February 28, 2005

A Jerusalem Post article written by a very good Israeli friend

Yehudit Tayar has lived in the "disputed territories" for over 30 years.


By Yehudit Tayar

The Jerusalem Post, January 4, 2005

Many Israelis, especially those of us who live in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (Yesha) are confronting what we see as a perversion of the democratic ideal. It is somehow deemed “democratic” to undermine our civil liberties - our rights against the government. As we see it, the human rights of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens are under attack because of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan for unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of northern Samaria. Many of us are prepared to protest what we perceive as a “forced exile” from our homes.

Is the protection of family, life and property a basic human right? We hear talk that if we resist we will be incarcerated in actual prisons. What I am about to write may seem harsh, but many of us feel under siege. What others call “disengagement” we see as a demonic plan - I have no other word for it. Technically speaking, Prime Minister Sharon may have the votes to carry this plan forward. But we see it as undemocratic and immoral.

It is undemocratic because it goes against the wishes of the constituency that voted for Sharon and against his pro-disengagement Labor opponent. It is undemocratic because when Sharon couldn’t get what he wanted he fired cabinet members and ignored votes in the Likud Party Central Committee (which he himself called).

It is undemocratic because Sharon is now bringing in the very man, Shimon Peres, who was responsible for the Oslo debacle to sit in the cabinet as his government pursues disengagement. Think how that makes us feel. We find ourselves facing what seems like continuous psychological warfare. We feel alienated from what we read and see in the mainstream media. Official spokespeople talk in a babble of phrases we simply do not understand.

Moreover, the use of veiled – and sometimes not so veiled –threats against us is immensely troubling. If we oppose disengagement we’ll lose our
“compensation”; if we engage in civil disobedience we’ll wind up in jail,
and so on. Now we suspect that the government has been issued directives to the IDF which limit the scope of retaliation by our military when Gush Katif communities are attacked.

In a sense, the government is asking the IDF to differentiate between the Jews of Sderot – just a few kilometers away – and the Jews of Gaza. How do you think that makes us feel? So from where we sit, the government is practically encouraging the enemy to shoot at us. And yet we have not given up. To combat “disengagement” the grassroots settler movement needs to pursue “engagement”.

We need to speak to as many of our fellow citizens as possible. We need to awaken support for our position. We need to mobilize against what we see is a horrific plan that could turn Jews into refugees in their own Land. We need to tell people that there is no lasting justification for disengagement. And we will. We will remind them that disengagement is a reward for terror.

Granted, there are Israelis who give out-and-out support to the plan to destroy Jewish towns and turn Jews into refugees. But there are many others who, puppet-like, repeat popular phrases from the media or politicians. We keep hearing “but we have to try something’, or “this situation cannot go on”. Yet, after speaking with people – even sometimes just for a few minutes – these same knee-jerk pro-disengagement types come around to our position. They say, “I know that we cannot trust Palestinian Arab intentions”, or “No matter what the enemy gets, they still will want more.”

What has happened to good, old-fashioned common sense? Has our national will become wobbly because of continous terror blows? Are we deluding ourselves because reality is harsh? Israelis need to ask themselves why a country at war should be willing to follow Sharon’s disastrous plan. If we continue down this path, our country will be divided and our enemy encouraged. Disengagement will only give the enemy continued reason to attack additional civilian centers; they’ll just come up with new targets.

The end result? More Jews might become refuges in their own land. From where we sit, disengagement has no tangible, lasting benefits whatsoever. So why are we pursuing this policy is ever more impossible for many of us to understand. If Israel had true leadership, our government would be teaching those who plan, perpetrate and carry out the murder of Jews that Israel will not capitulate to terrorism.

The Prime Minister may have won various political victories thanks to all sorts of machinations. But we are not about to throw in the towel. We shall show the world that we stand firm and will fight what we see as an evil plan. Would that Israel had a leadership which was honest with itself, and about what motivates it. Would that we truly had a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

We, the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza will continue to play our part, to engage with our fellow countrymen. We will do all we can – body and soul- to prevent this catastrophe from happening. Because we do believe in true democracy, and because we want to engage, not disengage.

The writer is a veteran activist and spokesperson for the settlement movement.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2005

American-Israeli Military Symbiosis

By Ilan Berman

Excerpt from The Journal of International Security Affairs, Summer, 2004

Both in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the United States now faces a new type of conflict, one defined by urban warfare, low intensity conflict and counterinsurgency. Israel’s ongoing experiences in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as the lessons of its long-term (1978-2000) presence in southern Lebanon, make it an invaluable resource. From tactics and training to critical infrastructure protection, Israel has the ability to provide a major contribution to the evolving American strategic agenda by assisting the United States to adapt to new military realities.

Indeed, such cooperation is already becoming visible. Military-to-military contacts between Washington and Jerusalem — a traditional component of strategic ties — have begun to be bolstered by interaction between the law enforcement, first responder and homeland security professionals of the two countries. Advanced Israeli technology and weaponry, meanwhile, have become an increasingly important component of equipment and tactics for American special operations forces, now active in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

A similar synergy is visible on the issue of missile defense. Israel’s deep involvement in American efforts dates back to the mid-1980s, when growing worries of vulnerability to missile attack from its Arab neighbors led Jerusalem to enlist as an international partner in Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Over the two decades since, the resulting dialogue has grown to encompass substantial work not only on the jointly funded Arrow Theater Missile Defense system, but on next-generation concepts like high-energy lasers and boost-phase interception as well.

This interaction is poised to take center stage in the post-Saddam Middle East. Despite the recent removal of Iraq as a strategic adversary, mounting regional threats have led to a renewed Israeli focus on missile defense — one that entails the deployment of additional radars, the creation of a comprehensive national missile defense command, and plans for a naval component to the country’s missile defense infrastructure. Officials in Jerusalem have also made clear their intention to commence advanced testing for the Arrow in the near future as part of efforts to enhance the sophisticated system. The Israeli Defense Ministry has even made overtures to the Pentagon regarding participation in the advanced concept High Altitude Airship program — a project aimed at creating a solar-powered, unmanned high-altitude airship for long-term surveillance and threat detection — as a means to monitor regional threats, including Iran’s “Shahab-3” medium-range missile.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2005

The Company Line from the Israeli Embassy

Sharon’s company line as presented by the Israeli Minister of Public Affairs in Washington, DC.

Embassy of Israel Briefing

February 20, 2005

For the second time in the short history of the State of Israel, the Cabinet has decided to dismantle settlements and withdraw settlers from territories.

The Cabinet's decision on the implementation of the disengagement plan is an historical decision that was accepted in order to give every chance to peace with the Palestinians. The decision is based on Israel being a country seeking peace and on Israel's willingness to pay a heavy price towards reaching this peace.

The decision to withdraw from the settlements in the Gaza Strip is not an easy one, but one that was made in order to enhance the possibilities of peace in the region. Prime Minster Ariel Sharon stressed these ideas in his speech before the Conference of Presidents on the day the Cabinet made this crucial decision.

The Cabinet decision is intended to minimize the friction between Israelis and Palestinians. Through this we hope to improve the security of Israel and to take advantage of the window of opportunity.

Moshe Fox
Minister for Public Affairs
Embassy of Israel
Washington, DC

(PM Sharon’s complete address to the Conference of Presidents and his briefing to his cabinet can be found on the Internet under Israeli Embassy)

(It is truly difficult to understand how the Israelis continue to buy the same Arab rug that has never been delivered since Mohammed’s followers first came out of the Arabian Peninsula over 1300 years ago. Never mind the thousands of Jews killed by the Arabs over the last 100 years. Never mind the hundreds killed and the thousands maimed in the last 11 years of the Oslo abomination. How many “heavy prices” is Israel to pay and for what?

For whom are these “historical opportunities” and “ windows of opportunity?” Certainly they have never been for the Israelis and there is absolutely no evidence that this time will be any different. Of course, anyone that states as much is quickly fired by Sharon. He was thus able to engineer a 17-5 cabinet vote in favor of the withdrawal from Gaza. Skeptics might not find his voting procedures much different from those of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak or Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

The World’s Most Intolerant Society – A Frightening Disclosure

From: Graffiti for Intellectuals by Sy Frumkin

Saudi Arabia is probably the world’s most intolerant society. It excludes not only Christians and Jews but also Moslem Shiites and the less radical Sunnis. The only tolerated religion is Wahhabism, a radical fundamentalist offshoot of Islam.;

Abdul Wahhab Najdl an 18th century cleric founded Wahhabism. The doctrine’s central point is that absolutely every idea added to Islam after the 3rd century of the Moslem era - approximately 950 CE – was false and should b eliminated. It opposes pilgrimages to special tombs and mosques;
votive and sacrificial offerings; praying to saints and celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. More recently, it opposes innovative technology such as photographs; television musical instruments singing videos and much else.

The Wahhabi brand of Islam was adopted by the influential Saud clan in its fight against the rule of Ottoman Turks in the 19th century. The bloody battles that followed caused the slaughter of more than 100,000 Moslems as a result of the Wahhabi cleric’s ruling that it was lawful to kill men, women and children who did not accept or practice Wahhabism.

The Saudis came to power in 1924 by defeating the Hashemite clan that had ruled Mecca and Medina after the Allies defeated the Turks in World War I. They captured Mecca after an artillery bombardment of the holiest Moslem sites. Shiite and Sunni spokesmen who believe that the Wahhabis are a heretical and non-Moslem cult invariably mention this sacrilege in the many Moslem Internet sites.

In September 2004, the United States has finally done the previously unthinkable: In the State Department’s 2004 report on religious freedom Saudi Arabia was classified as a country of particular concern.” At the same time, however, the U.S. welcomed a delegation of 15 Saudi professors of religion for a 3-week visit. The delegation was led by five professors from the lmam Mohammed lbn Saud Islamic University (MISIU) a religious seminary for Wahhabist clerics. MISIU was the alma mater of three of the 9/11 suicide bombers.

MISIU has an extension campus – The Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America supervised by the Department of Religious Affairs of the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Twenty-four Saudis associated with this operation were deported early in 2004 for abusing their diplomatic passports. It may be too little and too late. It is estimated that 80% of U S mosques are under Wahhabi control.

Osman Ahmed el Sayed known as “Mohammad the Egyptian” is in an Italian prison awaiting extradition to Spain. He is the self-described mastermind of the Madrid bombings that killed 191. In a conversation taped by the Italian police, Osman claims to be working for Salman al-Awda, one of the most prominent Wahhabi clerics, who is also connected with one of the 9/11 terrorists. Currently al-Awda is a professor at the MISIU.

One of the most widely distributed Wahhabi books is the Wahhabi Koran, published, with commentary, in every European, Asian and African language. It is distributed worldwide free or at very low cost. The 15th edition was published in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1996.

Stephen Schwartz, a senior policy analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and author of the best-selling, “The Two Faces of Islam”, in an extensive study of the book, shows that it violates the basic Wahhabi dogma that prohibits the re-interpretation editing or changing of the original Koranic text. This is done by adding commentary to the English translation that “corrects” the original.

For example the opening chapter - the Fatiha - is recited as a daily player. The translation ads commentary – in brackets: “Guide us to the straight path The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace not (the way) of those who have earned Your Anger (such as the Jews) nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

The Wahhabi Koran scatters condemnation of Christians and Jews throughout the text and inverts the meaning of the verses that urge respect for them. Thus, the original text of verse 262 says, “Believers, Jews, Christians and Sabaeans - whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right - shall be rewarded by their Lord.” In the Saudi version there is a footnote “No other religion will be accepted from anyone,” but there is no such statement in Arabic.

The original text praises pious Christians and Jews in 3:113 but in the Wahhabi text the only upright ones are the ones who convert to Islam. Verse 5:66 says of Jews and Christians, “If they observe the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to them from their Lord, they shall enjoy abundance.” The Wahhabi Koran adds that in addition both must convert, accept the Koran -a concept that doesn’t appear anywhere in the Koran and contradicts the traditional Islamic theology

The Muslim-Jewish controversy is also addressed. The word “Jerusalem” never appears in the original Koran; there is only a reference in verse 17:1 to a night journey taken by Prophet Muhammad on a magic steed, to a “farther temple” The Wahhabi Koran alters it to press the Islamic claim to Jerusalem” and places in parentheses … the Journey at night … to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem).

The Wahhabi Koran is the mainstay of student groups on campuses throughout the West. It is also available wherever Wahhabis conduct missionary efforts - primarily in prisons in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. It is likely that it is the Koran supplied to the detainees in Guantanamo and the US aimed forces.

The Saudi royal family supports the bigotry that is taught at the Mohammed ibn-Saud University, its branches and the overwhelming majority of U.S. and European mosques It is essential that this be recognized and opposed as yet another tactic in the war against us by the forces of intolerance and terror. ##

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Iraqi Christians about to share the history of the Jews

Iraqi Christians flourished long before Muslims

By Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post, January 28, 2005

The kidnapping of a Catholic bishop in Mosul last week is a sad reminder of the once robust but rapidly diminishing Christian community in Iraq. Insurgents abducted Syrian-Catholic Archbishop Basilecasmoussa apparently to frighten Iraqi Christians. They wanted to discourage Christians from voting on Sunday, according to Iraqi bishop, Thadeaus Sako of Kirkuc.

Both bishops are members of a branch of the Roman Catholic Church and one of several small, eclectic church groups in the country. Christians flourished in Iraq long before anyone, anywhere, was Muslim. The advent of Islam in the seventh century began the decline of Christianity in the Middle East. Many are now migrating from the war-torn country. Numbers are hard to verify, but there are significantly fewer than the former number of 2 million Christians among the 24 million Iraqis today.

The story of Christianity in and around Iraq is a mixture of history and myth but certainly began in the very early days of the faith. St. Thaddaeus generally gets credit for bringing the new faith to Assyrians living throughout Mesopotamia, the vast area that is now part of Iraq, Iran and Syria. Thaddaeus, however, has a murky history. He is also known as the Apostle Jude, the brother of James and author of the New Testament letter of Jude. Thaddeus is at times linked to a St. Addai who was a missionary to Mesopotamia in the second century. St. Thomas the apostle, Sts. Marl and Aggai are also honored as founders of the faith among the Iraqi people.

In any event, Christianity in Iraq, through what is known as the Assyrian Church of the East, took root very shortly after the faith was born. The language of liturgy there was and remains Aramaic, the tongue Jesus spoke.

By the 16th century, the Assyrian church, long splintering, began to take its present shape. Some groups remained loyal to the Orthodox tradition, while others, such as the Chaldean Catholic Church, professed loyalty to the Catholic Church in the West. Protestants also began to gain a foothold.

The Syrian Catholic Church, of which the kidnapped bishop is a member, has a significant presence in Iraq. That community traces its roots to the church in Antioch, Syria, where, the Bible says, followers of Christ were first called Christian. It was united with the Roman Catholic Church in 1871.

Christians in Iraq have had a rich and complex history. Sadly, they may not have a future.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:53 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2005

Condoleeza Rice on Middle East Peace

Israel's Auschwitz borders

By Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily.com

Condoleezza Rice may know a lot about the old Soviet Union, but she sure doesn't know squat about the Middle East.

The secretary of state recently explained how it is necessary for Israel to give up more land to help fashion a viable, contiguous Palestinian state – from Gaza through Judea and Samaria.

Perhaps if you don't understand the geography, this might seem like a perfectly reasonable demand. After all, how can we expect the new Palestinian state to function normally if its people are divided by artificial barriers?

What I trust Rice does not understand – in fact, what I hope she simply fails to comprehend – is that Israel has no more land to give. Israel has no moral obligation to give any land. Israel will be jeopardizing its own security in doing so.

Let me make this crystal clear. Look at a map of the Middle East. After glancing at it for a few minutes, can anyone honestly tell me they believe the problems of violence and terrorism there have to do with the fact that Israel has too much land?

This is apparently what we are to believe.

There's lots of land in the Middle East. Most of it is populated sparsely by Arabic-speaking people, culturally, linguistically, religiously and ethnically at one with the so-called "Palestinians," a people who have never had a country of their own in the history of the world. Why then is it Israel's obligation to carve itself up to create this Palestinian state?

The tiny sliver of land that represents the current state of Israel is only about one-tenth the size of the original United Nations mandate that created the Jewish state in 1947.

Now, I'm not a Jew. I'm a Christian Arab-American journalist who believes in freedom first, peace second. And I've got to tell you that the demands on Israel right now are demands for the nation to commit political, military and cultural suicide.

Do you know what the new borders of Israel would be under the plans being drawn up now for a "viable, contiguous Palestine"? I call them Auschwitz borders. I don't know why the Jews don't see it.

They are willingly helping to build a national concentration camp of half the world's Jewry surrounded by hostile maniacs who want to eradicate them. Israel's new borders under a Rice plan will be indefensible. Creating a new Palestinian state with contiguous borders and relying on Israel to come up with all the necessary real estate requires cutting Israel in half from north to south.

It might create a "viable" Palestinian state, but it will destroy the viability of Israel.

If Adolf Hitler had been a little smarter, he would have helped recreate a Jewish state in the Middle East and squeezed it the way the Arabs, the Europeans and now the United States are squeezing Israel. Hitler could never have dreamed of a more expedient "final solution."

Now I am not going to suggest that Rice or the Bush administration are intentionally trying to destroy Israel or the Jews. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are ill-informed, that they are making profoundly bad decisions based on bad data and bad analysis.

But I will make no such assumptions about the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states that back it. They are not promoting a Palestinian state because they believe in freedom and self-determination for the Arab people who live there. Instead, they are doing so to create a permanent staging ground from which they will continue their war of attrition against the Jewish infidels who have the audacity to live in what they consider to be Dar al-Islam.

It's that simple. I wish Rice and Bush and even the Israeli government could see it.

It is a national disgrace that the U.S. government is spending $350 million more to subsidize the Palestinian Authority, which holds that no Jews are permitted to live within its territory or future nation. It is a national disgrace that the U.S. government would join with the rest of the anti-Semitic world to force Israel to abandon its own security needs and its own Jewish communities on historically Jewish lands. And it is a national disgrace that the U.S. government, while supposedly fighting a global war against Islamist terrorism, is appeasing them in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

Essence of message not for Jews only

The Portable Torah

In this week’s Torah portion, the Jews are commanded to erect a Tabernacle wherein G-d’s presence will rest. In its inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies, would rest the Holy Ark, which contained the Tablets of the Covenant. Moses was commanded to plate this wooden ark with pure gold, and to attach to its corners four golden rings. Then G-d directed Moses: “And you shall make poles of acacia wood and you shall overlay them with gold. You shall bring the poles into the rings on the sides of the Ark, to carry the Ark with them. The poles of the Ark shall be in the rings; they shall not be removed.” Even when the Jews were camped for a lengthy stay, and even when the ark reached its final destination in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, the poles were to remain lodged within these rings which were affixed to the Ark.

Why weren’t the poles removed when the Ark wasn’t traveling? What are we to learn from the fact that the holiest artifact in the world was always ready to travel at a moment’s notice?

To understand this, we must first understand the uniqueness of the Tabernacle and the special function which it served. Unlike the Temples, which were stationary in Jerusalem, the Tabernacle was mobile and was carried around throughout the desert—“that great and awesome desert, [in which were] snakes, vipers and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water” (Deut. 8:15). On the spiritual plane, the desert represents a total wasteland, a place where Torah – which is compared to life-sustaining waters – isn’t found, and therefore the natural habitat for all sorts of spiritually dangerous influences and diseases.

Often, the person who, G-d forbid, finds himself in a spiritual desert is oblivious to the toxicity of his environment, and is unaware of the existence of healthy lands which are blessed with streams of the purest water. It is the obligation of the Kohanim, G-d’s servants, to pick themselves up, take the Ark and the Divine Presence, trek through the desert and bring the quenching waters of the Torah to the doorstep of the lost Jew (or non-Jew,
And once the person has tasted the sweet waters, there’s no turning back to the desert routine…

The Kohain (Biblical Jewish priest) would certainly rather spend his time swimming in the refreshing waters of the Torah (learning), but it is his duty to approach his fellow Jew, no matter where he may be, and revive his soul.

This is why the rings were never removed from the Ark. The Torah must always be ready to be rushed to the assistance of a thirsty Jew. The scholar should never consider himself above running into the desert to save the Jew who is dying from spiritual thirst.

Written and prepared by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg, nsilberberg@chabad.com.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2005

Just in case anyone questions the fact that terror pays ...

Just in case anyone questions the fact that terror pays and nations have not learned the basic lesson that the bully in the schoolyard must be directly confronted.

1. Festival eliminates films as a result of fearing Muslim outrage

The Associated Press, January 31, 2005

2. The Muslim Bank

1. Rotterdam, Netherlands

Citing security concerns, organizers of the Rotterdam Film Festival called off Sunday’s screening of a short film by murdered Dutch moviemaker, Theo van Gogh, that has outraged some Muslims. Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in November, allegedly by a suspected Islamic extremist, shortly after the release of the film, Submission, which is a fierce critique of the treatment of women under Islam and written by an anti-immigration Member of Parliament.

Columbus Productions, which holds the rights to the film, said the decision to cancel the showing was made “on the basis of security concerns,” but did not elaborate. “We can say nothing more about the nature of this case, apart from saying that we have been advised to be careful with screenings like the one intended in Rotterdam,” the company said in a statement.

The decision drew criticism from some directors and artists at the festival, who argued that limiting free expression was giving in to terrorists. Another van Gogh film, 06/05, about the murder of Dutch anti-immigration politician, Pim Fortuyn, in 2002, premiered at the festival Sunday evening. Van Gogh was putting the final touches on that full- length movie when he was slain Nov. 2. His throat was cut and a note left by the killer threatened jihad, or Islamic holy war, against nonbelievers. Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, has been charged with murder and terrorism and is scheduled to go on trial this summer, along with 12 other people tied to the killing.

Van Gogh’s slaying was followed by dozens of arson attacks against mosques and counterattacks on Christian churches over a two-week period. Van Gogh’s movies often have been screened at The Rotterdam festival, one of the world’s largest gatherings of independent and experimental filmmakers. It runs through Sunday. ##

(And the Arab bully functions in other areas - OPEC aided and abetted by the International Oil Cartel with American, British and French companies at the very forefront and the politicians, who have obviously been bought off, right behind them, making total suckers of us all.

Then, to add insult to injury, the unholy alliance returns with the huge bags of money sucked up and proceeds to buy up our own country with our own money. What a great never ending, unchallenged rip-off.)

Palm Beach Post Wire Services February 5, 2005

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia— The Islamic Development Bank plans to create a $1 billion lender in Europe to encourage Muslims to invest in Western markets they’ve shunned because of a crackdown on financing terrorism since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

‘We want high net worth individuals, pension funds and investment authorities from member states to invest back in international markets said Dost Mohammed Qureshi, adviser on Islamic finance at the Saudi Arabia- based development bank.

The European bank will be based in London and will comply with Shariah, or Islamic law, which bans the payment and receipt of interest. (I would love to see how they maneuver this slight of hand – kind of the way, maybe, that they don’t drink alcohol and don’t mess around with women?).

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates reaped a windfall in oil revenue last year on record prices, boosting funds available to invest abroad.
“Arab governments and individuals have got more money to invest at home and abroad after last year’s record oil prices,” said Ramzi Watfa, managing director of 6Sigma, a management consultancy based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that advises Middle East companies on how to grow their business.

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February 05, 2005

Shin Bet (Israel’s CIA) Chief reports on Gaza to Knesset

The International Jerusalem Post, January 14, 2005

An Israeli withdrawal from the Philadelphi Route (border area between southern most part of Gaza and Egyptian territory in the Sinai) would turn the Gaza Strip into another south Lebanon within a short time, Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) director, Avi Dichter, warned last Tuesday in a bleak disengagement forecast issued to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

He called a pullout from the border between Egypt and Gaza ‘unreasonable” at this time. Dichter said the current “trickle” of weapons from Sinai into Gaza would turn into a “river” if there were to be a direct connection between Egypt and Gaza. He said terrorists are likely to migrate from Lebanon to Gaza, and neither the Egyptians nor the Palestinians would stop the area from turning into another south Lebanon.

Under the disengagement plan approved by the cabinet and Knesset, Israel is to withdraw from the entire Gaza Strip and northern West Bank by the end of 2005, with the exception of the Philadelphi Route. However, there have been recent calls by the legal establishment to include the route in the pullout.

Dichter also warned of terror groups using the northern West Bank as a base following the withdrawal of the IDE. “Nothing should surprise us if we turn the area into an Area A (totally Arab controlled area) according to the Gaza formula,” Dichter told the committee. He said the area has “a proven potential for terror.” Dichter also said that whereas Israel would benefit from the removal of settlements, which he described as attractive targets for Palestinian terror, maintaining military forces in Gaza has a downside.

Dichter’s semi-annual review to the committee will likely be his last before stepping down from his post in May. According to figures Dichter presented, the number of Kassam rockets fired from Gaza nearly doubled following cabinet approval of the disengagement plan in June. In the first six months of 2004, 110 Kassams were fired, with 31 landing in the Sderot area on the Gaza border. From July through December, the number jumped to 199, with 92 hitting Sderot.

(As once again, Israel demonstrates weakness to the Arabs and they respond predictably – renewed confident killing. And the hideous retreat (as rightfully seen by Arab eyes) of Israel continues with the blessing of Israel’s awful leadership) jsk

Attacks from Gaza increased substantially in 2004. From 2000 to 2003, the percentage of fatalities from Gaza-based attacks was 9 percent, compared with 39 percent in 2004. In 2004, 44 of 117 fatalities were killed in Gaza initiated attacks. A total of 29 were killed in Jerusalem and along the Green Line and l6 in the West Bank.

In the second half of 2004, the pace of smuggling weaponry from Egypt to Gaza also increased, according to Dichter. The weaponry smuggled in 2004 included 9,000 automatic guns and 1,000 anti-tank rocket launchers.
Dichter also confirmed a report to the committee last week on the arrival of the Strella missile in the Strip, saying that the Shin Bet knows with certainty of five of the shoulder-held ground-to-air launchers. Twelve soldiers were wounded last Wednesday when two Kassam rockets slammed into their IDF base near the northern Gaza Strip security fence, while three armed Palestinians attempting to infiltrate were killed last week.

At least 10 mortar shells were fired at settlements in Gush Katif and in the northern Gaza Strip last Wednesday, and two Kassam rockets were fired at Sderot and Kibbutz Givim in the western Negev. ##

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February 04, 2005

A Politically Incorrect View

As Israel once again plunges into the same suicidal errors of just yesterday

There Are No Non-Military Solutions

Re-dacted from an article by Steven Plaut appearing in Outpost, August 2004

It has become the vogue in many circles to represent Middle East savagery as part of some sort of “War of Civilizations". In fact, it is simply a war by barbarism against all civilization. It is also considered chic to represent the Middle East conflict as a "cycle of violence", and as fundamentally symmetrical. The shallow appeal to a supposed "cycle of violence" is nothing more than a manifestation of the laziness of those unwilling to invest the energy needed to understand the conflict, or by those motivated by things worse than laziness when it comes to Jews.

At the beginning of the Oslo "peace process", the PLO officially renounced terror and swore to resolve all conflict with Israel through peaceful negotiation. In exchange, the entire world followed the leadership of the Israeli Left and legitimized the PLO, rescuing it from its pariah status and its exile in Tunisia, while Israel allowed the PLO to manage and govern the bulk of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. By the mid-1990s, some 95% of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians were "liberated" from Israeli "occupation" and were ruled by the oppressive Palestinian Authority.

The removal of Israeli occupation was the direct cause of the outbreak of the worst round of Palestinian barbarism in history. It has been repeated so endlessly and so mindlessly that Palestinian terror is a supposed consequence of Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza that the most glaring and obvious fact of all is being ignored by the entire world. Palestinian terrorism these past eleven years was not caused by Israeli occupation but by its removal!

As a result of Israel's offering to allow the PLO control over the West Bank and Gaza, and Israel's willingness to acquiesce in Palestinian statehood in the medium run, the PLO and its affiliates have murdered 1300 Israelis, most of them civilians and many of them children, since foreswearing the use of violence. Proportionate to population, this is like 22 September 11th’s for the United States. The world has grown so accustomed to the daily news reports of Palestinian barbarism that most have lost their shock value.

The PLO is doing everything it can to escalate the violence and turn it into an existential threat to the Jews. Israeli intelligence has turned up hard evidence that the PLO is seeking to construct chemical weapons of mass destruction. Palestinian terrorists have already experimented with lacing their terror bombs with poisons. The world media largely ignores the fact that the PLO operates a large military-industrial complex) much of it from North-Vietnamese-style underground tunnels. These have produced large numbers of ground-to-ground rockets. In 2003 alone the Palestinians fired 210 Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Jewish civilian areas. When Israel enters the Gaza Strip to demolish the tunnels into Gaza from Egypt through which weapons are smuggled in to murder Israelis, it is accused of "inhumane behavior",

There are other indications that the PLO is seeking to escalate the war. While the PLO once held the world's Gold Medal for plane hijackings, it has abstained from such things since the beginning of its Oslo legitimization by the world. What goes studiously ignored is that Israeli intelligence has successfully foiled and stopped nine separate recent attempts by Palestinians to shoot down civilian airliners landing at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport. If Israel were to turn the West Bank over to PLO control, many of the landing routes into Tel Aviv airport would pass unavoidably over the Palestinian territories, making them hostages held by the very same terrorists who have already made nine recent attempts to fire shoulder-held missiles at landing jetliners.

Even if anyone thinks the Palestinians might have had some legitimate claim to statehood, the Palestinians forfeited any right to sovereignty they might have had due to the past century of Palestinian atrocities and terror. True, Israeli governments in the 1990s nevertheless were naively and foolishly willing to allow the PLO to exercise control over these territories in exchange for peace. But, Israel got war and mass murder of its civilians in exchange, not peace, so the foolhardy Oslo deal is now off and should never have been implemented.

The only way to suppress the carnage is for Israel to re-occupy the West Bank and Gaza in full, implement open-ended military control there and a long-term program of de-Nazification (based in part on the Allied programs at the end of World War II), and expel the terrorists and destroy their infrastructure. Everything else is wishful thinking and delusion. While the terror has partly subsided over the past few months, since the start of the construction of the fence, the real reason for this is the stepped-up campaign by Israel of assassinating Palestinian terrorist leaders, not erection of the fence itself.

While I have my strategic doubts about the fence, if Israel is going to build it at all, it should be around the large Palestinian cities. These would fence the Palestinians in, rather than fencing the Jews out. When the world bellyaches, Israel should simply respond: If the Palestinians ever abandon lslamo-fascism and Nazi-like atrocities, then Israel may no longer need any fence.

The endless post-Oslo Middle East violence and terror was triggered because Israel indicated that it was on the run, exhausted, unwilling to fight, and ready to capitulate. It will end only when Israel returns to its determination to end the terror through military victory and force of arms. The same United States that has understood that there is only a military option for dealing with terror in Iraq and Afghanistan must back up such a return by Israel to pre-Oslo sanity.

There are no non-military solutions to the problems of terrorism.

Steven Plaut is professor of economics at the University of Haifa

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

Thanking Allah for Christians and Jews, Not Likely!

By Wesley Pruden, Editor in Chief, The Washington Times

A Devout Muslim in Indonesia or Sri Lanka, listening to the growl in his empty belly and watching the sky darkening with American rescue helicopters, might offer a prayer of gratitude to Allah for Christians and Jews.

The rich and oily Middle Eastern kingdoms, fiefdoms and oligarchies have donated only pittaces for tsunami relief, like alms tossed to beggars at the village gate. The greedy rulers are no doubt grateful to the imams who are telling their mosques that most of those who drowned, Muslims as well as vacationing infidels, deserved to die because they were only on the beaches to “fornicate.” Islam is not about grace, amazing or otherwise.

Saudi Arabia first said it would donate $10 million, about what King Fahd rnight spend when he takes his wives and concubines to Paris or New York for a week of shopping and imbibing the forbidden pleasures of the satanic West. He raised it to $30 million when certain chagrined Muslims made grumbling noises about what can only be called Arab piggery. All told, the four big oil states, which collect. $15 billion in oil revenues every month, agreed to spend $70 million to assist brother Muslims.

But Christians and Jews at the White House are whistlin’ Dixie (ever so discreetly, of course) if they think the vast outpouring of American tsunami aid will win any hearts or change many minds.

The sight of Marines dropping food and clothing from the air, or of Navy corpsmen consoling children with shots and pills, can make Americans feel good about themselves for doing what good Christians and observant Jews know they ought to do. Gratitude in the wake of a tidal wave, on the other hand, is as scarce as a dry shirt and pants.

Nevertheless, the learning curve along Pennsylvania Avenue looks to be a steep one. The well-meaning Colin Powell told reporters after his inspection flight over hell, as he described the scene of death and destruction in Indonesia, that he’s a cockeyed optimist. “1 hope that as a result of our efforts, as a result of our helicopter pilots being seen by the citizens of Indonesia helping them, the value system of ours will be reinforced in the minds of the Muslim’ Alas, not likely. Gratitude and politics, like oil and water, rarely mix short of a tsunami.

Muslims may like the taste of the groceries, particularly on an empty stomach, and may even admire the American efficiency in delivering the groceries, but after decades of being poisoned by embittered imams and other merchants of hate, the Islamic masses are not likely to do much admiring once their hunger abates.

“It’s not because [Americans] are not generous enough:’ James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, tells the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s because [American] generosity of spirit has not applied to the issue that’s most problematic for them. It’s not responsive to why people in the Arab world are furious with America. The region has its own tsunami?’

Most of the Muslims who died under the waves were not Arabs, of course, but it’s the Arabs who have poisoned the masses against modern civilization. Islamic hatred of America is mostly about Israel, for “one-sided” support for Israel’s life-or-death defense against the Palestinian campaign to kill the Jews.

Even in Indonesia and Malaysia, where a generation ago Muslim and “infidel” lived together in an easy and companionable way, resentment has been nurtured by Islamist agitators, Jew-baiters and America haters Al Jazeera, the network of Osama bin Laden’s jeremiads against civilization, is working now to establish a broadcasting service in Kuala Lumpur to broadcast to South Asia from the Malaysian capital.

The rich Islamic governments are too absorbed in their own indifference to notice the suffering of others. Without the generosity of Christians and Jews, in America and elsewhere, a lot of Muslims would be starving this morning. The Europeans, even the French, have surprised themselves with their generosity. The Israelis are sending food and medicines to those who revile them, no questions asked. The value of American aid, including military and private charities, will run into the billions. The compassion circus keeps expanding.

Gratitude is not necessary. God will bless us, every one. That’s enough for any Christian or Jew.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack