Monday, March 28, 2005

Too Explicit

Well, if we are getting "explicit", as it's Israel that's doing the stripping here, can we not have some good music from the good ol' US of A?

Or is it that Ariel Sharon is stripping Israel of its security, its Zionism and its future?

PM: We can't expect explicit U.S. okay to build in settlements
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent

"We can't expect to receive explicit American agreement to build freely in the settlements," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. The large blocs of settlement in the West Bank "will remain in Israel's hands and will fall within the (separation) fence, and we made this position clear to the Americans. This is our position, even if they express reservations," he said.

The U.S. administration makes a distinction between his position that the blocs will remain in Israeli hands after the final status agreement, and the issues of continuing construction in the settlements at the present phase, Sharon said.

"The Americans always expressed criticism about construction in the settlements, and they have done so now, too. The publicity (about the plan to connect Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem - A.B.) put them in a very difficult spot," he said.

Time for Slogans

Here's a start.

Can you add your own anti-disengagement slogan?

If Not Katif, It's the Kassams.
The Katif Bloc Blocks the Kassams.
Don't Strip Gaza from Its Jews.
Don't Strip the Jews from Gaza.
Don't Uproot. Let the Gaza Jews Grow.
Uprooting Farmers is Against Nature.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Matter of Interpretation

The following news item from the Arutz 7 English news site and the phrase therein, "taking into account", reminds me of one of Menachem Begin's quips.

When asked that in the first Camp David accords there was a recognition of "legitimate Palestinian rights", and that phrase was in opposition to his own long-held ideological position, he replied to his critics saying that having a state isn't one of those rights.

A simple matter of interpretation.

( US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says Washington’s position on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is clear. In an interview with Israel Radio, Rice said Israel and the US agreed on April 14th last year that final status negotiations with the Arabs must take into account demographic realities on the ground, which include major Israeli population centers.

“The American view is that while we will not prejudice the outcome of final status negotiations… the existing major Israeli population centers will have to be taken into account in any final status negotiations,” Rice said.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Publication Ban

Due to a court-ordered ban on the publication of a certain news item,
it is nigh impossible to get any details about an incident that appeared
earlier on Thursday on three Israeli web sites, including YNet, regarding a possible police-initiated operation against the Yesha Council recalling a similar event a decade ago when a GSS provocateur was used to besmirch the anti-government

Hopefully, details will be forthcoming soon.

Approaches were made to foreign news agencies to utilize their
contacts and achieve the right to publish which in Israel's state
of selective non-democracy is most difficult.

It seems that about 6 weeks ago, the operations unit hired people to help distribute fliers, banners, etc. One guy wasn't very good - lazy, late, etc. So they told him they were firing him.

He then says "I live in Lod and I can get explosives so we can blow up the disengagement process". The unit head tells Pinchas, Pinchas tells the police, they set up a sting at Lod Wednesday at midnight. All show up, he's arrested and the next morning Yesha sends out a press notice. I saw it on Ynet and Maariv.

Next thing they know, after making inquiries, that there's a court-ordered
publication ban.

Was there an agent provocateur?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Rejected Letter

I received this posting from Michael Caines of the prestegious Times Literary Supplement:

"The Editor thanks you for your letter, but regrets that he is unable to
publish it."

And here is what was rejected:-

In his review of ADVENTURES IN EGYPT AND NUBIA, on the travels of
William John Bankes ("Take walk, make no book"), Mick Imlah
writes that Bankes traveled also "in Syria, including modern Jordan and
Palestine". This description is misleading.

Palestine always included both modern Israel and Jordan. All maps of
the area portray Palestine as stretching east and west of the Jordan
River. Indeed, the original geography of the League of Nations Mandate,
granted to Great Britian in 1922, spanned from the Mediterranean Sea to
the Iraqi Desert. Jordan was administered, until 1946, as part of the
Palestine Mandate.

To avoid mentioning Israel, if done consciously, is to completely miss
the compass.

Now you know why it was rejected, right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

That Amazing Bubblegum

This news item from Japan got me thinking - but not what you're thinking.

Chewing gum can 'enhance breasts'

A chewing gum which the makers say can help enhance the size, shape and tone of the breasts has proved to be a big hit in Japan. B2Up says its Bust-Up gum, when chewed three or four times a day, can also help improve circulation, reduce stress and fight ageing.

The gum works by slowly releasing compounds contained in an extract from a plant called Pueraria mirifica.

In theory, this helps to keep the muscle tissue in good order.

The plant's underground tubers contain a number of chemicals called phytoestrogens - natural compounds which mimic the effects of the female sex hormone oestrogen.

These include miroestrol and deoxymiroestrol, which are believed to exert a particularly strong effect, as they are very close in chemical structure to oestradiol, the main human oestrogen.

B2Up says that it is the effect of these two chemicals, coupled with a third phytooestrogen isoflavone, which makes its gum so effective.

It cites tests carried out by Thailand's Chulalongkorn University which found Pueraria mirifica therapy was able to enhance breast size by 80%.

Story from BBC NEWS:

So, what was I really thinking?

Well, the chewing gum recalled to me when Pals. tried to pillory Israel,
claiming that Israel was causing trouble by handing out chewing gum to unsuspecting Arabs.

The two stories appear below but I am sure that a majority of those who read the Japanese report and thought it just plain silly, are more than willing to believe the Pal. version and probably did when it first made headlines then.

Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger
by Robert S. Wistrich
Anti-Semitic Falsehoods: From Food Poisoners to Child Molesters

The examples of anti-Semitic falsehoods are truly numberless and consistently outrageous. Thus, Israel is repeatedly alleged by Egyptian (and Jordanian) news sources to be distributing drug-laced chewing gum and candy, intended to make women sexually corrupt and to kill children

Raphael Israeli Jerusalem Letter / Viewpoints April 15, 2004
An Epidemic on the West Bank

On the morning of March 21, 1983, one week before Pesach, in a high school in the town of Arrabeh in the Jenin area of the West Bank, Palestinian girls (between the ages of 15 and 17) were sitting in several classrooms when they suddenly began to faint, one after the other. They were taken to hospital and checked, but no medical reason was found for their fainting. Yet they had fainted, so a search began in order to find the reason. Then other girls of the same age began fainting in other villages on the West Bank, in Bethlehem, and afterwards in Hebron and Halhul, Tulkarem and Nablus. Over a period of a few days approximately 1,000 girls ended up in hospital at the same time, seemingly victims of an epidemic. Since all this occurred just before Pesach, the motif of blood libel and mass poisoning was raised. The rumors began that it was the Israelis who had poisoned the girls.

In 1997 the Palestinians exposed yet another Israeli "plot to suppress Arab population growth." They claimed to have tested packets of strawberry-flavored bubble gum which were found to be spiked with sex hormones and sold at low prices near schoolhouses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was claimed that the gum aroused irresistible sexual appetites in women, then it sterilized them. According to Palestinian Supply Minister Abdel Aziz Shaheen, it was capable of "completely destroying the genetic system of young boys," as well. In this case, Palestinians allege, Israel came with chewing gum laced with progesterone, one of the two hormones of femaleness. The hormone, they say inaccurately, drives women wild with desire and serves as a contraceptive, too -- corrupting Arab women while ensuring they cannot reproduce. The story was reminiscent of a furor over Israeli chewing gum a year earlier in Egypt. The story grew with the retelling. Shaheen contended that the gum was sold "only at the gates of primary schools or kindergartens," because Israelis "want to destroy our genetic system" by giving sex hormones to children before their bodies can cope with them. By the time the story reached Hebron in the West Bank, local health official Mahmoud Batarna claimed to have captured 200 tons of gum. The Washington Post commissioned a test of allegedly contaminated chewing gum provided by Palestinian health officials. Dan Gibson, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at Hebrew University and a member of the left-wing lobby group Peace Now, said that, using a mass spectrometer capable of detecting as little as a microgram of progesterone, he found none in the gum.

There's a Reason for Empty Horizons

In a report on the newly approved contruction plans of Maaleh Adumim in the New York Times, reporter Greg Myre describes for us the town's panoramic view, noting that

"to the west is the skyline of Jerusalem, and to the east are stark desert hills dotted with Palestinian villages",

("Israel to Expand Largest West Bank Settlement", Marc. 22).

The eastward view would have also included Jewish villages if not for the aggression of the Arabs in 1947-1948.

During that period of intra-communal fighting, Jewish communities in that area, such as Kibbutz Bet Ha'Aravah, near Jericho, and Neveh Yaakov and Atarot closer to Jerusalem, were overrun and ethnically cleansed of its Jews.

If the Arabs had accepted the UN partition proposal of compromise, Jews would still have benn living in those areas and others the world now knows as the "West Bank and Gaza". After all, despite the fighting, Arabs live in Israel.

Why is it that a skyline empty of Jews is something "natural"?

Monday, March 21, 2005

How Bad Can "Badly" Be?

The New York Times fails the test of semantic sensitivity again and again.

Its report on the budget vote woes in Israel of Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres
("Peres Says Budget Fight May Imperil Coalition" on Mar. 21) notes that Sharon's party, the Likud, "is badly split over Gaza"

The use of the adjective "badly" is perjorative and biased.

Many would think that the split is a good development and will halt an unwise decision that endangers the security of Israeli civilians and contribute to an illegal act of banning Jews from living in a portion of their national homeland. Indeed, the majority of the Likud Knesset faction opposes the proposed budget due to their disagreement over the disengagement plan.

"The Likud is split" is enough of a description it would seem.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

How Not To Translate

Read this excerpt from the Haaretz site:-

"Ya'alon was speaking to a forum of businesspeople from Haifa and the north.
'The [militant] organizations want the period of calm, but see it as a time to regroup and rearm before the fighting is resumed, without waiving their strategic goals,' the chief of staff said.
'Until I see terror groups disarmed, and [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] fulfilling his commitments to having only one political entity and one law, I cannot say this war is behind us,' Ya'alon added.
'We must not be intoxicated by the relative calm. We must deal with that which lies ahead and can break out soon if the [terror] infrastructure is not dealt with.'"

He calls them terror groups but in his first quotation, Haaretz would rather him be saying "militant".

I doubt if that is the term he would have used.

This is Haaretz playing at editorial discretion or how to sneak your own political bias into your newspaper.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Peace is Just Around the Corner

Yesterday we learned that Kibbutz Nirim is disputing the right of the country to expropriate 700 dunams of its agricultural land for peace. The real estate is needed for an army camp to be relocated from Gaza.

I know it's hard giving up agricultural land. After all, Gush Katif residents are being asked to give up their agricultural land as well as their homes, their schools, their cemeteries, etc.

But I have news for Nirim residents and their neighbors in the other kibbutzim nearby. Their other agricultural plots are in danger, as well are their homes and schools and industries. No, not from the IDF but from the guys on the other side of the fence who will be raining down Kassams, et al.

Welcome to "peace" comrades!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Denial and/or Backtracking

Seems we have a denial:-

Bush said each side needed to make sacrifices in the quest for peace, and raised some eyebrows by saying, 'Israel must withdraw from the settlements.'

McClellan said there was no change in policy, that Bush was referring to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's overall withdrawal plan.

Bush Comes To Shove - Again

President George W. Bush held a press conference yesterday with Jordan's King Abdullah. Asked about the Arab-Israel conflict, he spoke of the "sacrifices" that both sides will need to make. Getting specific, Bush said, "Israel must withdraw from the settlements, there must be contiguous territory for a Palestinian state...[and]...Palestinians must continue to work hard to fight any terrorist activities within the territories".

Recalling the eternal argumentation over UN Resolution 242 and its lack of the definitive article when describing "territories", did Bush mean "all" the Jewish communities, including those Ariel Sharon told us would be in "blocs"? Does he include, in accordance with longstanidng State Department policy, Jerusalem's eastern neighborhoods, too? Does he know that "contiguous" means cutting Israel in half between the Hebron Hills and the Gaza Coast?

It seems there's a major problem developing.

As for the Palestinians, while Israel gives up real estate, security resources and water, all they have to do is to "work hard"? Are they a car rental firm that needs just to try harder?

Like his father back in 1989, who threatened Israel with the loan credits, has another Bush come to shove?

Monday, March 14, 2005

To Which Wall Do They Refer?

Several radical pro-Palestinian groups sent out this posting:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Angela Godfrey"
To: "Hillel Barak" ; ;
Re: Kofi Annan's Visit this coming Monday
and Tuesday [14 & 15 March 2005]

Kofi Annan will be here ..., including on Tuesday
at Yad Vashem, with the Dutch Prime Minister,
the Belgian Prime Minister, the British Deputy Prime
Minister and others.

Neither is there any agenda so far for him to be
briefed by anyone about the Wall.
The Wall?
Which Wall?

Are they referring to the Kotel, the Western Wall, which was the retaining wall of the Second Temple that Arafat declared didn't exist there. The same Wall the British refused to allow Jews to blow the Shofar at after 1930?

Are they concerned for Jewish rights that were denied, trampled upon and refused?

Mazal Tov!

Our second granddaughter was born yesterday, 2 Adar II, in Jerusalem.

She is the second daughter of our second daughter, Tzruya, and her husband Oren, who live in Ofra.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Some People Wanted to Make Sure There's a Real Me

Yisrael Medad Posted by Hello

The "Spokeperson" Speaks

Well, my volunteer position got me another mention.

A spokesman for Yesha, the settlers' council, said: "The report did not surprise us in terms of factual content. All along the council claimed that the government knew what was being done, and we assumed that all that was being done was government-approved from the top down." The spokesman, Yisrael Medad, said the council would go to court and organize demonstrations to stop the dismantling of outposts.

Israeli Investigator Says Financing of Outposts Was Illegal

Find and Replace With...

What would happen if Blair had replaced N. Ireland with Palestine and IRA with Fatah and Sinn Fein with Abu Abbas in this statement he made today:-

"There is no way we can make any progress in Northern Ireland that includes Sinn Fein unless we can have a complete and total end to violence of whatever kind," Mr Blair said.

He said the entire republican movement, which seeks an end to British rule in the province, could be shut out of the political process.

"There is a stark choice facing republicanism: they can either embrace the democratic and peaceful route or be excluded from the political process," Mr Blair said.

"I hope they now realize that. I think the whole of the island of Ireland does, and it's now up to them to make the right decision."®ion=3

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Being Sarcastic

Reading the editorial in today's New York Times entitled "Rules of Engagement", I couldn't avoid writing this letter:-

Your editorial ("Rules of Engagement", Mar. 8) advises that these rules defining the actions of the military in the face of danger from possible hostile forces should be "as close to mistake-proof as possible."

Perhaps the U.S. Army should look to Israel where Ariel Sharon, a former general, when faced with
hostile forces in the Gaza Strip who had been launching missiles and rockets at civilians, who had smuggled their weaponry in through tunnels via a country ostensibly at peace and who exploded themselves as human suicide bombers, decided in his wisdom to adopt a policy of disengagement.

This new rule of combat, to whit, withdrawing, assuming a defensive posture and depending on foreign diplomacy, albeit an amazing turn-of-face by this soldier veteran, may provide a surprising result.

But if the readers conclude that Sharon's disengagement wouldn't work for American troops, then why should it work for Israel?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The "T' Word and the New York Times

For those of you who have been following my blogging, the avoidance by the media, and especially the NYT and the BBC, of the words "terrorist" and "terror" and "terrorism" as terms to describe, in objective fashion, a political and military reality, this column by Daniel Okrent is well-worth waiting for.

However, this sentence I found a bit jarring:

"Settlers": Are they merely settlers when they carry out armed actions against Palestinians?

Actually, Mr. Okrent, they aren't "settlers" if they do or do not carry out armed attacks against Arabs.

March 6, 2005
The War of the Words: A Dispatch From the Front Lines

NOTHING provokes as much rage as what many perceive to be The Times's policy on the use of "terrorist," "terrorism" and "terror." There is no policy, actually, but except in the context of Al Qaeda, or in direct quotations, these words, as explosive as what they describe, show up very rarely.

Among pro-Israeli readers (and nonreaders urged to write to me by media watchdog organizations), the controversy over variants of the T-word has become the stand-in for the Israel-Palestine conflict itself. When Israel's targeted assassinations of suspected sponsors of terrorism provoke retaliation, some pro-Palestinian readers argue that any armed response against civilians by such groups as Hamas is morally equivalent. Critics on the other side say The Times's general avoidance of the word "terrorism" is a political decision, and exactly what Hamas wants.

Here's what I want: A path out of this thicket, which is snarled with far more than "terror" and its derivative tendrils. I packed the preceding paragraph with enough verbal knots to secure the QE2, so I'll untangle them one by one.

"Pro-Israeli" and "pro-Palestinian": Adem Carroll of the Islamic Circle of North America has pointed out to me that both epithets represent value judgments. Are Ariel Sharon's policies pro-Israel? Not in the minds of his critics on the Israeli left. Is Mahmoud Abbas's negotiation policy pro-Palestinian? I doubt that supporters of Islamic jihad believe it is.

"Israel-Palestine conflict": I've heard from ardent Zionists who deplore this usage because, they say, "There is no Palestine."

"Targeted assassinations": The Israel Defense Forces use this term; Palestinians believe it implicitly exonerates Israel for the deaths of nearby innocents. The Times tries to avoid it, but an editor's attempt at a substitute on Jan. 27 -"pinpoint killings" - was even more accepting of the Israeli line.

"Settlers": Are they merely settlers when they carry out armed actions against Palestinians?

"Groups such as Hamas": According to the European Union and the United States government, which are both cited regularly by an army of readers, Hamas is a terrorist organization. According to Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner: "We use 'terrorist' sparingly because it is a loaded word. Describing the goals or acts of a group often serves readers better than repeating the term 'terrorist.' We make clear that Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel through violence but that it is also a significant political and social force among Palestinians, fielding candidates and running clinics and day care centers." According to many Times critics, that just won't do...

...Hijacking the language proves especially pernicious when government officials deodorize their programs with near-Orwellian euphemism....

...But I think in some instances The Times's earnest effort to avoid bias can desiccate language and dilute meaning. In a January memo to the foreign desk, former Jerusalem bureau chief James Bennet addressed the paper's gingerly use of the word "terrorism."

"The calculated bombing of students in a university cafeteria, or of families gathered in an ice cream parlor, cries out to be called what it is," he wrote. "I wanted to avoid the political meaning that comes with 'terrorism,' but I couldn't pretend that the word had no usage at all in plain English." Bennet came to believe that "not to use the term began to seem like a political act in itself."

I agree. While some Israelis and their supporters assert that any Palestinian holding a gun is a terrorist, there can be neither factual nor moral certainty that he is. But if the same man fires into a crowd of civilians, he has committed an act of terror, and he is a terrorist. My own definition is simple: an act of political violence committed against purely civilian targets is terrorism; attacks on military targets are not. The deadly October 2000 assault on the American destroyer Cole or the devastating suicide bomb that killed 18 American soldiers and 4 Iraqis in Mosul last December may have been heinous, but these were acts of war, not terrorism. Beheading construction workers in Iraq and bombing a market in Jerusalem are terrorism pure and simple.

Given the word's history as a virtual battle flag over the past several years, it would be tendentious for The Times to require constant use of it, as some of the paper's critics are insisting. But there's something uncomfortably fearful, and inevitably self-defeating, about struggling so hard to avoid it.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Don't They Read Their Own Newspapers

Mahmoud Abbas is quoted by AP (which I found on the web site of the New York Times)
as saying that he cannot assure Israel the security it expects. His exact words: "Nobody can say we hold responsibility for the situation because we do not have a presence in the cities,''.

But that is patently untrue.

All the world's media, electronic and print, have published in the last weeks
dozens of photographs displaying Palestinian Authority personnel walking the
streets of their cities, armed and in uniform.

Will the media take the step of proving him wrong or allow his statement to mislead the public?

Friday, March 04, 2005

But Who Else?

Reporting a car-bomb blast near Shchem (Nablus), Greg Myre, the New York Times reporter, notes
that 500 Jewish worshippers "were presumed to be the target [as] Palestinian militants have periodically attacked Jews who visit the site" ("Sharon and His
Party Trade Gibes", Mar. 4).

Logically, "presumed" is perhaps an understatement for who else could serve as a target?

Moreover, persons who attack civilians, especially worshippers at a holy site, should be referred to properly as terrorists.

The site, incidentally, is one protected by the original Oslo accords but has been burned down twice, as has other such locations such as the synagogue in Jericho thus highlighting the difficulty of maintaining any contractual obligation the Palestinians assume.

That is information that should have been contained in the article.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rice's Reply

I asked an official of the American Consulate here in Jerusalem for an official response to the use of the term "Holy Land" instead of Israel (see yesterday's posting).

I have been informed today by a local State Dept. official that the use by Condoleeza Rice of the term "Holy Land" in that interview was due to the fact that it is a well-known term but that its use should not be considered as indicating any change in official Washington policy regarding Israel.

I would reinterpert that to a 'slip of the tongue' due to too many interviews within too short a time.

As for the other element, that her concern seemed to be for the suffering of the Pals. due to the suicide bombings was perhaps more pronounced than for the actual people killed and maimed by the act of terror, well, that got lost in transatlantic commnication, I guess.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Anti-Disengagement Ideas

(thanks to my wife and Toby Willig)

Here are some ideas that can be used in combatting the planned expulsion of Jews from their homes in the Gaza District, as well the nothern Samarian communities.

1. The final scene from “Fiddler on the Roof”, the Jew trudgingly leaving of Anatevka, should be shown in movie houses as trailers, street corners and the public square. This is intended to instill in the consciousness of Israelis that we are talking about a repeat of some of our worst history in the Exile.

2. Gush Katif will be shut down, police say, in concentric circles.

So, why not prepare a base camp for demonstrators, say 50,000 in number, near Ashkelon and then one morning they all line up, 500 in a row across, and march towards Gaza.

If they are all disciplined, stand in ranks, and march forward as one, row after row, I think the police would have a very hard time stopping them without looking like the British police in India at the Dharasana Salt Depot in Gujarat (remember Attenborough’s film “Gandhi”?).

3. If, G-d forbid, the worse happens, several thousands of Gush Katif residents should band themselves together, declare their desire to remain in a camp near the area and refer to themselves as “Jewish refugees from Gaza”.

They then demand rights and recognition from the UN.

4. Isn’t Sharon violating the framework of Security Council Resolution 242 which makes it clear that only in the framework of a peace agreement will territory be handed over? It reads "termination of all claims or states of belligerency”.

Did Condoleeza Rice Dis-Recognize Israel?

This site
transcribed U.S. Secretary Condoleeza Rice's words yesterday at the London Conference.

To a query from a Mr. MCDONALD regarding Syria, Rice said this, inter alia,:-

"...When the Syrian support insurgents or allow their territory to be used for insurgents, they are frustrating the aspirations of the Iraqi people.
When the Syrians allow their troops and their security forces to operate in Lebanon, they are frustrating the aspirations of those Lebanese people who are in the streets of Lebanon.
When the Syrians support, from their territory and with their activities, terrorist groups who carry out bombings in the Holy Land, they are frustrating the aspirations of the Palestinian people...
This is Syria frustrating the aspirations of people of the Middle East for a better and more democratic life."

Excuse me? But what happened to Israel?

Was it too difficult for Ms. Rice to prounounce the name of our country, recognized by the United Nations since 1948?

If there would be a geo-political entity called the "Holy Land" (which there isn't), could then Israel demand a right to its grand vision of the whole and integral Land of Israel?

Or, worse, was Rice attempting to divide Israel into official sovereign Israel in its 1967 borders and the disputed territories where, perhaps, frustrated Palestinians could act against Jews?

In addition, does not Rice know that these bombings, besides frustrating the Palestinian aspirations, just happen to be killing and maiming Israelis (not Holy Landers)?
Has Rice wiped Israel off the State Department gazetteer?