Friday, November 11, 2005

Amir Peretz: The man behind the mustache

Follow this link to read a 4-page interview with Amir Peretz originally published in May, 2005 in Jerusalem Post By GIL HOFFMAN

Peres loses Labor primaries

From Ynetnews First Published: 11.10.05, 22:58, Latest Update: 11.10.05, 23:22 ...

Labor party members cast doubts whether 82-year-old Peres can pursue new political role following defeat in primaries to Amir Peretz. Vice Premier's eldest son accuses party members of causing injustice to his father, noting that he will recommend his father make "drastic decision"
Attila Somfalvi

...Many Peres supporters are eagerly waiting for their leader to make a public statement regarding the future of his political career, as the veteran Labor politician has kept quiet since news of his defeat spread early Thursday morning.

While some wait, others are of the opinion that the time has come for Peres to retire, wrapping up a political career that spread over half a century.

....What will happen next?

Peretz’s surprise victory has done more than make party members wonder about the political future of Peres. The future of the party is in question as some fear that the narrow victory of 3 percent will split Labor.

Amid doubts about the prospect of bridging the gaps between the Peres and Peretz camps, Labor members have rushed to reassure that a split is unlikely and all party members will put aside their differences in the interest of the party. “We will summon in one furrow; we will unite behind Amir and move forward. The general elections are the target now,” a senior Labor member told Ynet.

The election of Peretz to the Labor chairmanship has sent shock waves across Israel’s political spectrum, with Shinui holding a meeting to discuss its position now that Labor will apparently exit the coalition and head the opposition, and associates of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declaring that “the prime minister would like to see an election date set within two weeks and to hold the elections within four months.”

Sharon’s associates added that the prime minister has decided to remain in Likud and they are confident he will win "big" in the primaries.

As pundits and politicians ponder over the possible scenarios in the wake of the new development, Peretz is readying to embrace the new post with a series of meetings on Sunday, the first of which will be with Sharon to discuss the exit of Labor from the coalition with Likud.

Peretz will also hold talks with Labor ministers and party members to discuss Labor’s political agenda.

The ruling Likud has also been busy pondering over the repercussions of Peretz’ victory with close associates to Sharon saying that Peres’ defeat is “bad for Bibi Netenyahu....There is danger that if Bibi wins the Likud primaries, Peretz will win the general elections...." .....

Thursday, November 10, 2005

UK Row over schoolboy's Hitler poem

From The Times Online: November 09, 2005 By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent...

RUTH KELLY, the Education Secretary, was coming under increasing pressure last night to intervene in the case of a poem for schoolchildren written from the viewpoint of Adolf Hitler.

The verse, written by a 14-year-old schoolboy, Gideon Taylor, includes the lines: "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces."

Another part reads: "Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger. I'll be happy Jews have died." The poem ends with the question: "At what price world domination?"

The poem appears in Great Minds, a publication produced by the Forward Press group, which promotes poetry and creative writing and publishes the results in anthologies. The book was distributed free to schools in Britain. The Hitler entry appears in the latest anthology, featuring the work of 11 to 18-year-olds.

...Lord Janner of Braunstone, the chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, is ...“looking into” the poem’s publication. A trust spokeswoman said: “The poem is insensitive and tasteless and we are taking this further.”

Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is writing to the publisher and to the Education Secretary about her concerns, said that the poem appeared to promote prejudice. She said: “This could feed anti-Semitism.”

...A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said that the board was anxious to discuss the latest poem further with the publishers. “There is something slightly troubling about it,” he said.

...Irene Lancaster, a Jewish academic, is among those who have written to the Education Secretary to protest. She said: “Many of my university students have gone on to become secondary school teachers. If they had written essays glorifying Hitler and the Holocaust in this way, I would have failed them and reported them to the appropriate university authorities.
In present-day Germany they would have been prosecuted. Anti-Semitism is increasing in many of our secondary schools and not nearly enough is being done to counter this.”

al Qaeda spreads

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been diverting fighting strength from Iraq to terror arenas in Jordan, Syria, Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
November 9, 2005, 11:45 PM (GMT+02:00)

The suicide attacks on three US-owned five-star hotels popular with Westerners in Amman Wednesday night, Nov. 9, points to (five) disturbing manifestations:

1. The constant US offensives on al Qaeda sanctuaries in Iraq have not been able to restrict the movements of its activists in Iraq and across its borders.

2. The fact that Zarqawi is able to redirect elements of his Iraqi strength to other points in the Middle East means he is not short of manpower.

3. The ablest Western intelligence agencies are employed in the Middle East to combat al Qaeda, as well as the Jordanian and Israeli services. Yet none have achieved any penetrations capable of forecasting al Qaeda’s next moves.

4. There is no evidence to bear out President George W. Bush’s assertion that al Qaeda’s operational capabilities have been damaged. Since its July 7 transport offensive in London, the group has been on the offensive around the world, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

5. Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip has opened the door to al Qaeda and brought the international jihadists right up to its borders.


From "Zarqawi Moves His Headquarters to Baghdad" DEBKA-Net-Weekly 227, November 9, 2005, 5:12 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

According to intelligence data reaching the American command, the Jordanian terrorist chief, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, commander of al Qaeda Iraq, has left the Sunni-dominated Anbar province bordering on Syria after two years. In mid-October he is described as driving into Baghdad in mid-October in a convoy of six Iraqi military vehicles stolen from US-Iraqi bases in the north.

...DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources add: the convoy rolled in to the northeastern, Sunni district known as the Seven Wells, to be greeted by the local commander Emir Abu Yashak and his men. Yashak was given the job of setting up a secret command center and several safe houses for the new arrivals to work out of, as well as escape routes and facilities should the Americans uncover the new hideouts.

...A week later, the al Qaeda chief, fully aware that the Americans had pinned him down geographically, went into action. Monday, October 24, three truck bombs driven by suicide bombers exploded at two hotels housing foreign journalists and contractors in central Baghdad. At least 20 Iraqi security guards and passers-by were killed. Al Qaeda then returned to its offensive to frighten Arab and Muslim missions into exiting the Iraqi capital, by abducting and executing two Moroccan embassy employees. A Sudanese working at his country’s Baghdad embassy was killed Wednesday, Nov. 9. A day earlier, al Qaeda gunmen targeted a another two members of the Saddam Hussein trial defense team, killing one, wounding another, after murdering the first lawyer last month. A large question mark now hovers over the resumption of the crimes against humanities trial awaiting the deposed dictator and seven senior associations on Nov. 28. The surviving defense counsel want the trial moved abroad.
Zarqawi’ plan of action for his new base was summarized by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s al Qaeda experts:

1. Multi-weapon, multi-casualty, coordinated attacks on Americans and other foreigners working in Baghdad that are hideous enough to shut down and put to flight diplomatic missions and foreign companies, international aid organizations, journalists and the foreign technical teams employed in constructing and operating Iraq’s new infrastructure.

2. Along with large-scale coordinated attacks, al Qaeda will step up the hostage-taking and executions of foreigners.

3. The offensive will aim at crippling Iraq’s government, security and parliamentary

administration by pinpoint assassinations of cabinet ministers, lawmakers, civil servants, members of the judiciary, army officers and rank-and-file police and soldiers - plus anyone seen by Zarqawi as a collaborator with the Americans.

4. American locations will be targeted - from US headquarters in the fortified Green Zone seat of Iraqi government, to American army command centers and bases and mobile patrols. The attacks will come from within the city, not its outer fringes.

But Zarqawi’s overriding goal, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s counter-terror sources. It is to cast the Iraq capital into such a state of turmoil and dislocation as to make it impossible to hold parliamentary elections as scheduled on December 15. This would bring to a halt moments before its consummation the entire democratic cycle on which Iraq has been moving forward this past year.

.... At the center of the action instead of behind the scenes, he is also more vulnerable to capture or being killed.
But the terrorist chief may not have had too many options, given three new circumstances.

One, the mounting international pressure on Bashar Assad’s regime may remove Syria as his and al Qaeda’s rear base and escape hatch under a revamped regime or even a new ruler. In Anbar near the Syrian border, he would have laid himself open to a collaborative Syrian-American turned against him.

Two, new American military tactics took heavy toll of his forces and forced them into retreat. They have no answer for the updated American military tactic of rolling large forces with massive firepower from one location to the next, after thoroughly purging each one. This tactic is workable in the desert reaches and outlying villages of Anbar, but not in a city with millions of inhabitants like Baghdad. This American tactic may have put Zarqawi and his terrorist legions to flight; but it is not applicable after they are embedded in Baghdad.

Three, this successful US tactic not only uprooted terrorist bases but inflicted heavy losses running to hundreds of fighting men. In Baghdad, Zarqawi believes he commands a fresh pool of fighting men to refill his depleted ranks, namely, the 90,000 Palestinians who are being dispossessed by the Shiite government of Ibrahim Jaafari.

Europe's new 'Dark Ages'?

From Jerusalem Post "Nov. 9, 2005 3:19 Updated Nov. 9, 2005 9:45 "Revolt of the 'Arab street' " By MARK STEYN ...

Ever since 9/11, I've been gloomily predicting the European powder keg's about to go up. 'By 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,' I wrote in Canada's Western Standard back in February. Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule.

...The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up transatlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

...732 AD...the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were not exactly at the gates of Paris, but they were within 200 miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours. Somewhere on the road between Poitiers and Tours, they met a Frankish force and, unlike other Christian armies in Europe, this one held its ground "...

...Poitiers was the high-water point of the Muslim tide in western Europe. It was an opportunistic raid by the Moors, but, if they'd won, they'd have found it hard to resist pushing on to Paris, to the Rhine and beyond. ...There would have been no Christian Europe. The Anglo-Celts who settled North America would have been Muslim. Poitiers...was "an encounter which would change the history of the whole world."

Battles are very straightforward: Side A wins, Side B loses. But the French government is way beyond anything so clarifying. Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They're in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort. It's way too late to re-run the Battle of Poitiers.

In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by "French youths" since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. "There's a civil war underway in Clichy-Sous-Bois at the moment," said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes‚ trade union Action Police CFTC. "We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting."

What to do? In Paris, while "youths" fired on the gendarmerie, burned down a gym and disrupted commuter trains, the French cabinet split in two, as the "Minister for Social Cohesion" and other colleagues distanced themselves from the Interior Minister, the tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy, who dismissed the rioters as "scum." President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum's grievances need to be addressed. He called for "a spirit of dialogue and respect." As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy's presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.

... the rioters aren't doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They're seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more "respect" from M Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: "The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict."

Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.

The writer is senior North American columnist for Britain's Telegraph Group.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

French land-for-peace Plan

This "peace plan" is liberally sourced from recent articles by Prof Steven Plaut, Haifa (thanks to JB for the tip), and Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily) ...

After leading the Solidarity-with-the-Baathists movement in Europe during the recent Gulf War and France's long history of promoting appeasement of Islamist fascism and Palestinian terrorism, France is now experiencing its own intifada by the "Paristinian" urban Moslem "resistance" fighters.

It's clear France is no longer in control of its population. Hordes within its borders are struggling for freedom and independence. Their uprising cannot be met with state violence, because that would only lead to a "cycle of violence". It's clear that these "freedom-fighters" want a state of their own.

The international community, led of course by the UN, must force France to the negotiating table with these freedom fighters to begin the peace process that will inevitably lead to the creation of an autonomous, independent state of "Paristine." We must insist that the French government acknowledge that there is no military or police solution to the problems of violence in its suburbs and only through recognizing the legitimacy of the demands of the "Paristinians" can the problems be resolved!

The French must understand that territory must not be annexed by force. Therefore Alsace-Lorraine must be returned to Germany, because the French aggression in 1945 and its consequent occupation must not be rewarded. ''A full withdrawal for full peace'' should operate here. Further, France must agree to the return and rehabilitation of all ethnic Germans expelled from Alsace-Lorraine after World Wars I and II, as well as all those they define as their descendents.

But this, of course, is just the first step toward a solution. It took Corsica from Genoa, Nice and Savoy from Piedmont; as the successor state, Italy must get back all these lands. By similar token, territories grabbed from the Habsburgs go back to Austria, including Franche-Comte, Artois, and historic Burgundy. The Roussillon area (along the Pyrenees) must be returned to Spain, its rightful owner. And Normandy, Anjou, Aquitaine, and Gascony must be returned to their rightful owners, the British royal family.

For the sake of peace, Brittany and Languedoc must be granted autonomy at once, recognizing the Breton and Occitan Liberation organizations as their legal rulers.

This leaves the French government in control over the Ile de France (the area around Paris).

That, however, still does not solve the problem of the Holy City of Paris, sacred to artists, gourmets, and adulterers. The Corsicans obviously have a historic claim to the Tomb of the Emperor Napoleon, their famed son, as well as the Invalides complex and beyond. For the sake of peace, is it not too much to ask that Paris be the capital for two peoples? The French authorities must agree to prevent French Parisians from even entering the sacred tomb area, lest this upset the Corsicans.

The Saint Chapelle and the Church of Notre Dame, of course, will be internationalized, under joint Vatican-art historical auspices. Indeed, the French should consider it a compliment of the highest order that so many people see Paris as an international city.

The French have nothing to complain of. They will enjoy the benefits of peace and retain control of the Champs Elysees.

Actually, come to think of it, even the Champs Elysees may be too much. Perhaps the true French capital is not Paris at all, but Vichy.....

Storm clouds ahead

From Jerusalem Post Nov. 7, 2005 19:53 Updated Nov. 8, 2005 7:03 By ISI LEIBLER ...

... I fear that there are grounds for serious concern.

... the demonization of Israel, frequently accompanied by anti-Semitism, now transcends all other campus political issues. Hostile campaigns are frequently spearheaded by anti-Israeli activists of Jewish origin, and the majority of Jewish students avoid involvement either because they are indifferent, or in many cases simply because they are frightened. Moreover, when these youngsters become older, a substantial proportion of them are unlikely to maintain the same level of support for Israel as their parents.

It should also be noted that anti-Jewish rhetoric is now rapidly penetrating the political mainstream. The recurring tirades against "Jewish neoconservatives" allegedly controlling the White House; Lewis Libby is already being portrayed in anti-Semitic web sites as "one more Jewish Neocon Traitor"; the outrageous behavior of the liberal Protestant denominations engaging in anti-Israel boycotts via divestment; the growing hostility against Israel being displayed in many of the antiwar demonstrations; and the increasing number of liberals, formerly our best friends, who now distance themselves from Israel - all represent grounds for serious concern.

The unprecedented indictments against senior professional AIPAC leaders, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, must be viewed as manifestations of ominous winds of change....if there was a genuine concern that the lobby of an allied power was technically breaching security procedures, a firm reprimand to those involved or their superiors would have been more appropriate than an elaborately engineered trap including wiretaps. It is also disconcerting that the federal prosecutor in this case is a very senior officer and has just been nominated for the post of deputy attorney-general.

The manner in which the AIPAC Board abandoned and distanced themselves from these long standing senior employees is also problematic. Those concerns are further reinforced by the fact that at their last major AIPAC gathering even the customary singing of Hatikva at the close of proceedings was aborted.

THE OTHER burning issue is the Jonathan Pollard case which understandably remains a highly sensitive matter for most American Jews who regard the episode as a blot on their standing. They usually prefer to avoid discussing the issue despite ...the fact remains that he has been incarcerated for 20 years for handing over secrets to an ally of the United States. It is now being bandied about that he must serve at least another 10 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

Soviet spies, including traitors responsible for the death of allied agents have been treated more humanely...Why is Pollard still in prison? Why has his sentence not been commuted on humanitarian grounds? Are the authorities making an example of him? If so, why? To intimidate American Jews? Because of anti-Semitism? What other explanation is there?

The ongoing confrontations with the US Defense Department over the arms deals with India and China are also problematic. While there may well have been legitimate grounds for American irritation with mistakes or heavy handed Israeli practices in the sale of sensitive defense equipment, the needlessly public stance adopted by the Defense Department in this matter was offensive and not what one would expect from an ally.

In conjunction with these negative vibes, there has of late also been a marked erosion in the relationship between Israel and the current administration. Yasser Arafat's successor Mahmoud Abbas is being portrayed by President George W. Bush as a noble partner for peace, despite the fact that to date everything he has said and done points to the contrary. In fact, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have even begun employing Clintonian language of moral equivalency which fails to distinguish between killers and victims. There is renewed talk of "cycles of violence," of the "need for restraint," and continuous references to the road map without emphasis on the fact that it obligates the Palestinians to first dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

More importantly, Israel is being urged to make further unilateral concessions including the release of more prisoners and providing greater freedom of movement to Palestinians all of which only seem to contribute toward more funerals for Israeli civilians.

... Prime Minister Sharon had originally promoted disengagement to Israelis largely on the basis that as a quid pro quo Bush would support Israel's retention of the major settlement blocs.
But now he has apparently capitulated to all American demands and aborted all building activity, including the construction of the road link from Ma'aleh Adumim to the capital. This suggests that Sharon is becoming totally subservient to the administration.

There is of course no disputing that the US as a friendly superpower remains crucial to Israel's security. But it becomes an untenable relationship if Israel is now going to blindly acquiesce to every American request, including matters directly affecting the security of our civilians.

The writer chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and is a veteran Jewish international leader.

The Paris intifada

From Jerusalem Post Nov. 7, 2005 20:01 Updated Nov. 8, 2005 13:47 ...

... September 11 attacks... 'Why do they hate us so much?' ... If the US would only toe a more pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian line, this argument ran, then the Arab and Muslim masses wouldn't hate it so.

The events in Paris over the last 12 days have confirmed the vacuity of this argument. Since the mid-1960s, France has consistently been among the most pro-Arab countries in western Europe. ...France, unlike the US, cannot be accused of a pro-Israeli slant. Nevertheless, its Muslim youth are rioting in the banlieues of Paris. Though it is too early to dissect this ongoing French revolution, one thing that can already be said is that these rioters hate France - otherwise they wouldn't be destroying its property and setting fire to its towns and suburbs.

And this hatred of France has nothing to do with Israel....The Muslim youth in France are not rioting as a sign of solidarity with their Palestinian or Iraqi brothers. They are rioting in large part because they feel discriminated against, alienated, and cut out of that great French "liberte, egalite, fraternite" pie.

The French would be wise to pay attention to the fact that these flames of alienation are being fanned and leveraged for their own use by Islamic radicals who - as the homegrown London bombers proved in July - are thriving on the streets of Europe.

... French policy makers would be unwise to overlook the religious, ideological dimensions of the battle, and the way Islamic radicals preaching from the mosques and spewing out hatred via the Internet are able to prey on this disaffection and import a toxic ideology into France and the heart of Europe.

True, the current riots in France may be about rootlessness and alienation of minority youth, but they are not only about rootlessness and alienation. Radical Islam is part of the mix as well, and the French will ignore that at their own peril.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Counter-terror swoop underway [November 08, 2005]

From The Australian: November 08, 2005 ...

POLICE are raiding homes in Sydney and Melbourne in a counter-terrorism operation involving federal and state officers.

...As of 6.45am the raids were still being carried out.

The operation involved AFP and the state police forces in New South Wales and Victoria.
'A number of search warrants are currently being executed in Sydney and Melbourne as part of a joint operation by the AFP, New South Wales Police and Victoria Police,' an AFP spokeswoman said...."We can confirm that the ongoing operation relates to the area of counter-terrorism."

Sydney radio 2UE said six men had been arrested and that 15 houses were raided. AFP would not confirm the report...A Victoria Police spokesman has confirmed search warrants were carried out on a number of properties in Melbourne, but would not reveal the locations.

The spokesman said more information would be released throughout the day.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Aksa Brigades echo Ahmadinejad's call

From Jerusalem Post Nov. 6, 2005 18:24 Updated Nov. 7, 2005 4:49 By KHALED ABU TOAMEH ...

The armed wing of the ruling Fatah party, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, on Sunday became the first Palestinian group to publicly endorse Iran's call to eliminate Israel. In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group voiced full support for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements in which he said that Israel 'must be wiped off the map.'

Ahmadinejad also warned Arab countries against developing economic ties with Israel in response to its withdrawal form the Gaza Strip, which he dubbed as a 'trick.' 'Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury,' he was quoted as saying. 'Any [Islamic leader] who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world.'

..."We affirm our support and backing for the positions of the Iranian president toward the Zionist state which, by God's will, will cease to exist," said the leaflet. "Recognizing Israel's right to exist means underestimating the Palestinian people, who are making daily sacrifices to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem." The Fatah group also hailed Ahamdinejad's appeal to the Palestinians to unite their ranks so they would be able to destroy Israel.

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah told the Jerusalem Post that the leaflet does not reflect the stance of the PA or its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas. "We strongly condemn the leaflet," said one official. "We believe it does not even reflect the position of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades."

The PA is now in the process of incorporating hundreds of gunmen from the Aksa Martyrs Brigades into the PA security forces......

Is Palestinian Terror Defeated?

From Jerusalem Post Nov. 6, 2005 0:05 Updated Nov. 6, 2005 3:50, "The Yasser Arafat War is over" By GERALD M. STEINBERG ...

(Note that this is an optimistic opinion piece, however even if you read it as wishful thinking, it's useful to think about what to wish for. I've added my own emphasis in places, and inserted brief comments.....)

The upsurge in Palestinian terror after the disengagement has led to talk about a 'third intifada.' ... Pundits declared that the next 'intifada' will be a continuation of the last, or worse, including rockets fired at Israel from Jenin and Bethlehem....

But, these assumptions are not supported by the evidence - history has moved on....

One key difference is leadership, and, in particular, the end of the Arafat era. Arafat led the campaign.... Conversely, the violence decreased after Arafat's freedom of movement was limited. ... Arafat's death one year ago also marked the end of his last and most deadly war.

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Arafat's uncharismatic successor, is cut from a different cloth....Abbas also lacks the power to unite a divided and disheartened Palestinian population...And if Abbas is replaced by someone else, the result will be similar. The age of all-powerful Arab dictators - such as Saddam, Assad and Arafat - is over.

In addition, the broad international support that the Palestinians enjoyed for five years ...has been seriously eroded. Between 2000 and 2003, the UN and EU systematically condemned Israeli anti-terror responses, even threatening sanctions. ...they wrapped Palestinian terrorism in the rhetoric of legitimate "resistance to occupation." ...the UN staged pro-Palestinian extravaganzas, such as the 2001 Durban Conference.... sympathetic journalists spread false mythologies such as the "Jenin massacre" and the staged images ...particularly in the infamous example of Muhammad al-Dura...provided critical support of Arafat's terror campaign.

(and now the wishful thinking...? or our wish list...)
THE POLITICAL counterattack against this pro-Palestinian support structure took some time to get going, but has now made significant progress. Europe seems to have learned something from its mistakes, including blind funding for Arafat, and would have to be particularly foolish to push for a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank that would be a conduit for terror.

The influence of the UN has been weakened, not only due to the criticism and ridicule of the blatant abuse of human rights rhetoric, but also as the scandals and corruption become more visible.

In addition, the romanticism and wall-to-wall enthusiasm for Palestinian victimization adopted by many journalists has also weakened. The Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism are no longer largely invisible, as was the case earlier, and even the BBC has been forced to examine its bias in its Middle East coverage (and the Australian ABC too???...we wish...).

Similarly, some of the most powerful members of the anti-Israel NGO network have been forced to reduce the extent of support for the Palestinian agenda. As a result, the strategy of boycotts, divestment and sanctions that accompanied the past five years of terrorism has lost some momentum.

Putting these factors together, Palestinian terror attacks are no longer granted the international acceptance that they had in 2001. The slow-moving impact of Islamist terrorism in other places - 9/11 in the US, the 7/7 attacks in London, and the bombings in Madrid, Bali and Sinai - have given groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah and the Aksa Brigades bad reputations.

Finally, the Palestinians now know that ..... Israel was able to defeat Arafat's war. The supposed sharp divisions in Israel and other societal weaknesses that Palestinian strategists expected to prevent a coherent and sustained counterattack turned out to be overstated. As a result, following the Park Hotel mass bombing on Pessah 2002, the IDF mobilized for Operation Defensive Shield, and the Palestinian defeat began. ...Israel adopted the strategy of unilateral separation, including withdrawal and the construction of a barrier. While not impermeable, as seen in the Hadera attack, the obstacles for suicide bombers have increased significantly.

For all of these reasons, another full-scale Palestinian terror campaign is unlikely. This does not mean that periodic carefully planned attacks will end - these have been endemic to the Palestinian rejectionist ideology for decades. Until this core rejectionism and incitement is finally abandoned, the accompanying violence will also continue, but this is not the same as the waves of mass terror during Arafat's war. This may be of little comfort, but the threat should not be exaggerated unnecessarily. (...nor should it be ignored ...)

The writer is the director of the Program on Conflict Management at Bar-Ilan University and the editor of NGO Monitor.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

PA Supports Terrorists

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News: 23:10 Nov 05, '05 / 3 Cheshvan 5766 By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ...

Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon said Friday that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) supports keeping terrorists strong so he can use them as a lever against Israel.

Ya'alon, speaking to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Abbas has disappointed him. 'I was one of those who thought that Mahmoud Abbas would lead the Palestinian Authority (PA) in another direction than Chairman [Yasser] Arafat.'

The retired lieutenant general added, "He [Abbas] appears as weak. He is not so weak. He uses weakness as an excuse [and] prefers to keep them [terrorists] in power as a tool."

The former IDF chief blamed Abbas for the current state of anarchy, which he explained has placed PA Arab areas on the brink of splitting up into regions controlled by different terrorist groups.

Ya'alon, who is a one-year resident at the Institute, stated, "I haven't seen yet on the Palestinian side leadership that it is ready for settlement on the two-state solution." He said he does not think Israel should take responsibility for the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, but added, "We don't want to be in a situation without defensible borders."

Referring to Syria, he predicted that President Bashar Assad will not remain in power. "He is performing very badly. He made all the possible mistakes."

Ya'alon stepped down this summer as IDF chief after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, in an unprecedented move, did not extend his term of office as usually is done. Ya'alon, while not opposing the expulsion policy, had expressed reservations about it.

Head of Syrian intelligence, Palestinian department, is wanted by UN

From DEBKAfile: Exclusive: November 5, 2005, 11:23 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

Brig-Gen. Abdul Karim Abbas, head of the Syrian intelligence Palestinian department is on the list of 7 Syrian officers UN Hariri investigator Detlev Mehlis wants for interrogation in Lebanon.

Abbas is in charge of Damascus' relations with the Palestinian terrorist organizations, Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-General Command, Hamas and Jihad Islami. Mehlis has evidence of Abbas' presence at the time of Hariri's murder on Feb. 14, at one of the two flats in the Hamra district of Beirut used as the assassination team's headquarters. From there, he directed the Palestinians involved in the crime in various functions on the ground including as lookouts....

Muslims protest over cartoons of Mohammed

From the Telegraph By Kate Connolly in Berlin (Filed: 04/11/2005) (the West Australian ran a similar story in the weekend edition) ...

...Danish ... newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed provoked an outcry. Thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets in protest ..., the newspaper that published them has received death threats and two of its cartoonists have been forced into hiding.

Jyllands-Posten, Denmark's leading daily, defied Islam's ban on images of the Prophet by printing cartoons by 12 different artists. In one he is depicted as a sabre-wielding terrorist accompanied by women in burqas, in another his turban appears to be a bomb and in a third he is portrayed as a schoolboy by a blackboard.

The ambassadors of 11 Muslim countries called on Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, to take "necessary steps" against the "defamation of Islam". But Mr Rasmussen, the head of a centre-Right minority coalition dependent for its survival on support from an anti-foreigner party, called the cartoons a "necessary provocation" and refused to act. "I will never accept that respect for a religious stance leads to the curtailment of criticism, humour and satire in the press," he said.

...Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands-Posten, spurned demands that he apologise, saying he "would not dream" of saying sorry. "To demand that we take religious feelings into consideration is irreconcilable with western democracy and freedom of expression," he said. "This doesn't mean that we want to insult any Muslims."

Juste commissioned the cartoons after learning of the difficulties a children's writer, Kare Bluitgen, had in finding an illustrator for his book on the Koran and the Prophet's life. Bluitgen said all the artists he approached feared the wrath of Muslims if they drew images of Mohammed. Many cited the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamist as a reason for refusal. Juste said he wanted to counter growing "self censorship" and see how many cartoonists would be "bold enough" to draw the Prophet....