Friday, October 31, 2008

If You Talk - No Sex

In Israel, a prisoner can't talk too much.

Row over Rabin killer interview

Leading Israelis have condemned interviews by two televisions channels with the man who assassinated Israel's former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

Short versions of the first interviews ever done from Yigal Amir's prison cell ran on Israeli television on Thursday.

Amir has been moved to solitary confinement and denied telephone use and conjugal visits as punishment.

In the interviews, Amir says his decision was influenced by the opinions of military figures at the time, including former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"All the military experts said that the Oslo Accord was a disaster," Amir said, referring to the 1993 accords under which Israel agreed to cede control of parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians.

Rabin signed the deal with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

...Defence Minister Ehud Barak was among those politicians and commentators who condemned the channels' actions. "Yigal Amir ought to wither in prison for the rest of his life and he should under no condition be part of the mediatised public debate," he said in a statement.

Amir, who is serving a life sentence, has been quoted in occasional written interviews and there has been one case where he was briefly questioned in television footage.

Asked by a reporter during one of his courtroom appearances if he had any regrets about the assassination, he replied: "Yes.... Why didn't I do it earlier?"

So, US Jews Letting Us Down?

Ethan Porter in Rashid Who? published at The New Republic claims US Jews have retuirned to the Denocratic Party candidate:

By late last spring, concerns about Jews deserting the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, had reached a fever pitch. Writing in his popular blog for Politico, Ben Smith declared that Obama had a "Jewish problem."...When State Senator Stephen Geller, who represents a heavily Jewish section of South Florida, went to tout Obama to his constituents, he felt as if "they were going to get out of their walkers and crush me," he told me.

Geller's fear seemed, as least in part, to be based in fact: Polls at the time showed Obama struggling in comparison to earlier Democratic candidates. A Gallup poll from May showed that Barack Obama would receive merely 60 percent of the vote in a then still hypothetical match-up against John McCain...

Now, however, with the election only days away, it's clear that Jews have come home. According to Gallup's latest numbers, 74 percent support the Illinois senator...Obama has been especially savvy about keeping the chosen people on his side--a strategy that could prove very helpful next Tuesday.

And not very savvy are some other people.

Hebron/Federman Foundation Stone Laying

Just received this:-

Over 150 people, among them supporters from Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and even Raanana, participated this morning in the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone to the new buildings in the Federman-Tor Farm. Speakers were among others: Rabbi Dov Lior, Kiryat Arba Mayor Zvi Katzover, Rabbi Waldman, Daniella Weiss, representatives of the Federman and Tor families and others.

After the speeches the public signed on a founding Megilla and buried it in the ground in a pitcher.

During the ceremony, tens of youth continued to tear down the fence around the farm proudly declaring: the days of living in a ghetto are over! The Jews are bursting the fences and will be in each and every place in Erets Israel. We will walk and build in every place in our Land.

US "Evenhandedness" or, Why Didn't C-G Jake Walles Visit Shiloh?

It's being reported that the

American Consul General in Jerusalem, Jake Walles said on Monday that, settler attacks against innocent Palestinian Farmers [does that mean there are guilty ones also? - YM] during the Olive Harvesting Season are unacceptable.

Walles added, during a solidarity visit [???]to Turmuseya village, north east of Ramallah that the USA has called on the Israeli government to demand and end to these aggressions by the settlers.

Walles expressed his hopes for peace, and affirmed that the American Government will continue on supporting the Peace Process in the Middle East.

The American Consul General added that the bilateral Palestinian-American relations are very solid.

(here too)

And, it would seem, the Consulate is overburdened with activities, programs and visits with the Pals. despite the fact that there could be a lot to be done with the Jewish residents of the geographical area the Consulate and its officials are responsible for.

If you look here, you can read about these activities of "Programs and Events" for 2008 which the Consulate sponsors and supports:

Laying the Cornerstone for New Beit Jala Library (October 28, 2008)
The Fuuls Holds Ramadan Concerts in Palestinian Territories (September 2008)
American Ramadan Quiz Nights (September 2008)
AC Jericho Hosts Ramadan Quiz for Four Schools (September 2008)
Donation of American Books to Beit Jala High School (22 Septemebr 2008)
U.S. Fulbrighter Promotes Peace Through Music in a Jerusalem Concert with Palestinian-Israeli Band (September 22)
American Books Reach Nablus-Area School (September 8, 2008)
Celebrating Ramadan 2008
U.S. Consulate and Al Quds University Support Talented Palestinian Students in Science-Oriented Summer Camps (18 August 2008)
Consulate Jerusalem Helps Refugee Children “Discover” their potential with Summer Camps (July 2008)
Consulate Program Graduates 17 Young Palestinian Interns (August 11, 2008)
American jazz legend Branford Marsalis connects with Palestinian musicians and children (17 July 2008)
US Consulate Connects Palestinian NGOs to U.S. Foundation (August 6, 2008)
American Swing Band “Central Park Stompers” Share their Love of Music with Audiences in the West Bank and Jerusalem (August 7, 2008)
Nablus Youth Create Beautiful Music at Consulate Supported Camp
Consulate Celebrates Graduation of West Bank English Class Students
US Government supports Summer Camps in Science, the Arts and English Language (July 14, 2008)
Jericho Book Clubs "Enchanted" by U.S. Classic in Arabic Translation (July 2, 2008)
Promoting Eco-Friendly Practices in Janin (June 26, 2008)
Support for Palestinian Civil Security & Rule of Law (24 June 2008)
Berlin Conference: In Support of a Palestinian State (June 23, 2008)
U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem Stocks New Library at RISOL’s Community Center in Salfeet (May 30, 2008)
US Government Announces $3 million in projects in the Jenin Governorate (May 28, 2008)
Palestine Investment Conference Set for May 21-23
US College Recruiters Participate in StudyUSA Fair in Ramallah (April 26, 2008)
US Consulate Teams Up with East Jerusalem Students to Beautify Their Public School as Part of Several Environmental Activities (April 20, 2008)
$500 million U.S. Initiative Helps Palestinians Live the “American Dream” of Home Ownership (April 14, 2008)
US Consulate and Business Women’s Forum Inspire Young Palestinian Women To Dream Big for the Future (March 26, 2008)
Palestinians discuss music and non-violence with former assistant to Martin Luther King Jr. (March 18-19, 2008)
American Corner in Jericho Promotes Youth Creativity in Mother’s Day Workshop (March 14, 2008)
Palestinian Women Artists Illustrate their Future through Cultural Envoy Program (March 13, 2008)
International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony 2008 (March 10, 2008)
$148 million reached in United States Government’s Contribution to UNRWA for 2008 (March 4, 2008)
U.S. Consulate General and Palestinian Ministry of Culture Open Special Art Exhibit in Ramallah (March 2008)
Celebrating Women History Month 2008 (March 2008)
American Corner in Jericho Explores American History with Screening of To Kill a Mockingbird (February 29, 2008)
Palestinian Youth Unlock their Creative Writing Potential (February 29, 2008)
Palestinian and American Students Talk about the Weather (and the environment!) (February 26, 2008)
Young Palestinian Professionals Explore Personal Developmnet in Dale Carnegie course (February 25, 2008)
American Corner Jericho Continues to Draw Children with American Film Series (February 22, 2008)
New Youth Center in Nablus Opens its Doors (February 21, 2008)
Consulate General Jerusalem Deepens Understanding of U.S. Electoral System in Palestinian Media (February 14, 2008)
Black History Month Concert shares Authentic American Music with Palestinian audience (February 11, 2008)
Book Club at American Corner Jericho (February 1, 2008)
American Corner Jericho’s Screening of E.T. Eagerly Welcomed by Young Users (February 1, 2008)
Celebrating Black History Month 2008 (February 2008)
History of English at American Corner Jericho (2008)

Now, I can't quite recall that there are also contacts on this level with the Jewish communities or even Jewish NGOs out in Judea and Samaria, or, as my neighbor Ora wrote to me (and a Kippah Tip to her),

"I don't see anything on the consulate site about a Rosh Hashana event, but there's something for Ramadan. It just doesn't seem like the US Consulate is really serious about serving both Jews and Arabs."
And, as for that solidarity visit, well, Mr. Consul-General, I live less than a mile from where you visited and while I am aware that there are almost 1000 American citizens in Turmos-Aya, there are also scores in Shiloh.
Why don't you come on over some day for coffee and cake?
As I told the late Senator Jesse Helms and Senator Chick Hecht when they visited me at Shiloh, US government programs, etc., should be applied to all the residents of a geographical territory. Leaving out the Jews is discriminatory if not worse and, I think, illegal.

Two Political Females, Two Pictures

Tzipi Livni, leader of Israel's Kadima party and Prime Minister contender

Sarah Palin, Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential contender

Viva la difference.

P.S. We are improving though

Latest Hebron Developments - Leading to Regime Anarchy or Worse

The latest Hebron story goes on.

Rebuilding, violence, injuries and, ominously, extreme government

New Building Erected after Latest Federman Demolition

Activists said Friday morning that they have already put up a new building, following the second police demolition this week of an unauthorized structure on the Federman farm between Kiryat Arba and Hevron overnight, according to Ynet. Three people were arrested in clashes with the police. Two officers and five residents suffered injuries.

Settlers rebuild Federman Farm outpost hours after evacuation

Right-wing activists on Friday rebuilt structures razed overnight by security forces at the Federman Farm outpost in the West bank.

Israeli security forces had overnight evacuated the illegal outpost, near the town of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank. This was the second evacuation of the settlement in less than a week.

Two officers and five settlers were lightly wounded in clashes that erupted at the end of the operation. One of the settlers, a young girl, sustained light head wounds.

Police said that as they were preparing to leave the site, activists began to pelt them with stones. The settlers blame the officers for inciting violence over the course of the evacuation.

Police Return to Destroy Federman's Home

Police returned to the rebuilt farm of Noam Federman late Thursday night and destroyed one rebuilt structure in a violent confrontation with nationalists. Five youth were injured, and police said two of their officers suffered injuries.


Barak cuts services to outposts in response to settler violence

Israel will reduce government services to illegal outposts in the West Bank in a bid to combat settler violence, the government decided on Wednesday during a meeting headed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and attended by the country's top military and legal brass...Another measure discussed during the meeting was cutting off illegal outposts from services provided by the state...Yesterday, Barak ordered authorities to look into ways in which services can be further reduced. However, such reductions will not include cutting electricity and water supplies to the outposts, or reducing security provisions.

and finally, there is thought to an issue I have been raising:

...At the same time, security forces have had to deal with a rise in protests by radical left wing demonstrators.

Ah, and do they have expuslion or detention edicts pressed against them?

On Today's Public Diplomacy Conference

I attended today an International Conference on Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century: The Israeli Case which centered on a discussion of "The Neaman Document", a draft report of a joint research of Samuel Neaman Institute and Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The schedule is here.

Public diplomacy is as close as the academic world can get to the Israeli Hebrew term of "Hasbara", which has a meaning of "explaining" and "justifying" but less than "propaganda".

I only stayed for three sessions but learned that whereas the Foreign Ministry, besides is 'branding' effort of the last few years (at the Int'l Jewish Blogging Conference, we were shown a film clip about it), talks about the "other Israel", it needed an Austrian to suggest the "real Israel".

In some countries, it was reported, what drew the most interest about Israel was news about ancient Israel and archeology. Well, that's good news for those of us who want to retain Judea and Samaria. After all, this is the heartland of that.

David Witztum neglected in his remarks to pinpoint one of the worse sources for anti-Israel news: Israeli journalists.

I suggested to Prof. Dov Shinar that a book should be collected of episodes of the successes and failures of those who have worked, professionally or voluntarily, on Hasbara. That would be the best learning device.

Here's a description of the project:

The S. Neaman Institute, together with Israel Foreign Ministry, has initiated a project to develop a Public Diplomacy Plan (Hasbara) for the State of Israel. The project is based on the assumption that despite the ongoing exercise of public diplomacy by governmental entities and other authorities, there is a real need to periodically evaluate the contents and methods used, to redefine audiences and agents on the conceptual and strategic levels, and to check the actual level of activity. These checks and updates should be integrated into a comprehensive plan which will comply with the State of Israel and its needs, in accordance with the spirit of the times. The plan should also reflect recommendations based on past achievements and failures, approaches to dealing with controversial issues, the use of new technologies, and the need to create uniqueness and strength when introducing messages onto the media agenda.

Five work teams will carry out the project's objectives. Team 1 will conduct an historical survey and analyze its contents; Team 2 will develop content on key political issues; Team 3 will develop content on Israel's achievements in a variety of fields: Team 4 will explore ways and means to deliver messages; and Team 5 will identify target audiences in order to maximize message-delivery efficiency.

Pilots of the project will be conducted in two countries, one in East Asia (India) and one in Europe (Denmark). During the final stage of the project, a "Public Diplomacy Manual" draft will be distributed to participants at a professional conference. A final manual will be published after receiving professional input.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another Critique of Israel's Pseudo-Liberalism

Following my comments on Alex Yakobson's op-ed, I was directed to this piece, much fairier and honest on the issue of Israel's democracy:-

Israeli human rights groups must condemn the manner in which Border Guard forces evacuated the Federman Farm in Hebron. According to reports, the evacuators arrived at the family home late at night and raided it while breaking windows, as children slept inside. The family says that after it was forcefully evacuated, its belongings were buried under the ruins of the home. We need to examine whether this aggressive modus operandi undermines human rights principles.

Particularly, it would be appropriate to check whether it was possible to carry out the evacuation in a manner that does not traumatize children. In this respect, the evacuation seems to contradict the spirit of the children’s rights convention signed by Israel in 1990.

In addition, we need to examine whether the situation was handled using civilian standards, rather than military standards, in order to safeguard the right of due process and promote the application of civilian rather than military law in the territories.

(Kippah tip: Muqata)

I Didn't Know That

Philip of Macedon was on the receiving end of one of the coolest jokes of all time.

He sent a message to the Spartans: "If I conquer your country, I will raze Sparta to the ground."

They sent back a messenger with a one-word answer: "If."


Funny, wasn't that a GBS joke?

This one:

George Bernard Shaw telegrammed Winston Churchill just prior to the opening of Major Barbara: "Have reserved two tickets for first night. Come and bring a friend if you have one."

Churchill wired back, "Impossible to come to first night. Will come to second night, if you have one."

New Term: Soulgasm

England's premier book review, the Times Literary Supplement, writes about:-

Soulgasms of the Christian Right
A revolution in American sex, and its Evangelical regulators

and states, in part:-

The Christian Right, as both Dagmar Herzog and the Republican nomination of Sarah Palin make abundantly clear, is not anti-sex. “We are the ones with the babe on the ticket”, gushes the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. “Run to the arms of your prince and enter your dream”, advises the author, media star and abstinence-before-marriage advocate Lisa Bevere in her book Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry, on sale at Palin’s old Pentecostal church in Wasilla. Evangelical conservatives have outflanked their enemies: “Christian sex”, and not what the revolutionaries of the 1960s had to offer, turns out to be “the most amazing sex on God’s Green earth”...

...the religious Right created late twentieth-century sexual politics on the coat tails of the secular Enlightenment’s ways of arguing...It is by secularizing sex that the religious Right made it so central to politics...

...But why, exactly, sex is more deeply enmeshed now in the political life of America than at any time in its history remains puzzling.

UK Censors, Too

D-notice slapped on MoD's history of censorship, Secrecy and the Media

Secrecy and the Media, written by Rear-Admiral Nick Wilkinson, who was secretary of the committee from 1999 to 2004, should have been hitting all good bookshops this month, according to the academic publisher Routledge’s website.

But an extraordinary wrangle over the 300,000-word manuscript in the corridors of Whitehall threatened at one point to junk the book entirely. A compromise was reached only after the intervention of Christopher Andrew, a Cambridge historian and an expert on the intelligence services.

The book will now be published in May, but without its final five chapters. These cover the Blair years, charting the winding-down of the Irish terrorist campaigns and the War on Terror.

...when the D-notice committee decided that the time was ripe to publish its own official history, nobody imagined that it would fall victim to its own system. The history of the D-notice committee has, in effect, had a D-notice slapped on it by the D-notice committee...

What, No Hijab?

Kuwaiti Women Ministers Breach Law Over 'Hijab'

The appointment of two Kuwaiti women ministers breached the constitution and the law because they do not wear the hijab (headscarf), the Bahrain Tribune reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper mentioned that a panel in Kuwait's conservative parliament unanimously decided on Sunday that appointing the two ministers in the cabinet violated article 82 of the constitution.

"The committee decided that appointing the two ministers in the cabinet violated both article 82 of the constitution and article one of the election law for failing to abide by Islamic regulations," Ali Al Hajeri MP


Why Are Most Arab Rulers Silent on the Plight of Iraq's Christians?

Iraq's ancient Christian community has seen its security situation take a sudden turn for the worse in recent weeks, especially in and around the northern city of Mosul. Deadly attacks and threats of more to come have driven thousands of people from their homes, and although the sources and motivations of the aggression remain unclear, there is no denying either the inherent injustice of innocent people being targeted solely on the basis of their faith or the awful implications for the troubled country's future.

(Kippah tip: MESI)

When The Past Comes To Haunt You

Israel Finkelstein, who excavated Tel Shiloh 1980-1984, and used it not only for his doctorate but as part of his rejection of the Biblical narrative, is in trouble.

...archaeologist Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University urged adhering to the strict boundaries of science. Finkelstein, who has not visited the dig but attended a presentation of the findings, warned against what he said was a revival in the belief that what's written in the Bible is accurate like a newspaper.

What dig?

What find?

This one:-

Have Israeli archaeologists found world's oldest Hebrew inscription?

And the main story:-

An Israeli archaeologist digging at a hilltop south of Jerusalem believes a ceramic shard found in the ruins of an ancient town bears the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered, a find that could provide an important glimpse into the culture and language of the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

The five lines of faded characters written 3,000 years ago, and the ruins of the fortified settlement where they were found, are indications that a powerful Israelite kingdom existed at the time of the Old Testament's King David, says Yossi Garfinkel, the Hebrew University archaeologist in charge of the new dig at Hirbet Qeiyafa.

Hirbet Qeiyafa sits near the city of Beit Shemesh in the Judean
foothills, an area that was once the frontier between the hill-dwelling Israelites and their enemies, the coastal Philistines. The site overlooks the Elah Valley, said to be the scene of the slingshot showdown between David and the Philistine giant Goliath, and lies near the ruins of Goliath's hometown in the Philistine metropolis of Gath.

...Carbon-14 analysis of burnt olive pits found in the same layer of the site dated them to between 1,000 and 975 B.C., the same time as the Biblical golden age of David's rule in Jerusalem.

Scholars have identified other, smaller Hebrew fragments from the 10th century B.C., but the script, which Garfinkel suggests might be part of a letter,
predates the next significant Hebrew inscription by between 100 and 200 years. History's best-known Hebrew texts, the Dead Sea scrolls, were penned on parchment beginning 850 years later...several words have already been tentatively identified, including ones meaning judge, slave and king.

...Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai Mazar said the inscription was very important, as it is the longest proto-Canaanite text ever found. But he suggested that calling the text Hebrew might be going too far.

...But if Garfinkel's claim is borne out, it would bolster the case for the Bible's accuracy by indicating the Israelites could record events as they happened, transmitting the history that was later written down in the Old Testament several hundred years later.

And there's a new Jerusalm find:-

Rare First Temple period seal found in Jerusalem

A rare Hebrew seal from the First Temple period, discovered in archaeological excavations in the Western Wall plaza, west of the Temple Mount, will be presented to the public today with an image of a warrior shooting an arrow is depicted on the seal, which belonged to a Hebrew person by the name of Hagab. The owner of the seal probably held a military position, possibly that of army commander of the Kingdom of Judah.

The seal, was discovered in the excavations that are being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority, at the behest of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, will be presented to the public at a joint study day of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

And following this

First Temple-Era Water Tunnel Revealed in Jerusalem

A tunnel built thousands of years ago – and which may even have been used during King David's conquest of Jerusalem – has been uncovered in the ancient City of David, just outside the Old City and across the street from the Dung Gate.

Renowned Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazer, who is leading the dig, revealed the findings from the discovery Thursday morning at an archaeological symposium at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The archaeologist said there is a high probability that the tunnel is the one referred to as the "tsinor" in the Biblical story of King David's conquest of Jerusalem (Samuel II, 5:6-8; Chronicles I, 11:4-6).

and this,

Archaeologists excavating north of Jerusalem have found a piece of a sarcofagus - a stone coffin - belonging to a son of a High Priest. The visible inscription reads, "the son of the High Priest" - but the words before it are broken off. It thus cannot be ascertained which High Priest is referred to, nor the name or age of the deceased.

it would seem that all these post-Zionist archeologists (see Finkelstein's latest interview here who are attempting to uproot the past are finding that the past can come back to haunt you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who Is Going to Heaven Now?

On a story that Pamela of Atlas Shrugs has been pumping, campaign financing, Obama's people have been quoted as suggesting that the McCain staff go to...heaven?

Lawyers for the Obama operation said yesterday that their "extensive back-end review" has carefully scrubbed contributions to prevent illegal money from entering the operation's war chest. "I'm pretty sure if I took my error rate and matched it against any other campaign or comparable nonprofit, you'd find we're doing very well," said Robert Bauer, a lawyer for the campaign. "I have not seen the McCain compliance staff ascending to heaven on a cloud."

Madonna's Kabbalah Problems Now

It's reported that Madonna has additional problems:-

Rabbi Berg, the most senior kabbalah member and her spiritual leader, has instructed her that the ongoing mudslinging and prospect of a court battle between the sect's two most high-profile members could badly damage its image.

Berg has now given Madonna a 24-hour deadline to come back to him with a plan to mediate towards a swift divorce resolution using a round-table of kabbalah leaders chaired by him.

...Madonna however is said to be torn with the idea, thinking that if they go to kabbalah mediation at this point, she will be persuaded to part with a substantial amount of her wealth and also may lose out in having to give Guy a larger share of custody of their son Rocco, seven, and David, three.

...The demand by Rabbi Berg comes just a day after we revealed how the divorce took a sudden acrimonious downturn with them both demanding their army of household staff to testify against the other.

I knew nothing good could come out of Madonna's infatuation with Kabbalah.

Here she is on Oct. 25 at the Kabbalah Center:

See the Sephirot symbol?

For example:

The 50-year-old singer's life was so regimented, he said, that even their time in the bedroom was meticulously planned for weeks in advance - something which took all of the thrill out of it for him.

...A source close to the couple said: 'With her time being so precious to her, and with there being more important things to her like spending three of four hours in the gym every day, it become just another thing in the diary. In the last couple of years, it was all schemed into the diary.

'Guy of course felt this a tremendous turn-off to be at the same level of importance as, for example, her gym sessions and Kabbalah meetings.

'As a consequence, their sex life died more than a year ago. It is no exaggeration to say that they had not shared a bed in a year when the divorce was announced. And when the sex died for them, the marriage was doomed.'

But as anyone Jewish knows, scheduling has always been a staple of a traditional Jewish family life.

Of course, if she didn't go to the mikveh...

Jews Delivering Humanitarian Aid to...Jews in Hebron

Women in Green report:

Federman family [9 children] and the Tor family [5 children] were thrown out of their beds in only their nightwear [last Saturdau night]. The destruction reminds us of the destruction of Gush Katif 3 years ago, and then the destruction & violence of Amona. Today, WIG went down with a truck jammed full of beds, sheets, kitchen equipment, dried food, toilet paper, pens and games for the children and MORE, much more...The response to our truck load was great! Our hearts are "warmed", they said, "at your love". For our part we saw their courage; the rebuilding...

Sinai Tor

Noam Federman (r.)

Nadia Matar (r.) with Elisheva Federman (l.)

Picture album of Gemma Blech is here for more.



Soldiers Were Tricked Into Guarding Kiryat Arba Destruction

How did it happen that yeshiva students in the Givati Brigade took part in the military operation to destroy the Federman-Tor farm and homes three nights ago? Very simple: Senior security commanders lied to them and told them they were participating in a mission to help catch a terrorist.

Ro'i Sharon, reporter for the Maariv daily newspaper, revealed that it was feared that the young soldiers would refuse to take part in the mission if they knew it was not military but rather one of destroying Jewish homes. "This creates mistrust between echelons in the military framework, and is liable to cost human life. In the next security incident, the residents won't believe the security forces, and the soldiers won't believe their commanders."

A member of Hevron's emergency alert team, which generally works closely with the army, was quoted as saying: "This creates mistrust between echelons in the military framework, and is liable to cost human life. In the next security incident, the residents won't believe the security forces, and the soldiers won't believe their commanders."

"It is sad that for the purpose of destroying two Jewish homes, they cause such harm to the delicate security relations here," the man said.

Border Guard officials confirmed that the soldiers had been tricked. "The sensitivity of the incident required us to maintain high secrecy," a Border Guard source told Maariv.

Alex, You're Fudging

Alexander Yakobson, a friend of mine from when he was MK Amnon Rubinstein's arliamnetary aide and I served MK Geula Cohen, has an op-ed in today's Haaretz.

An extract:-

Israel Harel has asserted that, because of the deeds of a handful of individuals on the rampage, attacking the olive harvest and Palestinian locals - "a few dozen youths," in his telling - the entire population of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has been tarnished. In his opinion, the reason for this is "hatred for hatred's sake" toward the settlers on the part of their opponents (Haaretz, October 23).

Without a doubt, there is quite a bit of hatred for the settlers. This is regrettable. But a sharp debate is underway on the issue of the settlements. Its main thrust is the settlements themselves, and not acts of bullying by individuals. Opponents of the settlement project - like myself - would have been against it even if the olive harvest proceeded in absolute quiet.

Even if the Yesha Council - the settlers' established representative body - were to send volunteers to help defend Palestinian olive-harvesters from the bullies, instead of this being done by activists from the left, the assessment by opponents of the settlements, to the effect that if the land is not ultimately divided, the State of Israel will cease to exist, would remain as it is. It is necessary to learn to conduct difficult political debates without hatred - from either side.

Ah, put our point is that the opponents of the enterprise of returning Jews, as residents, to portions of their historic homeland are acting have been losing for the past four decades the political battle they are waging on the matter of a Jewish presence beyond the former 'Green Line'.

And that, to gain an unfair advanatage so as to convince undecided Israelis that their policy is best, they manipulate, lie, exaggerate, mobilize outside forces, excuse terror, deny equality before the law and otherwise act in a sneaky and corrupt manner.

If they want to wage a campaign based on true facts - past, present and possibly future, on true demographic projections, on real security concerns and on legal rights, then I have no hard feelings.

But that isn't the case.

Alex, you're fudging.

Will Bernard Avishai Permit Nazi Imagery at His Blog?

See the comments section at this post at the personal blog of Bernard Avishai,


...seditionist, disruptive and anti-establishment elements such as foreign-born haredi and kahanist terrorists. They would have to be accomodated, while at the sametime quarantining them like a plague bacillus from mainstream Israel

Now We Know (But We Knew Then)

Remember that Hamas tunnel the PA police 'handed over' to the IDF (but emptied of all the weapons and materiel first)?

Hamas tunnel uncovered by PA near Hebron was arms training site

The tunnel near Hebron uncovered about two weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority was used by Hamas as a firing range and for other weapons training, according to PA security officials...In contrast to tunnels excavated through the Gaza Strip sand, a tunnel in the West Bank is rare.

Initially, neither Israel nor the PA could understand its purpose, since it seemed to lead to nowhere. One theory, that it was to be used to hide a kidnapped soldier, was discounted. [why?]

It is now assumed that Hamas was looking for a place to carry out military training unhindered, as well as to conduct weapons trials.

Well, I have news for you.

My highest military rank is Sergeant First Class. I am no military genius. But history I do know.

In the 1930s, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (prior to his escape in October 1937) used the Temple Mount underground caverns as...a training site and as marksmenship ranges for his troops.

Don't Israelis know their history?

For if not, they are doomed to repeat it. And, in fact, they already just have.

Israel's Navy Out Of Its Depth

For the second time, the Free Gaza Movement has demonstrated that the might of the Israeli navy is no match for a small boat of human rights activists determined to call to the attention of the world the occupation of the people of Gaza.

Osama Qashoo, one of the organizers of the Free Gaza Movement, overjoyed for the second time in three months [said] "...We in the FG movement have provided the new dictionary, it's up to the Palestinians and the Israelis and the Internationals to add the words."


Seems the Israel Government either stutters or is playing dumb.

Really dumb.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Latest RJC Advert

Here is the new RJC ad and from the text:

New RJC Ad Calls Barack Obama "Dangerously Naive"

Many Americans have questions about Senator Barack Obama and whether his views are good for the United States and Israel. And for good reason.

Sen. Obama has not shown the wisdom, experience or strength on issues important to Israel. Most concerning is Senator Barack Obama's naïve grasp of the threats against the United States and Israel.

Obama surrounds himself with anti-Israel friends and advisors like General Tony McPeak, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Rashid Khalidi and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. These men have played instrumental roles in shaping Sen. Obama's world views.

...hisy has shown that a naïve and weak foreign policy has resulted in tragic outcomes for the Jewish people. Barack Obama: Dangerously Naïve."

This Is A Weird Gravestone Story

The deceased whose gravestone is pictured above at the Har Menuchot Cemetery-Har Tamir Section was Simon Michal and he was in the softdrink business.

Seems he got as close as possible to taking it along with him.

We Shiloh Residents Are Not "Settlers"

We are not "settlers" and Shiloh is not a "settlement" even if this gets published:-

African-American settlers made a home in Saskatchewan

A little-known piece of Saskatchewan history is about to receive a high honour.

It's a history steeped in slavery, segregation, civil war and the emancipation of African-American families who received free land in Canada.

All that remains of Saskatchewan's only black pioneer settlement is a log church nestled in a grove of trees, a cemetery stippled with simple white crosses and a handful of descendants who've worked to save it all.

The proper term is revenant.


Livni Will Pay

Nahum Barnea is considered a court jester newspaper hack for Ehud Olmert and the Left in general (he started off at the now defunct Davar, the daily of the Histadrut trade union).

He had this to write about Tzipi Livni:-

In a short speech she read at the Presidential Residence, and in interviews she granted to the three major television channels, she reinforced the argument that she has no government because she did not cave in to extortion. When she said “there are prices that others are willing to pay but I am unwilling to pay at the expense of the State and its citizens, only to be a prime minister in a government of paralysis,” she was referring to Mofaz a little, and mostly to Netanyahu.

Livni is convinced that Netanyahu made exaggerated pledges to the ultra-orthodox parties – Netanyahu vehemently denies this. She also believes that Bibi acquired accessibility into Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s family with money. “If someone is willing to sell out what he believes in for a seat, he is unworthy of sitting on it,” she said.

Rest assured, readers, when it comes to giving up territory, yielding on conditions for security, surrendering historic and religious sites, Tzipi will pay. She will pay almost any price - despite her previous declaration that she is connected to the Temple Mount as with an umbilical cord.

The Price of a Phone Call

Haredi woman sues Pelephone for 'ruining her life'

An ultra-Orthodox woman filed a NIS 2.5 million (some $653,000) damages suit against Pelephone Communications, one of Israel's mobile phone service providers, claiming breach of contract which led to the "destruction of her home life."

According to the suit, filed last week, a company representative breached the of confidentiality clause in the service provider-subscriber contract, by providing the woman's husband with a detailed account of her calls.

Once in possession of the information, which suggested she had phone conversations with another man, the woman's husband filed for divorce and she found herself ostracized from the Orthodox circle she had known her entire life.

"I told them it could happen, I warned them, I begged, I explained it could come to murder," she told Ynet.

"Her life was ruined," Attorney Guy Ophir added. "She's lost everything – her family, her friends, her community...

...According to the claim, the woman's husband showed up at a Pelephone customer service center one day and told the company representative that his wife was in labor, and needed to see her calls' listing immediately. He then proceeded to call a woman who identified herself as his wife and gave the representative permission to disclose the information. The service representative failed to follow company procedures, which require a series of precautionary measures, and did not ask for the pin number, opting to simply disclose the information.

...Several days after the husband found out about her conversations with another man, she said, she was subpoenaed to the regional Rabbinical Court and issued a divorce. The Rabbinical Court gave custody of the couple's two-year-old daughter to her father and forbade the woman from seeing her...

Gaza Arabs Try To Celebrate Halloween Early

Military uniforms that were intended to be used by Hamas for terror operations were discovered Monday by military personnel at the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip.

One of the sets of uniforms found in a truck carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, Tuesday.

The fatigues were hidden inside a truck that was carrying humanitarian supplies and had received permission to transfer its load to Gaza from the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration.

In addition to the uniforms, personnel at the crossing also discovered coats, sweaters and hats hidden inside the truck.

"This is another example of how Hamas misuses the humanitarian platform and instead of caring for the civilians in Gaza spends its time focused on its military buildup," a security official said.


The Thinker: The New Israeli Version

Taken at Chomesh, a Jewish community evacuated and its residents expelled in summer 2005 but whose territory still remains uner Israel's control - site of repeated attempts to repopulate.

More Photoshopping Obama: Obamao

Israel and Its 'Hood

The concise summary of Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad's paper on "Israel's Current Strategic Environment":

· Hamas could have pretended it wanted a political solution and the whole world would have recognized this. The Quartet posed to Hamas only three conditions: recognize your neighbor, recognize the peace agreements, and avoid terror. But Hamas said, no, Israel has no right to exist. They have a dream - to join the other Islamic forces, to revolutionize the whole Middle East.

· The Palestinian Authority is doing better at maintaining law and order in its territory in the West Bank. However, it has far from demonstrated any level of performance in dealing with terror.

· Today there is unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation between Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran. There is no "smuggling" of weapons from Iran through Syria to Lebanon, because it is not done in secret. Weapons of all kinds are being pushed toward Hizbullah, including tens of thousands of rockets.

· Hizbullah has turned Lebanon into a "banana republic." The president of Lebanon, who is a general and a former commander of the Lebanese army, does not know when his country will be involved in a confrontation with Israel. The one who decides this is Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who has no official standing in the Lebanese government.

· There are indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel and the price being asked by Syria is known. The price Israel is asking in any peace agreement is security, but the definition of security is now different from a decade ago because there are now longer-range rockets and terror. Syria is sheltering all kinds of terrorist organizations. In any peace agreement, Syria must drop this support for terror.

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad serves as Director of the Military/Political and Policy Bureau of the Israel Ministry of Defense. He has also served as the Defense Ministry's Coordinator for the Administered Territories, Director of the Research Division for the IDF's Intelligence Branch, and as the IDF Spokesman. This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation to the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem on September 10, 2008.

Full report here.

Are You A Sarah Palin "Love-Boater"?

Richard Cohen tries to be witty:

several conservative journalists got off their cruise ships and met Sarah Palin. They saw the present, and she was a babe.

and then

...What followed, once everyone returned to the lower 48, was a gusher of mush -- praise, love notes, sweet nothings and, altogether, the sort of mooning one does not usually hear from the likes of William Kristol, Fred Barnes, Rich Lowry, Dick Morris and my Post colleague Michael Gerson. In short order, important writers set themselves the task, in print and on television, of promoting Palin and, in the process, making perfect asses of themselves. They succeeded at both...[an] account of that summer of love...

and his criticism

It is not "the stature of the person nominated" that matters, it is the person's ideology. Miers not only had questionable credentials but questionable ideological purity as well -- what the National Review called "the substance and the muddle of her views." Palin is a down-the-line rightie, so her inexperience, her lack of interest in foreign affairs, her numbing provincialism and her gifts for fabrication (Can we go over that "bridge to nowhere" routine again?) do not trouble her ideological handlers. Let her get into office. They will govern.

It is the height of chutzpah, you betcha, for a coterie of ideologues to accuse Palin's critics of political snobbery. It is also somewhat sad for a movement once built on the power of ideas -- I am speaking now of neoconservatism -- to simply swoon for a pretty face and pheromone-powered charisma. But it is, I confess, just plain fun to see all these expense-account six-packers be so wrong.

and his conclusion

The Boys on the Boats were similarly blinded. They mistook personal magnetism for presidential qualities while Palin, clear-eyed in a manner depicted in countless movies, undoubtedly saw in them just what she wanted: a way out of Alaska.

The New York Times Visits Joseph's Tomb

Found this slide show presentation at the NYTimes web site.

It relates that

Situated in the heart of a Palestinian district on the West Bank is Joseph's Tomb, a tiny half-derelict compound that many Jews believe is the final burial place of the son of Jacob, the biblical patriarch....

To Jewish pilgrims, this is not Nablus, one of the largest Palestinian cities, but the site of the ancient biblical city of Shechem. The tomb, they believe, sits on the parcel of ground that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver...

At Joseph's Tomb, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is boiled down to its very essence of competing territorial, national and religious claims.

Okay, so the NYT isn't favorably disposed to the Jewishness quotient of the Land of Israel which doesn't recognize a "Palestine".

But Rina Castelnuovo's pics are great.

There are more there.

There Goes Another Holocaust Denial Story

Kristallnacht was the foreshadowing of the Holocaust.

It seems that the physical evidence of that pogrom is coming to light:-

Refuse Heap Is Archive for Night of Hatred

KLANDORF, Germany — Seventy years ago next month, rioters wreaked havoc on their Jewish neighbors, destroying and burning thousands of synagogues, businesses and homes across the nation...

...Curiously, though, physical evidence of the state-sponsored pogrom has always been extremely scarce. The Jewish Museum, for example, holds many letters describing the night. But the only other related object in its collection is a 38-second black-and-white film of a synagogue burning in Bielefeld, a university town in western Germany.

Last week, however, an Israeli researcher reported finding a trove of such evidence — piles of looted Jewish possessions — in this town 30 miles north of Berlin...The day after Kristallnacht, trains loaded with personal and religious items arrived in the woods outside Klandorf. Political prisoners from a nearby camp unloaded the material and threw it all in a dump here.

...“We have confirmed that the relics are from that period,” said Tanja Ronen-Löhnberg, a historian at the Ghetto Fighters’ House, a well-known Holocaust museum and research center in Israel.

...The Ghetto Fighters’ House hopes to set up a living history center that would bring young Germans and Israelis together to sift through the contents of the dump. Such a project could help the area, one of the many economically depressed parts of the former East Germany.

There promises to be plenty of chaff to sort out from the valuable kernels of history remaining in the dump. According to old maps, the area was used as a dump from the early 20th century until 1945. Distinct sections hold Berlin refuse from different eras. But many of the castoffs are mixed together, and even with forensic studies it can be difficult to pinpoint exact dates.

And the conclusion for historians?

“In the end it doesn’t matter terribly if these articles were taken on Nov. 9 or the following March or the previous August,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “The fact is that it is a relic and testament to these two terrible days and the actions of criminals.”

Mr. Svoray said he was surprised that the dump’s contents were not made public earlier.

“As far as detective work, with 10 being the most difficult and zero being nothing, this was a 2,” he said. “What always amazes me in Germany and Austria is that people assume these stories are over and done with.”

How To Stage An Olive Harvest Confrontation

I commented yesterday on the AP story (here) and today received these pictures from a similar event at Kedumim when 10 Arabs, 25 media people and 50 foreign 'volunteers' showed up to stage an olive harvest photo opportunity at two trees that haven't been cultivated for years (they actually needed to bring a sack of olives so they could show the "olive picking".

The pictures:

Some chanting

Backup photogs

The real press

The "trees" (notice the rather unfertile soil)

A Kedumin resident explaining the farce the press should be observing
Another real Arab (?)

Enjoying the joke

There Goes The Prozinin Clinic

For many decades the Prozinin Clinic served the health needs of the city of Jerusalem.

No more.

I guess it has been sold and is undergoing earthworks in preparation for a new building.

If you don't know, it is located just behind the Mashbir LaTzarachn, to the right of Betzalel St. as you ascend towards the Gerald Behar Center which used to be for us oldtimers, Bet HaAm.

Thanks to GM

From Off The Walls

Spotted two more wall posters.

First is an announcement of an attempt to expand Jewish presence at a new community called Kol Tziyon near where I live:

The second I found in a Hareidi neighborhood and it tells passersby that while it is now vacation time (I guess it went up in the summer), there is no holiday period from slandering or otherwise badmouthing people and they should 'watch their tongues':

That's What Blogs Are For, Non?

Blogs can come in ueful for all sorts of needs.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had only a "one-night stand" with a member of the world finance body's staff, so his wife yesterday couldn't see what all the fuss was about.

"We have moved on," French journalist Anne Sinclair said, insisting in her blog she still loves her husband.

"il y a l’enquête interne au FMI. On attend sereinement sa conclusion. Cela devrait être rapide. Et il y a le reste, qui relève de notre vie privée, sur laquelle je n’ai
pas l’intention de m’exprimer. Voici juste, avant que ne se propagent des rumeurs malveillantes, quelques éléments rapides : chacun sait que ce sont des choses qui peuvent arriver dans la vie de tous les couples ; pour ma part, cette aventure d’un soir est désormais derrière nous ; nous avons tourné la page. Puis-je ajouter pour conclure que nous nous aimons comme au premier jour. Voilà. Je ne reviendrai plus sur ce sujet."

Dicey details:-

The International Monetary Fund has launched an inquiry into the 59-year-old managing director after he admitted an affair with a Hungarian staffer, Piroska Nagy.

Ms Nagy quit the IMF's Africa section and is now working for the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The inquiry is looking into whether Mr Strauss-Kahn showed favouritism toward Ms Nagy, and whether he sought retribution once their relationship ended, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The investigation is also looking at Ms Nagy's severance package.

"There is an internal inquiry. We are awaiting its conclusion. It should be quick," Mr Strauss-Kahn's wife said.

Don't you just love the French double entendre?


The French press has dubbed DSK's sexual misbehaviour with Hungarian former IMF employee Piroska Nagy a "crac-crac". Making crac-crac is slang which means playing away from home...The scandal has gone so far that DSK's distinguished wife, Anne Sinclair, a journalist who is the French equivalent of Anna Ford, has had to post an announcement on her website saying that the Nagy affair was a "one-night stand" and the couple have since got over it.

Sinclair's response is typical of a sophisticated Frenchwoman. It's vastly different from Hillary Clinton's public long face after Bill dallied with Monica. Still, people are worried.

"God, I hope we are not becoming Puritans like the Americans," moaned my friend Alix...until now, the French have been more relaxed. "Sexual promiscuity within a French marriage is like getting a coffee in the morning," one friend confided to me. Yet Sarkozy, regarded as a serial philanderer before Carla got her claws into him (rumour is his eye is already wandering), is acting like a baptist minister. Since when did family values matter to the Elysée Palace?

Monday, October 27, 2008

President Puff-Puff Peres

The 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Peres Peace Center - and with no peace in sight - is being celebrated this evening in Tel Aviv with performances by Slash, the Guns N' Roses guitarist, singers Mercedes Sosa and Andrea Bocelli, and various Israeli artists. Bocelli will perform together with Liel Kolet, who worked with Slash on her most recent album, and sing 'Ray of Hope', a song written by...President Shimon Peres.

Also present: actresses Kathleen Turner and Anouk Aimee who will participate in a debate of a three day convention also taking place.


That Shimon Peres, such a narcissist.

And, no, this is not a picture of Shimon Peres:

Well, almost not.

Feiglin Is Off and Running

Israel enters a period of elections which means that the parties themselves have to make arrangements to form a list since we have a Proportional Representation system.

There may be primaries, there may be appointment committees and there are Rabbinical councils.

Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Leadership faction within Likud already has advertisements up at Internet sites such as the Jerusalem Post:-

I don't think the caricature does him the proper likeness.

First Spies, Then Wells and Now Wife-swapping?

Now why would he want to do that? (if he did)

And why Egyptians?

And what's there to be unpleasant? Except for the antisemitism of this story.

Oh, the story takes place in Egypt?

Sure, after all, there are only two Jews left in Iraq.

Iraqi Jew Involved in Wives Swap Case

Investigation in the wives swap case revealed that an Iraqi Jew helped the main suspect to establish a website to promote wives swap.

It also revealed that the main suspect is 49 years old and is a government employee. He and his wife, a school teacher, had sex with three other couples.

He said that he chose only three out of 44 Egyptian couples because they met the precondition that their marriage be official and not customary so as to guarantee confidentiality. “The rest were rejected because they were not pleasant,” he said.

The police also arrested a lawyer in a café in Giza while he was finalizing a swap deal that the suspect had arranged for him.

The suspect also arranged the same for a young man from the Gulf and his wife for this weekend.

Pals. Promote Obama

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of Palestine Media Watch are reporting that Palestinians are campaigning quite actively for Obama.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida of Oct. 26, 2008 published that

"23 year old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab sits by the computer in the Nusairat refugee camp [in the Gaza Strip] trying to call American citizens, in order to convince them to vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama...

Most of the Palestinians feel hatred towards USA, whose administrations have always stood by Israel...

Abu Jayyab's idea is to make telephone calls to American citizens through Internet sites that allow making free calls... in order to use them [to make phone calls] for the campaign supporting Obama. Abu Jayyab says: We dial random numbers and try to call people without knowing their identity or their affiliation...

He said that a large number of Palestinians dislike their activity... [those] who do not see any difference between the American politicians, because of the hostility that they feel towards America. But his hope is that their activity will have some impact [in support of Obama]."

Not only money, eh?

Why Just The Hair?

There have been a lot of stories about Orthodox Jewish women who have adopted Sarah Palin's hair style for their wigs.

Why just the hair?

I'm sure there are quite a few Orthodox men who want more than just a Pallin wig from their wives.

My Letter On the Late Rabbi Hardman

In the Jerusalem Post:-

Involved & unafraid

Sir, - Rabbi Leslie Hardman's political involvement seems to have been overlooked in the tributes published by the Post's chief editor and letter writers (October 17 and 20).

He was a founding member of UK Herut in 1971, served as a life vice-president of the organization, and was very active in the Soviet Jewry campaign. I first met him during my emissary period to the Betar youth movement (1975-1977).

Rabbi Hardman was an involved clergyman, unafraid of the elitist ideological persuasions prevalent in British Jewish society. He stood up for Jewish rights in a forthright manner.



And I received this comment:



AP's Olive Harvest Story in My Backyard

Karen Laub strikes yet again (see below).

AP decided that they needed to do a story on the olive harvest season among my neighbors out here in Samaria, in the Binyamin Regional Council area.

The background story to the story is complex including issues of ownership, security and human rights as an instrument of distraction and disruption.

In the report below, for example, 6 Arabs are quoted by name, other Arab supporters are quoted anonymously, two pro-Arab Jews are quoted and one "settler" is quoted by name, thus:-

A settler leader, Yitzhak Shadmi, dismissed reports of vandalism as staged.

Six photographs accompany the story, one of Jews from afar and faceless.

Here then is the full story and I'v added some comments:

Olive harvest becomes West Bank battleground


TURMUS AYYA, West Bank (AP) — The olive harvest was off to a bad start for Said Abu Aliya — branches torn from the Palestinian farmer's trees lay scattered on the ground, along with bright-green olives.

He blamed Israeli settlers in a nearby hilltop camp, and Israeli soldiers patrolled as a buffer while he and his family picked the remaining crop.

"Without their presence, we wouldn't be able to enter our lands because the settlers would attack us," said the 47-year-old.

Olive groves within a 50 meter of so radius of Jewish communities are problematic because Arab terrorists have used them as cover and becuase not all land ownership issues have been adjudicated in courts.

For many Palestinians, the fall harvest of some 10 million trees used to be a joyful ritual steeped in tradition. But the West Bank's olive groves have increasingly become a target of extremist Jewish settlers who, hilltop by hilltop, seek to expand their control over land they say they were promised by God.

And land that is not privately owned by Arabs.

Just in the first two weeks of this season, farmers say, assailants beat a 63-year-old olive picker, slashed another man's car tires, tried to chase Palestinians out of several groves and stole or damaged some of the crop. In one incident captured on video, four settlers punched and kicked a Palestinian photographer and a foreign activist in an olive grove.

In that last incident in Hebron, the Arabs purposefully entered an area closed-off to them in order to be provocative.

Compounding the farmers' problems, more trees are harder to reach because they lie beyond Israel's lengthening West Bank separation barrier or close to Jewish settlements and their multiplying satellite camps.

The barrier has nothing to do with this in most cases.

Israeli human rights activists say securing the harvest is an important test of Israel's obligation as an occupying power to protect Palestinians. They say the military and police are doing a better job than in the past, but have failed to protect crops or bring vigilantes to justice.

And Jewish crops are protected from Arab vandalism - which isn't mentioned. At one Jewish farm site near Nahliel, over 5000 grape saplings were uprooted, twice within a month.

This week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas complained that the army isn't doing its job, raising questions about whether Israel is serious about peace with Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak denounced those attacking farmers as "hooligans," but said troops are making a major effort to protect farmers. The military said soldiers have been briefed about the importance of the harvest, jeeps patrol trouble areas and officers are given maps to rule on ownership disputes.

Where there is coordination, there isn't much of a problem.

In the past, Israeli troops have destroyed thousands of Palestinian olive trees along roadsides to protect against snipers and stone throwers. Palestinians still complain that settlers are often given free rein by the military. For example, the settlers who were filmed attacking the photographer were allowed to walk away, while police arrested three Israelis helping with the harvest for entering a "closed military area."

A settler leader, Yitzhak Shadmi, dismissed reports of vandalism as staged.

That's it? No example?

Growing numbers of Israelis and foreigners are flocking to the groves to help the farmers. Yaakov Manor's Harvest Coalition helped arrange West Bank trips for hundreds of Israelis last year.

Thousands of Palestinians take part in the harvest, with students given time off to help and professionals returning to their villages. Olive oil is a food staple, and even the leftovers from the oil presses are used as fuel.

The economic benefits are relatively modest — about $100 million from an expected 21,000 tons of olive oil this year — but the extra income reaches some 100,000 families. For some, it's just pocket money, for others enough to plan a wedding or build a house.

Near the village of Burin, Amneh Abdel Qader sat on a tarpaulin under a tree, as her son, daughter-in-law and three grandsons combed the branches with handheld rakes. The olives tumbled onto the tarp, and the 70-year-old sorted them, the plumpest for eating and the rest for oil.

"We used to bring a radio and have fun, sing and enjoy ourselves," Abdel Qader said. "But from the day they came," she said, referring to Israeli settlements near her village, "we can't relax anymore."

Not true. I see radios and family gatherings at the sides of the roads.

Burin's farmers can only reach lands near the settlements of Yitzhar and Bracha with special coordination from security forces. Farmers say they're allowed to visit those areas only twice a year, for planting and harvesting, and that they need more access to hang traps for olive flies, prune branches and clear underbrush.

After a terrorist burned a caravan, stabbed a boy and then was killed while trying to toss a firebomb, just last month!

Israel's Civil Administration, the branch of the military dealing with the Palestinians' day-to-day life, denied any quota on visits, but a senior official said the idea is to keep settlers and farmers away from each other.

"You can smell the fuel in the air," the official said on condition of anonymity, in line with briefing regulations. "We don't want to have a situation where the olive harvest is setting off the atmosphere again."

At times, there's also lack of coordination within the military.

In the village of Naalin this month, near Israel's separation barrier, border police fired tear gas and stun grenades as villagers and volunteers tried to reach a grove. The army had given a permit for the Naalin harvest but apparently not briefed the border police, said Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights. Several Israelis were injured and three detained, he said.

This demo has nothing to do with the olive harvest but is an ongoing, weekly, event.

The Palestinian olive harvest falls about 5 to 10 percent short of its potential every year because of settler violence and Israeli restrictions, estimated Palestinian economist Samir Hleileh. Israel requires permits for villagers who have land in the roughly 10 percent of the West Bank swallowed up on the "Israeli" side of the barrier.

Eighty percent of the people who used to work these lands no longer get permits, according to U.N. monitors.

Mohammed Jabareen, mayor of the village of Taibeh, which has 250 dunams (60 acres) of land beyond the barrier, said landowners have received permits, but not all of the workers needed for the harvest. The army says it's issuing extra permits during the harvest.

Some are trying to improve output by teaching farmers how to grow premium oils for export. Industrialist Bassem Khoury has invested in a premium oil storage facility with 30 steel vats, even though business prospects are uncertain.

"To me," he said, "the olive tree is a symbol of Palestine."

Additional reporting by Ali Daraghmeh in Azmut.

Karen has been the subject of a quite critical piece of Barry Rubin who is no extremist or rightwinger who has written Karin Laub and the AP do their part in war against Israel.

CAMERA also caught her out four years ago already as an unethical journalist:

the AP has used “militias” when paraphrasing statements made by Israeli and U.S. officials who did not use this word at all. As the following quotations from AP itself show, the officials actually used the terms “terror” and “terrorists”:

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in the Gaza Strip have insisted the deal is not final, while Israel and the United States are skeptical about its value, saying Palestinian security forces must quickly disarm the militias..."The [U.S.] president is interested in real progress on the ground, in the dismantlement of terrorism, and in an end to the killing," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said..."If they will stop their terror attacks, we can stop the activities against them ...," he [Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid] told AP. (Emphasis added. "Arafat says formal cease-fire announcement coming soon," Karin Laub, June 26, 2003

Palestine Media Watch has called her professionalism "shoddy".

Karen was most impressed that Hamas is doing a good job administering Gaza and how it treats female reporters in this recent story:

Gaza City's streets are cleaner and safer than before the takeover. Despite budget shortages, Hamas has fixed traffic lights, paved some streets and opened a new children's hospital, and claims to have imposed law and order after the chaos that often dogged Fatah rule. It has also been careful not to push an overtly Islamic social agenda. For example, officials have suggested to female reporters covering Gaza's parliament that they wear head scarves, but those who don't are not shunned.

Already in 2000 she was troubling in her reporting:

Karen Laub of the Associated Press first asserted plainly that: "The trigger for the violence was a visit by Israel's hard-line opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, last week to a bitterly contested Jerusalem shrine sacred to Muslims and Jews."22 Shortly thereafter, however, Laub acknowledges that the question of what started the riot was actually a matter of dispute: "The argument is part of the overall debate over whether the riots are a spontaneous outburst of Palestinian anger or are orchestrated to some degree by Arafat to extract concessions from Israel in the negotiations."23

22. Karen Laub, "Twelve Killed in Second Day of Clashes; Worst Violence in Four Years," Associated Press (September 30, 2000), International News.
23. Karen Laub, "Israel Says Arafat Lures Protesters with Money; Palestinians Say It's Compensation," Associated Press (October 9, 2000), International News.

And another attack on her here.

Maybe it's just incompetency?

(Kippah tip: RH)