Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Little Law & Little Order in the Land of Milk and Honey

There is always so much information posted about the various and sundry olive tree sagas in the territories but how often does one read about the honey wars? Arutz Sheva carries this report:
Honey producers are furious at what they term the "anarchy" that enables Arabs from Judea and Samaria to steal Jewish honey with impunity and at the sharp rise in such thefts in the past two months. The Jewish honey producers are threatening to take the law into their own hands, and have made this message clear to their Arab counterparts in Judea and Samaria.

Shimshon Erlinger, Deputy General Manager of Israel's Honey Council, says that 900 beehives were stolen from Israel by PA Arabs in the past two months alone, as compared with 1,500 stolen beehives in all of 2006. Most of the thefts are from the Sharon and Emek Hefer areas, and are usually carried out with the help of Israeli- Arabs, who use sealed trucks with Israeli license plates to ferry the contraband into PA territory.

Erlinger says there are "massive orders" in the PA for stolen Israeli honey, and that Arab honey producers' ineptness causes many of their hives to collapse. "The easiest solution is to plunder the Jews," he told IsraelNationalNews Tuesday.

"The state of Israel has abandoned us," says Erlinger. "When they do catch a thief, they release him in less time than it took you to file the complaint. In the end he gets a plea bargain, pays a small fine, and goes off happily to steal again. The producer, however, has been devastated."

"From now on we will not be tzadikim (saints)," says Erlinger. "We have decided that when we go on raids we will not only return the hives that are clearly marked as Israeli, but also the ones that have had the identifying marks removed. Let them chase us instead of us chasing them."

Erlinger is quick to point out a connection to the case of Shai Dromi, the farmer who shot Bedouin thieves - killing one of them - who poisoned his dog and attempted to steal sheep. "Whoever thinks Shai Dromi is an exceptional case doesn't know where he is living," he says. "If the state doesn't wake up and defend its citizens, the citizens will take the law into their own hands. Shai Dromi is a spark, and if this doesn't light the spotlight on the issue what comes later could be anarchy."

Erlinger says he met with an Arab honey producer from the Jericho area and told him, "If we are unable to grow bees, neither will you. We will make your lives miserable. Just as we can't sleep at nights, you won't sleep at nights."

And to think Canada’s Foreign Minister suggests it’s the Settlers and settlement growth in the territories which is the main obstacle in the way of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time for some better news.

Ynet News is reporting that Olmert’s popularity is now down to 3% and if an election was held tomorrow; Likud would be backed in the driver’s seat with Israel Our Home party riding shotgun.
If elections were held today, the governing Kadima party would receive a mere nine mandates, according to a telephone poll carried out by the Smith Institute for Ynet. While Kadima is collapsing in public opinion, favor is returning for the Likud party. According to the poll, Likud would triumph in hypothetical elections with a full 32 mandates.

Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu was perceived as the person best suited to serve as prime minister, earning 34 percent support and beating out his competitors by a large margin. After Netanyahu, those surveyed favored Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Labor Knesset Member Ami Ayalon, who each earned the support of 16 percent, then Ehud Barak with 8 percent. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert trailed with only 3 percent of the vote.

The survey, which was carried out Monday evening, questioned 500 adults over the age of 18 and had a 4.5 percent error margin. Those polled pledged their votes for the political parties as follows:

Likud: 32 mandates
Israel Our Home: 10
Kadima: 9
Labor: 9
Shas: 8
National Union-NRP: 6
United Torah Judaism: 5
Meretz: 4
Pensioners: 3
Undecided: 24
Total: 120

Who knew Olmert had so much family in Israel that he could still garnish even 3% support levels? Maybe garnish is the operative word here.

Netanyahu communicates exceptionally well in English but I am not all that amoured of him (I remember Hevron & Wye River). He has waded far too deep into American pockets for my comfort zone but it would be nice to have a semblance of grown-ups running the country. I am not a big fan of Leiberman’s transfer plan, but he does provide hours of fun.

Personally, I would be rooting for Lieberman to receive the defense portfolio which would have the double benefit of keeping Netanyahu too busy putting out fires to get up to much else - while the Palestinians would be busy going into full cardiac arrest imaging Lieberman releasing his inner Russian on them.

Gee, I am not only alive and well but I don't have a penis - The Redux

From Halls of Macadamia I learned there is to be one of those lists drawn-up for "Smart" Canadian Women political bloggers via Liberal Catnip, who has taken it upon herself to provide such a top ten list of smart Canadian women political bloggers to Lord Voldemort of I-Sue-bloggers. But of course, there is a caveat. Isn’t that always the way with a liberal?

The 2006 Weblog Winner for Best Canadian Blog, and probably one of the top 3 Canadian political bloggers of all-time, doesn’t pass Catnip’s sniff test. And it’s not just her, but any bloggers "just like her." No doubt in liberalese this translates into "conservative" or "libertarian conservative" women just won’t make the list or the grade.

Ironically, Catnip has now changed her criteria. No longer will nominations be confined to solely "smart" Canadian women political bloggers. Now she will accept any "smart" female Canadian bloggers because - are you ready for this - “there are some women who intersperse 'political' issues with personal postings (as I do here as well, occasionally). Okay. That would seem to make my task much more vast then. 'Politics' is much more than discussions about political parties etc. It is personal."

So until, she and others just like her find a method to permanently gag me - I’ll post this once more.

I don’t know how many times I have to write this. But once again for the record: I do not have a penis nor am I an angry white male. I may write from a more conservative viewpoint but that does not mean that I have suddenly sprouted testes beside my ovaries. The only balls I ever had were brass ones. For frack’s sake, I am not some angry white male poser in drag hiding behind a computer screen.

Why do lefties and liberals maintain that there are no female conservative voices of note in the blogsphere – even in the Canadian blogsphere? And why almost down to the last woman blogging do they continue to propagate this myth that conservative right wing bloggers are all angry white males? I am so bleeding tired of liberal pundits suggesting that my voice and my readership are irrelevant to any discussion of discourse in the Canadian political blogsphere because I am a conservative female blogger; ergo, I don’t exist. Is there a litmus test of blog femininity that not only did I not know about - but I somehow managed to unknowingly fail? If that isn’t the politics of sexism - what is?

I have never met the other Kate (of Small Dead Animals) but I have met Lisa (of The London Fog) and Kathy Shaidle, and Wendy of Girl on the Right . There isn't a penis in the lot. But there are far more quality conservative female voices out there churning out punditry everyday then is commonly allowed for in the narrow confides of the liberal belief system.

And here’s a tip – we are all punching far beyond our weight, which is more than I can say for more than a few liberal girlie-man bloggers. Oh, and for the record, I owe more to Margaret Thatcher than I do to women’s lib.

Palestine already exists

And enter at your own risk writes Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post:

And so it is that as statesmen and activists worldwide loudly proclaim their commitment to establishing the sovereign State of Palestine, they miss the fact that Palestine exists. And it is a nightmare.

In the State of Palestine 88 percent of the public feels insecure. Perhaps the other 12 percent are members of the multitude of regular and irregular militias. For in the State of Palestine the ratio of police/militiamen/men-under-arms to civilians is higher than in any other country on earth.

In the State of Palestine, two-year-olds are killed and no one cares. Children are woken up in the middle of the night and murdered in front of their parents. Worshipers in mosques are gunned down by terrorists who attend competing mosques. And no one cares. No international human rights groups publish reports calling for an end to the slaughter. No UN body condemns anyone or sends a fact-finding mission to investigate the murders.

In the State of Palestine, women are stripped naked and forced to march in the streets to humiliate their husbands. Ambulances are stopped on the way to hospitals and wounded are shot in cold blood. Terrorists enter operating rooms in hospitals and unplug patients from life-support machines.

In the State of Palestine, people are kidnapped from their homes in broad daylight and in front of the television cameras. This is the case because the kidnappers themselves are cameramen. Indeed, their commanders often run television stations. And because terror commanders run television stations in the State of Palestine, it should not be surprising that they bomb the competition's television stations.

SO IT WAS that last week, terrorists from this group or that group bombed Al Arabiya television station in Gaza. And so it is that Hamas attacks Fatah radio announcers and closes down their radio station claiming that they use their microphones to incite murder. Because indeed, they are inciting murder. What would one expect for terrorists to do when placed in charge of a radio station?

And so it is that in the State of Palestine
As usual Glick’s column is well worth the full read but I couldn’t resist posting a second clip from this column:
As Ibrahim Gambari, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, noted last Thursday, official Western aid to the Palestinians, not including Arab and Iranian support for Hamas and Fatah, increased by 10 percent in 2006 over 2005, and stood at $1.2 billion.

The Palestinians, who receive more aid per capita than any people on earth, are needy not because they lack funds. They are poor because they prefer poverty, violence and war to prosperity, peace and moderation. So it is that 57 percent of Palestinians support terror attacks against Israel.

And so much for the international boycott of the Hamas Palestinian Authority.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This quiz is so fixed.

I can’t believe I got classified as Jules Verne. I loathe Jules Verne. That will teach me to do a quiz by a blog called AC@43.
I am:
Jules Verne
The 19th century Frenchman who made science fiction into a successful commercial genre.

Which science fiction writer are you?

For the record, I look nothing like Jules Verne. Besides, I have much longer hair.

When is a ceasefire not a ceasefire?

It’s hard not to believe that the Olmert/Kadima administration is far more concerned with strengthening and propping up the Palestinian Authority Chairman than protecting the lives of Israelis. Think that’s a little harsh? In the interest of perspective I would bring your attention to this report carried by Arutz Sheva:
Two Kassam rockets were fired at Israeli cities from Gaza Sunday night – one toward Sderot and the other toward Ashkelon. No injuries were reported. The rockets were fired by the Islamic Jihad terror group, which has been largely standing on the sidelines as Fatah and Hamas battle it out in the streets of Gaza. Islamic Jihad’s statement taking credit for the rockets called upon all Arab factions to unite toward the common goal of killing Jews.

I was keeping track of the number of kassam attacks launched by the Palestinians into Israel since the ceasefire. By the end of December my tally was 62. After that point, I realized the only defense the Olmert Administration was capable of launching or keeping up was denial. It seems pointless to keep a tally in order to see which number would finally force the Olmert administration to act in defense of Israelis. If the government hasn’t acted by 62; then 100 or 1000 rockets later are completely irrelevant in the face of this type of willful denial.

A show of Palestinian unity

A suicide bomber has imploded in a bakery in Eilat Israel reports Ynet News:
Three people were killed and two others were critically wounded Monday morning in an suicide bombing attack that rocked a shopping area located in Eilat’s Izidor neighborhood.

Police confirmed that a suicide bomber blew himself up in a bakery in the neighborhood that was bustling with shoppers at the time, dispelling earlier reports that the blast was caused by a gas cylinder.

Three Palestinian groups, the Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - Fatah's military wing - as well as the previously unknown 'Army of the Believers,' carried out the attack, a Palestinian official who refused to be identified told Ynet.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least to discover that all three groups pooled resources to make this horrendous event happen.

This suicide bombing represents the first successful attempt to kill Israelis via suicide bombing in 8 months or so but it is by no means signals a “return” to death via suicide bomber. The Palestinians have never stopped sending in their bombers and so there can be no return until there is an end.

It is only the first attempt in 8 months or so which has successfully harmed more than just the bomber. According to the Israel Resource Review the Israeli security forces stopped over 187 suicide bombing attacks against Israel in 2006. Not quite the “hudna” you probably thought it was.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's a good thing I don't make my living predicting the future

As the tribe would probably need to go to a soup kitchen for breakfast. Ynet News is reporting that an assassination attempt was thwarted against Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas escaped an assassination attempt last week. Four large explosive devices were uncovered by Abbas' security officers on the road leading from the Erez crossing to Gaza, as the Palestinian president left Ramallah and was about to travel on that route. Upon discovering the devices, Abbas' security officers instructed him to return to Ramallah. The explosive devices were detonated by sappers of the Presidential Guard.

The assassination attempt took place while the Palestinian president was on his way to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to discuss the establishment of a national unity government. Fatah officials preferred to keep the incident a secret and not publish it, in a bid to discourage additional attempts to assassinate Abbas.

Abbas' convoy is usually comprised of at least 20 vehicles, accompanied by police and national security forces and by his personal bodyguards, who have also been trained in the United States. Abbas travels in a secured vehicle, but the explosive devices uncovered were so strong that the car would not have prevented him from getting hurt.

I really didn’t expect to see Abbas live as long as he has and fully expected a year ago to see Abbas go into exile if he was to survive this long. Abbas is a very weak Fatah leader who divides Fatah rather than being a figure in which all the various and sundry fractions can unite around. Speaking of being united, Fatah/Hamas forces continue to clash marking the death toll for this weekend at 24.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Makes you wonder if the Palestinians can afford Peace

I wouldn't be surprised if the average Palestinian "moderate" is now thinking terror pays.Ynet News:
As if the violence were not enough, the Palestinian Authority has also recently logged an increased number of homeless children. For this problem, however, some Palestinian families seem to have found a unique, if tragic, solution.

Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Issa Qaraqe told Ynet of an increasing phenomenon of Palestinian minors deliberately provoking IDF soldiers at checkpoints in order to be arrested, and thus receive shelter in Israeli prisons. "Prison time provides these lads with shelter, and also provides their families with prisoners' benefits," Qaraqe explained.

"We were actually amazed to find that some families encourage such a phenomenon in order to reduce expenses, and primarily to receive the weekly benefits given by the Palestinian government to the family of every prisoner," he added. Qaraqe recounted a recent visit to a family whose underage son had been arrested: "I started to comfort the father and was amazed to hear him say that it's actually not so bad, because now the family will receive a government benefit. It will be their only income."

According to Qaraqe, such sentiments by parents illustrate the financial and emotional hardships suffered by Palestinian families over the past year. "How can one explain a parent who not only isn't sad that his son is in jail, but rather, encourages him to go there?" Qaraqe queried. "These people are sick, and it indicates the severe deterioration of Palestinian society over the past year."
This certainly isn’t a new cultural phenomenon among the Palestinians. I am reminded of the various olive tree fiascos whereby Palestinians started to cut down their own trees to receive compensation from the Israeli government for alleged settler violence to their livelihood.

“Peace is due and peace is forthcoming” says Mahmoud Abbas

My day is looking rather challenging so just a broad over view:

The IDF managed to blow 2 Hezbollah bunkers that were found on the Israeli side of the security fence.

And Israeli Prime Minister Olmert maintains last summer’s war with Lebanon was a success. I am sure it must be either the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s or he may be referring to the fact he is still in power in spite of the futile and unsuccessful war with Lebanon coupled with the failure to meet any of his stated war objectives.

There is something surreal reading in Ynet News about Israeli Foreign Minister’s speech at the World Economic Forum:
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on the idea of two states living side by side in peace. Speaking at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Livni said that a Palestinian state is ''not an illusion. It's there, it's achievable.''

Meanwhile kassam’s continue to rain down into Israel and how about that ceasefire! But back to Davos:
The WEF hosted a panel of 2,500 world leaders, which was also attended by Vice Premier Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Livni called on the international community to support moderates in the Middle East and told Palestinian President Abbas that ''compromising with extremists will not promote anything.''

Abbas listened intently, nodding his head, and afterward greeted her warmly with a long handshake. He reiterated that if he cannot form a unity government with Hamas officials, he would move to call early elections, but gave no specific timetable.

Livni spoke after Abbas said peace between Israel and the Palestinian territories was a concept whose time had come. In remarks at the session, Abbas said that "peace is due and peace is forthcoming."
Abbas must be referring to the peace of the grave considering it was just a week or so ago that PA Chairman (and alleged moderate) Abbas was calling on Palestinians to turn their guns on the Israelis.

And finally, don’t think all is well between Fatah and Hamas. The stakes just got upped again.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

There’s nothing left for it but to nuke Toronto

The weather has finally turned cold. It’s probably -15C and with the wind chill it probably feels closer to -30C which really doesn’t bother me too much as I have the right clothes for it. But as I walked home from work tonight I saw something that sent a chill down my spine about three houses down from where I live. And if you know anything about 19th Toronto style townhouses, you would understand there is less than 75 feet distance from that house to mine.

I saw a rat, a big beast of one too, about a foot long and fat, gnawing away on one of those evil green plastic bins which the Environ-Nazis who run city hall make us use for food wastes. I got Rogue the Predator to deal with the freeloading mice who attempted to take over my home two years ago. Rogue made quick work of the mice and has been doing an outstanding job ever since. No one can ever accuse him of being a slacker but this spawn of Satan may be more than a match for him. And where you will see one out in the front yard, close to the traffic and people in the late afternoon; you can bet there’s more that look just like him.

Now if I was living in a truly civilized place, like say the last homey house on Pleasant Ridge Road in the lower Miramichi I could do what all decent civilized people do when a big ugly fucker of a rat comes into your yard. Send out the Last Amazon out with a shot-gun to blow that sucker to kingdom come.

Of course, I don't live in a decent civilized place populated by sane normal people. Instead, I live in downtown Toronto where they won’t even let you use pesticides to kill weeds on your lawn. Let alone take a shot-gun to a rat. I can hear what some of the sane among you are already thinking - taking a shot-gun to rat is overkill, but I am a huge fan of disproportionate force.

This city so sucks.

No doubt about it - Liberal leader Stephane Dion knows his Liberals

Earlier this week he suggested the Liberal party is the party of convictions. I really just thought of it as one of those little silly language gaffes but now I think he’s really onto something.

h/t National News Watch

When the Palestinians land grab - no one cares for the victims

While the systematic persecution of Christians or minorities is nothing new under the sun in Arab countries it nevertheless is not the least bit heartening to see the Palestinian Authority playing true to type. Jerusalem Post carries this article highlighting the plight of Christian Arabs in Bethlehem:
A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city. The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

According to the families, many Christians have long been afraid to complain in public about the campaign of "intimidation" for fear of retaliation by their Muslim neighbors and being branded "collaborators" with Israel. But following an increase in attacks on Christian-owned property in the city over the past few months, some Christians are no longer afraid to talk about the ultra-sensitive issue. And they are talking openly about leaving the city.

"The situation is very dangerous," said Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of the Beit Sahur-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station. "I believe that 15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here. This is a very sad situation."

Qumsiyeh, one of the few Christians willing to speak about the harsh conditions of their community, has been the subject of numerous death threats. His house was recently attacked with fire-bombs, but no one was hurt. Qumsiyeh said he has documented more than 160 incidents of attacks on Christians in the area in recent years.

He said a monk was recently roughed up for trying to prevent a group of Muslim men from seizing lands owned by Christians in Beit Sahur. Thieves have targeted the homes of many Christian families and a "land mafia" has succeeded in laying its hands on vast areas of land belonging to Christians, he added.

Fuad and Georgette Lama woke up one morning last September to discover that Muslims from a nearby village had fenced off their family's six-dunam 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 Lama.

The couple was later approached by senior PA security officers who offered to help them kick out the intruders from the land. "We paid them $1,000 so they could help us regain our land," she said, almost in tears. "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." When her 72-year-old husband, Fuad, went to the land to ask the intruders to leave, he was severely beaten and threatened with guns.

"My husband is after heart surgery and they still beat him," Georgette Lama said. "These people have no heart. We're afraid to go to our land because they will shoot at us. Ever since the beating, my husband is in a state of trauma and has difficulties talking." The Lamas have since knocked on the doors of scores of PA officials in Bethlehem seeking their intervention, but to no avail. At one stage, they sent a letter to Abbas, who promised to launch an investigation.

"We heard that President Mahmoud Abbas is taking our case very seriously," said Georgette Lama. "But until now he hasn't done anything to help us get our land back. We are very concerned because we're not the only ones suffering from this phenomenon. Most Christians are afraid to speak, but I don't care because we have nothing more to lose."
Usually, there is very little the west can do to stop or protect the persecution of minorities in Arab countries, but considering the Palestinian Authority cannot exist without the largess of the western governments and the various NGO's operating in the West Bank and Gaza; we do have a lever to pull in this case. Regrettably, what we lack is a political will to demand the Palestinians act decently and humanly towards all the minority groups under its authority.

and your children shall impoverish you

Ynet News covered Israeli millionaire Benny Landa’s speech at the Herzliya Conference (the same conference that SFB Canadian Foreign Minister spoke at the other day) and delivered his message to Israelis – have fewer children. Ynet News covers the highlights:
Israel should work to lower the birth rate in the country, millionaire Benny Landa, founder of Indigo, a market leader in digital color printing systems, said Tuesday. Landa was speaking at the Herzliya Conference held by the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Interdisciplinary Center. Landa advocated lowering the Israeli birthrate to salvage the economy.

“We are quickly marching towards becoming a third world country. Children under the age of 14 in Israel constitute 28 percent of the population, twice the average in the western world, and that puts an enormous burden on employment and the economy,” Landa said. Landa also said that although he knew he might be called anti-Jewish and a racist, he urged leaders "to assume their leadership and take unpopular steps" to reduce the birthrate in Israel. Landa explained that although Israel’s population was larger than that of Ireland, Denmark, and Sweden, Israel was by far the poorest of the four countries.

Among Landa's audience were numerous representatives from the Jewish Agency, devoted to bringing in immigrants from all over the world to Israel, but Landa's comments provoked no outrage in the lecture hall. Over the past few years many European countries have shown a great interest in increasing childbirth rates and now offer incentives like government stipends for families, much like the Israeli model.

The Israelis have the highest birth rates in the western world and that’s even after Israeli-Arab women are factored out of the equation. How ironic to note while most of us in the West are trying to seek ways to get out of the dead zone of population growth the Israelis are no where even near it.

It could be plausible to assume Landa just doesn’t like children, which is just one of my pet theories of why Canadian couples more or less choose to remain almost childless but he does have a valid point; if at some unknown date in the future Israel is to re-treat to behind the 1949 Armistice lines.

Re-alignment or convergence means an influx, and in the worst case scenario, upwards to almost a half a million Jews could flood into Israel proper. Very few states could absorb such an influx of citizens overnight into their infrastructure. Certainly, Israel has been unable to muster the political and financial will to settle the nearly 9,000 Jews from the Gaza Disengagement from approximately 2 years ago. It could ended up looking like Biafra famine.

However, any convergence or re-alignment plan cannot be seriously considered without a steep decline or an immediate scaling back of the high Israeli birthrate. Frankly, I pity the Israeli politician who would dare to suggest that Israelis scale back the size of their families while electioneering in the public forum.

Even the peacemakers are spinning

To the outside world the existence of the settlements in Samaria, and Judea (and the former Gaza Strip) are allegedly one of the major stumbling blocks to a "peaceful" resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It doesn’t matter that I don’t describe to that particular view when almost every major western leader or foreign minister certainly has parroted that line at one point or another.

Over and over we hear that the Israelis have built their settlements on stolen Arab land. Often the charge has been lead by a rather prominent Israeli left-wing extremist group called Peace Now. One of the major refrains Peace Now sings concerns the documentation of the alleged Israeli land thefts. Apparently, Peace Now, has been singing out of tune lately according to this Arutz Sheva article:
The Peace Now report received lavished praise from Palestinian Authority Arabs. The PA news agency Ma'an recently wrote that it "shows part of the true face of the Hebrew State... It shows that private Arab-owned lands were simply stolen by the Hebrew state to build settlements - disproving the claim of four decades... The report was not publicized by me or by a Palestinian organization, but by an Israeli organization - and Israel cannot deny it... Where are all the Israeli mottos about justice, democracy and civil rights?... This is now a 'ready-to-go' case for the International Court... Now that Peace Now has given this gift to the land-owners, we must thank this organization, and see what the land-owners and the PA will do; for this is much to do..."

"The Peace Now members are running around the world with this report," a Yesha Council source said, "in order to malign the State of Israel - but it is filled with distorted data and lies. All is apparently fair and acceptable in their war against the Jewish communities."

Peace Now members are currently lobbying U.S. Congressmen against Israel based on their report. Nationalist camp activists say that Peace Now's objective is to make the approval of U.S. aid to Israel contingent upon the withdrawal of Israeli financial support for all Yesha communities allegedly on private Arab land, as well as the destruction of all hilltop outposts.

The point of departure of the Peace Now report, the Yesha Council says, is that "all of Judea and Samaria is private Arab-owned land unless proven otherwise." The entire concept of state-owned lands essentially does not exist for Peace Now, says Council leader Pinchas Wallerstein.

Only a small percentage of Judea and Samaria is actually privately-owned, however. A legal expert familiar with the area told Arutz-7 that "perhaps 5%" of the uninhabited land there is privately-owned. "Vast areas in Judea and Samaria lay totally desolate in 1967 when Israel liberated them in the Six Day War," he said. Most of these areas were then designated as state-owned, in the absence of other documentation.

For instance, most of Maaleh Adumim - one of the largest cities in Judea and Samaria, just east of Jerusalem - appears on the Peace Now report as if built on private land, when in fact it was built on state-owned lands.

The Yesha report also shows that Peace Now falsely "expanded" the borders of Jewish communities into Arab-owned land. "Additional area around the communities was simply added to the Jewish towns," a Yesha source said, "as if to prove that the Jews had stolen the land - when in fact the communities don't claim these areas at all."

Peace Now even ignores a ruling by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak, Wallerstein states. Barak ruled in the past that the community of Etz Ephraim, near Elkanah, is built on Jewish-owned land - yet Peace Now has it on Arab land.

Neither does Peace Now recognize the sale of land, apparently. The Modiin-area community of Kfar Oranim, for instance, whose land was duly purchased from Arabs, appears in the Peace Now report as "mostly Arab-owned."

It’s always nice to hear a little from the other side for a change. By the way, did I mention that a number of EU countries, (who just happened to hold a higher than level of hostility towards the Israeli state) are among the primary financial backers of Peace NOW?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whatever will MacKay do - if he didn’t have the Settlers to blame?

Mea culpa.

Stronach was right to dump him and the Prime Minister needs to find a way to keep him from leaving home.

I can forgive a man many a things but sheer unmitigated stupidity I simply cannot overlook, excuse or forgive. The Jerusalem Post reports on Canada’s Foreign Minister:
He said that Canada "recognizes that Israel has a duty first and foremost to protect its citizens. But I want to point out that Israel's security depends on the Palestinians' ability to prosper in dignity. The increasing growth of settlements and settlement building in the West Bank is also a hindrance to this process."

The foreign minister said that Canada believed in a two-state solution "for reasons of principle and practicality. In the current environment, critics will say, and will be right, that we have been at the brink of peace and it has fallen through. They will also say that conditions for peace have been better in the past and still nothing came of this. But there are new conditions that change the picture - the nuclear threat from Iran, threats in Lebanon and Iraq. Many Arab leaders from the Gulf to the Maghreb, Arab leaders are willing to help. And with the exception of a few extremists, there is an acceptance that Israel is here to stay."

Really, now MacKay is starting to sound like Olmert.

The Palestinians have shown absolutely zero interest in prospering with or without dignity.

There has been an incredible amount of history documenting the terrorist attacks by Arab “militant” groups against Israeli civilians long before June 1967 or before the establishment of a single Jewish community in the Samaria, Judea or the Gaza Strip. The MacKay’s of the world find it convenient to maintain their worldview by forgetting or ignoring the blood of those "others".

If Israel’s security situation lies strictly on goodwill from her neighbors it would have all been over by 1949, and with the establishment of a second Palestinian state; the threat to Israel increases dramatically just as the disengagement from Gaza brought the Israeli less security not more. Just ask the children of Sderot.

A state which invests its heart with a radical element at its core will never be satisfied living within a phone booth sized state. Eventually, the phone booth will become the launching pad for continue larger attacks on larger and larger groups of Israeli civilians. Just think rockets.

What I wonder is how many Jews will have to die in the streets of Haifa, Tel Aviv or Jerusalem before the MacKay’s of the world will say; “Gee, I guess we were wrong.” Of course, with their next breath there will be probably be a “but” and somehow the failure will be blamed on the Israeli state.

About that Vietnam War Analogy

I didn’t watch the Bush State of the Union address as I was busy napping. When I woke up, my beloved daughter had turned the channel to CNN aka the 24 hour Hillary Network, probably out of spite, because she didn’t like dinner. I watched for a half an hour and I think it is now safe to call the US Democratic Party officially the Party of Cut and Run. I also think it’s a safe assumption to suggest that Democratic Senators don’t recognize the Pottery Barn rule. Frankly, I never really saw the analogy to the Vietnam War until now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When words fail...

sometimes a picture just puts everything in perspective.

h/t: Boker tov, Boulder!

Palestinians miss another opportunity to grab land

Just in case you might have missed reading this in the national newspapers. Ynet News is reporting that three French Nationals (1 diplomat and 2 bodyguards) were kidnapped by gunman belonging to PA Chairman Abbas’ party:
Palestinian gunmen on Tuesday seized three French citizens in the West Bank, freeing them after several hours. The men were apparently a French diplomat and his two bodyguards. A few hours after the kidnap, gunmen handed the diplomat and his bodyguards over to another French envoy. A reporter saw them leave a building a short time later.

A spokesman for al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, said weapons carried by the bodyguards had initially raised suspicions about the men. He added that the men had claimed they were French tourists.

Prior to their release, an Associated Press reporter managed to enter the house in Nablus Old City where the three men were being held. He said they were speaking French, unmasked and appeared unharmed as they sat on a couch. Dozens of gunmen were inside the house and had surrounded the area.

Witnesses said the French men had been eating in a restaurant when they were captured. They said shots were fired in the air as the men, with their heads covered, were led away by gunmen through the winding alleyways of Nablus' Old City.

I bet if Fatah had out longer they could have had Calais.

Hezbollah attempts to prove it is Lebanon

But the killing fields of Hezbollah’s Lebanon just keeps on killing. Ynet News:
One man was killed and four people were wounded Tuesday in violent clashes between Lebanese government and opposition supporters in northern Lebanon.

All of the casualties in northern Lebanon are supporters of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government. So far, nine people were wounded in clashes across Lebanon, four in Tripoli, three in the town of Jbil and two in the capital Beirut. Thousands of Lebanese protesters blocked main roads in Beirut and around the country Tuesday morning at the start of a general strike called by the opposition to try to topple the government. The opposition, which includes Hizbullah, is demanding a unity government and early elections.

Opposition activists turned out early in the morning to burn tires on major highways north, south and east of the city as well as a ring road around downtown Beirut, sending black clouds of smoke billowing in the air, witnesses said. Army troops and fire engines moved in to remove the obstacles.

The road to Beirut international airport was blocked, as were the highway linking Beirut with the mountains and the highway to Damascus, the Syrian capital, Hizbullah’s television stations reported.

Scores of opposition supporters took the streets and in some instances security forces stood by and watched. On the coastal highway north of Beirut at Jal el-Dib, opposition activists mobbed a fire engine and forced it to retreat. On the mountain road at Antelias, the very few motorists on the road maneuvered their way around burning tires. One got out of his car and kicked away a burning tire to clear a passage. The strike was called by Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah and other opposition leaders. But Siniora and his pro-government supporters urged all Lebanese to ignore the call.

The strike's timing is no coincidence. In two days the International Donor's Conference in Paris is set to coneve and transfer of significant financial aid to the Siniora government will be discussed. The US has already announced it plans to transfer a large sum of money to the Lebanese government.

Hizbullah has used this conference to its advantage, claiming that the conference aims to "support the ruling group." In a recent interview, Nasrallah said that his demands have changed. In the past, Hizbullah demanded that a third of the government's ministers be Shiite, which would give the organization the right of veto.

Nasrallah's new demands include a neutral prime minister, meaning someone other than Siniora and general elections according to amended laws that would ensure him greater representation in the cabinet. Until these demands are met, Nasrallah called for transitional government to rule the country.
If Hezbollah’s new demands were met yesterday the killing would not stop but a new set of demands would be presented, and so on, and so on. It’s not concessions Hezbollah wants, but absolute power and control re-make Lebanon in their image. G-d save Lebanon because neither Nasrallah or Anoun will.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shema up

The Israeli government announced a new IDF Chief of Staff has been appointed. Maybe it’s just me, but I do think the new Chief of Staff bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Spock. Anyway, Ynet News carries this brief intro to Maj. General (retired) Gabi Ashkenazi :

(Photo: Shalom Bar Tal)
Beyond being renowned for his extensive experience as a ground commander, Ashkenazi is a graduate of both the Tel Aviv Junior Command Preparatory School and the US Marines Training Command School. The 53-year-old holds a BA in Political Science and is a father of two. Ashkenazi served most of his military career in the Northern Command but he fought with Southern Command soldiers in his early days.

In 1972, he joined the Golani Brigade and fought in the Yom Kippur war a year later. He also took part in Entebbe operation and was injured in the Litani operation in Lebanon. By 1980, he was commanding a Golani battalion and during the first Lebanon war he was the Deputy Commander of the Golani Brigade. He became popular among combat soldiers during his tenure as Golani commander between 1986 and 1988, after which he served as Northern Command Intelligence Chief.

In the early nineties he was appointed as commander of the northern command armored brigade. From 1992 to 1994 he headed civil the IDF's administration operations in southern Lebanon and worked closely with South Lebanon Army officers. He then served for four years as the Head of Operations at the General Staff. In the summer of 1998 he was appointed as Northern Command Chief. It was during his term as Northern Command Chief that the bodies of three soldiers by Hizbullah in a cross-border attack in 2000.

In 2002 he was appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff and resigned two years later when he lost to Maj. Gen. Dan Halutz who was former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon 's choice for chief of staff. He officially retired from the IDF in May 2005, and was appointed as the Director-General of the Ministry of Defense.
I went searching for a little bio on Askhenazi and stumbled across this site by accident (the link is not for those with a weak tolerance for pure unadultered crap). Keep in mind the Golani Brigade is one of the most highly decorated and sought after fighting units of the IDF.

Too bad Askhenazi is not Mr. Spock so he can’t get Scottie to beam her off world.

My life outside of blogging is still on the internet

I have been blogging much lately as I haven’t been surfing the net. The Last Amazon found this site. The implications of which is that the furniture is re-arranged so we can all curl up in front of the computer screen in comfort to watch internet television as a family.

I had to re-watch all of Xena the Warrior Princess for the second time – the sacrifices motherhood demands can be horrendous at times. Don’t get me wrong, Xena was okay (almost anything beats Barney) but it’s just so cheesy the second time around that I swear it has induced acid reflux in me – especially the Opera Episode.

The upside has been that Montana and I have finally seen most of the first half of Stargate Series 10. I will probably still buy the DVD (whenever the DVD is finally released – I had to wait for what seemed like forever for Season 9 from MGM). The boys really like the series and it would complete their collection. Isaiah and I keep falling asleep trying to watch season 3 of Lost last fall so its great we can watch it at an hour when we are both mostly likely to stay awake.

The downside is that the site also has links for Cartoons & Anime. I have drawn the line at Power Rangers and Dragonball Z.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

4 years pen time for a man who knowingly spreading HIV

Shortly after my mutant teenage moral pigmies post I found this Toronto Star article:
A 30-year-old man who had repeated unprotected sex with two women while knowing but not telling them that he had the virus that causes AIDS was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison by a Toronto judge yesterday.

Vincent Walkem, head bowed, listened quietly as Justice Arthur Gans described his behaviour as "wanton, reckless and self-indulgent" for ignoring an order from health officials to warn his sexual partners that he had HIV. He had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault.
Walkem's lawyer, Graham Clark, had asked the judge for a sentence of two years less a day. Prosecutor Mary Humphrey said Walkem should be jailed for six to eight years. Walkem blew his parents a kiss before he was led away in handcuffs by two guards who were both wearing plastic gloves, one of them carrying Walkem's medication for the virus.

Before giving his decision, Gans wanted – and received – assurances from Humphrey and a court officer that Walkem would get his medication while being transferred to a federal prison to serve his sentence. During the hearing, the court heard he had been taking his treatments when he had unprotected sex with the two women in 2002 and 2004.

He had taken the stand during the hearing, at one point describing himself as "extremely selfish" but not "a monster" for ignoring orders from health officials. He said he had "no excuse" for his actions.
On the upside, a charge of aggravated assault finally results in conviction. And thank the heavens - the judge is not a teenager. Though, if I had been the Crown, I would have been pressing for a charge of attempted murder and not aggravated assault. On the downside, the defendant perceives his actions as only being ‘extremely selfish’ and not monstrous. Evil is as evil does.

Mutant Teenage Moral Pigmies

The other night as I walked through the door the Last Amazon rushed me and pronounced that she is not sure that she can ever have sex in her best Amazonian Diva style. I managed a "Right, well then – let me get my coat off and you can tell me how your day went". I suppose I should take comfort in the fact, that unlike her mother, she actually manages to come out with original things to say. For years I tormented my own grandmother with a daily "I'm home. What's for dinner?"

The Last Amazon may have been having a diva moment over her alleged inability to have sex but I wasn't going to let it upset my peace of mind considering that she is not quite old enough to have her first date. I also am old enough to know biology has a way of working these things out. So I nagged her into making me a fresh cappuccino if she wanted to spill the beans over whatever had her tied all up in knots. Besides she's the only one who knows how to use the machine as I just haven't been able to find the enough time for her to demonstrate how the machine works, but I must say the current imbalance in our skill set has been working out great for me.

Apparently, it all started in Canadian Law class when there were discussing the case of Mr. X who was charged with aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm. Apparently, Mr. X was diagnosed with HIV. After being diagnosed with HIV public health workers went to a great deal of trouble explaining to Mr. X the danger unprotected sex posed to any potential sexual partner. Mr. X was quite cavalier and deliberately withheld not only his HIV status from three sexual partners but deliberately refused to use a condom during sex. The third girlfriend learned inadvertently about Mr. X's status and was horrified at the potential death sentence Mr. X's cavalier approach condemned her to. She took her case to the authorities.

The Crown decided to prosecute the Mr. X with the charge of aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm. Eventually, for a variety of technical reasons Mr. X. was ultimately acquitted. But what had upset the Last Amazon was the attitude of her classmates towards the actions of Mr. X. She was the only student out of forty 15-17 year olds who thought it was morally reprehensible (if not an act out right act of evil) to not advise any potential sexual partners of your HIV status, and 2) to deliberately refuse to use any form of protection during sexual intercourse knowing you were HIV positive.

The overwhelming consensus of her classmates was Mr. X was lonely and just wanted to experience human warmth untainted by the shadow of his disease before he was too sick to do so, and furthermore, why should it be a crime just wanting to get laid? If Mr. X had acknowledged his HIV status to any of his potential partners he ran the risk of refusal and so be potentially denied the fulfillment of a basic human need. One of her classmates used all his full intellectual and moral weight to argue since Mr. X has received this disease unknowingly he was "justified" in passing it on to the next "vic" with the caveat "that it might not be right, but it’s justified". It was to his point of view her classmates instinctively rallied behind.

For her efforts, she was denounced as judgmental and closed-minded. She was told in no uncertain terms that she not only lacked any pretense of empathy but basic human compassion. It didn’t particularly concern her that her classmates judged her and found her wanting, but she is appalled that she must continue to spend the next few months surrounded by these people in her class. And since these are her peers, she is further repulsed by the fact that her potential dating pool is filled with such moral pigmies. And these students were not the vocational or general level students but the cream of the academic crop. This is the Last Amazon’s first real experience with public education since a brief 4 month stint in junior kindergarten wherein most of her classmates have spent their entire educational lives in the public secular school system.

One of the ways in which having children changed my worldview was it made me question not just my value system but the value systems of my peers. I was a seventies child/teenager. I was the one of the first generations to be raised without an overt reliance of a religious education and it was my generation’s parents who were the first to break with regular attendance at any kind of religious institutions.

My peers and I were raised by the agnostics, atheists, and New Agers. The prevailing value ethos was anything goes, do your own thing, and if we gave it a thought at all some of us added the caveat “as long as no one gets hurt.” Let it all hang out. Your intentions were more important than your acts. It was my generation who came of age after the sexual revolution was in full swing. So very few of us spent any great effort struggling through moral complexities or formally spent time worrying about our own ethical conduct until things went horribly awry in our own lives.

Most of my peers had no clear cut notions of right and wrong or good and evil. A great number chose to do bad, destructive or even evil things and had absolutely no basis in which to judge or even understand the nature of what they had chosen to do.

I escaped most of the excesses of this because my mother was never particularly hip and I was fortunate to have two sets of grandparents who had a great deal of influence on my moral development. I remember on more than one occasion when I sought to avoid a young man’s call by having to leave the condo and stand outside the house door in order for my grandfather to be able to advise the young man I had just left the house as he would not tell a lie. Not even a little one and not even for me. I thought him hopelessly old fashioned and quaint in a good mood, but a right pain in a bad mood. Now I realize what a treasure he was.

After I had the Last Amazon and her brothers it caused me to take a long hard look at my peers and my own values. I had quite an electric group of people surrounding me which eventually I cut all ties with. My sole criterion for friendship in those days was based on two principles; I must find you amusing and you could not pose deliberate harm to moi. My libertines’ did not pose a physical threat to my children but their appearance in our lives undercut the values in which I was trying to instill.

How can one teach a child that stealing is wrong when a master thief comes regularly to dinner? Or how does one explain that fortunate telling is an art wherein one seeks to extort money based one’s ability to exploit another’s capacity for self-delusion? How can I explain to my child that prostitution is not a profession worthy of being my a woman when one of my oldest friends is a prostitute, abet a highly successful one, but one who still needed alcohol and drugs, to get through a work day? Perhaps one can, but I certainly was at a loss to do so.

Ultimately, we made the decision to have the children educated in an environment where religious values and ethnics were part of the core curriculum. It was just not enough for us to govern our own lives by our own personal values and ethnics and not have our children’s outside everyday world made up of elements which undercut rather than reinforced our everyday values. The children needed to be in a world wherein they saw other’s living the same way, and just as the children were subject to the authority of their parents and teachers, they needed to understand that their parents and teachers were also subject to a higher authority whose nature was unchanged by fashion or whim.

Even if the children grew up to reject the teachings of their religious environment they would have a baseline to guide their own values and ethnics. And if they chose to do evil at least they would know what evil they had chosen to do. It has been my experience that ignorance has never been blissful.

I would say most of the parents of these teenagers in my daughter’s class are not bad people but rather careless parents who put their hopes in the hands of the alleged experts without ever fully understanding the area or nature of expertise of the educational experts. They have passed on their parental responsibilities to those others in the hopes of bringing up tolerate compassionate people who will not be narrow minded or judgmental but accepting, inclusive and merciful adults.

Judge not less you be judgment and found unworthy is no longer a call to judging others by the same standards one sets for oneself, but a call to suspend all judgment and seek only mercy. This is why we now have a generation of teenagers whose moral creed is no longer 'do unto others as one would do for oneself' but 'do unto others as others have dealt with you'. And if you do wrong, no worries; claim the perpetual right of mercy under the clause ‘for all the evil done unto you.’

G-d save us all because these teenagers won’t.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Demographics, statistics and damnable lies

Caroline Glick has an interesting column on Israeli-Arab demographics and the alleged “Fourth Way”.
SINCE THE inauguration of the 1993 Oslo peace process, Israel's national debate has largely ignored the only question that should be guiding it: How are we to advance Israel's national interests? Rather, since 1993, our national debate has been anchored around the question of how best to establish a Palestinian state. This question, rooted in the false Arab narrative which consciously rejects the morality of the Zionist revolution, has brought us to a position where the IDF is cognitively barred from rationally approaching Israel's security challenges.

Things needn't be this way. The Israeli public is quite sick of hallucinatory peace processes and is keen to reignite a Zionist national discussion. Consistent opinion polls show that the overwhelming majority of the public knows there is no possibility of achieving peace with the PA and that any Palestinian state will be a terror state. Moreover, in poll after poll, the Israeli public expresses its patriotism and its desire to strengthen and preserve the Jewish, democratic character of the State of Israel.

And there are options other than delusion. On Wednesday, one such option was presented in Washington at the American Enterprise Institute. There, the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) presented a plan for Israel's future called "The Fourth Way."

Led by American economist Bennett Zimmerman and former Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger, the AIDRG first burst onto the screen in early 2005 when it presented the first comprehensive analysis of Palestinian population data.

Since 1997, Israel's leaders have based their policies towards the Palestinians on what was perceived as a madly ticking Palestinian demographic time bomb. The public was told that the Palestinian population in Jerusalem, Gaza, Judea and Samaria was rapidly expanding and that by 2015, Jews would lose our majority west of the Jordan River. If we didn't hurry up and hand over Judea, Samaria and Gaza and partition Jerusalem, we would find ourselves forced to choose between a Jewish state and a democratic one.

The AIDRG took it upon itself to do what no Israeli governmental body had considered doing: Its members just started counting heads. It worked out that the doomsday scenario was based on a massive fabrication. In 1997, the PA published census figures that exaggerated its population figures in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem by nearly 50 percent. The PA double counted Arab Jerusalemites, included hundreds of thousands of emigrants to its population rolls, asserted mass immigration when in fact there has been net emigration from the PA since 1995. It exaggerated fertility rates and underplayed mortality rates. In all, the PA added approximately 1.4 million people who did not exist to its population rolls.

Rather than 3.8 million Palestinians, the team found there were likely no more, and perhaps less than 2.4 million Palestinians. Jews, who make up an 80 percent majority within sovereign Israel, make up a 59% majority of the population of Israel with Gaza and Judea and Samaria and a 67% majority of the population with Judea and Samaria without Gaza.

Last year, the group analyzed fertility trends in Israel and Judea and Samaria among Jews and Arabs. They found that in contradiction to the Palestinian and Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics forecasts, while Jewish fertility rates are on a steep and consistent incline, Arab fertility rates are steadily declining.

The significance of these actual trends is obvious: Not only is there no Palestinian demographic time bomb necessitating the immediate handover of Judea and Samaria to Palestinian terrorists. Israel's actual demographic position is its ace in the hole. This year the team members took their data to the next logical step by offering their best shot at a national strategy for Israel, based on true population data.

While one can agree or disagree with the viability of their strategy, the fact that it is based on truth rather than lies already places it in a different league from the "peace" plans that have held Israel intellectually hostage since 1993.

The plan is predicated on electoral reform in Israel that will set the course for a democratic absorption of all or parts of Judea and Samaria into Israel while securing the political rights of all Israelis - both Jewish and Arab. Israel today is governed by a proportional electoral system that treats the entire country as a unitary voting district. The plan recommends changing the electoral system to a direct, district-based voting system divided along the lines of the Interior Ministry's administrative partition of the country.

Given Israel's 80 percent Jewish majority outside Judea and Samaria, it is unsurprising that Jews form massive majorities in every administrative district in the country except the northern district. In the North, Arabs comprise a bare 52% majority. But the internal migration of just 52,000 Jews to the North would overturn that majority.

Within Judea and Samaria, the sparsely populated sub-districts of Western Samaria and the Jordan Valley are vital for Israel's national defense. As the study shows, an internal migration of approximately 150,000 Jews to these areas would give them strong Jewish majorities. Given that the Tel Aviv district has a 99% Jewish majority and the central region of the country has a 92% Jewish majority, a national plan for populating the areas could easily facilitate such a migratory trend.

In the Jerusalem district, the population trends are in flux. The erection of the separation fence has driven tens of thousands of Arabs from Judea and Samaria into the city to avoid PA rule. Conversely, the high real estate prices in Jewish neighborhoods are forcing Jews to leave the city.

Today Jews make up a 67% majority in the capital. The researchers demonstrated that if the capital's boundaries are extended to include Jerusalem's western suburbs, the Etzion bloc, the Adumim bloc, and the Givon bloc on the Jewish side as well as Abu Dis, Beit Hanina and the north Jerusalem bloc on the Arab side, the Jewish majority of the expanded city would be 66%. The flow of Arabs into the city's center to get away from the PA would abate. Real estate prices throughout the city would drop with the increase of land supplies and so the capital would again be affordable to young Jewish families. If Bethlehem is added to the municipal boundaries of the capital, the Jewish majority would be reduced to 62%.
NEXT WEEK Israel's premiere policy conference, the 7th Annual Herzliya Conference, will take place. The "Who's Who" of Israel will again present their "visions" for the country. In most cases, the speakers will regale us with tales of how they will make peace with the PLO and will warn us that we have to be nice to Abbas, (and eat our peas and carrots,) or be destroyed by Iranian nuclear bombs.

At last year's conference, the AIDRG team presented the data they had painstakingly compiled. They were greeted with unabashed hostility. Many walked out in the middle. Others groaned or chatted loudly with their friends trying to drown out the presentation. The audience of elitists didn't want to hear proof that for the past decade, Israel's national debate - which they themselves have led - has been based on a lie aimed at destroying the Zionist idea.

Fascinating idea which also has the possibility of being a much more workable solution than the establishment of another failed Arab welfare state. But one has to ask which would the Palestinians choose?

To be a citizen of a brashly Jewish state (even if it is the most dynamic and advanced states in the Middle East) or be the a citizen of an all-Arab (Jew-free) phone booth size state which has to relie on the goodwill and largess of international community for its daily bread? It’s the old Miltonian dilemma; is it better to be a servant in heaven or the ruler of hell.

Iran meets the Zionist Borge

Normally I don’t bother with these kinds of reports but this one’s humour potential is too great to resist. Ynet News:
A UFO omitting a "yellow ray" has been seen across Western Iran, the Fars News Agency claimed in a report recently.

"Witnesses told FNA (Fars News Agency) that the object has been observed for more than an hour," the report said, adding: "In a similar incident last Monday, an Unidentified Flying Object was witnessed in the same area and at the same time."

According to eye witnesses, "the UFO has been as big as a ball, with a yellow ray and a bright reddish color in the center. They also stated that the object has been flying at a very low altitude." The FNA said Iranian officials declined to comment.

The Iranian news outlet also reported a UFO "crashing" last Wednesday, "in Barrez Mounts in the central province of Kerman."

"Deputy Governor General of Kerman province Abulghassem Nasrollahi told FNA that the crash, which was followed by an explosion and a thick spiral of smoke, has caused no casualties or damage to properties," the report said, adding: "He further denied earlier reports that the explosion has been the result of a plane or chopper crash, reminding that all the passing aircrafts have been reported as sound and safe."

Iranian authorities were investigating the crash, described by witnesses as an explosion "caused as a result of the crash of a radiant unidentified flying object onto the ground." "Meantime, an informed source told FNA that the object has been on fire and there has been thick smoke coming out of it prior to the crash, concluding that the object couldn't have been a meteor as meteors do not smoke," the article said.
How long before Ahmadinejad claims it was the alien Zionist invasion launched from outer space, but no worries, as the Republican Guard was able successfully able to repel the alien zionist invasion forces.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

EU Head Monitor passes judgment

I like this article from Ha’aretz. I am struck by how quintessentially weasel-like EU government organizations have remained, which in turn, reminds me to be grateful that my ancestors had the good sense to flee the Old World long ago.

The head of the European mission monitoring operations at the Egypt-Gaza border said Thursday that no weapons have been smuggled through the crossing since it was opened, and that all weapons that were discovered were destroyed, Israel Radio reported. Lt. Gen. Pietro Pistolese as saying urged Israel on Thursday to stop restricting operations there, saying disruptions only promote "extremism and terror."

Since the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June, Pistolese said, the crossing has been open only 39 days. During that time 80,000 people have passed through it, he said, though 550,000 could have used it if it had been open the entire period.

Israel, citing security alerts, has kept the Rafah terminal - Gaza's main gateway to the outside world - closed for about 80 percent of the time since Shalit's capture.

The European monitors at Rafah were deployed as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement of November 2005 that was to ease movement in and out of Gaza. The agreement was reached two months after Israel withdrew from the coastal strip.

Strange how the good Lt. Gen. has no word of criticism for when the Egyptians who have periodically ordered their side of the border closed due, dare I say it; "security considerations."

And how soon the Lt. Gen. forgets how often the men under his command have had to flee their posts in fear for their lives and seek the sanctuary BEHIND the Israeli Defense Forces.

But you know, I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand the inner complexity of a modern EU mind. The logic of ‘no weapons have been smuggled through the crossing since it was opened and that all weapons that were discovered were destroyed’ is far too nuanced a position for me to fully grasp.

Though, Lt. Gen. Pistolese does have a point concerning the Egyptian-Palestinian weapons smuggling operations. Generally, the weapons smuggling traffic does not necessarily travel aboveground but through a rather complex network of underground tunnels lying below the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jimmy Carter, the former US president who has managed to make even Richard Nixon look good

It’s been obvious for years that former US president Jimmy Carter had more than a mild apathy towards Jews but I never would have suspected his apathy would extend to lending support for the most notorious of Jew killers. Arutz Sheva is carrying an account of a rather extraordinary claim by a former US Justice department official who maintains that former US president Jimmy Carter personally attempted to intercede on the behalf of SS Nazi guard facing deportation:
Neil Sher, a veteran of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigation, described a letter he received from Carter in 1987 in an interview with Israel National Radio’s Tovia Singer. The letter, written and signed by Carter, asked that Sher show “special consideration” for a man proven to have murdered Jews in the Mauthausen death camp in Austria.

“In 1987, Carter had been out of office for seven years or so,” Sher recalled. “It was a very active period for my office. We had just barred Kurt Waldheim – he was then president of Austria and former head of the United Nations – from entering the U.S. because of his Nazi past and his involvement in the persecution of civilians during the war. We had just deported an Estonian Nazi Commandant back to the Soviet Union after a bruising battle after which we were attacked by Reagan White House Communications Director Patrick Buchanan.

“Also around that time, in the spring of 1987, we deported a series of SS guards from concentration camps, whose names nobody would know. One such character we sent back to Austria was a man named Martin Bartesch.”

Bartesch, who had immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Chicago, admitted to Sher’s office and the court that he had voluntarily joined the Waffen SS and had served in the notorious SS Death’s Head Division at the Mauthausen concentration camp where, at the hands of Bartesch and his cohorts, many thousands of prisoners were gassed, shot, starved and worked to death. He also confessed to having concealed his service at the infamous camp from U.S. immigration officials.

“We had an extraordinary piece of evidence against him – a book that was kept by the SS and captured by the American armed forces when they liberated Mauthausen,” Sher said. “We called it the death book. It was a roster that the Germans required them to keep that identified SS guards as they extended weapons to murder the inmates and prisoners.”

An entry in the book for October 10, 1943 registered the shooting death of Max Oschorn, a French Jewish prisoner. His murderer was also recorded: SS guard Martin Bartesch. “It was a most chilling document,” Sher recalled.


“One day, in the fall of ’87, my secretary walks in and gives me a letter with a Georgia return address reading ‘Jimmy Carter.’ I assumed it was a prank from some old college buddies, but it wasn’t. It was the original copy of the letter Bartesch’s daughter sent to Carter, after Bartesch had already been deported.

“In the letter, she claimed we were un-American, only after vengeance, and persecuting a man for what he did when he was only 17 and 18 years old. “I couldn’t help thinking of my own father who returned home with shrapnel wounds after he joined the U.S. Army as a teenager to fight the Nazis and hit the beaches at Normandy at that same age on D-day. “On the upper corner of the letter was a note signed by Jimmy Carter saying that in cases such as this, he wanted ‘special consideration for the family for humanitarian reasons.’
It’s at this point, I feel compelled to point out that this is a one-sided account of Mr. Sher’s side of this story. And owing to the rather spectacular allegations against Mr. Carter I believe it is necessary to err on the side of caution per say, but I would be remiss if I also did not point out that there is not a shred of evidence suggesting Mr. Sher’s memory of events or reputation is in the least way dubious.

Arutz Sheva is also hosting the Israel National Radio link for the Tovia Singer interview of Neil Sher so you can listen to Sher’s story in his own words here and then decide for yourself.

Crocodile tears for dead children

Jimmy Carter’s interview on Al Jazeera has to be the single most asinine interview Carter has given in his long, very public career. How he could even keep a straight face when he suggested Palestinians do not engage in terrorism when they launch kassam attacks at Israeli civilian populations is beyond me. Carter is being widely disparaged, and rightly so for his personal skewered definition of terrorism. But that wasn’t his only asinine statement and this one deserves the same treatment.
In my book, I talk about violence from both sides, and I describe very carefully and accurately the number of casualties among Palestinians and Israelis, including children. The number of Palestinian children who died because of the violence is five times greater than the number of Israeli children, and I condemn this kind of violence on both sides.
There is a cultural reason why Palestinian child causalities are 5 times greater than Israeli child casualties, and it’s not for a lack of motivation or trying on part of the Palestinians. Israeli parents rarely send their children outside to riot against Fatah/Hamas/Islamic Jihad forces.

Nor do Israelis build bomb making facilities in the family recreational room, hence the low incidence of “work related explosions” in Israeli homes. It has never been considered a common rite of adolescent passage for Israeli youths to act as human shields for the IDF. Call the IDF old fashioned or quaint, but using Israeli civilians as cannon folder has just not made its’ way into the IDF’s military doctrine.

Here's another new low

From a national news paper which suggests a federal minister has to justify his canceling of a prison run tattoo program. Here’s the Globe & Mail account:
Day defends axing prison tattoo program
Canadian Press
OTTAWA -- Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day had some explaining to do yesterday after an internal report had positive things to say about a prison tattoo project he axed last month.

In terminating the safe-tattooing program, Mr. Day said an analysis of the project showed it "has not been demonstrably effective." But critics expressed concern the move would increase the spread of AIDS and hepatitis C by encouraging illicit tattooing behind bars.

The Correctional Service's draft evaluation of the pilot project was not made public at the time. The report, now available, says the project resulted in increased knowledge and awareness among staff and prisoners about preventing blood-borne infectious diseases. It also found that while the price-tag was low, a more cost-effective model could be put in place with similar results.

I am only surprised that no federal inmate hasn't already sought recourse from the courts for the government cancelling this program, and thereby, violating his right to exercise free expression. Anyway, don't hold your breath. It will no doubt come.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

IDF Chief of Staff Resigns

Talk about a whole lot of shake-up. IDF Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz resigns reports Ynet News:
An earthquake in the military and political echelon: IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz resigned Tuesday night. This was reported by the IDF Spokesperson's Office.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed deep sorrow over the decision. Olmert, who knew beforehand that Halutz was going to resign, asked him to reconsider, but according to the PM's Office, Halutz's decision was decisive and as such, Olmert has no choice but to accept it.

Despite vast pressure exerted on Halutz recently, pursuant to the second Lebanon war, the general originally seemed poised for the opposite action. In a press conference presenting the post-war investigation findings, Halutz said "I haven't heard calls from my superiors for me to leave. When they tell me to, I'll respond."

Halutz addressed the imminent report by the Winograd commission, expected in February, and stated that if the commission took a different stance, he would comply "as it required." "I chose to take responsibility," said Halutz. "There are those who interpret responsibility as running away. I chose to deal with the investigation and a nation demanding a solution. That is responsibility."

Only Tuesday morning, former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen (res.) Dan Shomron, who reviewed Halutz's performance during the recent war, criticized him harshly for his flawed management of the conflict. Tuesday afternoon, he presented the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee with his conclusions, declaring that this summer's war "was run without any goal." According to Shomron, "The prime minister instructed the army to halt the rocket fire on Israel, but the army failed to translate it into a military objective."

I could make a make a few quips about Halutz’s poor stomach under fire or his performance as IDF Chief of Staff but his exit is far classier than I expected. The reality is Halutz only made the Sharon’s short-list for IDF Chief of Staff because he was one of the few senior officers who could be counted on to be able and willing to take charge of the expulsion of Jews from Gaza Strip. More experienced and seasoned officers refused to have Gaza on their service record or their conscience.

I am glad to see Halutz return to the heart of soldiering – doing one’s duty. In this case - it’s by resigning, and while Halutz’s performance as Chief of Staff was less than inspired, I have to give the man full credit for taking the initiative by resigning. I’m shocked really, as I had presumed the only way he would have been successfully removed was to be run out of town on the rails.

Maybe there’s hope for Olmert. And just in case anyone missed it. Ynet News is reporting that the Israeli State Prosecutor has directed the police to launch a full scale criminal investigation into Olmert’s activities when he was Minister of Industry, Commerce & Labor.

It will be interesting to see if Olmert will break with both honor and tradition by staying on rather than resigning and clearing his name.

Freedom to Choose is also Freedom to Refuse

I have never understood what politician’s mean when it is suggested that Parliament needs more women. I always ask “why” but I have to receive and answer that wasn’t either demeaning or downright patronizing to me as a woman. It’s hard for me to comprehend what the presence of women (or more women) would collectively bring to the table that is not already there. I would like to understand it. As it stands, I feel like there is a huge cultural and social divide between me and my alleged betters on this issue. For example, take this recent Toronto Star editorial bemoaning the lack of women in parliament:
Women should be encouraged to bring their unique qualities to the job, without having to mimic the traits of their male counterparts.

Who knew female politicians “mimic” the traits of their male counterparts? All of which makes me speculate as to who Shelia Copps and Carolyn Parrish have been attempting to “mimic” all these years. And here I thought they were Canadian originals. I really want to double dog dare the Toronto Star to send a reporter to interview Parrish and ask her which male politician she has spent her political career “mimicking”. Even the idea of a female Chretien wannabe is too hysterical for words.

But the Toronto Star never defines what “unique qualities” women would bring to parliament that a man isn’t capable of bringing. If by sheer virtue of our collective physical presence and our double XX chromosome we improve anything and everything; why don’t people go around complaining why there aren’t more female welders, or plumbers or even oil rig workers? When was the last time you heard anyone say; ‘we need more female plumbers’ or ‘I only conduct welding business with female welders?” When you need a plumber who really cares what sex the plumber is?

There is a perfectly obvious and simple reason why more women don’t choose to become welders, plumbers or even politicians. Collectively, it just doesn’t appeal to most women. Note I said ‘most’ and not ‘all’ women. Some women choose to become welders, plumbers or even politicians - and more power to them. No one is going to argue that because you are female you cannot be anything you want to be in Canada in 2007. As this is Canada, no doubt there are probably all kinds of entitlement and grant programs set up for women who do choose to become welders or plumbers, but still, most of us just don’t find it an appealing way to earn a living even with any potential perqs. We can accept that about welders and plumbers; so why can’t we about politicians?

Alternative realities

I’ve not been posting over the weekend. Real life has intruded. Too bad the Israeli Prime Minister Olmert doesn’t have those same real life moments. Ynet News is reporting this:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lashed out on Monday at members of his Kadima party for what he labeled as a bad atmosphere among their ranks. "If we forget for one second the tumult, the fervor and the way in which the Israeli public discourse is being managed, and look for a moment at the situation in the eyes of the international economic expert, we will find him speaking praises about the way in which we are managing things," he said at a meeting of the Kadima faction.

There has never been a more comfortable period for the State of Israel as the present period … We have to understand that reality is good and only the polls are not – and thank God this is so. Imagine this was different," he said.
One of the things I admire about Israeli society is how engaged it is politically. Their ability to form opinions and then slug it out in the public forum. Too bad the Saudis, the Iranians, or even the Syrians couldn't take a that leaf out of the Israeli discourse and make it their own.

Meanwhile Kassams continue to rain down on Israel and the local Palestinian USAID has embarked on a campaign to improve its image and brand among the Palestinians. It very well may be a lost cause as these are one of the few groups of people who it can be said to not only mourn Saddam Hussein but have idolized him as well. I just can’t see any common cultural ground. I’m probably living in an alternative reality.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Living with the Proverbial Bull

I love my oldest son. I truly do. He has many fine outstanding qualities which make him an incredible human being but living with him is like living with a proverbial bull in a china shop. Snow finally descended yesterday morning and the streets were dusted so my young bull and I did not go to the laundry mat until late in the evening. I figured this was the most optimal time for us to go as either the snow would have melted or the streets would be shoveled.

Now my son has been carting the laundry bags every since my washing machine gave up the motor of life last fall. I realize I should not complain as the washing machine lasted a good 12 years longer than any husband I ever had but still…. And I will have saved enough money to buy a new machine come March so it’s only inconvenient for a little while.

I did notice on the way to the laundry mat that he was only wearing his light fall jacket and not his winter coat. A bell went off in my head and I made a mental note to remind him that with snow on the ground and the temperature dropping; it’s not appropriate to wear one’s light fall jacket. It’s strange, I would have thought before I had sons of my own that snow on the ground would be a big "heads up" to wear coat, hats, gloves, scarves, and winter coat, but my sons aren’t hardwired to take into account those kind of hints. You should have seen the get-up Isaiah Sender tried wear before he left the house this morning.

The boys must be explicitly told in no uncertain or ambiguous language exactly what to wear and when to wear it. I would have thought teenagers could make this decision on their own, and certainly the Last Amazon does, but the boys generally just don’t get it. I can hear what most of you are thinking. Let them freeze their little tussie’s off and then they will learn. Nope, tried it and it just didn’t work. I’m probably lucky that I broke before they did. Otherwise their teachers probably would have reported me to children’s aid society for sending them to school without adequate clothes. The problem is; my sons don’t whine or complain about the bad decisions they make. They just suck it up and move on - all the while hoping things turn out better next time.

I have actually been enjoying our sessions at the public laundry mat and in a strange way I will miss seeing them come to an end. Being the mother of many, it’s not often that I get to spend much time alone with any one child. The laundry mat has turned into the ideal place for Montana and I to chat. The other two children are quite happy and content to miss out on going. Besides, Montana is not only horrified with the idea of me going to the neighborhood laundry mat by myself, but he thinks I am incapable of carrying of carrying bags on my own which suits me just fine.

So we are at the laundry mat looking at the window, and I am pointing out all the environmental clues as to why his fall jacket is a poor choice for the day, when this really sheepish expression crosses his face, and announces he has something to tell me. He prefaces these remarks by saying “I am not to be angry or worry about anything” all of which makes my 'zero to psychotic' mummy meter start to vibrate and my right eye twitch. I have been down this road a time or two in the last 14 years and it’s never good.

Apparently, he accidentally ripped the heavy metal gauge zipper off his only coat. Oddly enough, as he struggled to unstick the zipper, he inexplicitly also managed to take off a good chunk of the front panel of his coat as well. Go figure, but it’s all good, because he really doesn’t need a winter coat. He will just wear extra clothes under his fall jacket. Besides school isn’t more than a 20 minute walk from home. And winter can’t last forever and pigs might even well learn to fly one day as evolution is in constant state of flux.

I am not upset that he ruined his winter coat. For years, I budgeted in at least 2 winter coats for Montana, as I know, Montana will just be Montana. He’s gentle on people and tough on his clothes, furniture, appliances, toilet seats etc. But I had thought we have moved pass that stage as it was his second winter with that same coat. When I sit back and think of how many times in the six weeks I have been flush with cash and could have easily bought him a coat I could just kick him for not saying a word. This weekend he watched me purchase a number of appliances and various other household things and he didn’t mention a word about his jacket. I’d rather my son had a new winter coat than I have a new dvd player for the living room or a deep fryer in my kitchen and a half a dozen other little things.

And why didn’t he want to tell me about his coat? Because he didn’t want to throw off the family budget which could potentially cause me to be unduly stressed. Nor did he want the other two to have to go without their little conveniences. It’s true, I don’t have a great deal of money. I live on a very tight budget and I am rather anal about sticking to it. I even try to sock away a little money every month in an RRSP - and not because it’s the best investment deal for my limited funds but because the penalties are so extreme I won’t be tempted to cash it out. I probably cook more than most women because I don’t buy prepared or ready made meals. Thank heaven’s, I grew up in Rosie’s kitchen so I know how cook real food. It can be a bit of a pain as I always end up having to make a special trip to the grocery store and end up lugging home cans whenever the school does a food drive so the children can have something to contribute.

And so he made the decision he could easily suffer the consequences so the rest of us wouldn’t need to. And you know, he’s really sincere about it. This isn’t a made up ploy so he can avoid any kind of retribution or lecture. I haven’t a clue as to what to do with him but am struggling with the urge to drive a stake through his heart right after I take him out shopping for a new coat tonight.


Last night I just scored the perfect coat. Brand new black downfilled parka, fur lined hood in a man's XL with plenty of pockets. The coat was only $130 but the store was having a sale with 25% off and when I got to the woman on check out duty - the math utterly defeated her. Then I wowed her with the ultimate question; “So what's the cash price?” We settled on $100 and she can settle up with the tax man herself. Between women with inadequate math skills and cash - how could I lose?

But I had to snicker as I took Montana on a tour of two of the largest department stores in Toronto (the Bay and Sears) first. The $440 average price tags were rather an eye opener for him. The cheapest coat we found was $298 with 10% off. And they weren't even very warm coats or coats with hoods. Why men even bother to pay these outrageous prices is simply beyond me. Any man who doesn't tour the Army/Surplus stores for a winter parka is an idiot or a man without a wife.

I also want to thank all those who emailed with offers to help, but this really wasn’t a plea for help. I know he can't help how hard he is in clothes but rather than come out and say he needs something, he will just make up his mind to suck it up and "save" me and/or spare the other two from any alleged hardship...while that's sweet and all, but he is just 14 and my child. I would rather have a live child than a boy who willfully chooses to risk dying from exposure rather than speak up. He doesn't get it. These are not his decisions to make. I am the grown-up! I am suppose to be in charge! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Friday, January 12, 2007

'This goes from the sublime the ridiculous' to use a quote from my grandfather – cold and snow predicted for southern California.

The Last Amazon got a new digital camera so I must send her out to take pictures of Toronto this weekend. The leaves have fallen off the trees but the grass has stayed green and most of us were walking around at lunchtime without our coats done up. No one from outside will believe this is Canada without pictures.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blog Secrets

In the last two years of blogging, I have often been asked what blogs I read. Usually I avoid giving a straight answer. I actually read everyone on my blogroll, and then some. I don’t necessarily read every blog ever day, but in any given week, I usually manage to make at least one fly-over read for everyone listed. As a rule, just put me down as one of the maddening silent readers. I am not much of a commenter – even if I like the blog. Then, I also read a number of other blogs I find on other people’s blogrolls. Sometimes, I end up visiting the same blog, over and over again, just to get the link to a treasure of a blog I found on their blogroll.

Seraphic Secret is one of those treasures I originally found somewhere else. I am not sure on whose blogroll I found it on first, but I suspect I owe big props to one unlinked blog. I first visited in the middle of “How I married Karen”. It’s not often I am a sucker for a romance but this was a heck of a one. Reading it transported me back to childhood, when I would sit enraptured, listening to the family histories being told. The relationship between Robert and Karen is what we should all be striving for and rarely settle for. I freely admit as a widow, I am green with envy but in a really nice way. For some strange reason, I somehow find it very reassuring to find that there are couples like Robert and Karen out in the big wide world - even if I never number among their ranks.

Well, Robert has started another serial called My Hollywood Gun. Read Part 1 – The Burning and then stroll onward and upward for the rest at Seraphic Secret. I would say it illustrates the potential for personal disaster which can result when you consign your personal safety to government – any government. Personally, I prefer not to remain a bystander in my own life.