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« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »

Wednesday, May 31 2006

Lifestyles of the Rich and Subsidized

SuhaIn the Wilmington News-Journal, Howard Berlin contends that world donors will take PA fundraising efforts more seriously when they stop subsidizing the lavish lifestyle of Suha Arafat (pictured):

Mrs. Arafat has virtually nothing in common with the Palestinians who suffer because of theft of funds and fiscal mismanagement. For much of her married life she was a pampered princess, living with her mother and young daughter in Paris, away from her husband. Before purchasing an expensive villa on the Rue Fauborg St. Honore, she occupied a 19-room suite for more than a year at the five-star Bristol Hotel in Paris that goes for about $16,000 a night, paid for by the Palestinian Authority. While her husband wore his trademark army uniform and kafiyah, she shopped for French designer clothes.

The financial sources of Mrs. Arafat's lifestyle didn't escape the attention of the France either. She was questioned about the receipt of $11.4 million from Swiss accounts controlled by her between 2002 and 2003.

And there is a reported allowance of $22 million annually from the Palestinian Authority for the rest of Mrs. Arafat's life, approved by Mahmoud Abbas and then-Prime Minister Ahmed Queria in 2004.

With all this Palestinian money squandered and stolen by one of their own, Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim recently had the chutzpah to appeal for $4.3 million for health care in the Palestinian territories to prevent a "humanitarian and health disaster."

Readers might also recall Mrs. Arafat's efforts to transfer $20 million.....

UPDATE 6/4: The Jerusalem Post reports that Mahmoud Abbas and Mrs. Arafat had a meeting of reconciliation at her Tunis villa. No word yet on what financial matters were raised.

AP Pads Samhadana's Resume

As head of the new Hamas militia, Jamal Abu Samhadana has earned AP’s designation as “enforcer,” “explosives expert,” “one of the most renowned militants in the Palestinian territories,” along with “director general of the Hamas-led Interior Ministry.” Our favorite?

It was some of the toughest rhetoric from any Palestinian official
The Monitor's Ivory Prison Tower

CsmThe Christian Science Monitor spins the Hamas prisoners involved in the National Reconciliation Document as an “unlikely moderate and influential force” within the Islamic terror group. Reporter Josh Mitnick also whitewashes the reason the document’s other signatories are behind bars:

In a political system caught between liberation movement and an embryonic sovereign government, time in an Israeli jail is a powerful résumé-builder for politicians….

Mr. Zaidan, who spent four years imprisoned by Israel, described the jail as an ivory tower for Palestinian militants, where activists from different backgrounds have enough time to reflect and mingle with one another.

"They are the think tanks of the factions. The prisoners have no other distractions, so they're dedicated to thinking, they're reading newspapers, and they're following every little incident,'' says Zaidan.

"Rival Palestinian groups are more understanding of each other than [they are] outside the prison. This closeness gives more chance for dialogue, interaction and exchange of ideas. This is very healthy. I know that some of my views and relationships with other people have been formed by these four years.''

Marwan Barghouti gained entry to entered the ivory prison tower because of the blood on his hands. While we don’t yet have specific information about the other signatories, it suffices to say they were all senior figures in organizations expressly dedicated to Israel’s destruction.


The new commander of the Force-17 presidential guard, Mahmoud Damra, is wanted by Israel. The Jerusalem Post writes:

Damra was one of several fugitives who sought shelter in Arafat's Mukata compound in Ramallah in 2002 after Israel accused him of masterminding terrorist attacks.

Abbas calls the charges against Damra “baseless.” However, murky connections between Force-17 and Hamas raise questions. According to AP, one of the Palestinians killed in this week's IDF ambush of a Qassam rocket crew was a member of Force-17:

An officer from the Palestinians' Force 17 security branch was also killed. Hamas said he was a member of its military wing and was defending the rocket squad.

Tuesday, May 30 2006

Jailhouse Doc

Barghouti_3Newsweek columnist Chris Dickey was impressed by a peace proposal put forward in a document by Marwan Barghouti (pictured) and other Palestinian prisoners. But the Washington Institute for Near East Policy wasn’t, saying “the text of the document much more closely resembles Hamas’s own political program.”

But don't take Newsweek or the Washington Institute's word for it. See an English translation (in pdf format) of the document now at the center of the latest Palestinian power struggle and judge for yourself.

Sunday Herald's Linguistic Gymnastics

The latest HonestReporting UK communique has just been published: Sunday Herald's Linguistic Gymnastics.

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Photo-Op Gone Bad?

AFP reports that two Palestinian journalists were injured in yesterday’s IDF ambush of an Islamic Jihad crew preparing to fire a Qassam rocket. The following AP photo makes us wonder if the injured reporters were at the scene before the IDF made its presence known:


A Palestinian militant lies dead next to a homemade rocket prepared to be fired into Israel after he was killed by Israeli army gunfire in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip early Tuesday May 30, 2006. An Israel Air Force helicopter fired also a missile after the gunfight. At least three militants were killed and four other people were injured during the two attacks, Palestinian security and hospital officials said. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The media has a history of fuzzy ethics on dubious "photo-ops" (see past incidents in Gaza, the West Bank, as well as Iraq). Were the reporters on scene simply covering a firefight, or were they perhaps being used for terror photo-op that went awry?

Death Threat Tracked to Reuters

SleuthReuters suspended an unidentified employee for sending a death threat to Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson. YNet News explains:

The message, sent from a Reuters internet account, read: "I look forward to the day when you pigs get your throats cut."

Reporting the message to his readers, Johnson wrote on his website: "This particular death threat is a bit different from the run of the mill hate mail we get around here, because an IP lookup on the sender reveals that he/she/it was using an account at none other than Reuters News."

Speaking to Ynetnews, Johnson said: "I was surprised to receive a threat from a Reuters IP, but only because it was so careless of this person to use a traceable work account to do it."

Ed Williams, a Reuters spokesman, told Johnson that the employee was suspended pending further investigation and is not part of the wire service's news division. See here for how Johnson traced the comments to Reuters and why Inayat Bunglawala, Media Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain is linked to the controversy.


Monday, May 29 2006

CUPE's Coup

Mapleleaf_1While British academics voted today to boycott Israel, a Canadian union entered the fray. The National Post reports that the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees came out in support of boycotting Israel too:

"This is not an attack on Jewish people. It's [an objection to] the state of Israel's policies on Palestinians," Mr. Ryan said yesterday. "They say they are creating an independent state but they're not giving them the tools to do that."

See CUPE-Ontario’s press release in full here.

Australian Media's Moment of Truth

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: Australian Media's Moment of Truth

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Sunday, May 28 2006

ABC Admits Palestinian 'Terror'

Abc_5It took some grilling by Sen. Michael Ronaldson, but Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s News Director John Cameron finally admitted that Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah indeed are all terror organizations.

We appreciate Senator Ronaldson for taking up this important issue with ABC and find the results extremely encouraging. We also encourage HonestReporting's Australian readers to take note of this development and hold ABC to its proper guidelines – that terrorists should be called terrorists.

Continue reading "ABC Admits Palestinian 'Terror'"

Arafat's Legacy

Arafat_3Read today's LA Times to see how Yasser Arafat's long shadow influences the Fatah-Hamas tensions that have Gaza teetering on the brink of civil war. Rather than build up stable security institutions that would've outlived him, Laura King explains how Arafat chose a different approach:

In life, Arafat was able, though barely, to keep a lid on Palestinian infighting. He played one powerful lieutenant against another, cracked down hard on unruly factions and bought fealty with large and largely untraceable sums of cash.

But Arafat's moderate-minded successor, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has neither the inclination nor the dictatorial powers to intimidate security chiefs into unquestioning loyalty. And with government salaries unpaid for more than two months, thousands of gunmen are ready to sell their services to whoever can offer them a paycheck….

A united Fatah army could easily dominate Hamas, but Fatah commanders have individual scores to settle with one another and don't always come to their comrades' aid in confrontations with Hamas.

Red flags abounded throughout the Arafat years.

Sharpening the Daggers

DaggerThe Sunday Times reports that Abbas loyalists are getting ready for an offensive against Hamas:

“Civil war is inevitable,” a senior Palestinian security official said last week. He predicted a bloody denouement to tensions heightened by a warning from Abbas that he will hold a referendum on proposals for separate Palestinian and Israeli states which the Hamas government refuses to accept.

“Time is running out for Hamas. We’ll choose the right time and place for the military showdown. But after that there will be no more of Hamas’s militias,” said the official as he sipped honey-laced mint tea in his sitting room while watching the antics of hooded militants on his television.

“I read our daily intelligence reports about Hamas and know very well that these people are planning to overthrow our president by force.”

Would such an action be the Palestinian “Altalena Moment” or just push Gaza over the edge into all-out civil war?


Thursday, May 25 2006

A Tale of Two Entities

Nytimes_2It was the best of times and the worst of times in the board room where today's NY Times staff-ed was written. Best of times, because Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is talking about withdrawing from significant areas of the West Bank. And the worst of times, because the Times editors only now seem to realize that the West Bank and Gaza are separate geographic entities:

Anyone who has ever really looked at a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza can see how hard it will be to form a Palestinian state. Even a future Palestine that includes all of the West Bank and Gaza is still going to be in two pieces with Israel in the middle, separating Gaza from the West Bank.

To get an idea of this, imagine a map of Manhattan. The West Bank would be, very roughly, East Harlem and the Upper East Side. Gaza would be Battery Park City, far to the southwest. Now imagine trying to create a fully functioning city with its own economy out of those pieces while an entirely independent, antagonistic city remained in between.

Yet that is what the Palestinians will have to do if they even manage to get back to the 1967 borders.

Aren't we talking about the same borders the Gray Lady has time and again called on Israel to withdraw to?

Judt to Israel: Grow Up

JudtMelanie Phillips responds to the latest broadside against Israel by Professor Tony Judt (pictured). If you’re not a subscriber to the Financial Times, read the commentary here instead.

The Blame Game

Today’s Lead Screed Award goes to The Guardian's Chris McGreal. In a report more than 3,500 words long (that’s approximately 87 column inches), McGreal blames Gaza’s miseries on Israel. Unfortunately, McGreal barely acknowledges three contributing issues:

1. The constant barrage of Qassam rockets fired at Israel since last year’s disengagement.

2. Hamas-Fatah tensions put Gaza on the brink of civil war.

3. Nobody wants to provide financial support for a Palestinian Authority government that refuses to recognize Israel, renounce terror and abide by previous agreements.


Wednesday, May 24 2006

Hamad's American Victims

BennettConsidering that Ibrahim Hamad’s terror attacks killed five Americans, Elder of Ziyon wonders why the US media hasn't shown greater interest in his arrest. Marla Bennett (pictured), David Gritz, Benjamin Blutstein, Janis Ruth Coulter and Dina Carter were all killed in the 2002 Hebrew University bombing. Perhaps their families can now take comfort in the knowledge that justice is done.

BBC Questions Terror Arrest

The latest HonestReporting UK communique has just been published: BBC Questions Terror Arrest.

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Tuesday, May 23 2006

Follow Up On Iranian Dress Code Furor

BadgeAlthough the National Post retracted a report that Iran was considering a dress code for non-Moslems, a NY Sun follow up interview with a spokesman from Iran’s Jewish community raises the worrisome possibility that we haven't seen the last of this issue:

While the legislation considered in the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, so far does not create a dress code for Iran's Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians - an echo of Nazi laws that required Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, and communists to wear distinctive armbands and badges - the spokesman, Sam Kermanian, said yesterday that he suspected early reports of this kind may have been a trial balloon.

"I am not sure if we have the whole picture. The person who originally reported this, Amir Taheri, is someone with fantastic credibility. In my heart, I think there must have been something that triggered this," Mr. Kermanian said.

UPDATE: Our appreciation to Antonia Z. for linking to us.

Perfectly Clear

Bbc_6Haaretz describes Hamas commander Ibrahim Hamad as "Israel's most wanted man in the West Bank." But it's "not clear" to the BBC's Caroline Hawley why Israel arrested the man now:

BBC correspondent Caroline Hawley in Jerusalem says it is not clear why the army moved against Hamad.

Hamas has not carried out any suicide attacks for 15 months and Israeli military operations in the past few months have focused instead on the militant Islamic Jihad group, which has been responsible for most of the recent bombs.

Not clear? Here are a few perfectly clear reasons (pre-hudna) from the BBC archives in chronological order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. The Beeb here also reported Israel's charge that Hamas isn't keeping the truce anyway. Seems clear enough to us.

It's the Economies, Stupid

ShekelimThe Christian Science Monitor contrasts the booming Israeli economy and contracting Palestinian economy. Is peace a necessary precondition for prosperity or is security enough? And how concerned should Israel and the West be about the disparity between the two economies? Post your comments below.


Monday, May 22 2006

Today's Recommended Reading

* The Independent explores the tightrope walked by Iranian Jews while their president denies the Holocaust.

* The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel is boycotting the EU Conference on Racism, Xenophobia and the Media because the issue of anti-Semitism isn’t on the agenda:

The original description of the conference received in Jerusalem in March said that the two-day seminar, which would be attended by a number of media personalities from Europe and the Arab world, would deal with racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

However all references to anti-Semitism had been removed from an updated description that the Foreign Ministry received on May 11, while a report on Islamophobia in the press was still on the agenda.

Israeli diplomatic officials said that the decision to eliminate the discussion of anti-Semitism was taken following pressure from Arab countries.

* In a widely quoted interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert explains his government relates to the Iranian threat, and Israel's reluctance to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas.


Sunday, May 21 2006

The Guardian’s Demonization Campaign

The latest HonestReporting communique has just been published: The Guardian’s Demonization Campaign.

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Barbaro and the 'Second Jew'

BarbaroThere was an interesting correction in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune regarding Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, where the favored horse, Barbaro (pictured) suffered two leg fractures:

A caption on Page C7 Sunday with a photo of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro should have said Barbaro will try to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown on Saturday.

Here's the original error:

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro grazed in the paddock Wednesday. He will try to win the second jew of the Triple Crown on Saturday. [Emphasis added.]

(Hat tip: Regret the Error)

National Post Retracts Iranian Report

The National Post retracted a report that Iran passed a law requiring Jews and other minorities to wear a colored badge.

UPDATE: Our appreciation to Antonia Z. for linking to us.

Who's the Hit Man?

Hamas has been implicated in the failed “targeted killings” of Tarek Abu Rajab and Rashid Abu Shbak, two security figures loyal to Mahmoud Abbas. But The Observer (UK) describes Israel as assassins:

Israel assassinated the most senior commander of the terror group Islamic Jihad in Gaza yesterday….

UPDATE 5/21: The Jerusalem Post reports that Al-Qaida claims responsibility for attacking Rajab. Developing....

Fatah Gunmen Fight Media Bias

JazeeraThree Al-Jazeera cars in Ramallah were torched over the weekend, apparently by Fatah gunmen. The Jerusalem Post explains why:

The sources said the Fatah supporters were angry with al-Jazeera because it had not covered an anti-Hamas demonstration in the city by Fatah earlier in the day.

We maintain that the pen is mightier than the sword.


Thursday, May 18 2006

No Reason for Outrage

After Palestinian gunmen killed a senior Hamas figure this week, James Taranto made the following observation:

Remember a couple of years ago when Israel killed some Hamas honchos in an effort to prevent suicide bombings? That prompted world-wide outrage. This time, however, it was Arab terrorists killing other Arab terrorists. If any Jewish lives were saved in the process, it was purely incidental. Thus there is no cause for world-wide outrage.
Meet the 'Executive Force'

Executive_forceReuters sums up the confusion in Gaza caused by rival security forces with conflicting loyalties:

One elderly man wasn't sure who was who. "Are you police or are you Hamas?" 65-year-old Abu Ahmed asked some gunmen.

"We are the executive force," a bearded young man from Hamas replied, leaving 65-year-old Abu Ahmed little the wiser.


Wednesday, May 17 2006

Shubaki Admits Foreign Aid Funded Terror

Fuad Shubaki, who masterminded the Karine-A arms shipment and was one of the Jericho Six, confirmed that Yasser Arafat spent foreign aid money on weapons. The Jerusalem Post writes:

It was revealed on Wednesday that former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat ordered millions of dollars of aid money, transferred by Israel and the international community, to be used to purchase weapons and ammunition….

Shubaki also told the Shin Bet (Internal Security Agency) that the attempted smuggling of a large amount of weapons into the Palestinian territories on board the ship Karine A, which was intercepted by Israeli Naval commandos, was coordinated between the PA, Hizbullah and the Revolutionary Guards in Iran.


Abbas' Remit

Is this AFP statement true?

As president of the Palestinian Authority and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), peace negotiations are the remit of Abbas's rather than Hamas.

Not necessarily.

EU Aid Fuels Palestinian Rage

EuIn the Daily Telegraph, Daniel Hannan argues that Palestinian dependency on Western aid only fuels their anger at the US and Europe:

To be fair, Eurocrats also think they can smother Palestinian terrorism under a landslide of euros. This aim is tacitly backed by many in Tel Aviv. An Israeli official told me, on condition of anonymity: "None of our politicians can argue for giving money to Palestine while Hamas is in charge. But we don't want people to go hungry and fall into the hands of the jihadists. So if you guys can figure out how to get the money to ordinary Palestinians, you'll be doing us a favour."

This sounds reasonable, but it is based on a false premise, namely that political violence is caused by economic deprivation. This notion derives ultimately from Marx and, like many of his ideas, it looks plausible on the page, but turns out not to be true….

Easing these restrictions would not solve everything. Trade and investment would not, in themselves, end a conflict with ethnic, religious and territorial dimensions. But a capitalist Palestine, in which citizens looked to themselves rather than to the state, would be more stable. Its propertied classes would have a stake in civil order. Its businessmen would have an incentive to remain on cordial terms with their customers, including those in Israel.

None of this will happen, however, as long as Palestinians remain trapped in the squalor of dependency. The EU, in its well-intentioned but doltish way, is fuelling the conflict.


Tuesday, May 16 2006

Leave the Animals in Peace

Chicken_1Fortunately, nobody was killed or injured when a Katyusha rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a chicken coop in the western Negev community of Nativ Haasara. But the strike killed 30 chickens. Will anyone speak up to leave the animals in peace?

Al-Aqsa Brigades Threaten US, Europe

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is threatening to attack American and European interests. A leaflet released yesterday said:

"We won't remain idle in the face of the siege imposed on the Palestinian people by Israel, the US and other countries," said a leaflet issued by the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip. "We will strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries, here and abroad."

WorldNetDaily reports similar bravado from the Brigades. Abu Nasser, a Brigades commander, told WND:

Regarding U.S. policy in the Middle East, Abu Nasser commented, "I say to the Americans if you will not change than we wish you more Daniel Wultzes and more pain and sorrow because it seems that this is the only thing you deserve."

Are the Brigades trying to one-up Islamic Jihad?

Media Bias Slammed Down Under

Australia_1Australian parliamentarian Connie Fierravanti-Wells criticized ABC and SBScoverage of Israel. The Australian Jewish News quoted her as saying:

The NSW senator told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney last week that ABC and SBS reports often "tell only one side of the story [and] fail to bring truth and perspective to the Australian public on a complex issue".

Fierravanti-Wells said a visit to Israel last year gave her a chance to judge the Mideast conflict for herself. See here for more info about problems with the Australian media.

(Hat tip: Tom Gross)


Monday, May 15 2006

Guardian Op-Ed Distorts History

The latest HonestReporting UK communique has just been published: Guardian Op-Ed Distorts History.

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Best of Backspin

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This Is Languishing?

PrisonerReuters reports an unlikely phenomenon of Palestinian teenagers actively trying to get themselves jailed in Israel. Here's why:

The youths, mostly teenage boys, are taking the dangerous measure in part because they say it is easier to study for exams in an Israeli prison than it is at home in the West Bank. Some also want to escape family hardship and deepening poverty.

Since January, when the phenomenon was first identified, Israeli army officials say at least 80 young men have either turned up at checkpoints and asked to be arrested or else carried knives and other weapons to ensure they are detained….

Palestinian civil affairs workers say the number may be far higher than 80 and is on the increase as rumours spread among young men about the potential benefits of being imprisoned….

Because prisoners usually receive a stipend of around 1,200 shekels ($250) a month, paid by the Palestinian Authority even if detainees are in Israeli prisons, Abdul-Rahman hoped to emerge with a substantial sum of cash to start his own business.

Since the Hamas movement came to power, stipend payments have been frozen, but that wasn't about to stop Abdul-Rahman.

If the Palestinians don’t believe prisoners are languishing, why should the media?

(Hat tip: Judith Apter Klinghoffer)

Due Credit to the Gray Lady

It’s nice to see a powerful feature on Israeli victims of Palestinian terror in the NY Times. Steve Erlanger was at the funeral of 26-year-old Lior Anidzar. Anidzar was married two weeks before the attack, and the Times reports his family has grown close with the family of Daniel Wultz, who this week died of wounds from the same attack.

More Funny Ways to Keep a Truce

NavyYNet News reports that the Israeli Navy foiled a second boat in two weeks trying smuggle arms to Gaza:

Navy divers retreated eight bags full of explosives and landmines soon after the arrest.

See here and here for other funny ways to keep a truce.

Gunmen Fight Media Bias

According to the Jerusalem Post, Palestinian journalists covering Gaza’s in-fighting are receiving more and more death threats, with some reporters and editors going underground:

"We have been receiving death threats almost every day over the past month," one reporter in Gaza City said. "The threats are coming from both Hamas and Fatah." Most of the journalists who were targeted were accused of biased reporting on the Hamas-Fatah confrontation.

Sunday, May 14 2006

'Playing Politics With a Scalpel'

ScalpelThe Toronto Star's Mitch Potter visits the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza and discovers a new meaning to triage as doctors struggle to treat the casualties of inter-Palestinian violence:

Medical workers, who remain among the 165,000 civil service staff going on three months without pay from the bankrupt and internationally boycotted Palestinian government, are operating under the assumption the battle may yet spill inside the hospital doors.

"We have to be afraid," Abu Raya said.

To avoid such confrontations, doctors now are processing patients according to faction. One side's casualties get the briefest of triage at Kamal Adwan before being moved to other hospitals, the rest are admitted for full treatment. None appear interested in playing politics with a scalpel. They simply don't know what else to do.

Islamic Jihad's Ideal Murder

Wultz_1Daniel Wultz (pictured), the Jewish-American teenager injured in last month’s Tel Aviv suicide bombing succumbed to his injuries. His body is being flown back to Florida for burial. Wultz was the 11th person killed as a result of the attack. As a Jewish-American, Islamic Jihad considered him an ideal target.

Straight Shooting Headline

LGF commends the Albuquerque Tribune-World's straightforward headline for recent wire report. AP writes that a former Pakistani army chief advised Iran to head off a possible attack on nuclear facilities by holding Israel hostage. The Tribune World’s headline reads:

Iran uses Israel as hostage

Other papers, like the San Jose Mercury-News (among others) used AP’s more politically correct headline:

Iran sought advice in Pakistan on attack.

What did AP write anyway?

Pakistan's former army chief says Iranian officials came to him for advice on heading off an attack on their nuclear facilities. He in effect advised them to take a hostage - Israel.

Retired Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg said he suggested their government "make it clear that if anything happens to Iran, if anyone attacks it - it doesn't matter who it is or how it is attacked - that Iran's answer will be to hit Israel; the only target will be Israel."

Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, was quoted last week as saying that if "America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel."

The Pakistani advice is hardly novel. Seen it, done it, been there.


Thursday, May 11 2006

Funny Ways to Keep a Truce, Part Two

Two Hamas figures confessed to Israeli security that they were setting up a terror cell to attack Israelis and kidnap soldiers. The Jerusalem Post writes:

The two said that they were under instruction from senior Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip who told them that they were to be absorbed into the West Bank from Gaza.

Meanwhile, Reuters caught up with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha:

"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," Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said in a speech at a pro-Palestinian event in Qatar.

See Part One where the Daily Telegraph states that Hamas is keeping the truce.

Funny Ways to Keep a Truce

KatyushaThe Daily Telegraph claims Hamas has kept the cease fire:

As we argued at the time, America, the EU and Israel should deal directly with Hamas, in the hope of steering it towards the renunciation of violence. The fact that it has engaged in the electoral process - it issued a fatwa against the first Palestinian polls in 1996 - has held to a ceasefire and proposed a long-term truce with Israel is evidence of change. Building on that is the wiser course. Ostracism will merely further radicalisation.

Stockpiling weapons in Jordan and using the Popular Resistance Committee to mount terror by proxy against Israel are funny ways of observing a cease-fire. Regarding the Hamas "peace proposal," the Telegraph unfortunately makes the same mistake as Reuters.

UPDATE: Click here for even more funny ways to keep a truce.

Is the BBC Pro-Israel?

Bbc_5UPI editor Martin Walker got op-ed space in the Times of London to slam the idea that the BBC coverage is biased in Israel’s favor. Walker ably fisks the methodology used for the independent panel's report.

Continue reading "Is the BBC Pro-Israel?"

Mearsheimer and Walt Respond to Critics

If you’re following all the twists and turns of the controversy over The Israel Lobby paper, be sure to see Alternet, where Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt respond to their critics.


Wednesday, May 10 2006

Up In Arms

The Israeli Navy foiled an attempt to smuggle a half-ton of explosives into the Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Post explained why the smugglers managed to escape:

The navy commander decided not to pursue the boat and ceased fire out of fear that innocent Palestinian fisherman in the vicinity would be harmed. The fishing boat then slipped away into a crowd of hundreds of other Palestinian craft.

We haven’t seen any Western news service note this fact. Meanwhile, AFP reports that Jordan arrested 20 Hamas figures and confiscated weaponry -- including Iranian-made Katyusha rockets, LAW rocket launchers, mines and machine guns.

Leave It to Jihad

Beav_1In a surreal visit to a Tulkarm safe house, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Michael Matza discovered that Islamic Jihad’s recruits are getting younger and younger:

A ninth-grade dropout in shiny black jeans and a military-style shirt, Shafi and his two pistol-packing bodyguards paint a portrait of themselves as fierce anti-Israel fighters.

The image sticks - until Shafi's mother, Ghada, 40, wrapped in a white hijab and hand-embroidered robe, enters the room and reminds him that she twice tried to hand him over to Israeli troops because she would rather see him go to prison than be killed.

"I don't sleep," she said. "I pray all night for his safety. I tell him: 'All the people [in his group] have been killed or arrested. Your turn will be next. Please stay away from them.' "

At that, Shafi got mad and shooed his mother from the room. It could have been a scene out of Leave It to Beaver, with a deadly twist.

For more about Palestinian terror groups taking advantage of children, see Teach Kids Peace.


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