy hell. There were bodies everywhere, people dead, injured, flesh everywhere."

The teacher, who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: "Inside [the compound] there were 12 injured, but there were no dead."

"Three of my students were killed," he said. "But they were all outside."

Hazem Balousha, who runs an auto-body shop across the road from the UNRWA school, was down the street, just out of range of the shrapnel, when the three shells hit. He showed a reporter where they landed: one to the right of his shop, one to the left, and one right in front.

"There were only three," he said. "They were all out here on the road."

News of the tragedy travelled fast, with aid workers and medical staff quoted as saying the incident happened at the school, the UNRWA facility where people had sought refuge.

Soon it was presented that people in the school compound had been killed. Before long, there was worldwide outrage.

Sensing a public-relations nightmare, Israeli spokespeople quickly asserted that their forces had only returned fire from gunmen inside the school. (They even named two militants.) It was a statement from which they would later retreat, saying there were gunmen in the vicinity of the school.

No witnesses said they saw any gunmen. (If people had seen anyone firing a mortar from the middle of the street outside the school, they likely would not have continued to mill around.)

John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school."

"I told the Israelis that none of the shells landed in the school," he said.

Why would he do that?

"Because they had told everyone they had returned fire from gunmen in the school. That wasn't true."

Mr. Ging blames the Israelis for the confusion over where the victims were killed. "They even came out with a video that purported to show gunmen in the schoolyard. But we had seen it before," he said, "in 2007."

The Israelis are the ones, he said, who got everyone thinking the deaths occurred inside the school.

"Look at my statements," he said. "I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation."

Speaking from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as the bodies were being brought in that night, an emotional Mr. Ging did say: "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. ... There's nowhere safe in Gaza."

And in its daily bulletin, the World Health Organization reported: "On 6 January, 42 people were killed following an attack on a UNRWA school ..."

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs got the location right, for a short while. Its daily bulletin cited "early reports" that "three artillery shells landed outside the UNRWA Jabalia Prep. C Girls School ..." However, its more comprehensive weekly report, published three days later, stated that "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools ..." including the one at issue.

Such official wording helps explain the widespread news reports of the deaths in the school, but not why the UN agencies allowed the misconception to linger.

"I know no one was killed in the school," Mr. Ging said. "But 41 innocent people were killed in the street outside the school. Many of those people had taken refuge in the school and wandered out onto the street.

"The state of Israel still has to answer for that. What did they know and what care did they take?"

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