Wednesday, December 14, 2011

  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Aren't they cute?





(Update - the last photo was from a couple of years ago. I got it from Al Manar in an article about the rally that has since been replaced.)
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
A followup to this April post, from AFP:
Plans requiring animals to be stunned before halaal or kosher slaughter received a blow Wednesday after parties in the Dutch parliament’s Upper House said they would give it the thumbs down.

The majority of parties in the 75-seat Senate indicated during a late-night debate they would vote against amended legislation ─ approved by the Dutch Lower House earlier this year ─ that would see a ban on ritual slaughter without stunning being enforced.

“It still needs to be voted on later this month, but it’s unlikely that it will go through,” said Jurjen Bugel, a spokesman for the Upper House, who said a December 20 “no” would stop the proposed amended legislation in its tracks.

He said the majority of parties, including the ruling coalition Freedom and Democracy party (VVD) and Christian Democratic CDA had said it would not support the amendment.

Dutch law required animals to be stunned before slaughter but made an exception for ritual halaal and kosher slaughters.

In June this year, the Dutch Lower House voted in favor of the amendment proposed by the country’s Party for Animals (PvdD), which holds two seats in the 150-seat parliament.

The Senate’s vote however is the final word on the issue.

The plan drew outrage from both the Dutch Muslim and Jewish communities, whose representatives insisted ritual slaughter respected the animals' welfare and that those doing the slaughtering received expert training.

Although the initiative had been given the red light, Dutch authorities would continue to discuss the issue with Jewish and Muslim communities, Coen Gelinck, the spokesman for Agriculture State Secretary Henk Bleker, told AFP.

“Minister Bleker will continue to talk to these communities to see how the suffering of animals during slaughter can be lessened,” he said.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Ha'aretz:

A photograph depicting the chairman of an organization dedicated to bolstering Jewish presence in Jerusalem running over two Palestinian children who were hurling stones at him was chosen as the best photograph at the "Local Testimony" 2011 exhibition.

"Local Testimony" is a regional exhibition of photojournalism, running concurrently with the annual "World Press Photo" exhibition that features international press photographers. This year's exhibit is shown at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.

The winning photo was shot for the French News Agency (AFP ) by Ilia Yefimovich, in October 2010 in Silwan, next to Jerusalem's Old City. The driver, David Be'eri, chairman of Elad Association, a group dedicated to strengthening Jewish settlement in the area, claimed after the photo was published that photographers were part of a Palestinian ambush and that the photo was actually staged.

Yefimovich vehemently denies these claims. "Who staged the photo? It can also be interpreted in defense of the driver. Who staged it? The children who felt like being run over that day?"

There was video of the incident:


As we noted at the time:

The boy was running towards the car even during the impact. The car honked the horn to get him out of the way. Clearly the driver was worried about his safety and didn't want to stop, and for good reason - we see his back windshield smashed by the innocent, youthful rocks being thrown.

The driver was swerving to avoid a different stone-thrower. In other words, he had a car behind him and two kids in front of him; if he would have stopped he would have been in mortal danger.

And there are a whole bunch of photographers there, whose presence makes the kids want to act with bravado and who might have actually been goading them into throwing rocks.


See also Honest Reporting at the time.

The photo is undoubtedly dramatic - and also clearly deceptive. (The photographer's protests that the photo could be seen as a defense of the driver is laughable.)

Shouldn't award-winning news photos be chosen based more on how accurately they tell the truth than how sensational they are?

(h/t CHA)
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the Simon Wiesenthal Center:





To be fair, it seems that Erdogan (#2) probably said "hundreds or thousands," not "hundreds of thousands" and that CNN's translator made a mistake. The rest of the quote is accurate and quite absurd enough.

(h/t Jewess)
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,
I never fail to be amazed at how Thomas Friedman, who regards his writing as "brilliant," is so clueless.

His latest column shows how no matter how many years he has covered the Middle East, his understanding is still superficial.

I love both Israelis and Palestinians, but God save me from some of their American friends — those who want to love them to death, literally.

That thought came to mind last week when Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes — by outloving Israel — to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an “invented” people and not a real nation entitled to a state.

...If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean — as far as Newt is concerned — that Israel’s choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being “pro-Israel”?
Gingrich announced clearly that he supports a two-state solution. This was reported, albeit snarkily, by Friedman's own newspaper. Apparently, Friedman's three choices are all equally wrong, as are his assertions of what Gingrich "must mean."

In fact, even Friedman seems to know that his position is hypocritical. Note that he is speaking only about the "2.5 million West Bank Palestinians" and not Gazans. He knows that his logic falls apart with Gaza, as Israel did none of the three things he claims it "must" do in the West Bank.

So how can one reconcile Gingrich's statements with a two-state solution?

I cannot speak for him, but his characterization of Palestinians as an "invented people" is correct, as I have shown. They don't even know their own history.

If a group is recognized as a people by both its own members and people outside the group, that is a pretty good indication that it really is a people.

Jews have been considered a nation both by their own people and by others for thousands of years. The earliest possible date you can find for Palestinian Arabs to assert their nationhood is less than a century ago, and even then it was a small minority.

Moreover, for the most part, Palestinian Arab nationalism has not been a genuine expression of a desire for independence. It has been a desire to erase Jewish nationalism. It was true in the 1920s, when the Mufti of Jerusalem in an instant shifted from supporting pan-Syrian nationalism to Palestinian Arab nationalism. It is true today, when "moderate" Saeb Erekat places the "right of return" - to demographically destroy the Jewish state - as exactly as important as the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.

What kind of a nationalism demands that its own people be transferred to an enemy nation?

Since 1948, Palestinian Arabs have become a people of sorts. This is mostly due to the political machinations and mistreatment by the Arab nations and their own leaders, but for sixty years or so they have a shared history. They deserve some rights, and Israel certainly does not want most of them to become citizens.

But by any measure, the Palestinian Arab claim to nationhood is far weaker than that of the Jewish nation. In a way, it can be considered the Scientology of nationalisms - a recent construct that does not deserve the same respect as other more venerable belief systems. Even Friedman seems to be saying that their rights of nationhood stem completely out of the potential danger of them not gaining their demands, not any inherent rights they deserve because of their weak peoplehood.

What Friedman and even much smarter people like Jeffrey Goldberg don't get there is that a lot of daylight between giving them autonomy commensurate with how much they deserve it, and their maximal demands that these pundits seem to accept without protest.

Jerusalem is the most obvious example. If Palestinian Arabs are indeed an invented people, whose documented interest in Jerusalem is less than a hundred years old and even then has directly correlated with Jewish influence in the city (they didn't seem to care about it much from 1949-1967), then their claim to Jerusalem is objectively much weaker than that of the Jewish nation. So, from the perspective of competing nationalisms, why should anyone take their claim on the Old City seriously? On the contrary: their words and deeds show that they deserve to govern none of it, and whatever they manage to control they will use specifically to eliminate any Jewish connection to the city. As recently as last week the mayor of Hebron said that he would ban Jews from worshiping in the Cave of the Patriarchs - a clear indication of how Palestinian Arab nationalism is a negative reaction to Jewish nationalism, not a positive, independent expression of a desire for freedom.

If they do not end up with Jerusalem and its Jewish suburbs, does that make a possible Palestinian Arab state any less real? Does that affect their potential independence? Not at all. But Friedman and the other pundits cannot seem to grasp that the solution is not a choice of "take it or leave it." Arab intransigence does not translate to a valid claim. And fear of terrorism is not a reason to give in to terrorists and their supporters.

Palestinian Arabs can gain local autonomy. Or they can gain independence in a smaller area than they demand.Or they can create a federation with Jordan on parts of the West Bank that is acceptable to Israel.  Or Israel can unilaterally withdraw from specific areas of the West Bank while keeping areas necessary for security. There are options - as long as the world doesn't blindly accept Palestinian Arab propaganda about what the borders of their state must be.

Friedman and the other "experts," however, cannot seem to distinguish between giving Palestinian Arabs a desirable level of autonomy and giving them everything they demand. And their inability to distinguish the two - and to frankly be honest about the shortcomings of Palestinian Arab nationalism - is doing a disservice to real peace.

Because real peace cannot be built on lies.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Fatah media is reporting about a YouTube video has surfaced accusing Hamas president Ismail Haniyeh and his family of hiding a vast fortune.  It starts off showing Haniyeh giving a speech in his mosque saying that the people of Gaza are suffering in the heat without air conditioning, and then shows that this mosque has ten AC units and a generator.

It then shows expensive cars and apartments allegedly owned by Haniyeh's family, and further alleges that Haniyeh has been taking public Gaza lands for his own private enterprises.

There is nothing corroborating the charges, but the fact that they are out there and being reported is most interesting. Especially during supposed "unity" talks.



  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Today Hamas is celebrating its 24th anniversary with a mass rally in Gaza City:


Interestingly, this is the 24th anniversary in the secular calendar, not the Islamic calendar.

As I had mentioned before, the logo for the celebrations shows a weapon emerging from the Dome of the Rock:


Hamas also released some statistics for the occasion: 

1848 "martyrs"
1365 Israelis killed
6411 Israelis wounded
1117 terror attacks
87 suicide bomb missions
11,093 rockets and mortars shot to Israel

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas continues to lie and claims that Hamas is accepting the 1967 borders and a truce.

  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From JPost:
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khamenei has ordered the arrest of a number of senior members of the Revolutionary Guards he suspects of planning to assassinate him, pan-Arab news Channel Al Arabiya reported Tuesday.

Khamenei demanded an investigation of the detainees, "and others," about the alleged assassination plot, an "informed source in Iran" told the Emirati news station.

According to the source, "some of those" detained had invited Khamenei to come and visit the same weapons depot near Tehran where a large blast killed 17 people, among them the head of Iran's ballistic-missiles program.

Khamenei was invited to visit on Novemeber 12, the same day as the blast, according to the Al Arabiya report.

Mojtaba Khamenei, Khamenei's son and an ardent supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was one of the officials that was arrested, according to the report.

The explosion at Bidganeh, near the city of Karaj, was the first of three mysterious blasts to occur in Iran in the last few months.
The excellent Missing Peace website had reported two weeks ago that Khamenei was supposed to be at the base that day - which means that if it isn't already on your daily reading list, it should be.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
A perfect example of media bias from Ha'aretz:

What do Israel, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan have in common? All of them scored a big fat zero on the annual freedom of religion index published by CIRI, the Cingranelli-Richards Human Rights Dataset.

The index, which measures governmental restrictions on freedom of religion and freedom from religion, ranks 195 countries. Of these, fully 52 scored zero, including Russia, Romania, India, Mexico and Turkey. Israel has scored zero on CIRI's scale for several years now.

The index ranks countries on a scale of zero to two, where zero indicates severe and widespread governmental restrictions on religious freedom, one indicates moderate restrictions and two indicates almost no restrictions. The countries that received a score of two included many Western states, like the United States, Sweden, Austria, Belgium and Poland, as well as non-Western states like South Africa, Angola and Lebanon. Countries with a score of one included Italy, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Thailand, Spain and Mongolia.

CIRI has been collecting data on parameters comprising 15 "internationally recognized human rights" annually since 1981. The project is run out of Binghamton University in upstate New York, with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation. It is headed by two professors, David Cingranelli of Binghamton and David Richards of the University of Connecticut.

Rabbi Uri Regev, president of Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality, said the CIRI index "reveals to the world the sorry fact that when it comes to freedom of religion, Israel is closer to extremist Islamic countries than to the democratic Western world. In no other enlightened democracy is the principle of freedom of religious undermined to such a large extent."

"What causes this shameful situation is the practice of [political parties] buying power in exchange for capitulation to religious coercion, while ignoring the wishes of the majority of people in both Israel and the Diaspora. Israel is becoming famous worldwide as the leader of the democratic world in assailing freedom of religion and conscience, something that is liable to deal a mortal blow to our status in the free world and to Western countries' attitude toward us."
Let's first look at the bias in the Ha'aretz article.
  • The words "big fat zero" are hardly indicators of a reporter digging deep into the story.
  • The only person interviewed is a person who is inherently biased in one direction.
  • The person interviewed obviously does not know the reasons why Israel got the score it did, and makes a guess based on his own unfounded assumptions.
  • Ha'aretz itself made no attempt to figure out what CIRI's criteria were for their scoring.
  • Ha'aretz made no attempt to see if CIRI's methodology itself may be flawed.
  • CIRI released many different scores, and Ha'aretz chose only one of them.

Now, why did Israel score a zero?

I don't know. Despite CIRI's claims that its data is objective, reliable and replicable, they do not specify the sub-criteria they use to determine each individual country score.

Here is their description of how they determine freedom of religion:

Government restrictions on religious practices are:
(0) Severe and Widespread
(1) Moderate
(2) Practically Absent

When coding freedom of religion, you should score the country based on the government’s practices. Even if a country has laws to protect freedom of religion, that country should be scored based on the actual practices of the government in relation to freedom of religion.

The following constitute restrictions on religion:
• Instances where citizens are prohibited from proselytizing,
• Instances where members of the clergy are prohibited from freely advocating partisan political views, supporting political candidates of their choice, and otherwise freely participating in politics (Note: Voluntary restraints on clergy as part of tax-free arrangements do not qualify as a restriction on freedom of religion),
• Arrest, detention, physical violence, or official government harassment of religious authorities or officials should be coded as a ZERO,
• Forced conversions or restrictions on conversion to minority religions by government officials,
• Instances where citizens are arrested, harassed, or physically assaulted/intimidated for their religious activities,
• Restrictions on access to places of worship and on building permits, especially by minority religions,
• Instances where stringent laws apply only to religious minorities (as opposed to all other religions) is religious discrimination. Examples include burdensome or unfair registration requirements for minority religions only; restrictions on proselytizing and on forced conversions to minority religions; restrictions on access to places of worship; and denial for the permission of construction of churches and places of worship,
• Instances of government restrictions on the types of religious education offered in public schools. An example could be a student who adheres to a minority religion being forced to receive religious education in the dominant religion.
• Imposing religious beliefs through public laws. For instance, imposing Shari’a law on persons that do not follow Islamic law or do not wish to follow Shari’a law should be considered a restriction on freedom of religion.

What kind of governments score a zero, one or two?

ZERO
• Governments that arrest, detain, use physical violence, or harass religious authorities or religious minorities or atheist.
• Governments that force conversions to a dominant or state sponsored religion or restrict conversions to minority religions.
• Countries where citizens are harassed, arrested, or physically assaulted or intimidated for religious activities.
• Governments that place restrictions on access to places of worship or interfere with a group’s ability to hold worship services in private settings such as homes.
• Instances where stringent and burdensome laws apply only to religious minorities (as opposed to laws uniformly applied to all religious groups) or to atheists are considered religious discrimination. Examples include burdensome or unfair registration requirements for minority religions only, forced conversions to minority religions, restrictions on access to places of worship. Bans on proselytizing, denial of building permits, and interference with building places of worship are NOT considered stringent and burdensome laws.

ONE
For a country to receive a score of ONE for freedom of religion, the government will not have restricted any of the above rights listed in the category for ZERO (Severe and Widespread Restrictions), but it may be the case that:
• Governments that place bans on proselytizing. This includes proselytizing bans uniformly applied to all religious groups in a country, as well as instances where proselytizing bans target only certain religious minority groups.
• Governments that deny building permits or construction of places of worship to minority groups, as long as there is no mention of governmental interference with communal worship in private settings such as homes.
• Reports that mention the government denying groups recognized religious organization status, nonprofit association status, corporation status, or classify certain minority groups as cults, even if such classification prevents the group from receiving government benefits such as tax-exemption or subsidies.
• Governments that prohibit clergy from freely advocating partisan views, supporting political candidates, or participating in politics unless this restriction only prevents the group from receiving government benefits such as tax exemption or subsidies. In this event the country should be reported as a TWO.
• Governments that place restrictions on religious education that is offered in public schools.
• Governments that have policies that discourage atheism or modestly discriminate against atheists.

TWO
Countries in which the government respects the rights to freedom of religion for ALL citizens in practice should be coded as TWO. No mentions of restrictions on freedom of religion should be listed in a country that is scored as a TWO.
So how does Israel get a score of zero? From these criteria one would expect Israel would receive a one. (Note that even by Uri Regev's criteria quoted in Ha'aretz, Israel should still get a one.)

Could it be that CIRI is including Palestinian Authority and Hamas practices under the Israel score? Or is it because Israel arrested someone like Raed Salah who is a radical anti-Israel terrorist supporter but who is also a cleric, making the score an automatic zero ("Arrest, detention, physical violence, or official government harassment of religious authorities or officials should be coded as a ZERO")? Perhaps the fact that Israel does not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount  is the reason ("Governments that place restrictions on access to places of worship")? Or is CIRI not quite as objective as it pretends to be?

We don't know the answer.

And neither does Ha'aretz.

(h/t CHA)

UPDATE: CIRI replied to me:

Thank you for your interest in the CIRI Human Rights Data Project. There are several reasons that Israel receives a 0 for Freedom of Religion in 2010.  According to our coding guidelines (which can be viewed at http://ciri.binghamton.edu/documentation/ciri_coding_guide.pdf), any state “where citizens are harassed, arrested, or physically assaulted or intimidated for religious activities” receives a score of 0 on our Freedom of Religion indicator.  According to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report on Israel (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2010/148825.htm), following an episode in late 2009 where a member of Women of the Wall was arrested for wearing a prayer shawl and reading aloud from the Torah at the Western Wall, “In January 2010, Israeli police detained Anat Hoffman, a founder of Women of the Wall and advocate for Reform Judaism in Israel, on suspicions of disturbing the peace for her role in organizing prayer services for women.”
The US State Department lists several other restrictions on Freedom of Religion imposed by the Israeli government in both Israel and the Occupied Territories.  For instance, the State Department reports that:

“For example, the government continued to discriminate against non-Orthodox Jewish citizens through some policies based on Orthodox Jewish interpretations of religious law. A minority of Jews is Orthodox, and the majority of Jewish citizens objected to exclusive Orthodox control over fundamental aspects of their personal lives. Approximately 360,000 citizens who immigrated to the country from the former-Soviet Union under the Law of Return but are not considered Jewish by the Orthodox Rabbinate cannot be buried in Jewish cemeteries, divorce, or marry within the country. A 1996 law requiring the government to establish civil cemeteries remained inadequately implemented…In order to marry in government-recognized ceremonies, Jews had to undergo marriage counseling administered by the Orthodox religious authorities. As part of this counseling, all Jews--including the secular majority and those who practice Reform or Conservative Judaism--were instructed to respect traditional Orthodox family roles.”


Also, the U.S. State Department states that Israel imposes significant religious restrictions on Bedouins and other Arab groups throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories.  For instance:

“The approximately 80,000 Bedouin living in unrecognized villages were unable to build or legally maintain mosques as a result of longstanding government policy to deny ownership claims, building requests, and municipal services in such communities. Mosques existed in unrecognized Bedouin communities but, as with homes and other community structures, the government considered them illegal and therefore subject to demolition…The government of Israel continued to apply travel restrictions during the reporting period that significantly impeded freedom of access to places of worship in the West Bank and Jerusalem for Muslims and Christians. Citing violence and security concerns, the Israeli government imposed a broad range of strict closures and curfews throughout Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories since 2000… All Palestinian religious groups faced restrictions in practice, such as closures and long waits at Israeli border crossings, which often impeded travel for religious purposes.”

Finally, the State Department report makes manifest that almost all religious groups in Israel and the Occupied Territories face government-imposed restrictions, to some degree, on their ability to visit and worship at religious sites throughout the country.  Furthermore, it makes clear that Orthodox Jews face the fewest restrictions while Muslims and Arab Christians likely face the most.


Taken together with our coding guidelines, these events require us to give Israel a score of 0 for Freedom of Religion in 2010.
I replied with why I disagree:
Thanks for your reply.

If I understand your criteria correctly, the only example you give that would necessitate a score of zero is the single episode concerning the Women of the Wall. Every other example seems to fit better with a category of a one. The restrictions on Bedouin mosques is effectively a zoning issue; synagogues were demolished as well in illegal outposts. Restrictions on Palestinians praying in Jerusalem are based on purely security considerations, in no way can this be construed as discriminating against religion.

Even the episode with Anat Hoffman does not seem to be a strict violation of freedom of religion, as it was only for a single place that has rules approved by Israel's Supreme Court. She can certainly pray and read from the Torah in other synagogues around the land.

Obviously Israel is not perfect but it seems that a score of zero, which Israel seems to have had for many years now placing it in the same category as Saudi Arabia, seems excessive.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Al Arabiya:

Yemen’s Islamists are poised to take power, having emerged as the biggest winners of the struggle to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but so far they appear satisfied to share the victory with other parties.

The Islah (reform) Party, the largest opposition group, is a melting pot of Islamists, including the local version of Egypt’s Muslim Brothers and the Saudi-influenced Salafists, two groups which locked horns in Egyptian polls.

Its members range from activist Tawakkol Karman, who won the 2011 Nobel Peace prize, to cleric Abdul Majid Zendani, who is suspected by Washington of financing terrorism.

The party also includes tribal chiefs, notably Sheikh Hameed al-Ahmar, the son of the late Sheikh Abdullah, a former head of parliament.

Ten months of nationwide protests demanding an end to Saleh’s 33-year rule that culminated last month in his signing of a Gulf-brokered deal which will see him out of office in February.

“Our party does not adopt the slogan ‘Islam is the solution’ because the question of Islam and the state is not a problem in Yemen, which is Muslim and homogeneous,” said Mohammed Qahtan, the party’s political department head.

“Our priority is to combat poverty, restore stability and build the state,” he told AFP.

Founded in 1990, Islah emerged from the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1968 by Yemeni students returning from Cairo where they were influenced by the persecuted group.



This is my map of the countries that are ruled or poised to be ruled by Islamists in the Middle East. (Saudi Arabia is hard to categorize but since the greatest danger to its leaders comes from the more radical Islamist side I'm making it blue-green for now.)

(update - forgot Turkey, changed Saudi Arabia's color)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Press Agency reports that a Gazan was injured when a rocket that was meant to kill Israeli Jews fell short in Gaza.

The rocket hit a house in the Tel al-Zahab neighborhood of Beit Lahiya.

The victim was treated at the Kamal Adwan hospital.

A significant percentage of Qassam rockets end up misfiring or falling short in Gaza.
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Where would the world be without "human rights" organizations like PCHR?
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns, in the strongest terms, the ongoing policies adopted by Israeli occupation authorities aimed at creating a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem, the latest of which has been closing the wooden bridge of Bab al-Maghariba (Dung Gate) under the pretext of maintaining public safety. PCHR is concerned that the closure of the bridge may be a prelude to establishing an iron bridge and changing the features of the area, especially given the Israeli authorities declared intent to expand the yard adjacent to al-Buraq Wall and establish a multi-level car park. ...

[PCHR] asserts that all Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem constitute a war crime according to international humanitarian law.
I wonder how strongly the PCHR would condemn Israel if the ramp would collapse and hurt dozens of people.

Or does that not fit under the rubric of "human rights?"

The PCHR gets much of its funding from the EU - and they use it for pure propaganda like this.

And the only evidence you need it their referring to the "al-Buraq Wall" as if the Kotel and this mythical wall are the same thing. They aren't, and saying they are is nothing less than anti-Jewish incitement.

Which one would not quite expect from a real human rights organization.

(h/t Anne)

  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Al Arabiya:
Egyptian beach scene
Islamists are dominating Egypt’s elections and some of them have a new message for tourists: welcome, but no booze, bikinis or mixed bathing at beaches, please.

That vision of turning Egypt into a sin-free vacation spot could spell doom for a key pillar of the economy that has already been badly battered by this year’s political unrest.

Tourists don’t need to drink alcohol when they come to Egypt; they have plenty at home,” a veiled Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Azza al-Jarf, told a cheering crowd of supporters on Sunday across the street from the Pyramids, The Associated Press reported.

“They came to see the ancient civilization, not to drink alcohol,” she said, her voice booming through a set of loudspeakers at a campaign event dubbed “Let’s encourage tourism.” The crowd chanted, “Tourism will be at its best under Freedom and Justice,” the Brotherhood’s party and the most influential political group to emerge from the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

On Saturday, Mohamed Morsi, president of the ‎Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told Egypt’s al-Ahram daily that ‎his party did not plan on banning alcohol in hotels ‎and at tourist resorts or prevent Egyptians from ‎drinking liquor in their homes.‎

Since their success in the first round of parliamentary elections on Nov. 28-29, the Brotherhood and the even more fundamentalist party of Salafi Muslims called al-Nour have been under pressure from media and the public to define their stance on a wide range of issues, especially those related to Islamic law, personal freedoms, the rights of women and minorities, the flagging economy and tourism.

The Salafis of al-Nour are up front about seeking to impose strict Islamic law in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood says publicly that it does not seek to force its views about an appropriate Islamic lifestyle on Egyptians.

Speaking at a public rally in the southern Egyptian governorate of Aswan on Monday, al-Nour party spokesman Nader Bakar clarified that the party would only allow tourists to ‎drink liquor they brought with them from abroad, and only in their ‎hotel rooms, an Egyptian daily reported on Tuesday.

In a report carried by Egypt’s al-Ahram daily, Bakar said that the party did not plan to set any restrictions on ‎tourism related to Egyptian antiquities, such as the Great ‎Pyramids of Giza and ancient Egyptian temples.‎

Bakar was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the Nour Party would establish a chain ‎of hotels that would function in compliance with the sharia (Islamic Law), ‎while banning beach tourism, which he said “indices vice.”‎

Critics say remarks by members of both parties meant to reassure the nation that they don’t seek to damage tourism are having the opposite effect.


(h/t Yoel)
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has stated that he is not sure whether the scheduled May 2012 elections between Fatah and Hamas will take place.

He notes that none of the "unity" agreements with Fatah have worked out - even the political detainees have not yet been released. He emphasizes that there is a lot of preparation necessary before elections: they need an Elections Committee and security arrangements and other actions before any elections can be held, and nothing is being done.

Already there had been indications that the "technocrat" unity government will never be formed.

I noted that "unity" was a sham back last May when it was first announced. How long will it take for the Palestinian Arabs to realize that they've been screwed yet again by their so-called leaders?
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Sometimes, truth manages to sneak out from behind the massive web of Arab lies.

From EJPress:
Holland will "thoroughly review" its policy on the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal told the parliament in The Hague.

The Dutch ruling party called UNRWA’s definitions "worrisome." Holland is UNRWA’s 6th largest donor, with an annual contribution of roughly 30 million dollars.

Rosenthal announced the review in reply to a question by the speaker of his own faction, the Liberal VVD.

"UNRWA uses its own unique definition of refugees, different to the UN’s. The refugee issue is a big obstacle for peace. We therefore ask the government acknowledge this discrepancy, which leads to the third-generation Palestinian refugees," VVD speaker Hans Ten Broeke said.

Minister Uri Rosenthal promised to "thoroughly review the subject and adopt a balanced resolution on it." He added: "I understand many involved parties regard UNRWA’s approach as highly important as it helps clarify matters and bring them into focus."

The minister’s position is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks in a letter to parliament.

UNRWA was set up in 1949 by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an independent body entrusted with caring for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes in the years 1946-1949. Unlike UNHCR, UNRWA extends the definition of refugee also to descendants.

Additionally, UNRWA refugees keep their status after gaining citizenship. UNHCR is responsible for all refugees except Palestinians.
I can just imagine the first thing that the so-called pro-Palestinian crowd would notice: "Uri Rosenthal." Sounds like one of them Je- I mean,  "Zionists."

(h/t Ian)
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Abdullah Barghouti is serving a 67-life term sentence for being instrumental in terror attacks that killed scores of Israelis, including the Sbarro pizza shop attack.

But now the 39-year old terrorist has written a letter to Hamas leaders asking to be able to run as a candidate in prison elections and from there the legislative elections that are currently planned for May 2012.

He also said he wants to work to include Hamas in the PLO umbrella.

One analyst said that Barghouti was frustrated at not being included i n he last prisoner swap and that he wants to moderate his image so he might get released next time.

This appears to be Hamas' idea of career management - pay your dues as a terrorist and then graduate to become a respected politician.

Why not? There is no  shortage of Western politicians and journalists who are more than happy to use aging terrorist statements as proof of their much desired and illusory "moderation" of Hamas.
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Angry Gazans burned photos of the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, because a graphic artist in a Qatar TV studio during the opening ceremony of the Arab Games put up a map of "Palestine" that did not include all of Israel as part of that quasi-state.


They also showed their own maps - of a Palestine where Israel doesn't exist, next to one of Qatar surrounded by US bases.

To add insult to injury, Qatar authorities apologized to Morocco for showing a map of that country without including the disputed Western Sahara - but did not apologize to the Palestinian Arabs.

Meanwhile, another insult came towards the proud Palestinian Arab people - this time from Turkey.

At an Arab industrial conference in Istanbul earlier this month, the conference program referred to Ramallah as the capital of "Palestine" - not Jerusalem.

Palestine Press Agency sees a conspiracy here, where Islamic states are colluding to get Arab public opinion used to the idea of compromising with Israel and accepting something less than 100% of the borders of British Mandate Palestine (as drawn up by Westerners.)

  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Saeb Erekat continues his long tradition of lying. The only problem is that the Jerusalem Post allowed him to do it on their op-ed pages.

Here are some of his lies and half-truths:

The two-state solution on the 1967 borders has been the official Palestinian position for the past 23 years.

Neither the 1988 PLO statement to the UN, nor the 1988 "Declaration of Independence" referred to the 1949 armistice lines. There was an elliptical reference to and international conference based on UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 in the statement, but no indication that the PLO accepts it.

Since then, we have engaged Israel and the international community and exerted sincere efforts to achieve our inalienable right to self-determination through the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state on the territory occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
"Sincere efforts" are debatable, since they launched a terror war right in the middle of that time period.

UNGA 194, besides not having any legal validity, does not give a "right to return." It also includes a part about Arab refugees resettling in Arab states - which the PLO ignores. And if the PLO loves 194 so much, it would not end up with Jerusalem or Bethlehem - which UNGA 194 says would be part of a separate UN administered territory.

Twenty years of peace process have passed without a conclusion to the conflict. In fact, most Palestinians have witnessed their situation go from bad to worse in the past two decades, while Israel enjoys unprecedented economic growth and prosperity.
Mahmoud Abbas in 2009 said "I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements. Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Doesn't sound like the PalArabs have it so bad, does it?

During these years, successive Israeli governments have actively pursued settlement construction and expansion in the Occupied Territory, including in East Jerusalem, in flagrant violation of international law and signed agreements.
Whether Jews living in Judea and Samaria violates international law or not - which is a debatable point -  Israel never signed any agreement with the PLO saying they would stop settlement activity.
Today, the Palestinian Authority does not have any real authority. Real authority lies with Israel, with the exception of some municipal work.
I agree that they have no authority - in Gaza. But in Area A they have full autonomy. If they had no authority, how did they manage to go to the UN to demand recognition?

In the end, the definition of "occupation" is when the occupying state has the ability to dissolve the government of the occupied. Israel cannot do that.

This bleak reality of walls, checkpoints and daily humiliation has driven expectations to an all-time low.
And why are there checkpoints again - checkpoints that Israelis also have to cope with? Oh, yeah, because the PLO decided to forego negotiations in 2000 and chose terror instead.

The latest opinion polls show that a majority of Palestinian still believe in the two-state solution and reaching peace with Israel through negotiations.

A poll over the summer says that 66% of PalArabs said their real goal should be to start with a two-state solution but then move to it all being one Palestinian state.

And only one third accepts "two states for two peoples." Meaning that their acceptance of Israel is a tactical move on the way to a single Arab Palestine "from the river to the sea."

How can you tell that Saeb Erekat is lying? His lips are moving.
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The annual Dishonest Reporting Awards from Honest Reporting gives us a great overview of anti-Israel bias in the media for the year.

The overall winner, The Guardian, had "reporting" was so egregiously biased that Honest Reporting had to create a separate article just describing the top ten examples of Guardian bias, lies and sloppiness.

But many of the other winners did things equally outrageous. For example:


  • The LA Times saying that the Fogel murders were part of a "cycle" - after all, Jews build houses, which prompt these murders
  • Reuters' helpful explanation of what Israel calls a "terror attack"
  • The infamous Vogue puff piece on the Assad family
  • AP calling a terrorist responsible for three murders a "political prisoner"
Read the whole thing. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

  • Monday, December 12, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Arab News (Saudi Arabia):

A Saudi woman was executed in the northern Al-Jouf province on Monday after being convicted of practicing sorcery, the Interior Ministry announced.

Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was arrested in the city of Qurayat for practicing witchcraft and sorcery, the ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. She was sentenced to death by a lower court and the verdict was upheld by the higher courts.
Amnesty adds:

The beheading of a woman convicted of “witchcraft and sorcery” is deeply shocking and highlights the urgent need for a halt in executions in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International said today.

“The charges of ‘witchcraft and sorcery’ are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling,” said Philip Luther Amnesty International’s interim Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“While we don’t know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion.”
Somehow, I don't think that you can find re-runs of "Bewitched" on Saudi TV.

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