Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why Not Arab "Settlements"?

Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian foreign minister, was quoted saying that a top concern of Palestinians is the halt of Israeli settlement activity after the meeting between President George W. Bush and the new head of the Palestinian Authority who he insists upon calling a "president" like in this remark Bush made:-

"I know the president is committed to democracy. After all, he ran on a platform that said, 'Vote for me, I'm for peace, and I believe in democracy.' "

I will refrain, for the moment, of relating to the inanity of Bush's words.

Let me get back to the questions of the communities in the disputed territories where Jewish civilian revenants live, as is their right recognized by international law already in 1922 and by the United States Congress in 1924.

A possible solution to al-Kidwa's intimation may be to begin refering to Arab towns and villages within the Israel of the 1949 borders as "settlements", thereby awarding a semantic equilibrium to the issue.

Just like Arabs live in Israel, the state of the Jewish people, the moral balance is that Jews should be able to live in the state planned for the Palestinian people.

Jews have lived throughout the area, in greater and lesser numbers, for the past three millennia, even after loss of their political independence. Why is Jewish "settlement activity" any more problematic than Arab settlement activity?

Why must Jews be solely slated, as a result of Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, for deportation?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Abbas' AbraCadabra

Abu Mazen met reporters prior to his visit with President Bush today and said:

Palestinians were prepared to make the painful sacrifices necessary to ensure it materializes.

And exactly what were those sacrifices?

Were they the sacrifices of their own people blowing themselves up?

And why didn't any reporter ask the question of what sacrifices?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Just Who Is Lost?

In the new June 9 issue of The New York Review of Books, Hussein Agha and Robert Malley published an article, "The Lost Palestinians", and wrote that Palestinians will vote in elections for their new legislature this coming summer "barring an unforseen development".

As it is, already on May 24, reports were published that due to a dispute on the election law itself, there may be a delay in that vote.

It seems that the rising tensions between Fatah and Hamas, including violent battles in Gaza over the results of local elections and recent court cases that found voting irregularities, is one problem. Another is the desire of Mahmoud Abbas that all 132 seats in a new legislature to be filled on a system of party lists, which would reduce the influence of powerful local families and clans known as hamullahs.

Agha and Malley should have forseen this development as it is so intrinsic to Palestinian political behavior and tradition for the past 80 years, just like their terror option has been a constant feature of their policies.

Analysists should not be apologists.

"Smart" American Jewish Leaders

Mortimer Zuckerman, past chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying in his introduction of Ariel Sharon at a meeting at Baruch College in New York on May 22 that, "I can assure the prime minister...the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community in America supports his overwhelming efforts to be a peacemaker".

Well, that's just...er...overwhelming. Or is he just gushing with enthusaism?

Be it as it may, it should be pointed out to Zuckerman and other outstanding and very rich American Jewish leaders (ever notice that not one Jewish "leader" is poor? you can't be a leader without money? intelliegence and wisdom is dependent on money?) that the very same words were uttered when Yitzhak Rabin and, later, Shimon Peres came to New York with the Oslo plan, one which proved a dismal and bloody failure.

Far be it from me to cast doubt as to the wisdom of American Jewish leaders.

All I ask is that they act and speak more circumspectly when faced with Israeli leaders claiming their plan for peace is the best and only one.

They have been wrong previously, and can be, and are most probably, wrong today.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Laura Bush, Where Were You?

I visited the White House website and noticed that the captions of the photographs chronicling the tour of the First Lady to the Temple Mount on May 22 state that the site is in the "Muslim Quarter".

This is incorrect.

The holy site as Mrs. Bush now knows, having physically been there, is in the Old City of Jerusalem, on an esplanade constructed on Mount Moriah. It is separated from the various neighborhoods (Jewish Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Christian Quarter) by a wall and exists as a distinct compound in and of itself.

I hope those responsible will instruct the web site managers to correct the wrong caption information.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Where is His Morality?

Haim Watzman, a respected translator, member of the Yedidyah Congregation in Jerusalem and the author of the forthcoming book, "Company C: An American's Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel", published At War With Themselves on Friday in the New York Times.

His point:

To those soldiers who say they will refuse orders to evacuate the settlements, I say: think again. Remember that soldiers who believed the settlements were wrong reported for duty year after year to protect them and to enforce the occupation. We proved we were loyal Israelis and responsible soldiers. Now it's your turn.

I sent off the following letter (which will not be published methinks):-

Haim Watzman's discussion of refusing to serve in Israel's army whether one opposes Israeli administration over the disputed territories or whether one cannot agree with the expulsion of Jewish civilians from those areas fails to make a crucial distinction.

Jews slated for removal from their homes never practiced terrorism or supported groups that did. Patrolling the territories to ensure security by an army and the removal of civilians from their homes is incomparable. Moreover, their expulsion is not the result of a peace agreement but is a unilateral move, unlike, for example, Menachem Begin's decision to agree to removing Jewish communities within the framework of an Egyptian-Israeli peace.

More important, though, is that if Jews can be expelled and transferred, will Arabs be next?

Is that not the moral dilemma a soldier and Israeli society need deliberate?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Forward in NY Published My Op-ed

Sharon's Disengagement From Democracy

May 20, 2005

This summer, Israel will withdraw its troops from Gaza and the northern West Bank [*] and remove the 9,000 Jewish civilians who call those places home. While much has been written about Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement process already, it is worth revisiting how this ill-advised decision was taken, for it holds a very real and threatening lesson for the future of the State of Israel.

Last year, Sharon succeeded in maneuvering the country into adopting the bold, even surprising, unilateral disengagement plan. First the Cabinet voted approvingly, and then the Knesset voted 59-32 in favor. On the way to legislating the plan, however, Sharon lost his own Likud Party's internal referendum and fired two ministers in order to gain a majority in the Cabinet. He also refused to extend military chief of staff Moshe Ayalon's term of service after he expressed misgivings about the plan..

The disengagement policy and the lengths to which Sharon has been willing to go in order to ram it through make a remarkable turnabout for the prime minister. His last election campaign, which kicked off in late 2002, was waged against Labor Party candidate Amram Mitzna and his proposal to unilaterally disengage from Gaza. Fudging on campaign promises is, of course, nothing new for politicians, but the gap in public accountability, created by Sharon, had even veterans startled.

As for the disengagement plan itself, little mention has been made of the fact that Israel already handed over all of the densely populated sections of Gaza a decade ago, and it was only Palestinian terrorism that kept Israeli troops in the area. A total handover of all Gaza, therefore, should not be necessary in order for Israel to comply with the demand for territorial compromise.

Much as Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000 was seen by many Arabs as a victory for terrorism, the withdrawal from Gaza is all but certain to be taken as a withdrawal from the intifada. Sharon, then, has Israel returning to square one: With Palestinian terrorism perceived as the sole instrument that can cause Israel to yield, new negotiations will always depend on how many Jews are killed or wounded in future attacks.

Moreover, all indications are that Israel will not be disengaging from terrorism. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been unsuccessful in asserting authority over the mavericks in Fatah, not to mention over Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Eventually the missiles, which can be expected to have their range and performance improved, will fly easily over any fence Israel could build. Sharon's farm in the Negev could be their next target.

Meanwhile, demographics will continue to represent a major difficulty — especially the Palestinian demand to give refugees the right of return. If population density is indeed a major factor, then why should Israel disengage from northern Gaza — where no Palestinians are living or have lived?

With all the spin being put on Sharon's plan, both at home and abroad, there should be clarity about exactly what is set to transpire this summer: Israel will be disengaging from a portion of the original area recognized by the League of Nations mandate as the future Jewish national home.

As it is, Gaza was home to Jews centuries before the League of Nations mandate. Until its recent destruction, tourists could view the floor of a synagogue in Gaza City. Around the world, on every Sabbath, hymns composed in Gaza in the 16th century are sung. It was only in 1929, when Arab rioters forced Jews out of the area, as they had in Hebron, that this continuum was forcibly broken.

Make no doubt about it: Sharon has set Israel on a course of disengagement that is stripping Israel of its history and the Jewish people of their identity. This process is already quite advanced in Jerusalem, where the Temple Mount has been pillaged and its archeological artifacts have been discarded and eradicated. The burning of Joseph's Tomb outside of Nablus is yet another instance, one that also points to the durability of agreements made with the P.A.

Simply put, a country denied its past and denuded of its culture and history will be rendered soulless — all the more so if the act is committed willingly by its own hand.

Sharon has disengaged Israel from fundamental democratic principles with his high-handed manner of ignoring votes against him and with his firing of independent-minded ministers before they could vote against his plan. He has instigated a media spin that portrays demonstrators as agitators of civil war. Special tribunals have been established to enable summary judgments. And the justice ministry, the state prosecutor's office and police are promoting policies that have a chilling effect on free speech and lawful assembly.

Opponents of disengagement suggested a referendum, but Sharon's disdain for an instrument of true participatory democracy quickly ended that effort. A nonviolent protest campaign, therefore, is a perfectly legitimate step. In fact, in such circumstances it is nothing less than a national obligation — to ourselves, to our history and to our future. One man's presumption should not be permitted, in a democracy, to override too many concerns of doubtful success.

{*} I wrote Samaria but their editorial policy is WB

Saturday, May 14, 2005

On Tactics

I wish to share a hesitancy I have over the tactics of the non-violent campaign being planned.

While blocking traffic has been done over the past few months, and some even assert that they were the main reasons for the shift in public opinion away from disengagement, down now to some 54%, I personally am doubtful.

I would think that if there is anything that annoys people more it is blocking traffic so they can't get home. Luckily, someone has convinced some unknown people to stop burning tires. Fire and smoke do not go well with a claim to non-violence.

On the other hand, as someone told me, all over Europe we see farmers and others blocking roads and dumping agricultural produce and the like, so obviously the tactic is acceptable.

Nevertheless, I would wish that the thrust of this campaign be directed not against fellow citizens directly but against symbols of the regime.

The regime is responsible for the disengagement. The regime is carrying out the disengagement. Other targets are the catering services that will be providing food for the soldiers and police or other such facilities.

So, to my mind, the proper targets are not the highways of Israel but the entrance roads to regime agenices whether police, courts, social services, etc. They should be blocked so as to convince and influence bureaucrats and clerks not to cooperate with the disengagement process. In other lands in other times, we have pinpointed the responsibility that lies with the common and too often faceless bureaucrat who, if he/she had dared to, could have slowed down and interfered with an immoral and incorrect public policy.

Will the leaders of Bayit Leumi and other groups consider this option?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Odd? No. Biased

The BBC has an odd way of writing and reporting.

Early last week, I've just now noticed, they broadcast that;

Muslims had gathered at the Haram al-Sharif -
known to Jews as the Temple Mount

Dear Sirs,

Not only Jews but many other persons of various and varied religious identification know that particular piece of property as the Temple Mount. In fact, most people
around the world probably do not know it as the Haram E-Sharif, which bothers and annoys Muslims terribly.

Did I write above an "odd way"?

Sorry, that should have been a "biased" way.

Begin was Wrong; So Is Mofaz

One of the reasons provided for Menachem Begin's decision to yield up the territory of Sinai was that it would allow Israel to keep Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Benjamin Netanyahu said the same at the Madrid Conference, claiming that in withdrawing from Sinai, Israel had fulfilled its obligationas of territorial concessions.

Now, Shaul Mofaz, Israel Defense Minister, is saying that:

the withdrawal of Jewish settlers from Gaza will allow Israel to extend its borders into the West Bank

and that

the pullout would enable Israel to maintain Jerusalem as the unified capital of a Jewish state.

Such a wise man. Such a fool.

Shalom Wins! (Silvan, That Is)

As this report illustrates, all wisdom does not lie with Ariel Sharon.

Sharon had repudiated a very logical proposal of Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom who announced that if Hamas takes over the Palestine Authority in the democratic elections to be held in July, then Israel should reconsider the disengagement policy.

Sharon, pig-headed, er, sorry, (as that's unkosher), then sheep-headed as usual, insisted that Israel go forward, er, sorry, (as that's the wrong direction), then backwards, and complete the disengagement that will bring Hamas-launched Kassams into his own backyard.

The one who took Shalom seriously was Mahmoud Abbas, who's non de guerre, no matter what Steve Erlanger writes, is Abu Mazen. Some of his associates were suggesting that perhaps the elections should be delayed at least until Israel finalises the withdrawal.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


My following comments relate to the statement released by the U.S. State Department on behalf of the "Quartet".

The Quartet reiterates its commitment

to a two-state solution and to Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank as a way to re-energize the peace plan, known as the road map. The statement said the goal is a permanent peace and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.


the future Palestinian state must be economically viable and geographically contiguous and that no party should do anything to prejudge the final status issues of the future peace settlement.

So, one the one hand, only "parts of the West Bank" need by yielded.

But, on the other hand, there must be an "end of occupation that began in 1967".

So, does that not include all of the territories in dispute in Judea and Samaria?

And, on the third hand, that supposed future Palestinian state must be "contiguous".

So, is there total territorial integrity for the Arabs or not?


I am.

We Can't Win

The New York Times' Greg Myre reports:

The Palestinian leadership says Israel's withdrawal from Gaza is being carried out in a way that may make a desperate economic situation even worse.

Amazing, eh?

Israel just cannot win.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Perhaps "Exploded" is the Wrong Term?

Note the paragraph at the end:

"As the population in the region has exploded over the past 100 years water has become more and more precious."


The only unnatural "exploding" is that of Arabs as suicide bombers.

Peace canal deal for thirsty Middle East
Conal Urquhart in Ramallah
Monday May 09 2005
The Guardian

Ministers from Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority will today sign an agreement to pave the way for the construction of a canal that will link the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.

The canal will generate electricity, provide fresh water, and prevent the Dead Sea from drying up.

It will draw water from the Red Sea at Aqaba in Jordan, raise it 170 metres above sea level and then let it fall to the Dead Sea which, at 400 metres below sea level, is the lowest place on earth.

The project will consist of 110 miles of canal, tunnel and piping, and the electricity provided by the water will provide for pumping the water in the initial stages and power a desalination plant.

There are also plans to construct holiday resorts and a water park along parts of the route.

The first stage will be a $20m (£10.15m) feasibility study partly funded by the World Bank with the estimated $3bn cost of the final project also being partly funded by the bank.

Canals linking the Red Sea, Dead Sea and Mediterranean Sea have been discussed since the 19th century, initially for transport, then hydroelectricity and now with the main purpose of desalinating sea water.

As the population in the region has exploded over the past 100 years water has become more and more precious.

(thanks to Suzanne Pomeranz)

More Money? For What?

The New York Times' May 9th editorial, "A No-Confidence Vote for Mr. Abbas", demands that the U.S. Senate and administration facilitate transferring $150 million in promised aid "to actual Palestinians", rather than American aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropic groups and even Israel.

In the first instance, much foreign aid and especially that of Israel is channelled through the same similar network, including, moreover, the providing of aid in the form of credits to be expended only through American commercial firms.

Secondly, the whole point is that Mahmoud Abbas, known too as Abu Mazen, is failing in his minimal obligations to peace.

Why give Palestinians more money directly when it seems to be going for development of Kassam rockets?

The Arab Crusade

A reporter named Ali Jaafar published a story on the film "Kingdom of Heaven" in Variety.

He quotes one Hiyam Itani, who works for Fox Distribution, as saying, "People [in the Middle East] are really interested in it. They can relate to the story and the religious aspects. After all, it happened here." ("Bound for 'Heaven'?, Pic has been accused of short-shrifting real history", May 8).

Actually, the story happened mainly in Jerusalem, a city that was previously the capital of two Jewish kingdoms. Destroyed by Romans, the city was conquered by Persians, Arabs and then by Crusader Christians.

Eventually, the city was ruled by Ottoman Turks and the British but once again became a Jewish capital after a period of Jordanian rule. During this last period, between 1949 - 1967, Jewish cemeteries were vandalized and synagogues razed.

Today, Arabs still wish to deprive Jews of their rights by, for example, disembowling the Temple Mount of its Jewish archeological artifacts.

The Arab Crusade is still going strong.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Who Is the "Middle East"?

Amy Waldman had a report in Saturday's New York Times which informed us of the plight of " housemaids in the Middle East", (Sri Lankan Maids' High Price for Foreign Jobs).

Although Israel is located in the Middle East, that country was not included in the story.

Perhaps the countries where abuse is practiced should have been identified more properly as either Arab or Muslim?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Nom de Guerre

I continue from the previous posting.

This sentence appeared in the NYTimes yesterday:

"It won't happen by itself, or because someone likes Abu Mazen," he said, using a common name for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader.

So, I wrote to the Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, and suggested that a correction be made. My exact words were:

"Abu Mazen is the nom de guerre of Mahmoud Abbas from his days as a terrorist, a leading member of Fatah.

It is 'common' only in that it is common for terrorists to take assumed identities and that is how his fellow terrorists referred to him."

I received this reply:

Dear Yisrael Medad,

The editors do not believe a correction is merited. I raised your concern with Mr. Okrent as well and he agreed there's nothing to correct. Thanks for writing.

Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

Well, after spending some time researching the matter, this was my comback:

Dear Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

I'm sorry that your answer was as it was.

Even the NYTimes itself has termed "Abu Mazen" as a nom de guerre by no less a personage than Steve Erlanger himself. Does the NYT not believe in consistency in its terminology?

In addition, you will find below over two dozen sources from very reputable and professional journals, papers, periodicals and even one Ramallah newsblog all of which support my contention that Abu Mazen is Mahmoud Abbas' nom de guerr from his days as a terrorist including Al Ahram, a Saudi paper, other Arab and Islamic news agencies, Palestinian sources, UPI, AFP, Janes, Slate, National Review and others.

Yisrael Medad
Here's Steven Erlanger himself:
Peace? West Bank mayor has other worries
Thursday December 30, 2004
...Omar thinks the Palestinian elections are almost worthless. Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen, and his main rival, Mustafa Barghouti, were both told about the land debate here, Omar said.

of course, there may have been other references but I cannot do a full NYT search but maybe search around these dates: March 29; April 1)

The Erlanger story also appeared in the International Herald Tribune.

an article by Edward Said (who sourely ought have to known, as he was, in addition to being himself a member of the PNC, a professor of English and language)

Archaeology of the road map

All sorts of reasons have been given for the emergence of the road map: that 56 per cent of Israelis back it, that Sharon has finally bowed to international reality, that Bush needs an Arab-Israeli cover for his military adventures elsewhere, that the Palestinians have finally come to their senses and brought forth Abu Mazen (Abbas's much more familiar nom de guerre, as it were), and so on.

and how about James Zogby, premier Arab publicist:

MR. SLEN: What should we call him? Officially, he’s Mahmoud Abbas.
MR. ZOGBY: He’s Mahmoud Abbas -- that’s his name. And it’s a familiar term. It’s been used as a "nom de guerre" as well. But formally, he’s Abu Mazen. That’s his name.

Arafat deputy says Palestinians have plan for calm
CAIRO - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mahmud Abbas, said the Palestinians have a plan to calm the conflit with Israel, in remarks published on Friday.
"We can start by implementing security wherever it is possible, like in Gaza where there are remains of the (Palestinian) security services," Abbas, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen, told the Arabic daily Al-Hayat.

RAMALLAH - Former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is a polished and moderate politician more admired abroad than at home. Better known by his nom-de-guerre, Abu Mazen, a name taken from his dead first-born son, Abbas quit as Arafat's first-ever premier in September 2003. After barely four months in the job, he walked out after failing to wrest full control of the Palestinian security apparatus from him.

Source: Agence France Presse

and to the others:-

Only God can save us
The new Palestinian president's visit to the Gaza Strip was not as welcome as he hoped, Serene Assir reports from Gaza

On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas (known by his nom-de-guerre Abu Mazen) arrived in Gaza to hold talks with the armed Palestinian militias, seeking to limit the armed resistance against the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and the illegal settlements. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades spokesmen, however, told Al-Ahram Weekly prior to the president's arrival that they have no intention of letting up until the Israeli occupation ends.

Analysis: U.S. targets Syria
By Richard Tomkins
UPI White House Correspondent
Published 2/15/2005 5:48 PM
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S.-Syrian relations hit a low Tuesday as Washington withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in the aftermath of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and renewed calls for Syria to withdraw occupation troops from the country.
"Syria is up to it eyeballs in terrorism," said a diplomat, who requested anonymity. "(Syria-supported) Hezbollah is working right now very, very intensively to either discourage or to foil the new process that is taking place between the Israelis and the Palestinians and have even threatened Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas) personally."

Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen, has promised to crack down on attacks on Israel in an effort to move peace talks forward. So far he appears to have achieved some success, but he is walking a tightrope with Palestinian radicals.


Arafat's successor?
Palestine, Politics, 2/13/1998
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat reportedly told US president Bill Clinton that his successor would be Mahmoud Abbas, currently deputy head of the PLO.

"When my time will come, I will be replaced by my brother, Abu Mazen," Arafat was quoted as telling Clinton, using Abass's nom de guerre, during a January 22 meeting at the White House, the London-based Foreign Report said.

"Who is to blame for the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister? The question has been obscured by a smokescreen of recriminations and threats, but the answer is clear enough. Mr Abbas, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen, was forced to relinquish the post created for him only 100 days ago by the man he was intended to replace: Yasser Arafat ...
"By refusing to hand over control of security forces, Mr Arafat never gave his rival a chance to stop Hamas and other terrorist groups sabotaging negotiations with Israel. If, once Abu Mazen has departed from the scene, the simmering Middle East conflict now boils over, the blame will lie at Mr Arafat's door."
Arab News Editorial, Saudi Arabia, September 8
All sorts of reasons have been given for the emergence of the roadmap: that 56 per cent Israelis back it, that Sharon has finally bowed to international reality, that Bush needs an Arab-Israeli cover for his military adventures elsewhere, that the Palestinians have finally come to their senses and brought forth Abu Mazen (Abbas's much more familiar nom de guerre, as it were), and so on.

The welter of conflicting scenarios, bluffs and counter-bluffs, proposals and counter-proposals, seems to be based on a secret document drawn up in October 1995 between Yossi Beilin, then a top aide to then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (and now Israel’s justice minister), and Mahmoud ‘Abbas, commonly known by his nom de guerre of Abu Mazen, who is widely regarded as Arafat’s second-in-command in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Both men were instrumental in the secret "Oslo channel" that led to the Declaration of Principles signed at the White House on September 13, 1993.

Nobody expects prisoners in Israel to be released with the sudden victory of Abu-Mazen, nor for the violence to stop, Abu-Mazen, his nom-de-guerre, who is none-other-then Mahmoud Abbas, who admittedly received just over 60% of the vote, from 60% of the Palestinian populace in the territories alone, I think in-spite of the clear majority in the numbers, of course things could have been very different with other more just factors in place.
As for Abbas himself, the best Palestinians have to say about him is that he's sensible; his opponents, though, vilify him as a corrupt Fatah apparatchik and puppet of Israel and America. Such contempt was apparent near the Israeli Army checkpoint outside Jericho, where a line of Palestinian taxis was delayed for hours during security preparations for Abbas's visit to the city. "The Israelis wouldn't be doing this for Abu Mazen if he wasn't working for them," said one driver, using Abbas's nom de guerre. "F- - - his mother," said another.
Abu Mazen may quit

Two months after his appointment as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas - better known by his nom de guerre of Abu Mazen - faces difficulties that seem to him to be insuperable. Foreign Report has been told by a source close to the beleaguered leader that he is seriously considering quitting his job. This would be a major setback to a stumbling Middle East peace process.

Did Mahmoud Abbas Finance the 1972 Munich Olympic Takeover?
And if he did, does it make him a less trustworthy negotiator in 2003?
By Michael Young
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2003, at 1:11 PM PT

As Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas prepares for a meeting Friday with President George W. Bush, he knows that the U.S. administration, in its evolving cosmography of Palestinian-Israeli relations, believes him to be a real gentleman. Abbas, known by the nom de guerre Abu Mazen, is said to be everything Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, is not: sincere, responsible, and conciliatory.

Britain Rebuffs Sharon's Appeal to Boycott ArafatWednesday, 16 July 2003, 10:58 amPress Release: Palestine Media Center - PMC

Britain Rebuffs Israeli PM’s Appeal to Boycott Arafat
Britain rebuffed visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s appeal Monday to cut ties with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Sharon, calling Arafat the “main obstacle” to a revived Middle East peace process, failed to persuade Prime Minister Tony Blair to cut Britain’s ties with the Palestinian president.
“We still have our differences with Britain on a series of issues, including Arafat,” a senior Israeli official said after Blair hosted a private dinner for Sharon, who was on a three-day visit, in London on Monday.
Prior to Sharon's meeting with Straw, an Israeli source told AFP: "The prime minister will say that Arafat remains the major obstacle on the road to peace because of his relentless efforts to undermine the process and Abu Mazen.”
Abu Mazen is the nom-de-guerre of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas.

The man who at one time seemed the most likely candidate to succeed Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, is now sidelined after falling out of grace with Arafat. Abbas, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Mazen, became the first prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.


Bush Speaks with Palestinian Leader Abbas
NewsMax Wires
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush inserted himself personally in the sputtering Middle East peace process on Tuesday, telephoning Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to urge them to stay the course in pursuing proposed steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The calls came in the wake of terrorist bombings in Israel and the Palestinian territories that threw new obstacles in front of the so-called "road map" to peace presented by Washington May 1.
White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president told Abbas - who goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Mazen - that all parties must take concrete steps to end terrorism and create an environment in which peace would have a chance.
Presidential elections were called after Palestinian President Yasser Arafat passed away on November 11. For some years, Israel saw Mr Arafat as the main obstacle for peace in the Middle East.
Ten candidates, including seven independents, are running for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority. Fatah, the largest party, chose Abu Mazen as its official candidate.
After Arafat’s death, Mr Mazen (nom de guerre of Mahmoud Abbas) was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

March 19, 2003, 9:45 a.m.Laundering Abu MazenA Holocaust revisionist, a conspiracy theorist, and a promoter of terrorism.By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Mahmoud Abbas, known by his nom de guerre Abu Mazen, has been tapped by PLO leader Yasser Arafat to be the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

He is favourite to take the mantle of Yasser Arafat, but Mahmoud Abbas must still face the hard men of Gaza and the West Bank, writes Ed O'Loughlin in Ramallah.
Electoral razzmatazz, Western-style, has yet to catch on in the Palestinian territories. At a campaign rally in Ramallah on Tuesday Mahmoud Abbas, the runaway favourite to win the Palestinian Authority chairmanship this weekend, had to make do with the drummers of the Al Am'ari scout troop and a public address system playing patriotic songs.
Nor have those around Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen, his nom de guerre) quite worked out the modern spin-craft of keeping supporters "on-message".
"Sharon, Abu Mazen will dig your grave!" chanted one group of fist-pumping young men, referring to the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. They clambered on to each others' shoulders and pushed their way to the front of the crowded hall. "With our blood we will redeem you, oh Palestine!"
December 29, 2004
Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) At It Again
That is, of course, not true. I use it to make a point about the likely winner of the Palestinian election. Some guy named Ted running for office may not alarm you. You may - knowing how entertainers like to get involved in politics - mistake the name for a former Saturday Night Live cast member. However, if you recognize the full name as the real name of the domestic terrorist called the UnaBomber, that would concern you. The same scenario is true for Mahmoud Abbas, who went by the name Abu Mazen when he was a terrorist. In Palestine he runs for office as Abbas, in Israel they remember him as Abu Mazen. I think I'll use that name when refering to him from now on too.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad agree to
conditional ceasefire, says Israel
Harinder Mishra
Jerusalem, January 23
In a major boost to peace prospects in the Middle East, leading militant factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to a conditional ceasefire for about a month after talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
“As far as we understand, there is an agreement between (Abbas) and the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a ceasefire for a certain period ... about a month,” Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told Israel Radio today.
The two militant factions have agreed to the ceasefire in return for a future role in the Palestinian Authority, Mofaz said.
Palestinian sources did not confirm the development immediately. They said that Abu Mazen (Abbas’ nom de guerre) is still holding talks with other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.
Arafat officially asks Abbas to be his prime minister
RAMALLAH: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Wednesday officially asked his moderate PLO deputy Mahmud Abbas to become prime minister a day after parliament approved the creation of the post, a top Arafat aide said here.

Nabil Abu Rudeina told reporters that presidential secretary Tayeb Abdelrahim had asked Abbas on the veteran leader’s behalf to take the job of prime minister sharing power with the head of the Palestinian Authority.

“Arafat called Abu Mazen today to officially ask him to begin his duty as prime minister,” Abu Rudeina said, using Abbas’s nom de guerre. He did not comment on Abbas’s response.
Abbas, 69, a polished, moderate PLO veteran who served four rocky months last year as Arafat’s prime minister before quitting in frustration, was once a Washington favorite.
He attended the June 2003 summit in Aqaba, Jordan, that launched the US-sponsored “road map” for peace and was invited to the White House for talks with Bush the following month.
But Abbas, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Mazen, made little headway toward a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has now claimed more than 4,500 lives since 2000.

Fork in the Road Map

By Clifford D. May
Scripps Howard News Service
May 8, 2003
Today, Mahmoud Abbas, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen, is the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. His challenge, like Ben-Gurian's more than half a century ago, is to establish “a monopoly on the use of force” in the territories under his control.

I am aware of William Safire's column on May 18, 2003
but nevertheless, I think I have made a rational, logical and supportive case for terming Abu Mazen a terrorist nom de guerre.

Monday, May 02, 2005

How Common

This sentence appeared in the New York Times of today:

"It won't happen by itself, or because someone likes Abu Mazen," he said, using a common name for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader.

Common? Ah, com'on.

Abu Mazen is the nom de guerre of Mahmoud Abbas from his days as a terrorist, a leading member of Fatah.

It is "common" only in that it is common for terrorists to take assumed identities and that is how his fellow terrorists referred to him.

But this is a common NYT error, or, shall we say, bias. Palestinians are never really terrorists, as is commonly known.

Memoirs Minus

The Commentator, the campus newspaper of Yeshiva University, published my letter responding to a semi-memoir of Yitz Greenberg, Rabbi and Doctor (Ph.D.), on the period of the 1960s at YU.

Here it is:

R. Irving Greenberg's memoir is remarkable for avoiding any real discussion of Israel and Zionism during the time he spent there. As a student at YU between 1964-1969, my memories are of very lively but admittedly small Zionist groups (Bnei Akiva and Betar), conflict with administration over Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations and most notably, the Lord Caradon affair.

That the Rav had to intervene in the last-mentioned item and then felt obliged to go on campus radio, was no small matter. R. Yitz has some 'holes' that need mending.

P.S. And who recalls the Lord Caradon affair?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Oh, Oh, Oona

The Jerusalem Post had a front page story which told of a "whiff of anti-Semitism" that MP Oona King is smelling in her Bethnall Green election campaign on April 29.
That smell, or is it stench,is, in its own way, a bit of tit for tat.

On June 19, 2003 , MP King compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to the Nazis' creation of the Warsaw ghetto. Gaza, she insisted, was "the same in nature", if not in extent. The building a wall around Arabs, King insisted, "is building a political ghetto." After visiting the area, while she recognized the danger of Arab terror, she was "more surprised perhaps by the everyday terror that Palestinians live" she said. As a Jew, she announced, "I hoped I would never live to see the day I was ashamed of the actions of the Jewish state."

As an observer of resurgent British anti-Semitism, I would like to convey to MP King my shame at the kind of behavior she is now suffering, despite the irony of it all in that her opponent, George Galloway, was one of the most outspoken defenders of Saddam Hussein's Iraq regime.

And by the way, there's a Palestinian angle to it all.