Friday, January 30, 2009

Turkish honour - yes, we need the Terrorist State's stinking drones

The Jerusalem Post is reporting the Turkish Prime Minister gets a hero's welcome after having a tempter tantrum and walking out of a World Economic Forum debate in Davos.
The Turkish leader was warmly greeted as some 5,000 supporters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags flooded Istanbul's airport when his plane touched down before dawn.

Some outside of the airport gate held banners that applauded his Palestinian stance in Davos. "The conqueror of Davos," one banner read. CNN television said extra buses were put on duty so more people could turn out to welcome him.

In brief comments at the airport, Erdogan said he had been insulted. "My responsibility is to protect the honor of the Turkish nation."
I am betting know one mentioned the phrase Kurdish Independence or Armenian Genocide at the airport.

Nothing like a man with high principles, and just in case, you were wondering, the Turkey is still expecting to receive the Israeli drones as per their weapons deal.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twist of the Screw when the Fog of War lifts

This morning I had another post all ready to go when I decided at the last minute to skim the headlines and found this one at the Globe and Mail.
JABALYA, GAZA STRIP — Most people remember the headlines: Massacre Of Innocents As UN School Is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens At UN School.

They heralded the tragic news of Jan. 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
The news shocked the world and was compared to the 1996 Israeli attack on a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, in which more than 100 people seeking refuge were killed. It was certain to hasten the end of Israel's attack on Gaza, and would undoubtedly lead the list of allegations of war crimes committed by Israel.

There was just one problem: The story, as etched in people's minds, was not quite accurate.

No doubt the ‘etching in the minds’ was caused by these kind of reports – like this one from France 24 when placed within the grasp of Jew-haters everywhere.

But the shorter story is there was no attack launched by the IDF on the Jabalya UN run school. No one inside the UN school compound was killed. Did the IDF public relations department fumble the ball when the first reports surfaced on an attack on a school where Gaza civilians had taken refuge? Absolutely, and in the fog which is war - it will always do so when it reacts to allegations rather than waiting for the smoke to clear and cooler heads to prevail. Think massacre at Jenin any one? The Israelis are in the untenable position of not only having to fight a battle in a war zone but also having to wage a PR battle simultaneously in the world’s media.

In other news, The Elder of Ziyon digs out a Palestine Press Agency report from April 2008 about tunnels being dug under a UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip. What an odd the world we live in.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 18 – Call President Obama

This is what I wrote circa 2006 in a post called let’s all sing “imagine”:

Removing the settlers from their homes in the West Bank might be the straw which breaks the Israeli back. I suspect they will not go gently into the Gush Katif nightmare without fighting back. All the pie in the sky promises of cash for the leaving their homes, jobs, and communities will fall short with the evidence of the plight of Gush Katif refugees firmly before their eyes (who by the way are still waiting for the promised compensation, employment and homes.)

Read this article from Arutz Sheva last week and see if you don’t hear the first faint notes of the echoes of resistance in Yesha. Will the Irgun rise again? I don't know, but these Israelis are not the pampered latte sippers of the Tel Aviv sidewalk cafes, and I know that I would be very reluctant to give up my home for a place in a caravan for the next 5-7 years.

Not to mention the huge toll any large scale evacuations may have on the IDF and its ability to be able to muster the will and moral needed to fight against their brethren. Nor should one forget religious soldiers represent the backbone of the might of the IDF. Can an army be an effective force if it is so divided?

Kadima and Olmert at the height of its electoral popularity won only 29% of the vote. The last figures I saw gave Olmert a 7% job approval rating. Where is the political support in Israel to carry any large scale withdrawals? Lieberman, leader of the Israel Our Home party has sworn to do everything in his power to stop any withdrawals from the West Bank.

But the larger question should be where would one potentially house 50,000 to potentially nearly a half a million Jews for resettlement in Israel? Eighteen months later and almost 9,000 Jews are still are without permanent housing. The potential strain on health care, education and local economies could potentially bankrupt the country from which it might never recover.

And I haven’t even begun to ask how a second Palestinian state would be economically feasible. Check out this Rand feasibility study which projects that a West Bank – Gaza State would need an estimated investment of USD$33 billion over a minimum of ten years – if not longer. And the Rand feasibility study takes it as a given that the Palestinian economy would be fully integrated into the Israeli economy but ask yourself why any Israeli government would want to tie the Palestinian economy to Israel’s? Let's play a free word association game. I say, "Good Steward" and you tell me how many times you think of something before the word "Palestinian" comes to mind.

Now take a deep breath and think about the logistics of returning a few million people to a geographical area that is just somewhat larger than the Canadian province of PEI. Where would they be housed? What sanitation measures would be needed or even where would adequate supplies of water be found to sustain such an influx of 3-4 million people?

But even more pressing, is to ask who is willing to make the long-term commitment to invest the billions upon billions year in and out to make this barren cow milk for at least half a generation - if not two, three or more generations? Especially, when there is a quicker and cheaper solution available but it has a high cringe factor for lefties worldwide.

This trip down memory lane was inspired by an email I received from a group called The 18 who have issued a new video called Call President Obama.

I would be remiss if I did not remind readers that full compensation has yet to be paid out to the majority of the former residents of Gush Katif and almost four years later - the prospects for permanent housing for the majority of Gush Katif refugees is still bleak in the short-term.

So the next time anyone has a suggestion or peace plan for the region, let us start with the cost of calculating the "peace" by evicting any where from 50,000 to almost half a million Jews from their homes in Yesha.

Furthermore, the Rand study is a more than a few years old and was calculated before the rise of Hamas. It also counts on the non-destruction of the greenhouses of the Gaza Strip, as well as allowing for a significant influx of Palestinian labour fully into the Israeli economy which may or may not be allowed to happen. The Rand study, lowball-best-case scenario, starts at US$33 Billion circa 2003-2004.

First there was Pallywood, now there is Pal-ffiti

In report meant to highlight the innate racism displayed by IDF soldiers in Operation Cast Lead Ynet News is reporting this:
A painful reminder for Operation Cast Lead remained evident in Gaza in the form of blatant, racist graffiti sprayed on houses' walls by IDF soldiers. Residents of the Zeitun neighborhood who returned to their homes once the fighting in the region was over discovered that their walls had been sprayed with slogans such as "Die you all," Make war not peace," "Death to Arabs," "Arabs must die," and "One down, 999,999 to go."

The IDF is currently conducting an investigation and promises to severely reprimand the ‘offender(s)’ but this smells surprisingly suspicious to me. While I am not suggesting it is out of the realm of possibilities for IDF soldiers to write racist graffiti. Although, this does suggest some Israeli soldiers had far too much time on their hands while allegedly engaged in fighting in hostile fire zone.

What does surprise me is the writers did so in English rather than in Hebrew or Arabic – the two official languages of the state of Israel. Israel does have a rather large well-educated population with a fluency in a multitude of languages but isn’t the point of the alleged soldier’s graffiti meant to convey a message to the predominately Arab residents of the Gaza Strip who overwhelmingly speak and read only in Arabic?

But it does make for a nice photo op for the international press. Let’s call it Pal-ffiti.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why should it be against the law to call anyone a putz or a doughnut eater?

I love Israel, I love the fact it exists, I love the fact if things get ‘hairy’ for me there is a place for me and mine. I love the fact that this tiny country which is ringed by a sea of enemies and baptized by war is still dedicated to life – no matter how many city buses or restaurants are/were imploding or kassams incoming. I love the brashness and the warmth; the mixture of the sacred and the profane.

In spite of all this, there are some obvious flaws – like the fact it is against the law to insult the dignity of a public official. If there is going to be a law concerning the alleged dignity of a public official I think it should be mandatory to insult the dignity of a public official at all times and I am surprised the Israelis haven’t thought of this – in fact, its kind of a let-down.

I believe there is a great deal we in Canada can learn from the Israelis but emulating a stupid Israeli law shouldn’t be one of them. The Toronto Star:
MONTREAL–Montreal police have asked the city to make it illegal for citizens to hurl insults such as "pig" and "doughnut eater" at officers. Mayor Gérald Tremblay said yesterday his public security committee is mulling the request by Montreal's police brotherhood to slap offenders with fines. The union wants Tremblay to make it illegal for the public to fire insults at police, regardless of whether they are profanity-laced.

As long as I can call my neighbor a putz, I should be allowed to say the same thing to a police officer, because sometimes a police officer can be a putz or at least act like one. I realize there are some of you who are going to suggest the police have a dirty job with little gratitude. Well, so does a plumber, and if we aren’t going to enact laws sparing the dignity of plumbers; why should police officers be a protected speech class of citizenry? We have laws against incitement and uttering threats of bodily harm. That’s enough or it should be.

One more thing while I can still say it – Fuck the Montreal Police Union.

Speaking Truth

The story making waving in all the Israeli papers yesterday concerns the Golani commander of the 51st Battalion, who on the eve of leading his men in battle in the Gaza Strip, orders them to kill themselves rather than be kidnapped by Hamas et al. The IDF has finished its investigation of the commander’s ‘indiscretion’ and declined to prosecute the commander. Jerusalem Post
The IDF does not plan to bring disciplinary charges against a battalion commander from the Golani Brigade who told his soldiers that they needed to do everything possible to prevent being kidnapped during the recent operation in Gaza including blowing themselves up with a grenade.

In a tape recording of a briefing the commander of Battalion 51 gave his soldiers before entering Gaza during Operation Cast Lead the senior officer was heard saying: "Hamas's strategic weapon is to kidnap a soldier and I don't have to tell you but no soldier from Battalion 51 gets kidnapped at any price and under any situation even if it means that he has to blow up his grenade together with those who are trying to kidnap him."

Kol HaKavod to the unnamed commander and why isn’t this man Prime Minister of Israel? Any man who can speak plainly to prevent a disaster which ruins or weakens the morale of the nation or the army should be.

Obligatory Canadian Federal Budget Post

I haven’t bothered to weigh in on the federal budget fiasco. I don’t even know the details but when words like ‘stimulus’ and bail-outs are demanded and used, I am old enough as a taxpayer to know it all amounts to me bending over and taking it up the butt. The only question I need to know is – how much and how long am I going to be made to suffer?

signs of the times

If you have not tossed (or recycled) your ‘End the Gaza Holocaust’ or ‘Death to the Juice’, or ‘End the Zionists Occupation of Gaza’ signs - you might get another chance to use them. The Jerusalem Post:
An IDF non-commissioned officer was killed on Tuesday morning in a massive bomb attack by Gaza operatives along Israel's border with the Strip. Another officer was seriously wounded and two soldiers were lightly hurt in the incident near the Kissufim crossing, the army said.

Following the attack, the IDF fired at several targets inside Gaza and IAF helicopters were spotted hovering over the Strip. Palestinians reported that IDF tank shells hit residential buildings, but no casualties were reported. Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the attack "severe" and promised an Israeli response. Barak, who was touring the Ze'elim base in the South, would not say what the nature or extent of the response to the attack would be.

And just in case you think this is strictly a one-off there is this little blurb of information tucked at the end of the article:
Last Tuesday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on IDF soldiers in two separate incidents near the Gaza border, and eight mortar shells were also fired at southern Israel. No one was wounded and no damage was reported in the attacks.
Can I suggest all those protestors who carried signs saying ‘Free Gaza” or ‘Free Palestine’ add the line – ‘cause Hamas won’t’

Monday, January 26, 2009

So who can top "Pissrael"?

SnoopytheGoon, at Simply Jews is holding a naming contest for the one state solution our Man Daffy's imagination.
So, keeping in mind the noble goal of the peaceful solution, I hereby declare a contest for the best name to that Mr Muammar's vision. To start with, a few hastily thrown together ideas:

1. Parsliel
2. Parlesine
3. Israpine
4. Ispaline
5. Pissrael

OK please send in your ideas in the comments to this post, the winner will be a) published here and b) get a no-contest seat in the new entity's parliament - no primaries or any such shit!
Personally, I think the contest is rigged from the get-go as I don't see how anyone could possibly do better or top "Pissrael".

What if Hamas refused to 'defend' the Gaza Strip?

The IDF released more details on the numbers of Hamas and/or afflilates killed in the Gaza Strip reports Ynet News;

A continuing IDF investigation into the number of civilian Palestinian casualties during the Israeli offensive in Gaza indicated that only 250 of the fatalities were civilians. The military estimates that between 1,100 and 1,200 people were killed during the offensive. Some 700 of are believed to be militants and most are believed to be Hamas operatives.

The IDF is still trying to ascertain the identity of the remaining fatalities, but security sources said many would probably turn out to be militants as well. "Hamas is familiar with the numbers and is doing everything it can to concealed them," said an IDF source.

The data presented by the Palestinian is vastly different: Palestinian Groups operating in the Strip have reported 92 of the fatalities as gunmen, 48 of whom were affiliated with Hamas, 32 with Islamic Jihad, 10 with the Popular Resistance Committees' Salah a-Din Brigades and two with the Mujahedeen Brigades.
The Palestinian Group figures are all well and good as far as it goes but will the Gazan’s understand the full implications of the Palestinian Group numbers?

By that I mean, if current estimates of Hamas’ Executive Force number approximately 10,000 it implies Hamas didn’t deploy more than a token force to meet the ‘Zionist” invasion and what’s the point of 10,000 armed and trained men if the government won’t use them to ‘protect’ the civilian populations.

Of course, by extension, it would also imply Hamas deliberately and cynically used the lives of its civilian population to score photo-ops and get brownie points in the propaganda wars with Israel.

The unintended consequences of a childless society

Fundamentally, our society is changing. The average family size has changed dramatically in the last 30 years so I found this Toronto Star’s report interesting on the Toronto District School board’s decision to hire a recruitment expert to boost declining enrollment.
Toronto's public board is looking to boost enrolment – and funding – by hiring a recruitment expert, launching a public relations campaign and opening specialized schools to attract students from around the GTA, indicates a draft report going before trustees this week.

The ambitious report, which sets out a "new fiscal direction" for the Toronto District School Board, recommends a number of ways for it to increase revenues as well as better manage its money. "Stemming the decline of student enrolment or increasing enrolment is the single greatest opportunity to maintain or increase revenues," says the report obtained by the Star, as the bulk of education funding is on a per-student basis.

"The responsibility for student enrolment currently is spread throughout the organization with no one person responsible for developing and overseeing a plan to retain and recruit students." Last fall, the Toronto board lost about 4,000 students, a trend that is expected to continue.

Ultimately, the enrollment rate will its free fall despite the best efforts of any recruitment specialist because the basic premise is wrong. Enrollment is declining because people in Toronto choose to have less and less children. While I can applaud the TDSB’s efforts to offer more bang for our educational dollar ultimately they will have to recognize the days when the numbers of children entering the school system exceeded the numbers leaving are a thing of the past.

What will be interesting to watch in years to come is if our educational tax rates will fall in recognition of a drastically smaller student pool or will the TDSB and the teacher’s union attempt to defy and subvert the laws of supply and demand.

Friday, January 23, 2009

For Falk’s Sake

As a general rule, I try never to interrupt a man when he is making an arse of himself in public so this is all the pre-amble you get from me on this Jerusalem Post article:
Richard Falk, an independent UN rights expert, said there was compelling evidence that Israel breached basic humanitarian rules and the laws of war by conducting a large-scale military operation "against an essentially defenseless population." "There needs to be an investigation carried out under independent auspices as to whether these grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions ... should be treated as war crimes," Falk said. "I believe that there is the prima facie case for reaching that conclusion," he told reporters in a telephone briefing from California.
"This is the first time I know of where a civilian population has been essentially locked into the war zone, not allowed to leave it despite the dense population and the obvious risks that were entailed," Falk said. "The civilians in Gaza were denied the option of becoming a refugee." Israel, which has an obligation to protect the civilian population under its occupation, did not even allow children, women or sick people to leave the besieged territory, he added.

Denied the option of becoming a refugee – now, it’s an option??? Let’s use Falk’s suggestion for a moment and play what if. What if, Israel had opened its border to all the ‘optional refugees’ from the Gaza Strip? I bet you Falk would still be crying ‘war crimes” and waving his putz accusingly at Israel.

If you are reading this and asking yourself - why would he do that? You obviously fail to comprehend the fundamental nature of the Falkers of the world. You see, if Israel opened her southern borders to the ‘optional Palestinian refugees’ of the Gaza Strip they still would have been under rocket fire – just like nearly a million Israelis were from Hamas’ rockets, and hence, Israel would have failed to provide protection to the ‘optional Palestinian refugees’ from the Gaza Strip…

Now there was ‘one safe direction’ for the ‘optional Palestinian refugees’ to go where they would not necessarily be under IDF or Hamas fire but you won’t hear the Falk’s of the world name the country nor will you hear Egypt accused of failing to be humane for not opening their borders to the ‘optional Palestinian refugees’.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Under Hamas fire - literally

An al Arabiya reporter unintentionally makes the case against Hamas and for their use of using human shields during Operation Cast Lead.

This you tube video has made the rounds but I am putting it up for future reference.

Our man Daffy

Is at it again. Libya’s favourite strongman hits the lecture circuit and gives his spin on settling a host of Mid-East issues via satellite to a group of Georgetown university students. Ynet News:
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi advised US President Barack Obama on Wednesday to give Osama bin Laden a chance to reform, telling the new president that America's most wanted man was looking for "dialogue".

Give ben Laden a chance to reform – priceless, absolutely priceless but it gets better:
In a speech outlining his views on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gaddafi called for the creation of one state rather than two nations living side by side. "We can call it Isratine," he said.

Why not just call it Ovaltine and be done with it? And if the Jews refuse to accept the new state of Isratine Gaddafi channels Michael Chabon:
If Jews did not accept a one-state solution, he said they could move to Hawaii, Alaska or an island in the Pacific. "They could live peacefully in an isolated setting."

Imagining paying for this kind of an education? Priceless, absolutely priceless.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thinking outside the box

This Reuters account of a mannequin found on the beach of the Gaza Strip has an intriguing implication for all those who think the IDF has lost any of innovative edge.
GAZA, Jan 20 (Reuters) - A mannequin discovered by Palestinians on a Gaza beach may have been used by Israeli forces as a decoy to draw fire from gunmen, an Israeli military expert said.

The head-and-torso figure, dressed in an army shirt and rigged with electric wires, was described by some Palestinians as a "robot" that had helped Israeli commandos storm ashore and kill 10 Hamas guerrillas during Israel's 22-day Gaza offensive.

But Itay Gil, who trains various Israeli commando units, said the rubber dummy could have been used to dupe Palestinian snipers into opening fire so they could be identified and killed. "These dolls do exist in the Israeli Defence Forces, for the purposes of shooting drills and to simulate enemy emplacements," Gil said. "It could be that this dummy was a decoy mounted on an Israeli boat or vehicle, to draw the first volley and deny the enemy the element of surprise," he said. "Anything's possible."

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the tactics used during the offensive, which was launched on Dec. 27 to counter Palestinian cross-border rocket salvoes.
My son suggested I not refer to it as a ‘robotic’ doll but a Joshua-type Action Figure.

No interest in naming villians or taking sides

I realize this won’t make me any friends among Catholics and according to their belief, the heaven's gate is shut to me anyway. Oh well. In their own words - The Catholic Register.
TORONTO - Chants of "Palestine is ours/The Jews are dogs" and "Burn, burn Israel" had nothing to do with the vast majority of protesters at an event organized by the archdiocese of Montreal 's social action committee, said the director of the archdiocese of Montreal's social action office.

"To claim that this peaceful demonstration was pro-Hamas is to grossly misrepresent the views of the overwhelming majority of persons who marched on a cold Saturday afternoon," Brian McDonough told The Catholic Register.

McDonough did not publicly distance his office from slogans such as "There is no God but Allah and the jihadist is the beloved of Allah" and "O Nasrallah, o beloved, strike, strike Tel Aviv" before media reports and video of the demonstration went across Canada. He said he and the demonstration's other organizers didn't want to bring undue attention to "an extremely marginal, fringe group."
Organizers of the Jan. 10 event specifically condemned both the Israeli blockade of Gaza and Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in their appeal for people to support the protest, McDonough said. The organizers did not ask the pro-Hamas demonstrators to leave or to stop their violent chants because they regarded these protesters as irrelevant and did not want a confrontation.

"You don't chant or you don't accept statements that in any way are incompatible with your values or your vision," said McDonough. "But you're not in a position to go in there with force and tear down slogans or kind of push people away from the demonstration." The Catholic peace movement is , said Fr. Richard Renshaw of the Montreal Pax Christi International affiliate Antennes de Paix.

"not interested in naming villains or taking sides in the conflict between Hamas and the government of Israel", Oh gee, what a relief. I swear I have heard this slimey bit of moral bankruptcy somewhere before….of course, G-d forbid, a Catholic priest would object or confront anyone inciting against the Jews or saying anything derogatory about a Jew….

h/t BCF

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where does Hamas get its funding?

In 2006, Hamas was duly elected as the majority party in the Palestinian Authority’s legislative council. This prompted the Israelis to demand Hamas denounce its genicidal charter, renounce violence as a means to a political end and work towards negotiating a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The short story is - Hamas refused and Israel withheld tax transfer payments to the Palestinian Authority. In late June 2006, Israel launched Operation Summer Rains in an attempt to release Hamas hostage Gilad Shalit who was taken hostage after Hamas infiltrated Israeli sovereignity in an operation designed to kill or kidnap Israeli soldiers in an attempt to extort the Israeli government to meet their demands. In June 2007, Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in a military type coup against the Palestinian Authority, and hence, the alleged ‘blockade’ of the Gaza Strip.

I qualify the word ‘blockade” with an alleged because there never seems to be any shortages or deprivations on the scale of, say Arab 1947-48 blockade of the Ancient Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem - despite the hysterical over-whine of UNRWA officials.

All of which leads to the question – where does Hamas get its funding? Forbes sets out to answer this question in an article from this month’s magazine and you might be surprised at the scope and size of the suckers inadvertently bankrolling Hamas. I will quote only this little blurb from the end of the report as it contains an interestingly perverse notion:
In December 2008, under U.S. and international pressure, Israel delivered between $64 million and $77 million in cash to Gaza. When Hamas rocket attacks intensified, Israeli banks started refusing to transfer cash to Gaza. World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Tony Blair, who is now Mideast envoy for the E.U., Russia, the U.N. and the U.S., sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert complaining that such refusals are "counterproductive and ultimately harm Palestinian moderates." Clearly, the world community is set on seeing the terrorist group Hamas as legitimate. But demanding that Israel pay its own executioners goes way too far.

Quite right too, but there is this incredibly strange notion floating about which is this - if one kills off funding or stops actively bankrolling a totalitarian terrorist administrations it will harm or kill off political moderates….seems to me Hamas has been doing an outstanding job of killing off the moderates all by its lonesome - and while on the world’s dime too!


I am still suffering from the effects of living in a different time zone for a month and my internal clock doesn’t want to run the way it did before I left. I cannot seem to escape this sense of time slipping away from me. Case in point, I got up late and spent far too long answering emails. So early morning posting will consist of these two seemingly different news items.

Hamas is committed to keep arming themselves and the Saudi King has committed a billion US dollars to ‘re-build’ the Gaza Strip.

Can you imagine a world without the seemingly endless largess of the Saudis? I almost might be tempted to call it ‘peace on earth’.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I bet his nose is so big - its a wonder he can walk without tripping over it

Sometimes politicians, especially French ones, are so full of such utter nonsense; it’s a wonder they can gives speeches with their nose growing a few lengths. Case in point, French President, Nicolas Sarkozy:
In his message to the participants, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Arabic the “language of the future, of science and of modernity,” and expressed the hope that “more French people share in the language that expresses great civilizational and spiritual values.”
“We must invest in the Arabic language (because) to teach it symbolizes a moment of exchange, of openness and of tolerance, (and it) brings with it one of the oldest and most prestigious civilizations of the world. It is in France that we have the greatest number of persons of Arabic and Muslim origin. Islam is the second religion of France,” Sarkozy reminded his listeners.

This is not parody but the darling of the French right in action.

h/t Israpundit

Calling the tune

According to this Reuters report picked up by Ynet News, we learn two things about the Gaza Strip. There is discontent and grumblings against the path Hamas had pursued, and so, the need for a very public display of force.

Hamas members have taken to the streets to act as traffic cops while Hamas security forces roam the roads in acts designed to show Hamas remains very much in administrative control of the Gaza Strip despite the ravages of a 22 day assault by the IDF which left most government buildings and infrastructure in ruins.

No doubt there will be calls in the coming weeks for more international aid to ‘rebuild’ the Gaza Strip, and the appeals will display and exploit to the nth degree all manner of wretchedness, however; how will Gazans ever learn to build a functional civil society when they never learn to pay the piper for themselves?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who needs victory on the battlefield?

I can't let this pass without noting. The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Hamas Gaza strip leader, Haniyeh, is declaring a 'heavenly victory' which is fine with me, and may all the IDF battles against Hamas result in 'heavenly victories' for Hamas.

Toronto 4 Israel Rally

So I cajoled my oldest son to go to the Toronto 4 Israel rally held a few minutes away from our home in the downtown. At one point, the rally organizers announced there was approximately 1,000 people in attendance...which I thought a little on the large size for the crowd I was walking around but who am I to argue?

These two young students greeted us upon entering - although I didn't snap their picture until we left. Initially, the young women were hesitant to allow me to take their pictures for my blog. They quizzed me on the 'kind of blog' I have. I admit my answers were a trifle vague - along the lines of mid-east politics, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinians. I did own up to having a short piece suggesting the truce was incredibly short-sighted by the Israeli political leadership. They warned me they would check it out to see if I was 'lying' or miss-using their son remarked that the rally had the 'hottest babes' he had ever seen at a rally. Usually, I have dragged him out to 'counter-protest' at the Anti-Israel rallies which might explain the lack of 'hot babes'.

While the Toronto Student demographic was large, there was a fair sprinkling of us older supporters.
I took this picture of a man who proclaimed Free Cubans supported the Israeli people 100%. Nice sentiment and can I get a "Viva Cuba liberté!"

Across the street from the square, the usual self-haters showed up with to flaunt their banners. Since these 'Jews' are in solidarity with Gaza - how come they don't pack up and share Gaza's fate?

In other news, the count is now 19 rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip since the 'ceasefire' took effect.

From the jaws of victory Israel concedes defeat

Israel announces a unilateral ceasefire without any of its alleged military objectives been fully met but Olmert declares victory. Oh, yeah Gilad Shilat is still a prisoner of the Hamas run Gaza Strip.

I am barely awake and will post more on why this is another strategic defeat for Israel and one entirely of its own making. In the meantime, the Jerusalem Post reports 10 more missiles have been launched against Israeli civilians after the unilateral ceasefire has been implemented by the Israeli government. Some victory.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Am Yisrael Chai

Abridging the Sultan Knish on Why We Choose Us

When rockets fall on Israeli towns, the press doesn't run over to describe the carnage in loving detail or splatter photographs of gore across the evening news. The International Red Cross makes no condemnations, the UN has nothing to say, and the usual suspects who cry out against war crimes when we defend ourselves-- are silent as stones.

That is why we choose us. Because no one else will. The lesson we have learned is that if we do not care for our children, no one else will. If we do not protect them, no one else will lift a hand to do it for us.

The grandfathers and fathers of the "People of Gaza" twice invaded us together with the armies of several Arab nations to wipe us off the face of the earth. They failed. Today their children are trying to help Iran finish the job they started. The world once again chooses them. The world wails over their suffering. The world demands that we let our children die, so that theirs may live to kills us. We refuse. We choose us.


We choose to live. We choose not to put our hopes in illusion or let a billion screeching voices dissuade us from doing our duty toward our own kith and kin. We chose to build a nation out of dust and rebuild generations lost in fields of ash and dirt. We built towns and cities out of swamps, we raised crops, we raised children, we built a future. And we will protect that future whatever else others may say. This is our land we will fight for it because it is our land, the land of our fathers and the land of our children. As our ancestors chose to lift the sword and the bow, rather than to bow before the Greek idol, we choose the rifle and the knife, rather than to bend our knees to the totems of liberalism. We will fight and we will prevail, because we choose to do it, unambigiously and unapologetically. We choose our future. We choose us.

Read it in full here.

A Message to Canadian conservatives

Ease up on the Jew baiting. I can think of far more productive things for Jews to do than hang out at a ‘counterprotest’ with you against Hamas on any given Sabbath.

While only a small number of you have been counter-protesting, Canadian Jews have been kniting hats for the IDF, buying Israeli bonds or products, and giving generously of their time and money to Jewish and Israeli causes as well as davening for soldiers of the IDF.

Frankly, if you are going to try to out Jew the Jews, I suggest you start by learning the concept of Lashon Hara and Hotzaat Diba. All that being said, this Sunday’s rally is not a counter protest but a show of support for the State of Israel, homeland of the Jews.

More info here.


I found this article at the Jerusalem Post and found it something to ponder.
You arrived in Israel a few days before Operation Cast Lead was launched. How do the events in Gaza tie in to the thesis of your book?

The events that led to the operation in Gaza illustrate how people are motivated by their religion. An organization like Hamas latches onto certain things that are deep within the history and teachings of Islam, and it uses them in the modern world - by shelling Israel, for example - because it believes that this land once was Muslim land, and it's its duty to take it back. Within the Muslim community, this is going to be part of the issue forever, because its goal, of course, is to have the entire world living under Islam.

And you are certain that the press doesn't really grasp that this is a religious conflict?

In the American media, you often see the conflict reduced either to land-ownership issues or to issues related to poverty - that people who call themselves Palestinians are poor, and that Israel is largely responsible for their plight. In this respect, it doesn't seem like the Western press grasps the real story.

During what has come to be called the "second intifada," the media usually attributed the phenomenon of suicide bombing to desperation - though it often emerged that bombers and their dispatchers were educated and affluent. Is this what you mean by reducing the issue to poverty issues?

Yes, which brings us to the original point that this conflict is religious first. It is about reestablishing Islamic control. It's pretty much that simple - and that scary.

There are many reports of Christians fleeing Palestinian-run cities due to intimidation on the part of Muslims. Is this something about which the media have exhibited an equal blind spot? Is it, too, reported in a political, rather than religious, context?

Yes, if it's reported at all. In the United States, certainly, it has been given minimal coverage. The New Republic ran a piece about the shame of the lack of attention paid to what was happening to the Christians in Iraq ["Who Will Save Iraq's Christians?" by Lawrence F. Kaplan, March 28, 2006] - the group with maybe the highest number of casualties, percentage-wise, of any in that war.

The same goes on here. I don't know how many fatalities there are; I haven't been able to follow it. To be frank, I don't know where you can follow it. But I do know that the Christian population in Bethlehem has diminished radically since the Palestinian Authority took control there - and that's because it's simply not comfortable for Christians there any more, to put it mildly.

What difference does it make whether the media "get it" or not?

It matters in free societies, because people make decisions and vote based on how they understand what is happening in the world. And if you don't understand the role that religion plays, you are not going to be an informed voter or an informed citizen - one who calls up your congressman and says, "I've heard about such and such; what are you doing about it?" This is the way these things work in a free society - and the quality of your action is determined by the quality of your information. If you ignore religion, you can't act very well.

A classic example is the story of Richard Ostling, Time magazine's religious affairs editor in the 1970s. He kept telling his editors that they should be watching the Ayatollah Khomeini, whose movement was very serious. His editors responded, "Come on, Dick, it's just a religious movement."

In the fall of 1979, he was promoted, since clearly he had understood something that they had not. Since then, we've seen many more examples. The attack on the Twin Towers in 1993 wasn't understood, nor was the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. But even before that, also in 1979, our media didn't cover the siege of Mecca well at all. That was when radical Sunnis took charge of the holiest places in Islam - the Kaaba and the Great Mosque - out of which came a whole slew of decisions made by the Saudi government. To this day, nobody seems to realize how important that was.

If your assessment that the press doesn't pay enough attention to religion is correct, how do you explain the media's critical portrayal of evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews?

The roots of that go way back [she laughs] - you know, to the Renaissance, the Reformation, the wars of religion, the Enlightenment - and all that's happened since.

Let me explain by way of an example. Following the events of 9/11, British blogger and political commentator Andrew Sullivan published a piece in The New York Times Magazine ["This is a Religious War," October 7, 2001], in which he explained that the problem behind the flying of the planes into the Twin Towers was that the perpetrators were Muslims with an exclusivist, absolutist, fundamentalist view of their religion. And he equated them with fundamentalist Christians and ultra-Orthodox Jews. This has come to be the fear among many in the West: that anybody who believes in one god or absolute truth automatically is a potential murderer. That's not only a misunderstanding of the situation. In fact, it's dead wrong.
While I am sure most of the msm journalists I have read thru the years 'don't get religion', I am not so sure that the mostly secularly based western society does either. Certainly, something to think about.

What if we were to ban Kiwis

For stupidity. Ynet News:
An Israeli citizen residing in Kaikoura, New Zealand has informed Ynet Friday that a local pub, the Strawberry Tree, placed a sign outside its door reading, "Israelis not welcome before shelling (in Gaza) stops".

Two other Israeli tourists encountered a similar restriction at a café located in another part of the country. Kaikoura, located on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, is a tourist hub known for its dolphin shows. "The pub's owner has extreme views; in the past he worked as a photojournalist in Gaza, and inside the pub a sign reading 'Free Palestine" has been hanging for some time now," the Israeli citizen, who wished to remain nameless, told Ynet.

"It is alarming the (conflict in Gaza) has resonated to this region and in such a one-sided way." The Israeli continued to say that "the owner expressed his aversion to the supposed racism on Israel's part – but he himself is acting in a racist manner when he screens his patrons according to their nationality."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toronto for Israel Rally

What would I do without Shiloh Musings to inform me as to what is going on in my own backyard?

Bundle up and bring cognac.

Children of Hamas or the Harvest of Bitter Fruit

The Toronto Star hosts a report on the ‘nightmarish’ situation in Gaza Strip hospitals and while I have no doubt medical personnel are operating in their worst case scenario this bit caught my eye.

The Lancet cited the Ministry of Health in Gaza as saying that as of Monday, 292 children and 75 women had been killed in the offensive, with 1,497 children and 626 women wounded.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, the death toll is somewhat lower: As of today, it said, 225 children and 70 women had been killed. However, the ministry defines children as 18 and under, the Palestinian Center 17 and under.
Israeli defence officials acknowledge the military has loosened its rules of engagement during the current round of fighting to prevent the killing or capture of soldiers.

But military officials note that Hamas fighters have worn civilian clothing while fighting Israeli troops, using schools, mosques and crowded residential areas for cover, making it hard to keep ordinary residents out of harm's way.Reacting to the Lancet articles, Israeli Cabinet Minister Isaac Herzog said his country has worked hard to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza throughout the fighting, and Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor sharply criticized one of the doctors quoted in the Lancet for "spreading vicious lies."

Paul Garwood, a Geneva-based spokesman for the World Health Organization, said the Gaza Health Ministry's figures had not been independently verified, but they seemed reasonable based on their staff's observations in Gaza. In a statement last week, WHO declared that health services in Gaza were "on the point of collapse." UNICEF called the situation "tragic" and "unacceptable."

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the Israeli army has failed to evacuate the wounded. "The violence launched on Gaza is taking an unjustifiable toll on civilian populations," the Lancet said in an editorial. "These actions contravene the fourth Geneva convention," it said, referring to the international agreement that civilians are to be protected in times of war.

Why? Well, let’s roll with this video aptly titled Children of Hamas.

There are those who suggest the Israeli Operation Cast Lead will only create more enemies and hardened the attitudes of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip/ I would counter that Hamas and Fatah have indoctrinated and incited, so well for so long, unencumbered by an vestige or pretense of humanity, that anything the Israeli state would do or did not do, is absolutely irrelevant in the face of this ideological pathology. There is only one counter - which is to allow those who preach and toil incitement, blood and hatred; to feel the full measure of sowing what they reap, and make no mistake, it is a harvest of the most bitter fruit a human heart can taste.

Meanwhile, as the calls for more worldwide pro-Hamas/Gaza Strip rallies are being staged, and I do mean staged, Ha'aretz reports on the lack of protests in Ramallah.

h/t - Shiloh Musings

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hamas’ white phosphorus rain into Israel

Well, well, not only are Hamas fighters donning IDF uniforms and utilizing civilian human shields, (contrary to umpteen articles of the Geneva Convention) Hamas is now firing white phosphorus mortar shells into civilian centres in Israel reports Ynet News:
One of the mortar shells fired from northern Gaza at the Eshkol Regional Council Tuesday contained white phosphorus. The council's security chief, Nikki Levy, said that "the potential danger of using such a rocket is enormous. It is far more dangerous than other Qassam rockets and mortal shells. This is an escalation in the type of explosives the Palestinians use on civilians."

Of course, Israel has been denounced as using white phosphorus missiles by all the usual suspects despite denials from the IDF Chief of Staff, and contrary to certain pro-Hamas fractions would have you believe - there are legitimate legal military uses for white phosphorus munitions but Hamas’ use of white phosphorus mortars does not even come close to being a considered legit in the broadest interpretation of the word.

I await the Hamas denunciations and charges of war crimes and I wait, and I wait, and I wait….

Katyusha launched over Israeli skies - again

The Jerusalem Post is reporting, once again, rockets have been fired into Israel from Lebanon.
At least three Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon landed near Kiryat Shmona on Wednesday morning, the second rocket attack from Lebanon in less than a week. While security forces continued to search for the impact sites of the rockets, there were no immediate reports of anyone wounded or damage to property. The army launched a counter strike, firing artillery shells at the assumed location of the Katyusha launchers.

Lebanese officials also confirmed that several rockets were fired, with at least one falling short inside Lebanon. They said that the source of the rockets was likely the village of Kfar Hamam. Israeli helicopter gunships flew reconnaissance missions along the heavily protected border as Lebanese troops and UN peacekeepers sent out patrols, the Lebanese officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The IDF Northern Command announced it was holding ongoing security assessments in light of the situation. "We view the Lebanese government and military as responsible to prevent such attacks," an army statement said. Following the strike, the Home Front Command ordered all residents of the north to stay close to bomb shelters in case there was a repeat attack. Students in Kiryat Shmona were moved underground into bomb shelters to finish out the rest of their school day.

No doubt there will be denials issued all around from all the usual suspects in Lebanon but Hezbollah is in control of southern Lebanon. So given this is the second attack from Lebanon in less than a week I think its time to replay my favourite Nashrallah song because it’s just so darn catchy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Canada sole voice of dissent at the UN human rights council

The Toronto Star is reporting this:
OTTAWA–Canada stood alone before a United Nations human rights council yesterday, the only one among 47 nations to oppose a motion condemning the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

And then the Toronto Star starts the spin:
The vote before the Geneva-based body shows the Stephen Harper government has abandoned a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel, according to some long-time observers.
No doubt the Jewhaters in Canada will be having a fit and will come out in full force against Stephen Harper's government but I can live with the implications of not standing on the same side of those alleged big promoters of human rights. Of course, both Russia and China vote against humanitarian intervention in places like the Dafur...go figure.

Monday, January 12, 2009

No place like home....

I arrived home after midnight last night. I knew I was back in Toronto after the limo driver took the Jarvis street exit and was stopped at the lights under the underpass when a cracker rushed the limo and started to bang on my window with her begging cup. I turned to my youngest son and said I sure can tell we aren’t in small town Alberta. The Limo driver yells at me to ignore her and not to ‘feed the need’. I think he assumed I was from out of town as he launched into long diatribe about how drug addiction was ruing the downtown core and he peppered his lecture with lots of ‘helpful advice’ on dealing with drug addicts I might encounter in the city.

We came through the door and were presented with a ‘Montana-sized Mess’ which smelt strongly of eau de boy and cat. I tried to ignore it and go straight to bed but the dishes, empty pizza carton, and litter box kept calling my name. I finally gave up the struggle for sleep when I realized my neighbors weren’t going to get any quieter just because I came home after a month away. So I spent the night cleaning and went back to work on the morning. Dinner has been made and the dishes are put away. The washer is busy cleaning 10 days worth of dirty clothes from my oldest son and I am far to tired to blog anything I bookmarked earlier in the day. I have come to the conclusion there is no place like home but unfortunately, I am not home, not any more.

Anyway, the IDF found more of those ‘defensive tunnels’ leading from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Let me channel Jimmy Carter and say, digging tunnels into Israel are a necessary human right for Hamas.

What a news scoop

...for the Toronto Star's Harpoon Siddiqui

Jewish dissenters speak out over Gaza

Siddiqui, not being a member in any kind of standing within the Jewish community so I suspect difference of opinions are newsworthy only for him. Obviously, he never grew up hearing that old joke – two Jews, three opinions.

I am back in Toronto, and while the mother in me is finally at peace knowing all my sons are now sleeping safely under one roof – even if it is in Canada’s premier city of Jew-haters, I can’t help wishing there was a little more Alberta and a lot less Toronto.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the value palestinians place on their children's lives

Those brave 'militants' (or is the correct term 'freedom fighters') in action.
Did anyone else notice the 'ambulance' in the background? Now you know why so many children have been killed but can I get anyone to agree this is not only child abuse but a war crime in action? Of course, I fully expect no international tribunal or body will ever call any Palestinian, anywhere, to ever account.

h/t: Israel Matzav

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Reading List

I intended to catch up on my reading this holiday, but I find my good intentions didn’t keep pace with my reality. I only managed to finish two books so far and I have three days let. The holiday reading list started off with Farley Mowat’s People of the Deer, and Wally Lamb’s The First Hour I Believed, and considering the speed in which I read - it’s a disgrace.

I knocked off the People of the Deer in a day and a half. Say what you will about Farley Mowat’s politics but give the man his due. Not only can he tell a story but he engages the reader in ways few living writers ever manage to accomplish. I would have finished sooner but I found catering to the tribe’s need got in the way of my reading, and then, Wally Lamb’s new book logjamed my reading list like a big fat beached whale.

I really liked his two previous books and I was really looking forward to the time spent sitting by the wood stove reading this book. I should never have bothered, but once in, I was determined to finish it. There was just no way I was going to lug this mammoth book back to Toronto with me. Half-way through though the idea of reading the Red Deer phone book was starting to look as a viable alternative to finishing this book. I finally finished it last night and I am full of nothing but regret. I regret that I bought this book, I regret that I started this book, I regret the giant black hole of time reading this book consumed, but mostly I regret, I didn’t heave this book into the woodstove after the first 100 pages failed to deliver anything of substance or charm.

Anyways, I have been carting around Meir Shalev’s “A Pigeon and a Boy” for sometime. I hadn’t started it - just because I wasn’t in the mood but after Lamb’s book I needed an anecdote, and figured I’d give Shalev a chance. I haven’t finished it but I did manage to wade in roughly 100 pages last night - besides I didn’t get an offer to do anything better then read last night. Meir Shalev is no Wally Lamb, and can I get an Amen for that. So far I am utterly charmed by this book and I will quote you why:

There are a few character traits that set me apart from my parents and brother and wife. Some I have already mentioned and others I will mention now. They – she included – are well acquainted with the skies above their heads and the earth beneath their feet, while I am a kite whose string has severed. They – particularly she – take risks, while I hesitate. They – especially she – decide and do, while I settle for hopes and wishes, in the manner of the devout in prayer: like a hammer that pounds again and again on the same spot. Always the same words, always toward the same east. Sometimes – with my dark, closely spaced eyes, my desire for wandering and fear of travel, my uttering of prayers and my dread that they will be answered – I feel like the only Jew in the family.

And the best thing is - I cannot imagine any of the poetry or emotion this evokes - has been lost in translation.

So why is today any different than any other day in the Palestinian Authority?

Well, the short answer is Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas mandate to govern has expired. According to Palestinian Constitutional Law (insert appropriate oxymoron joke here), if no election has been held to elect a chairman directly, the role of chairman must now pass to the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, but this being the Palestinians, nothing is as simple as that for a multitude of reasons - the least - not being this one. Jerusalem Post:
According to the Palestinian constitution, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council is supposed to serve as acting PA president for a period of 60 days, after which presidential elections are to be held.

The current speaker of the Hamas-dominated PLC, Abdel Aziz Dweik, is serving a 36-month sentence in Israel for membership in a terrorist organization. His deputy, Ahmed Bahar, also a senior Hamas official, is based in the Gaza Strip. Some Hamas spokesmen said in recent weeks that one of the two men would become acting PA president on January 9.

Of course, Abbas being the good democrat and moderate man, (insert all shades of Arafat here) we know him to be, has not intention of stepping down – for at least another year….

Abbas's aides said he has no plans to step down in the near future, claiming that the PA's Basic Law allows him to stay in power for another year.

Abbas was elected in January 2005 to a four-year term. Hamas officials said that as of Friday they would not recognize Abbas's status as president of the PA. But they also made it clear that they would not demand his resignation for now "because of the war" in the Gaza Strip.

"This is not the time to talk about such matters," said one Abbas aide. "President Abbas was elected by a majority of the people, and as such he's the legitimate leader. He represents all the Palestinians and not only those living in the West Bank." PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad told reporters on Thursday that the law calls for holding presidential and legislative elections simultaneously. And since the legislative elections are due to be held in January 2010, Abbas is entitled to stay in office for an additional year, he explained.

Can you imagine the outcry if Bush tried to pull this move?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dhimmi Carter

This should be a term limit on how long an ex-Presidents of the United States should be allowed to openly pimp for terrorists in the public eye. The Washington Post opinion piece:
And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.
A defensive tunnel which just happens to lead into an opening into Israel...and the World Trade Centre towers are for sale. I will say it again - there is no human right to build tunnels into Israel. Carter is not just a major embarrassment to the United States but to human beings everywhere. As much as I dislike Bill Clinton, he does manage to conduct himself without being an absolute and complete tool.

War by proxy

Some ‘unknown group’ from Lebanon has fired rockets into Northern Israel according to the Jerusalem Post:

Two people were lightly wounded when terrorists in Lebanon fired three Katyusha rockets at the area of Nahariya in northern Israel on Thursday morning. The IDF returned fire.

(…)The IDF's Northern Command held consultations following the attack, saying that "Israel holds the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese armed forces responsible for preventing rocket fire into Israel." The army also said that Palestinian elements were interested in "dragging Lebanon into a war."

The army instructed citizens of the North to return to normalcy, saying that the attack was an isolated incident. According to Northern Command assessments, the salvo was probably fired by Palestinian terror groups and not by Hizbullah, but the possibility that Hizbullah instructed another group to fire at Israel could not be ruled out.
"Nothing happens in Lebanon without a green light from Hizbullah," a defense official said. "Even if it was a Palestinian group who fired the rockets, Hizbullah would have to at least have turned a blind eye to allow the rocket fire." Hizbullah denied involvement in the attack.

A Lebanese government official said the country was trying to determine who launched the rockets. The official also said Lebanon is committed to a UN-brokered truce that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

An Al Jazeera reporter with close ties to Hizbullah said there was no chance the rockets were fired by the Shi'ite terror group, because the rockets were of an outdated model that Hizbullah had not used for years. Channel 10 also quoted him as saying that had Hizbullah wisheded to open a second front on Israel's North it would have fired dozens of rockets and not only three.

A few points to emphasize here. It does not matter which official group fired the rockets, it doesn’t matter how old the rockets were because the bottom-line is the government of Lebanon in partnership with UNIFIL is responsible for maintianing UN Resolution 1701 which explicitly states there are to be no rocket attacks emminating from Lebanon against Israeli civilians. Nothing happens in Southern Lebanon without the explicit okay and approval of Hezbollah. Whatever ‘fraction’ fired the rockets had to get the rockets from somebody and the somebody who is in complete charge of weapons smuggling in southern Lebanon is Hezbollah.

No doubt Hezbollah is feeling rather smug today with their plausal denibility but they should remember why the Israelis launched Operation Litani River. What’s the old saying – those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat their mistakes? In any case, I cannot help but wonder if the Syrians are feeling as smug as Hezbollah obviously is today. (h/t Elder of Ziyon for this link)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

About that ceasefire

While the international cries for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip increases proportionately with every image of Palestinian suffering, and that suffering is by no means unrealistic or not immense; what exactly would a temporary ceasefire accomplish other than a time of re-grouping till the next round?

Hamas, if taken at their word, rejects any permanent ceasefire with the Israelis. So even the efforts of France and Egypt are successful in creating a temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; how exactly will it be the world will not one day be watching the IDF in action and scores of Palestinians suffering more than a human heart should know in another six months, a year or 18 months?

International monitors on the borders of Israel, Gaza and Egypt? Actually, this has been tried, and whenever things got hairy in a confrontational way, the EU Observer team routinely fled to Israel for safety. Egyptian forces have been increasingly coming under fire from not just "Hamas" but their own Bedouin tribesmen whenever Egypt has tried to interfere in the lucrative Bedouin weapons trade with Hamas. The current situation would not be possible without the general inadequacy and incompetence of the Egyptian Security Forces, and if nothing else, should prove the Egyptians are in way over their heads. While it is easy to cast motes in Egypt's eye, even first world nations in similar situations, have found it difficult to maintain order with determined gangsterism – just think US/Mexico border for starts.

Retired Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie has an opinion piece in yesterday's Globe and Mail outlining the need for a UN force with a strong Chapter 7 mandate.
On their own, Israel and Hamas are doomed to a perpetual state of war no matter how much international diplomatic horsepower is applied to resolving the conflict. But there is a solution that the world has been adroitly avoiding for 40 years.

Israel deserves security. Its population is prepared to live in peace with its neighbours providing they aren't dedicated to its extermination. If Israel deals with the threat from Hamas on its own, the situation will not improve over the long term - Hamas will simply resuscitate itself and carry on with its terrorist actions against Israel. The Security Council needs to show some rare backbone and authorize a strong UN force under the UN Charter's Chapter 7, which authorizes the use of deadly force as necessary, and deploy it within the Gaza Strip, taking on the responsibility to provide the security to which Israel is entitled.

The force would need to be strong enough to interdict weapons smuggling by sea, land (including by tunnel) and air from outside sources, to eliminate rocket attacks on Israel, to stop suicide bombers through use of border controls and, most important, to be strong enough militarily to take on Hamas if need be. The oft-expressed idea of putting international monitors into the Gaza Strip to control smuggling and the firing of rockets is ludicrous: Hamas would run rings around any unarmed outsiders whose only mandate was to "observe and report." Such monitors wouldn't even qualify as yet another Band-Aid solution.

The idea of an 'observe and report' mission is absolutely asinine. If a rocket falls in Sderot, we all know it. No one needs a UN mission to count rockets and report, and to what purpose would an 'observe and report' mission be - when it happened to stumble upon a rocket launching or an arms cache destined for Hamas? Report it to the UN and ask for direction? Shades of Rwanda and a big hairy so what if it did? It would not change the ultimate or logical outcome.

MacKenzie is right. The only international force worth its salt would need a strong Chapter 7 mandate to militarily engage and actively pursue those 'militant' Palestinian fractions who wish to circumvent or undermine the 'ceasefire' at a time of their choosing.

But even a Chapter 7 mandate security force does not even begin to address the most crucial of Palestinian aspirations, and would ultimately be doomed to failure - if a strong civilian administration authority is not put in charge to oversee matters of daily governance. Turning control back over to Hamas, who is ultimately responsible for bringing the Gaza Strip to this bloody abyss, or even (G-d forbid) to the Palestinian Authority - which has proved itself a thousand times over as utterly incapable of governing the Gaza Strip with any measurable standard of responsible government, is to perpetuate the cycle of violence indefinitely.

Ordinary Palestinians are held in bondage and shackled to high terror thuggery practised by Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other sundry 'resistance' based gangsterism. The Palestinian people have shown the world time and time again they are impotent to change the cycle of violence by themselves...which is Arafat's true legacy to the Palestinian people, so if we won't help – who will?

The only other viable alternative is for the Israelis to annex the Gaza Strip and rebuild the settlements, and for a nation accused regularly of being colonizers; there is definite reluctance to do just that.

Remembering the disengagement

Next time one of those pie in the sky two-state solution types starts talking land for peace remember this – Jerusalem Post:
Three-and-a-half years after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, two-thirds of the 8,500 evacuees are still living in temporary housing sites, and the move-in date for their permanent housing is still far off, according to a report filed Wednesday by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

In response, the Knesset's State Control Committee decided to form an official committee of inquiry to investigate shortcomings and failures in the treatment and resettlement of the evacuees.

Lindenstrauss's report found serious deficiencies and delays in dealing with permanent housing solutions. A total of 95 percent of the Jewish former Gaza residents who had requested to join "communal housing" similar to the makeup of their settlement communities remain without permanent housing, the report found.

In all, two-thirds of the Gaza evacuees have asked to be resettled in such communities."The evicted families paid a heavy price following the disengagement, and continue to pay it even today," the report states. "The process of relocating them could still take years."

The Gaza Strip represented less than 9,000 Israelis and the government of Israeli has yet to fully compensate or arrange permanent housing solutions going on four years later. The Golan Heights is approximately double that number, and the disputed territories represents, at minimum - 25 times the number of Gush Katif refugees. Dismantling the settlements is an unworkable solution.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Freedom Fighters or just plain old Fashion Gangs Bangers

You decide. Ynet News:
As the Israeli operation in Gaza wears on it appears Hamas has relinquished any visage of a socio-political party, abandoning its claim to govern the residents of Gaza in favor of engaging in open war at their expense.

A number of reports from the Strip paint a picture of very difficult humanitarian conditions, not least because of Hamas itself. The suspicion is that the group's operatives have seized control of any supplies passing through the crossings – including those sent by Israel and international organizations.

Reports say Hamas takes a cut out of all aid that arrives, including flour and medicine. Supplies intended to be distributed without gain among the population is seized by the group and sold to the residents, at a profit to the Hamas government.

One such incident was recorded Monday, when a convoy of trucks carrying supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened fire upon and seized by Hamas gunmen. Similar incidents occurred with trucks carrying fuel.

In other cases, civilians are simply used as cannon fodder or human shields. Reports out of Gaza say residents who attempted to flee their homes in the northern area of the Strip were forced to go back at gunpoint, by Hamas men.

The organization is presumably interested in increasing civilian casualties in order to give rise to international pressure against Israel. Arab media reported that in an IDF strike on a UN school 30 civilians were killed, but there is no legitimate way to prove gunmen were among those killed as Hamas tends to bury these bodies quickly, thus eliminating evidence in Israel's favor.

Other civilian complaints state that Hamas gunmen pull children along with them "by the ears" from place to place, fearing that if they don't have a child with them they will be fair game to the IDF. Others hide in civilian homes and stairwells, UNRWA ambulances, and mosques.

In other reported cases Hamas gunmen hold civilians hostage in alleyways in order to provide themselves with a living barricade to ward off IDF forces. Reports somewhat more difficult to verify say the group's men shot Fatah operatives in the feet to make sure the latter would not attempt a coup.
Is there no end to the legacy of Arafat?

Ontario's answer to Joe McCarthy calls for boycott in support Hamas Terror U

According to the National Post, Ontario’s largest public employee union has called for an academic boycott of all visiting Israeli academics from speaking, teaching or researching at any Ontario universities unless said visiting Israeli academics publicly denounce the Israeli government’s Operation Cast Lead, and explicitly denounce the IDF’s attack of a Hamas run university of ‘higher learning’. No doubt the resolution vote will be held on a Saturday afternoon just like the other CUPE Israeli boycott.

Syd Ryan, leader of Ontario CUPE is quoted as going on record for beyond the pale in this Globe and Mail report:

"Attacking an institution of learning is just beyond the pale,” CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan said last night. “They deliberately targeted an institution of learning. That's what the Nazis did.”

I really could not care any less what a CUPE union calls to boycotts or not; although I do find something deeply ironic in calls for the collective punishment of Israeli academics as a protest against the any action of the Israeli government. I suppose collective punishment is all in the eyes of the beholder.

Anyway, I love blogging - if only because my archives are a hidden throve of information available at my fingertips. Let us revisit said bombed institute of higher learning – circa February 2007 via the Palestinian Authority. Ynet News report:
Kidnapped solder Cpl. Gilad Shalit spent most of his time in captivity imprisoned on the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza, said senior Palestinian sources on Monday. Shalit was kidnapped on June 25th 2006 and up until three months ago had been held at the university – a prominent Hamas stronghold – but arguments amongst his captors led to his relocation. The Islamic University is under complete Hamas control, with faculty members and students alike all loyal to the organization.

Within its walls there are not only regular academic studies but also military training and religious preaching. Palestinian officials have labeled the university a "sanctuary for wanted men" and they note that Hamas mastermind Yahya Ayyash fled from the West Bank to Gaza in 1995 and hid in the Islamic University for several months during the time he was being pursued by Israeli forces for his role in numerous suicide bombings in the 90's.

Ayyash and other wanted Hamas members took advantage of the fact that none but Hamas loyalists set foot in the university. That changed last Thursday when troops from Fatah's Force 17 raided the university campus, confiscating some 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles, hundreds of RPG launchers and massive amounts of ammunition. Fatah troops also uncovered a tunnel opening leading all the way to the Palestinian Police headquarters in Gaza City. Estimates suggest Hamas had intended to fill the tunnel with explosives and destroy the police building.

Of course, what would a university be without visiting foreign academics? Ynet News:

A Palestinian source has said that the Iranian general nabbed in Gaza by Palestinian security officers supervised the manufacturing weapons and explosives for Hamas.

The source told Ynet on Friday that the expert was in charge of several labs in the university, mainly chemistry labs in which he trained Hamas activists, most of them women, manufacturing the explosives. At least five Iranian citizens were arrested during a raid at the Islamic University, a Hamas stronghold in Gaza City. One of the Iranians committed suicide during the raid. Six to nine Palestinians were killed in the raid, sources said. The raid on the Hamas-linked university in Gaza was carried out by national security forces affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hundreds of weapons and a lathe for the production of Qassam rockets were seized in the raid.

A security official said that during the raid a Hamas commander believed to have orchestrated the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier near the Gaza Strip in June last year suffered serious-to-moderate wounds. Ahmad Jaabri is believed to have planned the cross-border raid carried out by gunmen of Hamas and two other Palestinian groups on June 12 during which Corp. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. The Palestinian source added that at least 20 women, some of them students, were arrested in the labs supervised by the Iranian expert, who was mainly involved in developing shells and rockets, but also explosives.

The source said that it was so far not clear what would happen to the general, who was still being questioned by Fatah members. Official diplomatic sources in the Palestinian Authority, including aides to Abbas and senior Fatah officials, refused to officially comment on the affair. Hamas officials also continued to strongly deny the report on the Iranians' arrest.

So where was Syd Ryan and CUPE’s voice of outrage back in February 2007? And just why weren’t there calls for an academic boycott of all non-Hamas affiliated Palestinian academics when Palestinian Authority forces raided Hamas U? I suspect - it’s because no Jews were involved - and there does seem to be a kind of pattern for that kind of thing here.

Perhaps, Dr. Dawg can offer up a rationalization as to how a university which stores hundreds of RPGs, thousands of AK-47s, masses amounts of ammunition, in addition to bombing making equipment is nothing more than a hallowed of hall of higher academic learning as he is rather good at that kind of thing, but I know, I cannot.

I will see your Allah and raise you a HaShem

Apparently, the Turkish Prime Minister got his knickers in a knot – and not over the Kurds but the Israelis. He threw down the “Allah” card to be played. Jerusalem Post:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's toxic comments Sunday that Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip would lead to punishment from Allah and Israel's "self-destruction" drew a protest from the Foreign Ministry, which told Turkey's ambassador to Israel that these words were "unacceptable" among friendly nations. Erdogan, speaking at a municipal election campaign rally in Anatolia, said Israel was "perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents."
So be it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Intolerance of Kateness

What are the limits of free speech/expression in a civil free society? Some will tell you there can be no limits of free speech or expression. Others will say any speech or expression which is libellous or slanderous, while still others will draw the line at inciting hatred, contempt or the counselling the killing of any who represent the ‘other’.

My country has a rather chequered record on the free speech and while I will not say I am a free speech/expression purist, I am reluctant to silence anyone’s protected rights of speech or expression. I generally think libel and slander laws are necessary restraints to keep free speech/expression as responsible speech/expression, which goes towards keeping the ‘civil’ in society. I have no desire to revisit life in the schoolyard, and speaking of one who was there; there was very little which was civil about the experience. One of the perks of growing up is leaving the schoolyard behind and in keeping with a civil society, should one not have recourse to the courts and legal remedies, if one is unjustly or maliciously libelled and/or slandered by the exercise of someone else’s free speech?

So what brings this up? A post and a quote at Kathy Shaidle’s blog from her co-author (The Tyranny of Nice) Pete Vete:

As a free speecher I don't believe waiving the Hezbollah flag should be illegal, but I'll be spending my big-city tourism dollars in Montreal and Chicago from now on.

Hezbollah is banned as a terrorist organization in Canada. In practical terms, this means any show of support - whether it is - material, financial or moral support of this organization is legally prohibited under law in Canada.

Now, one can argue Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, and one could even lobby the government to have Hezbollah removed from the banned list of terrorist organizations, but until the day comes when Hezbollah is removed from the banned list of terrorist organizations – distributing, selling, buying or waving the Hezbollah flag in a public rally ,is a proscribed activity under law and all who flaunt this law, should face prosecuting under the law for lending support to a terrorist organization.

And no, I don’t have a problem with prosecution of any individual for waving the Hezbollah flag at a public rally but I do take a dim view of Toronto Police Officers selectively refusing to enforce the law as it now stands because it runs counter to the whole notion of a ‘civil’ society if moral support of a designated terrorist organization is allowed free reign to exercise such support in the public domain.

But by all means, go ahead and support the free speech/expression rights of terrorists, just don’t count on me helping you defend them.

Will we ever hear a 'war crime' charge for this?

Hamas targets a kindergarten in Ashdod Israel. Ha’aretz:
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday fired a barrage of 30 Qassam and Katyusha rockets at southern Israel, after a night of relative calm.

One of the rockets, fired mid-afternoon, exploded in a kindergarten in Ashdod. The playground was empty at the time of the attack, and no casualties were reported.

No doubt shelling an Israeli kindergarten is justified because these children could very grow up to join the IDF one day which is in keeping with Hamas PR efforts.

And the only reason no deaths were reported is the strange Israeli habit of not using their children as martyrs for the Elders; consequently, the Israeli government has issued closure notices for all schools within rocket range while Operation Cast Lead continues.

Canadian War Zone Refugees

Ah yes, here we go again. The CBC reports:

At least 36 of 58 Canadians known to be in the Gaza Strip have asked for assistance to leave the territory as Israel escalated its attack on the Hamas militant group with a ground offensive over the weekend, but the earliest they could leave would be Monday, Israeli officials said.

The Canadian government said Sunday that it asked Israeli authorities Friday to issue the necessary travel permits to allow Canadians to leave Gaza as quickly as possible, the CBC's Nahlah Ayed reported.

But Israeli officials said the request only came Saturday evening, the same night that the ground offensive began, killing 64 Palestinians. At least 512 Palestinians and five Israelis have died since Israel launched its campaign in Gaza on Dec. 27.

Among those who want to leave the territory is Marwan Diab of Calgary, who was visiting Gaza City with his wife and four children. "I want to get them out as soon as possible," he told CBC News. "You cannot imagine the amount of violence that is happening, the magnitude of this wave of violence."

Wafa Zakout, who returned to Gaza City to sell her house and move to Toronto, said she hasn't slept properly for almost a week. "I am so nervous … because of the situation," she said.

I would find it hard to sleep too if I was in Zakout's spot, and before anyone gets their knickers into a knot, I fully believe the Canadian government has an obligation towards any citizen who finds themselves in a war zone…such is the burden of conferring citizenship. One could argue that by deliberately visiting a place like the Gaza Strip on was playing Russian roulette with one’s life, but realisticaly, the Israelis have let the Gaza Strip fester for years before taking a pro-active military stand.

There is a much more interesting scenario to this article which is why I posted it. If the Gaza Strip is the largest open-air prison in the world (a la progressive Palestinian apologistas crowd) – just how is it that others are allowed to visit and leave?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Running for Cover

A kassam lauched - knows no distinction. New York City Mayor runs for shelter in Sderot

A Tales of Mothers

Israelis are often characterized by their detractors as ‘warmongers’ and with that in mind, I want to contrast this report titled Hamas Women Vow Bombing via Arutz Sheva:
A second woman called to "strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah." Two of her sons have died as "martyrs", the woman said, and she hopes to do so as well. "There will be days of battle between us, and this will be our opportunity to avenge our sons whom they have bombed, and the blood of the 400 martyrs who were killed in the headquarters," the woman continued. She called on Gaza Arabs to be strong, saying, "Your daughters march by your side on the path of Jihad and martyrdom.”
With this, from an Israeli mother of a soldier currently serving on the southern border:
May God please, please protect my son, all my sons - because they are all mine. Watch over them and keep them safe and guide their missiles to hit only those buildings that have explosives and rockets in them. And please, God, give the Palestinian leadership enough sense not to store their explosives with their wives and children.

Oh, and one more prayer - please take care of those Palestinian gunmen who are hiding themselves and their weapons in hospitals - especially in the maternity wards among the innocent newborns.

Oh, wait - one other - please ask the Palestinians to choose between praying in a mosque and storing weapons there because, if they store weapons there, like the two we have already bombed, we are going to bomb those structures too. A House of God is not an arsenal and an arsenal cannot be a House of God.
I have been reading A Solider’s Mother for well over a year now. I first started to read it as my own son started to creep up in age where military service will become a choice of his own choosing. I looked for insights or wisdom in how she copes, and instead, I found more than I bargained for. Now I find every day I dread the next new post. While today her and her family are spared the endless sorrow which makes up the blood and flesh reality of war there are other mothers and families who are not.

In the end, I am utterly impotent, and can do nothing more but pray. And so it goes,
May He who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who keep guard over our country and cities of our Lord from the border with Lebanon to the Egyptian desert and from the Mediterranean Sea to the approach to the Arava, be they on land, air or sea.

May the Almighty deliver us our enemies who arise against us, may the Holy One, blessed be He, preserve them and save them from all sorrow and peril, from danger and ill.

May He send blessing and success in all their endeavors, may He deliver to them those who hate us and crown them with salvation and victory, so that the saying may be fulfilled through them, "For the Lord, your God, who walks with you and to fight your enemies for you and to save you", and let us say, Amen.