Friday, September 30, 2005

Really Not Nice, Greg (or your editor)

In a short story on the elections among the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, the New York Times had this to report:-

The voting was carried out amid a sweep by Israel's security forces in the West Bank. About 400 people suspected of being militants have been detained in the last several days. In one raid yesterday, Israeli soldiers shot dead three militants during shooting exchanges near the town of Jenin, the Israeli military said.

As I noted in a previous post of mine, an Israeli soldier was injured in that incident.

Although it is noted that there were "shooting exchanges", the lack of noting an Israeli soldier being wounded leaves the reader with the impression that was one of those arrest raids the world press loves to blame Israel for stirring up a peaceful Arab village by bursting unwelcome into cafes or other recreational sites to interrupt normal life patterns among the population.

I really do think someone, Greg or his editor, should have included that fact by writing something akin to "in the exchange, an Israeli soldier was wounded".

One Way to Protect a Fence

I stumbled across this report on a mass attempt to cross a border fence.

For the past few years, I have been critical of the building of a fence, actually any fence between Israel and any territory that Arab Pals. claim or administer.

I point out that one day, someone is going to come up with the bright idea that instead of being violent and throwing rocks (before eventually graduating to guns, grenades, bombs and missiles) all they need to gain attention and sympathy is to sponsor a mass march on the fence in places where it is but wire. They can then amass, say, 10,000 Pals. with, of course, women and children out in front, and then charge the fence daring Israelis to fire upon them. What a "PR black eye" we'd get then.

Well, getting back to the story (if you haven't clicked on to read it by now), it tells this story:

Five migrants were killed and nearly 100 injured Thursday during an attempt by hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta by scaling the razor wire fences along the border, the Spanish government said.

The mass attempt by several hundred Africans to enter the enclave on Thursday follows a sharp increase over the last two months in the number of migrants to attempt crossing the two razor wire fences that separate Morocco from Ceuta and Spain's other North African enclave, Melilla.

It took a few paragraphs to find out how they had been killed but perseverance paid off:

Three of the people killed Thursday died on the Moroccan side of the border and two on the Spanish side, said María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the Spanish deputy prime minister. "The government regrets the loss of human life and hopes for the prompt recovery of those injured," she said.

The news agency Europa Press reported that two of the victims had suffered gunshot wounds, and that the ammunition appeared to correspond with the kind used by Moroccan security forces.

And, in a direct response to my concerns, I read this:

Human rights groups have suggested that at least one of the four deaths may have been the result of overly aggressive police tactics, but the Spanish government said it found no evidence that security forces were to blame.

So, we do have a precedent to relate to.

But let's hope we don't reach that bridge, er, fence.

I Won't Bother You with the Details

This is "peace with security"?

Security cameras at the fence not working.

Soldier shot.

Vehicle hit by gunfire.

17 suspected terrorists were arrested in the West Bank throughout Thursday night and Friday morning.

Arab woman armed with knife arrested at Temple Mount.

Two mortar shells fired at IDF base north of Gaza.

I could go on, and probably will have to.

Welcome to Post-Disengagment Israel.

Ever Been Inside the Temple Mount Compound?

This blogger has.

If you haven't, or won't, go up,
click on here for his photo album.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Extremely Odd

This report is extremely odd.

It seems that an El Al flight was grounded because of overweight problems.

And why is it odd?

Because it was supposed to take off from Israel.

If it was flying to Israel from New York, I could understand - as everyone probably had gifts for their relatives in those valises and suitcases and bags and cartons and whatever else they manage to pack stuff into (we came back from England once with clothes in plastic garbage bags due to a problem).

But leaving Israel?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Temple Mount, the Waqf, Archeology and History

The Waqf has started up again.

A new archaeological site not far from a sensitive holy shrine in Jerusalem's Old City will be opened soon.

It is a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed in A.D. 70, and a small wall from the period of the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in the year 586 B.C.

But Adnan Husseini, the head of the Islamic Trust that oversees the two mosques at the site, condemned the diggings and Israel's intention to open it to the public, calling it a "confiscation" of Muslim property.

Of course, we could always go back to the report of the International Commission on the Western Wall from 1930 which declared that

A. To the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seeing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area, which is a Waqf property.

To the Moslems there also belongs the ownership of the Pavement in front of the Wall and of the adjacent so-called Moghrabi (Moroccan) Quarter opposite the Wall, inasmuch as the last-mentioned property was made Waqf under Moslem Sharia Law, it being dedicated to charitable purposes.

and it also decided that

The Jews shall have free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times subject to the explicit stipulations hereinafter to be mentioned, viz.,

(1) it shall be permissible to place near the Wall the Cabinet or Ark containing the Scroll or Scrolls of the Law and the Table on which the Ark stands and the Table on which the Scroll is laid when being read from, but only on the following occasions, viz.,
(a) at any special fast and assembly for public prayer that the Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem may order to be held in the consequence of some public distress or calamity, provided due notice shall have been given by them to the Administration;
(b) on New Year's Day and on the Day of Atonement, and also on any other special "holy days" that are recognised by the Government as such days on which it has been customary for the Ark containing the Scrolls of the Law to be brought to the Wall.
Save as provided in the articles of this Verdict it shall not be permissible to have any appurtenances of worship in the vicinity of the Wall.
(2) No objection or obstacle shall be raised to the Jews, in their individual capacity, carrying with them to the Wall hand-books or other articles customarily used at their devotions either as a general thing or upon special occasions, nor to their wearing such garments as were of old used at their devotions.
(3) The temporarily enacted prohibitions against the bringing to the Wall of benches, carpets or mattings, chairs, curtains and screens, etc., and against the driving of animals at certain hours along the Pavement are to be made absolute, as is also the injunction as to keeping the door at the southern end of the Wall locked during certain hours. The right, however, for Moslems to go to and fro in an ordinary way along the Pavement shall be respected and remain inviolable as hitherto.
(4) It shall be prohibited to bring to the Wall any tent or a curtain or any similar object with a view to placing it there even though for a limited space of time.
(5) The Jews shall not be permitted to blow the ram's horn (Shofar) near the Wall nor cause any other disturbance to the Moslems that is avoidable; the Moslems on the other hand shall not be permitted to carry out the Zikr ceremony close to the Pavement during the progress of the Jewish devotions or to cause annoyance to the Jews in any other way.
(6) It is to be understood that the Administration shall be entitled to give such instructions as they may think fit respecting the dimensions of each of the objects that it is permissible for the Jews to bring to the WalI, respecting the particular days and hours above referred to, and also respecting other details that may be necessary for the adequate and complete carrying out of this present Verdict of the Commission.
(7) It shall be prohibited for any person or persons to make use of the place in front of the Wall or its surroundings for all political speeches or utterances or demonstrations of any kind whatever.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"How Far?" An HonestReporting Flash Presentation

Click on for a message about the media and the burning of the synagogues.

The "Right" Person and the Wrong Person

The Jewish Chronicle (sorry, I'm not subscribed so there's no link) carried a story this past Friday that Robi Damelin, on a visit to England together with an Arab woman whose sister was killed, stated that the sniper who killed her son David, shot at a roadside checkpoint, did so because he was a symbol of the occupation but

"didn't kill the right person."

No, who was the "right person" one wonders.

Was it a female teacher returning home? A Rabbi traveling to his Yeshiva? The 5 month old baby whose head was crushed by a rock? The bride blown up one day before her wedding? The teenager cut down in a fussilade of bullets on the basketball court of his school? Or any of the hundreds of other Israelis, foreign workers, tourists and other Arabs killed by Arab terrorists who rejected a more-than-generous peace offer in 2000?

Indeed, is Ms. Damelin the right person to be talking about peace?

Or she simply the wrong person, the very wrong person?


Well, I went here
and found all this:-

Billed under the deceptive banner of "Palestine Awareness Week," it featured two women - one an Israeli named Robin "Robi" Damelin, and the other a Palestinian woman named Nadwa Saranda - who appeared as representatives of a group called the Parents Circle. Participants were led to believe that both women had both lost loved ones in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Supposedly, both women had family members killed by the opposite side, tragedies that compelled them to reach out together to create a "dialogue" in the name of peace and non-violence. It all sounded perfectly innocent.

Thus, Palestine Awareness Week - note that it was not Palestine and Israel Awareness Week - scheduled seminars with these two women on the campus at UC Santa Cruz. Sponsored as well by several university faculty members, the women managed to do three seminar presentations to hundreds of students in public high schools in the area during regular school hours. Among the high schools that hosted them were the Soquel High School, Aptos High School, and Santa Cruz High School. Scott Kennedy and the RCNV have sponsored similar events nationwide.

What these high school students did not know was that these women were not the peace activists they affected to be. Touring all over the United States, they are regular features at pro-PLO functions. Nor are their stories of their personal losses completely true. It is true that Robi Damelin lost her son, David. A 28 year-old graduate student in education at Tel Aviv University, David was killed while guarding a checkpoint in the West Bank that was set up to prevent suicide bombers and terrorists from getting into Israel to kill Israelis. But Nadwa Saranda explains her presence at these seminars as an attempt to come to terms with the death of her sister, Naela, a Palestinian activist, who was supposedly knifed to death in East Jerusalem by a "Jewish settler."

Yet an investigation into the details of Nadwa Saranda's story reveals that, her claims notwithstanding, her sister, Naela, was not in fact killed by a "Jewish settler." She was, rather, killed by a Palestinian Arab who confessed to killing her. According to Al Quds, the Palestinian national newspaper, Naela was killed after being stabbed in the chest several times near the Jerusalem Municipality building in al-Musrara quarter. She was killed by 23-year-old Mohammed Sha'lan from the village of Hizma, who claims he thought she was an Israeli. After realizing she was Palestinian, Sha'alan turned himself into Israeli police, confessing his crime. It seems there was also another Arab serial killer who murdered with a knife 13 Arabs in East Jerusalem who also may have been involved in Naela's killing. Yet Nadwa has been traipsing all over the country letting audiences, including Jewish ones, think her sister was murdered by an Orthodox Jew living in East Jerusalem. Far from acknowledging the facts, Saranda blames Israel for her sister's death and says she will continue to do so. Testimony from Saranda in 1999 reveals that she claims no matter what, her sister's death was Israel's fault. (The evidence indicates that the Palestinian Arab who murdered her sister thought he was knifing a Jewess.) Today, she blames her sister's death on the "occupation" of "Palestine" by Israel.

The Parents Circle was created by Yitzhak Frankenthal, a wealthy Israeli businessman whose son was murdered also by PLO terrorists. Frankenthal gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from the European Union, including Germany and Norway. The EU has a habit of funding Palestinian corruption. His organization also pulls in a buck a minute for phone calls placed between Palestinians and Israelis who have suffered bereavements.

Frankenthal's message of "reconciliation and dialog" gets the Parents Circle into high places besides high schools and colleges. People fall for it so much the organization has even been featured on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. They, like the U.S. State Department, don't check what this group really does once in front of a captive audience. And that is support the goals of the PLO against Israel by making misleading comparisons with South Africa, and distributing anti-Israel propaganda materials. At Santa Cruz, Naela Saranda told the audience Frankenthal is an Orthodox rabbi (he isn't) and read a letter from him in which he apologizes "for all the bad things Israel has done to the Palestinians, both real or imaginary." (Nobody has such a letter from a Palestinian religious authority.)

As for Robi Damelin, she is hardly the nonpolitical activist she purports to be. It is a longtime practice of the PLO to find radical leftist Jews to attend pro-Palestinian seminars to give the appearance of "balance." Adam Shapiro was one. Damelin is just such a shill. Robi Damelin immigrated to Israel in 1967 from South Africa, where she was active in the anti-apartheid movement there by the ANC and Nelson Mandela. Once her goal was achieved, Damelin, like many leftist radicals, went to Israel to try and find a new cause there. Once in Israel she became active in radical leftist groups that support the goals of the PLO while claiming to be working toward "peace." Peace, of course, means blaming Israel for the murders against its citizens in adherence to the PLO agenda of "fighting occupation."

Damelin tells audiences that she previously ran a successful public relations firm in Israel before going to work for Parents Circle full-time. Significantly, Damelin describes it only as a "successful PR firm." In fact, her public relations agency specialized in doing spin and promotions for leftist groups in Israel that wish to see the country dismantled but bill themselves as "co-existence groups."

Besides her public relations agency handling publicity for radical Israeli groups, Damelin herself also encouraged Israelis to refuse to serve in the military. Her son, David, at least according to her, was also such a "peace activist," but like all Israelis he was required to do three weeks a year in reserve duty to protect the Israeli people. Damelin claims David was opposed to the Israeli presence in the West Bank, and he may well have been. But he did not take after his radical mother.

Whereas David served in the Israeli army, Robi Damelin has always worked to support a movement in Israel called the Refuseniks, a corruption of the term used to describe former Soviet Jews who refused to remain in the USSR, many of whom were sent to the gulags.


Last night, at the Likud Central Committee conclave, the place was covered with security.

They were afraid of assassination, garroting, stabbing, firebombing, sniping.

And what happens?

Someone dumps water on the electric board.

But, then again, this is Israel, right?

For example:

The breakdown of a machine used for x-raying suitcases at Ben Gurion airport has left hundreds of frustrated passengers stranded.

Six flights have been grounded and security officials have ordered the rechecking of all luggage destined for those flights.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hello? Why No Answer?

I found a web site which promotes the "Palestinian" viewpoint.

The blogger noted that Israel had "occupied" Palestinian land following the 1967 war.

So I innocently asked him, but really,

Without being provocative, you write that Beit Hanina was occupied by Israel since 1967. And prior to 1967? Was it occupied or what? How do you explain this?

He replied:

Prior to 1967, Beit Hanina was under direct Jordanian control...The residents of Beit Hanina enjoyed the same rights as other citizens of Jordan. Also, while under Jordanian rule, we were allowed to build on our lands, we didn't have our homes demolished, trees uprooted, or lands stolen from us so that Jewish only settlements such as Ramot

Well, I then responded this way:

thanks for replying.

i will try to avoid the more sensitive issues which i would consider problematic in that either there is a factual error or a subjective one.

but i need your response to the issue of Jews owning property in Jordan (which included the area now under Israeli military control until 1967) and in the area administered by the Palestinian Authority. As you know, in Israel within the 1967 borders, Arabs live and own property whether or not there is discrimination which is not the issue now.

here is a statement regarding Jews owning land


Under the direct instructions of King Husayn23, the government of Jordan in 1973 passed the "Law for Preventing the Sale of Immovable Property to the Enemy."24The "enemy" is defined in Article 2 as "any man or judicial body [corporation] of Israeli citizenship living in Israel or acting on its behalf." Under Article 4 of this law any Jordanian citizen who sold land in Jordan or the West Bank to the "enemy" faced the death penalty and forfeiture of all his property to the state:
The sale of Immovable property against the provisions of this law constitutes a crime against state security and well being, punishable by death, and the confiscation of all the culprit's Immovable and moveable possessions.
In addition, Article 3 deemed the sale of land to any alien (i.e., a non-Arab) without permission from the Council of Ministers a security offense punishable by death.
According to PA Attorney General Khalid al-Qidra, Jordan had sentenced 172 people to death under this law.25 Amnesty International reported that as of 1988 many of the convictions were in absentia and that there had been no executions. 26 However, PA Justice Minister Meddein claimed that Jordan had executed 10 violators.27

Whatever its application, the Jordanian Parliament repealed the 1973 law in 1995, following the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. Milder statutes adopted in its place still effectively bar Israelis from purchasing or leasing land in Jordan. The Law on Economic Boycott and Banning Dealing with the Enemy (Article 6) states that "it is impermissible for foreign persons or corporate entities that do not hold an Arab nationality to purchase, lease, or own directly or indirectly any immovable property in the kingdom." 28 The only exceptions require high level political authorization.

23 Arab Report and Record (London: Arab Report and Record), Apr. 16-30, 1973, p. 179; May 1-15, 1973, p. 204; July 16-31, 1973, p. 319.
24 Al-Jarida ar-Rasmiya (Amman), #2429, 1973, p. 1223-1224.
25 Palestine Report, June 6, 1997.
26 Jordan: Human Rights Protections After the State of Emergency (New York: Amnesty International, 1990), pp. 53,55.
27 The Los Angeles Times , June 1, 1997.
28 Al-Aswaq (Amman), July 27, 1995, as translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.

Legislation passed in 1954 declared that only non-Jews coming from the former British Mandate of Palestine were entitled to Jordanian citizenship.36

36 Section 3(3) of Jordanian Nationality Law no. 6 of 1954, recorded in Al-Jarida ar-Rasmiya, no. 1171, Feb. 16, 1954, p. 105.

and this

Enforcement of the old Jordanian law. The PA's justice minister, Meddein, has repeatedly stated his intention to enforce the 1973 Jordanian law.29 It is doubtful, however, that this law has any legal standing in territories under control of the PA. The Oslo 2 Agreement of September 1995 specifically deals with regulations of this sort and renders them null and void in PA territories. Oslo 2 states that any legislation "inconsistent with the provisions of the DOP, 30 [or] this Agreement ... shall have no effect and shall be void ab initio."31Imposing the death penalty on Palestinians for selling land to Israelis clearly violates at least two provisions of Oslo 2. 32

The new Palestinian law. The Palestinian Legislative Council has passed the first reading of a draft law intended to supersede the 1973 Jordanian statute.33This new law reportedly bar sales to "occupiers" whom it defines as the "Israeli occupying government and its civil and military institutions, settlements and whomever is under their authority." It declares the sale of land in "Palestine" to such occupiers to be "high treason" punishable "according to the criminal law." And it states that foreign violators have "committed harm to the national security and will be punished according to the criminal law." The draft law is vague about punishment, but according to the Jordanian Penal Code, which is still in effect on the West Bank, the crime for treason is death. 34

According to PA legislators, the term "Palestine" in the law refers to all the territory of the Palestine Mandate, meaning all of Israel.35 Under this proposed statute, then, an Israeli Arab who sells any land in Israel to an Israeli Jew would face the death penalty. Such extraterritorial threats receive added weight from the reported formation by the PA of a shadowy force known as "The Long Arm," whose task is to track down and execute Palestinians living anywhere in the world who have sold land to Israeli Jews.36

It hardly needs pointing out that this new Palestinian law would, like the 1973 Jordanian law it replaces, directly violate the Oslo 2 Accords.

29 Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) interview, Dec. 23, 1996 and June 4, 1997; Agence France Presse, May 5, 1997; Yedi'ot Ahranot, May 20, 1997; Ha'aretz, May 28, 1997.
30 Declaration of Principles, the agreement signed on the White House lawn in September 1993.
31 Oslo 2 Agreement (formally, the "Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip"), Article XVIII.4.a.
32 Article XVI, paragraph 2 of Oslo 2 requires that Palestinians who have "maintained contact with the Israeli authorities" will not on this account be subject to "harassment, violence, retribution or prosecution." Article XIX requires that the Palestinian Council "shall exercise their powers and responsibilities pursuant to this agreement with due regard to internationally—accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law."
33 Palestine Report, Aug. 22, 1997.
34 Amnesty International, Jordan: Human Rights Protections, 1990, p. 52.
35 Agence France Presse, June 16, 1997.
36 Al-'Arab al-Yawm, May 17, 1997, as translated in the British Broadcasting Corporation Summary of World Broadcasts.

Would you consider the foregoing problematic?

And would you believe it, he hasn't been heard of since.

His name is Mike Hanini (or Odetalla), his e mail address is and his blog site is at also called Ramallah Online.

Do you think it's because I'm Jewish, or a Zionist or a revenant of Shiloh or maybe he has no answer? Every time I try to initiate a dialogue, I get cut off.

A Bit of Etymology

As my nickname is "Winkie", I once tried to inquire as to the origins and meaning of the name.

Here's how it went:-

Yisrael Medad wrote:

I excerpted the following from a movie review in which a film was described as: "with its winkly-twinkly touches of magic realism and its travel-brochure sexuality." Now, my family name, before I Hebraized it, was Winkelman. Winkel, or Winkle, in German, means a corner.

When I spent time in England, I was informed that to winkle meant to maneuver oneself out of a tricky situation but usually with a negative connotation in that one's escape was achieved unfairly. My nickname, "winkie," I found out, was, in British slang usage, a male sexual organ. Getting back to the quotation: what is the definition of winkly-twinkly and where did it originate? Was it the 1950s TV character Winkie-Dink?

You've actually got a few different etymologies going on here. Let's start with the easy one first (yes, I believe in immediate gratification, dessert first, all that good stuff).

Winkly-twinkly and Winkie-Dink are both pretty straightforward examples of reduplication--when all or part of a stem is repeated. Reduplication is the way that some languages form verb tenses or other inflected forms. In English, it's most often used to make a term or name more familiar, to make a slightly distasteful term seem more innocuous, or to belittle something. You get this in terms like pooh-pooh, peepee, and artsy-fartsy, or in the names of Chicken Little's companions--Henny Penny, Goosey Loosey, Foxy Loxy, Ducky Lucky, and Turkey Lurkey. Usually the main word--in your example, twinkly--comes first, but it's fairly common for this to be reversed, especially for emphasis. For example, the term loosey-goosey is used in British English to disparage ideas or practices that are considered to be too permissive or unstructured.

The writer of the review most likely made up the expression winkly-twinkly to show that she wasn't impressed or fooled by the fancy effects of the film. One of the meanings of wink is synonymous with twinkle, 'to shine with little flashes of light'. So your term does not come from winkle, but rather from the verb wink, which was wincian in Old English and winken in Middle English (remember Winken, Blinken, and Nod?). The cognate for this in German is winken, which means 'to wave or signal' and can include winking as a signal--nothing to do with corners or body parts.

In fact, the German Winkel 'angle, corner, nook' has only an accidental similarity in form to the English winkle; they're completely unrelated. The latter is a short form of periwinkle, that snail-like marine creature (oh, okay, gastropod) that you see on plateaux de fruits de mer in restaurants in Europe. (It's also the name of the caddisfly larva that builds itself a protective tube to live in on rocks in lakes and rivers, which you would only eat if you were really desperate. But the only area of the US in which a caddisworm is called a periwinkle is the Northwest, according to Joan Houston Hall of the Dictionary of American Regional English --which finally explained the blank stares I always got when I told people about seeing periwinkles in rivers in Washington state as a teenager.)

At any rate, (peri)winkle is the main British term for the marine snail, having been settled on after a few centuries of confusion, possible scribal errors, and conflation of the spelling with that of the (again unrelated) botanical periwinkle, which you can hunt down in our Unabridged dictionary if you're so inclined. Winkles have to be removed from their shells with winkle pickers, which is also the slang term for the pointed boots that the British Teddy Boys wore. You can see where the 'getting out of a tight situation' meaning came from. And, of course, the small snaily thing looks enough like an uncircumcised boy's penis that the slang terms winkle and winkie meaning 'boy's penis' aren't too surprising. Since willie/willy is also British slang for 'penis' (any size), just imagine the giggles from modern British children reading "Wee Willy Winkie."


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Television Cutlure Even Shapes Diplomacy

Sorry for the belatedness but I only had my attention drawn to this after reading it in translation in Ma'ariv.

Daniel Kurtzer, outgoing American ambassador to Israel, was interviewed in the New York Times and, among other things, said,

What has most disappointed him, Mr. Kurtzer said, has been the failure of the Palestinians, at least so far, to create a positive image based on good administration, realistic policies and opposition to terrorism.

"Victimization gets you on 'Oprah,' but you want to be taken seriously enough to get on 'Meet the Press,' " Mr. Kurtzer said, then winced a little for allowing himself to be direct.

Tragedy and injustice are "part of Palestinian consciousness," he said, adding: "I respect it. It's part of their national narrative. But you have to move beyond it to create something positive."

"You have a Palestinian Authority, but it's still a question in the minds of the international community if they're ready for statehood with these institutions," he said.

I only hope his bosses and some other diplomats pay attention.

By the way, Kurtzer's replacement is Richard H. Jones. And here's highlights from his CV:

Ambassador to Lebanon, a senior member of the U.S. Foreign Service, Mr. Jones has served in Washington, Paris, Tunis, and Riyadh while concentrating on economic and Middle East issues. Besides serving in Washington as Director of the State Department's Office of Egyptian Affairs since June 1993, he has served in Embassy Riyadh as Counselor for Political Affairs (1989-92) and Petroleum Attache (1984-86), and in the Department as Director of Developed Country Trade in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (1987-89). Mr. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree (Math, with distinction) from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, as well as a Master of Science degree (Business) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

He and his wife, Joan, are the parents of four children, ranging in age from 3-18.
Mr. Jones was born August 26, 1950 in Shreveport, Louisiana. His foreign languages are Arabic and French.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rules of Blogging

A year and a half into this blogging business, I know discover this from here:-

These are the rules
For those of you who are new to this whole blogging game, there are certain ground rules you need to follow when arguing on blogs. Be sure to abide by these rules when commenting at Harry's Place, Lenin's Tomb or the Popinjays.

1. Under no circumstances should you suggest that there are certain fields that you do not have sufficient knowledge about to form an opinion. Your bachelors degree from the University of Armchair makes you an expert on all subjects everywhere.

2. This bachelors degree also exempts you from any requirement to provide sources for any claims you may wish to make.

3. All positions that can be taken on a subject fall into two black-and-white categories, and nuances are utterly impossible. Therefore, anybody who is even slightly pro-Israel clearly believes every Palestinian village should be bulldozed to make way for 5-star hotels. Likewise, even the vaguest supporter of Palestinian civil rights laughs as suicide bombers blow up small children.

4. Irrelevant of which side of a debate you take, the mass media is against you.

5. Irrelevant of which side of a debate you take, don't forget to mock Benjamin.

6. When responding to a point made by another commenter, feel free to reply as though that commenter had said something completely different to the point that they actually made.

7. Ranting hyperbole is a sign of gravitas, and is always superior to nuanced argument backed up with evidence.

8. Finally, if you find yourself losing an argument, always ensure that you declare that the issue is unimportant anyway, and close by mocking the other side for having such a silly obsession with that particular subject.

A Good Comment

Here's a selection of Eyal Megged's thinking:-

That's when I got it: the settlers are our scapegoat. They're our expiation. Their hidden role in the eyes of part of Israeli society is to atone for a sin, the repressed sin that we refused to deal with. The "peace now" establishment coming from the kibbutzim that coveted Arab lands in the years following the War of Independence, whose origins are in the philosophers who fell all over themselves appropriating and fixing up abandoned Arab houses, happily grabbed at the opportunity to cleanse their consciences following the Six-Day War.

From herein declare: those who coveted and stole, those who murdered and inherited, are the settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the religious right, Gush Emunim; it is they who must be expelled from the land so that salvation may arrive.

This, then, is the deceit behind the "peace now"-like lie. A self-delusion that may work with part of the Israeli public, but under no circumstances with the Palestinians. They don't buy this lie. They know exactly who settled on their ruins and their lands, and who settled on rocks in empty land. The proof is that they fix their gaze not on the Qatif bloc but on Ashkelon; not on Efrat but on Katamon; not on Betar Elit but on Malcha.

From their standpoint, if someone should be uprooted it is we who live safely within the "legal" green line, on the ruins of their national memory. From their standpoint it is we who are first in line. Because as we have seen, the original sin is not in the "territories", but here: in Lachish, Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, and the Sharon region.

Gideon Sammet once attacked Megged, writing:

It's no longer a matter of the debilitation of the left in Israel. The latest trend in a politics stricken by terror attacks is to say that there is no difference, in fact, between right and left. What we see developing is something of a "left-right," which is no longer a defined political stance, but rather a kind of vague consciousness that is trying to blur the differences between two historic movements whose struggle is almost 80 years old.

Among those spurring on this trend are cultural heroes such as novelist A.B. Yehoshua and secondary, hazy figures like author Eyal Megged, whose father, Aharon, can be credited with being one of the veteran and more articulate explicators of the leftright.

Interesting to see how each fights it out.

Torture? Oh, that Torture!

I read this, published in The Forward, and jumped to the wrong conlusion.

Rabbis, Cantors Step Up Campaign Against Torture
By Ori Nir
September 23, 2005
WASHINGTON — An interdenominational group of more than 700 North American rabbis and cantors is stepping up its "campaign to end U.S.-sponsored torture" through a combination of political lobbying, protests and grass-roots mobilizing in synagogues.

I mistakenly thought that the "torture" they were referring to was that of long-winded sermons and off-key melodies sung as if the synagogue was an opera house.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love a good sermon and I have a dozen chazzanut CDs at home. It's just that if done wrong, it's torture.

Which recalls the joke about the schule's rabbi, chazan and president being taken captive by terrorists and threatened to be shot if their demands are not met.

The rabbi seeks a reprieve to prepare his 40 minute Rosh Hashana speech and then read it out before they shoot him. The chazan asks for a reprieve to prepare his 20 minute Kol Nidre and then sing it before being shot. The terrorists, in a favorable mood, then ask the schule president if he has any special requests and he replies:-

"If you are going to give in to the Rabbi and Chazan, then please, take me out and shoot me first."

"Friends" of Chabad

Go on, click and laugh.

No Levee Levity (and how does this relate to Israel?)

In a story on how New Orleans is coping with Storm Rita and the possible threat of a resubmergement, I found this section where two qualified and, presumably, diploma-carrying engineers, disagreed:-

In the Lower Ninth Ward, where two gaping breaches in the Industrial Canal levee submerged and splintered one of the poorest sections of the city, four to eight inches of water began seeping back into some abandoned and destroyed neighborhoods by noon on Thursday. Small waterfalls of leakage could be seen several feet below the top of the repaired levee as wind pushed rising water from Lake Pontchartrain through the Industrial Canal.

This was to be expected, said Chad Rachel, a civil engineer with the corps, after an inspection of the repaired breaches. There did not appear to be any erosion of the compacted clay base of the patched dike, he said, adding that he felt certain the large, interlocking stones atop the base would be able to withstand the expected storm surge.

"We don't expect any problem with a catastrophic breach," Mr. Rachel said.

By dusk, however, water had continued to rise, and Maj. Barry Guidry of the Army offered a direr assessment after examining the leaking at the Industrial Canal. "The levee's going to cave in," Major Guidry said. "In the middle of the night, this thing is going to be gone."

Well, first off, I wish New Orleans success in its fight against the rising water although it seems to me that the whole system is built on materials that enable water to seep right through, but who am I to comprehend?

However, for Israel, there are two lessons.

One, will our "security barrier" stop terror? Is it high enough? Placed strategically enough? Or is it a security blanket with no real intrinsic worth except as a psychological sop, going back to my "King Kong Syndrome" theory?

Second, if these two engineers can be diametrically opposed to each other, what are we to do with army officers, intelligence officers, ministry of defense officials, former army officers now in government, etc., etc. and et al. who argue about how to end terror, how to negotiate, how to protect Israel, how much or less territory to surrender and yield, etc., etc. and et al.?

Could it be the one side really doesn't know what it is talking about?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Memory Lane

Here's a letter of mine that was published in The Commentator, the campus newspaper of Yeshiva University, my alma mater:-

The JTS Library Fire

Dear Sir:

Hillel Goldberg's recounting of the mobilization of the YU student body ("The JTS Library Fire," August 31, 2005) reminded me once again what I missed out on by not dorming.

In my sophomore year in 1966, I moved in with my widowed grandmother in the Bronx. Showing up for school the next morning, it was quite apparent that everybody who was anybody was going downtown. The JTS books were all laid out and we methodically went around trying to dry the soggy pages.

But to return to the dorm scene, I missed out on all the action, drama, and tension. Indeed, many students who did not dorm, upon hearing what had happened, simply skipped classes and went downtown. It was the natural and normal thing to do. Halacha, Orthodoxy, Conservative - all that was quite secondary or less to me and many others at the time.

Yisrael Medad (Winkelman), YC '69

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My Family Comes From Brody

My late mother, Lily, was born as a Nadel.

Her mother was born as a Steckler.

Both families originated from Brody, then in Poland, now in the Ukraine.

I found a fascinating overview of Brody, fairly concise, with a few pictures from last year, here.

Just Like in pre-Nazi Germany

I know our left-wing "friends" don't like comparisons with the holocaust or Nazis.

Nevertheless, although I was involved in this case almost immediately because Ronen and Eli were founding members of Israel's Media Watch in Haifa.

Re-reading it leaves one with the impression that this is how it must have been in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the Nazis were going at the Communists, only to better prepare for the Jews. Or in Italy under Mussolini after his Rome March.

Here's an excerpt:-

Belated Justice For Haifa's Land of Israel Activists

After eight years of police foot-dragging, a left-wing Meretz activist has been sentenced to a year in jail and three years suspended sentence for attacking right-wing activists in Haifa in 1998...

...then attacked Dr. Buchbinder, after he tried to prevent a scuffle with a fellow activist who had accidentally dislodged one of the Meretz banners. He was punched in the face and kicked mercilessly once he hit the ground. “I remember myself on the pavement with three or four hooligans beating me without respite,” Dr. Buchbinder told the B’Sheva newspaper. “I completely panicked. Everything around me became foggy. I tried to defend myself in one place and just to be beaten in another one. They deliberately aimed their blows mostly at my face. My entire body went into shock, numb and completely powerless. I felt like I was being lynched, that there was no chance I would emerge from this alive. It continued for a while longer – them just beating and kicking me with all their might, with intense burning anger. It wasn’t a scuffle; they fully intended to kill me.”

The fact that the attackers were Arabs is irrelevant except for the fact that the Jewish lefties were true to their paternalism, leaving the Arabs to do the dirty work, probably because they thought "well, that's how they normally behave, no?".

Monday, September 19, 2005

The King Kong Syndrome

In recent interviews with officials of the American Consulate-General here in Jerusalem, the new head of the EU's Middle East team who visited as well as a very pro-Palestine British MP, I have been asked about what we revenants (see a comment on my use of this term and I published an article: "Revenant is relevant" in the Jerusalem Post on September 29, 2002. pg. 06) feel regarding the future and more specifically, how I view the new security barrier which places Shiloh on the "other side".

I tell them that I call my feeling the King Kong Syndrome. We are the sacrifice positioned on the other side of the wall to gratify the Beast.

If you can't remember or fail to understand my point, here's an excerpt from the synopsis of the film:-

The main island has a long sandy peninsula…the rest of the island's shoreline has sheer, steep precipices, hundreds of feet high. A wall cuts off the base of the peninsula from the rest of the island. Denham explains that there's an ancient, monstrous wonder "that no white man has ever seen" on the mysterious island:

Denham: A wall...built so long ago that the people who live there have slipped back, forgotten the higher civilization that built it. That wall is as strong today as it was centuries ago. The natives keep that wall in repair. They need it.
Driscoll: Why?
Denham: There's something on the other side of it, something they fear.
Captain: A hostile tribe.
Denham: Did you ever hear of...Kong?
Captain: Why, yes. Some native superstition isn't it? A god or a spirit or something?
Denham: Well anyway, neither Beast nor man. Something monstrous. All powerful. Still living. Still holding that island in a grip of deadly fear. Well, every legend has a basis of truth. I tell you, there's something on that island that no white man has ever seen..

In a frenzy of excitement, the natives have prepared Ann as the new sacrificial bride. The witch doctors open the tall gate in the enormous wall and drag her to the top of a high stone altar at the edge of the jungle. Her wrists are spread and bound to two great pillars or altar stakes (each decorated with a human skull) as a sacrificial gift - the "bride of Kong." After the witch doctors hurry back, the gates are closed and re-sealed with a huge wooden bolt. All the natives then climb to the top of the wall or gate where they gather to watch, torches lighting the sky. The chief halts the dancing, raises his staff, offers prayers, and then two half-naked assistants strike a giant brass gong above the gates to signal Kong. Left invitingly open to attack, Ann sobs helplessly on the altar.

Just then, a lookout up on the gate next to the giant gong cries out: "Hey, look out. It's Kong. Kong's coming!" Ann screams again. They try to keep the huge gate closed, bolted and blocked - the gate that has kept Kong trapped inside the island for so long. At the sound of the gong, the natives swarm from their huts and join them to hold the gate against the giant ape. Kong pounds repeatedly on it, and pushes with his entire weight thrown against the door. As last, he breaks it down, and the doors swing open to reveal the awesome brute. An enraged Kong attacks the village searching for his blond beauty. He hurls an entire hut at the fleeing natives and crushes everything in his path. Kong then smashes the platform with three swift punches from his fist.

And if that isn't enough to get your imagination going, try the trailer of the new Jackson film here.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Who Said This? (1)

Who said this?

The Palestinian Authority are dogs

Was it former Techiya MK, Rafael Eitan?

Was it former Moledet Minister Rechavam Ze'evi?

Was it Professor Israel Eldad?


No Israeli rightwingers. No Israeli nationalists? No Israeli religious messianists.

It was an Arab from Gaza named Mohamed Ahmed Zowab.

It was reported here. In the section "Plugging Holes".

Oh well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Unprofessorial Behavior

Mark Danner, professor of journalism and politics at the University of California at Berkeley and Bard College and the author, most recently, of "Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror" published a long article on terrorism in the NYTimes Sunday Magazine.

He couldn't avoid mentioning the Irgun and Menachem Begin and this is what he wrote:-

The jihadis used terrorism to create a spectacle that would remove this certainty. They were by no means the first guerrilla group to adopt such a strategy. "History and our observation persuaded us," recalled Menachem Begin, the future Israeli prime minister who used terror with great success to drive the British out of Palestine during the mid-1940's, "that if we could succeed in destroying the government's prestige in Eretz Israel, the removal of its rule would follow automatically. Thenceforward, we gave no peace to this weak spot. Throughout all the years of our uprising, we hit at the British government's prestige, deliberately, tirelessly, unceasingly." In its most spectacular act, in July 1946, the Irgun guerrilla forces led by Begin bombed the King David Hotel, killing 91 people, most of them civilians.

So, Danner presumed to parallel jihadi terrorism to the urban guerrilla campaign waged by the Irgun led by Menachem Begin against the British rule in mandate Palestine by singling out the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel, emphasizing that 91 people were killed, "most of them civilians".

There is no comparison, neither in strategy, in tactics nor rationale.

The operation was initiated and approved by the heads of the Hagana within the framework of the United Resistance Movement, the British having decided to continue a policy of prohibition of immigration and prevention of the establishment of the Jewish National Home. The hotel was chosen as a target because its south wing had been sealed off since 1939 for the exclusive use of the secretariat of the mandatory government and the military headquarters of the British armed forces in the country. The civilians who died in the explosion were mainly the employees of the mandatory administration.

More important, however, is the fact that the Irgun never intended that anyone should die unlike today's jihadis who engage in terrorism that specifically seeks to kill primarily civilians. Telephone calls were made to the British in the hotel, as well as other actions, to warn them to evacuate and the unit commander delayed the explosion by a half hour to facilitate this.

In addition, the jihadis are out to destroy a "civilization", a "culture". Begin and the Irgun had nothing against the British as such, only their White Paper diplomacy.

And Danner didn't know all this or didn't care to know or...?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dems Fightin' Words (or are they?)

This is being reported:

Israel threatened Saturday to deliver an unprecedentedly harsh response to any attacks from Gaza after Israeli troops quit the territory next week and hand it over to the Palestinians.

'An hour after we leave the field, there will be a strategic change ... in the nature of our response to even an attempt at terror,' Maj. Gen. Yisrael Ziv, the military's chief of operations, told Israel Radio. 'We shall have a far more extreme reaction to any attempt.'

Well, some people might consider those as fighting words or are they but words of bluster?

One of the main selling points of disengagement was that handing over title of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority would then permit Israel to use its military might as it had not done previously.

This is BS.

It didn't use its might because it feared world opinion and will not do so because of same. The same people who were afraid then are the same people with the same fears now.

Already someone has said that only if terror exacts blood will Israel respond and then, only in proportion to the blood shed.

This is the pale face of Israel security.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Maybe There's Another Reason?

The New York Times carries a report that an Arab was killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli soldiers, the second this week, near an "evacuated Jewish settlement".

If the claim has been touted that the Jewish communities in the disputed territories are the cause for Arab terror, why, then, do Arabs continue to challenge emptied out and bulldozed former Jewish neighborhoods?

After 38 years, cannot another few days be worth the wait or is there, perhaps, another reason for Arab hostility, one that even predated the so-called 'occupation' and may exist after Israel's disengagement?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's To Protect the PA

One of my good friends, A., sent me the Jerusalem Post story on how the government of Israel is fairly determined to raze the Gush Katif synagogues.

And he wrote, inter alia, this:

...Besides the 'Halachic' reasonings against destroying your own Synagogues, when they first started talking about what to do w/the Shuls we thought the same as those who felt it would set a terrible JEWISH SANCTIONED precedent for any situation in the Diaspora when & if condemnation of Shull property would come up for rezoning or otherwise. This is certainly a MAJOR reason for NOT doing what this damn irresponsible gov is going to do!

But another serious thought/reason that came to our minds (the believers that good things can always be hoped for & since the Jewish State was established our history in OUR LAND is nothing more than a minute window in our past & future history) is the "politically correct" consideration that if they destroy our Synagogues when they take over & build as they ALWAYS do their mosques, when we take OUR LAND back & take over again we can destroy their mosques & build OUR Shuls again. The other way around makes it "politically incorrect" to destroy their mosques to rebuild OUR Shuls.

He really has us in a fix. He's bent on finishing his crazy act quicker than ASAP bcs he knows now there is a better chance than ever he'll be thrown out. Can you understand him? WHY!?! -- He did/is doing all this?!? - (Again & again, noone ever showed us any reasons that were reasonable - So if you know of any that you consider to be even fairly logical please relay them to us.

Gee, and here I thought that Sharon wanted to protect the PA from what Israel did to Jordan in the few post-1967 years when we lambasted them over the destruction of 30-odd synagogues in the Old City and the desecration of the Mt of Olives cemetery.

They could be seen as the lowest of lows, uncultured, primitive, truly irreligious. Now, would that be nice to do to his friends?

Ever Heard of the Qaysi-Yamani Feuds, Ms. Hanan?

Back in 1982, Menachem Begin was sharply criticised for making a remark that "goyim kill goyim and they blame the Jews" three days after the Sabra and Chatilla incident in a cabinet meeting (here's one source and here's a second source but this site claim it was in the Knesset. I remember it well, so I trust all of them including Eric Silver who included it in his biography, which I did research for (and that's another story) on Begin at p. 236.

That came to my mind when I read the following excerpt from an article published in the Washington Post and distributed by AP concerning the ferocious Muslim attack on Christian villagers north of Ramallah, an area I know well.

Our well-know Christian Arab apologist, Hanan Ashrawi, had this to say:-

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi said Palestinians have increasingly resorted to tribal law for justice after more than four years of conflict with Israel.

The acts of violence and counter-violence in family feuds happen in part because there is no authority that Palestinians can rely on, she said.

"This is a very serious development," Ashrawi said. "We are witnessing some sort of regression in social norms. Palestine has always been famous for its tolerance, pluralism, amicable relations, lack of discrimination and sectarianism. It is quite alarming that such incidents should take place."

She is such a Jew-hater in addition to lying about the history of "Palestine" which was rampant with extreme violence including inter-tribal warfare between the northern tribal families and the southern ones, the Qaysi-Yamani divisions in nineteenth-century Palestine, as described in the first volume of Yehoshuah Porath's book "The emergence of the Palestinian-Arab national movement, 1919-1929", London: Frank Cass, 1973.

The bottom line? Blame Israel for all your troubles.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Need for Definitions

I sent off to William Safire the following post:-

Did you ever do a column on Sharon's "disengagement"?

Were the Jews from Gush Katif -

Are they -
internally displaced persons?

A Very Good Characterization

George Galloway, in an interview in the London Sunday Times Magazine, is quoted as saying:

In the House of Commons these days, he said, he often encountered shivers fruitlessly searching for "spines to run up".

That's a very good line, actually.

And one easily can substitute 'Knesset' for 'House of Commons', too.


The Washington Post published this personal opinion piece by Hanna Sender.

Entitled "Now We Must Rebuild Our Lives in Israel", the section editor, I presume, preceded it with the heading "Plucked From Gaza", words that are misleading.

Ariel Sharon, Israel's Prime Minister of the Likud, ran on a platform in the 2003 elections diametrically opposed to his rival Labor party candidate's policy of but a partial disengagement from Gaza, one that did not include four other communities in northern Samaria. He violated his pledge to abide by an internal Likud party plebiscite which he lost. He fired two ministers prior to a crucial cabinet meeting, thus assuring a majority by denying them the democratic responsibility entrusted them - to represent their voters.

He then approved not granting the traditional fourth year of service of the commander-in-chief of Israel's army who publicly asserted that disengagement would provide a "tailwind to terror". The head of the General Security Service, parallel to the FBI, who had disagreements about the wisdom of the policy, was replaced. With hundreds of thousands demonstrating in the streets, he refused a suggestion that a referendum be conducted. The State Prosecutor's office lent itself to a dangerous chilling of legitimate opposition. In addition, the woeful unpreparedness of the state agency to provide adequate alternatives for these internally displaced citizens is another blemish.

Hanna Sender and her neighbors were not "plucked". They were expelled and their rights, as Jews, to live in the Jewish national homeland, were trampled.

Could we conceive Arabs being displaced so?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Anyone? Anything?

This appeared in Saturday's New York Times:

On Friday, as on most every Friday now, a demonstration of Palestinian, Israeli and foreign protesters against the building of the barrier near Bilin, a West Bank village, produced arrests and injuries. The Israeli Army has declared the area a closed military zone to try to stop the protests, but they continue.

One soldier was injured lightly after he was assaulted by an Israeli demonstrator, the army said.

Has anyone heard or read about arrests, chages, court cases, media headlines about subversion - anything at all similar to the propaganda campaign waged by government and private sources against those who demonstrated against disengagement?

Anyone? Anything?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Please, No Holocaust Comparisons

[This has been composed tongue-in-cheek but is as real as it gets]

I have been given to understand that if anybody compares the following conditions in the
story about New Orleans with what happened during the Holocaust, whether in the ghettos or the concentration camps, the Israel liberal/progressive elite will bring suit to prevent and/or punish such tattletalers. They will not allow parallels of any sort to be drawn, whether in Gush Katif or New Orleans.

And here are some excerpts:-

"We have been trying to call the mayor's office, we have been trying to call the governor's office ... we have tried to use any inside pressure we can. We are turning to you. Please help us," said Dr. Norman McSwain, chief of trauma surgery at Charity Hospital, the largest of two public hospitals.

He described horrific conditions.

"There is no food in Charity Hospital. They're eating fruit bowl punch and that's all they've got to eat. There's minimal water," McSwain said.

"Most of their power is out. Much of the hospital is dark. The ICU (intensive care unit) is on the 12th floor, so the physicians and nurses are having to walk up floors to see the patients."

Dr. Lee Hamm, chairman of medicine at Tulane University, said he took a canoe from there to the two public hospitals, where he also works, to check conditions.

"The physicians and nurses are doing an incredible job, but there are patients laying on stretchers on the floor, the halls were dark, the stairwells are dark. Of course, there's no elevators. There's no communication with the outside world," he said.

Knox Andress, an emergency nurse who is regional coordinator for a federal emergency preparedness grant covering the state, said it's impossible to underestimate the critical role hospitals are playing for anyone left in the city.

"They're running out of their medications, they're running out of money. They're having social issues and where do they go? They go to the hospital. The hospital is the backbone of the community because the lights are always on," he said.