Monday, April 30, 2007

Olmert's Theme Song - I will survive

I came home from work and decided I’d better check in with Ynet News, in the off chance, I would have to publicly eat crow mixed in with mucho grande portions of humble pie concerning the state of politicking in Israel in light of the interim Winograd report:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would hold a special cabinet meeting to discuss the conclusions of the Winograd report on the failures during the Second Lebanon War. In a special TV address Olmert stressed that he would not resign, and said he planned to appoint a team devoted to "swiftly learning the report and implementing the lessons it requires."

At a meeting of Kadima ministers earlier, Olmert said, "The report is indeed harsh, but I have no intention of resigning. "I have no doubt that lessons must be learned," continued Olmert, "But Israelis have a tendency of not letting people correct their mistakes. There will be no possibility of drawing conclusions if we enter a political crisis. I intend to continue drawing these conclusions with you."

The atmosphere at the meeting was tense, especially after the first cracks appeared in the party's support for Olmert. Most of the ministers stood by Olmert, while Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni remained silent.

Apparently, Israel Our Home party (Yisrael Beiteinu) has resolved to remain part of the Kadima coalition and Ha’artez carried this comment from Labour MK Matan Vilnai:

Labor MK Matan Vilnai also cautioned against infighting. "Now is not the time for political battles," he said. "The future of the political figures will be determined by the public."

And this from a spokesman Shas:
Infrastructure Minister Eli Yishai of Shas said that it is imperative to implement the report rather than making it into an internal battle.

Yes, well there is that but… how is it one can now teach old dogs new tricks? I betcha Olmerts knows all the words to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will survive’ and is busy humming it now. I, on the other hand, will feast on grilled steak, salad and green beans.

Ynet News carries excerpts from the Winograd report here.

Winograd Report - Yadda, Yadda

In a few hours from now the Interim Winograd Report on the political and military leadership of Israel will be published. It is generally expected to be a scathing criticism of Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz decision making and leadership during last summer’s war with Lebanon.

Everyone seems to know its going to be bad but it really is a question of degree. Foreign newspapers are hyping up the idea that the pressure on Olmert and Peretz to resign will be immense.

Here’s the thing. Other than Halutz, who already resigned, no one else is going to. Peretz is facing a leadership race for the Israeli Labour party. He’s currently in third place and trailing badly. Labour has no intention of leaving the Kadima coalition considering how poorly they are currently polling with the Israeli electorate in general. Now is not the political expedient time for an election; if you’re the Israeli Labour party. It’s much easier to vote Peretz out of office using the party machinery to remove a hugely unpopular politician with the Israeli electorate. It will potentially give them a second wind with the voters. Labour may bluster but its not about to leave the coalition but without a significant percentage of Labour MK’s defection, the Kadima government will not fall.

And no one really hungers to be Prime Minister at this particular junction. The general consensus is war is coming and the needed reforms in the IDF have yet to come full circle. Anyone aspiring to be Prime Minister could very well be facing another disastrous campaign like last summer’s adventures in Lebanon. Why bother to get egg on your face now. It’s far easier letting Olmert be buried under another yolking which is part of the reason Kadima is not in a hurry to replace him.

Also, every Kadima Knesset member knows if faced with another election it will be lucky to maintain 9-11 mandates - so there goes the gravy train for most of them. There’s always the potential for Kadima to attempt remove Olmert in a leadership review much like Labour is doing to Peretz. But again, who really wants to be Prime Minister during another war?

Don’t expect to see a leadership review before its time - unless Olmert chooses to resign. And why should Olmert resign? Because he’s done a bad job as Prime Minister? There already is a long line of poor quality Israeli Prime Ministers so Olmert is just taking his rightful place in the line. The only possible motivation for Olmert to resign is because he has an offer of something better to come. If he were to resign at this point the table will be bare. The only two possible serious Kadima replacements for Olmert are Shimon Peres (the man who has yet to win an election) or current Israeli Foreign Minister Livni. The best and worst thing one can say about Livni is that she is no Golda.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Interview Me Meme – the Questions and Answers

As promised, here is the list of 5 interview questions Ocean Guy sent me with requisite answers.

1. If you could travel back through time and live another life, when and where would you choose to live?

This is actually a very tricky question. In fact, so tricky that I put the question to the tribe at dinner for feedback. The Last Amazon immediately thought the golden age of ancient Sparta. She has this bizarre idea I would fit right in – what with women having multiple husbands and child-bearing mandates. Furthermore, she really could not see how managing a few hundred Helots would pose any special problems to my unique talents considering how well I manage modern day slaves (she is on kitchen mess duty).

Montana immediately suggested being part of the Viking horde which raided and invaded the shores of Britain. The upside is that I get to fight in a shield wall and kill lots of Saxons…he’s currently reading his way through Bernard Cornwell’s the Last Kingdom series and I suspect he has taken it too much to heart.

I also discovered how relative the concept of “ancient” was to a 12 year old mind. Isaiah Sender’s choice was to go “really far back in time” and take part in the original Apollo missions to the moon. I decided not to comment on having watched the original Apollo landing on television as a child.

The problem is there are just so many interesting periods and places…where to choose? Off the top of my head I thought I wouldn’t mind being a patrician Roman under Gaius Marius but before the break came under Sulla. I am a really big fan of running water and regular baths….then I thought, oh no, how could I miss my chance to sail around the world when Britannia ruled the waves????

Don’t ask me why but sailing made me think of the Russian Steppes and I asked myself; how could I miss one chance of being a real bronze age Amazon? Possessing nothing more than my horses, weapons and furs. Doing nothing better than spending each day raiding in the steppes and terrorizing the locals into submission. Living my entire life free and under an endless sky? Okay, maybe the smell might put me off.

Then I came up with the ultimate time and place to be alive. Being at the Sinai and hearing the voice of G-d with one’s own ears. Think about it; you have lived through the miraculous, all doubts are laid to rest and your time in bondage is over.

2. What are your three favorite movies and 3 favorite books?

The problem with having three favourite movies is I rarely manage to stay awake long enough to watch a whole movie from beginning to end in one sitting. Also I rarely choose to watch a movie more than once so it is hard to play flavourites. Though I did watch Conan the Barbarian five times in the movie theatres when it was first released. I swear the impression the men in that movie made on me were initially responsible for my attraction to one of my husbands. Can’t say I harbour any burning desire to watch the movie again.

The closest I come to having a favourite movie would be Master & Commander and for the life of me I can’t understand why Hollywood never made any sequels. The second and third place for favourite movies; aren’t even movies but television series. I adore Horatio Hornblower and own the DVD collection. Once a year, Montana, and I hunker down for a HH fest. Then there is the BBC produced series of Robert Graves’ "I, Claudius". I don’t own the DVD but I do have a birthday coming up and I have high hopes.

Books - how can I pick? There are just so many great ones to choose. Besides it really depends on my mood, but there is one book which stands out clearly from the literally thousands of books I have read. It’s called Chantilly Lace. It's out of print and rightly so. It wasn’t a particular well written book or a book with any redeeming qualities but it was the book I learned to read from.

3. What song is associated with your happiest memory?

Erotic City by Prince. It’s not the greatest song or even my favourite song, but I did fall madly in love for the first time dancing with a man when that song was playing.

4. Sunrise - Sunset. Which do you prefer and why?

Twenty years ago, I would have said sunsets because I loved watching the sun go down over the ocean and the stars flicker into existence in the night sky. It reminded me of how small I was and how the large the world was. Sunset represented a time filled with endless possibilities in which to dream in. Now I would say Sunrise because it reminds me that every day is both a great blessing and a promise of a new beginning.

5. Who are the five people, living or dead you'd invite to a dinner party.

Two points of about this dinner party. I have yet to give a dinner party where only 5 attended. Even my small dinner parties don’t stay small by the time the table is set. I have a strange habit of attracting stray guests and even my strays seem to bring strays. I am not sure why that is, but there you have it.

One of my major rules of motherhood is literally everything can be turned into a life lesson. So in keeping that in that vein here’s my guest list:
Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli Prime Minister, because he’s an idiot for escalating a military offfensive which he had no intention of winning. Plus, there is a good chance he will be still Prime Minister this summer, and if the winds of war blow (as it is widely rumoured), I figure he needs all the help he can get.

Menachem Begin. I like feisty little Poles with nerve, and at heart I believe Begin was a simple man. Everyone one needs at least one relatively humble man at a table. Besides, I would get real pleasure listening and watching Olmert explain his adventures in Lebanon to Begin. After dessert, I could take bets on how long it takes Begin to thump Olmert into the floor.

Carl von Clausewitz because he’s one of my favourite Prussians and is the great-grandfather of modern war theory. He would also look pretty snazzy in his uniform sitting at my table.

US Air Force Colonel John R. Boyd because he is the Daddy of OODA loop and I think he think would be able to get inside Clausewitz’s centre of gravity and keep him intellectually engaged. I know I would be, and it is my party.

Sun Tzu, author of the ancient Chinese bible of military strategy. And if he was resurrected from the dead to sit at my table; it would finally put an end to all those exceedingly tiresome debates revolving around his existence.

Julius Caesar. He made tremendous strategic mistakes but he had a habit of landing on his feet - at least until the very end. He was rumoured to be literate, cultivated and charming. Besides it’s always fun to have a man to flirt with over dinner and I would be curious to hear what he thought about modern war theory.

Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson because I am a big fan - even if he wasn’t particularly known for his conversational brilliance at the dinning table. And the uniform is to die for.

Chris Taylor. If Chris learned I had a dinner party and brought Nelson back from the dead and never invited him (and of course–the lovely Wanda) to my table, I might never be safe walking down the street again – let alone get another bottle of wine. Besides, I would rather defer to Chris and let him be the one to explain to Nelson just how low Britannia has sunk.

I am not big on arbitrarily passing around a meme (which is also why I liked this one) and I am going to paste in Ocean Guy’s directives and call it my own. If you want to participate in this meme do the following:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will send you an email asking my five questions. My choice and don’t say you weren’t warned that I can be; petty, vengeful and mean.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Enough Already

At some point you would assume the Israeli Kadima government would wake-up and realize that you just cannot keep issuing the same old threats and think anyone or even their grandmother will take your threats seriously. Ynet News December 21, 2006:
Associates of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday that Israel's restraint policy in the face of Qassam attacks will not last long.

"If the Qassam fire continues, we will have no other option but to respond," an official close to the PM said. The statement comes in wake of the ongoing fire on the western Negev and Ashkelon, and after 10 rockets have been fired by Palestinian gunmen in the last 24 hours alone. A senior official at the Prime Minister's Office said that Israel does not wish to initiate a confrontation in the area, and that in the meantime, the restraint will be maintained.

"We don't want to reach another escalation. It is clear to us that counter attacks or other Israeli actions will strengthen Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Such a reaction might cause Hamas and Fatah to unite forces against Israel once again." The official explained. He added that during the current ceasefire the number of rockets launched against Israel significantly dropped. "Despite of the restraint, the prime minister is evaluating the developments every day. As Abbas has been notified, Israel will not restrain itself if the fire continues," the official concluded.

Ynet News April 29, 2007:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted Sunday that Israel would launch military operations against gunmen in the Gaza Strip if rocket attacks persisted. "Israel has no interest in an escalation in Gaza, but we will not be able to ignore the continuation of Qassam fire and infiltration attempts by terror groups," Olmert told the cabinet.

Olmert added Israel sent warnings to the Palestinians through international mediators that the Jewish State might have to launch ground incursions in Gaza in order to protect southern cities from the threat of rocket attacks.

I am having real issues seeing the Olmert/Kadima drawn line in the sand - even with my reading glasses on. And if I am having problems; how much do you want to bet the Palestinian Authority cannot see the line either?

Fill in the blanks for me

Al Gore says Tories Green plan is a fraud. And he should know because…….

And I should believe every word that comes out of the mouth of the man who claims to have taken the initiative in creating the internet because…..

Barb-up or hunker down in the bomb shelter at home

Last week in Canada, the newspapers were all agag because Canadian soldiers were turning over Afghani detainees in Afghanistan to the Afghanistan government and some were some allegedly tortured by the Afghanistan government officials. And it looks like next week will be more of the same.

Canadian soldiers have not been sent to be prison guards so Taliban/Al Qaeda sympathizers/detainees can experience a kinder, gentler interrogation/incarceration. Nor has the goal ever been to colonize Afghanistan, consequently; to demand the government of Afghanistan government openly comply with our sensibilities is an exercise in cultural futility.

Canadi-anna writes pretty eloquently on a post called the Rules of War detailing Canada’s alleged plight on Afghani detainees. She has obviously done her home work and has quotes and everything - which is a damned bit more than I am prepared to do.

I really don’t care about Afghanistan and I was prepared to live out the rest of my life totally ignoring Afghanistan, then 9/11 happened. There is only one reason to be in Afghanistan and that’s to prevent any Taliban type government from offering a safe harbour to any Al-Qaeda type organization so it can set up shop and launch another 9/11 or a 10/11, or even a 12/11 against any other nation. If girl-children get to go to school, or women can walk around without the blue veil, and music is heard openly on the streets of Kabul – bonus, but let us not loose sight of the real reason Canadian soldiers are fighting and sometimes dying there.

I would have settled for bombing the Afghanistan into the Stone Age, but apparently that is not a civilized response to 9/11. Then there is always the question of who would have noticed the difference so it might have not been entirely effective. I am not quite sure why a civilized response is the natural answer to acts of barbarism. It seems to me that it’s like trying to negotiate a treaty in a language your counterparts do not speak or comprehend.

And before anyone goes all Geneva Convention on me - let us not forget two things. The Geneva Convention is only an effective treaty on the conduct of warring nations and the parameters of war between warring nations who share a common ethical language. As a side note; neither Al-Qaeda nor the Taliban has signed on to the Geneva Convention. And secondly, there has yet to be a war where the Geneva Convention has not been put to the wayside when it was considered expedient to do so.

In war, there should only be one goal – victory. Everything else is window dressing. A war cannot be won by just destroying an enemy’s capacity for action. One also needs to destroy their will to fight otherwise one is just sowing the seeds of future conflicts. We need to ask ourselves if we are really prepared to see a long running low-level conflict on the scale of the Arab-Israel wars or are we prepared to learn to barb-up and end it.

And when I say barb-up, I am not suggesting we put our entire ethics on the shelf but merely some of our sensibilities. For example, let’s trying acting and speaking in the language of our enemy - in terms that they readily understand in order to destroy their will to fight. Wrapping Taliban dead in pig’s skin and then burying them would be a place to start. If we did that, then there would be the added bonus of watching all the anti-war types on the homefront go ballistic.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Interview Meme

Two quick posts before the boys come home from the gym and demand dinner.

Ocean Guy has this Interview Meme going and I volunteered to play. After I hit the 'send' button, I realized that I have no idea what he would ask. This could potentially create whole new series of issues for me. Especially, if I were to answer honestly a million and one personal questions I could think to ask myself off the top of my head.

Not only do I have my own personal mounds of private laundry but so do most of the members of my family. I think it’s a genetic thing – much like the blood curse or Tiki thingies. Of course, the only exception is my mother but she gets really annoyed even if I make the slightest mention of her in passing on the blog. And this is way too public a forum to hang up my big girl panties on the line. Not to mention I could find myself living in the proverbial family doghouse for another 20 years….

The Last Amazon has turned into a bit of a family venue. Originally, it was a dialogue between my daughter and me. I wrote and posted, and she would emailed me her comments on my intellectual and/or editorial shortcomings. Eventually the dialogue expanded to include other people’s sons and daughters, aunts, uncles, grandparents etc. which was really rather cool. Then both my parents discovered I was blogging and started to read me regularly (not always so cool). My youngest has now taken to reading me after 2 years of indifference. He has turned into some kind of a child proto-type of a Stalinist KGB informer and gives regular briefings to his sibling pay-masters at the dinner table.

Anyway, I received the 5 questions and I got to say, Ocean Guy is a class act. And because he asked so nicely, I won’t even sell his email address to my Siberian spanner buddies - as is my habit. The thing is; the questions are really rather thoughtful and will take me a bit longer than I have time to answer tonight, but I will do it before the weekend ends.

One final thing. Isaiah Sender is off probation at his boxing club and has been officially added to the team roster. Tonight he gets his own gloves, bindings and skipping rope. I never doubted it but apparently he was really worried about not being “man” enough to be accepted – especially after watching his older brother in action at the club.

He kept asking me last night if I was going to blog about him being officially accepted into the world of man – abet as a junior member. Now I have, and I just want him to know I am very proud of my beloved son. I know it’s not always easy being number 3 in the Tribe, and I just want you to know that you will always have a one of three first places in my heart.

"Nine American Dogs were killed in Iraq."

Here’s one of those unintended consequences of the US attempting to run a kinder, gentler occupation in Iraq via Ynet News:

A leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, said the suicide car bombing that killed nine US soldiers in Iraq on Monday bolstered his belief that the US would soon be defeated and retreat from "Muslim lands."

"It was a very happy day for us Palestinians to hear nine American dogs were killed in Iraq. We feel encouraged and we feel great solidarity with our brothers in Iraq, and we consider this heroic operation, which aims to humiliate the Americans, as proof that the will of our resistance is more powerful than any (big) American war airplanes," Abu Ahmed, the northern Gaza commander of the Brigades terror group, said in a WND interview Thursday.

Abu Ahmed said Palestinians were learning from the Iraq insurgency for their own war against Israel. "The coming victory in Iraq proves the next step is to release Palestine if we speak in one voice," he said. "We the Palestinians are learning both on the political and military level from our brothers, the heroes in Iraq. They are a model for us. We can be inspired from them because the challenge the Americans are putting in the Green Zone is similar to the challenge the Zionists are putting on us.

And in a great twist of irony the US congress has approved a $59 million aid package to boost Fatah’s security forces and for those with irony deficient souls - Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade receives its funding directly from Fatah and is one of those Fatah militas aka security forces.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Historical Ironies

Josh’s Weblog is interested in collecting a list of at least 10 Great Historical Ironies and leads with this one:
UN General Resolution 181, otherwise known as the 1947 UN Partition Plan, intended to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict by creating the State of Israel. Instead it has been a focal point for continual unrest in the middle east. It leads immediately to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and further conflicts ever since.
Okay, I could quibble with "intended to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict by creating the State of Israel"as the rational for the partition plan and think the Brits really wanted to diverse themselves of the responsibility and cost of administrating the Palestine Mandate thereby also effectively washing their hands of more than a few Maccabeen Jews types who refused to go back to the old pre-WW2 ghetto paradigm of what constitutes a good Jew but that would be petty...

I would comment directly at Josh’s site but there is some kind of hinky thing going on every time I tried and it posts as an error. Anyway, my two-bits of historical irony is:

In 1947, if you called an Arab a Palestinian he would have taken great offense to it - as you would have insinuated he was a “Jew”.

Nothing stays the same forever

So CD music sales in Canada have dropped 35% reports CTV.
In what appears to be a continuation of a long-running trend, sales of music CDs, DVDs and other formats fell 35 per cent in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period a year earlier, the Canadian Recording Industry Association reported Thursday.

That comes after a 12 per cent sales drop between 2005 and 2006 -- the largest-ever annual decline in Canada's music market -- and an almost unbroken string of sales declines since 1999.

"We've experienced sizable short-term drops before, but nothing compares to the drastic numbers we're seeing so far this year," said CRIA President Graham Henderson.

CRIA, a non-profit trade organization, believes the shrinking sales are due in large part to music pirating and downloading. It's calling upon the federal government to update the Copyright Act and bring in more government policies to deter counterfeiting.

"The reforms sought would place Canada on an equal footing with its major trading partners, most of which have already updated their copyright laws in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Treaties, to which Canada is a signatory," CRIA says in a release.

Yadda, Yadda goes the experts but I am not really surprised. I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a CD. Currently, the ipod count is 3 in the tribe and my youngest is asking for his own ipod for his birthday which would bring the count to 4 in the home.

My music budget has actually increased steadily since the tribe came into possession of our first Ipod three years ago. Furthermore, all the music I have purchased has been duly bought and paid without having to utilize one of those weird little backdoor downloads via an Russian online retailer or the more patently obvious illegal kind of downloads.

But here’s the deal – we only buy the songs we want. It’s rare that we actually purchase an entire album by any one artist. The Last Amazon has rather unique taste and often patronizes websites of alternative artists. She then buys the download of only the songs she actually wants directly from the artist’s site. It’s really a win-win situation for the artist. No middle man, no packaging, no storage, no transportation costs so the royalty fee on the site is relatively unencumbered with the except probably being the costs for hosting the site and the website designer’s fees.

If CD sales are down 35% in a single quarter I would say our music habits are much more indicative of what is happening out in the larger general public domain. My point to all music industry types; time to change your business models and get connected with the truly wired generation rather than crying “piracy” at the end of every quarter.

and another turn of the wheel

Ha’aretz is reporting and naming sources:
A delegation of Egyptian security officials told Israel on Thursday that the rocket salvos from the Gaza Strip could resume if Israel did not halt its military operations in the West Bank, the Reuters news agency reported.

The officials also said that the heads of the Palestinian factions are willing to resume the relative calm in the Gaza Strip if the Israel Defense Forces ends its operations in the territories.

The message was delivered to Israel by an Egyptian mediator who has been trying to prevent a major confrontation after the Hamas military wing fired a barrage of rockets and mortars Tuesday and declared the Gaza truce dead, Palestinian sources familiar with the talks said.
But of course, there is also the denial:
Israel Radio said that Hamad told the factions that they should take seriously the possibility of an IDF invasion of Gaza should the violence continue. The radio said that no Palestinian faction has as yet confirmed its commitment to a renewed truce, and several have even vowed to continue their attacks. According to the radio, Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal quoted a Palestinian source as saying that the military wings of the factions rejected the Egyptian delegation's request for calm.

And then came the attack:

But it won’t happen again…except maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale

Egypt threatens Hamas with tough love if the rocket attacks against Israel do not cease according to sources within the Palestinian Authority reports the Jerusalem Post.
Egypt has threatened to cut off its relations with Hamas unless the movement halts its rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinian Authority officials said Wednesday. The officials said Egyptian Intelligence Chief Gen. Omar Suleiman sent a "tough" message to Hamas leaders, warning them against the continued rocket attacks. The message was delivered to PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas by Burhan Hammad, a senior Egyptian intelligence officer based in the Gaza Strip, the officials added.

They said that Suleiman also warned that Egypt would not side with the Palestinians if Israel launched a military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "We hope that the Hamas leaders will listen carefully to what the Egyptians are telling them," said one official here. "Hamas must return to the period of calm so as not to give Israel an excuse to invade the Gaza Strip."

If you believe the messengers or the message I also have some prime swamp land just waiting to be developed in Florida if you don’t want a bridge in Brooklyn, but buried deeper in the article is a development which should be worthy of capturing our attention.:
"The firing of the rockets and the resignation of Interior Minister Hani Kawassmeh [earlier this week] are part of an attempt by Hamas to extract concessions from President Abbas ahead of his meeting with Mashaal," he told The Jerusalem Post. "The meeting is supposed to focus on the possibility of including Hamas in the PLO.

Mashaal wants to be deputy chairman of the PLO. At the meeting, Hamas will agree to a cease-fire with Israel on condition that Mashaal is appointed to a senior position in the PLO. This is extortion."

Hamas coming to rooster under Fatah’s wide, wide tent – I really didn’t see that one coming. Nor would it be a Fatah first. It makes a certain kind of sense as well as being an effective way to get around any kind of aid boycott.

Of course, it is a great way to pull off more “resistance” operations and then blame it on a few hard heads in a “breakaway” fraction – much like what Fatah does regularly with Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades.


I like Ynet News breezy irrelevant style even though it is a hard-core leftie online tabloid. But every once and awhile I come across a report like this and I just got give my head a shake.
Two soldiers were lightly injured Tuesday afternoon during confrontations with a group of settlers who they tried to prevent from reaching the former settlement of Homesh in the West Bank, the army said.

Hundreds of right-wing activists arrived in Homesh, defying a government decision to bar settlers and their supporters from marching to the evacuated settlement on Independence Day. The army said a scuffle erupted when the soldiers told the settlers that Homesh was off-limits. The army set up roadblocks on roads leading to the settlement which was evacuated in 2005 part of the disengagement plan.
You can read the whole article but there isn’t any mention of any of the marchers injured and the hundreds of marchers actually turned into thousands in Ha’aretz:
Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly wounded on Tuesday as they attempted to prevent protestors from reaching the site of the evacuated West Bank settlement Homesh. The soldiers were treated on the scene for light injuries and were not hospitalized.

According to organizers of the event, however, no soldier was attacked, saying a verbal argument broke out after a Border Police jeep struck a protester's leg. She was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

The organizers say some 25,000 people reached the site of the former settlement Tuesday. Zafrir Ronen of "Homesh First" said that organizers "had prepared for 2,000 to 3,000 participants, but there are between 20 and 30,000 - religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox, youth, and elderly. The police have given up. Our determination has proven itself, and people are making it all the way [to the settlement]."

Ronen added that the demonstrators intend to stay the night at the site, despite the fact that organizers had promised that all protesters would leave Homesh by nightfall Tuesday and not attempt to remain at the site. The army said that the protestors managed to make their way to Homesh mainly by taking shortcuts or by bypassing IDF roadblocks in the area.

Demonstrators marched from the settlement of Shavei Shomron in the West Bank to the site of the former settlement of Homesh at 11 A.M. on Tuesday. The march is meant to commemorate the former settlement, evacuated as part of the Gaza Disengagement in the Summer of 2005.

Among the participants seen leaving Shavei Shomron were four busloads of Likud activists. The army placed barricades in the northern West Bank in an attempt to stop protestors from reaching the ruins. This move followed an attempt by Defense Minister Amir Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to stop the march by requiring its organizers attain a parade approval.

IDF sources have stated that the army will not allow anyone who is not a resident of Shavei Shomron to travel to the area. Nonetheless, IDF sources have stated that there is zero chance that they will be able to stop the march entirely. Former chief rabbi of Israel Avraham Shapira blessed the Homesh march and issued his support for the efforts of the "Homesh First" organization.

Since I read two leftie accounts which differed I decided to see what Arutz Sheva was reporting on the Homesh march:
At the head of the main organized group of marchers, which set off at 11:00 am from a nearby town, was Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Yisrael Aumann. The world-renowned professor of game theory stated in recent days that he sees a return to Homesh as "signaling the imperative change of direction the state needs. The march to Homesh expresses very well the aspiration to be a free people in our land." Prof. Aumann addressed the gathered activists, as did the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior.

According to Tzafrir Ronen, among the march organizers, the turnout was far beyond what the Homesh First umbrella group had planned on. "We prepared for about 3,000 people, and there are more than 30,000 here," Ronen said. Eyewitnesses said the total number number of marchers on the road numbered between seven and ten thousand.

Dozens of hired buses, including some organized without the help or knowledge of the march organizers, brought supporters of Homesh resettlement from all over the country. The Likud movement also formally joined in on the Homesh march during Tuesday morning. Four buses hired by the Likud party brought activists to the area.

Most of marchers are teenagers and people under the age of 30, many pushing strollers with toddlers and babies, although some are middle-aged and older. "I've seen some grandfathers climbing up the hill," said eyewitness Jonathan Stein. Several thousand people had reached the ruins of Homesh by early afternoon, Stein reported. Commenting on the determination of all of the participants to complete the hike, organizer Ronen said, "I have been to all the battles and all the demonstrations - I have never seen anything like this."

The participants are varied and represent "all types - religious, secular, Haredi, old people and young," according to Ronen. "They are all streaming towards Homesh in an unbelievable flow. The police was unable to cope and simply folded up its tent and left the area. Of four or five jeeps, there remains one, [whose occupants] have nothing to do but have a friendly chat with the marchers. Determination has proven itself. It is also clear to the police that this place is ours...."

Despite the generally peaceful nature of the march, isolated incidents of confrontation during the resettlement demonstration led to six arrests, according to an IDF spokesman. A few security officers allegedly got out of their vehicle and used their weapons to strike a marcher who stepped into the road. The security forces reportedly thought the man was blocking them; the man reportedly thought the jeep was going to hit a group walking along the road.

Two activists were arrested early in the evening after punching holes in the tires of several IDF vehicles on the road between Shavei Shomron and Homesh. One Israeli was arrested earlier in the day after a group of marchers attacked IDF soldiers who tried to stop them at a checkpoint, showing them papers classifying the area as a closed military zone. Two soldiers were lightly injured in the altercation and were treated at the nearby army base.

In another incident, three Israelis were arrested after blocking the road between Shavei Shomron and Homesh by parking vehicles across, and lying down in, the street, effectively preventing IDF vehicles and medical units from passing.

One young marcher was reportedly struck by a Border Guard jeep on the way to Homesh. She has been evacuated to hospital for treatment; her condition is unknown as of this writing.


Homesh First activists said they would leave the area at the end of the day, in cooperation with the IDF Central Command coordinating officers. Hundreds of marchers made their way out of the Homesh area before dark with no unusual events reported. It was not initially clear how the remaining marchers would return from the area, however, since the army did not allow buses or other vehicles in to pick up the demonstrators. This left 5,000 civilians, including women and children, who were forced to venture into the wilderness in the dark as they were unprepared for, nor allowed to, stay overnight.

So maybe the IDF command had a little more to do with the marchers not leaving the area by nightfall as planned than Israeli leftie papers want to admit publicly - or not. And it is interesting how Ynet makes no mention of a civilian marcher being hit but a Border Guard jeep….Ha’aretz at least alludes to a marcher being injured - even if no explanation is given for the young woman’s injuries.

Though the leftie rags Israeli government, and the IDF have a much larger issue to deal with. The size and diversity of the marchers belies the idea that this is a small group of religious fanatics intent on taking back the Homesh settlement. Throw in the on-going kassam attacks and an aborted kidnapping attempt from Hamas all launched from the former Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. Add a very public show of support by a major Israeli political party (Likud) and you could potentially have a political turning tide.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Try Treason

The Toronto Star is reporting that the little snot-nosed pooh shoveling piece of pestilence in Gitmo has been charged with murder by the US authorities. The Toronto Star is already crying a river but rightly notes in their ode to whine:
The possibility seems unlikely, since Hicks' deal is largely credited to the intense public and political pressure to gain his release — something not seen in Canada where the Khadr family is largely reviled due to their past association with bin Laden.

And deservedly so.

You need to read the Globe and Mail to get the full monty of the charges he will be arraigned on; murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, spying and providing material support for terrorism. But I am not happy.

I think the Canadian government should apply for special prosecutor status and arraign the little snot-nosed pooh-shoveling piece of pestilence with a separate charge of treason. It was just a twist of circumstance he didn’t kill a Canadian combat medic rather than one of our allies’ combat medics. Once he’s up on the dock for treason, we can work our way through the Canadian criminal code. And if convicted, let the sentence start when the US sentence ends.

the plans of mice and men often go astray...and a good thing too.

Yesterday, Israelis celebrated their 59th year anniversary as a modern state, so it is only fitting that Ha’aretz carries a report on the American war plan to attack Israel in 1967.
For some time, the United States had had an emergency plan to attack Israel, a plan updated just prior to the 1967 war, aimed at preventing Israel from expanding westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.

In May 1967, one of the U.S. commands was charged with the task of removing the plan from the safe, refreshing it and preparing for an order to go into action.

This unknown aspect of the war was revealed in what was originally a top-secret study conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington. The full story is detailed in Haaretz' Independence Day Supplement.


Strike Command, the entity that was to have launched the attack on Israel, no longer exists. It was annulled in 1971 for domestic American reasons and superseded by Readiness Command, which was abolished in the 1980s in favor of Central Command (CENTCOM) which today includes forces in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan; and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

The general who oversaw the planning in 1967 was Theodore John ("Ted") Conway, then 56 and a four-star general, the head of Strike Command.

On May 20, 1967, according to L. Weinstein's confidential study for the Institute for Defense Analyses, cable No. 5886 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was sent to EUCOM and STRICOM. STRICOM was asked to refresh the emergency plans for intervention in an Israeli-Arab war: one plan on behalf of Israel and the other, on behalf of the Arabs.

The basis for the directive was Washington's policy of support for the existence, independence and territorial integrity of all the states of the region. This translated into adherence to the Israeli-Arab armistice lines of 1949. The policy was not to allow Egypt, or any combination of Arab states, to destroy Israel, but also not to allow Israel to expand westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.

The American pressure in this regard brought the IDF back from El Arish in Operation Horev in 1949 and from Sinai in 1956. A version of it would appear in Henry Kissinger's directives after the IDF encircled Egypt's Third Army at the end of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Conway replied to the Joint Chiefs cable four days after it was sent. He was doubtful about combat intervention, and preferred an operation to evacuate American civilians from Israel and from Arab states.

The next day, the Joint Chiefs asked Conway for his opinion about how the United States should act if the war were to be launched by an Arab action or, alternatively, by an Israeli strike.

"The ultimate objective would be to stop aggression and insure the territorial integrity of all the Middle Eastern states," he was informed in cable No. 6365 of the Joint Chiefs, with a copy to EUCOM.

Conway's reply to this, dated May 28, is described in the top-secret study as "a strong plea for complete impartiality." The United States was liable to lose its influence to the Soviets, the general warned, and therefore it must demonstrate "strict neutrality" and avoid open support for Israel. The true importance of the Middle East lay in the American-Soviet context of the Cold War, Conway argued, and the American stance must derive from those considerations, not from "local issues."

Only as a last resort should the United States take unilateral action - and then only to put an end to the fighting. In the estimation of the STRICOM commander, the Egyptian forces were deployed defensively, whereas the Israelis were deployed in rapid-strike offensive capability.

On May 29, Conway recommended that any U.S. intervention be launched early in order to ensure the territorial integrity of all the countries involved; restoring the status quo ante would become more complicated as the attacking army captured more territory.

The supplemental report link can be found here. Personally, I am just glad Jimmy Carter wasn’t the US president in 1967. Betcha he regrets he wasn’t. The bottomline - be wary of Americans bearing gifts.

h/t Snoopy the Goon

Monday, April 23, 2007

Surprise! Surprise - not.

Last summer during the Israeli-Lebanon war, I referred to Hezbollah as the Iranian Foreign Legion. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries the following post on its website:
In a 15 April interview with the Iranian Arabic language TV station ‘al Qawthar’, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Kassem, told the interviewer that suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and even artillery barrages against Israeli civilians all receive prior approval from the Ayatollah’s in Teheran.

For many years, Hizbullah was careful not to implicate Iran in its terror operations. However, in a 15 April interview with the Iranian Arabic language TV station ‘al Qawthar’, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Kassem, told the interviewer that suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and even artillery barrages against Israeli civilians all receive prior approval from the Ayatollah’s in Teheran:
"The religious doctrine which dictates Hizbullah’s actions in general and those relating to the Jihad in particular, is based on the rulings of the spiritual leader in Teheran. The spiritual leader has the power to permit our actions, and the spiritual leader can forbid them.

"In order to know what is permitted and forbidden regarding the Jihad, we ask for and receive overall permission and only then do we carry out the operation. “Even with regard to the suicide bombings, no one is allowed to kill himself without religious authorization. “Even the rocket attacks on Israel, against the civilian population [Aug 2006] … in order to apply pressure, even this required overall religious authorization."

Well, well. That sounds pretty definitive to me.

h/t the Corner

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Spy

Geeze this is depressing. Check out the comment thread at the Globe and Mail on the story about the Canadian convicted in Egypt of spying for Israel while in Canada.

Alberto Bayo from Canada writes: If the charges are true, then this guy's a traitor, and treason is the worst imaginable crime. And working for Mossad? Yuk...those guys are a real sleazy, low-life lot.

Michael C from Canada writes: A Cairo court found Mohamed el-Attar, 31, guilty of belonging to a spy ring that worked for Israel, operating in Turkey and Canada.

This person is an Isreali spy. I don't think there's much to debate about the matter. However much our legal system is criticized, on the whole, it rarely makes mistakes (wrongfully convicted is a separate argument for another day). Where ate all the law and order zealots spewing their blabber about this? Where are all the Eurocentric citizenship zealots spewing their blabber. Might it be that Isreal gets a free pass because it's a western allie, ect. etc.? If this guy was a Muslim, there'd be 200 posts denigrating him at this point. Paradoxical, hypocritical idomeseo's.

Steve Tatone from Canada writes: The Mossad uses Canadian 'false-flags' all the time. Anyone remember the botched assasination in Jordan a few years ago where the Mossad guys had Canadian passports? They use our identity because Canadian citizens are trusted in most corners of the world. On the absolute other hand, Canada has a bit of a problem with special courts too, and its also possible that Attar is just some guy. Buuuuuut...on the first hand it seems like Isreal has been ratcheting up the Egyptian spying as of late, and this guy quite possibly spied on Canada for Isreal. In fact, there seem to be Isreali agents EVERYWHERE these days...

Alberto Bayo from Canada writes: This guy was nothing more than a low-level Mossad part-timer trying to make some quick money, and he got caught. Tough.
There’s more, and a lot more, all in a similar vein. What baffles me is how these alleged critical thinkers assume the Egyptian authorities are an unimpeachable source for both truthfulness and integrity.

Then there is the warped presumption that foreign spy agencies are all busy spying on other foreign spies, who are busy spying on the activities of Canadians in Canada, while the CSIS is completely asleep at the switch. And not one of the commenters (the last time I checked) asked what I would believe would be the obvious question.

If Egyptian government knew a Canadian Mossad agent was spying on the activities of Egyptian Arab Canadians while in Canada; why didn’t the Egyptian Authorities give a hat tip to the Canadian government? Do you really believe the Egyptians would pass on the opportunity to one-up the Mossad and embarrass the Israeli government internationally?

Shalom Bayit or Peace in the Home

Since this seems to be my day for religious orientated posts, I thought I would post another one.

Breslover Chassidim often comes under a great deal of criticism in Judaism but I have to admit I hold a special place in my heart for the followers of Rebbe Nachman. Maybe it was my early influences or maybe it’s because I find their joy and eternal optimism appealing in a world that is often fraught with sorrow.

The innate hazards of lurking in the background

One of the places I lurk quietly in the background is The Mad Zionist – with a name like that how could I not read? Anyway, a discussion started there which spilled out onto another blog – the Merry Widow. Following the discussion in the comment thread I came across an idea I had never actually encountered before. Actually I found the idea disturbing. Now I am wondering if this idea is part of mainstream Christian thought.

It concerns the angels. Long-time readers of my blog know that I am in the midst of writing a book but what most probably won’t know is that the story revolves around one of the Mal’akh Ha’maret or Angels of Death. And I have drawn heavily from the story of the Watchers from the book of Enoch as background. But here’s my question to Christian readers. Do you really believe that the Angels which are mentioned in the Old Testament are pre-incarnations of Christ or simply messengers from G-d?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Palestinian Angst

For a long time I have suspected what the West Bank and the Gaza Strip needed was a deployment of psychiatrists rather than peacekeepers or soldiers. Ynet News carries this report.
Palestinian security forces have been seeking emotional counseling, following "internal infighting in Gaza". Dr. Riad al-Aqra, the director for the Gaza hospital for mental health, said that "although the occupation is a major cause for emotional depression for Gaza residents…Palestinian infighting plays a striking role in the increase of shock, tension and depression, present in previously unseen amounts."

Dr. al-Aqra cited the Palestinian website Dunia al-Waran, stating that these phenomena were seen primarily among wives and mothers of Palestinian security force members, but also among the troops themselves.

"One member of the Hamas security force came to me suffering from high tension, which was causing physical problems. He said he felt fear from the fact that he would burn in hell forever if he fired even one bullet at someone," the doctor said. He told of another case, in which a member of the security forces arrived with similar symptoms. "He said he couldn't fire at another Muslim, and that he felt pain and bitterness," al-Aqra said.
I wish I could a pull a Bill Clinton and suggest I feel Hamas’ pain, but the Hamas pathology has never been mine - so they are SOL from me.

Apparently, Hamas has another front to their existential angst (Ynet News):
Hamas members were troubled by an additional issue this week: an altercation with the Egyptian branch of the hitherto supportive Muslim Brotherhood. The rift occurred after a senior leader in the organization, Abd al-Munam Abu al-Fatouh, announced that the Brotherhood supports the creation of a secular Palestinian state and a bi-national presence in Palestinian, as a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Hamas members were so incensed by al-Fatouh's announcement that the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Mahdi Akef, had to release a special statement refuting it.

Akef said, in his statement, that the Muslim Brotherhood believes that "Palestine is Islamic and therefore, holy to Muslims and, thus, belongs only to Palestinians." "No Palestinian has the right to refute this…The Zionists have no choice but to live under the rule of a Palestinian nation in which they will be free to worship their God and enjoy full rights of citizenship," Akef added.

"If the Zionists do not agree, our Palestinian brothers will have no choice but to resist and undertake all actions that are consistent with holy principles that were given to the Palestinians and that are in accordance with their national interests," he said.
I hope no one missed 'the Zionists have no choice but to live under the rule of a Palestinian nation'….yeah right. I betcha an IDF says different.

Anyway, I guess this is what passes for progressive in Arab political circles - the old 'push the Jews into the sea' rhetoric is missing, though personally, I could imagine very little worse than being a Jew under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. Talk about angst and not the existential kind. Frankly, I haven't ever met a Zionist who would ever chose to aspire to do so.

This is really starting to get bizarre.

A Canadian has been convicted of spying for Israel in Egypt and my early morning search for details at Canadian online papers turns up zilch. I recognize it’s still early so maybe one of the national papers will decide the event is a little newsworthy and devote a few lines. Once again, I found the story at Ynet News:
An Egyptian court convicted an Egyptian-Canadian dual citizen on Saturday of spying for Israel and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, and three Israelis tried in absentia were also found guilty, witnesses said.

Egyptian prosecutors said Israel recruited Mohamed Essam Ghoneim el-Attar, 31, in 2001 when he was living in Turkey and that intelligence agents assisted him in obtaining a residency permit in Canada under a fake name and found him work in a bank.

Attar was arrested in January at the Cairo airport when he returned home for a family visit, and was accused of being paid to spy on Egyptians and Arabs in Turkey and Canada and using his position in the bank to obtain information on specific accounts. Attar was also expected to scout and approach potential recruits, according to prosecutors, who said he was paid $56,000 before he was arrested.

The three Israelis convicted in absentia in the case, said to be Mossad agents, were also handed 15-year jail terms. All four defendants were fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,760). Israel has dismissed the case as a fabrication.

It would be laughable if a man’s life wasn’t hanging in the balance. The Israeli government has the right of it. The allegations were complete fabrication by the Egyptian authorities and the trial makes a mockery of the very concept of a justice system. Fifteen years because the Egyptian government needs an infusion of fresh blood to satisfy their lust for blood libels.

What I want to see and know about is what the Canadian government is prepared to do to free this citizen? Boring people to death with little fireside chats is not a solution. It’s long past the time for the Canadian government to stand up to these barbarous regimes with some dire consequences for nefarious actions undertaken against Canadian citizens. And yes, I think the Egyptian government qualifies as barbarous regime which should have no place or standing in the international community in the 21st century. Of course, if the Canadian government does find its backbone; I will probably have to read about it in Ynet News.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Busy Beavers

News junkie that I am, somehow I missed this report the first time round. Apparently, Montreal police has arrested two men last Friday for the firebombing at a Jewish Community Centre. There goes my news junkie credentials. Ironically, I only learned of the arrest when I read the headlines tonight at Ynet News, an Anglo-Israeli online newspaper.
Two Muslim men have been arrested in Montreal, Canada, following a firebomb attack on a Jewish community center, the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) reported. Omar Bulphred, 24, and Azim Ibragimov, 22, were arrested by Montreal police "for the firebombing attacks on the YM-YWHA Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre in Snowdon on April 3 and on the chassidic Skver Toldos Yakov Yosef school in Outremont on Sept. 2," the CJN said.

"Police described the arsons as motivated by hatred of Jewish people, and the men could therefore receive stiffer sentences if either is convicted. Police have not linked the two men to racist or terrorist groups, although the investigation continue," the report added. The report also said the men were planning to kidnap an unknown person, and had planned an armed robbery.

Gee, I wonder why I how I missed this in the Toronto Star? Apparently, the two men have been quite busy for Canadian Jihadis. Not only have the two been charged with attacks on the Jewish community centre and a Chassidic school but a car bombing as well one count each of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to forcibly confine someone.

Unholy Land Grabs

This Jerusalem Post article illustrates the very real challenges of land ownership in the Palestinian Authority:

Dozens of Christian families from the Bethlehem area are about to discover that their homes and lands have been "sold" to Muslims without their knowledge, Palestinian Authority security officials said Thursday. The officials told The Jerusalem Post that members of a local Muslim gang have been arrested on suspicion of stealing land and property registration documents from the Bethlehem Magistrate's Court.

Bethlehem Governor Salah Ta'mari confirmed that an investigation was under way to determine who was behind the theft. He said most of the stolen documents belonged to families living abroad. A Christian businessman told the Post that most of the victims were Christian families living in the US and Latin America. "They are stealing our homes almost every day," he said. "We believe the suspects have been receiving help from some Palestinian security officers here."

The scam was uncovered when court officials complained that many files relating to cases involving ownership of property had disappeared, a security official said. Initially, police thought thieves had broken into the court and stolen the files, he added. However, further investigation revealed that the theft was an inside job. Three court employees and five land dealers were later arrested in connection with the case.

The official refused to reveal the land brokers' identities, but sources in the city said some of them were not real land dealers. "These are people with close ties to the Palestinian security forces," the sources said. "We have written to the Palestinian Authority demanding a full inquiry. This is one of the biggest scandals in Bethlehem and many families are very worried that they may lose their property."

"The phenomenon of forging land registration documents has existed in Bethlehem for nearly 15 years," Ta'mari said. "We have resisted attempts to hinder the investigation and we are determined to fully pursue our efforts." Ta'mari said one common method of land theft was as follows: Someone forges ownership of a piece of land and registers it under his name. Then an accomplice pretends he has illegally seized the land.

The first person sues the accomplice, using the forged documents. The court then rules in favor of the first person, turning him into the "legal" owner. The proceedings take place without the knowledge of the real owner, who usually lives abroad.

This is the first time the PA has acted against land thieves in Bethlehem. The arrests have aroused hope within the local Christian minority that the investigation will lead to the restoration of their land. In January, it was first reported in the Post that Muslim gangsters, including a number of top PA security officers, had illegally seized Christian-owned property in Bethlehem and its surroundings.

In an interview with the Post, an elderly Christian couple, Fuad and Georgette Lama, complained that the gang had laid its hands on their six-dunam, or 1.5 acre, plot in the Karkafa suburb south of Bethlehem. "A lawyer and an official with the Palestinian Authority just came and took our land," said 69-year-old Georgette.
Senior PA security officers subsequently offered to help them kick out the intruders. "We paid them $1,000 so they could help us regain our land," she said. "Instead of giving us back our land, they simply decided to keep it for themselves. They even destroyed all the olive trees and divided the land into small plots, apparently so that they could offer each for sale."
It's great that the Palestinian Authority has decided to act this time - without Fuad & Georgette to pay for it, but all this kind of entrenched thuggery does not bode well for statehood. Would you want the Palestinian Authority for neighbors?


I made a very deliberate decision yesterday not to watch the Cho home videos that have been made widely available in the media. I can’t stop the media from airing a 24/7 Cho-fest but I can choose not to participate by not watching.

In my mind, Cho is not a great mystery of the universe, and consequently, there is no personal value or knowledge to be gained from watching his home videos. Perhaps, if I was a trained psychologist, but I am not. If I were to sum it up I'd say, he was a madman and a crazed killer. I don’t have a definitive philosophy on why some of us are born on the outer edges of the human gene pool per say but I readily accept aberrations happen. We call argue till the cows come home on “why” it happens, but it has never stopped it from happening.

What is far more important to me is where do we go from here? Being a Canadian with a long history of stricter gun control laws than our American neighbors has not left us immune from school shootings. In fact, most Canadian schools have been “gun-free zones” longer than Virginia Tech officially has been, and still we have yet to be insulated us from these kinds of tragedies.

We can legislate from here to tomorrow but what do our laws mean to the Marc Lepine, Kimveer Gill or the Cho’s of our world? I suspect they are not more troubled by them than a moth crossing their path. So where do we go from here? Do we make a 360 degree turn and develop a culture of individual responsibility for self-defense? And if not; why not?

Here’s just one of the things I would like to see happen. Every child in every school across the country, irregardless of age, will have to take mandatory classes in self-defense until high school graduation - with an emphasis in the later grades of secondary school on teaching students how to turn every day objects into weapons.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bad Batteries saves lives

Ynet News reports this:
An indictment filed against him this week revealed that the would-be bomber attempted to activate the device, which weighed 15 kilograms, while traveling on a bus from Jaffa to Rishon Lezion, but failed to do so due to a malfunction, apparently because the batteries were faulty.
I guess one can’t buy Everyready batteries in the PA which is a fact we should all be thankful for.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Manning up

My youngest son passed a benchmark last week, and oddly enough, I have felt out of sorts about it until the events of the past few days. Perhaps, it was because there is no ritual to acknowledge the change and in this - I am decidedly excluded. Maybe, it would have been easier if I could have at least given him a shield, and then I might not have initially felt so out of sorts.

Isaiah Sender is finally was old enough to go to boxing like his older brother and has officially joined the world of men. Yes, I know women box, and even at the club there are a few women training but it’s still the world of men. He is learning the meaning of the phrase to “man-up” in a decidedly old-fashioned way.

The closest I will come to handing him his shield will be later this month when I take Isaiah Sender for his physical and his first piss test. Then I will write a cheque to the provincial boxing association so he will be allowed to step into the ring and learn what it means to fight - to hit and be hit hard.

Every since I dragged his older brother off to boxing, Isaiah has longed to go. I am not sure why the idea of binding up their hands to slip on a pair of gloves and to step into a ring to take on another male in a fight makes their hearts sing with joy but there it is. And it seems it cannot be denied nor should it.

I have told my sons for the first 12 years of their life they are not to fight, and suddenly I am sending them off to learn to do just that. And to do it in a coldly methodical way with precision. I put the bench mark age at 12. There are boys who are younger who box but I am not a big fan of giving the knowledge of hurting without obtaining a bit more experience and judgment than the average 8, 9 or 10 year old possesses. Isaiah Sender should have started this past September but he wanted to play some team sports after school and I encouraged him to do so. Anything to put this day off.

I know I am not progressive nor have I ever claimed the slightest pretense of being. I tried to give my sons a value system which is at odds with most of what passes for ethical education in our schools. I tried to teach my sons to stand up for themselves and not count on the whims of others or the luck of happenstance for their protection. I tried to teach them never to start a fight, nor to hit a girl, a younger/smaller child or a child with an obvious physical limitation. I taught them that it is their moral duty to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves because that is the proper role befitting of a man.

Years ago when their father and I were young, he was at a crowded nightclub when a man started to shoot-up the club. I should have been there that night but I begged off at the last minute because I was tired and I had a bad feeling about going out that night.

While all the patrons tried to run or find cover their father charged directly into the path of the gunman. He took two bullets in the chest, one in the leg and one in the arm before the gunman was within his reach. Then he broke the man’s jaw, collarbone, leg, and nose before he finally collapsed due to his own injuries.

At the hospital that night, I asked him why he didn’t run for cover like everyone else. He turned to me and explained patiently and without fanfare, “K-T, he could have hurt or killed someone. I knew he couldn’t kill me as long as I came in low and bobbed my head to side to side. Everyone was too afraid. His gun was just too small. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hid and watch him hurt someone while I did nothing to stop it.” That’s when I knew I was dating a man, a real man, and I needed to not only take him seriously but accord him the respect due to a man.

I expect many things from my sons but most of my expectations are quite ordinary. I expect them to grow-up, finish school, earn a living, get married and raise their own children, but mostly I want them to grow-up to be moral righteous men. At all times and in all circumstances. And if, G-d forbid, they ever find them in a situation where a gunman is running a muck they will not run and hide while others die around them because they will know not only what it means to man-up, but they will possess the knowledge of how to man-up. No old man will have to die to show them how a man lives his life righteously and manly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chosing to stand against the storm

In the coming days more information will be released about the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech as we struggle to understand. I don’t have any answers or great insight into the whys of such things. I only know that the rain falls on all of us, but what touches me, in the midst of these great storms, is that there are the few who choose to make a stand for others. Ynet News carries news one such story.
WASHINGTON – Prof Liviu Librescu, a senior researcher and lecturer at Virginia Tech, is among the 32 people who were killed during a shooting rampage at the university Monday. His wife, Marlina, and two sons, Arieh and Joe, have already begun making arrangements for his burial in Israel.

One of Prof Librescu's students, Alec Calhoun, who was with him at the classroom when the shooting started, told AP that at about 9:05 am, he and classmates heard "a thunderous sound from the classroom next door, what sounded like an enormous hammer."

When students realized the sounds were gunshots, Calhoun said, they started flipping over desks for hiding places. Others dashed to the windows of the second-floor classroom, kicking out the screens and jumping from the ledge of the room. Calhoun said that just before he climbed out the window, he turned to look at the professor (Librescu), who had stayed behind to block the door.

Librescu's wife drove him to work on Monday, and he was killed about an hour later. His daughter-in-law Ayala, who is married to his son, Joe, told Ynet: "I heard he blocked the door of the classroom he was teaching… he must have realized that the murderer was approaching. He saved his students and was killed by gunshots."

"He has been teaching there for 20 years, and was a senior, world-renowned lecturer. He is the professor with the highest number of publications in the history of Virginia Tech. In the past, he taught at Tel Aviv University and the Technion," she added. Ayala said that her father-in-law was passionate about his research and a dedicated family man.

Prof Librescu and his wife are both Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel from Romania in 1978. Librescu was an accomplished scientist in Romania, and the Communist regime had tried to prevent him from making aliyah to Israel. He was allowed to leave the country only after the Israeli prime minister at the time Menachem Begin appealed the matter to President Nicolae Ceausescu.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Save the bugs from stress!

I wrote earlier this week about feeling out of sync with the world I live in. This Globe and Mail story illustrates exactly what I mean.

VANCOUVER — The lizard lounged, the crickets chirped and the tarantulas perched on fuzzy legs at the edges of a turtle-shaped enclosure, oblivious to their role as stars in a battle of artistic freedom versus animal-welfare concerns.

That was yesterday. As of today, however, the creatures — part of an exhibit called Theatre of the World by renowned Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping — will be gone, removed after the Vancouver Art Gallery decided it could not comply with additional orders from the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals without compromising the artist's work.

The gallery had already made changes to address the agency's concerns about living conditions for reptiles and insects that were part of the exhibit, VAG chief curator Daina Augaitis said yesterday.

But when the B.C. SPCA said the tarantulas and scorpions had to go, the gallery bit back, concluding Saturday that it was unable to accommodate the latest order after consulting with the artist.

As she showed a visitor through the exhibit yesterday, Ms. Augaitis said the order focused on reducing stress for the creatures in the exhibit, a concept she admitted she wrestled with. “Someone's dog gets stressed when their owner goes to work,” Ms. Augaitis said. “To what extent do you go to alleviate stress for a millipede or a toad?”
The mindset of those who think there is a need to alleviate stress for a millipede or a toad is just beyond my ability to comprehend or understand. I must be a deeply flawed creation, as I think the natural environment of bugs and toads to be far harsher and more stressful than the exhibit, and it never occurred to me that there is a need to make their world less harsh or stressful.

Nationalization is the Solution

Nothing grates on my ears more when the catch phrase “right of return” is uttered in the context of a political discussion concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s just such a bogus concept designed to co-opt anyone other than Israel for responsibility of the current international plight of Palestinians refugees.

It's also a very one sided right. Apparently, it applies only to Arabs and we hear no cries demanding that the Arab governments who collectively expelled almost a million of Jewish citizens from their land, for being Jews, discuss even the possibility of return or "just compensation".

The Jerusalem Post is carrying a rather astounding editorial published in Kuwait of all places and written by a Saudi on the “Right of Return”:

In two recent articles in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, Saudi columnist Yousef Nasser Al-Sweidan argues that the Palestinian refugees' "right of return" cannot be implemented, and that the only solution is for them to be naturalized in the countries where they currently reside, according to MEMRI - the Middle East Media Research Project.

In the first article, published on March 5 and titled "On the impossible [idea] of the right of return," Sweidan wrote: "The slogan 'right of return'... which is brandished by Palestinian organizations, is perceived as one of the greatest difficulties and as the main obstacle to renewing and advancing the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the road map and a two-state solution.

"It is patently obvious that uprooting the descendants of the refugees from their current homes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other countries, and returning them to Israel, to the West Bank, and to Gaza is a utopian ideal and [a recipe for] anarchy. More than that - it is an idea that cannot be implemented, not only because it would upset the demographic [balance] in a dangerous and destructive manner and have [far-reaching] political, economic and social ramifications in such a small and constrained geographical area, but [mainly] because the return [of the refugees] stands in blatant contradiction to Israel's right as a sovereign [state], while the Palestinian Authority lacks the infrastructure to absorb such a large number of immigrants as long as the peace process... is not at its peak."

"Clearly, the refugee problem is mainly the result of cumulative mistakes made by the countries where [the refugees] live... such as Syria and Lebanon, which have isolated the refugees in poor and shabby camps lacking the most basic conditions for a dignified human existence.

"Instead of helping them to become fully integrated in their new society, they let them become victims of isolation and suffering... Later, the worst of all happened when Arab intelligence agencies used the Palestinian organizations as a tool for settling scores in internal Arab conflicts that probably have nothing to do with the Palestinians...

"The Israelis, on the other hand, were civilized and humane in their treatment of the thousands of Jewish refugees who had lost their property, homes and businesses in the Arab countries, and who were forced to emigrate to Israel after the 1948 war. The Israeli government received them, helped them, and provided them with all the conditions [they needed] to become integrated in their new society...

"The lies of the Syrian Ba'th regime, and its trading in slogans like 'right of return,' 'steadfastness,' 'resistance,' 'national struggle' and all the other ridiculous [slogans], are evident from the fact that, to this day, dozens of Palestinian families [remain] stranded in the desert on the Syrian-Iraqi border, because the Syrian regime refuses to let them enter its horrifying Ba'th republic and return to the Yarmouk [refugee] camp.

"The Arab countries where the Palestinians live in refugee camps must pass the laws necessary to integrate the inhabitants of these camps into society. "[In addition, they must] provide them with education and health services, and allow them freedom of occupation and movement and the right to own real estate, instead of [continuing] their policy of excluding [the refugees] and leaving the responsibility [of caring for them] to others, while marketing the impossible illusion of return [to Palestine]," Sweidan wrote, according to MEMRI.
Ah, finally a resemblance of sanity. I feel like I need to pinch myself. There is more – go read it here. But I cannot help but wonder how long before a Fatwa is issued against this Saudi?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So much for international solidarity

Ynet News is reporting that an alleged Al-Qaeda Palestinian terror group operating in the Gaza strip has beheaded BBC reporter Alan Johnston.:
BBC reporter Alan Johnston has been killed by an al-Qaeda affilated Palestinian organization, according to an internet statement obtained by Ynetnews. The statement was signed by the Palestinian Jihad and Tawheed Brigades, an organization named after an Iraqi al-Qaeda group.

Responding to the statement, the BBC said it is "aware of these reports -- but we have no independent verification of them. We are deeply concerned about what we are hearing -- but we stress, at this stage, it is rumour with no independent verification."In the message, the group said the British and Palestinian governments were responsible for Johnston's killing, and vowed to release a video of the execution.

"The whole world knows of our just cause in demanding the release of our prisoners, who are waiting under the fire of the occupation," the statement began. "Our demand was that all of those who are responsible for the journalist... release our prisoners who are being held in the prisons of the occupation," it continued.

"The whole world made so much noise about this foreign journalist, while it took no action over our thousands of prisoners," the declaration said. "Our objective was to broadcast a clear message, and we were surprised by the position of the Palestinian Authority, which attempted to hide the case as much as it could and to present the case in an untruthful manner, leading us unfortunately to kill the journalist so that our message is understood," the declaration continued. "We will disseminate a video in which we show his killing soon to the media outlets," the statement said.

"And we lay the responsibility on the the PA presidency, Palestinian government, and the British government for the blood of the its journalist son. And we confirm that our demands for the release of our prisoners in the occupation jails still stands. We will not relent until we release them all, free and dignified," the message added.

Meanwhile the Abductor General of the Palestinian Authority meets with BBC Director to reassure him that he has “credible evidence” that Alan Johnston is alive and well.

So you got to ask yourself why doesn’t the Abductor General just send in the security forces to extract him? I mean, really how big is the Gaza Strip? He can’t be that hard to find for PA security forces. It’s what the FBI, Scotland Yard or the RCMP would do, but no can do in the PA - not when the name of the game is extortion.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Out of Time

How can you tell its spring time in Toronto? The electrical power went off for about 5 minutes this morning. If the experience of the last two years is any kind of precedent to go by - this will be happening from here on in - on a twice weekly basis until the fall. It’s far too cold to run an air conditioner, so I suspect this has very little to do with over consumption of resources, and has all to do with the chronic mismanagement of the electrical company by the provincial authorities.

Only Isaiah Sender and I were awake. We sat on the sofa for a little chat and rage at the powers that be, who in their infinite political wisdom, had four years to resolve the chronic power outages and have yet to take any kind of definite action.

When the power came back on so did the television. I settled-in to watch a little Scooby-Doo with my son. I must have been around 7-8 years old when Scooby-Doo was first released as a weekend morning cartoon. I even remember reading the comics. I thought I knew all about Scooby-Doo, but this new Scooby-Doo no longer resemblances the cartoon of my childhood.

Today’s episode revolves around helping the poor misunderstood Wicca’s. There was even a nice long preachy bit concerning the history and persecution of Wicca’s. Today’s message; Wicca’s are our Hex-friends and earth-sisters.

A very old friend of mine dropped in earlier this week to visit me. We have been friends for years but have sort of drifted apart due to our lifestyles moving in separate ways in the last five years. It really started when she insisted on marrying a man who claimed to be a Druid.

Things haven’t been going very well lately so they decided a little ‘date time’ was in order to spruce up their marriage. Apparently, there are now Vampire Bars in Toronto where people go to drink their own blood but you have to bring your own syringe. I suppose is a kind of a small mercy that the bar does not supply the syringes. No doubt the blood drinkers are merely misunderstood too.

Next week’s date is to take place in some kind of S&M bar and she wants me to go with her and her husband. Apparently, she feels the need of my moral support and tried to bribe me with the promise of buying me an entire new outfit to wear to this place. For some unspoken reason she assumes I have nothing suitable to wear.

Besides, she tells me, my widowhood will never end unless I start going out again. I think I’d pass on the clothes and the bar, and choose to stay a widow for a lot longer. I rather like my style of conservatism and don’t think I really want a place among the liberal and tolerant.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Zionist Blood Melons of Death

For the last two years or so, I have blogged repeatedly about the Zionist death rays, bananas, grape juice, handshakes, toys, computers and even the two Zionist dogs - which had the effrontery to cross the Israeli border in an apparent infiltration attempt. But on the ball Lebanese policemen captured the dogs, and the security forces despatched the dogs to the Lebanese Army headquarter in Beirut for further investigation/interrogation.

Now I have blood melons to add to the list. Ynet News reports:
"Beware of Israeli melons infected with AIDS arriving in Saudi Arabia!" is the latest rumor being spread throughout Saudi Arabia like a wildfire. An SMS message being sent around the country this week said, "The Saudi Interior Ministry warns its citizens of a truck loaded with AIDS infected melons that Israel brought into the country via a 'ground corridor.'"

The Interior Minister's spokesman General Mansour al Turki responded to news of the message and made it clear to a-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that the Ministry "did not issue any such announcement. This is just a rumor."

This is not the first rumor to spread through the country recently. Just last month another rumor had it that sweets containing carcinogenic flour were being sold in many stores. Al Turki urged the public to ignore such passing rumors, and said that the authorities were doing everything in their power to ensure the citizens' wellbeing. Head of the center for chemicals and toxins in Mecca, Dr Ahmad Elias also stressed that there was no truth to these rumors.

Besides the obvious lunacy, there should have been another sign to act as a major heads up for all concerned Saudis. Saudi Arabia has yet to end its boycott of all things Israeli; therefore, Zionist blood melons cannot be legally imported into the kingdom. Of course, if the Zionist Mossad dogs are running a black market in Blood Melons - all bets are off.

My attempt to get back into the loop

The last few days have been filled with much personal and boring kind of stuff, hence, little blogging. I’m trying to come back up to speed.

I see Don Imus has been fired. If it wasn’t for Larry King Live I wouldn’t even know who he is, and for the life of me it I don’t actually know what he said about a black women’s college basketball team. I gather it was reprehensible and despicable. Ok, whatever, but now that Imus has been duly roasted and pilloried can we send The Reverend Al “Tawana” Sharpton to perdition as well? For the life of me, I cannot understand why the media gives the Reverend the time of day - let alone airplay.

Kurt Vonnegut Junior has died at 84. There was a time when I read Vonnegut. I was about 14 or 15. His books made me laugh and I thought he was edgy. Like I said I was teenager and it was the 70’s. I haven’t been able to pick up a Vonnegut book in the last 20 years and been able to get past the first chapter. His books now bore me senseless. So much for the voice of a generation.

The Honourable Belinda Stronach has decided to quit politics. I got to hand it to Stronach. She found a way to be referred to as honourable publicly - despite her less than stellar moral conduct.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Quick Hits

I have a rather busy morning so only a few short links.

Israel rejects the Palestinian list of prisoners. Surprise, surprise.

Hezbollah is rearming and reading itself for a new summer war with Israel. Surprise, surprise.

Israeli court appointed lawyers for Hezbollah detainees from last summer’s conflict argue that their clients should be treated as prisoners of war rather than enemy combatants. So maybe there’s some truth in a joke that was going around last summer – Hezbollah is Lebanon and the rest are just tourists.

The new Palestinian Fatah-Unity government has appointed a new Minister of Tourism. I can't wait to see the brochures promoting the highlights of a tour of the Gaza Strip - and will it include guided tours of the tunnels? The jokes just write themselves with that one, but its got to be a thankless job.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Robbing Dov, Ruth, Eli, Hannah, Ariel, Shlomo, Shoshanna, Yitzhak, et al to pay Mohammed

Israeli Corporal Gilad Schalit’s kidnappers have allegedly sent the Israelis a shopping list of who’s who of convicted Palestinian terrorists to exchange for Corporal Schalit. The Jerusalem Post carries this report:
Initifada leader Marwan Barghouti is among the hundreds of prisoners the captors of IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit want freed in a swap, the Palestinian Authority information minister said Monday. Schalit's captors handed the names of Palestinian prisoners they want freed to Israel several days ago, through Egyptian mediators. Little is known about the list, including the number of names on it.

However, PA Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti confirmed Monday that two of the most senior Palestinian prisoners, Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat, are on the list. The information minister and the prisoner are distant relatives. Marwan Barghouti, seen as a potential successor to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is serving five consecutive life terms for his role in shooting attacks that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk. Saadat heads the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. "The list of the prisoners we want released very soon includes the names of Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat, and many other people who had been there for a long time," Mustafa Barghouti said.

According to reports in the Palestinian media earlier Monday, Schalit's captors were also demanding the release of Hassan Salameh as part of any prisoner swap. Salameh is responsible for planning several suicide attacks against Israel that were carried out as a response to an IDF assassination in 1996, Israel Radio reported Monday. Hamas is also demanding the release of Fuad Shubaki, a high-ranking Fatah official and the paymaster of the 2001 Karine-A affair, during which the IDF intercepted a Gaza-bound Iranian weapons ship. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper reported that a planned deal for Schalit's release will be implemented in three stages.

Let me summarize. The really hardcore bad guys with multiple buckets of blood on their hands go first. Then Schalit will be turned over to the Egyptian government and be held by the Egyptian authorities until the Palestinian terrorists with only a bucket of Israeli blood in each hand are released by Israel. I would have thought for the Egyptian authorities to agree to hold Schalit as hostage would be at least one violation of the Camp David Peace accord but what do I really know? Anyways, the Egyptians will turn Schalit over to Israel after the release of the second group. Within two months of Schalit's release to Israel, the terrorist with only one bucket of blood will be released by Israel. That is, if you can believe in the good faith of the Palestinian terrorists who are allegingly holding Schalit captive.

Unlike the 15 British naval personnel held captive by Iran there has been absolutely no communication by any third party showing Schalit alive and relatively well. Neither the Red Cross nor any other human rights organization has been allowed to communicate with Corporal Schalit - even briefly. There hasn’t even been a Palestinian equivalent of the Iranian home movies showing Corporal Schalit alive. Not one letter penned in Corporal Schalit’s hand has been delivered to either his parents or Israeli authorities - nor released to the international media. Media reports in the immediate aftermath suggested that the IDF believed Schalit was seriously wounded, perhaps grievously, in the attack launched by Popular Resistance Committee. One needs to be asking why no proof has even been offered that Schalit is still alive.

Looking at the who’s who of Palestinian terror elite who are to be released in the first stage, I would suggest it would be safe to conclude that the Palestinian’s are going for the gold the first round out. One must ask why? G-d forbid, but is this the proof Schalit is dead? Are the Palestinian giving their wish list with the heavy hitters knowing that they cannot deliver Schalit to Egypt for the round two?

Or is subterfuge at work here? The Palestinians know Schalit is dead, and cannot produce a living Schalit to the Egyptian (let alone Israeli) authorities, so they develop this incredibly contentious list and conditions which no Israeli government in good conscience could agree to adhering; thereby, claiming a propaganda victory. And if by chance Olmert is the fool everyone claims he is and he agrees to the conditions – then the Palestinians will get a few hundred of their most hardcore killers out in the first round before their deception can be documented. And really, what can Israel do but batten down the hatches and prepare for more civilian deaths?

Shoshana Amos, Aviel Atash, Vitaly Brodsky, Tamara Dibrashvilli, Raisa Forer, Larisa Gomanenko, Denise Hadad, Tatiana Kortchenko, Rosita Lehman, Karine Malka, Nargiz Ostrovsky, Maria Sokolov, Roman Sokolovsky, Tiroayent Takala, Eliyahu Uzan, Emmanuel Yosef (Yosefov) Senior Warrant Officer Haim Alfasi, Chief Warrant Officer Yaakov Ben-Shabbat, Cpl. Mazi Grego, Capt. Yael Kfir, Cpl. Felix Nikolaichuk, Sgt. Yonatan Peleg, Sgt. Efrat Schwartzman, Prosper Twito, Sgt. Liron Siboni, Dr. David Appelbaum, Nava Appelbaum, David Shimon Avizadris, Shafik Kerem, Alon Mizrahi, Gila Moshe and Yehiel (Emil) Tubol, Avraham (Albert) Balhasan, Rose Boneh, Hava Hannah (Anya) Bonder, Anat Darom, Viorel Octavian Florescu, Natalia Gamril, Yechezkel Isser Goldberg, Baruch (Roman) Hondiashvili, Dana Itach, Mehbere Kifile and Eli Zfira

These are the names of Israelis who were brutally murdered since 2003 by Palestinian terrorists who were first released in prisoner exchanges. What is missing are the names of those wounded and maimed in those same multiple attacks. I suggest everyone read Caroline Glick’s latest column in the Jerusalem Post - The Next Grand Bargain before you read any more of this blog posting.
But I will offer this quote taken directly the end of her column:
Schalit was kidnapped by a joint Hamas-Fatah force. The government could place sanctions such as travel bans on PA Chairman and Fatah terror chief Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister and Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh and their associates. So too, the government could order the Prisons Service to prevent jailed terrorists from talking to reporters, politicians and European diplomats and so end the anomalous state of affairs whereby convicted murderers like arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti are allowed to engage in psychological warfare against Israeli society and serve as power brokers in Palestinian society from prison.

Since last summer, the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government has taken no steps that would lead either the Palestinians or Hizbullah to view Schalit, Regev and Goldwasser's illegal captivity as a burden. Rather, like their bosses in Teheran, the terrorists have all benefited from their criminal behavior.

Because of the fecklessness of our leaders, we lost a war we should have won and our hostages, who soldiers like Nadav Baeloha heroically gave their lives to free, have remained in captivity.

As Hizbullah, Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians show daily with their escalating saber-rattling, our leaders' continued incompetence since the war has brought us ever closer to a new war. Now, through their cowardly and unnecessary genuflections to our enemies, made under the preening cover of feigned concern for the lives of our hostages they have done nothing to free, Olmert and his associates place the lives of every one of us in danger.

While Glick offers viable suggestions on what the Kadima coalition could have done, I would go a few steps further than even Glick, and suggest its long past the time for Israeli society to openly debate the death penalty for anyone convicted of 2 or more multiple deaths arising from any politically motivated terror attack on civilians. The Palestinians have a long bloodied history of local and international terror attacks launched with the sole motivation of freeing Palestinian terrorists from jail. Let’s just start at Munich and work our way forward to Schalit.

I am not naïve, nor do I believe that by executing killers will deter the terror masters but it could substantially reduce the chance of any future Israeli government being held hostage by terrorists. It would also effectively stop the practise of using murderers as legitimate currency in which to meet any ransom demand issued by terrorists. Oh, and before anyone suggests it; I would be more than willing to apply for the job as state executioner. It’s the one government job in which I don’t believe my poor command of Hebrew would negatively affect my job performance.