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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lebanese blogger crushed that Dr. Ruth is a Zionist

From Now Lebanon, by blogger Louisa Ajami:

You know when you like a celebrity, only to find out there’s something terribly unlikeable about them, like they charge for autographs or are bad tippers at restaurants?

Well, I used to love Dr. Ruth. She’s an 83-year-old German sex doctor who’s been part of American popular culture for generations with her radio shows and TV specials. She’s funny and spunky, and it is so cute when she, this tiny little old lady, delivers advice on sex in her spoon-bending German accent.

But it just came out that not only is Dr. Ruth a Zionist, she was active in the paramilitary (read: terrorist) group Irgun after moving to Palestine in the wake of World War II.

“I can still put five bullets in a red circle” she bragged to Garage Magazine recently.

Damn. She’s dead to me now. Does anyone know of another octogenarian sex doctor I can transfer my liking to?
Garage Magazine seems to be a little off; apparently Dr. Ruth was in the Haganah, not the Irgun.
The future Dr. Ruth was born Karola Ruth Siegel in Germany in 1928, the only child of an Orthodox Jewish couple. In 1939, after young Karola's father had been taken by the Nazis, her mother and grandmother sent her to Switzerland to get her out of harm's way. She did not see her family again, as her mother and grandmother lost their lives in the Holocaust.

At 16, the orphaned girl moved to Israel and joined Haganah, an underground Jewish military organization. She served as a lookout and sniper but never killed anyone. Says Dr. Ruth of that interval:

"When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded."
Not that this would matter to poor, disillusioned Ms. Ajami. She was the same Now Lebanon blogger who was so upset at seeing the billboard of Natalie Portman in Beirut.

So Ajami's hate has nothing to do with the Irgun or Haganah or someone being a trained sniper; it is just hate for people who believe that the Jewish nation has the right of self-determination.

(h/t Onion Tears News)

Iran upset at $1.5 billion arms sale from Israel to Azerbaijan

Another BDS failure...

From Al Arabiya:
Azerbaijan on Wednesday dismissed an Iranian protest over its reported deal to buy arms worth $1.5 billion from Tehran’s foe Israel amid increased tensions between the neighboring states.

Azerbaijan’s ambassador was summoned to Iran’s foreign ministry on Tuesday to explain the weapons and to receive a warning that Israel must not be permitted to use Azerbaijan to stage “terrorist acts” against Iran.

But the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said that the reported weapons purchases -- which it did not confirm -- were not intended to threaten Iran.

“Our foreign policy is not directed against anyone else,” foreign ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev told a news conference.

Iranian news agencies reported Tuesday that Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Tehran, Javanshir Akhundov, had acknowledged the arms deal.

Akhundov explained that the weapons were bought “to liberate occupied Azerbaijani land”, according to the reports -- a reference to the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh which was seized from Azerbaijan by Armenian forces during a war in the 1990s.
The Tehran Times, when reporting this story, adds more good news:
Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets have reported that Angolan Finance Minister Carlos Alberto Lopes traveled to Israel last week to sign a military agreement. Reports say the Israeli-Angolan deal is worth about one billion dollars.

Israeli goalkeeper kicks ball into wind; flies back into goal

Mother Nature 1, Maccabi Haifa 0:




February 29th, 2012: Maccabi Haifa took on Dynamo Kiev in a friendly today, ahead of Israel's friendly with Ukraine, and the match was played in ridiculous weather conditions as the wind took on biblical proportions.

The friendly match was only 60 minutes long but there was enough time for one of the strangest goals ever seen. Kiev's second saw Haifa goalie Assaf Mendes take a goal kick.

Mendes' punt forward did travel some distance before incredibly coming back on itself past the stunned custodian.

(h/t Times of Israel)

Fatah values its children - as fertilizer

I had missed this from Palestinian Media Watch last month:



PA TV narrator: "In the refugee camp Ein Al-Hilwe [in Lebanon], a rally was held in celebration of the [47th] anniversary [of Fatah]. A political symposium was also held on the occasion of the event."
Text on slide at event:

"Our children are our honor and glory,
they were created to be fertilizer for the land of Palestine,
and for our pure land to be saturated with their blood
they were created to be fertilizer for the land of Palestine,
and for our pure land to be saturated with their blood"
(h/t Daled Amos, who has other examples of the PA's love of their children)

Egypt's new government planning to open Hamas office in Cairo

In an interview with Al Ahram, Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party chairman Mohamed Morsi said that the new Egyptian government would welcome Hamas moving its headquarters from Damascus to Cairo:

Q: Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Hamas support the Syrian revolution and the start of migration of the Syrian Palestinian leaders from Damascus...Will we witness the opening of the Office of the Hamas movement soon in Cairo?

A: I wish to open this office, and I strongly want to open an office for the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, but this does not mean interfering in the internal Palestinian affairs. Egypt is the natural host of the issue, and the custodians of the Palestinian cause since the late forties, to support the Palestinian cause is our duty. In fact, Egypt had a distinct role in Gaza after the revolution. Egypt looks for all new guises for the Palestinian cause, and hosted the reconciliation talks on Egyptian territory. Rest assured that the will of Hamas to open an office does not mean beating the drums of war or threat of any country.
Despite his protestations, opening a Hamas office in Cairo would be a slap in the face of the PA. It would be the Hamastan embassy.

Hamas seems to be pulling out all the stops to effectively become just short of being a full province of Egypt - they want trade and travel through Rafah to be expanded, they want oil and natural gas and electricity to be delivered directly from Egypt, and ideologically they are identical to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

The only thing stopping them from wanting to go all the way is that if Gaza becomes part of Egypt, Israel would benefit.

That's of course the number one rule for the Arab Middle East - if it is good for Israel it must be avoided at all costs.

Today's interesting Wikileaks from Stratfor (updated)

Besides the leaked email I noted before about Ma'an's editor, we have:
Turkey planned on downgrading relations with Israel even before the May 2010 flotilla incident, documents published Wednesday by WikiLeaks suggest.

A leaked email from George Friedman, the head of US-based global security analysis company Stratfor, reveals that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger that at some point he would burn bridges with Israel in favor of a closer relationship with the Islamic world.

According to the Turkish newspaper Sunday Zaman, Friedman also wrote in the same email that Turkey does not get along with Israel and the United States. An attack by Israel on Iran would provide a good opportunity for Erdogan to finally cut Turkey’s ties with Israel and the US and to expand Turkey’s power, he further wrote.

The flotilla to Gaza — in which nine Turkish citizens aboard a ship heading to Gaza were killed after attacking the IDF commandos who intercepted it – was not the cause of Turkey’s new strategy but rather the opportunity Erdogan had been waiting for, Army Radio said.
And this was even more interesting, if poorly sourced:
Israel may already have the codes to crack into Iran’s anti-aircraft missile defense systems, according to WikiLeaks, which on Tuesday continued to publish email conversations by employees from the Texas-based Stratfor global intelligence firm.

The Stratfor email conversation took place in 2009 and focused on an alleged deal between Israel and Russia, in which Israel would supply codes to hack into the unmanned aerial vehicles that Israel had sold to Russia’s neighbor, Georgia, in exchange for the codes for Russia’s state-of-the-art TOR-M1 anti-aircraft system stationed in Iran. If the codes are indeed in Israeli hands, they could prove helpful in a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

According to the WikiLeaks document, in 2009 a Stratfor analyst claimed to have been told by a Mexican source of the Israel-Russian deal. It was speculated in the email conversation that after Russia invaded Georgia over a land dispute in 2008, Georgia found that its Israeli-made UAV’s were not performing as successfully as they should, possibly because their communication codes were hacked, leading the country to seek to purchase UAV spy planes from other countries.
A Mexican source? Sounds more like a game of telephone again - some Georgian wonders why the UAVs aren't working well, assumes it isn't because of operator error and spins a conspiracy theory where Russia got Israel's codes, has to come up with a plausible reason how that could happen, and tells his Mexican buddy over drinks.

Reading these documents is fun, and some might be true, but their veracity is really shaky.

UPDATE: Here's the email about the UAVs. Looks like Georgia wanted Mexican UAVs because they felt the Israeli ones were compromised. one had been taken down intact. (h/t Yoel)

A Muslim scholar explains why Jerusalem is not in the Koran

I was browsing through the Quds Media site, which is one of the sources for some of the more ridiculous rumors about Israel and the Al Aqsa Mosque, and which has an English version. While there I saw this article:

Jerusalem in the Qur’an is a great book that thrilled and delighted me in a number of ways. I am surprised that such a meticulously documented book had to wait for such a long time before seeing the light. ...May Allah Ta’ala reward Brother Imran Hosein for writing this scholarly document, which will indeed fill up this intellectual and religious gap and serve as an academic reference to Muslims in all parts of the world. As I write this introduction, this book that was published only this year is already being translated to Arabic and Bosnian. In a short time it will be rendered into other European languages and to all the other tongues of the Islamic world.
Wow! a book about Jerusalem in the Quran when Jerusalem is not in the Quran!

I found an Internet version of the book, and to call it "scholarly" is, well, a bit misleading. The author spends much of the book on peripheral issues and bashing Israel. But when you dig in to find the meat of his laughable argument, you find this:

It is strange, mysterious, and enigmatic, … that the name of the city ‘Jerusalem’ (Arabic ‘Quds’ or ‘Bait al-Maqdis’) does not appear in the Qur’an! Yet so many of the Prophets mentioned in the Qur’an had links with that Holy City, and in it is located that only other House of Allah, apart from those built in Makkah and Madina, ever built by a Prophet of Allah, Most High. Not only is that House of Allah (Masjid al-Aqsa) mentioned in the Qur’an but so, also, is the miraculous night-time journey in which Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was taken from Makkah to Jerusalem and to that House of Allah. Perhaps the reason for this mysterious treatment of the subject is located in the Islamic view that Jerusalem is destined to play a central crucial role in the Last Age. Hence there was, perhaps, a divine need to cloud the name of the city, as well as its destiny, with a sacred cloud that would not be lifted until the appropriate time had come, and Jerusalem was poised and ready to play its role in the End of History.
There you go! The Quran doesn't mention Jerusalem because it is too darn holy!

In fact, this neatly explains not only why Jerusalem is not in the Koran, but why Islamic scholars ignored their supposedly third-holiest city for hundreds of years!

This, perhaps, explains the almost total absence of Islamic literature on the subject of the destiny of Jerusalem, something to which Dr. Ismail Raji al-Faruqi referred when he lamented: “Unfortunately, there is no Islamic literature on the subject” (see Ch. 1). The fact is that no one could have written on this subject until that time arrived when the cloud was lifted. This book was written in consequence of the conviction that the cloud is now being lifted.

You see? Jerusalem is more holy than Mohammed, more holy than Hajj, more holy than Zakat, more holy than prayer, more holy than the prophets - because they are all mentioned prominently in the Quran, but Jerusalem isn't.

The "proofs" in the book are even more ridiculous. The author claims that when the Quran mentions a "town" it means Jerusalem, and his first proof is the Quranic use of the word "town" referring to where the Jews lived - while they were in the desert.

I think that by using this logic we can deduce that Mickey Mouse is even more holy than Jerusalem in Islam, because Mickey isn't even hinted at!

Hamas leader Zahar dismisses Gaza power crisis, discusses merger with Islamic Jihad

In a remarkably tone-deaf interview, Hamas Gaza leader Mahmoud Zahar dismissed any claims that the power crisis in Gaza was a problem.

The leader of the Hamas questioned those talking about a state of flux in the Gazan street as a result of successive crises such as lack of gas and power outages, saying: "There are crises in gas, housing and oil in the world, and there are European countries with a huge declared bankruptcy. The people promting these rumors are the elements of the previous (PA) security forces who are sitting in their homes and getting paid, and who drive taxis, and spread rumors, and this is part of a plan to incite public opinion against Hamas before the elections." he continued, "On the ground of the Palestinian people are genuine, they survived the war and the blockade did not yield," and he urged the media "not to intervene at this game."
He also said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were seriously considering a merger and a decision on a merger or cooperation agreement is due in the next few days.

Regarding Hamas' position on Syria and Iran, he stressed that Hamas does not interfere in Syrian affasirs, but asserted that Hamas is not with Iran or against it, and not with Syria or against it; they just want good relations with the Arab world.

And, as usual, he blamed Fatah for the failure of reconciliation so far.

Who's telling the truth about Ramallah TV station raid? (updated)

From YNet:

Communication Ministry officials raided the al-Watan TV station in Ramallah Wednesday.

The raid was headed by officers at the ministry's Wireless Supervision Unit. Palestinian sources said that an IDF force accompanied them.

The IDF said that the raid was prompted by the station's use of unauthorized frequencies, which endanger flight routes over Ben Gurion International Airport.

One of the station's broadcasters said that the soldiers seized transmission equipment, computers and documents, and detained four of the station's employees.

From Ma'an:
Suleiman Zuheiri, undersecretary of the Palestinian ministry of telecommunication in Ramallah, said Israel had breached Article 36 of the Oslo agreement, which requires consultations with the PA.

The accord says a joint committee of technical experts representing both sides shall be established to address any issue arising on the topic of communications, including the growing future needs of the Palestinian side.

Zuheiri said the unilateral move should not have been made by the Israeli military, which is not authorized to seize transmitters or intervene in communications issues but did so anyway.

“The Israeli claims that the stations’ transmission interrupts aircraft communication at Ben Gurion airport are false because the airport’s range is very different from the range used by TV stations.

"Civil aviation waves, according to international parameters, start at 120 megahertz, while TV frequencies start at above 500 megahertz,” Zuheiri explained.

He added that the two stations Israeli forces raided and confiscated their transmitters had been registered at the International Telecommunication Union, clear evidence that the action was illegal and violated international treaties.

His ministry was never notified that these two stations caused interruptions, Zuheiri said, nor did Israel's communications ministry inform the Palestinian side of its plans to shut the stations down.
From what I can gather (and I am no expert in radio frequency communications) both of these assertions are wrong.

VHF broadcast TV in the Middle East ranges from 48 to 252 MHz. Civil aviation uses frequencies in the VHF space, between 108 MHz and 137 MHz.

However, broadcast TV VHF stays away from the aviation bands, with nothing broadcast between 87.75 MHz and 175.25 MHz.

In other words, no TV could see a signal even if the Ramallah station was broadcasting illegally within that range.

That is not to say that the station wouldn't use that frequency for other reasons, or that its equipment doesn't leak out into the aviation frequencies, or that Ben Gurion airport (or maybe a nearby military airbase) might need to use different frequencies for specific security reasons, or any number of other scenarios.

The GOI and IDF need to have the proper information available to journalists immediately when a story like this breaks, because even though in most cases the truth is on their side, they lose credibility because most reporters aren't going to follow up weeks or months later to find out the justification.

UPDATE: I am told that there are two issues that are being mixed up in the IDF explanation - the radio frequency of broadcasts and general electronic emissions. While it is unusual for a TV station's electronics to interfere with civil aviation radio or radar, it is possible, just like electronics can interfere with any radio or TV broadcasts at home. (h/t JD)

Wikileaks/Stratfor: Ma'an editor "batsh*t insane"

From the latest Wikileaks dump of hacked Stratfor emails:

Sending straight to alpha because no WO on. Replying to this thread because it's in reference to the bias we should be aware of from Ma'an News Agency, whose story Mikey just pasted in response to the insight on what's happening at Pal camps in Lebanon. Source is new, just met him on my trip. He's a journalist who works for Ma'an. Insight below is his response to my questions about wtf his boss was saying in the article I pasted below the insight ('Palestinian editor says Jerusalem will be liberated with "military honor"'):

Nasser [Ma'an editor in chief Nasr al-Lahham] is the man but he's a nut. I know him well. Israelis know him too, he used to report from the Knesset and interviewed I think their president once at his home. His point here, seems to me, is Abbas' strategy of building institutions and restoring security, rather than violently resisting, is key to
liberating Palestine. He's telling the recruits they're just as important and valuable as Hezbollah and don't let anyone tell you otherwise

Here's the inside scoop on Nasser and the key to understanding how Maan remains the only truly independent news source in Palestine: He's a decades long supporter of the Popular Front, was president of the PFLP at Bethlehem Univ. and went to jail six years for it.

As a PFLP supporter, he detests organized religion and its mixing in politics (Hamas) just as much as he hates materialism/capitalism/corruption (Fatah). (On that second point, he's probably the most beloved media personality in the country and has huge influence, yet he never thought to move out of the refugee camp where he was born. Badass.)

The other important thing to know about Nasser, more important than anything else I just mentioned, is that he is batshit insane. Really do love the guy but something is off up there, trust me. He will spout out the craziest theories every once in a while 
I repeat that I am not impressed with the level of intelligence at Stratfor in the memos I've seen so far, but sometimes they have interesting nuggets.

Netanyahu and others on PBS' "The Advocates," 1979

With host, Michael Dukakis!

The Netanyahu (Ben Nitay) part begins around the 15 minute mark:



I find it interesting that the pro-Palestinian Arab side is generally only talking about self-determination, not a state. By pretty much any definition, they have achieved that.

But every time they achieve something, the goalposts keep moving.

(h/t Hillel Neuer)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arabs against absorption of refugees (NYT, 1966)

From  The New York Times, April 4, 1966:


JERUSALEM (Jordanian Sector), March 30—"The Arab states will not integrate the Palestine refugees because integration would be a slow process of liquidating the Palestine problem," Ahmed Shukairy, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, declared in an interview today.

"Consequently, the refugees don't want to be integrated," he continued. "If there are no Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian cause. We can't conceive of a Babylonian cause today because there are no Babylonians. But we start from the premise that we will achieve the liberation of Palestine soon."

Arab refusal to assimilate the 1.3 million refugees now living in four host countries— Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, controlled by the United Arab Republic—has been the subject of criticism from Israel and from the Western nations that have contributed to supporting the refugees for most of the 18 years since Israel came into existence.

Most of the critics would agree with Mr. Shukairy that the Arabs will not assimilate the refugees because they want to keep tie Palestine issue alive. But few of them would be likely to agree that the refugees do not want to be assimilated, and almost none would accept the premise of "liberation of Palestine soon."

Indeed, questions about why the refugees persist in their hopes when Israel appears to have consolidated her position bring a different, but fairly standard, Arab retort:

"The Zionists remembered Palestine for 2,000 years. Why should we begin to forget in 18 years?"

When leaders of the Arab nations are asked why they do not assimilate the refugees, they reply that Israel and the West, not the Arabs, were responsible for the refugee exodus in 1948 from the part of British Palestine that became Israel.

These leaders ignore the rebuttal that the Arabs shared largely in the responsibility because their radio stations broadcast propaganda about Israeli atrocities designed to panic the refugees and that the refugees were told to flee.
...
The basic problem is that integration of the ordinary, uneducated peasant refugee requires land. In Jordan, the only host country that has given refugees the full privileges of citizenship, arable land is not available. The other Arab countries reserve what land they can develop for their own citizens, who want it badly.

Iraq, where there are almost no refugees, has the most favorable land-to-man ratio among the Arab states, but even there any significant assimilation of outsiders would require large scale development of irrigation
A Western ambassador in one host country said recently:

"The way to solve the problem is to stimulate Arab economic development to the maximum. If the Arab countries begin to need manpower, refugees will automatically be absorbed."

The psychological and emotional obstacles to integration are great. The refugees and their hosts feel strongly that they got a raw deal in 1948, and their self-esteem demands formal reparation, particularly because of the impression that the Israelis are cleverer, abler and more modern than the Arabs.

The Arab armies that moved against Israel in 1948, after the Arabs rejected the United Nations partition of Palestine, were beaten, and the defeat still Irankles.

One educated refugee said the other day in private conversation that he favored going back to the original partition plan, which would cost Israel 27 per cent of her present territory.

...
The mystique of the refugees,  fed by Arab broadcasts and by nostalgic talk, is based on the conviction that they have been grievously wronged. One commentator, Cecil Hourani, has written: "In the dim twilight of the camps it is what has been lost that still beckons, not what can be done to take its place." 

At a United Nations school in Gaza, a young refugee was learning the trade of an auto mechanic. He was scheduled to I go to Sweden for on-the-job training. He spoke a little English. Asked what he would do if he could get a permanent job in Sweden and if he met a girl, he liked, he said: "I would come back. My country needs me." 

Hamdi Hirzallah, 40 years old, a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was present at the interview. A native of Beersheba, now part of Israel, he said with great intensity: "I will tell you something, and I wish you would quote me. If they try to leave, we will stop them, by force if need be." 













Afternoon open thread/links

Where you can ruminate over the fact that a Houston high school basketball team may never find out if they are the best in the league.

Or you can review Vice News - in Gaza. (I didn't get to see it yet.)

Or discuss exactly what makes Pepsi a "Jewish drink."

(h/t JTA, jzaik)

Fatah accuses Hamas of stopping election plans

From Fatah's WAFA news agency:
Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah delegation to the reconciliation talks with Hamas, Tuesday told WAFA that Hamas continues to prevent the Central Elections Commission (CEC) resulted from reconciliation talks from working in the Gaza Strip.

“It has been agreed that CEC will start working in December 23, 2011…Two months and a week later, Hamas still prevents the commission from working in Gaza without reason,” said al-Ahmad.

He indicated that some Hamas leaders in Gaza don’t want to end the Palestinian division to benefit their personal agenda, as well as he expressed hope that Hamas will end its internal dispute and reach an agreement regarding the formation of the interim government.
Hamas, for its part, isn't only blaming Fatah for the failure of unity talks. They are blaming the US and Israel.

Since the unity deal signed last May, there has been essentially no progress.. But there are lots and lots of meetings and tons of blame.

(h/t CHA)

Hatikvah played in Egypt

From Israel's Foreign Ministry:
Israeli Ambassador Yaacov Amitai on Monday, 27 February 2012, presented his credentials to Field Marshal Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces. At the official ceremony, during which other ambassadors also presented their credentials, the Israeli anthem was played, along with other national anthems, as is customary.

The presentation of credentials was held in a cordial atmosphere. Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Amitai and Field Marshal Tantawi emphasized the importance of the peace agreement and cooperation for both countries.

Ambassador Amitai said: "I will do everything I can to enhance understanding and to foster cooperation between Israel and Egypt."

Amitai has been demanding better security from Egypt, especially in wake of the bombings and attempted bombings of diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand. On Sunday he refused to leave Cairo's airport until his car was checked for explosives.

Of course, Amitai is utterly dependent on Egypt's security, since the Israel embassy was closed due to some peace-loving riots and he has to do all his work out of his apartment.


Malaysia cancels concert because of singer's Allah tattoos

From AP:

Muslim-majority Malaysia on Tuesday banned a planned concert by Erykah Badu after a photograph appeared showing the Grammy-winning singer with the Arabic word for Allah written on her body.

The American R&B singer was scheduled to perform Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, but some Muslim groups said Badu was an unsuitable role model for young Malaysians after seeing a publicity photo of her with what appeared to be temporary tattoos of the word Allah on her bare shoulders.

A government committee that includes police and Islamic policy officials decided to forbid Badu's show because the body art was "an insult to Islam and a very serious offense," Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement.

The photo of Badu had "triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national security and cause a negative impact to the government's image," the statement added.

The 41-year-old, Dallas-born singer had already arrived in Malaysia. She can stay as a tourist but will not be allowed to perform, an Information Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

It was the first concert by a Western performer to be banned in Malaysia in recent years. Several other stars, including Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne, were told to dress modestly while performing.

The photograph of Badu, which also appears on her official fan website, attracted attention after Malaysia's most widely read English-language daily, The Star, published it Monday.

On Tuesday, the newspaper apologized to Muslims for what it called an "oversight," saying it deeply regretted any offense sparked by the photo, which was "inadvertently published." The Home Ministry summoned The Star's editors to explain the photograph, which caused some Muslim activists to demand the newspaper's suspension.
Here is the offending photo. The two "Allahs" are on her shoulders.

Good thing the newspaper didn't mention the Hebrew letters (apparently meant to spell "Badu.") She'd get lynched.


Hamas says unity should only be for fighting Israel

Hamas newspaper Palestine Today is featuring an article by Dr. Fayez Abu Shamala, cursing the reconciliation agreement with Fatah.

Shamala is saying that if the unity agreement means that the Palestinian Arabs can no longer engage in attacks against Israelis, it is useless. He asks why the PA is stopping Hamas and Islamic Jihad from attacking Jewish settlers and security officers - they should be joining in such attacks. He stresses that what is required of the Palestinian people is the resistance, not reconciliation.

He adds that the liberation of the land will not go through the UN and solutions will not come from politicians in Cairo or Doha, but only through force.

If Hamas is publishing this in its own newspaper, you can be certain that it reflects the thinking of its leadership.

Egypt stops fuel smuggling to Gaza, power plant shuts down

From Ma'an:
Egyptian security forces on Tuesday thwarted an attempt to smuggle large quantities of diesel fuel into the Gaza Strip via underground tunnels, Ma'an's correspondent said.

Egyptian military and police forces stopped four trucks containing more than 7,000 liters of diesel fuel bound for the Gaza Strip.

Four Egyptian smugglers were arrested and are being questioned.

Egypt wants to stop the use of underground tunnels for delivery of Egyptian fuel purchased by Palestinian authorities, and has severely reduced supply through the tunnel network, prompting an energy crisis in the coastal enclave.

Egyptian and Gazan officials reached a deal last week which includes longer-term measures to increase the capacity of Gaza's sole power plant and link Gaza's electricity grid to Egyptian infrastructure.

On Sunday, as part of the first stage of the agreement, Egypt increased its power supply to the Gaza Strip from 17 to 22 megawatts.

The shorter-term requirement is the delivery of fuel into Gaza, but a disagreement on the route of the fuel still appeared to be pending agreement.

The Gaza government is pressing for the Rafah terminal between the countries to be equipped for fuel transfer, and is reluctant to accept fuel to be delivered via the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing.

The government fears Israel will use control of supplies to squeeze the coastal strip.
So they'd rather rely on Egypt controlling the fuel supplies to Gaza. See how well that's working out?

Today, for the second time in two weeks, the Gaza power plant ran out of fuel and large parts of Gaza were again plunged into darkness. The head of the power plant again appealed to Egypt to accelerate a program to provide fuel.

And still no one places the blame on Hamas for this artificial crisis. Because they want to avoid being thrown into jail.

More proof that Arabs hate their Palestinian brothers

Mahmoud Abbas, in his incitement speech at Doha, said something controversial to the Arab world.

No, not his lies about how there is no evidence for an ancient Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Not his assertion that Israel was planning to destroy Al Aqsa Mosque. Not his absurd assertion that Israel is practicing "ethnic cleansing" against Arabs in Jerusalem. No, none of that is controversial.

The controversial part was his call for Arabs to visit Jerusalem:

Hence the need to encourage all who can, especially our brothers from Arab and Islamic countries as well as our fellow Arabs and Muslims and Christians in Europe and America, to go to visit Jerusalem. This move will have political, moral, economic, and humanitarian repercussions. Jerusalem affects us all and no one can stop us from accessing it. The flow of the crowds to the congested streets and its holy sites will enhance the resilience of its citizens, and contribute to the protection and consolidation of identity, history and heritage of the city [where we are] targeted for eradication, and the occupiers will remember that the issue of Jerusalem is the cause of every Arab, Muslim and Christian. I emphasize here that a visit to a prisoner to support him does not mean by any means normalization with the warden.

Immediately, the influential and hugely popular cleric Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi confirmed his already-existing fatwa banning non-Palestinian Arabs (not only Muslims but Christians too!) from visiting Jerusalem:

"Palestinians have the right to enter Jerusalem as they please, but in relation to the non-Palestinians, they may not gain entry to it." He explained "that the prohibition of visiting is so as to not legitimize the occupation; a visit would confer legitimacy to the cruel entity occupying of Muslim lands" by getting an Israeli visa.

He stressed in remarks published yesterday in Doha, "We should feel that we are deprived of Jerusalem and fight for it so that Jerusalem is ours, and that the responsibility to defeat the Zionist aggression is the responsibility of the Islamic nation as a whole and not the responsibility of the Palestinian people alone," he said, adding: "It is not reasonable to leave the Palestinians alone in the face of the Zionist state with a large military capabilities."

He said that "Jerusalem will not return except through resistance and jihad, and the combined efforts of the Arab and Islamic nation."
The PA was not happy with Qaradawi.

Hamas, for their part, agreed with Qaradawi!
The Hamas movement has rejected a call by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem, and described any visit as a normalization and recognition of Israel. (see also here)
Two years ago, the Egyptian Olympic soccer team planned to have a friendly match with an PalArab team near Jerusalem to show solidarity with them. A firestorm of fatwas and pressure resulted and the team canceled the trip.

Once again, the Arab world has a chance to show, in a very real way, that they support their Palestinian Arab brethren - and instead they choose not to. The reason is the same as it has been since 1948: their hate for Israel far outweighs their lip-service of love for Palestinian Arabs.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Criminal disingenuity from Peace Now's Lara Friedman

As I've mentioned, this week there was a conference in Doha that was meant to try to ensure that Israel and Jews would never have any say in how Jerusalem is administered.

The keynote speaker was Mahmoud Abbas, who gave a speech that was sheer incitement against Israel and Jews as he effectively denied any Jewish connection to the city.

The Emir of Qatar urged the UN to take away any vestiges of Judaism from the holy city.

Its final statement is a classic example of anti-semitism, promising to go to the UN destroy anything Israel might have done in the city since 1967, including imaginary excavations that they accuse Israel of digging under the Al Aqsa Mosque.

One attendee among the haters was Lara Friedman, Director of Policy and Government Relations for Americans for Peace Now. In an astoundingly disingenuous piece for the Forward, she claims ignorance of the sheer hatred that Arabs have for Jews and the Jewish claim to Jerusalem.

You have to read it and ask yourself - is it possible someone in her position is this clueless?
When I was invited to this conference, I took this as a sign that the Arab League wanted to capture the full complexity of the issues related to Jerusalem, including openly pro-Israel, pro-peace voices. However, it seems that virtually every conversation I am having here involves me, to a greater or lesser degree, having to defend the two-state solution and having to assert and defend the Jewish stake in Jerusalem. The fact that I am forced to do so points to what is clearly, from my point of view, a major flaw in this event. That flaw is the absence of more voices like mine, which represent the mainstream of American Jewish opinion and Israeli opinion. People who care about Israel and are committed to the two-state solution, including in Jerusalem. This solution is the only thing that will guarantee peace, security, and a future for either Israelis or Palestinians.

I don’t know who else was invited to this conference and couldn’t (or chose not to) attend, but it seems to me that by not having more pro-two-state solution, Jewish voices here, the Arab League is doing a disservice to the cause it is ostensibly concerned with — the health and status of Jerusalem — and missing an opportunity. The Arab world, and activists around the globe concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do themselves no favors when they listen to voices that tell them only a piece of the story that is comfortable to their ears (just as Israel and the American Jewish community do themselves no favors when they choose not to hear unpleasant truths).

Speakers at Sunday’s opening session, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, one after another laid out laundry lists of criticisms of Israel — many of them regrettably marked with exaggerations. All also spoke a great deal about Muslim and Christian attachments to Jerusalem and the importance of defending the holy sites and communities associated with both religions. However, only one speaker, Michel Sabbah, formerly the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, mentioned any Jewish connection to the city. This is a serious problem. If President Abbas cannot acknowledge Jewish claims in Jerusalem, even as he asserts Palestinian claims (a problem Yasser Arafat suffered from), he should not be surprised if it is more difficult for Israelis and Jews, wherever they are, to believe that he can be trusted in a peace agreement that leaves Jerusalem sites precious to Jews under Palestinian control.

If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace. Their framing of the future of Jerusalem as a zero-sum game only makes it more likely that Israel will continue asserting its current power over East Jerusalem to hinder the vision of two states living in peace with a Jerusalem as a shared capital.

All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians.

...I regret that the conference so far has not taken the issues related to Jerusalem more seriously, and I am proud that I am here representing a truly pro-peace — and thus be definition pro-Israel — perspective. Much of the discourse here thus far has been personally objectionable and even painful to me, but I believe my presence here is important for the cause of peace.
Did Friedman come to this conference honestly thinking that the Arab League and Mahmoud Abbas are interested in peace? Where has she been the past few months as Abbas has been doing everything he could to avoid even talking with Israel? Where was she when he gave a speech to the UN last September, saying the exact same things about Jerusalem that he said in Doha?

She is shocked that the Arabs at the conference weren't like the liberal Jews she hangs out with, or the Arabs who have been conditioned to tell her what she wants to hear when she speaks to them individually, with ambiguity designed to fool wishful thinking Westerners into believing they are interested in co-existence with Israel. Not at all. When they speak to a predominantly Arab audience, things sound much different. What a surprise it must have been to Friedman, who apparently woudl never deign to spend five minutes at the MEMRI or Palestinian Media Watch sites. They are too distastefully right wing, you see.

Yet even after she sees the hate and hears the lies herself, first hand, she fails to get it. To her, the problem isn't that Mahmoud Abbas is a liar inciting Arabs to rise up against Jews living in their holy city. No, that is probably just rhetoric. To her, the problem is that such hate speech makes Israelis uncomfortable with freely giving the Jewish sites to him. To Friedman, the crime isn't hate and lies and anti-semitism (yes, Lara, denying the Temple existed is anti-semitism.)  No, to her the crime is anything that slows Jews down from giving their holy places to a Holocaust denier who praises a man who wanted to exterminate all the Jews of Palestine. Lara thinks that  Jews must do exactly  that - for "peace" - and therefore Abbas' hate and lies are an unnecessary obstacle delaying Jews from happily abandoning Jerusalem's holy spots.

And on and on it goes. After hearing speech after speech, she still believes that the Arab League is interested in peace with Israel. Well, they are. Their concept of peace is where Israel disappears by political means, legal means, demographic means or military means, whichever is most effective at any point in history. But when they say "peace" she grabs on to that word for dear life, closing her eyes and clicking her ruby slippers three times and repeating "They really want peace! They really want peace!"

Is it wishful thinking overwhelming her ability to believe what she heard? Who cares? The fact that she did not experience a "eureka!" moment when listening to mainstream Arabs from "moderate" countries deny any Jewish connection to Jerusalem - people so willing to lie in order to defame Israel and Jews - shows that Lara Friedman is just as bad as they are, no matter how many anguished articles she writes for the Forward.

Let her try to write an article defending the Jewish claim to Jerusalem in Al Akhbar, or Al Jazeera. Then she can claim - still disingenuously, but at least somewhat credibly - that she really wants to work for peace. Otherwise, she is just as much of the problem as those she feels so uncomfortable about. (And if she does do that, let her read the vitriolic talkbacks that such a column would spawn.)

Friedman will get over her Doha discomfort in a couple of weeks and go back to penning her articles that put all the blame for no peace on Israel. That is her comfort zone. Her wishful thinking will win out. Because even this article shows that she cannot and will not learn the lessons from Doha that all but slapped her in the face.

The beginning of the deadly 1936 riots (US State Dept)

We sometimes see Arab propagandists mention that the 1936 Arab riots that started in April were "non-violent."

I once went through Palestine Post archives to show the violence done by Arabs in the first days of the Arab strike, but there were some incidents that happened beforehand.

Here is a narrative of what happened then, from the US consul's perspective.

Of the incidents mentioned here, only one was against Arabs by Jews.

From the United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1936. The Near East and Africa:
 As reported by telegram on April 18, the first factor contributing to the occurrence of the disturbances was the recrudescence of political high-way robbery by bands of Arabs. Although Sheikh Izz-ed-Din [al Qassam] had been captured and executed by the police, his spirit was reinvoked to inspire the Arabs to begin again their annoying practices on the highways. There was, however, a difference in the modus operandi of these bands as compared with those which operated under Sheikh Izz-ed-Din. The latter worked merely to annoy the Government, whereas the former operate on what can only be described as anti-Jewish lines. On one occasion busses were stopped on the Tulkarm—Nablus Road and all the passengers were forced to alight. The only three Jews in the busses were then segregated from their fellow pas-sengers and placed in the cab of a truck at the head of the stopped column of cars. The door of the cab was closed and the Jews were fired upon at point-blank range. Of the three, one was killed out-right, one died later of wounds, and the third was severely wounded. This incident was followed the next night by a revenge killing of two Arabs by Jews in a small hut on the Petah Tikva,—Ranaana Road. It is reported by the police in this respect that at 10 p.m. on April 16 a car stopped before the hut and one of its occupants knocked on the door. In response to the knock the door was opened and two persons believed by the police to be Jews entered and, finding two Arabs within, shot them both dead on sight. One was shot six times with a Browning automatic and the other five with a Parabellum. The car with its occupants then disappeared.

When these facts became known the following morning tension between Arabs and Jews reached a crucial point. The situation was rendered acute later in the morning when the Jew who had been murdered by the "terrorists" two days before was buried as a martyr in the cemetery on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The cortege following the body worked itself into a frenzy of righteous indignation and became disorderly. The efforts of the Jewish police of Tel Aviv to restore order and control the course of the procession were unavailing.

A clash ensued and the Jewish police were routed. Reserves of British police were immediately called and likewise were attacked. By this time the excitement had spread to the occupants of nearby houses who joined the fray by throwing flower pots, cement building blocks and even iron bedsteads upon the heads of the police below. At one moment it seemed as though the British police would likewise be routed and troops were ordered to stand by from the encampment at Sarafand. Fortunately, however, order was at length restored, but not until after the police had been forced to fire into the crowd and many casualties had occurred both among the police and the rioters. The authorities were particularly apprehensive during the course of these disturbances because at Ramleh, no more than ten miles away, crowds of excited Arabs were celebrating the local feast of Nebi Saleh, and had word of the riots in Tel Aviv reached them a most serious situation would almost certainly have developed.

The following day, Saturday, passed without incident, but in an atmosphere of extreme tension. The police and the military authorities prepared for serious trouble.

On Sunday their fears were justified. A large crowd of Arabs gathered in the morning before the offices of the District Commissioner in Jaffa to protest against the murder of the two Arabs killed on the 16th, and as they were milling about in the square and working themselves into a condition of frenzy two Jews appeared and were immediately set upon. The crowd of Arabs then went berserk and pursued every Jew they saw. Fortunately, not many were at hand. The crowd then turned its attention to the main Jaffa—Jerusalem highway, stopping all cars and inspecting them for Jewish passengers. Many cars were wrecked and many casualties took place, among them an official of the Public Works Department, the son of the honorary Swedish Consul, the son of a well-known British contractor and a member of the Royal Air Force. When order was finally restored at 3:30 in the afternoon total casualties amounted to

7 Jews killed ;
2 Arabs killed;
15 Arabs wounded;
39 Jews wounded.

Monday morning dawned on a Palestine prepared for disturbances of the most serious sort. All shops were closed and traffic was at a minimum on the roads. At about 9 a. m. the police received word of fresh outbreaks in Jaffa and, as a result traffic ceased on the Jerusalem—Jaffa road and was convoyed on the Jerusalem—Nazareth road. The disturbances remained localized in the no-man's-land between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, where a platoon of the Cameron Highlanders had been stationed the day before, but a few minor incidents of stoning automobiles occurred in the Northern District near Jenin. To combat this development the Air Officer Commanding despatched detachments of armored cars to Nablus, Tulkarm and Jenin and likewise ordered detachments of troops to support the police at Tulkarm in case of a clash between the Arabs of that district and the Jews of the neighboring colonies. Casualties in Jaffa on April 20 were as follows : 5 Jews killed and 26 wounded; 2 Arabs killed and 32 wounded; on that day also 2 Jews died of injuries received on the previous day. Outside of the fracas in Jaffa the only important items to note on April 20 are two incidents which occurred on the Jerusalem–Nazareth road: a convoy of cars carrying visiting French officers back to Syria was stoned near Jenin and windshields and windows were broken ; the French Consul General abandoned his car near Nablus because of a demonstration then in progress and returned to Jerusalem by train. Also on that day Consuls Lynch and Scott journeyed to Tel Aviv and back to Jerusalem after learning that no American individuals or property had been involved in the disturbances, and Consul Brent returned from Haifa—all without incident.

On April 21 the situation was reported as being "easier". Nineteen persons were wounded, 14 Arabs and 5 Jews, in "isolated assaults"; a Jewish lumber yard and other buildings were fired in Jaffa; traffic was resumed under convoy on the Jerusalem–Jaffa road ; a crowd of Arabs bent on invading an outlying quarter of Tel Aviv were repulsed by the police; a general strike, which in effect has been only partial, was begun by Arab shopkeepers and still continues on April 25. This strike, which is supposed to have been inspired by that of the Damascene merchants some weeks ago and which is scheduled to last "until Arab demands are met", is a most half-hearted affair unsupported by the Nashashibi element. (As far as can be determined the Arab "demands" are the traditional ones : cessation of Jewish immigration and termination of land sales to Jews.)

Foreign Relations of the United States is a great resource, but before World War II they are only available as non-searchable PDFs. I converted the one here to text using an online OCR program.

Lebanon forcing students to take Hezbollah 101

From Ya Libnan:
Hezbollah and its allies have “taken advantage” of their role in the government in order to force public schools and the Lebanese University to dedicate a one-hour session for teaching the history of Resistance, Lebanese University (LU) students affiliated with the Lebanese Forces party said on Monday.

The students were referring to a decision that has been taken by Education Minister Hassan Diab.

In a written statement the students asked: “What Resistance are you talking about? Are you referring to the one which plunged Lebanon into futile wars and achieved illusory victories? Or is it the Resistance which violated Lebanon’s sovereignty through establishing [its own private] telecommunication networks on public properties?

The term “Resistance” in Lebanon refers mainly to the Iranaian and Syrian backed Hezbollah militant group. Hezbollah declared victory at the end of the 2006 war with Israel and tried to bring down the government in 2008 over the issue of its private telecommunication network.

The students blasted the government for allowing Hezbollah to take advantage of its dominant role in the cabinet to achieve its own goals.
When will they cut out the middleman and just let Ayatollah Khamenei write the course materials for every class?

Iran celebrates Oscar win over Israeli film

From Payvand:
An Iranian filmmaker has won the country's first Oscar, taking the prize for the best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, and Tehran has celebrated by touting it as a victory over its archenemy.

Director Asghar Farhad's "A Separation," already the recipient of a number of high-profile international awards, was awarded an Oscar on February 26 over films from Belgium, Poland, Canada, and Israel.

But it was the win over the Israeli entry, "Footnote," that has garnered most of the attention.

"This is the beginning of the collapse of the influence of the Zionist lobby over American society," read a statement issued by Javad Shamaghdari, the head of Iran's Cinematic Agency. Describing the win as an "unusual reaction to the Zionist lobby," Shamaghdari said the Oscar marked the "beginning of the collapse" of Israeli influence.

(“The American judgment bowed before the Iranian culture and Oscar voters showed a different reaction to the Zionist lobby, which is escalating war,” he added.)

Iranian state television, meanwhile, reported that the Iranian movie had "left behind" a film from the "Zionist regime."

With the victory, according to a report by Iran's Student News Agency (ISNA), an "Iranian flag has been planted atop America."
So does this mean that "Zionists" don't own Hollywood, as Iran claims? I mean, how easy would it have been for those "Zionists" to ensure that Footnote won the award? It seems that there is no way to reconcile the two facts that "Zionists" run Hollywood and that they gave an award to their enemy.

Unless....the reason that they gave the award to Iran was because they didn't want to make it too obvious that they supported Israel!

But....they could have voted for a different film to make the same point! And they voted for the hated Iranians, whom everyone knows they can't stand and would never reward!

Yet.... there is another question. Iran ensures that no Iranian competes against an Israeli in any sporting event. How could they let "A Separation" compete with a film from the evil Zionist entity? Shouldn't the director be jailed when he comes back to his homeland?

Luckily, anti-semites don't care much about consistency in their opinions.

It is a self-defense mechanism, because otherwise their small brains would explode.

(By the way, "A Separation" lost in the best original screenplay category to "Midnight in Paris," written by one of those unmentionable Jews "Zionists" that control Hollywood. I think there is a secret message there somewhere that only Iranians can decipher.)

Israel looking at connecting its power grid to Europe

As Israel-haters pretend that they can hurt the Jewish state by threatening tiny stores in the Pacific Northwest and insecure second-tier performing artists, Israel is making billion-dollar deals with Europe aimed at maintaining energy independence.

From Engineering News-Record:
Israeli Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau has instructed the Israel Electric Corp. to advance a project that would connect the country to the European power grid by way of Cyprus and Greece. Officials of the state-owned power company are set to sign an agreement soon with DEI-Quantum Energy—an entity owned by Greece's largest utility, a Cypriot bank and private investors—for a feasibiilty study of the first 270-kilometer segment to connect with the Cyprus power network.

If the proposed EuroAsia Interconnector project is fully realized, it would be, at 998 km, one of the world's longest underwater power cables. According to the Israeli utility, it would have a capacity of up to 2000 MW.

The proposed line would extend from the Israeli city of Haifa on the Mediterranean coast to the southeastern coast of Cyprus, then to the northwestern coast of Crete and on to the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece.

Landau said the project would give Israel a much-needed power-source backup and connect the country's stand-alone network with Europe, significantly boosting its future energy security. "The project could have a tremendous positive impact on the Israeli economy," he said.

The overall cost of the project is estimated at 1.5 billion euros, with the Israel-Cyprus segment put at 500 million euros. Israel Electric officials said the investment would pay for itself within four years.

Other project components to be managed by DEI-Quantum Energy include construction of powerplants in Cyprus, Crete and the Peloponnese peninsula, with the cost to be covered by the firm, its partners and various Israeli investors.

"Considering Israel's and Cyprus' natural-gas discoveries, Greece's energy shortage and the massive demand for energy within Europe, for Cyprus, the sky is the limit," said Nasos Ktorides, DEI-Quantum Energy chairman. He said Israel is expected to exploit its natural-gas discoveries much sooner than Cyprus and that it would be prudent for Cyprus to find "decisive and productive ways to export the excess energy to an already established electricity grid."

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in 2012. DEI-Quantum said the project could be started in 2013 and completed within 36 months.

The proposed power cable and related projects were among "energy cooperation" issues dicussed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month during a one-day visit to Cyprus—the first such trip by any prime minister of the country.

(h/t Rachelle)

The intra-Hamas split gets more obvious

On Friday, reports emerged of Hamas officially severing ties with the Assad regime:
Hamas has thrown its political clout behind an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Palestinian Islamist group's longtime patron and host, a shift that cracks a formidable alliance and further widens the Middle East's sectarian divide.

Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, told worshipers at Cairo's Al Azhar mosque during Friday prayers that the political party and militia was supporting the uprising against Mr. Assad, calling the revolutionaries "heroic," according to the Associated Press.
What reporters didn't notice was how unusual it was that Ismail Haniyeh, and not Khaled Meshal, was making this statement.

After all, Meshal is Hamas' political leader. Haniyeh is supposed to only be the leader of Hamas in Gaza.

Yet Haniyeh has gone on three trips outside Gaza in the last couple of months, acting each time more and more like he is truly the leader of Hamas and that Meshal is a figurehead, not the other way around.

Meshal is the one whose headquarters, at least nominally, was in Syria, even though he has avoided his Damascus office for months now. Haniyeh's populist speech in Cairo, with the Muslim Brotherhood, seems to have been calculated to pull the rug out from under Meshal's careful balancing act between his Damascus sponsors and the Arab world that supports the opposition.

Yesterday, Meshal's deputy confirmed the split:
The Hamas leadership has left its longtime base in Syria because of the regime's crackdown on opponents there, the No. 2 in the Islamic militant movement said in an interview Sunday at his new home on the outskirts of Cairo.

Still, Hamas officials long played down reports of the movement's exodus from Syria.

Abu Marzouk noted Sunday that Hamas still has offices in Syria, but acknowledged that "practically, we are no longer in Syria because we couldn't practice our duties there."

Abu Marzouk has moved to a cottage on the outskirts of Cairo where he uses the second floor as an office. Previously, under the Israeli and Egyptian embargo on the Gaza Strip, only those with Gaza residency could live there, and many top Hamas leaders lived outside of the small, coastal enclave.

He said Mashaal and his aides have moved to Doha. Another Hamas official said this week that Mashaal twice turned down recent requests to meet with Assad and eventually decided to leave Syria.

"Our position on Syria is that we are not with the regime in its security solution, and we respect the will of the people," Abu Marouk said.
This doesn't sound like the fire-and-brimstone opposition to Assad that Haniyeh called for. This sounds more like an attempt by the political wing of Hamas to avoid the appearance of a split and to salvage Meshal's leadership while not quite burning bridges with Damascus.

This weekend, Ismail Haniyeh has catapulted himself into becoming Hamas' recognized leader even in the international political arena. The "Doha Declaration" between Abbas and Meshal is all but meaningless in the face of Haniyeh's (and Mahmoud Zahar's) opposition and Meshal's increasing irrelevance.

A similar analysis was done by Ehud Yaari in The Times of Israel with lots of good detail:
Hamas’s no longer undisputed leader Khaled Mashaal is now in deep trouble. ...

Abandoning their secure base in Damascus without being able to obtain an alternative safe haven, the “External Leadership” of Hamas is fast losing ground in its ongoing rivalry with the “Internal Leadership” centered in the Gaza Strip. Mashaal is no longer in sole control of the movement’s purse strings, since contributions from Tehran were reduced. He no longer enjoys the recognition of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in his supremacy within Hamas.

...And so, earlier this month, Mashaal resorted to a sudden dramatic exercise: On February 6 in Doha he signed — under the auspices (and financial incentives) of the Emir of Qatar — an agreement with the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas to form a “temporary” technocrats’ Unity Government, with Abu Mazen himself as prime minister.They also agreed to postpone general elections without fixing a specific date.

This was a bombshell! Mashaal has agreed, at least implicitly, to make a major concession: to dismantle Hamas’ s own government in Gaza, which has ruled the Strip for the last five years, and to allow the PA administration (and security services?) to resume control over the different ministries. He seemed to be sacrificing Hamas’s autonomous enclave in the hope that, at an unspecified date, Hamas might win in the ballot boxes.

Furthermore, Mashaal made a few statements recommending “popular struggle” — which is the code for unarmed confrontation — against Israel. This was perceived as meaning he was willing to suspend use of bullets and rockets, contrary to Hamas’s traditional devotion to the concept of “armed resistance.” He also expressed acceptance of a Palestinian state within 1967 boundaries, although he stressed that there would be no peace or recognition of The Zionist Entity and the goal will remain the destruction of Israel. To many in Hamas, Mashaal sounded as if he was diverting to a dangerous course in an effort to adjust to the Arab Spring, handing their Fatah rivals an easy victory.

A chorus of protests by the Gaza leaders — not to mention by the West Bankers — immediately erupted. Mashaal was accused of acting behind the back of the Hamas institutions and deviating from the adopted policies. Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, an old foe of Mashaal’s, took the lead in public, but many joined him during the closed doors sessions of Hamas meetings in Khartoum and then in Cairo.The plan to appoint Abbas as prime minister was described as “unconstitutional.”

Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, embarked on a tour of several Arab countries avoiding any hint of support for the Doha Agreement. Then he ignored warnings by the Gulf states and the Moslem Brotherhood and paid a widely publicized visit to Iran, kissing and hugging Supreme Leader Khamenei, and asking for direct financial assistance to Gaza. On his return to Cairo, incidentally, the crowd at al-Azhar mosque Friday prayer cheered him by shouting “Down with Iran, Down with Hezbullah!”…..

And so, right now, the ever-negotiated reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah is again bogged down. Abbas insists on the implementation of the deal cut with Mashaal. The majority of Hamas leaders demand “amendments” to the Doha Agreement. Maintaining exclusive security control over the Strip is definitely a Hamas condition now, as is a demand for veto power over the appointment of all ministers.

The two parties keep conferring in Cairo but so far cannot agree on a visit of Abbas in Gaza. The internal debate within Hamas has been brought to the surface.

The movement has lost the pretense of cohesion. The battle over command and direction is on.
(h/t EBoZ)

Abbas makes another threat. Yawn.

From Ma'an:
The Palestinian Authority is planning to reconsider its security, political and economic agreements with Israel in the coming days, a PLO official said on Sunday.

After exploratory talks with Israel ended without agreement, the PLO Executive Committee has agreed to take a number of measures to jolt the current stalemate.

In an interview with Egyptian channel CBC on Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA was planning a "major decision" in no more than 10 days, in response to the talks' failure.

Now, where have we heard this before?

A few months ago, I noted:
Palestinian Arab media are buzzing about a dark hint that Mahmoud Abbas gave in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper that he will reveal something "important and dangerous" that is happening soon.


There is some speculation that when the UN Security Council bid for statehood is defeated, and because of the inability of Fatah to successfully negotiate any elections with Hamas, together with Abbas' repeated promises not to run in any new elections for president of the PA, that Abbas may dissolve the PA altogether.


In fact, Saeb Erekat hinted at this yesterday, telling Palestine Radio "Either there is power to the movement of Palestinians from occupation to independence, or Netanyahu has to assume [Israel's] responsibilities seriously from the river to the sea."

Before that, in 2010:
A senior Palestinian official warned the Palestinians may break their agreements with Israel if it continues with its current policies.

The senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned Palestinians cannot "remain committed to agreements that were signed with Israel forever."
It used to be that Abbas would threaten to resign, which he did repeatedly, when things didn't go his way.

He's still there.

This is the PLO version of politics: try to get a frightened West to put pressure on Israel by pushing empty threats.

If the PLO would decide to abrogate existing agreements, then the autonomy they have achieved would be gone. The situation that Abbas characterized in 2009 as "in the West Bank we have a good reality...the people are living a normal life" - would disappear.

Now, we have seen only in recent weeks that Hamas is willing to gamble with the well-being of the people under their control in order to make a political move - in that case, to pressure Egypt to provide power to Gaza - but Hamas' hold on power is unassailable. Abbas and his Fatah movement are not going to throw away their power - especially their security forces.

Abbas is good at threats. That's about all he is good at. He sure isn't interested in building a real state and making hard decisions.

(h/t CHA)

Tempest in a Wikipot: Did Israel destroy Iran's nuclear program?

From The Times of Israel, also reported elsewhere:

Israeli agents collaborating with Kurdish operatives destroyed Iran’s nuclear infrastructure last year, according to an unnamed Israeli intelligence source cited in communiques between intelligence analysts uncovered by Wikileaks on Monday.
The leaked emails also contain assessments that Europeans want a military strike against Tehran to divert attention from the euro crisis and that Henry Kissinger believes a panicking Israel will indeed attack the Islamic regime.
On November 7, 2011, a Stratfor analyst reported on a conversation he had with an Israeli intelligence agent. The analyst, Benjamin Preisler, said that the source — whose reliability the company was “still testing” — was asked what he thought of reports that Israel was planning a military strike on Iran.

“I think this is a diversion,” the source said, according to Preisler’s email. “The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago. The current ‘let’s bomb Iran’ campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems.”

Replying to Preisler’s email, several senior analysts at Stratfor expressed doubt about that scenario.

“Would anyone actually accept that this could let the Europeans forget about the Euro crisis, something they have been experiencing every day for over a year?!” wrote Sydney-based Chris Farnham.

Two days later, Farnham sent another email, saying that the Israeli agent’s information “seems like quite a stretch however it has been put out there for some reason or another and is now playing in to what we are seeing.”

According to Farnham, the Israeli agent was asked to clarify what he meant when he said that Israel destroyed the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

The agent answered: “Israeli commandos in collaboration with Kurd forces destroyed few underground facilities mainly used for the Iranian defense and nuclear research projects.”

Farnham further writes that if a direct military confrontation erupts between Jerusalem and Tehran, an Israeli attack on Iran would last “only 48 hours but will be so destructive that Iran will be unable to retaliate or recover and the government will fall. It is hard to believe that Hamas or Hezbollah will try to get involved in this conflict.”

He added, “Even if the Israelis have the capabilities and are ready to attack by air, sea and land, there is no need to attack the nuclear program at this point after the commandos destroyed a significant part of it.”
This is a non-story.

When you actually look at the email threads that have been leaked, you see that this is just a bunch of analysts, of varying skill levels, bouncing scenarios and ideas off each other. And to be honest, they don't sound all that well-informed.

In this case, one person heard what can only be described as an unsubstantiated rumor from an untested Israeli source. The others are skeptical but they consider what it might mean if it is true.

To give an informal email thread like this credence is exactly as stupid as to trust a blogger who claims to have inside information from his own unnamed and unknown Israeli security source.

Stratfor does some good analysis, but there is a reason why it is good - because their experts sift through the garbage to find things that are hidden. But whether you are a private intelligence enterprise, a reporter or a blogger, before you publicize things you build a case from multiple sources. A scenario like this one requires some corroboration. And none was given, which is why the story was ever not released by Stratfor.

Put it this way: Imagine how much more money Stratfor could have made had this panned out and they were the first to publicize it! They would have clients willing to pay millions for such great insider information.

But Stratfor apparently looked at this single factoid, tossed it around, and properly dropped it as not reliable. Which is something that the news media should make clear as well.

This entire episode is, to put it mildly, stupid. An unsourced, unverified claim is no more credible when it is leaked from an email chain from Stratfor or when it is reported on Facebook. It should be treated with an equal amount of skepticism.

Morning links

There are now some 80,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, a much higher number than previously admitted.

From Facebook to the Arab League in four days
An incredible chain of events has recently played out in the Middle East, demonstrating the lengths to which opinion-shapers and politicians in the Arab world will go to demonize Israel.

The IRS distinguishes between New Israeli Shekels, and those remarkably similar shekels used in Jerusalem. There is a serious money-making opportunity there for foreign exchange traders!

Trying to give respectability to the one-state solution at Harvard, by Richard Cravatts (Times of Israel)

Palestinian Hunger Striker Khader Adnan Is No Hero, by David Keyes (Daily Beast)

The American Zionist Movement is holding a conference that looks interesting in Manhattan next month.

(h/t Shlomedic, Challah Hu Akbar, Yoel)

Hamas issues arrest warrant to rights activist

His crime? Correctly blaming the fuel crisis on Hamas!
The director of a Gaza-based human rights organization said Sunday that he received an arrest warrant from the Hamas government, after he criticized the state-run energy authority.

Al-Dameer director Khalil Abu Shamala, who is also a member of the public freedoms committee, said the arrest warrant included accusations from the Hamas-run energy authority that he had blamed them for the current energy crisis in Gaza.

It also said that he had created a rift amongst citizens, as well as threatening the security of the authority.
Here is the major reason why the media has been reluctant to point out Hamas' hypocrisy in refusing to accept fuel coming through Kerem Shalom, something that was routine until a year ago.

They don't want Hamas to attack their employees.

Hey, Hamas intimidation works. That's why they do it.

Media bias: AP awards Palestinian Arabs their state

Some bias in the middle of an AP article by Mohammed Daraghmeh:
It appears unlikely Israel's government would permit campaigning in east Jerusalem, one of three war-won territories that, along with the West Bank and Gaza, is to make up a Palestinian state.
Forget negotiations! AP has declared that everything beyond the Green Line is going to be part of the Palestinian state, no matter what. If they insist on it, they must get it all.

Is it any wonder why newspapers are going down the drain?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jews are Judaizing Jerusalem?

From AFP:
Qatar urged the United Nations on Sunday to investigate Jewish settlement expansion in annexed Arab east Jerusalem, warning that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories was unacceptable.

“We must act quickly to stop the Judaization of Jerusalem,” said Qatar’s emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, in his opening remarks at the International Conference on Jerusalem in Doha.

In his remarks, Sheikh Hamad called on the U.N. to “investigate the measures Israel has taken to Judaize Jerusalem since its occupation in 1967.”

He said such an investigation would constitute the first step towards “forcing Israel to reverse those measures.”

One cannot Judaize Jerusalem any more than one can wet water.  Jerusalem is Jewish through and through. Every stone is infused with holiness because of its Jewish past. Its sacredness to other religions is but a weak echo of the holiness it has been given by Jewish kings and prophets, prayers and tears.

The Muslim claim to the city, by comparison, is a poor attempt at a joke. There are no historic Muslim poems, songs, or prayers that extol the beauty or exhibit love for Jerusalem. The Muslim attitude towards Jerusalem is entirely derivative; it is not love but jealousy of the undeniable Jewish character of the city - a character that even today Muslims try desperately to erase, and miserably fail.

The centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish nation was known to all before Mohammed was born, and it will remain past the time that Islam has been reduced to dust.

Compared to centuries of tradition, generations of veneration, and the yearnings of millions, the depraved braying of a Qatari ass is utterly inconsequential.

The professor who pushes anti-Israel propaganda (Algemeiner)

My latest piece for The Algemeiner is online:
[Professor Amy] Kaplan accepts the premise of the question, that it is desirable to try to insert anti-Israel material into every class, but she notes that some courses (like biology or calculus, perhaps) do not lend themselves to such blatant propagandizing. However, she goes on, there is nothing to stop an intrepid teacher from not only injecting anti-Israel content into courses about literature and culture, but dedicated anti-Israel activist/teachers can actually create courses with that purpose in mind.
Read the whole thing.

Hamas starts campaign for female students to wear veils

The Hamas Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Islamic Bloc student arm of Hamas has launched a campaign to encourage young women to wear veils.

The campaign was launched at the Ramla Girls' School east of Gaza City.

The campaign "seeks to instill virtuous Islamic values in the hearts of students, to feed their minds and souls and spirit with Islamic morality and ideas."

The Ministry of Religious Affairs is sending preachers to hold a number of seminars and religious lectures for the success of the campaign, praising the efforts of the girls of the Islamic bloc.

Here's the logo for the campaign:


How long until this "campaign" turns into law?

Hamas prisoners in PA prisons started a hunger strike

In the wake of what is widely  perceived as Israel caving to Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan's hunger strike, four Hamas members started their own hunger strike in Junaid Prison, Nablus - against the PA.

They claim they were supposed to be released by now.

Two of them were apparently arrested for political reasons last September.

It will be interesting to see if the international community will show the same outrage against the PA as it did towards Israel for Islamic Jihad terrorist leader Khader Adnan's detention.

In related news, Ahlam Tamimi - the Sbarro's bomber who was among those released for Gilad Shalit - said in Amman yesterday that hunger strikes were a tactical move that will continue for at least two months, until April 17th, which is "Palestinian Prisoners' Day," for the purpose of reinstating prisoner privileges that had allegedly been denied since last year.