Saturday, October 07, 2006

The IDF and the Israeli Spirit

From an article in Azure Magazine, by MOSHE YAALON, who served as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 2002 to 2005. He is currently a distinguished military fellow at the Shalem Center. The paper, which addresses the challenges facing the IDF and Israel, is adapted from the Zalman C. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in Jewish Political Thought, hosted by the Shalem Center and delivered by the author in Jerusalem on January 19, 2006. Follow the link for the full paper. The summary [with my own emphaisi added] is posted below ....

Let me conclude by saying that today, Israel’s strategic position is much stronger than it has been in the past, but the challenges of the future are great. The central one, as I have suggested, is to persuade hostile neighbors to recognize Israel, and to reconcile themselves to its right to exist as an independent Jewish state.

This is connected to the second major challenge: To internalize the advantages of a Western “society of plenty” without losing Jewish patriotism and identity, and without weakening the Zionist ethos. This, in my opinion, is more worrisome than the external threat: Within Israel and without, the fundamental question of the legitimacy of an independent Jewish state is being questioned, and not only on the fringes.

My mother survived the Holocaust. My father came to Palestine in 1925 from the Ukraine as a fifteen-year-old after one of his brothers had been murdered because he was a Jew, and another brother had been arrested because of his Zionist activity. My grandmother comes from a family that came to Safed after escaping the Spanish Inquisition, and has remained there ever since. To me it is clear that in a world divided into nations and countries, there must be at least one Jewish state, or else we will endure continuous persecution. With all the disagreement and confusion and mistakes, everything comes down to this one irreducible fact: We have no choice but to prevail.

In one of his last poems, Natan Alterman wrote:

Then the devil said:
This besieged one–
How shall I defeat him?
He has courage and skill to act
He has weapons and wisdom on his side.
And he said: I will not take away his strength
Neither bridle nor bit will I put on him
Nor will I make him fainthearted
Nor will I weaken his hand as in days of old.
Only this shall I do:
I shall dull his mind,
And he will forget that his cause is just.
Thus said the devil
And the heavens paled with fear
As they watched him rise
To carry out his plan.

As a commander, I have seen the next generation of Israelis–before they enlist, during their regular military service, and later in the reserves–and I can testify that this generation is prepared for any challenge. In many ways this generation is superior to my own, just as I am convinced that my generation was superior to that of my parents. From the point of view of the quality of human resources, the State of Israel has people it can rely on. But without a national consensus as to the country’s aims and justification, military might is of little use. Our enemies draw encouragement from Israeli self-doubt. The greatest challenge facing the State of Israel, therefore, is to restore to Israeli society its faith in the righteousness of its path.

Note that Lieutenant-General (res.) Moshe Yaalon will visit Australia in November 2006. His public meetings are not to be missed...

Arab terrorists planned mass murder of Jews in a Prague synagogue

From Debkafile, October 6, 2006, 10:28 AM (GMT+02:00) ...

Arab terrorists planned mass murder of Jews in a Prague synagogue after taking them hostage, according to Czech intelligence.

...according to the Prague Daily Monitor...“Arab extremists” planned to penetrate a synagogue during a Jewish holiday, pose unspecified conditions that would not be fulfilled and then blow up the synagogue with explosives they would have had ready for use. They intended killing scores of Jewish worshippers inside.

On Sept 23, the Czech government deployed armed guards around dozens of buildings and on the streets of the capital after security services announced an unspecified attack was imminent. They have not divulged any further information....

Muslims are hostages of their own religion

From a Danish television DR2 interview, 6/10/06, with Syrian-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan ...

"We as Muslim people have been hostages of our own belief system for too many centuries. We have been hostages of our own prison. We have never heard other voices outside of our box. We are not used to hearing other voices. We barely are allowed to hear our own voices..."

"...Publishing the cartoons was the first crack in the walls of our prison. Because as a prisoner it's almost impossible to break the wall of your prison. You need someone outside of your prison to help you break in it."

"We need to teach them (in the Muslim world) how to listen to other people's opinions, even if they don't like what they hear..."

".... Publishing the cartoons again and again will push Muslims to take deeper look at their religion. And this is the only way to improve our culture, to improve and our religion... So many people criticize Christianity, Judaism, and who cares? So why not Islam."

..."I believe, you know, that the problem with Islam, is deeply routed in its teachings. Islam is not only a religion. Islam is also a political ideology that preaches violence, and applies its agenda by force. I have never criticized the religious part of Islam. I respect the religious part of Islam as much as I respect any religion. But I believe that we have to take the political part of Islam and confine it as a religion to worship places and at homes. This is the only solution..."

".... I don't believe there are moderate Muslims. Because in Islam you have to believe in every teaching as a holy teaching you cannot change, you have to accept it the way it is, because otherwise simply you are not a Muslim."

... "I'm going to say it directly… I don't believe Islam can be reformed, I really don't. I believe Islam shall be transformed, and it will take fearless religious leaders and very well educated people to cause that transformation. If Islam was transformed absolutely, it will have a role to play."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Clara Ambrus-Baer - Righteous Among the Nations

From HeraldNet, Saturday, August 19, 2006, by LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press ....

...Clara Ambrus-Baer and her family had their home in Budapest.....[They] provided a safe haven for Jews during the Holocaust, saving about 50 people targeted by the Germans, including the future chief rabbi of Vienna.

...the Israeli government honored Clara Ambrus-Baer for her life-saving efforts more than six decades ago. "I never expected this," said Ambrus-Baer, now 81 and living in Buffalo. "I didn't want to get praised for what I did. I took it for normal that somebody saves people's lives."
Ambrus-Baer received a "Righteous Among the Nations" award, presented to people who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. It is the highest honor bestowed on non-Jews by the state of Israel, with 21,310 recipients as of January.

Ambrus-Baer was 19 when the Germans invaded Budapest in 1944. Her family turned its home into a safe haven for Jews hiding from the Nazis, and provided elaborate hideouts in a vacant textile factory that her parents once managed. She recalled times when the Germans came to the house, when the discovery of the hidden Jews would have led to the death of her own family....

Arye Mekel, Israeli consul general in New York, said the heroism of Ambrus-Baer and her family was verified by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. "The Jewish state has a long memory," Mekel said. "We remember our enemies. We don't easily forgive. But we remember our friends, too, particularly those who saved Jews during the Holocaust." ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hizballah Shuts Reoccupies South Lebanon

From DEBKAfile, October 4, 2006, 2:05 PM (GMT+02:00) ...

On Yom Kippur, Oct. 2, 24 hours after the last Israeli soldier left South Lebanon and the day before UNIFIL published its rules of engagement, Hizballah placed roadblocks on all the approaches to the central sector of the South and the entrances to the towns and villages reoccupied by its forces and their rocket units. These enclaves were declared “closed military zones.”

... neither the Lebanese army which moved south nor the international peacekeepers of UNIFIL venture to set foot in these enclaves. Nor did they raise a finger to block the first broad-daylight consignment of advanced Iranian weapons to be delivered in Lebanon via Syria since the August 14 ceasefire.

This coordinated Hizballah-Iranian-Syrian ploy has brought into question the point of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which was to prevent the resumption of hostilities and Hizballah’s rearmament while helping the Beirut government and army assert its sovereignty in the South. It has also made a mockery of the UN Force and its missions.

These developments effectively assign UN Security Council resolution 1701 to the same dustbin as resolution 1559 which ordered Hizballah disarmed. It is especially noted that the Israeli government has made no military or diplomatic response to these violations, or even informed the public that Hizballah has redeployed in the precise positions from which it blitzed Haifa, Nahariya, Carmiel, Acre and W. Galilee for more than a month.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, after Hizballah completed its redeployment, the southern commander who orchestrated the rocket bombardment of Israel, Sheikh Nabil Qauq, made his first appearance since the war. He announced that his forces had regrouped, fully armed and in command of rocket supplies, in exactly the same positions facing the Israeli border as they had occupied when they went to war on July 12. This statement is fully confirmed by DEBKAfile’s military and W. intelligence sources which locate the enclaves Hizballah has cordoned off as closed military zones:
1. Majdal Zoun south of Tyre, from which Nahariya, Acre, Carmiel and Western Galilee were bombed. The Nasser rocket brigade has returned to its posts there with a fresh supply of rockets, as well as the launchers and crews which escaped Israeli counter-attack.
2. Jouaiya, the strategic village occupied by the IDF during the war, has been roped into the Majdal Zoun “military area,” providing Hizballah with full military control of the Tyre district and the ability to bombard UNIFIL headquarters and bases.
3. Siddiquine south of Kana.
4. Deir Amess.
5. The road approaches to the large village of Tebnin in the central sector of the South are blocked.

Our military experts explain that control of Sidiquine, Deir Amess and Tebnin afford Hizballah’s military deployment command of the strategic Jabel Amel mountain region, and its focal points of Haris, Kafra and Aita e-Zott villages. From there, Hizballah fired rockets at Haifa. They were also the centers of the advanced electronic sites from which Hizballah tracked Israeli troop movements across the border and eavesdropped on their signals.

DEBKAfile’s sources also provide detailed information on the Iranian-Syrian arms supplies sent openly into Lebanon on Oct. 2. In early September, DEBKAfile began reporting on the 25 Hizballah arms dumps maintained for easy access on the Syrian side of the Lebanese border. Damascus was thus technically complicit with the 1701 arms embargo. The Syrian Al Qusayr air base south of Homs and opposite the Lebanese town of Hermel was given over for the use of the forward Iranian Revolutionary Guards command. Since the ceasefire, Iranian air transports have been landing arms for Hizballah at this facility almost daily.

Saturday, Sept 30, Syrian military supplies and maintenance units at this air base prepared a convoy of six trucks for a trial run to test the response. Two were fully loaded with miscellaneous rockets, including Katyusha, anti-air and anti-tank missiles, four with mortars, heavy machine guns and ammunition.

This convoy crossed the border at a central road junction connecting the Syrian village of Qusayr with Mt. Lebanon, and headed southwest to Hermel. Another two arms convoys stood by on the Syrian side of the border, waiting to see if the first one was allowed through. Since both the IDF and UNIFIL sat on their hands, the next two will soon follow.

What the international forces did next on Tuesday night Oct. 3 was to publish its rules of engagement These are the main clauses:
The force's commanders have sufficient authority to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind.
UNIFIL personnel may exercise the inherent right of self-defense, as well as "the use of force beyond self-defense to ensure that UNIFIL's area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities."
The peacekeepers also may use force "to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent UNIFIL from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, to protect U.N. personnel, facilities, installations and equipment and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of U.N. personnel and humanitarian workers."
Also the use of force may be applied "to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence in its areas of deployment, within its capabilities."

DEBKAfile notes that all these locutions are open to broad interpretation.
For instance, “hostile activity” could apply to an attack from outer space since there is no mention of “Hizballah,” “Syria or “Iran.” The “arms embargo” ordered by Resolution 1701 is another unmentionable. “The civilians” to be protected are likewise undefined. UNIFIL’s commander has full discretion to decide whether or not it is aplicable to a Hizballlah rocket attack on Nahariya.

Since UN commanders have state explicitly they will only act with the permission of the Lebanese government and army (in which Hizballah holds the power of veto), there is no way that the international force can carry out its duties as mandated by the UN Security Council.
The Olmert government fully colludes in reducing this body to the same ineffectiveness as it displayed in the 28 years leading up to the Lebanon War. By their silence and passivity, Israeli leaders hope to hide the true outcome of that bungled campaign from Israeli and world opinion. Foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who proudly held up the UN force’s deployment as the war’s only success and the formula for Israel’s successful exit strategy, has been strangely struck dumb.

'Gaza readying for war'

FROM WorldNetDaily's JERUSALEM BUREAU, October 2, 2006, by Aaron Klein ...

'Gaza readying for war' Weapons flowing, Palestinians training for battle

Hamas has succeeded in smuggling "hundreds of tons" of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip and is preparing for the possibility of launching a large-scale conflict with Israel, according to a report by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

The report, drafted by Fatah's General Security Services and obtained by WND, stated Hamas has smuggled from the Egyptian Sinai desert between several hundred and 1,300 tons of advanced rockets; anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles; rocket propelled grenades; raw explosives; rifles; ammunition; and other heavy weaponry.

...the Egypt-Gaza border... now is manned by Egyptian and Palestinian security officials and is observed by European monitors. The monitors reportedly have fled their duty several times the past few months. Israeli security officials have noted multiple breaches in border security, including the transport of terrorists and weapons across the border. They say several key sections of the border are penetrable and that smuggling tunnels that snake under the border are "thriving."

The Fatah report follows statements last month by Yuval Diskin, director of Israel's Shin Bet Security Services, warning since the Jewish state withdrew from Gaza, the Palestinians successfully have transferred hundreds of tons of weapons into the Strip. "If we don't move to counter this smuggling, it will continue and create a situation in Gaza similar to the one in southern Lebanon," Diskin said. Diskin was referring to Hezbollah's development of large rocket and weapons arsenals in south Lebanon for use against Israel.

Hezbollah 'turning Gaza into south Lebanon'
Speaking to WND, senior terror leaders in Gaza, including militants from Abbas' Fatah party, agreed with Diskin's assessment. "I think Diskin made those statements to try to distract the Israelis from their losses in Lebanon by focusing on another area, but he is right. We are turning Gaza into south Lebanon," said Abu Ahmed, northern Gaza leader for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group. "We learned from Hezbollah's victory that Israel can be defeated if we know how to hit them and if we are well prepared," Abu Ahmed said. "We are importing rockets and the knowledge to launch them and we are also making many plans for battle."

Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' so-called "military wing" told WND his group is preparing for war against Israel. "In the last 15 months, even though the fighters of Hamas kept the cease-fire, we did not stop making important advancements and professional training on the military level. In the future, after Hamas is obliged to stop the cease-fire, the world shall see our new military capabilities," said Abu Abdullah, who is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared "resistance" department.

Al Aqsa's Abu Ahmed said his group is receiving help from Hezbollah to import long-range rockets and train in guerrilla warfare tactics. "We have warm relations with Hezbollah, which helps with some of the training programs," Abu Ahmed said. "We don't have anything to be ashamed of – that we are dealing with Hezbollah and that we are receiving training and information from them."

He said Hezbollah maintains cells in the Sinai. "The Sinai is an excellent ground for training, the exchange of information and weapons and for meetings on how to turn every piece of land into usable territory for a confrontation with Israel," Abu Ahmed said.

The terror leader said Palestinian groups are developing war bunkers inside Gaza similar to the underground Hezbollah lairs Israel found during last month's war in Lebanon.
"Our preparations include the building of special bunkers. Of course, we are taking into consideration that Gaza is not the same topography as Lebanon," Abu Ahmed said.

During its confrontation with Hezbollah, Israel destroyed scores of complex bunkers that snaked along the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon border. Military officials said they were surprised by the scale of the Hezbollah bunkers, in which Israeli troops reportedly found war rooms stocked with advanced eavesdropping and surveillance equipment they noted were made by Iran.

Abu Ahmed said the most important "tool" in the "Palestinian resistance arsenal was rockets. He said his group learned from Hezbollah that Israel can be defeated with missiles. "We saw that with the capacity to bombard the Israeli population with hundreds of rockets every day we can change the strategic balance with Israel," he said. .... "It is only a matter of a small period before Gaza is ready for war."

The Gaza riots are a Zionist plot

Here's a good laugh from Ynet News, 3/10/06, by Dudi Cohen ...

Editorial published in newspaper affiliate with Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, ‘Violence in Strip result of joint plot conjured by Zionist criminals, western nations against Palestinian people’

An editorial published in Iranian newspaper Jomhury-e Eslami on Tuesday blamed Israel and the West for the internal fighting in the Palestinian Authority.

“What is currently happening in Palestine is the result of a joint plot conjured by the Zionist criminals and the western nations against the Palestinian people,” said the newspaper, which is affiliated with Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei...."

... yeah, and the Zionists also cause tsunamis and earthquakes (ha ha ha)...

Howard sees Islamist terrorism as a threat to free societies

From ABC Online, Wednesday, October 4, 2006. 6:31am (AEST) ...

Prime Minister John Howard has compared Islamist terrorism to Cold War communism as a threat to the values of free societies.

Mr Howard has told an anniversary dinner for the magazine Quadrant that the ideological contest with communism was the defining global struggle of the second half of the 20th Century.
Mr Howard says the battle against Islamist tyranny is the global struggle of the new century.
"The fact is we are part of a global campaign for the very ideals that some people wistfully dreamed were unchallengeable after the Cold War," he said. "No less than in that long twilight struggle, this too will be a generational struggle for the ideals of democratic freedom and liberty under law."

However, Mr Howard stresses that Western action against terrorism should not be seen as action against Islam. "To those who want to portray the West as anti-Muslim I would say that it was not the Arab League who went to war in the 1990s on behalf of Muslim minorities in the Balkans," he said. "It was the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and their NATO allies."

He says terrorists and suicide bombers are killing innocent Muslim civilians every day and western action in Iraq is part of a confrontation with Islamist tyranny. "It remains, to borrow a phrase, an inconvenient truth that if countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia simply abandon the people of Iraq this would be an enormous victory for the forces of terror and extremism around the world," he said.

Israel to blame?

From WorldNetDaily, Tuesday, October 3, 2006, by Joseph Farah ...

...Imagine what a peaceful world in which we would live if we could only rid ourselves of that annoying little Israel. That is the essence of what we hear throughout much of academia. That is the essence of what we hear at the United Nations. ... That is the essence of what we hear from a vast segment of the world press.

While it is an undeniable truth that Israel is on the front lines of the global Islamic jihad, surrounded as it is by hostile neighbors and active terrorist organizations sworn to its destruction, I would love to hear one of these anti-Israel twits explain what the Jewish state has to do with the following conflicts:
  • Afghanistan – Far from Israel, the Taliban and al-Qaida are battling U.S. coalition forces in an effort to re-establish their Islamic dream state – the one that actually gave us Sept. 11.
  • Algeria – Far from Israel, Islamic guerrillas continue to attack a government dominated by fellow Muslims.
  • Bosnia – Far from Israel, it's now a home for Islamic terrorists thanks to the international community that handed it over to Muslim rule.
  • Central Asia – Far from Israel, Islamic radicals are trying to spread Shariah law in states formerly part of the Soviet Union.
  • Chad – Far from Israel, unrest is growing largely because of a refugee crisis started by the radical Islamic regime in neighboring Sudan.
  • India – Far from Israel, Islamic radical groups regularly set off bombs, while India contests with neighboring Islamic Pakistan for control of Kashmir.
  • Indonesia – Far from Israel, Islamic terrorists are a constant threat in the most heavily populous Muslim state in the world.
  • Kosovo – Far from Israel, Islamic radicals burn down churches and persecute Christians.
    Nigeria – Far from Israel, Muslims in the north fight for more control over the government and the nation's vast oil reserves.
  • Philippines – Far from Israel, Islamic guerrillas in the south are fighting for their own country and, of course, the forced expulsion of non-Muslims.
  • Russia – Far from Israel, Islamic terrorists have attacked airliners, schools and other civilian targets in their fight for an independent, Islamic Chechnya.
  • Somalia – Far from Israel, tribal fighting continues in another former playground of Osama bin Laden. Islamic radicals fight for Shariah law to bring order.
  • Sudan – Far from Israel, Muslims in the north slaughter Christians, animists and even other Muslims in a war that has already killed millions.
  • Thailand – Far from Israel, a small population of Muslims in the south, totaling only about 3 percent, fight for a separate Islamic state. A recent military coup installed the country's first Muslim leader, who suspended the constitution.
  • Uganda – Far from Israel, Muslim rebels in the north, aided by Sudan, have challenged the government.

Maybe political science professors can tie Islamic terrorist acts against Egypt's government, inside Lebanon and targeting the Saudi kingdom to Israel – because it's in the neighborhood.
Maybe they can persuade some people that the U.S. invasion of Iraq had something to do with Israel...

But, how, I wonder, do these geniuses discount the raging Islamic jihad on the march from the East to the West? Do they really think all of this bloodshed is about a tiny, fictional nation of Palestine? Who really believes any of this global fighting will stop if and when Israel ceases to exist?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kidnappers Reject Egyptian-Brokered Deal

From Arutz Sheva -, Monday, October 2, 2006 / 10 Tishrei 5767

Hamas terrorists who are holding IDF Cpl Gilad Shalit hostage have rejected a deal to swap the Israeli soldier for hundreds of Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Gheit said in an interview on Al Arabiya television that terrorists rejected a deal “to free women, children, elders and those who have been serving long prison terms” in exchange for Shalit.The prisoner exchange “could have guaranteed freeing 900 to 1,000 prisoners,” said Abu Gheit, “but sadly they have decided to keep holding him.”

Egypt lost patience with Hamas last week and demanded in a harsh letter written by Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal that Shalit be released by October 22nd, the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Suleiman also said Meshaal would be held responsible for any Israeli military operation carried out in Gaza.....

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), the Hamas terror organization that kidnapped Shalit, said Monday that such an attack would mean the file of the soldier may get closed again.” The spokesman, Abu Mujahed, warned, "If they enter Gaza and kill people or even if they eliminate all Gazans, they will never regain their soldier."

Violent Hamas-Fatah clashes

From THE JERUSALEM POST, Oct. 2, 2006, by Khaled Abu Toameh ...

Ten Palestinians were killed and more than 150 injured in fierce clashes that erupted between supporters of Hamas and Fatah over the past 48 hours in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The violence, the worst of its kind since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority more than a decade ago, followed allegations by Hamas leaders that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party were planning a coup against the Hamas-led government.

Most of the casualties were reported in the Gaza Strip, where nine people were killed and dozens injured during heavy fighting between the two parties on Sunday. On Monday, the violence spilled over to the West Bank, where a Palestinian was shot to death in Jericho and six others were wounded by gunfire in Nablus. In addition, several PA institutions and Hamas-run organizations were set on fire, including the offices of the PA Prime Minister in Ramallah.

Fatah officials strongly condemned the Hamas-led government, holding it responsible for the outbreak of the violence. The officials urged Abbas to fire the government and to declare a state of emergency to prevent an all-out confrontation with Hamas.

The violence began on Sunday morning, when several hundred Fatah-affiliated policemen took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to protest unpaid salaries for the third consecutive day. The policemen stormed the Bank of Palestine branch in Gaza City and set it on fire. Ignoring warnings by Hamas's Interior Minister, Said Siam, that he would use force to disperse the protesters, the policemen, backed by scores of Fatah gunmen, went on a shooting spree in the streets and blocked main highways.

As the protests intensified, Siam ordered the 3,000-strong "back-up" force of the Interior Ministry to quell the protests, claiming that the demonstrations were politically motivated with the aim of undermining the Hamas-led government. In scenes reminiscent of the Lebanese civil war in the 70's and 80's, the confrontation quickly turned into street gun battles, with both sides using automatic rifles, pistols and hand-propelled grenades. At least three of the casualties were identified as innocent passersby, including 15-year-old Hassan Abu al-Hatel.

....Khaled Abu Hilal, spokesman for the PA Interior Ministry, said his ministry was determined to crush "rebellious" elements in the PA security forces.....Hamas leaders repeated charges that the mutiny in the PA security forces was part of a plot designed to bring down the Hamas-led government..... "These thugs are using the issue of unpaid salaries as a cover for staging a coup against the legitimate government. We will not remain idle in the face of these suspicious and well-planned attempts."

....The internecine fighting was accompanied by an unprecedented war of words between Hamas and Fatah leaders. "This government poses a real threat to the safety of the Palestinians," said Ahmed Abdel Rahman, a top aide to Abbas. "The government is unable to carry out its responsibilities because it is leading us from one failure to another." Ziad Abu Ain, a senior Fatah operative in Ramallah, threatened to "pursue" all Hamas leaders and representatives who supported their government's decision to prevent the protests by force. "They are all responsible for the crime that occurred on black Sunday," he said. "We will chase them wherever they are unless they openly condemn what their government did."

.... Abbas's media advisor, Nabil Amr, said he did not rule out the possibility that Abbas would declare a state of emergency and form a new government consisting largely of technocrats. "I believe that this would be the best solution for the crisis," he said. "I have heard some Hamas leaders talk in favor of such a government."

Assad Jnr rattles sabres

From Ynet, 3/10/06 ...

...Lately, Assad has been sending implicit messages to Israel regarding his wish to renew the negotiations. On several occasion the Syrian leader conveyed messages to senior Israeli officials stating that a window of opportunity for peace has opened, but that if Israel fails to seize this opportunity, the situation in the region may deteriorate. Israel, however, rejected the offers from Damascus, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently declared that "Assad is not a partner for peace at the moment."

In his interview with El Pais, Assad did not hesitate to use a threatening tone, and stated: "Two sides are responsible for the situation (with Israel), not just one… the situation is linked to one issue – the situation of the peace process… or maybe war, if there isn't a peace process." ...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Jewish Community of Australia

Follow this link to an article on The Jewish Community of Australia from the JCPA series on Changing Jewish Communities, No 13, 15 October 2006, 23 Tishrei 5767, by Jeremy Jones.

  • The Australian Jewish community numbers between 100,000 and 120,000. The majority of Australian Jews were born in other countries, with the United Kingdom, Poland, the Former Soviet Union, and South Africa being the most significant of many and diverse sources of immigration. Estimates of the number of Australian Jews who have emigrated to Israel, despite the absence of serious "push" factors, are high, as are percentages of Jewish children attending Jewish day schools.
  • The internal challenges for the community include preserving Jewish identity in a society that offers numerous choices for an individual's self-identification, understanding and addressing the particular needs of newer arrivals and their place in the broader Jewish community, and providing for the financial and other requirements of an aging population and of Australian Jews who suffer from social disadvantage.
  • The external challenges the community faces include confronting anti-Semitism, protection from terrorism, and maintaining a satisfactory relationship with government.

Follow this link to the full article.