Friday, September 30, 2005

September Bibliography

Here is your holiday reading list (articles posted on ICJS Research in the last month). Enjoy ....

Letter to Palestinians
Yossi Klein Halevi, 29 Sep 05

View from the other side
ZNET interview with Noam Chomsky, 11 Jun 04

Two Rallies
Rabbi Berel Wein, 30 Sep 05

BBC refuses to hand over evidence on Islamics to Police
Jamie Doward, 25 Sep 05

How The United Nation's Neutrality Props Up Evil Regimes
Elan Journo
22 Sep 05

Nazifying Israel returns to haunt the Labor Party
Glenn Milne
26 Sep 05

’Isa the Muslim Jesus
Dr Mark Durie
5 Dec 03

Husain Haqqani & Daniel Kimmage
23 Sep 05

ADL Mourns the Passing of Famed Nazi-Hunter Simon Wiesenthal
Abraham H. Foxman
20 Sep 05

Rushdie speaks out against Islamic extremism
Associated Press
20 Sep 05

American anti-terror fatwa falls short
Judea Pearl
13 Sep 05

ABC's culture of contempt
Paul Gray
16 Sep 05

Response to Julia Irwin in the Parliament today
Mr Keenan (Member for Stirling)
15 Sep 05

Gaza: the Jihad Advances
Robert Spencer
14 Sep 05

Israel Advocacy Workshop
The SZC and B’nai B’rith Anti Def Comm
15 Sep 05

Beazley must discipline Irwin on Israel
Chris Pyne MHR
15 Sep 05

It's idiotic to mock the laws that could save us
Greg Sheridan
15 Sep 05

Burning Synagogues in Gaza put Palestinian state at risk
Sen. Brett Mason and Michael Danby MHR
14 Sep 05

'You've just landed in Eurabia'
Michael Boyden
13 Sep 05

Magen David Adom
13 Sep 05

The face of Islamic religious intolerance
Paula Stern
12 Sep 05

The Russians Are Coming
Tony Carnes
9 Sep 05

Divesting Decency
Sarah Brodsky
8 Sep 05

Debate (Matter of Public Interest)
Senator Brett Mason
8 Sep 05

Adjournment debate - Gaza
Michael Danby MHR
8 Sep 05

Myth, Fact, and the al-Dura Affair
Nidra Poller
1 Sep 05

Walk United for Israel and Peace
Nechama Zwier
7 Sep 05

Women safe if Shariah allowed in Ontario?
Canadian Press
7 Sep 05

Two weeks of distress
Rabbi Berel Wein
26 Aug 05

Jihadism's roots in political Islam
Bassam Tibi
30 Aug 05

Israel Advocacy Seminar
World Zionist Organisation
6 Sep 05

AUJS, AZYC & Hagshama
6 Sep 05

Muslims ransack Christian village
Khaled Abu Toameh from TAIBA
5 Sep 05

Numbers Racket - Book Reviev
Robert Pape reviewed by Jonathan Kay
31 Aug 05

Why corporations fund radical Islam
Daniel Pipes
2 Sep 05

Rubin's humiliating fate no surprise
Margaret Wente
27 Aug 05

UN sees one side of Arab-Israeli conflict
Patrick Goodenough
25 Aug 05

New York Times Interviewers Fake Rice Statements
Alex Safian (Camera)
27 Aug 05

Aftermath of Disengagement
G Bloch
31 Aug 05

Thursday, September 29, 2005

6-part TV series on Auschwitz

A new Series begins tonight:

From ABC TV Guide: "Auschwitz: The Nazis And The Final Solution - Part 1 - Surprising Beginnings" screening 9:25pm Thursday, September 29, 2005 ...

...This compelling six-part documentary series reveals the untold story of Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camp in 1945.
Written and produced by BAFTA award-winning producer Laurence Rees, and using new research, Auschwitz, The Nazis And The Final Solution, offers viewers a unique perspective on a camp in which more than one million people were ruthlessly murdered.

The series follows the trail of evil from the origins of Auschwitz as a place to hold Polish political prisoners, through the Nazi solution for what they called 'the Jewish problem' to the development of the camp as a mechanised factory for mass murder.

It interweaves new testimony from camp survivors and members of the SS with archive footage and drama reconstructions of some of the key decision-making moments. And for the first time on television, the buildings that made up Auschwitz-Birkenau are recreated from the original blueprints, using photo-real graphics.

'The name Auschwitz is quite rightly a byword for horror,' says series producer Laurence Rees. 'But the problem with thinking about horror is that we naturally turn away from it. This series is not only about the shocking, almost unimaginable pain of those who died, or survived, Auschwitz. It's about how the Nazis came to do what they did. I feel passionately that being horrified is not enough. We need to make an attempt to understand how and why such horrors happened if we are ever to be able to stop them occurring again.'

The series is the result of three years of in-depth research, drawing on the close involvement of world experts on the period. It is based on nearly 100 interviews with survivors and perpetrators, many of whom are speaking in detail for the first time.

Sensitively shot drama sequences, filmed on location using German and Polish actors, bring recently discovered documents to life on screen, whilst specially commissioned computer-generated images give a historically accurate view of Auschwitz-Birkenau at all its many stages.

Arab countries to discuss stopping terror funding

From Jerusalem Post , Sep. 25, 2005 23:40 Updated Sep. 26, 2005 4:02, by ORLY HALPERN ...

'Hawala,' an ancient Eastern way of transferring money without banks, will be one of the subjects under discussion by Arabs of 14 countries at a conference in Beirut Monday to stop terror funding.

The main goal of the second plenary meeting of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force is to set up a system for member states to review each other's methods of fighting money laundering and terrorism financing.

The group was formed in November by Arab members of the larger Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Their goal is to develop ways to stop financing Al-Qaida.

A number of Arab countries such as Iraq, Mauritania, Libya and Sudan have expressed interest in joining. Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen are the present members.
Arab countries do not have efficient financial intelligence units, which experts say are essential to combat the funding of terrorism.

Five-year intifada: 1,061 Israelis killed in 26,159 attacks...and increasing

From Jerusalem Post , Sep. 28, 2005 23:54 Updated Sep. 29, 2005 0:03, By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH ...

Terror groups have increased their efforts to launch attacks inside the Green Line, especially in Jerusalem in the past year, marking the fifth year since the outbreak of the Al Aksa intifada in September 29, 2000, a report issued by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Wednesday stated. This is despite the so-called truce or tahdiya terror organizations pledged to uphold in January this year, the report said.

In the past year (from last September up until the present date), 57 Israelis were killed in a total of 3,531 attacks in Israel as well as in the West Bank and Gaza. Of that number, 262 attacks were perpetrated inside Israel compared to 185 between September 2003 and September 2004.

Twenty percent of all Israeli casualties in the past five years were harmed in attacks in which east Jerusalemites were involved in, the report said.

In the five years of violence, a total of 1,061 Israelis were killed and murdered and 6,089 wounded in a total of 26,159 attacks carried out in Israel as well as in the West Bank and Gaza
Sources in the security establishment estimate that in the coming year, terror groups will increase their efforts to transfer knowledge and weapons, including Kassam rockets, to the West Bank, which is expected to become the main arena for Palestinian terror since the IDF pullout from Gaza.

The western Negev will become the main weapons smuggling route for terrorists in the coming year, and terror organizations are expected to increase their efforts to smuggle weapons from the Sinai into Israel via the western Negev, and transfer it to the West Bank, the sources said.
The possibility that Al Qaeda operatives succeeded in entering Gaza in the days the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the PA areas were forced open cannot be ruled out, the sources said.

...While the abduction and subsequent murder of Jerusalemite Sasson Nuriel shocked the nation, it does not constitute a change in terror groups' strategy, the sources said. In the past five years threats by terror groups to abduct Israelis have been constant, the sources said.

... anarchy prevails in Gaza where Hamas continues to vie with the PA for a future leadership position, and continues to perceive itself as a top running contender in the upcoming Palestinian legislative council elections scheduled to take place in January 2006. The report estimates that because of its attempts to win over the Palestinian public, Hamas will refrain from claiming responsibility for any future terror attacks it carries out ...At the same time however it will also continue "behind the lines" to assist other terror groups improve their capability.

Despite the hundreds of Palestinian fugitives arrested in recent West Bank raids, the Islamic Jihad infrastructure in northern Samaria, especially in the Tulkarm and surrounding environs as well as in Jenin, continues to constitute a serious threat and continues in its efforts to launch attacks.

The Hamas infrastructure operating in the Hebron and Ramallah districts continues its efforts to target Israelis, but is far smaller then Hamas in Gaza.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Anti-War, My Foot

From Slate, by Christopher Hitchens, updated Monday, Sept. 26, 2005...

Are they really 'anti-war'?
Saturday's demonstration in Washington, in favor of immediate withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq, was the product of an opportunistic alliance between two other very disparate 'coalitions.' ...

  1. 'International ANSWER,' the group run by the 'Worker's World' party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the 'resistance' in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the genocidaires in Rwanda. ...a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.
  2. The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left... that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest.

...To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side.

Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

Some of the leading figures in this "movement," such as George Galloway and Michael Moore, are obnoxious enough to come right out and say that they support the Baathist-jihadist alliance. Others prefer to declare their sympathy in more surreptitious fashion. The easy way to tell what's going on is this: Just listen until they start to criticize such gangsters even a little, and then wait a few seconds before the speaker says that, bad as these people are, they were invented or created by the United States. ...

The two preferred metaphors are, depending on the speaker, that the Bin-Ladenists are the fish that swim in the water of Muslim discontent or the mosquitoes that rise from the swamp of Muslim discontent. (Quite often, the same images are used in the same harangue.) The "fish in the water" is an old trope, borrowed from Mao's hoary theory of guerrilla warfare and possessing a certain appeal to comrades who used to pore over the Little Red Book. The mosquitoes are somehow new and hover above the water rather than slip through it. No matter. The toxic nature of the "water" or "swamp" is always the same: American support for Israel.

...There are only two serious attempts at swamp-draining currently under way. In Afghanistan and Iraq, agonizingly difficult efforts are in train to build roads, repair hospitals, hand out ballot papers, frame constitutions, encourage newspapers and satellite dishes... But in each case...the most poisonous snakes and roaches are being recruited and paid to wreck the process and plunge people back into the ooze. How nice to have a "peace" movement that is either openly on the side of the vermin, or neutral as between them and the cleanup crew, and how delightful to have a press that refers to this partisanship, or this neutrality, as "progressive."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Eulogy for a Monster: Arafat

This is a very brief extract from a lengthy, well researched article from Front Page (US), 23-Sep-2005, by David Meir-Levi...

Yasir Arafat is the founding father of Palestinian nationalism. He is also the godfather of 20th century terrorism. The nationalist movement that he created ab ovo remains unique in history as the only one throughout the entire world whose defining paradigm is terrorism, and whose raison d’etre is the destruction of a sovereign state and the decimation of its Jewish population. Even after its leader’s death, still loyal to his legacy, the Palestinian Authority remains focused on the destruction of Israel rather than on a healthy nationalism and the building of an economically viable, Palestinian state.

Arafat not only legitimized, but actually romanticized the murder of innocent civilians, turning terrorism into a populist revolutionary tool. He put airplane hijacking on the political map. He legitimized terrorism, beginning with the moment that he was welcomed to the UN General Assembly on November 13, 1974, kaffiyah on his head and side-arm at his waist, and got a standing ovation from the delegates present. When the Nobel committee awarded him its Peace Prize in 1995, he fulfilled the Orwellian fantasy of reality turned upside down, and truth turned inside out. Evil had become good, wrong had become right, and a mass murderer drenched in the blood of thousands had become a national hero to millions

...Arafat was a protégé of the Communist bloc and succeeded in making his cause a cause of the international left that survived the collapse of the Communist system. The alliance between radical Islam and the secular left that ripened during the post-9/11 war on terror was forged in the battles that Arafat waged.

Arafat resuscitated Jew-hatred and made it the official policy of the UN when the Arab bloc leveraged the passage of a UN resolution equating Zionism with racism in 1975. By relentlessly portraying Israel as evil, Arafat revived the heinous stereotype of the malignant Jew to international respectability, eclipsing the effects of the horror of Nazism and proving correct Josef Goebbels’ lesson to Hitler that if you repeat the same lie often enough, people will believe it. ...

Conclusion: There Are No Leaders without Followers
For forty years Arafat was the symbol of Palestinian nationalism, and for forty years he wreaked havoc in the Middle East, most destructively against the people he claimed to serve, and at no time more destructively than when he ruled the West Bank as its tyrannical authority. Other societies suffering under despotic rulers have rejected and removed their oppressors. Why were millions of Palestinians, in Israel and the territories and abroad, willing to support and follow him? Why did those millions on the receiving end of his terrorist autocracy still cheer him, vote for him, run ululating into the streets to greet his motorcade, and sacrifice themselves and their children for what he defined as their cause? Why did they allow him to poison the minds of their children with ethnic hatred and the desire for martyrdom? Why did sixty-percent of Palestinians support suicide bombing against civilians – a barbaric tactic hitherto unknown -- and perpetrate daily carnage on innocent civilians? Why did they allow him to embezzle billions earmarked to alleviate their poverty and build their economic future, and why did they let him spend it on his terrorist minions? Why did they let him squander every opportunity to create their state by answering peace offers with anti-civilian terror?

The Palestinian people never did for themselves what the Ukrainians did when their election process was subverted by Russia, or what the Iraqis and Afghanis did when the United States gave them the opportunity. Or what the Lebanese did when they had the chance.

There are two possible answers: The first is that Arafat’s reign of terror over his own people – assassinating dissenters and potential rivals to his rule – was more thorough than that of any dictator since Stalin. The Palestinian people did not resist because they were terrorized into submission. But the problem with this answer is that Arafat had only, at best, a quasi-governmental authority over the West Bank. There were legal and political councils, lawyers unions, and a police force that could have stood up to him.

The second is terrible to suggest and deeply troubling, but also inescapable. The Palestinian people followed Arafat even as he led them to perdition and condemned them to a life of hopeless grinding poverty, because they wanted what he promised to deliver: the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Arab state from the Jordan to the Sea. They wanted Israel’s destruction more than they wanted their own state. They shared their leader’s vision, and therefore invited the fate that has befallen them.

Click here for the full, lengthy article complete with detailed history

Monday, September 26, 2005

Nazifying Israel returns to haunt the Labor Party

From The Australian: Glenn Milne: Nazifying Israel returns to haunt the Labor Party [September 26, 2005]: by Glenn Milne: September 26, 2005 ...

OPPOSITION Leader Kim Beazley is coming under increased pressure from Australia's influential Jewish community to publicly repudiate Labor MPs who are 'Nazifying' Israel, despite its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The latest bout of justifiable Jewish angst follows another ugly outburst by Labor backbencher Julia Irwin in federal Parliament two weeks ago.

Following the Gaza pull-out, Irwin told Parliament in part: 'Gaza is now a Palestinian ghetto; a prison for its one million people. All flows of people and goods must pass through Israeli border controls, which has resulted in the World Bank's reporting that unemployment and poverty will rise in Gaza. Now Israel will rule Gaza like a walled ghetto, a giant penal colony, a concentration camp.
'We are witnessing the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the Palestinian nation. The world must not allow this to happen.'
This is deliberately insidious stuff. Note the use of the words 'ghetto', 'concentration camp' and 'ethnic cleansing', all terms associated with the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany. An understandably furious Australian Jewish community believes Irwin is engaged in dangerous moral relativism, putting forward the phony proposition that Israel is acting in the same way as Hitler. "

Sunday, September 25, 2005

UN Report Refutes Palestinian Claims

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News: has published a 2-part opinion piece by Israel Zwick on Sep 15, '05 / 11 Elul 5765 and Sep 22, '05 / 18 Elul 5765

On September 7, 2005, the UN Development Programme released its Human Development Report 2005 (see www.undp. org). If carefully reviewed, this report has widespread implications for the Arab-Israeli conflict. While the UN is eager to condemn Israel for violating Palestinian rights, its own data suggests otherwise.

The data disputes Palestinian claims that they are suffering as a result of a harsh Israeli military occupation. On the contrary, the Palestinians have actually benefited from their association with the State of Israel and their difficulties are the result of self-inflicted wounds. Palestinian problems stem from their intolerance, hostility, violence and corruption, not from Israeli occupation. Those in the world who are concerned about the 'plight of the Palestinian refugees' should carefully review this report. They may want to reconsider their support for establishing a Palestinian state. Two other reports from the UNDP, the Arab Human Development Report 2004, and HDR 2004, also raise serious questions regarding the wisdom of establishing a Palestinian State in lands currently controlled by Israel.

The mammoth 372-page report is titled "Human Development Report 2005: International Cooperation at a Crossroads". The introductory material notes that 2.5 billion people in the world, which is 40% of the world's population, are living on less than $2 per day. About half of that population, 20% of humanity, is living on less than $1 per day (p. 4, 24).

. . .The report observes that in 2003 there were 29 ongoing violent conflicts, down from 51 in 1991. In Sudan alone, the conflict has claimed two million lives and displaced 6 million people (p. 153). Yet, the focus of world sympathy and concern seems to be directed towards three million Arabs living in Israeli territories who are receiving the highest amount of aid in the world on a per capita basis.

The HDR 2005 views human progress through a human development index (HDI), which is a composite indicator of three dimensions of human welfare: income, education and health. The HDI is a barometer for changes in human well-being and for comparing progress in different regions (p. 21). The numerous tables include data for 175 UN member countries, along with Hong Kong, China (SAR) and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

. . .While the world laments over the treatment of Arabs at Israeli checkpoints, 10 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. More than 850 million people in the world are suffering from malnutrition and its effects (p. 24). The risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes ranges from 1 in 18 in Nigeria to 1 in 8,700 in Canada (p. 32). Sub-Saharan Africa had almost 100 million more people living on less than $1 per day in 2001 than in 1990. In contrast, the share of people living on less than $1 per day in the Middle East and North Africa decreased from 5.1% in 1981 to 2.4% in 2001.

. . .The HDR chapter that is most relevant to the Arab-Israeli conflict is Chapter 5, dealing with violent conflict. . . .The report notes that since 1990, more than three million people have died in armed conflict, mostly in developing countries. About 25 million people are currently internally displaced because of conflict or human rights violations (p. 151). Yet, the most international aid is still directed towards three million Arabs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the State of Israel is most often cited by the UN for human rights violations.

The data provided by HDR 2005 suggests that the difficulties experienced by the Palestinian Arabs largely result from their own policies, not from oppression by the State of Israel.The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are cited as an example of how human development is being reversed (p. 158). In the 1990s, the OPT registered some improvement in human development, but the second intifada, beginning in September 2000, resulted "in a sharp deterioration in living standards and life chances." The poverty rate more than doubled from 20% in 1999 to 55% in 2003. The town of Nablus was cited as a prosperous commercial hub prior to September 2000. The intifada resulted in shops closing, workers selling their tools and farmers selling their land (p. 158).

...The most revealing data in HDR 2005 can be found in the tables beginning on page 211. The 177 countries in the HDI are classified into three clusters by achievement in human development: high human development with an HDI of 0.8 or above, medium human development with an HDI of 0.5 to 0.8, and low human development with an HDI of less than 0.5. The data is based on information from the year 2003. In these tables, Israel is listed in the high cluster with a rank of 23 and HDI of 0.915 (p. 219). The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are in the medium cluster with a rank of 102 and HDI of 0.729 (p. 220). That means that there are 75 countries listed below OPT. Overall, the Arab states have an HDI of 0.679, which suggests that the Arabs living in OPT have better human conditions than their counterparts in other Arab-Muslim countries.

Even more revealing are the income and poverty tables (p. 228). On the Human Poverty Index, the OPT is ranked seventh on a list of 103 developing countries. It is on par with Cuba, Singapore and Colombia. The other Arab countries are ranked below the OPT. Wealthy Saudi Arabia is ranked 32. Egypt is ranked 55.

The table on page 281 lists the amount of official development assistance (ODA) received among the 177 HDI areas. OPT received 288.6 US dollars per capita in 2003, which is the second highest amount in the entire list. Only Cape Verde received more, with 305.7 US dollars per capita. Yet, because of violent conflict, the OPT experienced a decline in HDI. This suggests that all of this aid was not being used to improve human welfare in the OPT.

On page 312, there is a table titled, "Gender inequality in economic activity." The OPT has the lowest rate of female economic activity among the 177 countries, with a rate of 9.6%, or 14% of the male rate. This suggests that almost all of the aid money is going to provide employment for males. This may explain how the various militias in OPT are being funded. The implication is that the high amount of aid going to OPT is funding militias and promoting violent conflict, instead of improving the lives of the population. Israel, as the occupying power, should be absolved of any blame. The Palestinian Arabs are suffering from deep, self-inflicted wounds, not from Israeli occupation. The population would not benefit from the establishment of an independent state that would only continue a policy of intolerance, discrimination, corruption and violence.

On April 7, 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted its infamous resolution 2005/1, which was critical of Israel and supported the "Palestinian people" without even once mentioning the role of terrorism. This resolution was adopted two days after the UN Development Programme released its Arab Human Development Report 2004.

. . . On the opening page, the authors state, "Of all the impediments to an Arab renaissance, political restrictions on human development are the most stubborn. This Report therefore focuses on the acute deficit of freedom and good governance." While the beginning sounds encouraging, the authors change their tune on the next page: "The continued occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel, the US-led occupation of Iraq, and the escalation of terrorism adversely influenced Arab human development."

. . .To fully appreciate the absurdity of these claims, one needs to appreciate the size and scope of the Arab World. . . .22 countries stretching from Morocco in the west to Oman in the east. They have a combined population of 300 million people and their combined economies surpass 1 trillion US dollars annually.... The Arab world stretches across more than 11 million square kilometers. Its total area is the size of the entire Spanish-speaking Western hemisphere, larger than Canada, China, the United States, Brazil, or Europe....

In contrast, the West Bank and Gaza consists of about 6,000 sq. km and contains about three million Arabs. Yet, according to the Report's expert authors, the primary impediment to Arab progress is the mother of all evils, "The Occupation."

. . .After spending three pages on vilifying Israel and the United States, the Executive Summary spends the next fifteen pages discussing "The State of Freedom and Good Governance" in the Arab region. This is where the authors actually display their knowledge and expertise. They discuss the lack of civil and political freedoms in the Arab world and how it affects economic and social rights. The authors conclude, "By 21st century standards, Arab countries have not met the Arab peoples' aspirations for development, security, and liberation." Their recommendation is to reform Arab societal structures to guarantee freedom: "The reform required in Arab countries will be marked by the total respect of the key freedoms of opinion, expression, and association in Arab countries and the ending of all types of marginalization of, and discrimination against social groups. It will eliminate all types of extra-legal arrangements such as emergency laws and exceptional courts. It will lay down the foundations for the principles of transparency and disclosure in all organizations throughout Arab society.

. . .This latter aspect of the Arab HDR 2004 was emphasized in the press releases distributed by William Orme, UNDP, Chief of Media. In the press release titled "Some Questions and Answers About AHDR 2004", the main findings and conclusion are emphasized:

The Report concludes that the situation of freedom and good governance in the Arab world ranges from deficient to seriously deficient. Despite sporadic improvements in the human rights situation in some Arab countries, the overall human rights picture in the Arab world is grave and deteriorating.

. . .Even in independent Arab countries, there is a serious gap in freedom and good governance. Authoritarian regimes severely restrict freedoms and the right to political participation and civil activity to ensure that no opposition arises to challenge their unrepresentative form of government. Constitutional rights are also violated as authoritarian regimes take control of the law and manipulate it to reinforce their grip on power and serve their own interests.

Then it goes on to blame the occupation in Palestine: "At the regional level, the Arab populations under occupation, particularly in Palestine, are deprived of many of their basic freedoms and their human rights. This has a direct impact on the situation in other Arab countries, and provides authoritarian Arab regimes with the excuse of an external threat to postpone reform and movement towards more representative forms of government. It also distracts the attention of political and civil society forces from efforts to achieve freedom and good governance, and focuses it instead on supporting the struggle to end occupation.

Finally, the press release summarizes the major recommendations of the report:

The Report recommends that Arab countries sign all declarations, covenants and treaties that together make up international law, and incorporate these provisions into their constitutions and reflect them in their legal systems. The Report also calls for a gradual and negotiated transition of power to representative forms of government. The first step in the process would be to unleash civil society forces and allow the three key freedoms of opinion, expression and association—a move that would generate a dynamic debate on how to achieve the transition.

... The process should include reforming the political system to allow full participation through free and fair elections, the results of which must be fully respected. There should be a separation of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, with the independence of the latter institutionally guaranteed.

In other words, the Arabs have to stop blaming the Jews, Israel, and the United States for the misery and poverty. Their problems are mostly self-inflicted and they have to heal themselves.The UNDP distributed seven other press releases that were critical of the Arab governments and their lack of freedom. . . . Interested readers are encouraged to obtain them from the A2HDR 2004 Press Kit website.

Each press release is only a few pages long and is very informative and enlightening. After reading them, one will understand how insignificant the Israeli occupation really is. Actually, the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza follows UN recommendations to promote multicultural diversity. The Palestinian Arabs benefited economically and socially from their association with the more democratic and advanced Israeli society until they unleashed the second intifada in September 2000. That's when their situation deteriorated, as a result of their emphasis on violence and as a result of the subsequent Israeli measures to protect the Jewish population from Arab suicide bombers.

IDF Kills 4 Gaza Terrorists after Sderot Bombarded

From Arutz Sheva - Israel National News: Defense/Middle East 22:40 Sep 24, '05 / 20 Elul 5765 By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu . . .

Pinpoint missile strikes killed four Hamas terrorists in the Gaza area after a massive rocket attack. Five Sderot residents were wounded. The security Cabinet was called to an emergency meeting.

IDF helicopters early Saturday fired missiles at weapons factories and vehicles carrying arms and terrorists in northern Gaza and in Gaza City. Hamas terrorists fired three additional Kassam rockets on Sderot after Israel's retaliation, the first time Israel has struck back since the expulsion of Jewish residents from Gush Katif and northern Gaza and the subsequent withdrawal of all IDF personnel from the Gaza region. ...