Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flotilla Stunt linked with Muslim Brotherhood and global jihadi networks

From TIP, 28/5/10:

A flotilla of pro-Palestinian demonstrators with links to terrorist groups is en route to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israeli government requests to deliver their shipment through legal channels.

...the organizers also declined a request by Noam Shalit, father of captive Israeli solider Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, to deliver aid, medicine and a letter to his son who was kidnapped by Iran-backed Hamas on June 25, 2007...
...Hamas continues to smuggle weapons into Gaza and uses building supplies delivered there to construct fortified bunkers. Iran trains, arms and funds Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States, Israel, Canada and Australia.

...The flotilla of nine ships sailing to Gaza with the intent of delivering aid to Palestinians in the Hamas-run territory was organized by IHH, a Turkish aid foundation which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Free Gaza, which describes itself as a human rights group.

The Turkish IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi - “humanitarian relief fund”), with a demonstrated anti-American orientation, has known links to global jihadi networks, openly supports Iran-backed Hamas and maintains close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, a global umbrella Islamic organization for Hamas as well as mujahideen groups in Afghanistan.

Israeli Government Spokesman Mark Regev released a statement on May 27: “They call themselves human rights activists, but they remain silent when it comes to Hamas' deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians and the brutalities of the Hamas regime in Gaza, which has crushed political opposition, suppressed independent media and has locked up hundreds of political opponents.”

Speaking to a group of foreign ministers from various countries on May 27, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphasized that Hamas has been holding kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for the past four years in Gaza, in violation of international law. "For these reasons Israel must oversee the waters in the area," said Barak.

Gaza Travel Guidebook For Freedom Flotilla Pro-Hamas Cheerleaders

From "Mere Rhetoric" May 26, 2010, by Omri Ceren:

Dear Crazy People,

We’ve been given to understand that you intend to stage another media stunt, wherein you’re again going to float some ...ships the general direction of the Gaza Strip. Your hope is apparently that your cameramen will capture the Israeli reaction and edit it into an overreaction or, failing that, simply reprint your feverish fantasies with slack-jawed credulity. Again.

Our problem isn’t so much that your goal involves obfuscating the millions of tons of food and aid we’ve delivered to Gaza civilians ...what we’re concerned about is that you suck at driving boats. Last time you only had one ship and you still managed to crash it  ...This time you’re bringing nine boats.  ...Given your obvious intention of creating a spectacle’s pretty much inevitable.

If and when that happens, we’d like you to have at least some sense of how to survive in Gaza City.
So we’ve put together this Gaza Tourism Guide, complete with picture galleries, which we believe to be the most comprehensive ever assembled on the web....

Gaza City’s luxury hotels are located on the Gaza coastline in the posh district of Ramal ...Foreign officials are often found in the area, speaking about Gaza’s unbearable plight at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights during the day, before retiring to the United Nations beach club at night. Top Hamas officials also congregate in the area, and can be easily identified during wartime as the ones hiding in the half-bunker/half-silo basement of the district’s Shifa Hospital. As can be expected the accommodations and eateries in Ramal are superb.

... the Grand Palace Hotel has a direct beach view  ...The building’s decadent Crystal Hall  makes it a much -desired banquet location for first weddings, second weddings, and martyrdom celebrations....

The Grand Palace’s sprawling facilities also make it a prime location for political and corporate events. When Fatah leader Nabil Shaath returned to the Gaza Strip in 2010, entering the territory for the first time since Hamas had violently seized control in a 2007 campaign that involved shooting out the kneecaps of Fatah-linked civilians, throwing them off roofs, and executing them in the streets – this is where Shaath met with his Hamas counterparts.

If you’re looking for a younger vibe you might want to check out the Marna House.  ...the blending of modern luxury with the ethos of anti-Zionist resistance has made it a favorite with college-aged ISM volunteers. Stable Internet means guests can – and do – blog about the savagery of targeted Israeli self-defense operations, tweet about the wonderful bravery of Hamas’s human shields’s no surprise that past guests have set up a Marna House hotel & restaurant Facebook page so they can “share memories” of their bitter twilight struggle against Occupation...

The Al Deira hotel ...boasts 22 spacious rooms and a world-class staff – enough so that some regular Western European diplomats and anti-Israel human rights investigators actually prefer it to the Grand Palace  ...a shop in the lobby specializing in Middle Eastern works of fiction, historical biographies, and conspiracy theories demonizing Jews...

Gaza’s markets are simply overflowing with goods supplied by hundreds of smuggling tunnels, from food and clothing to widescreen TVs and even live cows.  ...Tourists hoping for bargains may nonetheless find themselves disappointed, however. Gaza’s relatively healthy per capita income – higher than India’s as a result of being the world’s largest per-capita aid recipient – keeps demand robust and prices stable.

...Don’t be afraid to ask for tips, either from your hotel clerk or from the attentive Hamas-provided tour guides who will be accompanying you everywhere. If you’re lucky they might be able to track down one of the souvenir Goldstone headscarves, honoring brutal apartheid judge Richard Goldstone. They’ve unfortunately been selling out all over Gaza, so nothing’s certain. Much more common are open air swap meets filled with kids selling automatic weapons.

...If [the hustle and bustle of a market is] not your cup of tea, you can head over to Gaza’s professional and well-stocked supermarkets for the kind of experience that you would find in any American chain.

All of the major luxury hotels have food facilities, with the seaside terrace restaurant at the Al Diera hotel being a local favorite. It’s known for its view, its mezes (small Mediterranean-style dishes), and its fresh strawberry juice. Gazans will top the juice off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is perfect for getting through the hot desert summer days.

If you’re looking to get away from hotels, you can’t do better than Roots. The well-known restaurant, part of the Cactus for Development Group’s family of fine dining restaurants – “new standards in the hospitality business in Palestine!!!” – emphasizes that you should call ahead for reservations. Their full blown interactive menu here.

Visitors are strongly cautioned not to drink tap water while in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians have severely overpumped Gaza’s wells, perhaps irreparably depleting the water table and leaving it open to mass contamination. Ground water is therefore not potable. Stick instead to bottled water, which is regularly supplied by Israel ...

Gaza summers revolve around whatever Gaza beaches  ...Whether it’s relaxing with friends, exercising with a partner, or watching an AP stringer set up photo shoots in anticipation of captions about beach life being “the only escape available to Gaza children” – there’s always something interesting going on.

The beaches do get crowded, and the new mandatory Hamas dress code makes them somewhat drab, so at some point you may want to join other relatively wealthy foreigners at Gaza’s nearby, full-time luxury spa. There you’ll find a steam room, a sauna, a small gym and a beauty parlor that offers facials and massages.

Unfortunately, the Hamas government declared a total ban  ...Stores and clubs that fail to adhere to the ban get bombed.

Unfortunately, non-Muslims will find few options for worship in the Gaza Strip. The synagogues left by withdrawing Israelis were immediately desecrated and destroyed. Most Christian churches were long ago transformed into mosques. Visiters are also advised to avoid gathering in Christian bookstores, which increasingly get bombed, or around actual Christians, who increasingly get killed.

Unfortunately, Hamas has banned women from dancing, as well as from wearing all but the most conservative outfits.

Unfortunately, music shops and performances have also been deemed un-Islamic in recent years, to the detriment of music shop owners and performers.

Unfortunately, visitors are advised to avoid Internet cafes because they get bombed.

Flotilla Stunt by Hamas Cheerleaders

From Israel MFA, 24 May 2010:

Ships forcing their way into Gaza will do nothing to aid the people there. Existing land crossings are more than capable of meeting their needs.

...In a typical week, 15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza. Truckloads of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples arrive in Gaza on a daily basis. Building materials are also shipped in, when monitored by International organization so as not to be commandeered by Hamas for the fortification of bunkers.

Since the ceasefire in January 2009, well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel - that is almost a ton of aid for each man, woman and child in the Strip.

...Israel has invited the organizers of the flotilla to use the land crossings, in the same manner as all the reputable international organizations.

However, they are less interested in bringing in aid than in promoting their radical agenda, playing into the hands of Hamas provocations. While they have wrapped themselves in a humanitarian cloak, they are engaging in political propaganda and not in pro-Palestinian aid.

If the organizers were truly interesting in providing humanitarian aid - as opposed to engaging in publicity stunts - they would use the proper channels to ensure delivery of any supplies.

From Israel MFA, 27 May 2010:

Israel invites the international flotilla to unload its cargo in Ashdod port

The Minister of Defense has issued warrants prohibiting the entrance of the vessels to Gaza. Israel has advised the relevant countries [Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden and Ireland – the countries from which the ships participating in the flotilla set sail] of this ban, and requested they prevent the departure of the vessels.

...D-G Gal emphasized that Gaza is under the control of a terrorist organization, which does not prioritize the wellbeing of the citizens of Gaza. This organization, under the patronage of Iran, continues to arm itself with ammunition and rockets, and to perpetuate a situation of armed conflict with Israel, after years of targeting Israeli civilians. Israel has the inherent natural right, therefore, to prevent the unsupervised transfer of supplies to Gaza. The Deputy General added that Israel would not allow the flotilla to reach Gaza.

D-G Gal stressed that Gilad Shalit has been languishing in Gaza for four years, while the Hamas blatantly breaches his elementary rights, and does not even allow the Red Cross to visit him...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Fruits of Obama's Appeasement

From The Washington Post, Friday, May 21, 2010, by Charles Krauthammer:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, crowing over their  nuclear fuel swap deal, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 17, 2010, just as pressure mounts for tougher sanctions. (Vahid Salemi/associated Press)

It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20 percent). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program.

It will, however, make meaningful sanctions more difficult. America's proposed Security Council resolution is already laughably weak -- no blacklisting of Iran's central bank, no sanctions against Iran's oil and gas industry, no nonconsensual inspections on the high seas. Yet Turkey and Brazil -- both current members of the Security Council -- are so opposed to sanctions that they will not even discuss the resolution. And China will now have a new excuse to weaken it further.

But the deeper meaning of the uranium-export stunt is the brazenness with which Brazil and Turkey gave cover to the mullahs' nuclear ambitions and deliberately undermined U.S. efforts to curb Iran's program.

The real news is  ...the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

That picture -- a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam -- is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.

They've watched President Obama's humiliating attempts to appease Iran, as every rejected overture is met with abjectly renewed U.S. negotiating offers. American acquiescence reached such a point that the president was late, hesitant and flaccid in expressing even rhetorical support for democracy demonstrators who were being brutally suppressed and whose call for regime change offered the potential for the most significant U.S. strategic advance in the region in 30 years.

They've watched America acquiesce to Russia's re-exerting sway over Eastern Europe, over Ukraine (pressured by Russia last month into extending for 25 years its lease of the Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol) and over Georgia (Russia's de facto annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is no longer an issue under the Obama "reset" policy).

They've watched our appeasement of Syria, Iran's agent in the Arab Levant -- sending our ambassador back to Syria even as it tightens its grip on Lebanon, supplies Hezbollah with Scuds and intensifies its role as the pivot of the Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance. The price for this ostentatious flouting of the United States and its interests? Ever more eager U.S. "engagement."

They've observed the administration's gratuitous slap at Britain over the Falklands, its contemptuous treatment of Israel, its undercutting of the Czech Republic and Poland, and its indifference to Lebanon and Georgia. And in Latin America, they see not just U.S. passivity as Venezuela's Hugo Chávez organizes his anti-American "Bolivarian" coalition while deepening military and commercial ties with Iran and Russia. They saw active U.S. support in Honduras for a pro-Chávez would-be dictator seeking unconstitutional powers in defiance of the democratic institutions of that country.

This is not just an America in decline. This is an America in retreat -- accepting, ratifying and declaring its decline, and inviting rising powers to fill the vacuum.

Nor is this retreat by inadvertence. This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world. Hence his foundational declaration at the U.N. General Assembly last September that "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation" (guess who's been the dominant nation for the last two decades?) and his dismissal of any "world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another." (NATO? The West?)

Given Obama's policies and principles, Turkey and Brazil are acting rationally. Why not give cover to Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions? As the United States retreats in the face of Iran, China, Russia and Venezuela, why not hedge your bets? There's nothing to fear from Obama, and everything to gain by ingratiating yourself with America's rising adversaries. After all, they actually believe in helping one's friends and punishing one's enemies.

Rudd crrying favor with Israel's enemies

From a letter to Michael Danby (Australian Federal Member for Melbourne Ports), Tuesday May 25, 2010, by John-Michael Howson OAM:

...I am appalled at the cynical action of the government in expelling an Israeli diplomat,

I know the prime minister has an agenda to get Australia a temporary seat on the Security Council (or maybe get himself elected Secretary-General) and to do so is prepared to jettison our support for Israel to curry favor with its enemies who, in the scheme of things, would also do us harm. However, while a reprimand may have been in order (together with an admission that Australia has agents who also use forged passports) the expelling was an extraordinary action.

...if I knew Israel needed a passport to rid the world of these people I would gladly give them mine.

In recent years I have been stunned and appalled at the vilification of Israel by people who propagandize for Israel's enemies. When I have defended Israel on radio I get calls usually from people, I'm sorry to say, who come from the Left, who take a virulent anti-Israel line and who often tinge their comments with anti-Semitic remarks.

The number of anti-Israel stories broadcast by the ABC which, sometimes, come from the rigorous critics of Israel at the BBC is shocking because, as with so much with our national broadcaster, they have a line and they will bend the rules of debate and discussion to broadcast their agenda.

It saddens me when prominent Jews with a radical agenda also attack Israel. Perhaps, they think that appeasing the enemy will get them a special status.  ...It's ironic to be a Christian arguing support for Israel against a radical person with a Jewish background supporting Hezbollah! What strange times we live in...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another terrorist donkey martyred

From JPost, 25/5/10:

A small Syrian-backed terrorist group in Gaza said its activists blew up a donkey cart laden with explosives close to the border with Israel on Tuesday, killing the animal but causing no human casualties.

Abu Ghassan, spokesman for the terrorist group, said more than 200 kilograms of dynamite were heaped on the animal-drawn cart. He added that the explosives were detonated 60 meters from the concrete security barrier that separates the territory from Israel.

The donkey was killed in the blast, but there were no reports of human casualties. Israeli troops routinely patrol the border, and impoverished Gazans often gather rubble in the area.

The Israeli military confirmed the blast, but had no further comment. The IDF said Gaza terrorists also fired two mortar shells into Israel on Tuesday, which fell in the Netiv Ha'asara area without causing damage or casualties.

Earlier this week, masked gunmen from an Islamist group torched a UN-run summer camp for children and teens in Gaza.

The head of UNRWA in Gaza, John Ging, said the assailants tied up the guard, burned tents and vandalized bathrooms at the campgrounds. UN officials said the attackers left behind three bullets and a note threatening to kill Ging and others unless the UN cancels its activities for some 250,000 Gaza children.

Two days before the incident, the previously unknown "The Free of the Homeland" group issued a statement criticizing the camp's organizer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), for "teaching schoolgirls fitness, dancing and immorality."

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Nukes? - the Dry Bones Blog

No Nukes? - the Dry Bones Blog

Australia/Israel ties will remain strong despite hysterical Australian-government overreaction

From an AIJAC press release, May 24, 2010

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said that the Australia/Israel friendship is deep and broad and will continue to grow despite the Australian government's regrettable decision announced today that an Israeli diplomat be withdrawn.

Dr Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC's Executive Director, said, "While we understand and sympathise with the responsibility of the government to protect the integrity of the Australia passport system, in our view, this response was unhelpful. Australia has already made clear its displeasure over the abuse of Australian passports in the strongest of possible terms [in fact, already too strong - SL], which we believe was adequate to fulfil the government's responsibilities."

Dr. Rubenstein continued, "We would note in this regard that, while Australia followed a British precedent in its over-reaction, no similar step has been taken by Ireland, France or Germany, all of whom also allegedly had forged passports implicated in the killing of senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh."

AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler added, "The claims of the Dubai authorities with respect to this case should not be accepted as necessarily unbiased and neutral, given Dubai's apparent past tolerance of Mabhouh's open and dubious activity on behalf of Hamas on Dubai soil. Therefore, irrespective of who was responsible, describing the killing of Mabhouh as 'murder' is questionable and ignores the likelihood that the killing of an active terrorist leader from a violent rejectionist organisation positively saved lives."

"As Foreign Minister Stephen Smith noted, Australia and Israel have a longstanding friendship and common interests, with the threats of a nuclear-armed Iran and anti-Western terrorism just two of the pressing world concerns which both countries will continue to confront together, despite today's decision," Mr Leibler concluded.

I would ask:
  • if Australia could have prevented the Bali bombing by forging some passports and killing a terrorist, would it have done so?
  • what protest has the Australian government made to the Dubai and other governments openly allowing terrorist activity? ...and if that protest is weaker than this action against Israel, why? (Is that the "act of a friend"?)