Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Guys, That's What A Mohel Is For

A mohel is a professional circumcisor in the Jewish tradtion. You need one. If not, you might make the newspapers this way too:-

Man uses nail clippers in DIY circumcision

A man who gave himself a DIY circumcision using nail clippers was taken to hospital for emergency treatment.

The young man had to be rushed to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The wound was disinfected to cleanse it before he was given a bed in an observation ward.

"This is something we would advise men never to attempt," a medic said, "The results can be quite horrific and long-lasting and have quite an affect on a man's sexual performance.

"Using a pair of nail clippers must have caused excruciating pain, even if he had had a few drinks beforehand."

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Durn "Natural Growth"

With women having an average of eight children each, the ultra-Orthodox communities of Betar Illit and Modiin Illit are case studies for the Christian Science Monitor's Joshua Mitnick who notes that "the settlement issue is not getting any easier".

In two Israeli settlements, a booming demand for more space

...As the Obama administration pushes for a total West Bank settlement freeze and Israel insists on allowing continued expansion inside existing settlements, Beitar and a second ultra-religious city, Modiin Illit, illustrate the roots of the dispute over Israeli development on land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

...because these settlements are located relatively close to Israel proper, an agreement on a border modification and land swap is a realistic option for resolving the dispute here. Even though they have moved into the vortex of a decades-old geopolitical dispute, the residents of these communities are not nationalists like those at the forefront Jewish settler movement who seek territorial expansion.

"We didn't come here for politics or to fight. We want to live in the land of Israel, but it doesn't matter where – east or west," says Beitar Illit Mayor Meir Rubenstein. "To our great misfortune, the government put us here and now we're stuck with Obama."

That's why I have problems with Hareidim. They're self-centered, lacking any sense of the true sanctity of the Land of Israel and they don't tell the truth in full. They knew exactly what Betar Illit was all about.

Beitar Illit is about a 20-minute drive southwest of Jerusalem. The settlement looks out onto hilltops dotted by red-roofed houses that are part of the "Etzion bloc," a group of suburban settlements which left-wing Israeli governments have sought to annex in a land swap with Palestinians in previous negotiations.

The annual population growth in Beitar is nearly twice the overall rate of about 5 percent for the West Bank settlements. Mr. Rubenstein complained that Beitar Illit is planned to include 10,000 housing units, but there are permits for only 7,000 – the remainder are on hold until further notice.

...Because strictly religious Jewish groups seek to block out trappings of modernity, they prefer to live in closed communities where advertising is tailored to their sensibilities and cable or satellite TV infrastructure is banned. Combined with the fact that Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit have the highest reproductive rate in the country of about eight children per woman, that has created surging demand for residential units.

Despite the slump in real estate prices around the world, values in Beitar Illit are climbing. Fraida Sterka, a local broker, said that prices have gone up 5 percent in the last two months...

Two Out Of Three

The guilty finger-pointing:

Gazans are blocked in attempting to recover from Israel's Operation Cast Lead six months ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday.

The Red Cross said Israel's control of border crossings was restricting imports to Gaza of reconstruction, medical and other supplies.


It also said that the Fatah-Hamas rift, resulting in two Palestinian leaderships, had curbed essential water and sewer services.

And in the meantime:

IDF troops shot at an unspecified number of Palestinian gunmen who were apparently planting a bomb south of Gaza's Karni border crossing on Monday afternoon, the army said. The gunmen fled the scene. There were no casualties among the soldiers.

A mortar shell had earlier been fired at an IDF patrol in the area.

So, who is really interfering with Gaza's reconstruction process?

Two out of three: Arabs.

Numbers - In Proportion

Today's big news:

Israel has approved the construction of 50 new housing units in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

And on Saturday, we read:

The bombing of a Baghdad bus station yesterday pushed the death toll from a weeklong series of blasts near Shiite targets to about 200,

And five days ago we read:

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply distressed" by the rape and assault of some 20 female inmates during a breakout bid from Goma's central prison in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

...Two persons were killed and some 20 female inmates were raped during the night of Sunday to Monday when detained soldiers mutinied and tried to break out of Goma's central prison which holds 837 inmates, including some 500 soldiers.

And today:

Darfur rebels on Sunday accused Sudan government forces of a bombing raid on their territory which killed at least eight civilians, as mediators step up pressure for a settlement in the violent western region.

Fighters from the insurgent Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) said military planes bombed land they controlled near the settlement of Hashaba in remote North Darfur around midday on Saturday.

SLA founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur told Reuters his commanders reported eight civilians were killed in Hashaba, about 70km (43 miles) west of the North Darfur state capital, El Fasher. Another SLA commander reported over 20 casualties.

How About A Little Catholic Religious Intolerance Against Muslims

Catholic school bans Muslim girls from wearing face veils during official visit

Two pupils removed their veil to attend a Catholic school open day, but their Muslim teacher refused the request. The party were from an Islamic school in Great Harwood and were visiting St Mary's School in nearby Blackburn, Lancashire for its annual open day.

The town is the constituency of Justice Secretary Jack Straw who has previously been involved in rows over the wearing of the traditional Muslim veils by females.

The veil the 'niqab', which is worn with a headscarf or hijab, only allows slits for the wearer's eyes.

A spokesman for St Mary's said the request was made because the veils were against school policy.

The two pupils agreed to the removal but their teacher refused.

She was taken to an office at St Mary's and told she would not be allowed on the premises.

Diehl's Logic; Obama's Irrationality

Jackson Diehl is beginning to get it right:

...starting with a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in May, the administration made the mistake of insisting that an Israeli settlement "freeze" -- a term the past three administrations agreed to define loosely -- must mean a total stop to all construction in the West Bank and even East Jerusalem.

This absolutist position is a loser for three reasons. First, it has allowed Palestinian and Arab leaders to withhold the steps they were asked for; they claim to be waiting for the settlement "freeze" even as they quietly savor a rare public battle between Israel and the United States. Second, the administration's objective -- whatever its merits -- is unobtainable. No Israeli government has ever agreed to an unconditional freeze, and no coalition could be assembled from the current parliament to impose one...Finally, the extraction of a freeze from Netanyahu is, as a practical matter, unnecessary.

...Curiously, though, the administration -- led by the State Department -- keeps raising the stakes. Clinton went out of her way on June 17 to disavow any agreements between the second Bush administration and Israel over "natural growth" in some settlements. In a press briefing last Monday, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly responded to a question by saying the administration opposed new construction in all areas "across the [green] line" in Jerusalem -- a definition that would prohibit Israeli building in such areas as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

The result of such posturing is that the administration now faces a choice between a protracted confrontation with Israel -- an odd adventure given the pressing challenges from Iran and in Iraq, not to mention the disarray of the Palestinian camp -- or a compromise, which might make Obama look weak and provide Arab states further cause to refuse cooperation...

...While further settlement expansion needs to be curbed, both the Palestinian Authority and Arab governments have gone along with previous U.S.-Israeli deals by which construction was to be limited to inside the periphery of settlements near Israel..."the Google Earth test"; if the settlements did not visibly expand, that was good enough.

...[after making a deal with Barak but here, Diehl falters] The administration could then return to doing what it intended to do all along: press Palestinians as well as Israelis, friendly Arab governments and not-so-friendly Iranian clients such as Syria to take tangible steps toward a regional settlement. Such movement would be the perfect complement to the cause of change in Iran; how foolish it would be to squander it over a handful of Israeli apartment houses.

Nuclear Weapons In Middle East - 1966

Any of this sound familiar as well?

294. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, May 26, 1966, 5 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 12 NEAR E. Confidential. Drafted by Thompson and approved in S on May 28. The meeting was held in the Secretary's office. The memorandum is Part III of VI.

Nuclear Weapons in the Near East


Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, USSR

The Secretary
Llewellyn E. Thompson, Ambassador-at-Large, Department of State

The Secretary asked the Ambassador if he had any reaction in Moscow to the discussion they had had with respect to nuclear weapons in the Near East./2/ Dobrynin said he had understood the Secretary was not talking about a possible treaty, but rather the policy of our two countries.

/2/The subject was discussed briefly in the course of a wide-ranging discussion between Rusk and Dobrynin on March 18. According to a memorandum of the conversation, Rusk indicated the United States would be interested in a nuclear free zone in the Near East, provided that Turkey and Greece could be excluded. Dobrynin expressed skepticism as to whether Israel and the UAR would be interested in such an arrangement. Rusk expressed the opinion that both would be. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 70 A 4443, 388.3, 1966)

The Secretary agreed that a formal treaty might not be practical since the Arabs would probably not sign a treaty with the Israelis. Dobrynin said that the Soviets were not going to furnish any nuclear weapons to these countries and he assumed that we were not and therefore he had not pursued the matter further in Moscow.

The Secretary pointed out that if all these countries would accept IAEA safeguards, this could be a good first step. He went on to explain, however, that what he had had in mind was the possibility that both the Soviet Union and the United States might get these countries to give separately private assurances to us and we could then each tell the governments on the other side. The Secretary asked if there had been any discussion of this subject with Cairo. Dobrynin replied that there was not, to his knowledge, but it was possible that this had come up during the recent visit of Mr. Kosygin to Cairo.

The Secretary said he could tell the Ambassador quite privately that we were convinced that the Israelis were not planning to make nuclear weapons.

Ambassador Dobrynin expressed some skepticism and wondered how an arrangement could be made. The Secretary said he thought that if these countries assured us that they would not go nuclear, they would not do so. He asked if it was the policy of the Soviet Government that there should be no nuclear weapons in this area.

The Ambassador replied that there should not be any anywhere!

The Secretary asked if the Ambassador had had any discussion in Moscow with respect to keeping sophisticated weapons out of the Middle East, such as missiles. Dobrynin, without directly relating his reply to any conversations he had had in Moscow, said that he did not see much possibility in this area until the Big Powers took some steps toward disarmament and set an example
. Otherwise, it was difficult to convince these countries not to acquire such weapons.

Would You Like To Help Publish A Book?

"This Fine Hill" - Trails and Sites in the Southern Shomron

The book was written by two friends, sons of Shiloh, in memory of their brothers, Shmuel Yerushalmi and Yonaton Eldar, may God avenge them, who were killed in terror attacks.

Shmuel had an impish smile. Short, fiery eyes, and boundless energy for organizing trips and his-latest-idea with his friends. He loved animals and nature, and preferred time with them to time in the classroom. He was always involved in some way with the kids in Shiloh, whether it be an activity or trip around the country. He was killed by a suicide bomber at the French's Hill hitchhiking station in Jerusalem after taking a matriculation exam on "Eretz Yisrael."

Yonaton was an ideal yeshiva student, setting himself high goals and burning the candle at both ends. This didn't keep him from loving to walk the land of Israel, learning its history and fauna, and delving into its treasures with the same passion he dedicated to religious tracts. He was killed while learning in the Study Hall of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav in Jerusalem.

The book has four sections:

1. Memorial

2. Introduction, written by experts in their fields, surveying the history, geography, geology, and plant and animal life of the Southern Shomron.

3. The main section of the book focuses on the Southern Shomron, where the authors grew up. The area covered ranges from Wadi Haramia (the British Police station, between Ofra and Shilo) to the city of Ariel. The geographical territory is not large, but the depth in which it is covered is comprehensive. This section includes paths for hiking. Each hike described includes historical and biblical information about the area you will be hiking through.

4. The final section covers sites and attractions (less walking than the paths in the main section of the book), including cisterns, ruins, outlooks, and more.

The book memorializes additional terror victims from the area in specific hikes which have been dedicated to their memory.

The brothers, who have put this book together, are in touch with several distributors. They have agreements which will include some advertising and and publicity. To do this and print 1500 copies will cost approximately 30,000 shekels, or $7,500. The book is ready for print, and this is the only thing that stands between them and bringing the book to life.

For more info how to be part of this write:


Hilarious Ad for Islamic Prosyletization

“We went green 1400 years ago”


(Kippah tip: AtlasShrugs)

Doesn't That Sound Familiar?

...During the past two years, thought has frequently been given to a renewal of our efforts to find a solution. Prospects for a change in Arab opposition have, however, not been bright...

Whether or not a new effort should be made depends primarily on what decisions are taken with respect to approaching any of the various aspects of the Arab-Israel dispute, e.g. refugee problem, boundaries, security guarantees, compensation, Jerusalem, Arab boycott, Suez transit, etc.

From a Paper Prepared in the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Washington, February 6, 1961

Not much has changed, eh?

And, as long as we're on an historical search, how about this:

In response to reports that Israel intended to hold an anniversary parade on April 20, 1961, in Jerusalem that would feature heavy military equipment, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Cleveland on March 10 expressed U.S. concern to Ambassador Harman and suggested that the military theme be eliminated from the parade. (Memorandum of conversation, March 10; Department of State, Central Files, 884.424/3-1061) Israel, however, held a dress rehearsal for the parade in Jerusalem March 16-17. Upon Jordan's complaint, the Mixed Armistice Commission determined that the Israeli action had violated the 1948 Israeli-Jordanian Armistice Agreement. (U.N. document S/4776)

On April 1, Jordan asked the U.N. Security Council to meet on the matter, charging that the parade was an act of military provocation. The United States again expressed concern to Israeli officials noting that the parade would violate the Armistice Agreement. Israel cited previous similar violations by Jordan and refused to alter its plans. (Telegrams 1900 and 1903 to USUN, April 1 and 3, respectively; Department of State, Central Files, 884.424/4-161 and 884.424/4-361) The United States then sought a consensus statement endorsing the MAC decision and urging Israeli compliance, which would minimize debate and avoid the adoption of a resolution critical of Israel. (Telegram 1916 to USUN, April 4; ibid.)

This effort was unsuccessful. Ultimately, the United States voted for a Security Council resolution on April 11 that urged Israel to comply with the MAC decision and requested members of the MAC to cooperate to assure compliance with the Armistice Agreement. (U.N. document S/4785) Despite additional U.S. entreaties, Israel staged the military parade without incident on April 20. (Telegram 752 to Tel Aviv, April 11; Department of State, Central Files, 884A.424/4-1161, and memorandum of conversation between Secretary Rusk and Ambassador Harman, April 13; ibid., 884A.424/4-1361)

America, Friend of Israel

Quotable Words

So many bad things happen suddenly, but good things also happen suddenly.

Rebecca Rosenberg

Oh, and Mazal Tov:

Rebecca Kim Rosenberg and Justin David Soffer are to be married Sunday by Rabbi Ethan Franzel at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Mass

Religion, The Tribe, Roman Catholic, Almost Jewish

About a decade ago, moved by a convergence of my longstanding fascination with religion and a time of great personal loss, I embarked on a search for a church and wound up a born-again Catholic. It was not a straight or untroubled path, guided as it was by both my attraction to and enmity for the Roman Catholic Church into which I was born and baptized.

Growing up Irish Catholic in New York City put me in a good position to experience the best and worst of the Church...

Roman Catholic, as it turned out, was the language my spirit already knew. Burning hyssop and frankincense, the stark and heart-charging splendor of Gregorian chant, Marian devotion; the iconography, the Latin Agnus Dei and Litany of the Saints, the Angelus bells, the rapture at the crux of Catholic worship have always held fierce sway with me.

As I started to experiment with religious observance, I quickly developed a sense of what I did and did not want...I am Catholic under protest and I’m in good company. The long tradition of radical thinking is alive and well in my Church...The power of the Church may rest with the College of Cardinals, but its glory rests with people like me.

Once I accepted that being Roman Catholic did not require that I be a papist — once I understood that it was possible to be simultaneously outraged by and in love with the Church — I saw the obstacles to being a practicing Catholic in a new way.

I certainly do not see religion as essential to an ethical, spiritually rich life. I am married to an agnostic Jew and I educate our three children in two faiths, teaching them to pray, modeling what practicing a religion authentically looks like.

...My practice of Catholicism inspired me to step up my efforts to educate my children about Jewish Sabbath observance and Torah, for example. When I light the candles on Friday nights, I do not do so as Jew, but I don’t exactly do so as a Christian either. I do it as the mother of children of the tribe, and when I do so, I enter this ritual fully, as a soul rising to the occasion of something more infinite that the sum of all our ritualistic parts — I stretch — a soul reaching to touch the hem of the garment of the Divine...

That was from Michele Madigan Somerville. Her Web site is Fresh Poetry Daily.

Playground Law

Why do Jews feel they can mix into other Jews' business?

“You can do what you want with your own people,” he said. “It’s the law of the playground.”

And who was that "he" there?

Handsome Dick Manitoba, 55, né Richard Blum, bar owner, radio host and lead singer of the Dictators.


Shimon Says

Mr. Peres feels vindicated for having taken positions once considered divisive. Mr. Netanyahu’s acceptance of the two-state principle, he said, brings the Israeli left and the right full circle 70 years after Mr. Ben-Gurion concluded that there was no choice but to accept a Jewish nation on part of the land, sanctioning partition.

“What finally won was the reality,” he said.


Ah, but if the reality isn't as real as Peres thinks it is?

And if the reality changes?

What then?

Words of Wisdom

Most Fatah and PA leaders prefer peace with Hamas rather than Israel. Make no mistake: this is a mutually exclusive choice.

The Israeli narrative as laid out by Netanyahu is clear: Jews want and merit a state; the conflict is due to an Arab refusal to accept that state’s existence. This Israeli narrative does not prevent a two- state solution, one state for each people.

The Palestinian narrative, to this day, is that Jews have no such right to a state and that all the land is rightly Palestinian, Arab, and (for most) Muslim. This Palestinian narrative does prevent a two-state solution, and its continuity--even reinforcement by Hamas most of all but also by the PA--is the cause for the peace process's failure and the fact that it will continue to fail.

That is what Fayyad cannot admit. Indeed, the main Palestinian strategy debate is merely about the most effective way of wiping Israel off the map.

He does claim that Palestinians’ “main aspiration” is to have their own homeland, which he promises will live in peace, cooperation, and respect with its neighbor. But he cannot say it would resettle all Palestinian refugees within its borders, won’t bring in foreign troops, will end the conflict permanently, or will provide Israel with security guarantees. It will certainly never recognize Israel as a Jewish state even while the PA's own constitution defines Palestine as an Arab and Muslim state.

Source: Barry Rubin

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Now, That's a "Natural Growth" Problem

As the Shasta County teen pregnancy rate rises to the highest level in four years, proposed cuts to teen parenting programs couldn't have come at a worse time.

In 2007, 271 babies were born to teenage mothers in Shasta County at a rate of 37.9 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19, an increase from 32.3 the year before, according to Shasta County Public Health records. California's teen birth rate increased from 2005 to 2006 but fell slightly in 2007 to a rate of 37.1.

Until 2005, the teen pregnancy rate had been on a steady decline nationwide since the early '90s. The U.S. teen birth rate for 2007 was 42.5 births per 1,000, the highest rate since 2002, according to National Vital Statistics. While no one is sure why the teen birth rate is on the rise, many are concerned about where the increasing number of pregnant and parenting teenage girls will turn for help as their options are whittled away.


Is There A Difference Between Democrats and Republicans?

I wonder, what, if ever, did Hillary say to Bill on a similar matter?


"I said absolutely not. It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press during a 20-minute interview at the coastal home where she sought refuge with their four sons. They were her first extended comments on the affair.

She said that when her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, inexplicably disappeared last week, she hoped he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, as his staff told those who inquired about his absence. That he had dared to go to Argentina to see the other woman left her stunned.

"He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she said in a strong, steady voice. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."

...Jenny Sanford, a Georgetown-educated, former Wall Street vice president, did not stand next to her husband Wednesday during his pained public confession.

Sanford said she discovered her husband's affair early this year after coming across a copy of a letter to the mistress in one of his files...She felt "shocked and obviously deeply hurt. I didn't think he had it in him," she said. "It's hard to find out your husband is not who you thought he was." The first lady said she confronted her husband immediately, and he agreed to end the affair. She said she wasn't sure Friday whether he had done so.

"...I saw him yesterday and he is not staying here. We'll just see what kind of spirit of reconciliation he has himself."...Jenny Sanford cried at the end of the interview, and said the couple have been to counseling.

"When I found out in January, we both indicated a willingness to continue working on the marriage, but there's not room for three people in a marriage," she said. "I've done everything in my power possibly to keep him from going to see her and to really make sure she was off the table, including asking him to leave."

Could Hillary clarify on her experiences?

Jewish-themed Blogging Compilation - HH #223

HH #223

A week's compilation of Jewish-themed blogging

Will She Ever Substitute "Palestinian" for "Unionist"?

The United States Welcomes Statements on Decommissioning

Statement by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Washington, DC, June 27, 2009:

We welcome the statements today from the main unionist groups in Northern Ireland regarding the decommissioning of their weapons.

The announcements underscore the remarkable progress that has taken place in Northern Ireland over the years. All parties agree, as the people of Northern Ireland do, that the only way forward is through peace and reconciliation, and not through violence. Peter Robinson and other unionist leaders should be commended for their efforts in convincing these groups to take this courageous step. Leaders on all sides deserve our praise for their continued commitment to moving the process forward.

The United States remains engaged in order to support Northern Ireland in its progress towards a future of peace and prosperity.

The Outpost on the Hill

Photo credit: Yisrael Medad

Attacks on Rabbi Pynchas Brener's Synagogue

Rabbi Pynchas Brener was my first Rabbi at Holliswood starting in 1955.

He's in trouble:


From the beginning of his rule in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has stridently criticized Israel. In recent months, Chavez has found a more vulnerable target: the Jewish population inside Venezuela.

...Reports indicate that the Mayor of Miranda’s capital city incited an angry group of Chavez supporters to paint Nazi swastikas on the home of an anti-Chavez Jewish politician, Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski. “We are showing Capriles that …people are opposed to his continuous attacks against the initiatives and socialist projects of president Chávez,” explained Los Teques Mayor Alirio Mendoza...

...To add to the growing number of anti-Semitic acts committed in the country, the Tiferet Israel Synagogue in Caracas was the subject of another act of vandalism on June 16th. In an email to NewMajority, Rabbi Pynchas Brener, the Chief Rabbi of Caracas, reported that the outer walls of the temple were covered in anti-Semitic graffiti. Photos provided to NewMajority show graffiti that includes a crossed out Star of David, swastikas, a hammer and sickle, pro-Palestinian rhetoric, and repeated references to Jews as fascists.

The Clown (and the Finger)

Example of Pal. Propaganda

Found here:

West Bank, Palestine: Israelis kidnap children

Tuba, South Hebron Hills, West Bank, (International Solidarity Movement):
25 June 2009

[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]

On the morning of June 25, Israeli police detained two Palestinian children, Ahmed Omar Jundyye, age 15, and Redwan Ibrahim Jundyye, age 16, near the village of Tuba. The young boys, accompanied by internationals, were grazing their flocks near their village of Tuba, located in the South Hebron Hills.

Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost, Havat Ma’on, observed the young boys for sometime before the Israeli military arrived. The Israeli military jeep drove to a home within Havat Ma’on and the soldiers spoke with the settlers. After speaking with the settlers, the soldiers approached the young boys and the internationals demanding that they provide personal identification, saying that the boys were in a forbidden area.

The Israeli police arrived at the scene and, after conferencing with the settlers and soldiers, detained the two young boys at 10:00AM and took them to the Kiryat Arba police station. The police refused to provide a reason for the detention of the young boys.

The young Palestinian boys were held in detention at Kiryat Arba Police Station for nearly five hours before being released.

Responding to the detention, one of the boys’ fathers said, “they weren’t doing anything, they graze their sheep there everyday.”


Is that what police do, in broad-daylight, for five hours?

One More On Judt the Jerk

Alan Gerson is an international lawyer and was counsel to the United States delegation to the United Nations from 1981 to 1985 and is the author of “Israel, the West Bank and International Law.” He responds in a letter-to-the-editor in the New York Times to the claim of illegality:

To the Editor:

Tony Judt (“Fictions on the Ground,” Op-Ed, June 22) substitutes repetition for substantiation in charging no less than six times that all Israeli settlements are a blatant violation of international law. Of course, he is no international lawyer, and his analysis demonstrates that fact.

He cites Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, but this has nothing to do — implicitly or explicitly — with settlements. It is about the avoidance of the threat or use of force in international relations.

Similarly, Article 47 of the 1949 Geneva Convention merely deals with the need to preserve the status quo ante of existing “institutions or government,” and to not annex occupied territory. Israel has not annexed the West Bank in part or in whole, with the exception of East Jerusalem, which for various historical and legal reasons has been treated as a special situation.

Of course, the presumption behind Article 47 was that the ousted power here, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, would be ready to come to the negotiating table and that preservation of its institutions — whether democratic or not — would be a spur to a negotiated resolution.

In fact, in the aftermath of the 1967 war, for more than two decades, the governing pan-Arab policy was one of no recognition, no peace and no negotiations. Probably more than anything else, that climate created the incubus in which settlements could take root.

The legality of the settlement issue is much more muddled than Mr. Judt portends. And for that reason, United States administrations have repeatedly taken the position that the issue is not one of lawfulness, where there is room for different strands of opinion, but rather one of political sense.

Allan Gerson

My Grandchildren Are Now Terrorists?

One Ronit Avni, an Israeli, U.S. and Canadian citizen (! three times lucky?), is the director of the film "Encounter Point" and the executive director of Just Vision, an organization that documents Palestinian and Israeli conflict-resolution peace initiatives.

Just Vision

is a nonprofit organization that informs local and international audiences about under-documented Palestinian and Israeli joint civilian efforts to resolve the conflict nonviolently. Using media and educational tools, we raise awareness in order to encourage civic participation in grassroots peace building.

They haven't been very successful in promoting non-violence by Arabs, now, have they? And perhaps all their fawning actually encourages some to think that terror is excused somehow by such sympathetic proponents of Pal. nationalism?

Anyway, she has an op-ed in the Washington Post trying to stop financial support for Zionism in Judea and Samaria.

Want to Stop Israeli Settlements? Follow the Dollars

This month, both at Cairo University and from the Oval Office, President Obama has called on the Israeli government to stop the expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He should send the same message to the Americans who are funding and fueling them.

There are more than 450,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to Peace Now, an Israeli organization that opposes the settlements. Some of them are Americans. And some of the most influential, militant figures in the settler movement have been Americans, too. Among them were...[my neighbor] convicted terrorist Era Rapaport, a member of the Land Redemption Fund, which coordinates the acquisition of Palestinian land in areas targeted for settlement expansion.

...Some of the settlements' most passionate advocates spoke about their deep roots in the Gaza Strip even though they were actually Americans...

[that's rich. she's a triple citizenship holder and yet she criticizes others]

...Evangelical Christians in the United States also support the settlements, raising millions of dollars for them, according to a recent National Public Radio report. The Colorado-based Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, for example, encourages churches and ministries to connect with "the pioneers of Biblical Israel" through the "adopt-a-settlement program." Sondra Oster Baras, director of the organization's Israeli office, [and on whose board I sit] estimates that more than half of the West Bank settlements receive direct or indirect support from Christians, according to the NPR report.

[goodness gracious! Christians supporting an enterprise linked with the...Bible! what is religion coming to nowadays?]

She goes on and mentions all the usual 'culprits' and then moves in for the kill:

If the courts can't find a way to dissuade settlement expansion, perhaps the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control should intervene. The U.S. government has already designated Kahane's movement a foreign terrorist organization for reasons unrelated to settlement financing, but in doing so, it has prohibited U.S. citizens from providing financial support to this group.

[ah, my grandchildren are now terrorists living at Ofra?]

...I am not suggesting that non-profits should lose their tax advantages simply because they are at odds with American foreign policy. But the settlements are widely considered a violation of international law. Thirty years ago, a U.S. State Department legal adviser issued an opinion that called the settlements "inconsistent" with the Fourth Geneva Convention. In recent weeks, officials at State and in the White House have declined to say whether the 1979 opinion reflects official government policy...Maybe it's also time for Americans to stop supporting them.

[but my dear, what is they are legal and that 30-year old opinion is bunk?]

My Op-ed in the Los Angeles Times

My Opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times:

In defense of 'settlements'

Jews belong in Judea and Samaria as much as Palestinians who stayed in Israel.

By Yisrael Medad

June 28, 2009

No one, including a president of the United States of America, can presume to tell me, a Jew, that I cannot live in the area of my national homeland. That's one of the main reasons my wife and I chose in 1981 to move to Shiloh, a so-called settlement less than 30 miles north of Jerusalem.

After Shiloh was founded in 1978, then-President Carter demanded of Prime Minister Menachem Begin that the village of eight families be removed. Carter, from his first meeting with Begin, pressed him to "freeze" the activity of Jews rebuilding a presence in their historic home. As his former information aide, Shmuel Katz, related, Begin said: "You, Mr. President, have in the United States a number of places with names like Bethlehem, Shiloh and Hebron, and you haven't the right to tell prospective residents in those places that they are forbidden to live there. Just like you, I have no such right in my country. Every Jew is entitled to reside wherever he pleases."

We now fast-forward to President Obama, who declared on June 15 in remarks at a news conference with Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, that Jewish communities beyond the Green Line "in past agreements have been categorized as illegal."

I believe the president has been misled. There can be nothing illegal about a Jew living where Judaism was born. To suggest that residency be permitted or prohibited based on race, religion or ethnic background is dangerously close to employing racist terminology.

Suppose someone suggested that Palestinian villages and towns in pre-1967 Israel were to be called "settlements" and that, to achieve a true peace, Arabs should be removed from their homes. Of course, separation or transfer of Arabs is intolerable, but why is it quite acceptable to demand that Jews be ethnically cleansed from the area? Do not Jews belong in Judea and Samaria as much as Palestinians who stayed in the state of Israel?

Some have questioned why Jews should be allowed to resettle areas in which they didn't live in the years preceding the 1967 war, areas that were almost empty of Jews before 1948 as well. But why didn't Jews live in the area at that time? Quite simple: They had been the victims of a three-decades-long ethnic cleansing project that started in 1920, when an Arab attack wiped out a small Jewish farm at Tel Hai in Upper Galilee and was followed by attacks in Jerusalem and, in 1921, in Jaffa and Jerusalem.

In 1929, Hebron's centuries-old Jewish population was expelled as a result of an Arab pogrom that killed almost 70 Jews. Jews that year removed themselves from Gaza, Nablus and Jenin. The return of my family to Shiloh -- and of other Jews to more than 150 other communities over the Green Line since 1967 -- is not solely a throwback to claimed biblical rights. Nor is it solely to assert our right to return to areas that were Jewish-populated in the 20th century until Arab violence drove them away. We have returned under a clear fulfillment of international law. There can be no doubt as to the legality of the act of my residency in Shiloh.

I am a revenant -- one who has returned after a long absence to ancestral lands. The Supreme Council of the League of Nations adopted principles following the 1920 San Remo Conference aimed at bringing about the "reconstitution" of a Jewish National Home. Article 6 of those principles reads: "The administration of Palestine ... shall encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands." That "land" was originally delineated to include all of what is today Jordan as well as all the territory west of the Jordan River.

In 1923, Britain created a new political entity, Transjordan, and suspended the right of Jews to live east of the Jordan River. But the region in which I now live was intended to be part of the Jewish National Home. Then, in a historical irony, a Saudi Arabian refugee, Abdallah, fleeing the Wahabis, was afforded the opportunity to establish an Arab kingdom where none had existed previously -- only Jews. As a result, in an area where prophets and priests fashioned the most humanist and moral religion and culture on Earth, Jews are now termed "illegals."

Many people insist that settlements are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. But that convention does not apply to Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza district. Its second clause makes it clear that it deals with the occupation of "the territory of a high contracting party." Judea and Samaria and Gaza, which Israel gained control of in 1967, were not territories of a "high contracting party." Jewish historical rights that the mandate had recognized were not canceled, and no new sovereign ever took over in Judea and Samaria or in Gaza.

Obama has made his objections to Israeli settlements known. But other U.S. presidents have disagreed. President Reagan's administration issued a declaration that Israeli settlements were not illegal. Support for that position came from Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former president of the International Court of Justice, who determined that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria did not constitute "occupation." It also came from a leading member of Reagan's administration, the former dean of the Yale Law School and former undersecretary of State, Eugene Rostow, who asserted that "Israel has a stronger claim to the West Bank than any other nation or would-be nation [and] the same legal right to settle the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem as it has to settle Haifa or West Jerusalem."

Any suggestions, then, of "freezing" and halting "natural growth" are themselves not only illegal but quite immoral.

Yisrael Medad, an American-born Israeli commentator, has lived in Shiloh since 1981. He is head of information resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and blogs at www.myrightword.blogspot.com.

They had Sarah Leah Whitson,

Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, counter me, here.

She compares Jews living in Judea and Samaria to "thieves" possessing ill-gotten gains. She ignores that Jews have full rights to reside there no less than as do Arabs in Israel.

And Whitson is a robber baron stealing from her readers the historical truth by blinding them to the fact that Israel administers the area because Arab states and organizations had been engaged ever since 1948 first in a terror campaign of the fedayeen and then the PLO's Fatah with the intent of annihilating it and secondly, their attempt at a 'second round' war of aggression they prepared for in May-June 1967.


My previous op-eds in the LATimes:

'We will pay the price of folly'

Date: Sep 13, 1993
Start Page: B7

Yisrael Medad, a Jewish settler on the West Bank, says that it is the most natural of all rights that Jews live in the land of their forefathers, and decries the Israeli government for supporting Palestinian self-rule.

"Our children walk among the ruins at Tel Shiloh, where young Samuel the prophet spent his time in the Tabernacle. This Rosh Hashanah holiday, we'll visit the Seilun spring, whose name preserves that of Shiloh. Our junior and high school children daily ride the roads for distances of between 11 and 28 miles to attend classes. Their buses have been stoned and at times have been targets of Molotov cocktails aimed at them by their Arab peers. My neighbor, Rachela Druck, was murdered on the eve of the 1991 Madrid conference.

Our enthusiastic foreign minister, Shimon Peres, has placed us in an invidious position. We will pay the price of his folly. Without consulting our country's professional security experts, he has led the government into an agreement that invites our enemies to assume that the Bosnian precedent of ethnic cleansing can be repeated with impunity. More than that, the military, economic and water-supply dangers to a pre-1967 Israel are quite obvious. Israel's citizens are awakening to the intolerable situation they will soon face."


The loyal opposition won't be silenced

Date: Nov 7, 1995
Start Page: B9

Yisrael Medad says assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was one of the most abrasive of prime ministers and that his murder will be manipulated to ensure that not only the extremist fringes are dealt with harshly, but even the legitimate opposition will be silenced.

"There is growing evidence that a dangerous backlash is developing in Israel's social fabric in the aftermath of the shooting of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In a radio interview, his widow, Leah, said of the killer, "It is enough {that} I know in which school he grew up." His daughter declined to shake the hand of the opposition Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the grave site. Israel's state-sponsored television showed angry citizens demanding that all anti-government demonstrations be halted. Posters were displayed blaming opposition politicians for the assassination.

The assassin declared, according to police investigators, that he first attempted to kill Rabin 10 months ago. From remarks attributed to him, it appears that his was an insular ideological position rather than one shaped by what has been termed the "verbal violence" at rallies protesting the Oslo process.

What complicates matters was the undeniable fact that Rabin was perhaps one of the most abrasive of prime ministers. His tongue-lashings were the stuff for a new political dictionary. He insisted that the Likud was "an aide of the Hamas" terror organization. Other ministers adopted similar disparaging declarations. The Labor-led coalition government was able to stay in power by a very thin margin. President Ezer Weizman, noting that the government's majority of one vote was gained because a deputy minister wanted to keep his chauffeured car, pleaded that the Oslo process be slowed down to allow for additional thinking.


When Only the Land Keeps Its Promises

Date: Jan 17, 1997
Start Page: 9

"The number of American Jews residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is perhaps proportionately higher than in other sections of Israel. This is a factor of the ideological commitment necessary to live there combined with old-fashioned idealism. In my home community of Shiloh, almost 30 miles north of Jerusalem, lying between Ramallah and Nablus, almost 20% of the 170 families have North American origins. Many of us are contemplating our future here in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to follow through with the Oslo process.

All of us voted for Netanyahu in the elections less than a year ago. Undoubtedly, his American style, manners and approach reminded us of certain positive aspects of American politics. We also found in his speeches and promises a resonance of that which lured us to dwell in the landscape of the Bible, Israel's homeland.

Leaving behind, in most cases, fairly comfortable lives and surroundings, we rejected what we perceived as an existence that was as empty of essence as it was futureless. Not only were we "going home" to where the Jewish people were born, where judges, kings and prophets fashioned our culture and religious beliefs, but we also were enlisting ourselves in the service of a pioneering vision, assuring for generations to come that Jews would, once again and forever more, live as Jews in the places that were undeniably Jewish. Not Tel Aviv or Ra'anana or some other yuppie Israeli town but Hebron, where King David first ruled; Tekoa, where Amos tendered sheep, and Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was erected. We were going back to our roots."


True Security Threat: Withdrawal

Date: May 8, 1998
Start Page: 9

"The Declaration of Principles signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 was presumed to have ushered in a new era in the Israel-Arab conflict. Yasser Arafat and his PLO had promised to fulfill obligations, something they had never done--not with their "Zionist enemy" or even with their Arab compatriots.

Later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed himself to following through with the guidelines and signed agreements, hundreds of pages long in certain instances, which the previous Labor-led government had bequeathed to the new Likud coalition. The government of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres avoided the issue of Jewish civilian presence in the areas that the Palestinians presumed would eventually be relinquished. Rabin, despite his deriding the approximately 150 Jewish settlements, provided unprecedented security measures for them including bypass roads and increased military personnel and equipment."


Palestinian Authority Is Too Corrupt to Govern

Date: Aug 10, 1998
Start Page: 5

"Even in Israel, few people doubt that in May 1999, Yasser Arafat, chairman and erstwhile president of the Palestinian Authority, will declare the establishment of the independent and sovereign state of Palestine. A grand if not dress rehearsal was held a decade ago in Algeria when a declaration of independence was read at a session of the Palestine National Council. That charade followed Jordan's King Hussein's announcement absolving himself of responsibility for the area recognized as the West Bank, which incidentally his grandfather annexed, an act devoid of international legality.

Arafat, despite seeming successes, foremost the creation of a beachhead on what he considers Palestinian soil, has made many mistakes over the years. For sure, many countries already acknowledge the existence of Palestine as a state. Embassies and other diplomatic trappings have served the needs of the Palestine Liberation Organization as it evolved from a terrorist organization. But to declare a state of Palestine would be a mistake if only because it would be committing the most grievous injury a leader can cause his people. I believe Palestine must be saved from itself. For if the Palestinian people are to be served and their best interests are to be catered, a separate state of Palestine is the last thing they need."


The Breaking of the Barak Myth: Who will pay for the 'brilliance' of Israel's most decorated warrior in his handling of the withdrawal from Lebanon?

Date: May 24, 2000
Start Page: 9

"Ehud Barak sat opposite Israel's TV Channel One diplomatic reporter this past Monday night and was asked if he had made a mistake in his early troop redeployment last week of an army outpost in southern Lebanon. Barak, Israel's prime minister and, by his own election propaganda, Israel's most-decorated warrior, smiled and niftily avoided the trap. "I never look back but always to the future," he said. The viewers, left in the vacuum of a politician's self-enhancement, gained an insight into what is perhaps the empty void that now stands at the top of the country's administration.

In his May 15 Knesset speech, Barak sarcastically referred to the knights of the Hasmonean Tunnel and Joseph's Tomb, the bloody incidents of September 1996. Those disturbances were former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's responsibility. But within hours, Barak's own shining armor was bestained as the sounds and pictures of the Palestinian violence were broadcast on television screens. Stunned, Barak assumed an assertive stance but, nevertheless, the shooting continued and, at week's end, one soldier had been shot in the head and an infant was torched by a firebomb in Jericho."

Friday, June 26, 2009

From the New Regina Spektor Album


No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from the party yet

No one laughs at God
When their airplane start to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God
When they see the one they love, hand in hand with someone else
And they hope that they’re mistaken

No one laughs at God
When the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad news, sir
No one’s laughing at God
When there’s a famine or fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got
And they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize
That the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes
But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughing at God in hospital
No one’s laughing at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

Oh and this:

Spektor is a petite woman with striking red hair and bright lipstick. She writes about what's on her mind, and her music often defies explanation. But she says that doesn't concern her.

"If I could explain every word of this song, then I wouldn't have been very inspired when I wrote it. I would have been more crafty and intellectual," she says. "I would really hate it if I could call up Kafka or Hemingway or Salinger and any question I could throw at them they would have an answer. That's the magic when you read or hear something wonderful — there's no one that has all the answers."

However, that's not to say she doesn't want people to look for deeper meaning behind her songs.

"It's not like I have all the answers," she says.

This Sums It Up on Michael Jackson For Me

Jackson is survived by his three children: Prince Michael Jackson I, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II.



It's All About Births

An excerpt from a

Briefing by Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell Special Envoy for Middle East Peace on His Recent Travel to the Region and Efforts Toward Achieving A Comprehensive Peace

held in Washington, DC on June 16, 2009

...QUESTION: Senator --


QUESTION: -- you’ve now said twice that there should be a stop to settlements.


QUESTION: But you didn’t say the phrase “natural growth.”


QUESTION: And I just want to confirm that that is – it’s still what the Administration is asking for, a stop to settlements --


QUESTION: -- including natural growth. And secondly, can you give us just a definition of what the United States considers natural growth? What does that phrase mean in your mind?

MR. MITCHELL: There’s been no change in our policy. And there have been – there have been discussions on every aspect of the issue.

QUESTION: Well, what does natural growth mean? I mean, can you just use it in --

MR. MITCHELL: I’m constantly asked by editors, you know, please give a plain explanation of what natural growth is.

QUESTION: If it’s for your editor. (Laughter.)

MR. MITCHELL: Well, of course, one of the issues is that there is no universally used and accepted definition. The most common definition is by the number of births, but there are many variations of that. I’ve had numerous discussions with many Israeli and other officials, and there are almost as many definitions as there are people speaking. But I think the most commonly used measure is the number of births.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) that number, please?

MR. MITCHELL: Yes. Yeah.

QUESTION: There seems to be a lot of focus on the talk about settlements, settlements.


[but there's got to be a smart-ass in the bunch. read on]

QUESTION: But it seems like (inaudible) of the world, and many people and many governments are forgetting that the real issue is the withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied land according to UN Resolutions 242, 338, that this is an issue that, as a country, Israel cannot annex the lands of other countries to it by force. So why are you not triggering the talk about implementing the UN resolutions as much as the United States talks about the need to implement these resolutions on other countries? Why not Israel also?

MR. MITCHELL: We’ve discussed the full range of issues. And our hope, of course, as I’ve stated previously, is that the parties will resume meaningful negotiation on all issues as soon as possible in an effort to reach a rapid conclusion on all issues.

Yes, I’ll come back to you. Go ahead. Did you --

[now we come back to life]

QUESTION: When you say the most common definition is births, are you saying –

MR. MITCHELL: The one that – the most commonly used in conversations with me.

QUESTION: I see. So when the U.S. say no natural growth


QUESTION: -- is that what it’s saying is the definition?

MR. MITCHELL: We’re engaged in discussions on a wide range of issues. And different people have different interpretations of different phrases. And we listen to all points of view. We listen to every aspect of every discussion, and we’re trying to reach an agreement and understanding that helps us move the process forward. And I think I wouldn’t want to get beyond that.

QUESTION: Lachlan Carmichael from AFP. Does the Obama Administration endorse Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. MITCHELL: The prime minister stated a number of objectives that Israel is seeking in the negotiations. The Palestinians have in the past, and no doubt will continue, to state their objectives. Our effort is to begin meaningful negotiations in which those objectives will be part of the discussion, and ultimately to reach an agreement satisfactory to both sides.

[so, if "settlers" do not give birth to Jewish babies, is that a way to get around this "natural growth problem? just kidding]

So our view is that it’s best to get into negotiations. That’s what negotiations are about. Different parties have different objectives in the negotiations. The important thing about the prime minister’s speech is that he set forth his – included in his objective a Palestinian state. So there now is a common objective, which was not the case until that speech was made. And the President rightly noted and welcomed that comment, because now we have both sides moving toward the same objective with different points of view on how best to get there. And what we want is to get into a negotiation on that.

QUESTION: So you’re not asking Abbas right now to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MR. MITCHELL: What we are saying – the prime minister made very clear that is not a precondition, that’s something that he would require for an ultimate agreement. So our objective is not to try to prejudge every issue before there’s even been a first meeting of the parties. I’ve never heard of a negotiation that succeeded through – in that fashion. What you want to do is to get the parties moving toward a common objective and to start talking about their differences in a way that will enable us to reach an early resolution in a manner that’s ultimately acceptable to both.

So, a "stop to settlements" means no births? Or does a "settlements freeze" mean no births?

Does "a stop to births" mean enforced infanticide?

I trust some people reading this know their Scripture, Gospel of Matthew 2:16-18.

And why do I mention that?

Well, back in 2001,

...the BBC's chief Jerusalem correspondent, Hillary Anderson, began a recent report on the deaths of Palestinian children thus: "Deep underground in Bethlehem are the remnants of an atrocity so vile, so far back in history, King Herod's slaughter of the innocents…" (The camera meanwhile showed a pile of skulls.) Then she moved on to the deaths of Palestinian children, evoking Herod's massacre of the innocents, to remind the viewer that Jews, who tried to kill the infant Christ, are busy killing innocent children once again.

Anderson's reports, it should be added, appear not only on the British domestic BBC channels (the example above was on BBC 2's influential Newsnight) but on BBC World — "The BBC's 24 Hour Global TV News Channel."

State Dep't BS

Following an earlier report, second portion, that East Jerusalem neighborhoods were to be frozen,

State Dept. clarifies Jerusalem settlement issue

Jewish housing in eastern Jerusalem is not part of the Obama administration's demand for a settlement freeze, the State Department clarified.

"As far as Jerusalem is concerned, our policy in Jerusalem has not changed," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Tuesday in his daily briefing. "Jerusalem is a final-status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve this status during negotiations."

On Monday, Kelly had said that the administration's demand for a stoppage of settlement construction included Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

This is obfuscation.

For the very same reason, "Jerusalem is a final-status issue", the State Dept. does not enter "Israel" as the "state" where "Jerusalem" is found on birth registration, death certificates and American passports. And that "Jerusalem" includes the territory of both east and west Jerusalem. In other words, Ramat Eshkol, French's Hill, Har Choma, etc., are, at present, "settlements" in the eyes and minds of the State Dept., equal to Judea and Samaria in status.

So who are they kidding?

So much BS.

That's Right, Blame the United States

Palestinian woman diagnosed with swine-flu
Wednesday June 24, 2009 02:23 by Saed Bannoura

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday evening that a Palestinian woman from Ramallah was diagnosed with swine flu.

Dr. Omar Al Nassr, head of the media department at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, reported that the woman who came from the United States is the ninth Palestinian to be diagnosed with the flu.

Just Found A New Blog

By a non-Jew.

Oy Va Goy

Try this post, actually a chapter from a book, for the flavor of it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Relay Race Trials?

This is going around:

Trials for the Jerusalem Municipality Relay Race Team will be taking place at Safra Square this Shabbat.

(Kippah tip: RH)

The Demographic Demon is a Dud

I was given this article:

Demography and Politics in the Palestinian Authority by Amnon Kartin and Izhak Schnell in Israel Affairs, 1743-9086, Volume 13, Issue 1, 2007, Pages 95 – 115

Although two years old, its main findings are quite interesting and The Palestine-Israel Journal provides them for us.

It is quite possible that there will be a lowering of the birthrate in Palestinian Authority areas of Judea and Samaria but that depends on three factors: an effective government policy of reduction in the birth rate; enlistment of Muslim religious institutions to actively support this policy; and receptivity to participation of women in the workforce and encouraging them to develop a career and realize their potential. Under these circumstances, there is solid reason to believe that that fertility rates will decline, as has happened in most of the other Arab countries.

In other words, just like I have claimed for decades, similar to other agrarian/conservative societies all over the world, processes of economic, political and social development can bring about a dramatic reduction in the so-called "demographic threat" to Israel.

Professional literature deals extensively with the variables that control the rate of population increase and the reduction of the fertility rate in Muslim and Arab countries. Three groups of factors are particularly influential: government policy, socio-cultural values, and aspirations and personal goals (Khraif 2001, Caldwell, 2004). In the first group are planned policy steps: exposing the public consciousness to the issue of family planning, including contraceptives, and improving the access of the population, especially women, to education and the job market. In the second group there are factors relating to common socio-cultural perceptions, like the status of women in society and in the family cell and the relationship between religion and fertility. In the third group are conscious aspects of the individual, ranging from the “sociological person,” who sees recruitment in the service of collective goals as an important value, to the “psychological person,” who emphasizes self-enhancement.

Funny, the authors seem to indicate that while Arafat pointed to the "ticking biological bomb" of the womb, the key to a reduction in the birth rate is to be found with women:

the variable of women’s autonomy is the main factor predicting the fertility and rates of natural increase of the Arab population.

If the woman is provided with a prophylactic choice, better hygiene facilities and medical treatment opportunities, better employment and advanced education, the rate of births will drop.

The demon of demography is not the element of negativism working against Israel's continued control over all of Eretz-Yisrael west of the Jordan River, even in Gaza.

All is not lost.

My good friend Yakov Faitelson, who is the author of Demographic Trends in the Land of Israel, 1800-2007 (Israeli Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS), 2008), and the first major of Ariel (2/1981 - 5/1985) and then the manager of the Barkan Industrial Park (11/1988 - 12/1993) and who returned from Russia after a period of Zionist work, makes this observation:

The misuse of demography has been one of the most prominent, yet unexamined, aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many Israelis have so thoroughly absorbed the repeated claims of a diminishing Jewish majority that they do not consider whether their conventional wisdom is false. Before an accurate demographic picture of Israel and the Palestinian territories trickles down to the consciousness of the residents of the region, it must first be understood by Israeli and Palestinian policymakers, academics, and journalists, who need accurate, factual information to do their jobs. The impact on the conflict of such a development would be substantial.

and points to this critical element which conflates with Kartin and Schnell in his article, The Politics of Palestinian Demography, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2009, pp. 51-59:

Careful demographic analysis, however, should lead to a conclusion in stark contrast to the demographic time bomb thesis. The natural increase of the Jewish population in Israel—that is, its yearly birth rate less its yearly death rate—stabilized thirty years ago and, since 2002, has even begun to grow. The natural increase of the total Arab population, comprising both Israeli Arabs and the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, continues to descend toward convergence with the Jewish population, probably in the latter half of this century.

Sometimes, there's a natural decay in population.


Micki L. sent me this:

The Debacle of Demographic Fatalism by YORAM ETTINGER, from March 23, 2009 with this conclusion:

In summation, the 2007 census for Judea & Samaria was inflated by 53%, and the Jewish-Arab proportion west of the Jordan River - without Gaza - documents a robust Jewish majority of 67%, compared with a 33% Jewish minority in 1947, including Gaza. The most effective symptom of the Demographic transformation - from Arab to Jewish demographic momentum - has been the absolute annual number of Jewish and Arab births within Israel's "Green Line." While the number of annual Arab births has stagnated at 39,000 during 1995-2007, the number of annual Jewish births has catapulted by 40% from 80,400 in 1995 to 112,000 in 2007.

There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal, and there is no demographic machete at Israel's throat. In fact, documented births, deaths and migration clarify that Jewish demography has become a strategic asset and not a liability. Hence, awareness to demographic reality could enhance the security, political, strategic, diplomatic and economic options of Israeli Doves and Hawks alike.

Oh, Oh. It's Now Psychoactive

What is Psychoactive?

Behind the name "Psychoactive" stands a group of mental health men/women who have taken upon themselves to be involved in social-political subjects in general, and in the Jewish-Arab conflict in the territories in particular. The group acts out of recognition of the basic rights of a person, as a person, to spiritual well-being, alongside physical well-being.

We recruit the tools at our disposal as men/women involved in the treating professions, to deepen the understanding and awareness of the subject of occupation, and the continuing war between the two nations, and its repercussions in the populations on both sides of the conflict. These tools also serve us in advancing healing processes and advancing the psychological welfare of the individual, which is influenced by the societal-political reality in which he lives.

The group is made up of Israeli Arabs and Jews, and contacts are made with Arab mental health personnel from the Palestinian Authority. Members come from the social work professions, both from the field and from the academic community.

The group serves as a laboratory for developing initiatives in these subjects, according to the personal initiatives of the members of the group. The group meets every few weeks in different parts of the country, and is in constant touch through an Internet list.

They have varied activities, including:

• Joining the coalition of organizations opposing the siege of Gaza.
• Organization of tutorials, workshops, and lectures for Palestinian professional teams from the West Bank and Gaza.
• Organization of academic conferences that deal with the psychological and socio-psychological aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
• Co-organizing a public event during the Israeli offensive on Gaza: A Gathering to Mourn and to Protest: Grieve together & reject the massive killing of civilians.

and they're sponsoring next week a conference on "The Psychological Influences of Service in the Territories":

Israeli society imposes on its soldiers serving in the army the role of control over another nation - the Palestinian people living in the Territories; these soldiers serve as the almost exclusive contact between Israeli society and Palestinian society. In this conference we will examine the psychological influences of the army service in the occupied territories, both on the soldiers themselves and on the Jewish society in Israel, that avoids direct contact with the Palestinians in the Territories, but sends and receives back its sons and daughters in their army service there. We will examine how open these influences are and how they are spoken about in our society, army, and mental health personnel.

My comments:

a) spiritual means religious, or an alternative faith-based system. this is psychological. someone's a nut here.

b) I am reminded of the all too repetitive excuse from Arabs after the many stabbing incidents we suffered in the first Intifida, but not exclusively. The perpetrator was majnun (مجنون). Majnun translates as 'madman'; 'crazy'. In other words, again and again, only mentally unbalanced Arabs could be killers and vicious attackers. They were, of course, not responsible for their dastardly deeds. And the general Arab commnuity thus distanced the,selves from this terror.

A Golden Carpet of Nature

Outside the Tel Shiloh Visitors' Center

Last Sun Rays in the West

Photo credit: Yisrael Medad

Natural Growth Means More Schoolchildren

A practical example of natural growth:

The buses at Shiloh Primary School waiting to take the pupils home to Shvut Rachel, Maaleh Levona and Eli. Construction for school's expanison continues apace.

Wrong Wall Write

In The Writing Is On the Settlement Walls, two people wrote this:

Excluding the checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel itself which remain in place, the report says the army is now manning only ten checkpoints within the West Bank. Eighteen months ago, no fewer than 35 such roadblocks were fully operational.

This move amounts to a first Israeli acknowledgment that the security situation in the West Bank has improved as a result of a U.S.-led effort to build up the security forces of the Palestinian Authority under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The authors, Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, are former CNN journalists. Jerrold, South African Habonim leftwinger, and Pierre, trendy Frenchman, are going to be wrong yet again.

We have no real proof that the security situation is as rosy as they wish us to believe. In fact, if you check any news agency daily, you will read that after almost every evening here, another few suspected terrorists are arrested. Not all, true, are guilty and some may even be peace activists with information Israel needs. Nevertheless, security can never be entrusted to persons who do not wish us well.

And another "fact":

Benjamin Netanyahu is sorely misjudging this shift in the overall thrust of U.S. policy.

Well, we'll see.

Occupation? You're Kidding, Right?

There is no occupation

by Efraim Karsh

Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2009 at 11:56 PM

Few subjects have been falsified so thoroughly as the recent history of the West Bank and Gaza. The history of Israel's so-called "occupation" of Palestinian lands and the ways in which Palestinians and Arabs have distorted Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza are discussed.

Seems Hillary's Tongue Is Cleaving

Yesterday, I posted this at my blog:

Going around the grapevine:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell and broke her right elbow, earlier this week. This, just after telling Israel that the US includes "East" Jerusalem as part of the "settlement freeze".

Doesn't that remind you of Psalms 137:5 -

"If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten"?

And I obliquely referred to the next verse:

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not;

Well, watch out what you wish for. Elliot Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009, insists that Hillary's tongue should be cleaving to her mouth's roof:

Hillary Is Wrong About the Settlements

The U.S. and Israel reached a clear understanding about natural growth.

Despite fervent denials by Obama administration officials, there were indeed agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the growth of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. As the Obama administration has made the settlements issue a major bone of contention between Israel and the U.S., it is necessary that we review the recent history. In the spring of 2003, U.S. officials (including me) held wide-ranging discussions with then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem...

...We discussed some approaches: Could he agree there would be no additional settlements? New construction only inside settlements, without expanding them physically? Could he agree there would be no additional land taken for settlements?
As we talked several principles emerged...

On April 14, 2004, Mr. Bush handed Mr. Sharon a letter...On the major settlement blocs, Mr. Bush said, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." Several previous administrations had declared all Israeli settlements beyond the "1967 borders" to be illegal. Here Mr. Bush dropped such language, referring to the 1967 borders -- correctly -- as merely the lines where the fighting stopped in 1949, and saying that in any realistic peace agreement Israel would be able to negotiate keeping those major settlements. On settlements we also agreed on principles that would permit some continuing growth.

Mr. Sharon stated these clearly in a major policy speech in December 2003: "Israel will meet all its obligations with regard to construction in the settlements. There will be no construction beyond the existing construction line, no expropriation of land for construction, no special economic incentives and no construction of new settlements."

Ariel Sharon did not invent those four principles. They emerged from discussions with American officials and were discussed by Messrs. Sharon and Bush at their Aqaba meeting in June 2003.

They were not secret, either. Four days after the president's letter, Mr. Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weissglas wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "I wish to reconfirm the following understanding, which had been reached between us: 1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria."

...Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on June 17 that "in looking at the history of the Bush administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements. That has been verified by the official record of the administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility."

These statements are incorrect. Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them in undertaking a wrenching political reorientation -- the dissolution of his government, the removal of every single Israeli citizen, settlement and military position in Gaza, and the removal of four small settlements in the West Bank.

Mrs. Clinton also said there were no "enforceable" agreements. This is a strange phrase. How exactly would Israel enforce any agreement against an American decision to renege on it? Take it to the International Court in The Hague?

Regardless of what Mrs. Clinton has said, there was a bargained-for exchange. Mr. Sharon...asked for our support and got it, including the agreement that we would not demand a total settlement freeze.

For reasons that remain unclear, the Obama administration has decided to abandon the understandings about settlements reached by the previous administration with the Israeli government. We may be abandoning the deal now, but we cannot rewrite history and make believe it did not exist.



The cleave is Psalms means:

1. to adhere closely; stick; cling (usually fol. by to).
2. to remain faithful (usually fol. by to): to cleave to one's principles in spite of persecution.

Origin: bef. 900; ME cleven, OE cleofian, c. OHG klebēn (G kleben)

and there's the other cleave

Origin: bef. 950; ME cleven, OE clēofan, c. OHG klioban (G klieben), ON kljūfa; akin to Gk glýphein to carve, L glūbere to peel

The sense of "cleft between a woman's breasts in low-cut clothing" is first recorded 1946, when it was defined in a "Time" magazine article as the "Johnston Office trade term for the shadowed depression dividing an actress' bosom into two distinct sections" [Aug. 5].