Saturday, January 24, 2009
It is thirty two years since the President of Egypt Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem and bemused the world with a vision of a new Middle East where there is "no more war, no more blood-shed". This grand gesture where the ruthless dictator broke ranks with Arab rejectionism and proved one could get huge concessions for one speech and a worthless piece of paper, (as he himself termed his gift to Menachem Begin) is celebrated in the annals of the Nobel prize winners as "peace".
All that is required in order to reveal the gargantuan hoax that is the "peace" agreement between Egypt and Israel is to examine with some detail the photo of Menachem Begin whispering in Sadat's ear. Sadat's tie is a Nazi emblem. It is a flag of swastikas rolled up as a neck-tie. It is right up Begin's face, and he chooses to disregard it, in honor of the Nazi willing to address a bunch of gullible Jews.
This gullibility set the tone for thirty two years of blood-shed, self-delusion and a precipitous decrease of confidence in the future of the Jewish State. True, Egyptian forces have not participated in direct warfare against the Jewish State. Nor has the Soviet Union committed troops during the Cold War.
But proxy warfare, the bread and butter of the Cold War, is exactly the kind of war prosecuted by the Nazi authoritarian despotic regimes of both Egypt and Syria, Syria using he Lebanese factions, and Egypt using the UNWRA-sanctioned Gaza Arabs as cannon-fodder.
After all, the whole Palestinian Liberation Organization was begun as an Islamo-Nazi project directed by Nasser back in the heady sixties. It was only natural that when Egypt reacquired an interface with it own minions following the withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai in 1979, that this control be re-asserted. Lest one maintain that a thirty-two year period is too long of a conspiracy, let us remember that the present Egyptian Nazi-inspired regime was established in 1952, fifty seven years ago, led by military officers who were arrested and jailed for Nazi activity right through WWII.
Why was Sadat murdered in 1981? A misunderstanding committed by the Muslim Brotherhood, the root organization of International Jihad now infesting the world. Despite strenuous explanations Sadat could not convince the Faithful that his performance in the Knesset, his apparent recognition of the Jewish State, were nothing but a Huddaybiyah ploy. A subterfuge designed to wring concessions, which changes nothing in the total permanent status of warfare extant between the rightful Muslims and the Blasphemous Jewish State.
Sadat failed to prove that in reality the "peace" agreement has nothing to do with recognition, and everything to do with a more subtle and much more effective mode of War. And so he died, after having done more for the undoing of the Jewish State than any other Arab leader.
Hosny Mubarak who took up the scepter of despotism is a careful man. A man devoted to the Primary Objective, the dismantling of the Jewish State. Some Jews have actually realized and uttered such warnings. “Egypt is Israel’s most dangerous enemy”. said Matan Vilnai in his role as Deputy Chief of the General Staff. "Egypt is responsible for the bombardment of Ashkelon", says Yuval Steinitz a former dove turned realist.
Having taken up the thread Mubarak has been relentless in arming his cannon-fodder, carefully maintaining his stance as the ultimate dealer of the cards, and never according the Jewish State his official recognition via a formal visit.
The border separating Gaza from the Sinai is 8 miles long. A wall was erected by Israel, and a security road named the Philadelphi corridor, separates the Strip from the Sinai peninsula. Under Egyptian tutelage hundreds of tunnels were dug, right from houses hard up against the wall on the Egyptian side, crossing into the Gaza strip. As soon as Israel left the Gaza Strip and relinquished the Corridor thousands of tons of explosive were pushed through. Arms, ammunition, detonators, experts, personnel, and of course rockets, made in Iran and China were shoved to the proxies.
Those rockets raining down on Beer-Shevas, Lehavim (my hometown) are all available to the proxies courtesy of, by the complicity of, by the order of the Egyptian Muhabarat, the Military intelligence. At the top of that hierarchy where the buck stops is the President, the inscrutable Hosny Mubarak, and he is ultimately responsible for the War on the Jews prosecuted by HAMAS.
Ideally, the present outbreak of hostilities should not have broken out. Omar Sullayman, at the head of the Muhabarat, kept a tight control on his operatives. His aim was simple. To make life on the Israeli side as difficult as possible. To compel Israel to capitulate slowly to the Arab demand of Anschluss, while stultifying Jewish development of the Negev, at the same time increasing the Arab population of the Negev, slowly eroding Israel's control of her south-western flank. This was done by exerting perceptibly mounting military pressure using urban warfare asymmetric tactics. He has done a tremendous job. His first success was in driving Israel to abandon its control of most of Gaza. He then succeeded in driving Israel into abandonment of civilian towns and villages and relinquished control of the arms highway into the Strip. His success is evident in the fact that the Jewish population of the Negev is slowly diminishing, Arab population is increasing by leaps and bounds, the Jews serving the Arabs via the dictum of the welfare State and judicial mandates.
Most of the Arabs now swelling the ranks of the Negev Jihad are the progeny of Gazan women imported by the local Arabs already holding the Jewish State hostage to their demands. Given some more years of carefully doled-out firepower from Gaza, and the incessant infiltration of Arabs from the Sinai, Israel might have been forced to give up on the Negev, as it has given up on the Katif settlement block.
Unfortunately explosives tend to self-detonate under some circumstances. HAMAS was unwilling to adhere to the puppet-master's regimen, the carefully measured dose was over-prescribed, precipitating a violent Jewish back-lash. Somewhat analogous to the Defensive Shield outburst following the Park Hotel Last supper mass murder, march 2002. The problem with Arab calculation is they never quite figure out the precise point at which docile gullible Jews turn into dragon-busting Israelis. Even now Egyptian position is that Egypt will never assume control of the Gaza mess, which must be solved by bursting the abscess into Israel, and that no International oversight will be permitted in Sinai, that might compromise the control Egypt has over the height of the flames scorching Israel's back-side.
Perfidious Egypt is now facing a conundrum. Should they stymie their proxies so as to return to the tried-and-true war of attrition, thereby inflaming the Arab Street? Or should they allow HAMAS to goad the Jews further, trusting the International Jihad-loving Media and Israel appeasement cohorts to tone down the Israeli rage?
Now this is truly playing with fire because Israel might suddenly decide that the Arab proxy problem is actually an Egyptian problem, and change direction. From careful tweezer strikes at the terrorists with precision application of ordnance, to an all out destruction of Gaza, while driving the population West, across the wall into the Sinai peninsula. After all, if Gaza is considered nothing but an impermanent refugee camp awaiting Anschluss (and so it is presented by Main stream Western and Arab media) then the same camp can be re-erected in Sinai, under the auspices of the same UNWRA which has maintained Arab refugee status for sixty years!!
Israel is faced essentially with the same conundrum. Should Israeli forces move into Gaza city and eliminate the terror threat, possibly a very costly operation with the specter of the assumption of care for a million point five Jihadis? Or should Israel do as the Soviets did, and tear the city down driving the population into the Sinai?
Such action is sure to inflame Egyptian sentiment to tear up that worthless paper, and put back Egypt on the warpath again. Worse, it might actually prove the peace treaty with Egypt was the colossal hoax it always was, tearing the whole Mid-east peace process theory, which so far rests on the big fat laurel of the Camp-David agreement and the three way handshake. Israel and Egypt are locked up in a deadly game where Egypt is loath to lose its proxy-warfare capacity, and Israel has had enough of being made ducks in a rocket range.
The way out of this conundrum goes through Washington.
Egypt is utterly dependant on US economic aid. As opposed to the heady days of Sadat, Egypt cannot re-play the cold-war game. The Soviet Union is no more and the Nazi [Egyptian] regime's only economic prop is the USA. While Israel is a 150 billion dollar economy with a trade surplus, Egypt is a mess. Washington could, should it choose to, force Egypt to take her duties vis-à-vis Israel seriously and stop arming her proxies. Completely and utterly.
The old saw about rockets coming into Gaza from the sea is a bald-faced lie. Israel controls the sea up to the Egyptian frontier, and from then on its Egyptian responsibility. I make this categoric statement: Without Egyptian support Proxy warfare and rocket lobbing will not happen, and Washington can make this eventuality happen.
Will Obama's Washington help defuse the situation? Unlikely. Obama's view of Israel is of a "festering sore". Anything that may strengthen Israel against the Anschluss demands, the so called right of return, is unlikely to be forced down the unwilling Arab throat. In the end it will be Israel that will have to make a hard choice. To live with the depredation of a proxy war of attrition, or make an end of the Gaza festering sore and drive the proxies into their manipulator's unwilling arms.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Recent years have seen the gradual takeover of UNRWA educational and welfare institutions in Gaza by Palestinian terrorist organizations, led by Hamas.
Just six months after Hamas' general election victory, it won a clear victory in the UNRWA workers committee elections held on 14 June 2006.
Suhil el-Hindi, head of the teachers sector at UNRWA schools, operates openly as Hamas' representative. He controls the curriculum in UNRWA schools, the employment of teachers in those schools, and the summer camps.
Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayyam, responsible for Hamas terror operations, who was targeted in the recent Gaza war, was a teacher at UNRWA schools for 23 years.
Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, parents of students in UNRWA schools wrote to the head of UNRWA charging that scores of teachers at the schools belonged to the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and requested an urgent investigation.
In another example, Awad el-Kik, the principal of an UNRWA school in Rafiah, was also head of weapons and rocket manufacturing for Islamic Jihad in Gaza until he was targeted on 30 April 2008.
It seems very likely that contributions by Western nations to UNRWA pay the salaries of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who are educating the next generation of Palestinians in jihad against Israel and all non-Muslims.
Western nations should demand that terror group activists be removed from UN institutions as a condition of continued funding.
*Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.
So the inevitable has now come about in the teetering civilisation of Europe, and it has happened first in the Netherlands. One of the supposedly most liberal societies on the planet wants to criminalise someone for telling the truth.
The BBC reports that Dutch Freedom Party MP Geert Wilders is to be put on trial ‘...for for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs’
[see our previous posting on this subject for background]
...far from defending him and western civilisation from the totalitarian threat to life and liberty arising from the attempt to suppress discussion of radical Islamism and the religion upon which it draws, the Dutch have now decided to suppress it themselves.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, in The River War published in 1899, Winston Churchill wrote this:
How dreadful are the curses which Islam lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.
A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property‹either as a child, a wife, or a concubine must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Islam is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science -the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
During the 1930s and World War Two, the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine – from whom, incidentally, Hamas are directly descended – were the allies of Hitler.
Heinrich Himmler observed:
Muslims responded to the call of Muslim leaders and joined our side because of their hatred of our joint Jewish-English-Bolshevik enemies, and because of their belief and respect for, above all -- our Fuehrer.
And Churchill wrote in turn:
In truth though, just as the British stoicism recalls the same from 65 years ago, so too, there is a deep and instructive similarity between the Nazis and the Islamic-fascist forces that attacked then and attack today. The fact of the matter is that even more important than invoking the famous British ‘stiff upper lip,’ to fight this current war to victory requires understanding and accepting the similarities between the Nazis and the Arab-Islamic terrorist armies.
If Churchill were to have said these things today, he too would surely have been prosecuted, at least in the Netherlands, for inciting hatred and discrimination just for fighting for freedom against enslavement -- on behalf of life and liberty-loving Muslims as well as everyone else.
This is a defining moment for Europe. It is when people have to decide what side they are on. All those ‘human rights’ supporters who tell us endlessly that we can only defend our society against terror if we remain true to its values now must decide whether they are going to defend Geert Wilders against the attempt to criminalise him for exercising his freedom to speak in defence of life, liberty and western liberalism -- or whether they are going to run up the white flag in the face of Islamist totalitarianism enforced by its already enslaved western dupes.
GAZA CITY ... Men from Hamas have begun to assault people they suspect of supporting its chief political rival, Fatah....
...Fatah accused Hamas of harassing and harming its members in the Gaza Strip.
Yasser Abd Rabbo, an ally of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said at a news conference in Ramallah on Thursday that Hamas had “turned its rifles in the direction of Fatah members” after Israel stopped its military offensive on Sunday. Mr. Rabbo accused Hamas of placing Fatah supporters under house arrest and shooting some of them in the legs, an intimidation tactic that it used in the past.
...members of Fatah contend that Hamas has begun harassing Fatah supporters to reassert its authority in Gaza. The hopes of Mr. Abbas and Egypt for the creation of a unity government that would bring together the two rival groups could be undermined by reprisals.
...A Palestinian human rights worker, who was granted anonymity because of the delicacy of the topic and the preliminary nature of his findings, said he had received reports of about 30 cases of abuse, including as many as five killings. He said he had not yet been able to verify each case.
[A man] said in an interview that he had been forced into a car by three men wearing masks while he was walking to his cousin’s house at dusk on Sunday. The men accused him of being happy that Israel had attacked Hamas, and they took him to the prime minister’s palace, which had been destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, he said. There they shot both of his legs just under the knee.
“It hurt like fire,” he said, pulling up the legs of his sweatpants to display thick bandages soaked with blood. He crawled to the road, he said, and someone gave him a ride to the hospital.
The motive for the shooting was not clear. The man said that he was a shoemaker and that he supported Fatah, but was not formally a member. The real target, he said, may have been his cousin, who is an activist in Fatah.
Some Fatah members said in interviews that some of those being sought had been singled out for having handed out sweets in celebration of Israel’s war on Hamas.
Nor was it clear how widespread the attacks were. Mr. Rabbo, the ally of the Palestinian president, said 200 people had been harassed and abused, but the human rights worker estimated that the number was much lower.
Many Fatah members and supporters said in interviews that Hamas might feel somewhat weakened by the Israeli offensive and was concerned that its political rivals not take advantage of the disorder created by the war.
The Palestinian human rights worker shared that view. “The internal security department is sending a very clear and strong message to Fatah to be quiet,” he said.
The shoemaker’s cousin, who actively supports Fatah, said that he had been moving from house to house after Hamas members searched his home on Sunday while he was out.“They’re afraid that Fatah will take advantage of the chaos to come back to power,” the cousin said. “The message is: Stay at home. Be afraid. We didn’t lose power.”
...Several people said Hamas had given children cellphone credits to keep tabs on them. They are called “drones,” and when they pass, everyone knows to stop talking, said a man in Bureij, a town south of Gaza City, who said he had been told by local Hamas supporters to stay inside his house....
Thursday, January 22, 2009
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Conventional wisdom posits that Egypt must and will play a central role in halting the smuggling of weapons from Sinai to Gaza. Yet this is unlikely – for strategic, political and Egyptian domestic reasons. Egypt does not mind if Hamas bleeds Israel a little; it gains domestically by indirectly aiding Hamas; gains internationally by playing a mediating role (in a conflict which it helps maintain on a "low flame"); and is incapable of stopping the Sinai Bedouins from continuing as the main weapons smugglers into Gaza. Thus, Israel would be imprudent to rely on Egypt to end the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.
The massive and continuous smuggling of weapons into Gaza from Egypt via the Sinai ... has to be tackled in order to prevent escalation in the future. Stopping the transfer of weapons to Hamas requires significant Egyptian cooperation and action, says conventional wisdom; and in the negotiations towards this week's ceasefire, Egypt indicated it would play such an expanded role.
Indeed, one of the clear winners of this conflict seems to be Egypt, whose mediating role received plaudits all around. Many heads of state jaunted off to meet President Mubarak, along with Israeli emissaries, underscoring the importance of Egypt in securing an end to the crisis in Gaza. Egypt also holds the keys to the Rafah Crossing into Gaza, whose opening is demanded by Hamas.
However, the expectation that Egypt will put an end to the traffic in the tunnels under the Egyptian-Gaza border is not realistic – for strategic, political and domestic reasons.
At the strategic level, Egypt sees Israel as a competitor in the quest for hegemony in the Middle East, and has for years turned a blind eye to the arming of Hamas via the tunnels. Simply put, it had, and still has, an interest in bleeding Israel. In contrast to its rhetoric, Egypt is not interested in a resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict that will free Israel from an immense security burden and will allow the Jewish state to become even stronger than it is nowadays.
Power politics and balance-of-power is the prism through which the Egyptian leadership views the region. The continuation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on a "low flame" serves best the Egyptian interest of keeping Israel not-too-strong and engaged in a conflict with the Palestinians.
Moreover, the "low flames" in Gaza and elsewhere in the Palestinian arena maintain an important role for Egypt as a "moderate leader" in the eyes of the international community, particularly in Washington.
Egyptian behavior is intriguing and cunning. After all, the development of "Hamastan" in Gaza poses a danger to Egypt too, since part of the weaponry going to Gaza could be redirected for the Moslem Brotherhood along the Nile; and Hamas is a role model for Egypt's Islamists. Similarly, the growing role of Iran in arming, training and financing the Hamas is a source of concern for the Egyptian regime.
Nevertheless, Egypt appears to have reached the conclusions that it cannot prevent Hamas rule in Gaza, and that Hamas' continuing rule actually is useful both against Israel and at home.
Indeed, Israel and Egypt both seem to have reconciled themselves to a long-term Hamas government in Gaza. Neither country can do much about it, although both prefer to see Hamas weakened. Egypt does not want to fan "high flames," while Israel needs Hamas to understand that Israel best be left alone. To a great extent, the international community also accepts the fragmentation of the Palestinian polity, and is not actively pursuing the goal of bringing Gaza under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
The two-faced policy being pursued by the Mubarak administration also serves a useful purpose in domestic Egyptian politics. In contrast to Europeans and other foreigners, Egyptian citizens easily recognize and comprehend their government's double-dealing. Everybody in Cairo understands that the government is facilitating the arming of Hamas; and turning a blind eye to the tunnels weakens the argument of the Islamic opposition that the government is cooperating with the Zionists. Moreover, curbing the traffic in the tunnels would worsen the economic situation in Gaza. Pictures of suffering in Gaza or of Palestinians climbing the fences to get into Egypt only help the Islamist opposition.
Realities in the Sinai
Finally, Egypt's double game is also result of a complex reality in the Sinai Peninsula. As with other Third World states, the Egyptian government is not fully in control of its territory. Thus, an international agreement on ending arms smuggling from Sinai into Gaza will face considerable problems of implementation, even if the Egyptian regime wants it to happen.
Notably, most of the smuggling into Gaza is led by Egyptian Bedouins who live in the northern Sinai. These tribes do not speak Egyptian Arabic, they are not really an integral part of Egyptian culture and society, and they do not subscribe to Egyptian political ethos. They make a living by smuggling women and drugs to Israel, as well as arms, ammunition, and missiles to the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian attempts to extend law and order to Bedouin areas have met armed resistance. Every time the Egyptian regime attempts to curtail the Bedouin smuggling activities, they carry out a terrorist attack on a Sinai resort, as has happened in Taba, Sharm el-Sheikh (twice), Nueiba, and Ras al-Satan. Such attacks negatively influence tourism to Egypt, an important source of income, and seem to be an effective way of "convincing" the Cairo authorities to live and let live.
Bribery, an important element in the Egyptian ways of doing business, also facilitates the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Low-paid Egyptian officials in Sinai can hardly resist hefty bribes. A one-hundred-dollar bill does wonders with an Egyptian police officer at a Sinai roadblock who intercepts a truck packed with "pipes." The likelihood that policemen at Egyptian checkpoints will stop taking bribes from trucks transferring arms to Gaza is very low – unless the Egyptian government decides to heavily punish such behavior. Only execution of smugglers could have a deterring effect, but such a determined Egyptian government behavior is also unlikely.
Another hindering factor in any attempt to stop smuggling is the bureaucratic culture of Egypt. The cumbersome Egyptian bureaucracy is hardly effective. Even presidential decisions are watered-down as they pass through the ranks of the administration. Thus the chance that a presidential decision on a total curb in smuggling would be fully implemented at Sinai checkpoints remains slim. This is Egypt.
To illustrate the point: Several weeks ago, the Palestinians published a report that the Egyptians had started to seriously combat the smuggling tunnels between the Egyptian and Palestinian sides of Rafah. The Egyptians initiated an inquiry to discover "who" suddenly became so motivated, and discovered that it was an Egyptian official who did not receive a big enough reward from the tunnel operators and decided to teach them a lesson! The Egyptians immediately found a different posting for this hyperactive official.
Despite the current Egyptian anger at Hamas and the international prodding of Egypt to terminate the traffic in the tunnels from its territory into Gaza, a drastic change in Egyptian border control performance along its border with Gaza is unlikely. Therefore, it would be imprudent of Israel to rely on the Egyptians to significantly end weapons smuggling into Gaza.
This means that Israel will continue to face a significant Gaza security challenge, despite Operation Cast Lead. An important policy implication of this reality is that Israel must maintain freedom of action to bomb tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor, or to destroy them by ground operations. This must be made crystal-clear to friends and foes alike.
*Efraim Inbar is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.
**Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a lecturer in Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Arabic and a research associate at the BESA Center.
Physician at Gaza's Shifa Hospital tells Italian newspaper number of dead in Israeli offensive 'stands at no more than 500 or 600, most of them youths recruited to Hamas' ranks'
... Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported Thursday that a doctor working in Gaza's Shifa Hospital claimed that Hamas has intentionally inflated the number of casualties resulting from Israel's Operation Cast Lead.
"The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter," according to the newspaper article.
The doctor wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life.
A Tal al-Hawa resident told the newspaper's reporter, "Armed Hamas men sought out a good position for provoking the Israelis. There were mostly teenagers, aged 16 or 17, and armed. They couldn't do a thing against a tank or a jet. They knew they are much weaker, but they fired at our houses so that they could blame Israel for war crimes."
The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas' exaggerated figures, "We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?"
These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. "Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men," the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.
....Hamas, while boasting on having [killed] Israeli soldiers by the dozens, a number that has proven to be exaggerated, claimed that no more than 48 of its members were killed during the Israeli offensive. According to IDF figures, Hamas lost hundreds of fighters from its ranks....
The Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007 enabled that organization to establish a radical Islamic entity, which, with Iranian support, allowed it to conduct its own internal and foreign policies, including the waging of a continuous terror campaign against Israel.
Being a terrorist organization, Hamas is isolated by the international community, and is seriously at odds with Egypt and pro-Western Arab countries. It is also increasingly estranged from the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas and the pragmatic Palestinian leadership. Because of the internal and external difficulties it faces, Hamas has a vital need for external strategic support to bolster its political survival and advance its military buildup. Although Hamas is Sunni Muslim and Iran is Shi'ite, they share broad common denominators: their perception that terrorism should be the main Palestinian strategic tool, their objection to the Israeli-Palestinian Authority negotiations (the Annapolis process) and their long-standing, deeply rooted hostility toward the United States and the West. For these reason's Hamas' natural choice for strategic support was Iran.
Since Israel's disengagement from Gaza, but increasingly during 2008 and especially during the period of calm, Iran directly helped Hamas to intensify its military buildup, by proving lavish funding and shipping large quantities of arms and munitions. The main method used for supplying Hamas was by smuggling through tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. There were also attempts to smuggle weapons in by sea. In the recent cease-fire negotiations initiated by Egypt, and even after the cease-fire took hold, Hamas spokesmen made it clear that they would not agree to stop the smuggling.
From Iran's perspective, a radical Islamic entity in the Gaza Strip is an important strategic asset against Israel's southern border, in conjunction with the threat posed to Israel by Hizbullah in the north. In Tehran’s view, Iranian sponsorship of Hamas weakens the influence of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and undermines Israel-Palestinian negotiations. It is also a means of exporting Iran's brand of radical Islam to other Sunni countries, especially Egypt, allowing it to establish a foothold in the heart of the Sunni world.
In retrospect, it is clear that without the massive support provided by Iran, it would have been extremely difficult for Hamas to engage in its recent military buildup. It is also reasonable to assume that without such support Hamas would not have been so aggressive in its rocket fire against Israel and its defiant political stance vis-a-vis Egypt and the pragmatic Palestinian Authority.
Iran has explicitly stated that the fighting in Gaza is one aspect of a wider campaign for the future of the Middle East, which will be waged between the "resistance" camp and the West. In all likelihood, the end of Operation Cast Lead will lead to an Iranian effort to rehabilitate and restore Hamas' terrorist infrastructure and capabilities. As in the past, Hamas and Iran are expected to be creative in overcoming obstacles to renewing the flow of weapons and ammunition. Fortunately, the actual rehabilitation will likely prove more difficult than was the case with Hizbullah in Lebanon, as Iran has no direct access to the Gazan border, and the smuggling attempts will be hindered by closer supervision.
With this in mind, the [Israel] Foreign Ministry has requested that a comprehensive research brief on Iranian influence in Hamas-ruled Gaza be prepared by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC). It is hoped that discussion, distribution and analysis of this document will heighten the awareness of the international community to the imperative of preventing Iran from re-penetrating Gaza under the guise of the anticipated international reconstruction effort (as was the case following the Second Lebanon War in 2006).
...Since the beginning of the war against Hamas in Gaza, various Arab, Muslim and socialist blogs have become obsessed with the idea that Starbucks is sponsoring the Israel Defense Force, which explains why one of their stores was smashed and looted during an anti-Israel demonstration last weekend in London. "Starbucks and McDonald's are donating their next two weeks of earned revenue to the Israeli military. Please BOYCOTT them and forward this message to everyone you know," was a typical headline.
....This whole nonsensical campaign is highly illustrative of the current propaganda campaign against Israel and the irksome mingling of anti-Semitism with Islamic and leftist politics. The Starbucks-Israel connection is a hoax, originating with the tale of a letter from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz claiming that it was essential to give Israel more money because the country needed to "pay for all of the weaponry, bulldozers and security fences." The story of the letter was then repeated in the Egyptian press and found its way into anti-Zionist folklore.
Thing is, the letter was not written by Schultz at all but by an Australian-German "anti-Zionist" zealot. And here lies the essence of the problem. A known fanatic writes a letter and it is accepted by an unquestioning mob. Not because its victim manages a coffee chain, grew up poor in a New York housing project or has won awards for his work helping people with AIDS, but because -- here we have it -- he is Jewish.
He is indeed a friend of Israel but then so, we are told, are all those people who criticize it at the moment because they want "peace for both sides."
None of this should come as any surprise in Britain, where earlier this week at an anti-Israeli protest, a man dressed in a mask with a hideously large nose and bulbous eyes -- described as a "Jew mask" -- stood in front of the Israeli embassy and graphically pretended to eat a baby doll while fake blood splashed from its plastic body. Not one of the labour union activists, church peaceniks or Marxist egalitarians around him tried to intervene. Jews eat children it seems, just as Jews own coffee shops.
Later the same day, an attempt was made to firebomb a London synagogue and an armed gang ran down the streets of a suburb with a large Jewish population looking, according to the police, "to beat up people who appeared to be Jewish."
Only a fool would believe that this has anything to do with a moderate and reasoned opposition to Israeli policies, just as only a fool would believe that Hamas is committed to human rights and co-existence and never makes up casualty figures or fabricates evidence.
Then again, there are plenty of fools around. Perhaps they need a caffeine fix. They certainly won't be getting it from the Zionist running dogs at Starbucks!
IF anti-Semitism is truly the oldest hatred, the hallmark of this noxious ideology is the enduring nature of its bigoted beliefs.
Business columnist Michael Backman recently dredged up the most venerable of anti-Jewish biases in the place where they should be least expected: the opinion page of The Age. What Backman wrote was an appalling piece that did not deserve a berth in one of Australia's signature newspapers.
The Roman historian Tacitus wrote 2000 years ago that "impious and abominable" customs of the Jews made them "feel nothing but hatred and enmity for the rest of the world". Backman wrote last weekend that Israelis are known for being "rude and arrogant".
The New Testament Book of Thessalonians accused the Jews of murdering Jesus, and being "hostile to all men". Backman appeared to endorse that theological indictment when he wrote that Christian anti-Semitism was the Jews' "punishment for the death of Jesus".
Backman's opinion column didn't miss an opportunity to tick the box of every ethnic stereotype in the Jew-hater's handbook.
We are all aware of the folk tale that Jews are inclined to be tight-fisted. But then again, the same is said about my Scottish ancestors. Yet in his obsessive piece, Backman tried to legitimise this generalisation by asserting that Israelis are known for arguing "over-trifling amounts of money even though they clearly have means".
Such an unsophisticated argument serves only to demean the person who makes it.
Backman even seeks to lay responsibility for jihadi terrorism directly at Israel's doorstep. The al-Qa'ida attack on 9/11? That is attributed to "Israel's utter inability to transform the Palestinians from enemies into friends". And don't you dare blame the death of 88 Australians in Bali on Amrozi and the other Jemaah Islamiah terrorists who actually built and placed those bombs. In Backman's eyes the true onus of guilt should be hung around the neck of all Israelis.
I can only imagine the anger felt by Jews on reading such a disgraceful allegation.
In the world according to Backman, the true cause of terrorism is resistance to terrorism. I am reminded of Winston Churchill's famous definition of an appeaser as "someone who feeds the crocodile in the hope of being eaten last". And the columnist neglects to explain how Israel is supposed to befriend a Hamas government whose covenant incites the murder of every Jew on the face of the earth.
As a business writer whose geographic specialty is Asia, Backman makes no claim to any particular expertise on the subjects of Middle Eastern history or politics. And just as fools rush in where angels fear to tread, he shows no hesitation about venturing forth with opinions that are rife with incomprehension and errors of fact.
Backman succumbs to the myth that the Jews of the Arab world were well treated by their Muslim neighbours before the Zionists came along to wreck this idyllic existence.
But serious students of the region tell a different story. The dean of Middle East scholarship, Princeton's Bernard Lewis, described the 18th and 19th centuries as "the lowest point in the existence of the Jews in the Muslim lands". And there is a vast array of evidence that documents the pogroms and persecution that afflicted Jewish communities from Morocco to Mesopotamia long before modern Zionism emerged.
For many decades, Israel's enemies have been beating their ploughshares into swords in a vain attempt to destroy Zionism, the national movement for Jewish sovereign self-determination. Time and time again, those same enemies spurned compromise, choosing instead a path of war and terrorism.
And while this has been a tragedy for Israel, it has been a catastrophe for those who should have gained the most. In Gaza, for example, the international community offered billions of dollars in aid after the unilateral Israeli withdrawal in 2005. For the first time in history, the Palestinians had a real opportunity to build the institutions of a civil society, free from foreign domination.
Instead, the election of the Hamas Government turned Gaza into a rocket-launching pad and imposed a strict version of Sharia legal code that invoked crucifixion and stoning as punishments.
The Age has apologised for its "error" in running the Backman column. But that is too little, too late.
There are no winners in the Middle East situation. And few of us can know or comprehend the fear felt by both Palestinians and Jews alike.
Israel is not without its faults. But Backman shows that one cannot despise the world's only Jewish state without much of that hatred rubbing off on the Jewish people as well.
I have great respect for The Age, but in this instance an apology is not sufficient. Instead, Backman's services must be terminated immediately.
High Court overturns Central Elections Committee's decision to bar Balad, United Arab List-Ta'al from participating in nearing elections
The High Court of Justice overturned Wednesday the Central Elections Committee's decision to disqualify the Arab parties, Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al from taking part in the next Knesset race.
The Central Elections Committee explained its decision by saying that since neither party recognized Israel as the Jewish homeland, they were not eligible to bid in the nearing general elections. Twenty-six of the committee's members were in favor of barring Balad from the elections, while 21 supported the decision to ban United Arab List-Ta'al.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, appealed the decision with the High Court of Justice, on behalf of both parties.
Wednesday's appeal was heard before a nine-judge panel, as required by law: The petition filed by United Arab List-Ta'al on its disqualification was granted unanimously, while Balad's appeal was granted by a majority of eight, with Justice Edmond Levy objecting.
......Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman condemned the court's decision: "(Former Chief Justice) Aharon Barak once said that democracy doesn’t have to kill itself to prove it was alive. The court threw that sentiment out today, and virtually gave the Arab parties permission to kill Israel's (character) as a Jewish and democratic state.
"We will not give up," he added, "and we will make sure to pass the citizenship bill in the next Knesset. That will put an end to the disloyalty shown by some of Israel's Arabs." [Lieberman is referring to visits by Arab MKs to Damascus and their meetings with terrorists, as well as many statements denigrating the state - SL.]
Sharon Roffe-Ofir and Yael Branovsky contributed to this report
President Obama launched immediately into the grim reality of his new job today, placing calls to the leaders of Middle Eastern countries and conducting his first presidential meetings on the economy and Iraq ....
...Aides said Obama called President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Obama pledged "active engagement" for a fragile cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza.
"In the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, he emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the cease-fire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from re-arming, and facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza," press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
...[Obama] will be briefed on the war in Iraq. Aides have said he plans to tell them that he wants to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops. According to a statement, included at the national security meeting will be: Biden; a representative from the State Department; Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel; the national security adviser, Gen. James Jones; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen; Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command; the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker; and Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. military forces in Iraq. Odierno is in Iraq and will participate through a video conference....
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
War and Peace Index shows Jewish public supports Gaza operation, objects to ending it if kidnapped soldier is not released as part of agreement, even if rocket fire stops. Arab public conveys opposite views
A majority of the Jewish public in Israel opposes a ceasefire in Gaza without kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's release, according to the monthly War and Peace Index poll conducted about a week and a half after the start of Operation Cast Lead.
Beyond the decisive support for the Israel Defense Forces' operation, the public also backs the raid's continuation even if Hamas holds fire under certain conditions.
The respondents were asked, "If a ceasefire agreement with Hamas could be reached, but without including Gilad Shalit's release, do you believe Israel should or should not sign such an agreement?" About 76.5% gave a negative answer, while only 17.5% responded positively.
Asked whether Israel should or should not halt its military activity in the Strip if Hamas is ready to stop firing on southern communities in exchange for the opening of the crossings, 80% responded negatively. In other words, the majority of the public believes Israel should not halt its operation even if Hamas accepts such an offer.
Before the recent days – which saw additional IDF casualties, and many casualties among the Palestinian and UN workers – the operation was supported by a sweeping majority of the Jewish public: 94% of the Jewish public said they support or very much support the operation, 92% said they believe it benefits Israel in terms of security, and a clear but smaller majority believes the operation helps Israel diplomatically as well.
About 92% of the population justifies the Air Force strikes in Gaza despite the damage caused to infrastructure and the civilian population's suffering. The decision to send in ground forces was also widely supported, with 70% saying this was a necessary move.
Barak leads trust index
Asked whether the operation must be continued, a vast majority of the public shares the same opinion, with 90% of respondents saying the operation should be continued until Israel reaches all of its goals.
This support was accompanied by the estimate of 70% of the public that the chances of the operation achieving all of its goals are high or quite high, and that the government has a clear plan of action as to ways to continue the operation (75%).
The wide support for the ongoing fighting seems to be fed largely by the public's positive estimates today in regards to the IDF's fighting abilities (93%) and the southern communities' stamina (87%).
In light of the wide support, it's not surprising that the leaders linked to the operation receives relatively high trust scores, although there are differenced between the different officials.
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi leads the trust scale with 85%. This is likely because the IDF is considered "above" the political arena.
Ashkenazi is followed by President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (62%), and by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu (53%). Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is located at the bottom of the trust scale with only 44%.
The findings from a similar survey held among Israel's Arab citizens paint an opposite picture on almost every question. For example, 85% of the Arabs oppose the operation; 93% believe Israel should halt it based on an agreement which would include Hamas ceasing the rocket fire in exchange for opening the crossings; and 80% believe Israel should sign a ceasefire agreement even if it fails to include Shalit's release.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Immediately upon the end of the fighting in Gaza, the international community will enlist on behalf of an extensive rehabilitation project to enable the Palestinian population to return to their homes and get on with their civil and economic lives.
It is of prime importance to prevent Iran from acquiring influence in post-war Gaza through any assistance programs.
- Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Iran and Hizbullah grasped the political and economic significance of the rehabilitation project in the Shiite areas of southern Lebanon damaged during the war. Hizbullah directed the rehabilitation work, while totally ignoring the central Lebanese government, and in this manner regained and even reinforced its influence within the Shiite community.
- Iran is already positioning itself for influence in post-war Gaza. On January 14, 2009, the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, arrived in Lebanon heading a 40-man delegation in order to direct Iranian support for Hamas.
- The main objective for Israel and the international community should be to deny Iran the attainment of this objective and to transform the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, into the principal factor, along with Egypt, entrusted with the rehabilitation work in Gaza....
To view the full article, Click here.
*Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
The Israel air force demolished two key Hamas war systems in the first 4 minutes of its massive offensive on Gaza Saturday morning, Dec. 27, DEBKAfile's military sources report. The bombers destroyed six mosques in Gaza City which held the terrorists' biggest weapons arsenals and scores of "beehives" containing launchers primed for the simultaneous, automatic release of hundreds of powerful rockets against Israeli cities.
These launchers were rigged for precision-targeting in Israeli town centers. They were operated by a unit of 300 special Hamas operatives trained for their mission at a Syrian military bases under the instruction of Hizballah rocket specialists.
The aerial offensive knocked out 80 percent of the rockets Hamas had prepared to launch and saved Israel's southern cities. The Palestinian Islamists were left only with inferior projectiles. Therefore, 98 percent of the hundreds of missiles they managed to fire in the 22-day war missed their targets and exploded in open ground.
Answering questions about the extreme destruction wrought in Gaza and the high number of casualties – more than 1,300 - Israel commanders described combat conditions as the most complicated they had ever faced: Every second apartment building was booby-trapped and every third building concealed arms caches. Weapons were concealed under children's beds and in basements. ...Hamas gunmen by and large avoided engaging Israeli troops, relying on these death traps.
Monday, Jan. 19, the second day of the ceasefire, the second-echelon of the Hamas leadership emerged from their fortified bunkers after three weeks underground, claiming they had vanquished the Israeli enemy. The top leaders remained invisible. The homeless people picking their way through the rubble for their broken possessions were not exactly welcoming.
Iran has renewed efforts to supply advanced weaponry to Hamas and the IDF is concerned that the terror group will try to smuggle long-range Fajr missiles into the Gaza Strip.
According to the latest intelligence assessments, Iran, which was responsible for writing Hamas's military doctrine, has already launched an internal probe to determine how the plan it had created for Hamas failed to cause more IDF casualties.
...The IDF is concerned that Hamas and Iran will try to smuggle long-range Fajr missiles into the Gaza Strip. Fajr missiles, manufactured in Iran, have a range of 70 km. and if fired from Gaza would easily reach Tel Aviv.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that renewed weapons smuggling would be legitimate grounds for Israel to renew attacks against Hamas.
...The IDF believes that over 80 percent of the tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor have been destroyed and that Hamas has under 1,000 rockets left in its arsenal after it fired over 600 and the IDF destroyed another 1,200. Remaining rockets include several dozen Grad-model Katyushas.
On Monday, the Kerem Shalom, Karni, Nahal Oz and Erez crossings were opened to allow humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza.
...Since the beginning of the operation, 41,937 tons of humanitarian supplies and 2,263,351 liters of fuel have been transferred to the Strip.
... All is not well in the old world. ...We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West.
...The Europe you know is changing. ...entire Muslim neighbourhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. ...This goes for the police as well. It’s the world of head scarves... ...With mosques on many street corner. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighbourhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe. These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe, street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, city by city.
...Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim ...Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities. ...In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear “whore, whore”. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin. ...Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan.
Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization.
A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.
Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favour of a worldwide caliphate. A Dutch study reported that half of Dutch Muslims admit they “understand” the 9/11 attacks.
....The Quran calls for hatred, violence, submission, murder, and terrorism. The Quran calls for Muslims to kill non-Muslims, to terrorize non-Muslims and to fulfil their duty to wage war: violent jihad. Jihad is a duty for every Muslim, Islam is to rule the world – by the sword. The Quran is clearly anti-Semitic, describing Jews as monkeys and pigs.
...Now, I would like to say a few things about Israel. ...The best way for a politician in Europe to loose votes is to say something positive about Israel. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I, however, will continue to speak up for Israel. I see defending Israel as a matter of principle.
...This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam’s territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.
The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.
Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything.
...It is very difficult to be an optimist in the face of the growing Islamization of Europe. All the tides are against us. On all fronts we are losing. Demographically the momentum is with Islam. Muslim immigration is even a source of pride within ruling liberal parties. Academia, the arts, the media, trade unions, the churches, the business world, the entire political establishment have all converted to the suicidal theory of multiculturalism. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a ‘right-wing extremists’ or ‘racists’. The entire establishment has sided with our enemy. Leftists, liberals and Christian-Democrats are now all in bed with Islam.
This is the most painful thing to see: the betrayal by our elites. At this moment in Europe’s history, our elites are supposed to lead us. To stand up for centuries of civilization. To defend our heritage. To honour our eternal Judeo-Christian values that made Europe what it is today. But there are very few signs of hope to be seen at the governmental level. Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, Berlusconi; in private, they probably know how grave the situation is. But when the little red light goes on, they stare into the camera and tell us that Islam is a religion of peace, and we should all try to get along nicely and sing Kumbaya. They willingly participate in, what President Reagan so aptly called: “the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.”
...Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives....We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe’s children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so....
THE Jewish community is considering legal action against The [Melbourne] Age newspaper over "poisonous" anti-Semitic commentary published over the weekend.
The article, headed "Israelis are living high on US expense account" and written by Michael Backman, blames the 9/11 attacks and the London and Bali bombings on Israel's inability to "transform the Palestinians from enemies into friends".
Backman, a business writer for the Melbourne newspaper, wrote: "It is not true that these outrages have occurred because certain Islamic fundamentalists don't like Western lifestyles and so plant bombs in response. Rather, it is Israel or more correctly the treatment of the Palestinians that is at the nub of these events."
John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said his community was considering legal action against the publication and predicted individuals would take action by boycotting the paper.
A joint statement from Mr Searle and Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria, condemned the article, saying it encapsulated "centuries of hate speech against Jews in a few hundred words".
The article stated that the historical persecution of Jews constituted punishment for the death of Jesus and suggested Israelis and Jews were uninterested in the welfare of others and did not invest financially or socially in the broader community.
"It is inexplicable why The Age would publish such a pernicious article," the statement said.
"The Victorian Jewish community's experience is that such commentary rouses violence and hatred against local Jews."
Jewish MP Michael Danby, federal Labor member for Melbourne Ports, yesterday called on Backman to apologise for using "the blood of 80 Australians for his bigoted theories".
Mr Danby said stereotypes in the article about young Israelis not paying bills in Nepal fed into primitive prejudice about "penny-pinching" Jews.
"Backman's poisonous article in Saturday's business Age has no place in serious commentary, I call on Backman to apologise," Mr Danby said.
Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said while legitimate criticism of Israel was acceptable, the article reflected "the bigotry of rank anti-Semitism" and promoted appalling stereotypes.
The Age did not return The Australian's calls yesterday.
The following "APOLOGY" is published in today's edition of The Age, obscurely located under "Contacts" on Page 2 (I couldn't find the "apology"anywhere on Fairfax Digital):
A column by Michael Backman, headlined "Israelis living high on US expense account" (BusinessDay 17.1.09) was published in error. The Age does not in any way endorse the views of the columnist, apologises for the distress the column caused to many readers, particularly in the Jewish community, and regrets publication of the column.
The original, offensive article has been removed from The Age Online, but can still be found here in the Malaysian Insider.
The UN has been silent to the following criminal activities of the Hamas terrorist organization:
1. Hamas has violated the rights of the Palestinian children abusing them, brainwashing them and inciting them to hate and kill.
2. Hamas has deliberately and exclusively fired missiles at Israeli civilian populations hoping to hurt as many civilians as possible. In 2008 alone, Hamas fired 3,278 rockets and mortars from Gaza to Israeli cities.
3. Hamas has been firing these rockets from within densely populated areas using the Palestinian people as human shields. Mosques, hospitals, kindergartens and children are criminally being used as human shields by Hamas operatives.
Enough is enough. UN: your silence to this brings shame to your institution.
From the IDF Vlog, 15/1/09:
Lt. Barak Raz demonstrating Hamas deliberate use of mosques for military purposes.
This video was taken on January 13, 2009 by IDF forces who video-taped a mosque from which an anti-aircraft gun was used.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Olmert's victory photo, the leaders of free Europe standing at his side to confront HAMAS, and to support HAMAS, is indeed heart-rending. Here are 6 personalities representing more than 300 million Europeans, who are left with no choice but to take sides with the previously humble downtrodden Jew and proclaim: Please save us. We are weak, we are neutered, we are powerless. You are powerful, you are a warrior, please save us from the fangs of the Jihadi predator.
That is Europe's main dilemma. There is wide-spread acknowledgment that Jihad is the common enemy, that Jihad has no inhibitions. They all realize Israel's best claim goes thus: You murdered six million Jews willfully, now you can take in four million Arabs. Four hundred and fifty million Europeans, the world's most prosperous landmass, can and must absorb four million Arabs as the just compensation for the willful Genocide Europe perpetrated upon the Jewish people. Should you persist in taking the Arab side of the conflict we shall make Emigration our policy. And they will emigrate, to London, to Paris, to Dusseldorf, where they will join their well-ensconced Jiahdi brethren. This is the fear that drives Europe's leaders to Jerusalem. Please, be humane, don’t push Jihad our way. We have a difficult time with them as it is. Please take money, reconstitute them where they are now. Please allow out navies, such as they are, to try and prevent arms shipments so that you do not encourage Emigration. The fear of Eurabia brought the leaders of Europe on their knees to Jerusalem to ask for pity upon Europe, from Israel.
This was Olmert's finest hour. For a relatively small investment he brought Europe to its knees, wielding the whip of the export of Jihad to Europe. Now one must proceed to the next stage. Tell the European leaders the Arabs are an Arab problem which must be solved in Arab lands, neither in Israel nor in Europe. Tell the Americans that support of perfidious Egypt will result in the export of Jihad to Europe and America.
That could have been the defining moment of the Olmert premiership, but as is the custom, this opportunity has ended up in the waste-basket of History, and we the Jewish People will continue to suffer under the yoke of local and international Jihad, from within and without, till the next round of blood-shed.
Gas well struck opposite Haifa coast...
The announcement by the well's operator, American Noble Energy's president, Charles Davidson Sunday, Jan. 18, caused the Tel Aviv stock market to jump 4 percent, boosted by the shares of Delek Drilling which gained 80 percent and of Isramco Negev-2 by 120 percent.
Tests confirmed that the 5,500 meters deep Tamar-1 reservoir, off the Mediterranean coast of Haifa, contains at least 88 billion cu.m of gas, three times the amount discovered off the coast of Ashkelon. Davidson said the strata were of a promising thickness and quality in three separate places.
Yitzhak Tshuva, of Delek said the find could solve Israel's energy problems for decades to come and reduce its dependence on outside sources.
In a speech broadcast on Hamas television on Sunday night, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinians had achieved a historical and strategic victory over Israel...
...Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Mashaal and congratulated him on the "great victory" ...
...Mashaal reportedly told Ahmadinejad that ... the "resistance" will continue until a full withdrawal of IDF troops from the Strip is completed .... hours after[wards]..., Hamas announced a one-week cease-fire ....
...Hamas's announcement that it would halt its attacks on Israel coincided with the Sharm e-Sheikh summit, which brought several Arab and EU leaders together to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead. ....Hamas officials expressed outrage over the participation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the summit even though his term in office expired earlier this month.
Faraj al-Ghul, the minister of justice in the Hamas government, said that Abbas was now the former president of the PA and therefore no longer represented the Palestinians. ....The minister also called for Abbas to be brought before a Palestinian court, or any other legal forum, on charges of committing "atrocities" against the Palestinians.
...The cease-fire announcement was first broadcast on Syria's state-run TV. Arab political analysts said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was trying to show the US and the West that important decisions were taken in Damascus, not Cairo.
...Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, said that his group would abide by the cease-fire "out of concern for the national interests of the Palestinians and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the people."
Like Hamas, Islamic Jihad also declared "victory" ....
Everyone is now urging a quick end to Operation “Cast Lead”. This operation has been unprecedented in its scale, relative to Israel’s past actions in the Gaza Strip. So is the damage it is leaving behind unprecedented, and that won’t make things easier for us on the diplomatic front. A campaign like this needs to have a strategic outcome that justifies its scale. The needed outcome is for there to no longer be an Iranian terror base 3 kilometers from Sderot and 8 kilometers from Ashkelon.
The government is not doing enough to achieve this goal. As things now stand, the focus of the diplomatic efforts is on the issue of engineering—sealing off the Gaza-Egypt border—and not on the formation of a different reality in Gaza. If there is no one in Gaza to accept the missiles and the money from Iran, the tactical/engineering issue becomes secondary. If we leave behind a Hamas regime in Gaza, it will soon find a way to bypass the obstacles and to rearm.
The immense missed opportunity of the present campaign is that Gaza will evidently remain under Hamas rule. This is not the fault of the IDF, which has done an excellent job, but our political leadership.
What is going to happen? The Hamas chiefs will emerge from their bunkers after the cease fire, will hold a victory march down Gaza’s main streets, and like Hizbollah in 2006 will manufacture an image of victory. “Three weeks of aerial assaults and a ground invasion by the IDF did not break us.”
The Hamas government in Gaza will be the address for the hundreds of millions of dollars that will come in from Iran, but also from other countries, to reconstruct Gaza’s ruins. Hamas will rebuild Gaza and also its own status after having brought about its destruction.
We know from the Hizbollah experience in Lebanon that the road from physical and political reconstruction to military reconstruction is short indeed. Who would have believed in late August 2006 that by the end of 2008 the Hizbollah would come to possess three times as many missiles and rockets?
The government wasted the Year of Annapolis. I warned many times in the past that without a political framework agreement with the Palestinian Authority we would not have an ‘exit strategy’ for the inevitable operation in Gaza. Now we can expect an exit without a strategy. There is a tactic of maintaining an image of victory until the elections. I suspect that the latter opportunity too is going to be squandered by the government.
Yesterday, Said Siyyam, one of the most important and Satanic of the Hamas chiefs in Gaza, was liquidated. This liquidation was a success of the intelligence and operational units. It is the example of what needs to be done further in Gaza, rather than deepen and broaden the ground campaign. We need to continue to pressure the Hamas leadership while taking advantage of our dominance in the air, our intelligence capabilities and the positions the IDF holds on the outskirts of Gaza’s built-up areas.
The Hamas leadership is close to the breaking-point. That is why it wants a cease fire so badly. This is the time for strong nerves and an ability to resist outside diplomatic pressures. We must not allow the revival and continuation of Hamas rule in Gaza, or we will pay for it dearly in the future.
We must also make use of this moment to bring about the release of Gilad Shalit. When the Hamas leaders in Gaza understand that they are liable to be the next targets of assassination, they can be pressed in the cease-fire negotiations on this ethical and humane issue too. It is to be hoped that the government does not squander this opportunity.