Sunday, July 31, 2005
It was more like all parties agreed not acknowledge that their homes were divided and silence produced the only tonic that allowed for the possibility of a tomorrow for the wounds of civil war were far too raw. It was not until the assassination of a politician that the fever of silence and denial broke and so the complex process of healing could begin.
This spring we shall the return of General Michel Aoun from exile and the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Now a relatively free election returned a parliament of reconciliation that declared an amnesty for Christian Militia leader Dr. Samir Gaegea. But Lebanon is not yet on the path to full recovery until one more group of Lebanese is allowed to return home and be absolved of the madness that divides.
From the Lebanese Daily Star the once taboo debate has begun:
BEIRUT: The most heated debate during Friday's parliamentary session involved a dispute over how to treat Lebanese ex-militia members living in Israel with their families. Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kenaan accused the Lebanese State of having abandoned the population living under occupation. Kenaan said: "The Government has to form a joint committee with Parliament to investigate events that led Lebanese families to take refuge in Israel."
He said the state is responsible for failing to provide for the occupied areas for 25 years.
Intense argument began when Kenaan claimed a Hizbullah official called for "slaughtering" all those who collaborated with occupying forces following the Israeli withdrawal.
House Speaker Nabih Berri interrupted Kenaan and asked him to be more specific and name the official.
Hizbullah Metn MP Ali Ammar commented furiously on Kenaan's claim that the official was [Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed] Hassan Nasrallah.
Ammar said: "The Israeli-U.S. so-called democratic deluge on Middle Eastern countries seems to have reached Lebanon."
Kenaan claimed that he "did not mean to dehumanize the resistance or its leader but was referring to a reliable source: a quote from one of the LBCI guests in a talk show."
Kesrouan MP Michel Aoun raised this question in Thursday's session, hinting at granting amnesty to those in Israel so they could return home; Hizbullah MPs strongly oppose the plan.
The Southern Lebanese Army was a Christian militia group whose sphere of operation was in southern Lebanon. It allied itself with the Israelis and in return for co-operation it received financing, weapons and training from their Israeli allies. Once the Israeli full withdrawal from Lebanon began in May 2000 the SLA collapsed in the face of a Hezbollah offensive. Estimates vary widely (2,000-7,000) on how many SLA members and their families fled Lebanon for sanctuary in Israel in May 2000. Mid East Forum and Jewish News Weekly both have older articles on the plight of the SLA in Israel. The dilemma of the SLA members and their families has not changed greatly in the years since these articles were published.
Many Lebanese look upon the SLA as traitors for aligning themselves with Israelis’ and thereby openly braking ranks with the notion of pan-Arab unity and to compound their sin; they sought refuge in Zion rather than lay down their arms and become the sacrificial lambs on Hezbollah’s altar. But the process of healing and the path to reconciliation from the divide of the civil war cannot be complete until all of Lebanon’s sons and daughters can once again come home.
Friday, July 29, 2005
BEIRUT: Fatah President Farouk Qaddoumi agrees with Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that the path of resistance is the most efficient way to achieve results when confronting Israel. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, Qaddoumi said he "believes in the path of resistance rather than the path of negotiations. Every word that Nasrallah said is very precise and correct, and I fully support it.".
Qaddoumi was commenting on a speech Nasrallah delivered Wednesday, in which he said that the resistance "achieved everything. What did the negotiations achieve? Nothing." Referring to the Israeli pullout from Gaza Strip, Qaddoumi said: "Any withdrawal from the Palestinian territories is a good thing, and it is what the Palestinian resistance aims for." He added: "We are willing to fight for another 50 years to achieve our goals."
Qaddoumi claimed that the "differences" among Palestinian resistance factions "are not grave enough" to jeopardize such goals, adding that the internal struggle "is not serious. It is a psychological case which can be monitored to prevent the state of chaos the Israeli enemy expects." "The Israeli occupation is behind all the tension created inside Palestinian society ... In-fighting might be one of the results of such differences, but it remains a mere possibility," said Qaddoumi
Farouk Kaddoumi is part of the old hard-line guard of the PLO. Kaddoumi refused to return to the disputed territories with the Arafat and the rest of PLO under the Oslo Agreement in the mid-nineties as he refused to accept anything less than a total annihilation of the Jewish state. For years he has categorically refused to even negotiate for a separate state of the Palestinian people though there who are suggesting that he would be open to entering into negotiations with Israel now.
He was Arafat’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for 30 years and was said to be outraged when elected President Abbas replaced him in bid to lessen Kaddoumi’s influence in the PLO and Fatah. Kaddoumi, by refusing to return to the disputed territories has escaped the taint and charges of corruption and cronyism that haunted Arafat, Abbas and the old guard of the PA. After the death of Arafat, Suha Arafat immediately sought out Kaddoumi’s protection from any possible retribution from the Palestinian Authority. Kaddoumi’s was named head of Fatah last November and he is perceived as Abbas’ main rival, certainly he can be considered Abbas’ deadliest adversary.
He has recently set-up an office in absentia in Gaza and is expected to return to Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal ends. It is rumored that he recently concluded successful negotiations with the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Damascus to return to Gaza with him. There are other rumors that Kaddoumi has been receiving support and financial backing by Hezbollah (Iran) and Syria.
One should be asking why Kaddoumi has left his base in Tunis and gone to Beirut at this time? What is the agenda behind his meeting with Hezbollah and why this very public display of support for Hezbollah at this time? Why is Kaddoumi so dismissive of the recent ongoing strife between the Abbas'PA, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip?
One nightmare scenario for the Israelis’ is that Hezbollah will choose the disengagement from Gaza as the perfect opportunity to launch a low-level sustained attack on Israel as the IDF will be tied down on the southern front making the Gaza strip as Judenrein as possible. If matters escalate on the Northern front there are many in the neighborhood who would welcome this as the perfect pre-text to deal a significant blow to the Israeli state. Realistically, can the Israeli’s count on the American support if Iran throws its weight behind Hezbollah?
Somebody tell me: Is it against either International Law and/or Canon Law for Jews to defend themselves?
VATICAN CITY - Responding to Israeli criticism, the Vatican on Thursday said it hasn't condemned every strike by Palestinian militants against the Jewish state because Israel's military response to the attacks has sometimes violated international law.
Largely good relations between the Vatican and Israel in recent years were strained this week by Israeli outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn terror against Israelis in recent remarks. On Monday, the Vatican envoy to Israel was summoned to the Foreign Ministry as Jerusalem expressed its outrage over Benedict's remarks that didn't condemn the Netanya bombing.
The Foreign Ministry had complained that Benedict, in a public appearance at his Alpine vacation retreat on Sunday, "deliberately" didn't mention a July 12 suicide bombing in the coastal city of Netanya while the pontiff did refer to recent terror strikes in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq.
"It's not always possible to immediately follow every attack against Israel with a public statement of condemnation, and for various reasons, among them the fact that the attacks against Israel sometimes were followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the rules of international law," a statement from the Vatican press office said Thursday night.
"It would thus be impossible to condemn the first (the terror strikes) and let the second (Israeli retaliation) pass in silence," said the Vatican statement, which had an unusually strong tone for the Holy See. On Monday, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Benedict had been referring to the attacks of the last few days and, referring to the ministry statement, called it "surprising that one would have wanted to take the opportunity to distort the intentions of the Holy Father."
A suicide bomber implodes himself outside a shopping mall killing 5 (at last count and injuring over 90 Israelis) on July 12th. Israel demands that the Palestinian Authority disarm the terrorists and “The IDF conducted a pinpointed arrest activity against the Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure in the area of Tulkarm, in order to disrupt and thwart the execution of terror attacks.” PA Chairman Abbas condemns the attacks and by late afternoon Israeli communities are under attack from a terrorist element in Gaza who are raining missiles and rockets into their communities; so IDF takes to the sky to take out the "militants" who are firing those rockets as Israeli citizens are dying in their homes from that barrage. So what does the Vatican think a good Jew should do – wait for the Holy See to send in the Swiss Guard?
Has Hamas discovered the power of love? On Thursday night, the militant group organized a mass wedding for 452 couples in the sports stadium in Nablus. Attended by many Hamas leaders in the West Bank, the ceremony is believed to be the biggest mass wedding of Palestinians ever held.
In a culture where appearances count, Arab weddings can be horrendously expensive. Over the past decade, many Islamic countries have adopted the practice of collective weddings. As one of many gifts given during the month of Ramadan, Egypt hosts mass weddings for low-income and physically handicapped couples. Other countries where mass weddings have become a norm include Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan and Sudan.
For many poverty-stricken Palestinian families, the mass weddings mean marriage ceremonies can take place without the crippling expense of a mahr (dowry) or a private party, which can run to tens of thousands of dollars. Most of these grooms are sons or relatives of Palestinians killed in the violence over the past four and a half years.
The role of the mahr in Islamic marriages has sometimes been interpreted as a bride-price. For many Muslims, it is purely symbolic, just as white dresses, diamond engagement rings and gold wedding bands are symbols in traditional Western marriages. However, in many cases, the mahr serves as an insurance policy, payable to the woman in full if her husband remarries or divorces her.
Hamas, whose name means Islamic Resistance Movement, is clearly using the ceremonies to further promote its image as a positive institution in Palestinian society. Palestinians have long maintained that one of the main reasons for Hamas's soaring popularity, particularly in the Gaza Strip, is the fact that the movement continues to provide a vast network of social and economic services to the needy. Hamas is not the only group to organize such events. Earlier this month, Islamic Jihad sponsored a similar ceremony in the Gaza Strip, but for "only" 222 Palestinian couples. Tens of thousands of people attended the mass wedding in Gaza City, which was financed by several Palestinian companies and institutions.
Khaled al-Bahtini, one of the organizers of the gathering, said each couple received a gift of $200 – $300 in cash, in addition to wedding rings and bedroom and other furniture. Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam said the event was aimed at demonstrating that his group was interested in all aspects of life, especially on the social level.
When even terrorist organizations recognize the importance married family life; why do all we in the West continue to undermine the state of marriage and hold it in so little regard? Of course, maybe I shouldn’t crow too soon – Hamas is not yet enlightened enough to sponsor any gay unions.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The power came back online around 6:20pm for 20 minutes and was out till after 9pm when it made another brief appearance. Apparently, I am the victim of rolling back outs but I am my mother’s daughter so that I had my portable Coleman lights and the son and I were able to pass the evening with Harry Potter and James Lee Burke. I got up as is my habit around 4am to discover I had power only to lose it again just as I poured the water into the coffee pot.
There is an old Irish expression that says what is breed in the bone comes out in the flesh and found myself questioning why I live in the center of the largest urban centre in Canada and in an environment that is both alien and foreign to my character. Like all the McNamara women that came both before and then after me, I could not wait to leave and now in my maturity I repent of those choices and decisions that led me to this place and at the mercy of government bureaucracy and incompetence.
I find that I long more than ever on nights and days like these for those long familiar woods and home. A lack of electricity would not disturb the tranquility of my days. There are Coleman lamps a plenty, and if the power was out, I would still have the wood stove to cook on. And if the day was too hot to cook inside, I could just start a light a fire in the yard, and if the heat at night was too obsessive to sleep inside, there is always the cool night air on the porch. I would always have coffee or a cuppa to take to the porch as I rose and no doubt I would be watching the path Venus takes as it moves across the horizon rather than stumbling and scrambling to dress in the dark.
My mother’s father was born in the country and even he longed for adventure that he thought he could only find in the city, and hence when the opportunity to leave came he did not hesitate to lie and sign up to fight the Hun in a battle that would carry him half a world away in an alien and foreign land. In retrospect, he was luckier than the rest of us for he learned early in life that sanity and peace lie in hills, woods and valleys. He came home from the WW1 relatively physically unscathed but with a decided contempt for society and its rules, and so sought the sanctity of the woods and river valleys. He spent his life as an illegal fur trapper, logger and wood’s guide. He probably could have received a license to trap furs if he the patience to wade through the levels of government bureaucracy required and paid the fee for the right to make a living in the land he thought he fought to save. No doubt he felt that he had paid enough through tears, flesh and blood on Vimy Ridge and saw no sense or appreciable meaning in any government telling him how, when, and where he could make his way in life and demanding that he pay once again for the privilege to do so. In WW1 he was a scout and a messenger. My mind often shuts down in horror when I attempt to picture that slight 16 year old boy creeping through the wastelands to scout the enemy lines. He told me once that what he hated most was not the cold or hunger, nor the lice, or rats but the sound of the horses crying to their death. There is a degree of courage and fortitude that was present in him that I rarely see among the city breed but I often encounter it among those who live tied to the land.
There are times that I want to leave this country and put its trouble far behind me and live free from the government’s ever expanding reach but what holds me here is that I find I cannot forsake the woods of my Canada that tied me so long ago to the land. As long as I am here there is hope that the day will come when I will be free of my obligations so that once again I can walk in the woods that sheltered and nourished myself, my mother, my grandparents, my great grandparents, my great-great grandparents and so on, and so on. That is the hope that has carried and substained me as I walk on these mean streets and through many a dark day and night here – that one can indeed go home again.
Truth be told, I generally try to avoid thinking about the MP from Missisauga-Erindale but my inability to secure a power source left me a tad more reflective and I have to admit that I am slowly starting to develop a grudging admiration for that estrogen deprived harridan of odiousness. Good thing, I am not a Blogging Tory as no doubt they would be sending me to Coventry for expressing that.
I abhor her worldview. There is probably not a single issue where we could ever form a mutual consensus on from Israel to what is the proper time to feed the cat. She represents a great deal of what I feel is wrong with Canada but her constituents not only like her; they have returned her successfully to Parliament in four elections well within margins that can only be described as easy victories.
I have to give credit to the Liberal Party for attracting her because I put her much more at home with the NDP philosophically but she’s a librano and probably one of the more honest ones at that. She’s brass, passionate and historically challenged with chutzpah to spare but if I was one of her constituents; I would not hesitate to bring any problem into her office and if I could convince her of the rightness of my cause, I have no doubt or hesitation that she wouldn’t go to the wall and back for me. How many MP’s can one say that of? I’ve got the original Mr. Metrosexual and if I had to have a librano be my representative in parliament, I’d take the harridan over the metrosexual any day of any given week.
No one can ever accuse her of dithering or not knowing her own mind. She maybe low rent but unlike the Minister responsible for democratic renewal she can’t be bought and no one can accuse her of robbing a Peter to pay a Paul. And this woman can take a few political shots to the head that would have sent a lesser MP running for cover in the corner but she takes her licks with a standing count and comes back swinging – good to go for another round.
If the conservative party is ever to make up a majority in Parliament they need to find representatives that can inspire that same sense of trust and common touch that Parrish inspires and exhibits to her constituents.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Who is the Middle East’s equivalent to di Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rodin, Rembrandt, or Donatello? I tried using online search engines and really got a big nada prior to the twentieth century. Even a name for a 19th century painter or sculptor would be appreciated as a starting point.
Now there are certainly religious communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza but there are also significant groups of non-religious Jews as well. I have this nagging suspicion that the term settler was coined as a bit of misinformation propaganda and came into the English lexicon as term favoured to bring about the maximum depersonalization of the Israelis living there - to render them more truly one of the “other”. You could easily use the term Israeli/Jewish homeowner in replacement of the term “settler” and I suspect it would reflect with a far greater accuracy the common characteristics of the so-called “setter” but whether that intention was deliberate or not, it certainly characterizes the situation today.
Walking among the tens of thousands of Israeli protesters at Moshav Kfar Maimon this week was like being witness to a miracle. There in the scorching summer heat were thousands upon thousands of families with children of all ages, young men and women and elderly people, living under siege and in conditions that would make an infantryman cringe.
And yet, there was no complaining. There was no shouting. There was no pushing. There was no garbage on the ground. There was no stench of any kind. What one saw in the protesters' faces and heard in each and every statement and conversation was dignity, determination, integrity, faith and a form of earthy, plainspoken and unabashed patriotism and concern for the greater good that has become an artifact of a barely remembered past for many Israelis.
Read the whole column here. Then surf over to Israellycool where there really are Israeli cool pictures taken from the Kfar Maimon protest that were not shown on any broadcast that I saw on CNN, Fox or CBC’s the National nor did I find see them in any Canadian daily last week.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Five Palestinians were injured on Wednesday in fresh clashes between Palestinian Authority security forces and Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip. The latest confrontation erupted in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood south of Gaza City only hours after the two sides announced that they had struck a deal to end the fighting.
PA security sources reported that Hamas gunmen opened fire at the house of Rashid Abu Shabak, commander of the PA's Preventative Security Service, and an office belonging to the ruling Fatah party. Three PA policemen and four Hamas members were injured in the attack, the sources added, accusing Hamas of initiating the clashes. However, Hamas denied the charge, accusing the PA security forces of triggering the fighting by opening fire at a car carrying Hamas gunmen as they drove past Abu Shabak's house and the Fatah office.
Abu Shabak's men have, over the past few days, fought street battles with hundreds of Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip. The fiercest fighting erupted on Monday and Tuesday, with more than 25 Palestinians injured. Despite Wednesday's pre-dawn clashes, Hamas leaders announced that they were committed to an agreement reached with the PA late Tuesday night and called on their followers to honor the cease-fire. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that despite the clashes, all sides were keen to draw a line under the violence. "There is a desire among our movement and the leaders of the Palestinian Authority to put an end to this issue and to implement this quiet on the ground," he declared.
Ismail Haniyeh, a top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, announced that his movement had decided to "end all forms of violence and tension with the Palestinian Authority." He added: "Hamas is not at a state of hostility with the Palestinian Authority or Fatah. Our sacred weapons will continue to be directed against the occupation. Internecine fighting does not serve the Palestinian people or the Arabs and Muslims or Hamas and Fatah."
What can I say? Somethings are beyond parody but what are the odds that it’s all just a case of one last hoorah between the two thugs?
Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Marxist-Leninist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), announced Thursday that he will move to the Gaza Strip after Israel completes its withdrawal.
Hawatmeh, who is based in Damascus, is the first leader of a radical Palestinian group to announce his intention to move to Gaza after disengagement. The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have also reportedly expressed their desire to move to the Gaza Strip.
"I will return to the Gaza Strip after a full Israeli withdrawal from the area," Hawatmeh said. "The borders of Gaza will be open to any Palestinian wishing to return to Palestine."
He said representatives of various Palestinian groups will meet in Amman or Cairo shortly to discuss the planned withdrawal and the unofficial truce with Israel.
Founded in 1969, the DFLP is the third largest PLO faction.
The DFLP’s first rose to infamy when it carried out a horrendous attack on Israeli school children in Ma’a lot, Israel in 1974. Apparently, Hawatmeh, a Jordanian born Christian, has spoken out against suicide bombing inside Israel. As far as I can determine no one has yet asked his opinion on raids on sleeping children, the hijacking of school buses, or the seizing of apartment buildings.
Mitchell, NBC News' diplomatic correspondent, was part of a press contingent following Rice on her visit to the war-torn African country. Sudanese officials already didn't want her there. Mitchell said she was shoved as she entered a room where Rice and el-Bashir were posing for pictures. Reporters were only allowed in at the State Department's insistence, and were told not to ask questions.
Mitchell, in a telephone interview after leaving a Sudanese refugee camp and arriving in Israel, said that attitude emboldened her. "It makes me even more determined when dictators and alleged war criminals are not held to account," she said. "If our government is going to establish a relationship and push for a new beginning as Sudan reforms itself, they have to live up to international standards. A free press is part of that process."
Although el-Bashir has denied government involvement, the U.S. and international organizations say his government has equipped militiamen to massacre villagers in the rural Darfur province. "Can you tell us why the violence is continuing?" Mitchell asked, as a Sudanese official said "no, no, no, please." "Can you tell us why the government is supporting the militias?" she asked. After getting no reply from el-Bashir, she asked, "Why should Americans believe your promises?"
It was then that she was forcibly removed. "It is our job to ask," she said later. "They can always say `no comment' ... but to drag a reporter out just for asking is inexcusable behavior." Afterward, Mitchell said she was "angry, embarrassed, humiliated" and upset that she had become part of an attention-getting incident. "Reporters don't want to become part of the story," she said. Rice demanded an apology from the Sudanese government for the incident and, an hour later, the government's foreign minister called her on her airplane. Mitchell, the wife of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, said no one from Sudan has gotten in touch with her. "I would rather see them live up to their promises," she said. "What they did to me is not important. They can't control my life."
I am with Mitchell. If I had to choose between empty words of an apology totally devoid of meaning or that a despot lives up to his promises for responsible governance. Responsible governance wins every single time.
(Tipped off by Neale News)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday instructed local reporters and photographers to refrain from covering the clashes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority security forces.
In a statement, the syndicate, which is controlled by members of the ruling Fatah party said that "pictures that some journalists are conveying to the international and local public opinion don't benefit the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation and independence." It warned the journalists against continuing to cover the "unfortunate clashes for fear that that they would add fuel to the fire." The syndicate warned that anyone who violates its instructions would have to bear the personal and legal consequences of his or her deeds.
Referring specifically to local photographers, the syndicate urged them to place the national interests of the Palestinians above all other considerations. "Refraining from covering these sad events will end the current conflict," it pointed out. The syndicate also called on reporters to display "utmost caution" in dealing with statements and leaflets issued by the rival parties and to report only on matters that contribute to easing the tensions and preserving national unity.
While I understand that it is often necessary in times of conflict for the government to control information in order to limit access of intelligence to the alleged enemy, but what the PA is doing is threatening photographers and journalists from reporting to the both local and international community the true state of affairs within the Palestinian Authority/Hamas controlled areas. The rise of groups like Hamas was the direct result of the PLO/PA inability to provide a honest, transparent and accountable governance.
Let’s not pretend that the sun does not rise in the east and set in the west. The last thing the world needs now is another thugacratic state in the Middle East.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
TORONTO -- By a vote of 87%, members of the Canadian Media Guild have given their negotiators a strike mandate to take back to their ongoing talks with the CBC. The union says 67% of its 5,500 members took part in the vote over the past few days. A strike could cripple the public broadcaster by mid-August.
"A minor miracle that we got over two-thirds of our members out to vote right in the middle of July," Arnold Amber, president of the CBC branch of the guild, said yesterday. "And a major miracle when you get to the point that 87.3% of them reject the corporation's vision of what the CBC should be all about." The union members were asked to send a strong message to management "that you back your guild bargaining committee against the corporation's regressive positions."
So if the CBC staff finally make good on something: how long can this good fortune last? Can we all get a tax refund if the strike lasts longer than 30 days?
(tipped off by Neale News)
A group of Russian nationalists has asked a Moscow court to order prosecutors to investigate Jewish leaders in connection with the Shulhan Arukh, which they say incites hatred, a news agency reported Tuesday. The reported request was the latest move in a campaign aimed at banning Jewish organizations in Russia.
Interfax reported that members of the group asked Moscow's Basmanny District Court to order the Prosecutor-General's Office to investigate Jewish leaders they accuse of imposing the principles of a summary of religious laws called Kitzur Shulhan Arukh, which they say foments hatred.
Russia which has a rather long and infamous historical tradition of anti-Semitism, and in fact, gave birth to the internationally renown forgery known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has nationalists claiming that the group of people who suffered the longest from hatred and discrimination is now the group that is promoting hatred by following their code. Truly it boggles my mind. Who would have thought that Russian Nationalists are now the New Jews. I guess once an anti-Semite, always an anti-Semite.
Police are drinking a lot of water – small bottles of Mei Eden that seem to never end. Raz said the police had over 50,000 bottles of water delivered to Kfar Maimon to quench the thirst of the 10,000 policemen deployed outside.
Fifty thousand water bottles for 10,000 police officers standing around in the heat seems reasonable but fifty thousand water bottles for 20,000 police officers computes to roughly 2 and one half water bottles each for a 12 hour day in 90 plus degree weather with no shade seems like a death sentence. Maybe the other 10,000 passed out from heat exhaustion? Though even 10, 000 police officers standing guard around Kfar Maimon translates to 1 police officer for every protestor if this Jerusalem Post report is accurate.
Ha’artez is reporting that the protest organizers have called a halt to the protest and told their supporters to make their way home before Sabbath starts on Friday evening. While I am sympathic to the protestor’s aims and arguments against disengagement from Gaza, I am pleased that the group was not subjected to a terrorist attack and that Israeli homes were not flooded with pictures of Israeli Policemen beating down an unarmed crowd of men, women and children.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Soldiers and police stopped thousands of Gaza withdrawal opponents marching this evening in defiance of a police ban, determined to reach nearby Jewish settlements and stop Israel’s pullout next month, the biggest test yet for security forces.
After a two-hour standoff, settlers said they reached an agreement with security forces to spend the night in Kfar Maimon, a village just three kilometres from their starting point and 20 kilometres away from their goal, the main crossing point into the Gaza settlements. Settlers pledged to push on toward Gaza in the morning.
About 20,000 police and soldiers were deployed in southern Israel to block the marchers, who started out after a rally in the town of Netivot. In an unprecedented step, police fanned out across the country and prevented protesters from boarding buses that were to take them to the demonstration. Angry organizers called on their backers to get there somehow, and dozens started walking toward Gaza from Jerusalem, more than 100 kilometres away.
One does not deploy 20,000 police officers for a mere crowd of 'thousands' and from all of the accounts that I have read in the Israeli papers; the Toronto Star’s numbers of Israeli police forces deployed was nearly double all other reports. So much for Associated Press.
The Israel National News carried this report:
After negotiations between police and Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council leaders, some 40,000 people were permitted to spend the night in tents on the outskirts of Kfar Maimon, a small moshav (agricultural village) south of Netivot. This morning, large police forces were deployed around the "tent city", leading to speculation that the protestors were to be forcibly dispersed. However, after a time, the forces were pulled back and police agreed to let the marchers enter Kfar Maimon, as negotiations between protest organizers and police continue.
Police commanders have indicated they will not permit large numbers of people to reach Kissufim Crossing, preferring to keep the confrontation away from the gateway to Gush Katif. Negotiations conducted during the night between police and Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council leaders ended without reaching an agreement.
The march is set to resume late this afternoon, while the hottest hours of the day today are to be used for activities for children and adults in Kfar Maimon, as was planned by event organizers.
Haaretz puts the number closer to 50,000 and growing:
Israel's police early Tuesday were placed on a rare "state of emergency alert," their highest alert status. The tens of thousands of demonstrators camped in Kfar Maimon meanwhile rested ahead of the evening. Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said Tuesday that "The issue that most concerns us, is that we see to it that no one will reach Gush Katif. That is the goal."
Police have mobilizes all of their forces, with officers returning from leaves and working longer shifts, to cover duties nationwide as more than 10,000 police and troops seek to prevent as many as 50,000 demonstrators from breaking through roadblocks.
It would be prudent to remember that Ariel Sharon and his Lukid party won re-election by directly campaigning against Labour’s platform of disengaging from Gaza. Israeli voters, when given this opportunity, rejected Labour’s disengagement platform. It was a shock to many when Sharon sought to implement the disengagement plan and he has refused all entreaties to hold a referendum on this issue since. This is fractioning Israeli society in a way that terrorism never has and will have consequences far beyond the immediate future.
Already the Israeli Defense Forces is feeling the pain and division is growing within their ranks. This Ynet Online article illustrates the most recent report on the growing attrition of insubordination that is now plaguing the IDF:
A wave of military insubordination continued Saturday night, as 12 soldiers were arrested for refusing to participate in closing a Gaza Strip border crossing and stop hundreds of settlers who arrive to try and break a closure the IDF imposed on the territory ahead of Israel's pullout in August. Eight people were injured during clashes between security forces and some 400 settlers at the Kissufim crossing, including a police officer and IDF soldier.
Forces arrested 12 troops who refused to help disperse the crowd. Three apologized later. IDF sources say most of the insubordinate soldiers are graduates of hesder yeshivas. Army Chief Dan Halutz later disbanded the 120-member company the soldiers belongs to and said the group would be tried in a military court for their insubordination.
The incident marked the latest in a series of occurances where soldiers have refused orders to take part in operations regarding Israel's planned pullout from Gaza, set for August. A Border Police officer who refused to help security forces contain an anti-Gaza pullout protest was sentenced Thursday to a week in incarceration
Insubordination continues to plague the IDF while the rockets continue to fall inside Gaza. This marks the fifth day that Gaza remains under fire from Arab Palestinians terrorist groups.
A poll reported by the Israel National News puts support nationwide for the disengagement from Gaza at approximately 52.% well within the margin of error.It should be noted that the poll was conducted before the suicide bombing in Netanya or the recent bombardment in Gaza. Support could well have fallen even lower since the attacks began. The Israel National News is reporting that that a IDF battalion commander has advised his men that if the protestors reach the Kissumfin Crossing into Gaza then the army has failed its "litmus test".
Furthermore, if an attack comes against the protestors from one or more terrorist organizations operating inside Gaza or the West Bank, expect a significant drop in public support for disengagement. If Israeli’s watching the evening news view images of IDF using force to disperse the protestors (who have a significant number of woman and children among them) - the divide will grow into chasm few will be able to cross. Certainly, for Ariel Sharon, it will be the orange tide that washes him from power.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Lebanon's parliament passed a law on Monday granting amnesty to jailed former anti-Syria Christian warlord Samir Geagea, paving the way for his release after 11 years in prison.
Geagea was the only warlord to be jailed for crimes during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. He is expected to walk out of his cell at the Defence Ministry in a few days after the bill is signed by President Emile Lahoud.
Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun were both leaders (and other times deadly rivals) of different Christian milita forces during the Lebanese civil war. Michel Aoun has been calling for the release of Geagea since shortly before his return to Lebanon and constantly since his return from exile. No doubt Hezbollah will consider this an omnious sign, and if it finds the prospect a little to threatening; look for an attack on Israel in the coming week or so.
The Lebanon Daily Star has a few more details in its report; including how the Hezbollah MP block staged a walkout as a protest on the vote to pardon Geagea.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Food Ration in 1842 for slaves in Cuba:
meat, chicken, fish 8 oz.
rice 4 oz.
starch 16 oz.
beans 4 oz.
Castro Government food ration since 1962
Meat, chicken, fish 2 oz.
rice 3 oz.
starch 6.5 oz.
beans 1 oz.
Take the time to read the rest and remember that the next time you are searching for a holiday getaway from the unrelenting cold, snow and slush of the Canadian winter and the cheapness of a Cuban vacation acts as a beacon to what is leftover in your wallet after your government has had its way.
Friday, July 15, 2005
A rocket fired from Gaza killed a young Israeli woman today hours after Israeli forces raided the home of a 67-year-old British citizen in the West Bank and killed a militant — incidents that further shook a five-month truce already threatened this week by a suicide bombing.
Two rockets exploded this afternoon in the village of Nativ Haasara. One hit a house and killed a woman in her 20s, the military said. The second destroyed a parked car. A Palestinian militant group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, said the rocket attack was retaliation for the killing of the militant.
Here’s how the Jerusalem Post reported the incident:
Rocket fire at Israeli targets was renewed last night throughout the western Negev, as consecutive barrages pounded towns and kibbutzim, raining over 40 Kassam rockets and mortars and killing Dana Gelkovitz, a 22-year-old resident of Netiv Ha'asara.
In response, the IDF divided the Gaza Strip into three security sectors by setting up checkpoints west of Netzarim in the north, and at Gush Katif Junction in the south. IAF helicopters struck Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip, in Jabalya, Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah, while politicians and security sources promised that the recent barrages would not go unanswered, and emphasized that the tentative cease-fire that had been in effect since February was effectively over, as Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas both took responsibility for the deadly rocket attacks.
Back to the Toronto Star article:
In an angry reaction, David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office, charged that the Palestinian Authority was responsible because of its “refusal to fight terror.” He added: “We will not allow our citizens to be murdered, and if the Palestinian Authority doesn’t take necessary steps to prevent terror, we will.”
Rockets also exploded in an army base and a Gaza settlement, slightly wounding several Israelis. In the past, Israel has retaliated for such rocket barrages by sending tanks into northern Gaza, but it has refrained from that since a truce was declared Feb. 8.
Early today, Israeli forces shot and killed a fugitive in the West Bank city of Nablus in one of several arrest raids overnight — a sign of escalating violence that could spiral out of control and torpedo the truce, although Israel and the Palestinians have an interest in maintaining the calm at least until Israel completes its pullout from Gaza and part of the West Bank in the summer.
The militant who was killed, Mohammed Alassi, 28, was a local leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group and was planning attacks against Israel, the army said. Others in Nablus said he was a member of a different militant group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, linked to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Early today, soldiers surrounded the Nablus house where Alassi was staying and demanded he surrender, said Maj. Sharon Asman. Alassi and another militant fled, and the soldiers ordered them to stop. One man returned to the house and was arrested, but Alassi continued running and was shot and killed, he said. The raid took place at the home of Hannah Alassi, 67, a British citizen who moved to Nablus in 2002 and was not related to the fugitive.
The army said Hannah Alassi was an activist who gave refuge to militants. Hannah Alassi said she was a journalist who made television documentaries and filed stories to radio stations and magazines on the Middle East conflict. She said Mohammed Alassi was not in Islamic Jihad, but rather in Al Aqsa, a militant group responsible for scores of attacks on Israelis but unconnected to the suicide bombing in Netanya. Elsewhere in the West Bank overnight, Israeli forces arrested 10 other Islamic Jihad suspects, the military said.
Now I take issue with the characterization of any member of any organization that targets civilians for murder a "militant" but let’s not quibble, the Star knows better and if a terror attack ever reaches Canadian soil, I sincerely hope they exercise the same bias and will not refer to the perpetrators of such murders as "terrorists" rather than as "militants".
The Star article begins with the death of an Israeli woman killed by a rocket attack and makes no reference to the sum total of size of the rocket barrage (40 Kassams) fired at Israeli targets. That kind 'nuance' puts things into somewhat of a different perspective doesn’t it?
The Star reports that the Israeli’s believe the wanted man who was found in the home of Hannah Alassi was a member of Islamic Jihad while Hannah Alassi and “others in Nablus” take issue with this and claim Mohammed Alassi was a member of Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – “linked to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.”
So who to believe? And does it really matter if the wanted man was a member of Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade or Islamic Jihad? Both organizations routinely target Israeli civilians for murder and celebrate that fact. I have yet to know of a mass rally called in celebration in Israel for the death of a Palestinian militant by the IDF. In the rocket barrage that fell on Israeli targets both Hamas and Al Aqsa are claiming responsibility for the death and mayhem that ensued.
Interestingly enough, a search on the alleged British journalist, Hannah Alassi, on Google, Yahoo and MSN turned up no references to her work as a journalist, let alone as a documentary film maker or commentator on the Middle East, but lack of evidence, is not conclusive evidence. It does seem rather curious that a 67 year old British journalist would have not left some trail or taste of her work over the last 20 years or so in the mainstream media.
Debkafile refers to Hannah Alassi as a member of the pro-Palestinian activist group International Solidarity Movement. Front Page Magazine ran an expose of this international group’s activities in recruiting members to take part in the Pro-Palestinian activism inside the Occupied Territories last year. Too bad no one Toronto Star asked the question I wanted to know in order to explain what I find incomprehensive. Why is an experienced journalist, living in known hot spot, thinks it is prudent or wise to meet with known and wanted men in her own home?
In other news today, I discovered that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has declared a State of Emergency in Gaza (reports the Jerusalem Post):
Two Palestinian youths have been killed and more than 16 people have been wounded in a fight between PA security forces and Hamas members in the Gaza Strip. The hospitals have reported that most of those wounded are PA security members, Israel Radio reported. Hamas members set three tPA cars on fire.
The stream of violence in Gaza has lead PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to declare a state of emergency on Thursday night, after dozens of Hamas gunmen stormed two Palestinian police posts in the northern Gaza Strip, Israel Television reported. The assailants threw grenades and fired automatic weapons. The attack came after members of the Palestinian security forces opened fire on a car in the area believed to be carrying Hamas gunmen who refused to stop at a roadblock. Five Hamas gunmen traveling in the vehicle were lightly wounded.
In an updated version of the The Toronto Star online, I did find another article carrying the story of the rocket barrage attacking Israelis under the byline: “Israeli helicopters pound Gaza” without mentioning the scope or size of the assault by Palestinian "militants" or how the Israeli helicopter assault was a direct measured response to the missile barrage that rained down on Israeli civilians. The Toronto Star calls the targeting of 4 known sites by the Israeli’s a pounding; but a 40 rocket missile barrage by "militants" are referred to as only "rockets" and only makes direct mention of 4 targets out of 40. Go figure.
To the Toronto Star’s credit, it does mention that Palestinian Authority police did "clash" with Hamas "gunman" (does that still make them militants?) but makes no mention of Mahmoud Abbas declaring a State of Emergency in Gaza. No need to fret as I am sure that given enough time Toronto Star will figure out how to spin that too.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
If Rove is the source of the leak for ousting Valarie Plame as a CIA agent; why is Judith Miller still in jail? If Rove contacted Mathew Cooper and told him to go ahead and testify to his substance of his conversations with Rove; then ask yourselves why is Judith Miller clinging to silence from her jail cell?
You cannot possibly suggest that Judith Miller didn’t have access to a phone to call Rove and ask for the same waiver of confidentiality that Rove called Cooper to offer pre-testimony; or are you going to argue that Rove doesn’t take collect calls from jail? I am all for standing up for principles but if the cat is out of the bag; what’s your point? If Miller’s testimony is substantially the same as Cooper’s; there is no source to protect and no principle to stand on and therefore – it is long past time to get off the chain-gang.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Though Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack and PA Chairman Abbas issued a strong statement condemning the attack and promising to hunt down and arrest the perpetrators of Tuesday’s attack (which seems a little rich from the man who has been actively working to integrate terrorists into his security forces) it is the statement from a Hamas spokesman from Gaza, Mushir al-Masri that I find the most telling:
"This operation is a natural response to Israeli crimes," he said. "The Zionist enemy has desecrated the Koran inside the prisons, is refusing to release the prisoners and is constantly threatening the Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem."
Desecration of the Koran inside the prisons and a refusal to release prisoner’s sounds like the language of Gitmo though the alleged threats on Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem personalize this theme. Why a Jewish state would threaten Jerusalem, the only holy city to the Jews is beyond my ken, and I have yet to reference down the alleged Israeli attacks against Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem but when dealing with the delusionary it serves no purpose to give much credence to which delusions are merely what passes for nuance on any given day. But what is telling is that you have a competing terrorist organization issuing statements of justifications for attacks carried out by a rival group. One can be forgiven for speculating that both groups are in co-hoots with each other and the real rational for Islamic Jihad not signing on to alleged “period of calm” resulted from a separate agreement with Hamas in which Hamas receives some much needed cover to re-group after having its leadership targeted heavily by the IDF prior to the negotiated “period of calm”. Islamic Jihad, unlike Hamas, is not simply a Palestinian homegrown Islamic terrorist organization but has a much wider operational base throughout the Middle East and the West. I suppose that is a fact that many in the West and Mid East wish not to take particular note if the goal is to separate Islamic terrorism from Palestinian Islamic terrorism.
This bombing coming so quickly on the heels of the London attacks should have played prominently on the West’s radar and news screens and yet there is an air of weariness and almost minimal coverage of this recent attack against Israeli civilians. Most of the coverage I have seen in newscasts and papers in Canada and abroad have focused on Palestinian Authority Chairman’s strong statement of condemnation rather than the attack itself, and the statement is treated as if the very words were gifted from on high. How quickly we forget that Arafat himself on occasion issued strong statements of condemnations from time to time. There is an editorial cartoon from the National Post taken from the time of the Passover Massacre that I pinned to my fridge that shows Arafat issuing an order to his security forces to arrest all the terrorists and in the next frame the forces are turning all their guns on each other.
If we continue to draw lines in the sand between attacks on Israel and attacks on ourselves in the West we fall into the trap set by the jihadists that is still preaching and practicing the age all philosophy of divide to conquer. The goal of the mother of all Arab terror groups, the PLO, has always been the destruction of the Jewish state to be replaced by an Islamic state. It does us no good not to remember that Al Qaeda makes common cause with Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, and Hamas. The war against the Islamofascists cannot be successfully fought on all fronts and theatres but Israel. If Israel falls, we all will, it becomes merely a matter of when, and not if.
I never thought that it was a particular sign of good fortune for a collasped Catholic to have a Star of David craved into my door with the immortal words “Kill the Jews” and the first few times I insisted on my landlord repairing the door but as soon as the wood fill and paint dried another Star of David would appear just as mysteriously as the last one on my door. After the third Star of David I stopped insisting that my landlord repair the door. It reminds me daily not only who my enemy is, but who my friends are as well.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Save-a-date Monday July 18th!
On behalf of the Conservative Campaign Team for Toronto Centre, you are cordially invited to a citywide CPC town hall meeting to be held on Monday, July 18, featuring three senior caucus members Monte Solberg (finance critic), Steven Fletcher (health critic) and Peter Van Loan (caucus election chair).
The meeting will be at Metro Council Chambers, 55 John Street, Toronto beginning at 7:30 pm, and all are welcome.
The agenda will address three important issues facing politically-engaged Canadians:
a) Where are we with regard to an election?
b) What is the new Conservative Party about?
c) What is our plan for Canada?
Each MP will take a segment and speak to it for about 10-12 minutes. Then questions will be taken from the audience for about 10-12 minutes.
We look forward to your active participation in this event.
Here’s your chance to have your say, and meet Monte, no offensive to Lewis Reford, but I still wish Monte ran in my riding – hey, Monte Blogs! And any man in a wheelchair that is ready, willing and able to take it outside any time is my kind of man. That kind of scored points with the son as well – I think because it reminded him of better days with his Dad. I asked the Montana if he wanted to go with me, and all he wanted to know is, if there would be food. I fudged a little and told him probably, or at least donuts...I may have to remember to bring the donuts.
GAZA - In a reaction similar to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York, the blood spilt in the London terror attacks has been celebrated within the Palestinian territories. The Gaza based Sut Al Quds radio station, which identifies itself with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has praised the London terrorist atrocities.
The broadcast was carried live on Saturday evening, two days after the attack. The radio station was broadcasting a sermon, in which a preacher was inciting listeners against Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The preacher criticized Israel’s planned Gaza withdrawal, saying that Jerusalem was not part of the program. The Palestinian Authority was described as vile for opening up a casino in Jericho.
Also in the same broadcast, Osama Bin Laden was praised, while the succession of explosions in London were welcomed. The preacher welcomed the “blessed acts” that took place recently in Iraq and Britain, and highlighted their proximity to the selection of an Olympic host for the 2012 games. “The sounds of happiness were heard in London, and Osama Bin Laden came and redrew the map. He made sure that the voice of the surrendered will be heard in every place,” the mosque's preacher said.
It is important to understand that there is no free press, radio or television stations operating in the Palestinian Authority. No one is allowed to publish or broadcast anything on the airwaves without government’s approval or at least sanction.
Continuing on with the theme of incitement in the Palestinian Authority, YnetOnline is also publishing this story taken from World Net Daily report about the potential Hamas threat to the UK:
The YnetOnline article goes on to suggest that at this time security officials do not believe Hamas will conduct operations in the UK as Britian is far too valuable an asset for fundraising and recruiting. No group whether want to breach the alleged "convenant of security" though obviously some group either didn’t get the memo on covenant protocol or the times are a’ changing.
JERUSALEM - Hamas has several cells inside the United Kingdom and is capable of attacking the country, a senior Israeli security official told World Net Daily. The official spoke in response to a sermon, broadcast live on Palestinian television earlier this month, in which a cleric associated with Hamas threatened terror attacks against Britain.
Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiras, a popular Palestinian Islamic leader, said in a live sermon broadcast May 13: "We take this opportunity to hold Britain accountable and say there is revenge we can never forget. We cannot forgo the revenge we want to exact from Britain. We hold Britain responsible for what happened in Palestine. Britain is the cause, 'til this very minute, of every drop of blood dripping into this land."
“help Allah (spread Islam), Allah will bring you victory. We once ruled the world and the day will come when, by God, we will rule the entire world. The day will come when we will rule the United States, the day will come when we will rule Britain, we will rule the whole world (and all will live in peace and comfort under our rule) except the Jews."
Palestinian television regularly broadcasts hour-long speeches by Mudeiras, who usually laces his sermons with anti-Israel and anti-American invectives. But the speech, lashing out against Britain and threatening attacks against the country, was unusual, say media monitors. Mudeiras, who was lamenting Israeli Independence Day celebrations, continued:
"I say to you: You must look at our situation with an outlook of confidence in Allah’s victory! If you help Allah (spread Islam), Allah will bring you victory. We once ruled the world and the day will come when, by God, we will rule the entire world. The day will come when we will rule the United States, the day will come when we will rule Britain, we will rule the whole world (and all will live in peace and comfort under our rule) except the Jews."
Palestinian television regularly broadcasts hour-long speeches by Mudeiras, who usually laces his sermons with anti-Israel and anti-American invectives. But the speech, lashing out against Britain and threatening attacks against the country, was unusual, say media monitors.
A senior Israeli security official told WND Hamas is in a position to attack Britain. "Hamas has many agents in Britain, some of them not hidden. They are well-established there, and could carry out sophisticated and well-coordinated terror attacks if they wanted to," said the official. There has been growing evidence the past few years of Hamas' infiltration of the U.K. Britain's "Sunday Times" reported in February Mohammed Kassem Sawalha, a Muslim leader appointed to help to run a major mosque in north London, is a former Hamas military commander. Sawalha, who arrived in Britain 15 years ago, told the "Times" he still supported Hamas.
Mohammed Hanif and Omar Sharif, the two suicide bombers who blew up Mike's Place pub in Tel Aviv in 2003, were British citizens recruited to Hamas while living in the U.K., according to Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon. The two bombers were associated with Al-Muhajiroun, a British-based Islamic extremist organization that has a large following and has publicly raised funds for Hamas. Muhajiroun spiritual leader Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad previously told WorldNetDaily he supports Hamas and has called on the British Muslim community to join the terror group.
"We must support Hamas. ... We should maintain cooperation among nations so that we can all liberate ourselves together," Bakri told a group of British Muslims at a meeting attended by WorldNetDaily.
Although a new report states that some Palestinian Authority textbooks feature descriptions of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" as being an "integral part" of Zionist history that was approved in "a confidential resolution of the First Zionist Congress," the Belgian government says it is continuing to fund production of the textbooks and does not consider them offensive.
"We do not find [the textbooks] anti-Semitic in any way," said a spokesman from the Belgian government press office, speaking to The Jerusalem Post by telephone. "We have a screening process that goes through and reads the books. There has been some controversy about it in the past, but we have had people look into it." However, other countries may be having second thoughts. While Finland, Italy and the Netherlands have also provided aid for PA textbooks in the past, this year's books only credit Belgium and "Arab nations" as providing aid. Widely regarded as a cornerstone of anti-Semitic theory, the fabricated Protocols purport to disclose the secret plans of a Jewish conspiracy for world domination.
The description of the Protocols is one of many anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic statements made in PA textbooks, according to a report issued by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) on Monday, a watchdog group. The 122-page report notes that Israel is omitted from all maps of the Middle East, and that Palestinian martyrs are portrayed as "heroic" strugglers against the "occupying force." "Unfortunately, the whole Palestinian Authority operation of publishing new books for schools has fallen short of the standards set by the international community," said Arnon Groiss, who wrote the report. "Until massive changes are made, I don't think that the Palestinian Authority's textbooks contribute to peace. The opposite is being done."
The PA Ministry of Education could not be reached for comment and did not return phone calls. However, a document on the ministry's Web site says that the issue of incitement in PA textbooks is "a myth." Claiming that CMIP has engaged in an "orchestrated crusade against Palestinian education," the ministry's document also denies that PA books incite hatred against Jews and says that it is, in fact, Israeli textbooks that incite hatred against the Palestinians. "Those who are critical of what Palestinian children are learning should try to find out how Israeli children are taught to hate Arabs, and trained to kill them," the document says. Prior to 1967 Jordanian textbooks were used for schools in the West Bank and Egyptian textbooks were used in the Gaza Strip.
"When we took over funding of the textbooks, we did so because we wanted to replace the totally outdated textbooks that had been used up to that point," said the Belgian spokesman. "We wanted them to stress social values, human rights and democracy." In "A Study of the Impact of the Palestinian Curriculum," commissioned by the Belgian Technical Cooperation at the end of 2004, researchers concluded that in "light of the debate stirred by accusations of incitement to hatred and other criticisms of the Palestinian textbooks, there is no evidence at all of that happening as a result of the curriculum." The report added that violence from "soldiers and settlers shooting in the streets and in schools" and "occupation" were preventing Palestinian children from realizing democratic values.
My bad, and obviously, just further evidence of my flawed thought process as I would have sworn that the promotion and glorification of suicide bombers in Palestinian Arab society was preventing Palestinian Arab children from realizing democratic values. What would we do without the Belgium government leading the way in the fight against anti-Semiticism and showing us the way?
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Thank G-d for Bob at Let it Bleed. He buries it quickly and succinctly with far more eloquence and wit that I am capable of on the subject. Kathy Shaidle quips in the comments what can be the only plausible explanation for the state of Rick “Summer of Love Liberal” Salutrin’s mind.
What I cannot understand is how the Globe and Mail can bare to publish such utter tripe – does this editorial board know no shame? I certainly can see no discernable limits.
Friday, July 08, 2005
The Hamas is planning to hold a huge victory celebration after Israel completes its withdrawal from Gush Katif, including parades similar to those held by Hizbullah after the IDF pulled out of Lebanon. Sources in Gaza said the terror group already purchased 30,000 uniforms ahead of the planned victory parades. The Hamas also acquired open vehicles to be used in the expected rallies.
The movement is hoping to utilize the parades to convey the message that the Gaza Strip withdrawal is a direct result of the group’s military triumph over Israel. Hamas is apparently also planning to bring tens of thousands of its supporters to Gush Katif communities in order to celebrate there too, once the withdrawal is completed.
No doubt this will help defray the costs of the uniforms and go a long way in offsetting the cost of separate party celebrations for men and the women and still have enough leftover for rockets as well.
According to The Toronto Star, Toronto Transit officials were quick to reassure the public that they are viligant and have plans in place to deal with an alleged attack on our transit system. In point of fact, this fall the TTC will be conducting training exercises based on a London style attack on our transit system in order to test how well prepared our first responsers will response. Four years after September 11th and all I can think is how pre-emptive of them!
The Toronto Star writes that Monte Kwinter, Ontario Minister of Community Safety, "declares that Ontarians should be confident that emergency personnel are prepared for the worst. “I am satisfied that the people of Ontario are safe and they really have nothing that they should worry about." How utterly Liberal of Minster Kwinter considering just this week that an Associated Press reporter published an article on July 4th suggesting that Canadian governmental officials believe there are 50 known terrorist organizations operating in Canada. Of course, these are the only known groups – no need to worry about what you don’t know is the Liberal mantra.
In the event of a terrorist strike on Canadian soil, I am glad that officials feel that they are well prepared for the havoc and chaos that strikes after an attack but it is at best a cold comfort. Mr. Dithers, speaking from Scotland issued a statement that Canadians are not in any known immediate danger at this time and your government remains vigiliant according to this Globe and Mail article.
Though I would probably feel more secure if our armed forces, in penny-wise-pound-foolish initiative (brought on by successive Liberal government’s budget emasculation of our armed forces) did not have to conduct urban live-training exercises with rented commercial paint ball weapons. No doubt Liberals have put all their faith in the long gun registry as an effective deterrent against terrorist strikes in Canada. How they perceive this will benefit any Canadian armed forces deployment inside or outside of Canada is beyond my ken but that is for another post.
But these are all the wrong questions and answers to give, but it does show that our leadership in this country does not have the slightest grasp of who the enemy actually is; therefore, no assurances of a low risk assessment can be realistically or plausibly be given.
As I watched the second plane crash into the tower at the World Trade Centre on CNN on the morning of September 11th all off-the-cuffs jokes about pilot error were wiped from my mouth and mind when I realized that we were all Israeli’s from this day forth. Reject that idea at your peril. There are no other people who have been at the forefront of the fight against Islamic terrorism longer than the Israeli’s. Only the naïve, ignorant and terminally deluded cling to the belief that a land dispute lies at the heart of the conflict between the Israeli’s and Arab-Palestinians rather than the first clash of western values with radicalized Islamic dogma. If this conflict were merely a land dispute, it would have been settled a very long time ago.
Al Qaeda was born out of a conflict with Western values and a radicalized Islamic agenda. This radicalized Islamist agenda is what lies at the heart of this group and is the sole reason of existence for all operating Islamic terrorist groups. Be they; Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, the PLO or the loose network of co-jihadists who today call themselves the Secret Organization of Al Qaeda in Europe. It is the height of naivety to assume that because the West no longer resolves disputes of religious dogma with arms or initiates wars on the basis of religious belief that all other non-Judeo-Christian religious groups have had this same moment of epiphany. Being culturally "nice" is not an excuse for intellectually disarming ourselves nor is the fact that we are not British or American shield us from the ire or sword of the jihadists.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Have a snack and do the environment a favor. That's the idea behind Israeli scientist Oren Bigger's device that recycles oil used to make falafel. The result - "biodiesel" - a greener alternative to fossil fuels like petrol and diesel. Oren Bigger says the oil used to make falafel is the cheapest and most convenient way to produce biodiesel in Israel.
Bigger produces his in a workshop at his home in Ramat Raziel, a farming and rural community on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He says more Israelis should follow suit. Biodiesel can be made from a variety of oils and fats and has similar combustion properties to petroleum diesel. It's nothing new, but Bigger says using falafel oil is easy and cost-effective.
I have no idea how feasible this is but it is certainly an idea worth exploring; no doubt our current Ontario Liberal uber-lords of health will only give it sanction if it uses cooking oils that are transfat free.
She seems to think that I should have a great deal of time now that I am down to only one child. The truth is; I am exhausted. I spent the weekend with a house full of boys between the ages of 12-13. I think Tipper is on to something here but her formula needs to factor in the ages of the boys as well. I had thought with Montana boxing during the weekday afternoons that I would have some relief from the boy factor but I failed to take into account that he finishes at 3:30pm which still gives him plenty of time to have his friends over.
I have never put a limit on the children having their friends over and my only rule has been that the house has to be spotless which means that they have to get to work. In the past this has usually bought me some allegedly private time during the week but the “man” has been keeping the house spotless, and now that his sister is not in the house, he has increased his circle of associates that he brings to the home. Apparently, he has issues dealing with the fact that some of his friends cannot control themselves from gawking at this “older” sister, The Last Amazon. He finds it too perverse to deal with. The only relief I have had was last night when Montana was at a birthday party at his friend’s house. I used that time to catch up on some much needed sleep.
In a conversation with the Last Amazon last night she wanted an update on the Check Point Charlie Monument and asked if the Berlin government actually went through with the bulldozing of the monument on the 4th of July. The answer can be found here. As the Last Amazon commented, strike Berlin off the list of cities to visit.
The Last Amazon asked if I had any ideas about what I wanted to blog about and I started to discuss with her a blog post that I first read here that was sparked by a blog post here. Now the Last Amazon is the product of an alleged “inter-racial” marriage. I have always had a problem with the term “inter-racial”, bi-racial, half-breed etc. It really sounds like my children were the result of sex with aliens or another species. I can’t get my head around the simple fact that most people cannot comprehend that there is only one species of homo sapiens. All the alleged “races” are just variations of the same theme. Culture and religion are valid divisions between people and I think one can make a valid case against wildly divergent cultures or religious convictions putting up barriers to potential martial happiness and therefore potentially providing a toxic environment for the raising of children.
But who knows, maybe I have spent too much time in Jamaica where every one is mixed unless you just got off the plane and you cannot count on the “white” looking people not having “black” looking parents. Hey, even Bob Marley’s father was white and I do not see how he had issues that resulted from being the product of an inter-racial union nor have I noticed that he was rejected by the “black” community because his father was white.
I decided to play devil’s advocate with her and tried to explain that he grew up dirt poor and was markedly different for his peers and his experiences of being different marked him in way that that was psychologically harmful therefore he reasoned that being a different colour from ones’ parents would be even more toxic to children who were the result of "inter-racial" marriages.
Anyway, The Last Amazon’s first off the cuff comment really put the whole issue to bed for me when she asked, “Is he talking about marrying your sister and having children with her? Because that’s just wrong. I don’t care what you say. It’s just wrong.” Her final comments were to remark on the ability of humans to live a long time and still be utterly clueless about life. Life is by nature unfair and if you seek fairness from the hand that life deals you, you will end your days old, bitter and probably alone -- and asked didn’t his parents teach him that life is never fair?
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Since Ray survived our only Red Ensign Bloggers hazing ritual twice, I now feel a strange compulsion to buck up, knuckle down, and step up to the plate and hoist another one. Hopefully, this will soon pass but until it does I will be busy reading what my fellow Red Ensign Bloggers are saying.
Hamas on Monday rejected an invitation by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to join his government, a Hamas official said. Abbas had invited the group to begin negotiations about participation in the government. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei had said Sunday that talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad on setting up a "national unity" government would begin this week.
"Tonight the Hamas leadership made a decision following deep consultations within the movement institutions, and the decision was not to participate in the proposed government," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told The Associated Press.
Who would have thought they would do that?
Monday, July 04, 2005
(Tipped off by Let it Bleed)
Friday, July 01, 2005
Though I think the Toronto Star Mid-East bureau has dropped the ball in not reporting on two days of continuation action on the Israeli-Lebanese border and for not reporting this mid-east story of the day which I found at the Jerusalem Post:
Veteran PLO leader Farouk Kaddoumi, a staunch opponent of the Oslo Accords, has decided to move his headquarters from Tunis to the Gaza Strip after Israel evacuates the area, senior Palestinian Authority officials said on Thursday. The officials said Kaddoumi's decision came following a meeting he held in the Jordanian capital of Amman with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The two are in Amman to attend the meeting of the Fatah central committee.Remember the name of Farouk Kaddoumi as he will be playing a pivotal role in the future – providing the Israelis’ allow his return. Kaddoumi does not just represent a threat to Abbas’ leadership in the PLO but to his life as well. If the PLO membership is forced to a choose between Abbas and Kaddoumi there is no way that Abbas can garner enough support to stand against Kaddoumi who is a leader more in the mould of Arafat than Abbas.
In addition to Abbas and Kaddoumi, 14 other Fatah officials are participating in the three-day discussions, which began on Thursday. Abbas and Kaddoumi met on Wednesday night and agreed that Kaddoumi would move to the Gaza Strip shortly after Israel completes its withdrawal from the area, said a PA official in Ramallah. Kaddoumi is one of the few PLO leaders who refused to move to the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the signing of the Oslo Accords, which he has condemned as a sell-out to Israel.
Kaddoumi, who has openly challenged Abbas's leadership since the death of Yasser Arafat, is expected to be appointed as deputy chairman of the PA and PLO during the Fatah central committee meeting. Abbas has been under heavy pressure from many Fatah leaders to name Kaddoumi as number two in the Palestinian leadership – a move that is likely to increase his chances of succeeding Abbas in the future.
Furthermore, the uncompromising position he took in not returning with Arafat under the Oslo Accord in the early 90’s has left him relatively untouched by charges of corruption and he reaped a considerable amount of respect and creditability within not only the Palestinian Authority but with Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well. In other words, he has the street creds that Abbas lacks. If I were Abbas, I would say that there is no time like the present and I would start planning my escape route out of the Occupied Territories into a relatively safe exile somewhere far away.
Remembering Dominion Day or a time when “Hell yes, Of Course, You Can Count on Us” was a Canadian Mantra
I stopped celebrating Dominion Day when it became Canada Day. I have yet to have it explained rationally why the Dominion of Canada needed to repatriate the constitution. I failed to see what was wrong with the old constitution and I have yet to see or experience any benefit as a Canadian citizen I have from reaped from patriating the constitution in the first place. I came early to the conclusion in my young and uber-liberal mind that it was all a Liberal smoke and mirrors scam to deflect criticism on Liberal mismanagement of the economy and the country. I may not be considered an uber-liberal anymore but nothing I have learned since has changed my first initial impression.
Canada’s last great act as nation occurred two years before the changing of the name and the repatriating of the constitution. It did not occur under Pierre Trudeau or the Liberal Party’s watch, nor do I think it would have been possible or conceivable for any Liberal government in the last 40 years to have the necessary courage or fortitude needed to accomplish it.
Shortly after the fall of the Shah of Iran in early 1979 student followers of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (Iran’s first Mad Mullah) stormed and seized the American Embassy and took hostage all Americans found within the building. Six Americans managed to escaped and sought sanctuary at the Canadian Embassy. John Sheardown, the top immigration official at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran was the initial contact for the Americans. When he was asked if he would provide assistance his response is reported to have been, “Hell yes. Of course, you can count on us.” With the full backing of the Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, Joe Clark, Ken Taylor, the Canadian Ambassador and his wife housed two of the Americans while John Sheardown and his wife opened their home to the other four and hide them for nearly a year until they could be safely smuggled out of Iran at great risk to themselves, their families and Canadian Embassy personnel.
In fact checking my sources to write this blog I found a Government of Canada website developed and designed as a research guide for teachers entitled The Trudeau Years 1968-1984. There is a suggested lesson plan that focuses almost exclusively on Trudeau’s alleged accomplishments.
Under the segment designed as suggested essay topics my personal favourite was question 17:
17. What did Canada do for the Americans after the fall of the Shah of Iran? (The Canadian embassy in Tehran sheltered five American diplomats who had escaped the Iranian militants under the Ayatollah Khomeini, and with the full backing of the Canadian government helped smuggle them out of the country using false Canadian passports.)It certainly leaves one with the impression that the sheltering and smuggling out of Iran six Americans (not 5 as published on the Canadian Government’s website) during the Mullah revolution was an accomplishment of the Trudeau years when nothing could be further to the truth.