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Friday, August 31, 2007

What a cute little Palestinian Arab girl - with a submachine gun


A Palestinian girl holds a weapon next to militants from Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militia linked to the ruling Fatah movement, during a rally in the Old City of the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, Aug. 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Child abuse is just so precious when you have an Arab stringer taking the photos.

Another peaceful image from this rally:


Palestinian gunmen from Al-Aqsa brigades of Fatah movement fire their weapons during a rally in the West Bank city of Nablus August 31, 2007. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini (WEST BANK)

I like when they fire guns into the air while there are people climbing buildings right above them.

I wonder when they'll start firing RPGs in the air to show how happy they are during these rallies? I mean, since they fire guns as a symbol of their manhood, wouldn't a bigger gun mean that they are even more macho?

The prospects for peace with the "good" Fatah terrorists have never looked brighter!

In Saudi Arabia, 28-year old women can't run away from home

Another strange story that illustrates the bizarre misogyny in Saudi Arabia:
Following negotiations between the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) in Jeddah and the Family Protection Committee at the Makkah region’s Social Affairs Department, six sisters, who had run away from their drug addict father in Riyadh, were given a women’s shelter in Jeddah on Wednesday night.

The girls had previously run away from their drug addict father and stayed at a shelter in Riyadh.

They then ran away from the shelter in Riyadh and arrived in Jeddah looking for help from their maternal uncle.

The father of the six sisters, the eldest of which is 28, pressured their uncle to send his daughters back to Riyadh. Fearing a return to Riyadh, the girls ran away from their uncle’s house and sought help from the NSHR. The society called the Social Affairs Department in the Makkah Region and reported that the girls allege they were sexually harassed.

“The girls now are considered to be runaways — such cases get transferred to the police and the general prosecution to check their claims. They then get transferred to shelter homes in their own region,” said Saeed Al-Ghamdi, general director of the Social Affairs Department in the Makkah Region.

“Until now we have no proof of abuse. We only have what the girls have said. We still have to check their father’s case,” he said.

So girls who are being sexually abused can only leave their abusers' homes if they can prove abuse, and of course the father's word is worth far more than six sisters.

And the 28-year old is simply not allowed to live alone and take care of her sisters in Saudi Arabia - such a solution is so far beyond possibility that it is not even entertained. Even she will be forced to return to her abusive father's home if he claims that he never touched her!

Which means that in Saudi Arabia, women are legally children no matter how old they are until they get married.

Notice also how the Arab News tastefully waters down sexual abuse to be merely "alleged sexual harrassment." By the Western definition of sexual harassment, every single female in Saudi Arabia is being harrassed. It is obvious that here we are talking about a father who is using his daughters for his own perverted gratification, and it is equally obvious that he can easily get away with it, because the testimony of the girls are almost automatically discounted.

What a sick, twisted society.

Palestinian Arab cavemen (really) and Reuters' bias (again)

This morning, Reuters released a bunch of pictures of "Palestinian cave residents:"

Palestinian cave residents belong to the al-Hawamdeh and al-Daghamin clans cook "Mansaf" for a party lunch, south of the West Bank city of Hebron August 31, 2007. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun (WEST BANK)



Usually, photo essays like this are associated with a feature article, but not in this case.

Luckily, Reuters in January published a classic piece of biased journalism that used these cavemen to bash Israel that explains who these people are:
Home sweet home for Suleiman Hawamdeh, a 73-year-old father of 10, is a deep cave in a barren West Bank hillside separated by a barbed-wire fence from a modern Jewish settlement.
Note how the author contrasts the cave dwellers with the "settlers" - and it soon becomes apparent why.

Hawamdeh and 120 other Palestinians inhabit the cluster of caves known locally as Quina Foq, which straddles the so-called "Green Line" that separated the Jewish state and the West Bank before the 1967 Middle East war.

They draw their water from wells and gather wood for cooking much like their ancestors, who first settled here during Ottoman rule more than a century ago.
You will never find Reuters referring to Jews descended from First Aliyah Zionists in this fashion, because the reporter is trying to evoke a sense of how these people have lived there forever, while Jews who have lived there just as long will always be thought of as usurpers. The use of the words "ancestors", "Ottoman rule" and "more than a century ago" all have the same purpose - but in the Middle East, a century is barely the blink of an eye.

Quina Foq's inhabitants eke out a living farming and herding sheep in the rocky hills about 40 km (25 miles) south of the West Bank city of Hebron. Many of the children go to school in the nearest Palestinian town, As-Samu': an hour's donkey trek.

The cave dwellers share a satellite dish and a television set, which is powered a few hours each night by a car battery.

Israeli authorities prevent them from building on the land, and the barbed-wire fence, which separates Quina Foq from the Jewish settlement of Shani, limits their access to a nearby forested area where wood for cooking is plentiful.
Notice how the article tries to imply that the Jewish residents are the cause of the fence being built, and that they are the threat to the Arabs.

Hawamdeh and other residents complain about the Israeli restrictions, but say they live in these caves by choice and have no intention of leaving.

"We belong to this land. It's the land of our ancestors," Hawamdeh said.
Once again, evoking history in a way that Reuters would never use for Jews.

His cousin, 31-year-old Ahmad, said: "I can't live in the city -- it's a big jail. I prefer to be here next to my livestock."

A few hundred yards away, Jewish settlers live in red roof-topped homes, some with backyard swimming pools.
Now, what relevance does this sentence have in a story meant to be about the cave dwellers? The cave people have made it clear that they do not want to live in towns or in houses. Yet to the Western audience of Reuters, this sentence reinforces the wire-service narrative that Jews are taking advantage of Arabs and keeping them in primitive conditions.
One of the oldest residents of Quina Foq, 70-year-old Yusef Kailil, said his grandfather was among the first Palestinians to settle in the caves in the 1800s.
Of course, in the 1800s they were Arabs who settled there from elsewhere, and nobody called them Palestinians. Reuters again is evoking the idea that these people have been there forever and carrying on a noble way of life threatened by Israel, when in fact they have been there for only a few generations, no longer than the first Zionist settlers and significantly less time than many Jews who lived nearby in Hebron.
"I was born here and I will die here," added 60-year-old Mohammad Rawashdeh.

Israel erected the barbed-wire fence about a year ago -- an extension of the barrier being built by the Jewish state in and around the West Bank.

In other areas, the barrier -- which Israel says helps stop suicide bombers but which Palestinians call an attempt to grab land, is made of concrete.
Again, an irrelevant fact meant for nothing else than to make Israel look evil. And notice how "Israel says" the barrier helps stop suicide bombers, rather than stating the facts that support that assertion.
Palestinian residents of Quina Foq say they have mixed feelings about the fence. On the downside, it prevents them from freely accessing the forested area below Shani as they have for generations.

But it also keeps the settlers at a distance, which has helped reduce the occasional hostilities which took place before it was erected.
It is the Jews who cause all the troubles with Arabs who just want to live in peace, according to Reuters.
The typical Quina Foq cave is 60 metres (197 feet) deep. The opening is carved from stone.

The caves are divided into three areas: a living space, a storage area and a kitchen.

Residents of the caves sleep on blankets and mattresses on the rocky floor. There is no running water and no electricity. They have no furniture and, apart from the shared television, no modern appliances.

In winter, they keep warm in the caves with small wood fires.

They say they sleep outdoors during summer to avoid snakes and scorpions that seek shelter from the heat.

Quina Foq has four water tanks, one for the people and three for their animals, which live in the caves during winter.

"We have water problems during the summer. We don't have other alternatives," said Mosa Rawashdeh, 27.
Except for moving out of caves, a practice that is hardly ancient according to their own testimony.

Beside the caves, the only permanent structure is a tent that serves as the television room. The Israeli army has told them to take the tent down because building on the land is prohibited.

"They are living in crisis," said Abdul Hadi Hantash, who handles land issues for the municipality of Hebron.

An Israeli army spokesman said the army was working with regional planning authorities, issuing orders to remove "illegal structures" in the West Bank built both by Palestinians and Israelis.

Israeli authorities occasionally allow one Palestinian with a donkey cart to cross the barbed-wire fence and gather branches that have fallen from the trees near Shani.
The Palestinians complain that they are required to gather all of the fallen wood, whether it is good for cooking or not.
So the evil Israelis have taken down a structure that these people - who willingly live without electricity and running water - can watch TV. And when Israel allows them to go through the dreaded barrier to get wood, it is in an evil way.

And if their community straddles the Green Line, that means that there was a border within their own community before "occupation" - yet there are no Reuters' stories crying about that.

Even though this article is seven months old it is a classic representation of how Reuters, arguably the most influential news service in the world, has no interest in balance or fairness - even when reporting "human interest" stories.

Israeli technology poised to save more US troops - again

Yet again, Israel has developed technology that has the potential to save countless American and allied soldiers' lives:
Rafael Armament Development Authority, one of Israel's largest defense firms, has unveiled its next-generation "add-on armor technology" for combat vehicles: the Multi-Threat Armor Protection System.

"We anticipate the successful integration of M-TAPS in the MRAP II (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles) and MPV programs," Nehemia Shachar, the company's head of the Protection Systems Sector of the Ordinance and Protection Division, said via a company statement.

He added that the installed system can deflect rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices, explosively formed projectiles, "high-speed fragments from artillery bombs and armor-piercing projectiles from heavy machine guns."

These "make up the majority of threats to troop vehicles in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other current conflicts," Shachar noted.

Shachar told UPI in a telephone interview that the company expects to sell the system, which is integrated into the combat vehicle itself, to "everyone," especially "coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"The earlier (armor) product was a lower level of protection," Shachar said, so the company worked to upgrade the system, which provides protection for trucks as well as combat vehicles.

The M-TAPS armor is the only product of its kind currently on the market, Shachar told UPI...

According to the company, M-TAPS has undergone extensive testing at the firm's facilities and by the Israel Defense Forces.

"M-TAPS ... is an upgrade of Rafael's ... Insensitive Reactive Armor system that has been successfully applied to the U.S. Bradleys (armored fighting vehicles), IDF vehicles and a variety of NATO APCs (armored personnel carriers)," according to Rafael.

A Psychological History of Palestinian Arabs, part 13

The stateless Palestinian Arabs became more and more fragmented as the 1960s dawned. As their numbers increased, so did their value to the ever-growing number of Arab leaders who wanted to act as their leaders.

The Arab world at this time was far from unified. By 1960, there were at least three major players bidding for leadership of the Arab world: Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, King Hussein of Jordan and Abd al-Karim Qasim of Iraq. Each of them tried to out-do the others in claiming to be the leader of the hapless Palestinian Arabs, now numbering over a million.

Qasim opposed Nasser's plan for a pan-Arab state with himself as leader, pushing instead for a looser confederation of Arab states. He proposed a Palestinian Arab republic in the West Bank and Gaza, directly challenging Nasser's non-stop rhetoric claiming to help the Palestinians as well as Jordan's annexation of the West Bank.

Nasser, who was now head of the United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria, responded by setting up a "Voice of Palestine" radio station and a newspaper called "Akhbar Filastin." In addition, Nasser set up a pseudo "Palestinian army" in Gaza and formed a quasi-government in Gaza that recalled the ill-fated Gaza government of 1949. Qasim responded by setting up his own "Palestinian Liberation regiment" in Iraq.

King Hussein, for his part, offered citizenship to any Palestinian Arab, not just the ones in Jordan, as he wanted to equate Jordan and Palestine and was against all attempts to establish an independent Palestinian Arab state.

Meanwhile, the clashes within the Arab world were not only confined to the Palestinian Arab problem. Coups and assassinations happened often - Jordan and Iraq were allied until the 1958 coup and assassination of King Faisal that brought Qasim to power, and Qasim was overthrown and killed himself in 1963 from a Baathist coup (in which 5000 were killed over two days.) There were many assassination attempts against King Hussein. Egypt became embroiled in a civil war in Yemen in 1962.

It is no wonder that these leaders tried to use the Palestinian issue to their advantage. Claiming to support Palestinian Arabs against Israel was an easy way to score political points, as the one thing that all Arabs could agree on was the need to destroy the Zionist state.

The Palestinian Arabs themselves were fragmenting into four major groups:

The Gazans were in many ways in the worst shape of all Palestinian Arabs. Completely dependent on UNRWA handouts and completely immersed in Egyptian Nasserite propaganda, they tended to support Nasser wholeheartedly even as he would use them purely for political points.

The fatalists were the ones who stayed in refugee camps, even more than a decade past their leaving Palestine and with little intention of leaving. They were happy to be living on the UNRWA dole, getting free education, medical care and food. They tended to support Nasser as well, and his vision of a pan-Arab nation in which they would become equal citizens again with their Arab brethren took strong hold of their imagination.

The pragmatists were the ones who left the camps and settled their families in Jordan, taking jobs and living in honor. They tended to be more supportive of the King and they didn't agitate nearly as much for a return to Palestine.

Finally, there were the ambitious Palestinian Arabs. This group tended to move further away from old Palestine and make their own way in life. In many ways, these were the spiritual and sometimes literal descendants of the hundreds of thousands who moved to Palestine in the first half of the century for purely economic reasons. Most of them moved to the Gulf states that were beginning to reap the benefits of the oil boom, although a significant number moved to Central and South America.

By the tens of thousands they moved to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Dubai, taking jobs. The Kuwaiti economy and infrastructure was built to a large degree by Palestinian Arabs. They tended to be more educated, more highly-skilled and harder-working than their other Arab counterparts. Even so, they were not allowed become citizens of these nations that they were helping so much.

Starting in the late 1950s, some of these former residents of Palestine and their supporters started forming small groups dedicated to defeating Israel by force. Fatah was founded by Khaled Yashruti (born in Acre) and Yasir Arafat (born in Cairo) in this time period, and as early as 1959 it was publishing manifestos relying heavily on Arab concepts of honor and shame as their motivation:

The youth of the catastrophe (shibab al-nakba) are dispersed... Life in the tent has become as miserable as death... [T]o die for our beloved Fatherland is better and more honorable than life, which forces us to eat our daily bread under humiliations or to receive it as charity at the cost of our honour... We, the sons of the catastrophe, are no longer willing to live this dirty, despicable life, this life which has destroyed our cultural, moral and political existence and destroyed our human dignity.

The members of Fatah were mostly living in the Gulf states, as well as Algeria, and were not living in the camps that they so eloquently describe. They and the other nascent Palestinian Arab leaders were just as willing to use the Palestinian Arab masses as pawns for their own purposes as the Arab national leaders were.

In addition, in 1960, something called the "Palestine Liberation Army" that was based in the UNRWA camps engaged in terror acts against Israel, although it is unclear whether it was a home-grown Palestinian Arab group or one that was sponsored by an Arab country. (This is different than the Palestinian Liberation Army, created a few years later as a military wing of the PLO.)

Although Fatah styled itself early on as a "liberation movement" it did not start off with any aspirations to create a new independent Palestine, rather, its initial goal was simply the destruction of Israel for pan-Arab purposes. It initially intended to be completely independent of Arab governments that it mistrusted in the wake of 1948 and the refugees, however by 1964 it was effectively taken over by Syria in exchange for military training and weapons.

Meanwhile, other terror attacks against Israel continued. Most of these were also state-sponsored, usually from Egypt or Syria although often from Jordan as well. At this point the fedayeen trained by the Arab nations were much more deadly and brutal than Fatah - even as early as 1954 Jordanian terrorists shot each passenger in an Israeli bus point-blank, killing eleven of them. No matter what the methods or effectiveness, the goals were always the same: the eradication of Israel (and not necessarily the establishment of an Arab state in its place.)

The Palestine Liberation Organization was launched in 1964. Ostensibly, it was formed as a result of a meeting of the "Palestinian National Council" that held its first meeting only a few days beforehand, but in fact it was created by the Arab League in its Cairo meeting in June of that year. The PNC itself is a more subtle example of Arabs using Palestinian Arabs as pawns in their plans - the vast majority of delegates to the PNC are from the Palestinian "disapora," not from those who are actually suffering in camps.

The first leader of the PLO was Ahmad Shukairy, who was born in Lebanon. He drafted the "Palestinian National Charter" in 1964 with an eye towards Nasser-style pan-Arabism, not an independent Palestinian Arab state. The original charter itself denies the legality of the UN partition plan and indeed any British or international declaration that gave any land at all to Jews anywhere in the world, and it denies as well any Jewish connection to Israel:

Article 18: The Balfour Declaration, the Palestine Mandate System, and all that has been based on them are considered null and void.The claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood. Judaism, because it is a divine religion, is not a nationality with independent existence. Furthermore, the Jews are not one people with an independent personality because they are citizens to their states.

The Charter also betrays the thinking of the Arab leadership on exactly what being a "Palestinian" means. It strongly implies that identifying people as "Palestinian" is not a statement of fact, but rather one of convenience in the efforts to rid the Middle East of a Jewish state, as can be seen in the following sections:

Article 5: The Palestinian personality is a permanent and genuine characteristic that does not disappear. It is transferred from fathers to sons.

Article 6: The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian Arab father after this date, whether in Palestine or outside, is a Palestinian.

Article 11: The Palestinian people firmly believe in Arab unity, and in order to play its role in realizing this goal, it must, at this stage of its struggle, preserve its Palestinian personality and all its constituents. It must strengthen the consciousness of its existence and stance and stand against any attempt or plan that may weaken or disintegrate its personality.

Article 12: Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary goals; each prepares for the attainment of the other. Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, and the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity. Working for both must go side by side.


Articles 5 and 6 attempt to arrive at a definition of "Palestinian" that is independent of self-identification. A people who truly have strong cultural and communal ties would not require such a definition, and its effect is to keep the Palestinian issue alive. By defining a Palestinian personality separate from the more general definition of Arab, the effect of the charter is to do everything possible to avoid Palestinian re-integration into Arab society.

Those two articles are effectively contradictory with Articles 11 and 12, where Arab unity is stressed right after Palestinian separateness.

Most telling is the section in Article 11 where the charter comes close to admitting that preserving what can only be described as precarious Palestinian "personality" is only important "at this stage of its struggle." This strongly implies that once Palestine is "liberated" from the grips of the Jews, the national aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs would disappear and become subsumed into a more general unified Arab state.

Putting these paragraphs together, the original purpose of the PLO and the PNC becomes clear: to keep the Palestinian Arabs from ever assimilating into the Arab world as long as they can remain useful to pressure Israel internationally. Once this usefulness disappears, so would the Palestinian people. It was not an organization that was interested in the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in need, rather it was fixated on how to use them to destroy Israel.

Another interesting paragraph in the charter seems at odds with the original Fatah viewpoint regarding the dignity of Palestinian Arabs. While Fatah decried Western aid to Palestinian refugees as an affront to Arab honor and dignity, the PLO regarded it as a right:

Article 19: Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims. Israel, in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and as the pillar of colonialism, is a permanent source of tension and turmoil in the Middle East, in particular, and to the international community in general. Because of this, the people of Palestine are worthy of the support and sustenance of the community of nations.

This also shows that the PLO was not at all interested in Palestinian Arabs themselves and that its platform was more aligned with the Arab League than with the people it was claiming to be defending. The Arab League showed no more interest in alleviating Palestinian Arab suffering in 1964 than it did when it announced its first disastrous boycott of Jewish goods and services in 1945. And although Ahmad Shukairy's father was Palestinian, his career up to this point was being a diplomat for both Syria and Saudi Arabia as well as working for the Arab League itself.

Yet another article shows even more clearly how national aspirations were entirely absent from a "National Charter:"

Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.

The British borders of Palestine were occupied by four countries (the Himmah area is a section of Mandatory Palestine that was seized by Syria in 1948) and yet the founding national charter of the PLO was only concerned with one of them.

The second Arab summit, held in Alexandria in September 1964, endorsed the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and quickly acted to establish a Palestinian Liberation Army as a military wing to the PLO.

Fatah, not yet a part of the PLO, established its own military wing called al-Asifa in 1965. Fatah's first attack against Israel occurred that year, as they tried to bomb Israel's National Water Carrier. This was followed by a number of other (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to attack Israel's infrastructure.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Human Rights Watch's amusing advice for Iran and Syria

Human Rights Watch just published a report that shows, not surprisingly, that Hezbollah targeted Israeli civilians during the Lebanon war. Even though this was fairly obvious, HRW used a couple of interesting methods to prove it - for example, Hezbollah's urging Arabs on August 9 in Haifa to evacuate shows that they were clearly targeting civilians and only wanted to kill the Jews.

One of the stranger sections of the report was in HRW's recommendations section:
We urge the governments of Syria and Iran, as longtime supporters and reported arms suppliers to Hezbollah, to:
• Not permit the transfer to Hezbollah of weapons, ammunition, and other
matériel, including rockets, that have been documented or credibly alleged to
have been used in violation of international humanitarian law in Lebanon or
Israel. Do not provide funding or support for the acquisition or use of such
weapons in the absence of concrete steps by Hezbollah to ensure their use in
a manner consistent with international humanitarian law.
Use their influence to ensure that Hezbollah forces do not undertake attacks
that violate international humanitarian law. Impress upon Hezbollah that its
obligation to respect humanitarian law does not depend on reciprocity;
violations by Israel do not justify its own violations.
Condemn attacks not only by Israel but also by Hezbollah when they target
civilians or cause indiscriminate harm to civilians.
Disingenuously, HRW pretends that Iranian and Syrian support for Hezbollah is only for the most peaceful and pure purposes. Asking them to use their influence to pressure Hezbollah to act within human rights law, when the entire purpose of Hezbollah is to act as a terror proxy for those states, must have required world-class mental acrobatics.

A little more Temple Mount hypocrisy

When Israel tries to do anything around the Temple Mount, even though it does it transparently and with utmost care for archaeological treasures, the Arab world howls with rage about "desecration" and how Israel is trying to "Judaize" Jerusalem.

But when the Waqf really does desecrate the holiest site on the planet, they just call it "maintenance" and howl about Jewish "interference." From Al Hayat al-Jadida, autotranslated:
Aqsa Institution said that the parties and Israeli figures trying to interfere in the affairs of Al Aqsa Mosque, and these days a campaign of incitement and extensive body of Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem.

It said in a statement that those parties are trying to prevent maintenance work at Al-Aqsa Mosque, described as acts of barbarism.

The Aqsa Foundation that the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem and the ages are Bulmer right to manage affairs of the Holy Mosque, in the right of the institution or the Israeli-hand subcommittee intervention even one grain of soil from Al Aqsa Mosque.

Aqsa Foundation also rejected Israeli incitement Wakfs Authority and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and declared full support to the Wakfs Authority to confront all the Israeli schemes aimed to intervene in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque, or Harming him.
The amount of priceless Jewish (and Byzantine) historic and religious relics destroyed by the Waqf is huge.

The amount of Arab projection towards Jews of their own crimes appears to be infinite.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clan clash kills kid

Ma'an reports:
A Palestinian citizen called Isma'il Majaydah 17 was shot dead by a relative of his during a clan clash in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.

The family said the killer was a member of the Hamas-affiliated Executive Force.
It is interesting that when 17-year old terrorists get killed by Israel, they are called "children," but when they get killed by Hamas, they are "citizens."

The PalArab self-death count, dormant for a week, now climbs up to 512 for the year.

Hamas also injured three Fatah members in Gaza, so while things are calmer, the violence is only a little below the surface.

UPDATE: A PalArab who was just released from prison on a sex-abuse charge (against a woman whose last name he shares, who herself was killed in an "honor killing" by her brother - is he the parent?) was murdered near Jenin. 513.

Falafel, shwarma and a side order of slander

Gulf News published an article by an Arab American being very upset over people describing foods such as falafel, shwarma and hummous as being "Israeli" foods.

The author backs this up with reference to "tens" of websites that do describe those foods as Israeli.

While this may be the case, I am unaware of any serious person who claims that Israelis originated any of these foods, and a quick perusal of Google shows that the top three sites with the keywords "Israeli foods" are quite open about the origins of these foods. The one site he mentions explicitly, in Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry, is quite clear that these foods are not of Israeli origin.

In general this would be just another funny story about Arab paranoia, as the author moans "this quiet Israeli attempt at usurping Arab foods. " But then the author, full of his self-righteousness over sthis horrible travesty that he has made up, goes from absurdity to slander.
As a matter of fact, Arab-Americans are used to reading sometimes the wildest of statements made against Arabs or Muslims. Two such items appeared in the press this week.

In an Op-Ed column published in The Washington Post, Nina Shea complains about the alleged "cleansing campaign" now underway against non-Muslim minorities in Iraq. Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Centre for Religious Freedom and a commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, saw this action as similar to what happened "sixty years ago (to) Iraq's flourishing Jewish population, a third of Baghdad, (that) fled in the wake of coordinated bombing and violence against them". Of the 125,000 only 6,000 remained in Iraq and the remainder settled in Israel.

You would think that Shea would have checked her facts before making these outrageous and disputed allegations.

Naeim Giladi, an Iraqi Jew who fled to Israel and later settled in the US, maintains in an article that appeared in The Link (April - May 1998) and his book, Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah & the Mossad Eliminated Jews that "the terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews". He also pointed out that Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), wrote in his book, Ropes of Sand, published in 1980, that "in attempts to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorise the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the US Information Service library and in synagogues (and) soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel."
This is an oft-repeated lie about Israel that has been proven wrong by none other than the favorite "post-Zionist" historian Tom Segev, who never misses an opportunity to blame anything and everything on Israel if he can find the flimsiest pretext.

The author then goes into the Brooklyn Arab public school issue and does little better.

At least he ends off slightly better:
Now that the record is hopefully set straight, I am just leaving to have a falafel sandwich at the best falafel and shawarma sandwich in the Washington, D.C. area, prepared by two Palestinian Arab cooks from Israel and working at a neighbourhood Jewish (kosher) restaurant.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Isaac Newton's Hebrew handwriting

The Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem has a collection of Isaac Newton's non-scientific writings, many of them theological.

In a manuscript where Newton discussed aspects of the Temple in Jerusalem, we can see here where he actually writes in Hebrew in addition to English and Latin:

Waqf destroying parts of Temple Mount again

A followup to an earlier post, from Ynet:
Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they fear priceless relics could be damaged by a mechanical digger being used by Muslim caretakers to carve out a utility trench at one of Jerusalem's holiest shrines.

The work is being carried out on the plaza revered by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

"It is appalling that in one of the most important archaeological sites in the country, heavy machinery is used in a barbaric way to dig a ditch 120 meters long and 1.5 meters deep," said Gabriel Barkay, an archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

He and other members of the Israeli-based Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, have criticized Israel's Antiquities Authority for allowing the Waqf, the Muslim caretakers of the site, to conduct the work.

Dalit Menzin, a spokeswoman for the Antiquities Authority, an Israeli government agency, declined to comment.

Sheikh Abdel al-Azeem Salhab, president of the Waqf Council, which is charged with day-to-day administration of the compound, denied the digging would cause any archaeological damage.

The trench is being dug to replace decades-old electric wiring at the complex, which now houses the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques and was the site during biblical times of two Jewish Temples.

Barkay said earth from the trench contained pottery shards dating to the Byzantine period. He cautioned that more relics still underground could be harmed.

Christian, Muslim and Jewish heritage could "fall victim to this heinous act", Barkay said.
Other articles about Israeli complicity in this crime can be seen here and here. A BBC report is linked to here.

It also appears that Israel is violating its own laws by allowing this dig to go forward, not to mention when it limits Jewish access to the Temple Mount. This is from the text of Israel's "Protection of Holy Places Law":
Protection of Holy Places Law, 5727-1967

Protection of Holy Places.

1. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.

Offences.

2.(a) Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term. of seven years.

(b) Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.

The only explanation is that this government does not recognize any Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount. Which must mean that the Kotel is just a wall with no real significance, if the Temple Mount has no Jewish meaning.

Intellectual dishonesty in NYT on Brooklyn Arabic public school

Samuel Freedman in the New York Times engages in an effectively dishonest characterization of the critics of the Khalil Gibran public school that is opening in Brooklyn next month:
Last Feb. 12, you may recall, New York education officials announced plans to open a minischool in September that would teach half its classes in Arabic and include study of Arab culture. The principal was to be a veteran teacher who was also a Muslim immigrant from Yemen, Debbie Almontaser.

The critical response began pouring in the very next day.

“I hope it burns to the ground just like the towers did with all the students inside including school officials as well,” wrote an unidentified blogger on the Web site Modern Tribalist, a hub of anti-immigrant sentiment. A contributor identified as Dave responded, “Now Muslims will be able to learn how to become terrorists without leaving New York City.”

Not to be outdone, the conservative Web site Political Dishonesty carried this commentary on Feb. 14:

“Just think, instead of jocks, cheerleaders and nerds, there’s going to be the Taliban hanging out on the history hall, Al Qaeda hanging out by the gym, and Palestinians hanging out in the science labs. Hamas and Hezbollah studies will be the prerequisite classes for an Iranian physics. Maybe in gym they’ll learn how to wire their bomb vests and they’ll convert the football field to a terrorist training camp.”

Thus commenced the smear campaign against the Khalil Gibran International Academy and, specifically, Debbie Almontaser. For the next six months, from blogs to talk shows to cable networks to the right-wing press, the hysteria and hatred never ceased. Regrettably, it worked.
Notice the sleight of hand that Freedman engages in. He starts off with the obviously bigoted comments by anonymous critics on obscure websites and then associates them with the very serious and significant criticisms of the Gibran school leveled by The New York Sun and New York Post. He ignores the real criticisms and by association accuses every critic of bigotry.
Ms. Almontaser resigned as principal earlier this month. Nominally, she quit to quell the controversy about her remarks to The New York Post insufficiently denouncing the term “intifada” on a T-shirt made by a local Arab-American organization. That episode, however, merely provided the pretext for her ouster, for the triumph of a concerted exercise in character assassination.
What really happened is that Almontaser was asked her opinion on a T-shirt created by a group she was tenuously associated with that trumpeted "NYC Intifada," and rather than "insufficiently denouncing" it she initially showed her support for it by claiming that the word Intifada, like the word Jihad, really meant something completely different than its popular, violent meaning. Sorry, but for all of her good points that Freedman goes on to praise - including relatives who served in Iraq and in the 9/11 rescue effort, and her own activities with interfaith activism - this episode showed her to be a poor choice as a role model for Arab Americans who would be attending that school. It means that she would have allowed, or even encouraged, her pupils to wear that T-shirt had the controversy not erupted.

Any public school promoting a culture and language that is closely associated with a religion and a political viewpoint - whether Arabic or Hebrew, as is happening in Florida - deserves extra oversight and scrutiny. Teaching Arabic in public schools is a very noble goal; celebrating a culture that is overwhelmingly at odds with American culture is far more problematic. A school that celebrates a violent terrorist uprising is simply not acceptable. In that context, what Debbie Almontaser did was way over the line. It is not necessarily impossible to create a fine school with an Arabic focus but it would be difficult.

More amazing than the New York Times allowing such a dishonest article to be published - not in the op-ed section but in the Education section - is that Freedman is a journalism professor at Columbia University. He is himself engaging in the character assassination that he criticizes right-wing commentators of pursuing, and this article is far from the kind of journalism one would hope is being taught at Columbia.

UPDATE: Soccer Dad does a good comparison on how the media is covering Gibran and Ben Gamla in Florida.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Olmert to allow Church of the Nativity terrorists to return for Ramadan

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it looks more and more likely that Olmert will allow the 40 or so people who defiled the Church of the Nativity to return from where they were deported.

And the idea is just as stupid and abhorrent now as it was then.
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian sources said on Tuesday that they believe that the file on the deportees from the Bethlehem Nativity Church will be closed during the holy month of Ramadan and that the deportees will be able to return to their homes in the West Bank from the Gaza Strip and Europe, where they have been in exile since 2002.

Jihad J'aara, one of thirteen deportees to Europe told Ma'an via telephone that "Israel has expressed readiness to have 28 deportees in the Gaza Strip return to their homes in the West Bank."

J'aara also said that the issue of the 14 deportees in Europe is still under discussion.


Daughter of Ziyon's interesting trip through the JBlogosphere

The beautiful and talented Daughter of Ziyon had an interesting JBlogosphere experience recently, and I asked her to write it down so I could exploit her talents for my blog. Since she is about to go to Eretz Yisroel for her seminary year, I wanted to get everything out of her that I could before she left....

One day, I was minding my own business and surfing through a couple of
my favorite blogs, playing link-jumping from site to site, interested
only in discovering new websites to lurk in and defeat my boredom.

I happened across a blog belonging to an Orthodox Jewish male from
Brooklyn. Now, normally I would have skipped over a blog such as this
because there are only so many times that you can read the same rant
about the strawberry and Shwekey ban in Boro Park. However, I read the
first post and discovered that this was no ordinary religious Jew
married in Brooklyn.

This man is a crossdresser.

The blogger illustrated the struggles he was going though, the feelings
he was experiencing as he really wanted to be a good Jew and observe
all of the mitzvot, but at the same time felt a pull to do something
that is forbidden by the Torah. How could the Torah deny him the one
thing that gives him the most peace of mind? He explored his
experiences, his wife's take on the whole matter, and overall it was a
very interesting read. I felt for him, and continued skimming through
his archives.

While looking through his past entries I found a post that was talking about how
he had found a new feeling of relaxation using a certain perfume, and how
his effeminate preparations for Shabbos had helped him to feel better
about himself.

About midway through the page, this man started to describe the kind
of "look" he would have if he were able to dress as a female. He
linked to pictures of the outfits, the shoes, and even the handbags he would
like to accessorize with. (He actually had pretty good taste!) He then put
together what he would love to look like if he were a female.

He then continued, "This is the look that I am going for:" and posted
a picture of a face representing his ideal version of himself.

That face was me.

I was in shock...here I was, scrolling through a blog that I found at
random, and here is my OWN face staring back at me!

The truly scary part was that I didn't remember even putting that
picture as being able to be seen by the general public. Though I used
to use MySpace, I always made sure that only people I knew and
approved could see my profile, because the security is horrendous.
The picture was a few years old, and I couldn't imagine where he got it from.

So, I emailed this gentleman, being extremely polite and complimenting his
blog. However, I told him that I was uncomfortable with my picture being
displayed in such a public forum so if he could please take it down, I
would much appreciate it.

I also joked about how I found it funny that in the comments on that post,
his fellow crossdressers seemed to think that my picture was "too Bais
Yaakovy" and how my picture was "mousy" and how he should go for a
"more glamorous" look.

He responded a few days later. He said "Wow, I finally get to meet
you!" He told me that he had been surfing through MySpace one day and
had seen my profile picture (apparently this picture had been my
default for a few weeks and I hadn't known) and that he thought I was
the "most beautiful frum girl I have ever seen. Your picture was
mesmerizing..."

He was very nice, apologized for any discomfort he caused me and
proceeded to take my picture down. (He has since replaced it with
another picture that looks like some girl's MySpace picture, but what
can you do...)

I suppose I should be flattered...this man after all is 100 percent
straight. He is married, and obviously attracted to women. However,
the fact that he wanted to LOOK like me, rather than HIT on me was
definitely an interesting experience.

And who knows? Maybe I found a new shopping buddy.

Huffington Post publishes a great legal history of the "territories"

Sorry for quoting the whole thing, but it is as good and accurate a history of the disputed territories as one will ever find. By Robert Eisenman:

Christiane Amanpour in her "God's Warriors: The Jews" broadcast on CNN this weekend - aside from giving voice to as many anti-Israel and anti-"settlement" critics as one might imagine and almost no "Jewish" (really?) God's Warriors, except to portray them in the most trivialized manner - must have used the term "Occupied Territories" an endless number of times at every juncture in her narrative from start to finish, so much so that one could be left in no doubt that this was a critique of Israel's or "the Jews"' pre-sence in them (whatever one might mean by "them") and not about supposedly "Jewish" "Warriors for God" at all.

But it was an altogether too-easy victory. If you start by assuming what in the end you wish to prove, then you have really only indulged in an endless propaganda exercise ostensibly dealing with concepts you haven't really seriously investigated at all. A case in point - the highpoint of her investigation was clearly a revelation of a supposedly secret Israeli legal memorandum written by someone identified as a "legal adviser" alerting the then 1967 Government to the "illegality" of settlements and their potential violation of the Geneva Conventions and an actual interview (on the streets of London) with the now evidently-retired lawyerly Jewish author some forty years later (had he retired to London?) verifying, though a little more hesitatingly, that he still held the same view today.

That was all Amanpour needed. She then proceeded to run on with a series of cut-ins from a Jimmy Carter interview - as if he with his callow sophistries about Israeli "Apartheid" were some sort of expert too - interspersed with some "B-roll" of shots of James Baker and his Carlyle Group partner George Bush Sr., even the long-vanished Chuck Percy of Illinois! But where was the counter-indicative position stated in any depth to what was after all just another "legal opinion" (though in the sensationalist manner in which she was presenting it to a presumably legally-unsophisticated and unsuspecting public it was being given the appearance of the force of "a finding" or "a legal fact")? There was none.

Nor was there any serious background to how one came to the Six-Day War as if that was the be-all and end-all of the political situation. History began in 1967 - period. Or, for instance, of the Ottoman Empire previously or the British Mandate, or even the results of the Jordanian Annexation of the West Bank in the early 1950's, transforming what was once the British-named "Transjordan" (with obvious implications) into "The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan," i.e., "Jordan" on both sides of the River. No nothing - just bald statements nurturing present propagandistic fantasies.

"The Occupied Territories" -- let us start with that. When was the legal status of the territory in between the present territory of Jordan (now back on the other side of the River where it began) ever resolved? This is a good term for popular journalism or congenial conversation. Afterall, people must communicate, but it has no real presence in legal fact. That is what we meant by saying Ms. Amanpour achieved an all-too-easy victory on this point - from the beginning assuming what she had set out to prove, but the language you use from the beginning and throughout cannot contain the seeds of what you are going to conclude. You must give all sides to an argument or legal discussion a hearing.

In the first place, in Ottoman times, this whole area was part of the "Wilayet" or "Province of Damascus." There was never a "Province" called "Palestine," a name which like "Iraq" (i.e., the newly-discovered archaeological "Uruk") came from the British love of classics - in this instance, their love of classical literature which their professional bureaucrats learned at elite "Public Schools" and which was the legally-designated Roman term for the area after the Jewish presence had been largely eradicated following two Uprisings in 66-70 and 136 CE (interestingly enough, this was based on the Biblical term "Philistia" - the "Mycenaean" or "Greek" area of the Coast occupied by "the Philistines" which even modern Arabic has picked up for the name for its present-day extension - "the Philistinin"/"the Palestinians", the implications of which should be clear even though these aren't "Philistines," or are they?).

Jerusalem only became a separate quasi-administrative entity within this 'Wilayet" as Western Christian tourism and pilgrimage picked up during the Nineteenth Century and the Ottomans had to deal with Western Consulates that had started to grow up in it. There was never a "Palestine" per se except in late Roman times and there was never one again until the British came in 1917-18.

So it is best to start here with the First World War and its aftermath. The "Mandate" for Palestine and other "Mandates" were awarded to Britain and France by the League of Nations (basically as spoils of war) from the decomposing Ottoman Empire and German colonial possessions in Africa after the Conference of San Remo in 1920 and the Peace Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. This has to be considered the first "legal" building block if one wants to start with anything - whether colonial-minded or non-colonially-minded depending on the observer is besides the point.

Palestine was a "Class B" Mandate meaning, unlike some others ("Iraq" and "Syria" for Instance), its eventual independence was considered to be a ways off in the future. Whether one likes it or not, the fabled "Balfour Declaration" was appended to the Mandate for Palestine as a preamble. It is too bad it was never really observed, not even in spirit, because if it had been, history's first recorded "Holocaust" (or perhaps its second if one considers the Armenians and Turks) in which some six million were systematically annihilated might never have occurred. But, never mind, this is merely 'water over the dam' as it were.

It was at this point that all these results or positions were incorporated into the Palestine-Order-in-Council of 1922, which set forth the legal structure of the new "Mandate" absorbing all previous law including the League of Nations' Mandate and its controversial rider, "The Balfour Declaration." I needn't go into the terms of these. They are pretty obvious. By contrast "Transjordan" (as it was called) received an "Organic Law" after the British unilaterally cut away about two-thirds of the Mandate which originally applied to both sides of the river and gave it, presumably for 'services rendered,' to the Hashemite family of Mecca which coincidentally or otherwise was itself being thrown out of the Arabian Peninsula by "the House of Saud" - a dislodgement which had to do with "Arabian" legal affairs and nothing to do with "Palestinian" at all.

Moreover, it is hard to say if this was ever legally recognized by anyone but it didn't matter, as legal Mandatee, Britain presumably had the right to do this. In any event this threw the whole "Jewish-Palestinian" problem onto the Western Side of the Jordan River while at the same time making the eventual emergence of "Three States" (now possibly "Four") from the old Mandated Territory inevitable. Be this as it may, events eventually overtook this as well, though the establishment of "The Kingdom of Jordan" out of the old Palestine Mandate became more-or-less an unquestioned legal "fact" over the next 80 years.

Responding to various "Arab" uprisings in the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties (to some extent themselves responding to the rise of Nazism on continental Europe and elsewhere - the Baath Party in Syria, for instance, and further East), the British Administration in Palestine ("the man on the spot" as it was often called) became more and more anti-Jewish immigration - in contradistinction to the terms of the Balfour Declaration which in the end became more or less a dead letter - and came up with various "Partition" plans and finally "The White Paper" of 1939 which cut off Jewish immigration in Palestine (of course, just when it was most needed!).

In any event, after the Second World War and all the horrific events everyone is familiar with in connection with that, the legal question of "Palestine" ( though not of "Jordan" which had become an established "fact" as already explained) was once again 'on the table' of the heir of this League of Nations - the illustrious, still-functioning "United Nations." A version of one of these "Partition" plans was eventually adopted in 1947 but was immediately rejected by all of the surrounding "Arab States" by then themselves (several formerly "Class A Mandates") all independent: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, etc. - only Lebanon does not seem to have been legally clearly regulated, nor does it seem to be today (let's leave present-day "Iraq" aside) - who immediately invaded looking forward to an easy victory.

What followed was the so-called Israeli "War of Independence," whose "Cease-Fire Lines" became the eventually demarcations of the 20-year "Truce" that then descended - the official name of which dropped into popular parlance as "the Old Green Lines." But where was the legal or "official" regulation here? There was none. What followed too was the eventual annexation of "the West Bank" (Jordanian parlance meaning the west bank of their Jordan River) in 1951 by the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan making it "Jordan" on both sides of the River. But where was the legal outcry here? There was none. But equally, where was the legal recognition or basis in international jurispru-dence? There was none - no more than the annexation by Israel of the City of Jerusalem and its surroundings after the Six-Day War in 1967 fifteen years later.

In other words, the status of the area in between Israel and Jordan, which had been part of the original Mandate for Palestine which had been legally recognized, was in a kind of legal limbo and was still to be regulated. This has to be done by Treaty and negotiations. Two such negotiations have occurred for better or for worse between Israel and Egypt and Jordan in the 1970's and 1990's. Ok, those situations are more or less legally defined and regulated whether rightly or wrongly.

But what of "the Occupied Territories"? These have not been defined in any legal sense and not even the famous Resolution 242 after the Six Day War in 1967 which called upon the Israelis to "withdraw from territories" in exchange for Peace drew back from doing this and did not - and this apparently purposefully - define which "territories" were to be so regarded and to what extent. This again was to be resolved by negotiations, but these "negotiations" are what are supposedly taking or not taking place; and, in any event have been marred by violence (from whatever the direction or from whosever's point-of-view) on a continuing basis.

Nevertheless, the term "Occupied Territories" itself would appear to be a misnomer, however it is used in fact, since it is difficult to "occupy" a "territory" which has no legal status to begin with - except that conferred on it perhaps by the illegal annexation by Jordan - and, therefore, it is difficult to see how the Geneva Conventions should apply to it anymore than they earlier did to Jordan (are all Jordanian-constructed buildings, et. al., therefore, "illegal"?). This is especially true in the light of a finding that "settlement" activity on the part "Jews" (if not "Israelis") in such areas was permissible - in fact, "looked upon with favor" according to the first officially-recognized legal entity, the Balfour Declaration.

However these things may be, the terms of all such legally-binding resolutions or enactments have been systematically violated by all either responsible for or a legal party to them from the beginning up to the present day. The British violated the terms of the Balfour Declaration which had been appended to their "Mandate for Palestine" from the beginning, in effect, doing away with it from two-thirds of the territory appertaining to it in a unilateral manner as early as 1920-21 or thereabouts (no protests here) and abolishing it altogether in 1939. The Jordanians also violated the terms of this Declaration, prima facie (and, as a result therefore, the Mandate for Palestine) allowing no "Jewish Settlement" - which they would have seen as a contradiction in terms - on the territory allotted to them from the beginning on up to the present day. As a footnote to this, it should be observed that even "Palestinian" groups like "Black September" opposed the kind of sovereignty these Authorities were exercising on whatever side of the Jordan.

The British also violated the terms of the Mandate for Palestine by the various unilateral actions they took already enumerated above. All so-called "Arab States," such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan (many - the last three the beneficiaries of "Class A Mandates" - whose independence had already been consolidated as already explained), absolutely rejected the internationally-adopted "Partition of Palestine," making this crystal clear by their immediate invasion. And even those who did not invade like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, etc. supported this rejection and invasion in no uncertain terms. Even the so-called "Palestinians" themselves rejected this, rendering it too a dead letter - many making this clear by their flight whether by choice or involuntary (however one views this and whatever the claims involved) and even more so by their "National Charter" which unequivocally rejects it even to the present day.

So what is, therefore, the legal status of the so-called "Occupied Territories" and what is their extent? There is none. They are in a kind of legal limbo, that is, they are, strictly speaking, legally unrecognized and who knows their extent? This has yet to be determined by negotiation and, like most of the arguments one usually hears (including those on Amanpour's program), superficial. So how can the Geneva Conventions supposedly be applied to an area whose legal status was never legally or rightfully determined in any meaningful way in the first place, except for the Mandate for Palestine in 1920-23 by the League of Nations and manhandled ever since by all legal parties concerned but still rightfully recognizing a Jewish right of settlement all the way up to the Jordan River and, if the truth were told, beyond? This is one legal nicety which has never been gainsaid, whether one likes it or does not like it.

In any event, "Settlement" has to do with 'Lands" - "Dead Lands" as they were called in the Ottoman Empire previously, "Mewat." As in the American West and something in the manner of "Homesteading," these were and are (Ottoman Land Law having been absorbed into both Israel and Jordan Law) lands outside of cities and public spaces connected to cities whose title according to the Ottoman Land Law of 1856 (and, in fact, strict Islamic legal theory and customary practice upon which it was based) had never either been determined or registered by anyone, but which carried with it a right of "Vivification," that is, if you fenced off an uninhabited area of this kind with no registered legal title and cultivated it for three years continuously, you had the right to register it as "mulk" - freehold property. Anyhow, these are legal complexities for which the reader might wish to look at my book: Islamic Law in Palestine and Israel: A History of the Survival of Tanzimat and Shari'a in the British Mandate and the Jewish State, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1978.

Another point, which perhaps should be emphasized for the unsuspecting reader - to call these "towns" or 'bedroom suburbs," which have been founded or mainly grown up on such lands ("Palestine," "the Wilayet of Damascus," "Transjordan," or whatever you want to call it being comprised of large swaths of such lands), "Settlements" at this point is also a misnomer - as any clear-eyed observer who has seen them might be able to understand - of immense and tendentious proportions whose basic purpose is to delegitimatize them (as clearly Christiane Amanpour was intent upon doing whether intentionally or otherwise) before their legal status even comes under consideration or is negotiated. She like many of her colleagues and confreres just seem to facilely assume these things are obvious without any in-depth examination - forgetting the ancient proverb that "the unexamined life is not worth living."

Arabs freak out over obscure Israeli paper in the UN

This week was the much anticipated ninth "United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names," perhaps one of the more boring functions of the UN.

Israel submitted a number of papers describing the difficulties of using UN standards for Biblical names, as the Biblical names are so well-known and tourists who use maps would be confused if Israel transliterated the names rather than used the standard translations. In an addendum to one paper, Israel described how it proposes to name certain areas:


The Arab representatives to the UN, of course, protested this horrendous travesty. As Iran's PressTV "reports":
Israeli plot to change Arabic names

The Arab representatives to the UN have opposed the Zionist's new plots to change the names of Palestine's cities and towns into Hebrew.

At the Ninth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names being held at United Nations headquarters in New York, the Zionist Regime proposed to change the name of 'West Bank' into a Hebrew name.

We have urged the Islamic nations and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member countries to cooperate in confronting the Zionist Regime's attempts to change the names of the Palestinian cities and towns into Hebrew, Yahya Mahmassani, the Arab League ambassador to the UN told Alalam.

The Zionist Regime's attempt runs counter to the 1977 UN approved law regarding the respect for geographical names of countries and cities, the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar al-Jafari said.

Changing the geographical names has nothing to do with geographical science and research but it only stems from the Zionist ideology and prejudices, said Riaz Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN.
So according to this article, the term"West Bank" is a time-honored Arabic name for the areas of Judea and Samaria! (In fact, that term did not exist before 1948 and it was coined by Transjordan when it illegally annexed the area. UN Resolution 181 refers to the area as "the hill country of Samaria and Judea."

Lying is so much a part of these Arabs' lives that they cannot distinguish fact from fiction.

Fayyad closes down 103 "charities"

From Ma'an:
Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday revealed that his government has decided to close 103 charitable societies.

Fayyad alleged that the closure was for 'legal reasons'.

The PM claimed that the beneficiaries of the societies will be compensated.

In a meeting with representatives of local newspapers, Fayyad said that the interior minister, Abdur Razzaq Mahmoud al-Yahya, ordered the closure of the charities after deeming them guilty of financial misconduct.

Fayyad said that al-Yahya, with the cooperation of humanitarian organisations, discovered that the charities had committed serious financial and administrative errors, which contravene the rules of charitable societies and the law.

It is currently unknown whether any of the charities are affiliated to the Hamas movement.
It's unclear how many of these are being shut down for terror activity and how many for just good old Palestinian Arab corruption. I also wonder how many are supported by NGOs.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Today's news from Bahrain

A Thai prostitute complained to Bahraini police that a Saudi client had stolen her handbag. Needless to say, the Saudi got off scot free and she is being deported.
---------------------
A 20 year-old Bahraini woman got drunk and a man photographed her naked. The pictures became very popular, very quickly as people Bluetoothed the picture from phone to phone. Needless to say, the Bahraini police arrested her for "immoral acts" and the man who took the pictures got off scot free.
------------------------
A Bahraini group is sending emails throughout the nation, trying to gather people together to visit Israel in December in the spirit of peace and conciliation. Needless to say, the "Bahraini Society Against Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy" has denounced this effort:

"The Israelis are killing our brothers every day and yet there are some Arabs, who are heartless, promoting this terrorist country just for money," he said.

"We know that there are a few trying with every mean possible to normalise ties with the Zionists, but Bahrainis can't be deceived with their scams.

"It is true that the Israeli ban office in Bahrain has been closed down, but that doesn't mean that Bahrainis should compromise their principles to go on such trips.

"Bahrainis are not banned from going to Israel and have never been, but no one has ever thought of going there."

She said that even people thinking of going to Israel, should think twice because they were going to a dangerous state, where Arabs and other nationals are being killed.

PalArabs do not horribly murder IDF soldier in Jenin

According to Ma'an:
The Palestinian security services on Monday returned an Israeli officer who had mistakenly entered Jenin, in the northern West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli officer entered the city via An Nassera Street in a white car and wearing his uniform.

The witnesses also revealed that a Palestinian police car stopped the Israeli officer when he arrived in the main square of the city centre and escorted him to the Mukataa.

When the news spread in the city, dozens of furious Palestinian citizens rushed to the square and set the officer's car ablaze.

One of the enraged citizens said that the arson attack was a display of anger for the assassination of two Palestinians and the injury of four others by the Israeli forces in Jenin two days ago.

Ma'an's reporter in Ramallah said that four Israeli military vehicles stormed the city and took position in front of the Mukataa, before exiting the city accompanied by Palestinian security vehicles.

The officer was then handed over to the Israeli forces outside the city.

Abduction attempt

The Islamic Jihad movement accused the Palestinian Authority security of protecting the officer after he had been gradually enticed to the area by the movement's Al Quds Brigades.

A spokesperson of the Al Quds Brigades told Ma'an "the PA security obstructed a group of the brigades abducting the major."

Deputy of the preventive security in Jenin, Salah Bzour, said "what was said by the spokesperson of the brigades was absolutely incorrect; the officer lost his way and entered the city mistakenly.

"When the PA security found out, they did what they are supposed to do; they took the officer and handed him to the Israeli side through the military coordination office."
They say that you should praise children whenever they do anything good in order to provide a positive feedback and encourage good behavior. Similarly, when Palestinian Arabs fail to act like animals it is necessary to praise them, in the hopes that at least some of them can eventually learn how to act like human beings.

(For those who do not know, in 2000 two Israeli soldiers who accidentally entered Ramallah were brutally beaten and lynched by a large crowd in a most horrific way, all captured on videotape.)

Morning links

The Anonymous Liberal compares US and Israeli prisoner policies, and finds that Israel affords far more human rights to terrorists than the US does, even though the US threat is a fraction of Israel's. (via Israel Matzav)

Meryl Yourish notices that when CNN rebroadcast its "warriors" series twice over the weekend, it made sure that the Jewish segment always was played while people were awake. The other two's orders were switched.

The Los Angeles Times yesterday published a great op-ed by Moshe Ya'alon - a breath of fresh air among the Hamas garbage that has been filling op-ed pages of late.

The Daily Telegraph points out that Hamas in Gaza is now doing the exact same arrests, beatings and tortures that Fatah did when they were in power.

Fatah reacts to Hamas' "Lion King" cartoon

Last week, Hamas broadcast an anti-Fatah cartoon. It starts off with a scene of a lion, clearly resembling Disney's Lion King, who is finished with his meal of an animal with a Jewish star on his remaining bone. Then a gang of Fatah rats, led by a rat who speaks with canned quotes from Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, takes over Gaza - using American money and Israeli weapons to destroy institutions, kill children, set fires, take off a woman's veil, and eventually to shoot RPGs at mosques. At this, the Hamas lion comes in and chases the Fatah rats out of Gaza, with the threat that it will do the same in the West Bank. It ends with a scene of the lion looking over the ravaged land as flowers start to grow.

Fatah is not happy about this.

Here's an autotranslated reaction from PalPress that is really funny:
The Fatah movement demanded of all Palestinians to launch a national campaign against international Arab cartoon instigation no serious for children aired channel space Hamas and inciting Fatah elements. "

This came during a panel set up to the training committee of the Fatah movement on no Animation (animation) directed against serious movement (Fatah) produced, and aired space Aqsa inflammatory.

He said Abu Bakr Al-Bakr, a leader of the Fatah movement and responsible training "that this movie aimed at children and broadcast by the channel and the number of sites, which included an illustration of the movie serious violators of Hamas in Gaza, any (opening) rats damaged and rotten and wage which kill and loot and violate privacy and destroy, any Assad Hamas (? ! ) expected that the patient felt the need to move against the mice, and not against the enemy, whose images only greatness Azahha Assad from the point easily, then began the eradication of rats, and the remainder fled to the West Bank stronghold of any traitors "by portraying movie.

Abu Bakr said, "It is the first time since World War II are portrayed as dirty rats offenders must blitz as it did with Nazi violators.

Meanwhile, he said that the movie seriously Deek an unprecedented degree requires him to the national campaign and the Arab world because it is simply first wave of children to any young people decide where the new movie that the other does not exist and killers allowed, and also shows that the Bank Habitat traitors, and promotes the eradication of all dissenting hatred and racism, and that Hamas only God successors are survivors and the lords of the jungle.

He said Yasser Egyptian that the movie is making them Palestinian issue to the conflict between the animals in the jungle (? !) The only power which must be controlled sense that categorically rejected democracy and ends the movie threatening words and say you returned back (?!).

Participants asked not diverted jamming ideas Safaehem children and the destruction, and the failure to devote concepts blind hatred, racism and blasphemy in the minds of people from Hamas, which eventually lead to a dangerous extremism in the society, especially in Gaza, and participants demanded the national campaign against the Arab world and these ideas, pushers of killers who govern Gaza iron The fire, and brought lawsuits against the mentioned space issues that threaten peace and national reconciliation, and add propaganda in favor of the enemy.
After years of Fatah TV inciting against Jews it is really amusing to see the outrage that Fatah is showing when it is on the receiving end of similar hate.

PA outrage at Israeli actions is an act meant for both Western useful idiots as well as for whipping up their masses in an orgy of hate, but it always appears rehearsed and planned. This statement, though, is truly hysterical and emotional. You can almost feel the spittle being sprayed as Al-Bakr fumes.

Deep down, the PalArabs know that Israel treats them far better than any Arab country ever has and that their campaign against Israel is not defensive in the least. They know that they are not in existential danger from Israel. But when they see real hatred, when they see real incitement aimed at them, -in other words, when they see all the things that they have been claiming for years is how Israel acts towards them coming instead from fellow Arabs - they regress into a visceral reaction, not the sound-bites we are used to hearing from the Erekats and Barghoutis mouthing outrage at Zionists.

After years of being coddled by billions from the West and Israel and empty promises from their brethren, the Fatah thugs are getting a taste of what Arab hate feels like.

Hamas stealing drugs from Gaza hospital?

Palestinian Press Agency, which is very anti-Hamas, claims that an adviser to Hamas leader Haniyeh has been stealing pharmaceuticals from the Shifa hospital in Gaza and transferring them to a Hamas-run hospital.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saudi teacher beats up student, parent

The Arab News just gets better and better....In this story, a teacher beat up his student, and when the father came to investigate, he got beaten up too:
“I received a telephone call from my son at the end of the academic year. He wanted help and so I hurried to the school. When I saw Yasir, I thought he had fallen and didn’t think a teacher had beaten him up,” said Abdullatif.

The father said that when he went into the school, the teacher screamed at him and was abusive. He then beat him up. “I didn’t expect this to happen in an educational institution. This is a place where children should learn ethics before knowledge. How could such behavior come from a person who is supposed to teach our children ethics and morals,” said Abdullatif, who took Yasir to the Al-Ansar Hospital in Madinah following the assault.

“He had suffered bruises to his chest, back, right leg and hand. He had been beaten with a hose,” said Abdullatif, who also suffered bruises to his face and other parts of his body.

So...what punishment did the teacher get for beating up the father/son pair?
[The teacher] will be transferred to a school in a remote desert village and have his salary deducted, Al-Madinah newspaper reported yesterday.Bahjat Junaid, the general manager of the Education Department in the Madinah region, ordered the teacher be transferred as punishment.
Because when he beats up people in remote villages, who really cares?

This is yet another example where the Arab News thinks that it is being so progressive in looking down at the barbaric behavior of some Saudi citizens, while being clueless about how it is also promoting milder forms of barbarity.

Saudi Best Wife Award

Here's another great "human interest" story in the Arab News that shows, subconsciously, how twisted Arab society is:


TABUK, 27 August 2007 — A man here recently stated that if there was a Best Wife award in the country, his first wife would win it. The reason is that his wife is exceptionally wise and understanding, he said.

When he informed her that he wanted to take a second wife a couple of weeks ago, she took the initiative and found a pretty girl willing to be his second wife, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported yesterday. The first wife also made all the necessary arrangements for the wedding in a matter of days. The man was deeply impressed by her desire to make him happy, even if it meant sharing him with another woman.

Her enthusiasm didn’t stop there; at the wedding reception she welcomed guests and then danced with them. And finally she led the bride to the decorated car and seated her beside the bridegroom and wished them a blissful night.

After their departure she told her friends who were shocked at her behavior, that you cannot stop a man if he wants to marry again. “He will do it with or without our knowledge. So it is better that I cooperate with him and allow him do it with my knowledge and under my supervision, thus minimizing the harm.”
What a gal!

A PLO co-founder dies

From Ma'an:
A member of the Arab Nationalist Movement's liaison department, Ahmad Mahmoud Al-Jamal, died on Saturday.

Al-Jamal was born in 1940 in the Palestinian village of Lubya. He was one of the founders of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Al-Jamal worked in the PLO's Damascus-based office until his death.
If the PLO is the "sole representative of the Palestinian (Arab) people," and if the West is so hot on saying that it is "moderate," why are its offices in Damascus?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Freedom of the press, PalArab-style (IX)

The series continues....
From AP via Jpost:
Hamas militiamen tried to arrest a prominent Palestinian journalist late Saturday, but left the scene at the urging of Hamas political leaders after a group of reporters blocked the force from entering the man's home.

The attempted arrest of Agence France Press reporter Sakher Abu El Oun came a day after Hamas beat a group of journalists covering a demonstration protesting the Islamic militant group's rule in the Gaza Strip. Abu El Oun, who heads the Gaza journalists' union, harshly criticized the Hamas crackdown.

About 15 Hamas security men arrived at his home late Saturday, saying they had orders to arrest him. Abu El Oun called some colleagues, who rushed to the scene and formed a human chain around the home.

Within minutes, officials from the office of deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a top Hamas official in Gaza, arrived to end the standoff. The officials persuaded the militiamen to leave, calling the incident a "misunderstanding."

"Everything has been settled and freedom of speech and journalism is respected," said Taher Nunu, a spokesman for Haniyeh.

AFP did not immediately comment.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The CNN/Amanpour trifecta

Once I read Seraphic Secret's account of Part 3 of CNN's Moral Equivalence Festival, I realized that I had to read the transcript for myself and join the party.

"Now, God's Christian warriors -- the religious right in America."

Even though we knew this is what the Christian part would be about, it is still amazing to think that the honchos at CNN cannot see a gaping, huge, gigantic difference between the Taliban and Jerry Falwell.

Would it even be conceivable that CNN would mention the Christian Phalangists who massacred Palestinian Arabs in Sabra and Shatila as examples of "Christian warriors?" Because, you know, they actually committed mass murder?
AMANPOUR: And from the beginning, there was controversy...

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Go home! Go home!

AMANPOUR: ...as Falwell thrust religion into politics. His mission was to change America.
Hate to break it to ya, Christiane, but the Founding Fathers invoked God a hell of a lot as well. Perhaps it was people like Amanpour who changed America?
Dorms are either male or female. At this Liberty, there is no freedom to go astray.
Damn - just like the Taliban!
AMANPOUR: Suddenly, conservative Christians had become a political force...
Just like the Taliban!
AMANPOUR: This bombing at a Birmingham clinic killed a police guard. In the mid '90s, from Boston to Florida, angry zealots murdered seven people -- three of them doctors. The violence not only frightened a number of abortion clinics into closing, it also caused a public backlash.
This is the crux of the show. Two hours about seven deaths. The rest is just filler because, since CNN can't do a special of more than two hours and that's what they had to give the Muslim "warriors" in order to pack mention of some 0.2% of Muslim terrorist deaths in that time period, they have to of course give two hours to each other major religion. Amanpour is itching to talk about these admittedly horrific murders because, to her, people who aren't feminist secularists are indistinguishable from the Taliban.

She's not after a body count - that's too crass. The underlying philosophy is just the same - don't you see it? Are you blind?
AMANPOUR: And so the courts became the new battleground over the unborn. But year after year, the religious right lost every Supreme Court decision on abortion. Falwell and others were determined to reverse that, using their political clout to make sure new justices passed the Christian conservative abortion litmus test.
So secularists who vote for those who are pro-abortion and who will help pro-abortion Supreme Court justices are OK. But if you are on the other side of the political process using the exact same litmus test, it is Evil.
AMANPOUR: At issue -- the public display of the Ten Commandments inside a county courthouse. Staver lost in a 5-4 ruling.

But there's nothing in the bible that would say to Staver thou shalt not litigate again. And so, way down on the Suwannee River, Dixie County, Florida has become the dean's new battleground over the Ten Commandments.

This six-ton granite monument carved by the local gravestone salesman sits on the courthouse steps. It is a clear example of what the Supreme Court has disallowed -- a standalone monument on government property with an obvious religious message -- love God and keep his commandments.
Evidently, Amanpour has never actually read the Ten Commandments.
AMANPOUR: The Supreme Court has become ground zero in this combat between law and religion -- the final word on God's place in public life.
Evidently, despite her eight months of research on religion, she still doesn't understand that at least two of her major religions are actually based on legal mechanisms. She is saying that law is automatically opposed to religion and vice-versa - an astonishingly stupid statement.

But let's cut her a little slack. She has two hours to kill.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): "In God We Trust" is part of the American dialogue. And yet, the religious right would have you believe there's no mention of God anywhere in our public sphere. It's on the currency.
...But they also play the victim somewhat. Are they victimized?
This show sort of proves it!

Next comes an entire section dealing with John Hagee, who is not only a devout Christian, which is obscene enough, but he also supports Israel! How far from the CNN studios can you get?

The rest of the show is really, really boring. Stuff about creationism, politics, who knows what.

And then comes this:
AMANPOUR: On campus, students must follow a strict set of rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.

AMANPOUR: No secular music or television. No "R"-rated movies. No alcohol. No drugs. No dating.

(on camera) When I, you know, read that women have to wear skirts of a certain length. And guys aren't allowed to, you know, go on the Internet, unsupervised. And I think, you know, totalitarian regimes.

LUCE: No. It's about learning to have disciplines that communicate purity. You know? The skirts' length are to keep guys from -- you know, any man on the planet can be distracted. And we don't want to unintentionally create distraction.

AMANPOUR: But, Ron, that's what the Taliban said.
So she is comparing a private college, where people go voluntarily and submit to the rules voluntarily, with - of course - the Taliban!

As I mentioned in my commentary on part 2, Amanpour puts all religions together as equally evil and threatening. Not so much for their actions as to what they believe - that's what threatens her. She is so insecure in her own beliefs that she treats those who believe differently as a mortal threat, and she cannot distinguish at all between religions.

Her vapidity is all there in black and white, thanks to CNN Transcripts!