Somebody sold CBS News, NBC, and the Washington Post a grand conspiracy theory of sinister Zionist influence in the Pentagon based on … well on what really? The theory alleges that
a) Two years ago, some Pentagon planners wrote a draft memo suggesting that the US adopt a tougher policy toward Iran;
b) One of those planners then supposedly informed a friend at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee about the memo – who in turn informed the Israeli embassy.
Can we pause to consider what an amazing non-story all of this is?
The memo in question - a draft of a proposed presidential policy directive for Iran - was essentially rejected. The Bush administration has opted since 2001 for a policy of engagement and attempted compromise with Iran. For all practical purposes, the memo was an expression of something close to a purely personal opinion.
And even if the memo had been adopted, it involved no spycraft, no technical secrets. It simply offered a vision of what US policy toward Iran ought to be: a series of policy options.
Discussing policy options with knowledgeable people – and even with allied governments – is not “espionage.”
Which is why, after 18 months of investigation, the investigators were about to drop the matter. It looks as if whoever leaked the story of the investigation leaked it precisely because he or she was annoyed that the investigators were concluding that the whole thing was much ado about nothing.
But by cleverly shopping it to journalists who were eager to strike a blow at the Bush administration, a fizzle of a story was (at least temporarily) transformed into a one-day wonder.
Who shopped it? Presumably somebody at the FBI – an agency that has alas showed nothing like so much vigilance in cases in which life and limb were actually at risk. Along the way, however, the story got “sexed up,” to borrow a phrase.
Here are some steamy extracts from CBS’ report:
“CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology – ‘roll up’ someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. …
“This put the Israelis, according to one source, ‘inside the decision-making loop’ so they could ‘try to influence the outcome.’
“The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?
“With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.”
Notice a couple of things in the CBS report: The story is written in such a way as to suggest that it was the FBI investigators who described the Israelis as “inside the loop.” And yet if you look carefully, you will see that this is not so. The allegation is attributed only to a “source” who might or might not even be a government employee – who is in fact very likely one of the small number of former government employees to whom journalists turn when they want some heavy breathing about the role of Israel.
Notice too the gratuitous and unsourced insinuation that Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith might somehow be implicated in the leak.
What seems to be going on here is this: People in the Pentagon broadly discussed proposed American policy toward one of America’s severest Middle Eastern problems – Iran, its terrorism and its nuclear ambitions. In the course of those discussions, they talked to knowledgeable people in many places. Possibly they talked as well to knowledgeable people in the governments of US allies, including Israel.
But there are figures inside the US government who want to see Israel treated, not as the ally it is by law and treaty (Israel like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand is designated a “major non-NATO ally” for intelligence- and technology-sharing purposes) but as the source of all the trouble in the Middle East and the world. They have injected their own hysterical agenda into the reporting of what would otherwise be a story of an FBI investigation that found nothing much.
Hours after a Palestinian woman blew herself up early Wednesday at the Erez crossing terminal, killing four Israelis, Palestinian Foriegn Minister Nabil Sha'ath said that the Palestinian Authority was capable of stopping such terror attacks, but that Israel must first halt its attacks on the Palestinians, Israel Radio reported.
Speaking from Copenhagen, Sha'ath said that last August the Palestinians unilaterally halted attacks, but this collapsed because Israel failed to abide by this as well.
Can you imagine the chutzpah it takes tomake such a statement when have been daily attempts to kills Jews during this "unilateral cease fire"?
First Hamas female suicide bomber
Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, jointly claimed responsibility for the blast, which also wounded 12 people.
Hamas, vowing to escalate attacks, said it used a woman suicide bomber for the first time, in order to counter Israeli security precautions.
"For the first time [Hamas] used a female fighter and not a male fighter and that was a new development in resistance against the enemy," Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin told Reuters. "Resistance will esclate against this enemy [Israel] until they leave our land and homeland."
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia declined to condemn the attack, saying that continued Israeli attacks and restrictions on the Palestinians are leading "to more escalation on both sides."
The explosion ripped through a recently dedicated facility where laborers and foreigners cross over the boundary. There were few Palestinian workers in the area at the time, Israeli officials said. Most workers had crossed hours before the mid-morning explosion.
Hamas later identified the bomber as the 22-year-old mother of two children.
On May 28, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that an Iranian intelligence unit had established "The Brigades of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening."
In a speech by Hassan Abbassi, a Revolutionary Guards intelligence theoretician who teaches at Al-Hussein University, he spoke of Teheran's secret plans, which include "a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization." "There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites, and we know how we are going to attack them," Abbassi explained.
Over the past few months, Iranian leader Ali Khamenei has been vocal about the impending "destruction of the U.S." In May he told the Iranian paper Jomhouri-Ye Eslami that "the world will witness the annihilation of this arrogant regime."
Speaking on Iranian TV channel Jaam-E-Jam 2 on July 27, Iranian MP Hamid-Reza Katoziyan warned: "The whole group of people belonging to the Arab community and Muslims living in the U.S. are currently, in my opinion, in a special situation."
"Perhaps they do not walk the streets with weapons in their hands or attach bombs to themselves in order to carry out a suicide operation, but the thought is there."
Flight Guard is undergoing a series of flight tests, where the system is checked against the infrared seekers of several surface-to-air missiles. The tests will be concluded in August and the first system is scheduled to be installed in an El Al aircraft in September.
Since the use of Flight Guard has not been approved by US and European aviation authorities, it will first be installed on aircraft serving Africa and Asia, where the level of threat is considered higher. However, IMI and IAI are expecting the new invisible flare to improve the chances of Flight Guard receiving Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensing, as the flare is designed to reduce public fright when activated over an airport.
Flight Guard is adapted from a military system used by the Israel Air Force's fixed-wing and rotorcraft. It comprises a variant of IAI subsidiary Elta's EL/M-2160 pulse-Doppler radar, which detects surface-to-air shoulder-launched missiles. The radar activates IMI's countermeasures dispensing system (CMDS), which jams heat-seeking missiles and sends them off course by creating a signature close to that of the aircraft's engine. "
Perben's figures were broken down by their targets, showing there were 67 attacks on Jewish people, 162 on property and 69 cases of anti-Semitic writings.
Some 80 percent of this year's cases have not yet been solved, Perben said after meeting with France's Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk to discuss government efforts to fight anti-Semitism.
French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said the number of violent incidents against Jews and Jewish property this year reached 160, marking a 113 percent rise compared to the equivalent period last year, in which only 75 incidents were reported.
In an interview with Le Monde on Friday, de Villepin said the reasons for 80 percent of the incidents were unclear and the perpetrators have not been found. Only 11 attacks were committed by extreme right-wingers and 50 were committed by people of Arab or Muslim origin."
According to the reports, the new weapon was developed to replace controversial rubber bullets, which have caused numerous injuries and killed many Palestinians during the course of the Intifada. Security officials said the army, which has come under international criticism for allegedly using excessive force, has been seeking out new non-lethal weapons to deal with violent Palestinian protests.
The 'skunk bomb,' which is not yet operational, releases a cloud so pungent that according to initial tests it permeates clothes for five years, the officials said, according to a Reuters report.
The 'stinky' weapon could be particularly unpleasant for devout Muslims since they cannot pray with clothes that smell and would have to throw them away, the report said.
The Jewish truckers were in two vehicles when they were surrounded by hundreds of Arabs who had just emerged from a gathering in support of Palestinian security prisoners conducting a hunger strike in Israel prisons. Many of the mob pelted the truckers with stones and other objects, pulled them from their vehicles and beat them severely until the soldiers arrived. They suffered light to moderate injuries.
“The dog that didn’t bark” is an expression from a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It was an important clue that led to identifying the criminal. It seems that the killer entered and left the estate grounds one night but without the guard dog barking an alarm at the intruder’s presence as expected. From this non-event Holmes reasoned that the dog must have known the killer and that clue led to solving the case.
There is an analogy to U.S. Mid-East policy where U.S. silence, i.e. our failure to “bark” when we should, in the face of outrageous events is also a clue to U.S. attitudes. We can contrast the significance of when the U.S. “barks” and when it is silent.
We observe that when Israel defends itself the Administration is very capable of promptly barking its disapproval. For example when Israeli forces entered Judea and Samaria to root out terrorist murderers, Colin Powell had no trouble barking at Israel in a nasty manner for them to get out and be quick about it, and such outbursts also carry an implied threat. When Israel began construction of its security fence this Administration was quick to criticize and, for a time, to punish Israel by reducing loan guarantees by some 300 million dollars. When Israel assassinated terrorist leaders, who had so much blood on their hands, the Administration was also quick to warn Israel to consider the consequences of its actions.
All this establishes that the Administration watches every detail of Israeli actions and is quick to issue public criticisms and warnings to distance itself from our only true ally. This serves to accentuate the contrast between criticism of Israel vs. its noticeable silence in the face of Arab crimes and pronouncements.
On the other hand when the U.S. fails to respond to Arab outrages against Israel, that silence is significant. For the record it is true that when Arafat’s killers slaughter innocent Jews in especially large numbers the Administration will serve up a perfunctory condemnation of the act, a growl, so to speak. But there is no holding the killers responsible nor any withholding of funds to the PA as was done for a while with Israel. The U.S. message is clear. No bark, no bite. The Arabs can safely disregard those pronouncements because it is only an empty public relations gesture in return for which Israel is expected to show gratitude, practice more restraint, and the killers again go unpunished.
U.S. silence is highly significant when Israel’s enemies make direct threats and issue inflammatory lies. When Saddam Hussein earlier threatened to “burn half of Israel” there was no American comment. Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation once they acquire nuclear weapons and regardless of any Israeli peace with the Palestinians. No public denunciation from the administration. When Arafat, in Arabic, incites his people to continue to slaughter Jews - again silence. When Arafat displays his map of the Middle East with NO Israel - more silence. Arafat indoctrinates Palestinian children with murderous hatred of Jews along with layer upon layer of lies. Not only is there no U.S. criticism but Arafat’s PA continues to receive hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. When Egypt trains for its next war against Israel with U.S.-supplied weapons and incites its people with raw anti-Semitism - again more silence. When Saudi Arabia pours forth Nazi-type invective against Israel and Jews - continued silence.
Going beyond the above, the State Department conducts an even more active policy of a double standard against Israel. It not only ignores evidence of flagrant Arab crimes against Israel, but it demands that Israel accept these crimes without protest. Mr. David Bedein of the Israel Resource News Agency has published a list of 20 such actions by the State Department in his Aug. 4, 2003 article titled, Is the State Department on the Saudi Payroll? .
These are only a few of the many egregious actions that are constantly going on. And yet successive administrations, and the State Department, continue to behave like the dog that didn’t bark. Israel’s Arab enemies certainly observe all this and they may draw conclusions about the real attitudes of the U.S. administration.
The Administration’s cynical excuse is that they want to be “even handed” in their Mid East policy. One cannot be “even handed” between aggressors and the aggressor’s victims. The hard reality is that the administration is actually practicing a consistent double standard against Israel which is even worse than being unfairly “even handed.”
The question is what kind of game is being played here? In truth this policy has been in place from the birth of Israel. It is not hard to guess that the State Department, which leads our foreign policy, is maneuvering between two conflicting forces. One force is the pro-Israel sentiment among the American people and the U.S. Congress to support a loyal and democratic ally. The other force is pressure from the numerous Arab and Islamic governments, combined with our need for their oil. That would be bad enough but the gratuitous nastiness that often accompanies State Department actions towards Israel suggests that there is also an additional element of domestic anti-Semitism that exists independently of balancing conflicting geopolitical interests and independently of America’s national interest.
The Arabs are adept at this type of politics. Their posture is always that of pretending to be aggrieved victims of what they call “Israeli aggression” and their endless complaining that America uncritically supports Israel. And behind this is their perpetual threat of the Arab and Moslem masses rising up in outrage against American interests. As long as U.S. policy makers succumb to these threats, they will continue to be made and we will remain hostage to them.
But as with a cancerous growth, our failure to respond early and morally is leading to a metastasis of hatred from being directed mainly against Israel to now targeting other countries, including the U.S. We see it in Saudi Arabia which long supported terrorism against Israel but which recently has come under internal terrorist attack. The Saudis are now very strong to fight terrorism, but only inside their own kingdom. And the U.S. has long ignored anti-Israeli terrorism as long as it was mainly Israelis who were killed. Even in the early 1970’s when Arafat’s thugs kidnapped and murdered American diplomats Cleo Noel and George C. Moore in Khartoum, Sudan, U.S. policy even then was to play down the threat in the expectation that it would remain very contained and limited. Today we find ourselves becoming as much of a target as Israel.
Nevertheless our policy of selective silence remains largely unchanged. We still ignore the existential danger to Israel, our most loyal and most supportive ally. But we also deliver another unintended lesson to our enemies and to our few remaining friends. The lesson is that the U.S. will betray a loyal friend in order to appease an enemy in the hope that it will somehow work to our benefit. Egypt, Arabia, France, China, Russia and others all betray us and yet we call them friends and there is no price for them to pay. And then we wonder why so may nations feel entirely free to turn against us.
It would also be unfair to place all the blame on the morally corrupt U.S. officials and especially the State Department. Much of the blame must also be shared by the defective, and insufficiently assertive American Jewish leadership. They also resemble “The dog that didn’t bark” when they should have boldly spoken truth to power. The Jewish left in America makes matters even worse by masquerading as supporting peace even while they loudly “bark” their support for Israel’s enemies. Israel is our most loyal and most supportive ally; therefore those who betray Israel also betray America’s national interest.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents were told during five days of interviews with the source that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen also known as Farouk the Tunisian, had downed the plane with explosives on Nov. 12, 2001.
The source claimed Jdey had used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 and 'conducted a suicide mission' with a small bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, a 'Top Secret' Canadian government report says.
But officials said it was unlikely Jdey was actually involved in the crash, which killed 265 people and is considered accidental. The fact that al-Qaeda attributed the crash to Jdey, however, suggests they were expecting him to attack a plane.
'We have seen no evidence of anything other than an accident here,' said Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. 'There has been no evidence found, from what I can tell -- at least that's been relayed to us -- that there was any criminality involved here. It appears, at least the evidence we have, is that a vertical fin came off, not that there was any kind of event in the cabin.'"
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the men were not thought to be connected to al-Qaida or any other international terrorist organization, although he said they expressed hatred for America. The arrests come two days before the start of the Republican National Convention, which is drawing tens of thousands of visitors into the city.
Though there was no clear tie to the convention, authorities moved to arrest the two men before it began, two law-enforcement sources told The Associated Press.
The men had been under police surveillance and had discussed placing explosives at the Herald Square subway station and stations at 42nd and 59th streets, Kelly said. The men never obtained explosives, he said.
"It was clear that they had the intention to cause damage, to kill people," Kelly said. "They did not immediately have the means to do it."
He identified the men as Shahawar Matin Siraj, 21, a Pakistani living in Queens, and James El Shafay, 19, a U.S. citizen living on Staten Island.
Kelly said the men visited the Herald Square 34th Street station — one block from Madison Square Garden, the site of the convention — on Aug. 21.
The men were being charged with conspiracy to blow up the station, which is central to a large commercial district, including Macy's flagship department store. They were to be arraigned Saturday in federal court.
The men also scouted three police stations on Staten Island and a jail there, Kelly said. They drew maps of those sites and a map of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, he said.
"Their motive was generally hatred for America," Kelly said. He said one of the men had also made anti-Semitic statements.
If they'd get all of these demands it may be better than many hotels I've been at.
One: Family and/or Lawyers Visits
4. To allow all family members and relatives to visit
6. To allow private visits (without barriers)
7. To allow second and third degree relatives to visit
8. To relocate detainees/prisoners in areas close to their residential areas
9. To relocate prisoners who are immediate relatives in one prison
10. To allow personal belongings and clothes to be brought during visits
14. To allow visitors to bring with them bed-covers, watches, Palestinian head scarves, head wear, etc.
19. To allow prisoners to be in plain clothes during the visit and not restricted to uniforms of certain colors or design
20. To allow prisoners' handwork to be given out at the visit after coordination
21. To allow bringing in all kinds of cigarettes, audio-tapes, and video-tapes during the visit
Two: Phone Calls
1. To install pay phones in prison sections and/or yards and/or cells or allow mobile phones in every cell or for every prisoner
3. To remove all signal-distortion equipment - known to cause various health problems including cancer
3. To allow prisoners to buy vegetables, fruits, fish, and meats of all sorts on a monthly basis
4. To allow prisoners in all prisons to prepare their own food according to their customs and religions
5. To give back kitchen equipment that was taken away from prisoners in all "security" prisons
6. To change old kitchen utensils and replace them with new ones
7. To open bakeries and allow Palestinian prisoners to work at them; to allow bread to be brought in during visits
1. To end all practices and policies accompanying counting the prisoners; allow all those prisoners in isolation back to regular sections
Six: Collective Punishment
1. To end all collective punishments
2. To end the policy of fines
3. To end the policy of confiscating personal belongings and punishing prisoners by denying them family visits
4. To return all money confiscated from prisoners accounts to be able to use them in enhancing the health care and the education of prisoners
5. To compensate prisoners for every item that was damaged intentionally through raids on cell-blocks
6. To define the maximum isolation period as a punishment to a week and to provide humane detention conditions in isolation cells: access to toilets, a washing sink, a two hour recreation period, to allow a fan, to allow books and radio and cantina, not to handcuff prisoners inside the cells, to end the policy of handcuffing prisoners while meeting prison administration
Seven: Education at Universities
1. To allow prisoners to study at Palestinian, Arab, and International Universities
2. To end the policy of punishing prisoners by denying them the right to continue their education
3. To allow newspapers, journals and magazines without any delay
4. To allow purchasing different electronic dictionaries not limited to one brand
5. To allow all cells to have access to a computer and not only students
6. To allocate study rooms and halls and to reopen all libraries
7. To allow stationary without limitation in type or quantities
8. To allow photocopying research material, educational material
1. To allow buying from Arab sources and end the monopoly
2. To cancel the additional 17% tax
3. To unify the prices for all prisons
4. To end all restrictions on the items allowed
5. To form an investigation committee to check on the legality of the 17% additional tax and on the right of prisoners to benefit from the profit of the cantina
Nine: Movement within each section and the recreation area
1. To increase the recreation time to four hours a day as used to be the case
2. To restore visits between section and cells to day-long visits
3. To leave cell doors within each section open all day
5. To allow university students to choose recreation time suitable for them
7. To open the gate to the recreational area every half an hour to enable prisoners to get to the area or back to sections
8. To allow freedom of movement within each section without restricting the time
9. To install water pipes in each section
12. To restore the recreation time from 15:00 to 17:00 and from 17:00 to 19:00
13. To allow working prisoners to stay at the recreation area until 20:00
14. Not to transfer a prisoner from any prison before spending 2 years in it unless the prisoner applies for a transfer
16. To allow Friday Imams to be able to move from one section to another
17. To allow having events, debates, celebrations in the recreation areas and yards as in the past
18. Freedom to transfer among cells within one section without any sort of restriction
19. To remove the ban on practicing Karate during the recreation period
Ten: Tools, Instruments, private and general equipment
1. To allow the following to be purchased at the cantina by every prisoner: a light-bulb for reading, electronic dictionary without restricting the brand, electric shaving-machine, and electric fan
2. To install air ventilation in the cells and section as well as air conditioning
3. To install air conditioning at the visiting area and waiting cells
4. To provide electric kettle
5. To provide an electric toaster for each cell
6. To provide a small refrigerator in each cell
7. A small photocopier in each section
8. To install an Antenna for the radio
9. To allow winter jackets
10. To allow waist belts
11. To allow sport ropes
12. To allow to have cameras in each section and to be able to take collective photos
13. To allow fruits knife in each cell
Eleven: Searching and Security Checks
1. To end the practice of body search by hand and to restrict it to electronic scanning
3. End totally strip search
4. End night searches and the practice of Matsada unit, dissolve it or end it's services
5. Not to handcuff prisoners during the search
6. Never to damage or confiscate personal belongings while searching
7. To stop searching prisoners each time they leave to the recreation area or to prayers
8. Security search be limited to only once a day maximum and not to force prisoners outside the section during the search
9. Security search to be conducted during the recreation period
10. To limit the overall general search to once every 6 months
Twelve: Working Facilities
1. To increase the number of working prisoners in the various facilities
2. To restore kitchens, laundries, and sewing and allow Palestinian prisoners to work at these facilities
3. To allow at least two prisoners to work in the section (corridor) outside the cells till 22:30 and extend their recreation time till 20:00
4. To re-allow a prisoner to work in yard and recreation area as in the past and to make available a storage room and a room for working and working tools
5. To allow a prisoner to work at the clinic
6. To restore the special recreation period for workers
7. To raise payment for workers
8. To allow an additional worker at the library
9. To allow a worker to fix electric equipment in each section as in the past
10. To allow all tools for hairdressing and to change them once every 6 months
1. To allow prisoners in the upper beds not to step down at the morning count and to limit to them just raising themselves up in their beds
2. To be content by showing the hands for those who are in toilets at the time of counting taking into consideration to avoid using the toilet around the time of count unless it's urgent or to pass the cell and return to it later
Fourteen: Transfer, Travel and waiting (passing) sections
1. To allow prisoners to have cantina with them while being transferred (canned food, etc.)
2. To be moved directly to the buses without being held and delayed in waiting rooms
3. To change seats in the buses to more comfortable ones
4. Each prisoner to be handcuffed separately from others and to stop using the plastic handcuffs and replace them with the metal ones
7. To remove the darkened windows of the buses
.....and on and on...
Has the time not come for Arabs and Muslims to recognize the need for a dialogue with the American Jewish community in its capacity as an important policy-making force in the U.S., and one that influences all things Middle Eastern? Instead of insulting American Jews - as Arab editorialists and intellectuals have been doing for 50 years - why not show respect for their evident weight and engage them in a constructive dialogue?
Some Arab leaders continue to hang on to the myth that assistance can be sought from the largely irrelevant Arab-American community. This is not helped by the behavior of seedy characters, such as the so-called head of the Islamic community in the U.S., Abdel Rahman al-Amoudi, who recently confessed to collecting millions of dollars from Libyan leader Moammar al-Gadhafi to mount a conspiracy to kill Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He is going to jail after soiling the name of all Arab-Americans.
Many Arabs and Muslims will say that talking to American Jews is tantamount to capitulating and admitting defeat in the 50-year-long war over Palestine. The fact is that this "war" has already been lost. Just look at the lamentable conditions in Palestinian society. American Jews are a diverse, powerful, and focused community. Many among them are fair and moderate and will not insist on crushing the other side, knowing they have already won. American Jews have made it repeatedly clear they agree on one thing: the need to assure the safety of Israel. There is nothing wrong with that, as Arabs and Muslims, similarly, claim that their main interest is the well-being of the Palestinians, and now that of their Iraqi brethren.
By showing respect and engaging American Jews, Anwar Sadat secured the return of the entire Sinai Peninsula and a grant program for Egypt that has paid a total of $50 billion in financial and military grants since 1979. (Beirut Daily Star)
The threat was included in a joint statement issued in the Gaza Strip by the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and Al Quds Battalions of the Islamic Jihad.
Masked gunmen from the two groups read out the statement to journalists in Gaza City. They said their men have been instructed to kidnap IDF soldiers and settlers in order to use them as a bargaining chip with Israel.
The gunmen also criticized the 'apathy' in the Arab world towards the hunger strike, which entered its 12th day on Thursday.
The statement revealed that a joint Fatah-Islamic Jihad had tried to kidnap a soldier three months ago, but failed because of tough security measures."
A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians Thursday landed in the living room of a private home in Gush Katif in Gaza, but failed to explode. No one was injured but the house was heavily damaged. The father and a number of children were in the house at the time. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
It is the free world, led by the United States, that must stand behind its pledge not to let Iran get the bomb, Steinitz said.
He warned that Iran aims at becoming a global nuclear power with long-range Shihab missiles that would put Europe and NATO forces in range.
'This is a problem of the leaders of the civilized world. One shouldn't expect little Israel to solve a global problem like this,' Steinitz said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
'The United States itself has said that it won't hesitate to use any means at its disposal to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. If, God forbid, the free world, led by the United States, doesn't stand behind these words, then a dark curtain will descend on the world raising the possibility of nuclear terror against us and Europe and NATO,' Steinitz said.
'Iran is a totally irresponsible and unpredictable totalitarian regime that is ready to sacrifice millions of its people for its crazy ideology,' Steinitz said."
Aryeh Herzog, head of the Arrow project in the Israel's Defense Ministry, said in an interview Friday morning that this definitely cannot be describes as a failed experiment, even though the Arrow missile did not succeed in hitting its target.
'This sort of mishap can happen to any interceptor missile, and could have happened in the previous experiment too. It has nothing to do with the abilities of the missile. But at the same time, we of course want every trial to be successful, and this trial did not succeed completely.'
The latest attempts to launch an Arrow 2 missile against a Scud D like missile with a warhead that separates in flight in order to confuse the defending interceptor that took place at Point Mugu off the US West coast on Thursday.
The failed attempt came after the two countries launched a successful Arrow 2 missile test that intercepted and destroyed a live Scud B missile over the Pacific Ocean at then end of July. The Scud D missile considered to be the most sophisticated missile of its kind is in Syria's hands. Thursday's failed attempt was the thirteenth operational testing of the system since it was built and the eighth time its weapons system was tested.
The Arrow-2 is geared to intercept an enemy missile as it reenters the earth's atmosphere, far from Israeli territory. On Thursday it failed to hit its target.
A statement issued by the Defense Ministry said the aim of the test was to intercept a dummy target and compile data essential for future development, and that this goal was achieved despite the fact that the missile failed to intercept. According to the statement the surrogate target used in Thursday's test was supplied by the MDA targets office and was air launched."
Palestinian Islamic Jihad spreads its terrorist propaganda via three main and three subsidiary Internet sites. The Internet service provider (ISP) for palestineway.com is VONOC, located in Englewood, Colorado.
The ISP for sarayaalquds.com - the site of the Jerusalem Battalions, Islamic Jihad's operational-terrorist wing - is Level3, located in Broomfield, Colorado.
The ISP for the subsidiary site jimail.com/abrar is Alabanza, based in Baltimore.
The ISP for rabdullah.com, dedicated to Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, is Level3 of Broomfield, Colorado.
According to the report, the US intelligence community has assessed that Syria became a costumer of smuggled Pakistani P1 nuclear centrifuges in 2001 through Firas Tlas, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas.
Khan was arrested by Pakistani intelligence officers in January 2004 and admitted to secretly selling nuclear know-how to Iran.
In the appeal received on Sunday from the offices of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim figures from nearly 30 nations, from Germany to Indonesia, said the aim should be to 'purify the land of Islam from the filth of occupation'.
The statement came as US tanks rumbled to within 800 metres of a holy shrine in the Iraqi city of Najaf, after fierce clashes with Shiite rebels in a nearby town reportedly killed at least 40 Iraqis.
Talks to end a near three-week Shiite Muslim uprising led by rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr appeared to have stalled after negotiators failed to agree on how to surrender control of the Imam Ali shrine, where Mehdi militias remain holed up.
The signatories included senior members of the Brotherhood, leading Qatari-based moderate Youssef al-Qaradawi, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Lebanon, Khaled Mashal of the Palestinian group Hamas, two Egyptian opposition party leaders, Sheikh Abdeslam Yassine of Morocco's Justice and Charity Group and Yemeni Speaker of Parliament Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar.
Others came from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia, the Comoros, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan and Tunisia.
The appeal said that Muslim rulers had been silent to the point of complicity in the face of what it called Anglo-American and Zionist aggression in Iraq and the Palestinian territories."
According to SANA, the official Syrian news agency, the Arab League says the project to make Jerusalem wireless fidelity-enabled (WiFi) accessible threatens the Arab identity of the city.
The Arab League issued a statement Tuesday saying, “the project aims at imposing a de facto [sic] on the city in a way that serves the Israeli interests under the pretext of encouraging the foreign investments.”
The statement added that the WiFi project, along with all of Israel’s policies, “contradicts not only the international law and resolutions but also reflect no desire in realizing the just and comprehensive peace in the region.”
The Municipality of Jerusalem, together with Intel and Compumat Computers, is embarking on a project to make Israel's capital the world's first WiFi accessible city, according to a Globes report. The organizers expect that within two years, users in most areas of the city will be able to surf the internet wirelessly. The WiFi connection will be free of charge throughout at least the first year. The unobtrusive WiFi transmitters installed throughout the city will enable an internet connection of up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps) at a distance of 1000-1600 feet.
The criticism we expressed of the Arrow project as well as of the separation fence causes people to ask: "What is your alternative?" Our criticism did not address the technical aspects of the project, but its basic concept.
The Arrow is a first-rate technological achievement and its technical developers deserve to be congratulated. But the basic concept lying behind the Arrow is a disastrous one that has led Israel to invest tremendous sums in white elephants that can never meet their strategic aims.
Consequently the alternative we seek does not lie in the field of technology. We shall not propose a more successful weapons system. The required alternative must be found in the overall defense concept of the country.
Last week an article appeared in Makor Rishon, describing in a comprehensive manner Israel's nuclear policy and the Iranian threat. The article included interviews were held with the heads of the organizations responsible for the subject, and all of them, without exception, agreed that an Israeli military attack on the Iranian nuclear industry was not possible. The reason was not Iranian military superiority, but the dispersion of the Iranian nuclear facilities and their proximity to concentrations of population. An Israeli attack would be liable to cause a great number of casualties amongst the Iranian civilian population, and official Israel does not believe that it can permit itself to do so.
In fact Israel, facing Shihab 3 missiles and the development of Iranian nuclear capability, lies in precisely the same dilemma as when facing the Kasam rockets fired from Beit Hanun. The obstacle is not military capability but moral considerations and international pressure. The Israeli leadership does not feel that it can justify to its own citizens a massive attack on others, nor does it feel capable of withstanding the international pressure that would result from such an attack.
Some people hold the view that Israel must come to terms with reality and deliberately enter the era of the balance of nuclear terror in the Middle East. One of the supporters, a professor from Tel Aviv University, even explained in a radio broadcast that this would be a desirable situation which would bring an end to conflicts and bloodshed. It seems that this terrible idea is gradually being absorbed (because of the lack of an alternative concept) by the heads of the defense establishment, and in the non too distant future we shall find ourselves facing extremist Moslem countries (followed by terrorist organizations) armed with nuclear weapons.
Any comparison made between the cold war waged between the East and the West, and a situation that could exist between Israel and its nuclear-armed neighbors, is totally unfounded. In order that a balance of terror can exist, it is necessary for there to be opponents having both rationale for survival, and an inability to achieve total destruction in a first strike. In contrast to the case of the former Soviet Union, Israel's nuclear neighbors will lack these two elements. (The Arab regimes have an instinct for survival, but the countries themselves do not. Can anyone name Mubarak's successor?)
A single nuclear-tipped missile cannot destroy ordinary countries. At most it is capable of destroying a large urban neighborhood, and of neutralizing broad circles in its proximity (depending on weather conditions and the dispersion of nuclear fall-out).
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only two of countless cities systematically destroyed by Allied carpet bombing. The psychological effect was tremendous, but the immediate real effect did not differ greatly from the bombing of Dresden.
The major difference between Israel and an ordinary country lies in the fact that most of Israel's population, economy, and reservist soldiers are concentrated in a single city called the Dan Metropolitan Region. Israel is a single soft target that if destroyed means the end of the Israeli story. The proliferation of nuclear arms in the Middle East will not lead to a balance of terror but to the end of the balance currently existing and to terror for Israel only. In the Second World War cities were destroyed one after another. The Arab world can sustain such things, but Israel can't.
Let's not forget that the most important consideration for the Arabs is not human life but the survival of the regime. Anwar Sadat, referred to "moderate", announced that he was ready to sacrifice a million soldiers in a war against Israel.
Any Arab leader who defeats Israel at the price of a few of his cities which evaporate in a nuclear mushroom cloud will become a modern Saladin, the leader of the Arab world. This presents a serious temptation.
In the light of the threat to survival, and of our vanishing military superiority, why don't we say to hell with the world, the lives of our children are more important than those of the enemy population, and remove the threat at any price?
Isn't it logical that we should prefer our lives to those of a hostile population?
At this stage we inevitably go over to a debate about values. We are no longer
discussing atomic piles and nuclear warheads. We are now talking about fundamental values, about the basic ethos of the State of Israel. This discussion will indicate that the defense concept must be based primarily on ethical values and only subsequently on technical considerations.
Israel was established on a basis of Western/ Christian ethical values. This concept does not recognize absolute truth, and consequently justice, that serves the truth, is subject to compromise. How therefore does the Christian/ Western system of values differentiate between the good and bad elements in the issue? It's very simple - the weak one is the good guy and the strong one is the bad guy. The cross and the icons forming the basis of Western culture (even in its secular form) represents weakness, suffering, the underdog. (By the way, in Islam the strong and cruel person is in the right. See the life of their prophet. But Israel acts according to the Western code and we shall therefore concentrate on this culture.) As long as the Auschwitz crematoria were still warm, and as long as Israel, up to the Six Day War, appeared as the weak side in the story, we managed somehow to make the Zionist ethos match Western culture. We continue to drag every poor VIP who lands in Ben-Gurion Airport to Yad Vashem, but we've squeezed the last drop of juice out of the Holocaust lemon, and we can no longer justify by our suffering that of the Palestinian nation.
IDF soldiers in checkpoints do not give the impression of being the weak party and we have remained with a fundamental contradiction between the Western/Christian system of values on which the Zionist State has been based, and the basic capability of guaranteeing our survival.
The average Israeli tends to believe that that which is permissible for an Arab (terror, murder of civilians, etc.) is forbidden for a Jew, simply because the Western world is afraid of the numbers and strength of the Arabs. This is not at all accurate. The Western world accepts any behavior, even that of remote tribes, if such behavior forms part of the culture of those acting in that manner.
For example, even in Israel lenient punishments are meted out to Bedouins who murder their sisters for reasons of family honor.
In other words, it is not that Western strength constrains Israel's capability of retaliation to the cultural norms customary in the West, but, on the contrary, Israel's cultural dependence on the West chains its to its conditions.
Totalitarian countries, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that scorn the concept of human rights, receive far greater military and economic aid than Israel. (Not many people are aware of this, but of every six American dollars invested in arms for the Middle East, only one dollar reaches Israel. If the US were to impose an embargo on arms shipments to the Middle East, this would greatly improve our security situation.)
The cultural dependence obligates Israel to adopt hopeless defensive strategies, such as the Arrow, the separation fence, and the justification of a nuclear balance of terror. Analysis of this situation indicates that because of the current Israeli consciousness, Israel has no chance for long term survival.
If some form of passive action is self-evidently essential, this should primarily be dispersion of the Israeli population and accelerated rural construction in the Negev, Yesha, Galilee, and the Golan. Israel should simply prohibit further construction in the Dan Metropolitan Region, and develop the periphery and its infrastructures as a top-priority national assignment.
Obviously Israel must destroy the Iranian nuclear enterprise, even if this means civilian casualties. Obviously Israel must immediately demand an insufferable price from any Islamic Arab regime that deploys strategic missiles within range of Israel. This is the sole possible defense concept, and it will inevitably lead to the strengthening of Israel's international status, as happened after the "slaughter" of the Egyptian Army by the IDF in the Six Day War. However, there's no point in discussing what we should do, before we replace the cultural basis of the country. As long as we fail to understand that we are the just people in the story, not because we are weak, but because we are Jews, we cannot act from internal conviction, and we will certainly fail to convince the world of this.
It transpires that the strategic solution must first be based on culture and only afterwards on the technology of the military industry.
Over the past 18 months, nearly 50,000 Darfurians have been killed and more than a million made refugees by Arab Janjaweed militias, allegedly supplied with military support by the Sudanese government of strongman Gen. Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum.
For more than two decades, Sudan, with an estimated population of 35 million, has been torn apart in a bitter civil war between a predominantly Arab-Muslim north, and a Christian-black south. This conflict has resulted in an estimated two million dead and another four million made homeless in their own country.
Darfur, however, exposes another dimension of the internal conflict in Sudan.
Here, the victims are Muslim, black and non-Arab. Those perpetrating the brutalities are Muslims of Arab origin.
The tragedy unfolding in Darfur has been well-documented by reputable international human rights agencies such as Human Rights Watch. There is no disputing in this instance the facts of a state-supported ethnic cleansing being repeated in the heart of Africa.
But Sudan is a member of the Arab League, an organization representing 22 Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Hence, the Arab League immediately rallied around Sudan at the UN to ease pressures being placed on Bashir's regime.
The diplomatic manoeuvres of the Arab League are predictable. It exists to defend the interests of Arab states -- meaning regimes in power -- and not the Arab people.
The one constant in the history of Arab states over the past five decades is the abuse of people by power-holders in a part of the world -- between the Atlantic Ocean and the Persian Gulf -- where regimes rule without popular legitimacy.
It is understandable, though inexcusable, that there are no demonstrations in the streets of Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, Tunis, Algiers or elsewhere in the wider Arab-Muslim world, denouncing the Khartoum regime for its crimes in Darfur.
Freedom and democracy are sorely lacking among the Arab League members, and popular condemnation of an Arab regime would not be tolerated.
Arabs and Muslims, however, now live in growing numbers in cosmopolitan centres of the West, and enjoy freedoms denied their people elsewhere.
Here they came out in unprecedented numbers, protesting American-led wars to liberate Afghans and Iraqis from despots. But in their unconscionable silence over Darfur, they disclose how selective is their outrage.
This silence is also revealing of culturally entrenched bigotry among Arabs, and Muslims from adjoining areas of the Middle East.
Blacks are viewed by Arabs as racially inferior, and Arab violence against blacks has a long, turbulent record. The Arabic word for blacks ('abed) is a derivative of the word slave ('abd), and the role of Arabs in the history of slavery is a subject rarely discussed publicly.
Here, the contrast between the Arab treatment of blacks, irrespective of whether they are Muslims or not, and the Israeli assimilation of black Jews of Ethiopia, known as Falashas, cannot go unnoticed.
The tragedy of Darfurians ironically has exposed to the world the racial dimension of Arab-Muslim culture and the hollowness of rhetoric proclaiming the brotherhood of Muslims.
The rural Jewish town uncovered at the site existed from about 100 BCE to 135 CE, until the Bar Kochba revolt, said archeologist Dr. David Amit. Several hundred people are estimated to have lived there, perhaps the extended members of five to eight families. Excavations at the ancient village have uncovered a 2,000-year-old street, Jewish coins from the time of the rebellion, and wine presses, as well as a mikve (Jewish spiritual bath). The mikve, which is still visible, was turned into a regular water well by pagans who lived at the 50-dunam village for several generations after the Jews vacated the area.
Adjacent to the Jewish village lies a 5,000-year-old Canaanite city from the Early Bronze Age, dating to approximately 3,000 BCE. The 70-80 dunam city, which was divided into a smaller upper and a larger lower level and was surrounded by a wall and watch towers, existed for up to 400 years, said Tel Aviv University archeologist Sarit Paz, who is heading the excavations at the site.
The well-planned city, which dates back to the time between Noah and Abraham, is thought to have been home to several hundred people. The builders of the nearby Jewish village used some of the original stones from the Canaanite city in building their own town, Paz said.
The impressive remnants of a 5,000-year-old street, an assortment of pottery and cutting vessels, flint Canaanite blades, stone beads, and a variety of colored juglets, have been uncovered by Paz and her team.
The Antiquities Authority says that the quality and extent of the finds uncovered during the three-month excavation at both sites is "unprecedented."
Internal Palestinian conflict escalated again on Wednesday, when gunmen opened fire on a convoy carrying a top Gaza security officer, seriously wounding him.
The two developments were related -- each an outgrowth of years of Arafat's one-man control, criticized by international donors and more recently by Palestinian reformers as corrupt and inefficient, pitting rival security forces against each other in a costly method of divide and rule.
Arafat stonewalled his detractors once again Wednesday in the latest confrontation over administrative reforms.
Refusing to sign presidential decrees needed for restructuring his administration, Arafat instead pledged to take the necessary steps in a letter to the parliament, and the lawmakers approved it, 31-12.
The recommendations included forming a viable government capable of fighting corruption more effectively and restoring law and order. It also called on Arafat to follow through on promises made in a speech last week to crack down on graft.
LONDON, UK -- Since 1993, the European Union has contributed over €2 billion directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Member states have donated a further €2 billion in the same period. The Funding for Peace Coalition has released a new report detailing the diversion of unprecedented sums of financial aid from the Palestinian people towards corruption and violence.
The report, entitled “Managing European Taxpayers’ Money: Supporting The Palestinian Arabs – A Study In Transparency”, exposes evidence showing a compelling connection between European funding and ongoing Palestinian corruption and terrorism. It highlights the utter failure of European organisations to monitor where these funds have been directed. The report details theft, nepotism, and embezzlement on the part of the PA, supported by incompetence and apathy on the part of European agencies.
FPC’s work raises the following major issues, each of which strike at the very sprit of the Constitution of the European Union:
- European aid has not reached its intended target population, but has been diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement.
- Despite strong denials from senior European politicians and civil servants, terrorists, such as those of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, have been recipients of Palestinian Authority salaries, which are financed from internationally funded budgets.
- Even if European leaders truly believe that Parliament and the public in general have been given an honest appraisal of the risks involved, it cannot be stated with conviction that European taxpayers’ money has been managed transparently and in accordance with the spirit in which it was collected.
FPC’s study does not consider whether or not aid should be given to the Palestinians, or what level of aid would be appropriate. It begins from the assumption that it is important to provide aid to the Palestinians. The FPC report focuses solely on whether this aid is accomplishing the stated goals of the donor community, and the transparency of its management.
According to FPC’s spokesperson, David Winter, “This new report highlights an astonishing lack of controls by the authorities in the European Union. The real facts about the continuing failure of the massive programme of international aid to the Palestinian people remain largely unreported. Our report shows that the watchdogs have been asleep on the job and it isn’t for lack of public warning.”
The FPC’s report comes on the heels of growing pressure within Palestinian ranks, calling for an end to decades of corrupt leadership. According to Mohammed Dahlan, a former PA Interior Minister, who was quoted in “The Guardian” earlier this month, all of the funds which foreign countries donated to the Palestinian Authority, a total of $5bn, “have gone down the drain and we don’t know to where.”
Aware of the sensitive nature of the report and the need for careful research, Winter said: “Every piece of information in our report has been thoroughly checked. The extensive footnoting of the report allows the reader to check any and every fact presented.”
When asked why was the report was issued, Winter responded. “We believe that, if we can draw sufficient attention to the issues, the political drive will be created to ensure that the Palestinian Arabs receive the intended benefit from the billions in aid channeled through their leadership and institutions. With proper management, we believe that mutual tolerance can be encouraged and ultimately regional peace can be achieved. Aid money will then be available to resolve other, often more pressing, humanitarian issues – possibly such as the crisis in Sudan and others.”
Asked whether the European Commission had misled the European Parliament, Winter responded, “This is a key question which the FPC report addresses. For example, there have been countless reassurances that the PA payroll is tightly controlled. It is international donors who help pay for these employees. In fact the payroll has been found to be bloated with fictitious names or compromised of groups adjudged as terrorists by the EU itself.
Have public funds provided by Europeans been transferred transparently? Have the Palestinians really benefited from this massive inflow of aid - an estimated $10 billion from all sources? Members of the interested public are invited to read the facts in our report and decide for themselves.
Gal Friedman took the gold medal for the windsurfing event in Athens on Wednesday, Israel's first ever gold at the Olympics.
Friedman - the first Israeli to win two Olympic medals after winning the bronze in 1996 - finished the last of the 11 races in second place, but took the gold by scoring 42 points.
After Friedman crossed the finish line, he took a victory dip and then wrapped himself in an Israeli flag when he came out of the water.
F al Qaeda wants to strike on U.S. soil be fore the elections, it still has available to it a gaping loophole it exploited pre-9/11: Saudis' easy access to U.S. visas.
Despite supposed reforms implemented by the State Department, current statistics obtained by this columnist reveal that nearly 90 percent of all Saudi visa applicants get approved. To put this in perspective, applicants in most other Arab nations — the ones that didn't send us 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers — are refused visas three to five times more often than Saudis.
Sept. 11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed reportedly told U.S. interrogators that the reason 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis was because they had by far the easiest time getting visas. According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohammed personally discovered how true this was when he obtained a visa (using an alias) in July 2001 through a program known as Visa Express, which allowed all Saudis to apply for visas at travel agencies.
Daragme was involved in numerous shooting attacks in the Jordan valley district and in attempts to dispatch suicide bomb attacks in Israel. According to security officials, he also coordinated between Islamic jihad cells in the Jordan valley and in Nablus.
On Tuesday evening, shots were fired towards the hilltop community of Psagot near Ramallah, no one was wounded in the attack.
In the Gaza Strip, a bomb was detonated near IDF soldiers deployed near Rafah. Shortly after soldiers discovered a second bomb in the area and blew it up.
In the morning shots were fired at an IDF base near Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif.
On Tuesday night, security forces thwarted a planned suicide bomb attack after finding two explosive belts and a powerful bomb in a combined operation launched by the IDF and Shin Bet in Al Ashamiya a village west of Jenin. Further details were barred from publication.
Apparently, the smuggling networks have contacts in Egyptian intelligence, which uses them to collect information about what happens on the Israeli side of the border between Sinai and the western Negev."
World Jewry has established a shadow government run by 300 Satans who call themselves 'elders.' They always choose one man who is considered to be a king and to be the successor to King David and [King] Solomon. They do not reveal his name in public, and each time he dies they appoint another of the rabbis in his place. The Jewish millionaire Walter Rathenau told the German newspaper The Weiner Press [meaning the Wiener Freie Presse ] on December 25, 1909: 'There are 300 people, all of whom know one another. They have arbitrary rule over Europe's fate. They choose people to do their bidding from among those who surround them. These Jews have the means to annihilate any government that doesn't satisfy them.'
These words are not from a mosque in Nablus or Tehran, but rather from New York State.
The enemies of Islaam and the ignorant people that follow them are trying to portray the reality of the struggle against the Jews as a struggle for land and borders, and as a problem of refugees and water ports. And they make it seem as if it is possible to end this struggle with peaceful coexistence and by compensating the refugees, rectifying their condition of living, dispersing them throughout the land and establishing a weak petty secular state, which will live under the Zionist power and which will serve as a shield for the Zionist state (against their surrounding enemies).
But all of these people don’t realize that our struggle with the Jews goes way back, ever since the first Islamic state was established in Madeenah with Muhammad, the Messenger sent to all of mankind, as its leader. Allaah has related to us in the Qur’aan, the reality of the Jews’ malice and hatred for the ummah of Islaam and Tawheed, as he says: “You will surely find that the people with the most enmity towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists.” [Surah Al-Maa’idah:82 ]
So see how Allaah has placed the Jews before the polytheists in their hatred and enmity (towards the Muslims). Even though they are united in their disbelief, they differ (from others) in their (immense) hatred towards the ummah of Muhammad, as Allaah says: “The Jews and the Christians will never be pleased with you until you follow their religion (way).” [Surah Al-Baqarah:120 ]
And ever since the first hour in which the Muslims let the beautiful fragrance of Islaam flow through it (Madeenah), the Jews were there showing enmity to the Muslims and their Prophet. So our Prophet, Muhammad, was not safe from the harm of the Jews amongst their ranks. They tried to kill him three times. One time, they tried to kill him by putting a heavy rock on his head. Another time was when they placed poison in the forearm of a goat (for him to eat). And a third case was when the Jewish boy, Lubaid bin al-A’asam, may Allaah’s curse be on him, put a magic spell on him.
And lo, there are the Americans, supplying the Jews with the most ferocious and harmful weapons of destruction, so that they can kill the Muslim children, women and elderly people of Palestine. And they preoccupied the world with their American elections for the purpose of drawing attention away from the Jewish massacre and butchering of the Muslim people of Palestine.
And lo! There are the British, who supply the Jews with loud and explosive ammunition, which when used result in horrific deaths and everlasting handicapping for the youth of Palestine. So this ummah (nation of Palestinians) are open prey - whether young or old, infant or woman – in the hands of the Jews and their supporters.
And lo! There are the supporters of the Jews, who preoccupy the ummah and draw their attention away from the casualties suffered by the Muslim people of Palestine. And they make the people blind to the crimes committed by the Jews by broadcasting the Olympics and other worthless programs, which only make the ummah numb and put it to sleep!
Don’t the Muslims know that our struggle against the Jews is a struggle of Creed and a struggle of Religious livelihood? Don’t they realize that it is a struggle of culture, a struggle to remain in existence, a struggle of identification? Wasn’t it the Jews who set fire to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsaa? Weren’t they the ones who initiated archeological excavations under it, (ruining its foundation), so that afterward it can crumble on its own?? Weren’t they the ones who killed Muslims while they were prostrating in the month of Ramadaan in Masjid Al-Khaleel?!? Did they not cut open the stomachs of pregnant women, murder babies and set fire to the pastures and the farmlands!? Wasn’t it the Jews who transformed the masjids of Palestine into bars of alcohol and gambling?! Did they not turn them into compounds for animals and garbage dumps?!?
Then after all of this, it is said: “Our struggle against the Jews is a struggle for land and a border dispute!!” And the desired solution is to establish a petty Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, so that the followers of the three monotheistic – or so they claim - faiths can live in it. Are these people ignorant of the fact that the only Religion acceptable in the sight of Allaah is Islaam? Or are they ignorant of the fact that Ibraheem is free and absolved from the polytheism and idolatry the Jews and Christians are upon. “Ibraaheem was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but rather he was Haneef (worshipping Allaah alone), a Muslim. And he was not from the polytheists.” [Surah Aali ‘Imraan:67 ]
Indeed, the only solution, which the Jews will understand, is Jihaad – done with its proper conditions – to raise high the Word of Allaah. The Jews do not want peace, rather they only want that this ummah surrender and submit itself to them, and that it bow and debase itself to them. And they want that it wipe out the word Jihaad from its vocabulary! They want them to become slaves, employees and laborers for them, having the right to beat them with their shoes and lash them with their whips whenever they feel like it!
Our real struggle with the Jews will not end by setting up a withered state that doesn’t raise the banner of Islaam nor establishes the Laws of Allaah. How can it come to an end when the Muslim recites in his prayer seventeen times - day and night – “And do not make us from those who gained Your Anger nor from those who went astray.” [Surah Al-Faatihah:7 ]
Those who “gained Your Anger” are the Jews and those who “went astray” are the Christians, according to the unanimous agreement of the Tafseer scholars, and this is so until the Day of Judgement.
So the decisive battle in which the Jews will come to an end will most assuredly come to pass – it is inevitable. It will be a battle of Faith and a battle of servitude to Allaah. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “You will indeed fight against the Jews and you will kill them to the point where the rock and the tree will say: ‘O Muslim! O ‘Abdullaah (slave of Allaah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.’ Except for al-Gharqad for it is from the trees of the Jews.”
This is a true promise from the one who doesn’t speak from his own desire (Prophet Muhammad), which confirms the true nature of our struggle against the Jews, unlike what the misguided and misguiding media is portraying.
Ismael Selim Elbarasse of Annandale, Va., long suspected by authorities of having financial ties to the Palestinian terrorist group, was taken into custody as a 'material witness' in a Chicago terrorism case, according to Maryland's U.S. attorney's office.
Elbarasse made an initial appearance in Baltimore's federal courthouse yesterday before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm.
In the indictment by a federal grand jury in Chicago, unsealed and announced on Friday, Elbarasse is described as a 'co-conspirator' in a 15-year racketeering conspiracy in the United States and abroad to illegally finance terrorist activities in Israel.
Elbarasse was not indicted, but court documents allege that he and defendant Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook - considered one of the highest-ranking Hamas leaders internationally - shared a Virginia bank account that was used to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hamas.
Abu Marzook resides in Syria and is considered a fugitive from justice, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago. The other two defendants charged in the indictment are Muhammad Hamid Khalil Salah of suburban Chicago and Abdelhaleem Hasan Abdelraziq Ashqar of Fairfax County, Va.
Elbarasse is not charged with any wrongdoing in Maryland, authorities said.
'He is being held only on the material witness charge,' said Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.
Elbarasse was taken into custody Friday afternoon, soon after he was spotted by two off-duty Baltimore County police officers on the Bay Bridge.
The officers, assigned to the department's marine unit, were returning from a training exercise in a marked car when they noticed a male occupant of a passing sport utility vehicle videotaping the bridge, authorities said.
The occupants of the SUV - a man, a woman and two children - appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent and were seen 'hiding the camera,' authorities said.
At the toll plaza, the Baltimore County officers reported what they had seen to Maryland Transportation Authority Police. Its officers stopped the SUV west of the bridge and confiscated the camera, authorities said. Authorities said the camera had recorded close-up images that seemed atypical for a tourist.
When questioned by police, the couple said they were returning 'from the beach,' but were not specific about which beach. In the car was little luggage and two beach chairs, authorities said.
In a bid to dampen rising oil prices, the House of Saud last week promised to pump an additional 1.3 million barrels per day, indefinitely. The markets, though, didn’t buy what the Saudis were selling—prices didn’t drop—and neither should anyone else.
Yet conventional wisdom among self-appointed foreign policy experts ignores this basic reality, and as a result, Saudi Arabia holds the diplomatic catbird seat, enjoying perks available to few, if any, other nations.
Almost as powerful a factor as black gold is inertia, as this is a relationship that goes back decades. Notes Hudson Institute senior fellow Laurent Murawiec, “This is a relationship that has been cemented by forty years of money, power, and political favors that goes much deeper than most people realize.”
Despite the fact that the United States unflinchingly—some would say disturbingly—backs the House of Saud, the favor is not always returned.
During the 1973 oil crisis, American policymakers were convinced that the House of Saud would come to their rescue with an influx of cheap oil. It didn’t happen. The kingdom went in the other direction, and world oil prices tripled.
Less than two decades later, when Saddam Hussein seemed poised to extend his Kuwaiti offensive into Saudi Arabia, the United States defended its oil-rich friend. When the United States finally saw fit to unseat Saddam last year, however, the Saudis weren’t willing to give us more than some under-the-table assistance.
In the current context, conspiracy theorists insist that last week’s pledge was merely the formal enactment of a previously arranged favor to President Bush to lower prices before the election, as first reported by Bob Woodward earlier this year.
A much more reasonable and practical explanation, though, is grounded in simple economics: If the price of oil gets too high, investment dollars will flood research and development efforts behind alternative fuel sources.
And that would be bad news for oil producers everywhere.
The simple truth is that oil is the dominant energy source because it is the cheapest at such a massive scale. But part of the reason no cheaper alternatives exist is that there hasn’t been enough of a financial incentive to date for private capital to expend the requisite funding to find one.
For all the greenies who blame government interference or lack of taxpayer support for the relative dearth of green-friendly energy sources, limited government funds could never fuel the necessary technological innovation. Private capital markets, however, have far more on hand to fund comprehensive—and expensive—research.
There just needs to be an incentive to open the floodgates—and soaring oil prices might be the best one.
No one understands this better than the Saudis. Thus while they obviously would like sky-high oil prices, the reality is that long-term considerations place the ceiling substantially lower.
So if the Saudis face market pressures that force them to keep oil prices in check, why does the U.S. State Department go to tragic-comic lengths to keep them happy?
For all the talk about President Bush’s ties to the House of Saud, it is the State Department that grants the everyday favor that collectively constitute a record of humiliating obsequiousness.
State ignores the rash of Saudi fathers who have kidnapped American children from American mothers, holding them hostage in the desert prison.
Even when an American mother is with her two children on U.S. soil at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh—as 24-year-old Sarah Saga was last year—State fights Americans’ interests and sides with the Saudis.
Religious freedoms of Christians and Shi’ite Muslims—the majority population of the oil-rich Eastern Province—are routinely and often brutally suppressed, yet State sees no evil.
Some of State’s pandering, though, has far graver consequences.
In late 2001, after State discovered that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis—and that all of them had submitted applications that never should have been approved under the law—it sent out a press release saying that the U.S. had “not changed its procedures or policies in determining visa eligibility as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
Sadly, State was telling the truth. And to this day, that pledge still largely holds true.
Which means that the current trading situation boils down to the following: they export oil, and we import terrorists. What a deal.
Fear Itself (washingtonpost.com) "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
-- Genesis 2:17
ADAM AND EVE'S PUNISHMENT FOR GETTING TOO CURIOUS WAS BANISHMENT from the Garden of Eden. But that was the least of it. The Bible is unclear about whether the first couple were immortal before their expulsion, but in a way, it is immaterial. What matters is that, as their punishment, they learned that they would someday die. That's when their Hell on Earth began.
To enter the modern, stone-porticoed building on King David Street in Jerusalem, I needed to give my name and show ID to an armed man who stood outside with a walkie-talkie. He radioed the information to a woman inside, who checked the name against her manifest, and radioed back a clearance. Only then was I admitted.
"Welcome to Jerusalem," the guard said, deadpan. I was not sure if this was meant ironically or not. Probably not. This was my hotel.
Things are different in Jerusalem, different from anywhere you have ever been. Before entering a grocery store, or a bus station, or a movie theater, you are stopped and wanded, often questioned, and sometimes frisked. Many restaurants keep their doors locked and buzz their customers in. At Ben-Gurion International Airport, the X-ray machine is the size of a panel truck, and the inspection of a single laptop computer can take 15 minutes. Ordinary citizens walk the streets of Jerusalem carrying concealed pistols -- this is not only legal but encouraged, to maintain an omnipresent citizen militia. Soldiers on weekend leave stroll the street in civvies, but with assault rifles slung over their shoulders, like ugly, 15-pound handbags. This, too, is encouraged. Soldiers are also under orders to carry tourniquets, just in case. All of this is to make ordinary people feel safer, against the onslaught.
There is a Hebrew word, hamatzav, that is used to describe the state of dread that has swaddled Jerusalem like damp, clammy gauze since the Palestinian intifadas made merely living a daredevil act. Hamatzav literally means "the situation," and it seems to cover everything: the high security, the high anxiety, the high-stakes game of chicken. Palestinian militants believe they can make the Israelis so fearful, so desperate for peace of mind, that they will end their occupation and surrender more land than they ever bargained for. Israeli leaders believe their fierce reprisals will, in time, crush their attackers' will to kill. Both sides, of course, know fear: Plenty of innocent Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military actions -- for Palestinians, the act of living must also, at times, seem like a mortal risk. Each side accuses the other of terrorism. Each side describes its own actions as self-defense. And so it goes.
On my first night in the city, I walked from my hotel to the Western Wall, Jewish Jerusalem's holiest site, and there I met Ozer Bergman. It is hard to miss Bergman. He stands 7 feet tall -- 6-foot-5 of it is Ozer, and the rest is hat, a dramatic, thick cylinder of fur. It was sundown on the holy day of Shavuot, and Bergman, a Hasidic Jew, had come here to pray. He works for a research institute that translates the writings of Nachman of Breslov, a revered 19th-century rabbi.
"That's a full-time business?" I asked.
"In Jerusalem, it is," he said with a laugh.
I almost didn't approach him, anticipating a language problem. It turns out that Bergman is originally from Long Island. Devout Mets fan.
We were speaking outside the Western Wall's security gate, where Bergman was waiting in a crowd of hundreds to board the No. 2 bus, which carries the faithful to the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood where he lives. It's a mob scene, with an empty bus arriving every minute or two and leaving moments later, packed cheek by jowl.
Eight months before, one of these buses -- crowded just like these, on a similar day -- blew up, killing 23 people, many of them children. Many more were grievously injured. The suicide bomber, a father of young children, was black-bearded like Ozer and dressed to resemble a Hasid. He had boarded the bus, wedged himself in the middle of a crowd of riders, patiently waited until his bus passed another bus to assure maximum loss of life, and exploded.
Bergman is not afraid to take buses?
"Never!" he thundered. "I take buses all the time. My wife, too. It's my country, I will not let them push me around." Bergman, 48, said that if a Jew dies in a terrorist attack, he is in a state of martyrdom and is guaranteed the highest reaches of Heaven.
Isn't this more or less what the suicide bombers believe, about themselves?
There are ironies in this situation, Bergman conceded, that "sound obscene." But it doesn't matter, he said. Bergman believes what Rabbi Nachman taught: that God intends all things, good and bad, to happen for a reason -- that there is pain in the world but no evil, because whatever occurs is part of an eternal plan leading to a state of utopia for all mankind. It's all predetermined: "If you're number's up, your number's up," he said. But since it's all for good, in the end, there is no need for fear, and no reason to meet apparent misfortune with sadness or regret.
It was time to go. Bergman gently took the hand of his adult son, Nachman. Nachman Bergman wore a black suit, side locks that curled down from his temples, and the sweet, trusting eyes of the mentally retarded.
Hand in hand, father and son headed for the No. 2 bus.
"What's the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? . . . People were ready to have their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life."
-- World Controller Mustapha Mond, explaining the origins of the dehumanized but anxiety-free dystopia in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
WHAT IS THE TOLL OF TERRORISM, once terrorism has become not an occasional horror but a fact of everyday life? How do people adapt, and at what cost? Looking to the future, these are questions Americans might ask.
Everyone in Jerusalem deals with hamatzav in his or her own way, depending on one's personal threshold for danger, or one's personal calculus for safety. These are highly subjective matters.
Ilan Mizrahi is a freelance photographer who has covered the latest intifada since its inception. He negotiates the city on a minibike, fearlessly threading through traffic, and is often among the first on the scene when carnage occurs. In his travels, Mizrahi will pass a bus, if he must, but will not squeeze between two of them. With two buses, he feels, the odds of an explosion are doubled, elevated to the point that he is uncomfortable. That's his threshold.
In the late 1990s, Mizrahi said, his mother would frantically phone him as soon as word got out that there had been a suicide bombing. She wanted reassurance that he was safe. But within a few years, after bombings had become commonplace, she no longer called. One day, he arrived at the scene of a blast at a coffee shop, and realized that it was right below the bridal shop in which his mother worked. He went up there to get an overhead shot from her window. Oh, hi, she said. She said she'd gone downstairs, checked out the three bodies, made sure it was no one she knew, and then gone back to work.
Israel has assimilated terror, and institutionalized it. A bombing scene is cleaned up in hours, and one day later, there is often no sign it ever happened. Aleph Aleph Glass, once a small glazier company, is now a huge glazier company. It got the government contract for repairing windshields, and is very good at working very quickly. For the first few days after a terror attack, when people are afraid of public places, many restaurants will start offering takeout menus. Then, things return to normal.
I found myself remembering Terry Gilliam's macabre 1985 movie, "Brazil," about a dysfunctional society that has given itself over to fear. Government officials are forever assuring that the war on terrorism is going well. At one point, the characters are seated in a fancy restaurant and a terrorist bomb explodes. Obsequious waiters instantly swarm the scene, putting up room dividers, dragging away corpses and apologizing profusely to diners for the disturbance.
Mizrahi and I were seated in Moment, a cafe just a few blocks from the residence of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Two years before, on a Saturday night in March, this popular dining spot became a charnel house when a suicide bomber walked in -- right over there -- and blew himself up in the middle of a packed, young crowd. Eleven people died. Their names are inscribed on a stone tablet outside. Memorial tablets like that are all over Jerusalem, sometimes more than one on the same street corner.
"Our bill here will be one shekel higher," Mizrahi said, taking a forkful of salad, "because you're paying for that guy outside, sitting in the sun, waiting to explode to save your behind." He's talking about the security guard outside the door, a taciturn African Jew who has been a fixture at Moment since it was rebuilt. He'd frisked us as we entered. Not infrequently, when an attack is averted, it is done so by these security guards -- ubiquitous in Jerusalem -- who spot an attacker and bearhug him to the ground. Sometimes, if the guard can't immobilize the attacker's trigger hand in time, or if the bomb is rigged with a preset timing device, the two of them blow up together. Security guards are paid very well.
Mizrahi carries with him, in a little leather pouch, a thick metal machine nut he picked up from the street outside, part of the body-piercing shrapnel the bomber wore. The nut was deformed, the hole in the center now a squashed crescent. "Can you imagine," he asked, "the strength of the explosion that could cause that?"
Mizrahi is a regular patron at Moment; he was planning to be there at exactly the time of the bombing, but he had stayed at home for a while to watch a TV news report of another suicide attack. In Jerusalem, such almost-but stories are legion. There is a famous picture of the bartender at Moment a few seconds after the blast. He had ducked down behind the bar to get a glass, and in that instant the bomber detonated not 15 feet away. The bar shielded the bartender. In the photo, he has just stood up, and is staring in disbelief at the bloodbath around him.
We climbed on his minibike, and Mizrahi wove through the streets of Jerusalem, shouting over the engine: "See that, that's bus No. 13, the lucky one. It's never been hit. There's Netanyahu's house. Hey, we have a joke -- When a suicide bomber gets to Heaven he finds out it's not 72 virgins, it's a 72-year-old virgin."
Mizrahi is Jewish but of Kurdish and Spanish descent; with his copper skin he has the look of an Arab, and with his camera case he has the look of an Arab Carrying Something. He is stopped by security guards all the time, and submits good-naturedly. Actually, few people in Jerusalem resent these searches.
We parked and walked toward Zion Square on Jaffa Road, a commercial strip similar to one you'd find in any large city. Mizrahi was talking, and I was taking notes. His memory is encyclopedic.
"See the stone lion on that building, four stories up? Body parts hung there from the second bombing of the 18 bus in '96. Down the street, see the Sbarro sign? Fifteen dead, August 2001. It's closed now. They moved it, but no one goes there anymore. That falafel place to the left? It exploded the same day as that pub over there. See the flower shop?"
"There. One person died, 2002. Right here, there was a suicide gunman, firing on people. A friend of mine, a civilian with a long ponytail, pulled out a gun and wounded the guy. January 2002. The guy ran, but the police finished him off. See that man, with the yarmulke? He's got a gun in his pants pocket, see the lump there?
"A refrigerator was abandoned over there, across the street, and it exploded. Thirteen people died. That was a famous one, a long time ago, I was a kid. Right over here, three years ago, a guy parked his car, walked right over there into a crowd, and exploded. He left another bomb in the car, with a timer, so when people came to help the people injured from the first bomb, they were killed. Eleven died."
"A woman walked into that clothing store and blew up. See there . . ."
I asked him to slow down. I was having trouble getting it all down.
"Way down over there, at the vegetable market, 16 dead in 1997. Two bombers. That guy selling earrings from the stand in the street? His son died in a shooting attack."
Up to this point, we hadn't moved an inch. Mizrahi was just pivoting and pointing. Now, we started walking. We passed a bearded man wearing jeans, a tie-dyed T-shirt and a submachine gun. "See that bank machine?" Mizrahi continued. "Five girls were shot there, waiting in line. One was the daughter of my family doctor. She was just trying to get 20 shekels. People don't wait in lines much, anymore. You'll see them scattered around, keeping a distance from each other, less of a target."
Mizrahi stopped, smiled wryly and nodded toward a street kiosk with a tattered advertising poster. It was for the national lottery. It said, "Hapa'am yehiyeh lechah mazal." What does that mean, I asked.
"This time, you'll be lucky."
Mizrahi is an adrenaline junkie. He loves Jerusalem, wouldn't live anywhere else, least of all Washington, which he considers too boring for words. He moves effortlessly through his city with his camera, chronicling the madness, absorbing it all with an attitude between stoicism and bemusement. He is an Israeli patriot, but no moralist. He says if he were a Palestinian, living out there in the occupied territories, in a life without hope, he might well become a suicide bomber, too.
Mizrahi has photographed more than 20 bus bombings in the past eight years. His portfolio is, in a word, heartbreaking. He knows that the vast majority of buses don't blow up, but he won't ride one, and he recently got angry with his wife when she did. "I can't help it," he said. "I see a bus, I see death."
"We have to ride a bus now," I said.
"Okay," he said. Work is work.
IT HAD BEEN TWO MONTHS since the last suicide bombing, an eternity in Jerusalem time. In the meantime, Israel had carried out brazen assassinations of Hamas leaders Abdel Aziz Rantisi and Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the latter an elderly paraplegic in a wheelchair who was considered the father of the strategy of suicide bombing. No Palestinian reprisals yet. So this was not the best moment, perhaps, to be riding a bus.
Mizrahi photographed both bombings of the 18, which came a week apart, in 1996. While standing on the roof of a building shooting down on the carnage of the second explosion, he had to step over body parts. On the balcony below him, he saw the bomber's head.
Before you get on a bus on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, you get the once-over from security guards who are posted at every bus shelter. These are tense young men in tan vests, with sunglasses and wires snaking down from ear microphones.
They fidgeted over Mizrahi, eyed me cursorily and let us aboard. The bus was packed. Jerusalem is a big city with no subway, expensive taxis, $3-a-gallon gas and bad traffic. Most everyone rides buses.
"I don't ride buses," said Assaf Gershoni.
Assaf Gershoni was our bus driver. He meant when he is off duty. Work is work.
A few minutes into the route, we passed a curious sculpture on the side of the road. It was a memorial, an enormous Star of David that appears to be made from scrap metal. It is. It is made from the twisted remains of the first No. 18 bus.
The people on the bus tend to be philosophical about their plight: What are you going to do? They will tell you their anxiety is reduced because of the guys in the tan vests outside, and because of the driver, whose judgment is, as far as they see it, the last line of defense.
This was interesting because at the bus stop, a tan vest had told us he'd never let his own relatives ride the buses. I asked Gershoni, the driver, if there's anything special he is trained to do if he thinks a bomber has just boarded his bus. Yes, he said. "When I see an Arab with a package, I say to myself, 'Please don't blow up, please don't blow up.' "
Anyway, this is not about what Israelis think as they ride a bus in Jerusalem. It is what an American thinks, on his first ride. An American watches every new person as he boards, prioritizing his concerns. Old woman, good. Old man, okay. Young, skinny person in tight clothes, no problem. Fat person: Is his flesh jiggling, or might it be something more rigid than protoplasm under that baggy shirt? Why is no one watching the back door? Someone could slip on, undetected, as a passenger gets off. No one is watching! Good, a soldier got on. But maybe that isn't good, maybe it makes us more of a target.
By minute 10, the American is pretty exhausted. But by minute 30, he's let down his guard a little. By minute 40, he has reached a state where he actually notices the pretty woman in shorts. Because, really, isn't that what life is about -- noticing the pretty woman in shorts? Isn't that what the human animal does? Life, as they say, goes on.
IN A PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERIMENT IN THE 1980S, a group of municipal judges were asked to set bail for prisoners in mock criminal cases. Half of the judges were first asked to fill out a questionnaire about their own mortality. Those judges wound up setting much higher bails. Contemplating death toughened them. It reduced their compassion.
Mizrahi had one more place to show me before we said goodbye. French Hill is an upscale, Bethesda-like neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. Attacks here are frequent; one of the most notorious occurred in March, when a drive-by shooting by Palestinians killed a 20-year-old jogger. The victim, apparently chosen at random, turned out to be the son of Elias Khoury, an Arab lawyer who had represented Yasser Arafat himself. Khoury had also lost his father in 1974 to a terrorist bombing near Zion Square -- the abandoned refrigerator that blew up, back when Mizrahi was a little boy. Nothing is ever over, in Jerusalem.
French Hill is a lick of land, a part of Jordan taken by Israel in the '67 war. It protrudes into the West Bank like a raised middle finger. Mizrahi led me to a corner patrolled by Israeli soldiers in camouflage gear, with assault weapons. I counted seven soldiers in the space of 60 feet. They were stopping everyone, even other soldiers, to demand ID. The center of the street was bisected by metal barriers. That is to slow up any suicide bombers trying to race toward the street corner from the Arab area. That delay will, with luck, buy enough time for the soldiers in the sniper's nest, up above us, to aim and fire.
This is not a war zone, exactly. It is a civilian bus stop.
The soldiers wore bulletproof vests. They were wary. The people waiting at the bus stop were wary. One Muslim woman, in a head scarf, was being detained by the soldiers because her papers were not in order. The woman was apoplectic, shouting that she was in Israel just to shop for new eyeglasses for her daughter. She commanded the embarrassed 10-year-old to show her scratched lenses to the soldiers, to the police, to the journalists, to random passersby. Over the soldiers' radio crackled a command, in Hebrew, to let the woman go. But the soldiers didn't. Twenty minutes had gone by, and it would be another 20 before they released her, so she'd learn from her mistake.
Never in my life had I felt so much ambient mistrust, fear and hatred in one place at one time.
And suddenly, seemingly from out of nowhere, a shaggy black dog showed up. She was Benji-sized, a little projectile of panting exuberance. She scampered up to everyone in turn, wagging her tail like mad, going person to person, saying howdy, ignoring no one, bursting with enthusiasm and slaphappy joy. For me, it broke the tension, and I found myself grinning. Then the dog wheeled around, raced back the way she had come and hopped into her cage on the back of a trailer on a military vehicle.
She'd been sniffing for bombs.
"The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good . . . What worries you masters you."
-- John Locke
RICKI BERNSTEIN IS PEELING SWEET POTATOES. Her husband, David, is preparing the grill. Their extended family bounces in, one after another, gathering as is their custom for Shabbat dinner.
This is a family that never should have been. I know because I was at Ricki and David's wedding, 33 years ago in New York. She was 18, he was 19; out in the audience, my girlfriend and agreed it was a shame that these two good kids were marrying so young -- obviously, this union was doomed. Sensibly, my girlfriend and I waited longer. We're divorced now.
There is a Yiddish expression, bashert, which means that some things are "meant to be." It would be hard to find a closer family, anywhere, than the Bernsteins of Jerusalem. David -- "Bernie" to his friends -- is a history teacher and dean of a Jewish studies institute. Ricki is a therapist who specializes in the treatment of trauma -- a thriving, if dispiriting, business in this city.
They have four children, whose names suggest the cultural, spiritual and geographic journey that Ricki and Bernie have made since he and I were raising hell together on the NYU newspaper, 33 years ago. Their oldest, at 27, is Jessica. Daughter Ariel is 24. Their older son, Shai, is 21. Tani, the youngest child, is 17. Only Shai couldn't make it today; he is in the army. That would be the same Shai who used to lose fights with his older sisters, growing up. Now he's a member of a combat unit. All Israeli kids serve in the military.
One day not long ago, Ricki got a text message on her cell phone from Shai:
"It just said, 'I'm okay, I love you,' " she recalls. "It took me 20 minutes before I realized what that was about. It came on the news that two soldiers had been killed in an attack in Gaza. He was preparing me, telling me not to worry."
There is a skill to living in Jerusalem, a skill in taming personal terror.
"It's like a head game, a bargain you make with yourself," says Ricki. "It's a kind of denial you have to practice if you believe in living here."
"In my apartment," Jessica says, "the living room faces one of the main roads to the hospital. So I count sirens . . ."
"With a siren," Ricki interjects, "we all say to ourselves, 'It's just a woman in labor, it's just a woman in labor . . .' "
"If you hear one," says Jessica, "you brace yourself, because you don't want to hear two or more. One siren, just one, delivers a sense of relief."
How you respond depends often on what you have seen. Ariel rides city buses, as many as four a day, except in the few harrowing days after a terror attack, when, at her parents' insistence and with their money, she grudgingly takes taxis. Jessica won't ride city buses at all. In 1996, she was in a bus directly behind one of the No. 18s that blew up on Jaffa Road. She remembers it as a dull thud -- "it's not like an explosion in the movies."
"I hear about it from the dreams," Ricki says. She is talking about her clients who have been through a bombing, and the memories that plague their sleep. "There's a silence after a bomb, a deathly stillness. The birds have flown away, the air is sucked out of everything. Everyone is frozen. They can't speak.
"Then," she says, "it starts."
"It" is what happens afterward. Each person tends to carry away a specific image, a memory that haunts him. With Jessica, it is the cinders that floated down like sinister black rain. Levi Levine, Ariel's husband, was at the scene moments after Sbarro was bombed, in 2001, trying to help the victims. Many were beyond help.
"My mother takes care of babies," Levi says. "One day, afterward, I was with her, and one of the babies was asleep, and I had to ask her to move the baby's hand, because the baby's palm was in the same position as a baby's palm I saw in Sbarro." Shai was among the first at the scene at a Friday morning bombing of a supermarket in which three people died, including the teenage female bomber and a security guard who was trying to stop her. That afternoon, at home, Shai became nauseated when Ricki was cooking chicken.
"Olfactory triggers," Ricki says measuredly, "are very common."
It's all visceral. Some of it stays visceral, and needs help escaping. Disguising details to protect the privacy of the person involved, Ricki tells a story about a client of hers: The patient was a young man experiencing emotional problems, for no apparent reason. Ricki first interviewed the patient's mother, and asked for a routine mental health history. Were there any particular traumas in the boy's life? The mother ticked off the usual list: hospitalizations, divorces in the family, death of pets, that sort of thing. Nope, nothing special.
Meanwhile, the patient was delayed in arriving. The mother apologized, saying that he couldn't take the bus. "I almost didn't ask why," Ricki says. It turned out he wouldn't ride a bus because he had been personally affected not by one bus bombing but by four -- hearing one happen, losing a relative in another, and so forth.
"You raise your kids to think people are good, because the alternative is too terrible to bear," she says. "You don't want to live in a world like that, where there is evil lurking behind every smile. You don't want to believe in that. And then your children find out on their own."
One ordinary Israeli family. Seven people. Levi, Jessica and Shai have each been at the scene of a bombing. Ricki counsels victims. And Bernie? "Two students of mine were killed at the bombing of the cafeteria at the Hebrew University in 2002. A third one was sitting between them, and bent down to get something from a knapsack, and because of that, though she was wounded, she lived." Only Tani, the quiet, handsome boy with the soft eyes, seems not to have a story to tell.
I ask Bernie and Ricki: Why do you still live in this place?
"There has to be a Jewish homeland," Ricki says. "This is not a guaranteed thing. Someone has to do it, and we didn't want to be people who just send money to plant trees."
And so they live, partly in defiance, but mostly, they do what they must to keep their own tree flowering. Bernie, one of the gentlest men I've ever known, owns a pistol. He carries it when he is traveling with his students somewhere. The Israeli Ministry of Education requires armed escorts on class trips.
In the intractability of the current situation, the history teacher hears echoes of the past.
"The history of war," Bernie says, "shows us that there is always a demonization of the enemy. You don't know what to believe. In World War I, we were told that the Kaiser was murdering children. That was not true. In World War II, when the Allies said the Germans were killing civilians, it also sounded like propaganda. Now the Palestinians are being told outrageous things. They are being told by their leaders that the Jews are poisoning their wells. They don't know what to believe. They are deprived of a decent life, and they are whipped into a frenzy. I don't think most Palestinians are evil."
It is at this point that Tani speaks out. It turns out he does have a story to tell, after all.
"When I was in eighth grade I had a friend who lived in a settlement. He and another friend skipped school and took a hike down the valley near their home. A Palestinian shepherd killed them with bricks and stones, and dipped his hands in their blood, and wrote things in blood on the wall of a cave. They were beaten so badly they couldn't be identified by dental records. They needed DNA."
An ordinary Israeli family, preparing for Sabbath dinner.
From MEMRI : Jordanian businessman Talal Abu Ghazaleh said that there was an “easy solution” to the Palestinian problem: “Let every Pal...
Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون
This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.
The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"
Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..." Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..." Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history." AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..." Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable." Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen." Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned." Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation." The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things." Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB." Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it." Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"