.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's great knowing that Nablus is secure

The centerpiece of the Palestinian Authority's facade of bringing law and order to the West Bank was it's much heralded crackdown on crime in Nablus. A measure of how successful it was came two weeks ago:
US consul general Jacob Wallace on Wednesday praised the Palestinians for restoring security to the streets of Nablus, and announced a 1.3-million-dollar aid package to the West Bank city.

"The recent actions by the Palestinian Authority have resulted in significant improvements on the streets of Nablus," the consulate in Jerusalem quoted Wallace as saying during a visit to the flashpoint city.

It is no exaggeration to say that Nablus was one of the reasons that the meeting in Annapolis managed to occur, as it appeared that the PA was following the Roadmap in its responsibilities to dismantle all terror organizations (which was an Oslo requirement way before it was on the roadmap.)

Now that Annapolis is over, what does Nablus look like today?

Palestinian children peer at militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades during a rally, commemorating killed comrades in the West Bank city of Nablus, November 30, 2007.

The militants were allowed to hold the demonstration by the security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the condition they did not fire their weapons.

You see- Abbas did put his foot down!

And don't worry...it's safe enough for a baby!
So have no fear - Nablus is as safe as it ever was, and now it is up to the Israelis to happily give up strategic land to the courageous leaders of the PA who cannot even dismantle the terror organization that they nominally lead - and who tolerate a rally of terrorists in their showpiece town only two weeks after pretending they had cleaned it up.

Friday links

The Volokh Conspiracy has a magazine-length article about the history of UNRWA. (h/t Soccer Dad)

Jewish Current Issues on Sharansky and Annapolis (h/t Atlas)

Meryl Yourish on Hamas and PA's intentions towards Israel

Athens, Jerusalem and Auschwitz at Commentary (h/t Daled Amos)


Teddy bear update - thousands call for death of teacher

From BBC:
Thousands of people have marched in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to call for UK teacher Gillian Gibbons to be shot.

Mrs Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was jailed by a court on Thursday after children in her class named a teddy bear Muhammad.

She was sentenced to 15 days for insulting religion, and she will then be deported.

The Foreign Office was in contact with Sudan's government overnight and is due to repeat demands for her release.

The marchers took to the streets after Friday prayers to denounce the sentence as too lenient.

The protesters gathered in Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace in the capital, many of them carrying knives and sticks.

Marchers chanted "Shame, shame on the UK", "No tolerance - execution" and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad".
Sharia law - the model of tolerance.

(For those wondering, the word under "Mohammed" on the bear is Mohammed in Arabic.)

"Land without a people for a people without a land"

One of early Zionism's slogans that took hold of the imagination of the proponents of a Jewish state was "A land without a people for a people without a land." Coined by Israel Zangwill, it evoked a desolate, empty desert where the industrious Jews could build a modern state.

Israel-bashers are fond of using this quote as proof of early Zionist mendacity, ignoring the 400,000 Arabs that lived in Palestine at the beginning of modern Zionism. To an extent they are right - certainly there were people there - but the slogan was more accurate than they claim.

Firstly, while there were people there, they weren't "a people" - Arabs at the time identified with the Arab people as a whole, or often as a part of southern Syria, but Palestinian Arab nationalism did not appear until after the phrase was coined, in no small part as a direct reaction to Zionism itself.

Secondly, it is hard to claim that the land was anything but sparsely populated, considering that today some ten million people manage to fit in that same space. In other words, the claim that pre-state Zionism was displacing the existing Arab population is simply a lie, as the aim of Zionism was to build and grow in places where no one was living.

And thirdly, it is patently obvious that the Jews were a people without a land, except for those bigots who deny Jewish peoplehood to begin with.

For all the outrage that the slogan causes in Arab circles for being immoral and inflammatory, though, it was used by the Arab League delegate to the UN yesterday trying to give it a PalArab twist:
YAHYA A. MAHMASSANI, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, reading out a message from the Secretary-General of the League, Amre Moussa, stressed the Committee’s vital role. The International Day of Solidarity coincided with the ninetieth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which had paved the way for the expansionist Zionist policy, thereby creating a land without people and people without a land -– the source of the conflict that lasted to the current day.
The bigotry and hypocrisy of the Arab states is neatly on display here:

* He dismisses millions of Jews living in Israel nowadays as being effectively nonexistent, invisibly living in a "land without people." Similarly, he denies the fact of Jewish peoplehood.

* He dates the beginnings of the Palestinian Arab refugee problem as 1917, not 1948, showing that in the Arab League's opinion it is the very existence of Jewish national aspiration that is the problem, not the establishment of the State nor the flight of the original refugees.

* He defines the "source" of the conflict to 1917, ignoring that the Arab violence against Jews predated Balfour and that practically all of the attacks would be one-way for decades after that. In other words, in his mind the existence of Jews in Palestine was inherently provocative to the extent that the poor Arabs, who seem to exist without free will, had no choice but to start massacring them.

And, without intending to,

* He subconsciously admits that there were no Palestinian Arab people existing before 1917.

In this case of Arabs attempting to turn the tables on Zionists by using their language, it only proves their own hypocrisy and bigotry.

Dan the Man

Aussie Dave at Israellycool, where I guest-blog, has dug up the transcript and video (starting at 1:35) of Dan Gillerman's speech to the UN yesterday on the occasion of the Annual Day of Solidarity for the Haters of Jewish Nationalism. (It certainly isn't a day of solidarity with Palestinian Arabs because none of the nations celebrating have any interest in allowing Palestinian Arabs the right to become full citizens of any other nation.)

Here's the speech, with Dave's highlights in red (I could not find the original UN transcript):

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

I know these words evoke a different voice and a different precedent. But with all seriousness, Happy Birthday. On this day, 60 years ago, the Jewish State was born out of the historic 1947 General Assembly session, where two extraordinary gifts were given to humanity: the gift of a modern state for the Jewish people and the gift of Israel to the world.

I have just come from a commemorative ceremony at Lake Success, where that United Nations, met 60 years ago. You see, throughout history, nations traditionally have been created through war and conquest. Israel, however, was created by UN decree and by the nations of the world. To be there today – representing my Government and my People – was indeed a joyous occasion. So, I wish you all, a Happy Birthday.

Mr. President,

Late last night, I returned from Annapolis. It was a memorable occasion, with representatives from over 40 nations – chiefly among them moderate states of the Arab and Muslim world – committed to supporting the bilateral process between Israel and the Palestinians. The air in Annapolis was filled with the hope that by working together we can realize a peaceful and better tomorrow. I have no doubt that this sense of optimism was felt by all those in attendance.

Yet, back here in New York, standing before this august Assembly – in a place so distant from Annapolis in body, mind, and soul – I cannot help but wonder whether today’s debate will contribute to the spirit, promise, and hope of Annapolis.

After all, this Assembly hall is also the birthplace of the annual 21 resolutions defaming Israel – with a litany of predetermined, impractical, and completely biased conclusions – that have only given the Palestinians a fictitious sense of reality and a discourse of rights without responsibilities, both of which render the United Nations completely incapable of playing a meaningful role in addressing the conflict.

Today – 29 of November – is perhaps the greatest example of how this Assembly continues to stifle hope and faith for peace in our region. According to the calendar of the United Nations, today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which by definition precludes Israel.

Let me be clear: Palestinian self-determination is a cause Israel wholeheartedly supports. Indeed, at the Annapolis meeting, just two days ago, my Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert said “we will find the right way, as part of an international effort in which we will participate, to assist these Palestinians in finding a proper framework for their future, in the Palestinian state which will be established in the territories agreed upon between us”.

Over the years, however, the proceedings held in this Hall and at UN centers around the world have corrupted the cause of Palestinian self-determination and transformed it into a denigration and defamation of the Jewish state.

I have been listening carefully to the statements delivered this afternoon. They all focused on Israel, and I know many will focus on Israel later.

The narrative is the same: it is unjust, draining, grossly erroneous, misleading, and – I dare say – viciously boring. It is sadly, yet again, déjà vu, all over again.

The penchant for blaming Israel for the repeated Palestinian failures is so widespread and contagious that the absurdity of it goes completely unnoticed. And today reminds us why: the Palestinian addiction to the culture of victimhood is fed by this world body and specifically many of its Member States – as we just witnessed – who day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, use this international forum for their rhetorical theatrics. Broadway might have been on strike, but the theater on the East River is always open for business.

It is time to close the gap between the reality on the ground and the rhetoric in this Hall now, forever, once and for all.

For us – for Jews and for Israelis – today is not a bitter day at all. We are not downtrodden or haunted by vanquished dreams. Today is a day of great victory and success – victory over oppression and tyranny, and success over the painful tragedies and suffering of Jewish history. Today, we celebrate the resilience of the Jewish people and our eternal bond to the land of Israel, where after so many years of yearning and longing in exile we merited the return to our homeland.

The joy felt on 29 November 1947 is recounted by Amos Oz, one of Israel’s most celebrated writers, and a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature:

“There was dancing and weeping … Bottles of fruit drink, beer and wine passed from hand to hand and mouth to mouth, strangers hugged each other in streets and kissed each other with tears, … frenzied revelers … waved the flag of the state that had not been established yet, but tonight, over there in Lake Success, it had been decided that it had the right to be established”.

Travel to any city in Israel, and you will no doubt find a street named for this very day – כ”ט בנובמבר – the 29th of November – a testament to its importance and significance to our people.

In fact, I live in Tel-Aviv, just yards from a street named after the 29th of November, and my eldest grandson, Ron, as born on this very day nine years ago. It is on his behalf and on behalf of all children of Israel and the children of the region that I stand before you here today.

Distinguished Excellencies, think of the past 60 years, and consider Israel’s many contributions to the world in the fields of science and technology, medicine, art, and culture. A country that has discovered ways to stop deserts from receding; a country that has engineered critical advancements in medicine, cures for illnesses and limbs for the disabled; a country that has endowed the world with rich treasures of art and culture, through its Nobel Laureates, poets, artists, and writers.

Think about where the world would be today without the State of Israel – and I know some in this Hall perversely dream about such a question. But Israel is here to stay, to flourish, and to continue contributing to the advancement of man, progress, and human civilization.

It is then the greatest insult to us, to history, and to this Assembly that while Israel celebrates, others at the United Nations mourn.

Some Member States will note my delegation’s absence from past 29th of November proceedings. We stopped addressing this session because some Member States hijacked and abused the forum for their own political interests and turned it into yet another venue to demonize Israel. We cannot allow that to happen any longer. Today is our day.

It is high time for Israel and for all those committed to peace in our region, to reclaim this day for what it truly means: the peaceful coexistence of two independent states in the region, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security, each fulfilling the national aspirations of its respective people.

Mr. President,

In this regard, it is all the more bewildering that of late the Jewish character of the State of Israel has been called into question. Last week, as Israelis and Palestinians set out for Annapolis, a veteran Palestinian negotiator said “the Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel’s Jewish identity”.

The resolution that gives the 29th of November significance – General Assembly resolution 181 – speaks of the creation of the “Jewish State” no less than 25 times. Even before that, the notion of a Jewish state in the land of Israel was cemented in the 1922 League of Nations British Mandate on Palestine, which put into effect the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to establish a national home for the Jewish people.

The Arab refusal to recognize the existence of our Jewish state has been at the core of the Palestinians’ inability to achieve a state of their own. When the Jews accepted the UN partition plan, the Arabs made a fateful – and indeed fatal – choice to reject it and invade the newly borne Jewish state, rather than coexist with it.

Had the Arabs accepted the UN’s decision, there would have been two states, one Jewish and one Arab, all this time, for the past 60 years. Had the Arabs not rejected the decision, my Palestinian colleague who spoke earlier would have represented a Member State, not just as an Observer entity.

The wrong choices did not end in 1947. We saw them again in 1967, 1973, 2000, and 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip only to have the Palestinians bring the Hamas terrorists to power. The wrong choices of the Palestinians continue until this very day, when, on average, Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip fire rockets at Israel every three hours.

For their brutal violence, arrogance, and intransigence, Israel has paid an enormous price: with the lives of our people – the Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism: men, women, and children, young and old, doctors and lawyers, artists and scientists, all who would have contributed so greatly to life in Israel and to the betterment of the entire world.

The terrorism we still see today stems from an innate refusal to recognize Israel, a refusal to recognize the Jewish state, and a refusal to recognize the value of our lives. So long as there is a denial of the existential issues, I fear, there can never be an agreement on the territorial ones.

Mr. President,

Annapolis – I hope and believe – represents a new wind of change. Moderate Arab and Muslim states today recognize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the cause of instability in our region and that the conflict can and will end. They also recognize that the real dangers come directly from Islamic extremism and its champion Iran, who sponsors terrorism around the globe, tries to attain nuclear weapons, denies the Holocaust while preparing for the next one, relentlessly defying the will of the international community.

The Coalition for Peace, which the world saw assembled in Annapolis just two days ago, will support the process between Israel and the Palestinians. But it is also a coalition that will hopefully counter and confront the extremists in Teheran.

I hope that the winds of Annapolis will blow to the north, to this very Hall. For there could be no better time for the nations of the world – and in particular the moderate Arab and Muslim states in this Hall today – to show their commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian process. And there could be no better place than here at the United Nations –where for decades Israel has been discriminated against and singled out, contrary to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter – for Members States to tell Israel and the Palestinians that they support our dialogue.

Mr. President,

Allow me to take you back once more to sixty years ago, to 2 October 1947, when David Ben-Gurion, founding father and first Prime Minister of the State of Israel, two months prior to the General Assembly’s historic vote, said in Jerusalem:

“We will not surrender our right to free Aliyah, to rebuild our shattered Homeland, to claim statehood. If we are attacked, we will fight back. But we will do everything in our power to maintain peace, and establish cooperation gainful to both. It is now, here and now, from Jerusalem itself, that a call must go out to the Arab nations to join forces with Jewry and the destined Jewish State and work shoulder to shoulder for the common good, for the peace and progress of sovereign equals”.

Mr. President, sixty years later, today here, Israel’s message to the Arab nations and the Palestinians has not changed. Shoulder to shoulder for the common good. Now, more than ever, with the winds of change blowing strong from Annapolis, to New York, to the Middle East, to all corners of the earth.

Thank You.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November 30, 1947: The first post-Partition massacre

In the weeks leading up to the UN Partition vote, the Arabs of Palestine were on their best behavior. There were very few terror attacks against Jews in November, and the last major attack I could find was in late August.

But immediately after they lost the partition vote, it was like the pent-up hatred all exploded at once.

The first victims were on a bus to Jerusalem. Some were killed instantly from a grenade hurled into the bus; one of the injured passengers was murdered as he tried to tend to his injured wife. Another victim was on her way to Jerusalem to get married.



Others were killed that day as well, and many hundreds more - men, women and children - were to be brutally murdered in the coming months.

The reasons for the hate have not changed a bit from then to today. They were not murdered because of "occupation" or "refugees" or any of the dozens of other justifications that have been since used to minimize the horror of these unabashed terror attacks.

Their "crimes" were simply because they were Jews with the desire to live in their own nation, at peace with their neighbors. What the world recognized instinctively in 1947 - that Jews deserve the right to self-determination - was to be tested by a massive temper tantrum of Arab supremacists who were willing to attempt a second genocide against the Jews rather than face what they consider "humiliation."

And, yes, the proper word for someone who considers another people's lives less important than Arab honor is an Arab supremacist.

Gaza Hajj update

As I have previously blogged, the PA and Israel arranged for thousands of Gaza Hajj pilgrims to travel in buses through Israel to the West Bank where they will go on to perform Hajj in the apartheid-like Muslim-only city of Mecca. Hamas seems to be blocking the pilgrims, saying that they will open the Rafah crossing to Egypt and have the pilgrims go that way, so Israel wouldn't be involved.

The only problem is, Egypt does not open the Rafah crossings without the EU's permission, and the EU cannot open it while Hamas is in charge. (The EU's Rafah mission remains on the EU payroll, doing absolutely nothing, and it hasn't even updated its website with any news about the Rafah crossing.)

Now, Palestine Press Agency reports that Hamas is planning to embarrass Egypt into opening Rafah by demolishing the wall near the crossing and forcing Egypt to directly stop the pilgrims from going to Egypt - or forcing Egypt to let them through. PPA says that Hamas plans to demonstrate on Friday and demolish the wall on Saturday. Whether this is true or not, Hamas is clearly playing political games with their devout Muslim population.

I have no idea why the English-language media has not picked up on this story even though it is over a week old now.

Sudanese teacher convicted of blasphemy

From AP:
British teacher Gillian Gibbons was convicted of insulting Islam for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad and sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan, one of her defense lawyers said Thursday.

Ali Mohammed Ajab, of Gibbons' defense team, said she was found guilty of "insulting the faith of Muslims in Sudan" under Article 125 of the Sudanese criminal code, a lighter conviction than the original charge of inciting religious hatred. ...

"It's a very fair verdict, she could have had six months and lashes and a fine, and she only got 15 days and deportation," said Robert Boulos of the Unity High School, confirming there would be no appeal. He noted that she would only spend 10 days in prison, having already served five.

"We are very sad about her deportation because she was such a good teacher," he said, adding that with the current tension over the case it was probably safer for her to leave the country.
You mean, Shari'a law cannot protect a middle-aged woman?

Olmert learning lying lessons from Arafat

The Jersualem Post reported:
Israel's sovereignty over the Temple Mount is not up for discussion, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday, a day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem was key to an agreement with Israel.

What occurred in Annapolis and Washington over the last two days had no bearing on the situation on the Temple Mount, Olmert said.
But today a Palestinian Arab negotiator said Olmert has already given away the Temple Mount:
"What Olmert said (regarding the Mount) is absolutely false. I think he's not yet ready to tell the Israeli public and is waiting for the right time and he fears his coalition with religious extremists will fall apart if he announces it now," said a senior Palestinian negotiator Thursady on condition his name be withheld.

The chief Palestinian negotiator said in months leading up to Annapolis the Palestinian team was "surprised" by Olmert's willingness to give up the Mount.

"We had intense debates on many topics, which remain open and unsettled, but the Harem Al-Sharif (Temple Mount) is not a sticking point. The Israelis didn't argue with us. We were pleasantly surprised Olmert didn't debate about giving the lower section of the Mount either, which was a sticking point in the past."

According to the chief Palestinian negotiator, Olmert agreed to evacuate the Mount but not to turn it over to the Palestinians alone. The negotiator said both sides agreed the Temple Mount would be given to joint Egypt, Jordan and Palestinian Authority control.
And:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert informed American Jewish leaders Monday that Jews outside of Israel have no right to intervene in any decision regarding the status of Jerusalem.

Olmert declared at a news conference Monday following his meeting with leaders of U.S. Jewish communities that "the government of Israel has a sovereign right to negotiate anything on behalf of Israel," making it clear that Jews outside of Israel had no right to participate in decisions about the future of Jerusalem. The prime minister told reporters that the issue had "been determined long ago."
But:
Ehud Olmert said he respects the input of U.S. Jews and they should make their opinions heard on Jerusalem.

"He said what he has always said. He urged people: 'Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you don’t have a right to speak out about Jerusalem,' " Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, reported after the meeting. "He reiterated the right of people to speak out."
Olmert's statements has become about as believable as the average Palestinian Arab leader. Lying is now habitual with the man who is actively planning to give away ancient Jewish land to people who fervently want to destroy Israel.

November 29, 1947

It is not an exaggeration to say that the world was riveted by the events in New York State in November of 1947.

On November 25, after two months of negotiations, the Ad-Hoc Committee of the UN in Lake Success voted to put Partition before the General Assembly by a vote of 25-13, with 17 abstentions. While only a simple majority was needed for its motion, a two-thirds majority was needed in the GA to pass partition, and the Committee vote was just short of that number.

The following days saw intense negotiation on both sides, but on November 29th, the General Assembly in Flushing Meadow voted overwhelmingly for partition:

The Jews were overjoyed. In Jerusalem, outside the Jewish Agency building, the "Jewish flag" was unfurled and "Mrs. Goldie Myerson" (soon to be better known as Golda Meir) addressed the crowd, "extending the hand of peace and friendship to the Arabs."

Similar hopes for peace with the Arabs came from Zionist leaders all over, and was crystallized by this Palestine post editorial:


The Arabs were crestfallen. They had tried to do a last-minute maneuver to scuttle the vote by proposing a "canton" system - a single state where the Jews and Arabs would be separated. Somehow, nobody today refers to this proposal as "apartheid:"


An Egyptian newspaper came out, paradoxically, in favor of partition - but reading further one can see why:

The newspaper felt that by accepting partition now, the Arabs would be in a much better position to crush the Jewish state when it would actually come into existence.

The Arab Higher Committee put the defeat in the particular Arab context of an honor/shame society:

"You are standing at a cross road; it will be either a noble and free life or shame and humiliation forever. The matter is now in your hands alone. If you make the required sacrifice for the sake of your country you will win, but if you are mean and treacherous you will be stained with shame and humiliation."

Unwittingly, the Arabs were already setting themselves up for their "naqba" - they had pre-defined the existence of a Jewish state as an unpardonable affront to their dignity. In the Arab world, nothing is worse than being humiliated, and death is far preferable.

All that they say to the West today about "justice" and "settlements" are just empty words to mask what their true intentions are - to erase decades of humiliation. Nothing is more important. All the volumes of scholarly papers and articles, all the legal maneuvers and speeches, all the pretenses of grudgingly accepting Israel - all of it is a smokescreen to mask what the AHC chairman articulated on their behalf that day, that the very existence of a Jewish state is the definition of shame and humiliation.

This is before there was a single Arab battlefield loss, before there was a single Arab refugee. It is not the humiliation of defeat but the humiliation of Jews controlling land in the Middle East.

The events of recent weeks have shown this to be true, sixty years later. Even though the UN and the world explicitly stated that this was to be a Jewish state, the most "moderate" of Arab negotiators cannot accept that simple fact today. All their empty words about peace cannot erase what Arabs feel, deep down.

The only reason they pretend to accept Israel today is because they assume that they will be able to destroy it demographically tomorrow with the consciously hostile "right to return." To truly accept a Jewish state in the birthplace of the Jews is as abhorrent and unthinkable to the Arabs today as it was in November, 1947.

And no amount of photo-ops or joint statements can change that.

Treppenwitz hits another home run

One of the best writers in the JBlogopshere has another stellar post.

Read it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Erekat tells a good joke. Really!

There was a post-Annapolis meeting at the Brookings Institution today, and Saeb Erekat, one of the speakers, made a pretty good joke. Paraphrased from the Foreign Policy blog:
An Israeli and a Palestinian are watching a Western. In the movie, a cowboy is riding bareback on a particularly wild horse. The Israeli says to the Palestinian, "I'll bet you 10 shekels he falls." The Palestinian replies immediately, "I'll bet you he doesn't."

The cowboy falls, and the Palestinian forks over 10 shekels. The Israeli, feeling that famous Israeli guilt, refuses them. Then he admits, "I've seen this movie before."

The Palestinian replies, "So have I. But I thought he would learn from his mistake."

Iranian blogger in the doghouse

From Radio Free Europe:
November 28, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian authorities have detained a blogger after he published details about the reported use of bomb-sniffing dogs in President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's security detail.

The Persian-language website gooya.com says Reza Valizadeh was the object of a complaint from the president's office. He was detained on November 26, but his whereabouts are unknown. Iran's judiciary has neither confirmed nor denied Valizadeh's arrest.

Valizadeh wrote on his blog that Ahmadinejad's security staff purchased four dogs in Germany for 150 million toumans each (about $150,000).

He reported that the canines were deployed to sniff out possible explosives on November 14, before Ahmadinejad's appearance at an annual press exhibition. The sweep left exhibition visitors standing outside the venue for several hours.

He also said the price of the dogs and their appearance in public evoked surprise and criticism. Some strict Shi'ite interpretations of the Koran regard dogs as unclean, and dog ownership is controversial in Shi'a-dominated Iran.

The British daily "The Guardian" reported on November 20 that the use of dogs in the protection of an Iranian head of state could be unprecedented in the 28-year history of Iran's Islamic republic.

Valizadeh quoted an unnamed official as saying the decision to deploy the bomb-sniffing dogs was made by the security team, and was outside the authority of the president.

Valizadeh's arrest comes two days after dozens of Iranian journalists and intellectuals issued a statement to protest the jailing of journalists who are critical of the Iranian government.

Yet more on Gaza's "humanitarian crisis"

WAFA, the official PA "news" agency, says:
Agriculture Ministry declared Wednesday that the efforts, were exerted to export the strawberry and flowers of Gaza Strip to Arab and European countries, succeeded despite the Israeli siege imposed.

Succeeded "despite" the siege?
The ministry said in its statement that “such a success in exporting flowers and strawberry came as a result of Premier Salam Fayyad and Agriculture Minister Mahmoud al-Habbash’s efforts with their Israeli counterparts in Israel and Rome in the 34 Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome”.
So even though Israel allowed the exports, the "moderate" PA "news" agency still makes it sound like Israel was dead-set against it and only the heroic efforts of Fatah managed to help the Gaza farmers.

And where was Hamas in all this?
Ma'an (Arabic) fills in the missing pieces:

According to the Israeli official, Israel prevented the rest of the trucks from crossing after a Palestinian mortar shelling the crossing during the export process.
So Israel arranged for Gaza farmers to export berries and flowers, and Gaza terrorists shot mortars at the crossing to stop them.

Now, whose fault is the Gaza mess again?

More Gaza Hajj news

Palestine Press Agency and Ma'an, both in Arabic, report that Israel will allow some 2400 Gazan pilgrims to cross the Erez crossing early next month, take buses to the West Bank and then travel on to Mecca for Hajj.

Hamas disagrees, saying that the pilgrims will go through Rafah to Egypt and then go on to Mecca from there. Hamas does not want any Gazans to leave Gaza through Israel because that implies that Hamas is not in control of the Gaza borders.

So Hamas and Fatah's Muslim leaders seem less interested in allowing their people to go to Hajj than the dhimmi Jews of the Zionist entity. As usual, playing politics with their people's lives is the major hallmark of Arab leaders.

Arab roadmap logic

Palestine Today (Arabic) quotes AFP (I cannot find the AFP article, auto-translate cleaned up a bit):
An Arab official who participated in the Annapolis conference yesterday told Agence France Presse that the Arab participants at the meeting "were all disappointed," after the announcement by President George Bush of "common understanding" reached between the Palestinians and Israelis to launch negotiations on the final settlement of the Palestinian issue.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said, "The mutual understanding announced by President Bush (was that the) application of any peace agreement requires the implementation of the first phase of the road map, the dismantling of terrorist networks in the Palestinian territories, which means to engage in war with Hamas."

The official stressed that the late President Yasser "Arafat has not been able to implement the security part in the road map, how can Abbas do that now?"
So since Abbas is way too weak to enforce security, it should be dropped as a requirement! Israel should just suck it up and be happy about suicide bombers and rockets and the likely Hamas takeover of the West Bank.

Brilliant!

Saudi ambassador tells a whopper of a lie

From JTA (and also PalPress):
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States rejected recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

"There are 1.5 million civilians in Israel who do not define themselves as Jewish," Adel al-Jubeir told reporters at the U.S.-convened Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Annapolis, Md.

"We do not believe states should define themselves according to religion or ethnicity."

...said the representative of a nation whose official religion is Islam, whose legal system is based on Shari'a, whose king holds the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques," and whose constitution starts with:
Article 1
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion; God's Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, God's prayers and peace be upon him, are its constitution, Arabic is its language and Riyadh is its capital.

Article 2
The state's public holidays are Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha. Its calendar is the Hegira calendar.

Article 3
The state's flag shall be as follows:
(a) It shall be green.
(b) Its width shall be equal to two-thirds of it's length.
(c) The words "There is but one God and Mohammed is His Prophet" shall be inscribed in the center with a drawn sword under it. The statute shall define the rules pertaining to it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Olmert/Abbas joint statement

From the NYT:

“The representatives of the government of the state of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, represented respectively by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as chairman of the P.L.O. Executive Committee [1] and president of the Palestinian Authority, have convened in Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, and with the support of the participants of this international conference, having concluded the following joint understanding.

“We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence[2]; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.

"In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith, bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, as specified in previous agreements.

“We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008. For this purpose — [there is a brief break in the audio here] — committee led jointly by the head of the delegation of each party will meet continuously as agreed.

“The Steering Committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead representative from each party. The first session of the Steering Committee will be held on 12 December 2007. President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will continue to meet on a biweekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.

“The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 — this is called the road map — and agreed to form an American-Palestinian and Israeli mechanism led by the United States to follow up on the implementation of the road map.

“The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map as judged by the United States.[3]

[1] Is Abbas there as leader of the PLO or president of the PA? According to his own words, he is not representing the PA government at all! The entire legal question of what his authority exactly is has been bypassed by the organizers of this meeting. One would think that this is pretty important.

[2]Let's look at that PLO logo:

And let's look at that Fatah logo (for which Abbas is also the nominal leader):

Their very symbols are incitement to violence and to the destruction of Israel.

[3]The first sentence of Phase 1 of the Roadmap says "In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel." So now the US will determine whether they have done so?

Here is a list of the major terror attacks that occurred Between 1993 and 2000, during the "peaceful" years of Oslo and before the Intifada:

November 7, 1999 Netanya 27 Wounded Hamas 3 Pipe Bombs
August 10, 1999 Nahshon Junction 6 Wounded Hamas Car Plows into Crowd (Twice)
November 6, 1998 Jerusalem 2 Killed, 20 Wounded Islamic Jihad 2 Suicide Bombers
October 29, 1998 Gush Katif 1 Killed, 8 Wounded Hamas Suicide Bomber Attacks School Bus
October 19, 1998 Be'er Sheva 59 Wounded Hamas Grenades Thrown at Central Bus Station
October 11, 1998 Hevron 18 Wounded Hamas 2 Grenades Injure Palestinians and Israelis
August 27, 1998 Tel-Aviv 14 Wounded Hamas Bomb In Dumpster
August 20, 1998 Tel Rumeiyda Rabbi Killed Hamas Fire Bomb & Stabbing
September 4, 1997 Jerusalem 4 Killed, 181 Wounded Hamas 3 Suicide Bombers at Pedestrian Mall
July 30, 1997 Jerusalem 15 Killed, 178 Wounded Hamas 2 Suicide Bombers at Outdoor Market
March 21, 1997 Tel-Aviv 3 Killed, 48 Wounded Hamas Bomb at Restaurant
March 4, 1996 Tel Aviv 20 Killed, 75 Wounded Islamic Jihad Suicide Bomber at Mall
March 3, 1996 Jerusalem 19 Killed, 6 Wounded Hamas Suicide Bomber on Bus
February 25, 1996 Ashkelon 2 Killed Hamas Suicide Bomber at Bus Stop
February 25, 1996 Jerusalem 26 Killed, 80 Wounded Hamas 2 Suicide Bombers on Bus
July 24, 1995 Ramat Gan 6 Killed, 31 Wounded Hamas Suicide Bomber on Bus
June 25, 1995 Neve Dekalim 3 Wounded Islamic Jihad Explosives-ladden Cart
April 9, 1995 Gaza 8 Killed, 50 Wounded Hamas & Islamic Jihad 2 Suicide Bombers
January 22, 1995 Beit Lid Junction 21 Killed, 69 Wounded Islamic Jihad 2 Suicide Bombers at Bus Stop
December 25, 1994 Jerusalem 13 Wounded Hamas Suicide Bomber at Bus Stop
November 11, 1994 Netzarim Junction 3 Killed, 6 Wounded Islamic Jihad Suicide Bomber on Bike
October 19, 1994 Tel Aviv 22 Killed, 56 Wounded Hamas Suicide Bomber on Bus
October 9, 1994 Jerusalem 2 Killed, 14 Wounded Hamas 2 Gunmen Open Fire
April 13, 1994 Hadera 5 Killed Hamas Suicide Bomber
April 6, 1994 Afula 8 Killed Hamas Car Bomb next to Bus

This level of violence was considered "acceptable" by the architects of Oslo, so much so that they were not even part of the calculus as Barak, Arafat and Clinton tried to come up with a final solution. In other words, multiple major terror attacks every year was considered just dandy by the United States and the Barak government.

So is the US qualified to say today that this is an acceptable level of terror that should be rewarded with a state?

The only concrete acts that has reduced terror since Oslo was Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 and the building of the separation fence. No "peace" agreement or accord has done more; on the contrary, they have been consistently counterproductive.

Annapolis is highly likely to continue this trend, with the added problem of a deep extra helping of wishful thinking and willful blindness towards terror attacks and attempts.

Another player in the PalArab extremist sweepstakes

The terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir held an anti-Annapolis rally in Hebron as well as in Nablus, totaling thousands of people.

We don't hear much about Hizb ut-Tahrir in the PalArab territories, but they are a worldwide extremist Muslim organization dedicated to creating a single Islamic state based on Islamic law. (They are also more than a little anti-semitic.) This means that Palestinian Arab statehood is not their goal at all - they make no pretense of wanting a Palestinian Arab state, only a pan-Islamic state that of course involves the destruction of Israel.

The turnout indicates yet again that Mahmoud Abbas has very little influence on his own people, and that Ramallah is pretty much the only Palestinian Arab town that is more secular than Islamist.

Predicatbly, the rallies (which were unauthorized) descended into violence, and a 37-year old Hizb supporter was shot in the heart by those crack Palestinian Arab policemen and killed.

The 2007 PalArab self-death count is now at 585.

UPDATE: Perhaps I spoke too soon - Hizb also held a rally in Ramallah that was broken up by police.

Photos of Tel Aviv from Peduel (West Bank "settlement")

I saw this picture on the webpage of the Jerusalem Summit, showing how vulnerable Tel Aviv and the entire Dan region would be if Israel abandoned Jewish communities in the West Bank. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

To be fair, it was taken with a telephoto lens. In fact, Tel Aviv is a whopping 10 miles away from Peduel - easily within rocket range.

Luckily, Wikipedia has a much more accurate picture of what Tel Aviv looks like from Peduel, and it hardly makes things look better (click to enlarge):

As the Jerusalem Summit page asks:
How can one reconcile prudent and responsible governance with a willingness to expose such a large population to so great a danger?

Ehud Barak, 2002

After the failure of Camp David and the resultant intifada, Ehud Barak spoke about what went wrong:

Barak today portrays Arafat's behavior at Camp David as a "performance" geared to exacting from the Israelis as many concessions as possible without ever seriously intending to reach a peace settlement or sign an "end to the conflict." "He did not negotiate in good faith, indeed, he did not negotiate at all. He just kept saying 'no' to every offer, never making any counterproposals of his own," he says. Barak continuously shifts between charging Arafat with "lacking the character or will" to make a historic compromise (as did the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1977–1979, when he made peace with Israel) and accusing him of secretly planning Israel's demise while he strings along a succession of Israeli and Western leaders and, on the way, hoodwinks "naive journalists"—in Barak's phrase—like [Deborah] Sontag and officials such as former US National Security Council expert Robert Malley (who, with Hussein Agha, published another "revisionist" article on Camp David, "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors"[*]). According to Barak:

What they [Arafat and his colleagues] want is a Palestinian state in all of Palestine. What we see as self-evident, [the need for] two states for two peoples, they reject. Israel is too strong at the moment to defeat, so they formally recognize it. But their game plan is to establish a Palestinian state while always leaving an opening for further "legitimate" demands down the road. For now, they are willing to agree to a temporary truce à la Hudnat Hudaybiyah [a temporary truce that the Prophet Muhammad concluded with the leaders of Mecca during 628–629, which he subsequently unilaterally violated]. They will exploit the tolerance and democracy of Israel first to turn it into "a state for all its citizens," as demanded by the extreme nationalist wing of Israel's Arabs and extremist left-wing Jewish Israelis. Then they will push for a binational state and then, demography and attrition will lead to a state with a Muslim majority and a Jewish minority. This would not necessarily involve kicking out all the Jews. But it would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. This, I believe, is their vision. They may not talk about it often, openly, but this is their vision. Arafat sees himself as a reborn Saladin—the Kurdish Muslim general who defeated the Crusaders in the twelfth century—and Israel as just another, ephemeral Crusader state.

Barak believes that Arafat sees the Palestinian refugees of 1948 and their descendants, numbering close to four million, as the main demographic-political tool for subverting the Jewish state.

Arafat, says Barak, believes that Israel "has no right to exist, and he seeks its demise." Barak buttresses this by arguing that Arafat "does not recognize the existence of a Jewish people or nation, only a Jewish religion, because it is mentioned in the Koran and because he remembers seeing, as a kid, Jews praying at the Wailing Wall." This, Barak believes, underlay Arafat's insistence at Camp David (and since) that the Palestinians have sole sovereignty over the Temple Mount compound (Haram al-Sharif—the noble sanctuary) in the southeastern corner of Jerusalem's Old City. Arafat denies that any Jewish temple has ever stood there—and this is a microcosm of his denial of the Jews' historical connection and claim to the Land of Israel/Palestine. Hence, in December 2000, Arafat refused to accept even the vague formulation proposed by Clinton positing Israeli sovereignty over the earth beneath the Temple Mount's surface area.

Barak recalls Clinton telling him that during the Camp David talks he had attended Sunday services and the minister had preached a sermon mentioning Solomon, the king who built the First Temple. Later that evening, he had met Arafat and spoke of the sermon. Arafat had said: "There is nothing there [i.e., no trace of a temple on the Temple Mount]." Clinton responded that "not only the Jews but I, too, believe that under the surface there are remains of Solomon's temple." (At this point one of Clinton's [Jewish] aides whispered to the President that he should tell Arafat that this is his personal opinion, not an official American position.)

Repeatedly during our prolonged interview, conducted in his office in a Tel Aviv skyscraper, Barak shook his head—in bewilderment and sadness—at what he regards as Palestinian, and especially Arafat's, mendacity:

They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie...creates no dissonance. They don't suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category. There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn't. They see themselves as emissaries of a national movement for whom everything is permissible. There is no such thing as "the truth."
Speaking of Arab society, Barak recalls: "The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation once told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don't work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance [on which the tests are based]."


Now, Abbas and his colleagues are saying exactly what Arafat said in 2000 - their goals are identical and the 2000 Barak offer is considered "completely unacceptable and out of the question."

It is more than a bit ironic for Ehud Barak to talk about "cognitive dissonance" on the Arab side in 2002 and then to sit at a table with them again, willing to go beyond the Camp David and Taba offers - all in the name of a "peace" that is simply a reward for a six-year intifada.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How to distinguish Islamist from non-Islamist schools

Progressive Muslim M. Zuhdi Jasser writes an article in Family Security Matters about the danger of Islamist schools in the United States, and he includes this guide to tell an Islamist school from a non-Islamist school:
1. How does the school teach American history and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? What is taught about the struggle of our founding fathers against theocracy? Is European Enlightenment ideology taught? Are students encouraged to learn from non-Muslim philosophers especially those who influenced our founding fathers and taught liberty and freedom?

2. Are students taught that sharia is only personal or that it also specifically guides governmental law? Does their answer change whether Muslims are a minority or a majority?

3. Do they view non-Islamic private and public schools as part of a culture of ‘immorality’ and decadence since they are not Islamicized or can non-Islamic schools be morally and equally virtuous?

4. Do they teach their children that ‘being American’ and being ‘free’ is about moral corruption or is being American and free about loving the nation in which they live and sharing equal status before the law regardless of faith tradition?

5. Is complete religious freedom a central part of faith and the practice of religion? In the Islamic school, how are children treated who refuse to participate in school faith practices?

6. Are the children taught Muslim exclusivism with regards to the attainment of paradise in the Hereafter? From that, are the children also taught that government and public institutions must thus be ‘Islamic’ in order for the community as a whole to be able to enter the gates of Heaven?

7. How are student discussions, debate, and intellectual discourses approached regarding American domestic and foreign policy? Do the teachers have a political agenda? Does that agenda demonstrate a dichotomy between Islamist interests and American interests?

8. Is the historical period of Muslim rule of Spain (Andalusia) taught in the context of the history of the world during the Middle Ages or is it looked upon as superior to current day American ideology even after the advances of the Enlightenment?

9. Is the pledge of allegiance administered every day at the beginning of the school day?
From what I can tell, many universities would score fairly poorly on these questions as well.

Jerusalem Mufti on destroying Israel by "right of return"

Palestine Today has an interview with the former Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Irema Sabri, where he says (autotranslated, somewhat cleaned up):
"[There are] key items, the first item that the right of return is a legitimate sacred right, that children inherit from our fathers and grandchildren inherit from their children, if a person died and the heirs claimed this inheritance, it is their legitimate claim, and therefore the refugee abandonment of the town then the children died of their legitimate claim to be a number of refugees who have fled from their country and their land more than six million Palestinians, whether inside Palestine or outside .. this first item right of return [is a] legitimate right.

"The second item is that the main compensation for the taking of land is a sale, [and selling the land is] religiously forbidden, ... but they may take compensation for the suffering and damage, those who do not wish to return have no right to take compensation, but his family of his or granting her run of the Palestinian state."
Here is an aspect of the conflict that most would rather ignore: the Islamic religious aspect. If a cartoon or teddy bear is enough to elicit deadly riots and threats, imagine how inflammatory it is for Muslims - no matter how "pragmatic" - to publicly give up on the "sacred" land of Palestine (whose Islamic sanctity has historically been directly proportional to the number of Jews there.)

If past history is any guide, the very idea that a Muslim leader would ignore his more, um, extreme brethren is exceedingly remote. People who do that often lose their heads. And a Muslim leader would not only have to appease the local yahoos like the former Mufti, but also the entire universe of Muslim extremists.

A look at Sabri's words show that the usual Western assumption that in the end, most Palestinian Arabs would have to be compensated in order to give up their "right of return" (a "right" that no refugee group in history has ever been given) is shortsighted. Oh, they'll be happy to take infidel money, of course - nothing unIslamic about that - but it would be compensation for their suffering, you see, not for the land they (for the most part) abandoned because they thought their Arab brethren would act like brethren. Nope, once land is declared Islamic, it is always Islamic, including (according to OBL) parts of Spain.

And notice also in the end what Sabri says - that the state they would be "returning" to is a "Palestinian" state. The very idea that they would go to a Jewish-run state, or even a state called Israel, is not contemplated. Sabri is pretty clear that the point of the "right of return" is to create a PalArab state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.

Now, as is well known, even the "moderates" of Fatah call for a Palestine that covers exactly the same territory, as their peaceful logo shows.

So - the "moderates" and religious fanatics share their belief in the "right of return," and they share a vision of what their state should look like.

I'm sorry...what is the difference between them again?

Some Annapolis reading

History News Network: The Annapolis Conference: A Chance to Right an Historical Wrong?
- Decent overview if an overly sunny conclusion

Shrinkwrapped: Peace will come
- Some relevant observations from my favorite online shrink.

Bernard Lewis, On the Jewish Question
- Always nice when a real scholar stands up and tells the truth.

Soccer Dad: Sieg-speak
- Fisking Henry Seigman is easy but Soccer Dad goes above and beyond. The fact that he links to two of my postings is an extra bonus...

Today's Sharia news: A teddy bear named Mohammed

From the Times (UK):
A British primary school teacher arrested in Sudan faces up to 40 lashes for blasphemy after letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was arrested at her lodgings at Khartoum's Unity High School yesterday, accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam.

Her colleagues said that they feared for her safety after reports that groups of young men had gathered outside the Khartoum police station where she was taken and were shouting death threats.

The Unity school is a Christian-run but multi-racial and co-educational private school that is popular with Sudanese professionals and expatriate workers.

Teachers at the school, in central Khartoum only a mile from the River Nile, said that Ms Gibbons had made an innocent mistake by letting her pupils choose their favourite name for the toy as part of a school project.

Robert Boulos, the Unity director, said that Mrs Gibbons was following a British National Curriculum course designed to teach young pupils about animals and their habitats. This year’s animal was the bear.

In September, she asked a girl to bring in her teddy bear to help the Year 2 class to focus and then asked the class to name the toy.

“They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad. Then she explained what it meant to vote and asked them to choose the name,” Mr Boulos said.

Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad. Each child was allowed to take the bear home at weekends and asked to write a diary about what they did with the toy. Each entry was collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover, next to the message "My name is Muhammad".

Mr Boulos said that the bear itself was not marked or labelled with the name in any way, he added, saying Sudanese police had now seized the book and had asked to interview the 7-year-old girl.

He said that he had decided to close down the school until January for fear of reprisals in Sudan’s predominantly Muslim capital.

“This is a very sensitive issue. We are very worried about her safety,” he said. “This was a completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam.”
Of course not. Why would she want to insult a religion whose members would call for her death for naming a teddy bear the same name that huge numbers of Muslims name their kids?

Notice also the Times' dhimmified use of capitalization when referring to Mohammed as "the Prophet of Islam." Like poor Miss Gibbons, they wouldn't want to insult Islam either by not publicly pretending that they believe in it.

Saudi Arabia frees 1500 al-Qaeda prisoners after they "repent"

See the power of repentance? It gets you out of jail!
Saudi authorities have released more than 1,500 reformed extremists, who were detained on charges of embracing and spreading takfeer (the ideology that brands other Muslims who disagree with them as infidels).

The extremists, under the guidance of the Ministry of Interior, had undergone lengthy counseling, according to Muhammad Al-Nujaimi, a member of the Counseling Committee and professor of comparative jurisprudence at the King Fahd Security College.

Al-Nujaimi told Al-Watan newspaper that the Counseling Committee, which is the brainchild of Prince Muhammad ibn Naif, assistant minister of interior for security affairs, was established in 2004 with the approval of Interior Minister Prince Naif. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance jointly supervise activities of the committee comprising 100 members. Members include religious scholars, preachers, specialists in religious doctrine and law, psychologists and social workers.

The committee is tasked with the duty of reforming youths in an intellectual and rational manner on the basis of Shariah. “The committee has met around 5,000 times to offer counseling to 3,200 people, who were accused of embracing the takfeer ideology. The committee has successfully completed reforming 1,500 people,” Al-Nujaimi said.

The suspects were largely confused about the meaning of jihad, which led to their believing in committing blind violence. They also viewed that the present Muslim rulers, scholars and public were infidels, and therefore demanded the establishment of a single Islamic state, said Al-Nujaimi.

“After several graded sessions with the committee, and having been convinced of their misguided vision, they renounced their erroneous ideologies, including the concept of driving out all infidels from the Arabian Peninsula,” he said.

The committee first evaluates the personality and the ideological crisis suffered by the suspect, and then decides on how to clean his mind of the mistaken impressions, said Al-Nujaimi.
It would be easy to make fun of this from many different angles, but then again Israel releases hundreds of terrorists without even any meaningless prerequisites.

Hamas rocket manufacturer dead

It's been over a week since the last reported PalArab death at the hands of PalArabs, but the streak has ended. Hamas has announced that one of their engineers dedicated to building terror rockets has died from injuries inflicted a few weeks ago, and they did not blame Israel, so it sounds like a work accident or a Fatah bomb.

His name is autotranslated as "Abdel Hadi Abu forehead".

Our count of Palestinian Arabs violently killed by each other this year is now at 584.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tzipi is a dirty, dirty girl

From Gulf Daily News:
MPs demanded an apology yesterday after Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa accused them of having Palestinian blood on their hands.

An MP, who urged the minister to wash his hands after meeting Israel Foreign Minister Tzipora "Tzipi" Livni, later backtracked saying he was only suggesting that Ms Livni was "dirty".

"I meant Tzipi is dirty and Shaikh Khalid, who is clean, should purify his hands," said MP Nasser Al Fadhala in a statement.

But I thought Arabs liked their Jewish girls dirty:
What was supposed to be just a night out for two young girls turned into a brutal nightmare. Six young men from the Arab-Israeli towns of Qalansawa, Lod and Taybe stand accused of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl in Netanya two weeks ago. Throughout the rape they swore "dirty Jew" and beat her.

h/t Gateway Pundit via News for Members of the Tribe

UPDATE: An Israeli Arab college student working at a pharmacy in Tel Aviv refused to serve Tzipi Livni. He was fired, according to Palestine Today.

Elder's law of unintended consequences

Every major diplomatic push for "peace" in the Middle East will result in consequences that are not close to the original intentions of the would-be peacemakers.

These consequences are, more often than not, very far from peaceful.

PalArabs now blame Israel for every medical death in Gaza

A new, fashionable way to blame Israel for, well, everything is sweeping throughout the PalArab media and it is only a matter of time before the Western blame-Israel crowd jumps on the bandwagon.

According to PalArab Gaza sources, we are now up to 20 people who have died in the past few weeks from not being allowed to travel to Israel to get medical treatment. The rate of these deaths has skyrocketed in the past few weeks though, beforehand you would only read about one every couple of weeks or so.

Apparently, the PalArabs have latched onto these deaths as a great propaganda weapon against Israel. So now, all deaths in Gaza for any reason, no matter how far-fetched, is being blamed on Israel.

Number 19 is especially telling. Palestine Press Agency (Arabic) reports that a 46-year old man who had gone to Egypt 6 months ago for medical treatment got stuck there when Hamas took over and as a result the EU was not able, by their own rules, to open the Rafah crossing. (It will be recalled that Israel did let the people stranded in Rafah to arrive through Keren Shalom crossing, against Hamas wishes. I am not certain why this man did not return then.)

Anyway, this man, Abdul Kader Salih Abu Amer, decided two days ago to go back using an illegal weapons smugging tunnel from Egypt to Gaza.

He made it, but the trip was so strenuous that he died this morning.

So, if you need a scorecard: Amer went to Egypt to get medical treatment, couldn't come back because of the Hamas takeover , went through an illegal tunnel by his own choice, and died in Gaza.

And it is Israel's fault!

The other deaths are more along the lines of people who could not get dialysis and the like. Notice that no one (even the Fatah-supporters) is blaming Hamas for these deaths even though Hamas has looted hospitals in Gaza; and no one is blaming Egypt even though they could let people through Rafah. And certainly no one is invoking the story of Wafa al-Biss, the Gaza woman who was being treated in Israel's Soroka hospital and tried to blow it up, specifically wanting to kill women and children.

But blaming Israel is easy!

Shari'a Sunday, part 2: Major banks go Islamic

From NYT:

Rising oil wealth is lifting Islamic banking -- banking that adheres to the laws of the Koran and its prohibition against charging interest -- into the financial mainstream.

Big banks, including Citigroup, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, as well as financial capitals like London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, are all going into the Islamic banking business. An estimated 300 Islamic financial institutions hold at least US$500 billion in assets, and deposits are increasing more than 10 percent a year.

In addition to Islamic loans, there are Islamic bonds, Islamic credit cards and even Islamic derivatives. Loans and bonds that conform to the Koran are already available in the US. And Britain, Japan and Thailand are contemplating issuing Islamic bonds of their own.

... Islamic finance also avoids practices prohibited under Shariah: Islamic bankers cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.

Leave it to the New York Times to not bother asking about the rich history of Islamic banks bankrolling suicide bombings.
...Islamic financial institutions have to depend on their own boards of Shariah scholars to approve every product. Shariah scholars are rare, and those with financial understanding even rarer, so many scholars sit on several boards, earning up to US$100,000 in retainers. "If they're complaining there is a shortage, what are they doing to solve this problem?" asked Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, a scholar based in Bahrain who sits on the boards of Citigroup, AIG and HSBC, among others.

...In the early 1990s, Malaysia devised the first Islamic bond, or sukuk, an accomplishment it expanded on in 2002 by issuing the first global sukuk, raising US$600 million. Now the global sukuk market totals US$82.2 billion, with Malaysia accounting for two-thirds of it....

Britain, which licensed its first Islamic bank in 2004, plans to issue its own sukuk. Japan's Bank for International Cooperation is planning a US$300 million sukuk. And in July, a Texas-based oil firm, East Cameron Partners, issued the first US sukuk, raising US$165.7 million.

For a slightly less gushing viewpoint of Islamic finance, see this FrontPage article.

For much more detail, see the Terror Finance Blog.

Shari'a Sunday, part 1: Update on Saudi rape case

From AFP:
A woman in Saudi Arabia sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes despite being gang raped has confessed to adultery, the justice ministry said on Saturday as it tried to fend off mounting criticism.

Despite being sexually assaulted by seven men who kidnapped her with a male companion at knife-point, the unidentified 19 year-old woman was sentenced in November 2006 to 90 lashes.

The judge sentenced her for being in a car with a man who was not her relative, a taboo in the conservative Muslim kingdom which imposes strict segregation of the sexes.

But her story hit international headlines last week when her sentence was increased to six months in jail and 200 lashes after she spoke to the media.

The justice ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency that the woman had owned up to having an extramarital affair with the man in the car.

"She admitted to ... exchanging sinful relations," the statement said, adding the woman was in state of undress with the man in the car before the attack took place.

The woman and her alleged lover remained quiet about the attack, which was only reported to the authorities several months later when the woman's husband received an e-mail from an unidentified source informing him of the affair.

"She admitted to what happened and the husband then reported the incident three months after it happened," the justice ministry said, adding it wanted to correct the "largely incorrect" details published in the media about the case.

The ministry also stressed the Saudi judicial system was based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case are given a fair and balanced hearing.

The men were initially sentenced to one to five years in jail, but those terms were also toughened on appeal to between two and nine years.

A rape conviction carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, but the court did not impose it due to the "lack of witnesses" and the "absence of confessions," the justice ministry said on Tuesday.

The woman's husband told local media that they would appeal, even though the judge had warned that the sentence could be increased again if she loses the appeal.

The justice ministry noted that the law gives the right of appeal, but warned that "resorting to the media" could have "a negative effect on the other parties in the case."
AFP seems to have some details wrong. From Arab News:
“She went out with him without a mahram, a legal guardian, and exchanged forbidden affairs through the illegal khalwa,” the statement said. “They both confessed to doing what God forbids.”

The statement went on to accuse the woman and the man of causing the crime.

They are the main cause of what happened, the woman and her companion, as they exposed themselves to this horrible crime and violated the rule of Shariah,” the statement said. “That’s why the sentences were increased for everyone due to the dangerous nature of the crime.”

The ministry also claimed that the woman violated the sanctity of marriage.

“She knows that ‘khalwa’ with an unrelated man is forbidden by Shariah and by doing this she has broken the sacred matrimonial contract,” the statement said.

“The woman mentioned in her signed confession that she called from her husband’s house using her cell phone asking for a forbidden ‘khalwa’ in front of a shopping center,” the statement said.
So what is "khalwa" and was this woman really married?
The matrimonial contract that the ministry refers to is known as “qiran”. In Saudi Arabia the “qiran” is viewed as a contract of betrothal, similar to marriage except that the woman and man must live with their families until they come out to society with an official wedding ceremony.

Arab News learned yesterday that the rape victim and her betrothed had signed a “qiran” contract; they have never lived together as husband and wife.

The sentence of the two rape victims is based on the Saudi interpretation of “khalwa”, the principle that an unrelated man and woman cannot be in seclusion together. The interpretation of “khalwa” under Saudi law — which judges say is the proper interpretation of the Sunnah — includes unrelated men and women being together even in public. The judicial interpretation of “khalwa” in Saudi Arabia also includes an unrelated man and woman inside a vehicle.

The ministry claimed the woman was “in a state of indecency, having thrown off her clothes” and the two were abducted in a “dark side of the (Qatif) corniche” by the attackers after they saw the couple in this alleged state of indecency.

The woman’s lawyer, Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, had said in a previous interview with Arab News that the police investigation records states that the two victims were abducted in a public place, in front of a shopping mall.

The statement claimed that the two victims of the gang rape hid the incident for three months until an e-mail was sent to the woman’s betrothed “informing him what happened to his wife, and her betrayal.”

A source close to the case that wishes to remain anonymous told Arab News that no e-mail was sent and that the woman’s betrothed didn’t find out about the crime until he was told by his friends that the rapists were bragging about the crime in the small community of Qatif.
This is a great introduction to how Shari'a law works as a basis for a modern legal system. Two victims of a crime are not valid witnesses against the rapists because one of them is a woman; appealing a sentence while talking to the media will make your sentence more severe; and the police and judicial system can lie to cover up their own embarrassment.

And Saudi Arabia's isn't the only shari'a-based legal system:
Kuwait, as a state and people, views the Holy Book the Koran as the reference of guidelines for managing and maintaining the homeland, a senior official affirms.

Undersecretary of Awqaf Adel Al-Falah underscored the fact that the commitment to the holy book helps in maintaining social security and stability for the homeland and the whole Islamic nation, noting the Koranic guidelines for moderation and positive manners.