Friday, June 30, 2006

Guess who is playing the victim game on the taxpayer’s dime now?

I'll give you a hint- this time you can't blame the Jooos.

There is something so unappealing about this new Canada where literally everyone and their mother, and her mother, and her mother’s cousin twice removed is a victim. Into this multicultural cult of perpetual victimhood comes the Canadian Islamic Congress with it’s latest media communiqué:
The Canadian Islamic Congress is welcoming the announcement of a unique McGill University study that will receive a research grant from the federal government's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to help "ease the emotional conflict experienced by Muslim-Canadian children living in today’s post 9-11 world."

"CIC was the first proactive organizations after Sept. 11, 2001 to urge more academic support in this critical area," today's CIC statement said. "This is definitely a big step in the right direction and we hope it will provide the momentum and commitment for more funding to support the increasingly relevant field of transcultural psychiatry."

The McGill project, led by Dr. Cécile Rousseau, is among more than 960 research initiatives that will benefit from yesterday's announcement of $81 million in funding support being distributed through the SSHRC.

What on earth does “to help ease the emotional conflict experienced by Muslim-Canadian children living in today’s post 9-11 world” really mean for frack’s sake? Geeze, what about me – I am absolutely traumatized that the government is giving away Cdn$81 million for this horseshit. I might never recover……I blame all those sensitivity training sessions. At least in the old Canada; a stiff upper lip didn’t require for the rest of us to pony up.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Goes the folk wisdom and Ynet News reports on a unique invention by the Israelis:
Security forces successfully tested a special wall designed to protect buildings from Qassam rockets on Thursday. In a first experiment in Rishon Letzion, headed by Home Front Commander Yitzhak Gershon, a number of rockets resembling Qassams were fired at the wall. The wall stood up to the rockets, which failed to penetrate.

It was specially designed by a number of defense companies, and is aimed at protecting buildings in the cities, towns, and villages of the western Negev. After successfully testing out the wall, the defense establishment could adopt it for beefing up structures in communities on the Gaza border and Sderot, with a special focus on educational institutions and kindergartens. A military source explained that the wall can be place at the front of the building and will repel a strike by a Qassam rocket.

And it’s cheap too. The IDF may not be rolling into Northern Gaza but the IAF has not been idle reports the Jerusalem Post:
Hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert put the brakes on a massive ground incursion into northern Gaza, IAF fighter jets struck close to a dozen targets before dawn Friday hitting the Palestinian Authority Interior Ministry and a Fatah office in Gaza City. Missiles also struck a Hamas training camp on the outskirts of the city.
Other targets hit by missiles included a Kassam rocket production warehouse affiliated with the Fatah-backed Aksa Martyrs' Brigades.

An IAF helicopter also fired upon and critically wounded an Islamic Jihad operative who tried to launch a rocket at Israeli forces. The man, 25-year-old Abdel Rael, later died of his wounds. His death marked the first fatality since the IDF incursion began on Tuesday.

An IDF statement said that the strikes would continue as long as Hamas terrorists refused to release kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, taken hostage on Sunday during a terror attack on his IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing. IDF artillery cannons also pounded Kassam launch sites overnight Friday. Since the beginning of the current Gaza campaign called "Operation Summer Rains" the IDF has fired over 400 artillery shells.

The IDF said the attack on Interior Minister Said Siyam's offices in Gaza City was caused by its being used as "a meeting place to plan and direct terror activity." Cpt. Jacob Dallal of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit told The Jerusalem Post that the operation's purpose was simple: "To gain the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit." According to Dallal, the strikes would be "ongoing," though the operation was being done "in a calibrated, studied fashion," the IDF "has many means at our disposal" for escalating the attacks.

Since Israel traditionally refuses to negotiate with terrorists Egypt has stepped into the breech and is negotiating on Israel’s behalf. The Jerusalem Post gives a status on the Egyptian negotiation:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak demanded from his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad to deport the Syrian-based Hamas leadership unless it agrees to release kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit, Palestinian sources said on Friday.

The demand was made in the context of a compromise that Egypt was attempting to draft between the Israel and Hamas, whose Damascus leader, Khaled Mashaal was demanding that thousands of Palestinian detainees, held in Israeli prisons, be released. Mubarak warned Mashaal that his position was leading the Palestinians to disaster, Israel Radio reported.

According to the Palestinians, the Egyptian compromise calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, as well as the release of prisoners who were already scheduled to be released within the next year. Meanwhile, Mubarak stated in an interview to Egypt's leading pro-government newspaper, Al-Ahram that Shalit's kidnappers have agreed to his conditional release, but Israel has not yet accepted their terms. Mubarak said, "Egyptian contacts with several Hamas leaders resulted in preliminary, positive results in the form of a conditional agreement to hand over the Israeli soldier as soon as possible to avoid an escalation.

The president said he had asked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "not to hurry" the military offensive in Gaza, but to "give additional time to find a peaceful solution to the problem of the kidnapped soldier." Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, was expected to go to Gaza on Friday, as Mubarak's representative, to advance the compromise. He was also scheduled to travel to Syria to meet Mashaal.

MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor) dismissed the Egyptian initiative, saying "a diplomatic option is when someone brings about the unilateral, unconditional release of the kidnapped [soldier], not when someone serves as a mediator between us and the Hamas head in Gaza," Army Radio reported.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Falling Doves?

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the IDF incursion into North Gaza strip has been delayed. Israel Defense Minister (the unfortunate Joseph Stalin look-alike) is claiming that the incursion into North Gaza has been paused due to a potential diplomatic breakthrough:
In a meeting with Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the delay of an IDF incursion into northern Gaza . Government sources emphasized that the order was not a cancellation, but rather a postponement. The delay is related to an undisclosed development on the diplomatic front.

Earlier Thursday, Peretz revealed that a "surprising diplomatic breakthrough" was possible in the attempts to release kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit, but did not elaborate on the development. "We are in one of the most crucial stages of establishing the rules of conduct between us and the Palestinian terror organizations," he asserted. His aides, however, said that diplomatic efforts "were not bearing fruit," but added that a new development was possible soon.

But Debkafile offers a far more plausible explanation of a diplomatic breakdown between Israeli coalition partners for the delay:
The armored forces and tanks which rolled into southern Gaza Tuesday night have been stationary for 24 hours, only directing desultory artillery fire at empty ground in the north. Amir Peretz is blocking a swift and expeditious offensive urged by the prime minister’ Ehud Olmert and the IDF high command to rescue Gilead Shalit, the Israeli corporal kidnapped by Hamas Sunday, June 25, and eradicate the Qassam missile infrastructure.

Yet the prime minister is hesitating to pull rank and pass orders to the army over the defense minister’s head Peretz is clinging to a policy of “restraint and diplomacy,” despite the complete breakdown of mediated negotiations in the early hours of the abduction. The prime minister’s office and general command report that no serious diplomatic bid to negotiate the soldier’s release has been floated for 48 hours. None of the intermediaries report progress, even the live wire, Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman.

PMO officials and top commanders are furious with the defense minister and take strong exception to his assertion Thursday: “We stand at one of the most significant moments for setting new game rules between us and terrorist elements in the Palestinian Authority.”

Now I have mixed feelings about Debkafile, sometimes the information is outstandingly good (for example, coverage of the US invasion of Iraq) and then there are the times when the leads literally lead to the Well of Lost Plots. Generally, one invokes the 24 hour 'wait and see' rule with Debkafile.

Amir Peretz heads the Israeli Labor party (way, way, to the left of our own NDP). The second largest party represented in the Israeli Knesset and Kadima’s vital coalition party without which Olmert would be unable to be Prime Minister. Despite Peretz’s unfortunate resemblance to Joseph Stalin, he could be characterized as First Dove among Doves.

There were rumors that the only two portfolios Peretz was interested in assuming were Finance or Defense. I suppose Kadima felt the country could survive a Leftie in Defense but the country’s economy would tank so badly that generations would have to pass before it could recover from what a Peretz could sow.

Of course, the country might not survive a Peretz in Defense either; especial if Debka’s right and no one helps Peretz locate his balls – fast. As the good Baroness would say; now is not the time to go all wobbly.

It only took eleven years for resignation to finally set in.

Between my retiree mother’s vampirish sleep habits and the local low life, I am giving up any pretense of more than 3 hours sleep at any given time. Furthermore, I have come to the conclusion that in my neighborhood; there is no peace for the wicked or rest for the weary.

Nobody does Chutzpah like the Israeli Security Forces

Watching the last few days of the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip I have to hand it to the Israelis – they know how to do incursion with chutzpah and a sense style that the rest of the world can only sit back and envy. It leaves us all asking - whatever will they think of next? Talk about shock, awe, and woo.

From an incursion to the most radicalize area in the region without producing a single casualty in the last 48 hours, to the Sonic Boom flyover by the IAF to Syrian Presidents Assad’s palace, to the detention of half of the Hamas parliament members of the Palestinian Authority. If anything, this shows us the true meaning of leave no man behind or Hamas Parliament member. Here’s the Jerusalem Post’s account:
In an unprecedented operation, the IDF arrested overnight Wednesday over 60 senior Hamas members throughout the West Bank, including ministers in the Palestinian Authority parliament. Detainees included such senior figures as Finance Minister Omar Abdel Razek, Labor Minister Muhammed Barghouti, parliament member Mohamemd Abu Teir and the mayors of Kalkilya and Jenin. Army Radio revealed that Deputy Prime Minister Naser a-Din Shaer was not arrested, as was reported earlier.

In the cities of Ramallah, Nablus, and Bethlehem security forces arrested the men and took them to be interrogated under the suspicion of being involved in terror activities against Israel. OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh told Army Radio that IDF troops surrounded a building in Ramallah where some 20 Hamas members were staying. They surrendered without a fight, he said. He added that the arrests were to continue in the future days. Army Radio revealed that they were being brought to a military detention campe, and would soon be brought before a judge on charges of involvement in a terror organization.

Interior Minister Roni Bar-On emphasized Thursday morning, in an interview to Israel Radio, that accusations claiming the men were arrested to be used as bargaining chips to be dealt in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit were baseless.
Bar-On added that if enough evidence was found tying the men to terror activity, they would stand trial in Israel.

Within the IDF, however, conflicting voices gave the impression that the men could possibly be used as bargaining chips. Other sources said that the detainees would certainly not be released in exchange for the soldier, and that they were arrested for their involvement in a terror organization.

UAL MK Ahmed Tibi on Thursday called the massive arrest operations "a macho display of strength." He stated that the operation had nothing to do with the release of Shalit and added that it would only lead to deterioration in the situation and additional bloodshed. A Hamas military-wing spokesman in the West Bank responded Thursday morning by saying that the arrests would not bring about Shalit's release, and that Hamas was still demanding the release of female Palestinian prisoners, as well as prisoners under the age of 18, from Israeli prisons.

About those women and youth being held in Israeli jails. Forget for a minute that the majority of them committed acts of violence to get incarcerated in the first place. Has anyone asked, if they want to be freed? I know I might be more than a tad resentful, if I worked on finally getting a life by being sent to an Israeli jail ,and then some alleged do-gooder went and tried to negotiate my release so I could go back to under burqa arrest.

It is also hard to believe that the Israel won’t be using those Hamas members as bargaining chips – I’ll raise you a deputy minister, 10 legislative members, and south Gaza for a corporal, and 25 legislative members for a settler. But who knows, maybe the idea is to force a new election by locking up the bad guys. If Hamas and than Fatah leadership ends up in jail, maybe the Palestinians can finally elect a new government without terrorist creds, and get a thriving economy, clean water, and a football pitch for those youth.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Hamas claims the arrest of their legislative members is tantamount to declaring war; yadda, yadda, yadda. Funny, I would have thought Hamas declared war by launching an offensive into pre-1967 Israeli territory, killing two soldiers and kidnapping another soldier. My bad.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bored of the Rings Ends Toronto Run Sept 3rd

Who would have guessed that it would fail and leave the critics all so very unimpressed? Lord of the Rings - the Musical is closing early in Toronto reports the Toronto Star.
Just three months after it opened to largely negative reviews, producers of the $28-million Lord of the Rings stage show have announced it is closing. "If the critics think they don't have power, believe me they do," Rings producer Kevin Wallace told a news conference today. The show will close Sept. 3. A revamped version will reopen next May 9 in London.

Wallace levelled much of the blame for the show's abbreviated Toronto run at critics, saying the show had had a "rough ride" on this side of the Atlantic. "When you're going to spend $120 (on a ticket), you do need the affirmation," he said. Calling London the "spiritual home" of the show, he said British critics responded more favourably.

The show, based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, opened with great fanfare in March. Clocking in at three hours and 30 minutes, it was widely acknowledged to be a technological wonder with 17 elevators embedded in the 36-tonne, computer-controlled stage floor. But the reaction from many established critics was tepid. The New York Times said: "Everyone and everything winds up lost in this ... adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's cult-inspiring trilogy of fantasy novels. That includes plot, character and the patience of most ordinary theatregoers."

So anyone know whether Theatre Promoters Extraordnaire McGirlieman and his Fiberals recouped our money back? No doubt the taxpayers of the province will have to eat that loan. What on earth was the provinical government thinking when it made this totally irresponsible decision to offer venture financing for a theatre production that featured singing Orcs? Please, some things are sooo just wrong. Under McGirlieman, the provincial motto has gone from 'Ontario - yours to discover" to "Ontario - His to Plunder".

The Next Secretary General of the UN

The Saudi Arab News has an interesting opinion piece online:
DUBAI, 28 June 2006 — “Can an Arab be the next UN secretary-general?” This question could truly be a great reality TV show, even giving a run for “Superstar” (the Arab version of “American Idol”). In fact this issue has all the spice of an Indian curry and all the ingredients of a Korean kimchi to grab international headlines in the coming month.

After the Iraq war, the Arab public has viewed the United Nation as an organization which is powerless and lacks the will and muscle to control world affairs in general and the interests of Arab states in particular. Given this scenario, the nomination of an Arab for the post of UN secretary-general can send the right message to the Arab region. This can also herald a paradigm shift in the way Arab states envisage their role in multilateral institutions.

Kofi Annan’s term is ending on Dec. 31, and a handful of aspirants are already hard at work, advertising their qualifications at international summits and appealing for backing from Washington and other Security Council members.

I propose we all demand that Muammar al-Gaddafi should be the next Secretary General of the United Nations – afterall he holds no “public or official” posts and I cannot think of another world body that deserves him more.

The Electronic Jihad has been launched

Reports Ynet News:

Hundreds of websites were damaged by hackers in recent hours, following IDF activity in the Gaza Strip. The hackers are members of the Moroccan “Team Evil” group, responsible for most of the website damage in Israel in the past year. This is the largest, most concentrated attack on Israeli websites in recent years.

A Ynet investigation revealed that more than 750 Israeli websites, on a number of different domains, were hacked into and damaged in recent days. Prominent among them were the Soldier’s Treasury Bank, Bank Hapoalim (not the main page), Rambam Hospital, the Society for Culture and Housing, BMW Israel, Subaru Israel, Jump Fashion, non-profit organization “Yedid,” Kadima’s youth website, and the Globus Group ticket center. Many of these sites have not yet returned to normal. Hackers left the message: You’re killing Palestinians, we’re killing servers.
In the past, Team Evil succeeded in hacking into several sites of medium-sized but recognized Israeli companies. In April, they hit tens of sites, including those of the “Shilav” children’s store, “The Blue Square” supermarket and McDonald’s.
The group’s spokesman previously told Ynet that “we are a group of Moroccan hackers that hack into sites as part of the resistance in the war with Israel. We attack Israeli sites every day. This is our duty…hacking is not a crime.”

Added another group member: “We want Israel to stop fighting. Stop killing children and we’ll stop hacking.” According to the spokesman, the group’s members are all Moroccan youths, under the age of 20. The increase in hacking of websites following military operations is a well-known phenomenon, in Israel and in the rest of the world. A similar increase was seen in attacks on both Israeli and Arab websites in the first days of the second intifada, pursuant to military operations that took place in Gaza, Judea and Samaria at that time.

I probably should rethink the whole internet banking thing.

There is nothing new under the ramallah sun

The Jerusalem Post is reporting a body has been found in the West Bank and it is suspected as being 18 year old youth Eliyahu Pinhas Asheri.

Update: The Jerusalem Post has confirmed that the body found is not Eliyahu Asheri and search for him and his captors is continuing.

Good Intentions always makes bad law

Okay, here we go deeper into the annals of insanity reports the Toronto Star.

Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.
— Ontario Human Rights Code

In what could be a big win for little people, children under the age of 18 may now be able to complain they are being discriminated against due to their age, according to a ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

"It does have potential to open up a lot of complaints," said Cheryl Milne, a staff lawyer at Justice for Children and Youth, of the ruling made last Friday. Since the tribunal is a quasi-judicial body, the decision is not law unless it is adopted or cited by the courts. But age discrimination could be considered, for example, in cases of teenagers lingering in coffee shops who are asked to leave, or youths who are not allowed to buy items because of their age. "It's a big deal," Milne said. "They've never had any recourse before."

Currently, the Ontario Tribunal is hearing a claim for age discrimination for disabled children but how long before the first teenage files a claim for cigarettes or against the Beer Store? Laugh all you want at Ontario, but know this - this is a trend for the future and it will be coming soon to a Human Rights Tribunal in your province.

Operation Summer Rains

And so, having given the terrorists thugs more than four days to bunker down and fortify positions in the Gaza Strip, the Israelis launch Operation Summer Rains….who thinks up these lame ass hippie names anyway? Whatever happened to using names say, like “Wrath of Zion” or even “Rain of the Righteous”? The Jerusalem Post carries this report:
The IDF took control of the Dahaniyeh airstrip and the town of Shuka in southern Gaza Wednesday morning in a move to cement their foothold in areas east of Rafah, a city on the Egyptian border. In the course of troop movement toward the Dahaniyeh airstrip, several Palestinian operatives opened fire and launched an anti-tank missile. No one was wounded and no damage was reported. Palestinian media reported that soldiers asked all residents of Shuka to leave. The IDF denied the report, but said that all gunmen and terror operatives in the town had been forced to flee.

Meanwhile, Palestinian residents of the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah began fleeing, reportedly by the thousands, to areas east of the city. Armed men took positions on rooftops and asked remaining residents to leave, Israel Radio reported. Palestinian television reported that the IAF was indiscriminately bombing the city.
The Israeli government emphasized that liability for the operation lies with the Palestinian Authority and its chairman Mahmoud Abbas. All this came as part of a major incursion into the Gaza Strip, launched overnight after exhausting all diplomatic efforts to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

An army source said that the purpose of the operation, dubbed Summer Rains, was to place pressure on the Palestinians to the point that they would decide to release Shalit. "We will stay here as long as necessary until we return with the kidnapped IDF soldier," the source said. The other objective was to try to curb the launching of Kassam rockets at Israel.
The incursion began shortly before midnight, when IAF aircraft blew up three main bridges, located along the main route connecting between the northern and southern parts of the strip. The objective was to make movement more difficult for Shalit's kidnappers. Ground forces then began entering the southeastern part of the Gaza Strip and troops gained control of two key sites near Dahaniya. At the same time, artillery units shelled Kassam launch sites.

The Air Force also struck an electrical transformer station south of Gaza city, cutting the power supply from portions of the region. Palestinian sources said that the IDF shot at least nine missiles at the electric station. A large fire erupted, burning turbines and fuel supplies. Still, some power was restored through wires connected to an Israeli power supply, Israel Radio reported.

An IDF spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post that there was little Palestinian resistance to the incursion. He denied a report claiming that the Erez crossing had been opened in preparation for entry of troops into the northern Gaza Strip.

I have found it increasingly frustrating watching events unfold. Frankly, I want to launch this offensive myself. If you ever thought back seat drivers were a nuisance, let me assure you that back seat generals are 100 times worse than you can possibly imagine. You have no idea what ranting and ravings my poor daughter, the Last Amazon, has had to put up with in the last few days. The girl is an absolute saint of patience and understanding. I am not sure what the point was in bombing the power plant when it would have been far easier just to cut the power and water to the Gaza Strip as the facilities are supplied by the Israel. If I really had to wait four days to enter, the lack of water and electricity would now be working in my favour.

Oh well, some of us are more ruthless than others, and the IDF is considerably more moral than I could ever be accused of. Speaking of lack of morals, the barbarians of the Popular Resistance Committee claims to hold 18 year old Israeli youth Eliyahu Asheri hostage, are now threatening to butcher the poor boy on television reports the Jerusalem Post:
According to a Palestinian Resistance Committees statement Wednesday morning, the group claimed it was holding, "Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri," the 18-year-old Itamar resident who went missing on Sunday. A spokesman for the group, known only as Abu Abir, told Al-Jazeera satellite TV early Wednesday that Asheri would be "butchered in front of TV cameras" if the IDF operation in Gaza did not stop. "Our patience is running out," said Abu Abir.

"I am announcing for the first time that the kidnapped Zionist Israel is searching for is the same settler who is being held by us. He is aged 18-and-a-half... and is a soldier in a pre-military academy," said Abu Abir, the terrorist group's mouthpiece. The claim was being taken very seriously by security forces because Asheri's middle name, Pinchas, had not been revealed to the public. The PRC also said that no more information about Asheri would be given without a price.

The PRC apparently has launched Operation Horseman’s Rage. The whole rational of the operation, from what I can determine, is to kidnap Israeli civilians for televised execution. I cannot imagine anyone freely choosing to live in a state run by these barbarians.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How quick can you say Islamic Caliphate?

I was referring earlier to the potential for destabilization of Arab regimes, if the Israelis launched an offensive against the Gaza Strip, and today Yahoo News is running a piece on the Muslim Brotherhood’s shoring up the incitement level:
CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood said that any aggression on the Gaza strip would be "a threat to Egyptian national security," and called on Egypt to prevent such an attack.

"Any aggression on the Gaza Strip would constitute a threat to Egyptian national security and Egypt must therefore take all necessary measures to prevent an attack," Mohammed Mehdi Akef, the group's supreme guide, said in a statement.

Akef's comments come as thousands of Israeli troops were massed on the Gaza border poised for a possible offensive over the kidnapping of a teenage soldier.
On June 25, Palestinian gunmen attacked an Israeli checkpoint on the Gaza border, killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting a third.

"The Muslim Brotherhood calls on the Arab and Islamic people and civil society organizations and the peoples of the world to declare their rejection to any Zionist attempt to attack Gaza," said Akef, declaring that Friday will be a "day for solidarity with the Palestinian people and to show our anger over Zionist aggression." He did not provide details.

Akef described the Palestinian attack as a "legitimate resistance operation," adding that the abducted soldier should be considered a prisoner of war. "(We) call on the kidnappers of the Zionist soldier to consider him a prisoner of war, to be treated in a humane manner, as dictated by Islam and international agreements," said Akef.

And so, let us all remember how well the Palestinians of Ramallah treated the two IDF reserve soldiers who were held hostage by the Palestinian Authority. No doubt there’s special clause/hitch in the Koran that excuses Muslims from treating Jews in a “humane manner”.

No one, and not the least of which, did Yesef Avrahami or Vadim Novesche deserved the fate that was meted out to them by their Ramallah captors.

(h/t LGF)

Israeli Youth Feared Kidnapped

Reports Ynet News Online:
The IDF and Israel Police are seriously considering the possibility that Eliyahu Asheri, aged 18, from Itamar, was kidnapped in Samaria. Soldiers and policemen from the Judea and Samaria district began intensive searches for the missing youth, with the primary focus inRamallah and Bethlehem. Police said concerns were high for the Asheri's life.

The PRC's original claim that they had kidnapped a settler was published Monday night by Ynet. On Tuesday, Asheri's father filed a missing-person's report with the Ariel police department for his son, who had been missing since Sunday. The father said his son often went for trips without keeping daily contact his parents, and therefore he did not file the report earlier.

According to current information, Asheri, who studies in a pre-military mechina (preparatory program), left his friend's house in Beitar Ilit, south of Jerusalem, on Sunday and has not made contact with his family since.

Arieh Goldman, from the settlement secretariat in Itamar, told Ynet: "On 9:00 p.m. Sunday night, one of Asheri's classmates saw him for the last time hitchhiking near the French Hill (in Jerusalem). No one has seen him since then…He was on the way to a fieldtrip". "We have been sitting with the family since this (Tuesday) afternoon. We have an emergency committee in the settlement who is taking care of the family. The community supports them. Awareness has been heightened since the kidnapping in Gaza," Goldman said.

A spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Abir, confirmed to Ynet for the second time in less than 24 hours that his group kidnapped an Israeli settler. Abu Abir said his group refused to release any information about the kidnapped Israeli or details of the operation that led to his alleged capture."We won't give information for free," Abu Abir said.

Another spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees told Ynet that the missing young settler from Itamar was kidnapped on Sunday. "Eliyahu Asheri was kidnapped on Sunday," Mohammad Abdelal said, referring to the 18-year-old settler by name. Abdelal said his group set up a special unit to carry out kidnappings under an operation called "Cavaliers' Wrath."

Prime Minister’s Olmert’s refusal to act quickly and decisive when Cpl. Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinians has created the climate for another Israeli, this time a civilian youth in the West Bank to be taken hostage. Instead of one Palestinian front there are now two. The PRC and their Hamas masters are on a roll and will not be stopped until such time that the consequences are so horrific that it will not be worth the world of grief to even contemplate such actions.

Years ago I knew a Lebanese man intimately who was held captive by a Hezbollah fraction for 41 days. I met him four years after the kidnapping. Eventually he was freed in a prisoner exchange due to the rather aggressive intercession of close family and associates.

Four years after the events of his captivity had transpired, the ordeal of those 41 days were still etched deeply and angrily into his body. What mental scars he carried from his captivity he successfully masked in every day conversation or in ordinary pursuits but night in the land of Orpheus was an entirely different matter. I know because I lay beside him, and it is not a fate that I would willingly wish on anyone. And he was one of the lucky ones simply because he survived and hostages at the hands of radicalized fanatics so rarely do so in the Middle East. It is said that where there is life; there is hope, but far too often the radicalize Palestinian “militants” that make up the maddening crowd resort to a level of barbarism that Western minds can rarely grasp clearly and distinctively even with pictures.

How long and how many more will have to be held hostage until Olmert decides diplomacy has run its course? Perhaps, I have read too much Machiavelli, and I, unlike Olmert, would rather be feared than loved, but I have to ask; is there no provision for the impeachment of a Prime Minister under the Basic Laws for Israel?

The Innate Folly of Empowering Terrorists

Caroline Glick - what she wrote and then some.
It is painful to watch Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni try to contend with the terrible outcome of the Palestinian terror strike against the IDF on Sunday morning.

They use so many fancy and angry words. They sound so resolute. And yet, they have nothing useful to say. Two soldiers are dead, a third is now the prisoner of jihadist killers, seven are wounded, an IDF border post has been overrun, and a world view and a security doctrine have been blown to smithereens.

Olmert and his associates have four general messages. First, they tell us that Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas is responsible for bringing about Cpl. Gilad Shalit's release. Second, they say Hamas better watch out because they're gonna get it. Third, they say that Hamas won't get it until later. Finally, while stipulating that they will not negotiate with Hamas, Olmert and his associates are negotiating with Hamas.

None of these messages and none of the actions that attend to them have any chance of making Israel safer. They also hold little promise of bringing Cpl. Shalit home. Yet there is next to no possibility that Olmert or his associates will widen their options to include any relevant responses to Sunday's terror offensive. Doing so would involve an admission that what the Kadima and Labor parties have presented to the public as their world view is wrong.

That world view involves a denial of a basic, fundamental truth: When you empower terrorists, terrorists are empowered.

WE HAVE been in this situation before. Six years ago, in October 2000, on the eve of Yom Kippur then prime minister Ehud Barak gave Yasser Arafat an ultimatum. He was ordered to end all the violence he had fomented within 48 hours or face the consequences. When as the deadline passed Arafat continued the violence, Barak did nothing. He did nothing because he could do nothing. His entire government was based on the idea of making peace with Arafat by empowering him. When Arafat chose war, Barak had nothing to say.

Kadima and Labor insist that by empowering terrorists they are somehow weakening them. This is the notion that stands at the base of the government's insistence on reenacting the empowerment of Hamas and Fatah caused by last summer's retreat from Gaza by repeating it twenty-fold in Judea and Samaria.

Somehow, destroying Israeli communities, ordering the retreat of IDF forces and so enabling the terrorist takeover of those lands is - according to Olmert and his associates - supposed to bring about the enhancement of Israel's security through the weakening of terrorists that Israel is empowering.

Ahead of Sunday night's security cabinet meeting, Olmert reportedly told IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz not to present any wide-scale military options to the cabinet. This makes sense. Any major operation, just like any real discussion of Israel's security situation or its options for contending with it would show the failure of the government's retreat policy. And so the government entertains only fictions.

The first fiction the government entertains is that of PA Chairman and Fatah Chief Mahmoud Abbas as anti-terrorist peace partner who must be empowered. Abbas is viewed as an irreplaceable resource and ally of Israel. If he goes, Israel will face nothing but Hamas. And since Hamas is bad, Abbas must be good. Unfortunately, Abbas is a terrorist too.

Abbas has pocketed the money, arms and legitimacy that Olmert, the Bush administration and the EU have given him and proceeded to buck up his terrorist credentials. He appointed Mahmoud Damra, a top Fatah terrorist as the commander of his personal army Force 17. Damra is wanted by Israel for his direct involvement in the murders of scores of Israelis since 2001.

If anything, I think that Glick has not gone far enough. Olmert will not act in Israel’s best interest because doing so will result in the international condemnation of the Olmert government, and Olmert is a man who desperately seeks to be praised and loved by the international communities rather than be loved as a leader to his own people.

Israeli Gaza Strip Mobilization Reduced to Parlour Tricks?

It is my contention that under the leadership of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert it is highly dubious that the Israelis will launch an offensive into the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, I suggested in the comments of another post that the public announcement of the mobilization of two of Israeli’s most renowned brigades (Golani & Givati) was an act of pure psychological theatre on the part of Prime Minister Olmert.

If an offensive were to be launched, there should be a general reserve call up, and I can find no mention of one. If nothing else, the removal of the Givati Brigade from their base in the Golan Heights leaves the northern flank potentially vulnerable to a Hezbollah attack. If Israel launched a Gaza Strip offensive, the odds are high that Hezbollah would open up a northern front, and without a reserve replacement at the border the consequences could be disastrous for the Israelis.

If Hezbollah opens up another front – one must ask; what of Syria? Would Syria miss this golden opportunity to re-take the Golan Heights – and who knows, perhaps more? Syria could be feeling more than a little cocky having a signed pact with Iran in her back pocket.

While I may doubt the general fitness of Amir Peretz as Minister of Defense, he is still being advised by generals who possess a certain base competency level. On the other hand, Ariel Sharon did ensure the removal of some of Israel’s best military talent because of public disagreement with the overall soundness of the Sharon plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip.

If this eyewitness report from the Jerusalem Post is accurate, it sucks to be right:
The local and world media were being directed to an elaborate photo-op in a parking lot nearer the other end of the Gaza Strip, where the IDF had been concentrating an impressive show of military hardware since the night before. Neat rows of Merkava tanks, Ahzarit AFVs (armored fighting vehicles) and D9 bulldozers were just waiting there to be filmed by camera crews from around the world.

Unusually, there were no military press-minders on hand to shepherd the journalists, who were allowed to roam freely between the armored vehicles and talk at will with the soldiers. Field Security had nothing to worry about; they had no operational secrets to divulge.

"We don't know anything and neither do our officers," a Givati sergeant cheerfully admitted. "We got back from our weekend leave to our base in the Golan Heights yesterday and they told us we've got to get down here. That's all we know. All we've been told is what's been on the news."

Four years ago, when the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield on Palestinian cities in the West Bank, the forces assembled in similar staging areas, but the atmosphere was totally different. There was a sense of urgency in the air; tank teams and infantry squads were dispatched hastily and their vehicles, weapons and equipment weren't always fully ready.

Yesterday afternoon, there was no rushing at Mefalsim. Most of the soldiers seemed just to be hanging around, some were carrying out minor maintenance work on the tanks, others were being taken to weaponry lessons and quick refresher courses on AFV safety procedures. Meanwhile, there were plenty of hands ready to help TV reporters and cameramen clamber atop tanks in order to get the best possible action shots.

The deputy commander of a Givati battalion didn't seem perturbed over the slow pace. "We'll be battle-ready by tonight," he said, "but I think that at the earliest we will need to be ready by tomorrow night, if at all." One of the soldiers who was listening said, "We've been through these alerts three times before, I reckon that there's only a one in 10 chance that we'll actually go in."

At the entrance to the parking area, a bunch of colonels gathered around a silver-haired brigadier, but it turned out that none of them were commanders of combat units. They were all logistics officers, on the scene to ensure that all the materiel was ship-shape. There were no officers poring over maps or battle-plans, only lists of equipment being ticked off.

Some of the AFVs didn't even have soldiers allocated to them yet. "We've just brought them from the emergency storage," said a logistics officer. "We need to make up the numbers." A couple of the Ahzarits were still freshly painted, and the plastic covers hadn't even been taken off the machine gun mountings.

Official statements had said that the entire Givati and Golani Brigades had been rushed to the area, but meanwhile only the Shaked battalion of Givati and another tank battalion had arrived. The only representatives of Golani were some instructors who had arrived from the southern base that teaches soldiers how to use AFVs.

The position of the main IDF force, near Gaza City and not closer to the Rafah area where Sunday's raid took place, can only mean that if the army does eventually go in it will be to attack the center of the Hamas government, not to carry out reprisals or assist in Shalit's rescue. If at all, that will be the job of special forces.

But the way in which the tanks were virtually put on parade for the media was meant to prove to the Palestinians, the Israeli public and to the international community (not necessarily in that order) that the government means business.

Meanwhile, while Olmert says that he has given the army orders to prepare for an operation, the IDF is mainly providing the requisite scenery by carrying out the standard procedure of "massing forces." Behind the staging area at Mefalsim stands the "Black Arrow" monument in memory of the soldiers and civilian killed in the 1950s by Fedayeen terror attacks from Gaza and in the reprisal operations spearheaded by Ariel Sharon's fabled 101 unit.

Meanwhile Kassams continue to rain down on Sderot and Olmert has cast himself to play a cross between Menachem Begin and David ben Gurion - if only in his own mind.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hamas; made the jail, controls the door, and has the key to kidnapped IDF Soldier

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that kidnapped IDF soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit is being held Hamas:
Speaking after a gathering of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, a senior Intelligence Branch officer announced Monday afternoon that the IDF had knowledge that kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit was being held by Hamas' military wing.

"We know that the soldier is alive and wounded, but we don't know where he is. It's in their interest to keep him alive. He is being held by Hamas' military wing, Izzadin el-Kassam," said the officer. "World leaders have told Abu Mazen to return the soldier," he said. "Their goal was to kidnap a soldier, take him to Gaza, present him in a press conference and demand prisoners. But they know the situation has changed because of the international pressure.

"There is a dispute between Hamas' military wing, led by Khaled Mashaal, and the government, headed by [Palestinian Authority Prime Minister] Ismail Haniyeh. The latter views the situation as a political burden (he called it a hot potato) that has to be solved as soon as possible, while Mashaal believes Hamas should demand prisoners in exchange for Shalit. They are holding a dialougue," he continued. "Abu Mazen and Haniya are taking us seriously and understand our message that if the soldier is not returned, Israel will return to Gaza. They are preparing in the case we come by placing mines and pillboxes," he said.

Currently, efforts to locate Shalit and bring him back home are concentrated on intelligence gathering and diplomacy. Preparing for a possible incursion of Gaza, the IDF is also amassing troops and heavy equipment (tanks, APCs, bulldozers) on the border. According to the officer, "Hizbullah is getting ready on the northern border in case Israel enters Gaza and they would want to open a second front. We are ready to.

If this were any other country than Israel; the world would be saying “just cause” as the troops steam rolled across the Gaza Strip border, instead, the EU and her allies urge the Israeli governments to show restraint.

Are the Dogs of War Baring Their Teeth?

Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade of the PLO claims to have in its possession chemical and biological weapons reports the Jerusalem Post:
The Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced on Sunday that its members have succeeded in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons. In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, said the weapons were the result of a three-year effort.

According to the statement, the first of its kind, the group has managed to manufacture and develop at least 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons. The group said its members would not hesitate to add the new weapons to Kassam rockets that are being fired at Israeli communities almost every day. It also threatened to use the weapons against IDF soldiers if Israel carried out its threats to invade the Gaza Strip.

"We want to tell [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz that your threats don't frighten us," the leaflet said. "We will surprise you with our new weapons the moment the first soldier sets foot in the Gaza Strip."

While it always pays to maintain a certain healthy skepticismm when Palestinian terrorists groups claim anything, a three year effort puts the establishment of their WMD program around the time of the coalition invasion of Iraq.

If the PLO does have chemical and biological weapons capacity, could it have been theremnantss of Saddam's chemical arsenal? It has long been suggested that Saddam's chemical cocktails moved to Syria which has traditionally refused any peace overtures with Israel, so in my mind, it would not be such a long shot in the dark to speculate that Damascus would not hesitate to supply the PLO with chemical or biological agents.

Of course, Palestinians from the refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, the West bank have been filling up the ranks of the insurgents operating in Iraq for sometime and it could be quite plausible that returning insurgents managed to lay their hands on some of Saddam's cocktails. And it has long rumoredoured that various Palestinian agents have been joining forces with an Al-Qaeda presence in the Gaza Strip.

But the timing of the announcement that the PLO has a chemical/biological arsenal may be all bluster, and a response to the deployment of two elite commando units of the IDF which have been mobilized along the Israeli side of the Gaza Strip and are awaiting only the go-ahead from the Prime Minister's office before launching an offensive if this Hindu Times article is accurate:
Jerusalem, June 26 (PTI): Amid escalating tension, Israel has started to amass its forces near the Gaza Strip following the approval of the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said Israel would act without any "restraint".

A large contingency of elite Golani and Givati Brigade infantry troops were deployed by midnight on the Israeli side of the Gaza security fence. "The age of restraint has come to an end ... We will respond forcefully, with an operation that will last more than a day or two," Olmert told a special session of the Cabinet last night after some ministers advocated restraint.

The body unanimously authorizedorised Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz to take necessary steps for the Israel Defence forces (IDF) to carry out an operation to secure the release of a soldier kidnapped yesterday in a pre-dawn attack at a military base by Palestinian militants.

Olmert said Israel would not release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release. The Cabinet also agreed to continue employing diplomatic efforts and seeking international pressure to convince the Palestinian militants to release the soldier. At least two soldiers were killed and three others injured in the attack which also claimed several lives among the militants.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting a much more restrained response from the Prime Minister's office:
The security cabinet on Sunday night approved a series of military steps in the Gaza Strip, but put them on hold pending developments regarding the fate of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was captured Sunday morning near Kerem Shalom.

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert placed the blame for the attack squarely on the shoulders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, perhaps laying the groundwork for a major military operation. "We in Israel hold the Palestinian Authority, headed by President [Mahmoud] Abbas and the Palestinian government, responsible for this incident, with all that implies," he said.

Following an emergency meeting of the security cabinet in Tel Aviv, the Prime Minister's Office put out a statement late Sunday night saying that Israel "will take all the necessary actions to bring about the release of the captured soldier."
It said that this was the main priority, and that the security cabinet approved preparations presented by the defense establishment to achieve this. These steps were not spelled out, with the statement saying only that the cabinet approved the security establishment's recommendation to prepare the necessary forces to carry out "an emergency military action" that would be dependent on the "actions and intentions of the Palestinian Authority."

One official in the Prime Minister's Office said the PA would be given 24 hours to release Shalit, before military steps were approved. He said that the government did not want to prematurely authorize military action that might endanger his life.
According to the statement, the PA "will bear responsibility" for any harm done to Shalit. And, in a hint that the IDF may target Hamas chiefs, the statement continued, "No individual and no organization will have immunity during this period."

In addition to preparations for military action, the statement said diplomatic efforts would continue with the international community to pressure the PA to free Shalit. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni phoned her counterparts around the world to help secure Shalit's release. According to sources in her office, she emphasized that the attack was carried out on Israeli soil and was both planned and perpetrated by Hamas. She said that Israel expected that Abbas, who was presently in Gaza, would remain there and help resolve the crisis. She also said that Israel believed that Abbas had the military capability to "deal with the situation immediately." Livni spoke to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and her counterparts from Jordan, Turkey, Spain, Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria and other countries.

In addition, channels were established with Egypt to get the message through to the Palestinians. This is "yet another test" to see whether Abbas has any real influence, one senior government official said. Even before Sunday's attack, both Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that those involved in terrorism would be held accountable by Israel, and that no one, including those in Hamas's political echelon, were "immune." Peretz and the deputy head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), whose name cannot be published, told the ministers that Hamas was a full participant in the attack. The deputy characterized the attack as the "largest, most successful and most serious" since last summer's disengagement.

Ironically, the PRC who takes full responsibility for the offensive launched at Kerem Shalom border is now denying all reports that they are hold IDF Corporal Shalit hostage.While Israel may be massing its forces at the Gaza Strip border neither Prime Minister Olmert nor Defense Minister Peretz has shown themselves to possess the nettle necessary to launch a tactical offensive against anyone other than 14-15 year old Jewish teenagers.

PRC launches Offensive on Israeli Border

The Globe and Mail carries an account of an attack allegedly led by the Popular Resistance Committees:
SUFA CROSSING, Israel — Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip attacked an Israeli military post early Sunday, and the Israeli army said there were at least four Israeli casualties. The Popular Resistance Committees, which took responsibility for the attack, claimed they took the body of an Israeli killed in the attack. The army declined to comment on the claim. At least three militants were killed in the attack near the Kerem Shalom crossing, said the PRC, a small Palestinian militant group.
“Our fighters infiltrated the Israeli army military location near so called Kerem Shalom,” said Abu Mujahid, another PRC spokesman. “They succeeded in blowing up several Israeli vehicles and clashed with Israeli soldiers. The battle is still going on. The number of fighters is bigger than any time. We have some martyrs who fell during the battle.”

He said full details of the operation would be released at a news conference later Sunday. The Kerem Shalom is used to bring cargo from Egypt into Gaza. Residents in the nearby communal farm said the Palestinian militants had infiltrated the military post through a tunnel dug under the border fence.

Abu Mujahid refused to confirm the report, but said: “It was a very complicated and well-studied operation. The details are going to shock the Zionists. There are many surprises that are going to be announced about planning and about the process and about the battle itself.” The operation, he said, was meant to avenge the death of the group's leader, Jamal Abu Samhadana, in an Israeli air strike earlier this month. Abu Samhadana was killed shortly after accepting a senior security position in the Hamas-led government.

The Popular Resistance Committees are not a new Palestinian terror group, but are composed primarily of members drawn from the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The rationale behind the formation of the PRC was to increase inter-terror co-operation and pool resources among the various and sundry terrorists entities currently operating in the West Bank, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Kind of like a regional mini-UN for terror masters.

Ynet News Online carries a somewhat different report:
A soldier and a tank commander, a second lieutenant, were killed Sunday morning, and another soldier was kidnapped after a Palestinian terror cell launched a combined attack on an Israel Defense Forces post in the southern Gaza Strip, near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. Several soldiers were lightly to moderately injured in the incident and were taken by helicopter to the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.

Following the incident, IDF forces entered areas in the southern Strip, where they are currently operating. Sources in the Strip reported that different elements, including some in Egypt and Jordan, are mediating between Israel and the Palestinian Authority through the Palestinian security organizations in a bid to find out what happened to the kidnapped soldier.

Sources in the government added that talks are being held in the European Union and in the United States in a bid to locate the missing soldier. Government officials refused to say whether the PA answered their calls. The IDF Spokesperson's Office said: "The terror attack was led by senior Hamas members in the Gaza Strip and was approved by the Hamas leadership. The IDF views the incident with severity and sees the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government responsible for the terror attack and for the fate of the missing soldier."

Defense Minister Amir Peretz reported to the ministers during Sunday's cabinet meeting that the attack in Kerem Shalom was mainly implemented by "hurling grenades at a tank." Peretz said that according to reports received by the defense establishment, the attack was carried out by Hamas.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his ministers that "Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and (Palestinian Prime Minister) Ismail Haniyeh are the people responsible for the attack."

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz held a meeting Sunday morning to asses the situation in southern Gaza. The IDF views the incident as extremely severe, and according to estimates, the army will recommend the government to launch a large-scale operation in Gaza in wake of the incident. The well-planned attack on the post started, at 5:40 a.m., according to the IDF. Eight armed Palestinians infiltrated Israel through a tunnel leading from the Strip into Israel's territory, and split into three teams once they came out. One team approached an armored personnel carrier stationed at the place and fired at it. The APC was empty and no injuries were reported in that attack.

Another group simultaneously fired a missile and hurled grenades at a tank standing nearby. The missile hit the tank's rear, hurting the four soldiers that were inside. Two were immediately killed, a third soldier sustained injuries and the fourth was initially reported missing. As the incident developed, security officials came to believe that the soldier has been kidnapped.

During the attack, a third terrorist team moved in the direction of a desert patrol army post and engaged in a shooting battle with the soldiers. An explosive device was also activated at the place. Three soldiers sustained light-to-moderate injuries as a result of the blast, and some of the terrorists were hurt as well.
From the moment the incident was first reported of, the Southern Command and the General Staff have held constant meetings to evaluate the situation, headed by Army Chief Dan Halutz, in a bid to track down the cell behind the kidnapping and return the soldier to Israel.

At the initial stage, heavy equipment was deployed in the area where the incident occurred and where the tunnel was located, in order to try and uncover the terrorists' path. Large forces, including special units, have gone on a state of alert and are preparing to enter Rafah in a bid to locate the abducted soldier.
The IDF has also asked the Egyptian policemen stationed on the border to secure the area and make sure the terrorists don’t try and transfer the solider to Egypt. While the army has not completed investigating the occurrences in Kerem Shalom, difficult questions arise regarding the way the terrorists managed to infiltrate Israel and carry out the attack. One of the main questions is whether the deployment of the forces in the area was adequate. It is also unclear why no forces provided covering fire for the tank and APC at the post.

A Palestinian security official told Ynet that the terrorists who launched the attack Sunday morning arrived from Sinai and not from the Strip. According to the source, the fact that the attackers were armed and managed to enter the post without disruption testifies to the fact that they may have arrived from the Egyptian, not the Palestinian side.

Sources at the Popular Resistance Committees claimed that organization members, along with gunmen from Hamas and a new organization called "Army of Islam," fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF post in the southern Strip and exchanged fire with the troops. According to the PRC, "this is an operation of high quality, during which some of the people were parachuted close to the crossing."

One of the killed terrorists is Muhammad Fruana, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam member from Rafah. A source at the PRC defined the operation as "the ongoing illusion operation." According to the source, "the operation was aimed at making it clear that the Israeli security is an illusion. Israelis will have no security as long as the Palestinians have no security." A spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, claimed that there were no Palestinian casualties in the operation. The spokesman, Abu Ubaidah, said that "all the fighters who took part in the operation returned to their bases alive."

Sources at the PRC said that "the operation was a response to the assassination of the organization's leader, Jamal Abu Samhadana , who was killed by the IDF earlier this month, and a response to the killing of head of the group's military wing, Khalil al-Quqa , who was assassinated by the IDF about three months ago."

According to the Globe and Mail report the operation was in revenge for the targeting of Jamal Abu Samhadana. In the Ynet News Online report it was in response to Samhadana death by the IDF forces 16 days ago and the killing of Ihalil al-Quqa. I would suggest that it was neither.

The Popular Resistance Committees are not separate terrorist entities operating in the Israel but are an ad-hoc committee made up of members drawn from the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad whose reason for existence is to share and expand operating abilities, pool resources and funding. The PRC allow plausible deniability for each member group to disavow publicly any atrocities that the PRC commits. For example, it provides just enough cover to allow Hamas apologists to maintain the fiction that Hamas has not violated the alleged February 25, 2006 truce agreement.

The Ynet News account does suggest one nugget of information which bears repeating because of the wide and long term repercussions, and no doubt the IDF investigators will be taking a long hard look at their Egyptian neighbours:
A Palestinian security official told Ynet that the terrorists who launched the attack Sunday morning arrived from Sinai and not from the Strip. According to the source, the fact that the attackers were armed and managed to enter the post without disruption testifies to the fact that they may have arrived from the Egyptian, not the Palestinian side.

If the Egyptian government at any level has rendered assistance in any overt or covert support for these operatives; it may represent the bells tolling for the Camp David Peace agreements.

Originally, I started to write this post yesterday, and subsequently, the Jerusalem Post is now reporting that the mastermind who planned the attack was none other than Jamal Abu Samhadana, the man who (courtesy of the IAF) joined al-Zawarqi in double dating in paradise on June 9th.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The State of Jihad in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon

I have long maintained that as long as successive Lebanese governments tolerate heavily armed Palestinian Refugee camps as separate sovereign militias within their midst the Lebanese remain poised on the brink of civil war indefinitely - literally only a few breaths away. These militias act as de facto no-go military zones within an independent sovereign Lebanon and threaten not just the Lebanese but the potential for peace throughout the whole region.

This US News World Report highlights that danger not only to Lebanon independence but to the wider region:
BEIRUT--The name Ain al-Hilweh means "Sweet Spring" in Arabic, but to 70,000 Palestinians it describes a crowded, impoverished refugee camp ringed by Lebanese Army checkpoints and tanks. The four checkpoints, the only ways in and out of the square-mile slum, are deemed necessary because more than 20 armed factions compete for influence in what has always been the largest and toughest Palestinian camp in Lebanon.

It's a conflict zone now on the verge of spilling out into the neighboring Lebanese city of Sidon, as radical jihadists return from wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Iraq imbued with an Islamist extremism that is drawing more recruits and changing the complexion of the once secular Palestinian movement. The camp, say Palestinian and Lebanese officials, has supplied scores of fighters to the Iraq insurgency, particularly the terrorist organization that was headed by Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Islamist powerbase. Sitting in his office in Sidon, a senior Lebanese military intelligence official pores over an aerial map of the camp covered in small stickers that show the general location of militant groups. But the Lebanese Army can't enter the area, where well-armed Palestinian militias of mainstream Fatah, rival Hamas, and several Islamist groups rule the streets and frequently clash in gunfights. And the Army has had to concede an adjacent neighborhood to armed groups of radical Islamists considered aligned with al Qaeda: Jund al-Sham (Army of Greater Syria), a mostly Lebanese group originated by veterans of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and Asbat al-Ansar (League of Partisans), which is mostly Palestinian.

In any Palestinian camp or neighborhood, the walls are adorned with posters depicting "martyrs" of the fight against Israel. But in Asbat's neighborhood, the Iraq battlefield is evident: The main road has been renamed "Martyrs of Fallujah," and the signs glorify men killed fighting alongside Zarqawi or in suicide attacks against U.S. troops or Iraqi Shiite Muslims.

One Lebanese member of Jund al-Sham says that these groups are aligned with al Qaeda in the sense that they share a worldview of Salafism, or return to the most basic principles of Islam, and the need for jihad to free Muslim lands from infidel occupiers. The Iraq war, says Abed al-Jalil (who insisted his real name not be used), helped strengthen the jihadist group in Lebanon, which had been plagued by infighting and constrained by Lebanese and Syrian authorities. "Before, there were Salafists, Takfiris, Wahabbis who all disagreed on minor points and did not unify," he says. "But now, they are one."

By his account, Jalil spent part of the summer in 2004 living, training, and fighting with Zarqawi's fighters in Fallujah. He says he planned to conduct a suicide attack but was sent back to Lebanon because his education made him valuable as a recruiter. "I hope to have the heart to be a martyr," says Jalil, whose story can't be independently verified. "Right now, I am struggling with whether the dawa [preaching] is stronger than the bullet."

Sheik Maher Hammoud, a Salafist cleric in Sidon who preaches in a mosque just outside the camp, explains the need for good Muslims to fight what he regards as the American occupation of Arab lands. While not a member of Asbat, Hammoud has contacts in the group. "The question is not why they would go and fight in Iraq," he says. "It's why they would not go."

According to Hazim Amin, a reporter for the al-Hayat newspaper and an expert on al Qaeda ideology, Lebanon is regarded as a jihadist recruiting ground through groups such as Asbat and Jund. Some Lebanese authorities, citing several recently uncovered plots with al Qaeda-type characteristics, have grown concerned about the ramifications of this for Lebanese security. One military official who dealt with these groups regularly says that Jund al-Sham and Asbat al-Ansar are "mostly the same group and are very, very dangerous men." "[There are] less than 100 Jundis, 300 to 400 Asbat al-Ansar. ... They are tied directly to al Qaeda," he explains. "There is no hierarchy to al Qaeda, though; it's like a McDonald's. ... Everyone wants their own franchise. But they are the same, the same very dangerous mentality."

It would be difficult for Lebanese authorities to crack down, even if so inclined, because of the dense population of the camp and the lack of heavy weaponry in the Lebanese Army. "The Lebanese Army cannot go inside the camp to fight them; it would be a massacre," he concludes.

Beirut, prior to the civil war in 1975 was called the Paris of the Middle East and for good reason. The society the Lebanese were able to create within the borders was without parallel throughout the Middle East. All the qualities that made Lebanon a shining light of the Middle East are still present within Lebanese society, but it is long past the time for the Lebanese to remove the Palestinian noose from their necks. Oddly enough, helping the Lebanese remove this threat from their society never has made it on the neo-con agenda. Read the article here in full.

(H/T Iris Blog)

Who knew Kassams weren’t meant to Kill?

The Hamas mayor of Beit Hanun the closest Palestinian town to the Israeli town of Sderot justifies the Kassam siege on Sderot to the Jerusalem Post:
Mohammad Kafarna is a sheikh, a Ph.D. professor of the Arabic language, and a member of Hamas's political wing. Since February 2005 he is also the mayor of Beit Hanun, a job that has become practically mission impossible. Violence and poverty plague his city of some 30,000. Unemployment is at 70%, physical abuse within families is increasing, and political factions and extended families are fighting and killing each other.

Making things worse, the town, which faces Sderot across the 1967 border, has been shelled continuously by Israel for the last few months in response to Palestinian rockets being fired from its neighborhoods at Sderot, causing fear, destruction and sometimes death. Eli Moyal, the mayor of Sderot, has said Beit Hanun should be wiped out if necessary to stop the Kassam fire. "You think this will solve the problem?" Kafarna responded. "And is it just?"

While Israel blames the Palestinians for initiating and maintaining the cross-border fire, the 40-year-old mayor, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in his municipality office Wednesday, echoed other Palestinians in blaming Israel. "The mayor of Sderot is upset about the rockets?" he asked rhetorically. "And we are not upset that he wants to destroy our town? Which is easier, stopping the shooting on Beit Hanun or demolishing the city? You think the weak is the one hurting the strong. We are the hand trying to stop the sword."

The consequences of the fire, said the mayor, were not only harmful to those directly and physically affected. "Our children are not children. They don't enjoy their childhood. They play with toy guns. The culture of violence exists in them." Increased domestic violence was also a direct consequence of the shelling, he said. While Kafarna said he favored "quiet and stability," he also defended the Palestinians' right to attack Israel. "It is the right of the people who were hurt to fight for their rights," he said. "Doesn't the Israeli citizen kill others to get his rights and to preserve his security? So why does he deny this to others?"

Still, Kafarna said that if Israel would stop shooting on Beit Hanun, he might be able to convince the "resistance" to stop shooting at Sderot. "We hope that the mayor of Sderot will pressure his government to stop the shelling on Beit Hanun, to give me the opportunity to talk to the resistance to stop shooting on Sderot," he said, adding, "But how do you want me to talk to the resistance when there is bombing from Sderot on Beit Hanun? It's not patriotic."

The mayor, a father of eight, insisted that the Palestinian "resistance" came from residents outside his town. "If any of them are from here then they cover their faces so that the residents don't know it and try to stop them." In any case, he claimed, the Kassams were harmless. "These are very elementary rockets," he said. "They are not for killing. They are for rejecting the occupation."
Gee, I am so glad that he cleared up. Otherwise I would be thinking that the act of firing rockets at an Israeli town well within the pre-1967 armistice lines was with expressed purpose of killing a Jews. Interestingly enough, in Kafarna’s alternative worldview, the idea that the Israelis no longer occupy the Gaza Strip or that launching rocket barrages on a town that lies well within the pre-1967 armistice line is simply lost on him. What amazes me is the Euroweanie view that all the Israelis need to do to bring peace to the region is for the Israelis sit down for a long chat talk with the certifiable lunatics running the Palestinian Authority.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Al Aqsa didn’t get the Abbas Memo

I have to hand it to the various politico-terroristas of the Palestinians. They have brought a new nuance to word “overkill”. After the IAF strike of yesterday that went horribly astray, Al-Aqsa has declared all out war on Sderot reports Ynet News:
The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, called on all its active cells to declare a retaliatory alert following the Israel Air Force strike on northern Gaza Tuesday, which targeted al-Aqsa operatives but killed three Palestinian children.

We call on all our fighters to act and hit the enemy so that it hurts, in every place, so that it knows that the blood of our martyrs is dear. We declare war on Sderot and on all the Zionist settlements. The Zionists won’t have peace on our land,” an announcement stated.

“We call on all the Palestinian organizations to accelerate activities against the occupier,” the statement said. Abu Ahmad, an al-Aqsa commander, told Ynet that his organization was determined to continue firing Qassams towards Sderot and was completing preparations for an inclusive attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip using rockets, inside the West Bank and suicide bombings in Israel.

Abu Ahmad said members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and other Palestinian organizations would make every effort to set all of occupied Palestine aflame. “God willing we will cause the Zionists to feel what the Ghalia family and the other Palestinian families felt in the last few days. No directive to stop firing rockets or stop attacks will convince us before we respond to the enemy’s crimes,” Ahmad said. He denied reports that his organization was working to smuggle suicide bombers into Israel through Sinai, saying this was “Israeli propaganda meant to justify its assassination attempt.”

I am sorry that 3 Palestinian children were killed and 15 others were wounded in the IAF air strike yesterday that went horribly awry, but I am more sorry that the IAF missed their intended target. I have zero sympathy and cannot even pretend to shed crocodile tears for those who feel that the deliberate targeting of school children on a school bus is a legitimate target for political assassination. If the daily shelling of Sderot for nearly the last year is not a declaration of war on Sderot what exactly is?

I can understand the reluctance of the Israeli government to launch an all-out ground assault and re-take the control of the Gaza Strip. For one thing, the Kadima government would be publicly forced to admit that the disengagement from Gaza was an umitigated disaster for the Israelis, and any further disengagements without a comprehensive peace agreement would never see the light of day, hence, there goes the entire policy platform for Kadima.

But what I cannot understand, is why Israel is so reluctant to use all the resources available to them? For example, the Israelis control the flow of electricity and water into the Gaza Strip. Cut them off until the rockets stop. I realize that there are many who will say that it will only be the ordinary Palestinians who will pay for the sins of a few but that is merely infantizing the Palestinians. The various terrorists fractions live within the communities and get by on the good will of their neighbors. A man’s ability to fight is limited by his need for substance. If you think my response is overly harsh; just what course of action would you demand your government take, if your community was being shelled on a daily basis for nearly the last 10 months?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Under the Kassam Moon

One of the consequences of the Israeli Gaza Disengagment has been the daily Kassam rocket attacks originating from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper. Treppenwitz hits another one out of the park for this truly horrific story of an Israeli mother living under the siege of Sderot:

As she began speaking, you could tell from her tone that she felt she was explaining something that should have been fairly obvious... as though she was telling a child why the sun came up in the morning.

She patiently explained that there wasn't enough room in their 'armored room' * for her entire family. It went without saying, she continued, that she and her husband slept outside the armored room. But they (thank G-d) have a big family, and each evening she struggled with the terrible decision of which children would sleep unprotected in their bedrooms... and whether to spread them out around the house or put all of her 'precious eggs' in one basket.

Like a kick in the gut, it suddenly dawned on me that this poor woman is forced to play a daily shell game with her precious children, knowing that if (G-d forbid) one of the dozens of missiles fired each day lands on her house, she will have to live the rest of her life with the consequences of her unspeakable choice.

I cannot imagine living a life being forced every night to chose which of my children may potentially live or die. I cannot imagine having to look into the eyes of my child and explain that tonight they live by the grace of G-d. Read the full post here.

Always the victims - never the perqs.

Last week the news and papers were filled with the suffering a Palestinian girl’s over the death of her father when a family outing to the beach in Gaza Strip ended in tragedy.

Israel was loudly condemned, and even Kofi Annan issued a statement thinking it was far too incredulous to believe that Palestinians would mine their own beaches without the slightest regard for the safety of their own citizens and soundly condemned the Israelis for their alleged wanton disregard for the lives of unarmed Palestinian civilians. He has since retracted his initial gut response/condemnation.

And as more and more information has come to light; the evidence is clearly suggesting that it is not so incredulous after all to believe that the Palestinian Authority would act in a manner that exhibited a callous and wanton disregard for the safety or security of unarmed Palestinian civilians.

Yesterday, a school bus filled with young girls came under sniper fire emendating from an Arab settlement near Ofra. The Jerusalem Post reports:
MDA reported that a school bus carrying a group of 16-year old girls was making its way Monday afternoon to the Ofra settlement near Jerusalem when shots were fired at the bus from the direction of the neighboring Arab village of Kafr Sinjil.

An MDA paramedic at the scene told The Jerusalem Post that three girls were being treated for light wounds to the back and to their hands. Two of the girls were being treated for shock. Six bullet holes were discovered in the side of the bus. Three of the girls were evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem University Hospital, and two to Hadassah Mount Scopus University Hospital in Jerusalem.

A school bus filled with children and where is the outrage for the deliberate targeting of school children in this conflict? The Secretary General of the UN issues no statement about the wanton senseless attacks on the lives of young Israeli school girls by Arab terrorists.

Where are the world leaders to stand up to the plate and demand that all Palestinian terrorists who deliberately target school children as the preferred target of the day become as pariahs unto the world community?

Where are the references to the Ofra attack outside the Israeli papers? I could not find a single online reference to this incident in the Toronto Star but I did find this story of Palestinian teenage angst in the World news section:

JERICHO, West Bank—The Palestinian man who had an Internet romance with a 16-year-old Michigan girl is a music-loving computer buff who says he loves the teen and is heartbroken she was sent home.

Abdullah Jimzawi, a 20-year-old high school dropout who lives with his parents in Jericho, said he and Katherine Lester had planned to marry and she intended to convert to Islam.

Lester was en route to Tel Aviv when she was intercepted in Amman, Jordan, by U.S. authorities who seized her passport and put her on a flight back to the United States.

The couple still speak to each other at least five hours a day via Internet phone calls, said the shy Jimzawi. "We love the same things, the same songs and we have similar dreams. I fell in love with her because she is innocent and good hearted. We found ourselves to be soulmates," he said in an interview in Jericho”

An Israeli school bus comes under a sniper attack and the world yawns, but heaven forbid that you are a lovesick Palestinian youth.

What should be the Arab Shame of Palestine

For once the Globe and Mail carries a report that really should not be a missed by Mark MacKinnon on Palestinian youth in the West Bank who consciously choose to commit acts of allegedly political violence against Israelis so that they can be incarcerated in Israeli jails all in the pursuit of a better life.
It's the latest peculiarity in a region already full of contradictions: Palestinian youths, who speak openly of their hatred for Israel, willingly putting themselves into Israeli custody because life in jail is seen as being better than life at home. Call it teen angst gone awry in a conflict zone.

"It's a real phenomenon," said Jacob Dallal, a spokesman for the Israeli army. He said soldiers had seen dozens of cases like Mohammed's, coming from both Nablus and nearby Jenin. "It's sort of a backhanded compliment to the [Israeli army] and the prison service. It passes from word of mouth that the conditions are not so bad in Israeli jails."

The first few nights after his arrest -- he was held with five others in a tiny cell just outside the Hawara checkpoint where he had been arrested -- were a gruelling disappointment for Mohammed. But 12 days later, he got the break he was hoping for: a transfer to Ofer prison, an Israeli jail for Palestinian prisoners just outside Ramallah.

Conditions in Ofer, the site of large-scale prisoners' riots late last year, have come under attack from human-rights groups alleging the torture and mistreatment of detainees. But Mohammed, as his classmates had promised him, had a different experience.

Prison life was a welcome break from the numbing routine of days sitting in school, evenings helping his father at the family's tailoring business and nights broken by gunfire. It was also a respite from his cramped family home where six people live in two small rooms, and from his father's insistence that the Western-dressed teenager abide by a strict interpretation of Islam.

"Ofer was like paradise. You could go to the toilet whenever you wanted, and we had a good time playing football and table tennis in the big courtyard. I started reading good books in there," he said, his hair short and gelled, and a hint of future stubble ringing his thin face. With a shy glance at his father, he added, "And I could stay up as late as I wanted."

Mohammed was pleased to get a seven-month sentence. He was crestfallen when his father, Qasim, paid a $250 bond to get him released early. "I was disappointed. My classmate who was sitting next to me went to jail two days before me and he's still there," he said jealously, suffering his father's glare. "In prison, there's digital television. You can watch everything. Out here, there's nothing."

Take the case of Mahmoud Kharaz:
"My son is in jail because he has a big brain and is very intelligent. He thought about it a long time and realized the only way out of his economic and mental crisis was in prison," Ms. Tabbouq said. Ironically, another reason Mahmoud wanted to go back to jail was to concentrate on his studies. His 17-year-old sister, Yusra, said that her brother, who was good in school, had spoken longingly of prison ever since he was released the first time.

"He couldn't stand the guys from the refugee camps who were always carrying weapons. He felt like he was suffocating. He told me, 'I can't achieve in school with this chaotic environment around me.' " Her brother is now applying to take his high-school exams from behind bars, Yusra added. Mr. Kharaz, Mohammed's father, said that while he hoped his son wouldn't try to get jailed again, it was possible as long as life in Nablus continued to worsen. "If the situation continues the way it is, everybody will be doing it," he said. "Young and old."

There's more. Read the whole article here. I cannot imagine a more flawed political platform than kill the Jews at all costs.

when the cup runneth over

This weekend I purchased Israeli wine and received a bottle of Israeli wine as a gift. Outwardly, there is nothing particularly special or unique about buying a bottle of wine as I do not live in Saudi Arabia but in Canada. The uniqueness of the act is because, well, I rarely buy any kind of wine and I choose Israeli wine as a direct result of international boycott of all Israeli products. I even went so far as to ensure that the wine I purchased was made from grapes grown in the Golan Heights. It’s a small thing, and if the government of Israel had to rely on my patronage, the economy of Israel would surely falter and fail. I have many failings but excessive drinking wine or spirits would never be numbered among them.

It’s a small act but a life is filled up with seemingly small acts and moral choices. This weekend a Ghanaian football player expressed his joy in winning against an opposing team and wanted to express his gratitude to his regular home team for giving him the opportunity to play football on a regular basis and so he pulled an Israeli flag out of his sock and waved it to the crowd at the World Cup match.

The denouncements have come fast and furious from Arab governments, media and general public. The biblical phrase ‘world without end’ comes to mind to characterize it all. Yesterday, the Ghanaian Football Association motivated solely by the irrational and infantile hatred of the Arab world issued a very public apology to all for the act of John Pantsil and three of his team mates for waving an Israel flag in gratitude to a people that have made a place for him in their club and in their country. This account is taken from the Jerusalem Post:
Ghana's Football Association apologized on Monday after John Pantsil, who plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv, pulled out an Israeli flag during Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic. "It was an action out of naiveté and we apologize to anyone who was offended. It will never happen again," Ghana FA spokesman Randy Abbey said.

"He was obviously unaware of the implications of what he did... He's extremely popular in Israel and he wanted to thank the fans who traveled to see him play," Abbey said. Pantsil, 25, pulled out a small Israeli flag from his sock during goal celebrations at Cologne Stadium. Abbey said that there had been complaints to the Ghana FA but did not elaborate.

"We're not here for politics... We don't support Israel or Arab nations... It was unfortunate that the player was ignorant about the political situation." Abbey added: "But he has apologized to us and I think the matter should end there."

During the course of my working life I have had the privilege to meet and work with many Ghanaians. I have never experienced collectively a warmer or more generous people, and because of that, I quite understand why John Pantsil and his team mates would be motivated to express their gratitude to the Israeli fans who had traveled to Cologne and to the wider group of Israelis that would have been watching him play on television by waving his Israeli flag - quid pro quid.How sad it is to see the Black Star of Africa falter in the face of the rabid mob of the Arab world.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pride vs Modesty - Update

One of the Israeli bloggers I read daily is Treppenwitz. Treppenwitz gives an articulate and coherent expression to the very often similar kinds of thoughts that cross through what I call my so-called mind, but in a much less muddled and grown-up way. This post – Since You Forced Me to Answer is a prime example of what I mean. Besides, I really enjoy his reflections on everyday life in Israel and the Friday photoblogging. Somebody really needs to give this man a paying gig writing.

The Neverending State of Deadbeats

I think its long past the time that the Palestinians starting to take charge of their own affairs, so I initially greeted this report from Ynet News with an about time:
The Palestinian government plans to build an electrical facility in Egypt that will allow it to take power from Egypt, weaning itself off more expensive Israeli electricity, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
Suleiman Abu Samhadana, Palestinian undersecretary for energy and electricity, told reporters at the Rafah border crossing in northern Egypt that authorities in Cairo had approved the project, which would cost USD 15 million and cut the Gaza Strip’s electricity bill by 44 percent.

He said the Kuwait Development Fund would bear the costs of the plant, which would be built five km (three miles) into Egypt from the Egypt-Gaza border. Abu Samhadana was on his way to Cairo to attend meetings with Egyptian officials on implementing the project.

But I see that the Palestinians are once again counting on somebody else picking up the tab for this project. I would like to wish the Egyptians a hardy "Good Luck" on collecting on the bill.